Father Geiermann discusses various ways God gives us assistance during our earthly pilgrimage in order to arrive safely in our heavenly home. Some types of assistance are transitory; others are permanent. He says of the latter: “The permanent assistance which God gives man to work out his destiny is partly of the natural order, partly of the supernatural order, and partly of a mixed nature.” He mentions three kinds of assistance in the natural order: a desire for happiness, a desire for truth and virtue, and the parental influence of instruction and good example. He mentions two kinds of assistance of a mixed nature: conscience and vocation. They are “mixed” because “though founded in nature, they attain their maturity only when enlightened and strengthened by grace.” Finally, he mentions seven kinds of assistance in the supernatural order: the ministry of the Church, the communion of saints, divine adoption, sanctifying grace, infused virtues, sacraments, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Concerning the first assistance in the natural order, a desire for happiness, he writes: “God implanted a desire for happiness so deeply in the human heart that not even the ravages of original sin have destroyed it. It is found in every heart. It impels man ever onward. . . . Considered in itself this desire of happiness is a vague longing for an endless possession and fruition of an infinite good under circumstances so congenial that it can be found only in heaven. When considered in its influence on man’s life this desire for happiness is the general motive-power of his actions, for ultimately both saint and sinner seek their happiness in all they do, even though the means they employ or the methods they follow are diametrically opposed to one another. . . . This innate desire of happiness is also the soul of man’s moral habits. It impels him towards God, the infinite Good, in the practice of virtue, and gives man peace of heart in proportion as he exerts himself. . . . This innate desire of happiness is the natural means by which God prompts man to action, and draws him toward Himself. In the supernatural order it becomes the way along which grace conducts man to the greatest measure of happiness on earth and to the possession and fruition of the infinite Good in heaven.”
Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).