dimanche, décembre 13, 2009

Donec dies elucescat

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent
(with my gratitude to Cardinal Newman)
We continue today our meditation on Antichrist. We have seen last week, with the help of Cardinal Newman, how Antichrist has been preparing the field for his coming throughout the History. We have looked upon the Modernist heresy that dissolves Christ and destroys the Church of Christ from inside as certainly one of his greatest victory, though we know that the final victory will be for Christ.
Now let us be prudent when we speak about his coming. The fact that we are in the midst of the greatest heresy of all time does not necessarily mean that Antichrist is coming soon. The first Christians already thought they would see it and it was announced many times at different periods. Saint Hilary in the IV century said that his coming was imminent. Saint Bernard, looking at the impiety of his time was expecting to see the Man of sin and Son of perdition announced by Saint Paul. Yet none of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have dared to announce a precise date as the Scripture itself does not mention any. In fact, Saint John says that Antichrist is now already in the world. The city of Antichrist, like the City of God, progresses and develops as History unfolds. We know that Antichrist will come, and this will be when apostasy will come. So he is preparing his coming as Christ has prepared His. Now is this time of Apostasy is his time or not, we do not know. It might be! But it can be just a great shadow that announces the final apostasy.
We also know that it will be a time of persecution. In fact persecutions certainly are a characteristic mark of the Church. “They are not indeed the necessary lot of the Church, Cardinal Newman says, but at least one of her appropriate badges; so that on the whole, looking at the course of history, you might set down persecution as one of the peculiarities by which you recognize her. And our Lord seems to intimate how becoming, how natural persecution is to the Church, by placing it among His Beatitudes.
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

They have been some persecution here or there throughout the history of the Church, but we are expecting a great persecution to come, as there was a great persecution at her beginning. It is precisely what the liturgy tells us every year on the first Sunday of Advent and on the last Sunday of the year. The city of Antichrist is a city of irreligion and of hatred. The modern times looks like the ancient times in many aspects, though there are many differences. Irreligion and hatred: the executioners and barbarians of the French Revolution killing priests, religious, women and children with a satisfaction that they even did not hide have nothing to envy at Nero, Diocletian and the Romans who knew how to display a great refinement in the art of torture. Rome was precisely considered as the city of Antichrist.
But Rome must fall before the coming of Antichrist. The Roman Empire has disappeared and has been replaced by kingdoms. But according to the prophet Daniel, a new king will come and crush the other kings and he shall speak words against the High One, and shall crush the saints of the most High: and he shall think himself able to change times and laws. Again we must be prudent when we try to interpret the prophecies. What I personally retain is that this king – is he a physical person or an ideology or a regime? – shall think himself able to change times and laws. This is precisely the agenda of the Revolution. And wherever the Revolution takes place in the world, Christians are persecuted: France, Mexico, Russia, Spain and so forth.

Now, brethren, let us consider these words spoken by Cardinal Newman in 1835 – he was not yet a Cardinal; he was even not yet a Catholic, but he already had a clear understanding of the situation. “Is the enemy of CHRIST, and His Church, to arise out of a certain special falling away from GOD? And is there no reason to fear that some such Apostasy is gradually preparing, gathering, hastening on in this very day? For is there not at this very time a special effort made almost all over the world, that is, every here and there, more or less, in sight or out of sight, in this or that place, but most visibly or formidably in its most civilized and powerful parts, an effort to do without religion? Is there not an opinion avowed and growing, that a nation has nothing to do with religion; that it is merely a matter for each man's own conscience,-which is all one with saying that we may let the truth fail from the earth without trying to continue it? Is there not a vigorous and united movement in all countries to cast down the Church of Christ from power and place? Is there not a feverish and ever busy endeavour to get rid of the necessity of religion in public transactions? an attempt to educate without religion? an attempt to make expedience, and not truth the end and the rule of measures of state and the enactments of law an attempt to make numbers, and not truth, the ground of maintaining, or not maintaining this or that creed, as if we had any reason whatever in Scripture for thinking that the many will be in the right, and the few in the wrong? an attempt in fact, to destroy religion?”

Surely, there is at this day a confederacy of evil, marshalling its hosts from all parts of the world, organizing itself, taking its measures, enclosing the Church of Christ as in a net, and preparing the way for a general apostasy from it. Whether this very apostasy is to give birth to Antichrist, or whether he is still to be delayed, we cannot know; but at any rate this apostasy, and all its tokens, and instruments, are of the Evil One and saviour of death. Far be it from any of us to be of those simple ones, who are taken in that snare which is circling around us! Far be it from us to be seduced with the fair promises in which Satan is sure to hide his poison! Do you think he is so unskillful in his craft, as to ask you openly and plainly to join him in his warfare against the Truth? No; he offers you baits to tempt you. He promises you civil liberty; he promises you equality; he promises you trade and wealth; he promises you a remission of taxes; he promises you reform. This is the way in which he conceals from you the kind of work to which he is putting you; he tempts you to rail against your rulers and superiors; he does so himself, and induces you to imitate him; or he promises you illumination,-he offers you knowledge, science, philosophy, enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution which reveres them. He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his.

The situation today is certainly worst than it was 170 years ago. Yet it is not a reason to despair. After he spoke about Antichrist in his letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul told them, and he tells us now: For we have heard there are some among you who walk disorderly: working not at all, but curiously meddling. Now we charge them that are such and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ that, working with silence, they would eat their own bread.
Be aware of the situation, of the trickeries of Satan and of the world, but let them not be a motive of distraction to you. It is on Our Lord Jesus Christ that we have to focus. Being a Christian is much more than fighting evil. It is first becoming a Saint, and precisely by being a Saint you would fight evil better. Let us listen to the wise admonestation that Cardinal Newman gives at the end of his four sermons on Antichrist:
"I will say, in conclusion, as I have already said several times, that such meditations as these may be turned to good account. What a curb upon our self-willed, selfish hearts, to believe that a persecution is in store for the Church, whether or not it comes in our days! Surely with this thought before us, we cannot bear to give ourselves up to thoughts of ease and comfort, of making money, settling well, or rising in the world. Surely with this thought before us, we cannot but feel that we are, what all Christians really are in the best estate, (nay rather would wish to be had they their will, if they be Christians in heart) pilgrims, watchers waiting for the morning, waiting for the light, eagerly straining our eyes for the first dawn of day—looking out for our Savior’s coming, His glorious advent, when He will end the reign of sin and wickedness, accomplish the number of His elect, and perfect those who at present struggle with infirmity, yet in their hearts love and obey Him."

And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts. (2Peter 1,19)

1 commentaire:

David Scott a dit…

There is not enough difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Until we remove all our troops from the middle-east and do something to solve our problems at home, our reputation in every country is ruined. If I could afford to go anywhere after the damage the neoconservative war/profit-mongers have done to our economy, I would definitely say I was from Canada. Both Democrats and Republicans have been ripping off the taxpayers, since way before I was born. The thing that worried me about Obama right from the beginning was his warlike and hawkish attitudes. We need to stop giving money to the military, and Obama never talked about that. I invite you to my website devoted to raising awareness on this puritan attack on freedom: http://pltcldscsn.blogspot.com/