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Title: Five Minute Sermons, Volume I.
Author: Brown, Rev. Algernon A., Anonymous
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's notes: This production is based on
https://archive.org/details/fiveminutesermon00paul/page/n4]

{i}
          Five Minute Sermons

  For Low Masses on all Sundays of the Year by
  Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul

               Volume I.



         Frederick Pustet & Co.,

   Printers to the Holy Apostolic see and
   The Sacred Congregation of Rites.

     Ratisbon  Rome  New York  Cincinnati

{ii}


          Copyright, 1879

         Fr. Pustet & Co.,

      New York and Cincinnati

{iii}

               Preface.


These short sermons were commenced in St. Paul's Church, New
York, toward the close of the year 1876. The motive for doing
this was that the great number of persons who generally attend
only a Low Mass on Sundays might enjoy the advantage of hearing
the word of God preached, without being delayed too long for
their convenience. For this reason they were limited in time to
five minutes, while the effort was made to condense within this
brief compass a sufficient amount of matter at once instructive
and hortatory, in plain and simple language, to answer the
practical purposes of a popular discourse. In order to secure
this twofold object of making the sermons so short that they
would not overrun the limit of five minutes, and at the same time
so solid and pungent that they would furnish a real nutriment and
stimulus to the minds and hearts of the audience, it was
obviously necessary that they should be carefully written out.
For each priest to write and commit to memory his own sermon
would be undertaking too much; and therefore the plan was adopted
of assigning to one the task of writing all the sermons, to be
read by each priest celebrating a Low Mass for the people.
{iv}
The sermons have been published every week in the _Catholic
Review_, and an advanced sheet of the printed copy, pasted on
a tablet, has been furnished, to be used in preaching the sermon
at each one of the Low Masses on the Sunday. The utility of these
sermons, the satisfaction they give to the people who hear them,
and the advantage which can be derived by reading them after they
have been published, are too obvious to need explanation. This
advantage we hope to make more extensive by now publishing the
greater part of the sermons which have been thus far preached,
and printed in a weekly newspaper, in the more convenient and
permanent form of a volume. It is hoped that they will be
practically useful to many priests who may read them, or use them
in preparing similar short sermons of their own for those
occasions when it is not practicable to give longer and more
elaborate discourses to their congregations. Many of them will be
found, besides, to furnish a nucleus for the composition of
sermons of the usual length and rhetorical completeness. To the
faithful they afford matter for spiritual reading and profitable
meditation which is all the better for being put into a brief and
simple shape.

{v}

The merit of devising and first carrying into execution this
excellent plan of preaching the Five-Minute Sermons at Low Mass
belongs to the late Rev. Algernon A. Brown, C.S.P. It is quite
proper to praise the works of one who has departed this life,
even though he was one of our own society. Many of the sermons
written by Father Brown and contained in the present volume are
masterpieces in the art of miniature discourse. They are not
fragments or sections of sermons, reading like pages taken from
longer discourses or meditations, but genuine sermonettes, each
one complete and perfect in itself. They are marked, also, by a
grave and solemn earnestness remarkable in the utterances of so
very young a priest, and seeming to be like a shadow from a very
near proximity to the eternal world, cast over his spirit as he
rapidly drew near to the goal of his appointed course. It will
surely be deemed appropriate, and prove agreeable to the readers
of this volume of sermons, that a few lines should be consecrated
to the memory of the one who may justly be called its author,
although the greater portion of its actual contents came from
others who succeeded to him in the task from which he was called
away at so early a period of his sacerdotal life.

Father Algernon Brown, the son of a respectable physician who is
still living and resides in the Isle of Wight, was born at
Cobham, Surrey, England, May 30, 1848. He was bred in the
Established Church of England, and during his early youth was
educated at a ritualistic school in Brighton.
{vi}
His tastes and predilections were ecclesiastical, and he entered
warmly into the study and practice of the doctrinal, moral, and
liturgical views and ways of the Anglican ritualists. At the age
of eighteen he was received into the Catholic Church by Father
Knox, of the Oratory, and went first to St. Edmund's College,
afterwards to Prior Park, in order to prepare himself for the
priesthood.

After nearly completing his course, and having already received
minor orders, he came in 1871, with two younger brothers, both
converts, and one of the two an ecclesiastical student, to the
United States, and was ordained priest by the Most Rev.
Archbishop Purcell in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 25,
1872.

In the year 1874 he was received as a member of the Congregation
of Paulists after a year's novitiate. During the four years which
elapsed between this period and that of his death Father Brown
suffered continually, and often severely, from ill health, yet
nevertheless continued to labor bravely and cheerfully, beyond
his strength, until he was actually overpowered by fatal disease.
His special department of work lay in the direction of the
sacristy and of the ceremonies at the public offices of divine
worship, and the management of the devout confraternities
established in the parish. His accurate knowledge of the rubrics,
ceremonial, and sacred chant, his ardent zeal for the order and
decorum of the divine service, and his untiring assiduity in the
work assigned him, were equally valuable to the religious
community of which he was a member, and edifying to the people.

{vii}

After the Easter of 1877 his failing health obliged him to make a
visit to his native England and his paternal home as the last
hope of prolonging his life. In the following autumn he returned,
enjoying a considerable but only temporary amelioration in his
physical condition, which soon after began to grow sensibly
worse. On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception he attempted for
the last time by a heroic effort to say Mass, but was prevented
by a fainting-fit which prostrated him at the foot of the altar
as he was commencing the Introit. From this day forward he was
slowly dying, until at last, after long and careful preparation,
he closed his eyes peacefully under the icy hand of death. His
death occurred on Monday in Passion Week, the 8th of April, 1878,
at the age of twenty-nine years and eleven months, and his solemn
obsequies were celebrated on the following Wednesday. All the
sermons in this volume which can be identified with certainty as
his are marked with his initial letter, B. May they long remain
unfaded, a bouquet of immortelles.

[Transcribers's note: His full name has been substituted for "B"
and a "B" has been inserted in the Table of Contents entry.]


             In MEMORIAM!

  St. Paul's Church,
    Ninth Avenue And Fifty-ninth Street, New York.
      Feast of All Saints, 1879.

{viii}.

        Five Minute Sermons

            Volume 1.

{ix}

       Contents.

First Sunday of Advent:
  Sermon I.,        B.   18
  Sermon II.,            20
  Sermon III.,           22

Second Sunday of Advent:
  Sermon IV.,       B.   27
  Sermon V.,             30
  Sermon VI.,            32

Third Sunday of Advent:
  Sermon VII.,      B.   37
  Sermon VIII.,          39
  Sermon IX.,            42

Fourth Sunday of Advent:
  Sermon X.,        B.   47
  Sermon XI.,            49
  Sermon XII.,           52

Sunday within the Octave of Christmas:
  Sermon XIII.,     B.   56
  Sermon XIV.,           59
  Sermon XV.,            62

The Epiphany:
  Sermon XVI.,           66
  Sermon XVII.,          68

{x}

First Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XVII.,      B.  73
  Sermon XIX.,           75

Second Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XX.,        B.  80
  Sermon XXI.,           83
  Sermon XXII.,          86

Third Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXIII.,     B.  91
  Sermon XXIV.,          93

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXV.,           97
  Sermon XXVI.,         100
  Sermon XXVII.,        103

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXVIII.,       108
  Sermon XXIX.,         111

Sixth Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXX.,      B.  115
  Sermon XXXI.,         118

Septuagesima Sunday
  Sermon XXXII.,    B.  122
  Sermon XXXIII.,       125
  Sermon XXXIV.,        127

Sexagesima Sunday:
  Sermon XXXV.,     B.  133
  Sermon XXXVI.,        136
  Sermon XXXVII.,       138

{xi}

Quinquagesima Sunday:
  Sermon XXXVIII.,   B. 142
  Sermon XXXIX.,        145
  Sermon XL.,           147

First Sunday of Lent:
  Sermon XLI.,          152
  Sermon XLII.,         154
  Sermon XLIII.,     B. 157

Second Sunday of Lent:
  Sermon XLIV.,         161
  Sermon XLV.,       B. 164
  Sermon XLVI.,         166

Third Sunday of Lent:
  Sermon XLVII.,        170
  Sermon XLVIII.,    B. 173
  Sermon XLIX.,         175

Fourth Sunday of Lent:
  Sermon L.,            179
  Sermon LI.,        B. 182

Passion Sunday:
  Sermon LII.,          186
  Sermon LIII.,      B. 188
  Sermon LIV.,          192

Palm Sunday
  Sermon LV.,        B. 196
  Sermon LVI.,          198
  Sermon LVII.,         200

{xii}

Easter Sunday:
  Sermon LVIII.,     B. 204
  Sermon LIX.,          207
  Sermon LX.,           210

Low Sunday:
  Sermon LXI.,       B. 214
  Sermon LXII.,         217
  Sermon LXIII.,        219

Second Sunday after Easter:
  Sermon LXIV.          223
  Sermon LXV.,       B. 225
  Sermon LXVI.,         227

Third Sunday after Easter:
  Sermon LXVII.,     B. 233
  Sermon LXVIII.,       235
  Sermon LXIX.,         238

Fourth Sunday after Easter:
  Sermon LXX.,       B. 242
  Sermon LXXI.,         245
  Sermon LXXII.,        248

Fifth Sunday after Easter:
  Sermon LXXIII.,       252
  Sermon LXXIV.,        254
  Sermon LXXV.,         257

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension:
  Sermon LXXVI.,        260
  Sermon LXXVII.,       263
  Sermon LXXVIII.,      265

{xiii}

Feast of Pentecost, or Whit-Sunday:
  Sermon LXXIX.,        269
  Sermon LXXX.,         272
  Sermon LXXXI.,        274

Trinity Sunday:
  Sermon LXXXII.,       279
  Sermon LXXXIII.,      282
  Sermon LXXXIV.,       284

Second Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon LXXXV.,        289
  Sermon LXXXVI.,       292
  Sermon LXXXVII.,      295

Third Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon LXXXVIII.,     299
  Sermon LXXXIX.,   B.  301
  Sermon XC.,           304

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon XCI.,          308
  Sermon XCII.,         311

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon XCIII.,     B. 315
  Sermon XCIV.,         317

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon XCV.,          321
  Sermon XCVI.,         323
  Sermon XCVII.,        388

{xiv}

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon XCVIII.,       330
  Sermon XCIX.,         332
  Sermon C.,            335

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CI.,           339
  Sermon CII.,          342
  Sermon CIII.,         344

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CIV.,          349
  Sermon CV.,           352

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CVI.,          356
  Sermon CVII.,         359
  Sermon CVIII.,        361

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CIX.,          366
  Sermon CX.,           369
  Sermon CXI.,          371

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXII.,         376
  Sermon CXIII.,     B. 378
  Sermon CXIV.,         381

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXV.,       B. 385
  Sermon CXVI.,         388
  Sermon CXVII.,        390

{xv}

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXVIII.,    B. 394
  Sermon CXIX.,         397
  Sermon CXX.,          400

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXI.,      B. 404
  Sermon CXXII.,        406
  Sermon CXXIII.,       409

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXIV.,     B. 413
  Sermon CXXV.,         416

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXVI.,     B. 420
  Sermon CXXVII.,    B. 422

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXVIII.,      426
  Sermon CXXIX.,        428

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXX.,      B. 433
  Sermon CXXXI.,        436

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXXII.,    B. 440
  Sermon CXXXIII.,      442

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXXIV.,       447

{xvi}

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXXV.,     B. 452
  Sermon CXXXVI.,       454

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXXVII.,   B. 459
  Sermon CXXXVIII.,  B. 461
  Sermon CXXXIX.,       463

Twenty-fourth or Last Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXL.,       B. 468
  Sermon CXLI.,         471
  Sermon CXLII.,        474

{17}

  _First Sunday of Advent_


  Epistle.
  _Romans xiii_. 11-14,

  Brethren:
  Know that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now
  our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is
  passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the
  works of darkness, and put on the armor of light; let us walk
  honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in
  chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy; but put
  ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xxi._ 25-33.

  At that time Jesus said to his disciples:
  There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the
  stars: and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the
  confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves, men
  withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come
  upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved:
  and then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with
  great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to
  pass, look up and lift up your heads: because your redemption
  is at hand. And he spoke to them a similitude. See the
  fig-tree, and all the trees: when they now shoot forth their
  fruit, you know that summer is nigh; so you also when you shall
  see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is
  at hand. Amen I say to you this generation shall not pass away,
  till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away,
  but my words shall not pass away.

{18}

              Sermon I.

  _Heaven and earth shall pass away_.
  --St. Luke xxi. 33.


Ah! my friend, how are you? How do you do? Where are you going?
These are everyday expressions, dear brethren. Probably some
neighbor spoke to you thus as you were coming to Mass. This is
the first Sunday in Advent, the Sunday of judgment, and I am
going to put the same questions to you. I begin with the last
one. Where are you going? Young men, old men, women, girls,
children, people, priests, rich and poor, where are all of you
going? Are you going to church or for a walk? No, we have a trial
at court and are summoned to appear. Whose trial? Our own. Yes,
we are all going to judgment, the trial of eternity before the
all-seeing Judge. We are all formed in a great procession. No
matter whether we are good or bad, in a state of grace or of
mortal sin, no matter whether our case is a good one or a bad
one, no matter if our cause be just or unjust, we are all going
to judgment--all going to the great trial, in which every living
soul, each man and woman and child, shall be the prisoners at the
bar, and God, the judge of all, shall sit upon the great white
Throne. When will that trial-day come? No one knows, not even the
angels, our Lord says. Judgment will come suddenly. Time has been
given you. You have been told "beforehand." The _actual_
coming will be sudden. "Behold, I come as a thief in the night."
"Behold, I come quickly." "Behold, I come as the lightning." Such
are the terms in which our Lord speaks of his second advent. When
men are eating and drinking, marrying, buying, and selling,
burying the dead, laboring, praying, waking or sleeping,
_then_ there will be a cry heard, "Behold, the Bridegroom
cometh; go ye forth to meet Him."
{19}
Go forth just as you are; just as the moment finds you; without a
moment more to prepare, without an instant in which to say, "God
help me!" Where are you going, then? Going to judgment. Going to
a _sudden_ judgment. Going to meet accusers who will rise
out of the graves of earth and from the pit of hell to bear
witness against sinners for all the commandments they have
broken, all the duties they have neglected, all the scandal and
bad example they have given. Woe to bad parents in that day! Woe
to disobedient children in that day! Woe to the drunken, the
impure, the thieves, the liars, the false witnesses, the
apostates in that day! Ah! then, how do _you_ do. Christian,
Catholic? How are you, baptized of God? How is your health, the
health of your soul? Are you in the fever of sin? Do you see upon
your souls great livid plague-spots of mortal offences against
the Almighty? Then tremble, for you have to face the God "whose
eyes are brighter than the noonday sun"! He will ask: "How are
you? What mean these stains upon your soul? Where is the white
garment that I gave you? Where is my image and likeness?" Woe to
every one who cannot answer these questions; for to be unable to
answer means to be unable to go to heaven, means that you will be
found guilty by the Eternal Judge and condemned to everlasting
death. Let, then, these two questions ring in your ears: Where
are you going? How are you in God's sight? You are going to
judgment. Are you in a fit state to appear there? Brethren, it
will be an awful day, that day of judgment, even for the just.
{20}
"Where, then, shall the unjust and the sinner appear?" Look up to
the heavens as you leave this church. The clouds are not yet
riven. The sun is not yet darkened. Oh! then there is yet time.
There is a moment's lull before the storm breaks; a second's
pause before the trumpet sounds. But the day of judgment _will
come_, for Jesus Christ has told us so, and, as he says:
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass
away."

  Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

------------------

             Sermon II.

  _Brethren: Know that it is now the hour
  for us to rise from sleep._
  --Romans xiii. 11.


To-day, my dear brethren, is the New Year's Day of the Catholic
Church. Today she begins again that round of seasons and
festivals which will never cease to be repeated till that day
comes of which this season of Advent reminds us--that day in
which, as St. Peter tells us, "the heavens shall pass away with
great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat, and
the earth and the works which are in it shall be burnt up"; that
day when He who died for us on the cross shall come to judge the
living and the dead.

The church begins her year with Advent, because this season
represents principally, not that last coming of our Lord of which
I have just spoken, but rather that time which went before his
first coming--that long period of several thousand years,
answering to the four weeks of this season, with which the
world's history began, and in which it was waiting for the
promise of redemption to be fulfilled.
{21}
But there is another very good reason for each one of us to begin
our own new year now, and it is one of the reasons why the second
advent of Christ is presented to our minds by the church, as well
as his first, at this time.

It is that we may now make that serious examination of our past
life, and those firm resolutions for the future, that we can best
make at the beginning of a new year, when we feel most strongly
that one more of those short cycles by which our life is measured
has gone for ever beyond our reach, and brought us so much nearer
not only to the day of general judgment, but also to that more
imminent one in which each one of us shall stand alone before the
throne of God to give an account of the use which we have made of
these precious years which he has given us, and which are passing
so rapidly away.

This new year's day of the church is a time, then, above all
others in which we should make those resolutions without which we
cannot be saved.

It is said that hell is paved with good intentions; it may with
equal truth be said that heaven is paved with good resolutions.
What is the difference between the two? An intention is a purpose
the carrying out of which is put off till some other time; a
resolution is one which is carried out now. So, as the putting
off of our good purposes is the sure way to lose our souls, the
carrying them out at once is the means absolutely necessary to
salvation and certain to secure it.

{22}

No one ever saved his soul without some time or other making a
resolution to keep the law of God, and going to work at once to
carry it out, and persevering in it to the end of life, Such a
resolution has got to be made at some time, and now is the time
to make it.

Look back, then, my brethren, on this first day of the new year,
at the one which has just gone never to return, and see if you
are satisfied with the way you have spent it. Ask yourselves if
you have not been trifling away enough of the short time which
was given you to be spent in the service of God, and if there is
any too much left to make some recompense to him for all that he
has done for you; and say, with the church in the Epistle of this
Sunday, that now it is indeed the hour to rise from sleep, from
this fatal sleep of indifference and ingratitude, and go to work
in real earnest on the business of your salvation, and not rest
again till the time for rest has come. God will surely give that
eternal rest to those who labor during life, but he has not
promised it to sluggards and traitors, as those certainly are who
care only for themselves and not for him, and who expect their
reward without doing anything to deserve such a favor at his
hands.

----------------------------

              Sermon III.

     _Heaven and earth shall pass away._
     --St. Luke xxi. 33.


By the word "heaven" our Lord does not mean that heaven to which
we shall be admitted if we are faithful, for that, as we know, is
eternal. No; he means some part of the visible heavens with which
our earth is immediately connected.
{23}
The earth, and to some extent the visible heaven also, we do not
know how, will pass away as to their present state--they will be
so changed that it may be said that the old earth and the old
heaven have been destroyed.

It is to remind us of this second coming, or advent, of our Lord,
when the world and all that it contains shall pass away, as well
as of his first coming, which we are to celebrate at Christmas,
that the church keeps this season on which we have just entered,
and calls it by this name of Advent.

This truth, that the heavens and earth which we see shall pass
away, or be destroyed, is a matter of faith. We cannot, probably,
prove by science that this must take place, certainly not that
such a change is so near as the Scriptures seem to indicate; but
we do not need the light of faith to show us that they shall pass
away from _us_, and that, perhaps, very soon. In a few
years--perhaps in a few months or days--we shall close our eyes
in death, and the heavens and earth which we now see shall
disappear from our sight for ever. There are two lessons which we
may learn from this evident and certain truth, and which the
church wishes us to consider at this time.

The first is that the pleasures of this world are so fleeting and
uncertain that it is not worth while for us to take any pains to
secure them. We can only hold them for a little while at the
most; they are like the treasures which one sometimes possesses
in a dream and which melt away in the hands on waking. A moment
after death it will make no difference to us whether we have had
them or not; they will seem to have been possessed only as in a
dream when we wake to the reality of the next world.
{24}
"They have slept their sleep," says the Psalmist, "and all the
men of riches have found nothing in their hands." The life of one
who makes pleasure his object is like a sleep; and, as St. Paul
warns us in the Epistle of to-day, "it is now the hour for us to
rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we
believed."

Our real salvation, the only life which is really worth enjoying,
is coming very soon. This life is only a season of Advent to
prepare for that eternal festival to which we have been invited
by the King of kings.

So, as our first conclusion is that it is not worth while to seek
for the pleasures of this life, our second is that it is not a
matter for great grief if we have pain and affliction in it. One
would not mind suffering for a day, or even for a week, if the
rest of only this short mortal life was to be passed in
uninterrupted enjoyment. So, if it be the will of God, perhaps we
can manage to pass a few years in pain and sorrow, with the
promise, which will not fail us, of happiness that shall be
eternal.

Especially when we remember that pain and sorrow in this life
make that promise all the more sure. "Blessed are ye poor," says
our Lord, "for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that
hunger now, for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now,
for ye shall laugh. ... Blessed are they that mourn, for they
shall be comforted." "Behold," he says, "I come quickly, and my
reward is with me, to render to every man according to his
works."
{25}
Let this, then, be our care, not to seek pleasure nor to avoid
pain which shall soon pass away, but so to live that we shall be
anxious to meet him and have a well-grounded hope of receiving
that reward; that when he says, "Surely I come quickly," we may
be able to answer with the apostle, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." For
that life is the best in which one is most willing and ready to
die; in which one hears most gladly that this heaven and this
earth shall pass away.

-------------

{26}

            _Second Sunday of Advent_



  Epistle.
  _Romans xv._ 4-13.

  Brethren:
  What things soever were written, were written for our
  instruction; that through patience and the comfort of the
  Scriptures, we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of
  comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another,
  according to Jesus Christ: that with one mind, and with one
  mouth, you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus
  Christ. Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also hath
  received you unto the honor of God. For I say that Christ Jesus
  was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to
  confirm the promises made to the fathers. But that the Gentiles
  are to glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: Therefore
  will I confess to thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and will
  sing to thy name. And again he saith: Rejoice, ye Gentiles,
  with his people. And again: Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles;
  and magnify him, all ye people. And again Isaias saith: There
  shall be a root of Jesse; and he that shall rise up to rule the
  Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope. Now the God of hope
  fill you with all joy and peace in believing: that you may
  abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xi._ 2-10.

  At that time:
  When John had heard in prison the works of Christ, sending two
  of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come,
  or look we for another? And Jesus making answer said to them:
  Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind
  see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the
  dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And
  blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me.
{27}
  And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the
  multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert
  to see? a reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to
  see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are
  clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings. But what
  went you out to see? a prophet? yea, I tell you, and more than
  a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send
  my Angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before
  thee.

-----------------


              Sermon IV.

  _Behold, I send my Angel before thy face._
  --St. Matthew xi. 10.

I suppose, brethren, among the first things you remember hearing
of in your childhood were "_the angels of God_" or, as
people often say, "_the angels of God in heaven_." You
remember, I am sure, how pleased you were to look at their
pictures, with sweet faces and large, outstretched wings, and how
glad you were when you were told that one of those guardian
spirits was always by your side. But this morning I want to speak
to you, not of the "angels of God in heaven," but of the
_angels of God on earth_. And who are _they?_ you will
ask. Are they spirits? Have they wings like the angels we saw
years ago in the picture-book? No, they have not wings; they are
not pure spirits; they are men, women, and children just like
ourselves. The word "angel" means a messenger, one who is sent
with tidings. Thus St. John Baptist (who was sent to tell the
world that Jesus Christ was coming) is called in to-day's Gospel
"an angel"--that is, a messenger from God. Now, brethren, all of
us ought to be messengers of God to our neighbor and to the
world.
{28}
We are all Catholics, have all been called to know the true
faith, and we have all been taught how to observe God's moral
law. First, then, we Catholics ought to be the _angels of God
on earth_ to those who are not Catholics. We ought to do our
best in our own little circle to spread the knowledge of our holy
religion. By our lives we ought to show the world that the
Catholic religion makes us better citizens, better and more
honest men of business, and truer lovers of our neighbors and
mankind. Many of you "live out" at service in Protestant or
infidel families; many of you are working for non-Catholic
employers; many are employed in factories, surrounded by those
who belong to false religions or who have no religion at all. Oh!
what chances such have to be _angels of God on earth_. You
can show by your fidelity to work, by your strict honesty, by
your modest behavior, that you belong to a religion which comes
from God. By a seasonable word, by the loan of a book, by showing
your horror of cursing and swearing and of bad talk, you would be
doing God's work, and showing to those outside the church that
there is _something_ in your belief which makes you good.
Have you done this? Have you not, on the contrary, often
scandalized our non-Catholic friends by your bad example, your
dishonesty, your exhibitions of temper, your outbursts of
blasphemy, and your consent to what was impure? Ah! when you do
these things you are the _angels of the devil on earth_. You
are doing his work and bearing his message. Again, to your own
Catholic brethren and to your own family you can be _angels of
God on earth!_ Have you got a scandalous neighbor, a negligent
father or mother, a wicked child, a profligate husband or son?
{29}
Oh! be angels of God to these unfortunate ones. By your good
example, your patience in affliction, by your charity and
forbearance, your strict attention to your religious duties, and,
in short, by a really good life, you will be able to "prepare the
way of the Lord." You will "go before his face" to prepare the
way for his graces. Don't let it be said by those who are not
good Catholics, "I don't see that those who go to their duties
are any better than I am." Show them that you are better, and
that it is _religion_ that makes you so. "Example is better
than precept." Actions speak louder than words. Oh! then be
angels of God to those outside the church, be angels of God to
your children, to your parents, to your friends and neighbors.
Once there was a child who had been very badly brought up by his
parents. He went to church by chance one day, and heard an
instruction on the laws of the church. When he came home,
although it was Friday, there was meat for dinner. The boy would
not eat it. Furious at this, his bad parents beat him; but the
child remained firm, till at last, touched by his example, the
parents converted themselves and lived as good Catholics. That
boy was an angel of God on earth. "Go ye and do in like manner,"
and then our Lord Jesus Christ, the "Angel of the great
covenant," will summon you at death to take your place among his
holy angels, with whom you shall be glorified and chant his
praises for ever and ever.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-------------------

{30}

              Sermon V.

   _He that is not with me
   is against me._
   --St. Matthew xii. 30.


There are many Christians who do not seem to know that they are
Christians. They do not seem to realize what the word Christian
means; or, if they do, they do not act as if they did. They do
not understand, if we are to judge them by their actions, that it
is the name of one of the two great parties in this world--the
party of Christ and that of Anti-christ.

The issues between these two parties are more important than
those between any others that ever have been or ever will be; for
they are questions not only of time but of eternity. And the
principles of these parties are so different that no compromise
between them is possible. They are fighting with each other for
the possession of the world, and neither will be satisfied till
complete victory is gained--that is, till the other ceases to be.
Every one has got to belong to one of these parties. It is
impossible for any one to remain neutral in this contest and a
mere spectator of it. Every one has got to be on one side or the
other. This is what our Lord himself says: "He that is not with
me is against me."

Every one, then, that does not wish to be on the devil's side has
got to be on that of Christ. But this is just what a great many
of you, my dear friends, do not, I am afraid, see so clearly as
you should. You often try, I fear, to stand off and be on neither
side when duty requires you to come out boldly on the side to
which you belong.

{31}

Perhaps, for instance, you are compelled to associate daily with
persons--either infidels, Protestants, or bad Catholics--whose
mouths are full of impious or impure talk, which they expect you
to agree with or join in. They enjoy this filth and profanity,
and pretend to think their foul and blasphemous jests very funny,
which they very seldom are; and they expect you to laugh at them,
as they themselves do.

Now, I do not say that you are bound each and every time to
reprove these sins, but I do say that you are sometimes. You
cannot expect not to be counted among these people, and justly so
counted, too, unless you say or do enough in some way to show
plainly on what side you are. Do not, then, keep your faith and
piety shut up in your prayer-books, only to be brought out when
you are on your knees before God and no one by who will not
admire you for them. No; bring them out plainly in the sight of
his enemies, and let them see that you are really in
earnest--that you really and truly believe that you have got a
soul to save, and that your professions are not at all a
pretence.

For, if you do not do this, you will be carried over to the other
side in spite of yourself. If you do not reprove and separate
yourself from what is sinful, you will join in it. Your own
experience ought to show you that. Your effort to be neither the
one thing nor the other, neither God's servant nor the devil's,
always has been in vain and always will be. For the Eternal Truth
has said, "He that is not with me is against me."

{32}

Yes, my brethren, it is certain that if you will not confess
Christ boldly and openly before men; if you will not acknowledge
that his faith and his morals are yours also; if you will not
bravely and generously take his part in the great battle which he
is fighting in this world, and in which he has enlisted you to
fight under him; but if, on the other hand, you sneak off into a
corner and stay there as long as his enemies are in sight, he
will not count you as his servants or friends, and you will not
be so, either in this world or in the world to come. "He that
shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father
who is in heaven." And if you will not confess him, you must deny
him; there is no middle course.

Be not, then, runaways, but brave soldiers in the conflict to
which you are called. The enemies of Christ are not afraid to let
their principles be known; if you would imitate their example the
tables would be turned. They would be ashamed of themselves, if
you would not be; and it is they who ought to be ashamed, not
you. Moreover, God would get the glory which belongs to him, and
if you will not give it to him you cannot expect him to save your
mean and cowardly souls.

-----------------

               Sermon VI.


  _What went you out into the desert to see?
  a reed shaken with the wind?_
  --St. Matthew xi. 8.
  --usccb.org/bible: St. Matthew xi. 7


In these words, my dear brethren, our Lord holds up the character
of his great precursor, St. John Baptist, as a model for the
imitation of his disciples, and also for our imitation. "St. John
is not like a reed shaken with the wind; see that you follow his
example"--that is the meaning and the lesson of this question
asked by our Lord.

{33}

St. John, indeed, was not like a reed shaken with the wind. He
was rather like a massive column of stone, which is not moved a
hair's-breadth from its place by the most furious storms. He was
firm and unyielding to all the assaults of temptation. Born free
from original sin, he persevered without actual sin through the
whole of his glorious life.

He has set us a magnificent example of firmness and
fortitude--virtues in which Christians of the present day are
wofully wanting. There is a great deal of piety nowadays, but it
seems often to be of a very superficial kind. It looks well, but
it does not wear well. Its outside is very promising, but there
Is something wanting inside, and that is a backbone. It does very
well in the sheltered atmosphere of the church, but it breaks
down when it is taken out of doors into the world.

The assaults it seems to be weakest against are those which come
from without. It stands well against interior temptations, on the
whole, but it quails before even a word spoken against it. It is
dreadfully afraid of what people will say. It is very much under
the power of false shame and what is called human respect. It is
a most lamentable sight to see people who are really in their
hearts and principles thoroughly good Christians, and who might
be the instruments in God's hands of a great deal of good both
for his glory and the salvation of others, so terribly under the
influence of human respect that their example counts almost for
nothing, or perhaps is even a scandal and a discouragement to
those around them. They have a great deal of faith, and they
really want to avoid sin, but they do not seem to want anybody to
know that such is the case.
{34}
One would perhaps, think they were very humble and did not want
anybody to know how good they are--and I have no doubt that they
do not want some people, at any rate, to think that they are
good; but it is not on account of humility, but on account of
fear. They are afraid of what these people will say; they tremble
at the slightest breath. They are very different from St. John,
and very much like reeds shaken by the wind; and it requires only
a very light wind to shake them, considering the strength they
ought to have.

There are Catholics, for instance--and plenty of them, to the
glory of our faith be it said!--who have a great horror of the
dreadful sin of impurity, and would by no means of their own
accord commit any offence of this kind. But their daily
occupations lead them among others who have very different ideas
and habits, or who, perhaps, are sinning wilfully against the
clearest light. These wretched people are continually bandying
jests or telling stories which show the corruption of their
minds. Out of the abundance of their hearts their mouths are
always speaking; they are bad trees, and all the time bringing
forth bad fruit. Well, do our good Christians show any disgust
for these things? Oh! no; they will say they cannot help laughing
at them. I am afraid they are deceiving themselves; they could
help it, if they dared to help it. They would seldom or never
laugh if such foul things occurred to their own mind; they would
be too much afraid of God. But now their fear of God disappears
before their fear of man.

{35}

Or these good Christians meet with people who, either through
ignorance or malice, ridicule and blaspheme the Catholic Church
and the true faith. Perhaps these people only need to find some
Catholic who will stand up boldly for his religion. If any one
would only confess Christ before them it might be the beginning
of their conversion. But, instead of coming out fearlessly for
the truth, our good Christians are afraid of being thought
foolish or priest-ridden; and if they acknowledge that they are
Catholics at all, it is only to compromise or deny what they in
their hearts believe, so that people may think that they are
pretty good Protestants after all.

These instances will suffice to show what I mean. You can find
plenty of others yourselves. Do so, and resolve, for the sake of
God our Saviour and for the glory of his name, to put an end to
this despicable cowardice, if you have been guilty of it.
Catholic faith and morals are things to glory in, not to be
ashamed of. And, besides, there is really nothing to fear. What
you are afraid of is only like the wind which passes by; in their
hearts even the wicked will honor and hold in everlasting
remembrance the true and faithful servants of God.

-------------------

{36}

        _Third Sunday of Advent_


  Epistle.
  _Philippians iv._ 4-7.

  Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice. Let your
  modesty be known to all men: The Lord is nigh. Be not
  solicitous about anything: but in everything by prayer and
  supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known
  to God. And the peace of God which surpasseth all
  understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


  Gospel.
  _St. John i._ 19-28.

  At that time:
  The Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and levites to John, to
  ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and
  he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What
  then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the
  prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who
  art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? what
  sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying
  in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said
  the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent, were of the
  Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost
  thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the
  prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but
  there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not.
  The same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred
  before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose.
  These things were done in Bethania beyond the Jordan, where
  John was baptizing.

{37}

             Sermon VII.

  _Let your modesty be known to all men._
  --Philippians iv. 5.


To-day, brethren, is called _Gaudete_, or Rejoicing Sunday,
and is intended by the church as a little _letup_, as the
people say, on the solemn season of Advent. To-day flowers deck
the altars; at the High Mass the dalmatic, the deacon's vestment
of joy, which has not been used for two Sundays, is again
assumed. Where possible, and where the church is rich enough to
buy them, rose-colored vestments should be worn. The first words
of the Mass are, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say,
rejoice." It is just as if the church said to you all: "Be glad
and joyful; make yourselves as happy as you can." "Ah!" some of
you will say, "that is just the doctrine for us; that is just
what we like." Do not be too fast, my friends. Listen to what
comes next. "Rejoice," says the church; but in that rejoicing, in
that striving to live happily, "let your modesty be known to all
men." So, then, the Christian is to be a happy man, but he is
also to be a modest man--a man of simple or moderate habits. My
friends, does not the shoe pinch you a little? Do you not see the
cap gradually taking a form that will fit some of your heads? You
men, when you are together on some festive occasion--when you
have a gala-day of one kind or another--you rejoice then, it is
true, but is your modesty known to all men? Have you not often
aped the manners and swagger of the worldly-minded? Have you not
listened to indecent stories? Have you not told some such? Oh!
what scandal you give when you do these things. Then your
_immodesty_ is known to all men.
{38}
You are going with the crowd. You are following the multitude to
do evil. You are walking in the wide path that leadeth unto
perdition. You unfortunate drunkards that totter as you walk, who
fall in the gutter and by the wayside, is your modesty known to
all men? No, your shame is known to all men, and the shame of all
who belong to you. Again, what think you of the woman who,
because it is the fashion, goes out to balls indecently and
improperly dressed--who is not covered as becomes a Christian
matron or maiden, but is so clad as to bring the blush of lust to
the face of the brazen, and of shame to that of the pure in
heart; or of those who go to all sort of plays and spectacles,
who encourage the most questionable of dances and ballets, and
bring up their children in the same spirit? Is their modesty
known to all men? My friends, to find the modesty of such people
would be like searching for a needle in a bundle of hay. You
would never find it. You, too, who spend every cent you have upon
your backs, who have almost all your hard earnings invested in
dry goods and millinery, who come to church tricked out in finery
which belongs neither to your state nor calling, offend also
against Christian moderation and modesty. Once there was an old
jackdaw who dressed himself up in peacock's feathers; then off he
went among the peacocks and tried to pass for one of them. But
these splendid birds soon found him out and pecked him almost to
death. My friends, when you deck yourselves out in clothing, in
fashions which are beyond your means, unsuited to your calling as
a Christian, unfit for your state in life, and fit, indeed, for
none but the vain people of the world, what are you? Nothing but
jackdaws in peacock's feathers.
{39}
Oh! then don't make yourself ridiculous. Follow the advice of St.
Paul: "Let your modesty be known to all men." These are the days
of immodesty, of wasteful extravagance, of extreme vanity. Oh!
then set your faces against this running tide of worldliness. Be
modest, speak modestly, dress modestly, enjoy yourselves
modestly. Don't dress up your children luxuriously, instilling
into their minds even in childhood the spirit of vanity. Don't
put on too much style or too many airs. Be happy, rejoice always,
but be modest, be simple. "Let your modesty be known to all men.
The Lord is nigh. For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely,
whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of
discipline, think on these things. The grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ be with your spirit."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

----------------------------

              Sermon VIII.


  _There hath stood One in the midst of you,
  whom you know not._
  --St. John i. 26.


St. John spoke these words, as the Gospel tells us, not to his
disciples, but to those who had been sent from Jerusalem to
question him on his mission, to ask him what business he had to
preach and to baptize. It may be that both those who were sent
and those who sent them had no real desire to know if he were
indeed a prophet, but were merely trying to make him say
something which could be used against him--to set a trap for him,
like those which they afterward tried to set for our Divine
Lord--since his language to them certainly seems like a rebuke.

{40}

For who was this One who had stood in their midst, and whom they
had not known? It was our Lord Jesus Christ. It was the Son of
God, the Word made flesh. He had been living in their midst since
his childhood, but they had not known him. Even those in his own
town of Nazareth, who had often met him in their streets, who had
often seen him and spoken to him, had passed him by as if he was
no more than one of themselves, as if he were only a poor
carpenter's boy.

Now, we, my dear brethren, are something like these Jews at that
time. For during our lives there has stood One also in the midst
of us, whom we have not known. And it is the same One whom the
thoughtless and the sinful passed in the streets of Nazareth, and
whom they afterward crucified in Jerusalem. The King of Glory is
in our midst at this moment; he who dwells in the tabernacle of
the altar is indeed God made man.

It is true for us as well as for them that we cannot see that it
is he with our bodily eyes; but there is much more to point him
out to us than there was to them. The church has taken care that
we shall not pass him by unnoticed; all the worship of the
sanctuary is directed to his throne--that poor throne in our
midst which he has come down from heaven to occupy. It is because
of him that the altar blazes with candles and is adorned with
flowers, and that the clouds of incense rise; it is to him that
we bend the knee; all the splendid ceremonial of the Catholic
religion is only our poor effort to worthily honor Him who has
condescended to dwell among us under the sacramental veils.

{41}

And yet, in spite of all the care which his church has taken, do
we not too often behave as the Jews of his own time had a better
excuse for behaving? A better excuse, I say, for they needed a
special light to recognize him; but all we need is faith, and
that we all have. But one would think that his people had no
faith, to see the way in which they sometimes conduct themselves
in his most holy presence.

It would seem as if a Christian had not faith in that Real
Presence when you see him pretend, as it were, to reverence the
altar by a sort of half-genuflection, very quickly made, which
looks more like a sign of disrespect than of adoration. What
would you think if you should see the priest, when saying Mass,
making his genuflections in this way? Well, you ought to do the
same as he. Our Lord is as really before you as before him; and
you are not more exalted in your station than the priest, that
you can afford to treat God more familiarly. Bring the knee to
the floor slowly and reverently when you pass the high altar, or
any other altar, while the Blessed Sacrament is on it. And when
our Lord passes in procession, or in any other way, through the
church, kneel down and pray; do not stand or sit and stare about.

And remember, too, that he is as really present when he goes
outside the church as when he remains in it. The state of things
in this country requires us to carry him to the sick without the
solemnity which should be observed; but he is as truly in your
houses when he comes to give himself to you there as if the
priest brought him with lights and sacred vestments, with the
sound of the bell, and with a train of attendants to do him
honor.
{42}
Imagine what you would do if he should come visibly at the side
of the priest, with that Face with which you are so familiar,
with glory shining round him, and with the prints of the nails in
his hands and feet; and do the same now. Do not stand around and
talk to the priest as if he had come for a social visit; kneel
down as soon as he enters the room, if the Blessed Sacrament is
with him. And do not kneel leaning on a chair, with your backs to
our Lord; that is a strange way to show respect for him.

If you will only think who it is that stands in the midst of you,
you will find out many other things which I have not time to
suggest. It is not really so much want of faith as want of
thought that makes people behave to our Lord in the irreverent
and almost insulting way that they sometimes do. Think, then,
about this matter, and you will need no rubrics to teach you what
to do in the presence of Him whom you really know and love.

-------------------

              Sermon IX.

  _I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,
  Make straight the way of the Lord._
  --St. John i. 23.


Whenever, my dear brethren, men are going to a place they always
ask the way. They also make up their minds as to which is the
long way, which the short way, which the most convenient and
easiest way. They do this with reference to the places to which
they go in this world. Now, we are all going to heaven; at least,
each one of us will say, I hope I am going there. We know there
are many places to which we can go in this world, and many
different ways by which we can get to them.
{43}
There are also many places in heaven, but there is but one way of
getting to any one, even to the least of them.

Which is that way? Some will say it is the good way, or the way
of the good man. Another will say it is attending to your duties,
to your church. Yet another will say it is by keeping away from
mortal sin. Each answer is a good one, but neither one brings out
the important point. The true answer, and the first one to be
given, is that it is God's way--the way of the Lord. Yes, my
dear brethren, it is the very way, the one and only way, that our
Lord Jesus Christ has travelled before us. Every step he took
along this path was marked by the precious Blood from his own
veins. It is the way of the cross, of sacrifice, of penance and
mortification.

Are we all going this way? Is each one of us now here present
moving daily and hourly on this path? It is almost useless to ask
this question, for I know many, very many indeed, will answer.
No! It is indeed a sad truth that most people, most even of our
Catholic people, are not going this way.

But why is this? One reason is because they do not try, sincerely
and earnestly, to fix in the mind that this is the only condition
upon which any soul can be saved. For our Lord himself declares
that unless a man take up his cross _daily_ and follow him
he cannot be his disciple. They do not realize that there is an
absolute necessity, an unchangeable law in this assertion. God
has said it, and will not unsay it. Yet how quickly will men stop
a business or a transaction that will surely cause them to lose
their money! How quickly will they turn from a road that is sure
to lead to death! They realize the necessity when property and
life are to be lost; but they will not see or feel the same
necessity when their souls and eternal life are most certainly to
be forever lost.

{44}

Again, they are discouraged because the way is hard and
difficult. Show me any way in life not hard and difficult. Ask
the father, the mother, the single man, the married man. Ask the
rich and the poor, the old and the young, the active business
man, the idle and slothful man, as well as the common tramp. All
have the same answer--that life is a hard road any way you may
take it.

Man, then, is reduced to the necessity of suffering and
mortification. The secret of this is that all men are under sin,
all poisoned by it. The only remedy is to cure ourselves, to get
rid of this poison. The way of the Lord is the way given us to go
in order to find this cure. All along this way we find the remedy
at every turn. It is found in a good confession, in true penance
and mortification, in the sacrament of the altar, the Body and
Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is intended to nourish our
souls and to act against this terrible poison.

Make straight, then, the way of the Lord. Do not be terrified by
trouble, pain, and difficulties of any kind. Do not permit the
devil to make you think it will always last, always be the same.
These difficulties become less and less by degrees. They wear
away, as it were, or God so fills the soul with strength and
patience that it is the same in the end. We then bear easily by
the grace of God that which was so troublesome at first.

{45}

Set to work, then, at once. Let your souls be ready for the holy
Feast of Christmas. Remember that we must celebrate that as
Christians ought to do. Gratitude, love, Christian manliness, and
honor require that all shall celebrate the birthday of a
suffering God in such a manner as to make him feel he is truly
remembered and honored. The least one can do, then, is to begin
to make straight the way of the Lord by cleansing the soul of all
mortal sin and by making a good Christmas communion. That feast,
you know, is a time when great graces are given to the sincere
soul. Do not, then, for the sake of your own soul, fail to keep
Christmas day as a true Catholic should keep it.

--------------

{46}

         _Fourth Sunday of Advent._


  Epistle.
  1 _Corinthians iv._ 1-5.

  Brethren:
  Let a man so look upon us as the ministers of Christ, and the
  dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required
  among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful. But as to
  me it is a thing of the least account to be judged by you, or
  by human judgment: but neither do I judge my own self. For I am
  not conscious to myself of anything, yet in this am I not
  justified: but he that judgeth me, is the Lord. Therefore judge
  not before the time; until the Lord come, who both will bring
  to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest
  the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have
  praise from God.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke iii._ 1-6.

  Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar,
  Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being
  tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea
  and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of
  Abilina, under the high-priests Annas and Caiphas: the word of
  the Lord came to John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And
  he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the
  baptism of penance for the remission of sins: as it is written
  in the book of the words of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one
  crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make
  his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled: and every
  mountain and hill shall be brought low: and the crooked shall
  be made straight, and the rough ways plain. And all flesh shall
  see the salvation of God.

{47}

              Sermon X.

            Christmas Eve.

  _For he shall save his people from their sins_.
  --St. Matthew i. 21.


To be _saved_, dear brethren, always supposes a previous
danger. Thus, we say saved from drowning, saved from a fire,
saved from a terrible accident. Also it supposes a person or
thing that saves. Now, dear friends, we are met together here
to-day, and it is Christmas Eve. The church tells us in the holy
Gospel that Jesus Christ came to save his people. Let us think,
then, for a few moments what danger it was that he came to save
us from, and who he was who came to act the part of Saviour. The
danger from which we were to be saved was the danger of sin. Sin
is dangerous in the extreme. It is more dangerous than the most
terrible disease, more perilous than the cholera or the plague.
These things only kill the body; mortal sin kills the soul. If
Jesus Christ had not redeemed us sin would have destroyed us.
Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. Sin spread with the
awful swiftness of an epidemic. It threatened to descend upon
mankind and to bury everything beneath the ruins of everlasting
death. Then, when poor human nature seemed about to be
overwhelmed, Jesus came and saved it, washed us in his precious
Blood, and snatched the uplifted sword from the hand of the
enemy. Yes, the danger was great, but we were saved from it. But
a little while ago we read in the papers of an awful
calamity--the burning of the Brooklyn Theatre.
{48}
We can imagine how frightful was the scene of hundreds of human
creatures fighting for life--the all too narrow door before them,
the crying multitude around them, the scathing, ruthless flames
behind them. What would we think of one who, saved from such a
place, should afterwards make light of the danger and care
nothing for the one who saved him? O brethren! it was not from
the danger of earthly fire, from the peril of blazing rafters,
falling beams, and a trampling multitude, that Christ saved you
and me. 'Twas from the fire of hell that he snatched us. 'Twas
from the danger, the all-surrounding danger, of sin. And what
have we done, many of us? We have turned back, let go the hand
that held us, and gone back into the appalling peril. Because men
do not see a _material_ danger they will not believe there
is _any_. Dear friends, there is danger. You that have gone
back into the ways of sin, you that are in mortal sin now, at
this moment--you are in an awful danger. Save your lives, then;
take the hand held out to you or you are lost! Brethren, some of
those poor creatures who perished in the Brooklyn fire were so
charred, so burnt that they could not be recognized. Take care
that you do not become so disfigured by sin that at the last day
God will say to you: "I know ye not."

Who saved us from the awful peril? It was Jesus Christ, Jesus the
Son of God, Jesus the Babe of Bethlehem. In the morning it will
be Christmas day. The church will bid you come to the crib. Will
you still persist in rejecting the Saviour? You know who he is.
You know he is God. You know he is full of love and full of
power--full of love for your souls, full of power to rescue you
from the danger in which you stood. Come to him then, and no
matter how black or how many your sins may be, you will know that
"he shall save his people from their sins."
{49}
Brethren, I doubt not that many of you mourn the loss of some
dear ones. Within the last few years some one has gone from the
fireside, some sweet voice has been stilled for ever. Perhaps a
father or a tender, beloved mother has gone home to rest with
God--gone in the peace of Christ to their reward. 'Tis Christmas
Eve in heaven to-day, and oh! don't you think they are waiting
for you--praying for you that you may be there with them? Don't
disappoint them. Don't let them wait in vain. Flee from sin, the
danger that threatens to separate you from them for ever. Do not
disappoint Jesus and Mary and Joseph. Do not spend this holy time
in sin. Don't go back into the danger. Keep Christmas like a
Christian. Then, brethren, in the morning, the bright morning of
eternity, the Christmas morning of heaven, we shall see His
glory. We shall be united to Jesus and our dear ones who have
gone before. We shall hear them and the white-winged angels who
circle around the throne, singing aloud: "Glory be to Jesus
Christ the Babe of Bethlehem, for he hath saved his people from
their sins!"

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

----------------------

               Sermon XI.

  Preaching the baptism of penance
  for the remission of sins,
  --St. Luke iii. 3.


St. John Baptist certainly seems, from what we read about him in
the Gospels, to have been quite a stern and uncompromising
preacher. He did not come with a coach and four to take people to
heaven.
{50}
He had but one message for every one, high and low, rich and
poor; and that message was: "Repent of your sins; do penance for
them, and bring forth fruits worthy of penance. Cease to do evil,
learn to do good; get rid of your bad habits, and put good ones
in their place. If you have wronged any one, make restitution for
it; and, moreover, practise charity even to those whom you have
not wronged. These things you must do; there is no other way
possible in which you can flee from the wrath to come."

This was St. John's doctrine, everybody must acknowledge. But
some people seem to think that our Lord, when he came, offered
salvation to sinners on somewhat easier terms than these. This,
however, is a great mistake. There never has been, is not, and
never will be any way for a sinner to be saved except by doing
penance. Our Saviour did, indeed, by his coming make salvation
easier; but how was it that he did so? It was not by offering it
on any other terms than these, but by making it easier for men to
comply with these terms. He did not free us from the obligation
of doing penance, but gave us more abundant grace that we might
be better able to do penance. That is plain enough to every one
who will stop and think.

And yet some Christians seem to imagine that it is enough to be a
Catholic, to be quite sure of one's salvation. Practically, at
least, they hold the heresy which the devil brought in at the
time of the so-called Reformation, and which before that time
hardly any one had dared to put in words--that a man may be
justified by faith without good works.
{51}
They say to themselves the very thing which St. John warned the
Jews not to say: "We have Abraham for our father." They say to
themselves: "We are Catholics; we are children of the holy
church; all we have to do is to remain so (and, thank God! we
have not the least idea of being anything else), and then to
receive the rites of our church when we come to die, and we will
be as sure of going to heaven as a child which has just been
baptized."

But, my friends, this is a fatal delusion. Depend upon it, the
devil is glad when he sees men or women with this notion in their
heads, for he has got good hopes of having them with him in hell.
He knows well what such people do not seem to know: that it is
not enough to be a Catholic, but that one must also be a good
Catholic, if he is to be saved. He knows as well as St. John that
penance is necessary now, as it always has been; but he takes
good care not to preach what he knows.

And what is penance? Is it a mere confession that we are sinners?
No, by no means. If it were, every one would be a penitent who
was not a fool, for every one who has common sense must
acknowledge that he has sinned. Nor is it a mere acknowledgment
that sin is a bad thing, and a wish that we had not committed it,
and that God had given us more grace that we might not have done
so. No, it is a real and hearty sorrow for it, with a conviction
that we might have avoided it, and that the fault was not with
God, who gave us plenty of grace to avoid it, but with ourselves,
who did not make use of the grace which he gave. And following
from this, as a matter of course, is a firm conviction that we
can avoid it for the future, and a firm determination to do so.
{52}
And following from this, also as a matter of course, is a real
change in our lives, a real giving up of sin. That is the only
certain mark of a true repentance and of a good confession--that
a man stops committing mortal sin. The priest may indeed give
absolution to one who continues to fall; but it is with the
gravest fears that the sentence which he pronounces is not
confirmed by Him who alone has power to forgive.

I said in the beginning that salvation was easier than before our
Lord came, because we have now more grace to help our weakness.
But that only makes penance the more necessary. "A man making
void the law of Moses," says St. Paul, "died, without any mercy,
under two or three witnesses; how much more, do you think, he
deserveth worse punishments, who hath trodden under foot the Son
of God, and hath esteemed the blood of the testament unclean, by
which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the
Spirit of grace?" Be warned, then, in time; repent indeed, and
change your lives. Make not only a confession but a good
confession at this holy time, and cease, for the love of God, to
offend him any more.

-----------------------

              Sermon XIL.


  _Prepare ye the way of the Lord_.
  --St. Luke iii. 4.


Before our Blessed Lord came into public notice his missionary,
St. John Baptist, appeared in the wilderness preaching penance,
and good works worthy of penance, to the people, who were in the
darkness and bondage of sin. He cried out in a loud, thrilling
voice; "Prepare ye the way of the Lord."
{53}
So the church on the last Sunday of Advent, the first before
Christmas, cries out to those who expect to meet our Lord on
Christmas and worship him on that glorious feast: "Prepare ye the
way of the Lord." To the tepid and lukewarm she cries out: "Come
away from your darling venial sins; fill up your empty hearts to
the brim with the overflowing love and grace of God; be more
generous in his worship and service." To the young: "Prepare ye
the way of the Lord." Give me your heart while you are young and
tender; do not be allured by the empty joys and false pleasures
of the world; avoid those dangerous occasions of sin that are
about to entice you, and keep your youth innocent and pure, that
you may see the evening of your life in joy, and not in bitter
remorse.

To the old: Forget the past; if it has been bad, ask pardon and
do penance; if good, preserve it and live in grace and fervor, so
that when you are near the end of your pilgrimage here you may
attain to the great destiny for which you have been created.

To the sinner--to the one in mortal sin; the one who has not had
a happy Christmas for many a year, for the sinner has no chance
to have part in the real joy of Christmas; to the sinner who has
been exalted with pride and worldly pleasure, who has been in the
valley of impurity, and wilful neglect, and cold
indifference--oh! to you there is a voice terrible and
irresistible: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." Prepare it by
prayer for grace; warm your heart by gratitude and love; fall on
your knees at the foot of the cross in the confessional; have
your heart purified by the bitter waters of penance, and you will
indeed have a happy Christmas.

{54}

Then the promise: All flesh shall see the salvation of God. Yes,
to know and to feel and see the pardon and peace and love of
God--to have the consciousness that he is our friend, and that we
have no enmity against him--is the way to see on this earth the
fruits of salvation.

The poor shall see the salvation of God. O ye poor men and women
who have nothing in this world but sorrow, tears, and bitter
suffering! to you this coming feast of Christmas is a foretaste
of the great reward that is prepared for you. God loves you. He
spurned the palaces and royal robes of the Cæsars when he came on
the earth, and chose a poor Virgin for his mother and a hovel for
his birthplace. The poor shepherds were the first to see him, and
they will be near to him in his glory. "Blessed are ye poor, for
yours is the kingdom of heaven." For He who was rich, for your
sakes became poor.

The poor shall see the salvation of God; for He who was rich, for
their sakes became poor.

The rich shall see the salvation of God; for they will be taught
humility by looking into the crib at Bethlehem, and learning a
lesson that they can learn nowhere else, and that will dazzle
them more than their jewels, diamonds, dresses, or palaces.

So if we prepare the way of the Lord we shall finally see the
salvation of God in eternity, where we shall rejoice evermore in
the thought that all our preparation here to please God, by
keeping the commandments, suffering, and toiling, will be
rewarded by the vision of the Redeemer of all nations who washed
their robes and made them white in the
Blood of the Lamb.

--------------------

{55}

   _Sunday within the Octave of Christmas_


  Epistle.
  _Galatians iv._ 1-7.

  Brethren:
  As long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a
  servant, though he be lord of all: but is under tutors and
  governors until the time appointed by the father: even so we,
  when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of
  the world. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent
  his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: that he might
  redeem those who were under the law; that we might receive the
  adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the
  Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father.
  Therefore now he is no more a servant, but a son. And if a son,
  an heir also through God.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke ii._ 33-40.

  At that time:
  Joseph, and Mary the mother of Jesus, were wondering at these
  things, which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed
  them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for
  the ruin, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a
  sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword
  shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.
  And there was a prophetess, called Anna, the daughter of
  Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years,
  and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity.
  And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who
  departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving
  night and day. Now she at the same hour coming in, gave praise
  to the Lord; and spoke of him to all that looked for the
  redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things
  according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee,
  to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed
  strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.

{56}

              Sermon XIII.


  _And the Child grew, and waxed strong,
  full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him._
  --St. Luke ii. 40.


Jesus Christ is our model in all things, and in the verse above
quoted we see him presented as the model of youth. Your children,
brethren, ought to be strong in body, wise in mind, and to have
the grace of God in their hearts. Now, who is to form them after
the model of Jesus Christ? It is the duty of parents. First,
then, you ought to take care of the bodily wants of your
children, in order that they may grow and wax strong. How often
parents offend against this duty! There are some who let their
children eat just what they please, who pamper their appetites,
who give them all kinds of unwholesome food. Such children will
never be healthy. There are others who spend all their money in
drink--who leave their poor little ones at home, moaning and
starving with hunger; who, through their imprudence, leave their
children without food for a whole day, having squandered their
earnings in all sorts of foolish and wicked pleasures. Then, too,
there are those who allow their children to sit up till all hours
of the night, who let them go off to heated ball-rooms, who dress
them either too much or too little--who either coddle them up so
that they can hardly stand a whiff of air, or else send them out
to shiver with cold.
{57}
No wonder that our city children are unhealthy; no wonder death
sweeps them away as it does. Is it not because parents are
neglectful? Look to it, then; see to the diet, the clothing, the
habits of your children. Do not overtask their feeble strength by
sending them too soon to work. Never permit them to form
luxurious appetites. Watch over their daily lives, see that they
take proper exercise; then, like the child Jesus, they will "grow
and wax strong." Neglect the duty of corporal education, and we
shall have a generation of sickly children and adult invalids.
And if it be so necessary for parents to watch over the bodies of
their children, what shall I say of the duty of watching over
their minds and souls? Your children should be full of wisdom,
and the grace of God should be in their hearts. Oh! when I think
of the neglect of many Catholic parents in this respect I am
tempted to take up the Gospel's most awful tone, and cry. Woe to
you, careless parents! woe, eternal woe to you guilty fathers and
mothers, who are letting your little ones run to destruction!

You make your home uncomfortable by your crossness, by your
curses, by your slovenly, untidy habits. Your children, from
their earliest infancy, take to the street. They hear impurity,
blasphemy, and cursing. They hear words and see sights which are
not fit to be mentioned here on God's altar. They keep what
company they like. They learn infamous and immoral habits that
destroy both body and soul. Oh! for God's sake beware, beware! Do
you think they will ever be full of wisdom or have the grace of
God in their hearts?
{58}
Again, you are anxious enough that they shall learn to read and
write, to keep books and be quick at figures, but are you sure
they know their catechism or can tell a priest all they ought to
know of Jesus Christ, their Saviour, or how many sacraments and
commandments there are? Where are they on Sundays? Where are they
when confession day comes around? Oh! these are vital questions,
if you want them to be full of grace and wisdom. Some boys and
girls of our day, brethren, have lost a great deal of their
freshness. They smoke, they chew tobacco, they flirt, they act
like little men and women. There is no innocence about them. They
are revolting spectacles to men and angels. Wisdom, forsooth!
They have none. Grace of God? It is destroyed. Their childhood is
more like the childhood of an incarnate devil than of an
incarnate God. Look, then, carefully to your children. Look to
the little ones; correct them when they are babies. Don't wait
till a child is in its teens; then it will be too late. Set them
a good example. You know the story of the old crab, who said to
her little ones, "Why do you walk sideways?" "Suppose, mother,"
they said, "_you_ show us how to walk straight." Yes, if you
are wicked, foolish, and sinful, your children will be like you.
"Like father, like son," says the proverb. Oh! then you parents,
be pure as Mary, be industrious, modest, patient like St. Joseph;
then your children, like Jesus, will grow and wax strong, full of
wisdom and of the grace of God.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-----------------

{59}

              Sermon XIV.

  _This Child is set for the fall,
  and for the resurrection of many in Israel._
  --St. Luke ii. 34.


These words of to-day's Gospel, my dear brethren, have, perhaps,
a strange sound to us at this joyful Christmas season. It seems
strange that holy Simeon should have said that the blessed Infant
whom he held in his arms, and who had come to save the world,
should have been set for the fall of many of even his own chosen
people.

And yet we know that his coming was actually the occasion of the
fall not merely of many but of far the greater part of that
chosen people of Israel. However strange Simeon's prophecy may
seem, we see that it was a true one. Up to that time the Jewish
people were God's true church on earth; now almost all of them
are wanderers outside of it, rejecting the true Messias whom
their fathers crucified, and either vainly looking for one who
will never come or ceasing in despair to look for any Messias at
all. Instead of Christ's coming having been the means of
salvation for them, it has really been the occasion of their fall
from the grace which they had before.

But though we know that it has been so, it may still seem strange
that it should have been so. One would think that the Saviour,
who is our joy, our pride, and our glory, would have been theirs
too, and even more theirs than ours, having been born of their
own nation, a Jew of the royal line of David. But if we consider
the matter a little we shall see that it was natural enough that
it should turn out as it did; and we shall see, moreover, that
there is a good deal of danger that, as they fell from grace when
Christ was presented to them, so we may do the same.

{60}

For we shall, if we think, find out the reason why they fell,
which is the reason why we may fall too. They were looking for a
Saviour, indeed, but not for such a Saviour as actually came.
They were looking for one who would redeem them from their
subjection to the Roman Empire; who would make their nation what
it had been in the days gone by; who would make them an
independent and powerful people; who would give them the
greatness and glory of this world. So when he did not fulfil
their expectation, when he came not with earthly splendor but in
poverty and suffering, they were scandalized. It was only his
miracles which made them hesitate; and when he would work
miracles no longer, when he would not save himself from the cruel
and ignominious death of the cross, they rejected him with the
horrible imprecation, "His Blood be upon us and upon our
children."

Yes, my brethren, the cross was their scandal, and the cross is
likely to be our scandal, too, for we have the same fallen human
nature as they. "We preach Christ crucified," says St. Paul,
"unto the Jews indeed a stumbling-block, and unto the Gentiles
foolishness"; and it is a good deal the same with us Christians
now.

We feel glad, indeed, when Christmas comes; but I am afraid that
if we had been living at the time of the first Christmas we
should not have been much more likely to rejoice at the birth of
our Lord than his own people were at that time. Christmas now is
very pleasant, with its festivity, its amusements, its giving and
receiving of presents; but there is not much of the cross in
this. The original Christmas, with its cold, its poverty, and its
humiliation, was quite a different thing.

{61}

It is right for us to rejoice at Christmas; but perhaps we should
not rejoice if we remembered that our Lord came to bring into the
world the cross not only for himself but also for us too. That is
the scandal for us now. We can see what the Jews could not, that
it was right that he should suffer; but we cannot see that it is
right that we should suffer too--that what holy Simeon said to
his Blessed Mother is true for each one of us: "Thy own soul a
sword shall pierce." So in this way, even now, "this Divine
Child," with his cross in his hand for a Christmas present to us,
"is set for the fall of many in Israel." We are too apt to shrink
away when he urges us to accept it for his sake.

Indeed, we should always fall away when the cross is offered to
us, had we only our own natural strength to depend upon. It is
not in us, by any natural power, to bear the cross of Christ. But
he offers with it the grace to bear it. And in this way he is set
also for our resurrection. For it is only by the cross, by
bearing the cross ourselves, that we can rise from sin, which is
the only death which we really have to fear.

This Child, then, is set for our fall by our natural weakness,
but for our resurrection by his supernatural grace. His will is
that it should be for the latter; let his will, then, be done.
Let us welcome him, then, at Christmas, but let us welcome his
cross too; for it is only by bearing it ourselves that we can
come to eternal life.

-------------------------

{62}

              Sermon XV.

  _Behold, this Child is set ...
  for a sign which shall be contradicted._
  --St. Luke ii. 34.


My brethren, can this be possible? It is not only possible but
too true. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the sign of the love of God the
Father to us, is contradicted, is resisted, by those whom he came
to save.

And is it only those who are strangers to him that contradict
him? No; it is those who know him well and who ought to be his
friends--his own people, who call themselves Catholics, who claim
to belong to his true church.

What does the word "contradict" mean? It means to speak against
or in opposition to any one. It may mean, also, to act against
any one, or even to reject inwardly what one say's, though not a
word of contradiction be spoken. Fervent gratitude would now
exclaim: "Surely no Catholic can do any of these to Jesus
Christ?" Yet such there are, though perhaps many of them do not
realize what they do.

Who are they? They are those who speak against and resist the
teachers he has sent them; who put themselves always in
opposition to the authority of the church, and even to its head,
the Vicar of Christ on earth; who believe no more than they are
obliged to under pain of ceasing to be Catholic at all; and who
never obey except when it suits their own convenience. "Well,"
you will say, "I am not that kind of a Catholic." I am glad you
are not; still, there are many such. But there are many more who
do not go quite so far as that, and yet have a good deal of the
same spirit. Perhaps you are one of them.

{63}

Who are these that I speak of? They are those who are always
opposing their pastors and confessors, finding fault with and
criticising their words and their actions. They reject their
counsel. They even make a jest of their opinions. They think them
behind the times, and not up to the spirit of the present day.
They even sometimes violate the sacred confidence of the
confessional, and talk thus lightly even of what has been said to
them there.

Or they oppose outwardly the plans and efforts of their parish
priests. They think that they know more about everything than
their pastors. Unwilling to unite with them in their work for our
Lord, they are discontented because others are not as rebellious
and disobedient as themselves. They do not rest until they
succeed in making a party against those whom they should unite to
support, which destroys a great deal of the good which they have
done, and prevents much which they could otherwise do. In vain do
they pretend to be friends of Christ when they thwart and spoil
his work. The work of the parish is as much his work as that of
any other part of the church. The church makes parishes wherever
she sends her priests. If the people in them oppose her she
cannot do God's work.

Or if they do not resist, they despise their priests, or
certainly act as if they did. They do not seem to remember that
every priest, unworthy as he is, of course, still represents our
Lord. If they respect him, it is as a man, not as a priest; that
is, they do not respect the priest at all as such. They use him
for their own convenience when their conscience requires them to
hear Mass or approach the sacraments; but otherwise they treat
him just as a Protestant might do.
{64}
And by this bad example they lessen the respect of others for
him, and weaken the authority and influence for good which he
ought to have. This really is resisting and contradicting our
Lord, whom he represents. Let all, then, examine themselves, and
see if they are not in the habit of speaking, acting, or
neglecting their duties in such a way as to oppose and contradict
our divine Lord. Be humble as he was on the first Christmas day,
and try to help, not to hinder, his agents in all they are
obliged to do to carry out his work; for he has said to them: "He
that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth
me."

-------------------------

{65}

              _The Epiphany_


  Epistle.
  _Isaias lx._ 1-6.

  Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and
  the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold darkness
  shall cover the earth, and a mist the people: but the Lord
  shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
  And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the
  brightness of thy rising. Lift up thy eyes round about, and
  see: all these are gathered together, they are come to thee:
  thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall rise up
  at thy side. Then shalt thou see and abound, and thy heart
  shall wonder and be enlarged; when the multitude of the sea
  shall be converted to thee, the strength of the Gentiles shall
  come to thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the
  dromedaries of Madian and Epha: all they from Saba shall come,
  bringing gold and frankincense: and showing forth praise to the
  Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew ii._ 1-12.

  When Jesus, therefore, was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the
  days of King Herod, behold, there came wise men from the East
  to Jerusalem, saying: Where is he that is born King of the
  Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and we are come to
  adore him. And Herod the King hearing this, was troubled, and
  all Jerusalem with him: and assembling together all the chief
  priests and Scribes of the people, he enquired of them where
  Christ should be born. But they said to him, In Bethlehem of
  Juda; for so it is written by the prophet: "And thou Bethlehem,
  the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda:
  for out of thee shall come forth the ruler who shall rule my
  people Israel."
{66}
  Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, enquired diligently
  of them the time of the star's appearing to them; and sending
  them into Bethlehem, said: Go and search diligently after the
  child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I
  also may come and adore him. And when they had heard the king,
  they went their way; and behold, the star which they had seen
  in the East went before them, until it came and stood over
  where the child was. And seeing the star, they rejoiced with
  exceeding great joy. And going into the house, they found the
  child with Mary his mother, and falling down, they adored him;
  and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold,
  frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep
  that they should not return to Herod, they went back another
  way into their own country.

---------------------

              Sermon XVL.


  _Rise, and take the Child and his mother,
  and go into the land of Israel._
  --St. Matthew ii. 20.

At this season of Christmas and Epiphany, in these days when the
church brings us to the manger in which the infant Son of God was
laid, it is impossible for any Christian to come to Jesus without
coming to Mary also. He cannot see the one without seeing the
other; and surely he will not adore the one without honoring the
other also.

It is plain enough to us all at this time how inseparable Our
Lady is from her Divine Son, and how we must go to her if we
would gain admission to his presence. But we are apt enough to
forget it at other seasons, even at times like the month of May,
specially commemorated to her love and service.

{67}

We are apt to imagine devotion to her as a sort of thing apart by
itself, beautiful and reasonable, it is true, but still having no
necessary connection with the worship of God. We do not
understand that it is impossible for us to love and adore him as
he wishes unless we also honor his Blessed Mother--as impossible
as it would be to have a true devotion to her and forget him. The
two devotions must go hand-in-hand not only now but through all
the year.

The forgetting of this is one great reason why there is so much
sin in the world. One who has a true love for Mary can hardly
fall into mortal sin; and that not only because she will
specially pray for him and defend him, but also because he will
love her Son too much to do so. And even if he should fall into
mortal sin he will not stay in it long; not only because she will
obtain his conversion, but also because love of God cannot be far
away while that of his Blessed Mother remains.

This is also true, in its measure, of venial as well as of mortal
sin, and of those imperfections which keep people from being
saints. You will hear many complaining that they do not make any
progress in the spiritual life; that they are always committing
the same faults, and even just as often; and that they have no
more piety now than they had years ago--perhaps not even so much.

Well, of course there may be many reasons for this; but one of
them, perhaps, is that they do not cultivate a real, solid
devotion to Our Blessed Lady. They say, no doubt, some prayers to
her, and they believe fully and firmly everything about her which
the church teaches; but they do not realize that they cannot
acquire the love of her Divine Son unless they make his Mother
theirs also; that they give themselves entirely to her as her
loving children, with all their mind and strength, all their
heart and soul.

{68}

What a pity it is to neglect so easy and so safe a way not only
of salvation but of perfection! It will lead to everything else,
and nothing else will lead anywhere without it.

Let us, then, my dear brethren, at the beginning of this new year
make a good resolution--that is, to have more devotion to Our
Lady than we have ever had before. Let us take, as St. Joseph
did, the Child and his Mother, and set out with them from this
place of our exile to the land of Israel, the true promised land
above. Let us take them both, not only at Christmas but always,
through our whole journey here below; not to guard and guide
them, as he did--for we have not such a privilege--but that they
may guard us, and guide us to the country which is waiting, not
for one people only, but for the redeemed of all nations, for all
the Israel of God.

--------------------

              Sermon XVII.


    _And opening their treasures,
    they offered him gifts;
    gold, frankincense, and myrrh._
    --St. Matthew ii. 11.


To-day, my brethren, is a great day for us. It is, in one way, a
greater day than Christmas itself; a day, that is, in which we
have more cause for rejoicing than we had even then. For what was
it which we celebrated then, and what is it which we are
celebrating now?
{69}
Then it was the birth of our Lord into this world, and it was
indeed a thing which we had cause to rejoice over; but to-day it
is something even more joyous for us than that. It is not only
that he was born into this world, but that he was born for us,
for us Gentiles--to save us as well as his own chosen people, the
Jews. The three wise men whom that wonderful star led to his crib
were not of that people, but Gentiles like ourselves; and the
star which appeared to them signified the appearance to them and
to us of the true Light which was hereafter to enlighten in a
more wonderful way than before not only a single nation, but
every man coming into this world. Appearance or manifestation is
what the Greek word "epiphany" means.

It was natural, then, that they should offer gifts to their
newly-born Saviour, for they could not but do so in
acknowledgment of the great gift which he had given to them. But
let us see what was the meaning of the gifts which they did
offer--of these gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

They may be, and have been, interpreted in a great many different
ways, all of which may well be true. It is commonly said that the
wise men offered gold to our Lord because he is the King of
heaven and earth; frankincense, because he is Almighty God; and
myrrh, because he is also man, and was to suffer death for the
sins of the world--myrrh being used to embalm the dead, and hence
being a symbol of death. But there is another signification of
these gifts which is, perhaps, more practical for us, because it
suggests more directly the three gifts which each one of us must
offer to him who is our Saviour as well as theirs, if we would
partake of the salvation which he came to bring to us.

{70}

These three gifts are, then, understood by some to represent the
three duties of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, by which we are
redeemed from the tyranny of the world, the devil, and the flesh.
These last three are the great enemies of our salvation, and they
must be overcome if we are to be saved. The love of the world,
and of the treasures which it offers us, can only be destroyed by
sacrificing those treasures for the sake of God, of his church,
and of his poor; the power of the devil, who sets himself up as
the god whom we are to serve and obey, can only be resisted by
constant prayer, by which we draw near to the true God, and
devote ourselves over and over again to his service; and the
control of the flesh, with its base and degrading appetites, over
our immortal souls can only be shaken off by fasting--that is, by
mortification of various kinds, by persistently refusing to our
bodies all dangerous and sinful indulgences, and by sometimes
depriving them of pleasures which are innocent in themselves.

These three duties are practised in their perfection by those
whom God calls to the religious life by the three vows of
poverty, obedience, and chastity. By the vow of poverty the
religious sacrifices at once the goods of this world; by that of
obedience he frees himself from the tyranny of the devil,
subjecting himself entirely to God, whom his superiors represent;
by that of chastity he renounces sensual pleasure.

But it is not religious alone who are called on to make these
three gifts. The same obligation, in its due measure, rests upon
each of you. Almsgiving, prayer, and mortification are duties for
all Christians.
{71}
It is hard to see how any one can be saved who gives no more to
God and the poor than what is extorted from him, as it were, by
force; who merely says prayers now and then because he is afraid
to give up the practice, but who seldom or never really prays;
and who indulges without scruple in everything which his flesh
desires, intending to stop short of nothing but mortal sin.

Let such things, then, my brethren, not be said of us. As we
kneel with the wise men this morning before the manger of our
infant God, let us make with them these three gifts. Let us offer
to him, as they did, with a full and willing heart, our
possessions, our bodies, and our souls. This is the time for
making presents, and these are the presents which he expects. Be
generous, then, with him, and he will be generous with you. "Give
to the Most High according to what he hath given to thee."

-----------------

{72}

       _First Sunday after Epiphany._


  Epistle.
  _Romans xii._ 1-5.

  Brethren:
  I beseech you, by the mercy of God, that you present your
  bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, your
  reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be
  reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what
  is the good and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.
  For I say, through the grace that is given me, to all that are
  among you, not to be more wise than it behooveth to be wise,
  but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath divided
  to every one the measure of faith. For as in one body we have
  many members, but all the members have not the same office: so
  we being many are one body in Christ, and each one members one
  of another in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke ii._ 42-52.

  When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem
  according to the custom of the feast, and after they had
  fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus
  remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And
  thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey
  and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not
  finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it
  came to pass, that after three days they found him in the
  temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and
  asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished
  at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered.
  And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us?
  behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
{73}
  And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not
  know that I must be about the things that are my Father's? And
  they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he
  went down with them and came to Nazareth: and was subject to
  them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And
  Jesus increased in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men.

-------------------

              Sermon XVIII.


    _And he went down with them,
    and came to Nazareth,
    and was subject to them._
    --St. Luke ii. 51.


Such, my dear friends, is the brief record of our Lord's boyhood
and youth. When we next hear of him he has begun his mission to
the world. But brief as the record is, it teaches a great
lesson--the lesson of obedience. First it proclaims this lesson
to children and the young generally. They ought to be subject to
their parents. Is this the case? Often, we know, it is not. There
are proud, rebellious, and disobedient children in many
families--girls and boys who will not do what they are told; who
go to places forbidden by their parents; who speak of their
parents as the "old man" and the "old woman"; children who do
their best to make father and mother subject to _them;_ who
think they know better than their parents, and who despise those
set over them by God. So glaring has this disrespect for parents
become that a witty man has said that soon the sign and title of
a firm will be "Jones and Father" instead of "Jones and Son."
Disobedient, proud children, I point you this morning to the
little home of Nazareth. Look in, conceited, self-sufficient boys
and girls.
{74}
What do you see? God obedient to his creatures; Jesus with Joseph
and his Mother; Jesus, "very God of very God," subject to them.
There is your example. Woe to you if you do not follow it!
Disobedience made hell for the devil and his angels, and
disobedience, if persisted in, will make hell for you. Hell is
the headquarters of disobedience, and will be the home of the
disobedient and rebellious for evermore. So, then, you that are
young, cut down your pride, bend the neck a little easier to the
yoke. Be more like Jesus, who went home with his parents, stayed
home with them, and was _subject_ to them.

But not only to children and the young does this lesson come
home; it strikes all of us. In one sense we are all
children--children of holy church whose chief pastor is called
the Holy Father, and whose priests are called by all "fathers."
Now, then, you "children of an older growth," how have you shown
your obedience? Are you very particular to keep the laws of
_mother_ church? How about fasting and abstinence? What of
hearing Mass on a Sunday and of abstaining from servile work? Was
your last Easter duty made? Again, how about the advice of your
_father_ confessor? Have you followed it? How do you keep
the minor laws and regulations which the pastor of each
particular church sees fit to make for the better ordering of his
services, etc., etc.? When the priest has to rebuke you, to
reprove you, how do you take it? O my friends! these are the days
of disobedience and false independence, and therefore these
questions are of vital importance. You must _obey_, if you
want to be good Catholics. You must turn a deaf ear to the
suggestions of worldly pride; you must be submissive to holy
mother church, to our Holy Father the Pope, to the pastors and
fathers set over you in God's providence.
{75}
Obedience! obedience!--that must be your watchword. You must not
be scaling the mountains of pride hand-in-hand with infidel and
heretic, and the devil's staff for a support. You must obey the
church and follow _her_ teachings, and submit to lawful
authority. As St. Paul says: "Be not wise in your own conceits.
For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among
you, not to be more wise than it behooveth to be wise, but be
wise unto sobriety. Let every soul be subject to higher powers:
they that resist purchase to themselves damnation." Finally,
brethren, show yourselves law-loving, obedient citizens of the
country in which you live. Let the Catholic always be found on
the side of order and regularity. In a word, show to your pastors
and superiors, show even to our worst enemies, that you have
learnt well the lesson contained in these few words: "He went
down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

---------------------

              Sermon XIX.


  _Behold the Lamb of God:
  behold, he who taketh away the sins of the world._
  --St. John i. 29.


There are no words of the Gospel, my dear brethren, more
frequently used in the church of God than these. You often hear
them from the lips of the priest, but perhaps you do not remember
when. They are more familiar to you in Latin than in English.
{76}
The moment when they are said is that when the greatest of all
gifts is about to be given to you. It is just before the giving
of Holy Communion. The priest, turning to you with the ciborium
in his hand, raises one of the sacred particles from it, and
shows it to you, saying, _Ecce Agnus Dei_--which means,
"Behold the Lamb of God"--_ecce qui tollis peccata mundi_,
"Behold, he who taketh away the sins of the world."

The church has put the words in the mouth of the priest at this
time, when he distributes Holy Communion, because he is then
showing Christ to the faithful. And she puts them in the Gospel
of today, because on this day, the octave of the great feast
which we celebrated last Sunday, she commemorates what we may
call our Lord's second Epiphany after his hidden life of thirty
years, when St. John the Baptist, his great precursor, taking the
place of the star which showed him to the wise men, showed him to
those who were to become his disciples, and who were to accompany
him in that ministry of three years upon which he was about to
enter.

As St. John took the place of the star, so the Catholic priest
now takes the place of St. John. He has now to show Christ to the
world, and especially to the faithful. And St. John, in his
humility and self-concealment, has set an example to him which he
should try to copy, and which a good priest does try to copy.
That is, he tries to show our Lord to the people and to keep
himself in the background; he tries to bring the faithful to his
Master and theirs, not to himself. He desires that they should
see in all that he does not his own power or gifts, but the grace
of God, by which alone he can do them any good; that they should
not be drawn to him, but to the Lamb of God, who alone can take
away their sins.

{77}

And what the good priest does you also, my brethren, should do.
You should not think of the priest, but of Him whom the priest
represents, and in whose power he acts. And especially should you
take care to do this in those sacramental acts which the priest
does more particularly in the name of God; that is, when he
celebrates Holy Mass, baptizes, hears confessions, or gives Holy
Communion. For, in truth, it is not he who does these things, but
our Lord Jesus Christ. He, the Lamb of God, is the true priest.
He who instituted the sacraments also is the one who confers
them.

Remember this when you receive them. When you go to the
altar-rail for Holy Communion, and when the priest holds up the
sacred Host before you, saying, _Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui
tollit peccata mundi_, think not of the priest, of his virtues
or his faults, but of the immaculate Lamb of God, who is coming
to you, a poor sinner.

And when the priest is baptizing think not of him, but of the
Holy One who, by his own baptism in the Jordan, gave water the
power to wash away sin. Look at him standing by the side of the
priest with infinite love and compassion, and purifying the soul
which he came from heaven to save.

When you bow your head to receive absolution in the Sacrament of
Penance think not of the minister of the sacrament before whom
you kneel, and who is, at the best, but a sinful man, but of Him
against whom you have sinned, and who is now about to forgive you
once more. Think only of that loving Saviour who is both your God
and your Judge--your judge now not in justice but in mercy.

{78}

And, above all, at holy Mass remember who it is that is saying
Mass; who it is that is there at that altar, offering himself in
sacrifice for you. Do not be criticising the priest, and thinking
whether he is devout or not; his dispositions do not concern you
much more than those of your neighbor who is kneeling by your
side. Say to yourself, as you look at the altar, _Ecce Agnus
Dei ecce qui tollit peccata mundi._ Behold in the midst of
that throne the Lamb standing as it were slain, and fall down
with the angels in adoration before him.

Yes, my brethren, _Christus apparuit nobis: venite,
adoremus_--"Christ has appeared to us; come, let us worship
him." Such are the words of the church in the Divine Office at
this time. Let us, them, seek him, find him, and adore him in
this holy Catholic Church, and in all that is done in it by his
power and in his name.

--------------------

{79}


         _Second Sunday after Epiphany_

          Feast Of The Holy Name Of Jesus.

  Epistle.
  _Romans xii._ 6-16.

  Having gifts different, according to the grace that is given
  us, whether prophecy, according to the proportion of faith, or
  ministry in ministering; or he that teacheth, in teaching: he
  that exhorter in exhorting; he that giveth with simplicity; he
  that ruleth with solicitude; he that showeth mercy with
  cheerfulness. Love without dissimulation. Hating that which is
  evil, adhering to that which is good; loving one another with
  brotherly love; in honor preventing one another; in solicitude
  not slothful; in spirit fervent; serving the Lord: rejoicing in
  hope; patient in tribulation; instant in prayer; communicating
  to the necessities of the saints; pursuing hospitality. Bless
  them that persecute you; bless and curse not. Rejoice with them
  that rejoice, weep with them that weep; being of one mind one
  to another; not high-minded but condescending to the humble.


  Epistle of the Feast.
  _Acts iv. 8-12_.

  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said to them: Ye rulers
  of the people and ancients, hear: If we this day are examined
  concerning the good deed done to the infirm man, by what means
  he hath been made whole; be it known to you all, and to all the
  people of Israel, that in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of
  Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the
  dead, even by him, doth this man stand here before you whole.
  This is the stone which was rejected by you builders; which is
  become the head of the corner; nor is there salvation in any
  other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men,
  whereby we must be saved.

{80}

  Gospel.
  _St. John ii._ 1-11.

  At that time:
  There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of
  Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples,
  to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus
  saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman,
  what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His
  mother said to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do
  ye. Now, there were set there six water-pots of stone,
  according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews,
  containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them:
  Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the
  brim. And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now and carry to the
  chief steward of the feast. And they carried it. And when the
  chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not
  whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water,
  the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, and saith to him:
  Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have
  well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the
  good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in
  Cana of Galilee, and he manifested his glory, and his disciples
  believed in him.


  Gospel of the Feast.
  _St. Luke ii._ 21.

  At that time:
  After eight days were accomplished that the child should be
  circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the
  Angel, before he was conceived in the womb.

-------------------

              Sermon XX.

    _His name was called Jesus._
    --St. Luke ii. 21.

{81}

To-day, dear friends, we keep the Feast of the Holy Name. Our
dear Lord is known to us by many names--he is called the Word,
the Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace,
and the like--but to-day we are met together to honor his real
name; the name by which he was called when on this earth; the
name which belonged to him just as our names belong to us; the
name by which we are to be saved--the holy name of Jesus!
Brethren, this name is a holy name, because it is the name of a
God made man. It is a precious name: Jesus shed his Blood for us
for the first time as he received it. It is a great and noble
name, for it belongs to the mightiest Warrior the world ever
saw--to Him who fought with sin and death, and conquered in the
fight. It is a terrible name, for when we invoke it hell
trembles, earth fears, and even heaven bows the knee. Oh! then,
dear brethren, if this name is holy--if precious, if great and
noble, if terrible--how much it ought to be revered and
respected. We are told by our dear patron, St. Paul, that our
Lord "humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him,
and hath given him a name which is above all names: that in the
name of Jesus every knee should bow of those that are in heaven,
on earth, and under the earth." And yet, in spite of all this,
although it is so plain that this name is holy, precious, mighty,
and terrible, although it is clear that when it is uttered the
faithful on earth, the white-winged angels in heaven, ay, and
even the lost spirits in hell bow to do homage to it,
nevertheless there is a creature who will not worship; there is a
created being worse than the very demons; there is found one who
will not reverence that name, holy and good and true--and that
creature is the _blasphemer_.
{82}
Yes, brethren, in our streets, in our factories, in our very
homes that holy name is taken in vain. Jesus--that sweet name is
mixed up with everything that is foul and disrespectful. Jesus'
name, the name of our King, our Saviour, and our Judge, is used
as an oath; and not only by men coarse and hardened, but by boys
and girls, by women, and, unheard of impiety! even by little
children. Passing through the streets the other day, I heard a
volley of curses in which the holy Name was mingled, and the
curser was a boy who could not, I am sure, have been more than
eight or nine years of age; and, alas! it is not the first time
that I have heard such things. O brethren! I beseech you, by the
wounds and cross of Jesus Christ, look to this great sin. When I
hear these little baby blasphemers, who scarce, perhaps, know
what they say, I know they have learned these oaths from the
father, the elder brothers, and perhaps even from the mother, and
I tremble to think how deep the evil has sunk into the hearts of
men. Oh! then let us never again misuse the holy Name; let us
cast out cursing and swearing from our midst, lest it drive us
and our children into hell.

It belongs to us to be devout to the holy name of Jesus, for we
are taught by holy church to ask for every blessing through it.
Are we tempted? Let us call upon it, and He who bears it will
come to our aid. Are we in sorrow? Let us whisper to ourselves,
Jesus! Jesus! and he who knelt in the dark garden and sweat blood
for us, he who faced the horrors of death, forsaken and
heart-broken, will send us comfort and heal our wounds. Do our
sins terrify us? Let us look up to the Cross of Calvary.
{83}
There on the topmost beam is written the sweet name of Jesus;
there beneath hangs the _Saviour_ and the Comforter. Do we
need strength for the battle of life, and courage in the struggle
against the world, the flesh, and the devil? Jesus! Jesus! the
Mighty One, the Conqueror, the Lion of Juda, he who is called
"Faithful and true, and with justice doth he judge and fight"--he
will arm us for the battle and nerve our heart for the combat.
Oh! let us reverence the dear, holy name of our sweet Saviour
while we live; and when at last our death-cold lips can part no
more to utter it, may the great God give us each a friend to
whisper it in our ears, so that Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! may be the
last name that we shall hear on earth, and the first which our
enraptured spirits will hear in heaven.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-------------------------

              Sermon XXI.

      _His name was called Jesus._
      --St. Luke ii. 21,

To-day we celebrate the Feast of the most Holy Name of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ. The church sets apart a special Sunday
for the celebration of this feast, to bring before our minds the
sacredness of this name--its preciousness, and the reverence due
to it.

This name is the name of the God-Man who came into the world to
save us from hell. It is the greatest of all names, because it is
the name of the greatest of all beings. It was given to our Lord
by the archangel when he announced to the Blessed Virgin that she
was to be the mother of God.
{84}
An angel first pronounced it; the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph
were the first to call the new-born Babe of Bethlehem by that
name; and all holy men and women, from the time of the adoration
of the poor shepherds and wise men down to this hour, have had
the greatest veneration for that name.

The angel St. Gabriel said to the Blessed Virgin: "He shall be
called Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." You
see, then, how precious this name is: it is the name by which we
are to be freed from our sins delivered from hell, and admitted
among the blessed, the redeemed of all nations. It is the name by
which we are the receivers of the supernatural graces of all the
holy sacraments. And St. Paul says: God gave to his only-begotten
Son "a name that is above every name, that at the name of
_Jesus_ every knee should bow of those that are in heaven,
on earth, and in hell, and that every tongue should confess that
the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." It is
the name not only of the Infant of Bethlehem, but it is the name
of that One whom you see in the Stations and nailed to the cross,
bleeding, and dying, and dead for you.

And yet how our blood runs cold, how we tremble with horror, when
we see how little reverence is shown for this name! You need not
go far or stay out very long before you hear that name used most
irreverently by the child who has hardly learned his prayers, as
well as by thieves, drunkards, and murderers, and the lowest
rabble that tread the streets of this city; not only by bad men
and women, but by people who profess to be respectable Catholics.
{85}
How often we are made to wonder why Almighty God does not send a
thunderbolt and strike dead the blasphemer, or cause the earth to
open under those who so treat this holy name, and swallow them up
quickly in punishment for their crime! A man who steals, or gets
drunk, or gives way to lust sees a sensual temporary good in
these sins; but what good, what use is there in blasphemy, in
cursing, in swearing? None. It is a direct blow at Almighty God
himself. If a man were to insult your mother your vengeance would
be roused, and you would think no punishment too great for the
offender. Shall God not be jealous of his name? Shall he not
punish? Yes, he will. He says: "Thou shalt not take the name of
the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him
guiltless who taketh his name in vain."

If, then, you have not controlled your gift of speech, which was
given you to edify your neighbor, to speak and sing the praises
of God, but have given way to a habit of using God's holy name
and that of his Son in vain, ask him to give you the grace to
overcome the habit. If you hear people on the street or in
company blaspheming, cursing, or swearing, lift up your heart to
God and make reparation for the injury by saying the prayer,
"Blessed be the name of the Lord." Never give scandal to others,
and especially the little ones around your family hearth, by
blaspheming, or even by carelessly using the name of God or his
saints without due reverence. Many men and women have grown up
with this old habit clinging to them--a habit that they
contracted at home, and that they learned when young from their
father and mother. Cursing and swearing are the language of hell.
Blessing, prayer, and praise are the language of heaven.
{86}
Do all in your power to learn the language of the saints--that
is, the language of love and reverence for the holy name of
Jesus. For "his name is holy and terrible." Repeat the prayer
which is sung and said in the holy Mass on this feast:

  "O God, who hast made thy only-begotten Son to be the Saviour
  of mankind, and hast commanded that he should be called Jesus,
  mercifully grant that we may so venerate his holy name on earth
  that we may be favored with beholding his face for ever in
  heaven."

--------------------

              Sermon XXII.

  _There was a marriage in Cana, of Galilee;
  and the Mother of Jesus was there.
  And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples,
  to the marriage._
  --St. John ii. 1, 2.


As we read the story of this marriage, my dear brethren, it must
certainly occur to all of us how singularly favored it was, above
all that have ever been celebrated since the beginning of the
world, in being honored with the presence of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ, of his Blessed Mother, and of his apostles, and in
the fact that it witnessed the first of the miracles which he
performed in his three years' ministry--the change of water into
wine. But when we come to look at the matter more closely we
shall see that, great as was the honor which this marriage
received, every Christian marriage has the same. For every
Christian marriage is honored really and truly, though not
visibly, with the presence of our Lord, his Blessed Mother, and
the apostles; and at every Christian marriage a miracle of grace
is performed of which we may well believe the change of water
into wine to have been only a shadow or type.

{87}

For what is marriage now in the church of Christ? It is one of
the sacraments. And what does that mean? It means that whenever a
marriage is contracted by those who are baptized there is a grace
given with it by our Lord's infallible promise. This grace,
moreover, is one which, like those given in the sacraments of
Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, is to remain permanently
in the soul, and to be a source or fountain from which new graces
are continually to flow. So I am right in saying that our Lord is
present at a Christian marriage; for it is only from him that
this grace can come. And I am right in saying that Our Lady is
present at it; because this grace, while it comes from him, comes
through her. For she is the channel through which his grace comes
to us; which is shown in this marriage at Cana, of which the
Gospel tells us, by his working the miracle of the change of the
water into wine at her intercession. And, lastly, I am right in
saying the apostles are present at a Christian marriage; for such
a marriage can only lawfully be celebrated in the presence of the
priest, who represents them.

I said, furthermore, that at every Christian marriage a miracle
is worked which was represented by our Lord's miracle at Cana.
This miracle is the giving of this wonderful sacramental grace;
and it is well represented by the conversion of water into wine.
It is a miracle--that is to say, an extraordinary and
supernatural work of God--because it is not naturally connected
with marriage itself.
{88}
Marriage, in itself, is nothing but a contract or agreement
between two parties, having no special blessing or grace, except
that which comes from its honorable nature and the good
dispositions of the parties themselves. Such is marriage among
the unbaptized. But among Christians it is, as I have said,
elevated to the dignity of a great sacrament--the contract
remaining, but the sacrament being added to it; and it cannot
exist among Christians without both. Now, I think you will agree
with me that this is well represented by the change of water into
wine, in which water, indeed, remains, but is blended with the
spirit in such a way that neither can be taken away without
destroying the very substance of the wine.

Such, then, my brethren, is the dignity of Christian marriage,
represented to us in this marriage at Cana, in Galilee. But is it
honored among Christians according to its dignity?

How many are there who reverence this sacrament as they should?
It is one of the sacraments of the living, as they are called;
that is, one of those which require the soul, when receiving it,
to be in the state of grace. The Catholic who comes to it in the
state of mortal sin commits a horrible sacrilege as surely as he
would if he should go to the altar-rail and receive Holy
Communion without repentance for his sins. Do not forget this. Do
not dare to come to receive the sacrament of matrimony without
preparing your soul by a good confession; not only on account of
the dreadful sacrilege of which you will be guilty in receiving
it unprepared, but also for fear of losing the grace which it is
meant to give you throughout life, and which grace may never
return; for, like that offered to the soul in Holy Communion, if
once despised and rejected, it may be lost for ever.

{89}

And, for the sake of Him who instituted this great sacrament, do
not make it, as too many do, an occasion of mortal sin by making
it a privileged time for drunkenness and immodesty. A wedding
ought to be a time of joy, but for a joy of purity and sobriety.
If you make it a time for opening the door to sin for yourselves
and for others, tremble lest you bring down on yourselves for the
rest of your lives the curse of God instead of his blessing.

Invite, then, like the couple at Cana, our Lord to be present at
your marriage, and behave as you would if you were to see him
there. So shall you receive his benediction, both for time and
eternity.

-------------------------

{90}

      _Third Sunday after Epiphany_.


  Epistle.
  _Romans xii._ 16-21.

  Brethren:
  Be not wise in your own conceits. Render to no man evil for
  evil. Provide things good not only in the sight of God, but
  also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as is
  in you, have peace with all men. Revenge not yourselves, my
  dearly beloved; but give place to wrath, for it is written:
  "Revenge is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." But if thy
  enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him drink;
  for doing this thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be
  not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew viii._ 1-13.

  At that time:
  When Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes
  followed him; and behold a leper coming, adored him, saying:
  Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus,
  stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will; be thou
  made clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus
  said to him: See thou tell no man; but go show thyself to the
  priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a
  testimony to them. And when he had entered into Capharnaum,
  there came to him a centurion, beseeching him and saying: Lord,
  my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously
  tormented. And Jesus said to him: I will come and heal him. And
  the centurion, making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that
  thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and
  my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man under
  authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go,
  and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my
  servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
{91}
  And Jesus, hearing this, wondered, and said to those that
  followed him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great
  faith in Israel. And I say unto you that many shall come from
  the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and
  Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of
  the kingdom shall be cast out into exterior darkness: there
  shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the
  centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to
  thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.

-------------------

              Sermon XXIII.

     _Only say the word,
     and my servant shall be healed._
     --St. Matthew viii. 8.


The centurion in to-day's Gospel, dear friends, is certainly a
shining example to us of many virtues, Particularly is he an
example to those among us who are rich and well off, or who have
any servants or others employed under our authority. When any one
is taken sick, what is the first cry? Go for the priest. Run for
the doctor. And instantly a messenger is sought out. Now, this
man's servant was sick. What did he do? Centurion, and high in
station as he was, he went _himself_ for One who was both
doctor and priest. His servant, doubtless, had served him
faithfully, had been obedient and trustworthy; and now that this
servant is sick, remembering the sublime virtue of charity, the
master runs off to our Lord and begs of him to speak the word
that would heal the servant. Now, many of you, dear brethren,
have in your houses hired help, and the poor are around you who
serve you in many useful ways; who do work which, did they not
exist, would have to be left undone.
{92}
How do you treat those fellow-Christians? Ah! I am afraid, often
in a very different spirit to that displayed by the centurion.
They are sick. You grumble at the inconvenience to which you are
put, but what do you do to help them? Do you get the doctor? Do
you offer them such nourishment as a sick person needs? Do you
visit your servant's sick-bed, or the beds of the poor, to whom
we are all indebted for so much service? I wish it were always
so, but it is not. Often a servant is made to work when bed would
be a more fitting place to be in than the kitchen. Often the poor
suffer dreadfully because those whom they serve in health will
not help them in sickness. Oh! then let us all follow the example
of the good centurion, and if our servants in our house, or our
servants out of the house, are sick, let us, moved by a divine
charity, hasten at once to their relief.

And then in spiritual things how do we act? Catholic heads of
families, employers, masters and mistresses, keepers of stores
and workshops, how do you look after those that work for you? Do
you see that they go to Mass? Do you give them time to get to
confession? Do you look after the moral conduct of those you
employ? When they are sick and suffering are you solicitous that
they should have the comfort and help which the holy sacraments
afford? Are you sensible of the responsibility which lies upon
you to see that the priest is sent for, especially when they are
in danger of death? Oh! I am much afraid that many are very
neglectful in this respect.
{93}
So long as their work is done they care very little for those
they employ. Catholic employers often don't bestow a thought upon
these things. But don't deceive yourselves: God will require all
these souls at your hands. No Catholic man or woman ought to keep
in their houses a servant who is negligent of his or her
religious duties. You should give your help and your employees
plenty of time to go to Mass and confession; and, more than that,
it is your duty to _see_ that they go. You should not employ
by the side of innocent young men and women all sorts of roughs
and blackguards. By so doing you put immortal souls in peril. You
should remember that you are head of the family, and that the
help and the employees are part of that family, and therefore you
are bound in conscience to care for them. Imitate, then, the
centurion. Love those you employ. Have a great charity for them.
Cherish them, tend them in all their wants. Correct their faults,
reward their fidelity; and by so doing you will advance Christ's
kingdom on earth and people his kingdom in heaven.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

--------------------------------

              Sermon XXIV.

  _If it be possible, as much as is in you,
  have peace with all men;
  revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved._
  --Romans xii. 18-19.


There are a good many people who seem to find it very difficult
to have peace with all men, or at any rate with all women; for,
strange to say, it is, for some reason or other, what is known as
the gentler sex that gives and has the most trouble in this
respect.

{94}

Of course it is all the fault of some other party that they
cannot live in peace; not their own at all. They themselves are
perfectly innocent--lambs, in fact, among wolves. Other people
are always persecuting and tormenting them, or at any rate
belying them; this last is one of the favorite complaints of
these poor, harmless, and much-abused creatures. They try to have
peace as far as possible, but other people will not let them.

And of course they never revenge themselves on their cruel
enemies. Oh! no. They never injure or belie them; they would not
do such a thing for the world. They may, indeed, meekly complain
of their troubles to the few friends they have got left; they
tell how wicked these people are who give them so much annoyance.
They try to lower other people's esteem of them; but, of course,
that is not meant for injury--that is only that others may be
duly warned of such dangerous characters. In their zeal they may
draw on their imagination a little; but of course that is not
belying. They, perhaps on some rare occasions will try to take it
out of their persecutors in one way or another; but then that is
not revenge--that is only standing up for their rights. They
would like to have peace, and so they try to have it by making
reconciliation as hard as possible.

It is plain what good Christians they are from their enjoyment of
the words which follow those which I have quoted from the Epistle
of to-day. These words are: "Revenge is mine, I will repay, saith
the Lord."' These are, indeed, a great consolation to them.

{95}

"Yes," they say to themselves, "I leave them to God. I cannot
revenge myself on my enemies as I would like; I don't dare to, or
my conscience won't let me; but I hope God will punish them as
they deserve. Revenge belongs to him, I know, and I am glad to
think that in his own good time he will lay it on to them well. I
shall do all my duty if I wish patiently for the time when he
will begin to do it; and meanwhile I will console myself by
praying that he may convert them and make every one of them as
good a Christian as I am."

The delusion under which these good Christians are laboring would
be amusing, if it were not so dangerous. The danger is that the
revenge of God, about which they like to think, is hanging as
much over their own heads as over those of the ones with whom
they are at variance. They are not really trying to have peace;
their own revenge is what they want, though they are willing that
Almighty God should be the instrument of it.

They do not care either to preserve peace or to regain it in the
only way in which it can be preserved or regained--that is, by
charity and humility. Their charity is all for themselves. They
may tread on other people's corns, but nobody else must tread on
theirs. Other people must be humble, and, if they give offence,
even carelessly, must make an abject apology; but they themselves
are too good to be obliged to do that.

Perhaps, however, my friends, some of you really do want to live
in peace with all. If so, you can do it by following a very
simple rule. It is this: Be careful what you say or do to others;
they are sensitive as well as yourself--perhaps more so. You must
not expect other people to be saints, even if you are one
yourself.
{96}
Do not flatter what is bad in them, but acknowledge what is good;
stroke them the right way. If they really do you an injury see if
you have not provoked it; examine your own actions. If you are
sure you have not, put it down to ignorance or misapprehension;
try to find out what the matter is, and set it right by an
explanation, if you can. But if you have committed a fault do not
be too proud to acknowledge it. If you cannot procure a
reconciliation speak well of the other party, and believe him or
her to be, on the whole, better than yourself. For one who has
true humility this will not be very hard to do.

This is the real meaning of the counsel of St. Paul; if you
follow it you will, indeed, live in peace as far as it is
possible in this world.

------------------------

{97}

   _Fourth Sunday after Epiphany_.


  Epistle.
  _Romans xiii._ 8-10.

  Brethren:
  Owe no man anything, but that you love one another. For he that
  loveth his neighbor, hath fulfilled the law. For "Thou shalt
  not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal.
  Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet." And
  if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this
  word: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." The love of
  the neighbor worketh no evil. Love, therefore, is the
  fulfilling of the law.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew viii._ 23-27.

  At that time:
  When Jesus entered into the ship, his disciples followed him;
  and behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the ship
  was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And his disciples
  came to him, and waked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish.
  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, ye of little
  faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds and the sea, and
  there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: Who is
  this, for even the winds and the sea obey him?

----------------

               Sermon XXV.


  _And Jesus saith to them:
  Why are you fearful, ye of little faith?_
  --St. Matt. viii. 26.

{98}

Some people are always worrying. It would seem that they must
enjoy it, for they always find something to worry about. If one
good matter for worrying is settled they will be sure to rake up
another to take its place. Some of them worry about temporal
matters, some about spiritual; but whatever their taste may be in
this respect, they are so fond of the amusement that, if they
cannot get their favorite matter to worry about, they will take
something else rather than not have any at all.

You would think that this taste for worrying would be a very
uncommon one; but, strange to say, it is not so. In fact, the
number of worriers is almost as great as the number of people in
the world, and they are worrying about every conceivable thing,
though generally only about one thing at a time; it may be about
their sins or about somebody else's sins--their children's, for
instance--or it may be, and is more likely to be, about some
temporal matter, such as their health or the state of their
worldly affairs.

Now, what do I mean by worrying? I do not mean thinking seriously
about things either spiritual or temporal--for a great many,
though not all, of the things people worry about are worthy of
serious consideration, whereas nothing is worth a moment's
worry--but I do mean thinking about them in a way that can do no
good, and that only serves to turn the mind in on itself and away
from God.

Here, for instance, is a case of worrying, to which I have just
alluded: A good father and mother have children who are growing
up, as so many children are growing up, especially in this city,
in neglect of their duties and are acquiring various bad habits.
Of course this is very painful to their parents, and there is
very good reason that it should be. They would be unnatural or
wicked parents if it were not so.
{99}
They ought to be distressed about it; and I did not say that
people should never be distressed, but only that they should not
worry. But these parents probably do worry. They occupy their
minds with all sorts of useless questions and imaginations. They
say: "What have I done that these children of mine are so bad?"
And perhaps, though they ask this question, they never really
stop to examine themselves and find out if they have neglected
their own duty in any way, so as to make an act of contrition for
it, and make good resolutions, if it be not too late, for the
future. What they mean rather by it is: "How can God allow this
when I have done my duty?" And then they say: "Suppose these
children get worse and disgrace my name, and even, lose their
souls--what shall I do then?" Or perhaps they say: "What shall I
do now?" But that does not really mean anything, for either they
do not set their wits to work to find out what they can do, or
they have concluded with good reason that they cannot do anything
except pray; and that they do not do, for their time of prayer is
taken up with this same useless worrying.

Now, what does all this come from? It comes from a distrust in
God's love and providence. It comes from a feeling like what the
apostles had, as we read in to-day's Gospel, as if He who ought
to take care of them were asleep; but they ought to have known,
as their own psalms could have taught them, that "He shall
neither slumber nor sleep that keepeth Israel." Even though they
knew him not to be God, they should have known that God, who had
sent him into the world, and on whom their faith in him rested,
would not allow them to come to any harm; and they should have
been willing, when they had done their own duty, to trust in his
providence for the rest.
{100}
They might, indeed, well have waked him to get his help and
advice as to what to do; but he, who read their hearts, knew that
their anxiety had its source, not in prudence, but in distrust,
and so he deservedly rebuked them, saying: "Why are you fearful,
O ye of little faith?"

That is the reason why we, like the apostles, are worrying. It is
because we have little faith. We distrust God's providence and
mercy, and spend our time in this distrust and complaining,
instead of quietly finding out and doing our own duty, and then
simply and confidently leaving the result to him. But we have
less excuse for it than they, for we know more of him than they
did then. Let us, then, be ashamed of our want of faith, and try
to do better in this respect for the future.

----------------------

              Sermon XXVI.

  _And behold, a great tempest arose in the sea._
  --St. Matthew viii. 24.


Almost all of us, my dear brethren, have at some time of life
been in a position like that of the apostles in their little boat
on the Sea of Galilee. We have been out at sea in a storm, with
the waves beating against our frail craft and threatening to
swamp it every moment. So we do not need to draw on our
imagination to realize what their feelings must have been.

{101}

Perhaps you may think I am exaggerating when I say this; most of
you, I suppose, cannot remember ever having been in a storm at
sea. But it is quite true, nevertheless. Only the sea and the
storm were far more dangerous ones than those to which the
apostles were exposed that night. For the sea over which you
were, and still are, sailing is the sea of this mortal life; and
the storm was the storm of temptation; and the danger was that of
death, not to the body, but to the soul.

But perhaps you do not remember ever having met with any very
violent storm, even of this kind. Well, it may be that God has
singularly favored you, and given you a very quiet and smooth sea
to sail over so far. If so, you are an exception to the common
rule. It may be, however, that you escaped the storm in another
way; that is, by going to the bottom at once. You know the most
furious tempests do not reach very far below the surface of the
ocean, so that one can always escape them by sinking. So you,
perhaps, have escaped temptation by yielding to it at once; as
soon as you were tempted to commit mortal sin you committed it,
and sank into its horrible and fathomless abyss, continually
deeper and deeper, till you were brought up again to the light
and air of God's pardon and peace by some mission which he sent
you, or by some other extraordinary grace from him.

But that was not what you were made for, any more than a ship is
made to be continually sinking and being pulled up to the surface
again. Ships are made to sail, not to sink. Their builders expect
that they will battle with the elements, not be overcome by them;
nay, more, they expect that the very winds which seem to threaten
their safety shall be the means of sending them to the port which
they are intended to reach.
{102}
And what the builder expects of his ship is what God, who has
made us, expects of us; especially of us Christians, with whom he
has taken such great pains. He expects, and he has a right to
expect, that we shall stay on the surface--that is, that we
shall keep in the state of grace; that we shall battle with the
winds and waves--that is, that we shall resist temptation; and,
furthermore, he expects that the winds, even if they be ahead,
shall help us on our course--that is, that they shall be the
means, and even the principal means, of bringing us into the safe
harbor of our eternal home.

Let us not, then, be surprised, nay, let us even rejoice, if we
fall into temptation, so long as we do not seek it. "My
brethren," says St. James, "count it all joy, when you shall fall
into divers temptations." And why? First, because the fact that
you are harassed by temptations is a sign that you have not given
way to them. It shows that you are on the surface, that you have
not foundered yet when you feel the winds and the waves.

And, secondly, because it is a sign that our Lord puts confidence
in you. The builder of a ship, if he could do it, would
proportion the wind to the size and strength of his vessel; and
that is what our Maker actually does. He has let his saints have
temptations compared with which yours are as nothing at all. Such
as he allows you to have are meant for your salvation and
perfection; the more he thinks you worthy of, the better.

{103}

But do not seek them. A prudent captain keeps out of the track of
storms. Be content with those which you cannot avoid, for those
are the only ones which God means you to have.

When you cannot avoid them meet them courageously. Do not get
frightened, as the apostles did, for God is with you as he was
with them, though he may seem to be asleep. He has not forgotten
you, and with his help you will conquer them, every one.

But you must ask him to do so. You must go to him as the apostles
did, saying: "Lord, save us, we perish." He did not blame them
for that, but for their terror and want of trust in his
providence. You must work when you are in the storm of temptation
as if the result all depended on yourself; you must pray as if it
all depended on him. If you do this you will not sink in the
tempest; nay, when it is over you will find that it has driven
you nearer to the harbor where storms never come.

----------------

              Sermon XXVII.

             Candlemas-Day.


     _A light to the revelation of the Gentiles,
     and the glory of thy people of Israel._
     --St. Luke ii. 32.


The blessing of candles, and the esteem which Catholics have for
candles when they are blessed, is one of the things which
Protestants find it very hard to understand. They have no idea of
a candle, except that it is a very old-fashioned article, useful
enough, perhaps, if you want to grope in some dark corner of the
house, but, on the whole, a very poor affair in these days of gas
and the electric light. They cannot see why any one who can get a
good kerosene lamp should use a candle instead; unless, perhaps,
it might be because the candle will not explode.

{104}

The reason for their perplexity is pretty plain. It is because
they do not, or it may be will not, understand that we honor and
prize candles, as we do the images of the saints and many other
things, not for what they are, but for what they represent; and
also on account of the sanctification and real use, not to our
bodies so much as to our souls, that the blessing of the church
is able to give to anything to which it is attached.

Protestants, I say, do not or will not understand these things;
but Catholics do. It is not superstition which makes a Catholic
prize a blessed candle. He knows, first, that it has been
selected by the church to represent our Blessed Lord himself;
that its feeble light is a sign of the true light which
enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world; and he honors
and esteems it for God's sake. And secondly, he knows that it has
a power and use greater and higher than that of the most
brilliant lamps that the hand of man can make; that, though it be
but a material thing, it has a spiritual value, like holy-water
and other things which the church has blessed and sanctified; and
specially that it is a defence against our spiritual enemies,
Satan and the other fallen angels, and all the more so because
these proud spirits cannot bear to be put to flight, as they are,
by such a common and simple thing as a candle or a few drops of
water.

{105}

You know these things, my friends; the spirit of faith teaches
them to you. But you do not bear them so constantly in mind as
you should. How often does the priest go to a house on a sick
call, and find that there is no candle to be had! The law of the
church requires it when the sacraments are to be administered;
but one would think it would not need a law to make any one who
had the faith see that at least this honor should be given to
them. Strange to say, however, the people of the house never
thought of the matter at all. They keep our Lord waiting while
they run out to borrow, if possible, a candle from some pious
neighbor. Perhaps they buy one at the grocery-store; I do not
know what blessing they think that has received. When they get
the candle, such as it may be, there is probably nothing to put
it in; it is likely enough that a bottle is all that can be
found.

It would look much better, in some houses which we have to visit,
if there were fewer bottles and more blessed candles. It would
look as if the people who lived there thought at least as much of
their souls as of their bodies. It is very unpleasant for all
parties--and our Lord is one of them--to have such things happen
as I have described.

Get rid of the bottle and have a candlestick in its place. I know
that candlesticks, as well as candles, are rather out of fashion;
but the supply will always follow the demand. For the honor and
for the fear of God, do not remain any longer without a blessed
candle in your house and something worthy of it to hold it. There
will be no harm in burning it, even though no one be sick and the
priest not there, if it be at a proper place and time.

{106}

And, if it be possible, offer a candle to be burned in the place
and at the time most pleasing to God of all--that is, on his holy
altar while Mass is being offered, or his blessing being given to
you in the Sacrament of his love. Honor and glorify him
everywhere, but specially in the place where his glory dwelleth,
and where he is daily offered up for you.

-------------------

{107}


       _Fifth Sunday after Epiphany_


  Epistle.
  _Colossians iii_. 12-17.

  Brethren:
  Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved,
  the bowels ol mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience,
  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any
  have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath
  forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have
  charity, which is the bond of perfection: and let the peace of
  Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in
  one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in
  you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one
  another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in
  grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or
  in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving
  thanks to God and the Father by Jesus Christ our Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xiii._ 24-30.

  At that time:
  Jesus spoke this parable to the multitude, saying: The kingdom
  of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his
  field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed
  cockle among the wheat, and went his way. And when the blade
  was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared also the
  cockle. Then the servants of the master of the house came and
  said to him: Master, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field?
  whence then hath it cockle? And he said to them: An enemy hath
  done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go
  and gather it up? And he said: No, lest while you gather up the
  cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it.
{108}
  Let both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the
  harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle,
  and bind it into bundles to burn; but gather the wheat into my
  barn.

----------------------

           Sermon XXVIII.

    _Gather up first the cockle,
    and bind it into bundles to burn;
    but gather the wheat into my barn._
    --St. Matthew xiii. 30.


The parable which is the subject of the Gospel of to-day is
explained by our Lord himself a little further on. The disciples
asked him to expound it to them; and he told them that the good
seed were the children of the kingdom--that is, all good and
faithful Christians; and that the cockle were the children of the
wicked one--that is, all those who refuse to believe in the faith
which God has revealed, or who will not obey his law. These two
kinds of people, said he, live together in this world, but at the
end of the world they shall all be for ever separated, the wicked
to be cast into the furnace of fire, and the just to shine as the
sun in the kingdom of their Father.

Our Lord calls the sinful the children of the wicked one--that
is, of the devil. But he does not mean that the devil created
them, for he can create no one; no, God created us all, and has,
furthermore, redeemed us all with his precious Blood. There is
something about them, though, which the devil may be said to have
created, and that it is which makes them his children. It is sin,
which he first brought into God's creation, to which he tempted
our first parents, and to which he is all the while tempting us
now. Sin is the devil's work; and sinners are his children,
because they do his work.

{109}

But few people, at least few Christians, are all the time sinners
and children of the devil. Sometimes they repent and become, at
least for a time, children of God. Good and evil are mixed up in
them, as they are in the world. So our Lord's parable is true of
each one of them as it is of the world at large. Each of our
hearts is a little field in which God is sowing the good seed of
his holy inspirations, and the devil the bad seed of his wicked
temptations; and sometimes consent is given to one, sometimes to
the other.

Perhaps we may have asked ourselves the question (for it is a
very natural one to ask): "Why has God allowed the devil to sow
his bad seed in the world and in the hearts of men? And why, if
he lets it be sown, does he not root out this bad seed, and not
let it grow and choke what is good?" I should not wonder at your
asking this question, and you should not wonder if we cannot give
all of God's reasons for it, for it is one of the mysteries of
his providence. But he has himself given one reason for it in his
explanation of this parable. The servants, you will remember,
wanted to go and root out the cockle; but the master said: "No,
lest while ye gather up the cockle, you root up the wheat also
together with it." Would it not be so with us, too, if God should
take away all the bad seed of temptation out of our hearts? A
great deal of our virtue would be rooted up, too, and what was
left would not be very strong and solid. You can see that often.
A person seems very good, but what is the reason? It is because
he is not much tempted.
{110}
Let a strong temptation come, and perhaps such a person will sin
more easily than one who has seemed much worse, but has really
been acquiring solid virtue by faithfully combating with
difficulties the other has not had. And not only would our virtue
not be solid, but our merits would not be very abundant, without
temptation; for most of our merit is gained by resisting sin.

Our Lord, then, does not mean to pull up the cockle out of the
way of the wheat, but wants the wheat to live and outgrow the
cockle. It is for us to see that it does so; for if there is any
cockle left when we come to die there will be something to do
before the wheat goes to the barn--that is, to cast the cockle
into the furnace of fire; and that furnace of fire, for those who
die in the grace of God, is the fire of purgatory. We shall have
to wait there till the cockle of sin is all burned before we can
go to heaven with our wheat of virtue and of merit.

Let us not think, then, in this month of November, only of
praying for those who are in those purging flames, but also of
avoiding them ourselves. Our Lord does not want us to go to
purgatory. He would infinitely rather take us to heaven from our
death-bed than let us remain in that state of suffering. What he
wants is to have the wheat grow over the whole field and choke
the cockle instead of being choked by it--in a word, he wants us
to be saints. That is what St. Paul says: "This is the will of
God, your sanctification." Let this, then, be our devotion in the
month of November and all the year round: to imitate those (and
there are many of them) who have died and gone before their Lord
with plenty of wheat and no cockle on their hands.

--------------------

{111}

              Sermon XXIX.

  _Bearing with one another,
  and forgiving one another,
  if any have a complaint against another:
  even as the Lord hath forgiven you,
  so do you also._
  --Colossians iii. 13.

These words, my dear brethren, are taken from the Epistle of
to-day. They certainly contain a most important lesson for us,
and one which we are too apt never even to begin to learn. You
will find plenty of people who are near the end of a long
life--who have, as the saying is, one foot in the grave--who do
not seem to know how to overlook and to pardon injuries any
better than when they first began to be exposed to them.

There are two very good reasons, my brethren, why you should
learn this lesson. The first is that, unless you do, you can
never be happy in this life; the second, that, unless you have
learned it, there is great reason to fear for your happiness in
the life which is to come.

You can never be happy, I say, in this life, unless you know how
to pardon and overlook the injuries you receive from others. And
the reason of this is very plain. It is, in the first place,
because it is very uncomfortable to be brooding over injuries
received--that is plain enough; and, in the second place, you
will always be exposed to them. There is a way to avoid them, it
is true: it is to go out into the desert and live there in some
cave or hut all alone. But I think there are very few nowadays
who have any vocation to that; and if you should undertake to
live the life of a hermit without any vocation for it, the
chances are that you would be ten times as miserable as you would
be with the very worst neighbors in the world.
{112}
This is the only way to avoid them; for, however good the people
are among whom you live, they will always be somewhat selfish;
they will want to have their own way sometimes, at least, and it
will often happen that they cannot have their way and at the same
time let you have yours. And they will always be somewhat
thoughtless. They will not be so very careful not to offend you;
and you cannot expect it of them, for you are not so careful
yourself. You would be surprised if you should know how often you
have given offence to others.

The fact is, there is not room enough in this world for us all to
get along without sometimes treading on each other's toes. There
are a great many of us sailing together down the stream of life,
and it will take the most careful steering to prevent our now and
then running foul of each other. And such careful steering cannot
be expected of every one, or of any except one or two here and
there. If you really should try it yourselves you would find how
difficult it is. The saints do try it, and that is one reason why
it is a work of sanctity to be indulgent to the faults of others.

Well, I said the second reason why you should learn the lesson of
forgiveness to others is that, unless you do, there is great
reason to fear for your happiness in the life to come. If you can
have any doubt of that, those words of our Lord in another place
will settle your doubt. "If you will not forgive men," he says,
"neither will your Father forgive you your offences." You may
confess all your sins, and receive the sacraments over and over
again, but so long as you have a hatred against your neighbor
your confessions and communions will be bad; you will not be in
the friendship of God; and if you go out of the world with that
malice in your heart you will be shut out from his presence.

{113}

You will say to me, perhaps, "Father, I will forgive, but I
cannot forget" If you say this to me I say to you: Take care. As
long as you do not at least try to forget, as long as you keep in
your mind that sore feeling which the injury you have received,
or think you have received, has caused, it will always be an
occasion of sin to you. It will always prompt you to withhold
from the persons whom you blame that charity which you are bound
to show to all. You will always be inclined to speak evil of
them, to try to prevent others from praising them, to throw out
some hint in which the venom which lies lurking in your heart
comes up to the surface. And do not be too sure that you have
really done all that God requires because the priest has given
you absolution. He cannot read your heart, and often he is
obliged to forgive uncharitable people like yourself, with great
doubt in his mind whether his sentence is approved by the great
Judge who cannot be deceived.

Now, that you may forgive more easily, remember what I suggested
a little while ago: that is, that those who have offended you
have generally done so either through selfishness or
carelessness, not through malice. Believe me, real malice is
quite a rare thing. If you could see the real dispositions of
others you would see that on the whole they are about as good as
your own; and I do not suppose you think you are malicious, and I
do not believe you are. Put, then, those unworthy suspicions out
of your minds, and forgive others freely and generously as you
yourself wish to be forgiven.

-----------------------
{114}

      _Sixth Sunday after Epiphany_


  Epistle.
  1 _Thessalonians i_. 2-10.

  Brethren:
  We give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance
  of you in our prayers without ceasing, being mindful of the
  work of your faith, and labor, and charity, and of the enduring
  of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father;
  knowing, brethren beloved of God, your election: for our gospel
  hath not been to you in word only, but in power also, and in
  the Holy Ghost, and in much fulness, as you know what manner of
  men we have been among you for your sakes. And you became
  followers of us, and of the Lord: receiving the word in much
  tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that you were made
  a pattern to all who believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from
  you was spread abroad the word of the Lord, not only in
  Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place, your faith which
  is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak
  anything. For they themselves relate of us, what manner of
  entrance we had unto you; and how you were converted to God
  from idols, to serve the living and true God. And to wait for
  his Son from Heaven (whom he raised from the dead), Jesus who
  hath delivered us from the wrath to come.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xiii._ 31-35.

  At that time:
  Jesus spoke to the multitude this parable: The kingdom of
  heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and
  sowed in his field. Which indeed is the least of all seeds; but
  when it is grown up it is greater than any herbs, and becometh
  a tree, so that the birds of the air come and dwell in the
  branches thereof.

{115}

  Another parable he spoke to them. The kingdom of heaven is like
  to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of
  meal, until the whole was leavened. All these things Jesus
  spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables he
  did not speak to them. That the word might be fulfilled which
  was spoken by the prophet, saying: "I will open my mouth in
  parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the
  world."

-------------------

              Sermon XXX.


  The kingdom of heaven
  is like to a grain of mustard-seed.
  --St. Matthew xiii. 31.


A grain of mustard-seed is very little, as our Lord tells us, and
also, as we know, very sharp and burning. So is God's church,
which is the kingdom of Christ upon earth. First, it is little;
not in numbers, but little because it is poor and lowly. The
human spirit is proud above all things, disobedient, rebellious,
loving to be exalted, wishing to be praised. That which lost
paradise, which brought sin and death into the world, which
closed heaven, which opened hell, that which robbed us, stripped
us of our heavenly inheritance, was _pride_. So, then, the
kingdom of God, the church, that which is to govern the heart of
man, to rule its disorders, to bring us back to heaven, is poor,
is lowly, in the world's eyes is little. The proud world likes to
swell itself out and appear big, and makes a wide path to swagger
in. Our Lord tells us, "Except ye become as little children ye
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"; and again: "Narrow
is the gate and strait the way that leadeth to life." Do not
wonder, then, that our holy church, which is glorious and
magnificent in the eyes of angels and saints, should be thought
little, and lowly, and poor by the world, and the flesh, and the
devil.

{116}

Now, it seems that this very poverty of the church ought to be a
reason why we should love it. If you are poor, then remember
"birds of a feather flock together." The church is poor, too. She
has not (particularly in these days) much of this world's goods.
Often she is much put about to build even a decent temple in
which to worship God. The church sometimes can hardly "keep
house" for God--can hardly buy those things which are of daily
necessity for his service. Oh! then the poor ought to love the
church. Are you rich? Then the poverty of the church ought to
touch your heart and open your purse. "The poor you have always
with you," says Jesus Christ, and the poorest of the poor is
God's church. The priest is obliged to beg for church, for
school, and all that is in them--for almost everything, indeed,
that is needed for the service of our divine Master. So, then, it
is from you who are rich that large alms ought to come, so that
Jesus Christ may be able to say that we have _you_ with us
and him as well as the poor. Again, while I caution you against
hankering after mere ease and comfort in church, and the worldly
elegances to be seen in the soft-cushioned and carpeted churches
of the sects, I must express my wonder that many wealthy
Catholics appear to be quite content to see the churches where
they go to Mass fitted up with furniture that would be too mean
for use in their own houses. If our Lord finds only more straw
and another manger for a cradle for his divine Majesty nowadays,
it ought not to be because we furnish him no better.

{117}

Secondly, the church is like a grain of mustard-seed, because her
laws are often sharp and burning to the human heart.
Mustard-seed, when crushed, has, as you know, a very strong and
pungent odor. If you stand over it when thus crushed it will
cause tears to flow from your eyes. If applied to your flesh it
will burn and smart. Yes; and sometimes the law of God will make
tears start from your eyes. There is some habit you find
convenient, some little pet plan you have made, some person to
whom you are attached. These things are leading you from God; so
his church says: "Change your ways." "Give it up." "It is not
lawful for thee." "Cut it off." Ah! don't you feel the sharp
mustard-seed getting into your eyes? Again, the flesh rebels.
That drink you love so much, that sinful appetite you like to
indulge, those places of evil amusement to which you want to
go--what says the church about such things? "Take the pledge."
"Throw away drink." "You must not gratify that sinful
inclination." "You cannot go to that place of amusement." "Give
up that bad company or Jesus Christ will give you up." Ah! don't
you feel how the mustard-seed burns and stings? But have good
courage--better be burnt here than burnt hereafter. That burning
of the mustard seed will heal you, will cure you. Its warmth will
bring you back to life. Lastly, one day the little seed will
become a great tree, whose branches shall reach to the sky, whose
boughs shall wave in heaven. Then we, like poor, homeless birds
of the air, shall spread our weary wings and go and make our
lodgings for ever beneath its sheltering leaves.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

------------------------

{118}

              Sermon XXXI.


  _The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven,
  which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal,
  until the whole was leavened._
  --St. Matthew xiii. 33.


The kingdom of heaven, my dear friends, means, as you know, in
this as well as in many other of our Lord's parables, not God's
kingdom in the next world, but in this--that is, his holy
Catholic Church. Understanding it in this way, it is easy to see
why he compares it to a grain of mustard-seed or to leaven; for
it was small in the beginning, but has grown, as the mustard-seed
grows, so that it now has spread through the whole earth; and it
was not noticed in the beginning, as the little leaven or yeast
would not be in the dough into which it is put, but has now made
its influence felt in all the world, as that of the yeast is in
the bread which it makes.

This was our Lord's intention, that his church should be
continually growing till every one should enter it, till every
heart should be leavened by its faith. But there are some
people--Catholics, too, but a very curious kind of Catholics--who
seem to think that the church was only made for those nations or
those families which now belong to it, and will even blame those
who are converted to it for leaving the religion of their
fathers. I do not know what excuse one can make for these
persons, except to suppose that God has blessed them with a very
small share of common sense.

{119}

I do not think that there are many people so stupid as to talk in
this way; but there are a good many who act as if they thought as
these people seem to think. I do not mean that there are many who
give the cold shoulder to converts, for that would be an unjust
reproach; but I do mean that there are many Catholics who do not
seem to understand the world has got to be converted, and that
they themselves have got to do their share towards it; that they
are part of that leaven with which our Lord meant that the world
should be leavened; that it was by means of them, according to
their measure of ability and opportunity, that he meant the faith
to be diffused through the world. Every Catholic ought to be a
missionary in his way and place, and do something to bring others
to that knowledge of the truth which he himself has received.

Not that every Catholic should go out and preach the faith on the
corners of the streets, or to people who would laugh at him or do
him more harm than he could do them good; but that every one
should be on the lookout for those who are sincere and well
disposed, and be ready to give them a helping hand, to explain
any difficulties which they may have, or to persuade them to come
to the priest, who can explain them more fully.

But, above all, that he should spread among those who do not
believe the leaven of good example, and not scandalize them by a
bad life. One can hardly be too careful to avoid scandalizing
even the faithful; and much more care should be taken not to
scandalize those who are seeking for the truth, and particularly
about those things on which their ideas are very strict and their
consciences very sensitive.

{120}

Take, for instance, the horrible vice of profane swearing, to
which many of you, to your own shame you must confess, are so
much addicted, and about which you are inexcusably careless.
There is no doubt at all that there is many a Protestant who
would not so much as think of enquiring about the faith of a
person who was in the habit of blaspheming. And yet he may be
really anxious to know the truth, and his soul is as dear to God
as yours; and if you are the cause, by this abominable habit of
yours, of his turning away in despair from the church, most
assuredly you will have to give an account for it when your soul
shall come to be judged. Many persons all around us are outside
of the church to-day because of the prevalence of this sin of
profanity among Catholics, because all the Catholics whom they
know seem rather to be children of the devil than of the good
God.

There are many other things, particularly drunkenness and
falsehood, by which Catholics spread around them the leaven of
bad example, and drive people away from the faith instead of
drawing them to it; but I have not time to speak of all. It is
for you, my brethren, to look to it that, when you come to die,
you shall feel that you have indeed done something to diffuse
through the world the leaven of faith and virtue, not of unbelief
and vice and that our Lord will not require at your hands the
blood of your brother, for whom he died as well as for you.

---------------------

{121}

              _Septuagesima Sunday_


  Epistle.
  1 _Corinthians ix._ 24; x. 5.

  Brethren:
  Know you not that they who run in the race, all run indeed, but
  one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain.

  And every one that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself
  from all things; and they indeed that they may receive a
  corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so
  run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating
  the air: but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection:
  lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should
  become reprobate. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren,
  that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed
  through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud
  and in the sea; and they did all eat the same spiritual food,
  and all drank the same spiritual drink (and they drank of the
  spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ).
  But with the most of them God was not well pleased.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xx._ 1-16.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven
  is like to a master of a family, who went early in the morning
  to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with
  the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
  And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing in
  the market-place idle. And he said to them: Go you also into my
  vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just. And they went
  their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth
  hour, and did in like manner.
{122}
  But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others
  standing, and he saith to them: Why stand you here all the day
  idle? They say to him: Because no man hath hired us. He saith
  to them: Go you also into my vineyard. And when evening was
  come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: Call the
  laborers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even
  to the first. When, therefore, they came, who had come about
  the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when
  the first also came, they thought that they should have
  received more, and they also received every man a penny. And
  when they received it, they murmured against the master of the
  house, saying: These last have worked but one hour, and thou
  hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the
  day and the heats. But he answering one of them, said: Friend,
  I do thee no wrong; didst thou not agree with me for a penny?
  Take what is thine and go thy way: I will also give to this
  last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I
  will? is thy eye evil because I am good? So shall the last be
  first, and the first last, For many are called, but few chosen.

-----------------

              Sermon XXXII.

  Why stand ye here all the day idle?
  --St. Matthew xx. 6.

This life, my dear friends, is often spoken of in Scripture as a
day, both on account of its shortness and because the night of
death follows. Now, there are certainly many persons who do stand
all their lives idle; that is to say, they do not try to
"_work_ out their own salvation"; they do not try to do
anything in the Lord's vineyard, the church, by helping forward
good works either by their means or by their active service.
{123}
There are a great number of men and women who never think of
caring for the great business of their salvation. Day after day
goes by, week after week, and they have done no good works,
corrected no faults, made absolutely no advancement or
improvement. It is too much trouble for them to examine their
consciences, too tiresome to stir themselves to go to Mass and
the sacraments. They have sunk into a state of spiritual
drowsiness by the world's fireside; in a word, they are all the
day idle. Oh! if there are any such here, let them take warning.
For the night will surely come, and then it will be too late.
Perhaps this is the eleventh hour for you. God has called you
often before; now, by the voice of his priest, he speaks once
more and says: "Why stand ye here all the day idle?" To-day you
see again the purple vestments and hangings; they tell you that
Lent is fast approaching, that a time of grace is coming round
once more. Oh! then, you that have yet a few hours of the day of
life left, go into the vineyard of your own souls, root up the
weeds, till the soil, plant good seed, that the Father of all may
be able in the end to give you the wages of everlasting life.

Again, such among you as have means, or who are able to help your
pastor by active service in the charge of the sick and the poor,
who can teach the uninstructed, help along in sewing-schools and
in forming sodalities and pious organizations of various
kinds--to you also the cry comes, "Why stand ye all the day
idle?" Why, when called upon to bear a little part of the
priest's burden, are so many people like an old gun that hangs
fire? Why is it often so difficult for the priest to get the
active co-operation of the lay people?
{124}
Why does he so often get the "cold shoulder" as people say, when
he asks a little help? Is it not because people won't go into the
vineyard, won't work, won't take trouble? Because they would
rather not be bothered? How often they say: "I have no time";
"What are the priests for, anyhow?" "Let _them_ look after
these things." Thus they stand all the day idle, and the hard
work falls on the priests and just a few self-sacrificing
helpers. When you are called on, then, by your pastors to help in
the parish, "don't be backward in coming forward"; make up your
minds that you will not stand idle, but that it shall be "a long
pull and a strong pull, and a pull all together."

Why should we be so afraid of idleness in spiritual things and in
works of charity? Because, my dear friends, the time is short.
Life is passing swiftly. The night of death is at hand. Soon the
cry will be heard: "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye forth to
meet him." Soon the Master of the vineyard will come and look at
our work. Woe to us if he finds that we either never went into
the vineyard at all, or, at best, the work there was so ill done
that our part of the land is choked with docks and darnels and
every kind of weed! You know, doubtless, that people sometimes
give to each of their children a little garden to plant; ah! how
these children try to make "my garden" the best one. How careful
they are of it, how grieved if the frost or some noxious insect
should destroy the flowers or fruits! We are all children; God
has given us each a little garden, a little piece of his great
vineyard, to care and tend. Let us, then, like the little ones,
try to make our garden the finest, that when our Father, God, and
our dear Mother, Mary, come to look at it they may find it full
of beauty and fragrance, and say concerning us: "This one, at
least, did not stand all the day idle."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

---------------------------

{125}

            Sermon XXXIII.


  They murmured against the master of the house.
  --St. Matthew xx. 11.


We can hardly fail, my dear brethren, to understand the meaning
of this parable of our Lord, though he himself has given no
explanation of it. He is the master of the house; we are the
laborers whom he has hired to work in his vineyard, and hired,
too, at a very great price; for the penny which the laborers all
received represents the reward of eternal life which he has
promised to all who die in his service, even though they come to
that service at the eleventh hour--that is, at the end of their
lives.

Now, I do not know that we are inclined to find fault with our
Lord for forgiving one who has sinned during his whole life and
sincerely repents, though it be on his death-bed. We are generous
enough to be glad when one is really converted and saves his
soul; and perhaps all the more if it be at the last moment. We do
not find fault with God for his mercy, but rather we thank him
for it.

But we are inclined to murmur against him for what seems to us to
be an unjust and partial distribution of his mercies, as the
laborers murmured against their master. They did not complain
that the last received a penny, but that they themselves did not
receive more. They thought that the master ought to have
proportioned the wages to the service rendered; but we can see
plainly enough that he was not so bound.
{126}
All he was bound to was to give the penny to all those to whom he
had promised it; as for the rest, he might have given any one of
them his whole property, if he had taken a special fancy to him.
You would not say that a man acted unjustly if he should single
out any one of his servants and make him a special present over
and above his regular wages. You would say, as the master of the
house said, that he could do what he liked with what remained
after his debts were paid.

Now, let us apply this, which is nothing but common sense, to our
Lord's relations to us. He has a debt to pay to us to which he
has bound himself. It is a real debt to us, because it rests on a
real promise which he has made. And that debt is to forgive us
when we really turn to him and repent of our sins, and to give
us, through his own merits and the shedding of his own Blood, the
eternal happiness which that precious Blood has purchased for us.
But he is not bound to give us graces which will force us to
repent; nor is he bound to give to each one of us the same graces
inclining us to repent. He has promised forgiveness to those who
repent, but not repentance to those who sin. Still less is he
bound to give to all the same impulses to perfection, the same
interior consolations, the same extraordinary supernatural gifts
of any kind. He is no more bound to this than he is bound to give
us all the same amount of natural strength, whether of mind or
body, or the same amount of worldly goods. He has his reasons for
the distribution of his gifts, it is true, and they are wise and
holy ones, we may be sure; for he does not act from caprice, as
we might do. But they are not reasons of justice to us, but
mercy. If we were treated according to strict justice I do not
know who among us would be saved.

{127}

Remember this, then, my brethren, when you are inclined to find
fault with our Lord for his treatment of you or others. Remember
that you have already received many times more than in strict
justice was your due. Remember the countless favors, both
temporal and spiritual, which you have already received at his
hands, and be ashamed of complaining that others have received
even more. Beware of envying them those things which God, in his
great mercy, has freely bestowed on them; take care not to covet
your neighbor's goods, for that is exactly what you are in danger
of doing. And remember, specially, the great gift which he has
given you all, and which many others who certainly seem, even in
your own eyes, as good as yourselves have not received; that is,
the light of the one true faith. Remember that you have not had
to struggle in darkness and uncertainty; that you have always
been able to know what to believe and what to do. Others, it is
true, might have this, too, if they would do their own part; but
that part God has done for you. Thank him, then, for this
unspeakable mercy, and do not complain of other things which he
has given or withheld.

------------------------

              Sermon XXXIV.

       _So run that you may obtain._
       --1  Corinthians ix. 24.

{128}

There is a great rage just now, my brethren, as you are aware,
for walking, running, or footing it in any way. He or she is the
best man or woman who can go the greatest number of miles in a
week, or the greatest number of quarter-miles in the same number
of quarter-hours. The interesting question of the present day is
who can plod along with the greatest number of big blisters on
each foot, or best endure being stirred up every fifteen minutes
from a few winks of much-needed sleep, and go to sleep again the
soonest after accomplishing the required number of laps on a
tan-bark track.

This is all very well in its way. Walking is not a bad thing for
the health at any time; and just now it is a decidedly good thing
for the pocket, if one is strong enough to excel in it. But for
most people there are better ways of getting over the ground.
Even the professional  pedestrian will not refuse, now and then,
to make use of the elevated railway.

There is one journey, however, which we all have to make on foot.
That is the journey to heaven, where we all want to go. There is
no elevated railway to take us there. If we are to get there it
must be by our own exertions. We may, it is true, save part of
the labor by availing ourselves of the very uncomfortable and
slow transit provided in purgatory; but that is a thing which we
must surely wish to avoid as far as possible.

Yes, my brethren, every sensible person will try to escape that
means of conveyance, and make this journey on foot over the road
prepared in this world. Furthermore, as he has this long walk to
take--for heaven is not very near to most of us--he will try to
fit himself for it; to go into training, and to keep in training,
so that he may not break down on the way, or find himself with a
short record when the end of his time arrives. He will bear in
mind the warning of St. Paul in to-day's Epistle: "So run that
you may obtain."

{129}

How does the pedestrian manage to run so as to obtain his fame,
his thousand dollars, and his gate-money? In the first place he
works hard and sticks to his work. He does not waste his time by
sitting down on the benches and watching the other man. He keeps
on the track as long as he is able. When he cannot keep on any
longer he takes the rest and food that he needs--not a bit
more--and goes at it again. Sometimes he feels ready to drop; but
he keeps on, and the fatigue passes away.

Secondly, he not only keeps to his work, but he avoids everything
else that can interfere with it. He does not live on plum-cake
and mince pie, or fill up with bad whiskey and drugged beer. He
adopts a good, plain, wholesome diet--something that will stick
to his bones and go to muscle, not to fat.

Thirdly, he does not stagger round the ring with a Saratoga trunk
on his back. Far from it. He lays aside every weight that he can.
He even makes his clothes as light as possible. He does not care
to carry anything more than himself over the five hundred miles
that he has to go.

Lastly, he has a director. He does not call him by that name--he
calls him a trainer; but it comes to the same thing. He does not
trust his own judgment, but has some one else to feed him, to
tend him, to check him, or to urge him on.

Now, in all things, my friends, the pedestrian sets us a good
example: in the earnestness which inspires him, and the means he
takes to ensure success.

{130}

Imitate him in them in the great journey before you, in which so
much more than fame and gate-money is involved. In the first
place, keep to your work; let every waking moment be a step
toward heaven. Be not weary in well-doing. Secondly, do not
indulge sensuality; use what the world has to give so that it may
help you on your course, and not for its own sake. Eat and drink
so that your body may be strong enough to serve your soul, but
not strong enough to rule it. Thirdly, do not put a great load of
riches on your back, unless you have got some good use to make of
it. You will have to drop it at the end of your race, and it will
only keep you back and prevent your winning. Lastly, do not trust
yourself too much. Have some one to help you--a director who will
guide you and tell you when you make mistakes, when you are going
too fast or too slow.

This is nothing but common prudence; use it, and your transit to
the kingdom of heaven shall be both rapid and sure.

-------------------------

{131}

       Sexagesima Sunday.


  Epistle.
  2 _ Corinthians xi._ 19-_xii_. 9.

  Brethren:
  You gladly suffer the foolish: whereas you yourselves are wise.
  For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour
  you, if a man take from you, if a man be extolled, if a man
  strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonor, as if we
  had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man is bold (I speak
  foolishly) I am bold also. They are Hebrews; so am I. They are
  Israelites; so am I. They are the seed of Abraham; so am I.
  They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise), I
  am more; in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in
  stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times
  did I receive forty stripes, save one. Thrice was I beaten with
  rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night
  and a day I was in the depth of the sea; in journeys often, in
  perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own
  nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in
  perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from
  false brethren: in labor and painfulness, in watchings often,
  in hunger and thirst, in many fastings, in cold and nakedness.
  Besides those things which are without: my daily instance, the
  solicitude for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not
  weak? Who is scandalized, and I do not burn? If I must needs
  glory, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity.
  The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for
  ever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the
  nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the
  Damascenes to apprehend me.
{132}
  And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall,
  and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (for it is not
  expedient indeed); but I will come to visions and revelations
  of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago
  (whether in the body I know not, or out of the body I know not:
  God knoweth), such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I
  know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I know
  not: God knoweth; that he was caught up into paradise; and
  heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter. Of
  such an one I will glory: but for myself I will glory nothing,
  but in my infirmities. For even if I would glory, I shall not
  be foolish: for I will say the truth. But I forbear, lest any
  man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or
  anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the
  revelations should puff me up, there was given me a sting of my
  flesh and angel of Satan, to buffet me. For which thing I
  thrice besought the Lord, that it might depart from me; and he
  said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made
  perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my
  infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke viii_. 4-15.

  At that time:
  When a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened
  out of the cities to him, he spoke by a similitude. A sower
  went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed some fell by the
  wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air
  devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was
  sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And
  some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it,
  choked it. And some fell upon good ground; and sprung up, and
  yielded fruit a hundred-fold. Saying these things, he cried
  out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples
  asked him what this parable might be. To whom he said: To you
  it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to
  the rest in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing
  they may not understand.
{133}
  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they
  by the wayside are they that hear: then the devil cometh, and
  taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should
  be saved. Now they upon the rock, are they who when they hear,
  receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; who believe
  for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. And that
  which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going
  their way, are choked with the cares, and riches, and pleasures
  of this life, and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground,
  are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word,
  keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.

----------------------

                 Sermon XXXV.

         _And some seed fell upon a rock_.
         --St. Luke viii, 6.


The sentence which forms the text is sometimes translated "and
some fell upon stony ground"--that is to say, the good seed
scattered by the sower fell in a place that was hard and rocky.
The sower in the parable is Jesus Christ, the seed is the word of
God. The great Chief Sower, dear friends, has gone away, but the
good seed, the word of God, the doctrines of holy church, her
precepts, her laws, the rules of morality, the standard by which
we can tell good deeds from sin--all this good seed is still sown
by God's priests, by the divinely appointed and ordained
ministers of the word of God. Chiefly this sowing is done in the
confessional and in the pulpit. In the confessional the sower
scatters the good seed into each heart individually; in the
pulpit the seed is scattered over the multitude gathered
together.
{134}
It seems a hard thing to say, but alas! in these days the word of
God, the good seed, falls for the most part upon stony ground.
The priest exhorts, entreats, persuades, threatens, tells of
God's justice, speaks of his mercy, holds up the joys of heaven
as a reward, points to the abyss of hell as a punishment; and it
all falls upon stony ground. It falls upon the high crags of
inaccessible rocks, upon the heart of the hardened sinner, upon
the stony, adamantine hearts of those who have given up even the
thought of repentance. It falls upon you, wretched man, who come
to Mass for the sake of appearances every Sunday; upon you who
drag a dead, corpse-like, blackened, devil-marked soul here
before the altar of God every Sunday morning, without ever
thinking of taking that soul to one of those confessionals which
stare you in the face. Yes, the good seed falls upon you, and it
falls upon a rock waiting to be calcined by the fires of hell.

The word of God falls upon the pavement, hard and stony as it is.
It falls upon the hearts of frivolous, giddy, conceited girls. It
falls upon the hearts of blaspheming, drinking, impure young men.
It falls upon the hearts of men of business whose only aim is
wealth, and of the women who are votaries of fashion; for what
are the hearts of all such but a pavement, a thoroughfare, along
which pass every evil beast, every low, degrading passion, and
every unholy desire? O you girls and young men of this city and
this day! you men and women of the world! you who come and hear
the sermon, and afterwards go away with a simper on your powdered
faces and a sneer upon your lips! you young ladies and young
gentlemen "of the period"--to you I say, your hearts are stony
ground.
{135}
The good seed can never grow upon it. Nothing can flourish there
but thorns and briers, whose end is to be burnt. O dear brethren,
young and old, rich and poor! tear up the paving-stones, shiver
to atoms your pride, your love of the world and its vanities; and
when you hear the word of God, when the good seed is scattered,
let your hearts be not stony, but soft and moist to receive it.

There are others whose hearts are like the pebbly beach. The seed
falls there, and then the sea of their pride comes and washes it
all away. They know what is said from the pulpit is true, they
know the advice in the confessional is good, but they are too
proud to change their lives, too proud to own that the priest
knows better than they do. They say: Why should the church
interfere between my wife and me, or between my children and
myself? Why should the head of the family be ruled by the clergy?
and the like. On such as these the word falls, but it falls on
stony ground. To all of you, then, the Gospel says this morning,
"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Open your ears and
soften your hearts. Sermons are not for you to criticise; they
are for you to profit by, for you to form your lives upon. The
words of the priest are the words of God. The seed that he sows
is the good seed. Woe to you if your hearts are stony ground!
There is a rank growth which is called stone-crop, which clings
to walls and stones; there is a weed-like, yellow grass that
sprouts upon neglected house-tops. What do men do with such
plants? They cast them forth into the smouldering weed-fire. And
so will God cast into the fire that is never quenched those who
receive the word of God on stony ground.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-------------------------

{136}

              Sermon XXXVI.

    _A sower went out to sow his seed._
    --St. Luke viii. 5.

You all know, my brethren, what this seed is, and who it is that
sows it; for our Lord himself explains the parable, and you have
just heard the explanation.

The seed, he says, is the word of God; and it is God that sows
it. And what is the word of God? Protestants tell us that it is
the Bible; and their idea of sowing it is to leave a copy of it
with everybody, whether they can read and understand it or not.
That is not the way, however, that the Divine Wisdom has
followed. He has put his word, of which the Bible is no doubt a
great part, in the hands and the heart of his church, and told
her to preach it to all nations--not to leave copies of it with
them.

The word of God is, then, the religious instruction which you are
all the time receiving, mainly from the priests of the parish to
which you belong. It is God that gives it to you through them. It
ought to bring forth fruit a hundred-fold, like the seed falling
on good ground. You ought not only to hear it but to keep it. Do
you?

What was the sermon about last Sunday? Don't all speak at once.
Well, I am not going to tell you, though I am pretty sure that
many of you will never know unless I do. And if you don't
remember the last one there is not much chance that you remember
the one before that. In fact, I have no doubt that there are
plenty of people in the church at this moment who do not remember
any sermon at all. All that they ever listened to--or did not
listen to--in the many years they have been going to church, went
in, as the saying is, at one ear and out at the other.

{137}

And yet you talk enough about what you hear, some of you at
least. You make yourselves a standing committee to decide on the
merits of the various preachers that you sit under. You say to
each other: "What a fine discourse that was!" or, perhaps: "That
was the worst sermon I ever heard." But what either of them was
about it would puzzle you to tell. Your ears were tickled, or
they were not, and that was all.

Perhaps you think I am rather hard on you. You will say: "Father,
surely you cannot expect our memories to be so good. And then we
hear so much that one thing puts out another." Well, there is
some truth in that. Even if you try to remember I know you will
forget a good deal; but the trouble is that you do not try.

You do not hear sermons in the right way. You think whether they
are good or not, but you don't think whether or not there is
anything in them that is good for you; and if so, what it is. If,
perchance, you do hear anything that comes home to you, you fail
to make a note of it. You don't get any fruit from the word of
God, though you often think your neighbors ought to. You say: "I
hope Mr. or Mrs. Smith, Brown, or Jones heard that"; but you do
not hear it yourself. You do not apply it to your own case. You
do not try to find out whether anything has been said that it
would be well for you to know, or to think of if you do know it.

{138}

Try, then, to amend in this respect. Listen, when you hear a
sermon or instruction, to the word of God in it speaking to you.
Do not think who says it, but what is said, and what use you are
going to make of it. One day you will be called to account before
God's judgment-seat for all these words of his that you have
heard; look to it that they bear fruit in your heart. It is
better than remembering them, to have them change your lives; but
if they do that you will remember them. And they will do that,
unworthy as his servants are through whom they come to you, if
you listen to them in the right way. Remember, now, what this
sermon is about, and don't forget it before next Sunday.

-----------------------

              Sermon XXXVII.


    _A sower went out to sow his seed._
    --St. Luke viii. 5.


Our Divine Saviour, in his explanation of this parable, points
out four kinds of soil upon which the seed fell, three of which
gave no harvest. The barren soils represent those souls which
either do not keep the word of God--and they are the wayside; or,
keeping it, do not bring forth fruit--and they are the stony and
the thorny ground. Wayside souls are hardened by the constant
tramp of sin and dried by the scorching wind of passion. On such
ground the seed remains on the surface; it cannot penetrate. "So
it is trodden down, and the birds of the air--that is, the devil,
swift and noiseless in his flight--come and take the word of God
out of such hearts, lest believing they might be saved." Stony
soil looks fair enough, but it is shallow; the rock underneath
hinders moisture, and the seed, though it sprouts, has but weak
roots, which soon wither.
{139}
There are souls "who hear and even receive the word with joy; and
these have no roots," because their Christianity is shallow;
right under the fair appearances of religion is the hard rock of
worldliness and self-love. Now, the soil in "which we should be
rooted," says St. Paul (Eph. ii. 7), "is charity." Again, there
are "those who believe for a while, and in time of temptation
fall away." The word of God has entered into your souls; it has
converted you. But have not evil habits to which you cling, and
cherished sins repeated at the first onset of temptation, taken
all firmness out of your purpose of amendment and nipped in the
bud your good resolution? I hope the mission will have more
lasting fruit among you.

Thorny soil is full of the germs and roots of useless and hurtful
plants. In such ground, says our Saviour, the good and bad seed
started up and for a time grew together. Soon the thorns shot
ahead, sucked up for themselves all the juices of the earth, shut
out the warmth of the sun from the wheat, closed in upon it, and
finally choked it. In our fallen nature are the germs of evil,
the hot-bed of concupiscence. They are part of ourselves; we
cannot get entirely rid of them, as no ground, however well
worked, can be freed from bad seeds. There they are with the
good, and will sprout up with it; the mischief is in letting them
grow until they kill the grace of God and absorb our souls; then,
indeed, we are in a state of spiritual suffocation; the divine
seed is choked in us. Now, the thorns, says our Saviour, "are the
cares, the riches, and the pleasures of life." As long as we are
in the world we shall have to bear with its cares. Yet the great
care, you know, is your salvation. All other concerns become
choking thorns when they take precedence of this.
{140}
Riches are not the best claim to heaven. Yet it is only the
unjust getting, the absorbing love, and the sinful use of them
that choke off the life of the soul. And in riches there is
danger for the poor, strange as it may seem. As the shadow of St.
Peter cured, so the shadow of wealth diseases by causing envy,
want of resignation. The poor should beware of the "evil eye" of
riches; it is poverty _in spirit_ which is a passport to
heaven. The pleasures of life, as you know from your own
experience, unless checked by mortification, are fatal to the
growth of God's word within us. The sunshine of the world is
peculiarly favorable to the tropical vegetation of noxious or
useless weeds.

Remember that your soul is a field in which Satan has put germs
of evil as well as God, of good. Both are watching the growth and
looking out for the final result. On you it depends which crop
your soul will produce, wheat or thorns. The wheat will be
gathered in God's granary, the thorns are only fit to burn. Be
ye, therefore, good ground--_i.e._, "hearing the word, keep
it, and bring forth fruit in patience."

---------------------

{141}

            _Quinquagesima Sunday_.


  Epistle.
  1 _Corinthians xiii_. 1-13.

  Brethren:
  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
  charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
  And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries,
  and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I
  could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And
  if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I
  should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it
  profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity
  envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, is not
  ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger,
  thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with
  the truth: beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all
  things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: whether
  prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or
  knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we
  prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect shall come,
  that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I
  spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a
  child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a
  child. We see now through a glass in an obscure manner: but
  then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know
  even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and
  charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

{142}

  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xviii_. 31-43.

  At that time:
  Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold we go
  up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which
  were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For he
  shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and
  scourged, and spit upon: and after they have scourged him, they
  will put him to death, and the third day he shall rise again.
  And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid
  from them, and they understood not the things that were said.
  Now it came to pass that when he drew nigh to Jericho, a
  certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging. And when he
  heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And
  they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he
  cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. And
  they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his
  peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on
  me. And Jesus stood and commanded him to be brought to him. And
  when he was come near, he asked him, saying: What wilt thou
  that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus
  said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole.
  And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God. And
  all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

----------------------

              Sermon XXXVIII.

   Jesus, son of David,
   have mercy on me.
   --St. Luke xviii. 38.


There are two points, dear brethren, in the conduct of the blind
man of whom we have just read, that seem to be particularly
noticeable. First, although he could not _see_ Jesus, he
nevertheless knew that he was passing by, and cried out: "Jesus,
son of David, have mercy on me." Secondly, when "the crowd
rebuked him, that he should hold his peace, he cried out _much
more:_ Son of David, have mercy on me."
{143}
Now, that blind man is an image of the souls who are grievously
tempted, and also of those who have fallen into the darkness of
sin. Now, there are, as we all know, some who are dreadfully
tempted. There are good, pious souls who are afflicted with the
lowest and most degrading temptations. Crowds of evil
imaginations fill their minds; the basest suggestions are made to
them by the evil one; the foulest mind-pictures are produced in
them; they are urged to be proud, to be vain, unloving,
uncharitable, and the like. Such people are for the moment blind.
They cannot _see_ Jesus. He is hidden behind these gathering
clouds. It seems to them as if the light of God's grace had gone
out in their hearts, and they sit down by the wayside, weary and
blind. Suddenly they hear sounds in the distance; it is the
Mass-bell, the voice of the priest in the confessional, a word
from the pulpit, the choir chanting out at High Mass or Vespers.
These sounds mingle; they sound like the tread of a multitude,
and in the midst of the clamor a still, small voice says: "'Tis
Jesus of Nazareth who passes by." Oh! then, poor tempted souls,
and you too, unfortunate ones, upon whom has settled the
stone-blindness of mortal sin, never mind if you cannot
_see_ Jesus; never mind if your darkened orbs cannot gaze
upon his sweet face nor meet the look of compassion that he casts
upon you; stretch out your hands towards him, all covered with
the roadside dust as they are, lift up your choked and faltering
voice, and cry aloud to your Saviour: "Jesus, son of David, have
mercy on me!" He will hear you; he will have mercy; he will touch
your poor closed eyes and you shall receive your sight. But now
another word of advice, both to those who are trying to get rid
of besetting temptations and to those who are striving to shake
off the chains of grievous sin.
{144}
When you have given the first heart-felt cry, when you have made
the first move in the right direction, when you have roused
yourselves to make the first real effort either to shake off your
temptations or to get free from the slavery of sin, then it will
very likely happen to you as it did to the blind man: "The crowd
will rebuke you that you should hold your peace." There are a
good many well-known characters in that crowd. Their names are
Timid Conscience, Old Habit, Fear, Despair, Human Respect,
Cowardice, Weak Resolution, Want of Firm Purpose, False Shame, No
Hope, and a host of others. Now, all these will rebuke the poor,
blind, tempted ones and the stone-blind sinners. What, then, must
they do? They must take example from the blind beggar in the
Gospel. When the crowd rebuked him he cried out _much more:_
"Son of David, have mercy on me!" He knew that he must cry out
louder to make his voice drown the buzzing murmurs of the crowd.
Jesus did not seem to hear him, so he shouted louder. O you that
are blind from temptation, you that are blind in sin, you that
have given the first cry, and whose voices seem about to be
drowned by the voice of the crowd of old habits and want of
trust, cry louder, cry much more: "Son of David, have mercy on
me!" Then, no matter if your blindness be never so dark, Jesus
will stand still; he will command you to be brought to him; he
will say to you: "What wilt thou that I do to you?" And then will
be the time for you to pray: "Lord, that I may _see_." O my
God! grant that all the tempted and all the sinners may have the
grace to make that petition. May God "enlighten all our eyes,
that we sleep not in death," and bring us all "to _see_ the
God of Gods in Sion"!

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-----------------------------

{145}
              Sermon XXXIX.


  _And they understood none of these things,
  and this word was hid from them,
  and they understood not the things that were said._
  --St. Luke xviii. 34.

If you have listened attentively to this Gospel, my dear
brethren, it seems to me that you must have been astonished at
this part of it. For our Lord certainly could not have told his
apostles more clearly about what was going to happen to him than
he had told them in the words which immediately preceded these.
"The Son of Man," he says, "shall be delivered to the Gentiles,
and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon; and after they
have scourged him they will put him to death, and the third day
he shall rise again." What more clear account could he have given
them of his approaching passion, death, and resurrection? And yet
it made no impression on them at all. When the time of his
Passion actually came they were quite unprepared for it, as much
so as if he had said nothing about it beforehand.

How can we account for this? What reason can we give for this
blindness to what was put so plainly before their eyes? It was as
complete a blindness as that of the poor man whose cure is told
in the latter part of the Gospel.

{146}

There is only one way to account for it. You know there is a
proverb that "none are so blind as those who do not want to see."
That was the trouble with them, and that was the reason why their
blindness was not cured, as was that of the poor man of whom I
have just spoken, and who did most earnestly wish and beg to
receive his sight. They had a fixed idea before their minds, and
they did not want to look at anything else. That idea was that
their Master was going to have a great triumph, overcome all his
enemies, and set up his kingdom in this world as a great prince;
and they were going to have high places in that kingdom, to be
rich, powerful, and be respected by everybody. What he said did
not fit in with that idea, so they paid no attention to it. They
thought he could not be talking about himself, that he must mean
somebody else, when he spoke about the "Son of Man."

Perhaps you think this was very foolish on their part, and would
lay it to some special stupidity or prejudice on the part of
these poor, ignorant men. But I think, if you look into your own
hearts, you will find them pretty much the same.

Most Christians, I am afraid, have got an idea very much like
this in their minds. They know, indeed, that Christ did not come
into the world to be a great king, as the world understands the
word; that he did not acquire great wealth for himself or his
friends; that he did not enjoy what we call prosperity and
happiness. But they think that is what they themselves have a
right to expect. They know, of course, all about the Passion of
Christ, but they think it is all over now.

{147}

And yet there are words for us just as plain as those which the
apostles heard and did not understand. We do not see their
meaning, and for the same reason; that is, because we do not want
to see it. They are not only once repeated, but so many times
that I could preach you a long sermon made up of them alone.
Their meaning is that the Passion of Christ is not over; that
each one of us has our share in it; that the life which he means
for us is the same kind of one that he himself led. St. Paul
understood it well when he said: "I fill up those things that are
wanting of the sufferings of Christ."

Try, then, my brethren, to get the idea out of your minds that
you have come into the world to enjoy yourselves and have a good
time. It is an idea unworthy of Christians. Not those who
prosper, but those who suffer, are the ones to excite our envy,
for they are most like our Divine Lord. And, moreover, those who
suffer are really the happiest, if they remember this, for their
suffering is a pledge of eternal happiness. It is a sign that he
has a place waiting for them in his kingdom very near to him.

And let us, like the blind man of the Gospel, ask him to take
away our blindness, that we may really see this and believe it;
that our eyes may be opened to the light coming from the next
world. That will make pain and adversity beautiful and glorious;
and we will even hardly wish to hasten the day when, if we are
faithful, God himself shall wipe away all tears from our eyes.

------------------------

               Sermon XL.

Some very important notices have just been read to you, my
brethren. Do you know what they are?
{148}
You ought to by this time, for you have heard them many times
before; and yet I am sure that some of you to whom they have been
read ten or twenty times already know no more about them now than
before you ever heard them at all. Why is this? It is because, as
I said last Sunday, you do not listen, and do not try to
remember, nor care to understand.

What were these notices, then? They were the notices about this
great season on which we are entering: the holy season of Lent,
the most important one of the whole year.

What is the first one of these notices which you have or have not
just heard? You don't know. Well, it is this: _All the
week-days of Lent, from Ash Wednesday till Faster Sunday, are
fast-days of precept, on one meal, with the allowance of a
moderate collation in the evening_. Fast-days--do you know
what that means? I venture to say that many of you do not; or, if
you do, you do not act as if you did. Some people that you would
think had more sense seem to think that a fast-day is about the
same thing as a Friday through the year, except that it is not so
much harm to eat meat on a fast-day as on a Friday. It is hard to
understand how any one can be so stupid.

What is a fast-day, then? It is a day, as you hear in the
notices, on one meal. That does not mean two other full meals
besides, and plenty of lunches in between. It means what it
says--one full meal, and only one. The church has, it is true,
allowed, as the notices say, a moderate collation in the evening
What does that mean? As much as you want to take? No. How much,
then? Eight ounces is the amount commonly assigned.
{149}
That is to say, you have your dinner, and a supper of eight
ounces in weight. Is that all? No, not quite. Custom has also
made it lawful to take a cup of tea or coffee and a small piece
of bread, without butter, in the morning. This is an important
point; for if this will prevent a headache and enable you to get
through with your duties as usual, you are bound to take it, and
not get off from the fast on the ground that you cannot keep a
strict fast on nothing at all till noon.

This, then, is what is meant by a fast-day. It may be a day of
abstinence from flesh-meat, or it may not be. Monday, Tuesday,
and Thursday you can have meat, but at dinner only; and no fish,
oysters, etc., when you have meat--the tea or coffee and the
eight ounces the same those days as on the others. But on
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday no meat at any time. And
remember, nothing can be eaten on a fast-day but just as I have
described--no lunches, large or small, between meals.

But you say: "I will get very hungry and lose a good many pounds
on such a scant diet as that." Yes, that is quite likely; and
that is just what Lent was made for, that you might get hungry
and lose as many pounds as you can spare. That never seems to
occur to some people. It wouldn't do some of you any harm to lose
a few pounds; you will recover from it, I am sure. The papers say
that one of the pedestrians (a woman, too, by the way) lost over
thirty in a long walk she has just finished. Is it not as easy to
suffer a little for the honor of God as a great deal for one's
own?

{150}

But is there no excuse? Oh! yes. There are plenty. They are given
in the last paragraph of the notices. If you are weak or
infirm--really, that is; not with a weakness beginning on Ash
Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday--if you are too old or too
young; or if from any reason, like hard work, you really need
abundant food. In case of doubt consult a priest.

But these excuses do not allow one to eat meat. They excuse, as
you hear in the rules, from fasting, but _not from
abstinence_. And yet you will hear people saying: "They told
me I was not bound to fast," and forthwith eating meat as often
as they can get it, just the same as if it was not Lent at all.
Understand, then, it takes a much greater reason to excuse from
abstinence than from fasting. Never eat meat at forbidden times
in Lent without getting proper permission. Ordinary work is no
excuse.

I would like to say much more about these matters, that you might
fully understand them, were there time to do so. But remember
that the rules of Lent are binding, like the other laws of the
church, in conscience; and if you break them in any notable way
you commit a mortal sin. Suffer a little now, that you may not
suffer for ever, banished from the kingdom of God.

-------------------

{151}

          _First Sunday of Lent_


  Epistle.
  2 _Corinthians vi._ 1-10.

  Brethren:
  We do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in
  vain. For he saith: "In an accepted time have I heard thee; and
  in the day of salvation have I helped thee." Behold, now is the
  acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no
  offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all
  things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in
  much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses,
  in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings,
  in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long suffering, in
  sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word
  of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of justice on the
  right hand and on the left: through honor and dishonor: through
  infamy and good name: as seducers, and yet speaking truth: as
  unknown, and yet known: as dying, and behold we live: as
  chastised, and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing:
  as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing, and possessing
  all things.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew iv_. 1-11.

  At that time:
  Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by
  the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights,
  he was afterwards hungry. And the tempter coming, said to him:
  If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made
  bread. But he answered and said: It is written, "Man liveth not
  by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the
  mouth of God."
{152}
  Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon
  the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him: If thou be the Son
  of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: "That he hath
  given his Angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall
  they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou hurt thy foot against a
  stone?" Jesus said to him: It is written again: "Thou shalt not
  tempt the Lord thy God." Again the devil took him up into a
  very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the
  world, and the glory of them. And said unto him: All these will
  I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus
  saith to him: Begone, Satan, for it is written: "The Lord thy
  God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve." Then the
  devil left him: and behold, Angels came and ministered to him.

------------------------

              Sermon XLI.

   _Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God._
   --St Matthew iv. 7.


What is it to tempt God? The words sound very strange; for we
know that God is infinitely good, and that he cannot be tempted,
like us, to commit sin. So that cannot be what is meant by
tempting him.

We shall see easily enough what is meant by it if we consider
what it was that the devil suggested to our Lord. He said to him:
"Throw yourself down from this pinnacle of the temple; no harm
will happen to you, for your life is too precious to God for him
to allow it to be lost. His angels will carry you down safely; a
miracle will be worked in your behalf."

That which Satan wished our Lord to do is what is meant by
tempting God. It is to try and see if he will not do some
extraordinary thing for us which there is no need for him to do;
to presume on his mercy and providence.
{153}
That is what the Latin word means from which our word "tempt"
comes. It means to try, to make an experiment. That, in fact, is
the real meaning of our word "to tempt." When the devil tempts us
he is trying us, to see how far our love of God will go; he is
making an experiment to find out the strength of our souls. God
does not let him try all the experiments he would like to.

He has no right to try us in this way; but God lets him do it for
our own good. But God does not allow us to be trying any
experiments on his mercy and goodness. He does not allow us to
depend upon it, except when we know that we have a right to do
so.

And yet that is what people, and even Christians, are doing all
the time. Perhaps you do not know how; but you ought to know, and
I will tell you.

A man tempts God when he puts himself, without necessity, into an
occasion of sin. He knows, or ought to know, that he cannot
depend on God's grace to keep him from sin in such a case. He
knows that God may indeed help him through, so that he will not
sin, and perhaps that he has done so before; but he knows, or
ought to know, that God has not promised him such a grace, and
that it will be nothing surprising if he does not give it to him.

Such is the case of the drunkard who has some sort of a desire to
reform his life, and who goes into a liquor-store. He ought to
know that he must have God's grace if he is to avoid getting
drunk; and so he tries God, to see if he will give him that
grace. But there is no need for him to make the experiment, for
he could avoid it by simply keeping outside; and that is what God
will certainly give him the grace to do, if he prays and is in
earnest.
{154}
Let such a man remember, before he goes near the place, those
words: "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

Such is the case, too, of young men or women who trust themselves
in company of one with whom they have often acted immodestly
before. They may pretend to have great sorrow for these past
sins, but it is false; they may deceive themselves or their
confessors, but not Almighty God, who reads their hearts. No one
is truly sorry for his sins when he continues in the great sin of
tempting God.

I will tell you of some other people who tempt God. They are
those who remain quietly in mortal sin, day after day, week after
week, month after month. They say to themselves: "God is good; he
will give me time to repent." God may well say to such a one:
"Thou fool, who has told thee that? This very night I will
require thy soul of thee." He has a right to do it; and you have
no right to expect another day of him. When you do so you are
trying his patience; you are making an experiment on his mercy.
This present moment is all you have a right to depend on. And yet
you will sleep night after night in sin, forgetting that, if God
should treat you justly, the morning would find you dead;
forgetting that your whole life is nothing but a long temptation
of God.

-------------------

               Sermon XLII.


  _Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word
  that proceedeth out of the mouth of God._
  --St. Matthew iv. 4.

One of the greatest, if not _the_ greatest, of the defects
of the present time is an inordinate care for temporal and
material things.
{155}
How shall we live? what shall we eat? wherewithal shall we be
clothed?--these are the questions which men are all too much
exercised about at the present day. We see persons who rise, and
cause their children to rise, at a very early hour, and from that
time till late at night they are working and toiling. We see men
of the world who really injure their health, and perhaps shorten
their days, by their close and unflagging attention to business.
Why do people act thus? All for the sake of the bread that
perisheth, all in order to heap up a few dollars which at best
they can keep but for a few years. So great has this thirst for
money-making become that we see it even in our young boys. They
don't want to stay at school; they don't want to store up
learning; by the time they are fourteen or a little older (having
nothing in their heads but reading, writing, and a little
confused arithmetic) they want to be off to the store, the
workshop, or the factory. Why? Because they want to join as soon
as possible in the wild-goose chase after the goods of the world.
Now, all these classes of persons have to learn "that man liveth
not by bread alone." My dear friends, besides that poor body
which you work so hard to feed, to clothe, and to please, you
have an immortal soul. Body and soul united form what we call
man. So, then, you must not act as if you were all body. You
cannot do so without peril to your soul. Suppose you were to try
an experiment of this kind. You say to yourself: "I will eat
nothing; I will have prayers for breakfast, confession for lunch,
prayers and devotions for dinner, and meditation on death for
supper." Then you try it for a week.
{156}
What an elegant skeleton you would make for a museum at the end
of that time! Yet people treat their souls just in that way.
Instead of refreshing it with prayers and devotions, etc., they
give it clothes, meat and drink, calculations of stock,
calculations of profits, cares of this world, etc., and thus the
soul is starved just as the body would be by improper food. So
then, dear brethren, don't try "to live by bread alone." You
can't do it. Try also to live "by every word that proceedeth out
of the mouth of God"--that is to say, by doing those things
which, either by his church or by the interior inspirations of
his grace, he wishes you to do. Are you in business, or at work?
Very well; take care of your affairs prudently, work faithfully,
but remember this is not all. You must also find time to pray,
find time for confession and the hearing of holy Mass. Don't
leave piety to priests, religious women, and children, but let
the men also be seen in the church and at the altar-rail. It is a
custom in some places that the men should sit on one side of the
church and the women on the other. Don't you think if we tried
that plan that the numbers on the men's side would often be
rather slim? Why? Because they are out in the world trying to
live by "bread alone." O my dear friends! why care so much for
the goods of this world? Why lay up so much treasure where rust
and moth destroy, and where thieves break through and steal? We
cannot take a cent with us when we go, and our poor body, even
_that_ which we have pampered so much, must decay and return
to dust. Let us, then, this morning make a good resolution, that
when the devil comes and tempts us to give ourselves up too much
to thoughts about our food, our raiment, and our temporal
affairs, we will repulse him with these words: "It is written,
'Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of God.'"

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

------------------------

{157}

              Sermon XLIII.

  _Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert,
  to be tempted by the devil._
  --St. Matthew iv. 1.


Do you know what the word "tempt" means, my brethren? I have no
doubt that you know what it is to be tempted. You know that, as
St. James says, "every man is tempted, being drawn away, by his
own concupiscence, and allured." You yourselves have often been
tempted; your concupiscence--that is, your sinful passions of one
kind or another--have often tempted you, allured you, enticed you
away from the law of God.

But the word "to tempt" does not mean "to allure" or "to entice."
It means "to try." To tempt any one is to try him to see what
sort of stuff he is made of; that's the real meaning of the
word--just as a gun, for instance, is tried by putting in an
overcharge to see if it will burst, though I would not advise any
of you to tempt a gun in that way. It is not a very safe
experiment.

That is the kind of experiment, though, that the devil is always
trying on us. He is not afraid of accidents. If an accident does
happen it will not hurt him. It is just what he wants. So he
tries us in various ways to find where our weak point is; for he
cannot tell without trying.
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When he succeeds, when we break down under his temptations, he
says to himself: "That's good. I hit the right spot that time,
I'll try that again." For you see we are not like guns: we can be
burst more than once.

Now, the Gospel tells us that our Lord himself was led into the
desert to be tempted by the devil; that is, to have the devil
experiment on him. This seems strange. What use was it to try
him? Did not the devil know that he was God and could not sin?

No, my brethren, it is probable that he did not. If he had he
would not have wasted his time in a temptation which would be of
no use. But why did not our Lord let him know it? It was because,
being man as well as God, he chose to be tempted or tried like
the rest of us: first, that he might set us an example in
resisting temptation; and, secondly, that he might merit for us a
grace which should make it easy to do so. So he was led into the
desert, for our sakes, by his own Spirit--by the Holy Spirit of
God.

He has set us the example and merited for us the grace; and,
thanks to what he has done for us, it is easy for us to resist
temptation. But you do not believe it, that is the trouble.

Some of you think it is impossible to resist temptation. You say,
to excuse your sin, "I could not help it." Now, that is simply a
lie; or, rather, it is more: it is a blasphemy against God. It is
as much as to say, "God did not give me the grace to resist
temptation," and thus to make him a partaker in your sins.

{159}

You can help it. When our Lord drove away the devil, as the
Gospel to-day tells us, he made it easy for us to do the same.
And it is a great shame not to do it. What a disgrace to God, and
what a laughing-stock to the devil, is a man or a woman who
breaks down every time he or she is tried! Yet I am afraid there
are plenty of such.

God does not tempt you. St. James tells us that. He has no need
to, for he knows what you are made of. But he lets the devil do
it, that you may merit by resisting; and he does not let you have
any more temptation than you can bear. Remember that, then, the
next time you are tempted. Say to yourself: "I have got strength
enough to resist this with the help of God. I'll turn the laugh
on the devil, instead of his having it on me. I'll show him he
was a fool to try to tempt me. I'll let him see that he hit the
wrong spot instead of the right one; in fact, that there isn't
any right spot to hit. Here's a chance for me to get some merit,
and to show that I am good for something; that I am of some use
after all the labor that my Maker has spent on me."

Say this in the name of God and in the strength which he gives
you, and you will be surprised to see how the devil will run
away. No doubt he will try you again, but if you persevere he
will give it up as a bad job at last, and you will enter heaven
with the reward the Lord wishes to give you--that is, a great
stock of merit instead of sin from the temptations which you have
had.

---------------------------

{160}

         _Second Sunday of Lent._


  Epistle.
  1 _Thessalonians iv_. 1-7.

  Brethren:
  We pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have
  received from us, how you ought to walk, and to please God, so
  also you would walk, that you may abound the more. For you know
  what commandments I have given to you by the Lord Jesus. For
  this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should
  abstain from fornication. That every one of you should know how
  to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the
  passion of lust, like the Gentiles who know not God: and that
  no man overreach, nor deceive his brother in business: because
  the Lord is the avenger of all such things, as we have told you
  before, and have testified. For God hath not called us unto
  uncleanness, but unto sanctification in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xvii_. 1-9.

  At that time:
  Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother,
  and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart. And he was
  transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun:
  and his garments became white as snow. And behold, there
  appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And Peter
  answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here:
  if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee,
  and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet
  speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And behold,
  a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in
  whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.
{161}
  And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very
  much afraid, and Jesus came and touched them, and said to them:
  Arise, and be not afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes
  they saw no man, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the
  mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no
  man, till the Son of Man be risen from the dead.

-----------------------

              Sermon XLIV.

  _And he was transfigured before them.
  And his face did shine as the sun:
  and his garments became white as snow. ...
  Behold a bright cloud overshadowed them.
  And behold! a voice out of the cloud, saying:
  This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. _
  --St. Matthew xvii. 2, 5.


I think, brethren, one can hardly read the above account of the
Transfiguration of our dear Lord without having suggested to our
minds one of the most beautiful of the many services of the
Catholic Church. I mean the rite of Benediction of the Blessed
Sacrament. We ourselves are the three disciples. The mountain up
into which our Lord brings us is the holy altar. His face,
shining as the sun, is represented to us by the bright lights
that cluster round his throne, and by the refulgence of the rays
of the monstrance which contains him. Then his garments are
indeed as white as snow; for he veils his divinity under the form
of the purest wheaten bread, and hides himself beneath its
appearances as though he should wrap his sacred Body in pure
white raiment. Then the bright cloud is the floating incense, and
the voice out of the cloud the tinkling bell, which seems to say
to us as Jesus is held aloft and as we bend low in adoration:
"This is God's beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased."
{162}
So then, the Gospel for to-day naturally suggests to our minds a
few reflections on this great devotion of the church--Benediction
of the Blessed Sacrament. Now, a great many persons seem to think
that Benediction is only "tacked on," as it were, to the office
of Vespers. This idea is all wrong. To be sure. Benediction is
often given directly after Vespers, but it is an entirely
separate and distinct service. Vespers end with the Antiphon of
the Blessed Virgin; Benediction begins when the Holy Sacrament is
taken from the tabernacle and placed in the costly metal frame
called the monstrance, or ostensorium. So, then, Benediction is
not part of Vespers, or of any function which may precede it; and
I want to make this very clear, because I think the false notion
that it is merely something supplementary is a reason why so many
people neglect it. What, then, is Benediction? It is the solemn
exposition of the same Jesus whose face shone so bright on
Thabor. He stays there upon the altar for a little while, that we
may kneel before him, adore him, praise him. Then he is lifted up
in the hands of his priest, and he gives us his blessing.
Remember, it is not the priest who blesses you at Benediction; it
is Jesus himself who does so. Now, it is very true, dear friends,
that people are not _bound_ to come to Benediction; yet
surely, if each one realized what a blessed thing Benediction is,
no one who could come would stay away. Jesus is there on the
altar. He is waiting to hear your prayers, waiting to receive
your acts of love and adoration, waiting to bless you. Oh! then
come often to Benediction. Do not say, "There is nothing but
Vespers this afternoon"; remember there is something more
--Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
{163}
There is a day fast approaching on which the Holy Sacrament will
be carried in procession, and then placed in the most solemn
manner in the repository. I mean Maundy Thursday. Now, that is
also an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and, although Jesus
is not held aloft by the priest as at ordinary Benedictions, who
can doubt but that Jesus blesses us as he passes by? I pray you,
then, when that day arrives to remember who it is who comes to
you. Let us see the church full, not of gazers at the lights and
flowers, but of faithful worshippers of their King and God. If
you go from church to church on that day don't go to peer, don't
go to see, but to to pray. So when the devotion of the Forty
Hours is announced in your church--that devotion which is the
most solemn of all the expositions and benedictions through the
year--be devout; spend at least an hour in the day before the
Lamb of God. Remember that the Holy Sacrament is Jesus
Christ--the very same who was born in Bethlehem and died on
Calvary. Lastly, come to Benediction always with a living faith
and a burning love. Never let your place be vacant, if you can
help it, when you know it is to be given. Set a great store by
it. In the words of a living preacher: "Night by night the Son of
God comes forth to you in his white raiment, wearing his golden
crown; night by night his sweet voice is heard, and he looks for
you with a wistful gaze; do not turn away from such blessedness
as this; do not refuse to listen to his pleading words; do not
let your places be empty before the altar when Jesus comes."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-----------------------

{164}

              Sermon XLV.

  _And that no man over-reach,
  nor deceive his brother in business;
  because the Lord is the avenger of all such things._
  --1 Thessalonians iv. 6.


These words are from the Epistle of to-day, my dear brethren, and
are certainly suggestive, or at least should be so, at this
season which the church has assigned as a time for examination of
conscience and repentance for sin.

The sin which St. Paul warns us against goes, when it is
practised in other ways, by worse names than the one which he
gives it here. A man meets you on a lonely road and takes your
money forcibly from you; what do you call it? You call it
robbery. A man enters your house at dead of night and carries off
your property; what do you call it? You call it burglary. A man
picks your pocket on the street; what do you call it? You call it
theft. Well, it is all one and the same thing. All these are
various ways of breaking the Seventh Commandment; and what is
that? _Thou shalt not steal._

And what is it to deceive or over-reach some one else in
business? It is just the same thing as these; it is the breaking
of this same commandment; it is stealing, just as much as
robbery, burglary, and theft are, only it does not go by so bad a
name, and is not so likely to be punished by the laws of the
land. And what do I mean by this over-reaching or deceiving? I
mean selling goods under false pretences for more than they are
really worth; using false weights or measures; evading in one way
and another the payment of one's just debts; taking advantage of
one's neighbor's difficulties to make an undue profit for one's
self; in short, all the many ways in which men turn a dishonest
penny or dollar; in which they get rich by trickery and
injustice.
{165}
All these are stealing, just as bad and a great deal more
dishonorable than robbery, burglary, or theft, because not
attended with so much risk to the person who is guilty of them.

Now, it seems to me that this sin of cheating--for that is the
bad name such sharp practices ought to go by, though they often
do not--is a most strange and unaccountable one; much more so
than those other kinds of stealing. The man who breaks into your
house or who picks your pocket is generally one who is pretty
badly off, and who needs what he takes more than the people do
from whom he takes it. You do not expect to find rich men setting
up as burglars or pickpockets. It is true, sometimes you do find
people who have a passion for stealing things when they have
plenty of money to buy them; but that is commonly considered to
be a special kind of insanity, and they have a name made on
purpose for it; they call it "kleptomania." The people who do
this are supposed to be crazy on this particular point; but is it
not really just the same thing for a man who has enough and to
spare to be trying to cheat his neighbor? Such a man, it would
seem, must be crazy too.

And there is another way in which cheating is a strange thing,
and especially in a Catholic. For every Catholic at least must
know that if he tries to cheat he himself gets cheated worse than
the people he is trying to impose on. For he gets himself into a
very bad position. He has got to do one of two things.
{166}
One is to restore, as far as possible, what he has cheated other
people out of; and that is a very hard thing to do
sometimes--much harder than it would have been to have left
cheating alone. But hard as this is, the other is much harder.
For the other thing is to go to hell; to be banished from God for
ever; to pay for all eternity the debt which he would not pay
here.

Do not, then, my brethren, get yourselves into this position. But
if you are in it do the first of these two things. Restore your
ill-gotten goods. Do it now; not put it off till you come to die.
It will cost you a struggle then as well as now; and even if you
try to do it then, it is doubtful if those who come after you
will carry out your wishes. A purpose to restore which is put off
till a time when you cannot be sure of carrying it out is rather
a weak bridge on which to pass to eternal life. Remember now what
you will Wish at the hour of death to have remembered; remember
those words of our Lord: "What doth it profit a man, if he gain
the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?"

------------------------

              Sermon XLVI.


Those of you, my brethren, who are keeping Lent as it should be
kept are beginning by this time, if I am not mistaken, to think
that it is a pretty long and tedious season. Fasting and
abstinence, giving up many worldly amusements, getting up early
in the morning and going to Mass as so many of you do, and other
such things, get to be rather tiresome to the natural man after a
few days; and I have no doubt you are quite glad that Lent does
not last the whole year, and are looking forward to the time when
it will be over. I have always noticed that there were not many
at Mass in Easter week, and there are very few, I imagine, who
fast or abstain much then.

{167}

And perhaps you are even inclined to say: "What ever did the
church get up Lent for at all? Certainly we could be good
Christians without it, or save our souls, at any rate." But when
you come to think of it you know well enough why Lent was
instituted. You know that we cannot save our souls without
abstaining from sin, and that we shall not be likely to abstain
from sin unless we abstain sometimes also from what is not
sinful. You know also that we cannot get to heaven without doing
penance for our sins, and that it is better to do penance here
than in purgatory. And you know, too, that most people will not
abstain much or do much penance beyond what the church commands;
so you know why the church got up Lent.

She did it that we might get to heaven sooner and more surely.
That ought to be our encouragement, then, in it, that every good
Lent brings us a good deal nearer to heaven; that heaven is the
reward of penance and mortification. And it is partly to keep
this before our minds that the church tells us in to-day's Gospel
the story of our Lord's transfiguration: how he took Peter and
James and John up with him on Mount Thabor, and there appeared to
them in his glory; and filled their hearts with renewed courage
and confidence in him, and with a firm belief that it was worth
their while to follow him, even if they had to sleep out at
night, and not get much to eat, and suffer in many ways--that it
was worth while for the sake of the good time coming, of which
his glory was a promise, though they did not know just when or
what it would be.

{168}

They thought, perhaps, it would be in this world; that their
Master would come out in the power and majesty that they could
see that he had, put down all his enemies, and reign as a great
king on the earth. We know better; we know, or ought to know,
that it will not be in this world. But we know that the good time
coming will be something a great deal better than anything that
can be in this world.

So we ought to be a great deal more encouraged than they were,
especially when we think how little, after all, we have to suffer
compared with what was asked of our Lord's chosen apostles. We do
not have to sleep on the ground, or live on grains of wheat
picked off the stalk in the fields, as they sometimes had to do.
We have not got to look forward, as they did after his death, to
long and painful labors and journeyings, to being driven from one
city to another, to being scourged and buffeted, and put at last
to a cruel death. No; on the whole, we have got a pretty easy
time. We probably will not starve; nobody will persecute us; we
will most likely always have a house to live in, and die in our
beds.

It is not much, then, is it, to eat fish instead of meat, to fast
enough to have a good appetite, to lose a little sleep and get a
little tired? Perhaps if we would think more of the reward for
such little things, and think a little more of the good time
coming in heaven, we might even wish that Lent was more than
forty days long.

-------------------------------

{169}

          _Third Sunday of Lent_


  Epistle.
  _Ephesians_ v. 1-9.

  Brethren:
  Be ye followers of God, as most dear children. And walk in love
  as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us
  an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness.
  But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it
  not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: nor
  obscenity, nor foolish talking, nor scurrility, which is to no
  purpose: but rather giving of thanks. For know ye this, and
  understand that no fornicator, nor unclean, nor covetous person
  which is a serving of idols hath any inheritance in the kingdom
  of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words.
  For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the
  children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them.
  For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord.
  Walk ye as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is
  in all goodness, and justice, and truth.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke_ xi. 14-28.

  At that time:
  Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb; and when
  he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke; and the multitude
  admired: but some of them said: He casteth out devils in
  Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. And others tempting, asked
  of him a sign from heaven. But he, seeing their thoughts, said
  to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought
  to desolation, and a house upon a house shall fall. And if
  Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom
  stand? because you say, that in Beelzebub I cast out devils.
  Now if I cast out devils in Beelzebub, in whom do your children
  cast them out?
{170}
  Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I, in the finger of
  God, cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon
  you. When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things
  which he possesseth are in peace. But if a stronger than he
  come upon him and overcome him, he will take away all his armor
  wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils. He that is
  not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me,
  scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he
  walketh through places without water, seeking rest: and not
  finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came
  out. And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished.
  Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more
  wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the
  last state of that man becometh worse than the first. And it
  came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from
  the crowd lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the
  womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he
  said: Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God
  and keep it.

-----------------------

              Sermon XLVII.


  _Every kingdom divided against itself
  shall be brought to desolation._
  --St. Luke xi. 17.


We can see at once how true the sentence just read is; for if the
head of a kingdom were to rise against the members, the king
against his ministers, the people against both king and
government, and the army and navy against their proper
commanders--if all this should take place, then I say that
kingdom would certainly be brought to desolation, and any enemy
could easily come along and take possession of it.
{171}
Now, dear brethren, the Christian family is a little kingdom. The
father and mother are the king and queen, the older and more
experienced members of the family are the counsellors, the
children the subjects of that kingdom. The Christian family ought
to be most closely united, and this for many reasons. Each member
has been baptized with the same baptism, been sanctified by the
same Holy Spirit. They have all been pardoned for their sins
through the same Precious Blood, do all eat of the same spiritual
food, the Body and Blood of Christ. Then, to come to natural
reasons, they are bound together by the tie of blood, by the tie
of parental and filial affection; they live together, pray
together, rejoice together, suffer together. So there is every
reason why the Christian family should be united; and if it is to
fulfil its mission properly it _must_ be united, or it will
be brought to desolation. O my dear friends! how many of these
little kingdoms which should go to make up the grand empire of
Jesus Christ upon earth fall away from their allegiance to him,
and all because they are divided against themselves. We see a
father, for instance, given over to habits of drunkenness; he
comes home either in a dull, heavy stupor or else in a perfect
fury of rage; he worries his wife, scares his children, disgraces
himself; all his family shrink from him. There you see at once
the head divided against the members. Or there is in the family a
cross, ill-tempered, scolding wife, and, as the Scripture says,
"there is no anger above the anger of a woman: it will be more
agreeable to abide with a lion and a dragon than to dwell with a
wicked woman. As the climbing of a sandy way is to the feet of
the aged, so is a wife full of tongue to a quiet man."
{172}
Such a woman would divide any family; she destroys the unity
thereof just as much as the drunken husband. What, also, must be
thought of interfering relations, cousins, aunts, uncles, and
last, but not least, mothers-in-law? How often do they make
mischief and destroy the kingdom of the Christian family! So,
too, rebellious children, quarrelsome brothers and sisters--they
all destroy peace, they all help to divide the kingdom, they all
help to bring it to desolation; and in the end, instead of a fair
kingdom, strong and united, nothing remains but a wretched scene
of strife and contention, and in comes the devil and takes
possession of everything. Now, my dear friends, when by your
drunkenness, your crossness, your mischief-making and
party-spirit, by your rebellion against parental authority, you
divide the kingdom of your family, not only you yourselves will
suffer, not only will you and your family have to endure
spiritual injury and perhaps loss of salvation, but the great
kingdom of Christ, now militant here on earth, and one day to be
triumphant in heaven, suffers also. Who make up the church on
earth? Individuals, families. Who are to fill the ranks of the
heavenly kingdom? The same. Oh! then, if you are divided against
yourselves, if you are brought to desolation, you are part of the
devil's kingdom on earth, and will form part of his empire of sin
and death in hell. For God's sake, brethren, _stop this evil
war_. Stop these things which make the family miserable. Have
peace in your homes. Let men see that the peace of Christ and the
union of Christ dwell there. Correct your faults; curb your
tongues and your tempers; be obedient.
{173}
Remember, the first words the priest says when he comes to your
homes on a sick-call are these: "Peace be to this house and all
that dwell therein." Try to profit by that benediction. Try
always to have the peace of God, which passeth all knowledge, and
then shall your kingdom stand.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

----------------------------

               Sermon XLVIII.

"Are you going to make your Easter duty?" This is an important
question just now, my dear brethren. You should put it to
yourselves, and your answer should be: "Yes, certainly." The
church commands it; and you know very well that he who will not
hear the church is to be held as a heathen and a publican; that
he who despises the church despises our Lord, and he who despises
the Lord despises his Father who is in heaven. Surely you will
not make yourselves guilty of this frightful sin of contempt;
surely you do not wish to be held as a heathen. But knowing, as
you do, the precept of the church binding at this time, how can
you expect, if you do not fulfil it, to escape from the
consequences of your disobedience, as expressed in the words of
our Lord which I have just recited?

To go against the church in one of her commands is to spurn her
authority altogether. It is strange that people should make, of
their own wits or fancy, distinctions between the precepts of the
church, when the church makes and acknowledges no such
distinctions. The authority in all cases is the same, and,
therefore, the commands are all equally binding. Yet how many
Catholics who would scruple to eat meat on Friday or miss Mass on
Sunday think nothing at all of breaking, without reason, the fast
and abstinence of Lent, and give no heed whatever to the
obligation of going to confession and communion in Easter-time!
{174}
It really looks, to judge from their conduct, as if this Easter
duty was not on an equal footing with the other commands of the
church; as if the church did not mean what she prescribes. Now,
the truth of it is, to this precept is attached a more severe
sanction than to any other. The church makes any Catholic who
violates it liable to excommunication, and deprivation of burial
in consecrated ground. So you see the obligation is very strict
and the church is terribly in earnest about it, if you are not.

To take matters in your own hands, as so many Catholics do on
this point, and call little what she calls great, and slight an
order that she is so anxious about, is to be a heathen, or, at
any rate, a Protestant; it is to set your private judgment above
her authority; it is to despise God, who commands through her. If
you would only take this view of it--and this is the true view to
take--you would think more than once before you would say: "O
pshaw! any other time will do. Once a year? All right; I find it
more convenient to go at Christmas." No, any other time will not
do; once a year will not do, unless it be just now at this time.
Christmas is a glorious feast, and Christmas-tide a joyful
season, but it is not the season prescribed by the church for
your annual communion; and, heathen that you are, your
convenience is not the main point to be considered. The question
is: has the church power from God to command me, and what does
the church command?

{175}

Oh! then, my brethren, let not the penances, the prayers, the
instructions, the special graces of this holy season go to naught
and be of no avail; but rather let them lead you up to the end
for which they are intended--that is, to bring you to repentance
for past sins, amendment for the future, to restore you to the
friendship of your God, and strengthen you, for further battling
in life, with the bread of heaven, his most precious Body and
Blood.

----------------------

              Sermon XLIX.

  _He saith: I will return into my house
  whence I came out._
  --St. Luke xi. 24.


The warning which our Lord gives us in this Gospel is certainly a
most terrible one, my brethren, but it may not seem plain to whom
it is addressed; who they are who, now and at all times, are in
danger of having the devil come back to them in this way of which
he speaks. For nowadays, thank God! it is not very often that we
find people who are really possessed by the devil, in the proper
sense of the word.

But, in a more general sense of it, there are plenty of people
who are possessed by the devil. They are those who are in a state
of mortal sin. In them Satan has regained the possession from
which he was driven out in holy baptism--that is, the soul which
was his at least by original, if not by actual, sin. And he is in
them as a dumb devil, like the one which the Gospel tells us that
our Lord cast out; that is, he makes the people dumb whom he
possesses, by keeping them from telling their sins and getting
rid of them by confession.

{176}

But the dumb devil is often cast out, particularly at times of
special grace and help from God, like this holy season of Lent
through which we are now passing, or at the time of a mission or
of a jubilee. At such times you will always find people, who have
been away from the sacraments for years, coming back to them and
making an effort to amend their lives and save their souls.

Now, this is very unpleasant to the devil, who has counted on
these people as his own. He has a special liking for the souls
which have been his so long. So when he is driven out of them he
does not simply go off on other business, as we might expect; but
he always has an eye on his old home. He says to himself, when he
finds that he does not get along so well elsewhere: "I will
return into my house whence I came out. I will see if I cannot
get in again."

So he comes back to his old house, to the soul which has been
his, and too often he finds it pretty easy to get in again. He
finds it, in fact, "swept and garnished," as our Lord says, and
all ready for his reception. So, of course, he goes in and takes
his old place. The soul, which has escaped from sin by a good
confession, relapses into it again.

What a pity this is! And yet how common it is! How many, how very
many, there are who a month or so after a mission, or some other
occasion when you would think they would really be converted in
good earnest, are back again in their old sins just the same as
if they had never confessed them at all!

It seems strange, perhaps. And yet it is not so strange when you
come to think of it. The reason is not very hard to find. It is
just the one that our Lord gives: it is that the house of the
soul, from which the devil has been driven, is empty, "swept and
garnished." Nothing has been put there in the place of the vices
and bad habits that were there before.

{177}

There is no habit of prayer; there is no remembrance of the good
resolutions that were made at confession; there is no attempt to
avoid the occasion of sin; and, above all, there is no grace
coming from the sacraments. That is the great mistake these
converted sinners have made. They have promised at confession to
go every month for the future; but they have not kept that
promise. Now, it is perfect folly and madness for one who has
been in the habits of sin to hope to persevere by saying a few
short prayers and going to confession once a year. Such a way of
going on leaves the soul empty of grace, and without anything to
prevent its enemy from coming in.

If you want to persevere after a good confession, go every month
to the sacraments. This is not a practice of piety; it is only
common prudence. This is the means which God has appointed in his
church to fill the soul with grace, and leave no room for the
devil in his old home from which he has once been driven away.

--------------------

{178}

       _Fourth Sunday of Lent._


  Epistle.
  _Galatians iv._ 22-31.

  Brethren:
  It is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a
  bond-woman, and the other by a free-woman: but he that was by
  the bond-woman was born according to the flesh: but he by the
  free-woman was by the promise. Which things are said by an
  allegory: for these are the two testaments: the one indeed on
  Mount Sina which bringeth forth unto bondage, which is Agar:
  for Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath an affinity to
  that which now is Jerusalem, and is in bondage with her
  children. But that Jerusalem which is above, is free: which is
  our mother. For it is written: "Rejoice, thou barren, that
  bearest not: break forth and cry out, thou that travailest not;
  for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her
  that hath a husband"; now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the
  children of promise. But as then he, that was born according to
  the flesh, persecuted him that was according to the spirit: so
  also now. But what saith the Scripture? "Cast out the
  bond-woman and her son: for the son of the bond-woman shall not
  be heir with the son of the free-woman." Therefore, brethren,
  we are not the children of the bond-woman, but of the free: by
  the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free.


  Gospel.
  _St. John vi_. 1-15.

  At that time:
  Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias:
  and a great multitude followed him, because they saw the
  miracles which he did on them that were infirm. And Jesus went
  up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now
  the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand.

{179}

  When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a
  very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence
  shall we buy bread that these may eat? And this he said to try
  him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him:
  Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them,
  that every one may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew,
  the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: There is a boy here
  that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are
  these among so many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down.
  Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in
  number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when
  he had given thanks he distributed to them that were sat down.
  In like manner also of the fishes as much as they would. And
  when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the
  fragments that remain, lest they be lost. So they gathered up,
  and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley
  loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.
  Then those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had
  done, said: This is the prophet indeed that is to come into the
  world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and
  take him by force and make him king, he fled again into the
  mountain himself alone.

---------------------

               Sermon L.


  _When, therefore, Jesus had lifted up his eyes
  and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him,
  he said to Philip:
  "Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?"_
  --St. John vi. 5.


To-day is mid-Lent Sunday, dear brethren. Half of the holy season
has passed away, and the Pasch is near at hand. All through Lent
the church has been praying, fasting, and preaching, making extra
efforts to bring in the sinners who have so long stayed without
the fold.

{180}

Like the Divine Master, she looks down upon the crowd and she has
pity on them. She wants to heal the sick; they will not be
healed. She wants to feed the hungry; they will not be fed. The
church looks round upon the vast crowd of her children and wants
them to make their Easter duty; alas! how many neglect it. Why
should you make the Easter duty? First, because it is a strict
law of the church. If you fail to make it by your own fault you
commit a grievous mortal sin and put yourself in a position to be
excommunicated from God's church. Secondly, for your own
spiritual good. What kind of a Christian can he be who does not
go to confession or communion at least once in a year? How shall
you make it? First go to confession, and then, when you have
received absolution, go to communion. That is all simple and
plain enough. Why, then, do some people stay away from their
Easter duty? Let us tell the truth. Confession must come first,
and confession is the difficulty. A man has been engaged for
years in an unlawful business, or he has stolen a sum of money,
or he has been the receiver of stolen goods, or in some way or
other cheated in trade. Such a man is a thief. He knows it, and
he is also aware that if he goes to confession the priest will
say: "Give up the ill-gotten money, sell your fine house and your
gilded furniture, and make restitution; you must restore or you
will damn your soul." They won't do that, won't give up the
dishonest gains, and so they won't make the Easter duty. Or there
are some who have committed sins of impurity; they have been
unfaithful husbands, dissolute wives.
{181}
They won't give up their bad habits or won't tell their shameful
sins, and so they won't make the Easter duty. There are others on
whom the fiend of drunkenness has settled; they are always on a
spree, always pouring the liquor which stupefies them down their
throats; they won't repent and they won't make the Easter duty.
Ah! then, if there be any such sinners here--if there be any
thieves, if there be any who are living upon dishonest gains, if
there be any who are wallowing in impurity and drunkenness--tell
me, how long is this going to last? How many more years will you
slink away from your Easter duty like cowards and cravens? Will
you go on so to the end of your lives? Oh! then you will go down
to hell, and your blood be upon your own heads. No one stays away
from Easter duty except for disgraceful reasons. There is always
something bad behind that fear of the confessional, and such a
man deserves to be pointed at by every honorable Catholic.
Suppose you _have stolen_, or been an adulterer, or a
fornicator, or a drunkard, or what not. Now is the time to
repent, and amend, and make reparation. Don't you see the church
looking down with eyes of mercy upon you? Why, then, stay? There
can be only one reason, and that reason is because you want to go
on being thieves, adulterers, and drunkards. O brethren! do not,
I pray you, so wickedly. The church is kind. The blood of Christ
is still flowing. The confessionals are still open. Go in there
with your heavy sins and your black secrets. Go in there with
your long story of sin. Go in, even if your hands are red with
blood--go in, I say, and if you are truly penitent you will be
cleansed and consoled. Let there not be a single man or woman in
this church who can have it said of them this year: "You missed
your Easter duty."
{182}
And you that have been away for years and years, don't add
another sin to your already long list of crimes. You are sick,
you are fainting with hunger, you are a poor wandering sheep; but
never mind, remember Jesus looks with pity upon you, and he will
heal your sickness in the sacrament of penance, and feed you with
his own Body and Blood.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-------------------------

              Sermon LI.

    _Gather up the fragments that remain,
    lest they he lost._
    --St. John vi. 12.

It seems rather odd, does it not, my brethren, that our Divine
Lord should have been so particular about saving all the broken
bits of those loaves and fishes? He had just worked a wonderful
miracle, and he could have repeated it the next day without any
difficulty. When he or his apostles or the crowd who came to hear
him were hungry, he had nothing to do but to say the word, and
they could all have as much to eat as they wanted. Why, then, be
so particular about hunting up all the crusts of bread and bits
of fish that were lying round in the grass?

Perhaps you will say: "It was to show what a great miracle he had
worked; to show that, in spite of their all having dined
heartily, there were twelve basketfuls of scraps left over--much
more than they had to start with."

I do not think that was it. The greatness of the miracle in
feeding five thousand men on five loaves and two fishes was plain
enough. At any rate, that was not the reason that he himself
gave.

{183}

He said: "Gather them up, _lest they be lost_." "Well,
then," a prudent housekeeper would say, "the reason is plain
enough. It was to teach us economy--not to let anything go to
waste; to save the scraps, and make them up into bread-puddings
and fish-balls."

I know you do not think that was it. Most people who are not
forced to this kind of economy are apt to turn up their noses at
it, and connect it in their minds with a stingy disposition,
which they very rightly think is not pleasing to God.

But, after all, I don't see what it could very well have been but
economy that our Lord meant to teach. I don't see what other
meaning you can get out of his command to gather up the
fragments, that they might not be lost. If that does not mean
economy, what does it mean?

No, my brethren, economy, or a saving spirit, is not such a
contemptible thing when rightly understood. There may be
stinginess with it, but stinginess is not a part of it. Economy,
rightly understood, is setting a proper value on the gifts of
God.

Yes; what comes from him--and everything does--is too valuable
to be thrown away. To despise his gifts is very much like
despising him.

And besides, there is not, in fact, an unlimited supply of them,
though there might be. He might have fed his followers in that
miraculous way every day; but he only did so twice in his life.

Our Lord, then, did mean, I think, to set us an example of
economy. Practise it as he did, my brethren. Prize God's gifts,
whatever they may be; do not waste them. But especially his
spiritual gifts; for they are infinitely more precious than the
material ones. Don't count on having a future extraordinary
supply of them.

{184}

You have got enough to save your souls now, and to sanctify them,
if you will only make use of it. You have got the faith, the
sacraments, and the word of God. You don't need to have any one
rise from the dead to convert you. Our Lord tells us that a
certain rich man who was in hell wanted to go back to earth and
appear to his brothers, that they might take warning by his
example. He was told that it was not necessary; that they had
Moses and the prophets. Well, you have got a great deal more. You
know just as well what you must do to save your souls, and even
to become saints, as if you had been beyond the grave yourselves.
Don't expect more yet.

Save up your spiritual gifts, my brethren; you have got plenty
now, but you do not know how much more you will get. When God
gives you any grace make the most of it; perhaps it will be the
last you will have. Bring back to your minds what you have heard,
and the good thoughts and purposes which the Holy Ghost has given
you; serve up the spiritual feasts you have had, not only a
second time, but over and over again. Make what you have got go
as far as possible, and your souls will grow stout and strong.
Wait for unusual graces like a mission or a jubilee, and they
will be thin and weak all the time. Be economical, especially in
spiritual things; that is a very important lesson of the Gospel
of to-day.

----------------

{185}

               _Passion Sunday_.



  Epistle.
  _Hebrews ix_. 11-15.

  Brethren:
  Christ being come a high-priest of the good things to come, by
  a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that
  is, not of this creation: neither by the blood of goats, nor of
  calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the Holies,
  having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats
  and of oxen, and the ashes of a heifer being sprinkled,
  sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh:
  how much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost
  offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from
  dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore he is the
  mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death, for
  the redemption of those transgressions, which were under the
  former testament, they that are called may receive the promise
  of eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. John viii_. 46-59.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: Which of you shall
  convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not
  believe me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God.
  Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. The
  Jews, therefore, answered and said to him: Do not we say well
  that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I
  have not a devil; but I honor my Father, and you have
  dishonored me. But I seek not my own glory: there is one that
  seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you: if any man keep
  my word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore
  said: Now we know that thou hast a devil.
{186}
  Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man
  keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Are thou
  greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets
  are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? Jesus answered: If I
  glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that
  glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you
  have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I
  know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know
  him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he
  might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore
  said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou
  seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you,
  before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to
  cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

-----------------------

              Sermon LII.

  _But Jesus hid himself_.
  --St. John viii. 59.

Thick and fast, dear brethren, the shadows of the Great Week
begin to fall upon us. Only a few more days and it will be Palm
Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. To-day we are left, as it
were, alone. The crucifix, with its figure of the dead, white
Christ, is veiled; the dear, familiar faces of the Blessed Virgin
and St. Joseph are veiled also; and even the saints before whom
we were wont to kneel are all hidden behind the purple veil of
Passion-tide. Not till Good Friday will Jesus look upon us again,
not till Holy Saturday will the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and
the saints once more come forth to our view. We are, then, alone
by ourselves. God wants us to stand up before him just as we are.
Jesus has hidden his face for a while.
{187}
The crucifix has bidden you good-by. In what state were you last
night when devout hands veiled the figure of Christ? Will you
ever look upon the old, familiar crucifix again? It may be,
before the purple veil is lifted from this cross, you will have
looked upon the face of Christ in judgment. O brethren! to-day
the face of Jesus is hidden. May be the last time you looked upon
it you were in mortal sin, and are so still. When and how shall
you look upon it again? If you live till Good Friday you will see
it then held aloft by the priest, and afterwards kissed by all
the faithful. If you die before then, and die, as you may,
without warning or preparation, then you will look upon the face
of Christ upon the judgment seat, then you will hear the awful
words: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." Or
perhaps--and may God grant it!--you will next see the face of
Jesus in the person of his priest in the confessional, and there
it will be turned upon you in mercy and forgiveness. There are
some of you, I know, who are as _dead men_. There are some
of you who, even up to this late hour, are holding out against
grace. Still in mortal sin! I point you to the veiled Christ. I
ask you, here in the sacred presence of God, I ask you in the
most solemn manner, when and how will you look upon his face
again? He has bidden you good-by to-day, he has said farewell,
and as he said it he saw that you were a blasphemer, a drunkard,
an adulterer, a slanderer, a creature full of pride, full of
sloth, full of all kinds of sin. Oh! say, shall he still find you
so when he returns? Say, when he is uncovered on Good Friday can
you, dare you add to his grief by still being what you are now?
And to us all, even the most devout, this lesson of the veiled
crucifix ought not to pass unheeded.
{188}
Christ has gone from us to-day! How will he come back to us? All
torn and bloody, all thorn-scarred, all spear-pierced, nailed to
the cross, and all for love of us! We, too, brethren, who are
trying to walk strictly in the narrow path--we, too, may ask
ourselves. When and how shall we see him again? Perhaps before
Good Friday, ay, perhaps even before our hands can grasp the
green palm-branch of next Sunday, we may see the unveiled face of
our Beloved. Are we afraid of that? Oh! no. We have loved the
face of suffering too well to dread the face of glory. We only
expect to hear from his lips words of love and welcome. Brethren,
there is a day coming when all veils shall be lifted. There is a
time nearing us when all must look upon the face that died on
Calvary's Mount. On that day and at that time will take place the
great unveiling of the face of Christ: I mean the day of general
judgment. O solemn, O awful thought for us to-day before the
veiled image of our Lord! May be the judgment day will come
before that light veil is lifted from the well-known crucifix.
Great God! our next Good Friday may be spent either in heaven or
in hell. Go home, brethren, with these thoughts fixed deeply in
your hearts. Come here often to pray. If you have sins come here
and confess them; and often and often as we turn to the veiled
Christ, let us most devoutly cry: "Jesus, when and how shall we
look upon thy face again?"

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

------------------------------

              Sermon LIII.


Under the false accusations of the Jews how calm and
self-possessed our Lord remains!
{189}
He does not return passion for passion, anger for anger,
accusations for accusations, violence for violence; but he meets
calumny with the assertion of truth, and confounds his enemies by
humility and meekness. They accuse him of sin; with the sublime
simplicity of a pure conscience he dares them to convince him of
sin. They call him names: "Thou art a Samaritan"; to so evident a
falsehood he deigns no reply. Blinded by anger, they accuse him
of being possessed: "Thou hast a devil"; a simple denial, "I have
not a devil," the leaving of his own glory to his Father, the
assertion of his divine mission, is the answer to the blasphemous
calumny. "Now we know thou hast a devil," repeat they, waxing
more passionate; but, unimpassioned, Jesus rises above their rage
to the calm heights of the Godhead, and affirms his eternal
generation. Finally, losing all control of themselves, they take
up stones to cast at him; but he quietly goes out of the temple
and hides himself, for his hour--the hour when he would bear in
silence the accusations and indignities of man, and allow himself
to be led to slaughter--had not yet come.

In this 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. In such circumstances what is
generally your conduct? By no means Christian, I am afraid, but
very worldly; for the world counts it true valor and justice to
give tit for tat, to take tooth for tooth and eye for eye. Do you
not give back as good--and often worse--than you get? Prudence,
let alone Christianity, should dictate to you quite another
conduct.
{190}
Your counter-accusations do but strengthen and confirm the
calumny; they allow it to stand, "You're another" and "you're no
better" are poor arguments to clear yourselves. It's a flank
movement that does not cover your position, a feint that does not
save you from attack. The answering of a question by asking
another question is a smart trick, but no answer. A calm denial,
if you could make it, or dignified silence would do the work more
surely and thoroughly. And so the fight of words goes on in true
Billingsgate style; to and fro they fly thick and hot, hotter and
hotter as passion rises on both sides. "One word brings on
another," until white heat is reached and all control of temper
lost. Then, as the Jews ended with stones, so you perhaps come to
more serious passion than mere words. The result is quarrels,
deadly feuds, bodily injuries, and worse, may be--bloodshed and
the jail. A cow kicked a lantern in a stable, and Chicago was on
fire for days. Some frivolous accusation that you pick up, while
you should let it fall, starts within you a fire of anger that
makes a ruin of your whole spiritual life and throws disorder all
around you; families are divided; wife and husband sulk, quarrel,
live a "cat and dog" life; friends are separated, connections
broken. 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, the lightest of shafts has done it. All for the want of a
little patience and self-possession! How often we hear it said:
"Oh! I have such a bad temper; I'm easily riz, God forgive me!
I've a bad passion entirely." Well, my dear brethren, learn from
this Gospel how you should control yourselves, how you should
possess your souls in patience.
{191}
One-half the sins of the world would be done away with, if only
the lesson of this Gospel were laid to heart and put into
practice. What is the lesson?

Firstly, never seek self-praise in self-justification. Jesus
turns aside the calumny of the Jews, but leaves the glorifying of
himself in the hands of his Father, "who seeketh and judgeth."
Secondly, pay no attention to accusations that are absurd,
evidently untrue, and frivolous. When Jesus is called names and
is made out to be what every one knows he was not--"a
Samaritan"--he makes no answer. Thirdly, if serious calumny,
calculated to injure your usefulness in your duties and state of
life, assail you, it then becomes your right, and sometimes your
duty, to repel the calumny, as Jesus did when he was accused of
"having a devil." But in this case your self-justification, like
that of our Saviour, should ever be calm, dignified, and
Christian. It should be a defence, never an attack. The true
Christian parries, he does not give the thrust; he shields
himself from the arrows of malice, he does not shoot them back.
Superior to revenge, he pities enemies for the evil they do; he
forgives them and prays for them, as our Lord has commanded. This
is Christian charity, and Christian humility as well. But as it
avails little to know what we should do, if we have not God's
grace to enable us to do it, let us often say, especially in
temptations to impatience: "O Jesus, meek and humble of heart!
make me like unto thee."

----------------------------

{192}

              Sermon LIV.

Why is to-day called Passion Sunday, my brethren? There does not
seem to be any special commemoration of our Lord's sacred Passion
in the Mass, as there is next Sunday, when the long account of it
from St. Matthew's Gospel is read; and most people, I think,
hardly realize that to-day is anything more than any other Sunday
in Lent.

But if you look into the matter a little more you will notice a
great change which comes upon the spirit of the church to-day,
and remains during the two following weeks. The Preface of the
Mass is not that of Lent, but that of the Cross; the hymns sung
at Vespers and at other times are about the cross and our Lord's
death upon it; and all the way through the Divine Office you will
see evident signs that the church is thinking about this mystery
of the cross, the commemoration of which is consummated on Good
Friday.

And if you look about the church this morning you will see the
pictures all veiled, to tell us that during these two weeks we
should think principally of our Lord's suffering and humiliation;
that we should, as it were, for a while forget his saints and
everything else connected with his glory. And even the cross
itself is concealed, for it is after all a sign of triumph and
victory to our eyes; it is waiting to be revealed till Good
Friday, when the sacrifice shall be accomplished and the victory
won.

To-day, then, is called Passion Sunday because it is the opening
of this short period, from now till Easter, which the church
calls Passion-time.

{193}

What practical meaning has this Passion-time for us, my brethren?
It means, or should mean, for us sorrow, humiliation, sharing in
the Passion of our Lord. Lent, all the way through, is a time of
penance; but more especially so is this short season which brings
it to a close. Now, surely, is the time, if ever, when we are
going to be sorry for our sins, when we cannot help thinking of
what they have made our Divine Saviour suffer. Now is the time to
think of the malice and ingratitude of sin; to see it as it
really is, as the one thing which has turned this earth from a
paradise into a place of suffering and sorrow; to see our own
sins as they truly are, as the only real evils which have ever
happened to us, and to resolve to be rid of them for our own sake
and for God's sake; for he has suffered for them as well as we.

Now is the time to go to confession, and to make a better
confession than we have ever made before, or ever can make,
probably, till Passion-time comes round again. For now is it
easier for us to be sorry for our sins, not only because we have
everything to show us how hateful they are, but also because
God's grace is more liberally given. He has sanctified this time
and blessed it for our repentance and conversion. He calls us and
helps us always to penance, but never so much as now.

Hear his voice, then, my brethren, and, in the words with which
the church begins her office today: "To-day if you shall hear his
voice, harden not your hearts." Do not obstinately remain in sin,
and put off your repentance and confession to a more favorable
time. There is no time nearly as good as this; this is the time
which God himself has appointed.
{194}
You must make your Easter duty, if you would not add another
terrible sin to the many which you have already made our Lord
bear for you; make it now before Easter comes. Take your share
now in the Passion, that you may have your share of the Easter
joy.

And there is another reason why you should come now to
confession; for there is another unusual grace which God now
offers you--the grace of the Jubilee, which you heard announced
last Sunday. Now, a Jubilee is not a mere devotion for those who
frequent the sacraments; it is a call and an opportunity for
those who have neglected them. I beg you not to let it be said
that you have allowed this opportunity to go by. Come and give us
some work to do in the confessional; the more the better. We will
not complain, but will thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
The best offering you can make to your priests, as well as to the
God whose servants they are, is a crowded confessional and a full
altar-rail at this holy Passion-time.

-------------------

{195}

             _Palm Sunday._


  Epistle.
  _Philippians ii._ 5-11.

  Brethren:
  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who
  being in the form of God, thought it not robbery himself to be
  equal with God: but debased himself, taking the form of a
  servant, being made to the likeness of men, and in shape found
  as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death,
  even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath exalted
  him, and hath given him a name which is above every name: that
  in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are
  in heaven, on earth, and in hell. And that every tongue should
  confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the
  Father.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xxvii._ 62-66.

  And the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the
  chief priests and the Pharisees came together to Pilate,
  saying: Sir, we have remembered that that seducer said, while
  he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command
  therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest
  his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people,
  He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse
  than the first. Pilate said to them: You have a guard; go,
  guard it as you know. And they departing, made the sepulchre
  sure with guards, sealing the stone.

-----------------------------

{196}

              Sermon LV.

    _Behold thy King cometh to thee meek._
    --St. Matthew xxi. 5.


Through humility and suffering to exaltation and glory--that is
the way our Lord went to heaven, dear brethren, and that is the
way we must go if we wish to follow him. To-day is Palm Sunday,
the day on which our Lord rode in triumph to begin his Passion.
Yes, in triumph; but what an humble one! He rode upon a lowly
beast; there were no rich carpets spread along the way, only the
poor and well-worn garments of the apostles and of the multitude
thrown together with the boughs and branches torn from the
wayside trees. All was humble, and doubly so if we think that he
was riding to his death. Yes, brethren, those palm-branches were
scarce withered, the dust had hardly been shaken from those
garments, when the cross was laid upon his shoulders and the
thorny crown pressed upon his brow. Dear brethren, let us ask
ourselves this morning if we want to go to heaven. Do we want to
be where Jesus is now, and where he will be for all eternity? If
we do we must follow him through suffering and humility to
exaltation and glory. We must be content with little and short
happiness in this world; for, as I have said, the triumph of Palm
Sunday was short-lived indeed. What followed? Jesus was brought
before Pilate. He was condemned to death, forsaken, set at
naught, buffeted, mocked, spit upon. He, the innocent Lamb of
God, was scourged, stripped of his garments, crowned with thorns.
Then upon his poor, torn shoulders was laid a heavy cross, which
he carried till he could no longer bear it. And, lastly, outside
the city gates they nailed him to that same cross, and he died.
But after that came the glory and the triumph--the glory of the
resurrection; the triumph over sin, and death, and hell.

{197}

Brethren, we needs _must_ think of heaven to-day; the waving
palms, the chanted hosannas, all speak to us of that delightful
place. We cannot help thinking of that great multitude, clad in
white robes and with palms in their hands, of whom St. John
speaks, and of those others who cast down their golden crowns
before the glassy sea. We want to reach that blessed place; we
want to hear the sound of the harpers harping upon their harps;
we want to hear the angels' songs and see the flashing of their
golden wings; we want to gaze upon Jesus and Mary and all the
heavenly host. But, brethren, not yet, not yet. See the long path
strewn with stones and briers; see that steep mount with its
cross of crucifixion at the top. That way must be trodden, that
mountain scaled, that cross be nailed to us and we to it, or ever
we may hear the golden harps or the angels' song. Through
humility and suffering to exaltation and glory. Oh! let us learn
the lesson well this Holy Week. Let us learn it to-day as we
follow Jesus to prison and to death; let us learn it on Holy
Thursday when we see him humble himself to the form of bread and
wine; let us learn it on Good Friday when we kiss his sacred feet
pierced with the nails. Yes, let us learn the lesson and never
forget it. Heaven has been bought for you. Heaven lies open to
you: but there is only one way there, and that way is the way of
suffering. So, then, brethren, when your trials come thick and
fast; when your temptations seem more than you can endure; when
you are pinched by poverty, slighted by your neighbors,
forsaken--as it seems to you--even by God himself, then remember
the way of the cross. Remember the agony in the garden; remember
the mount of Calvary.
{198}
Grasp the palm firmly in your hand to-day; let it be in fancy the
wood of the cross. Cry aloud as you journey on: "Through humility
and suffering to exaltation and glory." Keep close to Jesus.
Onward to prison! Onward to crucifixion! Onward to death! Onward
to what comes afterwards! Resurrection! Reward! Peace!

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

------------------------

              Sermon LVI.

    _He humbled himself,
    becoming obedient unto death,
    even the death of the cross._
    --Philippians ii. 8.

We are entering to-day, my dear brethren, on the great week, the
Holy Week, as it is called, of the Christian year--the week in
which we commemorate the Passion and death of our Lord; and at
this time our minds cannot, when we assist at the offices of the
church, be occupied with any other thoughts than those which are
suggested by his sufferings for our redemption.

And surely there is enough to occupy them not only for one short
week, but for all our lives. The Passion of Christ is a mystery
which we can never exhaust, in this world or in the world to
come. It is the book of the saints, and there is no lesson of
perfection which we cannot learn from it. So we must needs look
at it to-day only in part, and learn one of its many lessons; and
let that be one suggested to us by the words of the text, taken
from the Epistle read at the Mass: "He humbled himself, becoming
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

{199}

What is this lesson? It is that of humility, which is the
foundation of all supernatural virtues, and yet the last one
which most Christians try to acquire.

In fact, it would seem that many people, who are very good in
their way, are rather annoyed than edified by the examples of
humility that they find in the lives of the saints. It seems to
them like hypocrisy when they read that the saints considered
themselves the greatest sinners in the world. But it was not
hypocrisy; they said what they really felt. They were not in the
habit, as most people are, of noticing their neighbors' faults
and making the most of them, and of excusing their own. So,
though it was not really true that they were such great sinners
when compared with others, it seemed to them that it was.

And, moreover, they were willing that others should think them
so. In that they differed very much from some whom you would
think were saints. The real saints are willing to bear contempt;
they are willing to be considered sinners, even in their best
actions, as long as God's glory is not in question; and, what is
really harder, though it ought not to be, they are willing to be
considered fools. Almost any one would rather be thought a knave
than a fool. There are very few good people who like to be told
of their faults; there are fewer still who like to be told of
their blunders.

Now, it is with regard to this matter that we need specially to
think of our Saviour's example. He, who could not be deceived,
could not believe himself to be a knave or a fool; but he
consented that others should consider him so, to set us an
example of humility.
{200}
He was reckoned among sinners in his life as well as in his
death; and he hid the treasures of his divine wisdom and
knowledge under the appearance of a poor, simple man of the lower
classes. But it was in his sacred Passion that his humility is
seen most plainly; he became obedient unto death, even the death
of the cross; he, our Lord and our God, suffered the most
disgraceful punishment that has ever been devised for common
criminals.

There is the example, then, my brethren, for us poor sinners to
follow. And the humility which we need most is nothing but the
pure and simple truth. It is nothing but getting rid of the
absurd notion that we are wiser and better than other people whom
anybody else can see are our equals or superiors; for, strangely
enough, it is always hardest to be humble when it is most clear
that we ought to be. And depend on it, it is high time to set
about acquiring this virtue; for, simple as it seems, to get even
as much as this of it will take, for most of us, all our lives.

-----------------

              Sermon LVII.


I will say a few words to you this morning, my brethren, on the
Jubilee just proclaimed by our Holy Father.

What is a Jubilee? It is the proclamation of a great spiritual
favor which may be obtained by any Catholic in the world during a
specified time.
{201}
This spiritual favor is a special plenary indulgence which, if
gained in a way that perfectly fulfils all the conditions and
completely satisfies the intentions of the church, will surely
wipe out not only all the actual sins one has committed in all
his life before, but take away also all the temporal punishment
one would have to undergo in this life or in purgatory on account
of those sins, be they great or small.

No wonder that all the children of the Catholic Church rejoice to
hear such a favor proclaimed by their Holy Father, and that
everybody is so anxious to partake of its benefits.

What is to be done? Just what the Pope says, and in a way
specially directed for his diocesans by each bishop. There are
visits to be made to certain churches, and prayers to be said
there. There is a fast to be observed on one day. There are alms
to be given. There is confession to be made and Holy Communion to
be received. And all to be done by or before next Pentecost
Sunday.

First. The visits. For this city there are three churches named
by His Eminence the Cardinal--viz., St. Patrick's Cathedral, St.
Stephen's, and the Church of the Epiphany. Each one of these
three churches must be visited twice. All the visits may be made
in one day or on different days, and one may, if he pleases, pay
the two visits to the same church at once before going to
another.

Second. Prayers are to be said in the churches; and they ought,
of course, to be devout ones, and offered for all the intentions
laid down by the Holy Father. No particular prayers are
prescribed. One can hear Mass, or say the beads, or say five
times the Our Father and Hail Mary, or one of the Litanies; or
any of these prayers will do.

{202}

Third. The fast. This may be in Lent or after, on any day that
meat is allowed. But on the day you choose for the fast you must
also abstain from meat.

Fourth. The alms. The amount or kind is not prescribed, but is
left to your own generosity. It may be in money, in food, or in
clothing, and it may be given to an orphan asylum or other such
charitable institution, or to build a church. It may be given
when making the visits; and special alms-boxes will be found in
those churches to be visited, into which the offering can be put.

Fifth. Confession and Communion; and both ought to be prepared
for and made the very best one can. Moreover, as one gains the
more merit by doing actions in a state of grace, one will likely
make the Jubilee better if he begins by making a good confession.
Now is the time for great sinners to return to God and obtain his
merciful forgiveness; for the Pope has given special privileges
to confessors, in order that they may absolve the hardest kind of
cases. Let no one, therefore, despair, nor think himself too hard
a case. That is what the Jubilee is for--to bring down the mercy
and forgiveness of God upon this sinful generation. To ensure
this the father of the faithful sets the whole Catholic world
together praying, and fasting, and giving alms, and confessing
their sins, and making holy, devout communion, so as to take
heaven by storm, as our Lord said we might. "For the kingdom of
heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away." What a
sublime spectacle, which only the Catholic Church can show--two
hundred and fifty millions of people all turning to God at once!
No wonder the Catholic Church saves the world.
{203}
Look out that you are not found, in eternity, to be one of those
whom she failed to turn to God, and lost for ever because you
would not hear her instruction and counsel, nor be guided by her
into the way of eternal life.

----------------

{204}

               _Easter Sunday._


  Epistle.
  I _Corinthians v_, 7, 8.

  Brethren:
  Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new mass, as you
  are unleavened. For Christ, our pasch, is sacrificed. Therefore
  let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of
  malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of
  sincerity and truth.


  Gospel.
  _St. Mark xvi._ 1-7.

  At that time:
  Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought
  sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus. And very
  early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to
  the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to
  another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the
  sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back, for it
  was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a
  young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe:
  and they were astonished. And he said to them: Be not
  affrighted; ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is
  risen, he is not here; behold the place where they laid him.
  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you
  into Galilee; there you shall see him as he told you.

-----------------------

              Sermon LVIII.


   _Mary Magdalen._
   --St. Mark xvi. 1.


Dear brethren, you have all felt the great contrast that there is
between the awful rites of Good Friday and the joy of to-day.
{205}
Still fresh in your minds is the memory of the darkened church,
the uplifted crucifix, the wailing of the reproaches. You
remember, too, "the silence that might be felt" that reigned in
God's temple on Holy Saturday. You can recall how still the
church seemed yesterday at early morning, just as if some awful
deed had been done there the day before; you may remember how
unspeakably solemn seemed the silent procession to the porch to
bless the new fire; how quiet and subdued all that followed. But
suddenly a voice rang out into the darkness--the voice of the
sacrificing priest at the altar; an "exceeding great cry" pierced
the stillness, and instantly every veil fell; the sunlight
streamed in through every window; chiming bells, pealing organ,
and choral voices burst upon your senses; everything seemed to
say, "He is risen! he is risen!" And we felt it was almost too
much, almost more than the feeble human heart could bear and not
break for very joy. If, then, this contrast is so marked and this
joy so great after a lapse of eighteen hundred years and more,
oh! what must have been the joy of the first Easter day. The
first crucifix bore no ivory or metal figure; it had nailed to it
the flesh of the Son of God. The first Good Friday was no
commemoration of an event; it was the event itself. Oh! then how
great, how great beyond mind to imagine or tongue to tell, must
have been the joy of the first Easter. Jesus had died, left all
his beloved. He had been buried, and there he rested in the quiet
garden. Very early in the morning come Mary Magdalen and the
other women to the tomb. The sun was just rising; the flowers of
that blessed garden were just awaking; the dew-drops sparkled
like rubies in the red sunrise; the vines and the creepers, fresh
with their morning sweetness, hung clustering round the sacred
tomb.
{206}
To that spot the women hasten; the sun rises; she, Mary Magdalen,
stoops down; her Lord is not there, but lo! the great stone is
rolled away; a bright angel sits thereon; other angelic spirits
are in the tomb. The angel speaks: "He is risen; he is not here.
Behold, he goes before you to Galilee. Alleluia! alleluia!" The
Lord is risen indeed. And now, brethren, wishing you every joy
that this holy feast can bring, I will ask the question. Where or
of whom shall we learn our Easter lesson? We will learn it from
her whose name, whose lovely, saintly name, forms the text of
this discourse. In pointing you to Mary Magdalen, the great saint
of the Resurrection, I do but follow the mind of the church; for
in today's sequence the whole universal church calls upon her,
"_Die nobis, Maria, quid vidistis in via?_"--Declare to us,
Mary! what sawest thou in the way? She saw the sepulchre of
Christ, in which were buried her many sins. In the way, the
sorrowful way of the cross, she saw the Passion of Christ; in the
way, the glorious way of the triumph of Christ, she saw the glory
of the Risen One and the angel witnesses. Oh! is not our lesson
plain? Like Magdalen, let us see the sepulchre, and let us cast
our sins in there. Let us see the way of the cross and walk
therein; let us see the glory of the Risen One and the angel
witnesses in the heavenly kingdom. O poor, repentant sinners! you
who during Lent have kissed the feet of Jesus and stood beneath
his cross in the confessional, what a day of joy, what a lesson
of consolation comes to you! Who was it upon whom fell the first
ray of Resurrection glory?
{207}
Who is it upon whom the great voice of the church liturgy, in the
Holy Sacrifice, calls to-day? Ah! it was and is upon the
"sometime sinner, Mary." Joy! joy! for the forgiven sinner
to-day. Alleluia! alleluia! to you, blood-washed children of
Jesus Christ; for she who saw the Master first was once a
sinner--a sinner like unto you. Alleluia, and joy and peace, unto
you all in Jesus' name, and in the name of the redeemed and
pardoned Mary! Alleluia, and joy and peace! whether you be sinner
as she was, or saint as she became. Alleluia, and joy and peace!
for "Christ our hope hath risen, and he shall go before us into
Galilee." Alleluia, and joy and peace! for we know that Christ
hath risen from the dead. Lord, we know that we are feeble and
sinful, but lead, "Conquering King," lead on; go thou before to
the heavenly Galilee. Time was when we feared to follow; but she,
"more than martyr and more than virgin"--she, Mary Magdalen, is
in thy train, and, penitent like her, we follow thee. Alleluia,
and joy and peace, to young and old! Alleluia, and joy and peace,
to saint and pardoned sinner! for Christ hath risen from the
dead.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

------------------------

              Sermon LIX.

    _He is risen._
    --St. Mark xvi. 6.


This is Easter Sunday, and the heart of every Christian is full
of joy; for on this day the voice of God is heard assuring us
that the dead can and will rise again to enter upon a new and
never-dying life. To die is to suffer the most poignant grief,
the greatest loss, the most grievous pain that man is called upon
to endure.

{208}

However long or sweet may be the pleasure of the draught of life,
and health, and prosperity that one may drink, all must find this
one bitter drop at the bottom of the cup. It is death; and if God
himself did not tell us, how could we know but that it is the end
of all? "But now Christ is risen from the dead and become the
first fruits of them that sleep." Who says Christ is risen again?
God. How do we hear his voice of truth, which cannot deceive nor
be deceived? We hear him when we hear the voice of his divine
church, which he has made "the pillar and the ground of the
truth." This is, then, her joyful and triumphant news to-day. 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. And I say again that we know that to be true because the
Catholic Church, the only divine voice there is in the world,
assures us that it is true. Bitter as death may be, the hope of
the resurrection is its complete antidote. Now I understand why
the words, "a happy death," is so common a speech among
Catholics. It implies an act of faith in the resurrection, and a
confidence that he who dies has not only prepared himself to die
but also to rise again. This is an important reflection to make
on Easter Sunday, for there is a resurrection unto eternal life
and a resurrection unto damnation, which, compared to eternal
life, is eternal death. A philosopher said: "Happy is that man
who, when he comes to die, has nothing left but to die." But the
Christian says: "Happy is that man who, when he comes to die,
leaves the world and all he has to do or might do in it, sure of
a happy and glorious resurrection."

{209}

All Catholics believe that they will rise again from the dead,
but I am free to say that many of them do not prove their faith
by their works. They seem to think so much of this world, and
give so much of their thoughts and words and actions to it, that
certainly no heathen would imagine for a moment that they thought
even death possible, or that there was any future state to get
ready for. I wonder how any one of us would act or what we would
be thinking about, if we were absolutely sure that in less than
an hour's notice we would some day be called to be made a bishop
or a pope, or a king or queen; or would be carried off to a
desert island, and left there to starve and die without help.

We do not believe either fortune likely to happen to any of us,
therefore we do not prepare for it. Alas! so many Catholics do
not prepare for the sudden call to rise to a glory and dignity
far higher than that of any prelate or prince, or to sink to a
miserable state infinitely worse than to starve and die on a
desert island; and why not? I say the heathen would answer,
because they do not believe that either fortune will be likely to
happen to them. If they did their lives would prove their faith.

Now, I know I have set some of you thinking, and that has just
been my purpose. Have I a right to participate in the Easter joy
of to-day, or am I only making an outside show of it, while my
conscience tells me I am a hypocrite? Have I kept the
commandments of God and of the church? Have I made my Easter
duty, or resolved to make it?
{210}
What kind of a life would I rise to on the day of resurrection,
if I died to-night? What would Jesus Christ, my Judge and
Saviour, find in me that looked like him, and therefore ought to
give me the same glorious resurrection as he had? Dear brethren,
that is what he wants to find in us all. That is what he died to
give us. That is what the Holy Spirit is striving hard to help
every one of us to obtain. Come, a little more courage, and let
us rise _now_ from all that is deathly, or dead, or corrupt,
or rotten in this life we are leading, and Jesus will be sure to
find in us what will fashion us unto the likeness of his own
resplendent and divine resurrection to eternal life.

-------------------

              Sermon LX.

  _Christ, our pasch, is sacrificed.
  Therefore let us feast,
  not with the old leaven
  nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness,
  but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth._
  --1 Corinthians v, 7, 8.


There are none of us, my dear brethren, I am sure, who can fail
on this Easter morning to have something of the spirit of joy
which fills the church at this time, and which runs through all
her offices at this season. "This is the day that the Lord hath
made," she is continually saying to us; "let us rejoice and be
glad in it."

Yes, we are all glad now; we all have something of the Easter
spirit, in spite of the troubles and sorrows which are perhaps
weighing on us, and from which we shall never be quite free till
we celebrate Easter in heaven--in that blessed country where
death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow
shall be any more; where God shall dwell with us, and he himself
with us shall be our God.

{211}

But what is the cause of our joy? Is it merely that the season of
penance through which we have just passed is over, that the
church no longer commands us to fast and mortify ourselves? That
may, indeed, be one reason, for there are certainly not a great
many people who enjoy fasting and abstinence; but there should be
another and a much better one. It should be that Lent has not
left us just where it found us; that we can say to-day not only
that Christ has risen, but that we also have risen with him.

Yes, my brethren, that is the joy that you ought to be feeling at
this time. What is Easter, or Christmas, or any other feast of
the church worth without the grace of God? It is no more than any
secular holiday; merely a time for amusement, for sensual
indulgence, and too often an occasion of sin. If you are happy
to-day with any happiness that is really worth having, it is then
because you have the grace of God in your souls, either by
constant habits of virtue, or by a good confession and communion
which you have made to-day or lately. It is now, as at the last
day, only to those who are really and truly the friends of Christ
that he can say: "Well done, good and faithful servant: ... enter
thou into the joy of thy Lord." For this is the day, the great
day of his joy; and it is only by being united with him that you
can share in it.

This, then, is the desire which I have when I wish you to-day a
happy Easter, as I do with my whole heart: that if you have not
made your Easter duty, you will make it soon; and that if you
have made it, you will persevere--that, having risen from the
dead, you will die no more.
{212}
It is the wish compared with which all others are as nothing; for
the happiness of the world is but for a few short years, but the
joy of the soul is meant to last for ever.

And if you would have it, there is one thing above all which you
must do--which you must have done, if you have made a really good
communion. Holy church reminds us of it in a prayer which is said
today at Mass, and which is repeated frequently through the
Easter season. This is to put away all that old leaven of malice
and wickedness, that spirit of hatred and uncharitableness for
your neighbor, which is so apt to rankle in your hearts. If you
would be friends with God you must be friends with all his
children. Let there be no one whom you will not speak to, whom
you would avoid or pass by. When there has been a quarrel one of
the two must make the first advances to reconciliation; try to
have the merit of being that one, even though you think, probably
wrongly, that you were not at all in fault. This day, when we
meet to receive the blessing of our risen Saviour, is the day
above all others for making friends. Unite, then, with your whole
hearts in this prayer of the church which I am now about to read
at the altar, first translating it for you: "Pour forth on us,
Lord! the spirit of thy charity, that by thy mercy thou mayest
make those to agree together whom thou hast fed with thy paschal
mysteries; through Christ our Lord. Amen."

------------------------

{213}

               _Low Sunday_.


  Epistle.
  1 _St. John v_. 4-10.

  Dearly beloved:
  Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the
  victory which overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that
  overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the
  Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus
  Christ; not in water only, but in water and blood. And it is
  the spirit that testifieth, that Christ is the truth. For there
  are three that give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word,
  and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are
  three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, the water, and
  the blood, and these three are one. If we receive the testimony
  of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the
  testimony of God, which is greater, because he hath testified
  of his Son. He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the
  testimony of God in himself.


  Gospel.
  _St. John xx_. 19-31.

  At that time:
  When it was late that same day, being the first day of the
  week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were
  gathered together for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in
  the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had
  said this, he showed them his hands, and his side. The
  disciples therefore were glad when they saw the Lord. And he
  said to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent
  me, I also send you. When he had said this he breathed on them;
  and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you
  shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose you shall
  retain, they are retained.
{214}
  Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not
  with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said
  to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Unless I
  shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my
  finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his
  side, I will not believe. And after eight days his disciples
  were again within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the
  doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to
  you. Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see
  my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side;
  and be not incredulous, but faithful. Thomas answered, and said
  to him: My Lord, and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou
  hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that
  have not seen, and have believed. Many other signs also did
  Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in
  this book. But these are written that you may believe that
  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing you may
  have life in his name.

--------------------------

               Sermon LXI.


  _Unless I shall see in his hands
  the print of the nails,
  and put my finger into the place of the nails,
  and put my hand into his side,
  I will not believe._
  --St. John xx. 25.


"It is no vain question," says Father Matthias Faber, of the
Society of Jesus, from whose writings this sermon is adapted--"it
is no vain question whether we do not owe more to St. Thomas, who
was slow in believing the fact of Christ's resurrection, than to
the other apostles, who credited it instantly." Then he goes on
to quote St. Gregory, who says that "the doubt of St. Thomas
really removed _all_ doubt, and placed the fact that our
Lord had really risen with his human body beyond all dispute."
{215}
So today, following the good Jesuit father, I am going to be St
Thomas. I shall hear from many of you something of this kind: "O
father! I am so delighted: my wife or my husband, my son, my
brother, my friend, has risen from the dead. He or she has been
to confession, given up his bad habits, come again into our
midst; has been to Communion, has said, Peace be to you, has
altogether reformed and become good." Ah! indeed. Is that so? Of
course it is quite possible; but towards those whose resurrection
you announce to me I am St. Thomas this morning, and say to them:
"Unless I shall see in their hands the print of the nails, and
put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into
their side, I will not believe." In a word, I will not believe
that any of you have risen from the dead, I will not believe that
you have come out of the grave of mortal sin, unless I see in you
the signs of a former crucifixion. First, I want to see the print
of the nails. I want to see in your hands and feet--that is, in
your inclinations and passions--the print of the nails that the
priest drove in, in the confessional. I want to see that these
hands strike no more, handle no more bad books, pass no more bad
money, write no more evil letters, sign no more fraudulent
documents, are stretched forth no more unto evil things, raised
no more to curse. I want to see these hands lifted in prayer,
stretched out to give alms, extended in mercy, busy in toiling
for God and his church. I want to see these hands smoothing the
pillows of the sick, giving drink to the thirsty, food to the
hungry, and raiment to the naked. I want to see the print of the
nails, or I will not believe. These feet, too--I must see them
bearing you to the confessional regularly, taking you to Mass,
carrying you to Benediction, bent under you in prayer.
{216}
In a word, I must see in you the signs of a true conversion, or I
will not believe that you have really risen from the death of
sin. Then, like St. Thomas, I must "put my finger into the place
of the nails." That is, when you are taken down from the cross,
when, as it were, you have persevered for quite a while in God's
service, I want at any time to be able to assure myself that the
wound is really there. I want to be sure that those old
charlatans, the world and the flesh, haven't been round and
healed those wounds with their salve of roses, their pleasures of
life, and their elixir of youth. I want to know for certain that
you have, by God's grace, raised your body from the grave, having
first nailed it to the cross, and to be sure that it is the same
body. I want to put my finger into the scars of crucifixion.
Lastly, I want to put my hand into your side to see if the heart
is wounded. I want to see if there is true contrition there. I
want to find out if the old designs, the old loves, the old plans
are driven out; I want to find out if that heart has really upon
it the scar of the spear of God. O brethren! to say, "I have
risen with Christ," is an easy thing; for others to tell the
priest that you are truly converted presents no difficulty; but I
am St. Thomas, and I want to _see_ the wounds. Then what a
consolation for the priest if he can perceive plainly the print
of the nails, put his hand into the place of the nails, and put
his hand into the side! Then, like St. Thomas, he can cry: "My
Lord and my God." For in the truly crucified and converted sinner
he can see clearly the work of the Almighty. Ah! then, brethren,
strive to crucify your flesh every day; strive to know nothing
but Jesus, and him crucified.
{217}
Try to bear about in your bodies the "stigmata of the Lord
Jesus," for they will be your best credentials on earth and your
brightest glory in heaven.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

---------------------

              Sermon LXII.


   _For this is the charity of God,
   that we keep his commandments._
   --1 St. John v. 3.


We have in these words the infallible test of a true Christian
life. He alone truly loves God who keeps his commandments. I once
heard of a man who used to get down on his knees every morning
and recite the Ten Commandments as a part of his morning prayers.
I believe that that man's religion was practical. He certainly
had in his mind the right idea of what religion meant. We are apt
to keep the commandments too much in the background. True, we
have them and know them well enough, but they don't shine out in
our lives as they should. Here is a man that prays, but don't pay
his honest debts. Here is another that always goes to Mass, but
has the habit of cursing. Another is honest and just with his
neighbors, but, as everybody knows, gets drunk.

People sometimes talk about the difficulties of having faith; but
this is not where the trouble lies. The real struggle and
conflict of religion is to correct the morals of men. True
religion insists upon the keeping of the commandments, and that
is why it is so repugnant to men. Faith is easy to the virtuous;
if men wished to be moral there would be no difficulties about
faith. We sometimes hear people say: "Your religion is a perfect
tyranny." Yes, if you choose to call the Ten Commandments
tyranny.
{218}
This is the only tyranny that I have ever found. I think, also,
that every Catholic will testify that these Ten Commandments are
what really make religion hard, and that if these could only be
set aside men would never complain of its being hard. I never
heard of a Catholic who was willing to keep the Ten Commandments
who thought that anything else connected with his religion was
hard. Here we have, then, in a nutshell, the whole secret of the
opposition of men to the true religion; but, inconsistent as it
may seem and really is, men, while they hate, have yet to admire
what they hate. An apostate monk may set himself up as a reformer
and talk about "justification by faith alone," but the world
laughs at such nonsense. It trembles, though, when it hears our
Lord say: "Every tree, therefore, that bringeth not forth good
fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire." "If any man
loves me he will keep my commandments." This pretended reformer,
Doctor Martin Luther, who called that wonderful Epistle of St.
James, in which we are taught that "faith without good works is
dead," "an epistle of straw," proved, however, to the world by
his own life that it was this straw of being obliged to keep the
commandments which broke his back, as it has broken the backs of
so many others. But people do not have to leave the church to be
thus broken, for we have in the bosom of the church, also, those
who try to have piety without morality; but they are the
hypocrites, the sham followers of Christ. They will some day,
unless they speedily change their lives, hear our Lord saying to
them: "I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Ah! may we not some of us have good reason to fear that we shall
one day be judged as hypocrites?
{219}
The bankrupt merchant is afraid to look at his books, and
trembles at the thought of attempting to calculate his
liabilities; so those false Christians dare not look at the law
of God to examine their lives by it. But, to their shame and
grief, the day of reckoning will come. The devil may whisper to
such, "Soul, take thy ease," but, thank God! there is the voice
of God's church, which will not allow us to delude ourselves.

If we Catholics go to hell it will be with our eyes wide open.
The waves of passion can never drown that voice. It will always
tell us of our sins, and will never let us be content in being
hearers of the law, unless we are also doers. This is the way
which is certainly pointed out to us; "and it shall be called the
holy way."

-----------------------

              Sermon LXIII.

    _Jesus came, and stood in the midst,
    and said to them, Peace be to you._
    --St. John xx. 26.


In spite of there being so much fighting in the world, I think,
my brethren, that there are not many of us who really like it for
its own sake, or who would not rather have peace. Of course we
are not willing to sacrifice everything for it; we do not want
peace at any price. We do not want the peace of slavery--that
which comes from being beaten. We want an honorable one--that
which comes from having had the best of our adversary in a just
war.

{220}

There is another kind of peace besides these two. It is that
which comes from being let alone. But that is something which is
not intended for us in this world. Somebody will always be
interfering with us; if nobody else does, the devil, at any rate,
will be sure to do so. No, arrange it as we may, our life will
always be full of annoyances and conflicts, both from without and
from within.

And this kind of peace was not what our Lord wished and gave to
his apostles on that glorious day when he arose from the dead. He
knew very well that they, of all men in the world, were not going
to be let alone. They were going to be put in the very front of
the battle. Not only their neighbors but the whole world was
going to rise up against them; and Satan, with his infernal host,
was going to single them out as the special objects of his hatred
and vengeance.

No, the peace which our Lord gave to his apostles was not this,
but that which comes from victory. And that is the peace which he
wishes us also to have.

Over whom, then, are we going to be victorious? In the first
place, over the devil and all his temptations.

Many Christians, I am sorry to say, make the opposite kind of
peace with the devil--that is, the peace of slavery; one which
they would be ashamed to make with anybody else. Should they be
tempted by him to impurity, drunkenness, hatred, or blasphemy,
they give in and strike their colors at once. Being tempted and
sinning are all the same thing to them. Well, they have peace in
a certain way by this; that is, the devil, when he finds what
miserable and cowardly soldiers of Christ they are, does not
trouble himself much about them. He feels pretty sure of them;
they are his prisoners of war, and it is for his interest to
treat them well as long as they are in this world.

{221}

Yes, if you want to make peace with the devil you can surrender
to him at once. But shame, I say, on such a peace as this! It is
a base, contemptible, and cowardly one, and it will not last
long. Satan only waits for this life to be over to satisfy all
his malice and hatred on those he now seems to love.

But you may have, if you will, the peace and satisfaction of
victory over him. Make up your mind to have it--to have it every
time he tempts you. It is not so hard as you think; it is easy by
the merits of our Lord's sacred Passion, which are at your
command. He showed this to his apostles on that first Easter day,
when he said to them: "Peace be to you." He showed them his hands
and his side, bearing those glorious wounds, the marks and the
pledge of victory.

And you can also have the peace of victory over all others who
trouble you in this world, however unjust and strong they may be.
How? Why, in the same way as our Lord and his apostles had it.
Not by fighting with them, and giving back as good as you
get--no, but by giving much better than you get; by doing them
all the good you can. Evil is not to be conquered by evil, but by
good. "Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you"; that is
what the Eternal Wisdom has said; that is the way to have victory
and peace, not only in the next world but also in this; and the
sooner you believe it and act on it the happier will you be.

-----------------------

{222}

        _Second Sunday after Easter._


  Epistle.
  1 _St. Peter ii._ 21-25.

  Dearly beloved:
  Christ has suffered for us, leaving you an example that you
  should follow his steps. "Who did no sin, neither was guile
  found in his mouth." Who, when he was reviled, did not revile:
  when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to
  him that judged him unjustly. Who his own self bore our sins in
  his body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should
  live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were
  as sheep going astray: but you are now converted to the pastor
  and bishop of your souls.


  Gospel.
  St John x. 11-16.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good shepherd. The good
  shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and
  he that is not the shepherd, whose own sheep they are not,
  seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep, and flieth; and
  the wolf snatcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling
  flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the
  sheep. I am the good shepherd: and I know mine, and mine know
  me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay
  down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have, that are not
  of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my
  voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.

---------

{223}

              Sermon LXIV.

      _I am the Good Shepherd._
      --St. John x. 11.


It is not requisite for me to prove to you, dear brethren, that
our Lord was and is, in every sense, the "Good Shepherd," nor is
it my intention to speak of him this morning in that character. I
want to bring this fact before your minds--namely, that although
the "great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls" has gone from us,
yet he has left other authorized pastors to take charge of his
flock. The Pope is a shepherd, the bishops are shepherds, and, to
bring it down close to you, the priests of God's church are
shepherds. You and your children are the sheep and the lambs of
Christ's flock; we are your shepherds appointed by Jesus Christ
to feed you, to watch over you, to keep you in the fold, to check
you when you want to go astray. Now, then, every priest can say,
"I am the good shepherd." And what does a good shepherd do?
First, he tends his flock with care; and, secondly, he derives
from it his means of support. Now, brethren, the priest's duty is
to watch over and care for you; and that he does so you will not
deny. He must hear your confessions, give you Holy Communion,
come to you when you are ill, administer the sacraments to you,
advise you, preach to you, instruct you, shield you from the
wolves and seek you when you are lost, and often serve you at the
risk of his own life. Now, the priest does all these things, not
because he is paid, not because the people hire him and pay him a
salary, but _simply_ and _solely_ because he is the
good shepherd; because it is his mission, his office to do so;
because he is placed over you by authority.
{224}
Now, it follows from this that it is your duty to be fed, to be
kept in the fold, to be checked when you are going wrong, to hear
his voice and obey him. I am afraid some don't understand this.
How is it we hear of milk-and-water Catholics going to be married
before magistrates, or, what is worse, before ministers of a
false religion? How is it that we find Catholics denying their
faith and going to a Protestant place of worship for the sake of
a little food and clothing? The priest has God's own authority;
you are the sheep. The priest has you in charge. God does not
come and ask you if you would like a shepherd; he places one over
you, and that he may guide you, and not that you may guide him. I
say this for the benefit of those who are always talking about
their priests, always picking holes in the conduct of their
pastors. Such people forget their position, forget their
obligations, and make themselves appear very ignorant, much
wanting in faith, and very impertinent. Again, the shepherd lives
by his flock; so the priest must be supported by the people. A
priest has a body as well as you have, and he can't live on air
or on shavings. Then he wants to build and keep in repair God's
temples. He wants money to build schools and support them; he
wants money to feed and clothe the poor. He wants money because
it is your _duty_ to give it; for one of the laws of the
church is, "To pay tithes to your pastors." Often, too, it is a
great kindness for us to accept some of your worldly riches,
which otherwise would, perhaps, prevent your entry into heaven.
We can do with the riches what the shepherd does with his wool:
make clothes for the naked and destitute, exchange what we get
for building and decorating God's church, and a hundred other
things of which you, the sheep, and your children, the lambs of
Christ's flock, will get the heavenly merit and the everlasting
profit.
{225}
Oh! then, brethren, have faith, try always to cling to the priest
as the good shepherd, so that at the last day we may call you all
by name, and find that of the little flock of sheep and lambs not
one is missing.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

--------------

              Sermon LXV.


  _Christ suffered for us,
  leaving you an example
  that you should follow his steps_.
  --1 St. Peter ii. 21.


The holy church is not going to let us forget the cross, my
brethren, even in this joyous Easter season. There is a prayer,
or Commemoration of the Cross, which she orders to be said in the
divine Office even more frequently now than during the rest of
the year; and here in the Epistle of to-day she warns us that we
all must take up our cross as our Lord took his, if we would have
a share in the triumph which we now celebrate.

"Christ," says St. Peter, "left us an example that we should
follow in his steps." St. Peter had not forgotten those words
which his Master after his resurrection spoke to him on the shore
of the Sea of Galilee: "Do thou follow me." He tried to do it;
and he did follow his Lord in a life of toil and suffering, ended
by a painful death on the cross like to that which his Saviour
had borne. He followed the example which had been set him; he
believed what he says in this Epistle of his, and acted on it.
How is it with us?

{226}

Many Christians seem to imagine that our Lord, by his
resurrection, took away, or ought to have taken away, all trouble
from the earth. They cannot understand how it is that in this
redeemed world, whose sins his Blood has expiated, the cross
still keeps coming down on them at every turn. They honor the
cross, and are grateful for the redemption which it has brought
them; but even when they kiss it on Good Friday they do not
understand that they have got to take it, embrace it, and bear it
themselves.

And yet that is the fact. The cross is to free us from eternal
suffering, but not from that which passes away. Our Lord did not
suffer in order that we might have no suffering at all, but that
we might be able to bear our sufferings better, and to bear
greater ones than we could otherwise have borne. He might have
redeemed us without suffering as he did; but one of the reasons
why he did not choose to was that we, the guilty, to whom the
cross belongs, may bear it cheerfully when we see Him who was
innocent taking it on his shoulders.

But why did not our Lord suffer enough to free us from suffering
at all? I think there are not many who are ungenerous enough to
ask such a question plainly, though it seems to be in a great
many people's minds. Well, I will tell you why he left us a share
of his cup. It was for the same reason that he took his own
share: it was because he loved us, and chose what was for our
best good. And he knew it was better for us to be saved through
our own sufferings as far as possible.
{227}
They could not be enough of themselves; so he did what was
enough, and then enough more to bring down our own share to just
what we could make the best use of with his grace and by his
example.

That is the reason, then, why the cross is left in the world. Try
to see it and acknowledge it yourselves; that is better than to
have the cross meeting you as a strange and unaccountable thing.
For it will meet you at Easter as well as at other times of the
year; even when you are happiest there will always be some cloud
in your sky. There will never be any real and true Easter for you
till you shall, like your Redeemer, have exchanged this temporal
life for that which is eternal. But do not be too much in a hurry
for that time. He knows best how much suffering is good for you.
Count it a joy and an honor that he has thought you worthy to
follow in his steps, and thank him for the example which he has
given you to help him to do so, as well as for his merits which
he has also given you that your following might not be in vain.

---------------

              Sermon LXVI.


  _And other sheep I have
  that are not of this fold;
  them also I must bring,
  and they shall hear my voice,
  and there shall be one fold
  and one shepherd._
  --St. John x. 16.


If we only knew how much our Lord loves those "other sheep" who
are not in the one true fold, we should think and act differently
from what we do towards them. As we look upon the sacred image of
our Divine Lord upon the cross, we behold his arms and hands
stretched to their utmost extent to embrace the whole world.

{228}

He is the second Adam, who came to undo the work of the first
Adam; and as the terrible consequences of the first transgression
have extended to _all_ men without exception, so, also, to
repair this evil which has come upon all men it was necessary
that the grace of salvation should be offered to _all_
without exception. And from this we may infer that God does not
simply will that men should be saved, but that he actually gives
to every man that is born sufficient grace to accomplish this
great work. But are those who stay outside of the one fold in the
way to use this sufficient grace? Certainly they are not, or our
Lord never would have said: "Them also I must bring, and they
shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one
shepherd." No one, therefore, can be said to be in the way of
salvation who stays outside of the one true fold of the Catholic
Church. We cannot, of course, know what extraordinary means of
grace God may use for those who are ignorant of the church, yet
we do know with perfect certainty that the Catholic Church, with
its doctrine, sacraments, and other means of grace, is the only
divinely-established means of salvation for all men.

Knowing, then, that our Divine Lord, inasmuch as he died for all
men, wills to bring all men into the one true fold, where they
may be under one shepherd, we must feel it to be our duty, if we
have the love of Christ in our hearts, by our prayers, words, and
good example to bring the "other sheep" of whom our Lord speaks
so lovingly to the knowledge of this one fold.
{229}
It is only a coldness of faith and charity which can make us look
upon those who are outside of the church as if they were already
where they ought to be, and where God wishes them to be, or make
us think that it is a hopeless task to try to bring them into the
true church. Our Lord has promised that they shall hear his
voice. We know, then, that he will co-operate by his all-powerful
grace with what we do for their salvation.

Our first duty is that of prayer for these "other sheep." Every
prayer that we offer up for the conversion of infidels and
heretics will be heard, and will bring down upon them additional
grace. Prayer opened the hearts of the Irish people, when they
were in the darkness of paganism, to receive the true faith from
St. Patrick. In our own day, also, prayer has brought thousands
of Protestants and infidels into the true church. Father Ignatius
Spencer, of the Order of Passionists, was raised up by God to
spread among the Catholics of Ireland and England the devotion of
prayers for England, and we behold the results of these prayers
in the great "Oxford movement," which brought so many into the
church and has opened the way for so many more conversions. Can
we ever by our words bring others into the church? Yes. An
explanation of some point of Catholic doctrine, an invitation to
come and hear a sermon, the lending of a Catholic book, may be
the means which God has chosen for the conversion of our
Protestant neighbor. "Who knows," said St. Alphonsus Liguori,
"what God requires of me? Perhaps the predestination of certain
souls may be attached to some of my prayers, penances, and good
works."

But, above all, by our good example we should lead others into
the "one fold." "Actions speak louder than words," but woe to us
if our actions belie the truth of our faith!
{230}
What shall we answer if accused before the tribunal of God by
souls who would have known and have been saved by the truth but
for our bad example? We must never forget, dear brethren, our
duty towards those "other sheep" for whom our Lord died just as
much as he did for us.

-----------------------

{231}

         _Third Sunday after Easter_.


       Feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph.


  Epistle.
  1 _St. Peter ii._ 11-19.

  Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims to
  refrain yourselves from carnal desires, which war against the
  soul; having your conversation good among the Gentiles; that
  whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, considering you
  by your good works they may glorify God in the day of
  visitation. Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for
  God's sake; whether it be to the king as excelling, or to
  governors as sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers and
  for the praise of the good; for so is the will of God, that by
  doing well you may silence the ignorance of foolish men: as
  free, and not as making liberty a cloak of malice, but as the
  servants of God. Honor all men; love the brotherhood; fear God;
  honor the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all
  fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
  For this is thankworthy, in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  Epistle of the Feast.
  _Genesis xlix._ 22-26.

  Joseph is a growing son, a growing son and comely to behold;
  the daughters run to and fro upon the wall. But they that held
  darts provoked him, and quarrelled with him, and envied him.
  His bow rested upon the strong, and the bands of his arms and
  his hands were loosed by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob:
  thence he came forth a pastor, the stone of Israel.
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  The God of thy Father shall be thy helper, and the Almighty
  shall bless thee with the blessings of heaven above, with the
  blessings of the deep that lieth beneath, with the blessings of
  the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of thy father are
  strengthened with the blessings of his fathers: until the
  desire of the everlasting hills should come; may they be upon
  the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the Nazarite among
  his brethren.


  Gospel.
  _St. John xvi._ 16-22.

  At that tine:
  Jesus said to his disciples: A little while, and now you shall
  not see me: and again a little while, and you shall see me:
  because I go to the Father. Then some of his disciples said one
  to another: What is this that he saith to us: A little while,
  and you shall not see me: and again a little while, and you
  shall see me, and because I go to the Father? They said
  therefore: What is this that he saith, a little while? we know
  not what he speaketh. And Jesus knew that they were desirous to
  ask him; and he said to them: Of this do you inquire among
  yourselves, because I said: A little while, and you shall not
  see me: and again a little while, and you shall see me? Amen,
  amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the
  world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your
  sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor,
  hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she hath
  brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish,
  for joy that a man is born into the world. So also you now
  indeed have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart
  shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you.


  Gospel of the Feast.
  _St. Luke iii._ 21-23.

  At that time it came to pass, when all the people were
  baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven
  was opened: and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape as a
  dove upon him: and a voice came from heaven: Thou art my
  beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself was
  beginning about the age of thirty years: being (as it was
  supposed) the son of Joseph.

----------------------------

{233}

              Sermon LXVII.


Our Holy Father, Pope Pius IX., as you know, dear brethren, has
made his reign glorious by defining the dogma of the Immaculate
Conception; thus placing in our dear Lady's diadem the brightest
gem that adorns it. He has further rendered his pontificate
glorious by declaring the chaste spouse of Mary Immaculate, St.
Joseph, to be the patron of the universal church. When we
celebrated the feast of St. Joseph, on the 19th of last month,
his statue was veiled by the hangings of Passion-tide; but today
his image is exposed to our gaze, and I have thought that this
discourse cannot be better occupied than by considering how
fitting it is that good St. Joseph should be the patron of the
universal church, and how great a devotion we should have towards
him.

St. Joseph is a fitting patron for the rich and for those whom
God has placed in the high positions and stations of this world;
for let us never forget that St. Joseph, although poor, was, by
lineal descent, of the royal house of David. He was of high
birth, of noble blood, and yet how humble, how willing to work
for his living when it became necessary!

So, then, here is a lesson for those who hold their heads high in
the world. Some day, dear friends, you may come down, you may be
brought low. You may lose your money, lose position, lose your
place in society. Take example, then, from St. Joseph. Do not say
like the unjust steward: "To dig I am unable, and to beg I am
ashamed"; but remember that the fairest hands that ever were, and
the noblest blood that ever flowed, are never disgraced by honest
labor or necessary toil.

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St. Joseph is a fitting patron also for the poor. He had to work
hard. He had, for the safety of the Divine Child and his
Immaculate Spouse, to take long and weary journeys. He had the
pain of seeing Jesus and Mary turned from the doors of Bethlehem,
while those who had money were safely and comfortably lodged. Yet
he never complained, never murmured. He worked, and bore all the
inconveniences of poverty without a word. Is it so with you who
are poor? Don't you sometimes envy the rich, get discontented
with your position, feel rebellious against the will of God? If
so, I point you to St. Joseph. He is your model. He is your
example; strive to imitate him in all things. Are you humiliated?
Bear it for Christ's sake. Are you punished by cold and hunger?
Bear it for Christ's sake. Are you weary after your day's labor?
Bear it, bear it all for Christ's sake, as good St. Joseph did.

St. Joseph, too, is a model for the married. He cared tenderly
for the Virgin Mother and her Divine Child. He loved them, he
guarded them. He is a model for the unmarried in his purity of
life. He is a model for the priest, a model for the people, a
model for the young, an example for the old. Oh! then how wisely
our Holy Father acted in making him patron of the universal
church. But not only is St. Joseph patron of the living, but also
of the dying and the dead--of the dying, because he died in the
arms of Jesus and Mary. Beautiful death! The Son of God at his
side, the Mother of God to support his dying form! brethren! we
who are here to-day living will one day be dying.
{235}
Let us, then, pray St. Joseph that he will obtain for us the
grace of a happy death--the grace to die, as he died, in the arms
of Jesus and Mary. Then, no matter if flames devour us, or waters
overwhelm us, or disease slays us, we shall be safe--safe, for
the Son of God will hold us by the hand; safe, for the Mother of
God will throw around an all-protecting mantle of defence.

And, lastly, St. Joseph is the patron of those who are dead and
in purgatory. He waited long in limbo before he entered into the
joy of heaven. Separated from all he loved on earth, and seeing
the pearly gates of heaven, not yet opened by the bloodshed of
Calvary, shut against him, oh! how great must his longing have
been. Ah! then I am sure St. Joseph feels for and loves the holy
souls in purgatory, who, like himself, have lost earth and not
yet gained heaven.

Let us all, then, hasten to St. Joseph to-day. Let us pray for
ourselves and others. Let us pray for the living and pray for the
dead. Let us say: "O great patron of the whole church! look down
from the loftiness of thy mountain to the lowliness of our
valley; obtain for us to live like thee, to die like thee, and to
reign _with_ thee in everlasting bliss."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

--------------------

              Sermon LXVIII.


On this Sunday, my dear brethren, the church celebrates every
year the feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph. You have often
heard it read out from the altar, you heard it just now; and yet
I am afraid most of you might as well not have heard it, for all
the impression it made on you.
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If you thought anything about the notice you probably thought
that it was only something to interest the pious people, to let
them know when to say their prayers and go to Communion.

If you did you made a great mistake. St. Joseph is not a saint
for pious people only, but for every Christian. That is true of
all the saints, but specially so of St. Joseph. All the saints
take an interest in all of us, however weak and imperfect, or
even sinful, we may be; they all love us and care for us far more
than our friends in this world. Still, they have perhaps a
particular care for some, as we have, or should have, a
particular devotion to some of them as our patrons.

But St. Joseph is everybody's patron. That is what holy church
means by inviting us all to celebrate this feast of his
Patronage, and by giving him the title, as she did only a few
years ago, of patron of the universal church. He is the patron of
the church in general and of each member of it in particular.

What is a patron? The word has rather gone out of common use.
Well, it is a friend at court. A patron is one who has got
influence and power to use for our advantage. If we want anything
he is the one to get it for us. He is the man that you go to if
you want to get an office or employment of any kind from the
powers that be; and generally you will find it pretty hard to get
a place, if you have not such a friend to go to.

{237}

Well, St. Joseph is such a friend for all of us in the court of
heaven, and that is the one where we all want to have an
interest; for there is where all matters are really arranged,
whether regarding heaven or earth. If you want anything whatever
St. Joseph is the one to go to, whether it be the most important
thing of all--that is, the grace of final perseverance and
salvation--or merely to pay your debts or save you from want. He
will get you either one, though I do not know that he will get
you the dollar, if you do not want the grace also.

But you will say, perhaps: "I do not need St. Joseph's help so
much, for I have Our Blessed Lady to go to; is not she more
powerful even than he is?" Well, I do not deny that, of course,
nor that she is the best of all patrons. Neither does the church;
for she celebrates, as you know, the feast of Our Lady's
Patronage also. But I would not give much for your devotion to
her, neither would she herself, unless you include St. Joseph in
it. You might as well try to separate her from her Divine Son as
St. Joseph from her.

Besides, you know the saints have what I may call their
specialties. It is not, for instance, a superstition to ask the
help of St. Anthony of Padua to find for us what we have lost.
St. Joseph has several specialties; and one of them, and one
which I know you will think quite important, is the help which he
will give to us in temporal necessities when we are hard pressed
for money, or things seem in any way to be going very much
against us. Let me, then, suggest to you a very practical form of
devotion to him. When anything goes wrong, instead of worrying
about it and making it keep you from prayer, or even, perhaps,
from Holy Mass, go to St. Joseph about it; ask him to get you
what you want or to relieve your from your trouble. He will do it
for you, unless it be bad for your soul.

{238}

Perhaps you think this is all fancy. Well, all I say is, just
try, and you will see whether it is or not. You will find plenty
of people who will tell you that what I say is true. But ask St.
Joseph to help your soul, too, for he does not want to have you
neglect that. See if you cannot make the patronage of St. Joseph,
both temporally and spiritually, more of a reality to yourselves
before another year has gone by.

--------------------

               Sermon LXIX.

  _Be ye subject therefore
  to every human creature
  for God's sake._
  --1 St. Peter ii. 13.


If we stop to consider these words of the Epistle, my dear
brethren, they must certainly have a strange sound to us in this
age of the world, and especially in this country, which makes
liberty its great boast. Many of us, I am afraid, in spite of
their reverence for St. Peter, who gives this instruction, would
be tempted to say that this doctrine of his is a very curious
one. "Be subject to every human creature," indeed! Why, on the
contrary, in this free and enlightend republic, we do not
acknowledge subjection to any one; we hold that every man is
equal; we are all sovereigns and make laws ourselves--not
subjects, obedient to laws made by others. We observe the laws of
the land, it is true, but that is because they are arrangements
made by the majority for the good of the nation, state, or city,
and because we must have some sort of law if we are to have any
kind of order.

{239}

Well, this creed, which some of you, perhaps, have adopted, may
sound well enough in itself, but unfortunately it does not seem
to agree very well with St. Peter's inspired and infallible
teaching. We must, if we are Catholics, acknowledge that instead
of claiming that no one has a right to control us, we ought, as
he says, to "be subject to every human creature." The only thing,
then, is to find out just what he means by this.

Does St. Peter mean, then, that we must be willing to obey every
human creature, every man, woman, or child that undertakes to
command us? Yes, there is no doubt that such is his doctrine. We
must be _willing_ to obey every one; we must have a spirit
of subjection and humility, not of superiority and pride. We must
not think that we are too good or too wise to be commanded by any
one, however bad or however foolish he may seem to be. We must
have a desire to obey, not to command.

But does St. Peter mean that we actually must always obey every
one, man, woman, or child, who chooses to command us? No, of
course he does not mean that. We shall see what he does mean by
bringing in the rest of the text.

"Be ye subject," he says, "to every human creature _for God's
sake_." That is, be subject, as a matter of counsel, to every
human creature, whenever we can suppose that creature to be
speaking in the name of God; and as a matter of precept whenever
we are sure that such is the case.

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The first is a counsel, as I said, to be followed by those who
would be perfect; to mortify our own will and submit to the
direction of others when it is not evidently wrong or foolish.
But the second is a strict duty to be practised if we would be
saved: to submit to the commands of those who certainly do speak
in God's name, when their commands are not plainly wrong. And who
are those who speak in God's name? First, they are those whom he
has appointed to rule his church--your Holy Father the Pope, the
bishops, and your pastors. Remember, when they speak to you they
speak in the name of God; do not murmur against them, but obey
cheerfully for his sake, whether their commands come to you
directly or through others whom they appoint to duties connected
with the church.

Secondly, they are those whom he has appointed to rule the state
or nation. No state or nation can be governed except in the name
of God. That is what St. Paul says distinctly: "The powers that
are," he says--and he was speaking of the heathen emperors--"are
ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power resisteth
the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves
damnation." Be submissive, then, to the authorities and officers
of every degree and kind in the nation, state, or city, when you
meet them in the discharge of their duty. Though you may have
chosen them yourselves, when they have been chosen they speak to
you in God's name.

Lastly, those who rule in the family do so in the name of God.
Children should remember that when they disobey their parents it
is God's commands they are disobeying, and that disobedience in
any grave matter is a mortal sin. And servants--for such really
are those who live out in families--should also bear in mind
their duty of obedience for God's sake and as to God. "Servants,"
says St. Peter in this Epistle, "be subject to your masters with
all fear."

{241}

Yes, we should all fear to disobey lawful authority,
because God has established it, not we ourselves.
And we should also understand that only in obedience
for God's sake is true liberty to be found.

--------------------

{242}

         _Fourth Sunday after Easter._


  Epistle.
  _St. James i._ 17-21.

  Dearly beloved:
  Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming
  down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change
  nor shadow of vicissitude. For of his own will hath he begotten
  us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning of his
  creatures. You know, my dearest brethren, and let every man be
  swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger. For the
  anger of man worketh not the justice of God. Wherefore casting
  away all uncleanness, and abundance of malice, with meekness
  receive the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.


  Gospel.
  _St. John xvi._ 5-14.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: I go to him that sent me, and none
  of you asketh me: Whither goest thou? But because I have spoken
  these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell
  you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go
  not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will
  send him to you. And when he shall come, he will convince the
  world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin indeed:
  because they have not believed in me. And of justice: because I
  go to the Father; and you shall see me no longer. And of
  judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged. I
  have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them
  now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, shall come, he will
  teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself: but
  what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak, and the
  things that are to come he shall show you. He shall glorify me:
  because he shall receive of mine, and will declare it to you.

-----------------------

{243}


              Sermon LXX.


  _I tell you the truth:
  it is expedient for you that I go, ...
  But I will see you again,
  and your heart shall rejoice;
  and your joy no man shall take from you._
  --St. John xvi. 7, 22.


We all know, dear brethren, what place our Lord was speaking
about and to which he was soon to go. He was soon to leave his
disciples and go to heaven. To that place we all hope to go also,
that we may see him there, where, as he promises further on in
the same discourse, our hearts shall rejoice, and where our joy
no man shall take from us.

Now, there are three joys, it seems to me, which go to make up
the happiness of heaven. First, we shall be consoled; second, we
shall be satisfied; and, last and best of all, we shall see God.

We shall be consoled for all the evils we have suffered in this
world. Oftentimes we have to fight pretty hard against the world,
the flesh, and the devil, and we have received, perhaps, many a
grievous wound in mind and heart. Then, again, we have endured
much sickness, experienced many a bitter pang, undergone many a
heavy trial. Once we are in heaven we shall be consoled for all
these things there; our wounds will be healed, our sins forgiven,
our hearts comforted. There we shall see the fruits of our
penance, there we shall be solaced for all we have borne. He who
leads his flock like a shepherd and carries the lambs in his
bosom will come to us; he will fold us in his holy arms, and for
evermore we shall be at peace.

Again, we shall be satisfied. Here we love certain places and
their surroundings; we love creatures; we love all that is
beautiful. But we are not satisfied, for all these things either
leave us or we are forced to leave them.
{244}
Now, in heaven exists all the beauty and loveliness of earth,
only in a degree infinitely higher and fairer. There we shall
have all things we can desire, and possess them without fear of
change or loss. There we feel all the sweetness of prayer, all
the delights of sensible devotion, all that the saints on earth
felt when rapt in ecstasy, and more. Here there is always
something to disappoint us, something that makes us restless and
uncomfortable. There everything will exceed our highest hopes,
our best desires--in a word, in heaven, and in heaven alone, we
shall be perfectly satisfied.

Then, lastly, O joy of joys! we shall see God. We shall see him
face to face. We shall see the beauty of God. We shall behold his
wisdom and his everlasting glory. Yes, brethren, these poor eyes,
that have shed so many tears, they shall see God. The poor eyes
so weary from watch and vigil, so tired of looking up into heaven
after Jesus and Mary, so sick of looking around on earth, so
terrified from looking down into hell--these eyes shall see God.
We shall gaze on all the blessed. We shall see Jesus, and Mary,
and Joseph. Our eyes will look upon the golden pavement of the
celestial streets, the gates of pearl, and the walls of amethyst.
We shall see all the brightness and glory of heaven, for we shall
see God.

Brethren, these joys are waiting for you. Every baptized member
of Christ's mystical body has a right to a home in that land of
peace! Ah! then be careful, I pray you, not to lose the way. See
where the Standard-bearer leads! See the cross that he bears. Oh!
you all want to go to heaven, I am sure you do. There is only one
thing that can keep you out, and that is mortal sin.
{245}
Stain your soul with mortal sin by grievous violation of any one
of the commandments, and that is enough, should you die
impenitent, to keep you for ever from being consoled, from
enjoying eternal happiness, from seeing God. Ah! then, brethren,
walk in the narrow road. Be faithful and loving children of the
church, and then one day you will leave this poor, weary, sinful
world and go to dwell for ever within the walls of the City of
Peace.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-----------------

              Sermon LXXI.


    _Let every man be swift to hear,
    but slow to speak._
    --St. James i. 19.

I think that every one of you, my dear friends, will agree with
me that this would be a much happier world than it is if this
recommendation of St. James, in the Epistle of to-day, were
carried out. For it is quite plain, I think, to every one of you
that other people talk too much. If they would only say less, and
listen more to what you have to say, things would go on much
better. If they would only be swift to hear, but slow to speak,
the world would get much more benefit from your wisdom and
experience than is now the case.

But, unfortunately, this general conviction, in which, I think,
we all share more or less, does not tend to produce the desired
result, but rather the contrary; for it makes everybody more
anxious to speak and to be listened to, and more unwilling to
listen themselves. We all want everybody except ourselves to keep
St. James's rule, but do not set them a good example.
{246}
So our example does harm, while our conviction does no good; and
things are worse than if we did not agree with St. James at all.

Now, would it not be a good idea if each one would try, if it
were only for the sake of good example, to be less willing to
talk and more willing to listen? And perhaps, after all, even we
ourselves do sometimes say a word or two which is hardly worth
saying, or perhaps a great deal better unsaid.

A story is told of a crazy man who, in some very lucid interval,
asked a friend if he could tell the difference between himself
and the people who were considered to be of sound mind. His
friend, curious to see what he would say, said: "No; what is it?"
"Well," said the crazy man, "it is that I say all that comes into
my head, while you other people keep most of it to yourselves."

My friends, I am afraid the crazy man was about right, but he was
too complimentary in his judgment of others. By his rule there
would be a great many people in the asylum who are now at large.
Really, it seems as if it never occurred to some persons who are
supposed to be in their right minds whether their thoughts had
better be given to the world or not. Out they must come, no
matter whether wise or foolish, good or bad.

Yes, the madman, for once in his life, was pretty nearly right.
One who talks without consideration, who says everything that
comes into his or her head, is about as much a lunatic as those
who are commonly called so; for such will have one day to give an
account for all their foolish and inconsiderate words, long after
they themselves have forgotten them. And to carelessly run up
this account is a very crazy thing.

{247}

A little instrument has lately been invented, as you no doubt
have heard, which will take down everything you say; it is called
the phonograph. It makes little marks on a sheet of tinfoil, and
by means of these it will repeat for you all you have said,
though it may have quite passed out of your own mind. There are a
great many uses to which this little instrument may be put; but I
think that one of the best would be to make people more careful
of what they say. They would think before they spoke, if a
phonograph was around. Few people would like to have a record
kept of their talk, all ready to be turned off at a moment's
notice. It would sound rather silly, if no worse, when it was a
day or two old.

Perhaps the phonograph will never be used in this way; but there
is a record of all your words on something more durable than a
sheet of tinfoil. This record is in the book from which you will
be judged at the last day. Our Lord has told us that at that day
we shall have not only to hear but to give an account for all the
idle words spoken in our lives.

Should not, then, this thought restrain our tongues, and make us
rather be swift to hear than to speak?--more especially as it is
generally only by hearing that one can learn to speak well.

But what should you be swift to hear? Not the foolish or sinful
talk of others no more careful than yourselves. Be willing,
indeed, to listen to all with humility, believing them to be
wiser or better than you are; but seek the company and
conversation of those whom you know to be so. Nothing better can
come out of your heads than what is put into them. You will be
like those with whom you converse.

{248}

And therefore, above all, seek silence, that in it you may
converse with Almighty God, and hear what he has to say to you.
He is the one above all others whom you should be swift to hear.
When you get in the way of listening to him you will be slow
enough to speak. There is nothing so sure to prevent idle words
as the habit of conversation with God.

-------------------

              Sermon LXXII.


  _Let every man be ... slow to anger.
  For the anger of man
  worketh not the justice of God._
  --St. James i. 19, 20.

What is the reason, my brethren, that people sin by anger so
much? There is no temptation, it seems to me, that is more often
given way to. Other ones, though frequently consented to, are
also frequently resisted, even by those most subject to them; but
with this it seems as if we were like gunpowder: touch the match
to us, and off we go; if any one does us an injury or says an
insulting word, we flare up at once and give back all we got, and
more.

Afterward, perhaps, we are sorry; but that seems to do no good.
Next time it is just the same. And so it goes on, till perhaps we
begin to think that we really are like gunpowder; that God made
us so that we cannot help going off when the match of provocation
is applied.

But that is not true. It will never do to make God the cause of
our sins. It is our own fault. But what is the fault? What is the
matter that this temptation is not resisted like others?

{249}

I will tell you what I think the matter is. It is that the
temptation to anger does not seem to be a temptation at the time.
The angry word seems to you all right when you utter it. It is
not so with other things--sins of impurity, for instance. You
know they are wrong, and that you ought to resist them, even when
they are on you; and sometimes you make up your mind to do so.
But it is not so in this sin of anger.

And why does it not seem to be a temptation? Why do you think it
no sin to say the angry word, to flare up when you are provoked?
It is because your mind is confused at the time, so that you
cannot tell what is sin and what is not.

That is the truth, if I am not mistaken. It is just the peculiar
danger of this temptation that it disturbs and confuses the mind
more than any other one. You cannot tell what really is right
when you are under it; it is not safe to do anything at all. You
are for the time like one who is drunk or crazy.

When a man has drank too much, if he have any sense left he will
keep out of the way of other people until he is sobered. For he
knows he is not fit to do or say anything when he is intoxicated,
and that he will only make a fool of himself if he tries.

That is common sense and prudence; and many men, oven when drunk,
have enough common sense and prudence left to follow this course.
But very few have when under the passing drunkenness of anger.
Most angry people do not know enough to hold their tongues. They
ought to. They ought to have learned by experience. Well, then,
this being the matter, the fault of angry people is plain enough.
It is this: that they do not try to guard themselves against this
temptation in the only way they can--that is, by remembering and
acting on these words of St. James which I read to you from the
Epistle of to-day: "The anger of man worketh not the justice of
God." It always works injustice; that is, it always makes a
mistake and does what is wrong. It has not sense enough to do
what is right.

{250}

The only way to avoid the sin, then, is the one that St. James
gives. Be slow to anger. Don't trust it, however sure you may be
that it advises you rightly. It is a fool; don't listen to it.
Wait till you get cool, till reason can have fair play.

I say this is the only way you can avoid this sin. I mean that
nothing else will cure you of it unless you do this. Confession
and Communion, prayer, penance, and other things, will help you;
but this is indispensable. You know when you are under the
influence of anger well enough. When you are, hold your tongue
and hold your hand. You may have to do or say something
afterwards, but very seldom there and then. God will not be
likely to give you grace that is not needed; and you will not
have the grace to do what is right when your duty is to do
nothing, and wait till the temptation passes by. Remember that
you are a fool when you are angry, if you do not want to act like
one and be sorry for it afterwards.

------------------------

{251}

        _Fifth Sunday after Easter._


  Epistle.
  _St. James i._ 22-27.

  Dearly beloved:
  Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your
  own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word, and not a
  doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his natural
  countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his
  way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was. But he
  that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty, and hath
  continued in it, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of
  the work: this man shall be blessed in his deed. And if any man
  think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but
  deceiving his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Religion
  pure and unspotted with God and the Father, is this: to visit
  the fatherless and widows in their tribulation; and to keep
  one's self undefiled from this world.


  Gospel.
  _St. John xvi._ 23-30.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: Amen, amen I say to you, if you
  ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it you.
  Hitherto you have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and you
  shall receive: that your joy may be full. These things have I
  spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when I will no more
  speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the
  Father. In that day you shall ask in my name: and I say not to
  you, that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself
  loveth you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I
  came forth from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come
  into the world; again I leave the world, and I go to the
  Father. His disciples say to him: Behold now thou speakest
  plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now we know that thou knowest
  all things, and that for thee it is not needful that any man
  ask thee. In this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

----------------

{252}

              Sermon LXXIII.

  _Amen, amen I say to you,
  if you ask the Father anything in my name,
  he will give it you._
  --St. John xvi. 23.


What a wonderful promise this is--that everything we ask of
Almighty God, who is the Father of mercies, shall be granted to
us, if we ask it in the name of his only-begotten Son, our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ! Does our Lord really mean all he says?
Do people get all they pray for? Does it not seem to us sometimes
that we pray in vain--that God seems to shut his ears against our
cry, and has no regard to our tears and supplications? Yes, it
does often _seem_ so, but it is not really so. God's ways
are not always our ways to reach the end we desire. And our own
experience will tell us that it is very seldom it would be the
best for us if God took us at our word. The real reason why we do
not obtain the answer we wish to many of our prayers is, first,
because we do not ask, as we ought, in the name of Jesus Christ.
What is it to ask in his name? It is to ask in the name of Him
who came on earth, not to do his own will, but the will of his
Divine Father. Oh! how seldom we pray for favors and blessings
according to the will of God. Our blessed Lord, on the night
before he was crucified, foreseeing his death, and bowed to the
earth in his agony, ended his prayer with the words. "Not as I
will, but as thou wilt." That is not our way.
{253}
When we are in sorrow and trouble we think God should will as we
will, and we are disappointed and discouraged because we do not
get well of our sickness, or that calamity we feared comes, or
poverty sticks to us, or the conversion of those we pray for is
denied, or we do not obtain the employment we seek, or we have to
give up hope of getting that farm we set our heart upon. Who is
the judge, after all, about granting prayers? Who else but God,
who not only has the power to grant or refuse them, as he
chooses, but also has the perfect knowledge whether it would be
best for us to receive a favorable answer or not? He who prays in
the name of Jesus, prays with implicit trust in God's goodness
and wisdom, and if he has not mistaken his own will for the will
of God, will feel and should feel just as contented, no matter
which way God answers his prayer.

The second reason why we do not always get what we pray for is
because we are constantly asking for things which we dare not
presume to ask in the name of Jesus Christ. We know in our heart
of hearts that it is a petition he would not offer to his Divine
Father for us. If we had to write that petition down we would
neither begin nor end it with the words, "In the name of Jesus."
It is our pride that is praying, our worldly ambition, our lusts
and our selfish desires. We do not put the name of Jesus to our
prayer, because the spirit of Jesus is not in it. Charity is
wanting. We want to be happy, even if others are suffering. We
want money, even if our brethren starve. We desire high places
and the success of our undertakings, even if our neighbor and his
interests go to the wall. Alas! it is self that prays the loudest
and the oftenest and makes the greatest show.

{254}

Now, dear brethren, let us learn to bring all our prayers up to
the right standard. No matter what we ask for, let it be always
according to the will of God, and that alone. Then our prayer
will surely be granted, for the will of God, no longer opposed
and hindered by our will, accomplishes just what is best for us.
If we do not get just what we think best, it is because God, in
his divine generosity, chooses to give us something better, or
takes a wiser way to do it than we knew of.

If I were to advise you how to always pray in the name of Jesus,
I would say, Add always these words to every prayer you make: "So
may God grant it, if my salvation be in it." God grants no prayer
that does not have that end in view. His divine love for us
constantly regards that, even if we forget it. Pray, then, with
confidence and perseverance, but have a care to pray always with
and for the will of God. Then in heaven we shall see, if not
here, how not a single true prayer we ever made was left
unanswered.

----------------------

              Sermon LXXIV.

  _Amen, amen I say to you,
  if you ask the Father anything in my name,
  He will give it you._
  --St. John xvi. 23.


These are the words of Christ, taken from the Gospel of to-day;
we cannot doubt them for a moment. They are the words of him who
is the infallible Truth, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

And yet how seldom do we act as if we really believed them! How
seldom do you, my brethren, ask anything of the Father in the
name of Christ with real confidence that you will receive what
you ask for.

{255}

Many people say prayers, but few really pray. That is, many say
over certain forms of prayer which they know by heart or read out
of their prayer-books; many even feel bound to say some
particular set of prayers every day, for the scapular which they
wear, or for some other reason; but if you should ask them what
they are praying for, what particular thing they wish to obtain
from God when they say these prayers, few would be able to tell
you, unless, indeed, they happened to be making a novena for some
special object.

So, I say, it does not seem as if we Christians believed what our
Lord tells us in these words. For surely, if we did, almost all
our prayers would be petitions for some particular thing which we
wanted, instead of mere devotional exercises. And why? Because we
are always in want of something, and we must certainly believe
that Almighty God has the power to give us what we want; should
we not, then, be always praying for what we want, did we fully
believe that he has the will to give it to us?

Is it, then, really true that God will give us all good things
which we ask in prayer? Yes, it certainly is; that is exactly the
meaning of these words of Christ. All good things, I say; for it
is only good things which we can ask in his name. And if God
would give us bad things which we should ask for, our Saviour's
promise would be a curse, not a blessing as it really is.

No; God will not answer bad prayers--that is, prayers for what is
bad. People sometimes make such prayers and expect him to answer
them. They pray for vengeance on those who have injured them;
they pray that others may suffer as much as they have made them
suffer, and the like.
{256}
Or they pray for something which seems to them good, but really
is not so--that they may get rich, for instance, when riches will
only be an occasion of sin to them. The prayer seems to them
good, but it is not; perhaps even those prayers for vengeance may
seem so. But God knows better, and will not, as he says in the
Gospel of to-morrow, give us a stone when we ask for what seems
to be bread. If anything, he will give better, instead of worse,
than what we ask.

But really most things that Christians would think of praying for
are not bad; but you do not pray for them, because you think that
if they are good for you, you will get them, if you try, whether
you pray or not. Now, that is the great mistake which our Lord
wishes to correct. When he says, "If you ask the Father anything
in my name, he will give it you," that means, also, that if you
do not ask he will not, or at least not in such abundance.

Try, then, to bring this truth home to yourselves and make it
practical: that if you want anything the way to get it is to ask
it from God, not forgetting, of course, to work for it as well as
to pray; for no one prays in earnest who does not do that. And
the way not to get it is not to ask for it.

Pray, then, for what you want; and of course, before praying,
find out what you do want. You want, for instance, to be kept
from sin; but what sin? What is the one you are most inclined to?
Examine your conscience and find out. Then your prayer will
really mean something, especially if it be accompanied by good
and strong resolutions against your besetting vices.

{257}

If you know what you want, and pray for it in Christ's name and
in earnest, using all other means to get it, it shall, if it be
good, be yours. That is the lesson of our Lord's words in the
Gospel of to-day.

---------------

              Sermon LXXV.

  _Amen, amen I say to you,
  if you ask the Father anything in my name,
  He will give it you._
  St. John xvi. 23.


These words must be true, my brethren, for it is the Eternal
Truth who has spoken them. And yet I dare say you cannot see how
they are. You have often, perhaps, asked God for something which
you wanted, and put our Lord's name to your prayers, and yet you
have not got the thing on which your heart was set.

Well, let us see what is the matter; why it is that our
experience seems to contradict our faith. It may be that, though
the words seem plain, we do not understand them aright.

Perhaps we are under a mistake as to what is meant by asking in
the name of Christ. Let us consider what is really the common and
natural sense of asking for anything in somebody else's name.
What should we ourselves mean by it?

Suppose I say to one of you: "If you ask Mr. So-and so for such a
position or employment in my name you will get it," what do I
mean? I mean that his regard for me is such that, if you have my
name to support you, he will give it to you for my sake.

Well, now, this is, as it seems to me, what our Lord means by his
promise. The sense of it is: "The Father loves me so much that if
you have my name to support your prayers--that is, if I wish that
you should have what you ask for--he will give it to you for my
sake."

{258}

What it comes to, then, is this: If we ask the Father for
anything _really_ in the name of Christ--that is, if our
Lord really endorses our prayer--we shall have it.

"Well," perhaps you may say, "it seems to me that does not amount
to much. Will not God give us what our Lord approves of, any way,
whether we ask it or not? I don't see what we gain by praying, if
that is all."

There, my friends, you labor under a great mistake. The Father
wants Christ's name, but he wants your prayer, too. Some things,
it is true, you have got without praying; but there are many
which you have not got, but which you might have had if you had
added your own prayer to the name of our Lord.

I do not believe, for instance, that you ever asked in his name
to be rich. And yet it is quite possible that you might have done
so. If he knew that it would be good for yourself and others for
you to have money, if he knew that you would make a good use of
it, he would have put his name to your request. So you might,
perhaps, have been much richer than you are; perhaps it was only
the prayer for it on your part that was wanting. If it could have
been made in the name of Christ--that is, with his approval--it
would have been effectual.

It is very likely that he would, for good reasons, have refused
to give his name to such a prayer. Still it would be worth while
to try. It is always worth while to try praying for anything that
is not in itself bad; we may be able to get Christ's name for it,
who knows? And if we do not pray for what we want we will not be
nearly so likely to get it.

{259}

There are some things, though, that we can be sure to have his
name for, and which are besides much better than worldly goods.
Those are the virtues with which our souls ought to be
adorned--our true riches, the riches of the soul. Pray for these,
then, with full confidence that he will endorse your prayer.

But when you pray for them work for them too. He will not give
you either spiritual or temporal riches if you sit still and fold
your hands, and wait for them to drop into your lap. A prayer
which is not in earnest is no prayer at all; and no prayer is in
earnest if the one who makes it is not trying to get what he
wants in every way open to him.

Now, I hope you see that our Lord's promise is a real and true
one; for by it we can get many, very many things which otherwise
we never can have. And I hope you see that it is a most generous
one; for by it we can have everything that is really good. Could
you possibly ask anything more?

------------------------------

{260}

    _Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension_.


  Epistle.
  1 _St. Peter iv._ 7-11.

  Dearly beloved:
  Be prudent, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a
  mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a
  multitude of sins. Using hospitality one towards another
  without murmuring. As every man hath received grace,
  ministering the same one to another, as good stewards of the
  manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the
  words of God. If any man minister, let it be as from the power
  which God administereth: that in all things God may be honored
  through Jesus Christ our Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. John xv_. 26-_xvi_. 4.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: When the Paraclete shall come whom
  I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who
  proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. And
  you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the
  beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you may not
  be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues: yea,
  the hour cometh that whosoever killeth you, will think that he
  doeth a service to God. And these things will they do to you,
  because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these
  things I have told you, that when the hour of them shall come,
  you may remember that I told you.

--------------

              Sermon LXXVI.

  _Charity covereth a multitude of sins_.
  --1 St. Peter iv. 8.

{261}

Those words are from the Epistle appointed for this Sunday, and
St. Peter, when he wrote them, meant that a man who gets his
heart full of charity is sure to be truly penitent for his sins,
no matter how many they may have been, and will thus win the
mercy of God and receive full pardon for them. St. Peter's words
are quite a popular saying. You will hear all sorts of people
quote them with evident satisfaction and belief in their truth.
But do they all mean just what I have said _he_ meant? I am
not so sure that they do. I fear that some think that giving a
few dollars to the poor (which they call charity) is a convenient
way of throwing a cloak over a multitude of sins--covering them
up, as it were--and hiding them rather than getting rid of them.
I know the Scripture says also that "almsgiving redeems the soul
from death," and tells the sinner to "redeem his sins with alms
and his iniquities with works of mercy to the poor." But the
Catholic doctrine is that charity must prompt the almsgiving in
order to work the miracle of pardon. It is not the money or the
clothing, the food or the fire, given to those who need, which
compounds for sins and buys pardon at a cheap rate; but the
virtue of divine charity, a Christ-like love of God and of our
neighbors, that wipes out the judgment of condemnation and
cleanses the guilty stains from the soul. The giving of alms to
the suffering poor is certainly one of the first things that a
sinner who is trying to get back, or has already got back, the
love of God will set himself to do; and it is the very sacrifice
of his goods for God's sake and for God's love that proves he
wants to have done with his sins, and that he is anxious to do
penance for them. It would be the greatest folly in the world for
a man to give alms _for his sins_, if he was not trying to
do so for the love of God.
{262}
It is all very well and very benevolent to help a poor wretch
with food and raiment because we do not like to see a fellow
human being suffer. But thieves, and adulterers, and drunkards,
and Easter-duty breakers, and all sorts of sinners who have no
intention whatever of stopping their sinful career will do that;
and when they say, "Charity covereth a multitude of sins," they
are very well content to have their benevolence accounted as a
set-off to their sins. But mere benevolence is not charity, and
to think it is would be a very great mistake. St. Paul says that
a man may distribute all his goods to feed the poor, and yet not
have charity. So then, dear brethren, if you want your almsgiving
to be profitable to your own soul as well as helpful to your
suffering neighbor, stop your sins and begin to be, first of all,
a little generous with God. Give him what he is constantly
knocking at the door and begging for--your heart, your love. Then
you will have the charity that covereth a multitude of sins, even
before you give the poor a cent. Get into the love of God, and
then the love of your neighbor for God's sake will follow of
itself. You will then feed and clothe and comfort the poor, not
only because you pity them, but because you love them. Then will
God love you and forgive you your sins.

Now that we have a just idea of charity, you see how it is to be
exercised in a great many more ways than in almsgiving. You will
easily forgive your neighbor his offences against you; you will
hold no spite or revenge in your heart. If he has disgraced
himself you will not go and tell all your acquaintances of it,
but will jealously hide it and excuse it, and help him out of his
trouble.
{263}
Thus the charity you have will not only cover a multitude of your
own sins, but a multitude of your neighbor's sins as well. When
you forgive in charity you will forgive out and out, as God does,
and hold no grudge afterwards. O my dear Christians! try to learn
this lesson and lay it to heart. Strive after this divine love;
pray for it; ask Our Blessed Lady and all the saints to help you
obtain it; your salvation depends on it. I say it again: your
salvation depends on it. "Charity covereth a multitude of sins."
Yes; but nothing else will cover even _one_ sin. Without the
love of God there is no contrition; without contrition there is
no absolution; without absolution you are lost! Think well on
this.

----------------------

              Sermon LXXVII.

  _Before all things,
  have a mutual charity among yourselves;
  for charity covereth a multitude of sins._
  --1 St. Peter iv. 8.


What does St. Peter mean, my brethren, by these words? How does
charity cover a multitude of sins?

Well, it covers our own sins, of course--that is, it helps us to
obtain their forgiveness, and it atones for them when they have
been forgiven. There is no better way to obtain mercy from God
than to show it to others.

But then all the virtuous acts which we can do have the same
effect to some extent; so I think that the sins which St. Peter
speaks of are not our own merely, but also those of others. And
it is a special effect of charity to cover the sins of others; it
seems, then, that it is charity as shown in this way that the
apostle here urges on us.

{264}

It is not a very common kind of charity, either, this of covering
other people's sins. Some, indeed, seem to think that the sins of
their neighbors ought not to be covered. They do not appear to
understand that every one has a real right that his sins should
remain unknown; that it is not only uncharitable but unjust to
mention them to those who do not know them already. No; as soon
as they hear a piece of news to any one's disadvantage they are
not easy till they have told it to their whole circle of
acquaintance; the idea of covering it up, of not letting it go
any farther, of saving their neighbor's character never occurs to
them. If they feel pretty sure that it is true, that is enough to
remove all scruple about telling it.

But this telling about people's sins is a sin, as I have said,
not only against charity but against justice. Charity goes a good
deal farther than that. It covers sins not only from other
people's eyes, but even from our own.

That is what St. Paul says about it. He says: "Charity thinketh
no evil"--that is to say, it does not see sin in other people; it
puts the best construction on their actions. How rare it is to
find any one who thoroughly practises charity of this kind!

For instance, somebody tells something about you which you know
to be false; do you put the best construction on this? No, you
put the very worst you can. You say to yourself: "He, or she, did
that out of malice. He knew very well that what he said was not
true, and said it to slander me, out of pure spite." You never
stop to think that he maybe laboring under a false
impression--may really think that what he says is true, and that
he is, moreover, justified in saying it.
{265}
You never make any allowance for the passion he may be under
which has blinded his judgment; you never think of the
provocations he may have had, or may at least fancy that he has
had. The utmost you do is to say: "Well, I do not wish him any
evil; I forgive him the injury he has done me." And if you have
said that, which ought to be a matter of course, you look upon
yourself as a great Christian hero.

Try to learn, then, that charity means more than forgiving sins.
It means _excusing_ them--finding out, if possible, some
reason which may show that what seems to be a sin was not really
so. You are ready enough to excuse your own sins; to say, "I
could not help it," or "I did not mean any harm." Why don't you
say the same thing for somebody else? Throw the veil of charity
over the faults of others--if they have sinned it will do you no
good to know it--and take it off from your own, which you ought
to know a great deal better than you do. By the charity of
covering other people's sins from your own eyes you will cover
your own from the eyes of God.

-----------------

              Sermon LXXVIII.

  _Before all things,
  have a mutual charity among yourselves;
  for charity covereth a multitude of sins._
  --1 St. Peter iv. 8.


Nothing is more frequently or more forcibly commanded by our Lord
and his apostles than fraternal charity. Mind well the text:
"_Before all things_", says St. Peter, "have a mutual
charity among yourselves." In fact, if you give a little
attention to your daily thoughts, words, and deeds, you will find
that the burden of your daily sins is uncharitableness in one
form or another.
{266}
It was want of fraternal charity that brought about murder on the
very morning of this world's life. Hatred came between the first
two brothers of our race, and the result was the murder of the
innocent Abel. A preacher who lived some three hundred years
ago--they had a quaint way of telling plain truths in those
days--said in a sermon, and was willing to wager, that the first
thing that Adam and Eve did after eating the apple was to
quarrel, to have a downright good dispute, which was only
continuing, in another way, the first sin. Samson slew a thousand
Philistines "with a jawbone, even the jawbone of an ass." How
many reputations are destroyed in a like manner!--for a wise man
knows how to hold his tongue. What a heaven on earth our homes
and our social circles would be, if a constant mutual charity was
kept up between husband and wife, brothers and sisters, and
acquaintances! "With charity," said St. Gregory, "man is to man a
god; without charity man is to man a wild beast."

It may seem rather bold of St. Peter to say that charity should
be had "_before all things_"; but he gives a good reason for
his assertion, and a very consoling one it is for us: "for
charity covereth a multitude of sins." We all have, God knows, a
multitude of sins on our souls; anything that will take them
away, rid us of them, cover them up from God's sight, is of the
greatest possible benefit to us. Now, this is just what charity
does. How? It is said that love is blind; charity blinds us to
the defects and sins of our neighbor--in fact, covers them up
either by excusing, or by bearing patiently, or by forgiving the
sins and offences of others.
{267}
"Charity," says St. Paul, "is patient, is kind, charity envieth
not, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, beareth all
things, endureth all things." But in thus covering the sins of
others how does charity cover our own? Remember your "Our
Father": "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who
trespass against us." Here is a contract between you and God; you
stake the forgiveness from God of your sins on your forgiveness
of the sins of others. If, therefore, from a motive of charity
you cover the sins of others, God will cover your sins; they will
stand no more before him and against you.

"Well, well, dear father," it is often said to us, "forgive, yes;
but I will never forget." My dear friend, you remind me of the
beggar who, seeing a gentleman put his hand in his pocket,
fervently exclaimed, "May the blessing of God follow you," and
then, seeing that it was the smallest of coins that was handed to
him, added no less fervently, "and never overtake you!" To
_forgive really_ is to forget. We are to forgive as God
forgives; that is the bargain, is it not? Now, God forgets our
sins; they are for ever wiped out of his memory. Remembrances of
offences are temptations that you must hunt down as you would
impure thoughts; you must try to forget, else you do not forgive.
Next Sunday we celebrate the descent of the Holy Ghost. The Holy
Ghost is the spirit of love, the outcome of the mutual charity of
the Father and the Son. Pray to him that he may put in your
hearts the true virtue of Christian charity.

------------------

{268}

   _Feast of Pentecost, or Whit-Sunday_.


  Epistle.
  _Acts ii._ 1-11.

  When the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all
  together in the same place: and suddenly there came a sound
  from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the
  whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them
  cloven tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of
  them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they
  began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost
  gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews,
  devout men out of every nation under heaven. And when this
  voice was made, the multitude came together, and was confounded
  in mind, because that every one heard them speak in his own
  tongue. And they were all amazed and wondered, saying: Behold,
  are not all these who speak, Galileans? And how have we every
  one heard our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and
  Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and
  Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphilia, Egypt and
  the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews
  also, and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians: we have heard them
  speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.


  Gospel.
  _St. John xiv_. 23-31.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: If any one love me, he will keep
  my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him,
  and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not
  my words. And the word which you have heard is not mine, but
  the Father's who sent me.
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  These things have I spoken to you, remaining with you. But the
  Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my
  name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to
  your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. Peace I leave
  with you; my peace I give to you: not as the world giveth do I
  give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be
  afraid. You have heard that I have said to you: I go away, and
  I come again to you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad,
  because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I.
  And now I have told you before it come to pass; that when it
  shall come to pass, you may believe. Now I will not speak many
  things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, and in me
  he hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love
  the Father: and as the Father hath given me commandment, so I
  do.

------------------

              Sermon LXXIX.

  _The Holy Ghost,
  whom the Father will send in my name,
  he will teach you all things._
  --St. John xiv. 26.


Today, my dear friends, as you know, we celebrate the descent of
the Holy Ghost upon the apostles. It was, of all the wonderful
works that God has wrought for the salvation of men, in one way
the most extraordinary and miraculous; for it was an immediate
and evident change, not in the material world, but in the
spiritual--that is, in the souls of those upon whom the Holy
Spirit thus came. In a moment they became entirely different men
from what they had been before.

{270}

What was this change which was worked in the souls of the
apostles? It was, as we commonly regard it, an infusion of
supernatural courage and strength. Before they had been hiding
themselves, hardly daring to appear in public, still less to
preach the Gospel, or even to profess themselves Christians; but
now they came forth boldly, ready not only to be known as
followers of Christ, but also to suffer all things for his sake.

There was, however, another change worked in them in that moment;
and it is the one which our Lord predicted in the words which I
have taken from the Gospel of this day. "The Holy Ghost," said
he, "will teach you all things."

What was the meaning of this promise, and what was its
fulfilment? Did our Lord mean that the Holy Ghost would teach the
apostles all the truths of natural science; that they should
become great chemists, geographers, or mechanics; that they
should know how to construct steam-engines or telegraphic cables?
By no means. These things are in themselves of little importance,
and would have had no direct bearing on the work to which St.
Peter and his companions were called. No; the things which the
Holy Ghost was to teach them, and did teach them on the day of
Pentecost, were spiritual things--those things which concerned
the salvation of their own souls, and of the other souls which
were committed to their charge. In an instant they became learned
in the mysteries of the kingdom not of nature but of grace; they
became in a moment great saints and doctors of theology. They
knew at once what others, superior to them in natural gifts, have
not been able to acquire after long years of study and prayer.
They were miraculously prepared to do the work of infallible
founders and teachers of the Church of God.

{271}

It was a wonderful promise of Christ to them, and wonderful was
its fulfilment. But are we merely to admire it in them, or have
we too a share in it?

We have a share in it. Yes, though the promise in its fulness was
only made to them, all of us, even the humblest, can claim it for
ourselves. The Holy Ghost will teach us also all spiritual
things, if we will only listen to his voice--not suddenly or
miraculously as to them, but none the less surely. He has already
taught to millions of the faithful children of the church, though
they were ignorant of that natural science which the world
values, what the most learned and able men have died without
knowing.

He will teach us all things, but we must listen to his voice.
Where, then, is that voice to be heard?

First, it is to be heard in the voice of the church itself, which
speaks in his name and by his power. You can hear it in the words
of your Holy Father the Pope, the successor of the apostles, and
in those of your bishop and of your pastors. You can also hear it
in good books, published with the authority and approval of the
church. Lastly, you can hear it in your own souls. The Holy Ghost
is always speaking there, but it is with a gentle and low voice;
and if you would hear it pride and passion must be still. It is
in silence and in prayer that you will learn those things which
he has to teach you. Listen, then, to the voice of God, of the
spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, and of knowledge,
which you have received in Confirmation, and which dwells in your
souls; and our Divine Lord's promise shall certainly be fulfilled
in you.

-------------------

{272}

              Sermon LXXX.

  _If any one love me
  he will keep my word_.
  --St. John xiv. 23.

There are some people who have a great deal of what they call
devotion, and there are others who seem to have very little or
none at all. The hearts of the first are filled, one would think,
with the love of God. They are never so happy as when at church,
assisting at Mass or some other service, or on their knees before
their altar at home. They say as many prayers every day as would
make up the office which a priest is bound to recite, or perhaps
even more. Some other people, on the contrary, find it a hard
matter to say any prayers. Their minds wander, they cannot tell
why. They do not care much about coming to church; they come,
though, for all that. But it is all uphill work with them; and
they think they are in a very bad way, and are tempted to envy
those who seem to be getting along so much better.

But is it certain that those whom they are tempted to envy are,
in reality, in so much better a state? No, I do not think it is.
Of course it is a good sign for any one to like to pray. It is
much better to have a taste for that than for the pleasures of
the world. But it does not certainly follow that one who likes to
pray really loves God very much. He may like it because he is
paid for it; that is, because he gets rewarded for it in a way
that others do not. He may like it in the same way that a child
would like the company of any one who would give him candy. If
the supply of candy stops his affection is gone. If, instead of
getting candy, he is asked to go on an errand, his feeling will
be very different.

{273}

So one may like to pray because he or she has in prayer a
pleasure which would be attractive to any one, even to the
greatest sinners. The pleasure may come merely from one's having
a lively imagination, and getting what seems to be a vision of
heaven when on one's knees or in church. But ask such a person to
do something for the one who gives him this pleasure--that is,
God--and there will perhaps be a great change. If our Lord,
instead of giving candy, proposes him an errand--if he asks a
girl, for instance, instead of going to Mass or to Communion, to
stay at home and help her mother--the shoe, it may be, will begin
to pinch immediately.

The others, who have little of what is called devotion, may stand
this trial much better. They may be willing not only to give up
prayer, which they are not so fortunate as to like, but other
things which they really do, if it is the will of God. They pray
because it is God's will, and because they know it will bring
them nearer to him, and they will do anything else that he wishes
them to do for the same reason.

Now, do not misunderstand me. I do not mean that all those who do
not like to pray are better than those who do; far from it. But I
do mean that real devotion which is the same as a true love of
God, is what our Lord sets before us in the words of to-day's
Gospel which I have read. "If any one love me," he says, "he will
keep my word"; that is, "he will do what I want him to." "You are
my friends," he says in another place, "if you do the things that
I command you." That is true devotion, to have our will the same
as God's will; to be willing to sacrifice everything for him,
even the pleasure we may find in his society.

{274}

So I mean that a person who has none of what is called devotion,
but who does what he understands to be God's will, and avoids
what is contrary to it, is much more acceptable in his sight than
one who has what is called devotion, and gives up God's will to
satisfy it. Thus, for instance, any one of you, my brethren, who
has not been to Holy Communion since Lent began, and who really
wants to please God, will go this week, before the time of the
Easter-duty runs out, and not wait for Corpus Christi, which
comes in the next week. That is just now a special good example;
try and remember it. If any one wants to commit a mortal sin, let
him put off his Easter-duty till Corpus Christi and the Forty
Hours, for devotion's sake.

Real devotion is to remember God's words and obey them at any
cost. This is the true way, as he also says in to-day's Gospel,
to induce him and his Father to really come to us and make their
abode with us; and to have the Holy Ghost, who proceeds from
them, enter into our hearts, though we may not feel his presence,
as the apostles did on the first Pentecost day.

-----------------

              Sermon LXXXI.

  _Let not your heart be troubled,
  nor let it be afraid._
  --St. John xiv. 27.

Our Lord spoke these words to his apostles before his Passion,
but they were not to have effect till after his ascension into
heaven. It was not his will that they should have the courage and
confidence to which he here exhorts them till that time which we
celebrate to-day, when the Holy Ghost came upon them and fitted
them for the great work to which they were appointed.
{275}
Even while our Lord was with them after his resurrection, and
still more after he had ascended and left them to themselves,
they were anxious and fearful, not daring to call themselves his
disciples or to risk anything for his sake. But when they
received the Holy Ghost all this was changed. They confessed
Christ openly; all their doubts and fears were gone; and "they
rejoiced," as we read in the Acts, "that they were accounted
worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus. And they ceased
not every day, in the temple and from house to house, to teach
and preach Christ Jesus."

Now, we ought to imitate their conduct after Pentecost, and not
that before. For we have not the excuse that they had before that
time. We have received the Holy Ghost, as they did. He has not
come on us visibly in fiery tongues, but he has come just as
really and truly in the sacrament of confirmation which we have
received. There is no reason for us to be troubled or afraid;
when the Holy Ghost came into our hearts he brought courage and
confidence with him; he brought them to each one of us, as he did
to the holy apostles.

And he gave this courage and confidence to each of us for the
same reason as to them, because we have all to be apostles in our
own way and degree. We have not all got to preach Christ
publicly, as they did, but we have all got to speak a word for
him when the proper occasion comes. We have not all got to die
for Christ, as they did, but we have got to suffer something for
the sake of our faith in him, and that quite often, too, it may
be.
{276}
We have a real duty in this matter; we shall be rewarded if we
fulfil it, and punished if we do not. It was not for his apostles
only but for each one of us that those words of his were meant:
"Every one that shall confess me before men, I will also confess
him before my Father who is in heaven; but he that shall deny me
before men. I will also deny him before my Father who is in
heaven."

And yet how often must it be acknowledged, to our shame and
disgrace, that Christians do deny their Lord and Master before
men! I do not mean that they deny their faith, and say they are
not Catholics when they are asked; this, thank God! though it
does happen, is not so very common. But is it not common enough
to find young Catholic men and women with whom one might
associate for years and never suspect them to be Catholics, and,
in fact, be quite sure that they were not?--and this not merely
because they do not parade their religion, but because they do
not defend it when it is attacked; because they agree with, and
even express, all sorts of infidel, heretical, false, and
so-called liberal opinions, that they may not give offence; or
even, perhaps, without any sort of need, but only to win favor
for themselves by falling in with the fashion of those with whom
they associate.

And how often, again, do Christians, even if they do stand up for
their faith, cast contempt on it in the eyes of the world by
acting and talking just as if it had no power over their lives,
and was never meant to have any! They curse, and swear, and talk
immodestly, just as those do who do not profess to believe in God
and Christ, and even, perhaps worse.
{277}
Or if they do not go so far as this, they laugh at profanity and
impurity, and make companions of those who are addicted to these
vices; and this they do, not because they really wish to do or to
sanction such things, but merely from a miserable weakness that
prevents them from facing a little contempt and unpopularity.
What would they do, if called on to shed their blood for Christ,
who cannot bear even to be laughed at a little for being
practical Catholics? They are like cowardly soldiers who run away
from a battle at the first smoke from the enemy's guns.

You know what a shame it is for a soldier to be a coward. And now
try to remember, dear Christians, especially on this holy day,
that a Christian has got to be a soldier, and that if he is a
coward he disgraces himself and his cause. The Holy Ghost is
given to us in confirmation that we may not be weak and cowardly,
but strong and perfect Christians, and true soldiers of Jesus
Christ. If you have not yet received him in this way make haste
to do so; if you have, make use of the graces which he has given
you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid; there is
nothing to be afraid of, for God is on your side. Do not fear but
rather count it a joy to suffer a little persecution for his
name.

------------------

{278}

              _Trinity Sunday_.


  Epistle.
  _Romans xi._ 33-36.

  O the depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge
  of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how
  unsearchable his ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord?
  Or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to
  him, and recompense shall be made to him? For of him, and by
  him, and in him, are all things. To him be glory for ever.
  Amen.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xxviii._ 18-20.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: All power is given to me in heaven
  and on earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations:
  baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
  of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things
  whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all
  days, even to the consummation of the world.


  Last Gospel.
  _St. Luke vi._ 36-42.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: Be ye merciful, as your Father
  also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged.
  Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you
  shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given to you: good
  measure and pressed down, and shaken together and running over,
  shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that
  you shall measure it shall be measured to you again. And he
  spoke also to them a similitude: Can the blind lead the blind?
  do they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above
  his master; but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his
  master. And why seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, but
  the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not?
{279}
  or how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull the
  mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in
  thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own
  eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from
  thy brother's eye.

--------------

               Sermon LXXXII.

  _Teach all nations:
  baptizing them in the name of the Father,
  and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost._
  --St. Matthew xxviii. 19.


The mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity is one of those wonderful
truths of our holy faith which form the foundation of the
Christian religion. He who does not believe in the Trinity cannot
call himself a Christian; neither can any one be a Christian
unless he is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost. We are taught to make acts of profession
of this mystery oftener than of any other. We do so every time we
make the sign of the cross; and there are very few Catholics who
do not make that sign more than once every day. Every one should
know what is meant by the Trinity.

There is but one God, who is the infinite, eternal, almighty,
all-wise, all-good, and all-just Being who created all things
that exist.

But God, who is one in his Divine Being, is a Trinity in person.
That is, he is three persons. These persons are named Father,
Son, Holy Ghost. God is, then, Father, and he is Son, and he is
Holy Ghost. These three persons are the same God. So, if there
were three men praying to God, one praying to the Father, a
second to the Son, and the third to the Holy Ghost, they would
all be praying to the same God.
{280}
How there can be more than one person in one being is a mystery
to us, because we have no knowledge of any other being but God
who has more than one person. But now this truth is revealed to
us, we know, by our faith, which is divine knowledge, that there
are three persons in God, and are sure also that God must, as a
Divine Being, have three persons, because God cannot be other
than he is. Let us help our minds to understand this by a
comparison. Suppose a tower built in such a shape that it has
three sides. Now, there are _three_ distinct sides and only
_one_ tower; and whichever side we look at we see a distinct
side which is not either of the other two sides, but we always
can say, I see the tower. So, no matter which person of God we
regard, it is always the same God.

Our holy faith teaches us that God the Father is the Divine
Person who created all things, as we say in the Creed: "I believe
in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth." It
furthermore teaches us that God the Son is the Divine Person who
redeemed us by becoming man and dying on the cross, as the words
of the Creed declare; and again it teaches us that God the Holy
Ghost is the Divine Person who sanctifies us and is the source
and giver of all grace. These truths are revealed to us, and we
believe them, as we do all mysteries, for the reason we give when
we make an act of faith: "O my God! I believe all things taught
by the holy Catholic Church, because thou, who canst neither
deceive nor be deceived, hast revealed them to her."

{281}

The Catholic Church is the voice of God to us, and when we hear
her we hear God. She lives, and speaks, and acts by the Holy
Ghost through Jesus Christ, our Saviour, her Divine Head. The
reason some very wise people, very learned in different kinds of
science, do not believe in the Trinity and other mysteries of
religion as we do is because they do not hear the voice of God in
the Catholic Church. It is not by science that we know the
Trinity to be true, but by divine faith.

This divine faith is a gift of God, which we are bound to nourish
in our souls with profound gratitude and humility, for it is a
sad truth that this faith may be lost.

Catholics lose their faith by their sins, and chiefly by the sin
of pride. All heretics and apostates show this in their conduct
and in their words. They adhere to their own opinions and refuse
to submit to the divine teaching of the church. O dear brethren!
let us fear this sin of pride more than all other sin--a
temptation, too, that is very apt to come up when we are
ridiculed by unbelievers for our faith. Then is the time to
confess the truth boldly, for if we deny our Lord before men he
will deny us before the face of his Father in heaven.

Let us keep our faith by purity of life and humility of heart;
for, as says the _Imitation of Christ:_ "What doth it avail
thee to discourse profoundly of the Trinity, if thou be wanting
in humility, and consequently displeasing to the Trinity? If thou
didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the
philosophers, what would it profit thee without the love of God
and his grace?"

-------------------

{282}

              Sermon LXXXIII.

  _In the name of the Father,
  and of the Son,
  and of the Holy Ghost._
  --St. Matthew xxviii. 19.


To-day, my dear brethren, the church celebrates the greatest of
all the mysteries of our religion: the mystery of the Holy
Trinity; of the one God in three Divine Persons--the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost.

We all believe it; we must believe it if we would be saved. But
no one of us can perfectly understand it. St. Patrick, you know,
is said to have illustrated it to his converts by showing them
the shamrock with its three leaves on one stem; but, of course,
he never pretended that this was a perfect explanation of it. No
perfect explanation of it can be given to us.

And why not? Is it because it really has no explanation? No, but
because we are not able to understand the one which might be
given. Explain the solar system to a child of five years: will he
understand you? It is something the same with us and this greater
mystery of God.

Some people, especially at the present day, who consider
themselves very wise, say to themselves and to others: "Oh! this
doctrine of the Trinity cannot be true." Ask them why not, and
they will say: "Because we cannot understand it; it seems to us
to be nonsense."

Well, what does their argument amount to? Just to this: "If the
doctrine were true we should understand it; but we don't
understand it, therefore it is not true."

{283}

"If it were true," they say, "we should understand it." And why?
"Why, of course, because we are so wise that we can understand
everything. It is well enough for stupid people, like those
benighted Romanists, to believe what they don't understand, but
such a proceeding would be quite below our dignity and
intelligence. It is quite absurd to suppose that there is any
mystery so deep that we cannot see to the bottom of it."

Now, I do not want to accuse these worthy people of any one of
the seven capital sins; they are, no doubt, as good as they are
wise. But there is something in what they say that looks just a
little bit like one of those sins; like the first and most deadly
of them all: that is, the sin of pride. And there is not much
doubt that pride has in some form or other had something to do
with all heresies; so I am afraid that those who deny the Holy
Trinity are not quite free from it.

You think so, my brethren, I have no doubt. But, after all, are
you not perhaps guilty of a little of the same sin yourselves?
You believe in the Holy Trinity, it is true, but are there not
some other things which you do not fully believe, though you
ought to, and for very much the same reason?

God has given you the gift of faith; and you are willing to
believe what you know to be of faith, even if it be beyond your
reason, especially if it be something, like the Holy Trinity,
beyond the reason of any one else. But are you not sometimes
rather unwilling to believe other matters of religion, for which
there is good authority, just because you, with your present
lights, do not quite see through them? That is just the trouble
with the heretics of whom I have spoken; is it not so with you,
too, perhaps?

{284}

Do you not say even about some of these matters: "Oh! I do not
think the same about that as the priests do; they are welcome to
their opinion but I claim the right to mine"? It may be some
question of morals; then you say: "The priest say so-and-so is
not right; but I don't see any harm in it. I have got a
conscience of my own."

Did it ever occur to you that as God knows more, and has told
more to his church about himself than you could have found out,
so he may have enlightened it rather more about some other
matters in its own sphere than he has enlightened you, even
though they are not of faith? And even setting that aside, is it
not possible that those who have studied a subject know more
about it than those who have not?

I think there is only one answer to these questions. Try, then,
to have the same humility which you have about the doctrine of
the Holy Trinity in other things too. You believe that the
officers of a ship know a little more about her position and
proper course than you do; make the same presumption in favor of
those who are in charge of the bark of St. Peter. It is only
reasonable to think so; only showing a little of the same common
sense which you show in other things.

--------------------------

              Sermon LXXXIV.

  _Why seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye,
  but the beam that is in thy own eye
  thou considerest not?_
  --St. Luke vi. 41.

These words, my dear brethren, are taken from the Gospel of the
first Sunday after Pentecost, which is always read at the end of
Mass on this day. Of all those which our Divine Lord spoke during
his ministry on earth, there are none more practical, none which
have a more immediate bearing on our daily lives.

{285}

There is nothing which shows the perversity of our fallen nature
more clearly than the common habit, in which even many persons
who are pious in their way continually indulge, of criticising
and commenting on the actions and character of others.

Some people, indeed, seem to think that there is no harm in
talking about the character and conduct of their neighbors, as
long as they do not say anything which is not true. This is a
great mistake; one hardly needs to stop and reflect for a moment
to see that it is a grievous injustice to speak of a sin which
another person has actually committed, if it be not known, or at
least certain soon to be known in some other way, by the one to
whom we speak. So there are many who have sense enough not to
make this mistake and who do hold their tongues about the secret
sins of others. But there are comparatively few who seem to
realize that it is against charity, though not against justice,
to speak even of well-known and evident faults of one's
neighbors, when there is no good object to be gained by so doing;
and, in fact, even to think of them and turn them over in one's
mind, for which there can never be any good object.

It is to such as these--and there are hosts of them--that our
Lord's words are addressed. He does not himself answer the
question which he asks in the text; but there is not much
difficulty in our answering it ourselves.

{286}

"Why," then, "seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, but the
beam in thy own eye thou considerest not?" The two always go
together. You will always find that just in proportion to a
person's watchfulness about others' faults is his carelessness
about his own. Why, I say, do you do so? Let us try to find out.

Are you so sensitive about your neighbor's faults because they
offend God? No, I do not believe that is the reason. If it were
you would be a great deal more troubled about your own than you
are. If you really cared for God's honor in the matter you would
go to work on your own sins, which you really can amend, and not
on those of your neighbors, which you only carp at but do not
even try to correct. Do not pretend, then, that your habit of
finding fault with others comes from a desire that God may be
better served. Such a pretence would be only hypocrisy. It is
especially to such pretenders that our Saviour says: "Hypocrite,
cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see
clearly to take out the mote from thy brother's eye."

Are you so sensitive about your neighbor's faults, then, because
they offend yourself? No, I do not think that can be the reason
either--or, at least, not the whole reason; for you are nearly as
apt to speak of them when they do not concern you at all. You
even take trouble to find out about those which do not come under
your own observation. I know that we all have a weakness for
noticing unpleasant things when they occur, and passing over
those which are agreeable as a matter of course; we complain of
the weather when it is bad, and give no thanks when it is fine;
we grumble when we have a bad dinner, and say nothing about a
good one. But this does not explain the matter entirely, for most
of the faults which you notice in others do not hurt you in any
way.

{287}

No; the fact is, it is simply a vice in yourselves which makes
your neighbor's faults so glaring in your eyes. And that vice is
the great vice of pride. You are trying to exalt yourselves, at
least in your own mind, above others, and the easiest way to do
it is to try to push them down. This is at the bottom of all this
uncharitableness which is the staple of so many people's thoughts
and conversation.

There is, therefore, only one real remedy for it, only one which
strikes at the root of the whole thing: that is to cultivate the
virtue which is the opposite of pride, the great virtue of
humility.

I said just now that as a person is watchful about his neighbor's
faults, so is he careless about his own. Well, the rule works
both ways. If you will be careful about your own you will not
notice those of other people. For you will acquire this virtue of
humility. You will appear so bad in your own sight that others
will appear good in comparison. And then, when you have cast out
this beam of pride from the eye of your own soul, you will indeed
be fit to correct others, and not till then.

--------------------

{288}

      _Second Sunday after Pentecost_.

  and Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi.


  Epistle.
  1 _St. John iii._ 13-18.

  Dearly beloved:
  Wonder not if the world hate you. We know that we have passed
  from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that
  loveth not, abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother, is
  a murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life
  abiding in himself. In this we have known the charity of God,
  because he hath laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay
  down our lives for the brethren. He that hath the substance of
  this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut
  up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in
  him? My little children, let us not love in word, nor in
  tongue, but in deed and in truth.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xiv._ 16-24.

  At that time:
  Jesus spoke to the Pharisees this parable: A certain man made a
  great supper, and invited many. And he sent his servant at
  supper-time to say to them that were invited that they should
  come, for now all things are ready. And they began all at once
  to make excuse. The first said to him: I have bought a farm,
  and I must needs go out and see it; I pray thee, have me
  excused. And another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and
  I go to try them; I pray thee, have me excused. And another
  said: I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And
  the servant returning, told these things to his lord.
{289}
  Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant:
  Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and
  bring in hither the poor and the feeble, and the blind and the
  lame. And the servant said: Lord, it is done as thou hast
  commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said to the
  servant: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them
  to come in, that my house may be filled. But I say unto you
  that none of those men that were called shall taste my supper.

------------

               Sermon LXXXV.

  _A certain man made a great supper,
  and invited many._
  --St. Luke xiv. 16.


If there could be any question about what kind of a "great
supper" our Lord meant in the parable all doubt is removed by
reading the Gospel, which tells us that some one of the persons
to whom he was speaking had just said: "Blessed is he who shall
eat bread in the kingdom of God." We know how to interpret the
parable. The "great supper" is the divine banquet of Holy
Communion, in which we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus
Christ. On another occasion our Lord said: "I am the bread that
came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live
for ever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life
of the world." The parable of the "great supper" is, therefore,
very appropriately chosen as the Gospel for this Sunday in the
octave of the magnificent and triumphal festival of Corpus
Christi. This festival is also well placed in the calendar of the
church, coming as it does, at the end of all the solemn
commemorations of the divine life and person of our Lord. For the
institution of the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest act of his
love; the consummation and fulfilment of his love.
{290}
"Having loved his own, he loved them unto the end." He is present
in this divine mystery because he would be present with us and
give himself to us, and unite himself to us in the most intimate
manner. He promised that he would live in us, and we in him and
be one with him. In the Blessed Sacrament he makes that life and
union a reality.

Before the altars of his holy church, therefore, he spreads the
holy table for his "great supper," and he invites many to the
banquet. Such an invitation, we would think, does not need much
urging to bring in the guests--_all_ 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 ourselves, there are many who
make little of his invitation, and either do not come at all or
come with such reluctance or so seldom that it is plain they are
acting more from fear of punishment than from a motive of love.

It is true that those who do not come when he calls are far from
daring to say that it is not worth coming to, but they act very
much as if they thought so. They have other friends who invite
them to their feasts, and as they think more of these friends
than they do of Jesus Christ, and relish their food more than
they do his, they send in their excuses to him. These excuses are
paltry enough. One has bought a farm and must go and see it;
another has purchased five yoke of oxen--this is just the time he
must go and try them; a third has just got married, and so on.
Any excuse for not coming to Communion seems good enough for some
Catholics, who want to keep friends and company with the world,
the flesh, and the devil, and eat their dishes of avarice, lust,
and pride.
{291}
I don't wonder they stay away; for let a man get his heart full
of avarice, or burning with lust, or puffed up with pride, the
very idea of Holy Communion is wearisome and distasteful to him.

But there is a dreadful warning in the parable. _The excuses
are not taken_; and he who sets forth the banquet declares
that none of such men shall eat of his supper; and he makes that
threat in anger. Woe, then, to those Easter-duty breakers who
heard the invitation and came not! They have incurred the anger
of the Lord. To pass by the Easter duty out of contempt for it,
or because one is unwilling to give up the sins that he knows
make him unfit to make it, is to commit a mortal sin. And when I
see some persons who know their duty, and have every opportunity,
neglecting their Easter Communion for years, and appearing to be
perfectly hardened against every appeal and argument made to
them, I am always fearful lest the Lord is not only angry with
them, but that he is carrying out his threat that he will never
invite them again, and that they will die some day without
absolution and without Communion. Oh! if there be any such here
let them hasten to beg pardon with deep contrition for their past
neglect, and earnestly seek for admission to the heavenly
banquet. Perhaps it may not be yet too late even for them. I know
it is the eleventh hour, but the Lord invites some to come even
at the eleventh hour. But they must not wait longer! At midnight
the door will be shut, and the only answer they will get then is;
"It is too late; I know you not!" God grant that such a curse of
banishment from the eternal Communion of heaven shall never be
addressed to one of us!

---------------

{292}

            Sermon LXXXVI.

  _And they began all at once to make excuse._
  --St. Luke xiv. 18.


Notice the words, my brethren. Our Lord does not say that these
men whom the master of the house invited to supper all happened
to have an excuse, but that they began all at once to make one.
They gave various flimsy reasons why they could not come--
reasons that anybody could see would not have prevented them from
coming if they had wanted to, but were merely given in order to
avoid telling the plain truth, which was that they did not care a
straw for the one who had invited them or for the supper that he
proposed to give.

Well, now, what did our Saviour mean by this story which I have
read you in the Gospel?--for he certainly did not tell it simply
for the amusement of his disciples. It was a parable, and had a
spiritual signification, or more than one. I think there cannot
be much doubt in our minds about one of them, at least. We cannot
help seeing that the supper means the rich banquet to which all
of us are invited, and which has been commemorated in the great
solemnity of Corpus Christi, through which we have just passed.
God himself is the master of the house, and he has invited all of
as his friends--that is, all of us who have come by holy baptism
into the fold of his church--to come to this great feast, the
feast of his own Body and Blood. Not once only but many times he
has invited, nay, commanded, you all to come and taste of this
supper, which is himself--to receive him in Holy Communion.

{293}

And what have you done--many of you, at least? You have done
exactly what these men did of whom the parable tells us. You
have, as soon as the words of invitation came to you, immediately
set about to see if you could not find some way of avoiding
compliance with them. You have begun all at once to make
excuses--excuses as silly as those which the men made in the
parable.

"Oh!" you say, "I have not got time to approach the sacraments
worthily. It's all very well for women, who can run to church
whenever they want, but I have got my business to attend to; if I
neglect it my family will starve." Humbug! I say--as transparent
humbug as that stupid story which the man whom our Lord speaks of
had about his farm. "I have bought a farm," says he, "and I must
needs go out and see it." That excursion to his farm was got up
just to dodge the invitation, which he did not care to accept. It
is the same with you. Your business is not so important that it
will keep you from the theatre or the liquor-store, but as soon
as the service of God is mentioned it becomes urgent all at once.

Or perhaps you do not plead any particular business, but you make
an excuse like that of the man who said he had married a wife,
and therefore could not come. You say: "Piety is very good for
priests and religious; but I am living in the world, and can't be
good enough to go to Communion." Humbug!
{294}
I say again; you know very well that there have been plenty of
people, who have lived in a much brighter world than is ever
likely to be open to you, who have not only made good communions,
but made them frequently, and become saints by doing so. Kings
and queens have given the lie to your excuse. Are you more in the
world than St. Henry, Emperor of Germany; St. Louis, King of
France; the two Saints Elizabeth, of Hungary and Portugal; and
St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland, whose feast we kept last
Tuesday?

Don't make any more foolish excuses, then; our Lord, who has
invited you to his banquet, will not be deceived by them.
Acknowledge the truth, that if you do not come to his supper it
is because you do not care for it, or for Him who gives it.

But do you dare to say this? I hope not. Do not say it, then. Do
what is far better. Come when he calls you. Come, that you may
not offend him, as those ungrateful men of whom the parable tells
us offended the master of the house. Come, that he may not say to
you, as the master of the house said: "Those men who were called
shall not taste my supper," not even when they shall desire it at
the hour of their death. Come, that your inheritance in the
kingdom of heaven may not be taken away from you, and others
called in to take the places which you have refused. Come and
show love and not base ingratitude to Him who has taken so much
pains to prepare this feast for you; this feast which is not only
the greatest gift that he can give you now, but also a pledge of
the kingdom which has been prepared for such of you as are
faithful, from the foundation of the world.

------------------

{295}

             Sermon LXXXVII.

  _And they began all at once to make excuse._
  --St. Luke xiv. 18.

When men are in sin and do not wish to give it up the answer
which they commonly make to an invitation of God is an excuse.
Excuses! Yes, there are plenty of them. But from what do these
men of whom our Lord speaks in this parable wish to be excused?
Is it from something painful and humiliating? No, strange to say,
it is from a great privilege; it is from a wonderful feast in
which men receive the Food of Angels and are made one with God;
it is from the feast of the Blessed Sacrament, in which our
Blessed Lord offers his own Body and Blood. What! is it possible
that one who has the faith and is possessed of reason can slight
such a gift from the God who has redeemed him? Listen to the
excuse of one: "I have bought a farm." What is a farm? It is
dirt. His excuse, then, is that he does not want the Bread of
Heaven, because he is occupied with dirt. In a word, he prefers
dirt to God. But another man has this excuse for spurning the
heavenly banquet: "He has bought five yoke of oxen," and he wants
"to go and try them." He declines the company of the saints and
angels because he prefers that of oxen. He had rather be with the
brutes, because he is much like them himself. His body rules his
soul, and he is too much of an animal to care anything about a
feast which furnishes only good for the soul.

{296}

But we hear yet another excuse. Here is a man who "has married a
wife, and therefore cannot come." What does this mean? Does he
pretend that the holy sacrament of matrimony is keeping him away?
But this is not the shadow of an excuse. Ah! if he would speak
out his mind clearly he certainly would have an excuse. He means
that he cannot come because he is wallowing in the mire of sin.
He is too filthy to come. He would have to purify himself. He
cannot put on the wedding garment of divine grace and wallow with
the swine, so he thinks that he will leave the Body and Blood of
Jesus Christ to others and stay where he is.

You see, brethren, what it is to offer an excuse when God invites
or commands; and these are only fair samples of the excuses which
all sinners who seek to justify their conduct make. But what do
such excuses denote? They are sure signs of impenitence. Men
often make hypocrites of themselves by their excuses. Some even
make bad confessions by covering their guilt with an excuse; and
a great many show their imperfect sorrow for sin in this way. On
the other hand, the man who is sincerely sorry for his sins fears
nothing so much as to excuse a fault. He would rather accuse
himself of too much than to excuse himself for the least fault.
Excuses such as are mentioned in this parable may justify men
before the world, but never before God. When our souls come
before the Divine Judge all their disguises shall be torn off.
Eternal justice shall then reveal all; it shall weigh every
motive; it shall judge every act.

But what does our Divine Lord say of those who now refuse his
invitation to this heavenly banquet? He says: "None of those men
who were called shall taste my supper."
{297}
Those who now receive the sweet invitation of our Blessed Lord to
approach the altar will at the hour of death wish for that divine
food, which they now treat with so much contempt; but God may
then say to them: "You did not come when I invited you, and now
you shall not taste my supper."

---------------------------

{298}

    _Third Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  1 _St. Peter v._ 6-11.

  Dearly beloved:
  Be you humbled under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt
  you in the time of visitation. Casting all your solicitude upon
  him, for he hath care of you. Be sober and watch; because your
  adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking
  whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing
  that the same affliction befalleth your brethren who are in the
  world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his
  eternal glory in Christ Jesus, when you have suffered a little,
  will himself perfect, and confirm, and establish you. To him be
  glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xv._ 1-10.

  At that time:
  The publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus to hear him. And
  the Pharisees and the Scribes murmured, saying: This man
  receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spoke to them
  this parable, saying: What man among you that hath a hundred
  sheep: and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the
  ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost
  until he find it? And when he hath found it, doth he not lay it
  upon his shoulders rejoicing: and coming home call together his
  friends and neighbors, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because
  I have found my sheep that was lost. I say to you, that even so
  there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance,
  more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance. Or what
  woman having ten groats, if she lose one groat, doth not light
  a candle and sweep the house and seek diligently until she find
  it? And when she hath found it, call together her friends and
  neighbors, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the
  groat which I had lost. So I say to you, there shall be joy
  before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.

-----------------------

{299}

              Sermon LXXXVIII.

  _Rejoice with me,
  because I have found my sheep that was lost._
  --St. Luke xv. 6.

I am sure you have often heard related, if you have not
yourselves known, examples of the singular affection which
parents show towards the worst behaved child they have, the
"black sheep of the flock," as their neighbors call him, or her,
as the case may be--some wretched, ungrateful, dissipated son
whose disgraceful life and cruel treatment of them fairly breaks
their hearts; or some disobedient, wild daughter who is led off
and gets ruined. While they are in the height of their bad career
the parents are very apt to act as if they wished every tie
between them broken. No one dares mention the name of their lost
child to them. Instances have been known where the angry parents
have blotted out the name of the dishonored one from the record
in the family Bible where it was written on the day when he was
brought back an innocent child from the font of baptism, and when
they have taken the little lock of flaxen hair cut from their
darling's head, and kept so many years as a treasure, and have
scattered it to the winds. But what do we see? There comes a time
when things are at their worst, when their poor lost one has
reaped the bitter fruits of his disobedience and is in utter
misery and despair; then the hearts of the parents are softened;
they yearn to see their poor child once more, and all on a sudden
there is a reconciliation, all is forgiven and forgotten; the one
who was dead has come to life again, and the lost one is found.
{300}
The parents will not hear one word said against him, but on the
contrary, in word and action, say to all their friends: Rejoice
with me, because I have found my child that was lost.

Now, if we examine into any such a case we shall almost certainly
discover that the penitence of the bad child bears no comparison
to the greatness of the parents' affection or to the magnanimity
of their forgiveness. Very few such repenting sinners are
deserving of the joyful pardon they receive. Mercy is always a
mystery, and pardon ever a miracle. So it is with God and his
divine forgiveness of repenting sinners. Our Lord tells us there
is joy in heaven over their return. Did you ever know any such
case whose repentance you thought was worthy of such celestial
rejoicings? Very, very few, I am sure. And how many forgiven
sinners, do you think, realize that God loves them so much as
that--so much that, when he has brought back to his love and
obedience one so unworthy, he should tell all his holy angels of
the happy event and bid them rejoice with him? Not many. This
truth however, is a most important one which our Lord wishes us
to learn. It is the greatness of his mercy and the depth of his
love. To tell the honest truth, it is the revelation of God's
mercy and love that will bring hardened sinners back, which will
win and convert them when nothing else will. We often see the
proof of this on our missions, when we find the hardest cases,
the most abandoned and hopeless sinners, coming to confession
after the sermon on the mercy of God.
{301}
And who does not know that an appeal made to sinners by showing
them the crucifix, where they see their Lord and Saviour dying
for his great love, with arms outstretched to receive them back,
is an argument few of them can withstand? The sermon of the Cross
is one the holy church is always preaching--the sermon of love
and mercy.

Well, dear brethren, learn this lesson from the Gospel. When you
find the burden of sin heavy on you, and your conscience tells
you that you have wandered far from God, go before a crucifix and
let the love and mercy of your crucified Lord preach to you.

There is nothing helps one so much to overcome the horror and
shame of going to confession as a few minutes' prayer on one's
knees before a crucifix. Are you in temptation and danger of
losing God? Kiss the feet of a crucifix and you are saved. Do you
want to win and save those who have sinned against you? Preach to
them the sermon of mercy and love, in your own way, and, like
God, you will win them and convert them, and rejoice with your
friends that you have found the lost one again.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

----------------------

              Sermon LXXXIX.

  _Be sober, and watch._
  --1 St. Peter v. 8.


These few words of the Epistle, my brethren, contain a most
important lesson for us. We may indeed say that of all the
innumerable souls which have been lost, and which are going down
every day into hell, far the greater part have come to this
terrible end for neglect of this warning.

{302}

There is a proverb, with which you are all familiar, that [the
road to] hell is paved with good intentions. What does this mean?
Does it mean that a good intention in itself is a thing which
leads to hell? Of course not. But it means that the kind of good
intentions which people are too apt to make are signs rather of
damnation than of salvation, as they should be.

What is this kind of good intention? It is one which stops just
there, and which the one who makes it does not take the means to
carry out. Sometimes we call them by a stronger name than
intentions. We call them purposes, even firm purposes of
amendment. They are the kind of purposes which a great many
people make when they repent, or think they repent, of their
habitual sins.

A man comes to confession with a fearful habit of sin--of profane
swearing, for instance. It has been on him for years. He has
learned it in his youth, perhaps, from wicked parents or
companions. He has almost become unconscious of it, and it seems
to him no very important thing; it may be that he would not even
mention it, did not the priest question him pretty closely. But
when the priest does warn him about it he makes up his mind in a
certain way that he ought to stop it, and makes a kind of purpose
to do so. It is to be feared, however, that this is one of the
purposes or intentions with which hell is paved. And why? Because
it stops just there. It has no effect at all. It is all gone
before he gets out of the confession-box. He will swear just as
much to-morrow as he did to-day. He does not, probably, even
remember his purpose, at any rate only till the time of his
Communion; or if, perchance, he does remember it, he does not
take the means to carry it out.
{303}
And what is that means above all others? It is to watch against
his sin. This he does not do. He does not keep on his guard to
avoid those horrible oaths which have become a fixed habit with
him. He does not watch himself, and, of course, falls again as he
did before.

Now you see, perhaps, the importance of St. Peter's warning in
the Epistle. Most of you who will be lost will be lost on account
of habitual sins like this I have spoken of, not on account of
occasional and unusual ones. It may be a habit of impure thoughts
or words, of drunkenness, or something else; but it is a habit of
some kind that will cause your damnation. The habit is a disease
of your soul; you must get rid of it, if you wish to have any
well-grounded hope of salvation. And you cannot get rid of it
without watching as well as praying. "Watch," says our Lord,
"that you enter not into temptation."

Yes, a bad habit is a disease of your soul, a weak spot in it
which you must guard. It is there your enemy is going to enter.
What does St. Peter go on to say? "Be sober, and watch," he says,
"for your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about
seeking whom he may devour." Very well; the devil is not such a
fool as to neglect your weak points. So it is those which you
must watch and guard.

If, then, you would be saved, keep before your mind all the time
your habitual sins. Be on your guard against them continually,
just as a man going on slippery ice is all the time careful how
he places his feet. Repeat your resolutions frequently; make them
practical and definite. Say to yourself, "Next time I am provoked
I will keep down that profane word; next time such an object
comes before my eyes I will turn them away; next time such a
thought occurs I will instantly repel it."
{304}
Be on the lookout for danger, as a sailor is for rocks or
icebergs in his course. Pray, of course, earnestly and
frequently, but watch as well as pray. If you do you will save
your soul; if you do not you will lose it.

----------------------

             Sermon XC.

  _There shall be joy in heaven
  upon one sinner that doth penance,
  more than upon ninety-nine just
  who need not penance._
  --St. Luke xv. 7.


I do not think, my brethren, that there is any parable in the
Gospel which comes more home to your own experience than these
which you have just heard about the lost sheep and groat. I am
sure you have all of you lost something at some time or other;
and I am sure, too, that, even though it was not very valuable,
you began to think it was when it was lost, and hunted for it
high and low. It seemed to you that you cared more for it than
for any other article of your property, and that you did not mind
much what became of your other things as long as that was
missing.

That, of course, was not really the case. For, although you
seemed to give all your thoughts and energy in searching for the
lost article, you cared just as much all the time for what you
meanwhile left at home or unnoticed. And if, while you were
hunting up one thing, another should get lost, you would start
out after that with just as much anxiety as you did for the
other.

{305}

So our Lord spends his time, not only now and then but always,
chiefly in hunting after what he has lost, and lets what he has
got shift a good deal for itself. Always, I say; for he has
always lost something. He keeps losing things all the time. The
sheep keep straying away from his fold continually. As soon as
one is brought back another has gone, and he has to set out in
pursuit of it. And meanwhile the sheep in the fold do not seem to
get as much care and attention as they think they deserve for
their obedience and general good behavior.

Now, this is an important thing for the sheep to understand, both
for those who have not strayed away and for those who have. Those
who are faithful must be contented with his absence, and those
who are not should thank him and reward him for his labor for
them.

Those who need no penance--that is, those who remain habitually
in the state of grace--are apt to say: "Why is it that religion
does not give me more happiness? Why is it that I have so little
devotion and that God seems so far away?" Well, the reason is
because he is away. He is off hunting for sinners. He is giving
them his chief attention and his choicest graces because they
need them. The just can get along with the sacraments, which are
always open to them, and with the other ordinary means of
salvation.

Or you say, perhaps: "Why is it that the best preachers and
confessors among the fathers are out on the mission, so that we
seldom or never see or hear them?" Well, that is for the same
reason. Our Lord sends them out on the hunt in which he is so
much interested. Surely you will not find fault with him. You
will not deprive him of his greatest joy--that of bringing
sinners back--for the sake of offering him a little more
devotion, which he does not care so much about.
{306}
No, you will rather be faithful, and do your duty in the place
where he has put you, and be very thankful that you are not among
the lost, and perhaps one among them who will never be found.

And surely those who have strayed away and whom he is seeking,
when they come to think of it, will try to give him the
consolation which he takes so much trouble to secure. They will
not let him spend all his time on them and get nothing for it in
return. No, they will not hide from him any longer; they will
give themselves to him, never to stray again; and be the occasion
of a joy in heaven which shall not be merely for a moment, but
which shall last for evermore.

-------------------

{307}

  _Fourth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Romans viii._ 18-23.

  Brethren:
  I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not
  worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be
  revealed in us. For the expectation of the creature waiteth for
  the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was made
  subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that
  made it subject, in hope: because the creature also itself
  shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption into the
  liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that
  every creature groaneth, and is in labor even till now. And not
  only it, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the
  spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for
  the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body, in
  Christ Jesus our Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke v._ 1-11.

  At that time:
  When the multitudes pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God,
  he stood by the lake of Genesareth. And he saw two ships
  standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them,
  and were washing their nets. And going up into one of the ships
  that was Simon's, he desired him to thrust out a little from
  the land. And sitting down, he taught the multitudes out of the
  ship. Now when he had ceased to speak, he said to Simon: Launch
  out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And
  Simon answering, said to him: Master, we have labored all the
  night, and have taken nothing: but at thy word I will let down
  the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very
  great multitude of fishes, and their net was breaking. And they
  beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that
  they should come and help them.
{308}
  And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were
  almost sinking; which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at
  Jesus' knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man,
  Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him,
  at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. And so were
  also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's
  partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not, from henceforth
  thou shalt be taking men. And when they had brought their ships
  to land, leaving all things, they followed him.

----------------------

              Sermon XCI.

  _And sitting down,
  he taught the multitudes out of the ship._
  --St. Luke v. 3.


The ship, as the Gospel tells us, was St Peter's, and our Lord
continues to teach his divine doctrine from the same ship. This
ship of St. Peter is the Catholic Church. Its captain is the
Pope, the Vicar of Jesus Christ. He not only guides the ship in
its ordinary course, but knows also what special orders to give
when particular dangers threaten it. The plain duty of every
Catholic is, therefore to receive with obedience the teaching of
the Pope, and in times of danger to be on the alert and obey
quickly, without hesitation and with perfect confidence. There is
no fear for the ship herself, no matter what storms may arise.
The danger is for those who are in her, and each one's safety
depends upon his prompt obedience. There are some Catholics who
appear to think that because the ship is always safe they are
safe too, no matter how they behave.
{309}
Alas! this is often a fatal mistake. Christ teaches by the mouth
of Peter, and their salvation depends upon their listening to
what is taught, and learning the lessons of faith and morality
which fall from his lips. But what do we see? We see many who
remain so ignorant of their religion that they ought to be
ashamed to call themselves Catholics. There is plenty of
instruction given, but they take no pains to hear it. Year in and
year out they never come to a sermon or instruction. They never
think of reading a good religious book or a Catholic newspaper.
They have time to go to some immoral play at the theatre, they
read the trashy, beastly stuff that is served up daily and weekly
to pander to depraved appetites such as theirs, but of their
sublime, true, and holy religion, which should be a light to
their minds and a comfort to their hearts, they know next to
nothing. They let their children grow up in the like ignorance,
who are swift to follow the bad example set before them. Now, the
chief duty of a Catholic is to learn what his religion teaches,
and it is a grievous sin to neglect the opportunities one has to
acquire that knowledge. The devil is busy scattering the seed of
false doctrine, and keeping his agents at work telling all sorts
of lies about God and Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, and
it is not possible for one to keep his faith pure unless he takes
care to learn all he has the chance to learn of the truths of his
holy religion.

Then, again, see how anxious people are nowadays that their
children should have what is called "a good education." What is
the teaching of Christ from the ship of Peter on this subject? It
is that _without religion education cannot be good_.
{310}
Our faiths, as well as our experience, tells us that an education
with religion left out is apt to prove rather a curse than a
blessing to a child. Pride, conceit, loose morals, love of money,
disobedience to parents and clergy--these are the things we see
plenty of in the lives and habits of children who have received a
"good education" with religion left out.

There is another thing which is often the subject of much wonder
to me. From time to time the bishops and priests find it
necessary to warn their people against certain prevailing vices,
or to denounce certain secret societies as anti-Christian, or to
make regulations which are required to secure the proper
administration of the sacraments--for instance, the publication
of the bans of marriage--and there are found Catholics who set
themselves in opposition to these counsels and laws of their
pastors with a pertinacious obstinacy such as one would not
expect to see except in a downright heretic. The conceit of these
people is truly marvellous. They talk and act as if the whole
Catholic Church belonged to them, and their priests were a
miserable set of hirelings who can be persuaded to connive at
anything they choose to pay them for. What is the reason of this?
I'll tell you. It is due to their ignorance. The better
instructed a Catholic is the more docile and humble he is. He
hears Christ teaching when he hears the instructions of his
pastor, and he rejoices to follow his counsels. "He that heareth
you heareth me," said our Lord. God send us Catholics who love
their religion well enough to make them desirous of being well
instructed in its doctrine!

----------------------

{311}

              Sermon XCII.

  _I reckon that the sufferings of this present time
  are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come._
  --Romans viii. 18.


Brethren, if we wish to rejoice in the next world we must suffer
in this. There is no escape from suffering here if we reckon on
happiness hereafter. And there are good reasons for this. One is
because we must atone for sin. Do not our own sins, little or
great, continually cry out for penance? And if we give not
suffering willingly they threaten to crucify us in spite of
ourselves. And there are the sins of others, of heathens, and
heretics, and bad Catholics--all these demand atonement, and, as
it was not beneath the dignity of the Son of God to die for them,
so, if we are Christians more than in name, we shall be ready to
suffer with our blessed Lord for the sins of the world. Another
reason why we mast suffer is that we may not become attached to
the joys of this world, for we must leave them all some day or
other. And, besides, God demands a heart quite undivided; he
wants all our love, and not what is left after we have expended
our chief affections on created things. And yet another reason
for suffering is that we may merit more happiness in heaven. The
Christian has a kind Father in heaven, who notes every pang, and
sigh, and tear, and who will know how to reward.

So one would think that a wise man would seek sufferings rather
than avoid them; would thank God for the afflictions of his
providence, and would look upon the troubles of this life--the
loss of health, the loss of reputation, the loss of money--would
look upon all this as God's way of elevating our life here on
earth and of increasing our happiness hereafter; and that it
would be true wisdom to voluntarily deny ourselves the joys of
this world, reckoning rather upon those of the future life as the
apostles did.
{312}
Yes, brethren, patient suffering is the very A B C of the
Christian religion. What are Christ's blessings? Blessed are the
poor; blessed are they that mourn; blessed are you when they
persecute and revile you. Truly his religion is a religion of the
cross.

But what kind of Christians must we think ourselves since we all
hate to suffer? We reckon fondly upon the joys of this life;
those of the life to come may take care of themselves. Although
we have a lifetime of horrid sins in our memory, and know that we
have not done any penance, still we not only refuse to suffer
willingly, but we speak and act as it God were a cruel tyrant
thus to send upon us sickness, and poverty, and disgrace. And as
to suffering in union with our Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of
the world, such a generous thought never enters our mind at all;
nor do we think of mortifying the rebellious passions, nor of the
merit of sacrifice, nor of anything except to enjoy this world,
to cling to this poor, fleeting world and its deceptive joys.

Brethren, let us strive to obtain a wiser and stronger spirit in
regard to suffering. I know that we may not hope to become heroes
all at once, but may in time if we begin without delay; and the
only way to begin is by prayer. You complain of the company of
wicked and unpleasant people; but instead of snapping at them and
quarrelling, offer your annoyance to God and pray him to assist
you.
{313}
Are you in poverty? Instead of giving way to weariness and
despair, think of Jesus and Mary at the humble cottage at
Nazareth; think of the poor, wandering life of our Lord while he
preached the Gospel, and beg him to give you some of his own
patience. Are you afflicted with incurable illness? Remember that
God has sent you this for your own good and will know how to
recompense you. Instead of making your friends miserable by your
impatience, think of Christ upon the cross, and of your sins
which crucified him.

St. Teresa had for her motto these words: "_Either to suffer or
to die_." Oh! that we had only a little of the heroic spirit
of the saints. Then we could welcome every dispensation of divine
providence, whether of pleasure or of pain, and should be able to
say with St. Paul: "I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be
content therewith. I know both how to be brought low and how to
abound ... both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and
to suffer need; I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me"
(Phil. iv. 11-13).

---------------------

{314}

         _Fifth Sunday after Pentecost_.


  Epistle.
  1 _St. Peter iii._ 8-15.

  Dearly beloved:
  Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, loving
  brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble: not rendering evil for
  evil, nor railing for railing, but on the contrary, blessing:
  for unto this are you called, that by inheritance you may
  possess a blessing. "For he that will love life, and see good
  days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that
  they speak no guile. Let him decline from evil, and do good:
  let him seek peace, and pursue it: because the eyes of the Lord
  are upon the just, and his ears unto their prayers: but the
  countenance of the Lord against them that do evil things." And
  who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if
  also you suffer anything for justice' sake, blessed are ye. And
  be not afraid of their terror and be not troubled; but sanctify
  the Lord Christ in your heart.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matt. v_. 20-24.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: I say to you, that unless your
  justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you
  shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that
  it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever
  shall kill shall be guilty of the judgment. But I say to you,
  that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be guilty of
  the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca,
  shall be guilty of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou
  fool, shall be guilty of hell fire. Therefore if thou offerest
  thy gift at the altar, and there shalt remember that thy
  brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy gift before
  the altar, and first go to be reconciled to thy brother, and
  then come and offer thy gift.

{315}

              Sermon XCIII.

  _Unless your justice abound
  more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees,
  you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven_.
  --St. Matt. v. 20.


The Scribes and Pharisees were very particular about keeping the
_letter_ of the law, and prided themselves mightily on this
kind of "justice." But Jesus Christ says that unless _our_
righteousness exceed theirs we shall not save our souls. Here,
then, he teaches us that we must keep the _spirit_ of the
commandments as well as the letter. And to show what he means by
the _spirit_ of the law, he quotes the commandment which
forbids murder. "Now, it is not enough," he says, "that you
refrain from committing murder; you must equally refrain from the
passion of anger--anger, that is, which destroys charity, and
breeds ill-will, hatred, and revenge; for those who give way to
these malicious feelings shall be arraigned at my judgment-seat
side by side with murderers." Among those who heard him was St.
John, his apostle; and St. John says: "He that hateth his brother
is a murderer."

Again, our Lord tells us that the spirit of the Fifth Commandment
includes lesser sins than anger--that to call our brother
contemptuous names, to provoke and irritate him by hard words
(except, of course, in the case of just rebuke), is a grave
violation of this law as he would have us Christians understand
it.

{316}

The words which follow--addressed to those who were in the habit
of going into the temple to lay their gifts before God's
altar--apply with even greater force to _us_. _We_ come
before God's altar when we come to hear Mass, and we come with
the profession, at least, of offering a gift--that worship which
is the tribute of our faith and love. There is one thing, then,
which our Lord requires before he will receive our offering: that
"our brother have" not "anything against us." In other words, we
must be in perfect charity with our neighbor. If we have anything
against _him_, we must forgive him there and then "from our
hearts." If _he_ have anything against _us_, we must
either have already done our best towards reconciliation and
reparation, or at least be prepared and determined to do it at
the very first opportunity.

Now, it may be we are not in the state of grace when we come to
hear Mass, but, on the contrary, laden with mortal sins. Well, we
still have the right to hear Mass--nay, are bound to hear it;
and, further, we can still offer a gift, and a very acceptable
gift--an earnest prayer for contrition and amendment--a cry for
mercy and deliverance. Our Lord once said to St. Mathilda:
"However guilty a man may be, however inveterate the enmity of
his heart against me. I will patiently bear with him whenever he
is present at Mass, and will readily grant him the pardon of his
sins if he sincerely ask it." Clearly, then, dear brethren, there
is but one thing that can keep even a poor sinner from coming
before God's altar with an acceptable gift--viz., the want of
charity to his neighbor; that is, either the refusal to say from
his heart: "Forgive us our trespasses _as we forgive_ those
who trespass against us"; or, equally, the refusal to seek
reconciliation or make reparation for wrongs of his own doing.
{317}
Now, in either case there is a brother who "has something against
us," and that brother is Jesus Christ himself, who calls all men
his brethren without exception, and especially our
fellow-Catholics, having given to all his Sacred Heart and the
love of his Blessed Mother.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

---------------------------

               Sermon XCIV.


  _He that will love life and see good days,
  let him refrain his tongue from evil._
  --1 St. Peter iii. 10.


The words of the blessed Apostle St. Peter teach us that the
good, peaceable man is the happiest, that God rewards a kind
heart even in this life. Yes, the kindly-spoken man is a happy
man. He has no quarrels on his hands. You cannot make him
quarrel. Though he be strong and active, yet he is incapable of
using his strength to injure his neighbor. Say a sharp, bitter
thing to him, and instead of feeling insulted, he will laugh it
off, and tell you to be good-natured, or will act as if _he_
had offended _you_. And the good, peaceable man is no
slanderer or tale-bearer. When he hears anything to his
neighbor's detriment he is sorry; he buries it in his kind heart,
and tries to forget it. If his friends quarrel among themselves,
he is the ready and successful peacemaker. If death, sickness, or
misfortune of any kind afflicts his neighbor, he is the kind and
skilful comforter. What do people think of such a man? Everybody
loves him. And is not that happiness? Why, if a dog loves you it
gives you joy, and the affection of many friends makes this world
a paradise. So the good, peaceable man has that element of a
lovely life and good days.

{318}

I need not say that the good, peaceable man is happy in his
family. How children love a kind parent! How they enjoy home when
he is there, with his happy laugh and innocent jest! His wife is
proud of that husband, and blesses God for such a father for her
little ones. There is no bickering, jealousy, or ill-will in that
home, but charity and joy the whole year round.

And the good, peaceable man is happy in his own self-respect.
Without presumption he may say with the apostle: "I owe no man
anything." He owes no man any grudge. He has inflicted sorrow
upon no man. He has deprived no man of honor or of goods. He who
is not at war with his neighbor is at peace with himself. His
conscience is at peace, and a peaceful conscience is a soft
pillow. So that by his kind words and deeds he really loves his
life, as St. Peter says, and has provided himself with good days.

But besides all this, God watches over the good, peaceable man.
"He that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law," says the
Scripture. Our Lord loves those who love his children, and he is
one who can make his friends happy. Did he not promise a reward
for even a cup of cold water? And are not kind words often of
more worth than bodily refreshment? God loves the good, peaceable
man, and the love of God is enough to make any one happy.

{319}

So the next time you complain and say, "Oh! why am I so
miserable? what ails me or my family, or my neighbors, that I am
always in hot water, and can scarcely call one day in ten really
happy?" just ask yourself: "Am I a peaceable, good-natured man?"
Anger, hatred, and ill-will poison one's food as well as kill the
soul, disturb one's sleep as well as perplex the conscience. To
be happy you must be loved; and who will love one who hates? A
sour face, a bitter tongue, a bad heart, gain no friends. A harsh
voice, a cruel hand, a selfish heart, turn wife and child into
enemies. So the suspicious man is unhappy; he breeds treason and
jealousy among his friends. The touchy man is unhappy; you shun
his company, for you fear to offend him. The critical man is
unhappy; he is over-zealous about others and careless of himself.
And, brethren, I might continue the sad litany, and to every
unkind act, or thought, or word I could answer, it makes men
miserable.

Come, brethren, let us all try and be good-natured. Let us be so
for the love of our Lord, who made and loves us all, and died to
bind us all together in one happy household.

----------------------

{320}

     _Sixth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Romans vi._ 3-11.

  Brethren:
  We all, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his
  death. For we are buried together with him by baptism unto
  death: that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of
  the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we
  have been planted together in the likeness of his death, in
  like manner we shall be of his resurrection. Knowing this, that
  our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be
  destroyed, and that we may serve sin no longer. For he that is
  dead is justified from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we
  believe that we shall live also together with Christ: knowing
  that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more,
  death shall no more have dominion over him. For in that he died
  to sin, he died once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto
  God. So do you also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin,
  but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. Mark viii._ 1-9.

  At that time:
  When there was a great multitude with Jesus, and had nothing to
  eat, calling his disciples together, he saith to them: I have
  compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with
  me three days, and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away
  fasting to their own houses, they will faint in the way, for
  some of them came from afar off. And his disciples answered
  him: From whence can any one satisfy them here with bread in
  the wilderness? And he asked them: How many loaves have ye? And
  they said: Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on
  the ground, and taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, he
  broke, and gave to his disciples to set before them, and they
  sat them before the people.
{321}
  And they had a few little fishes, and he blessed them and
  commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat and were
  filled, and they took up that which was left of the fragments,
  seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four
  thousand: and he sent them away.

-------------------

              Sermon XCV.

  _Taking the seven loaves, giving thanks,
  he broke and gave to his disciples to set before them._
  --St. Mark viii. 6.


On this and on other occasions our Lord Jesus Christ blessed the
food that was to be eaten. In imitation of his divine example we
are taught to give thanks and bless ourselves and our food at
meals. This pious practice is commonly called grace before and
after meat. The word "grace" is English for the Latin word
"_gratias_," which means thanks, taken from the thanksgiving
to be said after meals. There are two prayers to be said,
therefore: the first, a blessing to be invoked upon ourselves and
upon the food prepared; and the second, a thanksgiving to be said
after we have eaten it. The first is as follows: "Bless us, Lord,
and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy
bountiful hands, through Christ our Lord. Amen."

When we say the words, "Bless us, Lord," we should make the sign
of the cross on ourselves. When we say "These thy gifts," we
should make the sign of the cross over the table. The
thanksgiving is said thus: "We give thee thanks, Almighty God,
for all thy benefits, who livest and reignest for ever and ever.
Amen." And it is also proper to add: "May the souls of the
faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace." The
Catholic practice is also to say these prayers standing.

{322}

In religious communities the blessing and grace are much longer,
consisting of versicles and sentences from Scripture appropriate
to the ecclesiastical season or festival; the Lord's Prayer is
said and the "Te Deum" is said.

This is a pious practice which ought to prevail in all Catholic
families. The children should be taught to do it from the time
they can bless themselves and lisp the words. Yes, everything we
eat and wear ought to be blessed first before we use it. The sign
of the cross and asking God's blessing is to acknowledge, as we
are in duty bound, the source of all that is given to us, and to
sanctify it to our own use, and also to make a good intention in
using it. To act otherwise--to hurry to table and eat and drink
without a thought of God or a word of religion, as I have seen so
many do--is to act like a heathen or a beast.

And this practice is not only for those who have a table set
before them supplied with every luxury in the way of food, but it
is especially good for those whose poverty compels them to sit
down to scanty and common meals. The rich certainly ought to
bless their bountifully-supplied tables, lest they prove to them
the dangerous occasion of intemperance and gluttony, but the poor
should remember the miracle of to-day's Gospel, when our Lord
blessed and gave thanks over seven loaves and a few little
fishes, and with that small store satisfied the hunger of four
thousand people. God is ever a kind, loving Father, and will not
forget the cry of those who put their trust in him.
{323}
Such was the trust of the poor man who had nothing but a little
porridge to set before his family at dinner when he said: "God be
good to us, and make this trifle of porridge go far enough for a
poor man with a wife and seven children."

This makes me think of two classes of people who I wish could be
obliged to bless with the sign of the cross what they give and
receive as nourishment. I mean the liquor-seller and the
drunkard. The grocery-keeper, the butcher, the baker could do it,
and why not the liquor-seller? You know the result if they did;
the one would soon give up the business, and the other would soon
give up drinking.

But do not forget, as some do, to return thanks--to say the
_grace_ after meals. Thank God for what you have received
from his bounty. Again I say, act like a reasonable being and a
Christian in this, and not like a heathen or a beast. You who are
parents should see to the carrying out of this instruction. If
you have not done so yet, begin to-day. Let the father say the
prayer and make the sign of the cross over the table, and if one
of the children come late don't give him a morsel to eat till he
has said his blessing. In all things remember you are Christians,
"giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ to God and the Father."

----------------

              Sermon XCVI.

  _Know you not
  that all we who are baptized in Christ Jesus
  are baptized in his death._
  --Romans vi. 3.

{324}

These are strong words, brethren, too strong, I fear, to be
accepted in their full meaning by many of us; for we are quite
too apt to mitigate the strong doctrine of Christ. Those great
maxims of penance, of poverty, of obedience, of perfection, which
the saints understood in their plain reality, we are very anxious
to understand in a figurative sense, or to apply to somebody else
besides our guilty selves. But let us look fairly and frankly at
these strong words of St. Paul. How are we baptized in Christ's
death? By being guilty of the sins which delivered him up to his
enemies. Did he not die on account of mortal sins, and have we
not committed mortal sins--violated God's most sacred
commandments, and done it often--and wilfully, and knowingly, and
habitually done it? Then the innocent blood of the Lamb of God is
upon our hands, and nothing but penance can ever wash it off. And
what sort of a penance? So thorough, so heartfelt, so practical
that the apostle says it must condemn and put us to death with
Christ; a penance so thorough that our Lord himself tells us that
it must produce a new being in us: "Unless a man be born again he
cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." So you see that St.
Paul, in the words of our text, has given us the very charter of
Christian penance; just as he explains it a little further on:
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Christ, that
the body of sin may be destroyed."

Behold, therefore, brethren, the plain statement of the greatest
of all the practical duties of the Christian; to make reparation
to God for his sins in union with the sufferings and death of
Jesus Christ. They tell us that our only hope of restored
innocence is in participation in the crucifixion--its shame, its
agony, and its death.

{325}

Oh! that we could fully realize the necessity of penance. Oh!
that the terrible form of Christ upon the cross could be ever in
our eyes as it is ever above our altars. Oh! that the awful cries
of Jesus' death agony could be ever sounding in our ears. Then we
should be Christians indeed. Then the profound hatred of sin, the
Christian duties of fasting and prayer, the holy offices of
helping the poor and instructing the ignorant, the devout
reception of God's grace in the sacraments; in a word, all the
yearly round of a good Catholic life would have its true meaning.
If we appreciated that Christ died for our sins, we should not
have to drag ourselves so reluctantly to confession, we should
not grumble at the fast of Lent, we should not strive to creep
out of the duty of paying our debt of penance to God by this or
that all too ready excuse, but we should take Christ for our
example and his cross for our standard, and long for stripes and
even death as the wages of sin. We should appreciate the wisdom
of what the old monk of the desert said to the novice when asked
for a motto: "Wherever you are, or whatever you are doing, say
often to yourself: I am a pilgrim." Yes, a pilgrim; a banished
son wearily waiting till his Father shall call him home; a
convicted traitor working out the years of his banishment. I
know, brethren, that this sounds like a melancholy doctrine. Yet
is it not true? And to know the truth is the first beginning of
peace in the heart. And listen to the joyful side. Hear it stated
by the apostle in this very epistle: "For if we have been planted
together in the likeness of his death, in like manner we shall be
of his resurrection."
{326}
Yes; if we die to our old selves and to sin, we shall rise with
our Lord Jesus Christ to everlasting glory. He sprang forth from
the grave filled with joy, triumphing over sin; and so shall we
rise if we are buried with him in penance. And what is the
world's joy compared to the joy of paradise? What care we for a
few years of labor and waiting here, when we think of the
countless ages of the kingdom of heaven! You have heard,
brethren, that St. Peter of Alcantara led a very penitential
life; well, shortly after death he appeared to one of his friends
surrounded with heavenly light and his face beaming with joy, and
he exclaimed: "Oh! happy penance which has gained for me so great
a reward." Brethren, let us do penance while we can, and leave it
to a good God to provide us with happiness, and he will give us
joys which will never fade.

---------------

              Sermon XCVII.

  _That as Christ is risen from the dead
  by the glory of the Father,
  so we also may walk in newness of life._
  --Romans vi. 4.


The words of the Epistle to-day carry us back to Easter-tide, and
give us a renewal of the lessons of Easter. St. Paul tells us
that as Christ is risen from the dead and dieth no more, so we
also should die indeed to sin, and rise again to newness of life
through Jesus Christ our Lord. And as the Gospel relates how our
Lord miraculously fed the multitudes in the wilderness, the
church to-day seems to speak with especial force to those who
have let the Easter-time go by without fulfilling the precept of
yearly Communion, without seeking that heavenly food without
which our souls must surely die of starvation.
{327}
To you and to all sinners the church appeals to-day, bidding them
at least now to rise from the death of sin and walk in newness of
life.

The circumstances attending our Lord's resurrection teach us how
we, too, should rise from the dead. An angel descended from
heaven, and a mighty earthquake shook the holy sepulchre. And so
the grace of God descends into our hearts, moving us to penance,
and as with an earthquake our hearts must tremble with the fear
of God and true sorrow for our sins. And then as the angel rolled
away the stone from the mouth of the tomb, so divine grace will
assist us in removing every obstacle in the way of our
repentance--the slowness and dulness of our minds and wills, our
spiritual sloth, the false shame that may keep us back from a
good confession. Arise, and, God's grace urging you, make one
mighty effort, and the stone will speedily be rolled away.

Around the grave of our Lord stood the watch of Roman soldiers,
guarding the seal that had been set upon the stone. Satan,
perhaps, has set his seal upon your heart, and the devils watch
around it for fear you should break loose from their bondage. But
if you are determined to rise from the death of sin they will be
as powerless to hinder you as the Roman soldiers were to prevent
the resurrection of Jesus. When he rose from the dead he left
behind him the grave-clothes and linen bandages with which his
body had been bound. And this teaches us that we should leave
behind us our evil habits and inclinations, and no longer remain
slaves to our passions. Lazarus could not walk freely after his
resurrection until he had been freed from his grave-clothes.
{328}
_Your_ grave-clothes are the habits of sin you have
contracted, the cravings, of your sensual appetites, the love of
sin that lingers in your hearts. Cast off these thongs that bind
your souls, that you may walk freely in newness of life. When the
women came to seek the body of Jesus the angel said to them: "Why
seek you the living among the dead? He is not here, but is
risen." If, risen from the death of sin, Satan should again seek
to gain possession of you; if your former bad companions should
try to bring you back to your old ways; if the voice of passion
should strongly lure you to leave the path of right, you can
answer: "Why seek you the living among the dead? My soul is not
here; but is risen--risen from the dead. It dieth no more; death
hath no more dominion over it." Crucify, then, my dear brethren,
the old man within you, that the body of sin may be destroyed,
and that you may serve sin no longer. "Let not sin reign in your
mortal bodies, so as to obey the lusts thereof," but "reckon
yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive to God, in
Christ Jesus our Lord." As our Lord had compassion upon those who
listened to his words, and fed them with the loaves and fishes,
so will he also have mercy upon you, if you hearken to his voice
now calling you to penance, and will feed you with his own most
precious Body and Blood.

--------------------------

{329}

     Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.


  Epistle.
  _Romans vi._ 19-23.

  Brethren:
  I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh.
  For as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and
  iniquity, unto iniquity; so now yield your members to serve
  justice, unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of
  sin, you were free from justice. What fruit therefore had you
  then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end
  of them is death. But now being made free from sin, and become
  servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and
  the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death: but
  the grace of God, everlasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew vii._ 15-21.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: Beware of false prophets, who come
  to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravenous
  wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather
  grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree
  yieldeth good fruit, and the bad tree bad fruit. A good tree
  cannot yield bad fruit, neither can a bad tree yield good
  fruit. Every tree that yieldeth not good fruit, shall be cut
  down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their
  fruits you shall know them. Not every man that saith to me,
  Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that
  doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter
  into the kingdom of heaven.

-----------------

{330}

              Sermon XCVIII.


  _Beware of false prophets,
  who come to you in the clothing of sheep,
  but inwardly they are ravenous wolves._
  --St. Matthew vii. 15.


A prophet is a teacher, and a teacher who assumes to have more
than ordinary knowledge. He is one who claims to speak from
authority, and demands a hearing on the score of his being
inspired directly by the all-wise God, or as being commissioned
to speak in the name of God. When such true teachers speak to us
we are bound, of course, to listen to them, to receive their
words with humility and obey them implicitly.

It is the way of God with men. We are taught all we know. Now, if
all teachers were true teachers, all men would believe alike and
there would be no error in the world. But because there have been
and are many false teachers, there are many false religions and
innumerable lies of all kinds which thousands believe to be
truths. For one to be sure, therefore, that what he believes is
true, he must not be simply content with the fact that _he_
sincerely believes it, but he must know that his teacher is a
true teacher.

Those who are not Catholics wonder how it is that we feel so
certain of the truths of our faith. Their wonder would cease if
they were to become Catholics, as it does happen with all
converts; for then they would know, as we know, _how it feels
to be sure of one's teacher_. That is our inestimable
privilege and inexpressible joy--that we know our teacher is
true, and that a false teacher is instantly detected, no matter
how carefully and cunningly he has put on his sheep's clothing.
The disguise is never thick enough to hide the wolf's teeth and
claws.

{331}

I do not say that a Catholic may not be deceived and be misled by
these wolves in sheep's clothings else our Lord would not have
told us to beware of such, and the history of all heresies proves
that many can be deceived by them. But that is their fault. They
go out of the fold where all is light and clear, and where a wolf
is found out in a moment, and they wander about in places and in
company where there is no light of divine faith. To tell the
truth, the false teacher finds his victims already misled and
enticed away by their own passions and pride. He finds they have
already begun to believe a lie, and he has only to encourage them
in it. What do I mean by wandering outside the fold? I mean
imitating the talk and following the example of those whose
principles are false; who say: "Religion is a matter of choice";
"It does not matter what a man believes so long as he is good";
"Education is the business of the state"; "Religion has nothing
to do with science"; and also immoral principles such as these:
"A man cannot help his nature"; "A young man is expected to sow
his wild oats"; "We are in the world and must go with it," and
such like.

When a Catholic talks that way he is fair game for the first
false teacher that comes along.

Then one wanders outside the fold and is caught by the wolves
when he ventures into forbidden secret societies. These wolves
have got the sheep's clothing of charity and brotherly love on.
It is a wonder that there can be found Catholics silly enough not
to feel the wolf's claw the first time they are taught the
secret-society grip.
{332}
"Charity and brotherly love" forsooth! They had better say, "We
swear to love ourselves, and to look out for number one," for
this is what all the twaddle of these secret brotherhoods amounts
to. Avoid them. Their leaders are false teachers, their
principles are false, and their association is dangerous to both
faith and morals.

Beware of the false newspaper prophet. Everybody reads the
newspapers, and too many, alas! think they have the right to read
any newspaper that is printed. That is what the false newspaper
prophet says when he offers for sale his filthy, licentious, and
lying sheet. Beware of him! His talk is corrupting and
demoralizing.

Do you wish, dear brethren, to make sure of not being deceived by
these wolves in sheep's clothing? Then obey with humility and
docility the shepherd of the flock. When he cries, "Wolf! wolf!"
then be sure that there is a wolf. Defer to his judgment.
_His_ preaching, you know, is true. Follow that, and not
even the devil himself can deceive you.

----------------

              Sermon XCIX.

  _Every tree is known by its fruit._
  --St. Luke vi. 44.


The great lesson taught us to-day by the offices of the church is
that the Christian life of faith must show itself in good works.
Faith is the foundation, but a building must not stop with the
foundation; more stones must be added continually until it rises
complete in all its parts, according to the plan of the
architect.
{333}
So we must not be content with the foundation of faith, but, by
co-operating with the graces God is always giving us, must be
always striving after the model set before us by the Divine
Architect, our Lord Jesus Christ, always adding virtue to virtue,
until at last we shall appear before the God of gods in Sion to
receive the reward of our good deeds. Faith is the root, but the
root must grow into a tree, and put forth not only leaves and
blossoms, not only pious thoughts and fine words, but the fruit
of good deeds, the fruit of a life spent in conformity to the
maxims of our holy faith.

Our Lord tells us that a tree is known by its fruit. For there is
no good tree that bringeth forth evil fruit, nor an evil tree
that bringeth forth good fruit. So the earnestness of our faith
will be known by our lives. If we find that our lives correspond
to what our faith teaches us, we may be sure that our faith is
living and not dead. "By their fruits ye shall know them," Alas!
how many who call themselves Catholics make their lives an
argument against the faith in the hands of its enemies, who point
at us the finger of scorn, and loudly proclaim that, by our
Lord's own test, we fail. And then we have the careless and the
lukewarm, who, while they are not an open scandal, yet fall far
short of the test our Lord proposes. In them we see plenty of
leaves, and even blossoms, but the fruit is sadly wanting, or, at
best, is but worm-eaten and rotten through a lack of earnestness
and a pure intention. They, perhaps, will talk about their faith
as though they were the most zealous Catholics in the world; but
if we look into their practice we find it very different from
what their language would lead us to expect. How many, for
instance, are ready enough to defend in argument the doctrine of
the Real Presence who never think of making a visit to the
Blessed Sacrament, nay, who rarely approach the Holy Communion,
and perhaps have not made their Easter-duty!

{334}

Well, I fear it will always be so. Fine words are cheap and good
resolutions are easily made, but it is another thing to keep
them. But listen to our Lord's warning: "Every tree that yieldeth
not good fruit shall be cut down, and cast into the fire." Our
eternal welfare depends upon our deeds. Our faith alone will not
save us. It is necessary, indeed; for just as the root is to the
tree the source of all its life, so faith is what gives to our
good works their merit before God. But unless it bears the fruit
of good works it is worthless and dead.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the
kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is
in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." That is to
say, not every one who professes the true faith shall be saved,
but those only who shall bring their wills into conformity with
the will of God. It is not enough to acknowledge God as our Lord
and King, if his holy will is not fulfilled in us and by us. If
we would enter into life eternal we must keep the commandments of
God and his church. And we also do the will of God by suffering
it; that is, by enduring with patience all the trials and crosses
he may send us, for these are his holy will for us as much as his
positive precepts. There is often more merit in patiently
suffering than in great deeds that would astound the world. This
is the way to fulfil the prayer so often on our lips: "Thy will
be done on earth as it is in heaven." Strive, then, both in doing
and in suffering, to make real for yourselves this holy petition,
that God may not have to say of you, as he said of the Jews of
old: "This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is
far from me."

-----------------

{335}

              Sermon C.


  _The wages of sin is death._
  --Romans vi. 23.


This is a truth plain enough to the thoughtful; but there are
some, alas! who think about it only when it is too late. The
wages have not yet become due, and the sinner, thinking only of
his present pleasures, goes on unmindful of that time when the
terrible wages will have to be paid in full.

Death, says St. Paul, is the wages. Tell a man that if he goes to
a certain place or performs a certain act the penalty will be
death, and he cannot be persuaded to go to that place or perform
that fatal act. On the other hand, he will do anything to save
himself from such a fate. But the death of which St. Paul speaks
is not to be compared with that of the body, for it is the soul.
The wages of sin is, then, a spiritual death. If we could see
before us in one vast pile a number of bodies corrupted by death,
what a revolting spectacle it would be! But if we could see the
dead souls of so many around us, who seem to be so full of life,
as God beholds them, we should be far more horrified. There are
some who, as they sit in their houses, walk in the streets, are
engaged at work, or even as they are on their knees in church,
have with them only wretched corpses of souls. Who will reap this
terrible wages of sin? We have all sinned, therefore we must all
reap some of its wages.
{336}
By the sin of one man "death has passed unto all men, in whom all
have sinned." Death is the most dreadful temporal calamity with
which we are acquainted; yet it is the wages which the whole
human race have to pay for the sin of one.

But the penalty of that second death, which is eternal, is the
most terrible wages of sin; and yet our holy faith teaches us
that one mortal sin is enough to cause the instant death of the
soul. But the man who lives in mortal sin abides in death. Every
sin that he commits plunges his soul deeper into the abyss of
death, till at last he receives the full wages of his crimes in
the flames of hell. How shall we escape this terrible penalty?
Our blessed Lord, by his death, received the wages due to us on
account of sin. Through the infinite merits of his death our
souls may be brought to life, if we will truly repent and sin no
more. St. Paul says: "As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all
shall be made alive." But we cannot hope to escape the bitter
wages of sin, unless we cease to sin. If we live in sin, and, as
generally happens to such, die in sin, we shall not be helped by
the death of Christ, but shall receive more bitter wages for our
sins than if Christ had not died for us. We shall then, in
addition to our other crimes, be guilty of the death of our
Blessed Redeemer; for, as St. Paul says: "By our sins we crucify
Jesus Christ afresh."

There are, also, wages which have to be paid for sins forgiven.
Though the eternal guilt is remitted, the infinite justice of God
has yet to be satisfied. We shall all of us have to receive the
wages of our forgiven sins in penance and sufferings in this life
and in purgatory till the last farthing has been paid.
{337}
This ought to make us fearful about our past sins, and to make us
dread nothing so much as to fall into sin again. The words of the
text, "For the wages of sin is death," should be continually in
our minds when we are tempted to sin, and, knowing the terrible
consequences which must follow every sin, we shall rather endure
any temporal evil than to incur the terrible misfortune of having
offended God.

------------------

{338}

    _Eighth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Romans. viii._ 12-17.

  Brethren:
  We are debtors not to the flesh, to live according to the
  flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die.
  But if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you
  shall live. For whosoever are led by the spirit of God, they
  are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of
  bondage again in fear: but you have received the spirit of
  adoption of sons, whereby we cry, Abba (Father). For the Spirit
  himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of
  God. And if sons, heirs also: heirs indeed of God, and joint
  heirs with Christ.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xvi_. 1-9.

  At that time:
  Jesus spoke to his disciples this parable: There was a certain
  rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him,
  that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to
  him: What is this I hear of thee? Give an account of thy
  stewardship: for now thou canst not be steward. And the steward
  said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh
  away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able, to beg I am
  ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be put out of
  the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
  Therefore calling together every one of his lord's debtors, he
  said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said:
  A hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill and
  sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another: And
  how much dost thou owe? Who said: A hundred quarters of wheat.
  He said to him: Take thy bill and write eighty.
{339}
  And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had
  done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their
  generation than the children of light. And I say to you: Make
  to yourselves friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you
  shall fail they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

----------------

               Sermon CI.


  _Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of iniquity,
  that when you shall fail
  they may receive you into everlasting dwellings._
  --St. Luke xvi. 9.


What is this mammon of iniquity of which, or with which (for that
is the true sense of the words), we are to make friends for
ourselves? It is the money or other property that God has given
us to use in this world. We have only to read a few verses more
to see that this is what it means; for when our Lord said
immediately afterwards, "You cannot serve God and Mammon," the
evangelist tells us that "the Pharisees, who were covetous,
laughed at him."

It is called the mammon of iniquity or injustice, because it is
the cause of almost all the injustice in the world.

We have, then, to make friends for ourselves with the money or
other temporal means which God has entrusted to us.

This is what the steward of whom the Gospel tells us did. He was
entrusted by his master with the management of an estate. He was
to take care of it in his master's interest, not in his own, for
it did not belong to him; as we are here to use our property in
God's interest, for he is our Master, and what we have really
belongs to him and not to ourselves.

{340}

The steward was not faithful to his master; he wasted his goods;
so he was discharged from his office and had to give an account
of his stewardship, as we also shall have to give an account of
ours to our Master when we are discharged from it--that is, when
we come to die. Then he began to think how he could make use of
the means that had been committed to him to provide for himself
in the new state of life upon which he had to enter. He had not
much time to make his arrangements, but he hit upon a very good
plan. In that we do not resemble him, for with all our lifetime
to make our arrangements in, and the certainty that we shall have
some time to be discharged from our stewardship, and give an
account of it before the judgment-seat of God, we too often make
none at all. As our Lord says: "The children of this world are
wiser in their generation than the children of light."

The steward, I say, hit on a good plan; and that was to obtain
the favor of his master's debtors by taking something off the
bills which they had to pay, that they might in return contribute
something to his support and save him from the necessity of
working or begging for the remainder of his life. In this way he
made friends for himself with the money which had been committed
to him, in order that these friends might receive him into their
dwellings when he was turned out of his own.

This is the part of his conduct which we have to imitate. We have
to imitate the steward by making friends with the means which our
Lord has given us--friends who will be of service to us in the
new life upon which we have so soon to enter, the life which
comes after death.

{341}

But who are these friends to be? Generally people try to buy the
favor of the rich and the great. But these are not the friends
who are going to be of use to us in the next world.

No, the poor, not the rich, are the ones whose friendship will be
of use to us there. In this life they will not help those who
help them, because they cannot; but they will in the next. If you
help them the blessing which they give you is not only a blessing
when you receive it, but it is treasured up for you, long after
you have forgotten it, in God's eternal memory.

He is preparing in heaven beautiful and glorious mansions for
these friends of yours, who are also friends of his, to make up
for the miserable ones in which they have lived on earth. There
are others like them which he is preparing for us all. He has
gone to get them ready. "In my Father's house," said our Lord,
"there are many mansions. ... I go to prepare a place for you."

These mansions are being prepared for you, but whether you enter
into their possession depends very much on how you treat the
poor, to whom they more properly belong. Be charitable, then, to
them, for they have the keys of the homes which you will shortly
have to seek.

And in your charity to the poor remember one who is always poor,
at least in this country of ours. I mean God's holy church. She
is a very great beggar, and a very tiresome one, I know--always
asking you for more; it seems as if she would never be satisfied,
and I do not believe she ever will.
{342}
But then she is a good friend of yours, and what you give to her
is, like what you give to other poor people, more for your own
good than for hers. For it is chiefly by her help that you are to
reach those everlasting dwellings which our Lord promises to you.
If you did not do anything for her it certainly would be hard for
you to be saved; for it is through her that the means of
salvation come. The more liberal you are to her the more
liberally will those means be given to you; and if you think you
have enough of them, and are quite sure of heaven with what you
have got, certainly that is not the case with everybody; and you
know we ought to love our neighbor as ourselves.

These, then, God's poor and his church, are the best friends you
can make with the temporal means that he has given you, for they
are the ones who can provide for you in that eternity which is
coming so soon. Imitate the prudence of the steward, and you will
not only make friends as he did, but you will also please your
Master, which he did not, and obtain from Him who is your best
friend an eternal reward.

-------------------

               Sermon CII.

  _Give an account of thy stewardship._
  --St. Luke xvi. 2.


There is nothing said against the ability of this steward. On the
contrary, he gives every evidence of being a shrewd business man.
His investments had probably been prudent, and his debtors
reliable men. The fault for which he is held blamable is
carelessness. He had not kept his accounts squared up.
{343}
If the master had waited for the regular time of enquiring into
his accounts, or had given him a little notice of his intention
to do so, he would, in all probability, have found everything in
excellent order, and have praised his steward for his good
management. But he came upon him unawares, when he had many debts
outstanding and his books were in disorder. This, in a business
man, is inexcusable; and whenever we hear of a similar case we
always condemn the unfortunate man, and say, "It served him
right; he should have attended to his business." Little do we
think, indeed, how our own words may some day stand witness
against us. The application of the Gospel is too plain to need
any explanation, but there is one point I would impress upon you
particularly this morning: our carelessness. We are all stewards
of our own souls, and concerning the care we have taken of them,
the use to which we have put the many opportunities of merit, the
investment, as it were, we have made of the innumerable graces
offered us, we shall have to render a strict account, and at what
moment we know not. We know that we have many debts, and that it
would go hard with us if we had to meet them at once; we know
that we have not straightened up our accounts for a long time,
and that everything is in disorder. Yet we go on in the same
careless way day after day and month after month. Sometimes we
get messages and warnings from our Lord; a mission is preached,
we meet with temporal reverses, or we are thrown on a bed of
sickness and think our Lord is about to ask us for the account of
our stewardship, and we make a hurried compromise with our sins,
the best we can do under the circumstances.
{344}
But no sooner do we find the account is not really required than
we fall back into the former careless way of conducting the
business of our soul. Indeed, it is strange that women who are
such good housewives, and men who give such careful attention to
the temporal things of this life, are so utterly negligent when
it comes to that which is the most important of all--the business
of their soul. One would think they had no faith. The foolish
excuses they make!--they are too much mixed up with the world to
be pious, they have to attend to their family, and the like. As
though they were not to save their soul in this world; as though
the attending to their soul and the care of their family were two
separate and distinct things! And then, when God, seeing that
prosperity is not good for them, sends them reverses, they
neglect their soul more than ever, and fail to see that if they
had looked after their soul they might have been even better off
in this world's affairs. Take a warning, then, my brethren, from
the lesson of to-day's Gospel; keep the accounts of your soul in
order, for you know not the time when the Master will say: "Give
an account of thy stewardship." And let not those who make their
Easter duty think the lesson does not apply to them, but let not
a single month pass by without rendering an account to God.

---------------------

              Sermon CIII.

  _Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of iniquity,
  that when you shall fail
  they may receive you into everlasting dwellings._
  --St. Luke xvi. 9.

{345}

Every Christian knows our Lord does not intend to encourage men
to love that which is entirely worldly. In fact, his caution
often repeated, his most important warning to men, is that they
do not love too much the riches of this world. He even tells us
it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven
unless God himself keep that man from loving his money and
possessions more than he ought to do. This is what too often
makes riches a mammon of iniquity. The words can also be taken to
mean riches gained by fraud, robbery, or unjust dealing of any
kind. Men of the world will say this is all the words can mean.
God, however, has more to say about it. In his mind these words
include all that a man may gain from motives which are impure and
mean in the sight of God. Now, the duty of every man is to look
at everything as God looks at it. He must find out God's opinion
of what is right or wrong, and make that opinion the law of his
own life. The words "mammon of iniquity" mean, therefore, not
only riches and possessions gained unjustly, but also that honor,
esteem of men, that social position, or that high office gained
by sinful actions or from bad motives. What, then, is a man to do
who has offended God in this way? If he has gotten unjustly money
or property he must restore it, be it much or little. But, one
may say, "I will lose my reputation if I give it back. I shall be
found out." This is not true in most cases. A man can restore
privately. He can see that the one he has wronged gets back again
that which belongs to him. He is not obliged to tell him who took
it from him. If it cannot be done by himself without losing his
good name, let him tell his confessor about it. He will manage it
for him. The priest is ordained and instructed in order to help
him in this as well as in other difficulties.
{346}
Moreover, what sort of a good name is that which that man knows
is a false one? If not dead to sincerity of spirit that man must
feel like a hypocrite. He must feel that he is not even the
shadow of an honest man so long as he is called by a name he does
not deserve. He must sometimes long to be again a truly honest
man. Let him restore, and then he will be again an honest man. He
will then have that peace which is more to him than wealth or
honor of this world. At least let him tell the priest about it.
He makes a great mistake who stays away from confession because
he has done wrong. The confessor can help him when he cannot help
himself. He can make it easy for him to do right when it seems
hard. Another will say: "I have taken a little from this one and
a little from that one. I do not know the people I have wronged."
Then give what is gained unjustly to the poor. The law of the
land, as well as God's law, will not permit a man to keep that
which he has gained dishonestly. The one who restores in this
manner adds good works to his act of restitution. He relieves
God's poor; he clothes the naked and feeds the hungry; he gains
the prayers of the poor, whom God has promised to hear always.
These prayers bring blessings on his head, true sorrow for sin
into his soul, and secure for him the grace of a happy death.
Riches of injustice thus used will make friends who will get for
him by their prayers an everlasting habitation in heaven. What
other things are included in the riches of injustice? All that is
valued by pride, ambition, self-love, vanity. All that man loves
in this world because it makes him appear to be above his
fellow-men. The proud, ambitious, selfish, and vain man has
robbed God of the glory and honor due to him alone.
{347}
He has worked for himself alone, and forgotten God, except to use
God for his own private benefit. This man will often make bad
confessions and communions in order to appear to be good. But
what riches of injustice has he gained? He has gotten a pleasant
manner, a sweet smile, a habit of talking respectfully to every
one whose praise is pleasing to him, who can bring him custom or
give him a vote for office. These things, good in themselves, are
made bad by the motive in his heart. Let this man change his
motive and all will be right. He must use these same manners and
smiles for God's sake. He must show that respect to every one,
high or low, rich or poor. He must do this for the love of God
and love of all men, for God's sake. This man, also, will then
have gained the prayers of the poor by repairing in this way sins
of pride, ambition, and self-love. He will find he has gained
friends with the riches of injustice who will cause him to be
received into everlasting habitations.

------------------

{348}

    _Ninth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  1 _Corinthians x._ 6-13.

  Brethren:
  We should not covet evil things, as they also coveted. Neither
  become ye idolaters, as some of them: as it is written: "The
  people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." Neither
  let us commit fornication, as some of them committed
  fornication, and there fell in one day three and twenty
  thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ: as some of them tempted,
  and perished by the serpents. Neither do you murmur: as some of
  them murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all
  these things happened to them in figure; and they are written
  for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
  Wherefore let him that thinketh himself to stand, take heed
  lest he fall. Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as
  is human. And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
  tempted above that which you are able; but will make also with
  temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xix._ 41-47.

  At that time:
  When Jesus drew near Jerusalem, seeing the city, he wept over
  it, saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day,
  the things that are for thy peace; but now they are hidden from
  thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee: and thy enemies
  shall cast a trench about thee: and compass thee round, and
  straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground,
  and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in
  thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time
  of thy visitation.
{349}
  And entering into the temple, he began to cast out them that
  sold therein, and them that bought, saying to them: It is
  written: "My house is the house of prayer"; but you have made
  it a den of thieves. And he was teaching daily in the temple.

------------------

              Sermon CIV.


  _My house is the house of prayer.
  But you have made it a den of thieves._
  --St. Luke xix. 46.


What made our Lord so severe with these people of whom the Gospel
tells us, who were selling and buying in the temple? He was
usually gentle and mild, not violent, as on this occasion. He was
generally content with reproving what was wrong; here he resorted
to force--that force which no one could resist, and which he
could always have used if he had chosen; by which he could have
destroyed all his enemies in a moment, if he had seen fit to do
so. And he not only made these buyers and sellers leave the house
of God, but he drove them out in confusion, and also, as we read
elsewhere, overturned the tables and chairs which they had used.

Well, one reason for his severity probably was that those who
sold were making an unjust profit out of the necessities of those
who bought; for the things which they were selling were such as
had to be offered by the people for the sacrifices of the temple,
and could not well be obtained by them anywhere else. But I think
his principal motive was to impress on his followers, and on us
who were to come after them, a lesson which we are very apt to
forget. He wanted to teach it to us in such a way that we could
not forget it: and therefore he made use of this extraordinary
means.

{350}

This lesson is contained in the words which he quotes from his
prophet Isaias: "My house is the house of prayer." These words
were true of the temple in which he then was, but they have a
more special reference to the temples in which he now dwells, in
which he dwells continually, which he did not in that temple,
magnificent as it was.

You know, or ought to know, what these temples are. They are our
churches, where he is all the time, in his Real Presence, in the
Blessed Sacrament. These are the temples of which that in
Jerusalem was only a figure or type.

The church is the place for prayer. That is the lesson for us,
and we were, as I have said, the ones whom he chiefly wanted to
instruct. For prayer--that is, for acts of religion of all
kinds--and for nothing else. It is the place to think of God and
to speak to him, and not to do anything else, innocent though it
be.

It is not a place to talk or laugh in. You know that well enough,
and would not, I suppose, laugh or talk; at any rate not much in
church, especially if Mass was being celebrated or if there were
a good many people there. But perhaps that would be because you
would be afraid of what these people would say or think of you;
for there are persons who, sometimes when nobody seems to be
looking, do not scruple to have quite a nice little conversation,
which might just as well be put off till some other time, if,
indeed, there was any need for it at all.

{351}

The church is not a place to stare around in, or to see what is
going on, except at the altar. And yet there are persons who come
to it, especially if there is to be a wedding or some other event
of general interest, simply for this purpose and for nothing
else. Perhaps they will kneel down a little while for form's
sake; but they did not enter God's house to pray for themselves
or for anybody else, but only to gratify their worldly curiosity
by seeing how people look or behave, and to have something to
talk about, possibly to make fun about afterwards, if not,
indeed, at the time.

And that reminds me of another thing. The church is not the place
to see what kind of clothes people have on, or to show off one's
own good clothes. It is a place to be well dressed in, as far as
one's means will properly allow; but that is in order to give
honor to God, not to win it from one another. It is the place to
dress neatly, but not showily; not in such a way as to attract
the eyes of others, and draw their thoughts from those things on
which they should then be employed.

And this again suggests something else; that is, that our
thoughts, as well as our words and actions, belong specially to
our Lord when we are in his presence, before his altar. Let us
take particular care about this. If we take care of our thoughts
our words and actions will take care of themselves.

And let us remember that when we spend our time in church
unworthily we are stealing something from God. What is this that
we are stealing? It is the time and the honor that he has a right
to expect from us. It is because of these thefts that he can
truly say to us: "My house is the house of prayer; but you have
made it a den of thieves." This seems strong language; but do we
not deserve it if we take from our Lord the little that he claims
as his own?
{352}
He may have called those who sold in the temple thieves, because
they were cheating their neighbors; but is it not as bad to cheat
him? Let us, then, be sorry for this cheating of ours, and try to
make restitution in the time that is to come.

-------------------

              Sermon CV.

  _God is faithful, who will not suffer you
  to be tempted above that which you are able._
  --1 Corinthians x. 13.

Some people seem to think that their sins are principally God's
fault. A great many of you, my dear friends, who are listening to
me now have frequently, I have no doubt, said as much. Of course
you will say, and very rightly too, that such a charge against
the good God is a horrible blasphemy; but, for all that, you have
often been guilty of it.

You will, I think, want me to prove this before you will fully
believe it. Well, it is very easy to do so. Have you never, when
you accused yourself of some sin, said that you could not help
it? You got in a passion, for instance, perhaps quite frequently,
and spoke angry words, which of course you were sorry for
afterwards; but you say that at the time you could not help it.

What follows, then, if what you say is true? Why, in the first
place, it follows, of course, that it was not your fault that you
sinned; that in fact it was no sin for you at all, for if a
person really cannot help doing a thing he is not to blame for
it. But it was a sin; you acknowledge that; so if it was not your
sin it must have been somebody else's.
{353}
And that somebody else must have been Almighty God. He was
answerable for the sin by not giving you the grace to avoid it.
That is what it amounts to when you say that you could not help
committing sin.

This horrible blasphemy, which then certainly is implied by the
words, "I could not help it"--this blasphemy, which makes God the
author of sin and responsible for it, is what St. Paul denies in
the words from the Epistle of to-day which I have read to you. He
says: "God is faithful"; he does give you enough grace. "He will
not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able"; he
will not let you have a temptation so strong that, with the grace
which he gives you, you cannot resist it.

There are some things which one cannot help, but sin is not one
of them. If a hot coal falls on one's hand one cannot help
feeling pain from it; and in the same way one cannot help feeling
the fire of temptation with which God is sometimes pleased that
we should be tried. But sin, which is the giving way of the will
to temptation, one can always help. Sin, the giving way to
temptation, is like holding the hot coal in your hand after it
has fallen there.

You do not want to hold the coal in your hand; but you do want to
give way to temptation, because there is something pleasant in
that. It is more pleasant to give way than to resist it; if it
were not it would not be a temptation. It relieves your mind to
say that angry word when you are provoked. It is hard often to
resist temptation; that is the amount of it. But it is not
impossible.

{354}

Never say, then, when you accuse yourself of anything with which
your conscience really reproaches you, that you could not help
it. Do not say it, unless you wish to blaspheme God and throw the
blame of your sin upon him. Remember that he is faithful, and
does not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able; and
say, rather, "It was hard to help it; I was very much tempted,
but I could have resisted, and I am very sorry that I did not."

I know that is what you mean very often when you say, "I could
not help it." Say, then, what you mean, for it will help you very
much the next time. It will put you in mind of what you must know
to be the truth--that is, that you could have kept from sin; and
when you are convinced of this you will, if you are in earnest,
use all the means you have to do so. Above all you will see that
one great reason why it was so hard to resist temptation was
that, though you had grace enough to do so, you did not have
enough to make it easy; and you will pray hard to get that
abundant help which God will give to all who continually ask it
from him.

----------------------

{355}

  _Tenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  1 _Corinthians xii._ 2-11.

  Brethren:
  You know that when you were heathens, you went to dumb idols,
  according as you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand,
  that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith Anathema to
  Jesus. And no man can say, The Lord Jesus, but by the Holy
  Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same
  Spirit: and there are diversities of ministries, but the same
  Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but the same
  God, who worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the
  Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one, indeed, by
  the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: to another, the word
  of knowledge according to the same Spirit: to another, faith in
  the same Spirit; to another, the grace of healing in one
  Spirit: to another, the working of miracles: to another,
  prophecy: to another, the discerning of spirits: to another,
  divers kinds of tongues: to another, interpretation of
  speeches: but all these things one and the same Spirit worketh,
  dividing to every one according as he will.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xviii._ 9-14.

  At that time:
  To some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others,
  Jesus spoke this parable: Two men went up into the temple to
  pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The
  Pharisee, standing, prayed thus with himself: O God! I give
  thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners,
  unjust, adulterers, nor such as this publican. I fast twice in
  the week: I give tithes of all that I possess.
{356}
  And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift
  up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O
  God! be merciful to me a sinner! I say to you, this man went
  down to his house justified rather than the other; because
  every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that
  humbleth himself shall be exalted.

---------------------

              Sermon CVI.


  _Two men went up into the temple to pray:
  the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican._
  --St. Luke xviii, 10.


There are not supposed to be any Pharisees nowadays, and the word
"publican" is getting rather old-fashioned; so perhaps, before
applying this parable to our own times, we had better understand
who the Pharisees and the publicans were.

The Pharisees, in our Lord's time, were a very religious class
among the Jews, very strict and correct in their belief, and with
very strict consciences, too--strict, at least, about some
things, particularly about such things as concerned their
reputation for piety. About other matters they were sometimes
rather too easy and charitable--easy and charitable, that is, to
themselves; for it is quite possible that they might have
criticised others for faults not very different from their own,
as when this Pharisee in the Gospel called the poor publican
standing in the corner an extortioner, or robber, as perhaps the
word is better rendered; forgetting, it may be, some little
transactions which, if rightly understood, might have fixed as
bad a name on himself.

{357}

These publicans, on the other hand, were not in any way a
religious set of people; they did not pretend, like the
Pharisees, to be so, nor were they in point of fact. They were
called publicans because they collected the public taxes; they
were blamed by the people, and with good reason, for extorting
money unjustly from the poor. Their business was really, in those
times, a proximate occasion of sin; this was the reason why St.
Matthew, who was a publican before our Lord called him to be an
apostle, never went back to his business again, as St. Peter did
to his innocent occupation as a fisherman. The publican of this
parable also, no doubt, had either made up his mind to give up
his sinful life or was endeavoring to do so.

Both of these men, the Pharisee and the publican, were sinners.
In that they were alike; the difference between them was that the
publican acknowledged that he was a sinner and was trying to
amend his life, while the Pharisee thought that he was perfect,
or that, if he had any faults, they were such as no one could
avoid, and which his Maker would readily overlook, especially in
a person of his exalted piety.

Now, I said in the beginning that there were not supposed to be
any Pharisees nowadays: but I think that we shall find that there
are some people of this kind, even among us Christians; and
perhaps, if we go down very deep into our own consciences, we
shall even find that we are Pharisees ourselves.

Some of these Pharisees make excellent confessions. They show a
care in their examination of conscience equal to that of the
saints; they have the most accurate knowledge of every fault, and
are willing to go into every detail, if they are permitted to do
so. This delicacy of perception of sin is a quality which
certainly commands our admiration; but there is a circumstance
which prevents this admiration from being quite unlimited.
{358}
This circumstance is that the faults which they are so keenly
alive to are not their own. They are those of other people with
whom they live, or of whom they hear through some person of the
same sort of sensitive conscience that they themselves have.

The world, in the eyes of these sensitive people, certainly has a
melancholy aspect. Everybody is doing wrong, and nobody is doing
right--nobody, that is, except themselves. They, thank God! are
not so bad. They are innocent sufferers, enduring a continual
martyrdom at the hands of these wicked people who live in the
same house or close by. Their only consolation here below is to
tell their friends how much they suffer, and how much others
suffer, from these sinners. Others, it is true, may deserve it,
but they themselves certainly never have. They wish that they
were dead and out of reach of their persecutors. The most curious
thing is that one of their great causes of annoyance is the way
that other people will carry stories; this is the story that they
spend their lives in carrying.

Perhaps you think this picture is overdrawn. I hope it is. And I
do not believe that many people are such thorough Pharisees as
these whom I have described. But there is too much, a great deal
too much, of the Pharisaic spirit about us all.

And not nearly enough of the spirit of the publican--of humility,
contrition, and purpose of amendment. How shall we acquire this
spirit  By looking into our own conscience, unpleasant as it may
be, and letting those of our neighbors alone.
{359}
If we sincerely examine our own hearts we shall not thank God
that we are not like others, but rather pray to him that we may,
before we die, have something like the perfection that many
others have already reached; and ask him, as the publican did, to
have mercy on us sinners--on us poor sinners, who are trying to
be so no more.

That is the way, and the only way, that we sinners can get into
the company of the saints; not by fancying ourselves there
already. If we wish, then, to reach that blessed company, let us
start on this way at once, for there is no time to lose.

----------------------

              Sermon CVII.

  _Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled;
  and he that humbleth himself shall be exulted._
  --St. Luke xviii. 14.


One does not need to be a Christian, my dear brethren, to
understand, as it would seem, the truth of these words of our
Lord. Everybody knows that a man who is all the time praising
himself, or who even shows that he has a pretty good opinion of
himself, loses by it in the opinion of others. He does not even
get as much credit for ability or virtue as he really deserves,
besides being considered as stuck up and conceited, which
everybody feels to be a defect. In fact, a man who is evidently
very proud makes himself ridiculous.

And, on the other hand, one who is modest and unassuming
generally is supposed to be more clever than he really is. People
sometimes get a reputation for learning and depth of thought by
simply holding their tongue--so convinced is the world that a
really great man will not make a parade of his greatness.

{360}

But this lesson of worldly prudence is not the real meaning of
our Saviour's words. He does not wish to show us how to get a
reputation for learning or for anything else. This would be
merely encouraging and helping our vanity and pride. What he
wishes to teach us is humility. He wants us to humble ourselves
really; not to pretend to do so, that we may be more esteemed by
the world.

Why, then, if that is the object, does he promise us that if we
humble ourselves we shall be exalted? That, it would seem, could
be no inducement to a man who had real humility. Such a man would
not want to be exalted, you will say. Ah! there is where you are
mistaken. Every humble man, every really good man, does want to
be exalted. The saints, who are the models of humility for us,
wanted it more than any one else in the world.

This may sound strange, but it is undoubtedly true. For what is
it to be exalted in the true sense of the word?

It is to get near to God, who is the Most High. And the more one
loves God the more does he wish to be near him; so all those who
love God wish to be thus exalted and the saints more than all,
because they love God more than any one else.

And this exaltation, which comes from being near to Almighty God,
is what he promises, in these words of the Gospel, to the humble
and refuses to the proud. This was what he gave to the publican
and refused to the Pharisee; for he gave the publican his grace
and his friendship, but the Pharisee failed to receive it on
account of his pride. "This man," says our Lord, "went down to
his house justified rather than the other"--that is, nearer to
God, and therefore more exalted.

{361}

The humble, then, will be raised into the friendship of God, and
the proud will not. Nor can they come near him in any other way.
He is too high above us for us to come near him except on his own
terms. You cannot get near Almighty God by making the most of
your natural powers, any more than you can get near the stars by
going on the roof of your house. Some people in old times thought
to scale the heavens by building a high tower; but God confounded
their pride, and the tower of Babel is a byword for human folly
and presumption to this day.

Let us, then, my dear brethren, not follow their example. Let us
seek truly to be exalted, but in the way that he has appointed,
in the way that his saints have chosen, and especially the way of
Our Blessed Lady, the nearest to him and the humblest of all.
And, in fact, if we really wish for this true exaltation it must
needs be in this way; for if we really wish to be near God it
must be for the love of him; and if we love him we must often
think of him; and if we often think of him we must be humble; for
how can the creature be proud who often thinks of the Creator of
heaven and earth?

-----------------

              Sermon CVIII.


  Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled;
  and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
  --St. Luke xviii. 14.


It is a blessed and a happy moment, a sort of turning-point in
life, my brethren, for any one of us when he wakes up to the
conviction that he is nothing extraordinary after all. That is,
if there is such a moment; for sometimes this conviction dawns on
one gradually.

{362}

Almost every one begins life with the other idea. Not that he has
it himself at the start, but his friends have it for him. Almost
every baby is considered, as you know, to be the finest and most
beautiful one that ever was seen. Perhaps he does not quite come
up afterward to the expectations of his fond parents; but at
least he is remarkable in some way. He is a very clever boy, or a
very good boy, or, at any rate, he could be if he wanted to; he
has got it in him; he is much finer in some respects, perhaps in
a great many, than the common run. He is going to turn out a
great man; he is much more likely to be President of the United
States than any other boy of his age.

And by the time he has got to man's estate he has a good deal of
the same opinion himself. He does not like to have it even hinted
that he is at all below par in anything; or if it is plain, even
to himself, that he is, then it is a thing of no consequence, or
he could excel in it if he chose to. The sorest points are of
course those in which his choosing would make no difference. The
less said about these the better.

Well, you know all this is what we call pride. Almighty God has
mercifully arranged it so that it is generally knocked out of us
to some extent as we travel on through the world; but still a
good deal of it remains.

It is a thing that gives us a great deal of trouble of mind, and
which generally keeps us back a great deal from really excelling
in anything. It is a thing, therefore, which it is good to get
rid of as soon as we can; and of course, therefore, you all want
to know how to do this. I think the Gospel story of to-day throws
some light on this point.

{363}

The way to do it is the way of the publican, and the way not to
do it is that of the Pharisee. And the way of the publican is
that of common sense, too.

What is it? It is lo look at and consider our defects, and not
our strong points. The publican might have talked like the
Pharisee, too. He might have said: "I am a much better fellow
than that old Pharisee. I am a good, hearty, generous soul. I
treat my friends to the best I have got; and if I do cheat
sometimes a little in business I make up for it in charity; and I
don't make a show of the good I do and put on a pretence of
religion like those canting hypocrites."

And so he might have gone on to the end of the chapter. But he
didn't. No; he just went off in a corner all by himself and said:
"O God! be merciful to me a sinner." He did not think about his
virtues, but about his sins; and when he asked the Lord to be
merciful to him he meant that he wanted to amend his life, and
was going to do it with the help of God, and imitate the
Pharisee, whom he really thought better than himself; for you see
he did not think of the sins of the Pharisee, but of his virtues.

I say that his way was of common sense. It is the way we all
follow when at work on anything except ourselves. We look at the
defects in our work, and not its excellences; and if we have very
good sense it seems to us pretty much all defects.

Humility, then, after all, is only common sense. And I think you
ought to see pretty well one reason at least why, as our Lord
says, he that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that
humbleth himself exalted.
{364}
The one who exalts himself, who stops to look at his virtues, is
all the time running down, and losing even the little virtue that
he admires; while he that really humbles himself is constantly
getting better. So humility is necessary for progress. It is so
in the things of this world even, and much more so in our
spiritual affairs.

-----------------

{365}

      _Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  1 _Corinthians xv._ 1-10.

  Brethren:
  I make known unto you the gospel which I preached to you, which
  also you have received, and wherein you stand: by which also
  you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached to
  you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered to you
  first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for
  our sins, according to the Scriptures: and that he was buried,
  and that he rose again the third day, according to the
  Scriptures: and that he was seen by Cephas, and after that by
  the eleven. Then was he seen by more than five hundred brethren
  at once, of whom many remain until this present, and some are
  fallen asleep. After that he was seen by James, then by all the
  apostles. And last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one
  born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who
  am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the
  church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his
  grace in me hath not been void.


  Gospel.
  _St. Mark vii._ 31-37.

  At that time:
  Jesus going out of the borders of Tyre, came by Sidon to the
  sea of Galilee, through the midst of the territories of
  Decapolis. And they bring to him one that was deaf and dumb;
  and they besought him to lay his hand upon him. And taking him
  aside from the multitude, he put his fingers into his ears, and
  spitting, he touched his tongue: and looking up to heaven, he
  groaned, and said to him: Ephpheta, which is, Be opened. And
  immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue
  was loosed, and he spoke right. And he charged them that they
  should tell no man.
{366}
  But the more he charged them so much the more a great deal did
  they publish it. And so much the more did they wonder, saying:
  He hath done all things well; he hath made both the deaf to
  hear, and the dumb to speak.

--------------------

              Sermon CIX.


  _He hath made both the deaf to hear,
  and the dumb to speak._
  --St. Mark vii. 37.


Our Saviour, in his ministry on earth, no doubt cured a great
many deaf and dumb people. The story of this particular cure has
been preserved for us on account of the peculiar and significant
way in which he performed it. The memory of it is renewed every
time that a child is baptized in the Catholic Church.

In the ceremonies of baptism the priest, who represents our Lord
in this as in all other sacraments, touches the nostrils and the
ears of the infant or adult with his thumb moistened with the
saliva of his mouth, saying this same word, "Ephpheta"--that is,
"Be opened."

Now, the child or grown person who is brought to baptism is not,
as a general thing, deaf or destitute of any of the senses, and
the priest does not, in performing this ceremony, work what we
should commonly call a miracle, as our Lord did in the cure of
this deaf and dumb man. But in baptism what we may call a
miracle, because it is so wonderful, though so common, is worked;
or rather not one miracle but many. One of them--the one
represented by this action of the priest, and also by that of our
Saviour in the Gospel--is the opening of the spiritual senses by
the words which come from the mouth of God.

{367}

This opening of the spiritual senses is a much greater blessing
than the opening of the bodily ears. But, unfortunately, most of
us who are baptized do not preserve this great grace. As we grow
up, instead of seeing and hearing better and better all the time
with our spiritual eyes and ears, as we do with our bodily ones,
we are too apt to lose the use of them altogether. They get
covered over and choked up with the dust of this world; and,
after a while, though having eyes we do not see, and having ears
we do not hear.

So there are a great many deaf and dumb people besides those who
are commonly called so. These deaf and dumb people, however,
often talk a good deal, and hear, as it would seem, pretty much
everything that is to be heard. But there is only a very little
of all the immense amount of talk that comes from their mouths
that is of any use to themselves or to their neighbors, and that
which they happen to hear that might be of use to them seems to
go in at one ear and out at the other.

What is it that the spiritual ear ought to hear? It is the voice
of God. The Holy Ghost is all the time speaking to us, either by
his own inspirations in our hearts, by our guardian angels, by
the voice of the clergy who preach with his authority and in his
name, by good books, or by some other means. But we do not listen
to his voice; we do not let it reach the ears of our soul, though
it may those of our body; and so those ears of the soul, from
want of practice, get so deaf that they cannot hear it, though it
sound ever so plainly.

{368}

And so, becoming deaf, we become dumb also. You know that is
always the way. When a person cannot hear at all he is apt to
forget how to speak. This is the case with people who become deaf
to God's voice. First they do not try to hear it, either because
they are careless, or because they do not want to; they stifle
his inspirations; they never think of such a thing as reading a
spiritual book, and if they listen to sermons it is only to
criticise the preacher, not to hear the word of God, which they
could find in any Catholic sermon, if they chose. And so, not
hearing his voice, their spirit loses its tongue; they forget to
pray to him, or, if they do pray, it is only with the lips and
not with the heart; they forget to say anything for him or about
him to their neighbor; and, worst perhaps of all, they forget to
go to confession. That is where their tongues are specially tied.
Sometimes they even imagine that if they should go to confession
they would have nothing to tell.

To be spiritually deaf and dumb is a great deal worse than to
have no bodily senses at all. A man may live without those senses
just as with them; but when he is spiritually deaf and dumb, it
means that his soul is dead. If, then, you are in this state, or
falling into it, rouse yourself while there is time, and beg of
our Lord to open your ears that you may hear his voice plainly,
for it will not speak to you much more; and to loose your tongue,
that it may give glory to his name before you die.

-------------------------

{369}

              Sermon CX.

  _He hath made both the deaf to hear,
  and the dumb to speak._
  --St. Mark vii. 37.


There are a good many people, my dear brethren, who are afflicted
with a deafness and dumbness a great deal worse than that of the
poor man whose cure is recorded in to-day's Gospel. You all know
several such people, I think; perhaps you are acquainted with
quite a number; it may be even that you are such yourselves. The
trouble with the poor man whom our Lord cured was only in his
body; the trouble with these people of whom I speak is in their
souls. He was deaf and dumb corporally; they are deaf and dumb
spiritually. Who are these unfortunate people? They are those who
are in the state of mortal sin; who are living day after day in
that state, and have been, perhaps, for years. Their souls are
deaf; for God is calling to them continually to repent, and they
refuse to hear him. Their souls are dumb; for they have had for a
long time a confession to make, and that confession is not yet
made.

As I said just now, you all know such people. They are easily
known. They are the people who let Easter after Easter go by
without approaching the sacraments. Their life may be evidently
bad; or perhaps, on the other hand, it may seem to be pretty
good. They go, it may be, quite regularly to Mass, and observe
some of the other laws of the church. But there is one which they
neglect, and that is the one which shows their true character.
That is the precept of the yearly confession.
{370}
When it comes to that either they are honest enough to say: "I
cannot make up [my] mind to give up my sins, so it will be no use
for me to go to confession," or they are dishonest enough to make
some wretched excuse, such as: "I have too much reverence for the
sacraments to receive them without due preparation, and I have
not time to prepare," or, "I am sure I don't know what I would
have to say to the priest; I can't think what you people are
bothering him for all the time."

My dear brethren, people that make excuses of this kind are like
ostriches. These birds, it is said, when pursued, hide their
heads in the sand to avoid being seen, leaving their whole bodies
exposed. Excuses like these never deceived anybody yet, and never
will. Everybody knows that if a man refuses to go to his
confession when the church requires him to do so, the reason is
that he is living in a way that his conscience reproaches him
for, and that he does not choose to live in any other way.
Everybody knows that if a man's conscience is really clear he
will be very willing to go to the priest and tell him so; and
everybody knows that everybody has time to prepare.

No, the fact is that these Christians who live in the state of
sin and neglect of their duties are, if not already quite deaf
and dumb spiritually, at least rapidly becoming so. Every day the
voice of the Holy Ghost is sounding more and more faintly in
their ears; every day, instead of bringing them nearer to a good
confession, puts them farther away from it. Every day the cure of
their spiritual deafness and dumbness is getting more and more
difficult, and needing more of a miracle of God's grace to
accomplish it. They are like travellers who lie down to rest in
the Alpine snows and wake only in the next world.

{371}

If any of you, my dear brethren in Christ, who are now here and
listen to my voice, which is another call from him to you, are in
this fearful state, or are falling into it, may he work that
miracle and bring you back to your senses! But whether he is to
work it or not depends very much upon yourself. Rouse yourself,
then, and ask him to do so while you are yet able.

For a time is coming, and that soon, but too late for you, when
he will make you hear and speak indeed, whether you will or no;
when the thunders of his eternal judgment shall sound in your
ears, and when you will have to confess your sins, not to one man
in secret, but before all men and all the angels and saints; and
not with the hope of forgiveness, but with the certainty of
condemnation. God grant that you may save your soul before that
dreadful day, and be able to say with thankfulness, not with
terror and despair: "He hath made both the deaf to hear and the
dumb to speak."

---------------------

               Sermon CXI.

  _And taking him aside from the multitude._
  --St. Mark vii. 33.


I suppose there is no trouble more common to people in the
practice of their religion, whether they are particularly pious
or not, than distractions at prayer. One's thoughts, perhaps, are
pretty well under control while employed in the usual duties of
the day; but as soon as the time comes to get on one's knees
before God, away go the thoughts over everything under the sun
except the words which are in the prayer-book.
{372}
It really is quite discouraging sometimes; it appears as if our
Lord did not want to speak to us or to have us speak to him.

But we know that this is not so. How, then, shall we account for
our not hearing his voice, and not being able to say anything
worth his hearing, when we set out to pray? How is it that we are
so deaf and dumb in his presence?

There are various reasons, no doubt, my brethren, but there is
one common to almost all people living in the world; and I think
it was this which our Saviour wished to suggest to us when he
took the deaf and dumb man aside from the multitude, as we read
in to-day's Gospel, before he would work his cure.

He could have cured the man where he was; but he took him aside
from the multitude, he got him away from the crowd in which he
was, to show us, as it seems to me, that we cannot be cured of
our spiritual deafness and dumbness, that we shall never be able
to hear God or to speak to him as we should, till we, too, come
out of the crowd.

This living all the time in a crowd is really the most common and
most fatal obstacle to prayer, at least with those who are really
trying to serve God. It is not always that there are so very many
people around us; we may make a crowd, a multitude for ourselves
out of a very few. The crowd is not so much one of people as of
ideas coming from the people and things which we meet with in our
daily life. We talk too much; we look around and notice things
too much; we read the papers too much--too much for our profit in
any way, but especially for acquiring the spirit of prayer.

{373}

What wonder is it that it is so hard to pray, and that there are
so many distractions? One kneels down at the end of the day and
tries to say some evening prayers. There is not a single thought
in his or her head like those which are in the prayer-book. And
why not? Because there is no room for any. The poor head is
packed full of all sorts of other ones coming from the events of
the past day or week. All the people one has seen, all the
foolish things they have said, the gossip they have retailed,
even the clothes they have worn, or perhaps the stories or squibs
and the useless and trifling news one has seen in the paper, take
up the mind; there is a multitude of reflections and echoes from
the sights and sounds of the day, which hide the face of God and
drown his voice. It is in vain to say that one cannot help it. Of
course one cannot separate one's self from these things
altogether. Those who live a life of prayer in the most secluded
convent, even the hermits of the desert, have sources of
distraction around them and in their past lives. But what is the
need of having so many of them? Why not hear less talk and
gossip, see fewer people and things, read less useless trash,
cultivate silence a little more, and make a little solitude
within ourselves, even when we cannot have it outside? If we will
not do this, if we will distract ourselves needlessly out of the
time of prayer, what wonder if we are distracted in it?

{374}

Come out of the multitude, then--the multitude of people that
surround you, and of unnecessary thoughts, words, and actions,
and see if your spiritual deafness and dumbness will not get
better. You will hear a good deal from God, and be able to say a
good deal to him that seems impossible now, if you will get a
little away from this crowd, and from the noise it makes.

-------------------------

{375}

    _Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  2 _Corinthians iii._ 4-9.

  Brethren:
  Such confidence we have, through Christ towards God. Not that
  we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves as of
  ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God. Who also hath made
  us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but
  in the Spirit. For the letter killeth; but the Spirit giveth
  life. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters
  upon stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could
  not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his
  countenance, which is done away: how shall not the ministration
  of the Spirit be rather in glory? For if the ministration of
  condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice
  aboundeth in glory.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke x._ 23-37.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes that see the
  things which you see. For I say to you that many prophets and
  kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not
  seen them: and to hear the things that you hear, and have not
  heard them. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him,
  and saying: Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But
  he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou?
  He answering, said: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy
  whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy
  strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbor as thyself."
  And he said to him: Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou
  shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus:
  And who is my neighbor?
{376}
  And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from
  Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped
  him, and having wounded him, went away, leaving him half dead.
  And it happened that a certain priest went down the same way,
  and seeing him, he passed by. In like manner also a Levite,
  when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a
  certain Samaritan being on his journey came near him; and
  seeing him was moved with compassion. And going up to him,
  bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him
  upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of
  him. And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the
  host, and said: Take care of him: and whatsoever thou shalt
  spend over and above, I at my return will repay thee. Which of
  these three in thy opinion was neighbor to him that fell among
  the robbers? But he said: He that showed mercy to him. And
  Jesus said to him: Go and do thou in like manner.

-------------------

              Sermon CXII.

  _Which of these three in thy opinion
  was neighbor to him that fell among the robbers?
  But he said: He that showed mercy to him.
  And Jesus said to him:
  Go and do thou in like manner._
  --St. Luke x. 36, 37.


You would not think it a compliment if one should say that you
were a bad neighbor, for that would mean that you were
quarrelsome and tale-bearing, that you kept late and noisy hours,
that you beat the neighbors' children; perhaps that you would
steal something, if you got the chance. So none of us would like
to be called a bad neighbor. But let us see how good a neighbor
we are, using our Blessed Lord's words read to-day as a text.

{377}

As we pass along the road of life here and there we see a
neighbor lying half dead. He is stricken down with sickness; his
body tormented with racking pains, burning with fever, and
perhaps deserted by all--not one left to give him a drink of cold
water. What kind of a neighbor are we to this poor brother of
ours? When we hear him moan and cry, and ask for a bite of
nourishing food, for a little money to buy some medicine, does
our heart soften towards him, do we kindly assist him, or do we
pass on as if we saw him not, hard of heart like the degraded
Jewish priest or the self-sufficient Levite?

And we come across many a poor creature who has fallen among the
worst kind of thieves--viz., those who have stripped him of his
good name. Alas! you are often forced to stand by and see and
hear your neighbor deprived of his reputation by scandal-mongers.
How do you act in that case? Does your heart burn with sympathy
for him? Do you raise your voice in his defence? Do you correct
your children when they engage in such talk? Do you turn out of
your house those notorious backbiters and tale-bearers of your
neighborhood when they begin their poisonous gossip? If you act
in this way you are a good neighbor, a good Samaritan to an
outraged and dying brother. But if you fail in this--if you hold
your peace when you could say a good word of praise or excuse; if
you permit those subject to you to talk ill of others; if you let
your house be made a gossip-shop--then, by your silence and your
consent, you are like the priest and Levite of this day's Gospel.
And if you join in backbiting, why you are worse yet; you are
yourself a robber of your neighbors dearest possession, his good
name.

{378}

But O my brethren! what lot so sad as that of the poor wretch who
has fallen into the clutches of Satan and his devils, who has
been robbed of God's very grace, his soul killed by mortal sin?
The ways of life are full of such poor sufferers. Oh! what pity
have you for the poor sinner? What prayers do you offer to God
for the conversion of the sinner? What warnings and exhortations
do you give him, especially if he be dear to you by ties of
blood? What example do you set him? I fear that some of us
despise the poor sinner, and feel quite too holy to seek him out,
to invite him to hear a sermon, to ask him to come and get the
pledge, to try and get him into good company.

Brethren, may God give us grace to be good Samaritans; to have a
tender heart and a generous hand for Christ's poor and sick and
outcast; to have a charitable word for the saving of our
neighbor's good name; and, above all, to be always ready to bind
up the spiritual wounds of the sinner by our prayers and example,
and to pour healing oil upon them by our exhortations!

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-----------------------

              Sermon CXIII.


There are two opposite faults to both of which almost everybody
is more or less inclined. The first of these is meddling with
other people's business; the second is shirking one's own.

It is rather the second of these than the first which is rebuked
in the Gospel of to-day, in the persons of the priest and the
Levite who went by without helping the poor wounded man.

{379}

Now, in the first place, let me explain what I mean by shirking
one's own business or duties. It is not simply leaving them
undone and expecting that they will remain so; but it is putting
off what one ought to do one's self on to somebody else, and
expecting somebody else to do it for you. So it is, you see, just
the opposite of meddling, which is trying to do somebody else's
duty for him when he would prefer to do it himself.

Now, this shirking was just what the priest and Levite were
guilty of. I do not suppose that our Lord meant to describe them
as really hard-hearted men, willing to let the poor man die
rather than help him; but they said to themselves, "Oh! this is
not my business particularly; there are plenty of other people
passing along this road all the time, and I am a little hurried
now. I have got a deal to attend to, and there will be somebody
coming this way before long. Five minutes or so will not make
much difference; and perhaps there is not so much the matter with
the man after all. It may be his own fault. Very likely he has
been drinking. At any rate, he has got no special claim on me."

This is a very natural state of mind for a person to get into,
and how common it is, in such a case as this, we can see from the
common proverb that "everybody's business is nobody's business."

There are very many good works that really are everybody's
business, that everybody ought to do something towards at least,
but which are in great danger of not being done at all on account
of this habit of shirking which is so common. And the ones which
are most in this danger are those of the kind of which this
Gospel gives us an example; that is, works of charity toward our
neighbor.
{380}
People say to themselves, just as the priest and Levite did: "Oh!
there are plenty of other people that can attend to this matter a
great deal better and easier than I can. I am sure it will be
done somehow or other. Such things always are attended to. I
don't feel specially called on to help in it."

Well, this might be all very good, if those people did really
help in some things generously, and the case before them was one
of no very urgent need. Of course we cannot contribute to
everything. But the difficulty is that too often we find them
shirking, not occasionally, but all the time. If a poor man comes
to the door, or a collection is taken for the poor in the church,
they say to themselves: "The St. Vincent de Paul Society can look
out for those things; I am sure they must have money enough. I
shall do my duty if I put a few pennies in the poor-box now and
then." If contributions are called for in times of famine or
pestilence, they say: "There is plenty coming in to supply all
that is wanted; I can see that by the papers. They can get along
very well without me." And so it goes all the way through. They
do not give anything to anybody or do anything for anybody--that
is, nothing to speak of--without getting a return for it. They
will go to picnics, fairs, or amusements for a charitable object;
but when it comes to doing anything simply for the love of their
neighbor, that is left for somebody else.

Let us all, then, my brethren, examine ourselves on this point,
and resolve to amend and to do our fair share of the work of
charity, which is everybody's business; and not, like the priest
and the Levite, pass it on to the next man who comes along.

---------------------

{381}

              Sermon CXIV.


  _But he, willing to justify himself,
  said to Jesus: And who is my neighbor?_
  --St. Luke x. 29.


The lawyer of whom the Gospel tells us to-day, my brethren, seems
to have wanted to be excused from loving everybody, and to find
out just how far the circle of his affections must be extended;
or, at least, to get our Lord's opinion on that point. The
question which he asked was something like that of St. Peter when
he enquired how often he must forgive his brother; though I
hardly think the lawyer was as much in earnest as the great
Prince of the Apostles to know the answer.

Well, our Saviour, as you see, did not answer the question
directly, but told a story which is, or should be, familiar to
all of you: the story of the good Samaritan. He made the
Samaritan give his judgment on the point, and then approved that
judgment.

"Which of these three," he asked of the lawyer after telling him
the story, "was neighbor to him that fell among the robbers?"
That is, "Which of the three seems to have considered the poor
fellow to be his neighbor?" "The Samaritan," replied the lawyer,
of course, "because he showed love for him." "Very well, then,"
said our Lord, "adopt his opinion, for it is the right one. Go
and do thou in like manner."

And yet what reason had the Samaritan to consider this man to be
his neighbor? He must naturally have supposed him to be a Jew,
finding him so near to Jerusalem; and the Samaritans had no very
neighborly feeling toward the Jews.
{382}
The Samaritans and Jews were, in fact, very much like cats and
dogs to each other. You may read in the chapter of the Gospel
just preceding this how the inhabitants of a certain place in
Samaria would not let our Lord into it, simply because he seemed
to be going to Jerusalem; and in another of the towns of the
Samaritans a woman thought it strange that our Lord, being a Jew,
should even presume to ask her for a drink of water. And though
this was a good Samaritan who was passing over that road between
Jerusalem and Jericho, still he must have had some of the
feelings of his people.

The reason why the good Samaritan considered the man his neighbor
is, then, plain enough. If he regarded a Jew as his neighbor it
was because he regarded every one as such. That was the judgment
of his which our Divine Lord approved. Let there be no limit to
your charity. Love every one; that is the meaning of his command,
just as he told St. Peter to forgive any number of times.

But how few there are who obey this law of his! Some only care
for their relations or acquaintances, and regard the rest of the
world with the most supreme indifference. Others, on the
contrary, live in a perpetual quarrel with almost every one whom
they know, though very willing to be friendly with strangers.
Others stop at the limit of their own nation or race; a man who
is so unfortunate as to speak a foreign language or have a skin
somewhat darkly colored is quite beyond the reach of their
benevolence.

{383}

It is plain enough that this is all wrong. If we would be like
our Lord, and do as he commands, we must get over all these
feelings. Above all, we must sink for ever out of sight those
hateful standing quarrels which are more after the devil's own
heart than anything else which he finds in this world; we must
drop at once all that humbug about not wishing any harm to Mr.
and Mrs. So-and-so, but being never going to speak to them again.
It is not enough to wish no harm to any one; we must wish good to
every one, and try to do every one all the good that comes in our
way; make up our minds to feel kindly to every one, and to show
every one that we are willing and anxious to act as we feel. Of
course there must be degrees in affection; we are not required to
love every one as much as a father or mother, or a son or a
daughter; but that no one must be excluded from it; that we must
have a positive love for all; that it will not do even to pass by
with indifference a single one of our brethren, however seemingly
estranged from us--this is the lesson taught us by the parable of
the priest, the Levite, and the good Samaritan.

----------------------

{384}

    _Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Galatians iii._ 16-22.

  Brethren:
  To Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He saith
  not, "And to his seeds," as of many; but as of one, "And to thy
  seed," who is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which
  was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred
  and thirty years, doth not disannul, to make the promise of no
  effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of
  promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why then was
  the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed
  should come, to whom he made the promise, being ordained by
  angels in the hand of a mediator. Now, a mediator is not of
  one: but God is one. Was the law then against the promises of
  God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could
  give life, verily justice should have been by the law. But the
  Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by the
  faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xvii._ 11-19.

  At that time:
  As Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of
  Samaria in Galilee. And as he entered into a certain town,
  there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off: and
  lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, master, have mercy on us.
  And when he saw them, he said: Go, show yourselves to the
  priests. And it came to pass that, as they went, they were
  cleansed.
{385}
  And one of them, when he saw that he was cleansed, went back,
  with a loud voice glorifying God; and he fell on his face,
  before his feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan. And
  Jesus answering, said; Were there not ten made clean? and where
  are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to
  God, but this stranger. And he said to him: Arise, go thy way,
  for thy faith hath made thee whole.

---------------

              Sermon CXV.


  _And as he entered into a certain town,
  there met him ten men that were lepers,
  who stood afar off._
  --St. Luke xvii. 12.


The leprosy is a most foul and loathsome disease which attacks
the skin and sometimes spreads itself over almost the entire
surface of the body. This pestilential disorder, besides the
intense suffering it must cause, renders its victim an object of
disgust and aversion to those around him. It seems to have been
very prevalent in the East in former times, and during the middle
ages it was quite common in Europe, where it was brought by the
Crusaders returning from the wars carried on for the possession
of the Holy Land. A man infected with leprosy was looked upon by
the state as dead, and hence the disease was called civil death.
The leper was cut off from all intercourse with his fellows, and
compelled to live alone or in the company of other lepers.
Leprosy, therefore, subjected a man to the most galling sort of
exile, since it forced him to part from home and friends, and to
tear asunder every tie which binds the heart of man to this earth
and to his fellow-men.

The holy Fathers have always regarded leprosy as a strong figure
of sin. Sin spreads itself over the soul as leprosy does over the
body, tainting and corrupting it, rendering it disgusting in the
sight of its Maker, and forcing him to separate it from himself
and the company of his angels and saints.
{386}
Sin, too, forces the soul into exile from God, its true home, and
severs all those endearing attachments which cluster round the
thought of home. In this sense all mortal sin is a spiritual
leprosy; but the one sin which deserves the name above all others
is the sin of impurity, because it defiles body and soul alike,
and is more infectious even than the ancient leprosy of the East.
Impurity not only reproduces its pestilential self, but has,
besides, the sickening power of engendering a horde of other
frightful maladies distinct from, and only less disgusting than,
itself. And yet, alas! impurity is now, as it was in the days of
Noe, the crying sin of the world; a sin that is foreign to no
class of society, to no order of civilization; a sin that each
individual has to take constant and wearisome precautions
against, if he would not be infected by its virus, which seems to
permeate the very air we breathe, and lurk unseen in the meat and
drink we take for the support of life.

St. Clement of Alexandria calls impurity the metropolis of vices,
by reason, doubtless, of the numberless other vices which are
born of it and make their home around it. This leprosy of the
soul, impurity, is worse than any leprosy of the body, inasmuch
as the death of the soul is an infinitely greater evil than that
of the body.

God has at times allowed some of his saints to experience
something of the foulness which the sin of impurity inflicts on
the soul of the one who commits it. So it was with St. Euthymius
and St. Catherine of Siena, who discovered impure persons by the
stench which emanated from their presence.
{387}
It were well, perhaps, if all innocent persons possessed this
rare gift of some of God's saints, for they might then easily
avoid contracting from others the foul leprosy of impurity. No
one, indeed, can look for a grace so extraordinary, but every one
who has charge of others, especially of the young, should take
every means suggested by wisdom and experience to preserve them
from contact with persons already infected with this vile
pestilence. A brief conversation with one badly tainted with the
leprosy of impurity is oftentimes enough to implant its seeds in
young and innocent hearts; and once the seeds are planted, they
are hardly, if ever, entirely uprooted.

Leprosy not only attacked persons, but was found also in garments
and in houses. So it is with the contagion of impurity, which not
only watches its victim from the muddy eye of the libertine, but
hides itself also in the folds of the lascivious dress, by which
it is scattered abroad, and clings like some noxious vapor to the
walls of houses where wanton deeds are done and loose language
spoken. From all such persons, and things, and places keep the
young and the innocent afar off. Let us remember that those only
who love cleanness of heart shall have the King of heaven for
their friend; and as we know from Holy Scripture that we cannot
be chaste unless God gives us power to be so, let us ask him
fervently and frequently for this most royal of all royal gifts,
the gift of purity. Let us put aside all pride of heart, which,
more than anything else, would provoke Almighty God to leave us
to our own weakness and folly. Impurity is the lewd daughter of
pride, while humility is the chaste mother of purity.

{388}

Finally, brethren, let us all listen to the exhortation of St.
Paul, and walk in the love of Christ, and let not fornication and
uncleanness be so much as named among us; nor obscenity, nor
foolish talking, nor scurrility, but rather giving of thanks
(Ephesians. v. 5-6).

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-------------------------

              Sermon CXVI.


  _And it came to pass,
  as they went, they were cleansed._
  --St. Luke xvii. 14.


You will find people who go to the sacraments pretty regularly
sometimes giving rather a strange excuse when they have been away
longer than usual. They will say, "My mind was upset," or "I had
a falling out with my neighbor"; and they seem to think that, of
course it was out of the question to go to confession till their
minds got right side up again, or till they were thoroughly at
peace with themselves and all the world.

And you will find people who do not go to the sacraments
regularly, who, in fact, have not been for a long time, and who
make a similar excuse for staying away--that is, that they are
not in good dispositions to receive absolution. These people also
think that they should not go to confession till in some way or
another they have got in good dispositions.

It is natural enough, perhaps, that both these kinds of people
should think as they do. They want, of course, to make a really
good confession. They would not like to receive absolution
feeling just as they do now; so they put it off till some time
when their dispositions will be improved; but they make a great
mistake, and lose a great deal of time by doing so.

{389}

The mistake which they make is in not understanding that the
preparation for confession which they could make with their
present dispositions is the best way for getting them into better
ones.

They might learn a salutary lesson from the Gospel of to-day. You
will have noticed, if you have listened to it carefully, that the
poor men whom our Lord cured were simply told by him to go and
show themselves to the priests, and that they set off, with the
defilement of the leprosy still upon them, to obey his commands.
They might very well have excused themselves by saying that they
were not fit to go before the priests; and it would have been
very true that they wore not. For, according to the law of the
Jews, it was only lepers who had already been cured who were to
show themselves to the priests; just as now it is only sinners
who are penitent who can ask for absolution. The priests of the
Old Law could not cure the leprosy, any more than those of the
New Law can absolve a sinner before he repents.

But, nevertheless, they went, though it seemed to be of no use
for them to go. And what happened to them on the road? Why, it
happened, as the Gospel tells us, that as they went they were
made clean.

Now, this, as I have said, has a lesson and a meaning for such as
now are laboring under any spiritual disease or disorder, be it
small or great, which is keeping them from the sacraments. The
remedy for them, as for these men of whose cure we read in this
Gospel, is to set out to show themselves to the priests; that is,
to prepare themselves for confession. If they do they also will
be cured on the way.

{390}

I will venture to say that if those Catholics throughout the
world who now feel themselves in any way indisposed for
absolution would go to a church at the next opportunity, kneel
down by a confessional, say a few prayers in earnest, examine
their consciences, and then go in when their turn should
come--and these are surely things that any one can do--far the
greater part of them would be in good dispositions for absolution
before it was time for the priest to give it. Some time, perhaps
when they were on the way to the church, perhaps when they were
kneeling and trying to prepare themselves, perhaps not till they
were telling their sins or receiving the priest's advice, but
some time or other the affection to sin or the temptation which
now disturbs the peace of their souls would be taken away.

Why, then, not try such a simple remedy? If you really want to
recover the health of your soul set out to make your confession,
to show yourself to the priest, whether you feel it or not. If
you will believe me, depend on it, it shall also be true for you
that your faith shall make you whole.

----------------------

              Sermon CXVII.

  _Were not ten made clean?
  and where are the nine?_
  --St. Luke xvii. 17.


How often, my brethren, has our Lord been obliged to ask this
question and to make this reproach! Times there have been when
your souls were suffering from the leprosy of sin, times when the
sight of your defilement, the pangs of a guilty conscience,
roused you to a sense of your unhappy state, and you have raised
your voice and cried out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on me."
{391}
And he, who is goodness and compassion, has looked upon you, and
bid you show yourself to the priest, and you have been healed.
But have you followed the example of the one grateful leper--have
you gone back to thank him? Have you prostrated yourself before
him, mindful of the greatness of the favor, and in word and deed,
by fervent prayer, by humility, by a new life, shown your
gratitude? Or have you, like the nine, gone your way, thankful
indeed, but with a momentary, imperfect, unspoken gratitude,
because the greatness of the benefit was not dwelt upon?

This ingratitude, which is so common, this forgetfulness, cannot
be put before you too strongly or too often. At the coming of
Jesus, during a mission or a jubilee, many call out to him to
cleanse them; they go to confession and Communion, and for a time
are healed of their leprosy. But because they so quickly go their
way; because in the bustle of the world they neglect to come back
to thank Jesus, their Master and Healer; because they do not
separate themselves from and avoid infected persons and places,
their old companions, their old haunt of drinking, the occasions
of sin whatever they may be, therefore it is that the old malady
returns. And as Jesus looks out on the few who come to his feet,
to the Holy Communion, he is forced to exclaim in sorrow: "Were
not ten made clean? where are the nine?" Alas! that we should so
often wound that sensitive, loving Heart, that we should be so
remiss in giving a return of thanks, that we should check the
divine goodness and turn its very favors into a cause of our own
condemnation at the great day of reckoning!

{392}

Ingratitude has always been considered, and deservedly, the worst
of vices; it touches us more keenly than any other wrong or
injury, it moves us with a sense of anger, sorrow, and aversion
peculiar to itself, because it is an abuse or a forgetfulness of
that which is highest and best in us--our love, and the effects
of our love, our kindness. Yet God's benefits are innumerable,
his love is infinite, his honor unspeakable, his power almighty.
Many who call themselves Christians can find no time to thank him
for the blessings of each day; many, whom he has healed from sin,
go their way in forgetfulness; even those who do try to make some
return, who do keep themselves in his grace and frequent the
church and the sacraments, are often niggardly and ungenerous in
their efforts. Does his grace move them to some sacrifice of
their pride, their convenience, or their means? The kind word,
the charitable act come, but oh! so slowly; the poor are
dismissed with a trifling alms, the church-collector is an
unwelcome visitor. Yet it is by these things we show our
gratitude. Let us remember, brethren, that as God is infinitely
bountiful himself, so he in turn loves a generous giver, and that
his benefits bear a proportion to our return of thanks in words
and in actions.

--------------------

{393}

   _Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Galatians v._ 16-24.

  Brethren:
  I say then, walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the
  lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit:
  and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to
  another: so that you do not the things that you would. But if
  you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now the
  works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornication,
  uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcraft, enmities,
  contentions, emulations, wrath, quarrels, dissensions, sects,
  envy, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the
  which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who
  do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. But the
  fruit of the spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience,
  benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty,
  continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they
  that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh with the vices
  and concupiscences.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew vi._ 24-33.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: No man can serve two masters. For
  either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will
  hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God
  and Mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your
  life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put
  on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body more than
  the raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not,
  neither do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly
  Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they?
{394}
  And which of you by thinking can add to his stature one cubit?
  And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of
  the field how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin.
  And yet I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory
  was arrayed as one of these. Now if God so clothe the grass of
  the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the
  oven: how much more you, ye of little faith? Be not solicitous
  therefore, saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink,
  or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do
  the heathen seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of
  all these things. Seek ye, therefore, first the kingdom of God
  and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.

---------------------

              Sermon CXVIII.

  _No man can serve two masters._
  --St. Matthew vi. 24.


Who is your master? Perhaps you think you are your own master.
You may say, "I am a free man in a free country." But think a
moment. Is your soul really free? Surely not; for you cannot
hinder your thoughts from running backward and forward. Sometimes
you think of the past in spite of yourself; you enjoy its sinful
pleasures over again in your memory, or you again suffer pain at
the bare recollection of past sorrows and trials. Nor can you
hinder your soul from rushing into the future. You dream of
success; you enjoy in anticipation the pleasures of gratified
ambition. Now, why does your soul thus cling to the dead past;
why does it strive to fly to the unborn future? Because your soul
is a servant. And who is its master? Pleasure. Yes, and pleasure
is so powerful a master that we obey and serve even its
remembrance, its shadow. Indeed, I might say that we are slaves
of pleasure rather than servants.

{395}

But this master takes different shapes. Sometimes he calls
himself Fashion. Very many otherwise intelligent persons are
servants of Fashion. Did you ever spend an hour looking at the
drives in Central Park on a pleasant afternoon? There you can see
men and women whirled along in carriages fit for kings to ride
in, drawn by horses worth thousands of dollars--beasts whose
trappings are fastened with gold-plated buckles--and coachmen and
footmen dressed in showy livery. And why is all this parade?
Because those who ride out in that style are servants. The name
of their master and lord is Fashion; he demands all this
extravagance of them, and they obey him. Follow them home, and
you will see them again at his service, spending many thousand
dollars in adorning their houses with the costliest furniture and
decking their bodies, for Fashion's sake, with rich silks and
gold: everything offered up on the altar of Fashion, though the
poor of Christ are starving all around them.

And many of the poor are servants. Who is the master of the poor?
He is a devil, and his name is Drink. This devil of Drink must
have a good share of a poor man's wages of a Saturday night. And
as soon as a poor man loses work and loses courage this devil of
Drink comes and whispers in his ear: "Be my servant and I will
make you happy." And by this lie he entices the poor fellow into
one of his dens, and there he makes him drunk, and from the
bar-room he sends him home to be a scandal to his little
children, and may be to beat his wretched wife.
{396}
Others this master sends from that liquor-store to steal, and so
to prison and hopeless ruin; others he sends to brothels; many a
one he afflicts with frightful diseases and sudden accidents, and
so brings them to hell. Sometimes, too, this demon of Drink
gathers his slaves together into a mob to murder and plunder, and
then to be shot down by soldiers. O brethren! is it not strange
that any one should be a servant of this devil. Drink? Yet he has
countless slaves, and not only among the poor but in every
station in life.

But the strangest thing of all is that the foolish servants of
sin and Satan fancy that they can at the same time be servants of
Almighty God. They call themselves by Christ's name--Christians.
They go to his church now and then: and although they have served
Mammon all their days, they yet hope to enjoy God and his
happiness for all eternity. Hence Jesus Christ in to-day's Gospel
cries out in warning: "_You cannot serve two masters_."
Hence in another place he says: "_Amen, amen I say unto you,
that whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin_." So we
have got to choose. We must be either servants of God or servants
of Mammon; we cannot be both at once.

Therefore, brethren, instead of giving our time, and money, and
health, and heart, and soul to sinful pleasures, to lust and
intemperance, and fashion and avarice--all cruel tyrants--let us
have the good sense to enter the service of our blessed Lord
Jesus Christ, the Lord and Master who made us, and who redeemed
us, and who will judge us; whose yoke is sweet and whose burden
is light; whose servants are innocent and happy in this life, and
who shall enter with him into everlasting dwellings in the
kingdom of heaven.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-------------------------

{397}

              Sermon CXIX.

  _The works of the flesh are manifest...
  Of the which I foretell you,
  as I have foretold to you,
  that they who do such things
  shall not obtain the kingdom of God._
  --Galatians v. 19, 21.


The works of the flesh--that is, the various ways in which the
desires of the flesh can be gratified--have always been the chief
obstacles presented by the world to our salvation. This was
specially the case in St. Paul's day, when a corrupt and sensual
civilization had been attained which placed the happiness of man
in bodily pleasure. And it is also specially the case now more
than at any other time since then; for a similar so-called
civilization is the boast of the present age, in which the
desires and appetites of the body are exalted above those of the
soul.

But the temptations of this modern age are more concealed than
those of the former one; and on that account they are more
dangerous to Christians than those of the time of St. Paul were.
Satan has, we may say, learned wisdom by experience. At the
present day, instead of shocking us by sins like these of the
pagans, which could only repel and disgust those who had even the
weakest love of God, he has learned to seduce the faithful by the
gradual introduction of amusements and pleasures having the name
of being innocent, making them worse and worse as the moral sense
of those who engage in them, or who witness them, becomes more
and more blunted.

{398}

A prominent example of such amusements is to be found in the
dances which have become fashionable in the last few years. There
can be no question at all that, had they been suddenly presented
to our eyes not very long ago, every one, without hesitation,
would have pronounced them sinful, and no one would have engaged
in them who professed to have a delicate conscience; whereas now
it is equally certain that very many people who are careful, and
even scrupulous, profess to see no harm in these dangerous
recreations.

Let me not be understood to mean that dancing is in itself
condemned by the law of God. There is no other harm in it, if it
be done in a proper way, than the danger of excess and waste of
time to which any amusement is liable. Nor is there any more harm
in two people dancing together than in eight standing up in a
set; and the particular measure of the music is a matter of no
consequence. The harm is in the improper positions assumed in
what are called round dances, and which have been lately brought
into almost all others. These mutual positions of the parties,
these embraces--for that they simply are--are in themselves
evidently contrary to modesty and decency. It seems as if no one
would have to stop, even a moment, to see and acknowledge this. A
very plain proof of it, however, should it be needed, is that
every person pretending to be respectable would blush to be
detected in such positions on any other occasion, unless united
to the other party by very near relationship or marriage.

And let no one say that fashion justifies them. If it did it
could justify every other indecency or impropriety. Neither
fashion nor anything else can justify what is in itself wrong.
{399}
Nor is it true that they are not noticed or cared for by those
who indulge in them; that they are indulged in only because the
dance happens to be so arranged. That may be true for some
persons; but there is, unfortunately, very little doubt that many
only dance on account of these positions, and would not care
about learning or practising this amusement were it not for the
opportunity offered by it for them. This is a good enough straw
to show which way the wind blows.

The plain state of the case is this: To many these dances are, as
one would expect, a remote, or even a proximate, occasion of sin,
at least in thought, and sometimes in word and action. To many
more they are a sensual excitement bordering on impurity. To
many, it is true, they are simply an amusement; but this is due
to the force of habit, aided by the grace of God, not to the
natural state of the case. But for all they are paving the
way--in fact, they have already done so--to things which are more
plainly wrong; in fact, they themselves are becoming worse and
worse all the time.

One of the works of the flesh of which St. Paul speaks in this
Epistle is immodesty. Take away the veil of concealment which the
gradual introduction of this sensuous practice has put over your
eyes, and see if it does not deserve that name. Do not defend
yourselves by saying that some confessors allow it. They only
allow it because they are afraid of keeping you altogether away
from the sacraments; and they do not wish to do that, if in any
way they can satisfy themselves that you have even the most
imperfect dispositions with which you can be allowed to receive
them. But it is better to be on the safe side.
{400}
There is no confessor who would not far rather that you should
abandon this dangerous pastime, that you should cease to set this
bad example. There is not one who would not be much consoled
should you do so. I beg you, then, to give them that consolation.
Give up these dances for God's sake, and for the sake of the
salvation of your own soul and those of others. Give them up, and
you will receive an abundant reward of grace in this world, and
of glory in that which is to come.

-----------------------

              Sermon CXX.

    _No man can serve two masters._
    --St. Matthew vi. 24.


It is perhaps a little strange, my dear brethren, and not much of
a compliment on the part of Christians to the wisdom of Him whose
disciples they profess to be, that so great a part of them should
spend their lives in trying to do what he so solemnly declares to
be impossible. It is curious that so many, so very many, of them
should never have made up their minds which shall be their
master. Almighty God or the devil, but should be hopefully trying
to serve both.

Some there are--nay, many, if you take their absolute number--who
have truly gone over, once for all and in real dead earnest, to
God's side. They keep up a constant battle with temptation; if by
weakness and surprise they fall for a moment, they pick
themselves up again instantly by a sincere repentance and
confession, and begin the fight again. They live in the grace and
friendship of their Creator, and they are willing not only to be
his friends but to be known as such; they are not ashamed to be
pious, but would be very much ashamed to be anything else.

{401}

On the other hand, there are not a few who were put on God's side
by baptism, but have gone over entirely to the camp of his enemy;
who have sold themselves body and soul to the devil. These
wretched traitors have denied their faith, and now perhaps even
blaspheme or ridicule it; they give free rein to their favorite
vices, whatever they may be; they have abandoned prayer, and have
openly and even boastingly taken the road which leads to hell.
You all know of such. In these days of apostasy many of you have
such among your acquaintance. They have got Satan's mark on their
foreheads, and they do not care to conceal it.

But there is a very common kind of Christian who does not answer
to either of these descriptions or belong to either of these
parties, but is trying to get the advantages of both--to serve
both masters, God and the devil, and get paid by both. He fulfils
part of the divine law; he goes to Mass, sometimes at least;
perhaps he does not eat meat on Friday; and now and then, it may
be once a year, or on the occasion of a mission or jubilee, he
puts in an appearance at a confessional and tells about the sins
he has committed. He goes to Holy Communion, and seems to come
over really and entirely to God's side. Well, perhaps he does
come over, for a little while at least, a few days or weeks; but
the chances are very great that he never really means to quit the
other side for ever; or, it may be, at all. In his mind impure
thoughts, words, and actions, drunkenness, and the pleasures of
the devil generally, are a kind of necessity of life; he has no
idea of really quitting them at once and for ever. His idea is to
make a sort of a compromise with God; to do his "duty," as he
calls it--that is, to keep in what he imagines to be the state of
grace for a few hours or days now and then, and afterward go on
as before.
{402}
He wants to serve the devil during life, and yet be acknowledged
as God's servant at the end; in short, he tries to be the servant
of two masters.

Are there not many of you here, my friends, who have lived in
this way all your lives, and mean to all the rest of the time
that God spares you in this world? There are even many who have
this intention on whose tongues the traces of his Body and Blood
are yet fresh. How do I know? Because they are not resisting
temptation; because they have not left the occasions of sin;
because, instead of calling on God continually in prayer, they go
on wantonly blaspheming his holy name; because the immodest jest
is ready to come at any moment to their lips; because, instead of
showing dislike to impiety in others, they acquiesce in it and
applaud it; because, in short, they have not even begun the
battle by which alone they can be saved.

Brethren, this is not the way to live; this is not the way to
prepare to die. If you will not be God's servants during life,
the devil will claim you at the hour of your death, and get you,
too, in spite of the last sacraments which you may receive. "Ha!"
he will say to you, "you tried to serve two masters, did you?
What a fool you were! You were mine all along. You tried to give
God a share of your heart; know now, since you would not know it
before, that he will not take less than the whole."

-----------------------

{403}

    _Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost_.


  Epistle.
  _Galatians v._ 25; _vi._ 10.

  Brethren:
  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let
  us not become desirous of vainglory, provoking one another,
  envying one another. And if a man can be overtaken in any
  fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the
  spirit of mildness, considering thyself, lest thou also be
  tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so shall you fulfil
  the law of Christ. For if any man think himself to be
  something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let
  every one prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in
  himself only, and not in another. For every one shall bear his
  own burden. And let him who is instructed in the word
  communicate to him that instructeth him, in all good things. Be
  not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall
  sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in the flesh,
  of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in
  the Spirit, of the Spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in
  doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not
  failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us do good to all
  men, but especially to those who are of the household of the
  faith.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke vii._ 11-16.

  At that time:
  Jesus went into a city called Nain: and there went with him his
  disciples, and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the
  gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only
  son of his mother; and she was a widow: and much people of the
  city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion
  on her, and said to her: Weep not.
{404}
  And he came near and touched the bier. (And they that carried
  it stood still.) And he said: Young man, I say to thee, Arise.
  And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And he
  delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all:
  and they glorified God, saying: That a great prophet is risen
  up among us: and God hath visited his people.

-------------------

              Sermon CXXI.

  _Behold a dead man was carried out._
  --St. Luke vii. 12.

The sight which our Lord saw, and which is recorded in to-day's
Gospel, we have often seen. We can scarcely walk a mile or two in
a great city without seeing a dead man carried out. The hearse,
the funeral procession, the pall, the coffin, the sabled
mourners, are all familiar and every-day objects. Again, we read
of death every day. We find in the newspapers, the hospital
reports, and so forth, death in a thousand shapes. We see that
death waits for us at every corner of the street, that it lurks
in the river, hovers in the atmosphere, hides in our very bodies,
is concealed even in our pleasures. Again and again we have heard
the beating of its heavy wings and seen the clutch of its clammy
fingers--sometimes in our own houses, sometimes in our
neighbors', sometimes on the sea, sometimes on land, sometimes in
the busy street, sometimes in the silent chamber.

Strange to say, however, although nothing is better known than
death, nothing is more forgotten. We hear people saying every
day, "How shall we live?" but seldom do they ever think of
adding, "and how shall we die?"

{405}

My brethren, every one of you here this morning _must_ die.

There will come an hour when your heart will cease to beat, when
you will close your eyes and fold your hands in death, and when,
like the dead man in the Gospel, you will "be carried out."

O brethren! how are you preparing for that supreme moment?

Are you ready _now_, at this moment, to die? If you are not
you ought to be. Let us, then, see how we should prepare
ourselves.

Above all things you should never forget death. When you see
other men die, when you read of death, when you see the priest in
black vestments, and hear the sweet tones of the choristers
chanting the solemn requiem, then you should say to yourselves,
"It may be my turn next."

Keep death always before your eyes; then when it comes you will
not shrink from its touch. Again, keep your conscience clear, and
make every confession and Communion as if it were to be your
last. How many have come to their duties on Saturday and Sunday,
and on Monday have departed for ever from this world!

The earth, dearly beloved, is a vast field, and Death with his
sharp scythe toils in it every day. Blade after blade, flower
after flower, tender plant and fragrant herb, fall beneath his
sweeping blows every hour, every second. You may now be as the
grass that is the most distant from the steel: there may be acres
upon acres between you and the severing blade, but the strong,
patient mower is nearing you slowly but surely. Listen! listen!
and you will catch the sharp hiss of his scythe and hear the
murmur of the falling grass. Oh! then be ready, with girded loins
and burning lamp. Be ready, for you know not when death shall
come. Be ready, with clear conscience and well-cared for soul,
for the last great hour.

{406}

Lastly, pray to St. Joseph that you may obtain the grace of a
happy death. Go to his altar; kneel at his feet and say, "dear
spouse of our Lady and foster-father of Jesus Christ! obtain for
me to die, as thou didst, in the arms of Jesus and Mary, and to
remain with them and thee in the paradise of God."

Beloved, death is nearing, death is coming. Oh! then, I beseech
you, neglect not these words of warning and advice. "Here we have
not an abiding city, but seek one to come," even the heavenly
Jerusalem, the City of God, which shines above. The gate of that
city is a good and Christian death. God grant, then, that through
that blessed portal we all may pass, lest we be left cold and
shivering in the black night of the outer darkness!

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

------------------------

              Sermon CXXII.

  _If we live in the spirit,
  let us also walk in the spirit._
  --Galatians v. 25.


There is a saying which, in Latin, runs as follows: "_Dum
vivimus, vivamus._" Put into English, it is: "While we live
let us live"; or, to bring out the idea more clearly: "While we
live let us make the most of life."

It is a saying which has always been very popular with infidels.
We have this life, they say--it is our own; but we do not know
what is coming after it, or, indeed, if anything at all is; so,
while we have it, let us use it; there is not much of it, and it
will soon be gone, but it is ours now. A bird in the hand is
worth two in the bush; so, then, "_Dum vivimus,
vivamus_"--while we live let us make the most of life.

{407}

Now, the Christian idea of life and the way to use it is somewhat
different from that of the infidel. A Christian does know what is
coming after this life; he knows that this short life is only a
preparation for the next, which is eternal; he knows that
pursuing the pleasure of this world, after the infidel fashion,
will endanger his salvation; and if he values his salvation--that
is to say, if he has common sense--he looks out for the life of
his soul rather than that of his body, so that he may always be
ready for death when it shall come. And he has a fear of
pleasure, rather than a desire of it, on account of its danger;
he crucifies the flesh, with its vices and concupiscences, as St.
Paul says in the conclusion of the Epistle of last Sunday, that
it may be subject to the soul, instead of subjecting the soul to
itself.

He makes up his mind, in short, to live in the spirit instead of
the flesh; and in that, as I have said, he shows his common
sense. But when he has got as far as that his common sense seems
too often to fail him. He ought then to come back to the maxim of
the infidel; for it is a very sensible one in itself, the only
trouble with it being that the infidel has the wrong idea of
life. It would be all right for the Christian.

The Christian ought to say--you and I, my dear brethren, ought to
say: "_Dum vivimus, vivamus_." Or, in the words of St. Paul
in the beginning of today's Epistle, which immediately follows
that of last Sunday, we ought to say: "If we live in the spirit,
let us also walk in the spirit."
{408}
That is, if we are going to live in the spirit rather than in the
flesh, let us make the most of our spiritual life. Let us enjoy
it, advance in it, and get all out of it that we can. We have,
indeed, much more reason to say so than the man of the world; for
not only shall we have more of it in the next world for all that
we get out of it now, but there is much more to be got out of it
even here than out of the life of the body.

And yet many, perhaps most, good Christians content themselves
with simply keeping in the state of grace and avoiding sin. They
just keep themselves spiritually alive, and that is all. They are
like misers, who starve in the midst of their gold. There are
pleasures for them, even in this world, far above what it can
itself give, and they do little or nothing to obtain them.

Something has to be done to obtain them, of course. It is the
same, however, with bodily pleasure, and those who seek it know
that. Many a man has made a slave of himself all his life to get
a few years of ease and comfort at the end of it. Why should not
we do the same for the comfort of our souls?

Something has to be done, but not so much after all. A little
more earnestness in prayer; a little more fidelity in meditation
and spiritual reading; a little more care to uproot our evil
habits; a little more charity and spirit of sacrifice for our
brethren; and, last but not least, a little mortification beyond
what is forced on us, or what is necessary to avoid sin, and the
reward would soon come. Temptations would be lighter; the
struggle would be easier; God would come nearer to us; and that
dawn would rise in our hearts which is brighter than the lights
which earthly hands can kindle, and which is the sure fore-runner
of the eternal day.

----------------------

{409}

              Sermon CXXIII.

  _Let us not become desirous of vainglory._
  --Galatians v. 26.

These words, my dear brethren, are from the Epistle of the Mass
of this Sunday. I feel quite sure that the advice which St. Paul
gives us in them is a very sensible one, and one which we all
need to take very much to heart.

What is this vainglory of which he speaks? It is the vain and
false glory which comes from the admiration of others. It is
what, in the more important matters of life, the world calls
glory, and does not call vain. It is what many great geniuses
have spent their lives to acquire, and have even been admired for
doing so. But it is what in smaller matters the world calls it
vanity to seek; and the world generally laughs, at least in its
sleeve, at those who do so.

The girl whose great desire it is to have her hat acknowledged to
be the prettiest one in church is called vain and made fun of,
perhaps, even by her rivals, who wish in their hearts that they
had a nicer one, if it was only to take the conceit out of her;
but the man whose ambition it is to have the brain that his hat
covers acknowledged to be the smartest one in the country is not
laughed at, but very much respected, if the brain be really a
fine one. And yet the desire is really all the same thing in both
of them.

{410}

Now, my brethren, we are all more or less vain or desirous of
this vainglory; rather more, in fact, than less. It will not do
for us to laugh very hard at each other for it, for we are all in
the same boat. It is a passion which is almost universal. Some
people who are quite proud may fancy that they do not care a
straw for what others think of them; but I fancy that they do,
though perhaps the reason may be that the praise of others will
help them to admire themselves.

So you see that I was right in saying that St. Paul's advice was
one which we all need to take very much to heart--all of us, not
only girls with the new styles of hats, but young men at college
or in business, eminent merchants and professional men, including
those whom God has called to serve him at the altar. We have all
got to look out for this snare of vainglory.

And how? By despising it? Yes, in a certain way, but not in the
way of pride. By resolving to value nothing according to the
opinion that men have of it, but according to that which Almighty
God has of it.

He values nothing much but what is, like himself, eternal. He
does not care so very much more for your cleverness than for your
beauty. He could spoil either one of them in an instant, if he
chose. But what he does care for, and what he himself cannot
spoil, though of course he could not wish to, are the merits
which he has given you this life to acquire and to bring before
the throne of his judgment, to be transformed into your immortal
crown. Those are the only things which are worth your caring for,
because they are the only things which he cares for. And they are
what all can have, however low in worldly station they may be.

{411}

Yes, my dear Christians, that is the glory for us to seek--the
glory of God; that which comes from him. Try to have him think
well of you. It is not vain to wish to be praised and admired,
only let him be the one whom you want to have praise and admire
you. He will do it, if you want him to and will give him a
chance. He, your Creator, desires to honor and glorify you for
ever. When you think of this can you care for other praise?

-------------------

{412}

        _Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Ephesians iii._ 13-31.

  Brethren:
  I beseech you not to be disheartened at my tribulations for
  you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the
  Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in
  heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according
  to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power by
  his Spirit unto the inward man. That Christ may dwell by faith
  in your hearts: that being rooted and founded in charity, you
  may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the
  breadth, and length, and height, and depth. To know also the
  charity of Christ, which surpasseth knowledge, that you may be
  filled unto all the fulness of God. Now to him who is able to
  do all things more abundantly than we ask or understand,
  according to the power which worketh in us: to him be glory in
  the church, and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations,
  world without end. Amen.


  Gospel.
  _St. Luke xiv._ 1-11.

  At that time:
  When Jesus went into the house of a certain prince of the
  Pharisees, on the Sabbath day, to eat bread, and they were
  watching him. And behold, there was a certain man before him
  that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers
  and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?
  But they held their peace. But he, taking him, healed him, and
  sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you whose
  ass or his ox shall fall into a pit, and will not immediately
  draw him out on the Sabbath day? And they could not answer him
  to these things.
{413}
  And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking
  how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them:
  When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the highest
  place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited by
  him: and he who invited thee and him, come and say to thee:
  Give place to this man; and then thou begin with blushing to
  take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down
  in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee cometh, he
  may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have
  glory before them that sit at table with thee. Because every
  one that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that
  humbleth himself shall be exalted.

-------------------

              Sermon CXXIV.

  _They were watching him._
  --St. Luke xiv. 1.


How condescending and kind, brethren, was the spirit of our Lord
when he entered into the house of the Pharisee to eat bread; how
base and ungracious, on the other hand, the conduct of the latter
and his friends, who, as the Gospel says, "were watching him"!

They watched him that they might catch him breaking the laws of
the Sabbath.

They envied him because his reputation was great with the people.

They watched him because "he had a daily beauty in his life which
made theirs ugly," and tried to find something to carp at,
something to find fault with.

He was their guest; they were bound to treat him with respect and
kindness; yet they violated the rules of hospitality, deceitfully
making the banquet a cover for their plan to catch him.

{414}

He was their Saviour and the benefactor of their people; one who,
as they well knew, had healed the sick, given speech to the dumb,
and made the blind to see. The knowledge of his goodness and
power only moved them to envy. He was greater than they, and so
they watched him that they might find something in his conduct
which would lessen his reputation and good name.

Are there not found some in our own day who imitate the conduct
of the Pharisee and his friends?

Jesus is often near you; you often meet him in your every-day
life, often have him in your house in the person of one of his
pious servants--I mean any one of your neighbors whose life is
better than your own.

There are many who watch such an one with the spirit of envy and
criticism, and they try to find out worldly motives for their
neighbor's piety. Such persons say, as Satan did of old, "Does
Job serve God for naught?" Often they exclaim, "I see my neighbor
frequently at Communion, but she only goes for show; I should
like to see some change in her life"; or "What does she run to
church so much for? It would be a great deal better for her if
she stayed at home and minded her family."

Again, many watch the prosperity of their neighbor with an
envious eye; they hate to see their neighbor in a better house
than their own, don't like him to have more money than
themselves, and so forth. All this is watching Jesus as the
Pharisee did.

There are many, too, whose consciences must accuse them of
watching Jesus in the persons of his priests, who envy the
priest's position, envy his authority over them, and such like.
{415}
These people try to pick a hole in the priest's ways, to pass
their opinion on his manner, his judgments, his actions. They
watch him in his words, at table in their own houses, to see if
perchance they can find something to make a dish of scandal out
of. Yes, brethren, there are many such watchers as these, and
Pharisees are they all.

Envy, which prompts this horrible spirit of unchristian
criticism, is one of the worst offences against the great and
fundamental virtue of charity.

Envy has inspired the hearts of men with the most wicked crimes.
Envy delivered the innocent Lamb of God to a cruel death. Envy,
therefore, is a grievous sin.

Envy and the spirit of criticism spring from pride. Envy makes us
watch others, and such watching is from pride.

Watch yourselves rather than your neighbor and your superiors.

"Brethren," says St. Paul, "if a man be overtaken in any fault,
you, who are spiritual, instruct such an one, in the spirit of
meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted."

Walk and pray lest ye enter into temptation. Watch Jesus and his
servants, if you will, but do so to be edified, do so to learn
something good. Watch Jesus, who is meek and humble of heart,
that you may learn the lesson which he tried to teach the proud
and envious Pharisees: "Every one that exalteth himself shall be
humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

----------------------

{416}

              Sermon CXXV.

  _Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled._
  --St. Luke xiv. 11.


That was an unlucky guest who sat down in the first place and was
sent to take the lowest. No wonder he was covered with shame;
served him right. To be humbled in the very act of exalting
ourselves is indeed hard punishment, sharp and painful as a pang
in a tenderly sore spot. It is like being caught in a theft or a
lie. For, truly, pride is theft. We have no right to be proud,
because we own as our property nothing that we may be proud of.
All that we have that is good is God's; to pride ourselves on
that is to rob God of his due, and appropriate what does not
belong to us. And pride is a lie, a deceit; "for if thou hast
received," says St. Paul, "why dost thou glory as if thou hadst
not received?" A vain boast is simply lying.

To lie and to steal are very mean things to do. To be caught
lying and stealing makes us feel very mean in the eyes of others;
and that is what comes to us when our pride is evident and is
found out by our fellow-men, and then we are humbled as was the
poor guest spoken of in the Gospel. Truth is the badge of honor
among men. Humility is truth, because humility is to know our
place and keep it; in this is truthfulness and comfort also. We
feel at ease when we are where we ought to be. A bone dislocated
is a torture; anything out of place is an offence and a nuisance,
whether it be a misshapen limb or a stove-pipe that doesn't fit
and smokes. You remember in the fable the fate of the foolish
frog who wanted to be as big as the ox--he blew until he burst
and collapsed.

{417}

Now, is there not a great deal of that kind of work among us--I
mean getting too big, reaching above us, exalting ourselves--in a
word, not knowing our place? Let me instance: The poor will pass
for rich: fine dress and flashy jewels in broad daylight on the
street; at home, dirt, wretchedness, almost starvation. The
ignorant will know more than they have learned, and so stretch
themselves all out of shape, and wed in the most repulsive manner
pretentious speech to gross ignorance. Not only is one man as
good as another, but a great deal better. The layman will teach
theology and canon law to the priest. The ward politician, who
buys votes at five cents a glass, and trades them off for street
contracts or other valuable consideration, can run the world, the
Holy See not excepted. Our American boy of twelve thinks the old
folks not a circumstance to him, and shows it in his behavior.
The school girl who can do a sum and thump an "easy exercise" on
the piano scorns domestic work, leaves the kitchen to "ma," and
cultivates the fine arts in the parlor. Our talk, our press even,
is fall of unreality, inflated bombast and buncombe. We have no
degrees of comparison but the superlative. God help us for a
vain, boastful set! What is it all but untruthfulness, want of
humility, strutting up to the head of the table in one way or
another? Our conversations are full of ourselves; we threaten
horrors or we promise wonders; and it all issues, like the
mountain in travail, in ridiculous failures. Let us know our
place, or humiliation will teach it us.
{418}
Adam and Eve were well off, and might have been till this day had
they known their place and been satisfied; but they wanted to go
up, to become as God--and they came down to all the miseries of
fallen nature. Simon the Magician started, with the help of the
devil, to ascend into heaven like our Saviour; but God brought
him down before he got very far. "He that exalteth himself shall
be humbled." Moreover, pride finds its punishment in the very
ridiculousness of itself. The fool imagines himself to be other
than he is; the insane insists on taking to himself a character
which is not his. Well, brethren, the mock-king and queen of the
asylum are not more foolish and insane, because not more
untruthful, than the proud man.

The lesson, then, is this: Keep to the place God has given you,
don't put yourself forward in conversation, acknowledge your
nothingness before your Creator, be true and real to your
fellow-men; thus you will escape shameful humiliation and deserve
to be exalted in the esteem of others and in the kingdom of
heaven.

-----------------

{419}

    _Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Ephesians iv._ 1-6.

  Brethren:
  As a prisoner in the Lord, I beseech you that you walk worthy
  of the vocation in which you are called, with all humility and
  mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity,
  careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
  One body and one Spirit: as you are called in one hope of your
  vocation. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father
  of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all, who
  is blessed for ever and ever.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xxii._ 35-46.

  At that time:
  the Pharisees came nigh to Jesus: and one of them, a doctor of
  the law, asked him, tempting him: Master, which is the great
  commandment in the law! Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the
  Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and
  with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first
  commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love
  thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth
  the whole law and the prophets. And the Pharisees being
  gathered together, Jesus asked them saying: What think you of
  Christ? Whose son is he? They say to him: David's. He saith to
  them: How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying: "The
  Lord said to my Lord: Sit on my right hand, until I make thy
  enemies thy footstool"? If David then call him Lord, how is he
  his son? And no man was able to answer him a word: neither
  durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

{420}

              Sermon CXXVI.

  _Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself._
  --St. Matthew xxii. 39.


Nothing can be plainer than the fact that we must love God, and
it is equally plain that we must love our neighbor. Our Lord
declares that on these two precepts depend the whole law and the
prophets. Yet we see people who make very little of them both.
The precept to love our neighbor is perhaps the least regarded.
Let us, therefore, reflect upon this commandment to-day. In the
first place, there is no doubt about the obligation. Jesus says
plainly, and with authority: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor"; and
again, in another place, he says: "A new _commandment_ I
give unto you, that you love one another. By this shall all men
know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one
another."

So, then, if you want to keep the commandment of Jesus Christ, if
you want to be known as his disciples, you _must_ love your
neighbors. The obligation is clear and plain.

But our Lord not only gives a _commandment_, but also
explains the _method_ of fulfilling it. He not only says,
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor," but also adds "as thyself." He
does not say as much as thyself, because, of course, the orders
of nature and charity both require that we should love ourselves
better than our neighbor. We must save our own soul first. We
must not peril our own salvation in order to benefit our
neighbor. Our Lord says "as thyself"--that is, in the _same
manner_, not in the _same degree_. We must love our
neighbor for his own sake, just as we love ourselves for our own
sake.
{421}
If we only love our neighbor on account of the use he can be to
us, the pleasure he can give us, or the positions he can obtain
for us, then that is really no love at all. That is nothing more
or less than loving ourselves. We must love him as Jesus Christ
has loved us--with a supernatural love, with a love which is
founded on a desire to save our neighbor's soul.

And now in every-day life how must we treat our neighbor in order
to fulfil the command of Jesus Christ, "Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself"? First, do your neighbor no wrong, either by
thought, word, or deed. You don't like any one to think evil of
you. Very well, don't think evil of your neighbor. You don't like
any one to speak ill of yourself; you don't like to be insulted;
can't bear to be abused. Ah! then be careful that you don't visit
such things upon your neighbor.

You don't like to be defrauded or cheated; you don't like to have
your property or your reputation injured, or to be wronged in any
way. Why? Because you love yourself. Very well, then, "love thy
neighbor _as_ thyself," and don't do to him what you are
unwilling should be done to you.

Again, not only refrain from doing your neighbor wrong, but wish
him well and do him good. Try to have his name on your lips when
you are at prayer. Say: "O God! prosper my neighbor, even as thou
hast prospered me." Endeavor to show your fellow-Christian that
you are interested in his well-being, and heartily glad when he
succeeds in life. Have that spirit in your heart which makes you
as glad to hear that your neighbor has gained five hundred
dollars as if you had made the sum yourself.
{422}
Then, when you can do your friend a good turn, do it with a
hearty good-will; give him a helping hand; try to encourage him
in his business. Don't say, "Every man for himself and God for us
all, and the devil take the hindermost"; but say, "Do unto others
as you would they should do unto you."

And, lastly, you want God to forgive your sins? You want men to
condone your offences and look over your shortcomings and
defects? Then love your neighbor as yourself. If he has injured
you, pardon him; if he has done wrong, overlook it; if he has got
defects, bear with them. "All things," says one of the saints,
"are easy to him who loves." So, then, love God, love your
neighbor, and all things will be easy to _you_. This life
will pass away all the more pleasantly, and the life to come will
be all the more bright and its reward all the more precious, if
you will only remember and act upon this great commandment: "Thou
shalt _love_ thy neighbor _as thyself_."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

----------------------

              Sermon CXXVII.


  _With patience, supporting one another in charity._
  --_Ephesians iv._ 2.


We hear a great deal nowadays, my dear brethren, about
toleration. It is a thing which the nineteenth century takes a
special pride in. It seems to imagine that it is really a great
deal more charitable and patient than any previous one, and that,
in fact, the apostles themselves might learn a lesson of
Christian virtue from it, if they could come back to the earth.

{423}

I wish that such were actually the case; but if we examine this
pretended toleration and charity we shall have to confess that it
is simply a sham, having nothing whatever in it to make it
deserve the name it takes. You would not say of any man that he
was of a tolerant and patient disposition because he was quite
willing that some stranger should be interfered with, provided he
himself was let alone. Well, that is precisely the tolerance of
the nineteenth century. The world is now tolerant about all
things in which the rights of Almighty God are concerned, because
it has made him a stranger to itself; but it resents interference
with itself, and insists on being let alone in its own enjoyments
as much as, or more than, ever.

The world, then, has not yet learned to be tolerant, patient, or
charitable in any true sense of those words, in spite of all its
boasting; and it is much to be feared that it never will. After
all, it is not much wonder that it has not; for this is a very
difficult lesson, and one which one must have the help of God to
learn. True tolerance or patience, bearing with others when they
interfere, not with somebody else, but with ourselves, is a fruit
of grace rather than of nature. It cannot be expected from those
who have rejected the grace of God as a needless encumbrance in
the journey of life. If they have the appearance of it, it is
only an outside finish of what is called politeness, put on
merely to save trouble and make things more comfortable on the
whole.

But it is not for Christians who are trying to live by the light
of grace, not of nature; who believe in God and are trying to
keep his commandments; who wish to imitate Christ, and are
receiving the sacraments which should enable them to do so, to
follow the example of such.

{424}

We ought to try to be really tolerant with our brethren, whatever
their faults or defects may be or however much they may put us
out or interfere with our comfort consciously or unconsciously,
"with patience, supporting one another in charity," as St. Paul
says in the Epistle of to-day. And yet must we not confess that
too often we do not even make an attempt to practise this virtue?
Your neighbor offends you in some trifling way, perhaps without
really meaning to do so or knowing that he does; it may be even
by some peculiarity which is not really his fault at all. Do you
put up with it; do you say: "Oh! that is not much; I must take
people as I find them and as God made them, not as I would like
to have them; we all have plenty of defects, and perhaps I myself
am the worst of all"? Do you not rather say: "Oh! there is no
getting along with such a person; I will keep out of his way; I
cannot bear the sight of him; it will be better for us to avoid
speaking," and the like?

This intolerance, which is so common, is simply avoiding a cross
which we ought to carry, not only for the love of God, like all
others, but for the love of our neighbor also; and especially
when it comes from those who are our brethren not only by a
common humanity but by a common faith, who have with us, as St.
Paul goes on to remind us, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one
God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in
us all." Try, then, to bear this cross cheerfully, and show, by
so doing, that you really are aiming to fulfil the great
commandments given in to-day's Gospel, by loving God, from whom
it comes, with your whole heart and soul and mind, and your
neighbor, by whom it comes, as yourself.

------------------

{425}

         _Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  1 _ Corinthians i._ 4-8.

  Brethren:
  I give thanks to my God always for you; for the grace of God
  that is given you in Christ Jesus, that in all things you are
  made rich in him, in every word, and in all knowledge: as the
  testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that nothing is
  wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of
  our Lord Jesus Christ, who also will confirm you unto the end
  without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus
  Christ.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew ix._ 1-8.

  At that time:
  Jesus entering into a boat, passed over the water and came into
  his own city. And behold they brought to him a man sick of the
  palsy lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to
  the man sick of the palsy: Son, be of good heart, thy sins are
  forgiven thee. And behold some of the Scribes said within
  themselves: This man blasphemeth. And Jesus seeing their
  thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? Which is
  easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up
  and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man hath power
  on earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the man sick of the
  palsy), Rise up: take thy bed and go into thy house. And he
  rose up, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it,
  feared, and glorified God who had given such power to men.

--------------------

{426}

              Sermon CXXVIII.

  _Why do you think evil in your hearts?_
  --St. Matthew ix. 4.

All those, dear brethren, who are trying to lead a holy life have
a great horror of _external_ sins. They will not lie, steal,
murder, or be guilty of adultery or intemperance. Still, I am
afraid a great many of us are awfully careless about
_internal_ sins. We forget that not only the sins which we
openly commit, but those also which we secretly assent to in our
own minds, are offences against God.

You can see this in to-day's Gospel. When our Lord said to the
sick man, "Thy sins are forgiven thee," the Scribes directly said
"_within themselves_, He blasphemeth"; and although they did
not shape this sentence in words, it was accounted to them for
sin, as we can see from the reply of Jesus Christ contained in
the text.

You see, then, brethren, if you want to keep your conscience
clear, you must not only avoid external but even internal sins.
Indeed, I think the sins which we commit internally are even more
deadly than the external ones. First, because they always precede
the open offence; as our Lord says in another place, "From the
heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies." Now, you
will see at once that "evil thoughts" come first on the list, by
which I think our Lord wishes to intimate that they are the root
of all the others.

Again, evil thoughts, whether they are against charity, or
against chastity, or against faith--whether they are thoughts of
pride, of hatred, or envy, or avaricious thoughts--insomuch as
they are concealed from the sight of others, do not cause the
same shame to the guilty person as an overt act would. Thus,
being the more easily committed, they are the more frequent and
the more deadly.

{427}

Lastly, dear friends, evil thoughts pollute the mind and heart,
and in proportion as they and their darkness enter, God and his
brightness leave. To indulge in evil thoughts is to defile the
stream at its fountain-head and poison all the river below.

Be on your guard, then, dear brethren, against this insidious
enemy.

Perhaps evil thoughts against faith may assail you. Cast them out
before they have time to enter fully into the mind. Many, better
perhaps and holier than you, have in times past become heretics,
apostates, enemies of God's church because they did not trample
at once upon these beginnings of evil. You may be assaulted by
imaginations against holy purity. Stifle them, I beseech you, at
once, or they will grow in strength and gain in frequency till
they have buried the grace of God, peace of mind, and strength of
intellect in one common and unhallowed grave. You have all
doubtless heard of the avalanche which happens in regions where
the mountains which rise from the great valley and tower above
the nestling valleys are covered with perpetual snow. Perhaps it
is a slight puff of air, or the light tread of the mountain goat,
or it maybe nothing but the brushing of a bird's wing that
detaches the ball of snow; but be that as it may, the particle,
once started, rushes down the mountain-side, gathering strength
as it hurries on, leaping from one precipice to another, till
finally, having swept everything before it, the enormous heap
falls upon the peaceful village and buries everything in "a chaos
of indistinguishable death."
{428}
Yet in the beginning that avalanche was but a ball of snow. So it
is with evil thoughts against faith, chastity, charity, humility,
and all the other virtues. Once let them start and you can never
tell in what awful ruin they will end.

Nip evil thoughts, then, in the bud; and as chief remedies I
would say:

  1. Fill your mind with good thoughts. A vessel cannot be full
  of two liquids at the same time. Think of heaven; think of God,
  of Jesus, of Mary and her pure spouse, St. Joseph.

  2. Remember the eye that sees the secrets of all hearts, and
  Him who saw the thoughts of the Scribes in the Gospel of
  to-day.

  3. Remember that you can commit a mortal sin by thought as well
  as by deed.

  Lastly, picture to yourself One ever standing by your side,
  with wounded hands and pierced heart, "whose name is faithful
  and true, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and on his head
  many diadems; who is clothed with a garment of blood," and who
  cries to you night and day, "Why do ye think evil in your
  hearts?"

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

---------------

              Sermon CXXIX.

  _And Jesus seeing their faith,
  said to the man sick of the palsy:
  Son, be of good heart,
  thy sins are forgiven thee._
  --St. Matthew ix. 2.


These words of our Lord must have been something of a surprise to
the paralytic and his friends; welcome they must have been, but
still unexpected, and to some extent disappointing. For the sick
man had not been brought to Christ to have his sins forgiven; and
that favor had not been asked, at least no request had been made
for it in words.
{429}
The paralytic himself must have wished it, it is true, for God
never forgives our sins unless we desire forgiveness; but he did
not say so, and his mind, like those of his bearers, was probably
more occupied with his bodily than with his spiritual cure.

It will be worth our while to see why our Saviour chose to give
them this surprise; why he did not cure the sick man first and
forgive him afterwards. That might seem to be the more natural
way: to restore him first to bodily health, and then to move him
by gratitude to repentance and conversion. Still, when we come to
consider it I think we shall hit upon two very good reasons for
his course, and that without very much reflection. The first
reason, then, for our Lord doing as he did, was to show us that
the health of the soul is more important in his sight than that
of the body, and hence requires our first attention. The second
follows from the first: it was to remind us that, such being the
case, we cannot reasonably expect bodily health or any other
temporal blessing if we neglect to reconcile ourselves to God.

Now, these are two things that all of us, my dear brethren, must
certainly know very well, otherwise they would not occur to our
minds so readily. But in spite of this we too often fail to give
our knowledge a practical application.

How few there are, strange to say, who really act as if the
health of their souls were of more importance than that of their
bodies! Take, for instance, in proof of this, a fact which we
have often seen recorded lately in the daily papers. The yellow
fever, you will hear, has appeared in some Southern town, and
what has been the result?
{430}
All the inhabitants, who could leave the place immediately did
so, perhaps taking the very next train, and, it may be, leaving
their property in the hands of strangers. Well, we may think this
a little cowardly and foolish, considering that, after all, there
would not have been, perhaps, more than one chance in ten even of
sickness, if they had stayed; but still we cannot blame them, for
we feel that we should very likely have done the same ourselves.
But how many would act in this way in the presence of a spiritual
danger, though it were much more certain and imminent than that
of the body in this terrible Southern plague? Ask yourselves the
question, you who remain contentedly in unnecessary occasions of
sin, with much more than one chance in ten, nay, with an absolute
certainty, that your soul will be not only sick but dead as long
as you remain there; ask yourselves if you value the health of
your soul more than that of the body; see if you practise what
you must believe if you are a Christian--that it is better to die
even to-day in a state of grace than live for a moment in that of
sin.

Well, whether you act on this belief or not. Almighty God does.
He shows you that, as I have said, in this Gospel of to-day. And
it follows that you cannot please him or be in his grace as long
as you do not do for your soul what you would do for your body;
that is, as long as you do not remove it from needless dangers.
That is the first practical lesson to be learned from our Lord's
action in the cure of the paralytic.

{431}

And the second is that, if we hope to obtain from God temporal
favors out of the natural order of his providence, we must first
provide for our souls, which come first in his estimation. And
yet many people seem to expect him to reverse the order which he
has established. They promise conversion if they obtain the
temporal blessing which they want. They may succeed through his
abundant mercy; but the better and the surer course would be to
think of the soul first and the body afterward. "Seek first," and
he says, "the kingdom of God and his justice, and all things
shall be added unto you."

And remember that this must be the real disposition of your
souls, if you would be saved. The catechism tells you that the
only contrition which will obtain forgiveness, even in the
sacrament of Penance, must be what is called "sovereign"; that
is, "we should be more grieved for having offended God than for
all the other evils that could happen to us." Think well of this,
and you will be able to add a good deal to what I have had time
to say.

-------------------

{432}

   _Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Ephesians iv._ 23-28.

  Brethren:
  Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind: and put on the new
  man, who, according to God, is created in justice, and holiness
  of truth. Wherefore, putting away lying, speak ye the truth
  every man with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.
  Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger:
  Give not place to the devil. Let him that stole, steal now no
  more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands that
  which is good, that he may have to give to him who is in need.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xxii._ 2-14.


  At that time:
  Jesus spoke to the chief priests and Pharisees in parables,
  saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a man being a king,
  who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants to
  call them that were invited to the marriage: and they would not
  come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were
  invited: Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and
  fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the
  wedding. But they neglected, and went their ways, one to his
  farm, and another to his merchandise. And the rest laid hands
  on his servants, and, having treated them contumeliously, put
  them to death. But when the king heard of it he was angry, and,
  sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers and burnt
  their city. Then he saith to his servants: The wedding indeed
  is ready: but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye
  therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find,
  invite to the wedding. And his servants going out into the
  highways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and
  good: and the wedding was filled with guests.
{433}
  And the king went in to see the guests, and he saw there a man
  who had not on a wedding garment. And he saith to him: Friend,
  how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? But he
  was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Having bound his
  hands and feet, cast him into the exterior darkness: there
  shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called,
  but few are chosen.

----------------------------

              Sermon CXXX.

  _Let him that stole,
  steal now no more._
  --Ephesians iv. 28.


These words, dear friends, are taken from the Epistle appointed
to be read to-day, and contain a most useful lesson.

Now, I know the words "steal, stealing, thief, etc.," have a very
ugly sound.

People have a horror of them. The worst insult you can give to
any one is to say, "You are a thief." Still, in spite of this
feeling, we know that sins against justice are very often
committed.

Public men steal from public moneys. Employees rob their
employers, children steal from their parents, servants from their
masters, trustees from those whose affairs they have under
control, and so on. From the time that Judas put his hand into
the bag and filched from the scanty funds of his Master and his
brethren, down to this present day, there have been Catholics who
have so far forgotten themselves and "the vocation to which they
are called" as to steal. Do you doubt this? Take up the first
daily paper that comes to hand, and you will have evidence in
black and white.
{434}
Now, there are three ways in which we can commit the sin of
stealing: first, by taking that which does not belong to us;
secondly, by unjustly retaining what does not belong to us; and,
thirdly, by injuring what is not our own. First, then, we must
not take what is not our own. Now, this you all know so well that
I need only say a few words about it. Brethren, the man, woman,
or child who takes money, articles, clothing, or what not from
another, without their consent and knowledge, is a thief!

When such persons creep to the till, the box, the desk of their
neighbors, with stealthy tread and bated breath, to take what
does not belong to them, God sees them, God's angel sees them;
and, could they but hear it, they would be aware of a hundred
voices crying aloud, "Thou shalt not steal." You are a thief! You
are a thief!

If you steal you must restore. Having stolen, you will find it
very difficult to restore even when you have the money. If you do
not restore (being able) you will go to that "outer darkness
where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth." Oh! then, "he that
stole, let him now steal no more."

Again, we must not retain what is not our own, for this also is a
species of stealing. First under this head comes paying our just
debts. "Brethren, owe no man anything," says St. Paul. Now, my
friends, if you contract debts, and then when the time comes you
do not pay them, but use the money for other purposes, you are
unjustly retaining what is not your own, and thereby commit a sin
against justice. There are some people who "want" (as the saying
is) "to have their cake and eat it."
{435}
They run in debt, they enjoy the things obtained on credit, and
then when the time comes to pay they want the money also.
Brethren, the motto of every Catholic ought to be, "Pay your
way." When we leave our debts long without liquidation we not
only destroy our credit, but we practically steal from our
neighbor.

Then we must be careful also to pay our debts to God by
supporting our pastors and our churches. It is a solemn command
of God that we should give to the support of church and priest.
It is our duty. It is a debt _owing_ to God. If you do not
give of your means to this holy purpose you rob God--you steal
from the Almighty by retaining what belongs _by right_ to
church and pastor. Ah! then, "he that stole, let him now steal no
more."

Lastly, we can sin against justice by injuring property or goods
which belong to our neighbor. Now, my friends, if we hire a house
or lands, or if we take some official charge of our
fellow-Christian's goods, we ought to be as careful of these
things as if they were our own. If we, through our carelessness,
our neglect, allow another's property to be damaged, lost,
lessened in any way in value, we steal from him just that much.
Be careful, then, of these sins against justice. Do not rob your
fellow-men. Do not retain what is their due; do not injure their
goods or property. Remember the great God who sees you. He is not
only perfect charity; he is also perfect justice, and with his
justice will he one day judge.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

----------------------------

{436}

          Sermon CXXXI.


  _And he sent his servants,
  to call them that were invited to the marriage:
  and they would not come._
  --St. Matthew xxii. 3.


We cannot for a moment hesitate, my dear brethren, as to who is
represented, in this parable of our Lord, by the king who made a
marriage for his son. It is God the Father; and it is his Divine
Son for whom he has made the marriage. And that marriage is the
union of our human nature with his divinity; it is what we call
the Incarnation. And those who were first invited to this
marriage, to partake of its benefits, are the Jews, who were
first called to the church, to whom alone our Lord himself
preached, and who were the first objects of the labors of his
apostles; but who would not answer the invitation, even
persecuting and putting to death those who gave it, and thus
causing it to be given to others--that is, to ourselves--the
city of Jerusalem being at the same time destroyed, together with
the national existence of the Jewish people, as a punishment for
their rejection of the Gospel invitation.

We Gentiles have accepted what they, his chosen people, refused.
We have come by faith and holy baptism to this marriage of the
King's Son, for we are within the fold of his Holy Catholic
Church. But having done so, we are now all invited to sit down at
the marriage feast. It does not satisfy his love for us that we
should simply be within the four walls of his house; he wishes
that we should also partake of the good things which he has
prepared in it for the refreshment of our soul--that is to say,
the special graces which come to us only by means of the church,
and which are not found outside: particularly the sacraments,
and, most of all, the great and wonderful Sacrament of the Altar,
in which he has given us his Precious Body and Blood for the food
of our souls.

{437}

This, then, is pre-eminently the marriage feast of which he has
invited us to partake, now that we are within his house. It is
the Holy Communion. One would think we would be only too glad to
do so. You would not expect to find wedding guests insulting
their host by refusing to taste of the refreshment prepared for
them.

But how is it in fact? As he has had to send all over the world
by his messengers, the apostles and their successors, through its
highways and byways, to find people, not rich and great, as he
might expect, but poor, humble, and despised, to fill up his
house, so he has to send round among those guests whom he has
secured, to beg them to eat at his table. He has been obliged not
only to ask them but to entreat them, and even to command them,
under penalty of being turned out of his doors by
excommunication, if they refuse. And in spite of all this, there
are so many that do refuse that he does not carry out this
threat, lest even his house should be deserted.

Is not this a shame? Is it not too bad that we, his miserable and
unworthy guests, who have no right to be in his church at all,
should have to be compelled to receive the food which he has
prepared for us in it? More especially when we remember what that
food is; that it is himself, his own Body and Blood; for such is
his love that nothing else seemed to him good enough for us.

{438}

Here it is, this royal banquet, waiting for us all. Every day we
are allowed to receive it. And yet how few there are who do so!
If any one should go to Holy Communion once a month he is
regarded rather as presumptuous than obedient. In spite of our
Lord's repeated request, his people do not seem to believe that
it is his will that not only a few but all of them should
frequently come to receive him in this sacrament of his love.

Of course, if you are to do his will in this matter, you must in
others too. This feast is not for those who continually and
obstinately break his laws. But how often you can approach it is
a question for those to whom it has been entrusted to decide. Let
the responsibility rest on your confessor, not on yourself. Do
not let it be said that you, who are invited, will not come. Let
not our Lord have to reproach you with ingratitude. Let not his
table be deserted through your fault. The communion-rail is the
place for all, not for a few. Come, then, often to it, if not for
your own sakes, at least for the sake of Him who so longs to see
you there and who has done so much for you.

-------------------

{439}

    _Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost_.


  Epistle.
  _Ephesians v._ 15-31.

  See, brethren, how you walk circumspectly: not as unwise, but
  as wise: redeeming the time, for the days are evil. Wherefore
  become not unwise, but understanding what is the will of God.
  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury, but be ye filled
  with the Holy Spirit. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and
  hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing and making melody in
  your hearts to the Lord: giving thanks always for all things,
  in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father:
  being subject one to another in the fear of Christ.


  Gospel.
  _St. John iv._ 46-53.

  At that time:
  There was a certain ruler whose son was sick at Capharnaum. He
  having heard that Jesus was come from Judea into Galilee, went
  to him, and prayed him to come down and heal his son, for he
  was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him: Unless you
  see signs and wonders, you believe not. The ruler saith to him:
  Sir, come down before that my son die. Jesus saith to him: Go
  thy way, thy son liveth. The man believed the word which Jesus
  said to him, and went his way. And as he was going down, his
  servants met him: and they brought word, saying that his son
  lived. He asked therefore of them the hour wherein he grew
  better. And they said to him: Yesterday at the seventh hour the
  fever left him. The father therefore knew that it was at the
  same hour that Jesus said to him, Thy son liveth; and himself
  believed, and his whole house.

---------------------------

{440}

              Sermon CXXXII.


  _Sir, come down before that my son die._
  --St. John iv. 49.


There are many useful lessons to be learnt from the ruler in
to-day's Gospel. We can admire his confidence in Jesus Christ,
his perseverance in prayer, his ready and speedy conversion to
the faith. There is, however, another lesson to be learnt from
him which is contained in the above words: "Lord, come down
before that my son die." Now, disease, sickness, fever, etc., is,
as you know, dear friends, the symbol of sin, while death is the
symbol of mortal sin and eternal perdition. Now, you will notice
that the ruler did not wait till his son was dead before coming
to Christ: he came when his child was at the point of death, or
when (according to the exact meaning of the Latin text) "he began
to die." The ruler, then, is a model for parents. He teaches you
what care you ought to take of your children's souls. Many of
your children, dear brethren, are sick. They are sinful,
disobedient, careless, and so forth. Now, do you correct them
_in the beginning?_ Ah! I know a great many of you do not.
You let them go on till the fever of sin rises higher and higher
and burns fiercer and fiercer. You let them go on till they die
and are buried in habits of mortal sin, and not till then do you
call upon God and his church.

Brethren, of all things you should watch your children when they
are young. A husbandman does not try to force the well-grown wood
to grow as he wishes; he trains the young and tender shoots. How
often we see in the streets of our city a tribe of swaggering
boys and wanton, frivolous girls, who have upon their faces the
very mark of premature age and sinful precocity!
{441}
We see young boys and girls at beer-gardens, at variety theatres,
in billiard-saloons; and, alas! if they are there, there is every
reason to fear that the grace of God does not adorn their souls.

These poor children are spiritually dead. Ah! but there must have
been a time when they "began to die." There must have been a
moment when they first took to these scandalous habits. Then why
did you not see that they went to confession, to Mass, to Holy
Communion? Why did you not insist upon their morning and evening
prayers being said? Why did you not keep them at home after dark?
Brethren, soon we shall come to this pass: that none will be
considered a child after five years of age. Our children of this
age and country are "at the point of death." They are growing up
with ideas of false independence, false liberality, and false
religious principles. You parents, then, must call upon Christ.
Jesus is represented on earth by his church and his priests. You
must go, then, to church and priest, if you want your children to
be saved before they die the death of sin. You must cut them off
from the beginning of evil as soon as you see the least sign of
the fever of sin upon them. Go yourself to Jesus Christ. Kneel
down and pray for them. Lift up your voices and cry: "Lord, come
down before that my child shall die." Send them to the
sacraments; send them to Sunday-school; send them to Vespers and
Benediction. Above all, interest yourself in your children. Go to
Jesus, as the ruler did. Pray for your children every time you go
to Mass and Communion, and every night and morning.
{442}
Do not let them form evil companions and low associates. Insist
upon their obeying the parental authority, and above all, teach
them that boys and girls of fifteen or sixteen are not men and
women. Lastly, let us all, priests and people, lift up our hands
and cry to Jesus: "Lord, come down before that these children
die; come down with thy lessons of obedience; come down in Holy
Communion; come down with thy grace and with thy quickening
Spirit." Then, if we do these things--if we attend to our solemn
duties as parents and pastors--we may each expect to hear from
our dear Master's lips: "Go thy way, thy son liveth."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

--------------------

              Sermon CXXXIII.

  _Giving thanks always for all things._
  --Ephesians v. 20.

If we stop a moment, my dear brethren, to consider the meaning of
these words, which we find in the Epistle of to-day, they will, I
think, seem to us rather surprising; and if we did not believe in
the inspiration of their author we should be inclined to say that
he rather exaggerated the truth, and that we cannot be expected
to take the lesson which he here teaches us quite literally.
"Surely," we might say, "St. Paul must have meant that we should
give thanks for all things which are really fit subjects for
thanksgiving; that we should not neglect our duty of gratitude to
God for his benefits. And when he tells us to give thanks for all
things it was a little slip of his pen; we muse understand not
all things, but all good things."

{443}

We might talk in this way, I say, if we did not know that St.
Paul was inspired; but knowing that, we must drop the idea that
there can be any mistake or exaggeration. It must really be that
we ought to give thanks for all things that happen to us, without
exception. If our plans succeed we must give thanks; but we must
do the same if they fail. Whether our wishes are gratified or
not, we must give thanks. If we have riches, good health, plenty
of friends, or if, on the other hand, we are poor, sick, and
without a friend in the world, we must thank God, in adversity
the same as in prosperity.

"Well," you may say, "it must be so, since we have the word of
the Holy Ghost for it; but, for my part, I cannot see how it can
be. I should be very willing to thank God for all these bad
things, but I do not see what there is in them to thank him for.
I acknowledge that I deserve punishment for my sins, and I will
try to take it with as good a grace as I can; but as to giving
thanks for it, that is a little too much for me. It seems to me
that I should only be a hypocrite if I should pretend to do so."

Some of you, I am pretty sure, feel like talking in this way, at
least at times when trouble has come upon you. Let us see if we
cannot find the reason that your faith is so much tried.

It seems to me that it is because it seems to you that you are
required to believe that evil is really good; and of course that
is as hard to believe as that black is really white. You think
that our Lord means evil to you; that he is acting with you as
the authorities of the state might act. If any one breaks the
laws he is shut up in prison or has to pay a fine. Well, that may
do him good, but it is not meant for that. It is meant to do harm
to him, that others may profit by his example and that the good
order of society may be maintained.
{444}
So a criminal cannot personally thank the judge, if he sentences
him to hard labor for five years. It would not be reasonable for
him to do so, and the judge does not want him to do it, for he
does not mean to give him a favor.

So you think, when our Lord punishes you in any way, that he
really means to do you harm, for some wise end in his providence,
to be sure, but still really harm as far as you yourself are
concerned. You regard it simply as the satisfaction of his
justice on you, or perhaps for some good purpose in which you are
not concerned; and so it is as hard for you personally to thank
him for it as to say that black is white.

But this is just where you are mistaken; for there is a great
difference between the punishments of God and those of man. If
our Lord sends you any misfortune or cross it is principally for
your own good. He always has that in view; he is not like a human
judge. He would not allow a hair of your head to be touched, were
it not really for your good; for he loves you more dearly than
your best friend in the world can possibly do.

This, then, my dear brethren, is the right exercise for our
faith: not to believe that evil is good, but to believe that God
is good and does not mean evil to us, and that when he gives what
seems to be evil it is really a blessing in disguise. Though it
is plain that it must be so, instead of being contrary to reason,
still it is an exercise of faith for all that; but an easy one,
if we will only try it.
{445}
Try it, then, when you are tempted to murmur against God's
providence, and you will be able to give thanks for all things,
whether they seem to be bad or good; and you will see that after
all it is only good things which you are told to thank him for,
because all things which he sends you really are good.

----------------

{446}

    _Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Ephesians vi._ 10-17.

  Brethren:
  Be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. Put
  you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against
  the snares of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh
  and blood: but against principalities and powers, against the
  rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of
  wickedness in the high places. Wherefore take unto you the
  armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day,
  and to stand in all things perfect. Stand, therefore, having
  your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate
  of justice: and your feet shod with the preparation of the
  gospel of peace: in all things taking the shield of faith,
  wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of
  the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation;
  and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xviii._ 23-35.

  At that time:
  Jesus spoke to his disciples this parable: The kingdom of
  heaven is likened to a king, who would take an account of his
  servants. And when he had begun to take the account, one was
  brought to him that owed him ten thousand talents. And as he
  had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should
  be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and
  payment to be made. But that servant, falling down, besought
  him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
  And the lord of that servant being moved with compassion, let
  him go, and forgave him the debt.
{447}
  But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his
  fellow-servants that owed him a hundred pence; and laying hold
  of him, he throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest. And his
  fellow-servant, falling down, besought him saying: Have
  patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not:
  but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
  Now his fellow-servants, seeing what was done, were very much
  grieved, and they came and told their lord all that was done.
  Then his lord called him, and said to him: Thou wicked servant!
  I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me:
  shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy
  fellow-servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord
  being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he should pay
  all the debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if
  you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.

------------------------

              Sermon CXXXIV.


  _Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood:
  but against principalities and powers._
  --Ephesians vi. 12.


It is a most important truth, my brethren, and a very practical
one for all of us, which is contained in these words of St. Paul;
and it is the subject of the whole Epistle of this Sunday, from
which this passage is taken.

This truth is that we have a host of enemies to contend with in
the battle which we must fight to win the kingdom of heaven, who
are much more powerful than flesh and blood--that is, than any
human foes; much more formidable than any others which attack us,
from within or from without.

{448}

Who are these enemies? They are Satan and all his army of fallen
angels. That these are what the apostle means by "principalities
and powers" is plain from these very words, which are the names,
as you know, of two of the nine angelic choirs. It is plain also,
from what he says immediately before, that we should put on the
armor of God, in order to be able to stand against the deceits of
the devil.

Who can doubt that these lost spirits are terrible enemies to our
salvation? They desire nothing more earnestly than our eternal
ruin, and labor most persistently to bring it about. They have a
malicious hatred and envy for us, and spare no effort to induce
us to sin, as that is the greatest evil which can happen to us.
As there is joy before the angels of God upon one sinner who
repents, so there is exultation among these fallen angels over
every one who does not, and especially over every one who repents
of his repentance and turns to sin again.

And besides the will which they have to injure us, they have an
immense power to do so. They are superior to us in the order of
creation; they have much more intelligence, knowledge, and
strength than we. If they were permitted they could easily make
us all subject to them, and reign over us with a more cruel
tyranny than the world has ever seen.

"Well, father," you may say to me, "of course this must be true;
but then they are not permitted to trample on us in this way. God
holds them in check, so that they cannot do us the harm which
they wish, and would otherwise be able to accomplish."

I grant you this. They certainly are not allowed to do us all the
harm they might do and would like to do; but they are allowed to
do a great part of it--so much that, without the help of God on
our side, they would, even as it is, destroy us, soul and body.

{449}

By our own strength we cannot possibly escape these terrible and
merciless enemies, but only by the power of God. Without that we
should be as helpless before them as a child among lions and
tigers. If we would escape them it can only be, then, by calling
upon God, and getting from him the strength and protection which
he alone can give.

This is what St. Paul tells us in this Epistle, "Put on the armor
of God," he says; and again, "Take unto you the armor of God." If
you do not you will fall. Our Lord has allowed the devils to have
the power which they still have to injure us, that we may learn
in our dire extremity to have recourse to him.

And yet so far are we from realizing our danger, and seeking the
only protection which can save us, that many Christians seem
almost to doubt, like infidels, the very existence of the devil
and his angels. There is nothing which Satan likes better than
this, or which puts us more completely in his power. He does not
care that we should know. Just now at least, who does us the
harm, so long as the harm is done; and he knows that if we do not
believe in him we shall not look out for him, and that if we do
not look out for him we shall certainly fall into his snares.

Rouse yourselves, then, my brethren, from this indifference to
your greatest peril. Believe, with a real and practical belief,
in the existence and the tremendous power of these enemies who
are hunting down your souls. Know that you cannot resist them of
your own strength, and act on that knowledge. Pray to God to
protect you, to keep them from you, and you from them. Ask Our
Blessed Lady, who is their terror, to drive them away, and your
guardian angel to keep them from your side. Avoid the occasions
of sin which they prepare for you.
{450}
Flee from them if you can; if not, resist them, and they will
flee from you; but when you resist them, let it be in the name of
Him who has conquered them, or they will conquer you.

-----------------------

{451}

    _Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Philippians i._ 6-11.

  Brethren:
  We are confident of this very thing, that he, who hath begun a
  good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.
  As it is meet for me to think this for you all: because I have
  you in my heart; and that in my bonds, and in the defence, and
  confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my joy.
  For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the bowels
  of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your charity may more
  and more abound in knowledge, and in all understanding: that
  you may approve the better things, that you may be sincere and
  without offence unto the day of Christ. Replenished with the
  fruit of justice through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and
  praise of God.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xxii._ 15-21.

  At that time:
  The Pharisees going away, consulted among themselves how to
  ensnare Jesus in his speech. And they sent to him their
  disciples with the Herodians, saying: Master, we know that thou
  art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth,
  neither carest thou for any man; for thou dost not regard the
  person of men. Tell us, therefore, what dost thou think. Is it
  lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not? But Jesus, knowing
  their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites?
  Show me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny.
  And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this?
  They say unto him: Cæsar's. Then he saith to them: Render,
  therefore, to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and to God
  the things that are God's.

-----------------------

{452}

              Sermon CXXXV.


  _The Pharisees going away,
  consulted among themselves
  how to ensnare him in his speech._
  --St. Matthew xxii. 15.


It is needless to say, brethren, that they waited in vain. Our
dear Lord never uttered anything but words of wisdom, justice,
and piety. Is it so with us? We have enemies, strong and
powerful, who have consulted among themselves how to ensnare us
in our speech. Satan and his demons, evil companions, enemies of
the holy faith--all these are watching to see if they cannot
destroy us by means of our tongue. What, then, must we do to
control _it_, of which St. James says: "The tongue is a
fire, a world of iniquity; the tongue is placed among our members
which defileth the whole body, being set on fire by hell"? We
must watch it carefully, watch it jealously, watch it constantly.

Some of the older writers have said that nature herself has
taught us how careful we ought to be of our tongue. First,
because we have only one. We have two eyes, two ears, two hands,
two feet, but only one tongue.

Again, the tongue is placed in the centre of the head, to show
(as they say) that it ought to be under the absolute control of
our reason; again, because nature places it behind two barriers,
the lips and teeth, so as to keep it prisoner; and, lastly (says
an old writer in his quaint way), because it is chained in the
mouth.

But there are other more solid reasons than these for watching
our tongue.

{453}

There is nothing so poisonous as a bitter word, an uncharitable
remark, an offensive observation. Words such as these have ruined
families, have caused murders, have damned souls. How often has a
bitter word rankled so deeply in our neighbor's mind and heart
that he curses us, refuses to speak to us, and thus is driven by
us into mortal sin! What then? The devil, who is on the watch,
has ensnared us in our speech; he has got one more sin recorded
against us. Had we watched our tongues he would not have caught
us; we should not have sinned; our neighbor would not have been
scandalized. How common it is for us to hear God's name taken in
vain and spoken lightly; how frequently, alas! do we hear the
sweet name of Jesus used for a curse; how often that holy name,
"which is above every name," is bandied about as though it were
as the name of the lowest of creatures! Blasphemer! reviler of
the Holy One! Satan has ensnared you in your speech. You have
cursed, blasphemed, _sinned!_ Had you watched your tongue
you had not done so.

And what horrible mutterings are these that we hear coming up
from dark corners, from workshops, from factories, from
lodging-houses, from streets? What whisperings are these, hot and
burning with the fire of hell? They are words of impurity and bad
conversations. They are accents that slay living souls, that
pollute both the lips of the speaker and the ears of the
listener; and, alas! the tongue, the unguarded, unwatched tongue,
is the offender again. Ah! you are ensnared once more in your
speech. Watch your tongue, then, lest you die the death of mortal
sin. There is an every-day expression, brethren, which contains,
I think, the best advice that can be given you; and that is,
"Hold your tongue." Yes, _hold_ it under control of reason;
chain it by prayer and the sacraments.
{454}
If it wants to run into bitter words and unkind speeches, hold it
back. If it wants to blaspheme, hold it; hold it, or you are
lost! If it wants to utter words contrary to Christian modesty,
hold it for Christ's sake, or you are undone. Take care lest
Satan ensnare you in your speech; if he does he will condemn you
to a cruel death in hell. Speech is silver and silence is gold.
Few, if any, have been saved by much speaking; many have been
lost by it. Oh! then, watch your tongue lest it destroy you.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

------------------------

              Sermon CXXXVI.

  _Render, therefore, to Cæsar
  the things that are Cæsar's,
  and to God the things that are God's._
  --St. Matthew xxii. 21.


What does our Lord mean by this, my brethren? He seems to say
that there are some things which do not belong to God, but to
some one else; that God has only a partial right in this world
which he has created. It would appear to belong partly to Cæsar;
and who can this Cæsar be, who shares the earth with its Creator?

Cæsar was the name of the Roman emperor, and our Lord means by
Cæsar the temporal authority of the state. Now, it must seem
absurd to any Catholic, and indeed to any one who believes in God
at all, to say that this authority has any right in the world
other than that which God has lent to it; so we cannot imagine
that our Lord meant anything like that. Nevertheless, there are
plenty of people, who do not profess to be atheists, who really
maintain not only that the state has rights against him, but even
that its right always prevails over his. They say that we must
render everything to Cæsar, whether God wants it or not; that the
law of the state must be obeyed, even against the law of God as
shown to us by conscience.

{455}

These people are really atheists, whether they profess to be or
not. The only true God, in whom we believe, will not and cannot
resign his right to our obedience or give up his eternal laws.
Nay, more, he will and must reserve to himself the right of
making new laws if he pleases, and annulling laws of the state
which are contrary to them. Besides all this, he has also only
given to the state a limited sphere in which it can work, and in
which only its laws can have any force--that is, he will only
allow it to make laws providing for the temporal well-being of
its subjects.

This, then, is what belongs to Cæsar--that is, to the state. It
has the right to claim and enforce our obedience to laws intended
for the temporal welfare of its subjects, and to these only as
far as they are not contrary to the eternal law of God, or to
others which he may choose to make. And that is all.

When it does not exceed its rights we must give our obedience to
it; and we must presume that it does not exceed them unless it is
clear that it does. This is what we must render to Cæsar.

But how shall we tell that it does exceed its rights? First, by
the voice of conscience, when that voice is clear and certain;
secondly, by our knowledge of the laws which God himself has
made; lastly, by the voice of that other authority which he has
put in the world to provide for our spiritual welfare--that is,
the Catholic Church. When God speaks to us in either of these
ways we must obey him whether it interferes with Cæsar or not;
this is what we must render to him.

{456}

If the state makes a law commanding us to blaspheme, deny our
faith, or commit impurity, we will not obey. Conscience annuls
such a law. If the state commands us to do servile work on Sunday
its law has no force. We know that God's law is against it. And,
lastly, if the state goes outside its sphere, and makes laws
regarding things not belonging to its jurisdiction, as the
sacraments, we are not bound by such laws. It has no power, for
instance, to declare marriage among Christians valid or invalid.
The church has told us this plainly. It is here specially where
the state goes out of its province, that it is subject to
correction by the church; though it may be in other matters also.

Our Lord, then, means that we should render to Cæsar the things
that belong to him, not because of any right that he has in
himself, but because God has lent it to him; but that we should
render to God the things that he has not lent to Cæsar, whether
Cæsar consents or not. Obedience must always be given to God.
Give it to him through the state in those things about which he
has given the state authority, and in other things without regard
to the state; thus shall you render to Cæsar the things which are
Cæsar's, and to God the things that are God's.

------------------

{457}

     _Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost_.


  Epistle.
  _Philippians iii._ 17; _iv._ 3.

  Be followers of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so as
  you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you
  often (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the
  cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their
  belly, and whose glory is in their shame: who mind earthly
  things. But our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we
  wait for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will reform
  the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory,
  according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue
  all things unto himself. Therefore, my dearly beloved brethren,
  and most desired, my joy and my crown: so stand fast in the
  Lord, my most dearly beloved. I beg of Euodia, and I beseech
  Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee, my
  sincere companion, help those women who have labored with me in
  the Gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow-laborers,
  whose names are in the book of life.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew ix._ 18-26.

  At that time:
  As Jesus was speaking these things unto them, behold a certain
  ruler came, and adored him, saying: Lord, my daughter is just
  now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
  And Jesus, rising up, followed him, with his disciples. And
  behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve
  years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For
  she said within herself: If I shall but touch his garment I
  shall be healed. But Jesus, turning about and seeing her, said:
  Take courage, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole.
{458}
  And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus
  came into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the
  crowd making a rout, he said: Give place, for the girl is not
  dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed at him. And when the crowd
  was turned out he went in, and took her by the hand, and the
  girl arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that
  country.

-----------------

              Sermon CXXXVII.


  _My daughter is just now dead;
  but come, lay thy hand upon her,
  and she shall live._
  --St. Matthew ix. 18.


Such was the entreaty made by the ruler to our Lord in to-day's
Gospel, and such are the words that the Lord says to us during
the month of November, in behalf of the poor souls in purgatory.
These souls have been saved by the Precious Blood, they have been
judged by Jesus Christ with a favorable judgment, they are his
spouses, his sons and daughters, his children. He cries to us,
"_My children_ are even now dead; but come, lay your hands
upon them, and they shall live." What hand is that which our Lord
wants us to lay upon his dead children? Brethren, it is the hand
of prayer. Now, it seems to me that there are three classes of
persons who ought to be in an especial manner the friends of
God's dead children, three classes who ought always to be
extending a helping hand to the souls in purgatory. First, the
poor, because the holy souls are poor like yourselves. They have
no work--that is to say, the day for them is past in which they
could work and gain indulgences and merit, the money with which
the debt of temporal punishment is paid; for them the "night has
come when no man can work."
{459}
They are willing to work, they are willing to pay for themselves,
but they cannot; they are out of work, they are poor, they cannot
help themselves. They are suffering, as the poor suffer in this
world from the heats of summer and the frosts of winter. They
have no food; they are hungry and thirsty; they are longing for
the sweets of heaven. They are in exile; they have no home; they
know there is abundance of food and raiment around them which
they cannot themselves buy. It seems to them that the winter will
never pass, that the spring will never come; in a word they are
_poor_. They are poor as many of you are poor. They are in
worse need than the most destitute among you. Oh! then, ye that
are poor, help the holy souls by your prayers. Secondly, the rich
ought to be the special friends of those who are in purgatory,
and among the rich we wish to include those who are what people
call "comfortably off." God has given you charge of the poor; you
can help them by your alms in this world, so you can in the next.
You can have Masses said for them; you can say lots of prayers
for them, because you have plenty of time on your hands. Again
remember, many of those who were your equals in this world, who
like yourselves had a good supply of this world's goods, have
gone to purgatory because those riches were a snare to them.
Riches, my dear friends, have sent many a soul to the place of
purification. Oh! then, those of you who are well off, have pity
upon the poor souls in purgatory. Offer up a good share of your
wealth to have Masses said for them. Do some act of charity, and
offer the merit of it for some soul who was ensnared by riches
and who is now paying the penalty in suffering; and spend some
considerable portion of your spare time in praying for the souls
of the faithful departed.

{460}

And lastly, the sinners and those who have been converted from a
very sinful life ought to be the friends of God's dear children.
Why? Because although the souls in purgatory cannot pray for
themselves, they can pray for others, and these prayers are most
acceptable to God. Because, too, they are full of gratitude, and
they will not forget those who helped them when they shall come
before the throne of God. Because sinners, having saddened the
Sacred Heart of Jesus by their sins, cannot make a better
reparation to it than to hasten the time when he shall embrace
these souls that he loves so dearly and has wished for so long.
Because sinners have almost always been the means of the sins of
others. They have, by their bad example, sent others to
purgatory. Ah! then, if they have helped them in they should help
them out.

You, then, that are poor, you that are rich, you that have been
great sinners, listen to the voice of Jesus; listen to the plaint
of Mary during this month of November: "My children are now dead;
come lay thy prayers up for them, and they shall live." Hear Mass
for the poor souls; say your beads for them; supplicate Jesus and
Mary and Joseph in their behalf. Fly to St. Catherine of Genoa
and beg her to help them, and many and many a time during the
month say with great fervor: "May the souls of the faithful
departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace!"

  Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

--------------------------

{461}

              Sermon CXXXVIII.

  _When Jesus was come into the house of the ruler,
  and saw the minstrels and the crowd making a rout,
  he said, "Give place."_
  --St. Matthew ix. 23.


One of the great difficulties against which God's church has to
contend to-day is the spirit of worldliness which has crept in to
a very serious extent among the faithful. There are many dear
brethren among us who (as St. Paul says to-day in the Epistle)
"mind earthly things"; Catholics who try as far as they can to
conform themselves to this world and the fashions thereof. We can
see this worldly spirit in the manner in which many Catholics
dress, the style with which they decorate their houses, the way
in which they speak and act. But there is another way by which
this tendency is indicated. I mean the manner in which we bury
our dead.

Now, certainly, there is nothing more beautiful to the eye of
faith than a dead Christian body. What is it that lies there
still, and motionless, and cold? A corpse? Yes; but something
more than that. Brethren, that poor dead thing is beautiful, it
is holy. Its head has been touched by the cleansing waters of
baptism and anointed with holy chrism, its tongue has touched the
Body and Blood of Christ. Its eyes, ears, and hands, all its
senses have been anointed with holy oil. That poor body has been
the temple of the Holy Ghost.

More than this: that cold clay is a germ, a seed from which one
day shall rise a fairer flower than earth hath ever seen; for, as
St. Paul says, "That which thou sowest is not quickened except it
die first. And that which thou sowest thou sowest not the body
that shall be, but bare grain, as of wheat or of some of the
rest."
{462}
Yes, brethren, this dead thing is the "bare grain," but in the
eternal spring-time it shall bud forth into the full ear, for it
is the seed of a body glorified by the power of God.

Oh! then, seeing how holy the dead body of a Christian is, no
wonder that the church should surround the burial of it with a
certain holy pomp.

She burns lights by its side, she carries it in procession, she
sprinkles it with holy water, she censes it with incense. Not
only does she pray for the soul, she also respects the body.

So then, dear friends, to show respect for the dead, to surround
them with that pomp which the church wishes, is well and good;
but to make a dead body an object about which to display earthly
vanity and pride is to defile that which is holy and outrage that
which is decent. Yet this is often done. In place of the simple
shroud or the holy habit which used to be considered the proper
raiment of the departed, we now see them arrayed in garments
which vie in extravagance and fashion with those of the theatre
and the ball-room. Oh! brethren, when I think of our dear
Master's body, in Bethlehem's manger, wrapped up in swathing
bands, in the holy garden enveloped in linen cloths, and even to
this day reposing upon our altars on the fair white linen
corporal, it shocks me to think of those Christian dead who go
down to the tomb decked out in silks and lace, and satins and
trinkets, as though they were rather the votaries of earth than
the heirs of the kingdom of heaven. I seem to see the Master
standing by, and saying, "Give place."

{463}

Again, what an abuse it is to see a body followed to the grave by
a train of carriages which would often be more than enough for
the funeral of a cardinal or a pope. What some one has called
"the eternal fitness of things" requires that something of public
display should be made over those whom God has set in authority.
But to make such display over any ordinary Christian is simply
absurd. Oh! my dear friends, far better spend your money to have
Masses said for the soul than for a hundred vehicles to follow
the body. Alas! I fear those hundred carriages and two hundred
horses soothe your pride far more than they comfort the poor soul
in purgatory who is panting and longing for the possession of
God.

Let me end with a slight paraphrase of the text, such as we may
imagine our Lord, were he now on earth, might use: "And when
Jesus was come into the house of death, and saw the silks and the
satins, and the worldly display, and the multitude making a
tumult, and the horses and the carriages, and the garlands and
the wreaths, and the feasting, he said: Give place, give place to
me and to my church; and may the souls of the faithful departed
rest in peace. Amen."

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

---------------------

              Sermon CXXXIX.


  _Many walk, of whom I have told you often
  (and now tell you weeping)
  that they are enemies of the cross of Christ:
  whose end is destruction,
  whose God is their belly,
  and whose glory is in their shame:
  who mind earthly things._
  --Philippians iii. 18, 19.

{464}

Here St. Paul gives us, dear brethren, a rule by which we may
know, by their manner of living, the difference between the bad
and the good anywhere in the world. This rule, however, shows us
also who is a bad Christian and who is a good one. For it is too
true that we can find many, calling themselves Catholics, who
hate the cross, who find their happiness in sensuality, who love
this world more than they love God, and who make a boast of their
sins and crimes. The end of these is indeed destruction and
eternal ruin.

Now, who are they? One need not go far to find them. They are
those who are boasting about how much they can eat and drink more
than another. They are those who try to drink others drunk, and
then brag about it. They even make a laughing-stock of the poor,
wretched man or woman who can't stand as much as they can.
Neither are they to be found only among the men who almost live
around and in grog-shops. Young men of great respectability and
old gray-headed parents, of high position in society, do these
things. They even look with contempt upon him who can't sin as
much and as boldly as they do. More than all, the poor man feels
ashamed and blushes because he is not superior to them in this
kind of wickedness.

In the same way do some boast of their impurities, and their
lying and swindling, in a business way, as they call it. These
indeed glory in that which is a shame to the heathen. How much
more, indeed, then, is this a shame to him who calls himself a
Christian.

{465}

But these are not the only crimes in which they glory who are
enemies of the cross of Jesus Christ. There are those who cannot
bear to be outdone in malice or revenge. Often do we hear them
say, "I paid him off for it," or again, "She got as good as she
sent." This generally means that by malice, spite, revenge, the
one who did the first wrong was punished more severely than
justice required. It means that the devil and one's evil passions
were listened to, their promptings followed, and all made a boast
of afterwards. A beautiful Christian example! Two immortal souls
trying to see which can insult the crucified Redeemer the most!
How can such an one ever kiss the crucifix? How dare to press
those lips there represented, from which blessings were always
returned for cursing?

Again, those who glory in their shame are those who boast of
their careless lives, of never going to Mass, to confession, or
to their Easter-duty, and of never observing the light law of the
church by keeping the fasts of Lent and other days.

Others, again, boast of spending their money freely, not heeding
the cries of wife and children for food. They neglect those who
have been entrusted to them by God. They let the poor wife work
herself to death merely because they love the praise of a world
which calls their folly openheartedness. These are really the
meanest of men, but they believe the world when it calls them
good, generous, noble.

All of these are, indeed, truly enemies of the cross which all
Christians are bound to love. They are its enemies because the
cross saves mankind, whereas they try to ruin souls. By their
example and false teaching they make others like themselves. They
help souls to hell while our crucified Lord is trying to save
them. They take the part of the devil against their God.

---------------------

{466}

_Easter being a movable Feast which can occur on any day from
the 22d of March to the 25th of April, the number of Sundays
between Epiphany and Septuagesima, and between Pentecost and
Advent, varies according to the situation of Easter. There are
always at least two Sundays, unless Epiphany falls on a Sunday,
and never more than six, between Epiphany and Septuagesima.
Likewise, there are never fewer than twenty-three Sundays after
Pentecost, or more than twenty-eight. The Gospel and Epistle for
the last Sunday after Pentecost are always the same. When there
are twenty-three Sundays, the Gospel and Epistle for the last
Sunday are substituted for those of the twenty-third. When there
are twenty-five Sundays, the Gospel and Epistle for the sixth
Sunday after Epiphany are taken; when there are twenty-six, those
also of the fifth after Epiphany; when there are twenty-seven,
those of the fourth, and when there are twenty-eight those of the
third, in order to fill up the interval which occurs. In any
year, in which there are more than twenty-four Sundays after
Pentecost, proper sermons for these Sundays are to be found among
those which are arranged for the Sundays following the Feast of
the Epiphany. If one sermon is wanting, it is taken from the
sixth Sunday after Epiphany; if two, three, or four are needed,
the last two or three or four sermons which precede Septuagesima
are to be taken, in their order._

--------------------

{467}

  _Twenty-fourth or Last Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Colossians i._ 9-14.

  Brethren:
  We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled
  with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual
  understanding: that you may walk worthy of God, in all things
  pleasing: being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in
  the knowledge of God: strengthened with all might according to
  the power of his glory, in all patience and long-suffering with
  joy, giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy
  to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: who hath
  delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us
  into the kingdom of the Son of his love: in whom we have
  redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.


  Gospel.
  _St. Matthew xxiv._ 15-35.

  At that time:
  Jesus said to his disciples: When you shall see "the
  abomination of desolation," which was spoken of by Daniel the
  prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth, let him
  understand. Then let those that are in Judea flee to the
  mountains. And he that is on the house-top, let him not come
  down to take anything out of his house: and he that is in the
  field, let him not go back to take his coat. And woe to them
  that are with child, and that give suck in those days. But pray
  that your flight be not in the winter or on the Sabbath. For
  there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been
  from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.
  And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be
  saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be
  shortened.
{468}
  Then, if any man shall say to you: Lo, here is Christ, or
  there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false christs
  and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders,
  insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I
  have told it to you beforehand. If therefore they shall say to
  you: Behold he is in the desert; go ye not out: Behold he is in
  the closets; believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the
  east, and appeareth even unto the west, so shall also the
  coming of the Son of Man be. Wheresoever the body shall be,
  there shall the eagles also be gathered together. And
  immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall
  be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the
  stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens
  shall be moved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of
  Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth
  mourn: and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds
  of heaven with great power and majesty. And he shall send his
  angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather
  together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts
  of the heavens to the uttermost bounds of them. Now learn a
  parable from the fig tree: when its branch is now tender, and
  the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So also
  you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near,
  even at the doors. Amen I say to you, this generation shall not
  pass till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass
  away, but my words shall not pass away.

---------------

              Sermon CXL.

 _Behold I have told it to you beforehand._
 --St. Matthew xxiv. 25.

{469}

Once in a venerable manor-house, at the head of the carved oak
stairway, stood an old clock. About half a minute before it
struck it made a curious, buzzing, whirring sound. Then all the
children of the house said, "Ah! the old clock is
_warning_"; and upstairs they ran to see the clock strike.
The clock told them beforehand what it was going to do.

Now, brethren, there is a clock that has gone on warning and
striking for many a century, and that clock is called "the
Church's Year." It was wound up last Advent, and since then it
has struck Christmas, it has struck Epiphany, it has struck St.
Paul's Day, it has struck Easter, Pentecost, Assumption, All
Saints and All Souls. To-day it has nearly run down; it is
_warning_ for next Sunday, when it will strike Advent again.

The Church, next Sunday, will bring you face to face with
judgment. To-day she _warns_ you that the great season of
Advent is coming once more; that the old year is passing, that
the new one is about to begin. So, then, brethren, before the
clock strikes for judgment, before time is dead, while life and
grace and opportunities still remain, take up your stand before
the old clock; look at the hours depicted on the dial, and ask
yourself how you spent last year, how you would be prepared if
judgment should come to you a week hence.

Listen! How merrily that chime rings. You heard it about a year
ago. It was the Church clock striking Christmas. Where were you
then? Some of you, we know, were where you should be--at holy
Mass, receiving Holy Communion at the altar-rail. You heard the
organ pealing and the choir singing _Adeste fideles_; you
saw the little Infant Jesus in the crib, and the bright
evergreens decking the church, and felt in your hearts that
indeed there was peace on earth. Happy you if it was thus.
{470}
But alas! was it so? Were you not away from Mass last Christmas?
Were you not neglecting your religion? Were you not in mortal
sin? Were you not revelling, getting drunk, thinking rather of
feasting and enjoying yourselves than of devotion and
thanksgiving?

Then the hour of Epiphany struck! What gifts had you to bring to
the manger-bed? Had you the gold of Christian charity to present?
Had you the incense of faith and the myrrh of sweet and fragrant
hope? Ah! it is to be feared that some knelt not at the
manger-bed of Jesus, but on the brink of hell: forgetting God,
scandalizing their neighbor, damning their own souls. On the
"Feast of Light" (as the Epiphany is sometimes called) some were
kneeling at the shrine of the world and '"holding the candle to
the devil." Didn't you hear the pendulum of the old clock
ticking, ticking, and seeming to say, as it swung: "Behold! I
have told you beforehand! Behold! I have told you beforehand!"
Why, then, did you not do penance?

Then came Lent; and on the first Sunday of that holy time the
clock warned loud and clear for Easter. A voice almost seemed to
be heard shouting in your ears: "Easter-duty! Easter-duty! 'Time
and tide wait for no man!'" And so at last the clock struck.
Easter had passed. You had been "told beforehand." You did not
heed, and thus, oh! listen heaven, and listen hell, another
Easter-duty was missed, and another mortal sin committed.

To-day, dear friends, the Church clock warns you again. The
Church herself cries to you to cast "off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light." Give ear, then, while there is
yet life and hope. Have you been negligent? "Better late than
never"; _now_ is the time to mend.
{471}
Have you been a drunkard? _Now_ "be sober and watch." Have
you neglected your children? Begin to care for them as you
should. Have you neglected the sacraments? Come, prepare at once
to receive them worthily. Whatever your state may be,
remember--judgment is coming; death is at hand! Maybe God's clock
in heaven already points, for you, at the last hour; maybe this
is the last time that you will be _warned_, and then the
clock will _strike_ and you will be in eternity. Time and
tide are rushing on. Every tick of the clock brings you nearer
heaven or nearer hell. Oh! then prepare yourself for the great
day, that so when time _is_ dead and gone; when the great
clock strikes for the _last_ time, you may be found ready,
and go in with Jesus to his marriage feast.

    Rev. Algernon A. Brown.

-----------------------------

               Sermon CXLI.


   _That you may walk worthy of God._
   --Colossians i. 10.


"Brethren," says St. Paul, in the Epistle of this Sunday, "we
cease not to pray for you, ... that you may walk worthy of God."
These words may, no doubt, be understood to mean that we should
live in such a way as to be worthy to receive God in his Real
Presence at the time of Holy Communion, and by his grace at all
times; and, finally, to receive him, and to be received by him,
in his eternal kingdom of glory. But there is another sense,
perhaps a more natural one, and certainly a more special one, in
which we may understand them.

{472}

This sense is, that we should live in a way worthy of, and
suitable to, the dignity and the favor which he has conferred
upon us, in making or considering us worthy, as the apostle goes
on to say, "to be partakers of the lot of the saints in
light"--that is in bringing us into, and making us members of,
his one, true, and Holy Catholic Church. In other words, that we
should behave in such a way as to be creditable to him and to his
holy church, to which we belong.

Now, this is a point the importance of which cannot be overrated,
and which we are too apt to forget. We lose sight of the fact
that the honor of God and of his church has been placed in our
hands, and confided to our charge; so that every sin which we
commit, besides its own proper malice, has the malice of an
indignity to the holy state to which we have been called. For
this reason, a sin committed by a Catholic is always greater than
the same sin committed by any one else; not only on account of
the greater grace and clearer light which he has received, but
also because God is more specially robbed of his honor by it.

You all see this plainly enough when it is a question of a sin
committed by one who has been called to the ecclesiastical or
religious state. If a priest or a religious is guilty of any
offence, though it be but a small one, you are scandalized by it,
not only because he ought to have been better able to avoid it,
but also because it dishonors God's choice of him to be a special
image in this world of his divine goodness.

{473}

But you forget that you also, merely because you are Catholics,
dishonor God, and bring him and his holy religion into contempt
by the sins which you commit. It is plain enough, however, that
you do, though in a somewhat less degree than those whom he has
more specially chosen.

And other people do not forget it, though you may. "Look at those
Catholics," the world outside is continually saying; "they may
belong to the true church, but they do not do much honor to it.
See how they drink, lie, and swear. If that is all the good it
does one to be a Catholic, I would rather take my chance of
saving my soul somewhere else than be reckoned among such
people."

Now, it is all very true that such talk as this is unjust and
unfair, and that the very persons who say such things may really
be much worse, at least considering their temptations, than those
whom they find fault with. But still they have a right to find
fault that those whom God has brought into the true church are
not evidently as much better as they ought to be, than those whom
he has not; and you cannot altogether blame them for finding
fault with him rather than with yourselves, and saying that this
Catholic Church of his is rather a poor instrument to save the
world with.

Remember then, my brethren, that a bad Catholic is a disgrace to
his church, and a dishonor to Almighty God, who founded it. A
story is told of a man who, when drunk, would deny that he was a
Catholic; he had the right feeling on this point, though he
committed a greater sin to save a less one. Imitate him, not in
denying your faith, but in taking care not to disgrace it; for
God will surely require of you an account, not only of your sins,
but also of the dishonor which they have brought on the holy name
by which you are called.

------------------

{474}

              Sermon CXLII.


  _As lightning cometh out of the east,
  and appeareth even unto the west:
  so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be._
  --St. Matthew xxiv. 27.


These words of our Lord, my dear brethren, refer principally to
the general judgment, which will come suddenly upon all, at least
all of those who shall be alive at the time when it shall occur.
And he could not have used a more striking comparison to show how
sudden it will be; how it will take every one unawares, even of
those who will be expecting it. You know that when you watch the
flashes of lightning in a thunder-storm, though you are expecting
them all the time, yet each one takes you by surprise; you hardly
know that it has come till it has gone; you do not so much see it
as remember it. So it will be at the last and awful day; all at
once, without any warning, the heavens will open, and God will
come suddenly, not this time in mercy, but in justice; not to
save the world, but to judge it; there will be no time even for
an act of contrition, but as every one is then found, so will he
be for all eternity.

Probably you and I will not be in this world at the time of the
general judgment; it is most likely that we shall die before it
comes. We shall rise from our graves and be present at it, but we
shall have been already judged; so that it will not be by it that
we shall be saved or lost. But that judgment which we shall have
gone through will perhaps also have come on us suddenly; as
suddenly as the one on the last day. For it will come on us the
instant that our souls leave the body; the moment after we die we
shall appear before the throne of God to receive the sentence of
eternal salvation or condemnation. So it may surprise us at any
moment; for we may suddenly die.

{475}

There is not one of us here who has any certainty that he may not
before to-day's sun sets, nay, even this very hour or minute,
even before he can draw another breath, be standing before that
terrible judgment seat, and receiving that sentence from which
there is no appeal.

How often do we hear of people suddenly struck down by death
without a moment's warning; people who were promising themselves,
as you no doubt are promising yourselves, many more days to live.
They did not do anything, so far as we can see, to deserve such a
sudden blow; they were living lives no worse and no better than
those of others around them. "Those eighteen," says our Lord,
"upon whom the tower fell in Siloe, and slew them; think you that
they also were debtors--that is to say, sinners--above all the
men that dwelt in Jerusalem?" No, God calls us suddenly in this
way to show that he is the owner of our lives, that he has made
no promise to give any one of us a single moment beyond those
which he has already given.

But sudden death is not, we may say, any special visitation of
God. It is natural, not wonderful. If you could see the way in
which your own bodies are made, you would wonder not so much that
people die suddenly, but rather that they should die in any other
way. It is not more surprising that one should die suddenly than
that a watch should suddenly stop. The body is in many ways a
more delicate thing than a watch; and in its most delicate parts
the slightest thing out of order may be fatal. So we continue to
live rather by the special care which our Lord takes to preserve
our lives, than by any hold which our souls have on our bodies.

{476}

But you will say, "After all, father, very few really do die
suddenly, compared to those who have time to prepare." Well, it
is true that there are not many who pass instantly from full
health into the shadow of death; but if there were only one in a
million, is it not a terrible risk for one who is not prepared?
And, besides, in another way it is not true. For almost all die
sooner than they expect. All think, even when they have some
fatal illness, that they will have more time than is really to be
given them. Death, when it actually comes, is a surprise; for
every one, perhaps, the coming of the Son of Man is at the last
like the lightning; every one expects it, but not just then;
every one looks for a few moments more.

When you think of these things, my dear brethren, there is only
one reasonable resolution for you to make. It is to live in such
a way that you may be ready to die at any instant; to be like
those wise virgins of whom the Gospel of to-day's feast, the
feast of the glorious martyr St. Catherine, tells us, who had oil
in their lamps when the cry came at midnight: "Behold the
bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him." To have the grace of
God, which is represented by that oil, always in the lamp of your
soul; to be always in the state of grace, never in that of sin;
for most assuredly that cry will come to each one of you, and
sooner than you think; and woe be to you if you are not prepared
when it shall sound in your ears!

----------------------





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