Seventh 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 the Church invites us to give praise to God in the following words: Oh, clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God with the voice of joy. For the Lord is most high, he is terrible; he is a great
King over all the earth. (Ps. xlvi.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, whose providence is unerring- in what it ordains, we humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us all things which will profit us. Thro'.

EPISTLE. (Rom. vi. 19 — 23.) Brethren, I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh:
for as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity, so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin , you were free from justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them is death. But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God , you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

EXPLANATION. St. Paul here admonishes the Romans who had been converted to Christianity, but were still sensual and weak, that they ought to be much more zealous in serving God and mastering their passions. He demands of them that they should at least strive now as hard to save their souls as they once did to destroy them. This certainly is but right, for many a man would become just and holy if he would do as much for heaven, as he does for sin and hell. But to know how wholesome it is to consecrate themselves to justice and sanctity, he wishes them to consider what advantage they derived from sin. Nothing is gained from it but shame, confusion, sorrow, and death, but by a pious life, God's grace and eternal life. — Often consider this, Christian soul, and do not defile yourself by sins, which profit nothing, but bring shame, grief, and the retributive wrath of God.

GOSPEL. (Matt. vii. 15 — 21.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves: by their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down , and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that saith to me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

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Who are the false prophets?

Those seducers who under an appearance of virtue and honesty lure innocent, simple souls from the right path, and lead them to vice and shame; who by sweet words. such as: "God is full of love, and will not be severe on sin, He does not require so very much of us, He knows we are weak, and if a person sins, he can be converted," seek to steal from soul sail modesty and fear of God. Guard against such hypocrites, for they have the poison of vipers on their tongues. By the false prophets are also understood those who propagate error, who by superficial words degrade the true faith, who speak always of love and liberty, and who under the pretence of making people free and happy, bring many a soul to doubt and error, depriving it of true faith and peace of heart.

How can we know the false prophets?

By their works; for evil, corrupted men can produce only bad fruit. If we look into their life we will find that at heart they are immoral hypocrites who observe external propriety only that they may the more easily spread their poison. The false teachers and messengers of error may be known by their lives, but especially by their intentions, which are to subvert all divine order, and to put the unrestrained lust of the flesh and tyranny in its place.

Who else are understood by the false prophets?

Those who under pretence of making men happy and rich, induce the credulous to make use of superstition, of wicked arts, deceit, and injustice; especially those who under the deceiving appearance of liberty and equality, independence and public good, incite them to open or secret revolt against civil and ecclesiastical authority. Be not deceived by these so-called public benefactors who look always to their own advantage, but trust in God, support yourself honestly, live like a Christian, and you will find true liberty and happiness here and hereafter.

Why does Christ say: “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down and shall be cast into the fire?"

He warns us that faith without good works is not sufficient for salvation; and he therefore adds; Not every one that saith: Lord, Lord (who outwardly professes himself my servant, but is not really such) shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who, (by the fulfilment of the duties of his state of life and by the practice of good works), does the will of my Father, merits heaven. Strive then, Christian soul, to fulfil God's will in all things, perform your daily duties with a good intention, and. you will certainly obtain the kingdom of heaven.

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What are good works?

ALL the actions of man which are performed according to the will of God, while in the state of grace, for the love of God.

Which are the principal good works?

Prayer, fasting, and alms-deeds. These are especially inculcated in Holy Scripture. (Tab. xiii. 8.) By prayer is here understood all religious services; by fasting all mortification of soul and body; by alms-deeds all works of charity.

How many kinds of charitable works are there?

Two kinds: spiritual and corporal.

Which are the spiritual works of mercy?

Those that are performed for the good of the soul: to admonish sinners; to teach the ignorant; to counsel the doubtful; to console the afflicted; to suffer injustice patiently: to forgive all injuries, and to pray for the living and the dead.

Which are the corporal works?

Those which are performed for the good of the body: to feed the hungry; to give drink to the thirsty; to clothe the naked; to visit and ransom the captives; to harbor the harborless; to visit the sick; and to bury the dead.

Can we be saved with out good works?

No, for Christ expressly says: Every tree that bringeth forth not good fruit, shall be cut down and shall be cast into the fire. The servant in the gospel who did not even waste the talent received, but only hid it in the ground, was therefore cast into outer darkness. How greatly do those err who hope to reach heaven, simply because they do no evil! Of this great mistake St. Chrysostom plainly says: "If you had a servant who was in truth no robber, no glutton or drunkard, but who sat at home idle, neglecting every thing for which you had employed him, would you not pay him with the whip and send him off? Is it not bad enough to neglect that which duty demands?" Such a servant is the Christian who, doing neither good nor evil, makes himself thereby unfit for heaven which is the reward of work performed, and if no work has been done, no reward is to be expected.

SUPPLICATION. O Lord, guard me from false prophets, heretics, and seducers, and grant me the grace, that according to St. Paul's instructions I may become fruitful in all good works. Inflame my heart, that I may adorn my faith with them, thus do the will of the Heavenly Father, and render myself worthy of heaven.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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The Dominical cycle of the Time after Pentecost completes today its first seven. Previous to the general adoption of the changes introduced into the Sunday Gospels for this portion of the Year, the Gospel of the multiplication of the seven loaves gave its name to the seventh Sunday; and the mystery it contains is still evident in more than one section of today’s liturgy.

As we have already seen, this mystery was that of the consummation of the perfect in the repose or rest of God himself; it was the fruitful peace of the divine union. Nothing, then, could be more fitting, than that Solomon, who is the Peaceful by excellence, the sacred and authorized chanter of the nuptial Canticle, should have been selected to come forward, on this day, to speak the praises of infinite Wisdom, and reveal her ways to the children of men. When Easter is kept as late in April as it is possible, the seventh Sunday after Pentecost is the first of the month of August; and the Church then begins, in her night Office, the lessons from the Sapiential Books. Otherwise, she continues the historic scriptures, and that, some years, for five weeks more;—but, even in that case, Eternal Wisdom maintains her rights to this Sunday, which the number of Seven had already made hers in so special a way. For, when we cannot have the inspired instruction of Proverbs, we have Solomon’s own example preaching to us in the third book of Kings; we find him preferring Wisdom to all other treasures, and, on the throne of his father David, making her sit there with him as his inspirer and most noble Bride.

St. Jerome who has been appointed by the Church herself as the interpreter of today’s scripture lessons, tells us that David, at the close of his life of wars and troubles, knew, as well as Solomon, the loveliness of this incomparable Bride of the Peaceful; the chill of his age was remedied by her caresses, whose very contact is purity.

“O that this Wisdom may be mine,” exclaims the fervent solitary of Bethlehem; “may she embrace me, and abide with me. She never grows old. She is ever the purest of virgins; fruitful, yet ever immaculate. I think the Apostle meant her, when he speaks of a something that can make us fervent in spirit. so again, when our Lord tells us, in the Gospel, that, at the end of the world, the charity of many will grow cold,—I believe it will be, because Wisdom will then grow rare.”

The history of the two blind men, as related in the 9th Chapter of St. Matthew, is the subject of today’s Gospel, in the Greek Church.


The Church, leaving the Synagogue in its cities which are to perish, had followed Jesus into the wilderness. While the children of the kingdom are assisting at, without seeing it, this transmigration which is to be so fatal to them,—the Root of Jesse, now become the standard of nations, is rallying the people, and marshals them, by thousands, on towards the Church. From East and West, from North and South, they are pouring in, sitting down to the banquet of the kingdom, in company with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Here is our Introit; let us mingle our voices with these their glad chants.

Omnes gentes, plaudite manibus: jubilate Deo in voce exsultationis.
Clap your hands, all ye Gentiles! Shout unto God with the voice of joy.

Ps. Quoniam Dominus excelsus, terribilis: Rex magnus super omnem terram. Gloria Patri. Omnes gentes.
Ps. For, the Lord is most high; he is terrible: he is the great King over all the earth. Glory, &c. Clap.

All the opposition that men are capable of, can never prevent divine Wisdom from compassing her ends. The Jewish people deny their King; but the Gentiles come forward, and proclaim the Son of David. As we were just now singing in the Introit, his kingdom is extended the whole world over. In the Collect, the Church asks that all evils may be removed, and that an abundance of blessings may consolidate in peace the power of the true Solomon.

Deus, cujus providentia in sui dispositione non fallitur: te supplices exoramus, ut noxia cuncta submoveas, et omnia nobis profutura concedas. Per Dominum.
O God, whose providence is never deceived in what it appointeth: we humbly beseech thee to remove whatever may be hurtful, and to grant us all that will profit us. Through, &c.

The other Collects as in the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans.  Ch. vi.

Brethren: I speak an human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh. For as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity, unto iniquity; so now yield your members to serve justice, unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free men to justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Quote:Reckon that ye are dead unto sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord! The Apostle of the Gentiles enters today into the development of this leading formula of the Christian life. The Epistle of last Sunday aimed exclusively at putting it in language that could not be misunderstood; it showed us, that it expresses what is meant by that Baptism which, when we are immersed in the water, unites us to Christ.

There, as in a sepulcher, the death of Jesus becomes ours, and delivers us from sin. Sold under sin by our First Parents even before we had seen the day, and branded with its infamous stigma,—our whole life belonged to the cruel tyrant; he is a master who is never satisfied with our service; he is a merciless exactor; there is scarce an hour, that he does not make us feel his power over the members of our body; he does not allow us to forget that our body is his slave. But, if the life of a slave is under master’s control, death comes at last and sets the soul free; and as to the body, the oppressor can claim nothing, once it is buried. Now, it was on the Cross of the Man-God, on the Cross of that Jesus who, as the Apostle so strongly expresses it, was made sin because of our sins,—it was on that Cross, that guilty human nature was considered, by God’s merciful justice, to have become what its divine and innocent Head was. The old man, that was the issue of Adam the sinner, has been crucified; he has died in Christ; the slave by birth, affranchised by this happy death, has had buried under the waters of Baptism the body of sin, which carried in its flesh the mark of its slavery.

The body of sin was indeed our flesh; not that innocent flesh which originally came all pure from its Creator’s hands,—but the flesh, which, generation after generation, was defiled by the transmission of a disgraceful inheritance. In Baptism, which the Apostle calls the mysterious sepulcher, the sacred stream has not only washed away the defilement of this degraded body, but it has also set it free from those members of sin, which are the evil passions. These passions were powers of iniquity, that is, powers which deformed, and turned into uncleanness, those faculties and organs wherewith God had endowed us, that we might fulfill all justice, unto sanctification. At that moment of our Baptism, the strong-armed tyrant forfeited his possession of us; that Baptism was a death, which set his slave free. Sin being thus destroyed, the head of triple concupiscence has been severed, and the monster may writhe as he can; aided by grace, man thus liberated, may always prevent, if he wishes, the coils of the serpent from again being joined with their head.

Yes, this is the manifold, yet single, work of holy Baptism: in the twinkling of an eye, and by its own power, it extirpates sin, and annihilates all its rights over us; but, once this is achieved, man must cooperate with the grace of the sacrament; that is, he must keep watch over his treacherous inclinations to sin, which comes to life again by the slightest encouragement; he must be ever keeping up the work which his baptism-day began, that is, he must be ever cutting down the vile and noxious weeds which are ever cropping up. First, then, there is the death of sin, which, in its complete and sudden defeat of the old enemy, is the result of God’s divine operation; but all this is to be followed up by a work which belongs to the affranchised slave to do,—the life-long work of mortification of the spirit and the senses. It is the virtue of the first sacrament which is still telling on the Christian in this work of two-fold mortification; in his mortification, the sacrament is still pushing on its ceaseless work of vengeance against sin. Holy Baptism, having, of itself alone, operated in the wretched slave of sin what God alone could empower it to achieve,—summons man, now that his chains have fallen, to join her in the glorious work of maintaining his liberty; she invites him to share with her the honor of the divine victory over Satan and his works.

The keeping down the flesh will be again brought before us, next Sunday, as the true indicator of liberty on this earth, and as the authentication of our being truly children of God. As the Apostle says: Let not sin reign in your mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of iniquity unto sin; but present yourselves to God as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of justice unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants are ye whom ye obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto justice. But thanks be to God, that ye were the servants of sin; … but being freed from sin, we have been made servants of justice.

And shall we do less for Justice, than is being done everywhere in favor of our enemy, Sin? Surely, justice deserves that we should make greater efforts in her service, than for that odious tyrant who requites his slaves with nothing but shame and death. And yet, O admirable condescension of God to our weakness!—we have St. Paul telling us in today’s Epistle, in the name of the Holy Ghost,—we shall be saints, we shall attain eternal life, if we will but serve justice with as much earnestness as we once served uncleanness and iniquity.

Let us humble ourselves at hearing such words; let us be honest, and we shall feel that they contain a reproach. For many of us, we might ask: What has become of that intense ardor, wherewith we once used to follow after sin? To say, that we have converted our ways, would be no answer; for, a conversion does not paralyze our faculties; it enlists our natural energy in God’s service, it even intensifies it by the very fact of its now being employed as originally intended; at all events, conversion does not lessen the activity which was in us before our conversion; it would be an insult to grace to accuse it of diminishing in us the gifts of God.

What lessons, then, may we not learn, by seeing how eager in the pursuit of honor, interest, or pleasure, are the votaries of the world! What earnestness, what toil, what perseverance, what frequent sufferings, what abnegation at every turn, what misplaced heroism,—and all for the purpose of satisfying the seven heads of the beast, and tasting a few drops of the poisoned cup of Babylon! There are many souls in hell, who have gone through more fatigue and pain to procure their damnation, than even the martyrs endured for Christ; and even with all that, never attaining the object they sought to obtain in this world! so true is it, that the fools who are the most subservient to Satan’s wishes, do not always succeed in enjoying, not even for a single day, the vile rewards he promises his slaves.

Justice treats her followers in a very different way; she does not degrade, she does not deceive them that keep her. She blesses them with peace of mind at every step they take in duty-doing; she is ever enriching their treasure of merit; she leads them safely to the perfection of love. The life of union divine then grows, almost spontaneously, on that high ground of Justice; it rests on Justice, as a flower does on its stem. He that possesseth Justice, says the Scripture, shall lay hold on Wisdom: he shall find delights in that divine Wisdom, which surpasses all that earth could procure.

Would it, then, be fair to hesitate about going through those toils which procure heaven for us, and are a preparation made here on earth for the glories which are to be revealed in us in our eternal home? The present life, how long soever it may be, seems but momentary to a faithful soul; she is glad to give this proof of the love she bears to Him she longs for. “Jacob,” says St. Augustine, “gave his twice seven years of service for the sake of Rachel, whose name, they tell us, signifies, vision of the Beginning, that is, of the Word, that is, of the Wisdom which shows us God. Every virtuous man on earth loves this Wisdom; it is for her he works and suffers, by serving Justice. What he, like Jacob, aims at by his labors, is, not the fatigue for its own sake, but the possession of that which the fatigue is to bring him, namely, the fair Rachel, that is to say, rest in the Word, in whom we have the vision of the Beginning. Is there any true servant of God who can have any other thought, when he is under the influence of grace? Once converted, what is it that man wishes for? What are his thoughts on? What has he in his heart? What is it that he thus passionately loves and desires? It is the knowledge of Wisdom. Of course, man would, if he could, avoid all fatigue and suffering, and come straight to the delights which he knows are in the exquisitely beautiful and perfect Wisdom; but that cannot be in the land of the dying. If thou desire Wisdom, keep justice; and God will give her unto thee. Justice here, means the commandments; and the commandments prescribe works of Justice, of that Justice which comes of Faith; and Faith lives amidst the uncertainty of temptations; that by piously believing what it does not as yet understand, it may merit the happiness of understanding.

“We are not, therefore, to find fault with the ardor of those, who are possessed by the desire to possess Truth in its unveiled loveliness; what we must do, is to put order in their love, by telling them to begin with faith, and strive, by the exercise of good deeds, to arrive at the bliss they long for. Do thou love and desire, at the very onset, and above all things, this object which is so worthy of thy possession; but, let the ardor which burns within thee show itself, first of all, by its leading thee to cheerfully endure the fatigues of the road which leads to the prize, towards which thy love is all directed. Yea, and when thou hast got up to it, remember, thou wilt never enjoy beautiful Truth in this life, without having, all the same happy while, to be still cultivating laborious Justice. How comprehensive and pure soever, may be the sight granted to mortal men of the Unchangeable Good; the corruptible body is a load upon the soul, and the earthly habitation presseth down the mind that museth upon many things. One, then, is that to which we must tend; but many are the things we are to bear for that one’s sake.”

In the Gradual, the Church keeps up the thought which pervades this seventh Sunday; she invites her sons to come and receive from her the knowledge of the Fear of the Lord; for the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. The Alleluia-Verse again calls upon the Gentiles, the heirs of Jacob, to celebrate in gladness, the gift of God.

Venite, filii, audite me: timorem Domini docebo vos.
Come, children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

℣. Accedite ad eum, et illuminamini: et facies vestræ non confundentur.
℣. Come ye unto him, and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Omnes gentes, plaudite manibus: jubilate Deo in voce exsultationis. Alleluia.
℣. Clap your hands, all ye Gentiles! shout unto God, with the voice of joy. Alleluia.

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

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Quote:By rejecting the Gospel, the Jewish people have refused the light. Whilst the Sun of Justice, hailed with delight by the Gentiles, is lighting up, in all splendor, the land, that was once in the shadow of death,—a black night is covering the heretofore blessed country of the Patriarchs, and darkness is every hour thickening in Jerusalem. By the blindness which is leading her to destruction, the synagogue is verifying our Lord’s words: He that walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth.

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False Prophets and false christs abound in Israel, ever since the true Messiah, whom the Prophets foretold, has been ignored, and treated by his own people as the Prophets themselves had been. Hit witnesses, the Apostles, have vainly tried to induce Juda to retract the fatal denial made in the pretorium. And yet, Juda knows better than all the world beside, that the times are accomplished; for, has not the scepter fallen from his hands? And Juda, who disdainfully disowns the spiritual royalty of the Savior of men, is going on with his ceaseless expectation and search of the christ of his own imagining,—a messiah who will restore to him the power he has lost. The Jewish doctors have not as yet invented the sentence of Talmud, whereby they hoped to stifle the unpleasant prophecies which give them the lie: “Cursed be he, that calculates the times of the coming of Messiah!” What, then, must be the feelings of a people, which has for ages been living in the expectation of an event the most important that could be,—now that it sees the time specified by prophecy to be fast expiring! so that they are compelled, either to disavow the past, or acknowledge, at the foot of the Cross which it has set up, its most sinful error.

A strange anxiety has seized on the nation of deicides. The spirit of madness governs her determinations. In the scare of her feverish excitement, which is the very opposite of the calm and resigned expectation of her ancient Patriarchs,—she takes every rebel for a Christ. She, that would not have the Son of David, hails every upstart as her Messiah, and follows every adventurer that sets up the cry of war against Rome, or that cheats her with the promise of making her country independent. with such materials, Judea is soon turned into a kingdom of anarchy and confusion. The very sanctuary of the Temple is made the scene of party-quarrels and bloodshed. The Daughter of Sion follows her false-christs into the desert; there organizes riot; and returns to the holy City, filling it with highway-men, or with assassins imported from the wilderness. Long before these events, Ezechiel had thus spoken: Wo to the foolish prophets that see nothing! Thy prophets, O Israel, were like foxes in the deserts! And Isaias thus prophesied: Therefore, the Lord shall have no joy in their young men; neither shall he have mercy on their ftherless and widows; for every one is a hypocrite and wicked, and every mouth hath spoken folly.

The time is close at hand: the hour is come, when they that are in Judea must flee to the mountains, as our Lord had said. The Christians of Jerusalem will, as history records, soon be leaving the doomed City, under the guidance of Simeon, their Bishop. With them, departs Sion’s last hope; God is about to avenge his Christ. Already has the signal of destruction been heard,—the whistle, as the Prophet Isaias had foretold, has been heard from beyond the seas; and, as Balaam had seen it in vision, they are coming in galleys from Italy, to lay waste to the Hebrews. The Leader, announced by Daniel, is approaching towards the once Land of Promise; the appointed desolation and ruin shall remain there even after the end of the war.

Let us leave the Jews to hurry on their own ruin; let us return to the Church, which, at the same time, is rising up, so grand and so beautiful, on the cornerstone that had been rejected by the synagogue. Because of the absence of this Stone, which the builders of Sion had not the wisdom to recognize as the basis indispensably necessary to their City,—Jerusalem falls in Judea, but reappears, more than ever beauteous, on the hills, whether Cephas, Prince of the Apostles, has carried her everlasting Foundation. Set firmly on the divine Rock, she shall no longer fear the violence of the billows and winds, when they storm against her walls. False prophets, and all the workers of lies, who had so successfully sapped the walls of the ancient, will not leave the new Jerusalem in peace; for our Lord had plainly said, it is necessary that scandals should come; and the Apostle, speaking of heresy (that greatest of all scandals), said: There must be heresies in order that they who are approved, may be made manifest.

Indeed, for each individual Christian, as for the Church at large, the security of the spiritual building depends primarily on the firmness of the foundation, which is Faith. The Holy Ghost will not build on a foundation that is unsound or unsafe. When, especially, he is to lead a soul to the higher degrees of divine union, he exacts from her, as the first condition, that her Faith, too, be above the average,—a Faith, that is, with heroism enough to fight successfully those battles, which brace the soul, and so render her worthy of light and love. In every stage of the Christian life, however, it is Faith that provides love with its enduring and substantial nourishment; it is Faith that gives to the virtues their supernatural motives, and makes them fit to form a worthy court for their queen, Charity. A soul’s development never goes beyond the measure of her Faith. The capaciousness of Faith, an dits ever growing plenitude, and its certified conformity with truth,—these are the guarantee of the progress which will be made by a just man; whereas all such holiness as affects to be guided by a Faith which is cramped or false, is holiness of a very dubious kind, and one that is exposed to most fearful illusions.

It was, therefore, a good and a wholesome thing that Faith should be put to the test, for it grows brighter and stronger under trial. St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, is enthusiastic in his praise of the triumphs won by the Faith of our forefathers. Could there be denied to the new Covenant those glorious combats, which constituted the eternal merit and honor of the Saints who lived in the period of expectation and figures? It is by their victorious Faith in the word of the promise, that all those worthy ancestors of the Christian people merited to have God himself as their praise-giver. For us, who joyously have possession of that Messias, who, to them was but the object of their heroic hope, our trial cannot be like theirs,—the trial of expectation. This is quite true; and yet, heresy, which is the offspring of man’s pride and hell’s malice,—heresy and its manifold outcomings, which are ever producing the diminution of truth in this world of ours,—yes, it is through these, that we shall win merit by our possession of what they beheld and saluted only afar off. Man is ever trying to intrude his foolish ideas into the truths of divine revelation; and, as to the prince of this world, he will do all in his power to encourage these audacious attempts at corrupting the purity of the Word. But Wisdom, who is never overcome, will turn all these impious efforts into an occasion of glorious victories for her children. Here we have the reason why God permitted, fro the very commencement of the Church’s existence, and still permits, that sects should be continually springing up. It is in the battiefield against error, that the Church brings forth the armor of God, and shows herself all brilliant with that absolute truth, which is the brightness of the Word, her Spouse, it is by the personal triumph over the spirit of lying, and by the spontaneous adhesion to the teachings of Christ and his Church, that the Christian shows himself to be a true child of light, and becomes himself a light to the world.

The combat is not without its dangers for the Christian who would hold, in all its integrity, the Faith of his mother the Church. The tricks of the enemy, his studied and obstinate hypocrisy, the crafty skill wherewith he tries to stir up in the soul, almost without her knowing it, a score of little weaknesses of hers which more or less favor error,—all this frequently ends in injuring the light, not perhaps in extinguishing it altogether, but in robbing it of some of its brilliancy. And yet, they who live on the teachings given us in our today’s Gospel, are sure to come off with the victory. Let us meditate upon them with gratitude and love; for it is by such teachings, that eternal Wisdom grants us what we so ardently ask of him, when, in Advent, we thus beseech him: Come, and teach us the way of prudence! Prudence, the friend of a wise man, guardian of his treasures, and his surest defense, has no greater peril from which to keep him, than shipwreck concerning the Faith; if Faith be lost, all is lost. No price is too great to give for that Prudence of the serpent, which, in a disciple of Christ, goes so admirably with the simplicity of the dove. If we are happy enough to possess Prudence, we shall readily distinguish between those false teachers whom we must shun, and those we must hearken to,—between the falsifiers of the Word, and his faithful interpreters.

By their fruits shall ye know them, says our Gospel, and history confirms the words of our Redeemer. Under the sheep’s clothing, which they wear that they may deceive simple souls, the apostles of falsehood ever betray a stench of death. The artful language they use, and the flatteries they utter for gain’s sake, cannot hide the hollowness of their works. They separate themselves from the flock of Christ, and flee from the light; for, as the Apostle says, all things that are reproved, or deserve to be so, are made manifest by the light; and as to the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of them. Therefore, be ye not partakers with them. The useless or rotten fruits of darkness, and the trees of Autumn, twice dead, which bear such fruits on their withered branches,—both of them shall be cast into the fire. If you yourselves were heretofore darkness, now that you have become light in the Lord by Baptism, or by a sincere conversion, show yourselves to be so, and produce the fruits of light, in all goodness, and justice, and truth. On this condition alone, can you hope to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and call yourselves disciples of that Wisdom of the Father, who, on this seventh Sunday, asks us to give him our love.

St. James the Apostle almost seems to be giving a commentary on the Gospel of this seventh Sunday, where he says: Can the fig-tree, my Brethren, bear grapes? or the vine, figs? So neither can the salt water yield sweet. Who is a wise man and endued with wisdom among you? let him, by a good conversation (that is, by his good conduct), shew his work in the meeknes of Wisdom … For there is a wisdom which is bitter, and misleads others; it descendeth not from above, but is erthly, sensual, devilish … But the Wisdom, which is from above, first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, easy to be persuaded, consenting to the good (and always sides with them), full of mercy and good fruits, without judging (the conduct of others) without dissimulation. And the fruit of justice is sown in peace to them that make peace.

The Offertory Anthem has been selected, according to Honorius of Autun (iv. 57), in allusion to the sacrifice of the thousand victims which were offered at Gabaon by Solomon, in the early days of his reign; when the sacrifice was ended, he was bid ask, what he would have God give to him: he desired and obtained Wisdom, with the addition of riches and glory, for which he had not asked. It depends upon us, that the Sacrifice which is here ready to be offered up, should be equally, and even more, accepted of God, for it is Incarnate Wisdom that is being offered to the Most High God; he desires to obtain for us all the gifts of his Eternal Father,—and give Himself also to us.

Sicut in holocaustic arietum, et taurorum, et sicut in millibus agnorum pinguium: sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi: quia non est confusio confidentibus in te, Dominus.
As in holocausts of rams and bullocks, and as in thousands of fat sheep, so let our Sacrifice be made in thy sight this day, that it may please thee: for there is no confusion to them that trust in thee.

Another circumstance which confirms what we have said regarding the mysterious character of this seventh Sunday, as to its being especially sacred to eternal Wisdom,—is the fact, that the Verse of Scripture, which formerly used to be joined to the present Offertory-anthem, is the same as that which in the Roman Pontifical, opens the magnificent ceremony of the Consecration of Virgins: And now we follow thee with all our heart, and we fear thee, and seek thy face; put us not to confusion, but deal with us according to thy meekness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies! After being a third time called by the Bishop, the affianced of the divine Spouse advance (singing these words), to the Altar, where they are to be espoused to Him.

The Secret speaks to God of how the multiplied variety of the ancient sacrifices, such as those mentioned in the Offertory, were all made one in the oblation of our Christian Sacrifice.

Deus, qui legalium differentiam hostiarum unius sacrificii perfectione sanxisti: accipe sacrificium a devotis tibi famulis, et pari benedictione, sicut munera Abel, sanctifica: ut, quod singuli obtulerunt ad Majestatistuæ honorem, cunctis proficiant ad salutem. Per Dominum.
O God, who in one perfect Sacrifice, hast united all the various sacrifices of the Law, accept, from thy devoted servants, this Sacrifice, and sanctify it by a blessing like to that thou gavest to Abel’s offerings; that what each hath offered to thy divine Majesty, may avail to the salvation of all. Through, &c.

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

The Communion, says Honorius of Autun, gives us the prayer of Solomon, who asks Wisdom of God, and obtains it. If any of you, says St. James, want Wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men abundantly, and upbraideth not: and it shall be given him.

Inclina aurem tuam, accelera ut eripias me.
Bow down thine ear unto me. Make haste to deliver me!

Original Sin has vitiated man to such a degree,—he is so far from divine union, at his first coming into this life,—that, of himself, he can neither cleanse the defilement that is on him, nor enter on the path which leads to God. It is requisite that our God, as a generous and patient physician, take our cure in his own hand; and, even when the cure is effected, should support and guide us. Let us then, in the Postcommunion, say with the Church:

Tua nos, Domine, medicinalis operatio et a nostris perversitatibus clementer expediat, et ad ea quæ sunt recta, perducat. Per Dominum.
Grant, O Lord, that this healing efficacy of these thy mysteries may, through thy mercy, free us from all our sins, and bring us to the practice of what is right. Through, &c.

The other Poscommunions, 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
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

July 28, 2019

"But He Who Doth The Will of My Father" (MA)

"Remnants Keep Fighting!" (CT)

July 24, 2022

"Tree of Life"

July 7, 2024

"Christ the Good Tree"

"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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A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.” MATT. vii. 18.

THEN the gospel of this day tells us, that a good plant cannot produce bad fruit, and that a bad one cannot produce good fruit. Learn from this, brethren, that a good father brings up good children. But, if parents be wicked, how can the children be virtuous? Have you ever, says the Redeemer, in the same gospel, seen grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? “Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles ?” (v. 16.) And, in like manner, it is impossible, or rather very difficult, to find children virtuous, who are brought up by immoral parents. Fathers and mothers, be attentive to this sermon, which is of great importance to the eternal salvation of yourselves and of your children. Be attentive, young men and young women, who have not as yet chosen a state of life. If you wish to marry, learn this day the obligations which you can contract with regard to the education of your children; and learn also that, if you do not fulfil them, you shall bring yourselves and all your children to damnation. I shall divide this sermon into two points. In the first, I shall show how important it is to bring up children in habits of virtue; and in the second, I shall show with what care and diligence a parent ought to labour to bring them up well.

First Point. How very important it is to bring up children in habits of virtue.

1. A father owes two obligations to his children; he is bound to provide for their corporal wants, and to educate them in habits of virtue. It is not necessary at present to say more on the first obligation, than that there are some fathers more cruel than the most ferocious of wild beasts; for these do not forget to nourish their offspring; but certain parents squander away in eating and drinking, and gaming, all their property, or all the fruits of their industry, and allow their children to die of hunger. But let us come to the education, which is the subject of my discourse.

2. It is certain that a child’s future good or ill conduct depends on his being brought up well or ill. Nature itself teaches every parent to attend to the education of his offspring. He who has given them being ought to endeavour to make life useful to them. God gives children to parents, not that they may assist the family, but that they may be brought up in the fear of God, and be directed in the way of eternal salvation. ”We have,” says St. Chrysostom, ”a great deposit in children; let us attend to them with great care.” (Hom, ix., in 1 ad Tit.) Children have not been given to parents as a present, which they may dispose of as they please, but as a trust, for which, if lost through their negligence, they must render an account to God. The Scripture tells us, that when a father observes the divine law, both he and his children shall prosper. “That it may be well with thee and thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is pleasing in the sight of God.” (Deut. xii. 25.) The good or ill conduct of a parent may be known, by those who have not witnessed it, from the life which his children lead. “For by the fruit the tree is known.” (Matt. xii. 33.)”A father,” says Ecclcsiasticus, “leaves a family, when he departs this life, is as if he had not died; because his sons remain, and exhibit his habits and character. His father is dead, and he is as if he were not dead; for he hath left one behind him that is like himself.” (Eccl. xxx. 4.) When we find a son addicted to blasphemies, to obscenities, and to theft, we have reason to suspect that such too was the character of the father. ”For a man is known by his children.” (Eccl. xi. 30.)

3. Hence Origen says, that on the day of judgment parents shall have to render an account for all the sins of their children. “Omnia quæcumque delinquerint filii, a parentibus requiruntur. ” (Grig., Lib. 2, in Job.) Hence, he who teaches his son to live well, shall die a happy and tranquil death. ”He that teacheth his son …when he died he was not sorrowful, neither was he confounded.” (Eccl. xxx. 3, 5.) And he shall save his soul by means of his children; that is, by the virtuous education which he has given them. ”She shall be saved through child-bearing.” (1 Tim. ii. 15.) But, on the other hand, a very uneasy and unhappy death shall be the lot of those who have laboured only to increase the possessions, or to multiply the honours of their family; or who have sought only to lead a life of ease and pleasure, but have not watched over the morals of their children. St. Paul says, that such parents are worse than infidels. “But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Tim. v. 8.) “Were fathers or mothers to lead a life of piety and continual prayer, and to communicate every day, they should be damned if they neglected the care of their children.” Would to God that certain parents paid as much attention to their children as they do to their horses! How careful are they to see that their horses are fed and well trained! And they take no pains to make their children attend at catechism, hear mass, or go to confession. “We take more care” says St. Chrysostom, “of our asses and horses, than of the children.” (Hom, x., in Matt.)

4. If all fathers fulfilled their duty of watching over the education of their children, we should have but few crimes and few executions. By the bad education which parents give to their offspring, they cause their children, says St. Chrysostom, to rush into many grievous vices; and thus they deliver them up to the hands of the executioner. ”Majoribus illos malis involvimus, et carnificum manibus damus.” (Serin, xx., de divers.) Hence, in Lacedemon, a parent, as being the cause of all the irregularities of his children, was justly punished for their crimes with greater severity than the children themselves. Great indeed is the misfortune of the child that has vicious parents, who are incapable of bringing up their children in the fear of God, and who, when they see their children engaged in dangerous friendships and in quarrels, instead of correcting and chastising them, rather take compassion on them, and say: “What can be done? They are young; they must take their course.” Oh! what wicked maxims! what a cruel education! Do you hope that when your children grow up they shall become saints? Listen to what Solomon says: “A young man, according to his way, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. xxii. 6.) A young man who has contracted a habit of sin will not abandon it even in his old age. ”His bones,” says Job, “shall be filled with the vices of his youth, and they shall sleep with him in the dust.” (Job xx. 11.)

When a young person has lived in evil habits, his bones shall be filled with the vices of his youth, so that he will carry them with him to death; and the impurities, blasphemies, and hatred to which he was accustomed in his youth, shall accompany him to the grave, and shall sleep -with him after his bones shall be reduced to dust and ashes. It is very easy, when they are small, to train up children to habits of virtue; but, when they have come to manhood, it is equally difficult to correct them, if they have learned habits of vice. But, let us come to the second point that is, to the means of bringing up children in the practice of virtue. I entreat you, fathers and mothers, to remember what I now say to you; for on it depends the eternal salvation of your own souls, and of the souls of your children.

Second Point. On the care and diligence with which parents ought to endeavour to bring up their children in habits of virtue.

5. St. Paul teaches sufficiently, in a few words, in what the proper education of children consists. He says that it consists in discipline and correction. “And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord.” (Ephes. vi. 4) Discipline, which is the same as the religious regulation of the morals of children, implies an obligation of educating them in habits of virtue by word and example. First, by words: a good father should often assemble his children, and instil into them the holy fear of God. It was in this manner that Tobias brought up his little son. The father taught him from his childhood to fear the Lord and to fly from sin. ”And from his infancy he taught him to fear God and to abstain from sin.” (Tob. i. 10.) The Wise Man says that a well educated son is the support and consolation of his father. “Instruct thy son, and he shall refresh thee, and shall give delight to thy soul.” (Prov. xxix. J7.) But, as a well instructed son is the delight of his father’s soul, so an ignorant child is a source of sorrow to a father’s heart; for the ignorance of his obligations as a Christian is always accompanied with a bad life. Cantipratensis relates (lib. 1, cap. 20) that, in the year 1248, an ignorant priest was commanded, in a certain synod, to make a discourse. But while he was greatly agitated by the command, the devil appeared to him, and instructed him to say: “The rectors of infernal darkness salute the rectors of parishes, and thank them for their negligence in instructing the people; because from ignorance proceed the misconduct and the damnation of many.” The same is true of negligent parents. In the first place, a parent ought to instruct his children in the truths of faith, and particularly in the four principal mysteries. First, that there is but one God, the Creator, and Lord of all things; secondly, that this God is a remunerator, who, in the next life, shall reward the good with the eternal glory of Paradise, and shall punish the wicked with the everlasting torments of hell; thirdly, the mystery of the holy Trinity that is, that in God there are Three Persons, who are only one God, because they have but one essence; fourthly, the mystery of the incarnation of the Divine Word the Son of God, and true God, who became man in the womb of Mary, and suffered and died for our salvation.

Should a father or a mother say: I myself do not know these mysteries, can such an excuse be admitted? that is, can one sin excuse another? If you are ignorant of these mysteries you are obliged to learn them, and afterwards teach them to your children. At least, send your children to the catechism. Oh! what a misery to see so many fathers and mothers who are unable to instruct their children in the most necessary truths of faith, and who, instead of sending their sons and daughters to the Christian doctrine on festivals, employ them in messages, or other occupations of little moment; and when grown up they know not what is meant by mortal sin, by hell, or eternity. They do not even know the Creed, the Pater Noster, or the Hail Mary, which every Christian is bound to learn under pain of mortal sin.

6. Religious parents not only instruct their children in these things, which are the most important, but they also teach them the acts which ought to be made every morning after rising. They teach them, first, to thank God for having preserved their life during the night; secondly, to offer to God all the good actions which they will perform, and all the pains which they shall suffer during the day; thirdly, to implore of Jesus Christ and most holy Mary to preserve them from all sin during the day. They teach them to make every evening an examen of conscience and an act of contrition. They also teach them to make every day the acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, to recite the Rosary, and to visit the Blessed Sacrament. Some good fathers of families are careful to get a book of meditations read, and to have mental prayer in common for half an hour every day. This is what the Holy Ghost exhorts you to practise. “Hast thou children? Instruct them and bow down their neck from their childhood.” (Eccl. vii. 25.) Endeavour to train them from their infancy to these religious habits, and when they grow up they shall persevere in them. Accustom them also to go to confession and communion every week. Be careful to make them go to confession when they arrive at the age of seven, and to communion at the age of ten. This is the advice of St. Charles Borromeo. As soon as they attain the use of reason make them receive the sacrament of confirmation.

7. It is also very useful to infuse good maxims into the infant minds of children. Oh! what ruin is brought upon his children by the father who teaches them worldly maxims! ”You must,” some people say to their children, “seek the esteem and applause of the world. God is merciful; he takes compassion on certain sins.” Miserable the young man who sins in obedience to such maxims. Good parents teach very different maxims to their children. Queen Blanche, the mother of St. Louis, King of France, used to say to him: “My son, I would rather see you dead in my arms than in the state of sin.” Oh! brethren, let it be your practice also to infuse into your children certain maxims of salvation, such as, “What will it profit us to gain the whole world, if we lose our own souls? Every thing on this earth has an end; but eternity never ends. Let all be lost, provided God is not lost.” One of these maxims well impressed on the mind of a young person will preserve him always in the grace of God.

8. But parents are obliged to instruct their children in the practice of virtue, not only by words, but still more by example. If you give your children bad example, how can you expect that they will lead a good life? When a dissolute young man is corrected for a fault, he answers: Why do you censure me, when my father does worse. “The children will complain of an ungodly father, because for his sake they are in reproach.” (Eccl. xli. 10.) How is it possible for a son to be moral and religious, when he has had the example of a father who was accustomed to utter blasphemies and obscenities; who spent the entire day in the tavern, in gaming and drunkenness; who was in the habit of frequenting houses of bad fame, and of defrauding his neighbour? Do you expect that your son will go frequently to confession, when you yourself approach the tribunal of penance scarcely once a year? Children are like apes; they do what they see their parents do. It is related in the fables, that a crab-fish one day rebuked its young for walking crookedly. They replied: Father, let us see you walk. The father walked before them more crookedly than they did. This is what happens to the parent who gives bad example. Hence, he has not even courage to correct his children for the sins which he himself commits.

9. But though he should correct them, by words, of what use is his correction when he sets them a bad ex ample by his acts? It has been said in the council of Bishops, that “men believe the eyes rather than the ears.” And St. Ambrose says: “The eyes convince me of what they see more quickly than the ear can insinuate what is past.” (Serm. xxiii., de S. S.) According to St. Thomas, scandalous parents compel, in a certain manner, their children to lead a bad life. ”Eos ad peccatum, quantum in eis fuit obligaverunt” (in Ps. xvi). They are not, says St. Bernard, fathers, but murderers; they kill, not the bodies, but the souls of their children. “Non parentes, sed peremptores.” It is useless for them to say: “My children have been born with bad dispositions.” This is not true; for, as Seneca says, “you err, if you think that vices are born with us; they have been engrafted.” (Ep. xciv.) Vices are not born with your children, but have been communicated to them by the bad example of the parents. If you had given good example to your sons, they should not be so vicious as they are. O brethren, frequent the sacraments, assist at sermons, recite the Rosary every day, abstain from all obscene language, from, detraction, and from quarrels; and you shall see that your sons will go often to confession, will assist at sermons, will say the Rosary, will speak modestly, and will fly from detraction and disputes. It is particularly necessary to train up children to virtue in their infancy: “Bow down their neck from their childhood;” for when they have grown up and contracted bad habits, it will be very difficult for you to produce, by words, any amendment in their lives.

10. To bring up children in the discipline of the Lord, it is also necessary to take away from them the occasion of doing evil. Hence a father must, in the first place, forbid his children to go out at night, or to go to a house in which their virtue might be exposed to danger, or to keep bad company. ”Cast out,” said Sarah to Abraham, “this bondwoman and her son.” (Gen. xxi. 10.) She wished to have Ishmael, the son of Agar the bondwoman, banished from her house, that her son Isaac might not learn his vicious habits. Bad companions are the ruin of young persons. A father should not only remove the evil which he witnesses, but he is also bound to inquire after the conduct of his children, and to seek information from domestics and from externs regarding the places which his sons frequent when they leave home, regarding their occupations and companions.

Secondly, he should take from them every musical instrument which is to them an occasion of going out at night, and all forbidden weapons which may lead them into quarrels or disputes. Thirdly, he should dismiss all immoral servants; and, if his sons be grown up, he should not keep in his house any young female servant. Some parents pay little attention to this; and when the evil happens they complain of their children, as if they expected that tow thrown into the fire should not burn. Fourthly, a father ought to forbid his children ever to bring into his house stolen goods such as fowl, fruit, and the like. When Tobias heard the bleating of a goat in his house, he said: “Take heed, lest perhaps it be stolen; restore ye it to its owners.” (Tob. li. 21.) How often does it happen that, when a child steals something, the mother says to him: “Bring it to me, my son.” Parents should prohibit to their children all games which bring destruction on their families and on their own souls, and also masks, scandalous comedies, and certain, dangerous conversations and parties of pleasure. Fifthly, a father should remove from his house romances, which pervert young persons, and all bad books which contain pernicious maxims, tales of obscenity, or of profane love.  Sixthly, he ought not to allow his children to sleep in his own bed, nor the males and females to sleep together. Seventhly, he should not permit his daughters to be alone with men, whether young or old. But some will say: “Such a man teaches my daughters to read and write, etc.; he is a saint.” The saints are in heaven; but the saints that are on earth are flesh, and by proximate occasions they may become devils. Eighthly, if he has daughters, he should not permit young men to frequent his house. To get their daughters married, some mothers invite young men to their houses. They are anxious to see their daughters married; but they do not care to see them in sin. These are the mothers who, as David says, immolate their daughters to the devil. ”They sacrifice their sons and their daughters to devils.” (Ps. cv. 37.) And to excuse themselves they will say: “Father, there is no harm in what I do.” There is no harm! Oh! how many mothers shall we see condemned on the day of judgment on account of their daughters! The conduct of such mothers is at least a subject of conversation among their neighbours and equals; and, for all, the parents must render an account to God. O fathers and mothers! confess all the sins you have committed in this respect, before the day on which you shall be judged arrives.

11. Another obligation of parents is, to correct the faults of the family. “Bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord.” There are fathers and mothers who witness faults in the family, and remain silent. A certain mother was in the habit of acting in this manner. Her husband one day took a stick and began to beat her severely. She cried out, and said: “I am doing nothing. Why do you beat me?” “I beat you,” replied the husband, “because you see, and do not correct, the faults of the children because you do nothing.” Through fear of displeasing their children some fathers neglect to correct them; but, if you saw your son falling into a pool of water, and in danger of being drowned, would it not be savage cruelty not to catch him by the hair and save his life? “He that spareth the rod hateth his son.” (Prov. xiii. 24.) If you love your sons correct them, and, while they are growing up chastise them, even with the rod, as often as it may be necessary. I say, “with the rod,” but not with the stick; for you must correct them like a father, and not like a galley sergeant. You must be careful not to beat them when you are in a passion; for, you shall then be in danger of beating them with too much severity, and the correction will be without fruit; for they then believe that the chastisement is the effect of anger, and not of a desire on your part to see them amend their lives. I have also said that you should correct them “while they are growing up;” for, when they arrive at manhood, your correction will be of little use. You must then abstain from correcting them with the hand; otherwise, they shall become more perverse, and shall lose their respect for you. But of what use is it to correct children by so many injurious words and by so many imprecations? Deprive them of some part of their meals, of certain articles of dress, or shut them up in a room. But I have said enough. Dearly beloved brethren, draw from the discourse which you have heard the conclusion, that he who has brought up his children badly shall be severely punished; and that he who has trained them to habits of virtue shall receive a great reward.

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


PRESENCE OF GOD - Help me, O Lord, not to be satisfied with words, but to bring forth fruits of sanctity.


1. Both the Epistle (Rom 6,19-23) and the Gospel (Mt 7,15-21) for today speak of the true fruits of the Christian life and invite us to ask ourselves what fruit we have produced so far. “When you were the servants of sin,” says St. Paul, you brought forth the fruits of death, “but now, being made free from sin and become servants of God, you have your fruit unto sanctification.” Our sanctification should be the fruit of our Christian life, and we must examine ourselves on this point. What progress are we making in virtue? Are we faithful to our good resolutions?

Every Christian may consider himself a tree in the Lord’s vineyard; the divine gardener, Jesus Himself, has planted it in good, fertile, productive ground in the garden of the Church, where it is watered by the living water of grace. He has given it the most tender care, cut off its useless branches by means of trials, cured its diseases by His Passion and death, and watered its roots with His precious Blood. He has taken such good care of it that He can say: “What is there that I ought to do more to My vineyard, that I have not done to it?” (Is 5,4). After all this solicitude, one day Jesus comes to see what kind of fruit this tree is bearing, and by its fruit He judges it, for “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.” Before the Redemption, mankind was like a wild tree which could bring forth only fruits of death; but with the Redemption, we have been grafted into Christ, and Christ, who nourishes us with His own Blood, has every right to find in us fruits of sanctity, of eternal life. This is why words and sighs and even faith are not enough, for “ faith. ..if it have not works, is dead in itself” (Jas 2,17). Works as well as the fulfillment of God’s will are necessary, because “ not everyone that says to Me ‘Lord, Lord!’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doth the will of My Father who is in heaven.”

2. In the Gospel of the day, Jesus directs our attention to the “false prophets” who appear “in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly are ravening wolves.” There are many who claim to be teachers in spiritual or moral matters, but they are false teachers because their works do not correspond to their words. It is easy, in fact, to speak well, but it is not easy to live well. Sometimes false doctrines are offered to us, even though they may not seem false at first because they have the appearance of truth. Thus any doctrine which, in the name of an evangelical principle, offends other doctrines 1s false : for example, that which in the name of compassion for individuals does harm to the common good, or that which in the name of charity sanctions injustice or leads to a neglect of obedience to lawful superiors. Equally false is any doctrine which tends to make us lax, disturbs peace and harmony, or under the pretext of a greater good, brings about dissension between superiors and subjects, or does not submit to the voice of authority. Jesus would like us to be as “simple as doves,” averse to criticism and severe judgments of our neighbor; but He also wants us to be as “wise as serpents” (Mt 10,16), so as not to let ourselves be deceived by false appearances of good which hide dangerous snares.

Furthermore, it is not given to all to be teachers, nor is it expected of all; but of everyone—learned and ignorant, teachers and pupils—Our Lord asks the practice of the Christian life in the concrete. What good would it do us to possess profound, lofty doctrine if, at the same time, we should not live according to this doctrine? Before we begin to instruct others, we must try to instruct ourselves, pledging ourselves to follow all the teachings of the Gospel in imitation of Jesus, “who began to do and to teach” (Acts 1,1). The genuine fruit which proves the worth of our doctrine and of our life is always that indicated by Jesus: the fulfillment of His will. This fulfillment means total adherence to the laws of God and of the Church, loyal obedience to our lawful superiors, fidelity to duty—and all these in every kind of circumstance, even at the sacrifice of our own ideas and will.


“O eternal God, when man was only a tree of death, You made him a tree of life by grafting Yourself onto him! Nevertheless, many people bring forth only fruits of death, due to their sins and to their refusal to be grafted onto You, O eternal life. Many remain in the death of their sins and do not come to the fountain from which Christ’s Blood flows to water their tree...and thus it is seen that You created us without our help but You will not save us without it.

“What great dignity, O God, does the soul receive which has been grafted onto You and what excellent fruits it produces! How does this tree bear these fruits, if, by itself, it is sterile and dead? It bears them in You, O Christ, for if You had not been grafted onto it, it could produce no fruit by its own power, for it is nothing.

“O eternal truth, inestimable love! You brought forth for us, O Christ, fruits of fire, love, light, and prompt obedience, by which You ran like a Lover to the ignominious death of the Cross; You gave us these fruits by grafting Your divinity onto our humanity. Thus, a soul who has been grafted onto You cares for nothing but Your honor and the salvation of souls: it becomes faithful, prudent, and patient. Be ashamed, my soul, that you deprive yourself of so much good on account of your faults! The good I do is of no use to You, O God, and the evil of which I am guilty cannot harm You, but You are pleased when Your creature brings forth fruits of life because she will reap infinite good from them and attain the end for which You created her.

“O God, Your high, eternal will desires only our sanctification; therefore, a soul who desires to sanctify itself, strips itself of its own will and clothes itself with Yours. O my sweet Love, I think this is the true sign of those who have been grafted onto You; they fulfill Your will according to Your pleasure and not according to their own, so that they become clothed in Your will ” (cf. St. Catherine of Siena).
"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 ...
"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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