God’s Representatives

St Peter at Rome

Father Geiermann continues his discussion of the qualities that dispose a person to yield a great spiritual harvest. The third quality is submission to God’s representatives.

First of all, this means being loyal to Jesus Christ. We read in the Gospel: “The Father hath given all things into His hands” (John 3:35). Geiermann writes: “He ransomed us at a great price. To Him we swore allegiance in holy Baptism. He is ‘the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14:6). No one can go to the Father except through Him. He is the judge of the living and the dead, the conqueror of hell, and the bestower of the crown of life. As His mystical members we should make the interest of Jesus Christ our own. Loyalty to Him should prompt us to further the glory of God and the welfare of souls.”

Secondly, we ought to be loyal to the Church. “To His Church Jesus Christ said, ‘As the Father hath sent Me I also send you’ (John 20:21). The loyalty, then, which we owe to the Saviour, we owe likewise to His Church. Or rather, as fraternal charity is the test of our love for God, so loyalty to the Catholic Church is the evidence of our loyalty to Jesus Christ. In the desolation of Gethsemani Jesus looked in vain for sympathy from His disciples. In the conflicts with her enemies shall holy Church look in vain for sympathy from her children? Shall she be forced to complain as God did of old: ‘I have brought up children, and exalted them; but they have despised me’ (Isa 1:2)?”

“Pride and self-love easily deceive us on the journey of life. . . . A proud and selfish spirit . . . that desires the evidence of sense or reason instead of the teaching of faith, will seek in vain for peace of mind or heart as long as she refuses to submit to the guidance of Christ’s representative.”

Thirdly, we ought to be loyal to lawful authority. “As ‘there is no power but from God’ (Rom 13:1), respect for authority must be a characteristic of every loyal Catholic. By inculcating obedience to the various established forms of government in the world, the Catholic Church is a pillar of support alike to kingdoms and republics, while at the same time she champions the rights of every member of society, by condemning an abuse of authority as tyranny. In like manner the Church safeguards the permanence of the home by defending the rights of parents over their children, and the obligation of all, but especially of the children, to respect the sacred rights of parents in the home.”

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

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