The Church's Year
ON THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
The Lord became my protector, and He brought me forth into a large
place: He saved me, because he was well pleased with me. (Ps. XVII.)
I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my firmament,
and my refuge, and my deliverer. Glory &c.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy name;
for Thou never failest to help and govern those whom Thou dost establish
in Thy steadfast love. Thro'.
(I ,John III. 13-18.) Dearly beloved, Wonder not if the world hate
you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we
love the brethren. He that loveth not, abideth in death; whosoever
hateth his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer
hath eternal life abiding in himself. In this we have known the
charity of God, because he bath laid down his life for us: and we
ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. He that hath the substance
of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shut up his
bowels from him, how doth the charity of God abide in him? My little
children, let us not love in word nor in tongue, but in deed and
People who are really pious have always something to suffer from
the wicked world, as, Jesus foretold, but they do not cease to love
their persecutors as their best friends, and are ready, if necessary,
to give their life for ,their enemies, as Christ did. Thus should
all Christians act; for the love of our neighbor and even of our
enemies is a universal command, a law that binds all; it is the
life of the soul. Hatred deprives the soul of this life and makes
man a murderer, because hatred is the beginning of murder, and often
ends in homicide. By love we know the true Christians. (John. XIII.
35.) St. John even considers love the certain sign of being chosen
for eternal life, when he says: We know, we have passed from death
to life, because we love the brethren. Alas! how few will be chosen
from among the Christians of to-day, because there is so little
love among them! Empty compliments, assurances of friendships &c.
love appears only in words, only on the tongue; and such idle, ephemeral,
worthless love is found everywhere in this world; but that which
is love in truth and reality, which shows charity to the suffering,
how rare it is! and yet only to this love is promised eternal life,
because it alone rests on the love of God.
(Luke XIV. 16-24.) At that time, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees this
parable: A certain man made a great supper,and invited many. And
he sent his servant, at the hour of supper, to say to them that
were invited, that they should come, for now all things are ready.
And they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him:
I have bought a farm, and I must needs go out, and see it; I pray
thee hold me excused. And another said: I have bought five yoke
of oxen, and I go to try them; I pray thee hold me excused. And
another said: I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. Then the
master of the house being angry, said to his, servant: Go out quickly
into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the
poor, and the feeble, and the blind, and the lame. And the servant
said: Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is
room. And the Lord said to the servant: Go out into the highways
and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house maybe filled.
But I say unto you, that none of these men that were invited shall
taste of my supper.
as to be understood by this great supper?
of Christ on earth, in which His doctrine and His most precious
Flesh and Blood are given as food to those who belong to her; also
the Church triumphant in heaven, in which God Himself, in the beatific
vision, is the nourishment. This supper is called great, because
God Himself has founded the Church; because the Church embraces
heaven and earth, hence many belong and will belong to her; and
because having ended the contest on earth, she will last forever
in heaven. There the saints of God will enjoy the Highest Good for
all eternity, and will have nothing to wish for, since all their
desires will there be realized. O, what happiness it is that we
are invited to His supper, and as guests are nourished by the teachings
of Christ, and by His most sacred Flesh and Blood.
is it that prepares the super?
It is Christ,
the God?Man, who for our benefit has not only instituted His Church
to which He has entrusted doctrine and the Sacrament of His Flesh
and Blood, but has gained eternal salvation for us by His passion
and death, and who has invited us first by the prophets, who foretold
Him and His divine kingdom, and afterwards by His apostles, and
their successors to His great supper.
are they who excuse themselves?
They are principally
the Jews who bound by pride and avarice to earthly possessions,
and blinded by the pleasures of the world, did not recognize Jesus,
and remained outside of His church. By him who said he had bought
a farm are understood those who by constant anxieties about the
possession of earthly goods, and the riches of this world, become
indifferent to eternal salvation. By him who had bought five yoke
of oxen, is to be understood that sort of busy men who are so burdened
with worldly affairs that they find no time to work for heaven,
for they even appropriate Sundays and festivals to their worldly
affairs. By him who had. taken a wife, and could not come, are represented
the carnal, impure men who have rendered themselves by their lusts
incapable of spiritual and heavenly joys. Since these different
classes of people do not wish to have part in the heavenly banquet,
God has excluded them and called others.
are meant by the poor, the feeble, the blind and the lame?
and submissive Jews, the publicans, also the Samaritans and the
Gentiles, who did not reject Jesus and His doctrine as did the proud,
high-minded, carnal Scribes and Pharisees to whom Jesus spoke this
parable. The former faithfully received Him, entered His Church,
and became participators in eternal happiness. This is daily repeated,
because God excludes from the kingdom of heaven those proud, avaricious,
and carnal Christians who are ever invited by His servants, the
priests, to the enjoyment of holy Communion, but who reject the
invitation. On the contrary God welcomes the poor, despised people,
the penitent sinners, by separating them from the love of the world
by the inspiration of His grace, and by the adversities which He
sends them. Thus, in a measure, He forces them to take part in the
spiritual joys of a sincerely pious life in His Church on earth,
and in the heavenly bliss of His Church in heaven.
thank Thee, O most merciful Jesus that Thou bast called me into
Thy Church, permitting me sc often to share in the banquet of Thy
love, and that by Thy sufferings and death Thou hast obtained the
joys of heaven for me. Urge me as seems pleasing to Thee, compel
me by temporal trials that by the use of these graces I may obtain
the place which Thou bast prepared for me in heaven.
LESSON CONCERNING THE VICE OF IMPURITY
I have married
a wife, and therefore I can not come. (Luke XIV. 29.)
From this foolish
excuse it would seem as if married life were an obstacle to arriving
at the heavenly banquet, whereas lawful, chaste, Christian marriage
is, on the contrary, a means of eternal salvation for those to whom
the gift of continency is not given. The excuse of this married
man was not grounded on his station in life, but on his inordinate
inclination for carnal pleasures which render the one who gives
way to it, unfit for spiritual or heavenly things, for the sensual
man perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit of God. (I
Cor. II. 14.)
indeed are they who suffer themselves to be carried away by their
sensual lusts, who give away the priceless jewel of chastity and
purity of heart which makes man equal to the angels, (Matt. XXII.
30.) who for a momentary enjoyment of sinful pleasure lose that
white and precious garment in which chaste souls will shine for
ever in heaven before the face of God! What benefit does the impure
man derive from the gratification of vile lust? He gains the anger
and contempt of God; intolerable disgust when the sin is consummated;
the torment of a remorseful conscience, and unless he repent, the
eternal torments of hell, for the apostle says: Do not err: neither
fornicators, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate shall possess the
kingdom of God, (I Cor. VI. 9, 10.) It is seen from the examples
of the Old Law, hove much God hates and abominates the sins of impurity.
Why did God regret having created man? (Gen. VI. 6.) , Why did He
destroy all except a very few, by a universal deluge? (Gen. VI.
17.) Why did He lay the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha in ashes by
pouring upon them fire and brimstone? (Gen. XIX.) Why did He punish
the two brothers Her and Onan, by a sudden death? (Gen. XXXVII.
7. 10.) Why did He permit the whole tribe of Benjamin to be extirpated?
(Judges XX.) Because of their detestable sins of impurity. And is
not this vice an object of the just wrath of God? By these sins
an impure man disgraces his body which should be a member of Christ,
a temple of the Holy Ghost; he disgraces his soul the image of God,
purified and purchased by the precious blood of Christ, and lowers
himself beneath the animal, which, void of intellect, follows its
instinct; he weakens the power of his body and soul, and ruins his
health; he loses the respect of the good, scandalizes his fellowmen,
voluntarily separates himself from the communion of saints, deprives
himself of the sanctifying grace of God and participation in the
merits of Jesus and His saints, and, if he continues like an animal
to wallow in this vice, he finally falls into such blindness and
hardness of heart that eternal truths, death, judgment, hell, and
eternity no longer make any impression upon him; the most abominable
crimes of impurity he considers as trifles, as human weaknesses,
no sin at all. He is therefore but seldom, if ever, converted, because
the evil habit has become his second nature, which he can no longer
overcome without an extraordinary grace from God. This God seldom
gives, because the impure man generally despises ordinary means
and graces, and therefore despairs and casts himself into the pool
of eternal fire, where the worm dies not, and where with Satan and
his angels the impure shall be for ever tormented.
Do not suffer
yourself to be deceived, Christian soul, by the words "love
and friendship", which is sought to cover this vice and make
it appear a weakness clinging to man. This impure love is a fire
which has its origin in hell, and there it will eternally torment
the bodies in which it has prevailed. That which God so much detests
and so severely punishes, certainly cannot be a trifle, a human
weakness! Impress deeply on your heart that all impure thoughts,
desires and looks, to which you consent, all impure words, songs,
exposures, touches, jokes, and 'such things, are great sins which
exclude you from the kingdom of heaven, into which nothing defiled
can enter. Remember that he who looks at a woman with a lustful
desire, has already, as Christ says, committed adultery in his heart.
(Matt. V. 28.) We must, then, carefully guard against "such
trifles", as the wicked world calls them, if we do not wish
to expose ourselves to the greatest danger of losing our souls.
Although it is difficult for an impure person to be converted, yet
he should not despair. God does not cast away even the greatest
sinner; Jesus forgave the adulteress in the temple, and forgave
and received Mary Magdalen. But he who wishes to repent must make
use of the proper means to regain the grace of God, and prevent
a relapse. Those who have not defiled themselves by the sin of impurity
can make use of the following means:
prayer. Hence the admonition of the wise King; As I knew that
I could not otherwise be continent, except God gave it, I went
to the Lord and besought him. (Wisd. VIII. 21.)
of the flesh by fasting and abstinence. Jesus says these impure
spirits can in no other way be cast out but by prayer and fasting.
(Matt. XVII. 20.)
- The frequent
meditation on the four last things, and on the bitter sufferings
of our Lord; for there is, says St. Augustine, no means more powerful
and effective against the heat of lust than reflection on the
ignominious death of the Redeemer.
- The quiet
consideration of the temporal and eternal evils which follow from
this vice, as already described.
- The love
and veneration of the Blessed Virgin who is the mother of beautiful
love, the refuge of all sinners, of whom St. Bernard says: "No
one has ever invoked her in his necessity without being heard."
- The careful
mortification of the eyes. The pious Job made a covenant with
his eyes, that. he would not so much as look upon a virgin. (Job
- The avoidance
of evil occasions, especially intercourse with persons of the
other sex. "Remember," says St. Jerome, "that a
woman drove out the inhabitants of paradise, and that you are
not holier than David, stronger than Samson, wiser than Solomon,
who all fell by evil intercourse."
- The avoidance
of idleness: for idleness, says the proverb, is the beginning
of all evil.
- The immediate
banishing of all bad thoughts by often pronouncing the names of
Jesus and Mary, which, as St. Alphonsus Ligouri says, have the
special power of driving away impure thoughts.
- The frequent
use of the holy Sacraments of Penance and of the Altar. This last
remedy in particular is a certain cure if we make known to our
confessor our weaknesses, and use the remedies he prescribes.
The Scripture says that frequent Communion is the seed from which
virgins spring, and the table which God has prepared against all
temptations that annoy us.
Inflame, O Lord, our loins and hearts with the fire of Thy Holy
Spirit, that we may serve Thee with pure bodies, and please Thee
with clean hearts. Amen.