Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
From Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

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THE Introit of the Mass is: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? My enemies that trouble me have themselves been weakened and have fallen. If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. (Ps. xxvi. 1—3.) Glory be to the Father, &c.

. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that both the course of the world may
be peaceably ordered for us by Thy governance, and that Thy Church may rejoice in tranquil devotion. Through.

EPISTLE. (Rom. viii. 18 — 23) Brethren, The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us. For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope: because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that every creature groaneth, and travaileth in pain, even till now. And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body: in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Quote:INSTRUCTION. There is no greater consolation under crosses and afflictions, no more powerful support in the adversities of a pious and virtuous life, than the thought that all sufferings are as nothing when compared with the coming glory of heaven, and that by a slight and momentary suffering in this life is obtained a superabundant happiness in the next, (ii Cor. iv. 17.) Thus St. Augustine says: "Were we daily to suffer all torments , even for a short time the pains of hell, in order to see Christ and be numbered among His saints ; would it not be worth all this misery to obtain so great a good, so great a glory?"

ASPIRATION. Ah Lord, when shall we be delivered from the miserable bondage of this life, and participate in that indescribable glory which Thou hast prepared for Thy children, where free from the misery and many temptations of this life, they enjoy eternal bliss. Enable us to see more and more into the misery of this life that we may thus be urged to strive for freedom and glory in Thy kingdom. Amen.

GOSPEL. (Luke v. 1 — 11.) At that time, When the multitude pressed upon Jesus, to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth. And he saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets; and going up into one of the ships that was Simon's, he desired him to draw back a little from the land. And sitting, he taught the multitudes out of the ship. Now when he had ceased to speak, he said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon, answering, said to him: Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing, but at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes: and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus's knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of fishes which they had taken; and so were also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And having brought their ships to land , leaving all things, they followed him.

What are we to learn from the people who came to Christ to hear the word of God?

We should listen with great zeal to the word of God, because from it man receives the life of the soul, (Matt. iv. 4.) and eternal happiness. (Luke xi. 28.)

Why did Christ teach from Peter's ship?

By this He showed that the true doctrine is preached only from that Church of which Peter is the head, (John. xi. 15.) which is here represented by his ship. mid storms of persecution Jesus has preserved and will preserve this ship, His Church, until the end of time. Peter still guides the bark in the unbroken line of his successors, and Jesus still teaches from this ship the same doctrine through the bishops and priests, as His cooperators, with whom He has promised to remain to the end of the world. (Matt, xxviii. 20.)

Why was it that Peter and his assistant took in such a draught of fishes after they had labored all night in vain?

Because at first they trusted in themselves, and did not throw out their nets in the name of the Lord, relying on His blessing and assistance. "This example," say St Ambrose, "proves how vain and fruitless is presumptuous confidence, and how powerful, on the contrary is humility, since those who had previously labored without success, filled their nets at the word of the Redeemer." Let us learn from this our inability, that we begin onr work only with God, that is, with confidence in His help, and with the intention of working only for love of Him. and for His honor. If we do this, the blessing of the Lord will not be wanting.

What is represented by the nets and the draught of fishes?

"The word of truth which, so to speak, forms the network of gospel preaching," says St. Ambrose, "with which the successors of the apostles, the bishops and priests, draw souls from the darkness of error to the light of truth, and from the depths of the abyss to raise them to heaven."

What is meant by the apostles calling to their partners for help?

We are instructed by this that we should assist the preachers of the gospel, the priests, in the conversion of sinners by prayer, fasting, alms-deeds, and other good works, especially by good example, for this is a most meritorious work. (James v. 20.)

Why did Jesus choose poor and illiterate fishermen to be his apostles?

To show that the founding and propagating of the holy Catholic Church is not the work of man, but of God; for how could it be possible, without the evident assistance of God, that poor, illiterate fishermen could overthrow proud paganism, and bring nations to receive the doctrine of the crucified God-Man Jesus, who to the Jews was an abomination, to the Gentiles a folly!

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Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing, but at thy word I will let down the net. (Luke v. 5.)

THERE are many people who by a special, but loving-decree of God, seem to be born only for a miserable life, and who, with all this, can have no hope of a reward in the next world, because they do not avail themselves (by a good intention) of the miseries which God gives them as a ladder to heaven.

In what does a good intention consist?

In performing all our works, even the smallest, and in offering all our thoughts and words in the name of God,
that is, for His honor and in accordance with His most holy will; that we receive all sufferings and afflictions cheerfully from His hand, and offer them in union with the passion of Jesus.

How should we make a good intention?

In the morning we should offer to the Lord all our thoughts, words, and deeds, all our crosses and afflictions, and all our steps during the day:

1. as a sacrifice of homage, to pay to Him the service, honor and adoration due Him;
2. a sacrifice of thanksgiving for graces received;
3. a sacrifice of propitiation to render some satisfaction to divine justice for our own sins and the sins of others;
4. a sacrifice of impetration to obtain, through the merits of Christ, new graces and gifts for ourselves and others.

We must not forget however in making a good intention, to unite all our works with the merits of Jesus, by which alone they acquire worth and merit before God, and we must guard against impatience or sinful deeds by which we lose the merit of the good intention made in the morning, for a good intention cannot exist with sin. It is also very useful to place all our actions into the wounds of Jesus, offering them to Him by the hands of His Blessed Mother, and it is advisable frequently to renew our good intention during the day, by making use of these or similar words: "For the love of Thee, O Lord! For Thy sake! All in honor of God ! With the intention I made this morning!" Endeavor to instruct the ignorant, how to make a good intention, and thus share in their good works.

What benefit is derived from a good intention?

St. Anselm says: "It renders all works, even the smallest, golden and divine;" and St. Gregory: u It makes all thoughts, words, and deeds meritorious, and causes us to expect in the hour of death, like the wise virgins, the heavenly bridegroom, Jesus, and be richly rewarded by Him."

ASPIRATION. Incline my heart. O God, to Thy holy commandments. Guard me, that I work not in the night of sin, and thus gain nothing by my works. Assist all pastors that by Thy divine will, they may win souls for Thy kingdom, and bring them to Thee.
"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
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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The fourth Sunday after Pentecost was called, for a long period, in the West, the Sunday of Mercy, because, formerly, there was read upon the passage from St. Luke, beginning with the words: “Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.” But, this Gospel having been since assigned to the Mass of the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Gospel of the fifth Sunday was made that of the fourth; the Gospel of the sixth became that of the fifth; and so on, up to the twenty-third. The change we speak of was, however, not introduced into many Churches till a very late period; and it was not universally received till the 16th Century.

While the Gospels were thus brought forward a week,—in almost the whole series of these Sundays, the Epistles, Prayers, and the other sung portions of the ancient Masses, were, with a few exceptions, left as originally drawn up. The connection, which the liturgists of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries had fancied they found between the Gospel and the rest of the Liturgy for these Sundays, was broken. Thus the Church spared not those favorite views of explanations which were at times far-fetched; and yet she did not intend, by that, to condemn those writers, nor to discourage her children from perusing their treaties, for, as the holy reflections they contained were frequently suggested by the authority of the ancient Liturgies, such reading would edify and instruct. We are quite at liberty, then, to turn their labors to profit; let us only keep this continually before us,—that the chief connection existing between the several portions of the proper of each Mass for the Sundays after Pentecost consists in the unity of the Sacrifice itself.

In the Greek Church, there is even less pretension to anything approaching methodical arrangement in the Liturgy of these Sundays. On the morrow of Pentecost, they begin the reading of the Gospel of St. Matthew, and continue it, chapter after chapter, up to the feast of the Exaltation of the holy Cross, in September. St. Luke follows St. Matthew, and is read in the same way. The weeks and Sundays of this Season are simply named according to the Gospel of each day; or they take the name of the Evangelist whose text is being read: thus, our first Sunday after Pentecost is called by them the first Sunday of St. Matthew; the one we are now keeping is their fourth of St. Matthew.

Earlier, we have spoken of the importance of the Eighth day, as the Christian substitute for the seventh of the Jewish Sabbath, and as the holy Day of the new people of God. “The Synagogue, by God’s command, kept holy the Saturday, or the Sabbath,—and this, in honor of God’s resting after the six days of the creation; but the Church, the Bride of Jesus, is commanded to honor the Work of her Spouse. She allows the Saturday to pass,—it is the day of her Lord’s rest in the Sepulcher: but, now that she is illumined with the brightness of the Resurrection, she devotes to the contemplation of his Work the first day of the week, the Sunday: it is the day of Light, for on it he called forth material Light (which was the first manifestation of order amidst chaos); and, on the same day, He that is the Brightness of the Father, and the Light of the world, rose from the darkness of the Tomb.”

So important, indeed is the Sunday’s liturgy, which, every week, is intrusted to honor such profound mysteries,—that, for a long time, the Roman Pontiffs kept down the number of Feasts which were above the rank of semi-doubles; that thus the Sunday, which is a semi-double, might not be disturbed. It was not till the second half of the 17th Century, that this discipline of reserve was relaxed. Then it was, that it had to give way, in order thereby to meet the attacks, made by the Protestants and their allies the Jansenists, against the cult of the Saints. Need was of reminding the Faithful, that the honor paid to the servants of God detracts not from the glory of their Master; that the cult of the Saints, the Members of Christ, is but the consequence and development of that which is due to Christ their Head. The Church owed it to her Spouse to make a protest against the narrow views of these innovators, who were really aiming at lessening the glory of the Incarnation, by thus denying its grandest consequences. It was, therefore, by a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that the Apostolic See then permitted several feasts, both old and new, to be ranked as of a double rite. To strengthen the solemn condemnation she had announced against the heretics of that period, she wisely adopted the course of, from time to time, allowing the Feasts of Saints to be kept on Sundays, although these latter were considered as being especially reserved for the celebration of the leading mysteries of our Catholic faith, and for the obligatory attendance of the people.

The Sunday, or Dominical, Liturgy was not, however, altogether displaced by the celebration of any particular feast on the Lord’s Day; for, no matter how solemn soever that feast, falling on a Sunday, may be, a commemoration must always be made of the Sunday, by adding its Prayers to those of the occurring Feast, and by reading its proper Gospel, instead of that of St. John, at the end of Mass. Neither let us forget, that after the assisting at the solemn Mass and the Canonical Hours, one of the best means for observing the precept of keeping holy the sabbath-day is our own private meditation upon the Epistle and Gospel appointed by the Church for each Sunday.


The Church, on the morrow of Trinity Sunday, began the reading of the Books of Kings in her night office. On this very night preceding our Sunday, she entered on the admirable history of David’s triumph over Goliath, the Philistine giant. Now, who is the Church’s true David, but that divine Leader who, for these eighteen hundred years, has been marshalling the army of the Saints to victory? Is not she herself the King’s daughter, who was promised to Him who should win the battle against Satan? That battle was won on Calvary, by our Lord Jessu Christ; he saved the true Israel, and avenged the insult offered to the God of hosts. Filled with the sentiments breathed into her by this episode of sacred history, the Church, the Bride, borrows the words of David, wherewith to celebrate the noble exploits of her Spouse, and to tell the confidence which she has in him, in consequence of his triumph. It is her Introit.

Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea, quem timebo? Dominus defensor vitæ meæ, a quo trepidabo? Qui tribulant me inimici mei, ipsi infirmati sunt et ceciderunt. 
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? My enemies that trouble me have themselves been weakened, and have fallen.

Ps. Si consistant adversum me castra, non timebit cor meum. Gloria Patri. Dominus. 
Ps. If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. Glory, &c. The Lord.

Notwithstanding her confidence in heaven’s helping her in times of trial, yet does the Church ever pray to the Most High, that he would bless the world with peace. If, when the battle comes, the Bride thrills at the thought, that she will then have the chance of proving her devoted love, yet, as Mother, she trembles when she thinks that many of her children, who would have been saved had the times been peaceful, will perish because of days of trouble overtaking them. Let us pray with her in the Collect.

Da nobis, quæsumus Domine, ut et mundi cursus pacifice nobis tuo ordine dirigatur: et ecclesia tua tranquilla devotione lætetur. Per Dominum. 
Grant us, we beseech thee, O Lord, that, by thy providence, the events of this world may be peacefully arranged for us, and that thy Church may be gladdened by being permitted to serve thee with peaceful devotedness. Through, &c.

Second Collect
A cunctis nos quæsumus, Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, cumque beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus Sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem; ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia tua secura tibi serviat libertate. Preserve us, O Lord, we beseech thee, from all dangers of soul and body; and, by the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary, the ever Virgin-Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of the Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, of Blessed N. (here is mentioned the Titular Saint of the Church), and of all the Saints, grant us, in thy mercy, health and peace; that, all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may serve thee with undisturbed liberty.

The third Collect is left to the Priest’s own choice.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Romans. Ch. viii.

Brethren: I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us. For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope: Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now. And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Quote:The first fruits of the Spirit are the grace and virtues, which He has put into our souls, as the earnest of salvation and the germ of future glory. Our faith confirms our possession of these divine pledges; and regenerate human nature, even amidst all the trials of this life, is consoled at the very thought of the noble destiny to which it is called. Satan may use his fiercest efforts to regain his lost ground; and the soul may have many and frequent battles to fight for the holding what was once under the dominion of the enemy; but Christian hope is an armor of heaven’s own making. Hope entereth in even within the veil; and then she comes telling the combatant about the disproportion, here mentioned by the Apostle, between the fatigues of the march here below, and the bliss which is to reward our fidelity in the happy land above. He has the promises of God, and the marvellous dealings of the Paraclete in his regard, both in the past and now,—all justifying his expectations of the future glory that shall then be revealed, be realized, in him. The very earth he dwells on, which now so often tyrannizes over him and deceives his senses,—yes, this very earth urges him to fix his heart on something far better than herself; she even seems to share in his hopes. 

St. Paul tells us so, in our today’s Epistle: the wild upheavings, the restless changes of material creation, are so many voices clamoring for the destruction of sin, and for the final and total triumph over the corruption which followed sin. The present condition of this world, therefore, furnishes a special and most telling motive, inviting us to the holy virtue of hope. Only they can find anything strange in such teaching, who have no idea of how man’s being raised up to the supernatural order was, from the beginning, a real ennobling of the world which was made for man’s service. Men of this stamp have each their own way of explaining God’s creation; but the truth which explains everything both on earth and in heaven,—the divine axiom, which is the principle and reason of everything that has been made,—is this: that God, who, of necessity, does everything for his own glory, has, of his own free choice, appointed that the perfection of this his glory shall consist in the triumph of his love, by the ineffable mystery of divine union realized in his creature. To bring this divine union about is, consequently, by God’s gracious will, not only the one sole end,—but, moreover, is the one only law, the vital and constitutive law, of creation. 

When the Spirit moved over chaos, he adapted the informal matter to the designs of infinite love. Thereby, the various elements, and the countless atoms, of the world that was in preparation, really derived from this infinite love the principle of their future development and power; they received it as their one single mission to cooperate, each in its own way, with the Holy Spirit; that is, cooperate in leading man, the creature chosen by Eternal Wisdom, to the proposed glorious end,—union with God. Sin broke the alliance; and would have destroyed the world, from the very fact of sin’s taking from it the purpose of its existence,—had it not been for the incomprehensible patience of the God it outraged, and the marvellous renovations of the original plan achieved by the Spirit of love. A violent state,—the state of struggle and expiation has now been substituted for what, in the primal design of the Creator, was to be the effortless advance of the king of creation to his grand destiny, the spontaneous growth of, what some one has called man, the god in the bud. Divine union is still offered to the world,—but, at what a cost of trouble and travail! We may still enjoy the eternal music of triumph, and all the joys of the divine nuptial banquet; but oh! what a long prelude of sighs and sobs must precede!

Men, who recognize no other law than that of the flesh, may be as deaf and as indifferent, as they please, to the teachings of positive revelation,—but mere matter will go on ever condemning their materialism; nature, which they pretend to acknowledge as their only authority, will continue to preach the supernatural with her thousand mouths, and will preach it in every nook of the earth; and creation, disturbed though it be, and turned astray by the Fall of Adam, will still keep proclaiming, all the louder because it is in suffering,—that the fallen king, whom it was intended to serve, has a destiny far beyond all finite things. O ye mysterious sufferings of creatures, which the Apostle here calls your groanings, may we not name you, as one of the poets did, and speak of you as the tears of things? 

Truly, you are like the soul of music of this land of trial; we have but to listen to your sweet plaintive sounds, and let you speak your eloquence, and you lead us to Him who is the source of all beauty and love. The pagan world heard your voice; but its philosophers would have it that you meant pantheism!—The Holy Ghost had not yet begun his reign. He alone could explain to us the strange language of nature, and her vehement aspirations,—all of which had been put into her by himself. All is now made clear to us: the Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth; the divine Witness who giveth us assurance that we are the sons of God, has carried his precious testimony to the furthest limits of creation, for all creation, for all creation thrills with expectancy, impatient to see the coming of that glorious day which is to be the revelation of the glory that belongs to these sons of God. It is on their account that they, too, have had, to suffer; together with them they shall be set free, and shall share in the brightness of their coronation day. St. John Chrysostom compares the earth to “the nurse who has brought up the king’s son; when he succeeds to his father’s kingdom, she, too, is made all the better off … It is much the same with all men;—when a son of theirs is to appear in the splendor of some new dignity, they let his very servants wear richer suits. So will God vest in incorruption every creature, when the day of the deliverance and glory of his children shall come.”

The Gradual tells us how the prayers of Christians, though they are far from being free from sin, ascend up to God. They feel that they are unworthy of his assistance, and yet, for his own glory’s sake, they sue him to have compassion on them. Poor though they be, they are his soldiers; their cause is His. The Alleluia-Verse shows us the Church, though here below she be poor and persecuted, sending up her prayer of confidence to the throne of her Spouse, the most just Judge.

Propitius esto, Domine, peccatis nostris, nequando dicant gentes: ubi est Deus eorum? 
Be merciful, O Lord, to our offenses, that the Gentiles may never say: Where now is their God?

℣. Adjuva nos, Deus salutaris noster: et propter honorem nominis tui, Domine, libera nos. 
℣. Help us, O Lord, our Savior, and, for the honor of thy name, deliver us, O Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia. 
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Deus, qui sedes super thronum, et judicas æquitatem, esto refugium pauperum in tribulatione. Alleluia. 
℣. O God, who sittest on thy throne, and judgest justly, be a refuge to the poor in distress. Alleluia.

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

At that time, it came to pass, that when the multitudes pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And going into one of the ships that was Simon’s, he desired him to draw back a little from the land. And sitting he taught the multitudes out of the ship. Now when he had ceased to speak, he said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said to him: Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing: but at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. And so were also James and John the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him.

Quote:The prophecy and promise made by Jesus to Simon the son of John is now fulfilled. We were in amazement, on the day when the Holy Ghost came down, at the success which attended Peter’s first fishing for men; he cast in his nets, and it was the choicest of the sons of Israel that he took, and offered them to the Lord Jesus. But the bark of Peter was not to be long confined within Jewish waters. Insignificant as it seems to human views, the ship is now sailing on the high seas; it rides on the deep waters, which are, so St. John tells us, peoples and nations. The boisterous wind, the surging billows, the storm, no longer terrifies the boat-man of Lake Tiberias; for he knows that he has on board Him who is the Master of the waves, Him, that is, who has given the deep as a garment to clothe the earth. Endued with power from on high, Peter has cast his net, the apostolic preaching, all over the great Ocean; for it is large as is the world, and is to bring the sons of the great fish, the divine Icthus, to the eternal shore. Grand indeed is the work assigned to Peter. Though fellow-laborers have been joined to him in his divine enterprise, yet does he preside over them all as their undisputed head, as master of the ship where Jesus commands in person and directs all the operations to be done for the world’s salvation. Our today’s Gospel very opportunely prepares us for and sums up all the teachings included in the Feast of the Prince of the Apostles, which always comes close on the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. For that very reason, we leave for the Feast the detailed enumeration of the glories inherent in the Vicar of Christ; and limit ourselves, for the present, to the consideration of the other mysteries contained in the text before us.

The Evangelists have left us the account of two miraculous fishings made by the Apostles in presence of their divine Lord:—one of these is related by St. Luke, and the Church proposes it to our considerations for this Sunday; the other, with its exquisite symbolism, was put before us by the Beloved Disciple, on Easter Wednesday. The former of these, which took place while our Lord was still in the days of his mortal life, merely describes that the net was cast into the water just as it served the fisherman’s purpose; that it broke with the multitude of the draught, but no notice is taken, by the Evangelist, as to either the number or kind of the fish; in the second, it is our Risen Lord who tells the fishermen, his disciples, that it is to be on the right side of their boat that the net must be let down; it catches, and without breaking, a hundred and fifty great fishes; these are brought to the shore where Jesus was waiting for them, that he might join them with the myterious bread and fish that he himself had already got ready for his laborers. The Fathers are unanimous in the interpretation of these two fishings—they represent the Church; first of all, the Church as she now is, and next, as she is to be in eternity. As she now is, the Church is the multitude, without distinction between good and bad; but afterwards, that is, after the resurrection, the good alone with compose the Church, and their number will be forever fixed. The kingdom of heaven, says our Lord, is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes; which, when it was filled, they drew out, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth.

To speak with St. Augustine (Serm. 248-252, passim.), the fishers of men have cast forth their nets; they have taken the multitude of Christians which we see in wonderment; they have filled the two ships with them, the two peoples, Jew and Gentile. But what is this we are told? The multitude weighs down the ships, even to the risk of sinking them; it is what we witness now,—the pressing and mingled crowd of the Baptized is a burden to the Church. Many Christians there are who live badly; they are a trouble to, and keep back, the good. Worse than these, there are those who tear the nets by their schisms or their heresies; they are fish which are impatient of the yoke of unity, and will not come to the banquet of Christ; they are pleased with themselves. Under pretext that they cannot live with the bad, they break the net which kept them in the apostolic track, and they die far off the shore. In how many countries have they not thus broken the great net of salvation? The Donatists of Africa, the Arians in Egypt, Montanus in Phrygia, Manes in Persia; and since their times, how many others have excelled in the work of rupture! Let us not imitate their folly. If grace have made us holy, let us be patient with the bad, while living in this world’s waters. Let the sight of them drive us neither to live as they do, nor to leave the Church. The shore is not far off, where those on the right, or the good, will alone be permitted to land, and from which the wicked will be repulsed, and cast into the abyss.

In the Offertory, the Christian army sues for that light of faith, which alone can make it sure of victory; and this, because it tells where the enemy is, and what are his plans. For a servant of God who is thus enlightened, night has no dangers; the brightness of heaven’s beams keeps off from his eyes that fatal sleep which implies defeat and death.

Illumina oculos meos, ne unquam obdormiam in morte: nequando dicat inimicus meus: Prævalui adversus eum. 
Enlighten mine eyes, that I may never sleep in death; lest the enemy should ever say: I have prevailed over him.

The gifts offered on the altar for the all-mighty transformation of the Sacrifice, are a figure of the Faithful themselves. It is on this account that the Church prays, in the Secret, that our Lord would draw to himself our rebel wills, and change them, as he is about to do with these gifts. Let us remember, that of all the Fish that were in the mysterious net, those only, as the Fathers tell us, will be the elect of the eternal shores who “live in such wise as to deserve to be introduced, by the fisherman of the Church, to the banquet of Christ Jesus.”

Oblationibus nostris, quæsumus Domine, placare susceptis: et ad te nostras etiam rebelles compelle propitius voluntates. Per Dominum. 
Receive our offerings, we beseech thee, O Lord, and be appeased thereby; and mercifully compel our rebel wills to yield unto thee. Through, etc.

Second Secret
Exaudi nos, Deus Salutaris noster: ut per hujus Sacramenti virtutem, a cunctis nos mentis et corporis hostibus tuearis, gratiam tribuens in præsenti, et gloriam in futuro. 
Graciously hear us, O God, our Savior; that, by virtue of this sacrament, thou mayest defend us from all enemies, of both soul and body; grant us grace in this life, and glory in the next.

The third Secret is left to the Priest’s own choice.

That God who enabled David’s weakness to triumph over the giant Philistine, gives himself to us in the sacred Mysteries. Let us sing the Psalm, from which the Communion-Anthem is taken: let us sing these few words in praise of his merciful power, which makes itself become ours by means of this adorable Sacrament.

Dominus firmamentum meum, et refugium meum, et lberator meus; Deus meus, adjutor meus. 
The Lord is my support, and my refuge, and my deliverer: my God is my helper.

St. Augustine gives the name of Sacrament of Hope to the divine mystery wherein the Church daily proclaims and restores, here below, her social union. The real union, though at present it be veiled, of the Head and Members in the banquet of eternal Wisdom, is a pledge of the future glories of regenerate humanity, far exceeding that restless expectation of creation, of which the Apostle spoke to us in today’s Epistle. Let us pray, in the Postcommunion, that our defilements may be removed, an dmay not impede this holy Sacrament from producing its full effect in us;—for such is its virtue, that it is able to lead us to the consummate perfection of salvation.

Mysteria nos, Domine, quæsumus, sumpta purificent, et suo munere tueantur. Per Dominum. 
May the mysteries we have received both purify and defend us, by the gift they bestow. Through, &c.

Second Postcommunion
Mundet et muniat nos quæsumus, Domine, divini Sacramenti munus oblatum, et intercedente beata Virgine Dei Genetrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, cumque beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus Sanctis, a cunctis nos reddat et perversitatibus expiatos, et adversitatibus expeditos. 
May the oblation of this divine Sacrament, we beseech thee, O Lord, both cleanse and defend us; and by the intercession of Blessed Mary, the Virgin-Mother of God, of Blessed Joseph, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of Blessed N. and of all the saints, free us from all sin, and deliver us from all adversity.

The third Postcommunion is left to the Priest’s own choice.
"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
Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

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"Master, at Thy word I will let down the net."--Luke 5.

Those who have the happiness of being children of the Church of God, and of being instructed in the teachings of faith, know that their lives end not in this world, but that they shall live in heaven as in their home, and that there they will be glorified according as they shall have acquired merits in this life for eternity.

The child of the Church, who bears this in mind, is anxious to know what is necessary that his works may really produce the effect of acquiring and increasing these merits for heaven, and what it is that gives them value before the judgment-seat of Christ. Today's Gospel will inform him on this matter. In it St. Peter says: "Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing; but at Thy word I will let down the net."

He did so, and, when he drew it up, it was over loaded with fishes. It is a mistake to think that we are not placed in such circumstances as to be able to enrich ourselves with treasures for heaven after the manner of the saints. Whatever be our position, whatever the persons with whom we have to live, numberless opportunities are offered us to this end by our daily duties, if only we perform them as the saints did theirs, and as the words of St. Peter teach us to perform them.

Let us, therefore, consider well the lesson contained in the words: "At Thy word I will let down the net." Mary, Mother of the Divine Word, thou, who by thy virtuous deeds hast surpassed all men, Mirror of Justice, obtain for us the grace from God to serve Him meritoriously, and thus to increase our glory! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

If our life is to produce abundant fruit for heaven, we must work, not from temporal motives merely, but from such as were: revealed to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. We must work, not in our own name, not from worldly considerations, but as the Word of God commands us, in the most holy name of Jesus.

To understand this more fully, we need only to reflect for a moment on the meaning of this sacred name, and of whom and of what it reminds us. The name "Jesus" means "Salvation," and to do our work in this name is to have, after God, no other end in view in all our actions than our eternal salvation. "For what doth it avail a man," says Christ, "if he gains the world and loses his soul?"

We can obtain our salvation only, when, in all that we do, we have no other intention, no other aim, no other rule of conduct, than to fulfill the most holy will of God as far as we can learn it by the light of faith. St. Peter fished in the darkness of night, but with out success; so, also, the works of those are of no value for eternity who walk in the darkness ot infidelity or of heresy, or who live in mortal sin, deprived of the light of sanctifying grace.

Unfortunately, it is only too often the case that we are not in the state of grace while working, that we do not labor with the right intentions, and in the required manner. In order to avoid this, we should, at break of day, unite our intentions with those of our Saviour in words like these: "Lord, as Thou wilt, and for Thy sake only; O Jesus, only to glorify Thee, and to follow Thy holy example in the exercise of all the virtues for which this day may afford me opportunities."

But that we may really have these intentions, we must, with all humility and confidence, seek aid from our Lord Himself; we must acknowledge and confess before Him: Lord, I am weak, and dare hardly hope to be able to overcome, by myself, the temptations and hinderances that Satan will place in my way. But I cast out the net of my work at Thy word, and in Thy name. In Thee I put my trust.

How mighty, O Lord, is Thy name! All great and noble deeds that were done these eighteen hundred years in Thy name, and are related in the history of Thy Church, or in the lives of Thy saints, give testimony, of its power. But if these were able to do such things, why shall not I as well, who enjoy the same happiness with them of belonging to the true Church? Art Thou not the same Jesus yesterday, today, and forever? Was Thy word: "All that you ask the Father in My name will be given you," not spoken to me also? And is not Thy consoling promise given to me also: "Behold I shall remain with you until the end of the world?"

In this Thy holy name all sources of divine grace are opened to me, especially that of union with Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Thy presence in the boat enlivened the confidence of St. Peter. Thou, O Lord, the same Jesus, art present also in my heart as often as I receive Thee in Holy Communion, and Thou art continually with me in Thy tabernacles. Trusting, therefore, in Thee, I cast out the net of my daily work at Thy word, and in Thy name.

If we act in this manner, my brethren, we shall obtain strength for our work, strength against all temptations, strength to overcome the difficulties which Satan may spread on our path. Our support lies principally in our union with Jesus in the inner life? by communion with Him in prayer, by our eagerness and fidelity in visiting Him in the Most Holy Sacrament, and by frequently and worthily approaching the Holy Table, which especially enkindies, increases and nourishes the fire of divine love in our hearts.

Blessed are we if we have done these things, if we know from experience the meaning of those words of St. Paul: "The love of Christ urges me." For, as David says: "A fire has been kindled in my meditation." At Thy word, and in Thy name, O Lord, out of love to Thee, I cast out the net of my daily work. We shall, then, not rest satisfied with only doing that which me must, according to right and duty, in order to save our souls; but we shall endeavor to increase our eternal happiness by fervor in the exercise of all virtues, and by causing others to imitate our example, with the same fervor, to save and sanctify their souls.

If, therefore, while we work, while we strive to perform our duties, we acquire but little merit for heaven, what is the cause of it? It is the want of a good intention, the want of zeal and solicitude to do as the name and the example of Jesus admonish us to do. It is the want of confidence in Him, and of union with Him through prayer and Holy Communion. In a word, it is the want of love for Jesus.

How important, therefore, is the admonition to make our lives such that they will be to us no deception, but a source of merit for the kingdom of Retribution, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen!

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"And they beckoned to them that they should come and help them."--Luke 5.

In today's Gospel we are told that St. Peter, and those with him, called on those in the other ship to assist them in the labor of drawing out the net full of fishes. How of what was this fishing typical? It was, according to the word of Christ, but an image of that great work which is to bring all mankind within the one true fold. This our Lord clearly pointed out to the Apostles, when He said: "I will make you fishers of men." And it was for this very purpose that He sent them forth to convert the world, and so assigned their tasks, that His bishops and priests might continue their work to the end of time. The succession to that grand mission has never been interrupted in the Church, and it never will be until the world shall have passed away.

But is this work reserved to the bishops and priests alone? Are they the only ones obliged to labor for the salvation of souls? Not at all. It is a duty in cumbent on all. Each and every child of the Church is laid under this obligation, for to each and every one are addressed these earnest words: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." And, in consequence of this command, all Christians are bound to do their share in the good work of converting souls, inasmuch as these other words are addressed to them likewise: "What ye wish that men should do unto you, do ye also to them."

We all know how true this is in the temporal order. And if we desire so eagerly to be assisted by our neighbor in what merely pertains to this present life, how much more so should we not do the same in what regards the life to come, and be ready to assist him in eyery possible way! To this end let us consider today the many potent reasons which should urge us to labor for the salvation of souls. Mary, Queen of the Apostles, obtain for us, that we, like the first Christians, may be animated by the holiest zeal! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

The first reason which should lead us to kindle and nourish in our hearts this holy zeal is love of God. And why so? It is because the soul is the image of God. From all eternity did the great Lord of all think of it. He created it for Himself, enabling it, by the fulfillment of His holy will, to glorify Him on earth, and thus to be united to Him in life eternal.

God then, no doubt, wishes, with all earnestness, that every soul may stand the test to which her freedom is subjected in the trials of this life. What an inducement, for every one that loves God, to strive with might and main that every soul do in reality prove true, and glorify God in time and in eternity! From this we see that he who loves God heartily, is most anxious to have all around him sharers with himself in loving, serving and praising the Father of all. But he knows full well that this will not come to pass unless they are, like himself, children of the Church, and enlightened by the same faith.

And hence his one great desire is to have others know and serve God, since he is aware that not to know and serve God is to know and serve Satan. He who is not a child of our heavenly Father, is a child and follower of the evil spirit; and, as such, his reward in the life to come will be eternal perdition. Alas! that there should be any so foolish!

The second great reason which we have to cultivate religious zeal is love of Christ. Why did He come upon the earth? It was to save souls. "The Son of man came to seek that which was lost," says our Lord Himself. The history of His stay among men tells us how He did this. His whole? life was sacrificed to this one object, and an ignominious death gave a last proof of how much He valued human souls. Can we wonder, then, that Christ is most anxious to see; His many sufferings bear fruit? Will we: be callous to His wishes? He deigns to ask for our help in the saving of souls! Is not this enough to win from us our best efforts? Let us not refuse so loving a Lord, but do our best to augment the number of the blessed of heaven, thus giving new glory to Christ for all eternity. Just consider what it is for men to be unbelievers, or unreligious, or the slaves of mortal sin! St. Paul assures us that they continually crucify Jesus in their hearts. Then, again, see what harm they do. They scandalize others; and, by doing the devil's work, increase the number of the damned! Is not this sad? "Lord, give me souls, souls," was the constant cry of St. Francis Xavier. It should be ours also.

A third great reason is love of Mary, the mother of divine grace, who stood at the foot of the cross suffering as no one of the children of men had ever suffered, or will ever suffer. Her sacrifice was none other than the offering of her Son to the Eternal Father. She knew the divine desire of Jesus to save souls, and hesitated not to satisfy that desire as far as it lay in her power to do so. Should not the example of our dear heavenly Mother move us, her children, to lend our aid in bringing about so happy a result as the salvation of men? By doing so, we shall prove ourselves her devoted children, and grateful for the numberless blessings which she has obtained for us from her divine Son.

And if, besides all this, we bear in mind the love which should be ours for the angels and saints, we can not fail to increase in our souls this same religious zeal. For it is plain that the greater the number of the blessed in heaven, the greater will be the joy and exultation of all. Hence it belongs to us to increase that number by leading sinners into the right path, and by keeping ourselves pure and holy in the sight of God. We are brothers of the saints. What they have done, we should endeavor to do also; and as they labored while on earth to gain souls to Christ, we should not be backward in imitating their glorious example.

Besides the reasons given, are there not others that come nearer home to us reasons which spring from the consideration of our own real interests? Love of self should urge each of us to labor at the gaining of souls to Christ. And why so? Simply because we will thus gain a great reward in the life to come. St. Chrysostom, alluding to the merit which is secured by works of religious charity, says that: "A work of spiritual charity, done for the salvation of souls, has a higher value in the eyes of God, than if a man were, at one and the same time, to feed the hungry, nurse the sick, and befriend the fatherless, in every part of the world." The Holy Ghost assures us of the same thing by the mouth of the prophet Daniel: "They who instruct many unto justice shall shine as stars for all eternity."

Do we desire to save our own souls? Let us labor to save others, and we shall succeed in saving our souls also; for he "who saves the soul of another," say the Holy Spirit, "has saved his own."

And this should not seem strange to us. For if Christ, speaking of the corporal works of mercy, assures us that He will say to those who practise them, come and take possession of the kingdom prepared for you, how much more so will He not have reason to address the same words to those who perform the spiritual works of mercy? May we not say that for such there will be a heaven within a heaven, where they will partake of the fullness of joy in company with those whom they have saved? Nay more, will not their joy be the overflowing joy of souls inundated by the wine of gladness poured out on them? Our Lord and His blessed Mother will never forget what they did to help them in winning souls to God.

Let us frequently consider these motives; and let us earnestly beg that a truly apostolic zeal, born of the love of God, of Jesus, of Mary, and of all the saints, as well as of the real interests of our own souls, may come and take possession of our hearts, and cause us to labor much for the spiritual welfare of the neighbor! Amen!

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"From henceforth thou shall catch men."--Luke 5

Today's Gospel reminds not only the servants of the sanctuary of the duty to exercise religious zeal, but also every truly loyal child of the Church. The words: "From henceforth thou shalt catch men, are addressed through the commandment of brotherly love to every one who, enlightened by faith, knows that there is but one name, but one Church, in which and through which we can be saved.

This commandment and this knowledge obliges every child of the Church to do all that lies in his power that every person may attain to the knowledge of this only true Church, and to strive that those who are children of the same, may live according to the dictates of their faith. Unfortunate, indeed, is the lot of those who, with the light of the true faith shining down on them, walk not in the ways of truth and virtue. For, the divine graces which they, as children of the Church, received, but misused, become millstones, that will drag them into the abyss of perdition, and the greater these graces were, the deeper down will they be dragged.

It may, perhaps, be asked: How can any Christian, even though he be not a priest, save souls, catch men for the kingdom of God? What net is at hand for every one to fish for souls. Mary, Mother, teach us, thy children, to take care of others, that, being thine, we may all serve God, fulfill His holy will, and enter into His kingdom! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

"At Thy word, Master, I will let down the net," said St. Peter, hoping that his fishing would prove successful, and every child of the Catholic Church may say this with him. The question now is, of what must the net consist, in order that the fishing be possible or successful? I will point out, today, the threads of which this net is knitted.

The first condition necessary to cause others to acknowledge the truth and divinity of faith, or to make them live in accordance with the dictates of faith, is our own example. "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your works and praise your Father who is in heaven," Christ Himself exhorts us.

One might quote, in reference to this, the words of the ancient Roman poet, who says: "If thou wishest me to grieve, thou must first weep thyself." Thus also: If thou wilt that I shall lead a Catholic life, then live thou like a Catholic, and prove the divinity of thy faith by thy life distinguished by its virtues from that of all other people.

We read in the life of the seraphic St. Francis, that he, one day, invited one of the lay brothers to go cut with him. "Come, we will preach," said he. They went through the whole city in their poor habits, with their eyes cast down in deep meditation, and returned thus to the monastery. When they arrived there, the lay brother said, with much astonishment, to the saint: "Father, didst thou not say we were going out to preach?" "Yes," replied the saint, "and we have done it. Behold, the people who saw us in our poor habits knew that, formerly, we lived in the world and were wealthy, that we left all for the love of God; this sight was a powerful sermon to tear their hearts from attachment to the goods and riches of this world."

Would to God that every father and mother, every youth and maiden, lived the holy life our faith demands of the children of the Church! Thus the first Christians lived, and their virtuous life attracted the attention of the heathens. These first admired the lives of the Christians, then examined their creed, became convinced and converted.

Oh, how many irreligious and unbelieving men in our day, especially here in America, and to a greater or less degree everywhere, would do the same, if all children of the Church lived as holy faith teaches them to live! If all the Catholics here in America lived a holy life in accordance with their duty as children of the Church all America would soon be Catholic. And among Catholics themselves, how many souls would be saved! how the net would be filled with human souls, if, in every family, man, wife and children sanctified each other by word and example!

But, on the other hand, how much evil is done in a family by the bad example of one single person! Beside neglecting prayer himself, cursing and blaspheming instead, he prevents the other members of the family from praying with devotion, and also gives them occasion for impatience and anger. The same may be said of negligence in hearing Holy Mass, in receiving the Sacraments, in attending divine service generally. His example only too often even prevents the conversion to the Church of the irreligious and unbelieving." Such a sinner resembles a sword-fish, that destroys the net.

The second condition, the second thread for the apostolic fishing-net, useful likewise for laymen, is called instruction, instruction in matters of faith; not to be satisfied with learning the Catechism only so far as to be admitted to Holy Communion, but to be instructed, each and every one, as thoroughly as, according to Holy Writ and the sermons of the holy fathers, the first Christians were.

How very deficient are the children of the Church in this regard! And yet how easily might the defect be supplied, and every one be sufficiently instructed, since the press, many schools, books of instruction, and controversial writings, offer numberless opportunities for information! It is the duty of parents to introduce them into their families.

The effect of this care on the part of parents would be that the growing generation, and people of maturer years, too, would not only remain firm in their faith, but would be able to instruct others, and give an account of every article of the faith.

The third thread of the apostolic fishing-net, is the care to make those professing another faith acquainted with these instructive books. In every Catholic would place a book of this kind into the hands of an unbeliever or follower of a false creed, our holy religion would be better known, and man brought into the bosom of the Church.

But Catholics are very negligent in this matter, while Protestants give it all their attention. Seductive pamphlets, and books against the Catholic faith, are distributed by the hundred thousands; millions of dollars are spent on their publication, and they are offered to every one who cares to read! Unfortunately, in this regard, also, is verified the assurance and lament of our Lord : " The children of darkness are wiser in their generation than the children of light."

Finally, the last thread of the apostolic fishing-net is prayer, to which we must resort that God's arm may second our endeavors, for to lay the foundation of faith and effect a conversion is the work of divine grace; and the means God gave us to obtain grace is "prayer."

The greatest inducement to cast out our net in the name of the Lord, in spite of discouragements and difficulties, is the remembrance of the terrible account we must render if any soul has, through our negligence, gone to eternal perdition. Woe to us, if this be the case! Therefore, let us cast out our net to catch souls, that we may secure our own salvation! Amen!
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost



2017 - Three Masses

"I am a Sinful Man, O Lord" (KY)

"Christ in David" (TN)

"The New Ark of the Covenant" (OH)

"St. Maria Goretti, Heroine of Purity" (NY)




"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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"Let down your nets for a draught.” LUKE v. 4.

IN this day’s gospel we find that, having gone up into one of the ships, and having heard from St. Peter, that he and his companions had laboured all the night and had taken nothing, Jesus Christ said: “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” They obeyed; and having cast out their nets into the sea, they took such a multitude of fishes, that the nets were nearly broken. Brethren, God has placed us in the midst of the sea of this life, and has commanded us to cast out our nets, that we may catch fishes; that is, that we may perform good works, by which we can acquire merits for eternal life. Happy we, if we attain this end and save our souls! Unhappy we, if, instead of laying up treasures for heaven, we by our sins merit hell, and bring our souls to damnation! Our happiness or misery for eternity depends on the moment of our death, which is certain and uncertain. The Lord assures us that death is certain, that we may prepare for it; but, on the other hand, he leaves us uncertain as to the time of our death, that we may be always prepared for it two points of the utmost importance.

First Point. It is certain that we shall die.

1.  “It is appointed unto men once to die.” (Heb. ix. 27.) The decree has been passed for each of us: we must all die. St. Cyprian says, that we are all born with the halter on the neck: hence, every step we make brings us nearer to the gibbet. For each of us the gibbet shall be the last sickness, which will end in death. As then, brethren, your name has been inserted in the registry of baptism, so it shall be one day written in the record of the dead. As, in speaking of your ancestors, you say: God be merciful to my father, to my uncle, or to my brother; so others shall say the same of you when you shall be in the other world; and as you have often heard the death-bell toll for many, so others shall hear it toll for you.

2. All things future, which regard men now living, are uncertain, but death is certain. “All other goods and evils,” says St. Augustine, ”are uncertain; death only is certain.” It is uncertain whether such an infant shall be rich or poor, whether he shall enjoy good or ill health, whether he shall die at an early or at an advanced age. But it is certain that he shall die, though he be son of a peer or of a monarch. And, when the hour arrives, no one can resist the stroke of death. The same St. Augustine says: “Fires, waters, and the sword are resisted; kings are resisted: death comes; who resists it ?” (in Ps. xii.) We may resist conflagrations, inundations, the sword of enemies, and the power of princes; but who can resist death? A certain king of France, as Belluacensis relates, said in his last moments: “Behold, with all my power, I cannot make death wait for a single hour.” No; when the term of life has arrived, death does not wait even a moment”Thou hast appointed his bounds, which cannot be passed.” (Job. xiv. 5.)

3. We must all die. This truth we not only believe, but see with our eyes. In every age houses, streets, and cities are filled with new inhabitants: their former possessors are shut up in the grave. And, as for them the days of life are over, so a time shall come when not one of all who are now alive shall be among the living. “Days shall be formed, and no one in them.” (Ps. cxxxviii. 10.) “Who is the man that shall live, and shall not see death?” (Ps. lxxxviii. 49 ) Should any one flatter himself that he will not die, he would not only be a disbeliever for it is of faith that we shall all die but he would be regarded as a madman. We know that all men, even potentates and princes and emperors, have, utter a certain time, fallen victims to death. And where are they now? “Tell me,” says St. Bernard, “where are the lovers of the world? Nothing has remained of them but ashes and worms.” Of so many great men of the world, though buried in marble mausoleums, nothing has remained but a little dust and a few withered bones. We know that our ancestors are no longer among the living: of their death we are constantly reminded by their pictures, their memorandum books, their beds, and by the clothes which they have left us. And can we entertain a hope or a doubt that we shall not die? Of all who lived in this town a hundred years ago how many are now alive? They are all in eternity in an eternal day of delights, or in an eternal night of torments. Either the one or the other shall be our lot also.

4. But, God! we all know that we shall die: the misfortune is, that we imagine death as distant as if it were never to come, and therefore we lose sight of it. But, sooner or later, whether we think or think not of death, it is certain, and of faith that we shall die, and that we are drawing nearer to it every day. ”For we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come.” (Heb. xiii. 14.) This is not our country: here we are pilgrims on a journey. ”While we are in the body we are absent from the Lord.” (2 Cor. v. 6.) Our country is Paradise, if we know how to acquire it by the grace of God and by our own good works. Our house is not that in which we live; we dwell in it only in passing; our dwelling is in eternity. “Man shall go into the house of his eternity.” (Eccl. xii. 5.) How great would be the folly of the man, who, in passing through a strange country, should lay out all his property in the purchase of houses and possessions in a foreign land, and reduce himself to the necessity of living miserably for the remainder of his days in his own country! And is not he, too, a fool, who seeks after happiness in this world, from which he must soon depart; and, by his sins, exposes himself to the danger of misery in the next, where he must live for eternity?

5. Tell me, beloved brethren, if, instead of preparing for his approaching death, a person condemned to die were, on his way to the place of execution, to employ the few remaining moments of his life in admiring the beauty of the houses as he passed along, in thinking of balls and comedies, in uttering immodest words, and detracting his neighbours, would you not say that the unhappy man had either lost his reason, or that he was abandoned by God? And are not you on the way to death? Why then do you seek only the gratification of the senses? Why do you not think of preparing the accounts which you shall one day, and perhaps very soon, have to render at the tribunal of Jesus Christ? Souls that have faith, leave to the fools of this world the care of realizing a fortune on this earth; seek you to make a fortune for the next life, which shall be eternal. The present life must end, and end very soon.

6. Go to the grave in which your relatives and friends are buried. Look at their dead bodies: each of them says to you: “Yesterday for me; Today for thee.” (Eccl. xxxviii. 23.) What has happened to me must one day happen to thee. Thou shalt .become dust and ashes, as I am. And where shall thy soul be found, if, before death, thou hast not settled thy accounts with God? Ah, brethren! if you wish to live well, and to to have you accounts ready for that great day, on which your doom to eternal life or to eternal death must be decided, endeavour, during the remaining days of life, to live with death before your eyes. ”death, thy sentence is welcome.” (Eccl. xli. 3.) Oh! how correct are the judgments, how well directed the actions, of those who form their judgments, and perform their actions, with death before their view! The remembrance of death destroys all attachment to the goods of this earth. ”Let the end of life be considered,” says St. Lawrence Justinian, ”and there will be nothing in this world to be loved.” (de Ligno Vitæ, cap. v.) Yes; all the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world are easily despised by him who considers that he must soon leave them forever, and that he shall be thrown into the grave to be the food of worms.

7. Some banish the thought of death, as if, by avoiding to think of death, they could escape it. But death cannot be avoided; and they who banish the thought of it, expose themselves to great danger of an unhappy death. By keeping death before their eyes, the saints have despised all the goods of this earth. Hence St. Charles Borromeo kept on his table a death’s head, that he might have it continually in view. Cardinal Baronius had the words, “Memento mori” “Remember death” inscribed on his ring. The venerable P. Juvenal Anzia, Bishop of Saluzo, had before him a skull, on which was written, “As I am, so thou shalt be.” In retiring to deserts and caves the holy solitaries brought with them the head of a dead man; and for what purpose? To prepare themselves for death. Thus a certain hermit being asked at death, why he was so cheerful, answered: I have kept death always before my eyes; and therefore, now that it has arrived, I feel no terror. But, oh! how full of terror is death, when it comes to those who have thought of it but seldom.

Second Point. It is uncertain when we shall die.

8. ”Nothing,” says the Idiota, ”is more certain than death, but nothing is more uncertain than the hour of death.” It is certain that we shall die. God has already determined the year, the month, the day, the hour, the moment, in which each of us shall leave this earth, and enter into eternity; but this moment he has resolved not to make known to us. And justly, says St. Augustine, has the Lord concealed it; for, had he manifested to all the day fixed for their death, many should be induced to continue in the habit of sin by the certainty of not dying before the appointed day. ”Si statuisset viam omnibus, faceret abundare peccata de securitate” (in Ps. cxliv). Hence the holy doctor teaches that God has concealed from us the day of our death, that we may spend all our days well. ”Latet ultimus dies, ut observentur omnes dies. ” (Hom. xii. inter 50.) Hence Jesus Christ says: “Be you also ready; for at what hour you think not the Son of Man will come.” (Luke xii. 40.) That we may be always prepared to die, he wishes us to be persuaded that death will come when we least expect it. ”Of death,” says St. Gregory, ”we are uncertain, that we may be found always prepared for death.” St. Paul likewise admonishes us that the day of the Lord that is, the day on which the Lord shall judge us shall come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night, ”The day of the Lord shall so come as a thief in the night.” (1 Thess. v. 2.) Since, then, says St. Bernard, death may assail you and take away your life in every place and at every time, you should, if you wish to die well and to save your soul, be at all times and places in expectation of death: ”Mors ubique te expectat tu ubique earn expectabis:” and St. Augustine says: ”Latet ultimus dies, ut observentur omnes dies. ”(Hom, xii.) The Lord conceals from us the last day of our life, that we may always have ready the account which we must render to God after death.

9. Many Christians are lost, because many, even among the old, who feel the approach of death, flatter themselves that it is at a distance, and that it will not come without giving them time to prepare for it. ”Dura mente,” says St. Gregory, ”abesse longe mors creditur etiam cum sentitur.” (Moral, lib. 8.) Death, even when it is felt, is believed to be far off. O brethren, are these your sentiments? How do you know that your death is near or distant? What reason have you to suppose that death will give you time to prepare for it? How many do we know who have died suddenly? Some have died walking; some sitting; and some during sleep. Did any one of these ever imagine that he should die in such a manner? But they have died in this way; and if they were in enmity with God, what has been the lot of their unhappy souls? Miserable the man who meets with an unprovided death! And I assert, that all who ordinarily neglect to unburthen their conscience, die without preparation, even though they should have seven or eight days to prepare for a good death; for as I shall show in the forty-fourth sermon, it is very difficult, during these days of confusion and terror, to settle accounts with God, and to return to him with sincerity. But I repeat that death may come upon you in such a manner, that you shall not have time even to receive the sacraments. And who knows whether, in another hour, you shall be among the living or the dead? The uncertainty of the time of his death made Job tremble. “For I knew not how long I shall continue, or whether, after a while, my Maker may take me away.” (Job xxxii. 22.) Hence St. Basil exhorts us in going to bed at night, not to trust that we shall see the next day. ”Cum in lectulum ad quicscendum membra tua posueris, noli confidere de lucis adventu.” (Inst. ad fil. spirit.)

10. Whenever, then, the devil tempts you to sin, by holding out the hope that you will go to confession and repair the evil you have done, say to him in answer: How do I know that this shall not be the last day of my life? And should death overtake me in sin, and not give me time to make my confession, what shall become of me for all eternity? Alas! how many poor sinners have been struck dead in the very act of indulging in some sinful pleasure, and have been sent to hell! “As fishes are taken by the hook, and as birds are caught with the snare, so men are taken in the evil time.” (Eccl. ix. 12.) Fishes are taken with the hook while they eat the bait that conceals the hook, which is the instrument of their death. The evil time is precisely that in which sinners are actually offending God. In the act of sin, they calm their conscience by a security of afterwards making a good confession, and reversing the sentence of their damnation. But death comes suddenly upon them, and does not leave them time for repentance. “For, when they shall say peace and security, then shall sudden destruction come upon them.” (1 Thess. v. 3.)

11. If a person lend a sum of money he is careful instantly to get a written acknowledgment, and to take all the other means necessary to secure the repayment of it. Who, he says, can know what shall happen? Death may come, and I may lose my money. And how does it happen that there are so many who neglect to use the same caution for the salvation of their souls, which is of far greater importance than all temporal interests? “Why do they not also say: Who knows what may happen? death may come, and I may lose my soul? If you lose a sum of money, all is not lost; if you lose it one way you may recover the loss in another; but he that dies and loses his soul, loses all, and has no hope of ever recovering it. If we could die twice, we might, if we lost our soul the first time, save it the second. But we cannot die twice. ”It is appointed unto men once to die,” (Heb. ix. 27) Mark the word once: death happens to each of us but once: he who has erred the first time has erred for ever. Hence, to bring the soul to hell is an irreparable error. ”Periisse semel æternum est.

12. The venerable Father John Avila was a man of great sanctity, and apostle of Spain. What was the answer of this great servant of God, who had led a holy life from his childhood, when he was told that his death was at hand, and that he had but a short time to live?” Oh!” replied the holy man with trembling, ”that I had a little more time to prepare for death!” St. Agatho, abbot, after spending so many years in penance, trembled at the hour of death, and said: ”What shall become of me? who can know the judgments of God ?” And, O brethren, what will you say when the approach of death shall be announced to you, and when, from the priest who attends you, you shall hear these words: ”Go forth, Christian soul, from this world ?” You will, perhaps, say: Wait a little; allow me to prepare better. No; depart immediately; death does not wait. You should therefore prepare yourselves now. ”With fear and trembling work out your salvation.” (Phil. ii. 12.) St. Paul admonishes us that, if we wish to save our souls, we must live in fear and trembling, lest death may find us in sin. Be attentive, brethren: there is question of eternity. ”If a tree fall to the south or to the north, in what place soever it shall fall there shall it be.” (Eccl. xi. 3.) If, when the tree of your life is cut down, you fall to the south that is, if you obtain eternal life how great shall be your joy at being able to say: I shall be saved; I have secured all; I can never lose God; I shall be happy for ever. But, if you fall to the north that is, into eternal damnation how great shall be your despair! Alas! you shall say, I have erred, and my error is irremediable! Arise, then, from your tepidity, and, after this sermon, make a resolution to give yourselves sincerely to God. This resolution will insure you a good death, and will make you happy for eternity.

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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A reminder ....
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A reminder ...
"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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