Thread: Daily Dose of Catholicism
October 16th 2006, 12:18 PM #1
Daily Dose of Catholicism
I've been meaning, for a long time, to make a parallel thread to tizzidale's "Daily Dose of Orthodoxy" (probably the best thread ever made on Tweb) except with a Catholic flair. So, without further ado, I'd like to start us off with a classic sermon by Fr Francis Hunolt on our Last End.
The Remorse of the Dying on Account of Time Lost through Idleness
“But they neglected and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise.” St. Matthew 22: 5.
God has prepared for his Son a marriage-feast in heaven, to which he has invited all men that they may share with him in all imaginable joys; for he sincerely wishes all men to be saved. “He sent his servants to call them that were invited to the marriage: and they would not come.” That is, some do not desire to go to heaven; for of their own accord they hasten to hell, by spending their time in sin and vice. Others are careless about heaven: “They neglected, and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise.” These are the idle, who would indeed willingly come to the heavenly marriage-feast, but they do not wish to put themselves to any trouble about it, since they spend the precious time given them by God for the sole purpose of serving him and gaining heaven in idleness or in useless occupations, or in mere temporal cares, without directing their intentions to God or to the salvation of their souls.
But the time lost in idleness or useless occupations will be a source of remorse, fear, and despair to the dying.
The present time is the time for sowing; the time that God has given us to work out our salvation. The seed is the use we make of that time; the seed of eternity. The fruit cannot be hindered in its growth by bad seasons, heat or cold, rain or inundation, wind or weather, worm or insect. It all depends on how we sow the seed, that is, employ our time. If it is well sown, if our time is well employed, what fruit, what reward may we expect? A kingdom? No; more than that. The whole world, with all its wealth and riches? Ah, if you had gained it and nothing more you would have worked in vain. For everything that passes with time is not worth time.
It is a great blessing for us to use our time well, and an irreparable loss to misspend it. Ask the lost souls to tell us what the loss of time has caused them to suffer. This loss, they say, is as great as the Good from which we are forever excluded; great as our misery; terrible as the fire that the divine anger fans to torment us! If we had back one of those afternoons that we wasted in immoderate drinking, and in playing dice and cards; one of the evenings that we spent in dangerous company; one of the mornings that we lost by lying too long in bed, or in spending too much time in dressing, or in idle thoughts, what would we not do? Ah, we would free ourselves from an unhappy eternity by true repentance, and gain a joyful eternity in heaven! But in vain do we expect that much! We must go on in our despair! There is not an hour or a quarter of an hour, or a minute, or a moment for us! Our tears and sorrow are too late! During our lives we could thereby have freed ourselves from everlasting misery; now time is no more for us!
How great will be the mental anguish and pain that will pierce the heart of the dying man who has passed a lifetime in useless occupations or idleness, doing nothing for his soul; and what will his feelings be when he looks back on the years he has wasted. I have lived twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or more years. All this beautiful time is over. In any moment of it I could have gained eternal glory in heaven! Would that I had abstained from sin! Would that I had always kept in the grace of God! Would that I had been more regular in receiving the Sacraments, in making use of the golden opportunities afforded me, in performing works of charity and mercy! What a rich treasure of merit and eternal joys I should have amassed, that the just Judge would give me now! But alas! It is too late, and I have lost all forever! Poor and naked I must go into the house of my eternity, while others, amongst whom I might have been, enter it with joy and exultation, as the Lord says: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Going they went and wept, casting their seeds. But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves” (Ps. 125: 5-7). And I must look on with empty hands and tearful eyes!
Oh, vanished years! Where are ye? If I could only call you back now! Unhappy me! I must exclaim with that secretary of Francis I, king of France, as he lay on his death-bed; unhappy me! I have spent so many years, and used up so many reams of paper in the service of my king; would that I had spent but one day and used but one sheet of paper to write thereon a general confession for the good of my poor soul! Would that I had but one hour of the many I have wasted, that I might regain lost time and appease my Judge before I die. But, to my grief and sorrow, I cannot now expect another moment of time! I hear resounding in my ears the words: “Time shall be no longer” (Apoc. 10: 6), the season for sowing is gone by; not a grain can be planted any more with the hope of a harvest. Torments and despair will await me in hell. In this condition of fear and anguish will depart the soul of the man who has wasted his time during life in idleness or in vanities useless for his salvation.
This wholesome thought, which comes too late for the dying, is meant for us who are still alive and well, and can still make a good use of the present time. We must therefore make provision now, that we may not on our death-beds have cause to fear a long eternity of despair and wailing. “The present time is the time for sowing.” What is not sown then can never bear fruit, nor be garnered in, but is and remains lost forever. The present time is not a time for idling or loitering; it is not a time for useless talk, amusements, gambling, long sleep and vain pleasures, much less for sin and vice; for it is intended by God for the sole purpose of working out the salvation of our immortal souls, and preparing ourselves for a happy death. How foolish to hear people say: let us talk to pass away an hour; let us play, amuse ourselves, walk about to pass away the time. And have you nothing better to do? Is that the way to use the time that the Creator has granted you to do penance, to obtain pardon, to acquire grace, to merit glory? Will you waste in useless talk and frivolity the precious hour that God has given you for such a lofty purpose? What must we think when we hear young people, especially when they are of different sexes, say to each other in their young years: “Come, therefore, and let us enjoy the good things that are present, and let us speedily use the creatures as in youth. Let us fill ourselves with costly wine, and ointments; and let not the flower of the time pass by us. Let us crown ourselves with roses, before they be withered” (Wisd. 2: 6, 8).
Oh, foolish mortals! What are you saying? If you saw a gardener picking the blossoms off the trees in spring, and making them into a nosegay because they are beautiful, what would you think of him? You would say that he is either mad or an unfaithful servant, inasmuch as he thus destroys all prospects of fruit. Is not that the case? Because it is from the blossom that the fruit has to come, and if that is destroyed there can be no fruit. “Let not the flower of the time pass by us,” you say; what are the flowers, the blossoms of this time? They are the works done in this life, from which the fruit is to grow for eternity; if you break off these blossoms, and use the time only for your own comfort, sensuality, and pleasure, what sort of fruit can you have from time for eternity? Certainly no other but the sad and despairing remembrance of lost time.
There is no lively faith in those idle men. Experience teaches in countless ways that human life is very short; that its years are uncertain; that God has appointed for one ten, for another twenty, for a third thirty, forty, fifty years; that no one knows how many years he has to live. Now, if we only believed practically, and often reflected deeply on the fact that on the good or bad use of this uncertain time depends eternal happiness in heaven or eternal misery in hell, would it be possible for a Christian who professes to fear hell and desire heaven to squander away so wretchedly the beautiful time of his life, instead of using it to work out his salvation?
“Therefore, whilst we have time let us work good” (Gal. 6: 10). Such is the conclusion to which St. Paul exhorts us. Nothing remains of the time that we have lived up to this; perhaps the greater part of it has been wasted; and, once for all, the time that we do not devote to God and our soul is lost forever. Oh, how great the loss of all the graces and merits we might have gained in that time! But as we cannot recall it, let us at least try to make up for it by renewed diligence, like the traveler who, having lost his way in the forest and wandered about for hours on the wrong path, walks much quicker when he has found out his mistake, in order to arrive at his destination in time. The time we have still to live is uncertain, and will pass like an arrow shot from a bow. God has appointed the moment of our death as the end of our time. The sinner in hell hates God, curses, blasphemes, and commits other sins; yet his torments are not increased on that account, because he has reached the term of time during which he could merit punishment by sin. A just soul in purgatory practices the most perfect faith and hope regarding the joys of heaven it has not yet seen; it hopes for salvation as firmly as if it had already gained it; it loves God above all things, although it feels the weight of his chastising hand; it is fully resigned to God’s will in its severe torments; yet by all those virtues which it practices every moment it does not lessen or shorten its punishment, nor bring itself a step nearer to heaven. Why? Because it has already passed the term during which it could merit.
“The dead know nothing more; neither have they a reward any more” (Eccles. 9: 5). They receive their reward of what they have done during life, and it is according to that that God will pay them. But they have no further reward to expect for what they do after death. Hence, as our merits shall be in the last moments of our lives, so also shall our reward be; and after that moment we shall not have another to make a good confession, to awaken sorrow for our sins, to gain an indulgence or to acquire grace. If an angel were to come and tell us the day of our death, saying to each one in particular: you have still a year to live; you, half a year; you, three months; you, four weeks; you, five days; after that time shall be no more; how should we act during that time? How carefully we should purify our conscience, if it accused us of any sin! How we should avoid all dangerous occasions! How diligently we should perform the duties of our state! In a word, how zealous we should become in the divine service! Why do we not do all this now, since we are not sure of a single moment in the day? Why do we put off our conversion to a future time, which perhaps we shall never see?* I apologize for any scandal I cause to those who doing a forum search read my old posts written before and during my journey to the Catholic Faith. If you read anything heretical, impious, or just plain wrong, please forgive my ignorance. I submit everything to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. Praised be Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen. Also, sorry for the times I was a jerk. Lot's of those!
October 16th 2006, 12:38 PM #2
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism
Good idea, furay. Thanks alot."Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness." G. K. Chesterton
October 19th 2006, 01:54 PM #3
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism
Dude, you're the Catholic!!! It says, "Daily". :)
rusty"Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness." G. K. Chesterton
October 19th 2006, 02:36 PM #4
Re: Daily Dose of CatholicismOriginally posted by tizzidale
I'll get something up today.* I apologize for any scandal I cause to those who doing a forum search read my old posts written before and during my journey to the Catholic Faith. If you read anything heretical, impious, or just plain wrong, please forgive my ignorance. I submit everything to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. Praised be Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen. Also, sorry for the times I was a jerk. Lot's of those!
October 19th 2006, 03:44 PM #5
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism
The Curé d'Ars, St John Vianney, on Judging others:
Tell me, now, my brethren, on what foundation are rash judgments and sentences based? Alas! They are based upon very slight evidence only, and most often upon what "someone said." But perhaps you are going to tell me that you have seen and heard this and that. Unfortunately, you could be mistaken in the testimony of both your sight and hearing, as you are going to see.... Here is an example which will show you, better than anything else can, how easily we can be mistaken and how we are nearly always wrong.
What would you have said, my dear brethren, if you had been living during the time of St. Nicholas and you had seen him coming in the middle of the night, walking around the house of three young girls, watching carefully and taking good care that no one saw him. Just look at that bishop, you would have thought at once, degrading and dishonouring his calling; he is a dreadful hypocrite. He seems to be a saint when he is in church, and look at him now, in the middle of the night, at the door of three girls who do not have a very good reputation! And yet, my dear brethren, this bishop, who would certainly have been condemned by you, was indeed a very great saint and most dear to God. What he was doing was the best deed in the world. In order to spare these young persons the shame of begging, he came in the night and threw money in to them through their window because he feared that it was poverty which had made them abandon themselves to sin.
This should teach us never to judge the actions of our neighbour without having reflected very well beforehand. Even then, of course, we are only entitled to make such judgments if we are responsible for the behaviour of the people concerned, that is, if we are parents or employers, and so on. As far as all others are concerned, we are nearly always wrong. Yes indeed, my brethren, I have seen people making wrong judgments about the intentions of their neighbour when I have known perfectly well that these intentions were good. I have tried in vain to make them understand, but it was no good. Oh! Cursed pride, what evil you do and how many souls do you lead to Hell! Answer me this, my dear brethren. Are the judgments which we make about the actions of our neighbour any better founded than those which would have been made by anyone who might have seen St. Nicholas walking around that house and trying to find the window of the room wherein were the three girls?
It is not to us that other people will have to render an account of their lives, but to God alone. But we wish to set ourselves up as judges of what does not concern us. The sins of others are for others, that is, for themselves, and our sins are our own business. God will not ask us to render an account of what others have done but solely of what we ourselves have done.
Let us watch over ourselves, then, and not torment ourselves so much about others, thinking over and talking about what they have done or said. All that, my dear brethren, is just so much labor lost, and it can only arise from a pride comparable to that of the Pharisee who concerned himself solely with thinking about and misjudging his neighbour instead of occupying himself with thoughts of his own sins and weeping for his own poor efforts. Let us leave the conduct of our neighbour on one side, my dear brethren, and content ourselves with saying, like the holy King David: Lord, give me the grace to know myself as I really am, so that I may see what displeases Thee, and how to correct it, repent, and obtain pardon.
No, my dear brethren, while anyone passes his time in watching the conduct of other people, he will neither know nor belong to God.* I apologize for any scandal I cause to those who doing a forum search read my old posts written before and during my journey to the Catholic Faith. If you read anything heretical, impious, or just plain wrong, please forgive my ignorance. I submit everything to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. Praised be Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen. Also, sorry for the times I was a jerk. Lot's of those!
October 20th 2006, 02:23 PM #6
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism
My bedside reading the last few evenings has been Pope John Paul II's little book Crossing the Threshold of Hope. It's really good!If there is anything I’ve learned from both conservatives and liberals, it’s that we can have all the “right” answers and still be mean. And when you’re mean, it’s hard for people to listen to, much less desire, your truth.
October 20th 2006, 08:16 PM #7
Re: Daily Dose of CatholicismOriginally posted by Amazing Rando
Maxims for Attaining Perfection by St Alphonsus Liguori
1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus Christ.
2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep, to make an act of love, seeking always to unite your own will to the will of Jesus Christ.
3. Often to meditate on His Passion.
4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for His love.
5. To communicate often, and many times in the day to make spiritual Communions.
6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament.
7. Every morning to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ Himself your own cross.
8. To desire Paradise and death, in order to be able to love Jesus Christ perfectly and for all eternity.
9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ.
10. To accept contradictions for the sake of Jesus Christ.
11. To rejoice in the happiness of God.
12. To do that which is most pleasing to Jesus Christ, and not to refuse Him anything that is agreeable to Him.
13. To desire and to endeavor that all should love Jesus Christ.
14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in purgatory.
15. To drive from your heart every affection that does not belong to Jesus Christ.
16. Always to have recourse to the most holy Mary, that she may obtain for us the love of Jesus Christ.
17. To honor Mary in order to please Jesus Christ.
18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all your actions,
19. To offer yourself to Jesus Christ to suffer any pain for His love.
20 To be always determined to die rather than commit a willful venial sin.
27. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, "Thus it pleases Jesus Christ."
22. To renounce your own pleasures for the love of Jesus Christ.
23. To pray as much as possible.
24. To practice all the mortifications that obedience permits.
25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for the last time.
26. To persevere in good works in the time of aridity.
27. Not to do nor yet to leave undone anything through human respect.
28. Not to complain in sickness.
29. To love solitude, to be able to converse alone with Jesus Christ.
30. To drive away melancholy [i.e. gloom].
37. Often to recommend yourself to those persons who love Jesus Christ.
32. In temptation, to have recourse to Jesus crucified, and to Mary in her sorrows.
33. To trust entirely in the Passion of Jesus Christ.
34. After committing a fault, not to be discouraged, but to repent and resolve to amend.
35. To do good to those who do evil.
36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action.
37. To help your neighbor as much as you can.
38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex him. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask his pardon and speak kindly to him.
39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low tone.
40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempt and persecution that you meet with.
41. To look upon [religious] Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ.
42. To obey without answering and without repugnance, and not to seek your own satisfaction in anything.
43. To like the lowest employment.
44. To like the poorest things.
45. Not to speak either good or evil of yourself.
46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors.
47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved.
48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with.
49. To be silent when you are disquieted [i.e. upset].
50. Always to renew your determination of becoming a saint, saying, "My Jesus, I desire to be all Thine, and Thy must be all mine."
October 24th 2006, 04:48 PM #8
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism
The truth is that one hundred times I have celebrated the funerals of my pride, thinking on having buried it two meters under the ground with so much requiescat, and one hundred times I have seen it rise again more awakened than before: I have realized that I still disliked critics, that praises, on the contrary, flattered me, that I was worried about the others opinion on me.
When they make me a compliment, I need to be compared with the donkey that led Christ the day of the Palms. And I tell myself: How would they have laughed at the donkey if, when listening to the crowd applause, it had become arrogant and had begun - ass like it was - thanking right, left and centre with reverences as a prima donna ! Don' t make a fool of yourself like that...!
- Albino Luciani (Pope John Paul I)
October 28th 2006, 12:18 AM #9
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism
Care of the Tongue
On the Care of the Tongue: Its importance and difficulty. What is to be observed and avoided in conversation. How we are to bear the evil tongues of others.
IT IS A matter of as great importance to guard the tongue as it is the pupil of the eye, because "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." (Prov. 18:21). He who cannot govern his tongue is like a city without walls, which is exposed on all sides. Without the grace of God, however, it is next to an impossibility to tame it. Man tames the lion, the bull and the bear, but his tongue he cannot tame. Human nature loves to talk much, as it rejoices to give immediate expression to its desires and conceptions. Moreover, the tongue is fixed near the brain, as the mouth is near the faculty of thought, in order that whatsoever the mind thinks may be quickly conveyed to the organ of speech and published in words. Nature itself has taught you how necessary it is to guard the tongue, since it has placed a double barrier (in the teeth and the lips) before this member. But as the fragrance of the sweet ointment evaporates if the box in which it is kept be left open, so all the vigor of the mind is dissipated when the mouth is not closed. That man forgets himself who is not always mindful of guarding his tongue.
Be prudent in every conversation, suppressing that immoderate inclination which rashly hurries most people on to pass sentence upon their neighbor without due examination and deference to the case in question. Flee far from duplicity and deception, and without any ambiguity or equivocation deliver the pure sentiments of your mind. God has given you the faculty of speech that you may truly and candidly announce things as they really are. Before you speak, consult your conscience—as to whether you be influenced by any evil passion—nor should you permit your tongue to say a word until that influence cease; otherwise, you shall say many things of which you shall afterwards have to repent. You may easily keep silence if you allow no passion to disturb your heart and if you preserve your soul tranquil and serene. Your discourse and your mind ought to be stamped with the same character. If your mind be sound, temperate and composed, your discourse also will be prudent and temperate. If the former be corrupted, the latter will breathe corruption. It is language that reveals to us the character of him who speaks.
Your conversation ought not to be of an idle nature. You ought to be as particular in the choice of your words as you are in that of your food. You examine the bread that you eat; why not do the same with the words you speak, which have often raised greater disturbances in your house than your food has caused in your stomach. Accustom yourself to speak much with yourself and little with others. Wise men have often regretted having spoken, but never having kept silence. Those animals are esteemed more sagacious whose voice is least heard. Talkativeness is the vice of children, and of women in whom reason is not strong. Any man who speaks nothing but vain and useless words has no virtue. If you love God and your salvation, your discourse will be on God, virtue and perfection. Charity is a stranger to falsehood, nor can it disguise itself. Everyone is immersed in the things which he loves, and these form the subject of his conversation. Hence you speak less willingly of divine things because you have not as yet arisen from the dross of your vices. I must add, you ought to read and meditate a little, at least on subjects regarding your salvation. How could matter on this fail you if you wish to speak to yourself? "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matt. 12:34).
Almost every discourse among men turns on the life, morals and pursuits of others; and there are almost as many judges passing sentence upon each one as there are inhabitants in his city. Scarcely does anyone look at home. We are for the most part near-sighted with regard to our own faults, but in discerning those of others, our vision is very good. We throw wide open our doors to receive reproaches against our neighbor, but hardly do we leave a chink open to hear anything in his praise. It behooves us, in places where this vice is more common, to be more careful in avoiding it. You have plenty to do with your own vices—find fault with these and correct them. Do not divulge your own secrets, or those of others which you are obliged to conceal.
Many have fallen into great disputes because they revealed their secrets to imprudent persons to whom they ought not to have confided them. Usually, to tell a thing to one person is the same as telling it to many. A word easily flies from one to another, and from these to all. This arises from the extent of discourse, to which many people fix no just bounds. The pleasure which one feels in conversation insensibly draws him on, and like drunkenness, so occupies the mind that there is no secret so hidden and sacred which may not travel abroad and become public. A man reveals to you his secrets; you in return, having received a pledge of confidence, communicate yours to him. But you perhaps may keep these secrets, while he tells everyone he meets the secret things he has heard, so that everyone knows, under cover of a secret, that of which all were ignorant in public.
You may well say that tongues take wings to fly privately to the ears of all, until the secret extends far on all sides and becomes a report. Whatsoever evil is under Heaven generally owes its origin or advancement to the tongue; therefore, make a balance for your words and a bridle for your mouth. You ought to say nothing of which it would be better to keep a profound silence. Stinginess in words is more praiseworthy than that in money. The man who scatters his money benefits others, while he injures himself; he who lavishes his words injures both himself and others. The person who knows how to hear much and say little approaches near to the Divinity.
Nothing can be secure from the darts of the tongue: It is not arrested by the power of kings nor by the virtue of saints; the one needs not dread the sword, and the other cannot fear censure, yet neither can hide from calumny. Christ Himself, when living among men, did not escape the scourge of the tongue. Imitate Jesus and the Saints in their example of patience. Detraction is both a spur to urge men to the practice of virtue, and a bridle to hold them in the right way.
There is no enemy among the vices more powerful than censure. When anyone speaks ill of you, he teaches you what you ought to avoid. Do you wish to escape the darts of the envenomed tongue? Disdain them. If you observe silence, you shall receive no wound. Esteeming much the judgment of the good, you need not fear the insolence of the calumniator. It concerns you but little what others may think of you; in your own conscience you have a more certain and incorruptible witness. Interrogate your conscience and believe it.
What can be more unworthy of you than to rest your character on the saying of the unwise and to submit it to the judgment of another? It is necessary that you should be good, let others say what they will of you, as if gold or emerald should say, "Whatsoever they may think, it behooves me to be what I am by nature and to preserve my color." If anyone should say injurious words to the limpid fountain, shall it therefore cease to pour out pure water? And if a person should throw dirt into it, does it not presently clear itself, dissipating the filthy matter?
Thus, neither ought you to disturb the calmness of your mind, although the wicked should calumniate and tear you to pieces. To be disturbed at every rumor is to have but little regard for oneself. Children strike with their little hands the mouth of their father; the infant pulls the hair of its mother, gnawing her bosom, tearing her cheeks and spitting on them, and we call none of these things an injury, because he who does them is incapable of conceiving such an act. Do you also entertain the same sentiments for those who calumniate you as parents cherish for their children? If once you let yourself be moved by anger on account of an injury, becoming weak-minded thereby, you honor him who is the cause of it. It is necessary, then, that you should have the glory of being admired by him from whom you could bear to suffer disdain. But this is the vice of a base soul and a little mind. You shall always be unhappy if you imagine yourself despised.
-Cardinal Giovanni Bona
October 30th 2006, 12:47 AM #10
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism"Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness." G. K. Chesterton
October 31st 2006, 12:21 AM #11
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism
I've always liked Scott Hahn's beard.
December 22nd 2006, 01:18 AM #12
Re: Daily Dose of Catholicism
I have done a poor job of keeping this thread updated. Forgive me.
December 22nd 2006, 02:06 AM #13
A Christmas Poem
There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done...
To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
~G K Chesterton
December 22nd 2006, 10:13 AM #14
Re: A Christmas PoemPontifical Audience, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2006
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“The Lord is at hand: come let us adore him!”. In these last days of Advent, the liturgy invites us to draw close to the stable of Bethlehem contemplating in awe the birth of the Redeemer. Full of joy and thanksgiving we recall how the Creator of the universe, out of love, came to dwell among us. For many centuries Israel had awaited the Messiah, imagining him as a powerful and victorious leader. Instead, the Saviour was born in absolute poverty, and the true light who enlightens all people was not accepted by his own (cf. Jn. 1:9-12).
Do we still await the Saviour? Today many consider God irrelevant; an obstacle to success. Even believers sometimes seek tempting but illusory shortcuts to happiness. And yet, perhaps even because of this confusion, humanity seeks a Saviour and awaits the coming of Christ, the one true Redeemer. We Christians, through our witness against those who offer a ‘cheap salvation’, defend the truth of Christmas which Christ brings to every person of goodwill.
Let us then with Mary and Joseph prepare to open our hearts to the Lord who is at hand. Do not be distracted by the trappings! Be watchful and pray! In this way our homes will welcome Jesus with faith and love.
December 23rd 2006, 12:47 AM #15
Christmas Sermon of Pope Leo the Great
I. All share in the joy of Christmas
Our Saviour, dearly-beloved, was born today: let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness.
There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord the destroyer of sin and death finds none free from charge, so is He come to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to pardon. Let the gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fulness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered through that (nature) which he had conquered.
And in this conflict undertaken for us, the fight was fought on great and wondrous principles of fairness; for the Almighty Lord enters the lists with His savage foe not in His own majesty but in our humility, opposing him with the same form and the same nature, which shares indeed our mortality, though it is free from all sin. Truly foreign to this nativity is that which we read of all others, "no one is clean from stain, not even the infant who has lived but one day upon earth Job 19:4." Nothing therefore of the lust of the flesh has passed into that peerless nativity, nothing of the law of sin has entered. A royal Virgin of the stem of David is chosen, to be impregnated with the sacred seed and to conceive the Divinely-human offspring in mind first and then in body.
And lest in ignorance of the heavenly counsel she should tremble at so strange a result, she learns from converse with the angel that what is to be wrought in her is of the Holy Ghost. Nor does she believe it loss of honour that she is soon to be the Mother of God. For why should she be in despair over the novelty of such conception, to whom the power of the most High has promised to effect it. Her implicit faith is confirmed also by the attestation of a precursory miracle, and Elizabeth receives unexpected fertility: in order that there might be no doubt that He who had given conception to the barren, would give it even to a virgin.
II. The mystery of the Incarnation is a fitting theme for joy both to angels and to men
Therefore the Word of God, Himself God, the Son of God who "in the beginning was with God," through whom "all things were made" and "without" whom "was nothing made John 1:1-3," with the purpose of delivering man from eternal death, became man: so bending Himself to take on Him our humility without decrease in His own majesty, that remaining what He was and assuming what He was not, He might unite the true form of a slave to that form in which He is equal to God the Father, and join both natures together by such a compact that the lower should not be swallowed up in its exaltation nor the higher impaired by its new associate.
Without detriment therefore to the properties of either substance which then came together in one person, majesty took on humility, strength weakness, eternity mortality: and for the paying off of the debt, belonging to our condition, inviolable nature was united with possible nature, and true God and true man were combined to form one Lord, so that, as suited the needs of our case, one and the same Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and rise again with the other.
Rightly therefore did the birth of our Salvation impart no corruption to the Virgin's purity, because the bearing of the Truth was the keeping of honour. Such then beloved was the nativity which became the Power of God and the Wisdom of God even Christ, whereby He might be one with us in manhood and surpass us in Godhead. For unless He were true God, He would not bring us a remedy, unless He were true Man, He would not give us an example. Therefore the exulting angel's song when the Lord was born is this, "Glory to God in the Highest," and their message, "peace on earth to men of good will Luke 2:14." For they see that the heavenly Jerusalem is being built up out of all the nations of the world: and over that indescribable work of the Divine love how ought the humbleness of men to rejoice, when the joy of the lofty angels is so great?
III. Christians then must live worthily of Christ their Head
Let us then, dearly beloved, give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Spirit, Who "for His great mercy, wherewith He has loved us," has had pity on us: and "when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together in Christ Ephesians 2:4-5," that we might be in Him a new creation and a new production. Let us put off then the old man with his deeds: and having obtained a share in the birth of Christ let us renounce the works of the flesh.
Christian, acknowledge your dignity, and becoming a partner in the Divine nature, refuse to return to the old baseness by degenerate conduct. Remember the Head and the Body of which you are a member. Recollect that you were rescued from the power of darkness and brought out into God's light and kingdom. By the mystery of Baptism you were made the temple of the Holy Ghost: do not put such a denizen to flight from you by base acts, and subject yourself once more to the devil's thraldom: because your purchase money is the blood of Christ, because He shall judge you in truth Who ransomed you in mercy, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
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