AFTER the mission is over and the parish has come back to every-day piety, there are always some good souls in trouble of conscience, and the pastor or ordinary confessor is slow to place the blame of the trouble on the preaching of the missionary. For has he not weekly experience of some of his flock taking in a wrong sense his own matter-of fact Sunday announcements, which he has dinned into their ears in plain words and strong tones? And how can he now be surprised that doctrines of theology or spirituality have not been caught right by all, or that burning words of censure, which had to be spoken for the lax sinner, have been taken especially for themselves by the saints of over delicate conscience? They fear that some things are now certain which were told as doubtful, and the answer is that even though they are now certainwhich the confessor denies-the sincere telling them as doubtful was enough. They fear that they may have consented fully to some grievous temptation without being fully conscious of such consent, and they are told in the language of the old ascetic that this is as absurd as to suppose a roaring lion could be in a well kept room without being noticed there. They fear that the fact that they have the same kind and number of venial sins to tell every week is an evident sign that they lack a serious purpose of amendment, and the confessor takes this fact as evidence that they have a most serious purpose of avoiding sins of worse kinds and of checking the number of these venial faults, if they are really sins at an and not, most of them, mere temptations. Again, they fear that they are making no progress and had better give up trying, because year in and year out they have the same defects which they have not conquered. But, granting that they have the same defects, they must not forget that goodness is not only negative, but also positive, that it is not only in avoiding bad acts but also in doing good acts; and that so long as we are in the state of habi tuaI grace, or friendship with God, and remain in this state, by avoiding any act of mortal sin, even though we may be then committing many deliberate venial sins and thereby heaping up fuel for our purgatory, we may be, at the same time, doing countless good acts and heaping up treasures of gold, or supernatural merit, for heaven and eternity. So that if we have been living such a life, it would be better for us to die next year than this year, or tomorrow than to-day, because we should thus be higher in heaven, with more good works following us there. But as the Imitation, the Introduction to a Devout Life, and other such books, which were originally written for particular classes, are no,v perused with fruit by persons of all the classes who have souls to save or sanctify; so, too, this little treatise on the fundamental practical truths may gain a warm and wide welcome. Its easy, copious style makes it well suited for reading in the refectory. With a few phrases blotted out here and there, the director of the Holy Hour or such other popular devotions, will find in it many meditations that seem made to order for him. Preachers of Missions, or of Lenten instructions to the people, or of retreats to communities, will discover in it a rich mine of matter easy to assimilate. May this little book help many souls to depth and fulness of Catholic life.
Rev H J Sempel SJ, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1502740907, ISBN 13: 9781502740908