mercredi, juillet 23, 2008

Sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

We had an opportunity to contemplate two great examples of Christian charity during the last two days. Saint Camillus of Lellis was first a soldier and a gambler, but then, touched by the Divine Grace, he turned to God and devoted himself to the service of the sick by founding a religious order. The red cross that he put on the cassock of the members of the Camillian order would remain known until today as a symbol of love toward suffering people. It helps us remember that compassion should be a part of our lives as Christians and that compassion is not selective but is for all men, even our enemies.
Just before he died, Saint Camillus wrote a letter to his brothers. He asked them to use well the precious talent that God gave them, so that they could be holy in this life and thus gain eternal glory. Speaking about his foundation, he mentioned how very necessary it is for Christendom. Christ healed many sick during his life and taking care of them is a duty of charity that we cannot neglect. If it is very necessary, it means that there cannot be a Christian society without the works of charity, especially the care of the sick. This duty falls on each one of us. And you don’t have to be a nurse or a doctor : sometimes, just a little bit of attention to the one who lives under the same roof as you, if it happens that he is sick, or to your neighbor, is just what God asks you to do. Charity begins in our inner circles, and once again is neither selective nor exclusive.
The second Saint whom we celebrated yesterday is the patron Saint of works of charity. His heart was open to everyone from the kings to the prisoners and there is no social class which has not benefited from the goodness of Monsieur Vincent, one of the greatest figures of the XVII century, known as the great Saint of the Great Century. On the day of his funeral the entire country mourned him and princes and poor alike stood side by side to pay a tribute to their beloved benefactor. The life and works of Saint Vincent de Paul show in an admirable manner how charity can change a society.

Monsieur Vincent presents the first Daughters of charity to Queen Anne

Today, dear Brethren, it is our call to continue this work, this civilizing mission. We have all received different gifts from God, as today’s epistle says. It is the same Spirit that works in each of us for the same purpose. We are not supposed to use them against each other but to collaborate together for the same goal. When charity is present in a soul and within a community, it makes God visible on earth. Ubi caritas Deus ibi est – where charity is, God is there! But when charity is not present, all these works are vain. Look at the Pharisee in today’s Gospel: he fasts twice a week and pays tithes of all he possesses, and yet he is not justified. All is vanity because of his lack of humility and consequently of charity. Camillus of Lellis, Vincent de Paul and all the Saints considered their works as nothing but God used them because they were offered with a humble hearts.
Humility and simplicity of heart! It is just what we need and everything else will follow because it will make us instruments of God. And, its first result, will be that of making society more pleasant, made in the image of the society of the angels and of the saints in heaven, by bringing to earth a little bit of the courtesy of the celestial court.

May Our Blessed Mother help us to acquire a true humility of heart for the establishment of the Kingdom of charity on earth.

Aucun commentaire: