lundi, janvier 21, 2008

Septuagesima Sunday

We just left the Christmas season and our minds are still filled with the serenity and peacefulness of Christmas. Now, in an abrupt manner, comes the time of Septuagesima which the liturgy contrasts by its austerity with the previous liturgical season. We shall not hear the Alleluia again, until the night of the Resurrection. The violet color of the vestments are here to recall to us, that it is now a time of penance even though our holy exercises of Lent will begin in a few weeks. It is as if the liturgy wants to remind us that there is no permanent happiness on earth. In fact, it is truly the case. True happiness is not from this world. It is not yet for now.
Today’s liturgy brings us back to the sharp reality of our condition: The sorrows of death surrounded me; the sorrows of hell encompassed me. (Ps.17:5,6) Saint Cyprian of Carthage describes our life: Does the world offer us anything else than an every day fight against the devil and a constant resistance to his assaults and strokes? We have to face cupidity, impudicity, anger, ambition; we are engaged in a permanent and rough fight against carnal vices and the temptations of the world. Human soul, invested and aggressed by the devil, has a lot of troubles to face in each of these provocations. If cupidity is overcome then comes right away desire; if passion is controlled, then it is ambition that succeeds to it; if ambition is disregarded, then anger irritates us, pride inflates us, drunkenness solicits us, hatred breaks up the harmony of our relations and jealousy hobbles our friendships. Then you are pushed to say unsound words, which are prohibited by Divine law, and you are brought to swear, which is neither authorized.

At the origin of our present condition: an act of disobedience!

The picture depicted by Saint Cyprian does not seem to be delightful and is even quite dark, but who can truly say that he does not recognize himself in this portrait? This is simply the crude reality of our condition, which even the Saints have to face. Our Lady once told Saint Bernadette: I do not promise you happiness in this world. In fact, it appears that the Saints have even more trials to endure, which made Saint Teresa of Avila say to God: if that’s the way You treat Your friends, no wonder You have so few of them.

The Saints, like each one of us, are surrounded by the sorrows of death and of hell. They know, like each one of us, the power of the flesh. They are victims, like each one of us or even certainly more than us, of the assaults of Satan and the evil spirits. They struggle, like each one of us, against the revolt of the passions. The Saints are really men and not angels, and we should keep that in mind if we want to be like them.
So, they are submitted to the laws of nature and to what Saint Paul calls the law of sin that we feel in ourselves. They are surrounded by the sorrows of death and of hell, but there is one thing that differentiates them from the rest of men. They do not capitulate! They will never surrender to the enemy of mankind. It is what makes them true heroes of the world. They are the heroes of the Gospel, those whom love never fails, friends and faithful servants of the Victor over death and hell. They show us that even though life on earth is a constant battle, it can also be a beautiful adventure with a beautiful end, if we take the good way. But it is up to us.
Men have many options but only one is good and saving. You can realize that life is not so good on earth and try to forget this. But the truth of life will not forget you. You can try to make most of your life enjoyable and look for pleasures. After all, it seems to be legitimate. Money will certainly help you, but it can not protect you against everything and sooner or later you will understand this. You can lapse into despair or gloominess because you think that there is no salvation anyway. But you can also take the way showed by Jesus two thousand years ago which so many have already taken. On this way we do not run away from the sorrows of death and of hell, but we face them, armed with the weapons of virtues and regenerated by the grace of God. It is a way of joy, because it is the way of victory. Even in the midst of turmoil and trials, we can taste the joy of God. It is a fruit of charity. When you love God it is impossible to not be joyful.
There is no permanent happiness on earth, but you can already feel the joy of God nourished by your hope. Yes, you have to struggle now, but you know that it is for a while. You know that the Cross is the anticipation of the glory. You know that one day, you will sing with the angels and all of those who have preceded us in the eternal Gloria in excelsis Deo. And you will be part of this glory. This is the reward promised to the faithful servants of God.

May Our Lady help us and encourage us toward the eternal glory.

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

Wonderful as always. Thank you so very much.........for everything for your fiat,...your sacrifices,....your example. Thank you Abbe :)