dimanche, septembre 23, 2007

Sermon for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Today’s introit, taken from Psalm 118 proclaims God’s justice: Thou art just, O Lord, and Thy judgment is right. The Divine justice is infallible and exerts itself in an immediate manner on each single person. No one can get away from it because God examines our hearts and nothing can be hidden from Him. The least of our sins will be punished and the least of our good actions will be rewarded and this includes our most secret thoughts since they are human acts which emanate from our will. It is certainly not useless to recall how important it is to examine our conscience on this subject. I can do a lot of good simply by my thoughts, for example when I think about someone in a positive way and bless him or her, asking God for His graces. I can also harm my soul and the mystical Body of Jesus by my bad thoughts even though nobody is aware of them. Do I hate my neighbor? Even though I keep this thought secret and appear in front of him with a great smile, I have sinned against charity. Do I look upon his wife? Even though I remain pure in my actions, I have already committed the sin of adultery, and the impurity of my eyes and my heart have blemished my soul.

Our enemy knows how much weakness we have in this area. He tries to introduce impurity to our hearts and our minds in order to keep us slaves of our passions. Saint John Marie Vianney said that it is the sin of impurity that leads most souls to hell. Today Satan has very few things to do in order to tempt us. The world is already doing the job for him: television and internet are almost open doors toward hell. It takes only one second to turn them on. It can take only one second to taint your heart. The consequences can last forever.

The Church, as a good mother, wants us to avoid such a terrible destiny and her desires are not vain. She has received from her Divine founder the necessary and sufficient means of sanctification that we need. Among them, the sacraments of Penance and of the Eucharist have a preeminent place. These two sacraments, as well as the five others, are effective by themselves and produce the grace. But this does not exempt us from a necessary preparation to their receptions. I will not bear many fruits of my Communions if I do not prepare my soul for such a great grace. I will not bear many fruits of my confessions if I do not prepare them by a good examination of conscience and if I do not leave the confessional with a real and firm purpose to amend my life.
In other words, my spiritual life should not be confined to the sacraments, but the sacraments should be the center and the source of my spiritual life. My morning prayer should be a preparation to my daily communion, and, if I cannot receive our Lord in a sacramental manner, it should include an explicit desire to receive Him. My daily meditation should be an intimate meeting with my God which will be totally completed by the reception of the Eucharist. My daily rosary should be a continuation of the life of Jesus through Mary in my own life and as such, should not be disconnected from the communion of the Bread of Life. My evening prayer should be a continuation of my prayers of thanksgiving that I have already offered to my Savior right after Mass.

There is a unity in the spiritual life. My prayers, my devotions, my spiritual exercises, my participation in the Liturgy, my works of charity and of mercy, my mortifications and penances have or should have Jesus as principle and end. As such, they all are connected to Holy Communion which gives me our Lord Himself.

Dear Brethren, this is important to realize. If you limit your spiritual life to just a few minutes of prayer a day, if your Communions are commanded more by a certain routine than by a true desire, if your confessions are just a time when you can tell your sins in order to get rid of them, I am afraid that your spiritual life is still superficial. Then it would be pretentious to think that you can resist temptations, especially those of impurity. Satan and the world are redoubtable adversaries, tough and well determined.
Our Mother the Church knows this when she prays in today’s collect: Grant, O Lord, unto Thy people, grace to avoid all contact with the devil, and with pure minds to follow Thee, the only God.

We have to follow our Lord with a pure mind and a pure heart. That means that we have to fight a battle in a world of impurity, not only moral, but also intellectual. There is absolutely no way to win this battle without a strong preparation and training. This is the way led by Jesus. He is the Just, by excellence, and we have to follow and imitate Him. It is certainly a difficult way, but, as Psalm 118 says again: Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
May Our Blessed Mother keep us in the law of the Lord, Her Son.

Walking in the law of the Lord!

( Pilgrimage of Chartres)

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