FRIENDS have often advised the publication of the following Conferences. For a long time I hesitated to act upon this suggestion, as I cannot claim for them entire originality. They are bouquets of flowers gathered in years gone by from various gardens to suit my own taste, and for the pleasure and comfort of those to whom they were presented. Perhaps their fragrance is sufficient to gratify and embalm other souls dear to the Sacred Heart. If so, may the Divine Master breathe through these blossoms the sweetness of love and the perfume of grace long after he who culled them has gone to rest from his humble labors. T HERE is a distinction to be made between faith and devotion. We cannot be devout without faith, but we may have faith without devotion. The doctrines of faith do not grow; they are always the same; but devotion to these doctrines may and does grow; in other words, the objects of faith are always the same, but they are not always felt, and in consequence, the same honors and the same love are not always rendered them. Thus the sun in the spring-time will have to shine many days before it is able to melt the frost, open the soil, and bring out the leaves; yet it shines out from the first, though it makes its power felt but gradually. In like manner some truth may shine out in the Church for a long time, before it is fully seized and realized and melts men's hearts into love and veneration of it. Moreover, just as the sun thaws in spring-time some particles of snow and ice more quickly than others, and causes some trees and flowers to sprout and bloom more readily than their fellows, so too, some truth may affect one soul more quickly and deeply than it does another, and though understood equally well by all, yet will not call forth equally well from all, religious honor, respect, veneration, fear or love. So you see Devotion is really "truth in bloom," and since there are many truths and many souls in the Church we must expect to see these many devotions. And such is the case. Any large parish church will illustrate this. The edifice itself is dedicated to Almighty God, under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, or some particular saint; but within there are sometimes three, five, seven or more altars, each of which has its particular saint or mystery to honor. The worshippers kneel here, each according to his own inclination. No one interferes with another. And as Mass is celebrated, and all follow the sacred rite, each one has his own devotions which are all more or less diversified, and though distinct, converge to one and the same God. Some associate to pray for a good death, others for the repose of the departed souls, others finally for the conversion of the heathen and the sinner; some join confraternities to honor the Precious Blood, others the Sacred Heart, others again the Immaculate Conception. In a word, there is a variety of devotions open to individual Catholics to choose from according to their religious task, their character, their tendency, and the prospect of personal edification.
Rev Henry Brinkmeyer, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1502525704, ISBN 13: 9781502525703