Although the World and large sections of the Church may to-day lie in darkness, we are not, and shall not, be engulfed in it. ‘The light shineth in the darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it’ (Jn. 1.5). As St. Paul writes (I Thess. 5. 4-8): ‘But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. For all you are the children of light and children of the day: we are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do: but let us watch, and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that are drunk, are drunk in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, having on the breast-plate of faith and charity, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation.’
We shall not be engulfed in the darkness of the World, no, but we will occupy ourselves with the business of our salvation. In so doing we shall also be the light of the world to those around us, as Our Blessed Lord commands us, and as St. Paul states (Phil. 2.15): ‘That you may be blameless and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation: among whom you shine as lights in the world’.
We conclude this essay with a quotation from perhaps the most profound book on the Roman Rite: ‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’ by the Revd. Dr. Nikolaus Gihr, Herder 1938, (Bk.1 ch.3 a.3, s.2, p.226), a quotation which should inspire in us the self-same Christian sentiments:
‘No pen is able to describe the ardent zeal, the generosity, the energy, the purity of heart and greatness of soul, the magnanimity and meekness, the patience and self-denial – in short, the spirit and love of sacrifice which have flowed forth from the altar for more than eighteen centuries, and made of millions of the children of the Church living holy sacrifices, pleasing unto God (Rom. 12,1).
We too should aspire to be of the number of these her good children, who constitute her crown and joy (Phil. 4,1); we should make ourselves a sacrifice unto God and for our fellow-men by leading a life pure and chaste, active and patient, devout and charitable – a life of sacrifice. Can the life of the true children of God and of the Church in an anti-Christian age and in a world estranged from God be anything than a life of continual sacrifice? ‘All that will live godly in Christ, shall suffer persecution’ (2. Tim. 3,12).
Only in the glow of fire does incense exhale its sweet odours, only in the crucible does gold acquire its purity and lustre; thus also must we be tested, purified and proved in the crucible of suffering and tribulation, that the fruitful seeds of virtue may blossom in us, and that we may attain eternal joy and glory.
In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Don Pietro Leone
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.