Saturday, 6 April 2013

Garrigou-Lagrange on the Virtue of Faith

Excerpted from Garrigou-Lagrange's Three Ages of the Spiritual Life.

Faith, which is a gift of God,(6) is like a spiritual sense enabling us to hear the harmony of revealed mysteries, or the harmony of the voice of God, before we are admitted to see Him face to face. Infused faith is like a superior musical sense enabling us to hear more or less indistinctly the meaning of a mysterious spiritual harmony of which God is the author. St. Paul states the matter clearly: "We have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God. Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." (7)

For judging in this manner, faith is aided by the gift of understanding, which makes man penetrate the meaning of the mysteries, and by the gift of wisdom, which makes him taste them. But it is faith itself which makes us adhere infallibly to the word of God.

The theological virtue of infused faith, in spite of the obscurity of the mysteries, is very superior to the intuitive and very luminous knowledge which the angels possess naturally. Infused faith, in reality, belongs to the same order as eternal life, of which it is like the seed; as St. Paul says, it is "the substance of things to be hoped for," (8) the basis of our justification.(9) The angels themselves needed to receive this gratuitous gift of God in order to tend to the supernatural end to which they were called.(10)

As St. Francis de Sales (11) says in substance, when God gives us faith, He enters our soul and speaks to our spirit, not by way of discourse but by His inspiration. When faith comes, the soul strips Itself of all discourses and arguments and, subjecting them to faith, it enthrones faith on them, recognizing it as queen. When the light of faith has cast the splendor of its truths on our understanding, our will immediately feels the warmth of celestial love.(12)

6. Eph. 2:8: "For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God."
7. Cf. I Cor. 2: 12-16.
8. Heb. 11:1.
9. Rom.3:22.
10. Cf. Ia, q.62, a.2.
11. Treatise on the Love of God, Bk. II, chap. 14.
12. Cf. ibid., chap. 17.

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