Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Gratitude and Reverence

The supreme Will has determined our existence through our ancestors, and, bowing down before Its action, we cannot be indifferent to its instruments. I know that if I were born among cannibals I should be a cannibal myself, and I cannot help feeling gratitude and reverence to men who by their labor and exploits have raised my people from the savage state and brought them to the level of culture upon which they are standing now. This has been done by Providence through men who have been specially called and who cannot be separated from their providential work....

The providential men who gave us a share in the higher religion and in human enlightenment did not themselves create these in the first instance. What they gave us they had themselves received from the geniuses, heroes, and saints of the former ages, and our grateful memory must include them too. We must reconstruct as completely as possible the whole line of our spiritual ancestors--men through whom Providence has led humanity on the path to perfection.

The pious memory of our ancestors compels us to do service to them actively....

[Vladimir Soloviev, The Justification of the Good, von Peters, ed. Catholic Resources (Chattanooga, TN: 2015), pp. 111-112.]

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