Continuing his discussion of the varieties of permanent assistance God offers us, Father Geiermann mentions two kinds of “mixed assistance”: one’s conscience and one’s vocation. They are called “mixed” because they are founded in human nature, but perfected when enlightened and strengthened by grace.
Concerning one’s conscience, he writes: “Conscience is the dictate of reason regarding the morality of human actions. It proclaims the law of God engraven on every human heart. Though essentially a gift of the natural order, conscience attains its full accuracy and vigor only when enlightened and strengthened by grace. Conscience is the application of man’s innate desire of truth and virtue to the circumstances of daily life. It judges of the goodness, the truth, and the beauty, or the moral integrity of an action, and urges man to do the right and to avoid the wrong. In proportion as its dictates are obeyed does conscience impart to man a sweetness or peace of heart, which is the assurance that he has taken another step towards God, the infinite Good. On the other hand, the more its dictates are ignored, the more will conscience rebuke man and fill him with remorse. It will give him no rest until he returns to a normal cultivation of his innate desire of happiness by the pursuit of truth and the practice of virtue.”
Concerning one’s vocation, he writes: “In His universal plan [God] has not only provided a place for every creature, but has made every creature to fill its particular place in the universal plan. God has, besides, implanted in every creature a tendency to work out its destiny in that place. In man this tendency is an inclination of his innate desire of good to seek his happiness in a particular state in life. In the supernatural order this inclination is called vocation.”
Father Geiermann gives two reasons why one should seek out and follow one’s vocation: “In the first place it is the state in life for which God has fitted and destined a person. In the second place it is the state in which God has destined to bestow on that person the benefits of His special providence, and the full measure of His grace. . . . To be happy in any vocation man must be actuated by a spirit of faith in following it, cheerfully make the sacrifices his state in life demands, and pray perseveringly that God may sustain him, guide him, and crown his efforts with final perseverance.”
Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).