Leo XIII: In God Alone Can The Human Will Find Absolute And Perfect Peace Monday, Jan 25 2010 


It is surely unnecessary to prove, what experience constantly shows and what each individual feels in himself, even in the very midst of all temporal prosperity – that in God alone can the human will find absolute and perfect peace.

God is the only end of man. All our life on earth is the truthful and exact image of a pilgrimage.

Now Christ is the “Way”, for we can never reach God, the supreme and ultimate good, by this toilsome and doubtful road of mortal life, except with Christ as our leader and guide.

[…] Hence it will be understood that in the Christian religion the first and most necessary condition is docility to the precepts of Jesus Christ, absolute loyalty of will towards Him as Lord and King.

A serious duty, and one which oftentimes calls for strenuous labour, earnest endeavour, and perseverance!

For although by Our Redeemer’s grace human nature bath been regenerated, still there remains in each individual a certain debility and tendency to evil.

Various natural appetites attract man on one side and the other; the allurements of the material world impel his soul to follow after what is pleasant rather than the law of Christ.

Still we must strive our best and resist our natural inclinations with all our strength “unto the obedience of Christ”.

For unless they obey reason they become our masters, and carrying the whole man away from Christ, make him their slave.

“Men of corrupt mind, who have made shipwreck of the faith, cannot help being slaves. . . They are slaves to a threefold concupiscence: of will, of pride, or of outward show” (St. Augustine, De Vera Religione, 37).

In this contest every man must be prepared to undergo hardships and troubles for Christ’s sake. It is difficult to reject what so powerfully entices and delights.

[…] Moreover, to bear and to suffer is the ordinary condition of man. Man can no more create for himself a life free from suffering and filled with all happiness that he can abrogate the decrees of his Divine Maker, who has willed that the consequences of original sin should be perpetual.

It is reasonable, therefore, not to expect an end to troubles in this world, but rather to steel one’s soul to bear troubles, by which we are taught to look forward with certainty to supreme happiness.

Christ has not promised eternal bliss in heaven to riches, nor to a life of ease, to honours or to power, but to long-suffering and to tears, to the love of justice and to cleanness of heart.

Leo XIII (1810-1903): Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus 6.

Leo XIII: Praying to the Holy Spirit Friday, Jan 22 2010 


Lastly, we ought to pray to and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help.

The more a man is deficient in wisdom, weak in strength, borne down with trouble, prone to sin, so ought he the more to fly to Him who is the never-ceasing fount of light, strength, consolation, and holiness.

And chiefly that first requisite of man, the forgiveness of sins, must be sought for from Him: “It is the special character of the Holy Ghost that He is the Gift of the Father and the Son.

Now the remission of all sins is given by the Holy Ghost as by the Gift of God” (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 3,3,8 ad 3).

Concerning this Spirit the words of the Liturgy are very explicit: “For He is the remission of all sins” (Roman Missal, Tuesday after Pentecost).

How He should be invoked is clearly taught by the Church, who addresses Him in humble supplication, calling upon Him by the sweetest of names: “Come, Father of the poor! Come, Giver of gifts! Come, Light of our hearts! O, best of Consolers, sweet Guest of the soul, our refreshment!” (Hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus).

She earnestly implores Him to wash, heal, water our minds and hearts, and to give to us who trust in Him “the merit of virtue, the acquirement of salvation, and joy everlasting”.

Nor can it be in any way doubted that He will listen to such prayer, since we read the words written by His own inspiration: “The Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings” (Rom. 8:26).

Lastly, we ought confidently and continually to beg of Him to illuminate us daily more and more with His light and inflame us with His charity: for, thus inspired with faith and love, we may press onward earnestly towards our eternal reward, since He “is the pledge of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:14).

Leo XIII (1810-1903): Divinum Illud Munus 11.

Leo XIII: The Love of the Holy Spirit Expands the Heart Thursday, Jan 21 2010 


Now we owe to the Holy Ghost…love, because He is God: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength” (Deut. 6:5).

He is also to be loved because He is the substantial, eternal, primal Love, and nothing is more lovable than love.

[…] This love has a twofold and most conspicuous utility. In the first place it will excite us to acquire daily a clearer knowledge about the Holy Ghost.

For, as the Angelic Doctor says, “the lover is not content with the superficial knowledge of the beloved, but strives to inquire intimately into all that appertains to the beloved, and thus to penetrate into the interior.

“Thus it is said of the Holy Ghost, Who is the Love of God, that He searches even the profound things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10; Summa Theologiae 1-2,28,2).

In the second place it will obtain for us a still more abundant supply of heavenly gifts; for whilst a narrow heart contracts the hand of the giver, a grateful and mindful heart causes it to expand.

Yet we must strive that this love should be of such a nature as not to consist merely in dry speculations or external observances, but rather to run forward towards action, and especially to fly from sin, which is in a more special manner offensive to the Holy Spirit.

For whatever we are, that we are by the divine goodness; and this goodness is specially attributed to the Holy Ghost.

Leo XIII (1810-1903): Divinum Illud Munus 10.

Leo XIII: The Holy Spirit and the Indwelling of the Trinity Wednesday, Jan 20 2010 

Leo XIII 02The doctors of the Church…say that God is present and exists in all things “by His power, in so far as all things are subject to His power; by His presence, inasmuch as all things are naked and open to His eyes; by His essence, inasmuch as he is present to all as the cause of their being” (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 1,8,3).

But God is in man, not only as in inanimate things, but because he is more fully known and loved by him, since even by nature we spontaneously love, desire, and seek after the good.

Moreover, God by grace resides in the just soul as in a temple, in a most intimate and peculiar manner.

From this proceeds that union of affection by which the soul adheres most closely to God, more so than the friend is united to his most loving and beloved friend, and enjoys God in all fulness and sweetness.

Now this wonderful union, which is properly called “indwelling”, differing only in degree or state from that with which God beatifies the saints in heaven, although it is most certainly produced by the presence of the whole Blessed Trinity – “We will come to Him and make our abode with Him” (John 14:23.) – nevertheless is attributed in a peculiar manner to the Holy Ghost.

For, whilst traces of divine power and wisdom appear even in the wicked man, charity, which, as it were, is the special mark of the Holy Ghost, is shared in only by the just.

In harmony with this, the same Spirit is called Holy, for He, the first and supreme Love, moves souls and leads them to sanctity, which ultimately consists in the love of God.

Wherefore the apostle when calling us to the temple of God, does not expressly mention the Father or the Son, or the Holy Ghost: “Know ye not that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God?” (1 Cor. 6:19).

Leo XIII (1810-1903): Divinum Illud Munus 9.

Leo XIII: The Deifying Power of the Spirit Tuesday, Jan 19 2010 


Human nature is by necessity the servant of God: “The creature is a servant; we are the servants of God by nature” (St. Cyril of Alexandria).

On account, however, of original sin, our whole nature had fallen into such guilt and dishonour that we had become enemies to God. “We were by nature the children of wrath” (Eph. ii., 3).

There was no power which could raise us and deliver us from this ruin and eternal destruction.

But God, the Creator of mankind and infinitely merciful, did this through His only begotten Son, by whose benefit it was brought about that man was restored so that rank and dignity whence he had fallen, and was adorned with still more abundant graces.

No one can express the greatness of this work of divine grace in the souls of men. Wherefore, both in Holy Scripture and in the writings of the fathers, men are styled regenerated, new creatures, partakers of the Divine Nature, children of God, god-like, and similar epithets.

Now these great blessings are justly attributed as especially belonging to the Holy Ghost.

He is “the Spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba, Father”. He fills our hearts with the sweetness of paternal love: “Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:15-16).

This truth accords with the similitude observed by the Angelic Doctor between both operations of the Holy Ghost; for through Him “Christ was conceived in holiness to be by nature the Son of God”, and “others are sanctified to be the sons of God by adoption” (Summa Theologiae 3,32,1).

This spiritual generation proceeds from love in a much more noble manner than the natural: namely, from the uncreated Love.

Leo XIII (1810-1903): Divinum Illud Munus 8.