But we have spoken of the actual miseries of life, and the condition we should be in, if we took the consolations of philanthropy instead of those of the Precious Blood. This however is in reality not a fair view of the case. Great as the actual miseries of life are, the Precious Blood is continually making them very much less than they otherwise would be. It diminishes poverty by multiplying alms. It lessens the evil of pain, and to some extent even its amount, by the grace of patience and the appliances of the supernatural life; not to speak of miraculous operations, occurring perhaps hourly upon the earth, through the touch of relics, crosses, and other sacred objects. The amount of temporal evil which would otherwise have come upon the earth, but is daily absorbed by the Sacrament of Penance and by the virtue of penance, must be enormous. In the case of mental suffering, besides the many indirect alleviations brought to it by the Precious Blood, we must remember the vast world of horrors arising from unabsolved consciences, horrors which the Sacraments are annihilating daily. Failure is indeed the rule of human enterprise, and success is the exception. Yet there are numberless counterbalancing blessings won by the interest of the Mother of God, by the intercession of the Saints, by the intervention of Angels, by the Sacrifice of the Mass, and by the sacramental residence of Jesus upon earth, which would not exist but for the Precious Blood. Finally, as to death, whatever light is cast upon it is from the Blood of Jesus. Were it not for Jesus, the dark hour would be darkened with an Egyptian darkness. It has something of the glory of a sunset round it now, and the glory is the refulgence of the Saviour's Blood.

But, in this world, manner is often a more substantial thing than matter. We often care less for the thing done than for the manner in which it is done, less for the gift than for the way in which the gift is given. Now let us picture to ourselves an imaginary philanthropic city. Its palaces shall be hospitals, hospitals for every form of disease which is known to medical science. Its business shall not be politics, but the administration of benevolent societies. Its rich population shall divide and subdivide itself into endless committees, each of which shall make some human misery its specialty. Its intellect shall be occupied in devising schemes of philanthropy, in inventing new methods and fresh organizations, and in bringing to perfection the police, the order, the comfort, the accommodation, the pliability, of existing beneficent institutions. The strangest successes shall be attained with the blind, the deaf and dumb, and the insane. Moreover, in this city, which the world has never seen, the philanthropy shall be the most genial and good-humored of all the philanthropies which the world has had the good fortune to see. Yet who that has ever seen the most estimable, easy-going, and conscientious board of Poor-Law guardians can doubt but that, on the whole, considerable dryness, stiffness, woodenness, theoretical pugnacity. benevolent pertinaciousness, vexatious generalizations, and irritable surprise at the unmanageable prejudiced poor, would characterize this philanthropic city? Misery cannot be relieved on rules of distributive justice. Masses will not organize themselves under theories. Hearts will not attain happiness through clear convictions that they ought to be happy. Individual misery has an inveterate habit of dictating its own consolations. The most open-hearted benefactors would be met by suspicion. A needy man can outwit most committees. Machinery for men gets soon choked up by multitudes, and for the most part blows up and maims its excellent inventors. There are few who can handle a large army; yet that is easy work compared to the question of the management of the poor. Moreover, when the best men have done their best, there always remains that instinct in the poor, which makes them see only enemies in the rich; and that instinct is too strong for the collective wisdom of all the philanthropists in the world.

I am far from saying that Christian charity is perfect, or that the duties of Catholic mercy, whether monastic or secular, leave nothing to be desired. Everywhere the scantiness of the alms of the rich is the standing grievance of the priest. Everywhere the breadth and activity of human misery are balling and outrunning the speed and generosity of charity. Nevertheless, I verily believe that one convent of Sisters of Charity, or one house of St. Camillus, would do more actual, more successful work, in a huge European capital, than would be done in the whole of such a philanthropic city as we have been imagining. Out of the love of Jesus comes the love of souls; and it is just the love of souls which effects that most marvelous of all Christian transformations, the change of philanthropy into charity. Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the side of Jacob's well, or with the Magdalen in the Pharisee's house, inspires a spirit totally different from that which animates the most benevolent philosopher. It is a spirit of supernatural love, a spirit of imitation of Jesus, a spirit of gentle eagerness and affectionate sacrifice, which gives to the exercise of charity a winning sweetness and a nameless charm which are entirely its own. The love of individual souls is purely a Christian thing. No language can describe it to those who do not feel it. If men see it, and do not sympathize with it, they so mistake it that they call it proselytism. They attribute to the basest motives that which comes precisely from the very highest. Indeed, from a political or philosophical point of view those things which are the most Christlike in charity are the very things which men condemn as mischievous, if not immoral. In their view harm is done by treating men as individuals, not as masses. Alms are squandered. Unworthy objects get them. The misery which punishes vice is the object of love, as well as that which comes of innocent misfortune. Charity cares too little about being deceived: it is too impulsive, too irregular, too enthusiastic; above all, it does not make the tranquility and well-being of the state its sole or primary object. Evidently, then, the manners and gestures of charity in action are wholly different from those of philanthropy in action. The one succeeds with men, and the other does not; and the success of charity is owing to the spirit which it imbibes from the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ.

Here are many words to prove a simple thing, and a thing which needed no proving. But it brings home to us more forcibly and more in detail the necessity of the Precious Blood. But, after all, the grand necessity of it is the necessity of having our sins forgiven, the necessity of loving above all created things our most dear God and Father. Let us think for a moment. The depth of summer silence is all around. Those tall chestnuts stand up, muffled down to the feet with their heavy mantles of dark foliage, of which not a leaf is stirring. There is no sound of water, no song of bird, no rustling of any creature in the grass. Those banks of white cloud have no perceptible movement. The silence has only been broken for a moment, when the clock struck from the hidden church in the elm-girdled field, and the sound was so softened and stifled with leaves that it seemed almost like some cry natural to the woodland. We do not close our eyes. Yet the quiet of the scene has carried us beyond itself. What are time and earth, beauty and peace, to us? What is any thing to us, if our sins be not forgiven? Is not that our one want? Does not all our happiness come of that one want being satisfied? The thought of its being unsatisfied is not to be endured. Time, so quiet and stationary as this summer noontide, makes us think of eternity, and gives us a shadowy idea of it. But the thought of eternity is not to be faced, if our sins be not forgiven. But an eternal ruin - is that a possible thing? Possible! yes, inevitable, if our sins be not forgiven. The loss of another's soul is a hideous thing to contemplate. It broadens as we look at it, until our head gets confused, and God is obscured. It is a possibility we turn away from: what then can we do with the fact? We think of the sorrows and the joys of a soul, of the beautiful significance of its life, of its manifold loveliness and generosity, and of all the good that glittered like broken crystals amidst its evil. How many persons loved it! How many lives of others it sweetened and brightened! How attractive often in its good-humored carelessness about its duty! God loved it: it was the idea of his love, an eternal idea. It came into the world with His love about it like a glory. It swam in the light of His love, as the world swims in radiance day and night. It has gone into darkness. It is a ruin, a wreck, a failure, an eternal misery. Sin! What is sin, that it should do all this? Why was there any sin? Why is sin sin at all? We turn to the majesty of God to learn. Instinctively we lift up our eyes to that noonday sun, and it only blinds us. Sin is sin, because God is God. There is no getting any further in that direction. That soul, some soul, is lost. What we think cannot be put into words. But our own soul! That soul which is ourself! Can we by any amount of violence think of it as lost? No! our own perdition is absolutely unthinkable. Hope disables us from thinking it. But we know that it is possible. We sometimes feel the possible verging into the probable. We know how it can be lost, and perceive actual dangers. We know how alone it can avoid being lost; and in that direction matters do not look satisfactory. But it must not be lost: it shall not be lost: it cannot be lost. The thought of such a thing is madness. See, then, the tremendous necessity of the Precious Blood. Those heartless chestnut- trees! How they stand stooping over the uncut meadows, brooding in the sunshine, as if there were no problems in the world, no uneasiness in hearts! They make us angry. It is their very stillness which has driven us on these thoughts. It is their very beauty which makes the idea of eternal wretchedness somewhat more intolerable. Yet let us be just to them: they have also driven somewhat further into our souls the understanding of that unutterable necessity of the Precious Blood.

How precious is every drop of that dear Blood! How far more wonderful than all that the natural world contains is each one of those miracles which it is working by thousands every day! How would creation be enriched by one drop of it, seeing that infinite creations could not attain to the value of it! and how would the history of creation be glorified by one manifestation of its omnipotent mercy! What are we to think, then, of its prodigality? Yet this prodigality is not a mere magnificence of Divine love. It is not simply a Divine romance. It would indeed be adorable if it were only so. But to my mind it is even yet more Divine that this prodigality should itself be an absolute necessity, and, therefore, in the majestic calmness and equability of the Divine counsels, no prodigality at all.


--------------CHRIST THE KING