The Church's Year
ON THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
At the Introit
of the Mass pray with the Church for God's help to guard us against
I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice, from them that draw near
to me, and he humbled them, who is before all ages, and remains
forever. Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.
(Ps. LIV.) Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication;
be attentive to me, and hear me. Glory etc.
O God, who dost manifest Thine almighty. power above all in showing
pardon and pity: multiply upon us Thy mercy, that we running forward
to the attainment of Thy promises, may be made partakers of Thy
heavenly treasures. Through etc.
(I Cor. XII. 2-11 .) Brethren, You know that when you were heathens;
you went to dumb idols according as, you were led. Wherefore I give
you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith.
Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say: the Lord Jesus, but by the
Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit;
and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord. And
there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh
all in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every
man unto profit. To one, indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word
of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the
same Spirit: to another, faith in one Spirit: to another, the working
of miracles: to another, prophecy: to another, the discerning, of
spirits: to another, divers kinds of tongues: to another, of speeches.
But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to
every one according as he will.
The apostle here reminds the Corinthians of the great grace they
received from God in their conversion, and urges them to be grateful
for it; for while heathens, they cursed Jesus, but being now brought
to the knowledge of the Spirit of God, they possess Christ as their
Lord and Redeemer who can be known and professed only by the enlightenment
of the Holy , Ghost. The holy Spirit works in different ways, conferring
His graces on whom He wills; to one He gives wisdom to understand
the great truths of Christianity; to another the gift of healing
the sick; to another the gift of miracles and of prophecy; to another
the gift of discerning spirits, to know if one is governed by the
Spirit of God, or of the world, Satan and the flesh; to another
the gift of tongues. The extraordinary gifts, namely, those of working
miracles, and of prophesying &c. became rarer as the faith spread,
whereas the gifts which sanctify man will always remain the same.,
on the gifts of the Holy Ghosts Pentecost.]
(Luke XDII. 9-14.) At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to some
who trusted in themselves as just, and despisedothers. Two men went
up into the Temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a
Publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God,
I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners,
unjust, adulterers, as also is this Publican. I fast twice in the
week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the Publican standing
afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven,
but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
I say to you: this man went down to his house justified rather than
the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled,
and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Why did Christ make use of' this parable
of the Pharisee and the Publican?
To teach us
never proudly to condemn or despise a man, even though he should
appear impious, for we may be deceived like the Pharisee who despised
the Publican, whom he considered a great sinner, while, in reality,
the man was justified before God on account of his repentant spirit.
should we do before entering a Church?
We should reflect
that we are going into the house of God, should therefore think
what we are about to say to Him, and what we wish to ask of Him.
That we may make ourselves less unworthy to be heard, we should
humble ourselves as did Abraham, (Gen. XVIII. 27.) remembering that
we are dust and ashes, and on account of our sins unworthy o appear
before the eyes of God, much less to address Him , for He listens
to the prayers of the humble only, (Ps. CI, 18.) and gives them
His grace, while He resists the proud. (James IV. 6.)
the Pharisee's prayer acceptable to God?
No, for it
was no prayer, but boasting and ostentation; he praised himself,
and enumerated his apparent good works. But in despising others
and judging them rashly he sinned grievously instead of meriting
the Publican's prayer acceptable to God?
Yes, for though
short, it was humble and contrite. He stood afar off, as if to acknowledge
himself unworthy of the presence of God and intercourse with men.
He stood with downcast eyes, thus showing that he considered himself
because of his sins unworthy to look towards heaven, even confessed
himself a sinner, and struck his breast to punish, as St. Augustine
says, the sins which he had committed in his heart: This is why
we strike our breast at certain times during Mass, for by this we
acknowledge ourselves miserable sinners, and that we are sorry for
PRIDE AND VAIN GLORY
We should learn from this gospel that God looks upon the humble
and exalts them, but is far from the proud. (Ps. CXXXVII. 6.) The
Pharisee went to the temple entirely wrapt up in himself, and the
good works which he thought he had performed, but returned empty
and hated by God; the Publican, on the contrary, appearing before
God as a public but penitent sinner, returned justified. Truly,.
an humble sinner is better in the sight of God than a proud just
He who glories
in his own good works, or performs them to please men, or to win
their praise, loses his merit in the eyes of the most High, for
Christ says: Take heed that you do not your justice before men,
to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your
Father who is in heaven. (Matt. VI. 1.)
In order that
we may learn to despise vain glory, these doctrines should be well
borne in mind. We should consider that it will happen to those who
seek after vain glory, as to the man who, made many toilsome journeys
on land and sea in order to accumulate wealth, and had no sooner
acquired it than he was shipwrecked, and lost all. Thus the ambitious
man avariciously seeking glory and honor will find, when dying,
that the merit which he might have had for his good works, is now
lost to him, because he did not labor for the honor of God. To prevent
such an evil, strive at the commencement of every good work which
you undertake, to turn your heart to God by a good intention.
But that you
may plainly recognize this vice, which generally keeps itself concealed,
and that you may avoid it, know that pride is an inordinate love
of ostentation, and an immoderate desire to surpass others in honor
and praise. The proud man goes beyond himself, so to speak, makes
far more of himself than he really is, and, like the Pharisee, despises
others; the humble man, on the contrary, has a low estimate of himself,
looks upon himself as nothing and, like the Publican, despises no
one but himself, and thus is pleasing in the sight of God.
who hearest the prayers of the humble, but dost resist the proud,
I earnestly beseech Thee to give me an humble heart, that I may
imitate, the humility of Thy only?begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
and thereby merit to be exalted with Him in heaven.
In the epistle
of this day the Apostle St. Paul speaks of the different gifts of
the Holy Ghost which He distributes as He pleases. These extraordinary
graces which the apostle mentions, are not necessary for salvation.
But the Church teaches, that the grace of the Holy Ghost is
necessary for salvation, because without it we could neither properly
believe, nor faithfully observe the commandments of God. For the
holy religion of Jesus teaches, and experience confirms, that since
the fall of our first parents we are weak and miserable, and of
ourselves, and by our own strength, we cannot know or perform the
good necessary for our salvation. We need a higher aid, a higher,
assistance, and this assistance is called grace.
then, is grace?
Grace is an
inward, supernatural gift which God through finite goodness, and
in consideration of Christ's merits, ants us to enable us to work
out our salvation.
Grace is a
gift, that is, a present, a favor, a benefit. t is an inward and
supernatural gift; an inward gift, Because it is bestowed upon man's
soul to distinguish it tom external gifts and benefits of God, such
as: food, clothing, health; grace is a supernatural gift, because
it is above nature. In creating our souls God gives us a certain
degree of light which enables us to think, reflect, judge, to acquire
more or less knowledge: this is called natural light. In the same
way He gives our souls the power in some measure to overcome sensual,
vicious inclinations; this power is called natural power (virtue).
To this natural light and power must be added a higher light and
a higher power, if 'man would be sanctified and saved. This higher
light and higher power is grace. It is, therefore, called a supernatural
gift, because it surpasses the natural power of man, and produces
in his understanding and in his will wholesome effects, which he
could not produce without it. For example, divine faith, divine
love is a supernatural gift or grace of God, because man of his
own power could never receive as certain God's revelations and His
incomprehensible mysteries with so great a joy and so firm a conviction,
and could never love God above all things and for His own sake,
unless God assisted him by His grace.
us grace also through pure benevolence without our assistance, without
our having any right to it; He grants it without cost, and to whom
He pleases; but He gives it in consideration of the infinite merits
of Christ Jesus, in consideration of Christ's death on the cross,
and of the infinite price of our redemption. Finally, grace is a
gift of God, by which to work out our salvation, ,that is, it is
only by the grace of God that we can perform meritorious works which
aid us in reaching heaven. Without grace it is impossible for us
to perform any good action, even to have a good thought by which
to gain heaven.
From this it
follows that with the grace of God we can accomplish all things
necessary for our salvation, fulfil all the commandments of God,
but without it we can do nothing meritorious. God gives His grace
to all, and if the wicked perish, it is because they do not cooperate
with its divine promptings.
How is grace divided?
Into two kinds,
actual and sanctifying grace.
is God's assistance which we always need to accomplish a good work,
to avoid sin which we are in danger of committing, or that grace
which urges us on to good, and assists us in accomplishing it; for
it is God, says the Apostle Paul, (Phil. II. 13.) who worketh in
you both to will and to accomplish. If a good work is to be performed
by us, God must enlighten our mind that we may properly know the
good and distinguish it from evil; He must rouse our will and urge
it on to do the known good and to avoid the evil; He must also uphold
our will and increase our strength that what we wish to do, we may
grace is, therefore, necessary for the just, that they may always
remain in sanctifying grace, and accomplish good works; it is necessary
for the shiner that he may reach the state of sanctifying grace.
is sanctifying grace?
It is the great
benefit which God bestows upon us, when He sanctifies and justifies
us; in other words: sanctifying grace is the love of God, given
to us by the Holy Ghost, which love dwells in us and whose temple
we become, or it is the advent and abiding of God in our hearts,
as promised in the words of Jesus: If any one love me he will keep
my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and
will make our abode with him. (John XVI. 23.)
He who possesses
sanctifying grace, possesses the greatest treasure that a man can
have on earth. For what can be more precious than to be beautiful
in the sight of God, acceptable to Him, and united with Him! He
who possesses this grace, carries within himself the supernatural
image of God, he is a child of God, and has a right to the inheritance
is this sanctifying grace lost?
It is lost
by every mortal sin, and can only be regained by a complete return
to God, by true repentance and amendment. The loss of sanctifying
grace is a fax greater injury than the lass of all earthly possessions.
How, terrible, then, is mortal sin which deprives us of this treasure!