Source: Whom the Lord Loveth, Imprimatur 1919 ~ Father Brisson ~
As the priest reverently, devoutly, and lovingly gathers up from the paten the tiniest particles of the Host, so should you gather up all the thorns, the trials and the sufferings you meet on your way, to put them in the chalice of love along with the Precious Blood of the Saviour.
Source: Whom the Lord Loveth, Imprimatur 1919 ~ Father Brisson ~
Learn to suffer and to be silent if you wish to live in peace and to attain to great virtue.
- St. John of the Cross -
Source: Whom the Lord Loveth, Imprimatur 1919
What is death? It is but the leap of a child springing into his Father's arms.
- Father Tesnieres, SSS., D.D. -
Source: Whom the Lord Loveth, Imprimatur 1919
When we feel us too faint, remember Christ's strength. In our fear, let us remember Christ's painful agony that Himself would (for our comfort) suffer before His passion, to the intent that no fear should make us despair.
Blessed Thomas More
Source: Whom the Lord Loveth, Imprimatur 1919
“Be not seduced: evil conversations corrupt good morals” (I Cor. 15. 33).
Impurity being in itself so shameful, it would seem that no one would venture to take delight in conversing thereon, or in listening to such conversations. But there are shameless persons who find great pleasure in such conversations and even in the singing of obscene songs. Those who speak and sing about obscene things are guilty of giving scandal, and deserve to be called seducers of the innocent.
1. The scandal of such conversations and songs is almost irreparable. It is calculated to seduce and corrupt the young, the innocent. These discourses, these songs palliate the malice and shamefulness of the vice of impurity in a seductive and enticing manner, and by means of obscene jokes and anecdotes, words of double meaning and suggestive allusions, awaken impure representations, which afford the wicked food for sensual gratification, and instruct the innocent in the ways of vice, and corrupt their hearts and their morals. The sharper the dagger, the deeper the wound, and the more refined and suggestive such conversations or allusions, or songs, the more apt they are to deeply impress and take root in the minds and imaginations of the young.
“His words are smoother than oil, and the same are darts” (Ps. 54. 22).
Whatever is apt to inspire pleasure in impurity cannot be said or sung, or willfully listened to without grievous sin, without scandal. Those who speak of or sing about such matters have either a bad intention or a bad habit. If the former, they are seducers, scandal-givers, the very agents of Satan for the ruin of souls. If the latter, they are bound to use efficient means to correct it; if they neglect doing so, they are equally guilty with those who do so with a bad intention. Words are the signs of thoughts as smoke is of fire.
“A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is good and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Luke 6. 45).
The evil man is devoid of shame; he openly professes wickedness; he has no fear of God, who hears and despises him; he has no conscience, for he is wholly indifferent to the bad effects he may produce in his hearers, and to the injury he may do the innocent. He knows he is doing wrong, for he dares not indulge in such filth when respectable persons are present.
“Of the fruits of a man’s mouth shall his belly be satisfied, and the off spring of his lips shall fill him. Death and life are in the power of the tongue; they that love it, shall eat the fruits thereof ” (Prov. 18. 20, 21).
No one can speak or sing about things obscene without having corresponding thoughts; no one can hear or listen to such conversations or songs without being reminded of the obscene things themselves. How difficult, especially for the young, to eradicate the thoughts awakened by such discourses and songs ! Most probably he who uses such language and sings such songs was led astray in the same way.
“A man killeth through malice, and when the spirit is gone forth, it shall not return, neither shall he call back the soul that is received” ( Wisd. 16. 14).
No matter how wicked are your companions, you can not be justified in using such language, for it arouses impure thoughts and entices to impurity.
“All uncleanness... let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints” (Eph. 5. 3).
No one is excepted from this rule, be they married or single, old or young, vicious or innocent! In the ashes of burnt wood there is still fire, and he who lows thereon and lays fresh fuel on it, causes a fresh fire to spring up.
“Speech is a spark to move our heart” (Wisd. 2. 2). The pleasure those present take in listening to you is a sign of their susceptibility.
“I stick fast in the mire of the deep, and there is no sure (secure) standing” (Ps. 68. 3). “Shun profane and vain babblings, for they grow much towards ungodliness, and their speech spreads like a cancer” (2 Tim. 2. 16, 17).
There are gatherings in which only one word suffices to turn the conversation to the most obscene subjects, for “birds of a feather flock together.” One earnest Christian could easily put a stop to it! But
“let none of us go without his part in luxury; let us everywhere leave tokens of joy, for this is our portion, this our lot” (Wisd. 2. 9).
Every one is eager to pour a little more oil on the flames, and this all for fun! But “what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8. 37). No one can repair the injury done, for the evil impression is lasting, and the speaker cannot remove it by pious remarks or conversations, for he will only be laughed at! Perhaps by tears of pen ance? But he has led others astray! Bad words brought on bad thoughts in the innocent, then followed reflection, then curiosity, then passion, then pleasure, then desire, then occasion, then the deed followed by many others! The garment of innocence can never be mended. The wound is incurable! Perhaps the victim is now confirmed in lust, or has died in sin, after leading others astray as he himself had been. You have perhaps amended your life, but the harm you have done your neighbor can never be repaired.
“Their tongue is like a piercing arrow” (Jer. 9. 8).
2. He who approvingly listens to obscene conversations and songs, is already seduced, because he listens in silence, instead of preventing them; he listens willfully, instead of shunning them; and soon he will join in them, instead of being ashamed of them. Such language is, in some manner, worse than the evil deeds which infuse shame into those who commit them, whilst obscene talk excites the imagination; the deeds shock, but the words please and cause those present to drink in the poison as a delicious beverage! Who are guilty of a culpable silence in this matter? Parents, superiors, those in authority, influential persons. To them God says: “I will require his blood from thy hand” (Ezech. 3. 18). But I do not want to be impolite! Blessed is he who is not ashamed of Jesus Christ, who has the moral courage to remonstrate against such filth! You are bound to avoid the company of those who are wont to converse about obscene matters, whenever it is possible for you to do so. Do like Joseph, fleeing from the seducer! But if you cannot keep away, because you have to work among such a crowd, then if they show their sinfulness, show your virtue by taking no part in the conversation, by not willfully listening to it. Beware of joining them in their laughter!
Could you laugh if some one were threatening your life? They are threatening the life of your soul! Your pleased countenance would show the direction of your heart. Remember you cannot serve two masters. When obscene conversations are going on around you, remember that you must not find therein any matter for joking, for a pastime, for any laughter! “He who takes pleasure in the words,” says St. Jerome, “is not far from the deed.” Act like St. Bernardine of Siena in his youth, for his companions, when they saw him coming, would warn each other to cease speaking of obscene subjects. Imitate the youth St. Stanislaus, who was so horrified when an impure word or allusion was uttered in his presence that he would faint away.
3. Evil effects of obscene conversations and songs. In the first place, they are the ruin of good morals, for they rob the young of their innocence, which is the foundation of good morals; they corrupt the principles, which should be the rule of good morals. Secondly, they implant bad morals by robbing the hearers of modesty, which is the safeguard of purity; they make a beaten track to evil company, infuse a love for vice, by making it appear delightful, so that the formerly innocent soon become adepts in vicious practices!
“How is the gold become dim, the finest color is changed, and the stones of the sanctuary at the corners of every street?” (Lament. 4. i). Formerly that person was so reserved, but is now so impudent; she was so shy of every look, now she is accustomed to obscene language; formerly she was so bashful in presence of one of the other sex, but now how free, how unrestrained, how dissipated! Formerly she considered such freedom of language so sinful, but now looks upon it as a pleasant pastime. Her ears are accustomed to obscenity, her eyes seek it, her tongue utters and sings it, and the more licentious it is, the more her heart enjoys it. Her first fall has been followed by many others, and the evil has taken deep root.
What is once morally rotten, usually remains rotten! Woe to the seducer! Woe to the seduced! “The evil man obeyeth an unjust tongue, and the deceitful hearkeneth to lying lips” (Prov. 17. 4). “The impure tongue is an open tomb” (Ps. 5. 11). Woe to them during their life! All the good despise them as impure beasts, as attacked by a disgusting contagious disease, as agents of Satan! For them there is no more consolation, no more honorable pleasure or supernatural hope! Their life shall be filled with bitter moments, their conscience with frightful reproaches, their soul with sad memories! Woe to them in death, for terrible will be their remorse! Woe to them at judgment!
The seducer shall then hear cries of vengeance from the parents whose children he corrupted, from the guardian angels of these little ones, from the blood of Jesus Christ which he has rendered vain for so many souls, and from the souls he has led astray !
“Set a watch to my mouth, and a door round about my lips” (Ps. 140. 3).
Source: Sermon Matter, Imprimatur 1915
First Point.—Under the figure of the father of the family who goes out early in the morning to engage laborers for his vineyard, it is easy to recognize God, the common Father of all men. By the agency of His ministers or by the secret promptings of grace He does not cease to call us to Himself, and entreats us to labor in His vineyard, that is to say, in the cultivation of our soul. If the vineyard in which the father of the family sends his workmen represents a figure of the soul, it is in accordance with the word of God itself. In fact, everywhere in Holy Scripture we find that God claims our souls as His domain. And this is, after all, only just, since we belong to Him by the most legitimate titles. Is it not He who has formed us with His own hands? Is it not from Him that we hold all that we have and all that we are ? And not content with having created our soul and enriched it with the most magnificent gifts, God has reconquered it from the demon by redeeming it with His blood; hence we belong to Him by the triple right of birth, conquest, and love. The soul thus redeemed God places in our keeping; it is a trust He has confided to us; it is the field which He commands us to cultivate and make fruitful for Him.
If the field of our soul remain sterile, this fault cannot be imputed to the Father of the family, since He has done for her all He could do. He has placed her in the bosom of the Church, where she receives the abundance of graces which God does not cease to pour out on this blessed soil; He surrounds her with the sacraments, and she participates in all the benefits which Jesus has merited by His death. She has been overwhelmed by every kind of grace and enriched by every blessing. Can she ask of God anything more? In confiding to us the culture of a land thus prepared, has He not the right to expect some fruit in return? Here reflect seriously on yourself; recall the graces you have hitherto received, all the means of sanctification which have been lavished on you, and ask yourself what return you have made ?
Second Point.—The different hours at which the father of the family sends the laborers to his vineyard
mark the different ages at which we give ourselves to the service of God: infancy, youth, mature years, and old age. At all times of our life, the Father of the human race, our first, our truest Father, comes to us to urge us to labor for our sanctification. He it is who always makes the first advances. He goes out to seek us in the public place, that is to say, in the midst of the dissipation's of life, in the tumult of business, in the pleasures of the world. Our very faults do not discourage Him; however great they may be, still His merciful goodness extends a pardon to us, and even urges us to merit it. He exhorts us to labor for our sanctification by the words which His ministers address by us the religious objects which He exposes to our view; by the examples of virtue of which He makes us witnesses; by the disgrace with which He afflicts us; by the sudden deaths with which He visits our imitators and, perhaps, the accomplices of our sins; in a word, by all the circumstances with which He does not cease to surround us He especially exhorts us by the different sentiments which He excites within us. Have no doubt about it: these pious promptings, which you experience, these holy thoughts which are suggested from time to time to your mind, this remorse which troubles you, the inquietude's, which disturb you at the remembrance of your sins—these are all so many inspirations which God sends you and so many exhortations which He addresses you If hitherto you have remained deaf to His invitations you have reason to fear lest He cease to call you and, as it were, pursue you. Do not persevere in a resistance which may be fatal to you; cease to offer your refusal to His tenderness, and have for your soul as much pity as He Himself has for it.
Third Point.-The evening at last had come, and the father of the family said to his steward. "Call the laborers and pay them their hire beginning from the last even to the first. " When the evening of life shall come-that solemn moment when our labors shall have terminated and the recompense shall begin—we shall appear before the Steward, before Jesus, who has been appointed by His Father the Judge of the living and the dead. The soul at her departure from the body, in which she has so long been enclosed, shall see herself suddenly transported to the foot of the supreme tribunal, and the state in which she is found at that moment shall fix her lot for eternity. She shall be for all eternity either adorned and brilliant by the virtues with which she is enriched, or she shall be stained, disfigured, and punished for the sins with which she is covered.
And, perhaps, you are surprised to see the Master of the vineyard giving to all the laborers the same recompense,—the same to those who have labored only an hour as to those who have borne the heat and the burdens of the day. This is a warning which Jesus gives us. He would teach us that God shall dispense His recompense, not according to the time engaged, but according to the fervor which has been brought to the work. He regards the quality rather than the quantity of the labor; He weighs the work instead of counting it. Oh, happy are they who from their early youth have borne the yoke of the Lord; they certainly have great advantages; but, at last, the time of labor can also be rewarded because of the devotion which has been given. The traveler who starts on his journey too late may, by hastening, reach and even pass him who started early in the morning and who walked slowly. And this also explains these other words of the Father of the family, viz.: " The first shall be last and the last shall be first. " Our divine Saviour does not wish us to understand that they who begin late in the service of God shall, therefore, precede those who shall have served Him early. Far from us this thought which is so injurious to divine justice and wisdom, and which should be calculated to encourage a delay of conversion so severely condemned. The sense of these words is, simply, that among those who are last in the order of their vocation very many shall become first in the order of glory that we shall see sinners converted, more penetrated by humility, more inflamed by charity than certain just men; and that they who shall have labored for their salvation but a short time, and more effectively, shall surpass those who shall have labored a longer time, but with less zeal and ardor. O my God, how long Thou hast already called me and I have always resisted the voice of Thy grace.
Today Thou callest me still, and I wish to profit by this new appeal to labor in Thy vineyard, that is to say, for my salvation, with promptitude, since I have lost so much time; with fidelity, since all my moments belong to Thee; with perseverance since the recompense is given only to those who labor until evening has come; with courage to repair the lost time; with fervor, since Thy recompense shall be measured, not by the time spent in Thy service, but by the ardor with which it shall be accomplished.
Source: Short Instructions for Every Sunday of the Year and the Principal Feasts, Imprimatur 1897
THE parable of the cockle mingled with the good grain in the field of the father of the family, . . . furnishes us an occasion of meditating on the mingling of the good and the bad in the Church of Jesus Christ. Consider how some become bad, why God allows the association of the good and the wicked, what duties devolve on you, and how this mixture of good and bad shall terminate.
First Point. — How men become wicked. We cannot accuse God as the cause of this mingling of good and bad which afflicts the Church so much; every sinner must accuse himself only for his perversions. God has done everything for us that we should be good and virtuous. Not to mention here the sacrifice of the cross, which has been the principle of all justice and every virtue worthy of the name, how many graces have followed for us? Grace of the sacraments, grace of holy inspiration, grace of instruction and good example. There has been no admixture; yet after all this the servants of the good master were obliged to say: "Master, have you not sown good grain in your field? How comes it we find cockle there?" Was ever reply more just? "It is my enemy that has done this." Yes, the demon, ever hostile to Jesus, and the passions ever hostile to our happiness — these are the enemies whose artifices and cruel influence we must always fear. And how does the demon come to pervert even the most virtuous hearts and subject them to his rule? Jesus Himself tells us; he comes in the night, and as a thief. Well does Satan know that, if he presented sin in its true colors to an innocent soul, he should be surely rejected; therefore he presents it under a deceitful color and as if in the night. He persuades us that this thought, this doubt, this society, this association is most innocent, and under the pretext of that pretended innocence we yield and insensibly entangle ourselves in his snares. The evil which is the consequence of our want of foresight is not perceived at once, but it is not the less real. Thus the cockle while it is only in the germ does not appear, but after its growth it saddens our heart. We must constantly watch and be on our guard, if we would protect our hearts from the first attacks of evil; every temptation is easily rejected at the outset, but once let it enter the soul, it will be a difficult thing to drive it out. Therefore it is our blessed Saviour gives us this advice, to which we cannot be too faithful: "Watch," not indeed to hinder the temptation: that is impossible; but "lest you enter into temptation" — that is, not to allow it to enter your heart.
Second Point — Why does God allow this mingling of the good and the wicked? It is through His bounty for sinners; the tolerance which God manifests for them is a marvel of His mercy. '*The long patience of God" says St. Paul, " invites sinners to repentance." Isaias says "it is to pardon them that he awaits them; and the prophet Ezechiel adds: "God does not wish the death of a sinner, but that he may be converted and live." We cannot but admire here the unspeakable goodness of God. If divine justice had struck you when you were under the yoke of sin, where would you be now? Alas, even in this very moment where would you go, if the Supreme Judge came to demand the account which you must one day render? With regard to the just, their mingling with sinners serves for their sanctification. It is in persecutions that virtue is purified; it is in temptations it is strengthened; virtue must be exercised if it shall become sustaining. The trials of every kind to which the wicked subject the good keep them in continual activity and hinder them from growing weary in well-doing. Virtue is never more beautiful than when it is victorious over illusions, seductions, bad examples, contempt, threats, and the persecutions of the world, which are always anxious to corrupt and desirous of being corrupted.
Third Point — What should our conduct be with regard to sinners? The tolerance which God man- ifests towards them must oblige us to tolerate them also, and to treat them with sweetness and indul- gence. And by what right could you reject those whom God Himself tolerates? Perhaps this impious one or that sinner, whose conduct is revolting to you, may be destined to become a vessel of election. Perhaps these sinners may be called to a higher sanctity than you whose indiscreet severity would hurl anathemas against them. Alas ! you who have such great need of indulgence, how can you show such little indulgence to others? A second duty towards sinners is to labor as much as you can for their conversion. There are two means to attain this desirable end, and the first is our own example. This means is, the first of all, the most efficacious and most free from all inconvenience. We should give to sinners a salutary horror for vice by the sight of our own virtues, and by seeing what we are they shall learn to blush for what they are. The second means to convert the wicked is prayer. The prayers of the just shall procure for them the grace of conversion. To the prayers of St. Stephen and St. Monica the Church is indebted for her two great lights — St. Paul and St. Augustine. God wishes only to pardon and to bless, but His mercy must be implored by the prayers of the just. By the mouth of His prophet He tells us: " I have sought a man who shall stand between My justice and the sinner, to arrest My arm, but I have not found him." Make it your duty to interpose between God and so many sinners who are rushing blindly to the abyss; this should be a sweet duty to discharge when it is a question of obtaining the conversion of a friend or the salvation of a father So or a mother. How can you refuse to procure for yourself a joy so worthy of a Christian heart?
Fourth Point — How shall the mingling of the good and bad terminate? By the chastisement of the wicked and the recompense of the good. " At the time of the harvest, I shall say to the reapers, Gather up first the cockle and bind it in bundles to burn, but the wheat, gather into my barn." Behold the destiny of both: strive to comprehend the consequences, first with regard to sinners. The words of the parable alone suffice to make you appreciate the rigorous chastisement which awaits them. The time of the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. In the harvest time the cockle is gathered and given to the flames, and so the Son of man, at the end of the world, shall send His angels, who shall take from His kingdom all scandalous sinners and those who have committed iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire, where "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'' Behold the frightful destiny of the wicked. But oh, how much the destiny of the just is to be en- vied! Jesus Himself says: "Then the just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." He then adds: "He that has ears to hear, let him hear." O my God, who is there that shall not be awak- ened from sleep, in reflecting on these great truths? Let the impious and libertine close their ears, lest they should hear, but it shall be their own folly and misfortune.
For myself I ask, O my God, a docile heart to profit by such an important lesson. Detach my heart from all that is transitory, that I may comprehend and taste what is eternal. Ah, Lord, grant that Thy justice may terrify me, that Thy goodness may assure me, that Thy law may be my rule, and that, walking here below in Thy light, I may attain, one day, to Thy glory.
Source: Short Instructions for Every Sunday of the Year and the Principal Feasts, Imprimatur 1897
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