The Church's Year
ON THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
of the Mass reads:
received thy mercy, O God, in the midst of thy temple: According
to thy name, O God, so also is thy praise unto the ends of the earth:
thy right hand is full of justice. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly
to be praised in the city of our God, in his mountain. (Ps. XLVII.)
Glory be to the Father, etc.
Lord, we beseech Thee, mercifully grant us the spirit to think and
do always the things that are right: that we, who can not subsist
without Thee, may by Thee be enabled to live according to Thy will.
(ROM. VIII. 12-17.) Brethren, We are debtors, not to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the
flesh, you shall die: but if by the spirit you mortify the deed
of the flesh, you shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit
of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the
spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit
of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the Spirit
himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of
God. And if sons, heirs also: heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs
live according to the flesh?
Those who follow
the evil pleasures and the desires of corrupt nature, rather than
the voice of faith and conscience. Such men are not guided by the
Spirit of God, for He dwells not in the sensual man, (Gen. VI. 3.)
they are no children of God, and will not inherit heaven, but eternal
death. But he who is directed by the Spirit of God, and with Him
and through Him crucifies his flesh and its concupiscence, is inspired
with filial confidence in God. by the Holy Ghost, who dwells in
him, and by whom he cries: Abba (Father.) Prove yourself well, Christian
soul, that you may know whether you live according to the flesh,
and strive by prayer and fasting to mortify all carnal and sensual
desires that you may by such means become a child of God and heir
me, O Lord, that I may not live according to the desires of the,
flesh; but resist them firmly by the power of Thy Spirit, that I
may not die the eternal death.
(Luke XVI. 1-9.) At that time, Jesus spoke to his disciples this
parable: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the
same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called
him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an
account of thy stewardship; for now thou canst be steward no longer.
And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my
lord taketh away from me my stewardship? To dig, I am not able:
to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be
removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
Therefore calling together every one of his lord's debtors, he said
to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: A hundred
barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill, and sit down
quickly, and write fifty, Then he said to another: And how much
dost thou owe? Who said: A hundred quarters of wheat. He said to
him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the Lord commended the
unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children
of this world are wiser in their generations than the children of
light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of
iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting
aye represented by the rich man and his steward?
The rich man
represents God, the steward is man - to whom God has confided the
various goods of soul and body, of grace and nature: faith, intellect,
memory , free will; and five senses, health, stregth of body, beauty,
skill power over others, time and opportunity for good, temporal
riches, and other gifts. These various goods of soul and body God
gives us not as our own, but as things to be used for His honor
and the salvation of man. He will therefore demand the strictest
account of us if we use them for sin, luxury, seduction, or oppression
did Christ make use of this parable?
To teach us
that God requires of every man a strict account of whatever has
been given to him, and to urge us to works of charity, particularly
friends do we make by alms giving?
St. Ambrose they are the poor, the saints and angels, even Christ
Himself: for that which we give to the poor, we give to Christ.
(Matt. XXV. 40.) And: He that hath mercy on the poor, lendeth to
the Lord, and he will repay him. (Prov. XIX. 17.) "The hands
of the poor," says Peter Chrysologus, "are the hands of
Christ," through whom we send our riches to heaven before us,
and through whose intercession we obtain the grace of salvation.
did his lord commend the steward?
his prudence and foresight, but not for his injustice; for he adds:
The children of this world are wiser than the children of light:
that is, the worldly-minded understand better hove to obtain temporal
goods than do Christians to lay up treasures for themselves in heaven.
is wealth called unjust?
are often massed and retained unjustly, often lead man to injustice,
and because they are often squandered, or badly used.
Grant me the grace, O my just God and Judge, that I may so use the
goods of this earth confided to me by The e, that I mad make friends,
who at my death will receive me into eternal joys.
THE SIN OF DETRACTION
the same was accused unto him. (Luke XVI. 1.)
in the gospel was justly accused on account of the goods he had
wasted; but there are many who lose their good name and honor by
false accusations, and malicious talk! Alas, what great wrongs do
detracting tongues cause in this world! How mean a vice is detraction,
how seldom attention is paid to its evil, how rarely the injury
is our neighbor slandered?
When he is
accused of a vice of which he is not guilty; when a secret crime
is made known with the intention of hurting him, or when our duty
does not require us to mention it; when we attribute an evil intention
to him or entirely misconstrue his actions and omissions; when his
good qualities or commendable actions are denied or lessened, or
his merits underrated; when we remain silent, or speak ambiguously
in cases where praise is due him; when we lend a willing ear to
detractions, and make no effort to stop them; and lastly, when joy
is felt in the detraction.
detraction a great sin?
Yes, for it
is directly opposed to the love of our neighbor, therefore to the
love of God, hence it is, as St. Ambrose says, hateful to God and
man. By it we rob our neighbor of a possession greater than riches,
(Prov. XXII. 1.) and often he is plunged by it into want and misery,
even into the greatest vices; St. Ambrose says: "Let us fly
from the vice of detraction, for it is altogether a satanic abyss,
full of deceit." Finally, detraction is a great sin, because
it can seldom be recalled, and the injury done by it is very great,
and often irreparable.
should we do when we have committed this sin?
We should retract
the calumny as soon as possible and repair the injury done to our
neighbor in regard to his name or temporal goods; we should detest
this sin, regret it, and be cleansed from it by penance, we should
daily pray for him whom we have injured, and in future guard against
the like fault.
we ever allowed to reveal the wrongs of our neighbor?
To make public
the faults of our neighbor only for the entertainment of idle people,
or for the sake of news, and to satisfy the curiosity of others,
is always sinful. But if after having reproached or advised our
neighbor fraternally, without obtaining our end, we make known his
faults to his parents or superiors for the sake of punishment and
reformation, far from being a sin it is rather a duty, against which
those err who are silent about the sins of their neighbor, when
by speaking they could prevent the sin and save him much unhappiness.
it a sin to listen willingly to detraction?
Yes, for we
thus give the detractors occasion and encouragement. Therefore St.
Bernard says: "Whether to detract is a greater sin than to
listen to detraction, I will not decide. The devil sits on the tongue
of the detractor as he does on the ear of the listener." In
such cases we must strive to interrupt, to prevent the detracting
words, or else withdraw; or if we can do none of these, we must
show in our countenance our displeasure, for the Holy Ghost says:
The northwind driveth away rain, so doth a sad countenance a backbiting
tongue. (Prov. XXV. 23.) The same demeanor is to be observed in
regard to improper language.
varieties of detraction are there?
There is a
certain detestable kind of detraction which degrades and ridicules
others by witty and sneering words. Still worse is that detraction
which carries the faults of others from one place to another, thus
exciting those who are on good terms to hard feeling, or making
those who are living in enmity more opposed to each other. The whisperer
and the double tongued, says the Holy Ghost, is accursed, for he
bath troubled many that were at peace.
should deter us from detraction?
of the enormity of this sin; of the difficulty, even impossibility
of repairing the injury caused; of the punishment it incurs, for
St. Paul expressly says: Calumniators shall not possess the kingdom
of God, (I Cor. VI. 10.). and Solomon writes: My son, fear the Lord,
and the king: and have nothing to do with detractors; for their
destruction shall rise suddenly. (Prov. XXIV 22.)
Guard me, O most loving Jesus, that I may not be so blinded, either
by hatred or, envy, as to rob my neighbor of his good name, or make
myself guilty of such a grievous sin.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED FROM DETRACTION
If your good
name has been taken away by evil tongues, you may be consoled by
knowing that God permitted this to humble you, to exercise you in
patience and free you from pride and vain self-complacency. Turn
your eyes to the saints of the Old and the New Law, to the chaste
Joseph who was cast into prison on a false charge of adultery, (Gen.
XXXIX.) to the meek David publicly accused by Semei as a man of
blood, (II Kings XVI. 7.) to the chaste Susanna who was also accused
of adultery, tried and condemned to death. (Dan, XIII.) Jesus, the
king of saints, was called a drunkard, accused and condemned as
a blasphemer, a friend of the devil, an inciter of sedition among
the people, and like the greatest criminal was nailed to the cross
between two thieves. Remember besides that it does not injure you
in the sight of God, if all possible evil is said of you, and that
He, at all times, cares for those who trust in Him; for he who touches
the honor of those who fear God, touches, as it were, the pupil
of His eye, (Zach. II. 8.) and shall not go unpunished. St. Chrysostom
says: "If you are guilty, be converted; if you are innocent,
think of Christ."
O most innocent Jesus, who wert thus calumniated, I submit myself
wholly to Thy divine will, and am, ready like Thee, to bear all
slanders and detractions, as with perfect confidence I yield to
land care my good name, convinced that Thou at Thy pleasure wilt
defend and protect it, and save me from the hands of my enemies.