Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
Twenty-Second 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 pray with the priest for the forgiveness of your sins: If thou shalt observe iniquities O Lord: Lord, who shall endure? for with thee is propitiation, O God of Israel. From the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. (Ps. CXXIX.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all goodness, hear, we beseech Thee, the devout prayers of Thy Church, and grant that what we faithfully ask we may effectually obtain. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Philipp. I. 6-II.) Brethren, We are confident in the Lord Jesus, that he who hath begun a good work in you will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus. As it is meet for me to think this for you all, for that I have you in my heart, and that in my bands, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers of my joy. For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and in all understanding: that you may approve the better things; that you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

EXPLANATION This epistle was written by St. Paul at Rome, where he was imprisoned for the faith, to the inhabitants of Philippi in Macedonia whom he had converted to the true faith. He congratulates them that they so willingly received and conscientiously obeyed the gospel which he had preached to the, and he says, he trusts in God to complete the good work which He has commenced, and to give them perseverance until the day of Christ, that is, until death.

GOSPEL (Matt. XXII. 15-21.) At that time, The Pharisees went and consulted among themselves how to ensnare Jesus in his speech. And they send to him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man, for thou dost not regard the person of men: tell us, therefore, what dost thou think? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not? But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? Show me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny. And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this? They say to him: Caesar's. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.

Why did the Pharisees try to ensnare Jesus in His speech?

In order to find some reason to accuse Him before the emperor, or to make Him hated by the Jews; for had He denied tribute to Caesar, they would have accused Him before the emperor as guilty of high treason; had He, on the contrary made it obligatory to pay tribute, then they would have denounced Him as a destroyer of the liberty of the people, who considered themselves a free nation owing allegiance only to God. Like the Pharisees are all those who, under the appearance of friendship, only cause vexation and misfortune to their neighbor.

Who are really hypocrites?

Those who in order to cheat their neighbor, appear outwardly pious and holy, whilst inward they are full of malice; those who have honey on the tongue, but gall in the heart, and sting like scorpions, when we least expect it. Because there are so many vices connected with hypocrisy, (Matt. XXIII.) therefore Christ has denounced no sin more emphatically than this one. Hypocrites are brethren of Cain, Joab, and Judas, of whom the first killed his brother, the second his cousin and the third betrayed his divine Master with a kiss. Such false men are cursed by God. (Mal, I. 14.) I hate a mouth with a double tongue. (Prov. VIII. 13.) "The devil silently possesses the hearts of hypocrites and quietly sleeps in them, whilst he gives them no peace," says St. Gregory; and St. Jerome writes: "Pretended holiness is double malice." Better is an open enemy, before whom we can be on our guard, than a hypocritical friend of whom we have no suspicion, because we look upon him as a friend. Beware, therefore, my dear Christian, of the vice of hypocrisy, which is so hateful to God; endeavor always to be sincere with God, thyself and thy neighbor, and to walk in true humility before God, then mayst thou carry His image within thee.

PRAYER Help me, O Lord, for the number of the saints is decreasing and truth is becoming rare among men. They speak vain things each with his neighbor: their lips are deceitful, and they speak with double hearts. Let the Lord destroy all those who say: We will magnify our tongue; our lips are our own; who is Lord over us? O Lord, deliver my soul from wicked lips and deceitful tongues give me grace to preserve Thy image in my soul, by piety and virtue. Direct my heart to justice and keep it from avarice, that I may give to each his own.

Thou art a true speaker neither carest thou or any man, for thou dost not regard the person of men. (Matt. XXII. 16.)

In this Christians ought especially to follow the Saviour, and not permit themselves to be deterred from piety, and the practice of virtue by fear or human respect. What matters it, what people think and say of us, if we only please God? He alone can truly benefit or injure us; therefore he alone is to be feared, as Christ says: Fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt. X. 28.)

How foolishly, therefore, do those act who through fear of displeasing certain people, are afraid to serve God and practice piety; who even go so far as to commit sin; who in order to be pleasing to others, oppress innocent, poor and forsaken people; who adopt the latest and most scandalous fashions and customs; those who eat meat on days of abstinence, or give it to others; those who sing sinful songs, or what is still worse, do not hesitate to ridicule sacred things to give others occasion to laugh, or in order to be considered strong-minded. Implore God daily and sincerely, that He may take from you this vain fear of men and give you instead the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom.

Whose image is this? (Matt. XXII. 20.)

Thus we should often ask ourselves with respect to our soul, particularly when we are tempted to stain and ruin it by sin, Whose image is this? We should then say to ourselves, "Is it not the likeness of God, a likeness painted with the blood of Jesus, an image for which the Saviour gave His life? Should I defile and deform this by sin and voluptuousness? God forbid!" For in truth, what among all created things, except the angels, is more beautiful and more precious than a human soul, which is in the state of grace? "Could we," says St. Catherine of Sienna, "behold with our corporal eyes a soul in the state of grace, we would see with astonishment that it surpasses in splendor all flowers all stars, the whole world, and there is probably no one who would not wish to die for such beauty." It is a dwelling of the Blessed Trinity! Christ did not give His life for all the goods and treasures of this earth, but for the human soul. And yet many estimate their soul at such little value that they sell it for a momentary pleasure, for a present not worth a penny! For shame! The body we estimate so highly that we take all pains to decorate it and keep it alive, and the soul the image and likeness of God, we take no pains to keep in the state of grace, and adorn with virtues! What folly!

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. (Matt. XXII. 21.)

To pay tribute to the lawful government is a duty of justice which the Spirit of God Himself commands us faithfully to fulfil. (Rom. XIII. 6, 7.) Christ Himself paid the customary didrachma for Himself and St. Peter; (Matt. XVII. 23.) "and if the Son of God Himself paid duty and tax," says St. Ambrose, "who art thou, O man, that thou wouldst free thyself from it?" The government must watch lest the life of its subjects be at hazard, that their property be not endangered or stolen, that there be security on the highways, that peace, harmony and order be preserved among the citizens, that their temporal welfare be promoted; that science and art flourish, etc. For this, teachers, judges, officers and soldiers are necessary, for whose support care must be taken, and whose trouble must be rewarded. Besides this the government must care for the security of the country, for public streets and bridges, and institutions necessary for the common good; to enable the government to perform these duties, taxes are necessary and lawfully assessed. If you oppose these laws, you oppose God, for by Him princes rule, and the mighty degree justice. (Prov. VIII. 16.) Let the payment of duties be done willingly, because you pay them for love of God, and resigned to His holy will as the early Christians did, who even served their heathenish government with pleasure, in all that was not contrary to God's will, and cheerfully paid the duties.
"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
Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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According to Honorius of Autun, the Mass of today has reference to the days of Antichrist. The Church, foreseeing the reign of the man of sin, and as though she were actually undergoing the persecution, which is to surpass all others—she takes her Introit of this twenty-second Sunday from the Psalm De profundis.

If, unitedly with this prophetic sense, we would apply these words practically to our own personal miseries, we must remember the Gospel we had eight days ago, and which, formerly, was the one appointed for the present Sunday. Each one of us will recognize himself in the person of the insolvent debtor, who has nothing to trust to but his master’s goodness; and in our deep humiliation, we shall exclaim, If thou, O Lord, mark iniquities, who shall endure it?

Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quia sustinebit? quia apud te propitiato est, Deus Israel.
If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities, Lord! who shall endure it? For with thee there is merciful forgiveness, O God of Israel!

Ps. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Gloria Patri. Si iniquitates.
Ps. Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord: Lord! hear my voice. Glory, &c. If thou.

We have just been rousing our confidence, by singing, that with God, there is merciful forgiveness. It is He himself who gives that loving unction to the prayers of the Church, which proves that he wishes to grant them. But we shall not be thus graciously heard, as she is, unless, like her, we ask with faith, that is to say, conformably with the teachings of the Gospel. To ask with faith is to forgive our fellow creatures their trespasses against us; on that condition we may confidently beseech our common Lord and Master to forgive us.

Deus, refugium nostrum, et virtus: adeato piis Ecclesiæ tuæ precibus, auctor ipse pietatis, et præsta: ut quod fideliter petimus, efficaciter consequamur. Per Dominum.
O God, our refuge and strength! give ear to the holy prayers of thy Church, O thou, the author of holiness; and grant that what we ask with faith, we may effectually obtain. Through, etc.

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

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

Brethren: We are confident of this very thing, that he, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus. As it is meet for me to think this for you all, for that I have you in my heart; and that in my bands, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my joy. For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge, and in all understanding: That you may approve the better things, that you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ, Filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Quote:St. Paul, in the Church’s name, again invites our attention to the near approach of the Last Day. But what, on the previous Sunday, he called the evil day, he now, in the short passage taken from his Epistle to the Philippians, which has just been read to us, calls, and twice over, the day of Christ Jesus. The Epistle to the Philippians is full of loving confidence; its tone is decidedly one of joy; and yet it plainly shows us that persecution was raging against the Church, and that the old enemy was making capital of the storm, to stir up evil passions, even amidst the very flock of Christ. The Apostle is in chains; the envy and treachery of false brethren intensify his sufferings; still, joy predominates in his heart over everything else, because he is come to that perfection of love, wherein divine charity is enkindled by suffering more even than by the sweetest spiritual caresses. To him, to live is Christ, and to die is gain; he cannot make up his mind which of the two to choose—death, which would give him the bliss of being with his Jesus—or life, which will add to his merits and his labors for the salvation of men. What are all personal considerations to him? His one joy, for both the present and the future is that Christ may be known and glorified, no matter how! As to his hopes and expectations, he cannot be disappointed, for Christ is sure to be glorified in his body by its life and by its death!

Hence, in Paul’s soul, that sublime indifference, which is the climax of the Christian life; it is, of course, a totally different thing from that fatal apathy, to which the false Mystics of the 17th century pretended to reduce the love of man’s heart. What tender affection has not this convert of Damascus for his brethren, once he has reached this point of perfection! God, says he, is my witness, how I long after you all, in the bowels of Jesus Christ! The one ambition which rules and absorbs him is that God, who has begun in them the work, which is good by excellence—the work of Christian perfection (such as we know had been wrought in the Apostle himself) may be continued and perfected in them all, by the day when Christ is to appear in his glory. This is what he prays for—that the wedding garment of those whom he has betrothed to the one Spouse, in other words, that charity may beautify them with all its splendor for the grand Day of the eternal nuptials.

Now, what is the sure means whereby charity is to be perfected in them? It must abound, more and more, in knowledge and in all understanding of salvation, that is, in Faith. It is Faith that constitutes the basis of all supernatural virtue. A restricted, a diminished, Faith could never support a large and high-minded charity. Those men, therefore, are deceiving themselves, whose love for revealed truth does not keep pace with their charity! Such Christianity as that believes as little as it may; it has a nervous dread of new definitions; and out of respect for error, it cleverly and continually narrows the supernatural horizon. Charity, they say, is the queen of virtues; it makes them take everything easily, even lies against Truth; to give the same rights to error as to Truth is, in their estimation, the highest point of Christian civilization grounded on love! They quite forget that the first object of charity being God, who is substantial Truth, he has no greater enemy than a life; they cannot understand how it is that a Christian does not do a work of love by putting on the same footing the Object beloved and His mortal enemy!

The Apostles had very different ideas: in order to make charity grow in the world, they gave it a rich sowing of truth. Every new ray of Light they put into their disciples’ hearts was an intensifying of their love; and these disciples, having by Baptism become themselves light, they were most determined to have nothing to do with darkness. In those days, to deny the truth was the greatest of crimes; to expose themselves, by a want of vigilance, to infringe on the rights of truth, even in the slightest degree, was the height of imprudence. When Christianity first shone upon mankind, it found error supreme mistress of the world; having, then, to deal with a universe that was rooted in death, Christianity adopted no other plan for giving it salvation than that of making the Light as bright as it could be; its only policy was to proclaim the power which truth alone has for saving man, and to assert its exclusive right to reign over this world. The triumph of the Gospel was the result; it came after three centuries of struggle; a struggle, intense and violent, on the side of darkness which declared itself to be the supreme and was resolved to keep so; but a struggle most patient and glorious on the side of the Christians, the torrents of whose blood did but add fresh joy to the brave army, for it became the strongest possible foundation of the united Kingdom of Love and Truth.

But now, with the connivance of those whose Baptism made them too be Children of Light—error has regained its pretended Rights; as a natural consequence, the charity of an immense number has grown cold in proportion; darkness is again thickening over the world, as though it were in the chill of its last agony. The children of light, who would live up to their dignity, must behave exactly as did the early Christians. They must not fear, nor be troubled; but, like their forefathers and the Apostles, they must be proud to suffer for Jesus’ sake, and prize the word of life as quite the dearest thing they possess; for they are convinced that, so long as truth is kept up in the world, so long is there hope for it. As their only care is to make their manner of life worthy of the Gospel of Christ, they go on, with all the simplicity of children of God, faithfully fulfilling the duties of their state of life, in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, as stars of the firmament do in the night. “The stars shine in the night,” says St. John Chrysostom, “they glitter in the dark; so far from growing dim amidst the gloom that surrounds them, they seem all the more brilliant. So will it be with thee, if thou art virtuous amidst the wicked; thy light will shine so much the clearer.” “As the stars,” says St. Augustine, “keep on their course in the track marked out for them by God, and grow not tired of sending forth their light in the midst of darkness, neither heed they the calamities which may be happening on earth—so should do those holy ones whose conversation is truly in heaven; they should pay no more notice as to what is said or done against them than the stars do.”

The Gradual hymns the praise of the sweet and strong unity, maintained in the Church, even to the end; she has done this by the charity in which the Epistle urged us to be making fresh progress, and which the ancient Gospel of this same Sunday put before us as the one means for funding a favorable sentence passed on us at the Day of Judgment.

Ecce quam bonum, et quam jocumdum habitare fratres in unum!
Behold! how good and how pleasant it is, for Brethren to dwell together in unity!

℣. Sicut unguentum in capite quod descendit in barbam, barban Aaron.
℣. It is like the precious ointment on the head, that ran down upon the beard, (yea, the whole) beard, of Aaron.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Qui timent Dominum, sperent in eo; adjutor et protector eorum est. Alleluia.
℣. They that fear the Lord, hope in him; he is their helper and their protector. Alleluia.

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

At that time: The Pharisees going, consulted among themselves how to insnare him in his speech. And they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou dost not regard the person of men. Tell us therefore what dost thou think, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny. And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this? They say to him: Caesar’s. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s.

Quote:The getting truths to be diminished is, evidently, to be a leading peril of the latter times, for during these weeks which represent the last days of the world, the Church is continually urging us to a sound and solid understanding of truth, as though she considered that to be the great preservative for her children. Last Sunday, she gave them, as defensive armor, the shield of faith and, as an offensive weapon, the word of God. On the previous Sunday, it was circumspection of mind and intelligence that she recommended to them, with a view to their preserving, during the approaching evil days, the holiness which is founded on truth, for as she told them the previous week, their riches in all knowledge are of paramount necessity. Today, in the Epistle, she implored of them to be ever progressing in knowledge and all understanding, as being the essential means for abounding in charity, and for having the work of their sanctification perfected for the day of Christ Jesus. The Gospel comes with an appropriate finish to these instructions given us by the Apostle: it relates an event in our Lord’s life which stamps those counsels with the weightiest possible authority—the authority of the example of Him who is our divine Model. He gives his disciples the example they should follow when, like himself, they have snares laid by the world for their destruction.

It was the last day of Jesus’ public teaching; it was almost the eve of his departure from this earth. His enemies had failed in every attempt hitherto made to ensnare him; this last plot was to be unusually deep laid. The Pharisees, who refused to recognize Cæsar’s authority, and denied his claim to tribute, joined issue with their adversaries, the partisans of Herod and Rome, to propose this insidious question to Jesus: Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not? If our Lord’s answer was negative, he incurred the displeasure of the government; if he took the affirmative side, he would lose the estimation of the people. With his divine prudence, he disconcerted their plans. The two parties, so strangely made friends by partnership in one common intrigue, heard the magnificent answer, which was divine enough to make even Pharisees and Herodians one in the Truth; but Truth was not what they were in search of, so they both skulked back again into their old party squabbles. The league formed against our Jesus was broken; the effort made by error recoiled on its own self, as must ever be the case; and the answer it had elicited passed from the lips of our Incarnate Lord to those of his Bride, the Church, who would be ever repeating it to this world of ours, for it contains the first principle of all governments on earth.

Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s; it was the dictum most dear to the Apostles. If they boldly asserted that we must obey God rather than men, they explained the whole truth, and added: Let every soul be subject to the higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. Wherefore, be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience’s sake. For, therefore, also ye pay tribute; for they are the ministers of God serving unto this purpose.

The will of God!—there is the origin, there is the real greatness of all authority amongst men! Of himself, man has no right to command his fellow man. The number, however imposing it may be, makes no difference with this powerlessness of men over my conscience; for whether they be one, or five hundred, I, by nature, am equal to each one among them; and by adding the number of their so-called rights over me, they are only adding to the number of nothingness. But God, wishing that men should live one with the other, has thereby wished that there exist amongst them a power which should rule over the rest; that is, should direct the thousands or millions of different wills to the unity of one social end. God leaves to circumstances, though it is his providence that regulates those circumstances—he leaves to men themselves, at the beginning of any mere human society, a great latitude as to the choice of the form under which is to be exercised both the civil power itself and the mode of its transmission. But once regularly invested with the power, its depositories, its possessors, are responsible to God alone, as far, that is, as the legitimate exercise of their authority goes, because it is from God alone that that power comes to them. It does not come to them from their people, who, not having that power themselves, cannot give it to another. So long as those rulers comply with the compact, or do not turn to the ruin of their people the power they received for its well-being—so long their right to the obedience of their subjects is the right of God himself—whether they exercise their authority in exacting the subsidies needed for government; or in passing laws which, for the general good of the people, restrain the liberty otherwise theirs by natural right; or again, by bidding their soldiers defend their country at the risk of life. In all such cases, it is God himself that commands and insists on being obeyed: in this world, he puts the sword into the hands of representatives that they may punish the disobedient; and in the next, he himself will eternally punish them, unless they have made amends.

How great, then, is not the dignity of human Law! It makes the legislator a representative of God, and at the same time, spares the subject the humiliation of feeling himself debased before a fellow man! But in order that the law oblige, that is, be truly a law, it is evident that it must be, first and foremost, conformable to the commands and the prohibitions of that God whose will alone can give it a sacred character, by making it enter into the domain of man’s conscience. It is for this reason that there cannot be a law against God or his Christ or his Church. When God is not with him who governs, the power he exercises is nothing better than brute force. The sovereign, or the parliament, that pretends to govern a country in opposition to the laws of God has no right to aught but revolt and contempt from every upright man; to give the sacred name of law to tyrannical enactments of that kind is a profanation, unworthy not only of Christian, but of every man who is not a slave.

The Offertory-Anthem, as also the Verses which used to be joined to it, refers, like the Introit, to the period of the last persecution. The words are taken from the prayer addressed to God by Esther, when about to enter into the presence of Assuerus, that she might plead with him against Aman, who is a figure of Antichrist. Esther is a type of the Church; and we could not better show the spirit in which we ought to sing our Offertory than by quoting the inspired words which preface this sublime prayer. Queen Esther, fearing the danger that was at hand, had recourse to the Lord. And when she had laid away her royal apparel, she put on garments suitable for weeping and mourning; instead of divers previous ointments, she covered her head with ashes and filth, and she humbled her body with fasts: and all the places, in which before she was accustomed to rejoice, she filled with her torn hair! And she prayed to the Lord the God of Israel, saying: O my Lord! who alone art our King, help me a desolate woman, and who have no other helper but thee!

Recordare mei, Domine, omni potentatui dominans: et da sermonem rectum in os meum, ut placeant verba mea in conspectu principis.
Remember me, O Lord, who art above all power; and put a right speech in my mouth, that my words may be pleasing to the prince.

℣. Recordare quod steterim in conspectu tuo.
℣. Remember, that I have stood in thy sight.

℣. Everte cor ejus in odium repugnantium nobis, et in eos qui consentiunt eis; nos autem libera in manu tua, Deus noster in æternum.
℣. Turn his heart into hatred of them that oppose us, and of them that consent unto them; but, deliver us by thy hand, O our God for ever!

℣. Qui regis Israel, intende; qui deducis velut ovem Joseph.
℣. O thou that rulest Israel, give ear; thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep.

Recordare mei, Domine.
Remember me, O Lord.

The surest guarantee a christian can have against adversity is freedom from sin. It is sin that stirs up the anger of God and cries upon him for vengeance. Let us unite in the following prayer of the Church.

Da, misericors Deus: ut hæc salutaris oblatio, et a propriis nos reatibus indesinenter expediat, et ab omnibus tueatur adversis. Per Dominum.
Grant, O merciful God, that this sacrifice of salvation may, constantly, both free us from our sins, and protect us from all adversity. Through, etc.

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

The Communion-Anthem shows us with what perseverance and earnestness the Church prays to her divine Lord. We must imitate her.

Ego clamavi quoniam exaudisti me, Deus: inclina aurem tuam, et exaudi verba mea.
I have cried out, because thou heardest me, O God: bend down thine ear, and graciously hearken to my words.

While offering the sacred mysteries in memory of our Jesus, as he commanded us to do, we must not forget that these same are also our refuge in all our miseries. It would be presumption, or folly, to neglect to pray, that they may thus protect us. The Church, here again, is our model in utilizing these most powerful of all means for help.

Sumpsimus, Domine, sacri dons mysterii, humiliter deprecantes: ut quæ in tui commemorationem nos facere præcepisti, in nostræ proficiant infirmitatis auxilium. Qui vivis.
Having received, O Lord, the sacred mysteries, we humbly beseech thee, that what thou hast commanded us to do in remembrance of thee, may be a help to us in our weakness. Who livest, 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
Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

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"Master, we know that Thou art a true speaker . . . . for Thou dost not regard the person of men."--Matt. 22, 16.

There are two principal reasons why the Word of God has so little influence upon the life of man, two great obstacles which particularly stand in the way of the fulfillment of the duties which, as children of God, we are bound to comply with. The first is that an inherent love of truth is wanting in our fallen nature. Members of the Catholic Church, indeed, confess the truth, and their belief in it, but frequently it is a confession which cometh from the lips alone; for their hearts are closed against its influence, and their lives, therefore, continually contradict the professions they make. Too often men are deterred from opening their hearts to the divine influence of God's blessed Word by human respect, by a sinful, slavish fear of poor, weak mortals like themselves. This is one of the greatest obstacles to salvation!

Can there be greater or more consummate blindness and folly than to refrain from living according to the spirit and direction of that which you know to be the truth, which you openly acknowledge to be the truth, merely from a despicable slavish fear of those who, while they seem to applaud, laugh you to scorn in their hearts for being afraid to practise what you profess to believe? The reason why this human respect rides with despotic sway over the hearts of mankind, is the little love they bear the truth.

O Mary, as mother of Christ, you stood beneath the cross, in presence of the executioners of your divine Son, obtain for us courage, not only to acknowledge our faith upon all occasions, but to practise it openly also, victoriously overcoming the promptings of human respect! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

"Master, we know that Thou art a true speaker." Even the enemies of our divine Lord acknowledged this! Oh, what rare qualities are sincerity and integrity of purpose among the children of men! and how comparatively few among them can be said to give testimony to the truth, regardless of the world and its opinion! By this assertion I do no injustice to the human race; for the Holy Ghost, who knows and searches the heart of man, assures us, through the lips of the Apostle of love, that "men love darkness better than light;" and, loving darkness, they love evil also. It was the spirit of falsehood who caused our first parents to fall, and it is the same spirit who causes the Divine Word,-- that Word which should bring peace and salvation to man,--to fall unheeded upon the rocky ground of his heart!

Had mankind really loved and sought after the truth, the entire world would have been converted to Christianity at the time of the Apostles; but such a happy result of their labors was not permitted. And why? Paganism allowed men to give themselves up to the lusts of the flesh,--the Apostles, on the contrary, preached penance and self-denial, and of these the people, buried in their sinful pleasures, cared not to hear! Had they come to inform the world of some speedy method of becoming rich, or of prolonging life, so that for centuries men might revel in one uninterrupted course of sinful pleasure, with what demonstrations of welcome would they not have been met, and countless disciples would have followed in their train. But the reward which was meted out to those followers of the crucified One, who preached truth to a people who were held in the thrall of the most degrading superstition, was persecution and death! In the very same spirit did the chosen people of God proceed in the old law. Recall the reproach of Christ to the Jews, that the warning words of truth from the lips of the prophets were unwelcome to their ears.

Relentless and bitter persecution still pursues,--yes, even at the present day,--in many instances all those who seek to spread the word of God, and dispose the hearts of His creatures to live as true children of the Church according to the principles of the Gospel.

The perversity of the human heart is manifested in this persecution, yet it stands forth in bolder relief in the lives of those Catholics who, with the lips, confess to believe in the Church, but whose lives are diametrically opposed to the same; who live sunk in sensual pleasures, even as the heathens; yes, some among them are more given to carnal lust than those who know not Christ. They give not a thought to the great affair of salvation. "With desolation is the whole land made desolate, because there is none that thinketh in his heart," says the Prophet. And yet the teachings of faith refer directly to questions of most vital interest to man. Take, for example, the following: Who am I? What do I possess? What will become of me? How long can I expect this prosperity to smile upon me? and is it not fraught with danger to my immortal soul? Our holy faith supplies the answers, to which Catholics often care not to listen. And why? Because a love for truth is wanting in their hearts. If this virtue were more deeply implanted therein, what lives of holiness would result! What firmness in the pursuit of piety! what self-sacrifice and fidelity would characterize the Catholic then! Let us dwell for a few moments on the answers to those questions.

Faith teaches, child of humanity, that poor and miserable as you are in this world, you are still a child of God, and your soul is made to His image and likeness. As a child of the Church, you are a fellow-citizen of the angels, a brother, a sister, of the saints, a child of Mary, queen of heaven, a brother of Christ! What glorious titles! You recognize your right to them! why, then, do you live according to the spirit of the world? Because you love not truth in your heart!

Faith teaches that, as a true child of the Church, you are in the state of sanctifying grace, a state which exalts you above all earthly dignities, and enables you, with every breath you draw, to gain new merits for life eternal, and lay up a precious treasure in the kingdom of heaven, the glories of which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor human heart conceived! Man believes this, and yet he can live only to heap up riches for this world! In his heart the love of truth is lacking, therefore this solemn lesson is passed unheeded.

Faith teaches that all we gain for heaven by serving God remains forever; and yet, until the last hour of life, man is solicitous about those things which so quickly pass away, a fact most difficult to understand, yet it is so!

Faith teaches that no man is sure of his salvation, and we are told to labor for it with fear and trembling; and oh, how terrible are the eternal consequences of sin! What misery awaits us if we die in sin, and are lost for all eternity! And yet man lives as if he were well assured that grace and time would be given him to repent and be saved. Mow strange and sad is not this prevalent indifference to the truth!

Christ applied the epithet "blessed" to the virtue of zeal in striving after protection. The lovers of the world, and even members of the Church among them, on the contrary, cry out: Blessed are the rich; blessed are they whom no one dare offend; blessed are they who, unmolested by the poor, enjoy their wealth, flattered and esteemed by all; blessed are they whose lives know naught but pleasure, and who, without a thought of self-denial, enjoy the delights of earth! Sometimes, perchance, conscience calls loudly to these "blessed" ones of the world to give active testimony to that faith which, but too often, they disgrace and despise, but human respect steps in, and drowns the warning voice. That terrible, "What will be said of me?" is in the way. They have no time to go to church, to read spiritual books, to receive the Sacraments, to labor for the conversion of sinners, or the salvation of souls, to bring souls from the darkness of error into the light of our holy faith, and all through human respect! What would my husband, my wife, my friends, the world say? What would be said by those who move in a circle of society where it is my aim to be admitted and who despise Christ and the religion He founded?

There, alas! is the rock against which the noblest souls have suffered shipwreck! Who can deny the power which the torrent and whirlpool of public opinion exercises over man? Human respect! It is but another name for that want of truth which forbids the Catholic to live consistently with the faith he daily professes. Through human respect Pilate delivered Christ into the hands of His enemies! He asks: "What is truth?" and then leaves the judgment-hall before Christ has time to inform him!

Thrice happy are all to whom can be applied the words of Christ in regard to Nathanael: " Behold an Israelite, in whom there is no guile?! Behold a true child of the Church, in whom there; is no falsehood, sincere, candid, and truth-loving soul, who will persevere to the end, and reach the abode of eternal truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord! 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
Straits and Anguish of Dying Christians who have been Negligent during Life about the Duties of Religion
by St. Alphonsus Di Liguori

[Image: Twenty-Second%20Sunday%20After%20Pentecost%2002.jpg]

"Reddite ergo, quae sunt Caesaris, Caesari, et quae sunt Dei, Deo"
"Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Cresar's, and to God the things that are God's."--Matth. xxii. 21.

One day, the Pharisees, with the malignant intention of ensnaring Him in His speech, that they might after wards accuse him before the ministers of Caesar, sent their disciples to ask Jesus Christ, if it were lawful to pay tribute to Caesar. In answer, the Redeemer, after looking at the coin of the tribute, asked: "Whose linage and inscription is this?" Being told it was Caesar's, he said: Render then to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. By these words Jesus Christ wishes to teach us, that it is our duty to give to men what is due to them; and to reserve for Him all the affections of our heart, since He created us to love Him, and afterwards imposed upon us a precept of loving Him. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart. Miserable the man who, at the hour of death, shall see that he has loved creatures, that he has loved his pleasures, and has not loved God. When distress cometh upon them, they will seek peace, and there will he none? He will then seek peace, but shall not find it; for many causes of distress and trouble shall assail him.

What shall these causes be? Behold, the unhappy man shall then say: 1. O God! I could have become a saint, but have not become one. 2. He shall say: Oh! that I now had time to repair the evil I have done! but time is at an end. 3. Oh! that at least, in the short time which remains, I could remedy the past: but alas this time is not fit for repairing past, evils.

I. O God! I could have, but have not, become a Saint.

Because, during their whole life, they thought only of pleasing God and sanctifying themselves, the saints go with great confidence to meet death, which delivers them from the miseries and dangers of the present life, and unites them perfectly with God. But the man who has thought only of his pleasures and of his own ease, and has neglected to recommend himself to God, or to reflect on the account which he must one day render, cannot meet death with confidence. Poor sinners! they banish the thought of death whenever it presents itself to them, and think only of living in pleasures and amusements, as if they never were to die. But for each of them the end must one day come. The end is come; the end is come. And when this end is come every one must gather the fruit which he has sown during his life. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. If he has sown works of holiness, he shall receive rewards of eternal life; but if he has sown evil works, he shall reap chastisements and eternal death.

The scene of his past life is the first thing that shall rush on the mind of the dying man, when the news of death shall be announced to him. He shall then see things in a light far different from that in which he viewed them during life. The acts of revenge which appeared to him lawful--the scandals which he disregarded--the liberty of speaking obscenely and injurious to the character of his neighbor--the pleasures which were regarded as innocent--the acts of injustice which he held to be allowable shall then appear what they really were: grievous sins and offences against God, each of which merited hell. Alas! those blind sinners, who voluntarily blind themselves during life, by shutting their eyes to the light shall, at death, involuntarily see all the evil they have done. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened (Isaiah 35:5). By the light of the candle which lights him to death, the wicked shall see and shall be angry (Psalm 111:10).

He shall see all the irregularities of his past life--his frequent abuse of the sacraments, confessions made without sorrow or purpose of amendment, contracts completed with remorse of conscience, injury done to the property and reputation of others, immodest jests, rancors, and vindictive thoughts. He shall then see the bad examples which he gave to young persons who feared God, and whom he treated with contempt and turned into derision by calling them hypocrites and other reproachful names.

He shall see so many lights and calls received from God, so many admonitions of spiritual Fathers, and so many resolutions and promises made but afterwards neglected. He shall see particularly the bad maxims by which he regulated his conduct during life. "It is necessary to seek the esteem of the world, and to preserve honor." But is it necessary for a man to preserve his honor by trampling on the honor due to God? "We ought to indulge in amusements as often as we can." But is it lawful to indulge in amusements by insulting God? "Of what use to the world is the man who lives in poverty and has no money?" But will you for the sake of money lose your soul? In answer to these questions the sinner says: "No matter. What can be done? If we do not make a fortune in the world we cannot appear among our equals." Such the maxims of the worldling during life; but at death he shall change his language, he shall then see the truth of that maxim of Jesus Christ: "What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul? Unhappy me! the worldling shall exclaim on the bed of death, I have had so much time to tranquillize my conscience, and behold I am now at the point of death, and I find my soul burdened with so many sins? What would it have cost me to have broken off such a friendship, to have gone to confession every week, to have avoided certain occasions of sin? All! very little, but though it should have cost me a great deal of pain and labor, I ought to have submitted to every inconvenience in order to save my soul. Salvation is of greater importance to me than the dominion of the entire world. But, alas! the sentiments of negligent Christians at death are as fruitless as the sorrows of the damned, who mourn in hell over their sins as the cause of their perdition, but mourn in vain.

At that time they derive no consolation from their past amusements or pomps, from their exalted dignities, or from the humiliation of their rivals. On the contrary, at the hour of death, these things, like so many swords shall pierce their hearts. Evil shall catch the unjust man unto destruction (Ps. cxxxix. 12). At present the lovers of the world seek after banquets, dances, games, and scenes of laughter and joy; but, at the time of death this laughter and joy, as St. James says, shall be turned into mourning and affliction. Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into sorrow (James iv. 9). Of this we see frequent examples. A young man who entertains his companions by sallies of wit and by immodest jests is seized with a severe illness. His friends come to see him, and find him overwhelmed with grief and melancholy. He indulges no more in jests, or laughter, or conversation. If he speaks at all, his words are words of terror or despair. His friends ask why he speaks so despondingly-- why he is so melancholy. Have courage, they say: your illness is not dangerous. They endeavor to inspire hope and cheerfulness: but he is silent. And how can he be cheerful when he feels his conscience burdened with many sins, sees that he must must soon appear before Jesus Christ to give an account of his entire life, and that he has much reason to fear that he shall receive the sentence of eternal death? He will then say: O fool that I have been! Oh, that I had loved God! Had I loved him, I should not now find myself in these straits, in this anguish. Oh! that I had time to tranquillize the troubles of my conscience. Let us pass to the second point.

II. Oh, That I had time to repair the evil I have done! But now, time is at an end.

Oh! that I had time, he will say, to repair the past! But when will he say this? When the oil in the lamp is consumed: when he is on the point of entering into eternity. One of the greatest causes of the distress and anguish of the careless Christian at the hour of death is the remembrance of the bad use he has made of the time in which he ought to have acquired merits for heaven, and in which he has accumulated merits for hell. Oh! that I had time! Do you seek for time? You have lost so many nights in gaming, and so many years in indulging the senses, without ever thinking of your soul; and now you seek for time; but time is now no more. Were you not already admonished by preachers to be prepared for death? were you not told that it would come upon you when you least expect it? Be you ready, says Jesus Christ; for at what hour you think not the Son of man will come (Luke, xii. 40). You have despised my admonitions, and have voluntarily squandered the time which my goodness bestowed upon you in spite of your demerits; but now time is at an end. Listen to the words in which the priest that assists you shall tell you to depart from this world. Go forth, Christian soul, from this world. And where shall you go? To eternity, to eternity. Death respects neither parents nor monarchs; when it comes, it does not wait even for a moment. Thou hast appointed his bounds, which cannot be passed (Job, xiv. 5).

Oh! what terror shall the dying man feel at hearing the assisting priest tell him to depart from this world! what dismay shall he experience in saying with himself: "This morning I am living, and this evening I shall be dead! Today I am in this house; tomorrow I shall be in the grave: and where shall my soul be found?" His terror shall be increased when he sees the death-candle lighted, and when he hears the confessor order the relatives to withdraw from his chamber, and to return to it no more. It shall be still more increased when the confessor gives him the crucifix, and tells him to embrace it, saying: "Embrace Jesus Christ, and think no more of this world." He takes the crucifix, and kisses it; but, in kissing it, he trembles at the remembrance of the many injuries which he has offered to Jesus Christ. He would now wish to repent sincerely of all his injuries to his Saviour, but he sees that his repentance is forced by the necessity of his approaching death. "He," says St. Augustine, "who is abandoned by sin before he abandons it, condemns it not freely, but through necessity."

The common delusion of worldlings is, that earthly things appear great, and that the things of heaven, as being distant and uncertain, appear to be of little value. They regard tribulations as insupportable, and grievous sins as unimportant. The miserable beings are as if they were shut up in a room filled with smoke, which hinders them from seeing objects before their eyes. But at the hour of death this darkness shall vanish, and the soul shall begin to see things in their real colors. At that hour all temporal things appear to be what they really are vanity, lies, and deception; and the things of eternity assume their true value. Oh! how important shall judgment, hell, and eternity, which are so much disregarded during life, appear at the time of death. According as these shall begin to put on their true colors, the fears of the dying man shall increase. The nearer the sentence of the judge approaches, the more sensible the fear of condemnation becomes," says St Gregory. Hence the sick man will say: Oh, in what anguish do I die! Unhappy me! Oh, that I knew that so unhappy a death awaited me! You have known; but you ought to have foreseen it; for you knew that a good death could not be expected after a wicked life. But, since I must soon die, oh! that I could at least, in the little time that remains, tranquillize my conscience! Let us pass to the third point.

Oh, that I could, in the little time that remains, repair the past! But, alas! this time is not fit for repairing past evils.

The time allowed to careless Christians at the hour of death, is, for two reasons, unfit for tranquillizing the troubles of their conscience. First, because this time will be very short; for at the commencement, and for some days during the progress of the disease, the sick man thinks only of physicians, of remedies, and of making his last will. During that time his relatives, friends, and even the physicians deceive him by holding out hopes of recovery. Hence, deluded by these hopes, he will not be able for some time to persuade himself that his death is at hand. When shall he begin to persuade himself that death is near? Only when he shall be at the very point of death. This is the second reason why that time is unfit for repairing the evils of the soul. At that time the dying man is sick in mind as well as in body. He shall be assailed by pains in the chest, spasms in the head, debility, and delirium. These shall render him unable to make any effort to excite a true detestation of his past sins, or to apply to the disorders of his past life a remedy which will calm the terrors of his conscience. The news of his approaching death will astound him to such a degree, that he shall be scarcely half alive.

A person laboring under a severe headache, which deprives him of sleep for two or three nights, will not even attempt to dictate a letter of ceremony. And at death, when he feels but little, understands but little, and sees only a confusion of things which fills him with terror, the careless Christian adjusts a conscience burdened with the sins of thirty or forty years. Then are verified the words of the Gospel: The night cometh when no man worketh. Then his conscience will say to him: Now thou canst be steward no longer? There is no more time for negotiation; what has been done, is done. When distress cometh upon them, they will seek for peace, and there shall be none. Trouble shall come upon trouble.

It is often said of a person that he led a bad life, but afterwards died a good death; that by his sighs and tears he gave proofs of sincere repentance. The wailing of such persons proceeds not from sorrow for their sins, but from the fear of imminent death, says St. Augustine. He was not afraid of sinning, says the holy Doctor, but, of burning. Till this moment the dying man has loved sinful objects: will he now detest them? Perhaps he will then love them with more tenderness; for the objects of our affections become more dear to us when we are afraid of losing them. The celebrated master of St. Bruno died with signs of repentance; but when laid in the coffin, he said that he was damned. If, at the hour of death, even the saints complain that on account of the state of the head they can think but little of God, or make but little effort to excite good acts, how can the negligent Christian makes these acts at death, when he was not in the habit of making them during life? It maybe said that he appeared to have a sincere sorrow for the wickedness of his past life. But, was his sorrow true sorrow? The devil persuades him that the wish to have sorrow is true sorrow; but he deceives him. The dying man will say: "I am sorry from the bottom of my heart," etc.; but these words shall come from a heart of stone. From the midst of the rocks they shall give forth their voices. But he has frequently been at confession, and has received all the sacraments; he has died in perfect resignation. Ah! the criminal who goes to be executed, appears to be perfectly resigned: but why? Because he cannot escape from the officers of justice, who bring him in chains to the place of execution.

"O moment on which eternity depends!" This moment made the saints tremble at the hour of death, and made them exclaim: "O God! where shall I be in a few hours?" "Sometimes," says St. Gregory, "the soul even of the just man is disturbed by the terror of vengeance." What, then, shall the careless Christian, who has disregarded God, feel when he sees the scaffold prepared on which he must die? His eyes shall see his own destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty." He shall see with his own eyes death prepared for his soul, and shall from that moment begin to feel the anger of the Lord. The viaticum which he must receive, the extreme unction which will be administered to him, the crucifix which is placed in his hands, the recommendation of the soul which is read by the assisting priest, the lighting of the blessed candle all these shall form the scaffold of divine justice. The poor sick man perceives that he is already in a cold sweat, that he can no longer move or speak, that his respiration has begun to fail: in a word, he sees that the moment of death is at hand; he sees his soul defiled with sins; the judge waiting for him; hell burning under his feet; and in this confusion of darkness and terror he shall enter into eternity.

Oh that they would be wise, and would understand, and would provide for their last end. Behold, dearly beloved brethren, how the Holy Ghost exhorts us to provide now for the terrible straits and distress by which we shall be encompassed at death, and to adjust at present the accounts which we must render to God; for it will be then impossible to settle these accounts so as to save our souls.

My crucified Jesus, I will not wait till death to embrace Thee; I embrace Thee at this moment. I love Thee above all things; and because I love Thee, I repent with my whole heart of all the offences and insults I have offered to Thee, who art infinite goodness; and I purpose and hope, with Thy grace, to love Thee always, and never more to offend Thee. Through the merits of Thy Passion I ask Thee to assist me.

"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 Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

2017 - 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
Taken from Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen's Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Everyday of the Year


PRESENCE OF GOD - Teach me, O Lord, to fulfill all my duties in homage to Your sovereign Majesty.


1. The teachings contained in the Mass of this Sunday can be synthesized in the well known statement of Jesus, which we read in the Gospel (Mt 22,15-21) of this day: “ Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s”; in other words, fulfill with exactness your duties toward God and toward your neighbor, by giving to each one his due.

The Epistle (Phil 1,6-11) presents St. Paul to us as a model of charity toward those whom God has confided to his care. “I have you in my heart,” writes the Apostle to the Philippians, “for that in my bands and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel, you all are partakers of my joy.” St. Paul is keenly aware of his spiritual paternity toward the souls he has begotten in Christ; even from a distance, he feels responsible for their success, is preoccupied with their perseverance in good, sustains them with his fatherly affection and wise counsels: “Being confident of this very thing, that He, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.” He does not want them to be frightened because he is far away from them: he is nothing but a poor instrument, God alone is the true guide of souls, and He will complete the work begun. As for him, they may be certain that he does not cease to love them: “For God is my witness how I long after you all in the heart of Jesus Christ.”

St. John Chrysostom asserts that the heart of Paul is the heart of Christ because of the great love for souls which makes him so like the Redeemer; thus should it be possible to say of the heart of every apostle. When God has put us in contact with a soul and has asked us to occupy ourselves with it, we can no longer be disinterested; this soul is henceforth bound to ours, we should feel responsible for it, and bound to help it even to the end.

After having spoken to us of the solicitude we should have for those confided to our care, the Epistle reminds us also of charity toward our neighbor in general: “That your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and in all understanding : that you may approve the better things.” He speaks of a charity increasingly delicate in its understanding of the souls of others, adapting itself with an ever more refined tact to the mind, the demands, the tastes of others; a charity which must urge us, as St. Paul says, to “approve”—and therefore, to do—“the better things,” in order that we “may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ.”

2. The Gospel outlines, clearly and distinctly, the position of the Christian toward civil authority. The insidious question: “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” gives Jesus the occasion to solve the problem of the relation between religious and civil duties. He asks for a coin and says: “Whose image and inscription is this? They say to Him: Caesar’s. Then He saith to them: Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s.”

There is no opposition between the rights of political power and the rights of God, since “there would be no power unless it were given from above” (cf. Jn 19,11): political authority, legitimately constituted, comes from God and must be respected as a reflection of the divine authority. This is precisely the reason why every Christian is bound to fulfill all the duties of a good citizen, and, consequently, must obey political authority, unless its orders are opposed to the law of God; for, in this case, it would no longer represent
divine authority and then, as St. Peter says, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5,29).

We must not believe that because we are vowed to the apostolate or dedicated to religious works, we are, by this fact, dispensed from civic duties; on the contrary, even in this domain Catholics should be in the front rank. Emperors, kings, statesmen, soldiers, whom the Church honors as saints, tell us that sanctity is possible everywhere and for everyone, that it can be realized by those who dedicate themselves to the service of the State, because even here it is a question of serving God in His creatures.

By telling us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, Jesus teaches us to give to the State all that falls under its jurisdiction, that is, everything that concerns temporal order and the public good. But Jesus does not stop there, He says more: “Give to God what is God’s.” If the coin which bears the image of Caesar should be restored to Caesar, with much greater reason should our soul, which bears the image of God, be restored to God. To say that we must give our soul to God, is to say that we owe Him everything, because, as a matter of fact, we have received everything from Him. In this sense, to fulfill our duties toward our neighbor, toward our equals or our inferiors, toward our ecclesiastical or civil superiors, is to fulfill our duty toward God; it is to restore to Him everything He has given us, by submitting our freedom to His law, by putting our will in the service of His will.


“O my God, since I am Yours for so many reasons, and have so many obligations to serve You, permit no longer that sin, or Satan, or the world, usurp, even in the slightest degree, that which is entirely Yours. But, if it please You, take complete and absolute possession of my being and of my life. Here lam, O my God, I give myself entirely to You, protesting to You that I do not wish to exist but for You, and that I do not want to think, or say, or do, or suffer anything but for Your love, today, tomorrow, and always” (St. John Eudes).

“O my Lord Jesus, You gave Yourself to me and You ask only for my heart. But, O my Lord, what is this poor heart of mine when You are all? If my heart were worth more than those of all the children of men combined, and all the love of the angels, and if its capacity were so great that it could contain more than all the empyreal heaven, I would consecrate it wholly to You. It would be a very poor gift, and even almost nothing, to so great a Lord. But, how much more shall I not give You, and wholly repose in You, this little spark of a heart which I find in myself! Because this is for me a very great thing, that You should deign to keep my heart. Would it not be folly if I should consecrate it henceforth to some creature, when my God wills it for Himself? I do not want it to remain any longer in me, but to repose entirely in You, who have created it to praise You. It is better that I place my heart in eternal joy, in divine majesty and in immense goodness, rather than in my frailty; that I place it in Your deity, rather than in my iniquity” (St. Bonaventure).
"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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