Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's The Church's Year

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At the Introit implore God's assistance and say, with the priest:

INTROIT Hear, O Lord, my voice with which I have cried to thee: be thou my helper, forsake me not, nor do Thou despise me, O god, my Savior. (Ps. XXVI.) The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT O God, who hast prepared invisible good things for those that love Thee: pour into our hearts such a sense of Thy love, that we, loving Thee in all, and above all, may obtain Thy promises, which exceed all out desire: Through etc.

EPISTLE (I Peter III. 8-15.) Dearly beloved, Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble: not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this you are called; that you may inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him seek after peace, and, pursue it: because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and his ears unto their. prayers: but the countenance of the Lord upon them that do evil, things. And, who is he that can, hurt you, if you: be zealous of good? But if also you suffer any thing for, justice' sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled: but sanctify the Lord Christ, in your hearts.

Quote:How can and how should we sanctify the Lord in our hearts?

By practising those virtues which Peter here recommends, and which he so exactly describes; for thereby we become true disciples of Christ, honor Him and edify others, who by our good example are led to admire Christianity, and to become His followers. Moreover, we thus render ourselves more worthy of God's grace and protection, so that if for justice' sake we are persecuted by, wicked men, we need not fear, because God is for us and will reward us with eternal happiness.

ASPIRATION O good Saviour, Jesus Christ, grant that I may make Thy virtues my own; especially Thy humility, patience, mercy, and love; grant that I may practise them diligently, that I may glorify Thee, sanctify myself, and thus become worthy of Thy protection.

GOSPEL (Matt. V. 20-24.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Except your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. If therefore, thou bring thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy offering befog a the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming, thou shaft offer thy gift.

In what did the justice of the Pharisees consist?

In external works of piety, in the avoidance of such gross vices as could not be concealed, and would have brought them to shame and disgrace. But in their hearts these Pharisees cherished evil, corrupt inclinations and desires, pride, envy, avarice, and studied malice and vengeance. Jesus, therefore, called them hypocrites, whitened sepulchres, and St. John calls them a brood of vipers. True Justice consists not only in external works of piety, that is, devotional works, but especially in a pure, sincere, self-sacrificing feeling towards God and man; without this all works, however good, are only a shell without a kernel.

How are we to understand that which Christ here says of anger and abusive words?

The meaning of Christ's words are:. You have heard that murder was forbidden to your fathers in the desert, and that the murderer had to be given up to justice: but I say to you, whoever becomes angry with his neighbor, shall be in danger of divine judgment, and he who with abusive words, such as Raca, Villain, gives vent to his anger, using expressions of contempt and insult, as fool, scoundrel, profligate, wretch, is more liable to punishment. These degrees of anger are punished in different ways by God.

Is anger always sinful?

No, anger is sinful only when we wish or actually inflict some evil to the body, property, or honor of our neighbor; when we make use of such insulting and abusive words as injure his character, provoke and irritate him. If we become angry at the vices and crimes of others, when our office or the duties of our station demand that we watch over the conduct of those under our care, to punish and correct them, (as in the case of parents, teachers, and superiors) then anger is no sin. When one through pure love of God, becomes irritated at the sins and vices of his fellowmen, like King David, or if one urged to wrong, repels the tempter with indignation, this is even a holy anger. Thus St. Gregory Says: "It is to be understood that anger created by impatience is a very different thing from anger produced by a zeal for justice. The one is caused by vice, the other by virtue." He, then, who becomes angry for justice' sake, commits no sin, but his conduct is holy and praiseworthy, for even our Lord was angry at those who bought and sold in the temple, (John II. 15.) Paul at the magician Elymas, (Acts XIII. 8.) and Peter at the deceit of Ananias and Saphira. (Acts V. 3.) Anger, then, to be without sin, must proceed from true zeal for God's honor and the salvation of souls, by which we seek to prevent others from sin, and to make them better. Even in this respect, we must be careful to allow our anger no control over our reason, but to use it merely as a means of doing good, for we are often apt to take the sting of anger for holy zeal, when it is really nothing but egotism and ambition.

Why must we first be reconciled with our neighbor before bringing an offering to God, or undertaking any good work?

Because no offering or other good work can be pleasing to God, while we live in enmity, hatred, and strife with our neighbor; for by living thus we act altogether contrary to God's will. This should be remembered by all Christians, who go to confession and holy Communion, without forgiving those who have offended them, and asking pardon of those whom they have injured. These must know that instead of receiving absolution for their sins, they by an invalid confession are guilty of another sin, and eat their own judgment in holy Communion.

How should reconciliation be made with our neighbor?

With promptness, because the apostle says: Let not the sun go down upon your anger. (Eph. IV. 26.) But if the person you have offended is absent, says St. Augustine, and you cannot easily meet him, you are bound to be reconciled to him interiorly, that is, to humble yourself before God, and ask His forgiveness, making the firm resolution to be reconciled to your enemy as soon as possible. If he is accessible, go to him, and ask his forgiveness; if he has offended you, forgive him from your heart. The reconciliation should be sincere, for God sees into the heart; it should also be permanent, for if it is not lasting, it may be questioned if it was ever sincere. On account of this command of Christ to be reconciled to our enemies before bringing sacrifice, it was the custom in ancient times that the faithful gave. the kiss of peace to one another at the sacrifice of Mass, before Communion, as even to this day do the priests and deacons, by which those who are present, are admonished to love one another with holy love, and to be perfectly reconciled with their enemies, before Communion.

ASPIRATION O God, strike me not with the blindness of the Pharisees that, like them, I may seek to please man by my works, and thus be deprived of eternal reward. Banish from my heart all sinful anger, and give me a holy zeal in charity that I may be anxious only for Thy honor and for the salvation of my neighbor. Grant me also that I may offend no one, and willingly forgive those who have offended me, thus practicing true Christian justice, and become agreeable to Thee.

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The first and most effectual preventive is humility; for as among the proud there are always quarrels and contentions, (Prov. XIII. 10.) so among the humble reign peace, meekness and patience. To be humble, meek, and patient, we must frequently bring before our minds the example of Christ who did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, (I Peter II. 22.) yet suffered great contradictions, many persecutions, scoffs and sneers from sinners, without threatening vengeance to any one for all He suffered; He say's to us in truth: Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart. (Matt. XI. Z9.) A very good preventive of anger is to think over in the morning what causes will be likely to draw us into anger at any time during the day, and to arm ourselves against it by a firm resolution to bear all with patience and silence; and when afterwards anything unpleasant occurs, let us think, "What will I effect by my anger? Can I thereby make things better? Will I not even make myself ridiculous and injure my health?" (for experience as well as holy Scripture teaches, that anger shortens life.) (Eccles. XXX. 26.) Finally, the most necessary preventive of anger is fervent prayer to God for the grace of meekness and patience, for although it seems difficult and almost impossible to our nature to be patient, by the grace of God it becomes not only possible, but even easy.

Offer thy gift. (Matt. V. 24.)

In its wider and more universal sense sacrifice comprehends all religious actions by which a rational being; presents himself to God, to be united with Him; and in this sense prayer, praising God, a contrite heart, charity to others, every good work, and observance of God's commandments is a sacrifice. Thus the Holy Scriptures say: Offer up the sacrifice of justice and trust in the Lord. (Fs. IV. 6.) Offer to God the sacrifice of praise. (Ps. XLIX. iq..) Sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Ps. 1. 19.) It is a wholesome sacrifice to take heed to the commandments, and to depart from, all iniquity. (Ecclus. XXXV. 2.)

"Therefore," says St. Augustine, "every good work which is united in sanctity with God, is a true sacrifice, because it refers to the end of all good, to God, by whom we can be truly happy." As often, then, as you humble yourself in prayer before the majesty of God, when you give yourself up to God, and when you make your will subject to His divine will, you bring a sacrifice to God; as often as you punish your body by continency, and your senses by mortification, you bring a sacrifice to God, because you offer them as instruments of justice; (Rom. VI. 13.) as often as you subdue the evil concupiscence of the flesh, the perverted inclinations of your soul, deny yourself any worldly pleasure for the love of God, you bring a sacrifice to God. Such sacrifices you should daily offer to God; without which all others have no value and do not please God, such as these you can make every moment, when you think, speak, and act all for the love, of God.

Strive then, Christian soul, to offer these pleasing sacrifices to God, the supreme Lord, and as you thus glorify Him, so will He one day reward you with unutterable glory.
"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
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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This Sunday, which, with the Greeks, is called the fifth of Saint Matthew, was known by the Latins as the Sunday of the Fishing; such was its name up to the time when the Church had transferred to the previous Sunday the Gospel which suggested that title. The week which it commences is, in some ancient lectionaries, called the first after the Feast of the Apostles or of St. Peter; in others, it is the second or third after the same feast; these, and other similar varieties of names, which it is no rare thing to find in the liturgical books of the Middle Ages, originated in Easters being kept sooner or later in the years when those books were written.

The Church began last night the reading of the second book of Kings; it opens with the description of Saul’s sad end and David’s accession to the throne of Israel. The exaltation of Jesse’s son is the climax to the prophetic life of the ancient people. In David, God had found his faithful servant, and he resolved to exhibit him to the world as the most perfect figure of the future Messiah. A solemn promise of Jehovah assured the new monarch as to the future of his race; his throne was to be everlasting, for, at some future day, it was to be the throne of Him who should be called the Son of the Most High, though, at the same time, he was to be the Son of David.

But, while the tribe of Juda was hailing in Hebron the King elected by the Lord, there were dark clouds on the horizon. In her Vespers of yesterday, the Church sang, as one of her finest Antiphons, the funeral ode which inspiration dictated to David, when he saw the regal crown that had been picked up from the dust and gore of the battlefield, whereon had fallen the princes of Israel: Ye mountains of Gelboe, let neither dew nor rain come upon you, for there was cast away the shield of the valiant, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil! How are the valiant fallen in battle! Jonathan slain on the high places! Saul and Jonathan exceeding lovely and comely in their life; even in death they were not divided.

The proximity of the great solemnity of the Apostles, June the 29th, to the Saturday when this Antiphon is sung, has suggested to the Church to apply its last words to Saints Peter and Paul, during the octave of their Feast: “Glorious Princes of the earth! as they loved each other in their life, so even in their death they were not divided!” Like the Hebrew people at this period of their history, our Christian armies have often had to hail their kings, almost in the same breath that said the requiem over their predecessors.


As on last Sunday, so again today, the Church seems to unite together the readings of the previous night and the solemn entrance of the Sacrifice. The Introit for this fifth Sunday, is taken from Psalm the 26th, which was composed by David on occasion of his coronation in Hebron. It expresses the humble confidence of him who has nothing here below to trust in; and yet he has the Lord, as his light and salvation. In the events just referred to, nothing less than a blind faith in God’s promises could have kept up the courage of the young shepherd of Bethlehem, and nothing less could have inspired the people who had made him their king. But we must see beyond this; we must understand that the kingship of Jesse’s son and his descendents, in the ancient Jerusalem, represents, for our Mother the Church, a grander royalty, and a more lasting dynasty,—the kingship of Christ and the dynasty of the Sovereign Pontiffs.

Exaudi, Domine, vocem meam qua clamavi ad te: adjutor meus esto, ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, Deus salutaris meus.
Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: be thou my helper: forsake me not: do not thou despise me, O God, my Savior!

Ps. Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea; quem timebo?
Ps. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

℣. Gloria Patri. Exaudi.
℣. Glory, &c. Hear.

The blessings promised to David as a recompense for his combats, were but a poor figure of those which await, in heaven, the vanquishers of the world, the flesh, and the devil. They are to be king for ever; on their thrones, they are to enjoy the fullness of those inebriating and heavenly delights, some drops of which are permitted by the divine Spouse to be tasted, here below, by souls that are faithful to him. Let us, therefore, love him who thus recompenses our love; and since, of ourselves, we can do nothing, let us, through the Spouse, ask the giver of every best gift, to bestow on us the perfection of divine charity.

Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia præparasti: infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum; ut te in omnibus, et super omnia diligentes, promissiones tuas, quæ omne desiderium superant, consequamur. Per Dominum.
O God, who hast prepared invisible good things for them that love thee: pour forth into our hearts an affectionate love for thee: that, loving thee, in all things, and above all things, we may come to the enjoyment of thy promises, which surpass all that we could desire. Through, &c.

The other Collects, as given above, in the Mass of the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Peter the Apostle.  I Ch. iii.

Dearly Beloved: Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble: Not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this are you called, that you may inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him seek after peace and pursue it: Because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and his ears unto their prayers: but the countenance of the Lord upon them that do evil things. And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer any thing for justice’ sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts.

Quote:The Gospel of Sunday last showed us the Apostles hard at work drawing from the waters the living stones wherewith Jesus is to build his Church. Today, it is the head, the one who presides over the mysterious fishing, it is Simon the Son of John, who, in our Epistle, addresses himself to those various elements which are to make up the holy city; they are sacred materials all brought together from the deep abyss, that, henceforward, they may glitter as so many bright pearls, with the marvelous light of the Lord Jesus upon them. The Son of God came down from heaven for no other purpose than to found on earth, a glorious city, in which God himself might delight to dwell; he came, that he might build for his Father a temple of matchless beauty, where praise and love, ceaselessly sounding from the very stones which form its walls, might worthily proclaim that it possessed the sanctuary of the great Sacrifice. He himself made himself to be the Foundation of the thrice holy structure, wherein was to burn the eternal holocaust. He communicated this character of Foundation of the new temple to Simon his Vicar; and by giving him the name of Peter or Rock, on which he built his Church, he as good as told all future generations, what was the one aim of all his divine labors,—to build, that is, here on earth, a Temple worthy of his eternal Father. Let us, with respectful gratitude, receive from this Vicar of the Man-God the practical lessons which are involved in this master-truth. And, as we are just now in the period of the Year when the Calendar brings the Prince of the Apostles into such welcome prominence, let us be led by the Church nearer and nearer to this Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

Union of true charity, concord and peace, which must, at every cost, be kept up as the condition for their being happy both now and forever,—such is the substance of the instructions addressed by Simon, now Peter, to those other chosen stones, which rest upon him, and constitute that august Temple to be presented by the Son of Man to the glory of the Most High. Do not the solidity and duration of even earth’s palaces depend on the degree of union between the materials used in their structure? Again,—it is union which gives strength and beauty to all the parts of this immense universe; let there be a cessation in that mutual attraction which combines them together in one harmonious whole,—let there be a suspension of that cohesion which holds their atoms together,—and we shall have but an agglomeration of a vile impalpable something scarcely worth the name of dust. The Creator hath made peace in his high places; so that he asks: Who can make the harmony of heaven to sleep? And yet, as the earth, in its present condition, is to have an end, so, too, the heavens are to pass away as some worn-out garment. What, then, will be the cause of the stability,—what the cement which is to hold together,—the House prepared for God to dwell in, which, when all else has crumbled into change, is to be ever the same? And that dwelling is the Church; the dwelling of the adorable Trinity, up to whose throne there is to be ascending, for all eternity, the fragrance which exhales from her Jesus, her Spouse.

Here again, it is the Holy Spirit who must explain to us the mystery of this union, which makes up the holy city, and whose duration is to last as long as eternity itself. The charity which is poured forth into our hearts the moment of our Baptism, is an emanation of the very love that reigns in the bosom of the blessed Trinity; for the workings of the Holy Spirit in the Saints have this for their aim,—to make them enter into a participation in the divine energies. Having become the life of the regenerate soul, the divine Fire penetrates her whole being with God, and communicates, to her created and finite love, the direction and the power of the Flame that is ever-lasting and divine. So that, henceforward, the Christian must love as God loves; his charity is then only what it should be, when it takes in everything that God loves. Now, such is the ineffable friendship established, by the supernatural order, between God and his intellectual creatures, that he vouchsafes to love them with the love wherewith he loves himself; and, therefore, our charity should include and embrace, not only God himself, but, moreover, all those beings whom he has called to share, if they will, in his own infinite happiness. They will give us to understand the grandeur and incomparable power of the union, in which the Holy Ghost has established the Church. We are not surprised that its bonds should be stronger than death, and its cohesion be proof against all the power of Hell; for the cement, which joins the living stones of its walls together, partakes of the strength of God himself, and imitates the stability of his eternal love. The Church is truly that Tower which was built on the waters, which was shown to Hermas; it was formed of brightly polished stones, so closely joined one to the other, that the eye could not perceive the joints.

But let us also understand the importance and the necessity of mutual union for all Christians: there must be, among them, that love of the brotherhood, which is so frequently, and so strongly, recommended by the Apostles, the co-operators of the spirit in the building up of the Church. The keeping aloof from schism and heresy, of whose terrible consequences we were told in last Sunday’s Gospel;—the repression of hatred and jealousy,—no, these are not enough for the making us become useful members of the Church of Christ: we must, moreover, have a charity which is effective, and devoted, and persevering, and brings all souls and hearts into true union and harmony; a charity, which, to be worthy of the name, must be warm-hearted and generous, for it must make us see God in our fellow men, and that will bring us to look upon their happiness or misfortunes as though they were our own. We must have none of that phlegmatic egotism which finds satisfaction in never putting itself out of the way for any body; hateful as such a temperament is, it is far from being a rare one; it holds this peculiar view about charity,—that the best way of observing it, is to have a complete indifference for those who live with us! With souls of this stamp, it is evident they are not bedded in the divine cement: you could never get them to be part of the holy structure: the heavenly Builder is compelled to reject them as unfit, or leave them to die, around the walls, a heap of unemployed material, which refused all adaptation, and all being shaped, to the general plan. Still, if the building get finished before they have made up their minds not to be rubbish, woe to them! When it is too late, they will open their eyes, and understand that Charity is one; so that, he does not love God, who does not love his neighbor, and he who does not love, abideth in death. Let us, therefore, as St. John counsels us, measure the perfection of our love for God by the love we have for our neighbors: then only, shall we have God abiding within us; then only, shall we be enabled to enjoy the unspeakable mysteries of divine union with Him, who only unites himself with his elect, in order to make both them and himself one glorious temple to the glory of his Father.

The Gradual, recurring to the ideas which inspired the Introit, implored the divine protection in favor of the people, who have the Lord’s Anointed as their King. The Alleluia-Versicle proclaims his victories, and the salvation which he brought to this our earth.

Protector noster aspice, Deus: et respice super servos tuos.
Look down, O God, our protector; and look down upon thy servants.

℣. Domine Deus virtutum, exaudi preces servorum tuorum.
℣. O Lord God of hosts, graciously hear the prayers of thy servants.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Domine, in virtute tua lætabitur rex: et super salutare tuum exsultabit vehementer. Alleluia.
℣. O Lord, in thy might shall the king rejoice: and, in thy salvation, shall he exult exceedingly. Alleluia.

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

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: Unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.

Quote:The last days of the ancient Jerusalem are fast drawing to their close. In less than a month, the frightful ruin of the City, that knew not the time of her Lord’s visitation, will have been witnessed by us. It is on the ninth Sunday after Pentecost, during these months of July and August when the armies of Vespasian beheld the destruction of Jerusalem, that the sacred Liturgy commemorates the fulfillment of our Redeemer’s prophecies. During the years which intervened, the ancient Temple is still there, with its inner doors closed against all Gentiles. It gives out, that, as of old, so now, it holds the Divinity beneath the veils of the old Testament, screening off, even from the children of Israel, its impenetrable Holy of Holies. And yet, the five weeks we have had since Pentecost, have shown us how gloriously the Church has been begun on mount Sion. There, fronting the Temple of the restricted and imperfect covenant of Sinaï, the Holy Spirit has founded the Church, making her the place where all the nations of earth are to meet in gladness; she is the city of the great King, where all men shall henceforth live in the Knowledge of God; and, from the very first moment of her existence, she has been showing herself to us as the abode where Eternal Wisdom has made it his delight to dwell; she has proved herself to be the true Holy of Holies, wherein God and we are to be brought into union.

The law of fear and bondage is, therefore, forever abrogated by the law of love. A lingering remnant of regard for the once approved institution, which was the depositary of divine revelations, permits the first generation of Jewish converts to observe, if it so pleases them, the practices of their forefathers; but the permission is to cease with the Temple, whose approaching destruction is to bury the Synagogue forever. And even now, before that period of destruction, the prescriptions of the Mosaic law are insufficient to justify the sons of Jacob before God. The ritual ordinances, whose aim was the keeping up the expectation of the future Sacrifice by a ceremonial code of figurative representations,—have become useless, now that the mysteries they foreshadowed have been accomplished. The very commandments of the Decalogue,—those necessary commandments, which belong to all times and can never undergo change, because they pertain to the essence of the ties existing between creatures and their Creator,—yes, even those holy commandments have acquired such additional splendor from the teachings of Jesus, the Sun of all justice, that man’s conscience now finds in them an almost immeasurable increase of moral responsibility and loveliness.

Independently of the positive precept concerning the fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge,” man had received from God, whilst yet in Eden, the knowledge of those eternal laws—they were written in the life there bestowed upon him. From that moment forward, he would have to cease being a man before he could entirely divest himself, or lose, that infused knowledge; for it had been given to him as part of his being, as the natural law of his practical judgments, and was thus, to a certain extent, identified with his reason. But man’s Reason having, by the Fall, become greatly obscured, his soul had no longer the full and clear notion, it previously had, of the moral obligations resulting from his own nature as man. His Will, too, was a sufferer by the same Fall,—it got depraved; it used the original weakness of Reason as an excuse for its own malice; and that malice did but make thicker the darkness which covered its own excesses. Voluntary or heedless victims of error, the Gentiles were seen adapting their conduct to false maxims, which were, at times, so contrary to the first principles of morality, that we who have enjoyed the blessings of faith can scarcely believe that men could ever be so wicked as history tells us they were. Even the descendents of the Patriarchs, through singularly preserved through the benediction given by God to their fathers, were far from being as free as we should have expected them to be from the general corruption. When Moses, sent as he was by God, formed them into a nation, whose constitution was fidelity to that written law which was to restore the law of nature,—several points had to be left unmentioned, which, according to our Lord’s expression, the hardness of Jewish hearts would never have taken in. After Moses’ death, self-constituted teachers and peculiar sects rose up in the nation, and, by dint of absurd traditions and false interpretations, corrupted the spirit, yes, at times the very letter, of the law of Sinaï.

The Jews looked upon the Law of God as the Magna Charta of their nation; as such, it was put under the protection of the civil power; various tribunals with more or less of executive authority according to the importance of the cases that had respectively to be brought before them,—were to pass sentence on the infractions committed, or the crimes perpetrated, against it. But,—with the single exception of the sacred tribunal established under the law of grace, wherein God himself acts and speaks in the person of the Priest,—every judgment passed by men, be their authority ever so imposing, can only deal with exterior facts: so that Moses, in the legislative code he had drawn up, assigned no penalty for interior sins. These, however grievous they may be, are essentially beyond both the appreciation and cognizance of society and the human powers which govern it. Even now under the New Law, the Church does not inflict her censures on interior faults, unless they be made manifest by some not which comes under the senses; just as Moses had done, who, whilst acknowledging the culpability of criminal thoughts or desires, yet left to God’s judgment what He alone can know.

But while nowadays, there is not a Christian child who does not know that a wicked thought or desire is unlawful,—it was not so with the mass of the Hebrew people. The Prophets were ever striving to get this privileged but grovelling race to raise their thoughts above this present life; and even supposing that much to be gained, there still remained the narrow-minded Jewish notion, that beyond the divinely inspired principles of its political constitution, and the outward form of its legislation, there was nothing worthy of their attention; they would have scouted the idea that there was a spiritual reality, of far greater and deeper importance, underlying the external code. We see all this strongly marked by what took place shortly after the return from captivity; the last prophets had disappeared, and free scope was given to doctrinal systems which fostered short-sighted theories. The Jewish casuists were not slow in drawing up their famous formula, that all moral goodness was guaranteed to him that had received circumcision! St. Paul, later on, told them how such a principle was a stumbling-block to the Gentiles, leading them to blaspheme the name of God. According to the moral theology of these Hebrew doctors, conscience meant only what the tribunal of public justice issued as its decisions: the obligations of the interior tribunal of a man’s conscience were to be restricted to the rules followed by the assize-courts. The result of such teaching soon showed itself: the only thing people need care for was what was seen by men; if the fault were not one that human eyes could judge of, you were not to trouble about it. The Gospel is filled with the woes uttered by our Lord against these blind guides, who taught the souls they professed to direct, how best to smother law and justice and love under the outward cover of the letter. This Jesus of ours never loses an opportunity of denouncing, and castigating, and holding up to execration, those hypocrites of Scribes and Pharisees, who took such pains to be ever cleaning the outside of the dish, but, within, were full of impurity, and murder, and rapine.

The divine Word who had come down from heaven to sanctify men in truth (that is, to sanctify them in himself), had to make this his first care,—to restore what time had tarnished, to restore all the original brightness to the changeless principles of justice and right, which rest in Him as in their center. No sooner had he called disciples around him, and chosen twelve out of their number as Apostles, than he began, with all possible solemnity, his divine work of moral restoration. The passage from the Sermon on the Mount, which the Church has selected for the Gospel of this fifth Sunday, follows immediately after his declaring, that he had come, not to find fault with, or destroy the Law, but to restore it to its true meaning, of which the Scribes had deprived it; yea, he had come that he might give it all the fullness, which the very co-temporaries of Moses were too hard to take in. One should read the whole chapter of St. Matthew from which our Gospel is taken; the explanations we have been giving will make it easily understood.

In the few lines put before us today by the Church, our Lord tells us not to make human tribunals the standard of the justice needed for our entering into the kingdom of heaven. The Jewish law brought a man who was guilty of murder before the criminal court of judgment; and He, the Master and author of the Law, declares to us, that anger, which is the first step leading to murder, even though it lurk in the deepest recesses of the conscience, may bring death to the soul; and thus really incur, in the spiritual order, the capital punishment which human tribunals reserve to actual murder. If, without going so far as to strike the offender, our anger should vent itself in insulting language, such as worthless wretch (which, in Syriac, is Raca), the sin becomes so serious, that, weighed in the balance of its real guilt as known by God, it would be a case, not of the ordinary criminal jurisdiction, but of the highest council of the nation. If the angry man pass from insulting to injurious language, there is no human tribunal which, be it as severe as it can be in its verdict, can give us an idea of the enormity of the sin committed. But the authority of the sovereign Judge is not, like that of a human magistrate, confined within certain limits; when fraternal charity is outraged, there is an avenger who will demand justice beyond the grave. Such is the importance of holy charity, which God demands should unite all men together! And so directly opposed to God’s design is the sin, which, in whatever degree, endangers or troubles the union of the living stones of the temple, which has to be built up in concord and love here below, to the glory of the undivided and tranquil Trinity!

The longer it lives, the better does the chosen people appreciate and understand its happiness in having chosen real and solid goods for its inheritance. With its royal model, David, it sings, in the Offertory the heavenly favors, and the uninterrupted presence of the God who has vouchsafed to make himself its support.

Benedicam Dominum qui tribuit mihi intellectum: providebam Deum in conspectu meo semper: quoniam a dextris est mihi, ne commovear.
I will bless the Lord, who hath given me understanding: I set God always in my sight: for he is at my right hand, that I be not moved.

In the Secret, let us beseech God graciously to receive the offering of our hearts, as he used to receive the offerings made to him by the people of old. But if we would have this prayer of ours to be heard, we must remember the command given to us at the close of today’s Gospel:—God will not accept the hearts of those who are not, at least as far as lies in their power, in peace with all men.

Propitiare, Domine, supplicationibus nostris: et has oblationes famulorum famularumque tuarum benignus assume, ut, quod singuli obtulerunt ad honorem nominis tui, cunctis proficiat ad salutem. Per Dominum.
Be appeased, O Lord, by our humble prayers: and mercifully receive these offerings of thy servants: that what each hath offered to the honor of thy name, may avail to the salvation of all. Through, &c.

The other Secrets as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.

The consoling presence of God, gratefully acknowledged in the Offertory Anthem, was not the furthest condescension which God could bestow on his faithful ones. Won over by his infinite love in the ineffable union of the sacred Mysteries, his people desire nothing, and ask for nothing, but that they may be permitted to fix their eternal abode in the house of the Lord.

Unam petii a Domino, hanc requiram: ut inhabitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vit&aleig; meæ.
One thing I have asked of the Lord; this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life.

The effects of the sacred Mysteries are manifold: they cleanse the deepest recesses of our soul, and protect us externally, by enabling us to shun the snares laid for us along the path of life.

Quos cœlesti, Domine, dono satiasti, præsta quæsumus: ut a nostris mundemur occultis, et ab hostium liberemur insidiis. Per Dominum.
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we whom thou hast fed with this heavenly gift, may be cleansed from our hidden sins, and delivered from the snares of our enemies. Through, &c.

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

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"For I say to you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and of the Pharisees,
you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."--Matt. 5.

Among the persons who were hostile to Christ who despised and calumniated His teachings, and at last roused the people to such a height of frenzy that they crucified Him, the Gospel mentions the following four classes: the Pharisees, the Scribes, the Sadducees, and the priests of the Old Testament. The Pharisees, however, were the principal ones who worked against our Lord, and their opposition was especially dangerous, because the people were deceived by their hypocrisy, mistaking it for true piety and virtue.

They honored the Pharisees as defenders of the law of Moses, and received from them the doctrine that God was its author, although the Pharisees derogated from the power and holiness of the sacred volumes by voluntary additions which they called traditions. Christ calls them whitewashed sepulchers, vipers; but most frequently, hypocrites.

There are, alas! many children of the Church who resemble the Pharisees, and whose Catholic exterior is only deception, hypocrisy. To see the truth of this accusation we need but compare the manner of life of the Pharisees with that of these Christians. Mary, mirror of justice, inspire us with an earnest desire to live in true holiness! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

Christ warns His disciples against the spirit of the Pharisees. He calls them hypocrites, whitewashed sepulchers, men who are satisfied with honoring God outwardly, but who are inwardly filled with egotism and pride; enemies of truth, men without genuine brotherly love. How many who call themselves children of the Church, unfortunately bear the same characteristics! They deserve the reproach of Christ: Hypocrites!

This reproach all those deserve who are satisfied with fulfilling outwardly the duties of a child of the Church, while in their hearts they are not children of God but of the devil, living as they do in the state of mortal sin. They say their morning and evening prayers, visit the Church, assist in body at the holy sacrifice of the Mass; but though they may deceive man, they can not deceive God. Their prayers are mere words; their heart concurs in nothing that their lips utter; on the contrary, their life is a contradiction of every protestation they make in prayer. But this is not all; these nominal Christians even dare to approach the Holy Eucharist. Their confessions are deceptions, and they deserve the reproach, "hypocrites," for their repentance is only on their lips; in their heart, after confession, they are as great sinners as they were before it, and their Communion is a sacrilege. All they strive after is to make others believe that, as Christians, they live in the state of divine grace, and that they sanctify themselves by the reception of the Blessed Sacrament. Hence, their life as Christians is literally: "hypocrisy."

Catholics living thus deserve to be called what Christ called the Pharisees: "Whitewashed sepulchers." They appear outwardly religious and devout, make the sign of the cross, yet in their heart they crucify the Lord, and live thus year after year. Does not a Christian living in this manner deserve the reproach: Pharisee! Hypocrite! Alas! who can doubt that the greater part of the children of the Church endeavor to appear better than they really are? But for this reason, they generally bear also the other marks for which Christ reproves the Pharisees.

They are deficient in love of truth; they hide their wickedness from themselves and others; they merely affect a desire to know God's will, and serve Him in truth. The Pharisees but seldom approached Christ to hear the Word of Truth. They derided those who, filled with astonishment, exclaimed: " Never did man speak like this man!" They said with pride and contempt: "Which of us hears Him?" And when they listened to the Lord it was only to scoff at His doctrine, not to recognize it and to live in accordance with its precepts.

It is the same with these Catholics that affect piety. They say with their lips: I believe, while their conduct gives their words the lie. They are loath to hear the Word of God, and if, at times, they listen to a sermon in order to keep the reputation of being Christians, then they criticise what they hear, and apply it to others, not to themselves. We shall understand this hypocrisy better if we recall some of the principal dogmas of our holy faith, which exercise the most influence upon our life as children of God.

Faith teaches us that we are upon earth only pilgrims preparing ourselves for an approaching eternity. Every Christian, as such, confesses this with his lips; but what does his life say? If it contradicts his statement, it shows him to be guilty of deception. Only too frequently the Christian's most strenuous exertions are not directed to the acquisition of treasures for heaven, but rather to accumulate riches for his earthly existence, and to enjoy them as long as possible. He is a whited sepulcher, a pharisee! The sinner acknowledges, as a Christian, that man must be in the state of grace, in order to gain merits for heaven, and that, according to the holy will of God, he must fulfill the duties of his station with the right intention, and to the best of his ability. He acknowledges this with his lips, but what does his life say? It contradicts him, and lays bare his falsehood. He lives in sin, and what he does is not done because it is the will of God, but because it is his own good pleasure. He is a whited sepulcher, a pharisee!

The sinner acknowledges, as a Christian, the number and greatness of the dangers that threaten his salvation; he repeats the words of the Lord: "Many are called; but few are chosen," yet he lives as carelessly as if no danger existed for his salvation. He is a liar, a whited sepulcher, a pharisee! He confesses with his lips that there is a God who will one day judge him, that an eternity awaits him, an eternity either of inexpressible happiness, or of never-ending torment; and yet all these truths exercise no influence upon his life. He has no love of truth. He is a pharisee!

The Pharisees prayed and gave alms, but only to be seen by men and to please them. In their hearts they were full of malice, and without love for their neigh bor. They especially persecuted those who told them the truth openly as Christ did, and for this, overcome by envy and hatred, they crucified Him. How many who call themselves Christians, and who, as such, pray, and knowing the commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," do not care in the least for either the bodily or spiritual welfare of their neighbor, but think only of themselves and of their own individual well-being! All who live in such a manner, who have such a disposition, merit the reproach: hypocrite! pharisee!

On the whole, how very few Christians exist who do not desire to appear better than they really are; and how many deserve the reproach of Christ which we find in the Apocalypse: "Thou hast the name that thou livest, but thou art dead!" You Christian, you who live otherwise than you profess before men, the name you deserve is: hypocrite, pharisee, whited sepulcher! From today love truth, and follow it earnestly in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!

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"For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees,
you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5.

The Pharisees were zealots of the law which Christ came to fulfill; but notwithstanding an exterior show of reverence and obedience, in reality they dishonored and disobeyed that law by acting against its spirit. Unfortunately, there are also among the children of the Church many who profess to recognize the divine origin of the Church, and pretend to love and reverence her; but it is only deception, and they, too, deserve to be termed: "hypocrite!" Their life gives the lie to their words. They are not truthful, they are not honest, they are not sincere; they never reflect seriously, nor inquire earnestly as to how they must live in order to be able to call themselves, in the presence of God, children of Christ's Church, with the hope of one day entering as such into the joys of eternal life.

But not only this, there are even in our days men who pretend to be Christians, yet are, in truth, worse than the Pharisees. O Mary, thou whom Elizabeth called blessed, because thou didst not only believe, but didst live in accordance with thy belief, pray for us, that in our efforts after true holiness of life we may receive the spirit of the true children of God! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

I say: There are, unfortunately, many children of the Church who have great reason to take to heart the warning of Christ: "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees," which is hypocrisy, mock-holiness. Many who call themselves Catholics do not seek the truth in earnest, and consequently have no real charity in their hearts either towards God or their neighbor. They are satisfied with an external fulfillment of the exercises of devotion, and of the natural duties of politeness to their neighbor, and hence they appear to be much better than they really are.

In our day the evil is still greater, and is spreading with fearful rapidity. There are men who, born of Catholic parents, baptized in the Catholic Church, brought up, perhaps, in the Catholic faith, live in utter neglect of the commands of God; nay, they have long since forgotten them; they do not hesitate to deny the existence of God and all revelation. These are they whom the Apostle in his Epistle to the Thessalonians calls: "Apostate from faith in faith;" and he gives this state as one of the signs of the coming antichrist.

The Pharisees at least prayed, and made a show of devotion, in order to gain the esteem and good-will of others; but there are in our day men calling themselves Christians and Catholics who, from year's end to year's end, never say a prayer. They know not what prayer is; they never think of God, and say, impudently: Man, help thyself; and then God will help thee! There is no Providence! They never mention the name of the Lord, except in cursing and blasphemy, and who knows how often they do this every day?

The Pharisees at least kept the Sabbath, and in this way at least made some external declaration of their faith in God, and in His revelation; but now there are men calling themselves Christians and Catholics who neglect the reverence due to the Lord's day. They work on it as on any other day, and if perforce they abstain from labor, Sundays and holydays are spent in idleness, drinking and riot, so that on these very days which the Lord has reserved to Himself as time sacred to prayer and good deeds, He is offended more than on all the others of the week. Sunday is not spent in the service of God, but in the slavery of the devil. Christians who so act are much worse than the Pharisees.

The Pharisees at least visited the temple; but there are Christians--they call themselves Catholics--who, for months, yes, years, do not go inside of a church, who assist once in a while at Holy Mass, never hear the Word of God, and never approach the sacred table, where they may be nourished and sustained to resist the attacks of their spiritual enemies.

The Pharisees sometimes fasted, and performed works of mortification. In our days there are Christians--they call themselves Catholics--who, far from fasting, or performing any work of self-abnegation, live in the unrestrained enjoyment of every sensual gratification; "whose God," as St. Paul already complained, "is their belly;" who, far from edifying their neighbor, give scandal by drinking and dancing in bar-rooms and low dancing-halls.

The Pharisees at least gave alms, although they did it only to attract attention, and to acquire the reputation of being charitable. There are today men that call themselves Christians and Catholics who heartlessly turn away all the poor from their door, or withhold from the workman his well-earned wages, although they pretend to take a great interest in suffering humanity, and are ever ready with loud protestations of philanthropy.

The Pharisees at least aided by their offerings the temple and its servants. But in our time there are Christians, calling themselves Catholics, who do nothing for the Church and her ministers, and in this respect, also, they are far worse than the Pharisees. Instead of helping to spread God's kingdom, they persecute it in all possible ways, and they would entirely exterminate it from the earth had they the power to do so. They not only do nothing themselves for the Church and her ministers; but when they see others willing to give, they laugh at them, and endeavor to prevent them. These men, though they call themselves Catholics, wish, in their hearts, that there were no churches, nor priests nor schools, so that they might, with a safer conscience, escape the burthen of maintaining them.

They call themselves Christians, Catholics, and yet they join secret societies, whose only aim, only work, is to destroy the Church and Christianity. They spend their time in reading frivolous, godless books and pamphlets, and miserable newspapers, which slander, deride and ridicule the Church! Oh, what blindness! To inexperienced youth especially, is intercourse dangerous with this class of nominal Christians, these whited sepulchers.

When men--who are not children of the Church by baptism--deride and slander her and her ministers, and her doctrines, the evil is not half so great as when it is done by those who pretend to be Christians, who have once led a Christian life, but who have run into the errors of unbelief, and have ranged themselves under the standard of infidelity. Woe to all who live thus, and call themselves Catholics! On the day of judgment they will fare worse than he Pharisees! Amen!

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"Unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees
you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven
."--Matt. 5.

How earnest is the admonition of Christ in today's Gospel! It is a threat of the coming Judge: "You shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." What a threat, did it even only concern the loss of heaven; for, what a pitiful state not to see God, not to be united to Him, and not to partake of His infinite bliss ; to be deprived of the communion of the angels and saints, and of the possession and enjoyment of all created pleasures! This is not all, how ever; for, if we enter not heaven, what remains to us? Answer: "Hell!"--Great God, what a threat!

How important it is, therefore, for us to know what our justice must be to surpass that of the Pharisees, and give us the right and the hope to gain heaven, and escape the danger of eternal destruction! I say: to comprehend this, we need only consider the opposite of what Christ blames the Pharisees for, namely: If we practice those virtues which are the opposite of the faults and sins of the Pharisees, our justice will be greater than theirs, and will not be hypocrisy, but truth. O Mary, thou who, with the entire truthfulness of thy love to God, didst fulfill His holy will, bless our longing to secure our salvation by the practice of true justice! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

Hypocrisy is that for which Christ especially reproaches the Pharisees; that they endeavor to appear other than they really are, and that they do not love truth. Already the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist, called them "vipers," and in a like manner the complaint and reproach of another John, St. John the Evangelist, is addressed to them, when he says: "Men loved darkness rather than the light." Why? "Because," as Christ says, "their works were evil." They were whited sepulchers. Behold now, on the contrary, in what justice consists, that true justice which opens the gates of heaven to us!

It is the love of truth and the desire to know it, to put it in practice with candor and simplicity of soul. He who seeks truth earnestly will find it, and when he has found it he will prize it highly, and will open his heart that it may therein find an abode. Hence, St. Paul, speaking of the armor of God, mentions, especially, the girdle of truth. To understand more clearly how important is the love of truth, we have only to think how powerful is the influence on our lives of those truths that holy faith places before our eyes in regard to our last aim and end, what a light they shed upon our path, and how potent are the means of salvation which God has given the children of His Church to serve Him truly, and to fulfill with determination, energy and fidelity, His most holy will!

But that this effect may in reality be produced, we must not confess the truths of our holy faith only with the lips, but we must ponder them with earnest attention. Jeremias already complained: "With desolation is all the land made desolate; because there is none that considereth in his heart." How powerfully holy faith would admonish us to follow Christ with the zeal of the saints, did we but seek truth with a yearning heart! "Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile," said Christ of Nathanael. Would to God that this could be said of every child of the holy Church; but alas, in this respect many are woefully deficient!

We believe, but we do not consider earnestly enough the influence faith ought to exercise upon our lives, in order that our belief may be meritorious, and our lives correspond with it. The life of the Pharisees was a life of habit, it was a life which rested on the appearance rather than on the practice of virtue. They contented themselves with fulfilling the letter of the law, and neglected the spirit thereof.

Quite different should our life and our justice be. Unfortunately, this is not very often the case with unspiritual Christians. They live outwardly, from habit, a Christian life. They pray from habit. They hear Mass from habit. They receive the Sacraments, but all only from habit. The soul of a Christian, acting from mere routine, is benighted; he hardly thinks what sources and means of divine grace all these acts of piety embrace for the faithful imitation of Christ and the working out of eternal salvation.

The life of Christ gave offense to the Pharisees--they observed it, but did not dream of taking it for their model. We, as Christians, should do exactly the contrary. The life of Christ, the example of His virtues, should be the model and rule of our whole lives, from the cradle to the grave. The righteousness of the Pharisees knew no such guide. The Pharisees were pleased to parade their piety about, and to pray in the streets. Such a prayer was surely no elevation of the heart to God, no intercourse, no union with God, but a soulless motion of the lips.

Shall our prayer be genuine, and our justice work the sanctification of our lives? then we must follow the admonition of Christ: If you will pray, lock yourself in your closet and pray in secret and with a collected spirit. That we may thus truly and effectively pray, we must approach the Lord personally in the Most Blessed Sacrament. We must go to Him, and say in the words and with the feelings of the Apostles: "Master, teach us how to pray." Happy those who act thus; they will find in their life the truth of the words of St. Augustine: "He who prays well, lives well."

Besides prayer, we also need the spirit of mortification in order to follow Christ. The Pharisees contented themselves with corporal fasting; but if our justice is to be greater than theirs, then we must not only restrain our appetite for food, but must live, in general, in a spirit of Christian self-abnegation. We must fast with the eyes, the ears; in fact, with all our senses, and must practice with the greatest diligence interior mortification.

The Pharisees were filled with self-love, and puffed up with self-esteem on account of their justice. They knew nothing of love for their neighbor from the love of God. We must practice with deep humility corporal and spiritual works of mercy, from love of God and our neighbor, if our justice is to exceed theirs. The Pharisees, further, allowed no occasion to pass of laboring in opposition to Christ, and undermining His work.

Shall our justice be greater than theirs? then we must support the Church of Christ, and endeavor to disseminate and defend her as much as possible. How many an opportunity to do this every one of us has, if he only desires earnestly, as a true child of the Church, to interest himself in her welfare and propagation! Zeal for souls! what a pledge of that justice which will open to us the gates of heaven! Christian, how is your heart affected by this sermon? Does it concern you? Is your justice greater in every point than that of the Pharisees?

This final question your own conscience must answer! Amen !

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

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“Whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment.” MATT. v. 2.

ANGER resembles fire; hence, as fire is vehement in its action, and, by the smoke which it produces, obstructs the view, so anger makes men rush into a thousand excesses, and prevents them from seeing the sinfulness of their conduct, and thus exposes them to the danger of the judgment of eternal death. “Whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment.” Anger is so pernicious to man that it even disfigures his countenance. No matter how comely and gentle he may be, he shall, as often as he yields to the passion of anger, appear to be a monster and a wild beast full of terror. ”Iracundus,” says St. Basil, ”humanam quasi liguram amittit, ferae specimen indutus.” (Hom, xxi.) But, if anger disfigures us before men, how much more deformed will it render us in the eyes of God! In this discourse I will show, in the first point, the destruction which anger unrestrained brings on the soul; and, in the second, how we ought to restrain anger in all occasions of provocation which may occur to us.

First Point. The ruin which anger unrestrained brings on the soul.

1. St. Jerome says that anger is the door by which all vices enter the soul. ”Omnium vitiorum jantia est iracundia.” (Inc. xxix. Prov.) Anger precipitates men into resentments, blasphemies, acts of injustice, detractions, scandals, and other iniquities; for the passion of anger darkens the understanding, and makes a man act like a beast and a madman. ”Caligavit ab indignatione oculus meus.” (Job xvii. 7.) My eye has lost its sight through indignation. David said: “My eye is troubled with wrath.” (Ps. xxx. 10.) Hence, according to St. Bonaventure, an angry man is incapable of distinguishing between what is just and unjust. ”Iratus non potest videre quod justum est vel injustum.” In a word, St. Jerome says that anger deprives a man of prudence, reason, and understanding. “Ab omni concilio deturpat, ut donee irascitur, insanire credatur.” Hence St. James says:  “The anger of man worketh not the justice of God.” (St. James i. 20.) The acts of a man under the influence of anger cannot be conformable to the divine justice, and consequently cannot be faultless.

2. A man who does not restrain the impulse of anger, easily falls into hatred towards the person who has been the occasion of his passion. According to St. Augustine, hatred is nothing else than persevering anger. “Odium est ira diuturno tempore perseverans.” Hence St. Thomas says that”anger is sudden, but hatred is lasting. ” (Opusc. v.) It appears, then, that in him in whom anger perseveres hatred also reigns. But some will say: I am the head of the house; I must correct my children and servants, and, when necessary, I must raise my voice against the disorders which I witness. I say in answer: It is one thing to be angry against a brother, and another to be displeased at the sin of a brother. To be angry against sin is not anger, but zeal; and therefore it is not only lawful, but is sometimes a duty. But our anger must be accompanied with prudence, and must appear to be directed against sin, but not against the sinner; for, if the person whom we correct perceive that we speak through passion and hatred towards him, the correction will be unprofitable and even mischievous. To be angry, then, against a brother’s sin is certainly lawful. ”He,” says St. Augustine, ”is not angry with a brother who is angry against a brothers sin.” It is thus, as David said, we may be angry without sin. ”Be ye angry, and sin not.” (Ps. iv. 5.) But, to be angry against a brother on account of the sin which he has committed is not lawful; because, according to St. Augustine, we are not allowed to hate others for their vices. ”Nee propter vitia (licet) homines odisse” (in Ps. xcviii).

3. Hatred brings with it a desire of revenge; for, according to St. Thomas, anger, when fully voluntary, is accompanied with a desire of revenge. ”Ira est appetitus vindicteo.” But you will perhaps say: If I resent such an injury, God will have pity on me, because I have just grounds of resentment Who, I ask, has told you that you have just grounds for seeking revenge? It is you, whose understanding is clouded by passions, that say so. I have already said that anger obscures the mind, and takes away our reason and understanding. As long as the passion of auger lasts, you will consider your neighbour’s conduct very unjust and intolerable; but, when your anger shall have passed away, you shall see that his act was not so bad as it appeared to you. But, though the injury be grievous, or even more grievous, God will not have compassion, on you if you seek revenge. No, he says: vengeance for sins belongs not to you, but to me; and when the time shall come I will chastise them as they deserve. ”Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time.” (Deut. xxxii. 35.) If you resent an injury done to you by a neighbour, God will justly inflict vengeance on you for all the injuries you have offered to him, and particularly for taking revenge on a brother whom he commands you to pardon.  “He that seeketh to revenge himself, shall find vengeance from the Lord …. Man to man reserveth anger, and doth he seek remedy of God? …. He that is but flesh nourisheth anger; and doth he ask forgiveness of God? Who shall obtain pardon for his sins?” (Eccl. xxviii. 1, 3, 5.) Man, a worm of flesh, reserves anger, and takes revenge on a brother: does he afterwards dare to ask mercy of God? And who, adds the sacred writer, can obtain pardon for the iniquities of so daring a sinner? “Qua ironte,” says St. Augustine, ”indulgentiam peccatorem obtinere poterit, qui præcipienti dare veniam non acquiescit.” How can he who will not obey the command of God to pardon his neighbour, expect to obtain from God the forgiveness of his own sins?

4. Let us implore the Lord to preserve us from yielding to any strong passion, and particularly to anger. “Give me not over to a shameful and foolish mind.” (Eccl. xxiii. 6.) For, he that submits to such a passion is exposed to great danger of falling into a grievous sin against God or his neighbour. How many, in consequence of not restraining anger, break out into horrible blasphemies against God or his saints! But, at the very time we are in a flame of indignation, God is armed with scourges. The Lord said one day to the Prophet Jeremias: “What seest thou, Jeremias? And I said: I see a rod watching. ” (Jer. i. 11.) Lord, I behold a rod watching to inflict punishment. ”The Lord asked him again: “What seest thou? And I said: I see a boiling caldron.” (Ibid., v. 13.). The boiling chaldron is the figure of a man inflamed with wrath, and threatened with a rod, that is, with the vengeance of God. Behold, then, the ruin which anger unrestrained brings on man. It deprives him, first, of the grace of God, and afterwards of corporal life. ”Envy and anger shortens a man‟s days.” (Eccl. xxx. 26.) Job says: “Anger indeed killeth the foolish.” (Job v. 2.) All the days of their life, persons addicted to anger are unhappy, because they are always in a tempest. But let us pass to the second point, in which I have to say many things which will assist you to overcome this vice.

Second Point. How we ought to restrain anger in the occasions of provocation which occur to us.

5. In the first place it is necessary to know that it is not possible for human weakness, in the midst of so many occasions, to be altogether free from every motion of anger. “No one,” as Seneca says, “can be entirely exempt from this passion. ” “Iracundia nullum genus hominum excipit” (I. 3, c. xii). All our efforts must be directed to the moderation of the feelings of anger which spring up in the soul. How are they to be moderated? By meekness. This is called the virtue of the lamb that is, the beloved virtue of Jesus Christ. Because, like a lamb, without anger or even complaint, he bore the sorrows of his passion and crucifixion. ”He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.” (Isa. liii. 7.) Hence he has taught us to learn of him meekness and humility of heart. ”Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart.” (Matt. xi. 29)

6. Oh! how pleasing in the sight of God are the meek, who submit in peace to all crosses, misfortunes, persecutions, and injuries! To the meek is promised the kingdom of heaven. ”Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.” (Matt. v. 4.) They are called the children of God. ”Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” (Ibid., v. 9.) Some boast of their meekness, but without any grounds; for they are meek only towards those who praise and confer favours upon them: but to those who injure or censure them they are all fury and vengeance. The virtue of meekness consists in being meek and peaceful towards those who hate and maltreat us. “With them, that hated peace I was peaceful.” (Ps. cxix. 7.)

7. We must, as St. Paul says, put on the bowels of mercy towards all men, and bear one with another. “Put on ye the bowels of mercy, humility, modesty, patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another.” (Col iii. 12, 13.) You wish others to bear with your defects, and to pardon your faults; you should act in the same manner towards them. Whenever, then, you receive an insult from a person enraged against you , remember that a “mild answer breaketh wrath,” (Prov. xv. 1.) A certain monk once passed through a cornfield: the owner of the field ran out, and spoke to him in very offensive and injurious language. The monk humbly replied: Brother, you are right; I have done wrong; pardon me. By this answer the husbandman was so much appeased that he instantly became calm, and even wished to follow the monk, and to enter into religion. The proud make use of the humiliations they receive to increase their pride; but the humble and the meek turn the contempt and insults offered to them into an occasion of advancing in humility. “He,” says St. Bernard,  “is humble who converts humiliation into humility.” (Ser. xxiv. in Can.)

8. “A man of meekness,” says St. Chrysostom, “is useful to himself and to others.” The meek are useful to themselves, because, according to F. Alvares, the time of humiliation and contempt is for them the time of merit. Hence, Jesus Christ calls his disciples happy when they shall be reviled and persecuted. “Blessed are ye when they shall revile you and persecute you.” (Matt. v. 11.) Hence, the saints have always desired to be despised as Jesus Christ has been despised. The meek are useful to others; because, as the same St. Chrysostom says, there is nothing better calculated to draw others to God, than to see a Christian meek and cheerful when he receives an injury or an, insult. ”Nihil ita conciliat Domino familiares ut quod ilium vident mansuetudine jucundum.” The reason is, because virtue is known by being tried; and, as gold is tried by fire, so the meekness of men is proved by humiliation. “Gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation. ” (Eccl. ii. 5.) “My spikenard,” says the spouse in the Canticles, “sent forth the odour thereof” (i. 11.) The spikenard is an odoriferous plant, but diffuses its odours only when, it is torn and bruised. In this passage the inspired writer gives us to understand, that a man cannot be said to be meek unless he is known to send forth the odour of his meekness by bearing injuries and insults in peace and without anger. God wishes us to be meek even towards ourselves. When a person commits a fault, God certainly wishes him to humble himself, to be sorry for his sin, and to purpose never to fall into it again but he does not wish him to be indignant with himself, and give way to trouble and agitation of mind; for, while the soul is agitated, a man is incapable of doing good. ”My heart is troubled; my strength hath left me.” (Ps. xxx vii. 11.)

9. Thus, when we receive an insult, we must do violence to ourselves in order to restrain anger. Let us either answer with meekness, as recommended above, or let us remain silent; and thus, as St. Isidore says, we shall conquer. “Quamvis quis irritet, tu dissimula, quia tacendo vinces.” But, if you answer through passion, you shall do harm to yourselves and others. It would be still worse to give an angry answer to a person who corrects you. ”Medicanti irascitur,” says St. Bernard, “qui non irascitur sagittanti.” (Ser. vi. de Nativ.) Some are not angry, though they ought to be indignant with those who wound their souls by flattery; and are filled with indignation against the person who censures them in order to heal their irregularities. Against the man who abhors correction, the sentence of perdition has, according to the Wise Man, been pronounced. “Because they have despised all my reproofs,. . . .the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” (Prov. i. 30, etc.) Fools regard as prosperity to be free from correction, or to despise the admonitions which they receive; but such prosperity is the cause of their ruin. When you meet with an occasion of anger, you must, in the first place, be on your guard not to allow anger to enter your heart. “Be not quickly angry” (Eccles. vii. 10.) Some persons change colour, and get into a passion, at every contradiction: and when anger has got admission, God knows to what it shall lead them. Hence, it is necessary to foresee these occasions in our meditations and prayers; for, unless we are prepared for them, it will be as difficult to restrain anger as to put a bridle on a horse while running away.

10. Whenever we have the misfortune to permit anger to enter the soul, let us be careful not to allow it to remain. Jesus Christ tells all who remember that a brother is offended with them, not to offer the gift which they bring to the altar without being first reconciled to their neighbour. ”Go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.” (Matt. v. 24.) And he who has received any offence, should endeavour to root out of his heart not only all anger, but also every feeling of bitterness towards the persons who have offended him. “Let all bitterness,” says St. Paul, “and anger and indignation be put away from you.” (Eph. iv. 31.) As long as anger continues, follow the advice of Seneca “When you shall be angry do nothing, say nothing, which may be dictated by anger.” Like David, be silent, and do not speak, when you feel that you are disturbed. ”I was troubled, and I spoke not.” (Ps. Ixxvi. 5.) How many when inflamed with anger, say and do what they afterwards, in their cooler moments, regret, and excuse themselves by saying that they were in a passion? As long, then, as anger lasts we must be silent, and abstain from doing or resolving to do anything; for, what is done in the heat of passion will, according to the maxim of St. James, be unjust. ”The anger of man worketh not the justice of God.” (i. 20.) It is also necessary to abstain altogether from consulting those who might foment our indignation. “Blessed,” says David, “is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly.” (Ps. i. 1.) To him who is asked for advice, Ecclesiasticus says. “If thou blow the spark, it shall burn as a fire; and if thou spit upon it, it shall be quenched.” (Eccl. xxviii. 14.) When a person is indignant at some injury which he has received, you may, by exhorting him to patience, extinguish the fire; but, if you encourage revenge, you may kindle a great flame. Let him, then, who feels himself in any way inflamed with anger, be on his guard against false friends, who, by an imprudent word, may be the cause of his perdition.

11. Let us follow the advice of the apostle: “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.” (Hom, xii. 21.) “Be not overcome by evil:” do not allow yourself to be conquered by sin. If, through anger, you seek revenge or utter blasphemies, you are overcome by sin. But you will say: “I am naturally of a warm temper.” By the grace of God, and by doing violence to yourself, you will be able to conquer your natural disposition. Do not consent to anger, and you shall subdue the warmth of your temper. But you say: ”I cannot bear with unjust treatment.” In answer I tell you, first to remember that anger obscures reason, and prevents us from seeing things as they are. “Fire hath fallen on them, and they shall not see the sun.” (Ps. lvii. 9.) Secondly, if you return evil for evil, your enemy shall gain a victory over you. ”If,” said David, “I have rendered to them that repaid me evils, let me deservedly fall empty before my enemies.” (Ps. vii. 5.) If I render evil for evil, I shall be defeated by my enemies.  “Overcome evil by good.” Render every foe good for evil. ”Do good,” says Jesus Christ, “to them that hate you.” (Matt. v. 44.) This is the revenge of the saints, and is called by St. Paulinus, Heavenly revenge. It is by such revenge that you shall gain the victory. And should any of those, of whom the Prophet says, “The venom, of asps is under their lips” (Ps. cxxxix. 4), ask how you can submit to such an injury, let your answer be: “The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John xviii. 11.) And then turning to God you shall say: “I opened not my mouth, because thou hast done it” (Ps. xxxviii. 10), for it is certain that every cross which befalls you comes from the Lord. “Good things and evil are from God.” (Eccl xi. 14.) Should any one take away your property, recover it if you can; but if you cannot, say with Job: “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away” (i. 21.) A certain philosopher, who lost some of his goods in a storm, said: “If 1 have lost my goods I will not lose my peace.” And, do you say: If I have lost my property, I will not lose my soul.

12. In fine, when we meet with crosses, persecutions, and injuries, let us turn to God, who commands us to bear them with patience; and thus we shall always avoid anger. “Remember the fear of God, and be not angry with thy neighbour.” (Eccl. xxviii. 8.) Let us give a look at the will of God, which disposes things in this manner for our merit, and anger shall cease. Let us give a look at Jesus crucified, and we shall not have courage to complain. St. Eleazar being asked by his spouse how he bore so many injuries without yielding to anger, answered: I turn to Jesus Christ, and thus I preserve my peace. Finally, let us give a glance at our sins, for which we have deserved far greater contempt and chastisement, and we shall calmly submit to all evils. St. Augustine says, that though we are sometimes innocent of the crime for which we are persecuted, we are, nevertheless, guilty of other sins which merit greater punishment than that which we endure. “Esto non habemus peccatum, quod objicitur: habemus tamen, quod digne in nobis flagelletur.” (in Ps. Ixviii.)

"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
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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