Monday, March 15, 2021

Intercession of the Souls in Purgatory

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PRAY FOR THEM

AND THEY WILL PRAY MORE FOR YOU


After having offered prayers and sacrifices for the Poor Souls, we can confidently ask their intercession:


            My Jesus, give me a share

          in the intercession

          offered by the Souls in Purgatory

          and make it effective for me.

          May they all pray for me,

          especially that I may

          serve You faithfully,

          avoid sin and die a happy death,

          (and for... [name a particular intention].)

          Amen.


             

AN ANALYSIS AND EXPLANATION:


My Jesus, give me a share in the intercession offered by the Souls in Purgatory

Do these souls pray for us even before they have arrived in Heaven? Since the souls in Purgatory are in the state of grace and charity, since they are definitively saved, and since charity is active, it is certain that they exercise that charity by interceding for the Faithful on earth. It is the Doctor of the Church, Saint Robert Bellarmine, who points this out. And magisterial texts affirm it also: in the beatification of the foundress of the Helpers of the Holy Souls, Eugénie Smet, an official document states that it is “mind of the Church” that the Holy Souls pray for us. And in Reconcilatio et paenitentia Pope Sant John Paul II says:

...one cannot deny the social nature of [the Sacrament of Penance], in which the whole church –militant, suffering and glorious in heaven– comes to the aid of the penitent and welcomes him again into her bosom... (31-iv)

But how can the Church Suffering, that is, the Poor Souls, help, other than by interceding? Their sufferings, even if they are very great, are not meritorious.


and make it [their intercession] effective for me [who have prayed for them]

“...Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective” Catechism of the Catholic Church 958. Those who pray for these Poor Souls can rightly expect help from them more than if they never prayed for them.


May they all pray for me,

especially that I may serve You faithfully, avoid sin and die a happy death

A soul from Purgatory told the Venerable Francesca del Santissimo Sacramento that “whenever anyone prays for us [the souls of the Faithful Departed], we all pray for him or her, especially that the person may serve the Lord faithfully, avoid sin and die a happy death."


Mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” If we practice charity and mercy towards the souls of the Faithful Departed, our Faith makes it plain that we shall in our turn also receive mercy. And one of the channels of this mercy will be the grateful intercession of the souls themselves.


Two powerful Prayers

The following two prayers have received ecclesiastical approbation. I hope that we can see their intrinsic power since they combine the all important “supplication” or general plea for mercy for the souls, and a calling upon and at least implicit honouring of the Holy Wounds through whiuch and from which come all graces and mercies.


            Eternal Father,

          through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,

          I offer Thee, the wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ,

          for all the souls in Purgatory:

          to heal their wounds,

          to cleanse their stains

          and to pay all their debts.


          My Jesus,

          through the merits of Thy Holy Wounds:

          eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,

          and let perpetual light shine upon them.

          May they rest in peace. Amen.


If one has some time, and is moved by holy charity, these prayers could be prayed on the rosary beads. The “Eternal Father” on the Paters, and the “My Jesus” on the Aves, without prejudice to praying our Rosary or part of it.

Friday, January 15, 2021

A Martyr for the Real Presence

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Paul Comtois gave his life to save the Holy Eucharist


May this account of a sacrifice to save the Sacred Species, by the Honourable Paul Comtois, ex-Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, help restore faith in the real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, to everyone.


by JM Laplante, omi


When the Honourable Onésime Gagnon died, Mr. Paul Comtois was chosen to replace him as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, the representative of the Crown for that Province of Canada.


Monsieur Comtois was recognized as a most endearing and social personality with exquisite French courtesy and, above all, as a true Catholic and fervent practitioner and member of the Holy Church.


In the wee hours of February 21 (1966), when a fire broke out in the old Manoir du Bois de Coulonge, Madame Comtois was in bed. There were also visitors to the Château Manoir: 10 occupants in all. Mr. Comtois, 70, was the first to react. He took his wife outside. He then personally led his daughter Mireille and all the other occupants to safety. So, as his daughter Mireille wanted to go back inside, he firmly ordered her to stay outside. He himself returned to his private chapel to save the Sacred Species.


Despite the progress of intense smoke and heat and in utter darkness, he succeeded in seizing the ciborium containing the Eucharist. In the seconds that followed, getting ready to go back down, the stairs collapsed and he was burned alive in this infernal furnace. It was by performing a sublime act of faith, which was a magnificent response to the recent encyclical of Pope Paul VI Mysterium Fidei, that a man thus exposed his life, proving his faith in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, to the point of becoming a martyr of Jesus the Bread of Life, the Sacred Host.


The news was announced on Monday morning, February 22, by CBC, the national communications network.


Let us hope that, by this expression of living faith, the Province of Quebec merits this grace of rediscovering faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, in Jesus remaining truly present in the tabernacle until the end of time.


The Larry Henderson Inquiry

In the religious information bulletin of the Armed Forces of Canada, in Cold Lake, Alberta, Father Frank Micallef repeated the main points of Father Laplante's article. This article caught the attention of journalist Larry Henderson. Mr. Henderson called for an investigation. This investigation was entrusted to a very experienced journalist, Myles O'Farrell, who published it in the Catholic Register of March 2, 1974.


According to Myles O'Farrell's investigation, it emerges that Paul Comtois managed to save the ciborium containing the Sacred Species, which was found intact under his body.


It was Lieutenant-Colonel JP Martin, aide-de-camp to the Lieutenant-Governor, who reported to him that the building caught fire like a box of matches. It was amazing how quickly the flames completely engulfed the residence. The heat of the crackling flames was in sharp contrast to the Siberian cold of less than 25 degrees Fahrenheit. In this extremely freezing temperature, the firefighters could not approach more than one hundred feet from the blaze. Paul Comtois, however, approached.


Myles O'Farrell investigation reveals

There is no doubt today, that on February 21, 1966, Paul Comtois, 70 years old, 21st Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Quebec, died of burns while trying to save the Most Holy Eucharist, from the plagued Château Bois de Coulonge. flames.


Cardinal Maurice Roy, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of the Church of Canada, paying homage to him, said: “Mr. Comtois, as a Christian, gives everyone an example of wisdom and goodness, of humility and of radiant faith.”


Apart from this tribute, the heroic sacrifice of Paul Comtois has remained ignored.


However, it is now absolutely clear, from eyewitness testimony, that instead of saving his own skin as he could have done, Paul Comtois, like a captain of a ship in distress, refused to leave the ship. building ablaze as long as his family, guests and staff were safe.


So, in a desperate effort to fulfill his final obligation to save the Holy Eucharist from the burning family chapel, he met his death there. The Ciborium, a sacred vessel containing the Eucharist, was found intact under his charred body, as proof of his last will.


Testimony of Mireille Comtois

Mireille, her daughter, tells us: “As I was running through the burning Manor, I saw my father in the chapel. As I was about to walk over to him, he firmly ordered me to jump to the first window, which I did, wondering why he didn't do the same. The last image I have of him, I can still see him under the sanctuary lamp in his pajamas, wearing the rosary around his neck, a memory of his father, which he recited every evening and which he wore to sleep. "


Mireille continues: “My father went to the chapel every evening for his prayers. Her mother was a McCaffrey from Ireland. Although dad was very devout, he feared death. One day he told me how it was not easy to obtain permission from the Cardinal to keep the Blessed Sacrament permanently in the chapel. When he was given permission, it was on the express condition that he held himself personally responsible for the safety and respectful care due our Lord. And my father was a man who assumed his obligations at all costs ...


I was told that when he was found his body was horribly burned and that his arms were not intact even though dad was of strong constitution, it was under him that the Ciborium containing Jesus-Host. His body had saved Him from the flames ... I can still see him under the sanctuary lamp...”


Bruno Turpin, a firefighter from Quebec City, was among the first to locate the body of Mr. Comtois. He reported: "He was found facing the ground, his body terribly burned ... the Ciborium containing the Hosts under him, his arms so charred they were detached from his body."


Marc Stearns, an industrialist from Quebec and guest of the Lieutenant-Governor, had spent the night there. Here is what he tells us: “I jumped from the second balcony, injuring my back and had to be hospitalized for a while. Our couple were true friends of the Comtois family; we visited each other regularly. I was a close friend and admirer of Paul Comtois. He was a very sincere person, very concerned about the problems of humanity ... His religious faith so deep, which impressed me so much, was undoubtedly the instrument of my conversion to the Catholic faith for a short time. after his death, knowing his fervent attachment to the Blessed Sacrament ... I have no doubt that Paul Comtois did everything in his power to save the Holy Eucharist from the fire. "


Father Gaudoise Labrecque, of the Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament, was for several years the chaplain of the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor. For him, Monsieur Comtois was a man of compassion, of deep faith and great devotion. “He was always preoccupied,” he says, “with social problems; he spent himself energetically to find solutions for them and he indeed made a great contribution to them. "


Excerpts from the brochure “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”, edited by Jean-Claude Bleau, 15 rue Pierre Boucher, Boucherville, QC, J4B 5A5


Necessary Dispositions for Receiving Holy Communion

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"Lord I am not Worthy"



None of us has the right to require and demand that Christ our God should humble Himself to a much greater extent than even in Bethlehem and on Calvary, by becoming the Bread of Life for us in Holy Communion. We are referring to this when we say that we are not worthy to receive Him, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof". Who could in justice ask for such an infinite gift? This is what we are referring to in saying these words together at Holy Mass.

            But there is another form of unworthiness, that of being in a state of mortal sin, or worse, which I wish to address.

            If a Catholic has lost his or her Faith in the Real Presence, that person should not receive our Lord, without recognizing that He is there.

            There are Catholics known to God, often known to God alone, who SHOULD NOT receive our Divine Lord. They should and must repent of their sins and go to Confession first.

            And there are Catholics who have taken a public stance of being in grave opposition to, or grave disobedience to the Law of Christ. They should not approach, and if they do, they must not be given Holy Communion.


OFFICIAL TEACHING of the CHURCH

Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one's worthiness to do so, according to the Church's objective criteria, asking such questions as:

  •         Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church?

  •         Am I guilty of grave sin?

  •         Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion?

  •         Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?

The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, nos. 81, 83)...

Apart from an individual's judgment about his worthiness to present himself or herself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

Catechesis on the Eucharistic Sacrifice

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"Above All Else a Sacrifice"



The celebration and offering of the Holy Eucharist is called "the Memorial of the Lord" and "the Memorial of His Passion". All other memorials, such as Brock's Monument, are memorials of the life of someone who is dead. This Memorial is the Memorial of the DEATH of Someone Who is ALIVE!

            It is not a mere reminder or portrayal of His Passion and His Person. The two major images of Christ in this church, depict Him and remind us of His Passion. But in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, He Who is alive and risen comes and RE-PRESENTS the Sacrifice of His Death on the Cross.

            The Lamb of God shed His Precious Blood for all people, so anybody can say "Almighty Father, remember the suffering of Your Son, remember how He poured out His Divine Blood for me, and have mercy on me!"

            The baptized have been grafted onto the True Vine. They belong to Christ and Christ belongs to them. They are children of God through Faith. They are a race of priests, and belong to the Kingdom of God on earth. Therefore they can not only "remind" the Lord of the saving work of His Son, they can OFFER the Blood. And when they do, they are offering the infinitely precious Blood.

            A finite person, a created, limited person, such as you and me, can offer the infinite Blood, the "acceptable sacrifice that brings salvation to the whole word".


BUT IN THE MASS...

But in the Mass Christ our Saviour becomes present and He, an infinite Divine Person, offers His Death, offers His love and obedience, offers His Precious Blood. The all holy, all innocent Lamb of God offers again His one death on Calvary. He uses the priest, but it is Himself.


* * * * *


Teaching of Christ through His Church:

"We believe that the Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the Sacrament of Orders, and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars." (Credo of Pope Saint Paul VI)


"At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of His Death and Resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'" (Paul VI quotes Vatican II)


Re-enactment at Heart of Doctrine

The heart and core of the doctrine, is that, by means of the Mystery of the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of the Cross which was once carried out on Calvary is re-enacted in wonderful fashion and is constantly recalled, and its saving power is applied to the forgiving of the sins we commit each day.

            Just as Moses made the Old Testament sacred with the blood of calves, so too Christ the Lord took the New Testament or Covenant, of which He is the Mediator, and made it sacred through His own Blood, in instituting the mystery of the Eucharist. For, as the Evangelists narrate, at the Last Supper "He took bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is My Body, given for you; do this for a commemoration of Me. And so with the cup, when supper was ended, This cup, he said, is the new testament, in my Blood which is to be shed for you." And by asking and commanding the Apostles to do this in memory of Him, He made clear that He wanted it to be forever repeated. This intention of Christ was faithfully carried out by the primitive Church through her adherence to the teaching of the Apostles and through her gatherings to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice. As St. Luke is careful to point out, "They occupied themselves continually with the Apostles' teaching, their fellowship in the breaking of bread, and the fixed times of prayer." The faithful used to derive such spiritual fervour from this practice that it was said of them that "there was one heart and soul in all the company of the believers." (16)

            Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei

Catechesis on the Most Holy Eucharist

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The Real Presence


The fact of the REAL PRESENCE

The reality itself of the bread, is changed, into the reality itself of the living, wounded, glorified, Body of Jesus Christ. The same Body that was born of the Virgin, nailed to Cross, and which came forth alive from the tomb on the third day.

The reality itself of the wine is changed, into the reality itself of the living, glorified, Blood of Jesus Christ. We call this the Real Presence. It is real. Just as real as you are, sitting in that pew It is not a merely symbolic presence. The crucifix behind me shows Jesus crucified, still alive but crucified. The image of the Sacred Heart shows Jesus Christ risen from the dead . These are images. These are depictions. But what is in the tabernacle is not an image, not a symbol, not a depiction. Jesus Christ is as really present in the Blessed Sacrament as you are really present in that bench where you are sitting. You are not symbolically present in the church today, you are really present. Jesus Christ is present really, truly and substantially in His Body Blood, Soul and Divinity.


The WITNESS of the Church's Faith

When this mass began you stood up to begin the sacred action of worship of the Divine Majesty. (You did not stand "to greet Father Paul".) Rather, we stood to begin the Sacred action. When I reached the front, on your behalf and my own,0 I touched my right knee to the ground. I made a genuflection. This was an act of adoration of the Real Presence. Later, just after the consecration of the bread, I touched my right knee again to the ground. And after consecrating the chalice, which from that moment contains the glorified Blood of Jesus, I bent my knee to the ground, I touched my right need to the ground. These are acts of adoration of the Real Presence. Again before receiving Holy Communion, I genuflected, and before I left the area of the sanctuary and processed to the back of the church I genuflected. These are acts of adoration of the Real presence. I acknowledged my Creator and Lord, Who is Jesus, present in the tabernacle or on the altar. I expressed therefore my absolute dependence upon my Lord and my God and I expressed that I owe Him everything. Before the time of Holy communion, you yourselves attested to the fact of the Real Presence. You were on your knees and I held up the Bread of Life, the Sacred Host and I said to you in, in effect. "Look! This is is the Lamb of God. Behold the Lamb of God." And you responded, speaking to the Host, speaking to the Bread of Life. "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof."


God Himself bears witness

From time to time God Himself bears witness to the Real Presence. These divine testimonies are called "Eucharistic Miracles". Here is an example:

A genuine miracle played a decisive role in Pedro Arrupe's decision to become a priest. He was a young medical student on pilgrimage to Lourdes. He noticed a young man twisted with polio in a wheelchair at Mass. As the Blessed Sacrament came near, he cried out "If you want to, You can cure me!" When he was blessed by the Sacred Host in the monstrance, the young man leapt to his feet, instantly and completely cured. Writes Arrupe:

Thanks to the special permission I had, I was later able to assist at the medical examinations of the young man. The Lord had truly cured him. There is no need to tell you what I felt and thought at that moment. I had come from the Faculty of Medicine in Madrid where I discovered so many professors (some truly renowned) and so many companions who had no faith and who always ridiculed miracles. At Lourdes, I had been an eyewitness of a true miracle worked by Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, by that same Jesus Christ who had, during the course of His life, cured so many who were ill and paralytic.


"I sensed God very close and tugging at me."

Interestingly, there was another miracle in the future Jesuit's life.

Arrupe wrote in a book –I lived the atomic bomb – his experiences the day of the tragedy and the following months. On 6 August 1945, he was in a house with 35 young people and several Jesuit fathers, when, at 8:15 a.m., he saw "a very powerful light, like a magnesium explosion, shot before our eyes".

When we opened the door of the room facing Hiroshima, "we heard a huge explosion, similar to the roar of a terrible hurricane, which took doors, windows, glasses, unstable walls…, that broke to pieces and fell over our heads". These were three or four seconds "that seemed to be lethal", although all those present there saved their lives. And none of those in the house ever suffered radiation sickness.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Do not make mercy an excuse for sin

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Do Not Say:

the Mercy of the Lord is Great.

by St. Alphonus de Liguori


I n the parable of the Good Samaritan we read, that a certain man fell into the hands of robbers, who, after having taken his money, wounded him, and left him half dead. A Samaritan who passed by, saw him, and taking pity on him, bound up his wounds, brought him to an inn, and left him to the care of the host, saying: “Take care of him.” I recall these words especially to those who, though their souls are wounded by sin, instead of attending to the care of them, continually make the wounds worse by new sins, and thus abuse the mercy of God, Who preserves their lives, that they may repent, and not be lost forever. I say to you: Brothers and sisters, take care of your souls, which are in a very bad state; have compassion on them. “Have pity on thy own soul (Eccl. xxx. 24).” Your souls are sick, and what is worse they are near the eternal death of hell; for he who abuses to excess the divine mercy, is on the point of being abandoned by the mercy of God. This shall be the subject of the present discourse.

How the Devil Fools Sinners

St. Augustine says that the devil deludes Christians in two ways “by despair and by hope.” After a person has committed sin, the enemy, by placing before his eyes the rigour of divine justice, tempts him to despair of the mercy of God. But, before the person sins, the devil by representing to him the divine mercy, labours to make him fearless of the chastisement due to sin. Hence the saint gives the following advice: “After sin, hope for mercy; before sin, fear justice.” If, after sin, you despair of God’s pardon, you offend him by a new and more grievous sin. Have recourse to His mercy, and He will pardon you. But, before sin, fear God’s justice, and trust not to His mercy; for, they who abuse the mercy of God in order to offend him, do not deserve to be treated with mercy. Abulensis says, that the man who offends justice may have recourse to mercy; but to whom can they have recourse, who offend and provoke mercy against themselves?

God never promised you tomorrow

When you intend to commit sin, who, I ask, promises you mercy from God? Certainly God does not promise it. It is the devil that promises it, that you may lose God and be damned. “Beware,” says St. John Chrysostom, “never to attend to that dog that promises thee mercy from God.”

If, beloved sinners, you have offended God up to this very moment, hope and tremble: if you desire to give up sin, and if you detest it, hope; because God promises pardon to all who repent of the evil they have done. But if you intend to continue in your sinful course, tremble lest God should stop waiting for you, but cast you into Hell.

Why God Waits for Sinners

Why does God wait for sinners? Is it that they may continue to insult Him? No; He waits for them that they may renounce sin, and that thus He may have pity on them, and forgive them. “Therefore the Lord waits, that he may have mercy on you.” (Isa. xxx. 1, 8.) But when He sees that the time which he gave them to weep over their past iniquities is spent in multiplying their sins, He begins to inflict chastisement, and He cuts them off in the state of sin, that, by dying, they may cease to offend Him. Then He calls against them the very time He had given them for repentance. “He hath called against me the time (Lam. i. 15).” “The very time,” says St. Gregory, “comes to judge.”

Delusions of Sinners

O common illusion of so many Christians who hae lost their souls! We seldom find a sinner so abandoned to despair as to say: I will damn myself. Christians sin, and endeavour to save their souls. They say: “God is merciful: I will commit this sin, and will afterwards confess it.” Behold the illusion, or rather the snare, by which Satan draws so many souls to Hell. “Commit sin,” he says, “and confess it afterwards.” But listen to what the Lord says: “And say not, the mercy of the Lord is great; He will have mercy on the multitude of my sins (Eccl. v. 6.).” Why does He tell you not to say, that the mercy of God is great? Attend to the words contained in the following verse: “For mercy and wrath come quickly from Him, and His wrath looks upon sinners (ver. 7).” The mercy of God is different from the acts of His mercy; the His mercy is infinite, the number of times that He is merciful to a particular person is finite [it would have to be finite, since we do not live forever on this earth – pjm]. God is merciful, but He is also just. St. Basil says, that sinners only consider God as merciful and ready to pardon, but not as just and prepared to inflict punishment. Of this the Lord complained one day to St. Bridget: “I am just and merciful: sinners regard Me only as merciful.” St. Basil’s words are: Bonus est Dominus sed etiam Justus, nolimus Deum ex dimidia parte cogitare.” God is just, and, being just, he must punish the ungrateful. Saint John of Avila used to say, that to bear with those who avail themselves of the mercy of God to offend Him, would not be mercy, but a lack of justice.

Mercy, as our Blessed Mother said, is promised to those who fear the Lord, and not to those who insult Him. “And His mercy is to them that fear Him” (Luke 1:50).

Some rash sinners will say: God has shown me so many mercies up to this moment; why should He not continue to treat me with the same mercy? I answer: He will show you mercy, if you wish to change your life; but if you intend to continue to offend Him, He tells you that He will take vengeance on your sins by casting you into hell. “Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time, that their foot may slide (Deut. 32:35).” David says, that “except you be converted,” He will “brandish His sword (Ps. 8:13).” The Lord has bent His bow, and waits for your conversion; but if you resolve not to return to Him, He will in the end cast the arrow against you, and you shall be damned. O God! there are some who will not believe that there is a hell until they fall into it. Can you, beloved Christians, complain of the mercies of God, after He has shown you so many mercies by waiting for you so long? You ought to remain always prostrate on the earth to thank Him for His mercies, saying: “The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed (Lamen. 3:32).” Were the injuries which you offered to God committed against a brother, he would not have borne with you. God has had so much patience with you; and He now calls you again. If, after all this, He shall send you to hell, will He do you any wrong? “What is there,” He will say, “that I ought to do more for my vineyard, that I have not done to it (Isa. v. 4)?” Impious wretch! what more ought I to do for you that I have not done?

St. Bernard says, that the confidence which sinners have in God’s goodness when they commit sin, procures for them, not a blessing, but a curse from the Lord. Est infidelis fiducia solius ubique maledictionis capax, cum videlicet in spe peccamus. O deceitful hope, which sends so many Christians to hell! St. Augustine says: “Hoping so that we sin! Cursed perverse hope!”

They do not hope for the pardon of the sins of which they repent; but they hope that, though they continue to commit sin, God will have mercy upon them; and thus they make the mercy of God serve as a motive for continuing to offend Him.

Counterfeit Hope

Accursed hope! hope which is an abomination to the Lord! “And their hope is an abomination (Job xi. 20).” This hope will make God hasten the execution of His vengeance; for surely a master will not defer the punishment of servants who offend him because he is good. Sinners, as St. Augustine observes, trusting in God’s goodness, insult Him, and say: “God is good; I will do what I please.” But, alas! how many, exclaims the same St. Augustine, has this vain hope deluded! “They who have been deceived by this shadow of vain hope cannot be numbered.” St. Bernard writes, that Lucifer’s chastisement was accelerated, because, in rebellion against God, he hoped that he should not be punished for his rebellion. Ammon, the son of king Manasses, seeing that God had pardoned the sins of his father, gave himself up to a wicked life with the hope of pardon; but, for Ammon there was no mercy. St. John Chrysostom says, that Judas was lost because, trusting in the goodness of Jesus Christ, he betrayed Him.

He that sins with, the hope of pardon, saying: “I will afterwards repent, and God will pardon me:” is, according to St. Augustine, “not a penitent, but a scoffer.” The Apostle tells us that “God is not mocked (Gal. vi. 7).”

It would be a mockery of God to offend Him as often and as long as you please, and always to receive the pardon of your offences.

“For what things a man shall sow,” says St. Paul, “those also shall he reap (Ibid., ver. 8).” They who sow sins, can hope for nothing but the hatred of God and hell. “Do you despise the riches of His goodness, and patience, and long-suffering (Rom. ii. 4).” Do you, O sinner, despise the riches of the goodness, of the patience, and long-suffering of God towards you? He uses the word riches, because the mercies which God shows us, in not punishing our sins, are riches more valuable to us than all treasures. “Do you not know,” continues the Apostle, “that the goodness and kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

Behold I stand at the door and knock...

Do you not know that the Lord waits for you, and treats you with so much kindly goodness, not that you may continue to sin, but that you may weep over the offences you have offered to Him?

For, says St. Paul, if you persevere in sin and do not repent, your obstinacy and impenitence shall accumulate a treasure of wrath against the day of wrath, that is, the day on which God shall judge you. “According to your hardness and impenitent heart, you treasure up wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God.”

After the hardness of the sinner will come his abandonment by God, Who shall say of the soul that is obstinate in sin, what he said of Babylon: “We would have cured Babylon; but she is not healed; let us forsake her (Jer. 51:9).”

And how does God abandon the sinner? He either sends him a sudden death, and cuts him off in sin, or He deprives him of the graces which would be necessary to bring him to true repentance; He leaves him with the sufficient graces with which he can, but will not, save his soul. The darkness of his understanding, the hardness of his heart, and the bad habits which he has contracted, will render his conversion morally impossible. Thus, he shall not be absolutely but morally abandoned.

“I will take away its hedge, and it shall be wasted (Isa. v. 5).” When the master of the vineyard destroys its hedges, does he not show that he abandons it? It is thus that God acts when He abandons a soul. He takes away the hedge of holy fear and remorse of conscience, and leaves the soul in darkness, and then vices crowd into the heart. “Thou hast appointed darkness, and it is night: in it shall all the beasts of the wood go about (Ps. 103:20).”

And the sinner, abandoned in an abyss of sins, will despise admonitions, excommunications, divine grace, chastisement, and Hell: he will make a joke of his own damnation. “The wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sin, contemns (Prov. 18:3).”

“Why,” asks the Prophet Jeremias, “does the way of the wicked prosper (Jer. 12:1)?” He answers: “Gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice (v. 3).” Miserable the sinner who is prosperous in this life!

The prosperity of sinners is a sign that God wishes to give them a temporal reward for some works which are morally good, but that He reserves them as victims of His justice for hell, where, like the accursed cockle, they shall be cast to burn for all eternity.
“In the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers: Gather up the first cockle, and bind it in bundles to burn (Matt. 13:30).”

So, not to be punished in this life is the greatest of God’s chastisements on the wicked, and has been threatened against the obstinate sinner by the Prophet Isaias. “Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice (Is 26:10).” On this passage St. Bernard says: This mercy I do not wish for: it is above all wrath.

And what greater chastisement than to be abandoned into the Lands of sin, so that, being permitted by God to fall from sin to sin, the sinner must in the end go to suffer as many hells as he has committed sins?

Add thou iniquity upon their iniquity. . . . let them be “blotted out of the book of the living” (Ps. 68:28, 29). On these words St. Robert Bellarmine writes: “There is no punishment greater than when sin is the punishment of sin.” It would be better for such a sinner to die after the first sin; because by dying under the load of so many additional iniquities, he shall suffer as many hells as he has committed sins. This is what happened to a certain comedian in Palermo, whose name was Cesare. He one day told a friend that Father La Nusa, a missionary, foretold him that God should give him twelve years to live, and that if within that time he did not change his life, he should die a bad death. Now, said he to his friend, I have travelled through so many parts of the world: I have had many attacks of sickness, one of which nearly brought me to the grave; but in this month the twelve years shall be completed, and I feel myself in better health than in any of the past years. He then invited his friend to listen to a new comedy which he had composed. But, what happened? On the 24th November, 1688, the day fixed for the comedy, as he was going on the stage, he was seized with apoplexy, and died suddenly. He expired in the arms of a female entertainer. Thus the scene of this world ended miserably for him.

We need to apply all this to ourselves.

Brothers and sisters, I ask you and urge you to give a glance at all the bygone years of your life: look at the grievous offences you have committed against God, and at the great mercies which He has shown to you, the many lights He has bestowed upon you, and the many times He has called you to a change of life.

By this sermon he has today given you a new call. He appears to me to say to you: “What is there that I ought to do to my vineyard, that I have not done to it (Is 5:4)?” What more ought I to do for you that I have not done? What do you say? What answer have you to make? Will you give yourselves to God, or will you continue to offend Him?

Think about this, says St. Augustine, that the punishment of your sins has been deferred, not remitted; “unfruitful tree! The axe has been deferred. Be not secure: you shall be cut off.” If you abuse the divine mercy, you shall be cut off; vengeance shall soon fall upon you. What are you waiting for? Do you wait till God sends you to Hell? The Lord has been hitherto silent; but He is not silent forever. When the time of vengeance shall arrive He will say: “These things you did, and I was silent. You thought unjustly that I should be like you: but I will reprove you, and set before your face (Ps. xlix. 21).” He will set before your eyes the graces which He bestowed upon you, and which you have despised: these very graces shall judge and condemn you.

Brothers and sisters, stop resisting the calls of God; tremble if the call which He gives you today may be the last call for you. Go to confession as soon as possible, and make immediately a firm resolution to change your lives. It is useless to confess your sins, if you afterwards return to your former vices.

But you will perhaps say that you have not strength to resist the temptations by which you are assailed. Listen to the words of the Apostle: “God is faithful, Who will not permit you to be tempted above that which you are able (I Cor 10:13).” God is faithful: He will not permit you to be tempted above your strength. And if of yourself you have not strength to overcome the devil, ask it from God, and He will give it to you. “Ask, and you shall receive (John 16:24).” “Praising,” said David, “I will call on the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies (Ps. 17:4).” And St. Paul said: “I can do all things in Him Who strengthened me (Phil. 4:13).” Of myself I can do nothing; but with the divine assistance I can do all things. Recommend yourselves to God in all temptations, and God will enable you to resist them, and you shall not fall.

Friday, October 30, 2020

A Word on the Gospel for All Saints

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The SOLEMNITY of ALL the SAINTS


GOSPEL

Matthew 5:1-12a (Douai-Rheims translation)


5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:


3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.


5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.


6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.


7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.


8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.


9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.


10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


11 “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12a Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.


A help to understanding the Beatitudes is to realize that they are not so much a list of requirements, as they are a description of our Blessed Lord and Saviour. We have a living, immaculate and perfect model to imitate. And He gives us the light, strength and power to fololow Him. “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.”


What can we do? Intensify our life of prayer and that prayer, if it is real, will lead to an ever greater, ever deeper REPENTANCE. “To know how to prayer right, is to know how to live right” said St. Augustine.