These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. (John xvi. i.)
How is scandal given?
By speaking, doing or omitting that which will be to others an occasion of sin. Scandal is given in different ways, for instance: if you dress improperly, speak improper words, or sing bad songs, by which you can see, that your neighbor will be tempted to think, desire, or act wrongly; or what is worse, if you act sinfully in the presence of others, or bring bad books, books against good morals, or against the holy faith, among people; if you incite others to anger, cursing, and' vengeance, or if you prevent them from attending church, the sermon, or catechetical instruction, &c. In all these things you become guilty of scandal, as well as of all the sins to which it gives rise.
If at the Last Judgment we will be unable to give an account of our own sins, how then can we answer for the innumerable sins caused by the scandal we have given? Therefore Christ pronounces a terrible woe upon those who give scandal. Woe to that man, He says, by whom the scandal cometh! It were better for him, that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matt, xviii.)
How do parents give scandal?
By giving their children bad example; by excessive anger, cursing and swearing; by avarice, injustice and cheating; by discord and quarrels; by gluttony in eating and drinking; by extravagance and vanity in dress; by sneering at religion, good morals, &c.; by not keeping their children from evil company, but sometimes even bringing them into it; by not punishing and endeavoring to eradicate their children's vices. How much parents sin through such scandals, cannot be expressed; at the Day of Judgment their children will be their accusers!
How do masters give scandal to their servants and those under their care?
In the same way as parents do to their children; bykeeping them away from, or not urging them by their own example or command to attend church on Sundays and holydays; by giving them meat on fast-days; by commanding them to do sinful things, such as stealing, injuring others, &c.
INSTRUCTION ON PREPARATION FOR PENTECOST
1. We should withdraw, after the example of the Blessed Virgin and the apostles, to some solitary place, or at least avoid, intercourse with others, as much as possible; speak but little, and apply ourselves to earnest and persevering prayer; for in solitude God speaks to man.
2. We should purify our conscience by a contrite confession, become reconciled to our neighbor, if we have lived in enmity; for the Holy Ghost, as a spirit of peace and purity, lives only in pure and peaceful souls. (Ps. LK.XV 3.)
3. We should give alms according to our means, for it is said in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts x.) of the Gentile centurion Cornelius, that by prayer and alms-deeds he made himself worthy of the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
4. We should fervently desire to receive the Holy Ghost, and should give expression to this longing by frequent aspirations to God, making use of the prayer: "Come. O Holy Ghost, &c."
- Goffine's Devout Instruction, Imprimatur 1888 -