TO believe is to assent to a truth on the authority of God's word. We

must find that the truth proposed is really guaranteed by the authority

of God. In this process of mental research, the mind must be satisfied,

and the truth found to be in consonance with the dictates of right

reason, or at least, not contrary thereto.

But the fact that we can securely give our assent to this truth does

not make us bel
eve. Something more than reason enters into an act of


Faith is not something natural, purely human, beginning and ending in

the brain, and a product thereof. This is human belief, not divine, and

is consequently not faith.

We believe that faith is, of itself, as far beyond the native powers of

a human being as the sense of feeling is beyond the power of a stone,

or intelligence, the faculty of comprehension, is beyond the power of

an animal. In other words, it is supernatural, above the natural

forces, and requires the power of God to give it existence. "No man can

come to me, unless the Father who has sent Me, draw him."

Some have faith, others have it not. Where did you get your faith? You

were not born with it, as you were with the natural, though dormant

faculties of speech, reason, and free will. You received it through

Baptism. You are a product of nature; therefore nature should limit

your existence. But faith aspires to, and obtains, an end that is not

natural but supernatural. It consequently must itself be supernatural,

and cannot be acquired without divine assistance.

Unless God revealed, you could not know the truths of religion. Unless

He established a court of final appeal in His Church, you could not be

sure what He did reveal or what He meant to say. Because of the

peculiar character of these truths and the nature the certitude we

possess, many would not believe all, if God's grace were not there to

help them, even though one could and would believe, there no divine

belief or faith proper until the soul lives the faculty from Him who

alone can give it.

The reason why many do not believe is not because God's grace is

wanting nor because their minds cannot be satisfied, not because they

cannot, but because they will not.

Faith is a gift of God, but not that alone; it is a conviction, but not

that alone. It is a firm assent of the will. We are free to believe or

not to believe.

"As one may be convinced and not act according to his conviction, so

may one be convinced and not believe according to his conviction. The

arguments of religion do not compel anyone to believe, just as the

arguments for good conduct do not compel anyone to obey. Obedience is

the consequence of willing to obey, and faith is the consequence of

willing to believe."

I am not obliged to receive as true any religious dogma, as I am forced

to accept the proposition that two and two are four. I believe because

I choose to believe. My faith is a submission of the will. The

authority of God is not binding on me physically, for men have refused

and still do refuse to submit to His authority and the authority He

communicated to His Church. And I know that I, too, can refuse and

perhaps more than once have been tempted to refuse, my assent to truths

that interfered too painfully with my interests and passions.

Besides, faith is meritorious, and in order to merit one must do

something difficult and be free to act. The difficulty is to believe

what we cannot understand, through pride of intelligence, and to bring

that stiff domineering faculty to recognize a superior. The difficulty

is to bend the will to the acceptance of truths, and consequent

obligations that gall our self-love and the flesh'. The believer must

have humility and self-denial. The grace of God follows these virtues

into a soul, and then your act of faith is complete.

Herein we discover the great wisdom of God who sets the price of faith,

and of salvation that depends on it, not on the mind, but on the will;

not on the intelligence alone, but on the heart. To no man is grace

denied. Every man has the will to grasp what is good. But though to all

He gives a will, all have not the same degree of intelligence; He does

not endow them equally in this respect. How then could He make

intelligence the first principle of salvation and of faith? God

searches the heart, not the mind. A modicum of wit is guaranteed to all

to know that they can safely believe. Be one ever so unlettered and

ignorant, and dull, faith and heaven are to him as accessible as to the

sage, savant and the genius. For all, the way is the same.