As I continue to read through Fr Lacordaire’s, OP Letters to Young Men, I came across this letter on the Dignity of a Christian.
I found Lacordaire is surprisingly upfront in this letter – he does not pull any punches. “In any case you can no longer live a coward’s or a sluggard’s life.” Note, here, he does not say “If you no longer want to live” – there is no choice here. If one knows the truth (and in particular, the Truth), one has the obligation and duty to follow through on that, to take up one’s cross and save our souls in the way God commands it. We mustn’t be shy or lazy about our duties in our states of life!
But our duties and obligations don’t stop there. We aren’t called to hide our lights under a bushel, to hunker down and forget the world. No, we must each do our share towards the salvation of the world and to the restoration of the Church (how especially true is that in our modern and post-conciliar times)!
We must all persevere and do our duty to save our souls, but also must not forget that no man is an island, and we have duties towards the Church and our fellow man, as well.
XIV. The Dignity of a Christian
Nancy, January 20, 1843.
THANK you, my dear friend, for your kind remembrance of me, and for all the good things you tell me. I am very glad to see that you have taken so kindly to study and reflection; God has given you so much, you must become a profitable servant in His hands. If He really calls you to a harder and more perfect life than that of the world, He will make it clear to you; you have only to ask Him earnestly, and take care never to do anything which might deprive you of His light or weaken it.
In any case you can no longer live a coward’s or a sluggard’s life, with just enough faith to be afraid of losing your soul ; in these days faith cannot exist without appreciation of the high dignity of a Christian and of his noble mission. We must each of us be willing to do our share towards the salvation of the world, towards the restoration of the Church in our own country, and to the salvation of this much harrassed [sic] land, which seems to be on the way to recover the place of its election.
I am very happy here, my dear friend. I have been very kindly received, and people come to listen to God s word. We are doing a little good ; pray that it may spread and thrive. Good-bye, my dear friend; may God keep you. Let me always have a share in your affection.