Summary of Man, The Saint by Jesus Urteaga

Man, the Saint by Fr. Jesus Urteaga, Sinag-Tala Publishers, 
Manila, 1984.
Introduction

In his book, Man, the Saint, Fr. Urteaga, in writing this book for the restless and the rebels who are dissatisfied with their own lives and the lives of others, shows us the critical role that the human virtues have to play in the edifice of sanctity. 

“I want you to open your eyes wide and examine that lukewarm worthless life which you are now leading” (3).

“These pages have been written in spasmodic outbursts, without any attempt at style or rhetoric, without any external or formal unity. But, believe me, they have been written by a violent pen dictated by a heart on fire. Read through them quickly: they have been written quickly. How do you expect me to talk to you slowly and calmly? There is no time. So much to be done, and it is we who have to do it — you and I!” (7)

“Are you going to keep on thinking that, for us Christians, life is a useless, passive passage of time? No, life is a thrilling game in which the winners are always the lovers, the hard workers, the ambitious” (7).

1: Saints, Pagans, Cowards, “Pietists”

Only saints are of use in this world. And saints are those who have fully developed their human nature. In other words, the saint must be a man!

“The cynical challenge in the eyes of modern pagans today is: “Show us by your lives that Christ is alive” (11).

“A lifeless Faith, and a faithless life: is not this a repulsive contradiction?” (31)

“The insatiable thirst of those wretches who have trusted in leaking cisterns which cannot retain the water, needs much more today than the life of one saint. What the world needs is a whole new generation of saints. Are you ready for action?” (35)

Chapter 2: Men!

We must behave as true men of the world, though never as worldly men. We must – like Christ – develop our personalities to the full, though – at the same time – strive for complete purification from sin and evil inclinations. We must be men. We must be strong and virile.

“A true Christian not merely can, but is seriously obliged to, develop a personality — his own individual personality. He must retain his own particular character, his mannerisms, without any artificial affectations. He must keep his own likes, his dislikes, his own sensitivity. In short, he must keep everything that is human in him provided that it is not a barrier between himself and God” (39).

“The supernatural must not exclude the human. Just as the supernatural is founded on the natural, so the Christian should be founded on the man. And for this reason, the man himself also should become strong and healthy. The perfect Christian must also be a perfect man from the point of view of culture, professional capacity, social education and refinement” ~ Sellmair, The Priest in the World, (55).

“However manly you are, never for one moment forget that if you die in mortal sin you will go to hell — with all your human virtues” (59)

“The human virtues, — they are called acquired because they are the exclusive fruit of the repetition of human acts and personal efforts — are the walls of a great canal, watertight bulwarks which prevent the sides from falling in under the pressure from all around. On the bed of the canal the divine waters of grace will then flow easily, with no obstacles of the flesh to impede the flow” (60).

“Do not think it paradoxical when I tell you that it is precisely then, when you have to fight against your base tendencies of your human nature, that you are being most manly” (70).

Chapter 3: The Whip

The vocation given to us Christians today is not to be martyrs but to be warriors.

“We must learn to love to defend the truth. And if we do not love the truth it is because we are ignorant of its enormous life-giving powers” (74).

“The whip! Lord, remove from our lives all that falsehood – if necessary with the whip. What rotten carcasses would then be revealed!… The furious gaze of divine anger: such is the face of our young Christ… What contrasts we find in the life of God among men: fierce anger and terrible fury, side by side with peaceful tranquility and gentleness” (84).

Chapter 4: You Too Can be a Soldier

Christians today must be brave and generous soldiers, happy to struggle in this world.

“With people like you, Christianity would have died out long before the Catacombs” (96).

“Continue with that lazy, useless life of yours. Let your lazy feelings overcome you as usual at the time for getting up. Go to bed at any old time, when you feel like it. Make no effort to form a plan of life. Waste time as usual. Spend as much time as you can resting. Let your eyes rest on anything they notice; let you imagination wander freely, and, lazy coward that you are, you will soon see how wide are the gates of hell” (99).

“Remember that in the spiritual life there can be no stagnation. Either you go forward or you go backwards. Love allows no standing still” (101-2).

“Without constancy you will never be either a saint or a man” (110).

Chapter 5: Into the Deep

We must launch out into the deep. We cannot wait for the world to come to Christ, we must go out into the world! We must put all our energy into rowing against the current, setting the helm straight and firm, letting neither the roaring waves nor the treacherous undercurrent shake the cement of your foundations (130). 

“What would have happened if God had not become Man? We would never have known what to do with our human nature” (136).

“In every human activity, in the tasteless and ordinary life of every day, in eating and drinking, in laughter and in tears, the real Christian always lives in the presence of God” (139).

“If Christ were in your place…! How would He do those humdrum, ordinary things which you are doing right now?” (139).

“Offer your work every day. If your love is great, offer it every hour. If you wish to live a contemplative life in the world, offer it to the Lord every instant of your life” (144).

“Come on, be happy! The time is here to reveal our secret to the world: the enormous joy of the sons of God” (163).

Chapter 6: In the World

We must see the world as an enemy – an enemy that must be saved!

“Old pictures show us saints of those times approaching God with their hands raised to heaven, and their feet hardly touching the earthly globe painted under them. But I always think of the saint – of the Christian – of today as an athlete with his strong feet firmly planted on the rock of his interior life, and with herculean arms raising aloft a purified world, and offering it to God (184)

“The Christian today should be the salt and light of the world for all souls. Salt to give flavour, and light to illuminate. A man who is content with omission, with the folly of merely avoiding evil, is a tasteless salt fit only for the manure-heap and a deathly pale light fit only to illuminate a cemetery” (185).

“For a Christian, the strongest human value of all is love. Love your brother. Otherwise, your life will be a useless lie. This is how Christ’s soldiers are known” (191)

“Love consists not so much in giving your life for another Christian at a given moment – which is comparatively easy – but rather in giving him a little of your life every day of your life” (192).

“The way which is the great touchstone of Christian fraternity is correction. Not to live fraternal correction is not to live love” (193).

Chapter 7: An Age of Fire

Jesus came to spread fire over the earth (see Luke 12:49). How can we ever tire, then, of throwing into the fire, pure hearts, burning sparks that will spread the fire of God to the centre of the earth? (214)

“Christians, into battle. Attack the world to save it. The world will be set ablaze. We will not halt until salvation shines like a blazing torch” (216-7).

 

 

Comments

  1. Brett Powell says:

    Richard – had this book recommended to me a couple times the past week. Know how I can get a copy of my own without spending $235 on Amazon?? Does the seminary have copies for purchase?

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