Learning truth

Daily Reading for January 14 • Richard Meux Benson, Religious, 1915 (transferred)

One does wonder at the scanty love of truth, the miserable levity of people born and bred within the Christian Church. . . . We have at least the supposition of the truth. We worship the truth, even though in works we deny Him. . . . People may hold true doctrines and think themselves Catholics, Orthodox, Evangelicals, as the case may be; but their clear views do not make them saints, do not raise them much at any rate beyond what they might have been otherwise. On the other hand, the truth must make us free if the truth has us within its almighty grasp. If we are “holding the Head,” we shall find that the truth, the mind of Christ, is a living power that we may be true in love, speaking the truth from the heart; not from the surface of the natural heart, but from the depth of the supernaturally-communicated heart of Jesus. Out of this supernatural abundance of the heart the whole life must speak, and then the eye will see dogmatic truth, otherwise it can only see its caricature. How much of the repulsiveness of controversial truth and of men’s antagonism to the faith arises from the grotesqueness of fragmentary statements which want the clothing, the atmosphere, the elasticity, the emotion of the divine life. . . .

To serve Him is to live with His life. Not, however, that I would disparage the Catechism, but I should not put it into any one’s hands until they were really in training for Baptism. Statements are clear when the Holy Ghost has opened the eye to see their clearness; but the truth flows on from man to man, from heart to heart, and the Holy Spirit goes forth in our daily intercourse to spread mysterious fertility and fill hearts with grace.

Do not be discouraged because they seem to learn so little. The want of memory bringing them again and again to you, as children say to a mother when they have heard a story, “Tell me that again,” may itself be a divine appointment to make them receptive of living, life-giving truth spoken in love and received in curiosity, until the wonder of the hearer’s mind changes into a glow of divine love quickening his heart. The Wise Men took a long journey, knowing almost nothing about Him to Whom they came. Probably they went home rather perplexed than instructed, but they had felt the power of God speaking to them from heaven, and this must be the deep principle of all true conversion, and it is a transforming principle. May God use you and those who are with you for the advancement of His glory by the transformation of many souls!

From a letter from Richard Meux Benson to Father O’Neill on the Feast of the Epiphany, 1876; found at http://anglicanhistory.org/benson/further/01.html

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