Quinquagesima Sunday
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QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY
Taken from Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year - 36th edition, 1880

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The Introit of this day's Mass is the sigh of an afflicted soul confiding in God: Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of refuge, to save me: for thou art my strength and my refuge: and for thy name's sake thou wilt be my leader, and wilt nourish me. (Ps. xxx. 3.4.) In thee, O Lord! I have hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in thy justice, and set me free. (Ps. xxx. 2.)


PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Lord, we beseech Thee, graciously hear our prayers, and unloosing the bonds of our sins, guard us from all adversity. Through our Lord, &c.


EPISTLE. (i. Cor. xiii. I — 13.) Brethren, if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not; dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; is not ambitious; seeketh not her own; is not provoked to anger; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part: but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

Quote:EXPLANATION. In this epistle St. Paul speaks of the necessity, the excellence, and the nature of true charity. He says, that all natural and supernatural gifts, all good works, even martyrdom, cannot save us if we have not charity; because love alone can render our works pleasing to God. Without charity, therefore, though ever so many prayers be recited, fasts observed, and good deeds performed, nothing will be acceptable to God, or merit eternal life. Strive then, O Christian soul, to lead a pious life in love, and to remain always in the state of grace.

Can faith alone, as the so-called Reformers assert, render man just, and save him?
Faith alone, however strong, though it could move mountains, without love, that is, without good works performed for love of God and our neighbor, can never justify or save us. For, when St. Paul says, that man is justified by faith without works, (Rom. iii. 28.; xi. 6.; Eph. ii. 8. 9.) he means to refer to those works which were performed by command of the law of Moses, and which, as they were external and without true charity, were of no avail; he did not refer to those works which are performed in a state of grace with a lively, love-inspired faith. Therefore the same Apostle writes to the Galatians: (Gal. v. 6.) Faith only availeth which worketh by charity; to Titus: (Tit. iii. 8.) It is a faithful saying: and these things I will have thee affirm constantly: that they who believe in God, may be careful to excel in good works. These things are good and profitable unto men; and he exhorts the Colossians (Colos. i. 10.) to be fruitful in every good work. St. James confirms the same by saying: (James ii. 17. 24.) So faith if it have not works, is dead in itself; by works man is justified and not by faith only. That this is the true doctrine of Christ, is evident from His own words. when He says: "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire." (Matt. vii. 19.) At the day of judgment Christ will demand good works from all men, (Matt. xxv. 35.) and will not judge them only according to their faith, but by their good works, which true faith must always produce. (Apoc. xx. 12.) Would Christ and His apostles demand good works, if faith alone be sufficient? "The devils also believe and tremble.'' (James ii. 19.) they believe, but they are not saved, and their faith but increases their torments. Therefore, the assertion that faith without good works is sufficient for justification and salvation, is plainly against the doctrine of Christ and His Church, and must of necessity lead man to vice and misery, as shown by the history of the unhappy separation of the sixteenth century.

Are good works available which are performed in the state of mortal sin ?
Good works performed while in a state of mortal sin avail nothing in regard to eternal life, writes St. Lawrence Justinian, but aid in moderating the punishment imposed for disobedience and the transgression of God's commandments. They bring temporal goods, such as honor, long life, health, earthly happiness, etc; they prevent us from falling deeper into sin, and prepare the heart for the reception of grace; so the pious Gerson writes: "Do as much good as you can even though in the state of mortal sin, that God may give light to your heart."

ASPIRATION. God of love, pour the spirit of true charity into my heart that, according to the spirit of St. Paul. I may endeavor to be always in a
state of grace, that all my works may be pleasing to Thee, and meritorious for me.


GOSPEL. (Luke xviii. 31 —43.) At that time, Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon; and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when he drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way-side, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him. saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.


Why did Christ so often foretell His passion to His disciples?
Because He wanted to show how great was His desire to suffer for us, for we speak often of that which we crave; and because He wished His disciples when they should see Him treated as a criminal and martyred, not to think evil of Him, or imagine themselves deceived, but remember, that He had foretold all, minutely, that all happened of His own will.


Did not the disciples understand anything of what He predicted in regard to His future sufferings?
They may, certainly, have well understood He was to suffer, for which reason Peter tried to dissuade Him from it; (Matt. xvi. 22.) but they did not comprehend why or for what He would suffer, or how He would rise again.  All this the Holy Ghost gave them to understand, after it had come to pass. (John xiv. 26.) The light of the Holy Ghost is of so much value, that without it even the clearest doctrines of faith are not understood.


Why does Christ so often call Himself the Son of Man?
He wished to show, in the Jewish way of speaking, He was also man, a descendant of Adam, and that we should be humble, and not seek or desire high titles.


Why did the blind man call Christ the Son of David?
Because, like all the Jews, he believed that the Messiah, according to humanity, would be of the house of David, as was promised. (Ps. cxxxi. n.)


Why did Christ ask the blind man: What wilt thou that I do to thee?
This He asked, not because He was unaware of the blind man's wish, but to enable him the better to prove his faith and hope that through Christ he would receive his sight; and to teach us how willing He is to help us, and how it pleases Him if we confidingly place our wants before Him. We should learn from this blind man, who would not be restrained by the passing crowd in his ardent and reiterated request, not to pay attention, in the work we have commenced, to human respect, or human judgment, but to persevere, and not allow ourselves to be led astray by the world's mockery or contempt. We should also learn to be grateful to God, and faithfully cling to Him, if He has once opened the eyes of our mind, and healed our spiritual blindness, which is far more deplorable than physical blindness , for nothing can be more miserable than not to see and understand God, not to know what is necessary for our salvation, and what is pernicious.


Why is this gospel read on this Sunday?
The Church wishes to remind us of the painful passion and death of Jesus, and to move us by the contemplation of those mysteries to avoid and despise the wicked, heathenish amusements of carnival, sinful pleasures which she has always condemned, because they come from dark paganism, and, to avert the people from them, commands that during the three days of carnival the Blessed Sacrament shall be exposed for public adoration, sermons given, and the faithful exhorted to have recourse at this time to the Sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, with the reception of which Pope Clement XIII. (Breve, 23. June 176s) connected a plenary indulgence. A true Catholic will conform to the desire of
his holy Church, considering the words which St. Augustine spoke, at this time, to the faithful. "The heathens (as also the worldly people of our days) shout songs of love and merriment, but you should delight in the preaching of the word of God; they rush to the dramatic plays, but you should hasten to Church; they are intoxicated, but you should fast and be sober."


PRAYER. O most benign Jesus! who didst so desire to suffer for us, grant, that we may willingly suffer for love of Thee: that we may hate and flee from the detestable; pleasures of the world and the flesh, and practice penance and mortification, that by so doing we may merit to be released from our spiritual blindness to love Thee more and more ardently, and finally possess Thee forever.
"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
Reply
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QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The Church gives us to-day another subject for our meditation: it is the Vocation of Abraham. When the waters of the Deluge had subsided, and mankind had once more peopled the earth, the immorality, which had previously excited God’s anger, again grew rife among men. Idolatry, too, into which the ante-diluvian race had not fallen, now showed itself, and human wickedness seemed thus to have reached the height of its malice. Foreseeing that the nations of the earth would fall into rebellion against him, God resolved to select one people that should be peculiarly his, and among whom should be preserved those sacred truths, which the Gentiles were to lose sight of. This new people was to originate from one man, who would be the father and model of all future believers. This was Abraham. His faith and devotedness merited for him that he should be chosen to be the Father of the children of God, and the head of that spiritual family, to which belong all the elect, both of the old and new Testament. It is necessary, therefore, that we should know Abraham, our father and our model. This is his grand characteristic:- fidelity to God, submissiveness to his commands, abandonment and sacrifice of everything in order to obey his holy will. Such ought to be the prominent virtues of every Christian. Let us, then, study the life of our great Patriarch, and learn the lessons it teaches.
  
The following passage from the Book of Genesis, which the Church gives us in her Matins of today, will serve as the text of our considerations.

Quote:From the Book of Genesis Ch. xii.

And the Lord said to Abram: Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred and out of thy father’s house, and come into the land which I shall show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed. I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed. So Abram went out as the Lord had commanded him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he went forth from Haran. And he took Sarai his wife, and Lot, his brother’s son, and all the substance which they had gathered, and the souls which they had gotten in Haran: and they went out to go into the land of Chanaan. And when they were come into it, Abram passed through the country into the place of Sichem, as far as the noble vale: now the Chanaanite was at that time in the land. And the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him: To thy seed will I give this land. And he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. And passing on from thence to a mountain, that was on the east side of Bethel, he there pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east. He built there, also, an altar to the Lord, and called upon his name.

Could the Christian have a finer model than this holy patriarch, whose docility and devotedness in following the call of his God are so perfect? We are forced to exclaim with the holy fathers: “O true Christian, even before Christ had come on the earth! He had the spirit of the Gospel before the Gospel was preached! He was an apostolic man before the apostles existed!” God calls him: he leaves all things—his country, his kindred, his father’s house—and he goes into an unknown land. God leads him, he is satisfied; he fears no difficulties; he never once looks back. Did the apostles themselves more? But see how grand is his reward! God says to him: “In thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed.” This Chaldean is to give to the world Him that shall bless and save it. Death will, it is true, close his eyes ages before the dawning of that day, when one of his race, who is to be born of a Virgin and be united personally with the divine Word, shall redeem all generations, past, present, and to come. But meanwhile, till heaven shall be thrown open to receive this Redeemer and the countless just who have won the crown, Abraham shall be honored, in the limbo of expectation, in a manner becoming his great virtue and merit. It is in his bosom, that is, around him, that our first parents (having atoned for their sin by penance), Noah, Moses, David, and all the just, including poor Lazarus, received that rest and happiness which were a foretaste of, and a preparation for, eternal bliss in heaven. Thus is Abraham honored; thus does God requite the love and fidelity of them that serve Him.

When the fullness of time came, the Son of God, who was also Son of Abraham, declared His eternal Father’s power by saying that He was about to raise up a new progeny of Abraham’s children from the very stones, that is, from the Gentiles. We Christians are this new generation. But are we worthy children of our father? Let us listen to the apostle of the Gentiles: “By faith, Abraham, when called (by God), obeyed to go out into a place which he was to receive for an inheritance: and he went out not knowing whither he went. By faith, he abode in the land, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the co-heirs of the same promise; for he looked for a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

If, therefore, we be children of Abraham, we must, as the Church tells us during Septuagesima, look upon ourselves as exiles on the earth, and dwell by hope and desire in that true country of ours, from which we are not banished, but towards which we are each day drawing nigher, if, like Abraham, we are faithful in the various stations allotted us by our Lord. We are commanded to use this world as though we used it not; to have an abiding conviction of our not having here a lasting city, and of the misery and danger we incur when we forget that death is one day to separate us from everything we possess in this life.

How far from being true children of Abraham are those Christians who spend this and the two following days in intemperance and dissipation, because Lent is so soon to be upon us. We can easily understand how the simple manners of our Catholic forefathers could keep a leave-taking of the ordinary way of living, which Lent was to put a stop to, and reconcile their innocent Carnival with Christian gravity; just as we can understand how their rigorous observance of the laws of the Church for Lent would inspire certain festive customs at Easter. Even in our own times, a joyous Shrovetide is not to be altogether reprobated, provided the Christian sentiment of the approaching holy Season of Lent be strong enough to check the evil tendency of corrupt nature: otherwise the original intention of an innocent custom would be perverted, and the forethought of Penance could in no sense be considered as the prompter of our joyous farewell to ease and comforts. While admitting all this, we would ask, what right or title have they to share in these Shrovetide rejoicings, whose Lent will pass and find them out of the Church, because they will not have complied with the precept of Easter Communion? And they, too, who claim dispensations from abstinence and fasting during Lent, and, from one reason or another, evade every penitential exercise during the solemn Forty Days of Penance, and will find themselves at Easter as weighed down by the guilt and debt of their sins as they were on Ash Wednesday, – what meaning, we would ask, can there possibly be in their feast-making at Shrovetide?

Oh! that Christians would stand on their guard against such delusions as these and gain that holy liberty of the children of God which consists in not being slaves to flesh and blood, and preserves man from moral degradation! Let them remember that we are now in that holy season, when the Church denies herself her songs of holy joy, in order the more forcibly to remind us that we are living in a Babylon of spiritual danger, and to excite us to regain that genuine Christian spirit, which everything in the world around us is quietly undermining. If the disciples of Christ are necessitated, by the position they hold in society, to take part in the profane amusements of these few days before Lent, let it be with a heart deeply imbued with the maxims of the Gospel. If, for example, they are obliged to listen to the music of theaters and concerts, let them imitate St. Cecily, who thus sang, in her heart, in the midst of the excitement of worldly harmonies: “May my heart, O God, be pure, and let me not be confounded!” Above all, let them not countenance certain dances, which the world is so eloquent in defending, because so evidently according to its own spirit; and therefore they who encourage them will be severely judged by Him, who has already pronounced woe upon the world. Lastly, let those who must go, on these days, and mingle in the company of worldlings, be guided by St. Frances of Sales, who advises them to think from time to time on such considerations as these—that while all these frivolous, and often dangerous, amusements are going on, there are countless souls being tormented in the fire of hell, on account of the sins they committed on similar occasions; that at that very hour of the night, there are many holy religious depriving themselves of sleep in order to sing the divine praises and implore God’s mercy upon the world, and upon them that are wasting their time in its vanities; that there are thousands in the agonies of death, while all that gaiety is going on; that God and His angels are attentively looking upon this thoughtless group; and finally, that life is passing away, and death so much nearer each moment.

We grant, that, on these three days immediately preceding the penitential Season of Lent, some provision was necessary to be made for those countless souls, who seem scarce able to live without some excitement. The Church supplies this want. She gives a substitute for frivolous amusements and dangerous pleasures; and those of her children upon whom Faith has not lost its influence, will find, in what she offers them, a feast surpassing all earthly enjoyments, and a means whereby to make amends to God, for the insults offered to his Divine Majesty during these days of Carnival. The Lamb, that taketh away the sins of the world, is exposed upon our Altars. Here, on this his throne of mercy, he receives the homage of them who come to adore him, and acknowledge him for their King; he accepts the repentance of those who come to tell him how grieved they are at having ever followed any other Master than Him; he offers himself to his Eternal Father for poor sinners, who not only treat his favours with indifference, but seem to have made a resolution to offend him during these days more than at any other period of the year.

It was the pious Cardinal Gabriel Paleotti, archbishop of Bologna, who first originated the admirable devotion of the Forty Hours. He was a contemporary of St. Charles Borromeo and, like him, was eminent for his pastoral zeal. His object in this solemn Exposition of the most blessed Sacrament was to offer to the divine Majesty some compensation for the sins of men, and at the very time when the world was busiest in deserving His anger, to appease it by the sight of His own Son, the Mediator between heaven and earth. St. Charles immediately introduced the devotion into his own diocese and province. This was in the sixteenth century. Later on, that is, in the eighteenth century, Prosper Lambertini was archbishop of Bologna; he zealously continued the pious design of his ancient predecessor, Paleotti, by encouraging his flock to devotion towards the blessed Sacrament during the three days of carnival; and when he was made Pope, under the name of Benedict XIV, he granted many Indulgences to all who, during these days, should visit our Lord in this mystery of His love, and should pray for the pardon of sinners. This favor was at first restricted to the faithful of the Papal States; but in the year 1765 it was extended, by Pope Clement XIII to the universal Church. Thus, the Forty Hours’ Devotion has spread throughout the whole world and become one of the most solemn expressions of Catholic piety. Let us, then, who have the opportunity, profit by it during these last three days of our preparation for Lent. Let us, like Abraham, retire from the distracting dangers of the world, and seek the Lord our God. Let us go apart, for at least one short hour, from the dissipation of earthly enjoyments and, kneeling in the presence of our Jesus, merit the grace to keep our hearts innocent and detached, while sharing in those we cannot avoid.

We will now resume our considerations upon the liturgy of Quinquagesima Sunday. The passage of the Gospel selected by the Church is that wherein our Savior foretells His apostles the sufferings He was to undergo in Jerusalem. This solemn announcement prepares us for Passiontide. We ought to receive it with feeling and grateful hearts, and make it an additional motive for imitating the devoted Abraham, and giving our whole selves to our God. The ancient liturgists tell us that the blind man of Jericho spoken of in this same Gospel is a figure of those poor sinners who, during these days, are blind to their Christian character and rush into excesses, which even paganism would have coveted. The blind man recovered his sight because he was aware of his wretched state, and desired to be cured and to see. The Church wishes us to have a like desire, and she promises us that it shall be granted.

In the Greek Church, this Sunday is called Tyrophagos, because it is the last day on which is allowed the use of white meats, or as we call them, milk-meats. Beginning with tomorrow, it is forbidden to eat them, for Lent then begins, and with all the severity wherewith the oriental Churches observe it.

MASS
The Station is in the Church of St. Peter, on the Vatican. The choice was suggested, as we learn from the Abbot Rupert’s Treatise on the Divine Offices, by the Lesson of the Law given to Moses, which used then to be read in this Sunday’s Office. Moses was looked upon, by the early Christians of Rome, as a type of St. Peter. The Church having, since that time, substituted the Vocation of Abraham for the passage from Exodus, (which is now deferred till Lent), – the Station for this Sunday is still in the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, who was prefigured also by Abraham, the Father of believers.

The Introit is the prayer of mankind, blind and wretched as the poor man of Jericho; it asks for pity from its Redeemer, and beseeches him to guide and feed it.

Introit
Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, et in locum refugii, ut salvum me facias: quoniam firmamentum meum, et refugium meum es tu: et propter nomen tuum dux mihi eris et enutries me.
Ps. In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in æternum: in justitia tua libera me, et eripe me. ℣. Gloria Patri. Esto.
Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a house of refuge, to save me; for thou art my strength, and my refuge; and for thy name’s sake thou wilt lead me, and nourish me.
Ps. In thee, O Lord, have I hope, let me never be confounded; deliver me in thy justice, and rescue me. ℣. Glory. Be thou.


Collect
Preces nostras, quæsumus, Domine, clmenter exaudi: atque a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi. Per Dominum.
Mercifully hear our prayers, O Lord, we beseech thee; and delivering us from the bonds of sin, preserve us from all adversity. Through, &c.

Then are added two other Collects, as in the Mass of Septuagesima Sunday.


Epistle
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Corinthians. 1 Ch. xiii.

Brethren: If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

Quote:How appropriate for this Sunday is the magnificent eulogy of Charity, here given by our Apostle! This virtue, which comprises the love both of God and our Neighbour, is the light of our souls. With out Charity, we are in darkness, and all our works are profitless. The very power of working miracles cannot give hope of salvation, unless he who does them have Charity. Unless we are in Charity, the most heroic acts of other virtues are but one snare more for our souls. Let us beseech our Lord to give us this light. But, let us not forget, that however richly he may bless us with it here below, the fulness of its brightness is reserved for when we are in heaven; and that the sunniest day we can have in this world, is but darkness when compared with tile splendour of our eternal charity. Faith will then give place, for we shall be face-to-face with all Truth; Hope will have no object, for we shall possess all Good; charity alone will continue, and, for this reason, is greater than Faith and Hope, which must needs accompany her in this present life. This being the glorious destiny reserved for man, when redeemed and enlightened by Jesus, is it to be wondered at, that we should leave all things, in order to follow such a Master? What should surprise us, and what proves how degraded is our nature by sin, is to see Christians, who have been baptised in this Faith and this Hope, and have received the first-fruits of this Love, indulging, during these days, in every sort of worldliness, which is only the more dangerous because it is fashionable. It would seem as though they were making it their occupation to extinguish within their souls the last ray of heavenly light, like men that had made a covenant with darkness. If there be Charity within our souls, it will make us feel these offences that are committed against our God, and inspire us to pray to him to have mercy on these poor blind sinners, hoc they are our brethren.

In the Gradual and Tract, the Church sings the praises of God’s goodness towards His elect. He has set them free from the slavish yoke of the world by enlightening them with His grace; they are His own children, the favored sheep of His pasture.

Gradual
Tu es Deus qui facis mirabilia solus: notam fecisti in gentibus virtutem tuam.
℣. Liberasti in brachio tuo populum tuum, filios Israel et Joseph.

Thou art God, who alone dost wonders: thou hast made thy power known among the nations.
℣. Thou hast delivered thy people, the children of Israel and Joseph, by the strength of thine arm.

Tract
Jubilate Deo omnis terra: servite Domino in lætitia.
℣. Intrate in conspectu ejus, in exsultatione; scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus.
℣. Ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos: nos autem populus ejus et oves pascuæ ejus.

Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness.
℣. Come in before his presence with joy; know ye that the Lord he is God.
℣. He made us, and not we ourselves: and we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Gospel
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke. Ch. xviii.

At that time: Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man. For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: And after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when he drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way side, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him, Saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Quote:Jesus tells his Apostles, that his bitter Passion is at hand; it is a mark of his confidence in them but, they understand not what he says. They are as yet too carnal-minded to appreciate Our Saviour’s mission; still, they do not abandon him; they love him too much to think of separating from him. Greater by far than this, is the blindness of those false Christians, who, during these three days, not only do not think of the God, who shed his Blood and died for them, but are striving to efface from their souls every trace of the divine image! Let us adore that sweet Mercy, which has drawn us, as it did Abraham, from the midst of a sinful people; and let us, like the blind man of our Gospel, cry out to our Lord, beseeching him to grant us an increase of his holy light. This was his prayer: Lord that I may see. God has given us his light; but he gave it us, in order to excite within us the desire of seeing more and more clearly. He promised Abraham, that he would show him the place he had destined for him; may he grant us, also, to see the land of the living! But our first prayer must be, that he show us him self, as St. Augustine has so beautifully expressed it, that we may love him, and show us our own selves, that we may cease to love ourselves.

In the Offertory, the Church prays that her children may have the light of life, which consists in knowing the Law of God. She would have our lips pronounce His doctrine and the divine commandments, which he has brought us from heaven.

Offertory
Benedictus es, Domine, doce me justificationes tuas: in labiis meis pronuntiavi omnia judicia oris tui.
Blessed art thou, O Lord, teach me thy justifications: with my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of thy mouth.


Secret
Hæc hostia, Domine, quæsumus, emundet nostra delicta; et ad sacrificium celebrandum, subditorum tibi corpora, mentesque sanctificet. Per Dominum.
May this offering, we beseech thee, O Lord, cleanse away our sins; and sanctify the bodies and souls of thy servants, to prepare them for worthily celebrating this sacrifice. Through, &c.

Then are added two other Secrets, as given in the Mass of Septuagesima Sunday


The Communion antiphon commemorates the miracle of the manna, which fed in the desert the descendants of Abraham; and yet this food, though it came from heaven, did not preserve them from death. The living Bread, which we have had given to us from heaven, gives eternal life to the soul: and he who eats it worthily shall never die.

Communion
Manducaverunt et saturati sunt nimis, et desiderium eorum attulit eis Dominus: non sunt fraudati a desiderio suo.
They did eat and were filled exceedingly, and the Lord gave them their desire: they were not defrauded of that which they craved.

Postcommunion
Quæsumus, omnipotens Deus; ut qui cœlestia alimenta percepimus, per hæc contra omnia adversa muniamur. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O almighty God, that we who have taken this heavenly food, may be defended by it from all adversity. Through, &c.

Then are added two other Postcommunions, as on Septuagesima Sunday


VESPERS
The Psalms and Antiphons are given above.

CAPITULUM
(I. Cor. XIII.)

Fratres, si linguis hominum loquar et Angelorum, charitatem autem non habeam, factus sum velut aes sonans, aut cymbalum tinniens. 
Brethren, if I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or as a tinkling cymbal.


For the Hymn and Versicle, see above.

ANTIPHON OF THE MAGNIFICAT
ANT. Stans autem Jesus jussit caecum adduci ad se, et ait illi: Quid vis ut faceam tibi? Domine, ut videam. Et Jesus ait illi: Respice, fides tua te salvum fecit. Et confestim vidit, et sequebatur illum, magnificans Deum.

OREMUS.

Preces nostras,quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi, atque a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi. Per Dominum. 



ANT. But Jesus standing, ordered the blind man to be brought, and saith to him: What wilt thou, that I do for thee? Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: See thy faith hath made thee whole. And he immediately saw, and followed him, praising God.

LET US PRAY.

Mercifully hear our prayers, we beseech thee, O Lord, and deliver us from the chains of our sins, and preserve us from all adversity. Through, &c.



Before the day is over, we may recite the following stanzas of the Hymn, in which the Greek Church proclaims the annual Fast of Lent.

Hymn
(Feria II. Tyrophagi)
Advenit nunc, ver designans, præpurgatrix hebdomas hæc sacrorum jejuniorum, omnino veneranda, corporibus et animabus omnium lucem ministrans.
The week, the harbinger of spring, is come; the week that cleanses away sin by the sacred and ever venerable fast, which enlightens the body and soul of every man.

En reserata est pœnitentiæ janua, Dei amatores; adeste igitur, alacriter ipsam ingrediamur, priusquam a Christo nobis velut indignis claudatur.
Lo! the gate of penance is thrown open, O ye that love God! Come, then, let us joyously go in, before Christ shut it against us as being unworthy to enter.

Puritatem, abstinentiam, et modestiam, et fortitudinem, ac prudentiam, orationes et lacrymas comparemus, fratres, per quæ patet nobis justitiæ semita.
Brethren, let us prepare, and bring with us purity, abstinence, and modesty, and fortitude, and prudence, and prayers, and tears; for it is by these we enter on the path of justice.

Ne corpori saginando, neque ciborum deliciis incumbamus, mortales, imo vero parcimonia ipsum pingue faciamus, quo semper in pugnis cum adversario, animæ junctum prævaleat.
Be not solicitous, O mortals! about the body, how you may pamper it, nor seek delicacies in what you give it to eat; give it, rather, fullness of vigor by abstinence; that so it may aid the soul to conquer in the battle with the enemy.

Primum jejunium præviæ expiationis animarum et corporum nostrorum ortum est hodie, spargens in cordibus nostris, Dei amatores, sacræ et venerandæ Christi Passionis, luminis instar, largum splendorem.
This day, O ye that love God! begins the fast, which is to prepare our souls and bodies by expiation, and infuse into our hearts the generous light of the sacred and venerable Passion of Christ.

Læto animo amplectamur jejunium, o populi: advenit siquidem spiritualium certaminum exordium: abjiciamus carnis mollitudinem, animæ charismata augeamus, compatiamur, ut servi Christi, quo tanquam filii Dei conglorificemur, animasque nostras Spiritus sanctus in nobis inhabitans illuninabit.
Let us, O ye people! enter on our fast with a glad heart; for lo! the spiritual combat begins. Let us throw off the effeminacy of the flesh, redouble the gifts of the spirit, and suffer with Christ, as it behooves them that are his servants; that thus, we may rejoice together with him, and our souls be enlightened by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost within us.

Alacriter excipiamus, fideles, divinitus inspiratum jejunii nuntium, ut olim Ninivitæ, itemque meretrices, et publicani ab Joanne pœnitentiæ prædicationem acceperunt. Præparemur per abstinentiam ad participationem Dominici in Sion sacrificii; prius lacrymis quam divina ejus lotione purgemur, petamus typici ibi Paschatis consummationem, et veri demonstrationem intueri; parati simus ad crucis et Resurrectionis Christi Dei adorationem, clamantes ad ipsum: Ne confundas nos ab exspectatione nostra, o philanthrope.
Let us, O ye faithful! cheerfully receive the divinely inspired messenger of our fast, as did the Ninivites; and as the harlots and the publicans did, of old, receive John, when he preached penance unto them. Let us prepare, by abstinence, for a participation in the Sacrifice of our Lord on Sion. Let his divine laver be preceded by that of our tears. Let us beseech him to show unto us, when the time is come, the consummation of both Paschs, the figurative, and the true. Let us put ourselves in readiness to adore the cross and Resurrection of Christ; saying unto him: Let me not be confounded in my expectations, O thou Lover of mankind.



Eternal thanks be to thee, O Emmanuel! for that thou hast deigned, in coming upon this earth, to appear first under the form of Infancy, in order that thou mightest draw us to thyself by the simplicity and loveliness of that tender age. Encouraged by thy sweetness, we have come to thee; we have dared to approach thy Crib, and there we have taken up our abode. But, the work thou hast yet to accomplish for our Redemption calls thee from Bethlehem; and henceforth, we must cease to consider thee as the amiable Infant-God. Thou art now going to show thyself to us as the Man of toil, and fatigue, and suffering, going in pursuit of the lost sheep, and not having, in this world, which is the work of thy hands, a place where to lie thy head. We will follow thee, dear Jesus! whithersoever thou goest; we will hearken to all thy instructions; we will not lose a single one of the lessons thou art going to give us; our hearts shall be attentive to the rest of the mysteries of the work of our salvation, which is to cost thee so much labor.

We have devoutly admired and loved thee, O Mary! during these days which have shown us all the glory of thy divine Maternity, which gave joy to all heaven and earth. Thy ineffable happiness, O Mother of our God! has been a long feast to us. Thou hast affectionately welcomed us at the Crib of thy Divine Son; thou hast received us as brethren of thy Jesus. Accept, once more, the tribute of our humble thanks. We are no longer, now, to see our Emmanuel resting in thine arms, or sleeping on thy bosom. The decrees of his heavenly Father call him to the great work of our Redemption, and, later on, to the sacrifice of his life for our sakes. O Blessed Mother! the Sword is already in thy heart—thou foreknowest the future of this dear Fruit of thy womb. May our fidelity in following him through the coming mysteries of his public life, bring some alleviation to the sorrows of thy maternal Heart!
"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
Reply
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Quinquagesima Sunday
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

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"For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death."--Luke 18: 31.

The Gospel of today refers to the preparation of the Church for the great festival of Easter. This time of Lent was especially instituted in order that we might have a time, in which to meditate, with more than ordinary seriousness, on the passion of Christ. All those who, believing in Christ, obey this invitation of the Church, feel their hearts filled with bitterness and aversion for the ungrateful Jews; but how few consider that when they, as Christians, sin, they become more guilty towards the Redeemer than were even the Jews!

This we will understand if we refer the words we have just read: "He shall be delivered to the Gentiles and shall be mocked and put to death" to the life of a Christian sinner. O Mary, refuge of sinners, pray for us that we may recognize the foulness of sin, and from today banish every trace of it from our hearts! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

Christ prophesied of Himself: "The Son of man shall be delivered to the Gentiles." This complaint is also directed to the Christian sinner. Each sin is treachery. A child of the Church who commits sin is a traitor to Christ, as Judas was; for at baptism he swore to be true to God; and, in addition to this, he has, perhaps, received Him frequently in Holy Communion. A sinner is a traitor to Christ; for if he be a child of the Church, he generally prays and lives outwardly as though he were a genuine follower of Christ. He becomes a hypocrite, confessing with his lips love for God above all else, and outwardly seeking only to know and fulfill His holy will, while all the time he is acting exactly the opposite. Thus his whole life is a life of treachery.

Christ prophesies of Himself: "The Son of man shall be delivered to the Gentiles and shall be mocked and scourged." Every sinner scourges the Lord anew! St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that the Lord once appeared in Rome to a great sinner in the form of a young man. The woman rejoiced at His coming; but when she asked Him who He was, the figure of the youth changed, and Christ the Redeemer stood before her crowned with thorns, and His body lacerated by scourging. "Do you know Me?" asked He, the Lord. "Behold how I have suffered for and through you. When will you cease to scourge Me?" The woman, weeping bitterly, cast herself repentantly at the feet of Christ, and abandoned her evil ways.

This vision concerns not only this one sinful woman, but all sinners, and to each Christ addresses the sad question: "Do you know Me?" And to each the Apostle says: "Whoever sinneth, crucifies Christ in his heart." The sinner revives the passion of our Lord; he scourges Him anew.

Men who live in the state of mortal sin are generally guilty not only of one sin, but of many, both in number and kind. A man offending God by impurity is likewise often angry, envious, full of hatred towards others, and intemperate. He braids all these sinful fetters into a lash with which he scourges the Lord in his heart.

Even to a single sin several guilty acts may concur. Thus the seducer offends not only in deed, but also in thought and word; then how long, how broad, how sharp the lash becomes with which he scourges Jesus!

And not only this, but he gives scandal by his sinful life, and is the cause that others offend God and scourge Jesus by their sins of thought, word and action. We can understand how the number of these scourges is increased, if we but consider how those corrupted by one sinner lead others into the path of evil, and these again others, and so on, God only knows how long, even to the end of time.

Have you ever thought of this dreadful lash with which you yourself have scourged Jesus by your sins, and by the scandal you have given? Has not Christ the right to address the same words to you which He spoke to the sinner in Rome: "Do you know Me?"

Behold how I am scourged by the number and greatness of you sins! Oh, cease to scourge Me with your countless sins! Christ prophesies further: "The Son of man shall be mocked." The sinner mocks and derides Christ as God and as Redeemer. To comprehend this, we need only think of the Lord's prayer, and then consider how the sinner derides God when he repeats it!

He calls God "Father," and yet, as Christ says, he is born, through sin, of his father, the devil! He says with his lips: "Hallowed be Thy name," and desecrates it daily by sin! He prays with the mouth: "Thy kingdom come," and yet destroys it in his heart by sin, and in the hearts of others by his vicious life and the scandal which he gives!

He prays: "Thy will be done," and follows only his own sinful inclinations, and this with an ingratitude, a wickedness that is worse than that of the devil, because his soul has been redeemed with the blood of Christ.

He asks: "Give us this day our daily bread," and works as hard as though he thought there was no God, and every man had to take care of himself. He gives no thought to nourishing his soul by the frequent reception of holy Communion; he lives for this earth only, and cares nothing for heaven. He prays that God may forgive him as he forgives others, and yet he refuses to pardon; what mockery!

He entreats: "Lead us not into temptation," and does not avoid, but seeks temptation. He begs God to deliver him from evil, and remains voluntarily in a state of sin, which is the source of all evil.

Lastly.--The Son of man is, according to the prophecy of Christ, to be crucified. Every Christian who sins crucifies the Lord in his heart. He crucifies Jesus, and can not prevail upon himself to take Him from the cross of sin. The three nails which fastened the Lord to the cross are: Custom,--the forgetfulness of eternity,--the example and society of others! These are the three obstacles which generally prevent the conversion of a sinner.

Divine grace, however, is all powerful; may its triumph be celebrated, and may every sinner now present profit by it, in order that the Lord may, during this Lent, arise in his heart; and, celebrating Easter within it, dwell therein from this day on for evermore! Amen!


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When He drew nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side.--Luke 18: 35

Today's Gospel, besides relating to us the prophecy of Christ concerning His approaching sufferings, speaks also of a "blind man who sat by the way side begging." It might at first sight appear that there is no connection between these two circumstances, and yet there is.

This blind man, begging by the way-side, personates the sinner. No one is able to restore to him his sight but He Who came into the world to suffer and die for sinners. The particular fact to which I wish to draw your attention today is: The blindness of sinners. I desire the more particularly to speak of this blindness as we live in a century which boasts of its enlightenment, and of its progress in art and science.

It is true that in a temporal point of view we have reason to marvel at the inventive genius of men, but at the same time we have no less reason to wonder that these same men should be so blind and grow daily more so in regard to everything that concerns their future life.

O Mary, thou first bright beam of Christ, the rising Sun, pray for us that we may receive light to see the misery of that blindness with which sin encompasses men! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

At the siege of Assissi by the Turks, when the latter were attacking the cloister in which St. Clair and her sisters lived, the saint had the Host brought before the gates of the convent and cried to the Lord for help. Christ heard her prayers, and while the Turks were scaling the walls of the convent, they were suddenly struck with blindness and precipitated to the ground.

Blindness, spiritually considered, is the state in which all sinners live, especially those who, though belonging to the Church of Christ, conduct themselves like heathens. Let us draw a comparison; a blind man does not perceive that the rays of the sun descend upon the face of the earth; the darkness of night surrounds him. The sinner passes his days in spiritual blindness. He who looks with his physical eyes upon the world, sees the wonders of the wisdom, power and kindness of God. He recognizes how Providence cares for everything, preserves every thing, and leads all things to the end for which He has destined them.

And when we look about us with a heart filled with love for God, how many causes greet our sight to love, honor, worship and serve Him! The divine attributes become clearer to us, if we think of all that God has done for mankind by the work of Redemption. What proofs of His Wisdom, Power and Goodness we have in the creation of divine grace! But of all this the Christian sinner seems to see nothing. For him it is night, as it was night for Judas when, on the evening of Holy Thursday after having unworthily partaken of the Lord's supper, he went away and betrayed Christ.

The Catholic sinner confesses with his lips all the tenets of his faith, but they do not influence his life; he remains in utter darkness, and in the light of faith lives like a blind heathen. This is especially the case if he has never been thoroughly instructed in his faith. Oh! how many spiritually blind people there are in this enlightened century, even among the children of the Church. Whatever may be the size of an object the blind can not see it. So it is with the spiritually blind. The truth of faith stands in its eternal grandeur before the eyes of his mind, but he does not see it, he does not deign to regard it.

A blind man knows nothing of the beauty of colors, nor of the harmony which unites all things in nature and forms of them one great picture. Thus it is with one who is spiritually blind, it is as if he had no perception of the beauty of true holiness and of a virtuous life.

He experiences no longing after perfection, and regards all aspirations to a higher life as unfeasible. He is hardly aware that there have been saints upon earth. He never raises his eyes to these glorious stars in the firmament of the Church, and if he does accidentally, these far-off luminaries, these worlds of holiness, appear but points of light, and it never occurs to him, while contemplating them, that they shine for his illumination.

The blind man does not become convinced of the existence of a thing until his hands have felt it. Thus one spiritually blind believes only that which he can seize, so to say, with his hands; he thereby dishonors his intellect and reason.

A blind man passes the most costly diamonds, the most brilliant jewels, and stretches out his hands towards a pebble which lies in his path. He is incapable of earning his livelihood, and would starve; if no one took care of him. Thus, one spiritually blind starves mentally, though he is in the midst of plenty and could gather with every breath merits of incomparable worth for the life to come. He is heedless of this fact, and wastes the precious time of his life in groping about in the darkness until the approach of that night when no one can work.

A blind man is unaware of the abyss that yawns at his feet; one step more and he will be precipitated into its measureless depth. If he is in danger, he does not perceive it, and would not leave his place if a wild beast came rushing towards him ready to tear him to pieces. Thus with the man spiritually blind. He must, as a Christian, be aware that the dangers besetting salvation are manifold, and he must know what Christ has said about the broad path leading to destruction and the torments awaiting the sinner, yet he never gives a thought to his danger, and is not concerned even if he is reminded of it.

A blind man, when threatened with some calamity, does not see the means of escape even if they are within his reach. This is exactly the case with one who is spiritually blind. He does not perceive that sureness which the Catholic faith imparts, but wanders about without a guide; or if, retaining the appearance of a Christian, he seems to perceive the light of revelation, he nevertheless sits motionless, like an owl on a withered branch, turning his eyes in every direction, but seeing nothing in the clear light of the sun.

Large numbers of these night-birds, of these spiritual owls, are to be found in the streets of cities. A true conversion to God by His preventing grace will restore the sight to these blind men when, on some occasion in their lives, the Lord passes by, and they perceive His presence by the grace that arouses their conscience.

It is especially on great festivals of the Church, in Missions and Jubilees, that the sinner feels the approach of Jesus, and is moved to follow him like others. Well for him if he then open his heart to the light of faith streaming upon him, or, should this light be still flickering in his heart, well for him if he endeavor, with the help of grace, to revive its feeble flame.

Christ said to the blind man: "Thy faith hath made thee whole." Sinners, and all ye who are spiritually blind, take this admonition to heart, reanimate your faith, and you will see clearly the path of salvation. Then will you make rapid progress upon this path, and one day behold Jesus and understand the miracle which His power and love hath wrought to enlighten and save you. Amen!

The holy time of Lent is approaching, and the Church endeavors to prepare the hearts of her children for this solemnity. She would have us not only believe that Christ came into the world in order to save us by His bitter passion and death, but also wishes us to use strenuous endeavors to make His merits our own. Unfortunately the words of Christ to the Apostles, or rather what the Gospel says in regard to their mental condition, may be applied to many children of the Church: "They understood none of these things."

The principal cause of this intellectual blindness is the state of sin which prevents them from understanding the true import of religious truths. We have a picture of this pitiable state in the blind man who sat by the way-side begging. The sinner is blind; we considered this truth last year on this Sunday. Today I say: he is also a beggar. I shall endeavor to show you the truth of this comparison, and to draw thence some important lessons.

O Mary, restorer of divine grace, pray for us that we may turn to God, and, forsaking the misery of sin, grow rich in merit as true children of God! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

St. Chrysostom, commenting on the parable of the prodigal son, says that the unfortunate young man feels particularly one circumstance of his miserable condition, which sinners, whom he represents, seldom take into consideration.

This circumstance is, that he served as a swine-herd, and without stated wages. He was hungry, but had nothing to eat. With how little would he have been satisfied! He craved the insipid husks which the swine devoured, yet no one offered them to him. Sinner, does your master give you bread ? Do you not serve him without recompense? Are you not obliged to beg your food of the swine?

Yes; even so! The master whom the sinner serves in capacity of swine-herd, is Satan! He serves him without stipulated wagers. There is no doubt of it. For what can Satan promise man in return for the slavish service of sin? He possesses nothing, nor does he rule the world. But even were he to promise something, the sinner could not be certain of his wages; for "Satan" according to the testimony of Holy Writ, "is a liar, and the father thereof." All reward is uncertain, even the very husks of enjoyment which man receives from the indulgence of his passions. How often is sin the cause even of man's temporal misery! How often does it not weary him of life, and hurl him into the suicide's grave!

But even if all the enjoyment of the world were the sinner's, his heart, created for God, would remain empty and sigh with Solomon: "Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity," except to serve God, to love Him, and possess Him. Oh! that the sinner would bear this in mind, and say to himself like the prodigal son: I am the son of a rich father; "the hired servants in my father s house have plenty of bread, and I here perish with hunger."

Sinner, miserable beggar, are you not ashamed of yourself? Why do you not cease begging? God alone can give you that which you ask of human creatures. He alone can satisfy the longing of your heart. Men are poor themselves, and can give you nothing for food save husks, which can not allay the hunger of your soul.

We will see the truth of this if we consider the intrinsic value of those goods which the heart of man yearns to possess. First, man desires an occupation by which to earn a living; then he wants this occupation to be profitable enough to enable him to amass wealth. To succeed in this he becomes a beggar--begs of men. And yet what would it avail him were he to gain all the gold of the earth? It is but dust, and he can not take it with him to the other world. More over, he often receives for his labor only poor wages, and frequently the harder he labors the less he is repaid.

How many such beggars are there in this world! If they did for God and heaven only a tenth part of what they do for the world they would become, as Thomas a Kempis says, great saints, and immensely rich in the goods of heaven.

Yes, thou blessed Thomas, if men would do but a hundredth part of what they do for the world, what a great number of saints we would possess. But as it is, they are indolent in the service of God, and go begging, ask for wealth, honor, and renown. And how soon death deprives them of all they have gained by begging, while whatever is done for the service of God is gathered and kept for evermore in heaven!

The human heart craves not only possessions but also esteem, and what will not a sinner do to win distinction? and what will he not endure not to be disgraced before man or to gain his good graces? And yet of what worth is the honor bestowed by man? It is like vapor, which rapidly dissolves. Yet how many sycophants there are upon earth! Of those, however, who serve Him, God says: "Whosoever shall glorify me, him will I glorify." A holy life renders us an object of admiration even to the angels, and secures for us a throne in the kingdom of God.

Ambitious human creatures, why do you not think of this? why do you persist in asking man for what God will give you bountifully, if you only live in such a manner upon earth as to be worthy to be called His child?

The human heart does not alone desire the possession of wealth and honor, but it also craves enjoyment and the sinner goes begging to human creatures for it. But all in vain! St. Augustine rightly says: "Thou, O Lord, hast created our heart for Thee, and it can not rest, until it rests in Thee!"

The joy which man seeks from his fellow-man, how unsatisfactory and empty, how frivolous, and often debasing! The sinner deservedly merits the reproach of the Apostle: And what benefit did you derive from that of which you are now ashamed?

On the other hand, how great the enjoyment which God prepares for those who serve Him, and who unite themselves to Him in prayer! As we read in the lives of the saints, they enjoy a foretaste here below of the bliss which awaits them in eternal life.

How vain, then, for man to beg created beings to fill the void in his heart, for he can receive nothing from them which is capable of satisfying his craving; on the contrary, after he has emptied the cup of sensual pleasures, he is forced to sigh with bitterness and repentance: O joy! why hast thou deceived me?

Well for him if he feels his misery, and turns to the One Who alone is able to give all that the heart desires. Many will endeavor to silence him, when his soul sends forth her first cry to God, as the beggar was hushed in today's Gospel; but if casting off all fear of men he heeds them not, he will be heard, and filled with the riches of the children of God. Those who love Jesus and follow Him will give thanks and honor to God for the grace bestowed upon them.

God grant that during this Lent all begging sinners, all spiritually blind, may have the happiness to sigh from the depth of their heart: Jesus, Thou hast cured me of my blindness, and delivered me from my misery! Now I see Thee and follow Thee, and I am rich through Thee, O my Lord and my all! Amen!


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"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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#4
Sermon for Children's Mass: Quinquagesima Sunday


Gospel. Luke xviii. 31-43. At that time: Jesus took unto Him the twelve, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man; for He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon; and after they have scourged Him they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said.

Now it came to pass when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David have mercy on me. And Jesus standing commanded him to be brought unto Him. And when he was come near, He asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.


PREDICTION OF OUE LORD'S PASSION --THE CURE OF THE BLIND MAN
In this Gospel the Church teaches us something of the Passion of Our Lord. About this time of the year a certain part of the world is going crazy with carnival (Mardi Gras); people imagine it great fun when they put on masks, dance, and walk about in processions. But the Church wishes her children to think of the Passion of Our Lord, and on these days she asks them to be more zealous and fervent.

Sin is the cause of the Passion of Our Lord; we crucify Our Lord again and make Him an object of mockery. We have not the same customs here that exist in Europe at carnival time, but by degrees they are creeping in here, too; let us consider the great damage it does to the young people of those countries, and draw from it a lesson which will be very useful to us. We can also judge from it what would be the consequence of following similar indulgences at any time of the year. These applications can be made to our picnics, moonlight excursions, and dances (movies, TV, Internet, plays, rock concerts, and immoral books, comics in today’s world).

On the approach of the carnival the Church redoubles her prayers, and puts on the garb of penance, because so many sins are committed; for this reason, too, the saints of the Church, the friends of God, do more penance that God may be kind to the people who are indulging in these excesses. St. Francis de Sales used to call the carnival days hours of pain and grief to the Church. What disorders, dissoluteness, unlawful relaxations are committed in those days! St. Vincent Ferrer used to think of the approach of those days with horror, for, with unbounded license, people would commit sin after sin without giving themselves time to think. St. Catharine of Sienna was accustomed to cry out with groans, "Oh, what an unhappy time! what a diabolical time!" Day and night she would invoke Our Lord. When the carnival is open you may well say that heaven is closed. The reprehensible things about the carnival are things that are considered dangerous at all times, such as masquerade balls and theatres. St. John Chrysostom considered the theatre the worst place, where the vilest spiritual diseases may be contracted. St. Augustine called the theatre of his day the pomp of Satan. St. Cyprian speaking of it says it is the innovation of the devil; apply all this to picnics and balls too.

Now, my good young people, whom would you rather believe; would you rather believe your own passions that drag you into considering these things small matters; would you rather believe our modern, loose Christians, who consider the theatre the school of virtue? Or would you not rather believe those great doctors whom I have quoted, who studied much, and who were enlightened by almighty God? You will say that you always criticize the title of a play (or movie or TV program etc.) before you see it. That is nonsense; you know that the name of these do not give a clue as to whether it is moral or not. What about masquerade balls, rock concerts or prom night? The dance is one of the greatest occasions of evil, especially for young people. A youth that loves the ball-room will sooner or later fall into grave sin.

"He who jokes with the devil," says St. Peter Chrysologus, "cannot reign with Christ." St. John Chrysostom declared vehemently against dancing; he says it is the innovation of the devil, and those who engage in it cannot escape the snares of the devil. All the saints have said the same thing. During these days of the carnival, especially, let us not form part of the world that has gone crazy, we may say. There is no objection to modest recreation nor to simple enjoyments. Endeavor to compensate Our Lord Jesus for so many sins committed during this time. With great love, visit a church where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, pray, and receive from Him spiritual joy of which the world knows nothing. In this way you will not put your salvation in jeopardy nor will you, as often happens, ruin the health of the body, as is frequently the case. I myself have seen on the last days of the carnival a funeral procession, and on asking for whom such display was made, was told that it was the funeral of a youth of sixteen years. A few days previously he had taken part in the carnival procession; he had gone to the theatre and to a masked ball. Here he had become overheated, caught cold, contracted pneumonia, and in a few days died. Had he obeyed his parents, had he been reasonable in his enjoyments, he might have saved his life.

But let us return to the Gospel; while Jesus was in the vicinity of Jericho, a poor blind man who sat by the wayside begging, hearing the approach of a great crowd, asked what this might be. They told him that the Great Prophet, the Son of David, was passing by. Then he raised his voice as high as he could, and cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." Can you not easily see in this poor blind man the figure of a poor sinner? How terrible is the blindness of sinners! They know that by sinning they lose God, that God who created them and redeemed them; they know that they have lost the right to heaven; they sin frequently and without any remorse. What blindness thus to insult almighty God, in whose presence they commit these sins; that God who could annihilate them or could at any moment precipitate them into the flames of hell! Sometimes, by the grace of God, the blind sinners open their eyes to the real state of their souls; they see their misery and their danger, and return to God while it is yet time, and break the chains that hold them bound to the servitude of the devil.

Then they ask themselves: Who is this Jesus who is passing by? The truth will suddenly shine on their souls. This is the Savior of souls, the healer of the blind and of all diseases, especially of the soul. Then in earnest they will raise their voices to Our Lord and cry out in humility and compunction of heart, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." But you know that the world does not like these exhibitions of piety, the fashionable world does not want to be disturbed by these cries. The passions so natural to our frailty and increased by indulgence, are urged on by the devil, who gives us occasions of sin. Our old companions who continue in their evil course would like us to do the same; these lay their hands on the mouth of the sinner that he may not cry out, and tell him that he should be ashamed to make such an outcry. This is the inner voice that we feel; the voice of conscience that admonishes us and the voice of the body that speaks of enjoyments that are the death of the soul. How the sinner hates to be disturbed by these contending claims! The good voice is hated by the sinner, and he tries to silence it.

Again he shuts his eyes and listens to the wicked voice, so that joyously and carelessly he goes on sinning. He has abused once more the grace of the voice of God speaking to his soul. Sinners become ashamed of having ever been modest and pure in word and action, ashamed of ever having loved God, and ridicule the holy maxims of the Gospel. What blindness and perversity this is! Should any of my hearers be of the number of those who have been blind, let them arouse themselves by prayer, and then the grace of light will also come to them. How tearfully and sadly St. Augustine describes these dreadful days of his own blindness, "I went from one disorder to another, from one precipice to another, like one that was blind."

When Jesus heard His name called in that strong way, He stopped, and gave orders that they should bring the poor man to Him. "What wilt thou that I should do for thee?" asked Our Lord with the most loving condescension. "Ah, Lord, you see what I need. I am a miserable blind man, give me the light of my eyes." What a beautiful prayer, how short, how affectionate it was, what great good it accomplished. This same petition we too should continually make. "Lord, that I may see."

This spiritual blindness, ignorance, and darkness must be removed; we must be able to see clearly. Give me intelligence, that I may know things rightly, that I may from my earliest days know the wickedness of sin, for now in my blindness it looks so attractive and so beautiful. Lord, make me see the great danger there is in the world, that I may be on my guard and not fall a willing prey to the wiles of Satan. Lord, let me know what company I must avoid, let me see the foolishness of thinking much of riches, excepting in so far as I may be able to use them for the good of others. It is vanity to indulge the appetites of the flesh and to desire that which, if consented to, will bring upon me great punishment. Let me, O Lord, see the vanity of wishing for a long life; give me the grace to be contented with a short one and so to labor during it that I may enjoy the heavenly sight of paradise.

The good Lord answered the prayer of the blind man, saying, "Thy faith has cured thee," and immediately the eyes of the blind man received their sight. Filled with joy he followed Our Lord, giving Him praise, and all the people who saw the great miracle also gave praise to God. See, my young people, what grateful recognition you owe to almighty God for the corporal and spiritual light of your body and soul. How often has God given the power of vision to your soul! You certainly remember the darkness in which your soul was cast when you fell into mortal sin.

Bodily blindness may bring some good to the soul, for then we cannot see the dangerous occasions which might lead us into sin; the alluring aspect of the objects of our passions cannot be seen by us, and hence cannot excite our imagination; but the blindness of the soul gives the devil power over us. As soon as God enlightened your soul you saw the dangerous situation in which you were. He stretched out His hands to raise you up, and what appeared to you so beautiful and attractive now looked so hideous that you were terrified, and willingly fled from it. What a great grace this was to you! He made you know what was good, and gave you grace to love it. Thank almighty God for these spiritual gifts, praise Him for being so good to you. We cannot sufficiently appreciate what God has done for us in giving understanding and light to our soul; but we will know it when, after witnessing the damnation of many souls, we will at last find ourselves in heaven.
"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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#5
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for Quinquagesima Sunday


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2019 - Two Masses





2020 - Two Masses





2021 - Two Masses




2022

"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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#6
Sermon XIV ~ Quinquagesima Sunday
Delusions Of Sinners

by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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Lord, that I may see.” LUKE xviii. 41

1. THE Devil brings sinners to hell by closing their eyes to the dangers of perdition. He first blinds them, and then leads them with himself to eternal torments. If, then, we wish to be saved, we must continually pray to God in the words of the blind man in the gospel of this day, “Lord, that I may see.” Give me light: make me see the way in which I must walk in order to save my soul, and to escape the deceits of the enemy of salvation. I shall, brethren, this day place before your eyes the delusion by which the devil tempts men to sin and to persevere in sin, that you may know how to guard yourselves against his deceitful artifices.

2. To understand these delusions better, let us imagine the case of a young man who, seized by some passion, lives in sin, the slave of Satan, and never thinks of his eternal salvation. My son, I say to him, what sort of life do you lead? If you continue to live in this manner, how will you be able to save your soul? But, behold! the devil, on the other hand, says to him: Why should you be afraid of being lost? Indulge your passions for the present: you will afterwards confess your sins, and thus all shall be remedied. Behold the net by which the devil drags so many souls into hell. “Indulge your passions: you will hereafter make a good confession.” But, in reply, I say, that in the meantime you lose your soul. Tell me: if you had a jewel worth a thousand pounds, would you throw it into a river with the hope of afterwards finding it again? What if all your efforts to find it were fruitless? God! you hold in your hand the invaluable jewel of your soul, which Jesus Christ has purchased with his own blood, and you cast it into hell! Yes; you cast it into hell; because according to the present order of providence, for every mortal sin you commit, your name is written among the number of the damned. But you say. “I hope to recover God’s grace by making a good confession.” And if you should not recover it, what shall be the consequences? To make a good confession, a true sorrow for sin is necessary, and this sorrow is the gift of God: if he does not give it, will you not be lost for ever?

3. You rejoin: “I am young; God compassionates my youth; I will hereafter give myself to God.” Behold another delusion! You are young; but do you not know that God counts, not the years, but the sins of each individual? You are young; but how many sins have you committed? Perhaps there are many persons of a very advanced age, who have not been guilty of the fourth part of the sins which you have committed. And do you not know that God has fixed for each of us the number of sins which he will pardon?” The Lord patiently expecteth, that, when the day of judgment shall come, he may punish them in the fulness of their sins.” (2 Mach. vi. 14.) God has patience, and waits for a while; but, when the measure of the sins which he has determined to pardon is tilled up, he pardons no more, but chastises the sinner, by suddenly depriving him of life in the miserable state of sin, or by abandoning him in his sin, and executing that threat which he made by the prophet Isaias” I shall take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be wasted.” (Isa. v. 5.) If a person has cultivated land for many years, has encompassed it with a hedge for its protection, and expended a large sum of money on it, but finds that, after all, it produces no fruit, what will he do with it? He will pluck up the hedge, and abandon it to all men and beasts that may wish to enter. Tremble, then, lest God should treat you in a similar manner. If you do not give up sin, your remorse of conscience and your fear of divine chastisement shall daily increase. Behold the hedge taken away, and your soul abandoned by God a punishment worse than death itself.

4. You say: “I cannot at present resist this passion.” Behold the third delusion of the devil, by which he makes you believe that at present you have not strength to overcome certain temptations. But St. Paul tells us that God is faithful, and that he never permits us to be tempted above our strength. “And God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted above that which you are able.” (1 Cor. x. 13.) I ask, if you are not now able to resist the temptation, how can you expect to resist it hereafter? If you yield to it, the Devil will become stronger, and you shall become weaker; and if you be not now able to extinguish this flame of passion, how can you hope to be able to extinguish it when it shall have grown more violent? You say: “God will give me his aid.” But this aid God is ready to give at present if you ask it. Why then do you not implore his assistance? Perhaps you expect that, without now taking the trouble of invoking his aid, you will receive from him increased helps and graces, after you shall have multiplied the number of your sins? Perhaps you doubt the veracity of God, who has promised to give whatever we ask of him? “Ask,” he says, “and it shall be given you.” (Matt. vii. 7.) God cannot violate his promises. ”God is not as man, that he should lie, nor as the son of man, that he should be changed. Hath he said, then, and will he not do?” (Num. xxiii. 19.) Have recourse to him, and he will give you the strength necessary to resist the temptation. God commands you to resist it, and you say: “I have not strength.” Does God, then, command impossibilities? No; the Council of Trent has declared that “God does not command impossibilities; but, by his commands, he admonishes you to do what you can, and to ask what you cannot do; and he assists, that you may be able to do it.” (Sess. 6. c. xiii.) When you see that you have not sufficient strength to resist temptation with the ordinary assistance of God, ask of him the additional help which you require, and he will give it to you; and thus you shall be able to conquer all temptations, however violent they may be.

5. But you will not pray; and you say that at present you will commit this sin, and will afterwards confess it. But, I ask, how do you know that God will give you time to confess it? You say: “I will go to confession before the lapse of a week.” And who has promised you this week? Well, then you say: ” I will go to confession tomorrow.” And who promises you tomorrow? “Crastinum Deus non promisit,” says St. Augustine, “fortasse dabit, et fortasse non dabit.” God has not promised you to-morrow. Perhaps he will give it, and perhaps he will refuse it to you, as he has to so many others. How many have gone to bed in good health, and have been found dead in the morning! How many, in the very act of sin, has the Lord struck dead and sent to hell! Should this happen to you, how will you repair your eternal ruin?”Commit this sin, and confess it afterwards.” Behold the deceitful artifice by which the devil has brought so many thousands of Christians to hell. We scarcely ever find a Christian so sunk in despair as to intend to damn himself. All the wicked sin with the hope of afterwards going to confession. But, by this illusion, how many have brought themselves to perdition! For them there is now no time for confession, no remedy for their damnation.

6. ”But God is merciful.” Behold another common delusion by which the devil encourages sinners to persevere in a life of sin! A certain author has said, that more souls have been sent to hell by the mercy of God than by his justice. This is indeed the case; for men are induced by the deceits of the devil to persevere in sin, through confidence in Gods mercy; and thus they are lost. “God is merciful.” Who denies it? But, great as his mercy, how many does he every day send to hell? God is merciful, but he is also just, and is, therefore, obliged to punish those who offend him. ”And his mercy,” says the divine mother, ”to them that fear him.” (Luke i. 50.) But with regard to those who abuse his mercy and despise him, he exercises justice. The Lord pardons sins, but he cannot pardon the determination to commit sin. St. Augustine says, that he who sins with the intention of repenting after his sins, is not a penitent but a scoffer. ”Irrisor est non poenitens.” But the Apostle tells us that God will not be mocked. ”Be not deceived; God is not mocked.” (Gal. vi. 7.) It would be a mockery of God to insult him as often and as much as you pleased, and afterwards to expect eternal glory.

7. “But”; you say, “as God has shown me so many mercies hitherto, I hope he will continue to do so for the future.” Behold another delusion! Then, because God has not as yet chastised your sins, he will never punish them! On the contrary, the greater have been his mercies, the more you should tremble, lest, if you offend him again, he should pardon you no more, and should take vengeance on your sins. Behold the advice of the Holy Ghost: ”Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? for the Most High is a patient rewarder.” (Eccles. v. 4.) Do not say: “I have sinned, and no chastisement has fallen upon me.” God bears for a time, but not for ever. He waits for a certain time; but when that arrives, he then chastises the sinner for all his past iniquities: and the longer he has waited for repentance, the more severe the chastisement. ”Quos diutius expectat,” says St. Gregory, ”durius damnat.” Then, my brother, since you know that you have frequently offended God, and that he has not sent you to hell, you should exclaim: ”The mercies of the Lord, that we are not consumed.” (Thren. iii. 22.) Lord, I thank you for not having sent me to hell, which I have so often deserved. And therefore you ought to give yourself entirely to God, at least through gratitude, and should consider that, for less sins than you have committed, many are now in that pit of fire, without the smallest hope of being ever released from it. The patience of God in bearing with you, should teach you not to despise him still more, but to love and serve him with greater fervour, and to atone, by penitential austerities and by other holy works, for the insults you have offered to him. You know that he has shown mercies to you, which he has not shown to others. ”He hath not done in like manner to every nation.” (Ps. cxlvii. 20.) Hence you should tremble, lest, if you commit a single additional mortal sin, God should abandon you, and cast you into hell.

8. Let us come to the next illusion. “It is true that, by this sin, I lose the grace of God; but, even after committing this sin, I may be saved.” You may, indeed, be saved: but it cannot be denied that if, after having committed so many sins, and after having received so many graces from God, you again offend him, there is great reason to fear that you shall be lost. Attend to the words of the sacred Scripture: “A hard heart shall fare evil at the last.” (Eccles. iii. 27.) The obstinate sinner shall die an unhappy death. Evil doers shall be cut off.” (Ps. xxxvi. 9.) The wicked shall be cut off by the divine justice. “For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap.” (Gal. vi. 8.) He that sows in sin, shall reap eternal torments. “Because I called and you refused, I also will laugh in your destruction and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared.” (Prov. i. 24, 26.) I called, says the Lord, and you mocked me; but I will mock you at the hour of death. “Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time.” (Deut. xxxii. 35.) The chastisement of sins belongs to me, and I will execute vengeance on them when the time of vengeance shall arrive. “The man that with a stiff neck despiseth him that reproveth him, shall suddenly be destroyed, and health shall not follow him.” (Prov. xxix. 1.) The man who obstinately despises those who correct him, shall be punished with a sudden death, and for him there shall be no hope of salvation.

9. Now, brethren, what think you of these divine threats against sinners? Is it easy, or is it not very difficult, to save your souls, if, after so many divine calls, and after so many mercies, you continue to offend God? You say: “But after all, it may happen that I will save my soul.” I answer: “What folly is it to trust your salvation to a perhaps? How many with this “perhaps I may be saved,” are now in hell? Do you wish to be one of their unhappy companions? Dearly beloved Christians, enter into yourselves, and tremble; for this sermon may be the last of Gods mercies to you.
"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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#7
HOMILY XV. CHARITY: ITS GAIN AND LOSS
by St. Thomas Aquinas


QUINQUAGESIMA.—(FROM THE EPISTLE.)



"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity." 1 Cor. xiii. 1.


In this Epistle we are invited to the exercise of charity, and it is manifoldly commended to us chiefly for five reasons. Firstly, for its preciousness “Charity, which name signifies what is dear and precious." Secondly, the loss in its absence— "I am become as sounding brass," &tc. Thirdly, its value in this present life—"Charity suffereth long, and is kind." Fourthly, its eternity— "Charity never faileth.”  Fifthly, its dignity—"The greatest of these is charity." Now mention the first two points. 

I. On the first head it is to be noted that charity is precious on four accounts. (1) It can only come from One, and it must be given by the highest good—Rom. v. 5, "The love of God is shed abroad in. our hearts by the Holy Ghost.” (2) It belongs only to the good. S. Austin says, "Charity is a peculiar fountain; a stranger does not communicate with it.” (3) Possessing it, all good things are possessed. S. Austin says, "Mark, how great & good is charity, which being absent renders all other good things vain, but he to whom it is present has all things. (4) The possessor of charity is most dear to God, for it is of that nature that they who possess it are called dear, whence the Lord calls those living in charity the most beloved—Cant. v. 1, "Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved."

II. On the second head it is to be noted that the absence of charity entails a threefold loss, as the Apostle here points out. (1) The best part of our nature is wasted— "I am become as sounding brass." In time the brass is worn away by giving out the sound, just as the rational creature without charity is consumed by vices. S. Austin says in the “City of God,""If we were not of & good nature we should not be harmed by vices; for what harm can they do us save to ‘deprive us of integrity, beauty, salvation, and peace?” (2) The soul without charity, being separated from God, dies "I am nothing"—that is, I am dead, I am separated from the truth, without which man is dead; 1 S. John iii. 14, "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." (8) Every work without charity is rendered useless—"Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, though I give my body to be burned." S. Ambrose declares that he who has not charity lacks all good. From which state may we be preserved. 



HOMILY XVI. BLINDNESS AND SIGHT

QUINQUAGESIMA.—(FROM THE GOSPEL.)


A certain blind than sat by the way-side."—St. Luke xviii. 85.


Morover, by the blind man the sinner is understood— Zeph. i. 17, "They shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord." As the blind does not see bodily, so the sinner does not see spiritually. Firstly, there are seven causes which hinder the bodily sight, which represent the seven mortal sins which produce spiritual blindness. Secondly, there are seven things which produce mental illumination.

I. On the first head it is to be noted that the seven causes of blindness and the seven sins are—(1) A swelling of the face, and this is pride; S. Austin says, "My face is swollen so greatly that it does not suffer me to see.” (2) A darkness in the air: this is envy, whence the envious are spoken of as being blind—Wisd. ii. 21, “Their own malice blinded them." It is also said of the envy of the Jews—1 Sam. xviii. 9, "Saul eyed David from that day forward." (8) A derangement of the eyes: this is anger—Ps. xxxi. 9, "Mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly." (4) Dust or anything that falls into the eye: this is avarice. Dust is of those temporal things which darken—S. Austin says, "I wandered after temporal things, and I was blinded." (5) A closing of the eyes, for no one can see who closes his eyes, or does not wish to open them: and this is a weaken- ing, for the weakened from slothfilness alone is not able to open his intellectual eyes to behold spiritual good. Betius says that the wicked accustom their eyes to darkness, they "turn them away from the light of truth; they are like those birds who see at night, but who are blind by day. (6) The .gathering round the eyes of blood and humour: this is gluttony—Prov. xxiii. 29, "Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine;" even according to the letter, -the spiritual and bodily eyes are both darkened by an excess -of wine. (7) The shadow of little spots, for occasionally a small spot or nubercula is formed in the eye and produces ‘blindness: this is luxury. S. Austin said, “Small cloudy spots "were coming up from the wine of carnal concupiscence, and they darkened my heart that the sincerity of love could not ‘be distinguished from the darkness of lust. 

II. On the second head it is to be noted that the spiritual ‘sight consists also of seven graces. (1) Of faith—S. Luke xviii. 42, “Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee." S. Austin, "Faith is the illumination of the mind, the means ‘by which it is enlightened from the First Light to behold spiritual blessings.” (2) Of humility—S. John ix. 39, "For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see:” these are humble who think that they see not. (9) Of present trial and bitterness—Tobit vi. 9, "The gall is good for anointing the eyes in which there is a little white speck.” (4) Of love of one’s neighbour—Rev. x. 18, "Eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” (5) Abundance of tears: this is illustrated by he who, being born blind, went and washed in the pool of Siloam—S. John ix. 7, "He went his way therefore and washed, and came seeing.” (6) Of fervent prayer—S. Matt. xx. 31, “Cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. ...... So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes, and immediately their eyes received sight.” (7) Of the reverential hearing of Holy Scripture—Isa. xxix. 18, “In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.”
"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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