Christian Life

THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Domine, noverim Te, noverim me. Lord, may
I know Thee; may I know myself. We have
to know God, we have to know ourselves, and
then to know that we have been made for union
with God by mutual love.
The first great foundation of spiritual life is
the twofold knowledge of God and of ourselves.
As Cardinal Bona puts it: “The whole substance
of spiritual life is brought to three points—
(1) Who is God? (2) Who is man 2 (3) How
can the two be united together ?””. Let us
bring ourselves, then, before the greatness of
God. We may see Him (1) in Himself; (2) in
His works.
I. The knowledge of God in Himself. He is
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end
—the Infinitely great, the Infinitely good, the
Infinitely wise, the Infinitely powerful, the In
finitely beautiful, the Infinitely loving, the
ever-flowing and overflowing Fountain of all
that is great, good, and beautiful in heaven and
on earth; around, above, and within us in
nature, grace, and glory. “None is good but
God alone.”” Creatures are not good, but the
recipients of God’s goodness. “Of Him, and by
Him, and in Him are all things.””
By Divine Revelation, and the faith of Holy
Church, we know the Three Divine Persons of the
Blessed Trinity. Let us love to contemplate
them in our own feeble way, prostrating in our
nothingness before the Divine greatness, goodness,
wisdom, power, and love, that the pourings of
Divine light and love may flow in upon our
souls.”
We see the Eternal Father as the beauteous
Primal Cause of all things: from whom all
that is good has gone forth, to whom it all
belongs, to whom it all returns. We love to
consider Him as the Fountain of everything
lovely, ever-flowing, overflowing. How infinite
He is in His attributes, living in His own eternity,
in happiness ineffable, Eternal Spirit, Intelligence,
and Love. Then, as the essential Good, loving
to diffuse His goodness, and so surrounding
Himself with a glorious creation, He made His
angels adoring and ministering spirits, like to
His own Image, spiritual, intelligent, and loving.
Calling forth His infinite resources, the vast
material universe starts into being.  How inconceivably
great and magnificent it is ! Our world
is vast and stupendous; inexorable and over
whelming in its laws. But look at those count
less shining orbs above us, rolling in the majesty
of time, whose distance reckons by incalculable
billions of miles.” Look at our sun, so astonish
ing in magnitude and power; and its system of
worlds revolving, as our own, in space around it.
What infinite conception, power, design, govern
ance, to make, and to equip, and to move, and
to manage such terrific forces ! O God, how
great and terrible are Thy works. Then comes
forth from the Divine hand, man, in Godlike
form—spiritual, intelligent, and loving, like the
angels. And he is made, under God, master of
the world here below.” Oh, how he ought to
love his Creator ! Who is like to God? yet
man fell away. And Thou, O God, comest, and
layest hold of him. “Unto us the Son is given.”.”
“God so loved the World, as to give His only
begotten Son.” * Behold with what manner of
charity the Father hath loved us. He gives
His Son to us, not lends Him, but gives Him.
Henceforth the Son of God is the son of man.
He becomes human that we may become divine.

He comes to us—Perfect God, and Perfect Man,
the loving Friend of Humanity, the representative
of our race—born of a Virgin Mother, that the
manhood and womanhood of our nature might
stand once more in all their dignity and beauty
before God. He passes through the stages of our
mortal life, to be our model in all—hidden,
active, suffering, and glorified. Then by a mar
vellous invention of love, willing not only to be
with our nature, but to come to us one by one,
He extends His Incarnation to His wondrous
Sacramental and Sacrificial Life, finding His
delights in the midst of the children of men.
And as He says, “No man cometh to the Father
but by Me,” so by the Sacramental prolonga
tion of the Incarnation, our miseries are per
petually sheltered under His mercies, and through
Him we find access to the Father, collectively
and individually.
The Son of God, having formed the body of
the Church, it remained for the Holy Ghost to
become its animating and governing spirit. The
Church, being made up of men, not of angels,
there will always necessarily be in her a large
amount of the human element. How could it
be otherwise ? Our consolation is that there is
the Divine element too. The human does not
eliminate the Divine, nor does the Divine sup
press the human. Hence, the presence and the
work of the Holy Ghost in the Church, and the
individual soul; illuminating and guiding the
Church, and sanctifying, governing, and per
fecting our inner life, little by little, in His own
way. The Spirit of Love in God Himself,
reaching “from end to end mightily, and ordering
all things sweetly—” He governs us according
to our nature, moving us through love, freely,
easily, and delectably.
II. Let us ever love to see God in the works
of His hand. “The invisible things of God are
clearly seen; being understood by the things
that are made.” Who does not love the
beauties of nature ? How exquisite they are !
See the wooded hills, the far-spreading vales,
the stately trees, the running waters, the bright
hued flowers, and the sweet and abundant
fruits. What wisdom, power, and beauty they
all betoken. And then look at grander things—
the lofty mountain ranges, snowy peaks, mighty
glaciers and cataracts, vast forests, and the
awful ocean roar. And, greater still, the im
measurable universe around, the starry heavens,
the sun, of such immense size * and power, and
all its revolving worlds. What inconceivable
immensity and power they show forth. And in
small things the Divine Wisdom appears as
marvellously as in great; such as in the exquisite
form, colour, and wondrous multiplication of
the flowers, and the delicate framework and
clothing of every leaf and blade of grass.

The whole animal creation of birds, beasts,
and fishes is full of marvel, considering their
strength, sagacity, variety, instinct, and apparent
understanding of so many things. How little
we know of their inner workings, less perhaps
than we know of the angels. They have a
world of their own, so closely woven with ours;
and not all the combined wisdom of men could
create the smallest mite of them ! “How great
are Thy works, O Lord.”
Turning in upon ourselves, we have a little
world of our own. We are fearfully and wonder
fully made. The great faculties of our spiritual
nature liken us to the angels, yea, and to God
Himself. Look at the memory, with its pro
digious stores, and its ability ever to store more.
A subtle thought was put there fifty years ago,
and here it is now, though millions of other
thoughts have been there since. “How great
are Thy works, O Lord.” Intellect is a Divine
power, and so is Will, and so is Love all capable
of rising to the Infinite. Linked as they are
with a body of flesh, there is further mystery.
The body is a masterpiece of Divine Wisdom in
its formation, development, and marvellous
abilities, clearly lower than the spirit that in
forms it, yet having its own laws and leanings.
The lower must serve the higher—and the whole
man must serve the God who made him.
But God adds grace to nature, thus lifting
man to “the Divine sphere. And, as we see,
admire, and love God in the works of nature,
so we see, admire, and love Him in the works
of Grace. Our blessed Lord, the God-Man, is
the fountain of all our grace, the head of angels
and men, establishing His Kingdom of Grace
in our midst by His Sacramental Life, that we
may ever go to God through Him, and draw
water with joy from the Saviour’s fountains;
the angels are ever with Him, and with us, for
“Where the King is, there is the Court.””
Our Blessed Lady and the Saints are ever asso
ciated with us, and the Kingdom of Grace is
established in our hearts one by one, through
the inner life and working of the theological
virtues. Hence, it is true to say that the
Catholic religion is “the coming of the unseen
world into this. And what we see, of this world
below, is as a screen, hiding from us God, and
Christ, and the angels, and saints.”.” Thus we
come more and more to the knowledge of God
by seeing and loving Him in the wondrous
works of His hands, in nature and Grace together.
III. Needless to say, we know God, in order to
love Him. Yet the truth is there—we cannot
love what we do not know. Think of Him
therefore, see Him, admire Him, praise and
exalt Him above all for ever. Train yourselves
constantly to the knowledge of God’s greatness,
goodness, power, wisdom, loveliness. See Him
around you, in all the works of His hand, above
you, and within you. “Of Him, by Him, in
Him are all things.” Let your greatest devotion
of all be to the Presence of God, around, above,
within you. It will lead you to speak to Him,
to love Him, to serve Him, to enjoy yourself
with Him, to give yourself to Him toto corde.
Hoc est totus homo. You see therefore how the
foundation of all your spiritual life, and work,
and well-being, is to be placed in the knowledge
of God.

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