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5. Those Who Have Faith

1. Man in the state of innocence before the fall, andangels before their confirmation in grace and glory, had faith.Some of the truths which for us are in the object of faithwere doubtless in their knowledge, but they could not haveknown all the divine truths thus; they held some by faith.

2. The fallen angels have faith. St. James (2:19) says:"The devils . . . believe and tremble." Yet their faithis not a living faith, not a virtue. It is formless or lifelessfaith, and consists, not in the infused virtue, but in the factthat the fallen angels see many signs by which they understand thatthe teaching of the Church is from God and is therefore true.

3. To reject any article of the faith is to reject thefaith itself. This is like pulling one stone out of an arch; it islike putting one hole in the hull of a ship. The whole arch tumblesdown; the whole ship sinks. A man who has the faith, acceptsGod's word. Now, God's word has set up the Church asman's infallible teacher and guide. If a man, therefore,rejects one article of the faith, and says that he believes all theother articles, he believes these by his own choice and opinion,not by faith. Rejecting one article of the faith, he rejects thewhole authority of the Church, and he rejects the authority of Godwhich has set up and authorized the Church to teach truth. Hence,it is entirely incorrect to say that a man may have lifeless orformless faith in some articles of the Creed while he rejectsothers; such a man has not the faith at all, living orlifeless.

4. One man's faith can be greater than that of anotherin the sense that one man can have a fuller and more explicitknowledge of the truths of faith than another has. And oneman's faith may be called greater than the faith of another inthe sense that he has a greater confidence and devotion in thepractice of faith than another has. But the faith, considered initself, is one thing, not capable of being lesser or greater.

"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"When the devil has failed in making a man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so by little and little he gains his end at last."
St Philip Neri

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"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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