Memoirs of a Happy Failure.
von Hildebrand, Alice; Crosby, John Henry.
Saint Benedict Press. Kindle Edition. (2014-11-09)
"God in His Wisdom does not show us the whole way we have to travel. How many of us would turn back, if we only knew what was awaiting us. I thank Him for not having revealed to me how arduous my task would be: to hold high the flag in defense of the objectivity of truth in a fortress of relativism." (Kindle Locations 105-107)
Too many famous people have already endorsed this great book, paying high honor to the marvelous lady whose life is herein recounted. Alice von Hildebrand makes us a gift of her memoirs and I only wish to pass it on to any and everybody. The book is an incomparable witness to truth as life-giving. We cannot have enough dread of the ills which afflict our times, first and foremost of the horror of relativism. Alice has always championed truth and done so with grace. I don't know if we can set out in life to nurture others, whether our own off-spring or students in the classroom. I do know that such a calling comes from God and is caught up into His life; it is what true greatness is all about. Philosophers and doctors of the Church are nurturers; so are mothers; so is Alice.
In some ways "Memoirs of a Happy Failure" served to illustrate a point made in another book I am reading these days (first published in 1960):
"The most serious error we could make here would be to imagine that there might be some ways of Christian life in which the cross would be present and even overwhelming, and others in which it would have little or no place. If we were to believe a certain school of thought— which has more and more adherents today, it would seem— while God sets apart certain persons to come to him by way of a negative, crucifying asceticism, He allows the great majority, on the contrary, to join him by way of a positive asceticism of self-development. . . . Such a supposition is based on a complete misunderstanding of what was explained in the previous chapter: that creation itself, inasmuch as it is fallen, makes the cross inevitable, and that the cross, in Christ, becomes salvation, the only possible salvation of creation. There cannot, then, be any “creative” vocations as opposed to “redemptive” ones. Every vocation is at the same time a vocation to the cross and a vocation to the resurrection, to the restoration of what God created good in the beginning and which must become so once again at the end. The cross must, therefore, be present equally in every form the Christian life can take. But there are many different ways in which the cross may be brought in." [Bouyer, Louis (2013-10-28). Introduction to the Spiritual Life (Kindle Locations 3021-3030). Ave Maria Press. Kindle Edition.]
So much of the controversy of 2014, it would seem, turns around this point: that a share in the redemptive suffering of the Cross does not touch everyone in the same way or with the same painful intensity. It is as if Christ's words "get behind me, Satan!", Peter's wish to diminish Christ's Cross or withdraw it all together, as if those words had never been spoken and the successors of the Apostles could withdraw or unload burdens from people's shoulders as seemingly too heavy or extreme. 2015 will find us all storming Heaven for our shepherds, that they hear the reprimand of the Lord Jesus and understand that it is He Himself out of love Who proffers a share in His Cross to all who have been baptized into His death.
Indefectibility is Christ's sure promise to His Church and our challenge to stand with Him at the foot of the Cross to resist the onslaught of hell's minions.