I came across this quote from a book called The Soul of the Apostolate, by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O. For those who have eyes to see, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible. Read the whole thing. And ponder it in the light of the current state of the Church.
“If the apostle has not humility, he will go to one of two extremes. It will be either a matter of careless and excessive familiarity, with all its free-and-easy licenses, or else of domineering over everybody else. The latter case is the more likely.
“Leaving questions of doctrine to one side, let us suppose that the apostle has enough sense to protect his mind from an unlimited tolerance on one hand and, on the other, from a harsh and bitter zeal of which the excesses would be very displeasing to God. Let us credit him with good, sane principles and correct knowledge. When all this has been granted, we still affirm that without humility, the apostle will not be able to hold a middle course between the two extremes, and that this behavior will either betray weakness or, more likely, overweening pride.
“On the one hand, he will yield to a false humility and become timid, allowing the spirit of charity to degenerate into weakness. He will be ready to make any exaggerated concession, to seek conciliation at any price, and a thousand pretexts will serve to overcome his zeal for maintaining his principles. He will be prepared to sacrifice them for any motive of human prudence, or any immediate material gain, without a thought for the ultimate consequences.
“Or else, on the other hand, his purely natural way of doing things, and the misdirection of his will, will bring into play his pride, his touchiness, his Ego. There will follow any number of personal dislikes, attempts to lay down the law, bitterness, spite, rivalries, antipathies, jealousies, a purely human desire to get ahead of everybody else, calumnies, backbiting, sarcastic talk, a wordly spirit of partisanship, great harshness in defending his principles, and so on.
“The glory of God, instead of remaining the true end in the pursuit of which our passions can be sublimated, will be reduced, by such an apostle as we are describing, to the level of a pretext and a means of supporting and encouraging and excusing his passions in all that is weakest and most human about them. The slightest attack upon the glory of God, or upon the Church, will be the signal for an outburst of anger in which the psychologist will be able to see that the apostle is rushing to the defense of his own personality or of the privileges of his religious caste in society, insofar as it is a human group, and not showing devotion to God’s cause, which is the sole reason for the existence of the Church insofar as it is a perfect Society instituted by Our Lord.
“Correct doctrine and good judgment will not be enough to preserve him from these aberrations, because the apostle without interior life, and, therefore without humility, will be at the mercy of his passions. Humility alone, by keeping him to the path of right judgment and preventing him from acting on impulse, will maintain a more perfect balance and stability in his life. It will unite him to God, and so make him participate, in a sense, in the changelessness of God. In the same way, the frail strands of ivy become strong and stable with all the unshakable strength of the oak when, with all its fibers, it clings to the sturdy trunk of this forest king.
“Let us therefore not hesitate to recognize that, without humility, if we do not fall into the first error, our nature will carry us into the second; or else we will float in and out with the tide, according to circumstances or to the impulsion of our passions, now towards one extreme and again towards the other. We will bear out St. Thomas’ words that man is a changing being, constant only in his inconstancy.
“The logical result of such an imperfect apostolate will be either that men despise an authority that has no strength, or mistrust, and even detest, an authority which does not give forth any reflection of God.”
The Soul of the Apostolate. Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O. Tan Publishers. pp. 133-135. Copyright 1946. The Abbey of Gethsemane. Copyright 1974. The Trustees of the Merton Legacy.