The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 20

In these modern times of ours it is as true as in the days of St. Jerome that: In this matter there can be no middle course. We must hold either that the Mother of Christ was a Virgin, or that she was not.

Christianity, with its glorious history, could never survive its vulgarisation. Christ our Lord assumed indeed the common lot of toil, of pain in soul and body, the common lot of death; but let it once be suspected that He was born as other men are born, that after His death He allowed His disciples to know that He survived, but that by no means did He rise in the Body which He had assumed of Mary—that in fact, the Gospel narrative concerning His Birth from a Virgin Mother, His bodily resurrection, and His glorious Ascension are not true literally as they are stated by the Sacred Writers—then, the Christ thus presented to men's minds for their consideration, may be regarded as greater than His Apostles, greater than Peter and greater than Paul, greater it may be than all other men who ever lived, but certainly not as One with the Father—not the God whom Christians have adored in every age. The Christian Citadel will have been betrayed. The Christian Faith will have perished off the earth. This calamity, we are well assured, can never befall the world, for the Promises of Christ never fail, and His Church is built upon a rock. But numbers of men and women, unhappily separated from the Church of Christ, are to-day exposed to a grave danger of losing that which, thank God, notwithstanding their separation, they have so far preserved intact, unless they be prepared resolutely to turn a deaf ear to the voices which proclaim that the modern mind can no longer accept the Creed literally—for example, that the modern mind is unable to accept the doctrine that Christ was born of a Virgin Mother.

And why are we, to be hypnotised into accepting a shibboleth which lays it down, that the modern mind is unable (because it is " modern ") to accept truths dear to the minds—no weak minds—of all Christians who have gone before us ? Because—so we are told—men now recognise that miracles are impossible. No attempt is made to disprove the evidences of Christianity; nor is there any effort to deal with the proofs (in numberless cases overwhelmingly strong) that God, as a matter of fact (as distinct from theories), has been pleased to work miracles for our behoof in every age.

When we analyse the formula that " Miracles are impossible," we find that we are confronted with an unverified and unverifiable proposition. It is based upon another formula, equally unproved, which tells us that the Uniformity of Nature is so fixed, that it is like a Divine Law, so that God will never derogate from its operation. From the supposed fact, that the modern mind will not accept miracles, is drawn the conclusion, that it has become necessary to surrender the miraculous in Christianity, hoping to preserve intact " its inward essence," however differently this undefined " essence " may be understood by differing minds. To all such "profane novelties " Catholics have but one answer. " I believe (and if you ask me I am prepared to lay before you the grounds of my faith)—I believe in the One Faith."

"The One Faith," wrote Optatus, "commends us all who are Christians to the keeping of Almighty God. To this Faith it belongs to believe that the Son of God, the Lord, shall come to judge the world —that He who has already come has been born according to His Human Nature of Mary the Virgin."

Through clinging, even passionately, to this one Faith, and through this one Faith alone, can we hope to preserve our souls from the darkness of the intellect which is darker, far, than the darkness of any earthly night—from a sense of dereliction bringing in its sombre train the desolation of despair.