[S]eeing that time seizes upon all things human, we also in turn ought to snatch from it something which may profit us to eternal life, especially since a certain awful expectation of the approach of the divine judgment importunately demands increased earnestness in religion, while the subtle craftiness of new heretics calls for no ordinary care and attention.
I love this quotation, which has recently come to my attention, because “subtle craftiness” could not more markedly be a feature of the “new heretics” of our age. I am reminded of the obfuscation over the humanity of the unborn that muffles the intelligibility of our public discourse, the sleight of tongue manner in which civil rights language has been hijacked by the homosexual agenda, and the crafting of a distinction without a difference between human cloning and therapeutic cloning. But none of these matters were on the mind of the author of that quotation, because he was St. Vincent of Lerins who lived in the first half of the 5th century.
When I read words such as these, that seem to apply as easily today as though the author was a subscriber to the New York Times and an avid watcher of CNN, only to note how far in time he was removed from our day, I feel that I am reading timeless wisdom. And indeed I am, for the writings of the saints are just that: timeless.
The questions they ask are perennial, like St. Therese of Lisieux wondering why God did not give every soul an equal measure of grace, or St. Paul asking why he kept doing what he hated and found it so difficult to follow the law he loved or John Henry Cardinal Newman asking what the early Church would have looked like. And the answers they receive are truly satisfying to mind and heart: Our Lord is pleased to create souls as varied as flowers in a garden, the concupiscence of the flesh can only be overcome by grace, and the Catholic Church that exists today is organically developed from the early Church.
Few things can give greater satisfaction and edification to a 21st century Catholic than to peruse the writings of the saints and documents of the Church in times past — it gives balance and perspective to the troubles we face in our time to realize that the same urgency impelled the mission sense of our religious forbears. Yes the storms come and go, but the Rock remains.
Anything that can be done to make these writings more accessible and usable to ordinary Catholics has to be a boon to the faith and that is why I am so enjoying my copy of The Faith Database. In fact the quotation with which I stated this article is one I found while exploring my own copy of The Faith Database.
Imagine having on your own desktop — at your fingertips — hundreds of early church documents and over a thousand classics covering 2,000 years of Christianity all at one time, including several Bible translations, the documents of the popes and councils, the Summa Theologica, a timeline of Christian history — and I am only scratching the surface of the over 1500 writings.
Imagine being able to search and read what the fathers and doctors wrote about any particular passage in scripture. There is no where on the internet where all of these resources are collected together in an accessible database that allows for easy cross-referencing.
St. Therese’s The Story of a Soul is here and so is Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. Humanae Vitae lies alongside the Theology of the Body. Read the history of the Church’s struggles against Islam and read its founder’s teachings for yourself in your own searchable copy of the Koran. You can even compare Augustine of Hippo with Martin Luther or find out why G.K Chesterton thought divorce a threat to democracy.
The Faith Database is for homeschoolers, religious educators, RCIA leaders — anyone who wants to grow in knowledge of or teach Catholic faith. By now you are thinking, “Oh, that sounds great, but it is probably very expensive.” Would you believe all this for only $39.95?! Go here to see a video demonstration of how to use The Faith Database and order your own copy today. St. Vincent of Lerins said of his reason for taking up the pen: “I should put down in writing the things which I have truthfully received from the holy Fathers, since I shall then have ready at hand wherewith by constant reading to make amends for the weakness of my memory.” So give your own memory a major boost and order The Faith Database today!