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Full text of "Story-sermonettes for the children's mass, for the Sundays of the ecclesiastical year"

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Reuter, Frederick Albert. 



Story-sermonettes for the children's 
mass, for the Sundays of the 
ecclesiastical year, by Frederick 



New York, [cl921] 



IND 09-6188-02 



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a Reuter, Frederick Albert. 

a Story-sermonettes for the children's mass, |b for the Sundays of the ecclesiastical year, |c by Frederick A. 



Reuter. 

|a New York, |b J. F. Wagner |c [cl921] 
ja viii, 199 p. |c22cm. 
a Children's Mass |x Sermons, 
a Church year sermons 

a Children's liturgies |x Catholic Church |x Sermons, 
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STORY-SERMONETTES 



FOR 



THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



f 



I. 



i 



FOR THE SUNDAYS OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL YEAR 



» 



BY 



<« 



THE REV. FREDERICK A. REUTER 

author of 
Sermons for the Children's Mass," "Anecdote-Sermonettes 
for the Children's Mass," «' Readings and Reflections 
for the Holy Hour," "The Crusade of Grace," Etc 






1 



NEW YORK 

JOSEPH F. WAGNER (Inc.) 

LONDON: B. HERDER 



Bibtl 0b0tat 



ARTHUR J. SCANLAN, S.T.D. 

Censor Librorum 






I" 



imprimatur 

+ PATRICK J. HAYES, D.D. 

Archbishop of New York 



I 



New York, September 20, 1921, 



t / 



t 



This Volume 

IS MOST GRATEFULLY DEDICATED 

TO 

The Right Reverend John Joseph O'Connor, D.D. 

Bishop of Newark 

In Memory of his Ruby-Jubilee 

As a Most Noble Priest 

of God 



Copyright, 192 1, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York 



4 



' 



INTRODUCTION 

"Tell me a true story' ' is the language of every child. Little ones 
dearly love stories, and through them they can learn much that would 
be otherwise most difficult to teach them. 

Our Lord spoke in parables, both while instructing His chosen dis- 
ciples and while teaching the multitude. * By so doing He established 
a precedent, as it were, for the employment of stories in bringing home 
sacred truths to the people. If without parable He spoke not to the 
multitudes, He surely must have used stories to teach the truths of His 
Kingdom to the children He met. 

THE AUTHOR. 

The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Mt. St. Dominic Academy, 
Caldwell, N. J. 



9 






» 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost. Thou Shalt Not Steal i 

Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost. God's Share 5 

Twenty-third Sunday After Pentecost. A Very Earnest Thought , . 10 

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost. Prepare to Face the Judgment 14 

First Sunday of Advent. Sanctification of Advent l 9 

Second Sunday of Advent. Our Hearts Are a Dwelling for Jesus 21 

Third Sunday of Advent. Our Monitor 2 5 

Fourth Sunday of Advent. Preparing a Suitable Reception for the Divine Guest 29 

Sunday After Christmas. Our Heart a Precious Crib 33 

Sunday After New Year's. The Lord's Day 37 

First Sunday After Epiphany. A Holy Family 41 

Second Sunday After Epiphany. Fraternal Charity 45 

Third Sunday After Epiphany. The Eyes of the World are on You 48 

Septuagesima Sunday. In the Service of the Lord 5 2 

Sexagesima Sunday. The Seed from Heaven 56 

Quinquagesima Sunday. Preparation for Lent 59 

First Sunday in Lent. To Battle Satan 62 

Second Sunday in Lent. Our True Home 65 

Third Sunday in Lent. Casting Out the Devil 69 

Fourth Sunday in Lent. A Worthy Reception 73 

Passion Sunday. Jesus Our Model of Meekness 77 

Palm Sunday. Perseverance 8l 

Easter Sunday. Easter Joys 8 5 

First Sunday After Easter. Holy Melodies of Love 89 

Second Sunday After Easter. The Good Shepherd 93 

Third Sunday After Easter. Our Lord's Farewell 9 6 

Fourth Sunday After Easter. Ambassadors of God 100 

Fifth Sunday After Easter. The Greatest Power on Earth 103 

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension. The Devil's Best Weapon 107 

Pentecost Sunday. The Seven Gifts • «* 

Trinity Sunday. Baptismal Promises 1 *4 

Second Sunday After Pentecost. The Great Supper.. 118 

Third Sunday After Pentecost. "Black Sheep" 122 

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost. A Draft on Heaven 126 

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost. The Sin of Anger 130 

vu 



i 
i 



viii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost. Intemperance 133 

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost. Bad Association 137 

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost. Judgment 141 

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost. Misfortunes of a Sinner 145 

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost. The Foundation-Stone of Every Virtue 149 

Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost. Unprofitable Speech 153 

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost. Heroic Love 157 

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost. A Healing of Sinful Man 161 

Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost. God and Mammon 165 

Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost. Constant Preparation for the Hour of Death 1 70 

Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost. The Sin of Pride 174 

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost. Loving God Above All Things 178 

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost. The Sin of Blasphemy 182 

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost. Honor Due the Anointed of the Lord .... 1 86 

Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost. Parental Example 190 

Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost. The Blindness of Sinners 194 

Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost. Venial Sin 197 



STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost 
Thou Shalt Not Steal 

My dear children : There is one obligation we can always avoid, 
namely: that of restitution, provided we do not unjustly acquire 
anything from our neighbor. When anyone takes anything from 
us, or causes us any injury or loss, we certainly do not wish him to 
keep what belongs to us; our desire is that he should restore the 
stolen property. Whatever man has, is from God, though it may 
appear to us the fruit of his own labor and industry, or the result 
of chance, as people sometimes foolishly say, forgetting that there 
is no such thing as chance in this world, but that everything is 
ruled and directed by the all-seeing Providence of God. He it is 
who gives man the health, the strength, the ability, the opportunity 
to earn, and it is His Providence which ordains that one should be 
born of poor and another of wealthy parents. Therefore whatever 
man has is the gift of God*, who bestows on one more, on another 
less, according to His own wise designs. The goods of this world 
are so many talents entrusted to us by God to be employed for His 
honor and the good of our fellowmen, and every one will have to 
give a strict account of the manner in which he has employed them. 
From this you see the particular hatefulness of the sin of theft, 
which is a rebellion against God's Providence, and an effort to over- 
turn the order which He has established. 

A Tartar officer, entering one of the gates of Pekin, dropped his 
purse. A Chinese artisan, who was a good Christian, saw this and 
followed the officer to the house he entered. "Who are you and 
what do you want?" said the officer. "You dropped your purse just 
now: here it is." "Why do you bring it here? Don't you know 
that the law allows you to keep things so found ?" "I know that ; 



2 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



, 






but I am a Christian, and my religion requires me to restore, if 
possible, whatever I may find." The reply roused the curiosity of 
the officer; later on he went to a Catholic missionary and in time 
became a zealous Christian. 

A breach of confidence is also a certain kind of theft For ex- 
ample, a master entrusts to one of his servants a sum of money for 
some particular purpose, or puts certain goods under his charge. 
Now the servant seeing the confidence which the master places in 
him takes advantage of it to pilfer the money, or make away with 
the goods for his own profit. A shopkeeper sends round one of his 
men whom he considers trustworthy to collect the accounts due to 
him. The collector, however, is a rogue, who keeps back part of 
the money paid, or, like the unjust steward in the Gospel, knocks 
off a portion of the bills for the sake of a gift or in the hopes of 
some future advantage. A servant girl is sent by her mistress to 
purchase some goods. She does not go to the shop where she can 
make the best bargain, but where she is likely to receive a gift from 
the dealer in return for her custom — a bribe which her mistress 
will have to pay for by the increased charge made in the bill or the 
inferior value of the goods purchased. Again, a servant man is 
hired for a certain sutn to work for a fixed time, or to perform 
certain duties. Instead of setting industriously to his work, he 
wastes his time and neglects the duties he has undertaken to per- 
form, or does them in a slovenly manner. 

. During the summer of the year 1856, in one of the most fashion- 
able parts of Paris, and in the corner of a large doorway there sat 
a poor woman selling flowers. Beside her was a little boy, her only 
child, aged about five years. It was the only support the poor 
woman had. A wealthy gentleman, accompanied by a young lady, 
happened to pass by. The gentleman, attracted by the flowers in 
the basket, went near, and, taking up one or two of the bouquets 
in his hand, looked at them, and then laying them down again with- 
out noticing the wistful look and the tears that were falling 
from the eyes of the poor woman. His daughter, however, saw 
them and took in at a glance the state of affairs. Without pretend- 



ing to observe the tear in the woman's eyes, she silently let a pound 
note fall upon the head of the little boy at her side, and hurried 
away to join her father. 

"Mother," said the little boy, showing his mother the piece of 
paper he had picked up from the ground, "what is this?" "Where 
did you find that paper, my child ?" asked the mother. "That young 
lady let it fall as she was going away." Immediately the poor 
woman rose up, and running after the two who had just left her, 
said to the young lady: "Please, madam, you have lost some 
money," at the same time handing her the note she had in her hand. 
Pretending not to understand what she meant, the young lady told 
her to go away ; but as she still continued to follow them, the gen- 
tleman turned and looked, and seeing the note the woman was hold- 
ing in her hand, and hearing that his daughter had dropped it, he 
took it from her and was putting it into his purse when his daughter 
spoke to him in a low voice for a few moments. What she said to 
him was not known, but the good man, again opening his purse, took 
out a twenty pound note which he gave the poor woman, along with 
the note she had received from his daughter, saying : "My daughter 
gave you one pound because you are poor ; I now give you twenty 
times as much because you are honest. May God bless you." Say- 
ing these words he went away, leaving the poor flower-seller stupi- 
fied at the good fortune that had befallen her, all on account of her 
honesty. 

Here are some other kinds of thieves: there are some who get 
their livelihood by stealing from open shops or by picking pockets ; 
others by robbing gardens, market stalls, or ship's cargoes; others 
again by stripping clothes-lines or taking whatever they find lying 
about exposed or unprotected. Travelling pedlars and gipsies who, 
under pretence of selling their wares, plunder backyards and kitch- 
ens, boys who rob orchards, children who pilfer sugar or preserves, 
or who steal the playthings and sweetmeats of their companions, all 
these come under the class of thieves. Children, these are some of the 
instances in which you make yourselves guilty of theft and commit 
yourselves to restitution without which there is no forgiveness. No 



i 



4 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

priest, no bishop, not even the Pope has the power to absolve you 
from the sin against the Seventh Commandment of God as long as 
you don't make restitution or repair the damage done, provided 
that it is possible. The priest can now and then remit what one 
owes to God, as he is the agent of God in the confessional, for ex- 
ample he can free the sinner from a vow, but not being the agent of 
the neighbor, and not holding his place, he can free no one from 
the duty of making restitution or repairing a damage. 

My dear boys and girls, beware of acquiring the property of 
others by theft, cheating, or in any other unjust way. The property 
of others must be sacred to you ; do not appropriate to yourselves 
a penny that is not lawfully your own. Ill-gotten goods are a curse, 
and no blessing will ever rest upon them, either here or hereafter. 



TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost 

God's Share 

My dear children : Since our final aim is not earth, but Heaven, 
where we are to be eternally happy, we must in order to obtain 
this end render to God the things that are God's. Children, the 
Catechism tells you that God made you to know Him, love Him, 
and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in 
the next. You see from this that your own eternal happiness de- 
pends upon your doing what He made you for, if you do your 
best to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world. He 
promises that you shall come to be happy with Him forever in the 
Kingdom of Heaven. Do you now understand, my dear children, 
how great, how noble, and how excellent is the end for which God 
made you? Far different from His other creatures which you see 
about you, and which He made for your use and benefit, He has 
created you particularly for His benefit. Let us now see what we 
have to do in order to fulfill the great end for which God has made 
us, and so to obtain the eternal reward which He has promised us. 

We must know God, that is, we must know all about Him that 
the Church teaches. This is what is contained in the Catechism. 
We must love God. But how are you to do this? God Himself 
will teach you if you ask Him, and if He sees you trying to be good 
and obedient children. The more that you know of God and His 
goodness, the more you are sure to love Him. You must not only 
know and love God, but you must also serve Him. This you do by 
keeping His commandments, and doing what you know will please 
Him. 

There lived in Asia Minor a Christian lady called Dorothea. 
When the heathen prefect of that city heard that she was a Chris- 
tian he commanded her to be seized and brought before him. He 
tried to make her denounce her faith ; however, failing in this he 
ordered her to be tortured and then beheaded. When she was 
stretched on the rack, and suffering there most cruel torments, the 



6 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

prefect once more asked her to spare her life. But the holy virgin 
said : "I despise your gods ; I pray to the one true God. I may go 
to see Him for whose sake I suffer all these torments. For He is 
my spouse and invites me to Paradise— that land of everlasting 
happiness. ,, "Of what land do you speak ?" asked the judge. "I 
speak of that land where Jesus Christ dwells with His saints— a 
land where there is neither night nor sorrow ; a garden where the 
fruit is beautiful to the eye and delicious to the taste; a garden ever 
fresh and fair, where lilies and roses, and flowers of all kinds never 
fade." 

There was a man standing near who heard these words of the 
virgin. His name was Theophilus. When he heard them, he laughed 
and jested like the others, for he also was a pagan. As she was be- 
ing led to execution he met her again. Then remembering the words 
she had spoken, he said to her in merriment : "Do you hear me, O 
you who call yourself spouse of Christ? When you go into that 
garden will you have the goodness to send me some of those fruits 
and flowers." "I will do it," she said— "I will do it without fail." 
There was no time for more, for the executioner with one stroke 
severed her head. "Those were strange words," said Theophilus 
to one of his friends as he was about to leave ; "but Christians are 
not like other people." "Death itself," said the other, "has no 
terror for them. "But who is this ?" he continued, as there came 
up to them a boy of such heavenly beauty that the eyes of both were 
fixed on him in wonder. He carried a basket in which were some 
most beautiful apples and four roses of so rich a fragrance that 
their like had never been seen before. 

He held them out to Theophilus. "These flowers are for you," 
said the child. "Will you not take them?" "And whence do you 
bring them ?" asked Theophilus. "From Dorothea," he said ; "these 
are the flowers and the fruit she promised to send you." "Roses 
in the winter-time!" he cried out— it was the sixth of February, 
and a time of great frost— "yes, indeed, and roses such as never 
blossomed in an earthly garden. Prefect," he said, "your work is 
not yet done. I also am of the same faith for which Dorothea 



TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 7 






died." Within an hour Theophilus was condemned to die; and on 
the spot where Dorothea had been beheaded he too poured forth 
his blood and joined her in Heaven. 

This beautiful story of St. Dorothea ought to teach you how to 
love your faith and our holy mother the Church who is your guide 
and instructor. A good Catholic loves his Church as devotedly as 
ever a child can love its mother; the effect of this love is that he 
feels whatever happens to the Church ; that he shares her joys and 
sorrows. He who takes no interest in the Church and is indifferent 
to her prosperity or adversity is anything but a good Catholic, for 
he does not love his Church. Beware of making friendships with 
enemies of Catholics, and have no more to do with them than is 
absolutely necessary. Do not read or keep newspapers which insult 
and calumniate our Holy Mother the Church. Can such Catholics 
hope to be favorably judged by Christ, who loves His Church, and 
has given His heart's blood for a sacrifice for her? 

When a certain governor commanded St. Bernard to renounce 
his faith, he refused to obey him. Orders were then given that he 
should be placed upon the rack. While enduring the most cruel 
torments the Governor continued to tempt him: "Adore the fire 
and the water," he cried out to the martyr, "partake of the blood 
of animals and your liberty will be immediately granted to you." 
The holy man, with the sweet serenity on his countenance, and re- 
joicing at being permitted to suffer for God's sake, made answer : 
"Neither your commands nor the suffering to which you are sub- 
jecting me will ever separate me from the love of God and my 
Saviour Jesus Christ, whom I have served from the days of my 
childhood till my present old age." The judge seeing that he could 
not shake his constancy by promises or threats, gave orders that he 
should be beheaded. Children, when we read of the constancy of 
the martyrs we should be ahsamed of our cowardice in the service 
of God and should resolve to serve Him for the future with the 
greatest love and fidelity. 

Children, every day we should give to God what belongs to God, 
but there is one day which He claims as His own, and that is Sun- 



8 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



I 




day. Pious, God-fearing Catholics go regularly to Mass on Sun- 
days and holidays, and they cannot be kept away from it, even if 
they are obliged to make great sacrifices. In the early ages of the 
Church it often happened that the faithful were apprehended by 
the pagans at Mass and led away to martyrdom, but they would 
rather suffer prison, torture and death than miss Mass on Sundays 
and holidays. The same occurred in England when the Catholic 
religion was proscribed. Many under great difficulties and dangers 
made great journeys during the night in order to be present on 
Sundays at the sacrifice of the Mass in some secluded place. How 
these examples confound many of us who have so little devotion in 
church on Sundays, and who often miss Mass. The afternoon is 
also a portion of the Lord's day and should at least be partially 
devoted to the service of God. The hearing of the sermon is re- 
quired for the worthy celebration of Sundays and holidays, and it 
is necessary for all Christians, that they may be better instructed in 
their religion. 

There lived in India long, long ago a great and very powerful 
king. He had much money and planned to build somewhere in the 
mountain a beautiful palace. So he sent his builder, whose name 
was Jakob, and gave him all the money that would be needed to 
build this wonderful palace in the hills. Now Jakob was a very 
good, God-fearing, and kind-hearted man, and when he came to 
the far-away place where he was to build the king's palace he found 
the people of all that country without food, and many of them 
had died of starvation. So what do you think he did ? Well, being 
a good man and wanting to help these poor people, he spent all his 
own money and all the money the king had given him to build the 
castle in feeding the hungry and taking care of the sick. By and 
by the king came to see how Jakob was getting on with his work, 
and found that not one stone had been laid for the building. He 
could not understand it, and when he found the builder he asked 
him the reason for this strange conduct. Jakob told him the story 
of the poor and the sick and the hungry, and how he had fed them ' 
and cared for them until all his money was spent. Thejcing>«; 






TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 9 

very angry and said to him: "To-morrow thou shalt die," and he 
struck him with his sword and cast him into a dark prison. As he 
lay on his bed that night, the king dreamed a dream. You know 
God sometimes speaks to people in dreams, and that very night the 
king dreamed that he went to Heaven, and they showed him there 
the most beautiful palace he had ever seen. It was far more beau- 
tiful than the palace that he had planned to build in the mountains. 
He asked the angels whose this palace was, and how it came to be 
there, and how it came to be so beautiful. So the angels said: 
"This is the magnificent palace of beautiful deeds erected for the 
greater honor of God which was built for you by Jakob, the wise 
builder. After all the buildings of earth have been destroyed, this 
one shall still be beautiful." Then the king understood that his 
servant had done far better with his money than he himself had 
planned. 

You know Jesus Himself has told us to lay up treasures in 
Heaven, and this is what the angels meant when they showed the 
king how the good deeds done by his servant for the glory of God 
in healing the sick and feeding the hungry and caring for the poor 
had prepared for him a far more beautiful palace than could 'have 
been made of silver and gold. 

My dear boys and girls", in conclusion I will say that you will give 
the Lord His share by being full of zeal for everything that is 
Catholic. Go to church on Sundays and holidays in the morning 
and afternoon, and participate in the usual devotions. Keep the 
precepts of the Church and receive frequently, and always with a 
heart well prepared, the Sacrament of Penance and the Blessed 
Eucharist. By so doing you will render to God what is God's and 

He will in return give you Heaven as your reward, 



10 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE' CHILDREN'S MASS 



<! 



TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 11 



Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost 
A Very Earnest Thought 

My dear children : A day and an hour will come when we will 
cease to breathe, our eyes will close, our ears will no longer hear the 
wailings of our friends, our hands and feet will grow cold, our 
heart will cease to beat, and our body will lie there motionless, its 
soul departed, like a castaway garment whose owner will use it no 
longer. Death is certain to all. And that is why I am speaking of 
death to you, my dear boys and girls, although you are so young, 
just starting in to live. From the first breath you drew you have 
started your march on to death. Since death is certain to all, it is 
certainly reasonable to think frequently of death that we may pre- 
pare ourselves properly for the greatest event of our life. 

When you rise in the morning you do not know whether you 
will be living in the evening. Thousands have risen in the best of 
health in the morning, and before sunset they were corpses. This 
was the fate of Abel. Heli, the high priest, and his two sons died 
suddenly the same day. On the fifteenth of August, 1842, Father 
Papillon was preaching a sermon in the presence of Prince Polignac 
and a vast audience in the chapel of the French Embassy in Lon- 
don. He was in the midst of his sermon, and said : "How precious 
is time, for we never know at what moment the Almighty will sum- 
mon us before His tribunal, there to give an account of all our 
actions." These were the last words he ever uttered. No sooner 
had he finished this sentence than those who were present noticed 
his color change; they ran up to the pulpit to help him, but it was 
too late, the vital spark had fled and the venerable priest was a life- 
less corpse. Is it not possible that you may rise in the morning, but 
when the evening comes you will not lie down, because during the 
course of the day death will have overtaken you? Since you are 
not secure one moment against death, is it not right that every 
morning when you rise you should think of death ? 

St. Rose of Lima took a firm resolution to love and to serve God 



\ 



to the end of her life. God sent her many crosses, but she accepted 
them all with loving resignation to the Divine Will and bore them 
with heroic patience. She had also much bodily pain to suffer, but 
this, too, she bore from the hand of God. One day she was suffer- 
ing more than usual; so great was the pain that she thought it 
would be impossible for her to endure it much longer. As this 
thought was passing through her mind she heard a sweet voice 
which said these words : "My dear child, My Cross was still more 
painful." These words consoled her and she bore her sufferings 
patiently to the end. She is now in Heaven enjoying the crown 
of happiness they gained for her. 

Death enters into cities and villages at night and snatches his 
prey, now here now there. It was in the darkness of the night that 
the destroying angel came into the houses of the Egyptians and 
snatched away the first born. It was in the darkness of the night 
that the heroic Judith cut off the head of the drunken Holofernes. 
Experience teaches us that more people die in the night than in the 
day-time. It is at any rate possible that some of us this night 
must make that journey on which everything depends. Consider 
this and never go to bed without a serious thought of death. And 
when you awake during the night think of your grave and say a 
"Hail Mary" for a happy death. 

Think of death in all temptations. Our life upon earth is a con- 
tinuous struggle, and scarcely a day passes when we are not tempted. 
Examples from Holy Scripture can show us the terrible devastations 
wrought. Cain, who slew his own brother Abel ; David, who loaded 
his conscience with a double crime; Judas Iscariot, who betrayed 
his Lord and Master. Whence these crimes? From temptations 
which were not resisted. 

St. Rose of Lima, when a little girl, had very beautiful hair 
which hung in ringlets over her shoulders. Although she already 
loved God very much she was not altogether free from vanity 
which so often enters the hearts even of little children. One dav 
while she was playing with her brother, he accidently threw a quan- 
tity of mud on her hair. At this the child looked at him with a 



12 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

vexed countenance and was on the point of getting angry with him 
for what he had done to her. When he saw this and knew what 
was taking place in her heart, he said : "My dear sister, do not be 
angry at what I have done ; I did not intend to do it. But keep in 
mind that the devil often makes use of fine curls like these to drag 
good girls down to hell." 

Rose at once put away the anger that Had risen in her heart, and 
from that moment, young as she was, she took the resolution never 
to allow her heart to be attached to any worldly thing, that she might 
always persevere in the service of God. 

How can we preserve ourselves from sin in all temptations? 
By thinking of death. How would it be possible to sin if we but 
said to ourselves : I must die, and I know neither how, when, nor 
where. This thought had been a shield to thousands, they escaped 
many temptations. Blessed Thomas More, the Chancellor of Eng- 
land, was in prison; his death on the block was certain unless he 
would renounce his allegiance to the Catholic Church and accom- 
modate himself to the will of the king. His wife visited him in 
prison and conjured him with many tears to obey the king. Thomas 
looked at his wife earnestly and said: "Tell me how long shall I 
live if I do the will of the king and offend God ?" "O surely twenty 
years," was the reply. "O foolish woman," he replied, "for the sake 
of twenty years to die miserably and plunge myself into hell ? No, 
no; I would rather die than displease God. I would rather die 
the temporal than the eternal death." Thus spoke the great and 
good man. Take an example from this heroic champion. 

In a hospital for sick soldiers there was a young man lying in 
danger of death ; he was a Catholic. Several times during his illness 
the priest asked him to prepare to die well, as there was but little 
hope of his recovery. "Not yet," he always answered. "Not yet ; 
I will think of it to-morrow." The next day he gave the same an- 
swer, but added : "I should like very much to make my confession, 
but it is impossible for me to do so." "What is there that can make 
it impossible for you to make your confession, my boy?" said the 
priest The only answer the dying man gave was : "Don't speak to 






» 



TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 13 

me of this any more, I beseech you, for I tell you it is impossible." 
The priest tried to show him the happiness and peace that fill the 
soul of a sinner who has obtained God's pardon, and asked him for 
God's sake to make his peace with God. The soldier shook his 
head. "It is of no use, Father, for you to ask me to do this. Do 
you see those men there? What would they think or say?" The 
priest at once saw that it was human respect which made the young 
man so stubborn, so he went to the group of visiting soldiers and 
said to them : "Comrades, you are making that young man die an un- 
happy death." "How, sir, are we doing that?" "He says," answered 
the priest, "that you would call him a coward and a fool if he went 
to confession." The men rose up in a body and went over to their 
dying comrade. "Do you think that we are pagans?" they ex- 
claimed. "Instead of even thinking of calling you a coward we 
were quite alarmed about your refusal." These words cured the 
young man. He called the priest and made his confession and died 
an hour afterwards with a peaceful smile upon his countenance. 

Children, we all have to make a long journey and like every good 
traveller we ought to prepare ourselves for it. And how can we be 
so forgetful as not to think of this journey? All persons who had 
the salvation of their soul at heart often thought of death. The 
Emperor Maximilian had his coffin made years before his death. 
He kept it in his room, and when he travelled he brought it 
with him in order by the sight of it to be reminded of death. 
You see a funeral procession ; what is more natural than to think : 
Soon I shall be carried to the grave. You see this one or that one 
taking sick and dying. Ought you not to think : my turn will soon 
come. When you hear the clock strike, will you not think of your 
dying hour and say : Perhaps I shall die at the same hour that has 
just struck and appear before God. These frequent thoughts of 
death will be the means for the preservation of a good conscience, 
and a good conscience is like a continual feast. 

My dear boys and girls, walk in the fear of God that you may 
obtain the greatest, most desirable and necessary of all graces — the 
grace of a happy death. 



14 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 

Prepare to Face the Judgment 

My dear children : As our holy faith teaches us, Jesus Christ will 
come again at the end of the world to judge the living and the dead. 
All men that ever lived will rise out of their graves and be gathered 
together before the Lord of Heaven and earth. God wills all men 
to be saved, but to a great majority of mankind the sentence of 
condemnation will be pronounced, as men will not do what is neces- 
sary for obtaining salvation. Children, what must we do in order 
to obtain a favorable judgment? Listen and I shall tell you. 

Make a good confession. Many nominal Catholics live for years 
in entire forgetfulness of God and add sin upon sin. In order to 
set things right they must make a confession of their past life. 
There are some who confess invalidly on account of their want of 
contrition and a firm purpose of amendment; some do not examine 
their conscience strictly enough, and on that account their confes- 
sion is very imperfect. Even for those who are pious a rehearsal of 
their past confessions is at times advisable. In their examination 
of conscience they might find that one or the other of their past 
confessions was essentially faulty. 

St. John Climacus relates the following consoling story: There 
lived in the East a young man who had from his youth given him- 
self up to every kind of sin, and was remarkable even among those 
who were wicked for his evil deeds. But God spoke to the heart 
of this young man and inspired him with the resolution to return to 
his Heavenly Father. Going at once to a monastery in Alexandria, 
he fell down at the feet of the Abbot and besought him to admit 
him into the number of his religious. The holy man who had 
heard much about the bad life of this man was indeed glad to see 
him kneeling so humbly at his feet, but fearing that the present 
emotions would pass away, he said to him: 'My child, you will 
never be able to practice the austerities which our monks practice ; 
besides you would never be able to confess your sins publicly in the 



9 



TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 15 

Church, as is the custom amongst us.' 'Yes, my Father/ he an- 
swered, 'not only would I confess all my sins before the monks of 
your house, but I am willing to confess them in public before all 
the world, if necessary.' The abbot on hearing this admitted him. 
On the following Sunday, when the monks were assembled in 
the church to the number of two hundred and thirty, the Abbot 
ordered the young man to be brought in. He entered clothed in 
sackcloth and covered with ashes. The Abbot then placed him in 
the middle of the Church and told him to begin his confession. He 
at once obeyed and recited his sins amid sobs and tears. During 
the time he was thus accusing himself one of the monks saw stand- 
ing at his side a beautiful angel. He held a large open book and 
with a pen he effaced every sin that was confessed. God was 
pleased to make known in this way that He forgave that great 
sinner all that he had done wrong, because he was sorry for his 
sins, and confessed them. 

The same thing happens to you, children, every time you make a 
good confession. God's angel effaces your sins from the book in 
which they were recorded, never to appear against you again. Oh, 
try then, always to make good confessions that your sins may be 
blotted out, and that your soul may become beautiful before Goc^ 
If you find it difficult to tell some sin you may have committed, ask 
the most holy Mother of God to obtain for you the grace to con- 
fess it. 

When we find that a general confession is necessary we must 
never delay it. No one knows whether he will be so situated as to 
make a good general confession. A Spanish nobleman came one 
day to a missionary, requesting him to hear his general confession. 
To the question why he wished to make one then he replied : "Ah, 
must I not die! But if I wait till that time the thought of wife 
and children, fear, the vehemence of the sickness, may prevent me 
from being calm and deliberate ; how great, therefore, would be my 
imprudence if I should put off this business to such an inopportune 
time and under so many difficulties." And he would not defer his 
general confession for a single day. Children, do not let a mission, 



16 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

or a jubilee, or a change of your state of life pass by without mak- 
ing a general confession. 

Marie, spouse of Louis XV. of France, had a son whom she also 
trained in the fear of God up from his infancy. When he grew up 
to be a young man he had to leave his mother's house and live for a 
time among strangers. During his absence word was brought t<? 
his mother that he had to spend part of his time among those who 
would take a pleasure in corrupting his young heart. As soon as 
she was informed of this, she threw herself on her knees at the 
foot of the crucifix and recommended her beloved child to the pro- 
tection of his Heavenly Father. "O my God," she prayed, "take 
my darling boy to Thyself, rather than permit him to offend Thee 
by sin, or to lose the treasure of his innocence." 

God heard the prayer of that good mother and delivered him 
from the evil that threatened him. When he returned home, the 
first question his mother asked him was if he had much to endure 
from the companions he had to mingle with. "Yes, my mother," 
he replied, "great indeed were the dangers they put around me to 
ruin me; but, thanks be to God, and to your prayers, I have still 
kept my soul pure and stainless." Not long after this time the 
young Prince became suddenly very ill and died in sentiments of 
great piety. On the evening of the day of his death his mother 
sent for her other children, and, with tears in her eyes, said to 
them: "Your brother is dead; it is I, your mother, who asked God 
to take him to Himself. Sometime ago I heard that he was in dan- 
ger of committing sin. I went on my knees and prayed fervently 
to God to take him out of this world rather than permit him to lose 
his innocence. God has heard me, and I thank Him for His good- 
ness to me. Still I weep for him, for I loved him as dearly as any 
mother could love her child." 

Children, you have just heard how prayer kept the son of the king 
pure and innocent, you can rest assured that his conscience was 
always in order. How calm and innocent he must have stood be- 
fore the just Judge. In order to persevere in grace unto the end 
we need special help from God, for the enemies of our soul are very 



TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 17 



i 



powerful. We must ask for this help and that is obtained first of all 
by prayer. Only those obtain salvation who pray, and those are lost 
who do not pray. All the saints have been saved because they 
prayed. Who then would not pray with fervor, since so much 
depends on prayer? 

The Sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Eucharist are an- 
other means to keep our conscience in order. As often as you make 
a humble and sincere confession you are cleansed from all your 
sins, both mortal and venial, and at the same time you also receive 
special graces by which you are strengthened against sin. Holy 
Communion affords us extraordinary power and strength to over- 
come all the assaults of the devil and to persevere in good. Be- 
sides these means there is another and that is devotion to the saints 
of God. By devotion to the saints we can obtain many graces, they 
are in great favor with God and are His friends. But we may 
promise to ourselves still greater graces from our devotion to Mary, 
because she is not only a servant of God, but also the Mother of 
God. The prayer of Mary, being the prayer of a mother, has the 
virtue almost of a command. 

A young man who had many times fallen into mortal sins went 
to confession to a certain priest. The good priest in order to en- 
courage his penitent to be good, said : "My child, I will tell you an 
easy means to overcome temptations. If you do what I tell you, you 
will never fall again." "Oh, my Father," he replied, "tell me what 
it is, for with all my heart I desire to overcome all my evil habits." 
"Say a 'Hail Mary' every morning and evening in honor of her 
immaculate purity, and whenever you are tempted to do evil, say 
to her at once, 'O Mary, help me, for I am thine.' " The young 
man followed this advice, and in a short time was entirely delivered 
from his bad habits. Now it happened a short time afterwards that 
he was relating this to some of his acquaintances whom he had for- 
merly scandalized by his bad conduct. Amongst those who were 
listening to him was a young officer, who, like himself, had fallen 
into many sins, because he went wilfully with bad companions. As 
soon as he had heard the young man's story he resolved to follow 






18 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

his example. He at once went to confession and continued to lead 
a pious life. "O Mary, help me, for I am thine," was his watcn- 
word whenever any temptation assailed him. 

Some months after his conversion he had the imprudence to go 
again to visit those companions who had formerly led him into sin ; 
he wished to see if they had followed his example. But no sooner 
had he reached the place where they dwelt than a strange feeling 
of terror came over him, and he cried out : "O Mary, help me, for 
I am thine." That very instant he felt himself thrust back by an 
invisible hand and found himself at a distance from the house. He 
immediately saw the danger in which he had been and returned his 
most heartfelt thanks to God and His Holy Mother for having thus 
preserved him. 

My dear boys and girls, you know what you must do that you 
may be prepared to face judgment. You must keep your conscience 
in order and therefore fervently practice prayer, read pious books, 
frequently receive the Sacraments and have a great devotion to the 
Blessed Virgin. Consider that your doom for all eternity will be 
decided before the judgment seat of God, and therefore let it be 
your only business to prepare yourselves well for the Day of Judg- 
ment, 



first Sunday of advent 



19 






First Sunday of Advent 
Sanctification of Advent 

My dear children : In about four weeks we shall celebrate Christ- 
mas. The holy season of Advent, which begins to-day, is a prepa- 
ration for the commemoration of the Christmas festival. The 
Church admonishes us to begin this preparation at once by the words 
of St. Paul: "Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep." Per- 
haps many of us have fallen asleep in sin. If so, during the holy 
season of Advent we ought to rouse ourselves from this dangerous 
sleep and earnestly begin to work out our salvation. 

First of all, children, the Church exhorts us to do penance, and 
for this reason she forbids the solemnizing of marriage during 
Advent, and uses the violet color during the holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass. By penance we prepare the way for the dear Infant Saviour 
to come to our hearts. 

Once there was a little girl of eleven years of age who was very 
troublesome and idle. Always liking her own way, she became quite 
angry at the least contradiction. This went for so long a time that 
her superiors despaired of ever being able to correct her. 

But suddenly an unexpected change came over her. Her evil 
habits entirely disappeared and she became one of the most obedient 
children in school. One of her teachers observing that, from time 
to time, she put her hand upon her breast and pressed it against 
something she carried there, asked her why she did so. 

Blushing and confused, the child whispered these words : "It is to 
help me to be good." 

"How can that help you to be good, my child?" she asked. 

With some hesitation the little one drew forth from under the 
band of her dress a large crucifix which was suspended from her 
neck by a ribbon. "Sister, I wish to do penance," she said, "and I 
want to prepare myself well for the Feast of Christmas. When I 
am tempted to be naughty, I press this image to my heart, and then 
I find it easy to be good." And the good Sister understood that it 



t 

2 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

was Jesus Himself and the thought of His sufferings that had 
wrought such a change in this little girl. 

You, dear children, should also think frequently of the sufferings 
of Jesus and make acts of contrition for your sins which caused 
them. 

All of us should do penance by mortification. It is by curbing 
our passions, by checking our vanity, pride, avarice, anger and 
self-love that we become dearer to God. The guarding of our 
senses is very essential, my dear children, especially the eyes, the 
ears, and the tongue. We must practice these mortifications, partly 
to prevent future sins, partly to satisfy for sins committed. This 
is a good way to prepare for a worthy confession during the holy 
season of Advent. 

Not only is this a time of penance— it is also a time of prayer, 
for penance and prayer go together. There never was a saint who 
was not given to prayer. In your Bible history you read of the 
great Apostle, St. Paul, who shut himself up in Damascus and spent 
three days and three nights in prayer, neither eating nor drinking. 

Pray, then, during Advent with greater zeal and fervor than 
heretofore. If you have been careless in saying your morning and 
night prayers, resolve to be punctual in their recital henceforth. Do 
not look for any excuse to stay away from Holy Mass on Sundays 
and holidays, and, if possible, come to church on week-days to 
assist at this sublime sacrifice. 



SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT 



21 



Second Sunday of Advent 
Our Hearts Are a Dwelling for Jesus 

What grand preparations, my dear children, do we not make to 
receive a guest at our home. We fix up a little chamber with a 
bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick. 

Two weeks hence our divine Saviour will visit us and enrich us 
with His graces. The chamber that we must give Him is our 
heart, for He Himself says : "My son, give me thy heart." 

The first thing we have to provide for our guest is a chair in our 
hearts for Jesus to rest on. And that upon which Jesus can rest in 
our hearts is peace. Those who live in constant dissipation cannot 
turn their thoughts to God : such persons need not hope that Jesus 
will visit them. Jesus visits only those hearts that are calm and 
peaceful. 

Be often recollected, especially in the morning by calling to mind 
that God has given you another day, and in the evening think of 
what you have done for God. During your work and play often 
raise your heart to your Father in heaven, ask His protection and 
blessing, and promise Him a return of love. 

A holy hermit who had practiced prayer and penance for many 
years was one day troubled with a temptation of pride; he began 
to imagine that he was the holiest person in the world. 

In His mercy God showed the poor monk that he was mistaken 
and inspired him to visit a poor waiting-maid in an hotel in the 
city. 

This astonished the good hermit. "How can it be possible," he 
said to himself, "that a simple maid in an hotel can be superior to 
me in virtue, since I have done nothing else for many years but 
fast and pray continually? I must go and visit her, and ask her 
what she does that makes her more agreeable in the eyes of God 
than I am." 

So he went to the city, and easily found the person of whom he 
was in search. When he had told her what God had revealed to 
him in the vision, he asked her to let him know what great prac- 









22 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

tices of piety she performed that made God love her so much, and 
made her more perfect in His eyes than he was. 

"My Father," she replied, "I do not know what God can see in 
me that can please Him so much ; I am only a poor simple waiting- 
maid. All that I can say to you is that I endeavor to perform all 
my actions with the greatest care, in order that I may please God 
and do His blessed will. When I am carrying wood for the kitchen 
fire, I think of the love of Jesus in carrying His Cross for me, and 
tell Him that I love Him because He is good ; in the same way in 
all my other works, I always try to think of Him in one way or 
other. I am at peace with God and in a peaceful heart Jesus always 
abides." 

The hermit returned home, thanking God for giving the simplest 
and lowliest of His children the power to love Him. 

We must give our exalted Guest a table at which He may sit 
and dine. Do you know what is acceptable to Jesus in our heart? 
It is the fulfillment of the will of God; that is the table which will 
furnish Him refreshment. When therefore you know a thing to 
be the will of God, do it, no matter how hard or difficult. If it is 
hard for you to be obedient, or humble or meek, say to yourself : 
"It is the will of God that I practice these virtues." With this 
spirit all the saints were animated. 

You dislike to go into a dark room, do you not ? Jesus dwells not 
in darkness: He is the light of the world. So you must have a 
lighted candle to attract the divine Visitor into your heart. 

The word of God is the lighted candle. See the pagan children, 
what darkness prevails among them! They know not the word of 
God. They have no knowledge of God. Even Christians who 
neglect to hear the word of God act contrary to their duties as 
Christians and transgress the commandments of God and His 
Church. Listen, then, attentively, my children, to the word of God 
in church and in school. 

With this light we should search every nook and corner of our 
heart in order to find out what is wrong and faulty. We should 



SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT 



23 






ask ourselves every night before retiring: What have I done? 
How have I done it? And then — we must prepare a bed in our 
/ hearts for Jesus that He may come and dwell there. 

Every evening before we go to rest, let us say our night prayers. 
We know that every day we live is a pure gift of God, and that 
every night we need His protection. How wrongly do those chil- 
dren act who go to bed without any night prayers. Do not imitate 
such conduct ; say at least a short night prayer, give thanks to God 
and ask pardon for your sins. 

A priest was one day travelling among the mountains of Au- 
vergne, when he perceived a boy at a little distance, feeding his 
sheep on the hillside. Struck with his devout and recollected ap- 
pearance he turned aside to speak to him. "My child," said he, 
"you must feel very lonely all day there by yourself." "Oh, no, 
Father," replied the boy, "I am not at all lonely, for I have always 
something to do." "And what do you do?" asked the priest. "I 
have a beautiful prayer that I say," rejoined the child. "Is it a very 
long one," said the priest, "that you are so busy all day saying it?" 
"No, Father," answered the boy, "on the contrary, it is very short, 
and yet I can never get to the end of it. It is the 'Our Father.' 
But when I say the first words, 'Our, Father, Who art in heaven,' 
I come to a stop and go no further." "Why so?" asked the priest. 
"Because I cannot help crying," replied the child, "when I think 
of those words. Is it possible, I say to myself, that I can have God 
for my Father— God, who has made that beautiful sky, that bright 
sun, those lofty mountains, and all the universe? And He allows 
me, a poor shepherd boy, to call Him by the name of Father. Then 
when I think of all this, I begin to weep, and cannot get on with 
my prayers. See, Father," continued the boy, pointing with his 
finger over the valley, "see, there is the little village where I live. 
My family is the poorest of all, and yet I can call God my Father as 
truly, and be as much loved by Him as if I were the greatest gentle- 
man in the city. This is what makes me weep and hinders me from 
finishing my prayer." "No matter," replied the priest, much 
moved; "do as you have been doing, and God will love you and 



24 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT 



25 



bless you." So saying, the good father went on his way, praising 
Almighty God. 

Now you know, my children, how to prepare your heart for the 
abode of Jesus. If your heart be thus prepared, our divine Saviour 
will come and make His abode with you and will one day receive 
you into the mansions of bliss. 






iThird Sunday of Advent , 
Our Monitor 

My dear children: The heart of a sinner is like a wilderness 
where everything is dry and barren. You find there no h6ly 
thoughts, no good resolutions, no love of God. 

In to-day's Gospel we read how John was the voice of one cry- 
ing in the wilderness, urging the people to do penance, to amend 
their lives. In like manner, a voice cries out in the heart of a 
sinner, exhorting him to return to God. This voice is our con- 
science, which tells us what is right and what is wrong, which 
rewards and punishes us. 

Conscience is the voice of God. It is our guide. Let us always 
obey it. If in times of temptation it tells you, "This is right, this 
is the will of God," do it. If it tells you, "This is wrong, this dis- 
pleases God," do it not. 

If you be about to do something that is good, your conscience 
encourages you, but if you be on the point of doing something 
wrong, it warns you against it, and as soon as you have carried out 
the deed, it rebukes you. 

What a blessing to have such a guide on our journey through 
life ! Your best friends may deceive you ; they may overlook your 
faults. But your conscience will never do this. It tells you the 
plain truth. It is the only true friend you have. If you do not 
heed its inspirations it will be your tormentor. 

A few years ago there lived in London a gentleman who was 
extremely prejudiced against our holy religion, and never lost an 
opportunity of laughing at and ridiculing its practices. Upon one 
occasion, however, when Catholic doctrines became the subject of 
conversation and ridicule, it was noticed that he was silent. Being 
asked the reason he related to the company the following story : 

"You wonder," said he, "why I no longer join with you, as I 
used to do, in scoffing at Catholic practices ; I will tell you. A few 
days ago I was busy writing in my room, when I had occasion to 
leave my desk in order to fetch a certain paper from an inner 



26 STORY -SERMON ETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT 



27 



apartment. While I was so engaged, the servant girl, who is an 
Irish Catholic, happened to enter the room to tend the fire, for, as 
I had not answered her knock, she imagined that I had gone out. 
Now, I had left by chance upon my desk a large sum of money, 
and I could see that, as soon as she entered the room, she was 
attracted by the glitter of gold. I determined to watch her closely, 
for I was in a position to observe all her movements, though she 
had no knowledge of my presence. On perceiving the gold she 
dropped the coal-box, and advanced eagerly to the table. She 
stretched out her hand, and was on the very point of clutching 
the money, when, to my astonishment, she began to blush and sud- 
denly withdrew her arm and made with her hand the sign of the 
cross, saying aloud, The cross of Christ be betwixt me and my 
master's money!' Then, turning, she fairly ran from the room, 
leaving her brush and coal-box on the floor. Now I am convinced 
from this that the pious practices of the Catholic religion, so far 
from being idle and superstitious, are most holy and pleasing to 
God, since they are the means of raising the heart to Him, and 
drawing down grace in moments of strong temptation." 

Children, how lucky it was for that servant girl to have fol- 
lowed the voice of her conscience ! 

When you have done wrong your conscience becomes your tor- 
mentor. "What have you done ?" it cries out to you. "Into what 
a miserable state have you fallen! You have offended God and 
lost His grace. Should you die in this state, whither would you 
go? 

If you have a secret sorrow you can go to a sympathizing 
friend. Not so if you have a bad conscience; you are tormented, 
and yet you cannot make your torments known. Others may per- 
haps have a good opinion of you; but your bad conscience takes 
occasion therefrom to torment you the more, for it says to yout 
"People think well of you, but you are a contemptible wretch, a 
hypocrite! Do you think that you can deceive God as you can 
deceive man?" If you are addicted to some secret sins and you 
enjoy the special love of your parents, sisters and brothers, does 



• 






i 



I 



not a sword of sorrow pierce your guilty heart? Do you not say 
within yourself : "If they only knew?" 

Cain found no rest upon earth because of the sting of con- 
science. Judas, the wicked Apostle, hanged himself. And why? 
His tormenting conscience kept his sins ever before him. The 
knowledge of his -guilt weighed him down, finally making him a 
victim of despair. 

Children, there was once a saint whose name was Medard, the 
owner of an ox. One night a thief stole the animal out of the 
stable. As, however, the ox had a bell attached to his neck, by the 
sound of which the culprit might easily have been betrayed, the 
guilty man stopped the mouth of the bell with grass, and drove 
the ox home without being discovered. But the animal had 
scarcely been placed in the strange stable when the bell began to 
ring of itself, as if it would call all the neighbors together to re- 
veal the theft. Struck with fear and terror, the thief tried to stop 
the bell again, but could not do so, for it continued to ring the 
louder. Finally he tore the bell from the neck of the animal, took 
out the tongue, and hid it in a box. Even there, however, the bell 
ceased not to ring, so that the thief at last, full of anguish, con- 
fessed his evil deed to the saint, and returned the ox. Conscience 
is like this bell, my children ; it gives the sinner no rest until he is 

i 

converted. Do what he will, he cannot silence his faithful moni- 
tor. Let him enjoy all possible pleasures, let him travel all over 
the world, let him pray, fast, the bell of his conscience will still 
ring and give him no rest, no peace, till he removes the cause. 
Your Bible History tells you of Joseph and his brethren. After 
they did their wicked deed they had no rest, no pleasure ; they were 
discontented until they were truly converted by the afflictions 
caused by their own guilt. Remorse of conscience is intended to 
convert sinners. 

You may be able to deaden the voice of conscience, or get rid 
of it entirely for the time being. Be assured, though, the case will 
be different in death, when you can no longer enjoy pleasures. Then 
conscience will rise as your tormentor. Children, the years of your 



-wi 






28 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



whole life will pass in review before your mind at that awful mo- 
ment — the trespasses of your childhood, the indulgence of your 
passions in youth, all the sins of your eyes, ears, hands and feet, 
the violations of the commandments from first to last. Oh, what 
terror, what anguish, must seize the dying sinner, then ! 

But your conscience only torments you for your good, my chil- 
dren, to deter you from sin, and to lead you to penance in order 
to save your soul. Listen, then, to its voice, especially in this holy 
season of advent. It calls to you : "Make straight the way of the 
Lord." Will you reject its pleading? 



FOURTH SUNDAY OF 'ADVENT 



29 






Fourth Sunday of Advent 

Preparing a Suitable Reception for the Divine Guest 

My dear Children: Like a good mother, the Church is always 
looking after the welfare of her spiritual children. To-day, the last 
Sunday of Advent, she once more reminds us of the approach of 
the feast of Christmas. She tells us if we have put off our con- 
version thus far that we have still one more chance. 

Do you know, children, that there are many people who neglect 
their souls entirely, and never think of eternity ? They spend their 
lives in earthly cares. Their constant study is how to acquire 
money and property, to be esteemed by men, and to enjoy the 
good things of this world. These people we call worldly-minded. 

Jesus sought nothing worldly, no honor, no money, no pleasure. 
His whole ambition was to do the will of His Father. The Ven- 
erable Vincent Carafa, of the Society of Jesus, used to say that if 
he had a wish upon earth, it was to have a cell, a piece of bread, 
and a spiritual book, in order to occupy himself with God and his 
salvation. 

The things of this world, my dear children, are only for our 
need; we must not set our hearts upon them, otherwise they will 
hinder us from going to heaven. To illustrate this let me tell you 
a little story : 

A fearful storm had just subsided, leaving in the heavens a 
beautiful rainbow. Little Henry, looking from the window, cried 
out full of joy: "Such lovely colors I never saw in all my life! 
Down yonder, by the old willow tree, they reach from the clouds 
down to the very ground! All the leaves must be dripping with 
their beauty. I will run and fill the mussel-shells in my paint-box 
with them." And so he ran as fast as he could to the willow tree, 
but to his amazement, the poor boy found himself standing in the 
rain, looking at a leaden sky, from which every vestige of color 
had disappeared. Thoroughly drenched and dispirited, he re- 
turned, and complained of his disappointment to his father. 

The good man smiled. "Ah J" said he, "my son, these colors 



30 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



cannot be caught in a shell; they are caused by the raindrops, 
which for a little while appear thus beautifully colored in the rays 
of the sun. But so it is, my dear child, with the pleasures and 
splendor of the world; they seem to us to be beautiful, y^t they 
are only empty show." "Fix not thy heart on empty, outward 
show; earth's pleasures often end in woe." 

The saints were weak and inclined to evil, like ourselves; they 
had the same obstacles and temptations to overcome as we have; 
but with the grace of God they surmounted all and secured their 
eternal destiny. They were composed of the same flesh and blood 
as we, but they had a stronger will and more faith and courage. 
If we have but their good will and ask God for His grace, we 
shall live holily and, like them, be after death happy in heaven. 

During one of the persecutions which the Emperors of Japan 
ordered against the Christians, a certain mother was heard saying : 
"Ah, willingly would I lay down my life for the love of God, but 
what would become of my little boy? They would take him away, 
and bring him up a pagan like themselves." In the meantime, the 
boy, a beautiful child of six years, was playing with his toys in 
the corner of the house. He had overheard the words of his 
mother, and without saying what he was going to do, he went 
towards the fire, and put into it a piece of iron which was lying 
near. When it had become red-hot, the child took it into his 
hands, and, holding it by the part that was glowing, turned tow- 
ards his mother, without uttering even a sigh. When the mother 
saw the hot iron burning her child's hand, she screamed and run- 
ning towards him, took it from him, saying, "What made you do 
such a dreadful thing?" 

"My mother," answered the boy, "I wanted to show you that I 
also can suffer for the love of God Oh! I will suffer whatever 
torment they will inflict upon me as easily as I endured this one, 
that I may go to heaven with you." 

It was, indeed, the grace of God that had given that child such 
strength and courage. 

We must be humble, my children, if we want to receive Jesus 



FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT 



31 



»N 



into our heart as our guest. Who are those nowadays who are 
the enemies of our holy Mother the Church? The proud, who 
know everything better than she does. The proud man does not 
want to hear about penance and conversion. He is like the 
Scribes and Pharisees who hated Jesus. Only humble souls are 
accessible to divine grace. With them God is well pleased, and so 
He gives them the means of working out their salvation. 

There was once a young girl who wanted to be a nun. To 
fulfill her desire, she went to the convent of the Carmelites and 
asked the Superioress to admit her as one of her subjects. 

"My child," said the Superioress, "as our Order is a most severe 
one, I am afraid that you would not be able to practice all the 
austerities which our rule enjoins. Come and I will show you 
how severe is the life we lead." 

So she led the young postulant through the convent and showed 
her the poor food, and the hard beds of all those who dwelt 
within the cloister walls. But nothing that she saw seemed to 
frighten her. 

After showing her all these things the Superioress said, "Now, 
my child, tell me, how could you bear that hard and trying life?" 

"Reverend Mother," she replied, "may I ask you are there any 
crucifixes in the convent?" 

"Yes, there is one in every room, as you must have seen," re- 
sponded the Superioress. 

"Ah, then, do not be afraid of me, for if there is a crucifix in 
my cell, where you say my hard bed will be, and in the place 
where I will receive such poor food, and in the church where I 
will have to spend so much time in prayer, I will not find any 
difficulty in bearing with all you have described to me; the sight 
of my dear Jesus on the cross will give me strength and courage 
to bear all hardships." 

The Superioress at once consenting to admit her, she became a 
model of piety and fervor to all the other nuns. 

The last words of warning are: "Prepare ye the way of the 
Lord." Children, we must seek the things that are above and 



32 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS 



33 



serve God with fervor and constancy. We must become humble 
of heart; for it is only the humble who please God. Make the 
rough ways plain by curbing the passion of anger, bearing with 
one another, and forgiving one another. Herein consists the true 
preparation for the feast of Christmas, when Jesus will come with 
His grace into our hearts. 



s 



Sunday After Christmas 

Our Heart a Precious Crib 

My dear Children: The Christmas festival still continues to- 
day. Though the little Jesus has been born in our hearts in a 
spiritual manner, still He must not remain there as a new-born 
babe, but must grow and wax strong. 

We will approach the crib and see what lessons we can learn 
from the divine Child. See, children, this figure represents Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God, who for love of' us became a poor child. 
If you are always good children, if you have God before your 
eyes; if you learn well, pray devoutly, and obey willingly, the dear 
infant Jesus will be pleased with you and will take you hereafter 
to live with Him in heaven. But if you are bad children and will 
not learn or pray, but tell lies, steal, and do other naughty things, 
the infant Jesus will forsake you. Therefore, kneel down now 
before the crib and promise Jesus very earnestly that you will 
always be very good. 

By the Sacrament of Baptism a crib was erected in our hearts, 
thus making those hearts, which were once the abode of Satan, 
the dwelling place of Jesus Christ. Baptized persons are in real- 
ity temples of the living God, and the divine Infant, who once 
reposed in the crib at Bethlehem, really dwells in their hearts. 

Examine yourselves, children, whether the crib which was once 
erected in you at your baptism, has not been torn down and de- 
stroyed. Many of us by grievous sin have expelled the dear 
Saviour from His home, our hearts. 

In the year 1876, Sister Helen, of the Order of St. Francis, 
who had gone to foreign parts to help to gain souls to God, was 
one day visiting a lady, one of the greatest benefactors of the 
convent where she resided. This lady had in her home a servant, 
Miriam by name, who was a Mohammedan negress. After dinner 
had been served, the humble girl quietly approached the Sister 
and whispered in her ear, "I want to be a Christian. ,, "If you 



34 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE C HILDREN'S MASS 

are sincere in your desire, God will help you in His own good 
time," she answered, and so they parted. 

From her childhood this poor girl had been the slave of cruel 
masters, who had treated her most unkindly. Fortunately, she 
had found her way into the service of this good lady, the kind 
benefactress of the convent in Cairo. Frequently the good girl 
accompanied her mistress to the Church of St. Catherine, at Alex- 
andria, and listened with great attention to the sermons she heard 
delivered. During the Christmas festivities she would spend 
whole hours prostrate in prayer, before the crib, adoring the One 
she did not know. God only knows her heartfelt prayers. The 
divine child Jesus was the first to speak to the heart of Miriam 
and gave consolation to her who had known only sorrow and tears 
in her life. Along with the faithful she approached the crib and 
kissed devoutly the feet of the infant Jesus. 

One evening while leaning on a window-sill she fell asleep. 
Very close to her a lamp was burning. By a sudden movement in 
her sleep she fell against the lamp, and her garments' becoming 
ignited, she was enveloped in flames in an instant. The poor 
child cried out in her distress, but before help arrived her body 
was terribly burned. Her mistress, overwhelmed with grief 
at this accident, sent in haste to the convent to obtain the help 
of the Sisters. Two of them carried the wounded girl to the con- 
vent, where the Mother Superior received her very kindly, and left 
nothing undone to procure her recovery. 

The chaplain was immediately summoned to her bedside. Find- 
ing Miriam fully instructed in the rudiments of our holy religion, 
he exhorted her to be resigned in this calamity to the Holy Will 
of God. Her answer filled him with amazement. "One must 
suffer," she said, "if one wishes to be crowned hereafter. In a 
few hours I hope to possess God, and to be eternally happy with 
Him." 

On the third day after baptism she made her first Communion, 
a Communion that served also as her Viaticum. Holding the 
crucifix close to her breast, she murmured: "Oh, it is all over 



SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS 



35 












; 



now! I am going to meet my Jesus, whom I love so much." 
With these last words, her pure soul entered the haven of peace. 

Should Christ have, perchance, been banished from your heart, 
my dear children, delay not to rebuild the crib. Do this during 
these Christmas holidays by making a good confession. He who 
makes a good confession receives the remission of all the sins 
committed after baptism; then, too, sanctifying grace once more 
flows into his soul, and Christ again makes His abode there. 
After that, when you communicate vorthily, you receive Jesus 
Christ Himself, the Author of all graces. When Jesus has chosen 
your heart for a crib, love and gratitude require that we fre- 
quently visit Him and converse with Him. We do this by prayer. 
If you neglect your prayer, you offend this heavenly Guest and 
compel Him to depart. 

While St. Edmund, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, was 
pursuing his studies at Paris, he used frequently to walk in the 
fields by the river bank, in order to meditate on sacred subjects. 
One day he beheld before him a boy of exceeding beauty, whose 
countenance was bright and radiant, and who saluted him, saying, 
"Hail, my beloved!" The stranger then asked Edmund if he did 
not know him. Edmund replied that he did not remember ever 
having met him before. Upon which the boy exclaimed, "It is 
strange that you do not know me, for I sit by your side in the 
schools, and wherever you go I am with you." He then told 
Edmund to look at his face and see what was written on his 
forehead. The Saint, looking, read, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of 
the Jews." From that time Edmund became more and more in- 
flamed with the love of his Redeemer, and devoted himself more 
arduously to the meditation of His sacred passion. 

It was the custom of St. Teresa to sign all her letters, Teresa of 
Jesus, to show that she lived for Jesus alone, and loved Him 
alone. One day, when she was walking through the cloisters of 
her convent at Avila, she met a beautiful child, who stopped when 
he saw her, and looked up to her face with an engaging smile. 
Wondering how he had been able to enter the convent, the holy 



36 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CH ILDREN'S MASS 

nun asked him to tell her his name. "I will, if you will tell me 
your own," said the child "Mine?" said St. Teresa, smiling; "I 
am called Teresa of Jesus.- "And if you would know mine " re- 
sponded the child, "I am called Jesus of Teresa/' At the same 
moment He disappeared, leaving St. Teresa's heart overflowing 
with wonder and gratitude at the infinite goodness of our Lord 

I do sincerely hope and trust that among you, my children, 
there is not a single heart in which a crib will not be erected for 
the divine Babe. Cleanse then your heart from all sin and implant 
there the love of God, that Jesus may come to you and make His 
abode with you forever! 



THE SUNDAY AFTER NEW YEAR'S 



y& 






The Sunday After New Year's 
The Lord's Day 

My dear Children: As we pass through life we are like ships at 
sea. At times we sail along peacefully and calm, but again we run 
into a storm, and the boisterous waves threaten to engulf us. On 
every side we are surrounded by dangers. And do you know what 
these dangers are ? Sometimes it is Satan, who goes about "like a 
roaring lion seeking whom he may devour"; sometimes it is the 
world trying to ensnare us ; and again it is our own sinful flesh. But 
though our bark may be covered by the waves of constant tempta- 
tion, we must not lose courage, for we have a life-boat in prayer. 
It is true we should "pray always" according to our Saviour's in- 
junction, yet Sunday has been set aside as a day of prayer, on which 
we should honor God by fervent religious exercises, and implore 
His graces for time and eternity. 

It is called the Day of the Lord, because it is the day on which 
Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Therefore devote it to the Lord, 
and do not, by dissipation and vice, make it the monopoly of the 
devil. On this day especially return thanks to Jesus for the light of 
faith with which He has enlightened you. 

St. Gregory, the celebrated Bishop of Tours, who lived in the 
sixth century, relates that a certain laborer of Auvergne, having 
yoked two oxen to a plough, did not hesitate to go forth to labor in 
his field on Sunday. 

While he was thus engaged, God was moved to punish him. The 
plough broke in two. Instead of ceasing his sinful labor, he went to 
look for an ax, and with it began to mend the plow. As he held 
the instrument in his hands, one of them became suddenly paralyzed, 
and every effort made to detach it was unavailing. About two years 
afterwards, the poor man, recognizing in his affliction the hand of 
God, was inspired to visit the tomb of the holy martyr St. Julian, 
where he spent the night before the ensuing Sunday in devout 
prayer to the saint to beseech God to have mercy on him and for- 
give him. 



I 






38 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDR EN'S MASS 

On the following day, in the presence of an immense multitude of 
the faithful who had come to assist at the Holy Sacrifice, his hand 
opened of itself, and the handle of the ax he had so long held in it 
fell to the ground. 

This extraordinary example of the punishment inflicted by God 
upon those who neglect to obey His precepts became for all those 
who saw it the cause of an earnest resolution to observe the sancti- 
fication of the Lord's day with greater and more exact fidelity. 

But if we are not to do manual labor on Sunday, neither are we 
to spend the day in idleness and sloth. We should go to Mass and 
if prevented from doing so we should say our Mass prayers at home 
Let us not abuse this day by the service of mammon ; let us seek not 
temporal but eternal riches, and carefully avoid all servile work 
which renders impossible the day's sanctification. 

A certain miller who dwelt in a town in France, was in the habit 
of pursuing his trade every Sunday and festival in order to increase 
his gains. While the villagers were attending the high Mass at the 
parish church, he might be seen at his mill, employed in his usual 
avocations, so much so that his irreligious conduct had become no- 
torious in the neighborhood. One day he went out as usual to his 
work, but, seeing the people pass on their way to church he hid him- 
self behind the sails of his mill, which were at times stationary 
through want of wind. He had not long been there before a breeze 
sprung up, and the sails being suddenly put in motion caught his body 
and flung it into the air. Alarmed at his prolonged absence, his wife 
after some hours, came to seek him, and found to her dismay his 
lifeless body extended on the ground. It presented a fearful spec- 
tacle, being pierced in many places with the sharp points of the mill 
sails, and bruised and shattered with the violence of his fall. 

On the Lord's day we must in a particular manner practise works 
of Christian love and mercy. Although our charity should not be 
confined to one day only, St. Chrysostom expressly says : "Sunday 
is especially suitable for alms-giving." Employ Sundays in putting 
into practice the seven corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Feed 
a poor person or send something from your table to the sick that 



THE SUNDAY AFTER NEW YEAR'S 



39 






they also may feel happy; visit the sick and assist them with alms if 
they are poor. 

In a large Ohio town there lived a little cripple by the name of 
Jimmy, whom everybody knew. When the Jesuit Fathers had opened 
a mission in one of the neighboring parishes, his good mother took 
him to church one evening. From that night on the little cripple 
could be seen in the front seat every night during the mission; he 
liked the bright music and the flickering lights. But there was more 
than that. 

One night something happened that he did not expect. It hap- 
pened so silently that Jimmy was the most surprised boy in the world 
after he knew about it. What do you think it was ? Let me tell you : 
The dear Lord Jesus, hidden in the tabernacle, sent a dart of His 
love into Jimmy's heart, which made Jimmy a firm friend of Jesus 
and a staunch Christian. 

You know that when a boy loves Jesus and calls himself a Catho- 
lic, there are some things he used to do which he does not want to do 
again. The following Sunday there was a baseball game in town, and 
of course Jimmy had planned to go. This planning he did before the 
mission. Sunday came and great crowds went to the ball grounds. 
In the evening the street cars were crowded with men and women 
coming from the game. They were talking and laughing noisily, as 
if they had forgotten all about it being God's holy day. At one of 
the corners Jimmy got on the car, whereupon the conductor, who 
knew him, called out to him : "Eh ! Jimmy, what was the score ?" In 
his usual bright and happy manner, Jimmy replied : "Five to two, but 
I wasn't there. You know that I am a good Catholic now." After 
that the men did not talk quite so loud, nor the women laugh so 
much, and one or two heard the conductor, when he took Jimmy's 
nickel, say to him: "Stick to it, Jimmy, and you will be better for 
it!" What a sermon Jimmy preached that afternoon in the street- 
car, in that big city of Columbus, Ohio. I wish I could preach like 
that. It puts some of us men to shame when a little lad is not 
ashamed to tell a crowded street-car that he is a Catholic, and that 
he would not miss church on the Lord's day. 



V 






40 STORY-SERMONETTE S FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

St. Chrysostom calls Sunday the Day of Bread. The reason of it 
is this : In the first centuries of the Church it was the universal 
custom for the faithful to receive Holy Communion during Holy 
Mass on all Sundays. Would that all the faithful would do this 
now ! A frequent reception of the holy sacraments would contribute 
materially to the sanctification of the Lord's day and put a stop to 
many sins. 

Let us resolve to go regularly to church on Sundays and holidays 
of obligation in the morning and afternoon; let us assist devoutly at 
Mass and hear the sermon. If we receive often on those days the 
Sacrament of Penance and Holy Eucharist, we shall asuredly make 
progress in the way of virtue. 



FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY 



41 









First Sunday After Epiphany 

A Holy Family 

My dear children : Our Holy Mother, the Church, presents to us 
a moving picture throughout the year, namely, she throws the life 
and actions of our Lord upon the screen, from His Incarnation to 
His glorious Ascension into heaven, in order that we may consider 
what He has done for our salvation. On Christmas day you saw the 
new-born Babe in the manger ; on Epiphany, the three kings from 
the East, greeting and worshipping Him. To-day we see Jesus as 
a child of twelve years. 

At this period of our Lord's life, Mary and Joseph took Him with 
them to Jerusalem. It was a long and fatiguing journey. What a 
beautiful example is here given to your parents. Do they take you 
to church, or at least send you there? When you are "Children of 
the law," you are bound under pain of mortal sin to hear Mass on 
Sundays and holidays. 

The great distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem did not deter the 
holy family from assisting at public worship. How much more 
easily you can comply with your religious duties! The church is at 
no great distance from any of you. 

At the beginning of the last century there lived in the parish of 
Roybon, near the town of Marcellinus, in the South of France, a 
family belonging to the laboring class. The head of this family, 
Antony Ginien, had already reached a high state of Christian per- 
fection. 

Although he dwelt at a distance of about five miles from the 
church, he was always among the first to reach it on Sundays and 
holydays, that he might hear Holy Mass, and assist at the offices of 
the Church. 

In the latter years of his life it became impossible for him to travel 
that distance in the winter-time, on account of his infirmities ; but 
from the Feast of Easter until All Saints he would rise early in the 
morning, and, with the aid of two crutches, accomplish the journey 



42 STORY -SERMON ETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY 



43 



leisurely in about four hours. Finally, at the age of seventy-five, he 
passed to his reward, leaving to us all an admirable example for our 
imitation and instruction. 

This pious old man had surely studied the life of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and made it his own. From His youth, the good Jesus directs 
His thoughts and desires towards the service of God. Oh, that we 
would follow His example from our earliest days ; peacefully then 
would we work out our soul's salvation. But how is it with us ? Are 
we imitating Jesus not only in our twelfth year, but in all the years 
of our youth ? There are many who pass their youthful days in lev- 
ity and sin. Is this our case also ? 

Jesus spent three days in the temple. Ask yourself this question : 
Do you love to pray in the House of God ? Does it give you pleasure 
to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament ? It would not, indeed, be a 
good sign if visits to the church, prayer and exercises of devotion 
were distasteful to you ; this would betray but little love for God on 
your part. 

The example of the boy Jesus is a pointed lesson for all children 
to be diligent in visiting God's House and in attending the Holy 
Sacrifice of the Mass, as well as hearing the sermon. 

A rich lady who lived in the country, had no children of her own, 
and wished, in consequence, to adopt, as her daughter, an attractive 
and well-conducted girl from amoung her relations in the town. 

She went there for this purpose ; and scarcely was her intention 
made public, when several girls presented themselves before her, rec- 
ommending themselves to her, and claiming kindred with her. At 
first the lady gave no decisive answer, but presenting each girl with a 
coin of gold, she said : "This is the fair-day. Buy for yourselves 
whatever you like best. Come back afterwards, and let me see what 
you have bought." 

The girls hurried away and later on returned in the greatest de- 
light. Almost all of them had bought gay-colored ribbons, strings 
of glittering pearls, gold-embroidered head dresses, and ornaments, 
which they showed in high glee to their newly- found relation. 



One poor girl alone, Augusta by name, had bought none of these 
trifles, but showed as the result of her purchase a prayer-book, and 
a distaff with a dozen spindles. The lady was pleased with this. 
Taking Augusta kindly by the hand, she said : "I am delighted, my 
dear child, that you have turned your thoughts thus early to prayer 
and industry. The others have shown too clearly by their purchases 
that finery and vanity are more to their taste than piety and industry. 
You shall be henceforth to me as a daughter. Continue ever thus ; be 
always good, pious, and industrious and our good God will be always 
with you, and His blessing will follow you everywhere. ,, Thus was 
this God-fearing child rewarded in preference to her vain sisters. 

The hidden life of Jesus Christ after His first stay in the temple 
should be our particular example, my dear children. Quietly and 
simply Jesus lived in Nazareth. He helped His foster-father faith- 
fully with his carpentering, and read the wishes of His mother in 
her eyes. 

Prayerfully and laboriously His days passed until He was thirty 
years old, when His public teaching began. All that time Jesus, the 
eternal God, remained obedient to human beings. How many a child 
who has barely outgrown schooldays, wants to act independently and 
without consideration of its parents, to the bitter grief of the latter, 
and to its own destruction ! In a most humble way Jesus shut Him- 
self up in the workshop of a carpenter. How many a youth full of 
great plans leaves his father's house because its life is too simple! 
How many a one is ashamed of the humble position of his father, 
yet Christ was never ashamed of His lowly surroundings, or His 
humble parentage. In an out-of-the-way village, He lived the life 
of a common carpenter till His thirtieth year. 

And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age. Daily the divine Child 
gave clearer proofs of the infinite fullness of His divine omniscience 
and sanctity. Children, let us imitate Jesus. Can it be said of us 
in truth, that as we have advanced in years we have increased in wis- 
dom and grace and holiness? Onr knowledge may be greater, but 
are we not still infected with the same faults and bad habits as here- 



I 



44 STORY-SERMONETTES FO R THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

to fore? Oh, let us humble ourselves before God and repent of our 
lukewarmness ! 

You should often contemplate the life of the little Jesus, my chil- 
dren, for it is the mirror of all virtues for you, and not only during 
Advent, but even now when Advent and Christmas have passed 
away, there should be a little shrine in your heart dedicated to the 
dear Christ-Child. There offer your acts of prompt obedience, ar- 
dent prayer, and loving sacrifice. Jesus will consider thi§ the best 
and the dearest gift of the season. 












SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY 



45 



Second Sunday After Epiphany 

Fraternal Charity 

My dear children : St. Paul in his epistle tells us that we are all 
brethren, although we may have different gifts. Therefore, we 
should love one another with the charity of brotherhood. 

God has given each and every one of us different talents. We are 
to perform various duties : some to nurse the sick ; some to take care 
of household ; while others are to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, and 
so forth. No matter what we are, we have particular duties which 
we must fulfil. For instance, your father and mother must preserve 
good discipline among their children. They have duties regarding 
your temporal and spiritual welfare,— great and important duties, 
often difficult and trying to nature, but God gives them the necessary 
grace to discharge these duties faithfully, if they earnestly implore 
it. Try, dear children, to lighten their labor by your docility and 
obedience. Imitate the young Tobias in the respect with which he 
received the counsels of his aged father, and the fidelity with which 
he copied the example of his virtues. You will then grow up as he 
did, the glory and consolation of your parents. 

The High Priest Heli had two sons, Ophni and Phinees, who, by 
their sinful lives, profaned their sacred office, and were the cause of 
grievous scandal to the people. In vain were complaints of their bad 
conduct made to their father; a weak and sinful indulgence pre- 
vented him from correcting these abuses and chastising the offenders. 
At length the anger of God was aroused, and He announced to the 
holy child Samuel, then living in the temple, the terrible judgment 
which was about to fall upon the High Priest and his family, because 
he knew that his sons did evil and did not chastise them. 

In the battle of the Philistines against the Israelites, Ophni and 
Phinees were among the slain. Now old and blind, the High Priest 
sat at the door of his house, anxiously awaiting news of the battle. 
A soldier of the tribe of Benjamin approached and in hurried words 
told him that there had been a great slaughter of the people, that his 
two sons were among the slain, and that the ark of God was taken. 



46 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

At this dread news, Heli fell backwards from the stool on which he 
was sitting, broke his neck and died. • 

Thus did the vengeance of God fall, the very same day, on the 
two wicked sons and their weak and indulgent father. 

No matter what our gifts, we should love all our brethren. 
Though we notice that one boy or girl is very smart, and another 
rather stupid, yet we must have the kindliest feelings towards each 
of them. 

The Scribes and Pharisees pretended to be the greatest friends 
of Jesus; they praised Him to His face, listened to His sermons, 
an invited Him to their table ; but all the while their hearts, full of 
deceit and cunning, were devising means to destroy Him. This was 
hypocritical love. Many children act in the same way. They make 
a great fuss about their neighbor to his face, whilst in their hearts 
they feel an aversion for him; they envy him under the mask of 
friendship. 

Jesus Christ has elevated us to the dignity of children of God. 
Therefore we are all brethren. Why should we not then practise 
brotherly love ? Brothers and sisters entertain the kindest feelings 
toward one another, and share with each other pleasure and sor- 
row. And so it should be. But we must do more than that. Have 
you never heard of St. Vincent de Paul? There was no kind of 
distress foreign to his charity. Christians who were slaves to the 
Turks ; children who had been exposed by their parents ; or orphans 
who had no one to take care of them, — strangers who had succumbed 
to disease, the insane, and numberless others, all found in him a 
helper and a refuge. All the saints, though not in as great a degree 
as St. Vincent de Paul, have practised this brotherly love, and 
Christian charity. 

Cunigunda, a poor widow, would every day, before she sat down 
to her spinning-wheel, repeat her morning prayer with great devo- 
tion, and then read in her prayer book. 

One day the subject of her meditation was charity. "But, my 
God !" said she, "how can I do good to others ? I have nothing in 
the world by which to maintain myself except my spinning-wheel, 






SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY 



47 



I 



and that scarecly earns for me my daily bread. Winter is now at 
the door, and I have not even a sufficient store of coal laid by. My 
fingers are already so stiff that I can scarcely spin. Besides, my 
rent is not yet paid. I, myself, will have to go out begging." 

"Still there may be some good I can do," she thought to herself. 
Then she remembered that at the other end of the town there lived 
a girlhood friend of hers who was quite sick. 

"I will visit her. to-day," she said. "I can spin there as well as 
here; and perhaps I shall be able to say to her a few comforting 
words." 

Thereupon, taking a couple of apples, which she had received as 
a present a little while before, she set out with her spinning-wheel. 

The sick woman was greatly delighted when she saw her old 
friend. 

"How fortunate, Cunigunda," said she, "I have just inherited a 
few hundred dollars. Could you not come to me, and be my nurse ? 
You would then save fuel and rent; and your spinning, and my 
little inheritance, would well suffice to maintain us both." 

Gladly accepting the proposal, Cunigunda changed her abode with- 
out delay, and theneceforth, for the first time in many months, was 
free from care. Very often did she recall to mind the lesson she 
had learned from her prayer book : "Let each passing day be known 
by some deed of mercy shown; thus thy page of life shall prove one 
bright calendar of love." 

Children, it is very hard to bear things that are disagreeable to our 
nature. Our neighbor sometimes places a condition upon us which 
is very irksome. It is then we need the virtue of patience,— patience 
in the various trials and sufferings God sends us. He who wishes 
to be saved must do the will of God, but we cannot accomplish all 
that His Holy Will requires of us without bearing our difficulties 
patiently. The history of Tobias and Job gives us two beautiful 
examples. 

The love of our neighbor is the principal commandment of 
Christ; we cannot please God if we despise any of our fellow 
men. 



48 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Third Sunday After Epiphany 
The Eyes of the World Are on You 

My dear children: In to-day's gospel we find two men sorely 
afflicted who in their distress had recourse to Jesus. And not 
secretly, or by night, did they come to the Lord of All; they made 
an open profession of their faith before all the people. Like them 
we must not only bear our Catholic faith in our hearts, but must 
profess it publicly. 

It is our duty to declare our faith before public authorities, if 
they have a just cause for asking us concerning it. We have a grand 
example by our Lord Himself when the high priest asked Him 
whether He was the Son of God, He answered unhesitatingly: 
'Thou hast said it," although He knew that His confession would 
deliver Him to death. The Apostles imitated the example of their 
Master, and the martyrs of every age have followed in His foot- 
steps. 

In the year 1833, a violent persecution was raised against the 
Church by the tyrant Minh-Menh, king of Tong-Quin and Cochin 
China. Many Christians were put to death, but in all their torments 
they exhibited the most heroic constancy. Even little children of- 
fered themselves without demur to the judges. 

One day, a little boy, ten years old, presented himself at the dread 
tribunal. Throwing himself on his knees before the judge he asked 
the judge permission to speak. "Mandarin," said he, "give me a 
cut with the sabre that I may go to my own country." "Where is 
your country?" asked the judge wonderingly. "It is in heaven," 
replied the child. "But where are your parents ?" "They are gone 
to heaven, and I want to follow them. Give me a stroke with the 
sabre and send me there." The mandarin, struck with admiration 
at the faith and courage of the child, refused to grant his request, 
yet we may well believe that in after years this generous confessor 
of the faith took his place among the noble band of martyrs who 
have since stained the soil of Tong-Quin with the continuous stream 
of their blood. 






. 



THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY 



49 






{ 



\ 



You must confess your faith whenever the honor of God demands 
it. Such is the case when you prevent words and actions detrimental 
to God's glory. Tell those who laugh at you when you make the 
sign of the cross that everything the Catholic Church teaches is 
sacred to you. 

For your soul's salvation you must make many a sacrifice. If 
you are employed by a non-Catholic and he obliges you to attend a 
Protestant church, rather leave his employ than consent. If a 
stranger places meat before you on a Friday and asks you why you 
refuse to eat it, you must say : "I am a Catholic." 

In the early days of the Church there lived a little boy whose 
name was Vitus. From the first moment that he was capable of 
doing so, he loved God with all his heart, and many times a day did 
his infant lips attest this love. When the Emperor heard of the 
child-Christian and his great fervor, he was very angry; but he 
solaced himself with the thought that he could easily make Vitus 
renounce his faith, because he was so young. So one day he sent 
for him. 

"My dear child," he said to him in the most winning tones, "I'm 
going to give you gold and jewels, and splendid garments, and 
everything your heart desires, if only you will change your religion, 
renounce your faith and blaspheme Jesus Christ." 

But the boy answered: "Jesus Christ is my Master and my 
Saviour ; He died for me upon the cross. I will never say one word 
that may offend Him, and with my whole heart I will always love 

Him." 

"Very well, then," rejoined the Emperor, exasperated, "if you 
will not obey my orders, I will cast you into a caldron of boiling oil. 
Make your choice, at once, between the pleasures I offer and the 
torments I threaten." 

Yet the child was not dismayed by anger or vain threat. With a 
courage born of heaven, he calmly answered: "Not only will I 
cheerfully suffer that torment, but I am willing to die the most cruel 
death rather than deny the Faith of Jesus Christ." 

Immediately the Emperor gave orders that the caldron should be 



■ .^-.^- . . . . - 



50 STORY- SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

prepared. When the oil began to boil, he said to the executioners: 
"Take off his clothes now and throw him in." They did as they 
were told, but the holy martyr suffered this awful torture without 
a murmur. As he stood in the caldron, he raised his hands and eyes 
to heaven, and said : "Lord Jesus, receive my soul." 

When he had said these words, angels were seen coming down 
from heaven, and placing a beautiful crown upon his head, they put 
a green palm-branch— the sign of victory— in his hands and carried 
his precious soul to the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ. 

You may not have to suffer death for your faith, my children, as 
St. Vitus did, but you may have to suffer much persecution through- 
out your life because you are a Catholic. Be faithful then, and 
when God's time comes, angels will carry your soul also to God's 
judgment-seat, where you will be received by your Divine Master 
in the same loving manner as St. Vitus was, and obtain the same 
reward. 

Boys and girls in all walks of life should profess their faith and 
thereby strengthen those who are weak in their belief or wavering. 
It is a strict obligation of your fathers and mothers to give a good 
example that you may be firm in your faith. The venerable Eliazar, 
chief of the Scribes, and a very old man, preferred death to decep- 
tion. He would not deny his faith nor would he be guilty of any 
bad example he might give to his grown-up sons. 

There are many who from human respect deny their religion by 
not defending it. Such persons merit God's displeasure. They 
prefer the friendship of men to that of God. 

St. Martin of Tours, while yet a youth, was travelling over the 
ftlps, when he fell into the hands of robbers, one of whom drew his 
sword and held it suspended over his head, as if about to inflict a 
mortal blow. He would have killed him, had not his companion 
stayed his hand. The holy youth showed no symptom of fear, but 
recommended himself entirely to the protection of Divine Provi- 
dence. The robbers, struck with astonishment at his calmness in so 
imminent a danger, asked him who he was, and whether he was not 
filled with fear at the sight of the sword uplifted to alay him? He 



THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY 



51 



V 






replied that he was a Christian, and that he had no fear, because he 
knew that the Divine Goodness is always most ready to protect us, 
and that it is never nearer to us than when we are exposed to the 
greatest dangers. He added that he was only grieved at the life 
they led which deprived them of the mercy of God. The robbers 
listened to him with astonishment, and admired his confidence in 
God. His fervent words made a deep impression upon their hearts, 
and he who had attempted to kill him became a Christian. 

Guard carefully against neglect of the duties of religion, that you 
may not be a stumbling-block to your fellow men. Let us remember 
our Lord's words : "Whosoever shall confess me before men, I will 
also confess him before my Father who is in heaven," 






52 STQRY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN 'S MASS 

Septuagesima Sunday 
In the Service of the Lord 

My dear children: As the season of preparation for the forty 
days fast is upon us, it is time for us to quit the service of the world 
and enter into the service of God. The householder in to-day's 
Gospel is God. He calls men at all times and at every age. Many 
of us, heretofore, stood idle in the market place of the world, and 
have not served God, but our sinful inclinations and passions 

God, as our Lord and Master, can rightly claim our service; and 
those who do not serve Him are like the wicked angels who said: 
I will not serve." It is necessary that we serve God, for if we do 
not serve Him we will surely be damned. It is not necessary to get 
rich If we remain poor all our lifetime we can be saved. Your 
Bible history tells you of Lazarus, who had not bread enough to sat- 
isfy his hunger; to-day he is in heaven, whilst Dives, the rich man 
is tormented in the flames of hell. It is not necessary to enjoy good 
health; ,f we are delicate and pass through years with sickness we 
can be saved. Many saints, as St. Gregory the Great, Lidwina, 
leresa were afflicted almost constantly with sickness and infirmities 
and yet they are in heaven. 

Once upon a time there lived a woman whose name was Hannah 
She had no children. After dinner one day she went to church, 
and there she knelt and prayed God to send her a little boy She 
prayed so hard that the tears streamed down her face. She prom- 
ised God that if He would let her have a boy, she would give him 
to the Lord, and that all the days of his life that son should work 
for Him. 

Then a wonderful thing happened. God sent Hannah what she 

££ 7r a ^ e S ° n ' ^ ShC " amed him Samue1 ' whi <* means 
asked of God As soon as he was old enough to run about, she 

took him to the church where she had prayed God to give her a 
baby. 

What promise did she make when she prayed that day ? She said 



SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY 



53 



i 



that she would give her boy to God. Now she meant to keep that 
promise. She gave him to the high-priest who lived in a room on 
one side of the beautiful church, and Samuel had a little room on 
the other side. At night there was a lighted lamp hanging in the 
church. While Samuel was sleeping the light of it grew dimmer 
and dimmer until, when the morning light came, it went out. Then 
Samuel would jump out of bed, and running to the great doors of 
the church threw them open, letting the sunshine in. That was his 
work, opening the doors in the morning and closing them at night, 
and taking care of the lamp. 

So Samuel grew older. He was a splendid boy, good and bright 
and cheerful, and everyone loved him. Now comes the best part of 
the story. 

One night the priest was lying asleep in his room on one side of 
the church, and Samuel was asleep in his little room on the other 
side. In the church it was very quiet, the lamp was burning dimly, 
though it hadn't quite gone out, when suddenly a beautiful voice 
rang through the church to Samuel's room. 

"Samuel," it said, and Samuel thought it was the priest calling 
him. 

"Here am I," he answered, and ran into the priest's room saying, 
"Here am I, for thou calledst me." "I called not," said the priest; 
"lie down again." So the boy went back to bed. 

Then again the voice came, saying: "Samuel." Whose voice do 
you suppose it was ? It was God's voice, speaking to Samuel, but 
Samuel did not know it was, and again he ran to the priest saying : 
"Here am I, for thou didst call me," and the priest said : "No I 
called not, my boy, lie down again." 

When it was all quiet, God spoke a third time: "Samuel." This 
time when Samuel ran to the priest saying : "Here am I, for thou 
didst call me," the priest knew it must be the Lord who called. 

"Go lie down," he said to the little boy; "and if God calls thee 
again, say : 'Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.' " 

So Samuel went back to his room and lay down, and soon God's 
voice sounded again, calling: "Samuel, Samuel," and little Samuel, 



54 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

kneeling at the foot of his bed, said : "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant 
heareth." Then God talked to him and told him what he wanted 
him to do. Wasn't that wonderful to have God c6me and talk to a 
little boy, just as if your father were sitting here talking to you! 

God is as near as that to everyone of us ; we cannot hear Him as 
Samuel could, but He hears us and wants us to work for Him as 
Samuel did. We cannot open church doors, or take care of church 
lamps, but we can help our mothers and assist our companions in 
many ways for God. And some day when we go to heaven we shall 
hear Him calling us by our names — that same beautiful voice that 
called "Samuel, Samuel." 

I need not tell you, my dear children, that we are bound by every 
title to do the Holy and Adorable Will of God, whenever we can 
discover it. He is our sovereign Lord and Master; but He would 
rather we should try to do His Will, because He is our tender and 
loving father. Moreover, we have the happiness of knowing that, 
when we are doing the will of God, we are working out our own 
salvation, for God has made our eternal happiness in the next world 
to depend upon doing His Holy Will in this. 

How, then, you will ask, are we to know what the Will of God 
is; for if we can only find that out, the road to heaven is straight 
before us. Listen and I will tell you. 

God makes His Will known by all that happens to us, since all 
that happens in this world happens by God's direct sending, or by 
His permission. Thus if sickness comes to us we know that it is 
God who has sent it; if we lose some dear friend or relative by 
death, we know that it is God who has taken him away; and if we 
are ill-treated or badly spoken of, we know that, though this seems 
to come from our neighbor, still it has happened to us by God's 
special permission, and that He has some good design in permitting 
it to befall us. 

We have opportunities every moment of gaining immense merit 
by cheerfully and readily submitting to the Will of God in every- 
thing that He sends us. For example we are to go on a pleasant 
excursion, and a storm comes on and prevents us; we lose a nice 



SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY 



55 






prize which we expected to get; we find the weather too cold in 
winter or too hot in summer. In all these things we should recog- 
nize the Will of God, who, with a wonderful providence, rules and 
directs everything for our good, so that what He sends to us is al- 
ways the best thing that could happen to us. Whoever, therefore, 
grumbles and murmurs at anything which befalls him, grumbles 
and murmurs against the Will of Almighty God, and in reality 
against his own good. But whoever, on the contrary, seeks in all 
things to follow and conform himself to the Will of God, is walk- 
ing in the footsteps of the saints, on the straight and direct road to 
eternal life. 



56 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY 



57 



Sexagesima Sunday 
The Seed from Heaven 

My dear children : The sower in the parable of our Gospel for 
this day who went out to sow his seed is the priest and pastor of 
souls. The priests of the Catholic Church strew the seed of the 
Divine Word every Sunday and holyday and wish nothing more 
ardently than that this seed should spring up in the hearts of men 
and bring forth the fruit of Christian justice. Nothing grieves the 
farmer more than to see that the good seed which he has sown bears 
no fruit. This is the case with the pastors of souls when they see 
that the seed of the Word of God remains without fruit. 

Down in Iowa some years ago there was a father and a mother 
and a little girl of seven. The father was not getting along very 
well, and when the new, great northwest country opened up he went 
to North Dakota and secured a farm in a very lonely and out-of-the- 
way place. When he came back and told his little girl they were 
going to move far away, she asked him right off the very first thing 
if there was any church there. You see she was fond of church. 
Her father said there was no church there. Then she asked if there 
was any chance to hear Mass and go to Sunday-school. And he 
said, "No." "Is there any God there?" she asked, and her father 
did not know what to say, and so did not say anything. When they 
had moved all the things out of the house to the train and were 
ready to leave the old home no one could find the little girl. They 
hunted for her, and at last found her. And do you know where 
they found her? They found her in her own room, now all bare 
and empty, and she was kneeling in one corner with her face to the 
wall. 

They wondered what she was doing, and then her mother who 
first found her, overheard her praying, and this is what she said : 
Dear God, we are going to North Dakota and there is no Mass 
there and there is no Sunday-school there, and there is no God 
there. Good-bye, God. Good-bye." When she got through, what 



do you think her mother did? With tears in her eyes she knelt 
down beside her little girl and asked God to send a priest and a 
church to their new home and to go with them there Himself. And 
so they went away to their new and lonely home in the far West. 
Now what do you think happened ? Within two months a mission- 
ary came and started a church and conducted a Sunday-school and 
within five months they had a little church erected by the Church 
Extension Society, and the neighbors for miles and miles around 
came to both Sunday-school and Holy Mass in the little church. 

You can imagine how happy the little girl was when she felt that 
God was so near and that every Sunday she could learn more and 
more about her Creator. 

The pastor of the former parish was very much pleased when he 
heard of the brave little girl and he thanked God from the bottom 
of his heart that the seed he had sown was not in vain. 

To profit by hearing the Word of God we need attention. If 
someone speaks to me and I pay no attention to his words I may as 
well be a thousand miles away. The same applies to the Sunday ser- 
mon. Do you think that God will be quite indifferent when He sees 
His Holy Word disregarded? A learned man well said: "Many 
bring their ears to the sermon, but not their hearts." I am very 
much afraid, children, that you are thinking of your playthings at 
home whilst the priest speaks to you of God. You must pay atten- 
tion to every word. Nobody can ever tell you enough about God. 

Away over in Egypt when men dig in the ground they often dis- 
cover very strange and interesting things. Many, many years ago 
there were great cities and buildings and palaces in Egypt, which 
are there no longer. You know cities and palaces and temples and 
towers die like people and perish, and are buried in the ground and 
forgotten, and now when men dig down deep they sometimes find 
those old cities and temples and houses and Woks and furniture. 
Not long ago some men were digging in one of those old buried 
cities, and in a tomb away down in the ground they found a sealed 
jar — a stone jar. It was quite heavy and the workmen knew there 
must be something in it, and there was. What do you suppose was 



58 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR TH E CHILDREN'S MASS 

in it? Water? No. Milk? No. Oil? No. Vinegar? No. 
Honey? Yes— pure, sweet, beautiful honey, as pure and as sweet 
as the day it was made by the Egyptian bees four thousand years 
ago. Think of that— four thousand years ago. Is that not won- 
derful? It had kept pure and sweet and beautiful in its deep, dark 
home for four thousand long years. 

There are other things that keep their sweetness and purity and 
freshness just like honey. Listen; God says in Holy Writ that 
"His law and His words are sweeter than honey and the honey- 
comb," and we know that it is true. And then, too, God also tells 
us that "pleasant words are sweet to the soul." We (to not wonder 
that God's words are sweet like honey, but we are surprised into 
delight to think He would say that our words may be so sweet and 
pleasant, so helpful and loving, that they too like honey will keep 
for years and years. Let us try to speak such beautiful words that 
long, long afterwards in the hearts of those to whom they are spoken 
they may be found again. 

What a beautiful example the Blessed Virgin gives us, she kept 
all the words of Jesus in her heart. After every sermon you must 
say to yourself : I am going to be more obedient, I am going to study 
my lessons harder and above all remain away from bad companions. 
What good will it be if you see yourself with a dirty face in a look- 
ing glass and you do not wash off the filth. So it is with your soul 
when the priest tells you that you are bad. 

Prepare yourselves well for every sermon by forgetting your 
playthings, your studies and your companions. Try and be most 
anxious to be taught and corrected. Always hear the Word of God 
with attention and humility and never fail to make good resolutions. 
"Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it" 



QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY 



59 



quinquagesima sunday 
Preparation for Lent 

My dear children : This Sunday which is called Quinquagesima 
Sunday prepares us for Lent by calling to our minds the Passion of 
Jesus Christ. 

At our Blessed Saviour's public appearance He experienced all 
kinds of contradictions on part of the world. He was subject to 
calumnies, to derision, to persecutions and other indignities. Jesus 
Christ came on earth spreading everywhere His benefits. The world 
refused to acknowledge Him. Only a few simple upright souls cor- 
responded with His grace. 

The children of God need always to look upon themselves as 
strangers in the midst of this world. True Christians hold them- 
selves on guard against dangerous gratifications, they turn towards 
God, in Him alone they seek true and pure joy. 

At Cracow, in the year 1456, a son was. born to the Polish king 
Casimir III. The child received the name Casimir at baptism. Un- 
der the continuous care of his pious mother Elizabeth and God- 
fearing instructors the prince grew up amidst holy environments. 
As a flower turns to the sun, so his heart and soul turned ever to 

God. 

His greatest delight was prayer. He was especially devoted to 
the Blessed Virgin. To her he commended the purity of his soul. 
In his tender years he vowed himself to chastity, and this vow he 
kept faithfully until his holy death. 

The splendor and festivities and display of the royal court tempted 
neither the boy nor the youth. He preferred to be with Jesus in 
prayer, in self-denial, in mortification, in charity, and thus to serve 
Him. Under the costly dress he wore the hairshirt of a penitent ' 
At night he slept on a hard floor in preference to a soft bed. Early 
in the morning he arose and said his prayers. Then he went to 
Mass. If he found the churchdoor still locked he knelt at the door 
that barred him from his Lord. Often the sexton found him kneel- 



60 STORY-SERMON ETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



ing on the hard stones. At Mass he was filled with such devotion 
that one felt as if looking at an angel. After the Holy Sacrifice he 
remained in the church so long in prayer and meditation that his 
parents would have to send messengers to call him to meals. 

He saw the tempting food of royal table without desire. Indeed 
he ate so little that he kept a continual fast. "The kingdom of God 
is not food and drink," he said. The poor shared his meals and he 
permitted them into the court of the royal palace and gave them alms 
with his own hands. 

Grown to manhood, Casimir found more pleasure in visting our 
Lord in the Blessed Sacrament than in dancing, playing and hunt- 
ing. He often went in the middle of night to the chapel to pray. 

Rich children, who have an abundance of food, drink, fine clothes 
and amusements, are in great danger of becoming idle, vain, proud, 
selfish and thereby suffer a loss to their spiritual life. Therefore, 
Casimir, the son of a king, has become a model for all rich children, 
teaching them not to give their hearts to the passing pleasures of 
this world and thereby lose the eternal joys of heaven. 

Jesus Christ spent the whole of His life in the midst of labor and 
suffering, because He had come on earth to expiate the sins of the 
world. He practiced a most rigorous fast, spending forty days 
without taking food. 

The Church, to honor this penance, has willed that annually we 
consecrate forty days to fast and abstinence. In the first centuries 
many faithful contented themselves with a morsel of bread and 
some dried fruit. The Church does not require such rigorous pen- 
ances from her children ; and she does not exact fasting from those 
who are not twenty-one. 

Fasting is much harder than abstaining, for it includes abstaining 
from flesh meat and something else besides — namely the taking of 
only one meal. For this reason the Church, which is a tender and 
compassionate mother, does not require you to fast, for she knows 
very well that children who are young and growing, and who are 
generally very hungry little people, stand in need of plenty of nour- 
ishment, and that they could not live on one meal a day without do- 



QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY 



61 



; 



ing themselves harm. Until you have reached the required age you 
will only abstain on fast days, which you can do without hurting 

yourselves. 

But ought you not to do something in the way of fasting? Have 
you not got a rebellious flesh to subdue, and sins to make atonement 
for? Yes, certainly, and, therefore, you ought to practice such acts 
of mortification and selfdenial as are suited to your tender age and 
are not likely to be hurtful to your bodily health. For example, you 
might, on fasting and abstinence days, refrain from eating and 
drinking between meals, deny yourself something nice at meal time, 
and, instead of spending your pennies on cakes and sweets, bestow 
them on the poor. It was thus that the Saints of God were wont to 
exercise themselves in the practice of Christian mortification. 

You have heard me tell you of St. Casimir, now I am going to 
relate something of St. Anthony. From his early youth he had 
practiced mortification, and when he was twenty-one years of age, 
he left his home to spend the rest of his life in the desert to prepare 
for heaven. From that time he began to fast rigorously. The only 
food he ate was a little bread seasoned with salt, and his drink was 
water. He took this only once a day, and that after sunset. Some- 
times he did not touch food for two days at a time. Satan often 
came to tempt him. He tried at first to frighten him by making a 
loud and dismal noise; then he would strike him till he was covered 
with wounds, and often left him half dead. But nothing ever trou- 
bled the saint. 

In the practice of all mortifications we must not forget the most 
important one, namely the fasting from sin. St. Bernard tells us 
that the eye should fast, refraining from bold looks and curious 
seeking; the ear should fast, closing itself against idle and sinful 
conversation ; the tongue should fast, abstaining from lying, cursing, 
detraction, talebearing; in short, from all evil conversation; the hand 
should fast, shrinking from injustice and all works of darkness ; the 
soul should fast, renouncing all vices and self-will. 

My dear boys and girls, suffer a little now that you may not suffer 
forever, banished from the Kingdom of God. 



62 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



First Sunday in Lent 

To Battle Satan 

My dear children : In your Bible story book you have read of the 
giant Goliath. He was armed with three weapons, namely : a sword, 
a spear and a shield. I will recall some of the story. 

In the country where David lived, there were two high mountains 
with a valley between them. On one mountain were King Saul and all 
his army. On the other mountain stood a great giant named Goliath. 
On the mountain top the giant shouted across the valley to Saul's 
army: "Why have you come out to fight, you servants of Saul? 
Choose a man and let him come down to me. I defy you this day." 
David spoke to King Saul and told him that he would go out to 
fight this giant. And the king said : "But you are only a boy, and 
this man is a warlike giant. You are not able to fight him." David 
answered: "Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a 
lion and a bear and took a lamb out of the flock, and I went after 
them and killed them. I will kill this giant as I killed the bear and 
the lion, since he has defied the army of the living God." 

^ And Saul said : "Go and the Lord be with thee." David toe* up 
his shepherd's staff and his sling, and from the brook near by he 
chose five smooth stones and put them in a shepherd's bag which he 
had hanging from his belt. 

Down the mountain towards the giant he went. And down the 
mountain on the other side came the giant, but when he saw who 
had come to fight him, a boy with a bright fair face, he was angry. 

"Am I a dog," he cried, "that you come to me with a stick ?" And 
he cursed David. "Come to me and I will give thy flesh to the birds 
of the air and to the beasts of the field." 

Do you suppose that frightened David? Listen to what he an- 
swered. He said : "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a 
spear, and with a shield, but I come to thee in the name of the Lord 
of hosts, the God of Saul's army, whom thou hast defied." 

So down upon David came the giant, big and strong and heavy. 



FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT 



63 



) 



and David light and young and quick ran to meet him. He put his 
hand in his bag, and taking a stone placed it in the sling, and straight 
at the giant's forehead he let it fly. Deep into the giant's head it 
went and he fell upon his face to the earth. But it hadn't killed 
him, and David had no sword, you know, so he ran and stood upon 
the giant, and taking the giant's sword he killed him and cut off his 

head. 

When the army of the giant saw that they turned and ran away 
over the mountains, and, with a shout of joy, Saul's soldiers ran 
after them and took them prisoners. 

So the shepherd boy, with a sling and a stone and the help of God, 
won a great battle. 

Children, you are like David, light and young and quick, and if 
you display the same courage you can subdue a similar giant, namely 

the devil. 

Like Goliath the devil attacks us with three weapons— pleasure, 
pride and riches. With these three weapons he attacked our first 
parents and conquered them ; with these three weapons he attacked 
our Divine Lord, and the devil was conquered 1 by Him. 

Looking over the world to-day it is really pleasure mad. The 
devil has a hold on so many people. Everything that is pleasing to 
our sensual nature, be it lawful or unlawful, is constantly before us. 
How many are not carried away by immorality? It is the old vice 
which was prevalent in the world from the begining. Your Bible 
history tells you of the deluge, also of the cities of Sodom and Go- 
morrha. How many are there not in the world to-day who are ad- 
dicted to this vice ? 

There was once a girl, who, though not bad, was very giddy, dis- 
obedient to her parents, and loved her amusements more than her 
lessons. One day the priest gave her a little picture of the Child 
Jesus, and asked her to place it before her eyes when she sat down to 
her lessons. She did this, not so much that she might keep in her 
mind the presence of God, as to please the priest who gave her the 

picture. 

As it was always before her, she saw it every time she raised her 



64 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR T HE CHILDREN'S MASS 

eyes from her books. At first she did not think much of the Holy 
Child Jesus whom it represented, but by degrees she began to think 
oftener of Him, and even sometimes say a short prayer to Him. 

One day as she was looking at it longer than usual, she said to 
herself : "Oh, how good Jesus has been to me, and I am so sinful 
and ungrateful !" Then the tears came into her eyes. "He came 
into this world," she continued, "that I might get to heaven, and I 
think so little about Him and heaven. But, my dear little Jesus, it 
shall be so no longer, for I must become a saint and love Thee more 
than I have yet done." 

The girl kept her resolution ; she became obedient and pious, to the 
astonishment of her parents, who could not tell what had produced 
the change in the child. But the priest who had given her the pic- 
ture knew the cause of it and in his heart thanked God and prayed 
to Him that she might persevere. 

The devil tempts us by pride. I know that many of you children 
are inclined to be proud. You consider yourself better than others, 
you are better dressed than your neighbor, or you are better looking, 
or you are wealthier, consequently you look down upon your com- 
panions. The devil has thrown some bait to catch you. Nothing 
is mode odious to God than pride. Witness the rebellious angels 
how they were thrown out of heaven ; and our first parents as they 
were expelled from paradise. 

We must follow our Lord in overcoming the devil. He is our 
Captain, and under His command, if we only fight bravely, He will 
lead us on to victory. The Church puts the weapons into our hands 
during this holy season to help us in our combat. For you children 
must try and deprive yourself of luxuries during the Lenten sea- 
son that you might serve God in purity of body and soul. Further- 
more, you must pray a little more that you might overcome pride 
and remain humble. If we fight against Satan by checking our appe- 
tites and by prayer, we shall by the aid of God's grace overcome all 
the enemies of our salvation. 



SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT 



65 









Second Sunday in Lent 

Our True Home 

My dear children : Last Sunday we found our dear Lord in the 
desert, to-day we see Him on Mount Tabor transfigured. What a 
change ! from fasting and prayer in the desert to glory and beauty on 
the mountain. Our Lord wants to teach us how well we shall be re- 
warded if for His sake and for the salvation of our soul we fast and 
pray; then we shall see God in all His infinite glory and majesty in 
heaven, and full of rapture we shall cry out : Lord it is good for us 
to be here. 

Although we labor for our temporal life we must not forget to 
labor for our eternal life. Religion obliges us to keep the com- 
mandments of God and the precepts of the Church. The man who 
obeys God and His Church, if he prays, hears the Word of God and 
frequently receives the Sacraments worthily, that person labors for 
eternal life. 

I have heard of a lady who had a very strange dream. You know 
how strange most of our dreams are. And this was a strange dream. 
She was a very rich woman, and the people said that she was a very 
good woman. One night she dreamed that she went up to heaven 
and one of the angels showed her through the streets of the beautiful 
city. She saw such beautiful houses and palaces as she had never 
seen before. At last she came to one that was just being built. It 
was more beautiful than those around it, and she asked her guide 
whose it was. "Oh," said the angel, "that is for your gardener." 
The lady was much surprised, and said : "For my gardener ! Why 
he is only a poor man and has always lived in a little bit of a house." 
The angel said nothing, but led her on through the streets and ave- 
nues of the city. Soon they came to a plain-looking house, low- 
roofed and very simple. Of course it was beautiful, for everything 
is beautiful in heaven, but it was not like the other fine palaces she 
had seen. Then she asked the angel whose the little low cottage 
house was. The angel said, "This is to be your house." "Mine?" 



66 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

said the lady. "Why, I have always lived in a mansion down on 
the earth/' "Yes, I know," said the angel, "but the Great Builder 
is doing the best He can with the material that is being sent up." 
That is a strange dream, but you know what it means. We are all 
building our lives and characters for heaven, and we are doing it 
now. Every kind deed, and every true word and every beautiful 
thought dedicated to God are stones in the building. The kind of 
house we will live in will depend on the kind of stuff we are putting 
into our lives now. 

There are many who do not labor for eternal life. They give 
way to curses and blasphemies, they desecrate Sundays and holidays, 
they are disobedient to their parents and grieve them ; they live in 
enmity with their neighbors and commit frauds and injustices ; they 
eat meat on Fridays and days of abstinence; they neglect to hear 
Mass on Sundays and holy days, and they keep away from confes- 
sion and Holy Communion. Why are there so very many who do 
not labor for eternal life? It is simply because they never think of 
heaven, they never say to themselves : It is good to be in heaven. 
They do not consider what a great blessing heaven is, what unspeak- 
able happiness the saints enjoy. 

One day a little boy presented himself before theKing of Cochin — 
China, who was persecuting the Church and the Christians. He 

i 

threw himself on his knees before him and asked permission to 
speak. The permission being granted, he said : "Mandarin, cut off 
my head with the sword, that I may go to my country." 

"Where is your country?" asked the judge. "It is in heaven," 
replied the child. "And where are your parents ?" "They are gone 
home to heaven, and I want to follow them. Oh, sir, give me a 
stroke with the sword and send me there too." 

The mandarin was struck with admiration at the faith and cour- 
age of the boy, but refused to grant him his request. But this child 
received from God the glory of the martyrs on account of his great 
desire of being a martyr. 

Our Divine Lord tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth 
violence and the violent bear it away. A pious life has many pains 



SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT 



67 



and hardships. The Christian who conquers himself is a greater 
hero than the general who takes fortresses and subdues mighty king- 
doms. 

There was once a pious widow who did not enjoy much worldly 
wealth, but possessed that which is so much more precious, the one 
true Faith. She had a little daughter by the name of Dorothy, who, 
when she grew up to be a big girl, began to show signs of thought- 
lessness, and many a time did the poor mother weep over the faults 
of her dear child. 

When she was ten years old, her mother, although she was poor, 
sent her to a convent to live for a time under the care of the pious 
Sisters. 

Dorothy remained in the convent for two years, after which time 
she returned to her mother's home. But what a change had come 
over her during these two years. People who knew her before she 
went to the convent could not believe that she was the same girl. 
She who had been so disobedient and idle was now an example to all 
her companions by her gentleness, patience, obedience and piety, al- 
though she was only a little more than twelve years old. In a short 
time the people came to know that she was really good. 

The priest of the place was full of joy when he saw in his parish 
one who gave such good example. One day he said to Dorothy: 
"Tell me what has made you so good ?" 

"Father," she meekly answered, "I am not good, but I would like 
very much to be good, and I am trying very hard to be good. 

"When I was in the convent, one of the Sisters' asked me if I 
wanted to be good. I said: 'Yes Sister, I would like to be very 
pious.' 'Then,' said she, 'the easiest way to be pious is to take Jesus 
Christ for your model, and whatever you do, do it to please Him!' 
So when I rise in the morning and say my prayers I think I see the 
Child Jesus rising when His mother called Him. When I am at 
work I think I see Jesus helping St. Joseph or Mary in the house ; 
and when I am told to do anything I think I see my dear Jesus told 
by His Blessed Mother to do this or that, and that I sec Him doing 
it immediately.' 



»» 



68 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT 



69 



"But my child," said the priest, "when people were speaking 
against you, and calling you a hypocrite, did you not feel angry with 
them?" 

"Ah, dear Father," she replied, "that was a heavy cross; but the 
Sisters had told me that I would have many crosses to bear if I 
wanted to be good, so when I heard the falsehoods they were telling 
about me, and the names they called me, I remembered how the 
Jews called Jesus names and He said nothing, but only prayed to 
God for their forgiveness. So I did the same." 

"Then you do sometimes find it difficult to be good?" 

"Ah, yes, Father, sometimes I am very much tempted, and some- 
times I become so very sad and weary that I often think that it is no 
use trying to be good. But then I remember that Jesus Himself 
was sometimes weary and sad, especially that time when He saw so 
many people turning their backs upon Him and leaving Him. Then 
I think Him saying to me : 'And you my daughter, are you also go- 
ing to leave me? Surely you will not sin against me after I have 
been so good to you ?' 

"Then I say, 'No, my God, I will never leave Thee. To whom 
should I go if I left Thee? I will love Thee in weariness as well as 
in joy till I die ; but O my God, help me." 

"My dear child," said the priest, "you have learned your lesson 
well, and what is far better, you know how to practice it. Go on as 
you are doing, fight the good fight and you will have gained much 
merit for heaven." 

What is better than to take Jesus as our model and do everything 
as Dorothy did for His sake? As long as we are in this world we 
must fight against sin and our own evil inclinations, and if we do 
that we shall one day see God in heaven ; that is what is meant by the 
good fight 

The thought of the joys of heaven should encourage us in all our 
toil and sufferings. Say frequently: it is good to be in heaven. 
With this maxim on our lips and in our hearts we will be brave 
enough to toil and suffer and finally merit heaven, 



Third Sunday in Lent 
Casting Out the Devil 

My dear children: Every sinners heart is in possession of the 
devil. Just like Christ cast him out of the dumb man, so every 
sinner must perform the same miracle in a moral sense. And this 
miracle takes place whenever we make a good confession. But a 
good confession depends above all on contrition. You know that 
contrition is an interior sorrow with a hatred of sin and resolution 
never to commit them again. 

The beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son, related to His dis- 
ciples by our Blessed Redeemer, conveys to us not only an excellent 
example of the interior dispositions with which we should arise 
from sin and present ourselves before our heavenly Father in the 
Tribunal of Penance, but also a convincing proof of the boundless 
and tender compassion with which He there awaits and pardons the 
penitent sinner. 

Once there was a man who had two sons. One of them was glad 
to stay at home, to do his work during the day and to sit with his 
father in the evening. But the other, the younger one, was restless. 
He was tired of working in the field with his brother, and of sitting 
quietly at home in the evening with his family. He wanted to go 
out into the world and have a good time. 

He asked his father to give him the money he would get after 
his father was dead, so that he could go on a journey and see things. 
His father gave it to him and, after kissing him good-bye, stood at 
the door of the home and sadly watched him go. 

The young man was happy that morning ; he was going off to see 
the world, and he marched down the road with long, swinging steps, 
his head high, whistling as he went. His father stood there watch- 
ing him as he grew smaller and smaller, until he was only a speck 
in the distance — then he was gone. Every morning and evening the 
father stood in the doorway of his home watching for his son to 
come back. But he did not come back, and the father's heart grew 
sad and lonely waiting for his son. 



70 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



What do you think the young man was doing? He traveled on 
until he came to a far country. There he made lots of friends. 
He lived a wild life, until one day he had no money left, not a penny 
with which to buy a piece of bread. Then the friends left him. 
They were only make-believe friends, who were nice to him because 
they wanted to come to his parties. Real friends never leave us 
when we are poor or in trouble. 

Think of the son's plight, he was in a far country, with no money; 
and a greater distress was that the country was famine-stricken. 
He was hungry and could not get any food. Then he went around 
looking for work, and all he could find was a place with a man who 
wanted some one to take care of his pigs. Every morning he took 
the pigs out into the fields, where there were husks for them to eat. 
There was nothing for him. The poor fellow watched the pigs 
gobbling the husks and the corn and wanted to eat them too, he was 
so hungry. "How many hired servants in my father's house," he 
thought, "abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger." He 
was ashamed, too, and lonely, and that is worse than being hungry. 
He was ashamed of having spent so foolishly the money his father 
gave him, and he was lonesome for his father. Then a thought 
came to him. "I will arise," he said, "and go to my father, and I will 
say to him : 'Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee, 
and am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of 
thy servants.' " 

So he started off towards his home. He had been too bad and 
foolish, he thought, for his father to take him back and treat him 
as his son, but perhaps he would give him a servant's place in the 
house. He looked like a tramp, his clothes were ragged and faded, 
he was barefooted, and his head was hanging. He did not whistle 
any more, for he was hungry and unhappy. 

Daily his good father was looking down the road waiting and 
watching for his son's return. At last he saw a black speck against 
the sky, and then the figure of a young man. But what a ragged and 
weary figure ! Do you suppose the father knew who he was ? And 
when the father recognized his son he ran towards him, fell upon 



THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT 



71 



his neck and kissed him. "Father," said the son, "I have sinned 
against Heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be 
called thy son." He could not say any more, for his father stopped 
him. 

Then the father called his servants and said: "Bring forth the 
best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes 
on his feet, and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it. For this 
my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found." 

So together they went into the house and in great love and joy 
sat down to the feast. 

Contrition, my dear children, is a gift of God and God only be- 
stows His gifts on those who ask Him. Hence the catechism tells 
us that in order to obtain that hearty contrition for our sins which 
is required for their forgiveness, we must earnestly beg it of God. 
This is well to do, not only at the moment when we are preparing 
for confession, but for some days previously, imploring Almighty 
God to soften our hearts and bestow upon us a sincere sorrow for 
having offended Him. To offer up some special prayers, such as 
three Our Fathers and Haily Marys for the grace of true contrition 
during some days before our confession is an excellent practice and 
one well calculated to secure for us those sincere sentiments of sor- 
row which are necessary to obtain the Divine forgiveness. 

Whoever possesses perfect contrition receives at once the entire 
pardon of his sins even before he goes to confess them. For it is 
impossible that anyone who loves God with so pure a love can re- 
main His enemy. Such a one is, however, strictly bound to confess 
his sins afterwards when opportunity offers in order to fulfill the 
precept of God. Since a pure act of contrition is sufficient to obtain 
the pardon of our sins, even without the Sacrament of Penance, it 
is of great importance that we should know how to make one in 
case death should come suddenly upon us when in a state of sin, 
without time or means to make our confession. In such a case, 
whether of sickness or sudden accident, we should at once turn to 
God, saying to Him from the bottom of our hearts, "Oh, my God, 
because Thou art so good and so worthy of my love, I am sorry 



72 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

from my heart for having ever offended Thee, and by Thy grace I 
will never sin again." 

Retain in your memory what I have told you to-day about con- 
trition. Do all you can to obtain by the grace of God true super- 
natural contrition. Without contrition confession is useless — worse 
than useless. Every sinner who has been saved has been saved by 
an act of contrition, while on the other hand every soul in hell to- 
day is there for want of contrition. 



FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT 



73 



Fourth Sunday in Lent 
A Worthy Reception 

My dear children : You have heard that our dear Lord has fed 
five thousand people by a wonderful miracle. Nowadays He feeds 
many millions. He feeds all Catholics who approach His table of 
grace. He gives us a food which nourishes the soul and infuses 
into the mortal body the seed of immortality. 

Every Communion we receive should be worthy and profitable. 
We must approach the Holy Table with faith, fear and love. We 
must believe that the Sacred Host, which the priest gives us in Holy 
Communion, is truly Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, that 
the Sacred Host which appears to our senses to be bread, in reality 
is not bread, but the God-Man, Jesus Christ — the same Jesus Christ 
that once lived upon earth and now sits at the right hand of God 
in Heaven, and that nothing remains of the bread but only the ap- 
pearance ; finally, Jesus Christ is there in His living presence, with 
all His divine and human perfections and attributes. 

Whenever you go to Holy Communion you should be penetrated 
with a living faith and say to yourself : "I am now before Jesus, my 
Lord and my God. I will now receive Him into my heart before 
whom Peter prostrated himself, exclaiming : "Depart from me, for 
I am a sinful man, O Lord.' I will receive Him whom the heavenly 
spirits adore with the profoundest veneration." 

St. Piammon, a holy priest, was one day favored with a vision. 
As he was saying Mass he saw an angel of God standing at the side 
of the altar, having in his hand a book and a pen. When the time 
came for the people to go up to Communion, he saw the angel pre- 
paring to write something in the book. And as he gave Communion 
to the people, the angel followed him, writing down the names of 
some and leaving out those of others. 

When the Mass was ended, Piammon asked the angel why he 
wrote down the names of some and left out those of others. "Some 
of those you left out," he said, "seemed to me to be even more fer- 
vent than those whose names you inscribed." 






74 STORY-SERMONETT ES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

"Know then/' said the angel, "that I wrote down the names of 
those only who received Communion worthily. Satan wrote down 
the names of the others in his book as a remembrance against them 
at the tribunal of Jesus Christ. Those whose names I left out, 
whom you thought to be so fervent, were only hypocrites, who, by 
their pretended devotion, sought to deceive the faithful ; but on the 
day of judgment God will reveal their evil deeds to the whole world." 

In Holy Communion we are in the very presence of God. How 
were not the people filled with fear when Christ manifested His 
Godhead by a miracle. It is very natural that we should approach 
the altar with fear. This is very salutary, because it urges us to 
communicate with a pure conscience and with profound veneration. 

It is truly a most solemn act to receive God, who is holiness itself, 
into our hearts. In order to receive Communion worthily we ought 
to be divinely pure and holy. But as this is impossible to us we 
must endeavor to the best of our ability to cleanse our heart from 
every stain of sin. It is absolutely necessary that we should be free 
from every mortal sin. He that knows that he is defiled with a 
mortal sin, or could and should know it, and yet goes to Com- 
munion, commits a horrible sacrilege; he renews the crime of the 
Jews who crucified Christ. 

Two hundred years ago there lived in France a little girl called 
Magdalen Vigneron. She had made her first Communion when she 
was very young, and from that time she found no greater joy than 
in going often to receive Jesus in the Sacrament of His love. But 
as she was not permitted to go every day to Communion, she tried 
to make up for it by making every day many spiritual communions. 
And in order that she might do so without being disturbed, she made 
for herself a little cell in a lonely place of her father's house. If a 
servant or anyone else came to look for her, she would quickly come 
out carrying some of her toys with her, so that she might in this way 
hide her devotions, and as soon as the person went away she went 
back to her prayers. Oh, what delight her soul found in that poor 
little spot, far from worldly noise and the distractions of her com- 
panions. 



FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT 



75 



We must go to the altar with reverence. If we conduct ourselves 
before the great of this world with becoming decorum and are care- 
ful not to violate due respect, with what reverence should we be filled 
when we approach God Himself and receive Him into our heart. 
Show in your whole exterior the holy fear by which you are pene- 
trated. Cast down your eyes, fold your hands, say your prayers on 
your knees and do not venture to approach in an unsuitable dress the 
table of Him who has said : "Learn of me because I am meek and 
humble of heart. ,, Say not only with your lips but from the bottom 
of your heart: "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter 
under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." 

Not long ago there lived in Rome a pious girl called Julia. She 
was accustomed to pass many hours every day at the foot of the 
altar, praying with a fervor which edified all who saw her. She 
also went very frequently to Holy Communion, as all those do who 
really love our Lord. 

One day a friend said to her : "What would you do, Julia, if your 
confessor told you to abstain from Holy Communion for a week." 
"I would obey him," she replied, "but oh, how could I bear so great 
a privation!" 

"But if he told you to pass a whole month without receiving Holy 
Communion, what would you do ?" 

"I would still obey him," she answered trembling at the very 
thought of such a misfortune, "but I should soon die; I could not 
live so long without Him Whom I love with all the ardor of my 
soul." 

Comply, then, O children, with that which Jesus Christ requires 
of you. Communicate as He desires that you should. Strive always 
to wean your heart from creatures ; spare no trouble for the sake of 
the Kingdom of Heaven; practice frequent acts of self-denial; keep 
yourself always in the fear of God and strive to adorn your soul 
with the virtues which Jesus Christ especially loves — humility, meek- 
ness, patience, prayer, charity, faith, peace and recollection. On the 
eve of your Communion renew your good resolutions ; spend some 
little time in prayer ; go to rest with the thought : "to-morrow I shall 



76 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

receive my Saviour" ; and if you awake in the night, think of the 
great action you are going to perform. In the morning make 
again acts of love, humility, contrition and confidence, and then go 
forward to the altar with a sincere desire to love and honor Jesus 
Christ more and more. Such a worthy reception will not be merely 
Communion, but real union of Jesus Christ with your soul. 



PASSION SUNDAY 



77 



Passion Sunday 
Jesus Our Model of Meekness 

My dear children : What a great insult is not offered to the All- 
holy Son of God. The innocent Saviour is told to His face that He 
had the devil. And yet, what answers our Lord to such a blas- 
phemy ? Does He call the lightning from Heaven ? Does He com- 
mand the earth to open and swallow them? He surely had the 
power and the right to do so. But the Sacred Heart of Jesus knows 
no revenge. It breathes only love, meekness and pardon. 

Meekness, children, is that virtue which keeps in subjection the 
emotions of anger, which so often arise within us, by sentiments 
of peace. It keeps the soul calm and tranquil ; it makes us act to- 
wards our neighbor with sympathy and kindness, and banishes all 
harshness from our words and actions. 

A young gentleman who did not like St. Francis de Sales went 
one evening to his house and raised a great tumult under the very 
window of the room where the saint was sitting by making his dogs 
bark loudly and his servants cry out most insulting words. He did 
this that he might show his hatred for the saint; but St. Francis 
seemed not to pay any heed to what he was doing. 

Seeing that the saint was not in the least disturbed by the noise, 
the man had the audacity to go into his house, and even into the 
room where the saint was sitting, and to utter words of the greatest 
insolence before his very face. Yet the saint made no reply. This 
made the man still more angry, and he became even more insolent 
than before, and continued his insulting language till he became ex- 
hausted. At length, seeing he could not make the saint angry, he 
went away. 

As soon as he had gone out, the friends of the saint asked him 
how he had been able to bear so patiently such insolence. St. Francis 
answered : "It is not because I did not feel it, for in my heart I was 
much tempted to rise up and order him away ; but I have long ago 
made an agreement with my tongue that when my heart is disturbed 



78 STORY-SERMONE TTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

it is not to say one word till the angry feeling has died away. It 
was in this manner that I was able to bear so patiently with him 
who spoke to me with so much anger." How do we act when in- 
sulted ? Have we for our enemies only words of love ? How often 
do we not act contrary to the beautiful example of Christ? At the 
least insults our proud soul blazes forth like so many darts of fire. 
Sad to say, many Christians are transformed into furious animals 
at any inconsiderate word or a harmless joke. Must we not blush 
with shame when we consider the meekness of our Redeemer? You 
curse, your Saviour blesses ; you wish to annihilate your enemy and 
Jesus bestows benefits on him. What can you expect from God in 
life and death when you trample under foot His commandment of 
loving your enemy? You deprive yourself of the grace and love 
of God. Your heart has become a home of Satan. 

A woman went to a priest to complain of her husband's pas- 
sion and temper and angry words. The priest who knew that her 
tongue also was very busy, gave her a small bottle of pure water. 
"Take this," he said, "and when next your husband gets angry, take 
a mouthful and you will soon find the value of it; your husband 
will remain quiet." An opportunity soon presented itself, and she 
followed the advice she had received ; the same a second time, and 
a third, with the marvellous results that were promised ! Returning 
to thank the priest for what she considered a miraculous water, he 
said: "There's no miracle in the water: your own tongue has 
done the good by keeping silence for once ; the only merit the water 
has is to have forced you to keep silence, for you were unable to 
talk whilst you had your mouth full." 

The beautiful example of our Saviour teaches us how we should 
behave when the passions of others fall upon us and we are made 
the butt of accusations, just or unjust. How worldly is not your 
conduct on such occasions ; the world counts it true valor and jus- 
tice to give tit for tat, to take tooth for tooth, and eye for eye. A 
calm denial or a dignified silence is the Christian way, the better 
way. One word brings on another, you would act like the Jews 
who began to throw stones-r-you bring about deadly feuds, bodily 



PASSION SUNDAY 



79 



injuries and perhaps bloodshed and the jail. A cow kicked a lantern 
over and Chicago was on fire for days. Some frivolous accu- 
sation that you pick up, while you should let it fall, starts within , 
you a fire of anger that makes a ruin for your whole spiritual life 
and throws disorder all around you. Peace flies from your homes, 
your social surroundings, your own hearts ; the very horrors of hell 
are around you. Christian charity has been wounded to death and 
the slightest of blows has done it. One-half of the sins of the world 
would be done away with if only the lesson of this Gospel were taken 
to heart and put into practice. 

There was once a shepherd boy named David who lived out on 
the hills day and night, taking care of his father's sheep. He was 
living so happily, singing and playing his harp. At the same time 
there lived a king in the city near by, who was as sad as David was 
joyful. 

The king lived in a great, beautiful palace, his robes were made of 
purple and gold, and he feasted on the finest food in the land — yet he 
was filled with sadness. 

"What shall we do for him ?" the people asked. "What will make 
our king happy again and brave, as he used to be?" 

A soldier who remembered the shepherd boy out on the hills pro- 
posed to send for him. The people could hardly wait for him to 
come, for they learned that he played a harp and sang so well. This 
was their last hope of curing the king. 

At last David came, his golden hair shining, his face full of joy. 
His harpstrings were twined with sweet, fresh lilies to keep the 
strings from breaking in the heat. Do you think he was afraid ? He 
was only a boy, you know. All the people were watching him as he 
approached the tent where the king lay sick. He was not afraid of 
the lion that stole the lamb. Whom did he trust to help him then ? 
So now again he trusted God to help him cure the great king. 

For a moment he knelt in prayer upon the sand outside the tent, 
then lifting the tent curtain he went in, saying: "Here is David, thy 
servant." There was darkness, but in the middle of the tent he saw 
something very dark, an object moving about. It was the king, 



80 STORY -SERMON ETTES FO R THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

miserable and half dead leaning upon the wooden bar which went 

across the tent. 

Quickly David took the lilies off the harpstrings and began to 
play. He played first the tune all the sheep knew, soft and sweet, 
which brought them home one after another as the stars come out. 
Then he played other tunes. At last the great figure moved. He 
moved his head, and the red and blue jewels flashed. And as David 
began to sing about the king, the wonderful soldier he had been, the 
king stood up and laid one of his large hands on the boy's head. He 
was better, David knew, but not well yet. Throwing aside his harp, 
he began again to sing. He sang about God now, of His love for 
animals, and of His love for us. It was such a wonderful song, it 
filled the whole tent with joy and gladness. 

When David finished that song he stole quietly out of the tent 
and ran home in the night, joyfully, oh, so joyfully, for he knew 
that king Saul was well again. He was the great, brave king he 
used to be ; the shepherd boy had cured him. 

We cannot play the harp or sing as David did, but we can all have 
joyful, shining faces such as his was, and be as meek and as humble. 
Shall we try to see how bright and cheerful we can look ? Remem- 
ber how one happy boy healed a great, wretched king, and see what 

we can do. 

Fortify yourselves with the armor of holy meekness, and when- 
ever you are insulted, should you be tempted to take revenge, take 
immediate recourse to prayer and say: "For the love of you, O 
Jesus, I will forgive with my whole heart. ,, The true Christian 
wards off, he does not give the thrust, he does not shoot back. He 
pities his enemies for the evil they do ; he forgives them and prays 
for them, as our Lord has commanded. This is Christian charity 
and humility as well. 



PALM SUNDAY 



81 



Palm Sunday 
Perseverance 

"Hosanna to the Son of David," is the joyful acclamation with 
which the Jews greeted our Lord to-day as He made His entrance 
into the royal city. But how quickly that has changed, for within 
a few days after the same people begin to cry out : "Crucify Him." 
Who would imagine such inconstancy possible? Sad to say, chil- 
dren, this occurs every day. Just think what have you done, for 
as often as you commit a mortal sin you have rejected Jesus and 
crucified Him anew. The glorious Hosanna which arose in your 
heart at the reception of Holy Communion was by your sinful deeds 
exchanged for the fearful "Away with Him, crucify Him." 

You have, indeed, done this, and not like the Jews through blind- 
ness, but with the full knowledge that Jesus is your Saviour. You 
have been shamefully inconstant to Him, who has never injured 
you, who loved you and died for you. Should not the greatest sor- 
row penetrate your hearts ? Should you not with your whole heart 
renew your resolution to remain loyal to your Saviour. 

A pious mother who had brought up her son with great care, see- 
ing him about to leave her to enter the world, desired to give him a 
lesson. For two days she gave him nothing to eat but sweet food. 
At first the young man was pleased with it, thinking that his mother 
was very kind to him before leaving home. But when the evening of 
the first day had come, he asked her to give him some solid food. But 
she told him that he must be content. The next day when he received 
the same kind of food, he became so disgusted with it that he could 
not even look at it, and he asked his mother to give him some plain 
bread. His mother said to him : "My dear child, I had a special 
object in placing before you all these dainty dishes. You are about 
to enter the world that is full of wickedness and ungodliness. It 
will put before your eyes many pleasing things — glory, honor, 
riches and pleasures. They simply dazzle the eye. They may be 
very pleasant for the moment, but they engender remorse. Do not 



82 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

allow yourself to be deceived by them. Yesterday I saw how you 
loved the sweets I placed before you. To-day you are filled with 
disgust. So it is with those who allow themselves to be deceived 
by the world. Pleasures soon bring bitterness. Learn a lesson, as 
soon as you are tempted by these things, thrust them aside and be 
content with the plaih food of the Christian— that is bearing pa- 
tiently with all your crosses here on earth, that you may obtain an 
eternal reward in Heaven." 

What will it avail us to begin in the grace of God if we do not 
persevere in it? Not the beginning, but the end of life decides our 
fate. Judas began well, but how did he end ? On the other hand, 
St. Mary Magdalen and the good thief on the cross persevered in 
good, that is why they ended as elect children of God. 

In a certain college there lived a boy by the name of Paul who 
was remarkable amongst all the other boys for his gentleness, his 
piety, and his good conduct ; every one loved him. To look at him 
one would have thought that he had never committed any sin. But 
such was not the case. There had been a time when that boy, now 
so gentle, so mild and good, had been a slave to sin. The following 
is the story of his life and conversion; it was himself who told it to 
one of his masters : « 

"I was once a good boy ; so long as I was near my good mother, 
and until I was eleven years old, I did not know what mortal sin 
was. At that time it happened that one day when I was in the 
fields playing with my companion who was a little older than my- 
self, he taught me to do what was a mortal sin. From that moment 
I became most unhappy ; I could find no peace night nor day, because 
I knew that if I died in that state I should be sent to hell for all 
eternity. 

"What made my state more awful still was this, that I also went 
and made two other innocent companions commit a grievous sin. 
When I came to this college I was quite as bad. I was perfectly 
miserable, and when I saw others who were so pious and so good I 
wondered if it. were possible that I could be like them. 

"Some of my companions came and asked me to become a mem- 



PALM SUNDAY 



83 



ber of one of the sodalities of the children of Mary. I joined it just 
for appearance's sake. It was then for the first time I heard of that 
little prayer : 'O my Queen and my Mother, protect me, help me, for I 
am thine.' I began to say it every day, and it was not long before 
I went to confession. I made a good confession ; and oh, how happy 
I felt then. 

"But I began to think of the terrible things I did in making the 
two children commit sin, so I am going to become a brother of that 
religious community which has specially for its object the pious edu- 
cation of the young, that I may be the means of saving more souls 
than I may have caused to be lost. 

"Temptations often come back to me; but when they come I im- 
mediately remember the little aspiration: 'O my Queen and my 
Mother.' I at once say it, and then the temptation soon goes away." 

Take away perseverance and what remains ? All else is vain and 
useless ; to no purpose all your good works and piety, mortification 
and mercy, to no purpose so many sufferings endured. Persever- 
ance is the crown of all good, for without it we cannot obtain that 
which alone is good and desirable. Perseverance is the narrow 
way through which we must force ourselves at any cost. Per- 
severance is the pearl of all graces, since those who have obtained 
it now dwell in the land of peace and happiness. 

There was once a rich count called Otho, who had a daughter 
whom he loved with great affection. One day the child was amus- 
ing herself with some beads of glass, with which she seemed to be 
much pleased. Her father was sitting by the fire watching her. 
My child," he said, "these are pretty beads you are playing with." 
Yes, papa, they are very beautiful, and I am delighted with them." 
Well, then," said the father, "take them up and throw them all 
into the fire." The child looked up into her father's face to see if 
he was in earnest. One glance told her he was. "Well, dear child, 
you may do as you please, but you know that when I ask you to do 
something, it is always because I, who love you so tenderly, see that 
it will be best for you." The girl at these words gathered up the 
beads and threw them into the fire. Her father said nothing, but 



a 



tt 



€( 



84 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

he seemed much pleased at the ready obedience of his dear little girl. 
"Now, my child, you will soon see how your father can reward you 
for that heroic sacrifice you made to please him. ,, He then drew 
forth from a little draw a little casket and drew out a beautiful 
necklace, made of glittering diamonds. "This, my child, is for you. 
I wanted to see if you loved me more than yourself. Take this then, 
my dearest little one, and when you wear it, it will remind you that 
your Father in Heaven will reward you with a reward surpassing 
all understanding in the world to come, if you obey Him in this life, 
and sacrifice everything rather than displease Him by breaking His 
commandments." 

The saints have persevered unto the end and what they have 
done we also with a good will can accomplish. Children, we must 
faithfully cooperate with the graces which our Lord will abun- 
dantly grant us for our salvation. We must fight the good fight, 
scrupulously avoid the dangers and occasions of sin, be diligent in 
prayer, in the reception of the sacraments and mindful of our last 
end. 



EASTER SUNDAY 



85 






I 



Easter Sunday 
Easter Joys 

My dear Children : To-day all Christendom is filled with joy and 
gladness ; and in every land is heard the oft-repeated Allelulia. In 
all tongues and climes hymns of praise and thanksgiving ascend to 
the throne of God. 

Why this joy? It is on this day the voice of God is heard assur- 
ing us that the dead can and will rise again, to enter upon a new 
and never-dying life. Sometimes a little child dies. That only 
means that the beautiful angel-like spirit which is in each one of 
us has left this child's body and flown up to God in heaven. It is 
bitter for us to lose those we love, but they are happy to go to God. 
We know that this is true, because after Jesus had died on the cross, 
after His body had been laid in the grave, His spirit came back to 
His body, to show us that if we are God's children death is nothing 
to be afraid of. This is the day Jesus came back to tell His dear 
friends that they must not be sad because He died. 

You have just learned from the gospel how soldiers were placed 
near the grave to guard it, but the second night, towards morning, 
when it was beginning to get light, there was a noise and a shaking 
of the ground, and a beautiful angel came down from heaven and 
rolled the huge rock back from the cave. The soldiers trembled 
with fear and ran away. 

Among the friends who came to visit Jesus at the tomb was 
Mary Magdalen. She had loved Jesus with all her heart, for He 
had been very good to her, making her life, which had been sinful 
and bad, sweet and good. She came to find the grave empty, and 
leaving the spot with a heavy heart she turned back. On her way 
out she met a man in the garden. Her eyes were so full of tears 
that she could not see plainly, and she supposed that He was the 
gardener. He asked her : "Why weepest thou ?" She answered : 
"Sir, if thou hast borne Him away, tell me where thou hast laid 
Him?" 



86 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

Then the man said, in a voice she knew and loved more than any 
voice on earth, "Mary !" Who do you think it was ? It was Jesus, 
and when she heard His voice she turned, and knelt at His feet, 
crying with great joy, "Master!" 

So Jesus came to His disciples, to one by one, or two or three 
together. And at last they all knew that He was really risen from 
the dead — that He was alive. And they learned, too, what we must 
learn and never forget, that as Jesus rose from the dead, so we and 
all those we love rise also. Sometimes when we go to sleep at night 
it is dark and stormy and we feel tired and fearsome, but when we 
wake in the morning the sky is blue, the sun is shining and we are 
cheerful. Dying is very much like this ; falling to sleep here, when 
our course is run, and we are tired after all our trials and tribula- 
tions, and waking in heaven with Jesus. 

That is why Jesus came back on that Easter morning after He 
had died on the cross ; to show us that death is nothing to be afraid 
of, for it means going to be with Him. 

When the pagans were leading St. Pionius to the place of martyr- 
dom, they were surprised to see the joy that lighted up his counte- 
nance, and how eagerly he ran towards the place of His death. 
"What makes you so happy?" they asked him, "and why do you run 
forward with so much eagerness to death?" "You are mistaken," 
answered the martyr, "I am not going to death; I am about to 
begin a life that will never end." This is how the saints spoke of 
what the world calls death. 

However long or sweet may be the pleasure of the draught of 
life, and health, and prosperity, all finally come to the one bitter 
drop at the bottom of the cup. And that is death. The Church, 
the divinely instituted Guardian of God's word, tells us that Christ 
has conquered death. All who die shall rise again from the dead, 
because our Saviour Jesus Christ, first of all, rose from the dead, and 
promised that the change of a similar resurrection should come upon 
all mankind. Bitter as death may be, the hope of the resurrection 
is a complete antidote. A "happy death" is a common saying among 
Catholics. It is a resurrection to eternal life. 



EASTER SUNDAY 



87 









In the life of the holy martyr Pamphilius we read that many 
pagans who saw the great joy that filled the Christians, when they 
were condemned to die for Jesus Christ, wondered how they could 
be so happy. And when they were told that it was because they 
were so soon to see God in heaven and to enjoy the happiness God 
had prepared for them, they also wished to become Christians, 
that they might share in that happiness. 

They had not long to wait for the martyr's crown. For the 
Prefect of Cesarea, hearing of what had taken place, sent soldiers 
to bring them before him. One of the first questions he put to them 
was : "What country do you belong to ?" "Our country is heaven," 
was the answer; "it is there where our God and our Saviour dwells. 
After He had suffered and died, and rose again from the dead, He 
went up to heaven to prepare a place for us. So heaven is our home." 

The Prefect was very angry at the tone of confidence in which 
they said these words and commanded them to suffer the most in- 
human tortures. 

Children, many Catholics think so much of the world that they 
seem to forget that the world is not their proper goal. Judging 
from the lives of some Christians, a person would not think that 
they ever think of death. 

Many years ago there was a certain lord who kept a fool in his 
palace, as many great men did for their amusement in those days. 
Now, this lord had given the fool a staff and charged him to keep 
it till he met with one that was a greater fool than himself, bidding 
him, if he met with such a one, to deliver the staff to him. Not 
many years after, the lord fell sick, and, indeed, was sick unto death. 
The fool came to see him, and the sick master told him that he 
would shortly leave him. "And where art thou going?" said the 
fool. "Into another world," said the master. "And when wilt thou 
return; in a month?" "No," said the master. "In a year?" "No." 
"When, then?" "Never, never." "And what provision hast thou 
made," said the fool, "for thy entertainment in the place where thou 
art going?" "Alas! none at all." "What!" said the fool, "none 
at all ? Here, take m^staff . ^Art thou going to dwell there forever, 



88 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



and hast made no orders for thy comfort in a place from which thou 
wilt never return? Take my staff, for I am not guilty of any such 
folly as this." 

Children, we will ask ourselves, have I a right to participate in 
the Easter joy of to-day, or am I only making an outside show, 
while my conscience tells me I am a hypocrite? What kind of a 
life would I rise to on the day of resurrection if I died' to-night? 
What would Jesus Christ find in me that looks like Him, and there- 
fore give me a share in His glorious resurrection ? Dear Children, 
that is what He wants to find in us all. Let us now rise from all 
that is deadly or corrupt in the life we are leading, and Jesus will 
be sure to find in us what will entitle us to a resurrection to eternal 
happiness. 



■ 



I 



FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



89 






First Sunday After Easter 
Holy Melodies of Love 

My dear Children : On two different occasions Christ said to His 
Apostles, "Peace be to you." Peace is one of the most precious of 
all earthly goods and without it men cannot be contented or happy. 
We can say with truth that he who has peace is happy. 

A light-hearted shepherd-boy was tending sheep, one bright 
spring morning, in a flowery valley, between wooded hills, and 
singing and skipping about for very joy. The prince of the coun- 
try, who happened to be hunting in the district, saw him, called him, 
and said : "Why are you so peaceful and happy, my little fellow ?" 

The boy did not know the prince and replied: "Why should I 
not be happy and at peace with the world? Our most gracious 
prince himself is not richer than I am." "Indeed !" said the prince ; 
"let me hear all that you have." "Why," replied the boy, "the sun 
in the bright blue sky shines as pleasantly for me as for the prince, 
and hill and valley are as green for me as for him. I value my 
hands more than a hundred thousand crowns, and I would not sell 
my eyes for all the jewels in the prince's treasury. In addition to 
this, I have all that I desire ; because I never wish for anything more 
than I need. Can you say that the prince has more?" The good 
prince laughed, made himself known to the lad, and said: "You 
are right, my good boy; and the prince perfectly agrees with you." 

What salt is to food, peace is to life. The best dishes do not 
taste well when salt has been omitted in their preparation, and all 
we may possess, good health, great riches, honor and reputation, 
cannot constitute happiness without peace. What an unhappy home 
where father and mother do not agree. As soon as they open 
their eyes in the morning, anger and bitterness arise with them, 
and they quarrel from morning till night. In consequence of such 
discord families are often reduced to poverty. If there be a happy 
life it is a peaceable life. Nothing tends so much to make life sweet 
and agreeable as peace. 






90 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



On the banks of a certain river which flows through the southern 
part of this country there was, in the year 1834, a village of huts 
erected by negroes. Through the zeal of missionary fathers who 
dwelled there, many embraced the Catholic religion. So long as the 
good fathers remained, these poor negroes gave great edification by 
their fervor and piety, but when the fathers left, this fervor began 
to diminish. Strife arose and evil tongues made trouble, especially 
between a certain man and his wife, and their quarrel was carried 
so far that they even refused to eat at the same table. Their unholy 
conduct became a source of scandal to the community. 

When one of the missionaries happened to visit the village he 
was informed of the quarrel of this couple. He directed that they 
should be brought before him and said unto them : "My children, 
you must mutually forgive each other. Jesus Christ commanded 
that you should love one another. In the name of Jesus Christ, 
therefore, forget the past and renew the love you formerly had for 
each other." 

The missionary's words caused a great change of heart to come 
upon them, and they exclaimed : "O Father, it is true that we have 
sinned, and we humbly ask God's pardon." Then, turning towards 
his wife, the husband said: "I forgive you; will you also forgive 
me ?" "From my heart !" she answered. 

The good Father fervently thanked God for this happy change. 
"My children," he said, "I feel assured that from this time your 
lives will be full of peace and harmony." The solemn promise they 
had made was sincere, as was proved by their fidelity in keeping it. 

Children, we must learn to preserve peace by being patient with 
others. Each and every one of us has his faults. None of us are 
saints. We may find many things in our companions hard to bear; 
we must look up to Jesus and the saints, who endured the greatest 
insults with heavenly patience. 

There was a little girl whose name was Louise. One evening 
after her good mother had tucked her into bed and kissed her good- 
night, she said: "I was a peace-maker to-day, mamma." "A what, 
dear?" said her mother, who had never heard her use that big word 












FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



91 



before. "A peace-maker," said Louise. "You know what that 
means, mamma, don't you ?" "But how were you a peace-maker, 
Louise? I did not know there was any quarreling." "Oh, it was 
not anything like that," said Louise; "it was just that I knew some- 
thing and didn't tell it." Then, of course, her mother knew that 
her little daughter had heard some mean, naughty story about one of 
her little friends and had kept it to herself and told no one. In the 
same, beautiful way, you and I, like little Louise, can be peace- 
makers. We can suppress bad stories by not telling them. We can 
kill bad thoughts by not harboring them. We can be silent about 
the bad, and think and speak and feel only about the good. 

The blessing of peace shows itself when we share the joy and 
sorrow of our fellow man, sharing happiness and pain like the 
members of one large family. Sympathy unites the hearts, whilst 
the want of sympathy separates them. Oh, how it does hurt us to 
see those who are near and dear to us care nothing about our wel- 
fare. 

Felix Mendelsohn was one of the greatest musicians of the world. 
His beautiful music is loved and played wherever people love and 
play music. One day he went to an old cathedral where there was 
a wonderful organ. Felix had often had a desire to play it. On 
entering the sacred edifice he found an old man in charge of every- 
thing around the church. He asked permission to play the organ, 
but the old man shook his head, and said, "No, no, no, that can 
never be" ; no stranger can ever be permitted to play that wonderful 
instrument. Mendelsohn begged so hard to be allowed to play that 
at last the old man gave his consent and the great musician began 
to play. The man listened and never in all his life had he heard 
such wonderful music. 

Now, boys and girls, your life and mine are just like a great 
music instrument. There often comes One to us who asks permis- 
sion to make use of our talents and of our time. He is not a 
stranger. His name is Jesus, and if we let Him, He will bring 
forth from our lives the most beautiful music. He will turn our 
discords into peace, and fill all life with harmony and happiness. 



92 STORY-SERMON ETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children 
of God. These words show how dear to God is the cause of peace, 
since our Lord pronounces blessed those who promote it, and de- 
clares that they are the true children of His heavenly Father. Peace 
with God and peace with one another. Whoever, therefore, pro- 
motes this two-fold peace by converting the sinner to God, and by 
healing or preventing quarrels among men, inherits this blessing, 
and shows himself to be a true disciple of Jesus and child of God. 









SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



93 



Second Sunday After Easter 

The Good Shepherd 

My dear Children : On many occasions our divine Lord described 
Himself as the Good Shepherd. You all know what a shepherd is; 
he is the man who takes care of the sheep. 

.Wherever you see a flock of sheep you are sure to find the shep- 
herd. When he takes them from one pasture to another he leads 
them. Whenever the shepherd and his flock must remain out of 
doors all night, the sheep will go to rest on the ground under the 
stars, but the shepherd cannot go to sleep; he must watch to see 
that no harm befalls his flock, that no wolf nor bear creeps up in 
the darkness and carries off a sheep or lamb. But it happened one 
day that the shepherd lost a sheep. When he and the flock reached 
the sheep-fold in the evening he counted the sheep as they ran in, 
and whereas there had been a hundred when he led them out in the 
morning, there were now only ninety-nine; the hundredth was not 
there, it was lost. It was dark by that time and storming, but with- 
out hesitation the shepherd went back over the rough way, leaving 
the ninety-nine. He carried a lantern in his hand, and he called 
softly to the lamb as he went. When he got to a deep ravine he 
heard something. It was the bleating of the little lamb, which had 
fallen down among the rocks. 

Down the shepherd climbed. It was hard work, for it was 
dark among the rocks. But the shepherd did not mind. It was even 
harder work getting back, with the little lamb on his shoulders, but 
he was happy, because he had found the lost lamb. He rejoiced all 
the way back in the darkness and in the storm. When he reached 
home he called to his friends. "Rejoice with me, for I have found 
my lamb which was lost." 

It was Jesus who told this story. He wanted to show them how 
much He loved every one of us. We are all His sheep, His little 
lambs, and He is the great Shepherd. He loves us even more than a 
good shepherd loves his sheep. He can save us from worse things 



94 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



than wolves, and when one of us does wrong, that one is the little 
lamb that gets lost. But if we call to Him He comes and carries 
us back in His arms to grace and virtue. 

Now if Jesus is so good a shepherd, nothing is more just than 
that we should endeavor to be good sheep, and the only way we 
can be good sheep is to play the part of a good guardian over our 
own souls. Oh, value your soul and keep it as the apple of your 
eye, that you may not lose it. Watch and pray, for there are many 
perils of your soul. Guard your senses, especially your eyes, turn 
them away from sin. Value your soul more highly than all earthly 
goods, and be always resolved to make any and every sacrifice for 
its salvation. 

St. Agnes was born about the year 292. Her parents were very 
rich, and they were also good Christians, and brought up their only 
child in the fear of God. When she was about twelve years old, a 
pagan met her coming home from school, and tempted her to sin, 
promising her many valuable jewels. But Agnes rejected the temp- 
tation, and told him to be gone, for she would never offend God 
for anything in the world 

The young man was very angry, and he denounced her to the 
pagan judge as being a Christian. When the judge told her that 
torture and death was the fate of Christians, Agnes boldly an- 
swered: "Never will I consent to offend my God by sin, and joy- 
fully will I suffer the loss of all things rather than lose my soul." 
The firmness of the child filled the judge with wonder, but also with 
great wrath, and he handed her over to Aspasius, one of his under- 
lings that he might put her to death. 

Aspasius commanded a great fire to be kindled, to burn her alive. 
But God was pleased to work a wonder, for when Agnes was 
thrown into the fire, the flames made room for her without touching 
her. The pagans standing near, however, were devoured by the 
flames. St. Agnes prayed to God, that now, since she had confessed 
His holy Name, He would be pleased to take her to Himself in 
heaven. When she had finished her prayer the fire suddenly went 
out. Then Aspasius gave orders that the executioner should cut 



SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



95 









^ 






I 



her neck with a sword. The executioner gave her a fatal blow, and 
her happy soul went at once to her God in Heaven, Whom she so 
tenderly loved. 

Our soul is a pearl beyond all price. Like Agnes we should be 
willing to suffer all rather than stain it by sin. She gave to you 
children a good example how to be a good shepherd of your soul. 

Children, we, as faithful followers of the Good Shepherd, must 
do His bidding and carry out His plan of work. In the Holy 
Catholic Church He feeds His sheep with the bread of His divine 
Word, and in Holy Communion with His own Flesh and Blood. 

As good shepherds we must pasture our soul, that is, we must 
furnish it with whatever is necessary for the preservation of its 
supernatural life. We must feed our soul with the word of God. 
The word of God enligthens us ; it strengthens us to overcome all 
obstacles in the way of salvation; it comforts in tribulations and 
raises thoughts to heavenly things. Listen with pleasure to the 
word of God, and make it the rule of your life. 

We must feed our soul with Holy Communion, for this is the best 
and most nutritious nourishment. It is Holy Communion that in- 
creases sanctifying grace, weakens the evil inclinations, and fortifies 
us with supernatural strength to overcome all temptations. All 
pious Christians deem themselves happy to be able to go frequently 
to Communion. Children, be not hirelings, who let their sheep 
hunger and languish, but be good shepherds and feed your soul ; go 
to Holy Communion as often as your confessor considers you 
worthy. 

Let us be good shepherds of our soul. Our soul is the most pre- 
cious treasure we possess, for it is created in the image of God and 
diestined to enjoy eternal life in heaven. 



96 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



97 



Third Sunday After Easter 

Our Lord's Farewell 

My dear Children: Our dear Lord made a farewell speech to 
His Apostles before ascending to Heaven. He gave His Apostles 
His last lessons and instructions. "In a little while," Jesus says, 
"you shall see me in the land of peace and joy. I precede you to 
prepare a place for you." Children, you are young and you are look- 
ing forward to a long life. Yet, you must remember, from the cradle 
to the grave it is only a "little while." How quickly do forty, fifty 
or sixty years pass by. And if we compare our life to eternity, 
what is it? Not so much as a drop of water compared to the 
ocean. Thousands and millions of years are hardly a moment 
when compared to eternity. Truly, our life here below is a little 
while. And this little while of our earthly life is of infinite im- 
portance, because eternity depends on it. If we serve God during 
this little while with fervor and constancy, we shall receive for 
our reward the everlasting happiness of Heaven; but if we serve 
the world, the flesh and the devil, eternal woe await us in hell. 

When St. Aloysius had been ill for a long time, the physician, 
seeing that he was drawing near his end, told him that he could 
not depend on more than eight days to live. Just then one of his 
companions came into the room where St. Aloysius lay. "Oh!" 
he cried out with great joy, "did you hear the news? The doctor 
has just told me I cannot live longer than eight days. Oh ! come, 
let us sing a hymn of joy to thank God : the danger of losing my 
soul will soon be past." 

He then wrote a letter to his mother, in which he said: "My 
dearest mother, I have good news to give you to-day, and I am sure 
you will rejoice with me. I am now near the end of my life, — near 
the time when there shall be no longer any danger of my losing my 
soul. As for myself, I look upon death as the greatest blessing 
God could bestow upon me, and I ask you to join me in thanking 
Him." 



Children, what a joyful moment it will be for you, if, at the 
last day^ of your life, when the moment of your judgment comes, 
you hear these words from the lips of the Great Judge: "Come, 
thou blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom which was pre- 
pared for thee from the foundation of the world." Yet, those who 
persevere till the end of their lives in the service of God shall one 
day most certainly hear these blessed words. 

Just for a little while we enjoy temporal goods, such as money, 
honors, comfort. How perishable is beauty; it is just like a flower, 
it appears to-day in all its splendor and to-morrow it withers and 
falls blighted to the ground. How fickle are riches, money, real 
estate, and stocks ! They can be taken from us by bad men or lost 
by mishaps. How fleeting are honors and dignities! The wheel 
of fortune ever turns ; to-day you may be in the first place and to- 
morrow you may be shifted to the last place. How foolish to 
plunge ourselves into eternal perdition for the sake of the fleeting 
and vain goods of the world. 

On my travels through the West I met a young boy who was 
dressed like a soldier. He was only about thirteen years old, and I 
said to him, "Why, little fellow, how does it happen that you are 
a soldier?" "I'm not a soldier," he said very proudly, "I am a 
scout." And sure enough, that's just what he was, with his soldier- 
suit and his strong staff. 

Of course you know what a scout is. A scout is taught to be 
manly, to serve his country, to love God and to do a good turn 
every day. He is taught to know the weather signs, to find his 
way at night by the stars, to track men and animals, to hide him- 
self, to signal across the water and from hilltops, to make tents 
and fires and camp beds, to sleep in the open air, and a thousand 
other useful things. But the great principle he has to observe is 
to do a kind act every day. 

The motto of all scouts is, "Be prepared" It is a good motto. 
If you are going to do the world's work, you must have steady 
nerves and strong muscles. If you are going to take your part in 
the battle for peace and purity, you must have educated brains and 



98 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

trained minds. If you are going to help God make the world bet- 
ter, you must prepare yourself for service and be ready when He 
calls. It took Jesus thirty years' preparation to get ready to do 
three years' work. 

See to it that you do not waste your play-days, but get a strong 
body while you are a boy. Don't waste your school days, but get 
a strong mind before it is too late. Don't waste your church and 
Sunday school days, but get ready a strong heart, and conscience, 
and character, so that you will be ready when God calls you. God 
will surely call you. Do not be afraid of that. Only be sure you 
are ready when He does call. "Be prepared." 

During his whole life upon earth Christ was going to the Father. 
Children, may we be able to say with confidence, when about to die: 
/ go to the Father. We shall be able to do so, if now we go to 
the Father; if we frequently and with joy think of the Father, 
love to hear His holy word, diligently visit Jesus in the tabernacle,' 
pray devoutly, and walk in the way of His commandments. Ex- 
amine yourselves and see whether in such a manner you go to the 
Father. How deplorable would be your lot if all your life you 
were on your way to the devil. Do you not shudder at the thought 
of being obliged at the end of your life to say : "I go to the devil" ? 
May the God of mercy preserve us all from such a calamity. 

When St. Teresa was a little girl, not more than seven years old, 
she used to spend much of her time with her little brother Roderick 
in reading the Lives of the Saints. The thought of eternity made 
a deep impression upon their young hearts, and they were never 
tired of repeating these words : "Forever, for ever, for ever! What! 
shall the blessed see and enjoy God for ever !" When they read the 
history of the monks and hermits, they wished like them, to abandon 
all for God, and tried to build themselves little hermitages in their 
father's garden, but being only small and weak, they were not able 
to finish them. It was the history of the martyrs, however, which 
filled them with the greatest delight. It seemed to them that the 
martyrs had purchased Heaven very cheaply, since by short suffer-* 
ings they had secured eternal joys. They wished that they could 



THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



S9 






■. 






do the same, and one day set out severally from home and left the 
city, intending to make their way to the country of the Moors, 
to become martyrs. It was, of course, wrong to do this without 
even asking their parents' permission. As they went along, pray- 
ing with great fervor, they were met by one of their uncles, and 
he brought them back to their mother, who was in a state of great 
distress. Teresa did not escape without a scolding; but Almighty 
God was, no doubt, pleased with her innocent fervor and forgave 
her for her fault. 

Look upon the Apostles; great was their sorrow for the loss of 
Jesus, but after three days it was turned into joy, and now they 
are enthroned in Heaven and enjoy, after the tribulations of this 
short earthly life, the blessed happiness of Heaven. Take, then, 
your cross upon your shoulders, and carry it courageously after 
Jesus, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man shall take 
from you. 



100 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Fourth Sunday after Easter. 
Ambassadors of God. 

My dear Children :— God our Lord and Creator sent us into the 
world, that we may serve Him and after our death go to Him in 
heaven. If by perseverance we live up to our destiny and do the 
will of God in all things, we shall be admitted into the heavenly 
court 

Being the ambassadors of God we must carefully shun whatever 
is incompatible with our dignity. Remember well, my dear chil- 
dren, that you act contemptibly, if, unmindful of your dignity, you 
give way to your passions: when you are self-willed or quarrel- 
some, when you are jealous, and when you act in other ungodly 
ways. You dishonor God, whose ambassadors you are, and com- 
pel Him, on account of the insult which you offer Him, to deprive 
you of your dignity. Let us never forget who we are, and in every 
temptation say to ourselves: I must not, I will not, do this; it 
would disgrace me, an ambassador of God. 

As ambassadors we must defend the honor of our Lord and 
Master. If any remarks be made in public injurious to His honor, 
we must defend Him. We must honor God in our heart, and re- 
joice over the honor and homage given to Him in heaven and on 
earth, wishing that He may be known, loved and praised by all 
men. We must honor Him with the mouth, by public and private 
prayer; by assisting at public worship, by bowing our head when 
at public worship pronouncing the name of Jesus. We must honor 
Him in actions by doing all things for His honor and by giving 
good example to our fellow playmates. St. Francis of Assisi, when- 
ever he found a piece of paper on which the name of God was 
written, carefully preserved it in his cell with great veneration. 

Way off in an out-of-the-way corner of India a missionary had 
gone to baptize some men and women, and received them into the 
true Church of God. During the course of the service the mis- 
sionary noticed a boy about twelve years of age, sitting away back 



FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



101 



in the corner of the little church, looking very much interested and 
listening with all his might. After he had baptized and received 
into the Church the grown-up converts, the missionary was surprised 
to see the boy come forward and stand at the railing. The mis- 
sionary said to him: "What, my lad, do you want; do you also 
want to be baptized and go to Holy Communion ?" The boy said, 
"Yes, Father." The missionary looked at him lovingly, and said, 
"But you are very young, and I know nothing about you, and no 
one has taught you about the Christian Faith, and after a while 
you might grow careless and indifferent. Perhaps it will be better 
for you to wait." The boy said nothing, but turned away to his 
seat with a sad heart, and the missionary saw that he was very much 
disappointed. After a while a man stood up and spoke: "Why, 
Reverend Father, this boy has taught us all we know about Jesus." 
And what he said proved to be the truth. That boy had learned 
the story of the Gospel and his catechism at a mission school in a 
distant village, and had returned to his heathen home to tell the 
story of Jesus to his own people. He read to them out of the 
New Testament until they gave their hearts to God and were con- 
secrated to Jesus. So you see this little lad was a real ambassador 
of God and a young missionary. I am sure if boys love Jesus and 
live as He would like to have them live, kind and obedient and 
true, that they will be able to do more for Him than they could 
do even if they were able to preach great, eloquent sermons. Many 
a father and mother were; led back to God by their own little boy 
or girl. 

As ambassadors of God we must have the good of our Holy 
Mother, the Church, at heart. It is she who made us children of 
God and heirs of heaven. She constantly instructs us in the divine 
law, entreats, rebukes, reproves and punishes us, in order to save 
our soul. She administers to us the sacraments, through which we 
are justified. She offers up for us daily the glorious sacrifice of 
the Mass, and petitions God for every good we need for time and 
eternity. 









102 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



There was in the house of a certain Spanish lady called Gratia 
a poor slave girl who had been brought up in the religion of 
Mahomet. There sprang up between the lady and her slave a great 
friendship. Gratia loved her, and the poor girl showed that she 
loved her mistress in return by attending to her wants with great 
diligence. One thing only saddened the affectionate soul of Gratia : 
she could not look upon the maid without shedding tears, for she 
knew that her soul was still in the power of the devil. 

"O my God give me that soul/' she prayed; "let not the soul 
perish for whose salvation Thy beloved Son died on Calvary." 
The pious lady wept and prayed, till at length God granted her 
request The slave became a fervent child of God's one true Church, 
and a faithful imitator of the piety of her mistress. 

Be mindful, therefore, of the high dignity which you possess as 
ambassadors of God, and fulfill your duties conscientiously. Well 
for you, if, as ambassadors of God, you fulfill your duties faith- 
fully; when the time of your departure shall come, you will be 
able to say with Jesus : I go to Him that sent me. 






! 



i 



FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



103 



Fifth Sunday after Easter. 

The Greatest Power on Earth. 

My dear Children: — In your Bible History you will find one 
thing repeated very often, of which our divine Lord tells us in 
to-day's gospel — it is prayer. You have learned in your catechism 
that the two chiefs means of obtaining God's grace are prayer and 
the sacraments. Prayer is spoken of first, because it is suited to 
all times, to all persons, and) to all places; whereas we cannot 
always have an opportunity of hearing Mass or going to the sacra- 
ments. Our good Lord has provided us with an unfailing resource 
in all our wants, that is, prayer; promising, moreover, on His di- 
vine word, that He will always grant us what we ask, provided 
that we pray with proper dispositions. 

Prayer, my dear children, is the first duty of every Christian. 
It is a special command of God; but besides that, it is a great 
privilege, a high honor, and an immense advantage to us to be al- 
lowed to speak freely to the divine majesty. The kings of this earth, 
as St. Teresa beautifully observes, do not allow their subjects to 
make known their petitions to them, except through their nobles 
and officers of state; but we may at all times approach to the king 
of heaven, adore Him, thank Him for His goodness, and lay open 
to Him all our wants, both for soul and body. And what is the 
most consoling is, that He is always glad to receive us, ready to 
hear us, and willing and able to help us; whereas earthly kings 
sometimes receive the petitions of their subjects with a very bad 
grace, and very often refuse them. 

Your catechism tells you that prayer is the raising of our heart 
and mind to God. It is the mind which thinks, it is the heart 
which hopes and loves. Prayer, therefore, consists in thinking of 
God, in hoping in Him, and loving Him. You see from this that 
it is not strictly necessary to say any words when we pray. If we 
only think of God in our minds and love Him with our hearts, we 
make a good prayer, though we may not say a single word. 






104 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



I 



Father Vianney, the Cure of Ars, speaks of a man who was a 
simple peasant, poor in the goods of this world and ignorant of its 
learning, but rich in piety and virtue. He was particularly remark- 
able for his ardent devotion to our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy 
Sacrament. Whether going to his work or returning from it, never 
did that good man pass the church without entering it to adore 
his Lord. The priest who watched him with delight, could never 
perceive the slightest movement of the lips. Being surprised at 
this circumstance, he said to him one day : "My good man, what 
do you say to our Lord in those long visits you pay Him every 
day?" "I say nothing to Him," was the reply; "I look at Him 
and He looks at me." 

A beautiful and sublime answer. He said nothing, he opened no 
book, he could not read, but he had eyes— eyes of the body and 
eyes of the soul, and he opened them, the eyes of the soul especially, 
and fixed them on our Lord. He fastened upon Him his whole 
mind, his whole heart, his memory, his understanding, all his senses, 
all his affections. This is the secret of becoming saints. 

God expressly promises protection and deliverance to those who 
call upon Him in any necessity. You remember the three young 
men in the fiery furnace, they prayed and were saved. Daniel in 
the lions' den subdued the fury of the beasts by prayer. In the 
year 350 the city of Nisibis was besieged by the Persian king, 
Sapor II. St. James, bishop of that city, mounted the walls of that 
city and prayed to the Lord against the unbelievers; God heard 
his prayer in a miraculous way. Suddenly there came swarms of 
flies, which attacked the trunks of the enemy's elephants, and the 
ears and nostrils of the horses, rendering them untractable and 
causing so great a disorder in the camp that Sapor was reluctantly 
obliged to give up the siege. 

Prayer closes the door of our heart against all the enemies of 
our soul, that they cannot enter and rob us of the treasure of 
grace. A young man, named Pacho, retired into the desert, there 
to do penance for his sins. After several years he suffered such 
violent temptations that he conceived the idea of taking his own 



FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER 



105 



life. With this intention he laid himself before a cave in which 
were two hyenas, wishing to be devoured by them. But they did 
not injure him. Then he took a poisonous serpent, bared his breast 
and irritated the serpent, that its bite might be more deadly; but 
it had no poison for him. The youth now turned his wrath against 
heaven and accused God, because He would not let him die. But 
behold ! on a sudden he hears an interior voice which says to him : 
"Wretch! what do you mean? Do you think you can overcome 
temptations by your own strength ? Pray, pray, and you will con- 
quer." The youth followed this advice ; he began to pray, and as 
often as temptation assailed him, he prayed with great fervor, and 
came off victorious after each conflict. 

As long as a Christian prays with fervor and devotion he leads 
a good life. Temptations may be numerous; he stands firm, for 
as the stake supports the little tree, so prayer supports him. But 
if he becomes careless in prayer, and neglects it altogether, or 
performs it only hastily, he totters and falls. St. Peter denied his 
Master three different times. Why? Because he neglected prayer. 
Our Lord had commanded him and the other apostles to watch and 
pray, but they slept. Therefore, pray without ceasing, for prayer 
is the most necessary means for the preservation of grace and of 
perseverance in virtue. 

A little boy, whose name was Johnny, asked his mother some very 
hard and troublesome questions. His parents were not Christians. 
They did not go to church and they did not pray, but they wanted 
Johnny to go to Sunday school and to Mass, and taught him to 
say his prayers. And at the end he wouldi add some words of his 
own. "God bless papa, God bless mama, God bless Johnny, and 
make him a good boy." One night after he had said his prayers and 
kissed his mother good night, he looked up into her face, and said : 
"Mama, do you pray?" "No, darling," she said. "Does papa 
pray?" "I never heard him pray," said his mother. "Then why 
do you make me pray?" he said. "So that you may be a good 
boy." "Don't you want to be good, mama ?" he said. "Oh, yes, I 
want to be good." "Don't papa want to be good ?" he asked. "Oh, 



106 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



I think so." "Then why don't you and papa both pray, too?" he 
asked. She was not quite ready to answer that hard question, and 
the little lad went on talking. "Well, mama," said he, "I guess God 
will hear the prayer of a little boy like me, but don't you think 
you and papa expect too much of such a little boy ? Do you think 
that God wants me to do all the praying for this whole family ? It 
seems to me that you and papa might help me a little." But he 
was growing sleepy, and he was soon far off in dreamland. 

He did not think of it any more, perhaps, and he never asked 
those hard questions again. Indeed, he didn't need to ask them 
again, for the father and mother that night, after he was sound 
asleep, talked it all over and came and knelt by his bed and gave 
their hearts to God like little children, and prayed that God would 
answer their little boy's prayer. God does not want little children 
to be the only ones to pray. He wants fathers and mothers, and 
brothers and sisters, and grandfathers and grandmothers all to pray 
to Him, for He is our Father and Friend and He loves to have 
us speak to Him, 



SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF THE ASCENSION 107 






Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension. 

The Devil's Best Weapon. 

My dear Children: — The Holy Ghost whom our dear Lord 
promised to His apostles in the gospel of this day must be a Spirit 
of Truth to us ; we must love truth and hold firmly to it, and hate 
and shun nothing so much as untruth and lies. Do you not know 
that your hearts are the temple of the Holy Ghost and that an 
untruth or a lie should never proceed from the mouth of a Chris- 
tian. And yet lying is a widely spread vice even among Christians. 
Parents and children tell lies, the rich and the poor, the high and 
the low, all tell lies; and without fear of contradiction, I may say 
that there is hardly one amongst us who would not lie if he said 
that he had never lied. The reason is because people make no 
account of lying, and look upon it as an excusable fault. 

The devil has played the lying game all the time and he who 
tells lies is a confederate of the devil. Our Lord Himself calls 
liars children of Satan. St. Ambrose says: "All who love lies 
are children of the devil, not by nature but by imitation." 

A little child of nine years of age was one day weeping bitterly. 
He had committed a fault by taking something which his father 
had told him not to touch, and he was afraid that his father would 
come to know about it, and punish him. The servants of the house 
who saw him weeping, and who knew the reason of his tears, said 
to him : "If your father asks you if you took it, you have only to 
deny it, and you shall not be punished." But the good child, looking 
at them with much indignation, answered : "What is that you tell 
me to do? Tell a lie about it? No, never! I would rather be 
punished a thousand times over than think of doing such a thing. 
I will never commit such a sin. I do not claim the devil as my 
father, for he is the father of lies." This should be the answer 
of every Christian child to any one who asks him to tell a lie. 



108 STORY-SERMONE TTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

You must not tell the smallest He even to save the whole world, 
for it is better that the world should be destroyed than that God 
should be offended. Much less, then, should you tell a lie to save 
yourself from a scolding or beating, which are intended for your 
good. If you have done wrong, be sorry for it, then you are soon 
forgiven both by God and your parents; whereas if you try to 
hide it by a lie, you are guilty of a fresh sin, and one often much 
greater than the one you first committed. 

To tell a lie, is to say a thing that we know to be untrue. If we 
believe that we are speaking the truth, and happen to be mistaken, 
it is not a lie; on the other hand, if we say what we believe to be 
false, and it turns out to be true, it is really a lie in the sight of 
God. All lies are sinful, because they are directly opposed to the 
Divine Truth, which is one of the most admirable perfections of 
the Almighty. Moreover they are an abuse of that most excellent 
gift of speech, which God has given us to enable us to make our 
thoughts known to our fellow men; whereas the liar uses his 
speech to conceal his thoughts and deceive his neighbor. 

St. James, the Bishop of Nisibis, travelling one day through the 
country, was accosted by a beggar to give him an alms to bury a 
companion who he said had just died by the wayside. The Bishop 
gave him an alms and went on, praying for the poor man's soul. The 
beggar, laughing at his success in imposing on the saint, ran back 
to his companion, who was lying on the ground pretending to be 
dead. On coming to the spot, he called to him to get up, as the 
trick had been successful, but he received no answer. He approached 
nearer, and took his companion by the hand in order to arouse him, 
but what was his horror at finding that he was really dead. Im- 
mediately, with loud cries and lamentations, he ran after the saint, 
and, throwing himself on his knees before him, acknowledged the 
deceit which they had practiced, and implored his pardon and in- 
tercessioa The servant of God having first reproved him for his 
sin, betook himself to prayer, and the unhappy man, who had pro- 
voked God to deprive him of life, was restored to life at the prayers 
of the saint and became a sincere penitent 



SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF THE ASCENSION 109 



Although all lies are sinful, they are not all equally sinful ; some 
are much more grievous than others. The worst lie of all is that 
which is told in confession by him who conceals a sin, for such a 
lie is a sacriligious lie, a lie told to God Himself, and is a profanation 
of a holy sacrament. The lie next in guilt is that which is told to 
injure our neighbor's character; for example, when a person gives 
false testimony in a court of justice, or when he spreads abroad 
calumnies against his neighbor, accusing him of crimes which he 
never committed. Such lies are called malicious lies, because they 
are told through malice on purpose to injure others, and they are 
very grievous sins. But there are other lies which are much less 
in guilt, namely lies of excuse and lies of jest. These are some- 
times called by foolish people white lies. It is true that they might 
not cause our neighbor any injury, but still they are displeasing to 
God and hurtful to the soul. By these jocose lies a habit of lying 
is formed, which is the foundation, of many vices. If the child is 
a habitual liar, depend on it that, if not cured of this vice in time, 
he will grow up both a hypocrite and a thief, for truth is the twin 
sister of candor and honesty. Children, to tell a lie to excuse 
yourself is an act of cowardice, and shows a weakness of char- 
acter and principle, which may well cause us to fear that such a 
soul will soon fall a prey to the devil. Be always, then, my dear 
children, most exact in speaking the truth, and pray to God to give 
you a great love of this excellent virtue which is so pleasing to 
Him. Remember that if you love and always speak the truth, you 
are in a special manner the children of God, who is the divine 
Truth. St. Paul tells the Ephesians to put on the girdle of Truth. 
That is the first thing that a man wants to know about a boy. Is 
he truthful ? It is the one thing that we want to know about every 
girl. Does she always speak the truth ? A great educator once said 
that it did not make any difference how ignorant a child was. He 
could be taught. It made no difference if he was ill-mannered. 
He could learn to be a gentleman. But the child that cannot tell 
the truth is hopeless. There isn't anything to build on. It is like 
laying the foundations of a house on the sand. It will not stand 






110 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

So, boys and girls, when you go out to fight the battle of life, be 
sure, first of all, that you have on the Girdle of Truth. 

Yes, dare to be true. Be brave enough to speak the truth, for it 
is an act of true courage. Your parents or teachers may punish 
you, but they will respect and trust you, the saints and angels will 
look down on you with approval, God will hear and will reward 
you. Nothing can need a lie because nothing can excuse it — "truth 
will always out." In conclusion what is more contemptible than the 
character of a liar, whose word is never taken, whose denials are 
never believed, whose promises are never trusted ? On the contrary, 
what is more noble, what more amiable, than the character of a 
child who is always candid, truthful, and sincere? Such a one 
wherever he goes, carries with him the esteem, the confidence, the 

respect of everyone, 



PENTECOST SUNDAY 



111 



Pentecost Sunday 
The Seven Gifts. 
My dear Children :— The holy feast of Pentecost which we cele- 
brate today as the third principal festival of the Ecclesiastical year, 
is dedicated to the Holy Ghost, the third Person of the ^Blessed 
Trinity. I am very much afraid that we do not think often enough 
of the Holy Ghost, and how much we owe to this Divine Spirit 
who is the author of all the good that takes place in our souls. There 
are many things which you ought to know about the Holy Ghost; 
for example, you do not know, perhaps, of all His goodness to you, 
or thank or love Him as He deserves. First of all, you would no 
doubt, like to know why it is that we call the third Person of the 
Trinity by the name of the Holy Ghost. You know why He is 
called Holy, for He is God and God is holiness itself. But why is 
He called Holy Ghost ? What is the meaning of the word Ghost? 
It is an old English word, meaning a spirit; so when you speak of 
a ghost story, you mean the story of some one whose spirit has 
appeared after death, as that of the prophet Samuel did to the witch 
of Endor. Thus you see, that the words Holy Ghost only mean 
Holy Spirit 

The Holy Spirit makes our souls or spirits holy by His grace. 
It is true that He does not do this separately or apart from the 
Father and the Son, for God is one, and all the three Persons of 
the Blessed Trinity do conjointly what each one is said to do. The 
many graces which Jesus Christ has merited for us by His Passion 
and Death are given to us by the Holy Spirit. 

To-day is the anniversary of the day when the same Holy Spirit, 
in tongues of fire, descended upon the apostles. From ignorant and 
dull of understanding they became suddenly enlightened with Divine 
Light, and filled with heavenly knowledge; from being weak and 
timid, so that they all fled away from our Lord when He was taken 
prisoner in the garden, they became in a moment heroic confessors 
of the Faith, ready to endure any torment, and death itself, for the 
Name of Jesus. > 






I 

[ 



I 1 
I' ' 

It i 



112 STORY-SERMONET TES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

The seven precious gifts of the Holy Ghost are bestowed upon 
all who worthily receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, in the same 
way as the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity are implanted in 
the soul by Baptism; their effects, however, are only visible ac- 
cording as circumstances require their special exercise. So that, 
for example, we should not be afraid if we were called upon, as 
our forefathers often were, to confess our Faith before persecutors, 
or even to suffer torments and death for Jesus Christ; since the 
Holy Spirit will always be ready to assist us to do and suffer what 
God requires of us. 

Saint Arsenius, having become acquainted with an old man of 
obscure birth and no learning, chose him to be his counsellor. 
"What," said one of his brethren, "you, well versed in the learning 
of Athens and Rome, seeking the advice of that ignorant man!" 
"It may be," replied Arsenius, "that I know something of literature, 
but I do not yet possess the alphabet of the knowledge of that old 
man." And, indeed, void as he was of human learning, this old 
man had a more sublime learning, the knowledge of salvation 
which comes from the Holy Spirit. He had the art of following 
the road to heaven and of being able to show it to others; it was 
this knowledge, Arsenius wished to acquire. 

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit enlighten the understanding 
and strengthen the will of fallen man, thus repairing the injury in- 
flicted by the sin of our first parents and our own manifold sins 
with those two great powers of the soul. The four gifts of Wisdom, 
Understanding, Counsel and Knowledge, all tend to remove from 
the soul that black cloud of ignorance with which sin has darkened 
our understanding, while the other three, Fortitude, Piety and 
the Fear of the Lord, serve to heal the wounds inflicted by sin in 
the human will, to extinguish the fire of concupiscence, and to 
enable us to walk with courage and fidelity in the way of th# Divine 
Commandments. The lives of the saints, my dear boys and girls, 
furnish us with abundant examples of the admirable effects which 
the gifts of the Holy Ghost produce in the hearts and minds of 
God's faithful servants. Their heroic virtues, their charming and 



PENTECOST SUNDAY 



113 






1 



> 



amiable qualities, all spring from the same source, and are the 
fruits of the abundant grace with which the Holy Ghost enriched 
their souls. 

A Vendean, named Repoche, who during the French Revolution 
served in the royal army, having been taken prisoner by the revo- 
lutionary party was conducted by them to a place where a cross 
had been erected, and there he was thus accosted: "You have been 
taken with arms in your hands, and so your life is forfeited. There 
yonder is the cottage in which you were born; your father is still 
living there; now your life will be spared to you if you will do 
one thing. Take up that ax and at once cut down that cross." Re- 
poche took up the ax ; his fellow prisoners turned aside their heads 
and trembled, for they thought that Repoche was about abjuring his 
God. Repoche brandishing the ax over his head, sprung upon the 
pedestal of the cross, and uplifting his arm, cried out in tones 
loud enough to be heard by even those who were at a distance: 
"Death to him who shall insult the cross of Jesus Christ ! I shall de- 
fend it from ignominy to my last breath." For some minutes he 
succeeded in warding off the sacrilegious soldiers, but soon he was 
overwhelmed by numbers, and though transfixed in every part of 
his body, he still clung fast to the cross, and in this position was 
put to death. 

The Holy Spirit is sometimes called the Paraclete. This word 
means Advocate, that is to say, one who speaks or pleads for an- 
other. This the Holy Ghost does by assisting us in our prayers, 
for we can make no prayer that is good for anything to please God 
without the grace of the Holy Ghost. When the Holy Ghost helps 
us to pray, then our prayers cannot fail to be heard. 

You see, my dear boys and girls, how much reason we have to 
love the Holy Ghost, to thank Him for His graces, and to seek His 
blessing and guidance in all our undertakings. We should often 
pray to the Holy Ghost, for which purpose we might repeat one 
of the beautiful hymns in His honor, to beg His grace to overcome 
temptation, keep the commandments, and know and accomplish 
the Divine Will in all things. 



■ 

I" 

W 



^^ii!^^!^^^ ^ ™ £ CHILDREN'S MASS 



Trinity Sunday. 
Baptismal Promises. 

My dear Children .-There is no spot in church more dear to you 
than the one to which you were brought during the first days of 
your existence and that place is the baptismal font. The gospel of 

tottEi ° f ** BkSSed Trini * *** "-** you mos 
forcibly of that great day on which by the waters of Baptism you 

were regenerated and born again by the Holy Ghost, and w" re 

numbered among the children of God and made heirs of heaven 

J^T S graCC bCStOWed UP ° n y ° U in Ba P tism is *at you 

ch L ; or Ch b n Tl' or followers ' nay ' even members of J~ 

Christ For by Baptism you are united to our Blessed Lord in 

wi^ Hit S b *t f^ Uni ° n - ^ ° ther W ° rdS yOU are ^ed 

u^L ^ f, P ^ Cl ° Sely aS the branches of * tree are 
muted with the parent stem. In the same way as it is from the 

STta to that T y 1 erive ** sap and nourishm - ^ - 

ables them to produce leaves, and flowers, and fruit, so it is in 
virtue of this union with Jesus Christ that you are abl , as lojg as 
you remain abiding in Him by faith and charity, to p oducHha 
a undant fruit of virtuous actions which will merit you'the Za* 

l b S et ? ° HaPPy Uni ° n ' Which mak <* - all one with 
Jesus Chris , and renders even our most ordinary actions pleasing 
and meritorious before God. Yes, my dear boys and girls 'to be* 

%^^£^ "* a ** h — - » 

The venerable Peter Ou, who suffered death for the faith in China 

n the year 1814, being arrested and brought before the pagan judge, 

the latter sought by every means to induce him to trample on L 

cross ,„ token of his apostasy. "What harm," demanded the 

mandarin, can there be in this? When you leave the court you 

can be a Christian, if you choose, as you were before." "Great 

mandarin, replied the martyr, "you have spoken the truth, though 

you know it not The character of a Christian is indelible. He 



TRINITY SUNDAY 



115 



may violate his law, he may deny his God, but the seal of Baptism 
remains on him forever. To be a Christian is the greatest honor 
any mortal can bear. My life is in your hands, dispose of it as you 
please, but it is useless to tempt me any longer to deny my faith, 
or to renounce a worship which I love from the bottom of my 
heart" 

This noble profession of faith was soon followed by a sentence 
of death, the generous confessor being condemned to be strangled. 
With eyes filled with tears, he cried out, "Heaven is opened to me; 
there is my country, I see its glory. Yes, my Saviour, I now see 
Thee in reality. Executioner, hasten to procure me this happiness." 
With these words on his lips the fatal cord was drawn, and his 
soul flew to heaven to receive its crown. 

Children, when you and I and your parents were in front of 
the font we took the oath of faith in the most solemn hour of our 
life. Before God, the priest, and the invisibly present angels, we 
vowed to believe constantly and without doubt in the triune God, 
and in His holy infallible Church. Oh, let us bear in mind, there- 
fore, all the days of our life this solemn promise and remain faith- 
ful to it until death. 

In Baptism we promise to God, in return for so many precious 
graces which He bestows upon us, that we on our part will give 
up all that may lead us to be unfaithful to our duties as Christians; 
in other words we engage to renounce the devil with all his works 
and pomps. By the works of the devil we mean sin, because it is 
his daily and constant work to lead us to offend God. By his 
pomps we mean the empty vanities and deceitful pleasures of the 
world, which are the means which he makes use of to draw us into 
sin. All these we solemnly promise to renounce and shun; and 
as we are not then able, on account of our tender age, to speak or 
act for ourselves, our godfather and our godmother answer for us, 
undertaking in our name those obligations which are necessary to 
enable us to receive the precious grace of Baptism. When we are 
old enough to understand the engagements which our sponsors 
have undertaken in our name, we should ourselves confirm and 



» 



ratify them, but above all we should be ever caref.,1 ,„ _u .a 
the guiding rule of our lives ""'" them 

onc lanuly. The children attended the nuns' school and after » n 

KE^SEtfE!?^ 2* " H J '°° 

l . ' re P lled *e other, "in mv infanrv " «tu»~ 

go to Heaven. And it was done; then he in turn baptized his 
^younger sisters. When at length the father returned W 
aH three rushed up to him to tell him what they had doTe andTo' 
bt* lam also to be baptized. To please them he Lsenld and w ^ 
baptized. Would to God it may have been serious and formal Z 
^days later he had a sudden death, and appeared beTore Z 

byTl^Z C tZV h rV ^^ ^ had a Christi - wife 
tized bvTt t ' t bdng SUCCessfuI in b-ttte, was bap- 

««.». riencetorth adore what you have burn<*H **>a u 

you have hitherto adored." Before BaoLT^ k What 

sin slaves of the devil, and cn^ft ZZT*.**?. 

whnT^tf B?nH , ^ WC ShOUld bC ' " We CouId «ny the 

n-any otW saints ***** * * ^^ a St A ^ - 

fof* ^S" ^ ^^ WhCn yet a *■* "« distinguished alike 
for his lively and cheerful disposition and for his sin erf pfet 
At one ime he would join with all the ardor of youth in the ^« 

strand " "£T ^ W ° Uld «*~ *" *SS53 
witn a sweet and engaging air tell them some oious ...n™ c 

tunes he would m .hen, „ «he parish 2^.^^ 
in a circle around the sacred font where th«rL • ^V^ them 
ceived the Sacrament of Baptism STJjj " mfanCy ^ 

would thm Mv ha: • ' my dear companions," he 

would then say, this is a spot which ought to be dearer to us than 



TRINITY SUNDAY 



117 



any other in the whole world, for here it was that we were made 
children of God. Come let us sing together the Glory be to the 
Father!" The little band would then join in singing this verse of 
thanksgiving, and would afterwards on bended knees respectfully 
kiss the font 

Children, with the holy martyrs, let us be willing to suffer every- 
thing, even to die, rather than by infidelity separate ourselves from 
God and become traitors to the baptismal vows. If seducers, in 
sheep's clothing, wish to approach you flee from them as from 
serpents. For they are murderers of the soul, robbers, who wish 
to snatch from you that which is highest and most precious, your 
holy faith, and with it your happiness in life, your bliss in eternity. 
And should you be insulted, slandered, yes, even deprived of your 
occupation by which you earn your daily bread, tremble not nor 
grow faint. Remember, it is not as much as the holy martyrs 
suffered. Prize above all the treasure of faith, promised in Bap- 
tism to God and the Church, and before friend and foe profess it 
as your greatest glory; esteem it your greatest happiness to be chil- 
dren of the Catholic Church, 



118 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Second Sunday After Pentecost 
The Great Supper 

My dear Children : — By the great supper of which the Saviour 
speaks in to-day's Gospel is meant, as we all know, the Holy 
Eucharist, which our Lord instituted on the eve of His passion. 
To this feast, wherein the King of angels is Himself the host and 
the nourishment, God, by the mouth of His servants, the priests, 
invites all the faithful ; and certainly if we consider the great dignity 
of the Host, and how precious the nourishment is, who should not 
extol with joy and gratitude the infinite mercy of the Redeemer and 
approach the holy table as often as possible? 

Before the altar of His Holy Church the Lord spreads the holy 
table for the great supper, and He invites many to the banquet. 
Such an invitation we should think does not need much urging to 
bring in the guests as quickly and as frequently as He desires. And 
yet, as He tells us in the parables, and as we see and hear our- 
selves, there are many who make little of His invitation, and either 
do not come at all, or come with such reluctance that it is plain that 
they are acting more from the fear of punishment than from a mo- 
tive of love. 

When St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi was a little girl, and saw her 
older companions going up to the altar to receive Holy Communion, 
she asked her mother if she also might go up with them. "You 
are too young yet, my child," she answered; "you must wait till 
you are a little older." This brought tears to her eyes, for she 
loved Jesus so much and desired so much to be with Him. 

The manna was the daily bread of the Israelites, and had- in it, 
as the Psalmist tells us, the sweetness of every taste, that is, the 
flavor of every kind of food. So also does God wish the Blessed 
Eucharist to be our constant food by a frequent and worthy Com- 
munion, giving to us therein every precious grace that can 
strengthen or delight the heart of man. It is only when we arrive 
at the "habitable land," our true home in the heavenly Jerusalem, 



SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



119 



that this Divine Food will no longer be communicated to us under 
the humble form of bread ; for it will then be permitted us to be- 
hold our Lord in all His glory, and to possess and enjoy Him by 
the sweetest and most intimate union for all eternity. 

It is related in Holy Scripture that when Elias was fleeing from 
the persecution of the impious Jezabel, he was overtaken with 
fatigue and hunger in the desert. And when he was there and sat 
down under a juniper, he requested for his soul that he might die. 
And he cast himself down and slept under the shadow of the 
juniper tree; and, behold, an angel of the Lord touched him and 
said : Arise and eat. He looked, and, behold, there was at his head 
a hearth cake and a vessel of water ; and he ate and drank and fell 
asleep again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second 
time and touched him, and said to him : Arise, eat, for thou hast 
yet a great way to go. And he arose, and ate and drank, and 
walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights 
unto the mount of God, Horeb. 

My dear children, this miraculous bread brought by an angel to 
Elias in the desert is a significant figure of the Bread of Angels, 
the Holy Eucharist, which is given to us by our Lord, to nourish 
and support us in our pilgrimage through the desert of this world. 
Strengthened by this Divine Food, of which we should eat not once 
only, but again and again, we shall be able to walk manfully in 
spite of every obstacle until we arrive at Mount Horeb, which means 
the vision of God; in other words, the sight and enjoyment of God 
in the heavenly Jerusalem. 

It is a great supper on account of the One who has prepared this 
heavenly banquet, for He is not a mere man or an angel, but God 
Himself — great on account of the food, which is nothing less than 
the true Body and the true Blood of our Lord, with His soul and 
divinity — great on account of the multitude of the guests, for these 
are all the Catholic Christians upon earth — great on account of the 
angels, who invisibly assist at Holy Communion, and adore Jesus 
with the most profound veneration. Everything is great in Holy 
Communion ; but we are little and unworthy, and yet Christ invites 



120 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



us. Oh, how great is His love for us ! Ought we not to appear at 
this divine banquet with the greatest joy in order to satisfy our 
hunger and thirst ? Ought we still to have a desire for the food of 
the world and of the flesh, which is but deceitful bread? 

We read in the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga that, being per- 
mitted by his confessor to receive Holy Communion every Sunday, 
he divided the week between his thanksgiving and preparation, 
three days to each. The same is related of another devout soul 
who, in arranging his devotions, observed the following plan : Sun- 
day, the day of his Communion, was spent by him in union and 
interior converse with our Lord. Monday was a day of thanks- 
giving for the rich treasure he had received. On Tuesday he con- 
tinually offered and consecrated himself to God. Wednesday was 
spent in constant petitions to our Lord for his own wants and 
those of the Church. On Thursday he began his preparation for 
his next Communion, spending that day entirely in acts of faith 
and adoration : "O, my Jesus, I believe in Thee present in the most 
Holy Sacrament! O, my Jesus, I adore Thee!" Friday was a day 
of humiliation and contrition, yet of hope and confidence in the 
divine mercy: "O Lord, I am not worthy! O Jesus, make me 
worthy ! In Thee have I hoped, and I shall never be confounded !" 
Finally, Saturday was devoted to acts of love and desire: "Oh, 
my Jesus, I love Thee. I long for Thee ! Oh, my Jesus, come and 
take possession of me." It is such souls as these, souls who spare 
no trouble to make a good preparation and thanksgiving, that enjoy 
the full fruit of a good Communion. It is of Communions like 
these that it may be justly said, "One Communion is sufficient to 
make a saint." 

It is related that when Jesus was about to institute the Holy 
Eucharist, He sent before Him into the city of Jerusalem two of 
His disciples to prepare a room in which they might partake of 
this heavenly banquet. This, my dear boys and girls, is a lesson 
for us ; it teaches us what we ought to do when we intend to ap- 
proach the Holy Communion. The room is the temple of our 
souls, into which our Lord is about to enter that He may make His 



SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



121 



dwelling with us. For some days before Communion we should 
prepare that room, that is, we should cleanse it and adorn our in- 
terior, by carefully abstaining from sin, fighting against our pas- 
sions, and practising acts of virtue and self-denial. 

Prepare yourselves for every Communion with the greatest care ; 
never approach the altar except with a pure heart, and with the 
greatest veneration and devotion. Pray that God may bless your 
good resolutions and keep you in His grace. Blessed are you if 
you always communicate in such a manner ; you will advance from 
virtue to virtue, persevere in grace to the end, and be united to 
Jesus forever in Heaven. 



122 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 




Third Sunday After Pentecost 

"Black Sheep" 

My dear Children: — I am sure that you have often heard the 
expression "the Black Sheep" of the family. There is a wretched, 
ungrateful son whose disgraceful life and cruel treatment fairly 
breaks the heart of the parents, or some disobedient, wild daughter 
who is led astray and to ruin. Yet the heart of the parent is very 
indulgent, father or mother display singular affection toward their 
ill-behaved child. First, the parents are very apt to act as if they 
wished every tie between them and their children broken. In- 
stances have been known where angry parents blotted out the name 
of the dishonored one from the record in the family Bible, where 
it had been entered on the day when the child was brought back, 
an innocent babe, from the font of baptism. However, there comes 
a time when things are at their worst, when the poor, lost one has 
reaped the bitter fruits of his disobedience; then the hearts of 
the parents are softened; they yearn to see their poor child once 
more and all is forgiven and forgotten. 

Mercy is always a mystery and pardon ever a miracle. The 
penitence of the bad child bears no comparison to the greatness 
of the parents' affliction or the magnanimity of their forgiveness. 
Very few such repenting sinners are deserving of the joyful pardon 
they receive. So it is with God and His divine forgiveness of 
repenting sinners. 

A certain governor by the name of Zeleucus issued a law that 
anyone guilty of a certain crime should) lose his eyes. His favorite 
son being convicted of this crime, the governor, at once, without 
being stayed by the ties of blood, condemned him to the terrible 
penalty established for all. But the whole people craved pardon 
for him. Overcome by their lamentations, he bethought himself 
of a way of satisfying the claims of the law without condemning 
his son to total blindness. He ordered that his son should lose one 
eye and himself also one eye, showing in his own person, by this 







THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



123 



tempering of justice with mercy, a tender parent and a respecter 
of the law. 

As there are "Black Sheep" in families, children, so you will 
find some "Black Sheep" among your own companions, some to 
whom you may have been kind. Remember, you must always re- 
turn good for evil for God's sake. God is kind to sinners. How 
much is God offended by men! Imagine a pile of sand as large 
as, say, a palace. How many grains of sand are there in that 
heap? I do not hesitate to assert that the number of these grains 
of sand is not as great as that of the sins committed in a single 
year by the millions of people who live upon the face of the earth. 
And among these sins there is a countless number of mortal sins. 
Now it is certain that a venial sin against God is a vastly greater 
offence than is committed against a man by the greatest insult 
that can be offered him. For instance, if we entertain even a slight 
aversion to a neighbor, if we are guilty of a lie told merely in a 
jest, we offer a far greater offence to God than would be offered 
us if anyone were to spit into our face, strike us, or even take away 
our life. The reason is that the grievousness of the offence must 
be measured by the rank of the person offended. Now, if God, 
whose rank and greatness cannot be equalled, is so indulgent with 
those who offend Him, should not we also have forbearance with 
those who offend us? 

Children, in your Bible history you have read about Abraham. 
He had a nephew whose name was Lot, a very selfish and mean 
individual. In those days men made long journeys to find pastures 
for their animals. One day in their travels they came to a lovely 
piece of land. It was gay with flowers, like a garden, and had a 
river running through it keeping it fresh and green. There Abra- 
ham and Lot pitched their tents. They had large flocks of sheep 
and goats and cows, and servants to take care of them. The 
servants began quarrelling among themselves. Abraham's servants 
wanted the greenest spots for feeding their flocks and so did Lot's 
servants. When Abraham saw the men quarrelling he told Lot 
that they had better divide the land and separate their flocks and 



124 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



\i 



servants. Abraham was much olcter than his nephew and had 
always been very kind to him, and Lot should have given his 
uncle the choice. Do you think he did? No, he chose the whole 
lovely piece of land which was like a garden. Abraham was so 
generous that he let him keep it; and then Abraham travelled with 
his servants and flocks towards the mountains, where they pitched 
their tents and built an altar. 

One day when Abraham was standing at the door of his tent 
he saw a man hurrying towards him whose clothing was torn and 
dusty, and whose face was white with weariness and fear. He fell 
at Abraham's feet, and told him in gasps that Lot and all his 
friends who lived in the lovely valley had been beaten in battle 
against enemies. The enemies had killed many of Lot's friends, 
and the rest of them, with all the gold and silver and flocks they 
owned, they had carried away. Among the prisoners was Lot. 
As soon as Abraham learned the news, he called his servants to- 
gether and, giving them swords and bows and arrows, he led them 
hastily after the enemies. Then, in the darkness of the night, 
Abraham's servants encircled the army of the enemy. While the 
enemy slept Abraham's men fell upon them and vanquished them. 
In the enemy's camp Abraham found Lot and his friends, who had 
been made prisoners, and he freed them all, giving them back the 
gold and silver and flocks which the enemies had stolen. 

Was that not a splendid way for Abraham to treat Lot, who had 
been so mean to him? Abraham did not do it with any hope of 
reward; he knew that Lot would perhaps never even say "thank 
you," but Abraham was rewarded. God saw him, and when at 
night Abraham returned to his own tent God spoke to him and 
said: "Fear not, Abraham, I am thy exceeding great reward." 

When our Blessed Lord lived upon earth, He forgave the sins 
of those who came to Him with proper disposition. You remem- 
ber, I am sure, the beautiful history of Mary Magdalen coming to 
Jesus, as He sat at table in the house of Simon the Pharisee, how 
she threw herself at His feet, washed them with her tears, and 
jviped them with the hair of her head. Our dear Lord did not 



THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



125 



send her away without reward. When the Pharisees murmured 
at Him for permitting a great sinner to approach Him, He took 
up her defence, and, after rebuking her accusers, turned to her 
with a look of tender compassion, and said to her, "Thy sins are 
forgiven thee." 

God strictly requires us to love even the greatest sinners, for if 
we should withdraw our love from any man, though he be the 
greatest malefactor or otar bitterest enemy, if we nourish hatred 
against him, or in word or deed treat him uncharitably, we cannot 
expect of God grace and forgiveness. 

My dear boys and girls, your heart should burn with love and 
compassion for sinners, when you see how lovingly Jesus treated 
the greatest sinners ; how He even shed tears over the impenitent 
city of Jerusalem, which had done Him so much evil. 



4 s * 



126 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 
A Draft on Heaven 

My dear Children:— We all like to have money to buy some- 
thing nice. Now to-day we are going to ask ourselves how can 
we buy a place in Heaven, what kind of money is acceptable 
to get a place there. The answer is very simple : we can buy a 
place there by offering up our daily actions to the greater honor 
and glory of God— in other words, by making a good intention. 
Those who have no good intention in their labors resemble the 
Apostles fishing all night ; their labor was fruitless. But those who 
do everything for the sake of God resemble the Apostles when 
they let down their nets the second time. 

All for the greater glory of God, must be the motive of all our 
actions. If in any action we seek not the glory of God, but our 
own glory, we commit an injustice against God, because we do not 
attribute to Him what is due Him. 

In order that our daily actions may bear fruit for eternal life, 
it is necessary above all that they should be done with the intention 
of pleasing God. For this reason, as soon as we awake in the 
morning, we offer our heart and soul to Him, desiring that they 
may both be ever united to Him and employed in His divine 
service. "I offer to Thee all my thoughts, words and actions," is 
the prayer we must say. This general offering extends to the 
whole day, unless unhappily we recall it by committing some delib- 
erate sin; so that all we do during the day is thereby directed to 
God, and done with a view to please Him. "Oh, my God, I do this 
for the love of Thee." This short prayer renews our good inten- 
tion of striving in all things to please God. 

A certain hermit who had retired into the desert to do penance 
for his sins, was in the habit of going every day to a well at some 
distance in order to fetch water for his use. The journey was 
tiresome, but he made it cheerfully, with the intention of pleasing 
God. One very hot day, as he was carrying his vessel full of water 



FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



127 



under a broiling sun, the devil suggested to him that it was a 
very foolish thing to go daily such a distance for the water, when 
he might, if he pleased, build his cell close to the spring. This 
thought took possession of his mind and he was determined to 
place his cell closer to the spring. 

While he was thus thinking of the change, he was surprised to 
hear a voice behind him saying, "One, two, three, four," as if 
there were some one walking after him and counting his steps. 
The hermit looked around in astonishment and beheld a lovely 
youth, clad in a brilliant robe of light; and he knew at once that 
it was an angel. "Be not astonished," the stranger said. "I am 

your guardian angel, and I am counting your steps, that not one 
may pass unrewarded." With these words the beautiful vision 
disappeared, and the hermit, giving thanks to God, went on his way 
with joyful steps, resolved to increase rather than to lessen the 
distance between the hermitage and the well. 

We read in the history of times gone by, that it was once com- 
monly believed that there existed, yet undiscovered, a wonderful 
stone, which was called "the Philosopher's stone," and which pos- 
sessed the singular and valuable property of converting whatever 
metal it touched into the purest gold. Many men devoted their lives 
and their fortune to the discovery of this stone, which, of course, 
had no existence except in their own imagination. We, however, my 
dear children, by digging in the rich mine of Holy Scripture, may 
be said to have discovered the true Philosopher's stone, or indeed 
something far more precious and wonderful in its effects. It is 
contained in these words of St. Paul : "Whether you eat, or drink, 
or whatsoever else you do, do all for the glory of God." But how is 
it, you will say, that these words contain so great a treasure. It 
is because they show us that even the commonest actions, such as 
our very eating, sleeping, and our diversions, become far more 
precious than the purest gold, if done for the glory of God and in 
the name of our Blessed Lord. 

When St. Peter of Alcantara was a child, he was distinguished 
for his love of prayer and spirit of recollection. He rose very 



128 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

( — 

early that he might have time to make his meditation. He then 
went to church, where he heard Mass with devotion, and often 
received Holy Communion. The rest of the day was spent at 
school ; but even there, and as he walked along the streets, he never 
forgot God, but continually raised his heart to Him by some little 
act of love. At dinner he would always leave a portion on his 
plate for the love of God, and would never drink anything but 
water. 

Now it happened one day that, when the dinner hour came, 
Peter was missing. They sought him high and low, but he could 
not be found. At length they bethought themselves of one room 
which they had not searched, namely, the oratory. There they 
found the holy child upon his knees. He had forgotten all about 
his dinner. What a reproach is the example of this holy boy to 
those lazy children who, so far from forgetting their meals through 
love of their prayers, often sit down to eat without having said 
any prayers at all. 

One of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus was once preaching 
a mission in a large town. God had given him the gift of touching 
the hearts of his hearers, and many who came to hear his sermons 
through curiosity returned home sorry for their sins, with the reso- 
lution of living more piously for the future. One day a young 
man went to hear him. He had from his boyhood lived a worldly 
life. But as the words of the preacher fell on his ears the grace 
of God spoke to his heart, and he resolved to change his life and 
become a saint. 

To accomplish this with greater security, he went to a monastery, 
where for the rest of his life he did penance for the sins of his 
youth, and lived in great piety. When he had been there a few 
years, it happened that the same Father who had preached the 
mission visited the monastery. Hearing of the young man, he 
asked the superior's permission to speak to him. His request was 
at once granted. The priest said to him : "I am sure you must be 
very happy here, so free from all dangers, and bearing the sweet 
yoke of our dear Lord." 



FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



129 



"It is true, Father," he replied, "that I am happy here, but I 
have many trials and- crosses to bear. I feel it as difficult now to 
submit to silence, fasting, and watching, which our rule enjoins, as 
I did on the first day I came here. But when I remember that by 
bearing patiently these trials I am satisfying for my sins, and 
gaining by God's grace merit for Heaven, I thank God for His 
goodness and say to myself: 'Go on, my soul; fight bravely; if 
you hope to reach Heaven, you must carry your cross' ; and in this 
way what is so difficult in itself becomes easy to me." 

A pure intention is a very important matter; our eternal salva- 
tions depends on it, because all our actions are regulated by it. If 
we have a pure intention, all our works, not only the good, but even 
the indifferent ones, as well as our labors and occupations, become 
meritorious for eternity. Thus will our days, though in the eyes 
of men we do nothing extraordinary, be precious before God, being 
filled with good works done for His love and in the name of His 
divine Son. 



130 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Fifth Sunday After Pentecost 
The Sin of Anger 

My dear Children :— There is a certain part in to-day's gospel 
which we must take well to heart, and that is the part where our 
Lord says: "But I say to you that whosoever is angry with his 
brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. ,, There is scarcely 
any sin so prevalent as anger. There are quite a few men who do 
not sin by pride, envy, impurity and, in general, do nothing worthy 
of blame; but small indeed is the number of those who keep down 
every emotion of anger. An old philosopher called anger a fire, 
which passes by no age and spares none. Those who are guilty 
of anger will be called to a rigorous account some day. 

A young man, who was subject to anger, was often ailing. The 
physician, who knew the cause of his illness, advised him to avoid 
the passion of anger. But in vain; he soon again fell into a dread- 
ful rage. The doctor, who happened to be present, held a looking- 
glass before his eyes. When he saw the deadly pallor of his face 
and the ferocity in his eyes, he trembled, but the physician said: 
"Do you see the effects of your passion? Frequent storms like 
this uproot the tree of life." The young man amended his life 
and removed the cause of his illness. I wish that those subject to 
anger would look at themselves in a mirror when they are in a fit 
of rage. 

In their anger, people often lose their heads, and do not know 
what they are saying or doing. Anger is a burning fever; it dark- 
ens the understanding, so that a person does not know what he says 
or does. A pagan philosopher relates that as a boy he saw a man 
attempting to open a door with a key, but could not. He bit the 
key, kicked at the door with his feet, foamed with rage and broke 
out into dreadful oaths. At this spectacle the philosopher conceived 
such a horror of anger that he never in his life gave way to it. 

Anger, my dear children, when it is not checked, is the fruitful 
source of innumerable crimes. Quarrelling and fighting, cursing 



FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



131 



and swearing, revenge and hatred, bloodshed, even murder, are 
often the terrible consequences of this strong passion. Hence we 
cannot watch against it too carefully, nor fight against it too earn- 
estly. For anger is like a viper which, if we cherish it in our 
bosom, may at any time turn against us and inflict a mortal wound. 
So may our passion, if we are in the habit of indulging it, lead us, 
when we least think of it, into the most frightful crimes. More- 
over, it is the cause of great misery and unhappiness, for the pas- 
sionate man is a torment to himself and a torment to every one 
about him. He is not, indeed, fit for the company of men, for he 
is no longer a reasonable being, but is guided, like a brute beast, 
only by the blind impulse of his rage. Have you ever seen a child 
in a great fit of passion? His eyes start from their sockets, and 
glare like the eyes of an angry cat; his cheeks become pale and 
livid, his face ugly and frightful, so that you would hardly know 
him. He shouts at the top of his voice like a madman; he stamps 
on the ground ; it is dangerous for any one to come near him, for 
he cares not what he strikes at. 

In order to preserve yourselves from the fatal consequences of 
the sin of anger, you must fight against it while you are still young. 
Like every other bad passion, it grows stronger the older you get 
and the more you indulge it ; while, on the contrary, if you earnestly 
strive against it, it grows weaker, and it gives you less trouble to 
overcome it. One of the Wise Men of Greece advised the Emperor 
Augustus to recite, whenever he felt angry, the twenty-four letters 
of the Greek alphabet before saying or doing anything. A noble- 
man once broke out into most offensive language against St. 
Francis of Sales; the saint looked at him calmly, and answered him 
not a word. The angry man considered this moderation as a sign of 
contempt, and redoubled his rage; but the saint kept his silence; 
at length the man departed. Another nobleman asked the saint 
how he managed to control himself so well. He replied : "I and 
my tongue have made an inviolable covenant, and have agreed 
that whenever I am excited, my tongue must be quiet, and that I 
must not speak until the inward fever is cooled down." Take 



132 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



an example from this saint, and treasure up the lesson he gives 
you. If anger arises in your heart close your mouth and do not 
speak a word. 

Children, how are you to strive to avoid anger? In the first 
place you must earnestly ask God to help you in the combat, both 
when you say your daily prayers, hear Mass, or frequent the 
Sacraments, and also in the moment of danger, that is when you 
are beginning to feel vexed or impatient. Then you must join to 
the grace, which God will certainly give you, your own good 
efforts, keeping back the angry word which flies to your lips, and 
trying to speak gently and kindly to him who has injured you, or 
not to speak at all till your anger is gone. Finally you should 
keep before your eyes the example of our dear Lord, who bore with 
*such infinite patience the greatest injuries from His own creatures, 
allowing Himself to be insulted, spit upon, scourged and nailed to 
the Cross, without so much as uttering a single word of reproach. 

The holy Count Eleazar, although overwhelmed with business, 
was never seen to be angry or impatient. When his wife asked him 
one day how this was possible, he said : "When I feel a motion of 
anger, I represent to myself the ignominy and injury which my 
Redeemer suffered from me and others, and say to myself: Tf 
your servants were to pull out your hair and beard, kick and beat 
you and inflict other injuries on you, it is right that you should 
endure all this, for it is nothing in comparison wi{h what Jesus 
suffered for you.' This is how I manage to suppress my anger." 

My dear boys and girls, follow these rules, and you will soon 
obtain a glorious victory over the passion of anger, a victory which 
God will reward with many blessings here, and hereafter with the 
crown of eternal life, 



SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



133 



Sixth Sunday After Pentecost 

Intemperance 

My dear Children: Saint Matthew to-day tells us all about the 
big banquet, probably the greatest banquet ever given; four thou- 
sand men sat down to it including women and children. But great 
as the banquet was, and numerous as the guests were, there were 
none who ate more than sufficient to sustain life. 

The sin of intemperance is an inordinate desire for food and 
drink. There are some people who never stop eating; they 
resemble a mill that never stops; their life is a continual round of 
eating. Those who eat outside of meal times eat merely for the 
gratification of the palate. Every one must conceive that such con- 
tinual eating or drinking is sinful, especially for a Christian, who 
is to imitate the mortification of the Lord and Master in all things. 

The glutton, or the drunkard, is like a beast of the field, a slave 
to his own appetites, for he is led by them rather than by reason, 
or the Law of God. The consequence is that his mind becomes 
darkened, his will corrupted, and his heart hardened against divine 
grace. Of the terrible fruit of drunkenness I need hardly speak. 
Everywhere you see homes made desolate, wives and children starv- 
ing and naked, the most horrible crimes committed, and sinners 
brought to a miserable and untimely end through this accursed sin. 
Ah, my dear children, pray earnestly to God that you never be so 
unhappy as to become victims to this vice and, in order that you 
may be preserved from the danger of it, practice throughout life 
continual temperance, or moderation in your eating and drinking. 
Deny yourselves now in little things, and you will acquire that com- 
mand over yourselves which, with God's grace, will enable you to 
stand firm in after life against greater temptations. 

St. Monica, the mother of the great St. Augustine, was brought 
up under the care of a virtuous woman, who endeavored to train 
her in the habits of self-denial as well as other virtues. Thus, 
among other excellent practices, she would never allow the little 



134 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Monica to drink between meals, saying to her, "Now you only 
want a drink of water ; but when you grow up and are mistress of 
the cellar, you will not care for water, though the habit of drinking 
will still remain." The very danger which the prudent servant 
had foreseen actually befell her, for as she grew older her parents 
frequently entrusted her with the key of the cellar, and sent her 
to draw wine for the use of the family. When so doing she 
would sometimes, out of curiosity, take a little sip, but by degrees 
the quantity increased, and she acquired at length such a liking for 
wine that she would drink whole cupfuls with the greatest relish. 
Thus did she sow the seeds of intemperance, and by indulgence 
expose herself to the danger of grievous excess. Almighty God 
saw her peril, and mercifully rescued her from the brink of the 
precipice in the following manner : 

It happened one day that the young Monica had some angry 
words with one of the servants. Now this was the very maid who 
had been in the habit of accompanying her young mistress to the 
cellar, and who had frequently noticed her fondness for the wine- 
cup. In her vexation she now reproached St. Monica with her 
failing, calling her a young wine-bibber. The expression made the 
deepest impression on her mistress, who, entering into herself, 
sincerely deplored her fault, and from the moment entirely cor- 
rected it. Thus did her humility in profiting by the rebuke of a 
servant lay the foundation of her future sanctity. 

Intemperance is the source of many sins, the first is the neglect 
of religious duties. This is particularly true of drunkards. They 
omit private and family devotions; they neglect to hear Mass on 
Sundays and holydays. They are deadly enemies of the word of 
God ; they scarcely ever listen to a sermon, but ridicule it. They 
• neglect to go to confession during the year ; and they let many an 
Easter pass without complying with their Easter duty. 

One morning Johnny went to town with his father, and stayed 
in his office until it was time to go to lunch. Johnny had never re- 
mained downtown so long, and he was very much interested in all 
the books and papers and drawers and desks in his father's great 



SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



135 



office. He and his father were chums, and when lunch-time came 
they went off together to eat at a near-by restaurant. The waiter 
knew the boy's father and when he received the order for lunch 
asked the boy what he would like to have to drink. The waiter 
did not ask his father, because he knew that it was the father's 
custom to have a bottle of wine each day. The boy replied as he 
had to the other questions: "I'll take what father takes." Then 
his father knew that something must be done, that it would never 
do for the waiter to bring a bottle of wine to the boy, and so he 
quietly called the waiter to his side and changed his order and 
asked for a glass of milk. And so when lunch was brought in, 
two glasses of milk were set down on the table, one for the boy 
and one for his father and the little lad was greatly pleased that 
both of them should be having the same lunch ; but all that after- 
noon after the father had gone back to his office the words of 
Johnny kept ringing in his ears : "I'll take what father takes." He 
went home in the evening, and was happy for a little while in hear- 
ing Johnny tell his mother all about his day's fun in the city and 
how he had the same things for lunch as his father. But that 
night after the boy had gone to bed, the father still heard those same 
words over and over again; and he remembered his strong drink 
and all his bad habits. At last he could endure it no longer and 
knelt down and asked God to guide him, and from that night on 
he never tasted wine again. I think that the boys and girls who can do 
just what their parents do and are sure that they are doing what is 
right and true and good and kind, ought to be happy boys and girls. 

Intemperance brings about quarrels, strife, contention and mur- 
der. It often happens that drunken men quarrel and abuse one 
another, sometimes coming to blows, which often result in mur- 
der. We have an example in Alexander the Great, who, heated 
by wine, transfixed with a lance his friend Klitus, who had saved 
his life, and stretched him dead on the floor. Intemperance is one 
of the capital sins and is the source of many other sins. 

We should sometimes voluntarily deprive ourselves of a certain 
amount of food and drink in order to obtain control of our appe- 



136 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

tite. Charles III., King of Sweden, in his youth often got drunk 
with wine. Once in his drunkenness he was guilty of very offensive 
words towards his mother. When one of his friends reminded 
him of his bad conduct, he was deeply moved and said: "Bring 
me a bottle of wine and a cup." It was done. He then went to 
his mother and said : "Mother, I offended you yesterday." Then 
filling the cup to the brim, he drank it in the presence of his mother, 
and said : "That is my last cup of wine." And he kept his word. 

Children, imitate Jesus and the saints ; be sober and temperate, 
and satisfied with plain food. Your food should be to do the will 
of God, that the words of Jesus may be verified in you : "Blessed 
are they that hunger and thirst after justice; for they shall be 
filled." 



SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



137 



Seventh Sunday After Pentecost 



Bad Associations 



My dear Children: Whatever our company is, such are we. 
That is what our divine Lord wants to teach us to-day. Is it pos- 
sible to associate every day with an outcast, without becoming 
accustomed to his faults, learning to love them by degrees and then 
firmly become a reprobate oneself ? Among a hundred sound apples 
place one that is decayed ; will this one again become fresh, or will 
it bring corruption to all the good ones? Place one diseased 
sheep among a flock of healthy ones, will the sick sheep become 
well, or will the whole flock become infected? See how nature 
teaches us by most impressive examples, what will be our portion 
in the spiritual life if we do not heed the words of Jesus Christ. 
One Lucifer sufficed to transform millions of good and holy angels 
into devils, one immoral child is able to infect a whole school, 
and to poison the hearts of all the children. 

I cannot, my dear children, impress upon you too strongly the 
necessity of avoiding all evil companions. Alas, how many are 
now in hell who owe their eternal damnation to the bad advice 
or wicked example of some false friend, whom they now curse 
as the author of their ruin. Our Blessed Lord, to show us the 
absolute necessity of avoiding all bad company and, indeed, every 
occasion of sin, however near and dear it may be to us, says: "If 
thy hand or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off and cast it from 
thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than 
having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire." 
Learn from these words of our Lord to make any sacrifice, how- 
ever much it may cost you, to keep out of bad company and the 
occasion of sin. If you have a friend or a companion, who is as 
dear to you as your eye, or your foot, or your hand, but who is, or 
who is likely to be, an occasion of sin to you, shun him as you 
would the devil himself. It is better for you to go without him to 



138 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



eternal life, than to be condemned along with him to everlasting 
torments. 

My dear boys and girls, as you value your eternal salvation medi- 
tate on this example, for what happened to this young man might 
also happen to you. In a certain town in France there lived not 
long ago a young man who was an example and a model of piety to 
everyone. 

One day in the neighborhood there was held a public demonstra- 
tion, on account of some local festival. This young man was 
anxious, like those of his age, to go and join the rejoicings. On 
ordinary occasions he was accompanied by a companion of his own 
age, pious and innocent as himself, but on this day this com- 
panion remained at home, probably on account of his fear of being 
led into occasions of sins. So the youth went thither alone. 

On the way he was overtaken by another young man, who was 
notorious for his depravity. Our young man's duty was to avoid 
this new comrade, lest he might be led by him into temptation, 
but this he neglected to do. At first their conversation was about 
matters of little importance, but little by little his new companion 
began to utter unbecoming words, and to speak in conteihpt of 
religious things. The young man neglected to pray to God for 
help, and to turn away from the path of evil, and in a short time 
lost the grace of God. 

Not long afterwards he who had been so innocent and so pure 
was killed by an accident. Thus by a sudden and unprovided death, 
he was called before the dread tribunal of Jesus Christ, to be 
judged and condemned. The young man who had been the occa- 
sion of his fall was so overcome with this sudden end that he at 
once went to the neighboring monastery, and, casting himself at 
the feet of the Abbot, besought him to receive him, that he might 
do penance for his great sin. 

"O my Father," he said, "I beseech thee to have pity on one 
who has just been the cause of casting into hell a soul created by 
God for heaven. Permit me to do penance under your guidance 
for the rest of my life." He became a fervent religious, but was 



SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



139 



thereafter never seen to smile ; in his humility and sorrow he would 
cast hiiriself on the ground before the religious as they entered 
the church. 

Evil example is as catching as fever or small-pox; and a sin 
committed in the presence of others, especially of children and 
young people, is but too often the occasion of their falling into a 
like offense at some future temptation. Hence, it follows that the 
greater the number of those who hear or see us do wrong, the 
more grievous does our sin become, as by one sin we may be the 
cause of the ruin of many souls. For this reason, when we go to 
confession we ought to mention, as nearly as we can, the number of 
those to whom we have given bad example. 

An Arab, living alone in his tent, one day was surprised to hear 
footsteps coming straight for the door of his tent. He was soon 
more surprised than ever to see the folds of the tent door open 
and the nose of a camel come through. "Out with you," said the 
Arab, but the camel didn't move, but said : "It's so cold out here. 
Please let me put only my nose through the door so that I may be 
warmed just a little." "Well, see that you come in no farther," 
said the Arab, and having said that he went about his work. 
When he turned to look again, the camel's entire head was in at 
the door, and it was looking all over the tent. "Didn't I tell you 
to come no farther?" said the Arab. "My head was cold," said 
the camel, "and I thought if you would let my nose in you would 
not mind about my head." "Well, see that you come no farther," 
said the Arab, and again went about his work. When he looked 
again, the camel had put its front foot and shoulder through the 
door and was reaching farther into the tent. The man turned 
quickly and was angry and told the camel to move back and go 
away, and was about to reach down and lift up a stick to strike 
it, when the camel walked boldly into the tent and drove the man 
forth from his own home. 

I think you know now what it means when people say, "Beware 
of the camel's nose." There is only one way to keep the camel 



140 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



141 



out, and that is not to let even its nose in, and there is only one 
way to keep evil out of our thoughts and minds and hearts and that 
is not to allow it to have the least entrance. 

As to wicked company, I must again remind you that there is no 
danger against which we ought to be more constantly on our guard. 
There would be very few sins committed in this world, very few 
souls lost eternally, if it were not for the bad advice and evil 
example of wicked companions. The devil is not permitted to come 
to tempt you in visible form as he came to Adam and Eve, so he 
does what is far more likely to succeed, he sends bad companions 
to draw you into sin by means of their example. 

Children, in choosing our friends we should select those from 
whom we can learn something good, and whose virtue and piety 
may be a bright example before our eyes to encourage us to over- 
come our faults, and advance daily in the way of perfection. 



Eighth Sunday After Pentecost 

Judgment 

My dear Children : "Give an account of thy stewardship." With 
these words we shall be greeted when we leave this world and ap- 
pear before Jesus Christ in the world to come. What will we have 
to say when we have to stand before One who knows even our most 
secret thoughts? No wonder that the saints lived so piously, no 
wonder that they mortified themselves continuously. Many saints, 
like Gregory the Great, Lidwina, Teresa, were afflicted with bodily 
infirmities all their lives and they bore them patiently. St. Aloysius, 
St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Agnes, St. Cecilia began already from 
an early age to prepare for the last hour of their lives. 

Towards the middle of the fifteenth century a young man went 
to the gate of a Carthusian monastery not far from Gand, and 
asked to be admitted as a monk. His name was Peter of Dume. 
The superior received him with great kindness, and after the usual 
probation gave him the habit of the Order. He persevered in his 
vocation till his happy death, which took place in the year 1490. 
During all the many years he spent in that monastery he was never 
seen to smile, and an unwonted earnestness accompanied every one 
of his actions. It was a long time before the superior discovered 
the cause of this ; but, being commanded to make it known to him, 
the monk in virtue of obedience, related to him the reason of it in 
these words : 

"I was passing through that part of the country which is watered 
by the deep river Escaut, and in crossing over it I fell into the 
water, and sank to the bottom. I felt that I was drowning, and that 
in a few moments I should be in eternity. I at once was seized 
with great fear as I thought of the terrible judgment of God which 
I was soon to undergo, especially as I was thus called out of life 
so suddenly without time to make any preparation. I thought of 
Mary my Mother in Heaven, and I prayed to her. 'O Mary, Our 
Lady of Good Help, come to my assistance/ I said to her. My 



142 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



143 



prayer was not in vain. At that same moment I felt myself lifted 
from the bottom of the river and laid upon the bank. I fell upon 
my knees to thank God. Then I took the resolution to spend the 
rest of my life in preparing myself for a happy death, and on that 
very day I came to this house, that I might immediately begin to 
fulfill my resolution. I also at the same time resolved to spend the 
remainder of my days in the service of Mary, to show my gratitude 
to her for her maternal protection, and for having saved me from 
certain death." 

The holy religious was little known by men, for it was Lis con- 
tinual prayer that he should live unknown to the world. 

Sometimes, children, you will hear the Church speak of the first 
and second coming of the Son of God. His first coming was when 
He came into the world as a little babe, and was born in the stable 
at Bethlehem. His coming then was in the midst of poverty, suffer- 
ing and neglect. But His second coming which will be at the end 
of the world, to judge mankind, will be in power, majesty, and 
glory. Our Blessed Lord, therefore, will come to jucjge us all at 
the end of the world, but He will also judge each of us at the mo- 
ment of our death. On the day of general judgment the justice of 
God will be made manifest to everyone. It often happens in this 
life that the good are poor, persecuted and despised, while the 
wicked are rich, prosperous, and held in honor and esteem by the 
world. Thus if we looked no further than the present life, it might 
seem to some, who do not bear in mind that the peace of a good 
conscience and the happiness of a virtuous life are far beyond all 
worldly advantages, as if the wicked rather than the good, are the 
favorites of Heaven. It will then be seen that the short sufferings 
of this life, borne with patience for the love of God, have secured 
for the good an eternity of happiness ; while the false pleasures and 
sinful enjoyments of the wicked are the cause of their eternal dam- 
nation. 

Aripart, King of the Lombards, when dissatisfaction broke out 
in his army, wished to flee into France. He could not bear the 
thought, however, to leave his treasures behind and therefore took 



as much gold as he could carry, and fled at night. He was obliged 
to swim the river Tessino, but the great quantity of gold which he 
carried frustrated all his exertions, the weight of the precious metal 
dragged him to the bottom, and he met his death in the water. 
Thus he who lets his heart cling to gold and the temporal goods 
this world, is drawn into the abyss of hell. 

My dear boys and girls, after your soul has left your body it 
must appear before Jesus Christ. Christ will be its judge, for to 
Him the Father has committed the judgment. Christ has been to 
the soul until its departure a God of love and mercy, and has be- 
stowed on it countless graces. But now He stands before it in 
another character; now He is its judge, who regards not the per- 
son of man, who demands an account of every idle word, who has 
the power and the will to condemn the impenitent sinner. When 
Joseph in Egypt made himself known to his brothers and said: 
"I am Joseph whom you sold," his brothers could not answer him, 
being struck with exceeding great fear. I leave it to yourselves to 
judge what anguish and terror must seize the guilty soul when on 
a sudden it sees itself placed in the presence of an angry judge. 
"That moment," says St. Basil, "will be to it more painful than 
all the pains of hell." 

Ask yourselves : Do I love God above all things, and do I show 
it by this, that I would rather suffer all evils, even death, than 
offend God by a mortal sin ? Do I raise my heart frequently to God ? 
Do I love to pray? Do I frequently receive the sacraments? Do I 
mean well by everybody? Do I rejoice at my neighbor's success; 
have I patience with his failings ; do I love to do him acts of kind- 
ness ? These are the questions we ought to put to ourselves every 
day so that we might prepare to meet our Judge. 

In the court-house of Liibeck is a famous painting, called the 
dance of death. There you see all classes of ages, children, youth, 
virgins, men and women, the aged, all dancing, rejoicing and exult- 
ing in full pleasure of life, and they do not perceive that the angel of 
death, with the scythe, walks behind them, to mow down one after 
the other, to lead them to his realm. Here drops as his victim a 



144 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

child, there an aged man, here a youth, and nevertheless the dance 
continues in mad enjoyment. Thus it is in the life of man. Daily 
we see the angel of death walking softly in our midst, demanding 
his victims, and we know not how, when or where he will call us. 
All we do know is, that he will not forget us, and behind him is the 
divine Judge and the momentous eternity, and nevertheless we live 
in blindness and frivolity, as if our stay here on earth were ever- 
lasting. 

Let no day pass, children, without heartily repenting of your 
faults and endeavor to expiate them by various works of penance. 
If in such a way you judge yourselves, you will not be judged. 
Jesus will graciously receive you on the day of judgment and greet 
you as His dear child. 



NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



145 



Ninth Sunday After Pentecost 

Misfortunes of a Sinner 

My dear Children: The gospel story to-day tells us that Jesus 
wept. Do you not feel sad to see Jesus shed tears? There must 
be some very strong reason for it. When you see your mother in 
tears, you know that something has hurt her feelings and you also 
begin to cry. Something must have hurt the divine Heart of Jesus 
very much — it was the condition of the sinner — and that is why He 
wept. The sinner has no pity on himself, he laughs and jests, is 
cheerful and hilarious, as if he were the happiest person on earth. 
He mocks and jeers at those who sadden their life by thoughts of 
penance, who do not, like him, drink at full draughts of the cup of 
sinful enjoyment. Although his countenance reflects sunshine what 
bitter torments within. He is constantly reminded of death and 
eternity, a voice within him cannot be quieted 

At Syracuse, in Italy, reigned a tyrant named Dionysius. He 
was feared and hated by every one as an oppressor, but he himself, 
lashed by the furies of a bad conscience, lived also in constant fear. 
On hearing one of his slaves lauding him and wishing to be in his 
place, if only for one week, Dionysius summoned him to his pres- 
ence. He clothed him with magnificent garments, surrounded him 
with many servants, and bade him be seated at a table laden with 
delicious eating. All was hilarity and good humor. Suddenly the 
happy slave raised his eyes to the ceiling and behold, his horror J 
He became pale with fright, fled from the table, and refused all the 
good things before him. He beheld above his head a sword sus- 
pended by a silk thread ; at any moment the thread migh break and 
his life would have been lost. See, unhappy sinner, you bad boy 
or you bad girl, this is your picture. You, too, are seated at the 
banquet of joy and pleasure, but above your head hangs the sword 
of divine justice on the frail thread of life. At any moment the 
thread may break, and the eternal Judge may command the angel 



146 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

of death : "Take your scythe and cut." You know not, O sinner, 
whether you will see the morrow. 

Wherever the sinner turns his eyes he beholds his sins : sins of 
his childhood, when he did many evil things; sins of his youth, 
which he desecrated by criminal excesses and vices of various kinds ; 
sins of mature age, which he spent in worldliness and forgetfulness 
of God ; sins on week days, sins on Sundays and holidays, sins by 
day and night, sins in thought, word or deed, and by omission ; sins 
against God, against his neighbor, against himself. What will be 
his feelings at the hour of death when these countless sins in all 
their deformity array themselves before his eyes. 

There was a little boy who was in the habit of doing very bad 
and naughty things and his father had tried in every way he knew 
to break him of it. At last he said to the boy, whose name was 
Henry : "Henry, FU tell you what we'll do. Every time you do 
something wrong I'll drive a nail in the old wood-shed door so you 
can see how often you have been naughty, and perhaps that will 
make you ashamed and cause you to be more careful. ,, So, day 
after day, more nails were seen on the door, until at last Henry be- 
came ashamed and began to correct his faults and to do bet- 
ter. Then every time he did something kind, his father drew one 
of the nails out of the door until at last every nail was gone again. 
His father took his boy out to see the last nail drawn, and was 
happy to think that Henry had ceased to be bad and had become 
quite a good boy. When they were turning away from the place, 
his father noticed the tears in Henry's eyes, and asked him what 
♦ was the matter. "Oh," he said, "the nails are all gone, but the 
marks are there yet." 

So you see, boys and girls, that even though we have been for- 
given for the wicked things we have done, sometimes the marks are 
left in our lives. Let us be careful and try to live so that we will 
not have to undo what we once did. 

Children, I am going to tell you how the world treats the sinner. 
So long as he is rich, healthy and happy, it treats him with all pos- 
sible friendliness, laughs, jokes and plays with him, and provides 



NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



147 



him with honors, pleasures, and amusements. But how does it treat 
him when he becomes poor and miserable and especially when he 
comes to die? Ah, then it turns its back on him; money and 
worldly substance have no more value for him, because he cannot 
take a cent with him to the other world : his good friends either 
abandon him, or come only to make his heart the heavier by their 
useless condolence. Thus he falls into a state of the deepest melan- 
choly and spends the last days and hours of his life in bitterness. 
How foolish then the sinner who throws himself into the arms of 
the world and seeks from it happiness, which ultimately leaves him 
and fills his heart with bitterness at the hour of death. 

How the world treats the sinner is nicely shown in this story re- 
lated by Barlaam : "I have heard of a certain city whose inhabitants 
always elect a stranger as their king, who knows nothing of their 
laws and customs. He is invested with supreme power over them, 
but only for a year. When he has lived in the greatest security 
and has devoted himself to the pleasures and amusements of life 
without restraint, thinking he will always remain king, the citizens 
rise up against him, strip him of his royal garments, lead him naked 
through the city and banish him to a far distant island, where he is 
without food or raiment, and where he languishes in the greatest 
poverty, finally perishing miserably." That is the way the world 
will treat you when you follow her false maxims. 

The devil is always at work and never idle; but he uses every 
means in his power at the last hour when we are about to die ; he 
knows that he has but a short time, perhaps only a few hours, in 
which to gain or lose an immortal soul. Hence, if a man who has 
spent his life in the forgetfulness of God attempts to make a good 
confession on his death-bed, the devil uses all his endeavors to 
prevent it. 

St. Gregory the Great tells us about a very rich man who never 
had troubled himself about God and his soul and was lying on his 
death-bed. Full of anguish and terror, he cried out to the evil spirits 
who had come to take him : "Give me time, let me have time only till 
morning." But they replied : Tool, you want time; you had a long 



148 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



time and made use of it to commit sin, and now you want time ! 
There is no time for you." He died full of anguish and despair. 
The same may happen to you when you come to die. 

Yes, children, fear God, who has the power and the will to chas- 
tise the impenitent sinner with all severity, as He has chastised 
Jerusalem. Shun it, for unless it is repented of, it draws after it a 
miserable death, judgment without mercy, and eternal damnation. 



TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



149 



Tenth Sunday After Pentecost 
The Foundation-Stone of Every Virtue 

My dear Children: A great contrast is seen in the picture the 
Gospel puts before our eyes to-day. Ther are two men, the one 
very proud and haughty, the other humble. CHildren, which of 
the two would you prefer? You will say, "I like the Publican, for 
he is humble." Our Divine Lord prefers him also. Humility is 
the foundation of all justice: without it no one can please God, 
though he may practice and possess all virtues. Why did the fallen 
angels become devils? Simply because they failed to be humble. 
As soon as they listened to the suggestions of pride, God withdrew 
His grace from them and they were expelled from happiness into 
eternal misery. 

How low a man can fall when he leaves the narrow path of 
humility, we see in a certain Justin, a Franciscan friar and com- 
panion of St. John Capistran. He had received extraordinary 
graces by means of prayer, vigilance, mortification and other pious 
practices, so that far and near he was venerated as a pattern of 
Christian perfection and as a man highly favored by God. Even 
Pope Eugene IV., having received very favorable accounts of him, 
and being anxious to become personally acquainted with him, in- 
vited him to come to Rome. When he was introduced the Pope 
rose from his seat, went to meet him, embraced him and made the 
friar sit beside him. On Justin's return St. John Capistran looked 
at him sorrowfully, and said : "O brother Justin, you went away 
an angel; you come back a devil." Events confirmed only too 
plainly the truth of this harsh language. Justin seemed to grow 
prouder from day to day; for the most trivial reason he loudly 
complained that he was not treated with becoming respect; finally 
he forgot himself so far as to thrust a knife into the breast of one 
of the brothers, by whom, as he thought, he had been treated with 
contempt. After this murder he fled, and wandered about com- 
mitting many other crimes. At last he was cast into prison at 



150 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

Naples, and, hardened in unbelief and malice, he put an end to his 
life. If he had remained humble he might now be a saint in 
heaven. 

Among all the virtues of our Blessed Lord, there are three 
especially which we ought to strive continually to learn of Him, 
namely, Meekness, Humility, and Obedience. And why so? First, 
because He Himself points them out especially for our imitation, 
and, secondly, because they are all three opposed to the deadly sin 
of pride, which was the beginning of evil, and the cause of the 
fall of both the angels and our first parents. Pride, the mother of 
many other vices, shows itself especially in three ways, namely, 
by resenting injuries, attributing all good to itself, and setting 
itself up against lawful authority. Now the three virtues before 
mentioned are directly opposed to these three forms of pride. 
Meekness enables us to bear injuries and affronts without resent- 
ment ; Humility makes us acknowledge by deeds, as well as words, 
that whatever good we have comes from God; and Obedience 
makes us submit our will to that of our superiors for the love of 
God. Hence if we practice these three virtues, we shall heal three 
of the worst wounds inflicted on our souls by pride, and we shall 
have gone a great way towards making our souls conformable to 
the image of Jesus Christ. 

General Howard was a great soldier of the Civil War, he was 
not only brave but just and kind, and every one who knew him 
loved him. During General Sherman's last campaign in the South 
he had been put at the head of a special division. A great parade 
was to take place in the city of Washington at the close of the 
war, and the officer whose place General Howard had taken in- 
sisted on riding at the head of the division, and his friends were 
so powerful that General Sherman could not refuse the request. 
He sent for General Howard, told him of the request and asked 
him if he would mind to let the other General ride at the head of 
the division. General Howard replied that the division was now 
his command and he had the right to ride at its head. "Of course, 
that is true/' said General Sherman, "but, Howard, you are a 



TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



151 



Christian, and don't care so much about show, and your brilliant 
record can stand this disappointment. ,, "Oh," said General How- 
ard, "if that's what you mean, let him ride there and let him have 
the honor." "Very well," said General Sherman, "let him have 
the honor, but you will report to me before the start of the parade 
and ride by my side at the head of the whole army." 

So you see that by giving up what he had a right to claim, this 
general gained a much greater honor. Jesus tells us a great many 
things about humility and about seeking the first place. And He 
tells us that the man who is last may be the first, and the man 
who is least may be greatest, and that the man who is willing to 
be a servant is, after all, a king. 

Of Meekness and Humility, our Blessed Lord says to us in the 
Holy Gospel, "Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of 
heart." These three are, therefore, the favorite virtues of the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus; and if you wish to know to what extent 
our Lord practised them, you have only to read the history of His 
cruel Passion. There you will see Him betrayed, blasphemed, 
mocked, derided, blindfolded, struck on the face, spit upon, 
scourged, crowned with thorns and crucified, yet uttering not a 
word of complaint, on the contrary, praying for His executioners. 

All the exercises of virtue and of good works are valueless be- 
fore God without humility. This is strikingly shown in the fol- 
lowing legend. A certain saint had a vision. He was placed at 
the judgment-seat of God, and saw how every moment souls, who 
had departed this life, arrived to be judged. Each had a sack 
over his shoulder ; in the front part were his good works, and in 
the part hanging behind were his sins. Both the good works and 
the sins, after their kind, were put up in packages. The sack in 
each case was opened and the packages with their good works and 
sins were laid upon the scales. The packages of the sins of most 
people by far outweighed the packages of good works, whereupon 
the divine Judge pronounced sentence of condemnation. Finally 
a woman came with a sack, the front part of which was full of 
good works while the other part contained only a few faults. The 



152 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



saint thought: "Thanks be to God, this woman will certainly go 
to heaven.' ■ But when the good works were put into the scales 
they were as light as a feather and were overbalanced by the sins. 
Full of astonishment the saint asked an angel who was standing 
by : "How is it that this multitude of good works has so light a * 
weight?" The angel replied: "Know that this woman has done 
a great deal of good, but since she was full of vanity and pride, 
her good works are without weight in the eyes of the all-seeing 
Judge, and she is lost forever." 

My dear boys and girls, learn from what you have heard, how 
necessary a virtue humility is for our salvation. Without it, there 
is no forgiveness of sin, no good work meritorious for heaven, and 
no final perseverance. 



ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



153 



Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost 
Unprofitable Speech 

My dear Children : There was one saint once who said : "I wish 
I had buttons on my lips, which I should have to unfasten before 
I could speak, for I should then gain more time to reflect and to 
consider my speech." And that saint is called Francis. He surely 
did not have need for such buttons, for he was prudent in all 
things, but we need them in order that that, what is said of the deaf 
and dumb man in the gospel of this day, may be applied to us : he 
spoke right. Many sins are committed with the eyes, ears, feet 
and hands, and with the other senses and members of the body 
in general ; but most sins are committed with the tongue. On the 
day of judgment we shall see how great is the number of people 
who on account of sins of the tongue are cast into hell. 

Among the Japanese there are certain men called story-tellers. 
They stand on street corners and a group of children are listening to 
what he has to say. It happened that one day a Jesuit missionary 
was passing and he stood and listened, and this is what he heard. 

Once upon a time a little boy went to heaven, and the first thing 
he saw was a long shelf with very strange articles upon it. "What 
is that," he asked, "is that something to make soup of?" The 
Japanese are very fond of soup, and the boy thought that the 
strange things he saw might be used for that purpose. "No," was 
the reply, "these are the ears of little boys and girls who didn't 
pay any attention to what they heard, and when they died their 
ears came to heaven, but the rest of their bodies did not." The 
little boy saw another shelf with things that were strange and 
queer to him, and asked what it was. "Those things are tongues," 
he was told, "they belonged to boys and girls who were always 
talking and telling other people how to be good, but they them- 
selves never did as they told others to do, and when they died 
their tongues came to heaven, but the rest of their bodies did not." 

Now you know what that story means. It is just a fairy story, 



< 



154 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



but like all fairy stories it has a lesson. God gives us ears and 
tongues and hands and feet and eyes and hearts, to help us if 
used rightly, and if we don't use them as God wants us to use 
them, they do us no good, but evil. Jesus said it would be better 
for us to be blind than to see only bad things, and that it would be 
better for us to be deaf than for us to hear only wicked things. 

Among your companions you will find boys and girls who 
always want to speak of their knowledge and cleverness, and when 
they have done something good they cannot rest until they have 
published it everywhere. Such discourses are objectionable for 
two reasons: First, they offend against humility; secondly, they 
deprive our good works of all merit before God. "Let another 
praise thee, and not thy own mouth ; a stranger, and not thy own 
lips," so says Holy Writ. 

During the cruel persecution of the Chinese Emperor, Hien 
Fong, A.D. 1850, a Christian convert named Yin came to settle 
down at the pagan town Lo, where he began to work at his trade, 
which was that of a tile-maker. He had not received much in- 
struction, and, though fervent and pious, was by no means clever ; 
accordingly he made no attempt to announce the gospel to his new 
neighbors. Being, however, a man of simple manner, and of a 
pure, innocent, and upright life, he preached much by his example. 
He heard those around him cursing and swearing, but he never 
cursed. He saw them quarrelling and fighting, but he was never 
seen in a passion or in enmity with his neighbors. 

A course of life so different from that of his neighbors excited 
the curiosity of some gardeners who lived near him. To satisfy 
themselves they came to visit him. "How is it," they said, "that 
you do not live as we do? You are not like us; what sort of a 
man are you?" "I am a Christian," he replied, "and I do noth- 
ing but fpllow the teaching of my religion." "Your religion!" 
said they; "what is your religion and what is its teaching?" 
Explanations followed, and his religion was thought to be good 
because he himself was good. In a short time eighteen pagans 
became Christians. 



ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



155 



Unprofitable speech is found in whispering and tale-bearing, 
which consists in telling a person the evil things another has said 
about him and thus sowing the seeds of dissension and discord. 
A tale-bearer frequently causes those who have loved one another 
and lived in peace to become bitter enemies. The tale-bearer 
pretends to be well-disposed towards his fellow men; he does 
not let it appear that he means any harm; by a friendly manner 
he endeavors to gain confidence; in the meantime, he lies in wait, 
like the sneak he is, watching all their movements and words, 
and then reports them, exaggerated and distorted, to the person 
or the persons whom he wishes to prejudice against them. Chil- 
dren, tale-bearing is an abominable vice in the eyes of God ; there- 
fore the Sacred Scripture says: "Six things there are which the 
Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth: haughty eyes, 
a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that 
deviseth wicked plots, feet that are swift to run into mischief, a 
deceitful witness that uttereth lies, and him that soweth discord 
among brethren." Boys and girls, guard against this vice, and 
be faithful to secrets entrusted to you. 

One day an English nobleman came to see John Wedgwood, the 
famous potter. You know a potter is a man who makes beautiful 
things out of clay. One of the employees, a lad of fifteen years, 
was delegated to show the nobleman around the factory. Now 
this nobleman was a man who didn't believe in God, and who, 
while he was learned, yet was very rough in his speech and used 
bad words and made light of sacred things. The boy was at 
first greatly shocked at the nobleman's wicked words, but after 
a while laughed at his smart remarks. Mr. Wedgwood, who 
followed them, heard much of the conversation and was very 
indignant at the way in which the nobleman spoke before the boy. 
When they came back to the office, Mr. Wedgwood picked out 
a very beautiful vase of the choicest pattern, and holding it in 
his hands, told the nobleman the long and careful way in which it 
had been prepared. The nobleman was greatly pleased with the 
explanation and was much charmed with the beautiful shape and 






156 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



color and design of the vase, and reached out his hand to take it. 
Just as he touched it, however, the owner let it fall to the ground, 
and his visitor, uttering an angry word, said : "I wanted that one 
for myself, and now it is ruined by your carelessness." "My 
lord," said the old potter, "there are things more precious than 
any vase — things which when ruined can never be restored. I can 
make another vase like this for you, but you can never give back to 
the boy who has just left us the simple faith and the pure heart 
which you have destroyed by making light of sacred things and 
by using impure words in his presence." I have heard men say 
that they would give their right arm if they could forget some of 
the things they heard when they were boys. 

Children, be prudent in your speech, and always reflect, before 
you open your mouth, whether what you are going to say is right 
and according to the will of God. Be moderate in speaking; the 
less you speak the less you sin, and the more easily you can give 
an account of your words. If you observe this one rule, you 
will not contaminate your conscience with any sinful word 



TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



157 



Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost 

Heroic Love 

My dear Children : In His public life Jesus taught us to forgive 
our enemies. He is surrounded on all sides by enemies who envy, 
hate and persecute Him. They call His miracles the works of the 
devil, they misrepresent His doctrine, and say that He seduces 
the people; they pursue Him and strive to take His life. How 
does He conduct Himself towards them? Does He return evil 
for evil ? No ; He suffers and forgives. 

In His Passion again Jesus taught us to forgive our enemies. He 
is apprehended and bound as a malefactor deserving death ; He is 
dragged with contumely and abuse from judge to judge; He is 
scourged; the soldiers put a crown of thorns on His head and 
spit in His face ; He is crucified between two thieves and is mocked 
and blasphemed even in the agony of death. He silently and 
patiently endures it all, and when dying opens His mouth, not 
to complain, but to pray for His enemies and murderers. After 
knowing this can we refuse to forgive our enemies ? 

During the persecution of Maximinian, St. Sabinus, Bishop of 
Aris, was tortured at the command of the governor Venustianus. 
His two hand* had been cut off, when the cruel governor was 
seized with a terrible pain in his eyes and suffered horribly. The 
holy martyr went over to him and began to pray over him. He 
had scarcely finished his prayer when the governor was released 
of his pain. Count Francis of Guise, who waged war against the 
Protestants, was told that one of them was in the camp seeking 
to kill him. He had him arrested. The Protestant admitted his 
purpose. The Count asked him: "Have I done you any harm?" 
"No," he replied, "but I intended to kill you because you are the 
greatest enemy of my faith." The Count said: "If you wish to 
kill me on account of your faith I will forgive you on account of 
mine," and he dismissed him without punishment, permitting him 
to pass unmolested out of the camp. 






j 






158 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



\l 



To bear wrongs patiently and to forgive injuries, are part of 
the duty of every Christian. Indeed, it is the very spirit of the 
Christian religion to suffer patiently the injuries we receive from 
others, and to forgive our enemies from our hearts. "I say to 
you," said our Lord, "not to resist evil, but if a man strike thee 
on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." My dear boys 
and girls, by bearing patiently the evil which others do us, we 
prevent their further sin, inasmuch as we soothe their angry feel- 
ing, nay, often our very meekness will bring them to repentance; 
whereas, if we fly into a passion and reproach them, we increase 
their anger and are the cause of their offending God still more. 
"A mild word breaketh wrath," says the Wise Man, "but a harsh 
word stirreth up fury." 

A certain official attached to the Court of the Emperor of 
China became afflicted with a loathsome disease. He was driven 
from the palace, and, having no friends, was on the point of 
perishing from exposure and want. Two poor Christians took 
compassion on him and received him into their cottage, dressed 
his sores, and waited on him with the greatest tenderness. At 
the end of three months they ventured to speak to him about the 
affairs of his soul. To their grief and astonishment he flew into 
a passion, loaded them with reproaches, and threatened to denounce 
them to the persecutors. In fact, he left their house and did 
not return for some time, leaving them for a whole month in fear 
and trembling. At the end of that time he again had recourse 
to them for assistance. Forgetting the ingratitude and ill-treat- 
ment they had received from him, they welcomed him with the 
same charity, and waited on him with the same care, redoubling, 
in the meanwhile, their prayers for his conversion; whereupon 
the heart of the pagan was softened. "A religion," said he, "which 
inspires such conduct cannot but come from God. Teach me to 
know and love the God whom you serve, and to prepare myself 
for death which cannot be far distant." The Christians instructed 
him and had him baptized. Not long after, he expired, glorifying 
God and blessing his charitable benefactors. 



TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



159 



It is a universally acknowledged truth: The more difficult the 
work the greater the reward. The love of friends causes no in- 
convenience; it is in our nature; but to love an enemy we must 
do violence to ourselves and overcome ourselves ; it demands some 
effort on our part. But does not heaven demand efforts? and 
does it not deserve every effort to gain it? Now, because the 
love of enemies demands greater efforts, hard struggles, and great 
self-denial, it has a claim to a great reward. 

The great war has brought to light some very striking examples 
of heroic love. We were told by the daily papers that the Germans 
hate the English, that the English hate the Turks, and the Turks 
hate the Italians, and the Italians hate the Austrians, and the 
Austrians hate the Russians. Everybody hated the other one, 
for war teaches men to hate their enemies. Jesus, however, taught 
us to love our enemies. Jesus loved Judas. He prayed for the 
men who crucified Him. If people would only practice the teach- 
ing of Christ there would be no more war. 

One of the New York dailies told the story of an Englishman 
and a German, who had both been severely wounded in one of the 
battles in Northern France. They lay very near together in the 
trench. One of them had some water in his canteen, and the 
other had none, so the one who had the water crawled over and 
shared it with the suffering enemy. And then they began to love 
each other, and when they loved each other they could not be 
enemies any longer. 

If you had a little garden, what would you do with it? You 
would plant flower or vegetable seeds there, and raise something 
that would be pretty and useful. You would not plant in that 
garden the seeds of weeds and poisonous plants that would be 
useless and hurtful. In the same way Jesus tells us that in the 
garden of the heart we must be sure to plant only good seeds, 
seeds of love and kindness. We must not allow a single plant 
of hate to grow there, even hate for our enemies. 

Children, if you live in enmity with any of your companions, 
give it up this very moment, forgive your enemy from your heart, 



( ! 



160 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

and at the first opportunity extend to him the hand of recon- 
ciliation. Be at peace with every one. Forgive one another, 
that God may forgive you your sins and receive you as His children 
into the mansions of everlasting peace. 






II 









THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 161 



Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost 
A Healing of Sinful Man 

My dear Children: If you see among your companions a boy 
or a girl afflicted with a bad eruption on the skin, you try to 
avoid them. The Gospel story we have just read, tells of lepers 
who were looked upon as unclean. The disease they had was called 
leprosy. Leprosy is a symbol of sin, for as this disease defiles 
the body, so sin contaminates the soul, deprives *t of the life of 
grace, and plunges it into eternal death. If we wish to be freed 
of the leprosy of the soul, we must show ourselves to the priests, 
*. e., we must sincerely confess our sins to them, for they have 
the power, not only of pronouncing us clean, but of really cleansing 
us from sins. 

We should confess frequently, because we often sin. If there 
were a man who never in his life committed even a venial sin, 
he could not and should not confess, for confession is only or- 
dained for sinners. But there is no man or woman who does not 
some time or other commit sin during the course of life; even 
the greatest saints were not without some sin, and although they 
did not sin grievously, yet they were not free from lesser faults. 
As every man is a sinner, every man must confess, because 
Christ has .ordained it so. Whether we commit mortal or venial 
sins, we should frequently go to confession. 

A hermit having fallen through human frailty into several 
faults, went to Siloe, one of the great Fathers of the desert, to ask 
him what he should do. "My son," he answered, "you must 
rise again from your fall." "But, my Father, I have already 
done so, and I have fallen again." "Well, just rise again once 
more." "And how often must I thus rise again?" "As often 
as you fall," replied the Father. "Rise again always as long as 
you live, and when the hour of your death comes, it will find you 
either standing or lying down, and it will carry you in that 
position before the sovereign tribunal of God." 

May God grant, my children, that, when that terrible messenger 



■ 



162 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 









comes to you, he will find you standing, that is, in the grace of 
God, so that your sentence then may be that of the just. 

Though he who lives in the state of grievous sin may perform 
all kinds of good works, pray, fast, and give alms, yet he cannot 
expect the least reward for it hereafter. What an injury do not 
sinners inflict upon themselves who for a long time, often for 
years, neglect to confess! Even venial sins are a great evil; and 
if we view them as an offence against God we must look upon 
them as the greatest of temporal evils. Venial sins prevent our 
entrance into heaven, and unless forgiven here, they must be 
atoned for in purgatory. The greater the number of venial sins, 
the longer will be the punishment in purgatory. Should we not, 
then, confess frequently in order to free ourselves more and more 
from venial sins, and not be compelled to suffer long in purga- 
tory? Those who disregard venial sins commit them without 
fear or scruple. He who does not confess often, easily falls into 
a state of lukewarmness, and runs the risk of finally falling into 
mortal sins, and of being ultimately rejected. 

A young boy, who had made his First Communion only a few 
months previously, was sent by his parents as an apprentice to a 
trade they had chosen for him. On the day of his First Com- 
munion he had taken one great resolution, which at all hazards 
he was resolved to keep. It was this: "If by some great mis- 
fortune I should happen to fall into mortal sin, I will go to Con- 
fession before I retire to rest on that very same day." 

This misfortune did occur. It was on a Saturday, and the 
weather was exceedingly stormy; moreover, the priest lived at a 
considerable distance from the place where the boy dwelt. The 
tempter, who had been the occasion of his fall, suggested to him 
that he might easily delay his visit to the priest for a few days, 
considering he dwelt at such a distance and the weather was so 
bad. But suddenly recalling to mind his promise, the boy seemed 
to hear deep down in his soul a voice — perhaps it might have 
been that of his guardian angel— which urged him to go imme- 
diately : "Go to Confession at once; do as you promised." 



THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



163 



For a moment he hesitated. Falling down on his knees, he said 
a "Hail Mary," to obtain the grace of knowing the will of God, 
and of following it. He rose from his knees and set out for the 
church. On his return he met his godmother, who inquired of 
him where he had been. He told her all, with joy on his coun- 
tenance. "I could not go to sleep," he said, "until I had become 
reconciled to God." 

His mother was accustomed on Sunday mornings to allow her 
children a longer time for sleep than on other days. When it 
became rather late on this Sunday, she went to the door of the 
little room in which he slept to awake him. She knocked, but 
received no answer. She then opened the door, and found him 
still in bed, asleep, as she thought. "Rise quickly, you lazy boy," 
she said, as she approached the bed. Seeing that he heeded not, 
she took his hands ; they were cold. With terror she looked more 
closely at him. This look told her all. The child was dead and 
his body cold. How fortunate for him that he had not delayed 
going to Confession. Children, learn from this example never 
to delay even for one instant the return to God when by misfortune 
a mortal sin has separated you from Him. Make immediately an 
act of contrition, and go to Confession as soon as possible. 

Most persons immediately after Confession have an earnest 
desire to sin no more, to avoid all evil occasions, and to lead a 
new life. For some time everything goes well; they carefully 
avoid everything that might cause them to fall, and diligently 
employ the means prescribed by the confessor. But their fervor 
gradually lessens ; they cease to pray fervently, to not renew their 
resolutions so frequently; they incline again more to the world. 
Thus it goes on for some time. Gradually the impressions of 
grace begin to wane and the fear of God grows weaker and 
gradually they commit the old sins again. Why this relapse? 
Because they deferred confession too long; temptation got the 
upper hand of them. 

Children, if you wish to be a good Catholic, and you want to 
be sure of heaven, you must confess not only once a year, but 



164 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



often. In general, I advise young people to go to Confession 
once a month. I am convinced that if you confess and com- 
municate often you will preserve yourself from sin, make progress 
in virtue, and attain salvation. 















FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 165 



Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost 
God and Mammon 

My dear Children: Our Lord tells us in the Gospel of this 
Sunday that we cannot serve two masters. God and Mammon 
are two masters always at war with each other. Mammon means 
nothing else than riches or avarice, the inordinate desire after 
the goods of this world, and a sinful desire to obtain them. 
The avaricious man does not seek first the kingdom of God and 
His justice; what he seeks and desires is money and goods; he 
thinks only of them. He violates Christian charity and justice; he 
oppresses the poor, widows and orphans when there is a question of 
gratifying his avarice. 

Children, understand me, to be rich and to be avaricious are 
not one and the same thing. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job and 
David were rich, but not avaricious. They were holy men. There 
are rich people who are not avaricious, and there are poor people 
who are very avaricious. Only those who inordinately seek and 
love money and other worldly goods are avaricious. 

A merchant named William made a long journey into a distant 
country, acquired a large fortune by his industry and skill, and 
after many years returned to his native country. Just as the ship 
arrived, he heard that all his relations were assembled at a merry 
supper party in a near-by country house. He immediately hur- 
ried to it, and, in the joy of his heart, did not even take time to 
exchange for a better coat his traveling dress, which had grown 
rather shabby in the course of the voyage. The consequence was 
that, as he came into the brilliantly-lighted room, his fine cousins 
showed but little pleasure at seeing him back again, imagining 
from his shabby apparel that he had returned home poor. A 
young servant whom he had brought with him was indignant 
at the conduct of these relations. "What a heartless set!" said 
he, "who do not even give their friend a hearty welcome after 
so long an absence/' "Just wait a moment," said the merchant 









166 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

to him, in a low voice; "they will soon show a different counte- 
nance." He then put a precious ring, which he carried with him, on 
his finger; and, lo! all their countenances brightened up, and each 
pressed towards "dear Cousin William." One took him by the 
hand, another embraced him, and all contended for the honor 
of receiving and entertaining him at their houses. "Can it then 
be," said the astonished servant, "that the ring has some hidden 
power to bewitch the people?" "Oh, no," said William, "it is 
only that they see by the sparkling ring, which is worth some 
thousand dollars, that I am rich; and riches rank above every- 
thing else in their eyes." "Oh! you blinded men!" cried the boy; 
"it is not, then, the ring, but your own avarice, that has bewitched 
you! Can it, indeed, be that men should prize a bit of yellow 
ore and a brilliant stone more highly than a man so noble as my 
master?" Hov many a silly fool worships wealth and is blind to 
virtue ! 

We must always be on our guard, dear children, against the 
hateful and contemptible vice of avarice, which is the fruitful 
source of so many evils, and we should be the more watchful 
because it is apt to grow upon people without their perceiving it, 
especially as they acquire wealth and advance in years. Your 
parents, dear children, should take every opportunity of promoting 
liberality in you, teaching you to be generous to your companions, 
and to love above all things Christ's poor ; otherwise your parents 
will see you grow up mean, selfish and miserly. You should 
always remember the words of our divine Lord that He has prom- 
ised on His own divine word, that even a cup of water given in 
His name shall not lose its reward. 

We have a terrible example of the fatal consequences of 'avarice 
in the traitor Judas, who, for the few paltry pieces of silver, 
betrayed His divine Master. On the other hand, it was the 
charity of Tobias which obtained for him the visit of the arch- 
angel Raphael and many blessings, both spiritual and temporal. 
Again, it was the hospitality which the woman of Sunam showed to 
the prophet Eliseus that merited the restoration of her son to life. 



FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 167 



A rich miser, who had never given a penny to a poor man, kept 
a monkey for his amusement; but this monkey he even hoped to 
sell again for more than he had cost. One day this hard-hearted 
man had gone out. The ape got his paws upon the well-filled 
money chests, and threw whole handfuls of gold and silver out 
of the window into the street. 

The people who saw this ran to pick the money up; they 
scrambled and fought for it and gathered up as much as they 
could. At length, when the chests were almost empty, the miser 
came up the street and saw with horror what was going on. "Oh ! 
you hideous, stupid brute!" he cried out, threatening the ape with 
his clenched fist. A neighbor, however, said to him in the midst 
of his fury : "Keep your temper. It is certainly stupid to throw 
money out of the window like this monkey; but, pray, is the mam 
more reasonable who locks it up in chests and makes no use what- 
ever of it ? See how God punished the avaricious man by the means 
of a stupid animal ! 

Children, there is a great difference between a proper and an 
inordinate love of money. He who properly loves money has not 
the money itself in mind, but the proper use of it; he would be 
quite indifferent to it if he could not make use of it. Money is 
to him what medicine is to a sick man. He loves medicine because 
thereby he hopes to gain a benefit. On the contrary, he who 
loves money for money's sake, has only the money and not the 
use of it in view; the possession of money gives him great pleasure. 
Thus the rich merchant, of whom Caesarius relates that his friends 
were obliged to promise him that they would bind a purse of gold 
upon his heart and put it into the grave with him, certainly loved 
money. Thus the Emperor Caligula loved money; he often rolled 
himself on it with great satisfaction. Many Catholics have indeed 
no purse bound upon their heart, nor do they roll themselves upon 
their money, but their hearts and souls cling to it; their most 
pleasant hours are spent in counting their money. 

The rich man may lose all his wealth by misfortune, and be 
reduced to beggary during his lifetime; but death tears from man 









168 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

all he possesses. Suppose a man has boxes full of gold, death will 
not leave him a cent; suppose he owns houses and lands, nothing 
remains for him but the coffin, in which his body is laid, and a 
few feet of clay in which he moulders. 

The Emperor Constantine one day demonstrated this truth to 
one of his officers, to cure him of his inordinate love of money. 
He marked out with his sword on the surface of the ground a 
space six feet long and two feet wide, and then said to him : "This 
is all that finally remains for us, my friend ; why should we labor 
so much to gather riches ?" 

Children, often think of this story when you have a desire for 

the riches and pleasures of the world. 'That is all that will 

remain to me in death." Remember, man is made for heaven, 

his eyes look towards heaven. Give a horse a bundle of hay, and 

a dog a piece of meat, and they are satisfied and wish for no 

more. The heart of man is made for love and union with God 

and will never find rest in sensual enjoyments. In spite of his 

millions the heart of the avaricious man feels disquieted. 

A miser had hidden with care a large sum of money in the 
hollow of a rock. A father of a family, in despair at the want of 

his children, betook himself to that spot, with the intention of 

hanging himself with a rope he carried for that purpose. Of a 

sudden he felt the ground yielding beneath him, and he fell into 

the hollow which the miser had dug out. After recovering from 

his fall, he found the treasure hidden there, and took it off as a 

present from heaven. Later on the miser came to contemplate his 

gold; finding it gone, he hanged himself with the rope the other 

had left behind him. 

My dear boys and girls, as Christians and followers of Jesus 

Christ, we must consider that when He came down from heaven 

upon earth that He would not possess any riches, which you so 

greedily desire; nay, He loved poverty so much that He chose to 

be born of a poor and lowly virgin, and not of a rich princess of 

the earth. When He came into the world He would not live in a 

magnificent palace, but in a miserable manger where rough straw 



FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 169 



touched His tender body. Moderate your desires for earthly 
goods which are vain and frail. Your divine Judge will ask you 
what you have done for heaven, not what you possessed of the 
goods of this world. Endeavor to be rich in virtues and good 
works; these are true treasures, far more precious than all the 
gold and silver of the world. 









170 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost 
Constant Preparation for the Hour of Death 

My dear Children: Must I speak to you about death; you who 
are so young, so hopeful for many years to come? It is, indeed, 
a sad thought, death. The event related in the gospel of this day 
is one that has been renewed numberless times, and will be renewed 
every day as long as there are men upon earth. Where is there a 
city, a village, or even a house, out of which no dead are carried? 
Like the young man of Nairn, we, too, shall one day be carried to 
the cemetery, the last resting place. Nothing is more certain than 
death; and yet nothing is more uncertain than the hour of death. 

The history of all times tells us that we do not know when death 
will come. The first family consisted of four persons, Adam and 
Eve, Cain and Abel. Who would have believed that Abel, the 
youngest member of the family, would die first? The people in 
Noah's time were eating and drinking when the flood came and 
took them all away. The daily papers report sudden deaths. We 
read th?t some people were killed by burglars and robbers, that 
one man fell from a scaffold and broke his neck, that many persons 
drowned, others lost their lives by accidents on railroads or by ex- 
plosions. Are not persons most dear to us snatched away from 
our side by sickness, or by accidents ? 

What lesson should we draw from this? If you are in the state 
of grace, you must employ all means to persevere in it unto the end. 
If you depart from the path of virtue and enter upon the road 
of sin, death may come suddenly upon you in the midst of your sins. 
There was one Stephen, a hermit, who, after he had lived a 
great part of his life in solitude, fasting, watching, and praying, 
at last fell sick ; and when he was at the point of death, the devil 
set upon him, and suggested many things to him. Sometimes the 
hermit cried out: "So it is indeed, I confess I did it; but I have 
lasted and prayed so many years for it." Other times he cried out : 
"That is a lie, I did not do it," and again he said : "It is so indeed ; 



FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 171 



but I have shed tears for it; yet notwithstanding," said he, "there 

is need for mercy." 

This example, children, ought to make you wary in all your 
actions, and flee from sin, and all the occasions of sin, since even this 
holy man, who had lived nearly forty years a retired and holy life, 
was so hard pressed by the devil at the hour of his death. 

We do not know when death will come; it is active everywhere 
and knows where to find its victims. It penetrates into all places; 
no wall, no lock, no bolt can keep it out. People generally die when 
they least expect it. At the invitation of his brother, the unsuspect- 
ing Abel goes out into the field, when Cain suddenly falls upon 
him and slays him. A man has gallows erected for Mardochai; 
and a few days afterwards he swings on that very gallows him- 
self. Heli sits down in an armchair to rest himself ; he falls back- 
wards over the chair, and breaks his neck. 

Children, we must have God everywhere before our eyes and 
shun injustice and sin. Avoid all places dangerous to life. Do 
not commit any foolhardy trick : it is better to be living than dead. 
A certain holy priest by the name of Father Arnold saw that 
his end was near and he received the Sacraments with edifying piety. 
He asked all those who surrounded his bed to pray for him that 
he might have a happy death. He had scarcely made this request, 
when a sudden fear came over him and cold sweat covered his 
face. "O my brethren," he cried out, "do you not see the evil 
spirits around me, wanting to carry me to hell ? O, ask Mary, my 
heavenly Mother, to help me." His friends at once recited the 
Litany of the Blessed Virgin. When they came to the words, 
"Holy Mary, pray for him," he cried out, "brethren, say those 
words again; I am standing at God's judgment-seat." It seemed 
as if he saw the wicked spirits standing there to accuse him, he 
seemed to hear accusations, for he said : "Yes, but I did penance 
for that." He constantly pressed the crucifix to his lips, and con- 
tinued to whisper the holy name of Mary. On a sudden he ex- 
claimed : "I come, my Lady, I come," and while saying these words 
he tried to raise himself in his bed, but in doing so he expired. 



172 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR T HE CHILDREN'S MASS 

The infinite goodness of God, which sanctifies us on our entrance 
into the world by Baptism, strengthens and enlightens us by Con- 
firmation, nourishes us with the Holy Eucharist, and heals our 
spiritual infirmities by Penance, has provided us also with a special 
Sacrament to assist us in our passage out of this life, and prepare 
us for a happy eternity. This Sacrament is called Extreme 
Unction, or the Last Anointing, because in it we are for the last 
time anointed with Holy Oil. 

I need not tell you, my dear children, that wilfully to omit 
receiving the Sacrament of Extreme Unction in our last illness, 
a Sacrament which affords many and such powerful helps towards 
a good and holy death, would be a sinful neglect and a great ingrati- 
tude to God. It would also be wrong wilfully to put off receiving 
this great Sacrament from day to day, when our state has once 
been declared dangerous ; for we should thereby expose ourselves 
to the risk of dying without it, or, at least, of receiving it at a time 
when our strength is so reduced, and our mind so enfeebled, that 
we could not receive this Sacrament with that spirit of recollection 
and devout affection which would enable us to reap the full fruit 
of it. Foolish and ignorant people often imagine that Extreme 
Unction is like a sentence of death, and that when one has received 
it, his state may well be despaired) of. On the contrary, there is 
far more reason to hope for his recovery; for one of the principal 
effects of this Sacrament is to bless and assist the natural means 
taken for our bodily cure, whenever God sees this is for our 
real good. 

The virtuous son of Louis XII. one day learned that an old 
servant of his house was in danger of death, and that he would 
not hear of regulating the affairs of his conscience. He was pain- 
fully affected, and thinking that he might do some good in hehalf 
of a man who had spent his life in his service, he went to his house. 
"Well, my friend," said he, "I am coming to see you, to tell you 
how sorry I am on your account. I have not forgotten that you 
always served me with affection ; you would give me, for the first 
time in your life, the greatest of all sorrows if you did not empiojj 



FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



173 



the little while you have yet to live in preparing for death." The 
poor man was moved to tears by this step of his good master, pre- 
pared himself for the Sacraments, and received them with great 
piety and devotion. 

As for you, my dear children, when serious illness overtakes you, 
earnestly desire to be purified by the grace of the Sacrament of 
Extreme Unction. Do your best to secure the same blessing for 
your father and mother, your relations and friends, and all to 
whom you may happen to be near in their last moments. How 
wicked and cruel are those false friends and unnatural children who 
allow a sick person or parent to approach to the very gate of eter- 
nity without the knowledge of their danger, which would enable 
them to set their affairs in order, and to make their peace with 
God ! By complying with this instruction you will have the happi- 
ness of knowing that you have acquitted yourselves of a duty im- 
posed upon you by filial piety, or, at least, by fraternal charity. 

As soon as the priest has fixed the day and hour for administer- 
ing the last Sacraments, you should prepare beforehand a little 
altar, on which he may place the holy Eucharist and the consecrated 
oil. Cover a small table with a clean cloth and place thereon a 
crucifix, two wax candles, some holy water and some common 
water, and add a few flowers. Meet the priest at the door with a 
burning candle and escort him to the bedside of the sick person. 
Kneel down and pray earnestly to God to bless and pardon the 
sick person. 

Be always prepared for death; keep your conscience undefiled; 
and if you should have the misfortune to fall into sin, make at 
once a sincere act of contrition and go as soon as you can to con- 
fession, in order to reinstate yourself in the state of grace. Pray 
every day to God for the blessing of a happy death. 






174 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost 
The Sin of Pride 

My dear Children : Pride is a sin with which almost all men are 
more or less infected ; even Christians who otherwise lead a good 
life, are not entirely free from it. It is also certain that no sin 
causes so much evil as pride, for it is the origin of all vices, and 
the ruin of all virtues. 

Girls and boys sometimes wish to appear more than what they 
really are. They wear fine clothes, they want everybody to see 
them, they try to make people believe that they are rich. They 
assume affected and haughty airs, and make others think that they 
are very smart. Some talk piously and pray devoutly just for the 
sake of appearing to be saints, and a stranger would expect them 
one day to be canonized. The likes of these appear to be better 
than they really are; they exalt themselves, and sin by pride. 
There are many who are greatly displeased when others make no 
ado about them. They desire more honor than they deserve. 

A farmer went out with his little boy, Tobias, into the corn- 
field, to see if his corn was nearly ripe. "Father," said the boy, 
"how is it that some stalks bend so low to the earth, but others 
hold their heads so upright? The latter must surely be very fine 
ones, and the others, which bow so low before them, must be very 
inf erior." His father plucked a couple of ears : "Look," said he, 
"at this ear, which bends itself so modestly, it is full of the finest 
grains; but this, which holds itself so proudly aloft, is quite barren 
and empty." A mincing air and haughty tread speak a weak heart 
and empty head. 

The proud man refuses to give God the honor that is due Him. 
All natural and supernatural goods which we possess are gifts of 
God. If one ascribes to himself the good which he has, he is un- 
just towards God, and sins by pride. This kind of pride is very 
common. People ascribe everything to their own application, to 
their own skill, and deny to have received anything from God, so 



SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



175 



r 



that they may not be obliged to give thanks to God. Thus the 
farmer says : "It is no wonder that I have good crops, I have pre- 
pared my ground well. There is no mystery in my prosperity." 
The business man says : "I understand my business ; I am a shrewd 
business man and a good financier." These proud persons do not 
consider that with all their diligence they could not accomplish the 
least thing if God withheld His blessing. If any one on account 
of his good works seeks honor and praise from men, he does God 
a great injustice ; for God demands that men, whose chief end is 
to praise and glorify God, should occupy themselves in glorifying 
Him. Let us therefore guard against seeking our own glory in 
anything, but rather have God's glory in view in all our actions. 

St. Rose of Lima was very beautiful in feature and form. But 
she looked upon beauty as a dangerous gift, because it easily leads 
to vanity, and she avoided everything that might attract notice. She 
even destroyed the delicate color of her skin by rubbing it with a 
sharp drug. Her beautiful hair she cut off. When misfortune 
suddenly befell her parents her devotion to them led her to try 
to think of a means to help out. She planted her garden with 
flowers, made bouquets, and sent a servant out to sell them on the 
market-place. The proceeds she gave to her mother. Rose per- 
mitted no pride to come to her mind. Therefore she did not hesi- 
tate to take service as a maid in the household of a man named 
Gonsalvus. She worked busily at her task, day and night, with- 
out, however, interrupting her communion with God. The poor 
and the sick of the city she visited diligently, but she scorned to 
make worldly calls merely for social pleasure. St. Rose had neither 
pride of mind nor of body. She did not think that she was better 
nor more virtuous than others; she was not vain of her physical 
beauty ; when her parents had become poor she did not hesitate to 
serve as a maid for their sake. And because she was not proud 
she was active in visiting the poor and the sick of the city. He 
who is proud does not do that, for with pride goes hardness of 
heart towards our fellow being. He who is proud makes life un- 
bearable for himself and for others, and at last comes to a fall. 






176 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 177 



Everything we have is loaned to us by God and we keep it only as 
long as God wills. God resists the proud. On account of pride 
Lucifer was cast out of heaven. Pride drove our first parents out 
of paradise, and plunged the whole human race into the misery of 
sin. Pride confused the tongues of the workers on the Tower of 
Babel. Pride brought the plague down on the legions of David. 

A certain ruler in the East, whose name was Saladin, lay at the 
point of death. Seeing his end approaching, he commanded one 
of the courtiers to ride through the whole city, bearing on the 
point of his spear the winding-sheet which was being prepared for 
him, and in which he would soon be wrapped, and at the same time 
cry with loud voice, saying: "This is all that the great Saladin, 
the terror of his enemies, the mighty potentate of the East, can 
take with him to the grave, out of all the riches and treasures he 
possessed'." 

My dear boys and girls, as we brought nothing into this world 
when we came into it, so also, when we depart out of it, we can 
take nothing with us. Why then should we be proud ? 

Remember where you are, and sigh. Where is your soul? In 
a body which is subject to a thousand frailties. Where is your 
body? Upon an earth upon which the curse of God rests; in a 
valley of tears from which countless sighs and) groans daily ascend 
to heaven. How can we be proud ? What can dust be proud of ? 
Whither does our body go ? Into the grave, where it will moulder 
and return into its original dust. 

The adorable Son of God chose for His mother a poor maiden 
of Galilee, for His foster-father a poor carpenter, for his palace 
a stable; He lived thirty years as the reputed son of a carpenter. 
He who was God became man to teach us that we are but men. 

The saints served God with fidelity, practiced all virtues, ren- 
dered great service to men — and yet they were little in their own 
eyes, and no vain thought found room in their hearts. Mary, the 
Mother of God, calls herself the handmaid of the Lord. St. John 
the Baptist deems himself unworthy to loose the latchet of the 



shoes of our Saviour. Looking at such examples, should we not 
banish all pride from our hearts ? 

Frequently think of the awful consequences which pride draws 
after it; consider your lowly state, and keep the example of Jesus 
and His saints before you eyes, that you may learn of them to be 
meek and humble of heart. 



; > 



178 STQRY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDR EN'S MASS 

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost 
Loving God Above All Things 
' My dear Children: We must love God. What does this mean? 
It means that we must love God not only exteriorly, but also inte- 
riorly. It « not only the mere tribute of our words or external 
appearance in our prayer that He demands, but our words must 
come from the very bottom of our hearts. Who are those who 
love God only with their lips ? Those boys or girls who pray with- 
out thinking of what they say. Their heart is with their play- 
mates or then- toys. Such children offer an insult to God, and conse- 

T"of ^ T ■* rCSUlt fr ° m thdr P^ er - Tho *e who 
do not give their heart to God do not love Him. All those who 

are m mortal sin do not love God; they love their evil passions; 
rtey tell a direct he to God as often as they say: "My God I love 
The* God is not satisfied with a divided heart; we must not 

tZ * !T , Cen HIm ^ His Creatures - To *>ve ^ 
with the whole heart means to love God alone, and everything 

fcs.de* God for God's sake and in such a manner as He wills 

St. Francs de Sales loved God with his whole heart, for he savs 

o himself: : "If I knew that there was in my heart a singL fi 

not for God, I would tear it out at once." If you have g any £ 

the 21 of 6 ^ P T 0n ° r tWng €XPCl * h ° m *"" heart > ^r 
the heart of man is a tabernacle in which God alone should dwell 

I heard a story the other day about a little boy who surely had 

the love of God in his heart. There is one thing he never fo rgot 

namely, to take his offering with him every Sunday to church. He 

had his envelope for his weekly offering just as his father had 

and he never would go to church unless he had it with him I 

happened one day that he had to go to church alone on a Sunday 

when his father and mother were absent. However, he did Z 

* 'without his offering. He had it in his little white envelo" 

metadoT r 5? T^ ^ """^ * ^ ^ ™ 
the head of the seat m the same pew, and when the time came for 



l 



SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 179 

the offering to be given she looked in her bag and found that she 
had no money with her. She didn't seem to be troubled about it, 
but the little boy was greatly troubled and wondered what she 
would do when the men would come with the plates to receive the 
offering and she had none to give. You see he had formed the 
habit of giving and he enjoyed it, and wondered how anybody 
could go to church without a gift. Well, he got more troubled and 
anxious the nearer the ushers came with the collection-plates, and 
when they came to the seat in front of the one where he was sit- 
ting he held out his little white envelope to the strange lady, and 
said to her: "Here, please, take this and put it in the plate, and 
I'll get under the seat. I'm small and they won't see me." That 
boy has formed a habit of giving, and when he grows to be a man 
it will be part of his life and part of his religion to offer his gifts 
unto the Lord. I think that every boy, no matter how small, ought 
to give some of his money — however little it may be — to God. 

Charity requires that we always will what God wills, that we 
make a sacrifice of our will to God, and therefore accept cheerfully 
all crosses and afflictions from His hand. In this way all pious 
souls manifest their love of God. When St. Gertrude said the "Our 
Father," she used to repeat three times the words "Thy will be 
done." While praying thus one day, our blessed Lord appeared to 
her, having health in one hand and sickness in the other, and said 
to her: "Choose, daughter, between health and sickness." Which 
do you suppose the saint chose? Health, of course. No. Well, 
then sickness ? No. As she did not know what our Lord thought 
good to give her, she said : "Lord, not my will but Thine be done." 
Let us be satisfied with whatever God is pleased to send us, firmly 
convinced that He will send us what is good for us. 

In the year 1623, at the beginning of Lent, the Venerable Agnes 
of Jesus became very ill. She was at that time only twenty-one 
years old. The physicians did not seem to understand the nature 
of the malady, and gave her medicine which, instead of making 
her better, only made her suffer the more. But Agnes never uttered 
one word of complaint, the only words she said were the follow- 



i 



180 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

ing, which she repeated often every day: "O my God, mayest Thou 
be blessed a thousand times." When Easter Sunday came, God 
was pleased to reward the patience with which she had suffered 
the heavy crosses He had been pleased to send her, by permitting 
her guardian angel to appear to her. "My child," said the angel, 
"are you happy in your sufferings?" "Yes," she answered, "be^ 
cause it is the holy Will of God, whom I love with all my heart. 
My heart and my will are entirely united to Him : let Him dispose of 
me according to His divine Will." The angel answered: "Con- 
tinue to love Jesus in this way, and be assured that He will never 
forsake you." 

When we love some one sincerely we often think of him, for 
where our treasure is there also is our heart. If, therefore, we truly 
love God, we shall frequently think of Him and raise our heart to 
Him. St. Aloysius was always occupied with the thought of God 
and divine things, and, whether alone or in company, whether he 
worked or rested, he had no room in his heart for anything but God. 
To spare his weakened health, his superiors ordered him to turn 
his thoughts sometimes from God and to divert himself. But it 
was impossible for him to do so. Hence it is not a good sign that 
so many of us have our thoughts everywhere except with God ; 
that we rise in the morning and lie down in the evening without 
thinking of God, that we occupy ourselves the whole day entirely 
with temporal affairs, without even a passing thought of God, that 
even when in church we give way to distractions, and that in general 
we care as little about God as about a stranger. If we feel ourselves 
guilty we must admit that our love of God resembles a weak spark 
which is liable every moment to be extinguished. 

A father and mother were living with their two children on a 
desert island in the ocean, on which they had been shipwrecked. 
Roots and vegetables served them for food; a spring was their 
drink; and a cavern in the rock their dwelling. Storms and tem- 
pests often raged fearfully on the island. The children knew noth- 
ing of the vast continent; bread, milk, fruit, and whatever other 
luxury is obtainable there, were things unknown to them. 



SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 181 



There landed one day upon the island four Moors in a small boat. 
The parents were greatly delighted, and hoped now to be rescued 
from their sufferings. But the boat was too small to take them 
all over together to the adjoining land, so the father determined 
to risk the passage first. The mother and children wept, when he 
embarked in the frail wooden boat, and the four black men were 
to take him away. But he said : "Weep not, it is a better land : and 
you will all follow soon." When the little boat returned, and took 
away the mother, the children wept still more. But she also said: 
"Weep not! In the better land we shall all meet again." At last 
came the boat to take away the two children. It was with fear and 
trembling that they drew near the land. But how delighted were 
they when their parents appeared on the shore, offered them their 
hands, led them into the shade of lofty palm trees, and regaled 
them with milk and honey. "My dear children," said the father, 
"our voyage from the desert island to this beautiful country has a 
higher meaning. We are all destined to make a much longer jour- 
ney, to a much more beautiful country. The whole earth upon which 
we dwell resembles an island ; this glorious land is an image for 
us, although only a faint one, of heaven ; the voyage hither over 
the stormy sea is death ; that little boat resembles the bier, upon 
which men in black apparel shall sooner or later carry us forth. 
But when the hour strikes for us, for myself, your mother, or you! 
to leave this world, be not afraid. Death is for pious people, who 
have loved God, and have done His will, nothing else but a voyage 
to the Better Land." 

Children, whatever you do, do all for the love of God, that you 
may become richer and richer in merits in this world, and here- 
after receive in heaven the reward of all that love God. 



182 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost 

> 

The Sin of Blasphemy 

My dear Children: In your catechism you have learned under 
the Second Commandment what blasphemy means. By blasphemy 
we mean speaking injuriously of God, or His saints and angels, 
or sacred things. This is, indeed, a crime which we should expect 
to find only among the devils in hell. For can it be possible that 
man, the creature of God, redeemed by the Blood of the Son of 
God, receiving daily his existence and innumerable benefits from 
the hand of God, should be capable of speaking injuriously of God, 
or what immediately relates to Him. And yet, unhappily, it is so. 
Many, indeed, blaspheme that which they know not; for example 
those who, not belonging to our holy religion, and misled by 
prejudice and false teachers, misrepresent Catholic Doctrine, mock 
at the ceremonies of the Church, or speak disrespectfully of our 
Blessed Lady, or the saints, or the holy Sacraments ; but there are 
others, alas ! Catholics in name, who blaspheme that which they do 
know, by murmuring against the Justice or Providence of God, 
jesting about holy things, or mocking at the ministers of the Church. 
You can easily understand how heinous this crime is in the sight 
of God. In the Old Law the blasphemer was, by the command of 
God Himself, sentenced to death, and stoned in sight of all the 
people, and in the laws of many Christian nations we find the 
severest punishments enacted against this crime, as, for example, 
in the laws of St. Louis, king of France, who ordered the tongue 
of the blasphemer to be pierced with a red-hot iron. Many in- 
stances are likewise recorded, in which God took it upon Him- 
self at once to avenge His own honor, and struck the blasphemer 
dead in the very act of insulting Him. 

Some years ago the town of Nottingham was visited by a most 
awful thunderstorm, the effects of which were most disastrous. 
The lower part of the town was flooded, and the poorer classes, 
who inhabited cellars, as well as many shopkeepers, suffered 



EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 183 



severely. Among those who sought shelter from the pitiless storm 
in the Milton's Head public-house, was a young man, a lace-maker 
by trade. For some time he amused himself with ridiculing the 
fears of the people, but his language, which was from the first 
light and unbecoming, became at last impious and profane. He 
used the Holy Name of God in the most blasphemous manner, and, 
with bitter oaths, expressed a wish that a thunderbolt might come 
down and strike his companions blind. Then raising himself, he 
looked through the skylight over the room in which they weresit- 
tin, and, with profane gestures, defied the lightning. At that mo- 
ment a vivid flash entered the room, and in an instant he was 
lying speechless on the floor. He was taken up by the trembling 
bystanders, none of whom were injured, and laid upon a couch. 
The first words he uttered on recovering his speech were: "God 
forgive me!" He had become blind. 

God is blasphemed when we wish Him evil, or when we curse 
creatures, in so far as they are God's works. He who wishes that 
there was no God, or that He had not the power to punish the 
wicked, is guilty of the most horrid blasphemy. He who curses men, 
cattle, or anything else, such as the weather, is guilty of blasphemy,' 
according to St. Thomas of Aquin, since these are creatures or works 
of God ; for dishonoring that which God has made is in fact dishon- 
oring God Himself. But God can be blasphemed not only with words, 
but also with signs and gestures; when a man, for instance, full of 
rage, raises his clenched hands towards heaven, gnashes his teeth, 
spits upon holy things, as the soldiers did when they spat upon Jesus,' 
bent their knees before Him and in derision saluted Him af 
their king. 

Children, this sin can also be committed in thought, when we 
voluntarily think something of God or His saints which is to their 
dishonor. Persons who are troubled with involuntary blasphemous 
thoughts must not allow themselves to be disquieted in their devo- 
tion. They should often say "Glory be to the Father, and to the 
Son, and to the Holy Ghost." 

A very holy man left his cell in the desert to visit a sick friend 



184 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 

of his youth who dwelt in Alexandria, and who wished to see him 
before he died. Most of the inhabitants of that city were pagans, 
who hated the Christian religion. As soon, therefore, as he entered, 
they knew by his dress that he was a Christian hermit, and began 
to mock him. Some carried their hatred so far as to strike him, 
and to abuse him in other ways. But the good man passed on 
without uttering a word of complaint, and bore all patiently for 
the love of God. Some of them cried after him in mockery : "Did 
Jesus Christ ever work a miracle?" 

A man who was passing and who was a Christian said: "Yes, 
Jesus Christ did work many miracles; but even if He had not 
wrought any, the conduct of this holy man is enough to prove the 
truth of the Christian religion. What greater miracle could you 
desire to see? You have insulted and abused the good man because 
he is a disciple of Jesus Christ, and yet he has borne it all without 
murmur." These words silenced the people : they were ashamed of 
what they had done. And some of them, touched by the meek- 
ness of the good monk, were led to believe in God and to renounce 
forever paganism. 

Children, by blasphemy God is attacked personally, and His 
honor violated. One who offends a king personally, commits a 
greater crime than if he transgresses one of his laws, so the blas- 
phemer commits a far greater sin than some sinner who sins 
not immediately against God, but only against His law. Now if a 
man dares to insult and blaspheme God, whom the Cherubim and 
Seraphim adore with the most profound veneration, must it not be 
a horrible sin? If a Catholic who is a member of the true Church 
of God, curses God despite of all graces and evidences of His love, 
instead of praising and glorifying Him, is it not the most atrocious 
crime? Very sad to say that even some children, who scarcely know 
how to make the Sign of the Cross, know how to give themselves 
to the devil ; they learn how to curse sooner than to pray. Oh, that 
parents would carefully guard against cursing and blaspheming, so 
as not to give scandal to their children. 



EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 185 



My dear boys and girls, I beg of you avoid the company of blas- 
phemers, they are living devils. Furthermore, consider what you 
would have to reveal before the throne of God, when you must 
give an account of every idle word. Let the divine praises be con- 
stantly on your lips : "Blessed be God, blessed be His Holy Name." 



186 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost 



Honor Due the Anointed of the Lord 

My dear Children : We honor and revere ambassadors and rep- 
resentatives of kings and potentates of this earth ; how much more 
should we not honor and revere the priest, the representative of 
the King of kings, namely God. When we consider the exalted 
office and the sublime power entrusted by Jesus Christ to His 
ministers upon earth, and especially to His priests and bishops, we 
are struck with amazement, and cannot fail to be penetrated with 
the deepest reverence for their sacred office. They are the repre- 
sentatives of Jesus Christ here below ; in them He still lives among 
us, speaking to us through their lips the words of eternal life. Ah, 
my dear children, with what holy awe and profound reverence 
should we not regard the office of the priest! What respect, too, 
should we not show in our conduct towards him ! The lips of the 
priest have the power to call the Son of God down upon the altar, 
and to open the gates of heaven to the penitent sinner. His hands 
are daily sanctified by the touch of the most pure and spotless Body 
of Jesus, which he holds, and raises aloft, and carries in Commu- 
nion to the faithful, having a privilege like to that of Mary 
herself, to whom it was given to carry the divine Infant in her 
arms. 

St. Martin, the illustrious Bishop of Tours, being on a visit, 
upon an affair of business, at the court of Emperor Maximus, was 
invited, with the priest who accompanied him, to sit down to din- 
ner at the emperor's table. During the repast a cup of wine was 
poured out and presented to Maximus, who, wishing to do honor 
to the bishop, ordered it to be first handed to St. Martin, expecting 
that, when he had tasted, he would return it to him again. To his 
surprise, however, and of that of the whole court, St. Martin, after 
he had drunk, passed the cup to his companion, the priest, as being 
after him the most exalted person in the assembly. So far from 
being displeased, Maximus applauded this action of the saint, 



NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 187 



acknowledging that, in the sight of God, who estimates persons at 
their true value, the imperial is far inferior to the priestly dignity. 
The priest announces to us the messages of God, and interprets 
His divine commandments. He speaks to us, on the part of God, 
words of consolation, encouragement, counsel, direction, and also 
reproof, and he continually pleads for us at the throne of grace 
by the recital of the canonical hours. Truly the office of the priest 
is an angelic office, or rather is an office far higher than that of the 
angels, who are but the ministers of God to do His will ; whereas 
the priest is not only His minister, but His representative upon 
earth, and a mediator between Him and His people. Hence St. 
Francis of Assisi was wont to say : "Were I to meet in the street 
an angel and a priest, I would first bow in reverence to the priest 
and afterwards in reverence to the angel." And you also, my dear 
children, when you respectfully bow to salute the priest, or kneel 
to receive his blessing, show thereby that the same faith which ani- 
mated the saints burns within your breasts. For you do so because 
you see with the eyes of your soul Jesus Christ Himself in the per- 
son of His priest, and know and feel that though he may be poor 
and lowly in the eyes of unbelieving men, his sacred character 
raises him in dignity and honor far above the kings and mighty of 
the world. 

A certain traveler happened at nightfall to reach a large forest, 
through which he was obliged to pass to reach his destination. 
There was a shepherd with his flock, and of him he asked the neces- 
sary directions by which he might reach in safety the place to 
which he was going. "The way which leads to the town you wish 
to go to," he answered, "is long and dangerous, and it will be very 
difficult for me to point it out to you, for the forest is crossed by 
so many paths that it will be almost impossible for you to find the 
right one. There is, indeed, one high road which is broad and 
easy to walk on, but it leads to a terrible abyss, into which many 
incautious travelers have fallen and perished." "What is that ter- 
rible abyss of which you speak?" said the stranger. "It is a deep 
ravine, situated at the other end of this forest. There are many 



188 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



wild beasts, and one of them especially is most ferocious, so that 
we often find remains of unfortunate people whom it has de- 
voured. I have stationed myself here at the entrance of the forest 
through charity to any who may happen to enter it from this side, 
that I may guide them. Follow me therefore if you wish to escape 
death." Then, carrying in one hand a lantern, he took with the other 
one his companion's hand and during the remainder of the night they 
walked together through the forest. When the morning dawned, 
they had reached without accident the farther end of the wood. It 
was only then the traveler came to realize the extent of the favor 
that his guide had conferred upon him. 

Children, the traveler of whom I have spoken is yourself; the 
large forest is the world in which we live. The wild beasts are the 
enemies of our soul, and the terrible monster which destroyed so 
many people is Satan himself. The abyss which the stranger 
escaped is Hell, and the path by which he was led to the end of 
his journey is the one of piety, charity, justice, and purity. The 
charitable guide is not only your invisible guardian angel, but in a 
particular manner it is also the priest, whom God has given you to 
be your visible guide, to instruct you in the way you should go, 
and to direct your feet in the paths of His commandments, until 
you reach your home — the kingdom of God your Father. Listen, 
therefore, my dear boys and girls, to the words of the priest, who 
is the representative of Jesus Christ to you, that you may reach 
your, true home. 

We must love our priests. It is they who ever encourage our 
best endeavors, continually exhort us to virtue and the fear of 
God, share our joys and woes, daily pray for us, and even long 
after our death continue to recommend us to the mercy of God in 
the sacrifice of the Mass and in prayer. 

You must pray for your priests. The gratitude which you owe 
them for the benefits they bestow upon you demands this. The 
first Christians did this. When St. Peter was in prison, they prayed 
without intermission for him until God delivered him. 

We must with a good will give them what is due them. Good 






NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 189 



conscientious Catholics give their pastors what is due them, accord- 
ing to justice and usage, and all the more cheerfully because they 
know that they will employ their savings for charitable purposes. 

Priests preach the truths of our holy Faith, for they are com- 
missioned and empowered to teach Christian Doctrine in school 
and church. What they teach and preach is not their own word, 
but the Word of God, the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Good 
Catholics receive the teaching of their pastor with a believing heart, 
for they know that he teaches not his own doctrine, but the doc- 
trine of the Church, which is the pillar and ground of truth. 

Guard against violating your duties as Catholic children towards 
your priests and pastors of your souls. Honor them, because the 
sacred office they administer is one deserving honor, though as men 
they may have some faults and frailties. Love them, for they 
are your greatest benefactors, caring for your souls and conferring 
many graces on you for your salvation. Rest assured that it will 
be to you a sweet consolation on your death-bed if you can say to 
yourself that you have always honored and loved your priests. 



190 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost 



Parental Example 

My dear Children : We know that example draws, be it for good 
or for evil. At the conclusion of to-day's Gospel we read that not 
only the ruler, but also his whole house, believed in Jesus. If the 
ruler had not believed in Christ, those of his household would not 
have believed in Him; his whole house, his wife, children, and 
servants believed in Him. Children, if you are blessed with good 
parents who give you a good example there is no better means of 
training you to become good Catholic men and women. Good ex- 
ample is the best teacher of good morals. 

The unbounded confidence which you have in your parents, 
makes you consider everything they do as right and good. If you 
see that your parents pray devoutly, diligently visit the church, and 
if their daily conduct shows that they have the fear of God before 
their eyes, it will make a salutary impression upon you ; that which 
is good will take root in the hearts of the children of such parents 
and will become almost a second nature. And when you, young 
folks, grow up, when severe and dangerous trials have to be 
endured, you will have become so confirmed in virtue, that sin will 
not overcome you. And even if you should fall, you will soon 
rise ; your wounded conscience will give you no rest, but will urge 
and impel you to reconcile yourselves with God as soon as possible. 
The Prophet Ezechiel speaks of a wagon drawn by four living be- 
ings; as these moved along, the wheels of the wagon turned round 
and followed. By this wagon we can understand a family; the 
beings that draw the wagon are the parents ; but the wheels are the 
childen. Now, just as the wheels turned around and went the 
same direction as the beings that drew the wagon, so children act 
according to the example of their parents. St. Chrysostom says : 
"The works of the parents are books from which the children learn. 
The tongue, the lips of the parents, are as so many books, from 
which children are taught." 



TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 191 



There lived about the middle of the thirteenth century, in Brit- 
tany, a pious married couple. God blessed their union by giving 
them a son, whom they called Yves, and whom they resolved to 
bring up in piety and the knowledge of God's holy law. The mother 
especially watched over him, and ceased not to say to him, over 
and over again : "Yves, you must be a saint." The child, hearing 
these words so often, said to her one day: "Mother, what is a 
saint?" "A saint, my child, is one whom God has made to be for- 
ever with Him in heaven. A saint is one who loves God above all 
things, and His Son Jesus Christ : one who keeps all the command- 
ments of God, that he may be with Jesus Christ in heaven." The 
child listened to these lessons of his mother with his hands joined, 
and his eyes fixed on hers, eager for every word she said, and 
when she had ended he would say to her : "My mother, I must be 
a saint; I will love God with all my heart, and all my lifetime I will 
try to please Him." His father then would say: "My child, your 
mother has taught you how to love God, I will teach you now how 
to love your neighbor for God's sake." And he took his little boy 
on errands of charity and showed him those outward deeds of 
virtue that mark the Christian among men, and make him glorify 
His Father who is in heaven. And thus the child grew up a saint. 
We read in the Bible that Tobias led a blameless and holy life in 
the midst of a godless, vicious city. He did this because he was so 
fortunate as to have a father who not only instructed him in every 
virtue, but also gave him a most beautiful example. How was it 
that Timothy lived so piously that St. Paul states that he had found 
a disciple who was entirely of his own disposition, and who inter- 
ested himself in the welfare of the faithful as zealously as himself? 
The Apostle traces the source to the disciple's mother and grand- 
mother. What kind of parents have as a rule good children? To 
whom belong those boys and girls who are distinguished for mod- 
esty, obedience, fervor in prayer, and fear of God ? Who are those 
young men and women, who by their reserve and modesty are 
models for the entire congregation? They are usually the children 
of good Catholic parents. Since those young people see and hear 



192 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



nothing at home but what is good, they themselves become good, 
and justify in their parents the hope that they will always remain 
so. Yes, the lessons and admonitions of parents sink deeply into 
the hearts of children. They resemble a gentle rain, which moistens ' 
the soil and causes a plentiful supply of fruit. 

There was once a pious mother who had a son whom she taught 
to love God. From his earliest years he followed the holy counsels 
she gave him, and grew up a model to all the young men around 
him. He went frequently to the Sacraments, and there was every 
appearance that he would live and die a saint. Things went on in 
this hopeful way till he had reached his seventeenth year. All at 
once a change came over him. His piety seemed to melt slowly 
away, and he no longer went to the Sacraments as he used to do. 
This change in his conduct was soon observed by his good mother. 
For a long time she tried very hard to find out what was the cause 
of this change. He never went with bad companions, and she never 
saw him read bad books. One day when she was more sorrow- 
ful than ever she went to see him in his room. "My dear child," 
she said to him, "you must tell me what is the cause of the great 
change that I observe in you ; you are not the same pious boy that 
you used to be. You must tell me all about it." But the son did 
not speak. He hung his head, and his face grew crimson with 
shame. His mother became more and more alarmed, and she 
pressed him with the most endearing words. "My mother," he be- 
gan, "since you have asked me in this way, I will not hide anything 
from you; I will tell you all. I loved my religion dearly and I 
found my greatest delight in the practice of it. But now I have 
grown up, and I have begun to reflect. Look at my father; see 
how the world honors and esteems him. Oh, how much I would 
like to resemble him ! Yet he does not practise his religion. Surely 
I cannot do wrong in acting as he does. Now, my dearest mother, 
I have told you all." The poor afflicted mother left her son, and 
flew at once to the room where her husband was. She sat down by 
his side, and in the midst of tears and sobs, told him all that her 
son had said to her. "Come with me," he said, "I have misled my 



TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 



193 



boy, but I may yet save him." Saying these words he went down 
to his son's room. "My child," he said, "it is indeed a hard thing 
for a father to go on his knees to his own son, but I will do it. Yes, 
my child, I am guilty — guilty of a great sin. I have not lost my 
faith. It is that cursed human respect that kept me from professing 
my faith openly. Thanks be to God, it is not too late. Forgive 
me, my dear child, for the bad example. Who is your confessor, he 
shall also be mine." 

The best person if he has bad example before him is in great 
danger to lose his good principles. This is very true of children 
who like to imitate what they see and hear, without knowing the 
consequences of sin. In their simplicity they think that everything 
done by their parents is good and lawful. As the youth, so the 
man. The result is that such children often live and die in sin 
and perish eternally. As long as David himself was pious, his 
children were the same. But when the father sinned grievously, 
the children also departed from the right path, and committed 
heinous crimes. 

My dear boys and girls, thank God from the bottom of your 
heart if you have good Catholic parent?, parents who give you a 
good example. Oh that every Christian mother would ever remem- 
ber the great influence her example has upon her children for good 
or for evil, so that she may forever enforce her instruction by her 
own good example. 



194 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost 
The Blindness of Sinners 

My dear Children : A Roman philosopher tells of an old woman 
who lived in his house but who on account of age had become 
blind. Yet she called continually upon her servants to take her to 
some other dwelling, as she could not see in the one she occupied, 
because, as she thought, all the windows were walled up. Sinners 
are like this poor woman. They are blind, but will not believe it. 

There are many who desire to be praised and honored ; who are 
always right and will yield to no one. They are evidently proud, 
and the worst feature is that they cannot see it; though they go to 
confession they fail to accuse themselves of the sin of pride. There 
are others again whose heart is so set on getting money, that they 
will even deny themselves and others the necessities of life, just 
to accumulate money. These are misers, totally blind to the passion 
of avarice. Lastly there is a class of spiritually blind persons 
who live according to the spirit of the world, never *norti.fying 
themselves, but following a code of morals contrary to the spirit 
of Christianity. To which of these class do you belong? Be not 
blind, children ; compare your actions with the Christian law, and 
with the example of Christ and the saints. 

St. Dominic received from God the grace of converting most 
obstinate sinners into great saints. One of these was Don Pedro, 
a nobleman of Aragon. When the saint was preaching in that 
part of the country, this gentleman, hearing of the wonders he 
wrought, had a great desire to see him. So he set out one day, 
accompanied by servants, and entered the church where St. Domi- 
nic was going to preach. Not with the intention of changing his 
life did he go there, but only to satisfy his curiosity. The people 
who knew of the bad life he was leading were astonished to see 
him in church. When Don Pedro entered, St. Dominic was kneel- 
ing before the altar, and God was pleased to make known to this 
holy man the dreadful state of the sinner's soul. He seemed to 

« 



TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 195 



behold entering the church a hideous monster, with eyes starting 
from his head, and hands like eagle's claws. At this sight the man 
of God was filled with terror. "O my God, I beseech Thee," he 
cried out, "change the heart of this great sinner and make him 
truly penitent." Then going into the pulpit, he preached a sermon 
upon the awful effects of mortal sin. But all his eloquence was 
lost on this stubborn sinner. Not many days afterwards the same 
nobleman returned once more to this church, and St. Dominic was 
preaching as he came in. Suddenly stopping his sermon, and turn- 
ing towards the crucifix, he exclaimed: "O Jesus, full of mercy, 
O Jesus, all-powerful, let Thy people here see with their bodily 
eyes the sad state of the soul of him who has just entered Thy 
Holy House." This prayer was heard. In an instant the proud Don 
Pedro appeared before them as a hideous monster, surrounded by 
a multitude of evil spirits, who held him by a chain. Terror and 
fear came upon all the gathered multitude. Some began to scream ; 
in short a great tumult arose in the house of God. Don Pedro 
was astonished at seeing the dismay his appearance had caused, 
nor could he understand whence it proceeded. Calling one of his 
servants who was trembling from head to foot, he asked what it 
all meant. "My Lord," answered the servant, "is it possible that 
you alone do not see the terrible change that has come over you? 
You are surrounded by evil spirits that hold you by a chain." 
Only then did the unfortunate man realize that God had manifested 
the state of his soul to those who were present. Thereupon St. 
Dominic exhorted the people to cease their cries and to pray in- 
stead. Calling one of his disciples he gave him his rosary beads, 
and said : "Give these to Don Pedro and tell him to ask mercy and 
pardon from God." No sooner had Don Pedro taken the beads 
into his hands than he assumed his usual appearance. Kneeling 
down before the altar of the Blessed Mother he was filled with com- 
punction of heart, and amid a flood of tears confessed his sins to 
St. Dominic and asked pardon of all the people for the scandal he 
had given them. Ever afterwards his life was one of penance and 
piety and he died in the odor of sanctity. 






196 STORY-SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 19? 



Like a man asleep sinners have lost their hearing. Conscience, 
it is true, is ever awake and knocks at the sinner's heart, reproach- 
ing him bitterly for his sinful life, but he is perfectly deaf. He 
drowns the voice of conscience by wordly pleasures and refuses 
to heed the admonitions of his pastor and friends. There are many 
daughters who do not regard the warning words of their parents. 
They persevere in sin, as though this world were never to be de- 
stroyed,— as though they had here an eternal resting place ! Oh, 
that every sinner would be aroused from the sleep of sin ! 

A certain young man was filled with the deepest melancholy at 
the death of a young person with whom he had been sinning. Noth- 
ing could console him, and very soon his health began to give way. . 
One of his companions, observing this, and knowing well the cause 
of it, thought of a cure, severe indeed, but one which he hoped 
would prove effective; for being pious himself he desired to bring 
his friend back to the path of virtue. He asked him to accompany 
him to the cemetery, and going to the grave wherein the remains 
of the young person had been interred, he opened it, as also the 
coffin. The stench of the decaying corpse was so unbearable that 
the young man turned to run away. "Why do you run away?" 
said the other. "Of what are you afraid? Come and behold the 
countenance of your friend, the friend with whom you have broken 
God's commandments—one who weeps in the other life for the 
momentary pleasures of this wicked world. Come and learn what 
a sad and bitter thing it is to have forsaken the Lord Thy God." 
This lesson, though severe, had the desired effect. The young man 
repented of his past sins, and lived and died as saints do. 

You have learned by experience, my children, how sleep deprives 
you of the use of your senses ; in like manner the torpor of sin does 
not permit you to see the pernicious consequences of a godless life. 
There is no greater misfortune than sin; by it you lose the grace 
of God ; you relinquish your rights to the merits you have acquired 
for heaven ; and are in imminent danger of being lost forever. Co- 
operate then with the grace of God all your life long for that will 
enable you to see clearly the way to heaven. 



Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost 

Venial Sin 

My dear Children: God is infinitely holy, and therefore hates 
and detests every sin, even the least. Did He not want to destroy 
the entire human race when in the. days of Noe He saw His chosen 
people piling sin upon sin ? Holy Scripture says : "It repented Him 
that He had made man." Furthermore He sent His only begotten 
Son into the world, that He, as the Lamb of God, might take away 
the sins of the world. Even venial sin had caused the world to 
need a Redeemer. And should we hold venial sin, then, to be a 
small evil? The saints thought differently. St. Anselm and St. 
Thomas said that they would rather be burning in hell innocently 
than be in heaven with one venial sin on their conscience. 

There was once a girl who worked in a factory. One day, her 
work was done, and it was time to go home. Seeing on her dress 
some white lint, she stooped down to brush it off, but as she bent 
over, the machinery caught her loose hair and drew her along with 
it. In a moment her head and body were drawn among the wheels 
and she was crushed to death. It was by a few hairs only that this 
poor girl was at first caught. You would think that it would have 
been easy to have broken them and so to escape. But no; while 
each hair is so very small of itself, together they are stronger than 
a rope. So it is with venial sin, my children. Keep away, there- 
fore, from the slightest venial sin. 

As there is nothing more precious in the world than the grace 
of God, whatever deprives of this should be considered a great evil. 
It is true venial sin does not separate us entirely from God, but it 
grieves Him and puts an obstacle to His grace. So it happens that 
persons who go on committing venial sins wilfully, often fall into 
mortal sin. Not being strengthened by grace, they succumb to temp- 
tation and lose the friendship of God. 

Almighty God inflicts severe punishments on those who commit 
venial sins, both in this world and in the world to come. Now sup- 



198 STORY r SERMONETTES FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS 



posing that one of you were tempted to steal a penny, and you 
knew that, if you stole it, you would be thrown into prison or 
burnt in a slow fire, do you think that you would take it? Most 
assuredly you would not. And yet we know that if we die in the 
guilt of venial sin, we shall be sent into the prison and burnt in 
the fire of purgatory. Let us always remember, therefore, when 
we are tempted to commit venial sin, that God will be sure to 
punish it either in this life or in the next. 

You know the story of Lot's wife who was turned into a pillar 
of salt. She acted contrary to the command of God's angel and 
out of mere curiosity looked back at the burning city. Yet, see her 
punishment! Mary, the sister of Moses, was, on account of a little 
murmuring infected with a terrible leprosy, from which she could 
only be freed by the prayer of her brother. Moses, just for a mo- 
ment doubted God's goodness when he was told to draw water from 
solid rock. For this small venial sin, he was deprived of entering 
the promised land. 

St. Louis had the good fortune to have a most excellent mother. 
"Guard against sin !" was the constant warning of Queen Blanche 
to the child who was to be the future king of France. Often she 
would say to him : "I know that I love you, my dear son, With the 
greatest tenderness that a mother can have ; yet I would rather see 
you dead than guilty of sin." Such teachings made a deep im- 
pression on the prince, and he himself said later in life that he 
never forgot the instructions of his mother, but thought of them 
every day. Oh, that all children would take their mother's teach- 
ings thus to heart. After his father's death Louis became king of 
France, and as a ruler he fulfilled his duties most conscientiously. 
He honored the Catholic Church as her faithful son. He attended 
Mass every day and read many devout books. He visited hospitals 
and often nursed the sick, even lepers, with his own hands. 

On his deathbed the holy king exhorted his son to be faithful 
to his duties, and said to him : "My dear son, the first thing that I 
commend to you is that you love God above all things. Live only 
for Him and be ready to endure sufferings and trials, rather than to 



TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 199 



commit a single sin." Dear children, it was the teaching of St. 
Louis' mother, the good Queen Blanche, that made this good king 
such an admirable ruler. Repeat it often in your hearts, especially 
when you are tempted, remembering that sin is the greatest evil 
that can befall you. 

For the forgiveness of venial sins God has given us many means. 
Sincere acts of contrition, act of love and works of penance will 
serve to cleanse our souls from these stains. If you have told lies, 
you must try not to tell such any more; if you have been angry, 
try to be gentle and kind; if disobedient, to be willing and docile. 

When St. Macarius was a little boy, he was playing with some 
other children in a garden. At a little distance stood a fig tree, laden 
with ripe fruit. The boys said : "What beautiful figs ! Let us take 
some." So they plucked a few, and began to eat them. While Ma- 
carius was eating, his conscience seemed to be always saying to 
him: "You have done wrong! You have done wrong!" And he 
found no pleasure in eating the fig he had taken. Afterwards, 
when he grew up to manhood, his disciples would often see him 
weeping: "I am weeping," he would say, "for the sin I committed 
when I was a child, by stealing a fig." "But, dear Father, that 
was only a venial sin." "Ah, my brethren," he would answer "it 
was an offence against God, and that is enough." 

My dear children, keep away from venial sin, since it is so ter- 
rible in the eyes of God. If you try every evening when you retire 
to think how you have failed in being good, and resolve to do bet- 
ter the next day, you will learn by experience how good God is to 
those who seek Him. There is no true happiness to be found on 
earth except in the love and service of so good a God.