Encouragement in an age of unbelief

“The Church does not grow old, the faith does not grow old, the Holy Ghost does not grow old; say not, The days that have been are better than those which are. We can go into this city and find as strong faith, as tender piety, as thorough self-annihilation, as the world in any age ever witnessed. God is as near us as ever; we have all the aids we ever had, and we may emulate the virtues of any past age. God has not changed; his religion has not changed; man’s nature has not changed. What was possible aforetime is possible now. Let us not, then, suppose we have come too late into the world to aspire to holy living. Let us turn our eyes, not out upon the barren wilderness without, but in upon the vast treasures we have been accumulating for ages, and dare use them.

“Who cares for the heretics and infidels around us, — except for their conversion? They cannot harm us against our will. Were not the early Christians in a hostile world? Were they not surrounded by Jewish and Pagan relatives and friends? Had they not apparently even greater obstacles than we to overcome? Why, then, shall we not speak to this age as they spoke to theirs? Suppose we are sneered at, ridiculed, abused, insulted, trampled on. Suppose the world becomes mad against us, mobs us, shoots us down, sends us to dungeons, the scaffold, or the stake; worse it cannot do. Suppose all this. What then? We have only to rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Woe unto us only when all men speak well of us. Woe unto us only when we prefer the praise of men to the praise of God.”

Orestes Brownson, “St. Stanslaus Kotska”, Brownson’s Quarterly Review, October, 1847. (H/T to Siris.)

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