Eighteenth 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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AT the Introit of the Mass the Church prays for the peace which God has promised by His prophets: Give peace, O Lord, to them that patiently wait for thee, that thy prophets may be found faithful: hear the prayers of thy servant, and of thy people Israel. (Ecclus. xxxvi. 18.) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. (Ps. cxxi. i.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O Lord, inasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee, let Thy merciful pity rule and direct our hearts, we beseech Thee. Thro'.

EPISTLE, (i Cor. i. 4 — 8.) Brethren, I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus , that in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance and in all knowledge: as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who also will confirm you into the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Quote:EXPLANATION. St. Paul shows in this epistle, that he possesses true love for his neighbor, because he rejoices and thanks God, that he enriched the Corinthians with different graces and gifts, thus confirming the testimony of Christ in them, so that they could without fear expect His arrival for judgment. Do thou also rejoice, with St. Paul, for the graces given to thy neighbor, for this is a mark of true charity.

GOSPEL. (Matt. ix. 1 — 8.) At that time, Jesus entering into a boat, passed over the water, and came into his own city. And behold, they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son; thy sins are forgiven thee. And behold , some of the Scribes said within themselves: He blasphemeth. And Jesus, seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? whether it is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then said he to the man sick of the palsy): Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. And he arose, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it feared, and glorified God who had given such power to men.


I. Those who brought this sick man to Christ, give us a touching example of how we should take care of the sick and help them according to our ability. Christ was so well pleased with their faith and charity, that He cured the man sick of the palsy, and forgave him his sins. Hence we learn how we might assist many who are diseased in their soul, if we would lead them to God by confiding prayer, by urgent admonitions, or by good example.

II. Christ did not heal the man sick of the palsy, until He had forgiven him his sins, by this He wished to teach us, that sins are often the cause of sicknesses and other evils, by which we are visited, and which God would remove from us if we were truly repentant. This doctrine Jesus confirmed, when He said to the man, who had been sick for thirty-eight years: Sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. (John v. 14.) Would that this
were considered by those who so often impetuously demand of God to be freed from their evils, but do not intend to free themselves from their sins, which are the cause of these evils, by a sincere repentance.

III. "He blasphemeth." Thus thought the Jews, in their perverted hearts, of Christ, because they believed, that He in remitting the sins of the sick man, usurped the rights of God and thus did Him a great injury; for it is blasphemy to think, say, or do any thing insulting to God or His saints. But these Jews did not consider, that they by their rash judgment calumniated God, since they blasphemed Christ who by healing the sick man, and by numerous other works had clearly proved His God-head. If Christ so severely reprimanded the Jews, who would not recognize Him as God, for a blasphemous thought against Him, what will He do with those Christians who, though they wish to be adorers of God and His Son, nevertheless
utter blasphemies, curses, and profanations of the holy Sacraments?

IV. When Jesus saw their thoughts, He said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? This may be taken to heart by those who think, that thoughts are free from scrutiny, and who never think to confess their evil and shameful thoughts. God, the most Holy and most Just, will, nevertheless, not leave a voluntary unchaste, proud, angry, revengeful, envious thought unpunished, any more than an idle word. (Matt. xii. 36.) The best remedy against evil thoughts would be the recollection, that God who searches the heart, sees them, and will punish them.

PRAYER. How great, O Jesus! is Thy love and mercy towards poor sinners, since Thou not only forgavest the sins of the man sick of palsy, but calling him son, didst console and heal him! This Thy love encourages me to beg of Thee the grace, that we may rise from our bed of sins by true penance, amend our life, and through the ways of Thy commandments enter the house of eternal happiness.

✠ ✠ ✠

Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. (Matt. ix. 2.)

THE same that Christ says to the man sick of the palsy, the priest says to every contrite sinner in the confessional, and thus remits the crime or the guilt of his sins, and the eternal punishment, by virtue of the authority given him by God. But since sins not only bring with them guilt and eternal punishment, but also temporal and indeed spiritual or supernatural punishment, such as, painful conditions of the soul, as well in this world as in purgatory, and natural ones, as: poverty, disease, all sorts of adversities and accidents, we should endeavor to liberate ourselves from them by means of indulgences.

What is an indulgence?

It is a total or partial remission of the temporal punishment, which man would have to suffer either in this or the next life, after the sins have been remitted.

How do we know that after the remission of the sins, there still remains temporal punishment?

From holy Scripture; for our first parents after the forgiveness of their sin, were still afflicted with temporal punishment. (Gen. iii.) God likewise forgave the sins of the children of Israel, who murmured so often against Him in the desert, but not their punishment, for He excluded them from the Promised Land, and caused them to die in the desert. (Num. xiv.) Moses and Aaron experienced the same, on account of a slight want of confidence in God. (Num. xx. 12., Deut. xxxii. 51. 52.) David, indeed, received pardon from God through the Prophet Nathan for adultery and murder, (ii Kings xii.) still he had to endure heavy temporal punishment. Finally, faith teaches us, that we are tortured in purgatory for our sins, until we have paid the last farthing. (Matt. v. 26.)

Did the Church always agree with this doctrine of Scripture?

Yes; for she always taught, that by the Sacrament of Penance the guilt and eternal punishment, due to sin, are indeed forgiven for the sake of the infinite merits of Jesus, but that temporal punishment still remains, for which the sinner must do penance. Even in the earliest ages she imposed great penances upon sinners for their sins which were already forgiven. For instance, murder or adultery was punished by a penance of twenty years; perjury, eleven; fornication, denial of faith or fortune-telling, by seven years of severe penance with fasting, &c.

During this time it was not allowed to travel, except on foot, to be present at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or to receive the holy Eucharist. If the penitents showed a great zeal for penance and sincere amendment, or if distinguished members of the Church, particularly martyrs, interceded for them, the bishops granted them an indulgence, that is, they remitted the remaining punishment either totally or partially. In our days, on account of the weakness of the faithful, the Church is lenient. Besides the ecclesiastical, the spiritual punishments which would have to be suffered.

Has the Church the power to remit temporal punishments, or to grant indulgences?

The Council of Trent expressly states, that the Church has power to grant indulgences, (Sess. 25.) and this statement it supports by the words of Christ. For as Christ protests: Amen, I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; so He also promised, that whatever the Church looses upon earth, is ratified and loosed in heaven. Whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matt, xviii. 18.) Even an apostle granted an indulgence. In the person and by the power of Christ, that his spirit might be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, (ii Cor. ii. 10.; i Cor. v. 4. 5.) St. Paul forgave the incestuous Corinthian, upon whom he had imposed a heavy punishment.

What is meant by saying, indulgences are granted out of the treasury of the saints or of the Church?

By this is meant that God by the Church remits the temporal punishment due to sin for the sake of the merits of Christ and the saints, and supplies, as it were, by these merits what is still wanting in our satisfaction.

What kinds of indulgences are there?

Two; plenary and partial indulgences. A plenary indulgence, if rightly gained, remits all ecclesiastical and temporal punishment, which we would otherwise have to expiate by penance. A partial indulgence however remits only so many days or years of the temporal punishment, as, according to the penitential code of the primitive ages of the Church, the sinner would have been obliged to spend in severe penance. Hence the name forty day's indulgence, &c.

What is a jubilee*?

It is a plenary indulgence, which the pope grants to the faithful of the entire world, whereby all the temporal punishments of sin, even in cases reserved to the pope or the bishops, are remitted, and forgiven in the name of God, if the sinner confesses contritely and receives the holy Eucharist and has a firm purpose of doing penance.

* The word jubilee signifies deliverance, remittance. With the Jews every fiftieth year was so called , and all the prisoners and slaves were to be set free in this year according to the command of God , the inheritances which had been sold, restored to their masters , the debts cancelled , and the earth left untilled. This was a year of grace and rest for the Jews. This jubilee of the Jews is a figure of the Catholic jubilee , in which the captives of sin and Satan are liberated , the debt of sin remitted, and the inheritance of heaven, which the sinner had sold to Satan, is restored to him.

What is required to gain an indulgence?

First, that we should be in the state of grace, and have already obtained, by true repentance, forgiveness of those sins, the temporal punishment of which is to be remitted by the indulgence; and secondly, that we should exactly perform the good works prescribed for the gaining of the indulgence.

Do indulgences free us from performing works of penance?

By no means: for there are few r in the proper state to receive a plenary indulgence in its fulness, since not only purity of soul is necessary but also the inclination to sin must be rooted out, it therefore cannot be the intention of the Church to free us from all works of penance by granting us indulgences. She cannot act contrary to the word of Jesus: Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish. (Luke xiii. 3.) She rather wishes to assist our weakness, to supply our inability to do required penance, and to contribute what is wanting in our penance, by applying the satisfaction of Christ and the saints to us by indulgences. If we, therefore, do not wish to do penance for our own sins, we shall have no part in the merits of others by indulgences.

Can indulgences be gained for the souls of faithful departed?

Yes, by way of suffrage, so far as we comply with the required conditions, and thus beg of God, for the merits of His Son and the saints, to release the souls in purgatory. Whether God receive this petition or not, remains with Him, He will act only according to the condition of the deceased. We must, therefore, not depend upon the indulgences and good works, which may be performed for us after death, but rather endeavor, during our life-time, to secure our salvation by leading a pious life; by our own good works and by the gaining of indulgences.

What follows from the doctrine of the Church concerning indulgences?

That an indulgence is no grant or license to commit sin, as the enemies of the Church falsely assert; that an indulgence grants no forgiveness of sins past or future, much less is permission given to commit sin; that no Catholic can believe that by gaining indulgences he is released from penance, or other good works, free from the fight with his evil inclinations, passions, and habits, from compensating for injuries, repairing scandals, from retrieving neglected good, and glorifying God by works and sufferings; but that indulgences give nothing else than partial or total remission of temporal punishment; that they remind us of our weakness and lukewarmness which is great when compared with the zeal and fervor of the early Christians; that they impel us to satisfy the justice of God according to our ability. Finally, they remind us to thank God continually that He gave the Church a means in the inexhaustible treasure of the merits of Christ and His saints, to help our weakness, and to supply what is wanting in our penance.
"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
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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The Paralytic carrying his bed is the subject of this day’s Gospel, and gives the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost its title. It has been thought, by some, that its having the number it bears has caused it to be inserted in the Missal immediately after the Ember Days of autumn. We will not, like the Liturgists of the Middle Ages, discuss the question as to whether we should consider it has having taken the place of the vacant Sunday, which formerly used always to follow the ordination of the sacred ministers, in the manner we have elsewhere described. Manuscript Sacramentaries and Lectionaries, of very ancient date, give it the name which was so much in use of Dominica vacat. Whatever may be the conclusion arrived at, there is one interesting point for consideration—that the Mass of this day is the only one in which is broken the order of the lessons taken from St. Paul, and which invariably form the subject of the Epistles, from the sixth Sunday after Pentecost: the Letter to the Ephesians—which we have had already before us, and will be afterwards continued—is today interrupted, and in its stead we have some verses from the first Epistle to the Corinthians, wherein the Apostle gives thanks to God for the manifold gratuitous gifts granted, in Christ Jesus, to the Church. Now, the powers conferred, by the imposition of the Bishop’s hands, on the ministers of the Church, are the most marvelous gift that is known on earth, yea, in heaven itself. The other portions of the Mass, too, are, as we shall see further on, most appropriate to the prerogatives of the new Priesthood. So that the Liturgy of the present Sunday is doubly telling, when it immediately follows the Ember Days of September. But this coincidence is far from being one of every year’s occurrence, at least as the Liturgy now stands; nor can we dwell longer on these subjects without seeming to be going too far into archæology, and exceeding the limits we have marked out for ourselves.


The Introit of the Sunday Masses, since Pentecost, was always taken from the Psalms. From the 12th to the 118th, the Church, without ever changing the order of these sacred canticles, chose from each of them, as its own turn came, the Verses most appropriate to the Liturgy of each Sunday. But dating from today, she is going to select her Introits elsewhere, with one exception, however, when she will again turn to this the Book, by excellence, of divine praise. Her future opening-Anthems, for the Dominical Liturgy, to the end of the Year, will be taken from the various other books of the Old Testament. For this 18th Sunday, we have Jesus, son of Sirach, the inspired writer of Ecclesiastes, asking God to ratify, by the accomplishment of what they foretold, the fidelity of his Prophets. The interpreters of the divine oracles are now the Pastors whom the Church sends, in her own name, to preach the word of salvation and peace; let us, her children, pray with her, that their words may never be void.

Da pacem, Domine, sustinentibus te, ut Prophetæ tui fideles inveniantur; exaudi preces servi tui et plebis tuæ Israel.
Give peace, O Lord, to them who patiently wait for thee, that thy Prophets may be found faithful; hear the prayers of thy servant, and of thy people Israel.

Ps. Lætatus sum in his, quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Dominni ibimus. Gloria Patri. Da pacem.
Ps. I rejoiced at the things that were said unto me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory, etc. Give peace.

The surest way to obtain grace is to be ever humbly acknowledging, to our God, our deep conviction that, of ourselves, we cannot please his divine Majesty. The Church continues to give us, in her Collects, the most admirable expressions of such an avowal.

Dirigat corda nostra, quæsumus Domine, tuæ miserationis operatio: quia tibi sine te placere non possumus. Per Dominum.
May the working of thy mercy, O Lord, direct our hearts: for, without thee, we cannot please thee. Through, etc.

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

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

Brethren: I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus, That in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; As the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Quote:The last Coming of the Son of Man is no longer far off! The approach of that final event, which is to put the Church in full possession of her divine Spouse, redoubles her hopes—but the Last Judgment, which is also to pronounce the eternal perdition of so great a number of her children, mingles fear with her desire; and these two sentiments of hers will henceforth be continually brought forward in the holy Liturgy.

It is evident that Expectation has been, so to say, an essential characteristic of her existence. Separated as she is, at least as to the vision of his divine charms, she would have been sighing all day long in this vale of tears had not the love, which possesses her, driven her to spend herself, unselfishly and unreservedly, for Him who is absolute Master of her whole heart. She therefore devotes herself to labor and suffering, to prayers and tears. But her devotedness, unlimited as it has been, has not made her hopes less ardent. A love without desires is not a virtue of the Church; she condemns it in her children as being an insult to the Spouse.

So just, and at the same time so intense, were, and from the very first, these her aspirations, that Eternal Wisdom wished to spare his Bride by concealing from her the duration of her exile. The day and hour of his return is the one sole point upon which, when questioned by his Apostles, Jesus refused to enlighten his Church. That secret constituted one of the designs of God’s government of the world; but besides that, it was also a proof of the compassion and affection of the Man-God: the trial would have been too cruel; and it was better to leave the Church under the impression, which after all was a true one, that the end was nigh in God’s sight, with whom a thousand Years are as one day.

It is this which explains how it was that the Apostles, who were the interpreters of the Church’s aspirations, are continually recurring to the subject of the near approach of our Lord’s coming. St. Paul has just been telling us, and that twice over in the same breath, that the Christian is he who waiteth for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the day of his Coming. In his Epistle to the Hebrews, he applies to the second Coming, the inflamed desires of the ancient Prophets for the first; and says: Yet a little, and a very little while, and He that is to come, will come, and will not delay. The reason is that under the New Covenant, as under the Old, the Man-God is called, on account of his final manifestation, which is always being looked for, he that is coming, he that is to come. The cry, which is to close the world’s history, is to be the announcement of his arrival: Behold! the Bridegroom is coming.

And St. Peter, too, says: “Having the loins of your mind girt up, think of the glory of that Day, whereon the Lord Jesus is to be revealed! Hope for it, with a perfect hope!” The Prince of the Apostles foresaw the contemptuous way in which future false teachers would scoff at this long expected, but always put-off, Coming; Where is his promise, or his Coming? For, since the fathers slept, all things continue so, from the beginning of creation! Yes, he foresaw this, and forestalled their sarcasm by answering it in the words which his brother Paul had previously used: The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine; but, beareth patiently, for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance. But, the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence; and the elements shall be dissolved with heat; and the earth, and the works that are in it, shall be burnt up. Seeing, then, that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of people ought ye to be in holy conversations and godliness, waiting for, and hastening unto, the coming of the day of the Lord, by which, the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat of fire? But, we look for new heavens and new earth, according to his promise, in which heavens and earth, justice dwelleth. Wherefore, dearly beloved, waiting for these things, be diligent that ye may be found, before Him, unspotted and blameless in peace … Wherefore, Brethren, knowing these things before, beware! lest, being led away by the error of the unwise, ye fall from the steadfastness, which is now yours.

If, in those last days, danger is to be so great that the very powers of heaven shall be moved, our Lord, as we are told in our Epistle has providentially confirmed in us his testimony and our faith, by continual manifestations of his power. And, as it were to confirm that other word of the same Epistle, that he will thus confirm unto the end them that believe in him—he is almost prodigal of prodigies in these our times, as though they were precursors of the End. Miracles are forcing themselves on the world’s unwilling notice; and our modern facilities for propagating news are made to tell this glory of the Lord all over his earth! In the name of Jesus, in the name of one or other of his Saints, but especially in the name of his Immaculate Mother, who is preparing the final triumph of the Church—the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, every misery of both body and soul is suddenly made to yield. So incontestable, indeed, and so public, is the manifestation of supernatural power that business managers of all kinds, though they must, out of regard for incredulity, laugh at the facts, yet are they most serious in turning the occasion to their profit! Such very material agencies as Railway Companies have been but too glad to be obliged to put on extra Trains to accommodate the Faithful thousands, and carry them as quickly as they could to the favored sanctuaries, where the holy Mother of God has appeared. It is not in Catholic countries only that the divine power has made itself felt. Quite recently, in the very center of Mohometan infidelity—have we not read it in our papers how the city of the Sultans rejoiced at hearing of the marvels done by the Queen of heaven within its own walls? The water of the miraculous fountain has been carried even into the city of Mecca, where is the tomb of the founder of Islam, and into which, until but lately, it was death for any Christian to enter.

The infidel may talk as he please but there being no God! If he hear not the divine testimony, it is because corruption or pride has more power over him than the light of reason—just as it was with the enemies of Jesus, during his life upon the earth. He is like to the asp of the Psalm, which maketh itself deaf; it stoppeth its ears that it may never hear the voice of the divine Enchanter, who speaketh that he may save. His life is one piece of madness and folly; he has done his best to drawn down vengeance upon himself.

Let us not be like him; but with the Apostle, let us thank God for the rich profusion of Grace, which he has so mercifully poured out upon us. Never were his gratuitous gifts more necessary than in these our miserable times. True, it is not a first promulgation that we stand in need of; but the efforts of hell against it have become so violent that in order to withstand them there is a need of a power from on high, equal in some sense to that we read of as being granted in the beginning of the Church. Let us beseech our Lord to bless us with men powerful in word and work. Let us, by the fervor of our fastings and prayers, obtain from his divine Majesty that the imposition of hands may produce, now more than ever, in them that are called to the Priesthood, its full result: that it may make them rich in all things, and especially in all utterance, and in all knowledge. May these days of ours, in which all priciples are growing shadowy, find that the supernatural light, at least—the light of salvation—is kept up, in full splendor and purity, by the zeal of the Guides of the flock of Christ. May the compromises and flinchings of a generation, in which all truth is being etiolated and minced, never lead our newly ordained Priests, either themselves to shorten or permit anyone else to curtail, the measure of the perfect man, which was put into their hands in order that they might apply it to every Christian who is desirous of observing the Gospel! In spite of all threats—in spite of the noisy passions which are boisterous against any Priest who dares to preach the truth—let their voice be just what it should be—that is, an echo of the Word: let it, that is, possess the holy firmness and vibration of the Saints!

In the Gradual, the Church repeats the Introit-Verse, to celebrate once more the joy felt by the Christian people at hearing the glad tiding, that they are soon to go into the House of the Lord. That House is Heaven, into which we are to enter, on the last day, our Lord Jesus Christ leading the way. But the House is also the temple, in which we are now assembled, and into which we are introduced by the representatives of that same Lord of ours—that is, by his Priests.

Lætatus sum in his, quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus.
I rejoiced at the things that were said unto me: we shall go into the house of the Lord.

℣. Fiat pax in virtute tua, et abundantia in turribus tuis.
℣. Let peace be in thy strength, and abundance in thy towers.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Timebunt gentes nomen tuum, domine: et omnes reges terræ gloriam tuam. Alleluia.
℣. The Gentiles shall fear thy name, O Lord: and all the kings of the earth thy glory. Alleluia.

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

At that time: Jesus entering into a boat, he passed over the water and came into his own city. And behold they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. And behold some of the scribes said within themselves: He blasphemeth. And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee: or to say, Arise, and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then said he to the man sick of palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. And he arose, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men.

Quote:In the 13th Century, in many Churches of the West, the Gospel for today was that wherein our Lord speaks of the Scribes and Pharisees as seated on the chair of Moses. The Abbot Rupert, who gives us this detail in his book on the Divine Offices, shows how admirably this Gospel harmonized with the Offertory, which is the one we still have, and which alludes to Moses. “This Sunday’s Office,” says he, “eloquently points out to him who presides over the House of the Lord, and has received charge of souls, the manner in which he should comport himself in the high rank, where the divine call has placed him. Let him not imitate those men who unworthily sat on the Chair of Moses; but let him follow the example of Moses himself, who, in the Offertory and its verses, presents the heads of the Church with such a model of perfection. Pastors of souls ought, on no account, to be ignorant of the reason why they are placed higher than other men: it is not so much that they may govern others as that they may serve them.” Our Lord, speaking of the jewish doctors, said: “All whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works, do ye not: for they say, and do not.” Contrariwise to these unworthy guardians of the Law, they who are seated on the Chair of doctrine “should teach and act comformably to their teaching,” as the same Abbot Rupert adds; “or rather,” says he, “let them first do what it is their duty to do, that they may afterwards teach with authority; let them not seek after honors and titles, but make this their one subject—to bear on themselves the sins of the people, and to merit to avert, from those who are confided to their care, the wrath of God, as we are told in the Offertory, Moses did.”

The Gospel which speaks of the Scribes and Pharisees who were seated on the Chair of Moses has now been appointed for the Tuesday of the second week of Lent. But the one which is at present given for this Sunday equally directs our thoughts to the consideration of the superhuman powers of the Priesthood, which are the common boon of regenerated humanity. The Faithful, whose attention used formerly, on this Sunday, to be fixed on the right of Teaching, which is confided to the Pastors of the Church, are now invited to meditate upon the prerogative which these same men have—of forgiving sins and healing souls. As a conduct, in opposition with their teaching, would in no wise interfere with the authority of the sacred Chair, from which, for the Church and in her name, they dispense the bread of doctrine to her children—so whatever unworthiness there may happen to be on the soul of a Priest, it does not in the least lessen the power of the Keys, which he has had put into his hands, and which open heaven and shut hell. For it is the Son of Man—it is Jesus—who, by the Priest, be he a saint or be he a sinner, rids of their sins His brethren and His creatures whose miseries He has taken upon Himself, and has atoned for their crimes by His Blood.

The miracle of the cure of the Paralytic, which gave an occasion to Jesus of declaring his power of forgiving sins, inasmuch as he was Son of Man, has always been especially dear to the Church. Besides the narration she gives us of it from St. Matthew, in today’s Gospel she again, on the Ember Friday of Whitsuntide, relates it in the words of St. Luke. The Catacomb frescoes, which has been preserved to the present day, equally attest the predilection for this subject, wherewith she inspired the christian artists of the first centuries. From the very beginning of Christianity, heretics had risen up, denying that the Church had the power which her divine Head gave her of remitting sin: such false teaching was equivalent to the irretrievably condemning, to spiritual death, an immense number of Christians who, unhappily, had fallen after their baptism but who, according to Catholic dogma, might be restored to grace by the Sacrament of Penance. With what energy, then, would not our Mother the Church defend the treasure, we mean, the remedy, which gives life to her children! She uttered her anathemas upon, and drove from her communion, those Pharisees of the New Law who, like their jewish predecessors, refused to acknowledge the infinite mercy and universality of the great mystery of the Redemption.

Like to her divine Master, who had worked under the eyes of the Scribes and his contradictors, the Church too, in proof of her consoling doctrine, had worked an undeniable and visible miracle in the presence of the false teachers; and yet she failed to convince them of the reality of the miracle of sanctification and grace invisibly wrought by her words of remission and pardon. The outward cure of the Paralytic was both the image and the proof of the cure of his soul, which previously had been in a state of moral paralysis; but he himself represented another sufferer: that other was the human race, which for ages had been a victim to the palsy of sin. Our Lord had left the earth when the faith of the Apostles achieved this their first prodigy—of bringing to the Church the world, grown old in its infirmity. Finding that the human race was docile to the teaching of the divine messengers and was already an imitator of their faith, the Church spoke as a Mother and said: Be of good heart, Son! thy sins are forgiven thee! At once, to the astonishment of the philosophers and skeptics, and to the confusion of hell, the world rose up from its long and deep humiliation; and to prove how thoroughly his strength had been restored to him, he was seen carrying on his shoulders, by the labor of penance and the mastery over his passions, the bed of his old exhaustion and feebleness, on which pride, lust, and covetousness had so long held him. From that time forward, complying with the word of Jesus, which was also said to him by the Church, he has been going on towards his house, which is heaven, where eternal joy awaits him! And the Angels, beholding such a spectacle on earth of conversion and holiness, are in amazement, and sing glory to God, who gave such power to men.

Let us also give thanks to Jesus, whose marvelous dower, which is the Blood he shed for his Bride, suffices to satisfy, through all ages, the claims of eternal justice. It was at Easter Time that we saw our Lord instituting the great Sacrament, which, thus in one instant, restores the sinner to life and strength. But how doubly wonderful does not its power seem when we see it working in these times of effeminacy and well-nigh universal ruin! Iniquity abounds; crimes are multiplied; and yet the life-restoring pool, kept full by the sacred stream which flows from the open Side of our crucified Lord, is ever absorbing and removing, as often as we permit it, and without leaving one single vestige of them, those mountains of sins, those hideous treasures of iniquity which had been amassed during long years by the united agency of the devil, the world, and man’s own self.

The Offertory speaks to us of the figurative altar, which was set up by Moses, for the reception of the oblations of the figurative Law, which oblations foreshadowed the great and only true Sacrifice, at which we are now present. After the Anthem which is still in use, we will append the Verses which were anciently added. Moses is there represented as the type of those faithful Prophets mentioned in the Introit; he is shown to us, as the model of those true leaders of God’s people, who devote themselves in procuring mercy and peace to those whom they guide. God sometimes seems to resist them; but he always lets himself be overcome! and in return for their fidelity, he admits them into the most intimate manifestations of his light and his love. The first Verse shows us the Priest in his public life of intercession and devotedness for others; the second reveals to us his private life, of which prayer and contemplation are the main occupation. We shall not be surprised at the length of these Verses, the singing of which would far exceed the time for offering the Host and Chalice, such as is now the custom—if we remember how it was the ancient usage that the whole assembly of the Faithful, present at the Holy Sacrifice, took part in the oblation of the bread and wine needed for the Liturgy. So, likewise, the Communion, which at present consists of only a few lines, was originally nothing but the Antiphon to an entire Psalm, which in the ancient Antiphonaries was appointed for each day, when it was not the same as the Introit-Psalm; the Psalm was sung, repeating the Antiphon after each Verse, until the number of communicants was completed.

Sanctificavit Moyses altare Domino, offerens super illus holocausta, et immolans victimas: fecit sacrificium vespertinum in odorem suavitatis Domino Deo in conspectu filiorum Israel.
Moses consecrated an altar unto the Lord, offering whole burnt offerings thereon, and slaying victims: he made an evening sacrifice for a sweet odor unto the Lord God, in the sight of the children of Israel.

℣. Locutus est Dominus ad Moysen dicens: Ascende ad me in montem Sina, et stabis super cacumen ejus. Surgens Moyses, ascendit in montem, ubi constitui ei Deus; et descendit ad eum Dominus in nube, et adstitit ante faciem ejus. Videns Moyses, procidens adoravit, dicens: Obsecro, Domine, dimitte peccata populi tui. Et dixit ad eum Dominus: Faciam secundum verbum tuum.
℣. The Lord spake unto Moses saying: Come up unto me, upon mount Sina, and thou shalt stand on the top thereof. Moses rising up, went up the mountain, where the Lord had appointed him: and the Lord came down unto him in a cloud, and stood before his face. Which Moses seeing, he fell down and adored, saying: I beseech thee, O Lord, forgive the sins of thy people. And the Lord said unto him: I will do according to thy word.

Tunc Moyses fecit sacricium vespertinum.
Then Moses made an evening sacrifice.

℣. II. Oravit Moyses Dominum, et dixit: Si inveni gratiam in conspectu tuo, ostende mihi teipsum manifeste, ut videam te. Et locutus est ad eum Dominus dicens: Non enim videbit me homo, et vivere potest: sed esto super altitudinem lapidis, et protegat te dextera mea donec pertranseam: dum pertransiero, auferam manum meam, et tunc videbis gloriam meam: facies autem mea non videbitur tibi uia ego sum Deus ostendens mirabilia in terra.

℣. II. Moses prayed to the Lord and said: If I have found favor in thy sight, show me thyself openly, that I may see thee. And the Lord spake unto him, saying: For man shall not see me, and live; but, be thou on the height of the rock, and my right hand shall protect thee, till I pass: whilst I pass I will take away my hand, and then shalt thou see my glory: but my face shall not be seen by thee; for I am God, showing wonderful things in the earth.

Tunc Moyses fecit.
Then Moses made.

The sublime eloquence of the Secret is beyond all comment. Let us get thoroughly imbued with the high teaching, here so admirably summed up in a few short words: let us come to understand that our life and conduct should have a something divine about them, in order to our being true respondents to the mysteries which are revealed to our understandings, and incorporated into us, by the venerable “commercia” (it is our Mother’s word, and we presume not to alter it)—the veneranda commercia of this Sacrifice.

Deus, qui nos per hujus sacrificii veneranda commercia, unius summæ divinitatis participes efficis; præsta quæsumus; ut, sicut tuam cognoscimus veritatem, sic eam dignis moribus assequamur. Per Dominum.
O God, who, by the venerable participations of this sacrifice, makest us partakers of the one supreme divine nature: grant, we beseech thee, that as we know thy truth, so may we show it by a worthy conduct of life. Through, etc.

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

The Communion-Anthem is addressed to the Priests, and, at the same time, to us all; for if the Priest offers the Victim, which is the holiest that can be, we should not think of accompanying him into the Court of our God without bringing up, that it may be united to the divine Host, that other victim, which is our own selves. It is God’s injunction: Thou shalt not appear empty before me!

Tollite hostias, et introite in atria ejus: adorate Dominum in aula sancta ejus.
Bring up sacrifices, and come into his courts: adore ye the Lord in his holy court.

While giving thanks in the Postcommunion for the priceless gift of the sacred mysteries, let us beseech our God to perfect within us the grace of always receiving it worthily.

Gratias tibi referimus Domine, sacro munere vegetati, tuam misericordiam deprecantes: ut dignos nos ejus participatione perficias. Per Dominum.
Being fed, O Lord, with the sacred gift, we give thee thanks, humbly beseeching thy mercy, that thou wouldst make us worthy of its reception. 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
Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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"And the multitude glorified God that gave such power to men."--Matt. 9, 8

As the body is subject to disease, so also is the soul; but with the latter the malady is sin. Great analogy exists, however, between the two, for by sin infirmity entered the world; and if man had not transgressed the divine command, he would never have become a victim to fell disease, much less a prey to death. St. Paul says: "By one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned."

But Christ, although He assumed human nature, was not subject to this involuntary death, or to sickness. Since He came into the world as Physician and Redeemer, it is clear why His power was manifested in so many instances in restoring the sick and afflicted. These corporal cures are types of the spiritual restorations accomplished by the priceless blessing of redemption. It is certainly to be believed that this power of occasionally healing diseases has been bequeathed by Christ to His Church, but a far more inestimable benefit has also been left by our divine Lord as a precious legacy to His children in that holy Church, viz.: the infallible means which we possess at all times for the purification of our souls.

Mary, mother of mercy, obtain for us, from Jesus, the grace to approach frequently and worthily the Sacrament of Penance! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

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"And behold they brought to Him one sick of the palsy."

I have said that sickness is a punishment entailed upon us in consequence of the sins of our first parents, and that it is a type of sin. The truth of this last assertion we can easily perceive by comparing the characteristics of corporal illness with the condition of a soul in the state of mortal sin.

When sickness visits us, we are unable to fulfill our daily duties. Our body, indeed, is there lying on a bed of pain; but its senses are dull and languid, our sight grows dim, we scarcely can hear! Tossing restlessly, burning with fever, we loathe the thought of food, and vainly long for rest. We feel that we are a burden to ourselves and to all around us; and this is the case, in a greater or less degree, with every sinner. The soul of the sinner is diseased; the peace of his conscience is disturbed by the thought of his guilt; he fain would sleep, that is, he longs to still its reproaches, but it is all in vain! He plunges into every sinful pleasure; but, wearying of them all, cries out, in the fever-heat of passion: "Oh, for some new and untried pleasure! oh, for some spot where I could spend my days rioting in forbidden joys, where the lashings of conscience would not be felt! Oh, for rest!" But vain are such wishes. The sinner closes the eyes of his soul by despising and turning away from the truths of faith. He closes the ears of his soul by refusing to listen to those inspirations by which the Holy Ghost is ever seeking to call back the erring children of the Church. He heeds neither those loving whispers, nor dreads the thunders of divine justice. He hungers not for truth or virtue; the very thought of either is loathsome. All his yearnings are for sensual pleasures, which serve but to intensify the thirst of that heart which was created for God alone. He wavers; he seems to be at times sensible of his miserable state; he wishes to change his life, but his resolution is weak. He goes hither and thither, seeking different confessors; but soon relapses into his evil ways, so that his condition is worse than it was before. St. Ambrose is indeed right when he characterizes the diseases which afflict the sinner as avarice, pride, envy, wrath, impurity and tepidity. What a fearful category! Poor sinner, only One can help thee, Christ, who styles Himself the true Physician of our souls.

"Be of good heart, son; thy sins are forgiven thee." The one to whom these consoling words were addressed was sick of the palsy, a disease which is, in an especial manner, a figure of sin; for the sinner, although keenly alive to his earthly interests, to which he devotes the three powers of his soul, in every thing that concerns his salvation is a helpless paralytic. The plainest truths, the most forcible admonitions, the most terrible threatenings, are alike powerless to touch his hardened heart! Nay, the very instructions in his holy faith, to which, when an innocent child, he listened, seem to have vanished like a dream.

Oh, sinner, pray to God that He may restore that heart, so deaf to the pleadings of divine grace; and direct the energy of that will, now so depraved, to do His holy will. Sometimes you are sensible of the miserable state into which you have fallen; and it may be the last call which God, in His infinite goodness, will give you! Oh, let not His mercy he unheeded!

My dear brethren, remember the words of Christ to the man sick of the palsy: "Son, be of good heart, thy sins are forgiven thee." Words full of consolation, and constantly repeated in the Sacrament of Penance. It is an article of faith that all sins, be they ever so heinous, or the number ever so great, can be forgiven by means of this Sacrament, if the penitent approach it with proper dispositions. "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church--the forgiveness of sins." We make this declaration when we repeat the Apostles Creed, and it is to be remarked that therein no mention is made of any power granted by Christ to His Church, except the forgiveness of sins. Would it were in my power to gain the ear of every Protestant in the land, that by one single argument I could prove to them that their Church is not the one true Church, and that they are deceived, indeed, in thinking so.

My Protestant friends, if you are conscious of sin, and, with its weight heavy upon your soul, you seek your minister with the question: "Can you, in the name of God, forgive me my sins? " they all reply: "I can not; you must go to God alone; you must help yourself." What would be my reply, if I were a Protestant? What, you the minister of my religion can do naught for me when I have transgressed the law of God? of what benefit is that Church to me? and what good do I derive; from its existence, if I can obtain forgiveness and save my soul without it?"

Yes, the children of a fallen generation do need a Church, that one founded by Jesus Christ Himself-- a Church wherein can indeed be found the forgiveness of sins, whose ministers have exercised that power even from the time of the Apostles. We know that our divine Lord left this authority to His Church from the words He spoke to those Apostles, and, consequently, to their successors in the holy ministry: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven,--whose sins you shall retain they are retained,"--words which would have been destitute of meaning had not our divine Lord intended to express by them the obligation of confessing our sins to a priest. And because "until time shall be no more" men will be liable to commit sin, the power of forgiving sin has been granted also to the successors of the Apostles, the bishops and priests of the Holy Catholic Church, and is constantly exercised over the whole earth.

Pope Clement, disciple and successor of St. Peter, as early as the first century, wrote to the faithful in Corinth, praying them, for God's sake, to confess their sins, that the priests of the Lord might absolve them. St. Cyprian uses almost the same words. Tertullian, in the second century, admonishes Christians of the necessity of an entire confession of their sins, and compares one who conceals his sins in the Sacrament of Penance to a patient who, through shame, refuses to confide in his physician, preferring rather to die of some secret malady than to overcome this false shame and be healed. Irenaeus, Basil, Origen, Leo, Chrysostom and Augustine speak in the same manner regarding confession and the frequent recourse to it. Had not this Sacrament been instituted by Christ, it would have been known precisely at what period Christians began to confess. As it is, no one can fix a time--a proof that the practice existed from the very beginning. And, my dear brethren, we have great reason to praise God and to marvel that He intrusted this wonderful power, not to angels, but to the bishops and priests of His Church, who are but men.

Would to God that all children of the Church would avail themselves of this Sacrament for their eternal salvation, and take heed lest they abuse it to their everlasting condemnation! Amen!

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"Son, be of good heart; thy sins are forgiven thee."--Matt. 9, 2.

Happy he who was so favored as to hear those consoling words from the divine lips of Christ; but equally happy is the Christian who receives from the priest in the tribunal of penance the assurance that his sins are forgiven. This assurance is given whenever the confessor absolves a truly repentant sinner.

St. Augustine's words, in regard to baptism, apply also to the Sacrament of Penance: "Peter baptizes, Judas baptizes, Christ baptizes." The power of absolving does not depend upon the merits of the priest, but upon the infinite merits of Jesus Christ. It is, therefore, customary for the priest, after absolution, to say to the penitent: "Go in peace; thy sins are for given thee."

But is he sure of this? Has the priest the right to give the sinner this sweet assurance? Yes, if it be a repentant sinner; it depends entirely on his interior disposition. Too often, perhaps, he could, with greater justice, say: Poor sinner, would that I could bid thee be of good heart, feeling that thy sins are forgiven, but, alas, I dare not!"

O Mary, obtain for us the grace to approach the Sacrament of Peace and reconciliation with such contrition, that we may deserve to hear those sweet words of peace and forgiveness! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

Confession is an essential condition for the valid reception of the Sacrament of Penance, according to the doctrine of the Church: "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." How could the confessor exercise this power were the penitent to refrain from confessing his sins? Man knows his own interior, and he must manifest it to those appointed by the Church. No one else can do it for him, because appearances are deceptive.

Confess, my dear friends, with all sincerity to the minister of God; for, regarded even in the light of reason, it is most salutary. Is it not most fitting that man, rebellious man, who dares to transgress the law of his Creator, should humble himself to the dust before that Creator?

In a severe illness no patient is permitted to be his own physician, and in the adjustment of the worldly disputes no one is allowed to decide his own case. Now, one in the state of mortal sin is spiritually sick, the priest is the physician of the soul, therefore to him should the malady be disclosed.

Being a sinner, he is guilty in the sight of God; he is a criminal and inclined to excuse himself; he dare not be criminal and judge at the same time. How appropriate, therefore, and just is it not, that Christ obliges us to undergo the humiliation of confession!

Leibnitz, one of the most profound thinkers among Protestants, gave testimony of the excellence of this Sacrament when he declared that the practice of confession, as it exists in the Catholic Church, is divinest of the divine.

Even heathens, as Seneca, have testified to the happiness of having a friend to whom the inmost recesses of the heart might be unvailed; but where could be found the friend in whom we would be willing to place such confidence? Would not the friend have also a confidant to whom he revealed our secret?

My brethren, in the confessional sits one who guards until death the tale of sin and sorrow poured into his patient ear. Children of the one true Church! thank your Creator for that inestimable treasure, the Sacrament of Penance. Too often, alas! the efficacy of this means of salvation is lost. And why? Entirely through the fault of the penitent, who does not comply with the conditions necessary for its valid reception!

Some go to confession because a precept of the Church obliges them to do so at least once a year. But to such Christians, confessing as they do through constraint, and neither to increase sanctifying grace in their hearts, nor to secure themselves against relapses, the priest scarce ventures to say: "Son, be of good heart; thy sins are forgiven thee."

If the penitent desire to hear those words, he must first earnestly and carefully make the proper preparation for confession, otherwise the reception of the Sacrament, far from being a means of reconciliation with God, will bring on the soul the additional crime of sacrilege!

Yes, too often the confessor has reason to doubt the validity of the confession he has been called upon to receive. That you may avoid the danger of a sacrilegious confession, I will point out some of the causes of that terrible misfortune!

In the first place, humility of heart is wanting, and the preparation is begun without the necessary invocation of the Father of light, for grace to know our sins.

Secondly, instruction is wanting. Many do not accuse themselves of their sins as they should, on account of ignorance, confessing frequently as a venial fault, or no fault whatever, what is in reality a mortal sin.

Thirdly, the proper examination of conscience is wanting. People, indeed, go to confession, but do not take time to look into their hearts, or search carefully into the motives of their actions. Again, they confess what they did, but not what they thought and desired; unmindful that there can be, and are, mortal sins, both of thought and desire. They confess their sins of commission, but do not think of what they are obliged to do under pain of mortal sin, but have left undone. How many confessions of parents are null and void for this reason! They do not accuse themselves of their negligence in bringing up the children whom God has entrusted to their care; they forget to say that they have not punished them when necessary, that they have not set them a good example. They confess their sins of commission, but pass over those of omission, in the sacred tribunal, as trivial indeed. Many, too, in confessing their sins, fail to say how many souls were led astray by the evil influence of those sins. Many confess their sins, but are silent as to the circumstances, which often materially affect the malice of the offense; as, for instance, in regard to the person with or against whom a sin was committed. It is, therefore, often difficult for the confessor to understand the nature; and quality of the transgression.

Lastly, the penitent, in his declaration of sins, frequently omits to say how often each sin has been committed.

But the requisite most generally wanting, in the preparation for confession, is exciting the heart to true contrition. This may be obtained by dwelling on those motives which faith suggests for our consideration. The sign and seal of true repentance is a firm and well-kept resolution not to fall again into the sins which a thorough examination of conscience has revealed to us.

Confess your sins sincerely, my brethren, and answer whatever questions may be put to you by the confessor, who but too often has to complain of an unwillingness on the part of the penitent to do so.

What sorrow must overwhelm the priest when he sees no reason for those words of hope: "Son, be of good heart; thy sins are forgiven thee!" when he fears that the penitent remains afflicted with his spiritual malady, and that instead of rising after the reception of this Holy Sacrament, perfectly restored, he rushes onward to eternal death!

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"Why do you think evil in your hearts?"--Matt. 9, 4.

Our divine Saviour, penetrating to the inmost recesses of the hearts of those around Him, condemned the evil He saw therein. And as His enemies treated Him in ages past away, so now do they malign and vilify His Holy Church. She, nevertheless, opens her arms to them, and is ever ready to assist them in their spiritual necessities, especially if that most direful of all evils--sin--weighs heavily upon them!

And even in regard to man's temporal happiness she has a fostering care, seeking not only to promote the welfare of nations, but the prosperity of families and individuals. But the world, "which thinketh not in its heart," looks askance at her, censures and calumniates her, and accuses her of machinations and intrigues of which she never dreamed!

All this betokens a degree of malice so great as to afford but little hope of leading the votaries of that world to walk in the path of truth and salvation!

This disposition is the ratification of what St. John complains when he says that men love darkness better than light, and it may also be considered as a mark of reprobation. It is a lamentable fact that Protestants, although they have been refuted hundreds, nay, thousands of times, still hurl their calumnies at the doctrines of the Church, especially the doctrine of Indulgences. If such traducers, my brethren, love falsehood and the darkness of error more than the clear light of truth, it is beneficial nay, essential for Catholics to be well instructed on that point, that, when a fitting occasion presents itself, they make use of their knowledge.

I shall explain, therefore, to you today, what the Church teaches in regard to indulgences which she grants to all true penitents. Mary, most pure and immaculate, obtain for us the grace, that we may gain many indulgences, and gratefully appreciate their wonderful efficacy! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God.

"And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart; thy sins are forgiven thee." By these words our divine Saviour points out the condition we should be in to profit by the means of reconciliation with which He has so mercifully provided us, that it may really and indeed tend to the salvation of our souls. Oh, what light, grace, strength and unction do we receive from divine faith! The more brightly it burns in our hearts the more clearly will we realize our obligations as Christians, and our transgressions against them; the more strongly we are confirmed in faith, the more forcibly do we perceive the magnitude and atrocity of sin, the greater the care we take in the examination of conscience, and the firmer our resolution to avoid the sins which we have discovered. The more lively our faith, the more fervent our contrition, the more earnest our determination to make a good confession, to perform our penance, and to avail ourselves of the means which Christ left to His Church to blot out the temporal punishment due to sin after the guilt has been remitted, viz : Indulgences.

What is an indulgence? Ah! here is the spot at which our separated brethren aim their direct thrusts; here is the point around which their most odious calumnies cluster. But we need not wonder at that, since the originator of Protestantism, Martin Luther, charged our holy Church with abuses, committed by individuals, finding therein a favorable opportunity to effect his separation from the one true fold. And what right had he to fasten upon the Church what had been done by individuals, even if the culprits were bishops and priests? We can abuse everything if we are maliciously inclined, even the Holy Sacraments, but the Church is not to be censured on that account. She bitterly deplores any abuses or wrongs, which may be committed by wicked and sinful men who call themselves Catholic, and claim to be members of her communion.

In what terms, then, my brethren, is this doctrine of indulgences expressed? How is the right to grant them proved? and what spiritual benefit do they produce?

An indulgence is the remission of temporal punishment due to sin after the guilt has been remitted. Thus has the Church declared, through the Council of Trent, a declaration also supported by the testimony of Holy Writ. It is a commutation of a longer penance for a shorter, and hence it is styled an indulgence, or favor granted us. Thus an indulgence, to gain which the penitent must be in the state of grace, has nothing to do with the pardon of sin, but only with that debt of penance which must be discharged after the guilt has been remitted, as in the case of King David, where we have proof for this assertion. Holy Scripture records that the Prophet Nathan, after the king's repentance, tells him that the Lord has taken away his sin, but warns him of the death of his child, and many direful evils which he would have to suffer on account of that sin all of which were inflicted on the royal penitent!

That the Church has power to remit the temporal punishment due to sin, on certain conditions, and that the exercise of this power is most salutary to her children if they make use of indulgences according to the spirit in which she grants them, is an article of faith of which every well-instructed Catholic is fully aware.

And indeed every one must perceive the truth of it, if, from love of truth, and, uninfluenced by prejudice, he carefully examines into the proofs. I assert that the Church has this power from Christ, who says: "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth." "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." Now, the influence of that power most unquestionably extends to everything connected with the removal of sin and its consequences for time and eternity, otherwise the power would be incomplete.

It is in the most plain and unmistakable manner that Christ has bequeathed to that Church which he founded for the salvation and sanctification of souls, this divine gift: "As the Father has sent Me, so also I send you." "Whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed in heaven." Mark it well! He says: Whatsoever. Now, one who can perform the greater act can also perform the less important. If the Church can, through Christ, remit all sins, no matter how numerous or heinous, it follows that she can do as much in regard to their punishment; for it is a maxim of the schools, that whoever can perform the greater, can perform the lesser act included in it.

By "whatsoever" as above quoted, Christ of course implies the remission of the temporal punishment, and so the: Apostles understood it; for St. Paul granted to the incestuous Corinthian, an indulgence to be of avail for time and eternity. It was granted, my brethren, in accordance with the spirit of the Holy Catholic Church during the very earliest ages of her existence by bishops and priests. The practice existed in the time of St. Cyprian, when Christians, who had fallen away during the persecutions, were reconciled with the Church. Yes, my friends, the power of that Church on this point, so calumniated by Protestants, can not be questioned, no more than can the certainty that indulgences are most salutary and saving!

To gain an indulgence, we must first be in a state of grace, or if we are so unfortunate as to have committed mortal sin, we must have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance. An indulgence, then, will enable the repentant sinner to enter heaven sooner, and come into the enjoyment of the beatific vision. Oh, what an inestimable favor!

Protestants, then, when they assert that an indulgence is a license to commit sin, utter one of the most vile calumnies pronounced by the tongue of man; for unless the aspirant, after an indulgence, be not purified from sin by a sincere confession, there can be no thought of his gaining that favor!

A calumny, similar in malice, if not even more grievous, is that oft-repeated one, that the Church barters indulgences for money. She may, indeed, prescribe the giving of alms as a salutary condition for gaining them; but that there is trafficking in so holy a matter is false indeed!

As regards the division of indulgences, they are of two kinds, plenary and partial, the names indicating the difference. The former obtains for the recipient an entire remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, in such a manner that whoever gains it, and receives the perfect application of it, becomes entirely pure in the sight of God; while the latter remits only a part of the temporal punishment which man has incurred for sin, and which must be suffered either in this life or in purgatory. The means of gaining an indulgence, most earnestly recommended by the Church, is the heartfelt utterance of one ardent act of love towards God, which, in union with the reception of the Sacraments, will be most efficacious.

Thrice happy the Christian who, through a pure and ardent act of love, obtains a plenary indulgence, a grace which I fervently hope will be granted to each and every one assembled here! 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 Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost


2016 - Two Masses


2019 - 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 di Liguori

"And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts.” MATT. ix. 4.

IN the gospel of this day it is related that a paralytic was presented to Jesus Christ that he might heal him. The Lord healed not only his body, but also his soul, and said to him: “Be of good heart, son; thy sins are forgiven thee” (verse 2). Some of the Scribes, as soon as they heard these words, said in their hearts: He blasphemeth. But our Saviour soon let them know that he saw their evil thoughts, saying: “Why do you think evil in your hearts. ” Let us come to the subject of this discourse. God sees the most secret evil thoughts of our hearts; he sees and punishes them. Human judges forbid and chastise only external crimes; for men only see what appears externally. “Men seeth those things that appear; but the Lord beholdeth the heart.” (1 Kings xvi. 7.) God prohibits and punishes bad thoughts. We shall examine, in the first point, when bad thoughts are sinful; in the second, the great danger of bad thoughts when indulged; and in the third, the remedies against bad thoughts.

First Point. When bad thoughts are sinful.

1. In two ways men err regarding bad thoughts. Some who have the fear of God, are scrupulous, and are afraid that every bad thought that presents itself to the mind is a sin. This is an error. It is not the bad thought, but the consent to it, that is sinful. All the malice of mortal sin consists in a bad will, in giving to a sin a perfect consent, with full advertence to the malice of the sin. Hence St. Augustine teaches, that where there is no consent there can be no sin. “Nullo modo sit peccatum, si non sit voluntarium.” (De Vera Rel, cap. xiv.) Though the temptation, the rebellion of the senses, or the evil motion of the inferior parts, should be very violent, there is no sin, as long as there is no consent. “Non nocet sensus,” says St. Bernard, “ubi non est consensus.” (De Inter. Domo., cap. xix.)

2. Even the saints have been tormented by temptations. The devil labours harder to make the saints fall, than to make the wicked sin: he regards the saints as more valuable prey. The Prophet Habacuc says, that the saints are the dainty food of the enemy. “Through them his portion is made fat, and his meat dainty.” (Hab. i. 16.) And therefore, the prophet adds, that the evil one stretches out his net for all, to deprive them of the life of grace: and that he spares no one. “For this cause, therefore, he spreadeth out his net, and will not spare continually to slay the nations. “(Ibid., v. 17.) Even St. Paul, after he had been made a vessel of election, groaned under temptations against chastity. “There was,” said he, “given me a sting of the flesh, an angel of Satan to afflict me.” (2 Cor. xii. 7.) He three times prayed to the Lord, to deliver him from these temptations; but in answer the Lord told him, that his grace was sufficient for him. “For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. And he said: My grace is sufficient for thee.” (ver. 8, 9.) God permits even his servants to be tempted, as well to try their fidelity, as to purify them from their imperfections. And, for the consolation of timid and scrupulous souls, I will here state that, according to the common opinion of theologians, when a soul that fears God and hates sin is in doubt whether she gave consent to a bad thought, she is not bound, as long as she is not certain of having given consent, to confess it: for it is then morally certain that she has not consented to it. Had she really fallen into grevious sin she would have no doubt about it; for mortal sin is so horrible a monster, that it is impossible for him who fears God to admit it into the soul without his knowledge.

3. Others, who are not scrupulous, but are ignorant, and have lax consciences, think that evil thoughts, though wilfully indulged, are not mortal sins, unless the act is consummated. This is an error worse than the former. What we cannot lawfully do, we cannot lawfully desire. Hence it is, that a bad thought to which a person consents, has the same malice as the bad act. As sinful works separate us from God, so also do sinful thoughts. “Perverse thoughts separate us from God.” (Wis. i. 3.) And as all bad actions are known to God, so also he sees all evil thoughts, and will condemn and punish them. “The Lord is a God of all knowledge, and to him are thoughts prepared.” (1 Kings ii. 3.)

4. However, all bad thoughts are not equally sinful: nor have all those that are sinful equal malice. In a bad thought we may consider three things: the suggestion, the delectation, and the consent. The suggestion is the first bad thought that is presented to the mind: this is no sin, but, when rejected is an occasion of merit. “As often,” says St. Antonine, “as you resist, you are crowned.” The delectation takes place when the person stops, as it were, to look at the bad thought, which by its pleasing appearance, causes delight. Unless the will consents to it, this delectation is not a mortal sin; but it is a venial sin, and, if not resisted, the soul is in danger of consenting to it: but, when this danger is not proximate, the sin is only venial. But it is necessary to remark, that, when the thought which excites the delight is against chastity, we are, according to the common opinion of theologians, bound under pain of mortal sin to give a positive resistance to the delectation caused by the thought; because, if not resisted, the delight easily obtains the consent of the will. “Unless a person repel delectations,” says St. Anselm, “the delight passes to consent, and kills the soul.” (S. Ans. Simil., c. xl.) Hence, though a person should not consent to the sin, if he delight in the obscene object, and do not endeavour to resist the delectation, he is guilty of a mortal sin, by exposing himself to the proximate danger of consent. “How long shall hurtful thoughts abide in thee.” (Jer. iv. 14.) Why, says the Prophet, do you allow hurtful thoughts to remain in the mind? Why do you not make an effort to banish them from the heart? God wishes us to watch over the heart with great care; because on the heart that is, the will our life depends. “With all watchfulness keep thy heart, because life issueth out from it.” (Prov. iv. 23.) Finally, the consent, which is the cause of mortal sin, takes place when the person clearly knows that the object is mortally sinful, and embraces it perfectly with the will.

5. A person may sin grievously by thought in two ways; by desire, and by complacency. A person sins by desire when he wishes to do the bad act which he desires, or would wish to do it if he had the opportunity: the desire is a mortal or a venial sin, according as the act which he desires to do is mortally or venially sinful. However, in practice, the commission of the external act always increases the malice of the will, either because it ordinarily increases the complacency which the will indulges, or causes it to continue for a longer time. Hence, if the act followed, it is necessary to mention it in confession. A person sins by complacency, when he does not desire to commit the sinful act, but delights in it as if he had committed it. This complacency is called morose delectation. It is called morose, not because the complacency in the thought of the unchaste acts lasts for a considerable time, but because the will dwells with delight on the thought. Hence, the sin of complacency may, as St. Thomas teaches, be committed in a moment. “Dicitur morosa,” says the holy doctor, “non ex mora temporis, sed ex eo quod ratio deliberans circa earn immoratur revolvens libenter quoo statim respui debuerent.” (1, 2, qu. 74, a 1 ad. 3.) He says”libenter”(wilfully) to remove scruples from persons of timorous conscience, who suffer against their will certain carnal motions and delights, although they do all in their power to banish them. Though the inferior part should feel a certain delight, as long as the will does not consent, there is no sin, at least no mortal sin. I repeat with St. Augustine, that what is not voluntary is by no means sinful. “Malum nullo modo sit peccatum, si non sit voluntarium.” (De Vera Rel., c. xiv.) In temptations against chastity, the spiritual masters advise us, not so much to contend with the bad thought, as to turn the mind to some spiritual, or, at least, indifferent object. It is useful to combat other bad thoughts face to face, but not thoughts of impurity.

Second Point. The great danger of bad thoughts.

6. It is necessary to guard with all possible caution against all bad thoughts, which are an abomination to God. “Evil thoughts are an abomination to the Lord. “ (Prov. xv. 26.) They are called “an abomination to the Lord,” because, as the holy Council of Trent says, bad thoughts, particularly thoughts against the ninth and tenth commandments, sometimes inflict on the soul a deeper wound, and are more dangerous than external acts. “Nonnunquam animam gravius sauciant, et periculosiora sunt iis quæ in manifesto admittuntur.” (Sess. 14, de Pæna, cap. v.) They are more dangerous on many accounts; first, because sins of thought are more easily committed than sins of action. The occasions of sinful acts are frequently wanting; but sins of thought are committed without the occasion. When a soul has turned her back on God, the heart is continually intent on evil, which causes delight, and thus multiplies sins without number. “All the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times.” (Gen. vi. 5.)

7. Secondly, at the hour of death sinful actions cannot be committed; but we may then be guilty of sins of thought; and he who has had a habit of consenting to bad thoughts during life, will be in danger of indulging them at death; for then the temptations of the devil are most violent, Knowing that he has but little time to gain the soul he makes great efforts to bring her into sin. “The devil is come down unto you, hav ing great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. ” (Apoc. xii. 12.) Being in danger of death, St. Eleazar, as Surius relates, was so severely tempted with bad thoughts, that, after his recovery, he said: “Oh! how great is the power of the devils at the hour of death!” The saint conquered the temptations, because he was accustomed to reject bad thoughts. But miserable the man that has contracted the habit of committing them. Father Segneri relates that a certain sinner indulged evil thoughts during life. At death he made a sincere confession of all his sins, and was truly sorry for them; but, after death, he appeared to a person and said he was damned. He stated, that his confession was valid, and that God had pardoned all his sins: that, before death, the devil represented to him, that should he recover from his illness, it would be an act of ingratitude to forsake a certain woman who had a great affection for him. He banished the first temptation: a second came, which he also rejected; but having continued to think on it for a little, he was tempted a third time, yielded to the temptation, and thus he was lost.

Third Point. On the remedies against had thoughts.

8. The Prophet Isaias says, that to be freed from bad thoughts, we must take away the evil of our thoughts. “Take away the evil of our devices.” (Isa. i. 16.) What does he mean by taking away the evil of our devices? He means that we should take away the occasions of evil thoughts, avoid dangerous occasions, and keep at a distance from bad company. I knew a young man who was an angel; but, in consequence of a word which he heard from a bad companion he had an evil thought, and consented to it. He was of opinion that this was the only grievous sin which he committed in his whole life; for he afterwards became a religious, and, after some years, died a holy death. Thus, it is also necessary to abstain from reading books that are obscene, or other wise bad. You must, moreover, avoid dances with females and profane comedies: at least when the dances or comedies are immodest.

9. Some young men will ask: Father, is it sinful to make love? I say: I cannot assert that of itself it is a mortal sin; but persons who do so are often in the proximate occasion of mortal sin; and experience shows that few of them are found free from grievous faults. It is useless for them to say that they neither had a bad motive nor bad thoughts. This is an illusion of the devil; in the beginning he does not suggest bad thoughts; but when, by frequent conversations together, and by frequently speaking of love, the affection of these lovers has become strong, the devil will make them blind to the danger and sinfulness of their conduct, and they shall find that, without knowing how, they have lost their souls and God by many sins of impurity and scandal. Oh! how many young persons of both sexes does the devil gain in this way! And of all those sins of scandal God will demand an account of fathers and mothers, who are bound, but neglect, to prevent these dangerous conversations. Hence, they are the cause of all these evils, and shall be severely chastised by God for them.

10. Above all, in order to avoid bad thoughts, men must abstain from looking at women, and females must be careful not to look at men. I repeat the words of Job which I have frequently quoted: “I made a covenant with my eyes, that I should not so much as think upon a virgin.” (Job xxxi. 1.) He says that he made a covenant with his eyes that he would not think. What have the eyes to do with thinking? The eyes do not think; the mind alone thinks. But he had just reason to say that he made a covenant with his eyes that he would not think on women; for St. Bernard says, that through the eyes the darts of impure love, which kills the soul, enter into the mind. “Per oculos intrat in mentem sagitta impuri amoris.” Hence the Holy Ghost says: “Turn away thy face from a woman dressed up.” (Eccl. ix. 8.) It is always dangerous to look at young persons elegantly dressed; and to look at them purposely, and without a just cause, is, at least, a venial sin.

11. When thoughts against chastity, which often occur without any immediate occasion, present themselves, it is, as I have said, necessary to banish them at once, without beginning to argue with the temptation. The instant you perceive the thought reject it, without giving ear to it, or examining what it says or represents to you. It is related in the book of the sentences of the fathers, (4), that St. Pachomius one day saw a devil boasting that he often made a certain monk fall into sin; because, when tempted, the monk, instead of turning to God, listened to his suggestions, and began to reason with the temptations. But the saint heard another devil complaining, that he could gain nothing from the monk whom he tempted; because the monk immediately had recourse to God for help, and thus he was always victorious. This is the advice of St. Jerome: As soon as lust shall suggest evil, let us  exclaim: The Lord is my helper. “Statim ut libido titillaverit sensum, erumpamus in vocem: Domine auxiliator meus.” (Epist. 22, ad Eustoch.)

12. Should the temptation continue it will be very useful to make it known to your confessor. St Philip Neri used to say, that "a temptation disclosed is half conquered.” In assaults of impurity, some saints have had recourse to very severe mortifications. St. Benedict rolled his naked body among thorns. St. Peter of Alcantara threw himself into a frozen pool. But I consider the best means of overcoming these temptations to be, to have recourse to God, who will certainly give us the victory. “Praising, I will call on the Lord,” said David, “and I shall be saved from my enemies.” (Ps. xvii. 4.) And when, after asking aid from God, the temptation continues, we must not cease to pray, but must multiply prayers: we must sigh and groan before the most holy sacrament in the chapel, or before a crucifix in our own room, or before some image of most holy Mary, who is the mother of purity. It is true, all our efforts are useless unless God sustains us by his own hand; but he sometimes requires these efforts on our part, that he may supply our deficiency, and secure to us the victory. In such combats with hell, it is useful in the beginning to renew our purpose never to offend God, and to forfeit life rather than lose his grace; and then, we must make repeated petitions to him, saying: Lord give me strength to resist this temptation: do not permit me to be separated from thee: deprive me of life rather than allow me to lose thee.

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


PRESENCE OF GOD - O Jesus, grant me the grace to correspond always with the gifts of Your love.


1. A poor paralytic is presented to Our Lord; he probably had himself brought there to ask for bodily health, but in the presence of the purity and holiness which emanates from the Person of Jesus, he realizes that he is a sinner and remains confused and humiliated before Our Lord. Jesus has already read his heart, and seeing his faith and humility, He does not even wait for him to speak, but suddenly says to him with infinite kindness: “Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee” (Gosp : Mt 9,1-8). The first and the greatest miracle
has taken place: the man is no longer a slave of Satan; he is a child of God. Jesus, who came to save souls, rightfully healed the soul before the body.

This miracle, however, does not please the scribes who, not believing in the divinity of Jesus, begin immediately in the secret of their hearts to accuse Him of blasphemy. But the Master, who had read the soul of the paralytic, also reads theirs. “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” If Jesus had seen there even a little humility and faith, He would have been as ready to heal them as He was to heal the heart of the paralytic; but unfortunately, He found nothing but pride and obstinacy. However, He wishes to use every means to soften them, so He gives them the strongest proof of His divinity. “But that you may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins — then He said to the man sick of the palsy — ‘Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house.’ And he arose and went into his house.” The miracle was striking and instantaneous. The word of Jesus effected immediately what it expressed. The words of God alone could have such power. But the scribes will not admit that they are defeated: when the heart is proud and obstinate, not even factual
evidence is capable of moving it.

Let us never say our faith is weak because we do not see or touch with our hand the truth which is proposed for our belief; let us rather admit that it is weak because our heart is not sufficiently docile to grace, nor entirely free from pride. If we want to have strong faith, let us be as humble and simple as children; if we wish to share in the grace of sanctification which was given to the paralytic, let us offer ourselves to Our Lord with contrite, humble hearts, thoroughly convinced that we need His help and forgiveness.

2. The Gospel presents Jesus to us in all the splendor of His divine personality, possessing all the powers proper to God. The Epistle (1 Cor 1,4-8) shows Him in the act of putting His divinity at our service, as it were, to sanctify us and make us divine. Jesus continues to do for our souls what He did for the soul of the paralytic, and today’s Epistle is a beautiful synthesis of His action in us, an action far-reaching and complete, embracing our whole being. Contemplating this action, St. Paul bursts forth in a hymn of gratitude: “I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus, that in all things you are made rich in Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge...so that nothing is wanting to you in any grace.” Yes, every grace, every gift comes to us from Jesus, and through them our person and our life are sanctified. By means of sanctifying grace, He sanctifies our soul; through the infused virtues, He sanctifies our faculties; and by actual grace, He sanctifies our activity, enabling us to act supernaturally. Yet even this does not satisfy His liberality : He is not content with setting us on the road to God, supernaturalized by grace and the virtues, but He wishes to substitute His divine way of acting for our human way; therefore, He enriches us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which make us capable of being moved by God Himself. All this is the gift of Jesus to us, the fruit of His Passion. The Holy Spirit is also His gift, the Gift par excellence, which He merited for us by His death on the Cross, the Gift which He and the Father are continually sending to us from heaven to enlighten and direct our souls.

It seems as if Jesus, the true Son of God, is not jealous of His divinity or His prerogatives, but seeks every possible means to make us share by grace what He possesses by nature. How true it is that the characteristic of love is to give oneself and to place those one loves on a plane of equality with oneself! Let our hearts be filled with gratitude; let us correspond to the infinite love of Jesus and always keep ourselves under its influence, for He wills to “confirm us unto the end without crime, in the day of His coming” (cf. 1 Cor 1,8).


“O Jesus, You have taken away my death by giving me Your life; You have taken my flesh to give me Your Spirit; You have charged Yourself with my sins to bestow grace on me.

“Thus, O my Redeemer, all Your pains are my treasure and my wealth. You clothe me with Your purple, You honor me with Your crown, Your sorrows are a gift to me, Your grief sustains me, Your wounds heal me, Your Blood enriches me, Your love inebriates me.

“You are the repose, the fire, and the desire of my soul. You are the Shepherd, and the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. You are the eternal Pontiff, powerful to appease the wrath of the supreme Father. Who would not praise You, O Lord? Who would not love You with all his heart? O benign Jesus, inflame my soul with this love, show me Your beautiful countenance, make my eyes happy because they see Yours, and refuse not the kiss of peace to one who loves You. You are the Spouse of my soul; it seeks You and calls You tearfully. You, O Holy One, have delivered it from death by Your death, and, wounding it with Your love, You have not despised it. Why does my misery not feel the sweetness of Your presence? Listen, my God and Savior, give me a heart that will love You, for there is nothing sweeter than to burn always with Your love .”? (Ven. Louis of Granada).
"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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