For those of you who may have missed our post yesterday on the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
, we are hosting another giveaway of a wonderful vintage book reprint, visit the post to enter to win.
As last Friday, was the 13th of the month we shared a little bit on superstition
as it is more than common for people to think that Friday the 13th is a day of bad luck when really it is the most honorable day of the week, it is the day that Christ died on the cross and made salvation possible for us. It seems that the upcoming weeks society in general is focused on a particular Pagan celebration which puts superstition front and center and has made a mockery of the name in which it takes. Halloween, is really a shortening of All Hallow's Eve, the vigil of All Saint's Day. Instead of making this day Hallow (Holy) the old Pagan customs have come back and are full of superstition and immorality. As we, ourselves, have been currently teaching our children about why this celebration of Halloween is not Catholic, we have been learning a lot about superstition and thought we would share with you today some of the Church's teachings on it. May God send you many blessings this week!
The Baltimore Cathecism No. IV - For Sunday School Teachers and Advanced Classes
By: Rev. Thomas L. Kinkead + Imprimatur 1891
LESSON THIRTIETH -
ON THE FIRST COMMANDMENT317 Q. How do we adore God?A. We adore God by faith, hope, and charity, by prayer and sacrifice.318 Q. How may the first Commandment be broken?A.The first Commandment may be broken by giving to a creature the honor which belongs to God alone; by false worship; and by attributing to a creature a perfection which belongs to God alone."Creature"
- that is, anything created; anything but God Himself; for all other persons and things have been created. If one knelt before a king and adored him, he would be giving to a creature the honor due to God alone. "False worship"
- that is, worshipping God not as He directs us by His to sacrifice animals to God would now be false worship; to offer now any of the sacrifices commanded in the Old Law would be false worship, because all these were figures of the real sacrifice of the cross and Mass, and were to put the people in mind that one day Christ the promised Redeemer would offer up the one great sacrifice of His own body and blood to blot out all the sins of the world. And now that we have the real sacrifice it would be sinful to use only figures, and it would be a false worship displeasing to God. So, too, all those who leave the true Church to practice a religion of their own have a false worship, for they worship God not as He wishes, but as they wish.
Heaven is a reward, and when we see how the saints labored to secure it we must be ashamed of the little we do for God. Take out of a whole year 0 that is, 365 days or 8,760 hours - the time you give to the service of God, and you will find it very little. Even the time you have spent at Mass and prayers was filled with distraction and little of it entirely given to God. Since this is true for one year, what will it be for all the years of your life? Think of them all and you will perceive that God, Who gave you all the time you had, and Who on the last day will demand an exact account of it, will find very little of it spent in His honor in His service. Even the time wasted in school and instructions will stand against you. Time lost is lost forever, and you can never make it up. Next to grace, time is the most valuable thing God gives us, and we should use it well."Attributing to a creature a perfection,"
ect. Persons who go to fortune-tellsers do this. Fortune-tellers are persons who pretend to know what is going to happen in the future. WE know from our religion that only God Himself knows the future. Neither the angels nor saints, nor even the Blessed Virgin, know the future. Even they could not tell your fortune unless God revealed it to them. so when you go to a fortune-teller you place the poor sinful person who is doing the dvil's work above the Blessed Virgin and all the saints and angels, and make that wretch equal to God Himself. Surely this is a sin, even if you do not believe these so-called fortune-tellers, but go to them merely through curiosity or with others. Again, we pay these persons for telling us some foolish nonsense, and thus encourage them to continue their sinful business. They doubtless laugh at the foolishness of those who go to them or believe what they say, and pay them generously. You might with as much sense stop a man on the street, ask him to tell your foturne, and hand him your money, for he would know as much about it as so-called fortune-tellers do. Rarely these sinful people might tell you something that has happened in your life; but if they do, they merely guess at it or are aided by the devil. The devil did not lose his intelligence when driven out of heaven, and he uses it now for doing evil. He has vast experience, for he is as old as Adam, or older, and has seen and known all the men that have lived in the world. He can move rapidly through the world and easily know what is visibly taking place, so that, strictly speaking, he could make known to his sinful agents what is present or past, but never the future. Thus some foturne-tellers, clairvoyants, mind readers, mediums, or whatever else they call themselves, who are truly in league with the devil, may by his power tell you the past year of your life to make you believe that they know also the future. The past and present in your live you already know, and the future they cannot tell; therefore it is useless as well as sinful to go to them. I say only it is possible for some foturne-tellers to employ the assistance of the devil, for all of them, with very rare exception, are cleverer impostors who take your money for guessing at what they suspect you will be most pleased to hear.*319 Q. Do those who make use of spells and charms, or who believe in dreams, in mediums, spirits fortune-tellers, and the like, sin against the first Commandment?A. Those who make use of spells and charms, or who believe in dreams, in mediums, spirits, fortune-tellers, and the like, sin against the first Commandment, because they attribute to creatures perfections which belong to God alone."Spells"
are certain words, the saying of which persons believe will effect for them something wonderful - a miraculous cure, for instance, or protection from some evil. "Charms"
are articles worn about the body for the same purpose. They may be little black beans, little stones of a certain shape, the teeth of animals, ect. In uncivilized countries the inhabitants use many of these charms. But you may ask, Are not these medals, scapulars, etc., that we wear, also charms? No. These things are blessed and worn in honor of God, of His blessed Mother, or of the saints. We do not expect any help from the little piece of brass or cloth we wear, but from those in whose honor we wear it, and from the prayers said in the blessing for those who wear it. But they who wear charms expect the help from the thing itself, which makes their conduct foolish and sinful, since God alone can protect from evil. Again, such things as medals, crosses, and scapulars are blessed by the Church and worn by its consent, and it could never allow all its children to do a sinful thing. It is good and praiseworthy, therefore, to wear the blessed sacramentals in God's honor; but even with these holy things we must be careful not to go too far. It is true the Blessed Virgin will protect those who wear her scapular; but it would be sinful willfully to expose ourselves to danger without any necessity, because we wear a scapular. Thus it would be suicide for a boy who could not swim to plunge into deep water because, having his scapulars on, the Blessed Virgin ought to save him by a miracle. Again, it is wrong to look fro miracles from God when natural help will answer. Thus it would be wrong for a man who broke his leg to refuse to have the doctors set it, because he wanted God alone to heal it."Dreams"
are caused by the mind being at work while the body is sleeping or at rest. The mind never sleeps; it is always awake and working. Thus when we are asleep the imagination, without the reason to guide it, mixes together a number of things we have seen, heard, or thought of, and gives us strange scenes and pictures. Sometimes what we dream of seems to happen; but that is only because we dream so much that it would be strange if none of the things ever happened. We will generally dream about what ever was on our mind shortly before. WE read in the Holy Scriptures that God at times made known His will to certain persons by dreams; as when the king of Egypt dreamt of the great famine that was to come; or when the angel appeared in sleep to St. Joseph, telling him to take Our Lord into Egypt, where Herod the king could not kill him (Matt ii.).
The dreams mentioned in the Holy Scripture were more frequently visions than dreams. In a vision the things we see are really present, whereas in dreams they are not, but we imagine they are. God no longer makes use of dreams as a means of communicating with His creatures, because His Church will make know to us His will. He sometimes, however, makes known certain things to His holy servants on earth in a very special and private manner; as, for example, when Our Lord appeared to Blessed Margaret Mary and told her He would like to have the devotion to the Sacred Heart established. We must always believe what the Church tells us as God has made known to it; but when holy people tell us that god revealed special things to them, we are not obliged to believe what they say, unless the Church confirms it. I say we are not obliged- that is, we may if we please; but we would not be heretics and commit sin if we did not believe all the revelations and wonderful things we find recorded in the lives of saints, though they may all be true."Mediums and spiritists"
are persons who pretend they can talk with the dead in the other world, and learn where they are and what they are doing. They have figures to move and confide in them. Their work is all deception and very sinful. If any of these things could be done, or if God wished them to be known, He would give the power to the Church founded by His divine Son, and not to a few sinful men or women here and there. AFter a soul leaves the body its fate is hidden from us, and we can say nothing with absolute certainty of its reward or punishment. No one ever came back from the other world to give a minute account of its general appearance or of what takes place there. All that is known about it to the Church knows and tells us, and all over and above that is false or doubtful. By thinking a little you can see how all these dealings with forutne-tellers, ect. are giving to creatures what belongs to God alone.
This is not our usual blog post but current events warrant that one speak out, share the truth of God's teachings on this awful matter.
The news is full to the brim in recent weeks of 'gay rights' articles, whether it be a senator 'converting' his opinions or those allowing exceptions such as 'civil unions' as a compromise between homosexuals being what they are and intruding upon the rights of one man and one woman in Holy Matrimony.
Our world is full of so many unchaste bombardments from movies, music, books to immodest dress, immoral relationships and the like. It has infiltrated public school systems and become part of our 'culture' so that it is hard to hide from its hideousness. An old news article was shared with me recently that calls to mind the reality that has taken place in our time compared to the days where the 10 Commandments were still the law of the land. Words have been changed and manipulated to be "politically correct" when in reality they are mere guises of the Devil to appease human respect (a sin against the 1st Commandment). Some excerpts from this article:
"What use to be called modesty
is now called sex hangup
. What used to be called Christian discipline
is now called unhealthy repression.
What used to be called moral IRResponsiblity
is now called being fed up
. What used to be called chastity
is now called neurotic inhibitions.
What used to be called living in sin
is now called meaningful relationship.
What used to be called perversion
is now called alternative lifestyle.
What use to be called sad
is now called gay.
What use to be called The Holy Almighty God
is now called the man upstairs
. What use to be called sin
is now called making an honest mistake.
What used to be called the offense of sodomy
is now called gay rights
Below is an article from an lovely vintage Catholic book on the 6th and 9th commandments that explains well the depth of this sin and the depth of the Law of God. The whole book may be read online by clicking on the title. To download this information in a printable PDF please click here- Sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments including Sodomy
Illustrated Explanation of the Commandments
By: Rev. H. Rolfus + Imprimatur 1887
The Sixth Commandment. -Thou shalt not commit adultery.
The Ninth Commandment-Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
Sins Against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, As the welfare of society depends on the preservation of human life, so the welfare of the family depends on the sacredness of the marriage-tie. But as the human community is but an aggregation of a number of families, the welfare of society depends no less on the sacredness of marriage. For this reason the sixth commandment forbids in the first place all violation of conjugal fidelity, and not only by deed, but also by intention, or by voluntary desire, as expressed in the ninth commandment. Just as the man who hates his fellow-man is called a murderer (St. John iii. 15), he who looks upon a woman to desire her is counted among the adulterers. " But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart" (St. Matt. v. 28).
Adultery is not a simple but a manifold sin, the adulterer not only sins against the sixth commandment but he violates the faith he has sworn before the altar, and the rights of his consort. Besides, injustice is frequently done to legitimate children by giving to those born in adultery the same fortune as to the former. Wherever any injustice has been done in this way, the adulterer is bound to repair all temporal loss which the innocent consort and the children have sustained.
In the Old Covenant adultery, like murder, blasphemy, and perjury, was punished with the severest penalty known, that of stoning. " If any man commit adultery with the wife of another, let them be put to death, both the adulterer and the adulteress" (Lev. xx. 10).
2. The sixth commandment prohibits all unchaste actions, whether committed with another or alone. It also forbids all voluntary unchaste thoughts and desires, all unchaste looks and words, all that incites to and develops impurity, all that violates holy modesty, be it by look or touch. It is an aggravating circumstance when this sin is committed with a person of the same sex, or a married person, or with an ecclesiastic or religious.
3. There are some sins which occur frequently, which are considered very trifling by many, and are scarcely punished by the authorities, and yet cause fearful moral havoc in the hearts and minds of men; they are the following:
a. Impure jokes and farces, words with a double meaning, and unchaste songs; they do not fail to corrupt the mind, because they excite unholy desires, root out modesty, and leave impressions on the imagination which are not easily effaced, and keep the soul in a constant state of temptation.
b. Impure pictures and representations, which familiarize with evil, poison the imagination, and in the same way as impure words, jokes, and songs leave the sting of sin in the heart.
c. Immoral books, in which vice is painted in alluring colors or defended, or in which bad principles are upheld. These sins are all the more heinous because they help to carry the seeds of vice into the remotest spheres, and cause grave scandal.
" Fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints, nor [let there be] obscenity" (Eph. v. 3. 4).
4. The malice and enormity of the sin of impurity is easily measured by its destructive effects, by its pernicious consequences, and by the punishment with which God visits it. Man, the image of God, becomes an animal in committing it. He no longer serves God; like the animal, he is a slave to his body and its desires. He even sinks below the level of the brute beast, for the animal follows its natural instinct, but man, who is endowed with a free will, sells his birthright, resists the voice of conscience, despises the grace which has been bestowed upon him, and deliberately rebels against the law of God. Sins against chastity not only corrupt the soul, but also the body, for disease and ruin follow in their train.
Other very common consequences of these sins are: Shattered fortunes, sorrow, disgrace, and ruin of
family happiness. Moreover, a man who is addicted to these vices sinks lower and lower, and becomes more and more weak and incapable of resisting temptation. What was first done from frailty is soon committed with full consent and deliberation. At last a man succeeds in persuading himself that lust is no sin. Thus he who fell with anguish and remorse of conscience, in the end becomes a hardened sinner.
Holy Scripture pronounces on the unchaste the following sentence: " For know ye this and understand, that no fornicator nor unclean person . . . hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Eph. v. 5). The sin of impurity committed by deed with a person of the same sex is called, because of its enormity and abominableness, the sin against nature, and also the Sodomite sin, because the inhabitants of Sodom were guilty of it. It is numbered among the sins crying to heaven for vengeance, cause Sodom was so wicked that the cry of its sin had "grown loud before the Lord" (Gen. xix. 13). Duties Enjoined by the Sixth Commandment
On Chastity According to Our State.
As impurity is such a grievous sin that every time it is committed the soul is in danger, it is a most imperious duty for the Christian to avoid everything which might lead to it, and to use all those means by which we are strengthened against impurity and acquire divine grace. In the first place, we are commanded to practice chastity according to our state.
1. The most common causes which lead to sins of impurity, and, as it were, pave the way for them, are:
a. Intemperance in eating and drinking. " Wine is a luxurious thing, and drunkenness riotous" (Prov. xx. 1).
b. Idleness, which even the voice of the people has called the root of all evil. The Prophet already says of the inhabitants of Sodom : " Behold this was the iniquity of Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance, and the idleness of her, and of her daughters : and they did not put forth their hand to the needy and to the poor" (Ezech. xvi. 49).
c. Immodest dress, which causes many sins and causes great scandal. " In like manner the women also in decent apparel; adoring themselves with modesty and sobriety, and not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire" (i Tim. ii. 9).
d. Bold looks and listening to sinful discourses. The eyes and the ears are the channels through which sin enters into the soul. " Gaze not upon a maiden, lest her beauty be a stumbling-block to thee. Look not round about thee in the ways of the city, nor wander up and down in the streets thereof. Turn away thy face from a woman dressed up, and gaze not about on another's beauty. For many have perished by the beauty of a woman, and hereby lust is enkindled as a fire" (Ecclus. ix. 5, 7-9)
e. Indecent dances and plays. To dances applies, as St. Francis of Sales says, what we know of mushrooms: the best of them are worth nothing. St. Ephrem says : " Where noise of timbrels and dancing is heard, men are blinded and women seduced."
The greatest danger to holy purity are those long acquaintances, which seem innocent in the beginning, but nearly always lead to sin. Of them St. Alphonsus Liguori says: "I say in general, that a person who entertains acquaintances hardly keeps from proximate occasion of sin. Experience teaches that there are but few who keep up those intimacies and remain free from grievous sins. And although they may not sin in the beginning, they easily fall in the course of time. At first one speaks from affection, afterwards affection changes into passion, and when passion has once taken root, it blinds the understanding and effects that one falls into a thousand sins of impure thoughts, and words, and even into unchaste actions."
2. Chastity according to our state is threefold: conjugal chastity, chastity of widows, and of virgins.
a. Married people must know that not everything is allowed in the married state, but that nothing may be done which is opposed to the end of marriage. The marriage of Tobias and Sara is a most beautiful example of a devout marriage even for Christians. We read that Tobias said to Sara : " We are the children of saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God" (Tob. viii. 5).
The Angel Raphael discovered to Tobias how it happens that the devil gets power over married persons : " They who in such manner receive matrimony as to shut out God from themselves, and from their minds, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power" (Tob. vi. 17).
b. To widows the Apostle gives the following precept : " But she that is a widow indeed and desolate, let her trust in God, and continue in supplications and prayers night and day. For she that liveth in pleasures is dead while she is living. And this give in charge, that they may be
blameless" (i. Tim. v. 5-7).
c. The chastity of virgins is extolled in Holy Writ and by the Fathers in the most glowing terms. In the Book of Wisdom it is written : " How beautiful is the chaste generation with glory: for the memory thereof is immortal : because it is known both with God and with men. When it is present, they imitate it: and they desire it when it hath withdrawn itself, and it triumpheth crowned forever, winning the reward of undefiled conflicts" (Wisd. iv. 1, 2).
Our Lord Himself likens those who do not marry and remain virgins to the angels (St. Luke xx. 36); and in the Apocalypse it is written of those who have not defiled themselves with women : " These are they who were not defiled with women : for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, the first fruits to God and to the Lamb" (Apoc. xiv. 4).
St. Francis of Sales praises chastity in these words: "Chastity is the lily among virtues; it makes man nearly like to the angels. Nothing is beautiful which is not pure, and the purity of man is chastity. It has the glory entirely its own of being the fair virtue resplendent in body and soul at the same time. A chaste heart is like the mother of pearl which does not allow any water to come into her shell except the drops which fall from heaven : it will not give itself up to unholy pleasure, nor admit even a voluntary thought of it into its sanctuary." Application.
1. The Catholic Christian must remember that he can preserve the treasure of holy purity only by the grace of God, and therefore he must pray for it, and pray for it with great humility, for many have fallen because they deemed themselves strong and had too much confidence in their own virtue. Let us invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and bravely fight the good fight, looking to the splendid reward which she received and which awaits us also, so that we too may be crowned with all those glorious saints who have conquered before us. " Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God" (St. Matt. v. 8).
2. The sacraments are the means of grace of the Church. We must therefore receive them from time to time. We shall always come away strengthened from the Table of the Lord. The Christian's life ought to be an illustration of these words of the Prophet Zacharias : " For what is the good thing of him, and what is his beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect, and wine springing forth virgins?" (Zach. ix. 17).
3. In order to conquer our evil desires we ought to use even corporal means, such as mortification of
the senses by fasting, watching, labor, and other works of penance. " He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sins" (i St. Peter iv. i).
4. The remembrance of the omnipresence of God, of His majesty and justice, of the bitter passion and death of Christ, the thought of death, judgment, and hell will also prove most powerful helps in overcoming our evil desires. "Walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh" (Gal. v. 16).
5. The most necessary means of preserving holy purity is the avoidance of bad occasions. In this warfare he is the strongest who takes to flight. " Flee from sins as from the face of a serpent : for if thou comest near them, they will take hold of thee" (Ecclus. xxi. 2). Examples.
We can see in what detestation God holds the vice of lust from the judgments with which He visited mankind at the time of Noe, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha when He destroyed their cities (Gen. xix. 24). When during the wanderings in the desert the children of Israel committed sins of impurity with the daughters of Moab, twenty-four thousand of them were killed by the sword at the command of God (Num. xxv. 9). Because David had committed this sin with the wife of Urias, God sent him word through the Prophet Nathan : " Therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house, because thou hast despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Urias the Hethite to be thy wife. Because thou hast given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme for this thing, the child that is born to thee shall surely die" (2 Kings xii. 10, 14).
The two old men who were inflamed with lust towards the chaste Susanna saw her every day in the house of her husband Joachim, where they had entrance, because they were both judges of Israel. But they no longer remembered the just judgments of God, and at last their unguarded looks led to the assault they made on the pious woman. But because Susanna resisted the wicked old men they accused her, and charged her with the same crime to which they had tried to seduce her, and they found faith with the people, because they belonged to the judges of the land. Susanna would have been stoned if God had not raised up Daniel in order to bring her innocence to light (Dan. xiii.). Thus from unguarded looks sprang unchaste desires and actions, false witness, and blood-guiltiness. David also would have been preserved from the sin he committed with the wife of Urias if he had kept watch over his eyes (2 Kings xi. 2). Holy Job, on the contrary, could say of himself : " I made a covenant with my eyes, that I would not so much as think upon a virgin" (Job xxxi. 1). The thought of the omnipresence
of God upheld the Patriarch Joseph in the hour of temptation; he said: "How then can I do this wicked thing, and sin against my God?" (Gen. xxxix. 9). It was the same thought which gave strength to Susanna steadfastly to resist the temptation by saying to the two wicked old men : " It is better for me to fall into your hands without doing it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord."
Two more freebies for our readers! A great way to teach the order of the 10 commandments, something of conversation in our house more recently as the boys are learning them. They also seem to get reminded of certian ones throughout the day ;) What better way than to make it a game and with the special ones in our house any game that is moveable always captures the attention much better! The Matching the 10 Commandments with Moses
gives them the opportunity to use their fine motor skills and strengthen those fingers!The second printable is Ordering the Stations of the Cross- 'busy bag'. If you are aware of the busy bag craze you will know what these are about. Great simple games that can be contained in a small bag. Easy to take on the go and simple enough to entertain without too much instruction. This printable features the 14 stations of the cross on which the child places the correct number station (as marked on the clothes pin) to the correct picture and title. This one comes with an answer key so the child or the parent can check the work when it is complete. For those who can't read yet they can use the answer key to match up the pins and still have a fun, entertaining and educational time.Feel free to share the printables, if you would link back to our website or give credit in some way that would be wonderful! May God provide you a most fruitful Lenten season! God bless!Matching the 10 Commandments with Moses- Busy Bag DownloadOrdering the Stations of the Cross- Busy Bag Download
Spring time is getting near and so is the time for our new Home*School*Liturgical Year Planner! Visit here for more details and make sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter so you don't miss out on new information!
From the book Sermons of the Cure of Ars, the fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, on the Love of God.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God." -Luke x. 27
"We read in the Gospel, my dear brethren, that a young man approached Jesus Christ, and said to Him: "Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?" Jesus Christ answered him: "What is written in the law?" "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," the young man answered, "with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself. I do all these things." "Well, then," Jesus Christ answered him, "sell all that thou hast, and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have a treasure in heaven." Jesus Christ wished to demonstrate that it is by deeds and not by words that we show whether we really love God. "If," says St. Gregory, "to love Him it sufficed to say that we loved Him, this love would not be so uncommon; for there is certainly no one who, if they were asked whether they loved God, would not immediately answer that they loved Him with their whole heart. The just would say so, and so would the sinner. The just, however, would say so, trembling, and like St. Peter, while the sinner probably would say so in a confident manner to make the impression of sincerity; only he deceives himself, for the love of God does not count in words but in deeds." Yes, my dear friends, to love God is something so fair, so reasonable, and so natural that those among us whose mode of life is inconsistent with it, still imagine and are convinced that they love Him. And this, dear brethren, is because we all seek happiness, and the love of God alone can procure it for us. And this is the reason why even the sinner endeavors to convince himself that he loves God. At the same time nothing is really so rare as the true love of God. Let us see in what this love consists, and how we may know whether we love God. To understand this better, let us consider:
I.- What God has done for love of us, and
II.- What we ought to do for love of Him.
It is a fact, dear brethren, that God has created us for the sole purpose to love Him and to serve Him. Why, dear brethren, did God plant into our hearts a craving for something so great and so magnificent that nothing created can satisfy it? So that we might thereby be induced to cling firmly to Him, and to love Him, because He alone can satisfy us. If man possessed the whole world, he would still not be contented; there would always be something wanting for our complete happiness, and yet we are so convinced that we are created to be happy, that we never in our life cease to seek happiness, and to do everything that we possibly can to attain it. What is the reason, then, that regardless of all our endeavors, our pains, and our labors, we can never feel contented? It is because we do not direct our attention and our mind toward that object which alone is capable of fulfilling our desires, toward God. Believe me, dear friends, seek the friendship of God, and then you will have found happiness. And in order that you may feel urgently impelled to love so good a God, who is so worthy of being loved, and so able to satisfy perfectly all the desires of our hearts, let us briefly consider what our God has done for us, let us follow the course of His life until His death.
Consider Him, dear brethen, from the moment of his Incarnation until His thirtieth year. Are there not the greatest proofs of His love for us. At His Incarnation He became man like us and for us. By His birth He has exalted us to the highest dignity to which a mere creature can be raised. He made us His brothers! O what love of us! Have we ever rightly understood it? At His presentation in the Temple He offered Himself up to His Father to redeem us all. Later, in the home of St. Joseph, He became a model of the love and respect which we should have for our parents and superiors. In His active life, everything that He did was done for us: His prayers, His tears, His nightly vigils, His fasts, His sermons, His journeys, His conversations, His miracles - He did all these things for our salvation. Observe, dear brethren, with what zeal He sought us in the person of the Samaritan woman; behold, with what fervent love He receives sinners in the person of the prodigal son; see with what meekness He condones the justice of His Father who would punish us in the person of the adulteress. In His life of suffering, what abuses, what torments did He endure? He is bound, and struck in the face with clenched fists, accused, condemned, and finally crucified for us. And did He not die for us, under the most cruel and most indescribable sufferings?
Ah, my dear brethren, who can understand what He has done for us? Jesus Christ could have made satisfaction for our sins to the jusice of the Father by one drop of His blood, by one tear, but that which could satisfy justicecould not satisfy the fervent love of His heart for us It is His love of us again which caused Him to anticipate the sufferings which He was to undergo upon the cross. O abyss of tenderness, of a God-love for His creatures!
Let us go sill further, dear friends. This divine Redeemer wishes to shed the last drop of His previous blood for us, to cleanse us from all our misdeeds. After atoning for our pride by His corwing with thorns, for our countless sins of the tongue by the gall and vinegar, the sins of impurity by the cruel and painful scourging, all our wicked actions byt the wounds of His hands and His feet, He wished to expiate all our evil desires by the wound of His divine Heart, because it is in the heart that all our sins have their source. O miracle of the love of God for His creatures!
But His love goes still further., When He saw that He would soon be separated from us by death, He worked a great miracle as to remain always with us: He instituted the great Sacrament of love, wherein He left us His most adorable flesh and His most precious blood, so as never more to forsake us until the end of the world. What love for us, my dear brethren! A God wishes to fed our soul with His own Being! In this great and adorable Sacrament He offers Himself daily to the justice of God, makes satisfaction again for our sins, and obtains all kinds of graces for us.
No, dear brethren, you have never reflected upon it, how much God loves us. Would it be possible for us to sin and offend Him when we can only be happy by loving Him? If I were to ask you if you loved God, you would say without doubt, yes, we love Him; but that is not sufficient, you must give proof of this. But where, dear brethren, are the proofs which reveal the sincerity of our love of God? What sacrifices do we make for Him? Where are our works of penance? The little good which we do is done often without the right intention. Other considerations than the love of God often prompt us to do good works, and the good deeds done purely for the love of God are, alas, but few.
If, my dear brethren, you wish to know now, how we can tell whether we really love God, listen to what I am going to say to you, and then judge for yourselves whether you have that true love. Observe that Jesus Christ Himself has said to us: "Whosoever loves me, keeps my commandments, but he who does not love me, does not keep them." It is, therefore, very easy for you to know whther or not you lvoe God. The commandments, my friends, and the will of God, are one and the same thing. He commandds and He wills that you should fulfil the duties of your state of life, conscientiously and you should fulfil the duties of your state of life, conscientiously and sincerely. He commands us to believe in Him, and to be faithful to Him. The Saints, and particularly the Martyrs, proved their love of God by sufffering persecution and death rather than be unfaithful to God.
God's will is that we be subject and respectful to our parents, our superiors, and all those whom God has placed over us to guide us. It is the will of God that superiors should treat those under them without overbearing or harshness, with love and kindness, as they should wish to be treated themselves. It is the will of God that we should be kind and charitable toward every one, and that we should feel contempt for the praise or the censure of men.
St. Ambrose tells us: "If any one despises us, we ought not be troubled, but think, on the contrary, that if they really knew us as we are, they would say much worse about us." Or as St. John says; "When any one reviles us, it is the will of God that we should be ready to forgive them, and to embrace every opportunity of doing them a service." His will says, that we should never give way to gluttony; that in our conversations we should conceal and excuse our neighbor's faults. It is the will of God that in all our sufferings we should not murmur, but bear them patiently and with resignation to His will. God wills that we acknowledge that all things come from him, and that they will serve our good if we only make the right use of them.
This, dear brethren, is what the commandments demand of us. If you love God, as you say you do, you will do all these things. You will conduct yourself in this way. If not, then no matter how often you may repeat that you love Him, St. John tells you that you are lars, and that the truth is not in you. Let us examine, my friends, our conduct and our way of living, and then let us consider closely our actions.
Night and morning, you fold your hands and say in your prayers: "My God, I love Thee with my whole heart, and above all things." And when so praying you believe that you are speaking the truth; and yet a few hours later your hands may be busy injuring your neighbor, or used to indulge in drunkenness and gluttony, and your mouth, which has expressed your love og God will, perhaps, be soiled with oats, tale-bearing, calumnies, and all sorts of slander, thus dishonoring and abusing that same God to whom you have just said that you love Him with your whole heart. Do your actions prove your words. Suppose, for example, you would go to a good friend of yours, take him by the hand, and assure him of your great love and faithfulness, and then go about, abuse his good name, work against his best interests, and do everything possible to offend him. What would you think of such action? Wouldn't it be just the most shameful way to act? And yet, do you not treat in such manner your best friend, your creator, your God?
Alas, our miserable body induces us unceasingly to do evil, while our conscience and the inspirations of grace encourage us to do good. Dear brethren, to love God means to struggle; it means to resist courageously all the temptations. In this way we shall give proofs of the love which we have for God; it will enable us to rather sacrifice all than sin against so good a God.
St. Justin tells us that love has generally three effects: Those whom we love we delight in thinking of, in giving them anything, and in suffering for them gladly. This is what we should do for God, my dear brethren, if we really love Him. I say (I) that we should often think of God. Nothing is more natural than to think of those whom we love. Look at a miser. Is he not completely taken up with his possessions, and the means to increase them? Whether he be alone or with other people, nothing is capable of diverting him from those thoughts. Look at the worldling. The object of his love will occupy his mind till he ceases to breathe. O if we would really love Jesus Christ only even as much as the miser does his money and treasures, as the drunkard his drink, as the sensual man the object of his passion, should we not be continually occupied with the love and glory of Jesus Chris? Alas, my dear friends, we busy ourselves with a thousand worthless things, but we spend hours and days without thinking of God. And yet, have we , dear brethren, among our friends, one more generous, or more beneficial?
(2) I say, if we really love God, we shall give Him everything which we possibly can give Him with the greatest pleasure. If we have wealth, let us share it with the poor, and it will be the same as if it were given to Jesus Chris Himself. "Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brethren, you give it unto me." What an honor, my friends , for a creature to be able to be generous toward his Creator, his God, and his Redeemer! It is not only the rich who can give, but all Christians, even the poorest. We are not all wealthy so as to be able to give to Jesus Christ in the person of His poor, but we all have a heart, and it is just this gift which He prizes so highly. He urgently desires it. I ask you, dear brethren, can we refuse Him that, which He so earnestly desires, He, who has only created us for Himself? Ah, if we considered this rightly, should we not say to the divine Redeemer: "Lord, I am only a sinner, have mercy upon me. Behold, I am Thine only"? How happy should we be if we could make this sacrifice for God! How great would be our reward!
(3) The best proof of love, however, which we can give to God, is when we suffer for His sake, for if we would consider properly what He has suffered for us, we could not help but bear patiently all the wants of life, the persecutions, the sicknesses, the weaknesses.
We must conclude from all this, my friends, that our whole and our only happiness upon earth depends upon our fidelity to God. In all our actions, God alone must be our aim, for we all know from our own experience, that nothing in this world can make us happy; the whole world, with all its possessions and its pleasure, can not satisfy our hearts. Never lose sight of the fact, dear brethren, that everything created will forsake us. There will come a time when everything earthly that we possess will pass into other hands. But if we have the great happiness of possessing the love of God we shall reign in heaven in a bliss that will last for all eternity. Love God, and possess Him, and the love of God will be your salvation at the hour of death. Amen.