The Church's Year
ON THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
At the Introit
implore God's assistance and say, with the priest:
O Lord, my voice with which I have cried to thee: be thou my helper,
forsake me not, nor do Thou despise me, O god, my Savior. (Ps. XXVI.)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Glory
be to the Father, etc.
O God, who host prepared invisible good things for those that love
Thee: pour into our hearts such a sense of Thy love, that we, loving
Thee in all, and above all, may obtain Thy promises, which exceed
all out desire: Through etc.
(I Peter III. 8-15.) Dearly beloved, Be ye all of one mind, having
compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful,
modest, humble: not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing,
but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this you are called; that you
may inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good
days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they
speak no guile. Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him
seek?after peace, and, pursue it: because the eyes of the Lord are
upon the just, and his ears unto their. prayers: but the countenance
of the Lord upon them that do evil, things. And, who is he that
can, hurt you, if you: be zealous of good? But if also you suffer
any thing for, justice' sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid
of their fear, and be not troubled: but sanctify the Lord Christ,
in your hearts.
can and how should we sanctify the Lord in our hearts?
those virtues which Peter here recommends, and which he so exactly
describes; for thereby we become true disciples of Christ, honor
Him and edify others, who by our good example are led to admire
Christianity, and to become His followers. Moreover, we thus render
ourselves more worthy of God's grace and protection, so that if
for justice' sake we are persecuted by, wicked men, we need not
fear, because God is for us and will reward us with eternal happiness.
Saviour, Jesus Christ, grant that I may make Thy virtues my own;
especially Thy humility, patience, mercy, and love; grant that I
may practise them diligently, that I may glorify Thee, sanctify
myself, and thus become worthy of Thy protection.
(Matt. V. 20-24.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Except
your justice abound more than that of the Scribesand Pharisees,
you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that
it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall
kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that
whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment.
And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger
of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in
danger of hell fire. If therefore, thou bring thy gift at the altar,
and there thou remember that thy brother bath anything against thee,
leave there thy offering befog a the altar, and go first to be reconciled
to thy brother: and then coming, thou shaft offer thy gift.
what did the justice of the Pharisees consist?
works of piety, in the avoidance of such gross vices as could not
be concealed, and would have brought them to shame and disgrace.
But in their hearts these Pharisees cherished evil, corrupt inclinations
and desires, pride, envy, avarice, and studied malice and vengeance.
Jesus, therefore, called them hypocrites, whitened sepulchres, and
St. John calls them a brood of vipers. True Justice consists not
only in external works of piety, that is, devotional works, but
especially in a pure, sincere, self?sacrificing feeling towards
God and man; without this all works, however good, are only a shell
without a kernel.
are we to understand that which Christ here says of anger and abusive
of Christ's words are:. You have heard that murder was forbidden
to your fathers in the desert, and that the murderer had to be given
up to justice: but I say to you, whoever becomes angry with his
neighbor, shall be in danger of divine judgment, and he who with
abusive words, such as Raca, Villain, gives vent to his anger, using
expressions of contempt and insult, as fool, scoundrel, profligate,
wretch, is more liable to punishment. These degrees of anger are
punished in different ways by God.
anger always sinful?
No, anger is
sinful only when we wish or actually inflict some evil to the body,
property, or honor of our neighbor; when we make use of such insulting
and abusive words as injure his character, provoke and irritate
him. If we become angry at the vices and crimes of others, when
our office or the duties of our station demand that we watch over
the conduct of those under our care, to punish and correct them,
(as in the case of parents, teachers, and superiors) then anger
is no sin. When one through pure love of God, becomes irritated
at the sins and vices of his fellowmen, like King David, or if one
urged to wrong, repels the tempter with indignation, this is even
a holy anger. Thus St. Gregory Says; "It is to be understood
that anger created by impatience is a very different thing from
anger produced by a zeal for justice. The one is caused by vice,
the other by virtue." He, then, who becomes angry for justice'
sake, commits no sin, but his conduct is holy and praiseworthy,
for even our Lord was angry at those who bought and sold in the
temple, (John II. 15.) Paul at the magician Elymas, (Acts XIII.
8.) and Peter at the deceit of Ananias and Saphira. (Acts V. 3.)
Anger, then, to be without sin, must proceed from true zeal for
God's honor and the salvation of souls, by which we seek to prevent
others from sin, and to make them better. Even in this respect,
we must be careful to allow our anger no control over our reason,
but to use it merely as a means of doing good, for we are often
apt to take the sting of anger for holy zeal, when it is really
nothing but egotism and ambition.
must we first be reconciled with our neighbor before bringing an
offering to God, or undertaking any good work?
offering or other good work can be pleasing to God, while we live
in enmity, hatred, and strife with our neighbor; for by living thus
we act altogether contrary to God's will. This should be remembered
by all Christians, who go to confession and holy Communion, without
forgiving those who have offended them, and asking pardon of those
whom they have injured. These must know that instead of receiving
absolution for their sins, they by an invalid confession are guilty
of another sin, and eat their own judgment in holy Communion.
should reconciliation be made with our neighbor?
because the apostle says: Let not the sun go down upon your anger.
(Eph. IV. 26.) But if the person you have offended is absent, says
St. Augustine, and you cannot easily meet him, you are bound to
be reconciled to him interiorly, that is, to humble yourself before
God, and ask His forgiveness, making the firm resolution to be reconciled
to your enemy as soon as possible. If he is accessible, go to him,
and ask his forgiveness; if he has offended you, forgive him from
your heart. The reconciliation should be sincere, for God sees into
the heart; it should also be permanent, for if it is not lasting,
it may be questioned if it was ever sincere. On account of this
command of Christ to be reconciled to our enemies before bringing
sacrifice, it was the custom in ancient times that the faithful
gave. the kiss of peace to one another at the sacrifice of Mass,
before Communion, as even to this day do the priests and deacons,
by which those who are present, are admonished to love one another
with holy love, and to be perfectly reconciled with their enemies,
strike me not with the blindness of the Pharisees that, like them,
I may seek to please man by my works, and thus be deprived of eternal
reward. Banish from my heart all sinful anger, and give me a holy
zeal in charity that I may be anxious only for Thy honor and for
the salvation of my neighbor. Grant me also that I may offend no
one, and willingly forgive those who have offended me, thus practicing
true Christian justice, and become agreeable to Thee.
OF PREVENTING ANGER
The first and
most effectual preventive is humility; for as among the proud there
are always quarrels and contentions, (Prov. XIII. 10.) so among
the humble reign peace, meekness and patience. To be humble, meek,
and patient, we must frequently bring before our minds the example
of Christ who did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,
(I Peter II. 22.) yet suffered great contradictions, many persecutions,
scoffs and sneers from sinners, without threatening vengeance to
any one for all He suffered; He say's to us in truth: Learn of me,
because I am meek and humble of heart. (Matt. XI. Z9.) A very good
preventive of anger is to think over in the morning what causes
will be likely to draw us into anger at any time during the day,
and to arm ourselves against it by a firm resolution to bear all
with patience and silence; and when afterwards anything unpleasant
occurs, let us think, "What will I effect by my anger? Can
I thereby make things better? Will I not even make myself ridiculous
and injure my health?" (for experience as well as holy Scripture
teaches, that anger shortens life.) (Eccles. XXX. 26.) Finally,
the most necessary preventive of anger is fervent prayer to God
for the grace of meekness and patience, for although it seems difficult
and almost impossible to our nature to be patient, by the grace
of God it becomes not only possible, but even easy.
Offer thy gift. (Matt. V. 24.)
In its wider
and more universal sense sacrifice comprehends all religious actions
by which a rational being; presents himself to God, to be united
with Him; and in this sense prayer, praising God, a contrite heart,
charity to others, every good work, and observance of God's commandments
is a sacrifice. Thus the Holy Scriptures say: Offer up the sacrifice
of justice and trust in the Lord. (Fs. IV. 6.) Offer to God the
sacrifice of praise. (Ps. XLIX. iq..) Sacrifice to God is an afflicted
spirit; a contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
(Ps. 1. 19.) It is a wholesome sacrifice to take heed to the commandments,
and to depart from, all iniquity. (Ecclus. XXXV. 2.) "Therefore,"
says St. Augustine, "every good work which is united in sanctity
with God, is a true sacrifice, because it refers to the end of all
good, to God, by whom we can be truly happy." As often, then,
as you humble yourself in prayer before the majesty of God, when
you give yourself up to God, and when you make your will subject
to His divine will, you bring a sacrifice to God; as often as you
punish your body by continency, and your senses by mortification,
you bring a sacrifice to God, because you offer them as instruments
of justice; (Rom. VI. 13.) as often as you subdue the evil concupiscence
of the flesh, the perverted inclinations of your soul, deny yourself
any worldly pleasure for the love of God, you bring a sacrifice
to God. Such sacrifices you should daily offer to God; without which
all others have no value and do not please God, such as these you
can make every moment, when you think, speak, and act all for the
love, of God.
Christian soul, to offer these pleasing sacrifices to God, the supreme
Lord, and as you thus glorify Him, so will He one day reward you
with unutterable glory.
Sacrifice in a stricter sense, especially the Sacrifice of Jesus
on the Cross and its renewal in holy Mass, see the latter part of