Governing the Just

Father Geiermann concludes his discussion of the manner in which God governs His creation. Here he shows how God governs the just, those who are at peace with God.

“In that condition the natural longing of man for happiness has found comfort in the friendship of his Maker, and a means of expression in the habits of prayer and devotion. Besides, sanctifying grace, and all that goes with it, inclines man strongly to God in the supernatural order, for in addition to living in the grace of God his mind is enlightened, his will strengthened in doing good, while his heart has become the temple of the Blessed Trinity itself.”

Father Geiermann now considers the dilemma of a just person undergoing a serious temptation. He writes: “We may know how the conflict will begin; but we can not tell how it will develop or end, as that depends on the choice or decision of that man’s free will.” As soon as his mind becomes aware of the danger, “conscience gives the alarm. Then, man, prompted both by the natural habit of friendship for God, and especially by the supernatural habit of sanctifying grace, and perhaps by actual grace, which he may receive as the result of having prayed and received the sacraments in the past, or because he co-operated with grace in some earlier temptation, or showed himself grateful for past favors, or finally as a token of God’s love and solicitude, either turns to God in fear and trembling, and asks His help by prayer, or he dilly-dallies with the temptation.”

“If, then, he does what he can, God will enable him to do what he can not do of himself, as the Council of Trent teaches, that is, triumph over the temptation. But if that man does not turn to God in that temptation with promptness and decision, the forces of evil will grow in strength and press the assault to a crisis. . . . If still that man neglects to pray, he will lose in the conflict, even though he had seemed confirmed in grace. Blinded by passion, and weakened by the assault, he is now left to his own strength by that God who said: ‘He that loveth danger shall perish in it’ (Sir 3:27).”

“As long as he has life he must act; he can not remain neutral or inactive. In proportion as he freely conforms to the motive, plan, and purpose of God, he advances toward perfection. In proportion as he follows his own, he deifies himself. In proportion as he drifts through life, he surrenders himself to his passions.”

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

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