The Church's Year
ON THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
At the Introit
of the Mass the Church calls upon all to invoke our Lord:
Thou upon me, and have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am alone and poor.
See my abjection and my labor, and forgive me all my sins, O my
God. (Ps. XXIV.) To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul. In Thee,
O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed. Glory etc.
O God, the protector of them that hope in Thee, without whom nothing
is strong, nothing is holy: multiply Thy mercy upon us, that, guided
and directed by Thee, we may so pass amid temporal goods as not
to lose the eternal. Through etc.
(I Pet: V. 6-11.) Dearly beloved, Be you humbled under the mighty
hand of God, that he may exalt you in the time of visitation: casting
all your care upon him, for he hath care of you. Be sober and watch:
because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about,
seeking whom he may devour: whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing
that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory
in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself
perfect you and confirm you and establish you. To him be glory and
empire for ever and ever. Amen.
In this lesson St. Peter teaches that if we would be exalted we
must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. This necessary
humility shows itself in us by giving ourselves and all our cares
up to the providence of God who, as St. Augustine says, provides
for one as for all. We should not fail, however, to be sober and
circumspect, and not think ourselves secure from the lusts of the
world. The devil like a lion seeking prey, desires the ruin of our
souls, tormenting us by temptations and afflictions. By confidence
in God's help we can and should resist him, especially when we consider
that after the trials of this life the crown of glory will be our
portion for all eternity.
Be sober and watch. (I Peter, V. 8.)
the mother of vigilance; intemperance is the mother of sloth and
of numberless other vices which cast many souls into the jaws of
the devil who, like a hungry lion, goes about day and night seeking
for prey. Woe, therefore, to those who because of their drunkenness
live, as it were, in constant night and in the perpetual sleep of
sin! How will they feel when, suddenly awakened by death, they find
themselves before the judgment?seat of God burdened with innumerable
sins of which they were unconscious, or of which they wished not
to know they were guilty! Who can number the sins committed in a
state of intoxication, sins for which the drunkard cares nothing,
for which he has no contrition, and has not confessed, because the
light of reason is extinguished, his life is a senseless stupor,
and he is therefore unconscious of his thoughts, words and actions.
But will the
divine Judge find no sin in such persons? Will He permit the shameful
deeds committed while intoxicated, the curses, blasphemies, sneers,
detractions, outrages, and scandals to remain unpunished? He who
demands an account of every idle word, will He demand no account
of the time 'so badly spent, of the money so uselessly squandered,
families neglected, church service unattended, education of children
omitted, and the other great sins committed? They will indeed excuse
themselves, pleading that these sins were committed involuntarily,
or as a joke, when they were intoxicated; that their intoxication
was excusable, as they were not able to stand muck; but will God
be content with such excuses? Will they not add to their damnation?
That they took more than they could bear of the intoxicating drink,
deprived themselves of the use of reason, and thus voluntarily caused
all the sins they committed while in that state, is what will be
What then can they expect? Nothing less than the fate of the rich
man spoken of in the gospel, who on account of his debaucheries
was buried in hell; where during all eternity his parched tongue
was not cooled by one drop of water. (Luke XVI. 22.) Yes, this will
be the place of those unconverted drunkards of whom St. Paul says
that they will not possess the kingdom of God. (I Cor. VI. 10.)
How rare and how difficult is the conversion of a drunkard, because
with him as with the unchaste this habit becomes a second nature,
and because he generally abuses the remedies: the holy Sacraments
of Penance and the. Altar.
certainly deter any one from the vice of drunkenness; but those
who are not thus withheld, may consider the indecency, the disgrace,
and the injury of this vice, for it ruins the body as well as the
Is it not disgraceful
that man endowed with reason, and created for heaven, should drown
that reason in excessive drink, degrading his mind, his intellectual
spirit, the image of God, rendering it like the brute animals, and
even lower than the beasts. "Are not the drunkards far worse
than the animals?" says St. Chrysostom. Yes, not only on account
of their drunkenness, but far more so because of the shameful position
of their body, their manners, their speech, their behavior. How
disgracefully naked lay Noah, although he was intoxicated not through
his own fault, exposed in his tent to the ridicule of the impudent
Chain! (Gen. IX. 21.) Even the heathen Spartans considered the vice
of drunkenness so disgraceful that they were in the habit of intoxicating
a slave, and bringing him before their children that they might
be disgusted with such a state.
which should deter everybody from this vice is its injuriousness.
It ruins the body as well as the soul. By surfeiting many have perished,
(Ecclus. XXXVII. 34.) and it has ruined the health of many more.
Who hath woe? whose father hath woe? who hath contentions? who fall
into pits, who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
Surely they that pass their time in wine, and study to drink off
their cups? (Prov. XXIII. 29. 30.) Daily observation confirms this
truth of Scripture, and the miserable old age, accompanied by innumerable
weaknesses and frailties of one addicted to drink is a sufficient
testimony of the injuriousness of this vice.
(Luke XV. 1-10.) At that time, The publicans and sinners drew nigh
unto Jesus to hear him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured,
saying: This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them And he spoke
to. them this parable, saying: What man of you that hath an hundred
sheep, and if he shall lose one of them, Both he not leave the ninety-nine
in the desert, and go after that which was lost until he find it?
Arid when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders rejoicing:
and coming home, call, together his friends and neighbors, saying
me, because I have found my sheep that was lost? I say to you, that
even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance,
more than upon ninety?nine just who need not penance. Or what woman
having ten groats, if she lose one groat, doth not light a candle,
and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it? And
when she bath found it, call together her friends and neighbors,
saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the groat, which I
had lost? So I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels
of God upon one sinner doing penance.
moved the sinners to approach Jesus?
and benevolence with which He met the penitent sinners. Do you also
humbly and trustingly approach Him, and you may rest assured that,
even if you are the greatest of sinners, you will receive grace
is Christ's meaning in the parable of the lost sheep and groat?
by this His desire for the salvation of the sinner, His joy and
that of all heaven when a sinner is converted. Moreover, He shows
the Pharisees, who in vain self-righteousness avoided all intercourse
with acknowledged sinners, and who murmured at the goodness of Jesus,
that the sinner, being truly unhappy, deserves our compassion rather
than our anger.
do the angels rejoice more over one sinner who does penance than
over ninety-nine just?
places of the fallen angels are thus refilled; because the angels
see how the good God rejoices; because they find their prayers for
the conversion of sinners granted, as St. Bernard says: "The
tears of the penitents are wine for the angels;" because, as
St. Gregory says, "the true penitents are usually more zealous
than the innocent."
erred like a sheep that has lost its way; but I thank Thee, O Jesus,
my good Shepherd, that Thou hast so carefully sought me by Thy inspirations,
admonitions and warnings, and dost now bring me back to true penance,
that I may be a joy to the angels. Amen.