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

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THE Introit of the Mass is: I am the salvation of the people, saith the Lord: in whatever tribulation they shall cry to me, I will hear them: and I will be their Lord for ever. Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (Ps. lxxvii.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Almighty and merciful God, graciously keep us from all things that are hurtful ; that we, being set free both in mind and body, may with ready minds accomplish whatever is Thine. Thro'.

EPISTLE. (Ephes. iv. 23—28.) Brethren, Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice
and holiness of truth. Wherefore, putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.

Quote:EXPLANATION. St. Paul admonishes the Ephesians to lay aside the old man, like a worn out garment, and put on the new man, that is, to renew their internal and external life. This renewal according to his teaching takes place, when we by a true repentance put away our vices, shun all lies, anger, injustice, &c, and adorn our soul with virtues, and zealously seek after Christian justice and perfection. We have, perhaps, already sought to change our manner of living, for which a jubilee or some other particular solemnity of the Church gave us occasion, and at that time, perhaps, purified our soul by a general confession, making the firm resolution to live for God, and work out our salvation, we appeared converted, and to have become other men: but how long did this conversion last? Ah, how soon did we fallback into the old, sinful ways. And why? Because we lived in too great, deceitful security. We thought everything accomplished by the general confession; we were satisfied, and omitted to employ the means of remaining in the state of grace. We did not thank God for the grace of conversion; we did not ask Him for the grace of perseverance; we frequented evil company, and did not avoid dangerous occasions; we indulged in idleness and pleasures as before. How can it appear strange, if such a conversion is fruitless? Ah, we should remain in wholesome fear even after the remission of our sins. (Ecclus. v. 5.) Even if we could say that we have done everything, nevertheless we cannot be certain, whether we be worthy of hatred or love. (Ecclus. ix. 1.) We should, therefore, work out our salvation according to the advice of St. Paul (Philipp. ii. 12.) in fear and trembling, and thus not fall into the old life of sin, losing the hope of a new conversion.

GOSPEL. (Matt. xxii. 1 — 14.) At that time, Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the Pharisees in parables, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage, and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. But they neglected: and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise: and the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard of it, he was angry: and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good; and the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests; and he saw there
a man who had not on a wedding garment: and he saith to him: Friend, how earnest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

Quote:REMARK. This parable, agrees in many respects with that for the second Sunday after Pentecost, and has the same meaning. See, therefore, the explanation of that gospel, as also of the feast of St. Catherine, to which may be added the following:

EXPLANATION. In this parable the king is our Heavenly Father who has espoused His only-begotten Son to the Church, and on this occasion prepares the most sumptuous marriage-feast by giving the evangelical doctrine, the holy Sacraments, and the heavenly joys. The servants sent to invite the guests are the prophets, apostles and disciples of Christ. Those invited are the Jews who despised the honor and grace of the divine King, destined for them, abused and killed His servants, and were, therefore, cast aside and with their city Jerusalem, destroyed by the armies of their enemies, as a just punishment; in their stead the heathens and all those nations were called, who were on the broad road to destruction, and who now occupy the places of the unfortunate Jews at the marriage-feast of the Church, and shall also occupy them in heaven. In the Jews to whom Christ addressed this parable, is verified that many of them, nay, all are called, but few chosen, because they would not heed the invitation.

APPLICATION. "We have the honor not only to be invited to this marriage-feast , but are in reality guests at it, because we are members of the Church of Christ by faith." But the Christian," says St. Gregory, "who is a member of the Church by faith, but has not charity, is like to a man who comes to the marriage-feast without the wedding garment." With this garment which is charity, Christ was vested, when He came to celebrate the nuptials with His spouse, the Church, and by the bond of charity the Son of God also unites Himself with His elect. He clearly lets us know that charity is the wedding garment which should vest us. Those, therefore, who believe and are in the communion of the Church, but who do not preserve the grace of charity, are indeed in the wedding-chamber, but they are not adorned with the wedding garment. They are dead members of the Church, and shall not be admitted without this garment into the celestial marriage-feast in the triumphant Church, but rather be cast like that unfortunate guest into exterior darkness. This guest was silent, when asked by the king, why he had not the wedding garment. By this we see, that no one can excuse himself to God for not having charity, because every one can have it, if he asks it from God, and, as St. Augustine says, our heart is the workshop of charity, and every one who has a heart can practice it.

PRAYER. I thank Thee, O Jesus, that Thou didst call me to the marriage-feast in Thy Church, give me the wedding garment of charity that I may be present at the celestial marriage-feast, and not be cast into exterior darkness.

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Cast him into the exterior darkness. (Matt. xxii. 13.)

What is hell?

HELL is that place where the damned must suffer eternal punishment.

Is there a hell?

Yes, reason, holy Scripture, and the Church teach us that there is a hell. Reason tells us that there is a just God who will punish sin. It is evident that all sins are not punished in this world; there must, therefore, be a place, where every mortal sin, not atoned for by sorrow and penance, will be punished, and this place is — hell. All nations from the beginning of the world, even those who had not the light of revelation, believed this.

But clearer still is the existence of hell shown by holy Scripture. The pious Job (x. 22.) speaks of a region of misery and darkness, where the shadows of death and no order, but where eternal terror dwells. The Prophet Isaias (xxx. S3-) says that hell is deep and wide, and that the fire burning in it, is like a stream of sulphur, ignited by the breath of the Lord. Our Saviour expressly says that those who have done evil, shall go to everlasting torment, (Matt. xxv. 46.) that they shall be tortured by everlasting fire. (Matt. xxv. 41.) He makes mention of hell, and says that an inextinguishable fire burns there, and a worm which never dies, plagues the wicked. (Mark ix. 42. 43; Matt. x. 28.) All the Fathers of the Church teach and testify to the same doctrine. St. Augustine, among many others, says: "The infinite wisdom of God tells us, that there is a hell, and the illimitable power of God it is that punishes the damned in a wonderful, but real manner."

Wherein do the pains of hell consist?

Sacred Scripture and the Church teach concerning the pains of the reprobate in hell, that the damned burn there in an inextinguishable fire. (Mark ix. 45.) The holy doctors of the Church say, that this fire is never extinguished, and its smoke ascends or rises from century to century. "I see this fire," says St. Gregory, "as if it were gifted with reason; it makes a distinction between the guilty, and tortures the damned according to the nature of their sins."

This fire burns, but never consumes its victims; it communicates, as Cassiodorus says, immortality to the reprobate and lets them suffer pain, which preserves them, like salt which penetrates the flesh and keeps it from corruption, as Jesus says: Every one shall be salted with fire. (Mark ix. 48.) This fire does not shine, it leaves the reprobate in darkness, (Matt. viii. 12.) and with this fire a never dying worm continually torments the damned. This worm is not only a bad conscience, say the holy Fathers, but particularly the privation of the Beatific Vision. Eternally will the thought torment the damned: I have lost God, the only true and highest Good, I have lost Him through my fault, I have lost Him for a brief pleasure , I have lost Him forever. In hell eternity devours all time; and if after millions and millions of years a damned soul wailingly asks his companion in misery: What time is it? he receives the answer: Eternity.

Who would not fear hell, and avoid sin which incurs eternal punishment, when he reflects upon this! And yet there are many, upon whom the truth of the existence of a hell makes no impression, who even deny that there is such a place, and who say: "God is love, He can have no pleasure in the torments of His creatures, He cannot eternally punish a sin which was committed in so short a time as is the life of man." But those who speak thus, forget that God is just, that His love and mercy are indeed always ready to forgive the contrite and penitent, but that His justice must also be satisfied, when the sinner continually rejects the merciful love of God; they forget, that every grievous sin which man commits voluntarily and knowingly is an infinite, eternal insult, offered to God, which can only be atoned for by an eternal punishment. For the perverted and malicious will of a man, who dies in mortal sin, remains perverted and malicious forever, therefore he must also be punished eternally.

O my dear Christian, do not listen to such deceivers; for just on account of their sinful life, they fear hell and therefore they endeavor to free themselves from this fear by denying the existence of hell; but they cannot succeed; for Jesus, the Truth, has told us, that there is a hell, and
His word remains for all eternity. Endeavor rather by a pious life to escape hell, descend there in spirit frequently according to the advice of a saint, contemplate the torments of the damned, and let this reflection urge you to imitate Christ, who has promised the joys of heaven to all His faithful followers.

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The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. (Matt, xxii. 2.)

HEAVEN is compared by Christ to a marriage-feast, because we will there enjoy all imaginable pleasures in the most perfect union with God. In what these joys consist, St. Paul could not describe, although he was wrapt into the third heaven and tasted these pleasures; he only said: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. (i Cor. ii. 9.) Holy Writ, indeed, gives us many descriptions of the celestial joys, by comparing heaven to a paradise of bliss, sometimes to a precious pearl, or a treasure which neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves steal; again it represents heaven under the picture of a kingdom, a throne, a crown, whereby we are raised to the highest honor; at another time to the picture of a city which is built of gold, precious stones and pearls, lighted by the splendor of God, filled with magnificence and glory, and where the inhabitants enjoy undisturbed peace and security. These are only images or similitudes, which are taken from the most beautiful, most precious, and magnificent things of the earth, to teach us that heaven is as beautiful and pleasant a place,
as we can wish and represent to ourselves, and that all possible beauty, agreeableness and joy may be found there in the highest and most perfect manner, free from evil, anxiety, disgust and fear of losing them. In heaven we will possess God Himself, the source of all joy and bliss, and will enjoy His own happiness for all eternity. More is not needed to give us the highest conception of heaven. Who would not willingly despise the vain, short and imperfect pleasures of this earth, whilst contemplating this indescribable bliss? Who would not willingly bear all the misfortunes and misery of this world, when considering that the more miserable we have been in this life the happier will we be hereafter. What would it avail us to have enjoyed all the pleasures of this world, if deprived of the pleasures of heaven in eternity!

ASPIRATION. How lovely are Thy tabernacles, Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have
rejoiced in the living God. (Ps. lxxxiii. 2 — 3.) How do I loathe the world , when I contemplate heaven. (St. Ignatius Loyola.)
"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
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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The divine Leader of God’s people is their salvation and that in all their distress. Did we not last Sunday see him prove himself as such, and in a very telling way—by curing both body and soul of the poor Paralytic, who was a figure of the whole human race? Let us hear his voice, in the Introit, with love and gratitude; let us promise him the fidelity he asks of us; his Law, if we will but observe it, will preserve us from a relapse.

The Anthem which follows is made up of several passages of Holy Writ, without being exactly that of any one of them. The Verse is taken from the 77th Psalm.

Salus populi ego sum, dicit Dominus: de quacumque tribulatione clamaverint ad me, exaudiam eos: et ero illorum Dominus in perpetuum.
I am the salvation of the people, saith the Lord: in what distress soever they call upon me, I will hear them: and will be their Lord for ever.

Ps. Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei. Gloria Patri, Salus.
Ps. Attend, O my people, unto my law: incline your ear to the words of my mouth. Glory, &c. I am the salvation.

Free both in mind and body, by the omnipotent word of the Son of Man, the human race can devote itself, with all activity, to the service of God. Let us obtain from his divine Majesty, by uniting our prayer with that of the Church in her Collect, that the fatal paralysis, which was once so cruel a tyrant over our souls and faculties, may never return.

Omnipotens et misericors Deus, universa nobis adversantia propitiatus exclude: ut mente et corpore pariter expediti, quæ tua sunt, liberis mentibus exequamur. Per Dominum.
O almighty and merciful God, kindly keep away from us all things that are adverse to us: that being also free in mind and body, we may, with unimpeded minds, attend to the things that are thine. Through, etc.

The other Collects, as in Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.

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

Brethren: be renewed in the spirit of your mind: And put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth. Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbour; for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.

Quote:The Epistle to the Ephesians, which was interrupted last Sunday, in the manner we then described, is continued today by the Church. The Apostle has already laid down the dogmatical principles of true holiness; he now deduces the moral consequences of those principles.

Let us call to mind how the holiness, which is in God, is his very Truth—Truth, living and harmonious which is no other than the admirable concert of the Three divine Persons, united in love. We have seen that holiness, as far as it exists in us men, is also Union, by divine love, with the eternal and living Truth. The Word took a Body unto himself in order to manifest in the Flesh this sanctifying and perfect Truth, of which he is the substantial expression; his Humanity, sanctified directly by the plenitude of the divine life and truth, which dwell within him, became the model, as well as the means, the way, of all holiness to every creature. It was not sin alone, but it was, moreover, the finite nature of man, that kept him at a distance from the divine life; but he finds, in Christ Jesus, just as they are in God, the two elements of that life: truth and love. In Jesus, as the complement of his Incarnation, Wisdom aspires at uniting with herself all the members, also, of that human race, of which He is the Head, and the First-Born; by Him, the Holy Ghost, whose sacred fount He is, pours himself out upon man, whereby to adapt him to his sublime vocation, and consummate, in infinite love (which is himself), that union of every creature with the divine Word. Thus it is that we verily partake of that life of God, whose existence and holiness are the knowledge and love of his own Word; thus it is that we are sanctified in Truth, by the participation of that very holiness, wherewith God is holy by nature.

But although the Son of Man, being God, participates for us his brethren, in the life of union in the Truth, which constitutes the holiness of the blessed Trinity, he communicates that Life, that Truth, that deifying Union, to none save but to those who are truly become his members, and who, in Him, reproduce between one another, by the operation of the Spirit of Truth and love, that unity, of which that sanctifying Spirit is the almighty bond in the Godhead. May they all be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee, said this Jesus of ours, to his Eternal Father: that they, also, may be one in us. I have given unto them the glory, that is to say, the holiness which thou hast given unto me, that they may be one as we, also, are one; I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be consummated (that is, be made perfect) in unity. Here we have, and formulized by our Lord himself, the simple but fruitful axiom—the foundation—of christian dogma and morals. By that sublime prayer, he explained what he had previously been saying: I sanctify myself for them—that they, also, may be sanctified in Truth.

Let us now understand the moral doctrine given us by St. Paul in today’s Epistle, and what it is he means by that justice, and that holiness of truth, which is that of Christ, of the new man whom everyone must put on, who aspires to the possession of the riches spoken of in the passages already read to us from this magnificent Epistle. Let us re-read the Epistle for the 17th Sunday, and we shall find that all the rules of christian asceticism, as well as of the mystic life are, to St. Paul’s mind, summed up in those words: Be careful to keep unity! It is the principle he lays down for all, both beginners and the perfect. It is the crowning of the sublimest vocations in the order of grace, as well as the foundation and reason of all God’s commandments; so truly so, indeed, that if we be commanded to abstain from lying, and speak the truth to them that live with us, the motive for it all is because we are members one of another.

There is a holy anger, of which the Psalmist speaks, and which is the outcome, on certain occasions, of zeal for the divine law and charity; but the movement of irritation, excited in the soul, must even then be speedily calmed down; to foster it would be giving place to the devil; that is, it would be giving him an opportunity for weakening or even destroying within us, by bitterness and hatred, the structure of holy unity.

Before our conversion, our neighbor, as well as God, was grieved by our sins; we cared little or nothing for injustice, provided it was not noticed; egotism was our law, and it was proof enough of the reign of Satan over our souls. Now that the spirit of holiness has expelled the unworthy usurper, the strongest evidence of His being our rightful master is that not only the rights of others are sacred in our estimation, but that our toil and our labors are all full of the idea of how to make them serviceable to our neighbor. In a word, as the Apostle continues a little further on, we walk in love because, as most dear children, we are followers of God.

It is by this means alone, says St. Basil, that the Church manifests to this earth of ours the many and great benefits bestowed on the world by the Incarnation. The Christian family, which heretofore was split up into a thousand separate fragments, is now made one, one in itself and one in God; it is the repetition of what our Lord did, by assuming Flesh and making it one with himself.

Our Jesus has restored to our hands (which once were paralyzed for every supernatural work) the full freedom of their movements; then, let us raise them up spiritually in prayer, giving glory to God by this our homage, which he graciously accepts as a fragrant sacrifice. The Church, in the Gradual, gives us this teaching, and by her own example as well.

Dirigatur oratio mea, sicut incensum in conspectu tuo, Domine.
Let my prayer be directed as incense, in thy sight, O Lord.

℣. Elevatio manuum mearum sacrificium vespertinum.
℣. May the lifting up of my hands be as an evening sacrifice.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Confitemini Domino, et invocate nomen ejus: annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus. Alleluia.
℣. Give glory to the Lord, and call upon his name: proclaim among the gentiles his works. Alleluia.

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

At that time: Jesus spoke to the scribes and Pharisees in a parable, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my calves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. But they neglected, and went their own ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise. And the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard of it, he was angry, and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good: and the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests: and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

Quote:This Gospel has given to the present Sunday the name of the Sunday of the invited to the marriage. And yet, from the very opening of the dominical series, which began with the Descent of the Holy Ghost, the Church gave us the Gospel teaching, which she offers to us now, a second time, for our consideration. On the second Sunday after Pentecost, she related to us, from St. Luke, the parable of the great supper, to which many were invited, and which now St. Matthew, entering into fuller details, calls a marriage feast.

Set thus before us, both at the beginning and at the close of the liturgical season, over which the Holy Spirit reigns supreme—this parable is, as it were, the interpreter of the whole portion of the Year, which it thus hems in: it is an additional revelation of the true aim of the Church. But how much has the light not increased, since the first time we had these mystery-telling allegories! The certain man (homo guidam), who made a great supper, and invited many, is become the King, who makes a marriage for his Son, and in this marriage, gives us an image of the Kingdom of heaven. The world’s history, too, has been developing, as we gather from the terms respectively used by the two Evangelists. Those who were the first invited and contented themselves with declining the kindness of the Master of the House, have grown in their impious ingratitude; laying hands on the messengers sent them by the loving kindness of the King (see commentary for the Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi), they treat them with contumely, and put them to death! We have seen the merited punishment inflicted on these deicides, by this Man, who was God himself, the father of Israel, now become King of the Gentiles: we have seen how he sent his armies to destroy them, and burn their City. And now at last, in spite of the refusal of the Invited of Juda, in spite of the treacherous opposition put by them against the celebration of the Nuptials of the Son of God, all things are ready for the Marriage, and the banquet hall is filled with guests.

Our heavenly King has confided to the ministers of his love the work of calling, and from every people, the new Guests: but now that his ambassadors, according to his command, have traversed the whole earth, bringing together all nations for this day of the joy of his heart—he himself is coming in person, to see that nothing is wanting to the due preparation for the Feast, and give the signal for the eternal banquet of the divine Nuptials. Now for such a feast, and in such a place, if there be any deficiency, it can only be on the part of the Guests. Let them, then, be careful not to draw down upon themselves, in this general and last examination, the displeasure of the great King, who has called them to an alliance with himself. Though he have condescended to call them, notwithstanding their extreme poverty, from the public streets and highways, he has given them abundant time to lay aside their tatters; and knowing that they could not get ready of themselves, he has placed at their disposal for the marriage feast the richest garments of his grace and virtues. Woe then, to him who on the last day shall be found not having the wedding garment of charity! such a want would admit of no excuse; and the King would justly punish it by excluding the guilty man from the feast, as one that had insulted his Son.

Everything we have had on the preceding Sundays has shown us how solicitous the Church ever is in preparing mankind for that wonderful Marriage whose realization is the one object aimed at by the divine Word, in his coming upon our earth. During her long exile, the Bride of the Son of God has been a living model to her children; and by her instruction, she has been unceasingly preparing them for the understanding of the great mystery of divine Union. Three weeks ago, treating more directly than she had hitherto done, on the great subject of her ambition as Mother and Bride, she reminded them of the great call. Eight days later on, she gave them another lesson, and it was that the Bridegroom of the nuptials, to which they were invited, revealed himself to them in that Man-God who was the object of the two-fold concept of love, which embodies the whole Law. Today, we have the teaching in all its perfection. It is condensed in the Night Office, where we have St. Gregory explaining her whole teaching. The great Doctor and the great Pope thus, in the name of the Church, explains our Gospel:

“The kingdom of heaven is the assembly of the just; for, the Lord says by a Prophet: Heaven is my throne; and Solomon says: The soul of the just man is the throne of wisdom, and Paul calls Christ the Wisdom of God. If, therefore, heaven be the throne of God, we must evidently conclude that, as Wisdom is God, and the soul of the just man is the throne of Wisdom, this soul is a heaven … The kingdom of heaven, then, is the assembly of the just … If this Kingdom is said to be like to a King, who made a marriage for his Son, your charity at once understands who is this King, who is the father of a son, King like himself. It is he of whom the Psalmist says: Give to the King thy judgment, O God, and to the King’s Son, thy justice! God the Father made the marriage of God his Son, when he wished, that he who had been God before all ages should become Man towards the end of ages. But we must not on that account suppose that there are two persons in Jesus Christ, our God and our Savior … It is for that reason that it is, perhaps, clearer and safer to say that the King made a marriage for his Son, in that by the mystery of the Incarnation, he united the Church to him. The womb of the Virgin Mother was the nuptial chamber of that Bridegroom, of whom the Psalmist says: He hath set his tabernacle in the sun: and he, as a Bridegroom, cometh out of his bride-chamber!”

Notwithstanding her dignity of beloved Bride of the Son of God, the Church is nonetheless subject to tribulations here below. The enemies of the Spouse, having no longer any direct power to injure our Lord, they turn all their rage against her. In these trials, endured as they are by the Church with love, Jesus sees a fresh trait of that resemblance which he wishes her to have to himself; he, therefore, leaves her to suffer in this world, contenting himself with ever upholding and saving her, as the Offertory says, in the midst of the evils which go on thickening around her.

Si ambulavero in medio tribulationis, vivificabis me, Domine: et super iram inimicorum meorum extendes manum tuam, et salvum me faciet dextera tua.
If I should walk in the midst of tribulation, thou, O Lord, wilt quicken me: and thou hast stretched forth thy hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand hath saved me.

The august Sacrifice which is about to be offered, always obtains its effect, as far as the glory of the divine Majesty is concerned; but its virtue is applied to man in a greater or lesser degree, according to the dispositions of the creature, and the divine mercy. Let us, in the Secret, beseech our heavenly Father, that he vouchsafe to give us to experience abundantly the effects of the divine Mysteries, which are so soon to be produced on our Altar.

Hæc munera, quæsumus Domine, quæ oculis tuæ majestatis offerimus, salutaria nobis esse concede. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the offerings we bring before thy divine Majesty, may avail unto our salvation. Through, etc.

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

The Man-God, by his divine contact in the sacred banquet, has spiritually given vigor to our members; let us recall to mind in the Communion-Antiphon that we must henceforward consecrate them to his service and that our feet, now made sure, must run in the way of the divine commandments.

Tu mandasti mandata tua custodiri nimis: utinam dirigantur viæ meæ, ad custodiendas justificationes tuas!
Thou hast commanded thy commandments to be kept most diligently: oh! that my ways may be directed to keep thy justifications!

The Postcommunion, again, seems to be an allusion to the Gospel of the Paralytic, which used formerly to be read on this Sunday. In it, we implore the assistance of the heavenly Physician, who sets man free from the palsy which held him a prisoner; he also gives him the strength needed for fulfilling the law of God bravely and perseveringly.

Tua nos, Domine, medicinalis operatio et a nostris perversitatibus clementer expediat, et tuis semper faciat inhærere mandatis. Per Dominum.
May the healing efficacy of these thy mysteries, O Lord, mercifully free us from our perverseness, and make us always obedient to thy commandments. 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
Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

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"The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son."--Matt. 22.

In the Gospel of today we are told of a marriage feast prepared by the royal father for his son. This parable manifestly has reference to heaven, for St. John in his Apocalypse expressly mentions the nuptials of the Lamb, Who is the Son of God made man, whose union with the Church triumphant is symbolically expressed in this parable of the marriage-feast. This triumphant Church in heaven is verily, and indeed the one same Church which Christ established here upon earth; in which we, if we live as her true children, have a foretaste of those pleasures and delights which we shall one day enjoy in their plenitude, forever, when invited to the marriage-feast of the Lamb in heaven. The certainty which we feel of this truth, and the sweet hope arising therefrom, may well dispose our hearts to follow the admonition of the Apostle: "If ye have arisen with Christ, seek ye the things which are above."

Thrice happy are those children of the Church who properly appreciate the privilege they enjoy in belonging to her fold, who live so that they will one day enjoy in perfection the bliss they now participate in but partially. The subject of my sermon, then, today will be the marriage-feast in heaven which has already begun on earth in the kingdom of the one true Church.

Mary, queen of heaven, pray that the fruit of this meditation may be a clearer knowledge of how to be come true children of thy divine Son! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

To realize that we, as St. Paul asserts, behold in part the joys of heaven as if "through a glass," and have already a foretaste of them, we need only consider what causes heaven to be heaven, and inspires the saints to sing forever the praises of the Lamb. To this our attention is directed by the different names by which heaven is designated.

Holy Scripture calls heaven paradise, that wonder of creation which God called into existence for His faithful creatures.

Of the beauty of this celestial paradise we can form no idea; but if we view even the charms of this fair earth in the light of faith, and behold in them so many marks of the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, do we not feel disposed with holy David to cry out: "The heavens declare the glory of God?" We learn from the life of St. Ignatius how powerfully his heart was moved by the sight of the firmament, brilliant with stars to do all for the greater honor and glory of God. So, too, upon beholding lovely and fragrant flowers the heart of this great servant of God was elevated to his Creator. But what words can I find to portray the spiritual beauty of the holy Catholic Church,--rather, should say, to convey some faint idea of it? How infinitely more lovely does she appear in the eyes of the children of God, in the grandeur and magnificence of her heavenly attributes, than that terrestrial paradise which our first parents found so fair. By those ever-flowing streams of grace the Holy Sacraments by the good works perpetually budding and ripening in her garden, she is indeed rendered "all fair," and in her "there is no spot!"

According to the expression of Holy Scripture, heaven is the promised land, our true country, that home where loved ones meet to part no more. Oh, what happiness in the very thought!

Already we have a foretaste of this sweetness if we are so fortunate as to live near some holy souls, or if, after a long separation, we meet again some of God's faithful servants.

The Church, like heaven, is also our true country, and her children feel at home in her, be it in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, or Oceanica, every-where the priest's "Dominus vobiscum" falls as sweetly upon the ear as when heard from the altar in the home of our youth.

According to Holy Writ heaven is a kingdom of delight, where naught but joy can enter; so also is the Church a kingdom of delight to those who keep her commandments. Hear the call of the Apostle: "Rejoice, I say, in the Lord; and again I say, rejoice!" To those who love God everything works unto good, and is therefore a source of joy. The heart of the true Catholic has every reason to rejoice and be glad. How could he be otherwise, remembering the infinitely great grace bestowed upon him? What constant opportunities he has of acquiring merits and treasures for heaven, and multiplying them a thousand-fold! In this vale of tears, where all is transitory and fleeting, we often have troubles which almost crush the heart. Then think, O friends! of that weary road to Calvary which your suffering Saviour trod for you, and mark it well that sorrows, patiently borne, will one day change to celestial joys. Every Christian, in the state of grace, and living in union with God, can enjoy that sweetness and delight of which our Saviour speaks when He says: "My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you!" a peace, my brethren, which the world knoweth not, and which hath not entered into the heart of its votaries to conceive. We know that eye hath not beheld the joys of heaven, nor ear listened to its ravishing strains of music, neither can the heart of man imagine the delights which God hath prepared for those who love Him.

These words apply also to the spiritual joy which is the portion of the faithful, devoted child of the Holy Church, and to the utter ignorance of the worldling in regard to those joys. Yes, the Church is a kingdom of delight, to which can truly be applied the words of St. John: "And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride for her husband." "And I heard a voice, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and He will dwell with them. And they shall be His people, and God himself with them shall be their God. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes."

Whether it be sickness, or the loss of temporal goods, or some bitter humiliation, or the death of a beloved child, the true Christian accepts all as coming from the divine hand, uniting his will with the most holy will of God, ready to sacrifice, if necessary, even life itself, and yet to say, with St. Paul, "we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed."

Heaven is the reward offered for a holy life, and even here the zealous Catholic experiences the joy of this reward in proportion as his merits increase, and he advances in piety and fervor, walking in the way of the saints. New graces are bestowed upon him as his union with God becomes more intimate, and Christian hope sweetly whispers to his heart that heaven is near.

And God will be our portion forever in that happy home! Heaven itself would not be heaven were it not that there we will enjoy forever the presence of God. There, too, we will be with the immaculate mother of God, and the angels and saints to share forever in their joys. Those same bright spirits surround us here, and we live in the midst of many holy souls who are doing the will of God upon earth, while the saints in heaven will one day welcome the deserving ones to their blissful home.

On earth we are especially near to the sweet mother of God in this kingdom of His Church, and how often do we not experience her maternal protection! But, more than all, the saints in heaven are not nearer to the king of heaven than we, and they can hardly possess Him more fully than we do by union with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Oh, if we fully appreciated the happiness of this union with Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament, we would comprehend why the Scripture speaks of heaven as a banquet, for which the table is already prepared on earth! God is God every-where; He is present on our altars on earth as truly as in the grandeur and magnificence of his celestial throne.

To all, then, who truly live according to the spirit of the Holy Catholic Church, Christ fulfills His promise that He, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, will take up His abode in their souls.

Surely, most Holy Church, thou art heaven upon earth; and if we truly apply the graces we receive through Thee, then will we, as the Apostle assures us, live, while yet on earth, as if we shared the joys of heaven! Amen!

"But He was silent."--Matt. 22, 12.

God would not judge the world were He not just, on account of the angels. So St. Paul assures us. A remarkable expression! The sense of these words of the Apostle is that, were not all God's ways the ways of truth, and emanations from His infinite perfection, the angels--those beings of the highest intelligence and holiness--would discover the defect.

In this world the ways of divine Providence often appear dark and mysterious; but a day will come when that which is dark will be made light, and men will perceive that God condemns no one who, by his own fault and free will, has not deserved that fearful fate. On that day Lucifer, with all the infernal host, will be forced to confess and cry out that the Lord is just, and that just are all His decrees.

His justice will fall with terrible and crushing weight upon those sinners who, although members of the true Church, have abused the grace of God, and for that reason are condemned to eternal misery. Nothing is of more frequent occurrence on this earth than for those who have transgressed to find or invent some plausible excuse; but on that dreadful day, when Christ shall come to judge the world by fire, oh, then the sinner can find no plea or excuse, but will rather cry out to the mountains to fall on him and hide him from the wrath of an angry Judge!

Let the subject of this day's meditation, then, be, how we can escape the terrible fate of the reprobate!

Mary, whose sweet office of mediatrix will on that fearful day be ended, obtain for us the grace so to live that on the day of judgment we may turn to you with love and gratitude for having secured our salvation! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory ot God!

It is natural for man to excuse himself. We, the fallen children of Eve, have learned the lesson well from our first parents, who not only sought to palliate their offense, but would fain have cast the blame upon their Lord and Maker. As it was with the world in its earliest ages, so it is today. Seldom do we find delinquents ready to acknowledge their faults, at least not in their entire magnitude; for if they do not exactly justify their evil doings, they palliate them as much as possible, and too often try to cast the blame upon others. But when Christ shall come to judge all men, that His justice may be vindicated before the whole world, there will be no room for excuses. Then he who has been an unfaithful child of the Church will not dare to break the awful silence which will reign while his evil life is being judged. When Christ shall have pronounced the awful sentence of condemnation, the wretched being will vainly call upon the mountains to fall upon him and hide his shame.

On considering the excuses most generally made for transgressions, we can readily see how there can be only silence before the Judge.

Listen to the first, it is a plea of ignorance: "I did not know." Sinner, Christian, would that excuse avail you on the last day? Christ would say to you: "What, sinner! you say you did not know? Did I not, from no merit of your own, create you, and make you a child of the true Church? Did not your parents, your teachers and confessors continually admonish you? Have you not listened to sermons which in structed you how to avoid sin? Yet you committed it over and over again! And what of the accusations of your conscience? did not they whisper that you were doing wrong that you were outraging My adorable majesty? Did you not know that for the relapsing sinner there is no excuse? and yet how often and often you willfully fell back into sin! You advanced in age, and grew better able to discern the greatness of your offenses against Me, yet you would not give up those mortal sins! Can you deny it?" The sinner is silent!

The second excuse is: "I could not help it. I was tempted too strongly." Sinner, child of the Catholic Church! will this plea avail you at the judgment-seat of Christ? Far from it, for there you will be reminded of the numberless graces by which you could have resisted temptation, and fulfilled the most holy will of God! You will be forced to recall the many inspirations of the Holy Ghost by which a loving Redeemer sought to touch your heart and strengthen your will!

How, then, can you excuse yourself? Then will be placed before you the constant admonitions given you by your teachers, parents and confessor. You will be reminded of the power of prayer, which was within your reach, even as a child to ask and obtain grace to resist temptations. You will be reminded that, when you fell, there was the Sacrament of Penance, wherein you could obtain forgiveness and grace to amend!

If you consider that Lucifer and his rebellious angels committed but one sin, and received no grace to confess or repent, and then reflect on the numberless sins you have committed in the course of your life, in thought, word and deed, for which God has vouchfsafed you both time and means of repentance, what excuse can you put forward? Cast but one glance at all the heathens, who for centuries have lived without the pale of the Church, not having had even for one single time the privilege of going to confession--a grace which you have despised and trampled upon, keeping away from the Sacraments perhaps for years, or approaching them in such dispositions as to bring additional guilt upon your soul! What plea can you find, O sinner, when the terrible voice of the Judge addresses you thus? "Was I not ever present in your Churches, where you, as a child of My Church, might have sought Me, to beg for the grace which it would have been My joy to enrich you with?" O sinner, you will not dare to utter a word!

Another favorite excuse is: "No one helped me." Do you think that will avail you with Christ? He will remind you of the guides in the way of virtue with whom you were blessed--your parents, teachers and the priests of His Church, who warned you and were ever ready to help you. He will remind you that He was always ready to enter your heart, and strengthen you with His sacred body and blood. He will tell you that you might have visited Him in His tabernacles, and drawn spiritual strength from the sweetness of His presence; but that you passed His abode unheeded, allowing months and even years to pass without receiving Him in Holy Communion, or approaching the holy table, merely through habit! O sinner, how terrible will be that silence in which you will stand before the Judge!

It is frequently urged: "I was forced to do so." What will such an excuse avail you then? You are free, and neither man nor devil has power to make you commit sin, if you call upon God and firmly resist.

"No one advised me, and I saw others commit the same sin, while I was too young to know its evil." That excuse may pass in this life, but not in the next. Christ would say: "Had you not the warnings and threats of divine faith? They were often repeated to you, and you knew that a judgment awaited you after death, and that, if death surprised you while in a state of mortal sin, you would be lost forever!

If it had been a question of earthly danger, what care you would have taken! Had you been walking along a precipice, how cautiously you would have proceeded! If a dangerous illness had overtaken you, what efforts you would have made for the restoration of your health! If your temporal possessions were lost or injured, how solicitous you would have been for their recovery!

And what of the excuse of youth,--too young? Did you not persist in your evil habits long after youth had passed? The evil examples of others--will that have any value? If that led you away, had you not models of holiness in all the saints, whom you might have imitated? Above all, was God not ready to bestow sufficient grace upon you for salvation, even at your last breath? But you despised His mercy; you must accept the rigors of His justice!

And the wretched sinner, the lost and miserable child of the Catholic Church, will be silent before his Judge; but for all eternity his cries of despair will resound through the terrible abyss of hell! Amen!

"Many are called, but few are chosen."--Matt. 22, 14.

Our holy mother, the Church, has uttered many threats to the children of men, warning them of the certainty of a final judgment. But among them all there is none more powerful than that by which the Gospel of today is concluded. These terrible words: Many are called, but few are chosen," serve to remind the Christian of the constant danger in which he lives, of not being one of the chosen few.

Christ speaks of those who are lost as by far the greater number, when He utters this threat through His Church!

Therefore, those who are in earnest about their salvation will ask with the Apostles, when they heard the fearful prediction that one of them would betray our Lord: "Is it I, O Lord?" No one knoweth. Christ does not return a direct answer, but each one can examine his own heart, and discover within himself whether he bears any of the marks of the elect. Let us, then, today, carefully consider what are those marks and characteristics of elect.

Mary, mother of celestial hope, cast over us the mantle of thy maternal protection, that we may live so as to be among the chosen few! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

Holy Scripture assures us that no one knoweth whether he is worthy of love or hatred; and the Church, through the Council of Trent, teaches as a dogma, that no one, without a particular revelation, can possess certainty of his salvation. St. Paul, speaking of himself, says: "But I chastise my body, lest perhaps when I have preached to others, I myself should be come a castaway;" and in another place he tells us that his conscience does not reproach him, but that "it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God, before whom even the angels are not pure;" and he admonishes all: "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling."

But to a very few of the saints has been granted, by revelation, a previous assurance of salvation, and the uncertainty of their election has caused many who are now among the most glorious of the celestial host, as St. Bernard, to tremble lest they might not be saved. Nevertheless, my brethren, Christ has given us certain signs and tokens from which we may form some idea of our spiritual state, and how it will be with us on the day of final judgment. I will direct your attention to those virtues so highly extolled by our Lord and Saviour, that He called their possessors blessed.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." If any one tries to detach his affections from the empty honors of this world, and to prevent his heart from being taken up with its perishable goods,--if he never commits an act of duty or piety for the sake of temporal gain, he will certainly be rewarded eternally!

Are you really detached from the goods and possessions of this world? Do you sincerely try to cultivate this poverty of spirit? Let your own conscience answer; and if it tell you yes, oh, then indeed it is well with you; for you have the words of Christ Himself, that "of such is the kingdom of heaven!"

"Blessed are the meek." Thus speaketh our Lord. Have you the right to claim any part of this benediction? Look into your hearts and find the answer there! Do you cultivate a meek and gentle spirit, carefully shunning everything that would wound the feelings of your neighbor? Then you possess one of the marks of election; for Christ Himself has pronounced you blessed.

"Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted." The soul that, for pure love of Jesus, continually mourns for having offended Him, and also for all the sins by which God is continually offended, has every reason to hope for salvation. Of such souls it has been said that "they sow in tears, but in joy gather up the harvest of their merits."

"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice; for they shall be filled." Happy indeed is the Christian whose daily walk is in the way of penance, whose earnest desire is to know and love God, and to do His holy will in all things, who praises Him in His justice as well as in His mercy. Yes, he may indeed look forward to a happy eternity; for only in heaven will he find what Christ has promised. He possesses one of the signs of election.

"Blessed are the clean of heart." Yes, blessed indeed are those who are free from the least willful sin against the angelic virtue of purity! They can, even on earth, anticipate the joys of heaven; for to them our divine Lord has promised the bliss of beholding Him in a blissful eternity. " Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God."

"Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy." Precious to the most sacred Heart of our Lord are those of His children who are compassionate and merciful to their suffering fellow-creatures. They possess one of the surest marks of election, since to them will be addressed those words of benediction: "Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world."

This applies also to those who, with true zeal for souls and ardent love of God, assist their neighbor in his spiritual necessities. Whoever saves the soul of his neighbor works efficaciously for his own salvation; whoever is zealous in his efforts to bring our separated brethren into the bosom of the Holy Catholic Church, and does all in his power for the sanctification and salvation of souls, may, with loving confidence, feel sure that the Lord will not cast him off on the day of judgment, when those souls, restored to grace through his prayers and good works, enter bright and glorified into the kingdom of eternal happiness. The Lord will never be unmindful of what is done for Him, especially in the way of saving souls, whose redemption was purchased by His precious blood!

"Blessed are the peace-makers; for they shall be called the children of God." Well is it for you, dear Christians, if your hearts are free from bitterness and rancor, if you love your neighbor, if you forgive him as you hope to be forgiven, if you strive to banish envy from your hearts, and seek occasion to heal the dissensions of those around you. Then may you hope to enjoy the bliss of heaven; for God has called you His "children," and a father is ever anxious to gather his children to his home!

"Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake." So Christ testifies. Yes; He not only promises to you a bright crown in the kingdom of eternal joy, but a reward beyond measure in that celestial home. "Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Can we doubt that a member of the Holy Catholic Church, who is zealous in promoting the interests of religion, and ready to give up every thing, riches, honors, even life itself, for Christ; who hates the enemy of salvation, and strives to destroy his kingdom on earth, will one day participate, as a child of the Church triumphant, in the glorious victory of Christ over death and hell?

In general, my brethren, if you can truly say with St. Peter to our Saviour: "Lord, Thou who knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee;" if your heart is firmly united to the Heart of Jesus, and imbedded in it, so to speak, like a shell in the rock, surely you possess the mark of predilection.

A certain test of this, however, is the love and devotion you have towards Jesus, ever present in the adorable Sacrament of the altar, and the fervor you manifest in receiving Him frequently in Holy Communion. "Whosoever eateth this bread will abide in Me and I in him," and he will have life everlasting. These are the words of Christ Himself, our Creator and Redeemer, Who will one day appear to us as the Judge of the living and the dead! 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 Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

2016 - Two Masses



2019 - Three Masses


2021 - Two Masses

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

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Cast him into the exterior darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” MATT. xxii. 13.

ACCORDING to all laws, divine and human, the punishment of crime should be proportioned to its grievousness. “According to the measure of the sin shall the measure also of the stripes be.” (Deut. xxv. 2.) Now, the principal injury which sinners do to God by mortal sin, consists in turning their back upon their Creator and their sovereign good. St. Thomas defines mortal sin to be “a turning away from the immutable good” (p. 1, qu. 24, art. 4). Of this injury the Lord complains in the following words: ”Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord; thou hast gone backward. ” (Jer. xv. 6.) Since, then, the greatest guilt of the sinner consists in deliberately consenting to lose God, the loss of God shall constitute his greatest punishment in hell. ”There shall be weeping.” In hell there is continual weeping; but what is the object of the bitterest tears of the unhappy damned? It is the thought of having lost God through their own fault. This shall be the subject of the present discourse. Be attentive, brethren.

No! dearly beloved Christians! the goods of the earth are not the end for which God has placed you in the world; the end for which he has created you is the attainment of eternal life. ”And the end life eternal.” (Rom. vi. 22.) Eternal life consists in loving God, and possessing him for eternity. Whosoever attains this end shall be for ever happy; but he who, through his own fault, does not attain it, loses God; he shall be miserable for eternity, and shall weep for ever, saying: ”My end is perished.” (Lamen. iii. 18.)

The pain produced by loss is proportioned to the value of what has been lost. If a person lose a jewel a diamond worth a hundred crowns, he feels great pain; if the diamond were worth two hundred crowns, the pain is double; if worth four hundred, the pain is still greater. Now, I ask, what is the good which a damned soul has lost? She has lost God; she has lost an infinite good. The pain, then, arising from the loss of God is an infinite pain. ”The pain of the damned,” says St. Thomas, ”is infinite, because it is the loss of an infinite good.” (1. 2, qu. 87, a. 4.) Such, too, is the doctrine of St. Bernard, who says, that the value of the loss of the damned is measured from the infinitude of God the supreme good. Hence, hell does not consist in its devouring fire, nor in its intolerable stench, nor in the unceasing shrieks and howlings of the damned, nor in the terrific sight of the devils, nor in the narrowness of that pit of torments, in which the damned are thrown one over the other: the pain which constitutes hell is the loss of God. In comparison of this pain, all the other torments of hell are trifling. The reward of God’s faithful servants in heaven is, as he said to Abraham, God himself. ”I am thy reward, exceeding great.” (Gen. xv. 1.) Hence, as God is the reward of the blessed in heaven, so the loss of God is the punishment of the damned in hell.

Hence, St. Bruno has truly said, that how great soever the torments which may be inflicted on the damned, they never can equal the great pain of being deprived of God. Add torments to torments, but do not deprive them of God. ”Addantur tormenta tormentis, et Deo non priventur.” (Serm. de Jud. Fin.) According to St. Chrysostom, a thousand hells are not equal to this pain. Speaking of the loss of God, he said: ”Si mille dixeris gehennas, nihil par dices illius doloris.” (Hom, xlix., ad Pop.) God is so lovely that he deserves infinite love. He is so amiable that the saints in heaven are so replenished with joy, and so absorbed in divine love, that they desire nothing but to love God, and think only of loving him with all their strength. At present, sinners, for the sake of their vile pleasures, shut their eyes, and neither know God nor the love which he deserves; but in hell they shall, in punishment of their sins, be made to know that God is an infinite good and infinitely amiable. ”The Lord shall be known when he executeth judgment.” (Ps. ix. 17.) The sinner, drowned in sensual pleasures, scarcely knows God: he sees him only in the dark, and therefore he disregards the loss of God. But in hell he shall know God, and shall be tormented for ever by the thought of having voluntarily lost his infinite good. A certain Parisian doctor appeared after death to his bishop, and said that he was damned. His bishop asked him if he remembered the sciences in which he was so well versed in this life. He answered, that in hell the damned think only of the pain of having lost God.

”Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. ” (Matt. xxv. 41.) “Depart from me.” This command constitutes the hell of the damned. Begone from me; you shall be no longer mine, and I shall be no longer yours. ”You are not my people, and I will not be yours.” (Osee i. 9.) At present this punishment is, as St. Augustine says, dreaded only by the saints. ”Hæc amantibus non contemnentibus pœna est.” It is a punishment which affrights the soul that loves God more than all the torments of hell; but it does not terrify sinners, who are immersed in the darkness of sin. But at death they shall, for their greater chastisement, understand the infinite good which they have lost through their own fault.

It is necessary to know that men have been created for God, and that nature draws them to love him. In this life, the darkness of sin, and the earthly affections which reign in their hearts, stifle their natural tendency and inclination to a union with God, their sovereign good; and therefore the thought of being separated from him does not produce much pain. But when the soul leaves the body, and is freed from the senses, which keeps her in darkness, she then clearly sees that she has been created for God, and that he is the only good which can make her happy. ”But,” says St. Antonine, ”the soul separated from the body understands that God is her sovereign good, and that she has been created for him.” Hence, as soon as she is loosed from the bondage of the body, she rushes forward to embrace her supreme good: but because she is in sin, and his enemy, God will cast her off. Though driven back and chased away, she retains her invincible tendency and inclination to a union with God; and her hell shall consist in seeing herself always drawn to God, and always banished from him.

If a dog see a hare, what effort does he not make to break his chain and seize his prey! Thus, at her separation from the body, the natural inclinations of the soul draw her to God, while at the same time sin separates her from him, and drags her with it into hell. Sin, says the prophet, like a wall of immense thickness, is placed between the soul and God, and separates her from him. ”But your iniquities have divided between you and your God.” (Isa. lix. 2.) Hence, the unhappy soul, confined in the prison of hell, at a distance from God, shall weep for ever, saying: Then, my God, I shall be no longer thine, and thou wilt be no longer mine. I shall love thee no more, and thou will never again love me. This separation from God terrified David, when he said: ”Will God, then, cast off for ever? or will he never be more favourable again ?” (Ps. Ixxvi. 8.) How great, he says, would be my misery if God should cast me from him, and never again be merciful to me! But this misery every damned soul in hell suffers, and shall suffer for eternity. As long as he remained in sin, David felt his conscience reproaching him, and asking, ”Where is thy God ?” David, where is thy God, who once loved thee? Thou hast lost him; he is no longer thine. David was so afflicted at the loss of his God that he wept night and day. ”My tears have been my bread day and night, whilst it has been said to me daily: Where is thy God ?” (Ps. xli. 4.) Thus, even the devils will say to the damned: Where is your God? By his tears David appeased and recovered his God; but the damned shall shed an immense sea of tears, and shall never appease nor recover their God.

St. Augustine says, that if the damned saw the beauty of God, “they should feel no pain, and hell itself would be converted into a Paradise.” (Lib. de Trip. Hab.) But the damned shall never see God. When David forbade his son Absalom to appear in his presence, the sorrow of Absalom was so great, that he entreated Joab to tell his father that he would rather be put to death than never more be permitted to see his face. ”I beseech thee, therefore, that I may see the face of the king; and if he be mindful of my iniquity, let him kill me.” (2 Kings xiv. <32.) To a certain grandee, who acted irreverently in the church, Philip the Second said: ”Do not dare ever to appear again in my presence.” So intense was the pain which the nobleman felt, that after having returned home, he died of grief. What then must be the feelings of the reprobate at the hour of death, when God shall say to them: Begone; let me never see you again: you shall never more see my face!”I will hide my face from them; all evils and afflictions shall find them.” (Deut. xxxi. 17.) What sentiments of pity should we feel at seeing a son who was always united with his father, who always eat and slept with him, weeping over a parent whom he loved so tenderly, and saying: My father, I have lost you; I shall never see you more. Ah! if we saw a damned soul weeping bitterly, and asked her the cause of her wailing, she would answer: I weep because I have lost God, and shall never see him again.

The pain of the reprobate shall be increased by the knowledge of the glory which the saints enjoy in Paradise, and from which they see, and shall for ever see, themselves excluded. How great would be the pain which a person should feel if, after being invited by his sovereign to his own theatre, to be present at the singing, dancing, and other amusements, he should be excluded in punishment of some fault! How bitter should be his anger and disappointment when, from without, he should hear the shouts of joy and applause within! At present sinners despise heaven, and lose it for trifles, after Jesus Christ shed the last drop of his blood to make them worthy of entering into that happy kingdom. But when they shall be confined in hell, the knowledge of the glory of heaven shall be the greatest of all their torments. St. John Chrysostom says, that to see themselves banished from that land of joy, shall be to the damned a torment ten thousand times as great as the hell which they suffer. ”Decem mille quis pœnat gehennas, nihil tale dicet quale est a beata gloria excidere.” (S. Joan. Chry. ap. 8. Thorn. Suppl, qu. 98, art. 9.) Oh! that I had at least the hope, the damned will say, that after a thousand, or even a million of ages, I could recover the divine grace, and become worthy of entering into heaven, there to see God! But, no! he shall be told, ”When the wicked man is dead, there shall be no hope any more. ” (Prov. xi. 7.) When he was in this life he could have saved his soul; but because he has died in sin his loss is irreparable. Hence, with tears of despair, he shall say: “I shall not see the Lord God in the land of the living.” (Isa. xxxviii. 11.)

The thought of having lost God and Paradise, solely through their own fault, shall increase the torture of the damned. Every damned soul shall say: It was in my power to have led a life of happiness on earth by loving God, and to have acquired boundless happiness for eternity; but, in consequence of having loved my vices, I must remain in this place of torments as long as God shall be God. She will then exclaim in the words of Job: “Who will grant me that I might be according to the months past, according to the days in which God kept me ?” (Job xxxix. 2.) Oh! that I were allowed to go back to the time I lived on earth, when God watched over me, that I might not fall into this fire! I did not live among the savages, the Indians, or the Chinese. I was not left without the sacraments, sermons, or masters to instruct me. I was born in the bosom of the true Church, and have been well instructed and frequently admonished by preachers and confessors. To this prison I have not been dragged by the devils; I have come of my own accord. The chains by which I am bound and kept at a distance from God, I have forged with my own will. How often has God spoken to my heart, and said to me: Amend, and return to me. Beware, lest the time should come when thou shalt not be able to prevent thy destruction. Alas! this time has come; the sentence has been already passed; I am damned; and for my damnation there neither is, nor shall be, any remedy for all eternity. But if the damned soul has lost God, and shall never see him, perhaps she can at least love him?! No; she has been abandoned by grace, and thus she is made the slave of her sins, and compelled to hate him. The damned see that God is their adversary on account of their contempt for him during life, and are therefore always in despair. ”Why hast thou set me opposite to thee, and I am become burthensome to myself.” (Job vii. 20.) Hence, because the damned see that they are enemies of God, whom they at the same time know to be worthy of infinite love, they are to themselves objects of the greatest horror. The greatest of all the punishments which God shall inflict on them, will consist in seeing that God is so amiable, and that they are so deformed, and the enemies of this God. “I will set before thy face.” (Ps. xlix. 21.)

The sight of all that God has done for the damned shall above all increase their torture. “The wicked shall see and shall be angry.” (Ps. cxi. 10.) They shall see all the benefits which God bestowed upon them all the lights and calls which he gave them and the patience with which he waited for them. They shall, above all, see how much Jesus Christ has loved them, and how much he has suffered for the love of them; and after all his love and all his sufferings, they shall see that they are now objects of his hatred, and shall be no longer objects of his love. According to St. Chrysostom, a thousand hells are nothing compared with the thought of being hateful to Christ. ”Si mille quis ponat, gehennas, nihil tale dicturus est, quale est exosum esse Christo.” (Hom xiv. in Matt.) Then the damned shall say: My Redeemer, who, through compassion for me, sweated blood, suffered an agony in the garden, and died on the cross bereft of all consolation, has now no pity on me! I weep, I cry out; but he no longer hears or looks to me! He is utterly forgetful of me. He once loved me; but now he hates and justly hates me; for I have ungratefully refused to love him. David says, that the reprobate are thrown into the pit of death. “Thou shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction.” (Ps. liv. 24.) Hence St. Augustine has said: ”The pit shall be closed on top, it shall be opened at the bottom, it shall be expanded downwards; and they who refuse to know God shall be no longer known by him.”“Puteus claudetur sursum, aperietur deorsum, dilatatibur in profundum: et ultra nescientur a Deo qui Deum scire noluerunt.” (Hom, xvi., cap 50.)

Thus the damned see that God deserves infinite love, and that they cannot love him. St. Catherine of Genoa being one day assailed by the devil, asked him. who he was. He answered with tears: I am that wicked one who is deprived of the love of God. I am that miserable being that can never more love God. They not only cannot love God, but, abandoned in their sins, they are forced to hate him: their hell consists in hating God, whom they at the same time know to be infinitely amiable. They love him intensely as their sovereign good, and hate him as the avenger of their sins. ”Res miserrima,” says a learned author, ”amare vehementer, et amatum simul odisse.” (Magnotius Medit.) Their natural love draws them continually to God; but their hatred drags them away from him. These two contrary passions, like two ferocious wild beasts, incessantly tear in pieces the hearts of the damned, and cause, and shall for all eternity cause, them to live in a continual death. The reprobate then shall hate and curse all the benefits which God has bestowed upon them. They shall hate the benefits of creation, redemption, and the sacraments. But they shall hate in a particular manner the sacrament of baptism, by which they have, on account of their sins, been made more guilty in the sight of God; the sacrament of penance, by which, if they wished, they could have so easily saved their souls; and, above all, the most holy sacrament of the altar, in which God had given himself entirely to them. They shall consequently hate all the other means which have been helps to their salvation. Hence, they shall hate and curse all the angels and saints. But they shall curse particularly their guardian angels their special advocates and, above all, the divine mother Mary. They shall curse the three divine persons the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; but particularly Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, who suffered so much, and died for their salvation. They shall curse the wounds of Jesus Christ, the blood of Jesus Christ, and the death of Jesus Christ. Behold the end to which accursed sin leads the souls which Jesus Christ has dearly bought.

"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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