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

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The Introit of the Mass is a fervent prayer, which may be said in every necessity and adversity: Bow down thine ear, O Lord, to me, and hear me: save thy servant, O my God, that hopeth in thee: have mercy on me, Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day. Give joy to the soul of thy servant: for to thee, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul. (Ps. lxxxv.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Let Thy continued pity, O Lord cleanse and defend Thy Church: and because without Thee it cannot abide in safety, govern it ever by Thy gift. Thro'.

EPISTLE. (Gal. . 25, 26.; vi. 1 — 10.) Brethren, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. For if any man think himself to be something , whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every one prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. And let him that is instructed in the word, communicate to Mm that instructeth him, in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption: but he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail: for in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Quote:EXPLANATION. This epistle is taken, like that of the Sunday before last, from the epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, in which St. Paul shows them the insufficiency of the Jewish law, and that they can only be saved by a lively faith in Christ, but now he admonishes them to the performance of good works. You now live, he tells them, in the Spirit, that is, the Holy Ghost animates your heart by His grace, enlightens, confirms, and inflames you, admonishes and teaches you, impels your heart to do good; you must, therefore, also regulate your external conduct accordingly, and in particular devote yourself to the practice of humility and charity, as the foundations of a truly spiritual life. Humility must teach and move you to think little of yourself, to avoid vain glory, and not to confide in your own strength. But charity should impel you to be meek and compassionate to all, even sinners, to correct them charitably, and lead them back to the path of virtue; since he who is harsh to the erring, despises, and treats them roughly, is often permitted by God to fall into the same, nay, even greater sins.

Particularly you must show your charity one for another, that one bears the burdens of the other : that you bear the faults and imperfections of others just as patiently, as you wish others to bear with your own imperfections; thus you will fulfil the law of Christ, which commands us to love our neighbor; you will prevent many sins which are occasioned by considering yourself perfect, raising yourself above others, criticising their failings, and causing disturbance. True glory consists in knowing ourselves, our faults and evil inclinations, and in eradicating them. Be grateful to those who instruct you in the word of God, and give to them willingly of your earthly possessions. What you sow, you shall reap; if you only follow the dictates of the flesh, do not mortify yourself, do not correct your failings, and indulge your sinful appetites, you will one day reap death, destruction, and damnation, whereas, on the contrary, if you follow the dictates of the Holy Ghost, you will reap of the Spirit of life. Let us obey this doctrine, for it is of interest to us, and impress deeply on our heart that without mortification of body and soul we cannot be saved.

ASPIRATION. O St. Paul! beg of God the grace for me, that I may always walk in humility and the love of my neighbor, particularly in bearing with his imperfections and failings, and thus fulfil the law of Christ in this as in all things.

GOSPEL. (Luke vii. n— 16.) At that time. Jesus went into a city called Naim: and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, said to her: Weep not. And he came near, and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up amongst us, and God hath visited his people.

Why did Christ show compassion to this widow?

To convince us, that God takes sorrowful and destitute widows under His protection, and is to them a consoler and helper; and to teach us to do the same. Woe, therefore, to those who oppress them, and cause them to weep. The tears and cries of widows will ascend to God, who will terribly punish the injuries inflicted upon them. (Exod. xxii. 22. 23.)

Christ had still other reasons for compassion, for He saw in this deceased youth the death of sinners, and in the afflicted mother the pain which the Church experiences at the spiritual loss of so many of her children. Should this not also awaken our sympathy since it was the principal cause which moved our Saviour to compassion. If we are faithful children of our mother, the Church, it is impossible for us not to share her sorrow, and we would
surely not be her children, if we could contemplate without sorrow the multitude who daily die the death of sin, and thus separated from the living body of Christ, hasten to eternal destruction. O let us with the Church unceasingly ask Jesus, that He raise sinners from their spiritual death, enlighten those in error, so that all recognize the truth, find, and walk the path which leads to life!

Why did Christ say to the widow: Weep not?

He wished to moderate her excessive sorrow, and to teach us that we should not mourn for the loss of our relatives, like the heathens who have no hope of resurrection to eternal life. (Thess. iv. 12.) Resignation to the will of God, with prayer and good works, will be of more use to the dead than many tears.

What else do we learn from this gospel?

That no one, however young and healthy, will escape death, wherefore we should always be prepared to die.

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IF there were locked up in prison several hundred persons, on whom sentence of death had irrevocably been pronounced, yet who knew not the day or hour of their execution; if one after the other, and often he who least expected it, were taken out to be executed; would not each one's heart tremble, whenever the prison door opened? Now the irrevocable sentence of death is pronounced on us all; we are all locked up in our bodies, as in a prison; (Ps. cxiv. 8.) one after the other is called hence, yet we do not regard it. We live as though we could live forever; we think only of the body, but for the soul nothing is done, except that we load it with sins and vices.

Is this rational? The body will be food for worms, but the soul (without knowing when) will travel into the house of eternity, to which place she must bring treasures of good works, in order to live happy for ever. Who would, therefore, be so foolish as to care only for the body during life, and neglect the salvation of the soul?

O man, says St. Francis of Sales, (Phil. fart. i. chap. 13.) represent to yourself in lively colors, that at your death the world will cease to exist with respect to you. In that last hour the pleasures, the vanities, the riches, the honors, the friendships , and all that was dear to you, will disappear before your eyes as so many shadows. Oh fool that I am! you will then say, for what trifles and fooleries have I lost all! On the contrary piety, good works, penance, &c, will appear pleasant to you, and you will exclaim: O, why did I not travel on this blessed road! Then the sins which you now consider as mere trifles, will seem to you like mountains, and all that you thought you had accomplished as great things, with regard to piety, will seem to you very little.

What terrible fear will then seize your soul, when she must travel alone into the bottomless abyss of eternity, which, as St. Bernard says, devours all possible, imaginable ages, and of which St. Gregory says, that we can easier say what it is not than what it is. What terrors will befall her, when she must appear before the tribunal of that God, whom she never really loved and honored in her life-time, and before whom she must now give the strictest account, and hear an irrevocable and just sentence!

Should not these thoughts make an impression upon you? How can you escape this terrible future? By living now, as you would wish to have lived at the hour of death. Die daily with St. Paul by crucifying the flesh and its lusts and by voluntarily withdrawing your heart from the world, its pomps and vanities, before death will do this by violence.

RESOLUTION. O world! because I cannot know the hour, in which I must leave you, I will not be attached to you. O you dear friends and relatives, you, too, I will in future love only with a holy inclination, directed to God, which will not cease with death, but remain forever. O Lord! help me, that I may die totally to myself and the world, and live only for Thee, and partake of eternal happiness.

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Behold, a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and a great multitude of the city was with her. (Luke vii. 12.)

OF these people who accompanied the funeral of the youth, we should learn to pay the last honors to the dead, and follow their bodies to the grave. This is a meritorious work, one pleasing to God, if it be not performed from vanity and self-interest, but for love of God and the deceased, with the charitable intention of assisting him by prayers. Therefore those do very wrong, who from worldly motives either omit this good work entirely, or during the funeral procession, indulge in idle talk, and deny the deceased even a short prayer.

Why is a cross carried before the corpse?

By this is indicated that the deceased during life professed Christ, died believing in Him, and hoping for resurrection through Him.

Why are lighted candles carried before the bier?

To represent the desire of the Church that the deceased through the grace of God may be received into eternal light. This custom is very ancient; wax-candles and torches, together with prayer and great solemnity were made use of at the burial of St Cyprian who was beheaded for Christ's sake, in the year 258 after Christ.

Why are the coffin and the grave sprinkled with holy water?

In order, as St. Thomas of Aquinas (Lib. iii. art. 21.) remarks, to implore God, on account of the prayers which the Church says when she blesses the water, that the souls of the faithful may be cleansed from all stains, and may receive consolation and refreshment in the tortures, which they may still have to suffer.

Why are the body and the grave incensed?

By this the Church indicates that the deceased by his Christian vocation was a good odor of Christ, (ii Cor. ii. 14, 15.) and admonishes the faithful that their prayers should ascend like incense to heaven for the deceased.

Why are Psalms and other sacred canticles sung?

This is done to remind us of the teaching of St. Paul, (i Thess. iv. 12.) not to be excessively sorrowful for the loss of the deceased, like the heathens who have no hope of eternal life. We also signify, thereby, that we congratulate the dead for the peace which they now enjoy. (Apoc. xiv. 13.) This custom as St. Jerome shows, (Ep. 53.) is derived from the apostles, who interred St. Stephen, singing Psalms and hymns of praise.

Why are the bells rung?

To invite the faithful to the funeral and to pray for the dead, who, during life-time, was called very often by the same bells, prayed with and for us during religious worship, and who is not separated from us by death.

Why are the bodies of the faithful buried with the head towards the East and those of the priests towards the West?

The faithful are buried towards the East, whence the sun rises, to indicate, that they are waiting for Christ who is called the Orient from on High, (Luke i. 78.) and whose voice they will hear at the end of the world, when He calls them to the resurrection; the priests towards the West, as sign that on the day of judgment they will be placed opposite to the souls, confided to them, to give an account of their charge, and to bear judgment for or against them.

Why is a cross or monument erected over the grave?

To show that the deceased was a follower of Christ, the Crucified, to admonish the passers-by to pray for him and to remind us of the solemn moment of death.

Why is the body laid in consecrated ground?

This is done through reverence for the bodies of the dead which are, by baptism, temples of the Holy Ghost; to show that, even in death, they still belong to the communion of that holy Church, in which they were embodied during life by baptism, and to which they clung in faith even until death; to inspire the surviving with a holy fear lest they profane graves.

Why is the solemn funeral service of the Church denied to heretics?

Because they would not belong to the Church during life, and despised the holy customs, and prayers of the Church for the dead. How should the blessing and prayer of the Church be useful in death to one, who despises them during life.

Why does not the Church permit criminals and suicides to be buried in consecrated ground?

In order to express her horror for the crimes perpetrated by them, and to deter the faithful from committing similar actions.
"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
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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This Sunday’s Introit—which now goes under the name of the Sunday of the widow of Naim, because of the Gospel read on it—gives us a sample of the prayers we should address to our Lord in our necessities. Last Sunday, we heard our Jesus promising to provide for all our wants, on the condition that we would serve him faithfully, by seeking his kingdom. When we present our petitions to him, let us show him the confidence he so well deserves from us; and we shall be graciously heard.

Inclina, Domine, aurem tuam ad me, et exaudi me: salvum fac servum tuum, Deus meus, sperantem in te: miserere mihi, Domine, quoniam ad te clamavi tota die.
Incline thine ear, O Lord, unto me, and hear me: save thy servant, O my God, who hopeth in thee: have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day.

Ps. Lætifica animam servi tui: quia ad te, Domine, animam meam levavi. Gloria Patri. Inclina.
Ps. Give joy to the soul of thy servant: for, to thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul. Glory, &c. Incline.

The humility wherewith our holy Mother the Church presents her supplications to God should serve as a model to us. If the Bride herself thus treats with God, what ought not be our sentiments of lowliness, when we appear in the presence of sovereign Majesty? We may well say to this tender Mother of ours what the Disciples said to Jesus: Teach us how to pray! Let us unite with her in this Collect.

Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, mieratio continuata mundet et muniat: et, quia sine te non potest salva consistere, tuo semper munere gubernetur. Per Dominum.
May thy continued mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend thy Church; and because, without thee, she cannot keep safe, may she always be governed by thy Gift. Through, etc.

The other Collects, as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul, the Apostle, to the Galatians. Ch. v. and vi.

Brethren: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying on another. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’ s burdens; and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ. For if any man think himself to be some thing, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every one prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. And let him that is instructed in the word, communicate to him that instructeth him, in all good things. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. and in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Quote:Holy Church resumes the lesson of St. Paul, where she left it last Sunday. The Spiritual life, the life produced in our souls by the Holy Spirit, in place of the former life of the flesh—this is still the subject of the Apostle’s teaching. When the flesh has been subdued, we must take care and not suppose that the structure of our perfection is completed. Not only must the combat be kept up after the victory, under penalty of losing all we have won, but we must also be on the watch lest one or other of the heads of the triple concupiscence take advantage of the soul’s efforts being elsewhere directed, to raise itself against us, and sting us all the more terribly, because it is left to do just as it pleases. The Apostle warns us here of vainglory, and well he may; for vainglory is, more than other enemies, always in a menacing attitude, ready to infuse its subtle poison even into acts of humility and penance; hence the Christian, who is desirous to serve God and not his own gratification, by the virtues he practices, must keep up a specially active vigilance over this passion.

Just let us think, for a moment, on the madness that culprit would be guilty of who, having his sentence to death commuted for a severe flogging, should take pride in the stripes left on his body by the whip! May this madness never be ours! It would seem, however, as though it were far from being impossible, seeing how the Apostle, immediately after his telling us to mortify our flesh, bids us take heed of vainglory. In fact, we are not safe on this subject, excepting inasmuch as the outward humiliation, inflicted by us on our body has this for its principle, that our soul should voluntarily humble herself at the sight of her miseries. The ancient Philosophers, too, had their maxims about the restraint of the senses; but those among them who practiced those admirably worded maxims found them a stepping-stone for the pride to mount of mountains high in self-conceit. It could not be otherwise; for they were totally devoid of anything like the sentiments which actuated our Fathers in the faith who, when they clad themselves in sackcloth and prostrated on the ground, cried out from the heartfelt conviction of the miseries of human nature: Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy! for I was conceived in iniquities, and my sin is ever before me!

To practice bodily mortification with a view to get the reputation of being saints, is it not doing what St. Paul here calls sowing in the flesh, that in due time, that is, on the day, when the intentions of our hearts will be made manifest, we may reap not life and glory everlasting, but endless disgrace and shame? Among the works of the flesh mentioned in last Sunday’s Epistle, we found contentions, dissensions, jealousies, all of which are the ordinary outcome of this vainglory, against which the Apostle is now warning us. The production of such rotten fruits would be an unmistakable sign that the heavenly sap of grace had gone from our souls and that, in its stead, there had been brought the fermentation of sin; and that now, having made ourselves slaves, as of old, we must tremble because of the penalties threatened by God’s law. God is not mocked; and as to the confidence which generous fidelity of love imparts to those who live by the Spirit—it would, in the case we are now supposing, be but a hypocritical counterfeit of the holy liberty of the children of God. They alone are his children whom the Holy Spirit leads, and leads them in charity; those others are led on by the flesh, and such cannot please God.

If, on the contrary, we would have an equally unmistakable sign, which is quite compatible with the obscurities of faith that we are really in possession of divine Union, let us not take occasion from the sight of others’ defects and faults to be puffed up with pride, but rather, from the consideration of our own miseries, be indulgent to everyone else. If others fall, let us give them a helping and prudent hand. Let us bear one another’s burdens along the road of life, and then, having thus fulfilled the law of Christ, we shall know (and oh! the joy there is in such knowing!) that we abide in Him, and He in us. These most thrilling words, which were made use of by our Lord to express the future intimacy he would have with whomsoever should eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood in holy Communion, St. John, who had told them to us, takes them and uses them in his Epistles, and (let us mark the deep mystery of the application) applies them to whomsoever, in the Holy Ghost, observes the great commandment of loving his neighbor.

Would to God we could ever have ringing in our ears the saying of the Apostle: Whilst we have time, let us work good to all men! For the day will come, and it is not so very far off, when the Angel, carrying the mysterious Book, and having one foot on the earth and the other on the sea, shall make his mighty voice as that of a lion be heard through the universe and, with his hand lifted up towards heaven, shall swear by Him that liveth forever and ever, that time shall be no more! Then will man reap with joy what he shall have sown in tears; he failed not, he grew not weary of doing good while in the dreary land of his exile—still less will he ever tire of the everlasting harvest which is to be in the living light of the Eternal Day.

As we sing the Gradual, let us remember that the only praise which gives God pleasure is that which goes up to him from a soul where reigns the harmony of the several virtues. The christian life, which is regulated by the ten commandments, is the ten-stringed psaltery on which the Finger of God, who is the Holy Ghost, plays to the Spouse the music that he loves to hear.

Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to thy name, O Most High!

℣. Ad annuntiandum mane misericordiam tuam, et veritatem tuam per noctem.
℣. To show forth thy mercy in the morning, and thy truth in the night.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Quoniam Deus magnus Dominus, et rex magnus super omnem terram. Alleluia.
℣. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King over all the earth. Alleluia.

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

At that time: Jesus went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it, stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people!

Quote:This is the second time, during the Year, holy Church offers this Gospel to our consideration; we cannot be surprised at this, for the fathers selected by her as its interpreters tell us, on both of these occasions, that the afflicted mother who follows her son to the grave is the Church herself.

The first time we saw her under this symbol of a mother mourning for her child was in the penitential season of Lent. She was then, by her fasting and prayer (united as those were with her Jesus’ sufferings), preparing the resurrection of such of our brethren as were dead in sin. Their resurrection was realized, and we had them, in all the fullness of their new life, seated side by side with us at the Paschal Table. What exquisite joy on that Feast of Feasts inundated the Mother’s heart as she thus shared in the triumphant gladness of her divine Spouse! He, her Jesus was, by his one Resurrection, twice over the conqueror of death—he rose from the grave, and he gave back the child to the Mother. The Disciples if this Risen Lord, who follow him closely by their observance of the evangelical counsels, yes, they, and the whole multitude that associated themselves with the Church, glorified Jesus for his wonderful works and sang the praises of that God who thus vouchsafed to visit his people.

The Mother ceased to weep. But since then, the Spouse has again left her to return to his Father; she has resumed her widow’s weeds, and her sufferings are continually adding to the already well-nigh insupportable torture of her exile. And whence these sufferings? From the relapses of so many of those ungrateful children of hers to whom she had given a second birth and at the cost of such pains and tears! The countless cares she then spent over her sinners, and that new life she gave them in the presence of her dying Jesus—all this made each of the penitents, during the Great Week, as though he were the only son of that Mother. What an intense grief, says St. John Chrysostom, that so loving a Mother should see them relapsing, after the communion of such mysteries, into sin which kills them! “Spare me,”—as she may well say, in the words which the holy Doctor puts into the Apostle’s mouth—”Spare me! No other child, once born into this world, ever made his Mother suffer the pangs of childbirth over again!” To repair the relapse of a sinner costs her no less travail than the giving birth to such as had never believed.

And if we compare these times of ours with the period when sainted Pastors made her words be respected all over the world—is there a single Christian who is still faithful to the Church who does not feel impelled, by such contrast, to be more and more devoted to a Mother so abandoned as she now is? Let us listen to the eloquent words of St. Laurence Justinian on this subject. “Then,” says he in his De compuncti et planctu christianem perfectus, “all resplendent with the mystic jewels wherewith the Bridegroom had beautified her on the wedding day, she thrilled with joy at the increase of her children, both in merit and number; she urged them to ascend to ever greater heights; she offered them to God, she raised them, in her arms, up towards heaven. Obeyed by them, she was, in all truth, the mother of fair love and fear; she was beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array. She stretched out her branches as the turpentine-tree, and beneath their shadow, she sheltered them she had begotten, against the heat, and the tempest, and the rain. So long, then, as she could, she labored, feeding at her breasts all those she was able to assemble.

But her zeal, great as it was, has redoubled from the time she perceived that many, yea very many, had lost their first fervor. Now for many years, she is mourning at the sight of how, each day, her Creator is offended, how great are the losses she sustains, and how so many of her children suffer death. She that was once robed in scarlet has put on mourning garments; her fragrance is no longer felt by the world; instead of a golden girdle, she has but a cord, and instead of the rich ornament of her breast, she is vested in haircloth. Her lamentations and tears are ceaseless. Ceaseless is her prayer, striving if, by some way, she may make the present as beautiful as in times past; and yet, as thou it were impossible for her to call back that lovely past, she seems wearied at such supplication. The word of the prophet has come true: They are all gone aside, they are become unprofitable together; there is none that doth good, no, not one! … The manifold sins committed by the Church’s children against the divine precepts show that they who so sin are rotten members, members alien to the body of Christ. Nevertheless, the Church forgets not that she gave them birth in the laver of salvation; she forgets not the promises they then made to renounce the devil, and the pomps of the world, and all sin. Therefore does she weep over their fall, being their true mother, and never losing the hope of winning their resurrection by her tears. O what a flood of tears is thus every day shed before God! What fervent prayers does not this spotless virgin send, by the ministry of the holy Angels, up to Christ, who is the salvation of sinners! In the secret of hearts in lonely retreats, as well as in her public temples, she cries out to the divine mercy that they who are now buried in the filth of vice may be restored to life. Who shall tell the joy of her heart, when she receives back living the children she mourned over as dead? If the conversion of sinners is such a joy to heaven, what must it be to such a Mother? According to the multitude of the sorrows of her heart, so will be the consolations, giving joy to her soul.”

It is the duty of us Christians, who, by God’s mercy, have been preserved from the general decay to share in the anguish of our Mother, the Church; we should humbly but fervently cooperate with her in all her zealous endeavors to reclaim our fallen brethren. We surely can never be satisfied with not being the number of those senseless sons who are a sorrow to their Mother, and despise the labor of her that bore them. Had we not the Holy Spirit to tell us how he that honoreth his Mother is as one that layeth up to himself a treasure—the thought of what our birth cost her would force us to do everything that lies in our power to comfort her. She is the dear Bride of the Incarnate Word; and our souls, too, aspire to union with Him; let us prove that such Union is really ours by doing as the Church does—that is, by showing in our acts the one thought, the one love, which the divine Spouse always imparts to souls that enjoy holy intimacy with him, because there is nothing he Himself has so much at heart—the thought of bringing the whole world to give glory to his Eternal Father, and the love of procuring salvation for sinners.

Let us unite with the Church, our Mother, in singing now in the Offertory, the realization, in part at least, of her expectations; let not our lips ever be shut up in senseless silence, when we have our God bestowing favors on us.

Exspectans exspectavi Dominum, et respexit me: et exaudivit deprecationem meam, et immisit in os meum canticum novum, hymnum Deo nostro.
With expectation, I have waited for the Lord, and he was attentive to me: and he heard my prayer; and he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God.

In the Secret let us put ourselves, and everything that belongs to us, under the custody, the keeping all-powerful, of the divine Mysteries.

Tua nos, Domine, sacramenta custodiant: et contra diabolicos semper tueantur incursus. Per Dominum.
May thy mysteries, O Lord, be custody unto us: and always defend us against the attacks of the devil. Through, etc.

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

Jesus’ word called back from death the son of the widow of Naim; his Flesh is the Life of the world, for it is the Bread, whose praise we are now to celebrate in our Communion-Anthem.

Panis, quem ego dedero, caro mea est pro sæculi vita.
The bread, which I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world.

Divine Union is not perfect in us, unless the Mystery of love so predominates over both our minds and bodies, as that they be fully possessed by it as our Mother here words its efficacy; we must be influenced and directed by it, and not by nature, that is, by the dictates of flesh and blood and human sense.

Mentes nostras et corpora possideat, quæsumus Domine, doni cœlestis operatio: ut non noster sensus in nobid, sed jugiter ejus præveniat effectus. Per Dominum.
May the operation of the heavenly Gift possess our minds and bodies, we beseech thee, O Lord: that our own sense may not rule us, but may the efficiency (of that Gift) ever take the lead in us. Through, etc.

The other Postcommunion, 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 Fifteenth 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
Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1882

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"And when He came nigh to the gates of the city, behold! a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow."--Luke 7.

Christ, accompanied by a great multitude, approaches the city of Naim, and behold! the corpse of a youth was just borne out of the city gates, followed by a number of people, and his grief-stricken mother. It seemed an accidental meeting, and yet it was not so. Christ, the life, meets death, and again breathes life into the corpse. This unexpected meeting, especially as the dead body was that of a youth, reminds us of the certainty and proximity of death and of the uncertainty of life. It is ordained that all men shall die, as Holy Scripture assures and experience teaches us; and yet, how careless man is in this regard, and what little benefit he derives from meditating upon this truth. Nevertheless it is a truth which, when duly considered, will exert a most decided influence on our lives, and will urge us to arrange the affairs pertaining to our salvation.

Holy Scripture assures us even in the Old Testament: "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead." St. Paul speaks of this continual remembrance of death as "The answer of death within us.

How sincerely I wish that, with St. Paul, we may all feel the continual warning of approaching and certain death--the answer of death within us--and that we may not be seized with that forgetfulness of death, which is, alas! so common. Mary, patroness of a happy death, pray for us that we live in such manner, as to die, in your arms, the death of the blessed! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God!

When St. Anthony was lying on his death-bed, he was surrounded by hundreds of his spiritual sons, and they begged of him : "Holy father, you are about to leave us; advise us: which is the most influential, the powerful thought to animate one with great zeal in the service of God?" St Anthony replied: "Brethren, live every day as if it were to be the, last."

With these words St. Anthony referred to the certainty and nearness of death, but at the same time also to the uncertainty as regards the time, the place, and the manner of death. Nothing else in this world is infallibly certain and sure. The wealthiest may become indigent; the most powerful may lose his crown ; the healthiest may be stricken with disease. Yes, even as regards the last judgment, and heaven and hell. No one knows with infallible certainty what shall be his portion forever; but one thing every one knows he must die.

A multitude followed the corpse of the youth. Every person who joined the procession must have thought within himself: I shall also one day be thus borne to my grave. But when? No one knows. This youth who is borne away as a corpse did certainly not imagine that he was to die before his aged mother.

He who constantly reflects upon what I have said, and lives as if every day were his last, needs no further incentive in order to lead a holy life. And why? This will appear evident when we reflect in what Christian perfection consists, and how the remembrance of certain and approaching death will influence us in this respect.

In the first place, Christian perfection requires a heart free from sin. Shun evil. Therefore a person must, above all things, be able candidly to put this question to his conscience: Am I in the state of mortal sin or not? But this must be done as candidly and earnestly as if we were certain to die the following moment and be judged.

And when a man has thus proven himself, his faith requires of him, that he reconcile himself to God by an entire and sincere confession. But nothing will better bring about this change than the remembrance of the certainty and proximity of death. If one confesses in such a manner, as he will wish to have done when the cold sweat of death stands upon his brow, he will confess well. And that our confessions may really be good and valid, let this truth urge us to the conscientious performance of this duty; do it well; you do not know whether you will ever again have another opportunity; it is, perhaps, your last confession.

"Father, this is probably your last confession," thus St. Vincent de Paul was addressed by one of his spiritual sons. The saint replied: "Friend, for a number of years I have said to myself: This confession will, perhaps, be my last."

But to reconcile ourselves to God is not our only obligation; the most important duty is, not to sin again, not to suffer a relapse. What causes a relapse? Fresh temptations. These temptations come to us in divers ways: We are tempted by the concupiscence of the flesh; the world tempts us by her allurements and pleasures; Satan tempts and endeavors to deceive us by investing forbidden objects with delusive charms and attractions. It is especially by means of the honors, possessions, and enjoyments of this life that the world, the flesh, and the devil tempt us. And, no doubt, these things, viewed in the light of the present, possess various charms, and can become snares and dangerous temptations.

But the vivid remembrance of the certain approach of death will nip all these temptations in the bud, and will render them powerless. For what are all worldly possessions, when viewed in the twilight of life's fading day? Dust! What are all the honors of this world? Vapor! What are all sensual enjoyments? Dross!

And even the satisfaction which man enjoys for a time in the possession of wealth, honors, and sensual pleasures will soon end in death.

If we listen to the voice of death within us, the power of temptation will be completely destroyed; because this remembrance of death is inseparably connected with the remembrance of that which is to come after death, and which will decide our eternal destiny. Therefore, the Apostle after saying: "It is appointed for all men once to die," immediately adds: "And after this the judgment."

How could man remain in the state of sin, if he constantly reflected upon the terrors of judgment, or how ever relapse into sin! The Memento mori--the remembrance that very soon death will usher you into eternity is the surest preventive against the evil of sin.

This constant remembrance of our end likewise effects the sanctification of our lives, and encourages us in our endeavors to attain Christian perfection; it urges us to accomplish the holy will of God perfectly, in all places and at all times; it puts us in mind of the value of time, and the necessity of making good use of the present; it encourages us not to lose a single moment in the great work of our salvation, nor to neglect the increase of our glory in heaven. But nothing can so clearly prove the inestimable value of time as death, the certainty and nearness of death!

"Time, thou art worth as much as God," St. Chrysostom was wont to say ; " for on every hour of time depends a crown for eternity; to win time, is to win God; to lose time, is to lose God."

Death deprives us of this exceedingly precious gift; a gift for which the angels and saints of heaven envy us.

Now, that we live but once, this once will decide our eternity; this was a maxim of the saints. When once time has flown, it will never again return. We feel this most vividly when attending a death-bed, and considering the last breath which the dying person draws. Now he has expired now his eternal fate is sealed. Not another opportunity of performing a good deed, of increasing his heavenly joys.

I ask: Is there any thing which can urge us more to improve our time for the approaching eternity, than this certainty and proximity of death, this voice of death within us? Oh, that every case of death brought to our notice would remind us with renewed force of the certain approach of eternity!

You should do more; every evening whilst offering your prayers to God, reflect upon some particular circumstance of your death. Think of your last confession, of your last Holy Communion, of extreme unction; and of what you will experience when your soul takes leave of your body; think of your grave, of your appearance before the judgment seat of Christ.

Do this, and no doubt the advice of St. Anthony will not only prove beneficial to his religious sons, but also to you, for the sanctification of your whole life! Amen!

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"And when he came nigh to the gates of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of a widow."--Luke 7.

There is nothing more certain than death. Everything else is morally certain, possible, probable, as far as regards our future.

Last year we reflected upon the influence this consideration exercises upon our will; it causes us to form the resolution of living as true children of the Church, according to our vocation, to avoid sin, to practise virtue, and to make the best use of time. Even the longest life, how brief it is! and how near is death! How short is a year! Observe how quickly the moon waxes and wanes, and, after thirteen of these changes, a year has passed. And the life of man numbers but seventy or eighty years, and how few reach this age! the majority of those born into the world die as children, and many in the prime of life! The deceased of whom the Gospel of today makes mention is a youth.

You will die,--that is certain; and you will die soon,--this, too, is certain; but how and where you will die is uncertain, also the manner of your death. But it is not exactly so in reference to the moral condition of your soul; and its state, at the time of death, is of the utmost importance.

A proverb says: "As is life, such is death," therefore, if you have lived indifferently, the troubled death bed of the tepid Christian awaits you; but if you have lived a zealous and holy life, then on your death-bed you will feel the consolation of the just.

Brethren, let us today reflect upon this contrast, and in our dying moments we shall not regret having done so, provided we profit by the light that the Holy Ghost will send to illumine our minds. Mary, our protectress in death, obtain for us, from your beloved Son, the consoling death of the just! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God!

What, in the first place, causes the lukewarm Christian sadness and affliction of mind on his death-bed, is inordinate attachment to the goods of this world. No doubt, all who lead an indifferent life will attach themselves more or less to the things of this world; but it is particularly the case with persons who have labored incessantly and under great difficulties to acquire temporal possessions, and who have anxiously provided for their comfort.

This country furnishes many instances of this kind. Many a one who came over from Europe at first settled in the backwoods; there he occupied a log-cabin, and by dint of labor cleared and cultivated the land. Then he erected a more comfortable dwelling, and gradually gained riches until finally he became affluent. Another commenced business in one of the larger cities, prospered, and became wealthy. But, lo! now death raps at his door, and he feels that he must die; he must take leave of all, and can not take even one penny with him!

No wonder that such a Christian, who, amid temporal cares, has abandoned the practices of devotion and of Christian zeal, sighs, with Agag, at the approach of death: "And dost thou part us thus, O bitter death?"

But how widely different the death of a child of the Church, who has led a fervent life, often thought of heaven, suffered, worked, and fought for it; who has already separated his heart from the transitory things of this world, and, on his death-bed, can joyfully exclaim, with David: "We enter with joy into heaven, to behold, to possess, and to enjoy the things of the Lord in the land of the living! " Child of the Church, a similar death do I wish you. And what are the conditions? A zealous, truly Catholic life.

What furthermore renders the death-bed of the tepid Christian gloomy and fearful, is the inordinate attachment to blood relations. It is true there is a lawful, holy and sanctifying union among men, ties of relationship, friendship and virtue, and the heart must feel a pang at the moment of separation. But this sorrow will increase the merits of the dying Christian, because he resigns himself to the will of God; and, moreover, his sorrow is assuaged by the hope of a speedy reunion in heaven.

The lukewarm Christian experiences not this consolation; he feels only the grief of parting from those who are near and dear to him in this world. And again, how consoling for the fervent soul will be the thought: I take leave of my dearly loved ones on earth, but what an assembly waits to welcome me in heaven! I hope that very soon I shall be with Jesus and Mary, and all the angels and saints, with all my blessed friends and relations, who are anxiously looking forward to my entrance into the eternal joys. This thought gives comfort to the soul. A similar death do I wish you, my brethren; an active, Catholic, pious life will secure it for you.

The death-bed of a careless Christian is hemmed in with fear and anxiety, because the consolations of our holy religion have lost their power over him, and can not drive away the sadness of death. The tepid Christian may have confessed at times, but how? He felt no apprehension from his numerous relapses, and looked upon them as merely the result of human weakness. But now he becomes alarmed; were not these mortal sins into which he relapsed? Or, during life, he endeavored to persuade himself that he did not sin willfully; he did not consent. But now he fears that his confessions were not valid, because he did not express himself clearly as to this or that sin, or did not confess the number and circumstances, as he was obliged to do.

And what of his communions? Were they not, perhaps, unworthy, or sacrilegious communions? His preparations and thanksgivings were so short, so tepid, and, consequently, without effect. And now that he is to receive Holy Communion for the last time, his bodily sufferings will not permit him to dispose himself devoutly for the reception of the Blessed Sacrament as a preparation for his passage into eternity. He receives his last communion with fear and dread. But how unlike this is the death of him who, on this earth, has lived only for Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, who has received Him again and again, and each time more worthily, and who now receives his Lord, Redeemer, and the Spouse of his heart as the viaticum to eternal life! The priest places the Sacred Host upon his tongue, as a pledge of his salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Such a reception of the Holy Eucharist on your death-bed, do I wish you; your life,--a zealous, devout, Catholic life will decide.

What renders the hour of death terrible to a luke warm Christian, is the fear of death itself, and that which follows it the corruption of the body in the grave. Yes, to a petted worldling, who knows nothing of penance and mortification in this life, and who has always pampered his body, and gratified his senses, how dreadful the thought: What shall become of me in my last agony, when the cold sweat of death oozes from every pore, when death shall stretch my limbs? What, when all that remains of me on earth lies moldering in the grave, and is food for worms? It is not surprising that such thoughts fill the soul of an indifferent Christian with fear and distress! But how different the situation, if the dying person is one who has practised, during life, interior and exterior mortification, and who tastes not the bitterness of death, and looks forward to a glorious resurrection! The pious Christian remembers that it is only his body that lies within the grave, and that he shall one day find it again transformed and glorious, and be reunited to it for a blissful eternity.

What finally renders the death-bed of a lukewarm Christian fearful, is the thought of the coming judgment. When a soul is about to leave this world in a tepid and sinful state, even if after a good confession it is reinstated in grace, what a terror, what a fright, must weigh upon it, when, disfigured by the leprosy of countless venial sins, it appears before Christ, not knowing whether these sins may not be mortal! And how the soul will tremble when Christ is about to utter the sentence which will decide its fate for eternity!

Oh, could it but again return to the body, to lead a better, holier life! but then it will be too late, too late! May God preserve you from such anguish!

On the other hand, what a consolation and joy when a devout soul departs this life; and, freed from every stain of sin by the Holy Sacrament of Penance, hastens to the arms of its Redeemer, and, without passing through purgatory, enters at once into the joys of the Lord.

Either the one death or the other will be yours, and your life will decide! May God grant that it will not have been a lukewarm and indifferent, but a holy and virtuous life. Then to you may be applied the words of Holy Writ: "Precious in the sight of God is the death of His saints!" Amen!

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"And they that carried it stood still."--Luke 7.

"And they that carried it stood still." Christ approaches the corpse, but He does not restore the deceased to life as long as the pall-bearers move on. "They that carried it stood still," probably at a sign given by our Lord.

There is something very striking in this circumstance, if we consider attentively the miracle which Christ wrought at the gates of Naim, in its moral signification. For the raising of the dead to life has reference to the miracle of the conversion from sin to the state of grace, a change from the death of the soul through sin, to the spiritual life through grace.

The four pall-bearers typify four causes of the sinner's impenitence. These are: the proximate occasion of sin; want of prayer; familiar intercourse with sinners; and inordinate longing after enjoyment!

Yes, these are the four spiritual pall-bearers of the soul dead in sin, and as long as these do not stand still, so long will the funeral procession move on; and there can be no thought of a true conversion and spiritual resurrection. And although at times the sinner may appear to be converted, still we can very soon perceive, that, in the sight of God, he is still a corpse!

Let us today take a glance at the four pall-bearers of the soul dead in sin. Mary, refuge of sinners, pray for us, that we may awaken from the death of sin! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God!

The first pall-bearer which carries the dead soul of a sinner to its grave, is the proximate occasion of sin! How indispensably necessary the avoidance of the proximate occasion of sin is for a true conversion, can be readily deduced from the earnest and solemn words of Christ: "If thy eye scandalize thee, tear it out and cast it from thee; and if thy hand or foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body go into hell."

But, alas! how many deceive themselves in this respect, and imagine, if they but form the good resolution of not sinning again, it matters little whether they remain in the proximate occasion of sin; this, in their opinion, is no sin. But that is a delusion proceeding from their defective instruction. The remaining willfully in the occasion of sin, is already a sin; and if there is danger of mortal sins, the sin of remaining in the occasion becomes mortal; because to remain willfully therein, is to expose one's self willfully to sin, which is in itself an offense.

Experience verifies the warning of the Holy Ghost: "He who loveth danger, shall perish therein." To remain in the occasion of sin, is like putting fire, if it be but a burning match, to straw, and then saying: I do not want the straw to burn. But it will burn nevertheless, and you will be the cause. This warning has reference especially to the lewd, to drunkards, and to those who are intimate with persons of loose morals.

The second cause of the sinner's remaining in the sleep of death,--the second pall-bearer of his soul, is the neglect of prayer and the Holy Sacraments. As a rule, persons commit grievous sins only after having first become careless in their prayers and in the reception of the Holy Sacraments. For these are the means of grace ordained by God, and these alone enable us to subdue temptations, and to practise virtue. There are many who sin continually, but at times they appear to be converted; and yet, how very soon they are again spiritual corpses! And why? They omit their morning and night prayers; do not attend divine service; neglect spiritual reading, and the reception of the Holy Sacraments.

We do not go too far in affirming: That all those who begin the day without prayer, who do not think of God during the day, and do not pray at night; who are careless in attending divine service, or do not go to church at all on Sundays and holidays; who are negligent in the reception of the Sacraments, all of these belong to the class of the spiritual dead. They may confess at times, and appear to do better; but until they begin earnestly to say their prayers, to attend divine service as is their duty, and do not receive the Holy Sacraments only at Easter time, but frequently during the course of the year, their conversion will not be a true one. They will very soon lead the old life of sin; nor will they improve in this respect, unless they perform the duties of their holy religion earnestly and fervently, and frequently approach the Holy Sacraments.

The third cause why sinners continue their life of sin--the third pall-bearer of the soul is, familiar intercourse with sinners, their society and company. With the wicked you will be wicked and remain so.

As long as a person does not avoid familiar intercourse with sinners, he will open his heart to numerous temptations, and the bad example of others will have a pernicious influence; upon him. The bad example of sinners may be compared to the diseases of the body. When one is near a sick person, or is obliged to wait on him, one is in great danger of becoming infected with the disease. Physicians who attend the sick, make their visits as brief as possible when the disease is contagious, and hurry away, lest they may become infected!

The same may be said of sinners, whose example proves contagious. Such sinners may justly be compared to lepers. From these you must flee, as Holy Scripture advises. This admonition is addressed particularly to young persons. If your conversion shall prove sincere and lasting, you must avoid familiar intercourse with sinners; otherwise you will soon recommence a life of sin.

The fourth bearer of the spiritual corpse is inordinate longing for enjoyments --the love of sensual, boisterous pleasure, such as balls, plays, and noctural amusements; the reading of bad books, and especially the excessive use of spirituous liquors. Woe to him who already, from his youth, becomes addicted to drink, to frequent gin-shops,--is and gradually becomes a confirmed sot!

Oh! how seldom it occurs that an habitual drunkard is truly converted, that he avoids every occasion of intemperance, and remains faithful to his good resolutions! How often such persons, who, perchance, are not addicted to any other vice, seem to amend and still they do not really change; they lead the same intemperate life! And how sad are the consequences, both for body and soul! They ruin their health, destroy their domestic peace, and are living in the greatest danger of dying unprepared.

Is there, perhaps, a sinner among us whom these four bearers are carrying? Oh! I wish I could today cause them to stand still. For only then will your conversion be sincere, and, by the mouth of the priest, Christ will bid you: "Rise!" and you will be restored to the life of grace.

This standing still reminds us, moreover, of another very important fact. If we wish to be justified in hoping that ours was a true conversion, we must be able to refer to some period of our life, and say: Since that confession--it was a general confession--I did not relapse!

Rejoice, if your conscience gives you this testimony; you are in the right state, and you will be prepared to appear before God, and you will live in Him eternally! Amen!
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

"Behold, a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother.” LUKE vii. 12.

IT is related in this day’s gospel that, going to the city of Naim, Jesus Christ met a dead man, the only son of his mother, who was carried out to be buried. “Behold, a dead man was carried out.” Before we proceed further, let us stop at these words and remember death. The holy Church directs her ministers to say to Christians every year, on Ash Wednesday: “Memento homo quia pulvis es, et in pulverum reverteris.” Remember man, thou art but dust, and into dust thou shalt return. Oh! would to God that men had death always before their eyes; if they had, they certainly should not lead such bad lives. Now, beloved brethren, that the remembrance of death may be impressed upon you, I will this day place before your eyes the practical death, or a description of what ordinarily happens at the death of men of the world, and of all the circumstances attending it. Hence we shall consider, in the first point, what happens at the time of the last illness: in the second point, what happens when the last sacraments are received; and, in the third, what happens at the time of death.

First Point. What happens at the time of the last illness.

1. I do not intend in this discourse to speak of a sinner who had always lived in habitual sin; but of a worldling, who is careless about his salvation, and always entangled in the affairs of the world, in contracts, enmities, courtships, and gaming. He has frequently fallen into mortal sins, and after a considerable time has confessed them. In a word, he has been a relapsing sinner, and has generally lived in enmity with God, or, at least, has been generally perplexed with grievous doubts of conscience. Let us consider the death of such persons, and what ordinarily happens at their death.

2. Let us commence at the time at which his last illness appears. He rises in the morning, he goes out to look after his temporal affairs; but while he is engaged in business, he is assailed by a violent pain in the head, his legs totter, he feels a cold shivering, which runs through every member, a sickness of the stomach, and great debility over the whole body. He immediately returns home and throws himself on the bed. His relatives, his wife and sisters, run to him, and say: “Why have you retired so early? Are you unwell ?” He answers: “I feel sick. I am scarcely able to stand; I have a great head-ache.” ”Perhaps” they say, “you have got a fever.” ”It must be so,” he replies, “send for a physician. ” The physician is immediately sent for. In the meantime the sick man is put to bed, and there he is seized with a cold fit, which makes him shiver from head to foot. He is loaded with covering, but the cold continues for an hour or two, and is succeeded by a burning heat. The physician arrives, asks the sick man how he feels; he examines the pulse, and find he has a severe attack of fever. But, not to alarm him, the physician says: You have fever: but it is trifling. Have you given any occasion to it? The sick man replies: I went out by night a few days ago, and caught cold; or, I dined with a friend, and indulged my appetite to excess. It is worth nothing, the physician says: it is a fulness of stomach, or more probably one of these attacks which occur at the change of season. Eat nothing to-day: take a cup of tea; be not uneasy; be cheerful; there is no danger. I will see you tomorrow. Oh! that there was an angel, who, on the part of God, would say to the physician: What do you say? Do you tell me that there is no danger in this disease? Ah! the trumpet of the divine justice has, by the first symptoms of his illness, given the signal of the death of this man: for him the time of God’s vengeance has already arrived.

3. The night comes, and the poor invalid gets no rest. The difficulty of breathing and headache increase. The night appears to him a thousand years. The light scarcely dawns when he calls for some of the family. His relatives come, and say to him: Have you rested well? Ah! I have not been able to close my eyes during the entire night. O God! how much do I feel oppressed! Oh! how violent are the spasms in my head! I feel my temples pierced by two nails. Send immediately for the physician; tell him to come as soon as possible. The physician comes, and finds the fever increased; but still he continues to say: “Have courage; there is no danger. The disease must take its course. The fever which accompanies it will make it disappear.” He comes the third day, and finds the sick man worse. He comes on the fourth day, and symptoms of malignant fever appear. The taste on the mouth is disagreeable; the tongue is black; every part of the body is restless; and delirium has commenced. The physician, finding that the fever is acute, prescribes purging, bloodletting, and iced water. He says to the relatives: Ah! the sickness is most severe; I do not wish to be alone. Let other physicians be called in, that we may have a consultation. This he says in secret to the relatives, but not to the sick man on the contrary, not to frighten him, he continues to say: “Be cheerful; there is no danger.”

4. Thus, they speak of remedies, of more physicians, and of a consultation; but not a word about confession or the last sacraments. I know not how such physicians can be saved. Where the Bull of Pope Pius the Fifth is in force, they expressly swear, when they receive the diploma, that, after the third day of his illness, they will pay no more visits to any sick man until he has made his confession. But some physicians do not observe this oath, and thus so many poor souls are damned. For, when a sick man has lost his reason, of what use is confession to him? He is lost. Brethren, when you fall sick, do not wait till the physician tells you to send for a confessor; send for him of your own accord; for physicians, through fear of displeasing a patient, do not warn him of his danger until they despair, or nearly despair of his recovery. Thus, brethren, send first for your confessor call first for the physician of the soul, and afterwards for the physician of the body. Your soul is at stake, eternity is at stake; if you err then you have erred for ever; your mistake shall be for ever irreparable.

5. The physician, then, conceals from the sick man his danger; his relatives do what is still worse they deceive him by lies. They tell him that he is better, and that the physicians give strong hopes of his recovery. treacherous relatives! barbarous relatives, who are the worst of enemies! Instead of warning the sick man of his danger (as is their duty, particularly if they are parents, children, or brothers), that he may settle the accounts of his soul, they flatter him, they deceive him, and cause him to die in the state of damnation. But, from the pains, oppression, and restlessness which he feels, from the studied silence of friends who visit him, and from the tears which he sees in the eyes of his relatives, the poor invalid perceives that his disease is mortal. Alas! he says, the hour of death is come; but, through fear of giving me annoyance, they do not warn me of it.

6. No; his relatives do not let him know that he is in danger of death; but because they attend to their own interest, about which they are more solicitous than they are about anything else, they bring in a scrivener, in the hope that the dying man will leave them a large portion of his property. The scrivener arrives. Who is this? asks the sick man. The relatives answer: He is a scrivener. Perhaps, for your own satisfaction, you would like to make your will. Then is my sickness mortal? Am I near my end? No, father, or brother, they say: we know that there is no necessity for making a will; but you must one day make it, and it would be better to do it now, while you have the full use of all your faculties. Very well, he replies; since the scrivener is come, and since you wish me to do it, I will make my last will. The scrivener first asks the sick man in what church he wishes to be buried, in case he should die. Oh! what a painful question! After choosing the place of his interment, he begins to dispose of all his goods. I bequeath such an estate or farm to my children; such a house to my brother; such a sum of money to a friend; and such an article of furniture to an acquaintance. O miserable man, what have you done? You have submitted to so much fatigue, you have burthened your conscience with so many sins, in order to acquire these goods; and now you leave them forever, and bequeath them to such and such persons. But there is no remedy; when death comes we must leave all things. This separation from all worldly possessions is very painful to the sick man, whose heart was attached to his property, his house, his garden, his money, and his amusements. Death comes, gives the stroke, and separates the heart from all the objects of its love. This stroke tortures the sick man with excruciating pain. Ah, brethren! let us detach our hearts from the things of this world before death separates us from them with so much pain, and with such great danger to our salvation.

Second Point. “What happens at the time in which the sacraments are received

7. Behold! the dying man has made his will. After the eighth or tenth day of his illness, seeing that he is daily growing worse, and that he is near his end, one of his relatives asks: “When shall we send for his confessor? He has been a man of the world. We know that he has not been a saint.” They all agree that the confessor should be sent for; but all refuse to speak to the sick an on the subject. Hence they send for the parish priest, or for some other confessor, to make known to the dying man his danger, and the necessity of receiving the last sacraments. But this is done only when he has nearly lost the use of his faculties. The confessor comes; he inquires from the family about the state of the sick man, and the sort of life which he led. He finds that he has been careless about the duties of religion, and, from the circumstances which he hears, he trembles for the salvation of the poor soul. Understanding that the dying man has but a short time to live, the confessor, first of all, orders the relatives to leave the room, and to return to it no more. He then approaches and salutes the sick man. The latter asks: “Who are you? I am, replies the confessor, the parish priest, Father Such-aone. Do you wish me to do anything for you? Having heard that you had a severe attack of illness, I have come to reconcile you with your Creator. Father, I am obliged to you; but I beg of you for the present to let me take a little rest; for I have got no sleep for several nights, and I am scarcely able to speak. Recommend me to God.

8. Knowing the dangerous state of the soul and body of the sick man, the confessor says: We hope that the Lord and the most holy Virgin will deliver you from this illness; but, sooner or later, you must die. Your illness is very severe. You would do well to make your confession, and to adjust the affairs of your soul. Perhaps you have scruples of conscience. I have come on purpose to calm the troubles of your mind. Father, I should have to make a long confession; for my conscience is perplexed and burdened with sin. At present I am not able to do it. I feel a lightness in my head, and I can scarcely breathe. Father, we will see about it tomorrow, at present I am not able. But who knows what may happen? Some  attack may come on, which will not leave you time to make your confession. Father, do not torment me any longer. I have said that I am not able; it is impossible for me to do it.

But the confessor, who knows that there is no hope of recovery, feels himself obliged to speak more plainly, and says: I think it is my duty to inform you that your life is about to close. I entreat you to make your confession: for, perhaps, tomorrow you shall be dead. Why, father, do you say so? Because, replies the confessor, so the physicians have said. The poor dying man then begins to rage against the physicians, and against his friends. Ah! the traitors have deceived me. They knew my danger, and have not informed me of it. Ah! unhappy me! The confessor rejoins, and says: Be not alarmed at the difficulties of making your confession: it is enough to mention the most grievous sins which you remember. I will assist you. Be not afraid. Begin at once to tell your sins. The dying man forces himself to commence his confession; but his mind is all confusion; he knows not where to begin; he tries to tell his sins, but is not able to explain himself. He feels but little, and understands still less, what the confessor says to him. O God! At such a time, and in such a state, worldlings are obliged to attend to the most important of all affairs the affair of eternal salvation! The confessor hears, perhaps, many sins, bad habits, injuries done to the property and character of others, confessions made with little sorrow and with little purpose of amendment. He assists the dying man as well as he can, and, after a short exhortation, tells him to make an act of contrition. But, God grant that he may not be as insensible to sorrow as the sick man who was attended by Cardinal Bellarmine. When the Cardinal exhorted him to make an act of contrition, he said: Father, do not trouble yourself; these things are too high for me; I do not understand them. In the end, the confessor absolves the dying man; but who knows if God absolves him?

9. After giving him absolution, the confessor says: Prepare yourself, now, to receive Jesus Christ for your viaticum. It is now, replies the sick man, four or five hours after night; I will communicate in the morning. No: perhaps in the morning time shall be no more for you; you must at present receive the viaticum and extreme unction. Ah, unhappy me! the dying man says; am I then at the point of death? He has reason to say so; for the practice of some physicians is, to put off the viaticum till the patient is near his last, and till he has lost, or nearly lost, his senses. This is a common delusion. According to the common opinion of theologians, the viaticum ought always to be administered when there is danger of death. It would be useful here to observe, that Benedict the Fourteenth, in his fifty- third Bull (in Euchol. Grace., . 46, ap. Bullar, tom. 4), says, that extreme unction may be given whenever the sick man” labours under a grievous illness.” Hence, whenever the sick can receive the viaticum, they can also receive the sacrament of extreme unction. It is not necessary to wait, as some physicians recommend, till they are near the agony, or till they lose their senses.

10. Behold! the viaticum arrives, the sick man hears the bell. Oh! how he trembles! The trembling and terror increase when he sees the priest coming into the room with the holy sacrament, and when he beholds around his bed the torches of those who assisted at the procession. The priest recites the words of the ritual: “Accipe frater viaticum corporis Domini nostri Jesu Christi qui te custodiat ab hoste maligno, et perducat in vitam æternum. Amen.” Brother, receive the viaticum of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he may preserve you from the wicked enemy, and that he may bring you to eternal life. He receives the consecrated host upon his tongue: the priest then gives him a little water to enable him to swallow it; for his throat is dry and parched.

11. The priest afterwards gives the extreme unction; and begins by anointing the eyes while he says the following words: “Per istam sanctam unctionem, et suam piissimam misericordiam, indulgeat tibi Deus, quidquid per visum deliquisti.” He then anoints the other senses the ears, the nostrils, the mouth, the hands, the feet, and the loins, saying: “Quidquid per aditum deliquisti per odoratum, per gustum et locutionem, per tactum, per gressum, et lumborum delectationem.” And, during the administration of the extreme unction, the devil is employed in reminding the sick man of all the sins he committed by the senses by the eyes, the ears, the tongue, the hands; and says to him: After so many sins can you expect to be saved? Oh! what terror is then caused by every one of those mortal sins, which are now called human frailties, and which, worldlings say, God will not punish! Now they are disregarded; but then every mortal sin shall be a sword that will pierce the soul with terror. But let us come to what happens at death.

Third Point. What happens at the time of death.

12. After having administered the sacraments the priest departs, and leaves the dying man alone. He feels more terror and alarm after the sacraments than before he received them; for he knows that his entire preparation for them was made in the midst of great confusion of mind and great uneasiness of conscience. But the signs of approaching death appear: the sick man falls into a cold sweat; the sight grows dim, and he no longer knows the persons that attend him: he has lost his speech, and can scarcely breathe. In the midst of this darkness of death he continues to say: “Oh! that I had time, that I had another day, with the use of my faculties, to make a good confession!” For, the unhappy man has great doubts about the confession which he has made: he feels that he was not able to excite himself to make a true act of sorrow. But, what time? what day? “Time shall be no longer.” (Apoc. x. 6.) The confessor has the book open to announce to him his departure from this world. “Profiscere, anima Christiana, de hoc mundo.” Depart, Christian soul, from this world. The dying man continues to say within himself: “O lost years of my life! fool that I have been!” But when does he say this? When the scene is about to close for him; when the oil in the lamp is just consumed; and when the great moment has arrived on which his eternal happiness or misery depends.

13. But behold! his eyes are petrified; his body takes the posture of a corpse; the extremities, the hands and feet, have become cold. The agony commences; the priest begins to recite the prayers for the recommendation of a departing soul. After having read the recommendation, he feels the pulse of the dying man, and feels that it has ceased to beat. Light, he says, immediately the blessed candle. O candle! O candle! show us light, now that we have health; for, at the hour of death, thy light shall serve only to terrify us the more. But already the breathing of the sick man is not so frequent; it has begun to fail This is a sign that death is very near. The assisting priest raises his voice, and says to the poor man in his agony: Say after me O God, come to my aid; have mercy on me. My crucified Jesus, save me through thy passion. Mother of God, intercede for me. St. Joseph, St. Michael, the archangel, my holy angel-guardian, and all ye saints in Paradise, pray to God for me. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and Mary, I give you my heart and my soul. But behold the last signs of death; the phlegm is confined in the throat; the dying man sends forth feeble moans; the tears rush from his eyes; finally he twists the mouth, he distorts the eyes, he makes a few pauses, and at the last opening of the mouth, he expires and dies.

14. The priest then brings a candle to the mouth of the dead man, to try if he be still alive: he sees that the flame is not moved, and thence infers that life is extinct. He says: Requiescat in pace. May he rest in peace. And turning to the bystanders, announces that he is dead. “I hope,” he adds, “he is gone to heaven.” He is dead, and how has he died? No one knows whether he is saved or damned; but he has died in a great tempest. Such is the death of those unfortunate men who, during life, have cared little about God. “Their souls shall die in a storm.” (Job xxxvi. 14.) Of every one that dies it is usual to say that”he is gone to heaven.” He is gone to heaven if he deserved heaven; but, if he merited hell, he has gone to hell. Do all go to heaven? Oh! how few enter into that abode of bliss!

15. Before the body is cold he is covered with a worn out garment; because it must soon rot with him in the grave. Two lighted candles are placed in the chamber; the curtain of the bed on which the dead man lies is let down, and he is left alone. The parish priest is sent for, and requested to come in the morning and take away the corpse. The priest comes; the deceased is carried to the church; and this is his last journey on this earth. The priests begin to sing the ”De profundis clamavi ad te Domine,” etc. The spectators, who look at the funeral as it passes, speak of the deceased. One says: “He was a proud man.” Another: “Oh! that he had died ten years ago!” A third: “He was fortnate in the world; he made a great deal of money! he had a fine house, but now he takes nothing with him. ” And while they speak of him in this manner he is burning in hell. He arrives at the church, and is placed in the middle, surrounded by six candles. Tho bystanders look at him, but suddenly turn away their eyes, because his appearance excites horror. The Mass is sung for his repose, and after Mass, the ”Libera ;” and the function is concluded with these words: Requiescat in pace May he rest in peace. May he rest in peace, if he died in peace with God; but, if he has died in enmity with God, what peace what peace can he enjoy? He shall have no peace as long as God shall be God. The sepulchre is then opened, the corpse is thrown into it; the grave is covered with a tombstone; and he is left there to rot and to be the food of worms. It is thus that the scene of this world ends for each of us. His relatives put on mourning; but they first divide among themselves the property which he has left. They shed an occasional tear for two or three days, and afterwards forget him. And what shall become of him? If he be saved, he shall be happy for ever; if damned, he must be miserable for eternity.

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


[Image: Raises-widow-son.jpg]

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Jesus, life of my soul, make me rise each day to a new life of charity and fervor.


1. In the Mass of today there is a dominant thought, so often repeated in the liturgy and so dear to our hearts: Jesus is our life. Whatever good there is in us is the fruit of His grace, by which we remain steadfast in good (Collect) and live in the Spirit (Ep); by His grace we rise from sin (Gosp), and eating His fiesh, we nourish His life within us (Communion). Without Jesus we would abide in death; without Him we could never live the glorious life of the Spirit described by St. Paul in today’s Epistle (Gal 5,25.26 — 6,1-10). It would be well to glean a few thoughts from this. “Let us not be made desirous of vainglory, provoking one another. For if any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” True humility is presented here as the basis of fraternal charity; anyone who is proud carries about with him a hotbed of discord for, preferring himself to others, he will often be provocative, envious, haughty, and disdainful of those whom he considers his inferiors.

“If a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness.” One who wishes to scale the heights must never be critical of him whose way is not so high, nor be scandalized at the faults of another. If duty requires us to admonish anyone, we should do so with sweetness and kindness. This sweetness is another fruit of humility, because when we correct others, we should always take heed to ourselves: “lest thou also be tempted.” “And in doing good, let us not fail; for in due time we shall reap, not failing.” We must not allow ourselves to be discouraged by difficulties in the spiritual life, even when we do not succeed in overcoming them. God does not ask us to succeed but to continually renew our efforts, although the results may not be apparent. “In due time,” that is, when God wills and in the way that pleases Him, we shall reap the fruit, provided we “fail not.”

2. The thought that Jesus is our Life shines forth even more in the Gospel (Lk 7,11-16). The Master meets the sad funeral procession of a young man. His mother is walking beside the bier, weeping. “And the Lord, seeing her, had compassion on her, and said to her: Weep not. And He came near and touched the bier.... And He said: Young man, I say to thee, arise.... And He gave him to his mother.” Jesus is our Savior who sympathizes with us in our trials and uses His divine omnipotence to alleviate them. Today we see Him work a miracle in order to console a widowed mother; He restores her dead son to life. This was an expression of the delicacy of His love for us; but how many others, less visible perhaps but no less full of love and life, have surged from His heart! “ The Gospel speaks of three who were dead and who were visibly restored to life by Our Lord,” St. Augustine tells us, “but He has restored thousands invisibly.” When writing these words, the Saint must have recalled with ineffable gratitude the much greater miracle Jesus had wrought for him, making him rise from the death of sin.

St. Augustine and many other saints have been restored to life. If the saints who led lives of innocence attract us so much, those who were brought back from sin have still greater power to encourage us in our struggles. It may be a laborious task for us to overcome pride, sensuality, and all the other passions, but it was no easier for them. They too knew our temptations, struggles and falls; if they overcame them, why cannot we do the same?

Thanks be to God, it is not always a question of having to rise from a life of serious sin, but there is always occasion for a resurrection from our little daily infidelities; if they are not corrected, our fervor in the spiritual life will gradually weaken. In this regard, we need to rise every day, indeed every hour; yet so many times we lack the strength for it. But if we beseech Jesus, our Life, He will touch us with His grace as He once touched the bier of the young man of Naim; He will give us fresh vigor and will put us back again, full of courage, on the way to perfection. The resurrection of the young man was implored by his mother’s tears; let ours be implored every day by the tears of our hearts, by our compunction, humility, and trust.


“O Lord, my God, I had reached the gates of death, but You placed Yourself between them and me, so that I could not pass through them. O my Savior, You have often rescued me from bodily death when I was seriously ill or exposed to danger. You knew, Lord, that if death had surprised me then, my soul would have been cast into hell and I should have been damned forever. Your mercy and Your grace prevented me, and saved both my body and soul from death. You have done all this and much more for me, O Lord, my God!

“Now, O light of my soul, my God, life by which I live, I give You thanks : to You do I offer my thanks, though I am poor and worthless and unworthy to receive Your benefits.

“I was once among the sinners whom You saved. To give others an example of Your most benign mercy, I shall declare Your great favors. You saved me from the deepest pit of hell once, twice, thrice, a hundred times, a thousand times. I was ever tending toward hell, and always You drew me back when, if You had so willed, You could have justly damned me a thousand times; You did not will to do so, because You love souls and dissimulate the sins of men so that they may do penance, O Lord, most merciful in all Your ways.

“Now I see and by Your light I know all this, O Lord my God, and my soul faints away when it considers the greatness of Your mercy. My whole life, which was perishing in my misery, has been revived by Your mercy. I was wholly dead and You restored me wholly to life. May all that is in me be Yours then, henceforth, for I give myself wholly to You!” (St. Augustine).
"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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