Current Christianity versus the ages of faith

Extract from Lived Christianity (Calx Mariae Publishing, 2022)

Let us examine the state of society. Look at where we are. On the one hand, there are implacable enemies of the Name of God, who strive in every way to remove the idea of God from all that is human. And you know how fierce the fight is, and what proportions it has taken. On the other hand, there are beings who believe themselves to be Christians, who call themselves Christians, who claim to work for God, and yet who leave Him only a very secondary place in the economy of their life. Do you understand the falsity of such a state of things, and the fatal nothingness to which one is condemned by being part of it? God is all or nothing: He is first or not at all; from the moment in which He is not in His place, He ends up with nothing. 

Be careful: in private as in public life, in civil life as in politics, and even in religious life, does God really enjoy first place? Almost nowhere is He in first place. Self-interest dominates intelligence, subjugates hearts, and guides actions. Life is organised in such a way that man is put first in everything. The whole organism, from family to religious society, is distorted.

What is our education? Our formation? Our instruction? Our education should put God at the top of our mind; our formation should place Him at the centre of our heart; our instruction should place Him at the foundation of our conduct. What is happening now? Our education is human, our formation is human, our instruction is human. If room is made for God, this happens at an isolated shrine, where practical life hardly enters in. We make Him a more or less beautiful hut, in this hut we give Him a small part of our life, and we call this Christian life!

Neither in ideas, nor in morality, nor in laws, nor in institutions, nor in individuals does God have the place strictly due to Him. In short, everything is in great disorder; consequently, everything must be turned upside down. Do you now understand why socialists are necessary and inevitable? And it is we who claim to be good, above all, who make them necessary. When good itself is no longer right, there is no longer anything right and catastrophe is imminent, because society, like the individual, cannot live standing on its head.

If only we decided to stand up straight! If we reform ourselves instead of shouting at the dustmen who, after all, are only doing their job by taking away the rubbish; if we vomit up the revolutionary poison with which we are soaked to the marrow, if we learn to know, love and serve God, everywhere placing Him above man, we would do the only serious and necessary work in the present moment. Reform yourself, therefore, before committing yourself to making your contribution to some social work. Then you can carry out works that are righteous.

In times in which there was faith, God had a very different place in life. The law of the first fruits consecrated to Him the firstborn of man, of animals and of the products of the earth. The first part of everything was for Him. Prayer and the sign of the cross were everywhere; the ordinary actions of life always bore a religious mark. Public and private acts were done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Nothing was done without God. If we spoke about a project, we said, “if it pleases God”; if we obtained a happy success, “thanks be to God” — beforehand, we relied on Him, afterwards He was thanked. Private and public life were oriented towards the honour of God. We were the servants of God. The people’s most sacred interest was God’s honour, and the most loathed crime was sacrilege.

Public legislation, people’s customs, social institutions and popular ideas were marked by a profound religious imprint. Man had his passions and his sins; but above the human passions, the idea of God was seen to dominate everywhere. The great struggles, the great laws, the great ages, the great peoples, are those in which one sees the divine idea inspiring human activity.

The true history of humanity should be studied in the light of these principles: since history is nothing other than the knowledge of God’s action in the midst of human unrest. And look at what you have learned in history. You have learned to follow the events of human unrest; but what have you learned from God’s action? De Maistre is quite correct to say that, for three hundred years, history has been an incessant conspiracy against the Truth.

Christian society must be rebuilt; and, to rebuild it, the first thing which is required is to straighten out our ideas. As long as we do not have upright ideas, we will walk wrongly, because man walks according to his ideas. It is the idea that makes the man. Today, there are no more men because there are no more ideas, there are only words. Do you want to be a man? Get away from words and have ideas, that is, profound visions of things. And in order to have profound visions of things, it is necessary to see them as they are, and as God made them, and as they are guided by God. And to see them in this way, you need to place yourself in the point of view in which God wants you: when someone is in the wrong place, he sees falsely. So, God first and then you.

When you have implemented this great programme — God first in your ideas, in your loves, in your actions, in your whole life — then you will begin to be a Christian.

This article continues next week with “Freedom and Slavery”.

Lived Christianity is available to buy on the Voice of the Family website.