19 th Sunday
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind!
By coming into the world, Christ has made Creation anew. It is by far, a higher and nobler one than the previous one which was already a beautiful work. Man had destroyed the harmony of the first creation by his sin. What does that matter for God? For sure He is offended by our sins, but His mercy must now be manifested to the world. With the Incarnation, the time for the restoration of nature came. More than a simple restoration, it is, indeed, a new Creation which is orchestrated by Our Lord on the Cross. There, he made all things new.
Now, you might be tempted to say: “well it is a beautiful idea and an interesting concept, but is it really true? After all, the world doesn’t seem to be much better than before the Incarnation.”
I would answer that you are right: the world doesn’t seem to be better than before the Incarnation, but we shouldn’t pass judgment on appearances alone. They might be right, but they might also be wrong, precisely because of the wound of original sin, which has damaged the integrity of Nature. Nature has certainly kept its goodness and still has its laws which bring us a certain knowledge of it, otherwise science would be impossible, but the fact is that things are not always what they seem to be.
Rather, we don’t see them as they really are because our minds are no longer perfectly directed straight to God as it was in the beginning of creation before original sin. We have lost the light of God which gives the true knowledge of things. The Fathers of the Church, especially Saint Augustine, following biblical teaching, have associated light with knowledge and acceptance of God. On the contrary, darkness is ignorance and rejection of God. Thus, the narrative of creation tells us that just after God divided the light from the darkness, “there was evening and morning” – not morning and evening but evening and morning!
Saint Augustine has an interesting interpretation: the days of the creation are actually categories or stages of knowledge of the angels. So evening and morning, repeated six times are like a cycle of angelic knowledge. Let us listen to the commentary of Saint Thomas Aquinas :
“The expression "morning" and "evening" knowledge was devised by Augustine; who interprets the six days wherein God made all things, not as ordinary days measured by the solar circuit, since the sun was only made on the fourth day, but as one day, namely, the day of angelic knowledge as directed to six classes of things. As in the ordinary day, morning is the beginning, and evening the close of day, so, their knowledge of the primordial being of things is called morning knowledge; and this is according as things exist in the Word. But their knowledge of the very being of the thing created, as it stands in its own nature, is termed evening knowledge; because the being of things flows from the Word, as from a kind of primordial principle; and this flow is terminated in the being which they have in themselves.”
I don’t mean to contradict Saint Thomas Aquinas, but the Bible says that there was evening before morning. If we apply the rules of knowledge given by Saint Augustine to men in a analogical manner, we can say that evening knowledge is our natural knowledge and morning knowledge a kind of supernatural knowledge in the light of God. We associate it with the gift of science, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. This science is of a different order than natural science. It shows us, as Father Sineux says, “ the palpable effects of God’s goodness and the use of them that we should have in order to respond to His will.” This gift is directly connected to the virtue of Faith which is the Divine Light in our minds.
Christ made all things new on the Cross but we need His light to see and understand it. We have to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, as Saint Paul says, and for that, we must accept the light.
I hear you saying that you have already accepted the light, since you are here, Christians among the most faithful, at the foot of the altar in order to receive the grace of God and to sanctify your souls. But don’t be so self-confident. Have you entirely accepted all the light of God? Are you sure that you don’t keep some dark recesses in your conscience? You might show some appearances of children of Light, but you are still walking in the darkness because you have not totally accepted Jesus Christ in your heart and in your mind.
Attending the Latin Mass doesn’t automatically give you the light of God. By the way, I want to take this opportunity to say few words about the recent news. Many of us are now rejoicing over the news from the Vatican regarding the liberalization of the old-rite. It will certainly be good but it will not change everything in a few days. First of all, because this freedom already exists by right even though many don’t believe it or say it doesn’t. Secondly, since there is the matter of Faith involved with the Latin Mass, don’t expect that the enemies of the Faith will accept and promote a Pontifical decision. The answer to the crisis of the Church doesn’t depend only on a judicial structure or an administrative decree even though they have their importance. The issue is: do we accept the light of God or do we refuse it? The Liturgical aspect is just the tip of the iceberg.
And for now, we still have to find the light of God and to renew our minds in the spirit of God. There is enough work until the end of our life, because the old man still remains in the deepest recesses of our very beings. To be renewed in spirit is not an easy task.
So, I encourage you to think about this: it is good to militate in favor of the Latin mass, but our first battle is within ourselves against the spirits of darkness who try to take possession of us. Since we don’t have the ability to size up the state of our soul, spiritual direction is deeply recommended by the entire spiritual tradition of the Church. In fact, it is absolutely impossible to make some progress in the spiritual life without spiritual direction. How do you think the Saints became so holy? By themselves? Certainly not. Having a good spiritual director – I mean a good priest, truly Catholic – which already excludes many – is a gift from God which helps us immensly in the renewing of our spirits. He will help you to catch the Light of God and to keep it firmly for the good of your soul.
May Our blessed Mother help us to accept this Divine Light so that we can be entirely and deeply renewed in the Spirit of God.