lundi, novembre 17, 2008

Sermon for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany

The readings of today show us the efficiency of God’s power. Our Lord tells us about the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven. It is something that we should like to hear about. It is our kingdom for which we live, we fight, and we die if necessary. This is the kingdom that we desire and that we call with our whole heart: Adveniat regnum tuum – Thy kingdom come!
Now it is good to pray for the coming of the kingdom of Christ, but it is not enough. God expects from you more than prayers. He wants you to be an artisan of His kingdom. This is the great work of your life.
Look at this kingdom. First, it is like a grain of mustard. It is nothing else but a little grain, so fragile and ephemeral. You sow it in your field but you have no guarantee that it will grow and become a big tree. Its future is submitted to many contingencies. We know for sure that the kingdom of God in its completeness grows until its perfect achievement at the end of the time. For that that reason the end of time is something that we should desire, as the first Christians did, and not something to fear. It will be the manifestation of Christ in all His glory and the restoration of the perfect justice among men. From the poverty of the crèche to the second coming of Christ, the kingdom grows and it still continues growing today even in a time of apostasy. It is true that the Militant Church is under heavy attack and that she knows now trials and tribulations – and yet they are nothing in comparison to those which are to come! But the kingdom of God does not come down only to the visible Church on earth.
The kingdom comprises the Suffering Church too that we should not forget, especially in this month of November specially dedicated to the souls in purgatory. The kingdom comprises the Triumphant Church in all its majesty and glory that we have tried to contemplate on All Saints day. The kingdom is composed of all the invisible things that we do not see but are well real. Since we do not see them, it might be useful to meditate on them. If you want a tip, you can meditate on a single word of a prayer or any inspired text: for example the word invisibilium from the Creed can be a subject for you daily meditation. The kingdom of God is composed of all the mysteries of the kingdom of the Divine Grace so well explained by Father Calmel.
And for each one of us, it is the mystery of this grace that works in our souls. Does the little seed that God sowed in us the day of our Baptism grow? Again, we know for sure that the kingdom as a whole will grow until the end, but is it true for each single soul that is a kind of kingdom in miniature? My soul is a beautiful garden like the Garden of Eden where God has planted such a delicate little seed. Now He waters it with His celestial grace but the seed will grow only if a gardener takes care of it. And I am the gardener of my soul. I must keep it and work in it like Adam who had to keep the Garden of Eden and to work in it. But he failed, and I can fail too.
There are some gardens that are well kept and maintained. There, the grace develops and increases and the seed becomes a magnificent tree. This is the effect of God’s power that can turn a waste land into a beautiful garden. But God’s grace has to be assisted and accompanied by the work of the gardener. And remember that it is a long-drawn-out job that is never achieved in this life.
Saint Paul, speaking to the Thessalonians, praises the work of their faith, the labor of their charity and their enduring hope. The three theological virtues, infused with the grace of Baptism, have to be practiced. They are the frame of our spiritual edifice. Virtue! The Latin word virtus comes from vir – man as a human male. They suppose manliness and strength of character. The virtues of faith, hope and charity are reinforced and sustained by the Cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude which are the buttress of the theological virtues. They prevent our spiritual edifice of collapsing.

Establishing and increasing the kingdom of God in our souls is like building a church. You have to find the proper site and to adjust it toward East. East, where the sun rises, points out Christ who is the Sun of Justice. The soil on which we build our spiritual life is humility. It comes from humus in Latin, which means the soil. Then you have to figure out the design and to draw it and to think about the means that you need, as you have to plan and organize your life with order. That is the work of wisdom. Then you can start the work, which is a long work that requires the participation of many, each one working in his own field according to his own abilities. They are the necessary means for the achievement of the material edifice that is a church, a little representation of the kingdom of God and an embassy of heaven on earth. It is the same thing for your spiritual edifice. You have to work by practicing the virtues. And since you are by nature and according to God’s will a social creature, you have to work with your neighbors in order to achieve your own sanctification, according to your own state of life. There are some virtues that specially apply to the neighbor such as charity or justice. Then the power of God can be manifested through your work and be visible among men as a church, that rises from the ground and whose bell towers points toward heaven and shows us the way, is visible.

Aucun commentaire: