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Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost - Stone - 08-15-2021

INSTRUCTION ON THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.
From Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

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THE Introit of the Mass is the prayer of a troubled soul, entreating God for assistance against its enemies: Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me: let my enemies be confounded and ashamed, who seek my soul. Let them be turned backward and blush for shame, who desire evils to me. (lxix.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Almighty and merciful God, of whose gift it cometh that the faithful do Thee homage with due and laudable service: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may run without stumbling to the attainment of Thy promises. Thro'.

EPISTLE (ii Cor. iii. 4 — 9.) Brethren, Such confidence we have through Christ towards God: not that we are sufficient to think any thing of ourselves, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God, who also hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit: for the letter killeth: but the spirit quickeneth. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather in glory? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.

Quote:EXPLANATION. St. Paul speaks in the epistle, from which this extract is taken, of the conversion of the Corinthians, which he accomplished not by his own ability, but with the help of God, who made him a minister of the New Testament, a teacher of the true religion of Christ. The New Testament by the grace of the Holy Ghost recalls the sinner from the death of sin, reconciles him to God, and thus enlivens and makes him pleasing to God; whereas the letter of the Old Law, which contains more external ceremonies and fewer commandments, changes not the man, but rather destroys him, that is, threatens with death the transgressor of the law instead of freeing him from sin and reconciling him to God, thus permitting him to die the eternal death. St. Paul preached the true religion of Christ, which vivifies, justifies, and sanctifies man. If the ministry of Moses was so glorified by God, that his countenance shone, when he returned from Mount Sinai, where God gave him the law, how much more dignified and glorious must be the ministry of the New Law. Learn from this to esteem the office of preaching, and be humble like St. Paul, who trusted not in himself but in God, to whom he ascribed all honor.

GOSPEL. (Luke x. 23—37.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not
heard them. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying: Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said to him: Thou hast answered rightly: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him, went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced that a certain priest went down the same way, and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him: and the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him, and whatsoever, thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee. Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbor to him that fell among robbers? But he said: He that showed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner.


Why does Christ call His disciples blessed?

Because they had the happiness which so many patriarchs and prophets had desired in vain, namely: of seeing Him and hearing His teaching. Though we have not the happiness to see Jesus and hear Him, nevertheless we are not less blessed than the apostles, since Christ pronounces those blessed who do not see and yet believe. (John xx. 29.)


What, besides faith, is necessary for salvation?

That we love God and our neighbor, for in these two commandments consists the whole law. (Matt. xxii. 40.)


Who is our neighbor?

Every man, be he an acquaintance or a stranger, poor or rich, of our faith or of another; for the Samaritan did not ask the one who had fallen among robbers: Who and whence are you? but considered him his neighbor, and proved himself as such in return by his prompt assistance.


How should we love our neighbor?

As we love ourselves, that is, we should wish him everything good, and when in necessity do to him as we would wish others to do to us, and, on the contrary, not wish nor do to him anything that we do not wish to be done to ourselves. In this way the Samaritan loved his neighbor, and in this he was far superior to the priest and the Levite.


How can we especially practice love for our neighbor?

By the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. [See Instruction for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.] Besides which we must rejoice at the spiritual and corporal graces of our neighbor, which God communicates to him ; we must grieve for his misfortunes, and, according to the example of St. Paul, (i Cor. i. 4.) have compassion for him; we must bear with the faults of our neighbor, as St. Paul again admonishes us: Bear ye one another's burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. (Gal. vi. 2.)


Why should we love our neighbor?

We should love him because God commands it; but there are also other reasons which should induce us to do so. We are not only according to nature brothers and sisters in Adam, but also according to grace, in Christ, and we would have to be ashamed before animals, if we would allow ourselves to be surpassed in the love which they bear one to another; (Ecclus. xiii. 19.) all our neighbors are the image and likeness of God, bought by the blood of Jesus, and being adopted children, called to heaven, as we are; the example of Christ who loved us, when we were yet His enemies, (Rom. v. 10.) and gave Himself for us unto death, ought to incite us to love them. But can we be His disciples, if we do not follow Him, and if we do not bear in us the mark of His disciples, i. e. the love of our neighbor? (John xiii. 35.) Finally, the necessity of the love for our neighbor ought to compel us, as it were, to it; for without it, we cannot be saved. He that loveth not, says St. John, abideth in death, (i John iii. 14.) and he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not? (i John iv. 20.) because he transgresses one of the greatest commandments of God, and does not fulfil the law. (Rom. xiii. 10.)


What is necessary to make the love of our neighbor meritorious?

It must tend to God, that is, we must love our neighbor only in and for God, because God commands it, and it is pleasing to Him. For to love our neighbor on account of a natural inclination, or self interest, or some other still less honorable reason, is only a natural, animal love, in no wise different from the love of the heathens; for the heathens also love and salute those who love and salute them in turn. (Matt. v. 46.)

PETITION. O my God, Father of mercy! give me a loving and compassionate heart, which will continually impel me to do good to my neighbor for Thy sake, so that I may merit the same from Thy mercy.


What is understood from this day's gospel in a higher and more spiritual sense?

According to the interpretation of the Fathers, our father Adam, and hence the whole human race is to be understood by the one, who had fallen among robbers. The human race, which through the disobedience of Adam fell into the power of Satan and his angels, was robbed of original justice and the grace of God, and moreover was wounded and weakened in all powers of the soul by evil concupiscence.

The priest and the Levite who represent the Old Law, would not and could not repair this misfortune; but Christ, the true Samaritan, embraced the interests of the wounded man, inasmuch as He poured the oil of His grace, and the wine of His blood into the wounds of man's soul, and thus healed him, and inasmuch as He led him by baptism into the inn of His Church, and there entrusted him to His priests
for further care and nursing. Thank Christ, the good Samaritan, for this great love and care for you, and endeavor to make good use of His blessings to you by your cooperation.



INSTRUCTION ON THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF EXTREME UNCTION

He bound up his wounds pouring in oil and wine. (Luke x. 34.)

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THE conduct of the Samaritan in regard to the wounded man, may be viewed as a figure of the holy Sacrament of Extreme Unction, in which Christ, the true Samaritan, by means of the holy oil and the prayer of the priest, His representative, dispenses His grace to the sick for the welfare of the soul and often of the body, provided the sick place no obstacle in His way.


Is Extreme Unction a Sacrament?

Yes; because it was instituted by Christ, and by it grace is conveyed to the sick through an outward sign.


Did Christ institute this Sacrament?

He did, for He sent His disciples to anoint the sick with oil and heal them, as the Evangelist writes: Going forth they preached that men should do penance: and they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. (Mark vi. 12 13.) We must believe that this unction was not invented by the apostles, but ordained by the Lord. This is confirmed by the Council of Trent, which says: (Sess. klW. c. 1.) "This sacred Unction of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord, as indicated by St. Mark, but recommended to the faithful and promulgated by the Apostle St. James, a relative of our Lord." "Is any man," he says, "sick among you? let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven. (James v. 14, 15.) St. James could not have said this, if he had not known the institution and command of Christ: to it apostolic and uninterrupted tradition also gives testimony.


What is the external sign of this Sacrament?

The anointing with holy oil, which is blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday, and the prayer of the priest.


What graces does this Sacrament produce in the sick man?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent enumerates the following: first, it remits sins, especially venial sins. Its primary object is not to remit mortal sin. For this the Sacrament of penance was instituted, as was that of baptism for the remission of original sin; secondly, it removes the languor and infirmity entailed by sin, with all other inconveniences. The time most seasonable for the application of this cure is, when we are visited by some severe malady, which thre ithens to prove fatal; for nature dreads no earthly visitation so much as death, and this dread is considerably augmented by the recollection of our past sins, particularly if the mind is harrowed by the poignant reproaches of conscience; for it is written: "They shall come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them." A source of alarm still more distressing is the awful reflection, that, in a few moments, we shall stand before the judgment-seat of God, whose justice will award that sentence, which our lives have deserved. The terror inspired by these considerations frequently agitates the soul with the most awful apprehensions; and to calm this terror nothing can be so efficacious as the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. It quiets our fear, illumines the gloom in which the soul is enveloped, fills it with pious and holy joy, and enables us to await with cheerfulness the coming of the Lord; thirdly, it fortifies us against the violent assaults of Satan. The enemy of mankind never ceases to seek our ruin: and if it be possible to deprive us of all hope of mercy, he more than ever increases his efforts, when he sees us approach our last end. This Sacrament, therefore, enables the recipient to fight resolutely and successfully against him; fourthly, it effects the recovery of health, if advantageous to the sick person.


What intentions must the sick man have, in order to gain these graces?

Since the Sacraments work the more powerfully the better the preparation made by those who receive them, and since by this Sacrament those sins are remitted which we have forgotten, or have not sufficiently known, the sick man should, therefore, receive beforehand, if it be possible, the holy Sacrament of Penance and the blessed Eucharist; or if this cannot be done, he should make an act of perfect contrition, and have the wish to confess if possible. He should, therefore, not defer the reception of this Sacrament to the last moment, when the violence of sickness has already taken away the use of his reason and senses, but he should ask for this Sacrament whilst yet enjoying the use of reason, so that he may receive it with devotion and salutary result.


Is this Sacrament necessary for salvation?

No; yet we should not neglect in case of sickness to partake of the excellent fruits of this Sacrament since the Council of Trent teaches: "To despise so great a Sacrament would indeed be a great sin, an insult to the Holy Ghost." (Sess. xiv. c. 3.)


Can we receive this Sacrament make than once?

We can receive it as often as we are in danger of death by sickness; but we must bear in mind that we can be anointed only once in the same sickness.


Why is this Sacrament called Extreme Unction?

Because among all the Sacraments which our Lord and Saviour ordained in His Church, this one is the last we are to receive. But from this it does not follow, as so many believe that one who receives this Sacrament must die soon, but it will rather become a means of salvation for their souls, and if it be for their eternal welfare, will also restore their bodily health.


What does the priest do when he enters the house of the sick person?

He wishes peace to the house, and prays that God may send His angels to protect its inmates, that He may drive away the enemy, console the sick, strengthen, and give him health.


Why does the priest sprinkle the sick person with holy water?

To remind him that he should implore of God the forgiveness of his sins, with tears of contrition , in order to dispel the influence of the evil spirit.


Why does the priest exhort those present to pray while he administers the Sacrament?

That God may grant through their prayers whatever may contribute to the welfare of the sick man's body and soul.


For what does the priest pray, when he imposes his hands on the head of the sick person?

He begs that God, through the imposition of hands and by the intercession of all the saints, may take the sick person under His protection, and destroy the power of the devil, who attacks one particularly in the hour of death.


What does the priest say at the anointing with oil?

He begs that God, through this unction and through His gracious mercy, may forgive the sick person all the sins which he has committed with his five senses. At the same time the sick person should, in a spirit of humility and with a repentant and contrite heart, implore of God the forgiveness of all his sins.


Why does the priest present the sick person a crucifix to kiss?

To remind him that, like Jesus, he should suffer with patience, and place his whole confidence in the infinite merits of the Crucified, and be willing to suffer and die for love of Him. For this reason the crucifix ought to be presented often to the dying person.


What should the sick person do, after he has received the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?

He should use all his remaining strength to thank God sincerely for the benefit he has received, commend himself to the wounds and the blood of Jesus, and meditate with quiet recollection on death and eternity.


How consoling does our holy Catholic Church appear in the continual use of this Sacrament ! Having, like a tender mother, received man by holy Baptism under her maternal care; by holy Confirmation given him the necessary weapons against sin, heresy, and infidelity; by the holy Sacrament of Penance purified him from stains and sins; and by the blessed Eucharist nourished him with the bread of life, enriched him with virtues, and secured him against falling, she does not desert him even in the last, all important moment of death. In that dangerous hour when the dying person, forsaken by all, often by his most intimate friends, or looked upon with fear, lies on his bed of pain, when behind him time ceases and before him a certain, though unknown eternity opens itself, when Satan brings all his resources into play, in order to ruin his soul, and the thought of the coming judgment makes the heart tremble, — in this terrible hour the faithful mother, the Catholic Church, does not abandon him; she sends the priest, her servant like a consoling angel to his couch, to encourage the sufferer and strengthen the fearful with the divine word, to cleanse the sinner and reconcile him with God by the Sacrament of Penance, to fortify the weak and nourish him with the bread of life, to strengthen the combatant with the holy oil, thus providing him with all the means of grace which Jesus obtained for His Church, to conduct his soul before the face of the eternal Judge, there to find grace and mercy.

Considering this, dear Christian, should you not feel happy to be a member of this Church, should you not thank God continually, and adhere faithfully to a Church, in which it is indeed not so pleasant to live, as in the bosom of irreligion, but in which it is good to die!


RE: Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost - Stone - 08-15-2021

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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On this Sunday, which is their Twelfth of St. Matthew, the Greeks read, in the Mass, the episode of the young rich man who questions Jesus, given in the 19th of the Saint’s Gospel. In the West, it is the Gospel of the good Samaritan, which gives its name to this twelfth Sunday after Pentecost.

The Introit begins with that beautiful verse of the 69th Psalm: Come to mine assistance, O God! O Lord, make haste to help me! Cassian, in his tenth Conference has admirably drawn out the beauty of these words, and shows how they are appropriate for every circumstance of life, and how fully they respond to every sentiment of the Christian soul. Durandus applies this Introit’s being used in today’s liturgy to Job, because the Lessons for the Divine Office, which are taken from that Book of Scripture, are sometimes, though not often, the ones which coincide with this Sunday. Rupert looks on this Introit as the fitting prayer of the deaf and dumb man, whose cure was the subject of our reflections this day last week. He says: “The human race, in the person of our first parents, had become deaf to the commandments of God, and dumb in his praise; the first use he makes of his untied tongue is to call upon the God who had healed him.” The same words are the Church’s first address each morning to her Creator, and her opening of each of the canonical hours, both day and night.

Introit
Deus, in adjutorium meum intende: Domine, adadjuvandum me festina: confudantur, et reverantur inimici mei, qui quærunt animam meam. 
Incline unto mine aid, O God! O Lord, make haste to help me! Let mine enemies be confounded and ashamed that seek my soul.

Ps. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, qui cogitant mihi mala. Gloria Patri. Deus. 
Ps. Let them be turned backward, and blush for shame, that desire evils to me. Glory, etc. Incline.


It frequently happens (and we have already explained the reason) that the Collect of the Masses for the Time after Pentecost contains an allusion to the Gospel of the foregoing Sunday. The one for today is evidently such. Eight days back, we were taught how man, who had rendered himself incapable of serving his Creator, finds by Divine mercy that his supernatural faculties are restored to him; and that, then, he gives forth the voice of praise, and that, too, rightly—(loquebator recte). The Church, taking up the idea here suggested, prays thus:

Collect
Omnipotens et misericors Deus, de cujus munere venit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne et laudabiliter serviatur: tribue, quæsumus, nobis; ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus. Per Dominum.
O almighty and merciful God, from whose gift it cometh, that thy Faithful worthily and laudably serve thee: grant us, we beseech thee, that we may run on, without stumbling, to the things thou hast promised us. Through, etc.

The other Collects, as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.


Epistle
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul, the Apostle, to the Corinthians. 2 Ch. iii.

Brethren: We have confidence through Christ, towards God. Not that we are sufficient to think any thing of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God. Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit. For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious; so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in glory? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.

Quote:The glorious promises, mentioned in the concluding words of our Collect, are described to us in the Epistle, which seems, at first sight, to be entirely in praise of the Apostolic ministry; but the glory of the Apostles is the glory of Him whom they announce; and this one glory, which is His—Christ, the Head, communicates it to all his members, making it also their one glory. This divine glory flows, together with the divine life, from that sacred Head; and they both flow, and copiously too, through all the channels of holy Church. If they do not come to all christians in the same proportions—such difference in no wise denotes that the glory or the life themselves are of a different kind to some from what they are to others. Each member of Christ’s mystical Body is called upon to form his own degree of capacity for glory; not of course, as the Apostle says, that we are of ourselves sufficient even to think anything as of ourselves—but what diversity is there not, in the way in which men turn to profit the divine capital allotted to each by grace!

Oh! if we did but know the gift of God! if we did but understand the supereminent dignity reserved, under the law of love, to every man of good will! then perhaps our cowardice and sluggishness would, at last, go; perhaps, then, our souls would get fired with the noble ambition which turns men into saints. At all events, we should then come to realise that christian humility, of which we were speaking on the last two Sundays, is not the vulgar grovelling of a low-minded man, but the glorious entrance upon the way which leads, by divine Union, to the one true greatness. Are not these men inconsistent and senseless who, longing by the very law of their nature for glory—go seeking it in the phantoms of pride, and allow themselves to be diverted, by the baubles of vanity, from the pursuit of those real honors which Eternal Wisdom had destined for them! And those grand honors were to have been heaped upon them not only in their future heaven, but even here in their earthly habitation—and God and his Saints were to have been admiring and applauding spectators!

In the name, then, of our dearest and truest interests, let us give ear to our Apostle, and get into us his heavenly enthusiasm. We shall understand his exquisite teaching all the better if we read the sequel to the few lines assigned for today’s Epistle. It is but fully carrying out the wishes of the Church when her children, after or before assisting at her liturgical services, take the Sacred Scriptures, and read for themselves the continuation of passages, which are necessarily abridged during the public celebrations. It were well if they did this all through the Year. What a fund of instruction they would thus acquire! Today, however, there is an additional motive for the suggestion, inasmuch as this second Epistle to the Corinthians is brought before us for the first and only time during this season of the Liturgy.

But let us examine what is this glory of the New Testament, which so ills the Apostle with ecstasy and, in his mind, almost entirely eclipses the splendor of the Old. Splendor here undoubtedly was in the Sinai covenant. Never had there been such a manifestation of God’s majesty and omnipotence and holiness as on that day, when gathering together at the foot of the Mount, the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob, he mercifully renewed, with this immense family, the covenant formerly made with their Fathers, and gave them his Law in the extraordinarily solemn manner described in the book of Exodus. And yet that law, engraven as it was on stone by God’s own hand, was not, for all that, in the hearts of the receivers; neither did its holiness prevent, though it condemned, sin—sin which reigns in man’s heart. Moses, who carried the divine writing, came down from the Mount, having the rays of God’s glory blazing on his face; but it was a glory which was not to be shared in by the people of whom he was the head; it was for himself alone, as was likewise the privilege he had enjoyed of speaking with God face to face; it ceased with him; thus signifying by its short duration the character of that ministration, which was to cease in the coming of the Messiah, just as the night’s borrowed light vanishes when the day appears. And as it were the better to show that the time was not as yet come when God would manifest his glory—the children of Israel were not able to gaze steadfastly on the face of Moses; so that, when he had to speak to the people, he had need to put on a veil. Though a mere borrowed light, the brightness of Moses’ face represented the glory of the future Covenant, whose splendor ws to shine, not of course externally, but in the hearts of us all, by giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. Light, living and life-giving, which is none other than the divine Word, the Wisdom of the Father, a Light and a Wisdom which the entergy of the Sacraments, seconded by contemplation and love, makes to pass from the Humanity of our divine Head to the very recessed of our souls.

We shall find our Sunday giving us a second reminder of Moses; but the true and enduring greatness of the Hebrew leader is in what we have been stating. In the same way that Abraham was grander by the spiritual progeny which was the issue of his Faith, than he was by the posterity that was his in the flesh—so the glory of Moses consisted not so much in his having been at the head of the ancient Israelites for forty long years as in his having represented, in his own person, both the office of the Messiah King, and the prerogatives of the new people. The Gentile is set free from the law of fear and sin by the law of grace, which not only declares justice, but gives it; the Gentile, having been made a son of God, communes with Him in that liberty which comes of the Spirit of love. But this privileged Gentile has no type which so perfectly represents him, in the first Covenant, as this the very lawgiver of Israel, this Moses who find such favor with the Most High as to be admitted to behold His glory, and converse with Him with all the intimacy of friend to friend. Whereas God showed himself to this his servant—as far, that is, as mortal man is capable of such sight—and as he was seen by him without the intermediation of figures or images—so, when he approached thus to God, Moses took from his face the veil he wore at other times. The Jew persists, even to this very day, in keeping between himself and Christ, this veil, which is removed to all the world else; the Christian, on the contrary, with the holy daring, of which the Apostle speaks, removes all intermediates between God and himself, and draws aside the veil of all figures. Beholding the glory of the Lord with face uncovered, we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord, for as we become other christs, and are made like to God the Father, as is his Son Christ Jesus.

Thus is fulfilled the will of this Almighty Father for the sanctification of the elect. God sees himself reflected in these predestinated, who are become, in the beautiful light divine, comformable to the image of his Son. He could say of each one of them what he spoke at the Jordan and on Thabor; This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. He makes them his true temple; verifying the word he spoke of old: I will walk among you, and will be your God; I will bring thy seed from the East, and gather thee from the West; I will say to the North: “Give up!” and to the South: “Keep not back!” Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth!

Such are the promises, for whose realization we should, as the Apostle says, be all earnestness in working out our sanctification, by cleansing ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, in the fear of God, and in his love. Such is that glory of the New Testament, that glory of the Church and of every Christian soul, which so immensely surpasses the glory of the Old and the brightness which lit up the face of Moses. As to our carrying this treasure in frail vessels, we must not, on that account, lose heart but rather rejoice in this weakness, which makes God’s power all the more evident; we must take our miseries, and even Death itself, and turn them into profit, by giving the strong manifestation of our Lord Jesus’ life in this mortal flesh of ours. What matters it to our faith and our hope if our outward man is gradually falling to decay, when the inner is being renewed day by day? The light and transitory suffering of the present is producing within us an eternal weight of glory. Let us then fix our gaze not on what is seen, but on what is unseen; the visible passes, the invisible is eternal.

The human race, delivered from its long ages of dumbness, and blessed, at the same time, with God’s gifts, sings, in the Gradual, the hymn of its warmest gratitude.

Gradual
Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore: semper laus ejus in ore meo.
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall be always in my mouth.

℣. In Domino laudabitur anima mea: audiant mansueti, et lætentur.
℣. In the Lord shall my soul be praised: let the meek hear and rejoice.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Domine Deus salutis meæ, in die clamavi et nocte coram te. Alleluia.
℣. O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried, in the day and in the night, before thee. Alleluia.


Gospel
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke. Ch. x.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying, Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said to him: Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee. Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers? But he said: He that shewed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner.

Quote:The Doctor and Apostle of the Gentiles was speaking to us in the Epistle of the glory of the New Testament: He, of whom Paul was but the servant—Jesus, the Man-God, reveals to us, in the Gospel, the perfection of that Law, which he came to give to the world. And as though he would, in a certain way, unite his own divine teachings with those of his Apostle, and justify that Apostle’s enthusiasm, it is from the very depth of his own most holy soul, and in the Holy Ghost that, having thanked his Eternal Father for these great things, he cries out, turning to his Disciples: “Blessed are the eyes that see the things which ye see!”

The same idea was expressed by the Prince of the Apostolic College, when he spoke of the unspeaking and glorious joy which resulted from the new Alliance, wherein figures were to be replaced by realities. In his first Epistle to the elect of the Holy Spirit, Peter speaks in the same strain as his divine Master had done, of the unfulfilled aspirations of the Saints of the Old Testaments—these admirable men whom St. Paul describes as being so grand in faith, as to be both heroic in combat and sublime in virtue. St. Peter than expresses, in inspired language, how the elect of the Church of expectation were continually looking forward to the grace of the time that was to come; how they were ever counting the years which were to intervene; how they were carefully searching (scrutinizing, as our Vulgate words it) the long ages to find out when that happy time would be realized, although they were well aware that the longed-for sight of the mysteries of salvation was never to be theirs, and that their mission was limited to prophesying those future grandeurs to future generations.

But who are those Kings spoken of in our Gospel, as uniting with the Prophets in the desire to see the things we see? To say nothing of those holy ones who thought less of the throne they sat on than of the divine Object of the world’s expectation—may we not say, with the holy Fathers, that they well deserved to be called kings, whom St. Paul describes as, by their faith, conquering kingdoms, vanquishing armies, stopping the mouths of lions, masters of the very elements, yea, what is more, masters of their own selves? Heedless of the mockeries, as well as that of the persecutions of the world that was not worthy to possess such men—these champions of the faith were seen wandering in the deserts, sheltering in dens and caves, and yet as happy as kings, because of a certain Object whom they intensely loved and longed to see, and yet whom they knew they were not to see, until after their deaths, and until tedious ages had run their long course.

We, then, who are their descendants—we for whom they were obliged to wait, in order to enjoy a share of those blessings which their sighs and vehement desires did so much to hasten—do we appreciate the immense favor bestowed on us by our Lord? We, whose virtue scarcely bears comparison with that of the fathers of our faith, and who, notwithstanding, by the descent of the Holy Spirit of love, have been put more enlightened than ever were the prophets, for, by that Holy Spirit, we have been put in possession of the mysteries which they only foretold—how is it that we are so sadly slow to feel the obligation we are under of responding, by holiness of life, and by an ardent and generous love, to the liberality of that God who has gratuitously called us, from darkness, to his admirable light? Having so great a cloud of witnesses over our heads, let us lay aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, and run, by patience, in the fight proposed to us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who, having joy set before him, preferred to endure the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. We know him with greater certainty than we do the events which are happening under our eyes, for he himself, by his Holy Spirit, is ever within us, incorporating his mysteries into us.

The illumination of holy Baptism has produced within our souls that revelation of Christ Jesus which constitutes the basis of the Christian life, and for which the Man-God congratulated his disciples. It was of that revelation or knowledge that he spoke, rather than of the exterior sight of his human nature, a sight which was common not only to his devoted followers, but to every enemy that chose to stare at him. The Apostle of the Gentiles makes this very clear, when after the change produced in the Disciples by the Holy Ghost’s coming upon them, he thus spoke: If we once knew Christ according to the flesh—now we know him so no longer. It is literally in us, and no longer in the cities of Judea, that the kingdom of God is to be found. It is faith that shows us the Christ who is dwelling in our hearts, that he may establish us in charity, and grow in us, by transforming us into himself, and fill us with all the fullness of God. It is by fixing his eye on the divine image, which silently lights up the soul that has been purified by Baptism—that as we were just now saying, the inner man is renewed from day to day, by incessant contemplation, and growing love, and persevering and, at last, perfect imitation—of his Creator and Savior.

How important, then, that we let the supernatural light have such free scope and expansion within us, that not one of our acts or thoughts, not even the deepest recess of our hearts, shall escape its sovereign influence and guidance! It is on this point that the Holy Ghost works prodigies in faithful souls: the unrestrained development of those his highest Gifts—Understanding and Wisdom—gives such a predominance to the divine light, that the brightness of the sun’s rays pales to the eyes of these Saints. Sometimes even, in his omnipotent freedom of breathing when and as he willeth, this Holy Spirit waits not for the regular development of those Gifts of His, which he bestows upon all: the soul, drawn up to heights unreached by the ordinary paths of the christian life, finds herself plunged in the deepest abyss of Wisdom; there she delightedly imbibes the rays which come to her from the eternal summits and, in their tranquil and radiant simplicity which holds all in itself, she feels that she has the secret of all things. There are moments when, raised up still higher—above the region of the senses or the domain of human reasoning, yea, as St. Denis the Areopagite words it, above all the intelligible—she is permitted to rest her wings on the summit, where dwells the uncreated light in its essence—that thrice holy sanctuary, whence it streams down even to the furthest limits of creation, lending something of its divine splendor to every creature. Then is it that, mercifully acting on the soul, which cannot yet bear the direct infinite glory, the Blessed Trinity shrouds her in that mysterious darkness, of which the Saints speak as belonging to these highest degrees of mystical ascension. The darkness, beyond which is the very God of Majesty, is an obscurity which penetrates the soul with higher bliss than does light itself; it is a sacred night whose silence is more eloquent than any sound that this earth could hear; it is a holy of holies, where adoration absorbs the soul; vision is not there, still less is science; and yet it is in this sanctuary that understanding and love, acting together in ineffable unison, take hold of the sublimest mysteries of theology.

It is quite true that such favors as these are imparted to but few; and no man can lay the slightest claim to them, be his virtue ever so great or his fidelity ever so tried. Neither does perfection depend upon them. Faith, which guides the just man, is enough to make him estimate the life of the senses for what it really us—miserable and groveling. With the aid of ordinary grace, he easily lives in that intimate retirement of the soul, where he knows that the holy Trinity resides—he knows it because he has it from the teaching of the Scripture. His heart is a kind of heaven, where his life is hidden in God, together with that Jesus upon whom are fixed all his thought: there he gives to his beloved Lord the only proof of love which is to be trusted, the only one that this Lord asks at our hands—the keeping of the commandments. In spite of the ardent longings of his hope, he waits patiently and calmly for that final revelation of Christ, which on the last day will give him to appear together with Him in glory; for, as without seeing him, he knows that he loves Him. The ever advancing growth in virtue, which men observe in such a man, is a more unmistakable proof of the power of faith than can be those extraordinary manifestations of which we were just speaking, and in which the soul is so irresistibly subdued, that she has scarcely the power to refuse her love.

Hence it is not without a reason and a connection that the Gospel chosen for today passes at once, after the opening verses which we have been commenting, to the new promulgation of the great commandment, which includes the whole Law and the Prophets. Faith assures man that he may and must love the Lord his God with his whole heart, and with his whole soul, and his whole strength, and his whole mind, and his neighbor as himself. In the Homily on the sacred text offered to us by the Church, the interpretation goes not beyond the question proposed by the Jewish lawyer: by this, she as good as tells us that the latter portion of the Gospel, though by far the longer, is but the practical conclusion of the former, according to that saying of the Apostle, that Faith worketh by charity The parable of the good Samaritan, though containing materials for the sublimest symbolic teaching, is spoken here in its literal sense by our Lord, for the one purpose of removing the restrictions put by the Jews on the great precept of love.

If all perfection be included in love—if, without love, no virtue produces fruit for heaven—it is important for us to remember that love is not of the right kind unless it include our neighbor; and it is only after stating this particular that St. Paul affirms that love fulfilleth the whole law, and that love is the plenitude of the law. Thus we find that the greater number of the precepts of the Decalogue are upon our duties to our neighbor; and we are told that the love we have for God is only then what it ought to be, when we not only love Him, but when we also love what He loves, that is, when we love man whom He made to his own likeness. Hence, the apostle St. Paul does not explicitly distinguish, as the Gospel does, between the two precepts of love, and says: All the law is fulfilled in one sentence: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Such being the importance of this love, it is necessary to have a clear understanding as to the meaning and extent of the word neighbor. In the mind of the Jews, it comprised only their own race; and in this they were following the custom of the pagan nations, for whom every stranger was an enemy. But here in our Gospel, we have a representative of this jewish diminished law eliciting, from Him who is the author of the law, an answer which declares the precept in all its fullness. This time, he does not make his voice be heard amidst thunder and fire, as on Mount Sinai. He, as Man living and conversing with men, reveals to them, and in the most intelligible possible way, the whole import of the eternal commandment which leads to life. In a parable (wherein, as many think, He is relating a fact which has really happened and is known to those to whom he is addressing it), our Jesus describes how there was a man who went forth from the Holy City, and how he fell in with a Samaritan, that is, with a stranger the most despises and the most disliked of all that an inhabitant of Jerusalem looked on as his enemies. And yet, the shrewd lawyer who questions Jesus, and, no doubt, all those who had been listening to the answer, are obliged to own that the neighbor, for the poor fellow had fell into the hands of robbers, was not so truly the priest, or the levite (though both of them were of his own race), as this stranger, this Samaritan, who forgets all national grudges as soon as he sees a suffering creature and cannot look on him in any other light than as a fellow man. Our Jesus made himself thoroughly understood; and every one present must have well learned the lesson—that the greatest of all laws, the law of love, admits no exception, either here or in heaven.

The Offertory is taken from the book of Exodus, where Moses is described as striving with God—striving, that is, to induce him to spare his people, after their crime of the golden calf; Moses was permitted to triumph, and God’s anger was appeased. It may sometimes happen that this Sunday falls close upon, or even on, the very day when the Church, in her Martyrology (September the fourth), makes a commemoration of the jewish leader; and Honorius of Autun tells us that this is the reason of their being such frequent mention made in today’s liturgy of this glorious lawgiver of Israel.

Offertory
Precatus est Moyses in conspectu Domini Dei sui, et dixit: Quare, Domine, irasceris populo tuo? Parce iræ animæ tuæ: memento Abraham, Sassc, et Jacob,, quibus jurasti dare terram fluentem lec et mel. Et placatus factus est Dominus de malignitate, quam dixit facere populo suo.
Moses prayed in the presence of the Lord his God, and said: Why, O Lord, art thou angry at thy people? Spare the wrath of thy soul: remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom thou didst swear to give a land flowing with milk and honey. And the Lord was appeased, and did not do the evil he had threatened his people.


The Secret prays our Lord to accept graciously the offerings of the Sacrifice—&offerings which are made for the purpose of winning pardon for us, and giving honor to his divine majesty.

Secret
Hostias, quæsumus Domine, propitius intende, quas sacris altaribus exhibemus; ut, nobis indulgentiam largiendo, tuo nomini dent honorem. Per Dominum.
Mercifully look down, O Lord, on the offerings we lay on thy holy altar; that they may be to the honor of thy name, by obtaining pardon for us. Through, etc.

The other Secrets as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.


As it was last Sunday, so again today the Communion-Anthem evidently alludes to harvest time and vintage. Bread, wine, and oil are not only the supports of our material lofe; they are also the matter of the most august of our Sacraments. No moment is so fitting for man’s speaking their praise as that of his having been made a sharer in the sacred banquet.

Communion
De fructu operum tuorum, Domine, satiabitur terra: et educas panem de terra, et vinum lætificet cor hominis: ut exhilaret faciem in oleo, et panis cor hominis confirmet.
The earth, O Lord, shall be filled with the fruit of thy works: that thou mayest bring forth bread from the earth, and that wine may cheer the heart of man: that he may make the face cheerful with oil, and that bread may strengthen man’s heart.


The life imparted to us by the sacred Mysteries finds in them its perfection also, and its protection—for they are continually removing from us, gradually more and more, those remnants of the evil which had first brought death upon us. Such is the teaching expressed in the Postcommunion.

Postcommunion
Vivificet nos, quæsumus Domine, hujus participatio sancta mysterii: et pariter nobis expiationem tribuat et munimem. Per Dominum.
May the sacred participation of these thy mysteries, O Lord, we beseech thee, give us lofe; and be to us both an expiation and protection. Through, etc.

The other Postcommunions, as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.


RE: Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost - Stone - 08-28-2022

SERMON XLI TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. – ON THE ABUSE OF DIVINE MERCY
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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Take care of him.” LUKE x. 35.


In this day’s gospel 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.” These words I this day address to those, if there be any such among you, who, though their souls are wounded by sin, instead of attending to the care of them, continually aggravate the wounds by new sins, and thus abuse the mercy of God, who preserves their lives, that they may repent, and not be lost for ever. I say to you: Brethren, 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.

1. St. Augustine says that the devil deludes Christians in two ways” by despair and 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 he 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 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?

2. 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.” (Hom. 50, ad Pop.) If, beloved sinners, you have hitherto offended God, 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 wait no longer for you, but cast you into hell. 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 waiteth, 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.”

3. O common illusion of so many damned Christians! 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.) Wy 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 looketh upon sinners.” (Ibid., ver. 7.) The mercy of God is different from the acts of his mercy; the former is infinite, the latter are finite. 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. Father John 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 want of justice. Mercy, as the divine mother said, is promised to those who fear, and not to those who insult the Lord. “And his mercy to them that fear him.” (Luke i. .50.)

4. Some rash sinners will say: God has hitherto shown me so many mercies; why should he not here after 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. xxxii. 35.) David says, that “except you be converted,“ he will “brandish his sword.” (Ps. vii. 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. iii. 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?

5. 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 malediction from the Lord. ”Est infidelis fiducia solius ubique maledictionis capax, cum videlicet in spe peccamus.” (Serm, iii., de Annunc.) O deceitful hope, which sends so many Christians to hell! St. Augustine says: “Sperant, ut peccent! Væ a perversa spe.” (In Ps. cxliv.) 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. accursed hope! hope which is an abomination to the Lord! “And their hope the 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.” (Tract, xxxiii. in Joan.) 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. ”Fidit in lenitate Magistri.”

6. 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. ”Despisest thou 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. “Knowest thou not,” continues the Apostle, “that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance?” (Ibid.) Do you not know that the Lord waits for you, and treats you with so much benignity, 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 thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God.” (Ibid., verse 5.)

7. To the hardness of the sinner shall succeed 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. li. 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 the hedge thereof, 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. ciii. 20.) And the sinner, abandoned in an abyss of sins, will despise admonitions, excommunications, divine grace, chastisement, and hell: he will make a jest of his own damnation. ”The wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sin, contemneth.” (Prov. xviii. 3.)

8. “Why,” asks the Prophet Jeremias,”doth the way of the wicked prosper?” (Jer. xii. 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. xiii. 30.)

9. Thus, 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.” (Isa. xxvi. 10.) On this passage St. Bernard says: This mercy I do not wish for: it is above all wrath. ”Misericordiam hanc nolo; super oimiem iram misericordia ista.” (Serin, xlii., in Cant.) 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. Ixviii. 28, 29.) On these words 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 Cæsar. 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 comedian. Thus the scene of this world ended miserably for him.

10. Let us make the application to ourselves, and conclude the discourse. Brethren, I entreat 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?”  (Isa. v. 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? Consider, 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 do you wait for? Do you wait till God sends you to hell? The Lord has been hitherto silent; but he is not silent for ever. When the time of vengeance shall arrive he will say:  “These things hast thou done, and I was silent. Thou thoughtest unjustly that I should be like to thee: but I will reprove thee, and set before thy 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. Brethren, resist no longer the calls of God; tremble lest the call which he gives you today may be the last call for you. Go to confession as soon as possible, and make 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.” (1 Cor. x. 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 xvi. 24.) “Praising,” said David, “I will call on the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies.” (Ps. xvii. 4.) And St. Paul said: ”I can do all things in him who strengthened me.” (Phil. iv. 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.