dimanche, mai 14, 2006

The true dignity of man

Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Easter
Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” If we think a little bit about this, we can see that among the gifts from God, there is one especially which should catch our attention. It is the greatest gift given by God and it outshines every other thing He ever made. It is His work for which He especially cares with a particular interest. This masterpiece is nothing else but man himself. We are, as Saint James asserts, some beginning of His creatures.

It is certainly not a matter of chronology. We are not the beginning of his creatures according to the succession of time since it appears that we were created after all other creatures on the 6th day, just before God rested on the 7th day from all His work which He has done. So, being some beginning of His Creatures means that God thought about us before every other Creature and that He Has created others for men.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa, one of the Cappadocian Fathers – and not the least – says that "among all the marvels of the world, no one can push man into the background. Man probably even surpasses all the other creatures because none of these is in the image of God except him." Saint Bernard admonishes us: "Agnosce, o homo, dignitatem tuam, agnosce gloriam conditionis humanae – recognize, O man, thy dignity, recognize the glory of human condition."

What exactly is our dignity? God is Spirit and Word. Saint Gregory of Nyssa says again that our "human nature is very close to this. Look at yourself. You will see speech and thought, images of the true Spirit and the true Word." God is also love. And there is love in us. This is what makes the difference between us and animals.

But you might ask: “what about the angels? They are superior to us.” Yes, you are right, but they are superior to us according to their nature. Nevertheless God has given to us a precious good that not even the angels have received. He became one of us. And the Word was made flesh! This is our greatest dignity which every man must recognize. Ignoring, denying or despising the truth of the Incarnation, apart from the fact that it is a sin against God, is a snub against mankind. For that reason, we must let the world know that Jesus Christ is God made man who came to save us. We must! It is not we may if we wish, but we must! And “we” is each one of us who are present now, each one of you who are listening to me now.

How can someone recognize his dignity if he ignores who is at its origin? Human Rights may be something good in itself, but speaking only of Human Rights without any reference to God is an illusion, or a lie when it is deliberately wanted by the enemies of the Religion. It would be good not to forget that the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights is purely a product of the French Revolution which was violently hostile to the Church. Pope Pius VI condemned it.
Bishop Gaume, a great defender of the Catholic Faith in the XIX century wrote about the Revolution: "If you unmask the Revolution and ask her: Who are you? She will answer: I am not what you think I am. Many speak of me but few know me. I am not Freemasonry, nor rioting, nor the changing of the monarchy into a republic, not the substitution of one dynasty for another, not temporary disturbance of public order. I am not the shouts of Jacobins, nor the fury of the Montagne, nor the fighting on the barricades, nor pillage, nor arson, nor the agricultural law, nor the guillotine, nor the drownings. I am neither Marat nor Robespierre, nor Babeuf nor Mazzini nor Kossuth. These men are my sons but they are not me. These things are my works but they are not me. These men and these things are passing objects but I am a permanent state... I am the hatred of all order not established by man and in which he himself is not both king and god. I am the proclamation of Human rights against the rights of God!"

There is one thing that Lucifer has never swallowed. This is to worship a man. Many Fathers believe this is the reason the demons refused to obey God. “ Non serviam – I will not serve!” God would have revealed His plan of Incarnation to the angels. So, Christ is also the stumbling block for them. Some of them, in Lucifer’s camp, refused to humble themselves in front of an inferior being. Others, faithful like the Archangel Saint Michael recognized the Divine Supremacy of God. If it is God’s will that they must adore a man, let it be. “Quis ut Deus? – Who is as God?”

The Declaration of Human Rights is nothing else than the echo of the beginning. "I will not serve. I will not serve God. Let us make man believes he is himself God! Let us make him a God!" Dear Brethren, we live today in a world that made man a God, and we cannot accept this. We cannot accept, because we know the truth about God and man and we must let this truth known. Here is your vocation, lay people living in the world: to Christianize again our society, by doing well your duties and being good example at your work, by refusing to cooperate in evil works, by improving your mind with reading, attending conferences or classes about the teaching of the Church and by praying.

We must be a barrier to the Revolution. We must show what the true dignity of man is. It is to have been created in the image of God and to be loved by Him. The true face of our dignity is not shown by Human Rights. The true face of our dignity is the face of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our glory is the glory of His Resurrection. We must choose our King: Jesus or Caesar. And Caesar has many names and many faces. Caesar is every man, every institution and every power opposed to the Reign of Jesus. There are many Caesars today. But there is only one Lord, only one Redeemer, and only one God. We must choose Him and only Him. This is our liberty, our dignity and our honor. And when someone has the honor to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, he should consider well the way he acts. There are certain things, certain fashions, certain behaviors and certain activities absolutely incompatible with our title of Christians.

If man has already a certain dignity by his nature, Christian has another dignity of another order. Saint Leo the Great exhorts us: "Christian, recognize your dignity. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness."

We are members of the Body, having Christ for head. Let us follow Him and not the new Caesars of the world. For that, let us follow the advice given by Saint James: Wherefore casting away all uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

May Our Lady who crushes the head of the serpent protect us against the spirit of the world and help us to keep our dignity of Children of God and to remain brave and zealous soldiers of Jesus Christ.

1 commentaire:

Al Trovato a dit…

Rev. Father,

Would you further differentiate between man's "ontological" and "operative" dignities?