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LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 
CALIFORNIA 



SERMONS FROM THE LATINS. 




SERMONS FROM THE LATINS. 



ADAPTED FROM BELLARMIN, SEGNERI, 
AND OTHER SOURCES 



BY 



REV. JAMES J. BAXTER, D.D. 




NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, CHICAGO: 
MZIGKR BROTHERS, 

Printers to the Holy Apostolic See. 
1902. 



bstat. 



JOHN T. MULLEN, D.C.L., 

Censor Deputatus. 



Umprfmatur, 

JNO. M. FARLEY, 

Administrator of JVew York, 



JJOAN STACK 



NEW YORK, July 14, 1902. 



COPYRIGHT, 1902, BY BENZIGER BROTHERS. 




PREFACE. 



IN perusing these pages, it will be well to make 
and to bear in mind a distinction between the man- 
ner and the matter of the work. The manner, such 
as it is, belongs to the author, but, on the other 
hand, little or no attempt has been made at original- 
ity in doctrine or thought. In the seminary it was 
much insisted on that every priest, and more espe- 
cially every young priest, should have continually 
beside him some suitable means wherewith to occupy 
his spare time. Accordingly, the study and the 
adaptation of that most excellent work the " Con- 
dones Sacrae " of Cardinal Bellarmin, S.J., have been 
found in this instance a very pleasant and a very 
profitable employment. The first design was to 
translate the sermons verbatim, but, both on account 
of their extreme diffuseness and because, as origi- 
nally written, they do not constitute a complete 
course for the year, that idea proved impracticable. 
From a study of the work as a whole, therefore, and 
out of the resulting mass of matter, a sermon for each 

5 

094 



O PREFACE. 

Sunday, and for a few of the principal festivals of the 
year has been evolved. Some extraneous thoughts, 
encountered in a course of desultory reading and 
drawn chiefly from Fr. Segneri, S.J., and Padre 
Agostino da Montefeltro, have been pressed into 
service to supplement the Cardinal's homilies. These 
latter have helped the present writer so often and so 
much in the routine of parish work that it is most 
earnestly hoped they may prove of assistance to 
others, and that this or any similar attempt, however 
humble, to bring out into the light these and the 
many other gems of Catholic thought and sentiment 
may meet with popular approval. 

ST. JAMES' CHURCH, 

BOSTON, MASS, 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



PREFACE 5 

ADVENT. 

FIRST SUNDAY : SPIRITUAL AWAKENING 1 1 

SECOND SUNDAY: FAITH AND MIRACLES 21 

FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION : MARY CONCEIVED 

WITHOUT SIN 30 

THIRD SUNDAY : JOHN THE BAPTIST 42 

FOURTH SUNDAY: MOTIVES TO REPENTANCE 50 

CHRISTMAS : THE THREEFOLD BIRTH OF CHRIST 61 

SUNDAY WITHIN OCTAVE : NAZARETH AND BETHLEHEM . 70 

EPIPHANY. 

EPIPHANY : THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH So 

FIRST SUNDAY : CHRISTIAN EDUCATION 98 

SECOND SUNDAY : THE NAMES OF JESUS, MARY, AND 

JOSEPH 99 

THIRD SUNDAY: SUBMISSION TO ECCLESIASTICAL AU- 
THORITY 108 

FOURTH SUNDAY : SUICIDE 120 

FIFTH SUNDAY : HELL 129 

SIXTH SUNDAY : THE STABILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN 
CHURCH 142 

LENT. 

SEPTUAGESIMA : THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD 1 50 

SEXAGESIMA : THE NUMBER OF THE ELECT 160 

7 



8 TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

QUINQUAGESIMA ! SELF-SACRIFICE 169 

FIRST SUNDAY : ANGEL GUARDIANS 177 

SECOND SUNDAY: THE TRANSFIGURATION 188 

THIRD SUNDAY : DEATH 196 

FOURTH SUNDAY : THE DUTIES OF WEALTH 209 

PASSION SUNDAY : THE MALICE OF SIN 220 

PALM SUNDAY: HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION 231 

GOOD FRIDAY: THE PASSION OF OUR LORD 244 

EASTER. 

EASTER SUNDAY: CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS.. 260 

Low SUNDAY : RATIONALISM 272 

SECOND SUNDAY : THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SALVA- 
TION 282 

THIRD SUNDAY : SOCIALISM 290 

FOURTH SUNDAY : LEAVE-TAKING 300 

FIFTH SUNDAY: THE CHRISTIAN'S JACOB'S LADDER 310 
SUNDAY WITHIN OCTAVE OF ASCENSION : THE DIVINITY 
OF CHRIST 321 

PENTECOST. 

PENTECOST SUNDAY : THE HOLY GHOST 331 

TRINITY SUNDAY j THE HOLY TRINITY 343 

SECOND SUNDAY: THE BLESSED EUCHARIST 354 

THIRD SUNDAY: THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS 366 

FOURTH SUNDAY: THE CHRISTIAN APOSTOLATE 377 

FIFTH SUNDAY: HOLINESS, PHARISAICAL AND CHRIS- 
TIAN 387 

SIXTH SUNDAY: THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE 

CHURCH 395 

SEVENTH SUNDAY: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT 405 

EIGHTH SUNDAY: THE UNJUST STEWARD 415 

NINTH SUNDAY: CHRIST ON MOUNT OLIVET 427 

TENTH SUNDAY: THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN.. 436 
ELEVENTH SUNDAY: THE NECESSITY AND PROPER 
METHOD OF PRAYER 447 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 9 

PAGE 

TWELFTH SUNDAY: THE STUDY OF SCRIPTURE 457 

FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION : THE ASSUMPTION OF THE 

MOTHER OF GOD 465 

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY: THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE. 473 

FOURTEENTH SUNDAY : THE VALUE OF THE SOUL 485 

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY: THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION 499 

SIXTEENTH SUNDAY : RELIGION AND RELIGIONISM 511 

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY : THE LAW OF LOVE 521 

EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY : THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS 532 

ROSARY SUNDAY : THE HOLY ROSARY 542 

NINETEENTH SUNDAY : THE DENIAL AND ITS CONSE- 
QUENCES 553 

TWENTIETH SUNDAY : THE GROUNDS OF FAITH 561 

TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY : MERCY 571 

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY : CHURCH AND STATE 580 

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY : THE VICE OF DRUNKENNESS.. 590 

TWENTY- FOURTH SUNDAY : JUDGMENT , 598 

CONCLUSION: THE TRUE FAITH THE SECRET OF NA- 
TIONAL STABILITY.. . 608 



SERMONS FROM THE LATINS. 



of 

SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. 

"Brethren, know that it is now the hour to rise from sleep." 
Rom. xiii. n. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : Analysis of Epistle. I. Evil. II. Argument. III. Exhor- 
tation. 
I. Evil : i. Busy throng. 2. Various comparisons. 3. Nature's 

reminders. 
II. Argument: i. Morning. 2. Salvation nearer. 3. Advent 

and Christmas. 
III. Exhortation: Victim of i. Many mortal sins. 2. One 

mortal sin. 3. Venial sins. 
Per.: Prayer regarding Christ's immediate and final coming. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the Epistle of to-day's Mass is an ad- 
mirable little sermon preached by St. Paul to the 
Romans. After showing them the evil he wishes 
them to correct, he proceeds to convince them with 
argument, and finally persuades them by a practical 
exhortation. The crying evil of those days, he says, 
and I may add, the crying evil of to-day is a for- 
getfulness of the main issue. " Brethren/' he says, 
"it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep." The 

IX 



12 FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

sleep of the body is not nearer akin to bodily death 
than is the callous indifference of mankind about 
things spiritual, to the eternal death of their souls. 
As in natural sleep the eyes see not, and all our bodily 
members lie listless and dead so in this spiritual 
sleep, this lethargy of the soul, the spiritual senses 
lie dormant; the eye of faith is closed and charity 
hath lost its strength, whereby we should be guided 
and moved to avoid evil and do good. And oh how 
true was then and how true is now the melancholy 
reflection of St. Paul when he sadly says: " and many 
there are who sleep." Many, indeed, not merely the 
souls shrouded in the night of Paganism; not merely 
those slumbering in the darkness of infidelity and 
heresy but many Christians and Catholics, Catholics 
sunk in the deep sleep of mortal sin; Catholics given 
to the lighter slumbers of venial faults; in a word 
Catholics, awake, alive to the duties of this world, but 
asleep, dead to the main issue, the salvation of their 
immortal souls. Sleeping Christians! dead Cath- 
olics! they are like the five foolish virgins in the 
Gospel, who', though faithful in starting out to meet 
the bridegroom, yet lacked the sustaining power of 
charity, and so slept and were late, and were driven 
away by their Lord in the words: " Amen, I know 
you not." 

Some day when you are on Washington Street, 
stand and look at the crowd surging up and down. 
The world commends them as a very intelligent, in- 
dustrious people. But what does God think of them? 
He says of them as He said of His chosen people of 



SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. 13 

old: " they have gone astray because there is not one 
of them who thinks thinks of the one thing worth 
thinking about." The great heart of God as 
vainly yearns after them now as it did after 
the Israelites when He said: " Oh, that they 
would be wise and understand and provide for 
their last end." In all that throng is there one 
single thought of God or heaven, of religion or the 
soul? You hear every topic discussed but these, and 
if perchance you hear them mentioned at all, it is only 
one poor old beggar who begs an alms for God's sake 
and invokes the blessing of Heaven on the giver; 
or, more frequently, a blasphemer who asks 
Christ to damn his brother's soul for jostling 
him. Talk to them of death and judgment, heaven 
or hell, and, if they do you no bodily injury, 
be assured they will laugh at you as a fanatic 
and a madman. Tell them of the saints who 
gave up all to follow Christ; of the martyrs who were 
consistent enough to purchase, with their temporal 
lives, life eternal and they will tell you that that 
doctrine was good enough for the Middle Ages 
those thoughts suited to Sunday only; but that the 
week-day cares of this practical age are very different 
and vastly more important. There is a stringency in 
the money market, for example, and immediately the 
whole country is intensely interested; but the self- 
same people look on with unruffled calmness at the 
daily spread of infidelity and the hourly ravages of im- 
morality. A few shiploads of gold are sent abroad, 
and soon return in answer to a universal cry of pro- 



J 4 FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

test, but though the gold of faith, the basis of 
religion, is fast dwindling away, scarce a single voice 
is raised in opposition. The lack of currency causes 
a widespread panic, but a falling off in the currency 
of good deeds deeds of mercy and charity though 
never more general or more direful, causes no con- 
cern to any but the starving poor. Men make wry 
faces at the files of bills that come in month after 
month and they strain every nerve to make ends 
meet, but they never reflect what would happen were 
God to hand down to each of us a monthly report, 
showing how much He paid out to us day by day and 
how little the nothing the worse than nothing 
we did for Him in return! The debit and credit 
column of day-book and ledger are carefully told 
up and squared day by day and month by month and 
year by year, but how hopelessly do the same men 
neglect their spiritual accounts how recklessly do 
they rush into spiritual bankruptcy and what a 
sorry tangle their accounts will present on the great 
reckoning day! Again, cholera or smallpox threat- 
ens the country and we move heaven and earth to 
keep it off; our children are sick, We send for the 
doctor and give medicine; a friend dies, we lift up 
our voice and weep; but the cholera of sin runs riot 
among us, and we let it pass quarantine, forgetting 
an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; 
we dose our children's souls with the poison of bad 
example, and when our nearest and dearest dies by 
mortal sin, we shed never a tear. We take care to 
have our property and lives safely insured, but when 



SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. 1$ 

that great Spiritual Insurance Company the Church 
sends her agent to insure us for eternity, we either 
neglect or refuse, though the policy she offers is in- 
finitely desirable, her reliability infallible, and the 
premium ridiculously small. There is something 
fairly ghastly in our indifference to the issue of the 
death and judgment that await us; as there is in the 
picture of a pleasure party on the St. Lawrence, 
carousing in their frail bark as it sweeps downward 
to the falls; or a criminal singing a ballad on his way 
to the gallows. If God were, in an instant, to petrify 
this age, and one man were left to go around and 
inspect the stony figures, how many, think you, 
would he find to have been engaged at the last 
moment in the service of the world, and how few in 
the service of God? The reason is because we are 
asleep to the main issue; we have forgotten the one 
thing to be remembered. And our folly is without 
excuse. For, as surely as the sun rises and sets, so 
sure are we that the evening of time is coming, and 
thereafter the dawn of eternity. The dreary rain 
prefigures the tears to be shed over us; the snow that 
mantles blighted Nature reminds us of the shroud 
that awaits us and the decay that is our common lot. 
When the thunder booms we seem to hear the 
angel's trumpet calling the dead to judgment, and in 
the lightning's flash, which cometh out of the east 
and appeareth even unto the west, we are reminded 
of the coming of the Son of man. In the midst of 
life there is death; the grave is dug by the cradle's 
side, and the mother's lullaby is but the prelude to the 



16 FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

funeral dirge. And when life shall have merged into 
death, time into eternity, then, as the Scripture says: 
" The worldlings shall have slept their sleep and 
awakening shall find nothing in their hands." Then 
looking at those who, while here, were dead to the 
world but awake to< God and the best interests of 
their souls, the worldlings shall say: " These are they 
whom we had sometime in derision and for a parable 
of reproach. We fools esteemed their life madness 
and their end without honor, and, behold, now they 
are numbered among the children of God." 

Brethren, if the householder only knew when the 
thief would come, he would sit up and prevent his 
house being robbed. We know that the Lord will 
come like a thief in the night surely come, but 
when, we know not; and blessed is that servant 
whom He shall find watching. Therefore, St. Paul's 
first reason for our spiritual awakening is, that being 
vigilant in time, we may provide for our last end, lest 
awakening only in eternity we find the folly of our 
lives irreparable. " Now is the hour for rising," he 
says, " now is the day of salvation." Our age, the 
Christian era, is as it were the morning of God's own 
day midway between, the night of infidelity that pre- 
ceded it, and the full noontime of the beatific vision 
that is to come. " Before Christ," as Isaias says, 
" darkness covered the earth and a shadow over the 
people," so that they saw and knew little or nothing 
of God's transcendent glory. The blessed in heaven, 
on the other hand, see God as He is in the full noon- 
day of His splendor; while we, by the aurora of Chris- 



SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. i? 

tian truth, as St. Paul says, see God in part only but 
hereafter face to face. Our time, therefore, is the 
morning, the time to rise from sleep. For all of us 
the night is past, and for many or all the day is at 
hand. We should awake, therefore, spiritually, and 
even as the aurora develops into the brightness and 
warmth of the perfect day, so should we advance from 
one light of virtue to another, from fervor to fervor, 
until we arrive even at the everlasting day of God's 
heavenly presence. Worldly Christians and bad 
Catholics, on the contrary, go down from the twi- 
light, from darkness to darkness, until they are finally 
swallowed up in the everlasting darkness of hell. 
" The path of the just," says Solomon, " is like a 
radiant dawn that advances and increases to a perfect 
day, but the way of the wicked is dark and its end 
unknown." 

His second reason for our spiritual awakening, St. 
Paul takes from the nearness of the end: " For now," 
he says, " our salvation is nearer than when we 
believed." Before Christ's coming, belief in the 
future Messias was the key to salvation, but it was 
only hundreds and thousands of years after their 
death that heaven was opened to the patriarchal 
saints of God. Now, however, it is but a step from 
life through death into eternity, so that the world's 
salvation, now that it has seen Christ, is nearer than 
when men merely believed in His coming. And 
hence, just as the aerolite falls the faster the nearer it 
approaches its resting place on the earth; as the racer 
makes his supreme effort on the home stretch; as the 



1 8 FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

eleven struggle all the more fiercely the nearer they 
come to their goal; so we, seeing the goal of our lives, 
our salvation, so much nearer and clearer, should be 
the more eager and vigilant in its attainment. 

To these reasons of St. Paul for our spiritual 
awakening, I would venture to add a third. To-day 
is the first day the dawn of the Ecclesiastical Year. 
To-day we begin to prepare for Christ's spiritual com- 
ing at Christmas. Now is the hour for us to rise from 
the sleep of sin, and relight the lamp of God's grace in 
our souls and lovingly keep vigil against the coming 
of Our Lord. As at His first coming the tidings of 
great joy were told only to the watching shepherds, 
and the star of hope shone only on the wakeful seers; 
so now none but those vigilant in the service of God 
can realize the full benefit of Christ's spiritual com- 
ing. Never was this call to awake more appropriate, 
or neglect of it more culpable, than now. As the 
brightness and heat of the sun grow less age by age, 
so does faith grow dim and charity lose its ardor, 
and our souls, like ice-bound explorers benumbed 
with cold, sink into the fatal sleep of death. Hence, 
we are inclined even more than the people of St. 
Paul's time, to forget God in our devotion to the 
world, the flesh, and the devil. And our folly is more 
guilty than theirs. For, in the beginning of time and 
of Christianity, men did not know the world as they 
know it now; they had not, like us, a past history 
from which to learn its hollowness, nor had they, as 
we, learned from bitter personal experience that it is 
all vanity of vanities, and gives naught to its votaries 



SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. 19 

but vexation of spirit. In the beginning, man's animal 
passions were as a mighty fire just sprung and raging 
fiercely, but God subdued them by the waters of the 
Deluge and tempered them still more since by the 
waters of Baptism. The devil's powers, too, have 
been curtailed since the woman Mary crushed the 
serpent's head, and her divine Son placed at our dis- 
posal the means of repelling him. In fine, the way to 
heaven has been made so smooth by the feet of in- 
numerable saints; so easily traced, deeply dyed as it 
is with the blood of Christ and the martyrs; and the 
end has been shown so clear to our view, that the 
wonder is how, how we can possibly stray from that 
path; how we can have a single thought but for God 
and the soul; a single aspiration but one to " dwell 
all our days in the house of the Lord." 

Brethren, know that it is now the hour for us to 
rise from the sleep of sin now, next week, this Ad- 
vent. And first, you poor soul given to many and 
serious habits of sin, in God's name cast off now the 
works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 
Walk honestly, as in the day; thinking nothing, 
desiring nothing, saying or doing nothing you would 
be ashamed to exhibit to the world in broad daylight. 
Free your soul, for good and all, from those sins of 
drunkenness and impurity, contention and envy. 
Make it so pure against the coming of your Lord that 
it will not quail even before the search-light of God's 
omniscience. In short, in the words of St. Paul, strip 
yourselves of the old man with his deeds and put on 
the new; viz., the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, you 



20 FIRST SUNDAY OF ADYENT. 

who are given to the habit of only one mortal sin 
oh, remember! that as it is not necessary to have all 
diseases to die, so neither must one be wholly bad to 
be condemned. One tag on an article will bring it 
to its destination, and sin is the label of the soul ex- 
pressed to hell, the label nothing can remove but 
the blood of Jesus Christ. And lastly, you who are 
given only to venial faults oh beware! Like St. 
Peter you follow Christ but afar off. Take care lest 
your next act be to deny your Lord. Because you 
are neither hot nor cold, the Lord will spit you out 
of His mouth as a loathsome thing, not to be taken 
back without an effort, without disgust. While the 
clouds of God's wrath are gathering above you, you, 
because of your one or two good qualities, send up 
the lightning-rod of self-conceit and feel perfectly 
secure. Your danger is greater than that of the out 
and out sinner; for often the very enormity of a 
sin will drive the sinner up to the highest virtue, while 
the mediocre remain in their mediocrity, thus verify- 
ing Our Lord's words " that the first shall be last 
and the last first." 

Brethren, may we, one and all, spend the Advent so 
awake to our most important duties as to merit to 
receive Christ worthily at Christmas; and may we 
spend our lives so vigilant in God's service that, at His 
final coming, we may be among His blessed servants 
whom He shall find watching. 



FAITH AND MIRACLES. 21 



gwnirai? of 

FAITH AND MIRACLES. 

" Blessed is he that shall not be scandalised in Me." 
Matt. xi. 6. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Grounds. II. Examples. III. Rewards of Faith. 

I. Grounds: i. Multitude. 2. Magnitude. 3. Manner and 

variety of Christ's miracles. 
II. Examples : John's i. Hidden life. 2. Public life. 3. Pas- 

sion and death. 

III. Rewards : Similar to those of John. 
Per. : The least in heaven greater than John. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, an ancient tradition has it, that of the 
two disciples sent to Jesus by John, one was a Jew 
and the other a converted Gentile. They were, 
therefore, a representative committee of two on 
behalf of the whole human race, Jews and Gentiles 
alike, destined to bear ocular evidence to the fact 
that Jesus was in very truth the long-promised Mes- 
sias, the Saviour of the world, the Son of the living 
God. Consequently, through them Christ in to-day's 
Gospel preaches to us and to all a little sermon on 
the grounds and the examples and the rewards of 
faith in His divinity. Stiff-necked and slow to 
believe as we are, Christ gives us proof of His God- 
head suited to our capacity in the multitude and 
variety and magnitude of His miracles. But faith 
begot of signs and wonders is not the faith He 
craves, and, hence, secondly, He points out to us John 
the Baptist whom He styles " the greatest born of 



22 SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

woman," aye, a very angel, because without the 
carnal realism of miracles, John was quick to recog- 
nize the Lamb of God and, through the storms and 
disappointments of his brief and tragic life, clung to 
Him with unwavering fidelity. Lastly, for all who 
imitate John's constancy in faith no human vicissi- 
tudes can change, Christ declares the reward in those 
words aptly styled the ninth beatitude: " Blessed are 
they that shall not be scandalized in Me." 

Brethren, no assertion proven by a miracle can 
possibly be false, provided it be a genuine and true 
miracle. I say genuine and true, for there are 
miracles that are not really such, but deserve rather 
to be called wonders. As Shakespeare says, there 
are many things in heaven and earth not dreamt of 
in our philosophy many occult powers of Nature, 
which, when called into play by divine permission or 
by Satanic agency, popularly pass for miracles. By 
such-like prodigies mere men are frequently deceived, 
but angels and devils, with their keener insight into 
Nature, know them to be false. They are phenomena 
of Nature, that spring from hidden causes, and with- 
out divine consent could never be evoked. Such 
was the calling down from heaven, by Satan's power, 
of fire upon the flocks and shepherds of holy Job, 
and the changing of the rods into dragons by the 
Egyptian seers. Such, too, are the undeniable 
prodigies often wrought by modern magicians, and 
such will be the arts wherewith, at the end of time, 
Antichrist will try to deceive even the elect. God, 
for His own wise purposes, deigns to permit such 



FAITH AND MIRACLES. 23 

things, false though they be, and doubly false since 
claiming falsely to be miracles and used to prop up 
falsehood. But it is of the very essence of a true 
miracle that the performing of it fall within the 
power of God alone. Not only to men, but to devils 
and angels as well, does a true miracle bring wonder 
and amaze, for the cause thereof lies not in Nature 
but in God alone. Since, therefore, God can neither 
deceive nor be deceived, and since the working of 
true miracles is His exclusive prerogative, whatever 
assertion He confirms with a real miracle must 
essentially be true. See, then, what proof we have 
of His divinity. " Go," He says, " and relate to John 
what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the 
lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear and 
the dead rise again." And not alone those seen by 
John's two disciples, not alone those recorded in the 
Gospels, but such numberless others, says St. John 
the Evangelist, that were they each recorded and 
described not the world itself would hold the books 
they would fill. They are as countless as the stars 
of heaven, and the glory of them outshines those of 
all the saints as does the noonday sun the other 
luminaries. It was Christ's strongest indictment 
against the Jews that having done works such as no 
man ever did before, they still rejected Him. His 
very enemies confessed His power, for while refus- 
ing to believe Him the Messias, they were secretly 
whispering one to the other: "When Christ really 
comes, will He, think you, do greater miracles than 
these ? " 



24 SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVEUT 

After their multitude, the next strongest argu- 
ment for Christ's divinity is their magnitude. " Such 
works I do/' says He, " as no man ever did 
before . . ." and we may add, or since. True, Christ 
promised that whosoever believed in Him would 
have the power to work equal and even greater 
prodigies than He, but we must not forget that 
whatever is accomplished by God's servants in the 
way of miracles is really done by power not theirs 
but Christ's. Christ taught this when He said : " I 
go to the Father and whatever you ask in My name 
that I will do," and Peter and John showed how well 
they had learned when they declared to the Jews 
that not by their power, but in the name of Jesus, 
had they cured the infirm man at the Beautiful Gate 
of the Temple. Besides, Christ calls the effects of 
apostolic ministry greater miracles than His to show 
that the conversion and the cleansing of a soul from 
sin is a greater miracle than the raising of the dead 
to life. 

Again the manner of Christ's miracles distin- 
guishes them from miracles of saints and further 
proves Him God, for they by prayer and fasting 
accomplished gradually their results, but Christ not so, 
but instantly and by His sole command. The variety 
of His miracles, too, attests the self-same truth 
of His divinity, for in every creature of the universe, 
animate and inanimate, He showed His almighty 
power. Of inanimate objects the star led to His 
birthplace, and the sun was darkened at His death; 
the loaves were multiplied; the water saw its Lord 



FAITH AND MIRACLES. 25 

and blushed ; He trod upon the waves and stilled the 
winds and seas. Of animate objects, the fig-tree 
withered at His touch and the fishes filled the net; 
He cured the humanly incurable ills of flesh; He 
raised the dead to life; He drove the demons from 
their writhing victims and angels came and minis- 
tered to Him. Were Christ a mere impostor and 
God permitted Him to do the prodigies He did, the 
imposition and deception would be attributable 
primarily to God, which is absurd and blasphemous. 
True, many unworthy men have had the power of 
miracles, but the reason it was given them was that 
they exercised it not to glorify themselves, which 
would be to deceive, but for the glory of God. 
These are they who, as the Gospel says, will at the 
Last Judgment try to justify themselves, saying: 
" Lord, Lord, did we not do miracles in Thy name? " 
and whom He shall answer thus: "Amen, I never 
knew you: depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity." 
Their power proved God's holiness, not theirs. But 
miracles permitted or wrought by God to prove 
directly man's sanctity or God's divinity are neces- 
sarily infallible arguments. With reason, then, could 
Christ turn to the Jews and say: " If you believe 
not in My divinity on the testimony of My words, 
believe at least My works." 

Brethren, here, naturally, recur to our minds those 
other words of Our Lord: " Blessed are they who 
have not seen and have believed." Blessed John the 
Baptist is, after the Blessed Virgin herself, the most 
illustrious example of perfect faith in Christ, and as 



26 SECOND SUNDAY OF ADYENT. 

such he is held up to us by Our Saviour in to-day's 
Gospel. There are, I confess, few personages in his- 
tory that appeal to me so strongly as John the Bap- 
tist. Like all great reformers he was a man of one 
idea. From the moment of his birth aye from that 
day when at the approach of the unborn Saviour he 
leaped for joy in his mother's womb, the one over- 
mastering principle of his life was to prepare the way 
of the Lord, to point out to the world the Lamb of 
God, its Redeemer. This is the key to the mystery 
of his life. All his other thoughts were so absorbed 
in this one that his time not having yet come and 
having nothing else in life to accomplish, he, while 
yet a boy, fled from home and his aged parents and 
sought communion with God in the wilderness. 
What a strange wild life his was for long years, and 
how picturesque! He is the companion of wild 
beasts; his garb of skins, his girdle of leather, and his 
food of locusts and wild honey. Talk of vocation for 
the priesthood, and sacrificing all to follow Christ, 
but did ever other minister of Christ follow the 
promptings of the spirit as fully and as faithfully as 
did the Baptist? And when at length the time was 
ripe and the kingdom of God was at hand, how 
earnestly he threw himself into the work of prepar- 
ing the way of the Lord, levelling the hills by his 
fierce denunciation of the empty externalism of the 
proud Scribes and Pharisees, filling up the valleys by 
his kindly bearing towards the despised publicans, 
his consoling words of counsel to the soldiers, 
and his promises of better things to come; making 



FAITH AND MIRACLES. 27 

the crooked way straight by his baptism of repent- 
ance and the rough ways plain by his touching 
appeals to all! No wonder people flocked by the 
thousands to hear him, no wonder they loved him. 
God bless the people for it now, as then, for let a 
man but throw himself into a work body and soul 
and with true sincerity, and straightway he finds the 
people at his back. At last for John came that great 
day when he and Jesus met, and instantly he cried: 
" Behold the Lamb of God! " No need of miracles to 
rouse his faith; rather it was his faith that cleft the 
heavens and brought the Spirit and the voice pro- 
claiming Christ to be the Son of God. John's work 
was done; thenceforth he must decrease and Christ 
increase. But before retiring from the scene he fear- 
lessly denounced the incestuous union of Herod with 
his brother Philip's wife. A dungeon in the strong- 
est fortress of Judea was soon John's home, and 
there took place his passion the trial of his faith. 
Born and bred a Jew, he doubtless looked as all 
Jews did for a conquering Messias one who should 
establish one kingdom, the kingdom of God on earth 
forever. Yet what a disappointment! Here was he, 
a prisoner, seemingly abandoned by the man he him- 
self had called the Son of God; half his disciples 
deserted to the Nazarene, the other half reporting 
daily that Christ was either fleeing from His enemies, 
outraging the sacred laws of the Sabbath, and of 
handwashing, or consorting with the wicked and 
feasting with the publicans and sinners John's 
enemies. Was this the man for whom he (John) had 



28 SECOND SUNDAY OF ADYENT. 

sacrificed so much? Was this the Christ of God? 
What weight such thoughts would have with you and 
me were we behind John's prison bars! But not so 
John. His faith was founded not on signs and won- 
ders but on the words of God, and naught but God's 
own word in contradiction could ever shake his trust. 
He sent his two disciples, not to question Christ for 
his own instruction but for theirs and his very send- 
ing of them, his sublime confidence in the ability of 
Christ to give them an answer, satisfactory and 
essentially true, proves the depth and height of 
John the Baptist's faith. Hence it was that Christ 
commended him, his austere self-denial and firm con- 
stancy amid seeming contradictions. No reed was 
he, shaken by every wind of circumstance. Little 
cared he for worldly ease and preferment, yet was 
he greater than the greatest more than a 
prophet because more deeply imbued with the 
spirit of God an angel, because he came from God 
and lightly touched the earth and flew to heaven 
again. As in his dungeon he bends his neck to the 
executioner's axe, John is a sublime figure of faith 
and hope and love of faith, for he believed when 
doubt would have triumphed in most men of hope, 
for he trusted when it seemed hope had fled of 
charity, for he gave the highest proof of love by giv- 
ing his life for his friend. 

Brethren, great as was the Baptist, still Christ 
asserts that the least in the kingdom of God the 
Catholic Church can become greater still. John 
was of the Old Law, but we are of the New, with all 
its superior advantages and graces. Now, to best 



FAITH AND MIRACLES. 29 

achieve our glorious possibilities we must first of all 
grasp firmly such fundamental truths of faith as 
Christ's divinity, and try to realize the overwhelming 
force of arguments such as His wondrous miracles. 
The human mind, if anything, is logical, and given 
first principles, it is sure to draw a practical conclu- 
sion; but from ignorance of fundamental truths result 
irreligion, indifferentism, and lukewarm Catholics. 
And after the foundation comes the superstructure, a 
life as like as may be that of John. To see one's duty 
and to do it come what may; to realize the impor- 
tance of salvation and subordinate all other thoughts 
to that; to recognize the duty of preparing the 
Lord's way and leading others to Him by word and 
golden example ; to cling fast to the Church in word 
and deed, believing her divine whatever scandal stain 
her human side ; to do all this and to persevere unto 
death is to carry out Our Lord's instructions; is to 
imitate the Baptist ; is to be an ideal Christian. 



30 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. 

3f|mmaculate Conception* 

MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN. 

" Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed 
art thou among women." Luke i. 28. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Satolli. II. Mary's place in Redemption. III. Her 

blessedness. 

I. i. Protestant testimony and woman's sphere. 2. Excep- 
tions. 3. Mary's prototypes. 
II. I. John's vision. 2. Doctrine of original sin and its 

transmission. 3. Solitary exception. 
III. Proofs of dogma: i. New Adam. 2. Ave and Eva. 

3. Canticle of Canticles. 

Per.: i. Protestant and Catholic. 2. Married, single; rich, 
poor. 3. Sodality. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, I remember long ago at school how 
the Professor, then Monsignor, now Cardinal Satolli 
the Professor, I say, was wont to preface his every 
lecture with a simple invocation a single Hail Mary. 
When asked why he never chose a longer or better 
prayer he replied that he knew none better or more 
appropriate. " For," said he, " as Mary, after the 
annunciation of the Angel Gabriel, conceived and 
bore the Saviour of mankind, so I pray that God may 
give me the eloquence of an angel to announce to 
you the word of God, that your souls may conceive of 
the Holy Ghost and bring forth salvation unto 
many." And in fact, the work of our Redemption- 
Christianity in its final analysis must always bring 



MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN. 31 

us back to Mary. She was the first gentle flower to 
bloom forth in the springtime of the new era that 
wondrous plant that bore her fruit in motherhood 
but still retained the blossom of her virginity. The 
name " Mary " is interpreted as the " bitterness of 
the sea/' but the bitterness of her life was all her own: 
to us she became the star of the sea, leading us on 
to our glorious destination. " All generations," she 
says, " shall call me blessed." Twice blessed rather, 
for virginity and fruitful maternity are woman's 
greatest blessings, and Mary, the virginal Mother of 
the Man of men, became in the birth of her first-born 
the spiritual Mother of us all. Such a singular com- 
bination of prerogatives simply defies exaggeration. 
No eulogist of her, however perfect, but can say: 
" Condescend to hear my praises, O sacred Virgin, 
and give me strength against thy enemies." 

Though Protestants, as such, never will and never 
can understand this devotion, still it was only the 
other day one of them said that woman need never 
hope to achieve her proper position in society until 
the Christian world unites in honoring Mary as she 
deserves. For it is a truth proven by human experi- 
ence since the very beginning of humanity, that in the 
conduct of this world's affairs, be they social, political, 
or religious, woman's part must ever be an inferior 
one, secondary and subordinate to that of man. That 
such was and is Nature's intent is evidenced in the 
purely animal kingdom, where the distinctive charac- 
teristics of the sexes, their different organisms and 
duties, all proclaim the preeminence of the sterner 



32 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, 

sex and the consequent dependence of the weaker. 
Man, too, half animal, half spirit as he is, verifies in 
himself this universal law. His body mirrors Nature 
as faithfully as his soul reflects the image of God. But 
besides her bodily inaptitude, there is in woman's 
character a certain lack of force a certain narrow- 
ness of mind and natural timidity which, though in 
her legitimate sphere they be her fairest ornaments, 
must still ever render her unfit for the sterner duties 
of life. The demon tempter of our first parents by 
his artful methods betrayed his keen insight into 
woman's instability, for not directly but through 
woman's weakness was he enabled to accomplish the 
fall of man. Even the Creator Himself gives testi- 
mony of this truth. Having told in the first chapter 
of Genesis of man's creation as lord of the earth, He 
in the second chapter, and as it were, by an after- 
thought adds: " It is not good for man to be alone. 
Let us make for him a companion and helpmeet." 
Nevertheless there is no rule without its excep- 
tions. Not to mention the living examples in modern 
society, we find in the pages of history conspicuous 
instances of women, eminent in every branch of 
human activity in literature, in the arts and sciences, 
in the council-chamber, on the throne, and even on the 
battlefield. The lives of such women as St. Catherine 
of Alexandria, of Queen Isabella of Spain, of Queen 
Catherine the Great of Russia, and of the immortal 
Maid of Orleans, all go to prove, if proof were neces- 
sary, how true it is that God frequently chooses the 
weak things of this world to conquer the strong. 



MARY CONCEITED WITHOUT SIN. 33 

Going back further still, we find the same exception 
proving the same rule. In the history of God's 
chosen people special mention is made of five women 
who, at different times, were the joy and the crown 
of their age: Mary, the sister of Moses and Aaron, 
who led the Israelites through the Red Sea, chanting 
the while her magnificat to the Lord; Abigail, the 
wife of Nabal, David's enemy, whose eloquence and 
beauty so touched the king's heart that he spared her 
husband and her people, and styled her blessed 
among women; Ruth, whom filial devotion led far 
from home and fatherland, and whose faithfulness 
finally gained for her first place in her master's love 
and house; Judith, who having slain Holofernes, the 
scourge of her people, was styled by them " the 
Glory of Jerusalem, the Joy of Israel; " and finally 
Anna, the mother of Samuel, Samuel whom she 
wrung from God by prayers and tears, only to return 
him magnanimously to the Lord. Now it is a singu- 
lar fact, providential surely, that the initial letters of 
these five names Mary, Abigail, Ruth, Judith and 
Anna, taken in order spell the name Maria; spell 
the name of her in whom were focused all the virtues 
of those that preceded her and those that followed; 
who was second only to the Man-God. If a greater 
than John the Baptist was never born of woman in 
the Old Law, surely, with the single exception of 
Christ, a greater than Mary was never born of woman 
in the New. The painter Zeuxis, we are told, depicted 
his ideal woman by copying the various graces of 
many models into one figure, and ancient mythology 



34 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, 

has it that each divinity lent a charm to grace the 
Queen of Love. A myth, yes, but a myth founded 
on a fact on Mary's creation. She is that Ruth 
whose loving heart recked not of home or country 
but only of her people and her Lord; she is that 
Judith who slew man's bitterest foe when she crushed 
the head of the serpent; she is that Abigail by whose 
eloquent beauty the wrath of the King of kings was 
turned to mercy. The Child of her prayers she gave, 
like Anna, freely to the Lord; but most of all she is 
that Mary who alone of mortals passed through the 
sea of this sinful world dry-shod and without a stain. 
Man may say that but for Eve Adam had never 
sinned; he may point to his sex deified in the person 
of the Saviour; but still, speaking of the purely mor- 
tal, we can and do turn to-night to a woman, to 
Mary, and salute her in the words of the poet as: 
" Our tainted Nature's solitary boast." 

Brethren, in the Apocalypse Mary is described as 
the Woman clothed with the sun of God's effulgent 
grace, the moon the changeful moon under her 
feet, and on her head a crown of stars the brightest 
star of them all her Immaculate Conception. Alone 
of mortals, she, from the instant of her creation, was 
preserved from the stain of original sin. We read 
that the prophet Jeremias and John the Baptist were 
sanctified in their mother's womb, but still each was 
created, each conceived, in sin. In fact, with Mary 
as a solitary exception, every child of Adam is heir to 
Adam's guilt. In the beginning God made man 
right, says Ecclesiasticus, right with the rectitude 



MARY CONCEITED WITHOUT SIN. 35 

of order his soul and its higher powers subject to 
God, his lower nature subject to his reason and will, 
and the whole visible universe subject to the com- 
posite man. The world was then an earthly para- 
dise, no labor, no want, no affliction from without, 
no misery from within, but happiness and immortal- 
ity here, and the assured vision of God hereafter. But 
man, like the angels, was tried, and man, like the 
angels, fell. The angels sought equality with God in 
power, and man, equally guilty, sought equality with 
God in knowledge. And as in their case so in other 
and all cases: self-exaltation ended in humiliation, for 
God anathematized man and freed his subjects from 
their allegiance to him. " Cursed be the earth," He 
said, "thorns and thistles will it bear thee. Thou shalt 
labor and toil all the days of thy life, and as dust thou 
art, so unto dust thou shalt return." Original sin, 
with its effects, was the complete subversion of the 
primitive harmony established between God and 
man, between man's higher and lower natures, and 
between man and the world; and this sin and its 
effects we all inherit. " Behold," says the Psalmist, 
" I was conceived in iniquities, and in sin did my 
mother conceive me." And St. Paul adds, " as by 
one man sin entered this world, and by sin death; so 
death hath passed upon all men from him in whom 
all men have sinned." As the wages of sin is death, 
and as all men die, we must naturally conclude that 
all men are conceived children of wrath in original 
sin. It stains the unborn, and the newly-born; it 
stains man in whatever stage of unbaptized existence 



36 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. 

he may be, for only sin excludes from happiness, and 
Christ has said: "Unless a man be born again of 
water and the Holy Ghost, he can never enter the 
kingdom of heaven." The Church attests this funda- 
mental dogma by celebrating the feasts of the saints, 
not on the day when in sin they came into this world, 
but on the day of their death, when, sinless, they 
passed to glory. St. Jerome discourages inquiry as to 
how original sin is transmitted, saying: " It is as 
though one fallen overboard were asked * How came 
you there? ' and should reply, ' Ask not how I came 
here, but seek rather how you may get me out.' ' 
Anyhow, our natures were corrupted in Adam and 
Eve as waters in their source, with this difference, that 
human nature is not purified in transmission. As the 
different members of my body may become guilty of 
crime, though not acting by their own volition but 
under the influence of my perverse will, so we, as we 
are of the great body of humanity, contract the guilt 
of a sin of which the head alone was guilty. Adam 
and Eve were a representative committee of two, 
chosen from the myriads of human possibilities. 
Theirs was a test case; their fate our fate; so that 
we all share in their sin and punishment as we should 
have shared in their happiness had they remained 
faithful to God. One single exception is recorded 
the Virgin Mary. Of her alone we can say with the 
Canticle: "All beautiful art thou and there is no 
stain in thee." In St. John's vision of her, the moon 
under her feet denotes the absence in her of all stain 
or change denotes her to be as Longfellow styles 



MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN. 37 

her: " The peerless queen of air, who as sandals to 
her feet, the silver moon doth wear." 

Brethren, for us Catholics, the ultimate proof that 
Mary was immaculately conceived must ever be the 
fact that for centuries this truth was accepted by the 
entire Catholic world, and defined at last as an article 
of our faith by Pius IX. in 1854. Nor are we without 
reasons for the faith that is in us. This privilege of 
Mary was foreshadowed in the words of God to the 
demon-seducer of our first parents: " I will put enmi- 
ties between thee and the woman, and thy seed and 
her seed, and she shall crush thy head." We can 
readily understand the enmity between Mary's Son 
and Satan, but that Mary herself should, as promised, 
vanquish the serpent, is explainable only on the theory 
that she was never for an instant subject to him by 
sin, that she was immaculately conceived. Jesus and 
Mary were prefigured in Adam and Eve they are as 
like as the light of to-day and to-morrow, and yet 
they differ as the waning twilight from the coming 
dawn. Adam's hands, outstretched toward the for- 
bidden fruit, point to death and darkness; the hands of 
Christ in Gethsemani, receiving from the angel the 
chalice of His sufferings, point to life and light: and 
it was not until the water from the side of Christ on 
the cross trickled down on Adam's skull that life met 
death in Baptism. Adam was made of immaculate 
earth, as yet uncursed a true figure of the stainless 
Virgin who was to conceive and bear the Saviour. 
" Holiness becometh Thy house, O Lord," says the 
Psalmist; and Mary's body was the house of the 



38 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. 

Lord; the material from which He built Him an 
earthly habitation. Christ was the wisdom of the 
Father, and Holy Writ has it that " wisdom will not 
enter into a malicious soul nor dwell in a body sub- 
ject to sin." To deny the Immaculate Conception of 
Mary is, to my mind, scarcely less blasphemous than 
to assert that the humanity of Christ Himself was 
stained with original sin, for did He not become 
flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone? And 
who does not recoil in horror from the thought 
that even the adorable body and blood of Christ in 
the Sacrament of the altar should have had its origin 
in anything defiled by sin? The Immaculate Concep- 
tion of Mary is a necessary corollary of Christ's abso- 
lute sinlessness. It was asserted by John the Baptist 
when he refused to baptize the Saviour in the Jordan. 
It was asserted by Christ Himself when He demanded 
of His enemies: " Which of you shall convince Me of 
sin? And what fellowship is there of God with 
Belial? " 

But apart from her divine Son, Mary in the Scrip- 
ture vindicates in her own person this article of our 
faith. Mary's destiny was to undo what Eve had 
done, and whatever in the order of grace Eve lost, 
Mary regained. Mary is the direct antithesis of Eve. 
Ave Eva even their very names are an inversion, 
the one of the other. It was due to God's dignity 
and power that His fair creation should be restored 
by exactly the same means wherewith by the demon 
it had been destroyed. Eve sprang from Adam and 
became his mother in error and death: Mary sprang 



MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN. 39 

from God and became the Mother of the Man-God 
the truth and the life. Eve consented to the prince 
of darkness, but it was to an angel Mary said: " Be 
it done unto me according to thy word." Mary 
brought forth her Son without loss of virginity and 
without pain, whereas had she ever even for an 
instant been the subject of original sin, God's words 
would have been verified of her as of every daughter 
of Eve: " I will multiply thy sorrows and in sorrow 
shalt thou bring forth children." Eve came to fill 
the world with the thorns and thistles of human afflic- 
tions, but the Canticle, speaking of Mary's concep- 
tion, says: " The winter is now past, the rain is over 
and gone, and the flowers have appeared in our land." 
She is the flower of the field and the lily of the valley. 
" As the lily among the thorns," says the Canticle, 
" so is Mary among the daughters of Eve." She is 
the fleece of Gedeon, bathed in the heavenly dew, 
while all around was parched with the breath of hell. 
Upon Mary, says the Psalmist, grace came down as 
the dew upon the fleece, and from her it spread 
broadcast, and was increased by the preaching of the 
Apostles and their successors, until it became as 
showers gently falling upon all the land, for their 
sound hath gone forth into all the earth and their 
words unto the ends of the world. She is the ark of 
Noe unsubmerged by the universal deluge of sin; 
alone on the world of waters, a solitary refuge for the 
remnant of mankind. 

Brethren, there is one more text of Scripture from 
many that might be adduced concerning the Immac- 



40 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. 

ulate Conception. In the sixth Canticle we read: 
" Who is she that cometh forth as the dawn; fair as 
the moon, bright as the sun; terrible as an army set 
in array? " All the beauties of Nature, of the day, of 
the night, and of the intervening time the aurora 
are here attributed to Mary. She came as the dawn, 
pure and sweet, with the promise of a glorious day. 
St. Francis of Assisi loved to meditate gazing on the 
rising sun: " For," said he, " with the eye of faith I 
can see therein the dawn of man's Redemption." It 
was another and beautiful way of saying he loved to 
meditate on Mary's Immaculate Conception. Fair 
as the moon. In all Nature there is nothing lovelier 
than the pale queen of night, as with stately tread she 
ascends the throne of heaven, while the stars like 
flowers strew her royal way. She shines with a bor- 
rowed light, 'tis true, as Mary did, but still star differs 
from star in glory, and Mary is the brightest of them 
all. And lest we should imagine that like the moon 
there is any spot or change in her, the Canticle adds 
that Mary is bright as the sun. One and the same 
halo surrounds Mary and the Child in her arms. If a 
brief vision of God on Mount Sinai made the face of 
Moses shine like the sun, what shall we say of Mary, 
who for thirty long years basked in the smiles of the 
Saviour? Through her the light of divine truth and 
the warmth of divine love suffused this world, thaw- 
ing out the congealed heart of the sinner and starting 
up the rivulets of human sympathy. Finally, to the 
powers of darkness she is terrible as an army set in 
array. As the shadows of night fly westward in con- 



MARY CONCEITED WITHOUT SIN. 4 1 

fusion before the dawning aurora, so the demons be- 
fore the coming of Mary, for she was the first to 
throw off the yoke of Satan, the first to put his 
forces to flight. 

Brethren, you came here to-night with the simple 
faith of little children, to gather around Mary, your 
Mother, to pay her your tribute of love, and to make 
or renew your promises of obedience to her maternal 
instructions. There are many, alas! that stand aloof 
in proud self-sufficiency, and sneer, perhaps, at what 
they consider our weak puerility. But be not 
deceived. Christ, pointing to a group of children, said 
to His followers: " To be My true disciples, you must 
be as these." " For," says St. Paul, " God resisteth 
the proud and giveth grace to the humble." It is not 
the high hills, but the valleys that catch the heavenly 
downpour, and the deeper the valley the more it 
holds. Hence, Mary was full of grace because the 
Lord regarded the humility of His handmaid. Never 
be ashamed or afraid to profess yourselves children of 
Mary. If you are married, pray to Mary the Mother 
of God, the spouse of the Holy Ghost; if you are 
single, let Mary, the Virgin of virgins, be your ideal. 
If you are rich, be a lady-in-waiting on the Queen of 
heaven, or a member of her royal guard; if you are 
poor you will find congenial company in the humble 
home of Nazareth; if you are a sinner and who of 
us is not? turn to the Refuge of sinners, to Mary, the 
Mother of mercy. Fidelity to your sodality is a mark 
of predestination. You are the successors of that 
first sodality the little band of shepherds that 



42 THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

crowded round the crib of Jesus, ia<nd your praises, like 
theirs, are caught up by the angel choir and wafted 
to the ears of God. You follow Him with Mary and 
the pious women of Jerusalem, to wipe His agonized 
face like Veronica, or like Simon, to help Him carry 
His cross. Your faithfulness and perseverance, I 
predict, will gain for you the privilege of being 
among the first to meet Him at the general resurrec- 
tion: among the first to reenter with Jesus and Mary 
into the kingdom of heaven. 



of 

JOHN THE BAPTIST. 

" Amen, I say to you, there hath not arisen among them 
that are born of woman, a greater than John the Baptist." 
Matt. xi. ii. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : Christ's eulogy of John. 
I. i. Prophet and subject of prophecy. 2. Hidden and pub- 

lic life. 3. His temptation and victory. 
II. i. Words and deeds. 2. Sinful world, and process of re- 

generation. 3. John's last duty and death. 
III. i. John's message to Christ. 2. Its meaning. 3. Christ's 

reply. 
Per. : The messenger of Death, and our answer. 

SERMON. 

SUCH was John's eulogy, pronounced by Truth 
incarnate. Higher praise was never given to mortal 
man. In dignity, in sanctity, he was less than Christ 
or Christ's Mother, but in the catalogue of the saints 



JOHN THE BAPTIST. 43 

of the Old Law, John, though last, is still the first 
and greatest. The noblest member is nearest the 
head, the purest water nighest its source, and John 
was own cousin to the Lord. That bread wherewith 
Christ fed the multitudes, that miraculous wine of 
Cana God's immediate productions must have 
been of the rarest quality; and so apparent, in the 
Baptist's birth and life and death, is the hand of God, 
that he must have been, among men, the noblest and 
the best. 

Brethren, John the Baptist is the horizon where 
earth meets heaven; the link connecting the Old 
Law with the New; the last of the prophets and the 
first of the Apostles, and consequently styled by Our 
Lord more than a prophet. To be the subject of 
prophecy is a higher dignity than to be a prophet 
one's self, and, of them all, John alone enjoyed this 
dual honor a prophet himself, he was foretold by 
Isaias and Malachias. The Angel Gabriel announced 
his advent to his parents, and his presence in her 
womb imparted to Elizabeth the prophetic spirit, and 
loosened Zachary's palsied tongue to foretell that he 
should be called the prophet of the Most High, and 
be the herald of the coming Saviour. More than a 
prophet; for while yet in his mother's womb, he 
leaped for joy at the approach of the unborn- 
Saviour; the highest dignitary of them all, for, in 
the solemn regal procession, he walks immediately 
before the face of the King. More than a prophet; 
for to the supereminent gifts with which God had, 
by infusion, endowed him, he, by the purity, the 



44 THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

simplicity, the austerity and self-denial of his life, 
superadded such acquired virtues as to merit from 
the lips of his Saviour the title of angel. In his 
early boyhood, in his childhood almost, leav- 
ing home and parents he fled into the desert 
alone, and there for thirty years he communed 
with God a true child of Nature, the wild beasts 
for his only companions, clothed in a garment 
of camel's hair with a leathern girdle, and locusts 
and wild honey for his food. For thirty long 
years, until the very recollection of him had passed 
from the popular mind, so that when, like the morn- 
ing star, he reappeared to usher in the Sun of Justice, 
the people hailed him enthusiastically as the prom- 
ised Messias. That was the crucial moment of 
John's life, and, as is usual with heroes, it developed 
his true greatness. " And he confessed and did not 
deny, and he confessed, I am not the Christ." 
The whirlwind of popular adulation would have 
turned any head less steady. He knew that, like the 
morning star, the most brilliant of all, he shone with 
a borrowed light, destined to diminish and fade away 
before the arisen sun. He was a burning and a shin- 
ing light, indeed, but he shone not for himself but 
to reveal the Saviour. His mission was to cast upon 
the earth the first sparks of the love of Christ. No 
hollow reed he, to be shaken by the winds of flattery ; 
no courtier he, craving for the ease and homage of 
royalty. Though a word would have deified him, 
though he disappointed his disciples and the whole 
people, he still persisted: "I am not the Christ." 



JOHN THE BAPTIST. 45 

" Then/' said they, " thou art Elias returned to 
earth, or one of the prophets risen from the dead," 
but he answered: " I am not." The austerity of 
John's life resembled that of Elias. John never 
wrote his prophesies; neither did Elias. John was 
the precursor of the Lord a mission, they knew, 
Elias was one day to fulfil. John denounced the sin- 
ful union of Herod with his brother's wife, even as 
Elias did that of Achab and Jezabel ; all of which led 
the people to conclude that John was none other 
than the Thesbian returned to earth. But once 
again the humble Baptist rises superior to self, 
declaring: " No, I am but the voice of one crying 
in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose." 
There is nothing, it seems to me, so lovely, so edify- 
ing, so altogether touching, as profound humility in 
union with the loftiest greatness. It is something 
we can admire always, even when, in our little way, 
we despair of imitation. It forms the chief charm of 
John's character. Too humble to speak of himself, 
even as an individual, but rather as a breath, a voice, 
a cry sent forth into the wilderness of this world. 
Yet he unconsciously gave himself, thereby, his due 
meed of praise, by proclaiming himself a very part of 
the Saviour Himself. " The word of God/' we are 
told, " came to John, the son of Zachary, in the 
desert." He was the word of God verbally, even as 
Christ was substantially. So true was he to his mis- 
sion that his whole being, and reason for being, was 
expressed in that one cry: " Prepare ye the way of 



46 THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

the Lord." His whole personality, his life, his works 
cried: " Prepare ye the way of the Lord." Works 
cry louder than words : " The heavens show forth 
the glory of God and the firmament declareth the 
work of His hands." And of John the Baptist it may 
be truly said, that " his voice hath gone forth into all 
the earth and his words unto the ends of the world." 
Ah, Brethren, if we could only realize that words 
are to deeds as a whisper to a clarion note ; that our 
deeds cry out even when we are silent. If I that 
preach could only realize the importance of example, 
I would cease to be a sounding brass and a tinkling 
cymbal; and oh, that you who listen would but 
learn that louder still is the vengeful cry of evil 
deeds that the blood of Abel and the iniquities of 
Sodom and Gomorrha and the rich man's oppres- 
sion of the poor cry to heaven for vengeance, and 
that the cries thereof enter into the ears of the Lord 
God of Sabaoth. If we are in sin, you or I, our whole 
personality our lives, our deeds, are but a voice in 
the wilderness of this world, crying: " Prepare ye 
the way of the Demon, make straight his paths." 
It is sin that makes this world a desert a vast, 
wooded wilderness, where, if you except the ancho- 
rites and hermits, few real men are found. Many 
lose their way in the pursuit of phantoms; tirelessly 
they search for the fountains of water, and find them 
bitter; they climb for the fruit of the topmost branch, 
and find it sour. Through this world roams the 
devil like a roaring lion; wild beasts, too, are here 
in human shape, more cruel even than the dumb 



JOHN THE BAPTIST. 47 

species; as the spectators in the Roman circus out- 
did in ferocity the lions that licked the feet of the 
martyrs. Men, too, like Dantesque trees, deeply 
rooted in the soil, thorny to prick the passer-by, and 
fruitless as the fig-tree cursed of God. According to 
God's original design man is an inverted tree, his 
branches directed earthward, his roots the head 
turned to God. But sinners reverse in them- 
selves God's design: their inner man turns from 
God and buries himself his head, his heart, his 
soul, firmly and deeply in the earth. Oh, if God 
would grant us to see men as God sees them, what 
a desert wilderness, what a preposterous spectacle 
the world would afford! The blind man, when Jesus 
touched his eyes, exclaimed : " Lord, I see men like 
trees, walking." Touch our eyes, O Lord, and grant 
us to see and correct the woeful aspect of Thy fair 
creation, ere John's threat be fulfilled and the axe 
of Thy wrath be laid to the root of the tree. No 
wonder the god of day, that rises so bright and 
cheery of mornings, sets at eve blushing rosy red at 
the enormities he beholds; no wonder Nature at 
even-time rains down her dewy tears, and dons the 
mourning garb of night, sending the indulgent 
moon to shade away monstrosities or else to gild 
and beautify. In this vale of woe it was, our Nature 
fell and lay half dead, but hope revived at the voice 
of John proclaiming the advent of the good Samari- 
tan the Saviour. O blessed desert of solitude a 
wilderness to the wicked, but virtue fills up the valley 
and straightens the crooked ways, calls down the 



48 THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

manna and forth the gushing waters of heavenly 
consolation; and there God speaks to the heart of 
a promised land beyond, where all flesh shall see the 
salvation of God! O salutary desert, where, for the 
Erst time, the unbelieving, sinful soul hears that cry 
of John: " Prepare ye the way of the Lord; " whence 
it is led by John into the baptismal waters of the 
Jordan, to soon emerge again; and on the bank 
behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins 
of the world! Artists love to paint that scene at 
Jesus' baptism the two young men knee deep in 
the water, Jesus smilingly expectant, John hesitating 
but obedient, while over all the Spirit hovers like 
a dove, and the Father proclaims: "This is My 
beloved Son." Simple, lowly John, quick to rever- 
ence virtue, but quicker still to upbraid pharisaical 
vice; all-humble in the presence of his heavenly 
Master, but intrepid and defiant before the vicious 
Herod! And yet, that Herod loved him still, is, 
after Christ's eulogy, John's highest encomium. 
True, he was cast into prison, but Herod reverenced, 
praised, loved him still. The angel messenger of 
freedom, in chains ; the preacher of reform, the model 
of every virtue, in a felon's cell! What a parody on 
human justice! But God's providence destined his 
captivity to have a deeper significance. John in his 
prison represents the abrogation of the Old Law, 
even as Christ does the introduction of the New. 
The Virgin of virgins gave to the world the Author 
of the New; the incestuous Herodias spitefully 
accomplished the destruction of the last remnant of 



JOHN THE BAPTIST. 49 

the Old. It is high praise for John that she alone and 
her dancing daughter hated him, for a pious tradi- 
tion tells us that even the very soldier, sent to fetch 
his head to the banquet hall, with tears implored for- 
giveness and was, by the Baptist, blessed and com- 
forted. 

Brethren, there is one more incident, that wherein 
John sent from prison two of his disciples to the 
Christ, asking: "Art thou He that is to come, or 
wait we for another?" Here is mystic meaning! 
John did not doubt, but sought to convince his 
unhappy disciples what a rich legacy was theirs; viz., 
the Son of God. Two messengers he sent, as though 
his mission's final act was to turn Jew and Gentile 
to the Lord. He plays at being criminal, to show 
that it is only in misfortune the sinful soul sends 
forth to God the twofold prayer: " Lord, assist me 
and forgive." And for answer, Jesus bade them tell 
the miracles they had seen and heard. Brethren, the 
day will come for you and me our dying day 
when, ere another dawn, our angel guardian will 
come to ask: " Art thou he that is this day to come 
to heaven, or wait I for another? " Ah, well will it be 
for our souls if from the prison of our bodies they can 
answer: " Go tell your Lord and mine what things 
you have heard and seen. Tell Him I have been, by 
my charity, eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, and a 
support to the halt. Tell Him that, through my 
means, souls have been cleansed from the leprosy of 
sin; and that, through me, even the spiritually dead 
have risen again. Tell Him my whole life has been 



So FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

an evangelical object lesson to the spiritually poor." 
Oh, well will it be if we can answer thus, for the Lord 
will say: " Come, thou blessed of My Father, who 
was never scandalized in Me. Inasmuch as thou 
didst these things to the least of thy brethren, thou 
didst them unto Me. Enter thou into the joy of thy 
Lord." 



jfourtl) gmn&ai? of 

MOTIVES TO REPENTANCE. 

"Preaching . . . penance unto the remission of sins" 
Luke iii. 3. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Jewish day of wailing. II. Parallel. III. Penitential 

motives. 
I. Nearness of death : i. Uncertainty of life. 2. Especially 

for sinners. 3. Awful risk. 
II. Miseries of sin : I. Remorse. 2. Devil's lure. 3. The 

hour of death. 
III. Final impenitence : i. To-morrow. 2. Length of days. 

3. God's justice. 

Per.: i. Baltassar. 2. Briton and Boer. 3. Forgiveness for 
all. 

SERMON. 

REPENTANCE unto the remission of sins. Brethren, 
on every anniversary of their conquest by the 
Romans, the Jews of Palestine are wont to drape 
themselves in mourning garb, and marching to sad 
and solemn music through Jerusalem's streets they 
bewail with tears and lamentations their nation's 
downfall, their ruined homes, and the departed glories 
of their Temple. Be not scandalized, O sinful Chris- 



MOTIVES TO REPENTANCE. 5 1 

tians, if to-day I urge that you join in spirit their 
ranks and help to swell their woeful chorus. For by 
sin you have, like the Jews, crucified the Saviour; you 
have, like them, incurred the wrath of God. God's 
kingdom within you has been overthrown. In your 
Father's house there are indeed many mansions, but 
those designed for you have been razed to the 
ground. That temple of God, your soul, has been 
so unfitted for the indwelling of the Spirit, that you 
have lost at once God's temple and the temple's God. 
In sin and its woeful results you have out-Jewed the 
Jews; endeavor now to outdo them in repentance. 
But rend not your garments; rather rend your hearts, 
grieving in spirit and in truth. The Jewish day of 
wailing, in modern times at least, is but the exhi- 
bition of the trappings and the suits of woe, but you 
should have within you that which passeth show, a 
sin-consuming remorse of soul, a fiery baptism of pen- 
ance unto the remission of your sins. Let the 
motives to repentance I suggest be as fagots on that 
fire, and a breath to fan them into flame, that the dross 
of sin in your souls may be purged and burned away. 
Brethren, to the healthful man few things are 
harder to realize than the nearness of death. God 
made you to walk upright, your eyes removed as far 
as possible from the ground, lest being reminded too 
frequently of your earthiness, you should find life un- 
endurable. But this, like others of God's mercies, 
you, reckless sinner, abuse to your own destruction. 
Yet think a moment and you can, you must acknowl- 
edge your danger from death's nearness. God in 



52 FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

Scripture, the Church in her liturgy, and Nature with 
a thousand tongues, proclaim that man is dust and 
shall return to dust. Yet will such warning make no 
deeper or more lasting impression on your soul than 
do the Lenten ashes on your forehead? Damocles, 
they say, though crowned as king and seated at a 
royal banquet, failed to enjoy himself because above 
his head there hung suspended by a single hair a 
naked sword, and you will you revel in forbidden 
pleasures within the very swing of death's fierce 
scythe? Afloat in a frail bark on the sea of life, you 
cannot but feel that but an inch divides you from the 
ocean of eternity, and can you, notwithstanding 
winds and waves, still sleep the sleep of sin? Jonas 
voyaging to Tharsis in defiance of God, and Jesus on 
the sea of Galilee each slept amid the storm, but 
neither Jonas' despair nor the conscious sanctity of 
Christ can be the secret of your unconcern. Your 
indifference is founded on the hope that the fates 
have allotted you length of days. Ah! remember 
that the thread of life that Clotho spins and Lachesis 
directs must pass between the busy shears of Atropos. 
To John in Patmos death appeared as a sickly knight 
on a jaded horse, but that vision of death is that of a 
saint desiring to be dissolved and be with God. To 
sinners such as you, death is an invincible warrior on 
a flying steed, armed with a spear to slay the weak, 
and arrows to kill from afar the unsuspecting strong. 
Aye, and on his heel is a spur that you yourselves have 
buckled there to hasten his approach the spur of sin. 
" For," says Scripture, " by sin death comes into 



MOTIVES TO REPENTANCE. 53 

the world, and the sting of death is sin." No flourish 
of trumpets heralds his onset, but down he swoops 
suddenly, like the Assyrians on Israel, like a wolf on 
the fold. " For the sinner," Scripture says, " the 
grave doth yawn thrice wider than for other men, and 
hell doth enlarge its mouth." In history, sacred and 
profane, you will find that the world's greatest sin- 
ners have almost invariably died sudden and unpro- 
vided deaths, whereas, according to the selfsame his- 
tory, the strongest brake on death's chariot-wheel is 
self-denying virtue. For the virtuous are trees of 
precious wood which the grim woodsman, Death, will, 
before felling, allow to season and develop; but the 
wicked are as worthless timber which may at any 
time be cut down and used as firewood. And oh! 
remember that as the tree leans, so shall it fall as a 
man lives, so shall he die. The salvation of a 
habitual sinner demands of God the exercise of more 
miraculous power than would suffice to cause the 
leaning oak to straighten up and lean and fall the 
other way. To expect such a miracle from God is 
blasphemous unto perdition. St. Jerome says that of 
one hundred thousand men invariably bad, scarce one 
finds mercy before God. Will you then imitate the 
hundred thousand, and take your chance of being the 
favored one? What, risk your soul! You may risk 
all the world beside, your goods and chattels you 
may, to weather the gale, cast overboard and after- 
wards recover, but not your soul, for that once lost is 
lost forever. What will the whole world profit you, 
if you lose your soul? And if the acquisition of a 



54 FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

world even would not justify your risking the danger 
of continuance in deadly sin, what shall we say of a vile 
momentary pleasure, a handful of filthy lucre or an 
inhuman revenge? To risk your soul for such worse 
than trifles is like fishing for frogs with a golden hook, 
or braving a tempestuous voyage for a cargo of 
manure. Tell me not that though you sin to-day you 
will repent to-morrow; for you there may be no to- 
morrow. Take example from the Ninivites who, 
when they heard from Jonas that after forty days 
destruction was to come upon them for their sins, 
donned immediately sackcloth and ashes and so 
averted the wrath of God. You, no doubt, would 
have deferred repentance until the evening of the 
fortieth day. Repent you now, now, more promptly 
even than the Ninivites. No forty days of grace are 
promised you. You know not the day nor the hour 
of the Lord's coming; of your death you know not 
the day nor the hour. 

Brethren, as a motive urging to repentance not less 
potent than the nearness of death, is the host of 
miseries resulting from a life of sin. I speak not here 
of bodily infirmities, though they, too, count for much, 
but far more painful are the tortures of a guilty con- 
science. Between the birth of life and the birth of 
death there is a striking contrast. A woman in labor 
when delivered forgets her anguish, rejoicing that a 
man is born into the world, but the soul begetting sin, 
though it feel a momentary pleasure, is presently 
convulsed in an agony of remorse. " Sin/' says 
Scripture, " sin when completed begetteth death," 



MOTIVES TO REPENTANCE. 55 

and death is such a hideous monster that the soul 
that brings it into being faints with horror at the 
sight. There is no keener torment than remorse. 
The nearer the dentist's probe approaches the nerve, 
the more it hurts, because the nerve communicates 
directly with the brain, and the brain with the soul. 
How exquisite the pain would be did the probe 
directly touch the soul, as actually occurs when man 
awakens to a consciousness of guilt. Thus it happens 
that sinners crowd into a moment sufferings that 
savor of the torments of the damned. Thenceforth 
they know no peace. Each whispering breeze of 
paradise alarms Adam; Cain is startled at the stirring 
of a leaf; the erstwhile valiant David dreads the 
subaltern Urias, and Judas, alarmed at a shadow of 
suspicion, goes and hangs himself. True, you may 
have sinned and yet not suffered so; you may know 
sinners that are even happy. Ah! the devil is a skil- 
ful bird-catcher. He catches one and feeds him well 
and teaches him to sing and seemingly enjoy cap- 
tivity, but why? To lure others into the snare and 
so deprive them of their freedom and mayhap their 
lives. But if you, being caught, are making merry in 
a life of sin, believe me, there will come a time your 
dying hour when conscience will awake. Esau sold 
his birthright for a mess of pottage, and ate and 
drank and went his way rejoicing, but when in the 
final adjustment of their affairs he found his father 
had blessed his brother Jacob and made him heir, he 
roared like a lion for very anguish. Face to face with 
death you will you must realize your pitiful bar- 



$6 FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

gain, whereby to gratify your animal appetites you 
forfeited your heavenly heritage. Like tigers long 
pent up, the pains of conscience will then spring upon 
you. Your life, which seemed before as calm and 
clear as a mountain lake, will then be lashed to fury 
by the storm that is to rend apart your soul and body, 
and all the sinful refuse that lay hidden will be cast up 
at your feet. The guilty prisoner is never so agitated 
as on the eve of trial. Your presumptuous habit of 
relying on God's mercy will not avail you then, for 
the hope of the virtuous is as the sun of their lives 
which reaches its zenith at their death, but the sin- 
ner's hope, though strong through life, gradually 
declines and disappears at the moment of his greatest 
need. Peter's salutary sorrow will not be yours, un- 
less you bitterly weep whenever, as now, the Saviour 
glances toward you; but if His frequent appeals to 
you are all in vain, be sure your final state will be a 
Judas-like despair. 

Brethren, if neither the nearness of death nor the 
misery of a sinful life can drive you to repentance, 
remember this, that the result of deferring your con- 
version will be an inability to repent at all. God said 
to Pharao: " Let My people go," and when he would 
not, God sent the plagues on Egypt. When griev- 
ously oppressed by each, Pharao would send for 
Moses and bid him remove the scourge on promise of 
freedom for his people, but when Moses would say: 
" When, when, set me a time," Pharao would always 
answer: "To-morrow." Set me a time, ye sinners, 
set me a time now. You know not if there be a 



MOTIVES TO REPENTANCE. 57 

morrow, but of this you may be certain, that the 
longer you delay like Pharao the harder will your 
heart become, till finally you are engulfed in the sea 
of your own iniquities. You live a vulture's life, yet 
you hope for a swan's death a spotless being slowly 
floating down to the ocean of eternity chanting the 
while sweet melody. Young as you are and strong, 
you have no guarantee of time sufficient for such a 
metamorphosis, for our physical powers are like the 
strings of a violin there is more danger of their 
snapping suddenly under the tension of youth than 
when relaxed with old age. But even granting that 
you live for years and years, will your ruling passion 
be overcome more easily then than now? Ah! a 
mountain rill is at its source quite easily crossed, but 
follow it down into the plain and see how broad and 
deep it grows. So, too, your sin; the farther, the 
lower you follow it, the more impassable grows the 
barrier between you and your God. Or will your 
nature be more pliant after years of sin, making con- 
version easier then than now? Ah! the twig is easily 
bent and made to grow this way or that, but engines 
and ropes and chains would scarce suffice to right the 
leaning oak. And if perchance with infinite labor the 
tree be made to lean from left to right, think you it 
will retain its new position, or will it not rather swing, 
back directly the tension is relaxed? So, too, a tardy 
conversion prompted by necessity is labor in vain, 
productive of no stable results, a sham, a lie. But 
God the just, you say, the merciful, will spare me for 
the little good I have done. On the contrary. His 



58 FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

justice and His mercy both demand that He abandon 
you at death's door as you in life abandoned Him. 
The salvation of the entire human race is God's first 
great concern; individual interests are secondary. 
Would it then be just or merciful to equalize at death 
the saint and sinner, to disgust the good with a sys- 
tem of salvation that allows the sinner's darkened life- 
day to close with a sunburst of glory; to encourage 
the wi'cked to continue in their sin confident of God's 
favor at the last? Why, Christ Himself has sworn 
He will deny before His Father in heaven all such as 
have habitually denied Him before men on earth. 
Hence the saying that as a man lives so he dies. 
" They," says Scripture, " they that are converted in 
the evening shall suffer hunger like dogs." You treat 
God like a dog, for to turn to Him only in the even- 
ing of your existence is like feeding a dog with the 
refuse of a feast. What wonder then if at your death 
God fail to grant you a morsel of repentance, how- 
ever much you hunger for it and entreat. But a 
humble and a contrite heart, you say, the merciful 
Lord will never despise. True, but the measure of 
grace He will accord you, though enough to sanctify 
the average man, will not suffice to save a soul with 
such a past as yours. Your ruling passion, be it 
drink, or lust, or hate, or what not, will be strong in 
death, because death being the crisis in the battle 
between the powers of light and darkness, the devil, 
like a skilful general, will marshal all his forces for the 
final struggle. That is what Christ means when, ad- 
dressing such as you, He says: " Unless you do pen- 



MOTIVES TO REPENTANCE. 59 

ance you shall all likewise perish, for in. the hour of 
your need you shall seek Me and you shall not find 
Me, but you shall die in your sins." 

Brethren, King Baltassar made a feast and 
sacrilegiously ate and drank from the vessels stolen 
from God's Temple, and all the while a hostile army 
hammered at his gates. Beware alike his folly and 
his wickedness. Beware lest while you pollute with 
sin your soul and body, death's hand be knocking at 
your door, or the invisible hand of God be tracing on 
the wall your everlasting doom. You know you are 
not happy in your sin. Give it up. You know 
repentance will be harder the longer it is delayed. 
Give your sin up now. You know neglect of warn- 
ings or repeated falls lead to final impenitence. Turn 
to Jesus once for all and never take your eyes from 
Him again. Ah! see the mangled Saviour toiling 
with His cross up Calvary! Will He pity you, poor 
sinner, bruised and torn by the world, the devil and 
the flesh? A fellow-feeling makes us wondrous kind. 
Two soldiers, a Briton and a Boer, lay side by side in 
a hospital two shattered wrecks from the battlefield. 
Silently they gazed, each at the other, with hate at 
first, then wonder, then with sorrow, and when on 
food being brought the Briton passed it to his enemy, 
those great rough men broke down and cried like 
children. Ah! the heart of Jesus is not less human 
than were theirs, nor less prompt to sympathize. He 
has experienced our every wound and misery. He 
knows our weaknesses, and will meet a prompt 
repentance with a prompt forgiveness. Turn then to 



60 FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 

Him, thou Peter, though thou hast denied Him 
thrice, turn to Him weeping bitterly. Turn to Him, 
thou Magdalen, and learn to love Him much and 
much will be forgiven. Arise, thou prodigal! no 
more of husks or swinish company, but arise and re- 
turn to your Father. Doubt you how He will receive 
you? Ah! see His arms stretched out ready to 
embrace you; behold His bosom whereon to lay your 
weary head with tears of joy and thankfulness; hear 
His angels rejoicing because you who were lost are 
found, you who were dead are come to life again. 
" Come to Me/' He says, " come to Me all ye that 
labor with temptation and I will fortify you with sin- 
resisting grace; come to Me all ye that are heavy- 
laden with sin and I will refresh you with forgiveness; 
come to Me and you shall find peace for your souls." 



THE THREEFOLD BIRTH OF CHRIST. 6l 



Christmas? 

THE THREEFOLD BIRTH OF CHRIST. 
" Who shall declare His generation?" Isa. liii. 8. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: Masses signify: I. Carnal. II. Spiritual. III. Eternal 

birth. 
I. Eternal birth : i. Ineffable. 2. Pagans, and St. Paul. 

3. St. John, chap. i. 

II. Carnal birth: i. Prodigies, paradoxes, and Eliseus. 

2. God born of a Virgin. 3. Man's methods and God's. 

III. Spiritual birth : i. Grace appeared. 2. To all. 3. Signs 

of its presence. 
Per. : Exhortation to go over (from world) to Bethlehem. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, why is it that on Christmas day, and 
on Christmas day only, the Church permits each 
priest to celebrate three Masses? She wishes, 
thereby, to fittingly honor Christ's threefold birth; 
His birth in eternity from the bosom of the Father ; 
His birth in time from the womb of His Mother; 
His subsequent births innumerable, without inter- 
vention of Father or Mother, in regenerated and 
converted souls. The first, the midnight Mass, 
typifies His birth in Bethlehem, when spiritual dark- 
ness enveloped all and men slept the sleep of sin. 
The Mass of the aurora glorifies His first spiritual 
birth the dawn of Christian truth in the minds and 
hearts of the shepherds; and His divine birth, 
though first in order, yet known to us only 
through His temporal and spiritual coming His 



62 CHRISTMAS DAY. 

eternal birth is celebrated last, with brilliant pomp 
and splendor and elaborate music as worthy as may 
be of the Divinity. St. John, in the first chapter of 
his Gospel, commemorates all three, saying: " In the 
beginning was the Word; and the Word was made 
flesh; and we saw His glory, the glory of the only- 
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." 

Brethren, so ineffable is the birth of the Word of 
God in the bosom of the Divinity, that even Isaias 
stands aghast and exclaims: " Who shall declare 
His generation? " A fitter subject for angels' medi- 
tation than for human speech. That a son should 
be equal in all things to his father; that a father 
should communicate to his son his entire nature and 
yet lose nothing thereby; that a son should be born 
without a mother; that an infinitely perfect being 
should be the product of a single intellectual act; 
these are truths indeed, but beyond human ken 
discernible only with the eye of faith. In the birth 
of Venus from the waves, or of armed Minerva 
from Jupiter's head, we find the pagan straining 
after the truth the rise of the all-beautiful from the 
illimitable Divinity and the birth of a God from a 
God. St. Paul's address to the Hebrews (chap, i.) 
speaks of the Word as: "The brightness of His 
Father's glory and the figure of His substance." 
That is to say " as the light from the sun, so the 
Word from the Father." Proceeding by a con- 
tinuous process of generation from an undivided 
source, coexistent therewith, emanating from it, but 
leaving behind no void, and everywhere bearing and 



THE THREEFOLD BIRTH OF CHRIST. 63 

imprinting an image of its source. But why seek to 
examine with the naked eye the midday sun? Let 
us rather turn the eye of faith to that sublime first 
chapter of St. John and learn that " In the beginning 
was the Word and the Word was God. By Him all 
things were made. In Him was life, and He is the 
light of men." In every act of the intelligence, an 
image of the thing comprehended is produced on the 
retina of the mind's eye. In us this Word is a mere 
shadow, as unsubstantial as a mirrored image, but 
in God, whatever falls within the radius of the Divin- 
ity, however distinct from God it may be, must still 
be substantially God Himself. Hence, the Father, 
gazing on His own infinitely perfect nature, produces 
within Himself an image thereof, a being substan- 
tially identical with Himself, but personally dis- 
tinct the Word of God; the second person of the 
Trinity. His existence, His essence is to reflect the 
perfections of the divine nature, its possibilities of 
imitation, and hence, in Him as in an exemplar, all 
things had their first ideal life; by Him as a model, 
all things were made; and He enlighteneth every 
man that cometh into this world, for He is the way 
and the truth unto life everlasting. 

Brethren, Christ's second birth was that of Beth- 
lehem. Looking back now on the prodigies of that 
time, one is led to exclaim once again: " Who shall 
declare His generation! " What a contrast of events, 
what an upset of all our preconceived ideas! Solo- 
mon asserted there was nothing new under the sun, 
but here, at last, is something new. Almighty God 



$4 CHRISTMAS DAY. 

becomes a helpless babe ; a Son born of a virgin with- 
out a father; two natures in a single person; the 
King of kings and the Lord of lords a despised out- 
cast in the direst poverty! The oldest of all in the 
order of being the ancient of days is just born. 
What prodigies these! Again, what a contrast of 
events. Hitherto it was the rule for infants to be 
born and the aged to die, but to-day the contrary; 
the aged of days is born and death claims the youth- 
ful Stephen and the Holy Innocents. How singular, 
that in the order of events and in the Church's calen- 
dar, the birth of life should be so soon followed by 
the triumph of death. The fact is pregnant with 
meaning. It aptly explains away all of the many 
apparent contradictions and inconsistencies of the 
Redeemer's personality and career. The pagan 
idea, that it was necessary, from time to time, for one 
man to die for the people, though false in its applica- 
tion, was fundamentally true. Humility alone exalt- 
eth. Adam's pride is not to be cured but by Christ's 
humiliation, and no sooner does the Word of God 
undergo what must have been for Him like voluntary 
death no sooner is He become incarnate, than the 
pure souls of Stephen and the Innocents wing their 
flight heavenward. The Father takes off His royal 
robe and places it on the shoulders of the prodigal. 
Christ lays aside His divinity and His life only to 
infuse them into us, for His debasement is our exal- 
tation. In the sixth chapter of the fourth Book of 
Kings, all this is beautifully typified. We see the 
son of Eliseus the prophet on the river bank hewing 



THE THREEFOLD BIRTH OF CHRIST. 65 

logs for house-building; and presently the axe-head 
flies from the handle and sinks in the stream. Moved 
by his son's lamentations, Eliseus seizes a log and 
casts it in and lo! down it sinks to the bottom, while 
the metal rises to the surface and is restored. 
Brethren, such metal is human nature, prone of 
itself, as the sixty-eighth Psalm says, to stick fast in 
the mire of the deep, unable to do anything of itself, 
and able to construct a mansion for itself in heaven 
only when wielded by the Son of God. And in the 
words of the same Psalm, it cried: "Father, draw 
me out of the mire that I may not stick fast." And 
into the muddy stream of this world the Father cast 
the Saviour the Wood of the root of Jesse and lo! 
the original condition of human nature was restored. 
Thus it was and for this reason that the Word was 
made flesh and dwelt amongst us. What thoughts 
arise as we kneel before the humble little crib! 
What questions! First is wonder; here is that new 
thing which Jeremias promised God would effect 
upon the earth, in that a woman should compass a 
man. With every faculty of his soul fully developed, 
a man is born, the most venerable of men ; and born 
for the second time. When Christ spoke to him of 
Baptism, Nicodemus exclaimed: "Born again! How 
am I, an old man, to return to the womb of my 
mother and be born again? " But here is impos- 
sibility become a fact. And not a new thing only, 
but a new man, such as the world hitherto has never 
known; a mere man apparently, but evidently pos- 
sessing a divine nature; a divine person and still 



66 CHRISTMAS DAY. 

endowed with our humanity. A King, this, from the 
first moment of His conception aye, the King of 
kings, in whose power it was to say even of whom 
and how and when and where He should be born. 
For the first and last time in the history of the uni- 
verse a child chooses His Mother, and the creature 
gives life to the Creator. Where now is the philo- 
sophic axiom " no one gives what he has not " ? 
Here the ocean rises from a little fountain, and the 
sun receives its light from a tiny star, God born of 
a Virgin! Though the light goes out from it, the 
sun's lustre remains undimmed; a wondrous plant 
is Mary, sprung from the root of Jesse which bore 
its precious fruit, indeed, but never shed its virginal 
blossoms. In her, once again, the newly created 
earth, unploughed, unsown, sent forth at the com- 
mand of God the herb and tree. God born of the 
humblest of God's creatures, in a manger of a stable, 
of a village whose very obscurity was a byword and 
a reproach! Born in the midst of winter, without 
means and without friends and at a time when His 
spiritual and temporal enemies had reached the 
zenith of their power! Surely no one but a God 
could have afforded to undertake and accomplish in 
the face of such obstacles, the mission of the Saviour. 
Ah! how short-sighted we are and how little con- 
formed to the spirit of Christ! Give me but the 
power to choose, and I would elect to have been born 
of a royal queen, heir to unlimited power, sur- 
rounded with every comfort and luxury; my virtues 
glorified, my very faults interpreted as virtues by 



THE THREEFOLD BIRTH OF CHRIST. 67 

cunning flattery. Alas and alas! how different from 
Christ, who, God as He was, took upon Himself the 
form of a servant ; whose one aim was to shun praise 
and court persecution; who hid the glories of His 
birth in the stable of Bethlehem, but exhibited His 
ignominious death to the whole world on the summit 
of Calvary. Oh let me, ere the Christmas season 
ends, kneel a while before the crib and listen to the 
wordless wisdom that falls from that little preacher 
in that little pulpit. I may have tears in my eyes 
but I will have unspeakable consolation in my heart. 
I will lay before Him my proud heart and stubborn 
will, and ask Him in mercy to pity and forgive. I 
will, like holy Simeon, hold Him in my arms an4 
as confidently ask the Father: " Now dismiss Thy 
servant in peace, O Lord, for my eyes have seen 
Thy salvation." 

Brethren, Christ's third birth is His spiritual com- 
ing by grace into the souls of men. Often, alas! is 
He persecuted and recrucified by the modern 
Herod, sin. But happily, too, He is born again and 
again in every soul that is regenerated or converted 
to God. " And we saw His glory," says St. John ; 
and St. Paul says of Christ's spiritual births " The 
grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men, 
instructing us that, denying ungodliness and worldly 
desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly 
in this world." Just prior to the Christian era, God 
had apparently abandoned the world and men ceased 
to turn to Him in spirit and in truth. They doubted 
His knowledge of human ills and despaired of His 



68 CHRISTMAS DAY. 

aid. Hence, the grace of God appeared in the person 
of Jesus, and appeared to representatives of all 
nations, collected for the Passover came, actually 
experiencing our every infirmity, and so binding men 
to God with a sympathetic bond, and discovering to 
them the precious pearl of salvation, to purchase 
which they would sell their every possession and 
their lives. He appeared to all, I repeat, for it is a 
remarkable fact that Christ's birth was made known 
to every condition of men and women, from John 
in his mother's womb to the aged Simeon ; from the 
royal Magi to the simple shepherds; to Mary the 
Virgin; to Anna the widow; to Elizabeth the 
espoused; at His death every nation was repre- 
sented; and since then, through the Church, the light 
of Gospel truths has suffused the world, even the 
spiritually blind and the slumbering. Such is the 
audience the infant orator of Bethlehem addresses. 
On Sinai of old His majestic presence terrified the 
people, but who can now resist the simple pathos of 
His childish eloquence? Ah, He has held the world 
spellbound for nineteen hundred years and been 
born again in the souls of men, times innumerable. 
Brethren, how shall you and I know whether or not 
Christ is born in us? Whether or not now live, not 
we, but Christ in us? This shall be a sign unto you. 
Do you deny your ungodly and worldly desires; do 
you live soberly and justly and godly in this world? 
Soberly ; do you, more wisely than the banqueters of 
Cana, partake moderately of the cup of pleasure, 
that you may, like Lazarus, enjoy the greater 



THE THREEFOLD BIRTH OF CHRIST. 69 

delights to come? Justly; do you try in every rela- 
tion of life to do to others as you would like to be 
done by? Godly; are you faithful in your duties to 
religion and to God? Ah, how true it is that Christ 
was set for the ruin of many and a sign that shall 
be contradicted; for alas! there are many temples 
into which He has not entered, nor cast thence them 
that buy and sell therein. Again, this shall be a sign 
unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in 
swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Is your soul 
a proud, obtrusive mansion, or a humble stable in the 
background, warmed by the spirit of love as was 
that of Bethlehem by the breath of the kine? Ah, 
Brethren, it is all very well to receive Christ in com- 
munion, but He will not be born in us unless we 
permanently amend our lives. Nay, such com- 
munions lead to final impenitence. Christ said to 
the adulterous woman : " Go, and sin no more, lest 
something worse befall thee." And Judas, you 
know, had scarcely received holy communion when 
he rushed off to betray the Lord. 

Brethren, no man can serve two masters, God and 
the world. The world reminds me of an obsequious 
innkeeper; you put up at his place for a while and 
he effusively gives you the freedom of his house and 
encourages you to eat, drink and make merry; but 
the time of reckoning comes, and the landlord, with 
a sterner face, declares you shall not go hence until 
you pay the last farthing. Let us turn from such 
an artful deceiver to the lovely Babe of Bethlehem; 
let us learn well the truths that object lesson teaches, 



70 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS. 

that Christ's first and second birth may not be for 
us wholly in vain, and that He may be, once again, 
born spiritually in our souls unto life everlasting. 
Amen. 



gnmtiap toittjm ttjr <$ctabe of ljri0tma& 

NAZARETH AND BETHLEHEM. 

" When the fulness of time was come, God sent His Son, 
made of a woman } made under the law, that He might redeem 
those who were under the law." Gal. iv. 4, 5. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : Christmas, the children's festival. 

I. Thoughts at crib: i. The Fall and Promise. 2. Plan 

of Redemption. 3. Effect on woman's life. 
II. Mary: i. Her family. 2. Elizabeth. 3. The Annuncia- 
tion. 
III. Nativity: i. Visitation and return. 2. Bethlehem. 

3. The Shepherds. 

Per. : i. Angels' hymn. 2. Christmas long ago. 3. Prayer 
for happy death. 

SERMON. 

THE central figure of these festive Christmas days 
is a little child. It is preeminently the children's fes- 
tival; and only children, and those who, despite their 
years, are in mind and heart but children still, can 
enter fully into the hallowed, gracious spirit of this 
time. I lately heard a little prattler tell the story of 
Nazareth and of Bethlehem, and sure am I, that could 
I reproduce her artless manner and the simple tale 
she told, I would touch, for once at least, your very 



NAZARETH AND BETHLEHEM. 71 

hearts. The simple pathos of that story, simply told, 
has charmed the world for nineteen hundred years, 
and more than aught besides, has served to batter 
down the barriers of unbelief. Perhaps we could not 
better spend the time to-day than by recalling once 
again the tenderly pathetic the oft-told tale of 
Christ's nativity. 

Brethren, there is no more salutary exercise than 
just to kneel a while beside the crib, with its attendant 
figures, and suffer the tongue to utter whatever 
thoughts arise. In that tiny Babe we see with the 
eye of faith the divine and the human blended into 
one reunited, as it were, and yet united as they had 
never been before. The thought carries us back to 
the opening chapter of this wondrous history, back to 
the lamentable fall of our first parents through pride 
and disobedience, and the consequent alienation of 
God and humanity. In the dark storm of God's wrath 
that then burst upon the world, there was just one rift 
in the cloud, one slender ray of light and hope, viz.: 
God's words to the serpent: " I will put enmities be- 
tween thee and the woman, between thy seed and her 
seed, and she shall crush thy head." Here in the 
cave before us is the woman; there in the manger, 
her seed her Son. Pride and disobedience wrought 
our ruin; humility and obedience repaired it; for 
here is she who humbly answered: " Behold the 
handmaid of the Lord," and there is He of whom it is 
written in the head of the Book: " Behold, I come." 

Brethren, St. Paul to the Romans (chap, v.) says: 
" By one man sin entered into the world and by sin, 



72 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAYE OF CHRISTMAS. 

death; and so sin and death passed upon all men from 
Adam unto Moses, even upon those who had not 
sinned." From Adam to Moses, and from Moses to 
Christ human nature bore irremediably its hereditary 
taint of original sin, and its consequent proneness to 
actual transgressions. So mortally offended had God 
been, that not even all the efforts of all men and 
angels for all time could make sufficient reparation. 
Man is more potent for evil than for good. He can 
offend God infinitely, but make amends as best he 
may, they are but finite limited. Yet man had sinned 
and man, not angels, must atone, and could not; nor 
could God's mercy freely pardon all until His justice 
had been satisfied. In this dilemma it. was that God 
the Son, humbly obedient to His Father's will, 
exclaimed: " Behold, I come. I come to take upon 
Me man's nature and man's sins. As man, I will 
make atonement such as man should make; as God, 
the value of My reparation will be infinite. I will 
merit such a boundless treasury of grace for 
man, that all men, past, present, and to come, 
may draw therefrom by acts of faith and hope, 
love and contrition, and through the sacra- 
ments of holy Church, sufficient of that heavenly 
coin to pay the entrance fee into the kingdom of My 
Father." " Thus," concludes St. Paul, " as by the 
disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, 
so also by the obedience of one many were made just, 
that as sin hath reigned to death, so also grace might 
reign by justice unto life everlasting through Christ 
Jesus our Lord." 



NAZARETH AND BETHLEHEM. 73 

Brethren, this then is the Child in whom the Deity 
and humanity met and kissed and were reconciled. 
Looking forward on His feeble heart-beat hangs 
the salvation of a. world; looking backward He is 
the fulfilment of four thousand years of figure and of 
prophecy. However vague and worldly their ideas 
of the future Messias, and the kingdom He was to 
found, the Israelites and Jews never lost faith and 
hope in His ultimate arrival. This expectancy influ- 
enced largely woman's life. Celibacy was practically 
unknown; fruitfulness was woman's choicest bless- 
ing and barrenness her direst curse, for every mother 
of Israel fondly hoped to discover some day the 
divine nature of the Messias beaming on her through 
the bright eyes and loving smile of her little one. To 
one alone Mary came a light from God to know 
the higher value of virginity. She alone of all, by 
vow of chastity, forfeited, humanly speaking, her 
claim to be the mother of the coming Saviour; and, 
wondrous providence of God! she alone of all was 
chosen for that honor. 

Mary was the daughter of Joachim and Anna of 
Nazareth, humble folk enough it is true, and yet 
descendants of a priestly and a royal line. They had 
but two children, Mary, the humble' virgin, and her 
younger sister, Salome, of a more ambitious and 
worldly turn of mind. Their relatives were few, com- 
prising Cleophas and Joseph, bachelor brothers of 
Joachim, living in Nazareth, and cousin Elizabeth, 
Zachary's wife, in the hill country of Judea. Mary 
being heiress to all her folks possessed, she was 



74 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS. 

obliged by Jewish law to take for husband the man 
nearest of kin, for these two reasons: first, lest the 
line of David should be broken, and secondly, that the 
property might not pass from out the family. Thus 
Mary, notwithstanding her chaste vow and natural 
repugnance, became engaged to Joseph. Meanwhile 
Salome married Zebedee of Capharnaum, and had for 
sons the Apostles James and John. Cleophas, too, was 
married, to whom we know not, except that her name 
was Mary and that their sons were the Apostles James 
and Judas not the traitor and Simon Zelotes. We 
may remark in passing that Jesus and John the Bap- 
tist were second cousins, and that of the twelve 
Apostles, five were, humanly speaking, first cousins to 
the Lord. While Mary, therefore, was engaged to 
Joseph, there came to her news of the wondrous ap- 
parition of the angel to Zachary in the Temple, and 
the miraculous conception whereby her cousin Eliza- 
beth was to be the mother of the Lord's precursor, 
the Baptist. What must the Virgin's thoughts have 
been when hearing the Messias was at hand, and her 
own family the instrument of His coming! Did she 
covet the honor every daughter of Israel coveted? 
No doubt in her humility she never deemed it pos- 
sible. Anyhow, had she not consecrated herself to 
God? and dearer even than the honor of being His 
Mother was the happiness of being His virgin 
spouse. Six months had passed, and once again the 
angel of Zachary's vision, Gabriel, came and hailed 
the Virgin as the Mother of God. Mary's aston- 
ishment was not so much that such a message should 



NAZARETH AND BETHLEHEM. 75 

be sent to a woman of Israel, but that she should be 
the one she, a lowly maid, not married yet, and 
bound by solemn vow never to be known of man. 
How did her gentle heart flutter and her spirit glow 
with love and thankfulness when from the angel's lips 
she heard that virginity and motherhood are not 
things incompatible in her whose offspring is a God; 
that He who made the barren Elizabeth conceive, 
could of Mary's flesh and blood alone build Him a 
body for His indwelling. " Behold," she says, " the 
handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to 
thy word," and in that very instant the hopes of ages 
were fulfilled; the Word was made flesh and dwelt 
amongst us. 

Brethren, Mary's first impulse was to be away from 
Nazareth, to open her overflowing heart to some 
sympathetic woman, and so with haste she sped to 
whisper her secret to her cousin Elizabeth. Suppos- 
ing even that some vague doubts still haunted Mary's 
mind, they must have been utterly dispelled by Eliza- 
beth's greeting of her as the Mother of her God, and 
the bound the Baptist gave at the approach of his un- 
born Saviour. There Mary spent three happy 
months, and then the sword began to pierce her 
gentle heart. The Baptist's birth was nigh, and soon 
the friends and neighbors would gather round to con- 
gratulate his parents and celebrate his circumcision. 
What would they think of Mary? With the sublimest 
faith and trust in God she had bowed her will to His, 
but now there stared her in the face suspicion, 
calumny and death. Back to Nazareth she fled, and 



76 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAYE OF CHRISTMAS. 

instinctively sought protection from Joseph, her in- 
tended husband, only to have her worst fears realized, 
for Joseph, being a just man, immediately sought to 
sever their engagement. But God did not abandon 
her. An angel came to Joseph, enlightening him as 
to the true state of affairs, and Joseph, like the good 
and true man he was, immediately made Mary his 
lawful wedded wife. Six months of peace ensued, 
and then we find them on the road to Bethlehem, the 
town of David's line, where they and all his other 
lineal descendants had to present themselves that a 
general census of the people might be taken. The 
way was long some eighty miles and wearisome, 
and the season being winter, the journey must have 
been a downright hardship, especially for Mary, so 
soon to be a mother. The wintry day was closing 
in as they passed through Jerusalem and came in 
sight of Bethlehem, a few miles farther on. To them 
it seemed like coming to their own, and the brightly 
illumined homes and the sounds of mirth and joy 
from many a family reunion gave to the weary 
travellers a sense of peace and rest. But alas! their 
own received them not. First, from the village inn 
and then from door after door they were turned 
away, either because there was no room to* give, or 
else because there was no will to give what room 
there was. Poor Mary! we make way for, and 
salute, a priest who bears the Blessed Sacrament, but 
not even these small courtesies were offered thee. 
Poor Mary! they could even refuse respect and help 
to one who showed the outward signs of youthful 



NAZARETH AND BETHLEHEM. 77 

motherhood. Aye, women, mothers themselves, 
came to their doors and looked and answered, no! 
Ah! when the tramp of Herod's soldiers and the clash 
of their arms are heard in the streets of Bethlehem 
when the innocents are torn from their mothers' 
arms and slaughtered before their eyes let these 
mothers not wonder if the pale, beseeching face of a 
would-be lodger flit across their remembrance. Poor 
Mary! in a vain attempt to retrace her steps to Jeru- 
salem, she sinks down by the way, and then, assisted 
by her husband, by one last effort she totters to a 
cave where cattle and sheep are stalled. How natural 
it all is, and how pitiful! The young wife utterly ex- 
hausted and alone; her husband gone to fetch a cup 
of water and assistance; one instant of semi-con- 
scious ecstasy, and she clasps to her breast her new- 
born babe born without the pains of child-birth as 
miraculously born as was the newly risen Saviour 
transferred when He appeared in the midst of His 
Apostles, the doors being closed. There, then, in the 
crib before us is the group, Jesus, Mary, Joseph. 
Who does not love to ponder on that picture of which 
the utter simplicity is the chiefest charm? The scanty 
swaddling-clothes, the stable, the manger, His dire 
poverty these do not repel, but rather seem most 
fitting, for round Him earthly splendor would be as 
tawdry tinsel, while these are like the clothing of the 
lily that rivals Solomon's garb. No fear that in the 
contemplation of the intensely human in Christ we 
lose sight of His divinity, for already outside the cave 
the night is all aglow and the air filled with heavenly 



78 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS. 

melody. Midway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem 
a company of shepherds guarded the flocks intended 
for sacrificial purposes in the Temple; suddenly 
in their midst appeared an angel, dazzling bright, and 
higher hovered hundreds of bright spirits. One 
moment's silence while the heavenly messenger an- 
nounced his tidings of great joy, and then, as chorus 
follows solo, so the entire band burst forth and 
swelled the glad refrain: " Glory to God in the 
highest, and on earth to men of good will peace." 
Gradually it died away and the light faded from the 
sky, as when the grand Cathedral functions close and 
the music ceases and the myriad tapers are one by 
one extinguished. But like the incense odor in the 
vacant aisles, like the whispering echoes of music long 
since played, comes the sound of that hymn played 
round the shepherds on their way to Bethlehem, and 
in the cave, and ever afterwards; and down the ages 
reechoing from heart to heart and from soul to soul, 
gathering all like children round the crib of Beth- 
lehem, rolls on that heavenly chorus: " Glory to 
God in the highest, and on earth to men of good will 
peace." 

Brethren, there is a deep significance in the fact 
that the first announcement of the Messias' birth was 
made to the shepherds of the flock intended for the 
Temple and for God, that through them the tidings 
of great joy should come to all mankind. Very ap- 
propriately, too, the angel while delivering his mes- 
sage, pointed to Bethlehem, for Jesus is the model for 
us all and the angelic hymn of " Glory to God, good 



NAZARETH AND BETHLEHEM. 79 

will on earth to men, and peace," embodies in itself 
the chief characteristics of an ideal Christian life. It 
is only when we are fulfilling the two great precepts 
of love for God and our neighbors, that the peace of 
heaven inundates our souls; or possibly the meaning 
is, that peace must be established in us by conquest of 
ourselves ere we are truly fit to give God glory and 
good will to men. Brethren, how does this descrip- 
tion of a Christian tally with our lives? We bow our 
heads beside the crib of Jesus and think alas! what 
Christmas used to mean, and what its meaning now 
is. The happy Christmases of boyhood days are but 
a memory fondly cherished. In later years the peace 
we then knew fled. We thrust the Saviour from our 
souls, and though He often came and knocked and 
begged a lodging there, we answered, " No! " We 
even slew Him. As Herod would have done, we did 
we snatched that Infant from His Mother's breast, 
and nailed Him, scourged and thorn-crowned, upon a 
cruel cross. We did it by our sins. And then again 
sweet peace came back when we by tears and sighs 
and moans did penance for those sins when we went 
back to Him, as did the shepherds, in simple, humble 
adoration; when we offered Him the richest treas- 
ures of our hearts and souls, as did the Eastern 
kings. God grant our final hour be like that! God 
grant that, holding Jesus to our breasts as holy 
Simeon did, we may as confidently beg to be dis- 
missed in peace! God grant in that dread hour we 
may look back and see: " Glory to God, good will on 
earth to men," written on every page of our life's his- 



8o EPIPHANY. 

tory, and, looking forward, hear from our Judge's 
lips that our eternal lot is " Peace." 



THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH. 

" This is the victory which overcometh the world our 
faith." I. John v. 4. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : King Canute, and the flowing tide. 

I. Time: i. Irresistible. 2. Curse of unbelievers. 3. Bless- 

ing to faithful. 

II. The call: i. Mists over Pagandom and Jewry. 2. Call 
of Jew, Gentile ; rich, poor. 3. Weapons of our 
warfare. 
III. Victory incomplete: i. Jewish priests. 2. Within the 

fold. 3. Without. 

Per. : Still a triumph, i. Nabuchodonosor's dream. 2. Sun 
and star. 3. Rock of Ages. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, when King Canute of England had 
reigned full many a year, and had brought strength 
and peace to his dominions by the conquest of his 
enemies, his cringing courtiers were wont to style 
him the Omnipotent. But one day, when old and 
feeble, being seated on the shore, he bade the flow- 
ing tide recede; the wavelets, nothing daunted, 
stole around the royal feet and sent the king and 
courtiers scampering to higher ground. Then turn- 
ing, he sternly rebuked his flatterers, and taking the 
crown from his hoary head, he placed it on the cruci- 
fix and bade them henceforth worship Christ alone 
the Lord of earth and sea. 

Brethren, time and tide will wait for no man, be 



THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH. 81 

he ten times a king. But more unalterable even than 
the tide, is the lapse of time. Whatever may be 
accomplished by human ingenuity to modify the 
influences of earth and sea, it will always be true 
that the one thing in Nature absolutely beyond our 
control is time. Day follows day like the ripples on 
the sea; years crowd upon years like the breakers 
on the beach, and every hundredth wave announces 
with a louder and a deeper roar, that lo! another 
century hath come and gone. If happy be our lot, 
time glides with winged feet; if misery be our por- 
tion, time lags, 'tis true, but still plods on as inexor- 
ably as the thumping engines in the ship's hold, 
regardless of the suffering passengers above. To 
the natural man, to the unbeliever, time is a curse. 
Through this vale of tears it scourges him on like a 
shrinking slave whither he knoweth not. A century 
ago, thinks he, what was I; a century Eence, where 
or what shall I be? He loves the world's light and 
heat, and fain would linger there forever but no, his 
enemy, time, hurries him on into a frigid darkness 
unbroken by a single ray of hope. But not so you, 
my Christian brethren. The world's strongest 
power, time, has no such terror for you. Time well 
spent is for you a guarantee of a happy im- 
mortality it is your key to heaven. You take 
the slave-driving demon, time, and subdue him 
into a docile angel to lead you to the Lord. With 
King Canute you turn to the crucifix, and thankfully 
declare that this and this alone is the victory which 
overcometh time and the world our faith. 



82 EPIPHANY. 

Brethren, Christ says of Himself: " I am the light 
of the world." He is the light that enlighteneth 
every man that cometh into this world. Previous to 
His coming, the light of faith was dim and uncertain, 
for darkness covered the earth and a mist the people. 
Spiritually man was then like a helpless ship flying 
before the storm through inky darkness. It was the 
period of the world's triumph and of time's cruelest 
sway. True, the faithful, the earthly Jerusalem, 
never wholly disappeared, but oh! so few they were, 
so small the city of God. God's light shone earth- 
ward then as frequently does the sun in springtime, 
illumining one small patch of earth and leaving all 
around in shadow. Ignorance and idolatry hung like 
mists over the Gentile world, but a still blacker cloud, 
obstinate unbelief, enveloped the Jews. They had 
seen the patriarchs and heard the prophets; the 
Scriptures were their own; angels had visited them, 
and often had they had audience of their King 
Jehovah; they were God's very own, and yet when 
He came unto His own, His own received Him not, 
but denied and crucified Him. Nor is their perverse 
obstinacy lessened as time goes on. They have seen 
the prophecies fulfilled in Christ, the miracles He 
and His followers wrought, the pagans Christianized, 
the miraculous frustration of the Apostate Julian's 
attempt to rebuild Jerusalem, themselves without a 
nation, temple or priesthood, dispersed, despised, and 
subjugated all this they have seen and yet thick 
darkness covers them. Less dense by far the mists 
that overhung us Gentiles, which lifted quickly when 



THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH. 83 

the light had come, and the glory of the Lord had 
risen on us. Our conversion had been prophesied 
but utterly lost sight of, as witness the astonishment 
of the Apostles when the Holy Ghost descended on 
the newly-baptized Gentiles. But the Lord is God of 
Jew and Gentile both. That all flesh should see the 
salvation of God was the object of His coming. But 
first He came unto His own, but immediately on find- 
ing the Jewish homes and hearts of Bethlehem closed 
to Him, He summoned the Gentile kings to do Him 
homage. The star that led them was the first tiny 
ray to penetrate the gloom of paganism. Its 
apparition was the first skirmish between the powers 
of light and darkness, of faith and the world. The 
light was first vouchsafed to kings, not because 
kings are the primal objects of divine solicitude or 
readiest to follow God's leadings, but because the 
order of Providence is that the higher angels should 
illumine the lower, and the lower angels man 
through the highest to the lowest. But alas! the 
Father's will is not always done on earth as it is in 
heaven, and hence, notwithstanding the Magi's 
prompt response, it was not until three centuries 
later, when the apparition of the cross led Constan- 
tine and his forces to victory, that the Gentile kings 
turned to the new Jerusalem and walked in the 
brightness of its rising. Meantime, the Lord's glory 
had shone on the Apostles, and through them as 
through a many-sided prism, the light had been dif- 
fused among the nations. The Church in turn 
became the light of the world, and people flocked to 



84 EPIPHANY. 

her as do the insects to the arc lamp. Amid the 
doubts and contentions of philosophic schools, she 
served the Gentiles as does the beacon light the 
benighted and storm-tossed mariners. The multi- 
tudes were converted to Christ and the strength 
of the Gentiles came to Him, showing forth 
praise to the Lord by gifts not of gold and 
frankincense, but of believing and faithful hearts. 
Especially blessed were the Gentile poor, for 
though they had not seen they believed more 
readily than the Jews, and having once come to 
Christ they clung to Him more perseveringly than 
the Magi. The common people are Christ's chosen 
ones; He became one of us, from us He chose His 
Apostles, among us He made His first converts. 
That with and through the lowly began His con- 
quest of the world, proclaims both God's omnipo- 
tence and the superior aptitude for heaven of the 
humble. They are the .good soil unchoked by weeds 
and thorns; they are the dry wood which readily 
catches the heaven-sent fire and spreads the con- 
flagration. The rich and mighty, on the contrary, 
hiss and groan like a sapling amid the flames. They 
are like doves trying to soar with wings defiled by 
pitch. The poor man puts aside the world as readily 
as he does his coat, but for the rich, it is like tearing 
off their skin. They are the world's slaves, as are all 
men except the faithful poor poor in spirit. For 
mind you, poverty without faith is double slavery, 
since its victim carries the cross indeed not the 
cross of Christ but that of the wicked thief. Having 



THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH. 85 

man's natural craving for dominion, he vainly covets 
the worldly means he imagines necessary to the con- 
quest of the world. In his efforts upward, he grasps 
at earthly things, but the tighter he clutches them 
the more he finds them escaping like sea-sand through 
his fingers. Had he but faith to know Christ and 
His Apostles, and the ways and means whereby they 
overcame the world, he would learn that as water 
rises to its own level, so, only he who humbles him- 
self shall be exalted, only he whom God commends 
shall share the victory. The point at issue between 
the world and God is whether man shall live for this 
life or the next, and where by faith we take our stand 
with Christ and publicly confess Him before men in 
word and deed, we achieve, besides an earthly vic- 
tory, a claim to a heavenly triumph when Christ shall 
confess us before His Father who is in heaven. 
Thus besides conquering this world we do violence 
to, and carry by storm, the world to come. In the 
eight Beatitudes are catalogued the weapons of our 
warfare. By pride was man's dominion o'er the 
world lost and his right to heaven forfeited, but we 
by meekness regain possession of the earth, and by 
poverty of spirit and a willingness to suffer perse- 
cution for justice's sake, we reopen the kingdom of 
heaven. Our weapons are virtues that follow belief 
in Christ, or briefly, that is the victory which over- 
cometh the world our faith. 

Brethren, the conquest of the world by faith is a 
victory, yes! but like all victories, sadly incomplete. 
For continued warfare is the price of victory, and 



86 EPIPHANY. 

besides many have fallen, many have deserted, and 
many have been taken prisoners by the enemy. Once 
at least in a lifetime there comes to every soul suffi- 
cient light to show that its duty is to be up and doing 
in the cause of Christ, and where much light is given 
much activity is expected. But very often the most 
favored respond 'less promptly than the heretic or 
heathen, so that the first becomes last and the last 
first. The Jewish priests, for instance, well versed in 
scriptural lore, had little difficulty in answering 
Herod's query as to where the Saviour should be 
born. The entire history of God's intercourse with 
man, the figures of the Redeemer and the Messianic 
prophecies, had been the study of their lives, yet 
when confronted with the actual event they not only 
failed to spread the light but even tried to suppress 
the truth. In Bethlehem of Juda, said they, the 
Saviour should be born, but though assured the hope 
of ages had arrived and though best qualified to test 
the fact, they neither stirred themselves to investi- 
gate nor deigned to set forth further particulars to 
guide the popular judgment. They played the part 
of finger posts, pointing the road to Bethlehem but 
failing to lead the way. They, with all Jerusalem 
were troubled, and took the announcement ill. 
What! turn their backs on the Temple with its impos- 
ing sacrifices and time-honored ritual, abandon the 
traditions of their fathers, give up their lucrative 
employment and honorable position in society, for- 
feit the good will of Herod and all for what? To 
enlist, perhaps, in the service of the great temporal 



THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH. 87 

ruler Israel hoped for? No, but to go over to a 
despised hamlet and fall down in adoration before an 
infant in a manger. Ah! Brethren, how many indi- 
viduals, aye, how many nations are kept from the 
true faith by similar considerations! Many a min- 
ister of a national establishment, many a highly- 
salaried preacher embarrassed with a family, is 
deterred from embracing Catholicity only by worldly 
motives. Though Catholic at heart, the rich and 
mighty often hide their faith through fear of being 
lowered socially, while the lower social grades are 
made or kept non-Catholic by self-interest, ancestral 
prejudice, or ignorance and indifference about the 
truth. But many, many more, alas! neglect the call 
to faith because they find like Herod that faith runs 
counter to their vices. When Stephen preached the 
faith, his hearers gnashed their teeth at him. When 
men possessed of demons were brought to Christ 
for cure, the devils howled and spat and raged at 
Him and tore and lashed their victims into fury 
before abandoning dominion over them. So, too, the 
wicked of to-day oppose the faith of Christ, and 
Herod-like they fain would stamp it out by measures 
quite as drastic as the slaughter of the Innocents. 
Especially dangerous are the enemies within the 
fold, the hypocrites, who while seemingly anxious to 
follow and adore the Christ, are really hounding Him 
to death by the scandal of their lives. As warm 
water is most easily congealed, so a pervert makes 
the fiercest bigot. They believe for a while, but in 
time of temptation they fall away, and their last state 



88 EPIPHANY. 

becomes worse than the first. No man putting his 
hand to the plough and turning back is worthy of 
the kingdom of God. " Go," said Christ to the 
adulterous woman, " go and sin no more lest some- 
thing worse befall thee." The higher up one stands, 
the greater his fall if he stumble, and a relapse is 
always worse than the original illness. So, too, 
apostasy in word or deed is more grievous than even 
infidelity or heresy, " for," says St. Peter, " it were 
better for a man never to have known the truth than 
after he hath known it to turn away." 

Brethren, faith's triumph over the world, though 
marred by these reverses, is still a glorious victory. 
" All power is given to Me," says Christ, " in heaven 
and on earth." That statue of Nabuchodonosors 
dream was, according to Daniel, a figure of the 
world's principalities, and the stone cut out of the 
hillside without hands, which crushed the statue and 
afterwards became a great mountain and filled the 
whole earth, was Christ the Lord. He is the star of 
Jacob, which, once arisen, draws all to Himself. 
With His faithful sons and daughters ever at His 
side, He is so leading others from afar that what- 
ever of humanity is best among the nations is already 
His. His victory is no carnal one, but with the eye 
of faith we can see that our prayer, " Thy kingdom 
come," is being daily answered, for the kingdom of 
God which is within us is being broadened day by 
day and more firmly established. 

Brethren, let us be active in the fight, that we share 
the victory. Let us turn from whatever of unbelief 



THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH. 89 

or sin or worldliness remain, and follow Christ as 
faithfully, as unquestioningly, as perseveringly as 
did the M'agi. They had for guidance, besides the 
star, only Balaam's prophecy and dim traditions dat- 
ing from Israel's captivity. But we, led by Christ 
Himself, walk in the noonday light of Gospel 
truth. Amid trials of faith we must not be discour- 
aged, as neither were the Magi when the star dis- 
appeared. They were not scandalized at Christ's 
helplessness and poverty ; nor should we be ashamed 
of our faith, though it be that of the lowly and the 
poor. Above all, if we have had the misery to 
temporarily leave our home in Christ by sin we must 
return another way, namely, by penance, and be 
assured that turning from Herod with all his works 
and pomps to join the kneelers round the crib, you 
will find there spiritual refreshment and heavenly 
peace of soul. 

Brethren, there is a picture, familiar to many of 
you, called the Rock of Ages, which aptly sums up all 
I have said. In the midst of a troubled sea rises a 
cross of stone, with a white-robed figure clinging to 
it. The cross is the hand of the true Jesus, bidding 
time stand still. The sea is typical of time and the 
world, and the cross the one thing rising superior to 
both, the one solid support to which humanity may 
cling the cross proclaims that " this is the victory 
which overcometh the world our faith," 



90 FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 



>unua after (fc 

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 

" He grew in age and wisdom and grace with God and 
men" Luke ii. 52. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Gospel silence. II. Reason. III. Church's liturgy. 
1. Christ's knowledge: i. Pupil's question. 2. Christ's 
development and ours. 3. Knowledge acquired, in- 
fused ; possessed, applied. 

II. Imperfect system : i. Age without wisdom. 2. Wisdom 
without grace. 3. Crime against individual and 
society. 
III. Remedy : i. Church's enemies. 2. God and Caesar. 

3. Religious instruction and Holy Eucharist. 
Per. : Result will be real Christians. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in meditating on the mysteries of this 
holy season, nothing strikes one more forcibly or 
engenders greater surprise than the silence of the 
Evangelists concerning the earlier years of our 
divine Redeemer. After His return from Egypt to 
Nazareth in His seventh or eighth year, we lose all 
trace of Him until the beginning of His miracles in 
Caha of Galilee, in the thirtieth year of His age. 
True, we find Him momentarily appearing, at the age 
of twelve, in the Temple at Jerusalem, but with that 
solitary exception the Evangelists give us no informa- 
tion concerning His whole hidden life, other than 
that He went down to Nazareth with His parents and 
was subject to them. Now, this silence of the Gos- 
pels, it seems to me, was not merely accidental it 



CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 9 1 

was intentional and judicious. It betrays the Evan- 
gelists' keen appreciation of man's natural fondness 
for youth of childhood's strong claim and firm hold 
on our affections. There is a beauty and a freshness 
about childhood and youth that thrills the observer 
through and through like the breath of spring, and in 
their presence our gladdened hearts grow young 
again, they respond to it as the songsters to the 
springtime and the skipping lambs and the laughing 
brooks. No invitation needed to bring the ardent 
Christian into communion with the boy of Nazareth. 
He is the Christian's richest treasure, and thither 
tends the Christian's heart. No need of description 
and details. In meditation, better far than solid facts 
is the vivid imagery of an unfettered imagination. 
Each of us, I hope, has felt this inclination to turn 
betimes from the world from its sordid cares and 
bitter trials, to the joy and peace of Nazareth and the 
blessed companionship of our youthful Saviour. In 
obedience to this same tendency, the Church, too, in 
her ritual, lingers long and lovingly over her Lord's 
earlier years. 

St. Luke, in the second chapter of his gospel sums 
up the hidden life of Our Saviour in these few words: 
" He increased in age and wisdom and grace before 
God and men." One day, lately, in Sunday-school, 
a bright pupil asked: "Did Our Lord ever go to 
school? " It was a simple question simply asked, but 
the answer involved a profound dogmatic difficulty. 
It is easy to understand how Our Lord, existing as 
God from eternity, was still in time conceived as man, 



92 FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

and progressed from childhood to youth and from 
youth to manhood by the same stages of bodily 
development as you or I. But we cannot suppose, 
without grave irreverence to His sacred personality, 
that He was less rich in wisdom and grace while in 
the womb of His Mother or the crib at Bethlehem, 
than when disputing in the Temple with the Doctors, 
or enunciating sublime truth in His Sermon on the 
Mount. Much less can we suppose Him to have ever 
suffered the indignity of having a mere mortal for 
His teacher. The mind and soul of the merely mortal, 
newly-born, is a virgin page an unblown flower that 
opens slowly under the light and heat of the Sun of 
justice and truth. But even after the burden of the 
day and the heat, the most profound philosopher or 
zealous worker in the Lord's vineyard has succeeded, 
at best, in acquiring only a measure of wisdom and 
sanctity. But not so Our Lord; Abraham and Isaac 
and John the Baptist testified that, to Christ, wisdom 
and grace were given not according to measure, but 
that, being heir by Nature, He had a clear title from 
the beginning to the fulness of His divine inherit- 
ance. We, on the contrary, are heirs only by adop- 
tion and receive our talents, five, two, or one, at Our 
Master's option and each according to his proper 
ability. Christ was the head wherein are focused all 
the senses; we are but the members of His mystical 
body, endowed with one or other sense, and that im- 
perfectly. From the first moment of its creation, 
Christ's human mind was in the actual possession and 
exercise of every branch of human knowledge, and 



CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 93 

His soul adorned with every possible virtue. This is 
the teaching of the Scriptures. " Behold," says Jere- 
mias, prophesying the coming of the Messias, " Be- 
hold, the Lord hath created a new thing on earth, 
a woman shall encompass a man." The prodigy was 
that the Virgin Mary bore in her womb the body, 
indeed, of a babe, but the mind and soul of a fully 
developed man. Elsewhere the prophet speaks of 
the Word made flesh as the flower from the root of 
Jesse, upon which, as dew, should descend the spirit 
of the Lord the spirit of wisdom and understanding; 
the spirit of counsel and fortitude; the spirit of 
knowledge and piety; and He shall be filled with the 
spirit of the fear of the Lord. " The Word was 
made flesh," says St. John, " and we saw Him full of 
grace and truth." " In Him," says St. Paul, " were 
hidden all the treasures of wisdom." With the excep- 
tion of Origen and St. Ambrose, all the great Doctors 
of the Church St. Augustine, St. Epiphanius, St. 
Jerome and St. Bernard all unite in teaching that 
Christ, during His mortal life, acquired neither 
knowledge nor virtue, because there was none He had 
not already possessed from the beginning. How 
then, I ask, are we to explain St. Luke's words that 
" Jesus increased in wisdom and grace before God and 
men " ? We must distinguish between infused knowl- 
edge and knowledge acquired between revelation 
and science. Infused knowledge comes directly from 
God without any effort on our part to attain it; ac- 
quired knowledge is the result of our own industry. 
Now, all the knowledge and sanctity of Christ's 



94 FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

human nature were infused into it by reason of the 1 
hypostatic union, whereby two natures were made to 
coalesce in the single personality of Our Saviour. But 
the possession of wisdom and grace is one thing and 
their practical application quite another; and so Our 
Lord may be said to have advanced in wisdom and 
grace according as He began to bring more and more 
into use the knowledge and virtues He previously en- 
joyed in abstract contemplation. " In Him," says St. 
Paul, " were hidden all the treasures of wisdom." In 
Him, in fact, was hidden the author of wisdom and 
sanctity, and His progress was His gradual manifes- 
tation to the world of His divinity. Not that there 
was any subjective change in Him,, the change was 
entirely objective on the part of the observers. 
The rising sun, for example, gives but a feeble light 
and little heat; higher still it becomes brighter and 
warmer; until from the zenith it sends down its most 
brilliant and scorching rays. It is ever the same sun, 
throwing off the same amount of light and heat, that 
rises in the east, that crosses the meridian, and dis- 
appears in the west. The change is in us due to 
our change of position. So too, it was with the Sun 
of truth and justice, Christ Jesus our Lord. Ever 
the same, He still, at His conception, suffused with 
His truth and love only Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth 
and John. He is born, and the illumined circle widens 
beyond the shepherds on the hillside. Brighter still, 
until even decrepit Simeon sees the light to the 
revelation of the Gentiles. Higher and brighter, un- 
til the Gentiles walk in His light and the kings in the 



CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 95 

splendor of His rising. Into the dark aisles of the 
Temple and abroad through all the land until, lo! the 
zenith is reached and the world is amazed and men 
say, one to another, " never did man speak as this 
man." Such was Christ's manifestation of Himself 
such His progress in wisdom and grace. And just 
as men, like roots under the sun, were beginning to 
rise heavenward, there came the dark hours of the 
Passion and death the sun declined and sank and 
the mists settled down again; some, until the coming 
of the Paraclete, and some, alas! forever. 

And Jesus increased in age and wisdom and grace 
with God and men. Brethren, it is deeply significant 
that in this model of all youth, youth's three graces 
age, learning, and piety are linked together as in- 
separable companions. It is an essentially imperfect 
system of education that proposes the development of 
only one faculty. If the body alone be educated, 
the result is, at best, an ignoble modern gladiator. 
More pernicious still is a mind illumined by knowl- 
edge with a heart uninflamed by the love of God and 
humanity. The light of the sun without its heat 
would be a positive curse, serving only, as it would, to 
reveal the horrors of a frozen world; and what heat, 
alone, would be without light may be judged from a 
concept of hell. St. Bernard, speaking of the co- 
education of mind and heart, says: "To be brilliant 
is vain; to be ardent is little; but to be both brilliant 
and ardent is perfect." John the Baptist, because he 
was a shining and burning light, was eulogized by 
Our Lord as the greatest born of woman; more than 



9<5 FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

a prophet an angel. Lucifer, on the contrary, from 
an angel became a devil, because he burned not with 
God's love, but only shone with His splendor. Mind 
education is but a means toward the education of the 
heart, for what will a world of knowledge profit a 
man if he have not religion, if he love not his soul? 
Religion is an integral part of every perfect system of 
education. Not that we love science less, but religion 
more. Let no squeamish scruple bar to us the treas- 
ure house of pagan literature of secular science and 
art. St. Paul, in his Epistle, quotes from the pagan 
Euripides and the poet Menander. Secular learning, 
of itself well worth study and research, enables us 
besides to snatch the sword from the enemies of 
religion and fight them with their own weapons. As 
did the Israelites to the Egyptians of old we, by 
divine right, invade the realms of worldly wisdom 
and appropriate whatever we find of sterling worth or 
golden truth. None the less we maintain that educa- 
tion without religion is essentially imperfect, for when 
science leads to its highest attained point it is relig- 
ion's function to become guide on and up to the very 
throne of God. To separate religion and science is 
to rob religion of her noblest ally, and put a danger- 
ous weapon in irresponsible hands with no instruction 
as to its use. Such a system is a crime against the 
individual and the community. Each individual has 
an inborn right to the whole truth, but this system 
hides from him its better half. He studies a geog- 
raphy, for instance, from whose pages are cancelled 
the names or true significance of Bethlehem, Jeru- 



CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 97 

salem, and Rome. He studies history the history 
of the first centuries of our era, disregarding the in- 
fluence on that age of Christ and Christianity; the 
history of the Middle Ages, with never a mention of 
those saviours of civilization, Saints Dominic and 
Francis of Assisi. Who can read the history of the 
sixteenth century and ignore St. Francis Xavier; of 
the seventeenth and leave out St. Vincent de Paul? 
In such a materialistic spirit are the arts and sciences 
cultivated nowadays, that from the exception it has 
become almost the rule for pupils in our higher uni- 
versities to begin to doubt of the souTs immortality 
and the very existence of God. When such a mind 
turns to the study of Holy Scripture, what is the 
result? A blasphemous monster like Renan, who 
reviled Our Lord as an undutiful son for having never 
gone to school, for having run away from His parents, 
and rebelliously snubbed them for seeking to bring 
Him under control. A scholar without a conscience 
is a menace to society. Learning makes the criminal 
all the more insidious and dangerous. And even if 
he have no marked criminal tendencies, still, see how, 
in the hands of even the best of them, literature and 
art minister to sensuality, and philosophy is made to 
war against truth. The spoils of office become the 
chief motive for enlisting in the public service, and 
even so-called ministers of the Gospel degrade their 
sacred calling by pandering to the debased prejudices 
of their audiences, for filthy lucre. 'So true is it that, 
though a sound mind in a sound body be an inestima- 
ble blessing, still the soundness of neither one nor 



9& FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPlPHANY. 

the other can withstand the corrupting influences of 
this world, unless seasoned with the salt of the earth 
the saving truth of true religion. 

Brethren, the best efforts of every enemy of the 
Church, from Julian the Apostate down to the 
modern pseudo-patriot, have been directed to the 
divorce of religion and education. That alone, to- 
gether with the woeful results attending the success 
of those efforts in the world to-day, should thor- 
oughly convince us how important a lesson is the 
example of Christ's earlier years how criminal it is 
for any man or set of men to put asunder what God 
hath joined together. Those of us whom love or 
duty interest in the training of youth, should take this 
lesson well to heart and see to it that our charges, 
while giving to Caesar in time and attention the things 
that are Caesar's, should not neglect the still more im- 
portant duty of giving to God and religion the things 
that are God's. Of the many means to this end, I 
will mention only two first, to seize on every oppor- 
tunity for directing the children's minds heaven- 
ward; and second, to insist on the frequentation of 
the sacraments. Teach them, mornings, to light the 
fire of God's love in their hearts by prayer; and at 
night, by prayer, to go to sleep on the bosom of God. 
God is the light of the world and, to be illumined by 
Him, one must turn towards Him. Public worship 
on the Lord's day and religious instruction in Sun- 
day-school, help to lift the soul of the child out of the 
shadow of earthly things into the clear light of a 
higher and better world. By su'ch pious exercises, 



THE NAMES OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH. 99 

their whole being is purified and beautified, as was 
Christ when He prayed on Thabor when the shape 
of His countenance was altered, and His raiment be- 
came white and glittering. But most important of 
all is to receive regularly what, of right, should be our 
daily bread the Holy Eucharist the Author of 
truth and virtue, that the children, living, not they, 
but Christ in them, may become other Christs, in- 
creasing in age and wisdom and grace with God and 
men. 



g>econ& >unaa after 

THE NAMES OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH. 
" They called His name Jesus." Luke ii. 21. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Shakespeare. II. Shakespeare again. III. Longfellow. 
I. Joseph : i. Patriarch. 2. Saint. 3. Happy death. 
II. Mary: i. Prototypes. 2. Queen, illumined. 3. Sea of 

bitterness. 

III. Jesus: i. Origin: i. God-given names. 2. Figures of 
Jesus. 3. Real Jesus. 

2. Meaning: i. "God." 2. " Jesus " or Emman- 

uel. 3. Olive oil, poured out. 

3. History : i. Royal christening. 2. Jesus and 

John. 3. Influence for good, evil. 
Per. : i. Higher blessedness. 2. Invoke. 3. In deed and in truth. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, so portentous an event was the com- 
ing of the Messias, so minutely prophesied, so replete 
with mystic meaning, that every single circum- 
stance connected therewith has its own peculiar 
significance. Not least significant is His choice of a 
name and that name Jesus. " What's in a name? " 



ioo SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

asks Shakespeare, " that which we call a rose, by 
any other name would smell as sweet." For once, 
at least, his philosophy is at fault. For, as on second 
thought, he adds: " A good name in man or woman 
is the immediate jewel of their souls. Who steals my 
purse steals trash, but he that filches from me my 
good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, 
and makes me poor indeed." Take away from the 
Christian world the saving names of Jesus and Mary 
and Joseph, and you dash the sun from the firma- 
ment, you snatch the moon from her nightly vigils, 
and deprive the storm-tossed mariner of his guiding 
star. So true is it, as Longfellow remarks, that 
these sacred names forever stand a landmark and a 
symbol of the power that lies concentrated in a single 
word. 

Joseph the name speaks to us of old and new. 
Of Joseph, patriarch, erstwhile the lowliest of his 
brethren but soon become by virtue and by wisdom 
next to Pharao the mightiest in the kingdom; the 
guardian of the king and his treasures, whose 
chaste intent, abhorring carnal pleasure, applied 
itself solely to garner in the fruits of seven years of 
plenty that he might become, ere long, the saviour 
of his famished people. Of Joseph, saint, humble, 
yet of men second only to the Man-God, model of 
chastity and protector of the Virgin of virgins and 
Virginity Incarnate, and ruler, withal, of that treas- 
ury the Holy Family from whose accumulated 
merits the Christian world has been enriched. 
Though but a word, it vividly portrays an ideal 



THE NAMES OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH. 101 

Christian life and recalling besides the picture of 
Joseph breathing- his last in the arms of Jesus and 
Mary, it enables us to realize how truly blessed in 
the sight of God is the death of God's saints. 

Mary, the angel called her Ave Maria. Ave 
it is Eva's name spelled backwards. Ave undid the 
evils Eva wrought. Eva filled the world with the 
thorns of human afBictions ; Mary caused the flowers 
to reappear in our land. Eva plunged our Nature 
into sin and death ; Mary lifted it to the very throne 
of God. Her other name, Maria, spells the initials 
of Mary, Anna, Ruth, Judith and Abigail. Like 
Mary, sister of Moses, she led us out of the land of 
bondage through the sea of this sinful world, herself 
dry-shod and without a stain. The child of her 
prayers she gave, like Anna, freely to the Lord. 
She is that Ruth whose loving heart recked not of 
home nor country, but only of her people and her 
Lord. She is that Judith who slew man's bitterest 
foe when she crushed the serpent's head. By her 
eloquent beauty she, like Abigail, so touched the 
king's heart that wrath turned to mercy and he 
spared her people. Maria, the name is variously 
interpreted. It means first of all, "a Queen;" and 
how truly was she a queen who bore and nursed and 
ruled, with a mother's gentle authority, the King of 
kings and the Lord of lords! Again, it means 
"Illumined/' for Mary is to the Saviour as the sun 
to the moon. The same halo surrounds Mary and 
the Child in her arms. If a brief vision of God on 
Mount Sinai made the face of Moses shine as the 



102 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

sun, so that the people could not bear to gaze on him, 
what shall we say of Mary who, for thirty long years, 
basked in the smiles of the Saviour? Again, it means 
a " sea of bitterness," but, though such was her life 
on earth, she has since risen above the horizon and 
become the fair Star of the Ocean. Fair and pure 
and lovely is Mary our tainted Nature's solitary 
boast. 

Brethren, the names of Mary and Joseph, like their 
personalities, have no terrors for us, but we approach 
with equal awe the person and the name of Jesus. 
" Without the grace of the Holy Ghost," says St. 
Paul, " it cannot be even worthily pronounced." 
When God confers a name it always expresses the 
mission of the person named. Thus, Adam means 
the father of the living; Abram was changed to 
Abraham because his destiny was to be the father of 
many nations; and Simon became Peter, or the rock 
whereon Christ built His Church. How full of mean- 
ing, then, must the name Jesus be, since it sums up 
the mission of the Saviour of the world! Three men, 
before Our Lord, had borne that name. The son of 
Sirach and the son of Jasedech; the one a seer, 
a priest the other, prefigured each the wisdom of 
the father and the priest forever according to the 
order of Melchisadech. A more striking figure still, 
is Jesus or Josue Nave the immortal, as his name 
implies, but still a figure only of the Christ, the true 
immortal. Christ's it was, not merely to guide the 
people to a promised land on earth, but to lead the 
way to the kingdom of heaven. Not merely the 



THE NAMES OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH. 103 

walls of Jericho, but the very foundations of the 
Roman empire were shaken and shattered by the 
trumpets' blasts that blew at His command the 
voices of His Apostles preaching the new dispensa- 
tion. Josue in the throes of battle bade the sun 
stand still, and called down rocks and hail from 
heaven on his enemies; but when. Christ overcame 
His enemies by His death on the cross, the sun fled 
from the heavens and even the graves cast up their 
dead. They bore His name, these men of old, but 
that name in them, as they of Christ, was but the 
shadow of the reality. 

Brethren, to Christian ears the Saviour's name 
sounds more sacred even than the name of God. 
The interpretations of this name, God, are manifold ; 
but principally it means one that sees or one that 
runs, as a consuming fire. The name as such can 
rightly signify only the one true God, for false gods 
are seen but see not, while ours sees and is not seen. 
Not only does He see, but by His grace and provi- 
dence He runs to our assistance as a mother to her 
tottering babe. Irresistible is His coming, as a con- 
flagration cast upon the earth and ever tending 
heavenward. Now, all this Jesus' name implies, and 
something more. The first three letters stand for 
God; the other two for His body and soul, for our 
humanity. It, therefore, signifies something more 
than God it means Emmanuel or God with us, or 
God incarnate. It teaches us a deep dogmatic truth, 
that man, indeed, redeemed the fall of man; but had 
not He been man and God alike, He never could 



104 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

have conquered death by death, and led captivity 
captive. Jesus, then, means Saviour, because, as St. 
Matthew says, " He saved the people from their 
sins." Saviour both in time and from eternity 
Saviour of men and angels too, for, says tradition, 
" 'twas homage to the future Christ the Father 
chose, wherewith to test the angels' loyalty," and 
Luke relates His name was called Jesus Saviour 
which He was called by the angel ere He was con- 
ceived in the womb. Christ, then, was always 
Saviour, and Jesus is an eternal name. Thus it is we 
soon forget our awe of the divinity hidden in the 
humble Saviour. He is one of us and His sacred 
name, on second thought, sounds sweet : " sweeter," 
as the Psalmist says, " than the honey and the 
honey-comb." The Canticle of Canticles compares 
the name of the Lord pronounced, to olive oil 
poured out. How beautiful are the scriptural fig- 
ures! That sacred name like the oil lights and 
heats lights us to God's truth and inflames us with 
His love. To learn that name, to be saturated with 
it as with oil, to be rendered inflammable by it ere 
the coming of the spirit of fire, was the pagan's first 
step towards Christianity. Like oil again that name 
is a spiritual food, nourishing and refreshing, and a 
wholesome condiment for every action of our lives. 
" Whatever ye do," says St. Paul, " in word or in 
work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." 
Again, it is, like oil, a lubricant, minimizing the bitter 
cares and the friction of this world. It is, besides, a 
healthful medicine. How many a poor, sorely- 



THE NAMES OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH. 105 

wounded wayfarer, abandoned on the highway 
between the Jericho of this world and the heavenly 
Jerusalem, has been restored to life and hope by the 
elixir of that name, as was the robbers' victim by the 
good Samaritan's wine and oil. " Amen, I say to 
you," says Christ, " if you ask the Father for any- 
thing in My name He will give it to you." Let the 
miracles it has wrought attest the curing power of 
that name. Let him attest the cripple from his 
mother's womb, by the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, 
whom Peter and John, in the name of Jesus Christ 
of Nazareth, caused to rise and walk; let him. give 
testimony the blind man, by the walls of Jericho, 
who had his sight restored because he shouted to the 
passing Saviour, " Jesus, Son of David, have mercy 
on me." Witness they from whose bodies the 
Apostles, in pursuance of His promise, cast out 
devils in His name; witness they from whose souls 
Christ's ministers, in later years, expelled the demons 
of sin ; let these and countless others testify how true 
are Peter's words that there is no other name under 
heaven given to men whereby we must be healed 
and saved. 

Brethren, to prove to you the dignity of Jesus' 
sacred name it will suffice to briefly trace its history. 
What pomp and ceremony accompany the christen- 
ing of a royal babe, and yet, how paltry that com- 
pared to the naming of the Prince of peace. From 
heaven to earth, the King of kings sent Gabriel, 
the highest in His court, to Mary, daughter of a 
royal line, to name a child a God-man who was 



106 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

to conquer and to save the world. There is a sharp 
antithesis between the insidious serpent whispering 
to Eve, and the angel of light declaring unto Mary 
that, after all, humanity was to be not merely like 
to God, knowing good and evil, but should be God 
Himself. John the Baptist said of himself and 
Christ: "My name must decrease, but His must 
increase." Hence, John was born at the summer 
solstice when Nature begins to wither and the days 
grow shorter, but Christ came at the winter solstice 
when begin to return the light and the life of the 
world. John's name was like a strain of music dying 
away in the distance, but Jesus', though its first men- 
tion was as soft and low as an angel's whisper, 
swelled into a grand crescendo until it filled the 
whole world. To Mary first, as first redeemed, that 
name, that tidings of great joy was first revealed, and 
then to all the people. Its spiritual meaning, Saviour, 
is kept ever to the fore, even in the Temple where, at 
the circumcision, it was first officially conferred, and 
where, for the first time, the Redeemer shed His 
blood. Since then the history of that name has been 
the history of the Saviour and of Christianity. Who 
shall estimate the vital factor it has been for good 
and sometimes alas! for evil in the affairs of men! 
How many a soul, amid temptations, doing battle 
for its life, has found that name as Solomon calls it: 
" a tower of strength " ! How many a soul already 
dead has been by it restored to life! What favors 
have been through it obtained, what miracles it has 
wrought! How many sins crying to heaven for 



THE NAMES OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH. 107 

vengeance have had their voices stilled by a single 
invocation of that name! The tender youth and 
gentle virgin and aged martyr went bravely to the 
lions and the stake, encouraging one another with 
that name ; or, like the Apostles, went forth from the 
council rejoicing that they were accounted worthy 
to suffer for the name of Jesus. And then alas! for 
how many has it proved a rock of scandal set for 
their ruin, and a sign that should be contradicted and 
blasphemed! But for many, oh, let us hope for many, 
many more it has been a saving factor in their lives, 
from the moment when first 'twas lisped by their 
childish prattle until it trembled on their dying lips. 
Ah! no wonder saints have burned it on their 
breasts; no wonder JHS, its monogram, confronts 
us on the altar and falls in vivid colors from 
the stained windows to the floor; for Jesus is a name 
above every name, at the mention of which every 
knee should bend on earth, in heaven, and in hell. 

Brethren, Jesus means Saviour, Emmanuel or God 
with us. " The Lord is with thee," the angel said 
to Mary, and hence he called her blessed. It is our 
rare privilege to be accounted blessed, if we will, in 
a higher and a nobler sense. " Yea, rather," says 
Our Lord, " more blessed still are they who hear 
the word of God and keep it." Next to our worship 
of the Divinity, a proper reverence for His sacred 
name is the gravest precept of religion. " Thou 
shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain/' is the 
second of the ten commandments. Reverence, then, 
that name, remembering St. Paul's promise to the 



io8 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

Romans, that " whosoever shall reverently call upon 
the name of the Lord shall be saved." Reverently, 
I say, for says Our Lord: " not every man that calls 
Me Lord, Lord, shall be saved, but only he that does 
My Father's will." Invoke His name, not alone in 
word and tongue, but in deed and in truth. A virtu- 
ous career is a lifelong invocation of the Lord, and 
the surest pledge that our names will be enrolled 
beneath the sacred names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph 
in the illuminated book of life. 



after 

SUBMISSION TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY. 
"Be not wise in your own conceits." Rom. xii. 16. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Epistles and Gospels. II. To-day's. III. Docility. 
I. Self-conceit : i. In general. 2. The Romans. 3. St. 

Paul's reproof. 
II. Submission : i. Child and man. 2. Christ's example 

and teaching. 3. Leper, Centurion. 

III. Naaman's : i. History and disease. 2. Cure. 3. Giezi. 
Per. : i. Swimming. 2. Stephen. 3. Degrees of docility. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the arrangement of those passages of 
Scripture which constitute the Epistles and Gospels 
of the various Sundays dates from the early ages of 
Christianity, when the word of God was studied 
more deeply and more reverently than it is to- 
day. It is but natural, therefore, to expect, 
and it is an interesting and profitable exercise 



SUBMISSION TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY. 109 

to trace, in them a continuity of ideas and to 
discover their appropriateness for the Sundays to 
which they have been assigned. The present Sun- 
day affords an excellent example. Epiphany time is 
devoted to the contemplation of those earlier years 
of Our Lord's hidden life, whose history the 
Evangelist summarizes thus: " Jesus went down to 
Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, and was subject to 
them." Docility, then, is the season's lesson, and 
quite appropriately the undercurrent of thought run- 
ning uninterruptedly through the Epistle and Gospel 
is the lesson of docility. " Be not wise in your own 
conceits/' says St. Paul to the Romans. " Go," says 
Christ to the leper just cleansed, " Go, show thyself to 
the priests, and offer the gift commanded by Mpses 
for a testimony to them." " Lord, I am not worthy," 
cries the centurion, " not worthy that Thou shouldst 
enter under my roof, but only say the word and my 
servant shall be healed." 

Brethren, that law of Nature whereby parents 
cherish so great love for their offspring holds good 
also in the realm of thought, and explains why the 
human mind is so vain of its own ideas and the individ- 
ual so tenacious of his own opinions. How shallow 
was the philosophy of the so-called reformers is no- 
where more clearly evidenced than in the fact that 
they hoped to hold together a system of religion 
based on the right of private judgment. But that 
differences should arise between man and man, were 
a small matter did not man at times 'carry his conceit 
so far as to oppose his opinions to the decrees of God. 



THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 1 

\ v 

If there was one thing more than any other on which 
the pagan Romans prided themselves, it was their 
strict sense of justice. In their conquest of the world 
this trait is continually evidenced in their harsh 
methods of overcoming opposition on the one hand, 
and on the other, their religious toleration and gen- 
eral magnanimity toward the vanquished. So self- 
wise were they in this regard that Roman converts to 
Christianity were slow to believe that even Christ 
could give them a higher ideal. St. Paul, therefore, 
reproves their vanity: " Be not wise," he says, " in 
your own conceits, for worldly wisdom is folly with 
God, and what is foolishness with the world is wisdom 
with God. Worldly justice is: evil for evil, an eye 
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but the law of God 
teaches us to be at peace with all men, to leave 
revenge to the Lord, to overcome evil with good, to 
love our enemies, to do good to them that hate us 
and to pray for them that persecute us." 

Brethren, in the third chapter of his epistle to the 
Galatians, St. Paul says: "As long as the heir is a 
child he differeth nothing from a servant, though he 
be lord of all, but is under tutors and governors until 
the time appointed by the father." Not less ob- 
stinate than the Roman were the Galatian converts, 
who, being Jewish, clung tenaciously to the observ- 
ances of the synagogue. Accordingly St. Paul chides 
them, arguing that as the Old Law bears the same re- 
lation to the New that childhood does to manhood, 
therefore for Christians to continue in Jewish prac- 
tices is as ridiculous as for a grown man to find amuse- 



SUBMISSION TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY, nl 

ment in childish toys. Paul's argument is as applic- 
able to us as to the Galatians, for what Jews were in 
this respect to Christians, we are to the blessed in 
heaven. Sons of God though we be, and co-heirs 
with Christ to the kingdom of heaven, still as long 
as we remain on earth, we are but as children, differ- 
ing nothing from servants, subject to spiritual tutors 
and governors until the time appointed by our 
heavenly Father. Even should we live to maturity 
or old age, God's design is that we continue as chil- 
dren still children in docility, in obedience, in humil- 
ity. Christ lived to the age of thirty-three, yet we 
nowhere read of His emancipation. As a babe un- 
born He deferred to the decree of Augustus Csesar; 
newly-born, He submitted to the rite of circumcis- 
ion; as boy, youth, and man, He was subject to Mary 
and Joseph; He paid tribute to Caesar and practised 
and counselled obedience to even the Scribes and 
Pharisees in all things lawful, and finally He allowed 
Himself to be led like a lamb to the slaughter. 
Though He passed through all the stages of life from 
infancy to manhood, He never outgrew the docility 
of childhood. That is the lesson His life holds for us, 
the lesson mankind so much needs and finds so hard 
to learn, the lesson He sought to teach when, taking 
a little child and placing him before the Apostles, He 
said: " Unless you become as little children, you shall 
not enter the kingdom of heaven." The disciple is 
not above His master, and if we be not meek and 
humble of mind and heart, we are not true followers 
of Christ. We should recognize our limitations, feel- 



H2 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

ing that, being during our earthly life as minors un- 
sound of judgment and feeble of will, we need guid- 
ance and instruction, until such time as reason and 
faith shall have merged into the beatific vision, and 
our wills become one with the Divine, free with 
the freedom of the children of God. When impatient 
of delay and tempted to reason and choose independ- 
ent of authority, it is well for us to learn of the birds 
and flowers to await the time appointed by the Father, 
for the unfledged, if too venturesome, fall to earth, 
and the too early shoots are nipped by the lingering 
frost. Many of us accept Christianity, yes, but with 
reserve, on our own terms, and only in so far as it 
coincides with our own ideas. Our worship of God, 
we feel, should be free, spontaneous, in spirit and in 
truth, untrammelled by rites and ceremonies. Why 
one form of prayer rather than another? Why wor- 
ship only in sacred places? Why this bowing and 
genuflecting and signing with the cross? Why these 
complicated sacramental ceremonies? Such may 
have been John's thought when he hesitated to bap- 
tize the Messias, but Christ bade him proceed: " For 
thus/' said He, " it becometh us to fulfil all righteous- 
ness." To say nothing of Christ's words to His 
Church: " He that heareth you, heareth Me, and he 
that despiseth you, despiseth Me and Him that sent 
Me," her ritual, even in those parts not of divine 
origin, has been sanctified by the practice of ages. 
Though divine, the Church is still a society of 
men for men, and could no more accomplish her 
earthly mission without external forms than could 



SUBMISSION TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY. H3 

a soul accomplish its earthly mission without its body. 
What reverence for these forms does Christ inculcate 
in the leper's cure! In the fourteenth chapter of Le- 
viticus are set forth the rites employed in the official 
cleansing of a leper washings, ceremonies and sacri- 
fices most complex, lasting no less than eight days. 
The leper in question (for that he was self-willed is 
evident from his disobediently blazing abroad the 
miracle) may have thought: "Why show myself to 
the priests, or lose time and money in useless forms, 
now that my cure is beyond all doubt? " But it was 
not his to question but to obey, even as it was not his 
to inquire why the Lord, in effecting his cure, pre- 
ferred to employ the seemingly needless ceremonies 
of stretching forth His hand and touching him and 
saying: " I will, be thou made clean/' So, too, a 
penitent duly absolved may think it is useless labor to 
afterwards confess sins inadvertently omitted, yet 
such is the Church's law, and as a true Christian and 
soldier of Jesus Christ he is bound to unquestioningly 
obey. The bluff soldier of Capharnaum, the centu- 
rion, pagan though he was, is a striking example of 
respect lor authority. Verily, h,e was the noblest 
Roman of them all! He was a commanding officer of 
the local garrison, a God-fearing man, who, though 
a Gentile, was so strongly attracted by the religion 
of Israel that he had built a synagogue for the Jews 
of Capharnaum. An attendant whom he loved, a 
Jew probably, grown old in his service, was ill of the 
palsy, and the centurion, deeming himself unworthy 
to approach the Christ, sent the elders of the 
synagogue to beg for a cure. To his amaze- 



1*4 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

ment they brought back word that Jesus was 
coming forthwith. What! the great Prophet de- 
file Himself by entering a Gentile house! Put Him- 
self out to come so far! Obey his call like one 
of his own soldiers! In haste a messenger was sent 
to beg the Saviour not to trouble Himself, and as 
He still persisted in coming, the abashed centurion 
met Him at his gate crying: " Lord, forgive me my 
apparent presumption. I am a man accustomed to 
exercise authority, saying to one: ' Come/ and he 
cometh, and to another: ' Do this/ and he doth it, 
but far be it from me to even seem to command Thy 
services. Lord, I am not even worthy that Thou 
shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word 
and my servant shall be healed." It was a complete 
surrender of his will to Christ's will. Knowing how 
to command, he had not forgotten how to obey; 
exacting proper humility in others, he could be 
humble in the presence of his own superiors. What 
noble characters are often evolved by a course of 
military discipline! When once converted, what fer- 
vent, what humble, what blindly obedient Catholics 
unbelievers become! One knows not what should 
be the greatest: our regret that so many pure and 
honest souls are outside the pale of Israel, our 
gratitude that God takes heed of them and will bring 
them from the East and the West into His heavenly 
kingdom, or our dread lest we, His unworthy chil- 
dren, be cast out into exterior darkness. 

Brethren, in the fifth chapter of the fourth book 
of Kings is a charming story in which to-day's scrip- 
tural readings and the lessons they convey are caught 



SUBMISSION TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY. 115 

up like disconnected threads and woven into one 
the story of Naaman the Syrian. Naaman was com- 
mander-in-chief of the Syrian army and a prime 
favorite at the court of his sovereign. He had fought 
and bled in his country's cause and repelled the 
attacks of the neighboring Israelites. But with all 
his glory and wealth he was most unhappy, for under 
his rich uniform he hid a loathsome leprosy. His 
position in the army and at court he still retained, for 
his malady was in its initial stages and known only to 
his heartbroken wife and sympathetic king. Now, in 
one of their border raids the Syrians took some 
Israelites prisoners, and among them a little girl who 
became maid to Naaman's wife. In one of those 
confidences not uncommon between mistress and ser- 
vant, the little one learned of her master's affliction, 
and promptly declared that if he would but go to the 
great prophet Eliseus, in her dear native land, he 
would certainly be cured. How often the true faith 
or the grace of God finds an entrance to the homes of 
the unbelieving or the wicked through the word or 
example of a pure, honest and devout Catholic maid! 
Verily, God hath sent them into exile for the conver- 
sion of the nations, and hath revealed to these little 
ones truths which He hath hid from the worldly-wise 
and prudent. His wife told Naaman and Naaman 
told the king, with the result that presently the com- 
mander-in-chief departed with a troop of cavalry and 
$60,000, and a letter from his king to the king of 
Israel. The latter on the cavalcade's arrival was much 
disturbed, suspecting that the Syrian's request of such 



n6 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

an impossible thing as the cure of leprosy was but a 
pretext for renewing the war. But Eliseus, hearing 
of what was passing, sent to the king saying, " Send 
the man to me that he may know there is a prophet 
in Israel." The prophet lived with old Giezi, his 
man-servant, outside the town in a little cabin, before 
which the Syrian troop presently drew rein. By and 
by Giezi came forth with the prophet's message, bid- 
ding Naaman proceed some thirty miles farther to 
the banks of the Jordan where, after washing seven 
times, he would be healed. Then was Naaman angry, 
and turning about he started for home saying: " I 
thought the prophet himself would have come out to 
me, and invoked his God, and touched my leprosy 
with his hand and healed me. And why wash in the 
Jordan? Are not our Syrian rivers better than all the 
waters of Israel? " Naaman was willing to accept a 
favor from Israel's prophet and Israel's God, and he 
had come prepared to pay for it, and now to be 
treated as a pecson of no account and to be asked to 
do such silly things! He was indignant and morti- 
fied. But Eliseus knew the man's pride and conceit 
and that the first necessity was to humble him, for 
God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the 
humble. When non-Catholics of great wealth or 
education or social influence join our faith, they 
not infrequently come to us in the spirit of Naaman, 
feeling they are honoring the Church and should 
be lionized accordingly. Pretentious Catholics are 
sometimes similarly disposed, and the pity of it is that 
they often find clerical sycophants to suit their 



SUBMISSION TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY. 117 

humor. Self-wise or purse-proud, they think the 
Church should come out to them, strain her dogmas 
and discipline to suit their advanced ideas and lofty 
station, invoke her God for them in polished phrases, 
and remove their moral leprosies by some means 
more dramatic than the humble confessional and the 
prosy devotions of the vulgar herd. Are not the 
rivers of Syria better than all the waters of Israel? 
Are not, say they, the cultivation of the arts and 
sciences and of letters and a high standard of culture 
more conducive to morality than the Church's tedious 
rites and ceremonies? Thus they would fain accept 
the essentials of religion without its accessories, and 
dictate to the Church and to the Lord which shall be 
and which shall not be the channels of His grace. 
They err, being wise in their own conceits, for says 
Samuel: " The Lord came, and a great wind rent the 
mountains before Him, but the Lord was not in the 
wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord 
was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake, 
a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the 
fire, a still small voice and the Voice was the Lord." 
Just such a voice came to Naaman, now grown calm, 
when one of his officers approaching said: " Master, 
had the prophet asked something great of thee, all 
thy treasure, or some great achievement, thou hadst 
complied; why not do the little he asks? " It was 
the expression of his own better afterthought, and 
immediately turning he rode to the Jordan, where 
having washed seven times, his flesh was cleansed and 
restored as the flesh of a little child. So, too, sanctity 



Ii8 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

follows the unquestioning acceptance of religion in 
its entirety. Full of faith and gratitude, Naaman re- 
turned to the man of God and laid his riches at his 
feet, but not a penny would Eliseus accept. There 
are some things that riches cannot buy or power com- 
mand; certain blessings the only proper return for 
which is that ancient sacrifice, a humble and a con- 
trite heart. That Naaman laid such a heart among 
his other treasures at the prophet's feet is clearly evi- 
dent, although, being a novice in the faith of Israel, his 
humility was as blundering as was his pride. Doubt- 
less he was again disappointed at not being permitted 
to square his account with the Lord, but it was one 
more reading of the lesson to him and to us, that 
obedience is better than sacrifice, that the Lord 
judgeth not as man judgeth, that if we presume to 
dictate to the Lord or His Church in religious mat- 
ters, our efforts are likely to result in the adoration of 
a golden calf and the breaking of the tables of the 
law which the Church, like another Moses, brings 
down to us from the mount of God. Simon Magus 
sought to purchase with gold the gifts of God, and 
unworthy ministers of the Church have tried at times 
to sell God's gifts as Giezi did, with a like result. 
For Giezi, the prophet's servant, coveted Naaman's 
wealth, and after his departure, stealing out he 
overtook him and asked in the prophet's name for a 
talent of silver and two changes of raiment. Naaman 
forced on him double what he asked, and Giezi, re- 
turning, hid away his treasure and to Eliseus' question 
denied having been abroad. But the prophet said: 



SUBMISSION TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY. 119 

" Was not I present in spirit when the man turned 
back and gave thee the money and garments? And 
now thou art rich, but the leprosy of Naaman shall 
stick to thee, and to thy seed forever. And," con- 
cludes the text, " the old servant went out from him a 
leper as white as snow." If the faithful cannot pur- 
chase exemption from the laws of God and the 
Church, neither can the Church sell that exemption 
without incurring moral leprosy. 

Brethren, the Redeemer bent Himself low down to 
raise us from the depths of our iniquities, but He 
raised us only to the surface, leaving to ourselves the 
task of striking out and swimming to the heavenly 
shore. And should we turn our eyes backward or 
downward to view with complaisance our skill or the 
height of our ascent, be sure a dizziness will seize us 
and we shall lose our way. Our gaze should cling as 
longingly as the dying Stephen's to the coveted 
shore, and to every buoy, even the smallest, set to 
guide us landward. There are three degrees of docil- 
ity, submission to superiors, to equals and to inferiors, 
and if the Lord of lords practised them all, even the 
third and highest, is it unreasonable that we should be 
asked to exercise at least the first and the lowest? Be 
not wise therefore in your own conceits, but go show 
yourselves dutifully to your priests and offer them 
the reverence and obedience due them as the minis- 
ters of God. When tempted to be critical of your 
Church and her rites and ceremonies, humbly bow 
your head and murmur: " Lord, 1 am not worthy." 
Thankfully accept and use her time-honored, as well 



120 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

as her divinely instituted, means of sanctification, 
and have no fear but that your leprosy will be 
cleansed and your soul become once more as the soul 
of a little child. In a word: " Be you humbled under 
the mighty hand of God that in the day of His visita- 
tion He may exalt you " (i Peter v. 6). 



after 

SUICIDE. 
" Why are ye fearful, ye of little faith" Matt. viii. 26. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Process of despair. II. Popular sentiment. III. Church's 

stand. 
I. Fifth command : i. Suicide is murder. 2. Worse. 3. God 

sole arbiter of life and death. 

II. Crime: i. Against Nature and society. 2. Self-pres- 
ervation. 3. Scandal and cowardice. 

III. Causes and remedies : i. Judas. 2. Materialism. 3. Chris- 
tian education. 
Per. : The restraining influence of Christianity. 

SERMON. 

" IF God so bounteously feedeth the fowls of the 
air, if He so gorgeously clotheth the flowers of the 
field, how much more you, O ye of little faith! " 

Loss of faith in God's protecting providence, loss 
of love for God and humanity, loss of strength to en- 
dure life's temptations and hardships, consequent sins 
innumerable and revolting crimes, no joy in the 
present, no hope for the future, despair and a suicidal 
death, these are the rounds in the fatal stairway by 
which many a poor soul has gone down to hell for- 
ever. There is something simply awful in the grow- 



SUICIDE. 121 

ing tendency of the modern individual to take in hand 
the precious gift of life and fling it back in the face of 
his Creator. A growing tendency, I say, for as 
society gradually and logically resolves itself into its 
two great moral constituents, Catholicity and Infidel- 
ity, the out-and-out infidel becomes more numerous 
and more reckless, and his final symptom, the suicidal 
mania, assumes a more intense form. Witness in our 
own country the steady flow of thousands from 
Protestantism into absolute infidelity, and witness at 
the same time the hundreds and thousands of these 
same men and women, aye, and children, too, who 
annually launch themselves violently into eternity. 
So much of an institution has self-destruction become 
that the suicide is extolled as a hero, weak-minded 
women shower sentiment and flowers on his casket, 
weak-kneed ministers pour out their sickening eu- 
logies, and even wise men and good shake their 
heads and say: " Poor fellow, there was nothing else 
left for him to do; his last act was the redeeming 
feature of his life." Why, there actually exist socie- 
ties of men, bound, in certain events, to suicide by 
oath. Last week one of our leading dailies asserted 
that neither from Scripture nor from reason can sui- 
cide be proved unlawful. Out west a monster of a 
woman recommends self-destruction to the insane 
and deformed, and should they refuse, she urges they 
be murdered, even though the victims be her own 
children. Not long ago, in France, an army officer, 
degraded for high treason, found a sword and revolver 
placed ready in his cell, and thousands of French 



122 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

apostates howled and gnashed their teeth at him, 
because he declined to redeem, as they thought, the 
national honor by taking his own life. The defaulter, 
the criminal brought to bay, sentimental lovers and 
seekers after notoriety, captains of sinking ships and 
generals of routed armies, and even men with every 
worldly advantage, but still tired of life, all seek in 
suicide a happy release, and are popularly extolled for 
their self-respect and bravery. Facts like these show 
the popular tendency. 

But there is one institution, the Catholic Church, 
that takes a bold stand against this horrible modern 
mania. She spurns from her sanctuary and her com 
secrated soil, the vile body of the suicide, she bans 
his action as an outrage against society, against 
Nature and against God. She denounces him as a self- 
ish coward, and while charitably recommending him 
to God's mercy in her private devotions, she neither 
entertains herself nor holds out to others much hope 
of his ultimate salvation. In a word, though from a 
popular standpoint there be crimes of a darker hue 
than suicide, there is none other by which from a 
Catholic standpoint a man so utterly renounces his 
religion and his God. 

" Thou shalt not kill." Christ Himself tells us that 
all of the ten commandments are summed up in 
these two: " Thou shalt love God above all things, 
and thy neighbor as thyself; " " Thou shalt not kill," 
therefore, is but a negative way of asserting the posi- 
tive duty of justice and love man owes tochis fellow- 
man. But not only to his fellowman, but also to him- 



SUICIDE. 123 

self does man owe this duty. " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself." The one and the same law, 
therefore, equally forbids murder and self-destruction, 
and consequently the deliberate suicide is as guilty in 
the sight of God as the perpetrator of murder in the 
first degree. And since, as St. John says, " Whoso- 
ever hateth his brother is a murderer," therefore, also 
whosoever desires to take his own life but stays his 
hand for some purely secular consideration, is a sui- 
cide in the sight of God and equally with the mur- 
derer forfeits, for the time at least, all claim to eternal 
life. Nay, more, suicide is more heinous even than 
murder. The nearer the relationship between the 
murderer and his victim the more revolting the crime. 
One citizen kills another; shocking! A man slays 
his brother; horrible! A mother strangles her child; 
demoniacal! A man commits suicide, embodying in 
his own person the red-handed destroyer and the 
writhing victim, and you will find no word in any lan- 
guage strong enough to fully express the hideous 
nature of his crime. Suicide is a direct usurpation 
of God's most exclusive prerogative, as sole arbiter 
of life and death. In the thirty-second chapter of 
Deuteronomy, verse 39, God says, " I alone am, and 
there is no other God besides Me. I will kill and 
make to live. I will strike and I will heal, and there is 
none that can deliver out of My hands," and in the 
Book of Wisdom, chapter xvi., verse 13, Solomon ex- 
claims, " It is Thou, O Lord, that hast power of life 
and death, and leadest down to the gates of death and 
bringest back again!" Since, then, the union of 



124 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

spirit and matter, to form the composite man, is in 
nowise subject toman's choice, neither is his preserva- 
tion in existence, which, after all, is but a continuation 
of the creative act. To assert that man, on attaining 
the use of reason and freedom of choice, may lawfully 
reject the gift of being, is to stultify the action of the 
Creator and arraign Him of tyrannous injustice in 
having afflicted us for years with existence without 
possibility of escape. Man is lord of the universe, 
yes, but his dominion over created things cannot be 
said to include his own life. In fact, dominion imply- 
ing, as it does, two distinct terms, the possessor and 
the thing possessed, cannot possibly exist between 
factors so essentially one as man and his own being. 
Besides, the law of man's dominion over mundane 
things points, as to an end, to his own preservation in 
existence. Now, every schoolboy knows the ethical 
axiom, that the end of the law cannot fall under the 
law, and consequently no man can have over himself 
absolute powers of life and death. Man is for God, 
as the lower creatures are for man, and even as they 
acknowledge man's dominion, so must man acknowl- 
edge the dominion of God. God's words to the 
newly-created Adam are deeply significant. He 
placed him in the earthly paradise, " to dress it and to 
keep it," saying, " I have given you dominion over all 
creatures. Of the tree of life thou mayest eat, but 
of the tree of death thou must not eat." Man's 
function as high priest of the universe is not to 
destroy, but to preserve, not to disobey, like a faith- 
less steward, the will of his master, and usurp his 



SUICIDE. 125 

rights, but to order all things through himself and 
with himself to God. 

Brethren, suicide is a crime, not only against God, 
but also against Nature, and society. Every form of 
animal life, and even the members of the vegetable 
kingdom, instinctively resist destruction. Nature's 
primary law is self-preservation. Now, the natural 
law is simply the eternal law of God reflected in the 
instincts and judgments of His creatures. The light 
of the setting sun and its glowing reflection in the 
western ocean are not more identical than the natural 
law and the eternal law. Under Nature's guidance 
animals struggle for existence, nourish themselves, 
propagate their species, and in general strive to attain 
their highest material development. But the highest 
perfection of man, half animal, half angel as he is, in- 
volves the subordination of the natural to the super- 
natural, the making of his material nature into a kind 
of Jacob's ladder whereby his soul may climb to 
higher things. But though this elevating of the spirit 
above the flesh be praiseworthy in the spiritual sense, 
nothing will justify a man in separating his soul from 
his body in the literal sense, however exalted his 
motives. For life is the standing place, the fulcrum 
of all his efforts upward, and without life he would be 
as one who should attempt to stand on empty space 
and move the world. It is an eloquent commentary 
on the reasoning powers of many that irrational in- 
stinct is a safer guide, for brute beasts never destroy 
themselves, whereas the suicide is led by a mistaken 
judgment into irreparable misfortune to escape some 



126 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

lesser evil. This proves, too, the absolute universal- 
ity of Nature's first law, " preserve thyself," for self- 
destruction, after all, is but a mistaken means of self- 
preservation. But how, you ask, how do you explain 
these words of Ecclesiasticus, chapter xxx., verse 
17, " Better is death than a bitter life, and everlasting 
death than continual sickness " ? Brethren, many 
things highly desirable in themselves become evil 
when procured by unlawful means. The death of a 
tyrant is a popular blessing, but his assassination a 
horrible crime. Death is often a happy release, but 
death in the order of Nature. A mother may wish 
her child's death-agony ended, but should she 
strangle him she is guilty of infanticide, and the man 
who lays violent hands on himself is, as we have said, 
more guilty in the sight of God than the most atro- 
cious murderer. 

Brethren, besides the law of Nature, there is also 
the law of society. Aristotle taught that the citizens 
belonged to the state, so that self-destruction would 
be an infringement of state rights. Now, although 
no modern government holds such a claim, still every 
well-ordered community must demand a practical ap- 
plication of the precept, " Love thy neighbor as thy- 
self." Still more, as regards suicide, I firmly believe 
a man is bound to love his fellowman even better 
than himself. To procure one's own good, or ap- 
parent good, by means that is sure to shock and scan- 
dalize the community is, I take it, unworthy of a 
Christian and a man. St. Paul was the ideal citizen, 
and it is St. Paul who says, " If by eating meat I scan- 



SUICIDE. 127 

dalize my brother, I shall never eat meat in seter- 
num." And here it is the suicide's selfishness shows 
itself. His life has become a burden, difficulties con- 
front him, disgrace stares him in the face, he becomes 
sentimental and morose, he despairs, and ends it all in 
death. And men, mind you, are wonderfully imita- 
tive; suicide easily becomes epidemic, and will you 
tell me that he who leads that grim march to destruc- 
tion has nothing to answer for for those who follow? 
But what cares he? What thought has he of the chil- 
dren left destitute, of the heartbroken wife, of the 
mother's gray hairs bowed in shame and sorrow, of 
the hundreds financially ruined by his folly, and the 
thousands of young souls scandalized by his mad act? 
Men say, " What courage he must have had to do it," 
but truth to say, he was an arrant coward. He 
shirked life's sacred duties; when the moment came 
for him to charge on the rank and file of this world's 
difficulties he turned and fled like a hireling. We 
may bend and we may bleed under life's crosses, but 
the silent, patient bearing of them calls out the 
noblest qualities of our natures and is the true test of 
heroism. The man who, with the eyes of his country 
on him, amid the frenzy of battle and to the sound of 
martial music, seeks glory at the cannon's mouth, 
would probably prove anything but a heroin the long- 
drawn-out endurance of this world's trials, with no 
hope of commendation or reward this side of the 
grave. Courage cannot be tested in a single act, 
least of all the act of a suicide. 

Brethren, it remains to briefly point out the cause 



128 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

of suicide and its remedy. Judas betrayed his Saviour, 
and went out and hanged himself. Loss of faith in 
the supernatural, loss of hope in the future, loss of 
charity for God and mankind, in a word, materialism 
is a fruitful source of this, as of every other crime. 
What is the remedy? Education of the mind? No; 
for it often happens the most highly cultured kill 
themselves. No, the remedy is education of the 
heart, Christian education. Hold up to a man the 
high ideals of the Christian faith, imbue him, with its 
spirit of self-sacrifice, teach him the value of his soul, 
the transitory nature of this life, the existence of a 
hereafter of happiness or woe; in a word, teach him 
his duties to God, his neighbor and himself, and 
never, trust me, will his hand be raised against his 
own life. Amid the trials and afflictions of this world 
he will forget his own while alleviating those of 
others, and even in the worst possible crisis he will 
hearken to the voice of his Redeemer, " Come to Me, 
all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will re- 
fresh you and you shall find peace for your souls." 



HELL. 129 



>unDai? after 

HELL. 

" Gather up the cockle and bind it into bundles to 
burn." Matt. xiii. 30. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Love and fear. II. Fear a worthy motive. III. Parable. 
I. Existence : i. Various opinions. 2. Proofs from Scrip- 

ture. 3. From reason. 
II. Nature : i. Inconceivable. 2. Buried alive. 3. Lost 

soul. 

III. Pains : i. Of sense. 2. Of loss of God. 3. Eternity. 
Per. : Self-examination as to mortal sin. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, hope and fear are the two great 
master-passions of every human soul. We become 
virtuous either through love of God or fear of hell. 
Hence it is that God and the Church appeal now to 
our love and again, and alas! oftener, to our fear, 
for so selfish are we that fear will drive us where 
love was powerless to lead. Nor is fear an altogether 
unworthy motive, sanctified as it has been by the 
Saviour Himself. " Fear not them," He says, " that 
kill the body, but rather fear him that can destroy 
both soul and body unto hell." If in the Old Law 
the fear of the Lord was held to be the beginning 
of wisdom and had power to expel sin, how much 
more so in the New. Say what you will, but as long 
as the way to hell is so broad and pleasant, fear of 
God's threats will be an essential element of religion. 
" For," says St. Augustine, " fear precedes love as the 



130 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

needle does the thread, so that love can neither enter 
nor come forth from the soul unless preceded by a 
salutary fear." Such being the case, let us reflect 
a while on that terrible sentence of the Gospel: " In 
the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: 
gather up the cockle and bind it into bundles to 
burn." According to Christ's own explanation God 
is the sower of the seed; His field, men's souls; His 
servants, the Church's ministers; His enemy, the 
devil; the cockle, sinners; and the harvest, the end 
of the world, when God's angels shall cast the wicked 
into hell to be burned forever. 

Brethren, is there a hell ? The world seems 
strangely divided on this subject. Some admit it, 
but they contend that hell will cease to exist after 
the General Judgment. Others say there is a hell, 
but they hold that out of hell there is redemption 
even for the devils. Others still go so far as to 
deny there is a hell at all. But our holy religion 
lays it down as an article of faith, and common 
sense, supplying a reason for the faith that is in us, 
asserts that there is a hell, an eternal hell. Holy 
Writ, the infallible word of God, in both Old and 
New Testaments, teems with allusions to the exist- 
ence of hell. We find it spoken of first in respect 
to the rebel angels, where Christ says: " I saw Luci- 
fer, like a thunderbolt, fall from heaven." And 
whither did he fall? We find the answer in the words 
God will address to the rebel souls on the judgment 
day: " Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting 
fire prepared for the devil and his angels." There is 



HELL 131 

scarcely one sermon of all those Our Lord preached 
during His ministry in which He does not warn sin- 
ners of the hell that awaits them. For example,, 
speaking of scandal, He says: " If thy hand or 
thine eye scandalize thee, cut it off or pluck it out, 
for it is better to enter life blind and maimed than 
having two hands and two eyes to go down to hell/' 
And this hell, He tells us, is eternal. He compares 
the world of souls to a great field of cockle and good 
wheat, to be separated in the great harvest time 
the end of the world, but then separated forever 
the wheat to be gathered into His barn and the 
cockle bound into bundles to be burned. His 
Church, He tells us, is a net cast in the night of time 
into the sea of this world, to be drawn forth by the 
angels in the morning of eternity, when they will 
separate, and separate forever, the good fishes from 
the bad the virtuous souls from the wicked. The 
story of Dives and Lazarus which we have often 
read could words assert more plainly a heaven for 
the blessed and a hell for the damned? So plain, 
indeed, is this truth, that all men admit it either 
explicitly or implicitly, for, if they deny a punishment 
after death, why do they not enjoy this life to the 
full? Why do they obey human laws or abide by a 
code of human morality? Why do they not plunder 
and outrage and murder? Why fear man? Why 
fear God? Ah, I deny hell with my lips to soothe 
my guilty conscience, but my life and heart and 
soul cry out there is a hell an eternal hell. 
For I know that my God is a God of infinite 



132 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

majesty and, hence, that an offence against Him 
is an infinite offence calling for an infinite punish- 
ment. And since I am a finite being, incapable of sus- 
taining torments of infinite intensity and still bound 
to undergo an infinite punishment, therefore will 
my torments be infinite not in intensity but in 
duration. For my God is a just God, bound 
by His very nature to fit the punishment to 
the crime. He has promised explicitly to reward 
every man according to his works. Now, where is 
this promise fulfilled? On this earth? No, no, for 
I see around me a world of saints and sinners the 
saints in poverty and misery all their lives, the sin- 
ners in affluence and happiness. In the next life? 
Therefore I say there must be a heaven of delights 
for the good and a hell of torments for the wicked! 
Or is it not fulfilled at all? Therefore my God is an 
unjust God and His promise of reward and punish- 
ment is a lie; and since a God who is unjust and 
untrue is no God at all, therefore, either hell exists 
or God is not. If I deny the existence of hell I must, 
to be consistent, deny the existence of God Himself. 
But I know that I have a God, just and true, and, 
therefore, reason and faith bid me receive His words 
as infallible when He says : " In the last day the 
wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, but the 
just into life everlasting/' 

Brethren, now that we feel sure there is a hell, 
let us try to realize what hell is. Let us go down 
in spirit to that gloomy cavern, that city of pain and 
woe, the abode of the damned; and let us pause a 



HELL 133 

moment, before entering, to read the dread inscrip- 
tion on the grimy portal: " Abandon hope, all ye 
that enter here." Let us pass on into the gloom 
beyond, and view the exquisite tortures prepared for 
man by an almighty and implacably just God; let us 
see the frightful aspect of the devils and the damned; 
let us hear the whirlwind of sighs and moans, the 
shrieks of pain, and the vile blasphemies against the 
Most High, and let us go on and explore hell from 
top to bottom and paint it to ourselves in the most 
horrible colors and after all we shall not have 
realized even a shadow of the reality for " eye hath 
not seen nor ear heard nor hath it entered into the 
heart of man to conceive what things God has pre- 
pared for those that hate Him." Suppose all the 
arch-tyrants and cruel savages that ever lived or 
will live, were to come together to devise new means 
of torturing one poor martyr, what an excruciating 
series of agonies they would invent! And yet, all 
that would be ease and comfort compared with the 
torments God has prepared for His enemies. For, 
alas, and alack! God is almighty and all-wise, not 
only in preparing good things for His faithful chil- 
dren, but also in preparing woes for His rebel sub- 
jects. O God forbid that we should ever experience 
the sensations of a man who goes to sleep in death 
with mortal sin upon his soul, and wakes up immedi- 
ately in a miserable eternity God forbid it, I say, 
but God grant we may feel enough of that anguish 
now, to drive us in fright to God. Let me, there- 
fore, imagine myself to have been struck down in a 



134 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

moment and laid on my death-bed dying. My 
heart ceases to beat, my breath stops, my eyes are 
fixed and glassy, and my whole body is rigid and cold. 
The doctor bends over me and says: " He is dead," 
and my sobbing friends cry: " Lord have mercy on 
his soul." But now suppose I am not dead at all but 
only in a trance, conscious of all going on around me 
but unable to move a muscle. I feel them prepare 
my body and lay me in state, and friends come and 
weep over me, and they talk of me and they pray for 
my soul and, my God! they never dream that I 
am still alive. And now the coffin comes and they 
lift me into it and they bid me a last farewell and oh, 
horror! the coffin lid closes above me and still I can- 
not move. They bring me to church and lay me 
before the high altar, and I hear, as though afar off, 
the pealing of the organ and the priest's voice faintly 
intoning: " Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine." 
Ah! now, we are in the cemetery and I hear the grat- 
ing of the ropes as they lower me into the grave, and 
then comes the awful rattle as fast and furious they 
shovel in the earth. Oh, horror of horrors! In a 
frenzy of anguish, with one last supreme effort I cast 
off my lethargy, and commence to struggle with the 
blind fury of despair. Oh God! it is too late, I am 
lost; fainter and fainter grows the noise of the 
shovels, and soon all is silent and I am left alone in 
my living tomb. But still I struggle in my narrow 
cell. My hands and feet are bound fast, but I ham- 
mer my head against my coffin lid, and I plunge 
wildly, and turn round and round and bite and gnaw 



HELL 135 

with my teeth until my whole head is one mass of 
bleeding wounds ; and ever and anon I raise my voice 
in an unearthly cry that serves only to curdle my own 
blood with its weird horror. At last, smothered and 
exhausted, I sink down in stolid despair to die. 
Buried alive buried soul and body buried when 
one little puncture of the skin would have saved me ; 
lost perhaps through my pet vice, for which I sacri- 
ficed my life and my all ; abandoned by the world and 
my dearest friends; crazed with hunger and thirst, 
tortured in every sense; mad with vain regret for 
what I have lost and lost forever. O God, the cup of 
my bitterness is filled, let me die. Ah, well might I 
say with my last breath: " Oh, all ye that pass by the 
way, come and see if there is, or ever was, woe like 
to my woe." But a damned soul may answer me 
from hell: "Alas! multiply your miseries ten thou- 
sand times and even then they will fall infinitely short 
of mine. Could I change places with you, your condi- 
tion would be heaven for me after the horrors of my 
present abode. I am buried body and soul, not in 
the cool earth with a rich and padded casket around 
me, but in a sea of fire which penetrates my very 
vitals. I am not alone with only myself to wound 
and my own yells to terrify me, but I am in the midst 
of loathsome devils who cut and tear me limb from 
limb, and terrify me with howls, compared with 
which the yell of a maniac is a whisper. I have lost, 
not the world, but God. I cannot hope for death to 
come and relieve me, for I seek and pursue the 
demon of death but it flies from me and mockingly 



13$ FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

shouts back ' eternity/ " Ah, no! the greatest tor- 
ments of this life, how horrible soever they may 
seem, bear no kind of proportion to the tortures of 
hell. Christ our Lord described hell in these 
words: "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire," but only a God could express so much 
in so few words. In them He tells us there are three 
kinds of torments in hell; first, the pain of the 
senses; secondly, the pain of the loss of God 
" Depart from Me/' and thirdly, and worst of all, the 
fact that these pains are eternal everlasting. " In 
what things soever a man shall have sinned, in these 
also shall he be punished." Hence, I will be tortured 
in every one of my five senses. These eyes, through 
which the devil so often gained admission to my 
soul so eager for filthy and adulterous sights, so 
baneful, probably, to my neighbor's salvation ah, 
what horrid things will these eyes then see! Were 
I to find myself alone in a cemetery at midnight and 
there to be confronted by a grim spectre a living 
skeleton half hidden, only, in its snowy shroud what 
would be my terror! Now, if the devil is so fright- 
ful in human shape, what must he be in his own 
native ugliness? If so unpleasant to look at here on 
earth, what will he be when I see him at home in 
hell? The lost souls, too, what a shocking sight 
they will present and that, too, in the dim light of 
hell, for the hell-fire gives not light enough to com- 
fort the eye, but only enough to reveal to it every- 
thing that may torment it. Oh, if I am ever to go 
to hell, it is small comfort for me to reflect I will 



HELL 137 

not be there alone, for the presence of other lost 
souls will only serve to aggravate my misery. I will 
be forced to listen to their eternal moans and cries, 
and hear their hoarse voices shout blasphemies and 
curses against themselves, their companions, their 
parents; against their partners in sin, against the 
saints and angels and against God. Parents curse 
their children and children their parents, and one 
sinner upbraids another for causing his ruin. Such 
are the sounds I will have to hear, while I myself lend 
my voice to swell the chorus of universal woe which 
will proclaim God's justice as long as the choir of 
heaven proclaims His mercy. Weeping and gnash- 
ing of teeth and woe eternal. My sense of taste, 
too, shall be tortured. " They shall suffer hunger 
like dogs," says Holy Writ. Josephus relates that 
at the siege of Jerusalem, so great was the famine, 
that men drew lots and devoured one another and 
that even the mothers cooked and ate their own 
nurslings. That siege, Our Lord tells us, was a fig- 
ure of the woe to come the torments of hell. 
Gnawing hunger and a burning thirst, worse than 
the thirst of the famished Arab in the desert; worse 
than that of Christ on the cross a thirst so con- 
suming that the lost soul dares even to turn to God 
and cry out: " Father Abraham, have pity on me, 
send the humblest among the blessed that he may 
place one drop of water on my tongue to cool this 
raging thirst with which I am devoured." Aye and 
it will cry in vain, for there is no relief. Again, my 
sense of smell alas! another agony; for hell is, as 



138 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

it were, a vast cesspool into which all the impurities 
of the world, like the contents of so many teeming 
sewers, are poured. Since the bodies of the damned 
are in a state of never-ending decay, a fetid stench 
will arise from them as from the bodies of a mighty 
host slaughtered and abandoned on the field of bat- 
tle. Packed in like sheep in a pen, unable to move 
a muscle to alleviate their pain, handcuffed to the 
decaying body of a fellow-sufferer and saturated 
through and through with a living flame that 
devours but does not consume, tortures but does not 
kill! Oh, let me look at a burning building, and ask 
myself if this fire, which God created for man's use 
and comfort, is so awful in its nature and so destruc- 
tive in its effects, what must that fire be which God 
created expressly to be the instrument of man's pun- 
ishment! The sufferings of St. John cast into a 
caldron of boiling oil ; of St. Lawrence slowly roasted 
on a gridiron; of the blessed martyrs cast into fiery 
furnaces and vats of molten metal; of the early 
Christians covered with pitch and tar and set fire to 
by Nero to light the streets of Rome ; the sufferings 
of all these were as nothing beside the burning of a 
soul in hell. Ah! well they knew it, for did they not 
suffer so in order to avoid the greater pains of hell? 
For the fire of hell is a spiritual living thing that 
feeds alike on soul and body. But this is the least 
part of the anguish of my soul its worst pain is the 
pain of the loss of God the one being in all the 
world for whom my soul craves. God who lifted me 
out of the dirt of my nothingness and adopted me as 



HELL. 139 

His son, and promised me a throne in heaven if I 
would keep His commandments bear a burden that 
was light and a yoke that was sweet. God who, 
when I disobeyed, came down from heaven and 
wiped out my sin with His precious heart's blood. 
God who, like a tender father, followed me to the 
gate of hell itself and all but forced me back that 
God is now lost to me and I to Him. I have heard 
the sentence: " Depart from Me, ye cursed," and 
oh, was there ever exile so bitter and desolate? 
Exiled from my rightful home heaven; from the 
one near and dear to me God ; into a wild and blaz- 
ing desert hell; to be tortured by the savage 
inhabitants, the devils. And all this through my 
own fault, when I might have gained heaven by one- 
half the labor and anxiety I expended to purchase 
hell through my own fault, through my most 
grievous fault. O God, what a maddening thought 
that is ! If I were innocent like Job if some one else 
were solely responsible for my misfortune I would, 
like Job, be patient in the midst of my afflictions, but 
no, I am lost through my fault, through my most 
grievous fault. My fate is sealed and sealed forever. 
Forever, never; never, forever, are the words that 
resound continually through hell and add the last 
drop of bitterness to the misery of the damned. For 
in the thought of eternity consists the real sting of 
hell. Desire without hope, torture without respite 
or end. If the damned could only feel that their 
sufferings would cease even after millions and billions 
of years, hell from that moment would be no longer 



140 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

hell for them, for the hope of redemption would 
console and sustain them through it all. But as it 
is, there is no such hope. " Forever, never," the 
demons cry, and the dismal echo answers back from 
the lowest pit: " Never, forever." Oh, eternity! I 
tremble at thy very name, but at the bare mention 
of an eternity of hell, I seem to myself to fairly 
shrivel up and wither away for very fear. Oh, 
eternity, how shall I ever even imagine thy unlimited 
immensity! As well might I sit down by the sea and 
attempt to take the ocean drop by drop and place it 
in the hollow of my hand, as to try to get the idea 
of eternity into the little compass of my shallow 
brain. For eternity spreads out before me as a 
limitless sea, over which, if I should travel forever, I 
would find in the end the same dreary waste before 
me. By what measure shall I compute the vastness 
of eternity? The sun is ninety millions of miles from 
me. Light travels twelve millions of miles a minute, 
and yet the light from the nearest fixed star takes 
three and a half years to reach me. There are 
actually stars in the firmament whose light, travel- 
ling twelve millions of miles a minute since the crea- 
tion, has not reached the earth yet and will not until 
the end of time. And to all these millions and bil- 
lions of years add every atom of which this earth is 
composed, every drop of water in the ocean, every 
particle of the air, every leaf of the forest, and every 
blade of the field, and let each atom and drop and 
particle and leaf and blade represent a million years, 
and taken all together do they equal eternity? Alas, 



HELL. 141 

no; when they shall have passed, eternity shall have 
scarcely begun. The mind loses itself and stands 
astonished on the verge of that illimitable space, and 
the heart stands still in an ecstasy of terror when we 
reflect on the unspeakable despair this thought must 
bring to the lost soul. If God were for once to relent 
and allow Lazarus to place one drop of water every 
million years on Dives' tongue, the time would 
come when every lake, sea and ocean would be 
exhausted in that work of mercy, and still eternity 
had scarcely begun. Were Dives then every million 
years to miserably shed one tear over his loss, time 
would be when every lake, sea and ocean would be 
restored, and yet eternity and still an eternity 
beyond. Forever, never ; never, forever. 

Brethren, there is a hell, an eternal hell, a hell 
of inconceivable torments, prepared for the devil 
and his angels. How far away from, or how near 
to, the edge of that abyss stand we to-night? 
Heaven is never sure until you are safely there, but 
not so hell. Be assured that if to-night you find your- 
self in mortal sin; if you are doing the devil's work 
by sowing the devil's seed in your own or your 
neighbor's soul ; if you are habitually inclined to dis- 
regard not only God's love but His fear as well, be 
assured, I say, there is a place in hell for you, and 
the chances are you will one day occupy it. But no ; 
oh, I beg you to turn to God while you may. Fear 
Him, the avenger; love Him for having spared you 
so often ; persevere in His service for very gratitude, 
and let God do the rest. It will be of you He will 



H* SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

be speaking when " in the time of the harvest He 
will say to the reapers: Gather ye the wheat into My 
barn." 



g>ijrtl) gmnirai? after 

THE STABILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 
" The kingdom of heaven is like to a mustard-seed . , , 
to a leaven hid in three measures of meal." Matt. xiii. 
3i, 33- 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Paul's confidence. II. Destruction and construction. 

III. No cause for alarm. 
I. An imperial power: i. Christ a king. 2. Delegated 

power. 3. Two parables. 
II. Danger: i. Conflict of rights. 2. Spirit of State. 

3. Church's solution. 

III. Church indispensable: i. Liberty and peace. 2. Polit- 
ical integrity. 3. Patriotism. 

Per.: i. Church and State in America. 2. Calm progress. 
3. Our duty. 

SERMON. 

Brethren, in these parables Christ guarantees the 
steady progress of the Christian Church. He would 
have us " feel confident of this very thing that He 
who hath begun a good work in you will perfect it 
unto the day of Christ Jesus." 

In these words, Paul the Apostle expresses his 
firm trust in God's power and Christ's promise to sus- 
tain, protect and advance His Church against all op- 
position all days, even to the consummation of the 
world. And we Catholics of to-day have sore need 
of Paul's spirit of his faith and hope. When we 



THE STABILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 143 

consider the present unhappy relations of Church and 
State the world over, and, more especially, the 
antagonism between the one true Church and the 
various Christian and anti-Christian sects, we are apt 
to become discouraged to lose heart as did the little 
crew of Peter's bark on the storm-tossed sea of 
Galilee. Men are more observant of destruction than 
they are of constructive results the thunder and 
lightning command attention, but Nature's greatest 
force the sun is barely considered. So, too, the 
Church. So uniform is her progress, her influence on 
the age that it is scarcely noticed, whereas the 
opposing forces are the observed of all. When the 
storm of persecution rages, therefore, remember a 
storm clears the atmosphere; that it is only momen- 
tarily dangerous for silent and peaceful forces alone 
are productive of lasting effects. No cause for fear 
for the Pilot and crew of Peter's bark, for they have 
on board not merely Caesar but Caesar's God. Nay, 
religious persecution should be our greatest joy, our 
liveliest hope, for resistance betokens progress ac- 
tion is measured by reaction: and invariably antago- 
nism arouses the antagonized to more strenuous 
efforts. In her inception, in her experiences of the 
past, in her attitude at the present day, we find no 
cause for alarm regarding the Church's ultimate des- 
tiny. She should not, cannot, be destroyed except, 
indeed, as another Samson burying herself and man- 
kind in the ruins of the universe. No, when finally 
she stands on the borders of time and eternity look- 
ing back over the past she shall be able to say with 



144 SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

the Psalmist: " Often have they fought against me 
from my youth, but they could not prevail over me." 
The stability of the Christian Church is emphasized 
in her very inception in that she was founded as an 
imperial power a kingdom. Ignore it as the world 
may; no man who reads and believes the Bible can 
deny the Church's claim to royalty. Ages before 
Christianity the kingship of Christ had been foretold, 
so that even the heathens looked to Judea for their 
future sovereign, and Israel turned to little Beth- 
lehem for its promised ruler. So minutely had the 
prophets, especially Isaias and Daniel, described the 
future king and estimated his kingly dignity, so 
deeply imbued had the Jews become with this impor- 
tant idea, that, on Christ's approach to Jerusalem, 
notwithstanding all their jealousy and hatred, we find 
them going forth in throngs to meet Him, with palms 
in their hands and crying: " Hosanna to our King, 
the Son of David." Christ Himself never failed to 
assert His own kingly authority and the imperial 
character of the Church He founded. " All power is 
given to Me," He says, " in heaven and on earth," 
and to His Apostles He added: " I appoint unto you 
a kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me." 
Besides giving Peter the keys of His kingdom, that is, 
the plenitude of His power, He identified Him- 
self with the whole band saying: " He that 
heareth you heareth Me, and he that despiseth you 
despiseth Me and Him that sent Me." Nay, he would 
have their power even greater than His own, 
for having previously said that whereas rebellion 



THE STABILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 145 

against the Son will be forgiven, but rebellion against 
the Holy Ghost never either in this world or in 
the next, He now says to His Apostles: " Re- 
ceive ye the Holy Ghost." And the dominion 
He gives them, He promises, shall embrace every 
creature in the whole world and shall endure for all 
time. Now this kingdom of Christ, forasmuch as it is 
on the earth, is not wholly spiritual it is as visible 
and tangible as the kingdom of Britain or the German 
empire. When Christ said: "My kingdom is not 
from hence," He did not mean to disclaim an earthly 
empire, but He pointed, rather, to the divine origin 
of His authority. With this authority He invested a 
purely human society which, after His ascension, 
from small beginnings grew into a mighty empire, 
the ruler of rulers, the common mother and protector 
of kingdoms. Herein is verified that twofold 
description of Christ's kingdom in the Gospel: 
" First, it is like a man gone into a far country who 
called together his servants and delivered unto them 
his goods; and second, it is like the mustard-seed, the 
least of all, but being grown becomes a great tree in 
whose branches the fowls of the air find a shelter." 

Granted then, the imperial nature of Christ's king- 
dom on earth 'Christ's Church we are confronted 
immediately with the one great menace to her sta- 
bility her contact with the purely secular powers of 
the world and the consequent clashing of rights. 
Having her divine destiny to attain, the Church can 
never forego one iota of her authority without 
proving false to her mission and her Founder. On 



146 SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

the other hand, the secular authority is, for the most 
part, in the hands of men full of inordinate ambition 
without the restraints of religion or conscience. She 
claims as Christ claimed: "All power in heaven and 
on earth," but they answer her as they answered 
Him: " We will not have you reign over us; we have 
no king but Caesar." Hence a conflict disuniting the 
heads of Church and State and parting the ranks 
down to the humblest devotee and the lowliest 
citizen. Hence, too, that question which is agitating 
every Christian people to-day: " Can I be, at the 
same time, a good citizen and a good Catholic? " 
The Church shifts the responsibility of this conflict by 
answering emphatically, " Yes." But how? " Give 
to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to 
God the things that are God's." Two locomo- 
tives running together on parallel lines are not 
less liable to collide than are Church and State 
if this rule be applied. " All power from God," but 
each has its separate dominion the Church over 
man's spiritual nature and the temporalities insepa- 
rably attached thereto, with eternal happiness as an 
object the State over man's purely temporal nature 
and temporal well-being. The State is as Adam 
when God created him; the Church, as Adam when 
He had breathed into him the spirit of God. What 
man is to the material universe, the Church is to the 
nations their high-priestess, ordering them all to 
God. As the soul without the body, the Church can 
exist without the nations, but not they without her; 
so that even should they achieve the impossible and 



THE STABILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 14? 

cfestroy her, their act would be self-destruction. 
Without her, there would be no freedom " To be 
free," says Washington, " a nation must be virtuous," 
and the Church is the Mother of virtue. In France, 
for instance, the reign of terror began only when the 
Church was banished or suppressed. Without her 
there would be no harmony, for harmony is the result 
of self-sacrifice a thing unknown outside the Church, 
especially among politicians. Without her there 
would be no national solidity. She is the keystone 
the very heart of the nation at which the destroyer of 
truth would naturally aim as did Titus at the Jewish 
Temple. Without her there would be no political 
honesty. She teaches that public office is a public 
trust, conferred not by men but by God, to be exer- 
cised under the ever-wakeful and all-seeing eye of 
God and not under the public eye that winks and 
sleeps betimes. Without her there would be no 
patriotism. Religion and patriotism are inseparable. 
We cannot say with Ruth: " Thy people shall be my 
people " without adding with her: " and thy God my 
God." I love my country because I love the people 
in it, and it is God and the Church and not politicians 
that teach me to love my fellowmen, even my 
enemies. In fact the Catholic Church is a school of 
patriotism. It was patriotism that led to Christ's 
being born in a cave, to His being circumcised, to His 
paying tribute, to His weeping over Jerusalem, and 
the noblest patriot the world has ever seen was Christ 
dying on the cross. Never were truer patriots than 
the Apostles when they answered their persecutor; 



148 SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. 

" We must obey God rather than man," and died for 
it. Why, in the Epistles of St. Paul alone, may be 
gathered the grandest treatise on patriotism ever 
written. Each Christian martyr was a true patriot 
because he gave his life for the Christian faith 
which was, ultimately, to be the liberator of his 
country and all countries from the slavery of pagan- 
ism. And who to-day are the true patriots? The 
infidel throng? No, no. " Give me," says a famous 
general, "give me the soldier who, when he kisses 
his country's flag throws around it the halo of his 
religion; who, in the vision of his beloved country, 
sees the font of his baptism, his home, his Church and 
the consecrated graves of his forefathers." In a 
word, since the public worship of God in Christ's own 
Church is the highest function of man or citizen, 
therefore the better the Catholic the better the 
citizen the better the citizen the nearer to being a 
Catholic but the " ideal Catholic " and he alone, can 
be the ideal citizen. 

Brethren, there is opposition to our Church even in 
free America some communities calling themselves 
Christian will oppose a Catholic more than an atheist 
or Nihilist. The State usurps many of her rights 
concerning education, marriage, and the like. So- 
called ministers of the Gospel, lurking cowardly 
behind the State, attack the State's truest friend as a 
foreigner and traitor. Pseudo-patriots concoct dark 
schemes for her destruction. Why, you ask, does not 
the Church bestir herself and assert her rights? Ask 
the huge 'lion, as he stalks along, why he does not 



THE STABILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. H9 

turn aside to chastise every tiny cur that barks at him. 
Ask Christ why He suffered Himself to be led like a 
lamb to the slaughter. The secret of this phenom- 
enon is a sense of stability a consciousness of power 
with perfect resignation to the workings of divine 
providence. The Church answers her enemies as did 
Christ His: " Thou shouldst have no power over Me 
were it not given thee from above." With Him she 
prays " Father, forgive them, for they know not what 
they do." That is the spirit of Christ, of St. Paul, and 
of every true Catholic, too. As St. Peter says: " Let 
us so deport ourselves that by well doing we may si- 
lence the ignorance of foolish men," and withal let 
us have an abiding trust in the ultimate victory of 
justice and of truth. Let us convince ourselves from 
a consideration of the Church's divine origin, from 
her nature as an imperial power, from her absolute 
necessity to the existence of the State, and from the 
disreputable character of her opponents, that He who 
hath begun a good work in her will perfect it unto the 
day of Christ Jesus. 



15 SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY. 



THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD. 

" Man goeth forth unto his labor until the evening, and 
then cometh the night when no man worketh." Psalm. 
ciii. 23 ; John ix. 4. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Necessity of labor. II. Our choice. III. Our reward. 
I. Parable : i. Rich youth and Peter's query. 2. Five 

special calls. 3. The recusant. 
II. Choice: i. Two masters. 2. Vineyard and race-course. 

3. Worldling and sluggard. 
III. Reward: i. Coin is heaven. 2. Justice to all. 3. First, 

last ; last, first. 
Per. : Newman's picture of ideal Christian. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, for six days the Creator wrought, and 
rested on the seventh; not till the darkened sun cast 
night on Calvary did the Redeemer desist from His 
labors; and the Holy Ghost, we are told, the Sancti- 
fier and Saviour, will continue His beneficent mission 
even to the night of time the consummation of the 
world. Ceaseless activity, then, being a characteris- 
tic of God, what wonder that toil is the common lot 
of man, for the Creator is the creatures' archetype. 
Man, even before his fall, was bidden dress and keep 
the earthly paradise, but after his sin his toil became 
for him a curse. The convict in his solitary cell anon 
realizes that work is a necessity of our being. 
"Labor," says Shakespeare, "physics pain; 'tis in 
itself a blessing and cursed only in its products, the. 



THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD. 15 1 

thorns of disease and weariness, and the thistles of 
disappointed hopes." Our call from nothingness into 
being was a call to labor, and after life, time comes 
when no man worketh the night of death the Sab- 
bath of eternity. Work we must, but ah, for whom, 
for whom? What species of labor shall our life's 
work be? For a life-day well spent, what shall be the 
eventide reward? What is our standing among the 
laborers here? What shall be our place among the 
elect hereafter? Brethren, these are the questions 
answered in the parable of to-day the call of the 
laborers their work in the vineyard and the paying 
of the laborers their wages. 

Brethren, Christ's object in this parable was to 
teach the special blessedness of one that from the 
world is called to labor in God's service, and that too 
at the eleventh hour or under the Christian dispensa- 
tion. A rich young man had come and cast himself 
before the Saviour and begged to know what he must 
do to gain eternal life. " Give up all," the Saviour 
said: " and come and follow Me." Then seeing the 
young man sadly turn away, He added: " How hard 
is entrance into heaven for the rich!" Closely 
watching every move was Peter and the other 
Apostles. Then Peter spoke: " Master, we have left 
all to follow Thee; what shall be our reward? " And 
Christ made answer: " Amen, I say to you, in the 
last great judgment day you shall sit in judgment on 
the twelve tribes of Israel. And not you alone, but 
every one who abandons all for love of Me, shall be 
recompensed an hundred-fold in life everlasting, and 



I5 2 SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY, 

many tHat are first shall be last and the last shall be 
first." Peter and the others, being men well on in 
years, were fearful, doubtless, of having entered their 
Master's service all too late; of having too long idly 
loitered in the market-place. Besides, they had 
heard from Christ that the Christian era is the world's 
eleventh hour its final stage and so they deemed 
the time too short to achieve so great a work and 
gain such great reward. Far different is the teaching 
of Christ's parable. God is Father of the universe; 
the world of rational creatures, the members of His 
household; and His vineyard was the Jewish syna- 
gogue and is now the Christian Church. His family 
comprises three divisions: His children, the angels 
and blessed in heaven; living men, His freedmen; and 
the lost souls, His slaves. From His freedmen alone 
He recruits the laborers in His vineyard. On five 
distinct occasions has He deigned with more than 
ordinary condescension to visit this busy mart this 
worldly world of ours, and each time has He called 
fresh laborers to His vineyard. From time's begin- 
ning to time's end is but a day to God as short to 
Him as seems to us the insect's life that is born at 
sunrise and at sunset dies. God's first coming was in 
time's first hour, and the first to labor in His vineyard 
were the common parents of us all. His subsequent 
goings forth in search of laborers mark the great 
physical and moral regenerations of the world, viz.: 
the time of Noe which was the third hour; the day 
of Abraham which was the sixth; the day of Moses 
which was the ninth; the coming of Christ which 



THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD. 15 3 

was the eleventh hour in the flight of time. Thankful 
ought we be that the Lord of the vineyard never 
sought in vain that in every age there were some, at 
least, who hearkened to His voice and turned to His 
service. True, many in every age did not respond, 
but the noise of the market-place is deafening; the 
calls of worldly cares are numerous and loud, and 
drown the voice of God. Are such men lost? No; 
God forbid! Ask such a one: " Why stand you here 
all the day idle? " and he will reply: " Because no 
man hath hired me." Because, that is, he had not 
heard God's call, or though it echoed in his ears, it 
failed to reach his mind and heart. There are here 
to-day eyes that weep and hearts that ache for loved 
ones that do not, will not, hear; but be not disheart- 
ened. A change will come. Proud Wolsey in ad- 
versity turns penitently to God, and many a worldly 
soul is led at last to say as penitently: " Would that 
I had served my God with half the zeal wherewith I 
served the world." When affliction draws us from 
out the din and uproar of the world, and when, like 
wounded animals, we hide ourselves away and feel 
around us the awful stillness of approaching death, 
the voice of God sounds plainer, the works of years 
are crowded into a few moments of intense, agonized 
repentance, and whereas we were last, we become 
first, and whereas we were not even deemed among 
the called, we are now among the very chosen. 

Brethren, labor is a necessary condition of life, but 
it is ours to choose which shall be our master, God or 
the world, By the service of the world I mean any- 



154 SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

thing and everything that leads us from the service of 
God according to Christ's saying: " He that is not 
with Me is against Me." True, the legitimate man- 
agement of worldly affairs is not incompatible with 
the service of God, provided the laborer be so dis- 
posed that whatever he do, he does for God. A soul 
adorned with God's grace, and united to Christ's 
Church by faith and hope and love, and doing all 
from the higher motive of pleasing God, is really in its 
commonest actions working in the vineyard of the 
Lord. Such a laborer glorifies his work, changing a 
curse into a blessing even as Christ sanctified our 
tribulations by bearing the thorns of earth upon His 
sacred brow. All other labors are but wasted energy 
and outside the vineyard, and will count for nothing 
on the great pay day. St. Paul employs the figure of 
a race-course and urges us all to run so as to obtain 
the prize. The first condition of success is to be en- 
tered for the race to fight the battle on the course, 
and not where you will, in some neighboring field. 
God is the generous Giver of the prize, and His it is 
to settle when and where and how the work be done, 
the race be run. Nor does it for the prize suffice to 
work and run; we must work and run right well, for 
adverbs and not verbs are crowned. The rich young 
man ran eagerly to Jesus' feet, but missed the prize he 
sought, for he ran not well, encumbered with his 
riches as he was. He essayed the impossible, viz., to 
serve two masters. He fain would work at once out- 
side and in the vineyard, or at the same time run a 
race on two far different tracks. Oh how many 



THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD. 155 

Ananiases and Saphiras there are among us, who pre- 
tend to bring their all and lay it at the feet of Christ, 
and stealthily keep a portion back! How many fain 
would grasp the prize, and shirk the toil whereby 
alone it can be won! How many in a kind of grim 
despair turn from God's vineyard, give up the race for 
heaven, and consecrate themselves and all their 
being to the service of the world! And yet they work 
and run as hard and even harder, but not with God 
nor for Him; not in His vineyard or according to the 
rules of His race-course. Of them He says: " I sent 
them not and yet they ran," and at the judgment 
when they seek reward, He will answer them: "Amen, 
I know you not." Love's labor lost! for that they 
loved was false corruptible. For years they braved 
the wear and tear, the din and tumult of the world's 
market-place, and like brokers in stocks that change, 
find in the end no gain, or only gain that counts for 
loss, as leading more from God. The devil used the 
things of earth to catch them, as the fishermen 
use bait, luring them on with hollow imitations of real 
happiness, robbing them of their spoil by death as 
soon as caught, and making the self-same riches and 
honors and pleasure serve for ages as means to win 
innumerable souls. From such vain toil God calls 
mankind to labor in His vineyard. " Come," He 
says, " all ye that labor and are burdened with the 
world's heavy yoke, and I will refresh you. Take 
upon you My yoke, which is sweet, and My burden, 
which is light, and learn of Me to be meek and hum- 
ble of heart and you shall obtain here earth's choicest 



156 SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

blessing a peaceful soul and hereafter the happi- 
ness of heaven." For God, too, is a fisher of men and 
such the bait He uses, and incredible though it seems, 
men snatch more eagerly the painted imitation than 
the rich reality. Why think you is it God so often 
and so heavily afflicts us? Why do riders whip and 
spur their favorite racers? God wishes us to win, and 
all His scourgings are but proofs of love, while the 
devil's siren blandishments but prove his hate. But 
scourge us as He may, God finds many of us as hard 
to guide and slow to travel toward the heavenly Jeru- 
salem as was that lowly beast Christ rode into Jeru- 
salem on the first Palm Sunday. It is a fact worthy 
of mention, and of notice, that though the ancient law 
prescribed that the first-born of every flock and herd 
should be sacrificed to God, a sheep was always sub- 
stituted for the ass, as though to show God's aversion 
for that animal and all who inherit its propensities. If 
such like be God's attitude towards the sluggard, 
what must His loathing be for one whose movements 
in the way of right suggest the slowness of the snail; 
who carries, like the snail, his treasury of riches on 
his back, and who spends his greatest energy in cling- 
ing to things of earth! " Go to," says the Proverb, 
" and learn wisdom from the ant." Untiring indus- 
try, a determination to overcome all obstacles, and 
perseverance to the death, these are the qualities by 
which the race is won; this is the rule of labor in the 
Lord's vineyard in this way the last become first 
and the first last the called receive commendation 
and the chosen their reward. 



THE LABORERS IN THE YIN E YARD. 15 7 

Brethren, at the close of day the laborers gather 
round their Lord receiving every man his pay. " Call 
the laborers," He says, " and pay them their hire." 
Suppose He ordered the talkers to be called, what 
a vast crowd would come! But no! for not every 
man that says " Lord, Lord," shall be saved, but he 
that doth the will of the Father he whose life is an 
honest day's labor in the vineyard of the Lord, he 
shall be saved. Not that even then the Lord is bound 
to reward us, but in His bounteous goodness He elects 
to pay us for doing what He has the right and power 
to command. Is it not lawful for Him to do as He 
will? If, notwithstanding the different hours of toil, 
it please Him to give all equal pay, beginning from 
the last even to the first, does He do wrong? No, 
for the coin He gives in payment is heaven, the pos- 
session and vision of Christ forevermore. The figure 
on a coin, the inscription, its shape and power, all 
signify the attributes of Christ, who is the figure of 
the King, His Father's substance, the Word of God; 
whose eternity the endless circle of a coin denotes, 
and whose omnipotence it partly imitates. Labor as 
we will, and as long and hard this priceless coin is 
ample recompense, and being satisfied, why should 
we murmur seeing others equally rewarded, though 
having labored less? Besides, though heaven's dura- 
tion be the same for all, the intensity of happiness has 
different degrees. Each soul beatified will see God's 
face according to its capacity for seeing. Those 
animals, they say, that work in mines and never see 
the light become blind totally, and the owl, you know, 



*5 SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

that shuns the light can never gaze upon the midday 
sun. So, too, it is with men, for in proportion, as they 
shun the light of heavenly grace, and delve and bury 
their minds and hearts in earthly things, they lessen 
their capacity for enjoying the beatific vision, or for- 
ever forego all possibility of seeing God. But the 
Christian who in every action of his life looks up to 
God, who soars in spirit often beyond the range of 
earthly things he is like the eagle, and in heaven at 
last he will gaze with eagle eye upon the glorified 
Sun. Our conduct here determines our degree of 
happiness hereafter, but all will be content, for why 
should a spiritual dwarf complain if his garb of glory 
be not as long as that of a spiritual giant? But is it 
fair, you ask, that he who labored but an hour should 
be paid off before the men who labored all the day? 
Brethren, God judges not the quantity but the quality 
of the work. The laborers of the eleventh hour are 
Christians, God's favorite workmen, so trained by 
Christ's precept and example, and so fortified by 
grace, that in an hour they do more work than the 
men of old in a day. The two spies sent by Moses to 
view the promised land returned bearing between 
them on a pole an enormous cluster of grapes. That 
vine denotes Christ on the cross, and he that went be^ 
fore, the Jews; and the Christian, he that followed. 
Christ shields us from the sun, His example is ever 
before us, He is ever at hand to refresh us; advantages 
that, prior to His coming, man did not enjoy. Thus 
the first became last and the last first. The same hap- 
pens among Christians Dives in all his riches and 



THE LABORERS W THE VINEYARD. 159 

Lazarus dying of hunger both die and Lazarus is 
taken to Abraham's bosom and Dives is buried in hell. 
The falcon sits on the wrist of royalty and eats from 
precious vessels where the humble chicken dare not 
enter death comes, and the falcon's carcass is flung 
in the sewer, but the chicken is served upon a dish of 
gold. The last becomes first and the first last. 

Brethren, what must we do to be of the first of 
the chosen? We have, thank God, among us many 
ideal Christians, let us imitate them. " You will 
know them by their calm faces and sweet plaintive 
voices, and spare frames and gentle manners, hearts 
weaned from the world and wills subdued, whose 
meekness meets with insult and their purity with slan- 
der, their gravity with suspicion and their courage 
with cruelty; yet who meet with Christ everywhere; 
who keep their eyes forever on Him here as they 
hope to also forever hereafter." 



160 SEXAGES1MA SUNDAY. 



THE NUMBER OF THE ELECT. 

"And some fell upon good ground and sprung up and 
yielded fruit a hundred-fold. Now the good ground are 
they who, in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word keep 
it, and bring forth fruit in patience" Luke viii. 8, 15. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Farm. II. Will it pay? III. Number of elect. 

I. Mystery: i. Theologians and Index. 2. Christ's reply. 

3. Many called, few chosen. 

II. Study of men: i. Unbelievers and believers. 2. Here- 
tics and Catholics. 3. Good, bad. 

III. Study of Saviour: i. Why He came. 2. Attitude to- 
wards sinners. 3. Crescendo of love. 
Per. : i. Courage. 2. Love for God. 3. Charity for men. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the old-fashioned New England farm 
is a fairly good picture in miniature of God's spiritual 
estate in the hearts of men. There are long stretches 
of highway, hills rocky and barren, patches of unre- 
claimed brushwood, and, finally, some acres of arable 
land. And, as with the farm, the all-important ques- 
tion is: "will it pay?" so with God's earthly estate 
the question of greatest moment is: "which is 
greater in area, the productive soil or the barren? " 
In the autumn, the harvest of time, what will be 
the relative proportion of the wheat and the chaff? 
In other words, on the great judgment-day, which 
will be numerically greater the blessed company of 
the elect or the woeful throng of the reprobate? 



THE NUMBER OF THE ELECT. 161 

Brethren, this is a mystery to which Christ's words 
may be appropriately applied that it is known to 
no man, no, not even to the angels in heaven, but 
to the Father alone. That is why the Church, in one 
of her prayers, says: " O God, to whom only is 
known the number of the faithful to be admitted to 
the happiness of heaven." That, too, is why the 
Church, as such, has never committed herself to a 
dogmatic statement on the subject, but leaves the 
question still open to conjecture and argument. True 
it is, the weight of private opinion among the- 
ologians inclines to the doctrine that only a small 
minority will be saved; but that, at best, is private 
opinion ; and it is worthy of remark that the greatest 
living theologian, though he teaches this doctrine in 
his written works, has more than once retracted it 
from the pulpit and in the class-room. It is true, 
also, that on May 22, 1772, the doctrine of " Salva- 
tion for the majority " was put on the Index, but we 
must not forget that decisions of a Congregation 
deciding individual disputes are by no means infal- 
lible. In the thirteenth chapter of St. Luke, a cer- 
tain man questions Christ: " Lord, are they few that 
are saved? " Christ answered him: " Strive to enter 
by the narrow gate, for many shall seek to enter and 
shall not be able." Again, in the seventh chapter of 
St. Matthew, Christ says: "Wide the door and 
broad the way that leads to perdition, and many there 
are that travel by it ; how small the gate and narrow 
the path that leads to life, and few there are that find 
it." He avoids a direct answer. To spur men on to 



162 SEXAGES1MA SUNDAY. 

greater efforts, He compares the steep, thorny path 
to heaven with the primrose path to perdition, but 
He refuses to say which way the majority goes. 
When He says few find the small door and narrow 
path, He refers to Himself and His contempora- 
ries to Himself, the way to the truth and the life 
whom so few of them recognized and acknowledged 
as such. When He adds that many travel by the 
wide road to perdition, He simply expresses the 
infinite yearning of the Sacred Heart for man, to 
which one lost is many lost ; to which many saved 
are few saved which wishes all to come to a knowl- 
edge of the truth and be saved. So far, therefore, 
neither side of the dispute has anything like a definite 
argument to adduce either from Christ or the 
Church. In the parable of the virgins five are foolish 
and five wise. In the twentieth and twenty-second 
chapters of St. Matthew, however, we read : " Many 
are called, but few are chosen," words that, to some, 
prove that few indeed are saved, but words that, to 
my mind, prove that many more are saved than are 
lost. If you remember, they are the closing words 
of two famous parables the parable of the house- 
holder who hired laborers for his vineyard, and the 
parable of the king who, to procure guests for 
his son's wedding-feast, turned from the discourte- 
ous rich to the riffraff of the highways and byways. 
Now, in the former parable there is no mention what- 
ever of those that are lost, for we read that all the 
laborers, after their day's work, received, every man, 
a penny. The lost would, naturally, be those who, 



THE NUMBER OF THE ELECT. 163 

hearing their Lord's call: " Go ye, also, into My 
vineyard " refused to comply; and some such there 
doubtless were, but an insignificant number 
nothing to speak of. The sense, therefore, is that 
God invites all to labor in His service; some refuse 
and are lost; the multitude accept and are saved; 
many of these are called to the state of highest 
sanctity, which, however, is attained only by the 
chosen few. This interpretation is borne out by the 
latter parable which follows and explains the former. 
The wedding-feast signifies heaven; the guests, the 
elect. Now comparatively few refused the invita- 
tion ; but the number of those who accepted was so 
great that we are told " the wedding was filled with 
guests." Now in all that multitude the king found 
just one only one guest who had not on a wedding 
garment one man unworthy of heaven whom he 
ordered to be cast into exterior darkness. 

Brethren, it must be confessed that the human 
race, past, present and to come, is well typified in 
the parable of the cockle and good wheat, but I 
believe that the wheat, to flourish at all, must ever 
be in the ascendency. If we divide the human race 
into unbelievers and believers, we are, at first sight, 
appalled by the infidel throng, the Mohammedans 
and idolaters of the East and the Indians of the 
Western world. But yet we are assured by Christ 
Himself that " Many shall come from the East and 
the West and shall sit down in the kingdom of 
heaven/' When the idolater and fetish worshipper 
lives virtuously, and dies in the belief and practice of 



1 64 SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

the only religion he has ever been taught, who shall 
deny him a share of that infinite mercy that has indi- 
rectly promised that of him little is expected to whom 
little is given? And the poor Indian " whose 
untutored mind sees God in clouds, and hears Him 
in the wind," and aspires to a place in the happy 
hunting-grounds surely the God of mercy never 
rejects such a simple, humble aspirant. Nay, even 
for the civilized fools that say in their heart " There 
is no God " there is yet hope of mercy, for if human 
justice exonerates the fool as irresponsible, may we 
not trust that divine Justice will be not less lenient? 
As for believers in the true God, though we 
admit, alas! that many of the children of the king- 
dom shall be cast out, still we confidently hold that 
the majority will be saved. Sadly divided, as 
Christians are, between the true Church and the 
various sects, it is still true to say that there is prob- 
ably no sect so much in error that it does not, or did 
not, contain real saints within its fold. Remember 
always that before the throne of grace many a 
doctrinal error is overlooked in consideration of an 
honest, though mistaken, mind and a loving heart. 
As the prophet Samuel says: "The Lord seeth not 
as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward 
appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart." 
Finally, as to Catholics, there is no question but that 
they who live a Catholic life and die a Catholic death 
are saved. The number, too, of living saints around 
and among us is doubtless far greater than we 
suspect. They are like trees laden with fruit they 



THE NUMBER OF THE ELECT. 165 

bend ever lower and lower in their humility and pass 
unnoticed. But the appalling amount of misery and 
sin around and among us is well calculated to turn 
us again to Christ to ask " Lord, are they few that 
are saved? " For an answer, we must study the sin- 
ner and study the Saviour. The living sinner, be he 
ever so bad, never irrevocably forfeits his heirship to 
the kingdom of heaven. God's providence is with 
him even in his sins. Christ deals with him as with 
a ship at sea, lading him with a burden of tempta- 
tions not excessive nor yet dangerously light; and 
very often God permits him to fall to the lowest 
depths that, as David says: "in very terror at the 
multitude of his own iniquities he may return more 
quickly and more closely to himself." God is a 
homoeopath. Hence, Shakespeare says: " Best men 
are moulded out of faults ; and, for the most, become 
much more the better for being a little bad." And 
St. Paul assures us that: "Virtue is perfected in 
infirmity." Hence, I say, from the amount of sin in 
the world we cannot fairly estimate the number of 
souls that are lost, for we must never lose sight of 
the fact that these very sinners were the primary 
object of Christ's coming on earth; that He has an 
infinite desire that all should be converted and live; 
that He is powerful enough to raise His murderous 
persecutor, Saul, to such a point of sanctity as not 
to be one whit behind the very chiefest of the 
Apostles. Yea, even should the sinner persevere in 
his iniquity till the last few moments of his life, there 
are still, as for the thief on the cross, possibilities of 



1 66 SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

eminent sanctity open to him. For three years the 
fig-tree, in the parable, bore no fruit, but the fourth 
year it bore, being watered and pruned. Very often, 
too, when God applies to the sinner the pruning- 
knife of persecution when the tears flow under 
affliction, disease, and approaching death, the blessed 
change is accomplished that gives joy to heaven a 
great sinner becomes a great saint. And even 
before this change occurs, the poor sinner is not 
wholly bad. Many, if not most, of his faults are 
results of habit, done thoughtlessly, and not near 
so guilty as they seem. 'Neath an ugly hill often lies 
a gold mine ; fathoms deep lie priceless pearls, and I 
tell you, friends, deep down in the worst of char- 
acters, there lie mines of goodness and brilliant 
virtues, that are never discovered except by the 
plummet of intimate acquaintance, or in some tre- 
mendous upheaval or crisis. Who would look to find 
saints among a rough ship's crew, and yet, not long 
since, we were told of a band of them shipwrecked and 
cast away, dying one by one rather than touch the 
little store of provisions they had turned over to the 
only child among them. There is nothing particu- 
larly saintly about a poor hod-carrier, yet, quite 
lately, when two of them, a married man and a single, 
were hanging by a thread, almost, on a high build- 
ing in Paris, the single man let go and was killed 
rather than that the other's wife should be a widow 
and his children orphans. Nor need we go so far 
for examples of this kind. If you care to mingle 
among the poor you will find them, the most sinful 



THE NUMBER OF THE ELECT. 167 

of them, every day unconsciously doing 1 acts of good- 
ness that will touch you to the heart. Therefore, I 
say, the sinner is not as bad as he appears. Let the 
occasion arise, give him but the chance, and he will 
show you the highest proof of love by giving his life 
for his brother. Therefore also, I say, it is probable 
that the majority, even of sinners, are saved, for 
" Charity," saith the Lord, " covereth a multitude of 



sins." 



If this becomes probable from a study of the sin- 
ner, it becomes almost certain from a study of the 
Saviour. " I come," He says, " not to save the just, 
but sinners. I come that they may have life and have 
it more abundantly. I desire not the death of the 
sinner, but that he be converted and live." Will 
Christ's mission be a failure? Will the ruling passion 
of the Sacred Heart be thwarted? Will Christ's 
mystical body, which they are, be mostly lost? No ; 
every phase of the sweet Saviour's character answers, 
No! " His burden is light, and His yoke is sweet " 
a loving, a forgiving father not an exacting tyrant. 
" For one cup of water," He says, " given in My 
name, I will give you eternal life." Oh, how gentle 
and loving He was when dealing with sinners! How 
He ate and drank and mingled with all that He 
might save all! You remember when He was 
refused admission to the Samaritan town, and James 
and John would have called down fire from heaven 
to consume it, how gently Christ rebukes them. 
" You know not," He says, " of what spirit you are, 
for the Son of man came not to destroy souls but to 



*68 SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

save." His favorite place was among sinners. If He 
ascended the mount for a moment to teach His 
Apostles, He was back directly by the poor leper's 
side, touching him and curing him. Consider His 
love for Magdalen ; see how lovingly He bids for the 
soul of the Samaritan woman at the well; behold 
Him in that most touching scene of all, when He 
boldly steps between the adulterous woman and her 
would-be murderers and tell me, if you dare, that 
Christ's great love for sinners will be disappointed 
that He will suffer the majority of them to be lost. 
Hear Him tell you that He yearns after the sinner 
as did his father after the prodigal; goes after him as 
the shepherd after the lost sheep in the desert; 
searches after him as perseveringly as did the woman 
for the lost groat hear all this and be assured that 
only a minority, even of the sinful, are lost that a 
majority of mankind is saved. 

Brethren, in the ups and downs of life we some- 
times get discouraged. Let me say to you to-day in 
the words of Christ: "Why fear ye, O ye of little 
faith? " Again, many of us serve God through fear 
rather than love. Look on Him, I pray you, not as 
a Master but a Father, and the thought of His 
superabundant goodness to all will inspire you to do 
your day's work for Him more cheerfully and better. 
Finally, many of us are inclined to look askance at, 
and shun, our wayward brethren. Do not so, but 
mingle with them as Christ did, becoming all things 
to all that you may save all. In your own interior 
life and in your dealing with your fellow men, do all 



SELF-SACRIFICE. 169 

you can, that you and they may be of the number of 
those who " in a good and perfect heart, hearing the 
word, keep it and bring forth fruit in patience." 



SELF-SACRIFICE. 

" Behold, we go up to Jerusalem and the Son of man shall 
be scourged and put to death, but the third day He shall 
rise again." Luke xviii. 31-33. 

SYNOPSIS. 
Ex. : Text. 

I. Tribulations: i. Israelites. 2. Our guilt greater. 3. Our 

worldliness. 
II. Drunkenness: i. History and guilt. 2. Sea-donkey. 

3. Devil ever active. 
III. Salvation: i. One small door. 2. Circe. 3. The 

blacksmith. 
Per. : i. The cross. 2. Door of jubilee. 3. Foolish virgins. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, now is the season when we, too, start 
for the heavenly Jerusalem, through the penitential 
Lenten exercises and the arduous duties of a mission, 
and it is God's design that our human nature should 
be scourged and disciplined, that it should die to 
the world, but that after these days it should rise 
again to a new life of grace. Our nature craves for 
laborless reward a thornless rose but do what we 
will, the cross comes first, and afterwards, perhaps, 
the crown. On that day when our first parents, wail- 
ing like lost souls, fled from their earthly paradise, 



170 QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

tribulation became the common heritage of man. 
" Cursed be the earth," said the Lord, " thorns and 
thistles shall it bear you." To punish is God's; 'tis 
ours to suffer, and happily merit by suffering patiently. 
When Moses led the chosen people through the Red 
Sea, they hoped to enter, immediately, the promised 
land, but finding a vast desert lay between, some were 
for returning into Egypt and sought to turn the peo- 
ple from their leader. But Moses sent ambassadors 
tO' view the land of promise, who returned with mes- 
sages of comfort and despair, of comfort because it 
was a land flowing with milk and honey, and of 
despair because they found it strongly fortified, with 
one small entrance guarded by giant warriors. Ah, 
Brethren, how many, when, through the waters of 
Baptism or sacramental penance they have fled from 
the tyranny of sin, are tempted to return because 
before them lies the seemingly cheerless waste of a 
virtuous life because the fierce enemies of their 
souls so guard the one small door of paradise! They 
easily forget Paul's words: " that all who piously wish 
for life in Christ must suffer persecution," and that: 
" it is only through many tribulations one can enter 
into the kingdom of God." Not one of those faint- 
hearted Israelites was spared to see the promised 
land and yet our inconstancy is guiltier than theirs. 
Not ten, but tens of thousands have glowingly 
described our heavenly inheritance. " O Lord of 
hosts," exclaims the Psalmist, " how lovely are Thy 
tabernacles." " Without Thee, O Lord," says Isaias, 
" nor eye can see nor heart conceive what things Thou 



SELF-SACRIFICE. 1 7 * 

hast prepared for those that seek Thee." St. Paul 
assures us that the sufferings of this time bear no 
proportion to the glory to come. St. John, in his 
Apocalypse, describes the heavenly Jerusalem, and 
Christ Himself by word and deed foretold its beauties 
and its difficult attainment. Tis not without signifi- 
cance that, from the Jordan, Jesus turned Him to the 
desert, thus teaching us that we, as He, must suffer 
first and so enter into our glory. The disciple is not 
above his Master, and Christ has said and proved that 
the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and by the 
violent only is attained. I repeat it, Brethren, with 
such proofs before our eyes such object-lessons to 
turn from our leader makes us guiltier than the falter- 
ing Israelites, and against us they will hereafter rise 
in judgment. If their disloyalty in thought and word 
deprived them of the sight of Palestine, how hope for 
heaven, we, disloyal as we are in fact in deed? How 
hope for heaven, we, enjoying, as we do, the won- 
drous advantages of Christianity, and yet more faith- 
less than the oppressed Israelite? Of the ambas- 
sadors sent by Moses, two returned bearing between 
them, on a pole, a huge cluster of grapes. Brethren, 
that vine-branch is Christ crucified; and he that went 
before, the Jews of old; and he that followed, the 
Christian people. We have the Saviour ever at our 
hand. We labor and are burdened, but He is ever 
there to refresh us with His graces, and our burden 
is lightened and our yoke sweetened by the thought 
that, if such is Christ crucified, what must He be in 
glory. We should love Christ's yoke and burden, so 



172 QUINQUAGESIMA SUND4Y. 

that, not content with bearing what men have borne 
of old, we should, by voluntary chastisement, increase 
at once our labor and reward. Whereas, alas! we 
rather imitate the sons of Ruben and of Gad, who 
were content, we are told, with lands to the East of 
the Jordan, and shirked the work of conquering 
Palestine. A generous share of this world's gifts is all 
we worldlings ask: paradise we leave to monks and 
nuns. If Christ invite us to Jerusalem to a feast or 
ball, we accompany Him with a will, but when He 
speaks of being scourged and crucified, we follow 
Him no longer like the Apostles, we no longer un- 
derstand the things He says. Like the rich young 
man in the Gospel, we would all love to be Apostles, 
but when we learn that it involves the giving up of 
all to follow Christ's blood-stained footprints, we 
sadly turn away. He cries to us: " Blessed are the 
poor and meek; blessed are they that mourn and 
suffer persecution for justice' sake," but we cannot, 
we will not understand the things that are said. 
There is not a single one of us, perhaps, that does 
not love the Lord, but we love Him at what we are 
pleased to call His best, we love Him as He calms 
the winds and the seas, or stands transfigured on 
Mount Thabor, or feasting with the publicans and 
sinners; we love Christ everywhere except Christ 
crucified. Like the Jews on Calvary, we stand before 
the Saviour and cry to Him: " Come down from the 
cross, only come down from the cross, and we will 
believe in you." Ah! it is so hard to see things as 
God sees them to realize the woes in store for them 



SELF-SACRIFICE. 173 

who have their consolation here. Lazarus may be in 
Abraham's bosom and Dives buried in hell, but the 
rich man here is our ideal and the beggar is the beg- 
gar still. Why, so imbued are we with worldliness that 
if, perchance, some poor blind sinner turns to God 
and cries: " Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me," 
a dozen straightway rebuke him and bid him hold his 
peace. Those disloyal Israelites sought eagerly to 
spread disloyalty, and everywhere are found bad 
Christians, careless Catholics, who would in wisdom 
fain precede the Lord and still the voice of penitence. 
O Saviour! during this Lent and Mission, do so 
afflict those sinful men, so blind them to the world, 
that with softened hearts and straining ears they may 
listen for Thy passing footsteps and cry out: " Jesus, 
Son of David, have mercy on me; Son of David, have 
mercy on me! " 

Brethren, there is one sin, especially, at which the 
Lenten mission aims the worship of the false god, 
Bacchus. Some say it is a modern vice, but no, it 
dates back to the Deluge. Bacchus was worshipped 
in the Egypt of the Ptolemies, and in ancient Greece 
and Rome nations, mind you, now extinct or fallen 
under Turkish sway. The Roman Senate once for- 
bade this worship an eloquent contrast to Christian 
governments that foster it and license it. It is safe 
to say, in fact, that Bacchus gets more votaries from 
Christians than from Pagans. They point to us with 
scorn. Every Christian drunkard delivers to the 
Gentiles once again the Son of man to be mocked and 
scourged and spit upon. Ah! when we think how 



174 QU1WQUAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

often and how many celebrate the feast of Bacchus 
a double feast of the first class, with a vigil and an 
octave have we not good cause to fear the history 
of Jerusalem's destruction will repeat itself? The 
drunkard is guiltier than the Saviour's crucifiers, for 
they were irresponsible fanatics, but he deliberately 
blinds his reason face to face with sin " a double 
crime," says Aristotle, " deserving double punish- 
ment," a crime once under ban of excommunication 
in'the Church. Drunkenness is such folly that, unlike 
most sins, its very motive is irrational. Every sense 
will crave its proper object, but that object in excess 
destroys the sense. The eye craves light, but not the 
direct rays of the sun; the ear craves sound, but not 
the shock of an explosion; and an overindulged 
taste forfeits its power of enjoyment. I will not deny, 
a little wine may please and benefit betimes, but only 
as St. Paul prescribes: " a little and that, too, only 
when necessary for the stomach's sake and one's 
manifold infirmities." There is danger always, lest, 
from small libations, one become a too fervent wor- 
shipper of Bacchus. " Their God," says St. Paul, " is 
their belly." A certain fish discovered by Aristotle 
has its heart in its stomach, and is called the sea- 
donkey. The drunkard shares the characteristics of 
that lowly animal; his heart is where his treasure is: 
he is lazy, stupid, lustful, and open only to one argu- 
ment a club. He lacks the higher qualities of the 
brute a healthy appetite for water and the power of 
judging when he has enough. Talk to him of God 
and his soul of the Mission or of Lent, and notwith- 



SELF-SACRIFICE. 175 

standing Nature has given Him generous ears, he can- 
not hear, he cannot understand. But talk to him of 
banquet halls and liberal potations, and lo, with ears 
erect, he is eager to begin. The Holy Ghost and 
Christ, the Doctors of his soul, denounce the drug as 
deadly, and though the bottle bear the death's-head 
label, he will drink it, come what may. Our life is 
warfare, and, says St. Paul, " whoever striveth for the 
mastery, refraineth him from all such noxious things, 
that weaken us or stupefy." Our adversary, the 
devil, knows no rest and it behooves us, lest we be 
surprised, to be sober and to watch. Drunkenness 
led to Noe's shame and his curses on his family; 
drunkenness caused Lot's crime and Samson's 
downfall; it led the Israelites to adore the golden 
calf, and through it Holofernes lost his head. 
" Drunkenness/' says St. Basil, " is the ruiner of 
reason, the waster of our body's strength, it is prema- 
ture old age and in a little while it is death." 

Brethren, there is but one small door to heaven 
and many seek to enter and are not able. They are 
larger than the door, puffed up with pride and world- 
liness, for that small door is Jesus crucified. " I am 
the door," He says, " and whoso enters by Me shall be 
saved." History tells of men who sought to open 
other doors Mohammed did, and Luther, and 
modern sinners do, but ah! they lead elsewhere to 
hell. There is one small door, too narrow for the 
rich and corpulent, but wide enough for those who 
have become as little ones and mortify themselves for 
love of Christ. Old Homer tells of the enchantress 



X 7<5 QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY. 

Circe who, by her magic, turned men into beasts, but 
certain herbs, whose flowers are whitest but whose 
roots the bitterest, rendered Ulysses proof against 
her charms. Brethren, such another herb is volun- 
tary penance, bitter to the taste but bearing rarest 
flowers and fruits and fortifying us against Bac- 
chante's incantations, who fain would make us beasts. 
In fact, the word tribulation comes from tribular, a 
thistle, because it pricks our feet and makes us careful 
how and where we walk. But that is only one of all 
its heavenly effects, bitter though it be. It is the 
gall wherewith the young Tobias smeared his father's 
eyes, for it enables our blinded eyes to shed the scales 
of sin and see aright. It is the absinthe on the breast 
of Nature that weans us from this world and concen- 
trates our hearts on God. I remember, when a boy, 
I wondered why the village blacksmith doused the 
fire with water to heat the metal quickly. In Scrip- 
ture figures, oil is comfort, and tribulation, water; 
and God afflicts us to prevent the heat of our affec- 
tions going out to worldly things; to drive it inward 
and so inflame us with His love. 

Brethren, there is to heaven but one small door, 
so low, indeed, that whoso enters in must bend low 
down until his body takes almost the form of a cross. 
Small chance is there for bloated, tipsy revellers to 
scramble through. Many, too, that seek to enter are 
not able, since they come too late and find it closed. 
In great St. Peter's, Rome, there is a little door 
where one may pass in time of jubilee, but after that 
not even prince or pontiff is suffered more to enter. 



ANGEL GUARDIANS. 177 

Brethren, this Lent, this Mission, is our time of jubi- 
lee. Let us beware lest we neglect our final oppor- 
tunity. Let us beware lest on some future day we 
stand before the door of jubilee and knocking find it 
closed, and saying, " Open, O Lord, to us/' we hear 
Him answering, " Amen, I know you not." Let us 
rather so prepare that knocking He may open to us 
and say: " Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess 
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of 
the world." 



of ilent* 

ANGEL GUARDIANS. 

"And behold: angels came and ministered to Him" 
Matt. iv. ii. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Ingersoll's argument. II. His audience. III. Angels 

and devils. 

I. Satan quoting Scripture : I. Misapplies. 2. Misinter- 
prets. 3. Mutilates. 
II. Angels: i. Hierarchy of guardians. 2. Attendant 

devils. 3. Life's perils. 

III. Guardians: I. Rouse sinner and prevent relapse. 2. In- 
sure perseverance and defeat devils. 3. Save from 
spiritual and material dangers and God's wrath. 
Per. : A beautiful, consoling, salutary doctrine. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, last Sunday an eloquent blasphemer 
tried to refute a Catholic, a Christian dogma the 
existence of the fallen angels. His argument, to be 



FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT. 

complete, should have included a denial of his own 
existence, for, verily, a perverse genius that can so 
hate God and scoff so at religion lacks little of the 
malice of a Lucifer. It would seem to have been a 
stroke of Providence that on that very Sunday from 
every Catholic pulpit should have been read the 
gospel of Our Lord's temptation by a demon, living 
and actually present. You know what arguments 
that tempter used* appeals to sensuousness, to pre- 
sumption and to pride, and truly Satan's disciple is 
not above his master, for he used the selfsame 
weapons but more clumsily. It is an eloquent com- 
mentary on the spirit of the age that men, sup- 
posedly intelligent, can be swayed by, and applaud, 
such shallow sophistry. The irreverence of it, too, ; 
that men, Christians, Catholics perhaps, though 
God forbid, that men, I say, should relish seeing 
Christ mocked and scourged and spat upon, relish 
hearing the Scriptures ridiculed or wrested round 
against our sacredest beliefs! The demon tempter of 
Our Saviour quoted Scripture, and likewise, too, his 
follower. Ah! the Bible is indeed an inexhaustible 
mine of facts, but if the miner have not on his fore- 
head the lamp of faith, he finds no golden ingots of 
truth, but only useless dirt, the ruins of the past 
and the bones of many an error long since dead. 
Refutation of such errors and flimsy arguments is 
time misspent. For us it is sufficient that the word 
of God infallibly says the devil does exist, and every 
miserable temptation and fall in our sinful lives pro- 
claims his active presence. The doctrine of the 



ANGEL GUARDIANS. 1 79 

existence of angel guardians implies the existence 
of the devil as day implies night and defence 
denotes offence. As an answer, therefore, I remind 
you to-day of that consoling doctrine; viz., that 
'" God hath given His angels charge over you, to 
keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall 
bear you up, lest you dash your feet against a stone." 
Brethren, in tempting Christ with scriptural words 
to cast Himself from the pinnacle of the Temple, the 
devil trebly sinned. First, he misapplied the text. 
The ninetieth Psalm from which he quoted does not 
apply to Christ, but to the virtuous man amid the 
pitfalls of this world. Christ's soul enjoying per- 
petually the beatific vision and His body being the 
temple of the Most High, He had no need of angel 
guardians. He it is who guards them all, and 
though they came and ministered to Him, they came 
when Satan left; they came not to protect but to 
serve, for sin to Christ was an impossibility. To 
Peter in Gethsemane He said : " Knowest thou not 
that I can ask My Father and He will give Me pres- 
ently more. than twelve legions of angels?" Were 
there no such things as devils or were man proof 
against their wiles, the need of angel guardians 
would cease. Again, the devil misinterpreted. The 
stones of which the Psalmist speaks are spiritual 
stumbling-blocks, over which the angels help who- 
ever has a mind to help himself. To literally, there- 
fore, cast one's self from a lofty tower, or plunge 
down the precipice of sin, relying on God for safety, 
would be both tempting God and presuming on His 



i8o FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT. 

mercy. Finally, Satan purposely misquoted Scrip- 
ture, suppressing the words, " that they keep thee in 
all thy ways/' thus falsifying the entire tenor of 
God's promise, and throwing on God the burden of 
protecting man not only in the level paths of recti- 
tude but also amid the precipices of sin. Thus it is 
the devil and his votaries garble the sacred word of 
God to foster vice. With murderous hand they 
poison the fountains of the knowledge of God to kill 
men's souls, and that they do not oftener succeed is 
due to God alone, whose mighty power reveals 
betimes their malice and out of evil brings much 
good. 

Brethren, with the single exception of Christ's 
soul, all others have had and have their own duly 
appointed angel guardian. From the first moment 
of its creation until the settlement of its final destiny 
the angel of God is by its side, to light and guard, to 
rule and guide. In joy and sorrow, through virtue 
and through sin, the faithful monitor is ever there, 
beseeching, prompting, or applauding. From the 
lost soul he parts reluctant at the gates of hell, or 
stands triumphant at the heavenly portals to wel- 
come in his charge. It helps us to realize the value 
of a human soul to think how God has hedged her 
round about with safeguards and protectors. A soul 
is God's most precious treasure, which He needs 
must leave for a time in a foreign land, but which 
meantime He guards with almost incredible care and 
vigilance. God's heart is where His treasure is, and 
the eyes of His providence are ever on her. The 



ANGEL GUARDIANS. 181 

law of Nature, and the divine and human laws are as 
three walls, or rather a trench, a moat, and battle- 
ment, thrown round the soul to guard her from her 
enemies. The innumerable benefits bestowed on her 
are as so many chains of steel, binding the soul to 
God, while the law of Christian charity, " Love thy 
neighbor as thyself/' makes all the world her cham- 
pion. But men are weak and oftentimes corrupt and 
traitorous, and so, lest man should fail in duty to his 
fellow man, and robbers steal the treasure, God posts 
a guard of angels of sure fidelity and matchless 
strength. How precious must that treasure be that 
God doth guard so jealously! What lofty dignity is 
man's! Christ said: " Despise ye not even the low- 
liest of My little ones, for I say to you their angels 
are ever gazing on the face of My Father who is in 
heaven." The humblest child is as a princeling to 
his heavenly Father, and always has his guard and 
tutor by his side. Not only to one but to many of 
His angels has God intrusted us, for besides the 
individual guardian of each soul, there is another for 
each parish, city, state, and nation an angelic 
hierarchy. Thus the prophet Daniel speaks of the 
angels of the Jews,, the Greeks and Persians. 
Besides, St. John in the Apocalypse, writing to the 
Asiatic Bishops, styles them the seven angels of the 
Church in Asia, and Christ, concerning John the 
Baptist, quotes the words of Malachias: " Behold I 
send My angel before thy face who shall prepare thy 
way before thee." Bishops, pastors, therefore, and 
preachers of the word of God, as well as parents and 



182 FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT. 

pedagogues, are by reason of their office, angel 
guardians. Behold then the vast array of visible and 
invisible forces God has marshalled in the cause of 
righteousness and our soul's salvation! How hap- 
pens it, you ask, that, notwithstanding, many souls 
are lost? Ah, the devil has his angels too, and he 
hath given them charge over us, to drag us down, if 
possible, into sin and hell. Angels of darkness in- 
visible and visible too, for every foul blasphemer and 
perverter of mankind is Satan's accredited agent, 
even though he believes and tries to prove that devils 
do not exist. God in His wisdom permits such 
things to be to prove us and enhance our heavenly 
reward. But while He merely tolerates the devil 
and his works, the whole activity of the guardian 
angels is by God's express command. Not but that 
the angels are right eager for the work, for loving 
God, they love God's images, our souls, for whom 
He died, and ardently desiring our salvation, they 
closely guard us in all our ways. Along the steep 
and rocky path of life, by awful precipices and over 
yawning chasms, up the narrow way of virtue, they 
lead us heavenward. Ah, how many times we have 
stumbled, aye, and fallen! How often had our fall 
been final were not God's sweet angel there to lend a 
helping hand! The way of life is hard, and for the 
most part tiresome, but for the just man doubly so. 
The wicked ship their oars and give themselves to 
carousal and debauch while drifting toward the cata- 
ract, but the virtuous must pull up-stream and strain 
incessantly. There is no pause or break in our life's 



ANGEL GUARDIANS. 183 

journey. As men aboard ship, whether they sit or 
sleep, are ever moving on, so on the road of life even 
when we rest neglectfully or slumber in forgetful- 
ness, we are ever moving on. Things glide by us 
and are forgot, the joyful and the sorrowful alike. 
So on a journey pleasant fields and stately homes and 
barren wastes are seen and passed and left behind. 
We step in the footprints of those who went before, 
and others follow after us in ours, and where those 
were but yesterday we are to-day, and where we are 
to-day others will be to-morrow. Ask the money in 
your pocket how many men have called it theirs ; ask 
your land how many owners it has had since time 
began, and learn from them that life is a journey 
that man has here no permanent abiding-place. 
How hard is the climb to eminence! yet pontiffs even 
and kings are barely seated on their thrones when 
lo! they must make way for others. And woe to us 
should we forget we are but passing through! Woe 
to us if we should load ourselves down with worldly 
goods, or gaze too long or lovingly on the things we 
pass, for the night of sin will overtake us and those 
robbers and wild beasts the devils work our ruin. 
Angels and ministers of grace defend us, for woeful 
need have we, poor wayfarers, of their guidance and 
protection! 

Brethren, in their hands the angels bear the just 
man up, lest perhaps he dash his foot against a stone. 
Seven times a day the just man falls and he still con- 
tinues just, for the guilt of sin is not so much in the 
falling as in the staying down. The angel guar- 



184 FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT. 

dian's first concern, therefore, is to awake his charge 
from sin. You remember how St. Peter, bound with 
two chains, was kept in prison to be executed on the 
morrow, and how his angel guardian came in a flood 
of light, and woke him up, and knocked away his fet- 
ters, and set him free. Peter is there a figure of a 
sinner chained to his sin by long habit and presump- 
tion of God's mercy, and entirely oblivious of his 
doom. Then comes his angel guardian, rousing 
him, giving him light to see his folly, and strength to 
shake off his lethargy, and lo! there is joy in heaven 
over one more sinner doing penance. The angel's 
next anxiety is to keep his ward away from all the 
persons, places, and things, that might effect relapse. 
We read that Lot, a just man, lived amid the wicked- 
ness of Sodom and that his angel came and bade him 
flee and not dare look back, for so alone could he 
escape the fire and brimstone soon to shower on that 
fated city. Lot hesitated to obey, and then the angel 
seized him and forced him out the walls. Oh how 
many times God's angel has to warn the penitent; 
to force him by disease or poverty away from 
the occasions and companions of his former sinful 
life! And when the penitent, disobeying, still looks 
back, how often is the sweetness of escape turned to 
salty bitterness! Thirdly, the angel labors to- have 
his convert persevere. The prophet Elias on his 
way to Mount Horeb to see and speak with God, was 
overcome with weariness, and turning aside fell fast 
asleep, but an angel roused him up and giving him 
to eat said: " Get thee on, a long way is still 



ANGEL GUARDIANS. 185 

before thee." Ah, many a penitent prodigal in the 
carrying out of his resolve to arise and go to his 
Father soon finds the way too long and arduous, and 
were not his angel guardian there to nourish and 
encourage him, he would never persevere to see God 
face to face on the blessed mount of paradise. 
Again the angel teaches his protege how best to put 
to flight the robber devils that beset his path, viz.; 
by prayer and holy meditations. The young Tobias, 
at the angel Raphael's bidding, placed the entrails of 
the fish on burning coals, and thereupon the demon 
that slew the seven suitors of his bride was quickly 
driven away. So, too, the guardian angel counsels 
the one committed to his care to set not his entire 
mind and heart on earthly things, but to expend at 
least a portion of them in thought on hell or on the 
fire of God's love, for thus the devil must be routed 
and his temptations met. And since Our Lord Him- 
self has warned us that the devil once ejected is ill 
content unless with seven other devils viler than 
himself he can return and regain possession, the angel 
guardian instructs his client how he can best prevent 
his last state becoming worse than was his first. 
Gedeon with thirty-two thousand armed men went 
forth against the Madianites, but an angel of God 
commanded that all the weak and timid should 
return, and immediately twenty-two thousand 
soldiers laid down their arms. The angel then 
bade Gedeon lead the ten thousand men re- 
maining to a stream, and watch how each should 
drink, " for," said he, " those men alone are fit 



186 FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT. 

for war who slightly bend and use their hands as 
cups, but all that lying prone shall lap the water up 
like dogs will surely fail in battle." The result left 
Gedeon scarce three hundred men, and yet they 
fought the enemy and gained a glorious victory. Oh 
blessed teaching of our angel guide, which proves 
the kingdom of God suffereth violence and that not 
the timid but the violent bear it away! To conquer 
in the struggle for salvation, we must not cling too 
closely to the world, nor drink too deeply of its pleas- 
ures, nor too eagerly feast upon its delicacies, but 
with our faces as much as may be ever turned to God 
we should seek and take from earth no more than 
our necessities demand. But not alone from unseen 
perils do our angels guard us, but from visible dan- 
gers too. Let Josue, Ezechias and Eliseus testify 
how angel hosts did battle for them in their hour 
of need. Judith returning with Holofernes' head 
declared: " The angel of God hath been my keeper 
going hence, and abiding there, and returning 
hither." From wild beasts, too, the angels guard us, 
as witness Daniel in the lions' den and the martyrs 
in the arena. From inanimate objects, too, as for 
example, the three youths in the fiery furnace. But 
most of all our angels stay the arm of God's wrath 
deservedly upraised to strike us. You remember the 
parable of the fig-tree, barren for three long years 
and which the owner ordered finally to be cut down 
and burned; but the gardener begged for one year 
more to prune and water it. Ah! how many a soul 
through boyhood, youth, and manhood bears no 



ANGEL GUARDIANS. 187 

fruit but sin! How many had been long since 
damned had not their angels begged for one more 
chance until, watered with affliction and pruned with 
poverty and sickness, they turned to God and 
brought forth fruit worthy of penance ! 

Brethren, in all religion there is no doctrine more 
poetical, more beautiful, more touching, and con- 
soling than the doctrine of the angel guardians. It 
brings home to us our dignity as God's own children, 
His tender, fatherly love, the existence of innumer- 
able foes to our salvation, our duty to cooperate 
with grace, and the purity and sanctity that should 
mark our lives, living, acting, speaking, thinking as 
we ever do in the presence of our angels. The effect 
of such a doctrine should certainly be to make salva- 
tion easier, and God forgive the sacrilegious hand 
that fain would rob us of it. Let us learn and fre- 
quently repeat that prayer : 

" Angel of God, my guardian dear, 
To whom His love commits me here; 
Ever this day be at my side 
To light and guard, to rule and guide." 

So will our angels shield us from harm here and 
when our hour of dissolution comes, their hands will 
bear us as they bore the soul of Lazarus onward, 
upward, heavenward, into Abraham's bosom. 



1 88 SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT. 



of 

THE TRANSFIGURATION. 
"He was transfigured before them" Matt. xvii. 2. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Life and death. II. Church's liturgy. III. Raphael's 

Transfigu ration. 
I. Heaven: i. Inconceivable. 2. Pagan notions. 3. Earth's 

loveliest spots. 

II. It consists : i. In possessing God. 2. In being in 
accord with Him. 3. In enjoying delight of soul and 
body. 
III. Its attainment : i. Hand in picture. 2. Its meaning. 

3. The Law and Gospel. 

Per. : i. Our idea of heaven. 2. Our efforts to attain it. 
3. Our models. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in the midst of life, alas, there is death, 
but happily, too, in the midst of death there is life. 
That is the idea of to-day's Gospel. He was trans- 
figured before them. He had just been telling" them 
of the tortures He was to endure, and of His death; 
of the lives of self-denial and the sufferings in store 
for them. " Far be it from us and Thee," they said, 
" to suffer such things." They were shocked and 
completely discouraged, and to fortify their shrinking 
souls He granted them a glimpse of heaven He was 
transfigured before them. So, too, the Church; 
scarcely has the gloomy pall of the Lenten season 
closed around us, than she presents to our thoughts 
the glories of the Transfiguration. Like a skilful gen- 
eral to his army on the eve of battle, in the shadow of 



THE TRANSFIGURATION. 189 

death she speaks to us of the joys of victory and the 
peace and happiness of our heavenly home. Christ 
and His Church lead us heavenward by alternate 
appeals to our hopes and our fears for mental food 
they give us a judicious mixture of the bitter and the 
sweet. That is the idea we find embodied in 
Raphael's masterpiece "The Transfiguration." 
Below is depicted the misery of human life the tor- 
tured demoniac, the frantic appeals for help, and the 
vain efforts of even the Apostles to afford consola- 
tion or relief. But a hand points upward to the 
tower of comfort and support Religion represented 
in the ecstasy of the Apostles, and heaven the 
happy consummation of it all reflected in the 
serene loveliness of the Saviour. 

Brethren, when God promised Palestine to Abra- 
ham, He bade him lift up his eyes and view that 
region and walk in the length and the breadth 
thereof; and Moses while still in the desert was bid- 
den to send messengers abroad to inspect the 
promised land. So, too, should we with regard to 
our promised land the kingdom of heaven; but 
who shall be able to walk through the length and the 
breadth thereof? Glorious things are said of thee, O 
city of God, says the Psalmist, but the greater part of 
heaven's glories must be left untold, because even to 
conceive them hath not entered into the heart of 
man. Like all things most intimately associated with 
us, heaven is the best known and the least known. 
That there is life everlasting, our craving for hap- 
piness testifies, but what heaven is, where it is, what 



190 SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT. 

it contains, eye hath not seen nor ear heard. Even 
the imagination of a Dante or a Milton has found the 
description of heaven as hopeless a task, as did they 
seek to examine with the naked eye the midday sun. 
Reason, alone, unaided by faith, can give of heaven 
but the faintest, most shadowy picture. Among the 
ancient Pagan philosophers there are no 1 less than 
two hundred and eighty-six opinions as to what con- 
stituted heaven, some holding it was the exercise of 
the highest virtue; others, the pursuit of knowledge; 
others, the enjoyment of all earthly blessings, etc. 
Their mistake was, first, in seeking to locate heaven 
in the enjoyment of some created thing, and since 
nothing created can have all the properties they in- 
stinctively felt the object of happiness should possess, 
they erred, secondly, in making that object not one 
as it should be, but the sum total of all created good 
things. So far, indeed, are all earthly things from 
being heaven, or a substitute for it, that it 
is only by excluding them and learning what 
heaven is not, that we can form any conception 
of what heaven really is. " In heaven," says 
St. Bernard, " there is nothing you can dislike 
and there is everything you can desire," and 
nothing short of that will ever satisfy the insatiable 
human heart. How, then, can earthly pleasure give 
the full joy of heaven, since pleasure, though sweet 
to the taste, grows bitter, and sours in the swallow- 
ing? How can virtue or knowledge be heaven, since 
virtue, however exalted, is perfected in infirmity; and 
knowledge, the most profound, is to learn how little 



THE TRANSFIGURATION. 19* 

we know? How can honors be heaven, since uneasy 
lies even the head that wears a crown; or riches, 
which only whet the appetite for more; or power, 
since timid kings must have their warlike body- 
guards; or any or all created goods, since back of 
each we see the grim figure of death awaiting his 
turn? Some dying saints, they say, have received, 
ere death, the joys of heaven; and oftentimes, in 
dreams, we traverse fields Elysian, but, apart from 
empty dreams or doubtful vision, there is no heaven 
here. There is an island in a southern sea the isle 
of Capri the loveliest spot on earth where Nature 
rivals God for man's affections, and God, to hold 
man's love, must needs perform a yearly miracle; and 
tourists call it paradise; but among the peasants I 
found the direst poverty, nor aught of happiness save 
one, a lonely hermit on the mountain top, his 
thoughts intent on God. Another day in the great 
St. Peter's, thronged with people from every land, 
the Pontiff celebrated Mass, and when the elevation 
came and every head, from prince to peasant, bowed, 
and sword and muskets clanged as soldiers kneeled, 
and a tiny ray of light played round the Pontiff's 
head, and a tiny ray of sound from a silver bell alone 
broke the stillness, till down from the dome came the 
heavenly music of the trumpeters then people said 
'twas heaven, and, truth to say, 'twas like it but no! 
many a sinful, unbelieving heart was there, many a 
sorrow-laden soul; many a form bending under a 
weight of woe as heavy as that of the heartbroken 
Leo; but for heaven, we must look higher still to 



192 SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT. 

the consecrated Host, to* the transfigured Saviour, 
to God; for we read in St. John, that this is " eternal 
life to know Thee the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ whom Thou hast sent." 

Brethren, the vision, the possession, of God, and 
that alone, is heaven, just as the loss of God, and 
that alone, is hell. Our yearning for happiness will 
not be appeased by shadows of God's perfections such 
as creatures are; it demands the reality God Him- 
self. " When Thy glory shall have appeared," says 
the Psalmist, " I shall be satisfied." And never 
sooner and why? " Because," says St. John, " we 
will be like Him when we see Him as He is." Our 
happiness and that of God will be identical, con- 
sisting in the contemplation of Himself the all-true, 
the all-good, the all-beautiful. As the moon and stars 
catching the sun's rays are made to resemble the sun 
itself, so the beatified souls shine like the Sun of Jus- 
tice Himself, in the kingdom of their Father. The 
riches of the beatific vision fill the measure of all our 
heart's desires. " I am thy reward, exceeding great," 
says the Lord. Our soul with its memory, under- 
standing, and will, is a triangle of infinite extent, 
which this earthly globe can never fill, which nothing 
can ever fill but that other infinite triangle, the three 
in one the triune God, who fills it with good 
measure and pressed down and flowing over. Besides 
the riches of the Divinity, we will enjoy in heaven un- 
limited power a certain omnipotence. Our wills 
shall be so attuned to that of God, that our wish be- 
comes His and His ours, so that of us as of Him it 



THE TRANSFIGURATION. 193 

will be true that we will be able to do all things in 
heaven and on earth and no one shall be able 
to resist our will. And as for honors, He has 
promised that whosoever shall have conquered 
in the battle of life, He will give him to sit with 
Him in His throne, even as He hath conquered 
and sitteth in the throne with the Father. If, even 
here, worldly power is transitory and the glory of the 
saints more enduring than brass, how much more so 
hereafter, where true merit is never overlooked and 
honors are eternal! Our temple of fame will there 
be founded on the eternal rock and not, as here, on 
the shifting sands of time. And as for pleasure, 
who shall foretell the joys of heaven! " Lord, it is 
good for us to be here," cried the three Apostles, and 
in the ecstasy of the moment, forgetful of all else, they 
proposed to build three tabernacles wherein the vis- 
ion might last and they enjoy it forever. When the 
Queen of Saba visited Solomon she exclaimed: " O 
blessed are thy servants who stand before thee always 
and hear thy wisdom! " But far more blessed they 
who stand forever face to face with the God of Solo- 
mon the Author of wisdom and goodness. If faith, 
hope, and charity, are at the bottom of every true en- 
joyment here, as they are, what will be our delight 
when faith becomes the vision of God, when hope 
becomes possession, and charity is perfected ! Delight, 
not for the soul alone, but for the body too where 
the eyes shall feast on the glories of God, of Mary and 
the blessed; and the ears be ravished with heavenly 
music; where loving friends are reunited to share 



194 SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT. 

each other's joys, not for a day or a year, but forever. 
" For God," says St. Paul, " shall wipe away all tears 
from their eyes and death shall be no more, nor 
mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, but joy perennial, 
and happiness eternal." And all this in a land as 
lovely as a dream. Look up to heaven on a starry 
night and refle'ct, if the outer walls of God's city are 
so magnificent, what must be the splendor of the in- 
terior! Consider all this and you will say with the 
Psalmist: " Thy friends, O God, are made exceeding 
honorable." You will agree with St. Paul that " the 
sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared 
to the glory to come." 

Brethren, I would be to you, this morning, the 
hand pointing to the transfigured Saviour to 
heaven. I would have that vision so fill you with 
hope and encouragement that you would exclaim: 
" Lord, it is good for us to be here " that your 
thoughts would wander thither often that you 
would ardently desire to abide there forever and act 
accordingly. And what, you ask, must I do to gain 
eternal life? " If you would enter into life," says Our 
Lord, " keep the commandments." How small the 
labor! How unspeakable the reward! In the Old 
Law, to keep the commandments was a difficult task, 
for man had no example to follow. God said to 
Abraham: " Walk thou before Me and be perfect and 
I will be your reward, exceeding great." But in the 
New Law, Christ leads the way, and only asks that 
each take up his cross and follow Him only asks that 
each perform the ordinary duties of his state and 



THE TRANSFIGURATION. 195 

patiently endure the ills of life, from the higher 
motive of pleasing God and gaining heaven. 

Brethren, are we doing that little? Do we regard 
heaven as a shadowy myth or a reality; or if a 
reality, do we act up to it? What are we doing, what 
are we willing to do for heaven? Not half, I venture 
to say what we would endure to gain a purse of gold, 
or a fat office, or a moment of sensuous pleasure. 
Consider the mighty efforts men put forth to accom- 
plish worldly ends a loss of energy which, if rightly 
used, would raise the whole world up to God. On 
the other hand, consider how little is done for 
heaven; how rare the ideal Christian. Ah, we sow 
sparingly, and unless God, out of pure benevolence, 
gives the increase, we will reap sparingly. Mediocrity 
is the curse of modern Christianity, for he who is con- 
tent with mediocrity is the devil's right-hand man. 
And yet, mediocre as we are, we expect the reward of 
saints. Think of the saints the lives they lived and 
the deaths they died, and ask yourself how like am I 
to them, what will become of me, since even they 
trembled for their destiny? Not that we can all be 
monks and nuns, but we can, at least, cultivate their 
spirit. If we cannot be poor in fact, we can be poor 
in spirit. If we cannot suffer persecution and die 
martyrs, we can, at least, be meek and humble. If 
we cannot take the vow of chastity, we can, at least, 
be clean of heart. And talk as we may, criticise as we 
may, we must admit that the humble monk and gentle 
nun have best solved the problem of salvation. Mark 
them well; their calm faces, and sweet plaintive 



196 THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT. 

voices, and spare frames and gentle manners, and 
hearts weaned from the world, and wills subdued. 
And though their meekness meet with insult and 
their purity with slander and their gravity with sus- 
picion, still they have Christ for their portion, and 
enjoy a continuous ecstasy before their transfigured 
Saviour. Brethren, let us follow their lead, that 
when they shall have come into the high places pre- 
pared for them, you and I also may take our lowly 
station in the kingdom of the Father. 



of JLent* 

DEATH. 

" He that is not with Me is against Me, . . . but blessed 
are they who hear the word of God and keep it." Luke 
xi. 2$, 28. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. One thing all-important. II. Death sure. III. Settles 

all. 

I. Saint: i. Life in world. 2. Religious life. 3. Death. 
II. Sinner: i. His life. 2. His sickness. 3. His death. 
III. Lie goes: i. Through life and conversion. 2. Obsequies. 

3. Into grave and beyond. 
Per. : i. Our life. 2. Our death. 3. Art of dying well. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, there is one thing, and one thing only, 
in earth or heaven to be loved and gained our 
souls' salvation: which if once gained, we have 
gained all. There is one thing and one thing only in 
earth or hell to be feared and avoided mortal sin: 



DEATH. 197 

which if not avoided, all is lost. There is one moment, 
and one only, in which we shall gain all or lose all 
one moment sure to come, but when, God only knows 
our one single last moment our death. God has 
said to each of us: " Remember, man, that thou art 
dust and into dust thou shalt return," and our own 
experience proves there is no exception, for death 
knocks with impartial hand at the peasant's cot and 
at the palace gates of kings. Of what shall we die? 
When,, where, shall we die? Oh, what matters it! 
The real question is, how shall we die? How shall 
we die? As a man lives, so shall he die. It is ap- 
pointed unto man once to die and after death the 
judgment, but the issue of that supreme moment and 
trial whether happiness or misery eternal rests 
with us. And oh! remember and remember, and 
again, I say remember, that a man can die but once, 
and that a bad death is therefore an irreparable mis- 
fortune. 

Brethren, we will meditate to-night on death. Not 
death in the abstract, but death as it actually is in 
the dying. We will consider a good death, and the 
life that led to it; and again, a bad death and the life 
that led to that; and finally we will consider which life 
more closely resembles our own and hence which 
death is likely to be ours. 

Brethren, the servant of God to the side of whose 
death-bed I invite you this evening is in simplicity and 
innocence a mere child and all but a child in years. 
She is and always has been a delicate little soul, of 
great beauty of face and form, but far greater of mind 



I9 8 THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT. 

and heart a tenderly nurtured, gentle, loving little 
soul, whose very delicacy and helplessness endeared 
her to her more robust brothers and sisters and made 
her the darling of her parents. There was one espe- 
cially who loved her dearly, and would have deemed 
it a blessed privilege to have been permitted to devote 
his entire life to her happiness. Ah! hers was a happy 
home, and bright were life's prospects before her, but 
still she was not content there was something she 
felt she ought to do for God, she knew not what, and 
she thought and worried and prayed. But at last she 
made up her mind; she plainly heard her heavenly 
Spouse saying to her: "Arise, My beloved, and 
come." So she laid aside her rich worldly attire, and 
gave up her portion of the inheritance, and without 
sob or tear she bade adieu to her parents and family 
and entered the convent. There she has spent 
several of the happiest years of her life; years of toil 
and privation that would have shattered many a 
stouter frame; years of tender devotion to God's 
little ones and God's poor; years of prayer and 
intimate communion with God. And there we find 
her to-night, in the convent, dying. Attired as a 
Sister she sits in an armchair, for it distresses her to 
lie down, waiting for her heavenly Spouse to say 
once more: "Arise, My beloved, and come." The 
lamp is shaded, and the intense silence is broken only 
by the labored breathing of the patient, or the ticking 
of the clock, or the click of a rosary as the silent Sis- 
ters come and go. And presently the priest arrives 
with the Blessed Sacrament to prepare that soul for 



DEATH. 199 

God by Viaticum and Extreme Unction. 'By a 
strange coincidence he is the dear old friend of her 
early youth. He has seen much of the world since 
then, having had to mingle with all sorts and con- 
ditions of men, but the hardest trial of his life is to 
tell this poor child that she is soon to die, and that 
she must be reconciled to the will of God. Ah, what 
need to tell her! for has she not longed for this hour 
and prayed often in the words of St. Paul to be dis- 
solved and be with God? She wishes to make a gen- 
eral confession and all withdraw. General confes- 
sion! A collection of mere trifles, and yet she shows 
a sorrow for her sins worthy of a Magdalen. She has 
been impatient she has loved some of the Sisters 
more than others she has kept all to herself a beads 
her little dying brother gave her as a keepsake she 
would like to see her parents and her little sister for 
their sakes, but for her own she would rather die ere 
they arrive that she may give herself more freely to 
God she was ordered to take more rest and nourish- 
ment and did not fully obey. Then the confessor 
asks a few questions, and her great bright eyes open 
in silent wonder, for he speaks of things she does not 
understand of sins she did not know existed. 
" Father, have I made a good confession? " " My 
poor child, yes." " Father, do you think I will be 
saved? " Saved? What can the man answer? With 
tears in his eyes and with trembling voice he says: 
" My poor child, may God help me and my other poor 
penitents if you find salvation difficult. But," he 
continues, " throw yourself on the mercy of God 



200 THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT. 

whose body and blood you are about to receive, and 
beg Him with me that on leaving you He may take 
you with Him." And so he gives her Holy Viaticum, 
and he anoints her five senses with the holy oils, 
feeling sure, however, these senses have never been 
defiled by mortal sin. When all is finished with the 
last blessing, it is evident their prayer is answered, 
for already her agony begins. Agony! No, it is not 
so, for as one lives, so shall one die. Her death is as 
gentle as was her life. A loving smile for her dear 
Sisters; a glance at the priest on her right as she 
whispers: " Jesus; " a glance at Mother Superior on 
her left as she murmurs: " Mary," and she dies with 
the sweet name of Joseph on her lips Joseph who 
procured for her the grace of dying as nearly as pos- 
sible as he died in the arms of Jesus, the Priest of 
priests, and of Mary, the Virgin of Virgin Mothers. 
Ah! parents who arrive too late, why mourn that 
heaven is richer by one more saint? The very ex- 
pression on her dead face bids you rejoice, for it 
reflects the peace of her soul. The old and the poor 
lament, but they mourn not her loss but their own. 
Why dread a death like hers? The little ones she 
taught crowd round her corpse as familiarly as 
though she lived. What a blessed sight was that 
some two score little tots sitting around, silent and 
serious, wondering, no doubt, that their dear Sister, 
usually so active, should lie so quietly in their midst. 
And one little fellow she was forced lately to chastise 
now comes to pour out his sorrow and forgiveness in 
a passion of tears. Ah! not sorrowful or repulsive is 



DEATH. 201 

a death like hers, but all joy and peace and consola- 
tion. Surely precious in the sight of God and man 
is the death of God's saints. 

Brethren, let us turn now to another death-bed; 
let us accompany the priest on his next sick call. A 
hurried call at midnight, a man dying, for God's sake 
hurry. And hasten he does, and as he goes along he 
asks for further particulars. The patient is a man 
of some consequence one the world would by no 
means call a bad man or a bad Catholic, but whom 
the Church would by no means call a good one. In 
fact he is a man of the world, subject to various bad 
habits some said he drank, others questioned his 
business methods, and others hinted at a dark side to 
his private life anyhow, he committed many mortal 
sins which he confessed occasionally, only to fall soon 
again. One night a week or ten days ago he caught 
cold returning from a social carouse. Next day he 
tried to be around as usual, but feeling deathly ill, he 
returned to bed and the doctor was called. " Fever, 
but nothing serious," was his verdict. But the day 
passed and the night came. O God, the weary 
night of torture! And another day passed and 
another night came and so on, and still " nothing 
serious " was what the doctor said. But the fever 
grew, so even the doctor began to doubt. A con- 
sultation was held, and the verdict was " serious." One 
more visit and the answer to the usual question was 
" hopeless." All now know what to expect, but no 
one dares tell the patient lest it worry him and make 
him worse. But when selfish interest is at stake they 



202 THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT. 

do not hesitate to worry him. Trie loving wife, for- 
sooth, and the dutiful children call in the lawyer and 
advise that a will might as well be made now as later. 
And oh, what a trial is that for the poor worldling! 
A rich man undergoes three distinct agonies: when 
he makes his will; when he settles his spiritual affairs, 
and when his soul leaves his body. The making of a 
will! The scratching of the pen is as a tearing of his 
vitals; every drop of ink is as a drop of his heart's 
blood; every item set down is a severing of a bond 
that binds him to earth. But it is done at last; he 
has given up all; hope seems to abandon him; he 
breaks down and sobs out piteously: " Naked did I 
come forth from my mother's womb, and naked do I 
return into the womb of my mother earth." And 
now, and now only, does he remember and fully 
realize he has an immortal soul a soul of infinite 
value in the sight of God a soul to save which was 
the one grand work of his life, the one reason for his 
creation. But alas! for the greater part of his life 
his soul has been dead. It is dead even now of a hun- 
dred self-inflicted mortal wounds of a hundred mor- 
tal sins. " False wife, false children, you pretend to 
grieve over the death of my body, will you not try to 
save the life of my soul? You try to relieve my tem- 
poral sufferings, will you do nothing to save me from 
eternal torments? For God's sake bring the priest." 
And so the priest comes and he performs his sacred 
functions with horrible doubt and misgiving at his 
heart. He enters that fetid chamber of death to take 
that poor agonizing soul, half-crazed with suffering, 



DEATH. 203 

stupid with opiates, frantic with remorse for the past, 
and terror of the future to take that soul into the 
presence of its God to confess and crave pardon for 
its sins. It is the second death-agony. How re- 
member all those nameless sins? How make good in 
one all the fruitless confessions of the past? How 
raise his mind and heart in a few moments up from 
earth, aye from hell itself, up to the throne of God? 
" Father," he cries, " I cannot do it; I cannot go on; 
God help me, I am lost." But the priest encourages 
him by words of hope and consolation hope, where 
he sees but little hope, and consolation which he him- 
self does not feel. But at last the confession is made, 
such as it is. "Are you sorry for your sins?" 
" Father, I am sorry," he cries, but at the same time 
the priest feels sure that were this man restored to 
health, he would sin the same sins again, and the 
dying man himself seems to hear the demons around 
him chant: "When the devil was sick, the devil a 
monk would be; when the devil was well, no more a 
monk was he." Nay, God Himself seems to laugh at 
this mockery, for from the Blessed Sacrament in his 
breast the dying man seems to hear: " You come to 
Me, not for love of Me, but through fear of hell. 
You abandoned sin only when sin abandoned you. 
Almost all your life have you deserted Me, and there- 
fore will I desert you now in the hour of your need." 
Deserted by God, the devil seems to retake posses- 
sion of him and urges him to despair. Ah! there was 
a time long ago, when, to induce him to sin, the devil 
preached him long sermons on the ease of repentance 



204 THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT. 

and the infinite mercy of God, but now he reminds 
him only of the infinite malice of sin and the rigor of 
God's justice. " Are you confident when a St. Je- 
rome, after having served God faithfully forty years, 
still trembled for his destiny? Do you presume to 
look forward to a place in that heaven where naught 
defiled can ever enter in? Do you trust in this sham 
reconciliation with God, when the same St. Jerome 
tells you not one of every ten thousand death-bed 
conversions is available to salvation; when St. Vin- 
cent Ferrer tells you it is a greater miracle to save a 
man after a life of sin than to raise the dead to life? 
The priest anoints your five, senses with a little oil; 
will that, think you, undo all the mortal sins these 
same senses have perpetrated? He absolves you and 
says he has forgiven you your sins; you often ques- 
tioned his power to do so in the past, do you admit 
it now? He gives you a little bread and says it is the 
body of the Lord; you doubted it in the past, do you 
believe it now? No, no; if these things be true, not 
heaven but hell will be your portion; so that your 
only consolation now is in the hope that priest and 
sacraments and Church are all sham; that there is no 
life beyond the grave; that there is no God." Such are 
the thoughts and temptations of the dying man. And 
the agony of his soul hastens the death of his body. 
His mind gives way under the strain; he moans and 
shrieks by turns as though suffering a foretaste of 
hell. He struggles with those that hold him as 
though they were demons. His eyes roll wildly, his 
mouth foams, he frequently buries his face and teeth 



DEATH. 205 

in the pillow, and his hands clutch convulsively, mak- 
ing those that hold them feel what a fearful thing it is 
to hold the hand of a dying man and feel the soul 
within him struggling for liberty. But the struggle 
is nearly ended one last great effort; a stretching to 
the utmost of every muscle of the body; a momen- 
tary startled expression of countenance, a ghastly up- 
heaval of the eyes, and then the mouth gapes slowly 
open and with one long, weary moan of despair, he 
breathes out his soul. " Vengeance is Mine," saith 
the Lord, " and I have repaid, for he sought Me and 
he found Me not, but he died in his sins." Oh do not 
leave that chamber of death without fully realizing 
what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the 
living God. Of what good now to him are all that 
man's honors, riches, pleasures? They are all here 
behind him, while he has gone forth into eternity poor 
and naked and miserable. His life was a failure, for 
he left undone the one work he should have done; he 
lost the one treasure he should have gained. Not 
only was his life a failure, it was a lie. He belied the 
God of all truth by turning away from the one end 
for which he was intended and created. He lied to 
the world by clothing his interior corruption in a 
cloak of outward respectability. He lied to the 
Church when he dared to gain admission to her sacra- 
ments by false promises of amendment. He lied to 
his little children by imposing burdens on them he 
could never bear, by asking them to practice virtues 
he himself never possessed. And as a man lives, so 
shall he die. His life was a lie; a lie also was his 



206 THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT. 

death. He repeated promises he would never have 
fulfilled had he recovered. He said he detested sin, 
when he only feared it and trembled for its effects. 
The sorrowful wail of his widow is a lie, for she is 
already thinking of her becoming mourning and its 
effect on a possible substitute for the dead. The 
tears of his children are lies, for they are even now 
silently speculating on the terms of the will. The 
shameful praises of the callers are lies; the pompous 
funeral is a lie; the grandiloquent funeral oration is 
a lie, for they all attribute to the dead virtues he never 
had. They all give honor where honor is not due. 
Nay, the lie follows him to the very edge of the grave 
in the inscription on his tombstone; nay, into the 
grave in the bright breast-plate on his coffin; nay, 
beyond the grave, for his soul has gone to dwell for- 
ever with that liar and father of lies the devil. Oh, 
would to God that such deaths were rare; that such 
was not the death of hundreds and thousands of 
Christians, of hundreds of Catholics! For as a man 
lives so shall he die; and since the vast majority of 
men daily insult their God by sin, therefore, " ven- 
geance is Mine," saith the Lord: "and I will repay, 
for they shall seek Me in the hour of their need and 
they shall not find Me, but they shall die in their sins, 
for Amen, I say to you, if a man deny Me before men 
on earth, I will deny him before My Father who is in 
heaven." 

Brethren, as a man lives, so shall he die. As we 
live, so shall we die. And judging from the lives we 
are leading, which of these deaths may we reasonably 



DEATH. 207 

expect to be ours? O God grant it be that of the 
saint, but is there one point of resemblance between 
our lives and hers? O God forbid it should be that 
of the sinner, but are we not men of the world, care- 
less Catholics, relapsing sinners like him? If he were 
freed from hell and sent back to live life over again, 
what a great saint he would become! That grace 
denied to him, God grants to us to-night. We are 
plodding through life as though never to die. Men 
are dying all round us, but we look on unmoved. Our 
hearts, like muffled drums, are beating our funeral 
march to the grave. The sun will rise some morning 
soon, and streaming into our chamber, reveal our 
bodies cold and stiff and dead. The world will go 
about its business as usual and we will be laid away 
and forgotten. These hands of mine will wither; the 
flesh will fall from my face; my jaws, as though in 
grim humor over the folly of my life, will assume that 
horrible death's-head grin, and my whole body of 
which I am now so careful will become one fetid mass 
of corruption and decay. And my soul; where will 
it be? Ah, as a man lives so shall he die. The fate of 
my soul after death depends on the tenor of my life. 
Every moment of life should be a preparation for 
death, for on the* issue of my death depends the com- 
plete success or failure of my life. St. Aloysius one 
day at play was asked: "What would you do were 
you told you would die within the hour? " and he re- 
plied: " I would continue my recreation." Doing all 
for the glory of God, even his recreation was a prep- 
aration for death. Seminarists prepare for death 



2o8 THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT. 

monthly. But no soul of saint or seminarian is more 
precious before God than mine, and to me its salva- 
tion is infinitely important. Therefore I will rehearse 
my death-scene often that I may acquire the art of 
dying well. I will occasionally imagine myself in my 
last agony, with a bandage round my fevered brow, 
with the crucifix in my hand, the clammy death chill 
creeping over my body, the silence broken only by 
my labored breathing, the sobs of my friends, and the 
priest's voice saying: " Depart out of this world, O 
Christian soul." From that position on my death- 
bed I will glance back over my life repeating: "As 
one lives so shall he die." Ah, then will appear in 
their true colors the blindness and folly of mankind, 
the vanity of riches and pleasures, and all earthly hap- 
piness. Then will I realize that for me my soul is the 
one created good, sin the only evil, my last, the all- 
important moment of my life. Then will I see which 
of my present doings I would be likely to regret at 
the last. Then will I begin to correct the evil of my 
ways begin to live a good life that I may die a good 
death. If in all my works I remember my last end, I 
will never sin. Grant, O God, that the lives of all 
here may henceforth be so ordered as to gain for 
them the grace of a happy death. Grant, O God, that 
falling gently asleep in death we may awake in eter- 
nity to hear not the thundering anathema of God's 
justice: "Depart from Me, ye wicked," but rather 
the sweet summons of His infinite mercy: "Arise, My 
beloved, and come," 



THE DUTIES OF WEALTH. 209 



IFourti) g>un&a of !Lntt, 

THE DUTIES OF WEALTH. 

''And Jesus, seeing the multitudes, had compassion on 
them, and said to His disciples: Give ye them to eat" 
Matt. xiv. 14, 1 6. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Argument for Divinity. II. Christ's magnetism. 

3. Unselfish sympathy. 
I. Christ's goodness: i. Hardships and disappointments. 

2. Uncharitable rich. 3. Philip's protest. 

II. Postprandial : i. Why gather fragments ? 2. Man in- 

satiable. 3. Superfluous wealth. 
III. Objections : i. Vices of poor. 2. Miseries of poor. 

3. Three Gospel millionaires. 

Per. : i. Kings Jesus and Herod. 2. Sequel. 3. True fame 
and reward. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in the miraculous multiplication of the 
loaves and fishes I see many lessons as beautiful as 
they are useful. I find there an answer to the modern 
infidel who impugns Christ's divinity. When the 
Greek painter Apelles visited the studio of the artist 
Protogenes during the latter's absence, he simply 
drew on the canvas a single line of such exquisite 
delicacy and proportions that on returning and seeing 
it, Protogenes immediately exclaimed: "Apelles 
hath been here, for by one hand alone could that have 
been executed." In the stupendous miracle to-day 
recorded, the people seeing unmistakably the hand of 
God, cried: " This is indeed the Promised One the 
Messias " and they hailed Him as their King. 



210 FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT. 

Again in this history I see an instance of Christ's 
wondrous power over the minds and hearts of men. 
Orpheus, they say, moved rocks and trees by the 
magic of his music, and birds and beasts were tamed 
by the eloquence of Francis of Assisi, but the music 
of Christ's speech was more alluring still, for it held 
even His enemies spellbound it led captivity cap- 
tive. Wiser than Solomon, more eloquent than 
Demosthenes, never did man speak as He, and hence 
the thousands, forgetful of all else, followed Him far 
into the wilderness. But the lesson I would set be- 
fore you to-day deals not with Christ's almighty 
power in deed or word; rather it concerns His sub- 
lime unselfishness, and His tender sympathy with the 
needy and unfortunate. Seeing the multitudes, He 
had compassion on them and said to His disciples: 
" Give ye them to eat." 

Brethren, for some weeks previously so busy had 
been Christ and His disciples in and around Caphar- 
naum, preaching and healing, that the Gospel says 
they had had scarcely time to eat. Hence it was that 
Jesus gently drew His immediate followers apart, and 
embarking sailed with them across Genesareth to the 
opposite shore. But the thousands in Capharnaum, 
bound for the Passover at Jerusalem, were not to be 
denied. Hurrying as best they could around the 
lake's northern shore, they presently arrived at the 
mount to which the little band had retired for rest 
and nourishment. Brief rest, slight nourishment, for 
immediately they descend and resume their labors. 
It is worthy of notice that the Hebrew words used to 



THE DUTIES OF WEALTH. 211 

describe the provisions the Apostles had carried with 
them indicate that the five barley loaves were of the 
cheapest kind, and the two fishes a species of sardine. 
So fared the God-man, though His was the earth and 
the fulness thereof. And that such austerity was His 
rule of life is further proved from the fact that when 
after His Resurrection He reappeared on Genesa- 
reth's shore, His preparing for them the selfsame 
meal, regardless of the splendid fish miraculously 
caught, was to them sufficient proof of His identity. 
Yet, though the loaves and fishes are their all, they 
grudge them not to the hungry multitudes. Ah, 
Brethren, what lessons here for all of us! What self- 
sacrifice in the cause of humanity, no matter how dis- 
couraging the results! His mission to Nazareth had 
been fruitless, they had rejected and sought to kill 
Him. Capharnaum had followed Him because it 
saw the miracles He did; and this vast multitude, be- 
cause they have eaten of the loaves and fishes, call 
Him Prophet and hail Him as their King. Seeing, 
they see not, and hearing, they do not understand, 
for the one return He craves they fail to give; viz., 
faith in His divinity. That, and that alone, was all 
He sought, but from first to last, from His rejection 
by the Nazarenes to His weeping over Jerusalem, 
His search was one long disappointment. Yet 
despite ingratitude and unbelief He moves among 
them as untiringly and impartially as the sun that 
shines alike on good and bad, feeding the famished, 
and healing the afflicted. Oh, how many there are, 
who, placed by God securely on the mountain of pros- 



212 FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT. 

parity, shamefully forget the starving multitudes 
below. Selfishly they take their ease, wallowing in 
luxury, with never a thought of their sacred obliga- 
tions. Christ stands between them and the throng, and 
begs with outstretched hands for bread that His poor 
may eat. What answer does He get? Do they with 
childlike faith place at His feet their all? Do they 
remember that their riches should constitute them 
Christ's disciples? Do they return the wealth He 
gave them that He may bless and break and dis- 
tribute to the needy? Alas! alas! They turn their 
backs on Him and them. " Send them away," they 
say to Him, " this horrid rabble, bid them begone and 
get a meal as best they may. It is an outrage to 
bring them clamoring here, disturbing our aristo- 
cratic quiet, marring the beauty of the landscape, 
trampling our parks and lawns. What! feed a throng 
like that! Consider the expenses of my city palace 
and my country villa, my crowded stables and my 
kennel of dogs; see the outlay for my wine-cellar, our 
dinners, our theatre-parties, our trips abroad, our 
jewels and finery why, I have not a cent to spare 
nor a crumb for your ragged mob." Thus once on a 
time spoke Dives to the starving Lazarus, and Dives 
in consequence was buried in hell. So acted Judas 
when he clutched the purse and tied the strings and 
swore his Master should not have two hundred pen- 
nies wherewith to purchase bread, and Judas, you 
know, was a thief, and presently betrayed his Master 
for money and finally hanged himself. So, too, the 
uncharitable rich are thieves who appropriate the 



THE DUTIES OF WEALTH. 213 

wealth confided to them by God on behalf of His 
poor. They are unjust stewards and I say to you, 
God's wrath shall hold them prisoner; aye, and sell 
them with their wives and children into slavery to the 
devil till the last farthing of restitution has been 
made. Christians, forsooth! If a brother or sister 
be naked and want daily food and the rich man say: 
" Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled," yet give 
them not the necessaries of life, is that Christ's teach- 
ing and example? To have the substance of this 
world, and to see one's brother in need and to steel 
one's heart against him, is that what Christianity 
means? Ah, no! for "in this," says St. John, "we 
know the chanty of God, because He hath laid down 
His life for us, and we ought to lay down not only 
our wealth, but, were it necessary, even our lives for 
the brethren." Go to, therefore, ye rich, weep and 
howl in the miseries that shall come upon you when 
your riches shall be corrupted, your garments moth- 
eaten, your gold and silver cankered, and when the 
rust of them shall be for a testimony against you and 
shall eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up to 
yourselves God's wrath, for the cry of the poor you 
have defrauded hath entered into the ears of the Lord 
God of Sabaoth. But, to be Christian, must we, like 
Andrew, relinquish all? Is not Philip's hesitancy 
justifiable, for what indeed is the little we can afford 
among so many? Oh, self, self, how cunningly it 
argues! " Bring hither the loaves and fishes," said 
Christ, " and bid the men be seated." Give accord- 
ing to thy means and leave the rest to Him. Give 



214 FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT. 

not through pride or vanity or hope of gain, else your 
largest contribution will be small and little pleasing 
to the Saviour. But giving what you can, however 
little, give it with love of Him and His into Jesus' 
hands, and rest assured it will be multiplied indefi- 
nitely for you and them. Give with purest motives 
and with confidence. Pure motives will make the 
giving of even a cup of water meritorious of eternal 
life, and confidence in giving becomes faith. Fear 
not that poverty will overtake your generosity, for. 
whosoever gives to the poor is creditor to the Lord, 
and is sure to be repaid a hundredfold. If you cast 
your bread on the human stream, you are sure to 
recover it twelve baskets for five barley loaves 
good measure, pressed down and shaken together 
and running over will God give into your bosom. 

Brethren, when the wondrous banquet was ended, 
Christ said to His disciples: " Gather up the frag- 
ments that remain, lest they be lost." Doubtless 
there was little danger of their being lost, for the 
people would gladly have hoarded them against the 
morrow's needs. But the Master wished it other- 
wise. His lesson in altruism is for all, disciples and 
people alike. He bade His followers give their all to 
the hungry throng, and now He teaches the multi- 
tude to do to others as they have been done by. The 
object-lesson was one not only of unselfishness, but 
also of faith, of trust in God. It was as though He 
said: "Be not solicitous for the morrow. Your 
heavenly Father, who feeds the birds and clothes the 
lilies, is conscious of your needs. Give and it shall be 



THE DUTIES OF WEALTH. 215 

given you again, aye, twelve teeming baskets for 
your humble loaves and tiny fishes." With shame 
be it confessed, that the law of satiety holds good in 
every creature of God save man. The clouds rain 
down their surplus moisture, and lea and furrow drink 
their fill and pass along the residue to the parched 
plain. The blade and tree absorb but their share of 
nourishment from the soil, and the well-fed kine 
wander off leaving the manger unguarded. Man 
alone, though satisfied, can never be satiated. His 
lust for possession is all-absorbing. Possession, do I 
say? Dominion rather; for the most universal and 
stubborn error the world has ever known is that men 
are absolute masters of all they possess. Such detest- 
able doctrine needs no refutation. God is, and His 
is the earth and the fulness thereof, and to Him each 
must render account of his stewardship. In the 
divine plan all are amply provided for. The rich 
from their riches may appropriate sufficient for their 
needs, " but that which remaineth," says Christ, 
" give alms." By every right of charity and justice 
the world's superfluous wealth belongs to the poor, 
and to deny assistance in cases of dire necessity is a 
crime against high heaven. The cry of the poor for 
help is simply the voice of God asking for His own. 
For Christ identified Himself with them in the words: 
" Whatsoever you do unto them, you do likewise 
unto Me." 

Brethren, some will call this doctrine communistic, 
and point you to the improvidence and vices of the 
poor, but if to echo Christ is communistic, then Com- 



2i6 FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT. 

munists let us be. Neither do we deny that the 
needy are oftentimes to blame for their condition, but 
God forbid we should trouble poor Lazarus about the 
mote in his eye as long as Dives' sports such a mon- 
strous beam. Most of the poor man's vices are 
superinduced by his very poverty, and are in a 
measure attributable to those who could afford, but 
refuse, him relief. All men have faults, but the wage- 
earner has this to his credit that his life is one long 
purgatory. Though the rich man's wealth results 
from the poor man's toil, yet how often the toiler's 
fate is little better than that of the fowl that laid the 
golden eggs. -Society is like a tree of which the 
laborers are the roots buried in the soil, deprived of 
the joy, the light, the liberty of God's fair creation, 
but sustaining withal and nourishing the upper limbs 
with their gay blossoms and rich fruits. They are 
the feet of the social Colossus, indispensable alike to 
the stomach and the head; yet how often do they go 
bare and bleeding! What wonder that the cold rises 
betimes from them to the entire body politic, and 
works the death of society through some mad 
revolutionary upheaval! For if the poor have their 
duties toward the rich, the rich also have their sacred 
obligations toward the poor that cannot be ignored. 
They should do on earth what the sun does in the 
heavens diffuse the light and warmth of worldly 
comforts among the lesser bodies. They should be 
the great arteries of society conducting God's 
munificence to every dependent member of human- 
ity. Such must have been the Creator's social plan; 



THE DUTIES OF WEALTH. 217 

else we might conclude that, though providing for the 
lilies, birds, and beasts, His fatherly solicitude is not 
concerned with the helpless poor. Reason and na- 
ture-study will convince the veriest Pagan of the 
duties of superfluous wealth. And for Christians, oh, 
in the face of Christ's teaching and example, can 
there be a doubt? Alas! whether it be doubt or nig- 
gardliness, it often happens that more shaking is re- 
quired in a Christian than a Pagan, in a Catholic than 
a Protestant, land to bring down the fruit from the 
tree. . Did Christ but come to-day He could find full 
many a barren tree to disappoint Him and evoke His 
curse. Multi-millionairism and direst poverty are 
most conspicuous to-day in Christian countries. 
Why? Because they are correlatives, and because 
our moneyed men are only nominally Christian. 
Were they sincerely such they would be guided by 
Christ's commentaries on their Gospel prototypes. 
In the Gospel there figure three multi-millionaires. 
The first, the good young man, whom Jesus loved, 
the would-be Apostle, who nevertheless when bidden 
to give his millions to the poor, sadly turned away. 
He represents to us the spiritual disadvantages in- 
separable from the mere possession of wealth, 
whereby even the best of men are not only excluded 
from the number of Christ's immediate followers, but 
also, as Christ said, find it as difficult to even enter 
heaven as a camel does to pass through the eye of 
a needle. The second multi-millionaire is he whose 
possessions so increased that his sole concern was to 
build larger storehouses, that, having laid up much 



218 FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT. 

goods for many years he might take his rest and eat 
and drink and make merry. But no sooner was his 
plan accomplished than God said to him: "Thou 
fool! this very night do I demand thy soul of thee." 
Why was God so harsh with him? We do not read 
that his riches were ill-gotten, or that he turned away 
the needy. His crime was forgetfulness of others, 
selfishness, because, says Christ, " he laid up treas- 
ures for himself and was not rich towards God/' and 
God's earthly representatives, the poor. The last 
and worst of the Gospel millionaires was Dives. He 
clothed himself in purple and fine linen and feasted 
sumptuously every day, but never a crumb would he 
give to Lazarus, dying of starvation on his doorstep. 
But Dives died and was buried in hell. Brethren, 
there is never a modern millionaire but can find his 
prototype in one of the Gospel three. Be it that 
riches are his only fault; belong he to the selfish class, 
or the unmerciful, he is sure to learn in the history of 
these three what Christ thinks of him and what will 
probably be his fate hereafter. Thou art not worthy 
to be My disciple; this night do I demand thy soul 
of thee; and judgment without mercy to him that 
hath not done mercy. 

Brethren, go back in thought to Jesus amid the 
throng, the miraculous banquet ended, blessing them, 
and with a gracious smile bidding them go in peace. 
What a contrast between that feast and that other 
just then being celebrated in King Herod's palace in 
honor of himself his birthday. Lavish expenditure, 
sinful luxury, incest, with never a thought of the poor 



THE DUTIES OF WEALTH. 219 

without. Contrast the sequel of each event. King 
Jesus spends the night in prayer upon the mountain- 
side, and when the winds and waves arise He comes 
walking on the water and stills the sea and saves His 
shipwrecked followers. King Herod, drunk with 
wine and pleasure, swears to give his shameless niece 
her will, be it half his kingdom, and at her word 
presents her on a dish the head of the murdered Bap- 
tist. A striking lesson this as to the results of the 
use and abuse of wealth. For Christ is King to-day, 
and Herod and his house but an odious remembrance. 
To the selfish rich their wealth eventually proves a 
curse, and their names and memories are held in uni- 
versal execration, but the generous giver stills the 
turbulence of the masses and becomes a second 
saviour of his people. " All the Church of the Saints 
shall declare his alms," says Scripture. Almsgiving 
is the surest guarantee of undying fame here and of 
rich reward hereafter, for " blessed are the merciful, 
for they shall obtain mercy." 



22 <> PASSION SUNDAY. 



THE MALICE OF SIN. 

" Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews, Which of you 
shall convince Me of sin? " John viii. 46. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Christ's usual aspect. II. On defensive to-day. 

III. Why? 
I. Nature: i. Definition. 2. The intention. 3. Mortal 

and venial. 

II. Malice : i. Heaven and hell. 2. God's dignity. 3. Su- 
preme good and evil. 

III. History: i. Fall of angels. 2. Fall of man. 3. Deluge, 

and Sodom and Gomorrha. 

IV. Effects on soul : i. Suicide. 2. Saint's vision. 3. Cure 

of sin is death of Christ. 
Per. : i. The innocent. 2. Penitents. 3. Sinners. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, Jesus Christ is presented to us to-day 
under a most unusual aspect. It was not the custom 
of the meek and humble Saviour to stand on the 
defensive to repel a calumny, howsoever vile; an 
insult, howsoever gross; an injury, howsoever unjust. 
In the strength of His righteousness, He ignored 
alike the fawning tempter and the snarls of the 
world. In the hour of His deepest degradation He 
opened not His mouth. To Pilate and his perjured 
accusers He answered never a word, and even on 
the march to Calvary He allowed Himself to be led 
as a lamb to the slaughter. No wonder such sublime 
submissiveness impressed the beholders touched 



THE MALICE OF SIN. 221 

even Pilate's stony heart, and converted Longinus 
and the dying thief. Yet passive though He was 
under wrong, there was one accusation, one calumny 
He never allowed to go unchallenged. " Do we 
not say well that Thou hast a devil? " the Jews 
demanded, and prompt and sharp came His in- 
dignant reply: " I have not a devil, for which of 
you shall convince Me of sin? " To my mind no 
other incident in the life of Our Lord more strongly 
emphasizes the detestable nature of sin. So repug- 
nant was it that the mere imputation was sufficient 
to draw an indignant protest even from the long-suf- 
fering Saviour. 

Brethren, sin is an offence in thought, word, deed, 
or omission against the law of God. It is an act of 
rebellion on the part of His child against the most 
indulgent of Fathers. It is an offence against Him 
who reads the reins and the hearts, and who con- 
sequently takes account not only of external trans- 
gressions, but also of interior thoughts and desires. 
Its guilt is founded especially on the accompanying 
thought, intention or advertence which gives to 
the sinful act its human character. Sin interrupts 
the friendly relations between God and the soul; 
turns their love into hate, and puts an end to that 
interchange of gifts which love entails. And since 
to serve God and in return to be revivified with His 
grace is the very life of the soul, therefore when this 
exchange has once been interrupted by sin, the 
unrepentant soul is thenceforth wounded or dead 
according as its sin was venial or mortal. Hence the 



222 PASSION SUNDAY. 

truth of St. Paul's words where he says that: " by 
one man sin entered into the world and by sin 
death," for the wages of sin, be it original or actual, 
is death. 

Brethren, let us try for a moment to realize the 
malice of one mortal sin. " Who can measure the 
height of heaven," says Ecclesiasticus, " or who can 
measure the depth of the abyss?" And if the dis- 
tance from- earth to heaven or to hell be so incon- 
ceivable, who, I ask, can hope to measure the double 
space from the lowest circle of Gehenna to the top 
of heaven's dome? Yet, Brethren, that infinite dis- 
tance is the measure by which we will have to com- 
pute the malice of one mortal sin. It can be said 
without exaggeration that the malice of such a sin 
is infinite. For the grievousness of an insult is 
measured by the difference in dignity between the 
offender and the one offended. An affront offered 
by one man to another socially his equal may be a 
matter of little moment, but an outrage perpetrated 
by a vagrant against the person of his king calls for 
the heaviest penalties. Now what King so high as 
God, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords? 
Or what pauper so poor and miserable before his 
sovereign as man before his Creator? God is a being 
of infinite dignity, and hence mortal sin is an infinite 
offence calling for an infinite punishment. Sin, in 
fact, is the direct opposite of God mortal sin is the 
supreme evil, just as God is the supreme Good. But 
not all the minds of angels and men can ever com- 
prehend the infinite goodness of God. Neither, 



THE MALICE OF SIN. 223 

therefore, hath eye seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it 
entered into the heart of man, to conceive the full 
extent of the malice of one mortal sin. 

Brethren, let us read the history of sin from the 
beginning, and judge of its nature from its awful 
effects. What have been the effects of sin in 
heaven? We go back in spirit to the time prior to 
this earth's creation, when naught existed but God 
and His angels. We see in paradise those millions 
and billions of angelic spirits, second to God alone 
in the beauty of their natures, reflecting in their glori- 
ous attributes the perfections of the Divinity, basking 
in the full splendor of the beatific vision, and incon- 
ceivably happy in the possession of the All-Good. Ah ! 
we see them as in a vision, and we seem to hear their 
heavenly voices chanting: " Sanctus, Sanctus," and 
intoning: " Glory to God in the highest " but alas! 
even as we gaze, the voices, like an interrupted chorus, 
suddenly cease, and as when a thunder-cloud crosses 
the face of the sun, so the heavenly vision disap- 
pears. What has happened? Mortal sin hath entered 
heaven and blasted the glory thereof. Lucifer and 
his followers have given for an instant to their own 
splendor the homage due to God alone, and immedi- 
ately glorious angels become loathsome devils. God 
smites His own fair creation, and like a thunderbolt 
Satan and his rebel comrades fall into the everlasting 
fire God's justice has prepared for them. Behold the 
first mortal sin; see its effect. For one mortal sin 
that lasted but a moment, one sin of thought with- 
out previous example or warning, for one such sin 



224 PASSION SUNDAY. 

did God condemn whole legions of His beloved 
angels to an eternity of excruciating torments. Oh, 
was not their punishment excessive greater than 
their crime? Did not God act rashly and in anger? 
No, for our God is a just God. He punished them 
less than they deserved, for our God is a merciful 
God. He hath done and He will never repent, for 
our God is a wise God. Had they cried back to Him 
as they fell: " Father, give us but one moment for 
repentance, and we will serve Thee with an eternity 
of love and do penance with an eternity of sorrow," 
He would have answered them: " No, it is too late. 
You have sinned, you must undergo the penalty, for 
I am the Lord and I have sworn and I will never 
repent." Oh, Sin! what a monster thou art! to dare 
to enter into even God's own heaven; to blight the 
fairest work of His hands; to rob Him of His beloved 
angels; to populate with them the miserable hell 
you and you alone have created. 

Brethren, turn you now to God's second creation. 
Baffled in His first merciful design to make creatures 
happy in the enjoyment of Himself, He determines 
on another trial, and so He creates the earth and 
man. To His own image and likeness He makes 
him; a little less than the angels He created him. 
He places him in an earthly paradise, and He gives 
him absolute dominion over his own animal nature 
and over the entire animal kingdom. There man 
would have lived a long life in the peaceful enjoy- 
ment of all imaginable blessings no troubles from 
within, no care from without; no labor, no war, no 



THE MALICE OF SIN. 225 

famine, or pestilence, no sickness, no death, but a 
life of happy contentment here, and then in God's 
good time a flight, soul and body, from the earthly 
heaven to the heaven of God. Oh! who can con- 
template that ideal life without feeling his heart 
swell with gratitude for God's bounty, and sink with 
vain regret that it is lost to us forever, and burn with 
fierce hatred against the monster mortal sin that 
has come between us and our birthright? For, no 
sooner had man begun to enjoy it,.than once more the 
insidious serpent crept in and ruined all. God com- 
manded ; man disobeyed. Why, O man, did you eat 
the forbidden fruit? Because the woman tempted 
me. Why, O woman, did you disobey your God? 
Because the demon deceived me. Aye, the demon 
mortal sin is again the destroyer, and against it 
again bursts forth God's hatred. " Cursed be the 
earth," He cries, " thorns and thistles shall it pro- 
duce. I will multiply your sorrows. In the sweat of 
your brow you shall earn your bread, and at last, as 
dust you are, into dust you shall return." Look at 
our stricken parents as they fly from the face of 
God's anger out into the dreary world, and let their 
wailings be your answer to the question: What 
is the malice of a mortal sin? Let the clanging of 
the bolts and bars of heaven's gate as it closes, not 
to be reopened for four thousand years, be an answer 
to that question. Let the difference between the 
harmony in man's soul and in nature before sin. and 
the disorder there after sin proclaim sin's malice. 
For man's rebellion against God was immediately 



226 PASSION SUNDAY. 

followed by an uprising on the part of all nature 
against man. His flesh is no longer subject to his 
reason and will ; his appetites become inordinate, his 
inclinations, evil. The beasts of the field and the 
birds of the air array themselves against him. Earth, 
water, fire and air conspire for his destruction by the 
thousand and one dangers peculiar to each. See our 
exiled parents crushed under this avalanche of woes, 
hear them wailing like lost souls over the body of 
murdered Abel; behold the fleeing Cain, with the 
brand upon his brow, an outcast on the face of the 
earth consider all these miseries and the number- 
less times that history has repeated itself since then, 
and let the whole be an answer to your question: 
What is the malice of one mortal sin? 

Brethren, history has repeated itself. Consider 
the Deluge. " All flesh," says the Scripture, " had 
corrupted its way upon the earth and the whole 
earth was filled with iniquity." What a breach of 
filial respect would that be that could cause a fond 
father to regret ever having given being to his 
child! "Yet God," says the Scripture, *' repented 
Him of ever having made man, and proceeded to 
destroy him." Imagine that awful scene. At the be- 
ginning of the forty days' downpour men looked on 
with indifference, then with surprise, then with hor- 
ror. Presently there was a mad rush and struggle 
for the highest places, but slowly the water envelops 
even the highest. The mother dies holding aloft her 
babe; the lover perishes in a vain effort to save his 
beloved; the family clasps hands, sobs farewell and 



THE MALICE OF SIN. 827 

is gone, until the last stifled cry of the last human 
being had rung out over the dreary waste. And over 
all the scene of horror who presides? God? Merci- 
ful Father, is this your work? No, no; He is a God 
of mercy still. This is not His, this is the work of 
mortal sin. 

Again consider the two fair cities of Sodom and 
Gomorrha, with all their hundreds and thousands of 
inhabitants. What was it that made God send a 
storm of fire and brimstone from heaven to destroy 
these cities and make their very sites uninhabitable 
forever? It was that their sin had become exceed- 
ing great it was mortal sin. Stand over against 
these cities with a light on your face and the smoke 
whirling about you, and listen to the roar of the 
flames and the shrieks of the victims and judge from 
its effects the awful malice of mortal sin. Alas! 
human history is for the most part a history of woes 
because it is a history of sin, whereas if sin had never 
entered the world, man would still be in the enjoy- 
ment of his original innocence with all its accom- 
panying blessings. Therefore every calamity that 
has befallen or will befall the human race; every 
misery, past, present or future of our own lives are 
all directly or indirectly the effects of mortal sin. 

Brethren, let us look at a soul in the state of mortal 
sin. What, O soul! is mortal sin to thee? Thou 
hast burst God's bonds, tho>u hast cast off His yoke, 
thou hast said: " I will not serve." An abandoned 
waif, God adopted, enriched and exalted thee, but 
thou hast despised Him, flung back His favors in His 



228 PASSION SUNDAY. 

face, and turned thee to the service of His arch- 
enemy the devil. And now now thou art the 
slave of sin, whereas before thou wert free with the 
freedom of the children of God. Nay, thou art worse 
than a slave thou art dead. For sin when com- 
pleted begetteth death. Oh! how unreasonable we 
are! When the body of a beloved dies we wail and 
lament, but when the soul dies in sin we shed never 
a tear. Yet what so dreadful as spiritual death! 
Natural death is sad, murder deplorable, but suicide 
worst of all, and the soul that sins commits spiritual 
suicide. One day a man jumped from an immense 
height, and landed almost at my feet. Bend with me 
over his shattered body, and see there a faint picture 
of a soul in mortal sin. A bruised and hideous mass ; 
an expression on the face to make the stoutest heart 
quail. However comely that body may have been 
once it has lost all its beauty now. And his soul? 
Oh it was once innocent, adorned perhaps with many 
beautiful virtues, the cause maybe of bringing in- 
numerable souls to God and worthy of a high place 
among the saints, but now there is no beauty in it 
all is lost. See the passing school-children fly in 
terror from that body; so fly the angels from his 
soul. See the dogs fighting for his blood on the 
pavement ; so the demons squabble over his poor lost 
spirit. Had he repented, his past merits would indeed 
have revived, but not now, for his sin lasts and will 
last forever. Behold that body, cold and stiff, the 
eyes staring but seeing not, the mouth gaping wide, 
the voiceless tongue lolling out, and the hands and 



THE MALICE OF SIN. 229 

feet, manacled by death, without power to help him- 
self or others. So>, too, a soul in mortal sin lies help- 
less on the way to heaven, a stumbling-block and a 
scandal to those who would fain pass on. Hour by 
hour it grows livid and putrefies and charges the air 
with deadly infection. The officers of the law take 
the ghastly body and consign it to earth, and the 
ministers of God's justice, the devils, take the putrid, 
sinful soul and bury it in hell. 

Brethren, a poor picture this of a soul in sin. It 
was once granted a great saint to see such a soul 
as God sees it, and he afterwards declared that he 
would rather endure any earthly torment than again 
behold so horrible a sight. " It were better," says St. 
Anselm, " to suffer hell innocent rather than enter 
heaven in sin, for innocence would be a comfort, 
even in hell, but guilt would be a torture, even in 
heaven." What, therefore, shall we say of an 
habitual sinner? His soul has died and is corrupting 
within him. He goes through life chained to a 
corpse. He lies down at night and clasps in a close 
embrace that horrid, putrid thing. Faugh! it is too 
horrible to think of. Let us pray God that should 
our souls ever unfortunately contract the hideous 
leprosy of sin we may quickly turn to Him for 
a cure. 

The cure of sin! Ah, Brethren, here again we see 
that sin's malice is infinite, for it requires an infinite 
atonement. If the whole court of heaven with all 
the living saints and the holy souls in purgatory 
were to unite in an act of reparation for one mortal 



230 PASSION SUNDAY. 

sin, that act would fall infinitely short of satisfying 
God's outraged justice. Hence it was that to atone 
for man's sins the Word of God Himself was, if I 
may say so, obliged to come down from heaven and 
become man and suffer and die as man, because 
man had sinned, and as God, because God only could 
cancel an infinite offence. Every drop of His 
bloody sweat in Gethsemani declares the malice of 
mortal sin every stroke of the scourge, every thorn 
of His crown, every fall on Calvary's slope, the five 
nails that held Him on the cross. The frantic grief 
of Magdalen, Mary's heartbroken sobs and the 
moans of the dying Saviour, all proclaim the malice 
of mortal sin. Sin, and sin alone, reduced an inef- 
fable God to the condition of the Man of sorrows, 
for His blood was poured out for many unto the 
remission of their sins. 

Brethren, in your upturned faces to-night, I dis- 
cern three classes those who have never sinned 
mortally, those who have so sinned and repented, and 
those on whose souls grievous sin yet remains. 
Thank God there are some who*, standing on their 
life's record, can demand defiantly of the world: 
" Which of you shall convince me of mortal sin? " 
Blessed be God that so many, though having wan- 
dered afar and miserably fallen, have yet been 
enabled by His grace to arise and return to their 
Father. Would to God that the conversion of even 
one sin-laden soul here to-night might gladden the 
Father's heart, and give joy to the angels of 
heaven. O sinful soul, however deplorable thy con- 



HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION. 231 

dition, be not cast down, for with the Lord there is 
mercy and with Him plentiful redemption. His 
patient forbearance with thee in the past is a guar- 
antee that with Him there is forgiveness. From the 
depths of your misery, from the bottom of your 
heart cry to Him and He will hearken to thee, for He 
wishes not the death of the sinner, but that he be 
converted and live. Let the hatred of sin drive thee, 
let the love of God draw thee. There is forgiveness, 
there is forgiveness, if you will only repent, for " an 
humble and contrite heart the merciful Lord will 
never despise." 



HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION. 

" He humbled Himself even unto the death of the cross, 
wherefore also God exalted Him, that every tongue should 
confess the Lord Jesus." Phil. ii. 8, 9, n. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : Christ's I. Humiliation. II. Exaltation. III. Acknowl- 

edgment. 
I. Humiliation: i. Knowledge and power. 2. Gethsemani. 

3. Sold, scourged, crowned, and crucified. 
II. Exaltation: i. Died as seed. 2. Plant (Church) grew. 

3. Glories of cross. 
III. Faith spread by self-sacrifice : i. Toward God. 2. Neigh- 

bor. 3. Self. 

Per. : i. God's hatred of sin. 2. Redemption. 3. Faithfulness 
to cross living and dead. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, Our Lord's tragic earthly career divides 
itself naturally into three parts, His private life, His 
public life, and His Passion, and each act or part ends 



232 PALM SUNDAY. 

with a triumph. When, ere His hour had yet come, 
He at His Mother's bidding changed the water into 
wine at the marriage-feast of Cana, He manifested 
His glory, says the Gospel, and His disciples believed 
in Him. Again, at the close of His public mission, 
when for the last time He approached Jerusalem, the 
populace acclaimed Him in the words: " Hosanna to 
the Son of David; blessed is He that cometh in the 
name of the Lord." Lastly, at His Resurrection His 
final victory over death and sin was so unmistakably 
proclaimed that the world has not'yet ceased to echo 
Alleluia! nor the doubting Thomases to confess Him 
as their Lord and their God. Now self-abasement 
preceded each triumph. In His youth He went down 
to Nazareth and was subject to Mary and Joseph; 
in His manhood He meekly became all things to all; 
in His Passion He utterly effaced Himself. St. Paul, 
with an eye to the close connection and dependence 
of these three, voluntary humiliation, spiritual exalta- 
tion, and the spread of faith, thus admirably sums up 
the Lord's life and its lesson: "He humbled Him- 
self even unto the death of the cross; wherefore also 
God exalted Him, that every tongue should confess 
the Lord Jesus." 

He humbled Himself even unto the death of the 
cross. 

Brethren, try as we may, we shall never succeed in 
arriving at a just appreciation of the enormity of 
the Saviour's sufferings. " Thou alone," He says to 
His heavenly Father, " Thou alone knowest My 
ignominy, My confusion, and My dignity." The 



HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION. 233 

majesty of Christ is adequately known only to the 
Father, and until He reveals it to us we shall never 
fathom the depths of Christ's voluntary humiliation. 
Of all created beings, in fact, man seems the least 
affected at Christ's sufferings, for while the sun grew 
dark and the earth quaked, and even the dead arose, 
the throng on Calvary scoffed or else looked on un- 
moved. Still, we perhaps, on sober second thought, 
can better realize the Passion of Our Lord. Christ, 
the All- Wise, knew that the greater His sufferings 
the more perfect would be our Redemption, and being 
omnipotent and prompted by an infinite love, His suf- 
ferings naturally exceeded all bounds. For what will 
not love, even carnal love, endure for its beloved! 
Jacob served Laban seven years for Rachel, and they 
seemed to him but a day because of the greatness of 
his love. What dreadful torments the martyrs un- 
derwent for Christ, finite as was their love, and 
though limited the power of their persecutors to 
devise new tortures! In His task of satisfying the 
infinite demands of divine justice, Christ's knowl- 
edge and power and choice and charity knew no 
such limitations. Sustained by their heavenly Com- 
forter, the martyrs exulted amid their agonies, but 
in His Passion Christ seems to have denied Himself 
the smallest consolation. In the sixteenth chapter of 
Leviticus we read how a sin-offering of two goats was 
made, one of which was sacrificed and the other al- 
lowed to go into the wilderness. These animals pre- 
figured Christ's dual nature, the divine temporarily 
withdrawing itself while the human expiated the sins 



234 PALM SUNDAY. 

of men. In mind and soul and body, in all that it was 
and had, His humanity suffered. Anticipation of suf- 
fering, we know, is agony more acute than even the 
reality. This accounts for the sadness that so over- 
whelmed Christ after the Last Supper, and the horror 
of what was to come that seized Him in Gethsemani 
and forced from His body the sweat of blood. In the 
annals of human suffering no* fact equally stupendous 
is recorded, because never was there woe like unto 
His woe. For over and above the chalice of bodily 
torture He was to drain to the dregs, He saw with 
God's eyes the world's sins, the ingratitude of men, 
Jerusalem's extermination, and the torments of the 
damned of which Jerusalem's destruction was but a 
tiny figure. If parents wail so over one son lost, how 
must He, the infinitely loving Father, have grieved 
over the loss of millions of His children. So utterly 
downcast was He that He seems to have dreaded 
being alone. Misery, they say, loves company. 
Though nothing was dearer to Christ through life 
than holy solitude, He now time and again interrupts 
His prayer to seek His Apostles. A sense of utter 
loneliness oppressed Him. Judas He saw already 
negotiating His betrayal, and the other Apostles 
asleep but sure to flee at the first alarm. In heaven, 
on earth, or in hell, He found no being who was not 
either permitting or desiring or actively procuring 
His destruction. His enemies the Jews, the Gentile 
Romans and the devils worked for it; His friends, 
the souls in Limbo longed for it; and His heavenly 
Father let them, have their will. When God permitted 



HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION. 235 

Satan to torture Job He bade him to spare Job's life, 
but not so now; it was completely the devil's hour 
and the hour of the power of darkness. Christ saw 
Himself like another Isaac bearing on His shoulders 
the wood of the sacrifice, while by His side, like a sec- 
ond Abraham, walked His Father, bearing in one 
hand, yes, the fire of love, but in the other, alas! the 
sword of justice. In all heaven there was no angel to 
come and stay His hand or point to a substitute vic- 
tim. Aye, and another sword He saw of keener blade, 
the sword that was to pierce the heart of Mary stand- 
ing by the cross. Eve looked upon the forbidden tree 
and Adam wrought our ruin by eating from it, and 
justice demanded that Mary should gaze on Jesus 
while dying on the rood. Abandoned by all she yet 
would cling to Him, but her very constancy, He saw, 
would only serve to aggravate His torments. 

Brethren, the horror Christ conceived from His 
foreknowledge of His sufferings was justified by the 
event. The first indignity heaped upon Him was 
that of being sold as a slave or a beast, sold by His 
friend to His bloodthirsty enemies, sold for the 
paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver. Such was man's 
estimate of Christ's value of Christ, who did not 
reckon His own heart's blood too dear a price where- 
with to purchase man. But even the silver pieces 
were considered on second thought beyond His 
worth, for presently He was auctioned off, He and 
the outlaw Barabbas, and the multitude cried: " Give 
us Barabbas, but as for Christ, crucify Him, crucify 
Him." The healer of bodily ills, the restorer of the 



PALM SUNDAY. 

dead to life, was rejected for a murderer! Then came 
the scourging, a punishment considered by all so 
shameful that Rome guarded by law her humblest or 
wickedest citizen from such indignity. In Christ's 
case, then, the tender body of the noblest of noble- 
men was subjected to chastisement usually adminis- 
tered only to rustics and to slaves. That His scourg- 
ing was excessive, too, is evident, for to such pitiable 
state was He reduced that Pilate was led to hope the 
sight would move the people to repent and let Him 
go. But his expectation was not realized, for the 
multitude loudly demanded that the prisoner be fur- 
ther punished with crown and cross. The crown of 
thorns was a species of torture altogether new, un- 
heard of before or since, the devil's masterpiece. The 
cross, too, was to the ancients what the gallows is 
to-day an object of shame and horror. Modern 
justice is merciful enough to draw the black cap over 
the criminal's head and face to hide from his eyes the 
scaffold, but Christ was made to look upon His cross, 
to embrace it and to carry it. He, so dignified, so 
gentle, so modest, made to run half-naked through 
the streets, to be exposed presently quite naked on 
the cross! And through it all He never uttered a 
complaint. Animals that cry out in pain do not 
excite such pity as the horses and sheep that suffer 
dumbly, and loud-mouthed human sorrow meets with 
scanty sympathy. This is the secret of the Passion's 
pathos, that Christ opened not His mouth, or if He 
spake at all it was but to pray for His tormentors, to 
sympathize with Mary and John, or to beg for a little 



HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION. 237 

water. Dives, we read, Dives buried in hell, was 
denied one drop wherewith to allay his thirst, but 
human cruelty was crueler still, for not content with 
refusing Christ's request, they gave Him instead 
vinegar and gall. Christ died, the Gospel says, cry- 
ing out with a loud voice. It was the cry of a broken 
heart to humanity to come and see if there ever was 
or could be, even in hell, woe like unto His woe. 

" He humbled Himself even unto the death of the 
cross; wherefore God exalted Him." Brethren, after 
the cross the crown, or rather the cross itself became 
for Christ and the world their joy and crown. In the 
spiritual world he that exalteth himself shall be 
humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be 
exalted. The proud and boastful Pharisee returned 
home from his devotions in the Temple less justified 
than the humbly penitent publican. The rich young 
man who refused to give up all and follow Christ was 
never heard of more in history, sacred or profane, but 
because the Apostles left their little all and followed 
Christ, their fame hath gone to the ends of the earth-, 
and because Mary, by vow of chastity, forfeited, 
humanly speaking, all claim to be the Mother of the 
Messias, therefore did God regard the humility of His 
handmaid and all generations call her blessed. The 
sequence between self-humiliation and exaltation 
Christ thus expressed: "Unless the grain of wheat 
falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone, but 
if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Christ uttered 
these words in the midst of His triumphal entry into 
Jerusalem, and whenever He gave His Apostles a 



238 PALM SUNDAY. 

glimpse of His divinity and of the glories to come, 
He never failed also to remind them of His approach- 
ing persecution and ignominious death. Unless one 
forgets self, unless he hates and dies to self, he can 
never accomplish anything great for God or humanity 
or his own soul. A greater benefactor than Jesus the 
world has never known, and He, in the accomplish- 
ment of His mission, simply annihilated self. He was 
fond of comparing Himself to the seed sometimes 
to the largest, the grain of wheat, and again, to the 
smallest, the mustard-seed. Christ was at once the 
greatest and the least, God and man. We see Him 
at His lowliest in the manger, at the pillar, thorn- 
crowned or crucified, but He was still the greatest, for 
He was born of a Virgin, feared and adored by kings, 
hailed by angel choirs; He made the deaf to* hear, 
the dumb to speak, and the dead to rise again. He 
was the greatest of all when, at His death, Nature 
was convulsed and conquered, and when, rising from 
the tomb, He led captivity captive. But the author of 
Christianity, as it exists to-day, is Christ not at His 
greatest but at His lowliest, for His method was to 
sink His divinity into His humanity, and to lower His 
humanity into the very earth, that dying there He 
might bring forth much fruit. It was necessary that 
He, the new Adam, should sleep the sleep of death 
on the cross, that out of His side might emerge the 
new Eve the Church the Mother of all the living. 
We read that Rachel of old gave birth to two sons, 
the first of whom was born without the pains of child- 
birth, but the second with such excruciating tortures 



HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION. 239 

that her child had scarcely taken his first breath when 
she breathed her last. So it was with God the 
Creator and God the Redeemer. When first He 
created man it was with joy and exultation, but the 
product of His hands proved a failure, man aban- 
doned Him so that God remained still practically 
alone. " Unless the seed die, itself remaineth alone." 
But man's regeneration was accomplished by the tor- 
ments and death of the man-God, and the result was 
that the dead seed brought forth much fruit. For 
the Church to-day stands like a mighty tree towering 
above all earthly things, her branches and members 
spreading everywhere, clothed with the fair foliage of 
her rites and ceremonies, adorned with the blossoms 
of innocence and laden with the fruits of sanctity, and 
men gaze at her and marvel that so great a plant 
should have sprung from so small a seed, that that 
limp figure on the cross should be the author of so 
mighty and such a perfectly organized institution. 
Such exaltation has Christ achieved that even the in- 
strument of His torture, the cross, previously the ob- 
ject of dread and horror, has become for mankind a 
ladder of Jacob leading heavenward, a tree of life in 
the midst of earth, laden with precious fruit, a rock 
in an arid desert from which, when struck, gush forth 
sweet waters, an inexhaustible widow's cruse, afford- 
ing us our daily bread and the wherewithal to satisfy 
our heavenly creditor. With the sign of the cross 
temples and altars are consecrated, ministers or- 
dained, and the sacraments administered. We place 
it on our spires to point us heavenward, on our fore- 



240 PALM SUNDAY. 

heads to guide us as a lamp through this dark world, 
and we mark with it the resting-place of our dead. 
In our battles with the powers of darkness our 
standard is the one God gave to Constantine, an 
illumined cross with the words, " In this sign, con- 
quer." Before the crucifix we bow in adoration, and 
to possess even a particle of the original cross is to be 
rich indeed. The sign of the cross is the uniform of 
mercy's army, the countersign at which the world's 
sentinel cries: "Friend, pass on." Whatever good 
we do in life begins and ends with the sign of the 
cross, and dying we press it to our lips. Verily of 
the cross as of Christ Himself may be quoted the 
words: " I am the Alpha and the Omega, the begin- 
ning and the end." 

Brethren, this truth, that the only way to the crown 
is the cross, cannot be too strongly emphasized, for 
our instincts are contrary to the laws of Nature and 
grace. We recoil from the cross while we clutch the 
crown. But Nature acts otherwise. The tree does 
not spring 1 up unless the seed dies. Far otherwise, 
too, is the service of God. Whoever have done great 
things for Him have succeeded because they held the 
goods of this life and life itself at their true value and 
sacrificed all for the life to come. " If any man will 
come after Me," says Christ, " let him deny himself 
an,d take up his cross and follow Me." The same is 
true of our efforts in behalf of humanity our self- 
sacrifice will be the measure of their success. Why 
if, in purely secular spheres of human activity, men 
succeed because they literally put their heart, their 



HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION. 241 

soul, their life unto their task, how much more so, in 
the work of spreading the kingdom of God! The 
martyrs because they died and with their blood fer- 
tilized the ground, bore increase a hundredfold, for 
their spirits, released and diffused abroad through 
their example, spread about a very epidemic of faith 
and hope and love. By such means, too, must our 
own salvation be procured, for unless we rise superior 
to self we shall never accomplish our highest destiny. 
" He that loveth his life shall lose it," says Christ, 
" and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it 
unto life eternal." Our tendency is to load ourselves 
down with good things of earth, whereas, to wrestle 
successfully with Satan, we must be as abstemious 
and as thinly clad as an athlete. It is the heavy load 
on the rich man's back that makes the way to heaven 
appear to him so steep and the gate so narrow. The 
one argument against salvation for the majority is 
the amount of selfishness in the world, and Christ's 
threat that whoever loves his life here shall lose it 
hereafter. For no man, whose efforts in the work of 
salvation began and ended in himself ever did, or ever 
can,, reach heaven. Faith is all very well, but it is not 
enough, for Christ suffered for us, leaving us an ex- 
ample to be followed. The true economy of salva- 
tion, therefore, is to save ourselves by sacrificing self 
for the salvation of others. Woe to him who ap- 
proaches his Judge single-handed and alone. Like 
the wicked servant who hid his talent in a napkin, his 
master will order him, to be cast into exterior dark- 
ness. Our work, whether it be the suppression of 



$4* PALM SUNDAY. 

our own passions, or the giving of our substance to 
relieve the poor, or the bestirring ourselves to lead 
sinners back to God, or the laying down of our lives 
for the brethren whatever it be we must never allow 
self to stand between us and our duty. But the 
battle must first be fought and victory gained at home 
in and with ourselves. For a Christian to gratify 
all his cravings would be not less unreasonable than 
for a fever patient to indulge in copious draughts of 
cold water with the certainty of fatal consequences. 
Our natures perturbed by sin require homoeopathic 
treatment further perturbation by self-denial will 
restore them to life and health. 

" He humbled Himself and God exalted Him, 
that every tongue should confess the Lord Jesus." 
Brethren, besides confessing the greatness of Christ's 
sufferings and the greatness of His glory we must not 
forget to acknowledge the malice of our sins for 
which He suffered. When Joseph's brethren sold 
him into slavery and to prove his death falsely ex- 
hibited to his father a bloodstained garment, Jacob 
cried out: " A most wicked beast hath devoured 
Joseph." How much more wicked was that beast of 
sin which sent back to His Father Christ's earthly 
garb His torn and bleeding humanity! Christ was 
to His Father as a vase of priceless worth, but when 
filled with our putrid wickedness the Father crushed 
and ground Him unto dust. Christ was the only be- 
gotten and well-beloved Son of the God of armies, 
but when He donned the rebel uniform of sin His 
Father caused Him to be tortured and executed. 



HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION. 243 

And if God spared not His beloved Son defiled by the 
sins of others, will He spare us laden with our own? 
If the fire of God's vengeance so fiercely devoured 
Christ, the green wood, will not we, the dry wood, be 
utterly consumed? If Christ's Passion be the measure 
of God's hatred of sin, who shall deny that hell exists 
and is eternal? But here we must acknowledge, too, 
Christ's boundless goodness for that He saved us 
from a fearful doom, for by sacrifice of self He 
restored the earthly paradise and reopened heaven. 
Wherefore it is that every tongue should confess the 
Lord Jesus, and every Christian imitate His virtues. 
While adoring the dead cross of Christ, let us not for- 
get our duty regarding the living crosses of our lives. 
In sinning our guilt was more than that of merely 
having looked on sin, and our expiation calls for more 
than merely looking on Christ crucified. Like St. 
Paul, we ought to be fixed to the cross with Christ, 
we ought to live, not we, but Christ in us. We ought, 
like St. Francis, to bear in our bodies the stigmata, 
or, like St. Clare, have the cross imprinted on our 
hearts. Mary and John were dearest of all to Christ 
because nearest to His cross, and we, if we imitate 
them, shall be by Him exalted unto the glory of God 
His Father. 



244 GOOD FRIDAY. 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 

" G all ye that pass by the way, come and see if there be 
woe like unto my woe." Lam. i. 12. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Lenten sequence. II. Close. III. Meditate, com- 

passionate, be comforted. 
I. Meditate: i. Our Brother. 2. Betrayed, denied, scourged, 

crowned, rejected. 3. The crucifixion. 
II. Compassionate: i. Mother and Brother. 2. Suffered 

for us. 3. For our sins. 
III. Find comfort : i. Life's trials. 2. Light by contrast. 

3. Effect of pity and love. 
Per. : Salutary effect of meditation on the Passion. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, we have been trying during this Lent 
to bring our souls into a closer union with Our Lord 
and Saviour. With our crosses on our shoulders, 
we have been trying to faithfully follow Him. To 
spur ourselves on, we have reflected on the reward 
of perseverance the eternal happiness of our im- 
mortal soul ; we have reflected on the consequences 
of unfaithfulness the misery of a sinner's life and 
sinner's death here, and of a sinner's hell here- 
after; and we have reflected on penance and prayer, 
the means of following Our Lord closely and per- 
severingly. So, to-night, we find ourselves by His 
very side, prepared to go with Him through the 
last sad scene of our tragic Redemption; to assist 
Him with His cross, as did Simeon of Cyrene; to 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 245 

stand in speechless anguish with Mary and see Him 
die on the cross; to kneel with Magdalen and gaze 
in loving adoration on His dead body reposing in the 
arms of His poor afflicted Mother. 

Our Lord extends a threefold invitation to us to 
meditate on His Passion. First, He asks us to con- 
sider how great were His sufferings, saying : " O all 
ye that pass by the way, come and see if there be woe 
like to My woe." Secondly, He invites us to com- 
passionate His sufferings: " Have pity on Me, have 
pity on Me, at least you My friends." Thirdly, He asks 
for our love and promises love in return: " O all ye 
that labor and are burdened, come to Me and I will 
refresh you, and you shall find peace for your souls." 
God grant we may so meditate on Christ's Passion as 
to excite our pity for Him, and then our love, for 
pity is akin to love. 

" O all ye that pass by the way, come and see if 
there be woe like unto My woe." Who is this who 
speaks? It is our elder Brother, our Saviour, our 
God. That Brother of ours, who, though born and 
reared in poverty, was still nurtured and brought up 
with all the care and tenderness of His young 
Mother, between whom and her Son there existed the 
fourfold love of a mother for her son, of a bride for 
her spouse, of a daughter for her father, of a saintly 
virgin for her God. That Brother, who, instead of 
harsh words and corporal punishments, received 
from His foster father naught but lowly homage. 
That Brother, who, up to a few months ago, had 
never passed from the gentle influence of His own 



246 GOOD FRIDAY. 

family, His own village, into the rough world beyond. 
That Brother, the most beautiful among the sons of 
men as fair and as tender as a maiden pale and 
slender and strangely sad, but, withal, unspeakably 
commanding kind and good to> all, but especially 
the lover and the well-beloved of the little ones. 
That Brother, whose wondrous charity led Him to 
cure the demented boy; to take the ruler's little 
dead daughter in His arms and breathe new life into 
her; to shed tears with Mary and Martha and con- 
sole them by raising their dead brother Lazarus to 
life; to stop the funeral of the widow's son and give 
back to the poor heartbroken mourner the sole 
hope and joy of her declining years. O my Jesus! 
when we think of all your goodness, we are not con- 
tent with offering you the purest of all love the love 
of a brother for a brother we want to prove our 
love we want to suffer that you may not suffer 
we want to die that you may live. But no ; Our Lord 
is too generous for that ; He would sooner suffer 
Himself than see us suffer. All He asks of us is to 
come and see if there be woe like unto His woe. 
Come and see and, oh! my poor Brother, what do we 
see? We see Him in the midst of a vast crowd of sol- 
diers 'the most savage and brutal men, probably, 
God ever created. And why is He here? Why has 
He left Nazareth? He is here on account of His 
own goodness and the wickedness of men. For He 
went around the whole country, with His Apostles, 
doing good, but men took it ill of Him ; they began 
to envy Him His supernatural power and hate Him 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 247 

for His very goodness. The more love and kindness 
He showed them the more they hated Him, until, 
finally, they decided it was expedient that one man, 
our innocent Brother, should die for the people. The 
more they hated Him the more He loved them, for 
even while they were plotting His death, He was giv- 
ing His Apostles power to absolve His enemies, and 
to change bread and wine into His body and blood, 
to be food and drink for their souls. But they only 
hated Him all the more aye, even in that little 
band of Apostles, from whom, of all men, He might 
expect gratitude and love, even among these was one 
who hated Him Judas; who rushed from the room 
after a sacrilegious communion to sell and betray his 
Friend into the hands of His enemies. Oh! no wonder 
our poor Lord was weary of life, sorrowful, sad even 
unto death as, at nightfall, He strayed through the 
silent solitude of the Garden of Gethsemani! No 
wonder, I say, for after the institution of the Holy 
Eucharist He seemed to have put away His divinity, 
to have become our human, mortal Brother in very 
truth. Hence His poor human nature, finding itself 
abandoned by the Divinity, stood aghast at the 
wickedness and ingratitude of men, at the enormity 
of the sufferings He was about to endure, at the 
uselessness of these sufferings for millions of man- 
kind; and, in a paroxysm of grief and fear, He turned 
to His Apostles for comfort, but found none, for they 
were asleep; and He turned to His Father and 
begged to be spared these sufferings, but His Father 
bade Him drink the bitter chalice to the dregs. 



248 GOOD FRIDAY. 

Abandoned by God, abandoned by man, He sank 
down under His weight of woe, with not a sign of 
life left save the bloody sweat that oozed out at 
every pore. So long did He lie there that even 
heaven seemed to doubt of His reviving, for an 
angel came and recalled Him to life recalled Him 
from the agony of death to begin a living agony to 
receive the false kiss of Judas, to see His sworn fol- 
lowers desert Him, to be led away, bound, by the 
rabble, to be flung headlong into the brook Cedron 
as He passed it, to be dragged wet and bleeding from 
Annas to Caiphas, and from Caiphas to Pilate, and 
from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back to the 
courtyard of Pilate. There we find Him now. Let 
us push through that jeering, scoffing, brutal crowd 
and look at Him. My poor Brother! Handcuffed 
and bruised, His breast heaving with emotion, His 
breath quick and short, the perspiration dripping 
from His face, and His eyes wildly searching among 
those around Him for a friendly face. Suddenly His 
countenance lights up, for He sees, by the door, the 
Apostle Peter, come, no doubt, to fulfil his oath, and 
die with Him. Ah! no, for Peter will not even look 
at Him ; he turns away swearing he never knew Him ; 
and now the drops of sweat that trickle down Our 
Saviour's face are mixed with scalding tears. 

Now that He is alone, entirely alone, the full frenzy 
of His enemies breaks upon Him. We see them load 
Him with dishonor; subject His body to every kind 
of abuse and torture, and finally murder Him before 
our eyes. They ask Him what He has to say in self- 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 249 

defence, and no sooner does He open His mouth to 
reply than a vile miscreant rushes at Him from the 
crowd, and deals Him a resounding, staggering blow 
in the face. Shame, not for Himself but for His as- 
sailant, sends the hot blood to His sacred face and out 
through the wound He has received, and He bows 
down His head, resolved, from that moment, to en- 
dure all in silence. But His silent submission only 
maddens them the more. They blindfold and buffet 
Him and spit in His face. One by one these brutal 
men come before Him, bowing low in mock rever- 
ence and hailing Him, in tones of assumed homage, 
as their king; and then return to mingle with the 
crowd that stands around, and make the courtyard 
ring again with their laughter at the savage humor of 
the scene. While this fiendish jest is going on within, 
outside is heard the mighty roar of the surging mob 
calling on Pilate to pronounce the death-sentence. 
But Pilate hesitates; he knows the man is innocent; 
his wife has dreamed a dream of dire calamity to come 
should He be condemned; and as he looks down from 
his balcony into the courtyard, even his heart thrills 
with pity for the poor forlorn prisoner. " Friends," 
he cries, " this man is innocent." " No," they answer, 
" He is guilty and He is an apostate and a traitor, and 
unless you sentence Him we will denounce you to 
Caesar." " But," he insists, " I cannot be responsible 
for an innocent man's death." " His blood," they 
cry, " His blood be upon us and upon our children." 
"Take," he begs, "take the felon Barabbas and hang 
Jiim but spare the Christ." But they roar back: 



250 GOOD FRIDAY. 

" Not Barabbas let him go free but let the Christ 
be crucified." Look at our poor innocent Brother, 
as He stands there on that balcony before that im- 
mense throng stands handcuffed to a highway rob- 
ber, a red-handed murderer stands there in mute 
appeal to the people for His life. Oh! His heart 
sickens, and His soul seems to die within Him, and a 
livid hue spreads over His already pale and ghastly 
countenance as He hears them cry: " Long live Ba- 
rabbas; death to the Christ." 

The solemn death-sentence has fallen from the 
judge's lips; the guilty judge washes his hands as 
though he would, thereby, remove the stain from his 
conscience our poor Brother is hurried off to suffer 
unheard-of sufferings and to die a felon's death. He 
is hurried down into a cold, dismal dungeon in the 
midst of which stands a column three feet high with 
a ring at the top like a hitching-post, and, being 
stripped of His garments, He is bound thereto in a 
stooping position, and scourged. One by one each 
brawny savage grasps the leather thong, with its 
leaded ends, as it falls from the hand of his exhausted 
predecessor, and rains blows on the tender back and 
quivering sides and heaving breast of our poor 
Saviour. Oh! the horrible echo of those blows, and 
the panting of the executioner, and the shower of 
flesh and blood that strewed the ground, and the 
bones laid bare, and the convulsive writhing of that 
body, and the mute agony of those streaming eyes 
and that quivering countenance! Ah! Mary, the 
soldiers turned you roughly away when you tried to 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 251 

enter with your Son, but you linger by the door and 
you try to count the countless blows and your mater- 
nal heart sickens at the sounds, and half-fainting you 
lean against the wall, and your hot tears fall and your 
loud sobs reveal your unspeakable woe. Ah! that 
gentle, loving boy that, as an infant, lay smiling in 
your arms, that played as a child round your knee, 
that laid His boyish head on your lap and called you 
Mother; that, only the other day, held you in His 
arms and kissed you good-bye forever Ah! look at 
Him now stripped of His garments, stripped of His 
skin, stripped of His flesh, with not a friend in all the 
wide world but yourself standing in the midst of His 
barbarous persecutors, looking around, vainly, among 
them for one look or word of sympathy; sinking 
down for a moment under His load of mental and 
bodily torture into the dense darkness of misery 
with not a ray of consolation. A moment only, for 
they soon rouse Him and put on His garments and 
hurry Him out past His poor Mother, up to the great 
courtyard again. She cannot follow Him in there, 
and, even if she could she could never get near Him 
with the crowd. For the place is filled with soldiers 
who seat Him on a stone bench and place on His head 
a platted crown of huge thorns and force them down 
and in until their sharp points penetrate the skin and 
grate on the bones of the skull. Oh! the anguish of 
the Mother's heart as she listens to those sounds! 
She cannot see Him, but she knows He is in the midst 
of that throng, silent and forlorn, the blood streaming 
down into His eyes and mouth, a scarlet fool garment 



2$ 2 GOOD FRIDAY. 

on His shoulders, a fool's sceptre a reed in His 
hand. She sees the crowd sway hither and thither as 
the soldiers, in grim sport, struggle to reach Him, to 
mock Him, as a King whom she knows truly to be the 
King of kings; to spit on and buffet and load with 
dishonor Him whom she knows to be the soul of 
honor ; to torture and torment Him who, she knows, 
was always good and kind to everybody, and feels 
even for His enemies naught but tenderness and love. 
Why, even the stony heart of Pilate is moved to pity 
as he looks on, and he is led to believe and hope that 
if that howling mob outside could only see the man 
now, they, too, would be moved to pity Him and let 
Him go. So once again he orders Him to be 
dragged up and out upon the balcony, with His hands 
bound, the crown on His head, the purple robe on 
His shoulders, the reed in His hand; and thinking to 
give them the full benefit of the piteous spectacle, 
Pilate suddenly presents Him to them and shouts 
out: " Behold the man! " Behold the man! Ah, if 
you have the smallest vein of sympathy in your 
nature; if your heart ever beat fast and swelled with 
pity for a poor fellow creature, for a poor Brother, 
behold this man and shed one little tear over His 
deplorable condition. What more touching sight is 
there than to behold a strong man writhing in mute 
agony? There before me stands my poor, gentle, 
patient Brother; His knees trembling beneath Him 
with weakness, and every muscle of His mangled 
body shivering with torture; His head bowed down, 
and those pathetic eyes searching the crowd with a 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 253 

wild, imploring look. Oh, there were little children 
in that crowd whose young- hearts, at a look from 
Him, burst with pity for Him, and sent the scalding 
tears to blind their eyes to the woeful sight. There 
were young women there who pitied Him for the sake 
of their own brothers and lovers. There were 
mothers there who thought of their own sons and 
bowed their heads in speechless sorrow when they 
heard the wail of His poor Mother. Aye, for Mary 
was there in the throng, and when her eyes met the 
eyes of her Son. she shrieked aloud and sank back into 
the arms of Mary Magdalen and St. John. But there 
sympathy ended, the vast majority of that crowd 
remained pitiless and cried all the louder: " Let 
Him be crucified! Let Him be crucified!" 
Pilate's last feeble attempt to save the inno- 
cent has failed, and so he gives Christ over to 
the mob to do with Him as they will. Eagerly 
they set to work to carry out their fiendish purpose. 
Willing hands procure and prepare the rough cross; 
the huge nails are brought and the heavy hammer, 
and the mournful procession starts up the hill of 
Calvary. There are three to be executed, Our Lord 
and two robbers; two culprits going to satisfy justice, 
one victim of religious fanaticism. And as the hatred 
of the religious fanatic is more relentless even than 
the strictest justice, so the robbers are allowed to 
walk free, while Our Lord is made to carry His cross. 
Was there ever a poor shattered frame more inca- 
pable of bearing a load! was there ever a heavier load 
placed on human shoulders! was there ever a steeper 



254 GOOD FRIDAY. 

or more uneven road trod by two poor mangled 
human feet! Poor Mary follows in the crowd, and, 
as she sees the bloody footprints His feet have made, 
her maternal heart can contain itself no longer. In 
a frenzy of despair and with a superhuman effort, she 
rushes frantic through the crowd. Men fall back in 
alarm before her fierce earnestness, and on she goes 
through the parted ranks until she stands face to face 
with her Son. " Mother," He sobs, " Mother," and 
at the word all her unnatural courage dies out, all the 
love and tenderness of her nature come back to her, 
and in a moment she is a helpless woman, a heart- 
broken mother again. Speechless with emotion, 
their eyes meet in one long, last look, and then the 
rough guard brushes her aside, and the gloomy pro- 
cession moves on. Oh, how the great heart of that 
fondest of sons must have ached with sympathy for 
His poor Mother! What bitter tears He must have 
shed on that dreary march as He compared the hap- 
piness of their life long ago, in the little home of 
Nazareth, with the misery of their present condition! 
Aye, I feel as sure as if Christ Himself revealed it to 
me, that one of the bitterest of all the bitter pains He 
had to endure, was the thought of His poor Mother's 
grief and desolation; for His generous heart felt first 
for His Mother, then for mankind, and last of all for 
Himself. That is why, when He fell three times 
under the cross, He suffered more from the thought 
that His Mother was listening to His groans and the 
blows He received, than He did from the blows them- 
selves. That is why, also, He honored His Mother 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 255 

by honoring the whole race of womankind in making 
them His only comforters; by allowing Veronica to 
wipe the blood and sweat from His sacred face, and 
stopping to sympathize with the women of Jerusalem. 
I say, to sympathize with them, for when they would 
have consoled Him, He, with a sublime forgetfulness 
of self, said: "Weep not for Me, but for your- 
selves and for your children." Aye, and He remem- 
bered His fond, dead foster-father, St. Joseph, and 
though no man in all that throng showed Him a 
single kindness by word or deed, yet did He honor 
the male sex by allowing Simon of Cyrene to help 
Him carry His cross. So He moved on to His death, 
tenderly solicitous about every one but Himself; 
thinking of, and in His heart weeping for, you and 
me, His brothers and sisters, and for our sins. On 
He goes, more dead than alive, stopping now and 
then from sheer exhaustion; on and on, up to the top 
of Calvary, where the three holes are already dug. 
There He throws down His cross and waits while the 
vast throng struggle for the best positions from 
which to view the scene. 

The three prisoners are left alone with the execu- 
tioners and a small guard. The condemned are now 
stripped a small matter for the two who had not 
been scourged, but for Our Lord a renewal of all His 
agony, an opening up of every wound He bears. 
Then two rough hangmen seize on each arm, and fling! 
them rudely down upon their crosses and jumping on 
them with fierce haste, set the enormous nails and ply 
the ponderous hammers. Oh my poor Lord! my 



256 GOOD FRIDAY. 

blood freezes at the sound of those hammers. Let 
my soul be convulsed with pain as is your body; let 
my tears flow as freely as does your blood. Oh, look 
at Him now, hoisted on His cross between earth and 
heaven incarnate modesty exposed naked to the 
sight and vile scoffs and jests of a libidinous throng; 
swayed unsteadily to and fro as they move the foot of 
the cross to the pit prepared for it; torn with all 
anguish as, with a rude jerk, they drop it in. The 
shock were enough to tear His soul from His body, 
but still it could not draw a word of complaint from 
His lips. The crucified thieves fill the air with their 
cries and one calls loudly on the Christ to use now 
His boasted power and blast their executioners and 
save all three. But lo! the thorn-crowned head is 
raised, and the eyes glance heavenward, and in a 
trembling voice He cries: " Father, forgive them, for 
they know not what they do." He taught mankind: 
" Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, 
pray for them that persecute you;" and here He 
proves He well knows how to practice what He 
preached. They have hung Him as a, criminal, they 
have put an insulting inscription over His head, they 
have robbed Him of His last and only possessions, 
His garments and after all He prays for them: 
" Father, forgive them, for they know not what they 
do." Ah, no wonder one thief forgot his torture 
to admire this sublime charity; no wonder he 
believed in Our Lord's divinity and received 
then and there the promise of the reward of 
faith: " This day thou shalt be with Me in para- 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 257 

dise." His thirst for souls being thus sated by 
one sinner saved, He then, and only then, becomes 
conscious of the bodily thirst that consumes Him. " I 
thirst," He moans, and two forms spring forward at 
the word a soldier who dips a sponge in vinegar 
and presses it to His lips and Mary, unable, poor 
soul, to relieve His thirst unless by her tears or, if 
need be, with her heart's blood. Ah, how the tender 
heart of Jesus throbs with pity for His poor Mother 
Mary! What will become of her when He is gone! 
Will she go back heartbroken and alone to the 
deserted home in Nazareth and pine away and die of 
very grief? Oh for some one to be her comforter, 
some one to entrust her to! His eyes search the 
crowd beneath and He sees there the beloved disciple 
John, and He calls to him: " John, as thou lovest Me 
be a son to My Mother; Mother, for My sake be a 
mother to him." Then John takes her by the hand 
and calls her Mother, and at the tender word she 
sobs and moans as if her heart would break. And 
Jesus sobs too, moans in utter desolation of spirit. 
He has given up all, even His own beloved Mother! 
Nailed on His cross, abandoned by all on earth, His 
humanity cries out to heaven: " My God, My God, 
have you too abandoned Me? " At that awful sound 
a hush falls upon the noisy throng, Nature herself 
seems to hold her breath, the midday sun grows dim, 
as though night, with a veil of darkness, would fain 
shut out from mortal eyes the horrible scene. Dark- 
ness and silence over all, and the weird horror of the 
scene is intensified by the wails of Magdalen, the sobs 



258 GOOD FRIDAY. 

of Mary, and the dreary moans of the dying Christ. 
" It is finished," He cries, and soon again through the 
darkness comes a long, last, loud scream of pain: 
" Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." The 
earth trembles and the storm-cloud bursts, and men 
fly for their lives, only to run into the arms of the 
newly risen dead. The thunder booms and the light- 
ning flashes through the darkness, and lights up, with 
a ghastly glare, the mount and the cross and the 
white limp figure of the dead Saviour. Nature is con- 
vulsed at the death of Nature's God; all men cry out 
as I cry out here to-night: " Brother, Saviour, God, 
we have come and we have seen and we own there 
never was and never can be woe like unto Thy woe." 
" Hiave pity on Me, have pity on Me, at least you,_ 
My friends." O Brethren, is there a heart here to- 
night so stony as to refuse Him that pity which the 
Saviour begs? He is our Brother and Mary is our 
Mother. In their blessed company we have spent the 
happiest days of our lives. He toiled for us little ones 
with all the great love of an elder Brother. He pre- 
pared us the choicest food His sacred body; and the 
choicest drink His precious blood; and kept us 
clothed constantly in the royal garment of His 
precious grace. Mary, too, watched over us and 
cared for us with all the infinite love which only a 
fond mother's heart can feel. And can we, her 
younger children, His younger brothers and sisters 
can we stand around that cross unmoved, and re- 
fuse our dying Brother and our martyred Mother 
Mary the tenderest pity of our hearts? Especially 



THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 259 

when we know that her anguish and His agony are 
undergone for us; that, of every pang she feels, we 
are the cause; that every suffering of His soul is the 
result of our sinful thoughts and desires; every tor- 
ture of His body the result of the sins we have com- 
mitted with our five senses. Oh! God help the poor 
soul that cannot sympathize with its suffering 
Brother and Lord. God help the, poor heart that 
does not melt with compassion in response to His 
feeble cry: " Have pity on Me, have pity on Me, at 
least you, My friends." 

Pity will be not only akin to love, but will become 
love itself if we listen to His third and last invitation: 
" Oh all ye that labor and are burdened, come to Me 
and I will refresh you, and you shall find peace for 
your souls." Who of us can afford to reject that 
blessed invitation? Who of us does not, at times, 
find his cross lie heavy upon him and the enemies of 
his soul persecute and torment him, and his life 
devoid of all but desolation of spirit and misery of 
mind and body? Who of us who does not, at times, 
find the work of salvation hard labor, and the yoke of 
God a heavy burden? No; in all the world there is 
not one who does not need frequent spiritual refresh- 
ment to bring peace to his soul. This refreshment 
and this peace he must seek for, in meditating on, and 
comparing Christ's sufferings with his own. The 
thought of these sufferings will make his own seem 
light; he will forget his own trials out of pity for his 
Saviour. When he remembers that his Saviour suf- 
fered all that for him, love will take possession of his 



260 EASTER SUNDAY. 

heart; and since the effect of love is to unite the lover 
with the beloved, he will climb the height of Calvary 
or approach the second Calvary the altar, and he 
will take into his arms, aye, into his breast, that 
precious body of his brother, and he will touch his 
lips to the sacred side and taste the saving blood of 
his Redeemer; and he shall come away, his soul re- 
freshed into new life and the blessed peace of Christ 
in his heart. 

Then, having followed his Lord along the bloody 
way of His cross in this life, having been united to 
Him in His awful sufferings and death, he will be 
eternally united to Him hereafter, to enjoy Christ's 
unspeakable consolation in the happy kingdom of 
the blessed. 



Carter 

CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS. 
" He is risen and goeth before you into Galilee, and there 
you shall see Him" Mark xvi. 6, 7. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : False and true motives for joy at Easter. 

I. Christ's Resurrection : I. Basic truth. 2. Testimony of 

Christ. 3. Of Jews and Apostles. 
II. Proofs: i. Many necessary witnesses. 2. Reliable. 

3. Constant unto death. 

III. Our resurrection: i. Pledged in Christ's. 2. Laws of 
Nature and justice. 3. Christ can and will redeem 
His promise. 

Per. : i. Tragedy and comedy. 2. Infidel, Christian, Catholic. 
3. Faith, hope, love. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, Lent with its sorrows and Easter with 
.its joys and glories have come and gone, and what 



CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS. 261 

impressions have they left? Alas! I fear, we mourned 
in Lent as children do, not knowing why, but weep- 
ing just because the Church, our Mother, wept. Our 
Easter joy, I fear, is woefully conventional, inspired 
perhaps by the genial breath of spring, or the con- 
sciousness that fasting and sackcloth have given way 
to feasting and the respectability of brand-new 
clothes. Easter rejoicings, my Brethren, should be 
more thoughtful, more rational. They should be 
founded on the deep-laid truths that lie beneath it 
all, and on the vast field of possibilities the Resur- 
rection opens up to Christians. " For," says St. 
Paul, " if Christ be risen from the dead, therefore we 
also shall rise again; therefore we are true witnesses 
of God; therefore our preaching is true and our 
faith divine; therefore the penitent's sins are for- 
given; therefore they who have died in the Lord 
have not perished; therefore we shall all rise again in 
the resurrection at the last day." 

Brethren, Christ's Resurrection is the fundamental 
truth of Christianity. Prove to me that Christ arose 
not, and in a moment I am an infidel; prove to me 
that Christ arose, and in that instant I conceive a 
faith broad enough to accept all the teachings of 
Christ and Christ's Church; a hope that stops not 
short of everlasting life for my soul and for my body 
too, and a charity for God and my fellowman which, 
God willing, will procure me a happy and a blessed 
immortality. For if Christ rose again, then beyond 
all peradventure, He was God, and every word He 
uttered and every truth taught by the one true 



262 EASTER SUNDAY. 

Church wherein He promised to abide forever, must 
be infallible beyond all doubt. For Christ had said: 
" I have power to lay down My life, and I have power 
to take it up again," words, which, if justified by the 
event, proclaim the speaker to have been a God. 
Lazarus, and other few before and since, have been 
recalled to life, but always, mind you, by a power 
other than their own, but only God, the Arbiter of 
life and death, could say: " I die at pleasure and at 
pleasure do I rise again." In fact on this one truth, 
viz., that He should rise again, Christ staked His 
reputation as a man and His claim as God upon 
the world's credence and fidelity. All His other 
miracles had a distinct purpose immediately in view, 
whether it was that He pitied the widow of Nairn, or 
had compassion on His famished followers, or res- 
cued them from shipwreck; and invariably He 
enjoined silence concerning such evidences of His 
Godhead, until He should be risen from the dead. 
Nay, when pressed by His enemies for a proof of His 
divinity, He refused the sign they asked, saying: 
" No other proof shall be given you but that of 
Jonas the prophet, who after three days came forth 
from the whale even as I shall from the tomb, for if 
you destroy this temple, My body, in three days I 
shall raise it up again." His position, therefore, was 
that His Resurrection was to be the crowning proof 
of His divinity and that without His Resurrection He 
and all His teaching and wonder-working would 
have come to naught. Not only Christianity, but all 
religion from the beginning, would have been dis- 



CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS. 263 

credited had not God's promise to our fallen parents 
that their seed should conquer sin and death been 
fulfilled in the person of the risen Saviour. This 
supreme importance of the Resurrection as an his- 
toric fact was recognized by Christ's enemies and 
friends alike. The Jewish nation's honor was at 
stake, for if Christ rose again they were forever 
branded as the murderers of the Messias, but if He 
failed to rise they could take credit to themselves for 
having justly punished an impostor; and hence they 
sought by every means to prove His promise unful- 
filled. The Apostles, on the other hand, seem to have 
preached at first as though the Resurrection was 
the only dogma of our faith, styling themselves the 
witnesses thereof and taking care to elect as Judas's 
successor an eye-witness of the Lord's arising. 
" For," says St. Paul, " if Christ be not risen again, 
then is our preaching vain and our faith is also vain. 
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God and we 
are yet in our sins, and they who have died in the 
Lord have perished and we are of all men the most 
miserable." Whereas, I repeat, and repeat and re- 
peat again, if Christ did rise from the dead we are 
bound by inexorable logic to admit His divinity, to 
accept all His teachings and all the teachings of His 
Church, and to conform our lives thereto we are 
bound to fall at the Saviour's feet with St. Thomas, 
and repeat Thomas's all-embracing profession of 
faith: "My Lord and my God." 

Brethren, what evidence, therefore, have we of the 
truth of Christ's Resurrection? What evidence! In 



264 EASTER SUNDAY. 

all history there is no fact more clearly proven. 
God's providence, recognizing the tremendous im- 
portance of this truth, has employed the hatred of 
the Jews and the incredulity of the Apostles the 
gravest obstacles to belief in it to be the strongest 
arguments in its favor. A lawyer with Christianity 
for his client, engaged to prove Christ's Resurrection 
against the modern Pharisees and Sadducees, would 
find the earning of his fee an easy task indeed. For, 
a fact to which many and necessary witnesses testify; 
witnesses so obstinate in unbelief that they could not 
be deceived and so circumstanced that they could 
not deceive others; witnesses willing to seal their 
wonderfully unanimous testimony with their blood 
a fact like that, I say, must be accepted for certain by 
every impartial, or even prejudiced, tribunal. Now 
they that saw the risen Saviour were, first of all, 
many. To say nothing of the angels in the vacant 
sepulchre who said to the holy women: "He is 
arisen; He is not here," or of the guard of soldiers 
who saw Him rise but held their tongue through 
bribery, we find in the New Testament, which, what- 
ever else it be, is at least true history we find 
therein, I say, explicitly recorded twelve distinct 
apparitions of the resurrected Saviour, one of which 
at least five hundred persons witnessed. That many 
other apparitions went unrecorded St. Luke declares, 
saying that " Christ showed Himself at frequent in- 
tervals for forty days speaking to His followers of the 
kingdom of God." But why, you ask, did Christ ap- 
pear exclusively to His friends? Why did He not 



CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS. 265 

confound His enemies by appearing to them too? 
Brethren, Christ's life-long practice was to hide His 
glory and reveal His shame. Only three climbed 
Thabor, but vast throngs lined the slopes of Calvary. 
And justly so, for the kingdom He came to found 
was not of earth, nor to be built by means so earthly 
as to seem to rest on human causes. Besides, it is 
a law of Nature and of grace that all great changes 
and reforms result from the efforts of a few. The 
surging masses cannot be converted instantly, but are 
as plastic matter which skilful hands must gradually 
work and mould. Nothing is so fickle as a throng. 
The eleven, when they saw their Lord, believed and 
were glad, but many of the five hundred doubted. 
The multitude had seen His wondrous miracles but 
with what result? To-day they cry: " Hosanna," to- 
morrow, " Crucify Him; " and if they had refused to 
credit Him in life, neither would they have believed 
Him risen from the dead. Still witnesses, if need be, 
may be found even among Christ's enemies, for St. 
Justin, then a Jew, declares the Resurrection was 
taken by all for granted. It is admitted by the Jew- 
ish historian Josephus, and according to Tertullian a 
circumstantial account of it was written by Pontius 
Pilate to the Emperor Tiberius. Now are our 
witnesses reliable? Certainly their opportunities for 
knowing what they testify were most exceptional. 
Intimately acquainted with Our Lord, they had 
through forty days repeated chances to establish His 
identity. It was but natural that at His first appear- 
ance they should suspect they saw a spirit, but Christ 



266 EASTER SUNDAY. 

dispelled that notion saying: " See by My hands and 
feet that it is I, Myself; handle and see, for a spirit 
hath not flesh and bones as you see Me to have." St. 
John tells us the Apostles and disciples " as yet knew 
not the Scriptures that He must rise again from the 
dead." They did not expect and could hardly be- 
lieve His body had arisen, though the fact that His 
ignominious death had not shaken their faith in Him 
seems to prove they looked for His return in some 
spiritual, ghostly shape. But now their error is cor- 
rected, for there is Jesus as in life standing in their 
midst. Some wondrous change has taken place in- 
deed, for lo! He comes and goes, the doors being 
closed, but still it is the solid human body of the 
Saviour, wounded in hands and feet and side. And 
not His body only but His soul, for by eating, con- 
versing and expounding Scripture He shows Him- 
self endowed with vegetative, sentient, and ra- 
tional existence. And not His body and soul alone, 
but His divinity, too, as was proved at the sea of 
Tiberias, where He repeated for the weary fisher- 
men the miraculous draught of fishes. Certainly on 
the score of knowledge of the event, our witnesses 
are beyond reproach. But were they over-credulous, 
perhaps? " Oh foolish and slow of heart to be- 
lieve " were the words with which Christ Himself up- 
braided their incredulity. For when the women re- 
turned to tell of the empty tomb, of the angels and 
the folded cloths therein, the Apostles rejected their 
words as idle tales, nor did they credit even Peter and 
John, nor Magdalen who came just then from speak- 



CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS. 267 

ing with her Lord. Thomas voiced the secret senti- 
ments of them all when he said: " Except I shall see 
in His hands the print of the nails and put my finger 
into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His 
side, I will not believe." Now would men so set 
against deception be apt to set about deceiving 
others? And if so, how was their deceit accom- 
plished? The Saviour's transfixed heart and the offi- 
cial death certificate given to Pilate by the centurion 
both attest that Jesus really died on Calvary. 
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus asked for and 
secured the body, embalmed it and laid it in a tomb 
hewn out of solid rock and closed by a huge boulder. 
To make assurance doubly sure, the Jews sealed up 
the rock and posted a guard of soldiers. Meantime, 
the Apostles were hiding for fear of the Jews. Did 
the Roman soldiers betray their lordly masters and 
league themselves with poor, despised fishermen? 
Absurd. Did sentinels trained in the iron discipline 
of Rome sleep on their watch, and if so, how could 
the sleeping soldiers know the Apostles stole the 
body? Absurder still. Or did the timid Apostles 
overcome the armed soldiery, roll back the stone, 
carefully fold the winding sheet and escape with the 
dead uninjured? Most absurd of all. No, if Christ 
arose not, the tomb still held His body which, too^ 
is false, for the Jews would eagerly have produced it 
to vindicate themselves and discredit Christianity. 
Christ, therefore, did arise. The Apostles' and 
martyrs' blood and the conversion of the world at- 
test it, for men die not to uphold a lie nor is the world 



268 EASTER SUNDAY. 

so easily won by fraud. " For if in this life only," 
says St. Paul, " we have hope in Christ, we are of all 
men most miserable, but now Christ is risen from the 
dead the first fruits of them that sleep." 

" Christ is risen from the dead the first fruits of 
them that sleep," but what shall be the aftermath? 
We, my brethren, our bodies, for if Christ be risen, 
we also shall rise again. His Resurrection is the 
pledge of ours and proves it possible and certain. It 
is a law of spirit and of matter that whatsoever dis- 
solution may take place, no particle of God's creation 
can be ever lost. Nature's law is universal; naught 
withers but to rise again, and naught can rise again 
except it first decay. How easy then it is for God, 
who made all things from nothing, to reunite the 
scattered portions of our being! If summer's sun re- 
suscitates the world of plants and trees, can we deny 
an equal power over our bodies to the Son of God? 
True, the flowers that bloom this spring are not the 
same that bloomed a year ago, but were they ra- 
tional and capable of merit and demerit, God's jus- 
tice would preserve from year to year their absolute 
identity. And since fair lilies are often born to 
bloom unseen while noxious weeds encumber the 
choicest soil, so there must be a hereafter where 
justice's scales may find their equilibrium. And this 
is true of bodies and souls alike, for through joy and 
sorrow, through happiness and pain, through virtue 
and through sin, our bodies are the necessary in- 
separable companions of our souls and Both, if God 
is just, must share alike reward or punishment. To 



CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS. 269 

the saint God says: " Enter into thy rest, thou (the 
soul), and the arc of thy sanctification (the body)." 
That was the object of Christ's coming after all, viz., 
to show us our truest destiny is to be born like Him, 
to live, to suffer, to do good for others and for God, 
to die and gloriously rise again. We are to Him 
what Jacob was to Esau we cling to His feet 
emerging from the womb of mother earth. He is the 
anointed dove sent forth by God, as pigeon fanciers 
do, to lead back to the dovecote His wayward com- 
panions with the odor of His ointments. He is the 
head and we the members of His mystic body and 
certainly the head and members will not remain for- 
ever disunited. Indeed, if we are destined not to 
rise again, the whole reason of Christ's birth and 
death and Resurrection disappears, so that St. Paul 
justly argues that if the dead rise not again, neither 
is Christ risen. But since Christ rose, as we have 
proved, our failure to arise will be because Christ 
either cannot or will not raise us up. That He can 
is evident, for He performed the vastly greater 
miracle of raising up Himself. To lift another from 
earth is hardly wonderful, to lift oneself aloft without 
support is marvellous. Or will we say, perhaps, that 
Adam's power to drag us down to death was greater 
than Christ's to restore our immortality? No, Christ 
can resuscitate us and He will. " Father," He says, 
" I will that where I am they also whom Thou hast 
given Me may be with Me, that they may see My 
glory." He bids us follow Him, indeed, but not 
merely to the cross on Calvary, but beyond it into 



270 EASTER SUNDAY. 

His glory. The Scriptures teem with promises of a 
general Resurrection. Hear God proclaim Himself 
to Moses the God of the living and the dead; read 
Ezechiel's vision of the dried bones resuscitated; 
listen to the Saviour's promise to His beloved 
Mary and Martha concerning Lazarus; see Nature 
herself assert this truth in the care the world has 
everywhere and always taken of the bodies of its 
dead read these and see and be convinced and voice 
your faith in Job's own words: " I know that my Re- 
deemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of 
the earth, and I shall be clothed again with my skin 
and in my flesh I shall see my God." 

Brethren, the poet says that all the world's a stage, 
and all men and women merely players. There are 
two kinds of plays, the tragedy that ends in death and 
sorrow, and the one that ends in joy and happiness. 
Which will our life be when the curtain rises on the 
final act? " Ah, we shall all indeed rise again," says 
St. John, " but they that have done good things 
shall come forth unto resurrection of life, and they 
that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judg- 
ment." Brother, to-day is one scene in life's play; 
make the most of it, I beg of you. If you are an infidel 
(for they do stray into Church occasionally) if you 
are an infidel, begin the study of scriptural religion 
with the Resurrection of Christ, and if you have a 
fairly balanced mind and a will honestly desirous of 
following God's leadings, I defy you to refrain from 
embracing Christianity. And if you are a Christian 
and in doubt which Church is Christ's, make an hon- 



CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS. 271 

est study of Christian history and I defy you to mis- 
take the road to Catholicity. And if you are already 
Catholic well, there is much left yet for you to do. 
Strengthen your faith with the assurance that 
Christ's rising proved Him God, and that therefore 
neither He nor the infallible Church He founded 
can, deceive or be deceived concerning the way to 
paradise. Rekindle your love for God who so 
mercifully redeemed you; renew your zeal for the 
spiritual and temporal welfare of your neighbor 
whom God wishes to share in that redemption. And 
finally let your faith and charity be ever inspired by 
your hope hope in a happy immortality for soul and 
body; where we shall be forever reunited with father 
and mother, brothers and sisters; where the mother 
shall find her little ones, and the lover the love he 
lost; where the priest shall be united with the souls 
he helped to save; where God will wipe away all tears 
from our eyes, and death shall be no more; where 
faith is blended into vision, and hope into possession, 
and where naught remains but happiness and love 
forever and forever. Amen. 



272 LOW SUNDAY. 



Jloto 

RATIONALISM. 

" Jesus said to him: Be not faithless, but believing. 
Thomas answered: My Lord and my God" John 
xx. 27, 28. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Salutary doubt. II. Rationalism. III. Based on 

pride. 
I. Truth : i. According to rationalists. 2. According to 

Catholics. 3. Three stages. 
II. Unreasonable : I. Truth infinite. 2. Revelation possi- 

ble and a fact. 3. Necessary. 
III. Even natural truths: i. Difficult. 2. Danger of error. 

3. Romans. 

Per.: Practice of i. Catholics. 2. Rationalists. 3. Incon- 
sistency. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the Apostle, Thomas, was the first 
sceptic or rationalist of Christian times. " Oh, happy 
doubt," exclaimed St. Gregory, " which removed all 
doubt and placed the fact of Our Lord's Resurrection 
beyond dispute." Would that one might say as 
much for later-day rationalism, whose effect in- 
variably is indifference and infidelity. The doubting 
Thomas is one of the strongest pillars of the Chris- 
tian Church; the modern rationalist is religion's most 
dangerous enemy. The rationalist in his pride of in- 
tellect rejects and ridicules the supernatural, while 
Thomas uses Nature to lift him up to God, saying: 
" Lord, I believe; Lord, help with evidence my unbe- 
lief." As Judas by despair was lost and Peter saved 
by penance, so the modern rationalist's ruin is his 



RATIONALISM. 273 

pride, and Thomas's salvation his humility, whereby 
he falls, not faithless but believing, at the Saviour's 
feet and cries: " My Lord and my God." 

Brethren, strictly speaking, rationalists are those 
who deny the existence of revealable or revealed 
truths. But more widely and just as truly the name 
may be applied to all those who, while admitting 
revelation, reject from the word of God whatever, in 
their private judgment, is inconsistent with human 
reason. Thus, not only downright unbelievers, but all 
Protestants and in general all non-Catholics are ra- 
tionalists. They deify reason, claiming there is no 
truth necessary for man to know which reason will 
not teach him, so that they take natural rather than 
supernatural science as their way to the truth and life 
everlasting. Catholics on the other hand hold that 
since God is truth, truth, like God, must be infinite; 
and it is only by following the truth that a soul can 
come to God. Now, on its way to truth and God, the 
soul passes through three stages, the state of nature, 
of grace, and of glory; through three antechambers 
before arriving at the Holy of holies. Now, each of 
these states has truths proper to itself, and the dark- 
ness which hides these truths from view is dense in 
the first state, denser in the second, and densest in 
the third. But God does not leave the soul in dark- 
ness. He gives her a light for her guidance propor- 
tioned to the darkness to be dispelled. In the first, 
the state of nature, He gives the light of reason to 
know natural truths; in the second, He gives her the 
still stronger light of grace to know supernatural 



274 LOW SUNDAY. 

truths and natural truths impervious to reason; and 
in the third, as St. John says, " The glory of God en- 
lighteneth it and the Lamb is the lamp thereof." It 
is, therefore, only a few of the more natural and 
plainer truths that man can know by the feeble light 
of reason. With reason alone we can light only the 
tiny vestibule of the temple of truth, while the vast 
edifice beyond is shrouded in darkness. Hence, be- 
sides reason, we Catholics claim, the necessity of an- 
other light, the light of the grace of faith in the 
revelations of God handed down to us in Holy Writ 
and the traditions of holy Church. Thus, we receive 
the Bible because it is the word of God, and we admit 
the truths taught us by the Church because Christ 
commissioned her to teach all nations all truth for all 
time under His infallible guidance, and whether we 
understand them or not we still accept them with 
childlike faith, remembering Our Lord's words: " He 
that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth 
not shall be condemned." 

Brethren, such is the doctrine of the rationalist, 
such the Catholic doctrine. Now, I propose to show 
you that rationalism is irrational, unreasonable. 
Does our rationalist deny the existence of truths too 
deep for his reason to fathom? He cannot but admit 
it. He knows that God exists, that He is a being of 
infinite intelligence, and that the knowing power of 
every intellect has a proportionate knowableness in 
its proper object. The truth of God, then, is infinite. 
But our little rationalist knows all truth. His mind, 
therefore, is infinite and equal to God's, for other- 



RATIONALISM. 275 

wise he could no more know infinite truth than he 
could hold the ocean in the hollow of his hand. Or, 
if he modestly disclaims mental infinity but still main- 
tains his power of knowing all truth, then he denies 
the infinity of truth and of God's intellect, and with 
it the very existence of God. To hold that truth is 
finite, therefore, is to hold that man is as infinite as 
God, or God as finite as man, which, in either case, 
is to deny that God exists at all. In the presence of 
such a conclusion, the rationalist will, I think, read- 
ily admit that in the infinite realm of truths there are, 
at least, some few his reason does not and never 
can know. This fact is all the more apparent, since 
there are hundreds of natural truths under our very 
eyes which we cannot explain. Who knows the na- 
ture of electricity? All the scientists who ever lived 
cannot trace to its source the power whereby I move 
my finger. Why, Aristotle, the light of Pagandom 
and the greatest mind the world has ever seen, de- 
clared that his reason in the presence of the all-true 
was as the eye of an owl directed at the midday sun. 
Well, yes, hidden truths do exist, says our rational- 
ist, but they could never be revealed. Why not, 
pray? Is it because God cannot reveal the truths of 
His mind? Man, if he have knowledge, can impart 
it to others. Cannot God do as much He that 
came into the world to give testimony of the truth? 
Of what truth? Not of truths already known, cer- 
tainly, but of hidden truths. To whom? To man, 
of course, and hence man must have been capable 
of receiving the truths revealed. He might not have 



276 LOW SUNDAY. 

been able to understand those truths, but he was able 
to realize their existence, their importance, and their 
consequences. For, remember that whereas we 
weigh human testimony by the consistency of the 
facts, we judge divine testimony by the authority of 
the witness, and the witness of whom I speak was in- 
fallible. So, it was possible for God to reveal those 
truths and for man to receive them. But did such 
revelation in fact take place? Beyond the shadow of 
a doubt, as every leaf of the Bible attests. It is 
vouched for in the inspired books of the Old Testa- 
ment, which are the history of man and his inter- 
course with God from the beginning down to the 
Augustan Era. In three ways has God at times made 
known hidden truths to man: first, through his 
senses, as when angels in human form appeared to 
and conversed with Abraham, Jacob, and Gedeon; 
second, through his imagination, as when Pharao in 
the kine and ears of corn, seven fat and fair and seven 
lean and blighted, foresaw the seven years of plenty 
and of famine, or when Nabuchodonosor in his vision 
of the statue learned the ultimate triumph of the 
Church; and third, through his intellect, as in the 
case of Moses to whom God spoke (Num. xii.) not 
in vision or dream, but mouth to mouth. This last 
was that third heaven to which St. Paul was caught 
up in ecstasy. Christ had communicated with him 
through his senses on the road to Damascus; 
through his imagination amid the -horrors of the 
shipwreck; and finally through his intellect when, 
whether in the body or out of the body, he knew not, 



RATIONALISM. 277 

he was caught up into paradise and heard secret 
words which it is not granted man to utter. Paul 
had sat, indeed, at the feet of Gamaliel, but what was 
that to the depths of the infused knowledge of God? 
Again, the fact of revelation is attested by the com- 
paratively recent writers of the New Testament, by 
the Fathers of the Church, and even by Pagan 
authors. It is because the Scriptures are the re- 
vealed word of God that we find in them the frequent 
recurrence of such expressions as: " The Lord spoke 
to Moses, saying: " or: " The word of the Lord 
came to me, saying: " or: "The revelation of Jesus 
Christ to His servant John," etc. St. Paul (Gal. 
i. n) asserts the fact of revelation, saying em- 
phatically: " I give you to understand, Brethren, 
that the Gospel which was preached by me is not ac- 
cording to man, for neither did I receive it of man, 
nor did I learn it; but by the revelation of God," and 
St. Peter indicates in a few words the primary au- 
thor of all the books of both Testaments, saying: 
" Prophecy came not by the will of man at any time ; 
but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy 
Ghost." On the other hand, the greatest geniuses 
of Pagan times, Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Cicero, 
etc., after long years of study and research succeeded 
only in involving themselves in inextricable doubts 
and difficulties concerning such fundamental verities 
as the existence of God and the immortality of the 
soul; so that the phenomenon of a Christian world in 
peaceful possession of these first principles of truth 
and morality, together with all they imply and entail, 



278 LOW SUNDAY. 

can be explained only on the hypothesis of a divine 
revelation having been made. Yet the nineteenth- 
century rationalist will deny the Bible to be the word 
of God; will deny that tradition holds revealed truth; 
will stand up before all the sublime geniuses that 
from the beginning have bowed their reason before 
revelation and tell them they were either fools or 
hypocrites! That is rationalism. Is it rational is 
it reasonable? 

But not only was the revelation of these truths 
possible; it was necessary also. For the truths of 
which we speak are vital truths, appertaining to the 
dearest interests of mankind so that, ignorant of 
them, man could never hope to properly know, love 
and serve God here or be happy with Him hereafter. 
For these truths concern the existence and the na- 
tures of God and of man, their respective rights and 
obligations God's dominion over man and man's 
duties to God, his neighbor, and himself. Now, 
many of these truths are entirely above and beyond 
reason, because they are entirely above and beyond 
Nature, to the study of which reason is confined. 
For how could reason find out that God is a spirit to 
be adored in spirit and in truth? How prove He is, 
at once, one and three? That the temporal Christ 
was the eternal God that mortal man has an im- 
mortal soul that bread, seemingly, is the living 
body of Christ that an external sign is the source 
of inward grace? And yet rationalism holds that 
reason, though blind to all these necessary truths, is 
still self-sufficient. Is it rational is it reasonable? 



RATIONALISM. 279 

" But," says our rationalist, " reason could mas- 
ter, at least, some of these truths, such as the 
existence of God, the necessity of divine worship, 
the fact of an hereafter," etc. Still, we say, it was 
necessary for God to reveal even these, else see what 
would happen. Every child on attaining the use of 
reason would be bound, under pain of mortal sin, to 
begin the independent study of these extremely dif- 
ficult truths; and whether mentally qualified or not, 
whether his parents could afford the expense or not, 
he would be obliged to study and study for years and 
years until he had thoroughly mastered them. Is such 
a life consistent with youthful levity? Where would 
be the time for secular education? Would not God 
be a tyrant to command such impossibilities? Again, 
even supposing all could afford to spend the best 
years of their lives in acquiring the knowledge of 
God and of natural religion, with what certainty 
would they cling to the knowledge acquired; with 
what zeal reduce it to practice? If reason errs, as it 
does, in simple matters, how much more liable is it to 
err in these loftier truths! And because these truths 
are hard, therefore, does reason sometimes lead me 
to one conclusion and my neighbor to another di- 
rectly opposite. Now I am bound to accept the con- 
clusions of reason but which, my own or my neigh- 
bor's? Here, then, we would be, after all our years 
of study, as much in darkness and doubt as at the be- 
ginning. Nor is this all mere fiction it is fact. 
Take, for example, the Roman Empire of long ago. 
The Romans had no revelation, and see where reason 



280 LOW SUNDAY. 

led them. They had as many gods as they had 
vices, while the virtues were as little known as was 
the unknown God. Their gods were criminals, wor- 
shipped with crime Venus, with adultery; Apollo, 
with theft; and Jupiter, with the sacrifice of human 
victims. Mothers inhumanly slaughtered their 
babes. Among the young, murder and rape were 
daily occurrences. Wives were but slavish prosti- 
tutes, and the very best of the men were so bad, that, 
did they live to-day, they would be considered fit 
subjects for the gallows. These are some of the con- 
clusions of rationalism. Are they rational are they 
reasonable? 

Brethren, we are all pilgrims in the desert of life, 
journeying onward to eternity; and revelation is to 
us a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, 
guiding us to the promised land. It is the star lead- 
ing us to the Christ. Hence, we believe every truth 
of the Bible, every truth Christ taught, every truth 
taught by His Church not because we understand 
them, but because we know they are the teachings of 
a God who can neither deceive nor be deceived. 
And when in doubt about any vital truth, ill-content 
with the judgment of fallible reason, we seek the de- 
cision of our infallible Church. Nor is this an insult to 
our reason. For to admit an ever so incomprehen- 
sible truth on the word of an infallible witness is 
itself an act of reason >to deny it would be unrea- 
sonable. The light of reason is perfected by the 
light of faith as is the candle by the electric light 
and faith is perfected by glory as is the electric light 



RATIONALISM. 281 

by the noonday sun. Rationalists and Protestants, 
on the other hand, rejecting, or subjecting revela- 
tion to reason, are like a mariner on the high seas 
who should throw overboard his only reliable com- 
pass. Ah! no wonder that in dogmas they have woe- 
fully gone astray! No wonder that in morals they 
are daily coming nearer the ancient Greeks and 
Romans ! Why, they have not even the merit of con- 
sistency. They pay to reason an unreasonable wor- 
ship. They are rationalists and Protestants by an- 
cestral prejudice. While clinging to the doctrine of 
private interpretation, they flood the world with 
scriptural tracts. Brethren, in the presence of re- 
vealed truth be ever ready to exclaim: " Yea, I be- 
lieve; Lord, help my unbelief." Imitate not the 
doubting but the believing Thomas, and confess your 
Lord and your God, knowing that blessed is he that 
hath not seen and hath believed. Thus you may 
hope to see God by the light of reason and faith 
here, and by the light of glory hereafter. " For he 
that believeth shall be saved but he that believeth 
not shall be condemned." 



282 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

>eeon& >unua after Carter* 

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SALVATION. 

" Other sheep I have that are not of this fold; them also 
I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall 
be one fold and one Shepherd." John x. 16. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: Doctrines: I. Truth. II. Meaning. III. Consequences. 
I. Its truth : i. Truth one. 2. Church one. 3. Figures of 

Church. 
II. Its meaning: i. Salvation for all. 2. Body and soul of 

Church. 3. Live members and dead. 
III. Catholic's advantage: i. Apostasy. 2. Repentance. 

3. Mysteries. 

Per. : i. Bigotry. 2. Our responsibility. 3. Our attitude 
toward others. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in Catholic theology we find the sen- 
tence: " Outside the Catholic Church there is no sal- 
vation." First, we will assure ourselves that this 
sentence is strictly true. Second, we will try to un- 
derstand well its real meaning. Third, we will re- 
solve to practice always that true Catholicity that 
stands midway between fanatical bigotry and re- 
ligious indifference. 

Outside the Catholic Church there is no salva- 
tion that is strictly and literally true. For truth is 
one and it is only by professing the truth that man 
can be saved. Now if I profess the Catholic religion, 
and my brother denies it, one of us must be right and 
the other wrong, or both must be wrong; but both 
cannot be right, for truth does not contradict itself. 



THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SALVATION. 283 

Hence, it follows that if my Church, the Catholic 
Church, is the one true Church, I, professing her doc- 
trines and living up to them, will be saved, and my 
brother denying her doctrines in his teaching and 
practice will be lost. And because truth is one, so 
must the true Church be one and one only. For, as 
there is but one God and one Christ, so can there be 
but one true Church, one true faith, one true Bap- 
tism. For the true Church is Christ's living repre- 
sentative on earth, and hence, she is one even as He 
is one. He called her His Church, He founded her on 
one rock, He gathered His disciples into her as into 
one fold, under one Shepherd, and His last prayer for 
her was that she might ever continue one even as the 
Father and He are one. Christ clothed her with His 
own personality, giving to her all power in heaven 
and on earth even as the Father gave to Him. 

Hence, just as the apostolic delegate can say: " I 
am the Pope," so the true Church can stand up be- 
fore the world and say: " I am Christ." For, send- 
ing her into the world He said: " Go preach the gos- 
pel to every creature, and whosoever shall believe 
and be baptized shall be saved, but whosoever shall 
not believe shall be condemned. Amen, I say to you, 
it shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment for 
Sodom and Gomorrha than for whosoever shall not 
receive or hear you. Let such an one be to you as a 
heathen and a publican. For who denies you, denies 
Me, and who denies Me before men I will deny him 
before My Father in heaven." Thus, you see, that 
so close is the connection between the Father and 



284 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

Christ-and the true Church, that whosoever lives out- 
side the Catholic Church, denies the true Church, de- 
nies Christ, denies the Father; whosoever is an 
enemy to the Catholic Church, is an enemy to his Re- 
deemer and Creator, and will receive the reward of 
God's enemies eternal damnation. That is why the 
Catholic Church is so essentially intolerant, that her 
very intolerance is the strongest proof of her divin- 
ity. That is why, too, no sect claiming to be the true 
church ever admitted salvation for its separated 
brethren; or if perchance it did, its indifferentism 
soon proved its own refutation and its ruin. But the 
Catholic Church has ever held that outside of her 
pale there is no salvation; that she is the house of 
Rahab, wherein alone the inhabitants of the tottering 
universe may find shelter; that she is the ark of the 
New Covenant wherein alone men may ride safely 
over the deluge of sin and error, on through life to 
eternity. 

Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. 
That is true, but I pray, understand it well. What 
does it mean? Does it mean that every Catholic, 
howsoever bad, will be saved? No. That the great 
and good men who mistook error for truth and were 
willing, or actually did, lay down their lives for their 
error, that they are all lost? No. That the negro in 
darkest Africa, the simple celestial of China, or the 
poor Indian here before Columbus, who never heard 
of God or Christ or Christ's Church, that they are all 
lost? No. But, you say, they were not Catholics. 
Still, I say, they may have been. Let me explain. 



THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SALVATION. 285 

God creates all men to be saved, and if they are lost, 
they are, God permitting, lost through their own 
fault. Christ died for all without exception. There- 
fore, I say, there is not a single condition of life in 
which a man, if he wishes, cannot save his soul It 
is possible for the Indian, Chinaman, negro; for the 
infidel, the heretic, and the Protestant. Therefore, 
you say, outside the Catholic Church there is salva- 
tion. No, for if these poor creatures who know not, 
or are mistaken about, God and His true Church, so 
live as to deserve heaven, they are really members of 
the Catholic Church. Again, let me explain. The 
Catholic Church is a society, and, hence, is a moral 
person. Now every person has a visible body and an 
invisible soul, and so, too, has the Church. Her body 
is made up of the Pope, her head; the bishops and 
priests, the tongue and hands with which she 
preaches and ministers; and the great throng that 
profess Catholicity, partake of her sacraments and 
are governed by her ministers, are her other mem- 
bers. Now, these members are of two kinds either 
live members or dead members. Strictly speaking, 
live members are Catholics who practise their re- 
ligion, and are in a state of grace. They belong to 
the Church's body, and are vivified by her soul, and if 
they live and die such, they will be saved. Dead 
members are bad Catholics, paralyzed by sin, hang- 
ing on limply to the body of the Church, but not re- 
ceiving the vivifying influence of its soul and if they 
live so and die so, they will surely be lost. Others 
there are, who belong only to the invisible soul of the 



286 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

Church and for that it is only necessary that one be 
baptized either by baptism of water, desire or 
blood and that he be in a state of grace. It mat- 
ters not whether he be Protestant or infidel Indian, 
Chinaman, or negro it matters not how ignorant or 
savage he may be so long as he lives up to the 
lights God has given, and desires to do and does all 
that he knows or considers necessary to secure hap- 
piness in the next life he belongs to the soul of the 
Catholic Church and as such he will be saved. 
Hence, the good Protestant who thinks his church 
the true church and lives as well as he can accord- 
ing to her doctrine; the Pagan, groping eagerly in 
the darkness of error for the light of God's truth, and 
willing to follow it, when found, whithersoever it may 
lead; aye, and the poor Indian, laying him down to 
die in the woods and lifting up his mind and heart in 
one last appeal to the Great White Father to have 
pity on him and bring him into the happy hunting- 
grounds each and all of these belong to the soul of 
the Catholic Church and as such are save'd. Com- 
paratively few, therefore, are so outside the Catholic 
Church as to be without hope of salvation. They are, 
first, unbaptized infants; second, persons who know 
the Catholic to be the true Church but neglect or re- 
fuse to join her; third, all persons whatsoever, who 
live and die in mortal sin. To them and them only, 
applies in full force the saying, that outside the 
Catholic Church there is no salvation. 

But, you say, if every good man belongs to the 
soul of the Catholic Church and, as such, stands a 



THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SALTATION. 287 

chance of salvation, what advantage is it to me to be- 
long to her body also? This advantage, that God 
having given you the light to know her for the true 
Church, you would by abandoning her commit a 
mortal sin and place your salvation in jeopardy. For 
he who belongs to her soul alone, should God at any 
time give him the light to know her as the true 
Church, is bound from that moment to join the visible 
body of the Catholic Church under pain of mortal 
sin. And if God does not give him this light, see 
what straits he is in. To be saved, one must at 
least belong to the soul of the Church. You are 
separated from it by sin, but regain your place in 
God's Church by the sacraments of reconciliation and 
love. Our good Protestant sins, and his only means 
of reuniting himself to the Church's soul is an act of 
perfect contrition. Now what Protestant can live 
long without a mortal sin? or easily make an act of 
contrition? or consequently easily save his soul? 
That is why I suspect that at the last day the vast 
majority of the elect will be from among professed 
Catholics, for the election of men from the world 
into the soul and body of the Church, is a harbinger 
of their final election from the Church militant into 
the Church triumphant. Nor must you imagine it is, 
therefore, better to leave a Protestant in his error 
than show him the truth and have him refuse it. 
Apart from the fact that you know not what he will 
do until you have instructed him, Christ bids us 
preach the truth to every creature without excep- 
tion. Why then, you ask, does God give the light of 



288 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

the truth to some and keep others ever in the dark- 
ness of error? Alas! as well might you ask one why 
God chose you and me out of the myriads of human 
possibilities why He creates one man unto election 
and another unto perdition. For these are mysteries 
beyond human ken, in the presence of which we can 
only exclaim with St. Paul: " O the depths of the 
riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God; 
how incomprehensible are His judgments and how 
unsearchable are His ways! " 

This doctrine, my Brethren, is calculated to re- 
move presumptuous bigotry on the one hand, and in- 
differentism on the other. We accuse Protestants of 
being bigoted, but in nine cases out of ten, theirs is 
only a reflection of our own unchristian intolerance. 
I have, for instance, a young Protestant friend the 
soul of honor, and for all I know, virtuous to a degree. 
Will I cast him off as doomed to perdition? God for- 
bid! For though I belong to the body of the Church 
I may be dead to its soul by sin, while he, being a 
member of its soul, stands a better chance of salva- 
tion than I. And when I hear of a Protestant being 
dead, will I say : Alas ! another soul gone to hell ? God 
forbid! For never a soul but one left this world for 
whom I cannot pray; so let me say, rather, Lord have 
mercy on his soul. Or when I see Protestants flock- 
ing into their churches, am I to scoff and hoot? God 
forbid! For there are many there that worship God 
with sincere and pure hearts and so work out their 
salvation. To whom much is given, of him much will 
be expected. If we, having received the truth, and 



THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SALTATION. 289 

all its accompanying blessings, profit not by it, our 
guilt will be all the greater. Hence, I venture to 
say, that a good Protestant is more acceptable in the 
sight of God than a bad Catholic, for it were better 
for a man never to have known the truth than, after 
he hath known it, to turn away from the holy com- 
mandment that was delivered to him. Does it not 
redound to our shame and the glory of Protestants 
that we, with all the graces and helps the true Church 
affords, are still so little better than they? Brethren, 
the fact that we have been called into Christ's true 
Church, places on us a fearful responsibility of cling- 
ing more closely to her; of using the means of sal- 
vation she holds out to us; and of thus working out 
our salvation which Christ has made so easy. As for 
those who have nt>t been, so called well, we must 
have for them a forbearance and a love as broad as 
the mercy and charity of God Himself. Remember 
always, that though they belong not to the limited 
and visible body of the Church, they may belong to 
her world-wide and invisible soul; remember that of 
them Christ has said that: " Many shall come from 
the east and the west and shall sit down in the king- 
dom of God, but many of the children of the kingdom 
shall be cast out." Finally as for those that are out- 
side both the soul and body of the Church, let us beg 
the holy Spirit of God to enlighten them to know the 
truth and to strengthen them to conform their lives 
thereto, so that there may be but one fold and one 
Shepherd. 



290 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 



after 

SOCIALISM. 

" Be ye subject to every human creature for God's sake" 
I. Pet. ii. 13. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Joseph and Jesus. II. Coming conflict. III. Abomi- 

nation of desolation. 
I. Dangers : i. Infidelity and credulity. 2. Golden mean. 

3. Infidel, socialist. 
II. Socialism : i. Its speciousness. 2. Private property. 

3. Labor leaders. 
III. For poor: i. Extreme necessity. 2. Eminent domain. 

3. Occult compensation. 

Per.: i. Alms-giving. 2. Christian nobility. 3. Time and 
eternity. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, what a lesson for strikers and so- 
cialists is Jesus, the carpenter's apprentice! What 
a model for masters is the gentle Joseph!* What 
a proof is each of the power of faith! What a 
commentary on the evils of infidelity! The abom- 
ination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the 
prophet, were the Pagan unbelievers, whose entry 
into the Jewish Temple was to be the signal for 
the destruction of Jerusalem and the overthrow 
of the Jewish nation. Brethren, he that hear- 
eth, let him understand. In our own nation, to-day, 
there is abroad a feeling of anxiety concerning the 
stability of popular government the permanency of 
republican institutions. Men leaders and follow- 
ers alike instinctively feel there is imminent a con- 
flict between the two great forces of capital and labor, 
and discuss the abomination that is to precipitate 



SOCIALISM. 291 

this conflict and desolate the country. Some say it 
is ignorance, and advocate compulsory education; 
others say it is pauperism, and advocate restricted 
immigration; and others, still, say it is Romanism, 
and clamor for the expulsion of the Jesuits. But 
no! the abomination of desolation is the same to-day 
as ever the spirit of irreligion itself. 

Brethren, we have considered elsewhere a few of 
the many evil consequences that ensue from a lack of 
faith in the truths of our holy religion that ensue 
from the spirit of infidelity. There are three kinds of 
infidels; those who deny all truth and all reality in 
things, those who admit only natural truths to the 
utter exclusion of the supernatural, and those who, 
while professing to believe, live as though they did 
not believe. All these systems of irreligion are 
equally repugnant to right reason and equally odious 
'in the sight of God. Again, on the other hand, are 
to be considered the evil's that may, and undoubtedly 
do, spring from a spirit of too much faith a spirit of 
excessive credulity which in the name of religion is 
ever ready to grasp every and all ridiculous beliefs 
and superstitious practices. Men thus lay them- 
selves and their religion open to the ridicule of the 
unbelieving- world. The infidel sins by turning re- 
ligion away from his door; and the too fervent Catho- 
lic often sins by taking religion in and arraying her 
fair form in the habiliments of a clown. Hence, our 
Catholicity must be a reasonable Catholicity not 
unbelieving, but ever ready to receive with childlike 
faith the truths that God and God's Church propose; 



292 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

and not too credulous, but determined in all other 
matters to make a judicious use of our reason. Still, 
of the two, the spirit of unbelief is much the more 
dangerous, and its effects on the world have been 
much more disastrous. For when a man has thor- 
oughly succeeded in forgetting or disbelieving that 
there is a God in heaven, that he has a soul to save, 
and that there is on earth a religion and a Church to 
help him to save it, (very soon the voice of conscience 
dies within him and from that moment that man is ripe 
for mischief, a dangerous member of society. And 
when he looks around the world and sees the poverty 
and misery of the masses, and the riches and happi- 
ness of the favored few when he sees the incessant 
toil of the wage-earner, and the equally incessant 
leisure of the aristocrat; when he sees the power 
wielded by the ruling classes, and the abject submis- 
sion of those that they rule the natural man rises 
up in rebellion and with no supernatural restraint he 
clamors for reform. Of these, some clamor for the 
abolition of civil government, and others demand the 
destruction of the rich, and others, again, claim that 
private property is a crime and urge that all wealth 
be confiscated and equally distributed among all. 
These are the men whom we call variously Anar- 
chists or Communists or Socialists. 

Brethren, there is, at first sight, something cer- 
tainly very specious and seductive about the argu- 
ments of a Socialist. For when we consider that the 
earth and the fulness thereof is the Lord's, created 
by God for man not for this or that man but for all 



SOCIALISM. 293 

men; and then when we look around and see how un- 
equal and how seemingly unjust is the distribution of 
this world's power and wealth among mankind, truly 
we feel a weakness for the doctrine of liberty and 
equality. We feel like preaching, ourselves, the 
brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God, 
and we wonder, not that Socialists are so many, but 
that they are so few. Again, when we go on further 
to consider that between the starving pauper and 
the millions of the rich man stand the Church and 
State the State with fetters in one hand and a drawn 
sword in the other, and the Church pointing to the 
symbol of Redemption and warning him: " Thou 
shalt not steal; thou shalt not even covet thy neigh- 
bor's goods;" why, no wonder the poor man, thus 
seemingly abandoned by God and Church and State, 
gets desperate and rebels; no wonder the French 
Commune has bathed France in the blood of the 
rich; no wonder the Anarchists have slaughtered the 
officers of the law in the streets of Chicago. No 
wonder, indeed, for just as when Adam and Eve re- 
belled against God the lower order of creation re- 
belled against them, so when the rich forget their 
duties to God and their neighbor, the poor very soon 
learn to forget their duties to the rich. Now it is the 
Church, arid the Church alone, that can ever hope to 
effectually take her stand midway between the rich 
and the poor and bring about a peaceful settlement 
of their difficulties. This she is doing to-day; from 
that consummate statesman the Holy Father 
down to the lowliest assistant in the land they are 



294 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER, 

all throwing the weight of their influence against 
Anarchy and Socialism on the one hand, and against 
high-handed oppression and monopoly on the other. 
First, then, she teaches that the distinction be- 
tween rich and poor, between toil and leisure, be- 
tween the governing and the governed, is inevitable 
is a God-given dispensation. For, just as the 
potter fashions his clay into vessels some for elegant 
purposes and others for humbler uses just as the 
builder chooses some stones for the foundation and 
others for the higher parts of the building, so God 
creates men some for a nobler, some for a less 
noble destiny. In building up the social structure 
He, in His wisdom, places some in a higher, and 
others in a more lowly position. Thus it is that the 
power of God, as the Bible says, reacheth from end 
to end mightily and ordereth all things sweetly. 
Hence, private possessions, if honestly acquired, far 
from being robbery and crime, are strictly in accord- 
ance with the general design of the Creator. I say, 
if honestly gained, for every man has a right to the 
fruits of his own honest industry. In the Gospel 
parable, he who traded with his five talents and 
gained five more, and he who traded his two talents 
and gained other two 'both receive from their 
Lord this commendation: "Well done, good and 
faithful servant," while he who buried his talent, and 
so gained nothing, is styled a wicked and slothful 
servant. No man ever did or ever will get rich or 
powerful without an effort which effort gives him 
a perfect right to enjoy in peace the fruits thereof. 



SOCIALISM. 295 

And because a man is poor it does not follow that he 
has been a sluggard or a spendthrift. True it is that 
in the majority of cases our poverty and lowliness are 
due to ourselves, but still, very often men are poor 
simply because they are unfortunate. Now, fortune 
is nothing more or less than the inscrutable provi- 
dence of God assigning a place to every one, and 
every one to his own place. Hence, the true Chris- 
tian's duty is, first, to better his condition if he can 
by honest industry, and if he fail, to turn to God and 
say: " Father, Thy will be done." Herein exactly is 
the mistake of Anarchists and Socialists. With no 
Christian principles for their guidance, they decry all 
wealth while madly trying to gain wealth; they covet 
a rich reward, but are unwilling to endure the pre- 
liminary labor. What a farce it is to see, as we often 
see, that the leaders of strikes and other violent so- 
cial movements are irresponsible men with not a cent 
at stake who have nothing to lose and everything 
to gain, and who do gain, if not by winning the 
strike, at least by preying on the pocket of the sim- 
ple-minded workingman! Those fellows, whose only 
work is to preach the doctrine of murder and robbery, 
are not workingmen nor the friends of the work- 
ingmen but criminals guilty of treason, and should 
be dealt with accordingly. If a nation were to listen 
to them and follow where they lead, it would soon 
find itself convulsed with internal dissensions; a slave 
to that worst of tyrannies, the tyranny of a mob, with 
no law and no order with no leisure class with the 
abilities and the means to advance in the civilizing 



296 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

arts and sciences with no man sure of his posses- 
sions, even for a day and, therefore, all grown care- 
less in the industrial pursuits with the very 
would-be reformers themselves turned into the most 
merciless oppressors of the poor in a word, it would 
find itself surrounded by all the horrors and all the 
unspeakable miseries of the French Commune. 

Now, while the Church thus exhorts the poor to 
bear their miseries with Christian patience and forti- 
tude, she does not forget to remind the rich of their 
duties in relieving those miseries. First, she teaches 
that there may arise circumstances under which one 
may take and use the property of another without 
breaking the seventh commandment. Suppose one 
of those unfortunates whom we call tramps but 
who, poor fellows, very often deserve a better name 
suppose one of them should find himself an out- 
cast, friendless and alone, dying of hunger with no 
hope of relief. If that man can only drag himself to 
the nearest bakeshop, he is allowed to take as much 
as will relieve his present necessity, and if the owner 
objects he commits a sin. Oh, but, you say, the va- 
grant steals what he takes! No, for theft is the 
taking of what belongs to another against his knowl- 
edge and reasonable consent. Now, I say, it is unrea- 
sonable to deny a man dying of hunger the morsel he 
craves, and so if the outcast takes it he commits no 
theft, but the baker, if he prevents him, is guilty of 
sin. Again, suppose the city or the whole country 
to be visited by a famine, and imagine that a dozen 
men or so have plenty of provisions stored up for a 



SOCIALISM. 297 

long time to come; if they refuse to share with the 
starving hundreds around them, the government, 
general or local, as the case may be, has a perfect 
right to seize on their property and distribute it 
around among the suffering poor. Here again 
there is no sin nor theft, for material goods are not 
to be compared to human lives, and if these rich men 
refuse to save human lives with their goods, their 
refusal is wicked, unreasonable, and not to be 
respected. But remember it is only in cases of ex- 
treme necessity that the words mine and thine cease 
to exist that what is yours becomes mine and mine 
yours; and then only to the extent of relieving that 
necessity here and now. Again, suppose I agreed to 
do a certain amount of work for a man for so much 
a day, and suppose that by and by my employer 
doubled my work without increasing my pay. I pro- 
test and demand either less work or more pay, but 
he refuses both, and in all the world I cannot see 
where I am to get another job. What am I to do? 
I must consult my confessor about it and if he agrees 
that the circumstances really are as I state them, 
then I can, unknown to my employer, take from him 
as much money or goods as will compensate me for 
the increased work I do. Oh, but I steal! No, for 
my employer's dissent is so palpably unreasonable 
and unjust that I am not bound to respect it, and be- 
sides I do him no wrong, for, according to himself at 
our first agreement, my work is worth the money. 

These are a few cases allowed by the Church to 
save the poor and needy from absolute oppression. 



298 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

But besides this she exhorts the rich to almsgiving 
for sweet mercy's sake. She commands them in the 
name of Christ, and she threatens them in the words 
of Holy Writ, saying: " Go to, now, ye rich 
weep and howl in your miseries. Your riches are 
corrupted, your garments moth-eaten; your gold 
and silver cankered, the rust whereof shall be for a 
testimony against you and eat your flesh like fire; 
you have stored up wrath for the last day; for the 
alms you gave not cry out against you and their cry 
hath entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth." 
The Church presents herself to the rich as the di- 
vinely appointed channel through which their super- 
fluous wealth may flow down into the hands of the 
deserving poor. Lastly, the Church holds up to rich 
and poor alike the doctrine of the life here and of the 
life hereafter. Pointing to the life here she asks, 
After all, where are we to look for real happiness and 
contentment? Among the ungodly rich? No, but 
among the Christian poor. Why, even Christ Him- 
self sought and found happiness in a lowly cabin, and 
His miseries began only when His mission forced 
Him thence into the homes of the rich and the pal- 
aces of kings. Where do we find the true heroes and 
heroines of our age? Among the great ones of the 
earth? No, but among the humblest of the humble. 
The Christian's King was a carpenter's apprentice, 
and His lowly followers are the true Christian nobil- 
ity. O God bless the poor and the lowly for their 
cheerful dispositions, their tender sympathy for each 
other's ills and their ready willingness to share the 



SOCIALISM. 299 

little they have! Thank God, Christ has promised 
that the poor we shall have always with us, for, to 
me, they seem as angels pointing out the way to 
heaven! And God bless this fair land where each 
brawny youth is a king and each lowly maiden is a 
queen, even though their palaces may be a workshop 
or a hovel! And God bless the Church, whose gentle, 
motherly influence represses alike the rash uprisings 
of her poorer children and the greed and tyranny of 
her richer and more powerful subjects! It is she and 
she alone, that can ever settle this vexed question by 
leading men to look at the matter from a Christian 
standpoint and in the light of Christian principles. 
" Time," she says to the poor man, " time is but a 
moment compared to eternity; and what matters it 
if you are poor and wretched as Lazarus here, if you 
have it in your power to be rich and happy forever 
hereafter." "Time," she says to the rich man, 
" time is but a moment compared to eternity; and it 
availeth you nothing if you gain the whole world 
here, if you suffer the loss of your immortal soul 
hereafter." It is the Church and the Church alone 
that can preserve the equilibrium of society reduc- 
ing the richest to the level of the poorest by preach- 
ing " Blessed are the poor in spirit," and exalting 
the very poorest infinitely above the very richest by 
promising or securing them possession of the king- 
dom of heaven. 



300 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER, 



LEAVE-TAKING. 

" / go to Him that sent Me, and none 1 of you asketh Me: 
Whither goest Thou? "John xvi. 5. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : Occasion of discourse and difficulty of passage. 

I. Partings: I. In song and story. 2. Christ's love for 

Apostles. 3. Three steps to Father. 
II. Silence : i. Joy and sorrow. 2. Bitter and sweet. 

3. Bitter often more expedient. 
III. Result: i. Paraclete. 2. Peace. 3. Convicts of sin, 

justice, judgment. 

Per.: I. Pilgrims. 2. Whither goest thou? 3. From sin to 
justice and favorable judgment. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the words I have read to you are an 
extract from Our Lord's last discourse to His dis- 
ciples. Seated with them at table towards the close 
of the Last Supper, slowly and sorrowfully He began 
to tell them of His approaching departure. Of all 
His recorded utterances, this is the most sublime 
and, consequently, the most difficult to understand 
so difficult, indeed, that the disciples hearing Him, 
said one to another: "What is this He saith to us? 
A little while and you shall not see Me, and again, a 
little while and you shall see Me, because I go to the 
Father. What is this He saith? for we know not 
what He speaketh." As I read the Gospel, I could 
well imagine you confronted with the same difficulty, 
asking the same questions. Let me try to explain. 

The parting of relatives, of friends, is one of life's 



LEAVE-TAKING. 301 

vicissitudes which, most of all, appeals to human 
sympathy, and evokes the nobler qualities of our 
inner nature. No other tableau, no other scene en- 
acted on life's stage so entirely absorbs the actors 
and so deeply moves the spectators. It may be the 
death-bed scene, the parting of the living from the 
dying; or by the graveside, the last sight of the 
dead. It may be the heartbroken wife or mother's 
good-bye to the criminal on his way to imprison- 
ment, or the gallows. It may be the young soldier 
patriot's hurried farewell to wife and little ones, as 
he answers his country's call. Whichever it be, it is 
sure to be inexpressibly solemn and touching. The 
poet Homer makes such a scene the parting of 
Hector and Andromache the subject of his most 
famous passage while, in the Bible, who does not 
love to turn to the book of Samuel and ponder over 
the parting of David and Jonathan! Who does not 
understand the evangelist's silence regarding the 
first parting of Jesus and Mary! Because, namely, 
he was loth to intrude on such a sacred scene and 
words were inadequate to describe it. David loved 
Jonathan as his own soul, and their parting was like 
tearing the soul from his body; but Our Lord loved 
His twelve Apostles each better than His soul He 
lived twelve lives in them and He died twelve deaths 
when they parted. You remember that passage of 
the Gospel where, pointing to His Apostles, He says: 
" These are My Mother and My brethren and My 
all." His love for them, therefore, must have been 
an intensified mixture of the love of a boy for his 



3 2 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

mother; of a brother for his sister; of a husband for 
his wife; of a lover for his beloved; of a friend, for his 
friend; and hence, at parting from them, His heart 
must have been transfixed with every species of sor- 
row that has ever torn a human breast. But though, 
occasionally, the pent-up sorrow of His heart betrays 
itself in the melancholy tenor of His words, yet is 
He unwilling that there should be anything morose 
or selfish in His demeanor. Having loved His own 
from the beginning, He loved them and was their 
cheerful comforter to the end. On the eve of leave- 
taking, when hearts are laden with sorrow, love is 
apt to prompt both those that are to go and those 
that are to stay, to comfort each other by a forced 
gay ety and to ignore as long as possible the inevitable 
moment of parting. Thus, too, out of His tender 
solicitude for His Apostles Our Lord entered into the 
spirit of the occasion, feasted with them, and joined 
in their hymn of thanksgiving. But soon a silence 
fell upon them all, and each felt that the unhappy 
moment had come. Our Lord evidently paused a mo- 
ment for some one else to break the silence, but no 
one venturing, He was forced to begin. " I go," He 
says, " to Him that sent Me, and none of you asketh 
Me, whither goest Thou? " The Apostles might well 
have reminded Him that on a former occasion He 
had said: "I am in the Father and the Father in 
Me; the Father and I are one," and they might rea- 
sonably have asked Him how, being one with the 
Father, He could say now: " I have come out from 
the Father and come into the world; again, I leave 



LEAYE-TAKING. 303 

the world and I go to the Father." It will not do to 
say that Christ, by reason of the human nature He 
had assumed, could go to the Father, for He took 
His human nature so intimately as to become one 
with Himself, so that He can say of it: " I, and the 
Father, and this My human nature are one." " To 
leave the world and go to the Father," has a deeper 
meaning than that. In Holy Writ the word 
" world " is used sometimes in a good, sometimes 
in a bad sense. The good world are all created 
things of which we read that: "God saw all things 
that He had made, and they were very good." The 
bad world are sinners, of whom Our Lord says: 
" These My disciples are not of this world even as I 
am not of this world." For, here below, there are 
two elements, the rational and the material the ra- 
tional of the heavens, heavenly; and the material of 
the earth, earthly; the rational servants of Christ or- 
dering themselves and all things to God; and irra- 
tional sinners who give to the earth their body and 
mind, heart and soul. Now, were it not for Christ's 
Redemption, we should all be part of the evil world, 
but by His grace we leave it and approach God. 
Now, this approach is accomplished by three steps, 
prefigured in Jacob's ladder. The first step is from 
sin to grace by the acquisition of faith, hope and 
charity; and the second step, from grace to glory, 
when faith is lost in the vision of God; when hope be- 
comes possession and charity alone remains. These 
two steps, by which we leave the world and go to the 
Father, are peculiar to the souls of mortal men, but 



304 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

the third is peculiar to Christ, viz., to leave the world 
with a soul and a glorified body, purged of all its 
earthly conditions. This then was Christ's meaning 
when He said: "I go to Him that sent Me." The 
body of Christ was to give the final proof that He 
was God and had gone to the Father. "When," 
says Our Lord, " when you shall have raised up the 
Son of man, then shall you know that I am God." 
His being raised up at His death on the cross, His 
rising from the tomb and His glorious Ascension, are 
each and all a series of corporal, visible proofs that 
He was God and went to the Father. That is why, 
at His death, the centurion said: "Verily this man 
was the Son of God." That is why at His Resurrec- 
tion Thomas was convinced and said: " My Lord and 
my God." That is why the Apostles, after witnessing 
His Ascension cried out: " Verily^ Jesus Christ is in 
the glory of God His Father." 

" I go to Him that sent Me and none of you ask- 
eth Me, whither goest Thou." When Our Lord, that 
same night, had first intimated His departure from 
them Peter had asked: " Lord, whither goest 
Thou?" And Thomas demanded: "Lord, show us 
the way that we may follow Thee." But after they 
have learned He is going to suffering and to death; 
after He had said: " The time cometh when whoso- 
ever killeth you will think he doeth a service to God," 
they no longer demand: " Lord, whither goest 
Thou? " they are no longer eager to follow Him. 
" For," He adds, " because I have spoken these 
things to you sorrow hath filled your heart." Such, 



LEAVE-TAKING. 35 

Brethren, is the nature of the human heart wide 
enough to entertain almost infinite joy, and again so 
small as to be filled by one drop of adversity. Such 
is the nature of human gratitude a life-long kind- 
ness is soon forgotten at the first favor denied. 
Our hearts are like the flowers of springtime under 
the genial sunshine of prosperity, they spread out to 
their fullest extent, but they quickly close up in the 
darkness of suffering and sorrow. And so with the 
Apostles sorrow filled their hearts when they 
learned their future was to be one, not of joy but of 
sadness; not of earthly greatness but of humiliation 
and death. Notice that though it pained Our Lord 
to cause them pain, still, He did not shrink from. His 
purpose and His duty. True, He coats the bitter 
pill of separation with the sweet assurance of ulti- 
mate return, saying: " A little while and you shall 
not see Me, and again, a little while and you shall 
see Me; for I will see you again and your hearts shall 
rejoice and your joy no man shall take from you." 
Still, the love of Our Lord being of the true kind, 
He fears not to mingle in their draught the useful 
with the sweet. Many a father and mother who 
think they fondly love their children, in reality hate 
them, by acceding to all their desires, humoring 
their every whim, and encouraging them in habits 
that must ultimately accomplish their ruin. Many a 
son or daughter, called by God to a higher life in re- 
ligion, refuses, through false love of home or par- 
ents, to follow the call, lest, forsooth, sorrow should 
fill their hearts. Many a person allows his or her 



306 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

friends to go from bad to worse rather than risk 
offending them by a timely warning or a gentle re- 
proof. These are cases where duty is to be done at 
any sacrifice, and duty once done, rest assured good 
will follow, and your sorrow be turned into joy. The 
Apostles' love for Christ, because imperfect, clung to 
the present good of His presence among them; but 
Christ's love for them, being perfect, looked rather 
to what good the future held in store. " It is ex- 
pedient," He says, " that I go, for if I go not, the 
Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go I will 
send Him to you." How often we see this illustrated 
in every-day life! There is, for example, in the fam- 
ily an infant, a boy or girl, a young man or woman 
the idol of the family, one of God's living saints; too 
good, no doubt, for this world, so that the hand of 
death descends on him and God claims him for 
His own. In our short-sighted selfishness we wail 
and lament, but if our love were of the true kind we 
would look across time into eternity and hear the 
beloved voice assure us: "It is expedient, not only 
for myself but for you, that I go." For very often 
in that family is a careless Christian, a careless Catho- 
lic, whose soul, by affliction, is brought back to God; 
whose intercessor before God that saintly relative be- 
comes; to whom that blessed soul may justly say: 
" It is expedient for you that I go, for if I go not, the 
grace of God will not come to you, but if I go I will 
send it to you." The Apostles must have realized 
this, if not then and there, at least soon afterwards, 
for St. Luke tells us that after witnessing the Ascen- 



LEAVE-TAKMG. 37 

sion, they went back into Jerusalem with great joy. 
They knew that at Adam's fall hostilities had been 
declared between earth and heaven, and that the war 
then begun could never be amicably settled until 
man had been justly punished for his rebellion, until 
he had conquered God's enemies with whom he had 
allied himself, and sent to heaven a man as hostage 
and messenger of peace. All this Christ accom- 
plished, satisfying for man's sin by His Passion and 
death, leading captivity captive by His victory over 
sin and death at His Resurrection, and carrying with 
Him, in His Ascension, Humanity to the Father from 
whom it had been estranged so long. Then, and only 
then, was the Spirit of God, the Paraclete, sent down 
and diffused in the hearts of men. As the moisture 
must first ascend heavenward before the refreshing 
showers descend, so, not until after the Ascension of 
Our Lord, could the Holy Ghost come to renew the 
face of the earth. This promise to send the Holy 
Spirit was that final proof of Christ's paternal solici- 
tude for His little family " When I go to the 
Father," He says, " I will not leave you orphans, but 
I will send the Paraclete to comfort and strengthen, 
to guide and protect you, until My second coming." 
As on a previous occasion Christ reserved the better 
wine for the end of the feast, so now, His final gift 
to man, the Holy Ghost, is the most precious of all. 
At creation He gave the world and the fulness 
thereof; by His incarnation He gave Himself, but 
only for a time; but now He gives the Holy Ghost to 
be ours for all time. Nay, the mission of the Holy 



308 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

Spirit is to the virtuous and wicked alike to teach 
the virtuous all truth and so lead them after Christ 
through worldly afflictions, through death, to the 
throne of the Father; to warn sinners that a like 
judgment awaits them as their prince, the devil, has 
already received; to convince them of Christ's right- 
eousness, forasmuch as the life-long tendency and 
final destination of His followers, as of Himself, is to 
go to the Father; and to convict them of sin, be- 
cause with all the evidences and effects of Christian- 
ity before them they still refuse to believe. For 
whatever of good is in the world is all the work of 
the Holy Ghost. Every saintly soul, every chaste 
nun, every devoted priest; every good thought con- 
ceived, word spoken, or act done; every affliction 
cheerfully borne, every suffering 1 brother relieved; 
every hospital, asylum, and charitable institution in 
the land; every death-bed sanctified, every soul 
saved; the peace of individuals, families, and nations; 
in short, everything noble which the love of God or 
one's neighbor can evoke from the human heart 
all are effects of Christianity, the fruits of the Holy 
Ghost. And if blessed are they who have not seen 
and have believed; if less blessed are they who, hav- 
ing seen, believed; surely, cursed are they who, 
though they have seen the marvellous works of 
Christ and the Holy Spirit, still refuse to believe. 

Brethren, whether we will it or not, of each of us 
it is true that we go to Him that sent us, but too 
rarely alas! do we stop to consider and ask ourselves 
that all-important question: "Whither goest thou? " 



LEAVE-TAKMG. 39 

Yet our time is coming-. A little wHile and the world 
shall see us, and again a little while and the world 
shall not see us, and well will it be for us then if we 
shall have gone to the Father. Let us keep our 
eyes ever raised to this, our sublime destiny, as the 
mariner to his guiding star. Let it be our consola- 
tion amid the sorrows and ills of life that we are ulti- 
mately to go to Him that sent us, to the Father. 
May the Spirit of God, when He comes at this Pente- 
costal season, find no sin in us of which to convict 
us. May our last step toward the Father, our death, 
be such that a favorable judgment may follow. 
May we all our lives so unremittingly seek the justice 
of God that in the life to come we may attain the 
kingdom of heaven. 



310 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 



>untra after (Easter* 

THE CHRISTIAN'S JACOB'S LADDER. 

" Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, 
'is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribu- 
lation, and to keep oneself unspotted from this world." 
James i. 27. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Ideal life. II. Charity, prayer, clean heart. III. In- 
version. 

I. Undefiled : i. Occasions of sin. 2. Israelitic defile- 
ments. 3. Cover on vessel. 
II. Prayerful : i. Pray always. 2. Vocal and mental. 

3. Effects of prayer. 
III. Charitable: i. Life's miseries and blessings. 2. Nobility 

of poor. 3. Charity's effect. 
Per.: i. Reversion. 2. Our sinfulness. 3. Our Jacob's ladder. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in to-day's Epistle and Gospel, if taken 
and studied together, you will discover the outlines 
of an ideal Christian life. Our Lord's discourse on 
prayer is supplemented by St. James's definition of 
religion clean and undefiled before God and the 
Father. To suppose that Christian perfection con- 
sists altogether in contemplation or lip service is to 
deceive ourselves. We must not only be hearers but 
doers of the word, for it is not the man who saith 
" Lord, Lord," but he who doth the Father's will, 
that is saved. Righteousness demands, therefore, 
that the Christian, besides being possessed of a 
prayerful spirit, should plunge into the thick of life's 
activities, bear the full weight of life's inevitable 



THE CHRISTIAN '5 JACOB '5 LADDER. 3 T x 

cross, extend a helping hand to the fatherless and 
the widows in their tribulation, and withal keep him- 
self unspotted from this world. These, then, are the 
three rounds in the Jacob's ladder whereby we 
clamber heavenward: a merciful hand, a prayerful 
soul, and a clean heart. In considering them let us 
invert their order so as to represent to ourselves a 
Christian guarding against defilement by prayer and 
acts of mercy an order more convenient and logi- 
cal and one sanctioned by Christ when in Geth- 
semani He said to His Apostles : " Watch ye and 
pray, that in the hour of trial ye enter not into 
temptation." 

" To keep oneself unspotted from this world." 
Brethren, the world reeks defilement, it is full of the 
occasions of sin. As surely as the body, our shoes 
and clothing and our skin contract or exude un- 
cleanness amid the efforts of a busy day, so surely 
does the soul become more or less contaminated by 
contact with the world. Within, without, at home, 
abroad, everywhere, temptations are encountered. 
In the nineteenth chapter of the book of Numbers 
we read that when a death occurred, the tent and 
every person and thing therein, and every open ves- 
sel that had no covering bound upon it, were un- 
clean. Being then in the desert, the Israelites lived 
in tents and stored their necessaries in earthen jars. 
Of the many things prescribed by law as rendering 
men unclean, unfit to mingle with their fellows and 
worship before God's tabernacle, none left so dark a 
stain as sin's consummation, death. One day sufficed 



312 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

to purge from other defilements, but he that closed 
the dying eyes, or washed or buried the corpse, 
whatever the home contained and whosoever en- 
tered it all were made unclean and remained un- 
clean until, having washed in the water of expiation 
on the third and again on the seventh day, they were 
thus restored to fellowship with their kindred. But 
note, I pray you, the exception. Whatever vessel 
had a cloth upon it escaped defilement. Brethren, 
we are earthen vessels all, fashioned by the hand of 
God, and the very air around is charged with death, 
with physical and moral death. Our dangers of de- 
filement outnumber those of the Israelites as much as 
his outnumbered those of the vessels in his tent. 
Within our homes, lonely though they be, within 
Ourselves lurk sin's occasions, and if, walking abroad, 
we come in touch with our fellowmen, the dangers 
increase a hundredfold. Nor does defilement work 
in us less mischief or bring less hardship than it did 
to the Israelite. Once defiled, we become morally 
ostracized, cut off from God and a menace to our fel- 
lowman. Oh well were it if, until expiation had 
been done, sinners were obliged to stand aloof and 
cry: " Unclean! unclean! " for they only serve to con- 
taminate all with whom they come in contact. But, 
says the text, whatever vessel had a cloth bound on 
it was not defiled. Brethren, such vessels are our 
hearts, and the cloth with which we must securely 
cover them is the grace of God. In our hearts we 
treasure up God's gifts and thence disperse them to 
our fellowman, but believe me, unless the vessel be 



THE CHRISTIAN'S JACOB'S LADDER. 313 

covered over by God's grace, its contents will be 
spoiled and our charity all in vain. No matter how 
precious or how common the contents, no matter 
how plain or how beautiful the vessel, unless it be 
covered securely it is sure to be defiled. Securely, 
did I say, aye and constantly, for so insistent and 
all-pervading is the death around us that there is 
need on our part of a holy watchfulness. Our eyes, 
our ears, our tongue, all our external and internal 
senses are so many openings to the heart and soul, 
and must be closely and continually guarded if we 
'hope to keep ourselves unspotted from this world. 
Not that our hearts should be as vessels void and 
empty, but there should be a steadfast shutting in 
of virtue and of truth and as resolute a shutting out 
of error and of sin. " Thy Kingdom Come " should 
be our so prevailing sentiment that no room would be 
left for any less noble thought. Such is the cloth 
which must cover our hearts and be bound upon 
them, sealed, as it were, with the seal of persever- 
ance an unremittingly watchful cooperation with 
the grace of God. " And what I say to you," says 
Christ, " I say to all; watch." 

Watch and pray. Brethren, if even the Apostles had 
to be reminded of the necessity of prayer in repelling 
temptation, how much more we, poor laggard fol- 
lowers of Christ! And reminded we are on almost 
every Gospel page. Our Lord's example, His night- 
long vigils on the mountain side, is supplemented by 
His teaching: " Pray ye always and faint not." Note 
the word " always." It is frequently explained away 



314 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

as meaning that to labor is to pray, provided that 
whatever we do in word or in work, we do all in the 
name of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the context 
calls for a more literal interpretation. It was her 
importunity that secured the widow justice, and in- 
cessant knocking opened the baker's door, and these 
and such like parables Christ uses to illustrate what 
holy insistence must characterize our prayers. Not 
that we must be ever on our knees; but as we always 
find sufficient time for meals, so we must learn to 
always snatch from business cares sufficient time for 
prayer. " On the law of the Lord," says Holy Writ, 
" the just man meditates by night and day/' that is, 
at uniform and stated intervals. In fact, if we con- 
sider upon the one hand God, and ourselves upon the 
other, it would seem we are bound to pray much 
oftener than is generally thought possible or consist- 
ent with our duties. God's earthly abode, be it in a 
temple or a human soul, should be a house of prayer. 
The heart is where its treasure is, and if we loved 
God as we should, ours would be prayerful lives. 
Could the young man'feel for God the love he feels 
for his sweetheart, how assiduously he would medi- 
tate the law of the Lord, how often his thoughts and 
dreams would wander heavenward, what a great 
saint he would become! Our wretched destitution, 
too, should teach us the need of prayer. Directly 
they fell, our first parents realized their nakedness. 
They had lost their robe of innocence, and humanity 
since then has continued to clothe itself in the rags 
of sin. Nay, sin has soaked in like water through the 



THE CHRISTIAN'S JACOB'S LADDER. 315 

entire human system, and permeated like oil its very 
bones, and there produced a sort of moral paralysis. 
Of ourselves we can do nothing. We are as helpless 
as a nest of unfledged birds, and like them we should 
lift our arms in supplication, and open-mouthed cry 
to our heavenly Father to give us each day our 
daily bread. Prayer is the second round in our 
Jacob's ladder. Guard as we may against defilement, 
we shall never achieve perfection without prayer. 
It will not do to remove our vices as we do our 
beards, leaving the roots for a further growth. Our 
malady is internal, and not to be cured by such out- 
ward appliances as alms or fasts, but only by the in- 
ternal medicine of heartfelt prayer. That is the cor- 
dial that fires the soul and sends the blessed heat 
through the entire man, rendering him malleable as 
fire does the iron, and making him glow as glowed 
Christ's face and garb on Thabor. But lip service will 
not do; our prayers must be mental as well. Prayer 
purely vocal is like a brief but violent summer 
shower it does more harm than good, but prayer 
that is likewise mental is as the soft but steady driz- 
zle that delights the husbandman and produces 
abundant fruit. But the chief factor in prayer is the 
heart. Our minds should not retain but pass along 
the spiritual pabulum to our wills and hearts. A 
well-trained beagle will not devour the game, but 
brings it to his master's feet. So, too, intelligence 
collects ideas for the heart. True, a toll may be 
levied by the intellect on what it passes in, but if it 
confiscate all, the heart will starve. If the nurse not 



316 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

only masticates her baby's food but swallows it be- 
sides, the infant dies. And given a heart once cold 
or dead, all attempts at prayer are as a sounding 
brass or a tinkling cymbal. But a tongue, a mind, and 
heart delicately attuned to prayer lift like sweet 
music their happy possessor heavenward. Like a 
man on a lofty tower, we begin to appreciate the lit- 
tleness of earthly things. Our judgments are com- 
parative, and so accustomed becomes the prayerful 
man to the contemplation of God's greatness, that he 
learns soon to despise this little world, to bear mis- 
fortune with equanimity and prosperity with indif- 
ference. In the words of the Psalmist: "He hath 
made the Most High his refuge, and no evil can come 
to him." 

Watch and pray and visit the fatherless and 
widows in their tribulation. Brethren, practical 
benevolence is the third round in the ladder of per- 
fection, the final requisite in a religion clean and un- 
defiled before God and the Father. The truly re- 
ligious are essentially altruistic. In playing the good 
Samaritan or humanity's Simon of Cyrene, they for- 
get their own and lighten their neighbor's burdens. 
" Man born of woman, liveth a short time and is 
filled with many miseries." Such is humanity's bi- 
ography. Torture at birth, misery through life, at 
death agfony. In driving our first parents from para- 
dise God said: "Cursed be the earth, thorns and 
thistles shall it bear you," and that curse has echoed 
down the ages in one unbroken series of human woes 
Divine and human wisdom agree that the yoke is 



THE CHRISTIAN'S JACOB'S LADDER. 3 J 7 

heavy on every child of Eve, from the time he comes 
from his mother's womb until he returns into the 
womb of mother earth, for suffering and death knock 
with impartial hand at the peasant's cot and the pal- 
aces of kings. Consider the numberless diseases of 
childhood, the spiritual afflictions of maturity, and the 
miseries of the aged, when, like drowning men, they 
feel the last plank slipping from, their grasp, and see 
the great ocean of eternity slowly but surely rising 
to engulf them. Life begins with a scream and ends 
with a moan, because there is in our hearts an aching 
void that nothing short of God can ever appease. 
True, we are sometimes happy, but our happiness 
is as that of one born with heart disease, who 
never having tasted the sweetness of relief, scarcely 
feels the bitterness of his pain. If we could see our- 
selves as we are, as the angels see us, we would weep 
for selfish pity, and the unbegotten babe would beg 
to be left in its nothingness forever. Still it is all 
God's mercy. We prodigals wander afar from Him 
and with the scourge of tribulation He drives us 
back. When miseries multiply, the blessed resolve: 
" I will arise and go to my Father " is easily made. 
It is only when he has become as wretched and for- 
lorn as the blind beggar by the gates of Jericho that 
the sinner strains to hear the approaching footsteps 
of his Lord, and lifts his voice in that blessed prayer: 
" Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." Not more 
true is this of the individual Christian than of the 
Christian Church, for whereas she thrives best un- 
der unremitting persecution, temporal prosperity has 



318 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

ever wrought in her ruin and corruption. The same 
is true of the human race the more they prospered 
the farther they wandered from God and the more 
dire the periodic calamities with which He recalled 
them. In fact God's truest servants are ever more 
numerous among the afflicted and the poor than in 
the ranks of fortune's favorites. The poor are the 
true Christian nobility, and among them are enacted 
day by day scenes of Christian heroism, deeds of 
heroic fortitude and patience, such as the proud aris- 
tocrats with all their pretensions are seldom capable 
of performing or appreciating. For though world- 
lings must taste betimes the chalice of suffering, it 
is not the chalice of Christ, but of the world, it is not 
drained with Christian cheerfulness and resignation, 
but with sorrow and loathing. Only they, says Holy 
Writ, who drink the chalice of the Lord are made 
the friends of God. But this divine affiliation is pro- 
duced both in the actual sufferers and in those wit- 
nesses of those sufferings who try to relieve them. 
Go into the homes of poverty and disease and see 
the trials there so patiently endured and tell me if 
you are not a better man for the experience. See 
the little orphans wailing farewell to one another and 
to the old home perhaps forever, and going off to 
spend and end their lives how or where God only 
knows. Again see the parentless brother and sister, 
or the widowed mother proudly braving the great 
world, and winning from it an independent subsist- 
ence for the little ones at home. Stand by the death- 
bed of these latter-day saints and martyrs, and watch 



THE CHRIS TIAN 'S JACOB 'S LADDER. 319 

their last brave struggle and you will feel as though 
your heart's blood might well up to your eyes 
and you could shed tears of blood for very pity. 
And pity is akin to love, for he who can and does feel 
a hearty and practical pity for a suffering fellow- 
creature is very near to the love and the kingdom o'f 
God. From nothing else can we derive such solid 
spiritual comfort, such an uplifting of our whole be- 
ing, as from an earnest effort to relieve the unfor- 
tunate. When a man, his heart swelling with sym- 
pathy, hastens to comfort sorrow or relieve affliction, 
he is truly God-like. Bearing in his soul the image 
of God, he presents in his outward demeanor a like- 
ness as perfect as may be of the Christ sympathizing 
with sorrow and healing the diseased. Nay more, his 
charity has Christ Himself for its object, " for," says 
He, " whatsoever you do unto them you do likewise 
unto Me." Tribulation, therefore, is but a form of 
God's mercy. Spiritual ills and spiritual death render 
men unclean, but worldly trials, on the contrary, tend 
to ennoble and to sanctify. They are blessings in 
disguise, affording us, as they do, opportunities for 
atonement, detaching us from the world, evoking 
all that is purest and best in our natures, and, when 
sin has been done, sending us like frightened chil- 
dren back into God's arms crying: "Jesus, Son of 
David, have mercy on me." 

A clean heart, a prayerful soul, a generous hand. 
In this order, Brethren, we agreed to consider these 
three, but alas! it was an error, we deceived our- 
selves. The sinless can afford to confine their 



320 FJFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. 

thoughts to the higher things, as how to keep them- 
selves pure by pious exercises and works of mercy, 
but who alack! who of us is sinless? If we say we are 
without sin, the truth is not in us. So earthly are 
we that the first stage in our progress toward God 
will be to emerge from the black pit of sin into the 
light and life of grace. We must first come up into 
God's kingdom on earth, and drawing our Jacob's 
ladder after us, plant it there anew and resume our 
journey heavenward. We plant it and reverse it. 
Under the stress of manifold tribulations we turn 
prayerfully to God and so emerge chastened and 
cleansed from sin, but our farther progress upward 
will be by the same steps reversed, a watchfulness 
against defilement, a less selfish, a higher and a 
holier form of prayer and a complete abandonment 
of self in the interest of humanity and of God. For 
" this is religion clean and undefiled before God and 
the Father, to watch and pray and to visit the 
widows and the orphans and comfort them in their 
tribulation." 



THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST. 3 21 



of t 

THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST. 

" When the Paraclete cometh, He shall give testimony of 
Me." John xv. 26. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Truth's corner-stone. II. Opinions. III. Suggestions 

of arguments. 
I. Guilt of sin : i. Man-God. 2. Messias in figure and 

prophecy. 3. In Gospels. 
II. Christ's character : i. Idolatry. 2. Hypocrisy. 3. Died 

to prove assertion. 
III. Christ's deeds: i. His miracles. 2. Resurrection. 

3. Ascension. 

Per.: i. Arguments for infidels. 2. Our confidence. 3. Lord's 
second coming. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, disbelief in the divinity of Jesus Christ 
is and ever has been the world's blackest sin; 
it will be the gravest indictment brought against 
mankind by the Spirit of truth. The divinity of 
Christ is the corner-stone of our temple of faith, 
whose removal means the destruction of the entire 
edifice. It is a doctrine founded on undeniable evi- 
dence, supported by irrefutable arguments. Still 
they have never been wanting who would say: " We 
do not believe." In the groups that surrounded Him 
in Judea and Galilee, in the throng at the foot of the 
cross, opinions differed. Some scoffed, others adored: 
some reviled, others wept. So too, to-day, the 
agnostic, the Unitarian, the votary of science, all 
unite in denying Him that bought them. Vast num- 



322 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAYE OP THE ASCENSION. 

bers of so-called Christians, under the lead of 
pseudo-Christian ministers, practice a religion that 
never rises above the purely natural. They utterly 
eliminate the supernatural, and if, perchance, they 
revere the Christ as the ideal man, they absolutely 
refuse to adore Him as God. 

Brethren, to prove to you this doctrine were but 
to offend your lively faith. Your very presence here 
is a profession of faith, and joined as you are in 
Christian worship with the millions who, to-day, 
bowed before Christ's altar, you form a link in an in- 
fallible chain of arguments proving Christ's divinity. 
But you will meet those who will demand a reason 
for the faith that is in you, and I would have you 
ready with an answer. Neither are the arguments 
I give all that might be adduced, nor are they fully 
developed. The preacher's function, I believe, is to 
suggest individual thought rather than to convey 
developed ideas. 

My unbelieving friend agrees with me that God 
exists and that the Bible is His word; that man, 
fallen from his original innocence, needed and was 
promised a Redeemer who, whether He has come of 
not, though an ideal man, could never be more than 
a mere mortal. Brethren, that position, whether 
held by Jew or Unitarian, is untenable. For a mortal 
to be the Redeemer of mankind is a contradiction. 
The infinite distance between God's dignity and 
man's nothingness must be the measure of the guilt 
of original sin an infinite offence calling for 'an in- 
finite atonement. Now, if all the saints and angels 



THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST. 323 

that ever lived, with the Blessed Virgin at their head, 
were to unite for their whole lives, aye forever, in one 
act of reparation, they could never satisfy God's of- 
fended majesty. That is one reason why out of hell 
there is no redemption; viz., because the atonement 
of those lost souls, however intense or protracted, 
can never transcend the merely finite. God alone 
can expiate in a manner infinitely meritorious. The 
Redemption was a work not for man alone, for it ex- 
ceeded his powers; nor for God alone, for man had 
sinned; but for both united in one the man-God. 
The Redeemer, come when He will, must essentially 
have united the divine and human natures in His 
single personality. Has such a figure appeared in 
history? How shall I know Him? I turn to the Old 
Testament, a book sacred alike to Unitarian and Jew, 
and there I find Him fully described. As a result of 
the original promise of His coming, made to our first 
parents, I find Him, the expectation of Israel, alive 
in the minds and hearts of the people for four thou- 
sand years, and faith in Him sustained by type and 
figure and prophecy. I see Him typified in the sav- 
ing ark of Noe, and in the paschal lamb whose 
blood on the door-posts saved the people from God's 
avenging angel. I see Him prefigured in Moses 
the deliverer of his people; in Joseph, sold by his 
brethren to become afterwards their saviour; in 
Isaac, staggering under the wood for sacrifice; in 
Abel, slain by his brother; in Jonas, rising again 
after three days in the bowels of the earth. The 
prophets tell me when and where He was to be born 



324 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF THE ASCENSION. 

born of a virgin; they describe the adoration and 
gifts of the eastern kings; they foretell His lowly po- 
sition in life, the incidents of His public career, His 
sufferings, the circumstances of His death all are 
described with the minutest exactness even to such 
trivial matters as gambling for His clothing, or giv- 
ing Him, for drink, vinegar and gall. With His pho- 
tograph in one hand and a detailed account of His 
life in the other, how can I fail, when I meet Him, to 
recognize the Messias? And meet Him I do in the 
person of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, which 
is but the history of Christ and His followers and the 
doctrines they preached. Therein I find recorded as 
accomplished facts all that the ancient Testament 
foreshadowed. Such a weight of evidence is there 
in favor of Christ the Messias, that if an angel from 
heaven were to teach otherwise I would answer him 
"Anathema." If God were to charge hie with 
blasphemy, I would reply: " Not guilty; you, not I, 
are responsible for the error.'' For the two Testa- 
ments are like the cherubim described in Exodus, 
their wings fold over the ark of the New Covenant, 
Christ's sacred personality, and they gaze ever 
through Him upon each other. They are the sera- 
phim of Isaias's vision, who adoringly turn to Jesus 
and forever echo one another, chanting: " Holy, 
holy, Lord God of Sabaoth." 

But let us suppose for a moment that, Christ was 
a mere man, commissioned by God to reform society 
by introducing Christianity. What follows? First, 
it would be short-sighted policy on the part of God. 



THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST. 325 

Men are ever inclined to adore as gods the sources 
of great benefits. Thus the Pagans adore the sun, 
the Egyptians the elephant, and the Israelites in the 
desert, when hungering for the flesh-pots of Egypt, 
adored a golden calf. To empower Christ to confer 
such incalculable blessing on mankind and to expect 
them, nevertheless, to abstain from idolatry, would 
argue on the part of God an ignorance as well of 
human nature as of future events. In that case, too, 
Christ, whose holiness and disinterestedness are 
vouched for even by Pilate and Judas Christ would 
have proved false to His mission by arrogating to 
Himself divine worship, and society to-day, plunged 
as it is in idolatry, is more iniquitous than it was two 
thousand years ago. Why, in that case we would 
have to conclude that God's providence has lost its 
hold on the guidance of human events, and that the 
marvels Christ and His followers wrought, and the 
wondrous endurance of His doctrines and institu- 
tions, have been effected independent of and in oppo- 
sition to Almighty God! If Christ was not God, He 
was king of hypocrites, something even His worst 
enemies have not dared to assert. The Apostles, who 
knew Him as brother knows brother, testified to His 
sanctity with their love and their lives. His enemies 
even, the Jews, declared no man had ever spoken as 
He, and admitted He went around doing good. 
And are we, as they, to believe Him in all things but 
the assertion of His divinity? Are we to revere Him 
as everything save as God? " I am the Son of God/* 
He declared; and though the rabble stoned Him as 



326 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF THE ASCENSION. 

a blasphemer, He did not retract. Paul and Barna- 
bas and John the Baptist confessed they were 
neither gods nor Christ. Though His words were 
a scandal to the Jews and a stumbling-block to the 
Gentiles, yet Christ did not recall them. Before 
Caiphas, when on trial for His life, He declared His 
divinity. Did He not die on the cross for it, and to 
prove it? And can I do less than, like the centurion, 
confess that verily this was the Son of God? 

Brethren, not only did Christ assert His divinity; 
He also proved it by His miracles. " Though you 
believe not Me," He said, "believe My works." 
He changed water into wine; He multiplied the 
loaves and fishes; He commanded the winds and the 
sea; He healed diseases humanly incurable, and 
raised the dead to life. No man, whatever his mis- 
sion in this world, has since or before enjoyed such 
power. Miracles have been wrought before Christ 
and after Christ but, on analysis, you will find all 
were effected in the name or by the power of Jesus. 
The power of miracles is peculiarly an attribute of 
God. Nor is there room for doubt as to the reliabil- 
ity of their chroniclers, as the New Testament is a 
history compiled by eye-witnesses that has for nine- 
teen hundred years braved every critical assault. 
And if its narrative is worthy of credit why not, also, 
its positive assertions,? If I believe the evangelist 
recounting Christ's lowliness, why mistrust him ex- 
tolling Christ's greatness? He is but a helpless babe, 
but the angels around and above Him sing " Glory 
to God in the highest." Humble Simeon and Anna 



THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST. 3 2 7 

bless God for having shown them the Saviour of 
Israel, and the kings do homage before Him. He is 
a mere stripling in the midst of the doctors, but they 
are astounded at His answers. He is no more than 
any one of the throng that goes down to the Jordan 
for baptism, but the heavens open and God pro- 
claims: "This is My beloved Son." The ascent of 
Thabor is as steep for Him as for His Apostles, but 
presently He is transfigured, adored by the prince of 
prophets, and once more proclaimed to be the Son of 
God. Lord, ask me as you asked St. Peter: "Who 
do you say the Son of man is? " Ah, I will not turn 
my puny voice to heaven saying " Father, He is not 
Thy Son." In the face of such evidence I can only 
answer with Peter: " Thou art the Son of the liv- 
ing God." 

Brethren, Christ's Resurrection is the culminating 
proof of His divinity; the corner-stone of Christian- 
ity. " If Christ be not risen," says St. Paul, " our 
faith is vain." The Jews recognized its importance 
when they sealed the great stone that closed His 
tomb and set a guard of soldiers. For Christ had 
repeatedly foretold that He would rise again the 
third day. Future events are known to no man; no, 
not even to the angels in heaven, but to God alone; 
and thougli God has given men the gift of prophecy, 
He has never empowered any man to foreshadow 
His own personal destiny. Christ's divinity is doubly 
proven by His Resurrection, and His Resurrection is 
certain beyond the shadow of a doubt. That He 
actually died is testified to by His exhausted condi- 



328 SUNDAY WITHltf THE OCTAVE OF THE ASCENSION. 

tion before crucifixion, by His three hours on the 
cross, by the gaping wound in His side, by the sol- 
diers who refrained from breaking His limbs because 
they found Him already dead. And that He rose the 
third day from the dead, who shall deny? They will 
tell you those timid Apostles rolled back the stone 
and stole His body, that the rigid discipline of 
Rome was relaxed for once and the soldiers slept; 
but ask them for their proofs and they will bring for- 
ward, as did the chief priests, these same sleepy sol- 
diers as witnesses of the theft. Far different the 
proofs of our belief. We know whom we have be- 
lieved we know that our Redeemer liveth. We 
have met Him newly risen on the way to Emmaus 
and heard it from His very lips. We have seen in 
Him evidence of rational life when He expounded 
the Scriptures and upbraided our incredulity; of 
sentient life when He heeded our hospitable en- 
treaties; of animal life when He shared our meal. 
Why, have we not put our finger into the very print 
of the nails, and our hand into His side? What re- 
mains for us to do, in the face of such evidence, but 
to fall down adoringly and exclaim: " My Lord and 
my God!" 

Brethren, the Ascension which we last Thursday 
commemorated is still another proof of Christ's 
divinity. Had He been a mere mortal, He could 
not have ascended of Himself; there would have been 
need of Elias's fiery chariot or of some similiar mani- 
festation of almighty power. That is why the ChurcH 
draws such a sharp distinction between Christ's man- 



THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST. 329 

ner of going heavenward and Mary's, for Mary was 
assumed or lifted up by God, but Christ ascended. 
For no one ascends to heaven by his own volition 
and power, but He, the Son of man, who descended 
from heaven. The Word was made flesh, clothing 
Himself, identifying Himself with our humanity, and 
dwelt amongst us leading captivity captive, and as- 
cended on high to be for all time the Giver of gifts to 
men. The power with which He freed men from the 
slavery of the devil and placed on them His own light 
yoke and sweet burden proved Him to be "God. He 
had proved it sufficiently by His victory over sin and 
death, but during the forty days between His Resur- 
rection and Ascension, as we read in the Acts, He 
showed His divinity by many further proofs, and He 
confirmed it by His Ascension. Finally, He proves 
it by the permanency of that Church which He per- 
fected during those days, and by the gifts with which 
He endowed her. He sent the Spirit of love, the 
All-good, upon her, to be diffused in our hearts cry- 
ing Abba, Father, to encourage us with the thought 
that we shall have our Father for our judge and our 
Brother for our advocate. By His Resurrection and 
Ascension He has animated our faith in His divinity 
and all that it entails, enlivened our hope of arising 
and ascending as He did, and inflamed our charity, 
for where lies our treasure thither tend our hearts. 
He has given to all men a tendency upwards which, 
if rightly directed, leads to heaven. Many, alas! mis- 
take the mount of God, climbing the hills of knowl- 
edge or of power in the vain hope that, once at the 



33 SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF THE ASCENSION. 

summit, they may be able to touch the heavens with 
their hand or take possession of the sun. But the 
pathway heavenward lies not on earthly slopes, how- 
ever fair; no, not even up glorious Thabor does it 
lead, but up Calvary alone, for as it was necessary for 
Christ to suffer and so enter into His glory, so His 
every faithful follower must deny himself and take 
up his cross and follow the Saviour through many 
tribulations into the kingdom of heaven. 

Brethren, we have twice heard Christ's divinity 
proclaimed by God the Father Himself; we have 
heard it from the angels by His empty tomb; we have 
read it in almost every chapter of the Scriptures, Old 
and New; Nature has confessed it by her wondrous 
obedience; Christ has proven it by His prophecies 
and miracles; the blood of the martyrs loudly asserts 
it; the marvellous spread of the Christian religion 
does and will bear testimony to it for all time. But 
these arguments are for the unbelieving. For our- 
selves, we have within us an indefinable sense of se- 
curity, whereby, without inquiring into the why or 
the wherefore, we believe in Our Lord with a faith 
that nothing can shatter. Blessed are they that have 
not seen and have believed. Our faith is our joy and 
our crown. Let it also instil into our lives a meas- 
ure of salutary fear. When the Lord was made flesh 
and dwelt amongst us, He came as the lowliest of the 
low. Let us not forget He is to come again with 
power and majesty to render to every man according 
to his deserts, when the wicked shall go into ever- 
lasting fire but the just into life everlasting. 



THE HOLY GHOST. 331 



THE HOLY GHOST. 
SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : The difficulty of the subject. 

I. What is the Holy Ghost? : I. " Holy Spirit." 2. Human 

mind. 3. Difference. 

II. He is God : i. From Scripture. 2. Arian difficulty. 
3. Three modes of production. 

III. Objections: i. How "sent"? 2. Words of Amos. 

3. Wresting the Scriptures. 

IV. Descent: i. Special coming. 2. Necessity of gifts. 

3. Knowledge, tongues, miracles, love. 

Per.: i. Special necessity of love. 2. Fortitude and patience. 
3. Invocation. 

SERMON. 

"O the depths of the knowledge of God!" ex- 
claims St. Paul in the presence of the mystery of the 
Trinity. " Who shall declare His generation? " asks 
Isaias, speaking of the birth of the Word from the 
Father. And, Brethren, not less incomprehensible, 
because not less divine, is our subject to-day, the pro- 
cession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the 
Son. It is one of these heavenly mysteries un- 
fathomable even to the angelic intelligences, alto- 
gether above and beyond the range of human rea- 
son, and known to mortals only through faith in 
the revelations of God. May He who can give 
speech to the dumb and render eloquent the tongues 
of even little ones, may He empower me to treat as 
worthily as mortal may of His nature, of His glorious 
descent upon the Apostles, of the wondrous gifts with 
which He endowed them; and may He give you to 



33 2 PENTECOST SUNDAY. 

understand the means whereby you may worthily re- 
ceive and fittingly and lastingly entertain so august 
and so imposing a guest. 

What then, Brethren, is the Holy Ghost? He is 
God, coequal and consubstantial with the other 
persons of the Trinity, and yet, as the third person of 
that Trinity, He is really distinct from the Father 
and the Son. The name " Holy Ghost " or " Holy 
Spirit " might with equal truth be applied to either 
the Father or the Son, but because the third person 
proceeds from them both as from a single principle, 
because He is common to them both, being the love 
of the Father for the Son and of the Son for the 
Father, therefore that name which is common to all 
three is rightly appropriated by Him who is the link 
that binds the universe to God and God to God in 
the bonds of benevolence and love. If one might 
without irreverence seek to still farther penetrate the 
secrets of the Divinity, a study of the human mind 
will afford a shadowy concept of the Blessed Trinity. 
The soul, the highest type of creature known to us, 
naturally bears the strongest semblance to the 
Creator. Now, the mind, in studying an object, pro- 
duces within itself an image of that object, and 
around and over that image, if the object be a lov- 
able one, the will fondly hovers and is led on thereby 
to the pursuit and the enjoyment of the object itself. 
So it is in a measure with the Divinity. The Father, 
contemplating His own all-perfect nature, begets an 
image thereof, and that image being no less a sub- 
stantial reality than His only-begotten Son, there is 



THE HOLY GHOST. 333 

produced between them by the divine will a third be- 
ing, the Spirit of love, the Holy Ghost. For there 
is this difference between the operations of the hu- 
man mind and the divine, that the image and the 
love of an object produced by the intellect and will 
of the former are as unsubstantial and transitory as 
a mirrored reflection or a passing emotion, but not 
so in the latter, for whatever falls within the radius 
of the Divinity, though it be in a measure distinct 
from God, must still be substantially God Himself. 
God, the Son, therefore, is the intelligence of the 
Father, by whom and in whom, as in an exemplar, 
the Father contemplates His own infinite perfections 
and their numberless imitations in the universe of 
creatures, and God the Holy Ghost is the love that 
results from this contemplation, and reaching out 
clasps the entire realm of beings to the bosom of 
their Creator. 

Brethren, it was precisely because the Holy Ghost 
proceeds from the Father and the Son and by them 
is sent upon Christ's followers that that controversy 
arose which called in question His divinity, and for 
centuries rent in twain the Christian Church. For, 
argued the Arians, as the person sent, such as a 
servant or soldier, is always inferior to the sender, 
his master or commander, so the Holy Ghost, 
though He be first of creatures, is still but a creature 
and in no sense equal to the Father and the Son. 
Nevertheless, Brethren, the Scriptures emphatically 
assert that the Holy Ghost is God. Only God is 
everywhere, and " whither," says the Psalmist, 



334 PENTECOST SUNDAY. 

" shall I go from Thy omnipresent Spirit? " Only God 
is omniscient, and says St. Paul: " The Spirit search- 
eth all things, yea, the deep things of God." Only 
God is omnipotent, and, prays the Royal Prophet: 
" Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created." 
To have a temple of worship is God's exclusive pre- 
rogative, but, says St. Paul: " Know ye not that 
your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit? " To 
" speak by the mouth of His holy prophet " was 
surely peculiar to the Lord God of Israel, but St. 
Peter says, "those holy men of God spoke inspired 
by the Holy Ghost." Finally, nothing could be 
plainer than St. Peter's assertion of this truth when, 
having detected the duplicity of Ananias, he said to 
him: "Ananias, why hath Satan tempted thy heart 
that thou shouldst lie to the Holy Ghost? Thou 
hast not lied to men, but to God." What, there- 
fore, of the Arian argument? Certainly, when it is 
a question of the exercise of authority, the sender 
is necessarily superior to the person sent, but there 
is another manner of sending forth, by production, 
namely, as when the sun puts forth its rays and the 
trees their blossoms and fruit, and here is involved 
no inequality, for rays and flowers and fruit are by 
nature identical with the principle from which they 
emanate. Such, in some sort, is the emanation of 
the Son from the Father, and of the Holy Ghost 
from the Father and the Son. But here again the 
heretics sought occasion to attack the divinity of the 
third person, arguing that as God produces by 
generation and creation only, therefore the Holy 



THE HOLY GHOST. 335 

Ghost, who is certainly not the begotten of the 
Father, must of necessity be a mere creature. But 
our holy faith maintains that besides the generation 
of the Word and the creation of the universe, there 
is in God a third productive operation by which the 
Holy Spirit proceeds from the single will of the 
Father and the Son. Not less productive than the 
divine intellect is the divine will. The Son, there- 
fore, proceeds from the Father alone by generation; 
the Holy Ghost from both Father and Son by mutual 
love, and the universe of angels and men and things 
from Father, Son and Holy Ghost by the act of 
creation. 

But, Brethren, since God is everywhere, how can 
the Holy Ghost be said to have been sent into the 
world or upon the Apostles? God is indeed every- 
where, but it is possible for the divine persons to be- 
gin to exist under a new aspect where they did not 
previously so exist. For example, God the Son, as St. 
John says, " was in the world, but the world knew 
Him not," but in the plenitude of time the Father 
sent Him, made under the law, born of a woman, so 
that the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst 
us in an altogether new and extraordinary manner. 
So, too, the Holy Spirit. When an infidel or heretic 
is converted, the Holy Ghost comes to him under the 
form of faith and hope and chanty. When a sinner 
repents, the Spirit of God begins to dwell in him by 
grace and its accompanying virtues. That is why 
these virtues are by Isaias called spirits, " the spirit 
of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel 



33 6 PENTECOST SUNDAY. 

and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and piety, and 
the spirit of the fear of the Lord," and St. Paul adds 
" that though there be diversities of graces, it is the 
same spirit who worketh all in all." 

Brethren, in the presence of this doctrine so plainly 
scriptural, so consistent with reason, the arguments 
of the enemies of the Holy Ghost seem absurdly 
puerile. Especially childish was their attempt to dis- 
prove His divinity from the words of the prophet 
Amos: " He [God] formeth the thunder and creat- 
eth the spirit." The passage being the prophet's ap- 
peal to Israel to return to God through fear of His 
greatness, he adduces a thunderstorm as an ex- 
ample of the awful power of Him whom the winds 
and the seas obey. The force of the objection, there- 
fore, consists in a misinterpretation of the word 
" spirit " which here evidently signifies the winds. 
It is a fair example of the devices to which heretics 
resort to pervert Scripture and combat the truth. 
Their method is to wrest Scripture into conformity 
with their own ideas, and when this is impossible, 
to reject altogether the more stubborn passages. 
Speaking with the Samaritan woman, Christ said: 
" The Spirit is God, and they that adore Him must 
adore Him in spirit and in truth," and although the 
text may more correctly be quoted of the divine na- 
ture, meaning that God is a spirit, etc., still the 
Arians in their frantic efforts to prove that the Spirit 
is not God, totally erased these words from their 
Bibles. The Lutherans adopted a similar method in 
dealing with Machabees and St. James, where they 



THE HOLY GHOST. 337 

say respectively: " It is a holy and a wholesome 
thought to pray for the dead that they be freed from 
their sins," and " faith without works is dead; " and 
Our Lord's words: " This is My body," were by the 
Calvinists either changed so as to read: "This sig- 
nifies My body," or else altogether rejected and ex- 
punged. Thus do they wrest the Scriptures to their 
own destruction, for, says St. Ambrose, " their pun- 
ishment is that while they are erasing the words of 
truth from the Book of God, God is erasing their 
names from the Book of Life." 

Brethren, ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord 
the Holy Ghost, as Christ had promised, descended 
on the Apostles. At the creation, the Spirit of God 
brooded over the waters and brought order out of 
chaos. During the intervening centuries, He, by 
virtue of His divinity, had filled with His presence 
the whole world. He had even vouchsafed at various 
times special manifestations of Himself, as when He 
appeared to the wandering Israelites as a pillar of 
cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, or hovered 
as a dove over Christ in the Jordan, or passed like a 
breath from Christ to His Apostles, or in mortal 
guise chanted a psalm before Eliseus, or instructed 
the centurion Cornelius, or in silence overshadowed 
the Virgin. But on that first Pentecost Day, His 
coming meant more than all these He came then 
to renew in very truth the face of the earth, and to 
remain with men all days to the end of time. Since 
the Ascension the Apostles had been hiding in Jerusa- 
lem through fear of the Jews, and being all together, 



33^ PENTECOST SUNDAY. 

" suddenly there came a sound, as of a mighty wind, 
and there appeared parted tongues, as it were of fire, 
which alighted upon every one of them, and they 
were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to 
speak with divers tongues." The manner of His 
coming is significant of knowledge, zeal, the gift of 
tongues and the power of miracles, symbolized 
respectively in the brightness and heat and form of 
the falling fire, and in the rushing sound of its 
descent. The Apostles as the preachers of the new 
dispensation, had especial need of these four gifts. 
An unlettered preacher is a blind man leading the 
blind, and both are sure to fall into the pit. A min- 
ister, learned, but without zeal or virtue, either 
abandons his flock like the hireling, or scatters them 
by the scandal of his life. How necessary in a 
preacher is the gift of speech you know full well 
you on whom we inflict our clumsy harangues. And, 
lastly, the power of miracles is God's seal on the 
credentials of His earthly ambassadors. Prior to the 
foundation of the Christian Church, the Synagogue 
had been His duly accredited representative, so that 
it was of the first importance that the authority of 
the Apostles should be so plainly certified to as to 
command the respect and submission of both Jews 
and Gentiles. But the same necessity for miracle- 
working does not exist to-day, except, perhaps, on 
the part of those who are continually introducing 
new forms of belief. To ask the Church to prove her 
divinity by miracles at this late day is unreasonable, 
especially in those individuals and nations who have 



THE HOLY GHOST. 339 

eagerly accepted that manifestly fraudulent Chris- 
tianity, Protestantism. 

Brethren, the knowledge communicated by the 
Holy Spirit to the Apostles comprised all the mys- 
teries and truths of our faith. " The heavens show 
forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth 
the work of His hands," and from a study of visible 
things philosophy came to a knowledge of the in- 
visible things of God. But the Lord leads the just 
man by direct ways and shows him the kingdom of 
God, and hence it was that through the influence of 
the Holy Ghost more wisdom was infused into the 
Apostles in a moment than all the philosophers la- 
boriously and for centuries had been able to acquire. 
Natural truths, however, did not most probably con- 
stitute a part of these revelations, except indeed such 
as were necessary in the accomplishment of their 
apostolic mission, for, says St. Augustine, " the Spirit 
designed to make them not mathematicians, but 
Christians." The Apostles had said to Christ: " Lord, 
we know not whither Thou goest, and how are 
we to learn the way? " and through the coming 
of the Paraclete, He, as He promised, sufficiently en- 
lightened them so that they might be able " to give 
knowledge of salvation to His people unto the re- 
mission of their sins." 

The second gift was the gift of tongues. On that 
first Pentecost Day, there were in Jerusalem repre- 
sentatives of all civilized peoples, and each was 
amazed at hearing the Apostles address him in his 
native tongue. Not that they spoke Greek, for ex- 



340 PENTECOST SUNDAY. 

ample, more fluently than Demosthenes, or more 
polished Latin than Cicero, but they received the 
faculty of speaking the languages as they are or- 
dinarily spoken, and as though they were their own, 
and that, too, in a moment. " Blessed is the man 
whom Thou teachest, O Lord, for verily Thy tongue 
is as the pen of a writer writing rapidly! " Whether 
there be question of the imparting of truth or the 
learning of a language, there is a wider difference 
between our method and God's than there is be- 
tween the work of a pen and of a printing-press. 
Our process is slow and labored and our results de- 
fective, but the works of the Lord are perfect. 

Thirdly, they received the power of miracles. By a 
word of his mouth, we are told, St. Peter slew 
Ananias and Saphira for their duplicity, and not only 
did he raise Tabitha from the dead, but even by the 
touch of his shadow he cured all manner of diseases. 
So, too, the other Apostles. Nevertheless, they in- 
dulged in no arbitrary exercise of this power, but 
only in obedience to the promptings of the Spirit. 
St. Paul, for instance, did not use his miraculous 
power for the healing of his own wounds, and in writ- 
ing to Timothy, he counsels him to have recourse to 
natural remedies; not to drink water, but to use a 
little wine for his stomach's sake and his manifold 
infirmities. 

Brethren, lastly, and most of all, the Holy Ghost 
infused into the Apostles such intense zeal and love 
for God and humanity that, when their time came, 
not one of them hesitated to give the ultimate proof 



THE HOLY GHOST. 34* 

of charity by laying down his life for God and the 
brethren. Previous to His coming they had been 
weak and timid men; Peter had trembled at the voice 
of a maid and thrice denied his Lord, and the whole 
band was hiding for fear of the Jews, but now, as the 
plastic clay is by fire hardened into enduring brick, 
so the Apostles by the fire of divine love were made 
suitable to be the foundations of the Church of God. 
They who before shrank from ridicule and insult, 
now rejoiced that they were found worthy to suffer 
persecution and torture and death for the name of 
Jesus. 

Brethren, it matters little whether or not we be 
learned, whether or not we be eloquent, whether or 
not we be miracle-workers, but it is a matter of su- 
preme importance that we possess a goodly measure 
of love for God and our neighbor. " God is love," 
says St. John, and his meaning is that charity is of all 
the most characteristic gift of the Holy Ghost, the 
most infallible indication of His indwelling presence, 
the stem which produces and supports all the other 
gifts and fruits of the Holy Ghost. But how are we 
to know whether or not we possess this precious 
gift? Brethren, the natural outcome of charity is an 
ideal Christian life, but probably as sure indications 
as any other of its presence are fortitude and pa- 
tience. " True chanty casteth out fear," as we have 
seen it do in the case of the Apostles. When you saw 
your neighbor offending against the laws of his con- 
science and of God, did you admonish him? No. 
Why not? Because you feared his displeasure. Ah!, 



342 PENTECOST SUNDAY. 

but true charity casteth out fear. How often do you 
approach the sacraments? Once a year. How often 
do you eat? Three or four times a day. But why 
not refresh your starving soul more frequently? 
Afraid lest men consider you effeminate or a hypo- 
crite. Ah! but true charity casteth out fear. How 
many times did you refuse invitations to the theatre 
or the tavern; how often did you visit the widows 
and orphans to comfort them in their affliction? 
Seldom if ever. Why? For fear of being called 
mean or unmanly. Ah! but true charity casteth out 
fear. Again, charity is patient, beareth all things, 
endureth all things. Perhaps your health is poor, 
your home unhappy, your business not prosperous, 
are you resigned? Alas! how rare is patience! how 
rare is true charity! We bear the world's crosses 
uncomplainingly; we even voluntarily fast and pray 
and give alms, but beneath the tribulations sent us 
by God, we grumble and groan. Yet, " whom the 
Lord loveth, He chastiseth," but we cannot, will not 
see it. Rejecting the doctor of our souls, we under- 
take to prescribe for ourselves, and in the end we 
find that he who is his own physician hath a fool for 
his patient. Brethren, may the Spirit of love come 
to you to-day; may He strengthen you to bear 
humbly and patiently the inevitable but saving trials 
of your earthly career, and may He impart to you 
the courage to do ever, and everywhere, your whole 
duty to yourself, your neighbor, and your God. 



THE HOLY TRINITY. 343 



THE HOLY TRINITY. 

" In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost." Matt, xxviii. 19. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : Plan of Church liturgy for year. 

I. The Trinity: i. Truth and error. 2. State of nature 

and under law. 3. Under gospel. 
II. Benefits conferred: i. By Father. 2. By Son. 3. By 

Holy Ghost. 
III. Our return : i. Salvation by faith. 2. Works. 3. Final 

reckoning. 
Per. : Imitation of Blessed Trinity. 

SERMON. 

TO-DAY, my dear Brethren, the Church celebrates 
the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. In Advent she 
glorified the Father for the merciful redemption she 
saw Him preparing for mankind; from Christmas to 
Easter she adored God the Son in His birth and suf- 
ferings and death, and last Sunday she sang the 
praises of God the Holy Ghost-, the Sanctifier and 
Saviour of mankind. To-day having, as it were, 
chanted a solo in honor of each divine person, she 
bids her children join one and all in a grand chorus 
of praise to the ever adorable Trinity. 

That you may the more readily lend your voices to 
swell the chorus of praise, I will ask each of you to 
consider briefly, first, What is the Blessed Trinity? 
second, What has the Blessed Trinity done for me? 
third, What am I bound to do in return? In the 
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
Ghost, Amen. 



344 TRINITY SUNDAY. 

What do we mean by the Blessed Trinity? By the 
Blessed Trinity we mean one God in three divine 
persons. We agree with the Unitarian in saying that 
God, the infinite first cause and supreme Lord of all 
things must be one, for if there were two first causes, 
neither would be first, or if there were two infinite 
supreme beings both would be finite and subject to 
a higher third. Again we agree with the Trinitarians 
that God is three, because faith tells us so. But 
when the Trinitarians say " there are three Gods," 
or when the Unitarians say " there is only one per- 
son in God," we disagree with both, and stand half- 
way between the two and say " there is one God in 
three persons/' For just as in myself there is a hu- 
man nature which is common to me and to all men, 
and a personality which distinguishes me from all 
others, so in God there is one divine nature but 
three distinct personalities, Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost. Oh, but you say, " I cannot see how a thing 
can be one and three at the same time, and so I do 
not believe your doctrine." Brethren, remember 
Our Lord's words: " Blessed are they who have not 
seen and have believed." Faith is a belief in things 
unseen founded on the word of God, and without 
faith, especially in the Blessed Trinity, it is impossible 
to be saved. Now as well might we attempt to drain 
the sea drop by drop into the palm of the hand, as 
introduce an idea of the Trinity into our shallow 
brain. But is, therefore, that great mystery a lie? 
Is our feeble mind on a par with the infinite intelli- 
gence of God, the measure of transcendent truths 



THE HOLY TRINITY. 345 

and divine mysteries? Will we refuse to accept on 
faith a truth which the voice of God asserts in Scrip- 
ture and Tradition, which God's infallible Church 
teaches, and in the presence of which the sublime in- 
telligence of an Augustine, an Aquinas, and even the 
angels themselves bend in lowly homage? We can- 
not prove this truth to be false; we have God's word 
for it that it is true, and therefore though we cannot 
understand, we believe and beg God to help our un- 
belief. In fact if we look around us we see that 
many of the things God has made bear His likeness 
in that they are at the same time one and three. A 
triangular tower is one of these, because as we view 
it from three different sides it is ever the same tower 
we behold. St. Patrick used the shamrock to illus- 
trate the Trinity. As the Son proceeds from the 
Father and the Holy Ghost from both, so the blos- 
som comes from the tree, and the fruit from tree and 
blossom. The brute beast is a complete being and 
in himself he contains two other distinct beings; his 
soul and his body. The soul of man which God made 
to His own image and likeness that too, and in a 
special manner bears the impress of the Trinity, for 
while it is one soul, it possesses the three faculties of 
memory, understanding, and free will. It was pre- 
cisely on account of this wonderful combination of 
unity and multiplicity in natural objects that men, 
even before the coming of Christ, were led to con- 
clude some kind of a plurality in the Divinity. Hence, 
while the unlettered throng held to the doctrine of 
one God in nature and person, the Pagan philos- 



346 TRINITY SUNDAY. 

ophers taught Pantheism, and the wise men of 
God, guided by divine inspiration, came to a knowl- 
edge of the mystery of the Trinity. But when Christ 
came He announced this truth in plain terms, and 
men began to see why God in creating said: " Let 
us make man to our own image and likeness." For 
Christ taught that Himself, the Father and the Spirit, 
though three, are still one; that He went to the 
Father and would send the Holy Ghost. He com- 
manded men to be baptized in the name of God 
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and finally He 
said, by John, " There are three in heaven who give 
testimony the Father, the Word, and the Holy 
Ghost, and they are one." So plain are these words 
that for every Christian, and more especially for 
every Catholic, the existence of a triune God must be 
a fact beyond dispute. Now it is one thing to know 
the existence of a truth, and it is another thing to be 
able to explain it. That I move my hand is certain, 
but how I move it, not all the philosophers that 
ever lived know or will be able to explain. Hence, 
that God is at the same time one in nature and three- 
fold in person we are certain of, relying on the word 
of an infallible God and His infallible Church. But 
when we ask how this can be, we can only lift up 
our eyes to God and adore His incomprehensible 
perfections and exclaim with St. Paul: " O the 
depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowl- 
edge of God! " 

Brethren, the first and greatest object of our 
faith must ever be this great truth, that God exists: 



THE HOLY TRINITY. 347 

that in Him there is only one nature, but three per- 
sons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and I 
know of no better way to strengthen our faith than 
to reflect what each person of the Trinity has done 
for us. What has God the Father done for us? 
" I have loved you," He says, " with an eternal 
love, and I have drawn you out of nothing." A 
million, a thousand, a hundred years ago what were 
we? Who thought of us? Were we not lost or for- 
gotten among the millions and trillions of human 
possibilities? No; there was One who thought of us. 
We held a place in the eternal knowledge and love 
of the great Father of all, and when the time came 
He chose us and brought us into existence, leaving 
millions of others in their nothingness forever. 
With existence He bestowed on us every blessing 
which could make existence happy. The heavens 
and the glory thereof, the earth, and the sea and 
every member of the mineral, vegetable, and animal 
kingdoms, all He created for us, for our use and for 
our enjoyment. Then, when He saw we would 
destroy ourselves by the abuse of the things He had 
given for our use, He so loved us as to give up His 
only-begotten Son to ransom us. And lest we 
should fall again He has surrounded us on all sides 
with safeguards He has placed us in the true 
Church to imbibe her salutary doctrines, and with her 
sacraments to nourish our souls unto eternal life. 
" I have loved you with an eternal love." We are 
eternal beings, not only because we existed in God's 
knowledge and love from the beginning; not only be- 



348 TRINITY SUNDAY. 

cause with the same fatherly affection He watches 
over and guards us all during this life, but because 
His love for us will endure forever in the next life. 
If we go to heaven we will see and enjoy Him for- 
ever. In purgatory, though He punish us, He will 
still love us, aye, and even in hell though He will hate 
our wickedness He will still love us with an aching, 
regretful, but withal an eternal love. 

Secondly, God the Son what has He done for us? 
Say, rather, what has He not done for us? He came 
down from the royal throne of His divinity, and strip- 
ping Himself of His princely robe, of His divine per- 
fections, laid it on our shoulders and clothed Him- 
self with our shabby, filthy humanity. "The Word 
was made flesh and dwelt amongst us " in miserable 
poverty for thirty years. Then the charity of God 
the Son appeared in that He delivered Himself up for 
us and having loved us He loved us unto the end. 
He said Himself in His Passion " even unto death," 
aye, even unto the death of the cross. The greatest 
favor that man can do for man; the strongest proof 
of the love of a brother for a brother, is for one to give 
up his life for his friend but Our Lord and Saviour 
has done something greater still He gave up His 
life for us while we were still His enemies. When 
dying He was not content that the infinite life He 
gave up should pass into and vivify all men past, 
present, and future, but He also left special graces 
to guard us from danger; the precious food of His 
body and blood to strengthen souls staggering under 
temptation; and the Sacrament of Penance to revive 



THE HOLY TRINITY. 349 

them after the misfortune of having died in sin. Oh, 
surely the love of God the Son for us is not less than 
that of the Father, for while the Father's love for 
man knows no limit in duration is eternal the 
love of the 'Son knows no limit in intensity it is 
infinite. 

Lastly, God the Holy Ghost what has He done 
for us? Oh, we can well exclaim with the Virgin: 
" He that is mighty hath done great things to us, 
and holy is His name." For what would it have 
profited us for the Father to have created us, for the 
Son to have redeemed us, unless the Holy Spirit of 
God had come to sanctify and save us? And come 
He did on Pentecost in the form of tongues of fire 
of tongues to show He came to teach us all truth, 
and of fire, because He came to enkindle in men's 
hearts the fire of divine love. For the Holy Ghost is 
the love of the Father and Son, and since the Son be- 
came man, the infinite love of God embraces all man- 
kind. Hence when the Son ascended into heaven He 
and the Father sent the Holy Ghost to men to vivify 
the spirit of His Church, to protect her doctrines 
from error and her morals free from corruption. 
Not only the Church in general, but each and every 
one of us in particular, experiences the effects and 
fruits of the Holy Ghost, for He tells us it is His de- 
light to inhabit our souls. Every temptation we re- 
sist is resisted with His help, every good action we 
perform is done by His inspiration and assistance. 
He has come to us not for a time, but to stay to 
enter our souls in the innocence of childhood to ac- 



350 TRINITY SUNDAY. 

company us all through life, encouraging us in the 
practice of virtue and again going down after us 
into the abyss of sin and dragging us back even from 
the brink of hell. In the ups and downs of life He is 
with us through it all, even to our last breath, for 
Christ promised to send the Paraclete, who would 
abide with us all days, even to the consummation of 
the world. 

Brethren, we believe there are three persons in 
God and that the favors each has conferred on us are 
inestimable, but is that enough? The devils in hell 
believe, but what doth it profit them? Ah! what will 
it profit us to have known the Father, if we prove re- 
bellious sons? To have known the Son, if, like an- 
other Cain, we murder by our vices, Christ, our 
Brother? To have known the Holy Ghost, if. like 
ingrates, we turn from Him to follow the demon of 
sin? Oh, it were ten thousand times better for us 
never to have known this truth, than after we have 
known it to neglect to conform our lives to the faith 
that is in us. Faith without good works is dead, aye, 
worse than dead, for it makes the sinner more 
responsible and consequently more guilty in the 
sight of God. Of him to whom much is given much 
shall be expected. " Have faith and fear not," is the 
cry of the whole Christian world outside the Catholic 
Church, but that is not the way of the Catholic 
Church. No, nor of Christ her Founder, for from 
Him she has received her commission not only to 
teach all nations the mystery of one God in three 
persons; not only to make known to them the merci- 



THE HOLY TRINITY. 35 T 

ful works done by each person in our behalf the 
works of creation, redemption and sanctification, but 
also to teach men to observe all things whatsoever, 
Christ has commanded. So there, in brief, is the 
whole system of man's salvation, the Trinity above 
directing all God's Church and her ministers on 
earth teaching her children, by sermons and instruc- 
tions, what they must believe, and showing them by 
example what they must do to be saved, and finally 
the great throng of God's people, bound to accept 
God's revealed truths, and so shape their lives in ac- 
cordance with them, that they may one day be 
among the blessed who have both heard the word of 
God and kept it. Brethren, are we doing all this? 
Am I living the life and doing the work of a faithful 
minister of God? Are you doing your whole duties 
as children of God and heirs of heaven? Alas and 
alack, are we not each individually and all together 
one grand colossal spiritual failure, with only one 
consolation for the present, only one hope for the 
future the thought that the Trinity loved us from 
the beginning, loves us now, and will continue to love 
us without end in eternity? But if the thought of 
God's infinite love and goodness to us tails to excite 
us to do something in honor of the Trinity and in re- 
turn for the blessings they have bestowed on us, let 
this other thought sink deeply into our minds, that 
the day will infallibly come for you, aye, and for me 
too, when we shall stand in the presence of that Trin- 
ity to give an account of our stewardship I, if I 
have faithfully by word and example taught Christ's 



35 2 TRINITY SUNDAY. 

commandments; you, if you have conscientiously re- 
duced to practice the truths which I have taught. 
Woe to you and woe to me in that terrible day, if 
during our lives we refused to bow our intelligences 
in simple faith before the mystery of the Trinity, or 
forgot the goodness of each divine person to us, or 
having admitted and believed these truths, failed to 
conform our lives thereto. Woe to us then if we have 
to confess to the Father that instead of loving and 
serving Him as our first beginning and our last end, 
we gave all our thoughts to and placed all our hap- 
piness in the creatures He intended to help rather 
than hinder us on the road of our earthly pilgrimage 
to heaven. Woe to us if we have to own to the Son 
that His incarnation, His lowly birth, and His hum- 
ble life were for us all in vain; that His sacred body 
was bruised and His adorable blood shed only to 
make our guilt greater and our punishment more 
terrible. Woe to us then if we have to report to the 
Holy Ghost a neglect of all His inspirations, a con- 
tempt for His heavenly gifts, and a steady refusal to 
listen to His repeated warnings and invitations to re- 
turn to repentance, and to God. For if such be our 
condition in the last day, we will then find that the 
day of mercy has given place to the night of wrath 
that God the Father is as omnipotent in hell as in 
heaven; that God the Son is as all-wise in devising a 
hell of torture as He is in planning a heaven of de- 
lights; that tlie justice of God the Holy Ghost is as 
implacable as His mercy is infinite. " For they that 
shall believe and be baptized and keep My command- 



THE HOLY TRINITY. 353 

ments shall be saved, but they who shall not believe 
shall be condemned." 

Brethren, believe and do. Have a firm faith in 
this great mystery of three persons in one God, and 
a lively appreciation of the favors each has conferred 
upon you. But above all things see that your faith 
be reflected in your life. Try to imitate the all- 
powerful Father by doing all in your power for Him; 
try to imitate the Son who died for you by dying to 
the world for Him; try to imitate the Holy Ghost, 
the Spirit of love, by doing all you do for God out of 
pure love. Then will the Trinity bestow on you its 
threefold blessing, the greatest of all blessings, the 
blessing I wish you all, this morning; that the Father 
may guard you with His paternal providence, that 
the Son may enlighten you always to know the way 
of salvation, and that the Holy Ghost may ever draw 
you nearer and nearer to Himself in the bonds of His 
eternal love. 



SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 



g>econu g>un&ai? Sifter 

THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. 

" A certain man made a great supper and invited many" 
Luke xiv. 16. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Choicest gift. II. Scriptural figures. III. Comparisons. 
I. Protestant unbelief: i. Heresy. 2. Catholic doctrine. 

3. Meaning of parable. 

II. Doctrine proved : i. Scripture. 2. Teaching and prac- 
tice of Fathers. 3. Character of doctrine's friends 
and enemies. 
III. Causes of infidelity: i. Pride and avarice. 2. Conceit. 

3. Sensuality. 
Per. : Exhortation to approach Lord's banquet-board. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, God has endowed and enriched His 
Church with many and singular prerogatives, but the 
greatest of them all, the most precious gift she has 
or could have received from His hands, is the ador- 
able Sacrament of the Lord's body and blood. Com- 
pared with that, all the ceremonies and sacrifices of 
the Old Law seem empty and valueless. " Beggarly 
elements," St. Paul calls them. " For if," he says, 
" the blood of goats and of oxen served to sanctify 
the defiled unto the cleansing of the flesh, how much 
more does the blood of Christ cleanse our conscience 
from dead works to serve the living God." As the 
shadow is to the reality, so was the Synagogue to the 
Christian Church, so the manna of the desert to the 
heavenly bread Christ gives, so the water that gushed 
forth from the rock stricken by Moses to the blood 
that flows from the Saviour's transfixed side. The 



THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. 355 

Holy Eucharist, by reason both of its intrinsic nature 
and its blessed effects on mankind, is unspeakably 
superior, not only to the Mosaic rites, but also to all 
the other sacraments of the New Law. Among them 
the Eucharist is what the seraphim are among 
angels, what the arch of heaven is to the heavenly 
bodies, what the sun is among luminaries, fire among 
elements, man among animals, the pine among 
trees, gold among metals, charity among virtues, and 
theology among sciences. No wonder the Church, 
in commemorating the institution of this Blessed 
Sacrament, arrays herself in joyous apparel and calls 
into play the full splendor of her ritual. 

But alas, Brethren, short of heaven there is no joy 
undimmed by some small sorrow, and the one spot 
on our feast of charity is that so many Christians per- 
sistently deny the real presence of Our Lord in the 
Blessed Eucharist. Christ's words, " This is My 
body," are interpreted by the entire Protestant 
world to mean: " This signifies My body." In their 
creed the Eucharist is a mere figure, in dignity less 
than the Jewish Passover, and in usefulness inferior 
to the manna. But the Catholic Church, by her 
choice of this passage for to-day's gospel, clearly in- 
dicates her belief. " A certain man made a great 
supper and invited many." Who that man but God? 
What that supper but the Eucharist? Who the in- 
vited but all mankind? A great supper, indeed, is 
the Eucharist, for whereas it has been partaken of 
throughout the whole world and for ages by mil- 
lions and billions of human beings whose spiritual 



35 6 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

hunger has been thereby abundantly appeased, its 
bounty is still as exhaustless as that of the loaves and 
fishes which Christ blessed and brake and gave to the 
multitude. In the richness of its delicacies it in- 
finitely surpasses all other banquets, for it is He Him- 
self who is the living Bread that came down from 
heaven, having in Himself all sweetness. 

Brethren, how any one at all conversant with the 
New Testament can in good faith deny Christ's real 
presence in the Eucharist is wholly unintelligible. 
In their account of the Last Supper, the evangelists, 
Matthew, Mark, and Luke, record Christ's words 
when He handed the bread to His Apostles: " Take 
ye; this is My body." These are plain words, and to 
understand or explain them in a metaphorical sense 
is to do violence to all the known rules of interpreta- 
tion. For the wording of a law or decree should 
not be ambiguous, but so simple and direct that all 
may easily understand and obey. Now, Our Lord, 
when He instituted the Blessed Eucharist, decreed 
also that His disciples should perpetuate that 
miracle. " Do this," He says, " in commemora- 
tion of Me." Either, therefore 1 , we must con- 
clude that Christ the Lord God was the most 
inexpert of lawgivers, or else that His words must 
be taken in their absolutely literal sense. Why, 
see at what pains lawyers are, when drawing up a 
will, to express beyond the shadow of a doubt the 
testator's wishes, and thus to avert possible conten- 
tion among the legatees. And was Christ, in mak- 
ing His last will and testament, less solicitous for His 



THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. 357 

Church? " This," He says, " is My blood of the New 
Testament which shall be shed for many unto the re- 
mission of their sins." Did He mock her with 
metaphors, and leave her the shadow for the reality? 
Did He purposely sow in her the seeds of dissension 
for all time He who said: " My peace I leave you; 
My peace I give you " ? Certainly, if some wealthy 
man were to promise to leave you a splendid palace 
or a vast heap of golden coin, and afterwards you 
discovered that his promise was but a figure of 
speech, and your legacy but a photograph of the 
hoped-for riches, you might well feel that you had 
been deceived and derided. And if Christ, when He 
said: " The bread that I will give is My flesh for the 
life of the world," meant no>t His real body, but bread 
which figuratively might be called His flesh, He 
would have been guilty of having deliberately de- 
ceived mankind He who can neither deceive nor be 
deceived He who is truth and justice and goodness 
itself. "This," He says in unmistakable terms, 
" this is My body; this is My blood," and " My flesh 
is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed." 

Brethren, a favorite argument of unbelievers 
against the real presence is, that the primitive Chris- 
tian Church knew nothing of such a doctrine, for, say 
they, it is not found in the writings of the Fathers 
of the early centuries. That this assertion is in a 
measure true is owing partly to the excessive venera- 
tion of the early Christians for the Blessed Eucharist, 
and partly to the uniformity and universality of their 
belief in the real presence. Mindful of the double 



35 8 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

admonition, that it is good to conceal the king's se- 
cret, and that pearls are not to be cast before swine, 
the primitive Christians instituted what they called 
the " Discipline of the Secret," according to which 
no sacrament, and least of all the Eucharist, was to 
be administered or discussed in the presence of 
Pagans. Nevertheless, when occasion demanded, 
we find even the earliest Fathers using this doctrine 
as a first and universally accepted principle of belief 
whereon to base their proofs of other dogmas or their 
refutations of heresy. St. Irenseus, for example, book 
4, chapter 4, convicts Valentine and his followers of 
inconsistency in that, while admitting that Christ 
changed bread into His body, they denied His 
divinity and His power to make all things out of 
nothing. St. Cyril, also, arguing against the same 
heretics, asserts the capability of our bodies for im- 
mortality on the ground that in holy communion 
they are so assimilated to the incorruptible body of 
Christ that, even as the Eucharist consists of cor- 
ruptible accidents and an incorruptible substance, so 
our bodies, corruptible by nature, are rendered by 
hope incorruptible. Three things are here assumed: 
first, that the consecration effects a real change; 
second, that corruptible bread becomes the incor- 
ruptible body of Christ; and third, that this belief was 
common alike to the faithful and to heretics. With- 
out this threefold assumption the arguments of the 
Fathers would be valueless. Again, SS. Hilary and 
Cyril disprove the contention of the Arians that God 
the Father and Son are one not by nature but by 



THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. 359 

love, from the fact that in holy communion Christ's 
body is united to ours not by affection only but 
really and substantially. " The Father and I are 
one," says Christ, " and whoever eats My flesh and 
drinks My blood, abides in Me and I in him." The 
basis of the argument is the same, viz., the common 
belief of all in the reality of Christ's presence in the 
Eucharist. Again, St. Epiphanius declares that we 
should no more deny from appearances man's like- 
ness to God than we should from lack of resemblance 
deny Christ's real presence in the Eucharist, " and," 
he adds, " whoever denies that, as He said, it is really 
He, falls from grace and hope of salvation." Finally, 
St. Augustine, book 3, chapter 10 on the Trinity, 
speaking of the earthly forms in which angels have 
deigned at times to appear to men, says, that although 
we cannot understand how those forms were as- 
sumed, we still believe most firmly on the word of God 
in Holy Writ that angels they were; just as for the 
same reason, though we cannot comprehend the 
manner of His presence, we still are certain that 
Christ is really and substantially in the Eucharist. 
The belief of the primitive Church, so clearly evi- 
denced in the teaching of these Fathers, is further 
proven by their practice. Out of reverence for the 
Eucharist they received it fasting, as is attested by 
St. Augustine and Tertullian. "The utmost care 
was taken," says Origen, homily 13 on Exodus, " that 
no particle should fall to earth." It was preserved 
in golden vessels, and St. Victor reprobates the hor- 
rible sacrilege of the Arians in having trampled it 



3^o SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

under foot, while St. Optatus relates how certain 
Donatists, in attempting to feed it to the dog's, were 
torn in pieces by the infuriated animals. According 
to St. Basil, to pray to the Eucharist was deemed 
right and proper, and not to pray to it was sinful, 
and St. Augustine testifies that the charge of having 
worshipped Ceres and Bacchus brought by the 
Pagans against the Christians was due to the adora- 
tion paid by the latter to the body and blood of 
Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. 
Nothing but belief in the real presence could justify, 
or can explain such practices. If the primitive 
Church held that the consecrated species still con- 
tinued to be mere bread and mere wine, it should 
have chosen water used for baptizing as a far more 
sacred object of veneration. But nowhere do we 
read of such a choice having been made. The Eu- 
charist alone received the honor and adoration due 
exclusively to Christ and to God. 

Brethren, if the Fathers of the early Church have 
little concerning a dogma which had not yet been 
called in question, the same cannot be said of the 
later defenders of the faith. In A.D. 1045, Beren- 
garius first attacked the doctrine of the real pres- 
ence, and thereafter we find it explicitly asserted by 
nine general Councils and copiously defended by all 
the Fathers. Now, is it reasonable to contend that 
that trinity of heretics, Berengarius, Wyclifr, and 
Zwinglius, were in matters of faith a safer guide than 
the entire teaching body of the Church; that tKey 
alone represented the true Church of Christ, while 



THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. 361 

all the Councils and Fathers and writers and faithful 
who clung to the belief in the real presence had 
turned from the true faith to the rankest heresy and 
idolatry? If apostates and idolaters these latter 
were, how came it that they attained such eminent 
sanctity and wrought such stupendous miracles? 
How comes it that the histories of their opponents 
are stories of arrogance and self-seeking, or biog- 
raphies of men who shocked the world with the 
scandal of their lives? This is heaven's own proof of 
the doctrine of the real presence, and if on the last 
day at our final judgment the impossible should 
occur, and God should arraign us Catholics on a 
charge of heresy and idolatry, we shall be able to an- 
swer boldly: " Not guilty." Not guilty, Lord, for 
Thou Thyself didst say: " This is My body; this is My 
blood." Thy great Apostle Paul taught us to dis- 
cern in the Eucharist Thy body and Thy blood. At 
Thy bidding the priests of Thy Church continued to 
do as Thou hadst done, in commemoration of Thee. 
Thy saints proved this doctrine to us by Thy miracle- 
working power, and by the holiness of their lives. Not 
guilty, O Lord, not guilty, for if error there be, Thou 
Thyself hast misled and deceived us. Turn rather 
to our opponents and ask them why they doubted Thy 
words and abandoned Thy faith; why they allowed 
a few unworthy pastors to drive them from Thy 
Church, when Thou hadst said that such were to be 
obeyed but not imitated; why they preferred to fol- 
low Calvin and his fellow apostates rather than Thee, 
when Thou hadst commanded that if even an angel 



362 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

from heaven were to teach other than Thou hadst 
taught, he should be anathema? 

Brethren, the causes of defections from the faith 
and from the practices of religion are set forth in to- 
day's gospel. A certain man made a great supper 
and invited many. But they began all at once to 
make excuses, the first, because he had bought a 
farm and must go see it, another, because he had pur- 
chased five yoke of oxen and must go try them, and 
a third because he had married a wife; and each said: 
"I pray thee hold me excused." Pride and avarice 
and conceit and sensuality: these are the forces which 
keep men away from Church and the sacraments. 
How many individuals and families there are who, 
though when in humbler circumstances they were 
good Catholics, are now grown rich and have 
achieved a position in society and are ashamed of, 
and have abandoned, the faith of their fathers! 
History records that most of the great heresiarchs 
were men of inordinate ambition and vanity, who, be- 
cause they could not attain the honors they con- 
sidered their due within the Church, left her and 
sought them among her enemies. Ah! these proud, 
vain souls acquire a grand villa, it may be, and they 
must needs go out to see it, but the price they pay is 
excessive, for in exchange they give their priceless 
faith and their hope of one of the many mansions in 
their Father's house. Or perhaps to pride they add 
avarice, and are so absorbed in the game of profit and 
loss that they have no time to listen to, much less to 
accept, the Lord's invitation. " Pray excuse me," 



THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. 363 

say they, " I must needs go see the farm I have 
bought." Aye, go see it, feast thine eyes upon it, 
take mayhap thy last look at it, for neither thy 
riches nor thy glory shall descend with thee into the 
grave. Poor souls; the devil deals with them as the 
hunter does with his hounds. When the game breaks 
cover he shows it to his dogs and cheers them on, 
but no sooner have they brought it down than he 
snatches it from them and plies the heavy lash. So 
is it with worldlings in their race for riches and 
honors; no sooner are they attained than death steps 
in and bids that all be dropped then woe to him who 
is not rich with God. How differently God deals 
with men, checking them all through life with warn- 
ings such as: "Be not solicitous," and "Blessed are 
the humble," and at last compensating their self-de- 
nial ten thousandfold in the words: " Enter ye into 
the joy of your Lord." 

Brethren, another class of persons who decline the 
invitation to the Eucharistic banquet are those who, 
wise in their own conceits, reject as false whatever 
cannot be explored with their five senses. The con- 
secrated species still appear mere bread and wine, 
therefore, say they, such they are, and therefore, also, 
we pray you hold us excused. Their five senses, 
each really a pair, are their five yoke of oxen to 
which they are so devoted, which they are so proud 
of and so anxious to exercise, that with them the 
Lord's summons is of no avail. What a pitiable con- 
ceit to suppose that the ineffable nature and un- 
searchable ways of God can be comprehended by a 



3 6 4 SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

human mind, whose powers of understanding do not 
transcend even the nature of a fly! When a heretic 
named Eunomius boasted of having penetrated with 
his mind's eye the divine essence, St. Basil, to show 
the absurdity of his contention, sent him twenty-five 
questions on insect life, not one of which he was able 
to answer. For God, to be God, is necessarily incom- 
prehensible, but a truth for which we have His word, 
is just as necessarily infallible. 

Finally, the sensual have no time or appetite for 
the Lord's Supper. " I have married a wife," says 
such a one, " and therefore I cannot come." These 
are they who live according to the flesh, whose high- 
est dream of happiness is carnal pleasure, who so re- 
ceive even holy matrimony as to shut out God from 
their minds, and to give themselves to their lust as 
the horse or the mule. These are they over whom 
the devil prevails, and who reject the proffered invi- 
tation because its acceptance would run counter to 
their vices. " Amen, I say to you," saith the Lord, 
" that none of these men, these proud and worldly or 
self-wise or carnal men, that were called shall taste 
of My supper." For, sooner or later they will knock 
at the Lord's door and beg to be admitted to His 
nuptial feast, but He will answer: "Amen, I know 
you not. All through your day of life I held out My 
hands to you while you disbelieved and contradicted 
Me, and now I pray you hold Me excused." Then 
will He send His servants, His angels, into the high- 
ways and byways, to the neglected and the blame- 
lessly ignorant, and many shall come from the east 



THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. 3 6 5 

and the west and shall sit down to the Lord's banquet 
whence many of His ungrateful children shall have 
been cast out. The poor shall be there; that is, the 
humble, the unworldly, the poor in spirit. The blind 
shall be there; that is, those who though 'they saw 
not Christ in the Eucharist still believed Him to be 
present. The feeble and the lame shall be there, viz., 
those who by the spirit mortified the deeds of the 
flesh, believing it better to enter into life blind and 
maimed rather than to be cast with all their mem- 
bers into unquenchable fire. Like the Patriarch 
Jacob they wrestle all through the night of time with 
the Lord and, though they come out of the contest 
broken and lame, still they attain the blessing of God 
and achieve their souls' salvation. 

Brethren, let it not be said that Christ instituted 
for you in vain the Sacrament of His love. Let it not 
appear as though the Church was obliged to force 
you to that heavenly banquet by her holy command- 
ment. Come to it rather with strong faith and eager 
love and deep gratitude, that the body and blood of 
the Lord may be for you indeed a remedy unto the 
remission of your sins and an earnest of your future 
entrance into life everlasting. 



THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 



&tm)mi> after 

THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. 

" What man hath a hundred sheep, and if he shall lose 
one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, 
and go after that which was lost? " Luke xv. 4. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Charity Sunday. II. Parabolic crescendo. III. Love 

human and divine. 
I. Charity: i. First essential. 2. Hope and consolation. 

3. Christianity's origin. 
IT. Loving heart : i. Light and heat. 2. Food and drink. 

3. Clothing and wealth. 
III. Sacred Heart : i. Model. 2. John on Jesus' breast. 

3. Love of men for Jesus. 

Per. : i. Gift of God. 2. Keep Commandments. 3. Worship 
Sacred Heart. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, to-day might very appropriately be 
styled Charity Sunday. The Gospel theme is chanty, 
and the week's devotion has been the adoration of 
the body of the Lord the bond of charity, and the 
worship of the Sacred Heart the symbol and the 
source of love. As a feast, it is religion's very own, 
for religion is charity, and its most appropriate env 
blem the Sacred Heart. " Charity," says St. Paul,, 
" is patient, charity is kind, charity is not provoked 
to anger, but beareth all things, hopeth all things, 
endureth all things," and the Sacred Heart is charity 
incarnate. It yearns after the sinner as did the 
father for his prodigal son, and receives him return- 
ing with as much joy as though the recovery of that 
one child were the consummation of all its desires. 



THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. 3^7 

Not content with that, it seeks him out, as the 
widow the lost coin, with all the invincible constancy 
of a woman's love. Nay more, like the shepherd, 
leaving all else behind, it goes after him into the very 
desert of sin, and brings him back rejoicing. The 
Scribes and Pharisees took umbrage at seeing Our 
Lord consorting with publicans and sinners. Alas! 
what a significant contrast between divine and hu- 
man charity; between the heart of man and the heart 
of God! 

Brethren, the prophet Samuel tells us that in form- 
ing an estimate of a man's moral worth, the Lord 
judgeth not as a man judgeth, for men looketh on the 
outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the 
heart. Mind and heart, faith and love both are 
essential elements in religion, for, as St. Augustine 
says, " the worship of the mind should be strictly 
commensurate with that of the heart." Still, in the 
ideal Christian, more important even than a believ- 
ing mind is a loving heart. According to St. Paul, 
love is first^. for " faith," he says, " worketh through 
love." To love is the first commandment the sum 
of them all: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all the powers of thy being, and thy neighbor as 
thyself for the love of God." Christ's most striking 
characteristic was His love for all sorts and condi- 
tions of men. As we read to-day, He ate and drank 
with them, becoming all things to all; He comforted 
and cured them; He died for them. And His teach- 
ing was the gospel of love. " This is My command- 
ment," He says, " that you love one another. By 



368 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

this shall all men know you for My disciples, that you 
love one another." This same gospel of love, His 
disciples after Him taught. St. John the Evan- 
gelist, when too old and feeble to preach, was wont 
to sit before the people and repeat over and over: 
" Little children, love one another." When asked 
why he always said the same words, he replied: " Be- 
cause this is the commandment of the Lord, which, 
if fulfilled, will suffice," St. Paul's first address to 
the Corinthians goes still deeper into the matter. 
What, he asks, is the most eloquent orator with 
a heart devoid of love? A sounding brass and a 
tinkling cymbal. A monstrosity, deaf and yet not 
mute, a milestone ever pointing heavenward but 
never going there, a round of blank cartridge mak- 
ing much noise but doing little execution among the 
enemy. And if, he adds, my mind were possessed of 
all knowledge and of faith that could move moun- 
tains, yet were I nothing without a loving heart. 
Yea, he continues, were I to distribute millions 
among the poor and die a martyr's death, yet would 
I be nothing without love. Therefore, he concludes, 
so persuaded am I that the heart is the prime factor 
in religion that no created power, not even death 
itself, shall ever move me from the love of God. 

Brethren, as time goes on the Christian world is 
coming round more and more to Paul's way of think- 
ing. In the past, when the Church was struggling 
for existence, a docile mind was the Christian's first 
requisite, but since then religion has penetrated 
deeper into men and centred in their hearts. The 



THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. 3 6 9 

age of dogmatism is past, and to-day is the era of 
love and benevolence. To preach to a sinner, even 
to convince him, is little gained, but do him an act 
of kindness through love of God and immediately 
you persuade him into virtuous action. For man's 
soul, illumined merely by the mind, is like a bright 
midwinter day, cold and unproductive; warmed by 
the heart, it resembles a lively summer scene, rich 
and fruitful. Such fruit indeed is being daily pro- 
duced by this latest phase of Christianity, this re- 
ligion of the heart, that to-day it is the. basis of the 
Church's fondest hopes and sweetest consolation. 
See the immense throng of our separated brethren, 
what sacrifices they endure for Christ's sake, their 
boundless charity to the poor and ignorant at home 
and abroad, their ever-ready sympathy with the ills 
of suffering humanity. Whence comes the unde- 
niable goodness of these people? Whence their suc- 
cess? They succeed because theirs is a religion en- 
tirely of the heart which suits the spirit of the age. 
Have they the true faith? They lack, alas! one half 
of it, their minds being darkened by heresy, but they 
possess, thank God! the other and more essential 
half they have a Christlike spirit of love in their 
hearts. The Church, I say, is consoled and rejoices, 
for she foresees salvation for the majority of even 
her erring children, remembering that charity cover- 
eth a multitude of sins, and that the Lord judgeth 
not as man judgeth, for the Lord looketh on the 
heart. The Church rejoices again because in this re- 
ligion of the heart she sees begun a solution of those 



37 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

problems that perplex society problems of labor 
and capital, of the extremely rich and extremely 
poor, of the governing and the governed problems, 
all of which must inevitably yield before the doctrine 
of Christian Socialism, the doctrine of the father- 
hood of God and the brotherhood of man. The 
Church rejoices again and most of all, because in this 
religion of the heart she sees the possibility of at last 
laying aside doctrinal disputes, and gathering the 
scattered flocks of the Christian world into one fold 
under one shepherd. Physiologists tell us that in the 
generation of a human being the heart is the first 
organ perfected, around which and by which the 
other members cluster and develop. Christianity, 
therefore, originated in the Sacred Heart, wherein 
the hypostatic union was accomplished. And since 
the record of that heart, from its first pulsation in the 
Virgin's womb to its last flutter on the cross was a 
story of love, so Christianity, to be true to its origin 
and its mission, must eventually be a law of love^ a 
religion of the heart. 

Brethren, I would that I might preach a worthy 
eulogy of the noble-hearted man! Of a good heart 
may be quoted the words of wisdom, that together 
with it come all good things. You may say of a man: 
" He is rich, he is wise, he is virtuous," even, and still, 
little have you said in his favor, but say of him: " He 
hath a good heart" and you have given him all praise. 
Dives the heartless is like a beautiful apple whose 
core is full of worms, but the loving Lazarus, after 
the fire of tribulation, resembles the roasted apple, 



THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. 37 x 

homely to look upon, but rich and sweet within. For 
lack of love Dives becomes the beggar, but Lazarus 
in love alone finds a substitute for all his needs. And 
love is the Christian's most precious possession 
his life. " God is love," says St. John; and else- 
where Christ says of Himself: " I am the life." This 
sentiment of the heart is the life of our life, the soul 
of our soul, " because," adds St. John, " whoever 
loves not remains in death." Now, it is not the dead 
but the living who praise the Lord; the body of 
Christ is the food not of the dead but of the living, 
and hence these and the other functions of religion 
can be fitly exercised only by him who lives by love. 
Without charity even the coordinate virtues are as 
dead as the members of the body without the soul. 
As medicines are stimulated into action by the body's 
natural heat, so the spiritual medicines of religion 
prove efficient only when the subject has a warm 
heart. Hence St. James's meaning when he says: 
" Faith without works [of love] is dead." Not that it 
ceases to be faith, but that it is to live faith what the 
stagnant pool is to the running stream. Aristotle 
says that human perfection consists in the exercise 
of the highest virtue, and of all virtues St. Paul as- 
sures us charity or love is the highest, the bond of 
perfection. Hence love is the very life of the per- 
fect man. In the words of St. Irenseus: "The 
perfect man is made up of body and soul and 
heart." 

Next to life man's greatest need is heat, and what 
heat is to the body, love is to the soul. God, who is 



372 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

love, is called by St. John " a consuming fire " ; the 
Holy Ghost came in tongues of fire; and we often 
beg Him to enkindle in us the fire of divine love. 
Christ came to cast fire on the earth, and He shows 
us how, in the two disciples of Emmaus who ex- 
claimed: "Were not our hearts burning within us 
whilst He expounded the Scriptures!" A good 
heart is heat not only to the dead but also to the sin- 
frozen, thawing out the Lord's vineyard and starting 
up the fonts of human sympathy. Its tendency, like 
fire, is ever upwards, drawing all things with it. Hu- 
man nature clings to the earth like the mists before 
the dawn, but when the incarnate love of the Son of 
Justice rises, shines on them and is exalted from the 
earth, He draws all to Himself. This explains the 
wondrous constancy of the early saints and martyrs, 
whose onward march after Christ was as invincible 
as a mighty conflagration. This explains that fire 
that so filled the heart of St. Francis of Assisi that it 
burst through his hands and feet and side. This ex- 
plains the patience of all good Christians under cold 
and hunger and privations, because they have the 
heat of the love of Christ in their hearts. For, mind 
you, love and fire differ in this that whereas fire is 
fomented by oil and extinguished by water, love on 
the contrary is diminished by oil, that is, luxury, and 
augmented by water, that is, privation, according to 
the Psalmist: "Many waters could not extinguish 
chanty." And as fire separates the rust from the 
metal, so love removes sin from the sinner and the 
just from the wicked, according to Christ's words: 



THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. 373 

" By this shall all men know you for My disciples, 
that you love one another/' 

Charity, again, is food for the hungry and drink 
for the thirsty. Christ, the incarnate love, says of 
Himself: " I am the Bread of life; he that eateth of 
Me shall never hunger and he that drinketh of the 
water that I shall give shall never thirst again." 
Love is that stream that the Apocalypse describes as 
flowing from the throne of God, slaking the soul's 
innate thirst for heaven, uniting the individual parti- 
cles of humanity into one solid mass, and raising 
them on its bosom to its own level, the throne of 
God. 

Again, charity is clothing for the naked, for, as the 
Apostle Peter says: " Charity covereth a multitude 
of sins." Chanty is the nuptial garment rich 
enough to be worn at the wedding-feast of even 
the King of kings, and ample enough in its 
folds to hide from view the moral deformities of 
many an unfortunate brother. A garment as light 
as air, but as strong as death, is the love of God 
and humanity. Said Our Lord to His disciples: 
" Wait ye in the city until ye be clothed with power 
from on high." And when the Spirit of love, the 
Holy Ghost, did come upon them, those previously 
timid Apostles, as though now clothed in invincible 
armor, went bravely forth to battle for the faith and 
to die in the cause. 

Finally, a good heart is a treasure such that the 
possessor of it, be he ever so poor, is rich indeed. 
They are woefully mistaken who put forth mighty 



374 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

efforts and bear untold privations for worldly ends, 
and neglect to cultivate the love of God and their 
neighbor. They cull life's flowers but lose its fruits; 
they fish the world through and dine well on their 
catch, but they fling back the pearls of great price 
the shells contain. Faith, hope, humility, and the 
other virtues are as so many coins wherewith we pur- 
chase heaven. But charity alone is golden, and, as 
only gold is currency in heaven, we must pay our 
entrance fee in love or in some baser metal washed in 
the gold of charity. It must be a coin, too, that has 
the genuine ring to it coined in the mint of a heart 
that loves not in word and tongue alone, but in deed 
and in truth. 

Brethren, this is the month and Friday was the 
feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that heart 
wherein human love and love divine met and mingled 
and became one. That is our model, that is the cen- 
tral fire from which each and every one of us should 
enkindle the flames of the love of God and human- 
ity in the sanctuaries of our own hearts In all re- 
ligion there is no more significant picture than that 
of the Evangelist John at the Last Supper reclining 
his head on the breast of the Saviour. It indicates 
to us the source of all good things. It interprets 
Christ's words: " Whoever loves Me, dwells in Me 
and I in him," for if we have a Christlike love in our 
hearts we need no more we dwell in a celestial para- 
dise surrounded with every luxury, with the King of 
kings for our guest. Nay more, be we ever so 
wretched, ever so friendless, ever so sinful, we can 



THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. 375 

feel that one great heart throbs for us with the un- 
reasoning love of a mother for her scapegrace boy, 
of a father for his prodigal son; searches after us as 
perseveringly as the woman after the lost groat, goes 
after us as the shepherd after the lost sheep, and 
brings us home exultingly. Christ's charity is the 
sunlight of the world. It shines impartially on the 
good and bad; as well as on those who close their 
eyes to the light as on those awake to grace. The 
merely human eye is dazzled with it, and appreciates 
it better from a study of its created reflection. Love 
alone can enkindle love. There was nothing attrac- 
tive in Christ's surroundings or history the manger, 
the cabin, the cross, persecution, death, and yet hu- 
manity answers with St. Peter: " Lord, Thou know- 
est that I love Thee." The Apostles suffered and died 
for love, love inspired the Crusades, it was the love 
of Christ that sustained the martyrs amid their tor- 
ments; it was the battle-cry of the Christian legions 
in their onset on the hordes of barbarism; it rent the 
fetters from the limbs of the slaves; it is food and 
drink for the missionary in the wilds of the wilder- 
nesS; it is a shield for the gentle nun amid the hor- 
rors of the battlefield; it is the secret of every heroic 
sacrifice, the corner-stone of every institution of 
Christian charity; it is the love of Christ that with 
steady hand has built in modern society the noble 
edifice of fraternal love on the demolished ruins of 
selfish interest. We can best appreciate the love of 
the Sacred Heart for men from the love of men for 
the Sacred Heart. " I came," says Christ, " to cast 



376 THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

fire upon the earth; " and what must have been the 
latent intensity of that fire that could enkindle and 
sustain such a mighty conflagration! 

Brethren, you will ask me what this love is, and 
how you are to know whether you possess it or not. 
Love of Jesus is never a product of our own indus- 
try. It is a garment, so precious that it can be 
woven only by the hand of God Himself. It is a deli- 
cate tropical plant, which will not flourish in the 
frigid climate of our hearts unless planted therein and 
nourished by the celestial gardener. But it is ours to 
cooperate, not in word alone, not in sentiment nor 
in tearful emotion, but in an honest and persevering 
effort to do the will of God in deed and in truth. 
" If any man loves Me," says Our Lord, " he will 
keep My commandments." " Love God above all 
things and thy .neighbor as thyself " is an epitome of 
the Decalogue, and since, in the Sacred Heart, God 
and humanity are inseparably blended, therefore the 
love and the imitation of the Sacred Heart is the 
whole law and the prophets. This devotion is the 
surest mark of predestination; it is peculiarly the de- 
votion of the saints, for by it they are made par- 
ticipants of the divine nature here and hereafter. 
" If any man love Me," says Christ, " My Father will 
love him, and we will come to him, and make our 
abode with him here, and we will manifest ourselves 
to him hereafter in the happy kingdom of the 
blessed." 



THE CHRISTIAN APOSTOLATE. 377 



jFourtlj 

THE CHRISTIAN APOSTOLATE. 

" And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not, from henceforth 
thou shalt catch men" Luke v. 10. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. The fishermen. II. The fisher of men. III. God's 

call. 
I. Preparation: i. Altar-boy. 2. God no respecter of 

persons. 3. Julian's blasphemy. 
II. Call: i. Industry and self-sacrifice. 2. Hearing and 

preaching. 3. Net of God's word. 
III. Response : i. Trials and consolations. 2. Double reve- 

lation. 3. Peter's astonishment. 

Per.: i. Priestly self-respect. 2. Reverence of laity. 3. Golden 
mean. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the scene of to-day's Gospel is a beau- 
tiful one to contemplate. The night had been 
stormy, and the fishermen's labor had been conse- 
quently fruitless, but now the morning breaks calm 
and clear, and the fickle lake, easily lashed to fury 
and easily stilled, lies smooth and glassy beneath the 
newly risen sun. Long, quivering shadows are cast 
athwart the waters by the tall masts, the idle sails, and 
the weary, disheartened fishermen. Presently, down 
from Capharnaum comes Jesus, the crowd following 
and pressing round to hear His every word. Shad- 
ing their eyes with their hands, the fishermen look 
shoreward, then work their boats closer in, where 
rising and falling on the gentle swell they pause to 
listen. Christ's eyes are on the people, and His words 
are addressed to them, but His heart is on the fisher- 



FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

men, for by and by, when crowded to the water's 
edge, He steps aboard the bark of Peter and makes 
it His pulpit, and then launching out into the deep 
He bids them let down their nets for that wondrous 
draught whereby He showed that He had come there 
expressly to call them to be His Apostles. No priest 
of God can read that passage without emotion, for it 
recalls that bright happy day when first Christ came 
to him and said: "Follow Me; for henceforth thou 
shalt be a fisher of men." 

Brethren, a wonderful and a mysterious thing is a 
young man's call to the priesthood. From his earli- 
est years he is unconsciously being prepared, as an 
altar boy perhaps, and the summons, at first vague 
and general, may take years to become distinct and 
unmistakable. Thus Andrew had long been a dis- 
ciple of the Baptist, and though months previous to 
their present call, when John had pointed out the 
Lamb of God to him and his brother Peter, they had 
immediately followed Jesus, still it is only now that 
their vocation takes shape definite and final. Doubt- 
less the immediate works of Jesus's hands, the mirac- 
ulous loaves and fishes, and the wine of Cana were 
far superior to that produced by secondary causes; 
and doubtless, too, some special grace was vouch- 
safed those whom Jesus personally called and conse- 
crated to His service, but still it is the self-same 
Christ that summons to-day young men to the self- 
same Apostolate. His voice is not heard, but just as 
through fishing He caught the fishermen, and by a 
star He led the astronomers or Magi, so through 



THE CHRISTIAN APOSTOLATE. 379 

some circumstance peculiar to each He draws him 
naturally, sweetly, and yet mightily. Some event, 
trivial it may be, but still deeply significant in the 
light God sheds on it, will open up God's will to him, 
even as the sight of Jesus preaching to the surging 
throngs upon the strand must have recalled to the 
fishermen God's promise to their father Abraham 
that his seed should be as the grains of sand upon the 
shore; must have made them reflect that the harvest 
indeed was plentiful but the laborers few. " Pray ye, 
therefore, the Lord of the harvest," says Holy Writ, 
" to send laborers into His harvest/' for a call to 
the priesthood is exclusively God's doing. Mary 
chooses the better part herself and Christ ratifies her 
choice, but to His Apostles He says: " It is I who 
choose you and not you who choose Me." Neither 
Peter the fisherman, nor Peter the disowner can 
turn to Christ unless Christ's glance first rest on him. 
And blessed be God that in distributing His favors 
Christ is impartial and no respecter of persons. 
James and John, we know, were own cousins to the 
Lord, yet Andrew and Peter's call preceded theirs. 
That Christ began by choosing a pair of brothers re- 
calls God's choice of Moses and Aaron to liberate His 
people and seems to indicate the bond of brother- 
hood each neophyte enters into with his brother- 
priests. Again, neither wealth, nor influence, nor 
great abilities count for aught with Christ in His 
choice of subjects for His priesthood. One there 
was of great possessions whom He commanded to 
go, give all to the poor and coming follow Him, but 



380 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

that young man's countenance fell and he sadly 
turned away. More frequently the call comes to the 
poor and humble and by such is it more generally and 
more readily accepted. The fishermen were rough 
and unlettered, as unpromising, seemingly, for any 
purposes of usefulness or beauty as the unhewn log 
of wood or the undressed block of marble, but out 
of the wood may be fashioned a thing of beauty, and 
within the marble may lie hid an angel. Julian, the 
apostate, was wont to sneeringly remark that Christ 
chose the ignorant as more gullible, and even among 
alumni of Catholic colleges you will sometimes hear 
the brighter men reproach the duller ones with hav- 
ing studied for the priesthood because no other 
path to success lay open to them. The charge is 
false and blasphemous. Not all of Christ's disciples 
were rude and uncultured. Nicodemus and Gamaliel 
and Nathanael were doctors of the law; Lazarus and 
Joseph of Arimathea were from the Judean nobility; 
Paul and Denis the Areopagite and the many Jewish 
priests, who, as we read in the Acts, embraced the 
faith, were all most learned men, and later history 
records that the greatest minds that ever graced this 
earth were priests of God. And does it not redound 
to God's greater glory that men so utterly unfit as 
were the fishermen should have suddenly become 
masters of wisdom and of eloquence, linguists versed 
in every known tongue, and stupendous wonder- 
workers? That God chose such feeble means where- 
with to conquer Jewish bigotry and convert a Pagan 
world served the double purpose of illustrating His 



THE CHRISTIAN APOSTOLATE. 3 Sl 

omnipotence and saving the Apostles from vanity, 
for well might they say: " Not to us, O Lord, not to 
us, but to Thy name give glory." Aye, it served a 
further purpose still, viz., to show the emptiness of 
all the teachings of the Pagan philosophies, for God 
chose the weak things of the earth to overcome the 
strong, and the foolish to confound the wise. 

Brethren, when once the call has come, how deep 
the change it works in the young man's soul! Life 
immediately takes on a serious aspect, for he realizes 
there is so much to be done for God, and so little 
time for its accomplishment. Thenceforth he must 
be a toiler life's night through after the model of the 
Galilean fishermen, and of the Saviour who walked 
by the sea, a fisher of men, and ceaselessly went 
about doing good. We rarely hear of His having 
sat down to rest, and if at all, it was to teach, as now 
in Peter's boat, or on the Mount, or by the well 
where He converted the Samaritan woman, and 
through her the entire city. Christ's " follow Me," 
therefore, is an invitation to a life of industry, of 
which He sets the pace. God gave commands of old, 
but men neglected or erred in keeping them, and 
then came Christ saying: " Follow Me," setting Him- 
self as an example for our imitation, and even taking 
us in hand and guiding us, as the writing-master 
guides the hand of a beginner. Thus young men 
called of God gaze steadily on Christ and learn to 
follow Him. He gave up all, Himself included, in 
His quest for men, and so must they relinquish all, 
their home and family and friends and hopes of 



382 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

worldly joys and wealth and honors, and take unto 
themselves their suffering Saviour to be their por- 
tion and their inheritance. They realize how steep 
the path to heaven is, what strides are necessary to 
keep pace with Christ, what numbers will depend on 
them for help; and they feel they cannot afford to be 
weighed down with worldly affections and things, 
and that he who loves these more than Christ is not 
worthy to be His disciple. The two essential parts 
of every priestly life are illustrated in to-day's Gos- 
pel. First, communion with God, to sit and listen to 
Jesus's words, and secondly, to launch out into the 
deep and let down the nets for a draught. " Follow 
Me," He says, " and I will make you fishers of men." 
The world is like a sea whose waters, seemingly clear 
and sweet, are nevertheless bitter to the taste and 
aggravate rather than slake men's thirst sinners 
are like fish, cold, devoid of religious fervor, loving 
the darkness of the deep and its mud and carrion, hav- 
ing no eyes to see, nor ears to hear God's truth, nor 
spiritual hands or feet wherewith to extricate them- 
selves, given to preying upon and selfishly de- 
vouring one another. And oh! how arduous and dis- 
couraging the fisherman's task; how often, when the 
fish is nearly caught, he suddenly slips back and 
plunges down again! There is a rival fisherman, too, 
the devil, who, though he baits his cruel hook with 
poisonous pleasure and wealth and honors, and 
though he tears and kills his catch, still, sad to say, 
finds many eager for his lure. But Christ's mode of 
fishing and that of His Apostles and priests is with 



THE CHRISTIAN APOSTOLATE. 383 

the net of the word of God. The wonderful complex- 
ity of natures in Christ, with their knots and diffi- 
culties, His gradual broadening" out from a helpless 
babe to full Messiaship, His perforated body on the 
cross, and His reaching at His death from the high- 
est heaven to the lowest hell, all proclaim that the 
Word made flesh is both the fisherman and the net 
whereby men's souls are gathered into the peaceful 
waters of God's heavenly preserves. Or, if you will, 
the preached and written word of God is the net, its 
doctrines the cords, slender but enduring, and bound 
indissolubly together as with knots by mysteries and 
miracles and divine commands; a net seemingly 
small at first, but when investigated and unfolded 
found large enough to encompass man's entire moral 
and intellectual world, reaching heaven with its 
promises and fathoming hell with its threats. Be the 
draught ever so great, the bark of Peter will not 
sink, nor will the net give way; " for," says the Lord, 
" though heaven and earth shall pass away, My 
words shall not pass away." 

Brethren, when, as is related to-day, the mirac- 
ulous draught of fish was hauled aboard, Peter in 
amazement flung himself at the Saviour's feet and 
cried: " Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful 
man." If the priesthood has its trials, it also has its 
consolations. The night of fruitless toil may be long 
and wearisome, but God will take account of and re- 
ward the labor regardless of results. Through many 
tribulations one enters the kingdom of heaven, and 
especially so the priest, but if through all discourage- 



FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

ment he persevere, sooner or later, and perhaps when 
least expected, his consolation is sure to come. Peter 
and his fellow-fishermen doubtless deemed it mad- 
ness after their unsuccessful night to look for a rich 
haul in the glare of the morning sun, and hence 
their amazement when, at Jesus's word, they let 
down the nets and took that wondrous draught. 
They were completely carried away by a sudden re- 
vulsion of feeling. It was a double revelation of 
their unworthiness, and of Christ's infinite good- 
ness, and Peter voiced the sentiment of all when he 
cried in the spirit of the centurion: " Lord, I am not 
worthy; depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful 
man/' There is no priest who has not at times ex- 
perienced all of that. He preached perhaps, and bid 
right eloquently for a soul or souls, and because 
Christ's promise of success was not fulfilled as 
promptly and as abundantly as in the case of Peter's 
first discourse, he felt despondent and discouraged. 
And then perchance it occurred to him to imitate 
Christ, who at twelve disputed with the doctors, and 
at thirty came down to the capacity of the vulgar 
throng, and so at Jesus's word and in a humbler and 
a better spirit he again let down the net and lo! the 
miraculous draught again; the people crowded him 
as they crowded Jesus, ever eager for preaching 
that really is the word of God. Then came the 
double revelation of sin within and God without, 
and he cried: "I am not worthy; depart from me, 
O Lord, and yet not so, O Lord; remain with me, 
for without Thee I can do nothing, but in Thee who 



THE CHRISTIAN APOSTOLATE. 385 

strengthenest me I can accomplish anything and 
everything. Let demons cry: ' Depart from us, 
Thou Son of God, what have we to do with Thee? ' 
but I, unworthy as I am, will henceforth try to imi- 
tate the fishermen, who leaving all things, their 
homes and families, their boats and newly acquired 
wealth, aye, and renouncing even themselves, fol- 
lowed Thee thenceforth more closely still, even to 
suffering and to death." 

Brethren, St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians of 
himself and his brother-priests, says: "Let a man so 
account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the 
dispensers of the mysteries of God." Herein is con- 
tained a double admonition, one for priests as to how 
they should carry themselves, and another for the 
laity as to how they should esteem their priests. The 
Lord's anointed should never lose sight of the dignity 
of his sacred calling, nor of the rights and the duties 
that it involves. Christ's priesthood is as far superior 
to that of the Jews as are the truths and rites and cere- 
monies, the sacraments and the sacrifice of the New 
Law to that of the Old. No earthly dignity can com- 
pare with that of the Christian Apostolate. While 
the holy Bishop, St. Martin, was one day dining with 
the Emperor, the latter out of respect for his saintly 
guest passed him the royal goblet untasted, and the 
good Bishop, to assert the dignity of his office, not 
only accepted the honor himself but handed the cup 
to an humble priest, his secretary, as next in order 
of precedence. St. Ambrose, too, when the Emperor 
Theodosius would have seated himself in the 



386 FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

sanctuary, exclaimed: "Emperor, go forth and 
take thy place among the laity, for though thy 
ermine make thee an emperor, it does not make thee 
a priest." The priest, therefore, while ever remem- 
bering, on the one hand, that he is the servant of the 
servants of God, must never forget, on the other, that 
he is an " alter Christus," another Christ, that he is 
the salt of the earth, which if it lose its savor will be 
cast out and trampled upon by men; that he is, in a 
word, a minister of Christ and a dispenser of the 
mysteries of God. As such, too, he should be ac- 
counted of and reverenced by you of the laity. 
Christ said to His Apostles: " He that despiseth you, 
despiseth Me." Respect paid His priests is respect 
paid to Christ Himself, and be assured that as Peter 
lost nothing by tendering the use of his boat for 
Jesus's pulpit, nor the widow by supporting Elias, nor 
the Sunamitess by housing Eliseus, so whatever 
material aid or hospitality you may provide for His 
priests will be amply rewarded. Remember, too, 
that extremes are perilous, and that safety lies mid- 
way. Excessive regard for individual priests begot 
factions among the Corinthians, one saying, " I am 
Paul's," another, " I am Apollo's," and a third, " I 
belong to Cephas." But neither Paul is anything 
nor Apollo nor Cephas; they plant and water the 
faith, but of themselves they are nothing; as Christ's 
ministers they are one and in all things equal; but 
they and we are all of Christ, and Christ is of God 
who giveth the increase. " Not to us, O Lord, not 
to us, but to Thy name give glory . . . but let 



HOLINESS, PHARISAICAL AND CHRISTIAN. 3 8 7 

a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ 
and the dispensers of the mysteries of God." 



Sifter 

HOLINESS, PHARISAICAL AND CHRISTIAN. 

" Unless your justice abound more than that of the 
Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom 
of heaven" Matt. v. 20. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Fifth Commandment. II. History of incident. III. Di- 

vision. 
I. Scribes and Pharisees : i. Exceptions. 2. Teaching. 

3. Practice. 
II. We: i. Fraternal correction. 2. Three punishments. 

3. Our sins and temptations. 
III. Remedies: i. Reconciliation. 2. No substitute. 3. Re- 

member last end. 
Per. ; i. The letter. 2. The spirit. 3. The means and reward. 

SERMON. 

"UNLESS your justice abound more than that of 
the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into 
the kingdom of heaven." In other words, my dear 
Brethren, unless you keep God's commandments in 
your thoughts and words as well as in your actions 
you shall not save your souls. In to-day's Gospel, 
our divine Lord preaches His disciples a little ser- 
mon on the fifth commandment. Last Sabbath, as 
He was teaching in the Synagogue at Jerusalem, a 
man with a withered hand came to Him to be cured. 
Now the Scribes and Pharisees watched if Jesus 
would heal on the Sabbath, that they might have an 
excuse for killing Him. But thinking to win their 



388 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

hearts by an act of genuine kindness, and wishing, 
likewise, to relieve a suffering brother, our loving 
Saviour cured the withered hand in the sight of them 
all. Then were they rilled with madness and 
clamored for His life, and they would certainly have 
taken it had He not escaped in the confusion and 
fled into a lonely mountain of Galilee. Thither His 
disciples followed Him, and there we find Him to-day, 
teaching them the true spirit of the fifth command- 
ment, and warning them that unless they keep it 
better than the Scribes and Pharisees, they shall 
never enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

And what then is the fifth commandment? And 
how did the Scribes and Pharisees keep it? And how 
should we keep it? And what are the remedies for 
our sins against it? These, my brethren, are the 
questions Our Lord answers in to-day's Gospel. 

Fifth, " Thou shalt not kill " are words familiar to 
you all. They do not forbid the soldier to slay his 
enemy in a just war, nor the citizen to kill his assail- 
ant in self-defence, nor the State to inflict capital pun- 
ishment; but they do forbid suicide and wilful and 
unjust murder. But is that all they forbid? Ask the 
Scribes and Pharisees, ancient or modern, and they 
will tell you, " Yes, that is all." But no, there must 
be something more, for Our Lord tells us that unless 
we keep it better than they we shall never enter into 
the kingdom of heaven. 

How then did they keep it? The Scribes, as you 
know, were the doctors of the law in great repute 
among the Jews for learning and sanctity. They 



HOLINESS, PHARISAICAL AND CHRISTIAN. 3 8 9 

spent whole nights studying the books of Moses, and 
whole days instructing the people in their duties to 
God, their neighbor, and themselves. And what the 
Scribes taught, the Pharisees enforced by word and 
example. They gave liberal alms, prayed for hours 
daily, and fasted twice a week. Well might Christ's 
followers have regarded them as models of virtue 
and yet they were anything but models. For their 
teaching as well as their practice, though true to the 
letter, fell far short of the spirit of the law. With 
them "Thou shalt not kill," meant simply: " Thou 
shalt not forfeit the esteem of men, or risk a shame- 
ful death on the gallows by an open act of murder. 
Anger, hate, contempt, personal abuse all these 
you may freely indulge, but he who actually kills and 
he only, shall be in danger of the judgment." Such 
was their teaching and such, too, their practice. 
They were rigid Sabbatarians, as we have seen, and, 
in general, great sticklers for the exact outward ob- 
servance of God's laws, but within, as Christ tells us, 
they were full of rapine and iniquity. And hence, 
though they hated and despised and reviled Our 
Lord, they made no open attempt to kill Him, but 
only underhand, as if through zeal for the sanctifica- 
tion of the Sabbath. Thus did they keep the fifth 
commandment, and we, my friends, unless we keep 
it better than they, we shall never enter into the 
kingdom of heaven. 

How then should we keep it? " But I say to you," 
says Our Lord, "that whosoever is angry with his 
brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and who- 



390 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

soever shall say to his brother ' Raca ' shall be in 
danger of the council; and whosoever shall say 
' Thou fool ' shall be in danger of hell-fire." To ob- 
serve the fifth commandment, therefore, it is not 
enough to keep our hands from our brother's throat. 
No, we must also avoid abusing him with our tongue, 
or desiring in our hearts to avenge on him real or 
imagined wrongs. True, there is nothing bad in an 
honest indignation at wrong-doing or a virtuous 
frown or a severe but timely reprimand, but if ven- 
geance be our motive and the destruction, not of the 
offence but of the offender our object, we simply 
commit a mortal sin against the fifth commandment. 
And the more we allow anger to develop into hatred 
and hatred into Raca, i.e., open contempt and 
open contempt into such abuse as " thou fool " and 
abuse into actual murder, the greater shall be our 
torture in hell for all eternity. For just as among 
the Jews there were three grades of capital punish- 
ment, (i) sentence of death with right of appeal in 
the lower court or judgment, (2) sentence of death 
without appeal in the higher court or council, (3) 
stoning at the stake without trial, by the mob, so also 
are there different degrees of torment in hell. But 
note the difference. In the Old Law the punishment 
was temporal, in the New it is eternal death; in the 
Old a skilful defence or renewed appeals could do 
much, in the New there is no defence, no appeal; in 
the Old, only downright murder was punishable by 
the judgment in this world, in the New the vengeful 
incur the judgment, sneerers the council, revilers 



HOLINESS, PHARISAICAL AND CHRISTIAN. 391 

the stake, and actual murderers unparalleled tor- 
ments in the next. Oh, as Christians, subjects of 
Christ's law, let us bring this truth well home to our- 
selves. Let not the example of others persuade us 
"Thou shalt not kill" means simply: " Thou shalt 
not murder." For there are in our midst those 
whose only God is Nature, and Nature's law their only 
religion, who, though they practise the bare letter, 
boast they are more peaceful citizens than we who 
profess the Christian spirit of this commandment. 
Well, if they are, thank God for it; but I fear much 
they are no better than Scribes and Pharisees. They 
do not kill their brother, it is true, but do they ever 
hate him or despise him or call him names? Charity 
bids us hope they do not, but duty demands that we 
look well into our own conduct. And what do we 
find? Downright murder? No, but secret jeal- 
ousies, yes, and individual squabbles, and ill-feeling 1 , 
among neighbors, and bitter family feuds, and a 
thousand and one quarrels arising from differences 
of party, of nationality, or of religion. These, my 
brethren, are what we must avoid if we would keep 
well the fifth commandment. And to do this we 
must be constantly on our guard, for anger and hate 
are subtle vices and temptations are not rare. Over 
and above the innate selfishness, and pride, and gen- 
eral irritability of our nature, each of us has some 
specially sensitive point some hobby. Now the 
devil loves a row and so, knowing our characters 
thoroughly, he often hides from us our own unchris- 
tian treatment of others, and makes their most inno- 



39 2 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

cent actions appear to us insulting or injurious. 
Then anger fills the mind and clouds the reason; then 
comes the muttering of suppressed passion; then 
flashes out the vile word or murderous action and 
then? Alas! one soul, perhaps two, stripped of all 
their graces blighted dead. We must be on our 
guard, I repeat, for with us such temptations are 
very, very common. Here we are, a mixed people, 
differing widely in national, political, and religious 
prejudices, all trying to better our own condition and 
each bent on getting ahead of his neighbor. The 
friction is too intense not to strike fire occasionally. 
The child at school has his competitors, the young 
man or woman in the world finds a rival at every 
step, and the old people well they, too, sometimes 
forget all men are brothers. Poor fifth command- 
ment! Few of us ever give it a thought; and still 
fewer but break it often and grievously. Look well 
to it, my friends, for if we are at variance with one 
another, we are as the Scribes and Pharisees of old 
murderers in the sight of God. " Whosoever hateth 
his brother/' says St. John, " is a murderer, and a 
murderer, you know, hath not eternal life abiding in 
him." Uncontrolled anger, therefore, and habitual 
hate and any venting of them whatsoever by sign, 
word, or deed all are sins of murder against the 
fifth commandment. These are the sins Christ wants 
us to avoid or correct. These are the sins we must 
correct if we would keep this commandment better 
than the Scribes and Pharisees, and so enter into the 
kingdom of heaven. 



HOLINESS, PHARISAICAL AND CHRISTIAN. 393 

And now, what are the remedies for these sins? 
Our Lord shows us by word and example. " If, 
therefore," He says, " thou offer thy gift at the altar, 
and there thou remember that thy brother hath any- 
thing against thee, leave there thy gift before the 
altar and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, 
and then, coming, thou shalt offer thy gift." If you 
are at war with your neighbor, through your own 
fault, your first and greatest duty is to go to him and 
apologize. But, you say, it is all his fault. Even so, 
go to him and be reconciled. But a silent coolness 
is the best preserver of the peace? No, in your spite- 
ful heart you feel there is no peace. You call a bitter 
taunt fraternal correction, but why then are you 
ashamed to look your brother in the face? You 
pick his character to pieces and find an accusation 
against him even in his best actions. The Pharisees 
did the same to Our Lord and are lost accordingly. 
Now you do not wish to be Pharisees, but good Chris- 
tians, true followers of Him who said: "Love your 
enemies, do good to them that hate you, pray for 
them that persecute you." Go, therefore, to your 
enemy at once, at least in spirit and if possible in per- 
son, and take him by the hand and beg him, for God's 
sake and your own peace here and happiness here- 
after, to forget and forgive. But what if he refuse? 
No matter, you have done your duty. Our Lord 
knew well He never would win over the Scribes and 
Pharisees, but still He tried, and He expects the 
same of you. But will not something else do just as 
well, a rigorous fast or a more generous alms? No, 



394 FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

the Pharisees tried that and failed. You may pray 
as much as they did, but God will not hear you until 
you have become reconciled. " Forgive us our tres- 
passes as we forgive them their trespasses against 
us/' that is the prayer Our Lord Himself taught us. 
You may go to confession, but what is the use if you 
hate the man on the other side of the confessional? 
You may go to communion, but it is an empty cere- 
mony if the man at your side is your enemy. The beau- 
tiful custom among the early Christians of exchang- 
ing the kiss of peace before receiving, would be suf- 
ficient proof, if proof were needed, that to be friends 
with God we must first be friends with one another. 
God is not a two-faced go-between, that can equally 
love and forgive you and your enemy. " Forgive thy 
neighbor," He says in Holy Writ, " if he hath hurt 
thee, and then shall thy sins be 'forgiven thee when 
thou prayest." And the Holy Ghost adds: " Re- 
member thy last things and let enmity cease." In 
other words, think of the hour of your death and 
hasten to be reconciled, for death may come at any 
moment and usher your unforgiving soul into the 
presence of God to crave forgiveness for its own 
sins. As you hope for pardon, therefore, pardon 
your neighbor; be at peace with him here on earth 
if you would enjoy hereafter the blessed peace of the 
kingdom of heaven. 

My dear brethren, carry away, I beg of you, and 
profit by the lesson of to-day's Gospel, which is 
briefly this: The fifth commandment says: " Thou 
shalt not kill;" the letter of this commandment is: 



THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE CHURCH. 395 

" Thou shalt not murder," and the punishment of 
those who keep the bare letter is exclusion from the 
kingdom o'f heaven. The spirit of this command- 
ment is: Thou shalt avoid not only murder, but 
even the least approach to it, wherefore, guard well 
thy temper and thy tongue and, above all, settle thy 
differences with thy neighbor. The one means to be 
employed is an honest effort to live at peace with all 
mankind, and the reward of those who make such an 
effort we have it promised in Our Lord's own 
words: " Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall 
be called the children of God." 



>untrai? Sifter 

THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE CHURCH. 

" Christ, rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, 
and death shall no more have dominion over Him" Rom. 
vi. 9. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : Indestructibility of Christ's material and mystical body. 
I. Possibility: i. Founded Church. 2. Free will. 3. Li- 

cense and liberty. 
II. Fact proved from : i. Figures, Isaiasand Daniel. 2. Syna- 

gogue. 3. New Testament and end. 
III. Inquiry a duty: i. Invisibility. 2. Scandals. 3. Evi- 

dences. 

Per. : i. Faith at last day. 2. The remnant. 3. Exhortation 
to fidelity. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, St. Paul's denial of the possibility of 
death ever again obtaining dominion over Christ's 
material body is equally true of Christ's mystical 



39 6 SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

body, the Church. " You," says the Apostle, " are 
the body of Christ and members of member; and as 
the body is one and hath many members, and all the 
members of the body, whereas they are many, yet 
are one body, so also is Christ." This bond of union, 
this identity of Christ with His Church, entails a 
corresponding indestructibility on her part, and justi- 
fies us in saying of her that having risen with Christ 
from the dead she dieth now no more and death shall 
no more have dominion over her. 

Brethren, Christ's Church is indestructible. That 
Christ founded a Church every Christian must nec- 
essarily admit, and no fair-minded infidel can pos- 
sibly deny. Many, however, contend that the 
Church's existence depending on our free will, not 
even Christ Himself could have foretold whether we 
should ever change, abandon, or destroy her. The 
Church dependent on our free will! God forbid. 
Or what is free will? Does it mean entire independ- 
ence of God? It would be a curse rather than a 
blessing. Free will was not given to us that we 
might be able to choose between good and evil, or 
defeat the designs of an all-powerful God. The 
blessed in heaven, the angels, God even, cannot will 
evil for evil's sake, and yet they represent the high- 
est, sublimest types of moral freedom. The essence 
of free will consists in the power to choose, not be- 
tween good and evil, but between one good and an- 
other. Hence, if God in an excess of that mercy 
which surpasseth all understanding, restrains us from 
such deeds as the destruction of His Church, He 



THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE CHURCH. 397 

thwarts us not in the use but in the abuse of our 
liberty. Nor must we make our limited understand- 
ing the measure of God's omnipotence. " The power 
of God," says St. Augustine, " to move our free wills 
whither it pleaseth Him is greater than our own." 
God said of David: "Thou shalt be king," but were 
not the Israelites afterwards free in electing him? 
Christ came on earth to die for mankind, but did not 
the Jews crucify Him of their own accord? And if 
the Lord decreed that His Church should never 
change, never die, are we less free in sustaining her? 
No surely, for having all things present to Him in 
His eternity, and foreseeing and foreordaining that 
in every age a certain portion of humanity aided by 
His grace should preserve intact the visible body of 
His Church, the Saviour could well say of her in the 
words of the Psalmist: "Thou art ever the selfsame 
and thy years shall not fail." 

But did Christ found an indestructible Church? 
Brethren, as well might one ask: Did He found a 
Church at all? For wherever in Holy Writ, be it in 
figure or prophecy or Gospel history, we read of the 
establishment of Christ's Church, we never fail to 
read also of her continuous and unchangeable exist- 
ence. She is the tree of life of the New Law, whose 
leaves and blossoms shall never decay, and whose 
perennial fruit must nourish men's souls in the vigor 
and freshness of an eternal youth. The Royal Psalm- 
i-st sings of her as the sworn covenant of God with 
His people, of which He shall never repent; as His 
throne on earth that shall never fall, as His kingdom 



SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

that shall never end. The prophet Isaias foretells 
the coming of the Prince of peace and immediately 
adds: " His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall 
be no end of peace. He shall sit upon the throne of 
David and upon his kingdom, to establish it and 
strengthen it with judgment and justice from hence- 
forth and forever." Now who is this Prince of peace, 
and what is His kingdom? Who but Christ? " For," 
says St. Jerome, "so accurately has Isaias written 
of the Redeemer that he deserves the name of Evan- 
gelist rather than Prophet." Every Christmas Day, 
moreover, the universal Church proclaims the new- 
born Redeemer in these same words, and St. Mat- 
thew in the fourth chapter of his gospel quotes them 
as a prophecy fulfilled in the person of Christ. The 
Angel Gabriel's words in announcing Christ's coming 
were practically identical: " And the Lord God shall 
give Him the throne of David, His Father, and of 
His kingdom there shall be no end." At His birth an 
angel proclaimed: " Peace on earth to men of good 
will." Christ's first words to His disciples ever were: 
" Peace be to you," and His last, " My peace I leave 
you." Can we doubt, then, to whom these words 
apply, taught as we are by the Church, the inspired 
writers, the angels, and by Christ Himself, that He 
and He alone is the Prince of peace? And being 
the Prince of peace, His promised kingdom must be 
the Church, for that and that alone did Christ come 
to establish. She alone is on the earth, while not of 
the earth. But such precisely is the nature of 
Christ's kingdom, for the prophet foretells: "He 



THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE CHURCH. 399 

shall sit upon the throne of David and upon his king- 
dom/' and Christ before Pilate declared: "A King 
indeed am I, but My kingdom is not from hence," 
Now the kingdom of peace " can never end," and 
" there shall be no end of peace." For the same rea- 
son, therefore, that every kingdom divided against 
itself, shall be brought to destruction, the kingdom 
of peace, the Church of Christ, shall endure forever. 

The prophet Daniel goes farther, and teaches that 
the true Church not only can never be overcome but 
must eventually conquer all her adversaries. "In 
those days," he writes, " the God of heaven will set 
up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, and His 
kingdom shall not be delivered up to another people, 
and it shall break in pieces and consume all other 
kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever." Many 
admit indeed the perpetuity of the Christian faith, 
but of the original institution of Christ they find only 
the relics in the hundred and one sects of to-day. 
Let them remember that there can be only one true, 
and that wholly true, Church; that she can never be 
delivered up to her enemies; that she must break in 
pieces and consume all other churches; and that she 
herself shall stand forever. 

Brethren,, for a clearer insight into this truth, 
compare for a moment the Synagogue of the Old 
Law with the Church of the New. Some main- 
tain that just as the Synagogue of God the Father 
was superseded by the Church of God the Son, so 
that of the Son must in time give way to the religion 
of God the Holy Ghost. The Synagogue having 



400 SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

been, as St. Paul says, " but the shadow and the fig- 
ure of future things," it was bound to disappear on 
the coming of the reality. Its end was foretold by 
Jeremias saying: "Behold, the days shall come, 
saith the Lord, when I shall make a new covenant 
with the house of Israel." But if this new covenant, 
this Church of Christ, must in turn cease, she, too, 
must be a figure of some future dispensation. Not 
so, however, for the prophet adds: "And this shall 
be the covenant I shall make with the house of Israel, 
I will give My law in their bowels, and write it in 
their hearts." The last heart-beat, then, of the last 
human being, shall be the signal for the Church's dis- 
solution and resurrection. When the Church falls, 
then falls the human race and with it the world, for, 
concludes the prophet: " If these ordinances fail be- 
fore Me, then also the seed of Israel shall fail, so as 
not to be a nation before Me forever." The Church 
is no figure, but a perfect reality. Says St. Paul: 
" The old priesthood indeed was set aside, because it 
brought nothing to perfection, but the new, being 
according to the order of Melchisedech, must last 
forever." Justly, therefore, does the Apostle con- 
clude that: " Christ, for that He is eternal, hath an 
everlasting priesthood whereby He is able to save 
forever them that come to God by Him." 

Brethren, that which the prophetic spirit fore- 
shadowed in the Old Law, the positive will of Christ 
confirmed in the New. He represents His Church as 
a field of cockle and good wheat, not to be separated 
till the great harvest-time the end of the world; as 



THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE CHURCH. 4i 

a vineyard whose laborers are not to be paid off 
until the evening of time; as a net cast into the sea 
and not to be drawn forth until the morning of 
eternity. In the first and second Epistles to the 
Corinthians we find the Church spoken of now as the 
body and again as the spouse of Christ. But shall 
Christ's body perish? Or shall Truth itself prove 
faithless to His spouse? The Church is a real body. 
From Christ, the head, the vital force, the Holy 
Ghost, flows through all the members. As long, 
therefore, as the head is united to the body, and this 
quickening Spirit continues to flow, so long must the 
body continue to live. But Christ Himself in His last 
discourse, promised that the Spirit should dwell in 
His Church forever, saying: " When I go I will ask 
the Father and He shall give you another Paraclete 
that He may abide with you forever." The Church 
is the spouse of Christ, and as such He gives her the 
very Spirit of love as a pledge of everlasting fidelity. 
Again, in the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew 
Christ says to St. Peter: " I say to thee that thou art 
Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church and 
the gates of hell shall not prevail against her." 
From within and from without, therefore, the 
Church is indestructible. In the gospel of St. Luke 
Christ uses the same simile: "He that heareth the 
word of God and keepeth it is like to one who builds 
his house upon a rock. For the winds and the rains 
come and beat upon that house, but they shake it 
not, for it is founded on a rock." So, too, the storms 
of error and bigotry may break upon the Church, but 



402 SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

far from wrecking her, they only serve to settle her 
more solidly on her foundation the immovable 
rock of Peter. Were even Satan with all his demon 
hosts to assault her she would easily withstand their 
attack, for by her side stands Satan's master, Jesus 
Christ. " Behold," He says to her, " behold I am 
with you all days, even to the consummation of the 
world." 

Brethren, it would seem almost superfluous to 
multiply arguments in behalf of so self-evident a 
truth. For, after all, why did Christ institute His 
Church? His purpose appears from His commission 
to His Apostles. " Go ye forth," He says, " into the 
whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature, 
and he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, 
but he that believeth not shall be condemned." As 
long, therefore, as there remains a soul on earth, so 
long must the Church continue to be the way by 
leading men to salvation, the truth by preaching the 
Gospel, and the life by administering the sacraments. 

Brethren, since, as is evident, the Church Christ 
founded cannot be destroyed, and since it is His ex- 
pressed desire that she should be as one fold under 
one shepherd, it is the sacred duty of every Christian 
to inquire, Where is that Church now? To establish 
the apostolicity of Protestantism its adherents are 
forced to the gratuitous assertion that the true 
Church in her progress through the ages has at times 
so denuded herself of her material parts as to have 
become practically invisible. Such a theory is pre- 
posterous. Being a society of men instituted for 



THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE CHURCH. 43 

man's salvation, the Church militant can never even 
for a moment cease to be a tangible, visible reality. 
" How narrow is the gate," says Christ, " and straight 
the path that leadeth to life, and few there are that 
find it." But not even a few no, not one could He 
expect to find an invisible portal or trace out an un- 
seen path. Or are we to conclude that Christ has 
ever mocked man's blindness? Are we to suppose 
Christ was unheard of the Father when He prayed 
Him to keep us from evil, to sanctify us in truth, to 
give us eternal life? No, there is to-day, as there 
ever has been, a Church whose history proves her to 
have been and to be all that Christ intended. True, 
composed of mortals as she is, with men, not angels 
for her ministers, her seamy human side has been at 
times unduly evidenced, but still while never wholly 
forfeiting her claim to holiness, she has been in her 
dogma and her discipline always one, Catholic in her 
dimensions, and apostolic in duration. No need of a 
fictitious invisibility to trace her history back to the 
days of Christ. She alone is the kingdom that has 
never been delivered up to her enemies, but has 
broken in pieces and consumed all other kingdoms. 
She alone has proven herself to be the pillar and the 
ground of truth. Her numberless saints and martyrs 
attest the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Her mirac- 
ulous preservation against the united attacks of 
earth and hell proves that Christ is still mindful of 
His spouse. She alone is founded, not on the shift- 
ing sand but on the firm rock on Peter. She alone 
can say now, and she alone shall be left to say to her 



404 SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

Lord with the Psalmist: " Often have they fought 
against me from my youth, but they could not pre- 
vail over me." 

Brethren, speaking one day to His Apostles 
Christ said: " But the Son of man when He 
cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth? " 
Little indeed shall He find of that perfect faith that 
availeth to salvation, for there shall arise false 
Christs, and false prophets who shall show great 
signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive, if pos- 
sible, even the elect. Still, the Church is inde- 
structible, and though the majority give up the faith, 
some few there will be who shall hold fast unto the 
coming of their Lord. Let this be our faith, our 
hope, to cling fast lovingly to the old true Church, 
that when her Lord shall say to her: "Arise, My be- 
loved and come," we too may ascend with her to sing 
forever more: " Glory, honor and benediction to the 
Most High in the happy Church triumphant." 



CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. 4<>5 



Ja>untai? Sifter 

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. 

" The wages of sin is death; every tree that bringeth not 
forth good fruit shall be cut down and shall be cast into the 
fire." Rom. vi. 23; Matt. vii. 19. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Bill in legislature : II. Story of movement. III. Their 

arguments. 
I. False kindness : i. Humanitarianism. 2. Three classes 

of poor. 3. Scripture proofs. 
II. Reasons : i. Authority, self-preservation. 2. Imitation, 

deterrent. 3. Just revenge natural. 
III. Expedient: i. Cruelty necessary. 2. Crime ever with 

us. 3. Italy. 
Per. : Money might be spent on poor, ignorant, ungodly. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, there is at present before the Massa- 
chusetts Legislature a bill for the abolition of capital 
punishment. The bill counts among its supporters 
many distinguished gentlemen, lay and clerical, and 
many noted women, formally organized into a soci- 
ety called the Anti-Capital Punishment League. A 
half-century of repeated defeats have attended their 
cause, but with admirable courage and perseverance 
they still prosecute the struggle, in the hope, no 
doubt, that a victory in the old Bay State will go far 
towards propagating their doctrines throughout the 
nation and the world. The grounds of their opposi- 
tion to the death penalty are many and various, some 
adducing scriptural arguments, and others alleging 
reasons of right or expediency. For us Catholics the 



406 SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

subject is an open question, so that a brief inquiry 
into the merits of the case may not be uninteresting. 
Brethren, ours is preeminently the age of hu- 
manitarianism, As Christianity grows older, man 
seems to realize more and more the nobility of his 
species, the value of human life, and his duty to pre- 
serve it at any cost. Hence these mighty efforts in 
behalf of the poor and the afflicted. But some are 
so irreverent as to hint that philanthropy is being 
overdone; that it is superseding Christianity and all 
forms of Theism; or at least that it is inverting the 
order of the two great commandments on which de- 
pend the whole law and the prophets. Its methods, 
too, say they, are not sufficiently discriminating. 
God's poor, as is fitting, have first claim to its 
benevolence, but not infrequently the most atro- 
cious criminals the devil's poor are treated with 
mawkish sentimentality, while what may be called the 
poor devils the morally mediocre, such as the out- 
cast mother with her nameless babe at her breast, 
or the luckless itinerant seek in vain the food and 
shelter which, were they criminals, they could easily 
command. However this may be, it is surely no ex- 
aggeration to say that the attempt to wrest the 
Scriptures into conflict with the law of capital pun- 
ishment is an effort of kindness as vain as it is mis- 
placed. God said to Cain (Gen. iv. 10): "The voice 
of thy brother's blood crieth to Me from the earth," 
and who can doubt that the purpose of that cry was 
not leniency, but vengeance on the guilty fratricide? 
True, God for obvious reasons did not then and there 



CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. 47 

inflict such punishment, but when man, having in- 
creased and multiplied, had been organized into a 
working theocracy, the law of a life for a life was 
clearly defined and strictly enforced. 

In Genesis ix. 6 we read, " Whosoever sheds man's 
blood, his blood shall be shed," and in the following 
books we find the evolutions of this law and civil so- 
ciety keeping equal pace in recounting and specifying 
the numerous crimes worthy of death. Though the 
spirit of God grieves over the necessity of such 
drastic measures, still (Eccl. xv. 18) " before man is 
life and death, good and evil, and that which he shall 
choose shall be given to him," and hence holy Job! 
(Job xix. 29) admonishes us to " flee from the face of 
the sword, for the sword is the revenger of iniquities." 
The consequences also of undue leniency are set forth 
where the prophet of God announces to Achab 
(III. Kings xx. 42) : " Because thou hast spared King 
Benadad, a man worthy of death, thy life shall be for 
his life," and tardy justice is reproved (Eccl. viii. n): 
"Because sentence not being speedily pronounced 
against the evil, the children of men commit evil 
without fear." It may be objected that the old law 
of " an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth " was 
explicitly abrogated by the Saviour, and such indeed 
is the case as between man and man, but not as re- 
gards civil government and the punishment of capital 
crimes. Christ rebuked Peter's murderous assault 
on Malchus, " because," He said (Matt. xxvi. 52), 
" all that take the sword shall perish with the sword." 
The power of the sword is here denied to the indi- 



48 SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

vidual, but expressly conceded to the State. St. Paul 
counsels obedience to civil authority as to God's or- 
dinance for (Rom. xiii. 4) " he [the king] beareth not 
the sword in vain, but is God's avenging minister to 
execute wrath upon the evil," and St. John (Apoc. 
xiii. 10) reiterates the law that " he that shall kill by 
the sword, shall be killed By the sword." Such testi- 
mony, though brief, is clear and convincing, for the 
Scriptures are as little likely to contradict themselves 
as they are to countenance a " relic of barbarity." 

Brethren, another objection to capital punishment 
aims at the right of the State to inflict it. The pow- 
ers of government, it is argued, are derived from or 
through the people, and so cannot exceed those the 
people themselves enjoy. Certainly the exercise by 
a private individual of retributive justice to the ex- 
tent of taking human life is never lawful, and it is 
doubtful if the presence of even seventy millions of 
Americans would legalize a lynching. Few will deny 
the soldier's right to kill his country's enemies, or the 
citizen's to slay his assailant, provided each observe 
a moderation consistent with a blameless self-de- 
fence, but apart from such like exceptions the right 
to punish with death does not reside with the people. 
Does this, then, prove that no such right exists? 
By no means. What it does prove is the falsity of 
our theory regarding the origin of civil authority, 
and the truth of St. Paul's teaching (Rom. xiii. i) 
that " there is no power but from God, and those 
that are, are ordained of God." Disgusted with Old 
World absolutism and the doctrine of the divine 



CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. 409 

right of kings, the New World evolved the idea of a 
sovereign people and a government vested with 
popular arbitrary power. Hence come the axioms 
that all men are born free and equal, and that gov- 
ernment exists by consent of the governed prin- 
ciples questionable enough in the light of experience, 
and productive, for conquerors and expansionists, of 
much embarrassment and seeming inconsistency. 
The ship of State in shunning Scylla goes smash 
upon Charybdis. The middle course is safest, viz., 
that the people have a right indeed to choose the ad- 
ministration, but that the duly elected are thereupon 
clothed with power directly from on high. The 
State's right, therefore, to inflict capital punishment, 
neither comes from the people, nor can it be abro- 
gated by them, though its exercise may by common 
consent be suspended. So inherent, so necessary to 
civil authority is this power, that not even the State 
itself can renounce it. The inalienable right of self- 
defence belongs to the State as well as to the indi- 
vidual, and obedience to law and order is the very 
life of the State. Now, love and fear are the motives 
of obedience, but of the two fear is the stronger. It is 
the duty of the government, therefore, to fit the pun- 
ishment to the crime to preserve evenly balanced 
the scales in the hands of justice and so violently is 
that balance disturbed by certain species of murder, 
that equilibrium can be restored only by weighing a 
life against a life. For, whether the object of pun- 
ishment be to reclaim the criminal, deter the vicious, 
pr satisfy the outraged majesty of the law, its proper- 



410 SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

tion to the crime must be clearly evident. Excess 
and defect are equally fatal to its efficacy. But ex- 
perience proves that of a certain class of malefactors, 
the only good prisoner is a dead prisoner. You may 
punish them ever so severely in the hope that they 
will obey " not only for wrath's but for conscience' 
sake," but eventually you will find the- basic motive 
of their abhorrence of crime and respect for law is 
the active lictor by the side of the ruler. To merely 
kill a wayward limb that threatens the symmetry of 
some splendid tree, or to apply soothing lotions to a 
cancerous growth, would be little creditable to gar- 
dener or physician, and vastly more reprehensible 
and disastrous would it be for the government to visit 
capital crimes with merely civil death, or withhold 
the knife from a dangerous ulcer on the body politic. 
Nor must we lose sight here of the law of imitation, 
and the necessity the State is under of dealing at 
times with epidemics of crime. That a little leaven 
corrupteth the whole mass, is especially true of the 
leaven of iniquity. Avarice, lust, desire of revenge, 
etc., are as so many ever-ready and deadly mines be- 
neath the surface of society, and a single explosion 
usually precipitates a general upheaval. To an indi- 
vidual highly charged with such passions, the satisfy- 
ing of them is of all good things the best. Not even 
penal servitude for life can altogether embitter the 
sweetness of revenge, for the youthful desperado re- 
ceives his sentence with a scornful smile, and coolly 
marches off to prison with a laugh and a swagger. 
But even in his most desperate calculations the 



CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. 41 1 

criminal always counts on preserving his own life as 
a condition sine qua non to the enjoyment of his re- 
venge. Death to him is an unmitigated misfortune, 
and the thought of the lonely death-watch, the 
ghostly scaffold, and the black cap, is a powerful fac- 
tor in staying his hand. Death, then, is the one 
grand deterrent which the State may and must em- 
ploy, both to preserve and restore social order and to 
counteract the fatal fascination by which crime some- 
times tends to run riot in the community. Death, 
too, has been recognized since the world began as 
the only just retribution for certain atrocious crimes. 
Foul murder is committed, and, by a certain natural 
instinct, men immediately demand that the murderer 
pay the penalty. Examples of this are to be seen in 
the necessity in olden times for the cities of refuge, 
in the later right of sanctuary, in the Italian ven- 
detta and the modern lynching. Now, who will dare 
assert that man's natural impulse to wreak just 
vengeance is essentially evil? Nothing in Nature is 
essentially evil. The methods suggested by passion 
or an exasperating paralysis of justice may be unlaw- 
ful, but the impulse that gave rise to the movement 
is natural and as such is good. The necessity of the 
right to inflict capital punishment, therefore, is 
founded on Nature itself, and the exercise thereof by 
the State, far from being a usurpation of God's ex- 
clusive prerogative, is entirely in accord with the de- 
signs of the Author of man and of society. 

Brethren, though a right may exist, yet its exercise 
may be inexpedient. This, we are told, is the case 



412 SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

regarding the death penalty. Such revolting cruelty, 
they say, is foreign to the spirit of these days of 
higher civilization, and against it is the sentiment of 
the majority. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, 
punishment is cruel only when it is wanton, exces- 
sive, and that death is the only adequate penalty for 
certain crimes has already been proven. Besides, the 
advocates of life imprisonment claim it is severer 
punishment than death, so that the argument from 
cruelty might be turned against themselves. No 
doubt criminals to a man would vote for abolition, 
which of itself is a cogent reason for preserving the 
law as it stands. Anyhow, it might be well to place 
the blame of such cruelties where it belongs not on 
the State, which regards them, as lamentable necessi- 
ties, but on the criminals themselves who evoke 
them. 

Indeed it is hard to see how this movement can 
plume itself on being a product of superior culture, 
when its very existence depends upon the fact that 
certain types of the modern Christian are more 
shocked at the sight of sensible pain than by moral 
evil. The desire for the abolition of capital punish- 
ment is in line with the desire for the abolition of 
hell and many other disagreeable things. One kind 
lady went so far as to quote the dying Saviour's 
words: "Father, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do." The force of the argument is not 
quite clear, for as it proves nothing or proves too 
much, the result in either case is identical. An an- 
cient commentator on the Gospels makes the quaint 



CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. 413 

remark, that Caiphas's counsel, to the effect that " it 
was expedient from time to time that one man should 
die for the people," was a principle as old as human- 
ity, and that though false in its application, it was 
and is, all things considered, fundamentally true. 
Never, in fact, was death as a deterrent more neces- 
sary than now, in view of the leniency of justice and 
the humanity of the modern penitentiary; and in gen- 
eral the higher the civilization the greater the need 
of capital punishment. 

The degeneracy of criminals is a constant quantity 
in all ages, and it were unreasonable that the punish- 
ment due to their crimes should be measured by any 
other rule or at all affected by the changing stand- 
ards of society. The criminal, says the Psalmist 
(Psalms xlviii. 15), "hath matched himself with sense- 
less beasts and become like unto them." He forfeits 
the dignity of manhood and must be dealt with as a 
dangerous monster, for, says Aristotle, " worse is an 
evil man than a beast, and vastly more noxious." 
Nor must we be frightened at the bare possibility of 
the innocent being sometimes executed, for the same 
reason will militate against imprisonment for life and 
all forms of punishment. There is no comparison be- 
tween the chances of life prisoners escaping or being 
pardoned, and the chances of the innocent being put 
to death, and the power that is charged with the 
safety of the community must act accordingly. 

Ah! that fair land of Italy, the garden of the gods, 
where the death penalty is unknown! Who that has 
seen them has not grieved over those eyesores on the 



414 SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

face of Nature, her penal settlements? If the decree 
of disarmament were to be enforced to-morrow 
militarism would there have to stay if for nothing 
else than to guard those colonies. Possibly, too, the 
humanity of Italy has worked evil for America, for 
many are let go or escape, and working their way 
across the Atlantic prove to us the truth of the prin- 
ciple that a man's first deed of blood is rarely his last. 
Facts might here be gathered to offset the opposition 
figures, but we refrain, for it is curious but true that 
if you are a good arithmetician you can prove almost 
anything from statistics. Some one has said that of 
the three kind of lies, positive, comparative, and 
superlative, the superlative lies are statistics. 

Brethren, you and I well know, and God knows, 
that innocent subjects are not wanting on whom we 
may exercise our benevolent desire to save human 
lives. What a blessing the tons of provisions that 
enter the barred gate in the great high wall would 
prove to the worthy poor! The money spent on 
many a modern Uriah Keep, would be better em- 
ployed in training some orphan arab in the ways of 
good citizenship. Above all we might agitate, if 
agitate we must, the question of religious education 
and its necessity in the preservation of law and order. 
It is another and a better way to the threefold result 
at which we all are aiming, viz., Glory to God, good 
will on earth amongst men, and peace. 



THE UNJUST STEWARD. 4*5 



THE UNJUST STEWARD. 

" Make unto you friends of the Mammon of iniquity that 
when you shall fail they may receive you into everlasting 
dwellings" Luke xvi. 9. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Difficulty of parable. II. Israelites and Rebecca. 

III. Four principles. 
I. His unconcern: i. Sense of ownership. 2. All are 

stewards. 3. No thought of morrow. 
II. His sudden call: i. Informers. 2. Warning unheeded. 

3. Death of worldling. 
III. His device : i. Effort, temporal and spiritual. 2. Mas- 

ter's praise. 3. Wisdom, earthly, heavenly. 
Per. : Parable of St. John Damascene. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, more than one eminent interpreter of 
the Scriptures has been forced to confess that of all 
the parables of Our Lord this one of the unjust 
steward offers the gravest difficulties. Even the 
profoundly erudite Cajetan gave it up in despair, and 
to the great Cardinal commentator, you know, every 
theologian carries his doubts and perplexities. The 
chief fault to be found with the many ingenious or 
false or absurd explanations proposed is, that they 
try to evolve more meaning out of Our Lord's words 
than their Author int-ended them to convey. In their 
eagerness to establish a perfect similitude, they make 
all parallel impossible, for from the fact, for instance, 
that his master commended the unjust steward, it 
cannot be concluded that God could ever approve of 



41 6 EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

knavery or dishonesty. Somewhat similiar difficul- 
ties are encountered in God's approval of the despoil- 
ment of the Egyptians by the Israelites on the eve of 
their exodus, and in His tacit acquiescence in Re- 
becca's trick, whereby Esau lost and Jacob gained 
the paternal blessing and the rights of primogeniture. 
These and such like scriptural problems take on a 
simpler aspect when we remember, first, that God, 
being absolute Lord of all that is, can transfer tem- 
poral possessions from one to another without 
breach of the seventh commandment; secondly, that 
earthly goods are in the sight of God of little ac- 
count of no account, in fact, except in so far as they 
serve to promote such heavenly interests as the de- 
liverance of His peoples from the bondage of sin, or 
their introduction into everlasting dwellings in His 
celestial land of promise; thirdly, that, as the words 
of Scripture have a twofold meaning, the literal and 
the spiritual, a passage which on its surface rehearses 
the violation of some virtue such as justice or truth- 
fulness will, on closer inspection, be found to con- 
tain a hidden, spiritual sense wherein these or some 
other virtues are inculcated or extolled. Thus, de- 
ceitful Jacob is but a figure of the merciful Re- 
deemer, who, covering Himself with our nature and 
our sins, impersonated us before His heavenly Father 
to obtain His forgiveness and His blessing. Finally, 
that no perfect parallel can ever be drawn between 
man and God, between earth and heaven, and the 
respective conditions of each. With these principles 
in mind we will readily see that the lesson of the 



THE UNJUST STEWARD. 4*7 

parable is a very simple one indeed, that in the un- 
just steward's false sense of security and sudden em- 
barrassment and cunning method of providing for the 
future, Our Lord teaches us to employ in gaining 
heaven by means of our temporal possessions, if not 
greater, at least as great prudence as is exhibited by 
worldlings in their provision for the day of adversity 
or for their declining years. For the children of this 
world are wiser in their generation than the children 
of light. 

First of all, then, we have to consider the utter 
lack of solicitude which characterized the unfaithful 
steward. His rich master, trusting him implicitly, 
had left the administration of the estate so entirely 
in his hands that the sense of stewardship had 
gradually given way to a proprietary feeling. How 
true that is to Nature! You have noticed, no doubt, 
with what easy carelessness bank cashiers and man- 
agers of large concerns handle immense sums of 
money, and from the sad details of court proceedings 
all of us have learned how easily conscience becomes 
blunted with usage and how often the coin sticks to 
the fingers through which it passes. An Italian prov- 
erb has it that no great river was ever yet without its 
muddy water. Nor is this true alone of the business 
world; it is verified also in the greater universe 
of men and things. The Lord's is the earth 
and the fulness thereof, and men are but the man- 
agers of His vast estate. The world is like a great 
and beautiful mansion, with its lofty blue ceilings and 
its brilliant lights and its carpets of velvety green and 



418 EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

its vast tables loaded with rich viands and fruits and 
garnished with flowers, and over all this man pre- 
sides. In all the world there is not one, no not even 
the humblest and the poorest, to whose care God has 
not allotted some portion of His wealth. The rich 
administer His larger interests, humanly speaking, 
but the poor also have intrusted to them a life in 
comparison with which the whole earth is valueless, 
a soul for which ten thousand worlds would be an 
inadequate exchange, and time the golden key to 
the treasuries of heaven. In the order of grace, too, 
our stewardship includes the gifts of the true faith, 
the sacrifice and the sacraments of our Church, the 
communion of God's saints, and the infinite merits of 
our Redeemer. But both in the order of Nature and 
of grace we easily forget that we are stewards, and 
we soon begin to waste by selfish extravagance or 
neglect our Master's goods. The rich feel, or at least 
they act, as though they were absolute lords of all 
they possess, for, while Lazarus is being hunted from 
the door, Dives, in purple and fine linen, is feasting 
sumptuously. And yet Dives's superfluous wealth 
belongs by right to the Lord and to the poor with 
whom Christ identified Himself when He said: 
" Amen, I say to you, as long as you did not charity 
nor justice to these, My least brethren, neither did 
you them to Me." Nor is the stewardship 'of the 
poor over their eternal interests always above re- 
proach, though, truth to say, they are generally the 
more faithful, for man's fidelity to God is usually in 
inverse ratio to God's liberality to man. The old 



THE UNJUST STEWARD. 4*9 

saying: That one of the surest ways of making a man 
your enemy is to load him with favors, is oftenest 
verified in the relations between man and God. 
There are exceptions, of course Pharao sometimes 
finds a faithful Joseph but none the less they are the 
exceptions. And howsoever great his dishonesty, 
howsoever complicated his accounts, each is firmly 
persuaded that the day of reckoning is afar off. 
Others may see ruin closing in around us; we can see 
it in the case of others; but as for ourselves, we are 
serenely confident. The sailors on Jonas's straining 
ship are all bustle and confusion, but Jonas, the one 
person most concerned, is fast asleep. By and by, 
says the unjust steward, I will cease from pilfering, 
and later on I will make restitution. In my will, says 
Plutus, I will remember the different charities, but I 
am not ready just yet to sign a will. There is no 
hurry, says the sinner, to-morrow, perhaps, I will 
arise and go to my Father, and if not to-morrow, at 
the last surely. To the last, says Wisdom itself, they 
shall be marrying and giving in marriage, and Dives 
shall be confidently planning for his future on earth 
with not a thought of heaven, even while the Lord is 
at his very door to demand his soul of him. 

Brethren, the second point worthy of notice is the 
steward's dreadful plight when suddenly called to 
account. Sooner or later every David meets his 
Nathan. " Your sin," says Holy Writ, " will find you 
out." Doubtless the steward had been severe with 
those under him, and now these detect his dishonesty 
and in return hasten to inform their lord. A man 



420 EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

may for a time appear to succeed in serving both God 
and Mammon, but eventually his duplicity will be 
exposed. God's angels, good and bad, have con- 
tinually the freedom of His audience chamber; aye, 
and virtuous heathens and heretics, as Christ said, 
shall rise in judgment against us; and you know that 
such sins as oppression of the poor and defrauding 
the laborer of his wages cry for vengeance to the 
Lord God of Sabaoth. Oh! the shame and the misery 
of the defaulter brought to bay! What wonder that it 
incites to murder, or impels to madness or self-de- 
struction! But more dreadful still is it to fall unpre- 
pared into the hands of the living God. Notice well 
his master's words to the steward: "What is this I 
hear of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship, 
for now thou canst be steward no longer." He does 
not demand the account then and there, but bids him 
go and prepare and then present his statement. Nor 
is our God less merciful. No man ever yet died 
without having at some time or other received suf- 
ficient warning, and hence the guilt of unpreparedness 
is all the greater. In the nature of things the light- 
ning should precede the thunder, but the good God 
has so arranged things that we hear the rumbling of 
the coming storm before the lightning strikes. The 
Lord has said, indeed, that He will come as comes a 
thief in the night, but how many times and in how 
many ways does He warn us that thieves are con- 
stantly abroad, and that His faithful and true servant 
should be ever on the watch! And oh! the dreadful 
consequences of allowing the warning to go un- 



THE UNJUST STEWARD. 421 

heeded! Saul was a mighty man and valiant, but 
when the ghost of Samuel said to him: " To-morrow 
thou and thy sons shall be with me," he fell lifeless 
from very terror. Brethren, each one of us, if we fare 
no worse, shall one day hear from the lips of a phy- 
sician or of a priest these fated words: " Your case 
is hopeless, you must prepare to die; you must pre- 
pare to give an account of your stewardship, for now 
you can be steward no longer." Let not your com- 
fortable circumstances lead you to bid your soul eat, 
drink, and make merry, for that long years of enjoy- 
ment are before you, for this very night God may 
demand your soul of you, and whose, then, will be all 
these things you have provided? Let not your youth 
and strength persuade you that length of days is sure 
to be your lot, for very often death acts as did Jacob 
when, in blessing Joseph's sons, he, contrary to all ex- 
pectations, crossed his hands and placed his right on 
the younger and on the older his left. Let no sense 
of self-righteousness make you overconfident in your 
final perseverance, for who would have dreamt that 
Judas's place in heaven was destined to be occupied 
by a crucified thief? When our summons comes, our 
uppermost thought may be that of the unjust 
steward: "What shall I do? What shall I do?" 
Notice well the contrast between the steward's 
dilemma and that of Dives. Each thinks within him- 
self: "What shall I do?" but one is embarrassed 
with riches, the other is face to face with ruin; one 
concludes to store up much goods for many years, 
the other determines to distribute even his master's 



422 EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

wealth among the poor; and the Lord, you know, 
commended the unjust steward, but Dives was buried 
in hell. A soul that has been more active in hoarding 
up perishable treasure on earth than in heaping up 
everlasting treasure in heaven, hears death's an- 
nouncement with somewhat of the awful anxiety and 
terror with which the wicked shall start at the sound 
of Gabriel's trumpet. In an instant it finds itself 
shorn of all its earthly possessions and exposed, poor 
and naked and miserable, alike to the helpless pity 
of its friends, men and angels, and to the ridicule of 
its enemies, the devils. The wretched plight of 
David's ambassadors when King Hanon shaved half 
of their heads and one side of their faces and cut 
away their nether garments and sent them away, is 
an eloquent picture of the utter confusion of an un- 
just steward of God when suddenly called upon by 
his Master to render an account, for that now he can 
be steward no longer. " What shall I do? " he says. 
" What shall I do? To dig I am unable, for for me 
the time for acquiring merit has closed forever; and 
to beg I am ashamed, for how can I, unmerciful as I 
have been, hope to obtain mercy? What shall I do? 
What shall I do? " 

Brethren, consider thirdly the steward's device, 
thought out in the few moments yet available, and 
whereby he hoped to provide for his future. While 
in favor with his lord he had doubtless dealt severely 
with his master's tenantry, but now that he can be 
steward no longer he hastens to curry favor with 
those he had formerly oppressed. What an amount 



THE UNJUST STEWARD. 423 

of thought he must have crowded into those few mo- 
ments, and how typical it all is of the deep study that 
should characterize our provision for our future be- 
yond the grave! All too seldom in this regard do we 
pause to ask ourselves the question: " What shall I 
do? " Had we ahead of us a very searching competi- 
tive examination for some coveted position, or for a 
title, or for a purse of gold, what labor we would un- 
dergo, how all-absorbed in study would we be, and 
oh! the anxious days and the sleepless nights until 
the contest had taken place and the decision become 
known! See with what care the defendant, whose life 
or perhaps some lesser interest is at stake, collects 
his facts and witnesses, prepares his case, argues and 
cajoles and, it may be, bribes the jury or his oppo- 
nent's witnesses, and altogether moves heaven and 
earth to gain a favorable verdict! All this and much 
more will men do and endure to obtain an empty cor- 
ruptible crown, or to avert a temporary disgrace or 
misfortune or punishment, and thus the children of 
this world prove wiser in their generation than the 
children of light. For, alas! when there is question 
of our spiritual interests we rarely can arrive at any 
correct or practical conclusion. Christ has said that 
whoever wishes to be His disciple must deny himself, 
and that whoever would be perfect must give up all 
to the poor and coming follow Him; but with all that 
precept and example before us we yet cannot bring 
ourselves to say definitely with the steward: "I 
know what I shall do." But he calling together 
every one of his lord's debtors, and producing in 



424 EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

haste their notes of hand, ordered them to so alter 
the bonds that the debt of the first was reduced by 
'one-half, that of the second by one-fifth, and so on 
with the others according as he expected from each 
more or less kindness when he failed. And his 
master, we are told, commended his action for that 
he had done wisely. Herein consists the crux of the 
parable's difficulty. We may say that the steward 
had not yet been deposed; that he was steward still 
and acted strictly within his right in trying to undo 
some of his past oppression, but none the less hu- 
manly speaking his proceeding was dishonest and 
practically forgery. Yet in the purely human aspect 
of the case may we not find some sort of justification 
for him? You remember the parable of the unmerci- 
ful servant who, though his master had forgiven him 
all his debts, was still unwilling to forego his claims 
against his fellow servant and was consequently sold 
into slavery until he had paid the last farthing. 
And, as mercy's rule works both ways, should not the 
steward be forgiven now in consideration of his will- 
ingness to forgive others? But, you say, he is rob- 
bing Peter to recompense Paul! Well, recollect that 
we are dealing with a parable, and that it is neces- 
sary to strain human conditions to bring them into 
parallel with the divine. The steward did wisely, be- 
cause the foolishness of this world is wisdom with 
God, and the wisdom of this world is foolishness be- 
fore God. To store up riches or to scatter them 
among the poor will appear to us to be folly or wis- 
dom, according as our point of view is material or 



THE UNJUST STEWARD. 425 

spiritual, and a special fickleness and inconsistency 
must ever characterize the judgment of those who 
are trying the impossible task of serving both God 
and Mammon. John the Baptist came neither eat- 
ing nor drinking and men said: " He hath a devil." 
Christ came eating and drinking and they called Him 
a glutton these servers of the two masters. Like 
the children in the market-place, they are piped to 
and they will not dance, they are mourned with and 
they will not weep. Thus is wisdom done justice 
to by all her children by contrast, viz., with the 
folly of the slaves of Mammon and the inconsistency 
of the servants of the two masters, and directly, in 
.the consistency of the lives of her own, the servants 
of God, the children of light. For these last hold the 
world at its true worth. They are deeply imbued 
with the responsibilities of their stewardship, and see- 
ing things with the eyes of God, they value and use 
the things of earth for their one legitimate object, 
the glory of God and the spiritual betterment of 
themselves and of their neighbors. It is thus that the 
Mammon of iniquity can and should be employed to 
secure for ourselves friends here and hereafter. 
Even as Jacob sent ahead rich presents to appease 
the wrath of his brother Esau, so should we devote 
our earthly possessions to the enrichment of heaven 
with souls saved, that when our own time shall have 
come they may receive us into everlasting dwellings. 
Brethren, St. John Damascene in his history of 
Barlaam and Josaphat gives us a parable which has 
all the point of that of the unjust steward, with none 



426 EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

of its difficulties. Among a certain people, he says, 
the law is that each year they shall kidnap some for- 
eigner, totally ignorant of their customs, and that 
they shall invest him with all the powers of royalty, 
but that, the year being ended, they shall banish him 
to a desert island. But occasionally it happens that 
the king chooses his advisers so wisely and wins 
them so thoroughly that they inform him of his com- 
ing fate, whereupon he quietly sets about converting 
the barren island into such an earthly paradise that 
the sweetness of his exile exceeds the delights of 
kingship. Brethren, God has placed us in this world 
for a year, for a day, and He has made us stewards, 
aye kings, of His creation, and by the added gift of 
the true faith He has made us to be the children of 
light. Let us beware how we conduct our affairs; let 
us be careful to which counsellors, the world or God, 
we give ear; let us remember our term of office is 
brief and ever drawing to a close; let us make to our- 
selves friends of the Mammon of iniquity, that when 
we fail they may receive us into everlasting 
dwellings. 



CHRIST ON MOUNT OLIVET. 



$tnrt) >un&aE Sifter 

CHRIST ON MOUNT OLIVET. 

" When Jesus drew near Jerusalem, seeing the city, He 
wept over it" Luke xix. 41. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Power of Scripture. II. Arguments for Christ's 

divinity. 
I. Wept over city : I. Divine sympathy. 2. Unselfishness. 

3. Popular response. 

II. Foretold ruin: I. Prophecy. 2. Author and subject. 
3. Destruction of Jerusalem. 

III. Cleared Temple: I. Sacrifice. 2. Traders. 3. St. 

Jerome. 

IV. Lord of all : i. Supper-room. 2. Ass and foal. 3. True 

force of argument. 

Per.: i. Power of Scripture. 2. Choice of means. 3. Omnipo- 
tence. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, if you care this afternoon to take your 
family Bible and you should regard it as a sacred 
weekly duty so to do if, I say, you care, after church, 
to take your family Bible and read over and ponder 
over the Gospel I have just read Luke xix. 41-4? 
you will find there three excellent arguments against 
the anti-Christian spirit of our times three con- 
vincing proofs of Christ's divinity. 

And first, we read that He wept over Jerusalem. 
Lamentation over our own misfortunes is a purely 
human passion, but to forget self and weep over 
the ruin of another is divine. Now, here was Christ 
on the day of His victory the one day of His whole 
earthly career worthy, humanly speaking, to be 
called triumphant. Fresh in the popular memory 



428 NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

was the resuscitation of Lazarus, the healing of the 
paralytic, the sight restored to the man born blind 
and but yesterday occurred the wonder of the Trans- 
figuration miracles so stupendous that they si- 
lenced even His enemies, and encouraged His well- 
wishers to come forth to meet Him crying " Hosanna 
to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh 
in the name of the Lord." And yet, of all that 
throng on Olivet's slope, He alone is sad. His eyes 
turn from the acclaiming multitude to the city 
beneath Him and He bursts into tears. Is it the 
thought of His past wrongs compared to His present 
triumphs that has touched His heart? No, He was 
ever cheerful and patient under suffering and wrong. 
Is it the prevision of the tortures He is soon to en- 
dure at the hands of this very people? No, self has no 
place in His thoughts. Standing there, a figure of 
sublime, superhuman disinterestedness, such as the 
world has never since or before seen, He weeps over 
the city of His enemies, their short-sightedness and 
approaching destruction. After even His greatest 
miracles, Peter alone confessed Him to be the Son of 
the living God. The prodigies attending His death 
on the cross moved Longinus alone to declare 
" Verily this was the Son of God," and even at His 
Resurrection the words " My Lord and my God " 
were uttered by Thomas and Magdalen only. Yet 
here, merely at seeing Him weep over the city an 
action so simple and yet so sublime, so forgetful of 
self and so full of compassion and forgiveness for 
others, so intensely human and yet so immeasurably 



CHRIST ON MOUNT OLIVET. 4*9 

above the human so divine that vast throng cried 
out its profession of faith till the hills and valleys 
rang again with " Hosannas to the Son of David! " 
and " Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the 
Lord." 

Secondly, we read the words of Christ addressed 
to the city words scarcely intelligible, so broken are 
they by His sobs and tears. " Didst thou," He says, 
" but know this joyful day that I am the guardian 
of thy peace, thou wouldst not seek to murder Me. 
Didst thou but know what things are in store for thee 
in punishment for that crime, thou too wouldst 
weep. But now all this is hidden from thine eyes," 
and then He goes on to foretell the city's impending 
calamities. Here is our second argument for Christ's 
divinity. Experience teaches us, and Holy Writ 
further assures us, that the events of the future are 
known to no man no, not even to the angels 
in heaven but to God alone. " Show the things 
that are to come hereafter," says Isaias (xli. 23), 
" and we shall know that ye are gods." True, the 
prophets of the Old Law foretold the events of the 
New, but, as St. Peter says, it was not they who 
spoke, but the Spirit of God who spoke in them and 
through them. Between their prophecies and those 
of Christ, there is this difference, that theirs pointed 
ever not to themselves but to Christ. What the Old 
Testament says in prophecy, the New repeats as 
already accomplished. The two are well typified in 
the two seraphic spirits described by Isaias as flying 
through the heavens crying, one to the other, 



430 NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

" Holy, holy, holy, Lord .God of Sabaoth," or again 
in the two cherubim, over the ark o'f the Covenant, 
whose wings met midway and who gazed ever one 
upon the other. But Christ's prophecies all concern 
Himself, He is the beginning and the end the A 
and the Z the central figure of all prophecy. There- 
fore I say, Christ, being a true Prophet, must have 
had in Him the Spirit of God; and being the subject 
of His own prophecy He must have been God Him- 
self. Now a true prophecy is one that is justified by 
the event, and that Christ was a true Prophet was 
never more clearly proven than in the things He 
foretold regarding the city of Jerusalem. " Thine 
enemies shall come upon thee," He says, " and they 
shall cast a trench about thee and compass thee round, 
and straighten thee on every side and beat thee flat 
to the ground and thy children who are in thee ; and 
they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, 
because thou hast not known the time of thy visita- 
tion." Forty years after Christ's crucifixion that 
prophecy was fulfilled to the letter, as we learn from 
the non-Christian historians, Josephus and Egisip- 
pus. They tell us that thirty-six years after Christ's 
death there began a series of prodigies in the city, 
such as men had never seen before. Ghostly armies 
were seen to do battle in the air over the city; a 
blinding light frequently in an instant turned the 
darkest night into the brightest day; earthquakes 
shook the walls and flung open the gates of the city ; 
and for four years, night and day, a man, a stranger 
to all, roamed the city streets crying: " Woe, woe to 



CHRIST ON MOUNT OLIVET. 43 * 

Jerusalem." Finally, in the fortieth year after Christ, 
when three million Jews were collected in Jerusalem 
for the feast of the Passover, the Roman army sud- 
denly appeared and laid siege to the city. In their 
march on Jerusalem they had slain no less than four- 
teen hundred thousand Jews. But the worst was to 
come, for now began a war compared to which that 
of China and Japan was nothing, and the American 
Revolution as the killing of one man. For the Jews 
inside the city were divided among themselves, and 
fought till, from very hunger and disease, they could 
fight no longer. On the other hand, the deserters 
and fugitives were all captured and cut open by the 
enemy, in the hope their captors had of securing the 
gold the poor wretches had attempted to save by 
swallowing. War and famine famine such that the 
nearest and dearest slew one another for a meal, and 
mothers secretly cooked and ate their own infants. 
Dead bodies everywhere, and the living died while 
trying to bury the dead, until the city became one 
vast pestilential morgue. And at last, when resist- 
ance was no longer possible, the victorious Romans 
rushed in with fire and sword, and burned and razed 
the Temple to the ground, and levelled the city walls 
to the very foundation. Josephus estimates that, at 
the siege of Jerusalem alone, ninety-seven thousand 
were taken prisoner, eleven hundred thousand were 
slain, two thousand were killed by their own people, 
and two thousand more died by their own hand. 
Such was the fulfilment of Christ's prophecy, and 
even had we no historic testimony of this fact, there 



43 2 NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

is still in the city of Rome an imperishable proof 
the triumphal arch of Titus, the victorious Roman 
general, bearing on its sculptured sides the story of 
the siege and overthrow of Jerusalem the best pre- 
served of all the arches, as though divine Providence 
would have it stand as a proof to all ages of God's 
ultimate victory over His enemies, of the exact ful- 
filment of a true prophecy, and of the divinity of 
Jesus Christ. 

Our third and last proof of Christ's divinity is 
contained in the words : " And entering into the 
Temple He cast out them that sold therein and them 
that bought." All Judea came annually to Jeru- 
salem to offer sacrifice in the Temple, and as those 
coming from afar found it more convenient to pur- 
chase their offerings in Jerusalem, the dealers, in the 
heat of competition, had set up their booths in the 
very porch of the Temple, so that the " house of 
prayer had become a den of thieves." Now the force 
of the argument cannot be better presented than in 
the words of St. Jerome himself. " Some," he says, 
" affirm that the greatest proof of Our Lord's divin- 
ity was the resuscitation of Lazarus ; others, the cure 
of the man born blind; others, the Transfiguration; 
but to me, of all His miracles none seems more won- 
derful than this : that one man, a lowly unfortunate, 
on His way to the gallows, could have so prevailed 
over the hatred and cupidity of the Scribes and 
Pharisees as to overthrow their tables and booths, 
scourge them from the Temple and effect, in a few 
moments, what all the power of the Roman legions, 



CHRIST ON MOUNT OLIVET. 433 

after seven years' trial, failed to accomplish. A celes- 
tial fire must have radiated from His eyes, and the 
majesty of the divinity shone in His countenance." 

Brethren, it is characteristic of the Gospel history 
of Our Lord's life that seemingly trivial incidents 
such as the foregoing are found on closer inspection 
to be replete with deep dogmatic truth. This is fur- 
ther illustrated by two other circumstances closely 
allied to the subject of to-day's Gospel. A few 
days later Our Lord, wishing to celebrate the 
Passover and institute the Blessed Eucharist, 
sent Peter and John ahead, saying: " Go ye into 
the city and when you shall see a man carrying 
a pitcher of water say to him: The Master saith, 
Where is my refectory where I may eat the pasch 
with My disciples? And he shall show you a large 
dining-room, and there prepare." That the event 
transpired just as He foretold goes to show that the 
forecast was the exercise of no mere human knowl- 
edge but a calling into play of the divine gift of 
prophecy, and the promptness with which the man 
acceded to so extraordinary a request is proof posi- 
tive that the petitioner was the Lord and Master of 
all, whose will no man can resist. Again, on the 
morning of the very day of His triumphal entry into 
Jerusalem, when they drew nigh to the city, Jesus 
sent two disciples ahead into Bethphage, saying: 
" Go ye into the village that is over against you, and 
immediately you shall find an ass tied and a colt with 
her; loose them and bring them to Me. And if any 
man shall say anything to you, say ye that the Lord 



434 NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

hath need of them, and forthwith he will let them 
go." The prophet Zacharias had foretold the com- 
ing of the future King, the Messias, in these words : 
"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold thy King 
cometh to thee, meek and sitting upon an ass and 
a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke." 
These words were well known, and very dear to the 
hearts of all who looked for the redemption of Israel, 
and their exact fulfilment in the entry of Christ and 
His followers into Jerusalem accounts in no small 
measure for the remarkable outburst of popular 
enthusiasm with which He was greeted. Here then 
we have as proofs of His divinity, first, His wonderful 
insight into the future, amounting to omniscience; 
second, His entire conformity to the Messianic prophe- 
cies, even in the minutest details; and third, His prac- 
tical assertion of absolute dominion over all things. 
An unbeliever would probably attempt to explain 
away the force of the argument by asserting that 
the ready acquiescence of the man in placing his 
guest-chamber at the disposal of the Saviour was but 
the exercise of ordinary hospitality, but nowhere in 
history do we find that the law; of kindness to 
strangers was wont to be carried to such extremes. 
Neither is the Socialist's explanation to be admitted, 
viz., that each incident is but an assertion on the part 
of Our Lord that each of us has a right in the time of 
need to help himself to the belongings of his more 
fortunate neighbor. Christ came not to destroy but 
to fulfil the law, and the seventh point of the law is, 
"Thou shalt not steal." He said, indeed, "The 



CHRIST ON MOUNT OLIVET. 435 

Master hath need of them," but there was no such 
crying necessity in the case as justifies the forcible 
appropriation of another's provisions, lands, or cattle 
in times of war or famine, or in the face of a mighty 
conflagration. Besides, in neither case did the 
owners yield to force, but each evidently assented 
quite cheerfully, proving that Christ's almighty 
power influenced them to cede to the Lord that 
which He had but lent them for a time, and which 
anytime and everywhere He could justly claim as His 
own. 

Brethren, from these considerations I would have 
you gather three points: First, the power of Holy 
Scripture as a defender of truth and a weapon against 
error. The most appalling danger to religion in 
modern times is the popular loss of faith in Christ's 
divinity. The ideas of the non-Catholic world on this 
most important point are growing daily more vague 
and uncertain. Let us not neglect the study of those 
sacred pages, in almost every line of which we will 
find reasons for the faith that is in us. Second, Let us 
admire the sublime condescension with which Christ 
chooses at times the lowliest of His creatures to be 
the vehicle of His truth or the instrument of His will. 
The royal entry of earthly kings is made in gorgeous 
chariots drawn by prancing steeds, but Christ's king- 
dom is not from hence. The humble ass and colt, re- 
calling as they do the prophecy of Zachary, add more 
lustre to His retinue than all such pomp and cere- 
mony. Such disregard of earthly aids is in line with 
His choice of fishermen to be His Apostles, and per- 



43 6 TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

haps the person and the mission of each of us, how- 
ever humble, are as precious before God as those of 
the great ones of the earth. Finally, let us adore the 
Lord's transcendent power whereby He is able, with- 
out infringing on our liberty, to use us as He will. 
Let us throw open to Him the citadels of our souls, 
and invite Him to take undivided possession, crying: 
" Hosanna to the Son of David," and, " Blessed is 
He that cometh in the name of the Lord." 



>un&ai? jSfter 

THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 

" God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of 
men . . . O God, be merciful to me, a sinner ... 7 say 
to you, this man went down to his house justified rather than 
the other." Luke xviii. 11-14. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Judgments of Pharisee and Publican. II. ^Esop. 

III. Charity the one thing needed. 
I. Self-judgments : i. Pharisee's claims to credit. 2. Court 

of conscience. 3. Two methods. 
II. Judgments of others : i. Virtuous and wicked. 2. Pub- 

licans. 3. None perfect nor all bad. 
III. God's judgments: i. Looketh on the heart. 2. His 

omniscience. 3. Our blindness. 

Per.: i. Judge not others. 2. Judge self unfavorably. 3. God's 
holiness our standard. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, we find recorded in the Gospel the 
Pharisee's opinion of himself, and his opinion of 
other men, among them the publican, and we are 
told how erroneous in each case was his judgment. 
It is interesting to speculate what may have been the 



THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 437 

publican's idea of the Pharisee, or to imagine the 
surprise of each had they been told later on of 
Christ's, of God's, judgment between them. The 
parable was addressed, you know, to " some who 
trusted in themselves as just, and despised others," 
and it is worthy of notice that the only one in Christ's 
audience or Christ's parable who succeeded in arriv- 
ing at a just estimate of himself or of others, was he 
who humbly said: " O God, be merciful to me, a sin- 
ner." The inference would seem to be that at no 
time are men more prone to error than when they 
attempt to determine their own or their neighbor's 
moral status, and that in no other matter are human 
opinions more likely to run counter to the. judgments 
of God. It is ^Esop, I believe, who represents man as 
going through life with two pouches suspended from 
his neck, one in front and one behind, and in the 
former, ever before his eyes, he keeps his own virtues 
and his neighbor's vices, but in the latter, behind his 
back, his neighbor's good traits and his own faults. 
Never shall we judge just judgments until we have 
reversed the pouches, or in some way acquired the 
spirit of the publican. Nor is this a matter of little 
moment; it is a question of such human interest that 
it appeals even to the Pagan, and its claim on the 
attention of Christians is more especial still, since it 
deals with that new commandment Christ gave us, 
the very groundwork, the heart of all religion, the 
law of charity. " For chanty," says St. Paul, " is not 
puffed up, nor envious, nor self-seeking, nor per- 
verse, but is patient, is kind, thinketh no evil; re- 



43 8 TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

joiceth not in iniquity but in the truth; beareth, 
believeth, hopeth, endureth all things. For now we 
see in a dark manner, but then face to face; now we 
know in part, but then even as we are known." 

First of all, then, we see from the parable that 
favorable self-judgments are apt to be fallacious. 
There is not one of us, perhaps, who has half as 
sound reasons for regarding himself with com- 
placency as had the Pharisee. Execrate them as we 
may, we are still forced to admit that the Pharisees 
as a sect had a noble mission, which they nobly ful- 
filled. From the very beginning, exclusiveness had 
been one of the most prominent characteristics of the 
chosen people. It was God's design that they should 
continue an unmixed race, a nation apart, and in the 
course of ages so firmly did this idea take hold on the 
popular mind and so intimately interwoven with 
the Messianic promises did they regard it, that we 
find them everywhere and always hedging them- 
selves around with barriers to check the incursions 
and the secularizing influence of the detested Gen- 
tiles. How strong was this spirit in Apostolic times 
is evident from St. Paul's strenuous and oft-repeated 
efforts to abolish the distinction between the Jew and 
Gentile and to place all on a common Christian level, 
and how much of it survives to-day is apparent in the 
aloofness and clannishness of our Hebrew citizens. 
Now, to preserve their integrity inviolate was for the 
Jews on their return from captivity a difficult task 
indeed, for the bulk of the nation remained irre- 
vocably scattered through heathendom from Baby- 



THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 439 

Ion to Rome; Samaria, the very heart of Israel, had 
apostatized; the north had become the Galilee of the 
Gentiles; all Palestine, a prey to a denationalizing 
lust for empire, had fallen under the yoke of Caesar, 
and the entire population, by the exigencies of busi- 
ness and politics, was hourly exposed to heathen de- 
filement. Then it was that the Pharisees arose to be 
the saviours of the nation. Self-constituted expound- 
ers of the law, they proceeded to throw around each 
member of their race at home and abroad such a net- 
work of ordinances concerning years of jubilee, 
Sabbath observance, sacrifices, purifications, his food, 
his clothing, fasts and tithes, that at every turn, in 
every little circumstance of life, his nationality and 
his religion were brought prominently before him. In 
all their outward observances, too, the Pharisees 
themselves were scrupulously exact. What wonder 
then, that having preserved intact the " remnant " of 
prophecy, this aristocrat, this patriot, this zealous 
stickler for the law, should enter God's Temple with a 
sense of proprietorship, and proudly elbow his way 
to the first place, and, standing, thank his God that 
he was not as the rest of men! Was he not God's 
champion against the heathen dogs, and the extor- 
tioners and unjust and adulterers of his own race? 
Did he not fast twice a week and give alms of all that 
he possessed? With half such good reasons, I re- 
peat, any one of us would give way to self-congratu- 
lation, and of us as of the Pharisee would be true the 
words of the Spirit to the Church of Laodicea: 
" Thou sayest: I am rich and wealthy and have need 



440 TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

of nothing, and knowest not that thou are wretched 
and miserable and poor and blind and naked." For 
no man is a judge in his own cause, not because he 
has not within him a voice to call him to account, but 
because that voice, conscience, is apt to be stilled or 
perverted by self-love and self-conceit. In examin- 
ing ourselves we find it hard to be strictly honest, to 
tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to 
admit that a beam in the eye is a beam indeed and 
not a mere mote. And even when we do succeed 
fairly well in extracting all the evidence for and 
against, we still decide the case according to a stand- 
ard all our own, and the prisoner in consequence is 
honorably acquitted or even highly commended. 
Sin, too, is something that is ever recurring, and the 
judge soon tires and grows lax with usage. Favor- 
able self-judgments, I have said, are usually errone- 
ous, and, in a measure, the same is true of all self- 
judgments. Even the publican's estimate of himself 
was just only in so far as it was self-depreciatory. 
Christ's commendation of him, that he went down to 
his house justified rather than the Pharisee, is, you 
notice, more relative than absolute. Doubtless there 
were many other grades of society, the Gentiles, the 
harlots, the unclean, upon whom the publican, Jew 
as he was, would have looked as the Pharisee looked 
on him, and with his lips have thanked God and in 
his heart have thanked himself, as did the Pha'risee, 
that he was not as some other men. Or perhaps his 
self-depreciation, like the Pharisee's complacency, 
was based on the notion that outward observance is 



THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 44* 

the whole law and the prophets. We look upon the 
tomb's exterior and we call it foul or fair, according 
as it appears to us, but few of us have the moral cour- 
age to enter in and bring to light the hidden dead 
men's bones. The Pharisee, having told what vices 
he had not, proceeded to enumerate his virtues, and 
many of us, like him, are content with avoiding hein- 
ous sins, or with the easy outward forms of religion, to 
the utter neglect of the more difficult interior sancti- 
fication. Sanctity means more than that. The rich 
young ruler, that would-be Apostle, soon learned his 
mistake, and was so frightened that he sadly turned 
away. To judge rightly of ourselves we must look 
at God, and seeing ourselves in His righteousness as 
in a spotless mirror, we will realize that whatever 'of 
good we do comes from Him, for by His grace we are 
what we are, and that whatever of evil is in us and 
who shall estimate it? is all our own. We will see 
then that like the Apostles on the Lake of Galilee we 
labor through the night of life, unprofitable servants, 
taking nothing, and in the presence of our God and 
in very terror at our unworthiness we will fall down 
before Him as did St. Peter, crying: " Depart from 
me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man," or supplicating 
Him in the words of the publican: " O God, be 
merciful to me, a sinner." 

Brethren, we learn from the parable, secondly, 
how mistaken are usually our opinions of others. 
If, as St. Paul testifies, no man knows whether he 
be praiseworthy or blamable before God, if neither 
Cain nor Abel knows which is God's favorite until 



442 TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

the heavenly fire descends, is it not rash to anticipate 
God by sitting in judgment on one another? Self- 
judgment is nothing more than the examination of 
one's conscience, a sacred duty incumbent on every 
Christian, a powerful incentive to repentance, and a 
valuable aid in the production of the proper disposi- 
tions for prayer. It is of self-examination that St. 
Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says: " If we would 
judge ourselves, we would not be judged," for such 
salutary effects would this exercise produce in us that 
we would thereby escape God's weightier condemna- 
tion. But would we thereby escape human criticism? 
Alas! the more virtuous a man is the more fault will 
be found with him, and the cavilings of his critics will 
be bitter in proportion to their wickedness. The 
vicious resent goodness in others as a personal re- 
proach. " Let us," say they (Wis. ii), " let us lie in 
wait for the just because he is contrary to our doings, 
upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and di- 
vulgeth against us our sins. He is become a censurer 
of our thoughts, grievous to us even to behold, for 
his life is not like other men's, and his ways very dif- 
ferent. He esteemeth us as triflers and abstaineth 
from our ways as from filthiness, and glorieth that he 
hath God for his Father. Let us examine him by 
outrages and tortures, that we may know his meek- 
ness and try his patience, and let us condemn him to 
a most shameful death." Ah, Brethren, what a com- 
mentary on human nature is this; what a picture of 
that malice which could torture and crucify even the 
irreproachable, the loving and gentle Saviour. We 



THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 443 

are by nature fault-finders and detractors. " Where- 
unto shall I esteem this generation? " says Christ. 
" They are like children sitting in the market-place, 
who, crying to their companions, say: We have 
piped to you and you have not danced; we have la- 
mented and you have not mourned. For John came 
neither eating nor drinking, and they say: He hath 
a devil: the Son of man came eating and drink- 
ing, and they say: Behold a man that is a glut- 
ton and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and 
sinners." 

Even when uninfluenced by envy or hatred or 
race prejudice or religious bigotry, our opinions of 
others are likely to be superficial and wrong. " Man 
looketh upon the outward appearance." Who of us, 
were he present that day in the porch of the Temple, 
would have hesitated for an instant as to the respec- 
tive merits of the Pharisee and the publican? Would 
we not, in the words of St. James, have deferred to the 
proud Pharisee with his golden ring and his fine ap- 
parel and his stately self-importance, and said to him : 
"Sit thou here well;" and to the humble publican 
in his mean attire would we not have answered 
roughly: "Stand thou there, or sit under my foot- 
stool! " For the publicans were Jewish traitors who 
had sold themselves into the service of their Roman 
conquerors, for whom they harvested the public rev- 
enues, and such was their genius for avarice and ex- 
tortion that their name soon became a synonym for 
all that was base and despicable. Even Christ classes 
them with harlots. I know nothing in modern soci- 



444 TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

ety to which they may be more appropriately com- 
pared than to an Irish land-grabber, or a "scab" 
workman during a strike, or a soldier who betrays his 
country's military secrets to the enemy. An ortho- 
dox Jew, a Pharisee, could no more see good in a 
publican than can I in the vilest proprietor of a com- 
bined saloon and brothel. And yet this man, this 
publican, went down to his house justified rather 
than the other. Ah, Brethren, there is enough there 
to deter me for the rest of my days from ever pre- 
suming to pass judgment on my neighbor. " Man 
looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord 
looketh on the heart and He resisteth the proud 
and giveth grace to the humble." No judgment of 
one man by another can ever be infallible; the more 
severe it is, the more likely it is to be false; and even 
when it is favorable, there is still danger of error, as 
we see in the opinion nine-tenths of humanity would 
have conceived of the Pharisee. No man nor set of 
men are above reproach, and no man nor set of men 
are utterly beneath praise. St. Paul himself tells us 
that he was a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee, 
and SS. Matthew and Zacheus had both been publi- 
cans. Two classes of society which produced such 
material, and which besides, as we read in the Acts, 
sent hundreds of their members into the early Chris- 
tian Church, could not have been wholly bad. Judge 
not, therefore, and ye shall not be judged, but if you 
persist in passing condemnatory sentences on your 
fellowman, be sure you will make such glaring mis- 
takes and work such mischief, that God's condemna- 



THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 445 

tion will come heavy upon you. " Judge not and ye 
shall not be judged." 

Lastly, Brethren, the parable teaches how much at 
variance usually are the judgments of man and the 
judgments of God. They are generally as different 
as the grounds on which they are based; as different 
as was the Pharisee's fair exterior from his proud, un- 
charitable, sinful soul, or the publican's unpromising 
aspect from his humble and contrite heart. For God 
is not concerned with the outward appearances of 
things, nor is His knowledge, like ours, acquired 
slowly and with much labor and easily forgotten. See 
what a weary process has to be gone through with in 
a court of justice that one little case may be decided, 
one little wrong righted, and consider how often 
even then justice miscarries and the innocent are 
punished and the guilty freed. And if decisions so 
laboriously arrived at frequently prove false, what of 
opinions formulated in a moment? But with God, to 
exist is to know, and so penetrating and so compre- 
hensive is the scope of His vision that all creatures, 
all events, all men from time's beginning to time's 
end are ever present before Him; aye, even our very 
motives regarding which we manage so often and so 
egregiously to deceive ourselves. " Thou hast un- 
derstood my thoughts afar off," says the Psalmist, 
(Psalms i. 38), " Thou hast foreseen all my ways. 
Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, whither flee from 
Thy face? If I ascend into heaven Thou art there, if 
I descend into hell Thou art present, and in the utter- 
most parts of the sea. And I said: Perhaps darkness 



446 TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

shall cover me and night: but darkness shall not be 
dark to Thee, and night shall be light as day; the 
darkness and the light are alike to Thee." So long 
then as there exists such infinite disparity between 
God's omniscience and our feeble gropings after 
truth, so long must our opinions of ourselves and of 
others be subject to error and at variance with the 
judgments of God. "Judge not before the time, 
therefore, until the Lord come, who both will bring 
to light the hidden" things of darkness, and will make 
manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall 
every man have praise from God." 

Brethren, the lesson of to-day, briefly stated, is 
this: First, to be very careful and timid in the ex- 
pression of our opinions of our own or our neigh- 
bor's merits. Secondly, to remember always that 
whatever be the state of the case, the prayer " O 
God, be merciful to me, a sinner" is more pleasing 
to the ears of God than an act of thanksgiving that 
we are not as the rest of men. And, finally, that the 
more intimately we come into communion with God 
the greater will be our sense of our own unworthi- 
ness, and the more hope will there be that He will 
have mercy and forgive. " For every one that ex- 
alteth himself shall be humbled, and he that hum- 
bleth himself shall be exalted." 



THE NECESSITY AND PROPER METHOD OF PRAYER. 447 



Clebentlj gwnfcai? #fter 

THE NECESSITY AND PROPER METHOD OF PRAYER. 
"And immediately his ears were opened, and the string 
of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right." Mark 
vii. 35- 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Ceremonies of Baptism. II. Epistle of to-day. 

III. Effects of prayer. 
I. Necessity as to justification : I. Scripture. 2. Pray 

always. 3. Only thorough remedy. 
II. Necessity as to perseverance: i. Prosperity and adver- 

sity. 2. Thabor. 3. Natural remedy. 
III. Parts : i. Preparation and study. 2. Contemplation 

and thanksgiving. 3. Petition. 

Per. : Prayer and its parts exemplified in incidents of the 
Gospel. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in the administration of the Sacrament 
of Baptism, the Church employs those selfsame cere- 
monies which Christ originated in the cure of the 
blind and of the deaf and dumb. Moistening his 
fingers with saliva the priest touches the infant's 
senses, saying meanwhile: " Be thou opened," to 
indicate that by the grace of Baptism God will open 
these eyes to His heavenly truths, and these ears to 
His holy admonitions, and that He will loosen this 
tongue to speak His praises. It was with this idea 
in mind that the Church assigned St. Paul's profes- 
sion of faith to be the epistle of to-day. But, alas! 
the sacramental grace of Baptism is often thwarted, 
and the spiritual inertness of babyhood brought back 
by sin, so that the soul stands once more before God 



448 ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

blind and deaf and dumb. It is evident from the text 
that the mute of to-day's Gospel had at one time en- 
joyed the use of speech, but that, having through ac- 
cident or sickness lost his hearing, he had become 
partially, if not wholly, dumb. He is a perfect figure 
of a Christian soul in sin, and his miraculous cure is 
but the outward form of those innumerable miracles 
of grace, those conversions which God effects in 
response to prayer. " They brought to Him one that 
was deaf and dumb, and they besought Him that He 
would lay His hand upon him." To my mind, the 
Gospel message to-day is the necessity and the 
proper method of prayer; prayer for others and 
prayer for ourselves, that frequently turning aside 
with Jesus from the multitudes, our eyes may be 
opened to see, and our ears to hear, and our tongues 
loosed, to proclaim the wonderful works of God. 

Brethren, though fasting and prayer go hand in 
hand, still of the two, prayer is the more important, 
for while fasting ceases on festivals, prayer becomes 
more insistent. And of the two forms of prayer, 
oral and mental, the latter is the higher, for by rea- 
son of our inconstancy, oral prayer is always in dan- 
ger of degenerating into lip service, whereby men 
vainly seek to honor God while their hearts are far 
from Him. The brief, but fierce and noisy, thunder- 
storm is more destructive than productive, but the 
silent, steady, gentle downpour renews the face of 
the earth. Nothing is more insisted on in Scripture 
than the necessity of prayer: " Let nothing hinder 
you from praying always " is the constant cry of the 



THE NECESSITY 4ND PROPER METHOD OF PRAYER. 449 

Holy Spirit. " You that are mindful of the Lord," 
says Isaias, "hold not your peace, nor give Him 
silence." " Seven times a day I praised the Lord," 
says the man after God's own heart. Christ's fre- 
quent retreats to solitude, and His long vigils on the 
mountain-side could have had no other object than 
to emphasize this truth. " Watch and pray," He 
says, and by diverse parables He showed that we 
ought to pray always and not to faint, and St. Paul 
insists again and again that we should " continue in 
supplications and prayers night and day." A prayer- 
ful spirit, in fact, is an essential characteristic of 
Christianity, for, says the prophet: "By all the na- 
tions shall My house be called a house of prayer." 
Nor will it do to say that for the virtuous to work is 
to pray, and that thus they are ever fulfilling this 
precept. The parables of the troublesome widow 
and the importunate friend at the baker's door show 
that real prayer is meant. The true sense, there- 
fore, is that we must recognize prayer as one of the 
greatest duties of life, consecrate to it every day 
some time with which lesser concerns should never 
be allowed to interfere, and resume it at all times 
whenever possible. Did the love-sick youth but give 
to God the love he wastes on a creature, would not 
his prayer be constant, would not his heart be ever 
where his treasure is? Could we but realize our beg- 
garly destitution, our utter helplessness and depend- 
ence on God in all our temporal and spiritual needs, 
would it not come as natural to us to lift our hands 
and voices in prayer for our daily bread as it does to 



45 ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

the unfledged to cry for the mother bird? In 
spiritual matters, beggars are rich, and the self-suf- 
ficient miserably poor, for unless we ask, we need 
not hope to receive. Why is it that so many practi- 
cal Catholics make such little progress in the 
spiritual life, if not that they have failed to master, 
or neglect, the art of praying well? They remove 
their sins as they do their hair or beard, leaving the/ 
roots for another growth. Fasting, alms and such 
are but external remedies for sin, but our soul's 
maladies are from within, and prayer alone can pene- 
trate and cleanse the heart. Life, spiritual as well 
as physical, comes from the heart. A heart in- 
flamed with love softens and glorifies the entire sys- 
tem as does the heat the iron, and the fuel of this fire 
is prayer. By prayer our nature is transfigured, be- 
coming white and glittering as did Christ on Thabor. 
Take a lesson from the falcon. In the moulting sea- 
son he seeks a warmer climate, and flaps his wings 
and the old feathers fall and the new begin to grow. 
So we, to put off the old man and put on the new, 
must seek the Sun of Justice, and basking in the 
rays of His love, lift our hands to Him in frequent, 
earnest prayer. 

Brethren, prayer is necessary, not only in beget- 
ting, but in preserving sanctity. By the same medi- 
cine health is restored and prolonged. Worldly 
prosperity and adversity powerfully influence our 
perseverance in good by engendering either pre- 
sumption or despair. But the prayerful man is that 
happy mortal whom the philosopher compares to a 



THE NECESSITY AND PROPER METHOD OF PRAYER. 45 1 

dice; fall as he may he always rests easily. So ac- 
customed is he to dealing with the great things of 
God, that the little affairs of earth, be they good or 
bad, are to him matters of indifference. " He hath 
made the Most High his refuge, and no evil can 
come to him." Like God, he views our little world 
from afar, from a great height, and, appreciating the 
smallness of it, he passes imperturbable amid those 
ups and downs which sorely agitate the worldly. 
With St. Paul he " reckons that the sufferings of this 
present time are not worthy to be compared with the 
glory to come." For if St. Augustine, as he relates, 
was filled with disgust for all the pleasures of life by a 
brief conversation with his mother, Monica, how 
much more so he who habitually converses with 
God in prayer! The master sentiment of such a 
soul is well expressed in Peter's words on Thabor: 
"Lord, it is good for us to be here; let us make 
three tabernacles/' that, viz., leaving the world we 
may abide with Thee forever. Prayer alone, I re- 
peat, can effect this blessed result. For attachment 
to earthly things is but the innate love of the human 
heart gone astray, and such a heart is more easily 
led back by natural than by violent means. Similia 
similibus curantur. Fasting, alms, and such like 
works of penance are bitter, violent remedies, but 
prayer is easy and natural, and so satisfies the crav- 
ings of the soul with heavenly consolations that it no 
longer yearns for worldly things. For the prayerful 
man abides in God, the all-good, and God in him. 
His soul, having chosen the better part of Mary, is 



45 2 ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

rewarded with a foretaste of the joys of heaven. 
Prayer is his Jacob's ladder, which keeps him in con- 
stant communication with God. It is the very heart 
of his religion, to which churches, altars, priests, etc., 
are but accessories. In religious work, prayer is an 
absolutely essential instrument, for whosoever have 
done great things for God or humanity, or raised 
themselves to eminent sanctity all were men of 
prayer. In a word, the man devoid of prayer is more 
ihelpless even than the Gospel mute, and by prayer 
alone can his faculties be restored to speak and act 
aright. 

Brethren, to realize prayer's necessity were futile 
without an earnest effort to master the proper 
method of prayer. " You ask," says St. James, " and 
you receive not, because you ask amiss." Granted, 
therefore, that the mind and heart are essential fac- 
tors in our devotions, know that every prayer should 
consist of five parts: preparation, study, thought, 
thanksgiving, and petition. On a proper prepara- 
tion depends almost the entire fruit of that holy ex- 
ercise wherein we speak to God and God speaks to 
us. Were you spokesman of a committee sent to 
petition the President on some important subject, 
what care would you not give to the manner of your 
address! And will we, entering God's presence on a 
matter of infinite concern to ourselves, be less solic- 
itous? Will not our boorishness pique the Lord's 
patience, or our slow stammering put His mercy to 
sleep? " Before praying," says the Holy Spirit, 
" prepare thy soul, and be not as a man that tempt- 



THE NECESSITY AND PROPER METHOD OF PRAYER. 453 

eth God." When Satan dared Our Saviour to cast 
Himself from the Temple's pinnacle, Christ replied: 
" It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord, thy 
God." So, too, to pray without preparation is pre- 
sumption of God's mercy, for it is tantamount to 
asking God to send His angels to sustain us without 
effort on our part, or even against our will. As the 
violinist, before playing, tunes his instrument, so a 
soul must be prepared ere its petitions can prove 
pleasing to the Lord. But how prepared? In two 
ways: first, by removing sin from the soul by contri- 
tion or through the Sacrament of Penance. We thus 
put off the shoes from our feet, as Moses did, to 
stand on holy ground, and see our God; we wash our 
raiment, as did the Israelites when going to meet 
their Lord. " And if," says Christ, " thou offer thy 
gift at the altar and there thou rememberest that thy 
brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy 
gift before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to 
thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." 
"Be thou the first to declare thy iniquities," says 
Isaias, " that thou mayest be justified." It will not do 
to turn to God in prayer for pardon and blessings, 
while neglecting or forgetting the grievances others 
may have against us. " Thus shalt thou pray," says 
the Lord, " forgive us our trespasses as we forgive 
them their trespasses against us." " Forgive thy 
neighbor," He adds, " if he hath hurt thee, and then 
shall thy sins be forgiven thee when thou prayest." 
Secondly, we must enter God's majestic presence 
bowed in spirit, filled with the thought of His great- 



454 ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

ness, all intent on doing Him honor, and at the same 
time conscious of our own littleness; that in this 
mighty universe and amid the millions of angels and 
of men, past, present, and to come, we are indeed as 
a grain of dust or ashes. God hears the humble pub- 
lican's prayer, but that of the proud Pharisee He re- 
jects. The second part of prayer is study, that is, an 
effort of the imagination to bring before us vividly 
the person to whom our prayer is made. All prayers, 
even those directed to the holy souls, the blessed, the 
angels, or their Queen, should ultimately be ad- 
dressed to God, for the answer, though it come 
through them, must come from Him. In this effort, 
the imagination is powerfully assisted by the study 
of Scripture, especially the Gospels. We thus be- 
come so conversant with the Saviour in every inci- 
dent of His birth, life, Passion, death, and Resurrec- 
tion, that in an instant by a simple act of our will we 
can easily place ourselves before Him as He ap- 
peared at that particular portion of His earthly 
career which most strongly appeals to us. This 
" composition of place," as St. Ignatius calls it, is the 
strongest known safeguard against distractions in 
prayer. Prayer's third element is thought or reflec- 
tion, and for this third part no set rules can be as- 
signed, for it will vary according to the present bent 
of each. So rich is the personality of Our Saviour, 
that in His life we find a parallel for our every temp- 
tation, want, trial, and affliction, and by comparing 
our little crosses with the cruel weight of His we 
learn patience and resignation to God's will; and His 



THE NECESSITY AND PROPER METHOD OF PRAYER. 455 

ever-ready willingness to heal and comfort and save 
others, confirms our faith and reanimates our hope. 
But meditation, to be fruitful, must go deeper than 
the mind; the heart, too, must be waked to action. 
The mind should minister to the heart as does a nurse 
to a little child, collecting and preparing food for 
meditation, and masticating it herself before feeding 
it to her charge. But if the nurse not only masticate 
but swallow the food, her charge will starve and die. 
The will is, as it were, the customs officer at the city 
gate, but if instead of levying just toll he confiscate 
all merchandise, a famine in the city, in the heart, is 
sure to follow. To meditate with the mind alone as 
one might ponder a mathematical problem, would 
prove as barren of results as the labors of a huntsman 
whose dog should not only catch but devour the 
game, for the function of the mind is to discover and 
grasp the truth and lay it at the feet of its master, 
the heart. Nor can our heart's best emotions be 
elicited without much labor and great patience, for 
they are as green wood and must be set upon the 
fire of God's love long and closely ere sputtering re- 
sistance and clouds of smoke give place to clear 
flame. Yet prayer without emotion is labor as vain 
as that Our Lord described when He said: "And 
some seed fell upon a rock and as soon as it was 
sprung up it withered away because it had no mois- 
ture." The fourth part should be thanksgiving. Be 
our needs ever so great, be our prayer answered or 
not, we must never fail to return thanks to God, who 
knows our wants much better than we do ourselves. 



45 6 ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

"The Lord hath given," says holy Job, "and the 
Lord hath taken away; blest be the name of the 
Lord." "We must," says St. Paul, "give thanks 
alway for all things." The fifth and last part of 
prayer is petition. Our appeal to God must include 
a request for light to know our real needs, temporal 
and spiritual. " Thou sayest," says St. John, " that 
thou art rich and are made wealthy and have need 
of nothing, and thou knowest not that thou art 
wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and 
naked." Having tried to see our own and our living 
and dead neighbor's wants as God sees them, our 
prayer for help must be made; first, with implicit 
trust in God's power and willingness to relieve them. 
" Whatsoever you ask when you pray," says Christ, 
" believe that you shall receive and they shall come 
unto you." Secondly, with humility, for " God re- 
sisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble." 
Thirdly, with the perseverance of tire widow seeking 
justice, of the friend wishing to purchase bread, of the 
woman of Chanaan, or of St. Paul, who thrice asked 
the Lord for the selfsame favor. Lastly, with fervor, 
for unless the incense be dropped on the fire it will 
not ascend to the Lord. The fiery chariot is the only 
vehicle to heaven. But if, when all is over, the par- 
ticular object of our prayer be still denied us, let us 
finish with the words: " Thy will be done," confident 
of having been heard by Him who seeth in secret 
what things are really for our good, and who in 
secret shall reward us. The fact that He granted the 
devil's request to enter the swine and refused St. 



THE STUDY OF SCRIPTURE. 457 

Paul's appeal that Satan should depart from him, is 
not a proof that Paul's prayer was unheard, for God 
knew that temptations borne and baffled by His 
grace would win for Paul a crown of glory. 

Brethren, the necessity of prayer and its compo- 
nent parts are all exemplified in the Gospel of to-day. 
The man was deaf and dumb, but they, having 
studied Christ's miracles and meditated on His 
power and goodness, came and begged Him ear- 
nestly, confidently, perseveringly, to lay His hand 
upon him. And Jesus promptly answered them by 
healing the man's infirmities, so that they all cried 
out in a chorus of thanksgiving: " He hath done all 
things well; He hath made both the deaf to hear and 
the dumb to speak." 



THE STUDY OF SCRIPTURE. 

" Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? " 
Luke x. 25. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Christ on Olivet. II. Leo's teaching. III. Directory 

to life eternal. 
I. Instruction : i. Roman Christians. 2. Leo's sequence. 

3. Bible as book. 
II. Patience and consolation : i. Resignation. 2. Virtue 

in infirmity. 3. The saints. 
III. Glory : i. Sick member. 2. Christ present. 3. The 

saints again. 

Per.: i. Importance as to i. Life eternal. 2. Temporal. 
3. Patience and consolation. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, a few Sundays ago, if you remember, 
we read in the Gospel how Christ wept over Jerusa- 



45 8 TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

lem, foretold its destruction, and drove from the 
Temple them that sold therein and them that bought. 
In that Gospel, short as it was, we discerned three 
strong arguments against the anti-Christian spirit of 
our times three convincing proofs of Christ's divin- 
ity. Now, taking that Gospel as an example of the 
power of the Scriptures, as a weapon with which to 
defend truth and vanquish error, we drew for con- 
clusion that lesson Leo XIII. is so' anxious should 
be taught and learned, viz., how useful, how necessary, 
how sacred a duty it is for each to have his Bible, 
and to read it occasionally. To-day I wish to still fur- 
ther emphasize this lesson to show you the value of 
the Scriptures not only as an intellectual weapon, but 
especially as a prolific source from which may be 
derived the strength, the guidance, the suggestive 
inspiration necessary to bring a human soul through 
life to God. Were one of you to arise and ask with 
the lawyer: "What must I do to possess eternal 
life?" I would answer in Christ's own words: 
"What is written in the law in the Scriptures? 
How readest thou?" For, says St. Paul to the 
Romans: "What things soever were written, were 
written for our instruction, that through patience 
and the comfort of the Scriptures, we might have 
hope unto life everlasting." 

Rich with meaning are these words of St. Paul. 
The Romans, whom he addressed, were a newly con- 
verted people a mixture of Jews and Gentiles, that 
did not mingle very well for the Jews looked with 
suspicion on the apparent laxity of the Gentiles; 



THE STUDY OF SCRIPTURE. 459 

while the Gentiles, on the other hand, despised the 
Jews for their observance of the obsolete customs of 
the Old Law. Hence St. Paul's epistle to them is 
primarily a plea for Christian unity, wherein he rec- 
ommends the study of the Scriptures as the great uni- 
fier of Christianity. And taking his own epistle as an 
example, especially the fourteenth and fifteenth chap- 
ters, I know no more appropriate reading for the two 
great divisions of Christianity at the present day. 
" But thou," he says to one party, " why judgest thou 
thy brother; or thou," to the other, "why dost thou 
despise thy brother? For we shall all stand before 
the judgment-seat of Christ." From St. Paul and 
from the Scriptures generally we learn a Christlike 
spirit of forbearance, so that the most erring Judas 
receives from us not the Pharisaical : " What is that 
to us; do thou see to it," but rather a hearty greeting 
as friend and brother. And it is characteristic of the 
foresightedness of Leo XIII. that he gives this power 
of the Scriptures for Christian unity its true value. 
In one of his latest encyclicals there is a logical se- 
quence wherein, beginning with the subject nearest 
his heart the working man, the labor question he 
advocates a union of Christendom as the only means 
of solving that problem, and recommends the study 
of the Scriptures as the surest method of bringing 
disunited Christians together. 

" What things soever were written," says St. Paul, 
" were written for our instruction." In this age of 
the writing mania and cheap literature, there are 
books innumerable, not, unfortunately, all written for 



460 TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

our instruction, and none of which, even the best, 
deserve the name, if compared with the Book the 
Scriptures. For the Bible is the Book of books, hav- 
ing God for its Author, and for its matter a subject 
worthy of Him God Himself. It differs from and is 
superior to all others in that it has a double sense, 
the literal and the spiritual. As a history it is the 
most universal of all beginning by the very cradle 
of humanity, following its past vicissitudes and 
illumining its future path through all time with the 
search-light of prophetic vision. It is at once a re- 
pository of history, art, science, and literature. The 
history, not of the rise and fall of this city or that 
this nation or that, but of the building up and tear- 
ing down of the universe. Its preaching seeks to 
excite emotions more than human divine. Philos- 
ophic speculation reaches to the highest stars, but 
the Scriptures lead us higher still, to the very throne 
of God. There we find, too, the sciences medicine, 
dealing not merely with the ills of the body but with 
the wounds of the soul; and law, interpreting for us 
God's last will and testament, and settling our heir- 
ship to the kingdom of heaven. Nothing human is 
perfect. No merely human agent, be he ever so 
great or holy, but can strike his breast and say: " I 
have sinned forgive me my trespasses/' and even 
Homer sometimes nods; but the Bible recounts the 
achievements of God whose works are perfect, and 
so perfect is the style of the original that to assert 
there is even one useless word in its pages, is called 
by St. Basil downright blasphemy. 



THE STUDY OF SCRIPTURE. 461 

" What things soever were written, were written 
for our instruction, that through patience and the 
consolation of the Scriptures, we might have hope 
unto life everlasting." Patience and consolation; 
patience and consolation patience in bearing with 
others, and the consolation of having others bear pa- 
tiently with us, so that reading the Scriptures with 
faith, we learn mutual charity and so hope unto life 
everlasting. But, " patience and consolation " have 
here a still deeper meaning. They give us the double 
secret of Christian resignation taught in the Bible 
from Genesis to the Apocalypse and embodied first 
in St. Paul's words: " All that wish to live piously in 
Christ must suffer persecution," and secondly in the 
words of the Psalmist: "I am with him in tribula- 
tion, I will deliver him and I will glorify him." No 
cross, no crown; through a gloomy Good Friday 
must we go to a glorious Easter Day, for every true 
disciple must take up his cross and follow the Master. 
Nay, the more holy one is, the more tribulation he 
experiences, for Christ says: " The branch that bears 
fruit I will prune, that it may bear fruit the more." 
Through many tribulations men enter into the king- 
dom of heaven. And why? First, because man wills 
it, and secondly, because God ordains it. The good 
and the bad in this world are like fire and water. 
You plunge a live coal into water the temperature 
of the water is raised and the coal is extinguished. 
So, too, the brighter virtue shines in this world, the 
hotter grows the angry persecution of the wicked to 
dim its lustre. No where, not even in the little band 



462 TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

of Apostles, will you find the good without the 
wicked, and everywhere they conflict, because, says 
Christ, " The world loves its own, but since you are 
not of this world, therefore does the world hate you." 
This, besides being natural, is a divine dispensation. 
For, above all things, God desires His disciples to 
preserve the spiritual goods with which He endows 
them, and who is ignorant that virtue is often lost in 
prosperity and perfected in infirmity? A straight 
column is stronger the heavier load it bears, but the 
crooked gives way under the strain. Saul the shep- 
herd, was an innocent lad; but Saul the king, was a 
villain. King David when deposed and a miserable 
fugitive, could pardon his would-be assassin, but, 
restored to his throne, he murdered his most de- 
voted servant. So it ever is; the lot of the virtuous 
is affliction. The Patriarchs were virtuous, and their 
wandering lives were a series of miseries, threatened 
or experienced; the prophets were virtuous, and see 
the tortures they endured and the deaths they died; 
the Apostles were Christ's own, and St. Paul tells us 
they were treated as the refuse of this world and the 
off-scouring of mankind; and as for Christ the God 
of virtue the crucifix is the history of His life. 

" But the Scriptures," says St. Peter, " foretell not 
only the sufferings that are in Christ but the glories 
that should follow." " I am with him," says the Holy 
Spirit, " in tribulation, I will deliver him and glorify 
him." Where virtue is there is affliction; and where 
affliction is patiently borne, there are God's sweetest 
consolations. " Blessed are they that mourn," says 



THE STUDY OF SCRIPTURE. 463 

Our Lord, " for they shall be comforted." If a par- 
ticular portion of the human body is wounded, the 
blood quickly rushes thither, and the whole man is 
soon so concerned about that particular member as to 
seem to have forgotten about the others. So, too, you 
recollect how, long ago, when your brother or sister 
was taken ill, your father and mother and the entire 
household danced attendance on him or her until, pos- 
sibly, your little breast was filled with envy and you; 
said to yourself, " What a blessed thing it is to be 
sick! " Now, each of us is a member of Christ's mysti- 
cal body, and He loves each so intensely that, without 
Him, not even a hair of our head can fall to the 
ground. Hence, I say, He is with us in tribulation, 
and the greater the tribulation the more evident His 
presence. The world dearly loves the rich and the 
happy, while the poor and wretched vainly cry to it 
for justice, but God is the Father of the orphan and 
the Judge of the widow, and the only source of true 
consolation. Brethren, were there no other lesson 
than this in all the Bible, it would still preserve its full 
claim to our attention as a masterpiece of wisdom. 
For happiness here or hereafter is essentially every 
man's pursuit, and here in this lesson we have the 
secret of true happiness. St. Andrew rejoicing at the 
sight of his cross; St. Stephen praying for his mur- 
derers; St. Lawrence smiling at his tormentors from 
amid the flames; St. Theodore complaining only 
when his torturers desisted; all these and thousands 
of such like cases are inexplicable to one who has not 
studied the Scriptures and mastered their prevailing 



464 TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

idea. Their prevailing idea, I repeat, for patience 
and consolation are the underlying thoughts that run 
through them all from cover to cover. Daniel in the 
den of lions; Jonas in his novel prison-house; Su- 
sanna between infamy and death; the three youths 
in the fiery furnace; and Job, destitute, friendless, and 
afflicted these are but a few of the cases wherein we 
find God's promise fulfilled: " I am with him in his 
affliction; I will deliver him and I will glorify him." 

Brethren, if what things soever are written in the 
Sacred Scriptures are written for our instruction, 
there must be a corresponding obligation on our part 
to read and study them. From these sacred pages 
we learn what we must do to possess life eternal. 
From them we learn, too, how to make our temporal 
life endurable. Be our specialty history, science, 
art, or literature, we will find in the Bible ample mat- 
ter for 'our study and entertainment. In it, also, we 
will find the key to the solution of the principal prob- 
lems that confront the Christian world to-day. And 
travelling, as we are, through this world, falling often 
among its thieves and suffering at their hands, we 
will learn from the Scriptures the comforting pres- 
ence of Him who enables us to bear wrongs patiently; 
or if the more fortunate, we learn how to be the 
Good Samaritan to some less fortunate brother. 
Thus profiting by the things written for our instruc- 
tion, through patience and the comfort of the Scrip- 
tures, we will have reason, indeed, to have "hope 
unto life everlasting." 



THE ASSUMPTION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD. 465 



JFeatft of fyt 

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD. 
" Jesus entered into a certain town, and a certain woman, 
named Martha, received Him into her house" Luke x. 38. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Mary's lowliness. II. Assumed, soul and body. III. 

Mary and Martha. 
I. House built on faith: I. One rock. 2. Indivisible. 

3. Firm. 

II. Walled with hope : i. Sustaining. 2. True. 3. Practical. 
III. Roofed with charity: i. Mary's love. 2. Waiting. 

3. Proofs of glorious assumption. 
Per. : Exhortation to Faith, Hope, and Charity. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the feast of the Assumption, cele- 
brated last week, gives us for a subject this morning 
one of whom I love to speak, and one whose praises 
you love to hear Mary, our Virgin Mother. As we 
struggle on through the spiritual life on through 
temptation and sin we naturally look for guidance 
and encouragement to those that have gone before. 
We look at Christ, and our souls recoil from the task 
of imitating Him; we look at the saints, and weak 
human nature rebels against the austerities they en- 
dured and often, God knows how often! we are 
tempted to give up the struggle in sheer despair. 
But then we turn to Mary, and there we find consola- 
tion and support. For she that little village maiden 
she was neither God nor angel but a poor mortal 
like ourselves, the lowliest of the low who trod our 
earth and hungered and thirsted as we do. Through 



466 THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION. 

the chilly winter and the sweltering summer, bearing 
her share of human ills, she lightly tasted our joys 
and drank deep of our woes. She is now high above 
the earth and skies nearest to the throne and dear- 
est to the heart of God. And not her soul alone, 
but her body too, has attained this exalted dignity, 
so that we hear her described by St. John as the 
" Woman [body and soul] clothed with the sun and 
the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of 
stars." And who, I ask, hath so exalted her? Her 
divine Son. And why? The Gospel of the feast tells 
us why, where it says: " One day Jesus entered into 
a certain town, and Mary and Martha received Him 
into their house." For Mary the contemplative and 
Martha the solicitous are together but a figure of 
this Virgin Mary, who received her Lord into the 
house of her virginal womb, when He came to His 
own and His own received Him not. Hence, since 
she made Him King of her house and her all here on 
earth, He, with equal hospitality, makes her Queen 
of His celestial mansions in heaven. 

But what, you ask, was that house into which the 
Virgin Mary received her Lord here below? " The 
house of God," says St. Augustine, " is founded on 
faith, is built of hope, and roofed in with charity." 
The spiritual mansion into which the Virgin received 
her Lord, had for its foundation, faith; for its walls, 
hope; and for its roof, charity. That is why the 
Church, in the prayer of the feast of the Assumption, 
prays the almighty and eternal God to give us an 
increase of faith, hope, and charity, that by receiving 



THE ASSUMPTION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD. 46? 

Him into a spiritual abode here on earth, we may be 
received by Him into the mansions of bliss, hereafter 
in heaven. 

Faith, therefore, was the foundation of the 
spiritual* mansion in which Mary received her Lord, 
and we, too, if we wish Him to visit and abide with 
us, must build Him an abode founded on faith. 
" Without faith," says St. Paul, " it is impossible to 
please God, for he that cometh to God must believe 
that He is, and is a rewarder to them that seek Him." 
This foundation must be laid, not on the earth or the 
shifting sand, but on the firm rock, and that rock is 
Christ Jesus. " No one," says St. Paul, " must lay 
any other foundation but that which has been laid, 
which is Christ Jesus." Heretics and Jews and even 
Pagans believe in the doctrine of good works, and 
some even have a smattering of faith, but still they 
do not please God, because their faith is not the faith 
of Christ. Our Lord does not dwell with them, be- 
cause the abodes they offer Him are unstable struc- 
tures with false foundations. But if perchance they 
believe in Christ still do they err in rejecting from 
their faith Christ's earthly Vicar. For although it is 
forbidden to lay any foundation but that already laid, 
Christ Jesus, yet Christ is, as it were, the solid bed of 
rock and Peter is the first stone laid thereon by Christ 
Himself when He said: "Thou art Peter and upon 
this rock I will build My Church." For we receive 
revealed truths relying on the infallibility of Christ; 
and when question arises which truth is revealed and 
which is not, we look for answer to Peter or his sue- 



468 THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION. 

cessor, to whom Christ gave authority to decide 
when He said: " I have prayed for you that your 
faith fail not, and you being confirmed in the faith, 
confirm the brethren." Nor must we reject a single 
truth from the faith of Christ the foundation must 
be as broad as truth itself, else the superstructure 
erected thereon will be too small for the indwelling 
of the Lord. Our faith must be as lively as was 
Mary's, which merited from St. Elizabeth that high 
encomium: " Blessed art thou that hast believed, be- 
cause these things shall be accomplished in thee that 
were spoken to thee by the Lord," because, being 
but a simple village maiden she readily answered to 
the angel's salutation of Mother of God: "Be it 
done unto me according to thy word." Our faith 
must be as self-sacrificing as was hers when, like an- 
other Abraham, she stood by and saw her only Son 
immolated to the will of His Father. Finally, our 
faith must be as firm as hers when she refused to ac- 
company the other women to her Son's tomb, know- 
ing well that the Lord was not there, but was already 
risen. 

Faith, therefore, is the foundation. And as the 
walls rise from the foundation, so from faith rises 
hope, ever higher and higher, ever nearer and nearer, 
to God. Here I speak of a hope as strong and firm 
as was Mary's a hope of which Isaias says: "They 
who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, 
they shall take wings as eagles, they shall run and 
not be weary, they shall walk and not faint " a hope 
that sustains us as it sustained Mary through all the 



THE ASSUMPTION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD. 469 

trials and hardships of this life, with the blessed 
prospect of enjoying God forever hereafter in heaven. 
Nor must we mistake false hope for the true we 
must not be content with the hope of the fickle or the 
unjust. Of the former we read in the book of Wisdom 
that it is as " the smoke that is scattered by the wind, 
or as the recollection of a passing guest/' In other 
words, there is nothing firm or lasting in the hope 
of the unjust as the smoke goes through the chim- 
ney and then disappears, so the hope of the sinner 
goes with him through life, and no further, while the 
hope of the just rises to the very throne of God. 
Finally, our hope must be practical like Mary's, for 
God has commanded us not only to hope in the Lord 
but also'has said: " Hope in the Lord and do good." 

Over the foundation and the walls of our spiritual 
mansion we lay the roof of charity charity, whose 
proper function it ever is to shield and to cover - 
charity, which holds the highest place among the 
virtues; and charity was possessed by Mary in an 
eminent degree. For if the highest charity knows 
not fear, look at Mary among the soldiers at the foot 
of the cross and learn how much she loved. If to lay 
down one's life for one's friend is the supreme test of 
love, judge the extent of Mary's love who gave up 
her only Son, dearer to her than life, and that, too, 
for His enemies and her own. 

Such was the temple of faith, hope, and charity 
that Mary erected to her Lord, and therefore did 
He choose her for a habitation for Himself and 
since Christ has promised that whosoever ministers 



47 THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION. 

to Him on earth shall be honored by His Father 
in heaven, therefore was the Virgin, at the close 
of her life, taken up to Christ's heavenly house 
and made the queen thereof. We can imagine 
how she spent her time after the Resurrection 
of Our Lord, visiting again each spot hallowed by 
His presence; visiting the homes of His youth and 
manhood, and going over the sad scenes of His Pas- 
sion and death and burial, while all the time she 
sighed in spirit to be dissolved and go to God. As 
the stag thirsts after the fountains of water, so did 
her soul long for God. At length the happy day 
came when she heard the summons: " The winter 
is passed, and the snow is melted and gone; arise, 
My beloved, and come." Because she was a poor 
child of Eve like ourselves, and so subject to the 
death from which not even her Son was exempt, 
therefore at the call of God she sank into the painless 
sleep of death. But not for long, for though it is a 
general law of humanity that each soul, on coming, 
find a body here and, departing, leave that body be- 
hind, still neither the King of men nor the Queen His 
Mother, are bound by the laws framed for their sub- 
jects. Hence, just as Christ arose body and soul, 
after three days, from the dead, so Mary, after a 
brief space, arose body and soul and was assumed into 
the home of her Father. For how can I believe that 
that body of Mary which bore and nourished the 
Saviour Himself that body, of which Christ's body 
was bone of its bone and flesh of its flesh that body 
which is so intimately connected with Christ my 



THE ASSUMPTION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD. 47 1 

Lord that His flesh and blood in the Holy Sacrament 
of the altar can almost be said to be the flesh and 
blood of Mary herself how, I say, can I believe that 
that body was one of those of whom God said: " Dust 
thou art and into dust thou shalt return " ? Or if it 
did return to dust; if it awaits, like other mortals, 
the general resurrection, is it not reasonable to sup- 
pose that God would have done as much for it as He 
has for so many others of the saints, and miraculously 
preserved it from corruption and decay? The Catho- 
lic mind, instinctively almost, rejects the thought 
that the body of Mary the temple of the Lord 
should ever be the food of worms, but believes, 
rather, that it was preserved as free from corruption 
as was the soul that animated it. Now if it was so 
preserved, where, I ask, does it now rest? The whole 
world knows where lie the bodies of the Apostles and 
the principal saints, but who will tell us where lies the 
body of Mary? Surely it is unreasonable to suppose 
that almighty God, while providing, in a wonderful 
manner, for the preservation and veneration of the 
bodies of His saints, should allow the body of that 
saint of saints His own Mother either to return to 
the dust from which it sprung or to lie in an unknown 
and an unhonored grave. No. I prefer, rather, to 
believe what our Catholic faith suggests, and what 
reason and the traditions of our Church confirm, 
that soon after Our Lord entered into the home of 
His eternal rest, turning to His Mother He said with 
the Psalmist: "Enter thou, also, into thy rest, thou 
and the ark of thy sanctification." As Solomon, 



47 2 THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION. 

who was a figure of Christ, introduced the ark of the 
Covenant into the temple of God amid the rejoicings 
and thanksgivings of the entire people, so did Christ 
introduce into heaven, Mary, body and soul; Mary, 
the ark of the New Covenant, amid the joyful ac- 
claims of the whole heavenly court. Who can 
imagine the splendor of that scene the myriads of 
the angels and the blessed whom eye hath not seen; 
the sweet strains of their celestial chant which ear 
hath not heard; and the glory of her divine Son which 
it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive! 
And who shall describe the emotions of Mary as, 
standing by her Son, glorified and immortal, she 
compares the misery of the past with the joy of the 
present; her former lowliness with her present ex- 
alted dignity! The wound made by the sword of 
sorrow that pierced her heart is now healed by the 
blessed balm of heavenly peace and the obscurity 
that has hitherto enshrouded her is now dispelled by 
the voice of God proclaiming through heaven: 
" Come forth, ye daughters of Sion, come forth and 
see your Queen with the diadem wherewith her Son 
hath crowned her." 

Brethren, if we wish one day to imitate the Virgin 
Mary in her glorious Assumption; if we desire to 
enter the kingdom of God, into the rest and the joy of 
Our Lord, to do homage to our crowned Queen, we 
must first learn to imitate the example of her life. Our 
faith must be strong and not carried hither and 
thither by every new doctrine; our hope must be firm, 
having for its object not the uncertainty of worldly 
things but the living God; and our charity must be 



THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE. 473 

of that true kind described by St. Paul when he says: 
" Let us love one another not in tongue or in word, 
but in deed and in truth." We must build, as Mary 
did, a spiritual abiding-place for the Lord in our 
souls, and as we go on building it we should always 
remember that, of ourselves, we can never complete 
it because, unless the Lord build the house they 
labor in vain who build it. Hence we should fre- 
quently pray Our Lord to assist us with His grace 
and Mary to help us with her prayers in following 
their example and virtues. Thus we will erect a 
temple to the Lord as near as possible after the pat- 
tern of Mary's, and like her, we will experience the 
twofold joy of having Our Lord abide in our souls 
continually here on earth, and being permitted to 
abide with Him forever, hereafter, in heaven. Amen. 



THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE. 

" Jesus answering said: Were not ten made clean? And 
where are the nine? " Luke xvii. 17. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Jesus in Samaria. II. Lepers. III. Cure. 

I. Ingratitude: i. Penances of saints. 2. Obedience, grat- 
itude, prejudice. 3. Simon. 

II. Perseverance : i. Gift of God. 2. Definition. 3. Solo- 
mon, Hazael, Moses. 

III. Occasions of sin : i. Trochilus, and Greeks. 2. Pre- 
sumption. 3. Judith and Dina. 
Per. : Kingdom of God is within us. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, my text recalls an incident of Our 
Lord's life, appropriate to this occasion, when per- 



474 THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

haps we need more than ordinarily to be reminded 
that conversion without perseverance is of little 
worth. He is passing through Samaria, bound for 
Jerusalem, accompanied by His disciples and the 
ever-present Pharisees. Hard by a town, He stands 
a little apart, looking down with mingled joy and 
sadness on a man who, prone before Him, sobs out 
his thankfulness and embraces His feet with love and 
adoration. He is one of the ten poor lepers who an 
hour ago cried to the passing Saviour: "Jesus, 
Master, have pity on us." Afflicted with that loath- 
some disease, driven by law beyond town limits, 
forbidden to see, except at a distance, even their 
nearest and dearest, crouching in the sand-pits by 
night, and by day wandering dolefully among the 
tombs ah! what pent-up misery of many weary 
years found vent in that cry: "Jesus, Master, have 
pity on us." And Jesus turning said to them: "Go, 
show yourselves to the priest and offer sacrifice ac- 
cording to the law." And as they went, lo! ere they 
reached the city gates their hideous deformity dis- 
appeared and their flesh became as the flesh of a 
little child. But were not ten made clean nine 
Jews and one Samaritan? Where then are the nine? 
Alas! there is no one found to return and give glory 
to God but one, the stranger, the Samaritan. 

Brethren, no cup of human joy is without its drain 
of sorrow. A shadow is on the Saviour's counte- 
nance and the Samaritan is presently shamefaced 
and apologetic. Earth's heroes climb the mount of 
glory, only to find other peaks towering above 



THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE. 475 

them. In fact to realize ideals is to reduce them to 
the common. Even the saints of God amid their 
greatest spiritual triumphs often give way to sadness 
and self-reproach. They see things through God's 
eyes. They look over and beyond the little they 
have done, to the much more that might have been 
accomplished, or they gaze regretfully, as Jesus did, 
from their single selves at the Saviour's feet to the 
thankless nine so far from Him. This is the key to 
the incomprehensible humility and penances of the 
saints; it is the secret of Christ's habitual sadness. 
For the saints are not phenomena; rather theirs 
should be the normal standard for humanity. The 
adoring Samaritan is doing no more than was obvi- 
ously his duty; the ungrateful nine on the other 
hand typify the great mass of men and women, each 
of whose lives is but a record of neglected opportuni- 
ties. Ah! no wonder the Saviour is sad, and the 
lonely Samaritan ashamed. Were not God an all- 
sufficient substitute, the happiness of heaven even 
would not withstand that regretful query: " Where 
are the nine? " Where are the nine? He who was 
not repelled by their previous hideousness now gazes 
with pity and disappointment on their retreating 
forms. Indifference and ingratitude are more of- 
fensive, more hopeless than even downright sin. 
While lepers still, how piteously they cried to Him, 
how eagerly they longed, but dared not, to approach 
Him, and now, now that their cure is wrought, they 
turn their backs on Him. But did not He Himself 
command them to go before the priest and offer sacri- 



476 THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

fice? Was it not then more praiseworthy to follow 
His instructions to the letter rather than turn on be- 
ing cured and rush back praising" God? Read the 
answer in Christ's disappointed face. To turn to 
Him in adversity and forget Him in prosperity is not 
true love of God, nor is religion, pure and undefiled, 
content with merely keeping God's commands. The 
letter killeth but the spirit quickeneth. The Jewish 
idea of worship was formal externalism, empty cere- 
monial, with no regard for the emotions and the 
spontaneous outpourings of the heart. But the 
Lord looketh not on the outward appearance the 
Lord looketh on the heart. Hence His disappoint- 
ment in the nine. Not even the sudden change 
from the horrors of their outcast life to the unspeak- 
able joy of having been cleansed could break the 
force of habit and bring them to His feet crying like 
children Abba, Father. They followed His directions 
to the letter and then selfishly hurried away to their 
kindred, for whose presence they had so long been 
hungering. Perhaps, too, their traditional contempt 
for everything Samaritan, though forgotten in afflic- 
tion, broke out anew when health was returned, so 
that they were as eager to part with their companion 
as they were loath to follow his example. But he 
was hampered by no such prejudices and -traditions. 
Immediately his disease dropped from, him his one 
all-absorbing thought was thankfulness, and turning 
instantly he hurried back, crying glory to God, and 
flung "himself adoringly at Jesus's feet. Brethren, 
looked at in a spiritual sense, which, think you, most 



THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE. 477 

pleased the Saviour, which gave brighter promise of 
perseverance the disobedient Samaritan or the 
obedient, but thankless, nine? There is another inci- 
dent in Christ's life that answers that. Simon, the 
rich Pharisee, regardless of public opinion, one day 
invited the Nazarene to his house and table. His 
action was courageous, and Jesus by accepting 
tacitly commended him. But somehow the occa- 
sion was cold and formal. With all their courtesy 
and efforts to please, something was lacking what? 
Lore. And presently there rushes in from the street 
a woman a converted harlot who with passionate 
fervor casts herself at Jesus's feet. Immediately 
Simon orders the servants to eject her, but Jesus an- 
swers: "Nay, Simon, for I say to thee she hath 
honored Me more than thou. Thou gavest Me no 
water for My feet, nor oil for My head, nor the kiss of 
welcome, but she hath anointed My feet with pre- 
cious ointment, and bathed them with her tears, and 
dried them with her hair, and kissed them again and 
again in the greatness of -her love." Love, then, is the 
one thing necessary, of itself all-sufficient in God's 
eyes, and without which all else is nothing. Your 
mission, your conversion, has been made in vain, and 
will not endure if it has failed to fill your heart with 
love. But how are you to know? Well, now that 
your sinful leprosy is cured, are you serving God in 
outward form only or with your heart of hearts? 
Your human respect, your former hates and preju- 
dices do they remain? Is your aim merely to do 
the Father's bidding, or to gladden His heart by do- 



47 8 THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

ing something for Him without being told? When 
Jesus comes to you is your greeting as perfunctory 
as Simon's, or as loving as Magdalen's or the Samari- 
tan's? On your answer, yes, or no, depends your 
perseverance. 

Brethren, Christ speaking of Himself says: " I am 
the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the 
end/' It is Catholic doctrine that as man cannot 
merit the grace of conversion, neither can he merit 
the grace of perseverance. Both are purely gifts of 
God. Hence St. Paul to the Philippians prays 
that God " who had begun a good work in them 
might perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus." So 
frail is human nature that though one may do a 
thing ever so well the chances are that he will not do 
it with equal perfection a number of times over. 
Hence all of us, even the most saintly, are sure to 
commit more or less venial faults. Exemption from 
that has been granted to ne alone the Virgin 
Mary. But it is not venial but mortal sins that turn 
us from God. Yet here, too, arises the selfsame dif- 
ficulty. For though one may have sufficient grace to 
avoid all grievous faults, taken one by one, yet we 
may surely prophesy that the time will come when he 
will sin, and mortally sin, unless God fortify him with 
the grace of perseverance. Perseverance, therefore, 
is a special providence whereby God removes fatal 
temptations from our path, strengthens us in times of 
greatest peril, and brings our life to a close when 
naught else will suffice to save us. How utterly, 
therefore, do all from first to last depend on God! 



THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE. 479 

How true it is that each should work out with fear 
and trembling his salvation! Solomon in all his 
glory once asked a Grecian sage: " Am I not the 
happiest of men? " but the other, shaking his head, 
replied: "Wait till I have seen the end." And oh, 
what a sad end was that! Solomon, type of Christ, 
model of faith and hope and love and wisdom, God's 
favorite among kings and men, so rich in merit that 
one would have expected him to pass bodily like 
Enoch or Elias from earth to heaven, yet Solomon 
fell and ended his days in lust and multiple idolatry. 
As frail as the flowers the Saviour compared him to, 
he was cut down suddenly and cast into the oven. 
What a contrast between that hoary-headed apostate 
and the radiant form of the young king in the Tem- 
ple on the day of dedication! What a lesson for all 
of us, priest and people alike! When Hazael offered 
Eliseus presents the prophet wept, foreseeing the 
atrocities Hazael was soon to perpetrate. Many a 
confessor would weep, notwithstanding his penitent's 
evident sincerity, were he vouchsafed a look into that 
penitent's future. As Moses placed his hand in his 
bosom and drew it out covered with leprosy, so many 
a hand that beats its breast for sorrow comes away 
covered with sin. Watch ye, therefore, and pray 
pray for strength against temptation, and for the 
grace of perseverance. 

Brethren, I would not have you understand that 
our perseverance so depends on God as to free us 
from all responsibility. No, we have a part, a duty 
which, briefly stated, is: to avoid the occasions of 



480 THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

sin. Plato's disciple, Trochilus, having barely es- 
caped with his life from a shipwreck, ordered that all 
windows of his house looking seaward should be 
walled up, lest some day seeing it calm and beauti- 
ful he should again be tempted to go a-sailing. A 
valuable lesson this. How often spiritual shipwreck 
has overtaken us, and though we barely escaped by 
clinging to life-saving penance, yet next day, next 
week, we patched up our shattered bark and launched 
it forth again! Trochilus's philosophy may seem 
rigorous, but it has this merit that it coincides with 
the teaching of Christ. " When a strong man, 
armed, keepeth his court," says Christ, " those things 
which he possesseth are in peace." To feel secure 
against the devil, you must not only guard the inner 
apartments of your soul but also its outer court, and 
the moat and trench beyond, else the enemy will use 
your own defences for your undoing. The nearer he 
approaches, the harder it is to repel him. Aristotle 
beautifully illustrates this by citing the conduct of the 
Trojan senators. The Greeks were besieging Troy 
to get possession of Helen, and the senators in her 
absence wisely decided to give her up; but when she 
came before them they were so dazzled with her 
loveliness that they determined to defy the Greeks 
and fight them to the death. So, too, his powers of 
resistance desert the gambler in the gaming den, the 
drunkard in the saloon, and the lustful in the pres- 
ence of a dissolute woman. Ah, how wickedly wise 
the devil is! When he tempted Christ he was not 
content with describing to Him, or showing Him on 



THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE, 481 

a map all the kingdoms of the world that he promised 
Him; no, he took Him up into a high mountain and 
showed them to Him, hoping that an actual view of 
them and the glory thereof would cause the Saviour 
to fall down and adore him. How rash, then, and pre- 
sumptuous it is for you who have but lately fled 
from sin to tread again the dark and crooked alley- 
ways of vice, where every doorway hides a lurking 
demon, and every lighted window allures like the 
eyes of a lascivious woman. On what grounds do 
you justify such great self-confidence? Is it your in- 
vincible strength of will? Why, even St. Jerome 
confessed to Vigilantius that his reason for abandon- 
ing the haunts of men and seeking refuge in the wil- 
derness was that he dared not trust himself amid the 
pitfalls of society. Have you achieved a mastery of 
yourself beyond St. Jerome? " They," says Ezechiel, 
" they who shall flee shall escape, and they shall be 
in the mountains like doves of the valley, all of them 
trembling." Physical valor and spiritual courage 
differ in this, that the former consists in pressing for- 
ward to the combat, but the latter, in fleeing from 
the enemy. And as when the gunshot echoes among 
the hills the flock of pigeons in the valley flutter to 
the mountain top and perch there, watchful and all 
trembling, so should converted souls act, who by 
God's grace are driven from the valley of death to the 
mount of holiness. The higher our station on the 
steep incline of sanctity, the more need there is for 
caution. It is unhappily true that in an instant one 
can pass from virtue down to vice, but alas! the op- 



482 THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

posite cannot be admitted, viz., that we can pass from 
vice to virtue instantly. " Facilis descensus Averni," 
sang the Pagan poet. No effort is required to tum- 
ble down the mount, but long and arduous is the 
return climb. Or is your reckless confidence based 
on God's power to save? Brethren, remember this, 
that God never uses extraordinary means to save a 
man who has at his disposal and neglects means or- 
dinary but sufficient. This is the true meaning of 
the proverb that God helps those who help them- 
selves. It is only in cases of absolute necessity that 
God accords us supernatural aid. Thus the Magi 
were led to Bethlehem by the star, but though on 
their return they were obliged to follow previously 
untrodden ways, yet the star most probably failed to 
reappear. So, too, though Christ raised Lazarus 
from the dead, still the bystanders were bidden to re- 
move the stone from off the tomb and loose the 
bands from his hands and feet; and though the angel 
knocked the fetters from Peter's limbs, yet to Peter 
himself was left the donning of his clothes. True, 
God preserved the three young men in the fiery 
furnace, and the infant Moses adrift upon the Nile, 
and Daniel in the lions' den, but, mark you, in these 
and similar cases, the dangers did not result from 
personal caprice. He hath given His angels charge 
over us to keep us in all His ways the ways of God 
and righteousness. If, however, we rashly brave the 
clefted rocks and yawning chasms of temptation we 
must not expect the hands of the Lord or His 
angels to bear us up. There is a remarkable differ- 



THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE. 483 

ence between the fate of Judith and that of Jacob's 
daughter, Dina. Judith for a noble end braved the 
dangers of the Assyrian camp and the horrid orgies 
of Holofernes's court, studying the while to make 
herself incomparably lovely for the accomplishment 
of her design, yet God so kept her going forth and 
abiding there that she returned to Bethulia victori- 
ous and unstained. But Dina, when her father 
pitched his tent in a new land, Dina would fain 
steal forth to see the women of that country how 
they looked, what finery they wore, and presently 
that innocent dove falls into the clutches of a rapa- 
cious hawk and returns to her father robbed of her 
virginity irreparably dishonored. God will pro- 
tect us amid dangers that seek us, but when we seek 
the dangers God leaves us to ourselves. Consider 
David, that man fashioned after God's own heart. 
He permits himself to gaze from his window on the 
beauty of Bethsabee, and immediately, abandoned by 
God, he plunges into adultery and homicide. If one 
clasp a reptile to his breast he must not, if bitten, 
expect sympathy from God or man, for: "Who," 
says Scripture, " who will pity an enchanter struck 
by a serpent?" It is a remarkable fact that when- 
ever God forbids a thing He also forbids its near 
occasions. Thus our first parents were forbidden 
not only to eat the fruit, but even to touch it. The 
Israelites were forbidden not only to adore idols, but 
even to possess them, the Nazarites were forbidden 
not only to drink wine but to eat the grape. Christ, 
too, when reaffirming the commandments, forbade 



484 THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

not only the sinful deed but the longing glance, the 
interior passion, the foul thought, the covetous de- 
sire. Thus we are taught by God Himself that the 
secret of perseverance is to avoid the occasions of 
sin that safety is found not in following* the nine, 
but in joining the Samaritan at the feet of Christ. 

Brethren, the Samaritan arises, the group breaks 
up, and the Pharisees approaching ask: "Master, 
when is the kingdom of God to come? " Christ an- 
swers: "The kingdom of God is within you." The 
nine, though outwardly restored are inwardly less 
godly than when they turned their hideous faces and 
raised their shrivelled hands appealingly to Christ, 
but the Samaritan has been transfigured through 
and through. Their transfiguration is in their flesh, 
which to-day is and to-morrow returns to dust, but 
his is a change of soul which will last forever and 
ever. It is our misfortune to be content with the ap- 
pearances of sanctity, a fair exterior, but the critical 
eye of God goes deeper, it searches the reins and the 
heart. Brethren, whenever you say to God: "Thy 
kingdom come," remember that the kingdom of God 
is within you. A true, a lasting change of life must 
begin from within, and, working outward like the 
leaven, penetrate the entire mass of life's activities. 
This was Christ's meaning when He said to the 
cripple: " Son, thy sins are forgiven thee," and then 
proceeded to cure his bodily infirmities. If, then, you 
once succeed in establishing permanently within 
you God's kingdom; if in all things you seek first the 
kingdom of God and His justice, be assured all other 



THE VALUE OF THE SOUL. 485 

things will be added unto you. You will no longer 
stray away from your Saviour, selfish, ungrateful, 
unforgiving. No longer will you, covered with 
moral leprosy, need to cry from afar: " Unclean, un- 
clean," or, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on me," 
but turning from sin and its occasions, to Christ, you 
will hold Him fast here for a while, and hereafter in 
heaven forever and ever. 



jFourtenttl) 

THE VALUE OF THE SOUL. 

" Seek ye, therefore, first the kingdom of God and His 

justice and all these things shall be added unto you" 
Matt. vi. 33. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Body and soul. II. Self-preservation. III. Sinners 

and saints. 
I. Soul exists: I. Image of God. 2. Life principle. 

3. Truth and justice. 
II. Soul's value: i. Compared to world. 2. Christ's reply. 

3. Riches, honors, pleasures. 
III. In itself: i. Richly endowed. 2. Devil's estimate. 

3. God's estimate. 

Per.: i. Saints. 2. Single, married, old. 3. Worldling, drunk- 
ard, impure. 

SERMON. 

SEEK ye, therefore, first the eternal salvation of 
thine immortal soul, and a merciful God will pro- 
vide all other things necessary for the temporal sup- 
port of thy perishable body. In these words, my 
Brethren, is contained a brief resume of the entire 
lesson of to-day's Gospel. Therein we are first 
tacitly reminded that every human being born into 



486 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

this world is composed of a twofold element of a 
body and of a soul of a body that comes from the 
earth through our parents to us and of a soul that 
comes, not from the earth, but comes directly from 
the hand of God of a body that shall one day go 
down again to the dust from which it sprang and 
of a soul that shall one day return to the bosom of 
its Creator. Each of these elements has its own 
wants and its own necessities, which, in obedience to 
Nature's first law of self-preservation, the composite 
man is bound to respect and provide for. The body 
demands its bodily food and drink and clothing, and 
the soul demands the spiritual food of Christ's flesh, 
and the spiritual drink of Christ's blood, and the 
spiritual clothing of God's divine grace. But ac- 
cording as men are more worldly or more spiritual, 
so are they more solicitous in providing for the wants 
of the body or of the soul, so that mankind is, and 
always has been, and ever will be, divided into two 
great classes worldlings and saints the votaries 
of the body and the votaries of the soul the slaves 
of Mammon and the servants of God. Now, since, 
according to St. Paul, the law of the flesh is directly 
opposed to the law of the spirit; since "whosoever 
is not with Christ is against Him," therefore, I say, 
the worldling cannot be a saint and the saint cannot 
be a worldling, for no man can serve two masters; no 
man can at the same time serve God and Mammon. 
But alas, what a choice does man make! He pre- 
fers to serve the body that he seeth, rather than the 
soul that he seeth not. He forgets that his body is 



THE VALUE OF THE SOUL. 487 

a perishable thing like the grass of the field or the 
birds of the air, entirely subject, like them, to God's 
beneficent providence. He fails to realize that the 
service of his soul is, in importance, as far above the 
service of his body as is spirit above matter, as is 
heaven above earth. Hence Christ in to-day's Gos- 
pel cries out to mankind: r; Two things, and two 
only, there are in this world of priceless value God 
and thine own soul. Seek, therefore, first the king- 
dom of God and His justice, and all other things 
shall be added unto you." 

Brethren, allow me this morning to follow out this 
sublime train of thought suggested by my divine 
Master. Let me speak to you of the value of the 
human soul. I want each one of you to ask himself 
three questions: First, have I a soul? Second, What 
is the value of my soul? Third, Does it appear from 
the life I am leading that I fully appreciate the 
value of my soul? 

Have I a soul? Every Ash-Wednesday morning 
the priest sprinkles ashes on my head and says to 
me: "Remember, man, that thou art dust and into 
dust thou shalt return." " I heard a voice," says the 
Prophet Isaias, "I heard a voice saying to me, cry; 
and I said, Lord, what shall I cry? and it an- 
swered: All flesh is as grass and the flowers of the 
field, which to-day is and to-morrow is not." " Man 
born of woman to-day," says holy Job, " liveth a 
short time and then fleeth away like a shadow like 
a bird flying through the air, or a ship sailing 
through the water, he passeth away and leaveth not 



488 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

a trace behind." What! when I die shall I cease to 
exist? Is there nothing in me more lasting than this 
clay body of mine? An ungodly science answers, 
" No; there is nothing." "I have dissected many a 
man," says a learned surgeon, " but I have never 
found a soul." But religion answers: " It is false." 
True science crys out, " I will not wholly die." The 
great human family assents I have a soul. We read 
in Genesis that God made man of the slime of the 
earth, to His own image and likeness did He make 
him. Now, is man's body an image of the living 
God? A clod of earth the image of a pure spirit 
a mass of bone and flesh and blood the image of an 
angel! No; if man is like unto his God the likeness 
must be in that breath of life, which Genesis further 
tells us God breathed into the face of the new-made 
Adam. And that breath to be like God must, like 
Him, be & spirit; and to bear the stamp of the 
Blessed Trinity, it must have the three faculties of 
memory, understanding, and free will. Now that is 
exactly what I mean by a human soul; a pure spirit 
endowed with memory, understanding, and free will. 
My body, therefore, is dust, and into dust it shall re- 
turn, but my soul is a spirit that came from God and 
shall return to God. My body was born of mortal 
woman, and like her shall die, but my soul was born 
of God, who liveth forever and ever. My soul is a 
spirit and invisible, and so cannot be seen by the 
doctor's eyes nor touched by his knife. Let me place 
a live man and a corpse side by side, and let me ask 
that learned physician wherein they differ. " One," 



THE VALUE OF THE SOUL 

he says, "has life, the other is dead." But what is 
life but the action of the soul in the body, just as the 
ringing of an electric bell is the action of the elec- 
tricity in the metal. There is no life without a soul. 
The trees in my garden have souls my horse and 
my dog have souls and I? Oh, I am not inferior to 
them, I, too, have a soul. Aye, and a soul far nobler 
than theirs not a mere vegetative soul like the tree, 
nor a mere animal soul like the dog, but a rational, 
an immortal soul. Their souls are imprisoned in 
their bodies, and so tightly locked in that when the 
prison-house of their body falls, prisoner and prison 
perish together; but my soul, though a prisoner in 
my body, is still unfettered, so that the destruction 
of my body brings to my soul, not death, but free- 
dom. Hence it is that we hear St. Paul exclaim: " O 
God, I long for death that I may begin to live with 
Thee." The death of the body is only the beginning 
of the true life of the soul, for my soul is immortal 
it can never die. For why do I fear death? Is it not 
because Nature has implanted in me an ardent desire 
to live forever? Most assuredly. Now Nature does 
not do things in vain. If there was no such thing as 
sound, she would not have given me ears to hear; if 
there was no light or color, she would not have given 
me eyes to see; if there was no such thing as truth 
in the world, why should she have given me a mind 
to know the truth; and if there was no everlasting 
life for my soul, why should she give my soul a 
natural longing for it? Yes; unless my soul is im- 
mortal, Nature is a liar. Nay, in that case, even 



490 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

Nature's God Himself would be false, for God has 
promised to render to every man according to his 
works; to reward the virtuous and to punish the 
wicked. But what do I see? I look around me and 
I see a world of saints and sinners the saints liv- 
ing in poverty and wretchedness all their lives, the 
sinners affluent and happy. Oh, surely virtue does 
not always get its reward nor vice its punishment in 
this world; and so God's words would be false and 
His justice a mere mockery, were there no hereafter 
of happiness for the good and of misery for the 
wicked. If my soul is to die with my body, religion 
is a humbug, laws do not bind; I can plunder and 
outrage and kill and give free play to all the worst 
inclinations of my nature; for if there is no hereafter 
why not enjoy this life to the full? Why fear man? 
Why fear God? Believers have ever held the doc- 
trine of a hereafter, and unbelievers, while denying 
it with the lips, have confessed it in their lives and 
in their inmost souls. Even the poor untutored 
savage laid him down to die with a prayer on his lips, 
and a firm hope in his heart of waking in the happy 
hunting-grounds. Yes, my soul, I feel that I pos- 
sess thee, and that thou canst never die; that thou 
art not made of perishable matter, like my body, but 
art a pure spirit; that of thine own nature thou art 
immortal, and that God will never annihilate thee; 
that, as He has promised, He will render to thee in 
the last day according to thy deeds; reward thee, if 
good, with eternal happiness, and condemn thee, if 
wicked, to the everlasting pains of hell. 



THE VALVE OF THE SOUL. 49 1 

Jf, therefore, I have a soul, and that soul is im- 
mortal, what, I next ask myself, what is the value 
of this soul of mine? For an answer, let me in spirit 
raise myself above my earthly surroundings; let me, 
as it were, climb up in spirit half-way to heaven, and 
there meet my God and there say to Him: " Lord, 
teach me the value of my own soul! " What does 
He answer? " Lay not up to thyself perishable 
treasures on earth, but lay up to thyself everlasting 
treasures in heaven. For what will it profit thee if 
thou gainest the whole world and suffer the loss of 
thine own soul, or what exchange shalt thou give for 
thy soul? " True, Lord, the world would profit me 
nothing without my soul. It would not be a fair ex- 
change. My soul longs for God and will not rest sat- 
isfied with anything short of God Himself. Here, 
then, standing before the Most High, I recognize that 
there are in the whole world of things, just two, and 
only two things, of prime importance to me, viz., 
God and my own soul. All other things over 
and above these two are mere trifles. Remember 
that passage of the Gospel where we are told 
the devil tempted Our Lord; where he took Our 
Lord into a high place - and showed Him all the 
riches and pleasures and honors of the world, and 
said to Him,: " All this will I give Thee, if falling 
down Thou wilt adore me." But Our Lord an- 
swered him: "Begone, Satan." I, too, were the 
devil to come to me at this moment and offer me the 
whole world in exchange for my soul, would imitate 
my Lord and answer: " Begone, Satan, for what 



49 2 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and 
suffer the loss of his own soul? " For what are ma- 
terial and temporal goods in comparison with the 
spiritual and eternal? "I have seen all things that 
are under the sun," says the Wise Man, " but vanity 
of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit." 
Hence he immediately adds: "One thing, therefore, 
and one thing only have I asked of the Lord that I 
[i.e., his soul] may dwell in the house of the Lord 
[i.e., heaven] all the days of my life." What then is 
the one great work I have to do here on earth? To 
bring God to my soul by sanctifying it, and to bring 
my soul to God by saving it. If I am born into this 
world, and live and die and save not my soul, all is 
lost. It matters not if I have been the greatest man 
that ever lived; if worldly fame has written success 
in letters of gold on my tombstone; oh, it availeth 
nothing if I have not saved my soul, for the record- 
ing angel will erase my name from the Book of Life 
with her tears and will write " failure " in its stead. 
But, on the other hand, if I save my soul all is 
gained. What matters it if I am poor and miserable 
here if I am to be happy forever hereafter? Time 
is but a moment compared to eternity. And, oh, re- 
member and remember, and again I say, remember, 
that I have only one soul which can be lost only 
once, but, once lost, it is lost forever. I will, there- 
fore, first seek the kingdom of God and His justice, 
and all other things I will take as they come, saying, 
with the indifference of holy Job: "The Lord hath 
given and the Lord hath taken away. Blest be the 



THE VALUE OF THE SOUL. 493 

name of the Lord." Riches pshaw! had I all the 
riches of the world I would still long for something 
more. The rust, the moth, and the burglar would 
make me uneasy, and fickle fortune would keep me 
in constant dread of poverty. No, I will seek 
heavenly treasures where the rust and the moth do 
not consume, nor the thief break through and steal. 
I will not imitate Martha, who was solicitous about 
her household affairs when Our Lord visited her, but 
I will follow her sister Mary and sit at the feet of my 
Lord and hear from His lips these consoling words: 
" Child, thou hast chosen the better part." Riches 
I would Tiave to leave behind, and how could they 
help my soul in the next world when they cannot 
even preserve my body from decay in this world? 
Alas! it will profit me little to have much wealth 
stored up for many years, for no sooner shall I have 
begun to eat, drink, and be merry, than my Lord shall 
say to me: "Thou fool, this very night shall I de- 
mand thy soul of thee." No, riches that are not used 
for that one all-important thing my soul's salva- 
tion are worse than useless. But honors! Should I 
sell my soul for them? Honors! What do they con- 
tribute to the shaping of my eternal destiny? Each 
new title is a chain binding me closer to earth, wid- 
ening the gulf between me and my God. What 
doth it profit me to stand up and receive the smiles 
and applause of an admiring world, if I am an enemy 
of God? if the angels are weeping over my sins? if 
the devil with fiendish glee is preparing a place in 
hell for my immortal soul? St. Francis Zazara when 



494 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

a boy at school was filled with a longing for worldly 
honors. One day he met St. Philip Neri and the 
venerable old man asked him: "Francis, what do 
you intend to be?" "I will be the genius of the 
school and bear off all the honors." " And then? " 
"I will be a priest." "And then?" "I will be a 
bishop." "And then?" "I will be a cardinal." 
" And then? " " Pope." " And then? " " I shall die, 
I suppose." "And then?" Ah, what then, what 
then? On the answer to that last then depends an 
eternity of happiness or an eternity of misery. But 
worldly pleasures could I exchange my soul for a 
life of pleasure? Oh, no, for the highest carnal pleas- 
ure is as pain compared to the joys of heaven. God 
tells me that " eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor 
hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive 
what joys He has prepared for those who love Him." 
And shall I forfeit all that for a low, sensual gratifica- 
tion which I indulge in one* moment only to repent 
of it the next? Time is but a moment compared to 
eternity, and so I am the most foolish of fools if for 
a momentary gratification I sacrifice an eternity of 
joy and incur an eternity of misery. Think of 
Lazarus and Dives. Dives was a rich man who 
feasted sumptuously every day and gave not a 
thought to God or the value of his own soul, and 
Lazarus was a beggar dying of starvation on the 
rich man's doorstep, with never a friend in all the 
world but an old dog that licked his sores. They 
both died Lazarus on the doorstep and Dives at his 
table. What was the lot of each? Lazarus, the Gos-. 



THE VALUE OF THE SOUL 495 

pel tells us, was taken up into Abraham's bosom, but 
Dives was buried in hell. Then the rich man's soul 
cried from hell: "Father Abraham, send Lazarus to 
give me one drop of water to quench my burning 
thirst." But God answered him: " No, for between 
you and him there lies an infinite abyss separating 
you forever." O Dives, lost soul, you who enjoyed 
all the favors the world could give, do they profit 
thee nothing now? Nothing. All thy riches, hon- 
ors, and pleasures, do they profit thee nothing now? 
Nothing. O Lazarus, blest soul, whence comes thy 
present happiness? Because I held the world at its 
true value because I knew that the one thing I had 
to gain in heaven was my God, and the most precious 
thing I had on earth was my own soul. 

But let me turn my eyes from earthly things to 
my own soul and ask, what is its value? Were my 
father a great man in the eyes of the world I would 
participate in his greatness, for he gave me being and 
I bear his likeness. Now, God is a being of infinite 
greatness and you, my soul, are His son, made to 
His image and likeness. You are, therefore, in a 
way, infinitely precious. Each person of the Trinity 
has vied with the other in showering on my soul 
His choicest gifts. The Father gave it an inde- 
pendent existence; the Son, an intellect to know the 
loftiest truth; and the Holy Ghost, a will to love and 
desire an infinite good. David, speaking of the soul's 
creation, cries out: "A little less, O Lord, a little 
less than the angels hast Thou made her." The soul, 
like the angels, is a pure spirit, and one particle of a 



49 6 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

spiritual substance is more precious in the sight of 
God than the whole material universe. So beauti- 
ful indeed is she that God has said He loves to come 
and dwell in the souls of men. And my soul feels the 
dignity of her nature. She spurns this world and its 
honors as unworthy of her, and turns to God as the 
one and only being worthy of her love. She knows 
her high destiny; that she has been created to 
know and enjoy God forever. So whether she will 
or no, she is forced to exclaim with the Psalmist: 
" As the famished and hunted stag thirsts after the 
fountains of water, so do I thirst and pant after Thee, 
my God." Again, let me go down into hell and ask 
Satan what is the value of my soul. "Value!" he 
cries, " I would give ten thousand worlds for one hu- 
man soul. Night and day, and day and night, I roam 
the world seeking souls. All the schemes and arti- 
fices which the malice of an angelic intelligence can 
devise I employ to entrap these precious souls. 
Value! Why, your soul is so precious that in the 
hope of gaining it I would and do defy and contend 
with the power of almighty God Himself." Finally, 
let me turn to God and ask what is the value of my 
soul? Ah! if God had never created but one human 
soul, my own for instance, He would still have done 
as much to gain it to Himself as He has done to gain 
all mankind. He would have created the earth and 
heavens; the sun, moon, and stars, and all the glory 
thereof, for my individual use. He would have held 
out to me all those favors and graces He now pours 
out to all. He would have come down from heaven 



THE VALUE OF THE SOUL 497 

and become man and raised the human soul to such 
a union with God as no angel can ever enjoy. He 
would have suffered and poured out the last drop of 
His precious blood for my soul alone. He would 
have forgiven me sins for less than which He damned 
whole legions of angels, and He would have insti- 
tuted for my sake alone that banquet to which not 
even the angels are admitted the Blessed Eucha- 
rist. There, oh, my soul, is the price God has paid for 
you! There is your value in His sight! Far above 
all earthly things by virtue of your nature; infinitely 
precious in the ransom paid for you; higher than the 
highest angel in your glorious destiny. 

Brethren, that is the value of my soul. Does it 
appear from the life I lead that I appreciate its value? 
Alas and alack! I fear the vast majority of us will 
have to answer No. When we look at the saints of 
God who succeeded in thoroughly realizing that 
great truth that for each of us the only two* things 
worth attending to are God and his own soul when 
we consider the lives they lived to bring their souls 
to God, do we feel we are following their example? 
What will become of me, a sinner, since even the 
saints tremble for their destiny? It is not enough 
to serve my body all my life, and in the few last mo- 
ments of my existence turn my thoughts to God and 
my own soul. No, I must begin now. I must begin 
here to-day. If I am a young single man or woman 
I must remember that all the pleasures of the world 
will profit me nothing if I lose my soul. The young 
married couple must remember that honors and so- 



49 8 FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

cial distinctions are worthless, if they lose their souls. 
The old people must remind themselves that all their 
riches will desert them at their death, and will avail 
them not, if, awaking in eternity, they find they have 
lost their souls. What shall I say of the man who is 
so taken up with worldly affairs that he has no time 
for spiritual matters who never utters a prayer nor 
goes to Mass, nor reconciles himself to God in the 
sacraments of confession and communion? Alas! he 
has forgotten the value of his soul yea, he has 
actually forgotten he has a soul at all. What shall I 
say of the drunkard? He remembers he has a soul 
and he knows its value, but he puts it out of the way 
he poisons it with alcohol drowns it in the wine 
goblet, and buries it in the vile grave of his own filthy 
body. What shall I say of the impure? Ah! he is 
the worst of all, for he has forgotten not only that he 
has an immortal soul, but even that he has a human 
body he has become a brute beast. His soul, that 
celestial spirit within him, faints at the abomination 
it beholds an angel imprisoned in a hog-pen an 
angel and a devil going through life bound neck and 
neck. Oh, Brethren, do not leave this church to-day 
till you have pondered well these two words God 
and my own soul. Bear them in your minds and 
hearts keep them ever before your eyes, and let 
them be the watchwords of your lives God and my 
own soul God and my own soul for what will it 
profit me if I gain the whole world and suffer the 
loss of my God and my own soul? God and my own 
soul! God and my own soul! 



THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION. 499 



jFifteentl) g>un&a after 

THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION. 
" Young man, I say to thee, arise" Luke vii. 14. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Widow and son. II. Miracle. III. History's repeti- 

tions. 
I. Causes and objections: i. Religion and irreligion. 

2. Ignorant pride, human respect, vice. 3. Old, 
change, civilization. 

II. Indispensable: i. All peoples. 2. State of infidel. 

3. Crime against God. 

III. Results of irreligion : i. Picking and choosing. 2. Man 

minus religion. 3. Death-bed. 
Per. : Pray that miracle may be repeated. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the Gospel of this morning's Mass pre- 
sents to my mind a picture and a subject for dis- 
course. A picture that of Christ meeting the fun- 
eral of the son of the widow of Nairn; a subject for 
discourse the necessity of religion. As Our Lord 
was entering the town, behold a dead man was car- 
ried out the only son of his mother and she was a 
widow. And seeing the poor mourner the tender 
heart of Christ melted with pity and He said to her: 
" Daughter, weep not." And touching her son He 
said: "Young man, I say to thee, arise," and the 
dead sat up and began to speak, and He gave him to 
his mother, and the astonished multitude cried out: 
" A great prophet is risen up among us and God 
hath visited His people." 

Alas! brethren, how history repeats itself. Here 
to-day in many of you I see that picture reproduced; 



500 FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

many a mother, wife, daughter, or sister, your hearts 
full of desolation; bending, like the widow, in speech- 
less sorrow over the spiritual corpse of son or hus- 
band, father or brother dead to God by their 
neglect of the sacred duties of religion. And you 
come here, as to the Christ, seeking to again move 
Him to pity; begging Him to repeat to you the con- 
soling words: " Daughter, weep not," or to your 
unfortunate relative: "Young man, I say to thee, 
arise." May Christ comfort your afflicted hearts as 
He did that of the widow of Nairn! 

Brethren, by religion I mean the sum of the rela- 
tionship between man and God God creating 
preserving, sanctifying, and saving man; and 
man's consequent duties of knowing, loving, and 
serving God in this life, with the hope of eternal hap- 
piness in the next. No one, except possibly the 
fool, will dare say in his heart, there is no God. On 
the other hand, the soul's consciousness of her own 
intellectual nature and inherent longing for ever- 
lasting happiness, loudly proclaim her to be spiritual 
and immortal. Now between those two beings, 
God and man, the connecting link the bond of 
union is religion. Whether we will or no, whether 
we recognize it or not, such a bond surely exists. 
For, though man at his creation becomes a distinct 
individual, still, not even God Himself could make a 
single creature independent of his Creator. But 
alas! what God refuses to do what God is unable 
to do man, foolish and ungrateful, is not slow to 
attempt. For the man without religion the man 



THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION. 5 O1 

who forsakes or neglects his religion practically 
says: " Away with God! I will none of Him! I am 
independent even of Him absolutely self-suffi- 
cient.'* The foundling renounces his generous bene- 
factor; the son disowns the most loving of fathers! 
In some this rebellious spirit takes the form of con- 
tempt for everything sacred; in others, it is the bitter 
opposition to some particular creed; in the majority, 
it is downright indifference. And though the cases 
of the scoffer and the religious fanatic are, God 
knows, deplorable enough, still, there is in them an 
activity, an interest a partial belief, if you will 
which may, God willing, lead to something better. 
But the case of the indifferent is the most hopeless 
of all. He is neither hot nor cold, and, therefore, dis- 
gusting to God. " I would," says the Holy Spirit, 
speaking to the indifferent, " I would thou wert cold 
or hot; but because thou art lukewarm and neither 
cold nor hot I will begin to vomit thee out of My 
mouth." 

Brethren, the causes of irreligion are, it seems to 
me, threefold. First of all is "ignorant pride;" 
sometimes a little pride and great ignorance; some- 
times less ignorance and greater pride; but invari- 
ably "ignorant pride." How many men there are, 
not knowing even how to read or write, who will 
sneer at those eternal truths of religion, in the pres- 
ence of which the world's greatest minds have 
bowed in humble assent! How many men there are 
with a stock of learning, little enough to be danger- 
ous, but large enough to fill them with infinite con- 



502 FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

ceit, who will produce, as their own, objections to 
religion as old as history; as unanswerable, objec- 
tions refuted thousands of times; feeble, knock-kneed 
arguments, as destructive of that religion the saints 
professed and hosts of Christian martyrs defended 
with their lives! How many men there are, who, in 
the pride of their hearts because, forsooth, they 
have delved deeply in science, literature, or art 
who have learned everything except to recognize 
how little they know, do not hesitate to pass 
judgment on religion, as did Pontius Pilate on Our 
Saviour; and treat her as he treated Christ as a fool 
or an impostor! Ignorant pride and human re- 
spect. Here is the second cause of irreligion. Pride 
and ignorance are mental defects, but human respect 
is a disease of the will, a lack of moral backbone; 
the misfortune of those who " are ashamed to pro- 
fess the faith of Christ crucified." But it is not al- 
ways the head that is at fault; more often it is the 
heart, and here we have the third and last cause of 
irreligion human passion. There is no virtue re- 
ligion does not inculcate, no vice she does not de- 
nounce; and sooner shall heaven and earth pass 
away than she forego one iota of her law for any man. 
Hence the sinner, unwilling to give up his darling 
devil, is, by consistency, forced body and soul into 
the ranks of unbelievers, according to Christ's own 
words: " No man can serve two masters," and "He 
that is not with Me is against Me." 

Brethren,, I would not tire you by rehearsing the 
arguments with which the irreligious seek to justify 



THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION. 503 

themselves, were it not that these arguments, by 
their very weakness, prove the necessity of religion. 
In a series of religious chats with a young gentle- 
man, lately, I found his first great difficulty was that 
religion was an old story, something belonging to a 
bygone age. Old! most assuredly it is old! As old 
as the human race, for it is the relation of man to 
God. I trace it back through the Christian era; back 
to Calvary and the cross of Christ; back to Moses 
and Aaron; back to the caves of the prophets and 
the tents of the patriarchs; back to the cradle of 
humanity, and thence back to heaven, whence it 
comes. Is age her shame, or is it not rather like an 
old lady's gray hairs, her crown of glory? A crisp 
bank-note or a brilliant coin is suspected as coun- 
terfeit by reason of its very newness. So, too, the 
various non-Catholic sects are discredited by their 
own modernity; whereas one instinctively turns for 
the genuine article to that religion, and that alone, 
which with its God can say of itself: " Before Abra- 
ham was, I am;" of which the Psalmist says: 
" Thou art ever the selfsame and thy years shall not 
fail." " Oh, but," my friend replies, " religion has 
changed and does change!" Change, yes, as Christ 
changed from a babe to a youth and full-grown 
man. True, she was, in times of persecution, often 
changed, as was Christ by His Passion from the 
most beautiful of the sons of men to a mangled felon 
on the cross with no beauty in Him. Change! yes, 
as the tree changes its girth and the spread of its 
branches; changes in her ceremonies as the tree 



504 FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

changes its foliage; changes in her results, as the tree, 
from year to year, changes its fruits. Ever chang- 
ing and yet ever the same. For religion is not an 
Egyptian mummy, but a living, active agent that be- 
comes all things to all men to save all. Yet in her 
essential parts she is as unchangeable, in an ever- 
changing world, as that pyramid of the desert which 
for ages has watched the ever-changing Nile glide 
slowly at its feet. But would not civilization suffice, 
without religion to block her way? Civilization suf- 
fice! Alas! how small the connection between edu- 
cation and virtue is well attested in this most en- 
lightened but most vicious age. Religion block the 
way of civilization! Why, when science, art, and 
literature, in the Middle Ages, were cast out like 
helpless babes doomed to destruction, religion took 
them to her breast, nursed them in the cloister, and 
restored them to the world, as Pharao's daughter 
restored Moses to be the leader the saviour of the 
nation. Religion is the life-giving sun in the world 
of souls; the moon lighting up the darkness of hu- 
man existence; and that same religion that began 
with humanity shall end only with humanity, for God 
is with it all time and the gates of hell shall not pre- 
vail against it. 

Brethren, religion is an essential element of our 
inner nature. As the stag after the fountain of liv- 
ing water, so our minds thirst after truth and God 
is truth. The human will, feeling its own weakness, 
looks up for some infallible rule of action and God 
is the way. Both body and soul feel they are created 



THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION. 505 

things and turn instinctively to pay homage to the 
Author of their being and God is life. Now this 
turning of our whole being to God, as the sunflower 
to the sun to God, the way, the truth, and the 
life this is religion. And that it is a fundamental 
law of our nature is attested by the fact that in all the 
nations of the world, past or present, you will not 
find one without its religion. Here and there a 
blasphemous monster will assert his unbelief, but his 
voice is drowned in the chorus of adoration that 
ascends from the world to the throne of God. True, 
the system of truths of this savage people may be 
preposterous; the moral code of that other, bar- 
barous; this nation may worship the sun or moon or 
some graven thing; the object of that other's wor- 
ship may be a myth; but still it is ever the same 
craving of the soul for the way, the truth, and the 
life for God. Hence, I say, the man of no re- 
ligion the man who forsakes or neglects his re- 
ligion is a living lie. His whole life L a contradiction 
a perversion of Nature. In his words and actions 
he asserts, probably boasts of, his unbelief, but his 
heart, his soul cries out: "Thou liest; deep down in 
thy being is the consciousness of God's existence and 
thy soul's immortality, and the essential relations of 
each to the other." Further still, he is a moral sui- 
cide. He stifles into silence the most sacred aspira- 
tions of his soul, and refuses her the truth and love 
as necessary to her existence as food and drink to 
the body. He is worse than the idolater or the 
fetish worshipper. Nay, I would venture a step 



506 FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

further and assert that he descends to the level of 
the brute. For what is it distinguishes man from 
the brute? The ability to think? No, for an ele- 
phant is wiser than many men. The gift of speech? 
No; monkeys converse fluently. Their bodily shape? 
No; there are gorillas and men who would pass for 
brothers. The distinguishing mark is the yearn- 
ing of man's soul for a higher life. Man's dignity as 
lord of creation a%d heir to heaven is never more 
emphatically asserted than when he says: " I believe 
in God," " Thy will be done/' and falling down 
prays: " Our Father, who art in heaven." But the 
unbeliever, the neglecter of religion, has practically 
nothing to distinguish him from the brute creation. 
Like the prodigal son, he no sooner abandons his 
father than he begins to associate and feed with the 
swine, and regains his manhood his dignity as son 
and heir only when he forms and carries out his 
resolution to arise and go to his father. This folly 
of the irreligious not only reflects on themselves, but 
it is a crime of injustice against God. What a mon- 
ster of injustice is the son who turns his back on his 
parents in the hour of their need! What an execrable 
ingrate he is who steals away and hides when the call 
goes forth for defenders of his country! For our 
parents give us being and make us what we are, and 
our country watches over and protects us at home 
and abroad. But God is nearer to us than parents 
or country. Whatever we are, whatever we have, 
comes primarily from Him, and every moment of our 
lives we feel the need of His sustaining and protect- 



THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION. 57 

ing hand. Therefore, I say, the unbeliever the neg- 
lecter of religion is infinitely baser than the be- 
trayer of his country. 

Brethren, your irreligious relative will tell you this 
picture is overdrawn. " I am not as bad as that/' 
he says, " I admit all but a few of the truths of re- 
ligion. With one or two exceptions the command- 
ments of God and the Church are all right. But 
have not I the right to worship God in my own 
way? " The right to pick and choose in religion 
to worship God as you please! Most decidedly not! 
What manner of citizen, soldier, or servant would 
that be who should decide with himself what laws 
and commands he would obey, which violate? God 
did not consult you and me whether He should cre- 
ate and redeem us or not; and the duties and obliga- 
tions arising from creation and redemption are not 
for us to criticise but to fulfil. The religion that ac- 
cepts only half the truth and does only what it feels 
like doing, is like worshipping God and robbing our 
neighbor; or helping our neighbor and despising 
God. It is as bad, aye worse than no religion, be- 
cause in the sight of God it adds insult to injury. 
For God has sworn that sooner shall the heavens fall 
than one iota of His religion be changed, and St. 
Paul warns us that even were an angel from heaven 
to preach us a gospel other than that of Christ cru- 
cified let him be anathema. 

Brethren, let me prove to you the picture is not 
overdrawn, by taking it from life. This irreligious 
relative of yours, what is his condition? His soul ani- 



5o8 FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

mates his body, it is true, but in all its other func- 
tions it is practically dead. He lives a purely natural, 
animal life, with all the wretchedness of the animal, 
and none of its contentment. Speaking of such a 
life holy Job says: "Man, born of woman, liveth a 
short time, and is filled with many miseries." For 
miseries come to man from the world through his 
body; but consolations come through his soul from 
religion. But in the case of your friend it is all misery 
and no consolation. He looks on himself as a purely 
material being who is born, lives and dies, and there 
is an end of it. By his own admission he is a mere 
lump of red clay, as his name originally signifies; like 
the old Pagan philosophers, his favorite flower is the 
swamp lily, to show that he, too, has sprung from 
the slime of the earth. Sprung from nothing by a 
process of conception too shameful to be thought of 
or talked about; an ordeal which Christ, with all His 
humility, was unwilling to undergo. A helpless 
prisoner before his birth in a filthy cell; guilty at his 
birth of almost a murderous attack on the mother 
that bore him; for years after his birth a little bundle 
of miseries to himself and his family. Ask the young 
mother what are the miseries of man's earlier years. 
To learn the ills all flesh is heir to, visit the parlors 
of a dentist, the operating-room of a hospital; 
count the doctors' signs in our city, the thousands 
of diseases and thousands of remedies, often worse 
than the diseases themselves. The poor envy the 
affluence of the rich; and the rich, the happiness of 
the poor; every one thinks his own station in 



THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION. $09 

life the least desirable of all. Such things happen to 
all flesh, but to sinners sevenfold more. For though 
the irreligious may ignore his soul, yet will she not 
be ignored. If she cannot have the truth and the 
love she craves, she will turn and fill herself with the 
husks of sin. If he will not praise God in prayer, 
be sure he will not fail to blaspheme. If he will not 
sanctify the Sabbath day by going to church, you 
may look for him in the policy shop or den of in- 
iquity. If he will not drink the chalice of His blood 
that Christ offers him, he will drain the glass of hell- 
fire the devil ministers. Ah! who shall tell the con- 
sequent miseries to himself and family! As well try 
to count the drops of rain or the sighs of the wind, 
as enumerate the tears of his poor children or the 
moans of his heart-broken mother, wife, or sister. 
Life, God knows, is at best wretched enough, but 
life without religion would be unbearable. It would 
be this earth without the sun; a wild night with no 
moon; a trackless expanse of stormy ocean with no 
hope of land or friends beyond. Were the uncreated 
offered life without religion, they would shrink in 
horror from existence; for their greatest happiness 
would be that of never having been. But with re- 
ligion as our guide we are consoled through it all. 
We see the thorns of life spiritualized in Our 
Saviour's crown; and hope carries us on to that 
happy land where our places shall be allotted, not by 
the favors of fortune or the accident of birth, but 
where each has the making of his own future; all 
happy, the afflicted comforted and the weary at rest. 



510 FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

Brethren, there is one other place where you may 
study the necessity of religion by a man's death- 
bed. Death dispels illusions and brings us back to 
the realities of life. Many a life-long argument as 
to the uselessness of religion has been disproved at 
the hour of death. Even that arch-atheist, Voltaire, 
acknowledged his error at the last, and would have 
called in the ministers of religion were they not 
forcibly kept away from him by the members of the 
society he himself had founded the " Society for 
the Protection of Man from His God." That of so 
many unbelievers so few die in their unbelief is the 
strongest argument for the necessity of religion. 
And of those who carry their unbelief beyond the 
grave, witness the horrible death of one such, and tell 
me if that is not even a stronger argument. I have 
seen one such that I am not likely soon to forget 
such that even now I turn in horror from the remem- 
brance. But assist at the death of a faithful child of 
God a young Catholic boy or girl on their face 
that look of peace and love one sees on the face of a 
nun the quick flash of the closing eyes as they get 
their first glimpse of their glorified Saviour and the 
tremble of the lips as they settle into a smile that re- 
flects the peace of heaven. Truly, blessed in the 
sight of God and man is the death of God's saints. 

Brethren, let the services to-day be a repetition of 
the scene at Nairn. Pray to Our Lord for the con- 
version of sinners. To Our Lord, the Comforter of 
souls, that He may console the sad heart of many 
a mourning woman. To Our Lord, the Converter of 



RELIGION AND RELIGIONISM. 511 

souls, that He may raise up our men from their 
neglect or unbelief. Pray, and I guarantee we shall 
again have reason to cry out: "A great prophet is 
risen up amongst us, and God hath visited His 
people." 



after 

RELIGION AND RELIGIONISM. 

" Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and 
he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Luke xiv. n. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. The spirit and the letter. II. Origin of liturgy. 

III. Human tendency. 
I. Phariseeism : I. Religious controversies. 2. God's re- 

monstrance. 3. Pharisees' practice. 
II. Third command : i. Pharisaic precepts. 2. Gloom of 

sinners. 3. Joy of saints. 
III. Gospel incident: I. Christ and His enemies. 2. In 

spirit and truth. 3. The first places. 

Per.: i. Rational Sabbath. 2. No monopoly in heaven. 
3. Substance and accident. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in the spiritual history of mankind two 
phases of religion continually present themselves: 
the spirit and the letter, interior sanctification and 
empty externalism, in a word, religion and religion- 
ism. No student of Scripture can doubt for a 
moment that the outward forms of religion have their 
place and their usefulness in the economy of salva- 
tion, for from the earliest times they have been 
established and insisted upon by God Himself. That 
God prescribed a ritual at all, was due, no doubt, to 
the exigencies of the occasion, for man's material and 



5 12 SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

social nature would never have been content with 
worshipping the Deity in spirit alone, but would have 
irresistibly impelled him to the building up of a code 
of ceremonies as unworthy of their high purpose as 
were the rites of Paganism. This craving for ritu- 
alism is evidenced even to-day, no less in the power- 
ful influence of our grand Catholic functions over the 
minds and hearts of the faithful, than in the elaborate 
rituals of secret and semi-religious societies ; and the 
absence of such was one of the many weak points in 
primitive Protestantism). But the world's tendency 
has ever been to convert the means into an end, to 
be content with the outward form to the neglect of 
interior sanctification, to divorce religion and moral- 
ity, to so exaggerate the importance of creeds and 
rites and ceremonies as to lose sight in whole or in 
part of God's commandments. But religion, clean and 
unspotted before God and the Father is, first of all, 
to keep oneself undefiled from this world. Neither 
the click-clack of the Buddhist's prayer-wheel, nor 
the Pharisee's scrupulous loyalty to ancient tradi- 
tions, nor the Catholic's devotedness to his daily 
prayers and his Sunday Mass will avail one particle 
unless the inner man be right with God ; unless the 
end and object of all religion, personal sanctification, 
be looked to, and the means necessary for its attain- 
ment employed. 

Brethren, religionism has wrought more mischief 
than religion can ever undo. Holy wars have again 
and again rent the world in twain, and Church con- 
troversies have at times dismembered Christ's mys- 



RELIGION AND RELIGIONISM. S I 3 

tical body, and what were they all about? Matters 
of opinion, for the most part, and modes of worship. 
The means were ever the point at issue, but on the 
ends in view, sanctification and salvation, the disputes 
had no other bearing than to unwittingly defeat them. 
Alas! how many times has the history recorded in the 
twelfth chapter of Judges repeated itself! How many 
times has a point in religion as unimportant as the dif- 
ference between Schibboleth and Sibboleth brought 
down social ostracism and anathema on individuals 
and nations, or proved for them, mayhap, a matter 
of life and death? Take, for example, the incident 
of to-day's Gospel. The Pharisees, you know, were 
great sticklers for the law; to expound and enforce 
it was the chief business of their lives. The ten brief 
commands, or " words " handed down by God to 
Moses, had in the course of time been so divided, sub- 
divided, and multiplied, and cunning casuistry had 
surrounded them with such a tangle of cases and 
exceptions and human traditions, that the service of 
God had become a veritable burden. Again and 
again God had signified His disapproval. " Bring no 
more vain oblations," He said by Isaias, " incense is 
an abomination unto Me, and your feasts My soul 
abhorreth." "Hath the Lord," says Samuel, "as 
great delight in sacrifices as in obeying the voice of 
the Lord? Behold, obedience is better than sacri- 
fices, and to hearken than the fat of rams." " Will 
the Lord " asks Micheas, " be pleased with thou- 
sands of rams and ten thousand rivers of oil, and 
human sacrifice? No, He hath showed thee, O man, 



SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

what is good. And what doth the Lord require of 
thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk 
humbly with thy God? " But, notwithstanding all 
this, the Pharisees had gone on multiplying laws, and 
surrounding every trivial circumstance of life with 
absurd rules and regulations. They were greatly 
concerned about phylacteries and fringes, and long 
prayers, and tithing of mint and anise and cumin, and 
hand-washing, etc., but the weightier things of the 
law, such as judgment and mercy and faith, they neg- 
lected. They strained at a gnat and swallowed a 
camel; they made clean the outside of the cup and 
of the dish, but not the inside ; for within they were 
full of rapine and iniquity. Such were the proud, 
conceited hypocrites against whom Our Lord pro- 
nounced a woe and a heavy judgment, for that they 
neither entered heaven themselves nor allowed 
others to do so, nor moved with a finger of their own 
the insupportable burdens with which they loaded 
others. 

But it was on the question of Sabbath observance 
that the Pharisees outdid themselves. In their hands 
that simple precept : " Thou shalt keep holy the Sab- 
bath day " grew and dilated into twenty-four long 
and inconceivably intricate chapters of the Talmud. 
No journey over 2,000 cubits in length should be un- 
dertaken, no meal prepared, no candle or fire lighted, 
no forbidden food greater than the size of an olive 
partaken of, no labor done heavier than the lifting of 
a fig. Then follows such a mass of cases, supposi- 
tions, difficulties, and evasions that one wonders how 



RELIGION AND RELIGIONISM. 5 r 5 

'sane men could have been led to the invention or dis- 
cussion of such trivialities. The Puritanic Sabbath 
was child's play compared with the rigor of that of 
the Pharisees. Like the Puritans they believed that 
God was to be served in a spirit of sadness and 
gloom, and how great was their error may be learned 
from Christ and His followers. " Rejoice and be 
glad," He says, " for your reward is exceeding 
great," and, " Be not like the hypocrites, sad." " Re- 
joice," says St. Paul, " and again I say rejoice; let 
your moderation be known to all men: the Lord is 
nigh." Sadness is rather the lot of sinners, of whom 
St. James says: " Be afflicted, and mourn and* weep. 
Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your 
joy into sorrow. Go to, now, ye rich men; weep 
and howl in your miseries." Every true servant of 
God, from that band of Apostles which returned from 
the Ascension to Jerusalem rejoicing, down to the 
saints of to-day, has been characterized by a cheerful, 
joyous disposition. And rightly so, for our body's 
capacity for enjoyment is to that of our soul as is a 
shallow cup to a mighty reservoir, and as a source of 
happiness God is to the world as is a limitless ocean 
to a little pool. The saints rejoice " always," for 
worldly joy is fitful, and the only joy that is stable is 
" joy in the Lord." Theirs is a double joy, for they 
rejoice in the Lord, and again in His works; in God 
their Creator, and again in God their Redeemer; in 
prosperity, and again in adversity. Theirs is an 
evenly-balanced joy, without excess, without irrever- 
ence, their moderation patent to all men, for their 



516 SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST^ 

Lord, who is nigh and ever before their eyes and their 
minds, is both the source and the moderator of their 
gladness. Whatever is innocent in the way of enjoy- 
ment, whatever is necessary in the way of labor, 
whatever is good and useful in the way of benevo- 
lence can never be unlawful, be the day ever so holy, 
and any legislation or petty ordinances or cavilings 
to the contrary are Puritanic, Pharisaical, hypo- 
critical. 

Jesus, then, is dining with a distinguished company 
of Pharisees, on the Sabbath day, and they are 
watching Him. There is a marked contrast between 
the Guest's loving condescension and the malice of 
His entertainers. He, correct in outward form and 
interiorly righteous, presents a striking figure of re- 
ligion pure and unspotted, but they illustrate religion- 
ism, for their hospitality, though effusive or perhaps 
excessive, is none the less hollow and insincere. They 
hate Him, in fact, and have purposely seated oppo- 
site to Him "a man sick of the palsy, that, should 
Christ heal him, they may have in this breach of the 
Sabbath some ground for accusation. Here is an op- 
portunity to emphasize a great truth, and Our Lord 
seizes it eagerly. With one hand He brushes aside 
the accumulated traditions and prejudices and ab- 
surdities which for ages have passed for godliness, 
and with the other He lays bare the very heart and 
essence of all religion by curing the palsied man. 
His action is in line with His entire teaching and 
practice. "I will have mercy," He says, "and not 
sacrifice." " Not every man that saith to Me: Lord, 



RELIGION AND RELIGIONISM. 517 

Lord, shall be saved, but he that doeth the will of 
My Father." Rancor and hatred raged between the 
Jews and the Samaritans as to whether God was to 
be worshipped on Garizim or in Jerusalem, and 
Christ exposed their folly by saying simply : *'* God 
is to be adored in spirit and in truth." With the 
Pharisees various articles of diet were unclean and 
forbidden, but Christ abolished their ordinances and 
made all meats clean, saying: "The things from 
without cannot defile a man> but from within, out of 
the heart, proceed all defilements/' When asked to 
teach His disciples to pray, how simple and brief was 
the prayer He taught! When the demand was 
made: " Lord, what must I do to possess eternal 
life? " did He designate certain opinions and rites 
and ceremonies as essential to that end? NO. His 
answer was : " Keep the commandments." What 
commandments? Those two on which depend the 
whole law and the prophets: "Love God above all 
things and your neighbor as yourself." The keeping 
of these produces within us that new creature, in 
comparison with which, says St. Paul, circumcision is 
nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. For if we 
have prophecy and know all mysteries, and have faith 
so as to move mountains, and speak with the tongue 
of angels, and fast and pray, and give our substance 
to the poor and our bodies to be burned, and if 
withal we have not interior righteousness, it will 
profit us nothing, for we are before God as a sound- 
ing brass and a tinkling cymbal. This is the lesson 
Christ's action in to-day's Gospel has for the Phari- 



518 SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

sees of all time. God made the Sabbath for man and 
not man for the Sabbath, and it is a wicked perver- 
sion of truth which will make the observance of the 
Lord's day conflict with one's urgent duty to God, 
his neighbor, or himself. Even the fanatical Phari- 
sees yielded when it was a question of self-interest, 
for they had decreed that, should a valuable 'animal 
have fallen into a pit on the Sabbath, he might with- 
out breach of the law be extricated. And ought not 
this child of God, this palsied one, be healed of his 
disease on the Sabbath day? Christ, therefore, 
healed him, and with infinite delicacy bade him go in 
peace, lest the cavilings of the Pharisees should mar 
his joy in his newly found health. Then turning to 
the others, He proceeded to expose their selfish 
pride and vanity, and their hypocritical pretensions 
to sanctity. The social standing of the dropsical 
man was doubtless vastly inferior to that of the 
others, nor would he have been there at all had not 
his condition served their purpose. Christ, too, 
though invited, was despised by them and hated. It 
is probable, therefore, that the Saviour and the sick 
man were assigned positions face to face at the very 
foot of the table, while the others with mock humility 
or shameless effrontery manoeuvred for the first 
places. And when the host proceeded to rearrange 
his*guests, and those highest up were forced to give 
place, blushing and confused, to others more honor- 
able than they, what myriads of human lives, religious 
histories, divine judgments, the scene must have 
brought to the Saviour's mind! What millions of 



RELIGION AND RELIGIONISM. 5 J 9 

self-opinionated Pharisees He must have seen 
throughout all time, zealous for the letter but know- 
ing nothing of the spirit of the law, exaggerating the 
accidentals of religion and minimizing or altogether 
neglecting its essentials, anathematizing all who dare 
to differ with them, and setting apart for themselves 
as if 'by divine right the very first place in the king- 
dom of heaven. But presently His eyes meet those 
of the one honest man there, the paralytic, and He 
sees in them a new meaning, a dawning understand- 
ing of it all, a kindling faith and hope and love, and 
then and there Christ heals him. " The first shall be 
last, and the last, first." Christ is the real host there, 
and the banquet is of His bounty: His end of the 
table is really the head, and His it is to place the 
guests. The last, the righteous, are now first, and 
the first, the religionists and hypocrites, are now last, 
and verily so shall it be in God's heavenly kingdom. 
Brethren, there are two points I would wish to 
especially impress upon you to-day: first, that a 
cheerful disposition and innocent amusement are not 
inconsistent with true religion; and secondly, that 
we must be careful not to set up a monopoly in para- 
dise and its mercies. It was to virtuous Pagans that 
St. Peter said: " Verily I perceive that God is no re- 
specter of persons, but in every station he that 
feareth Him and doeth righteousness is accepted of 
Him." Let us not be too hard on people who refuse 
to adopt our opinions, rites, and ceremonies. After 
all, the liturgy of primitive Christianity was a very 
simple affair, and we would doubtless find it hard to 



520 SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

recognize it in our own, External and accidental 
differences are no sure ground on which to base a 
judgment as to who are God's own children and who 
are not, nor are they the points on which God will 
judge us. Even St. Paul confesses that no man 
knows whether he be praiseworthy or blameworthy 
in the sight of God, and whatever vague ideas we 
may acquire on the subject must be determined by 
the rule Christ laid down: " By their fruits not by 
their opinions or outward observances but by their 
fruits ye shall know them." This was precisely 
where the Pharisees erred. Christ refused to con- 
form to their usages as to Sabbath observance and 
hand-washing, and though they saw Him going 
around doing good, they yet deemed Him a devil in- 
carnate; and though they beheld Him miraculously 
feeding the multitudes, they saw therein only a viola- 
tion of their ordinances. Let us live and let live, and 
think betimes of the beam in our own eye, and imi- 
tate more the good God who makes His sun to shine 
on the good and bad alike. But of all things let us 
beware of contenting ourselves with the accessories 
of religion and neglecting its substance. No such 
easy compromise between God and the world is pos- 
sible. God will not be deceived as was Isaac: His 
eye will penetrate the disguise and detect Jacob, 
though the hands and the face be those of Esau. 
No matter how strict our outward observance may 
have been, no matter if we have even done miracles 
and prophesied in Christ's name, if we neglect our 
interior sanctifkation He will declare at the last that 



THE LAW OF LOVE. 5 21 

amen, He never knew us. Let us beware lest the 
first become last and the last first. Let us remem- 
ber that he that exalteth himself shall be humbled, 
and that he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 



>unDa Sifter 

THE LAW OF LOVE. 

" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, 
and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind . . . and 
thy neighbor as thyself." Matt. xxii. 37-39. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Gregory's commentary. II. Paul's ideal. III. Christ's 

practice and result. 
I. Chanty and prudence: i. A and Z. 2. Pharisees and 

Sadducees. 3. Questions useful, idle, malicious. 
II. Love manifested : i. By Christ. 2. By Holy Ghost. 

3. To all. 
III. Object: i. To wean from world. 2. To turn to God. 

3. To live soberly, justly, godly. 

Per.: i. Love of God first. 2. Youth and age. 3. Sinai, 
Bethlehem, valley of Josaphat. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in reading to-day's Gospel we realize 
the truth of Pope St. Gregory's commentary. " Our 
Lord and Saviour," he says, " admonishes us some- 
times in words and sometimes by His deeds, for His 
very actions are precepts, because, though performed 
in silence, they explain to us our duties." The Gos- 
pel theme is the great commandment of love, on 
which dependeth the whole law and the prophets. 
The Saviour's present bearing towards His enemies 
and the whole tenor of His earthly life illustrate what 
His words proclaim the law of love. His dealing 



522 SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

with men was the prototype of St. Paul's ideal set 
forth in to-day's epistle. Christ walked among 
them, worthy of the vocation in which He was 
called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, 
supporting them in charity, careful to keep the unity 
of the spirit in the bond of peace. The multiple 
meaning of the Saviour's words, the deep signifi- 
cance of His every act, and the marvellous and 
hitherto unknown harmony between His teaching 
and His practice these it was which caused His 
hearers to say of Him: " Verily, never did man speak 
as this man speaks." 

Brethren, charity is queen among virtues. It is 
the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of 
all godliness, even as is God Himself, " for," says St. 
John, " God is love." It is the first and the greatest 
commandment of the law; it is the underlying sub- 
stance, the soul, the life of every other virtue in the 
calendar, the litany of holiness. Again it is the last, 
it is eternal, "for," says St. Paul, "when even faith 
shall have merged into the beatific vision and hope 
into possession, then only will charity become in very 
truth the bond of perfection, to endure forever and 
ever." Among mortals, however, charity, though 
ever a lovely queen, is blind unless her handmaid 
prudence light her way. Now these two virtues, 
charity and prudence, had practically abandoned 
earth when Jesus came, and in the main the object 
of His coming was their restoration. How utterly 
devoid of charity were the Sadducees and the Phari- 
sees! These two sects were bitterly opposed, the 



THE LAW OF LOVE. 523 

former denying", the latter asserting, the resurrection 
of the dead. But enemies though they were, they in 
opposing Christ as easily forgot their differences as 
do our modern heretics in opposition to Christ's true 
Church. The Sadducees, defeated, desist from ques- 
tioning Him; the Pharisees advance to the attack. 
Christ's method of dealing with His questioners is a 
model for our imitation. In our intercourse with 
men we are likely to encounter three kinds of re- 
ligious disputants. Questions prompted by idle curi- 
osity are better left unanswered. Thus, when the 
Apostles asked when the kingdom was to be 
restored, and when St. Peter, pointing to John, 
demanded "What of him?" the Saviour deigned 
them no reply. But if the question be a useful one 
propounded with good intent, we must be ever ready 
to give a reason for the faith that is in us. When 
the Apostles desired to know the meaning 1 of a 
parable, or why they had failed to exorcise the 
demoniac boy, and when St. Peter asked to be in- 
structed as to how often transgressors should be 
forgiven, the Saviour graciously acceded to their 
request. More often, though, our questioners' in- 
tention is evil, to embarrass and put us to shame, and 
then it is well to answer ambiguously or to answer 
question with question. Thus Christ, when asked if 
it were lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, replied indeed; 
but He did not take the trouble to explain that as 
the coin with Caesar's image and inscription should 
be given to Caesar, so the soul made to God's image 
and likeness should be given to God. Again, when 



524 SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

questioned as to the source of His authority, He 
confounded His tormentors with the counter-ques- 
tion concerning the baptism of John. It is prob- 
able, therefore, and according to St. Mark's account 
quite certain, that the query of to-day's Gospel was 
partly sincere and partly insincere; that the lawyer 
acted in good faith, but his followers, for whom he 
spoke, maliciously, for Christ first gives an answer 
direct and clear, and then reproves the self-wise con- 
ceit of His enemies with the, to them, perplexing 
difficulty of the divine and human origin of the Mes- 
sias. Charity and prudence are here marvellously 
mingled. For the sake of the one honest soul among 
His auditors, Christ expounds the law of love, His 
action no less than His words a stinging rebuke to 
the hateful Pharisees. These doctors of the law, for- 
sooth, had so inverted and perverted the Decalogue, 
that out of ten the insupportable burden of six hun- 
dred and thirteen precepts had been evolved, and 
while trifles were given prominence and rigidly en- 
forced, the great command of charity was placed near 
the end of the list and utterly neglected in their 
teachings and practice. This was the evil Christ 
came to remedy; to show the world by word and 
deed that charity is the sum and substance of all law, 
the very temple of our sanctification, around which 
the other virtues do but serve as scaffolding for its 
upbuilding. For God is love, and His greatest gift 
to men is the love He bears them, that love which 
called them into being, which preserved them and 
redeemed them, and the most precious offering that 



THE LAW OF LOVE. 525 

man can bring to God is the offering of his love. It 
is her love which makes the widow's mite more pre- 
cious in the sight of God than all the rich man's 
wealth, and when the spiritually poor, the fallen, 
throw themselves at Jesus's feet, it is their love that 
covers the multitude of their sins, for much is for- 
given to those only who love much. In a word, that 
chanty is a precept infinitely important, a virtue in- 
finitely precious, was declared when Christ pro- 
nounced its future reward: "Eye hath not seen, nor 
ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man 
to conceive, what things God hath prepared for those 
who love Him." 

Brethren, not only in the Gospel incident of to- 
day, but throughout His entire earthly career, Christ 
taught by word and deed the law of love. His very 
presence was an exhortation to love, for, says St. 
Paul (Tit. ii.), in Christ " the love of God our Saviour 
appeared to all men, instructing us that, denying 
ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live 
soberly and justly and godly in this world." His 
love for men, which from the beginning God had felt 
and repeatedly asserted, was palpably shown and 
proven when He sent into the world His only-begot- 
ten Son. The proof of love is the gift that love entails. 
Human love is but an empty sentiment expressed 
in words or manifested in some trifling trinket, 
powerless to beautify its object. But so efficient 
is the love of God that what He loves He also clothes 
with loveliness. Thus human nature in the person 
of Christ was glorified, and every incident of His life 



526 SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

from Nazareth to Calvary was but a new and 
stronger proof of the love of God for men. So, too, 
was the love of God diffused in our hearts by the 
Holy Ghost who was given to us, for from the price 
Christ paid for it we began to realize how precious 
in the sight of God our love must be. It was as 
though we had found a precious gem, and, ignorant 
of its value, were ready to part with it, like Esau, for 
a mess of pottage, when the Saviour opened our eyes 
to its true worth and we determined that nor honors, 
nor riches, nor pleasures, nor life, nor death should 
ever part us from the love of God. And this revela- 
tion of God's love was made to all. Many, indeed, 
refuse to see, and many there are that sleep, but still 
Christ shines, as does the sun, for all. He was born 
for all, He died for all, and the Gospel messages have 
been borne to all. " For their sound hath gone 
forth into all the earth, and their words unto the 
ends of the world." The Mosaic law was for the Jews 
alone, but the four Gospels, like the four rivers 
of paradise, swept round the world, overflowed their 
banks, and renewed the face of the earth. To every 
class the knowledge of Christ's birth was given: to 
the man Joseph and to the woman Mary; to the 
Jewish shepherds and the Gentile Magi; to aged 
Simeon and to John unborn; to Mary the Virgin, 
Anna the widow, and Elizabeth the wife; to the 
wise and the ignorant, the great and the lowly, the 
rich and the poor. In His Passion and death there 
played a part Jews and Gentiles, kings and common- 
ers, priests and laics, learned and unlettered, friends 



THE LAW OF LOVE. 527 

and enemies, and men and women of every age and 
condition in life. Finally the formal promulgation 
of Christianity on the first Pentecost was made in the 
presence of men out of every nation under heaven. 
Thus did the love of God appear to all men on the 
three great occasions, the three crucial points, in the 
work of the Redemption. 

Brethren, the revelation of God's love was made 
with a twofold object to wean our hearts from 
earthly things and to win them back to God, or, 
as St. Paul expresses it, " to instruct us that, deny- 
ing ungodliness and worldly desires, we should 
live soberly, justly, and godly in this world." On 
these two commandments, avoid evil and do good, ( 
depend the whole law and the prophets, for they 
involve that twofold law of charity according to 
which we should be ready to give up worldliness 
and to lay down our lives for God and our brethren, 
even as Christ laid down His life for us. For our 
return to God by love is the reversal of our de- 
parture from Him by sin, and in every sin there 
are two elements, aversion from God and conver- 
sion to creatures. It is of the very nature of 
the human heart to love something, and when the 
heart grows cold towards God and all that are 
His, when the practices and ceremonies of re- 
ligion become a wearisome burden, then worldly 
desires so invade the soul that God is quickly lost 
sight of and utterly forgotten. How prevalent this 
evil was when Christ was born ! How world-wide it 
is to-day! Men treasure up the riches, honors, and 



528 SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

pleasures of life and give their hearts and souls to 
them, and fain would they stem the steady flow of 
time and earthly things, so anxious are they to enjoy 
them permanently, so reluctant are they to pass 
along to God. Christ came to grapple with this 
evil, to reveal to us our loving Father, alone worthy 
of our love, to show us that for us there is no treas- 
ure here nor permanent abiding-place, but only in 
the kingdom of our God. And when by His ex- 
ample and His teaching He had exposed the hollow- 
ness of earthly things and weaned men from them; 
when He had weeded out the thorns and thistles 
from God's field, then He sowed the seeds of love 
love of God, our neighbors, and ourselves. " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God/' He says, " with all 
the powers of thy being, and thy neighbor as thy- 
self." Or, as St. Paul puts it, "Thou shalt live 
soberly, justly, and godly in this world." A sober 
life is one in which Nature's law of self-love is kept 
by grace from becoming inordinate. All creatures 
of God are for our use, but abuse of them is sinful, 
for moderation must be exercised in everything but 
love of God. Sobriety, therefore, is an even balance 
between our natural inclinations and the restrictions 
of God's law, and in this golden mean consists a well- 
ordered love of self. Earthly pleasures, in fact, are 
to the joys of heaven what an appetizer is to a feast, 
and whosoever indulges too freely in the antepast is 
thereby rendered incapable of enjoying the good 
things that follow. The danger here is not that our 
self-love will fall far short of what is just, but rather 



THE LAW OF LOfE. 529 

that it overstep just bounds, and hence the Saviour 
by His practice taught self-sacrifice and brings self- 
love into His teaching only by implication. But, 
secondly, the love of our neighbors He explicitly 
inculcates, for it does not come to us by nature to 
deal justly by all men. To live justly in this world 
is to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do to him 
as we would wish to be done by. One might say 
that it was the violation of this command that 
caused the fall of man, for Adam, had he wished to 
live for others, would have reached for the fruit of 
the tree of life; but in partaking of the fruit of the 
tree of knowledge he betrayed his inordinately self- 
ish ambition to be as God and to have others live 
for him. What true sons of Adam we are! How 
few of us really and practically love our fellowmen 
as we love ourselves! What a rare thing it is to find 
a man who realizes that the most precious love, the 
love most certain of reward, is not that which comes 
to, but that which goes out from him; that it is more 
blessed to give than to receive, to love than to be 
loved! If our horse or ox fall into a pit, how strenu- 
ously we labor to extricate it; if we lose a coin, how 
we search and sweep to find it, but when a neigh- 
bor's soul is in need, or dying, or dead, we coolly ask: 
" Am I my brother's keeper? " And if we love our 
relatives and friends alone, what thanks to us? Even 
the heathens do as much. " But I say to you," says 
Christ, "love your enemies, do good to them that 
hate you, and pray for them that persecute you." 
Like good St. Stephen -we should send back a 



53 SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

shower of prayers and blessings in return for the 
shower of stones and similiar persecutions our ene- 
mies pour upon us. As Christians we should never 
lose sight of the Saviour's loving gentleness to all, 
nor ever cease to hear the echo of His dying words: 
" Father, forgive them, for they know not what they 
do." 

Brethren, it were little to live soberly and justly in 
this world, loving one's neighbors and oneself, did 
one neglect the first and greatest command of all, 
" to live a godly life, to love the Lord our God with 
our whole heart, and our whole soul, and our whole 
mind." All our other affections must be so in line 
with our love of God, that while loving Him for His 
own sake we may love whatever else we love for the 
love of Him. Our entire being, too, with all its pow- 
ers, our heart, our soul, our mind, should be intent on 
God, " looking," as says St. Paul, " for the blessed 
hope and coming of the glory of the great God and 
our Saviour Jesus Christ." Between youth and age 
there is this difference, that the old live in the mem- 
ories of the past, but the young in the hopes of the 
future, and whosoever dearly loves his God is ever 
young, for he is ever looking for the blessed hope of 
the glory to come. Probably this was part of the 
Saviour's meaning when He placed that little boy in 
the midst of His Apostles and said to them: "Un- 
less you become as one of these, you cannot be My 
true disciple, nor enter the kingdom of heaven." 
For lovers of God and those who do not love Him 
differ as do the children and the servants of a house- 



THE LAW OF LOVE. 53 I 

hold; the latter receive monthly or yearly their sor- 
did earthly pay and are content, but the former are 
the sons of God, co-heirs with Christ, and serve 
gratuitously, looking only for their reward on the 
great day of their majority the coming of the glory 
of the great God. How different will that coming 
be from that of Sinai! How different from that of 
Bethlehem! And yet both Sinai and Bethlehem 
were necessary preparations for the final coming of 
the Lord. To the Israelites He came with law and 
majesty, the God of fear, and fear failed utterly to 
turn the wayward peoples back to God. Then came 
the God of love, the Babe of Bethlehem, who by His 
self-denial, His infinite charity towards all, and His 
absolute obedience to His heavenly Father, set be- 
fore the world an object lesson in love never to be 
forgotten. His final coming will be in glory such 
that the heavens and the earth shall be filled with it, 
and the sun and the moon and the stars shall pale 
before it. Brethren, let this be the process of our 
sanctification and salvation, from fear, the beginning 
of wisdom, to the pure love of God and so on to 
glory. We are by nature imitators, especially of the 
kingly and the great. Let us then follow and imi- 
tate the King of kings. If, following His example, 
we love God above all things and our neighbor as 
ourselves; if we live as He did soberly, justly, and 
godly in this world be assured we shall have good 
reason to look forward with confidence to the blessed 
hope and coming of the great God our Saviour. 



S3 2 EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 



after 

THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. 

" And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of 
the palsy: Son, be of good heart; thy sins are forgiven thee" 
Matt. ix. 2. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Sin general. II. Justification by faith. III. Refutation. 
I. True nieans : I. Baptism and Penance. 2. Virtue and 

Sacrament. 3. Power delegated. 
II. Parts of Sacrament : I. Contrition. 2. Confession. 

3. Satisfaction. 
III. De profundis: i. There is forgiveness. 2. Conversion. 

3. Example for others. 
Per.: I. Probatica. 2. Moving of waters. 3. Miracle repeated. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, it is a deplorable fact that in this world 
of ours few things are more common than sin. 
Ever since the fall of man sin has been almost a 
part of our very nature, for: "Behold," says the 
Psalmist, "we were begotten in iniquities, and in 
sin did our mothers conceive us/' And besides that 
original and hereditary guilt, each of us has added to 
the world's wickedness many actual, personal trans- 
gressions, for, says St. John: "If we say that we 
have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is 
not in us." Is it not strange, then, that notwith- 
standing the prevalence and dreadful nature of this 
spiritual disease, the Christian world should be di- 
vided as to its proper remedy? One of the very few 
tenets upon which the various Protestant sects are 
united is the doctrine of justification by faith. In the 
face of innumerable texts of Scripture implying or 



THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. 533 

openly asserting that faith without good works is 
dead, these scriptural Christians, forsooth, maintain 
that we achieve forgiveness of our sins by faith alone, 
by apprehending Christ as the Saviour, and hiding 
ourselves and our iniquities beneath the broad 
mantle of His holiness. Belief in Christ, say they, 
is threefold; belief in the truth of all His works, be- 
lief in His power to do all things, and belief in the 
sufficiency of His merits to cancel all our sins, and 
this last alone is, they claim, the means of our justi- 
fication. In refutation of such preposterous doc- 
trine suffice it to say that though Christ on various 
occasions commended faith as a necessary condition 
for the restoration of bodily and spiritual health, still 
He often elsewhere assigns other dispositions fear, 
sorrow, love, etc. as the occasions of His indulgence. 
Of Magdalen, for example, He said that " much had 
been forgiven her because she had loved much/' 
Besides, even where faith is mentioned by Him as 
His mercy's motive, it is evident that He speaks of 
belief, not in the efficacy of His merits, of which the 
parties concerned as yet knew nothing, but of belief 
in His unlimited miraculous power. Finally, the 
faith applauded by Christ in those instances was very 
often not at all that of those whom He healed or 
absolved, but of those who carried the afflicted be- 
fore Him or besought Him on behalf of the dying or 
the dead. Thus, Protestants prove too little or too 
much, that is, they prove nothing. 

Brethren, the Catholic Church holds, and has 
always held, that Baptism and Penance are the two 



534 EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

chief means whereby we obtain pardon from God for 
our sins. That original stain which we inherit with 
our nature, as well as all actual sins of the un- 
christened adult, are removed by the grace of Bap- 
tism. The remedy for sins committed after Baptism 
is Penance. " Penance," says St. Jerome, " is, as it 
were, a plank from the wreck of his baptismal inno- 
cence, on which depends the Christian's sole hope of 
salvation." Faith and fear and hope and love are 
necessary, yes, but of themselves they do not suffice. 
They are as so many steps by which the sinner as- 
cends to such exalted virtue that he conceives and 
manifests a heartfelt sorrow for his sins, not only on 
account of their intrinsic malice, but more especially 
because they are offensive to God. Sin's remedy 
must be as drastic as sin itself. " The sinner," says 
the Psalmist, " puts on iniquity like a garment, and 
it goes like water into his entrails, and like oil into 
his bones." Sin palsies the soul more completely 
than did his disease the poor cripple of to-day's Gos- 
pel, and nothing but that thorough revulsion of its 
whole being which we call Penance can ever effect its 
recovery. In the Old Law the virtue of penance was 
the only means by which forgiveness of sins could be 
obtained. From Adam to John the Baptist the scrip- 
tural message to the sinner was to be converted to 
the Lord by bringing forth fruits worthy of penance 
and pardon. It was on account of, and in recogni- 
tion of, their repentance, and their repentance alone, 
that God led Israel out of captivity, averted the 
doom impending over the great city of Ninive, and 



THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. 535 

spared and pardoned David and Ezechias, and 
Manasses and Achab. So accustomed, indeed, were 
God's chosen people to regard man's repentance and 
God's mercy as the essential elements in every recon- 
ciliation of the Creator with His creatures, that we 
find them in to-day's Gospel taking exception to 
Christ's apparently blasphemous words and sharply 
demanding: "Who can forgive sins but God?" 
Their idea was that the forgiving of sins demanded 
omniscience and omnipotence; omniscience, to know 
the worthiness of the penitent's disposition, and 
omnipotence, to obliterate his fault. But Christ, 
though they knew it not, was God, and He had come 
not to destroy but to perfect the law, by raising the 
virtue of penance to the dignity of a sacrament. 
That Christ as God had the power of forgiving sins 
needs no demonstration; it is evident from the very 
definition of sin. That Christ as man enjoyed the 
same authority, is equally clear, for He says of Him- 
self: " All power is given to me in heaven and in 
earth," and in to-day's Gospel He rebukes the unbe- 
lief of the bystanders by healing the man sick of the 
palsy, that from His ability to cure bodily ills they 
might learn that the Son of man hath also power on 
earth to forgive sins. This power in its fulness He 
imparted to His Apostles. " As the Father hath sent 
Me," He says to them, " so also do I send you," that 
is, with all necessary faculties for the continuance 
and accomplishment of His earthly mission. To 
Peter first, and later to all the Apostles, He said: 
" I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of 



53 6 EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

heaven; and whatsoever you shall bind upon earth 
shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you 
shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in 
heaven," and in one of His apparitions to them 
after His Resurrection, " He breathed on them, and 
said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose 
sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and 
whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." Nor 
was this concession a personal grant made by Christ 
to His Apostles on behalf of their fellow-countrymen 
or their contemporaries. He is the Redeemer, not 
of this people or that, this or that generation, but of 
all men of all time, and by virtue of his ordination 
every successor of the Apostles is clothed with this 
same celestial power. By reason of her unbroken 
Apostolic succession, therefore, the priests of the 
Catholic Church are the only real ministers of Christ, 
and the only true dispensers of this as well as of His 
other sacramental mysteries. For, in the sanctifying 
grace communicated to the soul on the remission of 
its sins by that outward sign, the absolution of the 
priest, and the manifestation of sorrow by the peni- 
tent, instituted by Christ, we have the three essential 
elements of a sacrament of the New Law. In its 
administration the priests act as the vice-gerents, 
the plenipotentiaries, of Christ on earth, of whom 
He said: " He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he 
that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that de- 
spiseth Me, despiseth the Father that sent Me." 

Brethren, the Sacrament of Penance does not con- 
sist merely in the authoritative pronouncement of the 



THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. 537 

absolution by the priest. Three conditions contri- 
tion, confession, and satisfaction are necessary on 
the part of the penitent for its valid and fruitful re- 
ception. The natural process of reconciliation was 
raised by the law to a higher grade, and finds its 
ultimate perfection in the Gospel. Christ's choice of a 
little child as the model of spiritual perfection has a 
broad and deep significance. When as boys we had 
the misfortune to offend our earthly father by some 
childish prank, it was usually through the medium 
of a mother's love that we sought and obtained for- 
giveness. But the father's pardon was not accorded 
nor the happy relations of favor and love reestab- 
lished without certain necessary preliminaries. We 
humbly approached our offended parent and openly 
acknowledged our fault, but that was not enough. 
We expressed our sorrow, nor did that suffice. We 
promised to guard against the recurrence of such 
misdeeds; but still there was something wanting. 
It was only when we had done all that, and had 
offered besides to make good by some personal sacri- 
fice the damage done, that the smile of love returned 
to his countenance and his fond arms opened. By a 
similar process are His wayward children restored to 
the grace of their heavenly Father. The sorrow nec- 
essary in the Sacrament of Penance is clearly not 
that perfect contrition which of itself effects justifi- 
cation, for otherwise the sacrament would be a 
superfluous institution. It is rather attrition, or a 
sorrow for sin inspired by some less exalted motive 
than the pure love of God. Still we must never lose 



53 8 EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

sight of the fact that the deeper our sorrow the more 
efficacious will be the sacrament, for the one essen- 
tial on which the whole fruitfulness or barrenness of 
the sacrament depends is the genuineness of our con- 
trition. We should try to emulate the great models 
of repentance, the humility of the publican and of the 
prodigal, the tears of David and of Peter, the ecstatic 
abandon of Magdalen, the consuming zeal of St. 
Paul, and the utter disregard of earthly things and 
earthly opinions displayed by the Emperor Theo- 
dosius when he cast aside his crown and his purple, 
and in the presence of all the people prostrated him- 
self in the dust before the temple of God. In to-day's 
Gospel Christ absolves the paralytic without the 
formality of a confession; but Christ's ministers can- 
not, as He, read the reins and the heart. To the con- 
fessor as judge and physician the case must be 
presented and the disease disclosed. While it is well 
to manifest even our venial faults, it is absolutely 
necessary to confess all the mortal sins we are then 
and there conscious of having committed, together 
with the number of times and the leading circum- 
stances of their commission. Alas! what care, what 
order, what exactness are employed in the manage- 
ment of business affairs, in the keeping of business 
accounts, and how true it is that the children of this 
world are wiser in their generation than the children 
of light. Nor is it of least importance to remember 
that, though the Sacrament of Penance remits the 
guilt of sin and the eternal punishment that is its due. 
there remains a temporal atonement to be under- 



THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. 539 

gone in this world or the next for the satisfaction of 
God's offended justice. That the damage done our 
neighbor by our trespasses must be made good is 
clear enough; but we often fail to realize that God's 
claims, too, must be satisfied, and we neglect to dis- 
charge by trivial penances here debts which we will 
be able to cancel hereafter only by the protracted 
pains of purgatory. " They who fear the frost," says 
the Scripture, " shall be overtaken by the blizzard." 
Brethren, I would that all sinners would read often 
and carefully the sixth Penitential Psalm, the "De 
Profundis," and see and hear there the awakening of 
conscience, the realization of sin and its conse- 
quences, the voice of hope, and the possibility of for- 
giveness and of ultimate salvation for all. " If Thou, 
O Lord, wilt mark iniquities," says the Psalmist, 
" Lord, who shall stand? " There are times when we 
feel with Cain that our iniquities are greater than 
that we may deserve pardon, and were it not for such 
examples of God's mercy as David, Manasses, Mary 
Magdalen, Simon Peter, the thief on the cross, and 
Saul of Tarsus, we should succumb to a Judas-like 
despair. From their histories we learn that with God 
there is merciful forgiveness even for the worst of 
sinners. "I wish not the death of the sinner," He 
says, " but rather that he be converted and live." 
John the Baptist pointed to Jesus as " the Lamb of 
God who taketh away the sins of the world." His 
blood, the blood of the New Testament, infinitely 
meritorious, was poured out for us unto the remis- 
sion of our sins, and were our sins as scarlet the 



540 EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

blood of the Lamb of God is redder still. Stayed on 
our way to despair by this voice of hope, we, by rea- 
son of His law of mercy, wait for the Lord. Out of 
the depth of our iniquities we cry to Him: "Lord, 
hear my voice, and let Thine ears be attentive to the 
voice of my supplication." " Our souls rely on His 
word and our souls have hope in the Lord." Nor 
will ours be a disappointed hope, for, " an humble 
and contrite heart the merciful Lord will never de- 
spise." And when the sweet grace of conversion has 
taken possession of our souls, and we feel ourselves 
once more restored to the condition of children of 
God and heirs of heaven, then a sense of gratitude 
and love such as filled the hearts of the afflicted 
whom Christ healed opens our lips to proclaim to the 
whole world what great things He that is mighty 
hath done to us and how hallowed should be His 
name. Nor do we forget our late companions in 
sin. " From the morning watch even until night let 
Israel hope in the Lord." If we have found forgive- 
ness, surely there must be hope for all, " for with the 
Lord there is mercy and with Him plentiful redemp- 
tion. Be comforted and encouraged, therefore, O 
Israel, for the Lord shall redeem thee from all thine 
iniquities." 

Brethren, there was at Jerusalem a pond having 
five porches, and at certain times its waters were 
moved by an angel of the Lord, and he that went 
down first into the pond after the motion of the 
waters was healed of his infirmities. The Sacrament 
of Penance, with its five requisites, is the Probatica 



THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. 54 1 

of the New Jerusalem, and the feelings that at times, 
in your better moments, come over you feelings of 
fear of God, of disgust for sin, of desire for some- 
thing higher and purer and nobler than your present 
life, of love for God these are as the moving of the 
waters by the angel of the Lord. Delay not, I beg 
of you; delay not to avail yourself of this means of 
sanctification. Consider how Christ has labored to 
make it easy for you. Justification under the law 
was almost as painful, almost as impossible, as it was 
for the cripple to reach first the waters of Probatica, 
but under the Gospel you have but to turn penitently 
to Christ, and by a word of His mouth you will be 
made whole. Lay your sin-palsied soul before Him, 
then, in the tribunal of penance, and doubt not the 
blessed result. Your spiritual, aye your physical life 
and health will be restored; your fellow-sinners will 
be comforted and encouraged and ultimately led to 
God by your example; and God's glory will be pro- 
moted, for the multitudes, seeing your conversion 
and your restoration to the friendship of God and 
God's Church through the Sacrament of Penance, 
will fear and glorify God who hath given such power 
to men. 



542 ROSARY SUNDAY. 



THE HOLY ROSARY. 

" A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed 
with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head 
a crown of stars." Apoc. xii. I. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. John's vision. II. Origin of Rosary. III. Division. 
I. Its enemies: i. Names of Mary and God. 2. Idolatry. 

3. Senseless repetition. 
II. Prayers: i. Vocal and mental. 2. Prayers of Rosary. 

3. Meditations. 
III. Excellence: i. Suitable to all. 2. Support in need. 

3. Its victories. 

Per. : I. Theory and practice. 2. Practice without merit. 
3. Worthy practice. 

SERMON. 

"AND a great sign appeared in heaven: a wo- 
man clothed with the sun, and the moon under her 
feet, and on her head a crown of stars. And be- 
ing in labor she was in pain to be delivered. And 
there was another sign in heaven the red dragon 
Satan ready to devour the fruit of her womb. And 
when she brought forth there was a great battle in 
heaven, wherein the angels of God cast out Satan 
and his angels. And I heard a voice saying: Now is 
come salvation and strength and the kingdom of 
God and the power of His Christ." Such, my 
brethren, is the account, in the twelfth chapter of 
the Apocalypse, of Mary's first glorious victory over 
the enemy of mankind. History has repeated itself 
since then, for in the thirteenth century we again be- 



THE HOLY ROSARY. 543 

hold the dragon now the dragon of heresy pre- 
paring to destroy the dogmas of our faith the fair 
offspring of Mary, the Mother of Wisdom. But 
once again she appears in the heavens, and taking 
from her head its starry crown, she makes of it a 
rosary, and placing it in the hands of St. Dominic, 
she bids him arm his followers therewith, and lead 
them against the powers of darkness. Then the de- 
mons of error and of sin fly before them, so that 
once again the heavenly voice proclaims the king- 
dom of God reestablished and the power of His 
Christ restored. 

Brethren, this being the month and to-day' being 
the feast of the most holy Rosary, we will do well 
to reflect a little on this beautiful devotion. Let us 
see first, what its enemies say against it; second, 
what its advocates say for it, and third and lastly, 
whether the voice of our conscience numbers us 
among its friends or among its enemies. 

What do its enemies say against it? A fanatical 
opposition to God's holy Mother and to the homage 
paid her by Catholics has ever been the distinguish- 
ing mark of Protestantism. While professing un- 
bounded admiration for womankind and for mother- 
hood they still have no respect for the ideal woman 
the Virgin of Virgin Mothers. Hence it is not 
strange that they should find fault with a method of 
prayer wherein the name of Mary is repeated with 
that of the Godhead in proportion of ten times to 
one. They remind us of St. Paul's words, that 
" there is one name and one only at the sound of 



544 ROSARY SUNDAY. 

which every knee in heaven and on earth and in hell 
shall bend than which there is no other name un- 
der heaven given to man whereby we must be 
saved" the sacred name of Jesus. Yet, they say, 
you Catholics deify Mary and relegate the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost to the position of lesser di- 
vinities. Nay, more; they accuse us of taking to our- 
selves a graven thing a few beads strung on a wire 
a monkish invention and making them the talis- 
man of hope, the idol of men's love. As for the 
prayers themselves why, they ask, why this monot- 
onous mummery? Why this eternal repetition of 
the selfsame prayer? Why indeed, if not that the de- 
votion of the Rosary is essentially Catholic, and 
therefore essentially wrong. 

Brethren, when we Catholics desire direction in 
the practice of our religion we are not likely to ap- 
peal to our Protestant brethren for instruction. Of 
them are true the words of St. Paul, that " they un- 
derstand not either the things they say or whereof 
they affirm." In fact, making due allowance for pre- 
judice, what they deny is generally true, and what they 
affirm is to be denied. We do not deify Mary, neither 
do we adore her, but we honor her, first as the Mother 
of our God and again for her own transcendent vir- 
tues. So transcendent indeed that the Son of God 
Himself, like another Solomon, stepped down from 
His royal throne to raise her to a place by His side. 
Aye! and we hear Him address her in Solomon's 
words: " Speak, Mother, for I cannot refuse thy 
petition." Therefore when we appeal to the throne 



THE HOLY ROSARY. 545 

of grace we do so through Mary, honoring God by 
honoring His Mother, imitating Him by exalting 
her, touching the most responsive chord in the 
sacred heart of Christ with the sweet name of Mary. 
For who of you does not remember his childhood 
days and the boyish ruse by which you secured fa- 
vors from your earthly father? Did you go to him 
boldly and demand the desired pocket-money? No; 
for there was about him a stern dignity that over- 
awed. But freely and confidently you went to your 
good mother to present your petition, and you saw 
your father smile with pleasure, and your mother re- 
turning to you radiant, with double the amount. 
Brethren, it was not without reason that Our Lord 
pointing to a little boy said to His Apostles: " To 
be My disciples you must become as one of these," 
for the nearer our devotions come to the simple and 
loving methods of a child, the more perfect they are. 
Such, I say, is the devotion of the Rosary. Nor do 
we pay to the mere beads and wire any superstitious 
worship or attribute to them any magic power, but 
we cherish the beads as a gift from Mary herself, as 
an article consecrated to devotion by the blessing of 
God's minister, as a blessed chain that constantly 
leads back our wandering thoughts to God and holy 
things. We repeat the same prayer over and over 
again just as a child will repeat and repeat and repeat 
again his question or request till it be granted. 
True, prayer does not consist in much speaking, says 
Christ; that is, not long and eloquent discourses, but 
a short simple request perseveringly repeated. The 



546 ROSARY SUNDAY. 

omniscient intellect of God requires no circumlocu- 
tions to understand our needs, but His will demands 
perseverance on our part before it is moved to re- 
lieve them. Thus we see Abraham holding back the 
arm of God's wrath from Sodom and Gomorrha by 
a simple but oft-repeated request. What variety is 
there in a holding up of the hands or the blowing of 
a trumpet? Yet that simple act, persevered in all 
day, procured for Moses a victory over his enemies, 
and for Josue the ruin of the walls of Jericho. The 
stern judge yielding at last to the widow's petition 
was overcome not by her eloquence but by her im- 
portunity. The baker rising in the night to serve 
his customer yielded not to his arguments but to 
his monotonous knocking. Of Christ in His agony 
we read that He went and fell prostrate three times, 
and three times He prayed the selfsame prayer. 
Thus you see that the recitation of the Rosary, far 
from being a vain and tedious repetition, is of all 
prayers the one best suited to the childlike nature 
of a true Christian, and most closely resembling the 
model Christ gave us by His teaching and example. 
But if we analyze this devotion we will find in itself 
still further proof of its excellence. Vocal prayer is 
good, but it may be rendered void by distractions; 
mental prayer is better, but it may be defective 
through lack of vocal expression; but a prayer that 
is at the same time vocal and mental is, all things 
being equal, essentially perfect. Now such is the 
Rosary, the idea of which is to keep the mind en- 
gaged in holy meditations, while the lips are singing 



THE HOLY ROSARY. 547 

the praises of God. Again, if we care to further 
analyze this twofold element the vocal part and 
the mental part we will find in the former a series 
of prayers the most perfect the Church possesses, 
am! in the latter a series of the most salutary reflec- 
tions of which the mind of man is capable. A lively 
faith is the groundwork of all prayer, for how can 
men praise a God whom they know not, or ask bene- 
fits of Him in whom they do not believe? Hence, 
the Rosary begins with that grand profession of 
faith, the sign of the cross, wherein is expressed a 
belief in the threefold mystery of the unity of God's 
nature, of the Trinity of the divine persons, and of 
the Incarnation. Then, as though ill-content with 
so brief an exposition of his belief, the pious follower 
of the Rosary is next led on to give a fuller declara- 
tion of his faith in the inspired words of the Apostles' 
Creed. Thus he declares himself not only a believer 
but a stanch defender of all the truths from the Alpha 
to the Omega of Christian doctrine. Then begins 
the Rosary proper. First comes the " Our Father," 
of the excellence of which prayer it is enough to say 
that it is the sublimest of all prayers, having Christ 
Himself for its Author, and containing as it does a pe- 
tition for every blessing pertaining to man's temporal 
and spiritual welfare. The " Hail Mary " follows, in 
which with loving persistency we repeat the words 
God addressed to Mary through the Angel Gabriel, 
while with St. Elizabeth we congratulate her on the 
great things the Omnipotent hath done to her. And 
as often as we recall Mary's transcendent dignity as 



54 ROSARY SUNDAY. 

the Mother of God, so often do we in the " Holy 
Mary," invoke her powerful intercession for us poor 
sinners now, and especially at the hour of our death. 
Finally, as though to head off a Protestant objection, 
we at the end of each decade turn from Mary, her 
honor and perfections, to Mary's Creator, the sole 
Author of her greatness, the one Source of all good 
things, and we say, " Glory be to the Father, and to 
the Son, and to the Holy Ghost." 

But beautiful as are the vocal prayers of the Ros- 
ary, the accompanying meditations are not less 
praiseworthy a fitting accompaniment for so sweet 
a melody. " If," says St. Bernard, " you would avoid 
going down to hell after your death, you must fre- 
quently go down there by meditation during your 
life." With equal good reason may we say if we 
would go to heaven in eternity, we must accustom 
our thoughts to go there often in time. But how 
can we do this better than by following in spirit the 
footsteps of our divine Guide Jesus Christ? Hence 
we divide His history into fifteen parts or mysteries, 
and we allot one mystery to each decade, and thus 
we proceed, as He did and as every true disciple of 
His must do, from joy through sorrow to glory. 

We see the gentle Virgin once again in her humble 
home, and we see the resplendent Gabriel coming 
with his tidings of great joy to her and all mankind. 
We hear Mary and Elizabeth blend their voices in 
magnifying the Lord for choosing them to be the 
mothers of men greater than whom have never 
been born of women, and we kneel again by the 



THE HOLY ROSARY. 549 

crib in the stable of Bethlehem. Again we hear the 
" Nunc Diwtittis " of holy Simeon, and again we gaze 
in mingled joy and wonder on the fair boy in the 
midst of the holy doctors in the Temple. But, as for 
Christ, so for His true disciples, there is no joy with- 
out its latent woe, hence, we meditate next on the 
sorrowful mysteries. We go in spirit to the garden 
of Gethsemani, and kneel by the side of the agonized 
Christ. We listen to the horrible echo of 'the leaded 
thong, as each brawny savage rains blow after blow 
on the quivering shoulders of our poor Saviour, and 
we stand by while the huge thorns are being pressed 
down and in till they grate on His sacred skull. 
Then we take up our cross and follow Him on and 
up the heights of Calvary and there immolate our- 
selves in spirit by the side of our crucified Lord. 
Finally, as if to carry out the idea that after the cross 
of tribulation and only after the cross comes the 
crown of glory, we rise with Him from the sepulchre 
in which our sins have entombed us, and soaring 
above and beyond the reach of human joy and hu- 
man sorrow we enter with Him, glorified, into the 
kingdom of His Father. When we have thus as- 
cended to God in thought, the Holy Spirit of God 
descends on us in reality, calling up for our medita- 
tions the picture of His first descent on the twelve 
Apostles. In the midst of that group we see Mary 
Mary, who, now that her earthly mission is accom- 
plished, presently closes her eyes in the sweet sleep 
of death, and is taken up body and soul into heaven, 
whither we accompany her, to assist with the angels 



550 ROSARY SUNDAY. 

and the saints at her glorious coronation. Brethren, 
such are the beautiful thoughts that occupy the 
mind while our lips are praising God in language 
commended by Himself, and our hands keeping time 
to our thoughts and words on a little instrument 
invented for her wayward children by our own lov- 
ing Mother. Every faculty of our mind and body is 
by this method of prayer brought into play and di- 
rected heavenward, so that with right good reason 
one of the Fathers has said of the Rosary that it is 
the queen of indulgenced devotions. 

Not least among the many excellences of this 
prayer is its suitability to all classes of men to 
every condition of life. It is the devotion of the 
family circle. Many of us will remember the old 
homestead of long ago, where, at the quiet evening 
hour, our good parents and their little ones knelt 
around the hearth and joined with simple fervor in 
reciting the Rosary. Who does not remember that 
happy moment when for the first time it was his 
proud privilege to lisp his own decade? For so 
simple is this devotion that the merest child can prac- 
tice it; so easy that the most uncultivated mind can 
follow it. It inspires thoughts worthy of the loftiest 
intellect, emotions that satisfy the cravings of the 
most fervent heart, and aspirations that lead innum- 
erable souls to God. It unites all, high and low, in 
the bonds of equality and brotherhood. I have in 
my mind at the present moment a little chapel where 
you may often see a royal queen and a lowly peasant 
addressing the same prayers to the same Mary, 



THE HOLY ROSARY. 551 

Queen of the Rosary. We find instances in history 
where the Christian soldier, defeated in his struggle 
for faith and fatherland, has turned the tide of battle 
by an appeal to Mary of the Rosary. We see the 
great O'Connell wincing under the fiery eloquence 
of his opponent, but preparing himself by reciting 
the Rosary for that grand effort of his which pro- 
cured hope for the country he loved full well, and 
freedom for the Church he loved better still. Be- 
sides these victories, who will recount its spiritual 
conquests, the hardened hearts moved to repentance, 
the despairing souls it has snatched from the edge of 
hell and returned to God! In fine, it is the badge of 
the noblest of God's creatures, of the gentle Sisters 
of Charity on the battlefield and in the hospital, and 
of the intrepid missioners in the wilderness. 

Brethren, do we appreciate the full value of this 
devotion? Are we its friends or are we its enemies? 
We are, you say, its friends, But alas! as many a 
man will say: " I am a Catholic, but I cannot say I 
practice my religion," so many of us will have to 
say: "I approve of the Rosary, but I cannot say I 
practice it." To each I say equally: " Stuff and non- 
sense; there is no Catholic but a practical Catholic, 
and there is no friend of the Rosary but he who prac- 
tices it often and well." " He that is not with me is 
against me," is not less true of Christ than it is of 
the Church and the Rosary. Your Protestant friend 
refuses the honor due to the Queen of the Rosary 
and you resent it, but if you practice not this devo- 
tion your action is inconsistent, for the Protestant 



55 2 ROSARY SUNDAY. 

only openly declares the disrespect for Mary which 
you by your neglect tacitly avow. Hence since 
God both hears men's words and reads men's 
thoughts, you are no better before God than he. 
Nay, you are worse for he knowing not the truth 
lives consistently with his error, but you knowing the 
truth neglect to conform your life thereto. Again, 
there are many who do practise this devotion, who 
really do recite the Rosary every day; but how do 
they recite it? Ah, with them it is not a unison of 
mental and oral prayer with them it is all oral all 
words and words pronounced, alas, not in a human 
manner, but after the method of a parrot or a speak- 
ing-machine. Truly, such a practice is but little 
better than absolute neglect. Nay, I would even 
venture to say that rather than recite the Rosary 
thus, it would be better not to attempt to say it at 
all, for the indifference of her children hurts the 
tender heart of our Mother less than their positive 
disrespect. But there are others who recite the 
beads every day and recite them well, and of these 
I say, may God and His holy Mother bless them, 
and enable them to persevere and lead others to imi- 
tate them. Let this be your devotion in Church and 
in the home circle always, but especially during this 
month of the Rosary. You will find that in your in- 
dividual souls and in the community at large will be 
accomplished another triumph of the angels of virtue 
over the angels of sin and again the heavenly voice 
will proclaim the kingdom of God reestablished upon 
earth and the power of His Christ restored. 



THE DENIAL AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. .553 



Sifter 

THE DENIAL AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 
" The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king who made 
a marriage for his son." Matt. xxii. 2. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. History of religion. II. Mercy and justice. III. In- 

fidelity, faith, charity. 
I. Marriage : I. Proposal. 2. Betrothment. 3. Ends in 

view. 
II. Invitation : i. Patriarchs and prophets. 2. Apostles. 

3. Dives and Lazarus. 
III. Call rejected : I. Jews. 2. Gentiles. 3. Faith and 

charity. 
Per. : Parable a lesson in faith, hope, and charity. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, the parable of to-day's Gospel, brief 
as it is, sums up the entire history of religion. It is 
a story of divine mercy and justice on the one hand, 
and of human ingratitude and its consequent pun- 
ishment on the other. It deals with the one event, 
the incarnation, around which cluster all the other 
facts of sacred history. With that mystery as a 
standpoint, glancing into the past and again into the 
future, it divides the whole human race into unbe- 
lievers and believers, and the latter it subdivides into 
those who believe only in word and in tongue, and 
those who believe in deed and in truth. Believers 
and doers of God's will are admitted, but unbeliev- 
ers and mere believers are either admitted only to be 
ignominiously expelled, or utterly excluded from the 
celestial banquet prepared for the blessed in the 
kingdom of the Father, 



554 NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

A certain king made a marriage for his son. The 
king is God the Father, and the marriage, the union 
of the divine and human natures in the single per- 
sonality of Jesus Christ. Most appropriately, indeed, 
is the incarnation likened to a marriage. First 
came the betrothment; the declaration of the divine 
Son's love, as sung by the inspired Solomon in the 
Canticle of Canticles, and His promises to the patri- 
archs and the prophets. Then the Father, through 
Gabriel, announced to Mary His will and His con- 
sent, and she, the mother of regenerated humanity, 
answered for her daughter: " Behold the handmaid 
of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy 
word." Then the marriage, whereby in very truth 
two become one two natures so closely united in 
one person that, unlike other marriages, not even 
death itself could separate them. Thenceforward, 
too, the Royal Prince and His lowly peasant spouse 
shared all things in common; she, His supernatural 
attributes, and He, her human infirmities. Nay 
more, a certain familiarity, a certain relationship was 
thus established between the relatives and followers 
of each; that happy intercourse between earth and 
heaven known as the communion of saints. Fi- 
nally, the usual ends for which royal marriages are 
contracted are apparent here. There was the love of 
the betrothed; God so loved the world as to give 
His only-begotten Son. There was the dire war- 
fare of earth with heaven, which ended only at the 
incarnation, when the angels proclaimed: " Glory 
to God and peace to men." There were the rich 



THE DENIAL AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 555 

possessions of the bridegroom, to- which humanity 
longed to be made heir. There was need of a rem- 
edy for sin, and " it is," says St. Paul, " a true saying 
and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ came to 
save sinners." There were vacant thrones in heaven, 
and no heirs apparent, but when the Word became 
flesh, God gave as many as received Him the power 
to be made the sons of God because "born not of 
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of 
man, but of God." Rightly, therefore, is the hypo- 
static union called a marriage which the King of 
kings made for His divine Son. 

And He sent His servants to call them that were 
invited to the marriage, and they would not come. 
Notice they had been already invited and are now 
simply reminded that the happy day has come. For 
ages the patriarchs and prophets had foretold to the 
Jews the future incarnation of the Son of God, and 
bade them prepare, besides the robe of faith, the 
nuptial garment of charity; but now, when John the 
Baptist, the Apostles and disciples, bid them to the 
long-looked-for feast, they refuse to come. But 
God, rich in mercy and patience, sent other servants, 
saying: " Behold I have prepared My dinner; all 
things are ready; come ye to the wedding." This 
second band of messengers are the selfsame Apostles 
and disciples, but they are called " other servants /J 
because upon them, in the meantime, the Holy 
Ghost had descended. Thus (I. King x.) Samuel 
says to Saul: "The Spirit of the Lord shall come 
upon thee and thou shalt be changed into another 



556 NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

man." The Apostles after Christ's Ascension, trans- 
formed by the Spirit from timid men into heroes, 
made a second and more impassioned appeal to the 
Jews to admit the incarnation and embrace Chris- 
tianity. But no; the Jews neglected; and while 
some went their ways to their farms and their mer- 
chandise, others treated the King's servants con- 
tumeliously and put them to death. You may think, 
perhaps, that this king, to faithfully represent God, 
should have sent his servants with invitations to the 
poor rather than to the rich, but remember that pos- 
sessors of great wealth are oftenest, in the sight of 
God, the poorest of the poor. It is a sad commen- 
tary on them that the rich, in the ages of persecu- 
tion, were ever the first to apostatize. " Give up all 
and follow Me " is for the rich man, at all times, even 
at death, a fearful trial which the poor man is hap- 
pily spared. It is sadder still that a man's riches and 
his relish for spiritual things follow an inverse ratio. 
Talk to Dives of faith or the nuptial garment of 
charity! Pshaw! Purple and fine linen, or even the 
workaday garments of the shop or counting-house, 
are good enough for him. What cares he for a ban- 
quet of spiritual delights! Let Lazarus have all that 
and welcome, but for himself, he is content to feast 
sumptuously and more substantially every day. It is 
saddest of all, that, in the attainment of their coveted 
millions, they will not allow even human lives to 
block their way. Dives's millions! how many human 
lives do they represent; how many neglected oppor- 
tunities; how many tears of widow and orphan; how 



THE DENIAL AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 557 

many broken hearts; how many citizens disfran- 
chised; how many laws perverted; how many crimes 
of oppression, extortion, injustice, cry from their 
midst to heaven for vengeance! 

" And the king, being angry, sent his armies and 
destroyed those murderers and burned their city." 
From the past the parable now turns to the future, 
and foretells the most signal instance of divine ven- 
geance that history affords the siege and capture 
and destruction of Jerusalem. Thirty-seven years 
after Christ's Ascension, a Roman army, guided and 
aided from on high, attacked the Jewish capital, 
captured and enslaved ninety-seven thousand; slew 
sixteen hundred thousand; burned the Temple and 
razed the city to the ground. Forbearance had 
ceased to be a virtue, and God slew those murderers 
and burned their city. The wedding, indeed, was 
ready, but they that were invited were not worthy. 
What food for reflection here, my Brethren! How 
often since then has Christ's invitation to that feast, 
where He is both host and banquet, been scornfully 
refused or neglected! " Come to Me," He says, " all 
ye that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh 
you." But men mistrust Him. They fear His yoke 
is neither sweet nor His burden light, and so they 
turn from Him to the world, its allurements and its 
slavery. As surely as the darkness follows the light, 
so surely will God's vengeance overtake these men 
and destroy these murderers of their own souls, and 
burn those temples of pleasure, their vile bodies. 
But God's mercy, though superseded for a moment 



55 8 NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

by His justice, was by no means exhausted. Once 
again He sent forth His servants into the highways 
to gather together as many as they found, both bad 
and good, till the wedding was filled with guests. It 
was the call of the Gentiles to the Christian faith, 
that call that has rung down the ages, that has rung 
out to-day from so many Catholic pulpits; from the 
steeples of so many Christian temples. The royal 
banquet-hall is to-day the Christian Church, and the 
vast numbers of baptized Christians therein collected 
speak volumes for the assiduity of the King's ser- 
vants and the docility of those they invited. The 
proud, self-sufficient Jew thanked God he was not 
like other men, and spurned the invitation; but the 
lowly Gentile, though the call came to him second- 
hand, bowed an humble acknowledgment, " Lord, 
be merciful to me, a sinner," and accepted it without 
question. The wedding was filled with guests and 
the King's heart, though still yearning for His own, 
His chosen ones, was consoled, nevertheless, as was 
the heart of the prodigal's father by the continuous 
presence of his dutiful son. But among His guests 
He sees one who has not on the wedding-garment of 
charity. Many had come, both good and bad 
many clothed in the filth and rags of iniquity, but by 
the bounty of the host and the efforts of His ser- 
vants all but one had been clothed in that garment 
that covereth a multitude of sins. One persisted in 
outraging the etiquette of the occasion, and, once 
again, mercy gave place to justice and he is cast out 
into the exterior darkness. 



THE DENIAL AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 559 

Herein the parable follows the course of religion 
even to our own times by refuting- the arch-heresy of 
the latter days the Protestant theory of salvation. 
" The good alone," say they, " belong to the Church, 
and faith alone shall save them." But the parable 
teaches that faith may be possessed by and procure 
admission alike for bad and good, but that if one lack 
charity he is, though admitted, practically an out- 
cast. Think of it, Brethren, there are numbers of 
Christians in the world, in this parish, here to-day, 
led to Church every Sunday by a sense of duty, the 
outgrowth of their faith, who imagine they are thus 
fulfilling the whole law, but who, because they have 
not charity, because they are habitually in the state 
of mortal sin, are little better than reprobates, and, 
but for God's mercy, would have been long since ir- 
revocably cast into exterior darkness. But God's 
mercy surpasseth all understanding. So, as one ac- 
cepts the invitation at all, however unworthy he may 
be, there is still hope that God will do the rest, for 
He temporizes and would fain be friends with the 
very worst. Especially is this so under the law of 
mercy the Christian dispensation. Of all the 
guests only one was expelled. On the judgment 
day, it may be that from the many called few will be 
chosen. But that thought should not be a discour- 
agement to Christians. Of those invited second- 
hand one only was found unworthy. Up to the time 
of Christ, practically all had refused the invitation 
and were lost; so that were even all Christians, or, as 
I confidently believe, the vast majority of Christians 



560 NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

to be saved, it would still be true on the judgment 
day that " many were called but few were chosen." 
Brethren, to-day's parable is the most marvellous 
piece of history ever written, recounting with equal 
exactness events of the past and future, summing up 
in a few words the religious history of centuries, in- 
culcating the soundest moral, and teaching the deep- 
est dogmatic truths, refuting errors ages before 
they had arisen. How truly did the Jews say of 
Christ: "Never did man speak as this man!" He 
exhibits to us His mercy, ever foremost, but His jus- 
tice, too, glancing over mercy's shoulder ready to 
strike after the days of forbearance. He teaches, 
moreover, that not every man who says "Lord, 
Lord," shall be saved, but he who doeth the will of 
the Father, he shall be saved. A firm faith, an abid- 
ing hope, an ardent charity, these, together with an 
humble bearing and a docile mind, are the chief re- 
quisites for the ideal Christian who would fain be not 
only as one called of God, but also as His chosen 
friend in the kingdom of heaven. 



THE GROUNDS OF FAITH. 561 



>unUaE Sifter 

THE GROUNDS OF FAITH. 

" Unless you see signs and wonders you believe not" 
John iv. 48. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. St. Januarius's blood. II. Seeing and believing. 

III. Thomas and Peter. 
I. History: i. Miracles often useful. 2. Capharnaum. 

3. Nazareth. 
II. Towns: i. Prerequisites for miracles. 2. Nazareth re- 

jects Him. 3. Woe to Capharnaum. 
III. Persons: i. In Samaria and Capharnaum. 2. Mary. 

3. Faith always demanded. 

Per. : i. Modern miracles. 2. Proper attitude. 3. Invisible 
miracles. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, in the old Italian city of Naples there 
is a vial of St. Januarius's blood, which, though hard 
and dry on all other occasions, is miraculously 
liquified on the saint's festal day. I remember 
standing for hours by the side of an infidel watch- 
ing and waiting for the miracle. At length it took 
place, but having, unfortunately, turned aside for a 
moment, I saw it not; my companion saw it and be- 
lieved. Behold herein the mercy and the justice of 
God. By carnal means He would fain have enlight- 
ened, howsoever imperfectly, that darkened soul 
with some glimmer of faith in Christ, but from me, 
a Catholic, a priest, He exacts that higher and more 
perfect faith which, independent of signs and won- 
ders can turn to Christ, and on the sole testimony of 
His word confess that verily He is the Son of the 
living God. And so it is and ever has been. The 



562 TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

faith most precious in the sight of God is not that 
founded on the miraculous, but faith blind and un- 
questioning. There is, in one respect, a close 
analogy between faith and contrition, for just as con- 
trition is imperfect or perfect according as it springs 
from fear of sin's material consequences or from the 
pure love of God, so faith is imperfect or perfect in 
proportion as it climbs gradually upwards on the 
evidence of miracles, or soars above and beyond 
them directly to the throne of God. The primary 
object of Christ's ministry was, that men might be- 
lieve in Him to life everlasting on the evidence, not 
of His works, but of His words. It was only when 
His words failed of their effect that He had recourse 
to signs and wonders, saying: " If you believe not 
My words, believe at least My works." The miracles 
of His lifetime and of the Church's earlier years 
were wrung from an unwilling Christ by the very 
necessity of the case: viz., because He had to deal 
with a stiff-necked, stubborn, unbelieving race. 
" Unless," He says, " you see signs and wonders you 
believe not." What thanks to you if, having seen 
them, you believe? Ah! how Christ's sacred heart 
must have longed for some one who would first 
openly confess Him and afterwards, if need be, seek 
evidence to strengthen his faith! How it must have 
thrilled with pleasure when it found such a one 
when the poor father of the lunatic boy fell at His 
feet crying: " Lord, I believe. Lord, help my unbe- 
lief! " Brethren, this is the truth I would have you 
learn this morning the secondary position of mira- 



THE GROUNDS OF FAITH. 5 6 3 

cles in the Christian dispensation: that they take 
from faith its true value and merit. I would not have 
you be a doubting Thomas refusing to believe in the 
risen Saviour, unless you put your hand into His 
side and your fingers into the place of the nails; but 
like blessed Peter, relying not on the testimony of 
flesh and blood, but on the revelation of your 
heavenly Father, I would have you blindly and un- 
hesitatingly confess Christ to be the Son of the living 
God. And as, for that grand profession of faith, 
Christ made Peter the rock whereon to build His 
Church, so will He make your faith, if like to Peter's, 
the base for a superstructure of virtue that will reach 
and carry you up to the very throne of God. For 
" blessed are they that have not seen and have be- 
lieved." 

Brethren, briefly stated, my contention is this: 
Miracles as stimulators of faith are a lamentable ne- 
cessity rather than an unmixed blessing. They served 
their purpose in the hands of Christ confronting a 
bigoted and a pagan world; in the hands of the infant 
Church struggling for existence; in the hands of a 
Francis Xavier in the van of civilization and Chris- 
tianity. They are useful in a Lourdes, to stem the 
rising tide of infidelity, and in a Naples, where Na- 
ture is so beautifully arrayed that the people would 
fain worship her as a God; but in an ideal Christian 
community there should be no place, no necessity 
for them. For faith, according to St. Paul, is the 
substance of things to be hoped for; the evidence of 
things that appear not. The evident substantial 



564 TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

basis of belief in Christ is the submission to and re- 
liance on His word alone, and without such faith it 
is impossible to perfectly please God. Take the 
community of Capharnaum as a case in point. Of all 
the towns of Galilee it was the most favored, as the 
home of Christ and the scene of His greatest mira- 
cles. It lies on the northwest coast of the Sea of 
Galilee; twenty-five miles to the southwest is Cana, 
and a few miles further on, Nazareth, while eighty 
miles to the south lies Jerusalem. When Jesus in- 
augurated His public ministry by the changing of the 
water into wine at Cana, He was on His way from 
Nazareth to Capharnaum, and for the rest of His 
stay in Galilee, Capharnaum was His home. Here 
lived the fishermen, Peter and Andrew, and the sons 
of Zebedee; here Matthew was called from his office 
in the custom-house to be an Apostle and an Evan- 
gelist. In the local Synagogue Jesus expounded His 
doctrines, among others, you remember, the forgive- 
ness of sins, but the people believed not. Then, 
and then only, did He prove His words by signs and 
wonders, such as the cure of the man sick of palsy. 
The opportunity He gave them for the exercise of 
p.erfect faith they rejected, and regretfully He had 
recourse to miracles. And what stupendous mira- 
cles! Not to mention the miracle of Cana a few 
miles away, in Capharnaum itself occurred the cure 
of the ruler's son and of the man possessed by an 
unclean spirit. What a commentary it was on the 
incredulity of the people that that spirit instantly 
confessed Christ to be the Holy One of God! Here, 



THE GROUNDS OF FAITH. 

too, He raised up Peter's mother-in-law from a rag- 
ing fever, and cleansed the lepers, and cured the 
palsied. Here He healed the centurion's servant, and 
the woman afflicted with an issue of blood, and here 
He raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. In 
the little harbor the Apostles at His word took the 
miraculous draught of fishes; farther out on the lake 
He stilled the storm at sea; on the opposite shore 
He multiplied the loaves and fishes, and on the re- 
turn voyage that same night He came walking on 
the waters to the rescue of His storm-tossed follow- 
ers. These are but a few of the hundreds of recorded 
and unrecorded miracles performed in or near 
Capharnaum. So many indeed that His native town 
of Nazareth became so wildly jealous that on His re- 
turn His fellow-citizens attempted to fling Him over 
a cliff for refusing to repeat among them the won- 
ders He had done at Capharnaum. Now see the 
proofs of my contention. It appears that as a nec- 
essary condition for miracle-working Christ de- 
manded at least the beginnings of faith, which begin- 
nings He then would raise by miracles to a higher, 
but far from perfect, development. So intimate with 
Him as boy and man were the Nazarenes that they 
could see in Him only the son of Joseph, the village 
carpenter. " Jesus," says the Gospel, " marvelled at 
their incredulity and could do no miracles among" 
them." They demanded the carnal realism of mira- 
cles as a condition of faith; Christ demanded faith as 
a condition of miracles, and on that issue His own 
unhappy town was the first to reject Him. But even 



566 TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

had He granted a sign to that perverse people would 
their faith have become perfect? Alas! no. Look at 
Capharnaum. Its faith, founded on material signs 
and wonders, was itself material and unenduring. I 
see the Christ, on His last journey to Jerusalem and 
death, turn like an avenging angel to Capharnaum 
and pronounce a woe upon it. "Woe to thee, 
Capharnaum." You believe, yes, but your faith be- 
gan not as true faith should, in submission of will 
and mind and heart, to My words. If in pagan Tyre 
and Sidon had been wrought such mighty works, 
they had long since done penance in sackcloth and 
ashes. But thou, Capharnaum, art exalted unto 
heaven with worldly pride and local vanity. Your 
faith was born of material signs and wonders, and 
without them it cannot endure; whence you shall be 
cast down again into the hell of unbelief. Ah, how 
true a prophecy was that! When Christ multiplied 
before their eyes the loaves and fishes they would 
fain have taken Him by force and made Him king; 
but when Christ ceased His miracles, when He had 
utterly surrendered Himself into the hands of His 
enemies, when Pilate brought Him forth scourged 
and thorn-crowned and said: " Behold the man, be- 
hold your King," many a Capharnaum tongue 
shouted back: "Away with Him; we have no king 
but Caesar." 

Brethren, it is a fearful thought for us Christians 
and Catholics that from Jerusalem to Capharnaum 
the only persons who turned with perfect faith to 
Christ were a heathen, outside the circle of God's 



THE GROUNDS OF FAITH. 567 

chosen people, a poor old woman, and an heretical 
community. When Jesus went from Nazareth to 
Capharnaum, He, after two days, went south to Jeru- 
salem to the feast of Passover. In Jerusalem his 
miracles and words aroused but opposition and unbe- 
lief. Returning into Galilee He passed through 
Samaria, whose people the supercilious Jews re- 
garded as heretics and little less than heathens. Yet 
there Christ found the faith He sought. The poor 
woman at Jacob's well, all sinful as she was, quickly 
perceived His Messiasship and blazed it abroad, and 
though He remained there but two days and per- 
formed not a single miracle, yet the citizens believed 
in Him, " not for the word of the woman but because 
of His own word." " Because," said they " we our- 
selves have heard Him and know that this is indeed 
the Saviour of the world." What a disappointment,' 
then, on His arrival at Cana, as to-day's Gospel re- 
lates, to find a man from Capharnaum, a Jew, peti- 
tioning for the life of his son, but unwilling to believe 
until he had seen signs and wonders! What a dis- 
appointment again when Jairus, also a Jew, asked 
Him to raise up his dying or dead daughter, but 
despaired even while the Saviour was on the way to 
do so, and probably joined with those who on 
Christ's arrival laughed Him to scorn! But pres- 
ently came the poor old woman, who believed first, 
and, believing, touched the hem of His garment and 
was healed of her issue of blood. Presently also 
came the heathen centurion, that bluff, large-hearted 
soldier, petitioning for the life of his servant, believ- 



568 TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 



ing implicitly in the omnipotence and Messiasship of 
Jesus and deeming himself unworthy that the Lord 
should enter under his roof. Humanly speaking, 
what a glad surprise for Christ to find in these 
strangers the genuine faith He so vainly sought even 
in Israel! For all time He has made their blind, 
unquestioning assent the model for doubting seekers 
of signs and wonders. " Blessed are they that have 
not seen and have believed. For many such shall 
come from the east and the west and shall sit down in 
the kingdom of the Father, but the children of the 
kingdom shall be cast out." Brethren, you will 
doubtless say to me: "This is a harsh doctrine, of- 
fensive to Catholic ears. It is destructive of old and 
popular ideas, rather than constructive of new. It 
were better left unsaid." Brethren, apart from the 
' fact that it is the true teaching of Christ, it also, to 
my mind, serves a double purpose. It throws a flood 
of light on certain obscure passages of the Gospel 
narrative, and imparts practical advice for our guid- 
ance. Have you ever reflected why Christ so often 
enjoined secrecy regarding His miracles on the spec- 
tators and those who were cured? The explanation 
offered by some, viz., that it was lest His where- 
abouts should become known to His enemies seems 
almost blasphemous. No; the real reason was lest 
men should be tempted to base their belief in Him on 
His works rather than His words, thereby conceiv- 
ing imperfect and imenduring faith. Had all men 
minds and hearts as docile and tenacious as the Vir- 
gin Mary's, miracles would be things unknown. 



THE GROUNDS OF FAITH. 569 

" Woman," He says to her at Cana, " Woman, what 
is there between Me, the miracle-worker, and thee? " 
Yet when she pointed to the bystanders unconscious 
of His divinity and bade them do His bidding, He, 
for their sake, not hers, changed the water into wine. 
Not once thereafter was she present at a miracle; not 
once did He appear to her after the Resurrection. 
Why? Because she needed it not; her faith was per- 
fect. Again, did you ever reflect why Christ's hu- 
manity is always brought out in the strongest, most 
human, aspect on the occasion of His greatest mira- 
cles? The star shines and the angels visibly and 
audibly hover over Bethlehem, but within is a help- 
less, poverty-stricken child. Angels guard Him, and 
yet He flees for His life into Egypt. He astonishes 
the doctors in the Temple, yet He goes down to 
Nazareth with the carpenter and his wife and is sub- 
ject to them. The Father proclaims " Thou art My 
beloved Son " over a village stripling seeking the 
baptism of John. He is tempted by Satan, and 
angels minister to Him. Now He is asleep for very 
weariness and yet He stills the storm at sea; now He 
is hungry but marvellously feeds five thousand; now 
He ministers as a slave and institutes the Holy Eu- 
charist. Again, His enemies fall before Him, but 
lead Him away captive. Again, Nature trembles 
and the dead rise at His cry, but He dies of pain and*' 
thirst on the cross. Ah, how careful He was never 
to do violence to man's freedom! How quick al- 
ways, and especially in the moments of greatest 
exaltation, to present some phase of His personality 



570 TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

that would tax the popular credulity and elicit those 
acts of absolute submission that constitute perfect 
faith. 

Brethren, there is here, too, something for our 
guidance. Modern miracles, are they true or false? 
I know not, neither do I care. The age of miracles, 
has it ceased? Practically it has. Is this a misfor- 
tune or a blessing? A blessing, for it argues on the 
part of the men of to-day a deeper mental insight 
into the nature of Christ and His institutions, 
and a more docile heart to receive His teaching. 
Brethren, what shall I say to you? Be not over- 
anxious for material miracles nor over-credulous re- 
garding them to the detriment of your faith. There 
are, thank God, invisible miracles invisible, yet very 
real happening around and in us every day. There 
is the cleansing of sin from the soul by the waters of 
Baptism; there is the cure of spiritual lepers by the 
words of absolution; there is the changing of the 
bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. 
These and such like are the real miracles of to-day. 
Believe in them, pray for them, love them, and make 
them the basis of your faith. They are the only 
miracles you can build your faith on and still deserve 
Christ's commendatory words: "Blessed are they 
that have not seen and have believed." 



MERCY. 571 



Sifter 

MERCY. 

" Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who tres- 
pass against us" Matt. vi. 12. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Shakespeare. II. Mercy should beget mercy. III. Be- 

atitude. 
I. History: i. Peter's query. 2. Individual and priest. 

3. Sinners God's debtors. 
II. Rare virtue : i. Measure for measure. 2. Mercy's 

eulogy. 3. Bearing wrongs patiently. 
III. Judgment: i. Parity. 2. Revival of guilt. 3. Foolish 

merchant. 
Per. : Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 

SERMON. 

BRIEFLY stated, dear Brethren, that is the sub- 
ject of to-day's Gospel. It teaches that divine 
clemency and human gratitude should join in indis- 
soluble wedlock, and bring into this world the lovely 
virtues of mercy and charity. Shakespeare com- 
pares mercy to the " gentle rain from heaven/' that 
gentle downpour that renews the face of the 
earth that steals through all earth's devious 
windings back to the ocean, and thence back to 
the skies whence it came. So, too, divine mercy if 
it beget not in us love and mercy one for another 
that mercy " that reacheth from end to end mightily, 
and ordereth all things sweetly; " if it be not exhaled 
and returned whence it came, by grateful hearts, the 
heavens become as unyielding as polished metal, 
and God's earthly kingdom an arid waste. For, 



572 TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

blessed are the merciful, and only the merciful, for 
they alone shall obtain mercy. 

The Gospel parable is Our Lord's answer to 
Peter, who had just asked: " Lord, how often shall 
I forgive my brother his offences against me? 
Seven times?" Our Lord answered: "I say to 
thee not seven times, but seventy times seven times." 
We read that the just man falls seven times a day; 
if you remember, there are seven deadly sins; and 
seven out of the ten commandments treat of man's 
duty to man; and for one or all of these reasons 
Peter saw fit to make seven pardons the limit of 
forbearance. But Our Lord had previously said: 
" Be ye merciful, as your heavenly Father is 
merciful," and as the mercy of God is infinite, 
therefore He now teaches Peter, and through Peter 
He teaches us, to know in pardoning neither meas- 
ure nor number. This lesson, I repeat, is meant for 
us, for Our Lord speaks not to Peter the priest, but 
to Peter the man; He defines Peter's duty not as the 
minister of the Sacrament of Penance, but as the 
Christian in the ups and downs of daily life. For, in 
his question, Peter had spoken of offences against 
himself; whereas, the priest in the confessional deals 
with offences against God; and Our Lord, in His 
answer, inculcates unconditional forgiveness, which, 
for the priest in the confessional, is oftentimes im- 
possible. To the individual, to each individual 
Christian, is directed this precept of love and for- 
giveness. 

Christ having answered Peter proceeds, accord- 



MERCY. 573 

ing to the custom of those days, to explain His 
meaning by a parable. " The kingdom of heaven/* 
He says, " is likened to a king who would take an 
account of his servants. " God is our King and we 
His earthly kingdom, exiled, it is true, like the 
Israelites in the desert, but hoping like them to reach 
one day the promised land. An exiled nation we, 
homeward bound, some, loading ourselves with 
earthly spoils beneath which we fall and perish; and 
some trudging bravely on, indifferent to everything, 
to everything except the glory to come; each led on 
by the all-absorbing idea our happiness. But even 
the worst among us pause betimes our better mo- 
ments when the still, small voice of conscience 
speaks and we enter into reckoning with our God. 
And oh! how much we owed even had we never 
sinned! How immeasurably have our sins increased 
that debt! How small our funds wherewith to pay; 
and how hopeless the task of earning more! The 
servant, in the parable, owed his king ten thousand 
talents, that is, ten million dollars. If we suppose a 
million dollars to be the reward for keeping, and fine 
for breaking, one of God's commandments, many of 
us, alas! are hopelessly in debt, and many of us, thank 
God, are in a fair way to become multi-millionaires 
in the kingdom of heaven. But we sinners those 
of us who have run our sinful course through the 
Decalogue, not once but hundreds of times what 
an enormous debt is ours! Ah, we may pray: 
" Lord, have patience with me," but it would be folly 
to add: "and I will pay Thee all." We have not, 



574 TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

we never can have, wherewith to pay the debt in- 
curred by even one mortal sin, for what do we pos- 
sess, what can we possess that is not from our 
bountiful Creditor? No, there is only one hope for 
us the hope that our King and our God will be 
moved with compassion and forgive us all the debt, 
and the foundation for that hope we have in His own 
blessed promise: "That an humble and contrite 
heart the merciful Lord will never despise." But 
even our contrition and humility our ransom 
come from God. By a law of spiritual gravitation, 
of ourselves we can descend, but ascend, never, with- 
out the helping hand of God. If He turn not toward 
us we are lost. Dante represents the damned as 
submerged in a frozen lake frozen because the 
light and warmth of God's gaze never penetrates 
there. The Lord looked on the traitor Peter, and 
immediately Peter wept. So it ever is: even the be- 
ginning of our repentance comes from God. He 
may look on us reproachfully, He may even com- 
mand to be sold into the slavery of the devil our soul, 
and our soul's wife, which is our body, and the chil- 
dren of their union, which are our evil deeds, but 
His very wrath is an artifice of divine mercy to lead 
us to fall down at His feet and beseech Him saying: 
" Have patience with me and I will pay Thee all." 
Nay, He even puts it in our power to pay Him all, 
having given us an elder Brother, our Redeemer, 
possessed of countless riches amassed for just such 
emergencies, and ever generous in paying the debts 
of His scapegrace younger brethren. Be our debt 



MERCY. 575 

ever so great infinite if you will yet as long as life 
lasts there is room for hope. By mortal sin we justly 
fall under the slavery of the devil, but not irredeem- 
ably. It is never too late to appeal to divine mercy 
to have patience; the case is never so hopeless but 
what, relying on the infinite merits of Our Redeemer, 
we can confidently promise God's justice to pay Him 
all. One thing, and one only, is necessary; that, as 
we fell by pride so we rise by humbly falling, suppli- 
cants, at God's feet, for: "He that exalteth himself 
shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall 
be exalted." 

" Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them 
that trespass against us." " Mercy," says the poet, 
" is an attribute of God Himself," most difficult for 
man to imitate, and hence most often emphasized 
in God's dealings with man. Says the Psalmist: " If 
Thou wilt observe iniquities, O Lord, Lord, who will 
endure them?" Now do we, as creatures, properly 
reflect this attribute of the Creator? Alas! what a 
rare virtue among us is magnanimity. For lack of 
mercy in our hearts, too often the very recitation of 
the Lord's Prayer becomes a curse on our heads. 
We beg and receive forgiveness from our King, and 
going out we harden our hearts against the prayer 
of our fellow-servant and refuse to forgive. We 
ask for pardon in proportion as we are willing to 
pardon, and were God to take us at our word, were 
He to interpret our prayer as it is interpreted in our 
daily lives, forgiveness of injuries were as rare in 
heaven as it is on earth. But if durine our lives 



57 6 TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

God's mercy surpasseth all understanding, be as- 
sured, the day will come the day of our death 
when He will make our mercy the measure of His 
own. " For," says St. Luke, " with the same meas- 
ure that you shall mete withal it shall be measured 
to you again." 

Nothing, to my mind, brings out into stronger 
light the vileness of our nature than our lack of ap- 
preciation for this lovely virtue, for mercy for her 
own sweet sake is worthy of all love. Among vir- 
tues she is the highest in the highest. The Church, 
in one of her prayers, says: "The omnipotence of 
God is shown especially by mercy and pardon." 
Speaking of mercy of man to man Shakespeare 
says: " It becomes the throned monarch better than 
his crown, for earthly power doth then show likest 
God's, when mercy seasons justice." Mercy it is 
that constitutes us children of the Most High, for in 
Matt. (v. 45, 46) we read: " Pray for them that perse- 
cute and calumniate you, that you may be the children 
of your Father who is in heaven." Our powers of 
forgiveness are the measure of our loyalty to Our 
Saviour, for to forgive means to overcome self, and 
Christ has said: " If any man will be My disciple let 
him deny himself." In fact, chief among the objects 
of Christ's coming was to teach mercy to every liv- 
ing creature. He came to level the opposing fortifi- 
cations of God's justice and man's arrogance, and 
though as to the former He succeeded, as to the 
latter, alas! His mission was partly a failure. For 
with all the ingratitude of the servant in the parable, 



MERCY. 577 

we ignore the fundamental principle of all Christian 
morality, " Do to others as you would like to be done 
by; " we refuse to see that the divine remission of our 
vast liabilities generates in us an obligation to for- 
give our fellowman his paltry debts. No, we throttle 
him, and cast him into prison, till he pay us all. 
" Mercy/' says Shakespeare, " blesseth him that 
gives and him that takes," and, per contra, ven- 
geance curseth equally its victim and its author. A 
man never appears to worse advantage never more 
contemptible than when he clamors for revenge; 
whereas the sublimest heroism is patience under in- 
sult and wrong. The author of the book of Proverbs 
voices these sentiments when he says: " The bearing 
of a man is known by patience, and his glory is 
to pass over wrongs." Is an injury done or an af- 
front offered; immediately the ignoble rowdy, with 
a shriek or an oath, rushes to the assault, but the 
gentleman stands unmoved or gives way, as the poet 
says, with nobler reason against fury taking part. 
The noble Christian looks over the present wrong, 
to a greater good beyond, to which wrongs, patiently 
borne, are stepping-stones; but the rowdy sees only 
the wrong here and now, and like a foolish child frets 
more bitterly over a broken toy than over the loss 
of his inheritance. 

Such incidents are but modern reproductions of 
the scene on Calvary the contrast between the 
mocking, blasphemous thief on his cross and the 
crucified Saviour patient and silent silent, or if 
He spake at all it was only to utter that gentle 



57 8 TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

prayer: " Father, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do." 

The king, in the parable, having heard what was 
done, recalled his servant before him, and having 
upbraided him for his ingratitude, delivered him to 
the torturers till he should pay all the debt. There 
-is the third and last act in this little drama presented 
for our instruction. We may be inclined, perhaps, 
to console our guilty consciences by arguing that 
there is no parity between the action of the king to 
his servant and the attitude of God to the sinner, for 
in Ezechiel we read that as often as the sinner shall 
bewail his iniquities God shall no longer remember 
them. True, but still I call your attention to the 
closing words of the parable: "So, also, shall My 
heavenly Father do to you if you forgive not every 
one your brother from your heart." The parity 
is plain plainly stated in the sermon on the mount: 
" If you forgive others your heavenly Father will for- 
give you; but if you forgive not others neither will 
your heavenly Father forgive you." Nay, just as in 
the parable, judgment is now demanded for a debt 
already pardoned, so our subsequent sin revives the 
guilt and justifies the punishment even of those pre- 
viously pardoned. A schoolboy, for example, mis- 
behaves and is forgiven; he offends again and is par- 
doned with a warning, and so on till patience ceases 
to be a virtue, and his master inflicts punishment, not 
for one but for the whole series of offences. And by 
the fact that the ungrateful servant did not dare, a 
second time, to plead for pardon, we are taught that 



MERCY. 579 

the course of a relapsing sinner leads to final im- 
penitence. A merchant had four ships, three so new 
and splendid that, not to mar their beauty, he went 
with all his merchandise on board the fourth that was 
old. But one ship cannot float the cargo of four, and 
so the old ship sank, and its owner with it, and now 
his three beautiful vessels are to him profitless things 
of the past. Brethren, we have four ages child- 
hood, youth, manhood, and old age and if we load 
the entire burden of penance on old age, be sure we 
will fare no better than the foolish merchant. 
" Now," says the Scripture, " now is the acceptable 
time now is the day of salvation." 

Brethren, at times in our better moments we 
realize our debt of gratitude to God and we cast 
around for ways of paying it saying: " What shall I 
give to the Lord for all He hath given me?" Let 
me send you away this morning with this one idea 
fixed firmly in your minds, that your first, most 
sacred duty is to be kind and gentle with one another 
as your heavenly Father is merciful to you. How 
rare soever be the gift you propose to lay at the feet 
of the Saviour, remember always that rarer still is a 
merciful, a forgiving heart. " If," says Our Lord, in 
Matt. v. 23, 24, " if thou offer thy gift at the altar and 
there thou rememberest that thy brother hath any- 
thing against thee, leave thou thy gift before the altar 
and go first to be reconciled to thy brother and then 
coming thou shalt offer thy gift." 



580 TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 



CHURCH AND STATE. 

" Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Ccesar's, 
and to God the things that are God's." Matt. xxii. 21. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex. : I. Religion and patriotism. II. Conflict. III. History 

of question. 
I. Church superior to State : I. Origin. 2. Nature. 

3. Mission and destiny. 
II. History: i. Church's work. 2. State's opposition. 

3. Europe of to-day. 
III. Church in America: i. Her enemies. 2. Her work. 

3. Solution of problems. 
Per. : Fidelity to Church, and golden rule in time of conflict. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, love of religion and love of country 
are two of the master passions of every Christian, 
every Catholic heart. And because master passions, 
therefore, by no other cause is the human breast so 
painfully convulsed as by a conflict between Church 
and State, by the conflicting emotions of patriotism 
and religious fidelity. In such a crisis, when called 
upon to choose between Church and State, between 
Christ and Barabbas, too often, alas! the world has 
answered, Barabbas. Thus when Pilate, presenting 
Jesus to the Jews, said: "Behold your King," they 
roared back: " Away with Him, we have no king- but 
Caesar." Again, all through the history of the 
Middle Ages runs the echo of a struggle to haul 
down the sacred emblem of Christianity the cross 
and hoist in its stead the symbol of civil author- 
ity the flag. And even in our own times and in our 



CHURCH AND STATE. 5 Sl 

own country, Democracy, like a modern Nabucho- 
donosor, erects a statue to reason and liberty, and 
calls on all, at the sound of the national anthem, 
to fall down and adore. Jn view of such a crisis, 
therefore, it may not be amiss to consider briefly why 
we should give not only to Caesar the things that are 
Caesar's, but especially to God and God's Church the 
things that are God's. 

Man being composed of body and soul, living in 
time and destined for eternity, has many spiritual and 
corporal necessities; and among others the need of 
spiritual and temporal rulers. God, therefore, has 
established a twofold authority the Church and the 
State and given to each the right to claim our sub- 
jection and support. But the Church's claim to our 
allegiance is prior to that of the State. Each, it is 
true, derives its authority from God, but in the State 
authority comes from God through the people to .the 
government; but in the Church it comes to her gov- 
ernment directly from God. The State is founded 
by and for its people, but the Church, though for the 
people, has for its Founder God Himself in the per- 
son of Jesus Christ. The State is a human institution, 
subject to the human conditions of change and de- 
cay, according to the vicissitudes of time and will of 
its people; but the Church is a divine institution, as 
unchangeable and everlasting here and hereafter as 
God Himself. Of the two, therefore, the Church 
stands nearer to God, and, as such, is the higher 
power. And as the moon reflects more of the sun's 
glory than the tiny star, such, too, is the relation 



582 TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

the semblance of the constitutions of the Church and 
State to the perfect constitution of God's heavenly 
kingdom. The Church is the most perfect society 
extant. Her authority emanates from one invisible 
through one visible head, pervading her entire 
system, down to the very lowliest official in the 
service, and binding her many and varied mem- 
bers into a very marvel of unity. And a 
unity not of bodies alone, such as the State 
can boast bodies held together by moral or even 
physical force and aiming at social order and tem- 
poral prosperity but a unity of souls, and hence of 
bodies too, whose object is man's spiritual welfare, 
whose methods are to convince with truth and per- 
suade by love, and whose high destiny it is to bring 
man into the everlasting possession of the all-good 
of God Himself. By reason, therefore, of her divine 
origin, mission, and ultimate destiny, the Church is 
as far above the State as God above man, as the soul 
above the body, as heaven above earth; and as such, 
while teaching us to give to Caesar the things 
that are Caesar's, she justly claims that in a conflict 
of rights our first duty is to give to God and God's 
Church the things that are God's. 

But in this utilitarian age we are apt to reckon 
claims to our allegiance according to the benefits 
we receive from the claimant. What, then, has the 
Church done for mankind, and what the State? 
Nineteen hundred years ago each started on its 
beneficent mission. The State being a creation of 
the people, backed up by the support of the majority, 



CHURCH AND STATE. 583 

with an end in view which all could understand and 
appreciate, its success was assured from the begin- 
ning. But in her very beginning the Church was 
handicapped. A few miserable, unlettered fishermen 
confronting a world of Pagan idolaters and fanatical 
Jews, preaching them a gospel antagonistic to their 
inclinations and prejudices; commanding the former 
to abandon their idols, and the latter to renounce 
their ancient traditions; preaching peace and good 
will to savage warriors; supplanting Venus with 
Mary, and Bacchus with a figure of temperance and 
mortification; commanding assent to doctrines they 
themselves did not even pretend to understand, and 
when asked: "Whence your authority?" they an- 
swered: "The village carpenter of Nazareth." 
" Whom shall we adore? " " Yonder felon on the 
cross." " What shall we hope for, what shall we 
fear? " " A heaven and a hell whose existence we 
cannot even prove." What wonder King Agrippa 
laughed at St. Paul and told him to " go to, for a 
learned madman." But madness though it were, still 
there was method in it, for this doctrine and the 
Church that preached it spread everywhere, in- 
vaded every country, and, in the face of seemingly 
insurmountable obstacles, everywhere overcame. 
And wherever the Church went, there immediately 
began to be felt the humanizing effects of Christian- 
ity. Liberty, equality, and fraternity was her motto. 
Liberty for the wife and mother from the thraldom 
of her lord; liberty for the slave from the yoke of his 
master; liberty for the sinner from the dominion of 



5^4 TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

the devil. Equality, too, established not by debasing 
all to an equal grade of servility, but by raising each 
to a sense of his dignity as a child of God and heir 
to heaven. Fraternity also, whereby the rich are 
bound to assist the poor, the victor to spare the van- 
quished, and peace is established and maintained be- 
tween people and people and between man and man. 
And in the accomplishment of this social revolution 
the Church has never shed a drop of blood nor struck 
a single blow. With the book of science in one hand 
she has even in the ages when learning was a re- 
proach she has gone through the world educating 
mankind up to an appreciation of the truth, and with 
the crucifix in the other hand she has presented to 
them the motive for conforming their lives to the les- 
sons received. And in all that time she has never 
trespassed on the rights of king or people; in fulfil- 
ling her mission she has helped the civil authorities 
to accomplish theirs; and when persecuted by jealous 
rulers she has, in the interests of peace, retreated to 
the last limits of truth and justice before pronounc- 
ing her ultimatum: "Thus far and no farther shalt 
thou come." For just as her divine Founder by His 
very goodness excited the jealous hatred of the 
Caesars, and was consequently scourged and cruci- 
fied, so too the Church. The State has tripped her 
up at every turn; dashed from her hand the wine and 
oil she would have poured into the wounds of suf- 
fering humanity. It forbade her first ministers, the 
Apostles, to preach the Gospel or name of Jesus 
Christ, and it arrested and executed them as rebels 



CHURCH AND STATE. 5 8 5 

because they refused to rebel against God. The 
mighty army of Christian, of Catholic martyrs it 
ruthlessly slaughtered, because, rather than prove 
disloyal to their great commander-in-chief, Jesus 
Christ, they preferred to disobey His subordinate 
officer, the State. Brave youth and gentle virgin, 
priest and nun and aged martyr, let the godless and 
uncatholic call you traitors and rebels if they will, 
but we venerate you as the heroes of the world, and 
yearn to follow your glorious example.. But who 
shall relate all the Church suffered from the State! 
Let the hills and caves of Ireland and the catacombs 
of Rome tell the story of her sufferings and her 
wrongs. While prating about liberty, the State re- 
fused liberty of conscience to the Catholic. Incapa- 
ble itself of exercising spiritual authority, it forbade 
its exercise by the Church. Nay, while denying to 
the Church, which is at once human and divine, the 
least civil power, the State which is purely human 
dares to usurp spiritual authority by establishing na- 
tional churches. Are not King Edward VII. and the 
Czar of Russia two worthy claimants to the honor 
of being successor to St. Peter? But apart from 
that, on the continent of Europe, in essentially Cath- 
olic countries, the Pope to-day cannot appoint a 
bishop without permission of the State; no marriage 
is valid except contracted before a magistrate; and 
only lately the Italian and French parliaments made 
it a criminal offence for any priest in the confessional 
or from the altar to object to any government or- 
dinance, however unjust or unholy. One hundred and 



586 TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

seventy times has the State wrung from the .Church 
her little temporal dominion necessary for the right 
exercise of her spiritual authority. Forty-five Popes 
have been either driven out or kept out of Rome. 
Hildebrand and the three Popes, Pius VI., VII., and 
IX., languished for years in exile; -and behold our 
own Leo of to-day robbed of his states and city, a 
prisoner in his last and only possession, his house; his 
priests and churches despoiled, his monasteries 
thrown down and their inmates cast out into the 
world, nay, his very life in danger and all this from 
a beggarly government that has beggared itself in 
paying its minions for crying " Down with Catho- 
licity! Death to the Pope! " There is the past record 
of Church and State the Church, the highest power 
on earth; the State, which is but her lowly auxiliary. 
The Church, next to God, mankind's greatest 
friend; the State a perpetual dog in the manger, 
frustrating duties it was itself incapable of. The 
State claiming all for Caesar; but the Church mildly 
but firmly proclaiming the law of equity: "Thou 
shalt render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and 
to God and God's Church the things that are God's." 
Brethren, the question comes home very close to 
us. If a member of the A.P.A., or one of our music- 
hall brethren, were asked America T s greatest 
enemy to-day, he would answer: "The Catholic 
Church." And you know, if a fool only repeats his 
folly long enough and loud enough, wiseacres will be- 
gin to believe him. Well, then, where did the Catho- 
lic Church ever teach to give to God the things that 



CHURCH AND STATE. 587 

are God's without also teaching to give to Caesar the 
things that are Caesar's? Only the other day her 
highest prelate, speaking to the Catholics of America, 
defined her policy thus: " Go forward bearing in one 
hand the book of Christian truth and in the other 
the American Constitution." I venture to say that 
in working out the social problems that confront 
them, the real statesmen and true patriots of the 
country look to the Catholic Church as their ablest 
assistant. And well they may; and the Church, given 
fair play and no favor, is right ready to assist, for on 
America she looks as a mother on her young and 
beautiful daughter. I repeat it, America is a product 
of Catholicity. Her government is the most perfect 
among nations, because it most nearly resembles 
that of the Church. The Declaration of Independ- 
ence is a declaration of Catholic principles as old as 
the Church, and the framers of our Constitution 
were guided by the Catholic theory of government 
liberty, equality, and fraternity borne to them like 
an echo from the times of their Catholic ancestors. 
The State without the Church can never handle the 
poor. " Father," says the poor old widow, " Father, 
I am destitute, send me to the Sisters' home; but 
sooner than go to the Island I will die in the street." 
The State alone can never subdue the lawless. Two 
or three policemen vainly struggle with a madman; 
but the priest comes along and immediately fury 
gives place to submission and repentance. The State 
locks up criminals and makes them more rebellious 
still, but the Church enlightens them with truth and 



588 TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

softens them with love and restores them to society 
good citizens. Here are the things of Caesar and 
of God, of Church and State; and the mistakes of the 
State are as many as the times she refused God's 
Church the things that are hers. The Church had, 
in the Old World, proved her ability to abolish slavery 
without a blow, but the State robbed her of that 
privilege here, with a consequent sacrifice of innu- 
merable lives. The State is vainly grappling with So- 
cialism, a monster the Church kept at bay eighteen 
hundred years by laws of charity and conscience and 
the doctrine of a hereafter. The country is crying 
out against lynch law, and the State is powerless to 
prevent it; but when the Church was given the things 
that are hers, the shivering victim found a safe refuge 
in the sanctuary. A dangerous spirit of materialism 
is taking possession of the young, because in edu- 
cating them the rights of the Church are usurped by 
the State. And finally, the marriage contract, the 
foundation of the home and consequently the corner- 
stone of society marriage is being taken from the 
Church and lowered by the State from the dignity of 
a sacrament to the baseness of a bargain, while di- 
vorce is filling the country with ruined homes, a de- 
graded womanhood, and an immoral society. The 
Church is the only body to-day that takes a deter- 
mined stand against these evils. She is as ready to 
shed her blood now for her rights and God's as were 
her brave sons in the hour of the nation's need. 
With the gentle devotedness of her consecrated 
daughters on the battlefield and in the hospital, she 



CHURCH AND STATE. 589 

nurses society back to moral strength and vigor. All 
she asks is fair play. " Give," she says, " to Qesar 
the things that are Caesar's and to God and God's 
Church the things that are God's." 

Brethren, in America, thank God, one can be at 
once a good Catholic and a good citizen; and the 
better the Catholic the better the citizen. But many 
of us are intensely interested in politics and little 
concerned about religion. We look on State laws as 
grave precepts, on Church laws as pious counsels. 
We would give our lives for the nation's honor, but 
we laugh when our Church is insulted and wronged. 
We proudly march through the world wrapped in the 
American flag, but we blush when caught signing 
ourselves with the sign of the cross. And yet, by 
reason of her origin, constitution, mission, des- 
tiny, and services to mankind, the Church's claim to 
our allegiance is prior to that of the State. In times 
of peace, therefore, let Catholicity and patriotism go 
hand in hand; but in times of conflict let us avoid 
equally the extremes of giving all to the Church or 
all to the State, and let us be guided by the golden 
rule: " Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, 
and to God the things that are God's." 



59 TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 



Sifter 

THE VICE OF DRUNKENNESS. 

" For many walk of whom I have told you often, and tell 
you weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 
whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and 
whose glory is their shame. 1 ' Phil. iii. 18, 19. 

SYNOPSIS. 
Ex. : I. Wisdom and drunkenness. II. Drunkard among crea- 

tures. III. Bacchus. 

I. Objections: i. Timidity. 2. Liberty. 3. Necessity. 
II. Drink affects: i. Pocket. 2. Self and family. 3. Neigh- 

bors. 
III. Appeal to: i. Total abstainers. 2. Moderate drinkers. 

3. Drunkards. 
Per. : Woman's help, and tableau for young men. 

SERMON. 

" BRETHREN, be wise unto sobriety." These 
words, my dear Brethren, taken from the Epistle of 
St. Paul to the Romans, express the relation be- 
tween common sense and drunkenness, between a 
drunkard and a wise man. They tell us that on the 
steep incline of human perfection and human degen- 
eration wisdom is the highest point, drunkenness 
the very lowest, as far removed the one from the 
other as is the brute creation from man, as is the 
basest vice from the noblest virtue, as is hell from 
heaven itself. So that the more one approaches to 
perfect sobriety the wiser he becomes, the nearer he 
comes to habitual drunkenness the greater his folly. 
For what position in God's fair creation does the 
drunkard hold? An angel is a pure creature that en- 
joys God; a man is a creature that thinks and rea- 



THE VICE OF DRUNKENNESS. 591 

sons; a brute is a creature that follows his appetites, 
but never to excess; a tree is an ornament of the 
earth and useful to man; but the drunkard, what is 
he? The drunkard is only a drunkard, with nothing 1 
like him in all God's creation. He is not preparing 
himself for the angels' heaven; instead of reasoning 
like a man he has buried his rational soul in his flesh, 
and his very flesh he has sunk lower than the brutes, 
so as to become a useless, unsightly, dangerous mon- 
ster. Hence it is that some one has very well said 
that mankind may be divided into three classes: 
men, women, and beasts. This accounts, too, for the 
strange pictures of the wine-god, Bacchus, which 
the genius of ancient Greece and Rome has handed 
down to us. They represent him as an unhealthy- 
looking, bloated youth, bearing aloft the wine- 
goblet, seated on a car drawn by wild beasts, while 
round about him frantic men and lewd women and 
monstrous satyrs wrestle and sing and caper in 
shameful abandon. Oh, those ancient poets well 
knew that sobriety is wisdom, and the companions of 
drunkenness, vice, and every kind of folly. This 
same idea which they tried to picture a later poet 
attempted to express when he exclaimed: "Oh, 
thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no other 
name by which thou mayest be known let us call 
thee Devil." 

Brethren, you will tell me that all this, instead of 
being a sound argument for total abstinence, is 
mere high-sounding exaggeration. Is not, you ask, 
the moderate drinker who never goes to excess a 



59 2 TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

better type of Christian than the timid teetotaler 
who does not dare touch liquor lest he become a 
hopeless drunkard? Certainly the jolly bather who 
rushes right in and swims away out and confidently 
dives and floats is more admired than the other who 
does not dare try it. Yes, but of the two he that is 
ashore is the safer; the other may get beyond his 
depth and weaken and sink in a moment before a 
helping hand can reach him; or his example may en- 
tice out others less strong and less experienced than 
himself, so that he becomes responsible both for their 
loss and his own. Remember he that loveth danger 
shall perish in it. No one claims total abstinence is 
a great virtue no, it is an absolute necessity for 
some, a wise precaution for others, a good work for 
all. Still it is false to say that it is inferior to tem- 
perance, for the temperate man likes a drink and 
takes it; the total abstainer likes a drink and does 
not take it, and Christ decides which is the better: 
" If thou wilt be My disciple, deny thyself." Well, 
but you say, I am a free man and to pledge anything 
that interferes with my taking a drink destroys my 
liberty. Friend, never take the pledge against your 
will, but only freely, either for the good of yourself 
or neighbor or for the greater glory of God. Yet 
the law vaccinates men against smallpox, restrains 
criminals from blowing themselves up, and keeps 
madmen from jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge; and 
does it destroy their liberty? Then why not 
restrain the drunkard who is all at once infected with 
contagious disease, is a criminal and a madman? The 



THE VICE OF DRUNKENNESS. 593 

voice of the people is the voice of God proclaiming 
the good of the community to be the highest law, 
and hence the individual's liberty ends where the 
rights of others begin. Oh, well, you say, drink is 
necessary for me. As a medicine sometimes, but as 
food and drink never. Alcohol is not a food, but a 
part of all food, just as hydrogen, though a part of 
water, is a useless substitute for water. The health 
of total abstainers proves that alcohol as such is not 
necessary; those shattered wrecks of humanity, 
drunkards, prove it is a positive injury, and chemists 
tell us that in a quart of alcohol there is not enough 
food to support a canary twenty-four hours. Truly 
does the Scripture say: "Wine is a mere luxury," 
etc. Alcohol, then, is neither necessary nor useful as 
a food, but a mere luxury most ruinous in its effects. 
Now, what are these effects? First, it affects the 
drunkard himself his purse. Our people, God help 
them, earn their money harder than any other peo- 
ple under heaven, and yet, alas! they spend it more 
freely and more foolishly. The ancient Spartans 
spent a certain amount in making their helots .or 
slaves drunk, that their children from seeing them 
might learn to be thrifty and sober. Alas, history re- 
peats itself in our days, for the English-speaking race 
have become the helots of the world. They may boast 
of having girdled the world from pole to pole with a 
zone of Catholicity, but it is true also they have 
girdled it from east to west with a zone of drunken- 
ness. And drink costs money. You who spend ten 
cents a day for liquor, ask your ill-fed, scantily 



594 TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

dressed child and it will tell you that it amounts to 
$3 a month, almost $40 a year; $400 in ten years; 
$800 in twenty years. Or if you spend a quarter 
a day, that is $7 a month; $90 a year; $900 in ten 
years; $1800 in twenty. And all for what? You 
have heard tell of the man who invested his fortune 
in fireworks and fired it all off in the air. Well, 
the drunkard is still more foolish, since he fires 
the rockets down his own throat. Again, drink 
undermines his constitution and shatters his ner- 
vous system, so that he becomes a blear-eyed, hag- 
gard, slovenly wreck. Then by and by comes that 
horror of horrors delirium tremens. God bless 
and save us, friends, that is a thing too terrible even 
to talk about. But what is the spiritual state of such 
a one? A soul fetid with innumerable sins of drunk- 
enness and impurity, and without the remedies 
of sins without prayer, without a Church, without 
a God. It was well said that " for the drunkard 
the grave doth gape thrice wider than for other 
men." But more terrible are the words of Isaias: 
" Woe to the drunkard, for hell hath enlarged its 
soul and opened wide its mouth to receive him." 

Secondly, drunkenness affects the drunkard's fam- 
ily. As well might I attempt to enumerate every 
moan and sigh of the winter wind, and every drop of 
rain that falls from heaven, as tell you of all the 
moans and sighs and tears of the drunkard's heart- 
broken mother, wife, and children. See for yourself; 
it is under your very eyes. Ask the careworn, sickly 
child why he cries and he will answer: " Father is 



THE VICE OF DRUNKENNESS. 595 

drinking again." Go to the wretched hovel he calls 
a home and ask his wife has she a husband and she 
will tell you she has two saving your presence 
" One (my man when sober) is real good and kind; the 
other (my man when drinking) is a perfect brute." 
And if you care to stay around until the drunken 
husband comes home oh! if you have tears to shed 
prepare to shed them then. For then the vitriol 
madness mounts to the ruffian's brain, and the filthy 
bylane rings with the yell of his trampled wife. And 
so they go on r year in and year out, till even the poor 
wife in sheer despair takes to drink too. And so 
they live drunken lives and die drunken deaths, and 
leave a family with the hereditary taint heirs to 
nothing but the besetting sin of their parents. 

Lastly, drink affects the drunkard's neighbors. 
Oh, Bacchus the wine-god does not go unattended, 
but leads in his train a debauched company as mad 
and debauched as himself. And neither does the 
drunkard go down his dishonored way to a more 
dishonored grave single-handed and alone. When 
he drinks he drinks in company, and when he spends 
his children's money he helps to spend the money 
of other men's children, and the moan of his heart- 
broken wife finds an echo in many a miserable home. 
I make it a rule, the drunkard says, always to treat 
when I meet another man; and when I am alone and 
take one glass I feel like another man and so I treat 
myself to a second and so on. Go to the asylums and 
prisons, and many of the wretched inmates will tell 
you they are there through drunkenness whose first 



59 6 TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

cause was a drunkard's example. Read the records 
of the fearful sacrifice of human life in shipwrecks, 
collisions, fires, and explosions, and you will find that 
drink was at the bottom of most of them. From the 
same prolific source flow murders, suicides, and a 
thousand nameless sins. Alas, have not I seen it all 
in my own school companions, the dearest friends of 
my school days! There was one drunkard among 
them, who after five years at a university has opened 
a saloon. Of his companions one was tried for his 
life for malpractice and murder, another is serving a 
term for forgery, and a third ended his drunken ca- 
reer in a ditch. Truly is drink the ruin of youth, the 
scourge of manhood, and the dishonor of old age 
the devil's way to man and man's way to the devil. 

Brethren, in God's name try to avoid this shock- 
ing vice. If you are a total abstainer, not from ne- 
cessity but through choice, continue to persevere, 
and be sure you are doing a good work for God, your 
neighbor, and yourself. If you are a moderate 
drinker, oh beware, beware, for the one cause of 
drunkenness is drinking, and " he that contemneth 
small things shall fall by little and little." The drink- 
habit partakes of the nature of a snake and of a tiger. 
It may steal on you silently and slowly wind itself 
around you and crush you in its embrace; or in the 
day of trouble or sorrow or mental anxiety it may 
come upon you at a single bound and destroy you in 
an instant. But if you are a habitual drunkard, 
oh for the love of God and your own soul abandon 
your sinful folly while there is yet time. And you, 



THE VICE OF DRUNKENNESS. 597 

mothers, and wives, and sisters, you can do much by 
making the home pleasant and attractive that the 
men may find there a lawful substitute for the unlaw- 
ful pleasures they seek elsewhere. And you, young 
men, picture to yourselves and keep ever before your 
minds that beautiful tableau of a young man sur- 
rounded and conversing with religion, sobriety, and 
chastity, while irreligion, drunkenness, and impurity 
fly baffled from the scene. Let that be your ideal, to 
sit self-controlled in the fiery prime of youth, obedi- 
ent at the feet of law. If you keep that ideal in mind 
and let it reflect on your life, I promise you you will 
not only be more healthy, you will not only be more 
wealthy, but, most of all, you will deservedly be num- 
bered among the truly wise. Then will you follow 
in the steps of our divine Master and Model, and you 
will advance with Jesus in wisdom and age and 
grace with God and men. 



59 8 TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 



&unftag Sifter 

JUDGMENT. 

" There shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not 
been from the beginning of the world, neither shall be." 
Matt. xxiv. 21. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. Protestants as to fear of God. II. Worthy motive. 

III. Church's liturgy. 
I. Last day: i. Sudden, certain, uncertain. 2. Great day. 

3. Day of the Lord. 
II. Commotion: i. In earth and heaven. 2. In souls of 

men. 3. The resurrection. 
III. Judgment: i. Trembling criminal. 2. Rendering of 

verdict. 3. Sentence and execution. 

Per. : i. Faithful servant. 2. Parable of fig-tree. 3. Holy in- 
difference and fear. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, Catholic pulpits excepted, the preach- 
ing of the fear of the Lord has become a thing of the 
past. It is a harsh subject, equally offensive to the 
refined and the sinful, and besides, say the reform- 
ers and the reformed, it makes of sinners hypocrites 
still more displeasing to God. Yet Holy Writ has it 
that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, 
that it drives sin from the soul, and that without it 
no one can be sanctified. St. Augustine compares 
fear of God and the grace of God to a needle and 
thread, it being utterly impossible for God's grace 
to enter the soul unless the fear of the Lord precede. 
No vice was more roundly rated by Christ than 
hypocrisy; yet He frequently pointed to death and 
judgment and hell as objects of dread, and He bade 



JUDGMENT. 599 


us fear, not so much him who kills the body, but 

rather him who after he hath killed the body can 
destroy both soul and body unto hell. The greatest 
saints, SS. Ambrose, Basil, Jerome, etc., felt, con- 
fessed, and taught the fear of the Lord, and St. Au- 
gustine, while assigning it as the cause of his own 
conversion, declares it to be the climax of every call 
to repentance. This, no doubt, is why the Church in 
her liturgy so often addresses herself to our sense of 
fear, as, for instance, on the first Monday in Lent, 
and again in the gospels of the cockle and good 
wheat, and the net cast into the sea, and especially 
on this, the last, and on next Sunday, the first, of the 
Ecclesiastical Year, in the awful pictures of the Last 
Judgment. 

Brethren, the reasons are not far to seek why the 
gospel of the year's last Sunday should be the gospel 
of the last day, but it is not so clear why on the first 
Sunday of Advent the Church takes for her theme 
the terrors of judgment. Her object in placing in 
such close juxtaposition Christ's first and last com- 
ing is to remind us that, while contemplating God's 
infinite mercy in the person of the humble and pathet- 
ically helpless babe, we must not forget His equally 
infinite justice, to be revealed in the majestic coming 
of the Judge of the living and the dead. Moreover, 
the portentous events which shall presage the Lord's 
second coming were in a mystical sense realized at 
His birth. The Sun of Justice was darkened when the 
Word of God clothed Himself in human flesh, and the 
moon, God's kingdom on earth, His Church, which 



600 TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 



shines with a borrowed light and has varied from the 
new to the full with the vicissitudes of time the 
moon, alas! was at that moment small indeed, and 
shed abroad but little of that light that enlighteneth 
every man that cometh into this world. Or perhaps 
it was Mary, fair as the moon, Queen of angels and 
of men, whose glory was on that night dimmed, an 
unhonored outcast, in the dark recesses of the stable. 
The stars fell from heaven: one to guide the Magi, 
and those others, brighter still, the angels, to lead 
the shepherds Bethlehemwards. The world of sin- 
ners, of which the sea is such a perfect figure, was 
agitated, for Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem 
with him, and there was distress of nations when the 
Holy Family fled in terror to Egypt, and the Magi 
returned in fear by another way, and the royal sol- 
diers slew the Innocents. So striking, then, is the 
parallel between Christ's first and second coming 
that the Church considers the dread judgment, 
time's end, and the beginning of eternity, to be a 
salutary thought both for the closing and the open- 
ing of her year. 

Brethren, the details of to-day's Gospel would 
seem as unreal and incredible as a horrible dream 
were it not that Christ has sworn that all these things 
shall come to pass, and that though heaven and earth 
shall pass away His word shall not go unfulfilled. 
That the day of doom will come, and come suddenly, 
is certain, for as lightning cometh out of the east and 
flasheth even unto the west, so shall the coming of 
the Son of man be. But beyond this, when it shall 



JUDGMENT. 60 1 

come and with what results for us individually, all is 
uncertain, for these things are known to no man, 
neither Adventist nor so-called prophet, no, not even 
to the angels in heaven, but to the Father alone. 
This certain uncertainty it is which gives a peculiarly 
dreadful aspect to the other horrors of the last day. 
In the Acts of the Apostles we are told that when 
Paul the Apostle preached on judgment before Gov- 
ernor Felix, that Pagan's heart stood still in terror. 
Yet for a Christian how much more real and full of 
meaning is that awful subject. Dies ir&, dies ilia, 
or as the Scriptures term it, the great day, the day of 
the Lord. A great day indeed, which shall sum up 
in itself the events, the effects, the reckonings of all 
previous days, and on which the storm-cloud of 
God's wrath, which through all time has been slowly 
gathering, shall burst upon the world. In a moment 
the world's motion, the rush of the heavenly bodies, 
and the bustle of human activity shall give way to 
eternal silence, as when the power is shut off in a 
mighty factory, and presently each of us shall depart 
for his allotted home forever and ever. Dies magna, 
yes, and day of the Lord too. All time may be said 
to consist of two days, man's day and God's. 
Through life we are free agents, able even to defy 
and outrage God, and God patiently bears it all, as 
though He heeded not or slept. But be assured His 
day is coming when His will alone shall prevail, and 
when past accounts shall be squared. Thus it hap- 
pened to the Jews. They had their day when they 
stoned the prophets and persecuted and crucified the 



602 TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

Saviour, and except that Christ wept over Jerusalem 
because she had not known, and that in this, her day, 
what things were for her peace, God made no move, 
but bore with them. But His day came when the 
Romans came, and when the whole Jewish nation 
was given up to fire and sword and famine and pesti- 
lence and banishment and slavery. But even the 
horrors of Jerusalem's siege, though a figure, are but 
a faint reflection of the woes to come. That and 
such like calamities which the world has yet known 
were, says St. Clement, " but the skirmishes which 
precede the final and decisive conflict between the 
forces of guilt and retribution." O God! if a brush 
between the outposts be such, what shall be the hor- 
rors of the general engagement? Wisdom (v. 18) 
describes God as " putting on the armor of His zeal 
and wielding the sword of His wrath and shooting 
as missiles shafts of lightning and thick hail from the 
clouds, and inciting the winds and the seas to rage 
against and destroy His enemies." " That day," says 
the Prophet Sophronius, " is a day of wrath, a day of 
tribulation and distress, a day of calamity and misery, 
a day of darkness and obscurity, a day of clouds and 
whirlwinds. I will distress men, and they shall walk 
like blind men, and their blood shall be poured out 
as earth and their bodies as dung. Neither shall 
their silver and gold be able to deliver them in the 
day of the wrath of the Lord." 

Brethren, though many descriptions of the last day 
are found in Scripture, the Lord's account is, natu- 
rally, unsurpassed. And verily, the subject, the death 



JUDGMENT. 603 

of a world, was worthy of a God. Man is called a 
little world, and his death agony, the darkness which 
enshrouds his reason and senses and the commotion 
of the humors of his body, are a tiny picture of what 
shall take place in heaven and earth at the world's 
dissolution. The equilibrium of the universe de- 
mands that earth and heavenly bodies keep each its 
place and orbit, but when the sun is turned to dark- 
ness, and the moon to blood, and the stars have 
fallen, there will be nothing but ruin and confusion in 
heaven, on earth, and in the souls of men. Think of 
a shipwreck horror, the stricken vessel floundering 
through a raging sea, shaken and strained in every 
joint, amid darkness impenetrable, relieved, no, in- 
tensified, by the lightning's glare, and quivering with 
the thunder's crash, and on her decks a wailing com- 
pany, waiting for death to come to them from the 
fire within her or from the storm without. An awful 
picture, but still nothing compared to the wreck of 
a world. I stood on Mount Vesuvius once and felt 
the earth quake beneath my feet and looked into the 
roaring, burning crater, but what was that to a shat- 
tered world with all its pent-up fires let loose? What 
a weird horror thrills us during an eclipse! But that 
is nothing. What a comfort a light and company 
re during a fierce midnight thunderstorm! Yet 
that is nothing. The burning of a city is nothing, 
nor the Johnstown disaster, nor the destruction of 
Galveston. Men can witness these and similar catas- 
trophes and survive, but not so when the world 
falls, for, says the Gospel, ''men shall then wither 



604 TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

away for fear and expectation, of what shall come 
upon the whole world." But not all will suffer 
equally from fear, for the Gospel adds that when 
these things begin to come to pass, Christ will say to 
some: " Look up and lift up your heads, for your re- 
demption is at hand." In Paul's description (Thess. 
iv. 15) of Gabriel's arrival and trumpet call to judg- 
ment, there is a tone of hope, of triumph almost, 
" for," he says, " the dead who are in Christ shall 
rise first, and then we who are alive shall be taken up 
with them to meet Christ, and so we shall be always 
with the Lord." Hope and despair, therefore, will 
be at the bottom of all the differences between the 
wicked and the just. For when at the trumpet's call, 
and under the shadows of darkness, the earth and 
seas shall have given up their dead, how eagerly will 
the souls of the blessed rush to embrace and inhabit 
and glorify those sweet companions of this earthly 
exile, their bodies, so long separated from them, but 
now to be reunited with them forever. Together 
they bore the burden of life's day, and conquered in 
life's battle, and well may the soul now cry: "Arise, 
sister, the winter is passed and the rain has gone; 
arise, my beloved, and come." Each being in per- 
fect accord with the other, both may well exclaim 
with the Psalmist: " Ho'w good and sweet it is for 
brothers to dwell in unison." But alas! the case will 
not be such with all. With what reluctance and 
loathing will the lost soul join issues once again with 
its putrid body, what mutual recrimination, what 
agony! God's final act of mercy to the damned will 



JUDGMENT. 605 

be to shroud those woeful reunions with that hour 
of densest darkness that will precede the dawn of 
eternity. 

Brethren, then, in a burst of light, shall appear the 
Son of man with great power and majesty. " They 
shall go," says Isaias, " into the holes of rocks and 
into the caves of the earth from the face of the fear 
of the Lord and from the glory of His majesty," and 
St. John in the Apocalypse adds that the very " earth 
and heaven shall flee from His face." And if even 
the angels and the blessed shall tremble as they do 
who witness from the shore a storm at sea, what shall 
be the terror of the wicked! They shall look upon 
Him whom they crucified, and they shall wail and 
lament as do they who have lost an only-begotten 
son. They shall realize that for them the day of 
mercy has passed and the interminable night of jus- 
tice begun. They shall feel that though the Old Law 
of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth has been 
abolished in this world, it has never been abrogated 
in the next. But their penitential moans shall be all 
too late, for He shall separate them as the shepherd 
separates the sheep from the goats; the just He 
shall station on His right hand and the wicked on 
His left. Brethren, think of all the sad partings of 
friends and relatives by distance and by death that 
you have ever experienced or heard of, and let the 
bitterness of them be a salutary warning against that 
final separation. " And," says St. John (Apoc. xx. 
12), " I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the 
presence of the throne, and the books were spread, 



606 TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. 

and the dead were judged by those things which were 
written in the books, according to their works." All 
our good deeds and bad, weighty and trivial, aye, 
even every idle word, all our thoughts, words, deeds, 
and omissions, and the deeds of others in which we 
were either concerned or implicated all are there 
recorded for or against us, and by them shall we be 
judged. And if the just man trembles for his fate 
and is barely saved, what shall we say of the sinner? 
Oh, woe to us if our one-time friend, but secret 
enemy, the devil, shall be able before the judgment- 
seat to turn the weight of evidence against us! Woe 
to us if it shall there appear that we deliberately re- 
placed God's image in our soul with the brand of the 
beast! Woe to us if while the Saviour's promises 
failed to elicit our service, we yielded to the devil's 
empty blandishments! That awful sentence will then 
be ours: " Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlast- 
ing fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." 
Christ cursed the fig-tree, and it withered to the 
root a figure of the blighting effect of that sentence 
on an immortal soul, for thenceforth the day of 
growth in virtue and of bearing fruits worthy of 
penance is closed forever. Nor will it avail us aught 
to call on the rocks and hills to fall upon and hide us, 
for the sentence once pronounced will be executed. 
"And," says St. John (Apoc. xviii. 21), "a mighty 
angel took up, as it were, a great millstone and cast 
it into the sea saying: With such violence as this 
shall Babylon be thrown down," and he continues 
(Apoc. xiv. n), " the smoke of their torments shall 



JUDGMENT. 607 

ascend up forever and ever, neither have they rest 
day or night." 

Brethren, it is appointed unto all men once to die, 
and after death the judgment, and no man living is 
sure that his particular and general judgments may, 
not coincide. That day is coming, is coming now, 
and will arrive suddenly like a thief in the night. 
Men will be planning for the future, planning for 
honors, riches, and pleasures, and lo! the Lord will 
be even at their doors to demand their souls of them. 
Let us not be like them, but let us rather imitate that 
servant who when his lord came was found watch- 
ing. From the color of the sky, men can foretell the 
weather of the morrow, and from the budding trees 
they know that summer is nigh. Let it not be said 
that the children of this age are wiser in their gen- 
eration than the children of light, for we too from 
the lapse of time ought to learn every day that our 
judgment is drawing nearer and nearer. What we 
most need are holy indifference and holy fear: indif- 
ference to the things of earth and fear for the things 
beyond. Be not unduly concerned if your earthly 
state be not all that could be desired. Remember 
that men in this life are like the grains of winter 
wheat the severer the winter the more abundant 
will be the next season's harvest. But it is criminal 
not to be solicitous for the world to come. Holy 
David feared to meet his God, and holy Job trembled 
for the time when God should rise against him in 
judgment, and Paul the Apostle, though conscious 
of no wrong, yet dared not account himself just. 



608 CONCLUSION. 

And shall we, miserable sinners as we are, approach 
the dread tribunal without a qualm or tremor? 
Watch ye, therefore, for you know not the day nor 
the hour. Live well that you may die well, and dying 
well receive a favorable judgment. May our passage 
through life and death be such that those words of 
the divine Judge may be addressed to us: " Come, 
ye blessed of My Father, possess ye the kingdom 
prepared for you from the foundation of the world." 

Conclusion* 

THE TRUE FAITH THE SECRET OF NATIONAL STABILITY. 
" When the king heard of it, he was angry, and send- 
ing his army he destroyed those murderers and burned 
their city" Matt. xxii. 7. 

SYNOPSIS. 

Ex.: I. History's repetitions. II. Past and future. III. God's 

agency. 

I. Denial: i. Call rejected. 2. Heir murdered. 3. De- 
struction prophesied. 
II. Destruction: i. Passover and siege. 2. Rome's victory. 

3. Rome's downfall. 
III. America: i. Dewey's victory. 2. Our worldliness. 

3. Religious decadence. 

Per. : i. Church in Rome and America. 2. Her unique work. 
3. Catholicism, infidelity, ruin. 

SERMON. 

BRETHREN, to superficial minds it may seem a far 
cry from the king's rejected invitation to the refusal 
of so many to accept Christianity; from the destruc- 
tion of Jerusalem to the fall of Pagan Rome; from the 
triumph of Vespasian and Titus to the Dewey cele- 



THE TRUE FAITH AND NATIONAL STABILITY. 609 

bration; from the rejection of the Jews to the decay 
of modern nations; yet as surely as history repeats 
itself, so surely do these and similar great events 
echo and reecho one another down the ages. To 
understand the present and the future's possibilities 
we must turn on them the search-light of the past. 
When the triumphant shouts have died away and the 
glittering pageants disappeared, it is well to recol- 
lect that the unseen hand of God runs through it all, 
reaching from end to end mightily and ordering all 
things sweetly. Our services at the shrine of patriot- 
ism should close with a recessional full of the thought 
of God. We should remember it was His hand gave 
nations victories in the past and afterwards crushed 
them for their infidelity. For infidel nations that 
trust in legion and armor-clad, with not a thought of 
God, are dust that build on dust. Amid our foolish 
boasts of power, therefore, we should pray the God 
of hosts to mercifully turn His face to us and ours 
to Him lest we forget, lest we forget. 

" The king being angry, sent his army and de- 
stroyed those murderers and burned their city." 
Brethren, the real King was God the Father, and the 
marriage He made for His Son was the union of the 
divine and human natures when the Word was made 
flesh. The invitation to the marriage, therefore, was 
the call to communion in the Christian Church 
either by faith in the future Messias, as in the Old 
Law, or by actual membership, as in the New. But 
God's messengers were coldly received. Though 
they came to their own God's chosen peopl< 



6 io CONCLUSION. 

their own received them not. Though called and 
called again, men turned in preference to their farms 
and their merchandise. So little, indeed, could they 
brook interference with their worldly interests, that 
they laid violent hands on the prophets of old and 
Apostles and martyrs of later days, and having 
treated them contumeliously, put them to death. 
Aye, when God sent even His only Son, hoping they 
would revere and obey His commands, the world 
hung Him as a felon on the cross. Then it was that 
the anger of the King of kings burst forth. Mercy 
gave place to justice, and sending His army He de- 
stroyed those murderers and burned their city. 
Thirty-seven years after the Saviour's Ascension, 
the Roman legions under Vespasian and his son 
Titus invaded Palestine and besieged Jerusalem. 
Not only in the parable we have read, but in distinct 
prophetic words the Saviour had foretold it all on 
that memorable day when standing on Olivet's slope, 
turning His streaming eyes to Jerusalem, He said: 
" The day shall come upon thee, and thy enemies 
shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee 
round and straighten thee on every side, and beat 
thee flat to the ground and thy children who are in 
thee, and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a 
stone, because thou hast not known the time of thy 
visitation." When the Apostles boastingly pointed 
out to Him the beauties of the Temple, He an- 
swered: " Amen, I say to you, there shall not be left 
a stone upon a stone that shall not be destroyed." 
When on the march to Calvary the women of Jeru- 



THE TRUE FAITH AND NATIONAL STABILITY. 611 

salem fain would have offered Him their sympathy, 
He replied: " Daughters, weep not for Me, but for 
yourselves and for your children." 

Thus many times and often did Christ prophesy 
Jerusalem's impending doom. For well-nigh forty 
years God chose to bide His time, the city mean- 
while ripening for His vengeance." The historian 
Josephus relates that fully three millions of Jews had 
come for the feast of the Passover and were housed 
within the city walls, when suddenly the Roman le- 
gions swooped down on them and surrounded them. 
For three whole years the war had lasted, the Roman 
objective point ever being Jerusalem. During the 
siege, battles were daily fought between the Jew and 
Roman without, and between Jew and Jew within. 
Internal dissensions, war, famine, and pestilence a 
very avalanche of woes fell on the fated city. The 
streets were blocked with dead and dying, while the 
living fought like dogs for the little food there was. 
Nay, horrible to relate, famished mothers eVen slew 
and ate their babes. Not more awful in their miser- 
able destruction were Sodom and Gomorrha, and not 
less visible in Jerusalem's fall was the hand of an 
angry God. He had purposely fostered the power 
of Rome, Pagan though it was, to be the instrument 
of His vengeance, and when the Romans would have 
stayed their hand, He urged them on. For, when 
finally the city fell and the enemy rushed in with fire 
and sword, Titus, then in command, Vespasian hav- 
ing gone -to Rome to succeed the banished Nero, 
Titus gave orders that the Jewish Temple should be 



612 CONCLUSION. 

spared. But God had otherwise decreed, and a sol- 
dier, impelled, as he declared, by an irresistible im- 
pulse, applied a brand to the sacred edifice, and so 
literally was Christ's prophecy fulfilled that not a 
stone upon a stone was left. With one fell blow the 
Jewish Temple, the Jewish city, and the Jewish nation 
were utterly and forever crushed. And why? Be- 
cause they knew not the time of their visitation, be- 
cause they knew not God. " Amen, I say to you," 
says Christ, " if any man deny Me before men on 
earth, I will deny him before My Father who is in 
heaven." 

But Rome, you say, knew not the one true God, 
and resisted Christianity to the death, and yet be- 
hold her, God's chosen agent and the mistress of the 
world! Ah, Brethren, to be chosen by God for the 
accomplishment of His designs is not always proof 
of God's favor or God's love. Amid the ruins of the 
Roman forum stands the arch of Titus, bearing on 
its sculptured sides the emblems of his eastern vic- 
tories, but Rome, oh, where is Rome? All her pomp 
of yesterday is to-day one with Ninive and Tyre. 
Judge of the nations, spare us yet, lest we forget 
lest we forget! How little reckoned they whose 
genius erected that glorious arch, or whose hands 
outlined its graceful symmetry, that they therein em- 
bodied a lasting monumental proof of God's su- 
premacy, of Christ's divinity, and of the evanescence 
of purely earthly glory! The Rome of Titus and 
Vespasian lies to-day beneath the feet of Christian 
Rome, because she acknowledged not the God of her 



THE TRUE FAITH AND NATIONAL STABILITY. 613 

fathers, Lord of her far-famed battle-line, beneath 
whose awful hand she held dominion over palm and 
pine because she knew not the day of her visitation 
because she knew not God. Victories and tri- 
umphal fame that are of the earth earthly are subject 
to the earthly condition of decay, but the glory of 
God's heroes stands forever. The captains and the 
kings depart, but still stands that ancient sacrifice, 
an humble and a contrite heart. When Alexander 
and Napoleon shall have become unmeaning words, 
the lowly saints of God will still be able to count by 
thousands the worshippers at their shrines. Lord 
God of hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget lest we 
forget! 

The Spaniard's cruel policy of pillage in his 
colonies called down God's wrath and raised up this 
mighty republic to be His avenger. To Dewey more 
than any other under God belongs the credit of that 
glorious achievement, and right worthy is he of the 
magnificent triumph he receives and the laurels the 
nation places on his brow. Like all great Christian 
men of noble deeds, especially who have seen the 
Almighty in the fury of the elements and heard Him 
amid the roar of battle, our Admiral is deeply imbued 
with the consciousness of God's omnipotence; but 
how many, think you, of the mighty throng that 
passed beneath that Fifth Avenue model of Titus' 
arch gave a single thought to the God of nations 
or that monument's possible significance? Listen as 
closely as you might, it is doubtful if amid the popu- 
lar acclaim you could have caught the faintest echo 



6 14 CONCLUSION. 

of the Psalmist's prayer: "Not to us, O Lord, not 
to us, but to Thy name give glory." But if, as doubt- 
less is the case, it were unreasonable to look for such 
like sentiments on such an occasion, consider us in 
our cooler moments, and you will find that as a na- 
tion, alas! we do forget, unhappily we do forget. 
Such all-absorbing interests have our farms and mer- 
chandise become, that they serve to-day among our 
critics as a byword and reproach. More lavishly 
than ever before the beeves and fatlings have been 
killed and the Lord's banquet more sumptuously 
prepared, but take a census of our people and see 
how many respond to His repeated invitations. 
Where much is given, much will be exacted. At 
Abraham's prayer and for the sake of ten just men 
God would have spared the cities of Sodom and Go- 
morrha. Are we quite sure the Lord will never find 
in us proportionate iniquity? Moral degeneracy is 
sure to follow on our refusal to listen to God's mes- 
sengers. What a commentary it is on our decaying 
Christianity that even a civil governor feels called 
upon to raise his voice in solemn protest! And even 
such Christianity as we have is in great part so 
diluted with worldliness and unbelief that on analysis 
we find the residue but little better than rankest 
Paganism. Witness the hundreds and thousands of 
sectarian churches utterly deserted, or, if used at all, 
frequented for their social rather than their religious 
attractions. Read the sermons preached therein and 
learn how very odious Christ's Gospel has become, 
how popular the gospel of the world and even of 



THE TRUE FAITH AND NATIONAL STABILITY. 615 

Antichrist. Blame not the preachers; 'tis useless to 
break the bread of life when men have lost their ap- 
petite. The real culprits were the original mutineers 
on Peter's bark the authors of religious privateer- 
ing and piracy. That bark was moored while Jesus 
taught; they weighed anchor only when He ordered 
them to let down their nets for a draught. Though 
progressive in her methods, the Church in her teach- 
ing is necessarily conservative. The so-called re- 
formers, on the contrary, hauled up the anchor of 
conservatism, and drifting, suffered shipwreck of 
their faith. Their followers to-day are only nominally 
Christian. The natural part of Christianity hu- 
manitarianism remains, but the supernatural vir- 
tues are practically unknown. Purely natural virtue 
will never save a soul, much less a people, from God's 
anger. Herein among other respects our nation 
much resembles the ancient Romans. They had 
many good and noble traits, but the patrician's re- 
ligion was culture and refinement, while the worship 
of the gods was left to freedmen and to slaves. Lax 
marriage laws resulted in the degradation of their 
womankind and the shattering of the nation's cor- 
ner-stone the family. Verily, at no distant day, 
America bids fair to out-Roman the Romans, for, 
over and above the other evils we have copied from 
her, we have accomplished a dangerous something 
Rome never attempted the divorce of religion and 
education. But the acme of Rome's guilt was her 
hostility to Christianity. For that, God crushed her, 
and so suddenly that Vespasian, with all his glory, 



6i6 CONCLUSION. 

was the last of the Caesars. We have to-day no 
reeking amphitheatre wet with the blood of martyrs, 
no Christians buried alive in catacombs, nor edicts 
against the preaching of Christ crucified, but a more 
subtle and dangerous warfare is being waged by 
science and agnosticism against Christ and His 
Church, against the Bible, against man's immortality, 
and against Christ's divinity. Ah, God does not 
change; given the same cause, He will be avenged as 
in the past, and even now perhaps He is arming our 
conquer'or. Judge of the nations, spare us yet, lest 
we forget lest we forget. 

Brethren, in the Rome of Nero and Vespasian 
there was a little band of Catholics, with Peter at 
their head, who, had they been permitted, could have 
saved the empire; aye, and they did save and Chris- 
tianize the remnants of it later under Constantine. 
In America to-day that ancient Church carries on 
her heaven-appointed work. Her detractors regard 
her with suspicion, call her the republic's greatest 
enemy, and seek to compass her destruction, as Nero 
did to Peter and his followers, as Herod did to 
Christ. She is reproached with being able to appeal 
to the illiterate only and the poor a calumny re- 
futed by every page of history. Her especial solici- 
tude for the lower strata of society is proof of her 
divinity, for she was sent to preach the Gospel to the 
poor by Him who resisteth the proud and giveth 
grace to the humble. Her sphere of activity in our 
land is one of paramount importance, and one that 
she alone can fill. Our vast domain is peopled with 



THE TRUE FAITH AND NATIONAL STABILITY. 617 

representatives from every clime, and to them the 
Catholic Church alone can speak in their mother- 
tongue the tenets of Christianity and the principles 
of good American citizenship. Take this venerable 
Church as an example. In the Sunday-school are 
thirteen hundred little ones of seven different na- 
tionalities, and though to many of their parents 
English is an unknown tongue, yet each Sunday you 
will find the children here learning from the same 
Catechism those eternal truths which in time will 
make them devoted Christians and loyal Americans. 
This is but an instance among many of the Church's 
works. Her chiefest claim to recognition, however, 
is that between Catholicism and infidelity there is no 
permanent abiding-place. Forego but one iota of 
her infallible definitions, and inexorable logic will 
force you eventually into indifference or absolute un- 
belief. The invitation, therefore, to the marriage- 
feast in our day, and always, is in reality a call to 
embrace the Catholic faith. On that issue America 
will be judged, and because we love her and wish 
her length of days, therefore do we desire to see 
America Catholic. While God is humbling or de- 
stroying the nations that reject or persecute His 
messenger, the one true Church, we want America to 
hearken to her voice and take a place at the very 
head of the Lord's banquet-board. When the gra- 
cious Host comes in to see His guests He will find, 
we trust, America clad, not in the variegated and tat- 
tered rags of a spurious Christianity, but in the seam- 
less wedding-garb of Catholicity. If the voice of 



6i8 CONCLUSION. 

history is true and who will dare deny it? on our 
fidelity to God and His Christ and Christ's true 
Church depends the permanency of our republican 
institutions. God Himself affirms it in Deuteron- 
omy xxviii., and His words are as true of us to-day 
as they were of Israel: " If thou wilt hear the voice 
of the Lord thy God, to do and keep all His com- 
mandments, the Lord thy God will make thee higher 
than all the nations on the earth; but if thou wilt not 
hear the Lord thy God, to do and keep all His com- 
mandments, the Lord thy God will bring upon thee 
a nation from afar and from the uttermost ends of 
the earth to destroy thee/' 



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HOSTAGE OF WAR, A. By MARY G. BONESTEEL. o 40 

HOW THEY WORKED THEIR WAY. By MAURICE F. EGAN. o 75 

INUNDATION, THE. CANON SCHMID. o 40 
JACK HILDRETH ON THE NILE. By MARION AMES TAGGART. Cloth, 

JACK O' LANTERN. By MARY T. WAGGAMAN. o 40 

KLONDIKE PICNIC. By ELEANOR C. DONNELLY. o 85 

LAMP OF THE SANCTUARY. By Cardinal WISEMAN. o 25 
LEGENDS OF THE HOLY CHIL