Christ reigns by unfolding Himself in men

Quote of the Day for Monday, January 31st, 2011:

A. G. Sertillanges, from his venerable book The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods:

Christianized humanity is made up of various personalities, no one of which can refuse to function without impoverishing the group and without depriving the eternal Christ of a part of his Kingdom. Christ reigns by unfolding Himself in men. Every life of one of His members is a characteristic moment of His duration; every individual man and Christian is an instance, incommunicable, unique, and therefore necessary, of the extension of the “spiritual body.” If you are designated as a light bearer, do not go and hide under the bushel the gleam or the flame expected from you in the house of the Father of all. Love truth and its fruits of life, for yourself and for others; devote to study and to the profitable use of study the best part of your time and your heart.

I’m just beginning this book, and hoping to get through it this week. Next week I begin the fourth course (Metaphysics) in my Franciscan University program. No small part of my reasoning for entering that program was to subject my thinking life to a guided discipline for the sake of deepening it through focus – as Sertillanges points out, a stream bounded by  narrow banks flows more impetuously – and this guide looks as if it might provide the knowledge of precisely the corrective I need at this point to tame my tendency to skim too lightly over the demands of systematic study, while relying too heavily on my (fading) abilities of recall. That’s long-hand for laziness.

A man’s self-revelation can only be realized in a sustained submission to the truth for its own sake, which is nothing more or less than an openness to God. But Sertillanges is here going a step further, in positioning the vocation to the pursuit of truth as being one of service, which echoes the point being made about the Church’s sacramental vocation by the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews in today’s first reading in the Mass:

Yet all these [Old Testament saints], though approved because of their faith, did not receive what had been promised. God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40 (NAB)