Minding the Truth – Part 2 of 3

Father Geiermann has already discussed four ways to open our minds to the truth. Now he mentions a fifth way: by restoring the mind. “Restoration of the mind consists in qualifying it for the perception and use of truth. This restoration is necessary to undo the effects of original and actual sin on the mind itself. There are five effects of sin on the human mind:

The first effect is that “the perception of man’s mental vision is obscured. Before sin came into the world man could bask in the sunshine of God’s truth. Now he must grope his way through the mists of ignorance, prejudice, and error, guided mainly by the obscure light of faith.”

The second effect is that “the range of man’s mental vision is narrowed. Before he was defiled by sin, man enjoyed the full liberty of a child of God. Now, like a child at a keyhole or a fugitive in a cave, he can see only what appears on his limited horizon.”

The third effect is that “the power of man’s mental vision is weakened. Before the blight of sin descended upon him, man could penetrate hidden mysteries. Now his vision is so poor that he can grasp only a few rudimentary truths after long and weary application.”

The fourth effect is that “the correctness of man’s mental vision is impaired. Like an astigmatic eye in which the rays of light do not properly converge, the light of reason and the light of faith easily seem at variance to man since his nature was corrupted by sin.”

And the fifth effect is that “the mind of man is often influenced by self-love and self-will since it was weakened by sin. Before sin came into the world the mind ruled all man’s actions. Now, like a weak ruler of rebellious subjects, it makes many a degrading compromise with the rebellious will spurred on by the passions.”

Father Geiermann suggests a remedy: “To restore his mind even partially man must purge himself of conceit and selfishness, pray humbly for divine guidance, and seriously concentrate his energies on what is most essential to his calling. By persevering efforts he will learn enough to appreciate the light of faith. If he follows this with docility through this vale of tears, his sincerity will finally be rewarded by a complete restoration and illumination of his mental vision in the splendor of the Beatific Vision.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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