The Church's Year
ON THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
the Church invites us to give praise to God in the following words:
clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God with the voice of
joy. For the Lord is most high, he is terrible; he is a great King
over all the earth. (Ps. XLVI.) Glory etc.
O God, whose providence is unerring in what it ordains, we humbly
beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give
us all things which will profit us. Thro'.
(ROM. VI., 19-23.) Brethren, I speak a human thing, because of the
infirmity of your, flesh: for as you have yielded your members to
serve uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity, so now yield your
members to serve justice unto sanctification. For when you were
the servants of sin, you were free from justice. What fruit therefore
had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For
the end of them, is death. But now, being made free from sin, and
become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification,
and the end life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death. But
the grace of God, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
St. Paul here admonishes the Romans who had been converted to Christianity,
but were still sensual and weak, that they ought to be much more
zealous in serving God and mastering their passions. He demands
of them that they should at least strive, now as hard to save their
souls as they once did to destroy them. This certainly is but right,
for many a man would become just and holy if he would do as much
for heaven, as he does for sin and hell. But to know how wholesome
it is to consecrate themselves to justice and sanctity, he wishes
them to consider what advantage they derived from sin. Nothing is
gained from it but shame, confusion, sorrow, and death, but by a
pious life, God's grace and eternal life. - Often consider this,
Christian soul, and do not defile yourself by sins, which profit
nothing, but?bring shame, grief, and the retributive wrath of God.
(Matt. VII. 15-21.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Beware
of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves: by their fruits you shall know
them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even
so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree
bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that
bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast
into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not
every one that saith to me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom
of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven,
he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
are the false Prophets?
who under an appearance of virtue and honesty lure innocent, simple
souls from the right path, and lead them to vice and shame; who
by sweet words, such as: "God , is full of love, and will not
be severe on sin, He does not require so very much of us, He knows
we are weak, and if a person sins, he can be converted," seek
to steal from souls all modesty and fear, of God. Guard against
such hypocrites, for they have the poison of vipers on their tongues.
By the false prophets are also understood those who propagate error,
who by superficial words fade the true faith, who speak always of
love and liberty, and who under the pretence of making people free
and happy bring many a soul to doubt and error, depriving it of
true faith and peace of heart.
can we know the false prophets?
By their works;
for evil, corrupted men can produce only bad fruit. If we look into
their life we will find that at heart they are immoral hypocrites
who observe external propriety only that they may the more easily
spread their poison. The false teachers and messengers of error
may be known by their lives, but especially by their intentions,
Which are to subvert all divine order, and to put the unrestrained
lust of the flesh and tyranny in its place.
else are understood by the false prophets?
Those who under
pretence of making men happy and rich, induce the credulous to make
use of superstition, of wicked arts, deceit, and injustice; especially
those who under he deceiving appearance of liberty and equality,
independence and public good, incite them to open or secret revolt
against civil and ecclesiastical authority.
Be not deceived
by these so-called public benefactors who look always to their own
advantage, but trust in God, support yourself honestly, live like
a Christian, and you will find true liberty and happiness here and
does Christ say: "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit,
shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire?"
He warns us
that faith without good works is not sufficient for salvation; and
he therefore adds; Not every one that saith: Lord, Lord (who outwardly
professes himself my servant, but is not really such) shall enter
into the kingdom of heaven, but he who, (by the fulfilment of the
duties of his state of life and by the practice `of good works),
does the will of my Father, merits heaven. Strive then, Christian
soul, to fulfil God's will in all things, perform your daily duties
with a good intention, and you will certainly obtain the kingdom
INSTRUCTION ON GOOD WORKS
are good works?
All the actions
of man which are performed according to the will of God, while in
the state of grace, for the love of God.
are the principal good works?
and alms deeds. These are especially inculcated in holy Scripture.
(Tob. XIII. 8.) By prayer is here understood all religious services;
by fasting all mortification of soul and body; by alms?deeds all
works of charity.
many kinds of charitable works are there?
spiritual and corporal.
are the spiratual works of mercy?
are performed for the good of the soul: to admonish sinners; to
teach the ignorant; to counsel the doubtful; to console the afflicted;
to suffer injustice patiently; to forgive all injuries, and to pray
for the living and the dead.
are the corporal works?
are performed for the good of the body: to feed the hungry; to give
drink to the thirsty; to clothe the naked; to visit and ransom the
captives; to harbor the harborless; to visit the sick; and to bury
we be saved without good works?
No, for Christ
expressly, says: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit,
shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. The servant
in the gospel who did not even waste the talent received, but only
hid it in the ground, was therefore cast into outer darkness. How
greatly do those err who hope to reach heaven, simply because they
do no evil! Of this great mistake St. Chrysostom plainly says: "If
you had a servant who was in truth no robber, no glutton or drunkard,
but who sat at home idle, neglecting everything for which you had
employed him, would you not pay him with the whip and send him off?
Is it not bad enough to neglect that which duty demands?" Such
a servant is the Christian who, doing neither good nor evil, makes
himself thereby unfit for heaven which is the reward of work performed,
and if no work has been done, no reward is to be expected.
O Lord, guard me from false prophets, heretics, and
seducers, and grant me the grace, that according to St. Paul's instructions
I may become fruitful in all good works. Inflame my heart, that
I may adorn my , faith with them, thus do the will of the Heavenly
Father, and render myself worthy of heaven.