Continuing his discussion of the varieties of permanent assistance God offers us, Father Geiermann mentions two other kinds of assistance in the natural order: a desire for truth and virtue, and parental influence.
Concerning a desire for truth and virtue, he writes: “As every good is essentially true and beautiful, [the] impulse for happiness or possession and enjoyment of the good becomes at the same time a desire for truth and virtue. . . . The human mind was made for the enjoyment of truth and the human heart for the adornment of virtue. Desire of truth makes man sincere, desire of virtue makes him a lover of moral beauty. By the cultivation of these two qualities man at the same time satisfies his innate longing for the possession and enjoyment of what is good, has the greatest amount of human happiness, and becomes acceptable to God.”
Concerning parental influence, he writes: “During the most impressionable period of his life man is dependent on his parents. Even though these be far from perfect themselves, they will instinctively teach the child the best they can both by word and by example. To make this good influence of parents deep and lasting, God has ordained that the child, with its innate desire of truth and virtue, should unconsciously idealize its parents at this stage of its existence as the personification of knowledge, wisdom, and virtue. As the child advances in life devoted parents will shield its growth in truth and virtue by protecting it against contamination from playmates and companions. In proportion as the child passes from the influence of its parents it will be sustained in its desire of truth and virtue by the memory of their teaching and example, and strengthened against the evil influence of the world by the dictates of a delicate conscience.”
“If a child has been taught to love truth and virtue through the influence of its parents, it will experience great joy at the dawn of reason, when the dictates of its own conscience will confirm its veneration of father and mother. But, if they were remiss in its education or brought it up in evil ways, it will not only condemn them in later life but will have great difficulty in establishing true standards of right and wrong, and may even labor under a serious disadvantage throughout life.”
Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).