Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

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

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The Introit of the Mass pray with the Church for God's help to guard us against our enemies: When I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice, from them that draw near to me, and he humbled them, who is before all ages, and remains for ever. Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. (Ps. liv.) Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me, and hear me. Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who dost manifest Thine almighty power above all in showing pardon and pity: multiply upon us Thy mercy, that we running forward to the attainment of Thy promises, may be made partakers of heavenly treasures. Through.

EPISTLE. (i Cor, xii. 2 — 11.) Brethren, You know that when you were heathens, you went to dumb idols according as you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say: the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one, indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another, faith in the same Spirit: to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit: to another, the working of miracles: to another, prophecy: to another, the discerning of spirits: to another, divers kinds of tongues: to another, interpretation of speeches. But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will.

Quote:EXPLANATION. The apostle here reminds the Corinthians of the great grace they received from God in their conversion, and urges them to be grateful for it; for while heathens, they cursed Jesus, but being now brought to the knowledge of the Spirit of God, they possess Christ as their Lord and Redeemer who can be known and professed only by the enlightenment of the Holy Ghost. The holy Spirit works in different ways, conferring His graces on whom He wills; to one He gives wisdom to understand the great truths of Christianity; to another the gift of healing the sick; to another the gift of miracles and of prophecy; to another the gift of discerning spirits, to know if one is governed by the Spirit of God, or of the world, Satan and the flesh; to another the gift of tongues. The extraordinary gifts, namely those of working miracles, and of prophecying &c. became rarer as the faith spread, whereas the gifts which sanctify man will always remain the same.

[See Instruction on the gifts of the Holy Ghost, Pentecost.]

GOSPEL. (Luke xviii. 9 — 14.) At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others. Two men went up into the Temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this Publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the Publican standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you: this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Why did Christ make use of his parable of the Pharisee and the Publican?

To teach us never proudly to condemn or despise a man, even though he should appear impious, for we may be deceived like the Pharisee who despised the Publican, whom he considered a great sinner, while, in reality, the man was justified before God on account of his repentant spirit.

What should we do before entering a Church?

We should reflect that we are going into the house of God, should therefore think what we are about to say to Him, and what we wish to ask of Him. That we may make ourselves less unworthy to be heard, we should humble ourselves as did Abraham, (Gen. xviii. 27.) remembering that we are dust and ashes, and on account of our sins unworthy to appear before the eyes of God, much less to address Him., for He listens to the prayers of the humble only, (Ps. ci. 18.) and gives them His grace, while He resists the proud. (James iv. 6.)

Was the Pharisee's prayer acceptable to God?

No, for it was no prayer, but boasting and ostentation; he praised himself, and enumerated his apparent good works. But in despising others and judging them rashly he sinned grievously instead of meriting God's grace.

Was the Publican's prayer acceptable to God?

Yes, for though short, it was humble and contrite. He stood afar off, as if to acknowledge himself unworthy of the presence of God and intercourse with men. He stood with downcast eyes, thus showing that he considered himself because of his sins unworthy to look towards heaven, even confessed himself a sinner, and struck his breast to punish, as St. Augustine says, the sins which he had committed in his heart. This is why we strike our breast at certain times during Mass, for by this we acknowledge ourselves miserable sinners, and that we are sorry for our sins.

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WE should learn from this gospel that God looks upon the humble and exalts them, but is far from the proud. (Ps. cxxxvii. 6.) The Pharisee went to the temple entirely wrapt up in himself, and the good works which he thought he had performed, but returned empty and hated by God; the Publican, on the contrary, appearing before God as a public but penitent sinner, returned justified. Truly, an humble sinner is better in the sight of God than a proud just man!

He who glories in his own good works, or performs them to please men, or to win their praise, loses his merit in the eyes of the most High, for Christ says: Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. vi. 1.)

In order that we may learn to despise vain glory, these doctrines should be well borne in mind. We should consider that it will happen to those who seek after vain glory, as to the man who made many toilsome journeys on land and sea in order to accumulate wealth, and had no sooner acquired it than he was shipwrecked, and lost all. Thus the ambitious man avariciously seeking glory and honor will find, when dying, that the merit which he might have had for his good works, is now lost to him, because hedid not labor for the honor of God. To prevent such an evil, strive at the commencement of every good work which you undertake, to turn your heart to God by a good intention.

But that you may plainly recognize this vice, which generally keeps itself concealed, and that you may avoid it, know that pride is an inordinate love of ostentation, and an immoderate desire to surpass others in honor and praise. The proud man goes beyond himself, so to speak, makes far more of himself than he really is, and, like the Pharisee, despises others; the humble man, on the contrary, has a low estimate of himself, looks upon himself as nothing and, like the Publican, despises no one but himself, and thus is pleasing in the sight of God.

ASPIRATION. O God, who hearest the prayers of the humble, but dost resist the proud, I earnestly beseech Thee to give me a humble heart, that I may imitate the humility of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and thereby merit to be exalted with Him in heaven.

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IN the epistle of this day the Apostle St. Paul speaks of the different gifts of the Holy Ghost which He distributes as He pleases. These extraordinary graces which the apostle mentions, are not necessary for salvation. But the Church teaches, that the grace of the Holy Ghost is necessary for salvation, because without it we could neither properly believe, nor faithfully observe the commandments of God. For the holy religion of Jesus teaches, and experience confirms, that since the fall of our first parents we are weak and miserable, and of ourselves, and by our own strength, we cannot know or perform the good necessary for our salvation. We need a higher aid, a higher assistance, and this assistance is called grace.

What, then, is grace?

Grace is an inward, supernatural gift which God through infinite goodness, and in consideration of Christ's merits, grants us to enable us to work out our salvation.

Grace is a gift, that is, a present, a favor, a benefit. It is an inward and supernatural gift; an inward gift, because it is bestowed upon man's soul to distinguish it from external gifts and benefits of God, such as: food, clothing, health; grace is a supernatural gift, because it is above nature. In creating our souls God gives us a certain degree of light which enables us to think, reflect, judge, to acquire more or less knowledge: this is called natural light. In the same way He gives our souls the power in some measure to overcome sensual, vicious inclinations; this power is called natural power (virtue). To this natural light and power must be added a higher light and a higher power, if man would be sanctified and saved. This higher light and higher power is grace. It is therefore called a supernatural gift, because it surpasses the natural power of man, and produces in his understanding and in his will wholesome effects, which he could not produce without it. For example, divine faith, divine love is a supernatural
gift or grace of God, because man of his own power could never receive as certain God's revelations and His incomprehensible mysteries with so great a joy and so firm a conviction, and could never love God above all things and for His own sake, unless God assisted him by His grace.

God grants us grace also through pure benevolence without our assistance, without our having any right to it; He grants it without cost, and to whom He pleases; but He gives it in consideration of the infinite merits of Christ Jesus, in consideration of Christ's death on the cross, and of the infinite price of our redemption. Finally, grace is a gift of God, by which to work out our salvation, that is, it is only by the grace of God that we can perform meritorious works which aid us in reaching heaven. Without grace it is impossible for us to perform any good action, even to have a good thought by which to gain heaven.

From this it follows that with the grace of God we can accomplish all things necessary for our salvation, fulfil all the commandments of God, but without it we can do nothing meritorious. God gives His grace to all, and if the wicked perish, it is because they do not cooperate with its divine promptings.

How is grace divided?

Into two kinds, actual and sanctifying grace.

Actual grace is God's assistance which we always need to accomplish a good work, to avoid sin which we are in danger of committing, or that grace which urges us on to good, and assists us in accomplishing it; for it is God, says the Apostle Paul, (Phil. ii. 13.) who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish. If a good work is to be performed by us, God must enlighten our mind that we may properly know the good and distinguish it from evil; He must rouse our will and urge it on to do the known good and to avoid the evil; He must also uphold our will and increase our strength that what we wish to do, we may really accomplish.

This actual grace is, therefore, necessary for the just, that they may always remain in sanctifying grace, and accomplish good works; it is necessary for the sinner that he may reach the state of sanctifying grace.

What is sanctifying grace?

It is the great benefit which God bestows upon us, when He sanctifies and justifies us; in other words: sanctifying grace is the love of God, given to us by the Holy Ghost, which love dwells in us and whose temple we become, or it is the advent and abiding of God in our hearts, as promised in the words of Jesus: If any one love me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. (John xvi. 23.)

He who possesses sanctifying grace , possesses the greatest treasure that a man can have on earth. For what can be more precious than to be beautiful in the sight of God, acceptable to Him, and united with Him! He who possesses this grace, carries within himself the supernatural image of God, he is a child of God, and has a right to the inheritance of heaven.

How is this sanctifying grace lost?

It is lost by every mortal sin, and can only be regained by a complete return to God, by true repentance and amendment. The loss of sanctifying grace is a far greater injury than the loss of all earthly possessions. How terrible, then, is mortal sin which deprives us of this treasure!
"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
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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The destruction of Jerusalem has closed that portion of the prophetic Scriptures which were based on the institutions and history of the figurative period. The Altar of the true God, built by Solomon on the the summit of Moriah, was the authenticated evidence of the true religion, to those who were then living under the Law of expectation. Even after the promulgation of the New Testament, the continued existence of that Altar (the only one heretofore recognized by the Most High as his own), was some sort of an excuse for such of the Jews as were obstinate in clinging to the old order of things. That excuse was taken away, when the Temple was so destroyed, as that not a stone was left on stone; and the blindest partisans of the Mosaic system were compelled to acknowledge the total abrogation of a religion, which was reduced by God himself to the impossibility of ever offering those sacrifices which were essential to its existence.

The considerateness wherewith the Church had, so far, treated the Synagogue, would henceforward be unmeaning. As the beautiful queen and bride, she is now at full liberty to show herself to all the nations, subdue their wild instincts by the power of the Spirit, unify them in Christ Jesus, and put them by faith into the substantial, though not visible, possession of those eternal realities which had been foreshadowed by the Law of types and figures.

The New Sacrifice, which is no other than that of the Cross and of Eternity, is now, more than ever, evidently the one sole center where her life is fixed in God with Christ her Spouse, and from which she derives her energy in laboring for the conversion and sanctification of all future generations of men. The Church, now more than ever fruitful, is more than ever receiving of that life of Union, which is the cause of her admirable fecundity.

We cannot, therefore, be surprised that the sacred Liturgy, which is the outward expression of the Bride’s inner life, will now more than ever reflect this closeness of her Union with God. In the seventeen weeks we have still to spend of this Time after Pentecost, there is no such thing as gradation, no connection, in the Proper of the Sundays’ Masses. Even in the Lessons of the Night Office, dating from August—the historic Books have been replaced by those which are called the Sapiential and which, in due time, will be followed by the Books of Job, Tobias, Judith and Esther; and here again, there is no connection further than that of sanctity in precept or in example. So far, we have found more or less of oneness of idea between the Lessons of the Office and the Proper of the Mass; but beginning with this tenth Sunday, these are independent of each other.

Henceforward, therefore, we must limit our commentary to the Proper of each Sunday’s Mass; and in doing this, we shall be respectfully taking the teachings which the Holy Spirit, who divideth as he willeth, gives us, unitedly with the Church, in each portion of each Sunday’s Liturgy. Each Epistle and Gospel, especially; and then, each Introit and Collect, each Gradual and Offertory, each Secret, Communion and Postcommunion, each of these will be a precious and exquisitely varied instruction. We shall see all this in the Epistle of this tenth Sunday.

The fall of Jerusalem—that great event, which told men how the prophecies were going to be gloriously fulfilled, now that the Jewish opposition was so completely removed—yes, the great event we were commemorating last Sunday, is one more and solemn proclamation of the reign of the Holy Ghost throughout the entire earth; for as we said of Him, at the grant Pentecost solemnity, He hath filled the whole world. We have much to learn from the tone our holy Mother the Church puts in the Liturgy of these remaining seventeen Pentecostal Sundays. In the admirable teachings she is now going to give to her children, there is no logical arrangement or sequel. She is as intent as ever on leading souls to holiness and perfection; yet it is not by following a method of any sort, but by her applying to us the united power of the divine Sacrifice and the word of the Scripture, to which she sweetly adds her own; and the Holy Spirit of Love breatheth upon it all, just where he willeth, and when he willeth.

This Sunday is, some years, the second of the dominical series which opened with the feast of Saint Laurence, and took its name (of Post Sancti Laurentii) from the solemnity of the great Deacon-Martyr. It is also sometimes called the Sunday of Humility, or of the Pharisee and Publican, because of the Gospel of the day. The Greeks count it as the tenth of Saint Matthew, and they read on it the episode of the Lunatic, which is given in the 17th Chapter of that Evangelist.


The humble and suppliant confidence, which the Church reposes in the help given her by her Jesus, will ever preserve her from those terrible humiliations wherewith were punished the persecuting jealousy and pride of the Synagogue. She exhorts her children to imitate her when they are in trouble; like her, they must let their prayers and supplications be ever sounding in God’s ear.

Cum clamarem ad Dominum, exandivit vocem meam, ab his qui appropinquant mihi: et humiliavit eos, qui est ante sæcula, et manet in æternum: jacta cogitatum tuum in Domino, et ipse te enutriet.
When I cried out, the Lord heard my complaint against them that were coming against me; and he that was before all ages, and abideth for ever, humbled them: cast thy care on the Lord, and he will feed thee.

Ps. Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam, et me despexeris deprecationem meam: intende mihi, et exaudi me. Gloria Patri. Cum clamarem.
Ps. Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my petition: look down upon me, and hear me. Glory, etc. When I cried.

Ever deeply impressed by the remembrance of the fearful, though most just, chastisements of the Jewish people, the Church reminds God that the marvels in his pardon and mercy are still stronger manifestations of his omnipotence; she, therefore, in her Collect, prays for an abundant effusion of this mercy upon the Christian people who are here assembled. But what grandeur, what sublimity—especially in the times immediately following Jerusalem’s ruin—is there not in the Church’s attitude when, in reply to the account given her by her Spouse of the severest justice ever shown by his Eternal Father, she, Bride and Mother, has confidence and courage enough, to begin with such words as these: Deus!—qui omnipotentiam tuam parcendo, maxime, et miserando manifestas!

Deus, qui omnipotentiam tuam parcendo maxime et miserando manifestas: multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam; ut ad tua promissa currentes, cœlestium honorum facias esse consortes. Per Dominum.
O God, who chiefly manifestest thine omnipotence by pardoning and having mercy: increase thy mercy upon us; that, hastening to the things thou hast promised, thou mayst make us partakers of heavenly goods. Through, etc.

The other Collects as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.

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

Brethren: You know that when you were heathens, you went to dumb idols, according as you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; And there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord; And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; To another, faith in the same spirit; to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit; To another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the discerning of spirits; to another, diverse kinds of tongues; to another, interpretation of speeches. But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will.

Quote:The Synagogue has been rejected, has been cast out; and by that, the Church is declared as the exclusive heir of the promises. She is now sole depository of God’s gifts and she leads her children to St. Paul, that he may put before them the principles which should guide them in the appreciation and use of those gifts. The reading of our Epistle shows us that it is speaking of those absolutely gratuitous favors, which at first commencement of the Church, were more or less enjoyed by every Christian assembly; and since then are imparted to the few privileged souls which, generally speaking, though not necessarily, are being guided in the extraordinary paths of mystic Theology. If, in the immense majority of God’s faithful servants, we do not meet with these infused graces of prophecy, of supernatural knowledge of the gift of tongues, or of miracles properly so called, yet the Lives of the Saints are always the common patrimony of the children of the Church; and therefore they should not neglect to provide themselves with the lights needed for understanding and profiting by a reading, which is so important and so interesting. In this season of the Liturgical Year—which is so specially devoted to the celebration of the mysteries of divine Union—it is very necessary to have certain clear ideas, without which we should be in danger of confounding what, in this higher Christian life, is the interior perfection of the soul and her real holiness, with those exterior, and intermittent, and varied, phenomena, which are but the radiation of the Spirit of love, who is Master to display his own operations in his own divine way.

These are the motives which induced the Church to select, for today, this passage from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. If we would fully enter into her design, we must not limit our attention to the few lines we have just been reading; the end of the chapter from which they are taken, as likewise for the two subsequent chapters, are all one and same piece of teaching, and must not be separated one from the other. In this important passage, besides the summary of the principles which are unchangeable, we have also an instructive account of what the Church’s assemblies were in those early times, when the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit everywhere opened and made to flow in abundance the double spring of miracle and holiness.

The rapid conquest of the world, which from the very commencement was to give evidence to the catholicity of the Church, required a large effusion of power from on high; and in order that the promulgation of the New Testament might be made authoritatively among men, it was necessary that God should give it all possible solemnity and authenticity; and this he did, by accompanying it with signs and wonders, of which He alone could be the author. Hence, in those early days, the Holy Ghost took not possession of a soul by Baptism without giving an external sign of His presence in that new Christian—without, that is, one of those manifestations which the Apostle here enumerates. Thus the Witness of the Word, fulfilled the twofold mission he had received: he sanctified in truth the faithful of Christ, and he will convince of sin the world which would not receive the word of the heralds of the Gospel.

St. Paul mentions three proofs which were held out to the world as a sure guarantee of the divinity of Christ: these were his Resurrection from the grave; the holiness of those who became his disciples; and thirdly, the innumerable miracles which accompanied the preaching of the Apostles, and the conversion of the Gentiles. As to the first of these proofs, we shall have it proposed to our consideration next Sunday. Passing then to the second—the law given to the world by Jesus of Nazareth, was abundantly proved to be of divine origin, by the admirable change of this earth, of which, when he was born in it for our salvation, we might say in the language of the Scripture, all flesh had corrupted its way. For men that knew how to use their reasoning powers, no demonstration could be plainer or more cogent than this, which showed that from the sinks of corruption, there were everywhere coming forth harvests worthy of heaven, and that men, who had degraded themselves to the level of the brute by the indulgence of their evil passions, were now changed into angels of earth by their saintly morals and heavenly aspirations. To change the odor of death into the good odor of Christ, that is, to live his life as did the Christians—was it not a revealing God to men, by showing that the very life of God was lived by men in human flesh?

But for men who seem incapable of reasoning—for men who cannot see beyond the present, nor raise themselves above the senses—for so many beings who have become brutalized, who, in virtue which scorns to share in their debaucheries, see nothing but a something to stare at and blaspheme—for all these the Holy Spirit had prepared a demonstration which was tangible and visible, and which all could take in. It was that exuberance of supernatural gifts which were actively at work in every place where there was a church. The gift of Tongues, which had given such power to the preaching of the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, was multiplied with such frequency when men came near the baptismal font that the beholders were astonished or, as the full force of the sacred text gives it, they were stupefied; it continued to be the sign, the wonder, whose influence on the unbeliever, after first exciting his surprise, went on gradually inclining both his thoughts and his heart towards the word of faith. But the work of his conversion received a still greater impulse when he was introduced into the assembly of the men of his own neighborhood, when hitherto he had only known in the simple intercourse of everyday life: he then found them transformed into prophets who could see into the most hidden recesses of his unbelieving soul; all were his convincers, all were his judges; how was he to resist? No, he fell prostrate on the ground, he adored God, he could not but acknowledge that the Lord was indeed in such an assembly.

The Corinthians to whom St. Paul wrote that Epistle were rich in these spiritual favors; nothing of this kind of grace was wanting to them, and the Apostle gave thanks to God for his having so abundantly endowed them, for thereby a strong testimony was given to the Christian religion. But it would have been a great mistake if, from this profusion, bestowed upon them by the Holy Spirit, a man had concluded that the Corinthians were perfect. Jealousies, vanity, obstinacy, and other miseries, earned for them the name of carnal, which was given to them by the same divine Spirit, and made the Apostle tell them that he was compelled to treat them as children, incapable of receiving anything like sublime teaching. These privileged receivers of gratuitous graces pointed out very clearly, therefore, the difference between the value the Christian should attach to these exceptionally great, but perhaps to the possessor’s own soul, unproductive, favors, and between the value he should set on justifying and sanctifying grace which makes the soul pleasing to God.

This second—the regularly appointed result of the Sacraments, which were instituted by our Lord’s munificence for the use of all men—this justifying, this sanctifying, grace is the necessary basis of salvation; it is also the one sole measure of future glory, for its development and increase depend on the merit of each individual possessor. Gratuitous Grace, on the contrary, is irregular and spontaneous both in its origin and its effects, and is quite independent of the recipient, be his dispositions of merits what they may. Like the authority given to one over the souls of others—like those several ministries mentioned in our Epistle—this Gratuitous Grace has for its aim, not so much the advantage of him who receives it, as the advantage of his fellow men; and this aim is realized independently of the virtue or the imperfection of the whom whom God has selected as his instrument. So that miracles or prophecy do not necessarily presuppose a certain amount of holiness in the thaumaturgus or the prophet. We have a proof of it in our Corinthians, and a still stronger in Balaam and Judas; God, who had his own designs, which were not to be frustrated by their faults or sins, left them in possession of his own gifts, just as he does in the Priest, who may perhaps be anything but what he should be, and who nevertheless validly makes use of faculties and powers more divine than any of those others. We have it from our divine Master himself: Many, says he, will say to me on that day (of judgment), “Lord! Lord! have we not prophesied in thy name, and in this name, cast out devils, and done many wonderful works in thy name?” And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that work iniquity!”

In these days, when such manifestations of supernatural power are no longer needed for the promulgation of the Gospel, and are therefore less frequent, it it generally the case that when they are found in a Christian, they are an indication of a real and sanctifying Union existing between him and the Spirit of love. That Holy Spirit, who raises such a Christian above the ordinary paths, takes pleasure in his own divine work, and wishes to have it attract the attention either of all the faithful or at least of some privileged souls—who, being moved by these extraordinary signs, give thanks to God for the favors he has bestowed on that soul. And yet, even in such case, it would be a mistake to measure the holiness of that favored soul by the number or greatness of such exterior gifts. The development of charity by the exercise of the several virtues is the only thing that makes men be Saints. Divine Union—whether it be that degree of it which is attainable by all or those grand heights of Mystic Theology which are reached by a few privileged ones—Divine Union does not, in any way, depend on those brilliant phenomena. These, when they are bestowed upon a servant of God, do not generally wait for his reaching perfection in divine love, though it is love alone will give him, if he be faithful, the perfection of true holiness.

The practical conclusion we are to draw from all this is what the Apostle makes the summary of his teaching on this subject: Have a great esteem for all these gifts; look on them as the work of the Holy Ghost, who thereby bestows manifold degrees of adornment on the whole body of the Church; do not despise any of these; but when you see or hear of any of them, count those as the most precious which produce most edification in the Church and in souls.

Let us, above all, hearken to what St. Paul adds: I have a way to show unto you more excellent than all these! If I should speak with the tongues of men and of angels;—if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge;—if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains;—if I have not charity, I am nothing, it profits me nothing. … Prophecies will be made void, tongues will cease, knowledge will be destroyed and be substituted by the vision beatific; but Charity will never fail, will never cease; of all things, Charity is the greatest!

In the Gradual, the Church returns, once more, to speak of the confidence which, as Bride, she puts in her Lord’s help; encouraged by the love she bears him, and which keeps her in the paths of equity, she does not fear his judgments. The Alleluia-Verse extols the Spouse’s glory in Sion; but this time, and henceforth forever, when Sion and Jerusalem are spoken of, they are the true and the new ones.

Custodi me, Domine, ut pupillam oculi: sub umbra alarum tuarum protege me.
Guard me, O Lord, as the apple of thine eye: and protect me under the shadow of thy wings.

℣. Devultu tuo judicium meum prodeat: oculi tui videant æquitatem.
℣. Let my cause be tried in thy presence: let mine eyes see justice done.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion: et tibi reddetur, votum in Jerusalem. Alleluia.
℣. A hymn is due to thee, O God, in Sion: and in Jerusalem, shall a vow be paid unto thee. Alleluia.

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

At that time: Jesus spake this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others. Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

Quote:Commenting on the Gospel passage of St. Luke, Venerable Bede thus explains the mystery: “The Pharisee is the Jewish people, who boasts of the merits he had acquired to himself by observing the precepts of the law; the Publican is the Gentile who, being far off from God, confesses his sins. The Pharisee, by reason of his pride, has to depart in humiliation; the Publican, by his lamenting his miseries, merited to draw nigh to God, that is, to be exalted. It is of these two people, and of every man who is proud or humble, that it is written: The heart of a man is exalted before destruction, and it is humbled before he be glorified”.

In the whole Gospel, then, there was no teaching more appropriate as a sequel to the history of Jerusalem’s fall. The children of the Church who, in her early years, saw her humbled in Sion, and persecuted by the insulting arrogance of the Synagogue, now quite understand that word of the Wise Man: Better is it to be humbled with the meek, than to divide spoils with the proud. According to another Proverb, the tongue of the Jew—that tongue which abused the Publican and ran down the poor Gentile—is become, in his mouth, as a rod of pride, a rod which, in time, struck himself by bringing on his own destruction. But while adoring the justice of God’s vengeance and giving praise to his mercy, the Gentiles must take care not to go into the path wherein was lost the unhappy people, whose place they now occupy. Israel’s offense, says St. Paul, has brought about the salvation of the Gentiles; but his pride would be also their ruin; and whereas Israel is assured, by prophecy, of a return to God’s favor when the end of the world shall be approaching—there is no such promise of a second call of mercy to the Gentiles, should they ever apostatize after their baptism. If, at present, the power of Eternal Wisdom enables the Gentiles to produce fruits of glory and honor, let them never forget how once they were vile barren trees: then, humility—which alone can keep them right, as formerly it alone drew upon them the eye of God’s mercy—humility will be an easy duty; and at the same time, they will understand the regard they should always entertain for the people of Israel, in spite of all his sins.

For at the time that the original defect of their birth made the Gentiles be as so many wild olive trees, producing nothing but worthless fruits, the good, the genuine, the natural olive tree, through whose branches flowed the sap of grace, was growing and flourishing, sucking sanctification into its branches from the holy root of the Patriarchs, blessed of God. We must remember that this tree of salvation is ever the same. Some of its branches fell off, it is true, and others were substituted; but this accession of the Gentiles, who were permitted by grace to graft their branches into the holy stock, this accession effected no change, either in the stock or in its root. The God of the Gentiles is not another, but the same as the God of Isaac and Jacob; the heavenly olive tree is one, and only one, and its roots nest in Abraham’s bosom: it is from the faith of this the just man by excellence—it is from the blessing, promised to him and to his divine Bud, the blessing which was to be imparted to all the nations of the earth—that flows the life-giving and rich sap which will transform the Gentile world in all future ages. When, therefore, Christian nations are boasting of their origin and descent, let them not forget the one which is above all the rest. The founders of earthly empires are not, in God’s way of counting, the true fathers of the people of those empires: in the order of supernatural, that is, of our best interest, Abraham the Hebrew, he that went forth from Chaldea at the call of God—he, by the fecundity of his faith, is the truest father of nations.

Now we can understand those words of the Apostle: Boast not, O thou, wild-olive tree, that, contrary to nature, wast ingrated into the good olive-tree, boast not against the original branches. But if thou art tempted to boast, remember, thou bearest not the root, but the root beareth thee. Therefore, be not high-minded, but fear.

Humility, which produces within us this salutary fear, is the virtue that makes man know his right place with regard both to God and his fellow men. It rests on the deep-rooted conviction, put into our hearts by grace, of how God is everything in man, and of how we, by nature, are nothingness—nay, less than nothingness, because we have degraded ourselves by sin. Reason is able, of herself alone, to convince anyone who takes the trouble to reflect, of the nothingness of a creature; but such a conviction, if it remain a mere theoretical conclusion, is not Humility: it is a conviction which forces itself on the devil in hell, whose vexation at such a truth is the chief source of the rage of that leader of the proud. As faith, which reveals to us what God is in the supernatural order, does not come from mere reason, nor remain confined to the intellect alone, so neither does humility, which teaches us what we ourselves are: that it be true real virtue, it must derive its light from above, and in the Holy Spirit, must move our will also. At the same time that this Holy Spirit fills our souls with the knowledge of their littleness and misery, he also sweetly leads them to the acceptance and love of this truth, which reason, if left entirely to herself, would be tempted to look on as a disagreeable thought.

And when this holy Spirit of truth, this divine witness of hearts, takes possession of a soul, what an incomparably stronger light is there in the humility which He imparts, than in that which mere human reason forces on a man! We are bewildered at seeing to what lengths this sentiment of their own misery led the Saints: it made them deem themselves inferior to everyone; it drove them to act and speak in a way which, in our flippant judgment, outstepped the bounds of both truth and justice! But the Holy Ghost, who guided and ruled them, passed a very different judgment; and it is precisely of His being the Spirit of all truth and all justice—in other words, because of his being the Sanctifying Spirit—that as he willed to raise them to extraordinary holiness, he therefore gave them an extraordinary clear-sightedness, both as to what they themselves were, and what God is. Satan, the spirit of wickedness, makes his slaves act just the opposite to the divine way. The way he makes them take is the one he took for himself, from the very beginning; and which our Lord thus expresses: He stood not in the truth; he aimed at being like unto the Most High. This pride of his succeeded in fixing him, for all eternity, in the hell of absurdity and lie. Therefore, Humility is Truth; and as that same Jesus says: The Truth shall make you free; by liberating us from the tyranny of the father of lies; and then, having made us free, it makes us holy; it sanctifies us by uniting us to God, who is living and substantial Truth.

In proportion as the human creature advances in the paths of divine Union, and draws nigher to this infinite all, this One who alone is by essence—man, far from losing any of his own borrowed being, receives a marvelous increase of both light and heat. It would be more correct, perhaps, to say that as by drawing nigher to God, he lives, not he, but Christ lives in him, so, together with that life of his own self, he is entirely losing the factitious light which used to accompany that diminished life of his, and which, when he was far removed from the divine center of light, may have seemed to him grand, because it came from no source but his own poor Self! Yes, when he is in close union with the divine Light, all that flicker of his own is lost; and what a happy loss, when it gives him such a gain! The stars which gravitate round the sun, get more brilliant with his light, the nearer they approach him; till at last they quite disappear under the immediate action of their glorious center; whereas the brightness they have from him seems less dependent when in the isolatedness produced by distance; it seems all the more to be their own, the further they are from him.

There are men who, like Satan, have done all in their power to throw themselves out of the orbit of the divine sun. Rather than acknowledge that they owe all they have to the Most High God, they would sink back again into nothingness, if they could. To the heavenly treasures which the common Father opens out to all who own themselves to be His children, they prefer the pleasure of keeping to natural good things, for then, so they talk, they owe what they get to their own cleverness and exertions. They are foolish men not to understand that, do what they please, they owe everything they have or get to this their forgotten God. They are weak sickly minds, taking for principles which they may be proud of, these vapors of conceit in which their disordered brain finds delight. Their high-mindedness is but ignominy; their independence leads but to slavery; for though refusing to have God as their Father, they must by necessity have Him as their Master; and thus, not being his children, they must be his slaves. As slaves, they keep to the vile food, which they themselves preferred to the pure delights, wherewith Wisdom inebriates them that follow her. As slaves, they have acquired the right to the scourge and the fetter. They chose to be satisfied with what they had, and would have neither the throne that was prepared for them nor the nuptial robe; let them, if they will, prefer their prison, and there deck themselves in the finery which moths will be soon making their food! But during these short years of theirs, they are branding their bodies with a deeper slavery than ever red-hot iron stamped on vilest bondsman. All this comes, because with all the empty philosophy which was their boast, they would not listen to the Christian teaching—that real greatness consists in the Truth, and that Humility alone leads to it.

Not only does man not unman himself by humbling himself—for he thereby is but believing himself to be what he really is—but according to the Gospel expression, the degree of that voluntary abasement is the measure of God’s exaltation of him. The Holy Ghost is, beyond measure, liberal in bestowing his gifts on one, who is sure to refer all the glory of them to the divine Giver. It is to the little that the Lord of heaven and earth makes revelations, which he hides from the proudly wise and prudent. More correctly, the truly wise, the perfect ones of whom St. Paul speaks, who alone understand the mysteries of God’s infinite love, of which they have had experience even in this present life—are not those little ones of whom we spoke elsewhere, whom divine Wisdom calls to his banquet, who are nothing in their own eyes but whose confiding simplicity ravishes his heart, and who find that all things come to them together with this divine visitor? Verily, it is in them that among the children of men he finds his delights. It is just what the disciples could not understand, when after the words of our Lord, which are given in today’s Gospel, they insisted, as St. Luke tells us, on keeping back the little ones who wanted to get too near Him. But this Jesus of ours, this Wisdom Incarnate insisted on their being brought to him, saying very much the same as he had already done in the Old Testament pages: Suffer little children to come to me: do not ye forbid them! for, of such is the kingdom of God, and of them that are like them. Amen I say to you: whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not enter into it!

In that heaven, that Kingdom of God, the Humility of the Saints is far greater than it was while they were here on earth, because they now see the realities which then they could only faintly take in. Their happiness, yonder above, is to be gazing on and adoring that altitude of God, of which they will never have an adequate knowledge; and the more they look up at that infinite perfection, the deeper do they plunge into their own original nothingness. Let us get these great truths well into us, and we shall have no difficulty in understanding how it was that the greatest Saints were the humblest creatures here below; and how the same beautiful fact is still one great charm of heaven; it must be so, for the light of the elect is in proportion to their glory. What, then, must all this exquisite truth be, when we apply it to the great Mother of God? The nearest to the throne of her divine Son, she is precisely what she was in Nazareth; that is, she is the humblest of all creatures, because she is the most enlightened of all, and therefore understands, better than even the Seraphim and Cherubim, the greatness of God and the nothingness of creatures.

It is Humility which inspires the Church with the confidence she expresses in the Offertory. The more this virtue enables a man to feel his own weakness, the more, likewise, does it show him the power of God, who is ever ready to help them that call upon him.

Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam: Deus meus, in te confido, non erubescam neque irrideant me inimici mei: etenim universi qui te exspectant, non confudentur.
To thee, O Lord, have I raised up my soul: my God, I put my trust in thee, let me not be put to shame: neither let mine enemies scoff at me: for, none that rely on thee, shall ever be confounded.

The Mass is both the highest worship which can be given to the divine Majesty, and the sovereign remedy of our miseries. The Secret tells us this.

Tibi, Domine, sacrificia dicata reddantur: quæ sic ad honorem nominis tui deferenda tribuisti, ut eadem remedia fieri nostra præstares. Per Dominum. May the sacrifice we offer, O Lord, be presented before thee, which thou hast appointed to be offered in honor of thy name; and, at the same time, become a remedy to us. Through, etc.

The other Secrets as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.

The Communion-Anthem sings the praise of this Oblation, which is all pure and full of most perfect justice; it has replaced, on the Altar of God, the victims prescribed by the mosaic law.

Acceptabis sacrificium justitiæ, oblationes et holocausta super altare tuum, Domine.
Thou wilt accept the sacrifice of righteousness, oblations, and whole burnt-offerings, on thy altar, O Lord.

The august Sacrament is ever repairing the losses we sustain through our many miseries; and yet, all this would not be of much profit to us, unless the divine benignity were to be continually bestowing on us those actual graces which preserve and increase the treasures of the soul. We cannot get on without this special aid; let us ask for it, in the Postcommunion.

Quæsumus, Domine Deus noster; ut quos divinis reparare non desinis sacramentis, tuis non destituas benignus auxiliis. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O Lord, our God, that, in thy mercy, thou wouldst never deprive those of thy help, whom thou continually strengthenest by these divine mysteries. Through, etc.

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


2016 - Two Masses






"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
SERMON XXXIX. TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. – On the efficacy and necessity of prayer
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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God, be merciful to me a sinner.” LUKE xviii. 13.

IN this day’s gospel we read, that two men, one a Pharisee and the other a Publican, went to the temple. Instead of bowing down to beg of God to assist him by his graces, the Pharisee said: I thank thee, O Lord, that I am not as the rest of men, who are sinners. “Deus gratias ago tibi, quia non sum sicut cæteri homines.” But the Publican, tilled with sentiments of humility, cried out: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” St. Luke tells us, that this Publican returned to his house justified; and that the Pharisee went home as guilty and as proud as when he entered the temple. From this, most beloved brethren, you may infer how pleasing to God, and how necessary for us, are our humble petitions to obtain from the Lord all the graces which are indispensable for salvation. In this sermon I will show, in the first point, the efficacy of prayer: and in the second, the necessity of prayer.

First Point. On the efficacy of prayer.

1. To understand the efficacy and value of our prayers, we need only consider the great promises which. God has made to every one who prays. “Call upon me, and I will deliver thee.” (Ps. xlix. 15.) Call upon me, and I will save you from every danger. “He shall cry to me,  I will hear him.” (Ps. xc. 15.) “Cry to me, and I will hear thee.” (Jer. xxxiii. 3.) “You shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John xv. 7.) Ask whatsoever you wish and it shall le given to you. There are a thousand similar passages in the Old and New Testaments. By his nature God is, as St. Leo says, goodness itself. “Deus cujus natura bonitas.” Hence he desires, with a great desire, to make us partakers of his own good. St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to say, that when a soul prays to God for any grace, he feels in a certain manner under an obligation to her, and thanks her; because by prayer the soul opens to him a way of satisfying his desire to dispense his graces to us. Hence, in the holy Scriptures, the Lord appears to recommend and inculcate to us nothing more forcibly than to ask and pray. To show this, the words which we read in the seventh chapter of St. Matthew are sufficient. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (vii. 7). St. Augustine teaches, that by these promises God has bound himself to grant all that we ask in prayer. “By his promises he has made himself a debtor.” (De Verb. Dom. Serm. ii.) And, in the fifth sermon, the saint says, that if the Lord did not wish to bestow his graces upon us, he would not exhort us so strenuously to ask them. “He would not exhort us to ask, unless he wished to give.” Hence we see that the Psalms of David and the Books of Solomon and of the Prophets are full of prayers.

2. Theodoret has written, that prayer is so efficacious before God, that, “though it be one, it can do all things.””Oratio cum sit una, omnia potest.” St. Bernard teaches, that when we pray, the Lord, if he does not give the grace we ask, will grant a more useful gift. “He will give either what we ask, or what he knows to be more profitable to us.” (Serm. v. in Fer. 4 cm.) And whom has God, when asked for aid, ever despised by not listening to his petition?“ Who hath called upon him, and he despised him ?” (Eccl. ii. 12.) The Scripture says, that among the nations there is none that has gods so willing to hear our prayers, as our true God. “Neither is there any other nation so great, that hath gods so nigh to them, as our God is present to all our petitions.” (Deut. iv. 7.) The princes of the earth, says St. Chrysostom, give audience only to a few; but God grants it to every one that wishes for it. “Aures principis paucis patent, Die vero omnibus volentibus.” (Lib. 2, de Orat.) David tells us that this goodness of God in hearing us at whatever time we pray to him, shows us that he is our true God, whose love for us surpasses the love of all others. “In what day soever I shall call upon thee, behold I know thou art my God.” (Ps. lv. 10.) He wishes and ardently desires to confer favours upon us; but he requires us to pray for them. Jesus Christ said one day to his disciples: “Hitherto you have not asked anything in my name; ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John xvi. 24.) As if he said: You complain of me for not making you perfectly content; but you ought to complain of yourselves for not having asked of me all the gifts you stood in need of; ask, henceforth, whatsoever you want, and your prayer shall be heard. Many, says St. Bernard complain that the Lord is wanting to them. But he complains with more justice that they are wanting to him, by neglecting to ask him for his graces. “Omnes nobis causamur deesse gratiam, sed justius forsitan ista sibi queritur deesse nonnullos.” (S. Bern, de Tripl. Cust.)

3. The ancient fathers, after having consulted to gether about the exercise most conducive to salvation, came to the conclusion, that the best means of securing eternal life is, to pray continually, saying: Lord, assist me; Lord, hasten to my assistance. “Incline unto my aid, God; Lord, make haste to help me.” Hence the holy Church commands these two petitions to be often repeated in the canonical hours by all the clergy and by all religious, who pray not only for themselves, but also for the whole Christian world. St. John Climacus says, that our prayers as it were compel God by a holy violence to hear us. “Prayer piously does violence to God.” Hence, when we pray to the Lord, He instantly answers by bestowing upon us the grace we ask. “At the voice of thy cry, as soon as he shall hear, he will answer thee.” (Isa. xxx. 19.) Hence St. Ambrose says, that ”he who asks of God, receives while he asks.” (Ep. Ixxxiv., ad Demetr.) And he not only grants his grace instantly, but also abundantly, giving us more than we pray for. St. Paul tells us that God is rich that is, liberal of his graces to every one that prays to him. “Rich unto all that call upon him.” (Rom. x. 12.) And St. James says: “If any of you want wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men abundantly and upbraideth not. ” (St. James i. 5.)”He upbraideth not;” when we pray to him he does not reproach us with the insults we have offered to him, but he appears then to forget all the injuries we have done him, and to delight in enriching us with his graces.

Second Point On the necessity of prayer.

4. “God,” as St. Paul has written, “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. ii. 4.) According to St. Peter, he does not wish any one to be lost. “The Lord dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any soul should perish, but that all should return to penance.” (1 Pet. iii. 9.) Hence St. Leo teaches, that as God wishes us to observe his commands, so he prevents us by his assistance, that we may fulfil them. “Juste instat præcepto qui præcurrit auxilio.” (Serm. xvi. de Pass.) And St. Thomas, in explaining the words of the Apostle, “God, who will have all men to be saved,” says: “Therefore, grace is wanting to no one; but he, on his part, communicates it to all.” (In Epist, ad Hebr., cap. xii., lect. 3.) And in another place the holy doctor writes: “To provide every man with the means necessary for his salvation, provided on his part he puts no obstacle to it, belongs to Divine Providence.” But, according to Gennadius, the assistance of his grace the Lord grants only to those who pray for it. “We believe. . . .that no one works out his salvation but by God*s assistance; and that he only who prays merits aid from God.” (de Eccles. Dogm.) And St. Augustine teaches, that, except the first graces of vocation to the faith and to repentance, all other graces, and particularly the grace of perseverance, are granted to those only who ask them. “It is evident that God gives some graces, such as the beginning of faith, without prayer and that he has prepared other graces, such as perseverance to the end only for those who pray.” (De dono persev., c.xvi.) And in another place he writes, that "God wishes to bestow his favours; but he gives them only to those who ask.” (In Ps. c.)

5. Hence theologians commonly teach, after St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, Clement of Alexandria, and others, that, for adults prayer is necessary as a means of salvation; that is, that without prayer it is impossible for them to be saved. This doctrine may be inferred from the following passages of Scripture: “We ought always to pray.” (Luke xviii. 1.) “Ask, and you shall receive.” (John xvi. 24.)”Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. v. 17.) The words we ought, ask, pray, according to St. Thomas (3 part, qu. xxxix. art. 5) and the generality of theologians, imply a precept which obliges, under grievous sin, particularly in three cases: First, when a man is in the state of sin; secondly, when he is in great danger of falling into sin; and, thirdly, when he is in danger of death. Theologians teach, that he who, at other times, neglects prayer for a month, or at most for two months, cannot be excused from mortal sin; because, without prayer we cannot procure the helps necessary for the observance of the law of God. St. Chrysostom teaches that as water is necessary to prevent trees from withering, so prayer is necessary to save us from perdition. “Non ninus quam arbores aquis, precibus indigemus.” (Tom. l,hom. lxxvii.)

6. Most groundless was the assertion of Jansenius, that there are some commands, the fulfilment of which is impossible to us, and that we have not even grace to render their observance possible. For, the Council of Trent teaches, in the words of St. Augustine, that, though man is not able, with the aid of the grace ordinarily given, to fulfil all the commandments, still he can, by prayer, obtain the additional helps necessary for their observance. “God does not command impossibilities; but, by his precepts, he admonishes you to do what you can, and to ask what you cannot do; and he assists you, that you may be able to do it.” (Sess. 6, cap. xi.) To this may be added another celebrated passage of St. Augustine: “By our faith, which teaches that God does not command impossibilities, we are admonished what to do in things that are easy, and what to ask in things that are difficult.” (Lib. de Nat. et Grat., cap. lxix., n. 83.)

7. But why does God, who knows our weakness, permit us to be assailed by enemies which we are not able to resist? The Lord, answers the holy doctor, seeing the great advantages which we derive from the necessity of prayer, permits us to be attacked by enemies more powerful than we are, that we may ask his assistance. Hence they who are conquered cannot excuse themselves by saying that they had not strength to resist the assault of the enemy; for had they asked aid from God, he should have given it; and had they prayed, they should have been victorious. Therefore, if they are defeated, God will punish them. St. Bonaventure says, that if a general lose a fortress in consequence of not having sought timely succour from his sovereign, he shall be branded as a traitor. “Reputaretur infidelis, nisi expectaret a rege auxilium.” (S. Bon. Difet. tit, c. v.) Thus God regards as a traitor the Christian who, when he finds himself assailed by temptations, neglects to seek the divine aid. “Ask,” says Jesus Christ, “and you shall receive.” Then, concludes St. Teresa, he that does not ask does not receive. This is conformable to the doctrine of St. James “You have not, because you do not ask.” (St. James iv. 2.) St. Chrysostom says, that prayer is a powerful weapon of defence against all enemies. “Truly prayer is a great armour.” (Hom, xli., ad Pop.) St. Ephrem writes, that he who fortifies himself beforehand by prayer, prevents the entrance of sin into the soul. “If you pray before you work, the passage into the soul will not be open to sin.” (Serm. de Orat.) David said the same: “Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies.” (Ps. xvii. 4.)

8. If we wish to lead a good life, and to save our souls, we must learn to pray. “He,” says St. Augustine, “knows how to live well who knows how to pray well.” (Hom, xliii.) In order to obtain God’s graces by prayer, it is necessary, first, to take away sin; for God does not hear obstinate sinners. For example: if a person entertains hatred towards another, and wishes to take revenge, God does not hear his prayer. “When you multiply prayer, I will not hear; for your hands are full of blood.” (Isa. i. 15.) St. Chrysostom says, that he who prays while he cherishes a sinful affection, does not pray, but mocks God. “Qui orat et peccat, non rogat Deum sed illudit.” (Hom. xi., in Matt, vi.) But if he ask the Lord to take away hatred from his heart, the Lord will hear him. Secondly, it is necessary to pray with attention. Some imagine that they pray by repeating many Our Fathers, with such distraction that they do not know what they say. These speak, but do not pray. Of them the Lord says, by the Prophet Isaias: “With their lips they glorify me, but their hearts are far from me.” (Isa. xxix. 13.) Thirdly, it is necessary, as the Holy Ghost exhorts us, to take away the occasions which hinder us to pray. “Let nothing hinder thee from praying always.” (Eccl. xviii. 22.) He who is occupied in a thousand affairs unprofitable to the soul, places a cloud before his prayers, which prevents their passing to the throne of grace. “Thou hast set a cloud before thee, that our prayer may not pass through.” (Lamen. iii. 44.) I will not omit here the exhortation of St. Bernard, to ask graces of God through the intercession of his divine mother. “Let us ask grace, and ask it through Mary; for she is a mother, and her prayer cannot be fruitless.” (Serm. de Aqæd.) St. Anselm says: “Many things are asked of God and are not obtained: what is asked of Mary is obtained, not because she is more powerful, but because God decreed thus to honour her, that men may know that she can obtain all things from God.”

"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 By Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen's Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Everyday of the Year:


PRESENCE OF GOD - Give me, O Lord, humility with love; let humility guard charity in me, and may charity increase according to the measure of Your will.


1. In the texts of today’s Mass, the liturgy sketches the features of the Christian soul in its fundamental lines. First St. Paul shows us in the Epistle (1 Cor 12,2-11) a soul vivified by the Holy Spirit, who diffuses His gifts in it. The Apostle mentions charismatic gifts, that is, those special graces, such as the gift of tongues, of knowledge, of miracles, bestowed by the Holy Spirit with great generosity upon the primitive
Church. Although these are very precious gifts, they are inferior to sanctifying grace and charity, which alone give supernatural life to the soul. Whereas charismatic gifts may or may not accompany sanctifying grace, they neither increase nor decrease its intensity thereby. St. Thomas notes that while grace and charity sanctify the soul and unite it to God, these miraculous gifts, on the contrary, are ordered for the good of another and can subsist even in one who is not in the state of grace. St. Paul also—and in the same letter from which the passage in today’s Mass is taken—after enumerating all these extraordinary gifts, concludes with his famous words: “...all this, without charity, is nothing.” Charity is always the “central” virtue, the fundamental characteristic of the Christian soul, and is also the greatest gift the Holy Spirit can give us. If the divine Paraclete did not vivify our soul by charity and grace, no one, not even the most virtuous, could perform the slightest act of supernatural value. “No man can say the Lord Jesus but by the Holy Ghost,” the Apostle says. Just as a tree cannot bring forth fruit if it is deprived of its life-giving sap, so the soul which is not vivified by the Holy Spirit cannot perform acts of supernatural value. Note once again the great importance of grace and charity; the smallest degree of them is worth more than all the extraordinary gifts which, although they can dispose souls to good, can neither infuse nor increase divine life in us.

2. The Gospel (Lk 18,9-14) presents us with another fundamental characteristic of the Christian soul: humility. Charity, it is true, is superior to it because it gives us divine life; yet, humility is of great importance because it is the virtue which clears the ground to make room for grace and charity. Jesus gives us a vivid and concrete example of this truth in today’s parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The Gospel tells us explicitly that Jesus was speaking to some who “trusted in themselves as just and despised others.” The Pharisee is the prototype, the perfect representative of this group. See him! how convinced of his justice, how puffed up by his own merits: I am neither a thief nor an adulterer, I fast and pay tithes. What more can one expect? But this proud man does not see that he lacks the greatest of all things, charity, so much so that he inveighs against others, accuses and condemns them: “I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.”

Having no charity for his neighbor, he cannot have charity toward God. In fact, having gone into the Temple to pray, he is incapable of making the least little act of love or adoration, and instead of praising God for His blessings, he does nothing but praise himself. This man is really unable to pray because he has no charity, and he cannot have any because he is full of pride. “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble ” (Jas 4,6). Therefore, the Pharisee returns home condemned, not so much by God who always loves to show mercy, as by his own pride which impedes the work of mercy in him.

The attitude of the publican is entirely different. He is a poor man who knows he has sinned, and he is aware of his moral wretchedness. He does not possess charity either, because sin is an obstacle to it, but he is humble, very humble, and he trusts in the mercy of God. “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” And God who loves to bend down to the humble, justifies him at that very moment; his humility has drawn down upon him the grace of the Most High. St. Augustine has said: “God prefers humility in things that are done badly, rather than pride in those which are done well!” We are not justified by our virtues and our good works, but by grace and charity, which the Holy Spirit diffuses in our hearts, “according as He wills,” yes, but always in proportion to our humility.


“O good Jesus, how often after bitter tears, sobs, and indescribable groanings, You have healed the wounds of my conscience by the unction of Your mercy and the oil of Your joy! How often after I have begun my prayer without hope, I have found my joy again in the hope of forgiveness! Those who have experienced this know that You are a real physician, who heals contrite hearts and solicitously tends their wounds. Let those who as yet have not had this experience, believe, at least, in Your words: ‘The Spirit of the Lord hath anointed Me; He hath sent Me to preach to the meek, to heal the contrite of heart.’ If they still doubt, let them approach You and learn, and they will understand what Your words mean: ‘I will have mercy and not sacrifice."

“O Lord, You said, ‘Come to Me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.’ But what path should I take to reach You? The path of humility, for only then will You console me. But what consolation do You promise to the humble? Charity. In fact, the soul will obtain charity in proportion to its humility. O what sweet, delicious food is charity! It sustains us when we are weary, strengthens us when we are weak, and comforts us when we are sad. O Lord, give me this charity which makes Your yoke sweet and Your burden light ” (St. Bernard).
"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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