Third Sunday after Epiphany
Taken from Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays throughout the Ecclesiastical Year, 1880

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INTROIT Adore God, all ye His angels: Sion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Juda rejoiced. The Lord hath reigned; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad. (Ps. XCVI. 1.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Almighty everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmity, and stretch forth the right hand of Thy majesty for our protection. Through our protection. Through our etc.

EPISTLE (Rom. XII. 16-21.) Brethren, be not wise in your own conceits. To no man rendering evil for evil: providing good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as is in you, having peace with all men; not revenging yourselves, my dearly beloved but give place unto wrath; for it is written: Revenge is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink; for doing this, thou shaft heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.

Quote:When are we overcome by evil?

When we wish to take revenge. "Revenge is no sign of courage," says St. Ambrose, "but rather of weakness and cowardice. As it is the sign of a very weak stomach to be unable to digest food, so it is the mark of a very weak mind to be unable to bear a harsh word." "Are you impatient," says the same saint, "you are overcome; are you patient, you have overcome."

What should we do if our reputation is injured?

We should leave its revenge, or its defence and protection to God, who has retained that for Himself. "But as a good name," says St. Francis de Sales, "is the main support of human society, and as without it we could not be useful to that society, but even hurtful to it on account of scandal, we should feel bound, for love of our neighbor, to aim after a good reputation, and to preserve it." We should not be too sensitive about this, however, for too great a sensitiveness makes one obstinate, eccentric, and intolerable, and only tends to excite and increase the malice of the detractors. The silence and contempt with which we meet a slander or an injustice, is generally a more efficacious antidote than sensitiveness, anger, or revenge. The contempt of a slander at once disperses it, but anger shows a weakness, and gives the accusation an appearance of probability. If this does not suffice, and the slander continues, let us persevere in humility' and lay our honor and our soul into the hands of God, according to the admonitions of the Apostle.

How do we "heap coals of fire on the head of our enemy?"

When we return him good for evil, for seeing our well meaning towards him, the flush of shame reddens his face for the wrongs he has done us. St. Augustine explains these words thus: "By giving food and drink or doing other kindnesses to your enemy, you will heap coals, not of anger, but of love, upon his head, which will inflame him to return love for love." Learn therefore, from the example of Christ and His saints, not to allow yourself to be overcome by evil, but do good to those that hate and persecute you.

ASPIRATION Ah, that I might, according to the words of St. Paul, so live that I may be a child of the Heavenly Father, who lets His sun shine on the just and the unjust!

GOSPEL (Matt. VIII. 1-13.) At that time, when Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him; and behold, a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him, See thou tell no man: but go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. And when he had entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying: Lord, my servant Beth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this man: Go, and he goeth; and to another: Come, and he cometh; and to my servant: Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled; and said to them that followed him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I sad to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee; and the servant was healed at the same hour.

Why did the leper say: “Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean"?

He believed Christ to be the promised Messiah, who as true God had the power to heal him. From this we learn to have confidence in the omnipotence of God, who is a helper in all need, (Ps. CVI. 6. 73. 19.) and to leave all to the will of God, saying: Lord, if it be pleasing to Thee, and well for me, grant my petition.

Why did Jesus stretch forth His hand and touch the leper?

To show that He was not subject to the law which forbade the touching of a leper through fear of infection, which could not affect Jesus; to reveal the health-giving, curative power of His flesh, which dispelled leprosy by the simple touch of His hand; to give us an example of humility and of love for the poor sick, that we may learn from Him to have no aversion to the infirm, but lovingly to assist the unfortunate sick for the sake of Jesus who took upon Himself the leprosy of our sins. The saints have faithfully imitated Him in their tender care for those suffering from the most disgusting diseases. Oh, how hard it will be for those to stand before the Tribunal of God at the Last Day, who cannot even bear to look at the poor and sick!

Why did Christ command the leper to tell no man?

To instruct us that we should not make known our good works in order to obtain frivolous praise, (Matt. VI 1.) which deprives us of our heavenly reward.

Why did Christ send the healed leper to the Priest?

That he might observe the law which required all the healed lepers to show themselves to the priests, to offer a sacrifice, to be examined and pronounced clean: that the priest if he beheld the miracle of the sudden cure of the leper, might know Him who had wrought the cure, to be the Messiah; and finally, to teach us that we must honor the priests because of their high position, even when they do not live in a manner worthy of their dignity, as was the case with the Jewish priests.

What it taught by the centurion's solicitude for his servant?

That masters should take care of their sick servants, see that they are attended to in their illness, and above all that they are provided with the Sacraments. It is unchristian, even cruel and barbarous, to drive from the house a poor, sick servant, or to leave him lying in his distress without assistance or care.

Why did Christ say: I will come and heal him?

Because of His humility, by which He, although God and Lord of lords, did not hesitate to visit a sick servant. Here Christ's humility puts to shame many persons of position who think themselves too exalted to attend the wants of a poor servant.

Why did the centurion say: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof?

Because he recognised Christ's divinity and his own nothingness, and therefore regarded himself as unworthy to receive Christ into his house. From this we learn to humble ourselves, especially when we receive Christ into our hearts, hence the priest in giving holy Communion uses the centurion's words, exhorting those to humility who are about to receive.

Why did he add: But only say the word, and my servant shall be healed?

By this he publicly manifested his faith in Christ's divinity and omnipotence, because he believed that Christ, though absent, could heal the servant by a word. If a Gentile centurion had such faith in Christ, and such confidence in His power, should not we Christians be ashamed that we have so little faith, and confidence in God?

What is meant by: Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast into the exterior darkness?

This was said by Christ in reference to the obdurate Jews who would not believe in Him. Many pagans who receive the gospel, and live in accordance with it, will enjoy heavenly bliss with the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were the most faithful friends of God, while the Jews, God's chosen people, who as such, possessed the first claim to heaven, will, because of their unbelief and other sins, be cast into outer darkness, that is, into the deepest abyss of hell, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Thus it will be with those Christians who do not live in accordance with their faith. Therefore, fear lest you, for want of cooperation with God's grace, be eternally rejected, while others who have faithfully corresponded to the divine inspirations will enter into your place in the kingdom of heaven.

ASPIRATION O Jesus, rich in consolations! grant me the leper's faith and confidence, that in all things I may rely upon Thy omnipotence, and may resign myself to Thy divine will, and may ever honor Thy priests. Grant me, also, O most humble Jesus! the centurion's humility, that for Thy sake, I may compassionately assist my neighbor, and by doing so render myself worthy of Thy grace and mercy.

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Lord, if thou wilt. (Matt. VIII. 2.)
Those who in adversity as well as in prosperity, perfectly resign themselves to the will of God, and accept whatever He sends them with joy and thanks, possess heaven, as St. Chrysostom says, while yet upon earth. Those who have attained this resignation, are saddened by no adversity, because they are satisfied with all that God, their best Father, sends them, be it honor or disgrace, wealth or poverty, life or death. All happens as they wish, because they know no will but God's, they desire nothing but that which He does and wills. God does the will of them that fear Him. (Ps. CXLIV. 10.)

In the lives of the ancient Fathers we find the following: The fields and vineyards belonging to one farmer were much more fertile and yielding than were his neighbors'. They asked how it happened and he said: they should not wonder at it, because he always had the weather he wished. At this they wondered more than ever: How could that be? "I never desire other weather," he replied, "than God wills; and because my desires are conformable to His, He gives me the fruits I wish." This submission to the divine will is also the cause of that constant peace and undimmed joy of the saints of God, with which their hearts have overflowed here below, even in the midst of the greatest sufferings and afflictions. Who would not aspire to so happy a state? We will attain it if we believe that nothing in this world can happen to us except by the will and through the direction of God, sin and guilt excepted, for God can never be the cause of them. This the Holy Ghost inculcates by the mouth of the wise man: Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from God, (Eccles. XI. 14.) that is, are permitted or sent by God; all that which comes from God, is for the best, for God doeth all things well. (Mark VII. 37.)

Whoever keeps these two truths always in mind, will certainly be ever contented with the will of God, and always consoled; he will taste while yet on earth the undisturbed peace of mind and foretaste of happiness which the saints had while here, and which they now eternally enjoy in heaven, because of the union of their will with the divine will.


The master of a house should be careful to have not only obedient, faithful, willing, and industrious servants in his home, as had the centurion in the gospel, but still more, pious and God-fearing ones, for God richly blesses the master because of pious servants. Thus God blessed Laban on account of the pious Jacob, (Gen. XXX. 30.) and the house of Putiphar because of the just Joseph. (Gen. XXXIX. 5.) The master should look to the morals and Christian conduct of his servants, and not suffer irreligious subjects in his house, for he must, after this life, give an account before the tribunal of God, and he makes himself unworthy of the blessing of God, often liable to the most terrible punishment by retaining such. Will not God punish those masters and mistresses who suffer those under them to seek the dangerous occasions of sin, keep sinful company, go about at night, and lead scandalous lives? Will not God, one day, demand the souls of servants from their masters? The same punishment which will befall those who deny their faith, will rest upon careless masters and mistresses, for St. Paul the Apostle writes:

But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (I. Tim. V. 8.)

Subjects should learn from the centurion's servants who obeyed his only word, that they also should willingly, faithfully, and quickly do every thing ordered by their masters, unless it be something contrary to the law of God. They should recollect that whatever they do in obedience to their superiors, is done for God Himself. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God. Whatsoever you do, do it from the heart as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that you shall receive of the Lord the reward of inheritance. Serve ye the Lord Christ. (Col. III. 22-24.)
"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 The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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We have kept for the end of this volume the five following Sundays, in order not to interrupt the order of the Feasts, which are kept during the forty days of Christmastide; as also, because the variation of Easter Sunday necessitates, almost every year, a different arrangement from that in which they stand in the Missal. Septuagesima often comes in January, and the Feast of the Purification is occasionally later than Quinquagesima Sunday. We were obliged to provide for these changes, and simplify them for the Faithful, by adopting our present plan.

It also happens, that the 3rd and 4th Sundays after the Epiphany, (even in years when they could be kept,) have to be omitted, owing to the occurrence of a Double feast: and feasts of this class are frequent (During the last fifteen days of January. In this case, the Church simply makes a commemoration of the occurring Sunday, at the Collect, Secret, and Post-communion; and the Gospel of the Sunday is read in place of St. John’s, at the end of Mass.

The Sundays of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, take precedence of Double feasts; and, as we have already noticed, the Purification itself is deferred till the following day, if it fall on any of these three Sundays.


The Introit represents the Angels of God adoring him on his entrance into this world, as St. Paul explains this passage of the Psalms. The Church celebrates, with David, the gladness of Sion, and the joy of the daughters of Juda.

Adorate Deum omnes Angeli ejus: audivit et lætata est Sion, et exsultaverunt filiæ Judæ. 
Ps. Dominus rengavit, exsultet terra, l&aelit;tentur insulæ multæ. ℣. Gloria Patri. Adorate.

Adore God, all ye his Angels: Sion heard and was glad, and the Daughters of Juda rejoiced.

Ps. The Lord hath reigned, let the earth rejoice, let many islands be glad. ℣. Glory, &c. Adore.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, infirmatatem nostram propitius respice: atque ad protegendum nos, dexteram tuæ majestatis extende. Per Dominum

O Almighty and Eternal God, mercifully behold our weakness, and stretch forth the right hand of thy majesty to protect us. Through, &c.

Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Deus qui salutis æternæ, beatæ Mariæ virginitate fœcunda, humano generi præmia prætitisti; tribue, quæsumus, ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere sentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem vitæ suscipere, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum.

 O God, who, by the fruitful Virginity of the Blessed Mary, hast given to mankind the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech thee, that we may experience Her intercession, by whom we received the Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son.

The third Prayer is one of the following:

Against the persecutors of the Church
Ecclesiæ tuæ, quæsumus, Domine, preces placatus admitte: ut, destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis secura tibi serviat libertate. 

Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy Church, that all oppositions and errors being removed, she may serve thee with a secure and undisturbed devotion.

For the Pope
Deus omnium fidelium Pastor et Rector, famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice; da ei, quæsumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus præest, proficere; ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Dominum. 

O God, the Pastor and Governor of all the Faithful, look down in thy mercy on thy servant N. whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church; and grant, we beseech thee, that, both by word and example, he may edify all those that are under his charge, and, with the flock entrusted to him, arrive, at length, at eternal happiness. Through, &c.


Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Romans. Ch. xii.

Brethren, be not wise in your own conceits. To no man rendering evil for evil. Providing good things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men. Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved; but give place unto wrath, for it is written: Revenge is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink. For, doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.
Quote:This love of our neighbor, recommended to us by the Apostle, is a consequence of that universal brotherhood, which our Savior, by his Birth, brought us from heaven. He came to establish peace between heaven and earth; men, therefore, ought to be at peace one with another. Our Lord bids us not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil by good:—and did not he first practice this by coming among us, who were children of wrath, that he might make us children of adoption by his humiliations and his sufferings?

In the Gradual, the holy Church again celebrates the coming of the Emmanuel, and invites all nations, and all the kings of the earth, to come and praise his holy name.

Timebunt gentes Nomen tuum, Domine, et omnes reges terræ gloriam tuam. 
℣. Quoniam ædificavit Dominus Sion, et videbitur in majestate sus. 

Alleluia, alleluia
℣. Dominus regnavit: exsultet terra, lætentur insulæ multæ. Alleluia.
The Gentiles shall fear thy Name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
℣. For the Lord hath built up Sion, and he shall be seen in his glory.

Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. The Lord hath reigned, let the earth rejoice; let many islands be glad. Alleluia.

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

At that time: when Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him: And behold a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man: but go, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. And when he had entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grieviously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled; and said to them that followed him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.
Quote:The human race was infected the leprosy of sin: the Son of God touches it by the mystery of the Incarnation, and restores it to health. But he requires that the sick man, now that he is healed, shall go and show himself to the Priest, and comply with the ceremonies prescribed by the law; and this to show that he allows a human priesthood to cooperate in the work of our salvation. The vocation of the Gentiles, of which the Magi were the first fruits, is again brought before us in the faith of the Centurion. A Roman Soldier, and millions like him, shall be reputed as true children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; while they who are the sons of this Patriarch according to the flesh, shall be cast out from the feast chamber into the gloom of blindness; and their punishment shall be given as a spectacle to the whole earth.

Let men, then, saved as he has been by the coming of the Emmanuel, sing a hymn of praise to the power of the God who has wrought our salvation by the strength of his almighty arm. Man had been sentenced to death; but now that he has God for a Brother, he shall not die: he will live: and could he spend his life better than in praising the works of this God that has saved him?

Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domini exaltavit me: non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini. 

The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me. I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.

Hæc hostia, Domini, quæsumus, emundet nostra delicta: et sacrificium celebrandum subditorum tibi corpora, mentesque sanctificet. Per Dominum. 

May this offering, O Lord, we beseech thee, cleanse away our sins: and sanctify the bodies and souls of thy servants, to prepare them for worthily celebrating this sacrifice. Through, &c.

Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Muneribus nostris, quæsumus, Domine, precibusque susceptis; et cœlestibus nos munda mysteriis, et clementer exaudi. 
Receive, O Lord, our offerings and prayers: cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries, and mercifully hear us.

Against the persecutors of the Church
Protege, nos, Domine, tuis mysteriis servientes: ut divinis rebus inhærentes, et corpore tibi famulemur et mente. 
Protect us, O Lord, while we assist at thy sacred mysteries, that being employed in acts of religion, we may serve thee both in body and mind.

For the Pope
Oblatis, quæsumus, Domine placare muneribus, et famulum tuum N., quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, assidua protectione guberna. Per Dominum. 
Be appeased, O Lord, with the offering we have made, and cease not to protect thy servant N., whom thou hast been pleased to appoint Pastor over thy Church. Through, &c.

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui cum unigenito Filio tuo et Spiritu Sancto unus es Deus, unus es Dominus: non in unius singularitate, Personæ, sed in unius Trinitate substantiæ. Quod enim de tua gloria,, revelante te, credimus, hoc de Filio tuo, hoc de Spiritu Sancto, sine differentia discretionis sentimus. Ut in confessione veræ, sempiternæque Deitatis, et in Personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas, et in Majestate adoretur æqualitas. Quam laudant Angeli atque Archangeli, Cherubim quoque ac Seraphim; qui non cessant clamare quotidie una voce dicentes, Sanctus, &c.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, Who together with thy Only Begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God and one Lord: not in a singularity of one Person, but in a Trinity of one substance. For what we believe of thy glory, as thou hast revealed, the same we believe of thy Son and of the Holy Ghost, without any difference or distinction. So that in the confession of the true and eternal Deity, we adore a distinction in the Persons, a unity in the essence, and an equality in the Majesty. Whom the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim praise, and cease not daily to cry out with one voice, saying, Holy, &c.

After having distributed the Bread of Life, the Church reminds us how the people were in admiration at the words of Jesus. The children of the Church, initiated into all his Mysteries are, at this moment, enjoying the effects of that ineffable Word, by means of which the Redeemer has changed the bread into his Body, and the wine into his Blood.

Mirabantur omnes de his quæ procedebant de ore Dei. 

All wondered at the words that came from the mouth of God.

Quos tantis, Domine, largiris uti mysteriis, quæsumus ut effectibus nos eorum veraciter aptare digneris. Per Dominum.

We beseech thee, O Lord, that we, to whom thou vouchsafest the use of these great mysteries, may be made truly worthy to receive the benefits thereof. Through, &c

Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Hæc nos communio, Domine, purget a crimine; et intercedente beata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, coalestis remedii faciat esse consortes. 

May this communion, O Lord, cleanse us from sin, and by the intercession of blessed Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, make us partakers of thy heavenly remedy.

Against the persecutors of the Church
Quæsumus, Domine Deus noster, ut quos divina tribuis participatione gaudere, humanis non sinas sujacere periculis. 

We beseech thee, O Almighty God, not to leave exposed to the dangers of human life, those whom thou hast permitted to partake of these divine mysteries.

For the Pope
Hæc nos, quæsumus, Domine, divini sacramenti perceptio protegat: et famulum tuum N., quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, una cum commissio sibi grege, salvet semper et muniat. Per Dominum. 

May the participation of this divine Sacrament protect us, we beseech thee, O Lord; and always procure safety and defense to thy servant N., whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church, together with the flock committed to his charge. Through, &c.


The Psalms, Antiphons, Capitulum, Hymn, and Versicle, are given above: Vespers for Sundays and Feasts during Christmas.


Ant. Domine, si vis, potes me mundare: et ait Jesus: Volo, mundare. 
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, infirmitatem nostram propitius respice: atque ad protegendum nos dexteram tuae majestatis extende. Per Dominum. 

Ant. O Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus saith: I will: be thou cleansed.
Let us pray.
O Almighty and God, mercifully behold our weakness, and stretch the right hand of thy majesty to protect us. Through, etc.

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"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 Third Sunday after Epiphany


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
Sermon VIII – Third Sunday After the Epiphany – On the Remorse of the Damned
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” MATT. viii. 12.

In the Gospel of this day it is related that, “when Jesus Christ entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion beseeching him” to cure his servant, who lay sick of the palsy. Jesus answered: “I will come and heal him.” “No,” replied the centurion,  “I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.” (v. 8.) Seeing the centurion’s faith, the Redeemer instantly consoled him by restoring health to his servant; and, turning to his disciples, he said: “Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” By these words our Lord wished to signify, that many persons born in infidelity shall be saved, and enjoy the society of the saints, and that many who are born in the bosom of the Church shall be cast into Hell, where the worm of conscience, by its gnawing, shall make them weep bitterly for all eternity. Let us examine the remorses of conscience which, a damned Christian shall suffer in Hell.

First remorse, arising from the thought of the little which he required to do in order to save his soul. Second remorse, arising from the remembrance of the trifles for which he lost his soul. Third remorse, arising from the knowledge of the great good which he has lost through his own fault.

First remorse of the damned Christian, arising from the thought of the little which he required to do in order to save his soul.

1. A damned soul once appeared to St. Hubert, and said, that two remorse’s were her most cruel executioners in Hell: the thought of the little which was necessary for her to have done in this life to secure her salvation; and the thought of the trifles for which she brought herself to eternal misery. The same thing has been said by St. Thomas. Speaking of the reprobate, he says: “They shall be in sorrow principally because they are damned for nothing, and because they could most easily have obtained eternal life.” Let us stop to consider this first source of remorse; that is, how few and transitory are the pleasures for which all the damned are lost.  Each of the reprobate will say for eternity: If I abstained from such a gratification; if in certain circumstances I overcame human respect; if I avoided such an occasion of sin such a companion, I should not now he damned; if I had frequented some pious sodality; if I had gone to confession every week; if in temptations I had recommended myself to God, I would not have relapsed into sin. I have so often proposed to do these things, but I have not done them. I began to practise these means of salvation, but afterwards gave them up; and thus I am lost.

2. This torment of the damned will be increased by the remembrance of the good example given them by some young companions who led a chaste and pious life even in the midst of the world. It will be still more increased by the recollection of all the gifts which the Lord had bestowed upon them, that by their co-operation they might acquire eternal salvation; the gifts of nature health, riches, respectability of family, talents; all gifts granted by God, not to be employed in the indulgence of pleasures and in the gratification of vanity, but in the sanctification of their souls, and in becoming saints. So many gifts of grace, so many divine lights, holy inspirations, loving calls, and so many years of life to repair past disorders. But they shall for ever hear from the angel of the Lord that for them the time of salvation is past. “The angel whom I saw standing, swore by Him that liveth for ever and ever. . . . that time shall be no longer.” (Apoc. x. 6.)

3. Alas! what cruel swords shall all these blessings received from God be to the heart of a poor damned Christian, when he shall see himself shut up in the prison of Hell, and that there is no more time to repair his eternal ruin! In despair he will say to his wretched companions: “The harvest is past; the summer is ended; and we are not saved.” (Jer. viii. 20.) The time, he will say, of gathering fruits of eternal life is past; the summer, during which we could have saved our souls, is over, but we are not saved: the winter is come; but it is an eternal winter, in which we must live in misery and despair as long as God shall be God.

4.O fool, he will say, that I have been! If I had suffered for God the pains to which I have submitted for the indulgence of my passions if the labours which I have endured for my own damnation, had been borne for my salvation, how happy should I now be! And what now remains of all past pleasures, but remorse and pain, which now torture, and shall torture me for eternity? Finally, he will say, I might be for ever happy and now.[ must be for ever miserable. Ah! this thought will torture the damned more than the fire and all the other torments of Hell.

Second remorse of the damned, arising from the remembrance of the trifles for which they lost their souls.

5. Saul forbid the people, under pain of death, to taste food. His son Jonathan, who was then young being hungry, tasted a little honey. Having discovered that Jonathan had violated the command, the king declared that he should die. Seeing himself condemned to death, Jonathan said with tears: ”I did but taste a little honey, and behold I must die.” (1 Kings xiv. 43.) But the people, moved to pity for Jonathan, interposed with his father, and delivered him from death. For the unhappy damned there is no compassion; there is no one to intercede with God to deliver them from the eternal death of Hell. On the contrary, all rejoice at the just punishment which they suffer for having wilfully lost God and Paradise for the sake of a transitory pleasure.

6. After having eaten the pottage of lentiles for which he sold his right of primogeniture, Esau was tortured with grief and remorse for what he had lost, and “roared out with a great cry.” (Gen. xxvii. 34.) Oh! how great shall be the roaring and howling of the damned, at the thought of having lost, for a few poisonous and momentary pleasures, the everlasting kingdom of Paradise, and of being condemned for eternity to a continual death!

7.The unfortunate reprobate shall be continually employed in reflecting on the unhappy cause of their damnation. To us who live on earth our past life appears but a moment ~ but a dream. Alas! what will the fifty or sixty years which they may have spent in this world appear to the damned, when they shall find themselves in the abyss of eternity, and when they shall have passed a hundred and a thousand millions of years in torments, and shall see that their miserable eternity is only beginning, and shall be for ever in its commencement? But have the fifty years spent on this earth been full of pleasures? Perhaps the sinner, living in enmity with God, enjoyed uninterrupted happiness in his sins? How long do the pleasures of sin last? Only for a few minutes; the remaining part of the lives of those who live at a distance from God is full of anguish and pain. Oh! what will these moments of pleasure appear to a damned soul, when she shall find herself in a pit of fire?

8. ”What hath pride profited us? or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us? All those things have passed away like a shadow.” (Wis. v. 8.) Unhappy me! each of the damned shall say, I have lived on earth according to my corrupt inclinations; I have indulged my pleasures; but what have they profited me? They have lasted but for a short time; they have made me lead a life of bitterness and disquietude; and now I must burn in this furnace for ever, in despair, and abandoned by all.

Third remorse of the damned, arising from the knowledge of the great good which they have lost by their own fault.

9. A certain queen, blinded by the ambition of being a sovereign, said one day: “If the Lord gives me a reign of forty years, I shall renounce Paradise.” The unhappy queen reigned for forty years; but now that she is in another world, she cannot but be grieved at having made such a renunciation. Oh! how great must be her anguish at the thought of having lost the kingdom of Paradise for the sake of a reign of forty years, full of troubles, of crosses, and of fears! ”Plus cœlo torquetor, quam gehenna,” says St. Peter Chrysologus. To the damned the voluntary loss of Paradise is a greater loss than the very pains of Hell.

10. The greatest pain in Hell is the loss of God, that sovereign good, who is the source of all the joys of Paradise. ”Let torments,” says St. Bruno, ”be added to torments, and let them not be deprived of God.” (Serm, de Jud. fin.) The damned would be content to have a thousand Hells added to the Hell which they suffer provided they were not deprived of God; but their Hell shall consist in seeing themselves deprived for ever of God through their own fault. St. Teresa used to say, that when a person loses, through his own fault, a trifle a small sum of money, or a ring of little value the thought of having lost it through his own neglect afflicts him and disturbs his peace. What then must be the anguish of the damned in reflecting that they have lost God, a good of infinite value, and have lost him through their own fault?

11. The damned shall see that God wished them to be saved, and had given them the choice of eternal life or of eternal death. “Before man is life and death, that which he shall choose shall be given to him.” (Eccles.” xv. 18.) They shall see that, if they wished, they might have acquired eternal happiness, and that, by their own choice, they are damned. On the day of judgment they shall see many of their companions among the elect; but, because they would not put a stop to their career of sin, they have gone to end it in Hell. “Therefore we have erred,” they shall say to their unhappy associates in Hell; we have erred in losing Heaven and God through our own fault, and our error is irreparable. They shall continually exclaim: “There is no peace for my bones because of my sins.” (Ps. xxxvii. 4.) The thought of having been the cause of their own damnation produces an internal pain, which enters into the very bones of the damned, and prevents them from ever enjoying a moments repose. Hence, each of them shall be to himself an object of the greatest horror. Each shall suffer the pain threatened by the Lord: “I will set THEE before thy face.” (Ps. xlix. 21.)

12. If, beloved brethren, you have hitherto been so foolish as to lose God for a miserable pleasure, do not persevere in your folly. Endeavour, now that you have it in your power, to repair your past error. Tremble! Perhaps, if you do not now resolve to change your life, you shall be abandoned by God, and be lost for ever. When the Devil tempts you, remember Hell, the thought of Hell will preserve you from that land of misery. I say, remember Hell and have recourse to Jesus Christ and to most holy Mary, and they will deliver you from sin, which is the gate of Hell.

"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
Third Sunday After Epiphany
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

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"Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean."--Matt. 8: 2.

The leper of whom we read in today's Gospel believes that Christ has the power to heal him, and he is not mistaken; Christ, stretching forth His hand, said: "I will, be thou made clean!"

What leprosy is to the body, that sin is to the soul. Many of the children of the Church, many who call upon Jesus, are covered with this leprosy. They believe in His Power and Will to cleanse them from sin, and yet they are not cleansed, and why not? Because they do not earnestly will it.

It often happens that the sinner, while apparently desirous of conversion, has in reality not the will. And why? That is the question we shall answer today. O Mary, thou purest of the pure, pray that we may be filled with a true desire to be cleansed from the leprosy of sin, through Jesus Christ our Lord! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

"Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean," cried the leper. How much more natural it is for us children of the Church to address Christ in these words, since we know so much better than the leper in the Gospel who Jesus is, and why He came into the world.

The leper did not doubt that Christ possessed the power to heal him, but he was not certain of Christ's willingness to perform a miracle. In regard to the leprosy of sin, we have no reason to doubt Christ's willingness to cleanse us. For this He came into the world, for this He sacrificed Himself on the cross, for this He gave His blood and life, for this He established His Church. Do not the Apostles teach us to say: "I believe in the forgiveness of sins?" To give us a remedy against sin, Christ called us to His holy Church, freed us in baptism from the inherited leprosy of our nature, and gave us access to all the Sacraments, those fountains of grace for the purification of souls.

Verily then Jesus is willing. If we are not cleansed, in whom lies the fault? In ourselves. The sinner is wanting in real sincerity and in the earnest desire of being cleansed. And why? Because he feels his own misery too imperfectly. He is not sufficiently disgusted with sin; he is not thoroughly penetrated with fear at the consequences of sin.

The leper was disgusted with himself. Leprosy is, as is well known, a revolting disease, and everyone is careful to avoid those who are stricken with it. But what is such a disease compared to the disfigurement of sin, which makes us resemble Satan in repulsiveness? Not only mortal, but even venial sin is leprosy. Not a moral fault but is more disgusting to God than all the ulcers and sores in the whole world.

Could the sinner but see himself, were he aware of how his soul is deformed by sin, how intense would be his desire, how great his haste to go to Jesus and beg of Him to be cleansed. Unfortunately, the sinner is seldom thoroughly conscious of his deplorable state. He generally believes that his moral condition is not so bad, and, regarding his sins as human weaknesses, consoles himself with the thought that there are others who are worse. He fails to consider God's horror of sin, the disgust of the angels and saints, who have reason to be ashamed of him if he regards himself in communion with them, or perhaps even calls them his brothers and his sisters. He does not realize that the sight of his sins drives away his guardian angel, all angels, in fact, and saints. He never thinks of the misfortune into which sin has precipitated him, robbing his good works of all merit, and rendering him unable to earn anything for heaven; how sin has opened the gates of hell, so that he is liable at any moment to fall into the abyss, where he must bewail in eternal torments those sins which he here committed with so little concern.

He who stains his soul with many venial sins can not consider how these prevent him from lessening the flow of divine grace, diminish his merits, how they augment the debt that is to be paid in purgatory. Moreover, he can not reflect on the danger his waywardness exposes him to of falling into grievous sin. The consequence of this thoughtlessness is that the sinner hastens not to seek Jesus, and to approach Him in the person of His minister to receive, after sincere repentance, the forgiveness of his transgressions.

Secondly.--The sinner goes to confession and apparently is desirous of being cleansed from the leprosy of his sin, but in reality he is very indifferent. How few of those to whom sin has become a habit--a class of sinners who especially resemble the leper--examine themselves conscientiously before confession on the number of their mortal sins and the circumstances that affect the nature of their transgressions. The leper feels day and night the misery of his disease, and knows every place where it has settled. The habitual sinner does not take the trouble to consider the evil of sin on his soul, and hardly deems it necessary to examine his conscience. Why? He is not really in earnest to be converted.

If it were a bodily illness he would immediately send for a physician, and explain minutely all the symptoms of his disease; but as the condition of his soul is a matter of little concern to him, he gives but a superficial account of its state, and not unfrequently makes a bad confession. It but seldom happens that a habitual sinner accuses himself fully and freely without aid from the priest. Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the leper. The priest should spiritually do the same to the sinner by his words, but as the sinner has not thoroughly opened his heart, the priest is not able to touch the affected parts and heal them by words of advice.

The sinner confesses, but he has not the earnest desire to make a frank and open declaration of his faults. He is satisfied with a lame, cursory accusation, hoping that the confessor will impart a speedy absolution, and not trouble him with many questions. He is not anxious about the future, how he may avoid relapses, anticipate temptations or combat them, when they do assault him, with effectual weapons.

The sinner, moreover, has not the determination to use the proper means to obtain grace and to advance in the ways of virtue, namely, prayer, spiritual reading, the reception of the Sacraments.

Happy are you, O sinner, if you are conscious that you are, earnest in your desire to be converted, to avoid all occasions of committing sin, and to resist temptations, so that you can truthfully say before Jesus and his minister: I will. Christ will say the same to you. And if you unite your will with His, do not doubt that you will be cleansed from the leprosy of your sin through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen!

Second Sermon

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"Only say the word and my servant shall be healed."--Matt. 8: 7.

In today's Gospel two distressed men approach Jesus and ask help; the leper and the afflicted father. Both evinced great confidence, and they were not disappointed. Their confidence procured them help, and that by a miracle.

This fact joins to a noble, important, and consoling virtue of Christian life, which has often obtained most wondrous help from God. It is the virtue of confidence in the assistance of God. A sermon on this subject is the more needed, because many trust God too little. These think of the justice to God, of His menaces to sinners, but not of His goodness and mercy; they forget that He is their Creator and Father; they forget what He has done for them, and is continually doing, and what He is ever ready to do for all who approach Him confidingly. In short:

Man does not think frequently enough how noble and consoling, how meritorious before God is this trust which we place in His help. Let us consider this today.

O Mary, Mother of holy hope, fill our hearts with entire trust in God that we may obtain divine grace through Jesus Christ our Lord! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

The leper trusts that Jesus will heal him; the centurion has faith that Jesus will save his dying servant, and both are rewarded. Are these two the only ones who need help, and who must seek this help through Jesus? Certainly not! We live upon this earth surrounded by numberless cares for our temporal well-being, and are at the same time harassed by many needs of the soul.

It is Jesus, who is able to aid us in all these temporal and spiritual distresses. Let us hasten to Him, let us trust. Confidence is the condition on which we shall obtain help, as St. James assures us, as well as the voice of our own hearts.

Whoever distrusts Christ's willingness or power to help us, when he appproaches Him in prayer, does not honor God, but rather dishonors Him. On the other hand, to approach Jesus with full confidence, how ennobling, consoling an act to ourselves, how pleasing and effective with God!

First, it is an act by which not only one or other of God's perfections is worshipped and praised, but an act by which all of them are recognized. He who only fears God and trembles, gives testimony by his fear to the Justice of the Almighty; but he who trusts in the Almighty confesses Him to be the source of all that is good--glorifies Him in all His infinite perfections. He professes belief in the existence of God, he exalts His Omniscience, because he implicitly declares that He knows everything, even his wants, and is ready to hear every suppliant prayer. He confesses by his confidence God's Omnipotence, Wisdom, Goodness, Truthfulness, and Fidelity, what a noble and sanctifying act! Jesus is God. Let us therefore, confide in Him.

The efficaciousness of our trust in Jesus is confirmed most cheeringly by the Holy Ghost in the ninetieth Psalm, when He says: "He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge." How great an assurance does the Almighty give to those who trust in Him! "His truth shall compass thee with a shield; thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night or of the noon-day devil. A thousand shall fall on thy right side and ten thousand at thy left, but it shall not come nigh thee." Why? Listen to the answer. "Because he has hoped in me, I will deliver him.--He shall cry to me and I will hear him--I am with him in tribulation--I will deliver him, and I will glorify him."

Trust in Jesus will take still deeper root in our hearts if we regard Him as at once both God and man, and consider that it is He Himself, our Saviour and Redeemer, who invites us to this confidence.

It is true our hearts may feel heavy and be in danger of becoming weary and faint on account of all the sorrows and needs which oppress soul and body; but how can that diminish our trust in the goodness and power of our heavenly Mediator, if with a lively faith we call to mind His teachings, what He has done for mankind collectively, and each individual in particular?

Do temporal needs frighten us? We know how solemnly He has assured us of His assistance. Does not Christ tell us: " Behold the lilies of the field, the grass of the earth, and the birds of the air! See how My Father takes care of them. How much more will He take care of you who are His children!"

Let the wickedness of your enemies be ever so great, let them be high and mighty. Trust in God. The very hairs of your head are numbered, and not one of them falls without the will of your Father who is in heaven. If our mind is troubled, if temptations surround us, let us listen to the voice of Jesus: "My sheep hear my voice; and I know them . . . and no man shall snatch them out of my hand. That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all." Therefore, trust in God! Should the most powerful temptations beset you, the holy name of Jesus alone is able to shield you, and so long as your lips devoutly pronounce it, no power of persecution, however great, can overwhelm you.

Or if fear of sin which you formerly committed befalls you; if you tremble at the thought that heaven has not forgiven them, approach Jesus. Remember the words of St. John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus coming towards him: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sins of the world." Even should you have been so unfortunate as to relapse into sin, you know, as a well instructed child of the Church, that there is no sin or number of sins so great that they cannot, through the infinite merits of the Church, that there is no sin or number of sins so great that they can not, through the infinite merits of Jesus Christ, be effaced in the Sacrament of Penance. Think of all the relations in which Christ stands to you, and how every one of them calls upon you to trust! Is He not, while Redeemer, also our Father through whom we regained the right to be called children of God? With what confidence does a son approach his father when he knows that his father desires above all things the welfare of his children, and that he wishes to help them in need. If this be so of an earthly father how much more certain is it of Christ who is truly our Father!

Did He not relate the parable of the prodigal son, and tell of the kindness and love of the father who pardoned and embraced his child returning from the path of evil? Further, Jesus, as Son of God who became man for us, is our Brother. How consoled a man feels in his troubles when he has a brother who, he is convinced, loves him and has the power to help him! How great therefore should be our trust in Christ, the King of kings, the Lord of hosts, who, as the Apostle assures us, did not hesitate to call us His brothers. A good brother rejoices when it is in his power to assist us. What a reason to trust when we think of Jesus, call Him Brother, and approach Him as such!

A man who is harassed and in danger, and knows that his friend can offer assistance, goes to him for aid, because he is a friend. What an incentive to go confidingly to Christ when we are afflicted. He calls himself our Friend. And what a Friend He is! No one, says Jesus, shows greater sincerity of friendship than he, who gives his life for his friend. This, Christ has done for us, and how painful, yet how willing, was the sacrifice. "A true friend is a second self," says an old proverb, and it is Christ in whom this saying is literally fulfilled. "As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did to me." A man goes trustingly to another to ask assistance, especially when experience has taught him how good this person is, and how often he has aided him. What a spur this thought contains for us to go confidingly to Christ. All, however, depends on our being in such a state, and on our living in such a manner, that we may justly call Jesus our Father, Brother and Friend, and that when He bestows His divine graces upon us, we do not misuse them to His sorrow and offense. Otherwise we call Him in vain Father, Brother, Friend. " What fellowship hath light with darkness?" says the Apostle.

We must therefore, above all, be reconciled to God by a true reformation of heart, and then we can approach His throne and expect help from Him for every need of body and soul. Living in this peaceful confidence, we shall feel the courage which St. Teresa experienced when Christ appeared to her and said: "Teresa, fear not! I am with thee!"

Confidence raises us above our natural weakness. It supplies us with strength divine, and enables us to mount to the high realms of pure love where dwell the blessed inhabitants of heaven--to the very throne of God.

When about to depart this life and to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, what a pledge of a happy death, if with His name in our heart, we can lay ourselves trustingly in the arms of His infinite mercy! Ye shall then feel the comfort which St. Francis Xavier felt when in his last moment he pressed the crucifix to his heart, saying: "In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be put to confusion." Amen!

Third Sermon

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"And Jesus, hearing this, marvelled."--Matt. 8: 10.

As the Gospel tells us, Jesus marvelled at the faith of the centurion who begged Him to heal his child.--Jesus marvelled at the faith of this man!

Christians, when we consider all that God has done for the human race, through how many voices He has revealed Himself to it, how He clothed Himself with our nature, and wrought numberless miracles, both personally and through others who believed in Him, we have reason to be astonished that all mankind has not long since shared this faith, and that, notwithstanding His coming upon earth, so many souls are lost by their own fault. And yet that this is so, Christ, the future Judge Himself assures us when He says: "Many are called, but few are chosen!"

That this is the fault of man alone, I shall endeavor to prove today. O Mary, thou who didst believe, and whom, therefore, Elizabeth called blessed, pray for us that we may obtain the blessing of a living faith! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

God said: "Let there be light!" and there was light. The same Word Who called forth this light, came into the world, and diffused light over the world of men's minds. Yet how many still remain in darkness! Why? Because men voluntarily close their eyes and live in the darkness of unbelief and irreligion, or if they have faith, it is a faith which is dead. This is the cause of their eternal destruction, and we have no reason to marvel at it.

Millions of men since Christ's coming have lived, and still live, in the darkness of unbelief. As this unbelief is intentional, it is certainly a matter of astonishment. St. Paul said that the heathens, even in his time, were, inexcusable for not recognizing God as the Creator and Ruler of the Universe and for not caring what He demands of His creatures, or how they should live in order to fulfill His will and gain heaven.

In ancient times, a philosopher once remarked to the heathen: "You do not find a hut in the forest without saying to yourself: Some one made it. And is it possible that you can look at the great structure of the world, of heaven and earth, without exclaiming: Some one must have made both me and this great world?--God!"

In confirmmation of these words, let me only point to three phases of nature to prove how inexcusable it is in man, after he has arrived at the age of discretion, not to believe in a God and Creator by Whom every thing was called into existence, and by Whom every thing is preserved.

Let us cast our eyes first upon the stars and observe the firmament simply as it strikes the beholder, and without astronominal knowledge. We perceive before all things the rising and setting of the sun, and the regular movements of the starry hosts, and ask: Can any human being, who knows with what regularity the sun has risen and set for 5000 years, never a second too early or too late, according to the season, can such a one imagine that no one has made this luminious body, that no mind has regulated its path, or the course of the stars? Impossible! if his thoughts be not disturbed by passion. The same may be said if we reflect on the constant changes of the moon. Must not every one who is able to reason believe that there is Some One, Who, being from all eternity, is both the Creator and Ruler of the Universe,-- God?

Let us turn our eyes to the earth and consider what the animal and vegetable world, which surround us, suggests. Who gives each separate plant the power to bring forth this and no other fruit? Who has ordained that a flower of such form and color shall grow up from this particular seed, and from no other? Who says to one grain of seed, produce oats, and to another, produce wheat? This fact becomes still more striking when we fix our attention upon the fruit-trees. There are orange, apple and pear-trees of all possible varieties in the same orchard. Who makes the orange-tree produce its juicy and deliciously-flavored fruit out of the tasteless wood and earth, if it be not He Whose Will is omnipotent?

Regarding ourselves, we see that we move, that we nourish our body, and yet we really know not how it is done. Above all, when we meditate upon the powers of the mind, we must, as sensible beings, recognize a God, a Creator. And if we think of Him, how is it possible that we are not compelled to ask: What does this God and Lord demand of us that we may be pleasing in His sight, and that it may go well with us here and hereafter?

Furthermore, how is it comprehensible that nations like the Chinese, the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians did not understand immediately the folly of idolatry when the Gospel was preached to them; that, instead of receiving the teachers of the divine Word with rejoicing, they persecuted them with fire and sword, as do even pagan nations to this very hour? Have we not cause to be astonished at the unbelief of the heathen? Have we no cause to marvel?

Similar reproaches might be addressed to all unbelievers, be they Jews or heretics. The Jews were acquainted with the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. Christ referred to this when he said: "This is written of me." He walked among them as man never walked among men, worked miracles, raised the dead--and yet they cried: "Crucify Him!" He rose from the grave, and yet--they failed to recognize Him, and are still waiting for the Messiah to come. How is it possible that these intelligent Jews, so sharp-sighted in other matters can be so blind in this respect! They possess the books of the Old Testament and watch over them carefully. They have counted every letter in them, and know exactly how many there are, and which is the first, the middle and the last! They read the prophecy of Aggaeus, which distinctly says that the Messiah would appear in that temple which for eighteen hundred years has lain in ruins. They read the prophecies of Daniel which tell them the time the Messiah was to come, suffer and die, after which the temple would be destroyed.

All this has taken place, all these events have become historical facts, and yet they await the arrival of the Messiah! They are like men who await the rising of the sun, while he is sending down around and about them his life-giving beams.--Incomprehensible!

The same may be said of heretics; they believe in Christ, believe the words: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against her "--the Church--whom Christ founded upon a rock. And again: "I will remain with you all days until the end of time." And further: " And if He will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen."--"He that believeth not shall be condemned." Over one hundred millions of men believe this, and call themselves Christians, yet have separated from the first Church and remain thus separated. Certainly they are a just object of astonishment to us!

The obstinacy of heretics in not returning to the first Church would be more, easily understood were it only a question of some articles of faith. But this is not the case. To all those who believe in Christ and in Holy Writ as the Word of God, the entire question about the authenticity of the Church, is historic. No herretic can deny that Christ has asserted several times most, solemnly that His Church should remain unchanged until the end of time. If this be accepted as a truth, the question is simply this : Which of the Churches calling themselves Christian can prove that she dates from the Apostles and is the first Church? That one must be the true Church.

No one denies that the Catholic Church is the first. Well then, who can justify those who separate from her? And who can uphold those who have followed them? And yet millions of men do this. Many even think they are doing right; they pray to Christ, but yet accuse Him of lying, when they say that the first Church, which is the Catholic Church, has erred, notwithstanding His solemn assurance that this should never happen.

If these heretics did not believe in Christ or the Gospel, we could comprehend it, but as it is, what can we say? They frequently lead a moral life, believe in Christ and in the Bible, and yet, for so many hundreds of years they have remained separated from the Church and her infallible doctrines. What a subject to marvel at!

But our astonishment will increase if we consider the dead faith of so many who call themselves Catholics; when we reflect how it is that people, who believe in the truth of the Church and the promises of faith, who even are ready to shed their blood for it, live, notwithstanding, as if they knew no more of the path of salvation than do the heathen, from whom they differ only in so far that they are more culpable.

Yes, considering all this, we have more cause to be astonished at ourselves than at the conduct of Jews and heretics; for the reason that we, believing all that the saints believed, do not endeavor more seriously to live a holy life. On the other hand, I am surprised that men living in the darkness of unbelief do not sink deeper than they do. It must be that the influence of education, special circumstances, and social position, keep them in check and prevent their entire corruption and debasement.

Therefore, O Lord, strengthen through our love for Thee our faith, in order that our lives may bear testimony thereto!--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
Taken from Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Everyday of the Year:


PRESENCE OF GOD - O divine Savior, I, too, am a poor leper; receive me: “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean!”


1. Today’s Gospel (Mt 8,1-13) places before us two miracles of Jesus, two profound lessons in humility, faith, and charity.

Observe the humble faith of the leper: “ Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” He is so certain that Jesus can heal him that he feels nothing else is necessary for his cure other than the Lord’s will. Christian faith does not wander about in subtle reasonings; its logic is simple: God can do all that He wills; therefore, His will alone is necessary. Yet the leper does not insist; one who lives by faith knows that God always wills whatever is best for him, even if it brings him suffering. Therefore, instead of insisting, he prefers to abandon himself to God’s good pleasure.

Next comes the centurion. The strong, proud Roman soldier is not ashamed to personally beg Jesus, a Galilean, to help his paralyzed servant. Our Lord is touched by this humble, charitable act, and says at once, “I shall go and heal him!” But the centurion continues, “ I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.” At this point humility becomes still more profound, and faith reaches its maximum : it is not necessary for the Lord to go; His power is so great that a word spoken from afar suffices to perform any miracle. Jesus Himself “ marveled and said: ‘Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel!’” Is this not a complaint against those who live so close to Him, who perhaps live in His own house, receiving constant favors from Him, while their faith remains very weak and therefore inefficacious?

2. According to Jewish law, lepers were kept apart from society and no one was allowed to go near them; likewise, the pagans were to be shunned because they did not belong to the chosen people. Jesus goes beyond the old law and in the name of universal charity He welcomes and heals the leper, listens to the foreign centurion and cures his pagan servant. Thus Christ teaches us to make no distinction of persons, not to despise sinners and infidels, but to welcome all with loving kindness. He does not wish the good to
enclose themselves in a little circle, but to open the doors to everyone, doing good to all without concerning themselves about the traits and opinions of others. All men are children of God; and our charity, like the mercy of our heavenly Father, should extend to all. This is the dominant thought of today’s Epistle (Rom 12, 16-21), where St. Paul exhorts us to practice charity, especially toward our enemies. “To no man rendering evil for evil.... If it be possible, as much as in you, have peace with all men. Revenge not yourselves ... but if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat.... Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.”

Jesus conquered evil, both physical and moral evil, by His mercy and love. This must be our strategy too. Whatever the evil around us, whatever the suffering it may cause us, we shall never overcome it by arguments and discussions or by taking a stand and adhering rigidly to it. This can only be accomplished by a delicate charity which understands intuitively the mentality, the tastes, and the needs of others, and which knows precisely when to intervene, to condescend and to sacrifice itself for the good of another, even if that other is unfriendly toward us—only such charity can triumph over evil.


“Being what we are and having our free will, when we do not receive what pleases us, we sometimes refuse what the Lord gives us, even though the gift might be the best one possible.... But no, my God, no, no more trust in anything which I can desire for myself : do You desire for me that. which You are pleased to desire; for that is my desire, since all my good consists in pleasing You. And, if You, my God, should be pleased to please me, by fulfilling all that my desire asks of You, I know that I should not be lost” (T.J. Way, 30 — Exc, 17).

O my Jesus, I trust You, I abandon myself to You, dispose of me, of my health and of all that concerns me, according to what You know is best for my spiritual advancement. I beg but one thing: heal my poor soul. I too, spiritually, am a poor leper, a poor paralytic. My pride and vanity are always ready to impair and vitiate the little good I accomplish. Sloth and inertia seek to paralyze my efforts toward perfection. Behold me at Your feet, O Lord; I need Your help like the leper and the paralytic servant. I too, O Lord, believe that, if You will, You can heal me.

“Miserable though I am, I firmly believe that You can do what You will; and the greater are Your marvels that I hear spoken of, and the more I reflect that You can work others still greater, the stronger grows my faith and the greater is the resolution with which I believe that You will hear my requests ” (T.J. Exc, 4).

O sweet Jesus, I beg for a little of Your overflowing charity, which is so universal, so kind. You well know the difficulties I sometimes encounter when practicing this virtue, especially toward those whose ways of acting and thinking are so different from mine. O Lord, fill my heart with warm, sincere kindness toward them. Only the charity which comes from You will give me strength to overcome all the conflicts which arise from differences in temperament, education and ideas. Only this charity can enable me to sacrifice myself generously for those who hurt me and to continue to act kindly toward those whom I naturally dislike.

O Jesus, You came on earth to enkindle the fire of charity: enkindle in me an ardent love for my neighbor.
"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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