The Objects of Knowledge

Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch

Father Cassilly writes: “Blessed, then, be the Eternal Goodness of God, which has given to men the power to know and love. But knowing and loving are impossible without an object to rest in. The most perfect eye would be useless, if there were nothing to see. We should, in fact, never know that we had the sense of sight, if we lived in impenetrable darkness, or even in the brightest light which illumined no body. And if there were no sounds about us, we should live in a world of silence.”

“And what is it God has given us to know and love? The objects of these actions are endless. We can know truth and love goodness wherever they be found. And they lie all about us in objects innumerable as the leaves in the forests. The manifestations of truth, beauty and goodness are so limitless that the sons of men, from creation’s dawn to the present time, with all their accumulated wisdom, keenness of observation and study, have never exhausted them.”

“Beginning with self, we can proceed outward to creatures, in all of which there are vestiges of the Creator. We can contemplate the law, order and harmony that are visible in them as transient reflections from the great source of all harmony and beauty. So marvelous in number and variety are the rivers of truth, flowing from the eternal well-springs of Being, that every day new sciences and new developments of the older knowledge are required to explore them.”

“And with all our boasted knowledge and wisdom we are, as it were, only scratching the surface of things. But at times, alas! so hypnotized are we by created beauty that we seek it for itself and rest in it, as though it were the end and aim of our existence, forgetting that it is intended merely to be placed under our feet, as a stepping stone, to enable us to rise to Eternal Truth and Beauty that will endure forever. These are some of the beautiful things that God gives us in our journey through life.”

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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