dimanche, novembre 25, 2007

Sermon for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost

As the end of the Liturgical year comes, the Church, who always anticipates the end of time, turns to Her Lord and asks Him to stir up our wills, so that we can more earnestly seek the fruit of good works and consequently receive the gifts of God. (Collect of the day)
Saint Paul had no other desire when writing to the Colossians than to wish that they walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing, being fruitful in every good work.

Walk worthy of God (pilgrims toward Santiago de Compostella)

Being worthy of God and pleasing in all things requires a necessary condition, which is, being in the state of grace. Only Divine grace can make us agreeable to God and without it, our good works cannot bear fruit for eternal life. There is undeniably a natural goodness and we acknowledge with Saint Augustine and the Church, that man is able by himself to do good according to his nature. But we also affirm that our natural good acts are absolutely insufficient to procure eternal happiness without the grace of God.
In order to be fruitful in our works, we first have to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We need a spiritual understanding of God, which is not a mere natural knowledge. God is not an object of study as other things are. He is first a subject to be loved. Certainly, we have to use our natural faculty of intelligence to know God. We have to study, to learn our catechism and the teachings of the Church and not doing that would be sinful. But when you open a catechism or a book of theology, it is also, and probably first, an occasion to meet with God. It is like an anticipation of our future life in Heaven, where we will see God face to face and understand Him more and more during all the eternity. Now, our quest of the intelligence of God is hard and sometimes dry. We have to open our eyes to read or our ears to listen, but also we have to open our hearts so that our understanding of God will not only be a mere intellectual knowledge but a source of joy, because knowing God is good and beautiful. And goodness and beauty can only bring joy.
With joy, comes peace. God has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Think about this: we are members of a Kingdom of love, a Kingdom that has already triumphed over the powers of darkness. So, we have nothing to fear. We have only reasons to rejoice and to give thanks, even if the time is hard now. In fact, I guess that, for the good disciples of Christ, times are always hard. When the end of time comes, it will certainly be even harder. It will come with a lot of ordeals and many tribulations. But it will be the second coming of Our Lord, in His grandness and in His glory. It will be the triumph of justice over iniquity, of love over hate, of life over death. The Church of Jesus Christ will be exalted and physically united. The militant Church and the suffering Church will pass and only the triumphant Church will remain glorious for all eternity. Then, we will enter into the Holy of Holies and celebrate the eternal and perfect Liturgy to the glory of our God.
So, dear Brethren, the meditation of the end of time, should be nothing else for us, than an encouragement to persevere in doing good works, whatever are our tribulations. These, at the end of time, will just be more precious pearls added on our crowns for having fought the good battle with all the Saints.
May Our Blessed Mother keep us under her protection so that we can remain faithful until the end and progress in our good works with an authentic charity always renewed in her Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of her Son.

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