There is only one way to salvation, says St. Irenaeus, but there are many roads to perdition. Writing a little instruction book for his friend Marcianus, Irenaeus tells him that knowing more about his faith will keep him safely on the right path.
Knowing, dear Marcianus, your desire to walk in godliness, which alone leads man to life eternal, I rejoice with you and make my prayer that you may preserve your faith entire and so be pleasing to God who made you. I wish it were possible for us to be always together, to help each other and to lighten the labor of our earthly life by continual discourse together on the things that are worthwhile.
But since right now we are parted from one another in the body, yet according to my power I will not fail to speak with you a little by writing, and to show forth in brief the preaching of the truth for the confirmation of your faith. I send you a sort of elementary manual, so that by little you may achieve much, learning in a short time all the members of the body of the truth, and receiving in brief the demonstration of the things of God.
This will be fruitful to your own salvation, and you will put to shame all who teach falsehood. You will bring with all confidence our sound and pure teaching to everyone who desires to understand it.
For there is only one way leading upwards for all who see, lightened with heavenly light. But many and dark and contrary are the ways of those who see not. This way leads to the Kingdom of heaven, uniting man to God: but those ways bring down to death, separating man from God.
Therefore it is necessary for you and for all who care for their own salvation to make your course unswerving, firm, and sure by means of faith, that you do not falter, or be slowed down and detained in material desires, or turn aside and wander from the right.
–St. Irenaeus, Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 1
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Do I take advantage of the opportunities I have to learn more about the Catholic faith?
Am I missing opportunities in my own parish?
Father, send your Holy Spirit to guide my feet as I walk along the path of your Word.
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