And Elias, the prophet, stood up, as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch (Ecclesiasticus. 48.1, DRV)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Mane, Thecel, Pares!"


First Sunday of Lent

Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Mt. 4.7).

"On the Number of Sins Beyond Which God Pardons No More"
A Sermon of St. Alphonsus Liguori (Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and Founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer)

IN this day's Gospel we read that, having gone into the desert, Jesus Christ permitted the devil to set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple and say to Him: "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down;  for the angels shall preserve thee from all injury." But the Lord answered that, in the Sacred Scriptures it is written: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. The sinner who abandons himself to sin without striving to resist temptations, or without at least asking God’s help to conquer them, and hopes that the Lord will one day draw him from the precipice, tempts God to work miracles, or rather to show to him an extraordinary mercy not extended to the generality of Christians. God, as the Apostle says, will have all men to be saved (1 Tim. ii. 4); but he also wishes us all to labour for our own salvation, work out your salvation (Phil. ii.12) at least by adopting the means of overcoming our enemies, and of obeying him when he calls us to repentance. Sinners hear the calls of God, but they forget them, and continue to offend Him. But God does not forget them. He numbers the graces which He dispenses, as well as the sins which we commit. Hence, when the time which He has fixed arrives, God deprives us of his graces, and begins to inflict chastisement. I intend to show, in this discourse, that, when sins reach a certain number, God pardons no more. Be attentive.

St. Basil, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and other fathers, teach that, as God, according to the words of Scripture: Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight (Wis. xi. 21), has fixed for each person the number of the days of his life, and the degrees of health and talent which he will give him, so he has also determined for each the number of sins which he will pardon; and when this number is completed, he will pardon no more

The Lord hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart. (Isa. Ixi. 1.) God is ready to heal those who sincerely wish to amend their lives, but cannot take pity on the obstinate sinner (cf., the Neo-Catholic Theology). The Lord pardons sins, but he cannot pardon those who are determined to offend him. Nor can we demand from God a reason why he pardons one a hundred sins, and takes others out of life, and sends them to hell, after three or four sins. By his Prophet Amos, God has said: For three crimes of Damascus, and for four, I will not convert it. (i. 3.) In this we must adore the judgments of God, and say with the Apostle: the depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments (Rom. xi. 33.) He who receives pardon, says St. Augustine, is pardoned through the pure mercy of God; and they who are chastised are justly punished.  How many has God sent to hell for the first offence? St. Gregory relates, that a child of five years, who had arrived at the use of reason, for having uttered a blasphemy, was seized by the devil and carried to hell. The divine mother revealed to that great servant of God, Benedicta of Florence, that a boy of twelve years was damned after the first sin. Another boy of eight years died after his first sin and was lost. You say: I am young: there are many who have committed more sins than I have. But is God on that account obliged to wait for your repentance if you offend Him? In the gospel of St. Matthew (xxi. 19) we read, that the Saviour cursed a fig tree the first time he saw it without fruit. May no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away. You must, then, tremble at the thought of committing a single mortal sin, particularly if you have already been guilty of mortal sins.

Be not without fear about sins forgiven, and add not sin to sin (Eccl. v. 5.) Say not then, O sinner; As God has forgiven me other sins, so He will pardon me this one if I commit it. Say not this; for, if to the sin which has been forgiven you add another, you have reason to fear that this new sin shall be united to your former guilt, and that thus the number will be completed, and that you shall be abandoned. Behold how the Scripture unfolds this truth more clearly in another place. The Lord patiently expecteth, that when the day of judgment shall come, He may punish them in the fullness of sins (2 Mac. vi. 14). God waits with patience until a certain number of sins is committed, but, when the measure of guilt is filled up, He waits no longer, but chastises the sinner. Thou hast sealed up my offences as it were in a bag (Job xiv. 17). Sinners multiply their sins without keeping any account of them; but God numbers them that, when the harvest is ripe, that is, when the number of sins is completed, he may take vengeance on them. Put ye in the sickles, for the harvest is ripe (Joel iii. 13).

Of this there are many examples in the Scriptures. Speaking of the Hebrews, the Lord in one place says: All the men that have tempted Me now ten times. . . . shall not see the land (Num. xiv. 22, 23.) In another place he says, that he restrained his vengeance against the Amorrhites, because the number of their sins was not completed. For as yet the iniquities of the Amorrhites are not at the full (Gen. xv. 16). We have again the example of Saul, who, after having disobeyed God a second time, was abandoned. He entreated Samuel to interpose before the Lord in his behalf. Bear, I beseech thee, my sin, and return with me, that I may adore the Lord, (1 Kings xv. 25.) But, knowing that God had abandoned Saul, Samuel answered: I will not return with thee; because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee, etc. (v. 26.) Saul, you have abandoned God, and He has abandoned you. We have another example in Balthassar, who, after having profaned the vessels of the temple, saw a hand writing on the wall, Mane, Thecel, Phares. Daniel was requested to expound the meaning of these words. In explaining the word Thecel, he said to the king: Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting (Dan. v 27.) By this explanation he gave the king to understand that the weight of his sins in the balance of divine justice had made the scale descend. The same night, Balthassar, the Chaldean king, was killed (Dan. v. 30.) Oh! how many sinners have met with a similar fate! Continuing to offend God till their sins amounted to a certain number they have been struck dead and sent to hell. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment they go down to hell (Job xxi. 13.) Tremble, brethren, lest, if you commit another mortal sin, God should cast you into hell.

If God chastised sinners the moment they insult Him, we should not see Him so much despised. But, because He does not instantly punish their transgressions, and because, through mercy, He restrains His anger and waits for their return, they are encouraged to continue to offend Him. For, because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evil without any fear (Eccles. viii. 11). But it is necessary to be persuaded that, though God bears with us, He does not wait, nor bear with us for ever. Expecting, as on former occasions, to escape from the snares of the Philistines, Samson continued to allow himself to be deluded by Delilah. I will go out as I did before, and shake myself (Judges xvi. 20). But the Lord was departed from him. Samson was at length taken by his enemies, and lost his life. The Lord warns you not to say: "I have committed so many sins, and God has not chastised me. Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? for the Most High is a patient rewarder (Eccl. v. 4). God has patience for a certain term, after which He punishes the first and last sins. And the greater has been His patience, the more severe His vengeance.

Hence, according to St. John Chrysostom, God is more to be feared when He bears with sinners than when He instantly punishes their sins. And why? Because, says St. Gregory, they to whom God has shown most mercy, shall, if they do not cease to offend Him, be chastised with the greatest rigour. The Saint adds that God often punishes such sinners with a sudden death, and does not allow them time for repentance. And the greater the light which God gives to certain sinners for their correction, the greater is their blindness and obstinacy in sin. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than, after they had known it, to turn back (2 Pet. ii. 21). Miserable the sinners who, after having been enlightened, return to the vomit. St Paul says, that it is morally impossible for them to be again converted. For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated have tasted also the heavenly gifts, ... and are fallen away, to be renewed again to penance (Heb. vi. 4, 6).

Listen, then, sinner, to the admonition of the Lord: My son, hast thou sinned? Do so no more, but for thy former sins pray that they may be forgiven thee (Eccl. xxi. 1). Son, add not sins to those which you have already committed, but be careful to pray for the pardon of your past transgressions; otherwise, if you commit another mortal sin, the gates of the divine mercy may be closed against you, and your soul may be lost forever. When, then, beloved brethren, the devil tempts you again to yield to sin, say to yourself: If God pardons me no more, what shall become of me for all eternity? Should the Devil, in reply, say: ”Fear not, God is merciful ;" answer him by saying: What certainty or what probability have I, that, if I return again to sin, God will show me mercy or grant me pardon? Because the threat of the Lord against all who despise his calls: Behold I have called and you refused. . . I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared (Prov. i. 24, 26). Mark the words I also; they mean that, as you have mocked the Lord by betraying Him again after your confession and promises of amendment, so He will mock you at the hour of death. I will laugh and will mock. But God is not mocked (Gal. vi. 7). As a dog, says the Wise Man, that returneth to his vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly (Prov. xxvi. 11.). B. Denis the Carthusian gives an excellent exposition of this text. He says that, as a dog that eats what he has just vomited, is an object of disgust and abomination, so the sinner who returns to the sins which he has detested and confessed, becomes hateful in the sight of God. 

O folly of sinners! If you purchase a house, you spare no pains to get all the securities necessary to guard against the loss of your money; if you take medicine, you are careful to assure yourself that it cannot injure you; if you pass over a river, you cautiously avoid all danger of falling into it; and for a transitory enjoyment, for the gratification of revenge, for a beastly pleasure, which lasts but a moment, you risk your eternal salvation, saying: "I will go to confession after I commit this sin." And when, I ask, are you to go to confession? You say: ”On tomorrow." But who promises you tomorrow? Who assures you that you shall have time for confession, and that God will not deprive you of life, as he has deprived so many others, in the act of sin? You cannot be certain of living for another hour, and you say: ”I will go to confession to-morrow." Listen to the words of St. Gregory: ”He who has promised pardon to penitents, has not promised tomorrow to sinners." (Hom. xii. in Evan). God has promised pardon to all who repent; but he has not promised to wait till tomorrow for those who insult him. Perhaps God will give you time for repentance, perhaps he will not. But, should he not give it, what shall become of your soul? In the meantime, for the sake of a miserable pleasure, you lose the grace of God, and expose yourself to the danger of being lost for ever.

Would you, for such transient enjoyments, risk your money, your honour, your possessions, your liberty, and your life? No, you would not. How then does it happen that, for a miserable gratification, you lose your soul, heaven, and God? Tell me: do you believe that heaven, hell, eternity, are truths of faith? Do you believe that, if you die in sin, you are lost for ever? Oh! what temerity, what folly is it, to condemn yourself voluntarily to an eternity of torments with the hope of afterwards reversing the sentence of your condemnation! No one can be found so foolish as to take poison with the hope of preventing its deadly effects by adopting the ordinary remedies. And you will condemn yourself to hell, saying that you expect to be afterwards preserved from it. Folly! which, in conformity with the divine threats, has brought, and brings every day, so many to hell. Thou hast trusted in thy wickedness, and evil shall come upon thee, and thou shalt not know the rising thereof (Isa. xlvii. 10, 11). You have sinned, trusting rashly in the divine mercy: the punishment of your guilt shall fall suddenly upon you, and you shall not know from whence it comes. What do you say? What resolution do you make? If, after this sermon, you do not firmly resolve to give yourself to God, I weep over you, and regard you as lost.

See also: "The Delusions of Sinners", "Our Lady... and the Annihilation of Many Nations", "The Wine of the Wrath of God", "Gloria Olivae", "Poenitentiam Agite!/Do Penance!"

Friday, February 24, 2012

Apostolic Succession


Feast of St. Matthias

St. Peter, being the Prince of the Apostles, moved that the vacancy in the Apostolic College, left by the fall of Judas by transgression (Ac. 1.25), be filled (Ac. 1.16-22). St. Matthias was elected to succeed Judas in the bishopric* (Ac. 1.20: Ps. 108.8), taking the place of this ministry and the apostleship (Ac. 1.25).
* Thus the original King James Version of 1611 renders also the Greek. In Ac. 20.28, we read that the Holy Ghost hath placed bishops... to rule the church of God. The KJV of 1611 fails in consistency, substituting instead "overseers" which was, oddly enough, was taken from the pagan Greek conception of superintendence over secular affairs; but, our bishops (episcopoi in Gk, episcopi in Latin) without doubt was taken to be the equivalent of the leaders in the hierarchy of the Old Testament which was but only a figure of us (1 Cor. 10.6).
But where in the Gospels, to take the Protestant fundamental standard, do we read the Lord Jesus Christ charging His Apostles to elect, after the death of any one of them, a successor to their ​ministry and apostleship​? Nowhere. The Lord Jesus Christ only made this promise: ​Behold, ​I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world ​(Mt. 28.20). This is how the Lord Jesus Christ, He Who is the most wise Master-Builder and He Who is ​the Truth​ (Jn. 14.16) shall continue to teach and guide His Church, ​built upon the foundation of the Apostles (Eph. 2.20), ​all days even to the consummation of the world​ through His Apostles and the perpetual line of their successors to the ​bishopric​. And this promise of the Lord with the fact of the necessity for Apostolic succession ​even to the consummation​ pointed out by ​Cephas ​ evidently condemn the self-constituted "ministers", "brother"-preachers, "reformers", "pastors", and "prophets" (the like of Adam Smith of the "Church of the Latter-Day Saints" or the Mormons) who claim to have directly received their "mission" from the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit in order to ​re-establishthe failed Church of Christ and to ​restore ​the original purity of the corrupted Gospel of Christ; for, if He Who is the most wise Divine Master-Builder and He Who is ​the Truth​ shall abide ​all days ​until the end of time in the Church He Himself founded in the early 30 AD what need then would there ever be for a mission of a Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, John Wesley, or of an Adam Smith, a Charles Russell, and the like? ​For such false apostles ​are deceitful ​workmen, ​transfor​ming themselves into the apostles of Christ ​(2 Cor. 11.13) yet ​contradicting Christ in His promise ​by claiming that Christ's ancient Church has failed, officially erred, and that the ancient Christian Faith​, authored and finished by the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Heb. 12.2), ​officially corrupted - what is this but to declare that Christ is therefore nothing but a ​foolish ​master-builder (cf., Mt. 7.26) and an incompetent Pastor? ​ And no wonder: for Satan transformeth himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers be transformed as minister of justice... ​(2 Cor. 11.14-45).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II 'Catholicism'


The Chair of St. Peter

Prepare the way for the people, make the road plain...
lift up the standard to the people (Is. 62.10)

"God is merciful, but He is also just, and is therefore obliged to punish those who offend Him... With regard to those who abuse His mercy and despise Him, He exercises justice." Thus how St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and eminent Doctor of the Church, begins to distinguish the true notion of God, in his sermon on the Gospel for the Quinquagesima Sunday. On this point, it is only well befitting to point out how the New 'Catholic Theology' of Vatican II fundamentally and therefore crucially departs from the traditional Catholic Theology (God is BOTH merciful AND just) of which St. Alphonsus Liguori was a representative and of which our sacred Tridentine Latin Mass is its expression* - following the Catholic axiom: "lex orandi, lex credendi," that is, literally, "the law of praying is the law of believing," or, loosely, "how one prays shows what one believes." Continue here.

We have already put this our post on subscription. Many have benefited - and so they shared - and are now gone but with this rebuke from Him Who Is The Way, the TRUTH, and the Life, neglecting to make some return for the light of salvation the "God of truth" has shed on them hereWere not [over a hundred] made clean? and where are [they]There is no one found to return and give... (Lk. 17.17,18) the due demanded by our just God: If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we reap your carnal things? (I Cor. 9.11) For in this last days... men [even those so-called 'Catholic' have grown] ungrateful (II Tim. 3.1-2).

Related posts: 'Pontifex' denies the Catholic God and "The Problem With the 'Divine Mercy Devotion'". On the New 'Gospel' of 'universal salvationism', see also "What is Truth?" and "Pope Francis Speaks of the New 'Gospel' of Universal Salvationism"


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Delusions of Sinners


Quinquagesima Sunday

Lord, that I may see (Lk. 18.41).

A Sermon of St. Alphonsus Liguori

THE Devil brings sinners to hell by closing their eyes to the dangers of perdition. He first blinds them, and then leads them with himself to eternal torments. If, then, we wish to be saved, we must continually pray to God in the words of the blind man in the gospel of this day, Lord, that I may see. Give me light: make me see the way in which I must walk in order to save my soul, and to escape the deceits of the enemy of salvation. I shall, brethren, this day place before your eyes the delusion by which the devil tempts men to sin and to persevere in sin, that you may know how to guard yourselves against his deceitful artifices.

To understand these delusions better, let us imagine the case of a young man who, seized by some passion, lives in sin, the slave of Satan, and never thinks of his eternal salvation. My son, I say to him, what sort of life do you lead? If you continue to live in this manner, how will you be able to save your soul? But, behold! the devil, on the other hand, says to him: Why should you be afraid of being lost? Indulge your passions for the present: you will afterwards confess your sins, and thus all shall be remedied. Behold the net by which the devil drags so many souls into hell. “Indulge your passions: you will hereafter make a good confession." But, in reply, I say, that in the meantime you lose your soul. Tell me: if you had a jewel worth a thousand pounds, would you throw it into a river with the hope of afterwards finding it again? What if all your efforts to find it were fruitless? God! you hold in your hand the invaluable jewel of your soul, which Jesus Christ has purchased with his own blood, and you cast it into hell! Yes; you cast it into hell; because according to the present order of providence, for every mortal sin you commit, your name is written among the number of the damned. But you say, ”I hope to recover God‟s grace by making a good confession." And if you should not recover it, what shall be the consequences? To make a good confession, a true sorrow for sin is necessary, and this sorrow is the gift of God: if he does not give it, will you not be lost for ever?

You rejoin: ”I am young; God compassionates my youth; I will hereafter give myself to God." Behold another delusion! You are young; but do you not know that God counts, not the years, but the sins of each individual? You are young; but how many sins have you committed? Perhaps there are many persons of a very advanced age, who have not been guilty of the fourth part of the sins which you have committed. And do you not know that God has fixed for each of us the number of sins which He will pardon? The Lord patiently expecteth, that, when the day of judgment shall come, he may punish them in the fulness of their sins (2 Mach. 6. 14.). God has patience, and waits for a while; but, when the measure of the sins which He has determined to pardon is tilled up, He pardons no more, but chastises the sinner, by suddenly depriving him of life in the miserable state of sin, or by abandoning him in his sin, and executing that threat which he made by the prophet Isaias I shall take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be wasted" (Isa. 5. 5.).  If a person has cultivated land for many years, has encompassed it with a hedge for its protection, and expended a large sum of money on it, but finds that, after all, it produces no fruit, what will he do with it? He will pluck up the hedge, and abandon it to all men and beasts that may wish to enter. Tremble, then, lest God should treat you in a similar manner. If you do not give up sin, your remorse of conscience and your fear of divine chastisement shall daily increase. Behold the hedge taken away, and your soul abandoned by God a punishment worse than death itself.

You say: ”I cannot at present resist this passion." Behold the third delusion of the devil, by which he makes you believe that at present you have not strength to overcome certain temptations. But St. Paul tells us that God is faithful, and that he never permits us to be tempted above our strength. And God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted above that which you are able" (1 Cor. 10. 13.).  I ask, if you are not now able to resist the temptation, how can you expect to resist it hereafter? If you yield to it, the Devil will become stronger, and you shall become weaker; and if you be not now able to extinguish this flame of passion, how can you hope to be able to extinguish it when it shall have grown more violent? You say: "God will give me his aid." But this aid God is ready to give at present if you ask it. Why then do you not implore his assistance? Perhaps you expect that, without now taking the trouble of invoking his aid, you will receive from him increased helps and graces, after you shall have multiplied the number of your sins? Perhaps you doubt the veracity of God, who has promised to give whatever we ask of him? Ask, He says, and it shall be given you (Matt. 7. 7.).  God cannot violate his promises. God is not as man, that he should lie, nor as the son of man, that he should be changed. Hath he said, then, and will he not do ? (Num. 23. 19.) Have recourse to Him, and He will give you the strength necessary to resist the temptation. God commands you to resist it, and you say: ”I have not strength." Does God, then, command impossibilities? No; the Council of Trent has declared that ”God does not command impossibilities; but, by His commands, He admonishes you to do what you can, and to ask what you cannot do; and He assists, that you may be able to do it." (Sess. 6. c. xiii.) When you see that you have not sufficient strength to resist temptation with the ordinary assistance of God, ask of Him the additional help which you require, and He will give it to you; and thus you shall be able to conquer all temptations, however violent they may be.

But you will not pray; and you say that at present you will commit this sin, and will afterwards confess it. But, I ask, how do you know that God will give you time to confess it? You say: ”I will go to confession before the lapse of a week." And who has promised you this week? Well, then you say: ”I will go to confession tomorrow." And who promises you tomorrow? “Crastinum Deus non promisit," says St. Augustine, ”fortasse dabit, et fortasse non dabit." God has not promised you to-morrow. Perhaps He will give it, and perhaps He will refuse it to you, as He has to so many others. How many have gone to bed in good health, and have been found dead in the morning! How many, in the very act of sin, has the Lord struck dead and sent to hell! Should this happen to you, how will you repair your eternal ruin? ”Commit this sin, and confess it afterwards." Behold the deceitful artifice by which the devil has brought so many thousands of Christians to hell. We scarcely ever find a Christian so sunk in despair as to intend to damn himself. All the wicked sin with the hope of afterwards going to confession. But, by this illusion, how many have brought themselves to perdition! For them there is now no time for confession, no remedy for their damnation.

”But God is merciful [cf., the Neo-Catholic 'Theology' in our post "The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II Catholicism"]." Behold another common delusion by which the devil encourages sinners to persevere in a life of sin! A certain author has said, that more souls have been sent to hell by the mercy of God than by his justice. This is indeed the case; for men are induced by the deceits of the devil to persevere in sin, through confidence in Gods mercy; and thus they are lost. "God is merciful." Who denies it? But, great as his mercy, how many does He every day send to hell? God is merciful, but He is also just, and is, therefore, obliged to punish those who offend himAnd his mercy, says the divine Mother, to them that fear him (Luke 1. 50.).  But with regard to those who abuse his mercy and despise him, he exercises justiceThe Lord pardons sins, but he cannot pardon the determination to commit sinSt. Augustine says, that he who sins with the intention of repenting after his sins, is not a penitent but a scoffer. But the Apostle tells us that God will not be mocked. Be not deceived; God is not mocked (Gal. 6. 7.).  It would be a mockery of God to insult him as often and as much as you pleased, and afterwards to expect eternal glory.

"But”; you say, "as God has shown me so many mercies hitherto, I hope he will continue to do so for the future." Behold another delusion! Then, because God has not as yet chastised your sins, he will never punish them! On the contrary, the greater have been his mercies, the more you should tremble, lest, if you offend him again, he should pardon you no more, and should take vengeance on your sins. Behold the advice of the Holy Ghost: Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? for the Most High is a patient rewarder (Eccles. v. 4.).  Do not say: ”I have sinned, and no chastisement has fallen upon me." God bears for a time, but not for ever. He waits for a certain time; but when that arrives, he then chastises the sinner for all his past iniquities: and the longer he has waited for repentance, the more severe the chastisement. ”Quos diutius expectat," says St. Gregory, ”durius damnat." Then, my brother, since you know that you have frequently offended God, and that he has not sent you to hell, you should exclaim: ”The mercies of the Lord, that we are not consumed." (Thren. iii. 22.) Lord, I thank you for not having sent me to hell, which I have so often deserved. And therefore you ought to give yourself entirely to God, at least through gratitude, and should consider that, for less sins than you have committed, many are now in that pit of fire, without the smallest hope of being ever released from it. The patience of God in bearing with you, should teach you not to despise him still more, but to love and serve him with greater fervour, and to atone, by penitential austerities and by other holy works, for the insults you have offered to him. You know that he has shown mercies to you, which he has not shown to others. He hath not done in like manner to every nation (Ps. 147. 20). Hence you should tremble, lest, if you commit a single additional mortal sin, God should abandon you, and cast you into hell.

Let us come to the next illusion. “It is true that, by this sin, I lose the grace of God; but, even after committing this sin, I may be saved. "You may, indeed, be saved: but it cannot be denied that if, after having committed so many sins, and after having received so many graces from God, you again offend him, there is great reason to fear that you shall be lost. Attend to the words of the sacred Scripture: A hard heart shall fare evil at the last (Eccles. 3. 27). The obstinate sinner shall die an unhappy death. Evil doers shall be cut off (Ps. 36. 9). The wicked shall be cut off by the divine justice. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap (Gal. 6. 8). He that sows in sin, shall reap eternal torments. Because I called and you refused, I also will laugh in your destruction and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared (Prov. 1. 24, 26).  I called, says the Lord, and you mocked me; but I will mock you at the hour of death. Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time (Deut. 32. 35) The chastisement of sins belongs to me, and I will execute vengeance on them when the time of vengeance shall arrive. The man that with a stiff neck despiseth him that reproveth him, shall suddenly be destroyed, and health shall not follow him (Prov. 29. 1). The man who obstinately despises those who correct him, shall be punished with a sudden death, and for him there shall be no hope of salvation.

Now, brethren, what think you of these divine threats against sinners? Is it easy, or is it not very difficult, to save your souls, if, after so many divine calls, and after so many mercies, you continue to offend God? You say: “But after all, it may happen that I will save my soul." I answer: "What folly is it to trust your salvation to a perhaps ? How many with this “perhaps I may be saved," are now in hell? Do you wish to be one of their unhappy companions? Dearly beloved Christians, enter into yourselves, and tremble; for this sermon may be the last of God's mercies to you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Thy Kingdom Come!"


Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

The kingdom of Heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; which is the least indeed of all seeds, but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and dwell in the branches thereof (Mt. 13.31-35).

Nothing was smaller or more humble in its beginnings than the kingdom of Heaven, the Church founded by Our Lord on Peter ("Cephas" which is "rock" plain and simple in the original Aramaic used by Our Lord). When Our Lord ascended into Heaven, the Church was composed of an insignificant group of twelve men, gathered about a humble Woman, Mary; but this first nucleus possessed so powerful a vitality that in a few years it spread into all the countries of the vast Roman Empire. The Church, from a very tiny seed, sown in the hearts of a Virgin Mother and of poor fishermen, became little by little through the centuries a gigantic tree, extending its branches into all regions of the globe, with peoples of every tongue and nation (cf., the Old Testament prophecies: Is. 2.2-4; Mich. 4.1-3; Is. 60) taking shelter in its shade.

The Church is not merely a society of men, but of men who have for their Head, Jesus, the Son of God; the Church is the whole Christ, that is, Jesus and the faithful incorporated in Him and forming one Body with Him (cf., Eph. 1.22,23; Col. 1.18). The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ of which each of the baptized is a member. To love the Church is to love Jesus Christ; to work for the extension of the Church is to work for the increase of the Mystical Body of Christ, so that the number of His members may be filled up and each may contribute to the splendor of the whole. All this is summarized and asked of the Father in the brief invocation: Adveniat Regnum Tuum (Thy Kingdom come).

Perhaps there is but little that the lay faithful can do for the extension of the Church as this work is proper to the hierarchy of the Church. Let them, at least, do that little; contributing their labor but always under the guidance and direction of their Pastors not corrupted by the leaven of Vatican II ecumenical "disorientation" (cf., our posts "The Great Tribulation" and "Our Lady and the New 'Catholic' Orientation") on the one hand, and the leaven of Sedevacantism (cf, our post "On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply" I & II) on the other.
The Parable of the mustard seed makes us consider not only the expansion of the Kingdom of God in the world, but also its development in our hearts - a development, however, that is not determined by what we "think" and "feel" about our growing filial relation to God. Our Lord said: The Kingdom of God is within you (Lk. 17.21). Yes, in us too this wonderful Kingdom began as a tiny seed, a seed of grace: the sanctifying grace which, in a hidden and mysterious way, was sown in us by God, through the ministration of His Church, at Baptism, and the actual grace of divine inspirations and of the Divine Word (written or by oral tradition, cf., 2 Thess. 2.14) which Jesus the heavenly Sower, has scattered plentifully in our souls. This little seed has germinated slowly, it has sent down ever deeper roots, it has grown progressively, penetrating our whole spirit, until it has conquered us for God, until we have realized the need of saying: Lord, all that I have, all that I am, is Yours; I give myself wholly to You. I want to be Your Kingdom.

To be entirely the kingdom of God, so that He is the only Sovereign and Ruler of the heart, so that nothing exists in it - its affections, delights, and desires - which does not belong to Him or is not subject to His rule (the traditional teachings and moral precepts as laid down by the Church) is the ideal of a soul that loves God with perfect love. But how can we attain to the full development of this kingdom of God within us? The second parable which we read in today's Gospel tells us: The Kingdom of Heaven is like to leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened. Here is another very beautiful image of the work grace must accomplish in our souls: grace has been placed in us like leaven which little by little must increase until it permeates our whole being and divinizes it entirely. This belies the notion of the "Bible-only" sectarians that once you "believe in your heart" that Jesus is your Savior you are already "saved" - grace at that moment already permeated your whole being and divinized you entirely: "born again". Grace, the divine leaven, has been given to purify, elevate, and sanctify our entire being, with all its powers and faculties unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4.13); only when this work - that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Col. 1.28) - will have been brought to completion, shall we be entirely the kingdom of God.

Let us reflect further on the great problem of our correspondence with grace. This divine seed, this supernatural leaven, is within us; what can prevent it from becoming a gigantic tree, capable of giving shelter to other souls; what can impede the leaven from fermenting the whole mass, if we remove all the obstacles opposed to its development, if we respond to all its motions and requirements?

Adveniat regnum Tuum! Let us pray for the absolute coming of the kingdom of God in our hearts.

Saturday, February 11, 2012



Feast of the Apparition of the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes, France

"Penance!" Such was the main purpose of the many requests Our Immaculate Mother made in Her apparition in Lourdes; the same request She insisted all the more in Fatima, Portugal.

Grace - the gift of God of Himself, though not due from God and not merited by us, proceeding from His disposition of condescension or benevolence towards us in our lowly and miserable condition - which has been given to us so abundantly in Baptism and Confirmation, has of itself the infallible power to sanctify, regardless of the merits of Our Lord's minister. It does not force us, however, to do good nor does it sanctify us without our voluntary cooperation. Man always remain free to cooperate or not with this divine gift; unfortunately, it is always possible for him to resist grace and condescend to evil, thus failing in his duty as a child of God and a soldier of Christ. Our Divine Physician, foreseeing these possible defections and falls, has instituted a special Sacrament for the sole purpose of healing the wounds of sin, of restoring sinners to grace and providing strength for their weakness. Our Lord said to the Apostles: Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained (Jn. 20.23). By these words, Our Lord conferred on them and their successors the formidable power to forgive sins in His Name. This power was not given to the Angels nor even to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, but was reserved for His priests - the Lord's ministers (Joel 1.9; 2.17; Is. 61.6).

Scandalized at seeing Jesus absolve sinners, the scribes, believing Him - as with all the leaders of the Synagogue - to be only a man, asked of one another, Who can forgive sins, but God only? (Mk. 2.7) Wavering between unbelief and derision, the world still considers the Sacrament of Penance with a like Jewish attitude; it cannot and will not - in its obstinacy - recognize in the traditional Catholic priest a minister commissioned by God to remit sin. But for those who believe, there is perhaps no other Sacrament which so rouses our piety, devotion and gratitude. Powerful are the Sacraments by which we are raised to the dignity of children of God; ineffable is the Sacrament by which we are nourished with the immaculate Flesh; yet it is not more touching still that in the Sacrament of Penance Our Good Shepherd goes in search of the Christian who has betrayed Him, of the soldier who has deserted the camp; of the son who, after having been nourished at His table, has gone fare away to eat even the husks of swine? Instead of being indignant or repelling one who has made such poor use of His boundless gifts, Jesus through the Sacrament of Penance offers him pardon and mercy; He heals this soul which, though formerly clothed in the wedding garment of grace and regenerated in His Precious Blood, has fallen into sin, making itself His enemy.

Although the Sacrament of Penance is necessary only to remit mortal sins, the Church has always recommended and praised the frequent use of it even for those who have only venial sins to confess. "We heartily recommend," says Pope Pius XII, "the pious custom introduced by the Church, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, of frequent confession. It gives us a more thorough knowledge of ourselves, stimulates Christian humility, helps us to uproot our evil habits, wages war on spiritual negligence and tepidity, purifies our conscience, strengthens our wills, encourages spiritual direction and, by virtue of the Sacrament itself, increases grace" (in the Encyclical "Mystici Corporis"). Frequent confession has always been considered, in authentic Catholic tradition, as a school of perfection, an effective way to correct faults and evil tendencies and to advance in virtue. When a penitent sees Our Lord Jesus Christ in the person of the Confessor, and discloses with humble sincerity his sins and weaknesses, accompanying his accusation with true repentance and a firm purpose of amendment, the Sacrament will have most efficacious results. Not only will he be absolved from his infidelities and receive an increase of sanctifying grace, but he will also receive the "sacramental grace," which assures him of divine assistance in correcting his weak points, overcoming the temptations to which he is most often exposed, and surmounting the particular difficulties he encounters in the practice of virtue. There is no better medicine for the ills and wounds of the soul than frequent confession when it is made with a humble, sincere, and contrite heart. Our Lord awaits us in this Sacrament of His merciful love, not only to liberate us from the bonds of sin, which binds us to the devil, and cleanse our soul in His Precious Blood, but also to strengthen it in this salutary bath, fortify it, and guard it against the future attacks of temptation and of the devil. Confession applies to our soul all the merits of the Passion of Jesus, all the infinite value of His Blood; we shall always return from this Sacrament renewed, sanctified, and strengthened in good in the measure in which we have approached it with a contrite and humble heart.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

God's Tolerance for the Wicked


Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But... his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat (Mt. 13.24-25).

God has sown the good seed generously in His field, the world; He has sown grace and love, and the desire for total oblation, the ideals of an apostolic, religious, and saintly life. But in the midst of all this good, the enemy comes to sow evil. Why does God permit this? To sift His servants as we sift grain, to test them (cf., our post "The Great Tribulation").

Sometimes we are scandalized, seeing evil working its way even into the best places (cf., our posts "A Perilous 'Catholic' Voyage" and "Our Lady and the Diabolical Campaign") seeing that even among God's friends, among those who should be a source of edification to others, there are some who speak and behave unworthily. Then we are filled with zeal, like the servants in the parable of today's Gospel. We want to remedy this evil and root up the cockle. Wilt Thou that we go and gather it up? But God answers, No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. The cockle is spared, not because it is good, but to save the wheat. In the same way God spares the wicked and does not destroy them, for the sake of the elect. When God asks us to endure with patience certain situations, as inevitable as they are deplorable, He asks for one of the greatest exercises of charity, compassion, and mercyHe does not tell us to fraternize with evil doers [nor to make a religious league with the false creeds - as Vatican II "ecumenism" would have it (cf., our post "The Great Tribulation") - of which Satan, the father of lies, is the author], but He tells us to  to endure it with the longanimity with which He Himself endured it. Was there not a traitor among the Apostles? Yet Jesus wanted him among His intimates - and with how much love He treated Him! Indeed one of the greatest opportunities for the practice of charity is offered us by those who by their evil conduct give us so many occasions for forgiving them, for returning good for evil, and for suffering injustice for the love of God. Moreover, we should consider that, whereas cockle cannot be changed into wheat, it is always possible for the wicked to be converted and become good. Were not Magdalen, the good thief, and Peter, who had denied Jesus, converted? This is one of the strongest motives to incite us to do good to all. When our charity is perfect, we are able to live among the wicked without being harsh or contentious, without being influenced by them, but rather doing them good.

Related posts: "The Year That Was 1929", "Upheaval"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Sign of Contradiction and Division


And Simeon said to Mary...: Behold this Child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed (Lk. 2.34-36).

The Divine Child would create terrible strife between good and evil, stripping the masks from each, thus provoking a terrible hatred. He would be at once a stumbling block, a sword that would divide evil from good, and a touchstone that would reveal the motives and dispositions of human hearts. Men would no longer be the same once they had heard His name and learned of His life. They would be compelled either to accept Him, or reject Him. About Him there would be no such things as compromise: only acceptance or rejection, resurrection or death. He would, by His very nature, make men reveal their secret attitudes toward God. His mission would be not to put souls on trial, but to redeem them; and yet, because their souls were sinful, some men would detest His coming.

It would henceforth be His fate to encounter fanatical opposition from mankind even unto death itself, and this would involve Our Blessed Mother in cruel distress. The Angel had told Her, Benedicta tu in mulieribus ("Blessed art thou amongst women...") and Simeon was now telling Her that in Her blessedness She would be the Mater Dolorosa. One of the penalties of original sin was that a woman should bring forth Her child in sorrow; Simeon was saying that She would continue to live in the sorrow of Her Child. If He was to be the Man of Sorrows, She would be the Mother of Sorrows. An unsuffering Madonna to the suffering Christ would be a loveless Madonna. Since Christ loved mankind so much that He wanted to die to expiate its guilt, then He would also will that His Mother should be wrapped in the swaddling-bands of His own grief.... If He was dedicated to salvation through suffering, so was She. No sooner was this young life launched than Simeon, like an old mariner, talked of shipwreck. No cup of the Father's bitterness had yet to come to the lips of the Babe, and yet a sword was shown to His Mother.

The nearer Christ comes to a heart, the more it becomes conscious of its guilt; it will then either ask for His mercy and find peace, or else it will turn against Him because it is not yet ready to give up its sinfulnessThus He will separate the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff. Man's reaction to this Divine Presence will the test: either it will call out all the opposition of egoistic natures, or else it will galvanize them into a regeneration and a resurrection.

Simeon was practically calling Him the 'Divine Disturber', Who would provoke human hearts either to good or evil. Once confronted with Him, they must subscribe either to light or darkness. Before everyone else they can be "broadminded"; but His Presence reveals their hearts to be either fertile ground or hard rock. He cannot come to hearts without clarifying them and dividing them; once in His Presence, a heart discovers both its own thoughts about goodness and its own thoughts about God.

This could never be so if He were just a humanitarian teacher. Simeon knew this well, and he told Our Lord's Mother that Her Son must suffer because His life would be so much opposed to the complacent maxims by which most men govern their lives. He would act on one soul in one way, and on another in another way, as the sun shines on wax and softens it, and shines on mud and hardens it. There is no difference in the sun, only in the objects on which it shines. As the Light of the world, He would be a joy to the good and to the lovers of light; but He would be like a probing searchlight to those who were evil and preferred to live in darkness. The seed is the same, but the soil is different, and each soil will be judged by the way it reacts to the seed. The will of Christ to save is limited by the free reaction of each soul either to accept or to reject. That was what Simeon means by saying: out of many hearts, thoughts shall be revealed (Lk. 2.35).

Our Lord would disclose the true inner dispositions of men. He would test the thoughts of all men who were to encounter Him. Pilate would temporize and then weaken; Herod would mock; Judas would lean to a kind of greedy social security; Nicodemus would sneak in darkness to find the Light; tax collectors would become honest; prostitutes, pure; rich young men would reject His poverty; prodigals would return home; Peter would repent; an Apostle would hang himself. From that day to this, He continues to a sign to be contradicted - a sign of division. It was fitting, therefore, that He should die on a piece of wood in which one bar contradicted the other. The vertical bar of God's will is negated by the horizontal bar of the contradicting human will.

After saying that He was a sign to be contradicted, Simeon turned to the Mother, adding: and thy own soul a sword shall pierce.

She was told that He would be rejected by the world, and with His Crucifixion there would be Her transfixion. As the Child willed the Cross for Himself, so He willed the Sword of Sorrow spared not the Mother. With His Passion there must a Mother of Sorrows! God does not always protect the good from grief. The Father spared not the Son, and the Son spared not the Mother... An unsuffering Christ Who did not freely pay the debt of human guilt would be reduced to the level of an ethical guide; and a mother who did not share in His sufferings would be unworthy of Her great role.

Simeon not only unsheathed a sword; he also told Her where Providence had destined it to be driven. Later on, the Child would say, I came to bring the sword. Simeon told Her that She would feel it in Her heart while Her Son was hanging on the sign of contradiction and She was standing beneath it transfixed in Her grief. The spear that would physically pierce His Heart would mysticall be run into Her own heart. The Divine Child came to die, not to live, for His Name was Savior.

Salvation is in the "Blood of the Lamb"

Apocalypse XIV now unfolding (cf., our posts "The Wine of the Wrath of God" and "After Pope Benedict XVI, the 'Last' Roman Pontiff?"). The divine chastisement of world-wide conflagration (Lk. 17.29-30, cf., our post "Our Lady, Vatican II Disorientation, and the Annihilation of Many Nations") to annihilate the 'super-power' and cities and nations drunk with the wine of its immodesty, impurity, fornication, homosexuality, and blasphemies (Apoc. 14.8) is imminent - the close of our end-times period (distinct from the consummation of the world, Mt. 28.20).

They... have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb
(Apoc. 7.14) ... All things... are cleansed with Blood: and without shedding of Blood there is no remission (Heb. 9.22).

The Blood of the [Divine] Lamb can be availed of in the traditional Rite of the Sacrament of Penance (cf., our post "On Concealing Sins in Confession") and of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the Traditional Latin Mass). Go to our traditional Catholic Mass Centers (links on the left-side bar of this site). Flee to the mountains... (Mt. 24.16).

See also the Messages and Appeals (on the upper right-side bar) of the Apocalyptic Woman in her title of Our Lady of Fatima.