Category Archives: Fr. Leonard Goffine

INSTRUCTION ON THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

At the Introit of the Mass implore with great confidence the mercy of God in the words of Ps. LXXXV.:
INTROIT Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day; for thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee.
Bow down thy ear to me, O Lord, and hear me, for I am needy and poor. Glory be to the Father, etc.
COLLECT Let Thy grace, we beseech Thee, O Lord, ever precede and follow us, and make us continually intent upon good works. Through etc.
EPISTLE (Ephes. III. 13-21) Brethren, I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which are your glory. For this cause I bow my knees. to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man, that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth:, to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God. Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us: to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.
EXPLANATION  In the epistle of the following Sunday St. Paul tells us, that he was at the time of writing this letter in prison at Rome, whither he was brought’ upon the false accusations of the Jews. From prison he wrote to the Ephesians, whom he had converted to Christianity, and who zealously obeyed his counsels, in order to confirm them in their zeal and to console them in their grief on account of his sufferings which he bore for Christ’s sake. These sufferings which I bear, he writes, redound to your honor, since I, your spiritual father, am considered by God worthy to suffer like His Son; yes, I thank the Father of our Lord Jesus for it, and beg Him on my knees, that He vouchsafe to strengthen you with His Holy Spirit, so that you overcome, your evil inclinations and passions, cleanse your hearts more and more, and sanctify your souls, that if you live thus according to your faith, you may be made the habitations of Christ. He begs God also to. give them a well-grounded charity, which not only loves God on account of the reward, but also on account of our sufferings, thus to become like to Christ, the Crucified. By this constant love for Jesus, even in adversities, we only comprehend with the saints the greatness of the love of Jesus, the Crucified; its breadth, since all the members of His body, all the powers of His soul were tormented with all sorts of tortures, on account of the sins of all men; the length, since He had all these sufferings for thirty-three years before His eyes, and bore them in His soul; the depth, since these tortures surpassed in intensity all which men ever suffered or will suffer; the height, since Christ on the cross saw, with the most perfect knowledge, the malice of each single sin, and the terrible insult offered to the sublime Majesty of God, and He bore the punishment for them in Himself and did penance for them. Other holy Fathers say that by these words the whole mystery of our, redemption is to be understood, and, indeed, the breadth thereof is, that it is for all men; the length, that it lasts for all centuries and reaches into eternity; the height, that its contemplation takes us away from earth and raises us to heaven; the depth, that it even penetrates. the kingdom of the dead. By contemplating these mysteries we learn to know the infinite love of God, to love Him more and more, and thus make ourselves partakers of His graces. – Obey the teaching of this holy apostle, contemplate the suffering Saviour an-d His love, endeavor to become like to Him by suffering, and when you see how the Church, her ministers, ,the bishops and priests, are persecuted and in tribulation, be not disheartened, but consider that the discipleship of Jesus consists particularly in suffering, that therefore, the Church and her ministers -must suffer, since their Head, Jesus, has suffered. The holy Church has borne the crown of thorns of Jesus for eighteen hundred years and drank from His chalice; but like Jesus, her Head, she will triumph over all her enemies, and whilst these are hastening to destruction, she will continually live victorious until the end of time and will triumph eternally in heaven.
Tenth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (Luke XIV. 1-11.) At that time, When Jesus went into the house of one of the chiefs of the Pharisees on the Sabbath-day to eat bread, they watched him. And behold there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? But they held their peace: but he taking him,  healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into, a pit, and, will not immediately draw him out on, the Sabbath-day? And they could not answer him to these things. And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited by him; and he that invited thee and him come and say to thee: Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place: But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee cometh he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at the table with thee; because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Why did Jesus eat with the Pharisees?

To take occasion, as St. Cyril says, to instruct them that it is allowed to heal the sick on the Sabbath, and to show how those who give invitations to a supper, and those who are invited, should conduct themselves. The Pharisees’ invitation to Jesus was not actuated by kindness, but by the desire to find something in His actions which they might criticise; Jesus; however, approaches them with meekness and endeavors to inspire them with a better intention. Beware of the spirit of criticisms and like Jesus make use of every occasion to do good, even to your enemies.
Who may be understood by the dropsical man?
The debauchees and misers; for the more a dropsical person drinks the more his thirst increases, so the debauchee never succeeds in satisfying his shameful lusts; the same is the case with the miser. And just as the dropsical are hard to cure, so the debauchee and miser are difficult to convert.
Why is covetousness classed among the seven deadly sins?
Because it is the root of many evils, (I Tim. VI. 10.) for it leads to usury, theft, ,to the employment of false weights and measures, to the suppression of justice in courts, to perjury, to the oppression of widows and orphans, nay, even to the denial of faith, as was the case with Judas. Therefore the apostle says: They that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition; and admonishes us: to fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness. (I Tim. VI. 9, 11 .)
A powerful remedy against avarice is to consider that we are not owners of what .we possess, and can take nothing with us in death, but must render a strict account of the use we made of our riches. (I Tim. VI. 7.)

INSTRUCTION ON KEEPING SUNDAY HOLY
Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? (Luke XIV. 3.)
Why did Christ put this question?

Because the Jews, particularly the Pharisees, were so very superstitious in keeping the Sabbath, they would not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, while He healed on the Sabbath, which was really a good work. But, if the Jews were so conscientious, through superstition and hypocrisy, and considered the performing of an external good work on this day as a sin, some Christians, on the contrary, blinded by avarice and worldly pleasure, place themselves heedlessly, nay, insolently above the commandment to observe the Sabbath, and do not consider those things as wrong which are sometimes very grievous sins.
Consider, my dear Christian, you serve your body the whole week, you use all your powers for temporal business, to support yourself and your family, and God blesses you, if you work with a good intention. Now God chose one day in the week, Sunday, and in the year several other holidays, which you should devote to His service and the salvation of your soul; is it not, therefore, the greatest ingratitude to steal these days from God and your soul, and employ them to gain a transient good, or to indulge in vain, sinful pleasures? At certain times man gives rest to irrational animals, and you give the powers of your body and soul none of the rest they would and should find in quiet devotion, in prayer and meditation, in attending divine service, in receiving the holy Sacraments, &c. If you inquire whence come these shameful violations of Sundays and holidays, you will find that there is no other reason than love of gain and avarice, sinful love of pleasure, and often complete want of faith and confidence in God’s providence. We wish to become rich by all means, and we do not reflect that. this will not happen without the blessing of God, and that wealth is a net, in which thousands entangle themselves to their eternal, perdition. We wish to live merrily and enjoy ourselves, but we do not consider that our life is only a time of penance, to attain that eternally blissful rest, of which Sunday is an emblem. We spend Sundays and holydays in idleness, vain conversations, buying and selling, servile work, or in still worse things, without experiencing the slightest scruple. But God will cover the violators of His sacred days with confusion and shame, (Malach. II. 3.) and permit many temporal evils to come upon them, as proved by daily experience. The blessing of God can never rest upon those who never care for it, but rather make themselves unworthy to receive it, by violating days consecrated to God. Let this be a warning to you.
PRAYER O good Saviour! how manifest are meekness, and wisdom in all Thy words and actions! O, grant, that we may regulate all our actions in such a manner, that they may be acceptable to Thee and tend to the edification of our neighbor. Give us the grace to employ all the days, consecrated to Thee, for Thy honor and our salvation, that we may never raise ourselves above others, but follow Thee in all humility.


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INSTRUCTION ON THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

The Introit of the Mass is a fervent prayer; which may be said in every necessity and adversity:
INTROIT Bow down thine ear, O Lord; to me, and hear me: save thy servant, O my God, that hopeth in thee: have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day. Give joy to the soul of thy servant: for to thee, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul. (Ps. IXXXV.) Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
COLLECT Let Thy continued pity, O Lord, cleanse and defend Thy Church: and because without Thee it cannot abide in safety, govern it ever by Thy gift.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with Thee liveth and reignest in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, God world without end. Amen.
EPISTLE (Gal. V. 25, 26.; vi. I-Io.) Brethren, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let u5 not be made desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. For if any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every one prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. And let him that is instructed in the word, communicate to him that instructeth him, in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption: but he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail: for in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
EXPLANATION 
This epistle is taken, like that of the Sunday before last, from the epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, in which St. Paul shows them the insufficiency of the Jewish law, and that they can only be saved by a lively faith in Christ, but now he admonishes them to the performance of good works. You now live, he tells them, in the Spirit, that is, the Holy Ghost animates your heart by His grace, enlightens, confirms, and inflames you, admonishes and teaches you, impels your heart to do good; you must, therefore, also regulate your external conduct accordingly, and in particular devote yourself to the practice of humility and charity, as the foundations of a truly spiritual life. Humility must teach and move you to think little of yourself, to avoid vain glory, and not to confide in your own strength. But charity should impel you to be meek and compassionate to all, even sinners, to correct them charitably, and lead them back to the path of virtue; since he who is harsh to the erring, despises and treats them roughly, is often permitted by God to fall into the same, nay, even into greater sins.
Particularly you must show your charity one for another, that one bears the burdens of the other: that you bear the faults and imperfections of others just as patiently as you wish others to bear with your own imperfections; thus you will fulfill the law of Christ, which commands us to love our neighbor; you will prevent many sins which are occasioned by considering yourself perfect, raising yourself above others, criticizing their failings, and causing disturbance. True glory consists in knowing ourselves, our faults and evil inclinations, and in eradicating them. Be grateful to those who instruct you in the word of God, and give to them willingly of your earthly possessions. What you sow, you shall reap; if you only follow the dictates of the flesh, do not mortify yourself, do not correct your failings, and indulge your sinful appetites, you will one day reap death, destruction and damnation, whereas, on the contrary, if you follow the dictates of the Holy Ghost, you will reap of the Spirit of life.
Let us obey this doctrine, for it is of interest to us, and impress deeply on our heart that without mortification of body and soul we cannot be saved.
ASPIRATION. O. St. Paul! beg of God the grace for me, that I may always walk in humility, and the love of my neighbor, particularly in bearing with his imperfections and failings, and thus fulfil the law of Christ in this as in all things.
Tenth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (Luke VII. 11-16.) At that time, Jesus went into a city called Naim: and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only, son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a great, multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, said to her: Weep not. And he came near, and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up,. and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all; and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up amongst us, and God hath visited his people.
Why did Christ show compassion to this widow?
To convince us that God takes sorrowful and destitute widows under His protection; and is to them a consoler and helper; and to teach us to do the same. Woe, therefore, to those who oppress them and cause them to weep. The tears and cries of widows will ascend to God, who will terribly punish the injuries inflicted upon them. (Exod xxii. 22. 23.)
Christ had still other reasons for compassion, for He saw in this deceased youth the death of sinners, and in the afflicted mother the pain which the Church experiences at the spiritual loss of so many of her children. Should this not also awaken our sympathy since it was the principal cause which moved our Saviour to compassion. I£ we are faithful children of our mother, the Church, it is impossible for us not to share her sorrow, and we would surely not be her children, if we could contemplate without sorrow the multitude who daily die the death of sin, and thus separated from the living body of Christ, hasten to eternal destruction. O let us with the Church unceasingly, ask Jesus, that He raise sinners from their spiritual death, enlighten those in error so that all recognize the truth, find, and walk the path Which leads to life !
Why did Christ say to the widow: Weep not?
He wished to moderate her excessive sorrow, and to teach us that we should not mourn for the loss of our relatives, like the heathens who have no hope of resurrection to eternal life. (Thess. iv. I a.) Resignation to the will ofGod, with prayer and good works, will be of more use to the dead than many tears.
What else do we learn from this gospel?
That no one, however young and healthy, will escape death, wherefore we should always be prepared to die.
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING DEATH
IF there were locked up in prison several hundred persons, on whom sentence of death had irrevocably been pronounced, yet who knew not the day or hour of their execution; if one after the other, and often he who least expected it, were taken out to be executed; would not each one’s heart tremble, whenever the prison door opened? Now the irrevocable sentence of death is pronounced on us all; we are all locked up in our bodies, as in a prison; (Ps. cxiv. 8.) one after the other is called hence, yet we do not regard it. We live as though we could live forever; we think only of the body, but for the soul nothing is done, except that we load it with sins and vices.
Is this rational? The body will be food for worms, but the soul (without knowing when) will travel into the house of eternity, to which place she must bring treasures of good works, in order to live happy for ever. Who would, therefore, be so foolish as to care only for the body during life, and neglect the salvation of the soul?
O man, says St. Francis of Sales, (Phil. part. i. chap. 13.) represent to yourself in lively colors, that at your death the world will cease to exist with respect to you. In that last hour the pleasures, the vanities, the riches, the honors, the friendships, and all that was dear to you, will disappear before your eyes as so many shadows. O fool that I am! you will then say, for what trifles and fooleries have I lost all! On the contrary, piety, good works, penance, etc., will appear pleasant to you, and you will exclaim: O, why did I not travel on this blessed roadl Then the sins which you now consider as mere trifles, will seem to you like mountains, and all that you thought you had accomplished as, great things, with regard to piety, will seem to you very little.
What terrible fear will then seize your soul, when she must travel alone into the bottomless abyss of eternity which, as St. Bernard says, devours all possible, imaginable ages, and of which St. Gregory says, that we can easier say what it is not than what it is. What terrors will befall her, when she must appear before the tribunal of that God whom she never really loved and honored in her life-time and before whom she must now give the strictest account, and hear an irrevocable and just sentence!
Should not these thoughts make an impression upon you? How can you escape this terrible future? By living now, as you would wish to have lived at the hour of death. Die daily with St. Paul by crucifying the flesh and its lusts and by voluntarily withdrawing your heart from the world, its pomps and vanities, before death will do this by violence.
RESOLUTION O world! because I cannot know the hour, in which I must leave you, I will not be attached to you. O you dear friends and relatives, you, too, I will in future love only with a holy inclination, directed to God, which will not cease with death, but remain forever. O Lord! help me, that I may die totally to myself and the world, and live only for Thee, and partake of eternal happiness.
INSTRUCTION ON THE CEREMONIES USED AT FUNERALSBehold, a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and a great multitude of the city was with her. (Luke vii. 12.)
OF these people who accompanied the funeral of the youth, we should learn to pay the last honors to the dead, and follow their bodies to the grave. This is a meritorious work, one pleasing to God, if it be not performed from vanity and self-interest, but for love of God and the deceased, with the charitable intention of assisting him by prayers. Therefore those do very wrong, who from worldly motives either omit this good work entirely, or during the funeral procession indulge in idle talk and deny the deceased even a short prayer.
Why is a cross carried before the corpse?
By this is indicated that the deceased during life professed Christ, died believing in Him, and hoping for resurrection through Him.
Why are lighted candles carried before the bier?
To represent the desire of the Church that the deceased through the grace of God may be received into eternal light.This custom is very ancient; wax-candles and torches, together with prayer and great solemnity were made use of at the burial of St. Cyprian who was beheaded for Christ’s sake, in the year 258 after Christ. (Ruinart.)
Why are the coffin and the grave sprinkled with holy water?
In order, as St. Thomas of Aquin (Lib. iii. art. 21.) remarks, to implore God, on account of the prayers which the Church says when she blesses the water, that the souls of the faithful may be cleansed from all stains, and may receive consolation and refreshment in the tortures which they may still have to suffer.
Why are the body and the grave incensed?
By this the Church indicates that the deceased by his Christian vocation was a good odor of Christ, (ii Cor. ii. 14, 15.) and admonishes the faithful that their prayers should ascend like incense to heaven for the deceased.
Why are Psalms and other sacred canticles sung?
This is done to remind us of the teaching of St. Paul, (i Thess iv. 12.) not to be excessively sorrowful for the loss of the deceased, like the heathens who have no hope of eternal life. We also signify, thereby, that we congratulate the dead for the peace which they now enjoy. (Apoc. xiv. 13.) This custom, as St. Jerome shows, (Ep. 53.) is derived from the apostles, who interred St. Stephen, singing Psalms and hymns of praise.
Why are the bells rung?
To invite the faithful to the funeral and to pray for the dead who, during lifetime, was called very often by the same bells, prayed with and for us during religious worship, and who is not separated from us by death.
Why art the bodies of the faithful buried with the head towards the East, and those of the priests towards the West?
The faithful are buried towards the East, whence the sun rises, to indicate, that they are waiting for Christ who is called the Orient from on High, (Luke i. 78.) and whose voice they will hear at the end of the world, when He calls them to the resurrection; the priests towards the West, as a sign that on the day of judgment they will be placed opposite to the souls confided to them, to give an account of their charge and to bear judgment for or against them.
Why is a cross or monument erected aver the grave?
To show that the deceased was a follower of Christ, the Crucified, to admonish the passers-by to pray for him, and to remind us of the solemn moment of death.
Why is the body laid in consecrated ground?
This is done through reverence for the bodies of the dead which are, by baptism, temples of the Holy Ghost; to show that, even in death, they still belong to the communion of that holy Church, in which they were embodied during life by baptism, and to which they clung in faith even until death; to inspire the surviving with a holy fear lest they profane graves.
Why is the solemn funeral service of the Church denied to heretics?
Because they would not belong to the Church during life, and despised the holy customs and prayers of the Church for the dead. How should the blessing and prayer of the Church be useful in death to one who despised them during life.
Why does not the Church permit criminals and suicides to be buried on consecrated ground?

In order to express her horror for the crimes perpetrated by them, and to deter the faithful from committing similar actions.

INSTRUCTION ON THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

At the Introit of the Mass excite in your heart an ardent desire for heaven, with these words:
INTROIT Behold, O God, our protector, and look on the face of thy Christ:, for better is one day, in thy courts above thousands. How lovely are thy taber­nacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. (Ps. LXXXIII.) Glory etc.
COLLECT Keep, We beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church with Thy perpetual favor; and because without Thee the weakness of man is ready to fall, may it be withheld by Thy aid from all. things hurtful, and devoted to all things profitable to salvation. Thro’.
EPISTLE (Gal. V. 16-24.) Brethren, Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh: for the flesh lusteth against ,the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law.. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunken­ness, revellings, and such like: of the which I foretell to you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mild­ness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.
What is it to walk in the spirit?
It is to obey the inspirations of the Holy Ghost always, and in all things. He who does this, says St. Paul, will not do the evil works of the flesh, which are here enumerated, but he will rather suppress and mortify all sensual desires, in this manner crucify his flesh together with its vices and lusts, and make himself worthy of the fruits of the Holy Ghost, which are also mentioned; he will belong to Christ, and secure for himself eternal happiness. On the contrary, he who lives according to the flesh, that is, gives way to the desires of the flesh, has no hope of salvation.
Is it not strange, that all Christians wish to belong to Christ and become heirs of His kingdom, but are unwilling to crucify the flesh and its lusts, though Christ says to all; If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt XVI. 24.)
ASPIRATION Intercede for me, O St. Paul, that God may give me grace to crucify my flesh with its lusts, that I may have part with thee in Christ:
Tenth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (Matt. VI. 24-33.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will sustain the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat, and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air; for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment, why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they labor not, neither do they spin; but I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. Now, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which is to-day, and to morrow is cast into the oven, how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous, therefore, saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that .you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God and his justice; and all these things shall be added unto you.
What is meant by serving God?
Doing the will of God, or performing faithfully and zealously all that God asks of us according to our age and condition, and for love of Him.
Who are the two masters whom we cannot serve alike?
God and Mammon or riches, whereby also, the other goods and pleasures of the world are understood. These we cannot serve at the same time, because they command things diametrically opposed to each other; for instance, God prohibits usury, theft, deceit, &c.; to which the desire for wealth impels us. God commands that we keep holy Sundays and holy days, and devote them to His service; the desire for riches tempts man to omit religious worship and to seek temporal gain; it disturbs him even in church, so that he is only present with his body, but absent in mind with his temporal goods and business.
To whom can riches be useful?
To those who, like the saints, perform works of mercy with them, and thus lay up treasures for themselves in heaven.
Why does Christ call our attention to the birds of the air and the lakes of the field?
To, excite in us confidence in the providence of God, which preserves even the birds and the flowers. Surely, if God feeds the young ravens which cry to Him; (Ps. CXLVI. 9.) if He nourishes the birds which neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns; if He vests the flowers of the field so beautifully, how much more will He care for man whom He has made to His own image and likeness, and adopted as His child, if he only acts as such, keeps His commandments, and always entertains a filial confidence in Him.
Should we, therefore, lay aside all care and never work?
This does not follow from what has been said. Christ condemns only the superfluous cares, which cause man to forget God and to neglect the salvation of his soul. Besides, God has Himself ordered (Gen. III. 17-19.) that man should obtain the fruits of the earth with much labor, that he should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. St. Paul says: If any man will not work, neither let him eat. (II Thess. III. 10.)
What should preserve us from superfluous cares?
A firm and lively faith, that God can and will help us. That He can is evident, because He is almighty; that His will is certain, because He promises it in so many pas­sages of Holy Writ, and because He is infinitely faithful to all His promises. Christ encourages us to this lively confidence with these, words: All things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive and they shall come unto you. Mark XI. 24.) Therefore the apostle also commands us to throw all cares upon the Lord, who provides for us. (I Pet. V. 7.) And why should God not care for us, since He sent us His Son and with Him all; for which reason St. Augustine says: “How can you doubt that God will give you good things, since He vouchsafed to assume evil for you!”
PRAYER O Lord Jesus! give me a firm confidence in Thy Divine Providence, and daily increase it in me, that when in necessity I may confidently believe if I seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, the rest shall be added unto me.
CONSOLATION IN POVERTYBe not solicitous for your life. (Matt. VI. 25.)
If you were born in poverty, or accidentally, or through your own fault have become poor, be consoled, because God has sent you this poverty for your own good; for good things and evil, life arid death, poverty and riches are, from God. (Ecclus. XI-14.). Therefore receive it from the hand of God without impatience or murmuring, as a means by which He wishes to keep you from forgetting Him, which would, perhaps, happen if He were to bless you with temporal prosperity. Riches are a source of destruction for many. If you have brought poverty upon yourself by a licentious and sinful life, receive it in a spirit of penance as a just and salutary chastisement, and thank God that He gives you an opportunity to do penance for your sins. But if you have become poor through no fault of your own, be consoled by the example of the saints, of whom St. Paul says: they bear the unjust taking away of their goods with joy, because they know that a better and an unchangeable treasure is in store for them in heaven. (Hebr, X. 34.) But you should particularly take courage from the example of Christ who, being rich, became poor for us, (II Cor. VIII. 9.) and had not a place whereon to lay His head. (Matt. VIII. 20.)
In your distress say with job: The Lord gave and the Lord bath taken away: as it pleased the Lord, so it is done: blessed be the name of the Lord. Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. (Job. I. 21.) Fear not my son, says Tobias, we lead indeed a poor life, but we shall have many good things if we fear God, and depart from all sins, and do that which is good. (Tob. IV. 23.) To serve God and to be content with few things always brings rich reward, if not in this, at least in the next life. Therefore Christ promised the kingdom of heaven to the poor in spirit, that is, not only to the humble, busy also to the poor who imitate Christ in all patience and resignation. Follow, therefore, the poor Jesus, follow His poor mother, by imitating their example, and you will possess the kingdom of heaven.
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING USURYYou cannot serve God and Mammon. (Matt. VI. 24.)
Usury is to demand more than legal interest from our neighbor, to whom we have lent something, or who is otherwise indebted to us. Those are also commonly called usurers, who, in times of want, hoard up necessary food, such as grain, flour, &c., and only sell it at an exorbitant price; or who buy up all such articles to sell them to the needy for enormous prices. This is a grievous sin, and usurers are threatened with eternal death, for Christ ex­pressly prohibits lending with usury. (Luke VI. 34, 35.)
Usurers are the real leeches of the poor, whom they rob of their sweat and blood, and since they transgress the natural law, but still more the divine, which commands us to love our neighbor, and be merciful to the needy, they will surely not possess the kingdom of heaven. Would to God, the hard-hearted sinner might consider this, and take to heart the words of Christ: What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul (Matt. XVI. 26.)

INSTRUCTION ON THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

Pray today at the Introit of the Mass with the, Church against her enemies: 
Have regard, O Lord, to thy conversant, and forsake not to the end the souls of thy poor: arise, O Lord, and judge thy cause, and forget not the voices of them that seek thee. O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end: why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture? (Ps. LXXIII.) Glory be to the Father, etc.
COLLECT Almighty and ever­lasting God, give unto us an increase of faith, hope and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dolt promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command. Thro’.
EPISTLE (Gal. III. 16-22.) Brethren, To Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He saith not, And to his seeds, as of many, but as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years doth not disannul, or make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why, then, was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one. Was the law, then, against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
EXPLANATION 
St. Paul in this epistle proves to the Galatians who were misled by false doctrines, and ad­hered too much to the Jewish Law, that they could be saved only through a lively faith in Christ, enriched by good works. Therefore he says that the great promises, made by God to Abraham, referred to Christ, through whom all nations of the earth, who would believe in Him, would be blessed and saved. (Gen. XII. 3., and XXII. 18.) The law, indeed, does not annul these promises, since it rather leads to their attainment, yet it must be placed after them because of their advantages, nay, even cease to exist, because the promises are now fulfilled, Christ, the promised Messiah, has really, appeared and liberated man, who could not be freed from their sins by the Jewish law.
ASPIRATION O, let us be grateful for this promise, yet more, how­ever, for the Incarnation of Christ, whereby this promise has been fulfilled.
Tenth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (Luke XVII. 11-19.) At that time, As Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee: and as he entered into a certain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, master, have mercy on us. Whom, when, he saw, he said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God, and he fell on his face before his feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? There is no one found to return, and give glory to God, but this stranger. And he said to him: Arise go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole.

What may be understood by leprosy in a spiritual sense?
Sin, particularly impurity, by which the soul of man is stained much more than is the body by the most horrid leprosy: In the Jewish law (Lev. XIII. ) three kinds of leprosy are enumerated, viz: the leprosy of the flesh, of garments, and of houses. Spiritually, the impure are afflicted with the, leprosy of the flesh, who easily infect others, and are therefore to be most carefully avoided. The leprosy of garments consists in extravagance of dress and scandalous fashions, whereby not only individuals, but also whole communities are brought to poverty, and many lose their innocence. The leprosy of houses, finally, is to be found in those places, where scandalous servants are retained, where nocturnal gatherings of both sexes are encouraged, where, obscenities are indulged in, where unbecoming dances and plays are held, and filthy actions performed; where married people allow themselves liberties in presence of others, and give scandal to their household, where they take their small children and even such as already have the use of reason, with themselves to bed, where they permit children of different sexes to sleep together, &c. Such houses are to be avoided, since they are infected with the pestilential leprosy of sin, and woe to them who voluntarily remain in them.
Why did the lepers remain standing afar off?
Because it was thus commanded in the law of Moses, (Lev. XIII. 46.) so that no one would be infected by them. From this we learn that we must carefully avoid scandalous persons and houses; for he who converses with lewd, vain and unchaste persons, will soon become like them. (Ecclus. XIII. 1.)

Why did Christ send the lepers to the priests?
This He did to show the honor due to the sacerdotal dignity and to the law of God: for it was commanded, (Lev. XIV.) that the lepers should show themselves to the priests, in order to be declared by them clean or unclean; He did it to try the faith, the confidence, and the obedience of these lepers: for Christ did not wish to heal them upon their mere prayer, but their cure was to cost them something, and they were to merit it by their cooperation. Their purification, therefore, was the reward of their obedience and faith. Further, Christ sent these lepers to the priests to show figuratively, as it were, that he who wishes to be freed from the leprosy of sin, must contritely approach the priest, sincerely confess his sins, and be cleansed by him by means of absolution.
Why did Christ ask for the others, who were also made clean?
To show how much ingratitude displeases Him. Although He silently bore all other injuries, yet He could not permit this ingratitude to pass unresented. So great, therefore, is the sin of ingratitude, hateful alike to God and man! “Ingratitude,” says St. Bernard,” is an enemy of the soul, which destroys merits, corrupts virtues, and impedes graces: it is a heavy wind, which dries up the fountain of goodness, the dew of mercy, and the stream of the grace of God.” “The best means,” says St. Chrysostom, “of preserving benefits, is the remembrance of them and gratitude for them, and nothing is more acceptable to God than a grateful soul; for, while He daily overloads us with innumerable benefits, He asks nothing for them, but that we thank Him.” Therefore, my dear Christian, by no means forget to thank God in the morning and evening, before and after meals. As often as you experience the blessing of God in your house, in your children, and your whole property, thank God, but particularly when you take in the fruits of the earth; (Lev. XXIII. 10.) by this you will always bring upon yourself new blessings and new graces. “We cannot think, say, or write anything better or more pleasing to God,” says St. Augustine, “than: Thanks be to God.”
ASPIRATION O most gracious Jesus! who, as an example for us, wast always grateful to Thy Heavenly, Father, as long as Thou didst live upon earth, grant, that I may always thank God for all His benefits, according to Thy example and the teaching of Thy servant St. Paul. (Col. III. 17.)

INSTRUCTION ON THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERGo, show yourselves to the priests. (Luke XVII. 14.)
Such honor did God show to the priests of the Old Law that He sent the; lepers to them, although they could in no wise contribute to the removal of leprosy. What honor, therefore, do the priests of the New Law deserve, who through the sacerdotal ordination, gave not only received from God the power to free mankind from the leprosy of the soul, but also far higher privileges.
Is the priesthood a special and holy state, selected by God?
Yes; this is evident from the writings of the Old as well as of the New Testament, and is confirmed by holy, apostolic tradition. In the Mosaic Law God Himself selected a particular race – Aaron and his descendants-from among the tribes of Juda, to perform solemnly the public service, to pray for the people, and instruct them in matters of religion, (Exod. XXVIII. I.; Lev. IX. 7; King’s II. Z8.) but particularly to offer the daily sacrifices, (Lev. I. II; Num. XVIII.) for which offices they were consecrated by different ceremonies, ordained by God, which ceremonies lasted seven days. (Exod. XXVIII. 4. &c. ib. XXIX.) Besides these, God instituted a sort of minor priesthood, Levites, for the service of the temple and of God; (Num. III. 12; VIII. 6-18.) they were of the tribe of Levi, and received no land like the other tribes, but lived on the offerings and tithes, and were consecrated like the priests. (Num. XVIII. 21.; VIII. 66-26.) This priesthood, an emblem of the real priesthood of the New Testament, was not abolished by Christ, but He brought it to its fulfillment and completed it, since He did not come to take away, but fulfill the law. For this reason Christ selected twelve apostles and seventy-two disciples from among the faithful, at the commencement of His public life, and He said to them: I have chosen you, and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit. (John XV. 16.) He gave them power to free man from sin, to sanctify, and reconcile him with God. (Matt. XVIII. Z8.) He commanded ahem -to preach His gospel to all nations, (Matt. XXVII. 18-20.) and to offer up His holy Sacrifice. (Luke XXII, 19.) Just as the apostles were chosen by Christ, so afterwards by the Holy Ghost. St. Paul was chosen to be an apostle, and he calls himself a minister of Christ and a dispenser of the mysteries of God, (I Cor. IV. I) and who together with Barnabas was ordained. (Acts XIII. 2, 3.) In the same manner the apostles chose their successors, and ordained them, (I Tim. IV, 14.; II Tim. I. 6.) and even appointed seven deacons, as assistants in the priestly office. (Acts VI. 1-3.) From these clear testimonies of holy Writ, it is evident that, as God in the Old, so Christ in the New Testament chose a particular class of men, and established certain grades among them, for the government of His Church, for the service of God, and the salvation of the faithful, as holy, apostolic tradition also confirms. Already the earliest Fathers, Ignatius and Clement, disciples of the apostles, write of bishops, priests, and deacons, who are destined for the service of God and the faithful. Subdeacons, ostiariates, lectors, exorcists, and acolytes, are mentioned by St. Gregory of Nazianzen, St. Justin, St. Cyprian, and many others, but particularly by the Council of Carthage in the year 398, which also gives the manner of ordaining priests.
The heretics, indeed, contend that the Roman Catholic Church robs the true believers of their dignity, since she grants the priesthood only to a certain class, and give as proofs of their assertion two texts, where St. Peter (I Pet. II. 9.) calls the faithful a kingly priesthood, and where St. John (Apoc. I. 6.) says that Christ made us kings and priests. But these texts speak only of an internal priesthood, according to which every Christian, sanctified by baptism, who is in the state of grace, and consequently justified, and a living member of Christ, the great High-Priest, should offer spiritual sacrifices,1 that is, good works, such as prayer, mortification, charity, penance &c., on the altar of the heart, as also St. Peter, (I Pet II. 5.) St. Paul, (Rom. XII. I.) and David (Ps. 1. 19.) teach. If the assertion of the heretics were true that all believers are priests, why did God in the Old Law institute an especial priesthood, why did Christ and the apostles choose suitable men for the service of God? If all believers must be priests, why are not all kings, since St. John says, that Christ has made us kings? God, on the contrary, severely punished those who presumed to arrogate to themselves a priestly office, as He did to King Ozias, who was afflicted with leprosy because he burnt incense in the temple, which the priests alone were permitted to do. (II Paralip. XXVI. 18. 19.)
Of course heretics must make this assertion; for since they say that Scripture is the only rule of faith, and that every one can explain it, for what purpose are preachers necessary? And since they have no sacrifice, and with the exception of baptism, no Sacraments, for what purpose should they want priests? But since the sacrifice of Jesus is to continue in the Catholic Church until the end of time, since all the Sacraments instituted by Christ are still dispensed by her, and the command of Christ to teach all nations, must be carried out by her, therefore, there must be priests chosen and destined, who will perform the ministry of the Lord, and these must not only be chosen, but also be consecrated for this by a special Sacrament.
What is Holy Order?
Holy Order is a Sacrament by which Bishops, Priests, &c. are ordained, and receive grace and power to perform the duties belonging to their charge.
What is the external sign, by which grace is communicated to the priests?
The imposition of the bishop’s hands, the presentation of the chalice with bread and wine, and the words by which power is given to offer the Sacrifice of . the New Law, changing, bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and to forgive or retain sins. (Conc. Flor. in Decr. Eug.  et Trid Sess. 14. C. 3. de poen. et Sess. 22. C. 1.)
When will Christ institute this Sacrament?
At the Last Supper, when, having changed bread and wine into His body and blood, He said: Do this, for a commemoration of me, and when after His Resurrection He said to them: As the Father hath sent me, I also send you (to free man from sin and to sanctify him). When he had said this, he breathed on them: and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. (John XX. 21. 22.) The power to forgive and retain sins He gave them when He said: Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John XX. 23.)
Has Holy Order always been regarded as a Sacrament in the Church?
Yes, for St. Paul admonishes his disciple Timothy (I Tim, IV. 14.) not to neglect the grace conferred upon him by the imposition of hands, and in another place he admonishes him, (II Tim. I. 6.) to stir up the grace which was in him by the imposition of his (St. Paul’s) hands. From this it follows, that St. Paul believed that the external sign of the imposition of hands of the bishops conferred a particular grace, wherein, indeed, the essence of a Sacrament consists. Therefore the Council of Trent (Sess. 23. de ord. can. 3.) declares those anathema, who contend, that Holy Order is not a real and true Sacrament, instituted by Christ, but only a human invention, or a certain form of electing the ministers of the Word of God and the Sacraments.
Are those called to the priesthood ordained at once?
No, they are not admitted to Holy Order until they have undergone a rigid examination regarding their vocation, moral conduct, and their knowledge of the sacred science.
How many degrees are there in Holy Order?
In Holy Order there are seven degrees: four lesser, and three greater. Of the lesser, the first is that of Porter, whose office is to keep the keys of the Church, sacristy, treasury, and to see that due respect is observed in the house of God: to him the bishop says, in his ordination: So behave yourself as to give an account to God of what is kept under your charge. 2. That of Lector; his office is to read aloud the lessons of the Old and New Testament, which belong to the divine office, and to instruct the ignorant in the rudiments of the Christian religion: the bishop gives him a book containing those things, and charges him faithfully and profitably to fulfill his office. 3. That of Exorcist; to him is given power to exorcise possessed persons: the bishop gives a book of exorcisms, and bids him receive the power to lay his hands on such as are possessed, whether baptized or catechumens. 4. That of Acolyte; his office is to assist the deacon and subdeacon at the altar; to carry the lights, to prepare the wine and water for consecration, and attend to the divine mysteries: the bishop gives him a wax candle, with two little cruets, bidding him light the candle, and serve wine and water in the cruets.
The first of the greater is the order of subdeacon; he serves the deacon; prepares the altar, the chalice, the bread, and the wine; he reads the epistle aloud at high Mass; the bishop before he ordains him declares that none are to receive this order, but those who will observe perpetual continency; he then gives him a chalice, paten, basin and towel, two little cruets, and the book of epistles; bids him consider his ministry, and behave so as to please God. The second of the greater orders is that of Deacon; his office is immediately to assist the bishop or priest at high Mass; and the administration of the sacraments. He reads the Gospel aloud at high Mass; he gives the cup when the sacrament of the Eucharist’ is given in both kinds; he may administer baptism, and preach the Gospel, by commission. To him the bishop gives a book of Gospels, with power to read it in the Church of God. The third is that of Priesthood, which has two degrees of power and dignity: that of bishops, and that of priests. The office of a priest is to consecrate and offer the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, under the forms of bread and wine; to administer all the sacraments, except Confirmation and Holy Order; to preach the Gospel, to bless the people, and to conduct them in the way to life eternal; as also to bless such things as are not reserved to the benediction of the bishop. The bishop, when he ordains a priest, anoints his hands with oil; he gives him the paten with bread upon it, and a chalice with wine, with power to offer sacrifice for the living and the dead; then hd lays his hands upon him and says: Receive the Holy Ghost, whose sins &c., and performs several other ceremonies.
Learn from this instruction to honor and respect the priests, whose dignity as representatives of God, and dispensers of His mysteries, surpasses all human dignity; upon whom a load, too heavy even for angels, as St. Chrysostom says, has been imposed, namely, the care of your immortal soul; who daily enter the sanctuary before the face of the Lord, to offer the immaculate Lamb of God for the forgiveness of our sins; to whom Jesus confided the merits of His most precious blood, in order to cleanse your soul therewith in the tribunal of penance, if you confess your sins contritely; of whom God will one day ask the strictest account. Honor, therefore, these ministers of God, pray daily for the assistance of heaven in their difficult calling; particularly on the Ember-days implore God, that He may send pious and zealous priests; and if, perhaps, you know a bad priest, do not despise his high dignity which is indelibly imprinted on him, have compassion on him, pray far him, and consider that Jesus has , said of such: “All things whatsoever they shall say to. you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not.” (Matt. XXIII. 3.)

INSTRUCTION ON THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

The Introit of the Mass is the prayer of a troubled soul, entreating God for assistance against its enemies:
INTROIT Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me: let my enemies be confounded and ashamed, who seek my soul. Let them be turned backward and blush for shame, who desire evils to me. (Ps. LXIX) Glory etc.
COLLECT Almighty and merciful God, of whose gift it cometh that the faithful do Thee homage with due and laudable service: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may run without stumbling to the attainment of Thy promises. Through etc.
EPISTLE (II Cor. III. 4-9.) Brethren, such confidence we have through Christ towards God: not that we are sufficient to think any thing of ourselves, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God, who also hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit: for the letter killeth: but the spirit quickeneth. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather in glory? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.
EXPLANATION St. Paul speaks in the epistle, from which this extract is taken, of the conversion of the Corinthians, which he accomplished not by his own ability, but with the help of God, who made him a minister of the New Testament, a teacher of the true religion of Christ. The New Testament by the grace of the Holy Ghost recalls the sinner from the death of sin, reconciles him to God, and thus enlivens and makes him pleasing to God; whereas the letter of the Old Law, which contains more eternal ceremonies and fewer commandments, changes not the man, but rather destroys him, that is, threatens with death the transgressor of the law instead of freeing him from sin and reconciling him to God, thus permitting him to die the eternal death. St. Paul preached the true religion of Christ, which vivifies, justifies, and sanctifies man. If the ministry of Moses was so glorified by God, that his countenance shone, when he returned from Mount Sinai, where God gave him the law, how much more dignified and glorious must be the ministry of the New Law. Learn from this to esteem the office of preaching, and be humble like St. Paul, who trusted not in himself but in God, to whom he ascribed all honor.
Tenth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (Luke X. 23-37.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying: Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said to him: Thou hast answered rightly: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him, went away; leaving him half dead. And it chanced that a certain priest went down the same way, and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him: and the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him, and whatsoever, thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee. Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbor to him that fell among robbers? But he said: He that showed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner.
Why does Christ call His disciples blessed?
Because they had the happiness which so many patriarchs and prophets had desired in vain, namely: of seeing Him and hearing His teaching. Though we have not the happiness to see Jesus and hear Him, nevertheless we are not less blessed than the apostles, since Christ pronounces those blessed who do not see and yet believe. (John XX. 29.)
What, besides faith, is necessary for salvation?
That we love God and our neighbor, for in these two commandments consists the whole law. (Matt. XXII. 40.)
Who is our neighbor?1
Every man, be he an acquaintance or a stranger, poor or rich, of our faith or of another; for the Samaritan did not ask the one who had fallen among robbers: Who and whence are you? but considered him his neighbor, and proved himself as such by his prompt assistance.
How should we love our neighbor?
As we love ourselves, that is, we should wish him everything good, and when in necessity do to him as we would wish others to do to us, and, on the contrary, not wish nor do to him anything that we do not wish to be done to ourselves. In this way the Samaritan loved his neighbor, and in this he was far superior to the priest and the Levite.
How can we especially practice love for our neighbor?
By the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. [See instruction for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.] Besides which we must rejoice at the spiritual and corporal graces of our neighbor, which God communicates to him; we must grieve for his misfortunes, and, according to the example of St. Paul, (I Cor. I. 4.) have compassion for him; we must bear with the faults of our neighbor, as St. Paul again admonishes us: Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. (Gal. VI. 2.)
Why should we love our neighbor?
We should love him because God commands it; but there are also other reasons which should induce us to do so. We are not only according to nature brothers and sisters in Adam, but also according to grace, in Christ, and we would have to be ashamed before animals, if we would allow ourselves to be surpassed in the love which they bear one to another; (Ecclus, XIII. 19.) all our neighbors are the image and likeness of God, bought by the blood of Jesus, and are adopted children, called to heaven, as we are; the example of Christ, who loved us, when we were yet His enemies, (Rom. V. 10.) and gave Himself for us unto death, ought to incite us to love them. But can we be His disciples, if we do not follow Him, and if we do not bear in us the mark of His disciples, i. e. the love of our neighbor? (John XIII. 35.). Finally, the necessity of the love for our neighbor ought to compel us, as it were, to it; for without it, we cannot be saved. He that loveth not, says St. John, abideth in death, (I John III. 14.) and he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not? (I John IV. 20.) because he transgresses one of the greatest commandments of God, and does not fulfil the law. (Rom. XIII, 10.)
What is necessary to make the love of our neighbor meritorious?
It must tend to God, that is, we must love our neighbor only in and for God, because God commands it, and it is pleasing to Him. For to love our neighbor on account of a natural inclination, or self-interest, or some other still less honorable reason, is only a natural, animal love, in no wise different from the love of the heathens; for the heathens also love and salute those who love and salute them in turn. (Matt. V. 46.)
PETITION. O my God, Father of mercy! give me a loving and compassionate heart, which will continually impel me to do good to my neighbor for Thy sake, so that I may merit the same from Thy mercy.
What is understood from this day’s gospel in a higher and more spiritual sense?
According to the interpretation of the Fathers, our father Adam, and hence the whole human race is to be understood by the one who had fallen among robbers. The human race, which through the disobedience of Adam fell into the power of Satan and his angels, was robbed of original justice and the grace of God, and moreover, was wounded and weakened in all the powers of the soul by evil concupiscence. The priest and The Levite who represent the Old Law, would not and could not repair this misfortune; but Christ, the true Samaritan, embraced the interests of the wounded man, inasmuch as He poured the oil of His grace, and the wine of His blood into the wounds of man’s soul, and thus healed him, and inasmuch as He led him by baptism into the inn of His Church, and there entrusted him to His priests for further care and nursing. Thank Christ, the good Samaritan, for this great love and care for you, and endeavor to make good use of His blessings by your cooperation.
INSTRUCTION ON THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF
EXTREME UNCTION
He bound up his wounds pouring in oil and wine. (Luke X. 34.)
The conduct of the Samaritan in regard to the wounded man may be viewed as a figure of the holy Sacrament of Extreme Unction, in which Christ, the true Samaritan, by means of the holy oil and the prayer of the priest, His representative, dispenses His grace to the sick for the welfare of the soul and often of the body, provided the sick place no obstacle in His way.
Is Extreme Unction a Sacrament?
Yes; because it was instituted by Christ, and by it grace is conveyed to the sick through an outward sign.
Did Christ institute this Sacrament?
He did, for He sent His disciples to anoint the sick with oil and heal them, as the Evangelist writes: Going forth they preached that men should do penance: and they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. (Mark VI. 12,13.) We must believe that this unction was not invented by the apostles, but ordained by the Lord. This is confirmed by the Council of Trent, which says: (Sess. XIV. C. I.) “This sacred Unction of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord, as indicated by St. Mark, but recommended to the faithful and promulgated by the Apostle St. James, a relative of our Lord.” “Is any man,” he says, “sick among you? let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven. (James V. 14,15.) St. James could not have said this, if he had not known the institution and command of Christ: to it apostolic and uninterrupted tradition also gives testimony.
What is the external sign of this Sacrament?
The anointing with holy oil, which is blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday, and the prayer of the priest.
What graces does this Sacrament produce in the sick man?
The Catechism of the Council of Trent enumerates the following: first, it remits sins, especially venial sins. Its primary object is not to remit mortal sin. For this the Sacrament of penance was instituted, as was that of baptism for the remission of original sin; secondly, it removes the languor and infirmity entailed by sin, with all other inconveniences. The time most seasonable for the application of this cure is, when we are visited by some severe malady, which threatens to prove fatal; for nature dreads no earthly visitation so much as death; and this dread is considerably augmented by the recollection of our past sins, particularly if the mind is harrowed by the poignant reproaches of conscience; for it is written: “They shall come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them.” A source of alarm still more distressing is the awful reflection, that, in a few moments, we shall stand before the judgment-seat of God, whose justice will award that sentence, which our lives have deserved. The terror inspired by these considerations frequently agitates the soul with the most awful apprehensions; and to calm this terror nothing can be so efficacious as the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. It quiets our fear, illumines the gloom in which the soul is enveloped, fills it with pious and holy joy, and enables us to await with cheerfulness the coming of the Lord; thirdly, it fortifies us against the violent assaults of Satan. The enemy of mankind never ceases to seek our ruin: and if it be possible to deprive us of all hope of mercy, he more than ever increases his efforts, when he sees us approach our last end. This Sacrament, therefore, enables the recipient to fight resolutely and successfully against him; fourthly, it effects the recovery of health, if advantageous to the sick person.
What intentions must the sick man have, in order to gain these graces?
Since the Sacraments work the more powerfully the better the preparation made by those who receive them, and since by this Sacrament those sins are remitted which we have forgotten, or have not sufficiently known, the sick man should, therefore, receive beforehand, if it be possible, the holy Sacrament of Penance and the blessed Eucharist; or if this cannot be done, he should make an act of perfect contrition, and have the wish to confess if possible. He should, therefore, not defer the reception of this Sacrament to the last moment, when the violence of sickness has already taken away the use of his reason and senses, but he should ask for this Sacrament whilst yet enjoying the use of reason, so that he may receive it with devotion and salutary result.
Is this Sacrament necessary for salvation?
No; yet we should not neglect in case of sickness to partake of the excellent fruits of this Sacrament since the Council of Trent teaches: “To despise so great a Sacrament would indeed be a great sin, an insult to the Holy Ghost.” (Sess. XIV. C. 3.)
Can we receive this Sacrament more than once?
We can receive it as often as we are in danger of death by sickness; but we must bear in mind that we can be anointed only once in the same sickness.
Why is this Sacrament called Extreme Unction?
Because among all the Sacraments which our Lord and Saviour ordained in His Church, this one is the last we are to receive. But from this it does not follow, as so many believe that one who receives this Sacrament must die soon, but it will rather become a means of salvation for their souls, and if it be for their eternal welfare, will also restore their bodily health.
What does the priest do when he enters the house of the sick person?
He wishes peace to the house, and prays that God may send His angels to protect its inmates, that He may drive away the enemy, console the sick, strengthen and give him health.
Why does the priest sprinkle the sick person with holy water?
To remind him that he should implore of God the forgiveness of his sins, with tears of contrition, in order to dispel the influence of the evil spirit.
Why does the priest exhort those present to pray while he administers the Sacrament?
That God may grant through their prayers whatever may contribute to the welfare of the sick man’s body and soul.
For what does the priest pray when he imposes his hands on the head of the sick person?
He begs that God, through the imposition of hands and by the intercession of all the saints, may take the sick person under His protection, and destroy the power of the devil, who attacks one particularly in the hour of death.
What does the priest say at the anointing with oil?
He begs that God, through this unction and through His gracious mercy, may forgive the sick person all the sins which he has committed with his five senses. At the same time the sick person should, in a spirit of humility and with a repentant and contrite heart, implore of God the forgiveness of all his sins.
Why does the priest present the sick person a crucifix to kiss?
To remind him that, like Jesus, he should suffer with patience, and place his whole confidence in the infinite merits of the Crucified, and be willing to suffer and die for love of Him. For this reason the crucifix ought to be presented often to the dying person.
What should the sick person do after he has received the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?
He should use all his remaining strength to thank God sincerely for the benefit he has received, commend himself to the wounds and the blood of Jesus, and meditate with quiet recollection on death and eternity.
How consoling does our holy Catholic Church appear in the continual use of this Sacrament! Having, like a tender mother, received man by holy Baptism under her maternal care; by holy Confirmation given him the necessary weapons against sin, heresy, and infidelity; by the holy Sacrament of Penance purified him from stains and sins; and by the blessed Eucharist nourished him with the bread of life, enriched him with virtues, and secured him against falling, she does not desert him even in the last, all-important moment of death. In that dangerous hour when the dying person, forsaken by all, often by his most intimate friends, or looked upon with fear, lies on his bed of pain, when behind him time ceases and before him a certain, though unknown eternity opens itself, when Satan brings all his resources into play, in order to ruin his soul, and the thought of the coming judgment makes the heart tremble, – in this terrible hour the faithful mother, the Catholic Church, does not abandon him; she sends the priest, her servant, like a consoling angel to his couch, to encourage the sufferer and strengthen the fearful with the divine word, to cleanse the sinner and reconcile him with God by the Sacrament of Penance, to fortify the weak and nourish him with the bread of life, to strengthen the combatant with the holy oil, thus providing him with all the means of grace which Jesus obtained for His Church, to conduct his soul before the face of the eternal Judge, there to find grace and mercy.
Considering this, dear Christian, should you not feel happy to be a member of this Church, should you not thank God continually, and adhere faithfully to a Church, in which it is indeed not so pleasant to live, as in the bosom of irreligion, but in which it is good to die!

INSTRUCTION ON THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

At the Introit of the Mass pray with the Church for God’s help to guard us against our enemies:
INTROIT When I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice, from them that draw near to me, and he humbled them, who is before all ages, and remains forever. Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. (Ps. LIV.) Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me, and hear me. Glory etc.
COLLECT O God, who dost manifest Thine almighty. power above all in showing pardon and pity: multiply upon us Thy mercy, that we running forward to the attainment of Thy promises, may be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasures. Through etc.
EPISTLE (I Cor. XII. 2-11 .) Brethren, You know that when you were heathens; you went to dumb idols according as, you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith. Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say: the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one, indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another, faith in one Spirit: to another, the working of miracles: to another, prophecy: to another, the discerning, of spirits: to another, divers kinds of tongues: to another, of speeches. But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will.
EXPLANATION The apostle here reminds the Corinthians of the great grace they received from God in their conversion, and urges them to be grateful for it; for while heathens, they cursed Jesus, but being now brought to the knowledge of the Spirit of God, they possess Christ as their Lord and Redeemer who can be known and professed only by the enlightenment of the Holy , Ghost. The holy Spirit works in different ways, conferring His graces on whom He wills; to one He gives wisdom to understand the great truths of Christianity; to another the gift of healing the sick; to another the gift of miracles and of prophecy; to another the gift of discerning spirits, to know if one is governed by the Spirit of God, or of the world, Satan and the flesh; to another the gift of tongues. The extraordinary gifts, namely, those of working miracles, and of prophesying &c. became rarer as the faith spread, whereas the gifts which sanctify man will always remain the same.,
[See Instruction on the gifts of the Holy Ghosts Pentecost.]
Tenth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (Luke XDII. 9-14.) At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others. Two men went up into the Temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this Publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the Publican standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you: this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Why did Christ make use of’ this parable of the Pharisee and the Publican?

To teach us never proudly to condemn or despise a man, even though he should appear impious, for we may be deceived like the Pharisee who despised the Publican, whom he considered a great sinner, while, in reality, the man was justified before God on account of his repentant spirit.
What should we do before entering a Church?
We should reflect that we are going into the house of God, should therefore think what we are about to say to Him, and what we wish to ask of Him. That we may make ourselves less unworthy to be heard, we should humble ourselves as did Abraham, (Gen. XVIII. 27.) remembering that we are dust and ashes, and on account of our sins unworthy o appear before the eyes of God, much less to address Him , for He listens to the prayers of the humble only, (Ps. CI, 18.) and gives them His grace, while He resists the proud. (James IV. 6.)
Was the Pharisee’s prayer acceptable to God?
No, for it was no prayer, but boasting and ostentation; he praised himself, and enumerated his apparent good works. But in despising others and judging them rashly he sinned grievously instead of meriting God’s grace.
Was the Publican’s prayer acceptable to God?
Yes, for though short, it was humble and contrite. He stood afar off, as if to acknowledge himself unworthy of the presence of God and intercourse with men. He stood with downcast eyes, thus showing that he considered himself because of his sins unworthy to look towards heaven, even confessed himself a sinner, and struck his breast to punish, as St. Augustine says, the sins which he had committed in his heart: This is why we strike our breast at certain times during Mass, for by this we acknowledge ourselves miserable sinners, and that we are sorry for our sins.
ON PRIDE AND VAIN GLORY

We should learn from this gospel that God looks upon the humble and exalts them, but is far from the proud. (Ps. CXXXVII. 6.) The Pharisee went to the temple entirely wrapt up in himself, and the good works which he thought he had performed, but returned empty and hated by God; the Publican, on the contrary, appearing before God as a public but penitent sinner, returned justified. Truly,. an humble sinner is better in the sight of God than a proud just man!
He who glories in his own good works, or performs them to please men, or to win their praise, loses his merit in the eyes of the most High, for Christ says: Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. VI. 1.)
In order that we may learn to despise vain glory, these doctrines should be well borne in mind. We should consider that it will happen to those who seek after vain glory, as to the man who, made many toilsome journeys on land and sea in order to accumulate wealth, and had no sooner acquired it than he was shipwrecked, and lost all. Thus the ambitious man avariciously seeking glory and honor will find, when dying, that the merit which he might have had for his good works, is now lost to him, because he did not labor for the honor of God. To prevent such an evil, strive at the commencement of every good work which you undertake, to turn your heart to God by a good intention.
But that you may plainly recognize this vice, which generally keeps itself concealed, and that you may avoid it, know that pride is an inordinate love of ostentation, and an immoderate desire to surpass others in honor and praise. The proud man goes beyond himself, so to speak, makes far more of himself than he really is, and, like the Pharisee, despises others; the humble man, on the contrary, has a low estimate of himself, looks upon himself as nothing and, like the Publican, despises no one but himself, and thus is pleasing in the sight of God.
ASPIRATION O God, who hearest the prayers of the humble, but dost resist the proud, I earnestly beseech Thee to give me an humble heart, that I may imitate, the humility of Thy only?begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and thereby merit to be exalted with Him in heaven.
INSTRUCTION ON GRACE
In the epistle of this day the Apostle St. Paul speaks of the different gifts of the Holy Ghost which He distributes as He pleases. These extraordinary graces which the apostle mentions, are not necessary for salvation. But the Church teaches, that the grace of the Holy Ghost is
necessary for salvation, because without it we could neither properly believe, nor faithfully observe the commandments of God. For the holy religion of Jesus teaches, and experience confirms, that since the fall of our first parents we are weak and miserable, and of ourselves, and by our own strength, we cannot know or perform the good necessary for our salvation. We need a higher aid, a higher, assistance, and this assistance is called grace.
What, then, is grace?
Grace is an inward, supernatural gift which God through finite goodness, and in consideration of Christ’s merits, grants us to enable us to work out our salvation.
Grace is a gift, that is, a present, a favor, a benefit. It is an inward and supernatural gift; an inward gift, Because it is bestowed upon man’s soul to distinguish it tom external gifts and benefits of God, such as: food, clothing, health; grace is a supernatural gift, because it is above nature. In creating our souls God gives us a certain degree of light which enables us to think, reflect, judge, to acquire more or less knowledge: this is called natural light. In the same way He gives our souls the power in some measure to overcome sensual, vicious inclinations; this power is called natural power (virtue). To this natural light and power must be added a higher light and a higher power, if ‘man would be sanctified and saved. This higher light and higher power is grace. It is, therefore, called a supernatural gift, because it surpasses the natural power of man, and produces in his understanding and in his will wholesome effects, which he could not produce without it. For example, divine faith, divine love is a supernatural gift or grace of God, because man of his own power could never receive as certain God’s revelations and His incomprehensible mysteries with so great a joy and so firm a conviction, and could never love God above all things and for His own sake, unless God assisted him by His grace.
God grants us grace also through pure benevolence without our assistance, without our having any right to it; He grants it without cost, and to whom He pleases; but He gives it in consideration of the infinite merits of Christ Jesus, in consideration of Christ’s death on the cross, and of the infinite price of our redemption. Finally, grace is a gift of God, by which to work out our salvation, ,that is, it is only by the grace of God that we can perform meritorious works which aid us in reaching heaven. Without grace it is impossible for us to perform any good action, even to have a good thought by which to gain heaven.
From this it follows that with the grace of God we can accomplish all things necessary for our salvation, fulfill all the commandments of God, but without it we can do nothing meritorious. God gives His grace to all, and if the wicked perish, it is because they do not cooperate with its divine promptings.

How is grace divided?
Into two kinds, actual and sanctifying grace.
Actual grace is God’s assistance which we always need to accomplish a good work, to avoid sin which we are in danger of committing, or that grace which urges us on to good, and assists us in accomplishing it; for it is God, says the Apostle Paul, (Phil. II. 13.) who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish. If a good work is to be performed by us, God must enlighten our mind that we may properly know the good and distinguish it from evil; He must rouse our will and urge it on to do the known good and to avoid the evil; He must also uphold our will and increase our strength that what we wish to do, we may really accomplish.
This actual grace is, therefore, necessary for the just, that they may always remain in sanctifying grace, and accomplish good works; it is necessary for the shiner that he may reach the state of sanctifying grace.
What is sanctifying grace?
It is the great benefit which God bestows upon us, when He sanctifies and justifies us; in other words: sanctifying grace is the love of God, given to us by the Holy Ghost, which love dwells in us and whose temple we become, or it is the advent and abiding of God in our hearts, as promised in the words of Jesus: If any one love me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. (John XVI. 23.)
He who possesses sanctifying grace, possesses the greatest treasure that a man can have on earth. For what can be more precious than to be beautiful in the sight of God, acceptable to Him, and united with Him! He who possesses this grace, carries within himself the supernatural image of God, he is a child of God, and has a right to the inheritance of heaven.
How is this sanctifying grace lost?
It is lost by every mortal sin, and can only be regained by a complete return to God, by true repentance and amendment. The loss of sanctifying grace is a far greater injury than the loss of all earthly possessions. How, terrible, then, is mortal sin which deprives us of this treasure!

INSTRUCTION ON THE NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year


Implore God for help and protection against all temptations both visible and invisible, and say with the priest at the Introit:
INTROIT Behold, God is my helper, and the Lord is the protector of my soul: turn back the evils upon my enemies, and cut them off in thy truth, O Lord, my protector. (Ps. LIII.) Save me, O God, by thy name, and deliver me in thy strength. Glory etc.
COLLECT Let the ears of Thy mercy, O Lord, be open to the prayers of Thy suppliants: and that Thou mayest grant them their desires, make them to ask such things as please Thee. Through etc.
EPISTLE (I Cor. X. 6-13.) Brethren, Let us not covet evil things, as they also coveted. Neither become ye idolaters, as some of them: as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed fornication, and there fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents. Neither do you murmur, as some of them murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them in figure, and they are written for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall. Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human: and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able but will make also with temptation issue that you may be able to bear it.
Can we sin by thought and desire?
Yes, if we desire evil and forbidden things, or voluntarily think of them with pleasure, for God prohibits not only evil deeds, but evil thoughts and desires inregard to our neighbor’s wife or goods. (Exod. XX. 17.) Christ says, (Matt. V. 28.) that he who looks upon a woman with evil desire, has already committed adultery. But wicked thoughts and imagination are sinful only when a person consents to, or entertains them deliberately. They become, however, an occasion of gaining merit, if we earnestly strive against them. For this reason God sometimes permits even the just to be tempted by them.
What is meant by tempting God?
Demanding presumptuously a mark or sign of divine omnipotence, goodness or justice. This sin is committed when without cause we desire that articles of faith should be demonstrated and confirmed by a new miracle; when we throw ourselves needlessly into danger of body or soul expecting God to deliver us; when in dangerous illness the ordinary and, natural remedies are rejected, and God’s immediate assistance expected.
Is it a great sin to murmur against God?
That it is such may be learned from the punishment which God inflicted on the murmuring Israelites; for besides Kore, Dathan, and Abiron whom the earth devoured, many thousands of them were consumed by fire; and yet these had not murmured against God directly, but only against Moses and Aaron whom God had placed over them as their leaders. From this it is seen that God looks upon murmuring against spiritual and civil authority, instituted by Him, as murmuring against Himself. Hence Moses said to the Israelites: Your. murmuring is not against us, but against the Lord. (Exod. XVI. 8.)
ASPIRATION Purify my heart, I beseech. Thee; O Lord, from all evil thoughts and desires. Let it never enter my mind to tempt Thee, or to be dissatisfied with Thy fatherly dispensations. Suffer me not to be tempted beyond my strength, but grant me so much fortitude, that I may overcome all temptations, and even derive benefit from them for my soul’s salvation.
Nineth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (Luke XIX. 41-47.) At that time, when Jesus drew near Jerusalem, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace: but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. And entering into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought, saying to them: It is written, My house is the house of, prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves. And he was teaching daily in the temple.
Why did our Saviour weep over the city of Jerusalem?
Because of the ingratitude and obduracy of its inhabitants who would not receive Him as their Redeemer, and who through impenitence were hastening to destruction.
When was the time of visitation?
The period in which God sent them one prophet after another who urged them to penance, and whom they persecuted, stoned, and killed. (Matt. XXIII. 34.) It was especially the time of Christ’s ministry, when He so often announced His salutary doctrine in the temple of Jerusalem, confirmed it by miracles, proving Himself to be the Messiah, the Saviour of the world, but was despised and rejected by this hardened and impenitent city.
Who are prefigured by this hardened and impenitent city?
The hard-hearted, unrepenting sinners who will not recognize the time of God’s visitation, in which He urges them by the mouth of His preachers, confessors, and superiors, and by inward inspiration to reform their lives and seek the salvation of their soul, but who give no ear to these admonitions, and defer conversion to the end of their lives. Their end will be like to that of this impious city; then the enemy, that is, the evil spirit, will surround their soul, tempt, terrify, and drag it into the abyss of ruin. Oh, how foolish it is to squander so lightly, the time of grace, the days of salvation! Oh, how would the damned do penance, could they but return to earth! Oh, how industriously would they employ the time to save their soul! Use, then, my dear Christian, the time of grace which God designs for you, and which, when it is run out or carelessly thrown away, will not be lengthened for a moment.
Will God conceal from the wicked that which serves for their salvation?
No; but while they are running after the pleasures of this life, as St. Gregory says, they see not the misfortunes treading in their footsteps, and as consideration of the future makes them uncomfortable in the midst of their worldly pleasures, they remove the terrible thought far from them, and thus run with eyes blindfolded in the midst of their pleasure into eternal flames. Not God, but they themselves hide the knowledge of all that is for their peace, and thus they perish.
ASPIRATION. I beseech Thee, O Lord, who didst weep over the city of Jerusalem, because it knew not the time of its visitation, to enlighten my heart, that I may know and profit by the season of grace.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CITY AND TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM
Has our divine Savior’s prophecy concerning, the city of Jerusalem been fulfilled?
Yes, and in the most terrible manner. The Jews, oppressed by the Romans their cruel masters, revolted, killed many of their enemies, and drove them out of Jerusalem. Knowing well that this would not be permitted to pass unavenged, the Jews armed themselves for a desperate resistance. The Emperor Nero sent a powerful army under the command of Vespasian against the city of Jerusalem, which first captured the smaller fortresses of Judea, and then laid siege to the city. The want and misery of the inhabitants had already reached the highest pitch; for within the city ambitious men had caused conflicts; factions had been formed, daily fighting each other, and reddening the streets with blood, while the angry Romans stormed outside. Then a short time of respite was granted to the unfortunate Jews. The Emperor Nero was murdered at Rome in the year of our Lord 68; his successor Galba soon died, and the soldiers placed their beloved commander Vespasian upon the imperial throne. He then left Jerusalem with his army, but in the year he sent his son Titus with a new army to Judea, with orders to capture the city at any price, and to punish its inhabitants.
It was the time of Easter, and a multitude of Jews had assembled from all provinces of the land, when Titus appeared with his army before the gates of Jerusalem, and surrounded the city. The supply of food was soon exhausted, famine and pestilence came upon the city and raged terribly. The leader of the savage revolutionists, John of Gischala, caused the houses to be searched, and the remaining food to be torn from the starving, or to be forced from them by terrible tortures: To save themselves from this outrageous tyrant, the Jews took the leader of a band of robbers, named Simon, with his whole gang into the city. John and Simon with their followers now sought to annihilate each other. John took possession of the temple. Simon besieged him; blood was streaming in the temple and in the streets. Only when the battle-din of the Romans was heard from without, did the hostile factions unite, go to meet the enemy, and resist his attack. As the famine increased, many Jews secretly left the city to seek for herbs. But Titus captured them with his cavalry, and crucified those who were armed. Nearly five hundred men, and sometimes more, were every day crucified in sight of the city, so that there could not be found enough of crosses and places of execution; but even this terrible sight did not move the Jews to submission. Incited by their leaders to frenzy, they obstinately resisted, and Titus finding it impossible to take the city by storm, concluded to surround it by walls in order to starve the inhabitants. In three days his soldiers built a wall of about ten miles in circumference, and thus the Saviour’s prediction was fulfilled: Thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side.
The famine in this unfortunate city now reached its most terrific height; the wretched inhabitants searched the very gutters for food, and ate the most disgusting things. A woman, ravenous from hunger, strangled her own child, roasted it, and ate half of it; the leaders smelling the horrible meal, forced a way into the house, and by terrible threats compelled the woman to show them what she had eaten; she handed them the remaining part of the roasted child, saying.: “Eat it, it is my child; I presume you are not more dainty than a woman, or more tender than a mother.” Stricken with horror they rushed from the house. Death now carried away thousands daily, the streets and the houses were full of corpses: From the fourteenth of April when the siege commenced. to the first of July, there were counted one hundred and fifty-eight thousand dead bodies; six hundred thousand others were thrown over the walls into the trenches to save the city from infection. All who could flee, fled; some reached the camp of the Romans in safety; Titus spared the helpless, but all who fell into his hands armed, were crucified. Flight offered no better security. The Roman soldiers had learned that many Jews had swallowed, gold to secure it from the avarice of the robbers, and therefore the stomachs of many were cut open. Two thousand such corpses were found one morning in the camp of the Romans. The attempts of Titus to prevent this cruelty were unavailing. Finally, when misery had reached its height, Titus succeeded in carrying the fort, Antonia, and with his army forced a passage as far as the temple which had been held by John of Gischala with his famous band. Desirous of saving the temple, Titus offered the revolutionists free passage from it, but his proposition was rejected, and the most violent contest then raged; the Romans trying to enter the temple, and being continually repulsed, at last, one of the soldiers seized a firebrand, and threw it into one of the rooms attached to the temple. The flames in an instant caught the whole of the inner temple, and totally consumed it, so that this prediction of our Lord was also fulfilled. The Romans butchered all the inhabitants whom they met, and Titus having razed the ruins of the temple and city, ploughed it over, to indicate that this city was never to be rebuilt. During the siege one million one hundred thousand Jews lost their lives; ninety-seven thousand were sold as slaves, and the rest of the people dispersed over the whole earth.
Thus God punished the impenitent city and nation, over whose wretchedness the Saviour wept so bitterly, and thus was fulfilled the prediction made by Him long before.
What do we learn from this?
That as this prediction so also all other threats and promises of the Saviour will be fulfilled. The destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jews, are historical facts which cannot be denied, and testify through all centuries to the truth of our Lord’s word: Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matt. XXIV. 35.)
USEFUL LESSONS CONCERNING DEATH-BED REPENTANCE
Can a sinner rely upon his being converted at the end of his life?
By no means, for this would be a sin against the mercy of God which is much the same as the sin against the Holy Ghost. “God,” says St. Augustine, “generally so punishes such negligent sinners, that in the end they forget themselves, as in health they forgot Him.” He says: They have turned their back to me, and not their face: and in the time of their affliction they will say: Arise, and deliver us! Where are the gods whom thou hast made thee? Let them arise and deliver thee in the time of thy affliction. (Jer. II. 27-28.) And although we have a consoling example in the case of the penitent thief, yet this, as St. Augustine says, is only one, that the sinner may not despair: and it is only one, so that the sinner may have no excuse for his temerity in putting off his repentance unto the end.
What may we hope of those who are converted at the close of life?
Everything that is good if they be truly converted, but this is a very rare thing, as St. Augustine says: “It cannot be asserted with any security, that he who repents at the end has forgiveness;” and St. Jerome writes: “Scarcely one out of thousands whose life was impious, will truly repent at death and obtain forgiveness of sin;” and St. Vincent Ferrer says, “For a man who has lived an impious life to die a good death is a greater miracle than the raising of the dead to life.” We need not be surprised at this, for repentance at the end of life is extorted by the fear of death and the coming judgment. St. Augustine says, that it is not he who abandons sin, but sin abandons him, for he would not cease to offend God, if life were granted him. What can we expect from such a conversion?
When should we repent?
While we are in health, in possession of our senses and strength, for according to the words of St. Augustine, the repentance of the sick is a sickly repentance. As experience proves, man while ill is so tormented and bewildered by the pains of sickness and the fear of death, by remorse of conscience, and the temptations of the devil as well as by anxiety for those whom he leaves, that he can scarcely collect his thoughts, much less fit himself for true repentance. Since it is so hard for many to do penance while they are in health, and have nothing to prevent them from elevating their mind to God, how much more difficult will it be for them, when the body is weakened and tortured by the pains of sickness. It has been made known by many persons when convalescent, that they retained not the slightest recollection of anything which occurred during their illness, and although they confessed and received the last Sacraments, they did not remember it. If then you have committed a grievous sin, do not delay to be reconciled as soon as possible by contrition and a sacramental confession. Do not put off repentance from day to day, for thereby conversion becomes more difficult, so much so that without extraordinary grace from God, you cannot repent God does not give His grace to the presumptuous scoffer.