By Rev. Eugene Boylan
THERE ARE NO new principles in the spiritual life. The fundamental principle — to seek God and to be united to him in Christ — never changes. The other principles are derived from that one, and are also fixed; but their application to particular circumstances, and the choice of means to the end, must take into account the varying conditions of human life. Thus it may be the case that in modern times, there is need to insist with greater emphasis on certain practices than formerly.
Now if there is one thing for which modern conditions have produced a special necessity, it is the regular practice of spiritual reading. It is, of course, only a question of degree; for reading, or some other form of instruction, was always necessary. But oral instruction, the common opinion of men, the example of our neighbors, and the trend of life in general, play a smaller part in the formation and instruction of Catholics than they did formerly. People do not go to hear sermons now as they used to; religion is not talked about, at least with any accuracy; our neighbors often have ideals that are far from Catholic — if indeed they have any at all; and there is little in our general surroundings that is of direct help to incite us or to help us to find God.
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