Thirteenth 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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PRAY to-day at the Introit of the Mass with the Church against her enemies: Have regard, O Lord, to thy convenant, and forsake not to the end the souls of thy poor: arise, O Lord, end judge thy cause, and forget not the voices of them 3 that seek thee. O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end: why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture? (Ps. lxxiii.) Glory be to the Father, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us an increase of faith, hope and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command. Thro'.

EPISTLE. (Gal. iii. 16—22.) Brethren, To Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He saith not, And to his seeds, as of many, but as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years doth not disannul, or make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why, then, was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one. Was the law, then, against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Quote:EXPLANATION. St. Paul in this epistle proves to the Galatians who were misled by false doctrines, and adhered too much to the Jewish Law, that they could be saved only through a lively faith in Christ, enriched by good works. Therefore he says that the great promises, made by God to Abraham, referred to Christ, through whom all nations of the earth, who would believe in Him, would be blessed and saved. (Gen. xii. 3., and xxii. 18.) The law, indeed, does not annul these promises, since it rather leads to their attainment, yet it must be placed after them because of their advantages, nay even cease to exist, because the promises are now fulfilled, Christ, the promised Messiah, has really appeared and liberated man, who could not be freed from their sins by the Jewish law. O, let us be grateful for this promise, yet more, however, for the Incarnation of Christ, whereby this promise has been fulfilled.

ASPIRATION. O God, who didst send the Promised One, and with Him hast given us all, grant that we, through a lively faith in Him, may become heirs of heaven.

GOSPEL. (Luke xvn. n — 19.) At that time. As Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee : and as he entered into a certain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, master, have mercy on us. Whom, when, he saw, he said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God, and he fell on his face before his feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? There is no one found to return , and give glory to God, but this stranger. And he said to him: Arise go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole.

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What may be understood by leprosy in a spiritual sense?

Sin, particularly impurity, by which the soul of man is stained much more than is the body by the most horrid leprosy. In the Jewish law (Lev. xiii.) three kinds of leprosy are enumerated, viz: the leprosy of the flesh, of garments, and of houses. Spiritually, the impure are afflicted with the leprosy of the flesh, who easily infect others, and are therefore to be most carefully avoided. The leprosy of garments consists in extravagance of dress and scandalous fashions, whereby not only individuals, but also whole communities are brought to poverty, and many lose their innocence. The leprosy of houses, finally, is to be found in those places, where scandalous servants are retained, where nocturnal gatherings of both sexes are encouraged, where obscenities are indulged in, where unbecoming dances and plays are held, and filthy actions performed; where married people allow themselves liberties in presence of others, and give scandal to their household, where they take their small children and even such as already have the use of reason, with themselves to bed, where they permit children of different sexes to sleep together, &c. Such houses are to be avoided, since they are infected with the pestilential leprosy of sin, and woe to them who voluntarily remain in them.

Why did the lepers remain standing afar off?

Because it was thus commanded in the law of Moses, (Lev. xiii. 46.) so that no one would be infected by them. From this we learn that we must carefully avoid scandalous persons and houses; for he who converses with lewd, vain and unchaste persons, will soon become like them. (Ecclus. xiii. 1.)

Why did Christ send the lepers to the priests?

This He did to show the honor due to the sacerdotal dignity and to the law of God: for it was commanded, (Lev. xiv.) that the lepers should show themselves to the priests, in order to be declared by them clean or unclean; He did it to try the faith, the confidence, and the obedience of these lepers: for Christ did not wish to heal them upon their mere prayer, but their cure was to cost them something, and they were to merit it by their cooperation. Their purification, therefore, was the reward of their obedience and faith. Further Christ sent these lepers to the priests to show figuratively, as it were, that he who wishes to be freed from the leprosy of sin, must contritely approach the priest, sincerely confess his sins, and be cleansed by him by means of absolution.

Why did Christ ask for the others, who were also made clean?

To show how much ingratitude displeases Him. Although He silently bore all other injuries, yet He could not permit this ingratitude to pass unresented. So great, therefore, is the sin of ingratitude, hateful alike to God and man! Ingratitude," says St. Bernard, is an enemy of the soul, which destroys merits, corrupts virtues, and impedes graces: it is a heavy wind, which dries up the fountain of goodness, the dew of mercy, and the stream of the grace of God." "The best means," says St. Chrysostom, "of preserving benefits, is the remembrance of them and gratitude for them, and nothing is more acceptable to God than a grateful soul; for, while He daily overloads us with innumerable benefits, He asks nothing for them, but that we thank Him." Therefore, my dear Christian, by no means forget to thank God in the morning and evening, before and after meals. As often as you experience the blessing of God in your house, in your children, and your whole property, thank God, but particularly when you take in the fruits of the earth; (Lev. xxiii. 10.) by this you will always bring upon yourself new blessings and new graces. "We cannot think, say, or write anything better or more pleasing to God," says St. Augustine, "than: Thanks be to God."

ASPIRATION. O most gracious Jesus! who, as an example for us, wast always grateful to Thy Heavenly, Father, as long as Thou didst live upon earth, grant, that I may always thank God for all His benefits, according to Thy example and the teaching of Thy servant St. Paul. (Col. ii. 17.)

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Go, show yourselves to the priests. (Luke xvii. 14.)

SUCH honor did God show to the priests of the Old Law that He sent the lepers to them, although they could in no wise contribute to the removal of leprosy. What honor, therefore, do the priests of the New Law deserve, who through the sacerdotal ordination, have not only received from God the power to free mankind from the leprosy of the soul, but also far higher privileges.

Is the priesthood a special and holy state, selected by God?

Yes; this is evident from the writings of the Old as well as of the New Testament, and is confirmed by holy apostolic tradition. In the Mosaic Law God Himself selected a particular race — Aaron and his descendants — from among the tribes of Juda, to perform solemnly the public service, to pray for the people, and instruct them in matters of religion, (Exod. xxviii. 1.; Lev.xi. 7; Kings ii. 28.) but particularly to offer the daily sacrifices, (Lev. i. 1 1 ; Num. xviii.) for which offices they were consecrated by different ceremonies, ordained by God, which ceremonies lasted seven days. (Exod. xxviii. 4. &c. id. xxix.) Besides these, God instituted a sort of minor priesthood, Levites, for the service of the temple and of God; (Num. hi. 12; viii. 6-18.) they were of the tribe of Levi, and received no land like the other tribes, but lived on the offerings and tithes, and were consecrated like the priests. (Num. xviii. 21.; viii. 6-26.)

This priesthood, an emblem of the real priesthood of the New Testament, was not abolished by Christ, but He brought it to its fulfilment and completed it, since He did not come to take away but fulfil the law. For this reason Christ selected twelve apostles and seventy-two disciples from among the faithful, at the commencement of His public life, and He said to them: I have chosen you, and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit. (John xv. 10.) He gave them power to free man from sin, to sanctify and reconcile him with God. (Matt, xviii. 18.) He commanded them to preach His gospel to all nations, {Matt, xxviii. 18 — 20.) and to offer up His holy Sacrifice. (Luke xxii. 19.) Just as the apostles were chosen by Christ, so afterwards by the Holy Ghost St. Paul was chosen to be an apostle, and he calls himself a minister of Christ and a dispenser of the mysteries of God, (i Cor. iv. i) and who together with Barnabas was ordained. (Acts xiii. 2, 3.) In the same manner the apostles chose their successors, and ordained them, (i Tim. iv. 14.; ii Tim. i. 6.) and even appointed seven deacons, as assistants in the priestly office. (Acts vi. 1—3.) From these clear testimonies of holy Writ, it is evident that, as God in the Old, so Christ in the New Testament chose a particular class of men, and established certain grades among them, for the government of His Church, for the service of God, and the salvation of the faithful, as holy apostolic tradition also confirms. Already the earliest Fathers, Ignatius and Clement, disciples of the apostles, write of bishops, priests, and deacons, who are destined for the service of God and the faithful. Subdeacons, ostiariates , lectors, exorcists, and acolytes, are mentioned by St. Gregory of Nazianzen, St. Justin, St. Cyprian, and many others, but particularly by the Council of Carthage in the year 398, which also gives the manner of ordaining priests.

The heretics, indeed, contend that the Roman Catholic Church robs the true believers of their dignity, since she grants the priesthood only to a certain class, and give as proofs of their assertion two texts, where St. Peter (i Pet. ii. 9.) calls the faithful a kingly priesthood, and where St. John (Apoc. i. 6.) says that Christ made us kings and priests. But these texts speak only of an internal priesthood, according to which every Christian, sanctified by baptism, who is in the state of grace, and consequently justified, and a living member of Christ , the great High Priest, should offer spiritual sacrifices, that is, good works, such as prayer, mortification, charity, penance &c, on the altar of the heart, as also St. Peter, (i Pet. ii. 5-) St. Paul, (Rom. xii. 1.) and David (Ps. 1. 19.) teach. If the assertion of the heretics were true that all believers are priests, why did God in the Old Law institute an especial priesthood, why did Christ and the apostles choose suitable men for the service of God? If all believers must be priests, why are not all kings, since St. John says, that Christ has made us kings? God on the contrary, severely punished those who presumed to arrogate to themselves a priestly office, as He did to King Ozias, who was afflicted with leprosy, because he burnt incense in the temple, which the priests alone were permitted to do. (ii Paralip. xxvi. 18. 19.)

Of course heretics must make this assertion; for since they say that Scripture is the only rule of faith, and that every one can explain it, for what purpose are preachers necessary? And since they have no sacrifice, and with the exception of baptism, no Sacraments, for what purpose should hey want priests? But since the sacrifice of Jesus is to continue m the Catholic Church until the end of time, since all the Sacraments instituted by Christ are still dispensed by her and the command of Christ to teach all nations, must be carried out by her, therefore there must be priests chosen and destined, who will perform the ministry of the Lord and these must not only be chosen, but also be consecrated for
this by a special Sacrament.

What is Holy Order?

Holy Order is a Sacrament by which Bishops, Priests &c are ordained, and receive grace and power to perform the duties belonging to their charge.

What is the external sign, by which grace is communicated to the priests?

The imposition of the bishop's hands, the presentation of the chalice with bread and wine, and the words by which power is given to offer the Sacrifice of the New Law changing bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and to forgive or retain sins. (Cone. Flor. in Deer. Eug. et 7 rid Sess. 14. c . 3. de poen. et Sess. 22. c. 1.)

When did Christ institute this Sacrament?

At the Last Supper, when, having changed bread and ine into His body and blood, He said: Do this for a commemoration of me, and when after His Resurrection He said to them: As the Father hath sent me, I also send you (to free man from sin and to sanctify him). When he had said this, he breathed on them: and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. (John xx. 21. 22.) The power to forgive and retain sins He gave them when He said: Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John xx. 23.)

Has Holy Order always been regarded as a Sacrament in the Church?

Yes for St Paul admonishes his disciple Timothy (i Tim iv. 14.) not to neglect the grace conferred upon him by the imposition of hands, and in another place he admonishes him, (ii Tim, i. 6.) to stir up the grace which was in him by the imposition of his (St. Paul's; hands. From this it follows, that St. Paul believed that the external sign of the imposition of hands of the bishops conferred a particular grace, wherein, indeed, the essence of a Sacrament consists. Therefore the Council of Trent (Scss. 23. de ord. can. 3.) declares those anathema, who contend, that Holy Order is not a real and true Sacrament, instituted by Christ, but only a human invention, or a certain form of electing the ministers of the Word of God and the Sacraments.

Are those called to the priesthood ordained at once?

No, they are not admitted to Holy Order until they have undergone a rigid examination regarding their vocation, moral conduct, and their knowledge of the sacred science.

How many degrees are there in Holy Order?

In Holy Order there are seven degrees: four lesser, and three greater.

Of the lesser, the first is that of Porter, whose office is to keep the keys of the Church, sacristy, treasury, and to see that due respect is observed in the house of God: to him the bishop says, in his ordination: So behave yourself as to give an account to God of what is kept under your charge.

2. That of Lector: his office is to read aloud the lessons of the Old and New Testament, which belong to the divine office, and to instruct the ignorant in the rudiments of the Christian religion: the bishop gives him a book containing those things, and charges him faithfully and profitably to fulfil his office.

3. That of Exorcist; to him is given power to exorcise possessed persons: the bishop gives a book of exorcism, and bids him receive the power to lay his hands on such as are possessed, whether baptized or catechumens.

4. That of Acolyte; his office is to assist the deacon and sub-deacon at the altar; to carry the Lights, to prepare the wine and water for consecration, and attend to the divine mysteries: the bishop gives him a wax candle, with two little cruets, bidding him light the candle, and serve wine and water in the cruets.

The first of the greater is the order of subdeacon; he serves the deacon; prepares the altar, the chalice, the bread, and the wine; he reads the epistle aloud at high Mass; the bishop before he ordains him declares that none are to receive this order, but those who will observe perpetual continency; he then gives him a chalice, paten, basin and towel, two little cruets, and the book of epistles; bids him consider his ministry, and behave so as to please God.

The second of the greater orders is that of Deacon; his office is immediately to assist the bishop or priest at high Mass; and the administration of the sacraments. He reads the Gospel aloud at high Mass; he gives the cup when the sacrament of the Eucharist is given in both kinds; he may administer baptism, and preach the Gospel, by commission. To him the bishop gives a book of Gospels, with power to read it in the Church of God. The third is that of Priesthood, which has two degrees of power and dignity: that of bishops, and that of priests. The office of a priest is to consecrate and offer the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, under the forms of bread and wine ; to administer all the sacraments, except Confirmation and Holy Order; to preach the Gospel, to bless the people, and to conduct them in the way to life eternal; as also to bless such things as are not reserved to the benediction of the bishop. The bishop, when he ordains a priest, anoints his hands with oil; he gives him the paten with bread upon it, and a chalice with wine, with power to offer sacrifice for the living and the dead; then he lays his hands upon him and says: Receive the Holy Ghost, whose sins &c, and performs several other ceremonies.

Learn from this instruction to honor and respect the priests, whose dignity as representatives of God, and dispensers of His mysteries, surpasses all human dignity; upon whom a load, too heavy even for angels, as St. Chrysostom says, has been imposed, namely the care of your immortal soul; who daily enter the sanctuary before the face of the Lord, to offer the immaculate Lamb of God for the forgiveness of our sins; to whom Jesus confided the merits of His most precious blood, in order to cleanse your soul therewith in the tribunal of penance, if you confess your sins contritely; of whom God will one day ask the strictest account. Honor, therefore, these ministers of God, pray daily for the assistance of heaven in their difficult calling; particularly on the Ember-days implore God, that He may send pious and zealous priests; and if, perhaps, you know a bad priest, do not despise his high dignity which is indelibly imprinted on him, have compassion on him, pray for him, and consider that Jesus has said of such: "All things whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not." (Matt, xxiii. 3.)
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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The dominical series—which, formerly, counted from the feast of Saint Peter, or of the Apostles—never went beyond this Sunday. The feast of Saint Laurence gave its name to those which follow; through that name began with even the ninth Sunday, for the years when Easter was nearest the Spring equinox. When, on the contrary, that Solemnity was kept at its almost latest date, the weeks began from today be counted as the Weeks of the seventh month (September).

The Ember-Days of the Autumn quarter sometimes occur even this week, while, other years, they may be as late as the eighteenth. We will speak of them, when we come to the seventeenth Sunday, for it is in the week following that, that the Roman Missal inserts them.

In the Western Church, the thirteenth Sunday takes its name from the Gospel of the ten lepers, which is read in the Mass: the Greeks, who count it as the thirteenth of Saint Matthew, read on it the parable of the vineyard, whose laborers, though called at different hours of the day, all receive the same pay.


Now that she is in possession of the promises so long waited for by the world,—the Church loves to repeat the words wherewith the just men of the old law used to express their sentiments. Those just men were living during the gloomy period, when the human race was seated in the shadow of death. We are under incomparably happier circumstances; we are blessed with graces in abundance; Eternal Wisdom has spared us the trials our forefathers had to contend with, by giving us to live in the period which has been enriched by all the mysteries of salvation being fulfilled. There is a danger, however, and our Mother the Church does her utmost to avert us from falling into it; it is the danger of forgetting all these blessings of ours. Ingratitude is the necessary outcome of forgetfulness, and today’s Gospel justly condemns it. On this account, the Epistle, and here our Introit, remind us of the time when man had nothing to cheer him but hope: a promise had indeed been made to him, of a sublime covenant which was, at some distant future, to be realized; but meanwhile he was very poor, was a prey to the wiles of Satan, is cause was to be tried by divine justice, and yet he prayed for loving mercy.

Respice, Domine, in testamentum tuum, et animas pauperum tuorum ne derelinquas in finem: exsurge, Domine, et judica causam tuam: et ne obliviscaris voces quærentium te.
Have regard to thy covenant, O Lord, and abandon not the souls of the poor to the end. Arise, O Lord, and judge thine own cause; and forget not the cries of them that seek thee.

Ps. Ut quid, Deus, repulisti in finem, iratus est furor tuus super oves pascuæ? Gloria Patri. Respice.
Ps. Why, O God, hast thou cast us off, unto the end? why is thy wrath kindled against the sheep of thy pasture? Glory, &c. Have regard.

This day last week, we were considering how important are Faith and Charity to a Christian who is living under the Law of grace.There is another virtue of equal necessity: it is Hope; for although he already have the substantial possession of the good things which will constitute his future happiness, the gloom of the land of exile, where the Christian is at present living, prevents him from seeing them. Moreover, this mortal life being essentially a period of trial, wherein each one is to win his crown, the struggle makes even the very best feel, and that right to the end, the weight of incertitude and anguish. Let us therefore pray with the Church in her Collect, for an increase of the three fundamental virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity; and that way may deserve to reach the perfection of the good which is promised to us in heaven, let us sue for the grace of devotedness to the commandments of God; they lead us to our eternal home. Let us remember how the Gospel of Sunday last included them all in Love.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, da nobis fidei, spei, et charitatis augumentum: et ut mereamur assequi quod promittis, fac nos amare quod præcipis. Per Dominum.
O almighty and eternal God, grant unto us an increase of faith, hope, and charity: and, that we may deserve what thou promisest, make us to love what thou commandest. Through, etc.

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

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

Brethren: to Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not, And to his seeds, as of many: but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years, doth not disannul, to make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come, to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one. Because of transgressions: To restrain them from sin, by fear and threats. Ordained by angels: The law was delivered by angels, speaking in the name and person of God to Moses, who was the mediator, on this occasion, between God and the people. Was the law then against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by the faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe.

Quote:Look up to heaven, and number the stars, if thou canst! So shall thy seed be! Abraham was almost a hundred years old, and Sara’s barrenness deprived him of all natural hope of posterity, when these words were spoken to him by God. Abraham, nevertheless, believed God, says the scripture, and it was reputed to him unto justice. And when later on that same faith would have led him to sacrifice, on the mount, that son of the promise, his one only hope, God renewed his promise and added: In thy seed, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

It is now that the promise is fulfilled; the event justifies Abraham’s faith. He believed against all hope, trusting to that God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things that are not, as those that are; and according to the expression of John the Baptist, from the very stones of the gentile world, there rise up, in all places, children to Abraham.

His faith, firm and at the same time so simple, gave to God the glory which he looks for from his creatures. Man can add nothing to the divine perfections; but—agreeably to God’s own words—though he sees them not directly here below, he acknowledges those perfections by adoring and loving them; he makes his faith tell upon his whole life; and this use which he freely makes of his faculties—this voluntary devotedness of an intelligent being—magnifies God by adding to his extrinsic glory.

Following in Abraham’s steps, there have come those multitudes born for that heaven of faith, which he showed to the whole earth. They live by faith; and thereby in all their acts, they give to God the homage of confession and praise, through his Son Christ Jesus; and like Abraham, they receive in return a blessing, a benediction, of an ever-increasing justice. The magnificent development of the Church, which gives this new posterity to Abraham, is greater and more visible since the fall of Israel. In countries the remotest, in the midst of cities that once were all pagan, we see crowds of men, women and children imitating Abraham, that is, at heaven’s call, leaving, if not their country, at least everything that once made earth dear to them; and like him, trusting in the fidelity and power of God to fulfill his promises, they lived as strangers amidst their neighbors, yea, and in their very homes, using this world as though they did not use it. In the tumult of cities as in the desert, in the midst of the vain pleasures of the world, whose fashion and figure passeth away—they have no other thought that that of the unseen realities, no other care than that of pleasing God. They take to themselves the word that was spoken to their father: Walk before me, and be perfect! and in truth, it was to all of them that it was spoken; it was the condition in the alliance, concluded by God with those his faithful servants of all ages, in the person of the grand Patriarch, who was not only their progenitur, but their model too; and God responds also to their faith, either by private manifestations or by the still surer voice of his Scriptures, saying: Fear not! I am thy protector, and thy reward exceeding great!

Truly, then, the benediction of Abraham has been poured forth on the Gentiles. Christ Jesus, the true Son of the promise, the only seed of salvation has, by faith in his Resurrection assembled from every nation them that are of a good will, making them all one in him, making them, like himself, children of Abraham, and what is better still, children of God. The the benediction that was promised at the beginning of the alliance, was the Holy Ghost himself, the spirit of adoption of children that came down into our hearts, to make us all heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ. O mighty power of Faith, which breaks down the former walls of division, unites nations together, and substitutes the love and freedom of children of the Most High for the law of bondage and fear.

And yet, grand as was this spectacle of the Gentiles becoming incorporated into the chosen race, and being made sharers, in Christ, of the holy promises—it did not please all people. The carnal Jew, who boasts of having Abraham for his father, though he cares little about imitating his works—the Circumcesed who vaunts the bearing in his flesh the sign of a Faith which dwells not in his heart—these men who have rejected Christ now reject his members and would fain destroy his Church, or at least trammel it. They are enraged at seeing crowding in, from every portion of the globe, that immense concourse, which their vile jealousy has vainly sought to keep back. While their wounded pride kept them from going in, the Gentiles were sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the Prophets, at the banquet of God’s kingdom; the last became the first. Even to the end of time, Israel—who, by his own obstinacy, has forfeited his ancient glory—will continue to be the enemy of this spiritual posterity of Abraham, which has supplanted him; but his persecutions against the children of the promise and of the lawful Bride, will but result in showing that he is, as St. Paul says, the son of Agar, the son of the bond-woman, who, together with her child, is excluded from the inheritance and the kingdom.

He prefers to refuse the liberty offered him by the Lord, rather than acknowledge the definitive abrogation of his now dead Law: be it so; his hatred will not induce the children of the Church (who are prefigured by Sara, the free-woman) to reject the grace of their God for the sake of pleasing their enemy; it will not induce them to abandon the justice of Faith and the riches of the Spirit and the life in Christ, in order to go back again to the yoke of slavery which, let the Jew do what he will, was broken into pieces by the Cross he himself set up on Calvary. Up to the last, the true Jerusalem, the free city, our mother—she that was once the barren woman but now is so glad a Bride with her children around her—yes, she will meet the superannuated, yet ever busy, pretensions of the Synagogue, by reading to her assembled sons and daughters the Epistle we are having today. Up to the last, St. Paul, in her name—speaking of the law of Sinai, which was made known to its subjects, through the mediation of Moses and the Angels—will prove its inferiority as compared to the covenant made by Abraham directly with God; each year, as emphatically as on the day he wrote his Epistle, Paul will declare the transient character of that legislation, which came four hundred and thirty years after a promise which could not be changed; neither was such legislation to continue, when the time should come for that Son of Abraham to appear, from whom the world was waiting to received the promised benediction.

But what is to be said of the incapability of the mosaic ministration to give man strength and enable him to rise up from his fall? The Gospel on which we were meditating eight days back, and which, formerly, was assigned to this present Sunday, gave a symbolical and striking commentary on the uselessness of the Old Law in regard to this; at the same time, it showed us the remedial power which resided in Christ, and was by Him transmitted to the ministers of the New Law. “Every portion of the Office of the thirteenth Sunday,” says Abbot Rupert, “bears on the history of that Samaritan, whose name signifies keeper; it is our Lord Jesus Christ who, by his Incarnation, comes to the rescue of the man whom the Old Law was not able to keep from harm; and when this Jesus leaves the world, he consigns the poor sufferer to the care of the Apostles, and apostolic men, in the house of the Church. The intentional selection of this Gospel for today throws a great light on our Epistle, as also on the whole Letter to the Galatians, from which it is taken. Thus, the Priest and the Levite of the Parable are a figure of the Law, and their passing by the half-dead man, seeing him indeed, but without making an attempt to heal him—is expressive of what that Law did. True, it did not go counter to God’s promises; but of itself, it could justify no man. A physician, who does not himself intend to visit a patient will, sometimes, send a servant who is expert in the knowledge of the causes of the malady, yet who has not the skill needed fror mixing the remedy required but can merely tell the sick man what diet and what drinks he must avoid, if he would prevent his ailment from causing death. Such was the Law, set, as the Epistle tells us, because of transgressions, as a simple safeguard, until such time as there should come the good Samaritan, the heavenly Physician. Having from his very first coming into this world fallen among robbers, Man is stripped of his supernatural goods, and is covered with the wounds inflicted on him by original sin; if he do not abstain from actual sins, from those transgressions against which the Law was set as a monitor, he runs the risk of dying altogether.”

It is on this account that the Gradual repeats the supplication of the Introit; Respice, Domine, in testamentum tuum; for as Rupert observes, it was the cry of the ancient people who, sighing at the weakness of the powerless Law of Sinai, besought God to fulfill the covenant he had promised to Abraham’s faith. They cried out to Christ, as the poor creature might have done to the good Samaritan, after he saw the priest and the levite pass him by, without an effort made to save him.

Respice, Domine, in testamentum tuum: et animas pauperum tuorum ne obliviscaris in finem.
Look down, O Lord, upon thy covenant; and forget not for ever the souls of thy poor.

℣. Exsurge, Domine, et judica causam tuam: memor esto opprobrii servorum tuorum.
℣. Arise, O Lord, and judge thine own cause: remember how thy servants are upbraided.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Domine, refugium factus es nobis, a generatione, et progenie. Alleluia.
℣. Thou, O Lord, art our refuge, from generation to generation.

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

At that time: as Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off; And lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, master, have mercy on us. Whom when he saw, he said: Go, shew yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God. And he fell on his face before his feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said, Were not ten made clean? and where are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger. And he said to him: Arise, go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole.

Quote:The Samaritan Leper, cured of that hideous malady which is an apt figure of sin, in company with nine lepers of jewish nationality, represents the despised race of Gentiles, who were at first admitted, by stealth, so to say, and by extraordinary privilege, into a share of the graces belonging to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The conduct of these ten men, on occasion of their miraculous cure, is in keeping with the attitude assumed by the two people they typify, regarding the salvation offered to the world by the Son of God. It is a fresh demonstration of what the Apostle says: All are not Israelites that are of Israel; neither are all they who are the seed of Abraham, children; “but,” says the Scripture, “in Isaac shall thy seed be called,” that is to say, not they who are the children of the flesh, are the children of God: but they that are the children of the promises are counted for the seed; they are born of the faith of Abraham and are, in the eyes of the Lord, his true progeny.

Our holy Mother the Church is never tired of this subject, the comparison of the Two Testaments, and the contrast here is between the two people. We deem it our duty, before proceeding further, to explain how this is, for there are many persons who cannot understand what benefit can come to us Christians from hearing this subject preached to us. The kind of spirituality which, with many of us, has nowadays been substituted for the liturgical life so thoroughly lived in, and so precious to our Catholic ancestors, gives a certain disrelish for the ideas which the Church so perseveringly brings before them during so many of her Sundays. They have become habituated to live in an atmosphere of very limited truth; it is all subjective, as well as litte; and they consider it a very excellent thing to forget all other teaching, except what they happen to possess, and beyond which it is a trouble to go. With Christians of this class, it is not surprising that they feel puzzled at finding the Church continually urging them to take an interest in a long past, which they call of no practical utility to them! But the interior life, truly worthy of the name, is not what these good people imagine. No school of spirituality, either now or ever, made the ideal of virtue consist in indifference for those great historic facts which are evidently so precious in the eyes of the Church and of God himself. And what is the usual result of this isolating themselves from their Mother’s most cherished appreciations? It is that by this determined shutting themselves up in their own private prayers, they, by a just punishment, lose sight of the true end of prayer, which is union with and love of God. Their meditation is deprived of that element of intimate and fruitful converse with God, which is assigned it by all the masters of the spiritual life; it soon becomes an unproductive exercise of analysis and reasoning, in which there is nothing but abstract conclusions.

Now, when God mercifully invited men to the divine nuptials by manifesting to them his Word, it was not by abstraction that he gave to our earth this the Son of his own eternal Substance. As to his divinity, men could not, in their present state, see it in a direct way. Had then God shown us, in this pretended abstract way, that eternal Son of his, in whom are found all beauty and warmth and life—it would have been imperfect and cold. This he did not do; but as St. Paul tells us, he manifested, he shewed, the great mystery of godliness in the Flesh; the Word became a living soul; eternal Truth assumed to himself a Body, that so he might converse with men; and grow up like one of themselves. And when that Body, which eternal Truth was to hold as his own forever, was taken up in glory,—the Church, the Bride of this Man-God, the bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh, continued in the world this manifestation of God, by the member of Christ; she continued that historic development of the Word, which is only to cease when time is no more. This manifestation, this development, surpasses all human calculations and reveals fresh aspects of the Wisdom of God even to the Angels themselves. Undoubtedly, a real regard is to be had for those axioms to which great minds have reduced the principles of science in an abstract logical order, quite independently of history and facts: but neither with God nor with man has this sort of petrified theorizing anything in it of the life, the influence, the activity of substantial truth. In the Church, as in God, truth is life and light; her grand Credo would never ring so triumphantly as it does through our churches, it would never make its way so irresistibly up to heaven, if it were but a bare series of true definitions and phrases: its superhuman power comes from each of its articles, almost each of its words, teeming with the blood of martyrs upon it, and radiant, for the Church and for God, with the splendor of toils and sufferings and combats of thousands of sainted Confessors and Doctors, the very aristocracy, that is, of human nature ennobled by Baptism, whose living is to be the completing the Body of Christ here below.

The subject is too full to be treated of here; but this much is irresistible—that after the master-fact of the Incarnation of the Word, who came upon our earth to manifest God, through the ages of time, by Christ and his members, there is not one which is more important, not one which has been and still is so dear to God, as the vocation of the two people that were successively called by Him to the blessing of an alliance with him. The gifts and vocations of God are, as the Apostle expresses it without repentance, or regret, on his part. Those Jews, who are now his enemies because they reject the Gospel, are still called charissimi, they are still the beloved and dearly beloved, because of their Fathers. For the same reason, a time will come and the whole world is waiting for it, when the denial of Juda being revoked and his iniquities blotted out, the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be literally fulfilled. The the divine unity of the two Testaments will be made evident; and the two peoples themselves will be made one under their one head Christ Jesus. The covenant of God with man being then fully realized, such as he had designed it in his eternal wisdom—the earth having yielded its fruit—the world having done its work—the sepulchers will give back their dead, and History cease here on earth, leaving glorified human nature to bloom in unreserved fullness of life, under God’s complacent eye.

The truths, then, which are again brought before our notice by today’s Gospel, are anything but dry or old-fashioned; nothing is so grand; and we must add, though superficial minds will wonder at it—there is nothing more practical in this season of the year, for it is the season that is consecrated to the mysteries of the Unitive Life. After all, in what, primarily, does union between God and man consist, but in unanimity of the divine and human minds? Now, we know that the divine mind has manifested all its designs in the respective history of the two Testaments and the two Peoples; and that the final result, which is to bring these two histories to their close, is the one only end which infinite Love was in the beginning and it now, and will forever be, proposing to fulfill. The Church, therefore, far from showing herself to be not up to the present age by recurring continually to truths such as these, is but clearly proving herself to be the most intelligent Bride of Jesus—is but evincing the changeless lovely youthfulness of a heart which ever beats in unison with that of her Spouse.

Let us now resume the literal explanation of our Gospel. As we were observing on a previous Sunday, our Jesus here again wishes rather to give us a useful teaching than to manifest his divine power. It is for this purpose that he does not cure these ten lepers who besought him to have mercy on them, as on another occasion he cured one who was suffering from the same misery. To this latter, who besought Him, he restored cleanliness by a few words: this was at the beginning of his public life; he said: “Be thou made clean!” and forthwith the leprosy was cleansed. But the lepers of our Gospel is an event that took place in the latter portion of our Lord’s sojourn amongst men: and they are made clean only while on their way to show themselves to the priests; Jesus sends them to the priests, just as he had done in the previous case; and thus from the beginning to the close of his mortal life, he gives an example of the respect which was to be paid to the Old Law, so long as it was not abrogated. That Law gave to the sons of Aaron the power not of curing, but of discerning leprosy, and passing judgment on its being cured or not.

The time, however, is now come for a Law that is to be far above that of Sinai; and it has a priesthood, whose judgments are not to be concerning the state of the body, but by pronouncing the sentence of absolution, is to effectually remove the leprosy of souls. The cure which the ten lepers felt coming upon them before they had reached the priests ought to have sufficed to show them, in Jesus, the power of the new priesthood, which had been foretold by the Prophets; the power which, by thus forestalling it in their favor, surpasses the authority of the ancient ministration is, or should be, evidence enough of the superior dignity of Him who exercises it. If only they were in suitable dispositions for the sacred rites, which are going to be used in the ceremony of their purification—the Holy Ghost, who heretofore had inspired the prophetic details of the mysterious function about to be celebrated, would enable them to understand the signification of the expiatory sparrow, whose blood, being sprinkled upon the living water, sets free, by the wood, its fellow sparrow. The first bird typifies our Lord Jesus Christ, who likens himself, in the psalm, to the lonely sparrow; his immolation on the Cross, which gives to water the power of cleansing souls, communicates to the other sparrows, his Brethren, the purity of the Blood divine.

But the Jew is far from being ready for understanding these great mysteries. And yet the Law had been given to him, that it might serve as a hand leading him to Christ, and without exposing him to err. It was a signal favor, granted him, not from any merits of his own, but because of his Fathers. The favor was all the more precious, inasmuch as it was bestowed at a time when the tradition regarding a future Redeemer was almost entirely lost by the bulk of mankind. Gratitude should have been uppermost in the heart of Juda; but pride took its place. He was so taken up with the honor that had been put on him, that it made him lose all desire for the Messiah. He cannot endure the thought that a time will come when the Sun of Justice having risen for the whole earth, the limited advantage which was given to a few during the hours of night, shall be eclipsed by the bright noon of a light which all vie to enjoy. He therefore proclaims that the Old Law is definitive, though the Law protests itself to be but transitory; he therefore insists on the perpetuity of the reign of types and shadows. He lays it down as a dogma that no divine intervention can ever equal that made on Sinai; that every future prophet, every Sent of God, must be inferior to Moses; that all possible salvation is in the Law, and that from it alone flows every grace.

This explains to us how it was that of the ten men cured of the leprosy by Jesus, nine of them are found who have not even the remotest thought of coming to their Deliverer to thank him: these nine are Jews; Jesus, to their minds, is a mere disciple of Moses, a bare instrument of favors holding his commission from Sinai; and as soon as they have gone through the legal formality of their purification, they take it that all their obligations to God are paid. The Samaritan, the despises gentile whose sufferings have given him that humility which makes the sinner clear-sighted—he is the only one who recognizes God by his divine works and gives him thanks for his favors. How many ages of apparent abandonment, of humiliation and suffering, must pass over Juda too, before he will recognize and adore his God, and confess to him his sins, and give him his devoted love and, like this stranger, hear Jesus pronounce his pardon, and say: Arise! Go thy way! thy faith hath made thee whole and saved thee!

Let us, by our fervent prayers, hasten the time which will be so glorious for the two peoples when, united in the same faith by the consciousness of the same hopes then realized, they will cry out to our Redeemer the words of our Offertory:

In te speravi, Domine, dixi: Tu es Deus meus, in manibus tuis tempora mea.
In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust: thou art my God; my times are in thy hands.

It is the oblation that is now on the Altar, that is to obtain for us from God the pardon of our past offenses, and the graces we hope for, for the time to come. Let us, in the Secret, beseech him to accept, for the Sacrifice, these gifts which the Church, in the name of us all, has presented to him.

Propitiare, Domine, populo tui, propitiare muneribus: ut hac oblatione pacatus, et indulgentiam nobis tribuas, et postulata concedas. Per Dominum.
Be thou propitious, O Lord, to thy people, and mercifully receive their offerings; that being appeased thereby, thou mayest grant us pardon, and bestow upon us what we ask. Through, etc.

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

Oh! when will the children of Juda come and experience for themselves the superiority of the Bread of the New Testament over the Manna of the Old? We Gentiles, the last-comers, but who have preceded our elder brethren at the banquet of love—let us sing all the more fervently, in our Communion-Anthem, the divine sweetness of this true Bread of heaven.

Panem de cœ dedisti nobis, Domine, habentem omne delectamentum, et omnem saporem suavitatis.
Thou hast given us bread from heaven, O Lord, containing whatsoever is delicious and sweet.

As the Postcommunion expresses it, the work of our redemption by Jesus our Lord, is confirmed and grows within us, as often as we assist at these sacred Mysteries. The Church prays that her children may be blessed with the grace of this fruitful frequency, wherewith we are present at these Mysteries of salvation.

Sumptis, Domine, cœlestibus sacramentis, ad redemptionis æternæ, quæsumus, proficiamus augmentum. Per Dominum.
May these heavenly mysteries, O Lord, which we have received, advance our eternal redemption. Through, etc.

The other Postcommunions, as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1882

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"There met Him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off."--Luke 17.

St. Augustine and the other holy fathers remark, that the words of the Holy Gospel are not only instructive, but that the deeds, of which mention is made, have almost always a spiritual signification.

Christ Himself gave us a manifest illustration, when, after the abundant haul of fishes He told St. Peter: That He would make him a fisher of men; also when He caused the tree to wither, because it did not bear good fruit. The holy fathers behold in the leprosy, of which the Gospel speaks several times, an image of sin. The reason for this comparison is very evident. There is a great deal of similarity between leprosy and sin which we should well consider.

Leprosy is one of those diseases which entirely disfigures the human body. It is at the same time a very contagious disease. This accounts for the precautions which the law of the Jews compelled them to take, in order to keep all those infected with leprosy at a distance from the others; on the other hand, we perceive the care and fear of those in health, not to come in contact with the diseased ones.

In the same manner, and still more frightfully, does sin disfigure the soul, and it is also very contagious. How just, therefore, is this warning: Avoid the company of sinners, especially of those sinners whose lives spread the infection by the bad example they give.

In this sermon, I will direct your attention to the kind of lepers you ought especially to avoid, lest the threat of Holy Scripture should be verified in you: With the wicked thou wilt become wicked.

Mary, protect us in our intercourse with evil men, when it is not in our power to avoid them! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God!

Although the company of sinners, in general, is the source of many dangers, as Holy Scripture assures us, yet there is a certain class of sinners whose company is particularly injurious to us, and whom we have to shun as much as possible. The Gospel of to-day speaks of ten lepers. And I will draw your attention to ten kinds of sinners with whom intercourse must be especially avoided.

To the first class of lepers, parents themselves but too often belong. They are those parents who do not carefully instruct their children in matters of religion, who do not urge them to prayer, who do not guide them in the path of virtue, and do not give them good example; but, on the contrary, give scandal to their own family by their bad example. They are those parents who do not care for the practice of their religion, who are themselves not instructed in matters of faith, who do not pray, nor let their children pray; who, on the contrary, by cursing and swearing, teach their children even at an early age to do the same; those who eat meat on fast-days, neglect going to Mass on Sunday, do not receive Holy Communion for a number of years, ridicule the priests and the precepts of the Church in presence of their children; who encourage them by word and example to care only for the increase of their temporal possessions, to enjoy this life to its full extent; who, perhaps, by intemperance, immoral language, immodest dress, offensive demeanor, sow the seed of the vice of impurity into the hearts of their children.

Who can calculate the number of children, especially in America, that catch the leprous infection of sin from their parents, who are covered with it from head to foot! Poor children! And when it does occur that such a child approaches a priest in the Sacrament of Penance, what is more natural than that he should advise the child: Endeavor to leave your home as soon as possible?

Yes, there are actually such monsters of moral depravity, that we are obliged to exact from their adult children the promise to leave their parental roof, under pain of being refused absolution. Terrible!

To the second class of lepers belong children whose company can not be frequented by those of their own age without danger of corruption. Familiar intercourse with brother or sister may become an occasion of sin. And the same is to be said of neighbors children and school-mates. What pest-houses of leprous children the public schools are, in many instances! and what an account will parents have to render, if, without further inquiry into the state of such schools, they send their children to them!

To the third class of lepers belong those with whom,, sooner or later social relations, bring us into contact as so-called friends, comrades, partners, associates in business, who lead a sinful life.

Fourthly, the old proverb is often verified: "Tell me your company, and I will tell you who you are." And in this respect, we ought especially to avoid the following scandal-giving sinners, namely: Willful infidels or heretics, willful contemners of the religion of Christ those who, although baptized and raised as Catholics, do not fulfill the duties of their holy religion, and encourage others, by word or example, to imitate them. To this class belong those who do not hear Mass on Sunday, never attend divine service; but, on the contrary, spend the Lord s day in idleness, in visiting ale-houses, in going out hunting, or in some diversion or other. Avoid all these.

To the fifth class belong those of other denominations, who make it a point to tempt Catholics to attend prayer-meetings or Sunday-schools, or to send their children. Beware of these.

To the sixth class belong those who are addicted to drink, and whose only thought is the gratification of their senses who pass their nights at balls, theaters, picnics, and other places of amusement. Shun these persons, and also avoid the use of intoxicating liquors of every sort.

To the seventh class belong all those who do not make their Easter duties, even if in other respects they act like Catholics, and wish to be regarded as such. They are persons who, as a rule, care only for worldly treasures and enjoyments, and who stifle Catholic life in themselves and others.

To the eighth class belong those who are wont to remain alone with persons of the opposite sex. If you wish to preserve a pure heart, whoever you are, young man or young woman, heed the following admonition, and follow it inviolably as your rule of life:

Granted that your intention is to marry, still you are never allowed to hold clandestine intercourse with persons of the opposite sex; for, as Holy Scripture assures us: "It is putting fire and straw together." Yes, even if both parties are good and innocent, they can not allow themselves secret meetings, since these are always an occasion of sin. And grant that one does not feel any temptation whatever, still the other party may, and you will be held responsible. And when parties are already engaged, there is still more reason to urge them not to remain alone, so as not to give occasion for false suspicions and insinuations.

Finally, to the tenth, and by far the most dangerous class, belong all those who, by their words, dress, forwardness, or in any manner whatsoever are occasions of temptations against holy purity.

If you value your happiness and the salvation of your soul, shun such persons, and never allow your self, under any condition, to remain near them, or to have any intercourse with them.

Flee! Only then will you conquer, and preserve your heart pure and free from the leprosy of sin! Amen!

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"Go; thy faith hath made thee whole."--Luke 17.

What a treasure is the gift of holy faith! No doubt it is the greatest blessing which God, the Creator, has bestowed upon man, both for time and eternity. For in what darkness of spirit lives the man without faith! how weak is he in the practice of virtue! how feeble in the combat against the world, the flesh, and the devil! And, on the other hand, how brilliant the light which the sun of faith sheds upon man's path! for revelation gives him definite and satisfactory information about God, about the world--its creation, its destiny, and all that concerns us as human beings.

It is faith which clearly explains moral evil in this world, and likewise the origin and cause of all the tribulations and adversities with which we are obliged to contend during our brief and much-troubled life. And it is faith, again, which teaches us how God, in His infinite mercy, has sent us salvation through Jesus Christ.

But it is not mere faith which will save us; it is not because we professed the belief of the Catholic Church; but because we have lived according to our faith, and have performed our duties in the manner which our faith prescribes, that we shall be saved. In other words: If we, as children of the one saving Church, really wish to be saved, the words of St. Paul must be verified in us: "The just man lives by faith." Let us to-day consider how this assertion of the Apostle is to be understood.

Mary, thou who hast believed, and whose life has been such a glorious testimony of the faith which animated thee, bless us, that we may follow thy example, and live according to our faith! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God!

I said, that the greatest blessing which the Lord has conferred upon us, and for which we can never be sufficiently grateful, is the happiness of being children of the one true Church. This is apparent from what I have remarked in the introduction, regarding the light which she imparts concerning our existence and our destiny; and because she offers us also the means to advance in the way of salvation.

This grace appears the more important and precious when we remember that, until the present time, so large a portion of mankind were deprived of it.

It is, therefore, our most sacred duty to prove our gratitude by making a proper use of the gift of faith; that, after having fought and conquered, as true children of the Church militant, we may, for all eternity, share the joy and glory of the victory with the Church triumphant.

And the better to appreciate the happiness of being called to the true, and therefore only saving Church, let us first consider the many nations that have lived in this world before the advent of Christ. The Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans, under whose sway the world once trembled, were all denied the blessing to be children of the true Church.

Then, since the advent of Christ on this earth, how many millions of heathens have lived during these two thousand years that have almost passed, and how many are still living upon earth!

Furthermore, what a number of infidels, heretics, schismatics, Jews and Turks have, since the time of Christ, languished in the darkness of error! What would be our fate for all eternity if God had permitted us to be born in heathen lands, or to spend our lives among infidels?

Our Lord has chosen us to be the children of His Church, without any merit of our own. What an inducement for us to thank God, and, by our lives, to prove the sincerity of our gratitude!

What our duties are in this respect, and what God demands of us, is, that by our lives we give testimony of the truth and sanctity of our faith. If that were not the case, what would it avail us to be Catholics? Does not Christ Himself affirm, that of him "to whom much has been given, much shall be required? " And again: "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin."

St. James reminds us of our duties by still more forcible language. He says: "Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well; the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"

As to the qualities which should characterize our faith, in order that we may be saved by it, I will say: Our faith, in the first place, must be complete, which means not only that we believe all revealed truth without the admission of a willful doubt; but, more over, that we be instructed, as well as possible, in matters of faith, so that all its doctrines may be a source of enlightenment, encouragement, and consolation for us, and we may be thus enabled, when questioned by non-Catholics, to give an explanation of all the truths which our holy faith teaches, as the Christians were able to do in the time of the Apostles, and in the first centuries of Christianity.

This does not imply that we may be satisfied with the mere knowledge of the doctrines of faith, with learning them by heart, so as to fit ourselves for the reception of the Holy Sacraments; but it signifies, more over, that we must embrace every opportunity, and do our utmost to instruct others in the truths of our holy faith, and thus to bring them also to a knowledge of the same. But how small is the number of the Christians that do this! Many who call themselves Catholics are only superficially instructed in the doctrines of their Church, and hence can not do this. For this reason, every one should seek the company of the well-in-structed, and also accept the assistance which is offered him by the numerous books and pamphlets published for this purpose.

In the second place, ours must be a faith which enlightens; that is to say, not a faith in the letter of revelation; but one whose light clearly indicates the way of salvation, and which enables us to discern the particular state to which God has called us, and the means which He has given us, according to our vocation, that as children of God, we may serve Him and be made happy.

It must, likewise, be a living faith, an active faith, replete with the love of God and our neighbor. The first thing necessary in this respect, and which will prove that our faith is active, is, that the considerations of the truths of our holy faith incite us to use all means to preserve our souls free from the leprosy of sin. If all sins and vices, even when viewed in the light of reason, seem so detestable, how much more when we regard the capital sins of pride, covetousness, anger, envy, enmity, dissension, gluttony and lust, in the light of faith; and when we consider how much our Lord has suffered for us, to save us from the evil of sin, and regard the means He has left us for this purpose, in His Church, by the institution of the Sacraments! Who does not see from this, how abominable is sin in a child of the Church contemning all this, and how great therefore will be the extent of the punishment which awaits him in eternity?

That our faith may lead us to salvation, it must also be a sanctifying faith; first, as regards ourselves, that it urge us to follow in the footsteps of Christ and his saints, by the zealous practice of Christian virtues, for which the Church has provided us with so many and so efficacious means. But it must also be sanctifying with regard to others, in compliance with the advice of Christ: "So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven," that they may be induced to profess the true faith, and to live according to it.

Finally, our faith must be firm and constant, that we may ever be prepared to sacrifice all, even life itself, in defense of our belief.

Examine, question yourself, whether these are the qualities of your faith. Are you thoroughly instructed, devoid of sin, actuated with a desire for holiness; and, at the same time, firm and constant in the practice of virtue? If not, then you are in a pitiable condition; perhaps infidels and heretics are then leading a far better life than you; then I fear Christ will one day, as your Judge, pronounce this sentence against you: Depart from me; your faith condemns you; because you have professed Me with your lips, but by your life you have denied Me! Amen!
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
General Confession
by Fr. Johann Evangelist Zollner, 1883

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"Go, show yourselves to the priests."--Luke, 17: 14.

In the Old Testament, all lepers who had been cleansed from leprosy, either in a natural way or by a miracle, were to be examined by the priests, whose duty it was to declare them clean. Before this declaration had been made they were considered unclean, and were obliged to abstain from all intercourse with the healthy. In the New Testament, all Christians who are contaminated with the spiritual leprosy of sin, must show themselves to the priests, that is, they must confess to them their sins, that they may not only be declared clean, but that they may be really cleansed; for sacramental confession is the means ordained by Christ for the remission of sins. We may distinguish confession as ordinary and extraordinary. The ordinary confession consists in accusing ourselves of the sins committed since our last confession; the extraordinary confession is that which extends itself over the sins of the whole life, or of a great part of it. As this extraordinary or general confession is very important, eternal salvation even sometimes depending upon it, I shall speak of it today, and answer the three following questions:

I. To whom is a general confession necessary?
II. To whom it is useful?
III. When is a general confession necessary?

Part I. To Whom Is A General Confession Necessary?

A general confession is necessary whenever the previous confessions were invalid; for invalid confessions cannot be rectified and amended in any other way than by a repetition of them, i.e., by a new confession of the sins already confessed. There are six classes to whom a general confession is necessary for salvation.

1. The first class comprises those who through shame or fear conceal a sin which they know to be mortal, or in regard to the mortal character of which they entertain at least grave doubts. Every confession in which a mortal sin is knowingly and wilfully concealed is invalid. The same holds good of confessions in which the number of mortal sins is not truthfully given, or purposely diminished, or in which essential circumstances which change the nature of sin are left out. He who, for instance, says that he committed the vice of impurity three times, knowing that he committed it oftener, confesses invalidly. If a married person has sinned carnally with a single person, and does not add that he or she is married, his or her confession is also invalid, provided he or she purposely conceals this circumstance. All those who have concealed anything that should have been confessed, have confessed invalidly; and if they wish to save their souls, nothing remains but that they repeat their confessions, i.e., make a general confession.

2. The second class comprises those who leave out mortal sins or aggravating circumstances, or such as change the kind of sin; because they either do not examine their conscience at all, or examine it only superficially. Every penitent must diligently examine his conscience and spend as much time in the examination as is required for the knowledge of the sins committed, together with their number and circumstances. He who on account of a totally neglected or very careless examination of conscience does not perceive what he is bound to confess, and therefore does not confess it, receives the Sacrament of Penance sacrilegiously, and his confession is as invalid as if he had knowingly concealed some sin. For this reason all those who confess only once a year are in danger of making sacrilegious confessions. As they mostly live in thoughtlessness and forgetfulness of salvation, they ought, in order to overlook nothing, to examine their conscience very carefully, but this they frequently neglect; they think only superficially and hastily of their sins; and the whole business of the examination of conscience is done in a few minutes. How is it possible in such a way to come to the knowledge of all the sins which a man has committed in the space of a year? Hence it is that many confessions are invalid from the want of a proper examination of conscience. Now all these invalid confessions must be repeated and rectified by a general confession.

3. The third class comprises those who at confession have no true contrition for their sins. Most of the invalid confessions that are made, are perhaps so made from the want of contrition. How many are there who are not sorry at all for having offended God! They confess from habit; they do not detest their sins in the least, nor do they change the disposition of their mind. How many are there whose contrition is not universal! They are infected with certain favorite sins, to which they cling with all their soul, and from which they will not detach themselves. How many are there whose contrition is not supernatural! They are not grieved on account of their sins, but on account of temporal loss, temporal shame and punishment. All these confess invalidly, because they lack true contrition; and they must repair these bad confessions by a general confession.

4. The fourth class comprises those who make no firm resolution of amendment. This resolution is a necessary consequence of contrition, and is therefore absolutely necessary for the forgiveness of sin. He who is not resolved not to offend God, at least by mortal sin, confesses invalidly. And from the want of this firm resolution many invalid confessions are made. If you never show an amendment of life; if shortly after confession you fall back into your former vices of unchaste conversation, of fornication, of drunkenness, of cursing and swearing, it is most assuredly a sign of a want of a firm purpose of amendment.

5. The fifth class comprises those who after confession are not willing to shun the proximate occasion of sin, which they could shun, and who did not employ the necessary means of amendment. Contrition and an earnest resolution are most assuredly wanting to such penitents; for if they really hate and detest their sins and are willing to amend their lives, they will gladly make use of the means which are required for that amendment, and which are a preventive against relapse. Those who by experience know that whenever they enter a saloon they become intoxicated, and who yet continue to frequent them; also those who fall repeatedly into sin with a person of the opposite sex, and yet continue to live under the same roof; those who make no use of the remedies prescribed by their confessor as absolutely necessary for an amendment of life, confess invalidly, and can find grace with God only by a general confession and amendment of life.

6. The sixth class comprises those who make no restitution of ill-gotten goods, nor repair damages inflicted on others, who practice injustices and impositions in business transactions, and continue them after confession; and lastly, all those who, living in enmity, refuse to be reconciled with their neighbor.

Now examine your conscience and see if you do not find sufficient reason to doubt the validity of some of your former confessions, from failure to comply with the conditions necessary for the forgiveness of sin. If you do, go, show yourselves to the priests, and make a general confession.

Part II. To whom it is useful?

A general confession is useful and advisable to all those who have never made one. This is a rule admitting of few exceptions.

1. General confession is one of the principal means to obtain a true knowledge of the state of your soul. "If you set a forest on fire on all sides," says Blessed Leonard of Port Maurice, "you will be surprised at seeing how great a multitude of wild beasts, wolves, bears and foxes were hidden in its coverts." You witness a similar effect when you make a general confession, by which you set your conscience on fire on all sides. How great may appear the multitude of sins concealed from you heretofore! Many Christians who resolved to make a general confession only as an act of devotion, avow after its performance that they discovered sins and causes of uneasiness of which they had never thought before.

2. By general confession our heart becomes more contrite. In an ordinary confession our contrition is seldom very profound, because we do not know ourselves to be guilty of many and grievous sins. But it is different in a general confession. We see all the wild beasts of our sins, the monsters of our own soul, on the path of our past life, from our childhood to this day. This bewildering sight urges us to sigh with King Esdras: "My God, I am confounded, and ashamed to lift up my face to thee; for our iniquities are multiplied over our heads; and our sins are grown up even unto heaven (1 Esdras, 9: .6)." But the greater our contrition, the greater is our certainty of a worthy reception of the Sacrament of Penance and the more abundant the sacramental graces, so that we may obtain even the release of all or nearly all the temporal punishment due to our past sins.

3. The result of a general confession is also that we make firmer purposes of amendment than is the case in ordinary confessions. He who once resolves to make a general confession, has also the earnest will to amend his life and from henceforth to be solicitous for the salvation of his soul. This resolution is still more increased when, in the course of the general confession, we come to a clear knowledge of our sins and see how often and how grievously we have offended God; how ungrateful we have been to him for all his graces and benefits; and in what peril our salvation has been. And if then we receive the priest's absolution of all the sins of our past life, shall not this be a motive for us to remain faithful to our promises?

History and experience prove that a general confession is one of the most effectual means for a thorough and permanent change of life. How many sinners who confessed for years and always relapsed into their former sins, have amended their life after a general confession! And how many of them have by their penitential fervor reached a high degree of holiness! Even some of them, who after a general confession relapsed, rose again from their fall, for conscience gave them no peace till they resolved by a sincere confession to be reconciled again with God. Hence it is that most penitents date their conversion from the time of their general confession.

4. From this it follows that a general confession is the source of great inward peace. William, Duke of Aquitaine, after he had made his general confession to St. Bernard, felt a sweet peace and heavenly joy, such as he had never before experienced in the midst of all the joys and pleasures of the world. In like manner does every sinner, in consequence of a sincere general confession, experience the delight of heart which King David felt when he exclaimed: ''How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. Better is one day in thy courts above thousands in the pleasures of the world (Ps. 83: 2-11)."

5. Finally, by a general confession the salvation of our soul is made more secure. Suppose that you have not been careless in your former confessions, as many lukewarm Christians are, you do not know whether you have every time complied with the conditions which are required for a valid confession. At all events, it might be possible that in some of your former confessions you may not have sufficiently examined your conscience, may have had no true contrition with a firm purpose of amendment, or may have concealed something which you were bound to confess. In such a case you have confessed invalidly, and therefore all your subsequent confessions have been invalid. Do you not then act more securely when you make a general confession? Would it not be criminal negligence for you to neglect the many opportunities which are afforded you for making a general confession, and without such a confession to pass into eternity? The solicitude to secure their salvation as much as possible and to die quietly is one, of the principal motives why all good Christians make a general confession. A general confession, therefore, is necessary and advisable to all Christians who have never made one.

Part III. When is a general confession necessary?

1. It is necessary for every one who earnestly resolves to amend his life. Without such a resolution no confession is valid, whether it be an ordinary or a general confession. He who makes a general confession must be determined at any cost to shun evil inclinations, to put off sinful habits, and to lead a penitential life, because otherwise the general confession would be invalid. Every sinner has days and hours in which he deeply feels the misery of his sins and is urged to put an end to this misery. These are days and hours of grace, which God gives to man to save his soul. The sinner must make good use of these times of grace; for if he permits them to pass by without a thorough confession, he runs the risk of dying impenitently and of being delivered to eternal perdition.

2. When one changes his state of life; especially those who enter into matrimony. Most young people do not comply with the duties of this state as they ought; they live heedlessly, yield to many excesses, and confess often invalidly for the want of contrition or resolution or sincerity. How ill would it be with them if they should enter into matrimony without a general confession! They would begin that state with a triple sacrilege, therefore not with God, but with the devil. What can be expected from such a matrimony? How can it be expected of such married people to live contentedly and happily together, fulfil their duties and endeavor with their children to increase the number of the elect? It is therefore necessary for all those who enter into the nuptial state, to make a general confession before they receive the Sacrament of Matrimony.

3. When one retires from business to rest. Many Christians in their business life think little of God and the salvation of their souls; they accommodate themselves to the principles of the world, and burden their conscience with many sins; what can be more advisable on retiring from active business life than to make a general confession, in order to set the affairs of their conscience in order, and to devote the time of rest to the atonement of their sins and to the preparation for a good death?

4. At the time of a mission or a Jubilee. At such a time many spiritual exercises are performed; the word of God is preached frequently and forcibly and the faithful are earnestly exhorted to renew themselves in spirit and to bring forth fruits worthy of penance. The confessors have at the time of a Jubilee or mission greater faculties than at other times; they can especially absolve from all cases reserved to the Pope, with only a few exceptions. Moreover, God imparts at such times greater graces to sinners, often even extraordinary graces, which he is not wont to give at other times. What important reasons then have all who never made a general confession, to make it and to set the business of their salvation in order. He who suffers such times of grace to pass without profiting by them exposes himself to the danger of persevering in sin and of dying a bad death. This is corroborated by history and experience.

5. Finally at the hour of death. It is assuredly not wise to defer the general confession to the death-bed, for no one knows whether he will then be able to confess. Death may overtake him suddenly, or he may lose his senses and speech, when confession becomes impossible. Christians who are solicitous for the salvation of their soul do not defer their general confession to their death-bed. If it should, however, be the case that one never made a general confession in his life, he should do it at least on his death-bed, for, as already remarked, no one should go out of this world without having made a general confession.


After having explained to you why a general confession is necessary, useful and advisable, and at what times such a confession should be made, I conclude my instruction with a history of a certain nobleman who, in his youth lived a careless life, but having entered into himself, made a spiritual retreat and a very good general confession after it. After this confession he experienced sweet peace and heavenly joy; and as often as he thought of it, tears of joy trickled down his cheeks. Coming to his death-bed after a few years, he said to those who stood around his bed: "I would have perished eternally if I had not made a general confession. When I think of that confession, it appears to me to be a letter of introduction into heaven." A quarter of an hour before he died he requested one of the attendants to read for him the good resolutions which he had made at his general confession and which he had written down. At the reading of each of these resolutions joy beamed from his face, for he had faithfully kept them, and thus he died with all the signs of a good death. Go and do likewise; make a good general confession, keep the promises and resolutions which you make, serve God with fidelity, and you will die well and be saved. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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There met him ten men that were lepers… As they went, they were made clean.” LUKE xvii. 12, 14.

IN this day’s gospel it is related, that ten lepers of a certain town met Jesus Christ, and entreated him to heal the leprosy under which they laboured. The Lord bid them go and present themselves to the priests of the temple; but before they reached the temple they were cured. Now it may be asked why our Saviour, who could heal them in an instant, wished them to go to the priests, and healed them on the way. A certain author (Anthony of Lisbon) says that Jesus Christ foresaw that, had he cured them on the spot, they, by remaining in the place and conversing with the other lepers, from whom they took the leprosy, should easily relapse into the same disease. Therefore, he first wished them to depart from the place and then healed them. Whatever may be thought of this reason, let us come to the moral sense which may be deduced from it. The leprosy resembles sin. As the leprosy is a contagious disease, so the bad habits of the wicked infect others who associate with them. Hence, the leper who wishes to be cured shall never be healed unless he separates from bad companions. He that keeps company with robbers soon becomes a thief. In this discourse I shall show, that, to lead a good life, it is necessary to avoid bad companions.

1. “A friend of fools,” says the Holy Ghost, “shall become like them.” (Prov. xiii. 20.) Christians who live in enmity with God are, Father M. Avila used to say, all fools, who deserve to be shut up in a mad-house. For, what greater madness can be conceived than to believe in hell and to live in sin? But the man who contracts an intimacy with these fools shall soon be come like them. Although he should hear all the sermons of the sacred orators, lie will continue in vice, according to the celebrated maxim: “Examples make greater impressions than words.” Hence the Royal Prophet has said: “With the elect thou wilt be elect, and with the perverse thou wilt be perverted.” (Ps. xvii. 27.) St. Augustine says, that familiarity with sinners is as it were a hook which draws us to communicate in their vices. Let us, said the saint, avoid wicked friends, “lest by their company we may be drawn to a communion of vice.” St. Thomas teaches, that to know whom we should avoid is a great means of saving our souls. Firma tutela salutis est, sciro quem fugiamus.”

2. “Let their way become dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord pursue them.” (Ps. xxxiv. 6.) All men in this life walk in the midst of darkness and in a slippery way. If, then, a bad angel that is, a wicked companion, who is worse than any devil pursue them, and endeavour to drive them into an abyss, who shall be able to escape death?”Talis eris,” says Plato, “qualis conversatio quam sequeris ?” And St. John Chrysostom said, that if we wish to know a man*s moral habits, we have only to observe the character of the friends with whom he associates; because friendship finds or makes him like his friends. “Vis nosse hominem, attende quorum familiaritate assuescat: amicitia aut pares invenit, aut pares fecit.” First, because, to please his friends, a man will endeavour to imitate them; secondly, because, as Seneca says, nature inclines men to do what they see others do. And the Scripture says: *They were mingled among the heathens, and learned their works.” (Ps. cv. 35.) According to St. Basil, as air which comes from pestilential places causes infection, so, by conversation with bad companions, we almost imperceptibly contract their vices. “Quemadmodum in pestilentibus locis sensim attractus aër latentem corporibus morbuin iujicit sic itidem in prava couversatione maxima a nobis mala hauriuntur, etiamsi statim incommodum non sentiatur.” (St. Bas., Hom, ix., ex var. quod Deus, etc.) And St. Bernard says that St. Peter, in consequence of associating with the enemies of Jesus Christ, denied his Master. “Existens cum passionis dominicæ ministris, Doininum, negavit.

3. But how, asks St. Ambrose, can bad companions give you the odour of chastity, when they exhale the stench of impurity? How can they infuse into you sentiments of devotion when they themselves fly from it? How can they impart to you a shame of offending God, when they cast it away?”Quid tibi demonstrant castitatem, quem non habent? Devotionem quam non sequuntur? Verecundiam quam projiciunt?” St. Augustine writes of himself, that when he associated with bad companions, who boasted of their wickedness, he felt himself impelled to sin without shame; and to appear like them, he gloried in his evil actions. “Pudebat,” he says, “me esse pudentem.” (Lib. 2, de Conf., c. ix.) Hence Isaias admonishes you to “touch no unclean thing.” (Isa. lii. 11.) Touch not what is unclean: if you do, you too shall be polluted. He that handles pitch, says Ecclesiasticus, shall certainly be denied with it; and they who keep company with the proud shall be clothed with pride. The same holds for other vices: “He that toucheth pitch shall be denied with it; and he that hath fellowship with the proud shall put on pride.” (Eccl. xiii. 1.)

4. What then must we do? The Wise Man tells us that we ought not only to avoid the vices of the wicked, but also to beware of treading in the ways in which they walk. “Restrain thy foot from their paths.” (Prov. i. 15.) That is, we should avoid their conversations, their discourses, their feasts, and all the allurements and presents with which they will seek to entice us into their net. “My son,” says Solomon, “if sinners shall entice thee, consent not to them.” (Prov. I. 10.) Without the decoy, birds are not enticed into the fowler’s net. “Will the bird fall into the snare upon the earth if there be no fowler?” (Amos iii. 5.) The devil employs vicious friends as decoys, to draw so many souls into the snare of sin. “My enemies, “ says Jeremias, “have chased me, and have caught me like a bird without cause.” (Lamen. iii. 52.) He says, without cause. Ask the wicked why they have made a certain innocent young man fall into sin, and they will answer: We have done it without cause; we only wish to see him do what we ourselves do. This, says St. Ephrem, is one of the artifices of the devil: when he has caught a soul in his net, he makes him a snare, or a decoy, to deceive others. “Cum primum capta fuerit, anima, ad alias decipiendas fit quasi laqueus.”

5. Hence, it is necessary to avoid, as you would a plague, all familiarity with those scorpions of hell. I have said that you must avoid familiarity with them that is, all fellowship in their banquets or conversation; for never to meet them is, as the Apostle says, impossible. “Otherwise you must needs go out of this world.” (1 Cor. v. 10.) But, it is in our power to abstain from familiar intercourse with them. “But now I have written to you not to keep company, etc. with such a one, not so much as to eat.” (Ibid. v. 11.) I have called them scorpions: so they have been called by the Prophet Ezechiel. “Thou art among unbelievers and destroyers, and thou dwellest among scorpions.” (Ezec. ii. 6 ) Would you live in the midst of scorpions? You must, then, fly from scandalous friends, who, by their bad examples and words, poison your soul. “A man*s enemies shall be they of his own household.” (Matt. x. 36.) Wicked friends, that are very familiar and intimate with us, become the most pernicious enemies of our souls. “Who,” says Ecclesiasticus, “will pity an enchanter struck  by a serpent, or any that come near wild beasts? So it is with him that keepeth company with a wicked man.” (Eccl. xii. 13.) If the man that makes free with serpents, or with ferocious wild beasts, be bitten or devoured by them, who will take pity on him? And so it is with him who associates with scandalous companions; if, by their bad example he be contaminated and lost, neither God nor man will have compassion on him; because he was cautioned to fly from their society.

6. One scandalous companion is enough to corrupt all who treat him as a friend. “Know you not,” says St. Paul, “that a little leaven corrupts the whole lump ?” (1 Cor. v. 7.) One of these scandalous sinners is able, by a perverse maxim, to infect all his companions. They are the false prophets whom Jesus Christ warns us to avoid. “Beware of false prophets.” (Matt. vii. 15) False prophets deceive, not only by false predictions, but also by false maxims or doctrines, which are productive of the greatest mischief. For, as Seneca says, they leave in the soul certain seeds of iniquity which lead to evil. “Semina in animo relinqueunt, quæ inducunt ad malum. “ It is too true that scandalous language, as experience proves, corrupts the morals of those who hear it. “Evil communications,” says the Apostle, corrupt good manners.

* (1 Cor xv 63.) A young man refuses, through the fear of God, to commit a certain sin: an incarnate devil, a bad companion comes and says to him what the serpent said to Eve: “No; you shall not die the death.” (Gen. iii. 4.) What are you afraid of? How many others commit this sin? You are young; God will have pity on your youth. They will as is written in the book of Wisdom, say Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that are present-let us everywhere leave tokens of joy (ii 6 9) Come with us; let us spend our time in amusement and in joy. “Onimis imqua amicitia,” says St. Augustine, cum dicitur, eamus, facimus: pudet non esse impudentum. O cruel friendship of those who say let us go and do etc.: it is a shame not to be shameless. He who hears such language is ashamed not to yield to it and not be as shameless as they who utter it

7. When any passion is kindled within us, we must be particularly careful in selecting the persons whom we will consult. For, then the passion itself will incline us to seek counsel from those who will probably give the advice which is most agreeable to the passion. But from such evil counsellors, who do not speak according to God, we should fly with greater horror than from an enemy; for their evil counsel, along with the passion which is excited, may precipitate us into horrible excesses. As soon as the passion shall subside we shall see the error committed, and the delusion into which we have been led by false friends. But the good advice of a friend, who speaks according to Christian truth and meekness preserves us from every disorder, and restores calm to the soul.

8. “Depart from the unjust,” says the Lord, and evils shall depart from thee.” (Eccl. vii. 2.) Fly, separate from wicked companions, and you shall cease to commit sin. “Neither let the way of evil men please thee. Flee from it: pass not by it: go aside and forsake it.” (Prov. iv. 14, 15.) Avoid the ways in which these vicious friends walk, that you may not even meet them. “Forsake not an old friend; for the new will not be like to him.” (Eccl. ix. 14.) Do not leave your first friend, who loved you before you came into the world. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” (Jer. xxxi. 3.) Your new friends do not love you; they hate you more than your greatest enemy: they seek not your welfare, as God, does, but their own pleasures, and the satisfaction of having companions of their wickedness and perdition. You will, perhaps, say: I feel a repugnance to separate from such a friend, who has been solicitous for my welfare; to break off from him would appear to be an act of ingratitude. What welfare? What ingratitude? God alone wishes your welfare, because he desires your eternal salvation. Your friend wishes your eternal ruin; he wishes you to follow him, but cares not if you be damned. It is not ingratitude to abandon a friend who leads you to hell; but it is ingratitude to forsake God, who has created you, who has died for you on the cross, and who desires your salvation.

9. Fly then from the conversation of these wicked friends. “Hedge in thy ears with thorns, hear not a wicked tongue.” (Eccl. xxviii. 28.) Beware of listening to the language of such friends; their words may bring you to perdition. And when you hear them speak improperly arm yourself with thorns, and reprove them, not only for the purpose of rebuking, but also of converting them. “Ut non solum,” says St. Augustine, “repellantur sed etiam compungantur.” Listen to a frightful example, and learn the evil which a wicked friend does. Father Sabatino relates in his “Evangelical Light” that two friends of that kind were one day together. One of them, to please the other, committed a sin; but after they had separated he died suddenly. The other, who knew nothing of his death, saw, in his sleep, his friend, and, according to his custom, ran to embrace him. But the deceased appeared to be surrounded with, fire, and began to blaspheme the other, and to upbraid him for being the cause of his damnation. The other awoke and changed his life. But his unhappy friend was damned; and for his damnation there is not, and shall not be, any remedy for all eternity.

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Taken from Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen's Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Everyday of the Year


PRESENCE OF GOD - O Jesus, my Savior, I need You; heal me, have pity on me!


1. In the cycle of the Sundays after Pentecost, the Church brings to our attention, sometimes under one aspect, sometimes under another, the merciful action of Jesus on our souls. Two weeks ago she told us about the deaf-mute; last Sunday, the kindness of the good Samaritan; today, the touching scene of the ten lepers whom Jesus cured. It is in this way that the Church tries to awaken in us humble consideration of our misery and to show us the immense need we continually have of the redemptive work of Jesus; at the same time, she wants to make us feel that this work is always in action and that we are living under its influence every day, every moment. The passage in the Gospel (Lk 17,11-19) chosen for today’s Mass is especially effective in making clear the chief purpose of the Redemption: the healing of souls from the leprosy of sin.

From ancient times leprosy has been considered the most fitting figure to represent the hideousness of sin, and indeed it would be difficult to picture anything more horrible and repulsive. Yet, while everybody has such a great dread of leprosy of the body, how indifferent and easy-going even Christians are in regard to leprosy of the soul. How far we are from the deep realization that the saints had of what an offense against God really is! “Oh!” St. Teresa of Avila exclaimed, “why can we not realize that sin is a pitched battle fought against God with all our senses and the faculties of the soul; the stronger the soul is, the more ways it invents to betray its King” (Exc, 14). One of the fruits of today’s Gospel is that of awakening in us a great horror of sin, of arousing again in our souls a lively and efficacious repentance for the sins we have committed and a feeling of profound humility upon recognizing our misery. Let us go with the ten lepers to Our Lord and cry out: “Jesus, Master, have Mercy on us!”

2. Today’s Gospel shows us the remedies for sin. The first of these is the sincere humility which recognizes one’s own misery. However, humility is not enough; it needs to be accompanied by confident recourse to God. The poor lepers, knowing their miserable state, put their trust in Jesus, and full of faith made their plea to Him; this was the first step toward their cure. Some people bewail their misfortunes and are distressed because of them; still, they never succeed in being cured because they do not have recourse to Jesus, the only physician capable of healing them. The remembrance of their past sins holds them back; they hardly dare to approach Him or to trust in His mercy. Such persons do not understand that it is just because we are sinners that we should go to Jesus, and that “ they that are whole, need not the physician, but they that are sick ” (Lk 5,31).

The divine Master did not cure the poor lepers immediately, but sent them to the priests: “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” They obeyed at once, without arguing or doubting, and “as they went, they were made clean." Jesus acts in the same way with us; it is always He who heals us, but He usually wills to do so through the mediation of the priest. Some persons do not have enough faith in the words and works of God’s minister. Their faith in the efficacy of the sacraments and in the sacramental absolution is not sufficiently strong; and therefore, they live in a state of continual anguish. When one has sincerely revealed the state of his conscience to a priest, that is, with no intention of deceiving him, he should be at peace and submit wholly to the judgment of the priest. In such a case, to doubt the word of God’s minister, to doubt the absolution he has given, is to doubt Jesus Himself, for it is He who is acting through His representative.

Only one of the ten lepers who were cured felt the need to return and thank Our Lord. “Blessed is the soul,” St. Bernard comments, “who every time he receives a gift of grace from God, returns to Him, to Him who responds to our gratitude for the favors we have received by giving us new favors. The greatest hindrance to progress in the spiritual life is ingratitude, for God counts as lost the graces we receive without gratitude, and He refrains from giving us new graces.”


“O Lord, physician of my soul, heal me, that I may acknowledge Your gifts, O health of my soul, and thank You with all my heart for the favors You have showered upon me since my youth, and will continue to shower upon me unto old age. In Your goodness, do not abandon me, I beseech You. You made me when I did not exist; You willed to redeem me when I was perishing and was dead. You came down to him who was dead; You put on mortality; a King, You came to the servant to redeem him and gave Yourself that he might live; You endured death and conquered it, and humbling Yourself, You restored me.

“I was perishing, far away, immersed in my sins; You came for me to redeem me and You loved me so much that You shed Your Blood for me. You loved me, Lord, more than Yourself, for You willed to die for me. For so high a price, You brought me back from exile; You freed me from slavery, You drew me out of torments, gave me Your Name and marked me with Your Blood, so that I would always remember You and keep You in my heart. Your love for me made You accept the Cross. You anointed me with the oil with which You were anointed, so that by You, O Christ, I might be called a Christian. Your grace and mercy have always gone before me. You have often rescued me from grave dangers, O my Deliverer. When I strayed from the right path, You brought me back to it; when I lay in ignorance, You instructed me; when I sinned, You corrected me; when I was sad, You consoled me; when I was in despair, You strengthened me; when I fell, You lifted me up; when I stood up, You supported me; when I journeyed, You guided me on my way; when I came to You, You received me; when I slept, You watched over me; when I invoked You, You answered me” (St. Augustine).
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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