Good Samaritan

Each one of us has his own interpretation of the Good Samaritan parable.  Taking off from what the Church Fathers taught about it, I am going to expand on it for us Catholics trying to be holy, but often falling into sin.

 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.  Luke 10:30-35.

Good Samaritan_LOTH, Johann KarlThe man who fell among robbers is Adam and the robbers are the devil and his angeles who stripped him of grace, peace and dignity.  They left him deeply wounded with the effects of his sin, (concupiscence) and barely alive with God’s friendship and life.

The priest and levite represent the Old Law which cannot heal, but only lets you know what is wrong.  Christ is the Samaritan who takes the old man Adam, (all of us before baptism), and anoints us with the oil/chrism of Baptism and pours the wine of His Blood at the Holy Mass into our souls to heal their wounds.  The inn keeper is Jesus’ priest, to whom he has entrusted the taking care of souls in the inn of His Church.322px-Church_Saint_Ouen+

We have much to learn about this parable for our own good.  First we need to remember that the devil, other demons, our bad family members and friends are waiting to rob us of sanctifying grace and to wound our souls.  Every time we seriously sin, the robbers do deep damage to our soul and our lives.  They also rob us of our dignity and peace, so that we no longer feel like children of God.  Then we have to recover, and it takes time and the problems our sin has caused are still there.

God is a loving, merciful God who will forgive us every time we are truly sorry and confess with a firm intention of not sinning anymore.  We turn to holy priests and holy friends who can help us as we begin to heal from our folly.  the-holy-sacrifice-of-the-mass2

But we do also want to learn our lesson.  Been there, done that, and I do not want to do it again.  That means making all precautions to never traveling on that dangerous road again where the robbers are waiting for us.  From now on we will be very careful to only travel with holy friends and to avoid anyone, anything or action that will lead us into sin.  Hopefully we will learn our lesson quickly, stay close to Jesus and Mary, go often to confessions and reception of the Holy Eucharist.

Traditional Catholic Duties 2 Obedience

Continuation of the duties of all Catholic Christians toward God’s Holy Church as well as the secular society using primarily the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard.

St._Peter's_Basilica_Rome_ItalyObedience. – Every Christian owes to the Supreme Head of the Church, in that which concerns his divine mission, an obedience when it comes to his governing of the Church and teaching the 2000 year old Catholic faith.  If not, there is the risk of becoming guilty of rebellion or of heresy: “if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.” (Matt. 18:17).

Even when against civil rulings (which in such cases have neither authority nor jurisdiction) the Christian owes filial obedience to Canon Law, to the Papal Bulls, to the decrees and decisions of the Holy Roman Church, which are but the voice, the law, the teaching office of the Sovereign Pontiff. This holds true even in cases when civil laws may oppose ecclesial ones (in such cases the secular authority acts unjustly and therefore those particular precepts have neither authority nor jurisdiction).

The obedient Christian goes beyond the letter of the law and of authority. He considers the intention of the legislator,  whose counsels are orders. He wants in all things to think, speak, and act as his fathers in the Faith have always thought, spoken, and acted.

This same obedience is also rendered to the Bishop as the Shepherd closest to us, when he transmits, in all their purity and genuineness, the teachings of the Church, the infallible word of Peter; who keeps watch over the deposit of Faith, the integrity of morals, and the strict observance of the divine and ecclesiastical laws; and who holds the powers to legislate and teach in matters of doctrine and morals.

We owe again this same obedience to our immediate Pastor in the discharge of his pastoral office. The Bishop and the Pope, obedient to God, are to govern us through him. He has to give God an account of all the souls entrusted to him. The faithful sheep of the fold follow their Pastor; they know his voice and they obey him.  

p_download_bodypart.aspAssistance. A child owes assistance to his aging or needy parents; the honorable son not only recognizes this grave duty, but delights in it. He finds order and happiness in fulfilling this duty. The Christian owes assistance to the priest of Jesus Christ, his father in the Faith, and the minister of the Most Holy Eucharist. Christian sentiment would revolt at the mere thought of a Pastor’s not having even the bread of charity and the assistance usually given to the needy.

The faithful, however, should assist their pastor especially in their works of zeal for the salvation of souls, in what concerns the decorum and dignity of the articles of worship and in the Christ-like care of the sick. Insofar as their state of life permits and within the sphere of their legitimate influence, the faithful also assist the Church in the propagation and defense of the one true Faith and all of the Church’s venerable and holy Tradition. These works, under the direction and the grace of the priesthood, are truly apostolic and consistently productive of good.

The ungodly pool their strength for evil purposes; the good should do as much for sacred purposes. To the associations of evil men who are becoming so powerful, we must oppose with the associations of faithful souls. An isolated effort for good is too weak, and it dies out with the one that starts it. 

But to which works should we devote ourselves in preference to others? To Catholic works, to those which have the approval of the Church, and which the priesthood inspires and blesses; for error can easily creep in under cover of pious works, and even disguise itself as piety. When confronted with a work, we must first look into its legitimacy, whether it comes from the Church, whether it is faith-inspired, and whether its end, and the means employed, are truly Christian. A work that is only human or philanthropic, that limits itself to the body, to matters of this world only, is a work for a philosopher or a humanist, but not for a Christian.

But among works, we must devote ourselves more to those that give greater glory to God, that have as their direct object the honoring of His divine Persons, the exaltation and recognition of the rights of His kingship. For the divine Head of the Church must have in everything the first-fruits of our service and devotion.

BESIDES HIS DUTIES toward His Majesty, Jesus Christ, towards Christ’s blessed Mother, the ever Virgin Mary, and towards Christ’s Spouse, the Church, the faithful Catholic has obligations toward “the least of Christ’s brethren,” that is, his fellow men and the society of which he is a part. As a member of a family, he has common duties to fulfill; as a member of society, he has relations to maintain; as a citizen, he has laws to obey.

Traditional Catholic Duties 1

Here is a summary of the duties of all Catholic Christians toward God’s Holy Church as well as the secular society using primarily the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard.stpetersbasilicavatican

EVERY CHRISTIAN has to fulfill towards the Church the four duties of the Fourth Commandment of God. As spiritual fatherhood is greater than physical fatherhood, so our duties towards the Church must enjoy primacy of honor and of fidelity.

Now, the Fourth Commandment directs us to honor our parents, to love them, to obey them, and to assist them in their needs: such are the duties of Christians towards the Pope, the bishops, and the priests, each according to the order of his dignity and of his mission in the Church.

Honor. – We must honor the Pope as the visible Vicar of Jesus Christ. He should be the Teacher of teachers, the Father of fathers, the Master of masters.  That is why he use to wear the tiara, the triple crown of Jesus Christ signifying ruler, sanctifier and prophet. To the Sovereign Pontiff, therefore, we owe sovereign honor and supreme respect; the Pope is to us in all our conduct what the Blessed Sacrament is to us in all our adoration. With the pope stands or falls Christianity. We are either papal or we are nothing.

Then to the Bishop, we owe high honor and profound respect; he should be the hand, the heart, the mouthpiece of the Pope, and of Jesus Christ; he is a successor of the apostles, seated on the steps of the pontifical throne and sharing in the spiritual royalty of the Sovereign Pontiff.

st-john-vianney-confessionTo the pastors, to the priests, we owe religious respect and angelical honors; they should be the “angels” of the New Testament, the ambassadors of heaven, the ministers of God.

To despise a faithful priest, is to sin against him, which is a sin against Jesus Christ Himself. He who despises you despises Me,” said the Savior. He has said through the Prophets: Lay no hand on them … servants anointed.” A violation of this command calls for the most terrible chastisements. For he who sins against the priest strikes at the teacher, the mainstay, the channel of Catholic Faith; and he is himself justly punished by the weakening and loss of faith.

And since, usually, there is no remission of sins without the priest, no Eucharist without the priesthood, and no charity without this fire which feeds it unceasingly, he who no longer believes in the priesthood is lost. That is why the enemies of Jesus Christ attack the members of His priesthood with such treachery and fury; they correctly perceive such an attack as a most effective means to paralyze the power of faith and destroy religion in the heart of the faithful.

The spiritual battle of the antichrist will center on the priesthood and the eternal Sacrifice, said the Prophet Daniel. This battle has already begun and is growing in intensity. Let the faithful, therefore, beware of the devilish stratagems of their enemies who, in order to destroy faith in their priests, never cease to point out their human frailties and, if need be, to calumniate them so as to render them despicable and an object of scandal to the faithful. Let the faithful close ranks around their faithful priests as around their spiritual commanders; let them defend their divine mission and honor their priesthood; let them, out of filial piety, overlook the failings of human nature to which Jesus Christ leaves His priests subject in order to keep them humble and to oblige the Christian to practice charity and to supernaturalize his faith; let them, out of sorrow, pray for those priests that have fallen.

085_StLawrenceOrdinationLove. – We love the mother that has given us life, the father that provides and protects, devoting himself to our good. Similarly, the Church is the Mother of our souls. She has brought us into the world for Jesus Christ amidst the sufferings of martyrdom. She gives us spiritual life; a life than no one can take away from us (one can only lose it by his own sins). She educates us for life eternal that through Jesus Christ we may share God’s very glory and happiness. As a tender and watchful Mother, She guides and sustains our steps amidst the perils and dangers of life, defends us against the attacks of our enemies, dresses our wounds, works and suffers with us; and She will not leave us until our eyes are closed to the light of day, our last words have crossed our dying lips, and our heart has stopped beating.

Then, taking our souls, She lifts them to the bosom of God, their Creator and Savior, after having purified and blessed them and clothed them with Her merits. Her love will even follow the soul to Purgatory; there She can still use Her power of expiation and of prayer. Her mission of salvation stops only at the gates of Heaven. Who can help loving such a good and tender Mother?

Who can also help respecting the Pope’s office, the common Father of the faithful, to whom Jesus Christ has allowed us to have? And who will refuse to the Bishops and priests, the shepherds of our souls, the filial piety that lightens their burden, formidable even to angels, that encourages their zeal, consoles them in their tribulations and comforts them in their sufferings? They are fathers, fathers of an immense family, fathers with no support other than the Divine Providence that has sent them into the world like Jesus Christ.