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HOLINESS THROUGH MARY
Courage is shown not only in the performance of the Child of Mary’s apostolic work but also in his prayer-life. His devotion to the means of grace appointed by the Church and fidelity to prayer have a quality of heroism and are models and inspirations to the rest of the faithful. Only thus will he attain the degree of courage expected of him in his work for souls.
Natural timidity and fear, false or well-grounded, must be overcome. Every member amongst the most wretched and dejected of the population must not only be visited but known personally and intimately. This is the goal, and his courage must rise to attain it. He always remembers that his search for each individual member of the degraded classes may be their only chance of eternal life. How intense, how earnest, how courageous must that search be!
Natural philanthropy is not love and requires no courage
Natural philanthropy serves humanity for humanity’s sake; but that is not love and it requires no courage. The apostolate sets itself to devoted and universal attention to the “down-and-out,” the hopeless, the impossible, the unlovely, the repulsive elements of the population that those who see it at work are amazed at the courage of such love and recognise in it a confounding of the materialistic systems which offer but a counterfeit of Christian charity. The effect is electrifying; even the irreligious are startled into a new seriousness towards religion; modes of thought are changed, and new and nobler ways of living begin to show themselves.
Beyond the prudence of the flesh
Through the strictly disciplined system of the apostolate, the member is thoroughly trained in the spirit and practice of prudence. He is warned against a common fallacy of the present day which confounds the Christian virtue of prudence with what is merely natural – the prudence of the flesh.
The Gospel must be preached to every creature
In the first place, exercise of prudence demands a mature deliberation of which the best means to attain the end in view may be discovered, and a wise judgment as to the means likely to be most effectual. Secondly, it requires that the plan adopted be executed without delay, but with foresight, discretion and necessary caution. The Gospel must be preached to every creature. That supreme wish must swallow up every difficulty and overcome every obstacle.
The Child of Mary is trained in such a way that his outlook will invariably be apostolic. The apostolic spirit enters his soul and reigns there as master. By a judicious mixture of prudence and courage, he sets himself against the spirit of cowardliness which seems to prevail even amongst the good. His training fits him to undertake difficult work and the system reduces the possibilities of harm to the absolute minimum. When it is known that a work is difficult and dangerous, but yet it is necessary if certain souls are to be saved, everything possible is done in the interest of safety and the attack goes on with appropriate materials. He does not stand by and look on while souls are being plunged into hell.
– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part 1).