Excerpt from The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Lourdes: Personal Souvenirs of an Eyewitness
Extraordinary changes seem passing over the world in which we live. There is hardly an institution that is not questioned, hardly a tradition on which men do not look askance. And this change is affecting every realm of life: in politics, in art, in science, in philosophy, and above all, in religion, old established axioms seem to be doubted and new systems to be dawning. Now of course it is possible to make out a case for either condemnation or acceptance of this new movement. These changes may be said of the one hand to be evidences of a new renaissance, or on the other symptoms of decay; their activities may be judged as the pulsations and birth-pangs of a new life, or as the seething energies of a corrupting civilisation. One thing, however, is certain, that, although Life involves change, it equally demands continuity. The life of humanity, like the life of a tree, must continually be changing its appearance - or, at the least, continually be passing through recurring cycles of change - yet, on the other hand it must be that, in the deepest sense, it progresses along the lines of its own nature. Men "cannot gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles."
In what direction then must we look for the reassurance that continuity is still with us, and that we have not broken with the past in such a sense as to have not interrupted our vitality? For Christians there can be but one answer: we look for continuity along the deepest line only - the line of the spirit. Monarchy may yield to democracy, and democracy to bureaucracy or despotism, and the springs of life are not necessarily destroyed.
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