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The Life of Our Life - The Thirty Years - Our Lords Infancy and Hidden Life by Fr Henry James Coleridge

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In this book we find the most convincing proof of the truth that the revelations of God to us must be measured, not by the multitude of words in which they are conveyed, but by the importance of the matters of which they speak. The reader will be astonished at the small bulk of the materials on which this remarkable work is founded and will find it easy and enjoyable to read.

From the Author's Preface:

No one can either put forth, or read through, a volume like the present, in which we endeavour to give an account of all that has been revealed to us concerning the Thirty Years of our Lord’s existence on earth which preceded His Public Ministry, with out being struck with astonishment at the small bulk of the materials on which that account must be founded. It is here indeed that we find the most convincing proof of the truth that the revelations of God to us must be measured, not by the multitude of words in which they are conveyed, but by the importance of the matters of which they speak. Our Lord Himself, in the course of His teaching, laid down His doctrines concerning the most vital points of His work in the fewest possible words, as when He spoke of the Blessed Sacrament, the Adorable Sacrifice, the Priesthood, the Power of Absolution, and the like. The treatises of Catholic theologians on these and other points are long indeed in comparison with our Lord’s own utterances, and yet they are not too long for our instruction. The Evangelists have been guided to a silence, or, when they do speak, to a brevity on the subjects treated of in this volume, and others like them, which may remind us of the extreme fewness of our Lord’s own words on such important matters, and of the wonderful pregnancy of the few words which He did give to them.
These remarks apply most fully to that most wonderful portion of our Lord’s sojourn on earth which we commonly call the Hidden Life. It is with regard to that long period that we are most tempted to let our human and inadequate ideas of the virtue and power of the interior life of prayer and communion with God for the carrying on of His work in the world, to make us feel impatient of what seems inaction at a time when action was, according to our poor judgments, most needed. We forget that even in His Public Ministry there were periods of retirement and silence, at all events periods of which we have but little account to give. If we look to the commentary on the Life of our Lord which is supplied to us in the lives of the Saints, we shall find but few, even of the most active workers and preachers, who have not had their activity thus broken up. The most fruitful activity in the sight of God is the activity of prayer. The greatest spiritual work in the sight of God is the work of bringing souls, already very high in His favour, to a still greater perfection, a still more exquisite purity, a still more intense charity, and endowing them thereby with a still greater might in the participation of what St. Paul calls the “powers of the world to come” for the benefit of others. We learn the great dignity of the Apostles from the manner in which our Lord gave Himself up to their training at the very time that He was in the midst of His Public Ministry. We may learn, in the same way, the importance in His sight of the bringing to the utmost perfection the magnificent work of God in the souls of Mary and Joseph, from the length of time during which this was His chief and chosen occupation.
For the rest, the external course of the Hidden Life was probably as uniform and same as is that of the lives of good religious in some peaceful house of prayer and contemplation. I have endeavoured, very shortly, to point out the relations which exist between the Life at Nazareth and the various phases and conditions of common life of the great mass of Christians. If this principle be admitted, we seem to have an immense treasure of instruction, even in the few general features which we alone find drawn for us by the Evangelist of the Hidden Life. And most certainly, if we are not fit for further knowledge until we have mastered the necessary lessons conveyed to us by the Hidden Life as we already know it, we have no right to be impatient, as if St. Luke had not told us enough and more than enough to occupy our minds and hearts, and guide our whole lives.

Softcover, 408 pages.


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