It has been said that beauty is the splendour of truth.
Now moral beauty is goodness. It is beautiful to be good.
To be intelligently good, one must be just.
To be just, one must act reasonably.
To act reasonably, one must have the knowledge of reality.
To have the knowledge of reality, one must have consciousness of truth.
To have consciousness of truth, one must have an exact notion of being.
Being, truth, reason and justice are the common objects of the researches of science, and of the aspirations of faith. The conceptions, whether real or hypothetical, of a supreme power transform justice into Providence; and the notion of divinity, from this point of view, becomes accessible to science herself.
Science studies Being in its partial manifestation; faith supposes it, or rather admits it a priori as a whole.
Science seeks the truth in everything; faith refers everything to an universal and absolute truth.
Science records realities in detail: faith explains them by totalized reality to which science cannot bear witness, but which the very existence of the details seems to force her to recognize and to admit.
Science submits the reasons of persons and things to the universal mathematical reason; faith seeks, or rather supposes, an intelligent and absolute reason for (and above) mathematics themselves.
Science demonstrates justice by justness; faith gives an absolute justness to justice, in subordinating it to Providence.
One sees here all that faith borrows from science, and all that science, in its turn, owes to faith.
Without faith, science is circumscribed by an absolute doubt, and finds itself eternally penned within the risky empiricism of a reasoning scepticism; without science, faith constructs its hypotheses at random, and can only blindly prejudge the causes of the effects of which she is ignorant.
The great chain which reunites science and faith is analogy.
Science is obliged to respect a belief whose hypotheses are analogous to demonstrated truths. Faith, which attributes everything to God, is obliged to admit science as being a natural revelation which, by the partial manifestation of the laws of eternal reason, gives a scale of proportion to all the aspirations and to all the excursions of the soul into the domain of the unknown.
It is, then, faith alone that can give a solution to the mysteries of science; and in return, it is science alone that demonstrates the necessity of the mysteries of faith.
Outside the union and the concourse of these two living forces of the intelligence, there is for science nothing but scepticism and despair, for faith nothing but rashness and fanaticism.
If faith insults science, she blasphemes; if science misunderstand faith, she abdicates.
Now let us hear them speak in harmony!
"Being is everywhere," says science. "it is multiple and variable in its forms, unique in its essence, and immutable in its laws. The relative demonstrates the existence of the absolute. Intelligence exists in being. Intelligence animates and modifies matter."
"Intelligence is everywhere," says faith; "Life is nowhere fatal because it is ruled. This rule is the expression of supreme Wisdom. The absolute in intelligence, the supreme regulator of forms, the living ideal of spirits, is God."
"In its identity with the ideal, being is truth," says science.
"In its identity with the ideal, truth is God," replies faith.
"In its identity with my demonstrations, being is reality," says science.
"In its identity with my legitimate aspirations, reality is my dogma," says faith.
"In its identity with the Word, being is reason," says science.
"In its identity with the spirit of charity, the highest reason is my obedience," says faith.
"In its identity with the motive of reasonable acts, being is justice," says science.
"In its identity with the principle of charity, justice is Providence," replies faith.
Sublime harmony of all certainties with all hopes, of the absolute in intelligence with the absolute in love! The Holy Spirit, the spirit of charity, should then conciliate all, and transform all into His own light. Is it not the spirit of intelligence, the spirit of science, the spirit of counsel, the spirit of force? "He must come," says the Catholic liturgy, "and it will be, as it were, a new creation; and He will change the face of the earth."
"To laugh at philosophy is already to philosophize," said Pascal, referring to that sceptical and incredulous philosophy which does not recognize faith. And if there existed a faith which trampled science underfoot, we should not say that to laugh at such a faith would be a true act of religion, for religion, which is all charity, does not tolerate mockery; but one would be right in blaming this love for ignorance, and in saying to this rash faith, "Since you slight your sister, you are not the daughter of God!"
Truth, reality, reason, justice, Providence, these are the five rays of the flamboyant star in the centre of which science will write the word "being," — to which faith will add the ineffable name of God.