Catholic Virtues
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The Thirst for Souls - VII

The Thirst for Souls Is the Key of the Apostolate

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
This thirst has a peculiar characteristic: When one says that he has a thirst for souls, it is less than when he says that he has thirst for a particular soul. To have a thirst for something is to desire to drink something, to incorporate some particular thing to one's own person.

Meeting of saints

The joy of one saint meeting another: St. Francis and St. Dominic meet & embrace in Rome; below, Bishop St. Germanus blesses the shepherdess St. Genevieve

genevieve germanus
This is how we have a true thirst for souls. We should desire that our virtue should thirst to be united to the virtue of other souls.

The best aspect of our instinct of sociability is the appetite that our virtue has to come into contact with the virtue of others souls so as to grow in the love of virtue and the love of God. When two virtuous souls meet, the thirst that one has for the other is satisfied. There is a metaphysical principle that says: Simile simili gaudet (like rejoices in like).

Thus we understand those great effusions of joy of Saints when they meet. For example, we understand the famous meeting among St. Dominic, St. Francis and the Carmelite St. Angelo. Francis and Dominic were at St. John the Lateran Basilica where the famous preacher Fr. Angelo was giving a sermon.

At the end of the Mass, St. Angelo waited for them and embraced them, even though he had never met them before. Even though they were from different places, with different missions, they fell to their knees, one before the other and they sang praises to God. Then, St. Angelo foretold the future of the two others, telling them the favors God had reserved for them.

When one thinks about this meeting, we would like to be in the corner of that room, in some minuscule hole in the wall, to watch the scene, because it really was something extraordinary. The soul of each one discerning the soul of the other, one uniting to the other, and finding satisfaction and fulfillment.

It is clear that beyond that thirst for souls, what really exists is a thirst for God. We are not speaking of romantic friendship, where one soul has thirst for the other in order to satisfy its sentimentality, tastes or caprices. Much less is it a utilitarian sympathy, where one uses another as an instrument to reach some end. Rather, it is properly speaking a disinterested thirst, where the soul desires the other for what it is, for the similarity to God that it has. And, for this reason, he seeks the sanctity of that other soul to admire it.

This is the key point of the apostolate. We have an apostolic spirit when we perceive other souls. When we can look at the very least individual who walks the street and perceive something about his soul and think:

beggar in peru

To have thirst of souls is to discern the potential of virtue in the simpler man & help him to fulfill it

"This man, if he were virtuous, would be very different. How beautiful he would be if he were as he should be! How I am disposed to work, fight, pray, suffer in order for him to be as he should be! Even if he does not know me, even if should he never know that it was I who fought and prayed for him. I would see him pass transformed, and I would understand that a masterpiece of God was realized." Then, I would exult in the depths of my soul upon seeing that work, because I love the work of God, because it comes from Him. Doing this, my spirit ascends to God.

That is to say, I can remain outside of the relationship. It is a type of friendship that does not demand any payback . I do not ask the one who got well to turn to me, who was the instrument of his conversion, and thank me. I do not ask for his esteem, except to the measure that esteem is a virtue that he should have. But, if it were better that he never know that it was I, I am also satisfied.

What I wanted, what I have is a thirst of soul for him, for the Sacred Heard of Jesus, for the Immaculate Heart of Mary; I want to satisfy that thirst for souls that they have and that they communicate to me. I have a thirst that his soul be holy.

Leaving the realm of the 'white heresy'

I raise the question of disinfecting this résumé of any odor of "white heresy." When one of us has a thirst for souls, he has a thirst that the soul be counter-revolutionary. Not that it have languorous white heresy good feelings, those sweet, sentimental forms of piety that at depth lack an authentic vision of reality. No, it is not this.

We should have a thirst that the true spirit of the Catholic Church, in what she has of grand, serious, wise, sublime and ordered – one word says it all, in what she has of Wisdom – should exist in souls. This is what we thirst for.

Plinio Correa de Oliveira

Forming counter-revolutionary souls grounded in Wisdom

All the virtues considered individually – chastity, veracity, piety, honesty – all these virtues are the concrete applications of Wisdom. What we thirst for is that these souls have Wisdom, that seriousness, gravity, sublimity, calm, order, super-combativeness and super-dynamism but at the same time a super-contemplative and super-placid Wisdom, which gives the authentic note of spirit of the Catholic Church.

And when, for example, we have before us a full auditorium and we look at those many souls and imagine what there is of wisdom in each one, what is the divine plan for the fullness of wisdom in each of these souls, we cannot dispense ourselves from having thirst for souls. It is unthinkable.

The thirst for souls is when we look at a soul and perceive what would be its beauty, the beauty of the work of God when the complete counter-revolutionary, the slave of Our Lady, the Apostle of the Latter Times were fully constructed there, when we have the will to look at each face and say: Sitio. I want that soul to be as he should be, I desire it for Our Lord, even if that soul does not know who I am or what I desired. I desire it for Our Lord, who alone is as good as He should be

Posted October 7, 2019