Seventeenth 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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In the Introit of the Mass the justice and mercy of God are praised: thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgment is right; deal with thy servant according to thy mercy. Blessed are the undefiled in the  way; who walk in the law of the Lord. (Ps. cxviii.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Grant to Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to avoid the defilements of the devil, and with a pure mind to follow
Thee, the only God. Thro'.

EPISTLE. (Ephes. iv. i— 6.) Brethren, I, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called. With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. Who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

ADMONITION. Implore God continually for grace to accomplish and make certain your vocation by practicing these virtues, recommended by St. Paul.

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. (Ephes. iv. 5. 6.)

THESE words of the great Apostle of the Gentiles show clearly, that it is not a matter of indifference, what faith or religion we profess. Yet in our times so poor in faith, we often hear the assertion from so-called enlightened men: It is all the same to what religion we belong, we can be saved in any, if we only believe in God and live uprightly." This assertion is impious! Consider, my dear Christian, there is but one God, and this one God has sent only one Redeemer, and this one Redeemer has preached but one doctrine, and has established but one Church. Had God wished that there should be more than one Church, then Christ would have founded them, nay, lie would not have preached a new doctrine, established a new, Christian Church; for the Jews also believed in one God. But Jesus cast aside Paganism and Judaism, promulgated a new religion, and founded a new Church. Nowhere does He speak of Churches, but always of one Church. He says that we must hear this Church, and does not add, that if we will not hear this Church, we may hear some other. He speaks of only one shepherd, one flock, and one fold, into which all men are to be brought. In the same manner He speaks always of one kingdom upon earth, just as there is only one kingdom in heaven; of only one master of the house and one family, of one field and one vineyard, whereby He referred to His Church; of one rock, upon which He would build His Church.

On the day before His death, He prayed fervently to His Heavenly Father, that all who believe in Him, might be and remain one, as He and the Father are one, and He gave His disciples the express command to preach His gospel to all nations, and to teach them all things, whatsoever He had commanded them. This command the apostles carried out exactly. Everywhere they preached one and the same doctrine, establishing in all places Christian communities, which were all united by the bond of the same faith. Their principal care was to prevent schisms in faith, they warned the faithful against heresy, commanded all originators of such to be avoided,  and anathematized those who preached a gospel different from theirs. As the apostles, so did their successors. All the holy Fathers speak with burning love of the necessary unity of faith, and deny those all claim to salvation who remain knowingly in schism and separation from the true Church of Christ.

Learn hence, dear Christian, that there can be but one true Church; if there is but one true Church, it naturally follows that in her alone salvation can be obtained, and the assertion that we can be saved by professing any creed, is false and impious. Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life , speaks of but one Church , which we must hear, if we wish to be saved. He who does not hear the Church, He says, should be considered as a heathen and publican. He speaks furthermore of one fold, and He promises eternal life only to those sheep who belong to this fold, obey the voice of the shepherd and feed in His pasture. The apostles were also convinced, that only the one, true Church could guide us to salvation. Without faith it is impossible to please God, writes St. Paul to the Hebrews, (xi. 6.) and this faith is only one, he teaches the Ephesians. (iv. 5.) If the apostles had believed that we could be saved in any religion, they would certainly not have contended so strenuously for unity, they would not have declared so solemnly, that we should not belong to any other than to Christ alone, and that we must receive and obey His doctrine. As the apostles taught so did their successors and all the Fathers agree that there is no salvation outside of the true Church. St. Cyprian writes: "If any one outside Noah's ark could find safety, then also will one outside the Church find salvation." (De unit. eccl. c. y.J From all this it follows, that there is only one true
Church which insures salvation, out of which no one can be saved.

But which is this Church ? The Roman Catholic, Apostolic Church, for she alone was founded by Christ, she alone was watered with the blood of the apostles and of thousands of holy martyrs, she alone has the marks of the true Church of Christ, [see the Instruction for the first Sunday after Easter] against which He has promised that the powers of hell shall not prevail. Those who fell away from the Church three hundred years ago, do, indeed, contend that the Church fell into error and no longer possessed the true, pure gospel of Jesus. Were they right, Jesus might be blamed, for He established this Church, promising to remain with her and guide her through the Holy Ghost until the end of the world. He would, therefore, have broken His word, or He was not powerful enough to keep it. But who dare say this?

On the contrary, she has existed for eighteen hundred years, whilst the greatest and most powerful kingdoms have been overthrown, and the firmest thrones crumbled away. If she were not the only true and saving Church, founded by Christ, how could she have existed so long, since Jesus Himself said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. (Matt. xv. 13.) If she were not the Church of Christ, she would have been destroyed long ago, but she still stands to-day, whilst her enemies who battled against her, have disappeared, and will continue to disappear; for the gates of hell shall not prevail against her, says our Lord. He has kept His promise and will keep it, notwithstanding all the oppositions and calumnies of her implacable enemies.

You see, therefore, my dear Christian, that the Catholic Church is the only true, the only saving Church; be not deceived by those who are neither cold nor warm, and who say: "We can be saved in any religion, if we only believe in God and live uprightly," and who wish to rob you of your holy faith, and precipitate you into the sea of doubt, error, and falsehood. Outside of the Catholic Church there is no salvation; hold this firmly, for it is the teaching of Jesus, His apostles, and all the Fathers; for this doctrine the apostles and a countless host of the faithful have shed their blood. Obey the teaching of this Church, follow her laws, make use of her help and assistance, and often raise your hands and heart to heaven to thank God for the priceless grace of belonging to this one, true Church; forget not to pray for your erring brethren, who are still outside of the Church that the Lord may lead them into her, that His promise may be fulfilled: There will be one fold and one shepherd.

GOSPEL. (Matt xxii. 35 — 46.) At that time, The Pharisees came to Jesus, and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked him, tempting him: Master, which is the great commandment of the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets. And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: What think you of Christ; whose son is he? They say to him: David's. He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call him Lord; saying: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word: neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

What is meant by loving God?

It means to find one's pleasure, happiness, and joy in God, because He is the highest and most perfect Good; to rejoice in His infinite majesty and glory; to direct one's thoughts, words, and actions towards Him as our only end; to do His will in all things, and be prepared always rather to lose everything, even life itself, than His friendship.

What is meant by loving God with our whole heart, our whole soul, &c.?

These different expressions all properly mean the same thing, namely, that we should cling to God with a true, sincere and heartfelt love, but by our heart, our will may be understood, that power by which we wish God all glory, and desire nothing more than that He be known, loved, and honored by all men. The soul signifies the intellect by means of which we should endeavor to arrive at the knowledge and love of God, praise and glorify Him above all things. The mind may signify our memory, with which we continually remember God and the innumerable benefits, bestowed on us by Him, praise Him for them, thank Him, and always walk irreproachably before Him. Finally, we love God, with all our strength, if we employ all the powers and faculties of our body in His service, and direct all our actions to Him as to our last end.

Is it true love, if we love God only because He is good to its?

This is grateful love, which is good and praiseworthy, but it is not perfect love, because the motive is self-love and self-interest.

What, therefore, is perfect love?

When we love God only because He is in Himself the highest Good, and most worthy of all love. In this manner we should endeavor to love Him; not through self-interest, not through hope of reward, not through fear of punishment, but only because He, as the greatest Good, contains all goodness and, therefore, deserves to be loved only on account of Himself. Such love had St. Francis Xavier, which he very beautifully expressed in the following canticle, composed by himself:

O God, I give my love to Thee,
Not for the heaven Thou'st made for me,
Nor yet because who love not Thee
Will burn in hell eternally.
In dying throes on Calvary,
My Jesus, Thou didst think of me,
Didst bear the lance, the nails, the tree,
Rude scoffs, contempt and infamy,
And pangs untold, all lovingly, —
The scourge, the sweat, the agony,
And death itself, — all, all for me,

A sinner and Thy enemy.
Why, therefore, should not I love Thee,
O Jesus, dead for love of me?
Not that I may in heaven be,
Not that from hell I may be free;
Not urged by dread of endless pain,
Not lured by prize of endless gain,
But as Thou, Lord, didst first love me,
So do I love and will love Thee.
To Thee, my King, I give my heart,
For this alone that God Thou art.

Can fear exist with love?

Servile fear cannot , but filial fear may. Servile fear is rather a fear of punishment than a fear of offending God. Where such fear exists , love cannot dwell; for in love, writes St. Augustine, (in Joann. Tr. q.) there is no fear, for perfect love casteth out fear, (i John iv. 18.) Filial fear, on the contrary, is the fear of offending God. This fear leads to love and is also an effect of love; it is the beginning of wisdom. (Ecclus, i. 16.) Let us cherish this fear, for it will drive away sin, as sentinels expel thieves; (Ecclus, i. 27.) it will replenish us with joy, and gladness, and obtain for us in our last moments divine blessings, and a holy death. (Ecclus. i. 11 — 13.)

How may we obtain a perfect love of God?

By meditating on His infinite, divine perfections, such as His almighty power, His wisdom, His splendor, His beauty, &c; by contemplating His boundless love for us, in the incarnation, sufferings, and death of His only-begotten Son; by frequently practicing this virtue; by fervent prayer;
and by making acts of love, such as are found in good prayer-books.

When should we practice the virtue of love of God?

As soon as we have arrived at the age of reason; when the world, the devil, and the flesh, endeavor to withdraw us from God, by their apparent goods and pleasures; when we have separated ourselves from God by mortal sin; when we receive the holy Sacraments, particularly holy Communion; when we receive a particular grace from God; when we use food and drink, and other lawful enjoyments; when we contemplate God's creatures; often during the day; and especially in the hour of death. [Concerning the love of our neighbor, see the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost].

Why is the commandment to love God and our neighbor called the greatest commandment?

Because in it are contained all the other commandments, for Christ says, in it consists the whole law. He who loves God with his whole heart, does not separate himself from God by infidelity, does not practice public or private superstition and idolatry; he does not murmur against God, does not
desecrate the name of God by cursing and swearing; he does not profane the Sabbath, because he knows, that all this is displeasing 1 to God. On the contrary, he hopes in God, keeps Sundays and days of obligation holy, and observes all the commandments of the Church, because God wishes, that we hear the Church; he honors his parents, inflicts no evil upon his neighbor; does not commit adultery, does not steal, calumniates no one, does not bear false witness, does not judge rashly, is not envious, malicious or cruel but rather practices the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; and all this, because he loves God and his neighbor.

What is the meaning of the question: What think you of Christ?

Christ asked the Pharisees this question in order to convince them, from their own answer, that He was not only the Son of David, but that He as the only-begotten Son of God was the Lord of David and of all men from eternity. (Ps. ii. 7.) — Unhappily even to-day there are men, who like the Pharisees deny the divinity of Christ, the Son of the living God, consider Him merely a very wise and virtuous man, and do not receive His doctrine, confirmed by so many miracles. Beware, my dear Christian, of these men who rob you of the peace of the soul, and the consoling hope of a future resurrection and eternal life, together with faith in Christ, the divine Redeemer. But if you believe Christ to be the Son of God and our Lord. Law-
giver, Instructor, and Redeemer, follow His teaching, and do not contradict in deed what you profess with your lips.

PRAYER. O most amiable Jesus! who hast admonished us so affectionately to love God and our neighbor, pour the fire of Thy love into our hearts, that all our deeds and actions, all our thoughts and words may begin and end with Thy love. Grant, that we may love Thee with all the powers of our body and soul, and thereby be so united to Thee, that, like St. Paul, no temptation, no tribulation, no danger, not even death, may be able to separate us from Thee. Grant us also, that we may love our neighbors, friends, and enemies as ourselves for Thy sake, and thus be made worthy to possess Thee as our Redeemer and merciful Judge.
"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
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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The Gospel, which is now assigned to the Mass of the seventeenth Sunday, has given it the name of the Sunday of the love of God, dating, that is, from the time when the Gospel of the cure of the dropsy and of the invitation to the wedding-feast, was anticipated by eight days. Previously, even, to that change, and from the very first, there used to be read on this seventeenth Sunday, another passage from the New Testament which is no longer found in this serial of Sundays: it was the Gospel which mentions the difficulty regarding the resurrection of the dead, which the Sadducees proposed to our Lord.


The judgments of God are always just, whether it be, in his justice, humbling the proud or, in his mercy, exalting the humble. This day last week, we saw this Sovereign disposer of all things allotting to each his place at the divine banquet. Let us recall to mind the behavior of the guests and the respective treatment shown to the humble and the proud. Adoring these judgments of our Lord, let us sing our Introit; and as far as regards our own selves, let us throw ourselves entirely upon his mercy.

Justus es, Domine, et rectum judicium tuum: fac cum servo tuo secundum misericordiam tuam.
Thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgment is right; deal with thy servant according to thy mercy.

Ps. Beati immaculati in via: qui ambulant in lege Domini. Gloria Patri. Justus es.
Ps. Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory, &c.

The most hateful of all the obstacles which divine love has to encounter upon earth is the jealousy of Satan, who endeavors, by an impious usurpation of his own, to rob God of the possession of our souls—souls, that is, which were created by and for Him alone. Let us unite with holy Church in praying, in the Collect, for the supernatural assistance we require for avoiding the foul contact of the hideous serpent.

Da, quæsumus Domine, populo tuo diabolica vitare contagia: et te solum Deum pura mente sectari. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that thy people may avoid all the contagions of the devil; and, with a pure mind, follow thee, who alone art God. Through, etc.

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


Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul, the Apostle, to the Ephesians. Ch. iv.

Brethren: I who am a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity. Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all.

Quote:The Church, by thus giving the words from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, again takes up the subject so dear to her—the dignity of her children. She beseeches them to correspond, in a becoming manner, to their high Vocation. This Vocation, this Call, which God gives us is, as we have been so often told, the call, or invitation, made to the human family, that it would come to the sacred nuptials of the divine Union; it is the Vocation given to us to reign in heaven with the Word, who had made himself our Spouse, and our Head. The Gospel read to us eight days ago, which was formerly the one appointed for this present Sunday, and what thus brought into close connection with our Epistle—that Gospel, we say, finds itself admirably commented by these words of St. Paul to the Ephesians, and it, in turn, throws light on the Apostle’s words about the Vocation. When thou art invited to a Wedding (“cum vocatus fueris”) sit down in the lowest place! These were our Lord’s words to us last Sunday; and now, we have the Apostle saying to us: Walk worthy of the vocation in which ye are called, yes, walk in that vocation with all humility!

Let us now attentively hearken to our Apostle, telling us what we must do, in order to prove ourselves worthy of the high honor offered to us by the Son of God. We must practice, among other virtues, these three—humility, mildness, and patience. These are the means for gaining the end that is so generously proposed to us. And what is this end? It is the unity of that immense body, which the Son of God makes his own, by the mystic nuptials he vouchsafes to celebrate with our human nature. This Man-God asks one condition from those whom he calls, whom he invites, to become, through the Church, his Bride, bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. This one condition is that they maintain such harmony among them that it will make one body and one spirit of them all, in the bond of peace. “Bond most glorious!” cries out St. John Chrysostom, “bond most admirable, which unites us all mutually with one another, and then, thus united, unites us with God.” The strength of this bond is the strength of the Holy Spirit himself, who is all holiness and love; for it is that Holy Spirit who forms these spiritual and divine ties; He it is who, with the countless multitude of the Baptised, does the work which the soul does in the human body, that is, it gives it life, and it unites all the members into oneness of person. It is by the Holy Ghost that young and old, poor and rich, men and women, distinct as all these are in other respects, are made one, fused, so to say, in the fire which eternally burns in the blessed Trinity. But in order that the flame of infinite love may thus draw into its embrace our regenerated humanity, we must get rid of selfish rivalries and grudges and dissentions which, so long as they exist among us, prove us to be carnal, and therefore, that we are unfit material for either the divine flame to touch, or for the Union which that flame produces. According to the beautiful comparison of St. John Chrysostom—when fire lays hold of various species of wood which have been thrown into it, if it find the fuel properly dry, it makes one burning pile of all the several woods; but if they are damp and wet, it cannot act on them separately nor reduce the whole to one common blaze: so is it in the spiritual order; the unhealthy humidity of the passions neutralizes the action of the sanctifying Spirit; and Union, which is both the means and end of love, becomes an impossibility.

Let us, therefore, bind ourselves to our brethren by that blessed link of charity which, if it fetters at all, fetters only our bad tempers; but in all other respects, it dilates our hearts by the very fact of its giving free scope to the Holy Ghost to lead them safely to the realization of that one hope of our common vocation and calling—which is to unite us to God by love. Of course, charity, even with the Saints, is, so long as they are on this earth, a laborious virtue; because even with the best, grace seldom restores to a perfect equilibrium the faculties of man which were put out of order by original sin. From this it follows that the weakness of human nature will sometimes show themselves, either by excess or by deficiency; and when these weaknesses do crop up, it is not only the saint himself is humbled by their getting the better of him, but as he is well aware, they who live with him have to practice kindness and patience towards him. God permits all this in order to increase the merit of us all, and make us long more and more for heaven. For it is there alone that we shall find ourselves not only totally, but without any effort, in perfect harmony with our fellow men; and this because of the perfect peaceful submissiveness to our entire being under the absolute sway of the thrice holy God, who will then be all to all. In that happy land, it will be God himself will wipe away the tears of his elect for their miseries will all be gone; and their miseries will be gone because their whole being will be renovated, because united with Him, who is its infinite source. The eternal Son of God having then conquered, in each member of his mystical Body, the hostile powers and death itself, will appear, in the fullness of the mystery of his Incarnation, as the true Head of humanity, sanctified, restored, and developed in Him. He will rejoice at seeing how, by the workings of the sanctifying Spirit, there has been wrought the destined degree of perfection in each of the several parts of that marvellous Body, which He vouchsafed to aggregate to Himself by the bond of love; and all this in order that he might eternally celebrate, in a choir composed of himself, the Incarnate Word, and all creation, the glory of the ever adorable Trinity. How will not the sweetest music of earth be then surpassed! How will not our most perfect choirs seem to us then to have been almost like the noise of children singing out of tune, compared with the concord and harmony of that eternal song! Let us get ourselves ready for that heavenly concert. Let us put our voices in order, by now attuning our hearts to that plenitude of love, which alas! is not often enjoyed here below, but which we should ever be trying to realize, by that patiently supporting the faults of our brethren and ourselves, which the Epistle so earnestly impresses upon us.

One would almost say that, in the ecstasy of her delight, at hearing these few sounds of heaven’s music brought to her by such a singer as her Apostle—our Mother the Church feels herself carried away far beyond time, and boldly joins a short song of her own to that of her Jesus and his Paul. Yes, it looks like it, for by way of conclusion to the text of our Epistle, she adds an ardent expression of praise, which is not in the original; and thus she forms a kind of doxology to the inspired words of her apostolic Chanter.

We now know the priceless gifts brought to our earth by the Man-God. Thanks to the prodigies of power and love achieved by the divine Word and the sanctifying Spirit—the soul of the just man is a little heaven on earth. In this strong appreciation of marvels, which have made the christian people be chosen by God as his own—his own inheritance—let us sing our Gradual and Alleluia the happiness of the Christian people, chosen by God for His own inheritance.

Beata gens, cujus est Dominus Deus eorum: populus, quem elegit Dominus in hæreditatem sibi.
Blessed is the nation that hath the Lord for its God: the people whom he hath chosen for his inheritance.

℣. Verbo Domini cœli firmati sunt: et spiritu oris ejus omnis virtus eorum.
℣. By the word of the Lord, and the breath of his mouth, were the heavens formed, and the whole host thereof.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam: et clamor meus ad te perveniat. Alleluia.
℣. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. Ch. xxii.

At that time: The Pharisees came to Jesus: and one of them, a doctor of the law, asking him, tempting him: Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets. And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying: What think you of Christ? whose son is he? They say to him: David’s. He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word; neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Quote:The Man-God allowed temptation to approach his sacred person in the desert; he disdained not to sustain the attacks which the devil’s spiteful cunning has, from the world’s first beginning, been suggesting to him as the surest means of working man’s perdition. Our Jesus permitted the demon thus to tempt him, in order that he might show his faithful servants how they are to repel the assaults of the wicket spirit. Today our adorable Master, who would be a model to his children in all their trials, is represented to us as having to content not with Satan’s perfidy, but with the hypocrisy of his bitterest enemies, the Pharisees. They seek to ensnare him in his speech, just as the representatives of the world, which he has condemned, will do to his Church, and that in all ages, right to the end of time. But as her divine Spouse triumphed, so will she, for he will enable her to continue his work upon earth, and amidst the same temptations and the same snares. She is ever to come off with victory by maintaining a most inviolable fidelity to God’s law and truth. The tools of Satan, who are the heretics and the princes of this world, chafing at the restraint put by christianity on their ambition and lust, will always be studying how best to outwit the guardian of the divine oracles, by their captious propositions or questions. When necessity requires her to speak, she is quite ready; for as Bride of that divine Word, who is his Father’s eternal and substantial utterance, what can she be but a voice, either announce him on earth, or sing him in heaven? That word of hers, endowed as it is with the power and penetration of God himself, will not only never be taken by surprise, but like a two-edged sword, it will generally go much deeper than the crafty questioners of the Church anticipated; it will not only refute their sophistry, it will also expose the hypocrisy and wickedness of their intentions. By their sacrilegious attempts, they will have gained nothing but disgrace and shame, and the mortification of having occasioned a fresh luster to Truth by the new light in which it has been put, and of having procured a clearer knowledge of dogma or morals for the devoted children of the Church.

It was thus with the Pharisees of today’s Gospel. As the Homily upon it tells us, they wanted to see if Jesus, who had declared himself to be God, would not consequently make some addition to the commandment of divine love; and if he did, they would be justified in condemning him as having tried to change the letter of the law in its greatest commandment. Our Lord disappoints them. He met their question by giving it a longer answer than they had asked for; that is, having first recited the text of the great commandment as given in the Scripture, he continued the quotation, and by so doing, showed them that he was not ignorant of the intention which had induced them to question him: he continued the quotation by reminding them of the second commandment, which is like unto the first—the commandment, that is, of love of the neighbor, and that condemned their intended crime of deicide. Thus were they convicted of loving neither their neighbor nor God himself, for the first commandment cannot be observed if the second, which flows from and completes it, be broken.

But our Lord does not stop there; he obliges them to acknowledge, at least implicitly, the divinity of the Messiah. He puts a question, in His turn, to them, and they answer it by saying, as they were obliged to do, that the Christ was to be of the family of David; but if he be his Son, how comes it that David calls himself “his Lord,” just as he calls God himself, as we have it in the 109th Psalm, where he celebrates the glories of the Messiah? The only possible explanation is that the Messiah, who in due time and as Man, was to be born of David’s house, was God, and Son of God, even before time existed, according to the same Psalm: From my womb, before the day-star, I begot thee. This answer would have condemned the Pharisees, so they refuse to give it; but their silence was an avowal; and before very long, the eternal Father’s vengeance upon these vile enemies of his Son will fulfill the prophecy of making them his footstool in blood and shame: that time is to be the terrible day when the justice of God will fall upon the deicide city.

Let us Christians, out of contempt for Satan, who stirred up the expiring Synagogue to thus lay snares for the Son of God—let us turn these efforts of hatred into an instruction which will warm up our love. The Jews, by rejecting Christ Jesus, sinned against both of the commandments which constitute charity, and embody the whole law; and we, on the contrary, by loving that same Jesus, fulfill the whole law.

This Jesus of ours is the brightness of eternal glory; one by nature with the Father and the Holy Ghost; he is the God whom the first commandment bids us love; and it is in Him also that the second has its truest and adequate application. For not only is he as truly Man as he is truly God, but he is the Man by excellence, the perfect Man, on whose type, and for whom, all other men were formed; he is the model and brother to all of them; he is, at the same time, the leader, who governs them as their King, and offers them to God as their High Priest; he is the Head, who communicates to all the members of the human family both beauty and life and movement and light; he is the Redeemer of that human family, when it fell, and on that account, he is, twice over, the source of all right and the ultimate and highest motive, even when not the direct Object, of every love that deserves to be called love, here below. Nothing counts with God, excepting so far as it has reference to this Jesus. As St. Augustine says, God only loves men inasmuch as they either are, or may one day become, members of his Son; it is his Son that he loves in them: thus he loves with one same love, though not equally, both his Word, and the Flesh of his Word, and the members of his Incarnate Word. Now, Charity is love—love such as it is in God, communicated to us creatures by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, what we should love, by charity, both in our own selves and in others is the divine Word, as either being or, as another expression of the same St. Augustine adds, “that it may be” in others and in ourselves.

Let us take care, also, as a consequence of this same truth, not to exclude any human being from our love, excepting the damned, who are thereby absolutely and eternally cut off from the body of the Man-God. Who can boast that he has the Charity of Christ, if he do not embrace his Unity? The question is St. Augustine’s again. Who can love Christ without loving, with Him, the Church, which is his Body? without loving all his members? What we do, be it to the least or be it to the worthiest—be it of evil or of good—it is to Him we do it, for he tells us so. Then let us love our neighbor as ourselves because of Christ, who is in each of us, and gives to us all union and increase in Charity.

That same Apostle who says: The end of the law is charity, says also: The end of the law is Christ; and we now see the harmony existing between these two distinct propositions. We understand also the connection there is between the word of the Gospel: On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets, and that other saying of our Lord: Search the Scriptures, for the same are they that give testimony of me. The fullness of the law, which is the rule of men’s conduct, is in Charity, of which Christ is the end, just as the Object of the revealed Scriptures is no other than the Man-God, who embodies in his own adorable unity, for us his followers, all moral teaching and all dogma. He is our faith and our love, “the end of all our resolutions,” says St. Augustine; “for all our efforts tend but to this—to perfect ourselves in Him; and this is our perfection, to reach Him: having reached Him, seek no farther, for he is your End.” The holy Doctor gives us, when we have reached this point, the best instruction as to how we are to live in the divine Union: “Let us cling to One, let us enjoy One, let us all be one in Him;” hæreamus Uni, fruamur Uno, permaneamus unum.

The beautiful Anthem for today’s Offertory, separated as we now have it from the Verses which formerly accompanied it, does not suggest why, in the earliest ages, it was assigned to this Sunday. We subjoin these Verses to the Anthem, which has been retained. The second concludes with the announcement of the arrival of the Prince of the heavenly Hosts, who is coming to the aid of God’s people. This gives the desired explanation; and it becomes all the clearer when remember that this Sunday begins the week of the great Archangel in the Antiphonary published, from the most ancient manuscripts, by the blessed Thomasi; and that the following Sunday is there designated as the first Sunday after Saint Michael (post Sancti Angeli).

Oravi Deum meum ego Daniel, dicens: Exaudi, Domine, preces servi tui: illumina faciam tuam super sanctuarium tuum: et propitius intende populum istum, super quem invocatum est nomen tuum, Deus.
I Daniel prayed unto my God, saying: Graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of thy servant: show thy face upon thy sanctuary: and mercifully look upon this people, upon which is invocated thy name, O God!

℣. I. Adhuc me loquente et orante, et narrante peccata mea, et delicta populi mei Israel.
℣. I. Whilst I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sins, and the sins of my people of Israel.

Super quem.
Upon which.

℣. II. Audivi vocem dicentem mihi: Daniel, intellige verga quæ loquor tibi; quia ego missus sum ad te; nam et Michael venit in adjutorium meum.
℣. II. I heard a voice saying unto me: Daniel! understand the words that I speak unto thee; for, I am sent unto thee; for Michael likewise cometh to help me.

Et propitius intende.
And mercifully look.

Forgiveness of our past sins, and preservation from future ones—these are the effects produced by the Holy Sacrifice. Let us pray for them, in the Secret, together with the Church.

Majestatem tuam, Domine, suppliciter deprecamur: ut hæc sancta, quæ gerimus, et a præteritis nos delictis exuant, et futuris. Per Dominum.
We humbly beseech thy majesty, O Lord: that the sacred mysteries we are celebrating may rid us of our past sins, and of all such for the future. Through, etc.

It is while assisting at these great Mysteries that the christian soul in the enthusiasm of her love presents to her God her promises and her engagements. Let her, then, give herself unreservedly to the God who overwhelms her with his favors; but while thus giving free vent to the holy emotions which she so justly feels, let her not forget that He who hides himself, out of consideration for our weakness, under the eucharistic veil, is the Most High, who is terrible to the kings of the earth, and an avenger of infidelity to what is vowed.

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

It is the very holiness of God that, in this divine Sacrament, comes for the purpose of curing our vices and fortifying our faltering steps in the road which leads to eternity. In the prayer of the Post-communion, let us yield our souls to his almighty influence.

Vovete, et reddite Domino Deo vestro omnes, qui in circuitu ejus affertis munera: terribili et ei, qui aufert spiritum principum: terribili apud omnes reges terræ.
Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God, all ye that, round about him, bring gifts: to him that is terrible; even to him, who taketh away the spirit of princes: to the terrible with the kings of the earth.

Sanctificationibus tuis, omnipotens Deus, et vitia nostra curentur, et remedia nobis æterna proveniant. Per Dominum.
May our vices be cured, O almighty God, and eternal remedies procured for us, by these thy holy 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
Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

"And one of them, a doctor of the law, asked Him, tempting Him, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"--Matt. 22, 36.

With what different dispositions did those of whom the Gospel tells us today that they sought to interrogate Jesus, approach their divine Master! Some questioned only to tempt Him, some through mere curiosity, while others asked from integrity of purpose and a sincere desire to know and comply with their duty. Many, and by far the greater number of those who stood by, neither questioned our Lord, nor cared for the instruction He would impart; for the all-important affair of their salvation was the one which troubled them least, as is still the case, alas! and will be while there are men to tread the earth.

Many there are who interrogate those divinely appointed to expound the truths of our holy religion, but it is only with a view to injure and bring disgrace both upon them and the faith they profess. An impossible undertaking, if they would but realize it! They question only to surprise the answers, to ensnare them in the meshes of some specious argument, hoping thus to gain their malicious ends, as if the Church were not founded by Christ Himself, and fortified by the divine promise of everlasting protection.

Others, again, ask more through idle curiosity than with the intention of becoming truly converted to God, and serving Him faithfully for the remainder of their lives.

But, my brethren, as I have said before, far more numerous still are those who do not care to ask at all in what consists the great affair of salvation, who eagerly inquire into the merits of earthly and transitory things, but care not to inform themselves as to what is required by God for His faithful love and service in this life, that He may reward us with eternal happiness in the next.

That it may not be so with us, let us take deeply to heart the answer of our divine Saviour in this day's Gospel, and consider why He gave such pre-eminence to that commandment which enjoins upon us the duty of loving God, resolving, at the same time, to observe it to the best of our ability, with the help of His holy grace.

Mary, queen of the seraphim, mother of fair love, pray, that we, like you, may find our greatest delight in complying with the injunctions of this great precept! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater glory of God!

"Master! which is the greatest commandment in the law?" and Jesus said to him: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind." Thus far the answer given by Christ, as we find it narrated in the Gospel of today.

Let us dwell for a moment upon the cause we have for surprise, that such a question should be put to Christ. It seems as if we all should know what was the first and greatest commandment. Nay, it seems strange that love of God should be imposed upon us by a special command. It seems strange to prescribe for us as a duty, what is so plain in itself, and to the fulfillment of which we are urged by motives so many and so powerful.

If St. Stanislaus Kostka, in his wonder at being asked if he loved the mother of God, exclaimed, in answer to the priest who interrogated him: "How could I possibly refrain from loving my dear mother?" Still greater cause has the faithful soul to cry out: "How could I do otherwise than love God, my Creator and Father, my Redeemer,--the supreme object and end of my existence,--the eternal source of my salvation?" And yet it is necessary that a command be imposed upon us to enforce the love of God. Oh, heart of man, what degeneracy has not the sin of our first parents caused in thee!

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind." This, according to Christ, is the first and greatest precept. It is the first and greatest, if we consider it in regard to its dignity--in regard to its obligation--in regard to its extent--in regard to its merits--in regard to its sweetness--and in regard to its necessity as well as the ease with which it can be observed. Let us briefly but earnestly consider the commandment under each of the preceding aspects.

It is the first and greatest in regard to its dignity, because its object is God Himself, Who is the infinitely perfect Being existing from all eternity.

It is the first and greatest when considered according to its obligation. How many, and what powerful motives to love God above all, rise up before us! Man naturally inclines to love and esteem whatever is good, beautiful and perfect, whether it be knowledge or power, virtue or holiness, justice or benevolence, truth or fidelity. How, then, could he withhold his love from a God, Who is infinitely good, infinitely powerful, infinitely wise, infinitely merciful, infinitely true, infinitely faithful, beautiful, and grand?

This commandment is the first and greatest, because man is susceptible of love and affection towards any one who bestows favors upon him. How, then, could he possibly refrain from loving a God to Whose bounty he is indebted for all that he possesses, and from Whom he hopes to receive infinitely greater benefits in a blissful eternity?

In the order of nature man owes a debt of gratitude to God for every gift of body and soul. Without Him he could not draw a single breath--his heart would cease to beat,--through His goodness he receives food and clothing. In the supernatural order he owes God special thanks for many spiritual gifts and graces. How fitting, then, is it that we should, like holy David, marvel how we can thank the Lord our God for all He has given us! My brethren, God has already replied. What does He desire from each and every one of us, but the fervent love of our heart and soul?

This precept is the first and greatest in regard to its extent; for it embraces, as we know by the assurance of Christ and His Apostles, all the other commandments. Its intrinsic merit also places this precept above all others; for without it there could be no merit, as St. Paul asserts in these words: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

It is the first and greatest precept on account of its sweetness, because it demands of us to love Love itself; and, therefore, it is also the first and greatest, on account of its very necessity; for we have the solemn assurance of St. John, the disciple of love: "He that loveth not, abideth in death."

But, my friends, we are expected to obey this precept in its fullest sense. And in what is that? The words of Christ furnish the reply: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God above all things, with thy whole heart." To love Him so as to be able to exclaim, with truth: "O Lord, to Whom naught is hidden in the heart of Thy creature, Thou knowest that Thou art the supreme object of my love."

To love God with our whole heart, mind and strength, we must have no other love but Him, so that our lips may give utterance to the real sentiments of our hearts in the words: "O Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and mind and strength, and that I have no other love but Thee. To this love I bring the three powers of my soul, will, memory, and under standing. It shall influence all my actions, so that my life may indeed prove my love for Thee."

This would be loving God according to the admonition of St. John: "Let us not love in word nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth." We can fulfill this first and greatest precept in an especial manner in the performance of those duties which refer directly to God as prayer and acts of charity towards our neighbor for the love of God.

Yes, my brethren, the duty of loving our divine Saviour is sweet indeed; but let us not forget to prove our love by our daily actions, so that they may all tend to the greater honor of God! Amen!

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"And the second is like to this: Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself." Matt.--22, 39.

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self." To this commandment Christ has given the second place, and how forcibly does He recommend it by saying that it is like unto the first,--even like unto that precept which imposes upon us the obligation of loving Him! Could our divine Lord more emphatically express its importance, or more earnestly enforce our compliance with it? And why does he so highly extol this second precept, and connect it so closely with the first? Because this second commandment has its source in the first, and all the motives which urge and determine us to comply with it refer directly to our common end-- God. Why this is so shall be made clear to you in this discourse.

Frequent and serious reflection upon the obligation of this precept is necessary for a twofold reason. First, because man is so often tempted to avail himself of specious excuses to neglect its observance; and, secondly, because there are constant occasions to transgress this commandment.

O Mary, mother of all true children of God, pray that, for thy dear sake, we may find true happiness in faithfully complying with this command of thy beloved Son! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

In regard to that commandment which our Lord pronounced the first and greatest, it can not fail to excite our wonder that, to observe what should be our joy to comply with voluntarily, has been imposed upon us as an obligation. The very thought of God, nay, the mere questions, "Who is God?" "What am I" place before our mental vision, in a light clear as the rays of the noonday sun, that in such compliance we would find perfect peace and joy.

But it is very different with that precept which requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves. God is infinitely perfect, and all His relations towards us are as so many sparks, to enkindle in us the fire of divine love; while our neighbor, on the contrary, is an imperfect being, nay, but too often a being so corrupt that we have ample cause to censure his conduct and to shun his society. Yet the commandment remains in force: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." The reasons for obeying remain the same, be the difficulties in the way of its fulfillment ever so great. That we may the more readily perceive, and the more willingly acknowledge, the truth of this, let us consider, in order, the various motives which should urge us to comply with this command.

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Why? Because, like thyself, he has been created to the image and likeness of God. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Why? Because, like thyself, he has been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Why? Because, like thyself, he enjoys the privilege of being a child of the one true Church. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Why? Because, like thou, he has been called to be, one day, a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem, and to dwell forever in the kingdom of eternal love.

Let us frequently call to mind these motives, and be ever ready to practise acts of charity, for they are most dear to our Lord, who assures us that whatever we do, even to the least of our fellow-men, He regards as done to Himself, and that He will reward us a thousand-fold.

Could we have a more, powerful incentive to be kind and charitable towards our fellow-beings, than that our Saviour will accept and bless this love and kindness as if He were Himself the recipient?

Yes, my brethren, He even affixes to the fulfillment of this precept the security of our salvation, for we read in St. Matthew: "Then shall the King say to them that shall be on His right hand: Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; naked, and you covered Me."

But, oh, what a fearful malediction is pronounced upon the miserable beings on the left! With angry countenance the Judge of the living and the dead will say: "I was hungry, and you gave Me not to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me not to drink; . . . Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels."

Now, should you ask: "How are we to fulfill this precept in the most perfect way? " my reply would be : Listen to the words of Christ: "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you." Your divine Master points out the way, when He tells us to act towards our neighbor as we would have him act towards us. What a golden rule for the practice of fraternal charity!

"Charity thinketh no evil. We wish others to recognize and extol our good qualities; let us not be unmindful of theirs. "Charity envieth not," but acknowledges with joy the existence of virtue in others, as the Apostle of Nations assures us: " Charity is kind." We frequently need the assistance of our neighbor; let us not be unmindful of his necessities. "A brother that is helped by his brother, is like a strong city."

When the heart is heavy with the weight of some heaven-sent sorrow, oh, then the sympathy of a beloved friend is soothing to the heart. St. Paul under stood this well, when he gave utterance to the words: "Who is afflicted and I am not grieved?"

We wish others to forgive us; let us, then, be forgiving, for Christ assures us that if we refuse pardon to our neighbor it will not be granted to us. We re joice when some holy soul assists us in our efforts to become holy; let us then manifest fraternal love by unwearied zeal in promoting the spiritual welfare of our neighbor.

From all that has been said, my brethren, we can easily perceive the meaning of the commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;" and why our blessed Saviour tells us that by loving one another we are known as His children, and why St. Paul has affirmed that in the fulfillment of this obligation we fulfill the whole law. It is because such a disposition is possible only when one loves God above all, and is firmly determined to fulfill His holy will.

When St. John, the Disciple of Love, whose constant theme was fraternal charity, and who never preached a sermon without imploring his hearers to love one another," was asked why he spoke so unceasingly upon that subject, he replied: "Because, if you love thus, your lives will be in accordance with the whole law."

Yes, children of the Holy Catholic Church, fulfill this commandment wholly and entirely, and, in so doing, you will find the sanctification and salvation of your souls! Amen!

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"What think you of Christ?"--Matt. 20, 42.

After Christ had explained which commandment was the first and greatest in the law, and indicated the importance of loving our neighbor, it naturally followed that He should ask: "And what think you of Christ?" in Whom both natures are united in one, and in regard to Whom, therefore, the twofold law of love has but one and the same object.

Were Christ today to ask us who, as children of the one true Church believe in Him the question: "What think you of Christ?" every well instructed Christian would reply: He is the Son of God, made man; therefore He is my God, my Redeemer, my Brother, my Friend, the Spouse of my soul, and the Judge who is one day to decide my eternal fate. This confession would avail but little if unaccompanied by the love which we owe to Christ, a love which must not be satisfied with mere professions, but must prove itselft by an intimate union with Jesus, ever present in the adorable Sacrament of the altar.

The devils believe and tremble, yet they remain devils. We wish our belief to be a source of happiness for time and eternity, then let it be verified by love. Christ was not satisfied with asking Peter what he thought of Him as when Peter, in answer, made that glorious confession of faith in Him as the Son of God but He afterwards directly interrogated this Apostle not only once, but three times: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me?" And to each and every Christian assembled here He puts the same question. Oh, may we indeed with sincerity, and without self-deception, entertain an ardent love for the Lord our God! We shall today consider this sign of true love for Jesus.

Mary, who, as the mother of Jesus, didst love Him with an ardor and affection that only a mother can feel, obtain for us a true love of Jesus! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

Our Lord asked Peter whether he loved Him, and the prince of the Apostles earnestly answered: "Yes. Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee!"

My brethren, if Christ today were to appear visibly in our midst, and address the same question to us, we would doubtless reply with Peter: "Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee! "But are we fully justified in this answer? Peter added to His reply the words: "Lord, Thou knowest all things!" Could we say, "Lord, Thou who knowest all things, canst look into my heart and read what is written there!" Alas! I fear not. We may say to God, I love Thee, yet our daily lives reveal a different tale, and prove the answer false. St. John warns us of the danger of self-deception in this regard, when he says: "Let us love not in word, nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth." Let us then, my brethren, look into our hearts for a few moments, and see whether our love will bear the test.

The first characteristic of true love is that its presence in the heart must be felt. Behold the little infant! It twines its arms round its mother's neck, and kisses her with fond endearment, and thus, without ever having heard the word love, its little heart feels it in the tenderest manner. Therefore, if asked whether you love Jesus truly, question your heart as to what sentiments are excited therein when you think or speak of your Saviour. Can you, like St. Augustine or St. Bernard, find no joy in aught that contains not the sweet name of Jesus? St. Bernard, after the mere utterance of that holy name, often tasted a sweetness like honey on his lips. If you are thus affected spiritually, your love has stood the first test.

Yet not to be deceived by a mere sensible affection, let me present to your consideration the second sign of true love for God, and this is horror of sin! for naturally one shrinks from offending a person beloved. "Do you love me? " says a wife to her erring husband. "If I did not," is the reply, "would I have chosen you of all others as my wife? " Yet the midnight hour finds her lonely and sad awaiting his return from some noisy revel, where he tarries, heedless of the anguish he causes his suffering wife. All the world indorses her doubts of the sincerity of his professions.

The third sign of true love consists in not only not offending, but also in doing all that we can to please the one we love. Thus a husband needs not to give his wife verbal assurances of his devotion if he anticipates her wishes, and tries to fulfill them whenever he can do so; for love reads in the eye the wish of the heart, and hastens to comply with it.

Is your love for Christ sincere? Examine the ardor of your efforts to imitate your divine model in the practice of those virtues which belong to your state of life. What testimony can your daily life produce that you earnestly strive to become holy according to the wish of your Saviour? Do you really try to follow in His footsteps? If so, you truly love Him; but if, on the contrary, you are content merely to avoid mortal sin, if you comply with your religious duties merely through habit or human respect, then, my brethren, you love not in deed nor in truth, but in word only.

The fourth sign of true love is generosity. A Christian who does not assist another, or who only does so in some urgent necessity, does not display any great love. True love of Jesus must be magnanimous and self-sacrificing, ever ready, therefore, to co-operate with Him in His mission to the human race, which is the rescue and sanctification of souls. What says conscience on this point, my friends? Do you not only assist your neighbor in his temporal wants, for the sake of Him Who assures us that whatever we do for the least of His creatures is as if done to Himself; but do you also labor according to your opportunities to draw souls to Christ, to promote their sanctification, to help them on the way of salvation? Perhaps you are not only wanting in this holy zeal, but, more deplorable far, your own life is not free from scandal. If so, you may indeed derive a certain satisfaction from the recitation of some beautiful prayer, while, with tears of sensibility, you declare your love for God, but no real love is there.

The fifth sign is a love of trials and sufferings. The Christian in whose life the cross has borne no part, whose days are passed in ease and luxury, has not the assurance that he is a real lover of Christ. Let the dark clouds of adversity envelop his soul in gloom, and if he come forth from the trial resigned to the will of Him Who first walked in the royal way of the cross, then may he call himself a true lover of the Crucified One.

A husband and wife can scarcely tell the depth and fervor of their love while life is bright and pleasant. If, when clouds obscure their path, and trouble over shadows their life, their affection remains as pure and ardent as before, then they may know that it is genuine and true. So, if we love suffering, if we know how to carry the cross, it is a sign that we love Him Who died upon that cross.

Finally, one who loves never wearies of being with the object of that love. Examine yourselves, my dear friends! How is it with your devotion to Jesus, hidden under the mystic sacramental vail? How often do you visit Him in his lowly tabernacle? How often do you receive Him in the most sweet sacrament of love? If you can say with truth, "I live only for Jesus, for my Saviour Who has declared that He has a burning desire to be honored by men in this adorable sacrament," then you are blessed indeed. But if your hearts manifest no attraction to abide with Christ, to be united with Him in the Holy Communion, then I must declare to you that your love for Him is neither fervent nor sincere! Amen!

Litany of the Love of God
(Composed by Pope Pius VI, 1717 - 1799)

Lord have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father in heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Thou Who art Infinite Love,
I love Thee, O my God. *

Thou Who didst first love me, *
Thou Who commandest me to love Thee, *
With all my heart,*
With all my soul, *
With all my mind, *
With all my strength, *
Above all possessions and honors, *
Above all pleasures and enjoyments, *
More than myself and all that belongs to me, *
More than all my relatives and friends, *
More than all men and angels, *
Above all created things in heaven or on earth, *
Only for Thyself, *
Because Thou art the sovereign Good, *
Because Thou art infinitely worthy of being loved, *
Because Thou art infinitely perfect, *
Even hadst Thou not promised me heaven, *
Even hadst Thou not menaced me with hell, *
Even shouldst Thou try me by want and misfortune, *
In wealth and in poverty, *
In prosperity and in adversity, *
In health and in sickness, *
In life and in death, *
In time and in eternity, *
In union with that love wherewith all the Saints and all the Angels love Thee in heaven, *
In union with that love wherewith the Blessed Virgin Mary loveth Thee, *
In union with that infinite love wherewith Thou lovest Thyself eternally, *

Let us pray:

My God, Who dost possess in incomprehensible abundance all that is perfect and worthy of love, annihilate in me all guilty, sensual, and undue love for creatures: kindle in my heart the pure flame of Thy love, so that I may love nothing but Thee or in Thee, until, being entirely consumed by holy love of Thee, I may go to love Thee eternally with the elect in Heaven, the country of pure love. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost


2017 - Two Masses



2020 - 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
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart.” MATT. xxii. 37.

” BUT one thing is necessary.” (Luke x. 42.) What is this one thing necessary? It is not necessary to acquire riches, nor to ohtain dignities, nor to gain a great name. The only thing necessary is to love God. Whatever is not done for the love of God is lost. This is the greatest and the first commandment of the divine law. To the Pharisee who asked what is the greatest commandment of the law, Jesus Christ answered: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart …. This is the greatest and first commandment.” (Matt. xxii. 37, 38.) But this, which is the greatest of the commandments, is the most despised by men: there are few who fulfil it. The greater part of men love their relatives, their friends, and even brute animals, but do not love God. Of these St. John says that they have not life that they are dead. “He that loveth not, abideth in death.” (I John iii. 14.) St. Bernard writes, that the reward of a soul is estimated by the measure of her love for God. “Quantitas animæ æstimatur de mensura charitatis quam habet.” (Serm. xxvii., in Cant.) Let us consider today, in the first point, how dear this command of loving God with our whole heart ought to be to us; and, in the second, what we ought to do in order to love God with our whole heart.

First Point. How dear this command of loving God with our whole heart ought to be to us.

1. What object more noble, more magnificent, more powerful, more rich, more beautiful, more bountiful, more merciful, more grateful, more amiable, or more loving, than himself, could God give us to love? Who more noble than God? Some boast of the nobility of their family for five hundred or a thousand years; but the nobility of God is eternal. He is the Lord of all. Before God all the angels in heaven or all the nobles on earth are but as a drop of water or a grain of dust. “Behold the Gentiles are as a drop of a bucket behold the islands are as a little dust. ” (Isa. xl. 15.) Who more powerful than God? He can do whatsoever he wills. By an act of his will he has created this world, and by another act he can destroy it when he pleases. Who more wealthy? He possesses all the riches of heaven and earth. Who more beautiful? Before the beauty of God all the beauties of creatures disappear. Who more bountiful? St. Augustine says, that God has a greater desire to do good to us than we have to receive it. Who more merciful? If the most impious sinner on earth humble himself before God, and repent of his sins, God instantly pardons and embraces him. Who more grateful? He does not leave unrewarded the smallest act we perform for his sake. Who more amiable? God is so amiable that, by barely seeing and loving him in heaven, the saints feel a joy which makes them perfectly happy and content for all eternity. The greatest of the torments of the damned arise from knowing that this God is so amiable, and that they cannot love him.

2. Finally, who more loving than God? In the Old Law, men might doubt whether God loved them with a tender love; but, after seeing him die on a cross for us, how can we doubt of the tenderness and the ardent affection with which he loves us? Let us raise our eyes and look at Jesus, the true Son of God, fastened with nails to a gibbet, and let us consider the intensity of the ove which he bears us. The cross, the wounds, says St. Bernard, cry out, and proclaim to us that he truly loves us. “Clamat crux, clamat vulnus, quod ipse vere dilexit.” And what more could he do to convince us of his great love than to lead a life of sorrow for thirty- three years, and afterwards die in torments on the infamous tree of the cross, in order to wash away our sins with his own blood?” Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself up for us.” (Eph. v. 2.)”Who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Apoc. i. 5.)”How,” says St. Philip Neri, “is it possible for him who believes in God to love anything but God ?” Contemplating God’s love towards men, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi began one day to ring the bell, saying that she wished to invite all the nations of the earth to love so loving a God. St. Francis de Sales used to say with tears: “To love our God it would be necessary to have an infinite love; and we throw away our love on vain, contemptible things.”

3. O! inestimable value of divine love, which makes us rich before God! It is the treasure by which we gain his friendship. “he is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become  the friends of God.” (Wis. vii. 14.) The only thing we ought to fear, says St. Gregory of Nyssa (de Vita Moysis), is the loss of God*s friendship; and the only object of our desires should be its attainment. “Unum terribile, arbitror, ab amicitia Dei repelli: unum solum expectibile, amicitia Dei.” It is love that obtains the friendship of God. Hence, according to St. Lawrence Justinian, by love the poor become rich, and without love the rich are poor. “No greater riches than to have charity. In charity the poor man is rich, and without charity the rich man is poor.” (S. Laur. Just, in Matt. xiii. 44.) How great is the joy which a person feels in thinking that he is loved by a man of exalted rank! But how much greater must be the consolation which a soul derives from the conviction that God loves her!”I love them that love me.” (Prov. viii. 17.) In a soul that loves God the Three Persons of the Adorable Trinity dwell. “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 xiv. 23.) St. Bernard writes, that among all the virtues charity is the one that unites us to God. Charitas est virtus conjungens nos Deo.” St. Catherine of Bologna used to say, that love is the golden chain that binds the soul to God. St. Augustine says, that”love is a joint connecting the lover with the beloved.” Hence, were God not immense, where should he be found? Find a soul that loves God, and there God is certainly found. Of this St. John assures us. “He that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him.” (1 John iv. 16.) A poor man loves riches, but he does not therefore enjoy them; he may love a throne, but he does not therefore possess a kingdom. But the man that loves God possesses God. “He abideth in God, and God in him. “

4. Besides, St. Thomas says (Tr. de Virt, art. 3), that love draws in its train all other virtues, and directs them all to unite us more closely to God. Hence, because from charity all virtues are born, St. Lawrence Justinian called it the mother of virtues. Hence, St. Augustine used to say: “Love, and do what you wish.” He that loves God can only do what is good; if he does evil, he shows that he has ceased to love God. And when he ceases to love him, all things can profit him nothing. If, said the Apostle, I give all my possessions to the poor, and my body to the flames, and have not charity, I am nothing. “And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. xiii. 3.)

5. Love also prevents us from feeling the pains of this life. St. Bonaventure says, that the love of God is like honey; it sweetens things the most bitter. And what more sweet to a soul that loves God than to suffer for him? She knows that by cheerfully embracing sufferings she pleases God, and that her pains shall be the brightest jewels in her crown in Paradise. And who is there that will not willingly suffer and die in imitation of Jesus Christ, who has gone before us, carrying his cross, to offer himself in sacrifice for the love of us, and inviting us to follow his example? “If any man will come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt. xvi. 24.) For this purpose he has condescended to humble himself to death, and to the opprobrious death of the cross, for the love of us. “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.” (Phil. ii. 8.)

Second Point What we ought to do in order to love God with our whole heart.

6. St. Teresa used to say, that in calling a soul to his love, God bestows upon her an exceedingly great favour. Since, then, most beloved brethren, God calls us all to his love, let us thank and love him with our whole heart. Because he loves us intensely, he wishes to he tenderly loved by us. “When, ” says St. Bernard, “God loves, he desires nothing else than to he loved; for he loves only that he may be loved.” (Serm. lxiii., in Cant.) It was to inflame us with his divine love that the Eternal Word descended from heaven. So he himself has declared; adding, that he only desires to see this fire lighted up in our hearts. “I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled?” (Luke xii. 49.) Let us now see what means we ought to adopt in order to love God.

7. In the first place, we ought to guard against every sin, whether mortal or venial. “If, “ says Jesus Christ, “any one love me, he will keep my word.” (John xiv. 23.) The first mark of love is to endeavour not to give the smallest displeasure to the beloved. How can he be said to love God with his whole heart, who is not afraid to commit deliberate venial offences against God? St. Teresa used to say to her spiritual children: “From deliberate sin, however small, may God deliver you.” But some will say: Venial sin is a small evil. Is it a small evil to displease a God who is so good, and who loves us so tenderly?

8. In the second place, to love God with the whole heart, it is necessary to have a great desire to love him. Holy desires are the wings with which we fly to God; for, as St. Lawrence Justinian says, a good desire gives us strength to go forward, and lightens the labour of walking in the way of God. “Vires subministrat, posnam exhibet leviorem.” According to the spiritual masters, he that does not advance in the way of the Lord goes back; but, on the other hand, God cheerfully gives himself to those who seek after him. “The Lord is good to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamen. iii. 25.) He fills with his own good things all who desire him through love. “He hath filled the hungry with good things.” (Luke i. 53.)

9. In the third place, it is necessary to resolve courageously, to arrive at the perfect love of God. Some persons desire to belong entirely to God, but do not resolve to adopt the means. It is of them the Wise Man says, “Desires kill the soul.” (Prov. xxi. 25.) I would wish, they say, to become a saint; but still, with all their desires, they never advance a single step. St. Teresa used to say, that”of these irresolute souls the devil is never afraid.” Because, if they do not resolve sincerely to give themselves to God without reserve, they shall always continue in the same imperfections. But, on the other hand, the saint says, that God wishes only from us a true resolution to become saints; he himself will do the rest. If, then, we wish to love God with our whole heart, we must resolve to do without reserve what is most pleasing to him, and to begin at once to put our hands to the work. “Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly.” (Eccl. ix. 10.) What you can do Today do not put off till to-morrow; do it as soon as possible. A certain nun in the convent of Tori degli Speechi, in Rome, led a tepid life; but, being called by God, in a retreat, to his perfect love, she resolved to correspond immediately to the divine call, and said to her director, with a sincere resolution: “Father, I wish to become a saint, and to become one immediately.” And from that moment, with the aid of God’s grace, she lived and died a saint. We must, then, resolve to acquire the perfect love of God, and must immediately adopt the means of becoming saints.

10. The first means is, to detach the heart from all creatures, and to banish from the soul every affection which is not for God. The first question which the ancient fathers of the desert put to every one who sought admission into their society was: “Do you bring an empty heart, that the Holy Ghost may be able to fill it ?” If the world be not expelled from the heart, God cannot enter it. St. Teresa used to say: “Detach the heart from creatures; seek God, and you shall find him.” St. Augustine writes, that the Romans worshipped thirty thousand gods; but,among these gods the Roman Senate refused to admit Jesus Christ. Because, said they, he is a proud God, who requires that he alone should be adored. This they had reason to say; for our God wishes to possess our whole souls. He is, as St. Jerome says, a jealous God. “Zelotypus est Jesus.” And therefore lie will have no rival in the affections of our heart. Hence, the Spouse in the Canticles is called “an enclosed garden.” “My sister, my spouse is an enclosed garden.” (Cant. iv. 12.) The soul, then, that wishes to belong entirely to God, must be shut against all love which is not for God.

11. Hence the Divine Spouse is said to be wounded by one of the eyes of his eyes. “Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast wounded my heart with one of thy eyes.” (Cant. iv. 9.) One of her eyes signifies, that in all her thoughts and actions the only end of the spouse is to please God; while, in their devout exercises, worldlings propose to themselves different objects sometimes their own interest, sometimes to please their friends, and sometimes to please themselves. But the saints seek only to please God, to whom they turn, and say: “What have I in heaven? and, besides thee, what do I desire upon earth? Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever.” (Ps. Ixxii. 25, 26.) We should do the same if we wished to be saints. If, says St. Chrysostom, we do some things pleasing to God, what else but his pleasure do we seek? “Si dignus fueris ageal aliquid, quod Deo placet, aliam præter id mercedem requiris ?” (Lib. 2, de Compunct. Cord.) What greater reward can a creature obtain than to please its Creator? Hence, in all we desire or do, we should seek nothing but God. A certain solitary, called Zeno, walking through the desert, absorbed in thought, met the Emperor Macedonius going to hunt. The emperor asked him what he was doing. In answer, the solitary said: You go in quest of animals, and I seek God alone. St. Francis de Sales used to say, that the pure love of God consumes all that is not God.

12. Moreover, to love God with our whole heart, it is necessary tolove him without reserve. Hence we must love him with a love of preference. We must prefer him before every other good, and must be resolved to lose a thousand lives, rather than forfeit his friendship. We must say with St. Paul: Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” (Rom. viii. 38, 39.) We must also love him with a love of benevolence, desiring to see him loved by all: and therefore, if we love God, we should seek as much as possible to kindle in others the fire of his love, or, at least, should pray for the conversion of all who do not love him. We must love him with a love of sorrow, regretting every offence offered to him more than every evil which we could suffer. We must love him with a love of conformity to the divine will. The principal office of love is to unite the will of lovers, and to make the soul say: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts ix. 6.) Lord, tell me what thou dost wish from me; I desire to do it. I wish for nothing; I wish only what thou wiliest. Hence, we ought frequently to offer ourselves to God without reserve, that he may do with us, and with all we have, whatever he pleases. We must love God with a love of patience. This is that strong love by which true lovers are known. “Love is strong as death.” (Cant. viii. 6.) “There is nothing too difficult,” says St. Augustine, “to be conquered by the fire of love.” (Lib. De Mor. Eccl, c. xxii.) For, adds the saint, in doing what we love, labour is not felt, or, if it be felt, the very labour is loved. “In eo quod arnatur, aut non laboratur, aut labor amatur.” St. Vincent of Paul used to say, that love is measured by the desire of the soul to suffer and be humbled, in order to please God. Let God be pleased, though it should cost us the loss of our life and of all things. To gain all, it is necessary to leave all. All for all, said Thomas a Kempis. The reason we do not become saints is, as St. Teresa says, because, as we do not give God all our affections, so he does not give us his perfect love. We must then say with tbe spouse in the Canticles: “My beloved to me, and I to him.” (Cant. ii. 1 6.) My beloved has given himself entirely to me: it is but just that I give myself without reserve to him. St. John Chrysostom says, that when a soul has given herself entirely to God, she no longer cares for ignominies  and sufferings; she loses the desire of all things; and not finding repose in any creature, she is always in search cf her beloved; her sole concern is to find her beloved.

13. To obtain and to preserve divine love, three things are necessary: meditation, communion, and prayer. First, meditation is necessary. He who thinks but little on God, loves him but little. “In my meditation, “ says David, “a fire shall flame out.” (Ps. xxxviii. 4.) Meditation, and particularly meditation on the passion of Jesus Christ, is the blessed furnace in which the love of God is kindled and fanned. “He brought me into the wine cellar; he set in order charity in me. “ (Cant. ii. 4.) The souls that are introduced into this heavenly cellar, by a single glance of Jesus Christ crucified and dying for the love of us, are wounded and inebriated with holy love. For St. Paul says, that Jesus Christ died for us all, that each of us may live only to love him. “And Christ died for all, that they also may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them. “ (2 Cor. v. 15.) The communion is another holy furnace, in which we are inflamed with divine love. “The holy eucharist, ” says St. Chrysostom, “is a fire which inflames us, that, like lions breathing fire, we may retire from the holy table, being made terrible to the devil. “ (Hom, xli., ad Pop.) Above all, prayer (the prayer of petition) is necessary. It is by means of prayer that God dispenses all his favours, but particularly the great gift of divine love. To make us ask this love, meditation is a great help. “Without meditation we shall ask little or nothing from God. “We must, then, always, every day, and several times in the day, ask God to give us the grace to love him with our whole heart. St. Gregory says, that God wishes to be compelled and importuned by our petitions to bestow upon us his graces. “God wishes to be entreated to be compelled: he wishes in a certain manner to be overcome by importunity.” Let us, then, continually ask of Jesus Christ his holy love; and let us ask his divine mother Mary, who is the treasurer of all his graces, to obtain it for us. Thesauraria gratiarum (Idiota). She is called by St. Bernardino, the dispensatrix of God’s graces. “All graces are dispensed through her hands.” t is through her intercession that we must obtain the great gift of divine love.

"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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