Sermon On Patience

I found this online and thought others might like to read it…


You may have heard this short prayer: “Lord, give me patience, but please hurry!” What is patience? It is a virtue which helps us, for the love of God, to calmly bear our tribulations and preserve serenity amid the sufferings of life. Patience tempers sorrow and staves off excessive anger and complaining. Patience is the guardian of all the virtues, for there are obstacles to be encountered in any good work, and they can be overcome only by patience.

Spiritual writers are not the only ones who attest to the importance of patience. An Englishman once asked William Pitt what quality was most essential for a Prime Minister. One person had said, “eloquence,” another “knowledge,” and yet another “hard work.” “No,” said Pitt, “it is patience or self-control” (In Pursuit of Perfection, Charles Hugo Doyle, p. 133).

Patience and self-control are never more sorely tested than in our daily sufferings. Suffering is common to all, but it is meritorious only if accepted with the proper dispositions. Fr. Balthazar Alvarez enumerates the five causes of suffering which try our patience:

1) Assault of the weather: extreme cold, excessive heat, violent storms, drought, high humidity, floods, earthquakes, etc. Such trials very often strengthen faith by recalling to mind the sovereign dominion of God.

2) The necessities of our weak human nature, such as fatigue, sickness, hunger, thirst, etc. God allows these so that we may do penance for our sins and increase our virtues. The ultimate of these sufferings is the sorrow caused by the death of a loved one — a grief which may last a lifetime.

3) Pain, irritation and frustration due to personality conflicts with others. God makes use of the weakness of others to test and strengthen our virtues.

4) Insults, contempt, opposition, false accusations and misunderstanding, which often cause mental anguish.

5) Spiritual sufferings that one encounters in the service of God, such as spiritual dryness, scruples, distractions, temptations and persecutions from the devil.

In all these cases, a wise person bravely accepts and carries his cross because it leads to eternal salvation. Not only that, it can even beget supernatural happiness in this life: “Esteem it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the trying of your faith begets patience.”2 The saints knew how to suffer with patience. They bravely and joyfully carried their crosses because they realized that the cross is God’s greatest gift. The saints knew that patience in tribulation is the main road to salvation.

God did not choose an angel to mediate between sinners and Himself. Rather, the Father sent the Son to suffer and die to redeem mankind. Unlike an angel, who could have compassion but not empathy for our condition, Jesus Christ assumed our human nature to share our wounds and sorrows. Never again could it be said that God does not know what suffering is like from personal experience. St. Jane Frances de Chantal explains how this empathic example of Our Lord can inspire us. Speaking of those who have offended us, she writes: “With whom did Jesus converse? With a traitor who sold Him at a cheap rate, with a thief who reviled Him in His last moments, with sinners and proud pharisees. And shall we, at every shadow of an affront or contradiction, show how little charity and patience we have?”

At times we take the easy way out and give up. It is in times like these that we need a “wake-up call.” When a sheep strays from the fold, the shepherd sends his dog after it, not to devour it, but to bring it back again. So our Heavenly Father, if any of His sheep stray away, setting out on the wrong path, sets His dogs of affliction to bring us home to a consideration of our duty towards Him. His dogs are poverty, sickness, death, war, and loss of material goods or friends.

Patience is exercised when we resign our will to the will of God and accept our crosses as coming from the hand of God for our welfare. Our individual burdens, whatever they may be, are God’s gift and have divine blessings for us, if we bear them in faith and love. When we call upon God for help, He will likely not take the load from our shoulders, but rather strengthen us to carry the burden. Patience does not necessarily exclude wishing for relief from suffering, but it does exclude murmuring about it. We need to pray and to exercise patience and courage in order to bear it.

It is easy to think that our troubles are greater than those of others. Yet a walk through the nearest hospital will soon dispel that illusion. Unless we are very self-centered and spiritually blind, we will leave the hospital counting our blessings and thanking God. Indeed, none of us has a monopoly on trouble. There is plenty to go around. There always has been.

The worldly view of suffering is misleading and dangerous; it is both irrational and irreligious. The world gives to suffering the consideration that really ought to be given to sin, regarding it as the supreme evil to be combatted at any cost, as the great enemy of mankind, and as something in which there is no particle of good or any mitigating circumstances. This view leads to strenuous efforts to abolish suffering, thereby making people less capable of enduring it and often causing their efforts to be wasted and misdirected.

The world values and seeks comfort, pleasure and status. What place have pain and poverty in such a scheme of life as this? What need is there, for the world’s purposes, of virtues such as patience, resignation, meekness, contentment, faith? It does not want to know about suffering or to make provision for it.

True patience is a difficult virtue to practice because of our selfishness and fear of the cross. It is difficult to preserve peace of soul in times of sickness, misfortune and stress. The pressure of many and onerous duties in our state of life often causes us to be impatient along with the fatigue of the battle.

The continued practice of patience will bring about a greater love for Christ and for our neighbor. We become more tolerant of others’ faults, more forgiving, and more ready to help others. This behavior will be supernaturally meritorious, of course, only in so far as we are united to Christ and draw our strength from Him. We must do our good actions for His honor and glory, otherwise, all this is purely natural and will quickly fade rather than grow stronger.

As with any virtue, patience and Christlikeness is attained by degrees. First, we must have a genuine and serious desire to acquire patience and this desire must be activated through daily prayer. Second, we must resolve to prevent small crosses and contradictions from destroying our peace of soul. St. Teresa said, “If we bear slight things patiently, we shall acquire courage and strength to bear great things.” Thirdly, meditation on the Passion of Christ will increase our love of God and arouse in us an earnest desire of imitation: “Christ has suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” St. Paul tells us to consider Christ “Who endured such opposition from sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”

The joy of serving God wells up in our hearts, enabling us, no matter how weak and timid we may seem to be, to carry the cross cheerfully and even triumphantly. A prime example took place in Paris during the horrors of the French Revolution:

“Condemned to the guillotine, a community of nuns was forced to pass through the abominable, storm-swept streets, where terror reigned supreme, to arrive at the place of their doom.

“The Sisters raised their serene voices, chanting the sublime hymn, ‘Veni Creator Spiritus.’ Never before, the listeners thought, had that anthem of majestic praise been so divinely sung — so much as if the chant of heaven itself had floated down and mingled with the melody. The celestial song did not cease when they ascended the stairs of the scaffold and the work of butchery went on. Voice after voice had to drop from the chorus as each nun bent under the blade, and at length one voice was heard alone sustaining the holy strain, with no faltering or cadence, even while the bloody blade fell and sealed the last martyr’s testimony. Over scaffolds and through blood, beset by slow sufferings and sharp tortures, continues the march of the followers of Our Lord, but, all the while, we will be sustained by the rations of His joy, and look gladly forward to His promised gift when the night cometh and we lay down our arms in the kingdom of heaven.”

MALICE OF MORTAL SIN – St. Alphonsus

” Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 1 LUKE ii. 48.

MOST holy Mary lost her Son for three days: during that time she wept continually for having lost sight of Jesus, and did not cease to seek after him till she found him. How then does it happen that so many sinners not only lose sight of Jesus, but even lose his divine grace; and instead of weeping for so great a loss, sleep in peace, and make no effort to recover so great a blessing? This arises from their not feeling what it is to lose God by sin.

Some say: I commit this sin, not to lose God, but to enjoy this pleasure, to possess the property of another, or to take revenge of an enemy. They who speak such language show that they do not understand the malice of mortal sin. What is mortal sin? First Point. It is a great contempt shown to God. Second Point. It is a great offence offered to God.

First Point ~ Mortal sin is a great contempt shown to God.

1. The Lord calls upon Heaven and Earth to detest the ingratitude of those who commit mortal sin, after they had been created by him, nourished with his blood, and exalted to the dignity of his adopted children. ”Hear, O ye Heavens, and give ear, Earth; for the Lord hath spoken. I have brought up children _ and exalted them; but they have despised me.” (Isa. i. 2.) Who is this God whom sinners despise?; He is a God of infinite majesty, before whom all the kings of the Earth and all the blessed in Heaven are less than a drop of water or a grain of sand. As a drop of a bucket, . . . as a little dust. ” (Isa. xl. 15.)

In a word, such is the majesty of God, that in his presence all creatures are as if they did not exist. ”All nations are before him as if they had no being at all.” (Ibid. xl. 17.) And what is man, who insults him? St. Bernard answers: ”Saccus vermium, cibus vermium.” A heap of worms, the food of worms, by which he shall be devoured in the grave. ”Thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Apoc. iii. 17.) He is so miserable that he can do nothing, so blind that he knows nothing, and so poor that he possesses nothing. And this worm dares to despise a God, and to provoke his wrath. ”Vile dust,” says the same saint, ”dares to irritate such tremendous majesty.”

Justly, then, has St. Thomas asserted, that the malice of mortal sin is, as it were, infinite: ”Peccatum habet quandam infinitatem malitiae ex infinitatem divine majestatis.” (Par. 3, q. 2, a. 2, ad. 2.) And St. Augustine calls it an infinite evil. Hence Hell and a thousand Hells are not sufficient chastisement for a single mortal sin.

2. Mortal sin is commonly defined by theologians to be”a turning away from the immutable good.” St. Thom., par. 1, q. 24, a. 4; a turning ones back on the sovereign good. Of this God complains by his prophet, saying: ”Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord; thou art gone backward. ” (Jer. xv. 6.) Ungrateful man, he says to the sinner, I would never have separated myself from thee; thou hast been the first to abandon me: thou art gone backwards; thou hast turned thy back upon me.

3. He who contemns the divine law despises God; because he knows that, by despising the law, he loses the divine grace. “By transgression of the law, thou dishonourest God.” (Rom. ii. 23.) God is the Lord of all things, because he has created them. ”All things are in thy power… Thou hast made Heaven and Earth.” (Esth. xiii. 9.) Hence all irrational creatures the winds, the sea, the fire, and rain obey God, ”The winds and the sea obey him.” (Matt. viii. 27.)”Fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy winds, which fulfil his word.” (Ps. cxlviii. 8.)

But man, when he sins, says to God: Lord, thou dost command me, but I will not obey; thou dost command me to pardon such an injury, but I will resent it; thou dost command me to give up the property of others, but I will retain it; thou dost wish that I should abstain from such a forbidden pleasure, but I will indulge in it. ”Thou hast broken my yoke, thou hast burst my bands, and thou saidst: I will not serve.” (Jer. ii. 20.)

In fine, the sinner when he breaks the command, says to God: I do not acknowledge thee for my Lord. Like Pharaoh, when Moses, on the part of God, commanded him in the name of the Lord to allow the people to go into the desert, the sinner answers: “Who is the Lord, that I should hear his voice, and let Israel go ?” (Exod. v. 2.)

4. The insult offered to God by sin is heightened by the vileness of the goods for which sinners offend him. ”Wherefore hath the wicked provoked God.” (Ps. x. 13.) For what do so many offend the Lord? For a little vanity; for the indulgence of anger; or for a beastly pleasure. ”They violate me among my people for a handful of barley and a piece of bread.” (Ezec. xiii. 19.) God is insulted for a handful of barley for a morsel of bread! God! why do we allow ourselves to be so easily deceived by the Devil?”There is,” says the Prophet Osee, “a deceitful balance in his hand.” (xii. 7.)

We do not weigh things in the balance of God, which cannot deceive, but in the balance of Satan, who seeks only to deceive us, that he may bring us with himself into Hell. ”Lord,” said David, ”who is like to thee ?” (Ps. xxxiv. 10.) God is an infinite good; and when he sees sinners put him on a level with some earthly trifle, or with a miserable gratification, he justly complains in the language of the prophet: ”To whom, have you likened me or made me equal? saith the Holy One.” (Isa. xl. 25.)

In your estimation, a vile pleasure is more valuable than my grace. Is it a momentary satisfaction you have preferred before me?”Thou hast cast me off behind thy back.” (Ezec. xxiii. 35.) Then, adds Salvian, ”there is no one for whom men have less esteem than for God.” (Lib. v., Avd. Avar.) Is the Lord so contemptible in your eyes as to deserve to have the miserable things of the Earth preferred before him?

5. The tyrant placed before St. Clement a heap of gold, of silver, and of gems, and promised to give them to the holy martyr if he would renounce the faith of Christ. The saint heaved a sigh of sorrow at the sight of the blindness of men, who put earthly riches in comparison with God. But many sinners exchange the divine grace for things of far less value; they seek after certain miserable goods, and abandon that God who is an infinite good, and who alone can make them happy.

Of this the Lord complains, and calls on the Heavens to be astonished, and on its gates to be struck with horror: ”Be astonished O ye Heavens, at this; and ye gates thereof, be very desolate, saith the Lord.” He then adds: ”For my people have done two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have digged to themselves cisterns broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jer. ii. 12 and 13.)

We regard with wonder and amazement the injustice of the Jews, who, when Pilate offered to deliver Jesus or Barabbas, answered: ”Not this man, but Barabbas.” (John xviii. 40.) The conduct of sinners is still worse; for, when the Devil proposes to them to choose between the satisfaction of revenge a miserable pleasure and Jesus Christ, they answer: “Not this man, but Barabbas.” That is, not the Lord Jesus, but sin.

6. ”There shall be no new God in thee,” says the Lord. (Ps. Ixxx. 10.) You shall not abandon me, your true God, and make for yourself a new god, whom you shall serve. St. Cyprian teaches that men make their god whatever they prefer before God, by making it their last end; for God is the only last end of all: ”Quidquid homo Deo anteponit, Deum sibi facit.” And St. Jerome says: ”Unusquisque quod cupit, si veneratur, hoc illi Deus est. Vitium in corde, est idolum in altari.” (In Ps. Ixxx.) The creature which a person prefers to God, becomes his God. Hence, the holy doctor adds, that as the Gentiles adored idols on their altars, so sinners worship sin in their hearts.

When King Jeroboam rebelled against God, he endeavoured to make the people imitate him in the adoration of idols. He one day placed the idols before them, and said: “Behold thy gods, Israel!” (3 Kings xii. 28.) The Devil acts in a similar manner towards sinners: he places before them such a gratification, and says: Make this your God. Behold! this pleasure, this money, this revenge is your God: adhere to these, and forsake the Lord. When the sinner consents to sin, he abandons his Creator, and in his heart adores as his god the pleasure which lie indulges. ”Vitium in corde est idolum in altari. ”

7. The contempt which the sinner offers to God is increased by sinning in God’s presence. According to St. Cyril of Jerusalem, some adored the sun as their god, that during the night they might, in the absence of the sun, do what they pleased, without fear of divine chastisement. “Some regarded the sun as their God, that, after the setting of the sun, they might be without a God.” (Catech. iv.)

The conduct of these miserable dupes was very criminal; but they were careful not to sin in presence of their god. But Christians know that God is present in all places, and that he sees all things. ”Do not I fill Heaven and Earth? saith the Lord,” (Jer. xxiii. 24); and still they do not abstain from insulting him, and from provoking his wrath in his very presence: “A people that continually provoke me to anger before my face.” (Isa. Ixv. 3.) Hence, by sinning before him who is their judge, they even make God a witness of their iniquities: ”I am the judge and the witness, saith the Lord.” (Jer. xxix. 23.)

St. Peter Chrysologus says, that, “the man who commits a crime in the presence of his judge, can offer no defence.” The thought of having offended God in his divine presence, made David weep and exclaim: ”To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee.” (Ps. i. 6.) But let us pass to the second point, in which we shall see more clearly the enormity of the malice of mortal sin.

Second Point ~ Mortal sin is a great offence offered to God.

8. There is nothing more galling than to see oneself despised by those who were most beloved and most highly favored. Whom do sinners insult? They insult a God who bestowed so many benefits upon them, and who loved them so as to die on a cross for their sake; and by the commission of mortal sin they banish that God from their hearts.

A soul that loves God is loved by him, and God himself comes to dwell within her. ”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 xiv. 23.) The Lord, then, never departs from a soul, unless he is driven away, even though he should know that she will soon banish him from her heart. According to the Council of Trent, ”he deserts not the soul, unless he is deserted.”

9. When the soul consents to mortal sin she ungratefully says to God: Depart from me. “The wicked have said to God: Depart from us.” (Job xxi. 14.) Sinners, as St. Gregory observes, say the same, not in words, but by their conduct. ”Recede, non verbis, sed moribus.”

They know that God cannot remain with sin in the soul: and, in violating the divine commands, they feel that God must depart; and, by their acts they say to him: since you cannot remain any longer with us, depart farewell. And through the very door by which God departs from the soul, the Devil enters to take possession of her.

When the priest baptizes an infant, he commands the demon to depart from the soul: ”Go out from him, unclean spirits, and make room for the Holy Ghost.” But when a Christian consents to mortal sin, he says to God: Depart from me; make room for the Devil, whom I wish to serve.

10. St. Bernard says, that mortal sin is so opposed to God, that, if it were possible for God to die, sin would deprive him of life;”Peccatum quantum in se est Deum perimit.” Hence, according to Job, in committing mortal sin, man rises up against God, and stretches forth his hand against him: ”For he hath stretched out his hand against God, and hath strengthened himself against the Almighty.” (Job. xv. 25.)

11. According to the same St. Bernard, they who willfully violate the divine law, seek to deprive God of life in proportion to the malice of their will;”Quantum in ipsa est Deum perimit propria voluntas.” (Ser. iii. de Res.) Because, adds the saint, self-will”would wish God to see its own sins, and to be unable to take vengeance on them.” Sinners know that the moment they consent to mortal sin, God condemns them to Hell. Hence, being firmly resolved to sin, they wish that there was no God, and, consequently, they would wish to take away his life, that he might not be able to avenge their crime.

“He hath,” continues Job, in his description of the wicked, ”run against him witb his neck raised up, and is armed with a fat neck.” (xv. 26.) The sinner raises his neck; that is, his pride swells up, and he runs to insult his God; and, because he contends with a powerful antagonist, ”he is armed with a fat neck.”“A fat neck” is the symbol of ignorance, of that ignorance which makes the sinner say: This is not a great sin; God is merciful; we are flesh; the Lord will have pity on us. O temerity! illusion! which brings so many Christians to Hell.

12. Moreover, the man who commits a mortal sin afflicts the heart of God. “But they provoked to wrath, and afflicted the spirit of the Holy One.” (Isaias Ixiii. 10.) “What pain and anguish would you not feel, if you knew that a person whom you tenderly loved, and on whom you bestowed great favours, had sought to take away your life! God is not capable of pain; but, were he capable of suffering, a single mortal sin would be sufficient to make him die through sorrow.

”Mortal sin,” says Father Medina, ”if it were possible, would destroy God himself: because it would be the cause of infinite sadness to God.” As often, then, as you committed mortal sin, you would, if it were possible, have caused God to die of sorrow; because you knew that by sin you insulted him and turned your back upon him, after he had bestowed so many favours upon you, and even after he had given all his blood and his life for your salvation.

Open Apostasy In The Vatican – Fr. Jerome Guest Post

Here is another post from Fr. Jerome –

The state of the Church right now is the fault of conservatives, not liberals.  Vatican II was hijacked by liberals 50 years ago only because conservatives were sleepy and trusting of men.  And this continues in Rome today to a worse extent. 


Yes, there will always be liberals who hate Christ, but what is different now from the rest of Church history is that Christ’s closest clerical friends are too afraid to fight for His Church.  No, the four Cardinals of the Dubia are nothing like St. Athanasius or St. Maximus the Confessor or St. Nicholas or St. John Chrysostom.


The saints had no need to “hear out” heretics in a “pastoral” manner. There will always be heretics, but that is not the problem.  The problem is the want of saints.  The saintly bishops of the first 500 years of the Church revealed the poisonous words of heretics, gentle as they be, were sent into exile, and then they were vindicated (usually in their lifetime) for their reckless courage.  I see no reckless courage today in the face of open heresy.  And this is why the open heresy of four years ago in the Vatican has become an open apostasy in the highest ranks in the Church.

Let me remind the readers of three definitions:

1) Heresy is the denial of even one part of Divine Revelation
2) Apostasy is a full renunciation of the unique and redemptive act of Jesus Christ.
3) Soteriology is the study of salvation.

The false prophet on the Chair of Peter is now espousing a soteriology that is little different from a Unitarian Universalist.  We have full apostasy now in the Vatican…and not a single bishop is willing to say anything against full and outright soteriological apostasy?  No.  Rather, our most “courageous” prelates flex their muscles against a single sexual line in Amoris Laetitia.

This is not courage. It is not courage that no one questions a clearly-forced Papal-resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  It is not courage that no one (except a retired courageous bishop in Texas) questions a tampered-Conclave to elect our current false-prophet.

Like the Republicans in the 1980s in the USA who promised to end abortion in order to keep their office (but did very little) I fear these “conservative” bishops are doing as much damage to the Church as the gay Cardinals who hate the Church and are overturning every point of Our Faith.  Why? Why are the former like the latter?

For not resisting with courage.  If any bishop should ever read this, let me remind you that the Holy Spirit in the book of the Apocalypse places through the Apostle John cowards in the same lake of fire as murderers:

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”—Apocalypse 21:8 ESV

I for one:  resist.  I renounce the open apostasy in the Vatican in the name of Jesus Christ and I beg the wrath of St. Peter and St. Paul to stop this blasphemy of the Eternal City and this mockery of Jesus Christ’s own apostolic succession.  I will reveal my name when I am ready to lose my faculties as a priest in current good standing and go into exile, but for now, I resist in the name of Jesus Christ.


IN WHAT TRUE WISDOM CONSISTS – St. Alphonsus

” Behold, this CHILD is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel.” LUKE ii. 34.

SUCH was the language of holy Simeon when he had the consolation to hold in his hands the infant Jesus. Among other things which he then foretold, he declared that “this child was set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel.” In these words he extols the lot of the saints, who, after this life, shall rise to a life of immortality in the kingdom of bliss, and he deplores the misfortune of sinners, who, for the transitory and miserable pleasures of this world, bring upon themselves eternal ruin and perdition.

But, notwithstanding the greatness of his own misery, the unhappy sinner, reflecting only on the enjoyment of present goods, calls the saints fools, because they seek to live in poverty, in humiliation, and self-denial. But a day will come when sinners shall see their errors, and shall say. “We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honour.” (Wis. v. 4.)

We fools; behold how they shall confess that they themselves have been truly fools. Let us examine in what true wisdom consists, and we shall see, in the first point, that sinners are truly foolish, and, in the second, that the saints are truly wise.

First Point ~ Sinners are truly foolish

1. What greater folly can be conceived than to have the power of being the friends of God, and to wish to be his enemies? Their living in enmity with God makes the life of sinners unhappy in this world, and purchases for them an eternity of misery hereafter St. Augustine relates that two courtiers of the emperor entered a monastery of hermits, and that one of them began to read the life of St. Anthony.

“He read, ” says the saint, “and his heart was divested of the world.” He read, and, in reading, his affections were detached from the Earth. Turning to his companion he exclaimed: ”What do we seek? The friendship of the emperor is the most we can hope for. And through how many perils shall we arrive at still greater danger? Should we obtain his friendship, how long shall it last ?” Friend, said he, fools that we are, what do we seek? Can we expect more in this life, by serving the emperor, than to gain his friendship? And should we, after many dangers, succeed in making him our friend, we shall expose ourselves to greater danger of eternal perdition.

What difficulties must we encounter in order to become the friend of Caesar!”But, if I wish, I can in a moment become the friend of God.” I can acquire his friendship by endeavouring to recover his grace. His divine grace is that infinite treasure which makes us worthy of his friendship. “For she is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God” (Wis. vii. 14.)

2. The Gentiles believe it impossible for a creature to become the friend of God; for, as St. Jerome says, friendship makes friends equal. “Amicitia pares accipit, aut pares facit.” But Jesus Christ has declared, that if we observe his commands we shall be his friends. “You are my friends, if you do the things I command.” (John xv. 14.)

3. How great then is the folly of sinners, who, though they have it in their power to enjoy the friendship of God, wish to live in enmity with him! The Lord does not hate any of his creatures: he does not hate the tiger, the viper, or the toad. ”For thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which thou hast made.” (Wis. xi. 25.) But he necessarily hates sinners. ”Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity.” (Ps. v. 7.) God cannot but hate sin, which is his enemy and diametrically opposed to his will; and therefore, in hating sin, he necessarily hates the sinner who is united with his sin. “But to God the wicked and his wickedness are hateful alike. ” (Wis. xiv. 9.)

4. The sinner is guilty of folly in leading a life opposed to the end for which he was created. God has not created us, nor does he preserve our lives, that we may labour to acquire riches or earthly honours, or that we may indulge in amusements, but that we may love and serve him in this world, in order to love and enjoy him for eternity in the next. “And the end life everlasting.” (Rom. vi. 22.) Thus the present life, as St. Gregory says, is the way by which we must reach Paradise, our true country. ”In the present life we are, as it were, on the road by which we journey to our country.” (St. Greg. hom. xi. in Evan.)

5. But the misfortune of the greater part of mankind is, that instead of following the way of salvation, they foolishly walk in the road to perdition,. Some have a passion for earthly riches; and, for a vile interest, they lose the immense goods of Paradise: others have a passion for honours; and, for a momentary applause, they lose their right to be kings in Heaven: others have a passion for sensual pleasures; and, for transitory de lights, they lose the grace of God, and are condemned to burn for ever in a prison of fire.

Miserable souls! if, in punishment of a certain sin, their hand was to be burned with a red-hot iron, or if they were to be shut up for ten years in a dark prison, they certainly would abstain from it. And do they not know that, in chastisement of their sins, they shall be condemned to remain for ever in Hell, where their bodies, buried in fire, shall burn for all eternity? Some, says St. John Chrysostom (Hom. de recup. Laps.), to save the body, choose to destroy the soul; but, do they not know that, in losing the soul, their bodies shall be condemned to eternal torments?”If we neglect the soul, we cannot save the body”

6. In a word, sinners lose their reason, and imitate brute animals, that follow the instinct of nature, and seek carnal pleasures without ever reflecting on their lawfulness or unlawfulness. But to act in this manner is, according to St. Chrysostom, to act not like a man, but like a beast. ”Hominem ilium dicimus” says the saint, “qui imaginem hominis salvam retinet: qua autem est imago hominis? Rationalem esse” To be men we must be rational: that is, we must act, not according to the sensual appetite, but according to the dictates of reason.

If God gave to beasts the use of reason, and if they acted according to its rules, we should say that they acted like men. And it must, on the other hand, be said, that the man whose conduct is agreeable to the senses, but contrary to reason, acts like a beast. He who follows the dictates of reason, provides for the future. “Oh! that they would be wise, and would understand, and would provide for their last end.” (Deuter. xxxii. 29.) He looks to the future that is, to the account he must render at the hour of death, after which he shall be doomed to Hell or to Heaven, according to his merits, ”Non est sapiens” says St. Bernard, ”qui sibi non est.” (Lib. de consid.)

7. Sinners think only of the present, but regard not the end for which they were created. But what will it profit them to gain all things if they lose their last end, which alone can make them happy. ”But one thing is necessary.” (Luke x. 42.) To attain our end is the only thing necessary for us: if we lose it, all is lost. What is this end? It is eternal life. “Finem vero vitam æternam.” During life, sinners care but little for the attainment of their end. Each day brings them nearer to death and to eternity; but they know not their destination. Should a pilot who is asked whither he is going, answer that he did not know, would not all, says St. Augustine, cry out that he was bringing the vessel to destruction?”Fac hominem perdidisse quo tendit, et dicatur ei: quo is? et dicat, nescio: nonne iste navem ad naufragium perducet ?”

The saint then adds: ”Talis est qui currit præter viam.” Such are the wise of the world, who know how to acquire wealth and honours, and to indulge in every kind of amusement, but who know not how to save their souls. How miserable the rich glutton, who, though able to lay up riches and to live splendidly, was, after death, buried in Hell! How miserable Alexander the Great, who, after gaining so many kingdoms, was condemned to eternal torments? How great the folly of Henry the Eighth, who rebelled against the Church, but seeing at the hour of death that his soul should be lost, cried out in despair: ”Friends, we have lost all!”

O God, how many others now weep in Hell, and exclaim: ”What hath pride profited us? or what advantage hath the toasting of riches brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow.” (Wis. v. 8.) In the world we made a great figure we enjoyed abundant riches and honours; and now all is passed away like a shadow, and nothing remains for us but to suffer and weep for eternity. St. Augustine says, that the happiness which sinners enjoy in this life is their greatest misfortune, “Nothing is more calamitous than the felicity of sinners, by which their perverse will, like an internal enemy, is strengthened.” (Ep. v. ad Marcellin.)

8. In fine, the words of Solomon are fulfilled with regard to all who neglect their salvation: ”Mourning taketh hold of the end of joy.” (Prov. xiv. 13.) All their pleasures, honours, and greatness, end in eternal sorrow and wailing. “Whilst I was yet beginning, he cut me off.” (Is. xxxviii. 12.) Whilst they are laying the foundation of their hopes of realizing a fortune, death comes, and, cutting the thread of life, deprives them of all their possessions, and sends them to Hell to burn for ever in a pit of fire.

What greater folly can be conceived, than to wish to be transformed from the friend of God into the slave of Lucifer, and from the heir of Paradise to become, by sin, doomed to Hell? For, the moment a Christian commits a mortal sin, his name is written among the number of the damned! St. Francis de Sales said that, if the angels were capable of weeping, they would do nothing else than shed tears at the sight of the destruction which a Christian who com mits mortal sin brings upon himself.

9. Oh! how great is the folly of sinners, who, by living in sin, lead a life of misery and discontent! All the goods of this world cannot content the heart of man, which has been created to love God, and can find no peace out of God. What are all the grandeurs and all the pleasures of this world but “vanity of vanities!” (Eccl. i. 2.) What are they but “vanity and vexation of spirit?” (Ibid. iv. 16.) Earthly goods are, according to Solomon, who had experience of them, vanity of vanities; that is mere vanities, lies, and deceits. They are also a”vexation of spirit :” they not only do not content, but they even afflict the soul; and the more abundantly they are possessed, the greater the anguish which they produce. Sinners hope to find peace in their sins; but what peace can they enjoy?”There is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord.” (Is. xlviii. 22.)

I abstain from saying more at present on the unhappy life of sinners: I shall speak of it in another place. At present, it is enough for you to know that God gives peace to the souls who love him, and not to those who despise him. Instead of seeking to be the friends of God, sinners wish to be the slaves of Satan, who is a cruel and merciless tyrant to all who submit to his yoke. “Crudelis est et non miserebitur.” (Jer. vi. 23.) And if he promises delights, he does it, as St. Cyprian says, not for our welfare, but that we may be the companions of his torments in hell: ”Ut habeat socios pœna, socios gehenæ”.

Second Point ~ The saints are truly wise

10. Let us be persuaded that the truly wise are those who know how to love God and to gain Heaven. Happy the man to whom God has given the science of the saints. “Dedit illi scientiam sanctorum” (Wis. x. 10.) Oh! how sublime the science which teaches us to know how to love God and to save our souls! Happy, says St. Augustine, is the man “who knows God, although he is ignorant of other things.”

They who know God, the love which he merits, and how to love him, stand not in need of any other knowledge. They are wiser than those who are masters of many sciences, but know not how to love God. Brother Egidius, of the order of St. Francis, once said to St. Bonaventure: Happy you, Father Bonaventure, who are so learned, and who, by your learning, can become more holy than I can, who am a poor ignorant man. Listen, replied the saint: if an old woman knows how to love God better than I do, she is more learned and more holy than I am. At hearing this, Brother Egidius exclaimed: ”poor old woman! poor old woman! Father Bonaventure says that, if you love God more than he does, you can surpass him in sanctity.”

11. This excited the envy of St. Augustine, and made him ashamed of himself. ”Surgunt indocti,” he exclaimed, “et rapiunt cœlum.” Alas! the ignorant rise up, and bear away the kingdom of Heaven; and what are we, the learned of this world, doing? Oh! how many of the rude and illiterate are saved, because, though unable to read, they know how to love God; and how many of the wise of the world are damned!

Oh! truly wise were St. John of God, St. Felix of the order of St. Capuchins, and St. Paschal, who were poor lay Franciscans, and unacquainted with human sciences, but learned in the science of the saints. But the wonder is, that, though worldlings themselves are fully persuaded of this truth, and constantly extol the merit of those who retire from the world to live only to God, still they act as if they believed it not.

12. Tell me, brethren, to which class do you wish to belong to the wise of the world, or to the wise of God? Before you make a choice, St. Chrysostom advises you to go to the graves of the dead! “Proficiscamur ad Sepulchra” Oh! how eloquently do the sepulchres of the dead teach us the science of the saints and the vanity of all earthly goods!”For my part,” said the saint, ”I see nothing but rottenness, bones, and worms. ” As if he said: Among these skeletons I cannot distinguish the noble, the rich, or the learned; I see that they have all become dust and rottenness: thus all their greatness and glory have passed away like a dream.

13. What then must we do? Behold the advice of St. Paul: “This, therefore, I say, brethren: the time is short: it remaineth that . . . they that use this world BE as if they used it not; for the fashion of this world passeth away.” (1 Cor. vii. 29-31.) This world is a scene which shall pass away and end very soon . “The time is short.” During the days of life that remain, let us endeavour to live like men who are wise, not according to the world, but according to God, by attending to the sanctification of our souls, and by adopting the means of salvation; by flying dangerous occasions; by practising prayer; joining some pious sodality; frequenting the sacraments; reading every day a spiritual book; and by daily hearing Mass, if it be in our power; or, at least, by visiting Jesus in the holy sacrament of the altar, and some image of the most holy Mary. Thus we shall be truly wise, and shall be happy for time and eternity.

ON THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST FOR US, AND ON OUR OBLIGATIONS TO LOVE HIM – St. Alphonsus

“And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke iii. 6.

THE Saviour of the world, whom, according to the prediction of the prophet Isaias, men were one day to see on this Earth “and all flesh shall see the salvation of God,” has already come. We have not only seen him conversing among men, but we have also seen him suffering and dying for the love of us.

Let us, then, this morning consider the love which we owe to Jesus Christ at least through gratitude for the love which he bears to us. In the first point we shall consider the greatness of the love which Jesus Christ has shown to us; and in the second we shall see the greatness of our obligations to love him.

First Point – On the great love which Jesus Christ has shown to us.

1 . ”Christ,” says St. Augustine, ”came on Earth that men might know how much God loves them.” He has come, and to show the immense love which this God bears us, he has given himself entirely to us, by abandoning himself to all the pains of this life, and afterwards to the scourges, to the thorns, and to all the sorrows and insults which he suffered in his passion, and by offering himself to die, abandoned by all, on the infamous tree of the cross. ”Who loved me, and delivered himself for me.” (Gal. ii. 20.)

2. Jesus Christ could save us without dying on the cross, and without suffering. One drop of his blood would be sufficient for our redemption. Even a prayer offered to his Eternal Father would be sufficient; because, on account of his divinity, his prayer would be of infinite value, and would therefore be sufficient for the salvation of the world, and of a thousand worlds. ”But” says St. Chrysostom, or another ancient author, ”what was sufficient for redemption was not sufficient for love.”

To show how much he loved us, he wished to shed not only a part of his blood, but the entire of it, by dint of torments. This may be inferred from the words which he used on the night before his death: “This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many. ” (Matt. xxvi. 28.) The words shall be shed show that, in his passion, the blood of Jesus Christ was poured forth even to the last drop.

Hence, when after death his side was opened with a spear, blood and water came forth, as if what then flowed was all that remained of his blood. Jesus Christ, then, though he could save us without suffering, wished to embrace a life of continual pain, and to suffer the cruel and ignominious death of the cross. ”He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. ii. 8.)

3. ”Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John xv. 13.) To show his love for us, what more could the Son of God do than die for us? What more can one man do for another than give his life for him? “Greater love than this no man hath.” Tell me, my brother, if one of your servants if the vilest man on this Earth had done for you what Jesus Christ has done in dying through pain on a cross, could you remember his love for you, and not love him?

4. St. Francis of Assisium appeared to be unable to think of anything but the passion of Jesus Christ; and, in thinking of it, he continually shed tears, so that by his constant weeping he became nearly blind. Being found one day weeping and groaning at the foot of the crucifix, he was asked the cause of his tears and lamentations. He replied: ”I weep over the sorrows and ignominies of my Lord. And what makes me weep still more is, that the men for whom he has suffered so much live in forgetfulness of him.”

5. O Christian, should a doubt ever enter your mind that Jesus Christ loves you, raise your eyes and look at him hanging on the cross. Ah! says St. Thomas of Villanova, the cross to which he is nailed, the internal and external sorrows which he endures, and the cruel death which he suffers for you, are convincing proofs of the love which he bears you: “Testis crux, testes dolores, testis amara mors quam pro te sustinuit.” (Conc. 3.) Do you not, says St. Bernard, hear the voice of that cross, and of those wounds, crying out to make you feel that he truly loves you?”Clamat crux, clamat vulnus, quod vere dilexit.”

6. St. Paul says that the love which Jesus Christ has shown in condescending to suffer so much for our salvation, should excite us to his love more powerfully than the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the painful journey to Calvary, the agony of three hours on the cross, the buffets, the spitting in his face, and all the other injuries which the Saviour endured.

According to the Apostle, the love which Jesus has shown us not only obliges, but in a certain manner forces and constrains us, to love a God who has loved us so much. ”For the charity of Christ presseth us.” ( 2 Cor. v. 14.) On this text St. Francis de Sales says: ”We know that Jesus the true God has loved us so as to suffer death, and even the death of the cross, for our salvation. Does not such love put our hearts as it were under a press, to force from them love by a violence which is stronger in proportion as it is more amiable?”

7. So great was the love which inflamed the enamoured heart of Jesus, that he not only wished to die for our redemption, but during his whole life he sighed ardently for the day on which he should suffer death for the love of us. Hence, during his life, Jesus used to say: ”I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished.” (Luke xii. 50.)

In my passion I am to be baptized with the baptism of my own blood, to wash away the sins of men. ”And how am I straitened!” How, says St. Ambrose, explaining this passage, am I straitened by the desire of the speedy arrival of the day of my death? Hence, on the night before his passion he said: ”With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you before I suffer.” (Luke xxii. 15.)

8. ”We have,” says St. Lawrence Justinian, ”seen wisdom become foolish through an excess of love.” We have, he says, seen the Son of God become as it were a fool, through, the excessive love which he bore to men. Such, too, was the language of the Gentiles when they heard the apostles preaching that Jesus Christ suffered death for the love of men. ”But we,” says St. Paul, ”preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, unto the Gentiles foolishness.” (1 Cor. i. 23.)

Who, they exclaimed, can believe that a God, most happy in himself, and who stands in need of no one, should take human flesh and die for the love of men, who are his creatures? This would be to believe that a God became foolish for the love of men. “It appears folly,” says St. Gregory, ”that the author of Life should die for men.” (Hom vi.) But, whatever infidels may say or think, it is of faith that the Son of God has shed all his blood for the love of us, to wash away the sins of our souls. ”Who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Apoc. i. 5.) Hence, the saints were struck dumb with astonishment at the consideration of the love of Jesus Christ. At the sight of the crucifix, St. Francis of Paul could do nothing but exclaim, love! love! love!

9. ”Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end. ” (John xiii. 1.) This loving Lord was not content with showing us his love by dying on the cross for our salvation; but, at the end of his life, he wished to leave us his own very flesh for the food of our souls, that thus he might unite himself entirely to us. ”Take ye and eat, this is my body.” (Matt. xxvi. 26.) But of this gift and this excess of love we shall speak at another time, in treating of the most holy sacrament of the altar. Let us pass to the second point.

Second Point – On the greatness of our obligations to love Jesus Christ

10. He who loves wishes to be loved. “When,” says St. Bernard, ”God loves, he desires nothing else than to be loved.” (Ser. Ixxxiii., in Cant.) The Redeemer said: ”I am come to cast fire upon the Earth, and what will I but that it is kindled”(Luke xii. 49.) I, says Jesus Christ, came on earth to light up the fire of divine love in the hearts of men and what will I but that it be kindled ?”

God wishes nothing else from us than to be loved. Hence the holy Church prays in the following words: ”We beseech thee, Lord, that thy Spirit may inflame us with that fire which Jesus Christ cast upon the Earth, and which he vehemently wished to be kindled. ”Ah! what have not the saints, inflamed with this fire, accomplished!

They have abandoned all things delights, honours, the purple and the sceptre that they might burn with this holy fire. But you will ask what are you to do, that you too may be inflamed with the love of Jesus Christ. Imitate David: ”In my meditation a fire shall flame out. ” (Ps. xxxviii). Meditation is the blessed furnace in which the holy fire of divine love is kindled. Make mental prayer every day, meditate on the passion of Jesus Christ, and doubt not but you too shall burn with this blessed flame.

11. St. Paul says, that Jesus Christ died for us to make himself the master of the hearts of all. “To this end Christ died and rose again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” (Rom. xiv. 9.) He wished, says the Apostle, to give his life for all men, without a single exception, that not even one should live any longer to himself, but that all might live only to that God who condescended to die for them. “And Christ died for all, that they also who live may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them.” (2 Cor. v. 15.)

12. Ah! to correspond to the love of this God, it would be necessary that another God should die for him, as Jesus Christ died for us. ingratitude of men! A God has condescended to give his life for their salvation, and they will not even think on what he has even done for them! Ah! if each of you thought frequently on the sufferings of the Redeemer., and on the love which he has shown to us in his passion, how could you but love him with your whole hearts?

To him who sees with a lively faith the Son of God suspended by three nails on an infamous gibbet, every wound of Jesus speaks and says: ”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.” Love, man, thy Lord and thy God, who has loved thee so intensely. “Who can resist such tender expressions?”The wounds of Jesus Christ,” says St. Bonaventure, ”wound the hardest hearts, and inflame frozen souls.”

13. ”Oh! if you knew the mystery of the cross! said St. Andrew the Apostle to the tyrant by whom he was tempted to deny Jesus Christ. tyrant, if you knew the love which your Saviour has shown you by dying on the cross for your salvation, instead of tempting me, you would abandon all the goods of this Earth to give yourself to the love of Jesus Christ.

14. I conclude, my most beloved brethren, by recommending you henceforth to meditate every day on the passion of Jesus Christ. I shall be content, if you daily devote to this meditation a quarter of an hour. Let each at least procure a crucifix, let him keep it in his room, and from time to time give a glance at it, saying: “Ah! my Jesus, thou hast died for me, and I do not love thee. ”

Had a person suffered for a friend injuries, buffets, and prisons, he would be greatly pleased to find that they were remembered and spoken of with gratitude. But he should be greatly displeased if the friend for whom they had been borne, were unwilling to think or hear of his sufferings. Thus frequent meditation on his passion is very pleasing to our Redeemer; but the neglect of it greatly provokes his displeasure.

Oh! how great will be the consolation which we shall receive in our last moments from the sorrows and death of Jesus Christ, if, during life, we shall have frequently meditated on them with love! Let us not wait till others, at the hour of death, place in our hands the crucifix; let us not wait till they remind us of all that Jesus Christ suffered for us.

Let us, during life, embrace Jesus Christ crucified; let us keep ourselves always united to him, that we may live and die with him. He who practises devotion to the passion of our Lord, cannot but be devoted to the dolour’s of Mary, the remembrance of which will be to us a source of great consolation at the hour of death, how profitable and sweet the meditation of Jesus on the cross! Oh! how happy the death of him who dies in the embraces of Jesus crucified, accepting death with cheerfulness for the love of that God who has died for the love of us!