Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Five-minute Sermons for Low Masses on All Sundays Of The Year, Volume II
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Five-minute Sermons for Low Masses on All Sundays Of The Year, Volume II" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Transcriber's note: This production is based on
https://archive.org/details/fiveminutesermon02unknuoft/page/n6
Pages 46 and 47 are missing from the image file. Additional
citations indicated by "USCCB", are based on the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops Bible found at
http://usccb.org/bible/books-of-the-bible.]

{i}

        Five-minute Sermons

                for

            Low Masses

                on

       All Sundays Of The Year,



                By

  Priests Of The Congregation Of St. Paul.

             Volume II.


             New York:
The Catholic Publication Society Co.,

          9 Barclay Street.

       London: Burns & Oates.
               1886

{ii}

     Copyright, 1886, by I. T. Hecker.

          All Rights Reserved.


{iii}

              Preface.


Repeated and urgent requests from both clergy and laity have
induced the publication of this second volume of Five-Minute
Sermons. They have all been preached in the Church of St. Paul
the Apostle, New York, and published weekly in the _Catholic
Review_. Choice has been made of such as are really little
sermons, since there are many excellent manuals from which purely
doctrinal instructions may be prepared. Yet they all contain, it
is hoped, a solid basis of doctrine plainly put and appropriately
illustrated. The main object is, however, to edify, to quicken
the moral perceptions, and to move in a reasonable degree the
religious emotions.

Nearly all of these sermons may serve as skeletons for discourses
of greater length; a fuller treatment of the topics, by means of
familiar illustrations and more copious extracts from Scripture,
will fit them for use at High Mass, or on Sunday evenings.

-----------------------------
{iv}

{v}

              Contents.



First Sunday of Advent:
  Sermon I.    The Spirit of Advent,                      14
  Sermon II.   The Graces of Advent,                      16
  Sermon III.  St. John the Baptist,                      18

Second Sunday of Advent:
  Sermon IV.   Fair-weather Christians,                   23
  Sermon V.    The Immaculate Conception,                 25
  Sermon VI.   The Total Abstinence Pledge,               28

Third Sunday of Advent:
  Sermon VII.  Bad Company,                               32
  Sermon VIII. The Voice in the Wilderness,               34
  Sermon IX.   Penance,                                   37

Fourth Sunday of Advent:
  Sermon X.    Fruits of Penance,                         41
  Sermon XI.   Preparation for Christmas,                 43
  Sermon XII.  Christmas Eve,                             46

Sunday within the Octave of Christmas:
  Sermon XIII. Christmas Joy,                             50
  Sermon XIV.  New Year's Eve,                            52
  Sermon XV. The Feast of the Holy Innocents,             55

The Epiphany:
  Sermon XVI. The Testimony of the Spirit,                59
  Sermon XVII. Following God's Guidance,                  63

{6}

First Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XVIII. The Christian Home,                       67
  Sermon XIX.   Jesus Teaching in the Temple,             70
  Sermon XX.    How our Saviour takes away Sin,           72

Second Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXI.   Profanity,                                76
  Sermon XXII.  The Sin of Cursing,                       79
  Sermon XXIII. Reverence for the Name of God,            82

Third Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXIV.   Practical Faith,                         86
  Sermon XXV.    Living up to our Faith,                  89
  Sermon XXVI.   The Sacrament of Matrimony,              91

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXVII.  The Ingratitude of Children,             95
  Sermon XXVIII. Love of our Neighbor,                    98

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXIX.   The Christian Family,                   102
  Sermon XXX.    The Duty of Good Example,               105
  Sermon XXXI.   Bearing one another's Burdens,          108

Sixth Sunday after Epiphany:
  Sermon XXXII.  How to make Converts,                   113
  Sermon XXXIII. The Blessings of the Faith,             116
  Sermon XXXIV.  Good Example as a means of
                   making Converts,                      118

Septuagesima Sunday:
  Sermon XXXV.   Bodily Mortification,                   123
  Sermon XXXVI.  Sudden Death,                           126
  Sermon XXXVII  Life's Purpose,                         129

{7}

Sexagesima Sunday:
  Sermon XXXVIII. Perseverance after a Mission,          134
  Sermon XXXIX.   Good Seed but no Harvest,              137
  Sermon XL.      The Uses of Temptation,                140

Quinquagesima Sunday:
  Sermon XLI.   The Qualities of Christian Charity,      144
  Sermon XLII.  Delay of Repentance,                     147
  Sermon XLIII. Lenten Obligations,                      150

First Sunday of Lent:
  Sermon XLIV.   The Merit of Pasting and Abstinence,    154
  Sermon XLV.    Difficulties of Fasting,                157
  Sermon XLVI.   Wasted Opportunities,                   159

Second Sunday of Lent:
  Sermon XLVII.  The Joy of Penance,                     164
  Sermon XLVIII. Christian Perfection not Impossible,    167
  Sermon XLIX.   The Divine Presence in our Churches,    170

Third Sunday of Lent:
  Sermon L.      Immodest Language,                      174
  Sermon LI.     Honorary Church-Members,                177
  Sermon LII.    Half-hearted Christians,                180

Fourth Sunday of Lent:
  Sermon LIII.   The Happiness of True Penance,          184
  Sermon LIV.    Liberty of Spirit,                      187
  Sermon LV.     The Lust of the Eyes,                   190

Passion Sunday:
  Sermon LVI.    The Precious Blood,                     194
  Sermon LVII.   Christ's Passion,                       197
  Sermon LVIII.  Dangerous Companionship,                199

{8}

Palm Sunday:
  Sermon LIX.   Hardness of Heart,                       203
  Sermon LX.    Spirit of Holy Week,                     205

Easter Sunday:
  Sermon LXI.   Easter Joy,                              210
  Sermon LXII.  Easter and the Love of God,              212
  Sermon LXIII. The Triumph of Christ,                   215

Low Sunday:
  Sermon LXIV.  How to use God's Gifts,                  219
  Sermon LXV.   The Christian's Peace,                   222
  Sermon LXVI.  True and Lasting Peace,                  224

Second Sunday after Easter:
  Sermon LXVII.  The Good Shepherd,                      229
  Sermon LXVIII. Dead Faith,                             232
  Sermon LXIX.   Suffering False Accusations,            234

Third Sunday after Easter--
Feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph:
  Sermon LXX.    Devotion to St. Joseph,                 240
  Sermon LXXI.   Christ and the Church,                  242

Fourth Sunday after Easter:
  Sermon LXXII.  Evil Conversation,                      246
  Sermon LXXIII. Temptation,                             248

Fifth Sunday after Easter:
  Sermon LXXIV.  Sins of the Tongue,                     252
  Sermon LXXV.   Perseverance in Prayer,                 255

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension:
  Sermon LXXVI.   After a Mission,                       259
  Sermon LXXVII.  Bearing Witness for our Lord,          261
  Sermon LXXVIII. The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit,     263

{9}

Feast of Pentecost, or Whit-Sunday:
  Sermon LXXIX.   The Holy Ghost in the Church,          268
  Sermon LXXX.    The Guidance of the Holy Spirit,       271
  Sermon LXXXI.   The Easter Duty,                       273

Trinity Sunday:
  Sermon LXXXII.  The Divine Majesty,                    277
  Sermon LXXXIII. The Mystery of the Holy Trinity,       279
  Sermon LXXXIV.  The Divine Judgment,                   282

Second Sunday after Pentecost,
and Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi:
  Sermon LXXXV.   Holy Communion,                        286
  Sermon LXXXVI.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus,             289
  Sermon LXXXVII. Ingratitude,                           291

Third Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon LXXXVIII. Sinful Amusements,                    295
  Sermon LXXXIX.   Divine Providence,                    297
  Sermon XC.       How to Bear Burdens,                  300

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon XCI.      How to Suffer,                        304
  Sermon XCII.     Good Works done in Mortal Sin,        306
  Sermon XCIII.    Fishing for Men,                      309

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon XCIV.     Forgiveness of Injuries,              314
  Sermon XCV.      Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul,         316

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon XCVI.     The Divine Bounty,                    321
  Sermon XCVII.    Feast of St. John the Baptist,        324
  Sermon XCVIII.   Idleness,                             326

{10}

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon XCIX. Mortal Sin the Death of the Soul,         330
  Sermon C.    False Prophets,                           332
  Sermon CI.   The Last Sin,                             334

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CII.  Spirit and Flesh,                         339
  Sermon CIII. The Business of the Soul,                 342
  Sermon CIV.  The Judgments of God,                     344

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CV.   Justice and Mercy,                        349
  Sermon CVI.  Neglect of Divine Warnings,               351
  Sermon CVII. Living from Day to Day,                   354

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CVIII. Sympathy for Sinners,                    358
  Sermon CIX.   Morning Prayers,                         360
  Sermon CX.    Feast of St. Mary Magdalen,              363

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXI.   Want of Confidence in God,               367
  Sermon CXII.  Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,          369
  Sermon CXIII. Gratitude,                               373

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXIV.  The Good Samaritan,                      377
  Sermon CXV.   Our Neighbors,                           380
  Sermon CXVI.  Occasions of Sin,                        382

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXVII.  Thanksgiving,                           387
  Sermon CXVIII. Shamelessness in Sinning,               389
  Sermon CXIX.   Dangers of Venial Sin,                  392

{11}

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXX.    The Poverty of Christ,                  396
  Sermon CXXI.   Brotherly Love,                         399
  Sermon CXXII.  Religion for Week-Days,                 401

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXIII. The Fruits of a Bad Life,               406
  Sermon CXXIV.  Sins of Parents,                        408
  Sermon CXXV.   The Law of Charity,                     411

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXVI.   Christian Humility,                    415
  Sermon CXXVII.  Vanity,                                418
  Sermon CXXVIII. Behavior in Church,                    420

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXIX.   Prayer for Sinners,                    425
  Sermon CXXX.    The Christian Vocation,                427
  Sermon CXXXI.   Erroneous Views of Vocation,           430

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXXII.  Presumption of God's Mercy,            435
  Sermon CXXXIII. Drunkenness,                           437
  Sermon CXXXIV. The Dignity and Happiness of Obedience, 440

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXXV.    Lying,                                444
  Sermon CXXXVI.   Truthfulness                          447
  Sermon CXXXVII.  White Lies,                           449

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXXXVIII. Christian Marriage,                   453
  Sermon CXXXIX.   Mortification of our Lower Nature,    455
  Sermon CXL.      The Value of Time,                    458

{12}

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXLI.     Forgiveness of Injuries,              462
  Sermon CXLII.    Gossiping,                            465
  Sermon CXLIII.   Mixed Marriages,                      467

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXLIV. Obedience to the Civil Authorities,      472
  Sermon CXLV.  Thanksgiving Day                         475
  Sermon CXLVI. The Communion of Saints,                 477

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CXLVII.  Mixed Marriages,                       481
  Sermon CXLVIII. Imitation of the Saints,               484
  Sermon CXLIX.   Heaven,                                486

Twenty-fourth or Last Sunday after Pentecost:
  Sermon CL.      Marrying out of the Church,            491
  Sermon CLI.     Joy in God's Service,                  494
  Sermon CLII.    Forgive and be Forgiven,               497

{13}

     _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.

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

{14}

              Sermon I.

        The Spirit Of Advent.

  _It is now the hour for us to rise from sleep._
  --Romans xiii. 11.

This life of ours is made up of beginnings. After the rest of the
night we have on each succeeding day to begin again our round of
work, and then comes the night again, when our work must be laid
aside. So, too, does the life of our souls consist in great part
of beginnings, though in the great work of saving our souls there
should be no such thing as rest. This work must be unceasing,
until that night comes wherein no man can work, the night of
death, when our great Master shall demand of us an account of our
labor. On this day, then, which is the beginning of the Church's
year, it is well for us to pause and ask ourselves how we are
fulfilling the task that is set before us. Are our souls asleep?
Have our consciences been lulled into a false security concerning
the state of our immortal souls? Are we careless or indifferent
about the one thing needful for us--our soul's salvation?

To each and every one of us to-day come the warning words of the
Apostle, "Brethren, know that it is now the hour for us to arise
from sleep." Now is the time for us to shake off our
slothfulness, to rouse ourselves from our dangerous state of
idleness and inactivity, to cast off the works of darkness and
clothe ourselves in the armor of light, to put on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and, arrayed in the strength which he gives, to walk
honestly as in the day. "The night is passed," says St. Paul.
{15}
God grant that for each one of us the dark night of mortal sin
may be for ever past and gone; that its terrible gloom may never
again settle down upon our souls, shutting out the light of
heaven, the pure and radiant light of God's grace. For "the day
is at hand," the day of reckoning, the day of wrath and terror,
when we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. The
Church to-day warns us of the approach of that time. Year by
year, day by day, hour by hour it is drawing nearer. "For now is
our salvation nearer than when we believed."

Yes, our salvation if we have been faithful, or our eternal
damnation if God's judgment overtake us in the state of mortal
sin. Therefore it is that the Church, upon this first Sunday of
Advent, lifts up her voice to warn us of the coming of our Lord,
telling us of his near approach, and bidding us to prepare to
meet him. Will you heed this warning, or will you still put off
the day of your conversion to God? Beware! God's warning may be
given you to-day for the last time. "Behold, now is the
acceptable time"; "it is now the hour to rise from sleep." There
is still time for you to turn from your sins and begin again to
serve God. Perhaps you have tried before and then have fallen
back into old ways and habits of sin. Begin again. We must always
be beginning if we would make any progress. We must examine our
consciences at the end of each day, and find out how we have
offended God, make earnest resolutions for the morrow, and then
begin each day with the determination to avoid the faults of the
day before. This is a sure means of perseverance.

{16}

And this beginning of the Christian year is a good time to take a
fresh start in the affairs of our souls. During Advent the Church
brings to our minds the consideration of the four last things.
Death and judgment, heaven or hell are awaiting us. Begin this
day, then, as though it were to be your last day on earth, and on
each succeeding day for the rest of your life keep up this
practice. "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." "Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness" now at the
beginning of this holy season. Drunkenness, impurity, contention,
and envy are, alas! far too common amongst us. "Let them be not
so much as named among you, as becometh saints," mindful of your
high calling in Christ. Then when the Judge appears, he will find
you ready to meet him. Having begun each day with the intention
of serving God, you will then be ready and fit to begin that day
which shall have no end in that heavenly city which "needeth not
sun nor moon to shine in it; for the glory of the Lord hath
enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof."

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

              Sermon II.

          The Graces Of Advent.

  _The night is past, and the day is at hand.
  Let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness
  and put on the armor of light.
  Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ._
  --Epistle of the Day.


To-day, dear brethren, we enter upon the season of preparation
for the coming of Jesus Christ. For "the night is past and the
day is at hand." "The day-spring, the Brightness of the
everlasting Light, the Sun of righteousness," is come "to give
light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death."

{17}

To give light to them that have been unfaithful to God's grace,
to call them back--to turn them to a new life--this is the
mission of our Saviour; and this is the call he makes upon us
to-day--that we should return to him, "the Ruler of the house of
Israel, who didst appear to Moses in the burning bush, and gave
him the law in Sinai."

You, dear brethren, were taught that law when the first rays of
the light of reason lit up your soul. God wrote it on your
hearts; you heard it from your parents lips; your teachers bade
you love it and keep it. But have you done so? Have you not
become like those whom of old God taught, and who would not
listen, but went after false gods, who bowed down before idols of
gold and silver, of wood and clay?

Have you not bowed down like them when you preferred
money-getting to serving God; when you were willing, for the sake
of gold and silver, to risk the loss of your immortal souls? Have
you not bowed down when you chose to gratify your lower instincts
at the cost of your spiritual ruin? Have you not bowed down to
idols of clay when you have steeped yourselves in drunkenness, in
impurities, in the many sins of the flesh? Oh! surely you have
need of the "wisdom that cometh out of the mouth of the Most
High" to teach you "the way of prudence." Oh! surely you have
need of "the Orient from on high," for you "sit in darkness and
in the shadow of death."

{18}

But, dear brethren, "the night is past." "Let us, therefore, cast
off the works of darkness"; "let us walk honestly." Oh! "put ye
on the Lord Jesus Christ." "Behold Emmanuel, our King and Law
giver," he for whom the nations sighed and their salvation, has
come to save us--to save men whom he has made from the dust of
the earth.

Dear brethren, shall we be slow to go to him who comes with
healing for our immortal souls? Tell it out among the people, and
say, "Behold, God our Saviour cometh. Emmanuel is his name, and
his name is great. Behold, he is my God, and I will glorify him;
my father's God, and I will exalt him. The Lord our Law-giver,
the Lord our King, cometh to save us."

Begin this day to prepare for the joyous feast of Christmas.
Cleanse your hearts by prayer and fasting; come to the sacraments
and be washed in the blood of your Redeemer; come to his table
and break the bread of true friendship, that the joy of your
heart may be full when we shall celebrate that day of days, when
the Word which "was made flesh dwelt among us." Truly "we have
seen his glory," and "of his fulness we have all received." Let
us never forget his mercy; let us remember "that it is now the
hour for us to rise from sleep."

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

              Sermon III.

         St. John The Baptist.

  _The angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary,
  for thy prayer is heard;
  and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son,
  and thou shalt call his name John;
  and thou shalt have joy and gladness,
  and many shall rejoice at his birth._
  --Luke i. 13.

{19}

These words, my brethren, were spoken by the Angel Gabriel to
Zachary, the father of St. John the Baptist, while he was engaged
with his religious duties in the temple at Jerusalem. Before
giving the account of the angel's visit St. Luke informs us that
Zachary and his wife, Elizabeth, were both acceptable to God and
obedient to the divine law. There are few who have received such
commendation in the pages of Holy Scripture. It might have been
surmised that Zachary led a good life, practising the virtues and
avoiding the vices, since he belonged to the Jewish priesthood.
Yet we find that his wife, Elizabeth, is mentioned as deserving
equal praise with himself, for it is stated that "_they were
both_ just before God, walking in all the commandments and
justifications of the Lord without blame."

Such is the brief account that St. Luke has given of the parents
of St. John the Baptist. Though brief, it is enough to show that
any son might well feel proud of parents such as they
were--blameless in the sight of God. For many years they had
lived together in the hill-country of Judea, conscientiously
performing their duties, and cherishing the hope that they would
be rewarded for their good actions. Like the rest of the Jews who
remained faithful to the laws promulgated by Moses and the
prophets, which God had made for Israel, they prayed earnestly
for the coming of the Messias, the Orient from on high, who was
ardently expected to descend from his throne in heaven in order
to enlighten those in darkness and in the shadow of death,
directing their steps into the way of peace. While serving God by
strict fidelity to the commandments, they did not anticipate that
an angel would be sent to visit them; they did not know until
advanced in age that a son would be born to them who would be
called the prophet of the Most High, the precursor of the son of
David, appointed to prepare his ways.

{20}

That this blessing was unexpected is shown by the fact that
Zachary hesitated to believe the message of the Angel Gabriel,
and on account of this hesitation, this mistrust of the good
tidings that God sent to him, he was deprived of the use of
speech for several months. After the birth of St. John the
Baptist his tongue was again endowed with the power to speak, and
his words on that occasion, spoken under the influence of
inspiration, have been preserved in the grand canticle known as
the Benedictus, which is justly assigned to a prominent place in
the Office of the Church.

These considerations enable us to perceive what sort of a home
St. John the Baptist had while he remained with his aged parents.
From the knowledge we have of them, there is no reason to think
that they were deprived of anything requisite to make their home
happy and comfortable. Early in life, however, St. John
manifested a peculiar preference for the lonely desert. In a
special manner he was sanctified before his birth, and received
the gifts of the Holy Ghost in an extraordinary degree. It was
not because his fellow-creatures had proved deceptive, nor
because sad experience had taught him that the glittering charms
of the world are transient and wither into dust, that he resolved
to live like a hermit, separated from his relatives. Joyfully he
abandoned his family privileges, with all that seems to make life
among men pleasant, and went forth among the wild rocks in the
mountain solitudes to live alone with God.
{21}
Why was it that he made such a strange choice? The answer is,
that God directed him to leave houses and lands, his home and
kindred, and endowed him with the heroism needed for a solitary,
penitential life. In obedience to the will of God, acting under
the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he practised unusual
mortification. He selected coarse raiment, made of camel's hair;
he used a strange kind of food; he abstained entirely from the
use of wine. By deeds of heroic penance, by extraordinary acts of
self-denial, combined with the performance of his other duties,
he advanced in the way of perfection. During this season of
Advent we should invoke his intercession, and strive to remove
the obstacles that impede the way of the Lord and the action of
His grace in our sanctification.

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

{22}

         _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, 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.
{23}
  And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me. 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.

       Fair-Weather Christians.


  _What went you out into the desert to see?
  A reed shaken with the wind?_
  --Gospel Of The Day.

Our Lord asked this question of his disciples, my brethren,
regarding his precursor, St. John the Baptist, whom also they had
followed in his time. "Why," said he, "did you take such trouble
to see him? Why did you think so much of him? Was it because he
was like a reed shaken by the wind? No, but because he was just
the opposite of that. You thought highly of him, you honored him
as I myself honor him, because he did not shake and tremble at
the breath of popular opinion; because he was not afraid of the
world, or of all the powers that are in it; because he only
thought of God, and of his duty; of the work that he had been
sent to do."

{24}

But would our Saviour be able to praise us so highly, my
brethren, if he should come down now in our midst? Would he not
say rather that we were indeed like reeds, turning to one side or
another, according to the wind that happens to be blowing? I am
afraid that he would have too good reason to find fault with the
words and actions of many who call themselves Christians, an who
even pass for pretty good ones.

Who are these people whom he would find fault with? There are
plenty of them. They are what I should call fair-weather
Christians. They go to church regularly, perhaps, and to the
Sacraments, it may be, quite often; when they are with pious
people they can be just as pious as anybody else. They say their
prayers not only in church, but at home, too; they certainly try
in a way to be good; sometimes at least they would not say or do
anything wrong of their own accord. And when they are alone they
do very well, too; they resist many temptations, and avoid a
great deal of sin. They are not what one would call hypocrites;
far from it; they have a good many virtues, within as well as on
the outside.

But the trouble with them is that they have little or none of
what is commonly called "backbone." Alone or in good company they
are all right; but take a look at them on the street, in the shop
or factory, at their work or their amusements with their
associates, and they do not stand the test so well. They laugh at
every vulgar, filthy, and impure word that any one else pretends
to think is funny and wants them to laugh at, or if they do not
laugh out right they give a miserable, cowardly smile. They hear
something said about the faith which they know is a vile
falsehood, but they say nothing in reply; perhaps they even allow
that there is some truth in it.
{25}
It takes a long while for any one to find out that they are
Catholics who does not guess it by their names or know where they
go to church; it takes a great deal longer to find out that they
are supposed to be good ones.

Now, what is the reason of this contemptible sneaking and
meanness in those who ought to be brave and generous soldiers of
Christ? It is just one thing. These people do not love God enough
to dare to displease any one else for his sake. Most of them have
got pluck enough when something else is concerned. They would
resent an insult to themselves; perhaps for years they have not
been on speaking terms with many people on account of some
trifling slight or injury. But when God's honor and love are
concerned, the first breath of disapproval keeps them from
standing up for him, as the reed bends with the gentlest breeze
which strikes it.

Yes, that is the difficulty; these good people do not love God
enough to stand up for him as all Christians worthy of the name
should do. Let them think of this seriously. For if one does not
love God enough to offend bad men for his sake, how can he love
him above all things? And if one does not love God above all
things, how can he be saved?

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

              Sermon V.

      The Immaculate Conception.

{26}

The beautiful feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed
Virgin being so near at hand, let us consider it this morning.
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, then, my dear
brethren, is simply this: that our Blessed Lady, though the
offspring merely of human parents, like the rest of us, and
naturally liable to inherit original sin from them as we have
inherited it from ours, was nevertheless by the special
providence and decree of God entirely preserved from it.

She was preserved from it entirely, I say. This may be understood
in two ways. First, it was never in her. It was not taken from
her at the first moment of her existence, as it has been taken
from us at baptism; no, it was not taken from her, for it was not
in her even at that first moment.

Secondly, she was entirely saved from its effects, not partly, as
we have been. None of its consequences remained in her, as I have
said they do in us. No, she was as if there had never been such a
thing; except that her Son willed that she should suffer together
with him, on account of its being in us.

Now, my brethren, I hope you all understand this; for a great
deal of nonsense is talked about this matter, especially by
Protestants, most of whom have not the least idea what is meant
by the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother, and who yet
object to it just as bitterly as if they did. They either
confound it with her virginal motherhood, in which they
themselves believe and yet seem to object to our believing it, or
they accuse us of saying that she was divine like her Son, our
Lord. If they would only examine they would find that what the
Church teaches is simply this: that our Lady is a creature of God
like ourselves, having no existence at all before the time of her
Immaculate Conception; but that she is a pure and perfect
creature, the most pure and perfect that God has ever made;
immaculate, that is to say, spotless; free from any stain or
imperfection, especially from the fatal stain of original sin.
{27}
And that the reason why God made her so was that she was to be
His own mother, than which no higher dignity can be conceived. If
they object to this, let them do so; but let them at least know
and say what they are objecting to.

Let us hope that some Protestants, at least, will not object to
this doctrine when they understand it. But perhaps some of them
may say: "This is all very good, but what right has the pope, or
any one else at this late day, to make it a part of the Christian
faith?" And it may be that even some Catholics will find the same
difficulty.

I will answer this question now, though it is a little off of our
present subject, on account of the prominence which has been
given to it of late. The answer is simply this: The pope has not
added any thing at all to the Christian faith in defining the
doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. He has no more done so
than the Council of Nicæa did in defining the doctrine of the
Divinity of our Lord.

You remember, my brethren, perhaps, that from this council the
Nicene Creed, which is said or sung at Mass, takes its name. It
was called together to condemn the errors of some who maintained
that our Lord was not truly God. And it solemnly defined that he
was. Very well; was that adding anything to the Christian faith?
Of course not; it was simply declaring what the Christian faith
was, to put an end to the doubts which were arising about it.
That is plain enough, is it not?

{28}

Now what was it that the pope did in defining the Immaculate
Conception? Exactly the same thing. He defined what the faith
really was to put an end to doubts about it. The only difference
was, that those who opposed or doubted the Immaculate Conception
of our Lady were not so much to blame as those who opposed or
doubted the Divinity of our Lord, or even in many cases not at
all to blame. It was not such a prominent part of the faith, and
had been more obscured by time. But the action of the pope and
the council in the two cases was just the same.

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

              Sermon VI.

      The Total Abstinence Pledge.


  _The angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is
  heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou
  shalt call his name John; and thou shalt have joy and gladness,
  and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great
  before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink; and
  he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's
  womb; and he shall convert many of the children of Israel to
  the Lord their God._
  --Luke i. 13-16.


My brethren, the message brought from heaven by an angel deserves
careful examination, because the angel acts as a messenger from
God. A little reflection will convince us that the message
delivered to Zachary by the Angel Gabriel contained a very
peculiar prediction concerning the total abstinence from wine and
strong drink, which St. John the Baptist practised throughout his
life. In other matters no special directions were given
regulating his acts of self-denial.
{29}
No mention is made of his raiment in the angel's message; neither
was any information communicated in regard to his choice of food.
Hence there is a special significance in the declaration which
the Angel Gabriel put forth when he predicted that St. John the
Baptist would abstain from the use of wine and strong drink. This
passage of Holy Scripture, therefore, furnishes a strong proof in
favor of total abstinence. In the Book of Leviticus, x. 9, and in
the Book of Numbers, vi. 2, as well as in the writings of the
prophet Jeremias, xxxv. 61-69, there are texts to be found which
show that total abstinence was recognized long before the birth
of St. John the Baptist. But on account of his intimate relations
with the Holy Family, and on account of the extraordinary
approval bestowed upon him by our Lord, by which he was
canonized, so to speak, before his death, St. John the Baptist is
the most prominent of all the total abstainers mentioned in the
Bible.

Considered as an antidote, an effectual safeguard against the
degrading vice of intemperance, the practice of total abstinence
is now defended not only by examples from Holy Writ, but also on
arguments based on common sense and experience. It is regarded as
the heroic form of the virtue of temperance, which may be
meritoriously practised by those who have never been addicted to
drunkenness. The determination to renounce even the lawful use of
strong drink is especially commendable as a means of
self-preservation for young men. More than any other class of
society, they are assailed by temptations to excessive drinking;
and by unwise and unscrupulous friends they are often taught to
regard drunkenness as a pardonable weakness.
{30}
Undoubtedly, then, it is a wise act for a young man at the
present time to erect a strong barrier, a wall of defence, to
protect himself from a most dangerous and destructive vice. For
occasional and habitual drunkards, however, who wish to reform
and live in state of friendship with God, total abstinence is not
a mere act of heroism, but something indispensably necessary. The
pledge for them is simply a firm purpose of amendment, a
manifestation of their desire to avoid that which they know has
been for them a proximate occasion of sin. In many cases total
abstinence, though it may be a stern remedy, is the only sure
preventive of intemperance, and is imperatively demanded for the
spiritual and temporal welfare of numerous families. The man who
has offended God and debased himself by drunkenness cannot obtain
an unconditional pardon. To obtain forgiveness from God he must
have a sorrow for past offences, a determination to do better in
the future, and a willingness to atone for his sins. What he must
do in the future to secure his safety can be ascertained by
examining his past experience. By the application of these
principles, especially in the tribunal of penance, the growth of
virtue is fostered and the progress of vice is retarded. In this
way the Church proclaims to each individual the great lessons
which St. John taught by the banks of the Jordan. To all of her
children she repeats during this season of Advent the admonition
uttered long ago by the voice crying in the wilderness: Prepare
ye the way of the Lord; make straight his paths.

-------------------
{31}

       _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.

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

{32}

               Sermon VII.

               Bad Company.


In one of his epistles (2 Timothy iii. 1-5) St. Paul speaks of
_dangerous times_ for Christians, when "men shall be lovers
of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient
to parents, ungrateful, wicked, without affection, without peace,
slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, traitors,
stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure more than of God;
having an appearance, indeed, of piety, but denying the power
thereof."

At the present time there is in the world, especially in populous
cities, no small number of men who have the combination of vices
so forcibly described by the Apostle St. Paul. In some places
they may be in the majority, and have the power to enforce their
depraved views on their righteous neighbors. By their slanders
they can revile virtue; by their blasphemies they endeavor to
bring odium on God's plan of ruling the world. Their hatred of
religion is manifested not only in the regulation of personal
affairs, but also in their business methods, and in their
utterances on public questions. If these stubborn, puffed-up
lovers of sensuality, traitors to God, who are without affection
and without peace, could be assigned to a reservation in some
corner of the world, their range of influence would be kept
within a definite area. But they are like their master the devil,
roaming from place to place, every where seeking the destruction
of men's souls.

{33}

Hence it is an important matter, and especially for Catholic
young men, to consider the injurious results of the unavoidable
contact with those in the world who are more or less infected
with erroneous views, or have become the victims of debasing
vices. Such characters are to be found in nearly every department
of business. It often happens that a young man, when he begins to
work, is obliged to enter a sphere beyond the control of his
parents, where he will be in close proximity to blatant infidels,
who claim an intellectual superiority on account of their
unbelief. Business engagements may compel a Catholic young man to
be within hearing of shallow sceptics, who take every opportunity
to ask questions--not to get information, but merely to ventilate
their contempt for all religious teaching. These hostile
influences have produced in many of our young men very deplorable
results. By a sort of indifference, resembling the dry rot, they
have allowed themselves to get into a very unsafe state of mind
regarding their duties to God.

Enlightened self-interest should prompt every young man to keep a
sharp lookout for all that is injurious to him. He may have the
best religious training, together with the virtuous surroundings
of a good home, but these will not be sufficient without his own
personal activity. If he selects by preference heretics and
freethinkers as the companions of his leisure hours; if he is so
puffed up with the idea of his own ability that he can find no
Catholic associates worthy of his notice; if he is so confident
of his own strength that he habitually neglects to receive Holy
Communion, he has become a traitor to the King of Heaven. Our
Lord wants his followers to attain the highest standard of human
excellence.
{34}
To those who love him and fearlessly keep his commandments he
gives the courage which belongs to true manliness; and their
piety has power to surmount every obstacle on the way to heaven.

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

              Sermon VIII.

       The Voice In The Wilderness.

  _Make straight the way of the Lord._
  --John i. 23.


This expression, dear brethren, is no new one in Holy Scripture,
and it fell on no unaccustomed ears. More than seven hundred
years before Jesus Christ the great prophet Isaias spoke about
"the voice of one crying in the desert: Make straight in the
wilderness the paths of our God." Again, three hundred years
later, another prophet, Malachias, wrote: "Behold, I send my
angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face." Again, about
six months before Jesus Christ was born, an aged priest,
Zacharias, took his own little child, who was only eight days
old, in his arms, and in the beautiful hymn of the
_Benedictus_ says of him: "Thou, child, shalt be called the
prophet of the Most High; for thou shalt go before the face of
the Lord to prepare his way."

You know, dear brethren, who this little child was, who was the
burden of all this prophetic song. You know it was St. John the
Baptist. And you know, too, the mighty work he had to do.

And now, in this morning's Gospel, it is St. John the Baptist
himself speaking: "I am the voice of one crying in the
wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord."

{35}

Now, how is this "way of the Lord" to be "made straight" in the
spiritual desert of our hearts? Well, the prophet Isaias tells us
that there are five things which we have to do in this matter:
The first, "every valley shall be exalted"; the second, "every
mountain and hill made low"; the third, "the crooked become
straight"; the fourth, "the rough ways plain"; and the fifth,
"the glory of the Lord revealed."

He begins, you see, by telling us that the valleys must be
exalted. And don't you think that these "valleys" are a very good
likeness of all the things which we have left undone in our
lives? All these abysses of idleness, of neglect, of
carelessness, of indifference, which lie in the wilderness of our
sinful past, these have to be filled up. Christ our Lord cannot
come to us so long as there are such great holes in the road. We
must set to work and "exalt" them by throwing into our religious
life all the pains and care and diligence and faithfulness we
can.

Then there are the "mountains and hills," which must be made low.
For oftentimes, when the Evil One sees that a man cannot be
altogether discouraged from serving God, then he turns round and
persuades him that he _is_ serving God very well indeed;
that he may be proud to think how often he has resisted
temptation, how often overcome difficulties, how often done great
things for Christ's sake.

So arise the vast mountains of pride and self-will and
self-conceit. But be sure our Lord will not climb over these to
come to you. You must first get them out of the way. They must be
made low, if you would enter into life: for it is written, "God
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble."

{36}

Then the "crooked places"--I suppose you know what they are--all
crooked ways of lying and deceit and untruthfulness. We call a
truthful person _straightforward_, because he does not turn
about to this side or to that in what he says, but goes straight
to the truth. Well, whatever is not straightforward is crooked,
and the crooked path is one which Christ will not walk in. So we
must try every day to go on more and more straightforwardly with
what God would have us do, according to the saying in the
Proverbs, "Let thine eyes look straight on, ... decline not to
the right hand, nor to the left, and the Lord will bring forward
thy ways in peace."

Once more: there are the "rough places." Rough tempers, rough
words, and rough manners; such feelings as spite, and anger, and
ill nature, and revenge; as cutting and cruel words, and
quarrelling and fighting. Such rough places must be made very
plain and smooth if the road is to be fitted for the feet of our
meek and gentle Lord.

And, lastly: "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed." So shall
it indeed be to those that are found worthy to enter into the
kingdom of heaven. But what that glory is who shall tell? St.
John could not. "Beloved," he says, "we are now the sons of God;
and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be." St. Paul could
not, for when he was caught up into heaven he tells us that he
heard words "which it is not granted to man to utter." Isaias
could not. "From the beginning of the world," he says, "they have
not heard; the eye hath not seen, O God! besides thee, what
things thou hast prepared for them that wait for thee." All we
know is, that this glory shall be very great. And if we serve God
faithfully here we shall one day see it, and shall one day know.
We shall awake after his likeness and be satisfied therewith.

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

{37}

              Sermon IX.

               Penance.


  _For now the axe is laid to the root of the tree._
  --Matthew. iii. 10.

St. John Baptist, my brethren, as you know, retired to the desert
at an early age, and led there an austere and solitary life,
eating coarse and unpalatable food, abstaining from wine and
strong drink, cutting off all unnecessary enjoyments of the
senses, and giving himself up to prayer and meditation. What was
his special motive in this extraordinary course of penance? It
was that he might worthily prepare himself for the office which
had been as signed to him--that of disposing men's hearts to
recognize and receive our Lord when he should come as their
Redeemer. It was by penance alone that those hearts could be so
disposed, and he was to be specially the apostle of penance;
hence he had to give a signal example of it in his own person;
for preaching, however eloquent, is of comparatively little
effect unless the preacher practises the virtues to which he
exhorts others; and the power of his preaching will be in
proportion to the illustration which it finds in his own life.

{38}

Therefore, though it was not necessary for St. John, sanctified
as he was even before his birth, to cut off all other sources of
pleasure in order to fill his soul with the joy that comes from
the love of God, and though he had no sins to atone for, for his
life had been free from blame, still he took up this course of
penance in order to show forth even more plainly than by his
words the need that his hearers would have, in their measure, to
do likewise, if they were to share in the redemption to come.

For now, as he told them, the axe was to be laid to the root of
the tree. God's chosen people, the Jews, whom he had specially
watched over for so many years, whom he had often chastised and
corrected, and had brought back to his favor when they profited
by his visitations, they were no more to be thus dealt with. The
tree which had sprung from the seed of Abraham was not to be
allowed any longer to stand with merely some lopping and pruning;
no, now, if it still would not bring forth the good fruit of a
thorough and genuine penance, it was to be cut down and cast into
the fire. It was the supreme test which was approaching; if the
people whom he had chosen would stand it, they should still
retain their place; otherwise they should be rejected as a
nation, and only those among them who would truly turn to their
God should be saved.

My brethren, St. John is still preaching this doctrine of penance
to us. The Church of the New Law is not on her trial, as was that
of the Old; no, her Divine Founder has promised that she shall
endure to the end of the world. But we, each one of us, have to
take the words of his precursor to ourselves. We are called by
the name of Christ; yes, but that will not save us. St. John said
to the Jews: "Think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham
for our father." So we are not to think ourselves as belonging to
Christ, unless we have cast out from our hearts and souls what
puts a fatal obstacle to his entrance into them. His axe will be
laid to our root also, unless we on our part lay the axe to the
root of our sins.

{39}

What is this root of sin in us? It is just this desire of sensual
indulgence against which St. John in his life as well as in his
doctrine came to make the strongest of protests. If we wish not
to bring forth the fruits of sin, we must lay the axe to its
root. We must practise penance and mortification, not indeed
always to the degree in which he practised it, but at least so
far as it is necessary that we may keep the law of God. We must
not dally with those things which are dangerous to us, innocent
though they may be to others. Our Lord has told us that if even
our eyes and hands themselves are an occasion of sin we must
pluck them out or cut them off; if, then, there be anything we
enjoy, but can really do with out, we must not make a pretext of
the good use which we might make of it if it really is plain that
we will abuse it, but must resolutely cast it away. If we would
avoid the bitter fruit which will naturally grow we must lay the
axe to the root of the tree.

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

{40}

         _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.

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

{41}

              Sermon X.

          Fruits Of Penance.


  _Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance._
  --Matthew. iii. 8.


St. John Baptist in these words, my dear brethren, teaches us, as
he taught those who came to him, that penance, if it be true and
genuine, must bring forth its proper fruit. Every repentance, if
it be sincere, every confession, if it be really good, must be
followed by a good life. If any confession is not so followed, it
must needs be a delusion; though it should have been accompanied
by torrents of tears, and the sins exposed as perfectly as God
himself knows them.

And, moreover, the tree which brings forth the good fruit should
continue to bear it; it should not only for a few days or weeks
give this proof that it is what it should be, and then have him
who planted it come to seek fruit on it and find none.

Yet how often do we find sinners who come to confession with what
would seem to be the best dispositions very soon back just where
they were before! How discouraging it is to the priest to find
the fruits of a mission which seemed to be so promising reduced
down almost to nothing for so many who seemed to profit by it; to
spend long hours, to wear away his strength, instructing,
exhorting, and absolving, and to have so little return from his
labor for God and for souls!

{42}

What is the reason of all this failure of what began so well? Of
course it is partly that the tree planted by the grace of God in
the Sacrament of Penance was not tended afterwards. Its life was
not supplied to it, as it should have been, by the frequent
renewal of confession and reception of Holy Communion. But there
was a difficulty further back than that; a want of something at
the start, which, indeed, was the reason that the sacraments were
not regularly received. What was this difficulty? It was a want
of a thorough earnestness; of an understanding of the greatness
of the work that was undertaken, and of a real determination to
sacrifice everything in order to accomplish it.

It is a great undertaking which one commits one's self to in
coming to reconcile himself with God after a sinful life. The
task is not merely to examine his conscience, to tell his sins
plainly and without concealment, and to feel heartily sorry for
them; that is a great part of it, but by no means all. There is a
great deal left, and that is to leave them for good; to quit
company with them for ever. And this is not such an easy matter.
When, one has lived so that his whole pleasure has been in sin,
in drunkenness and debauchery, in filthy conversation, in bad
actions and bad thoughts, it will perhaps seem almost like giving
up life itself to part with them. The penitent sinner has not all
at once become an angel; his whole nature has been warped and
twisted out of place by sin, and, though the guilt of the sin has
gone, the effects are there; his soul, like a limb out of joint,
has much to suffer before it can get set right again.

A man must make up his mind, when he comes to serve God after
serving the devil, that he has got an uphill road to travel; if
he does not, he will not persevere. Labor and suffering,
self-denial and mortification, he has to face these manfully. His
consolation, his happiness, as well as his strength, have got to
come from God.
{43}
If one understands this he will seek that happiness and that
strength again where he first found it--in confession and
Communion. But if he does not, if he thinks that all will go
right now without any more trouble, his old nature and habits
will claim their dues, and he will soon be back in his sins
again.

Yes, we must cut right down to the root of sin if we wish to
bring forth the fruits of penance, and must make up our minds to
suffer the pain that this cutting will bring. Occasions of sin
must be avoided, appetites must be denied, contempt and ridicule
must be faced; we must pray, we must struggle, we must resist
even to blood; we must put our former life to death, that Christ
may live in us. For, as St. Paul tells us: "If we be dead with
him, we shall live also with him; if we suffer, we shall also
reign with him." There is no other way.

Let us not shrink from this pain and this conflict; that would be
the greatest mistake of all. But let us understand it, that when
the trial comes, as it surely will, it may not find us
unprepared.

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

              Sermon XI.

       Preparation For Christmas.


    _Prepare ye the way of the Lord._
    --Matthew iii. 3

We are such unprofitable servants that we have much to do to
prepare the way of the Lord in our hearts. If we have done all
that is required of us we are, nevertheless, unprofitable
servants, and unless we believe this we are spiritually blind.

{44}

The better the opinion which we have of ourselves the worse is
our spiritual condition. The good opinion, than which nothing can
be more false, which we have of ourselves prepares the way for a
fall into sin.

The way of the Lord, the way of salvation, is found by humility,
which always leads to penance.

The holy Council of Trent says that "the whole Christian life
ought to be a perpetual penance." How few realize this, because
they think they are what they really are not! Now, if penance be
the life of the Christian in the state of grace, it must be a
crying necessity for one who is in the state of sin. What food is
to the starving man penance is to the soul in this unhappy state.

Penance is the preparation required of us for the coming feast of
Christmas. This is the lesson of Advent. For four weeks the
purple vestments, the prayers and ceremonies of the church, and
the fasts on Fridays have been appealing to our eyes and ears, if
not to our hearts, to prepare in this way. The wise man views the
obligation which he is under to do penance as very urgent. He
banishes timidity and cowardice and puts his hand to the plough
with courage and confidence.

The foolish man hates to hear of penance, because his passions
have got the mastery. When asked to keep the commandments and
fulfil the duties of his state, he says: "I cannot." To bridle
his passions and give up bad habits seem to him too hard a task.

{45}

Now, if you should consult any man who has done penance
faithfully, so as to persevere in God's grace for years, he would
say the foolish man's view of penance is a false one. God is more
merciful and lenient than we imagine. It is the devil who dresses
up penance as something repulsive.

In urging upon you to prepare for Christmas by penance my first
words are: "Take courage." "Taste and see how sweet the Lord is."

St. Leo says "the cause of the reparation which we make for our
sins is the mercy of God." It is our way of loving him who first
loved us. How well the prophet Isaias describes this penance when
he says: "The Lord says, I will lead the blind in the way in
which they have not known; in the ways which they have not known
I will make them walk. I will change their darkness into light,
their crooked ways into ways that are straight, I will accomplish
these words in them and will not abandon them. I am found," says
God, "by those not seeking me, and I have appeared openly to
those who have not asked for me."

We see by these words how much the grace of God assists us, and
how God mercifully forgets our past sins when we do penance
sincerely.

But our penance must be sincere. We must "bring forth fruit
worthy of penance," says St. John the Baptist, the precursor of
our Lord.

It matters not if we are "the offspring of vipers," as the holy
Baptist called the multitude who approached him for penance,
provided "we lay the axe to the root of the tree."

Now, the words of the prophet, instead of repelling sinners,
attracted them. The publicans who were farthest from God came and
asked: "Master, what shall we do?" And they received the gentle
...

{46}
[Page 46 missing]
{47}
[Page 47 missing]
{48}

... which should be our chief one at Christmas, now that the days
of innocent childhood are past. We do not hate sin from our
hearts; we even cling to it; at best we make compromises with it.
Mortal sin, perhaps, we try to avoid, but venial faults do not
trouble us; this is the best that can be said for most of what
may be called good Christians. And how many there are who come
outwardly to worship before the manger of Bethlehem, but with
hearts entirely turned from their God, who lies there in cold and
poverty for their sakes, pleading with them for his sake to give
up their sinful habits! How many go on offending him at this holy
time, with out repentance, almost without remorse!

Hatred of sin; yes, that is what we want if we would be happy at
Christmas. And now is the time to learn to hate it. For surely
the love of God comes easier to us now, if we will only try to
obtain it, than at any other time, unless, perhaps, on Good
Friday, when we see the sacrifice now begun accomplished. And the
love of God is the hatred of sin, which is the only thing which
he hates, the one cause of all his pain.

Do not let this Christmas go by, then, my dear brethren, without
the joy which should come with it. Do not let this opportunity
pass of acquiring that love of our dear Lord which will make you
really hate and trample under foot all that offends him, and
which will make you rejoice beyond measure that he has put it in
your power to do so. Pray, now, at least that you may learn to
love him; that you may enter into the joy of knowing not merely
that he can save you, but that he has saved you from your sins.

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

{49}

  _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.
{50}
  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.

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

              Sermon XIII.

             Christmas Joy.


  _Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy._
  --Luke ii. 10.


There is hardly any one, my brethren, who lives where this feast
of Christmas is kept who does not feel a special joy in it. Why
do we say that "Christmas comes but once a year," if not because
we feel that there is nothing else that can take its place? We
look forward to it months beforehand; when it comes, we keep it
as long as we can and let it go with regret. Why is it that it
has such a warm place in our hearts?

Is it merely that it is by common consent a great holiday; that
it is a breathing-place in the bustle and hurry of life, a time
for meeting our friends, for giving and receiving tokens of
affection and regard, a time of feasting and making merry? This
has some thing to do with it, but it is not all. For if this were
all it would be possible to make by law a holiday like this,
which no one has ever succeeded in doing. The early settlers of
this country, in a mistaken zeal against church festivals,
endeavored to make a substitute for Christmas; but the failure of
their attempt has driven their descendants back to the observance
of this feast, though not to the church which gives it to them.

{51}

Yes, we all feel that the joy of Christmas is a thing not made to
order. It comes from a source which lies in the very mystery
which we commemorate; and, even though we do not meditate or
reflect on it, the stream from this source diffuses itself
through our life and sweetens all the other joys which come at
this time. And they come because of it; we make merry outwardly
because we are, and have cause to be glad at heart.

And what is this cause and source of joy? Is it because Christ
our Lord has come to save us from sin and eternal ruin? No, it is
not simply that; for we celebrate our salvation, our redemption,
our ransom from the power of death and hell more specially at
Easter than now. That is the festival of our Lord's triumph and
our deliverance; it should and does open heaven to our souls, and
give them a promise and almost a foretaste of it. But still it
does not come home to our hearts as this beautiful time of
Christmas does.

And no wonder; for at Easter we cannot but feel that our Lord,
though triumphant and glorious, and promising us a share in his
triumph and glory, still is separated from us. He has passed the
portals of death, he has risen from the grave, he has put on
immortality. We cannot follow him where he has gone till we have
freed ourselves from all the stains of earth, till we have been
purified and washed by penance in his Precious Blood. He has
passed from mortal to immortal life, and it is the raising of the
mortal to the immortal, of earth to heaven, that Easter
celebrates.
{52}
And this, though indeed it is the object of all our hope, is so
high that we, sinners that we are, cannot fully make it our
present joy. But Christmas is heaven come down to earth. It is
the God of heaven condescending to us; taking our weakness upon
him, sympathizing with us, and asking us for sympathy and love.
He hides his majesty and glory; he veils the splendor of his
face; he puts aside all that could distinguish him from
ourselves. He invites us to come to him with out fear; he asks
only that, sinful though we be, we should try to love him as he
loves us. Christmas is the sight of the Creator begging for the
love of his creatures, and humbling himself that he may obtain
it; that is the reason why it goes to the heart of all who have
any heart to give.

Let us then, in this happy season, enter into this joy which is
the cause of all the rest which we have, which is so easy for us,
which has come to our doors, and only asks that it should be let
in. But let the love which goes with it be not a mere passing
feeling, to bear no fruit in our lives. Let it bring us indeed to
him who has come down to us; let our joy be crowned and perfected
by a real return of our hearts to him who has done so much to win
them; let us receive him in deed and in truth in his holy
sacraments, and never let him go again.

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

              Sermon XIV.

              New Year's Eve.


   _Be sober._
   2 Timothy. iv. 5.

{53}

Brethren, those two little words of St. Paul in the epistle of
to-day contain excellent advice, especially to-day, on the eve of
the new year. How much woe it would hinder, how many families it
would save from ruin, how many souls from hell, could they be
made a common watchword in any large city in this country during
the year 1883!

But do you wish me to tell you the easiest way to be sober? It is
to take the total abstinence pledge. What does a man do when he
takes the pledge? Just what the farmer does who, seeing that his
fence is about high enough to keep the cattle out of the grain,
makes it just one rail higher; for he knows that there may be one
beast wilder than the rest who will leap over an ordinary fence.
So a prudent man, seeing the ravages of the vice of intemperance
among his friends, dreads some taint of it hidden in his own
nature; dreads some moment of weakness during the passing of the
convivial glass, or during some depression of spirits or foolish
mirth. So he puts all danger out of the question by the pledge.
For if there be danger from an inherited appetite or from a
convivial disposition, or from prosperity or adversity, there is
no mistake about this: the man who does not drink a single drop
cannot drink too much.

But again: what does a man do who takes the pledge? Just what the
kind mother does who wants to induce her sick child to take the
bitter medicine--she tastes it herself. The pledge is taken by a
man who may not need it for his own sake, but who loves another
who does need it. It is taken in order to give good example. It
is not only a preventive for one's self, but for those who may be
led by our influence. It is one great means that fathers and
mothers use in order to save their children from the demon of
drunkenness.
{54}
Oh! how pleasing to God are those parents who practise total
abstinence by way of good example! Oh! how blessed is the home
from which intoxicating drink has been utterly banished! How wise
are those parents who thus teach their children that intoxicating
drink, though it may be used with innocence, must always be used
with caution! Children reared in such a home know well enough how
to avoid treating, frequenting saloons, and convivial habits of
every sort. Such parents not only obey the Apostle's injunction,
"Be sober," but do the very best possible thing to induce those
whom they love to obey it also.

But once more: what does a man do who takes the pledge? He offers
something to God in atonement for the sin of drunkenness. And
herein is the best use of the pledge. It combines all the other
good purposes of it. It puts the top rail of double safety on the
fence that keeps the beast out of the garden of the soul; it sets
up the strong inducement of good example; but more than all it
consecrates everything to God by uniting it to our Lord's thirst
on the cross.

Brethren, why was it that, when our Lord suffered agony of soul,
he complained in such words as would be apt to move the drunkard
more than any other sinner: "O my Father! if it be possible, let
this _cup_ pass from me." "O my Father! if this _cup_
may not pass away from me except I _drink_ it, thy will be
done." Is there no special significance in his choice of those
words? And listen to the account St. John gives of our Lord's
physical agony: "Jesus, knowing that all things were accomplished
that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, saith, _I thirst!_
... And they filled a sponge with vinegar and put it to his
mouth.
{55}
When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar he said: It is
finished! And he bowed his head and gave up the ghost." Thirst
was the only bodily torment he complained of. Had he no special
purpose in this?

So the man who takes the pledge suffers thirst in union with
Christ and for the love of God to atone for sins of drunkenness.

That is why it does not settle the matter against taking the
pledge when one can say he does not need it. Our Lord had no need
to suffer thirst. He could say, I own all the cool fountains in
the world, and all the strengthening wine of the world is mine,
and I might drink and never need to thirst for my own sake; but I
love the poor drunkard, and for his sake I will die thirsting for
a cool drink and tasting only bitter vinegar. And the Catholic
total abstainer says: "O Lord! permit me to bear thee company in
thy bitter thirst."

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

              Sermon XV.

   The Feast Of The Holy Innocents.

  _And Herod sending killed all the men-children that were in
  Bethlehem and in all the confines thereof from two years old
  and younger._
  --Matthew ii. 16


Who is not shocked by the recital of Herod's cruelty? Carried
away by pride and ambition, and the fear of losing what he had
usurped, this tyrant tried to put to death the King of Kings by
the murder of the holy innocents. Who in our day are like Herod?
Those who murder innocent children.
{56}
Fiendish mothers, desiring, perhaps, to cover their shame or to
escape the labor of bearing and bringing up children, take the
lives of their unborn infants. Those, too, who knowingly sell or
give or advise the use of drugs calculated to destroy the life of
the unborn--all such commit Herod's crime. Yet how often this
crime is nowadays committed!

Woe to these wretches! Woe to the Herod-like physicians who, for
any reason whatsoever, directly prescribe or use means to prevent
child-birth! Herod met his punishment in a bad death, and his
soul went into a hell of eternal torments. What must the
murderers of little children expect?

But I have another cruelty to cry out against. It is that of
those who destroy the "little ones of Christ" by neglecting to
instruct their little children in the way of salvation. The law
of God requires that children as soon as they have the use of
reason, which is about the age of seven years, should know the
elements of the Christian doctrine, should know the necessity of
avoiding sin, and should be taught the practice of virtue; also,
that children, as soon as they are able to sufficiently profit by
receiving Holy Communion, should do so. No child should ever be
allowed to go beyond the age of twelve years without having made
First Communion. Many can receive First Communion at nine or ten
years of age, and perhaps younger. Confirmation should be
received as soon as First Communion. Parents are guilty before
God if they do not require their children to keep the
commandments of God and his church from their earliest years
until they leave the parents charge. How many parents do their
little ones a deadly injury by not sending them regularly to
Sunday-school!
{57}
What is it to bring up children to burn in the flames of hell for
ever, as some Christian parents do? It is simply soul-murder. It
deserves no better name. Have you been guilty of soul-murder? If
so, hasten to repair the evil as much as you can. You can never
do it wholly, but you must do what you can. There is yet another
cruelty towards "the little ones" of Christ. It is to scandalize
them by your bad example. Instead of learning by your example to
adore our Blessed Lord, to love and reverence his Blessed Mother
and the saints, they, perhaps, learn to take God's holy name in
vain. Your falsehoods teach them to lie; your dishonesty teaches
them to steal. Your anger and quarrelling teach them to be
stubborn and disobedient. Ah! Christian parents, be careful how
you hang this millstone of scandalizing the little ones of Christ
about your necks.

Finally, you destroy your children by not correcting their
faults. You wink at the evil which they do. You fail to punish
them, regardless of God's honor and their good. If you do punish
them, it is not "correction in the Lord," but you do it to
gratify your satanic rage. Some fathers and mothers are not
worthy of the name. The dignity and responsibility of fathers and
mothers are very great. See that you are faithful to the
obligations which belong to your high and holy state.

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

{58}

              _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 inquired 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."
{59}
  Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, inquired 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 XVI.

      The Testimony Of The Spirit.


  _For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God
  they are the Sons of God._
  --Romans viii. 14.


The end of our pilgrimage, like that of the three wise men, my
brethren, is union with our Lord. Of course union with God,
through his power and his being present everywhere, always
exists, whether we are his friends or not. But the state of grace
is the union of love. By that union God rules our souls. By that
union the Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the most Holy
Trinity, really dwells within us. In the state of grace we are
brought into loving contact with the divine Spirit.
{60}
Now the Apostle, in the words of our text, wishes to teach us one
effect of that wonderful union. "For the Spirit himself giveth
testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God." That is to
say, when the Holy Spirit enters into your heart he announces his
coming, he assures you of his friendship, he excites within you a
sentiment of filial affection for your Heavenly Father. How could
it be otherwise? Could God be long in our hearts and we be
altogether ignorant of it? Of course he does not take away the
natural fickleness of our minds; the star sometimes shines
faintly, or even for a while disappears from view. God does not
reveal himself as he is; he does not interfere at all with his
external work in the holy church; he does not substitute his
interior action on the soul for that exterior action of visible
authority and sacramental symbols. It is, indeed, by means of
this external order that the Holy Spirit enters into our hearts;
it is, besides, only by means of the church's divine marks, her
divine testimony, her divine influence in the sacraments, that we
can be quite sure that Almighty God has come down into our souls.
Yet the Holy Spirit really has a secret career within us. "Deep
calleth unto deep"; that is, the infinite love of God calls into
life our little love. He has his inner church in our souls, so to
speak; or rather he brings into his spiritual and hidden temple
all that is outside, spiritualizes the external order, joins the
purely mental with the sacramental, and, having set our faces in
the right direction and started our feet moving in the right
road, he sets us to thinking right, he stirs up noble
aspirations, he purifies our feelings, and finally gives us
testimony that it is really himself, the Spirit of God, who has
thus been at work making our inner life such as befits the sons
of God.

{61}

Now, my brethren, as I said before, this testimony of God within
us is not like the splendors of Paradise bursting upon the soul;
nor is it so very plain as to be able to stand alone without the
external criterion of his church as a testimony of God's
friendship, except now and then in the case of some great saint.
Yet there are many things in our inner life that, if we study
them over a little, show that God has been acting upon us. What
else is that wonder of the world called the faith of Catholics?
Who else but the Spirit of God could give such power to believe
very mysterious truths, such a stability to wavering minds, such
a humility of belief to proud minds? And what except divine love
could be as sweet as the taste the soul enjoys in the reception
of the sacraments? Call to mind the utter transformation of soul
that so often takes place at First Communion; remember the flood
of divine influence at your Christian marriage; remember how
after that death-bed scene your broken heart was cured of its
despair when you turned to God; remember how at missions or
during seasons of penance, or at one or other festival, it seemed
to you that heaven was beginning before its time. All this is
God's work on your life. The tender emotion at hearing the divine
promises, the loving regret for sin, the joy of forgiveness, the
imagination filled--plainly by no human means--with images of
celestial peace, the understanding as clear of doubts as heaven
of clouds, the will strong and easily able to keep good
resolutions, sometimes the very body sharing the lightness and
vigor of the soul--what is all this but the embrace of the Holy
Spirit?
{62}
And if one says _he_ does not feel it, and yet hopes he is
in the state of grace, I answer that he will not be long deprived
of it. Or it may be he is tepid; his soul is not able to feel any
more than a hand benumbed with cold; his ear not hearing because
his attention is too much fixed on the voices of the world to
hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. His eye is too much dazzled by
the false glitter of the world to catch sight of the star that
leads to our Lord's feet.

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

              Sermon XVII.

         Following God's Guidance.


  _Be ye, therefore, followers of God,
  as most dear children._
  --Ephesians. v. 1.


My dear brethren, these are not words of counsel or good advice;
they are words of command, written by St. Paul. This command is
to follow God, and to follow him as most dear children,
obediently as the Magi did of old. What is it to follow God? It
is to do at least as much as we do when we follow any one great
man. How do we act then? We seek to be with him a great deal. We
listen to his every word. We do as he does. We adopt his views of
things. We repeat what he teaches. Neither do we dare to differ
from him, for fear that people will say that we have no sense;
nor do we venture to act in any manner opposed to his ways of
doing. In a few words, a man who is followed is the leader in
fashion, in taste, and style. Everybody approves his ways, and
imitates them.
{63}
His friends have also the friendship of the world, simply because
they are his friends. Any one whom he approves and recommends is
listened to and followed because he has recommended him. If we
want to follow God, he does not really require, outwardly, any
more than men require of us to follow them.

But how can we do this?

First: Seek to be with God a great deal. Where is he, that we may
find him? God is everywhere, and is always found by looking for
him and seeking for him diligently in prayer; for prayer keeps us
near to God and God near to us. And he is always on the altar:
hear Mass not only on Sundays but now and then on week days;
visit the Blessed Sacrament.

Secondly: Listen to his every word. God speaks to our souls in
prayer, not with a voice like the voice of a man, but in his own
sweet and quiet way. We must listen attentively to hear the
gentle words of God, not with our outward ears of the body, but
with the ability to hear that is within our souls; the ability of
the soul to hear the voice of a spirit speaking to our spirit.
God also speaks to us through his Holy Word in the Sacred
Scriptures, in the Epistle and Gospel set apart for each Sunday
of the year, in the writings of holy men and women, in the
teachings of Christian parents and friends. But the most
important way in which God has taught, and continues to teach us
all, is by means of his church. When we listen to her words, in
sermons and other instructions, we hear the Word of God.

{64}

Thirdly: Do as God does. Try to be like him, and him alone. Take
care to do always the thing that is right. Try hard to be loving,
merciful, forgiving, and gentle to all, even your enemies. When
we have anything to do, we must say, Would God do this way or
that way? When we meet with cruel treatment from others, with
ingratitude and base injustice from those we love, we must say at
once, How does God treat those who do these things? How does he
treat me, notwithstanding my many, many sins? I shall go and do
to these bad people as he has done to me. I shall even bless
them, as he has blessed me.

Lastly: If we want to follow God, at least as well as we follow a
great man whom we have made a leader among us, we are sure to
honor his friends, and obey those he sends to us in his name. Who
are these? Not only all good people, but especially our pastors
and spiritual directors. The pastor or parish priest is a man
sent by God to make sure of the success of God's work in his
parish. Any one who follows God in that parish unites heart and
soul with his priest to help him carry out his plans. If any one
wants to get the greatest amount of merit for his good deeds, he
is sure to get it by following first these plans. For the priest
stands as a father among his children. He knows the good and the
bad, the rich and the poor. He knows what is best for each. He is
the best adviser as to what ought to be done, and as to the way
it is to be done. In charities he is certainly the best leader.
Private works and charities are good, it is true; but the first
duty, after one's own necessities are cared for, is to follow the
order of God, in aiding the parish work through the parish priest
and his assistants. We may safely say that one act done for God,
in union with those put over us by him, is worth in heaven, and
here also, many good works done simply because we like to do them
our own way.

{65}

To follow God, then, is to follow as dear children. We must
consent to be led by God in all things connected with duty, just
as little children are led by their fathers and mothers. We must
take care, at least, that we follow his lead, and not show more
honor to others than we do to him.

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

{66}

     _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.
{67}
  And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us?
  behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 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.

           The Christian Home.


  _He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
  and was subject to them. ...
  And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, and grace
  with God and men._
  --Gospel of the Day.


In these few words, my brethren, the sacred writer raises the
veil that conceals the mysteries of our Lord's hidden life, and
gives us an insight into the domestic concerns of the Holy Family
at Nazareth. Jesus lived with Mary and Joseph. He was obedient
and subject to them, and so he advanced in age and wisdom and
grace with God and men. The door of the holy house is opened to
us, but only for a moment, so that we might get a glimpse of the
domestic life of a model family. Joseph, the father, day by day
works at his trade to support the family. He rises in the
morning; gives his soul to God in prayer. He toils through the
day. He comes home at night to enjoy his rest in the company of
Jesus and Mary. He meets with trials, but he is patient; he is
tempted, but he sins not; he leads a busy life, but he still
finds time to pray.
{68}
Mary, the mother, tends the household duties, with care and
precision, and by her sweet, kind ways diffuses an air of peace
and contentment throughout the home. Jesus, the child, is
affectionate and submissive to his parents in everything. Here is
the model of a true Christian home. Its ground work is the love
of God; it is surrounded by an atmosphere of virtue, and to its
members it is the holiest and dearest spot on earth. Such should
our homes be.

The true Christian home is to society what the sanctuary is to
the church of God. The parents are the priests in this sanctuary.
It was God who ordained them priests when they stood before the
altar with clasped hands and promised that they would be faithful
to each other while life lasts. The Blessed Sacrament of this
sanctuary is the Sacrament of Matrimony. It is the great
treasure-house of supernatural strength to the married couple.

The perpetual presence of our Lord in this sanctuary is by his
grace, which is never wanting.

The altar in this sanctuary is the hearthstone around which the
family gathers. The communion-rail in this sanctuary is the
family table, from which are dispensed the necessities of life.

There is about the sanctuary in the church of God an atmosphere
of piety and reverence. It has a sanctity that no stranger dare
violate; it has a privacy which no one but he who has a right
dare invade. Such an atmosphere should be about the sanctuary of
home. A priest would never allow a heretic or an infidel to sit
in the sanctuary of God. He would never allow a corrupt man to
stand on the altar of God. Take care, then, Christian parents,
how you violate the sanctity of your homes.
{69}
Take care what heretical or infidel books you allow to pass the
gate of that sanctuary. Take care what bad newspapers you allow
within its sacred precincts. Take care of the persons whom you
allow to stand around your family altar. It is one thing, you
know, to be obliged to meet a man in every-day life; it is a far
different thing to invite him to your home, and permit him to
violate its sanctity.

It is the duty of a priest on the altar of God, by his good
example, to edify his flock; to stand at all times before his
people a bright, shining light of Christian virtues. So, too, it
is your duty, priests at the family altar, to be a model of all
virtues to your children, so that they might learn from you what
it is to be a Christian. Would it not be horrible for a man to
come in on the altar and utter repeated curses? Would it not be
fearful to see him stagger up to the altar of God in the state of
intoxication? It happened once while Mass was going on, during
the Elevation, while all heads were bowed in humble adoration, a
drunken man rushed into the church, and in a loud voice uttered a
horrible oath. It made the hearts of the good Catholic people
stand still, and their blood ran cold in their veins. Is it any
the less horrible for a father to come home intoxicated to the
household sanctuary, or a mother, when anything goes wrong in the
house, to give vent to her wrath in harsh language and sometimes
even cursing?

See to it, then, dear parents; make your homes holy places--real
sanctuaries, where you can do your duty as priests of our
All-Holy God. Keep from them all evil influences, so that they
might be places where even the Child Jesus would not be ashamed
to dwell.

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

{70}

              Sermon XIX.

      Jesus Teaching In The Temple.


  _And not finding him,
  they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him._
  --Luke ii. 45

The Gospel of to-day tells us, my brethren, how our Blessed Lady
and St. Joseph lost Jesus on their way home from Jerusalem, where
they had gone with him to keep the feast of the pasch, and how in
great distress they returned to the city in search of him. What
fears and anxieties must have filled their minds as they thought
of the many enemies which he had among the rulers of the people,
jealous of his promised kingdom, and of the harm which they would
try to do him if they recognized him for the child whom Herod had
sought to destroy! And how perplexed Mary and Joseph must have
been that he who had hitherto saved himself by their protection
should at this tender age abandon them and remove himself from
their care! Had they not shown enough love and care for him? Had
they proved themselves unworthy of him? Surely it could not be
his purpose when so young to begin his great work. Would he not
at least have told them if such had been his plan?

No, our Lord did not propose to begin his mission then; for,
though he was indeed God, he was also then a child, and that
mission was not a child's work. But he did wish to show them that
his great work even then filled his heart and soul; that the fire
of love for us, which brought him to the cross, was consuming him
even in childhood. "Did you not know," he said to them when they
found him, "that I must be about my Father's business?" "How is
it that you sought me?" "You might have known," he seems to say,
"that, if I were not with you, I must be in the temple speaking
to my people of their God."

{71}

He also wished to give them an opportunity of merit by showing
the love of God which filled their souls, too. For their grief
was not the common grief of parents who have lost a child, great
as that trouble is. It was the loss of the Divine Presence which
affected them beyond measure. God had been with them for all
those years as never with any one else, and now he had left them,
they could not tell why or for how long. They would not have
spared him for an hour, even to their kinsfolk and friends, with
whom they thought he was, except for charity; and now he had left
them, perhaps for the rest of their lives, which were worth
nothing without him.

Would that we loved God, my brethren, as they loved him; that he
were the light and consolation of our lives, as he was of theirs!
Let us think of this as we reflect on their pain and anguish in
that weary search for the visible presence of him whose grace
was, after all, always in their souls. How is it with us? Would
we care for this presence which they so bitterly missed? Would it
not, perhaps, even be a painful restraint? Do we care, as it is,
to be near Jesus? Is his presence in the Blessed Sacrament of the
altar a consolation to us? We revere that real Presence of our
Lord, but do we love it? If so, why do we not seek it more?

Do we even care for his presence by grace in our souls, which
they always had in its fulness, and never dimmed by the shadow of
sin? To lose that, had it been possible, would have been a
thousand deaths to them; what is it to us? How easily do we lose
that grace; how little do we care to regain it!

{72}

Oh! let us at least imitate our Blessed Mother and her Holy
Spouse as far as this. If we do not love to be with Jesus as they
did, let us at least seek to have him with us by his grace. If we
have lost him, let us seek him, and not be weary till we find
him; let us not rest till he comes again to our souls, never to
leave them again.

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

              Sermon XX.

     How Our Saviour Takes Away Sin.


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

After our Blessed Lord was baptized by St. John the Baptist,
beloved brethren, he retired into the desert, where he remained
forty days in prayer and fasting. At the end of this time he
directed his steps towards the river Jordan, where John was
baptizing. Here a large concourse of the Jewish people had
assembled to listen to the preaching of the forerunner of Christ.
In the midst of these St. John, inspired by the spirit of God,
and professing his deep and ardent faith, testified of our Lord
that he is the Lamb of God, and that it is he who taketh away the
sins of the world.

{73}

What a glorious testimony this, and how cheerfully received by
the fervent Christian! Have you ever pondered over these
beautiful words, and made them the subject of your meditation?
Have you ever tried to find out their true meaning, and thus make
them profitable to your souls? Yes, truly, Jesus Christ is the
Lamb of God. He is the Lamb slain from the beginning of the
world. For you and for me he voluntarily left the bosom of his
Father, and lowered and even debased himself by assuming a nature
like our own. For us he endured the sufferings and privations of
his childhood; for us he sent up many heartfelt prayers to God
the Father before the beginning of his public life; for us he
labored and preached; for us he suffered the ingratitude of his
disciples, the ignominies of the Jews, the insults of the
soldiers, the hardships of the journey to Calvary, and, finally,
ended his torments on the cross, with the cry "_Consummatum
est_--It is finished." This, and much more, did our Blessed
Lord gladly undergo for us all. And how have you, dear brethren,
requited such infinite love? Fathers, are you solicitous for the
little household which Almighty God himself has so fondly
entrusted to your care? Then are you imitators of the patience
and endurance of your Saviour during his bitter passion. Mothers,
do you strive to make yourselves patterns of the Christian
virtues of gentleness and forbearance? Then do you imitate the
example of your Lord in bearing the defects of others and
treating them with kindness and compassion. Oh! how watchful
would we not be, dear brethren, could we but understand the
infinite love our Lord Jesus Christ manifested for us during his
life on earth! But St. John not only gave testimony to our Lord
being the Lamb of God, but he further testified that it is he who
takes away the sins of the world.
{74}
He did not come simply to announce to the world the divine
mission which he received from the Father; he also came to heal
the infirmities of our souls by imparting to them the abundance
of his grace. This office he performed himself during his mortal
life on earth. He it was that purified the soul of Mary Magdalene
and enriched it with sanctifying grace. It was he who gave the
living water of eternal life to the sinful Samaritan woman. And
what our Lord did for these and many others, beloved brethren, he
is now effecting in the midst of us. It is not necessary to
remind you of how our Lord chose a small band of apostles, and
made them the beginning of his church; how he bestowed upon them
and their successors the unheard-of and marvellous power of
forgiving sins. Yes, brethren, the bishops and priests of the
Catholic Church are the visible representatives of Jesus Christ;
they are the comfort of the afflicted, the strength of the weak;
they have an efficacious remedy for those who are living in the
state of mortal sin; by pronouncing the words of absolution they
restore to the penitent and contrite sinner his lost inheritance
of sonship, and make him an heir of the kingdom of heaven. Oh!
how thankful we should be for the mercy and goodness of our God!
What a tender love we ought to cherish for the Church, the Bride
without spot! What respect is not due to those who hold the place
of Christ in our behalf! How sufficiently prize the inestimable
blessing of the tribunal of penance! Let us remember and meditate
upon those three precious graces, beloved brethren, that they may
be the source of sweet joy to us now, and the earnest of a happy
eternity hereafter.

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

{75}

   _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 exhorteth, 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.

{76}

  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 water-pots 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 XXI.

              Profanity.


To-day, my dear brethren, as you know, the church celebrates the
festival of the Holy Name of Jesus; of that name which is above
all other names, at which every knee shall bow, and every tongue
shall confess the glory of him to whom this great name belongs.

{77}

Yes, the holy church does indeed reverence this holy name, and
we, her children, do not fail to honor it. Following a pious
custom, we bow the head when it is mentioned, and it is to be
hoped that we also make at the same time with our hearts an act
of homage to him who bears it, and thank him for all that he has
done for us.

And yet, strange to say, some of these very Christians who pay to
the name of their God and Saviour, at least outwardly, this
tribute of honor on certain accustomed occasions seem to take at
other times a pleasure in trampling it, if I may so speak, in the
very dirt under their feet. To see them in church, you would
think that they would hardly dare even to take at all upon their
own lips this holy name which they hear from those of the priest;
but outside, on the street, and even, it may be, in their own
homes, they show a horrible familiarity with it. This name above
all names is coupled with every foolish, passionate, and even
filthy word which the devil can put into their hearts and on
their tongues.

{78}

Do I say this is strange? Ah! that is far too weak a word. To one
who will stop and consider, even for a moment, it seems
incredible, impossible that a Christian, one who believes himself
to have been created by the great God whose name he bears, and to
have been redeemed by him from the power of the devil, at the
cost of his own Precious Blood; who has knelt in prayer before
him; who has received from him the pardon of his sins; who has
received him in his real and true Presence on his tongue in the
sacrament which he has instituted with such infinite
condescension and love--I say it seems impossible, intolerable,
inconceivable, that this wretched worm of the earth, on whom so
many and such surpassing favors have been showered by the Divine
Goodness, should, with this very tongue on which his God has
rested, outrage and insult the name of this God, and that the
name which above all others tells how good and merciful he has
been. It seems as if even the infinite patience and love which
our Lord has for us could not brook this indignity, this spittle
cast in his face, not as at the time of his Passion, by one who
did not know who he was, but by those who from childhood have
known full well all the truths of their holy faith, and who well
understand that it is the Divine Majesty which they despise.

Indeed, my brethren, believe me, even the infidel shudders when
he hears in passing along the street the holy name of our Lord
God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of him whom even he respects above
all other men that have ever lived on earth, thus outraged,
profaned, and defiled by those who profess to believe him to be
far more than the best and greatest of men; who invoke him as the
One who sitteth on the Eternal Throne, before whom the angels
veil their faces, to whom is due benediction and honor and glory
and power for ever and ever. Even the infidel, I say, shudders;
and he wonders how it can be, if what Christians believe is true,
that the God whom they thus insult suffers them to live.

{79}

But you may say it is a habit you have got; that is the excuse
which seems good to you, and which you seem to think that God
ought to accept. Sup-pose you had a habit of spitting on your
neighbor's face or clothes by preference to any other place, how
long would he endure it? It is a habit, yes; but it is one which
you can amend and get rid of altogether, and which you are most
urgently and seriously bound to get rid of, if you would not have
to answer for it at the bar of him whom this insufferable habit
outrages and defies. Take care, take care, take care, I warn and
beseech you, for God's sake, for the sake of those who hear you,
and for your own sake, that this habit come to an end. Watch,
keep guard against it; punish yourself should you even
inadvertently fall into it, that your offended God may not have
to take the punishment into his own hands.

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

              Sermon XXII.

          The Sin Of Cursing.


  _Bless them that persecute you;
  bless, and curse not._
  --Romans. xii. 14.


These words are found in the epistle appointed for the second
Sunday after Epiphany, and were read by the church long before
the institution of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which is
now always celebrated on this day, yet they contain a lesson most
appropriate to this feast. For there is no way in which God's
most holy name, which to-day is especially set before us for our
veneration, is more frequently or more grossly dishonored than by
cursing. To curse is to call down God's judgment or vengeance
upon our fellow-men, and its worst form is when the holy and
awful name of God or our Lord is made use of.
{80}
Unhappily the fault has become so common, even among those who
think themselves good Catholics, that its grievous nature is
seldom realized or, perhaps, even thought of.

The habit is often acquired in childhood, frequently from the
example of parents, themselves given to cursing. Like all
early-acquired habits, it grows stronger and more deeply-rooted
with advancing years, until at last the habit is made the excuse
for the sin. It is a vain excuse. You are guilty before God of
mortal sin if you have formed this habit, and you are guilty of
remaining in the state of mortal sin if you make no effort to
break yourself of it. It will do you no good to go to confession
and accuse yourself of cursing, unless you are contrite and
follow the advice which your confessor gives you, and really make
an earnest resolution and a serious effort to overcome this
scandalous habit.

You should begin by making each morning a resolution to avoid
cursing throughout the day, begging God's assistance for your
efforts. If, during the day, you fall inadvertently into the old
fault, you should impose some little penance upon yourself, such
as the recitation of the "Hail Mary," or the pious ejaculation of
the holy name of Jesus, with a prayer for God's forgiveness. And
then at night you should examine your conscience as to how often
you may have fallen into the habit during the day, and resolve to
make the next day a better one in this respect. If you faithfully
persevere in this practice you will soon be the master of your
tongue, and able to restrain it from cursing by a little
watchfulness; but if you do not adopt some such practice as this,
and really set to work in earnest to overcome this habit, you are
guilty before God of mortal sin, and your contrition at your
confessions is not good for much.

{81}

I have spoken of this habit as scandalous, as this is one of its
worst features. Besides the insult that is offered to God and his
holy name, an incalculable amount of harm is done to our
neighbor. Children, especially, learn to curse from their elders,
and the extent of this fault among young children is frightful to
contemplate. Those, too, who are not of our faith, when they hear
Catholics cursing and swearing, are apt to set it down to some
defect in our religion, and thus the true faith is brought into
contempt.

But the habitual curser seldom thinks of these consequences of
his sin. He rarely even attends to the meaning of the words he
uses. If he could only be brought to stop and think of all that
is implied in the expressions we so often hear upon our streets,
he would shudder at the thought of using them. To ask Almighty
God to send a soul to hell for all eternity, to utter that holy
name whereby we are saved in a prayer for the eternal damnation
of a soul redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ, is an impiety
so dreadful that we could scarcely believe it possible did not
our ears tell us the contrary.

Yet there are those who not only say these things, but mean them,
at least at the moment when they are uttered. How carefully,
then, should we guard ourselves against those outbursts of anger
in which we are led to make such a fearful abuse of the gift of
speech, the noblest of God's natural gifts to man!
{82}
Above all, we should try to realize the spirit of the Gospel as
expressed in the words of St. Paul, "Bless them that persecute
you," remembering that no affront that can be offered to us can
even justify the spirit of revenge that is implied in a curse.
"Bless," therefore, "and curse not," that so you may yourselves
receive the blessing of the Lord.

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

              Sermon XXIII.

       Reverence For The Name Of God.


The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, brethren, affords an
opportunity for meditating upon reverence for the honor of God,
especially in the person of our Blessed Saviour. Reverence for
God is something different from the love of God and the fear of
God. Have you not noticed that when a bad boy neither fears his
father nor (as far as we can see) loves him, that he yet often
keeps up at least a show of respect for him? I don't care much
for him, he says, but after all he is my father; I must respect
him. So with sinners. Many a sinner will break every commandment
of God and the church except one or two, which he fancies he must
observe in order to keep up appearances; that is to say, show at
least some outward respect. The most atrocious scoundrel will not
eat meat on Friday, because that would be a sign of losing all
respect for religion. A wretch abandoned to every vice will say a
Hail Mary or make the sign of the cross sometimes in order to
persuade at least himself that he has not lost all respect for
religion. He will not despise the piety of his friends, but
rather respect it. Respect for holy things and holy practices is
the last remnant of religion in the sinner's soul.

{83}

Well, brethren, let us ask if Almighty God has not set up any
particular sign of reverence that we are to pay him? What is
that, among all religious practices, which he would have us do as
a token of inner and outer reverence? Of course you know what I
mean; you know that it is reverence for his holy name.

The name of God, and especially the name of Jesus, are set up as
the divine standard before which every man will prove his
reverence for God. Cursers and swearers and blasphemers forget
this. No sin is so common as profanity in its various forms. Yet
it shows a heart not only void of the fear of God, and of the
love of God, but also, and worst of all, void of even reverence
for God. A man who habitually curses is penetrated with defiance
of the Divine Majesty. Holy Scripture says that he has put on
cursing like a garment; that it has entered in unto his bones. In
the old law a blasphemer was stoned to death. And in our own
times God often anticipates the wrath to come by sending sudden
death upon profane men. I lately read in the papers that a man,
standing at a saloon-counter, cursed his own soul, and instantly
sank down upon the floor stone dead. Many of you have doubtless
heard or even seen such visitations of divine justice.

And it is in view of the sacred obligation of reverence to God in
his chosen symbol--which is his name and his Son's name--that,
although he had but ten commandments to give us, one of them was
set apart to secure respectful speech when dealing with God: Thou
shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord
will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

{84}

Brethren, you and I in [the] future will be particularly careful
to honor the sacred name of Jesus. Are you tempted? That name is
a resistless charm against assaults of flesh, world, or devil.
Are you tired out? The name of Jesus is a restful and soothing
influence. Are you sick? That holy name will strengthen you with
supernatural vigor. I hope that when you come to die your last
breath may utter that name of Jesus with deep confidence, and
that our Lord will answer your dying sigh with an affectionate
welcome into his heavenly court.

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

{85}

     _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.
{86}
  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. 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 XXIV.

            Practical Faith.


  _Many shall come from the east and the west,
  and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  in the kingdom of heaven;
  but the children of the kingdom
  shall be cast into the exterior darkness._
  --Gospel of the Day.


These words, my dear brethren, were spoken by our Blessed Lord to
the Jews on the occasion of the cure of the servant of the
centurion. This centurion was an officer, like what we would call
a captain, in the Roman army; he was not a Jew, so he did not
belong to God's chosen people, his church of the old law. No, he
was a heathen by birth; he had been brought up in error, in
ignorance of the true religion; he had not the prophecies which
the Jews had to tell him clearly that a Saviour was to come into
the world.
{87}
He was indeed in darkness compared with this favored Hebrew
people among whom his lot was cast; but he saw our Lord, and that
was enough for him. He saw the power of God, and he believed. He
knew that this Messias, whom the Pharisees were rejecting, was
the Master of life and death. "Lord," said he, "I am not worthy
that thou shouldst come under my roof; but only say the word, and
my servant shall be healed." Immortal words these, which the
Catholic Church has treasured up, and puts on thousands of lips
every day, and which were rewarded by the divine acknowledgment,
"Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel.
And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west,
and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom
of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast into the
exterior darkness."

Now, my brethren, what lesson have we to learn from this praise
of the heathen centurion, and this warning to God's own people,
coming to us from the mouth of God himself? Simply this: that our
salvation depends on the use which we make of the graces which he
gives us; that the least will suffice, if we will but avail
ourselves of them; but that the greatest will only serve for our
eternal condemnation and ruin if we slight them and pass them by.

A simple and evident truth this surely, and yet how apt we are to
forget and neglect it! We are Catholics from our infancy, we say;
we belong to families which have always kept the faith. We are
indeed the faithful, to whom the kingdom of heaven is promised.
And if we have not been always so, but have been brought from
darkness into light, then still more is the divine favor to us
manifest.
{88}
Will He, then, who has done so much for us, not complete his
work? We believe his word, we are in his true church, we receive
his saving and life-giving sacraments; how, then, shall we not be
saved? Are we not indeed those of whom he said, "My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them life
everlasting, and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall
pluck them out of my hand"?

Yes, my dear brethren, we think that we shall be saved because we
are Catholics. But the truth is, that our being Catholics only
gives us greater means of salvation; it is far from making our
salvation sure. We have greater means and helps to save our
souls; but woe be to us if we abuse them! And when we look
around, and see many good and earnest souls, similar, as far as
we can see, to that of the Roman centurion, deprived of the light
that we have, not by their own fault, but by that of their
fathers; when we see them trying to do their best with the little
knowledge and the few helps that they have, must we not fear that
God will take away from us the graces that we despise; that we,
the children of the kingdom, will be cast into the exterior
darkness, while others shall come from the east and the west and
take the place which we have but do not deserve?

Let us, then, each and every one, if we have been unfaithful to
the great graces which we have as Catholics--and which of us has
not been so?--rouse ourselves to our danger. Yes, having the
faith and the sacraments is a great privilege, but is one for
which we must give a most strict account when we stand before the
throne of God.

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

{89}

              Sermon XXV.

        Living Up To Our Faith.


  _Jesus, hearing this, marvelled;
  and said to them that followed him:
  Amen I say to you,
  I have not found so great faith in Israel_.
  --Gospel of the Day.


The love and care of the heathen centurion for his servant should
certainly put to shame many Christian masters and mistresses of
to-day, who not only do not encourage their servants to approach
our Lord at Holy Mass and in the sacraments, but even put
obstacles in their way. However, the lesson to which I wish to
direct your thoughts this morning, and which it is the primary
object of the Gospel narrative to teach, is the immense
importance of living up to the grace and light which God has so
bountifully given us.

A few weeks ago we kept the Feast of the Epiphany, the
manifestation, that is, of our Lord to the Gentiles, to those who
had not till then formed part of the church of God. The Jews
alone, as you are aware, were God's chosen people. To them had
been given the law and the prophets, the temple and the
sacrifices, and--that to which everything else led up--the
promise of the Messias. And all these privileges led them to
think that they were individually very excellent people, and to
look down with contempt upon the rest of the world and everybody
in it. Now, here was a Roman, born and brought up in heathenism,
taught, doubtless, to say his prayers to Jupiter and Venus and
other vile creatures like them, a man holding, too, high office,
commanding a garrison of soldiers, whose duty it was to keep down
a conquered race.
{90}
Well, this man, notwithstanding his bad education,
notwithstanding the pride which, on account of his position, must
naturally have been his, had made greater progress than the
self-conceited Pharisees, with all their advantages, had ever
made or were ever to make. While they lived and died in unbelief,
he had already recognized in Jesus Christ the power of God; and,
laying aside prejudice and pride of place and birth, he sends
humbly to our Lord to ask him to heal his servant.

So clearly did he recognize our Lord's divine power that he did
not think it necessary for him to come to his house. Jairus, the
ruler of the synagogue, as you will remember, would not be
satisfied unless our Lord came down to his house; the centurion,
on the contrary, stopped our Lord while he was on the way,
saying: "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my
roof; but only say the word and my servant will be healed." So
that our Lord, on hearing it, marvelled, and said: "Amen I say
unto you, I have not found so great faith in Israel."

Now, how does all this apply to us? What lesson can _we_
learn from these events? The answer to this question is easy and
obvious. We are by God's grace the members of the church of God,
and, as such, we are in possession of the means of grace--the
sacraments, the word of God, the intercession and prayers of the
saints, and of innumerable privileges and spiritual treasures.
Above all, and as the source and spring of all spiritual life,
without which everything is valueless and worthless, we have the
gift of faith. Now, faith is necessary; but faith is not
sufficient. Without faith no one can be saved. But we must have
something more than faith.
{91}
The shipwrecked man clings for his life to anything within his
reach; but unless the plank, or whatever else he has got hold of,
is washed ashore, or a boat or some other means of help arrives,
his plank only prolongs his agony. So is it with us. Faith is our
plank; but unless this faith works by charity it will only add to
our condemnation. More than this, it will, if not acted upon, get
weaker and weaker, and be scarcely strong enough to move us to
action. What, then, must we do? Why, we must live as our faith
teaches us. First, we must learn our faith: learn the truths of
our religion; next, we must practise them. If we do not do so we
shall, perhaps, see what those Jews of old saw: the heathen and
those who were outside of the church entering and taking their
places. What our Lord said of them may, perhaps, be said of us:
"I say unto you that many shall come from the east and from the
west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom of
heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into
the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of
teeth."

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

              Sermon XXVI.

       The Sacrament Of Matrimony.

I think you are all persuaded, my brethren, of the wrong and the
danger of Catholics going to a Protestant minister for marriage;
and similar ones can be given why we should not go before a
magistrate for that purpose. It is plain that the authorities of
the State are not the right persons to assist officially at the
sacraments of the church.
{92}
It would be just as proper to ask the mayor to baptize your
children as to go to him for marriage. To refer the matter of
your marriage to him, however fine a man he may be personally,
would be to acknowledge the right of the civil authority to take
charge of religious affairs; and such a right Catholics cannot
admit.

Besides, the magistrate labors under the same difficulty as a
Protestant minister in conducting a Catholic marriage, of not
knowing the laws of the church on the subject, and the
impediments which may make the marriage invalid; that is, which
may make it, though seemingly good, in reality no marriage at
all. You know, for instance--to speak of this a little more
fully--that the Catechism says that you should not marry within
certain degrees of kindred; very well, it is not only forbidden
to marry within these degrees, but a marriage within these
degrees is not recognized by the laws of the church as a real and
true marriage, and the parties have to be married over again, at
least privately, if it is ever found out. And there are some
other impediments which have the same effect. It is of no use to
publish all these and try to explain them; many mistakes would be
made, and matters would only be come worse. No, to be safe in all
affairs of this kind you must go to those who have made a special
study of it; just as you find out the law of the State from your
lawyer, and not from a book. Go, then, to the priest; he is the
one who has made a special study of the law of the church, and
the only one.

{93}

In order to make sure that Catholic marriage shall be contracted
before the priest, a law has been made, and binds in some
countries, and in some parts even of this country, making it
invalid, or null and void, if contracted without the presence of
the parish priest of at least one of the parties. This does not,
however, hold just here. But there is a very special and urgent
law in this diocese, and in many others, forbidding the going to
a Protestant minister for marriage, and reserving the absolution
for this to the bishop, or some one authorized by him. Catholics,
therefore, who are guilty of such a rash act get themselves into
a very unpleasant position; still, they must, of course, try to
get out of it sooner or later, and if any one finds himself in
this predicament the only sensible thing to do is to come at once
to the priest, who will help him as far as possible. All sins can
be forgiven, and all mistakes rectified, if one has the right
dispositions.

One word more on this most important subject. Some people seem to
imagine that the difficulty which may come, especially in a mixed
marriage, of avoiding the Protestant minister, may be got over by
going both to him and to the priest, and going through the form
of marriage twice. Now, let it be understood that this course
cannot be thought of for a moment; for by it not only is the law
broken which I have just mentioned, but a profanation of the
sacrament also is committed by endeavoring to make the contract
to which it is attached twice in the same case. It is as if one
tried to be confirmed twice. No, in this matter there can be no
compromise; a marriage in which a Catholic is a party must be put
in charge of the Catholic clergy, and of no one else, except as
far as mere settlements of money and the like are concerned.

{94}

Go, then, to the priest for marriage; do not think of doing
anything else. But do not go to him, as I have said some people
do, for the first time just at the moment you want the ceremony
performed, and expect him to marry you off-hand; for there are
some very important preliminaries to be settled first, and it may
take some time to settle them.

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

{95}

  _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, O 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 XXVII.

       The Ingratitude Of Children.

  _Brethren: owe, no man anything._
  --Epistle of the Day.

{96}

We are all debtors, brethren, for we all have some accounts to
settle up. There are debts we shall never be able to redeem,
debts that are just, pressing, and lasting as long as we are in
this life. Such, for instance, is the debt we owe to God.

The fact of his having created us, of having brought us out of
nothing, of having given us immortal souls imaged after himself,
would alone put us under the gravest obligations to him; but what
is that compared to the debt we owe God for having redeemed us at
a nameless price, by nothing less than the Precious Blood of his
own beloved Son; and, furthermore, what is all this in comparison
with the debt we owe God for our sanctification, for the
priceless gift of his Holy Spirit dwelling within us, breaking
away the mist of error and ignorance that clouds our intellect
and hides from our vision the eternal truth; that gift that
endows us with strength and fortitude, with the courage that
comes from conviction, with the power that makes us triumph over
every weakness, every unruly passion, every snare of our enemy
the devil, over every thought, word, and action that makes us
unworthy of sonship with God, brotherhood with Christ, and the
heritage of an eternal crown?

This debt, dear brethren, is in general obvious enough; but,
while we recognize it, How often do we find in our experience
that men neglect, and shamefully neglect, debts that are
dependent on and derived from the debt they owe Almighty God; men
who neglect debts that are as grave and binding as those which
are due to the God from whom they are derived!

{97}

Now, brethren, if there is any injustice in this world more
flagrant than all others, more worthy of condemnation and
detestation, more certain of the visitation of God, it is this:
the neglect of our duty to our parents. "Owe no man anything." Do
we owe _them_ nothing? Do we not owe them much? Is there a
time in our lives when that debt is not binding?

Ah! dear brethren, and what do we see in the world about us?
Ingratitude, the vice of monsters, forgetfulness of ties that are
nearest, dearest, and holiest. Young men, growing up into adult
age, who, in their vain seeking after pleasures, become so
blinded to duty, so debased in their appetites, so completely
transformed into the incarnation of selfishness, as not only to
disregard the law of God, but the very instincts of nature--sons
who would rob and starve their parents to satisfy their mean and
low appetites.

The ingratitude of children to parents is a crying sin of our
times. Let us be alive to it. Let the young men and women of our
day remember that they are bound to satisfy these grave and
serious obligations; that they are not to heedlessly put
themselves into any state that will debar them from redeeming the
debts they owe, from recompensing for all the care, toil, and
money expended upon them.

"Owe no man anything." Take heed of this warning also, all you
who contract debts without the slightest hope of paying them; see
to it that the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the pleasures
you indulge in are paid for; see to it that they are not
purchased by the labor and money which belong to others. You who
live in fine houses, who keep yourselves in costly array, who
deny yourselves no pleasures, however extravagant, take heed!
Whose money pays for it?
{98}
Can you stand up and with a clean heart proclaim that this is
honest? As you sit here to-day, do the words of the Apostle offer
no rebuke to you, do you not feel their sting?

O brethren! let us be sparing in our debts; let us owe no man
anything. The man without debts exalts himself in the eyes of his
fellow-men and secures for himself a good conscience.

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

              Sermon XXVIII.

          Love Of Our Neighbor.


  _He that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law._
  --Epistle of the Day.


There can be no doubt, my brethren, that the saving of our souls
sometimes seems to be a very troublesome business. There are so
many laws and commandments binding on us, so many sins which we
are likely to commit; and if we break any of these laws in any
grievous way--if we are guilty, that is to say, of mortal sin
our--salvation is lost till such time as we repair our fault. Yet
it may seem that we are surrounded by so many rocks on our voyage
through life that it is almost useless to try to steer clear of
them; and, if we may judge by their actions, many Christians
actually come to the conclusion that there is no use in trying to
keep their ship off these rocks. They make up their minds that
spiritual shipwreck is unavoidable, and that the only way to
reach the port of heaven is to be towed in on a raft which can be
made out of the sacraments at the last moment.

{99}

But really our salvation is not such a complicated and intricate
affair if we would only look at it in the right way. The course
which we have to follow is not such a difficult one to bear in
mind and to keep. There are many commandments, it is true; but
they all have the same spirit, and if we have that spirit they
will all come quite easy.

What is the spirit? Our Lord has told us. It is the love of God,
and of our neighbor for God's sake. The love of God and of our
neighbor gives us a short cut to the kingdom of heaven; if we are
guided by it, we shall not come near the dangers that seem so
many and so threatening.

Let us see how this is; how is this love going to work to keep us
in the safe and sure track? It is not so hard to see. For what is
it to love any one; how do we act towards one whom we really and
truly love? Are we always trying to give him no more than we can
help, and keep as much as we can for ourselves? Do we try to have
our own way as much as possible, and never to step out of it for
his sake, unless compelled by force or threats?

No, of course not. We keep far away from what will offend him. We
always are trying to find out what will please him best. So if he
is not unreasonable, and if he knows our desire and intention,
the danger of offending him disappears.

Well, it is just so in the matter of serving God and keeping his
law. The continual mortal sins into which Christians fall, and
which it seems so hard to avoid, are due to their trying to run
too near the rocks. No wonder they so often get wrecked in these
dangerous waters. They are all the time striking on the
commandments, and the whole sea seems full of them because they
try to sail as near them as they can. If they would only give
them a wide berth, and keep out in the deep ocean of the love of
God, sin and its forgiveness would not cause so much anxiety and
trouble.

{100}

If we would only ask ourselves what will please God best, and try
to give him all that he desires, as we should if we loved him as
he deserves to be loved, and as we do with others whom we really
do love--if we would do this instead of trying [to see] how far
we can have our own way and yet come out right in the end, the
whole matter of saving our souls would have a very different
aspect. Now, why not try to follow this line? It is no fanciful
thing beyond our power. Plenty of Christians have done it before
us, and are doing it all the time.

But if we do not feel prepared, or are a little afraid to commit
ourselves to this course just yet, at least we could endeavor to
have some love for our neighbor, and make some sacrifice for him.
We have St. Paul's word for it, you see, that even he who loves
his neighbor will be sure to fulfil the law. Yes, we may feel
quite sure if, by a generous love of our neighbor, we keep far
off being wrecked on the last part of the Ten Commandments, that
we shall run clear of the first part as well.

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

{101}

         _Fifth Sunday after Epiphany._


  Epistle.
  _Colossians iii._ 12-17.

  Brethren:
  Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved,
  the bowels of 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. Mathew 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?
{102}
  And he said: No, lest while you gather up the cockle, you root
  up the wheat also together with it. Let both 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 XXIX.

         The Christian Family.


    _Bearing with one another._
    --Epistle of the Day.

No doubt you have often read about the oasis in the desert: a
place of tall, shady trees, soft, green grass, and a great spring
pouring out sweet, cold water. There the hot and dusty caravan
stops, though it be miles out of the way; the heavy burdens are
thrown off, and men and animals rest and drink and rest again.
For one long, burning day they lie about on the grass and look
off from their shady refuge over the yellow, sandy desert. They
sleep and are rested; and as the cool dews of evening fall they
take a last drink and creep away on their journey, sighing to
think of the long and weary tramp to the next oasis.

Dear brethren, the oasis in the desert of this world is the
Christian family. The father of the family "shall be like a tree
which is planted near the running waters." It is indeed but a
feeble word to say that the influence of a good father is like
the deep shade of a noble tree in the heat of summer, His
influence is like the grace of God. Indeed, there is nothing in
all this world so much like the presence of God as the influence
of a Christian father.
{103}
When the instinct of the Christian people would give a name to a
good priest they called him father. What is more edifying than
the virtue of a good father? In him are chiefly to be seen those
manly virtues which are the highest form of human excellence:
hearty love, self-restraint, open frankness joining heart, hand,
and voice in one. In him you admire that steadfast application to
religious things, that regular use of prayer and of the
sacraments, that clear knowledge of doctrine and ability to
converse about it, that utter absence of frivolity, that
intelligent practice of good reading. He is contented with his
lot, and yet labors with steady, persistent industry. In
prosperity he is modest and frugal. In adversity he is cheerful,
a strong wall for others to lean against. He loves home and is
fond of his wife. Gladly will he tend the babes while the mother
gets the Sunday Mass, or of a Saturday evening while she goes to
refresh her weary soul with a good confession. The company of his
children is to him a foretaste of Paradise. He is not sour, nor
is he brutal or harsh. He is not above making the children laugh
or joining in their play; to make them happy and help them save
their souls is his greatest joy.

Then there is the mother of the family, whose life is one
unbroken round of acts of affection. The spirit of sacrifice, the
craving to bear others burdens, is her spirit. You know how a
good mother watches at the sick-bed the livelong night, passing
back and forth through the dark rooms, listening to every
breathing, answering every sigh with a comforting word, or a cool
drink, or a soft caress. Only the next world will reveal to us
the loveliness of such devoted souls; here we catch but a glimpse
and an echo of it.
{104}
The accents, the tones of the voice, the very silence, the
manners, the ways of a good mother diffuse what Scripture calls
the fragrance of ointments around her household. You know, too,
how she saves and pinches to keep off debt, to dress the children
neatly, to save a penny to give them a holiday, to save a dollar
for hard times or a spell of sickness. And all this sacrifice is
a matter of course with her. But the truest glory of a mother is
her patience. The patient mother is the valiant woman of
Scripture. She is the woman who smothers her anger; who will
suffer the impertinence of an unruly child in silence; who
forgets as well as forgives; whose admonition or correction is
the reluctant tribute of a tender heart to the child's
well-being. Do you want to know how she is able to do this? The
secret of it is that she finds time--in the heavy duty of being
everybody's servant--to attend to religion; to belong to the
Rosary Society and make her monthly Communion; to give alms to
the poor from her hard savings; to visit and watch with sick, or
afflicted neighbors. It is, in a word, because she ever gazes in
spirit upon that Holy Family where Mary was mother that she is
able to be a good Christian mother.

When I began I intended to say something of the good boys and
girls; while we have been engaged with father and mother the
children have passed by. Perhaps we shall overtake them next
Sunday.

-------------------
{105}

              Sermon XXX.

       The Duty Of Good Example.


  _Use your endeavor to walk honestly
  towards them that are without._
  1 Thessalonians iv. 11.


The holiness of the church, my dear brethren, is for us who
belong to her a thing so evident and clear that we can no more
think it necessary to prove it than we can think it necessary to
prove that the sun shines in the heavens. The practical and
imperative way in which the church enforces holiness of life on
each and every one of us is something with which we are so
familiar that no shadow of doubt can enter into our minds as to
its necessity. The means of grace which she offers to us, and of
which she even requires us to make use, the sacrament of the Body
and Blood of the Lord himself which she gives us, the penances
she imposes upon us by way of fasting and abstinence, the
warnings which she is ever giving us of the condemnation which
will fall upon impenitent sinners, these and ten thousand other
things make the sanctity of the church so well known that it is
not so much an article of faith as a thing which we see with our
own eyes and which falls under our own experience.

But there are those who are without these advantages. There are
many around us, our near neighbors and friends, who are outside
the church, not through their own fault, but by birth and
education. These are not in possession of those means of knowing
the church and her sanctity of which we are possessed; and in
order to have this knowledge they depend to a very large extent
upon ourselves.
{106}
I wish this morning to call your attention to the responsibility
which rests upon us on this account, and to one or two practical
ways in which we are accountable to God for what that
responsibility involves.

Now, that we lie under this responsibility is a truth not very
hard to see. For, as I have said, those outside the church are
ignorant of the doctrine and practices of the church. From their
earliest years they have had utterly false and erroneous
information given them about the church, an information so false
and erroneous that they do not think it necessary or even right
to make inquiries. How, then, are they to have the truth brought
home to them? What way is there of spreading the light? Almost
the only way, and certainly a way so necessary that without it
all others are futile and vain, is that those who are called
Catholics should lead such lives as the church requires of them.
Now, if we do not do this we are of course responsible to God, as
every man, be he Catholic or be he Protestant, is responsible to
God for his whole life and every action in it. But more than
that, a special responsibility in this time and in this country
lies at the door of every Catholic man and every Catholic woman.
Every Catholic man and woman who does not lead a good life is a
stumbling-block and a rock of offence standing in the way and
preventing many poor souls from seeing and embracing that truth
which is necessary for their salvation; and those Catholics whose
way of living forms such a stumbling-block will have to give a
strict account to God not merely for their own sins and for
themselves, but also for the souls of others whom they have
ruined.

{107}

Now, I am going on this account to ask you some questions which I
hope you will answer honestly and conscientiously. And they will
be questions about matters on which the world outside is
competent to judge; and, therefore, if we fail in this respect we
shall meet with its condemnation, and become hindrances to the
knowledge of the truth.

First: There is nothing of which the business world thinks so
much as truth, uprightness, integrity in business matters. To pay
debts promptly, to do work squarely, to execute contracts
faithfully, these are some of the marks of an honest man. Now, in
view of what I have said, ask yourselves, is this way of acting
the mark of all Catholics? Will a man who wants to get a house
built, who is looking for a trustworthy clerk or assistant,
choose out Catholics in preference to others, because he knows
that they are worthy of trust? If this is not the case, if the
being a Catholic is no guarantee of trustworthiness, you will
have to answer to God for the bad effect your dishonesty has upon
those outside.

And now a question for women. You all know in what virtue
consists, the glory and honor of women. You all know what the
world expects of women. You know, too, how much the church makes
of modesty and chastity, in what honor she holds them, how strict
she is in inculcating their necessity. Now, one of the effects of
genuine modesty and chastity is to overawe and overpower the
approaches of the unclean and impure. There is a majesty in
virtue which lays low and keeps at its level vileness and
impurity. Is everyone who comes near a Catholic girl or woman
conscious of this influence?
{108}
Is there something about every Catholic girl and woman which
makes it clear to every dirty fellow that he must go elsewhere if
he wishes to find a victim and a means of satisfying his
disgraceful passions? It ought to be so, for the soul of every
Catholic girl and woman, over and above the majesty of natural
virtue, is the abode and dwelling-place of the grace of God. And
if you are true children of the church such will be the effect
your presence will have.

Well, my brethren, ask yourselves these questions; answer them
honestly; and, if you find that you have done wrong, amend, not
merely for your own sake but for that of those outside.

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

              Sermon XXXI.

      Bearing One Another's Burdens.


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


Perhaps you may think, my dear friends, that we have a good deal
to say about this matter of charity and forgiveness, and if you
do you are probably right; it was not long ago that we had
occasion to remind you of it in one of these little morning
instructions. But why should we not speak of it often? Is not the
love of our neighbor the second great commandment, like to and
founded on the first? Does not St. John also make it the test of
our salvation? "We know," he says, "that we have passed from
death to life"; and why?
{109}
Is it because we fast, say long prayers, visit the church, or
even because we receive the sacraments often? No, it is "because
we love the brethren." And he continues: "He that loveth not,
abideth in death. ... We ought," he goes on to say, "to lay down
our lives for the brethren."

In the latter years of the life of St. John, when he had become
so old and feeble that he had to be carried to the church, and
was not able to preach at any length to his beloved people, he
would still give them a little short sermon. It was very short;
not even a five-minute sermon; and it was not fresh every Sunday,
but always the same. It was just this: "Little children, love one
another." But his people, in spite of their great reverence and
affection for him, were something like people nowadays, and got
rather tired of hearing this same old story. They wanted
something more novel and startling, and one day they asked him:
"Master, why do you never tell us anything but this about loving
one another?" He answered: "Because it is the Lord's command, and
if it is fulfilled it is sufficient."

If St. John, then, preached about this matter of charity every
Sunday, certainly we may be allowed to speak of it several times
in the year. And you, my dear Christians, will not lose anything
by hearing about it pretty often. For the matter is one in which
there is always great room for improvement for us all. St. John
said "little children"; but he was not speaking to the
Sunday-school, if, indeed, he had one; no, it was to the
children, big as well as little, children all of God and of his
holy church, that his words were addressed.

{110}

And these words are more needed now than they were then. Why, in
the early times Christians used to be known from other people by
their love and charity for each other. It was this that made
converts to the faith, more, perhaps, than preaching or miracles.
"See," said the world, "how these Christians love one another."
But now I am afraid it would be hard to pick out very many
Christians by this test. No; it is more likely that our infidel
friends would say of all the Christians that they happen to know:
"See how these Christians are all the time quarrelling with each
other! They never seem to be content unless they can show their
pride by having at least some one who is not supposed to be
worthy of their acquaintance. They go to church and say their
prayers--oh! yes; but perhaps there is some person, even in the
next pew, that they used to know, but have not spoken to for
years, and have no notion of ever speaking to, unless, perhaps,
on their death-bed if the priest should insist on it. Bearing
with one another, indeed! Is it possible that one of their
Apostles told them to do that? Why, they do not put up with half
as much as a sensible man would who had no faith at all. Let them
suffer the least even fancied slight or indignity, and there is
an end of all their friendship. Forgiving one another, as they
say the Lord has forgiven them? Well, if the Lord forgives as
they do, his forgiveness does not seem to amount to much."

My brethren, depend on it, those not of our faith feel often this
way, though they may not say it right out. And they are not far
wrong. The kind of bearing with others, the kind of forgiveness,
that is given them by those who have the name of Christians is
too often one that will not stand the test of God's judgment.
{111}
I am afraid that many pious people have found themselves in the
wrong place after death on account of it. Let those who still
remain profit by this lesson while they have time.

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

{112}

         _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.

{113}

  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 XXXII.

         How To Make Converts.

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


By the kingdom of heaven is meant in this Gospel, as in many
other places, the holy Catholic Church; the spiritual kingdom of
God, which is of heaven, though on earth; and leaven is another
word for what we call yeast, and is used in the making of bread.

Our Divine Lord, then, tells us that his church, to which we
belong, is like yeast; and his meaning, if we consider a little,
is plain enough. It is, that as a little yeast is put into a mass
of flour or dough, to raise it, as we say, so he has put his
church, which was in the beginning a very small thing, into the
world, to raise the world to life and the knowledge and love of
him.

{114}

And certainly his comparison of the church to yeast was fully
justified. In the beginning the world was everywhere attracted
and moved in spite of itself by the lives of the first
Christians. The heathen could not help admiring their mutual
charity, their patient and forgiving dispositions, their
temperance and self-sacrifice; and they could not refrain from
asking themselves and each other: "Who are these that they call
Christians? What do they believe, and what do they teach? What is
it that makes them so loving and so amiable, so calm and
peaceful, so happy in all their troubles, so ready to assist and
serve not only each other, but all the world beside?" But no one
could answer these questions but the Christians themselves; so
the heathen had to go and get instructed in this faith which had
been made so charming to them. Thus they were converted, and in
their turn became apostles in the same way to others.

So the leaven spread through the mass; the contagion, so to
speak, of faith, piety, and virtue was diffused over the world;
people caught it from their neighbors. The Apostles had no need
to make many converts in any one place which they visited. If
they got a few, these few would take care of the rest. The little
congregations which they founded grew and multiplied wonderfully,
in spite of distress and persecution, by the force of the holy
lives and good example of their members.

But was this way of growing only meant for God's church in the
beginning? No, by no means. Our Lord says that the leaven of his
kingdom was to go on working "till the whole was leavened." Does
it, then, still move the world in this way? If so, how rapidly
ought the church now to increase, when there are a thousand
faithful for one in those early days!

{115}

Yes, my brethren, it ought. For in spite of the boasts which the
world is making of its reformed religion, especially just now,
and of its progress and civilization, it feels at heart very
uneasy. It has fallen away from God, and lost the truth, and in
its inmost soul it knows this; and it is looking for somone to
bring light to its darkness, and to put its confusion in order.

Why, then, does not the church increase more rapidly? Why does
not the world now come to us as it did in those former days of
its anxiety and doubt? Prejudices it has now against us, I know;
but it had its prejudices then, too. There are many slanders
believed against us, but that has been so from the very
beginning; our Lord warned us of this, and it is a mark of his
true church to be thus belied. So this is not the real trouble;
no, the trouble is that most Christians do not by the good odor
of their lives induce the world to inquire into their faith, and
thus overcome its prejudices. We may argue till we and everyone
else are ready to drop, but we shall never be as the first
disciples were--the leaven of God's kingdom--till we show by our
lives that there is something more in us than the natural
feelings, good or bad, which make up the lives of others.
Christians who forgive and excuse their enemies, who have charity
for all, who are chaste and pure in word and deed, who are humble
and self-denying, those are the ones--and, thank God, such there
are--who make converts; and if we want the leaven of the kingdom
to spread and raise the world to Christ we must be like them.

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

{116}

              Sermon XXXIII.

        The Blessings Of The Faith.

  _I will utter things
  hidden from the foundation of the world._
  --Matthew. xiii. 35.


These are the concluding words of to-day's Gospel, and they refer
to the great truths that are made known to us through the
revelation of Almighty God. For as believers in a divine
revelation we know things that have been hidden from the
beginning, and we have a knowledge that transcends all human
knowledge. Our faith gives us light which our reason could never
supply. We might spend our whole lives in the most profound study
and investigation, we might dip into all the systems and master
all the sciences, and we should still be ignorant of certain
truths which our faith makes known to us. When we look back over
the world's history and see the greatest minds of every age and
country groping in the dark, seeking in vain for the knowledge
which we possess, we can appreciate what a glorious privilege it
is to be enlightened by the divine light of faith. For where its
rays do not penetrate there can never be sufficient security in
regard to the most vital truths of human origin and human
destiny. We see the sad evidences of this all around us in the
world to-day. Men who refuse to accept the revelation of Almighty
God and the teachings of his church are in ignorance, or at least
they are in doubt, about the origin and end of life. They are
even in doubt as to the existence of God himself, though the
universe by a thousand voices proclaims his presence and their
own souls reflect his image.

{117}

From age to age the human mind busies itself over the deep
questions of philosophy and the discoveries of science. From
generation to generation men seek to solve the great problems of
life by the force of reason; but revelation alone can adequately
disclose the "things hidden from the foundation of the world,"
and without its divine light and guidance mankind must ever
remain liable to sink into darkness and doubt.

How widely different is the state of the mind established in the
settled convictions of faith from that where there is nothing but
the theories and opinions of human knowledge! In the one there is
the repose of certainty, security, and peace; in the other there
are many puzzles unsolved, promptings unsatisfied, disquiet, and
unrest. One short lesson learned in the school of divine faith
will give more light and bring more comfort to the soul than all
the knowledge that can be acquired in a life-time in the schools
of human learning.

Great stress is laid nowadays on secular education. And we are
told that what the country needs, what the world needs, are
intelligent and cultivated men and women; and certainly education
is an excellent thing, and most desirable for all. But why make
so much of a knowledge that concerns only the petty things of
earth and the fleeting course of time, and ignore a knowledge
that relates to the Infinite God in heaven and a life that is
everlasting? What will it profit us on our death-bed to have
learned the facts in the world's history, to have been familiar
with the teachings of philosophy and the discoveries of science,
to have studied the writings and mastered the thoughts of men, if
we know nothing of our Creator and our relation to him and the
course of our destiny; nothing of the preparation we should make
beforehand and the thoughts that should animate us as we stand on
the brink of eternity?

{118}

Here is the great contrast between the knowledge that God imparts
to us and all human science--the one imparts to us the truths of
eternity, the other teaches us the truths of time; and the
difference between them is just as great as that between time and
eternity. And if, as is generally the case, we estimate the value
of a thing by its importance and permanence, there is surely no
term of comparison here. The little child who has learned the
first page of the Catholic Catechism has already acquired a
knowledge which forty centuries of human speculation have never
reached, and the simplest believer in Jesus Christ and his church
is possessed of a wisdom far higher, far holier, than was ever
conceived of by the greatest sages of old.

Let us realize, then, that faith is the highest knowledge, that
it discloses to us "things hidden from the foundation of the
world," and makes us sharers in the knowledge of God himself, and
therefore elevates and crowns our reason.

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

              Sermon XXXIV.

  Good Example As A Means Of Making Converts.


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

{119}

This may seem a very strange comparison, my brethren, if, instead
of letting it in at one ear, as the saying is, and out at the
other, we stop to think of it a moment. For what sort of likeness
is there between that glorious kingdom of heaven, which we hope
some day to enter, and a little leaven or yeast put into flour to
raise it and make it into bread? Surely, we should say, none at
all. What could our Lord have meant when he said that the two
were alike?

But let us think a little more about the matter. Is the kingdom
of heaven of which he was speaking that heaven into which all the
saved are to enter? Or is there not some other meaning which we
may give to the words?

There is another meaning, and it is the true one in this place
and in many others in the Gospel. It is the kingdom of God or of
heaven, not in heaven, but on earth, of which our Saviour is here
speaking. When he says the kingdom of heaven, he means the
kingdom which he came to establish, his holy Catholic Church.

But how is this leaven, or yeast? Well, it is not so very hard to
see this. It is because, being put into the world in the
beginning in the form of a few weak, poor, and unlearned men and
women, like the little spoonful of yeast put into a great mass of
flour, it soon spread through the whole known world, and is even
now spreading in the same way, changing and influencing in many
ways all whom it meets with, even if it does not fully convert
them: just as the yeast is spread through the whole of the dough,
raising it and making it into good and healthy food.

{120}

Yes, my brethren, this was the way that the church spread through
the world and made its converts, especially in the early times.
It was not only by preaching. The Apostles and their successors
did not have much chance to preach to the world in general. They
were not allowed to do so; public preaching would have brought
down on them much greater persecutions than those which they
actually suffered, and it would have required great miracles on
God's part to preserve his church had such preaching been tried,
especially in the great cities. No, they had to teach their
doctrine, as we may say, on the sly; in fact, part of it was
reserved for those who had already become Christians. It may seem
strange now, but in early times no one was allowed to hear
anything about the real presence of our Lord in the Blessed
Sacrament till after he had been baptized. This was called the
discipline of the secret, and was kept up for a long time.

So, you see, Christianity was not learned in the pagan Roman
Empire so much by preaching as by private instruction joined with
good example. One person caught it from another, as the particles
of dough get raised by those next to them. Masters and
mistresses, for instance, caught it from their servants, others
from their friends and acquaintances--first, from noticing their
virtues, so different from those which the pagans had. They saw
how gentle and affectionate, and still how courageous, they were;
how they bore suffering without a murmur; how they shrank from
the idols worshipped by others, and from all the vices which
these idols represented; how little they cared for pleasure; how
each sacrificed himself for his neighbor. "See," said the world,
"how these Christians love one another." Then the world began to
inquire what was the reason of this love and of the other
Christian virtues; and so religion spread from the lowest to the
highest, till at last the Roman emperors themselves knelt before
the cross.

{121}

Things are somewhat changed now, it is true. The Catholic faith
can now be preached and taught openly; still, it is almost the
same as if it could not, for people outside the church will
seldom come and hear it, or even read books explaining it. The
discipline of the secret still prevails, not because we wish it,
but because the world does. So now, as before, the faith must
catch and spread from one person to another if it is to make much
progress in such countries as this of ours. Protestants run away
from the priest, and will have nothing to say to him; so it will
not do to say that making converts is the priest's business and
does not concern you. No, my brethren, making converts is your
business, as things stand, perhaps even more than his. But how
are they to be made? Not by cursing, lying, and drunkenness, sins
too common, alas! among many who call themselves Catholics, and
specially liable to be noticed by others. It was not by these
that the first Christians converted the world. Not by quarrels
and slanders; it is not by these that you will convince people
that we Christians love one another. Turn, then, from the vices
which repel, and practise instead virtues which will attract
unbelievers, and lead them to inquire why you are so good instead
of wondering that you are so bad. Then they will come to you, as
they did of old to your ancestors in the faith, to learn the
doctrine which has taught you these virtues; and you will be, as
you should be, the leaven which is to leaven the world.

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

{122}

         _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.
{123}
  And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth
  and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. 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. Ho 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 XXXV.

          Bodily Mortification.


"I chastise my body," says St. Paul in the Epistle of to-day,
"and bring it into subjection." In these few words he gives us
the great reason for the Catholic doctrine and practice of bodily
mortification and penance, which Protestants so often find fault
with.

{124}

"I chastise my body," he says, "and bring it into subjection";
that is, "I chastise it, because I want to bring it into
subjection. I want to tame it, to become its master; so I give it
a good beating, I starve it now and then, and treat it badly
generally, that it may learn to obey me."

That is the great idea of mortification, my brethren, in a
nutshell. Every one knows that if you want to break a vicious
horse you have to put him through a pretty severe course of
treatment before he will be subject to your will. And every one
knows that the body is naturally unruly, like a vicious horse;
the body is always craving for things which it would be better
that it should not have, and it will have them in spite of us if
we do not take care. So, to subject it thoroughly to reason, we
must put it through a severe course; otherwise, some time or
other, it will get the better of us, and have its own way.

And there is a great deal more need of taming our own bodies than
there is of breaking horses. For the horse can only kill our
body, but our bodies can kill our souls; and furthermore, if we
do not want to take the trouble of breaking a horse, we can shoot
him, or get somebody else to take him; but we can not in anyway
lawfully get rid of our bodies till such time as God sees fit to
take them from us. We are tied fast to them, and cannot get away.
So we are absolutely obliged to conquer them, if we do not want
to be conquered by them. In other words, if we do not want our
bodies to be a frequent cause and occasion of mortal sin to us,
we must to some considerable extent practise mortification.

{125}

That is the Catholic and true doctrine, as taught by the church,
and put into practice, in some degree at least, by all the
faithful who obey her laws. And it is also common sense. Every
one must admit that the body is the great cause and source of
mortal sin to far the greater number of people, and that if its
appetites were thoroughly brought under control our souls would
be saved from very great dangers, which otherwise they cannot
escape. If, then, it is any object to escape these dangers--and
no sensible man can deny that it is--one does not need to be a
Christian, but only to have the gift of reason, and to look a
little into himself and into the world about him, and he must
grant that the bodily penances and mortifications which the
church insists on are not foolish or superstitious, but in the
highest degree prudent and wise.

But I know, my dear brethren, that you do not think that the
mortification of the body required by the church is useless or
superstitious; I give you too much credit for faith as well as
for reason to imagine that. You do need courage, though--we all
need it--to act up to what we believe in this matter. Let us then
look this question fairly in the face. There is heaven before us
to be gained, and sin to be overcome that we may gain it; and
here are our bodies, with their depraved, corrupted, and often
dangerous and sinful desires, standing in the way of our gaining
it. If we will only determine in earnest to get the mastery of
them, heaven is almost sure; if we do not, they will be very
likely to carry us to hell. If we overcome them, we save
ourselves and them, and make them a help instead of a hindrance
to us; if not, they will do their best to drag us down with
themselves to destruction, and if in the mercy of God we may
indeed be saved it will be as by fire. Shall we not take a little
trouble when such tremendous interests are at stake? Shall we
trust to luck when a little effort will make heaven sure?

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

{126}

              Sermon XXXVI.

              Sudden Death.


   _Watch ye, therefore,
   because you know not the day nor the hour._
   --Matthew. xxv. 13.


These words, my dear brethren, are taken from the parable of the
ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride.
Five of them, being wise and prudent, took oil in their lamps,
that they might be ready at any moment to light them; but the
five foolish ones gave no thought to the matter. At midnight,
when they least expected it, the cry was heard, "Behold, the
bridegroom cometh; go ye forth to meet him." Then the foolish
virgins tried to borrow oil from the wise to fill their lamps,
but were told to go and buy for themselves. While they were gone
the bridegroom came; they were not ready; the door of the
marriage-feast was closed when they returned, and in answer to
their entreaty, "Lord, lord, open to us," came only the words, "I
know you not." "Watch ye, therefore," says our Lord, in
concluding this parable, "because you know not the day nor the
hour."

Brethren, the meaning of this parable is so plain that it hardly
needs even a word of explanation. Yet how unheeded it is, alas!
by the majority of Christians!

{127}

What does this oil mean that the foolish virgins neglected to
provide for themselves and to have in their lamps? What but the
grace of God, with, which our souls should be provided, and
without which they are in the state of mortal sin? If this
precious oil of God's grace is in our souls we are ready at any
moment to meet the Bridegroom; no matter how suddenly the cry is
made that he is coming, we can go forth with confidence to meet
him and feel sure that the door of the marriage-feast of heaven
will not be closed to us.

But if we have not this oil, if the lamp of our soul is empty, if
we are in the state of mortal sin, what dismay comes on us, what
terrible fear and distress of mind, when we are suddenly told to
prepare for death! We have been saying all along, "Oh! there will
be plenty of time," and now there is not plenty of time. God is
coming to meet us, and to demand of us an account of our lives;
we cannot hide from his face, and he will not wait. The hour
fixed in the eternal counsels of his wisdom has come, the hour on
which everything depends, the hour for which the years of our
life should have been one long preparation, those years so
carelessly thrown away.

Friends may stand around us who have not wasted the oil in their
lamps as we have ours. Their souls may be full of the grace of
God, preserved and increased continually by prayer and good
works, by the love of God and frequent confession and Communion.
They may have enough and to spare; but they can not lend to us.
"No," they must say to us, "go rather to them that sell, and buy
for yourselves. Go rather," that is, "to the regular sources of
that grace, the sacraments, which our Lord has placed in his
church, to give life to the dead. Send for the priest, and with
his help fill the lamp of your soul, and prepare to meet our
Lord."

{128}

But too often it is as in the parable of the virgins. While the
foolish Christian, who has put off his preparation for death, who
has lived in the state of sin, expecting to die in the state of
grace, goes to fill his lamp, his Lord comes, finds him, and
judges him as he is. The priest comes, but only to look on him
lying dead. Or even if the oil of grace is brought to the sinner,
he has not, perhaps, the price to pay for it; that is, he has not
those dispositions of sincere penitence and amendment of life,
without which all sacraments are vain and ineffectual.

Brethren, it is a fearful point in the parable of the wise and
foolish virgins that not one of the five who were so carelessly
unprepared was able to have her lamp ready to meet the bridegroom
in his coming. It should teach us to expect that, as a rule, a
man must die as he has lived. No doubt there are exceptions; the
mercy of God is over all, and wills not that the sinner should
perish. But the only safe way, the only way, indeed, that is not
the wildest folly, and even insanity, is to live as all good
Christians do live, continually prepared for death; with the
grace of God always in their souls, with no stain of mortal sin
on them; with "their loins girt, and lamps burning in their
hands"; and "like to men who wait for their lord when he shall
return from the wedding: that when he cometh and knocketh they
may open to him immediately."

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

{129}

              Sermon XXXVII.

              Life's Purpose.


  _Brethren, know you not that they that run in the race,
  all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize?
  So run, that you may obtain._
  1 Corinthians. ix. 24.


There is a great question, my dear brethren, that comes home some
time or other to every man in the world who is not entirely taken
up with the passing pleasures and fleeting interests of the
moment; to every man, that is, who lives as a man, and not as a
mere child. It is the most important and vital of all questions;
and it will return often on us, put it away as much as we will.
It is this: "What am I here for? what is the use, what is the
purpose of all this life which I am living? What is the goal to
which it is tending? what end do I hope to obtain?"

Yes, we must look forward in this way sometimes, and we must try
to find something in the future better worth having than what we
have now, or our life, with its labors and fatigues, becomes a
burden almost too great to be borne.

So one man proposes wealth, another knowledge and learning,
another fame and honor as his object in life; or at least he
looks forward to bringing up children to whom he can leave his
memory and his name, and who will carry on and complete the work
he has begun.

But we Christians do not seek for an answer to this question. The
answer is written plainly by faith in our souls; we may try to
forget it or put something else in its place, but we shall find
no other in which we can believe.
{130}
The answer for us is, that this life has no end or object in
itself which can justify or explain it, but that it is a time of
trial, of probation for something better; that we live in order
that it may be seen from our life whether we are worthy to share
in an eternal life; that only beyond the grave can what the soul
longs for be attained, and that we may fail in attaining it if we
do not keep it steadily in view and work for it with all the
strength we have.

So our life is a race, a struggle for an immense and unspeakable
prize to come at its end; and a prize which will never be offered
again if we do not secure it this time. If we fail in this life
our failure can never be retrieved; nor will anything else ever
be offered us to live for. For all eternity we shall see what we
might have had, and shall be tortured with vain remorse; and
nothing else will give us even a moment's peace. This eternity
will be intolerable, even were there no other pains in it; but on
account of this alone we shall seek death for ever, and never
find it.

And from this race, this struggle in which we are now entered,
there is no escape. We cannot withdraw and have our name struck
from the list of contestants. There is no half-way place which we
can take between triumph and defeat. "Know you not," says St.
Paul, "that all run in the race?" Yes, a power greater than ours
has put us on the track, and is drawing us along it, whether we
will or no. We cannot remain as we are, for He whose power has
placed us here has made us for himself, and we cannot rest till
we rest in him.

{131}

Since, then, we have to run in the race; since we have to suffer,
to labor, to pursue a happiness which we now have not; since we
must do this even in spite of ourselves; since we cannot sit down
and give up our place, what folly it is to run to no purpose, to
turn aside and try to forget the only possible reward for all our
toil, the only thing that can make the life which we must live
worth living! Let St. Paul's words on this Sunday sink into our
minds; and, since we have to run in this race on which everything
depends, let us not trifle and lose its precious moments, but so
run that we may obtain.

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

{132}


             _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.
{133}
  At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king,
  guarded the city of the Damascenes to apprehend me. 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, an
  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 hundredfold. 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.
{134}
  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. 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 XXXVIII.

        Perseverance After A Mission.


  _Power is made perfect in infirmity. _
  --Epistle of the Day.


Not so very long ago, my dear brethren, we had a great mission in
this church. It was well attended--that was almost a matter of
course; for, thank God, every one considers it a shame to neglect
so great a grace when it is offered, and the Catholic who refuses
to attend a mission is regarded by those who know him as being in
a very bad and dangerous state.

{135}

And the mission, I trust, was on the whole well made by those who
attended it. They made good confessions; they felt true sorrow
for their sins. And they made real purposes of amendment against
their vices, whatever they might be. The drunkard promised to
abstain from drink for God's sake, though it might be almost the
only thing that gave him pleasure; the impure promised to abandon
and stamp out his evil passions and habits; the one who had
neglected Mass and the other duties of his religion out of
laziness, gluttony, or indifference, promised to be faithful to
them for the future.

But how many of the thousands who made these promises have kept
them? How many of those who were not leading a Christian life
before the mission are now doing so? Some certainly; yes, some of
the seed of the word of God, of which our Lord speaks in to-day's
Gospel, which was then sown, has indeed sprung up and borne
fruit, it may be a hundredfold. Some, in a good heart, hearing
the word, have kept it, and brought forth fruit in patience.

But, alas! how many, on the other hand, have been like the
wayside, the rock, or the thorns in our Lord's parable! The seed
sprang up, and remained for a few days or weeks; but now, if you
look for it, it has gone, trampled under foot, choked, or
withered away.

Now, what is the reason of all this sad want of perseverance? Was
it that those who made their confessions then were not sincere;
that they made promises which they did not really expect to keep?
Perhaps that may have been so with some of them; for some people
do seem to think that one cannot be expected to avoid mortal sin,
unless he is a priest or a religious, and even call others
hypocrites who believe that they can and do avoid it. But there
were others who failed--and these were a great many--because
they thought they had only to say that they would do the thing,
and that then the thing would be done.

{136}

They did not know how weak they were; perhaps they do not know it
yet. They will find it out sometime, as those do who have often
taken the pledge in vain; and then it may be that they will
despair, which will be the worst of all. But if they use this
knowledge right it will be their salvation.

And how will knowing that they are weak save them? Will it make
them strong? Yes, but not in their own strength; it will save
them by making them turn to the infinite power of God. This is
what our Lord told St. Paul, as we learn in the Epistle of
to-day, when he asked to have his temptation removed. He said to
him: "My grace is sufficient for thee, for power is made perfect
in infirmity." The more we know our weakness the stronger we
shall be, if our terror and distrust of ourselves will only make
us turn to God in frequent, earnest, and fervent prayer for help,
and in continual approach to the sacraments which he has given
for our aid.

Oh! if Christians would only learn this one great truth, how the
whole face of things would change! How the most obstinate vices,
the most deep-rooted spiritual disease, would melt away at the
touch of the Great Physician of our souls, if we would only go to
him continually for their cure! How easily we should overcome the
enemy if we would only understand that of ourselves we cannot
overcome him, but that we can do all things in Him who
strengtheneth us; and, understanding this, would go to him for
the strength that we cannot get elsewhere!

{137}

My brethren, you who have fallen and now fall so often, I beg you
to put this truth in practice. You fail, and why? Because you
have undertaken more than you can do. You wish to succeed? I hope
so. Well, there is only one way. Do as you have done before, but
also call God to the rescue. Pray frequently and fervently, and
go often to confession and Communion, and success, instead of
being hopeless, will be sure.

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

              Sermon XXXIX.

        Good Seed But No Harvest.


The Gospel of to-day, my brethren, is the parable of the sower
who went out to sow his seed. Our Lord himself explains the
parable, and tells us that the seed is the word of God; and the
real sower of this word, of course, is God, from whom it comes,
and from whom it has all its life and power.

The ground in which this seed is sown is the mind and heart of
man; or, to put the matter in a practical shape, it is your heart
and mine. There are many people in this world to whom very little
of it has come, at least compared with what we have had; but we
cannot complain that we have not had our share. The word of God
spoken by the mouth of man, in sermons, instructions, counsels,
and warnings, from the altar and in the confessional, and not
only from the priests but also from others who have been the
ministers of God and the channels of his grace to us--it is
certainly no strange or new sound in our ears. And not only in
this way have we continually heard God's voice, but often,
perhaps even more frequently, have we heard it coming immediately
from him, and speaking in our own souls.

{138}

Plenty of this seed has, then, been sown in us; but where is the
fruit, the harvest that should have come from it? Seed is not put
in the ground merely to be kept there. No, it cannot be kept
there; if it is not destroyed or carried away it must grow and
multiply.

The seed of God's word should, therefore, have grown in us. It
should have been the beginning and the increase in us of the
spiritual life, which should have grown stronger in us day by day
from the time when we first came to the use of reason until the
present moment.

Now, how is it in fact? As we look back on our lives, do we find
that this has actually been fulfilled in them? Are we better,
more perfect, nearer to God now than we were last year, or even
ten years ago? Is it not rather to be feared that we have fallen
back; that we are more careless, perhaps, even about mortal sin,
than we were in times past; or, to say the least, that habits of
venial sin have gained on us, instead of being overcome; that our
prayers are less fervent, our reception of the sacraments less
frequent, our love of God weaker than in the years which have
gone by?

Holy Scripture tells us that the "path of the just, as a shining
light, goeth forwards and increaseth even to perfect day." "The
just"--that is, those who are habitually in God's grace, who have
and keep the life of God in their souls.
{139}
The Christian virtues, the seeds of which were put in our souls
at baptism, should have been growing during all our lives; they
should have become strong trees now, deeply rooted and spreading
far and wide. Even if they were killed at any time by the frost
of mortal sin, they should have been speedily brought to life and
renewed their growth before they had decayed and rotted away.

Brethren, I need not ask you if this has been so with you. With
some, no doubt, it has. They may not feel that they have drawn
nearer to God, but really they have. Temptation does not find the
material in them to work on that it did; to avoid evil and to do
good is every day easier and easier; they have still cause to
fear, it is true, but still more and more ground to hope.

But, alas! how many there are in whom there is no sign of this
growth which should have come from the seed which has been sown
in them! Their light has not increased; no, it is almost always
extinguished; when it does seem to shine it is but to flicker for
a moment, and to disappear. The seed is no sooner sown in them
than it is trampled under foot or carried away by the birds of
the air.

Brethren, if the life of grace is not growing in our souls; if we
are not falling less frequently, and rising more easily from our
falls, than before, our path is not that of the just, and the
seed of the word of God has not yet taken that root which will
make it bring forth a hundredfold.

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

{140}

              Sermon XL.

       The Uses Of Temptation.

   _My grace is sufficient for thee;
   for power is made perfect in infirmity._
   --2 Corinthians xii. 9.


To all who are striving to lead a good Christian life the example
of the saints is a powerful means of encouragement, and the more
so when we see in the saints themselves the evidences of our
common human nature, when we see them encountering the same
difficulties and struggling with the same temptations which we
ourselves experience. Their great deeds and miracles exalt them
to a sphere far above us, and, while they fill us with
admiration, would yet have a tendency to discourage us were it
not for those other passages in their lives when they seem to be
brought down to our own level by contact with those evil
influences which are ever seeking to sway our fallen nature. The
fact that the saints have had to engage in conflict with the
basest passions is so far from lowering them in our eyes that it
only serves to make them dearer to us and to stimulate us to a
more faithful imitation of them.

And so St. Paul's account of himself in the Epistle of to-day has
been a ground of encouragement to many a soul that had grown
weary of an incessant warfare with temptation. The Apostle tells
us that, in spite of the wondrous revelations and heavenly favors
which he had received from God, he was yet tormented with
temptations of the flesh. "And lest the greatness of the
revelations should puff me up, there was given me a sting of my
flesh, an angel of Satan to buffet me.
{141}
For which thing I thrice besought the Lord, that it might depart
from me; he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for
power is made perfect in infirmity." To every soul struggling
with temptation God speaks these same words of comfort. "What if
you are weak and the temptation is strong? My grace is sufficient
for you. My power shall be shown forth through your weakness, for
what you could never do of your own strength I can and will do
for you with my grace."

Many are the lessons we can learn from this text. When we see the
great Apostle of the Gentiles engaged in a hard conflict with the
demon of impurity, it shows us that God does not spare in this
respect even his most chosen servants. On the contrary, by
refusing to grant the prayer of St. Paul that he might be
delivered from this sting of the flesh, God teaches us that
temptation is often a special mark of his favor, even as a
general would place his best and bravest soldiers in the thickest
of the fight. We are also taught that, no matter how vile the
suggestions of the evil one, they cannot soil the heart of him
who resists them. If, as soon as the sinfulness of the foul
thought or imagination is realized, resistance be at once begun,
and kept up until the suggestion is banished, we may be sure we
have not yielded, especially if we have had recourse to prayer.
From the shield of prayer the arrows of the tempter are sure to
glance and fall harmlessly to the ground.

But, on the other hand, these temptations teach us what we are in
ourselves, or rather what we should be without the aid of God's
grace. St. Paul tells us that God permitted those buffetings of
Satan to preserve in him the virtue of humility, "lest the
greatness of the revelations should puff me up."
{142}
The evil imaginations arising in our minds show us to what a
depth we should sink were God to withdraw his grace from us and
leave us to ourselves. We should, therefore, make of such
temptations an occasion of humility, acknowledging our own
worthlessness, our own weakness, yet glorying, as St. Paul did,
in the power of God's grace, which is able to make us strong, and
endow us with supernatural merit. And here lies the greatest
value and use of temptations--God's power is made perfect in our
infirmity. A crown of merit is the reward of victory in the
fight. Without the temptation we should not have had the merit of
overcoming it. In the hour of trial, then, take courage from
these words of God to St. Paul: "My grace is sufficient for thee,
for power is made perfect in infirmity."

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

{143}

         _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.

{144}

  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 XLI.

  The Qualities Of Christian Charity.


What a beautiful description it is, my dear brethren, which St.
Paul gives us of the virtue of charity in the Epistle of to-day!
If you have never read it or do not remember it, I would advise
you to read it at once; and, indeed, nothing could be better than
to commit it to memory.

{145}

Let us look just now at a part of it. "Charity," says the
Apostle, "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 in the truth; beareth all things,
believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

Now, I say this is very beautiful, is it not? And perhaps it
seems all the more beautiful because the picture which it gives
us is not a very familiar one. I know we are apt to think about
as well of ourselves as of almost any one of our acquaintance;
but can we say to ourselves, on reading or hearing this
description of charity, "That's me; that's just my character to a
hair"? No; somehow or other, though we would like to put on the
coat, it does not seem to fit.

"Charity is patient, is kind." That is rather out of the way, to
begin with, when we think how impatient and cross we are if
anything goes wrong, if anybody stands in our way or interferes
with us, or even ventures to differ from us in opinion.

"Charity envieth not." Worse yet. Why, some people cannot even
see their neighbor have a new dress or hat without at once making
up their minds to take the shine out of that conceited thing. And
if they hear it said that Miss So-and-So is good-looking they
will take some opportunity to remark: "For the life of me, I
can't make out what any one sees to admire in her."
{146}
Probably they might manage to see it if they would make a great
effort; but how can they make the effort when no one seems to
have any eye for their own good points, which ought to be so
evident to all? And it is not the ladies only who have this
weakness. You will hear something like this: "Oh! I consider him
to be a much overrated man. I knew him when he was young, and he
was nothing above the common. But some people certainly have
luck." Or, if you do not hear it out loud, the grumbling is there
all the same in the heart. Perhaps some praise has to be given,
but it is very sparing; given with great appearance of careful
judgment and a desire to keep closely to the truth.

"Charity dealeth not perversely." How is this? Why, you will find
Christians who would, as the saying goes, "cut off their nose to
spite their face." They will even suffer themselves, if some one
else can only be made to suffer too.

But I shall not have time to make all the applications. As I
said, you had better read the Epistle, then you can make them for
yourselves.

I wish, however, to call your attention before closing to one
unpleasant circumstance. Is this charity, which St. Paul so
highly praises and so beautifully describes, a sort of fancy and
ornamental virtue, which is certainly very commendable, but which
we can get along well enough without? Listen to a few other words
which come a little before those I have read: "If I should have
prophecy, and 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." Notice,
he does not say, "I am not much, or these things are not much
good, without charity": no, without it "I am nothing"; a cipher,
and a sham. Take this home and meditate on it.

{147}

              Sermon XLII.

          Delay Of Repentance.


  _Be not deceived, God is not mocked;
  for what things a man shall sow,
  those also shall he reap._
  --Galatians vi. 7, 8.


"Never mind, I will repent some day and confess it all to the
priest; then it will be as if it never happened." Sometimes, my
dear brethren, when men have made up their minds to commit sin,
or to go on in a course of sin, they are tempted to say some such
words as these; or if they are not fallen so low as to
_talk_ in this way, yet, if we may form a judgment of their
thoughts by their actions, such are the thoughts of not a few. I
propose, therefore, to say a few words this morning on the great
folly of this way of speaking, thinking, and acting, and to show
you what a false notion it rests upon.

I will not stop to point out how uncertain that really is which
is assumed as perfectly certain--namely, that an opportunity of
going to confession will be granted to every one who acts in this
way. A man who sins can never be sure that he will not be cut off
in his sin. But I will take it for granted that the opportunity
of making a confession is given; more than that, I will take it
for granted that he makes a good confession and receives
absolution as he promised himself. In such a case as this is it
true that even then all will be just as if the sin had never been
committed?

{148}

My dear brethren, to imagine this to be the case would be indeed
a very great mistake. In order that you may see this I must
recall to your recollection some well-known truths. In the
beginning, God, having made man, placed him in a state of great
happiness. He was without pain, sickness, anxiety, or death. How
is it, then, that man finds himself in his actual condition? Why
is it that man is subjected to so many hardships and miseries,
obliged to toil for his daily bread, and, in the end, through
anguish and suffering, give up that life which it has cost so
much labor to preserve? Think, my dear brethren, of all the pains
of mind and body which you have ever experienced, or which you
have seen others experience; think of all the sufferings of which
you have ever read, and ask yourselves the reason for all this
vast mass of agony and anguish. That reason is given in one word.
Of all the suffering that has ever been and that ever will be,
sin is the cause. Directly or indirectly, mediately or
immediately, every suffering finds in sin its origin.

Now, I do not say that when we come to particular cases we can
always point out precisely how and why _this_ suffering is
connected with _that_ sin. God in his providence permits
suffering to attend upon sin for many different reasons.
Sometimes it is permitted as a warning not to sin in order that
men of sense and understanding, seeing what sin costs, may avoid
it. Sometimes suffering in this world is, I am afraid we must
say, but a foretaste of eternal suffering in the next.
{149}
In some cases sufferings are sent to make us more like our Lord.
But--and this is the special point I wish you to
notice--suffering is very frequently sent by Almighty God as a
punishment in this life for those sins the eternal punishment of
which he has forgiven. This brings me back to the special point
of this instruction. A man may go to confession, may even make a
good confession and receive a good absolution--that is to say, he
may receive through the merits of Christ the remission of the
eternal punishment due to his sins, and yet things may be very
far from being, as he promised himself, just as they were before.
On the contrary, he may have a vast amount of punishment to
undergo in time in consequence of that sin, which he would not
have had if he had not committed that sin. This thought is very
suitable for this season. Lent will begin next Wednesday. Its
fasting and abstinence are enjoined by the church, among other
reasons as a means of satisfying for the temporal punishment due
to past sins. But, in order that this fasting and abstinence may
be useful for this purpose, those who fast and abstain must be in
the state of grace, because all their value as works of
satisfaction is due to the indwelling grace of God. In order,
then, that your fasting and abstinence may be profitable to your
own souls, let me advise you to act like our wise forefathers
acted, to come to confession at once in the beginning of Lent,
and not to put it off with your Easter duty to the last moment.

{150}

              Sermon XLIII.

           Lenten Obligations.

Next Wednesday, my brethren, we enter, as of course you know, on
the great and holy season of Lent. On that day, no doubt, as many
of you as can will come to the church and receive on your
foreheads the ashes which remind us of the penance to which these
coming weeks are specially devoted.

The church is generally full on Ash-Wednesday, and one would
think, on seeing the crowds pressing forward to receive the
ashes, that they were all determined to enter into the spirit of
the church, and to keep Lent as it should be kept. Yet how many
there are who go through this outward form, and make a great deal
of it, and yet neglect all that is signified by it; who give a
show indeed of penance, but bring forth none of its fruits! Some,
perhaps, of the Ash-Wednesday penitents will not be seen again in
the church till they come forward again on Good Friday to kiss
the cross.

Yet it is better to come to church, if only on Ash-Wednesday and
Good Friday, than not at all; better to do some penance and show
some love of God than to neglect these virtues altogether. But
how much better still it would be to now thoroughly understand
and seriously take to heart what God requires of us, especially
in this holy time, and to make it the means, as it may be more
than anything else, of our final salvation!

{151}

First, then, to thoroughly understand what we are now to do.
Everything must be well understood before it can be well done,
and the keeping of Lent is no exception to this general rule.
Many people break the rules of Lent because they do not clearly
understand them.

Lent, then, my brethren, is not a time to be spent in penance
altogether according to one's own devotion. Far from it; the
duties to be performed in it are clearly and precisely laid down,
and should be attended to very strictly. They are not many; they
make no great demand on our time or strength; but the Christian
who discharges them properly will make his Lent far better than
one would who should neglect them and take any other practices,
no matter how hard, in their place. It is better to keep the real
rules or laws of Lent faithfully than to hear three Masses every
day, and come to all the extra services, and give half one's
goods to the poor, and yet neglect our regular duties.

What, then, are these laws? The first is the Easter duty, which
should be made before Easter, if possible, though the church
indulgently extends the time several weeks after that festival.
Make, then, this great duty, far the greatest of all the duties
of a Christian, at once; it will be very easy for all of you who
have just made the mission to do it now, and the longer you put
it off the harder it will be. Make it, then, if possible, the
first day it can be made--that is, next Sunday--and get it, if I
may say so, off your mind. Do not fancy that, as you have so
lately made the mission, the Easter duty is of little
consequence. If you had made twenty missions during the past
year, and any number of jubilees, the law of the Easter duty
would bind you exactly as much as if you had neglected them all.
It is like hearing Mass on Sunday; nobody is excused at all from
Mass on Sunday because they have been to it through the week.
{152}
So this time, the great Sunday of the year, is set apart by the
church for the precept of Holy Communion; it must be fulfilled at
this time, no matter how often one has received outside of it.

The second and only other real law of Lent is that relating to
fasting and abstinence. If you attend carefully to the rules that
have been read you will understand this well enough. But do not
confuse fasting with abstinence; that is the most common mistake.
People often say: "Oh! I have to work hard; I can eat meat if I
like." That is a great error, and a very foolish one. Many are
excused from fasting on one meal and a collation; few from
abstinence on the days appointed. If you want to have a safe
conscience in eating meat you should consult a confessor, unless
seriously ill.

Attend to these two things, then, and you will make your Lent as
a Christian should. But, of course, you will also try to follow,
to the best of your ability, the other devotional practices
recommended by the church at this time. Come to daily Mass, and
to the occasional services, and give alms according to your
means. These practices, especially now, are of the greatest
spiritual profit, and can not generally be neglected without
spiritual danger. But remember that Easter duty and fasting, with
abstinence, are the real laws. Obey these, at any rate, and then,
so far as you are able, add the others beside.

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

{153}

         _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
  ol 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."
{154}
  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: Be gone, 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 XLIV.

  The Merit Of Fasting And Abstinence.


  _Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth,
  where the rust and moth consume, and where,
  thieves break through and steal.
  But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven,
  where neither the rust nor the moth doth consume
  and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
  For where thy treasure is,
  there is thy heart also._
  --Gospel Of Ash-Wednesday.


If any one of us, my brethren, should be asked what is the object
of this holy season of Lent on which we are now entering, or what
is the reason why it has been appointed, the answer would
probably be that it is in order that we may do penance for our
sins. Penance: punishment inflicted on ourselves in satisfaction
for those offences for which we feel we have so imperfectly
atoned, and to obtain from God those graces which we so greatly
need: this, perhaps, is the idea uppermost in most people's minds
when Lent comes round.

{155}

Well, this is no doubt a reason, and a good one, not only for
what we have to do in Lent, but for a great deal more that we may
do, not only now, but all through the year. Few even of those who
lead good lives do penance enough for their sins, even as it is;
almost all go before God with a large account unsettled in this
matter. How much worse would it be if there was no Lent, if the
church never insisted on our chastising ourselves in any way, and
seemed to treat such chastisement as of no consequence! The very
notion of it would drop from our thoughts, as it has indeed long
ago from the minds of those who have separated from the church
and ceased to possess the true faith.

This is, then, a good reason for Lent; but there is another which
we are not so apt to think of, and which, for this very reason, I
would like to emphasize.

This reason is the one suggested by the words of the Gospel of
last Wednesday, which you have just heard: "Lay not up to
yourselves treasures on earth; ... but lay up to yourselves
treasures in heaven. ... For where thy treasure is, there is thy
heart also."

Brethren, we should have no trouble at all in getting to heaven
if we only really wanted to get there. Of course in one way we do
want to get to heaven; that is, we all want to save our souls
from the eternal anguish and misery of hell, and we know there is
nothing for us but heaven or hell in the end. But I am afraid
that many Christians, especially when they have health, strength,
and plenty of this world's goods, have really very little wish to
give them up, in order to pass, even could they do so at once, to
those joys which the heart of man cannot conceive.
{156}
No, their treasure is in this world; all their idea of happiness
is founded on the pleasures which they have had, are having, or
hope to have in it. Their treasure is here, and, as our Lord
says, their heart is here too.

I think, then, that this other great reason and object of Lent,
of which I have just spoken, is that we may do something to
change this state of things; that we may get our hearts off this
world, and see our real treasure in heaven, get to know it and
love it, and have our hearts there with it. We ought now not
merely to stop for a while from worldly pleasures, but to try to
cease loving them, and to care for something better. We must love
and care for something; let us try now to get the right object
for love.

Now, what is this that we should love; what is our treasure in
heaven? It is our Father who is in heaven, and who is heaven
itself. Brethren, it is not so hard to love God as some people
think. We can all try to do a little, at any rate; I mean to love
God, not by keeping his commandments, but to love him in the same
way as we love those things which are lovely and attractive here.
Come to him now, this Lent; that, above all else, is what it was
made for; come to church not only to hear a sermon, but to pray,
to get near to God, and to bring him into your hearts. Shut the
world out of your heart, that he may come in. Ask him to come to
you and make his abode with you. Then, when he is really your
treasure, he will draw you where he is; you will not have to try
to get to heaven; you will go there of your own accord. To die to
the world and live to God, this is the Christian's true life; and
Lent was made to give this life to our souls.

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

{157}

              Sermon XLV.

        Difficulties Of Fasting.


Brethren, another year has passed, and Lent has come around once
more. I have no doubt that a great many of you wish that it had
not; perhaps you would not be so very sorry if the church would
have the goodness to do away with this tedious season altogether.
Indeed, I imagine that to some people Lent is one of the greatest
mysteries of our religion. And even if it is in some general way
acknowledged as the proper thing in its due time, it never seems
to come in just at the time that would be convenient. If it comes
early, it is a very unpleasant interruption to the winter's
pleasures and amusements; if it comes late, why could it not come
earlier, so that we could get through and have done with it soon?

All the grumbling in the world, however, will not alter the fact.
We cannot get rid of Lent, and we cannot fix its time to suit us,
even if there is any time which would seem suitable. It is
possible, indeed, to free ourselves from its burdens; we may do
so either by neglecting its obligations altogether, or by getting
somehow or other dispensed from them, without putting anything
else in their place. But, after all, if we do this, we shall
hardly feel any more comfortable. The best plan is, since Lent is
here whether we will or not, to face it boldly and cheerfully,
and make the best of it that we can.

{158}

And, when we come to look at it, is it such a very terrible
infliction? Do we not make rather too much fuss and complaint
over what is not really such a very great penance?

Let us look, then, and see what is required of us. The principal
thing, of course, is the fasting, as we call it, on one meal.
Now, if we actually were reduced to only one meal in the
twenty-four hours, I confess that it would be pretty severe; but,
you see, in point of fact, we have the collation, at which eight
ounces, or half a pound, of solid food is allowed. Now that is as
much as many people would take anyway at tea-time. And then you
can have a cup of coffee or tea and a small piece of bread in the
morning. So, when we come to sift the matter, the fact hardly
amounts to more than this: that the breakfast is rather a light
one. And then, for those who really have hard work, even what is
left of the fast goes by the board altogether.

Well, next there is the abstinence from flesh-meat. Some seem to
think this dreadful. "Oh!" they will say, "I can't eat fish; it
makes me sick." Indeed? Perhaps you are not very hungry, and do
not need anything very much. When you are really hungry the fish
will not taste so bad. But, then, who, except indeed the
fisherman, wants you to eat fish? I do not think there is any law
requiring it to be eaten; and if it has such a bad effect on you
I would let it alone and try something else. And though fish is
so uneatable, perhaps an oyster or two might now and then be
worried down.

{159}

Now, after the fast and abstinence, what is left? Really nothing
at all in the law of the church, at least in black and white.
There is, however, a custom, having about the force of law,
prohibiting such parties and theatre-going as would be allowable
enough, at other times. But have not you had a pretty good chance
for these amusements for the last few months? And, if you are in
the habit of some indulgence of this kind, a little quiet at home
might be agreeable by way of a change.

But perhaps you do not like so much church-going. Well, this is
not absolutely required of you. But it certainly is expected; and
it will be well to cultivate a taste for it. Ought it to be such
a great penance for a Christian to come and spend a little while
in the presence of Him with whom he hopes to dwell for ever?

I think, then, that if you will look at Lent in the right light
it will not seem so very grievous. It may be even that you will
feel that now is a time to be a little generous with our Lord;
and, since he does not ask much, you may be disposed to give him
a little more than he absolutely demands.

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

              Sermon XLVI.

         Wasted Opportunities.

   _Brethren, we exhort you
   that you receive not the grace of God in vain. _


What is this receiving of God's grace in vain, my brethren,
against which St. Paul warns us in these words of the Epistle of
to-day? It is receiving it and making no use of it; receiving it
only to waste it and throw it away.

{160}

We are all the time receiving graces from God. Every day, every
hour he is giving them to us. For what is a grace? It is a help,
a means to our salvation which comes from him. And these helps he
gives us continually, by instructions, by admonitions, by good
examples; by the evidences which he puts all around us of the
shortness and uncertainty of life, of the instability of earthly
riches and happiness, of the peace which virtue gives, of the
misery which comes from sin. All these and countless other helps
to lead us, almost to force us, into the way of his commandments
are lavished on us incessantly. They come more or less to all
men, but most of all to us children of his holy Catholic Church,
who have the full light of his faith, the full teaching of his
law.

But more than all he himself is every day speaking in our hearts,
inviting, urging, begging us to turn from mortal sin; or, if we
have indeed done that, to rise higher, and serve him more
perfectly. If we had listened to all these calls, if we had
availed ourselves of all these helps, we should now be far
advanced on the way of the saints; we should, like St. Stephen at
his martyrdom, see heaven opened before us and our salvation
morally secure.

But we have not done that. We have been doing just what the
Apostle warns us against; we have been receiving these graces in
vain. We have received them, and it has been worse with us than
if we had not; for we have received them, many of them at least,
only to throw them away and trample them underfoot.

{161}

What would you think, my brethren, of a man who, being anxious to
reach a distant country, which was his true home, and where were
those whom he loved, and, having no means to do so of himself,
should throw away with contempt the sums which from time to time
might in charity be offered him to enable him to accomplish his
desires, should throw them absolutely away, not even using them
to supply his daily wants or to secure some passing pleasure? You
would say that he was a madman or a fool; that he had not the
gift of reason, which raises man above the brute.

And yet this is what we have been doing; and even more than this.
For there have been some, perhaps many, graces which God has
given us which would even alone, if rightly used, have answered
for all our needs. They would not have been mere contributions to
our passage-money for heaven, but would have put us aboard the
vessel, and made our reaching port little more than a question of
time. But these, like the rest, are gone without being used; they
are strewn on the road behind us, and we cannot turn back to pick
them up.

Such a great grace is the one which, in spite of our
unworthiness, ingratitude, and folly, is now once more offered to
us by our Father in heaven, who does not follow the rules by
which an earthly benefactor would be guided. This season of Lent
on which we are entering is one of the great helps, the great
opportunities which he gives us to reach that country where he
awaits our coming. One who spends even one Lent as it should be
spent will be at its close well established in the way of solid
virtue and peace, the way which leads certainly to the kingdom to
which we all hope to go.

{162}

It is for this that Lent is given us, not merely for a season of
penance and suffering, to be got through with somehow or other as
best we can; it is for this reason also that the church to-day
solemnly warns us to use it as it should be used. Listen, then,
to her warning voice; listen out of love and gratitude to God;
listen out of love and holy fear also for yourself; for it may be
the last great grace that will ever be brought to your door.

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

{163}

         _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.
{164}
  And behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my
  beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. 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 XLVII.

           The Joy Of Penance.


  _He was transfigured before them._
  --Words from To-day's Gospel.


At first sight, my dear brethren, it seems strange that just as
we have entered upon this season of fasting and penance the
church should have chosen for to-day's Gospel one of the few
accounts which the Evangelists have given of the manifestation on
earth of our Lord's glory and majesty. The Gospels, as you are
aware, are mainly made up of the record of our Lord's words,
actions, and sufferings; they tell us how the Son of God made man
went about from place to place doing good, healing the sick,
consoling the sorrowful, and in the end undergoing cruel
sufferings and an ignominious death. There are but few instances
recorded of his being glorified and honored with more than human
glory and honor, and when such is the case no long and detailed
description is given, the fact is barely mentioned, and the
narrative passes on.

{165}

But to-day's Gospel forms an exception to this general rule. In
it special pains have been taken by the Evangelists to give us in
detail a description of the other side, so to speak, of our
Lord's life. We are told that our Lord chose, out of the twelve,
Peter, James, and John, and led them up into a high mountain, and
was transfigured before them: so that his face did shine as the
sun, and even his garments became shining and exceeding white as
snow, "so as no fuller upon earth can make white." And then there
appeared to them Elias with Moses talking with Jesus. And so
astonished and impressed was Peter that he exclaimed: "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make three
tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias."

Now, why has the church, by selecting the account of the
Transfiguration at this season, turned our thoughts to what seems
so inappropriate a subject? It would seem that it would have been
better to have chosen those parts of the Gospel which treat of
sin, of the judgment to come, of the punishments which await the
impenitent sinner. Well, I do not know that I can tell you all
the reasons why the church has made this choice, but I think I
can give you one reason, and that is, that the church wished to
encourage us and to animate us at this season by placing before
us the glory which is in store for those who do penance and
suffer here.

In this life there is nothing so familiar to most of us as
suffering in some form or other. Most of us are obliged by our
circumstances to pass our days in exhausting toil and labor.
Disease and anxiety and want and disappointment are to be met
with on all sides, and there are but few who are free from all
these evils.
{166}
And to all--even to those who are the most favored in this
life--there is an hour coming which nothing can avert--the hour
of death. This, as every one may see, is the present state of
things. Moreover, our Lord, so far from encouraging us to expect
freedom from suffering, insists continually upon its necessity.
"Deny yourselves," "take up your cross daily," "blessed are the
mourners," such are the words our Lord addresses to his
disciples. And the church, that this teaching of our Lord may not
be a mere speculation, brings it down into every day practical
life by commanding us at this season to fast and abstain. From
all this the necessity of suffering is evident.

But however true this is, suffering is not an end in itself; it
is only a means to an end; it is but a road to everlasting joy
and glory. God permits and commands sufferings in order that he
may give to those who endure their sufferings well an abundant
reward. As St. Paul says: "That which is at present momentary and
light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure exceedingly
an eternal weight of glory." And it is in order that we may ever
remember this that the church calls upon us to consider the
manifestation of the glory of our Lord and Master, to whom we
must be made conformable in all things--in suffering in this
life, in glory in the next.

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

{167}

              Sermon XLVIII.

    Christian Perfection Not Impossible.


  _This is the will of God, your sanctification._
  --Epistle of the Day.


What, my dear brethren, is the will or intention of Almighty God
and of the Catholic Church, which is directed by his Holy Spirit,
in establishing for us this fast of Lent, and commanding us to
observe it? What is the end which he meant that every Christian
should attain by keeping it, and which makes the opportunity now
offered to us such a great grace as we were warned last week that
it is? The words of St. Paul to-day answer these questions for
us. "The will of God," he says, his intention for us at all times
indeed, but specially now, "is our sanctification."

But what is our sanctification? It is the making us saints. That,
then, is what Lent ought to do for us. It ought to make us
saints; God and his church mean that it should.

"Well," perhaps you may say, "if that is the end for which Lent
is appointed, it seems to me that the end is seldom attained. For
my part, I am afraid I shall never be a saint; saints are few and
far between. It will take more than one Lent to make a saint out
of such a sinner as I am."

If, then, you say this, I must confess that there is a good deal
of truth in it. We must all feel and acknowledge that. Any one
who could feel sure now that when Easter comes he will be fit to
be canonized must either be very proud and presumptuous, and far
from real sanctity, or have some special revelation from God, to
which, I think, none of us will pretend.

{168}

But for all that it is true that Lent ought to sanctify us; it
ought to make us saints, only we need not take the word in quite
so high a sense. Though we may hope for the greatest possible
gifts now, we cannot confidently expect them. There is, however,
a sanctification that we ought to expect from this Lent, and what
is it?

It is what I fear many of you, even though tolerably good
Christians, do not expect. What do I mean by a tolerably good
Christian? I mean, of course, one who expects to make his Easter
duty. One who does not expect and mean to do that can hardly be
called a tolerably good Christian; it would be more nearly right
to call him an intolerably bad one. Well, then, you who are good
Christians expect to make your Easter duty; so far, so good. But
it is not far enough. For what is it that is meant, perhaps, by
that? Is it not merely to make up your mind to confess your sins
and to keep for a few days as you ought to be, and then be pretty
much as you were before? Has not that been the experience of the
past Easter duties of not a few of you, my brethren; and may not
the same be said of the missions you have attended, and the other
great graces you have received from time to time in your life?
You came up to the surface, as a fish jumps out of the water for
a moment, and then down you went again.

{169}

But that is not enough. That is not sanctification, and it is not
the will or intention of God. What you ought to expect is much
more than that. What, then, is it? It is simply this: that when
you have made your Easter duty you are going to stay all your
life where it will put you. It is that the habits of mortal sin
which you may then have to confess will be gone for good; that
those impure thoughts, words, and actions will have stopped for
ever; that the shameful drunkenness, and all the sins which came
from it, will be things only of the past; that you will never
again wilfully neglect Holy Mass; that in every way you will
really live as you ought, all the time in the state of grace, in
peace with God and men, and in readiness to die at any time, even
without the sacraments, if such should be God's will; that, in
short, you will be truly converted to him once for all.

That is the sanctification which past Lents have not brought you,
but which this one should. Do not, I beg you, think it is
impossible, for it is not only possible but easy. Do not make
your Easter duty the highest point and the end of your Christian
life; it should be only the beginning of it. What a consolation
it will be to you, if in your future life you can look back on
this Lent and say, "That was the time when I really began to be a
good Christian; since then I have not had much on my conscience;
I have kept in the state of grace. I made really good and strong
resolutions then, and I have been faithful to them ever since."

There are those now, plenty of them, who can say this of some
past Lent. Let it be now your turn to say it of this one. It is
not a matter of luck and chance; if you will, this grace of a
lasting conversion from sin is now offered to each and every one
of you. It is yours to a certainty, if you will take the trouble
to secure it; for it is the will of God.

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

{170}

              Sermon XLIX.

  _The Divine Presence In Our Churches. _


  _Lord, it is good for us to be here._
  --St. Matthew. xvii. 4.


The Gospel of to-day tells us of the wonderful Transfiguration of
our Lord upon the mountain in the sight of his Apostles Peter,
James, and John. "His face did shine as the sun, and his garments
became white as snow." And Peter, wrapt in wonder, yet conscious
of the privilege of being present at such a time, exclaimed:
"Lord, it is good for us to be here." Jesus has withdrawn his
visible presence from us. We cannot, like St. Peter and St. John,
behold him with our bodily eyes, nor with our ears can we hear
him speaking the words of life. It is better for us that it
should be so. In our present sinful and imperfect state we could
not bear the splendors of his glorified humanity. When from out
the bright cloud which overshadowed him the disciples heard the
voice of God proclaiming, "This is my beloved Son," "they fell
upon their faces, and were very much afraid." The sight of all
this glory, and the knowledge that they were in the presence of
Almighty God himself, filled them with fear. So, too, would it be
with us now if Jesus were to show himself to us as he now is in
heaven. At the sight of his majesty and glory we, too, should
fall upon our faces with fear and trembling.

{171}

Now, our dear Lord, knowing this weakness of ours, does not
withdraw his presence from us, for he has promised to be with us,
even till the end of the world; but he hides his glory from us
under the humble appearance of bread and wine. Beneath these
outward forms he remains continually in our churches, there in
the tabernacle, by day and night, claiming our adoration and our
love. In Holy Mass he is daily raised aloft by the hands of the
priest, offering himself to God the Father for the sins of the
world. In the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament he is lifted
up to bless his faithful ones. And God still speaks to us by the
voice and teaching of the church as truly as he spoke to the
disciples upon the holy mountain, saying: "This is my beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him." We can still see
our Lord, yet only through the cloud which overshadows him--that
is, by the eyes of faith. Yet he is none the less really present
in the tabernacle upon the altar than he was upon Mount Thabor on
the day of his Transfiguration.

When, therefore, we come into his sacred presence, when we enter
the church and see the little lamp burning before the altar to
tell us that he is there, our sentiments should be those of St.
Peter at the Transfiguration: "Lord, it is good for us to be
here." It is good for us to often visit him in the Blessed
Sacrament; it is good for us to often receive his Benediction; it
is good for us, nay, necessary for us, to assist at Holy Mass
when the church bids us do so; above all it is good for us, above
all it is necessary for us, to receive him in Holy Communion, and
especially now at this time for the fulfilment of the Easter
duty. Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament only for our own
good, for the good of our souls. When, therefore, we see this
great goodness of our Lord towards us, how can we be so heedless
of our own good as to turn away from him?

{172}

And when you come before the Blessed Sacrament, remember that you
are in God's presence. Do not forget to bend your knee in
adoration. Do not take advantage of his mercy in hiding his glory
from you by forgetting that he is really here, by spending the
whole time of Mass with roving eyes and thoughts. Fix your
attention upon the altar where he is, and offer him the best
homage that your heart can give. It will be good for you to be
here, if you have the same sentiments at Mass which the disciples
had at the Transfiguration. You should be filled with a holy fear
lest your idle thoughts at this holy time should one day be
reckoned against you. For now he veils himself from you in mercy
and love, but one day he will appear to you in far more dazzling
brightness than he ever manifested on earth. Oh! then, despise
not his presence here, that when at last you stand before him he
may judge you worthy to enjoy his presence for ever.

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

{173}

    _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.
{174}
  Now if I cast out devils in Beelzebub, in whom do your children
  cast them out? 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 L.

         Immodest Language.


How pertinent to our own times are the words of St. Paul in the
Epistle of to-day, addressed nineteen centuries ago to the
Christians of Ephesus: "But all uncleanness, let it not be so
much as named among you, as becometh saints. ... For know ye this
and understand that no unclean person hath inheritance in the
kingdom of Christ and of God."

{175}

There is no vice, my brethren, more common among men at the
present day in all classes of society, from the professional man
to the day-laborer, among the rich and the poor, the old and the
young, than that of obscene or immodest conversation.

Among the better educated this poison of impurity is clothed in
language which serves to veil its disgusting nudity, and thus the
more securely to insinuate itself and to deceive the unwary;
while among the less educated it is oftener expressed in words
that reveal its horrid filthiness and shock common decency.

Listen to the conversation of almost any chance gathering of
young men, and you will soon hear the double-meaning joke,  the
attempt of some one to be witty, which serves as much to expose
the shallowness of his pate as the corruption and rottenness of
his miserable heart.

Holy Scripture says that "out of the fulness of the heart the
mouth speaketh." How true this is! But if one were to use this
criterion in judging the thoughts that fill the hearts of many
amongst us, how debased and pitiable must be their condition!

And how shocking it is, my dear brethren, to meet a young man
whose dress and manner at first give evidence of respectability
and good breeding, but who, when an immodest allusion is made or
an impure joke uttered, is the first to shout with laughter! Such
a one is well described by our Blessed Lord as "a whited
sepulchre? full of dead men's bones."

{176}

And yet these whited sepulchres are not very rare in the
community. You meet them in every walk of life--in the
counting-room and in the factory, at the "respectable" club-room
as well as in the grog-shop, and alas! must we say it, among
Catholics as well as among non-Catholics.

Yes, among Catholics, who have been elevated to a supernatural
state through the merits and sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ;
whose hearts have been sealed by the grace of the Holy Spirit,
and on whose tongue the Body and Blood of our Lord has often been
placed--even these have dared to cherish in their hearts and
express with their tongues thoughts and sentiments that would
shock the moral sense even of the unregenerate.

Are they laboring under the incredible and awful delusion that
they commit no great sin when they entertain or give expression
to such thoughts? Do they think that they escape mortal sin when
their impurity is expressed in the form of a joke or a pun, or
when they by a laugh countenance and encourage the like impurity
in others? Ah! my dear brethren, it is to be feared that too many
consciences have been lulled to sleep by this cunning device of
the devil.

The first introduction to sin for many a one has been the
listening with pleasure to the double-meaning word uttered,
perhaps, by a companion, or while in the company of others. He
was then put on trial not by the devil alone, but by the one also
who uttered it. But the blush of modesty which rose instinctively
to his cheek from a pure heart was by an effort suppressed
through human respect, and the voice of conscience, that told him
to administer a rebuke to the minister of Satan or abandon his
company at once, was hushed into silence, and the demon of
impurity from that moment took possession.

{177}

Take warning, then, my dear brethren, from the words of St. Paul,
and never countenance by a laugh or in any other way any offence
against holy purity, in whatsoever form it may be expressed; "for
know ye that no unclean person hath any inheritance in the
kingdom of Christ and of God."

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

         Sermon LI.

   Honorary Church-members.

  _He who is not with me is against me_.
  --Luke xi. 23.


Societies in our day, brethren, have become a great moral force,
the very best means of promoting and spreading any great cause.
Men recognize this fact, and so combine together, that by unity
of purpose they may better advance the principles they desire to
support. Many of these societies are made up of two distinct
classes--the active members, who are the bone and sinew, the life
of the institution, and the honorary members, who take no
personal interest in the management or working of the society,
but who, nevertheless, are good enough, or interested enough, to
advance the cause they honor by the support of their name.

You and I, brethren, belong to a society, the Catholic Church,
which embraces the whole world. We have in view one great
object--the salvation of souls, the spread of the kingdom of
Jesus Christ among men. But this society of ours, a real, living,
organic institution, differs from most others in this: that it
does not need the support of _honorary_ members; neither
will it approve their existence in its bosom.

{178}

No, the church would have all her members living, active, earnest
supporters of her principles, and from them all she requires a
pledge that they will keep her laws, advance her ends, and fight
her battles for the kingdom she was established to uphold. She
will welcome no mere spectators to her ranks, and as for neutral
ground, she recognizes none; for those who are not with her are
against her.

And yet there are many who call themselves Christians,
_would-be honorary_ members of the Catholic Church, who do
not even realize what the word Christian means; who seem to
forget that to be a Christian imposes the obligation of being at
war with all that is anti-Christian. An honorary membership for
such Christians is very convenient; a membership that would allow
them to be on good terms with Christ and Satan. The fasting and
praying, the vigils and good works, the real brunt of the battle
they would leave to the active members, while they would look on
with an encouraging smile of approval.

Ah! brethren, learn this lesson once for all and well: between
Christ and the world there can be no compromise. He who is not
with me is against me. There is no neutral ground, for the moment
we desert the Christian rank and file we give the hand of
fellowship to the enemy. We cannot serve two masters well, and in
the Catholic Church there is no membership worthy the name that
is not an active, complete membership. The drones of the hive may
nourish and thrive for a time, but let them remember they run the
awful risk of final destruction.

{179}

The question I would have you ask yourselves today, and meditate
upon during this holy season, is this: Are you active, living
members of the church, that mystical body of which Jesus Christ
is the head and the Holy Ghost the life-giving principle, or are
you simply _would-be honorary_ members? Have you at heart
the interests of God's holy church; are her sorrows, her wants,
her trials yours? Are the sacraments she offers you the source
and support of your life? If so, you have reason to thank God.

Or are you standing afar off ready to give an approving nod when
the world smiles, or slink off like a coward when the world
frowns? Are the laws of the church irksome to you and so avoided?
If this be the case, you are nothing but dead limbs, and liable
to be cut off without a moment's warning from the living body,
for dead members are against, not with, the parent stem.

Would-be honorary members of the Catholic Church, beware of the
error of trying to give one hand to God and the other to the
devil; beware of the fallacy of thinking that because you are
outwardly connected with the church you cannot be lost--that hell
was never intended for Catholics; that, somehow or other, you
will come out all right in the end. That is what Judas thought
when with his sin-stained lips he kissed his Lord whom he had so
lately sold to the enemy.

Have you still the faith, then beware lest your want of charity
may bring on a want of faith. Have you still a conscience, beware
lest your frequent attempts to stifle it may extinguish it
altogether. If there be a spark of it left I beg of you stir it
up. Be in earnest, and at least let not this Lent pass without a
good confession and communion, the only condition on which you
can become active members of God's holy church. Put your heart in
the work and you will be happier for it here and certainly
happier hereafter.

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

{180}

              Sermon LII.

       Half-Hearted Christians.



  _He that is not with me is against me._
  --Gospel Of The Day.


These words, my dear brethren, like many others spoken by our
Blessed Lord, may be interpreted in various ways. They may be
understood to mean that he who is not with Christ, by being
united to his true flock, who does not belong to the one church
which he has founded, is injuring the cause of Christ, is
persecuting and hampering his church in its warfare against its
enemies; or, in other words, that Protestants and heretics in
general, zealous Christians though they may seem to be, are
really hurting Christianity about as much as they help it, if not
more. And it is plain enough to us that this is true. If there
had never been any heresies and schisms in the church, we cannot
doubt that there would have been now few nations not Christian.

But this, true though it may be, seems to have little practical
bearing for us. We are not heretics or schismatics, and I hope
that we have no inclination to be so. Still we must remember that
bad Catholics do about as much harm to the work of Christ and his
church in the world as heretics. In fact, there would never have
been any heretics had there not been bad Catholics to begin with.

{181}

But, after all, it does not seem that our Lord is speaking so
much of heretics, or of bad Catholics, when he says: "He that is
not with me is against me." For he goes on to tell us that "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 to 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 becomes worse
than the first."

The meaning of this is plain enough. It is that a man cannot give
up a bad life, and then remain betwixt and between, neither bad
nor good. His soul cannot stay empty, swept, and garnished. He
must keep the love of God in it; he must have good thoughts and
do good works, or the devil will come back, take possession of
the empty soul, and make it worse than it was before.

So this gives a new sense to the words, "He that is not with me
is against me." He that is not a real good Christian, trying to
live for the glory of God, and to do the work for which God has
put him in the world, will be a bad one before long, if he is not
already. We cannot lie low and shirk the duties which belong to
us as Christians and as Catholics. We must be God's servants, and
live in such a way as to be known as such, or we shall begin
again to serve his enemy.

Let us take an instance, and you will see well enough what I
mean. A young man or woman has been going with bad company, who,
though perhaps they call themselves Catholics, are a disgrace to
the name, and has joined with them in all their vile
conversations and sinful actions.
{182}
Now, too many of those who have been living in this way seem to
think that after their confession and communion they can go back
to this company and still avoid remark; that nobody will have
occasion to say that they are pious, or notice any change in
their life; that they can keep all right in God's sight, and also
in that of their bad companions; that they can avoid doing any
harm, and still do no good.

Let such remember these words: "He that is not with me is against
me." If you want to stay in the grace of God, you must hate sin,
and love virtue; and if you really do this your life and
conversation will show that such is the case. You must be a
friend of Christ and an enemy of the devil and of all his works,
and not only be willing but proud to be known as such; if you
will not do this our Lord will not have you or keep you. Choose,
then, which side you will take; do not fancy that you can take
neither. If you try to steer a middle course, and live an empty
and unprofitable life, neither one thing nor the other, you will
soon slip back just where you were before.

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

{183}

     _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.
{184}
  Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand.
  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 LIII.

      The Happiness Of True Penance.

  _Rejoice Jerusalem_.
  --Introit of the Mass for the Day.


This is called "Lætare, or rejoicing Sunday." It may surprise
you, dear brethren, to be told that this is a day of rejoicing;
you will be amazed, no doubt, that, in the midst of the rigorous
Lenten fast, when men should bewail their sins and do penance for
them, and sounds of mirth and joy are hushed, the church should
bid us rejoice.
{185}
Yet thus she does to-day. In mid-Lent even she would have her
children rejoice, would have them forget for the moment penance
and turn their hearts to thoughts of gladness, that, by so doing,
she may teach them that the rigors of this season, the
self-denial and curbing of the flesh she imposes on us, is
undergone that we may realize more fully the spirit of her
teaching--that we may, in truth, preserve, or get back if we
have lost it, that interior joy, that spiritual jubilation which
is the portion of every one who serves Christ as he should be
served.

Our religion is one of joy, because we are Christ's and he is
ours; and what more can we ask, or what greater can be bestowed
upon us, than the having of Christ; Christ, at once perfect man
and true God; Christ, whose life is the model of our lives, whose
grace is the source of all joy; Christ, to have whom is to have a
brother, and, at the same time, the eternal God; the God by whose
word were made all things that are, who knows no limit to his
power, who has in himself all perfections that man can desire or
conceive of; a brother--a man like ourselves, with a human heart
like our own, with affections like those of other men; a brother
burning with tender love for us, knowing our weakness, knowing
our wants and ready to succor us; a man who was himself tempted,
who has himself suffered the miseries of this life, who, in a
word, was made like to us in all save sin. This is whom we have
when we have Christ, and should we not rejoice at having such a
one?

{186}

We should and do rejoice; our hearts are always full of gladness
when we are in God's grace, and Christ is ours and we are his;
and this is what the church wishes for all her children--the
friendship and the love of God. She ever has Christ herself, and
so is never sad; though she may mourn with him suffering, still
there is joy behind all her sorrow.

If she puts on sombre garments, if she calls man to penance, if
she fasts and covers her head with ashes, she is still glad in
the depths of her heart. She is calling you and me to share the
gladness, to get it back if we have lost it by mortal sin; she is
bidding you and me to keep that gladness by chastising our
bodies; she is warning us that we may lose God's grace, as, alas!
too many before us have lost it, unless we are vigilant.

Dear brethren, listen to the church's voice to-day; come, all of
you, come and share her joy. If you are not in God's grace do not
let another day go by without making your peace with God. Oh! how
much you are losing, and for what? For some trifling satisfaction
which cannot bring true happiness; some mean gratification of
your lower nature; for sin you are letting slip by the offer of
God's friendship and the joy of a good conscience. Do you want to
die as you are living? If you do not, repent of your sins to-day;
before you leave this church promise God that you will sin no
more; that you will be in fact what you are in name--a Christian.

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

{187}

              Sermon LIV.

          Liberty Of Spirit.


  _By the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free._


These, my dear brethren, are the concluding words of the Epistle
read at Mass to-day. They ought to be of unusual interest to us,
for they speak of a matter which we all care very much about;
which some care so much about that they are willing to fight for
it, and to die for its sake.

If you have listened to these words of St. Paul, which I have
just read, you know what this is of which I speak, and for which
we all care so much. It is freedom or, as we often call it,
liberty. Many, as I just said, will even die, if need be, rather
than abandon it; and indeed thousands, nay millions, have
actually done so. Man feels that he must have it. Life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness he claims as his right.

Especially do people nowadays ask for liberty, and insist on
having it. The child is no sooner out of his mother's arms than
he wants and tries in all things to have his own way. Obedience
is a lesson that he seldom willingly learns. He thinks that when
he is a man he can do as he pleases; and he does not see why he
should not even now. Sometimes he succeeds in having his own way,
in spite of his parents; he runs away from school and, when a
little older, from church; he passes his life among such
companions as he chooses, who help him to get the liberty which
they think they have themselves got, by defying all the laws of
God and of man.

{188}

But is this really liberty which these foolish children, and
young men and women more foolish than children, think they have
got by trampling on all law? No; a thousand times no! It is to
true liberty only as the shadow to the substance, as they find to
their cost before they have travelled very far on this road. They
have but escaped from a light and easy yoke to take on their
necks one far heavier and more grievous, and which becomes more
and more so every day. They have left the service of the kind and
good Master to whom they belonged and entered into that of a hard
and cruel tyrant instead. He has filled them with base and
beastly passions, and made them slaves to these passions. They
are given over, body and soul, to impurity, gluttony, or
drunkenness, or it may be to a mean and miserable greed for
money. At last, perhaps, they try to turn back and shake
themselves free from these accursed lusts, which have fastened on
them, and are draining the very life-blood from their souls; but
it seems that they cannot do so. They set out to do as they
pleased, and how has it ended? In their being bound, hand and
foot, in the slavery of sin.

But what was their mistake? Were they altogether wrong in wishing
for liberty? Is the desire for freedom, which is implanted in us,
all a delusion? Are we never to do as we desire, but always to
have a restraint and a yoke upon us?

No, my brethren, the idea of liberty is not a mistake. We are
right in wishing for liberty, hoping for it, and trying to secure
it in the right way. But the mistake these foolish people of whom
I have spoken make is in going the wrong way in the search for
it: in looking for it in the wrong place.

{189}

Where, then, is liberty to be found? I will tell you; and you may
be surprised at what I say, for it does not sound as if it could
be true; but it is true, nevertheless. True liberty, then, is in
the service of God. Those who serve God best are the freest men
on earth.

But how can this be? I answer, It can and must be very easily and
very plainly. For those who serve God best of all--that is, the
saints in heaven--always do just what they like, and enjoy doing
it most perfectly. They have got rid of all the hindrances that,
more or less, prevent every one here below from doing what he
wishes.

And, of course, those who try to walk in the path of the saints
here on earth also have much of this freedom. The more they learn
to do God's will the more they love it; and so they are always
doing more and more what they like, and more and more easily all
the time; and that is just what liberty is: to do what you like,
and to do it without pain or difficulty.

The servants of God, then, have their liberty, because they have
got free from sin, which is the only obstacle to it. And this
freedom from sin is the gift of Christ, it is the fruit of his
Passion; it is, then, the liberty which he has given us. It is
ours if we wish it. Try, then, my dear brethren, in this holy
season of Lent, when his graces are so abundantly poured out, to
gain that freedom which they will surely give us, that "freedom
wherewith. Christ has made us free."

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

{190}

               Sermon LV.

         The Lust Of The Eyes.


  _Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
  but rather reprove them.
  For the things that are done by them in secret,
  it is a shame even to speak of._
  --Ephesians v. 11, 12.


Some weeks ago, my dear brethren, we had occasion to speak of the
horrible and filthy vice of impurity, which is every day dragging
into hell thousands of souls with the mark of the cross of Christ
on them, and washed in vain with his Precious Blood. As was said
then, many Christians do not seem to realize the enormity of sins
against the Sixth Commandment--at least those of thought and of
the tongue; to which may be added those coming from the use of
the other senses, especially that of sight.

An immodest imagination or desire, wilfully entertained or
enjoyed, is a mortal sin, and gives the soul so harboring it
instantly into the power of the devil. Let us hope that no one
having the Catholic faith will doubt this, or think it too strict
a doctrine; for it is the unanimous consent of all the teaching
authority in the church from the beginning, amply supported also
by Holy Scripture.  What shall we say, then, of wilful and
deliberate gazing at immodest pictures, or of reading matter
directly calculated to inflame impure passions, and certain to
have its effect?

Now, I hardly need to say that a city like this is full of these
temptations coming through the eyes into the heart. The good and
pure instinctively avoid them, and scarcely know that they exist;
accustomed to watch the slightest movements of their souls to
evil, and instantly to repress them, they shrink with horror from
those filthy words and pictures on which others eagerly gaze.
{191}
They know that, as the Apostle says, it is a shame to speak of
these things, a greater shame to write or to read of them, a
greater shame yet to expose them to sight, to incite temptation
by them, and thus to destroy the souls for which Christ died.

I say that the good and pure are not likely to be caught in this
net of Satan; by this I mean those who have been warned of the
evil, who understand its danger, and from well-formed habits of
virtue set themselves resolutely against it. But there are others
who are good and pure--in their baptismal innocence, perhaps;
young, at any rate, and unused to sin, at least of this kind--who
are not forewarned and forearmed like those of maturer years,
who, seeing bad pictures in papers sold even at stores otherwise
of good repute, and kept, perhaps, by Catholics, do not fully
understand how bad they are, and are led to look at them with
pleasure, to learn evil which they knew not of, and thus to
contract habits of sin which they will never overcome.

Now, what does our Lord say of those who thus put temptation in
the way of the young and innocent? You all know his words: "He
that shall scandalize one of these little ones who believe in me,
it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about
his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea."
Strong words these, but they are those of the Divine Wisdom, and
beyond correction by human lips. Yes, it is better to die, better
even to die in the state of sin, than to add such a sin as this
to our number.

{192}

Let us beware, then, not in any way, however indirect, to give
sanction or encouragement to this work of the devil in our midst.
"Have no fellowship with these works of darkness, but rather
reprove them." Do not buy or even take up for a moment the
indecent papers or books now unfortunately so common among us;
still more, do not sell them; do not allow them to be in the
house; do not suffer your children to look at or read them; do
not frequent places where they are to be had. Set your faces
resolutely, for the honor of God and the Catholic name, as well
as for your own souls sake, against this plague of immodest
literature, which has assumed such fearful proportions and become
so bold and unblushing in these days in which we live. Think
nothing to be light or of little moment in this matter; mortal
sin is much easier in it than you may believe.

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

{193}

              _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 we
  not 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.
{194}
  The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil.
  Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man
  keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art 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 LVI.

         The Precious Blood.


  _The Blood of Jesus Christ his Son
  cleanseth us from all sin._
  --1 Epistle St. John i. 7.


We all know, my dear brethren, that when a man is born into the
world he is born _unclean_ before God. He is then _so_
unclean that he is not fit to associate with the sons of God and
heirs of the kingdom of heaven. He is then so unclean that he can
never be anything but an outcast from God until he is made clean.

{195}

Is there any way in which he can be made clean? Yes, for when he
is baptized he is made a new creature; he is cleansed from the
stain of original sin, made a child of God and heir of the
kingdom of heaven. He is then so pure and holy that if he die
immediately he will go, to a certainty, straight to heaven. For
baptism applies the Blood of Christ to his soul, and he is become
truly clean. But suppose he does not die immediately after
baptism, how is it with him then? If he keep his baptismal
innocence, so far as never to commit a mortal sin, he still has a
right to go to heaven. He can then demand of God permission to
enter heaven.

Can he, however, demand this permission to enter heaven
immediately after his death if he has committed only venial sin?
That depends entirely upon his contrition at the moment of death.
If he is not so sorry for all his sins that his contrition is
[not] perfect, then he can't enter heaven immediately, but must
go to purgatory to be made perfectly pure, so that he can be
taken into heaven.

I have said that baptism applies the Blood of Christ to the soul
and makes man pure and innocent. Now, baptism is a sacrament. It
is the first one and is necessary to salvation. Without it no man
can enter heaven, nor even purgatory, for the purgatorial state
is the first and lowest state of blessed and holy souls who must
go to heaven in the end. But the blood of Christ is applied to
the soul of man in other ways, although baptism must come in in
the first place.

In what other ways is the Blood of Christ applied:

First, by the Sacrifice of the Mass. For by the Mass we repair
our sins, get grace to keep from sin, and make our purgatory
shorter in consequence. He who hears Mass daily makes the best
prayer that a man can make, and he is more certain to have his
prayer answered. He also helps the living and the dead, and
brings down upon himself and his own special graces from God.

{196}

Secondly, the Blood of Christ is applied to our souls by the
Sacrament of Penance. Men defile their souls by sin, by
_mortal_ sin after baptism. He who receives the Sacrament of
Penance worthily--that is, with true sorrow for all mortal sin,
with a firm determination to lead a good life and repair the
wrong he has done--that man receives again the grace of God that
restores his soul to eternal life.

Thirdly, in Holy Communion we receive the Body and Blood of our
Lord Jesus Christ in a hidden manner, but in deed and in truth.
The consecrated Host is the eternal and ever-living God himself.
You know, my dear brethren, the strength of this divine food. How
it gives new energy to the soul, destroys the power of
concupiscence, banishes, or at least weakens, temptation, always
giving us the grace to hold our own against the world, the flesh,
and the devil. _And there are Catholics who refuse to make this
Communion once a year!_

But there is one thing that ought to be said here. A Catholic
ought never to consider as useless, or as almost useless, any one
of the sacraments. This too many do as regards confession. They
underrate it. They think, therefore, it is no good unless they
receive Communion every time they go to confession. Now this is a
grave error. One is _not_ obliged to go to Communion every
time he goes to confession. Those who cannot go to Mass nor
Communion, on account of their business or employment or work
keeping them away, can at least go to confession very often
during the year. All such an one has to do is to prepare himself
carefully, step into the rector's house, make his confession, and
go on to work again. If he but make an arrangement with some one
of the priests he can always be heard at once. Frequent
confession is a wonderful help to a good life and a happy death.

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

{197}

              Sermon LVII.

            Christ's Passion.


  _Which of you shall convince me of sin?_
  --John viii. 46.


To-day, dear friends, is Passion Sunday, and our long Lenten
pilgrimage is nearing its end. Heretofore our thoughts have been
on ourselves, our own shortcomings, our own sins. Now we stand,
as it were, on the hill overlooking the Holy City, and see before
us, as a map unrolled, the scene of our Redeemer's agony:
Bethany, the olive-garden of Gethsemani, and, further on, the
barren mount of Calvary, with its three crosses standing forth,
black and cruel, against the fair blue sky.

Now our thoughts turn from ourselves to our Lord. We have seen
what the effect of sin has been on us. Now we look and see, and
our shame should deepen as we see, what sorrow and tears and
agony it has brought on the eternal Son of God.

To-day the cross is veiled, the pictures are shrouded in
mourning, the "Gloria" ceases to be sung. So our sins covered our
dying Lord as with a garment, and sorrow chokes the voice of holy
church, fills her heart to overflowing, and stills all her songs
of praise.

{198}

What is this veil which obscures the cross of Jesus Christ and
makes his Passion of no effect? O dear brethren! is it not our
sins? What platted the crown of thorns, and drove those sharp
spikes deep into his sacred head? Our selfish pride. What sent
those nails through his hands and feet, fixing them to the tree
of shame? Our wicked deeds and our wanderings from the path of
duty. What parched his tongue with such burning thirst? Our
shameless indulgence in drink. What pointed the spear of the
impious Roman soldier, and hurled it deep into the Sacred Heart,
whence issued the red torrent of the Precious Blood? Our
inordinate appetites and sinful lusts. As often as we sin we
crucify our dearest Lord afresh.

"Which of you shall convince me of sin?" What more could I have
done for my vineyard which I have not done? I came down from
heaven; took upon myself the form of a servant, the likeness of
sinful flesh; set you a perfect example how you should walk; was
led as a lamb to the slaughter; was scourged, spit upon, mangled,
crucified; what could I have done more? Which of you shall
convince me of sin? Which of _you_, my brethren? How many
graces and blessings do you not owe to that crucified Lord? In
how many sore temptations have you not been defended and
strengthened? In how many bitter sorrows have you not been
comforted? From how many shameful falls have you not been raised
up? O Christian soul! for whom Christ died, look upon that
bleeding, suffering, dying Saviour, and, if nothing else will
move you, let those ghastly wounds, which your sins have made,
plead with you. Acknowledge your transgressions: abase yourself
in the very dust.
{199}
Let that sacred Passion plead with you, that infinite love plead
with you, that Precious Blood plead with you, those last tender
words plead with you, and teach you, for their sake and your
soul's sake, to love the Lord more dearly, to dread sin more
effectually, and never, as long as you live, to add to that heavy
burden by any wicked deed of yours.

So shall, a few days hence, the veil be lifted from the cross,
and our sorrow be turned to joy, for when the Lord of Glory shall
arise we too shall arise with him, and reign with him in glory
for evermore.

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

              Sermon LVIII.

       Dangerous Companionship.


  _Walk circumspectly; not as unwise, but as wise._
  --Ephesians. v. 15-16.


To-day, my dear brethren, I propose to make a few remarks on the
dangerous occasions of impurity, so common in these times.

The danger of which I wish specially to speak is that which comes
from the familiar acquaintance which now exists to such a great
extent, and is taken so much as a matter of course, between young
persons of different sexes. This undue familiarity is too common
everywhere in this country; and more than anywhere else in a city
like that in which we live. Young women here with us, even though
they be Catholics, and good enough Catholics in some respects,
seem to forget, or rather never to begin to realize, the laws of
decorum and modesty which well-instructed persons, even though
not professing to be specially religious, have hitherto rightly
taken for granted.

{200}

To take a flagrant instance. A priest, being a man educated
according to the rules of respectable society, is unspeakably
surprised when he for the first time hears some young woman,
apparently of a careful conscience, ask him if it is a sin to
flirt. For what is this which is called flirting? It is simply
deliberately and wantonly acting in a way to attract the
attention of particular persons of the opposite sex, to make
signals which are to be understood as marks of preference for, or
of desire of acquaintance with, some young man or men whom she
may chance to see on the street. A sin to flirt! How can you ask
such a question? Why, outwardly and at the first appearance, the
act is not very different from that of an abandoned woman seeking
to attract those whom she thinks will notice her. The intention,
of course, in your minds is often comparatively harmless, it is
true; but by outward standards the act is simply disreputable.
Furthermore, it shows a feeling which any lady, really worthy of
the name, would hesitate to show even to one whose character she
well knew to be good, and who had for a long time given to her
respectful and proper attentions. A woman or girl who flirts
seems to be, if she is not in reality, lost to all sense of
decency; and those are almost as much so who shamelessly walk at
night up and down the avenues in the hope of attracting
attention.

This seeking to form unknown acquaintances of the opposite sex or
to attract special attention among them is, then, a thing which
no Catholic girl should think of, if she has any sense of shame.
But when such acquaintances are formed by an introduction in
itself proper, they should be very carefully considered.
{201}
For a young woman to make one of the other sex her friend or
familiar companion, as she well may one of her own, is a thing
which should be unheard of. She should have but one such friend,
and he should be one who has acted honorably to her by proposing
to her to take the honorable part of her husband, and whom she
has before God and in her conscience felt to be worthy, and
accepted by a binding engagement. Before that, and to all other
men, politeness with proper and modest reserve should be the
constant rule, affection and familiarity out of the question. And
yet we find girls keeping company, as it is called, and that
without any sort of serious guarantee of the purposes of the
other party, not only with one after another, but even with more
than one at once.

For the reasons, plain enough, on which these directions rest,
promiscuous assemblies of both sexes, such as those to be found
at certain gatherings, now unfortunately so popular, are full of
danger, and had far better in all cases be avoided. A freedom of
manners prevails in them--to say nothing of direct temptations to
the senses--and an ease of making acquaintance, which opens a
free door to sin. I do not wish to be too severe, but, as a rule,
I do say, leave such places alone. Young women, respect
yourselves; demand the respect of others. There is the moral in a
nutshell.

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

{202}

              _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.

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

{203}

               Sermon LIX.

           Hardness Of Heart.


  _To-day if you shall hear his voice,
  harden not your hearts. _


These words, my dear brethren, are taken from the beginning of
the office recited by the clergy on this and the following days,
up to Holy Thursday. They entreat us not to let this time,
precious above all others, go by without making the use of it
which our Lord means that we should make; not to let him show his
love for us without giving him love in return.

"Harden not your hearts." How is it that we harden our hearts? It
is by putting off our repentance; by clinging to the world and
its pleasures, to the gratification of our sinful passions, and
waiting for some time to come when it will be more convenient to
give them up, or when we shall feel more strongly moved to do so.
We think that this time will surely come, that the stream of
God's graces will be uninterrupted, and that when necessity urges
we can avail ourselves of the one that happens to be then within
our reach as easily as we could have done of the many that went
by long ago.

But, my brethren, this is a great and a terrible mistake. It may
be, indeed, that God in his goodness and mercy has many graces
yet in store for us equal in themselves to those which we have
had; but if we have despised and neglected the past ones they
will not be the same for us as those were which went before,
{204}
A word of warning, a single prayer, the sight of the crucifix or
of our Blessed Mother, a pious picture, an Agnus Dei, is enough
to move the innocent soul of a child to the love of God; the most
powerful mission-sermon often fails to make any impression on one
who has spent his life in sin. It is not the grace that is
wanting on God's part. No, he is there in his power; his arm is
not shortened; he is still mighty to save. But his voice seems to
the deaf ear of the sinner faint and indistinct; his message is
the same old story. Yes, it is the same old story; it must be the
same, for there is but one. There is but one name under heaven
whereby we can be saved, only one Gospel which we can preach, and
the sinner has heard it so often with indifference that its
interest is gone.

Then--most dangerous delusion of all--he comforts himself with
the hope that at least he will die in the grace of God; that
somehow or other he will, as he passes from life to death, be
brought from death to life. He forgets that the sacraments were
not given to give repentance to the sinner; no, they have for
their object to give pardon and grace to those who have repented.
Do you think it is of the slightest use to anoint with oil the
senses of a man who lies unconscious, and who has not, while he
had the use of his mind, turned really and truly away in his
heart from his sinful life? The priest does it, indeed, in hopes
that he may have repented; but how faint is that hope for those
who have suddenly been stricken down! And even if there is more
time; even if some sort of confession can be made, is it so sure
that the hardened heart, which has all its life loved and clung
to its sins, will now love God and hate sin? God's mercy is
great, it is true; he may now give extraordinary graces, but he
is not bound to do so; and if the ordinary ones have failed
before they may also fail now.

{205}

Yes, my brethren, now is the time--a better time than your last
hour. Now in this Passion season the Precious Blood of Christ is
flowing more freely for you than you can expect ever to find it
again. Listen to his voice now; do not wait till it becomes
fainter. If you have not spent Lent well so far, come now and
make the most of the help so abundantly given you in these holy
days. Harden not your hearts any longer; it is a dangerous game
to play.

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

              Sermon LX.

         Spirit Of Holy Week.


  _Think diligently upon him that endured such opposition
  from sinners against himself._
  --Hebrews. xii. 3.


The week which we this Sunday enter upon, my dear brethren, is
called Holy Week; and of all the many sacred seasons which the
church has set apart, this is by far the most solemn and sacred.
Everything which it is within the power of external rites and
ceremonies to do has been done by the church in these services,
in order to bring home to her children the great lesson which
this holy season should teach. And while it is true that the
church has not made attendance obligatory under pain of mortal
sin, yet it would argue a very poor and ungrateful spirit, and
one but little in accordance with that of the church, if any one
should without good reason neglect to be present.

{206}

Now, what is the truth which these services have it for their
object to impress upon our minds? No other than that fundamental,
distinctive truth--the Passion and death of Christ, its reason
and effects. The church this week excludes from commemoration
everything else, and applies herself exclusively to tracing the
steps of her Lord and Founder from his entry into Jerusalem in
the midst of acclamations and rejoicings, to the entombment of
his dead and blood-stained body in the sepulchre of Joseph of
Arimathea. Now, every one must have, necessarily has, in these
events the greatest interest--an interest which surpasses every
other.

And, first, as to those who are in the habit of going frequently
to the sacraments, who understand their great value, and find in
these means of grace their chief consolation in the midst of the
troubles and cares which surround them. For these the
commemoration of the Passion and death of Christ can not but be
profitable. The author of "The Following of Christ" tells us that
we ought not to consider so much the gift of the lover as the
love of the giver. And we all know that we esteem the trifling
present made by a dear friend more than much more costly things
which we have ourselves bought or earned. Now, the sacraments are
not merely inestimable treasures in themselves; they are also
tokens and pledges of the love of Him who instituted them, bought
by him at the cost of his own most Precious Blood, given to us to
show us his love to us. Every time a man goes to confession,
every time he receives Holy Communion, he is receiving that which
was instituted and established and bestowed upon him out of love;
and if he wishes to know how great that love was he ought to have
a lively sense of what it cost our Lord to merit those graces for
us--namely, his bitter Passion and death.

{207}

But there are many who neglect the sacraments, who come to them
but seldom, perhaps only to their Easter Communion; perhaps not
even to that. What is to be thought of those who act in this way?
Certainly, however smart and keen and intelligent they may be, or
fancy themselves to be, in lower matters which are nearer to them
and fall beneath their senses--in money-getting, in trade, in
art, in literature--such men show but little sense and
understanding about things which are of real importance and
value. In what way may these duller and obtuser minds learn to
appreciate these higher things? Certainly the price given for a
thing by a prudent man is a good means of learning what it is
worth. Now, if those who neglect the sacraments, who make but
little of them, would during this week apply themselves to the
consideration of the price paid by our Lord for those sacraments,
I have but little doubt that they would be led to form a truer
notion of their value and importance.

I wish I could conclude without alluding to another class which,
though I trust it is not numerous, yet does exist--I mean those
who do not neglect the sacraments, but those who do worse: who
profane them. Those who make bad confessions, who conceal mortal
sins, who have no sorrow for their sins and no purpose of
amendment, who make the infinite mercy and goodness of God a
reason and pretext for wallowing in vice and sin--what shall be
said of these?
{208}
We know that our Lord is reigning now gloriously in heaven; that
nothing which we can do can cause him loss or pain; yet it is
also true that those who act in this way do all that lies in
their power to trample under foot that Precious Blood which was
shed for them. But while there is life there is hope, and if even
those would devote this week to meditation on the Passion of our
Lord, they might form a just estimate of what their souls cost
our Lord, and turn to him while there is yet time.

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

{209}

              _Easter Sunday._


  Epistle.
  1 _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.

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

{210}

              Sermon LXI.

              Easter Joy.


  _Hæc dies, quam fecit Dominus:
  Exultemus, et lætemur in ea._
  --Psalm cxvii. 24.
    [USCCB: Psalm cxviii. 24.]

  "_This is the day which the Lord hath made:
   Let us be glad and rejoice in it._"


So sings the Psalmist. So sings the church today in Holy Mass,
and every Christian heart beats with the response: "Let us be
glad and rejoice."

A happy Easter, then, to you all, my dear brethren! A happy
Easter to the old, to whom, in the natural course of things, many
returns of this blessed day cannot come! A happy Easter to the
young, rejoicing in all the freshness and vigor of youth, and
confidently looking forward to many renewals of Easter joys! A
happy Easter to the rich, upon whom God has bestowed an abundance
of worldly goods! And a thrice happy Easter to God's own special
friends, the poor! Thus holy church bids all be glad and rejoice,
for to-day Christ is risen, the Saviour of us all.

The joy of Easter, my dear brethren, like that of Christmas, is
all-pervading. We feel it in the air we breathe, we see it in the
sparkling eye and radiant countenance of the child. The quick and
hearty salutation of our friends, "A happy Easter to you!"
increases our own joy, for we perceive that all about us are
sharers with us in this great gift of the risen Christ.

{211}

But the joy of Easter differs from that of Christmas in this:
that the latter brings to us the glad tidings of the coming of
the true King, the strong and valiant leader of the mighty host
of Israel, and our hearts leap with joy as we go forth, with
buoyant step and strengthened arm, and fight the great battle of
life. Easter joy is the joy of victory, for our gallant Leader,
the strong Son of God, has gone before; he has overcome the
enemy, and death is swallowed up in victory.

Yes, Christ has fought the battle and won. But there remains for
us a battle to be fought, but not an uncertain one; for we have
received virtue from the victory of Christ, and by following him
faithfully, by keeping our eye fixed steadily on the banner of
Christ--the banner of the cross--our victory, too, is certain.

This, then, is why Easter time gladdens the heart of every true
Christian, for it brings with it the assured hope of final
victory over sin, which is the sting of death, by a glorious
resurrection.

But, my dear brethren, mid all these rejoicings may there not be
some poor soul among us who does not participate in the joys of
Easter time? Some soul for which Christ on Good Friday poured
forth the last drop of his Sacred Blood, but which to-day finds
itself estranged, nay, even in a hostile attitude towards its
only true friend? Oh! would to God there were not even one such
ungrateful soul in the whole world. But, alas! I fear there are
many upon whom our loving Saviour, the risen Christ, must look
this day as his declared enemies; some wretched souls over whom
hangs the thick, black cloud of mortal sin, unrepented and
unforgiven, and through which the bright rays of God's infinite
love cannot penetrate. Yet even these need not despair; the joys
of Easter time may still be theirs, for the same loving and
sword-pierced Heart of Jesus is still ready to be reconciled with
them.
{212}
Oh! if there be such a one present here this morning let him take
courage, come at once to the tribunal of penance, become one of
the friends of the risen Christ, and share with us the joys of
Easter.

And those who have been, but are no longer, strangers to God's
grace, persevere, I exhort you, during the short space of this
life in the friendship of our crucified Lord, and yours, too,
will, like his, be a glorious resurrection.

Let us, then, my dear brethren, on this happy Easter day elevate
our hearts to God in humble thanksgiving for all his benefits,
and let us unite with the holy church in the prayer of the office
for to-day. God! who, through thine only-begotten Son, hast on
this day overcome death and opened unto us the gate of
everlasting life, we humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special
grace preventing us, thou dost put into our minds good desires,
so by thy continued help we may bring the same to good effect.
Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and
reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God,
world without end. Amen.

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

              Sermon LXII.

       Easter And The Love Of God.


  _This is the day which the Lord hath made:
  let us be glad and rejoice therein._
  --Psalm. cxvii. 24.
    [USCCB: Psalm cxviii. 24.]

{213}

Familiar words these, my brethren, and for ever associated in our
minds with this greatest of all Christian festivals. Frequently
on this day and through its octave does the church repeat them to
us; they sound now continually in our ears. And no doubt they
find some echo in our hearts. Yes, we are glad, we do rejoice;
surely no one who can call himself a Christian could hear unmoved
the outburst of our triumph and exultation yesterday as the
"Gloria in Excelsis" was intoned in the Mass, telling us that the
lion of Juda has conquered, that God has arisen and that his
enemies are scattered, that he has put death and hell under his
feet. For the moment at least we would say with St. Paul: "O
death! where is thy victory? O death! where is thy sting? Thanks
be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ."

But as the newness, the freshness of the Easter joy and triumph
passes away, does not another feeling come and mingle with it? A
feeling of awe, almost of dread, comes upon us, like that terror
which came upon the guards at the sepulchre as they saw the angel
who rolled away the stone, of whom St. Matthew says that his
countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow;
like that fear which came even on the holy women as they saw the
two angels in shining apparel standing at the empty tomb; and
upon the Apostles themselves when Jesus stood in their midst soon
after; for the evangelist tells us that they were troubled and
frighted, in spite of his words giving them peace and telling
them not to be afraid.

Indeed, I think there was no one of those who saw our risen Lord,
except his glorious and Blessed Mother, whose love was so perfect
that it quite cast out this fear.
{214}
And still more is it in our poor and imperfect hearts; we cannot
shake it off. How many are there of us, unless, indeed, those
innocent ones who have not yet known what sin is, who, if this
were really and truly the morning of the resurrection, and the
risen one could be seen by those who should seek him, would arise
gladly and run to meet him, and fall in loving adoration at his
feet?

If we can in our inmost heart feel that we would, we have reason
indeed to be glad and rejoice to-day. But to feel so there must
be something in us besides that thrill of triumph and of victory
which overpowers us as the splendor of the resurrection first
breaks upon our souls. There must be a true, fervent, and deep
love of the God who to-day comes so near to us; a hatred from the
bottom of our hearts and souls of all that in the least degree
separates us from him; there must be, beside faith, also hope and
charity, such as the saints have had--that hope which knows that
he loves us and has forgiven us, that charity which would make us
die sooner than offend him again. And these we have not because
of our sins.

Yes, it is sin which casts the shadow on our Easter; it is the
love and affection for it which still remains in us; it is that
compromising spirit which is even at our best times holding us
back, keeping us from fully loving, trusting, and giving
ourselves up to God, for fear that we might lose something by
doing so; it is this that makes us afraid to approach him and to
share in his joy. As for mortal sin, that, of course, takes the
happiness of Easter away altogether; to one who is in its
darkness the thought of meeting God brings, and can bring, no
thought of joy. But even venial sin brings its dread with it,too.
{215}
And what is the remedy for this dread? It is very simple. It is
only to try now to begin to love with our whole hearts him who
has loved us, and given his life for us; whose delight is to be
with us and to have us come to him; to keep nothing back from
him--in short, to live here in our feeble measure the life we
hope to live in heaven. This is the way, and the only way, for us
to enter now as we would wish into the joy of our Lord.

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

              Sermon LXIII.

         The Triumph Of Christ.


  _This is the day which the Lord hath made:
  let us rejoice and be glad in it. _
  --Psalm. cxvii. 24.
    [USCCB: Psalm cxviii. 24.]

The festival of Easter is, above all things, my brethren, a day
of joy. Just as we love the sunshine more after days of cloud and
tempest, so also is our joy keener and more intense when it
follows sorrows.

It is for this reason that the joy of Easter is greater than that
of Christmas, or of any other season of the Christian year. For
we have been passing through a time of sorrow. We have beheld in
Passion-tide our dearest Lord in suffering. We have beheld him as
the King of Martyrs, worthy of the title, because his pains were
so far in excess of anything that mere man has ever suffered or
could ever suffer. We have seen him in his agony in the garden,
when the sins of the whole world and of all time were presented
to his vision and pressed heavily upon him, filling his Sacred
Heart with deepest grief.
{216}
We have called to mind his betrayal by his trusted friend and
disciple; his arraignment before impious and unjust judges; his
cruel condemnation and death. Despised and rejected by his own
chosen people whom he had come to save, a robber and murderer
preferred before him, we have beheld him abandoned to the
tortures of the heathen soldiers, scourged, and spit upon, and
crowned with thorns, and finally led forth to die a malefactor's
death upon the cross.

And worse than all is the thought that he was forsaken by those
whom he held most dear, those whom he had chosen to be his
special friends and disciples, and who had been his constant
companions in his public ministry. They all forsook him and fled,
leaving him to die.

Then we have followed him along the sorrowful way of the cross;
we have meditated deeply upon his three last hours of agony; we
have almost heard his deep, expiring groan as he rendered up his
soul to the hands of his Father.

Now, if we have thus learnt well the lessons of Passion-tide, the
joy of Easter will come to us in all its fulness. If we have
pondered well the depth of humiliation to which our Lord
subjected himself in his death upon the cross, we shall well
realize the greatness of his triumph to-day. The joy that filled
the hearts of the Apostles, of the holy women, and, above all,
the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Lady when they knew that the
Lord had risen indeed will be ours to-day, and we shall cry out
in the words which the church puts into our mouths: "This is the
day which the Lord hath made: let us rejoice and be glad in it":
for "the Lord is my strength and my praise, and is become my
salvation." Therefore, to-day the voice of praise and of
salvation "is in the dwellings of the just throughout the world."

{217}

"For the right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength"; the right
hand of the Lord--that is, his almighty power--has raised up
Jesus from the dead. He has risen glorious and triumphant, and in
his glory and triumph all mankind are sharers. For by his
resurrection he has overcome death and opened unto us the gates
of everlasting life. He has triumphed over sin, which brought
death into the world, and which was the cause of his death. His
resurrection, therefore, means our deliverance from sin and
death, and is a pledge to us of that life which he will give to
his faithful ones.

Surely, then, we can have no greater cause for rejoicing than
this. Pray, then, my brethren, that your hearts may be filled
with the true spirit of Easter joy. "Ask and you shall receive,
that your joy may be full; and your joy no man shall take from
you."

-------------------
{218}

              _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.
{219}
  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 LXIV.

        How To Use God's Gifts.


  _If ye be risen with Christ,
  seek those things which are above,
  where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God._
  --Epistle to Colossians. iii. 1.


The feast of to-day, my dear brethren, brings to a close the
solemnities of Easter; and it was the practice, in the early ages
of the church, for those who had been baptized on Holy Saturday
to put off, on this day, the white garments which they then
assumed, and to resume again their accustomed occupation.
{220}
The white garments were but an external sign of that internal
purity and cleanliness which the soul received in the waters of
Holy Baptism, and the soul, thus purified and strengthened by
God's grace, went boldly forth to the battle-field of life, to
meet again its three great and deadly enemies: the world, the
flesh, and the devil. So we, who, during the penitential season
just closed, have faithfully observed the laws of holy church,
and, by fasting, have brought the flesh under subjection to the
spirit; by foregoing our accustomed pleasures and amusements have
brought the world under our feet, and, by a good confession and
Communion, have again enlisted in the ranks of Christ, and thus
declared ourselves eternal enemies of sin and the devil, start
again to-day with renewed strength to follow our Leader, the
risen Christ, to certain victory.

St. Paul, in the Epistle from which the text is taken, reminds
the Christians at Colossa that, if they be risen with Christ,
their thoughts must now be turned to where Christ is--sitting at
the right hand of God. "Mind the things that are above," he
continues, "not the things that are upon the earth; for you are
dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

O brethren! would that Catholics did but realize this great
truth! Would that their thoughts and affections were directed
towards their eternal destiny! Absorbed, as they are, in the
sordid pursuits of this life, they cannot be too often reminded
that we are here only on trial. An almighty and merciful God has,
with a lavish hand, surrounded us with the means of gratifying
our reasonable desires and appetites. But, alas! the very gifts
of God serve not unfrequently to make us forget the Giver.
{221}
Look around you and see what is the object for which this noisy,
bustling world is striving; what the end for which most men seem
to exist. The fact is, brethren, that Mammon, the heathen god of
riches, has disputed Christ's sovereignty over the hearts of men,
and has actually erected his altar in those very hearts where the
grace of Christ once reigned. The only conception men seem to
have of this present life is this: that it is a place where we
are to strive to become wealthy in the shortest possible time,
without being over scrupulous as to the means, and then to retire
from active pursuits, the better to indulge our sensual
appetites. They thus invert the order of Divine Providence, and
make an end of that which was intended only as a means to enable
us to attain our eternal destiny.

Everything in this world, my dear brethren, was intended by God
for our happiness here and as a pledge of an eternal and
infinitely greater happiness hereafter. It is a great mistake to
suppose that Christianity requires us to ignore these wonderful
gifts of a kind Providence, and to forego all the pleasures of
this life. No, not at all! Indeed, we are absolutely obliged to
make use of many of them if we would maintain our very existence.

God acts towards us as a kind and affectionate father acts
towards his child. The father knows that his child loves him, and
he feels confident that the little presents he makes the child
from time to time will only serve to strengthen the fond
affection which nature has implanted between them.

{222}

But what would you think if those gifts of the kind father served
only to estrange from him the heart of his child? You would,
undoubtedly, say that such a state of things was unnatural. Well,
so it is, my dear brethren, with us, who, after all, are only
children of an older growth. God, our Creator and Father, has
given us life and all the things in this beautiful universe to
enjoy. And all he asks in return is our love--our hearts. But,
remember, he is not satisfied with an imperfect and partial love.
He is a jealous God, and will allow no one to share our hearts
with him. So that when men fix their affections on the things of
this world without referring them to God, and use these gifts
without regard to the Giver, they too are acting in an unnatural
or, at least, in an irrational manner. Give your whole heart to
God, brethren, and then you will enjoy his gifts, and, as St.
Paul says, "When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you
also shall appear with him in glory."

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

              Sermon LXV.

         The Christian's Peace.


  _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.
  He said therefore to them again:
  Peace be to you._
  --Gospel of the Day.


He stood in their midst. To-day he stands in the midst of us and
utters the self-same words, "Peace be unto you." And he shows us
his hands and his side, and we are glad. And again he says,
"Peace be unto you."

{223}

To be at peace with the world is the aim of many men. But to have
one's life run smoothly on, to be hindered neither here nor
there, to be always in the sunshine and never in the shadow, may
bring us peace and gladness, but not the peace and gladness that
our Lord would impart. For after his words of gentle salutation
he showed them his hands and his side impressed with the
wound-prints of his Passion, as if to say: "The peace which I
wish you is that which comes after strife, conflict, and sorrow;
that peace which is the rest and the reward for labor and
endurance."

Yes, dear friends, ours is to strive, to contend with self, with
a nature that is fallen, with a proneness to evil, with desires
that are selfish and carnal. To contend with the world, to
disavow its principles, not to listen to its temptations; to
realize and to confess that pleasure, success, ease, money, fame,
are not the objects for which a noble soul must seek, but that
God is our true end, and that mortification and self-denial, the
cross, are the true means to arrive at that end, the way to come
to union with God.

To be at peace with the world; yes, I admit that it is a thing to
be desired, but only so that we are at peace with Almighty God,
too. And how is that peace gained? Only by the keeping of his
law. At peace with the world, because the world cannot disturb
one at peace with God; this is the Christian's life. But so great
a boon is not gained without a strife, as the joy of Easter is
not till the sorrow of the Passion has passed.

Our duty, then, dear brethren, is to strive, and to keep the law
of God, that first law written on our hearts, that law which he
has given to us both by his words and by his life on earth, and
which he still repeats to us through his holy church.

{224}

Foolish, indeed, are we above all others if our Easter joy is
only that of the worldling, and our peace that which the world
gives. This is not the peace that comes after looking at his
hands and his side; not the joy that the disciples felt as they
gazed on the risen Saviour, who stands to-day here in our midst,
as he did among those his first followers, and says to us, as he
said to them, "Peace be to you."

We may have that peace, my brethren, if we are willing to obtain
it and to deserve it as they did. We shall have it descend upon
us, if, while we gaze at his hands and his side, we are conscious
that we have indeed shared his Passion and cross. May indeed be
ours this peace of God, which shall keep our hearts and minds in
Christ Jesus.

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

              Sermon LXVI.

        True And Lasting Peace.


  _Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them:
  "Peace be to you."_
  --From the Gospel of the Sunday.


Peace be to you! This is our Lord's Easter blessing, thrice
repeated in the Gospel of to-day; and a blessing which all his
faithful may obtain. And it is the one for which we are
continually seeking, each in his own way, but which we can find
nowhere but with him who to-day offers it to us.

{225}

What is this peace? Is it freedom from conflict? Is the Christian
to have no battle to fight, no enemy to overcome? No, surely our
Lord does not promise us such an easy road to heaven as this. "Do
not think," he says, "that I came to send peace upon earth; I
came not to send peace, but the sword." We must make up our
minds, for the sake of the Christian faith, to sustain not only
the assaults of the devil and of our own evil passions, but also
the opposition of those who should be our friends. "A man's
enemies," our Saviour goes on to say, "shall be they of his own
household."

In this sense, then, we cannot hope for peace in this world. No,
our lot must be, if we have really enlisted in Christ's army,
that of all soldiers: war, and its turmoil. As St. Paul says it
was for himself so must it be for us: "combats without, fears
within." Struggles for our temporal life; for God has said to
Adam our father, and in him to us his children: "In the sweat of
thy face shalt thou eat bread "; struggles far more terrible and
momentous for our spiritual life, against flesh and blood, also
"against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the
world of this darkness," in which a single slip may mean eternal
ruin, a single wound instant death.

Where, then, is our peace in this inevitable war, this contest
which demands all the energies of our body and soul? What peace
can we have while its issue is still uncertain, its events yet
unknown? Surely it seems a mockery for our Lord to say, "Peace be
to you," when he sends us not peace, but war and its alarms.

But it is not a mockery; he who cannot be deceived also cannot
deceive. His words are faithful and true. He has really peace to
give us--peace in the midst of combat, calm even in the storm.

{226}

When the storm arose on the sea of Galilee, and he was asleep in
the boat, his disciples came to him, saying: "Lord, save us, we
perish." But he answered: "Why are you fearful, O ye of little
faith?" Was there not reason for them to be fearful, to lose
their peace of mind, when death was staring them in the face, and
all their efforts to save themselves were vain? No, not if they
had faith to show that God was with them.

This, then, should have been their peace; this should be ours:
the possession of God. He has given himself entirely for us and
to us in the battle in which he has placed us. He fights on our
side. What, then, have we to fear if we will only keep close to
him? We are sure of the victory if we call him to our aid. As St.
Paul says, "If God be for us, who is against us? He that spared
not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath
he not also with him given us all things?"

Peace, then, we should have in our spiritual combat; but how in
the battle for our temporal life? Here we are not promised
success; no, it must be defeat, at least in the end. We must lose
at last by death all that we seek of the goods of this world. The
peace which the world gives is then a delusion; it lasts but for
an hour; the shadow of death is upon it. "O death!" says Holy
Scripture, "how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that
hath peace in his possessions!" Here again, therefore, our true
peace is in the possession of him who is eternal; this is the
peace which the world can neither give nor take away. All the
storms of this world will not shake or disturb him whose house is
built on this rock. "Who," again says St. Paul, "shall separate
us from the love of Christ; shall tribulation, or distress, or
famine, or nakedness, or danger, or persecution, or the sword?"

{227}

This, therefore, is the true peace of the Christian: confidence
in God, indifference to all that is not God. It is the peace of
our Lord himself. "My peace," he says, "I give unto you." Let us
ask him indeed to give it to us, now and for evermore.

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

{228}

    _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.

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

{229}

         Sermon LXVII.

    _The Good Shepherd_.


  _For you were as sheep going astray;
  but you are now converted
  to the pastor and bishop of your souls._
  --1 St. Peter ii. 25.


To-day is the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, and the church sings
in joyful strains: "The Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for
his sheep, yea, who was contented even to die for his flock, the
Good Shepherd is risen again--Alleluia!" It is in this tender,
loving, and, to us, most winning character that our Lord presents
himself in the Gospel of to-day--the Good Shepherd, who knoweth
his sheep, and acknowledges them as his own, whose tender care
for them is so great that he is willing even to lay down his life
for their sake, yet with the power to take it again for his own
glory and for their eternal good. We are those sheep for whom he
died, and for whom he rose again, for they are in the truest
sense his sheep who believe in his name, and are gathered into
his one fold, the holy Catholic Church.

But it is not enough to believe; we must also hear his voice. How
have we done this in the past? Have we hearkened to his voice as
he spake to us through the offices of the church, through the
words of our pastors, through the still, small voice of
conscience? Alas! we have been as sheep going astray. We have
been deaf to his voice, as it has so often spoken to us, bidding
us follow him. And, having strayed away from our Shepherd, we
have refused to listen to the loving tones of that same sweet
voice, calling us back to our place in the flock, but have
wandered still further away into the pleasant pastures of sin,
where all seemed delight for a time, but where the wolf, the
great enemy of our souls, was lurking, waiting for his chance to
seize us as his prey for ever.
{230}
Oh! into what danger have we run by thus wandering from the right
path! But now, during the holy season of Lent that is passed, the
church has been appealing to us through her solemn offices, and
through the earnest words spoken by her ministers, to forsake our
evil ways, to leave the deceitful pleasures of sin, and return to
where we can alone find pasture for our souls, to the sacraments
of the church, wherein the Good Shepherd gives himself to his
sheep. Many have hearkened to the call of the Saviour's voice,
many have come during this holy time to the green pastures and
the still waters, where the Good Shepherd feeds his flock, and,
with souls restored and renewed, are prepared and determined to
walk hereafter in the paths of righteousness, where he leads the
way. Even when at last they shall walk through the Valley of the
Shadow of Death they will fear no evil, for he will be with them,
his rod and his staff shall comfort them.

But there are also many, far too many, who have not listened to
the voice of Jesus, as he calls them in this blessed Easter-tide.
Poor, wayward sheep, they still wander in paths of their own
choosing, which can only lead them into danger and into death. O
foolish, wandering ones! take heed ere it is too late to the
gentle voice that calls you. Your souls are soiled and
sin-stained, and you have need to be washed in the stream which
flows from your Shepherd's side, his Precious Blood shed for you
when he laid down his life for your sake.
{231}
Come, wash and be made clean in the Sacrament of Penance which he
has ordained for your cleansing. You were as sheep going astray;
be now converted and return to Jesus, the pastor, the shepherd,
the bishop of your souls. You have been famishing for the food
you need for your spiritual sustenance. Come, then, to him who so
graciously and tenderly invites you to the table which he has
prepared for you. Draw nigh with joy to the heavenly banquet of
his Sacred Body and the goodly, overflowing cup of his Precious
Blood, that your souls may be fed and have life eternal. Then
will you be strong in the presence of your enemies, his mercy
will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in
the house of the Lord for ever, even in that house of many
mansions which he has prepared for those who love and follow him.
For he has said of those who hear his voice and follow him: "I
give them life everlasting, and they shall not perish for ever,
and no man shall snatch them out of my hand." And remember that
other promise of his: "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my
blood has everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last
day." Yes, poor, lost sheep though we have been, if we now turn
from our wayward paths to hear his voice and follow him, he will
raise us up at the last day, and place us among his favored sheep
upon his right hand, to be glad for ever in the light of his
countenance.

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

{232}

          Sermon LXVIII.

           Dead Faith.


   _That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts._
   --Ephesians iii. 17.


Holy Writ teaches us in many places, my brethren, that God dwells
in our hearts by charity, and here we are taught that he dwells
by faith also. Of course, the meaning is the same. For an elect
soul to know Christ is to love him. And even for a reprobate soul
to know the truth of religion is that indescribable boon which
makes a possible salvation capable of becoming quickly real. How
terrible the misfortune of the Calvinist who believes that a bad
life necessarily means absence of faith! How consoling to know
that our sinful friends, if they have but the true faith, have a
seed of eternal life which may yet spring up into a fruitful
tree!

Yet it is terrible to think of how some men trifle with their
faith. Brethren, look at the end and judge the beginning by it.
The end of wicked men is damnation, hopeless and eternal. Now,
what is the faith in hell? Something that makes the Christian's
torment altogether peculiar. There the name of Christian, now so
noble, now entitling its bearer to pardon for every sin if but
breathed forth with an act of sorrow--there the name of Christian
will be a nickname. In one way he will have more faith then than
now; he will know more of revealed truth, have a clearer
knowledge of heavenly things. But then the hand wounded by the
nail, and which now is never out of reach, will be withdrawn
finally and for ever.
{233}
Imagine the agony of a soul in hell, whom each article of faith
will cause for ever to wail and weep only this one sentence: "It
is all my own fault." Brethren, you may complain that this sort
of preaching does not provoke to much mirth. But there are those
who should know that for them this ought to be a time of weeping
and not of being merry: persons who have faith in their hearts,
but not Christ. For see how men in Italy, holding fast to the
truth with one hand, have with the other set up the abomination
of desolation in the holy place. And see how, in France, men who
deem themselves insulted if called anything but Catholics, yet
deliberately rob the children of the people of the bread of life
by establishing paganism in the schools. And see how many there
are among us whose faith, instead of being a rule to live by, an
irresistible attraction towards our Lord in a true grief for sin
and strict union with him, sealed by frequent Communion, is but
something handed down from father to son, like name and color and
race--a traditional faith--and this proved by their vicious
lives.

But happy are they in whose hearts faith has prepared a dwelling
for our Saviour. Our Lord is surely present within us if we are
in the state of grace. Hear what he says: "If any one love me, he
will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come
to him, and will make an abode with him." He comes, indeed,
silently; he hushes the festive greetings of the angels who
escort him; he hides the dazzling glory of his ascended triumph,
for now it is faith and not sight. But there in the heart he none
the less dwells. We live with him. The Christian feels his
presence. He has an interior life whose very breath is that
presence.
{234}
He is stamped with our Lord's character. Such a soul is truly and
literally called _faithful_--faith-full. And once you are
intimately acquainted with him you perceive in his ways and
actions that our Lord lives with him. Better yet, he perceives it
himself. How different he is from one whose knowledge of religion
is mere persuasion of the mind and empty talk! With the true
Christian knowledge is power. To know the true faith is for him
to know how to live: better yet, to know how to suffer, how to
wait, how to love, how to die.

Brethren, this congregation is divided into two parts--those who
are to be saved and those who are not. Those of you who are to be
saved are those in whose hearts Jesus Christ actually dwells by
faith. Those who are to be lost are those whose faith means that
Christ has a claim against them, payment of which they will
postpone till it is too late.

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

              Sermon LXIX.

     Suffering False Accusations.

  _He delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly._
  --Epistle of the Day.


I suppose, my dear brethren, that there is no grievance to which
we are subjected more common, and certainly there are few more
distressing, than that of being judged unfairly by others. As
Catholics we are all specially liable to this; we all know how
Protestants, even those who profess to be quite friendly to us
personally, and who sometimes will say a good word or two for our
religion, still calmly assume, as a matter of course, that we
believe and practise many things which we and all intelligent and
honest men detest and abhor.
{235}
They say, for instance, that we worship images; that we pay money
not only to have our sins forgiven, but even for permission in
advance to commit new ones; that we believe the pope to be
Almighty God; that we maintain that the end justifies the means;
and so on to any extent. It was only a few days ago that it was
unblushingly stated in an assembly of one of their sects that the
Catholic Church was more guilty in the matter of permitting
divorce than other denominations. There seems hardly to be a
falsehood about us so gross or so absurd that some of them will
not be found to believe and to assert it.

And we of the clergy are more exposed to these slanders than any
one else. They say, they take for granted, that we are hypocrites
and deceivers; that under a cloak of sanctity we practise all
kinds of vice; that we do not believe a word of what we teach;
that our only object in our profession is to exercise power or to
make money; these things and many others pass current in the
world about us, so we are looked upon by many as detestable
wretches not fit to live. In us, especially, are our Lord's words
fulfilled: "You shall be hated by all men for my name's sake."

But it is not only from outsiders, or in matters where religion
is concerned, that we have to put up with false charges and
unjust suspicions. In our own private character and actions we
all find ourselves liable to them; we find our neighbors and
acquaintances judging and even speaking unfairly about us.
{236}
Priests suffer in this way sometimes from their own parishioners;
the laity perhaps from the priest, and often certainly from each
other. How frequently we hear people complain of slander or
belying from those whom they supposed to be their friends; one
would think that it was not the exception, but the rule.

Now all this is certainly very hard to bear. And yet as we go
through life we cannot expect to be free from it; and we must try
to find a way of bearing it as well as we can. What is the best
way?

One way, and a very good way, of putting up with this trouble is
to make allowances for the unavoidable prejudice, ignorance, and
imperfection of those who say about us what we know to be false,
who do to us what we know to be unjust. They may not, they do
not, know this as well as we do. "Father, forgive them," said our
Lord on the cross, "for they know not what they do." We think
others are slandering or injuring us through malice; ten to one
they think they are in the right. Probably we ourselves should
act just the same way in their place.

Make allowances, then; give our neighbors more credit for good
intentions; that is one way to put up with this suffering which
we cannot altogether avoid or put a stop to. But a better and
perhaps an easier way is the one recommended by St. Peter in
to-day's Epistle. "Dearly beloved," he says, "Christ suffered for
us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps. Who
did no sin, neither was guilt 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."
{237}
He, the holy, the innocent one, was more wickedly and unjustly
accused and judged than any of us sinners have been, or ever can
be; shall we not then bear, if need be, the same treatment for
his sake? To be spoken evil of falsely is to be like him; it is
the mark, the badge of the Christian. This is the example he has
left us that we should follow his steps; shall we refuse to
profit by it?

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

{238}

     _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 evildoers, 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.
{239}
  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 time:
  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, be cause 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.

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

{240}

               Sermon LXX.

        Devotion To St. Joseph.


  _Go to Joseph, and do all that he shall say to you. _
  --Genesis xli. 55.


It is Joseph's nearness to Jesus and Mary during his life that
leads us now, when he reigns with them in heaven, to confidently
call upon him for succor in our needs, and especially do we go to
him because to his patronage the whole church has been commended,
that by his intercession he may do for her and each of her
members what he did for Jesus and his Mother when he was in the
flesh.

Wisely has the church made him her protector, for his power with
God must be very great. Of this we can have no doubt, when we
remember that to his care were entrusted the purest and the best
who have ever walked this earth--Jesus and Mary--Jesus, the Son
of God; Mary, his stainless Virgin Mother, whose chaste soul the
Holy Ghost made his dwelling-place, delighted with its beauty.

Above the seats of all the bright angels who serve in the courts
of the Most High Mary's throne was raised, and one day she would
be the angels mistress and queen; Jesus was their Lord, their
Maker, before whom they bowed in lowliest reverence. And yet Mary
was Joseph's spouse, and Jesus rendered him the obedience a son
should give a father. Very worthy must he have been who held so
high an office.

{241}

Joseph was a necessary member of the family. He served as a veil
to screen from the vulgar gaze the deep mysteries of the
Incarnation and Nativity; he led the way into Egypt, and his
faithful arm supported the Mother and the Babe during the
journey; he brought them back to their own land and provided
shelter for them; their daily bread was the fruit of his
labor--in a word, during the boyhood and youth of our Lord they
were entirely dependent upon him.

Such, then, was Joseph's position in the Holy Family; he was the
master and guardian of the household; and this is what the church
would have him be in every Christian family. It is you, Christian
fathers and mothers, who should be especially devout to St.
Joseph, for he is your patron in a particular manner. You, like
him, have the cares of the household upon you; you must provide
for the life and health of the children God has given you; it is
your duty to see that they are instructed in the faith and
attentive to their religious duties, and that they study their
school lessons; you should guard them against the dangers they
must meet with in a great city like this, and keep them away from
those who may lead them to evil; and, above all, you should give
them good example in the practice of virtue. To fulfil your
duties well you need divine assistance. Go to Joseph--go to the
foster-father of Jesus Christ; he will intercede for you, and
obtain the many graces of which you stand in need. Go to him and
tell him all your troubles; you will find him very gracious.

But St. Joseph is the patron not of heads of families alone. The
church would have you all, dear brethren, "go to Joseph and do
all that he shall say to you." From him she would have you learn
a tender love to Jesus, a love manifesting itself in deeds, not
simply in words. Joseph devoted himself to the service of our
Lord, and so should we.
{242}
But how can we presume to say that we love or serve Jesus if we
do not keep his commands; if we neglect our duties as Catholics
and as members of society? Let us show how much we love him by
doing something for him, as St. Joseph did, and let us, like him,
be constant in our well-doing, permitting no day to pass without
some acts of love to God. And if we would hope to make progress
in the ways of God, let us daily "Go to Joseph and do all that he
shall say."

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

              Sermon LXXI.

         Christ And The Church.


  _I have yet many things to say to you,
  but you cannot bear them now. _
  --St. John xvi. 12


These words were spoken by our Lord in his last discourse to his
disciples. What were those things which he had yet to say to
them, but which they could not then bear?

They were things pertaining to the kingdom of God--that is, his
church, his kingdom upon earth. He was about to leave the world
and go to the Father, but he would leave behind him an organized
body to represent him. During these forty days, then, he sketched
out the plan of the Catholic Church, which the Apostles were to
bring to completion, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, who
was to teach them all truth.

{243}

These were the many things he had yet to say to them, but which
they could not understand till then, because of their former
imperfect and even erroneous notions of the nature of his kingdom
upon earth. He had spoken of his church before, as it were, in
hints; now he speaks no longer in parables, but plainly. Listen
to the few recorded words of those which he spoke during these
forty days, and you will find in them an outline of the Catholic
Church.

He first asserts his authority to found a kingdom in this world,
saying, "All power is given to me in heaven and on earth"; and
then declares that he commits this same authority to his Apostles
and their successors in the church: "As my Father hath sent me, I
also send you." And, lest any one should say that this power and
authority were given to the Apostles alone and not to their
successors, he bids them go forth into all the world to preach
the Gospel to every creature, and promises them his continual
abiding Presence even to the end of the world. One of the
Apostles he invested with a special authority over the others.
The Good Shepherd would not leave his sheep in this world uncared
for, so he gave to St. Peter and his successors the office of
pastor of the whole church in the words, "Feed my lambs. Feed my
sheep." He also set forth the means of obtaining entrance into
this earthly kingdom of his namely, faith and holy baptism--"He
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved "; and he declared
the blessedness of those who would accept the faith upon the
authority of his church: "Blessed are they that have not seen and
yet have believed."
{244}
He provided a means by which those who should sin after baptism
might find pardon and remission of their sins by instituting the
Sacrament of Penance, giving to his Apostles and their successors
the power to forgive and retain sins: "Whose sins you shall
forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain
they are retained." He had already instituted on the night before
his Passion the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, and during those
forty days he undoubtedly gave his Apostles the necessary
instructions concerning the rest of the sacraments of the new
law. The Gospels do not pretend to give us all our Lord's doings
and sayings, as St. John expressly tells us at the end of his
Gospel. But in these recorded sayings of Jesus, during this last
brief time that he spent on earth, we have the written
constitution of the Catholic Church, though but in outline. The
office of the pope as supreme pastor, the plenary authority of
the church, and the necessity of faith upon that authority as a
means of obtaining eternal salvation--all this is clearly set
forth in the words that I have quoted to you.

"Go, teach all nations," said our Lord to his church; and he
added, "teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded
you." On our part, then, is required faithful submission to his
teaching, as it comes to us through the voice of his church. It
is only by faith in this teaching and by a diligent observance of
the commandments of God and his church that we can hope to save
our souls and attain to the blessedness which he has promised.

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

{245}

         _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.

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

{246}

               Sermon LXXII.

            Evil Conversation.


  _And he said to them:
  What are these discourses
  that you hold one with another? ...
  And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth. _
  --Luke xxiv. 17-19.


Brethren: Suppose our Lord should stand in our midst to-day and
demand from each one of us, as he did from these two disciples,
What are these discourses that you hold one with another? Do our
conversations, like theirs, contain nothing reprehensible? Would
our answer be as pleasing to God as theirs was? If so, brethren,
we have reason to thank God, and go on our way rejoicing. But of
what do the majority of men most readily converse? It is sad that
we have to confess it, but God and his works, the soul and its
wants are topics anything but agreeable to most of the men of our
day. And so every legitimate means must be resorted to in order
to make the things of God and spiritual conversation at all
palatable.

And you, fathers and mothers of families, what are these
conversations which you hold one with the other? What are the
topics most commonly treated of in your Christian homes? Is it
the virtues of your neighbors that are spoken of and recounted
for your own edification and your children's imitation? Would to
God it were always so! But there are homes supposed to be
occupied by Christians where God's holy name is never mentioned
save to be blasphemed, where the neighbor is never spoken of
except to recall his follies, his vices, or even his atrocious
crimes.
{247}
Christian parents, beware of the scandal your conversations may
give to your family, but especially to your innocent children.
Remember that many a soul to-day steeped in vice received its
first sinful impulse from some unguarded word, some improper
topic of conversation heard in the home that should have been the
nursery of every virtue.

And from you, young men and women, an answer might be profitably
demanded to this important question: What are the conversations
which you most readily indulge in one with the other? Are they in
any way improper, or such that you would be ashamed to have them
repeated in the presence of your parents? If so, then your
discourses are not concerning Jesus of Nazareth, and you are not
following the example of his disciples. But if in your
conversations, following the Apostolic rule, the things that
savor of uncleanness are not so much as mentioned amongst you,
what is to be said about the precious time you squander in idle,
frivolous talk? Remember that time is but the threshold of
eternity, every moment of which is of the highest value to you
now; and this is why on the last great day we shall be held to
account for every idle word. Young men and women, never admit
into your company those whose conversations are unworthy of a
Christian, and especially let your own language be always in
harmony with your high calling.

Indeed, brethren, to all of us this question of our Lord brings
home an important lesson. For if we would lead good Christian
lives we must not only abstain from all that is unbecoming or
scandalous, but we must also regulate with all diligence our
ordinary commonplace conversations.
{248}
Let them be always such that we would not hesitate to repeat them
before God or his most virtuous servants. If we would have our
conversations agreeable to God and men, we should make it a rule
never to speak disparagingly of those _absent_, and never
take advantage of their absence to say anything which we would
not dare say in their presence. And the other rule we should
follow is this: never to say in the presence of others anything
which could give scandal or leave a bad impression.

Brethren, if we think often of this question of our Lord, if we
are diligent in following these rules, our conversations will be
always edifying to our neighbors and useful to ourselves. Then,
if called upon at any moment by our Lord, we can answer with his
disciples, Our conversations are "concerning Jesus of Nazareth."

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

              Sermon LXXIII.

               Temptation.


  _Blessed is the man that endureth temptation;
  for when he hath been proved,
  he shall receive the crown of life,
  which God hath promised to them that love him. _
  --St. James i. 12.


These words, my dear brethren, are from the Scripture read in the
Divine Office for to-day. They also, and very appropriately, have
a prominent place in the Office read on the feasts of martyrs
through the year.

{249}

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation." "Yes," you may
say, "certainly, if a man does endure and resist temptation, it
is a good thing, and one for which he has reason to be thankful;
but for my part, I would rather get along without being tempted."
This is a thought which is very likely to occur to those who are
in earnest about saving their souls, and are therefore afraid
that they may give way to temptation, commit mortal sin, and be
lost. They are inclined to envy others who seem to have a good
and innocent natural disposition, and sometimes they may,
perhaps, wish that they themselves had died in their baptismal
innocence, before temptation and sin were possible.

Now this wish is not altogether wrong; it is certainly pleasing
to God for us to desire that it might be impossible to offend
him, and that our own salvation might be made secure. But it is a
mistake, when he does allow temptation to come on us without our
fault, to think that it would be better for us if he had not done
so.

It is a mistake, and why? Because far the greater part of us
cannot acquire supernatural virtue in any high degree, give much
glory to God, or be entitled to much reward at his hands, without
a good deal of temptation. If it would please God to infuse all
the virtues into our souls without any trouble or labor on our
part, it might indeed be very well; but this he is not bound to
do, and generally he does not choose to do it. He prefers that we
should obtain our virtues partly by our own exertions. And as we
will not pray or meditate, do penance or mortify ourselves enough
to accomplish this end, there is no way to make any virtue strong
and hardy in us except by forcing us to oppose its contrary vice.
{250}
It is quite easy to seem very pleasant and good-natured when one
has no crosses or provocations; but let a sharp or insulting word
be said, and it will soon be seen how much real patience there is
in this seeming good-humor; perhaps passion will flame out all
the more violently for being long in repose. But if one's
patience is often tried, and stands the test by means of our own
earnest struggles, it will become after a time something which we
can really count on.

This, then, is one good in temptation, that it makes our virtue
really strong and solid for future use. But another value of it
is to enable us to make acts at the very moment which will have
an eternal reward and merit, and which we should never make were
we let alone. Let one be tempted by impure thoughts for a day,
and faithfully resist them; in that day he will perhaps have done
more to please God and obtain merit and glory in heaven than in a
year of ordinary life.

So if temptation comes without our own fault, we may indeed
rejoice and count ourselves blessed, as St. James says; for it is
indeed an earnest of the crown of life which our tried and
strengthened souls shall win, and which shall be decked with the
innumerable gems which our battles with sin have merited. But let
us not allow it to come by our fault, for then we cannot hope for
a blessing with it. "Lead us not into temptation," we say every
day; profitable as the contest may be to us, it would be
presumption to offer ourselves to it, or to ask from God an
opportunity for it. Let us wait till he chooses to call us to the
strife, and then thank him for the trial which shall give us,
with his help, the crown of life which he has promised to those
who love him, and for his love hate and resist sin.

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

{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 any
  thing 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 speak-est 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 LXXIV.

           Sins Of The Tongue.


  _And if any man think himself to be religious,
  not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart,
  this man's religion is vain._
  --St. James i. 26.


My dear brethren, we see by these words that we have a rule by
which to find out whether or not we deserve to be called sincere
Christians or hypocrites. In order to be a sincere Christian,
what has a man to do? He has to get control of himself; to get
his soul and all that it can desire subject to the law of God; to
get all pride, covetousness, lust, anger, envy, gluttony, and
sloth under the control of his own will; to get that will subject
to and one with the will of God; and, what is more, he must keep
himself in this state of mind at least so far as to restrain
himself from committing mortal sin and the graver venial sins if
he desire sincerely to keep his soul well out of danger. He who
acts thus is a truly good man, and that man's religion is not
vain.

{253}

What is the first thing to be done to begin to live in this way?
It is to examine and see in what way a man commits the greater
number of sins. One will soon find that the tongue of man is the
means by which a man sins most frequently and in the most
devilish manner. For, says St. James, "The tongue is a fire, a
world of iniquity, ... defileth the whole body, ... being set on
fire by hell." We see from this how dangerous to the soul is the
tongue of man. As we do see this, are we not bound to keep in
check, _at all costs_, this source of evil? Any one can see
that, if he does not bridle his tongue, his religion is vain
indeed. In fact, it is nothing but a merely outward show. It is
hypocrisy of the worst kind. But what are the sins of the tongue
we most often hear? They are blasphemies, curses, and oaths; the
retailing of our neighbors faults with delight and evident
pleasure; quarrels, bickerings, constant reproaches for faults
that are past, gone, and even sincerely repented of long ago;
immodest and impure conversations, with jokes and stories a
heathen feels ashamed of; hints and little words that seem almost
nothing, yet injuring seriously the reputation of some one,
separating friends, and making even those near and dear to each
other by every tie cold and distant for a long time, if not for
the rest of their lives. God deliver us all from the evil tongue!
It works in our very homes. The husband becomes by it bitterness
and gall to his wife and family. The wife becomes a torture to
husband and children. Both by it make home a curse instead of a
blessing, and separate those of whom the word of God declares,
"Whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder." Too often
do we see sad examples of this kind. Too often do we find such a
husband, who is like a roaring wild beast in his home, and a wife
whose tongue once set going, even for a slight cause, is like a
clock running down, or like the mill-clapper, so often used as a
figure of an unruly tongue.
{254}
The bad tongue of a child is the ruin of all in the house. That
child is a tale-bearer and a traitor against those who begot him.
A detestable habit of the evil tongue is what the world calls
"damning our neighbor with faint praise," or, in other words,
praising him highly, even to the skies, and putting in a little
word of evil that destroys him all the more surely. One will
excuse himself by saying: "But, after all, I spoke well of him.
It can't do any harm!" Yet he knows in his inmost soul he has
ruined or seriously injured his neighbor. How would I feel if I
were spoken of in this manner? is the question one should have
asked himself before he said a word.

How common is it to find persons the moment they see anything
wrong done by another or hear of it hurry in great glee to tell
it at once! Do we not know, my dear brethren, that such a one is
a scandalizer of men, and that the Christian rule requires us to
be silent then under pain of sin? But the greater the evil done
the more delighted are they to tell it. It should be just the
other way. Never reveal to any one the sin of your neighbor,
unless to save an innocent person or another from damage of some
kind. This damage must be serious to oblige one to tell, even
then, the sin of another, for he is equally obliged by God not to
tell it under ordinary circumstances.

Remember, then, that no one can be a true Christian unless he
keeps from these sins by bridling his tongue. Otherwise, as the
text declares, "this man's religion is vain."

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

{255}

              Sermon LXXV.

         Perseverance In Prayer.

  _Yet if he shall continue, knocking, I say to you,
  although he will not rise and give him,
  because he is his friend;
  yet because of his importunity he will rise;
  and give him as many as he needeth._
  --St. Luke xi. 8.


Many people complain that their prayers are not heard. Again and
again they have made some special requests for temporal, or it
may be even for spiritual, blessings, and nothing seems to have
come of these petitions. Others get what they ask for, but they
are not so favored; and they almost make up their minds that it
is of no use for them to pray. They think, perhaps, that they are
too great sinners for God to hear them; or that they do not know
how to pray right; or they are even tempted to believe that
prayer is a mistake altogether; that God's will is not moved by
it; that, if any one does seem to get anything by it, it is only
by chance, and would have come without it just as well.

Now what can be the reason of the failure of these good people in
prayer? Is it, perhaps, because what they asked was really an
evil for them, and so God could not in mercy grant it, but had to
give them something better instead, which they have not noticed?
Or is it that they did not strive to do their best to win what
they wanted also by their own exertions as well as by prayer;
that they would not put their own shoulder to the wheel? If it
was some virtue, such as charity or patience, that they were
asking for, and meanwhile took no real pains to cultivate and
practise it, no wonder that God would not give it to them.
{256}
Or, lastly, is the reason for their disappointment that they were
praying for others whose will was obstinately set against their
prayers? A mother prays for her son, and her prayers are heard,
though they may not seem to be. Graces are granted to him, but he
resists them. God has not promised to send them, in such a
torrent as to sweep away and break down all opposition, though he
may yet do so, if she will only persevere.

Persevere! Ah! that word suggests what may be the real
difficulty, the true reason for the seeming uselessness of so
many good prayers. They are good as far as they go, but there are
not enough of them. The effect that is to come of them is to come
all at once; it is like the fall of a tree in the woods under the
blows of the axe: the tree will come down, but not at the first,
the second, the tenth, or perhaps even the hundredth stroke.

Yes, my brethren, our Lord could no doubt grant our prayers as
soon as we made them, but he does not wish to do so. And I think
we can see at least two reasons why he does not. First, if he
grants what we ask at once we will go off with what he has given
us, and hare no more to say to him. And, strange to say, he
enjoys our society; he has himself said his delight is to be with
the children of men. So he keeps us around him, though it be only
to tease, as a father would the children he loved, if he could
not keep them any other way. And, secondly, he knows that it is
good for us to be with him; and that every time we pray in
earnest we come nearer to him, and our souls become stronger. So
it is that, both for his own sake and for our good, he sometimes
will not grant our prayers unless we persevere in them for a very
long while.

{257}

Our Lord has given us to understand this importance of
persevering in prayer very plainly in the Gospel read on these
days, called Rogation Days, between to-day and the Feast of the
Ascension. He represents to us in the parable of this Gospel a
man who has gone to bed, and is roused at midnight by a friend
who wants to borrow some bread to set before an unexpected guest.
He at first tells the disturber to leave him alone; he says that
he cannot be bothered to get up at such an inconvenient time; he
pretends to drop off asleep, and keeps his friend outside
knocking and pounding for so long a time that he almost gives it
up as useless. "Yet," says our Lord, "if he shall continue
knocking, I say to you, although he will not rise and give him
because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will
rise and give him as many as he needeth."

This is the lesson, then, it may be, for those who have had no
success at their prayers. They did well to begin, but they did
not keep at it long enough. Let them go at it once again, and
keep on. Let them ask, and keep asking, and they shall receive;
let them seek long enough, and they shall find; let them keep
knocking and making a disturbance, and at last the door shall be
opened, and they shall obtain what they desire.

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

{258}

     _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.

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

{259}

              Sermon LXXVI.

            After A Mission.


There is nothing, my dear brethren, which can give more joy and
consolation both to pastor and people than a mission such as that
which was closed last Sunday.

Thank God, there were many who had been living previously in sin,
but who really turned from it then with their whole hearts, and
who now have a happiness in those hearts to which they had long
before been strangers. This happiness ought to last all their
lives. God means that it should; they can make it do so if they
will.

But how will it be in fact; how is it too often, after such times
of grace and fervor? We have had missions before, which really
seemed as if they marked a new era in the history of our parish;
but we look for their fruits now and find them only few and far
between. Too many of those who made them went back a month or so
afterward to the old ways of sin.

What was the reason that they did not persevere? Why was it that
they had the same sad story to tell when they came back this time
that they had a few years ago?

Was it that they never expected it to be otherwise? Perhaps so.
Some Christians--shame to say it--seem to think that mortal sin
cannot be avoided. Such do not really try to avoid it; how can
they? How can any one seriously attempt what he believes to be
impossible? No wonder that such as these fell; the question is if
indeed they ever arose.
{260}
For how could they have made the purpose of amendment which a
good confession requires? Let them understand, at least now, that
it is possible to abandon mortal sin at once and for ever.

But was it, perhaps, that they thought they could keep the grace
they had got by their own unaided strength; that they could fight
the devil single-handed, or even that he would never trouble them
much again? Ah! my brethren, if any of you thought that he made a
terrible mistake. Satan does not give up the souls which he has
once possessed so easily. He knows the advantage which all habits
of sin give him, and he is going to make the most of them. He
will surely attack you, and you are weak, while he is strong. If
you undertake to fight him alone, you will go to the wall. You
cannot conquer him unless God helps you.

But, after all, there are not many Catholics who do not know that
it needs God's help to persevere. Oh! yes; almost every one will
say, when asked after confession if he is going to avoid sin for
the future, that he will, "with the help of God."

Well, then, what is the matter? If we know that we are in danger,
and that we can escape from it, but only by God's help, why does
not that help come and save us?

I will tell you why it does not. And to do so I have only to turn
to the first words of to-day's Mass: "He shall call on me, and I
will hear him; I will deliver him and glorify him."

That is the whole story. If we want God to deliver us, we must
ask him to do it. In other words, if we wish to persevere, we
must pray. If we do not go to God to get the strength which we
need, we must be without it.

{261}

The sinner who repents, and does not pray often and fervently
afterward to keep the grace he has, being especially careful of
his morning prayers; who does not, above all, make often the best
of all prayers--that of again coming to the sacraments--is a
fool, and the devil's laughing-stock.

The great majority of those who have been leading a bad life, and
who abandon it at a mission, or at any other time, will not
persevere unless they are willing to take the trouble to make
frequent and earnest prayers, and to come to confession again
within a month. That is simple fact; it is the teaching of
experience, not mere guess-work. Are you, my friends, willing to
take that trouble for your soul's sake, or do you prefer to fall
as you have fallen before?

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

              Sermon LXXVII.

       Bearing Witness For Our Lord.


  _And you shall give testimony,
  because you are with me from the beginning._
  --St. John xv. 27.

It might be asked, dear brethren, what need God has of _our_
testimony, or why the creature should act the part of witness for
the Creator? Certainly Jesus Christ needed not the testimony of
men, but in his infinite goodness and wisdom he has seen fit to
commit to each one of us a sublime and holy mission, none other
than that of giving testimony of him before the world, for the
sake of our fellow-man.
{262}
"You are," says St. Peter, "a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, that you may declare the virtues of him who hath
called you out of darkness."

This, then, is our mission, to be witnesses for Jesus Christ; and
to-day we are going to consider how we are fulfilling it. You
know, brethren, with what a keen sense of criticism the world
examines the testimony of those witnessing in behalf of others,
and how it values their testimony in proportion to their
uprightness and integrity. Well, so it is with regard to us and
the testimony we are called upon to give of our Blessed Lord. We
Christians are all on the witness-stand of this great world.
To-day the unbelieving world is passing judgment upon our
testimony, deciding whether it be for or against Jesus Christ;
but, brethren, there will come a day when Christ himself will sit
in judgment upon this same testimony and reward us accordingly.

Since, then, this our mission is so important, brethren, how are
we to fulfil it? It seems to me in no better way than by leading
truly Christian lives, and thus forcing the world to acknowledge
that we are animated by the spirit of God. The early Christians
brought the light of faith to thousands, not by preaching, but by
the holiness of their lives; and so, when the pagans and infidels
came in contact with them, they were forced to admire and
exclaim, "Behold how these Christians love one another!" Would to
God that the life and conduct of every Christian to-day could
force a similar confession from the unbelievers of our time.

{263}

Indeed, brethren, all Christians of our day have a great mission
to fulfil in this regard; but _we_ especially, for the
reason given by our Lord himself--"because you are with me from
the beginning." You, beloved brethren, who have had the faith
from the beginning--from your earliest childhood--have a special
reason why your testimony for Jesus Christ should never be
failing. Has it ever been so? Have your virtuous lives and
edifying example brought home the truths and beauties of the
Catholic faith to those outside the church? I fear, brethren, the
conduct of bad and negligent Catholics has kept back many from
inquiring into the true faith. Such Catholics, wearing the livery
of Satan, have given false testimony of God, and will have to
render an account for it.

We can all of us, brethren, give testimony of Jesus Christ by
every action of our lives. Parents can and should render this
testimony by the good example they give their families, and the
Christian solicitude they have for their spiritual welfare. Young
men and women should give this testimony by the profession and
practice of God's law and the church's precepts. Let the
consideration, dear brethren, of this our high mission, our being
called to give testimony of God, be the means of animating us to
renewed fervor in the service of Jesus Christ.

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

              Sermon LXXVIII.

      The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.


  _Watch in prayers._
  --1 St. Peter iv. 7.

{264}

To-day is the Sunday of expectation, and it brings to our minds
that upper chamber in Jerusalem, where the little band of the
chosen disciples of the Lord were gathered together waiting for
the coming of the Holy Ghost. There were the eleven Apostles and
the faithful women, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and his
brethren. "All these," says the sacred chronicler, "were
persevering with one mind in prayer." Hence the Epistle of to-day
urges us to imitate them, and begins with the exhortation:
"Dearly beloved, watch in prayers."

We too must watch and wait for the coming of the Holy Ghost. He
has, indeed, already come into our souls in Holy Baptism,
cleansing them from original sin and making them his temples. He
has come again in Confirmation, with all the fulness of his
sevenfold gifts, to make us strong and perfect Christians and
soldiers of Christ.

Yet he comes to us continually every day, knocking at the door of
our hearts and begging for admittance. Every impulse of what is
known as actual grace is from the Holy Ghost, and such graces we
are receiving all the time, every hour of the day. We must
therefore prepare ourselves for his coming, and when he has
entered into our souls we must strive to keep him there. The Holy
Ghost is the life of our souls. It is his constant presence and
indwelling which is the state of grace which makes us pleasing to
God. To obtain and to preserve this abiding presence of the Holy
Ghost we must imitate the Apostles in their watchfulness and
prayer. We must watch lest the time of temptation should find us
unprepared and off our guard; we must pray that the Holy Ghost
may come into our hearts, bringing with him ever richer treasures
of divine grace; that he may take possession of our souls and
make them all his own; that he may guide our minds, and with the
fire of his love inflame our hearts to do his holy will in all
things.

{265}

But we must first of all prepare for the Holy Ghost by cleansing
our souls from sin. Where sin reigns the Holy Ghost can never
dwell. The Apostles prepared for his corning by penance. To that
upper chamber in Jerusalem came St. Peter, who had denied his
Lord, St. Thomas, who had doubted his resurrection, and the
others who had wavered in their faith, and, in the time of trial,
had forsaken their Master and fled. But now they had been
convinced of their error, and they came together with sorrow for
their past unfaithfulness, and a full determination to lay down
their lives, if need be, for him who had died for them. This is
the spirit in which we should prepare for the Holy Ghost. If your
hearts are defiled with mortal sin, delay not the time of
penance. The Holy Ghost is ready to descend upon you. He only
waits for you to do your part. Make ready, then, a place in your
heart, that he may enter in and dwell there.

"O my dearly beloved brethren!" exclaims St. Gregory the Great,
"think what a dignity it is to have God abiding as a guest in our
heart! Surely, if some rich man or some powerful friend were to
come into our house, we would hasten to have our whole house
cleaned, lest, perchance, when he came in he should see anything
to displease his eye. So let him that would make his mind an
abode for God cleanse it from all the filth of works of
iniquity."

{266}

"And they were persevering with one mind in prayer." Our prayer
must be persevering if we would gain that which we desire. This
is what our Lord meant when he said that we ought always to pray
and not to faint. Unless we persevere in prayer we shall without
doubt faint by the way in the journey of life. And let us do as
the Apostles did, join our prayers to those of Mary, the Mother
of Jesus, and we shall have a sure hope of obtaining what is most
needful for us. Then, as the Holy Ghost once descended upon her,
and wrought within her the Incarnation, so also will he come into
our hearts, and make them the abode of the Holy Trinity. Then, if
we listen to his blessed voice within us, we shall grow in grace
and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for
the Holy Ghost will teach us all things, according to the
promise.

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

{267}

     _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 were
  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 Lybia 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.
{268}
  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 hearts 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 In The Church.


  _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. _
  --Gospel of the Day.


On the day which we now commemorate, my brethren, the Holy Ghost
came down, as you know, on the little company of Christians
assembled in the upper room at Jerusalem, to prepare them for the
great combat in which they were about to engage against the devil
for the conquest of the world. He came down upon them to make of
them the church of God; to establish them in the truth, and to
bring to their remembrance, as our Lord had promised, the faith
which they had received from his lips.
{269}
He came to give them not only the knowledge but also the courage
and strength which would be necessary for them to persevere, to
resist and overcome all the attacks of the enemy, and to weather
all the storms which heresy, infidelity, and worldliness were
about to raise against the one true faith.

And he was to come, and has come, not only on them, but on those
who have followed them as well, and for the same purpose. We have
received him, and he abides in the Catholic Church to-day as he
did in the times of the Apostles. The Holy Ghost is the life of
the church; it is his presence which distinguishes her from the
human institutions which have appeared in the world with her and
have one by one sprung up and passed away. It is his abiding with
her that makes her life perpetual, ever the same and ever new.

But how is the Holy Ghost in the Catholic Church? How is it that
he is her life, and that he keeps now, as of old, in the one true
body which all who will but clear the mists of prejudice from
before their eyes can see is the one which Christ promised to
form, and to which all his promises were made?

In the first place, the Holy Ghost is in the Catholic Church by
the gift bestowed on the successors of the Apostles in the
Apostolic See, of infallibility in teaching the faith. In this
way the truth is sure to be kept in the world; it cannot fail to
be taught, while the Vicar of Christ remains to teach it.

But it is not only in the Holy See that the Spirit of God abides.
The bishops throughout the world also teach the faith by his help
and guidance; and this help is also given to the clergy who
assist them.
{270}
Nor does the work of the Holy Ghost stop here; he is also with
the body of the faithful, enabling them also to recognize the
truth when they hear it, and to distinguish it from error. "You
have the unction from the Holy One, and know all things," says
St. John; "I have not written to you as to them that know not the
truth, but as to them that know it."

Yes, the Holy Ghost is throughout the church; he is her life, and
is not only in her head, but also in her members. Were he not in
the members, though the pope indeed should remain to teach the
truth, the faithful would not have remained faithful or attentive
to the truth which he would teach.

What a blessing, then, my brethren, is this light of the Holy
Ghost, which is given in its measure to each one of us; which
keeps us in the one fold, and which makes us, out of many, one
body in Christ; which brings his words always to our minds, and
which preserves us from the ever-changing doubt and confusion
which is the lot of those who arc separated from the one true
church in which he dwells! Let us, then, preserve this
unspeakable gift; let us not quench the Spirit of God within us.
And how is it quenched? How do we lose the light of faith which
he gives?

By sin, and never except by sin. Though instruction be indeed
good and salutary, it is not the simple and the unlearned who
lose the faith, but such as give ear to their passions, specially
those of pride and impurity. All the heresies which have torn
multitudes from the church of Christ have had their roots not so
much in ignorance as in sin. "Keep yourselves," then, my
brethren, as St. John warns you, "from idols"; this is the only
sure way to keep in yourselves the light of God.

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

{271}

              Sermon LXXX.

    The Guidance Of The Holy Spirit.


  _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 word._
  --Gospel of the Day.


To-day, dear brethren, the church sends up her voice of praise
for the coming of the Holy Spirit. On this day the Holy Ghost,
the personal love of the Father and the Son, came upon the
disciples in that upper chamber in Jerusalem, where they were
gathered together in prayer awaiting the promise of the Father.
He came upon weak and timid men, but when he had poured himself
upon them behold we have the great Apostles, the teachers of the
divine word, the fearless and untiring searchers after souls, the
founders of the church.

Ah! what a change had been wrought in these timid followers of
Jesus, who had fled from him in the hour of his need, and who,
after his resurrection, lay hid with barred doors for fear of the
Jews! Their fear and their weakness have disappeared, and the
whole world is not large enough for the exercise of their zeal,
nor less than the conversion of all nations the end of their
noble ambition.

{272}

But, dear brethren, the self-same Holy Ghost, who brought about
this change in the Apostles, comes to us, nay, abides in us, if
we fulfil the condition our Lord lays down--namely, that we love
him. And he makes the test of our love the keeping of his word.
If we love him the Father will love us, and the Father and the
Son will come to us and make their abode with us through the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is our sanctifier. It is he to whom are ascribed
the works of love. He dispenses the graces which the merits of
Jesus Christ have won for us. He purifies from sin and unites our
souls to God. He dwells in every one who is free from grievous
sin, and by his light and strength he gives us help to overcome
the temptations which assail us.

He is the Spirit of joy and sweetness, filling us with the fear
of God, urging us on in the love of God, guarding us from the
loss of God's friendship by the winning sweetness of his
consolations. How greatly, then, should we love and adore the
Holy Ghost, the third person of the Blessed Trinity! We should
often call upon him and pray to him. We do not invoke the Holy
Ghost enough. We pray to the Father and to the Son, and so
indirectly honor God, the Holy Spirit; but we should pray more
frequently to him directly. We should call upon him to give us,
if we have it not, the grace of God, and to increase in us the
fire of divine love that we may realize in ourselves the promise
of the abiding of God in us by keeping his laws.

What folly it is for us to imagine that God can have a
dwelling-place in our sin-stained soul! How can the Holy Spirit
find pleasure in one who by mortal sin has made himself God's
enemy; who has been guilty of a deliberate act of rebellion
against his Maker and been unfaithful to or left unheeded his own
sweet drawing?
{273}
Alas for us, if this Pentecost finds us in this awful state!
Alas! if the voice of our conscience has been silenced; this day
then brings no joy to us! The Holy Spirit has no abiding-place
within our souls. We have not loved the Son because we have not
kept his words: "He that loveth me not keepeth not my words." And
because we have not loved him the Father and he will not come to
us. The loving Holy Ghost is not master in our house; we have
driven him out who was our best friend and thrown open the gate
to our enemy. Will you remain thus, you who are in sin? Let not
this day go by and to-morrow find you unrepentant. Grieve for
your past offences, keep the law of God, and you shall have the
fulness of the Holy Spirit.

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

              Sermon LXXXI.

            The Easter Duty.

In this great feast and its octave, my dear brethren, we
commemorate the last of all the wonderful events which brought
the Christian religion into the world. To-day our Divine Saviour,
having ascended into heaven, fulfilled his promise in the descent
of the Holy Ghost upon his Apostles; to-day the Catholic Church
was fully established, and given power to convert the world;
to-day the order of things was begun which is to last to the end
of time.

And with this octave closes, therefore, that especially holy part
or season of the year which centres round the resurrection of our
Lord, and which has, for most obvious reasons, been appointed as
the time in which every Christian is bound, under pain of mortal
sin, to receive Holy Communion, or make, as we say, his Easter
duty.
{274}
Only one more week remains in which to attend to this most
important of all the obligations of a Catholic, to fulfil this
greatest precept of the positive Christian law.

Now, what is exactly this precept of the Easter duty? Strange to
say, you will often find people who do not seem to have any clear
idea about it at all, in spite of all that is said about it from
the altar and in common catechisms and books of instruction. And
yet it is very simple. It is just this: Every Catholic of
sufficient age to receive Communion is bound to receive it on
some day between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity
Sunday--that is, a week from to-day--inclusive; and it is very
difficult for any one to have any excuse from complying with this
law.

The Easter duty, then, is not merely an obligation to receive
once a year. A person may receive a hundred times in the year,
and yet not make his Easter duty; just as one may hear Mass every
day in the week, and yet not fulfil the precept of hearing Mass
if he stays away on Sunday. Now this seems quite easy to
understand; but there are people, and plenty of them, too, who
will make a mission shortly before Lent, and then say at this
time: "Oh! I went to Communion not very long ago; there is no
need to go so soon again." They might as well say on Sunday, if
they had heard Mass on Saturday: "I need not go to church to-day;
it was only yesterday that I was there." The law of hearing Mass
is not to hear it once a week, but to hear it on Sundays and
holydays of obligation; so the law of Communion is not to receive
once or twice a year, but to receive at the time appointed. No
other time will do.

{275}

But some may say: "I have not committed any mortal sin since my
last confession; I am just as good as these people who are
running to church all the time." Very good, perhaps you are;
though it may be that Almighty God does not have so high an
opinion of you as you seem to have of yourself. But it is not the
question whether you are good or not; the law is not to confess
mortal sin at Easter; far from it, one ought to have no mortal
sin to confess, then or at any other time. No, the law is to go
to Communion. One should get leave to do so, of course; but if
you have no sin on your conscience, what is easier than to say so
to the priest? You ought to be glad to be able to say it.

Do not, then, make the foolish excuse either that you have been
to Communion at Christmas or there about, or that you have
nothing to confess now. Come this week; if you put your Communion
off one day beyond next Sunday you are guilty of breaking this
law. If you are in mortal sin, get out of it by making a good
confession and Communion; if you are not, do not fall into it by
refusing to obey this most peremptory and most urgent command.
Any one who has not received since Lent began, and refuses to do
so on or before next Sunday, may, indeed, call himself a
Catholic, but is not worthy of the name.

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

{276}

               _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.
{277}
  And why seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, but the beam
  that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? 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.

           The Divine Majesty.


  _For of him, and by him, and in him are all things;
  to him be Glory for ever and ever. Amen._
  --Epistle of the Day.

To-day, my dear brethren, the church, having completed the round
of feasts and fasts which she began on Christmas, having brought
to our remembrance our Lord's birth, his holy childhood, his
ministry on earth, his Passion and death, his glorious
Resurrection and Ascension, and the coming of the Holy Ghost as
he had promised, finally brings us into the presence of the Being
by whom all these wonderful works have been accomplished, and who
is the sole object of our adoration, the ever Blessed Trinity,
the three Divine Persons, the one God. She bids us contemplate,
so far as it is possible for us, the great and ineffable mystery
into the faith of which we have been baptized, and to join with
the angels and saints in the canticles of heaven, "Holy, Holy,
Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to
come."

{278}

"Of him, and by him, and in him are all things," says the
Apostle, reminding us of this highest of all the teachings of the
Christian faith. Of the Father is the Son, and by the Son is the
Holy Ghost, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and in whom
is their life and mutual love. The distinction of the Divine
Persons is thus intimated to us; but the Divine Nature is only
one; of, by, and in that One are we and all things created.

We and all the world around us are of God; not part of him, nor
born of him according to nature, nor proceeding from his
substance, but still of him in that we owe our being entirely to
him, who drew us from nothing by his almighty power. Nothing
could ever have existed outside of God himself except through the
wonderful, incomprehensible act of creation. From nothing,
nothing of itself could come; all things are from and of God, who
created them from nothing.

By his almighty power, then, we have been created, and by it now
we are sustained. We could not live for a moment except by his
continual support. It is only by his aid that we can draw a
single breath, walk a single step, or perform the simplest act.
The winds and the waters, and all the powers of nature, as we
call them, are his powers, too, which he lends to us, and makes
subservient to our use.

And in him we live and move and are. He is nearer to us than we
to ourselves. It is not only that he makes us live; it is his
life by which we live; our life comes from and belongs to his
eternal life. The life of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is
in himself; ours is in him.

{279}

To him, then, the one and only true God, "be glory," as the
Apostle says, "for ever and ever." How often we say these words,
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,"
and how little do we think of what they mean! If all that we are
and have is from God, by him and in him, how can we set ourselves
apart from him, or claim anything for ourselves against him? How
can we glory in ourselves, or desire glory from others, when all
glory, praise, and honor belong of necessity to him from whom, by
whom, and in whom all things are?

For this is what it means when we say, "Glory be to God." Not
some glory or praise or recognition of his greatness from us, as
a sort of tax or tribute which we must pay to keep the rest for
ourselves. No, when we have given glory to God as we should,
there will be nothing left for us to keep. This is the perfection
of the creature, to prostrate itself at the foot of its Creator's
throne, and to cast all the crowns it has received before him
that sitteth thereon, and to say with the angels and saints in
heaven, "Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and
honor and power, because thou hast created all things, and for
thy will they were and have been created."

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

              Sermon LXXXIII.

     The Mystery Of The Holy Trinity.


  _Go ye, therefore, teach all nations,
  baptizing them in the name of the Father,
  and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost._
  --St. Matthew, xxviii. 19.

{280}

It was the faith in the Most Holy Trinity that the Apostles were
sent forth to teach throughout all the world to every creature.
It is into this faith that every Christian is baptized by the
invocation of the thrice-holy name of the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Ghost, and because of this baptism he is bound to
persevere all his life long in that steadfast faith in the Holy
Trinity for which the church to-day teaches us to pray. Think it
not strange that this doctrine should be so deep a mystery. We
are surrounded on all sides by mysteries. There is scarcely a
department of knowledge into which we can turn our minds where we
are not met by things which we cannot understand. There is,
therefore, nothing wonderful in the fact that God is the greatest
mystery of all. We cannot solve the mysteries of nature and of
life as we see them before us. How, then, can we expect to
comprehend the nature and the inner life of God? It is not for
us, with our poor, feeble minds, to ask the how or the why, but
simply to bow down in humble adoration before the truth of God as
he has revealed himself to us. Faith would not be the virtue that
it is if everything were perfectly plain to us. The chief merit
of faith is in accepting on God's authority that which is beyond
our own reason. His revelation of himself to us is only partial.
The full light that we are capable of receiving will not come
until we are before his throne, and see him face to face, for it
is only when that which is perfect shall come that that which is
in part shall be done away. For now we see, as it were, through a
glass, in an obscure manner, now we know but in part, but then we
shall know even as we are known. Meanwhile our time of trial
remains, and we must submit our minds as well as our hearts and
wills to God.

{281}

But he has not given us this partial revelation of himself in
order to perplex and worry us. He has told us all that is good
and needful for us to know in our present state. We should not,
therefore, fix our minds upon that which he has chosen to hide
from us, but upon that which he actually has revealed to us, and
we shall find in this more than enough for our love and devotion.
Each Person of the Blessed Trinity has some special relation to
us, and there are, therefore, special acts of love and adoration
which we can pay to each. He has revealed himself to us as the
Father, not only as the Father of the Eternal Son, but as our
Father as well; our Father, because he has adopted us as his
children. Nothing that we know on earth of a father's love can
compare with the tenderness with which the Eternal Father regards
his children. We, therefore, must become as little children
towards him, looking up to him with love, with reverence, with
simple trust, striving to fulfil his holy will in perfect
obedience, knowing that he wills only our good, here and
hereafter.

God the Son has revealed himself to us as our Saviour and
Redeemer, and because we are through him the children of God, as
our Elder Brother, sharing in our human nature, having been
tempted like us, and having suffered far more for our sake than
we shall ever be called upon to suffer for him. Hence in all our
trials, in all our temptations, in all our sufferings, we have
his example to cheer us, knowing that we are but treading the
steps that he trod and bearing our cross after him. His Precious
Blood is still flowing through the sacraments to cleanse us from
our sins, his grace is ever ready to help us in the hour of need.

{282}

And God the Holy Ghost is revealed to us and given to us as the
life of our souls, our helper, our comforter, our sanctifier,
stirring up the flame of divine love in our hearts, urging us to
good deeds, and giving us the strength to perform them. We, on
our part, must listen to his voice and follow his guidance, that
so we may abide in the love of the Father and of the Son.

Thus is the Blessed Trinity revealed to us, as Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost. Let us not question, but praise, adore, and love.

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

              Sermon LXXXIV.

           The Divine Judgment.


  _And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying:
  "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth." _
  --Matthew, xxviii. 18.


When these words were uttered by our Lord he had risen from the
dead. On this occasion he had with him only the eleven Apostles,
whom he had instructed to meet him by appointment at this time
and in this place--a mountain in Galilee. A few words they are,
but full of meaning. The Apostles saw our Lord in the flesh
again; they heard his own human lips utter this truth: that all
power is his in heaven and in earth.

{283}

How did they understand him? They understood that the Man they
saw, the human being who then stood before them, was endued with
all power that God would exercise in heaven and in earth; that to
rule this vast universe was his right; that to sit on the throne
of heaven, to be worshipped and adored as God by every creature,
to shape the destiny of this world, of its many nations, of its
many families, of every single soul born and to be born in it; to
open and shut the gates of hell at his own will, to judge all
without exception, each separately at the moment after death, and
all together in the great Judgment day of God, is his right and
office as the Man, because he is Man in God and God in Man; the
Man selected to be the One through whom the Divine Nature
manifests himself in all the fulness of the Godhead in human
nature.

But what, therefore, is the first thought that must enter our
hearts? It is necessarily this: How will that Man receive us when
we are called into his presence, one by one, as we leave this
world? How will that countenance look to us at that moment? How
will those ears listen to our reports of our own lives? How will
those lips speak to us in that dread moment?

But why do we ask ourselves these questions? Because we know that
we are to meet that Man in God, face to face, to give an exact
account of all of our deeds in the body, and that he is the One
to praise or blame us, reward or condemn us, receive us into
eternal blessedness or cast us out into eternal, never-ending
darkness, and deliver us over to the rule of those who shall be
our masters in hell.

Can we tell what the result will be? Yes; and to a certainty! If
our lives have been good, or if we die in his friendship, the Man
Christ Jesus will give us a blessed and glorious welcome; but if
our lives have been wicked, that Man will reject us for ever. He
will not have us anywhere near him. He will not endure our
presence a single moment, nor permit us to speak in his presence,
nor ever again to mention his holy name, but will cast us into
that region of creation where holy names are not permitted to be
uttered.

{284}

Do we truly hope that this sad fate will not be ours? Then we are
truly good, leading good lives, are faithful to our duties as
good Catholics. If we truly hope for his approval we can judge
ourselves now and know we shall receive it.

How is this? If each one can say to-day, the last of the
Easter-time, I have obeyed the commands of the church and made my
Easter duty, then each soul is free from mortal sin and knows the
judgment of our Lord will be in his favor. Let any such soul die
at any moment now and the mercy of God is surely his, for he is
now in the friendship of God, his soul is restored to its
heavenly state, and every soul in this state is so acceptable to
our Lord that he can not condemn it, but must welcome it to the
society of those who are saved for ever.

O unfaithful, negligent Catholic! whose life heretofore has been
a dishonor to God, a shame to your family, a scandal to your
neighbor, and a disgrace to the church of Jesus Christ, have you
turned from your sins and made your peace with God this
Easter-time? Have you washed your past life clean from sin by
this Easter duty? Then you, too, _know_ you will receive the
welcome of our Lord, the Man Christ Jesus, your King and your
God. Otherwise you are still his enemy, and have a right only to
his eternal wrath. How can you sleep a moment or be at rest a
single instant longer while knowing you are condemned already,
because you have not made your Easter duty?

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

{285}

         _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. 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.
{286}
  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 maybe filled. But I say unto you that none of those
  men that were called shall taste my supper.

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

              Sermon LXXXV.

              Holy Communion.


   _A certain man made a great supper
   and invited many._
   --St. Luke xiv. 16.


I suppose every Catholic here to-day, except some young children,
has once or many times in his life been to the "Great Supper,"
and eaten the "Bread of Life" which is served at it; and those
little ones of the Lord's Holy Catholic family are looking
forward to the bright day, to be for ever afterwards the day of
sweetest memory, when they too shall have that honor and
happiness--the day of their First Communion.

If such be the case, what is the use of the church repeating to
us every year the threat in the Gospel against those who made
foolish and selfish excuses for staying away--"None of those men
that were called shall taste of my supper"? We have been called.
We have answered the invitation. We have been to the supper.
Isn't that enough? The Gospel evidently does not apply to us. But
wait a bit. I have two things for you to think about. In the
first place, the calling to the Great Supper the Gospel speaks
about is a standing invitation for life. By this I mean that the
law of the Catholic Church obliges every one to receive Holy
Communion annually--that is, during the Easter season.
{287}
It is then, first of all, an _annual_ invitation; and going
one year is not answering the call for the next year. Every one
who has learned his Catechism ought to know that. In the second
place, what would you think of a near relative whom you had
invited to be present at your marriage anniversary dinner, who
should send for reply that he had already dined with you on the
Fourth of July? This is like what people say who, when asked if
they made their Easter duty, tell you, "Oh! no, I went at
Christmas," or "I was at the mission." Now the _annual_
marriage supper which the King makes for his Son, and to which we
are invited, is at Easter, and neither Christmas, mission time,
the Forty Hours, nor the Fourth of July will do, unless, indeed,
the mission or the Forty Hours took place in the Paschal season.

The second thing I want you to think about is that the invitation
to partake of the "Great Supper" of Holy Communion, whether at
Easter or at any other time, is a call to make what is known as a
_worthy_ Communion; that is, you must be absolved from sin
and thus be yourself worthy. That is requisite, and that is
enough. There are some scrupulous people who fancy that they
themselves have got to do beforehand all that the Communion is
intended to do and will do. Who is it that prepares the Supper,
they or the Lord? If they will do the little that is asked of
them, they can safely leave to the Lord the responsibility of
doing his part. A _worthy_ Communion should also be one that
is worth something to the one receiving it, and should not be a
worthless exterior performance, which has no interior act of
communion in the heart to correspond to it.
{288}
And now this kind of worth of each and every Communion depends
upon what the communicant chooses to make it. All is to be had
that God can give. The means of getting the good from Communion
is one and the same means for getting the good in receiving other
sacraments--that is, prayer. Prayer beforehand, prayer daring it,
prayer afterwards. The more you want and the more you ask of, the
more worth will your Communion be. Suppose our Lord should
suddenly quit the sacramental form of the host and ask a
communicant at the altar-rail, "What do you wish for?" and he
should answer, "I don't know; I never thought of asking for
anything," you would reasonably conclude that he was not likely
to receive very much. Now, I hope you who often come to the holy
table are paying attention to this. If you come often, it is
supposed, and justly supposed, that you want a good deal, and
that you are deeply in earnest about obtaining what you desire.
Much as, I am sure, your Communions are worth to you, I wish you
would set about making them worth still more. In a word, you must
think more about what you need. Get your requests ready. Have
them, as it were, well by heart, so that if the Lord should ask
you what you came for, your reply would come out quick and
earnest enough. Of all privileges and honors, in this world,
receiving Holy Communion is, indeed, something for us Catholics
to boast of. How the "outsiders" envy us our faith and the
comfort it brings to us!--the infidels of every name and kind,
the Protestants and others, who either have no Communion, or at
best a sham one.
{289}
How would you like to have yourself thrust aside and one of them
called by the Lord to take your place at his table? Beware, then,
how you treat his invitation; come as often and be as well
prepared as the Spirit of Divine Love shall inspire you.

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

          Sermon LXXXVI.

     The Sacred Heart Of Jesus.


The month of June has, as you know, my brethren, been set apart
by general consent for devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as
that of May has in the same way been devoted to our Blessed Lady;
and on next Friday, the day following the octave of Corpus
Christi, the church solemnly celebrates the Feast of the Sacred
Heart. This feast, formerly observed only in some places, has for
about thirty years been kept everywhere.

As the devotion to the Sacred Heart has of late spread so widely
in the church, and is so plainly pleasing to God and most
salutary to us, it is well that we should understand it clearly,
that we may enter into it more fully. In the first place, then,
we will ask, What is the nature of the worship which we render to
the Sacred Heart of Jesus? And, secondly, Why is it specially
selected as the object of our devotion?

What, then, is the nature of our worship of the Sacred Heart? It
is, of course, the same as that which we pay to our Lord
himself--that is, the worship which is due to him as God the Son,
the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
{290}
His human nature, united to the divine nature in one Person, is
truly worthy of divine worship and honor. God, having become man,
his human heart is the heart of God, and must be adored as such.
Let us, then, remember this: the devotion to the Sacred Heart is
one that is given to God himself, just as that is which we have
for the Blessed Sacrament in which he resides on our altars.

But why do we select the Heart of our Lord, or rather why has he
himself selected it, as a special object of our adoration? I say,
why has he himself selected it? for this devotion to the Sacred
Heart in modern times is due specially to a revelation made by
our Lord to the Blessed Margaret Mary, a nun of the Visitation,
two centuries ago.

In answer to this question we may say that our Lord's Heart is
the fountain of his Precious Blood, which was shed for our
salvation, and was pierced by the lance, like his hands and feet
by the nails, on the cross; and it is in this way specially
pointed out as the object of our gratitude and love. But even a
more urgent reason is that the heart is a natural symbol of love,
agreed on by universal consent at all times and in all parts of
the world, and therefore that the Heart of Jesus most perfectly
represents his love for us. In adoring the Sacred Heart, then, we
adore in a particular manner the love of Christ for sinners; and
it is for this reason that he has given us this devotion, knowing
that it is only by the thought of the love of his Heart for us
that our hearts can be won to the love of him.

{291}

Yes, my brethren, God wishes our love; it was to obtain it that
he became one of us and died for us on the cross; and it is to
win it now that he asks us to remember and to adore his Sacred
Heart. "Let us therefore," says St. John, "love God, because God
first hath loved us." This is the spirit of this devotion: that
we should not try to save our souls merely for the fear of hell,
but that, seeing how much God has loved us, we should love him in
return. And also that, seeing how much he has loved our brethren,
the same fire of divine charity may be kindled in our hearts, and
thus each one of us may do our share to carry on and to complete
the work for which he shed his Precious Blood: the bringing of
the world to the knowledge and love of him.

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

              Sermon LXXXVII.

               Ingratitude.


  _A certain man made a great supper, and invited many. ...
  And they began all at once to make excuse._
  --Gospel of the Day.


You know, my dear brethren, the parable given by our Divine Lord
in the Gospel of to-day. The principal point of it is in the
words which you have just heard. The guests who were invited to
the supper, instead of feeling honored by the invitation and
accepting it gladly, began to make one excuse or another; one had
his farm, one his oxen, and another had just married a wife. None
of these reasons would have prevented them from coming to the
supper had they really wished to; they were mere flimsy pretexts
put forward to hide their indifference to their host and to all
that he had to offer them.

{292}

You know this parable, and I think you also know well its
meaning. As our Saviour uttered it the coldness and ingratitude
of those whom he had come to save rose up before him, giving him
a foretaste of the agony which was afterward to overwhelm and
crush him in the garden of Gethsemani. His heart, burning with
love for men, longed and thirsted for love in return; it was all
he asked; could he but have had that all the pains of his
sorrowful life and terrible death would have been as nothing. But
no; he foresaw that, after all, those to whom he stretched out
his arms on the cross in loving invitation would, for the most
part, turn a deaf ear to his appeal; would give him at the best
but a reluctant and half-hearted service; would keep as much as
possible for themselves, and give as little as possible to him.

And, in particular, he foresaw that the crowning gift which he
had in store for his rebellious and ungrateful children--his own
Body and Blood, which he was to leave them in the Blessed
Sacrament of the Altar, and in which he was to remain with them
even after his work was done and the time come for him to return
to his Father--would be rejected by the greater part even of
Christians with the same indifference with which his other
sacrifices were to be met. He saw himself in our churches,
unwelcomed and almost unknown by the most of those whom he loved
to call his friends. He saw that, though for a time in the first
fervors of faith, when the sword of persecution drove those to
his side who were not overcome by it, he would, as he desired,
indeed be the daily bread of his people, yet there would come a
day when that faith would be dimmed, and the love which sprang
from it would grow cold. He knew that an age would come
when--shame to say it--his church would have to force her
children by strict laws and threats of excommunication to receive
him in the sacrament of his love even once a year.
{293}
And he knew that, in spite of all this urging, many still would
excuse themselves from the divine banquet, offered so freely to,
nay, almost forced upon, them; that millions every year would
miss their Easter duty; would either turn from the bread of life
to the food of swine by deliberate choice, or at least would, on
some frivolous pretext, put off the time of their reconciliation
till the last day appointed for it had gone by.

Alas! my dear brethren, children of this God and Father who has
done so much for us, I fear that some even of you who hear my
words have once more thus grieved his heart and despised his
love. In all this long time of Lent and Easter which, has just
gone by you have missed the duty to which the most sacred and
solemn of all the laws of the church has called you. But still
our Lord has not yet treated you as you have treated him. He has
not yet said to you, as the host said in the parable: "None of
you that were invited shall taste of my supper." No; once more,
in this great festival of Corpus Christi, he makes yet another
appeal to you, to put aside your excuses, and to come to him with
all your heart and soul. Do not, I beseech you, continue to
insult and despise him who thus humbles himself before you, and
still tries to remind you of his goodness and mercy. Come to him
without delay, and make amends for your past neglect; all will be
forgiven and forgotten. But remember, if tempted to reject him
once more, and to postpone your return, that even his infinite
mercy will at last have to yield to his justice; that his loving
Spirit cannot strive with you for ever.

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

{294}

         _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.

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

{295}

              Sermon LXXXVIII.

              Sinful Amusements.


  _Be sober and watch, because your adversary the devil
  as a roaring lion goeth about,
  seeking whom he may devour._
  --Epistle of the Day.


I need not tell you, dear brethren, that there is nothing more
contrary to the spirit of our holy religion than melancholy. The
church would not have her children long-faced and mopish,
eschewing all pleasure as a thing sinful; nor would she have them
unhappy by depriving them of what is good and forbidding what is
innocent, but like a wise mother she permits, nay, sanctions,
harmless amusements, knowing that this, far from being an
impediment to us in our efforts after holiness, is rather a help.

But, unfortunately, all pleasures are not innocent. There are
some which are sinful--very sinful--and which, instead of aiding
us by begetting a holy gladness, fill us with remorse and rob the
soul of the grace of God, which is the principle of all our joy.
Such pleasures as these the church forbids; such as these she
would have us avoid, and she warns us that they come not from
God, but from our adversary the devil, who is seeking our ruin.
It is with regret that we say it, still we say it with truth,
that of late years a very dangerous sort of amusement has taken
more or less hold upon numbers of our young people, and, now that
we are at the beginning of summer, it may not be amiss to say a
word or two about a certain sort of "picnics."

{296}

It is hard to conceive how a young man or woman, who wishes to be
deemed respectable, or even to preserve self-respect, can attend
any of those _moonlight_ gatherings known as picnics,
festivals, etc. Call them by what name you please, as a whole
they are bad. The places where these meetings are held, the
persons whom you cannot avoid coming in contact with, make them
dangerous at least, and very frequently a real occasion of sin.
How can a young girl know the character of him with whom she is
dancing? She has been introduced, to be sure, but what of that?
Does she feel quite certain that she may not be subjected to
insult or worse? Is she satisfied that her mother would be
pleased to see her with her present companions? Is she not
engaged in a dance which borders on immodesty? Take care, my good
girl, you have taken your first downward step to-night; retrace
your way, and never be found at such a "festival" as this again,
if you value your good name. Nor can young men attend these
"moonlight rural gatherings" without endangering their fair fame
and interests. A pure woman will not marry a man who consorts
with bad characters. She will not trust herself to the tender
mercies of one who reaches home in the early morning in a half or
wholly drunken state. She cannot look forward to a happy life
with one of this character, and she will not encourage his
attentions. Employers are not over-anxious to have in their
service those who come to their occupations with evident marks of
debauchery.
{297}
They believe that young men of this sort are not efficient, and
they believe so rightly; they think that these are not altogether
trustworthy; that they are constantly exposing themselves to
danger and theft. It does not pay, young men, to go to "moonlight
picnics." It is not to your interest, either temporal or
spiritual. Do not be carried away with the idea that you can be
dissipated with impunity. "Be sober and watch" yourselves,
remembering that a good name is rather to be chosen than great
riches, and certainly to be preferred to the gross pleasures of
moonlight orgies.

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

              Sermon LXXXIX.

            Divine Providence.


  _Casting all your solicitude upon him,
  for he hath care of you._
  --1 St. Peter v. 7.


The doctrine of God's providence is one of those great truths
which, though accepted by every Christian, are often not
apprehended practically in everyday life. By the providence of
God we mean that loving care which he takes of all his creatures,
and especially of man, ruling, guiding, and protecting them,
"ordering all things sweetly," as holy Scripture has it, that
each one of his creatures may attain to the end for which it was
given existence.

{298}

God's work does not stop with creation. It would be absurd to
suppose that he made all things and then left them to take care
of themselves. On the contrary, we know that his sustaining power
is necessary in order to keep us in existence at all, and that if
he were to withdraw his sustaining hand from us we should at once
fall back into the nothingness from whence we came. But God's
providence over us means something far more than simply keeping
us alive. It enters into every circumstance of our life. Whatever
befalls us, day by day, is with his permission, is in accordance
with his holy will. Whether he blesses us or smites us, it is all
the same: everything comes from his loving providence, and is
intended for our good.

Our Lord's teaching concerning the providence of God is very
clear and plain. He tells us that God cares for the lilies of the
field and for the birds of the air, so that not one of them is
forgotten before God; and, he adds, "Are not you of much more
value than they?" For "even the very hairs of your head are all
numbered." "O ye of little faith!" he still says to us, "why are
you so slow and dull of heart to understand? Why will you not see
the hand of God directing the whole course of your life?" Men go
on in their carelessness, unmindful of God, taking the good
things that come to them as a matter of course, or as the result
of their own labor, forgetting that every good and perfect gift
is from above. But God does not forget them. In spite of their
indifference, he still watches over them, providing them with all
things needful for their souls and bodies, and with his grace
ever seeking to lead them to him. How many, too, spend their time
in foolishly worrying over their petty trials! It is all owing to
a lack of faith; they refuse to recognize God's hand in their
daily life. Yet again and again our Lord and his Apostles repeat
the exhortation, "Be not solicitous"--that is, do not
worry--"casting all your solicitude upon him, for he careth for
you."

{299}

But it is especially in the great trials of life that the
doctrine of God's providence is necessary for us, and full of
consolation, and perhaps it is at just such times that it is the
most often forgotten. When some heavy trouble comes, how often
does the sufferer fail to acknowledge that it is sent by Almighty
God--that is, an ordering of his providence, and therefore to be
submitted to with patience and humility. "Dearly beloved," says
St. Peter in the Epistle of to-day, "be you humbled under the
mighty hand of God." To be humble is to acknowledge our true
position in God's sight, to confess that we are his creatures
altogether in his power, and that he has the right to do with us
as he pleases. Our faith assures us that he will not use this
right to our disadvantage. Away, then, with all silly murmurings
and complaints that God is unjust. Good sense alone will teach
that that cannot be. If you understood the full extent of the
malice of even venial sin you would see that you receive but a
small part of what you really deserve. Follow, then, the counsel
of Solomon, and "reject not the correction of the Lord, and faint
not when thou art chastised by him; for whom the Lord loveth he
chastiseth."

But if the burden seem too hard for you to bear alone, Jesus is
ready to help you. "Come to me," he says, "all you that labor and
are heavy laden, and I will refresh you." Go to him in the
Blessed Sacrament, pour out your grief to the Sacred Heart, and
you shall find rest for your soul. "Cast thy care upon the Lord,"
said David in the Psalms, "and he shall sustain thee."
{300}
Then, having humbled yourself under the mighty hand of God, he
will exalt you in the time of his visitation and fill you with
his peace. And "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."

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

              Sermon XC.

         How To Bear Burdens.


  _Cast thy care upon the Lord
  and he shall sustain thee._
  --Gradual of the Mass.


Which of us, dear brethren, is without his burden or his care?
Whatever our station in life, however high or lowly we may be, to
each comes his portion of sorrow, to each come difficulties and
temptations. If we escape one trial we are sure to find another,
and probably a worse one, awaiting us. It is our lot here upon
earth to suffer, and we ought to expect nothing else, for if we
hope for perfect happiness in this world we are doomed to
bitterest disappointment. The way in which to carry ourselves
with regard to our difficulties is not to seek to avoid them, or
when they come upon us to run away from them, but to accept them
as the portion of our heritage and to make them a source of merit
and sanctification. If we would but cast our care upon the Lord,
if we would but willingly submit to what his all-wise providence
designs for us, these apparent miseries would become for us real
blessings and bring upon us the choicest of God's gifts--an
increase of his holy grace in our souls. God will help us sustain
our burden if we receive it with resignation; if we love it he
will make it even sweet to bear.

{301}

But, you may say, this doctrine is very pretty in theory. How
about the practice of it? It is not so easy to be indifferent to
the things of this life, to the wants of the body, so as to be
quite as willing to be poor as to be rich, to have a good,
substantial meal or a morsel of cold victuals. People cannot be
expected to prefer misery to happiness.

We are not asking you to prefer misery to happiness, nor even to
be indifferent as to what shall happen you. Although this would
be far more perfect and would soon make him who had such
disposition very holy, still we do not ask so much. What we would
wish you to do is what we think all are bound to do--namely, to
have confidence in the providence of God; to recognize his hand
guiding the course of events in our behalf. We know that he is
good and merciful and ready to help us in our need; we know that
even when he punishes it is not so much in anger as in love that
he does so; yet we complain and are discontented, and some even
go so far as to blaspheme the God who, at the very moment when we
are treating him with such indignity, is lovingly working all
things together unto good, who is doing for them more than they
would ever hope for. Oh! what pride is theirs, who set up their
judgment against God's and insist upon the Almighty doing things
according to their fancy. They see no reason why they should
suffer this or that. Why should they be treated so harshly? Other
people have comfort; why should not they?
{302}
Oh! what folly, what blindness is there in the hearts of men and
women who speak thus! What ingratitude is theirs! Perhaps the God
they are abusing has forgiven them hundreds of mortal sins;
perhaps he is withholding what they are demanding because he sees
if he granted them the things they ask their salvation would be
endangered; yet all that he is doing in loving kindness is being
misunderstood, because men are unwilling to bow down to the holy
and adorable will of God.

Dear brethren, let it not be said of us that we are ingrates or
that we are so foolish as to think ourselves wiser than God; but
let us turn to him with all our hearts and recognize in all he
sends us his unspeakable mercy; let us ever see in him the
All-wise God, our Father, and never permit ourselves to be
deceived by the rebellion of our lower nature. Let us, in a word,
"cast all our care upon the Lord."

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

{303}

         _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.
{304}
  And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other
  ship, that they should come and help them. 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, O 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.

              How To Suffer.


  _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. _
  --Epistle of the Day.


I think, my brethren, that there are few good and faithful
Christians who do not have, as they journey through life, a fair
share of crosses, trials, and sufferings. Sometimes these crosses
are not noticed much by other people, but they are heavy enough
for those who have to bear them. The priest hears more of the
troubles of the world, as well as of its sins, than any one else;
misery is a very old story to him; and he has his own trials,
too, in plenty, though many think that in his state of life he
has mostly avoided them. Yes, trouble and suffering seem to be,
and indeed they really are, the rule of life for Christians,
happiness rather the exception; unless we are willing to get what
some call happiness by disregarding the law of God.

{305}

Now this is a very unpleasant fact; but it is a fact, and we have
to accept it. But how shall we best do so? That is a point which
it will be well to consider.

Shall we simply take our trouble because we cannot help it, and
fret as little as we can, because fretting only makes it worse?
Or shall we take comfort by thinking that others are in the same
plight as ourselves; by believing, though perhaps we cannot see
it, that our luck, though hard, is not harder than that of most
of those around us?

These would be two pretty good ways of getting along for one who
had no better. But it would be a shame for us to fall back on
them. One who has faith should be able to find a better way than
either of these.

"Yes," you may say, "I know what you mean; a Christian ought to
be resigned to God's holy will. We are taught and we believe that
all things come to us by the providence of God; that he is
all-wise and infinitely good; so, when he sends us anything hard
to bear, we must say, 'Thy will be done,' and know by faith that
it is for the best."

Now I do not want to say anything against this way of bearing
trouble; it is a good way, and it is a Christian way; none more
so. And perhaps some times it is the only one that will seem
possible. But after all it is not exactly what I mean, or it is
not at any rate all that I mean; and it is not what the great
Apostle St. Paul, whose glorious and triumphant death, after a
life of suffering, we commemorate with that of St. Peter to-day,
meant in those immortal words which I just read.

{306}

"I reckon," says he, "that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall
be revealed in us."

That is his consolation. "We have," he says to us, "a little to
suffer here, but what is it after all? A drop, bitter it is true,
but still only a drop, against an eternal torrent of joy with
which God is going to overwhelm our souls. Truly it is not worthy
to be compared in its passing bitterness to the ocean of delight
of which it is the earnest for the future. It is, in fact, the
little price which we have to pay for that future; and it is not
worth speaking of when we think what it will bring."

Indeed, my brethren, it must be a matter of astonishment to the
angels, it ought to be so to us, that we think so little of the
heaven which God has prepared for us. We profess to believe in
it; we do believe in it; but we seem to forget all about it. We
can have it if we will; moreover, these very crosses and trials,
if we have them, are a sign that our Lord means almost to force
it on us. Let us, then, think more of heaven; meditate on it,
look forward to it. The thought of heaven was the joy and
strength of the martyrs; why should it not be the constant
support of ordinary Christians, too?

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

              Sermon XCII.

     Good Works Done In Mortal Sin.


  _Master, we have labored all the night,
  and have taken nothing._
  --Gospel of the Day.

{307}

The Gospel of to-day tells us, my dear brethren, how St. Peter
and his companions, after wearying themselves with dragging their
heavy nets the whole night, had caught nothing for all their
pains; and how, as soon as our Lord appeared, and they were able
to work with his guidance and help, they took more fish than
their boats would hold.

There is a most important spiritual lesson contained in this
simple story. This miraculous draught of fish is, as it were, a
parable, acted out instead of told by our Divine Saviour. And its
meaning is this: that those who work in the night of the soul
which is caused by mortal sin have indeed much trouble, sorrow,
and labor, but it is all for nothing. All that they do and suffer
while remaining in this state counts for nothing in their favor
in the eternal account of God. Whereas, on the other hand, the
slightest action of one who is in the state of grace, and who,
therefore, works in union with Christ, has attached to it a great
and imperishable glory in the kingdom of heaven.

St. Paul also teaches us this quite explicitly. "If I should
distribute," says he, "all my goods to feed the poor, and if I
should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity" (that
is, the love of God, which makes the state of grace), "it
profiteth me nothing." Whereas, on the other hand, he says, for
himself and others who are united to God by grace, that "what is
at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us
above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory."

This is, I say, my brethren, a most important truth. Do you
fairly understand it? Do you take in its full meaning and
application? Let us look at and study it as much as possible in
these few minutes; then let us take it home with us, meditate on
it, and make it thoroughly our own.

{308}

All of us have our labors, trials, and pains; some arc heavily
burdened with them. To work and to suffer is the lot of all, from
which there is no escape. We cannot avoid our destiny; we must
make the best of it.

Yes, that is just it; we must make the best of it; if we have any
prudence, any true love or care for our happiness, we will make
the best of it, and not the worst. Why suffer this poverty, this
sickness, this worry and distress of mind? Why do all this hard
work? Why go through all these long and weary days, and get
nothing in reward for all our labor and suffering but the mere
means with which to keep up this painful and toilsome life, and
to sweeten it, perhaps, with some fleeting sensual pleasures? Why
not have something to show for all our trouble at the end of our
time here on earth? Why not make it, as we may, into a crown to
take with us into that life which has no end?

This is what those do who remain in the grace of God, who commit
no mortal sin, or who, if they ever fall into it, repent and free
themselves from it with out delay. All their pains and all their
labors are recorded in heaven, and treasured up to be woven into
a crown of merit for such as persevere to the end. God is with
them, as with St. Peter on the lake of Genesareth; they work for
him, and in the light of his presence, and their slightest
actions obtain a rich reward.

But those who foolishly think that to remain thus is a task
beyond their strength, who pass their lives in mortal sin, and
only seldom and for a short time rise from it, have the same
trouble; and at the end, if indeed they come to God then and
enter heaven, being saved as by fire, they find no treasure of
good works gone before them. "Master," they have to say, "we have
worked all night and have taken nothing. We have worked in the
night of sin all our life."

{309}

Let us not, then, follow their example. Let us not run their
fearful risk of not obtaining salvation at all; and let us also
determine that when we are saved we will have a life well filled
with the fruits of grace to lay at our Saviour's feet, for which
we may merit to hear him say: "Well done, good and faithful
servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

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

              Sermon XCIII.

           Fishing For Men.


  _Master, we have labored all the night,
  and have taken nothing._


St. Peter was without doubt a good fisherman, and a patient one,
as all good fishermen are. He was content to fish all night with
such poor luck as to catch nothing at all.

But after he had taken our Lord on board his ship it seemed as if
all the fish in the lake were anxious to be caught. Such a
wonderful haul was made that St. Peter and all the other
fishermen were dumfounded with astonishment. How mightily they
were all pleased may well be imagined.

Now, I think there is in our day something going on very like St.
Peter's fishing all night and catching no fish. The Catholic
Church is the ship of Peter, and he who exercises the authority
of master in that ship, together with his mates and other
officers, are holding the place which St. Peter was exalted to
when our Lord made him the master fisherman of men. That is, the
Holy Father, the pope, the bishops and priests are fishing for
men, and our Lord promised that they should catch them, too.

{310}

In a certain degree, also, everyone on board Peter's ship--all
Catholics--have to do with this great work--the spreading out
the nets and drawing souls into the true church.

For some time there have been some efforts made to catch a
certain kind of fish known as _Protestants_, and there is
another sort, also becoming common in these waters of ours,
called _Infidels_. And it seems to me that there has been a
good deal of fishing all night long, and not half the haul made
that was hoped for. We feel like repeating St. Peter's complaint
--"Lord, we have labored all the night and taken nothing."

The fishermen know their business, and they have worked hard. No
trouble on that score. When may we hope that the promise of our
Lord will be fulfilled and labor shall be crowned with success?
I'll tell you. It will be after Christ has taught his divine
doctrine from the ship, and when he can say to us, "Now let down
your nets."

If there is anything both true and astonishing it is the
prevailing ignorance of their own or of any other religion among
Protestants and infidels. You would think that, among so many
learned and well-to-do people who have every advantage of
education and general information at hand, they would not only
know what they believed, but also the reasons why.
{311}
They make a great boast of knowing, some of them, all the
_good_ that there is in the Bible, and others all of what
they call absurdities and contradictions in the holy volume. You
need not be afraid of all this supposed knowledge. In fact, some
read the Bible very little, and great numbers of them don't hear
half of what the majority of us Catholics hear in church.
Catechize them, and it will soon appear that they are densely
ignorant of all religion. How can we hope that such people will
admire all the beauties of our faith, and appreciate all the
powerful and logical arguments in favor of this or that truth,
who are so lacking in information about the very rudiments of
religion?

I meet such people frequently, who are, nevertheless, regular
hearers and worshippers of the best preachers of our day, or who
pick up here and there some sayings of the pretentious
philosopher of the hour.

Christ must teach this multitude from the ship of Peter, and he
will do so when he can say of us, "Whoso heareth you, heareth
me"--that is, when you and I so live up to our faith that when
they hear us they hear a Christ speak, and when what we speak is
for their instruction and suited to their great ignorance of
divine things. We must be simple and plain in our instructions
when directed to them.

Moreover, we must thrust this instruction of the first things
every Christian (be he child or man) ought to know upon them in
all charity; and be quick about it, for without it they will be
in imminent peril of losing their souls. They are good enough
according to what they know. They, like the best of us, love
truth, and are really hungering for what is unquestionably for
their greater happiness.
{312}
Oh! if we Catholics would only live like Christ and speak like
Christ, then it would be high time to let down the net.
Protestants and infidels would rush in crowds to be taken.
Priests would not know where to find room for the converts.

Enter into the work of spreading Christian doctrine, then. Buy
Catholic books of instruction. Buy a good many and give away a
good many. It may set them thinking. And the reading of good,
plain instructions, like the simple words of our Lord, will set
them to praying as well. When a Protestant or an infidel once
begins to pray to know the truth, it will be sure to lead him
into the net that is let down from St. Peter's ship, only too
happy to be numbered among those taken by the divinely-appointed
fishers of men.

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

{313}

         _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 any thing 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. Matthew 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.

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

{314}

              Sermon XCIV.

        Forgiveness Of Injuries.


  _If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar,
  and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee,
  leave there thy offering before the altar,
  and go first to be reconciled to thy brother;
  and then coming, thou shalt offer thy gift._
  --Gospel of the Day.


There are few things in common life, my dear brethren, more
surprising than the fact that some people seem to consider
themselves good Christians, and well worthy to receive the
sacraments, who have a grudge against some of their neighbors and
never speak to them; perhaps never answer, even if spoken to by
them. These people seem to think, I say, that they are worthy to
receive the sacraments; and this not only at Easter, but, it may
be, quite frequently. Some of them, I fear, consider themselves
to be pious and devout; they say, it may be, long prayers every
night and perhaps also in the morning--though, if they really
thought of the words on their lips, I do not know how they could
get through one Our Father. "As we forgive those who trespass
against us" ought to stick in their throats. They will not speak
to those persons who, as they think, have trespassed against
them; they wish, then, that God should have nothing to say to
themselves. "Forgive us," they say to him, "_as we forgive;_
we will not speak to others, so do not thou speak to us; turn thy
back on us, pass us by; that is what we do to our neighbors.
{315}
Cut us off from thy friendship, send us to hell"; that is what
every Our Father means in the mouth of these detestable
hypocrites when they say, "Forgive as we forgive."

How these people get through their confession and receive
absolution is as surprising as that they should make the attempt
to do so. They are caught, no doubt, once in a while, but it is
to be feared that a large proportion of them slip through the
priest's fingers, either by saying nothing about the sinful
disposition in which they are or by telling a lie to the Holy
Ghost and to their own hearts, if they would but examine them, by
putting all the fault on the other party. When the other party
appears, then we come nearer to the truth. "I spoke to
So-and-so," they say, "but got no answer."

Now, let it be distinctly understood that to refuse to answer any
one who speaks to us with a good intention; to take no notice of
a word or a salute, given with a view to renewing friendship, or
even out of ordinary politeness, is, in almost every case, a
mortal sin. Of course I do not mean that is so when the omission
comes from inattention or carelessness; no, I mean when it is
intended as a cut to the other party. About the only instance in
which it can be allowed is that of a superior, who has a right to
take the matter in his own hands, and can put off reconciliation
for a time without danger. A father, for instance, may keep his
child at a distance for a while in this way as a punishment for
an evident offence; but I am speaking of equals, one of whom can
have no right to punish the other.

{316}

But you may say: "This person has injured me grievously. He or
she ought to beg my pardon." Perhaps this is so; though often, if
you could see your own heart and that of the other as God sees
them, you ought to beg pardon as much as he or she. It is rare
that an unprovoked injury is done by any one consciously and
without what seems a pretty good excuse to himself. But even
granting that the injury is really grievous and unprovoked, do
you expect your neighbor to go down on his knees to you, or to
humble himself by a formal apology, not knowing how it will be
taken? Would you find it easy to do such a thing yourself,
however guilty?

No, by turning him off in this way you put the balance of injury
against yourself, however great may have been the other's
offence. No one should dare to go to Communion after such a
slight unatoned for. And yet even brothers and sisters have done
such things, and, I fear, received Christ's Body and Blood with
this sin on their souls.

Let us have, then, no more of this. If one is not willing to be
in charity with his or her neighbor, let him or her not come to
confession, or at least, if coming, take care to state the matter
as it really is. "Go first and be reconciled with thy brother;
and then, coming, thou shalt offer thy gift."

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

              Sermon XCV.

     Feast Of SS. Peter And Paul.

{317}

To-day, my brethren, holy church celebrates the Feast of SS.
Peter and Paul, one the prince of the Apostles, the other the
great teacher of the Gentiles. Their glorious martyrdom took
place the same day in the imperial city of Rome. A glorious
victory indeed was their death, one being crucified, head
downwards, the other beheaded, sealing thus with their blood that
invincible faith in our Lord and in his religion which has made
them fit to be cornerstones of his spiritual temple. Besides
their faith, they were most distinguished for confidence in God.
The two virtues, faith and hope, of course, blended together in
their souls, borrowed from each other, and in the fire of
heavenly love were melted into one. Yet confidence in God, or the
virtue of hope, was the very impulse that set them forth to
preach, gave them their gift of miracles, and led them out at
last with the deepest joy to offer up the sacrifice of their
lives.

And it was by such heroic trust in God that our holy church was
founded. The beginnings of the true religion may be summed up by
saying that God sent out men who were willing to stake their
lives upon his fidelity to his promises. The soil on which our
Saviour planted the true vine was watered by the blood of
martyrs. The Breviary speaks of the blood of our two great
Apostles as the purple robe of immortal Rome. And their virtue of
implicit, instinctive confidence in God's love for us and for his
church is the spiritual garment every Christian puts on when he
is made a member of Christ.

Looking across all those centuries, my brethren, and
contemplating the martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul, our hearts
should be strengthened. What are the trials of the church now
compared to those at the very beginning?
{318}
We lament, indeed, that St. Peter's successor is a captive in his
own house, and also that in many regions of the world the true
faith of the Apostles has to struggle for its very life. Yet the
struggles of the church are now those of a giant, are against a
world in great part doubtful of its own cause; struggles which
make us only the more evidently pleasing to God, as they are
gradually forcing us to strip ourselves of every human help and
practise the Apostolic virtue of trust in God alone. "Some upon
horses and some upon chariots, but we call upon the name of the
Lord." Oh! when we come to realize that the welfare of the church
is not in numbers, or in fine buildings, or in the wealth and
power of Catholics, but only and entirely in the practice of the
virtues of our religion, we shall not have long to wait for the
triumph of the truth. When the vast world-power that we call the
Catholic religion was (seemingly) but the frantic experiment of a
handful of men, just then it won its noblest victories.
Heathenism could not be voted down nor fought down; nor did God
send earthquakes and floods to cleanse the earth of its foulness.
The men who founded our faith won the victory because they were
penetrated with the conviction that the Maker and Governor of
mankind was their Lord, and that Jesus Christ, his Son, would
never swerve from his plighted word.

Such, then, brethren, is the virtue I bid you learn from the
example of SS. Peter and Paul: confidence in God. Learn that and
it will teach you all. How the value of prayer is shown forth by
this virtue; how the practice of patience is commended; how the
purely spiritual side of religion is brought forward by trust in
God!
{319}
And to you of this church it is especially proposed to cultivate
this Apostolic virtue. For is not your church named for St. Paul?
And is he not associated every way, historically and in the
devotions of our religion, with the prince of the Apostles, St.
Peter? They are our first fruits; they are most closely joined to
Christ, the root of the spiritual tree of life. St. Paul says:
"For if the first fruit be holy, so is the mass also; and if the
root be holy, so are the branches."

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

{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
  set 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 XCVI.

           The Divine Bounty.


  _And they did eat and were filled,
  and they took up that which was left of the fragments,
  seven baskets._
  --St. Mark viii. 8.


The Gospel to-day tells us of the miracle of the multiplication
of the loaves and fishes, whereby our Lord fed the multitude in
the wilderness. Not only did seven loaves and a few little fishes
satisfy the hunger of four thousand, but seven baskets were
filled with the fragments that were left. This is the way in
which God always works in the dealings of his providence with
mankind. He is not content with giving us enough: he gives us
more than enough--"full measure, pressed down, and running over."
He hath opened his hand and filled all things living with
plenteousness. Look at the earth which he has prepared as a
dwelling for the children of men, and see how bountifully he has
provided for all their necessities. "Oh! that men would praise
the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the
children of men," and cry out with David: "How great are thy
works, O Lord! Thou hast made all things in wisdom; the earth is
filled with, thy riches."

{322}

But if God has thus lavishly provided for the bodily wants of
man, he has been even more bountiful in providing for the needs
of his soul. "He hath satisfied the empty soul and filled the
hungry soul with good things." Just as air, water, and food, the
things necessary for the sustenance of our bodies, are found in
the world in great abundance, so also does God's grace abound,
which is necessary for the life of our souls. Just as we must
breathe the air in order to live, so we have but to open our
mouths in prayer, the breath of the soul, and God's grace, which
is as plentiful as the air of heaven, is poured into our hearts,
filling us with new life. And as we must breathe the breath of
prayer, so also we must drink the water of salvation which,
mingled with blood, flowed from the wounded side of Jesus. That
living water which He promised to give is his Precious Blood,
shed for all upon the cross, yet continually flowing in copious
streams through the sacraments to cleanse and refresh the souls
of men. We have but to approach and drink and our thirsty souls
shall be satisfied. "He that shall drink of the water that I
shall give him," said Jesus, "shall not thirst for ever. But the
water that I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of
water springing up into everlasting life." Draw near, then, with
joy and draw this water from the Saviour's fountains, the
sacraments which he has ordained in his church. Wash therein, and
you shall be clean; drink thereof, and your soul shall be
refreshed.

{323}

And for food he gives us the Bread of life, the living Bread
which came down from heaven, even his own most Precious Body and
Blood in the blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. "He that eateth
of this Bread shall live for ever"; but "unless you eat the Flesh
of the Son of Man, and drink his Blood, you shall not have life
in you." His grace would have been enough to sustain us; but he
is not content with giving us his grace alone, he must give us
also Himself. This is the greatest instance of the wonderful
prodigality of God towards us. After creating the world, and
providing it with all that is needful for our bodily life, after
giving us his grace in an almost overwhelming abundance, we might
think that his generosity would have spent itself. But no, he
goes still further, and his last and greatest gift is himself to
be the food of our souls. Surely there is nothing beyond this.
God could not do more for us than he has done. In giving us
himself he has done the utmost that is possible.

When, therefore, we behold the wonderful works of God in our
behalf our hearts should swell with thankfulness to him who gives
so abundantly unto us, above all that we could ask or think.
Since God has been so generous towards us, let us not be guilty
of the base ingratitude of despising his gifts, and rejecting the
mercies he holds out to us! Rather be generous towards him, and
as he gives us himself, so let us give ourselves wholly to him,
striving in all things to please him, offering ourselves daily
unto him, soul and body, as "a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing
to God, our reasonable service."

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

{324}

              Sermon XCVII.

       Feast Of St. John The Baptist.


Today we celebrate the Feast of the Birthday of St. John the
Baptist, of whom our Lord said that a greater man than he was
never born; and we well know what kind of greatness Jesus Christ
would make much of--the greatness of holiness. Looking at his
life altogether, we see in him a striking example of one wielding
great power and acquiring an eternal fame, who set out to do
neither, but rather avoided both. No doubt as he grew up he must
have heard something about his miraculous conception, of the
angelic prophecy concerning him, and of that wonderful visit the
Mother of God made to his own mother before either he or Jesus
Christ was born. No doubt he felt himself to be consecrated to
God, and set apart in a special manner to aspire after a holy
life. And now it is just his fidelity to all those interior
inspirations, which, costing him, as it did, so much
self-abnegation, and taking him apparently out of the way of
obtaining a great name, really made him great.

He was a notable example of those who gain all by giving up all.
Only those who have this character in a marked degree are truly
great in their souls, for virtue is both the source and the glory
of nobility. No birth however high, no station or office however
exalted, no good luck however extraordinary, high honors, great
wealth, nor heaps of badges and medals can make up for the lack
of it. A mean, covetous, selfish, proud, gluttonous, sensual,
envious-minded, overbearing, spiteful, unforgiving, greedy king
or emperor neither is nor can be great, no matter how vast his
dominions or countless his subjects.
{325}
On the other hand, we Catholics know of, and recognize often, the
most extraordinary nobleness and refinement of soul in many who
are among the poorest, most suffering, and often, in
book-learning, the most ignorant of our brethren. What is it that
gives to many such that singular taste for and perception of what
is pure, beautiful, and true, which they unmistakably possess?
And, in times of great trial and sacrifice, what is it that often
brings them out above and ahead many others of whom we might be
led to expect so much more? I'll tell you: it is the greatness of
their holiness, the nobility of their virtue. It is that
manifestation of what is really great in the sight of God and his
angels--their love of truth, their ready self-denial, their
big-hearted charity, their loyalty to God and religion, the
independence of the world, their free obedience to superiors,
their sweet endurance of pain and sorrow, their meek, forgiving
spirit. Such as these are the souls of the great, whom the world,
the flesh, and the devil attack and may wound, but cannot
conquer. If sometimes we are tempted, dear brethren, to envy the
apparent good fortune, as it is esteemed, of those whose
greatness is not thus founded in virtue, we may be sure that we
are weighing something with a very light and empty weight in the
other balance, which may be very bulky, sparkling, and showy,
like a big, bright, sunshiny soap-bubble, but with nothing
inside, and of very short continuance.

{326}

So you see how true greatness is within the reach of every one,
and within quite easy reach, too. One is not obliged to do a
great many things, nor labor many years, nor accomplish what
makes a long report with large headings in the newspapers. One
has only to take care _how_ the work is done one is called
to do--with what spirit one does it. Says the "Imitation of
Christ": "We are apt to inquire _how much_ a man has done,
but with _how much virtue_ he has done it is not so
diligently considered. We ask whether he be strong, rich,
beautiful, ingenious, a good writer, good singer, or a good
workman; but how poor he is in spirit, how patient and meek, how
devout and internal, is what few speak of." Yes, it is not so
much the long and splendid record of the work, but the spirit of
the working, the pure, unambitious, God-loving intention ruling
our labors, that makes them worthy of everlasting memory and
meritorious of the renown of a great name, which leaves behind
one a memory held in benediction and the history of a life
delicious to recall.

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

              Sermon XCVIII.

                 Idleness.


  _And they had nothing to eat._
  --Gospel of the Sunday.


The people who crowded about our Lord had nothing to eat, because
out of love of the word of God they had for a time quit their
work and their homes. This docility, this constancy argues well
for their earnestness in the fulfilment of all their other
duties. They were out of food, not through laziness, but because
of set purpose they preferred spiritual to temporal nourishment.
Hence they merited this extraordinary and unlooked-for
manifestation of our Lord's goodness and providence in supplying
them with food.

{327}

We may confidently expect, my brethren, the assistance of God
even in temporal want and necessity if our honest endeavors fail.
We are not to be over-solicitous; we are not to desire nor strive
after an over-abundance of such things. This promise, however, we
have: that our Heavenly Father knows our needs, and he will come
to our aid. But we have a duty, an obligation to discharge, and
that is to work, to earn our bread. Now, this is the point of my
sermon: that there are many people--the number seems to be
increasing--who have nothing to eat, or who say they have not,
and it is their own fault.

They do not merit any special interposition of Heaven to save
them from the consequences of their own laziness; they do not
seem to deserve, they do not deserve, the assistance of the
charitable, who are the stewards and the representatives of the
Lord. Now, brethren, do not imagine that this is a harsh and an
unchristian way of regarding the necessities of the very poor; do
not suppose that I make no allowance for the sickness, the lack
of work, the hard times, the calamities which from time to time
afflict the deserving and the laborious. If you are in a position
to know, you cannot but be persuaded that the tendency to ask for
help, the inclination to throw burdens on institutions public and
private, the frequency, the boldness, the unreasonableness of
such demands is on the increase; the number of those who are
unwilling to exert themselves, to undergo the routine, the strain
of work, grows day by day. Yet the Apostle says, "If any man will
not work, neither let him eat."
{328}
He bids every one labor faithfully in the calling wherein he has
been placed. There is no such thing as true religion save in the
faithful discharge, first of all, of our natural duties, and in
compliance with the first great law of labor.

Now, I have frequently noticed one peculiarity about many of
those who say they have nothing to eat, and that is, they cannot
be said to have nothing to drink; and the presence of this kind
of nourishment explains very often the lack of all other. No, my
brethren, let us be industrious, saving, and sober, mindful that
the law of God has imposed labor on us; let us try to help
ourselves; then, if we fail, Heaven will surely help us, even in
ways as truly miraculous as our Saviour's for the multitude in
the desert.

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

{329}

    _Seventh Sunday after Easter._


  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 XCIX.

   Mortal Sin The Death Of The Soul.


 _The wages of sin is death._


When the Apostle, my dear brethren, wrote these words, he did not
mean only to express the truth (for truth it is) that the
inevitable result of sin, even in this world, is the misery, and
finally the death, of the sinner; nor even (though this also is
true) that by sin death was introduced into the world. But he
wished especially to teach us that the direct and immediate
effect of mortal sin is a death much more fearful in itself, and
much more awful in its consequences, than any mere cessation of
the life of the body--namely, the death of the soul.

Mortal sin cuts a man off from his last end; it, as it were,
disconnects the soul of any one who is unhappy enough to be in
that state with all the springs of the supernatural state. A soul
which is in mortal sin is cut off from the mystical body of
Christ, and, like a limb cut away from the body of a man, it
ceases to have any part in the nourishment with which that body
is supported and enabled to pass through the wear and tear of the
every-day life of the world.

The soul from the time of baptism to the time of death is kept
alive by the gift of sanctifying grace. Remove this and the soul
inevitably dies. Restore this and it is alive again. Now, it is
just the removal of this sanctifying grace which is the immediate
effect of mortal sin.
{331}
As long as any baptized person remains free from the fearful
stain of deliberate mortal sin sanctifying grace remains, and
every sacrament received, nay, every good act performed, every
good word spoken, and every aspiration to higher and better
things which passes through the mind, increases the grace which
is conferred upon that soul; but the moment the will is
deliberately turned away from its Creator, at that moment
sanctifying grace ceases and the soul dies. This death is a real
death of the soul; it prevents the soul from meriting anything
towards the attainment of its last end, and should any one be
unhappy enough to die with mortal sin upon his conscience his
soul must, by the law of its very being, be buried for all
eternity in hell.

See, then, my dear brethren, how fearful a thing this sin is
which can have such fearful effects. God has made us to enjoy him
for all eternity in heaven, and yet by sin we turn against
ourselves, and, if I may so speak, compel the good God to issue
against us an eternal sentence of banishment from his divine
presence. We prevent our own souls from reaching that end for
which alone they were created. We reap for ourselves an eternity
of untold misery, instead of one of surpassing bliss.

Let us, then, to-day make a firm and constant resolution that,
cost what it may, nothing in this world shall induce us to kill
our souls by staining them with sin; and if any one is so unhappy
as to be in that state now, let him now resolve that he will by a
good confession cleanse his soul, and from henceforward, casting
behind the things that are past, he will press forward to the
things that are before.

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

{332}

                   Sermon C.

                 False Prophets.


         _Beware of false prophets._
         --Gospel of the Day.


I think, my dear brethren, that you all know pretty well what our
Lord means when he says in to-day's Gospel, "Beware of false
prophets." You would tell me, at least if you stopped to think
for a moment, that he means to warn us against those who were to
come after him, pretending to teach his doctrine, claiming that
theirs was the true and pure Christian religion, or putting on,
as he says, the sheep's clothing, but really striving to draw the
faithful away from the unity of the church which he had
established; being, in fact, to use his own words, ravenous
wolves.

Yes, you would tell me this, and you would be right in your
explanation of his words. It is, indeed, of these false Christian
teachers that he would warn us. It is against the innumerable
errors which are taught as Christianity, and against the
countless self-appointed guides to his one religion who were to
multiply as time went on, that he wished to forewarn us; to keep
us from listening to them, or allowing ourselves to be turned by
them from the one source of truth which he has provided for us in
his holy Catholic Church.

And no doubt, in a way, we listen to his warning, and are not
much deceived by their pretensions, at least in these days. If a
Catholic loses his faith nowadays, it is usually easy enough to
see that he does so, not because he is really deceived by the
false prophet and takes him for a true one, but because he wishes
to lead an easier life without being blamed for it; because he
objects to confession and the other laws of the church as
imposing too much restraint on him, or because his temporal
interests will be advanced by the change.

{333}

But still, in spite of this general security which we now have
against being deceived by the persuasions of those who would lead
us into error, nay, even on account of this very security which
we feel, we do not obey quite carefully enough our Lord's
warning. We think we are in no danger from these false prophets,
and so we are willing enough to hear what they say. We would not
join with them; far from it; but we think there is no harm in
hearing or reading their discourses, or acquainting ourselves
with their books. We do not, in short, beware of them; we think
that there is no need to do so.

Really, however, there is. When our Lord said, "Beware of these
false prophets," he meant just what he said. He knew that they
would do us harm if we did not beware; that, if they did not
destroy our faith, they would at least mar its purity or diminish
its intensity if we did not take care to avoid them and their
teachings in every way. And the church has always acted on the
principle which her Divine Founder here laid down, in her
instructions to her children. She does not wish even her priests
to concern themselves with heretical or infidel doctrines, except
with the intention of confuting them as their office requires,
fortified though they be with the most thorough instruction in
and knowledge of the truth.

{334}

We are none of us perfectly wise and above the reach of even the
most absurd errors, especially when our nature, corrupted by sin,
is enlisted on the side of those errors; and, if not in danger of
actually falling into any of them in particular, we may at least,
by acquainting ourselves with those into which great men have
been led, be likely to fall into the most dangerous of all
errors, that of believing that truth is so hard to find that it
cannot be expected that all should find it, and that it makes no
difference what a man believes, as long as he does what seems to
the world in general to be right.

The true course for us is, then, to beware of false guides in
religion by keeping out of their way altogether; and, on the
other hand, to study as far as we can the truth, which, if we
learn it and grasp it as we should, conveys in itself the answer
to them all. Listen to the true prophets, and leave the false
ones alone; that is the highest wisdom from the mouth of our
Divine Lord himself.

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

               Sermon CI.

             The Last Sin.

  _For the wages of sin is death;
  but the grace of God,
  life everlasting in Christ Jesus our Lord._
  --From this Sunday's Epistle.

{335}

This is not the only place in Holy Writ, my brethren, where
eternal life and death are set before us as the wages we shall
some day be paid. The word of God frequently admonishes us of the
choice we are compelled to make between eternal sorrow and
eternal joy, and for this most evident reason: we are always
actually engaged in making the choice. The very essence of our
merit hereafter will be that we shall have freely and
deliberately chosen Almighty God and his friendship, in
preference to any and everything besides. And the reason, and the
only reason, why a man will lose his soul will be because he
committed mortal sin and died unrepentant--that is to say,
choosing to love what God bids him hate. What we call the choice
between virtue and vice St. Paul calls the choice between life
and death. And with that choice we are constantly confronted. Not
that we always realize it, nor do I mean to say that the first
time one grievously offends God he settles his fate eternally;
but that each mortal sin really earns the wages of eternal death,
and only the blessed mercy of God saves us from our deserved
punishment. And furthermore, it is some mortal sin or other that
at last breaks down God's patience. If at any particular occasion
he does not see fit to take us at our word, so to speak, and
leave us for ever in that state of enmity that we have chosen, it
is not because we do not deserve it; it is because he is a loving
Father to us, and is often willing to stand a great deal of
wickedness on our part; or because we have some dear friends who
are servants of God and who pray for us; or because the Blessed
Virgin has acquired some special attachment to us and intervenes
for us; or because God reserves us for a later day, when he will
make such an example of us as will save other sinners; or
because, again, he saves us for a later day to make us models of
true penance.

{336}

But just look around you, brethren; just call to mind what you
have heard or perhaps seen of God's judgments, and the Apostle's
lesson becomes object-teaching. Have you not heard of a sudden
and unprovided death and then remembered how years ago that man
started a disreputable business? It was thus that he made his
decision for all eternity. On the other hand, a man now
temperate, once a drunkard, will tell you that long ago he took
the pledge and broke it, and broke it again, but still
persevered, and finally, by the grace of God, has managed to keep
it. He was fighting the battle of fate and he won the victory.
That dreadful appetite overcome, the practice of religion became
easy to him.

In another case a man is led away little by little from the rules
of honest dealing; at last he refuses to pay a certain just debt,
one that he can easily pay if he wishes. After that avarice eats
into the core of his heart and he is lost for ever.

And, brethren, what a relief to hear after a sudden death that
the poor soul was a monthly communicant!

Many are tested by Almighty God demanding that they shall
withdraw from the proximate occasions of mortal sin. The voice of
conscience, a sermon heard in the church, the private advice of
some good friend--for all these are the voice of
God--admonish[ing] them against what leads them to mortal sin;
against very bad company, or the saloon, or the Sunday excursion,
or dangerous reading, or lonely company-keeping. Perhaps one's
conduct about such dangers has more to do with his choice in
eternity than any thing else.

I do not mean to say that this fateful decision is a mere
lottery, but it is a moment at the end of years of rebellion
against God when an effort is made by the grace of God to save
the sinner; and for weal or for woe it is the last chance. Some
time or other the last sin will be committed, the last grace will
be granted.

{337}

O my brethren! how very reasonable is the holy fear of God. Oh!
how wise are they who have joined fear and love of God together
so that the fire of love has burned the dross of slavishness out
of fear, and fear has mingled reverence and humility with love.
Alas! that so many should live as if eternal life and death had
no meaning for the present hour.

Some are like that millionaire I heard of. Walking home one day,
a heavy shower of rain began, he stopped a hack and asked what
the driver would take him home for. Fifty cents, was the answer.
he began to beat him down, and finally, refusing more than
twenty-five cents, he walked home in the rain. But he caught
cold, went to bed, and died. He had played the miser many a time
before, but the last time had come. So many a one thinks his one
sin more, his one other rejection of grace, is but like the
multitude of other such offences gone before; and all the time he
is deciding an eternal fate.

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

{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 CII.

              Spirit And 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._
  --Romans viii. 13.


What does the Apostle mean by this? This only, that the flesh
with its concupiscence and lusts must never get such power over
our will that it will carry us along with it and make us obey its
longings and desires when we know these are forbidden by Almighty
God. I say "this only" because to have the flesh is no sin;
neither is it a sin to feel the disorderly movements of the flesh
that lead to sin; but it is a sin to consent to these and to
follow them. For this reason we are told that if we mortify the
deeds of the flesh, to which these movements of the flesh lead
us, we shall live. But what does the word "mortify" mean? It
means to destroy that which makes the life of a thing. Notice
here the Apostle does not tell us to mortify the flesh itself but
the deeds of the flesh. To do this we need not then attempt to
kilt the flesh, but we must destroy all that gives life to its
deeds.

{340}

What are the deeds of the flesh? They are the seven capital
sins--pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth.
Can we kill them? In the most important sense we can. We can get
them so under our control that, after awhile, they will move us
but slightly and cannot influence us to any great degree. We
shall feel from time to time that they are still present in us,
but that cannot disturb us much. We shall have taken their
strength away. We shall have made them so weak that we can check
them easily.

Ought not each one of us strive to get ourselves into that
blessed state? But how can we do it? Make up your mind to do it.
Form a good resolution, one that will not change but that will be
firm for life. Then live according to that resolution. When pride
is aroused, refuse to follow its promptings; when covetousness
moves the heart, stop the eager desire for gain; when lust would
lead you away, contend against the thought until it is driven
out; when anger disturbs, seal the lips with the sign of the holy
cross; when gluttony makes you long for feasting and drinking,
refuse to go where these things are going on; when envy racks the
soul, pray for the one who is the object of envy; when sloth
tempts you to self-indulgence and inactivity, stir up the fear of
God and holy shame within the soul, for sloth is a destroyer
indeed of all that is truly manly and heroic in us.

But all this is about as hard to do as anything a man can do,
some may say. Yes, it is hard to do, but the success is
_sure_. Shall a man do less for God than for himself? See
the time and labor spent to secure that which is necessary for
the body and success in the life of only a few years in this
world. Shall a man not do as much for the good of his soul and
for eternal life in the next world?

{341}

Is it really so hard as it seems? By no means. We make it harder
than it really is by putting it all together and by thinking we
are to do it all at once. This is not true. It must be done by
degrees, slowly, patiently, perseveringly, but surely.

The devil makes us think it harder by telling us, when we feel
the sharpness of the first struggle, "You can't bear it this way,
for life." You can if God wills it and gives you the grace. And
most people, almost all Christian souls, do not have it "this
way, for life." Those who keep up the struggle get stronger day
by day. In them the flesh and the movements of sin grow less day
by day. The devil, however, wishes us to believe the lie he
tells, to make us give up the struggle. Do not listen to the lie
and it cannot hurt you. Remember always, it is a lie, and the
mind will not take hold of it.

We can make it all the easier by trusting God, who will always
help us in the struggle. _Pray_ more. Go to confession
often. The confessor will then help us and remove much of the
burden by good advice. Go to Communion often, and God himself
will make it easier for us than we imagine by giving his own
strength to the soul at that time. Only begin earnestly to
control the flesh, continue perseveringly to use confession and
Communion. This, with daily morning and evening prayer, will take
away very many difficulties. Soon we shall find we have truly
mortified the deeds of the flesh, and then indeed we shall live,
for the flesh will then be dead or dying fast and too weak to
hurt the soul. Keep, then, in the mind the text from the Epistle
of to-day: "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."

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

{342}

              Sermon CIII.

       The Business Of The Soul.


  _The Lord commended the unjust steward,
  forasmuch as he had done wisely._
  --Words Taken From To-day's Gospel.


One of the things which strikes us most forcibly in reading the
instructions of our Blessed Lord as we have them in the holy
Gospels is the matter-of-fact, common-sense, business-like manner
in which he sets before us the way we must act in order to save
our souls. We find no sentimentalism, no rhetoric, no
fine-sounding flights of eloquence which delight the imagination
and please the fancy indeed, but which are too fleeting and
flimsy to serve as a basis of every-day action. No; with our Lord
this matter of the salvation of our souls is a matter of infinite
business, a question of eternal profit and loss. Let me recall a
few examples: "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking
good pearls, who, when he had found one of great price, went his
way and sold all he had and bought it." Here the way in which we
are to act in order to get the kingdom of heaven is compared to
the way in which the man of business acts who finds a good
article--something worth his money. What does he do? Why, if it
is really worth it--and the kingdom of heaven, the salvation of
our souls is worth it--he sells all that he has and buys it.
{343}
And yet again our Lord places before us the salvation of our
souls as based upon a calculation of what is the more profitable
course to take in those words the realization of which has called
forth the highest heroism of the greatest of the saints: "If thy
eye offend thee pluck it out and cast it from thee." Why? Because
"it is better for thee with one eye to enter the kingdom of God
than, having two eyes, to be cast into the hell of fire." Here
again it is a calculation of loss and gain--the loss of an eye in
this world as against that of the whole body in the next. Shall
I, on the principle that a bird in the hand is worth two in the
bush, keep my two eyes; or shall I, for the sake of saving the
whole body, pluck out the eye, cut off the foot or hand? But of
all the places where this way of looking at things and of acting
is inculcated and enforced, the most striking is in the parable
read in to-day's Gospel. Here our Lord, in order to lead us to
take a practical, hard-headed way of acting with reference to the
salvation of our souls, brings before us the conduct of the
unjust steward, and, strange to say, actually praises it. And how
did this unjust steward act? The unjust steward was a dishonest
man. He had been placed in a position of trust, but had wasted
his master's goods--perhaps speculated with his money, made false
entries in his books, or something else of that kind. Well, the
truth came out at last, as it generally does sooner or later, and
he was at his wits end what to do. No thought of repentance
enters into his head; he has got on a wrong road, and he found
it, as we all find it, very hard to get out of it.
{344}
And so, knowing the men with whom he has to deal, he sends for
some of his master's debtors, and, in order to make them his
friends and to establish a claim on them for help and assistance
when he gets into trouble, he alters their bills and makes them
less. "And the Lord commended the unjust steward because he had
done wisely." Our Lord does not commend, of course, the
dishonesty of his conduct; this we all understand. But he
commends his clearness of sight as to what was for his worldly
interest, and his promptitude in taking wise and suitable means
to further that interest. What our Lord wants to teach us is that
we must act for our highest interest in the same clear-sighted,
determined, wise, and prudent way in which this specimen of a
worldly man acted for the sordid and selfish and foolish ends of
men of this world. Well, my brethren, take these thoughts home
with you, and ask yourselves, each and every one of you, how you
are acting. Have you an intelligent view of the end you have to
attain, of its value and importance, and of the means by which it
is to be attained, and are you acting earnestly in order to
attain that end?

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

               Sermon CIV.

          The Judgments Of God.


   _Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of iniquity;
   that when you shall fail
   they may receive you into everlasting dwellings._
   --Gospel of the Day.

{345}

My dear brethren, there will come to each one of us a day when
all those earthly goods we now enjoy shall fail us, when we shall
have to turn our backs on the world and all that it has to give
us, and prepare ourselves to stand before him to whom all things
that we had and enjoyed belong, and give an account to him of the
uses which we have made of them. We have, like the steward in
to-day's Gospel, a Lord and Master; and to him we must sooner or
later give an account of our stewardship.

And it is only too likely, we may say it is indeed certain, that
when that dread moment comes at which this world must be left
behind, the charge will also be made against us, as against the
steward in this parable, that we have wasted our Master's goods.
Our consciences will rise up and condemn us, and anticipate the
accusation which shall be brought against us when we shall
actually come face to face with God. Then all the security we
have had in the thought that we are not murderers, robbers, or
adulterers shall vanish; we shall not be able to console
ourselves with the idea that we have done no great harm to any
one. We shall see how selfish and how sensual our lives have
been; that we have wasted for the pleasure of a passing moment
the greater part of those gifts which God gave us for his
service. Wasted our time, our strength, our knowledge, and our
abilities in getting for ourselves the means of gratification or
amusement, or in raising ourselves for our own sake to a position
of honor or of wealth. We shall see what we might have been, what
God meant that we should be, and compare it with what we are.

Fain would we then be able to say with St. Paul, "I have fought a
good fight, I have finished my course." Our faith indeed we
shall, it is to be hoped, have kept; but we shall feel that our
fight has been but a poor and cowardly one, and that we, instead
of finishing the course which our Lord laid out for us, have gone
over only a very small part of it, and that its goal is far, far
away.

{346}

What, then, shall be our hope? For hope we must have if we would
not offend God even more then than through life. He commands us
to hope; but in what shall our hope be placed?

Where or in what but his mercy? He will take us, grievously
deficient as we are, and make the little, miserable offerings
which we have to present to him, the remnant of what he gave us,
into some kind of a crown of eternal life, if only we will turn
to him with our whole hearts; if we will at least, at that last
moment, really believe in him, hope in him, and love him. He that
perseveres to the end, he that will not die in mortal sin, shall
be saved.

But what shall obtain for us at that last moment the faith, hope,
and charity which we need? Who will help us to persevere when the
enemies of our salvation are making the most of their last chance
to snatch it from us? Will those with whom we have enjoyed life
then stand by to help us? It is to be feared that they and all
that they have done for us will not avail us much then. No, the
friends who will then be most valuable to us will be those, if
indeed we have such, whom we have not sought for our own sake,
but whom we loved for God's sake. And it is not the riches which
we amassed that will then be precious to us, but such as we have
given away to those who needed it more than we.

{347}

These are the friends which our Lord, in to-day's Gospel, tells
us to make, that they may help us at the hour when our eternal
destiny hangs trembling in the balance. These are the friends
which may be made by that mammon of iniquity, those worldly
riches which are too often the occasion of sin, and whose prayers
and blessings may indeed be the means of our being received, in
spite of our unprofitableness, into everlasting habitations.
Happy is the man who, when he comes to die, knows that God's poor
have prayed for him, and have blessed his name.

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

{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. 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.

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

{349}

              Sermon CV.

          Justice And Mercy.


  _And when he drew near, seeing the city,
  he wept over it._
  --From the Gospel of the Sunday.


Which one of the children is best loved by the father and mother?
Is there any poor little cripple in the family? That is the
favorite child. It makes the parent's heart bleed to see the
limping walk or the hunched back, to see the sallow, pain-marked
face of the little one. That is the one who receives the warmest
caress; for that one the kindest tones and cheeriest words and
nicest presents are reserved. Well, brethren, it is the same in
the spiritual order. God has his best favors for his most
unfortunate children: for men and women in the state of mortal
sin. That is one reason why our Lord lavished such affection on
the Jews; they had most need of it. Their hearts were the hardest
hearts in the world. Jerusalem was the most accursed city in the
world. It and its people were on the point of committing the most
awful crime possible to our race. Hence our Lord wept over it
those bitter tears of rejected love, and breathed those deadly
sighs of a heart wearied and disappointed in fruitless efforts
for their salvation.

It is true, amidst those tears he told of the persistent
obstinacy of the Jews, and of their final impenitence, and of
their terrific chastisement. But he did it all with many tears
and with a depth of regret better told by tears than words.
{350}
Brethren, there is a deep mystery taught us by this scene. It is
the mystery of the union of two sentiments in God which to us
seem essentially different--justice and mercy. How could our
Saviour weep over a downfall so well deserved? How could he
regret what none knew so well as he was to be a punishment all
too light for the crimes of the Jews? Is there not a mystery
here? How can it be explained? There is no adequate theoretical
explanation of it. But there is a practical one, and a very
excellent one, too. It is this: Put yourself in a Jew's place;
fancy yourself one of that apostate race; stand up before our
Lord and listen to his sentence given against you with infinite
reluctance--every hard word a sigh of tender regret. Do you not
see that this exhibition of mercy in the Judge only renders the
justice of the sentence more evident to you and more dreadful?
Mercy thus lends to Justice a weapon which, while it only crushes
down its victim the deeper, at the same time elevates much higher
in the culprit's eyes the rectitude of the sentence.

Of course, the justice of God and his mercy are perfectly equal.
Yet in some true sense we may say that his mercy is more powerful
than his justice. Does not the Psalmist say that God's mercy "is
above all his works"? Do we not know by observation and
experience that where the wrath of God sets apart a single victim
his tender love wins over a thousand? Why, the very sentiments of
our hearts, the very convictions of our minds by which we earn
forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance, are they not the free
gift of God, earned by us only because "us" means persons
penetrated with light and strength streaming down from the throne
of mercy?
{351}
We offer our repentance to God in a kind of a way as children
make Christmas presents to their father. Where do they get money
to buy them? From their mother, and she saves it up from the
household expenses or gets it as a gift from her husband. In the
long run the presents were bought by the one to whom they are
given. Yet they are very dear to the father; he values them; they
are real presents to him; they express a real devotion; they lose
nothing of their character of presents because he is at the
expense of it all. So with our Heavenly Father. If he gives the
gold we coin it; we stamp the beloved form of the Son of God on
our poor prayers, so that when they have made the circuit and are
back again in the divine bosom from which they sprang forth,
somehow we have added something to them.

Brethren, let us hope that when our Lord's tears concerned us it
was not in view of our reprobation, but of our salvation. Let us
be inflamed, too, with a sense of our ingratitude that we are
such unworthy children of so good a Father. A man may swagger and
brag down his better self when merely threatened with punishment.
But who among you can face, without flinching, the tears of so
good a friend as our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

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

              Sermon CVI.

      Neglect Of Divine Warnings.

{352}

The Gospel to-day tells us, my dear brethren, that Jesus wept as
he approached Jerusalem; not for himself, nor for all he was so
soon to suffer there, but for the city itself, and for his chosen
people, to whom he had given it for their glory and joy. Yes,
this beautiful city was their joy and their pride; long before
they had been taken from it into captivity by their enemies for a
time, and as the Psalmist says, speaking in their name, "By the
rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Sion." And
he goes on: "If I forget thee, Jerusalem, may I forget my right
hand; may my tongue cleave to my mouth if I do not remember thee,
if I do not make Jerusalem the beginning of my joy."

And now this city of theirs was to be taken from them again by a
more grievous and fatal disaster than it had ever yet suffered.
They were to be scattered from it all over the world to do a long
penance for their sins and their rejection of him who had come to
redeem them. And our Divine Lord's Heart yearned for them, for
these his creatures, and at the same time his brethren and his
countrymen. Fain would he have saved them, if they would but have
been willing, from the terrible sufferings they were to undergo.
Gladly, as he says himself, would he have sheltered them, if they
would even now have come to him, from the tempest which was about
to break upon them from the justice of God. He wept because they
would not come and avail themselves of his love.

We should pray for them that the day may be hastened when they
shall return and acknowledge their true Messias, their own Lord
and Master, the only true King of the Jews. But they are not the
only ones to weep for; they are not the only ones whom he has
loaded with favors, and who have been ungrateful; there are
others besides the Jews whom Almighty God has chosen for his
people, but who have rejected him and distressed his loving
heart.
{353}
Who are they? They are in general all sinners, but especially
such as are Catholics; they are those souls for whom Jesus has
done so much from their earliest years, in the midst of whom he
has lived and wrought so many works of power and goodness; those
whom he has enlightened with his truth, those whom he has warned
against sin, those whom he has borne with so long and forgiven so
often, those whom he has fed with his own Body and Blood. And
yet, through evil habits, by frequent mortal sin, they live on,
deaf to his warnings, despising his love, not knowing the time of
their visitation, until evil days and a sad ending come upon
them. Can we wonder that their enemies, the evil one and their
bad habits, compass them round about, and straiten them on all
sides, and beat them down and leave them wasted and desolate? Can
we wonder that, since they would not bear the sweet and ennobling
yoke of Christ, they will be forced to groan in the fetters of
Satan and be exiled for ever from the true Jerusalem, the home of
peace, which is above? No, brethren; such is the fate of those
who persistently abuse God's grace, who reject his mercy and his
efforts to save them. God forbid that such a career, such an
ending, be ours. Let us, then, take warning; let us be careful
about temptations; let us not presume on our own strength nor on
God's goodness in the past; let us not make light of anything
which is dangerous or forbidden. Let us endeavor not to grieve
our Lord by any infidelity, great or small, but try to be
faithful to every grace in this the day of our visitation, and to
follow the things that are for our peace here and our happiness
hereafter.

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

{354}

               Sermon CVII.

          Living From Day To Day.


  _If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day,
  the things that are for thy peace._
  --St. Luke xix. 42.


The fault of the Jews, my brethren, was twofold: boasting of the
past and waiting for the future. It is especially on account of
the latter fault that our Lord in this day's Gospel lays such
stress on the words "and that in this thy day." It is a warning
against trying to live in the future.

We all know, to be sure, that one may go to the other extreme,
and by a form of sloth be too careless of the future. Some things
there are which are certain to come upon us, and their coming
must be provided for. There is a judgment to come, and every
minute of to-day is like a bailiff busy gathering evidence for
that Divine Court. Temptation is sure to come, and its strain
upon our virtue must be foreseen in every prayer of every day.
The common wants of life for one's self and family are inevitable
in the future, and must be prudently provided against. In all
such things we know that the future is an actual fact, and is
just as present to God as this very instant is to us.

{355}

What our Lord would rebuke is not a prudent foresight, but that
weak and idle state of mind which postpones to the future what
should be done at once. This is the commonest of human delusions.
In a temporal point of view it is condemned by the saying,
"Procrastination is the thief of time," and it might be added of
many other valuable commodities. In a spiritual point of view the
dreadful result of delaying till to-morrow what should be done
to-day is expressed by the saying, "Hell is paved with good
intentions." Wise men resolve to do in the future only what they
cannot do now. Many and many a poor soul has lost the kingdom of
heaven for that one reason: resolving instead of doing.

Brethren, a practically-minded Christian lives his spiritual life
from day to day. He knows that the future is something entirely
in God's hands. As for himself, his actual ability to do good
begins and ends with each passing hour. If he provides well for
it as it comes and goes he has done his part; God will not fail
to take care of the future. One's peace of mind is never secure
till one has learned to be content with present duty well done.
Oh! what a happiness when one's soul is unburdened of care for
the future. Do you covet that happiness? It is yours if you leave
nothing undone for the present. If you can honestly say, "That is
all I can do for the present," you may add, "and the future
also."

But, you say, what about a purpose of amendment? Does not that
dwell specially on the future? Yes, it does; but it springs from
a present sorrow. And if the sorrow be as heartfelt as it should
be the purpose of amendment will take care of itself. A deep
hatred of sin is the only true sorrow, and such a hatred must be
enduring. The test of a contrite man is not what he promises but
what he does. His sorrow unites the past and future in the
present. Warned by his past weakness, he begins right here and
just now by prayer and work to guard against a future relapse.

{356}

Learn a lesson, brethren, from our Lord's warning and from the
fate of the Jews. It is better to say one's morning prayers
to-day than to resolve to become a saint next week. To-day is
here, and next week is nowhere. This day is mine; I know not if I
shall have so much as one other. God has the past and the future.
I will thank him for the past, I will beg him for the future. As
to the present, with God's help, I will set to work to do my
utmost.

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

{357}

         _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 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.
{358}
  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 CVIII.

          Sympathy for Sinners.


  _O God, I give thee thanks
  that I am not as the rest of men,
  extortioners, unjust, adulterers,
  nor such as this publican._
  --St. Luke xviii. 11.


Did you never notice that pride and hardness of heart go
together? That miserable Pharisee could not enjoy his
self-glorification without condemning his neighbor, a person, as
it happened, far more deserving than himself. Indeed, the worst
vices seem to love each other's company as if they were all blood
relatives. Coveting our neighbor's goods, for example, goes along
with stinginess of our own; gluttony and lust are twins. Almost
the same may be said of oppressing others and disobeying lawful
authority; and in this hateful Pharisee we behold the union of
pride in one's self and contempt for one's neighbor. The sinner
seems to be bound with a chain every link of which is double.

Now, brethren, this is a fault often found in far better souls
than this haughty Pharisee. Many of us have too little sympathy
for persons whom we know to be in mortal sin. To be sure, it is
no harm to rejoice that we are at friendship with heaven. But the
worst of it is that some of us are never really happy at the
thought of our own virtues till we are quite miserable over our
neighbor's wickedness; and when we say with our lips, How wicked
So-and-So is! our heart whispers, And how good I am!

{359}

The spirit of correction possesses many good people--a spirit
commonly the sign of hidden pride. No sooner do we take the first
steps in amendment of life than we are divided between rejoicing
in our own goodness and lamenting over other folk's vice. I know
not what we good people should do for something to talk about
were it not for our neighbor's shortcomings.

Brethren, this vanity is very foolish and very dangerous. Who
dare say that he has nothing to fear from the judgments of God?
Who can count himself safe so much as one day from his own
natural feebleness, or from the wiles of Satan, or from human
respect? And if we do rightly trust in God's favor, how can we
forget that progress in virtue is a necessary condition of our
remaining virtuous at all? Now this progress means simply a right
knowledge of our remaining defects and a solid purpose to
overcome them; something with which the vice of the Pharisee is
quite incompatible. Nothing so blinds us to our own little faults
as too much regard for our neighbor's big ones. Doubtless it
would have been just as difficult for the Pharisee to correct his
harshness of voice, or his lofty bearing, or his patronizing airs
as to overcome his great sin of pride itself; and such is the
case with many of us. The beam in our neighbor's eye looks so
shocking that we quite forget that we have quite a squint in our
own eye from various little motes in it.

{360}

Be certain, therefore, brethren, that, if you find hard feelings
in your heart toward sinners, you have no long journey to make
before you discover the capital sin of pride in your own. Why can
we not leave judgment to God, and treat poor sinners after our
Lord's example, praying and suffering for them? I do not mean to
say that we should forget to mention to them the awful
chastisements of God; indeed, a truer friend does not exist than
one who warns us of our future destruction, and some, such as
parents, are in duty bound to give such admonition. But in the
treatment of moral maladies we should bear in mind that bitter
words and harsh looks spoil good medicine. And especially should
we bear in mind that we have had our own wicked days.

Let us, therefore, regard sinners with much tenderness, dropping
out of our view while we deal with them our own darling selves.
Let us realize that we ourselves are poor souls, quite capable,
but for God's singular favor, of falling into the worst state of
sinfulness.

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

               Sermon CIX.

            Morning Prayers.


  _Two men went up into the temple to pray._
  --From the Gospel of the Sunday.


The lesson of this day's Gospel, my brethren, is prayer; its
necessity and its humility. Our short sermon must be contented
with a little corner of this great field--that is to say, morning
prayers.

{361}

Suppose that your child is sick, what is your first word in the
morning? It is, How is the baby this morning? Then follows much
more: I think it is a little better to-day; it seems easier; or
it passed a bad night; I hope the day will be cool, for it
suffers from heat. So, anxiety for your poor little child
consecrates your first thoughts and words to its welfare. And do
you not know that your poor soul is either sick or runs the risk
of catching a deadly sickness every day you live? There are bad
sights on the streets that tend to sicken it; there are snares of
the devil, such as cursing and foul-talking companions, bad
reading and saloons; there is a spiritual cancer within--I mean
the temptation of the flesh--which can only be kept from
destroying the soul's life by constant and severe treatment. Now,
thoughts and words do your sick child little good; but they are
the very best things for the soul, especially early in the
morning. The man or woman who kneels down and says the morning
prayer guards against temptation, heads off the noon-day demon,
and provides that happiest of evenings, that is to say, the one
which follows an innocent day.

There's a saying against braggarts and promise-breakers that
"fine words butter no parsnips." It is not true of words said in
charity to our neighbor or in prayer to God. Sincere words
addressed to God as the day begins sweeten every morsel of food
the livelong day, lighten every burden and weaken every
temptation. Why, then, are you so careless about morning prayers?
It can only be because you do not appreciate your spiritual
weakness or you do not care what becomes of your soul before
bedtime. But somebody might say: Father, can't you tell us
something to make the morning prayers easy? It is very hard to
remember them, and then it is so pleasant to get even five
minutes more sleep, especially in the winter time; and, again, I
am always in a hurry to get off to work, etc.
{362}
Now you might as well ask me to tell you something to make you
relish a good wash and a clean shirt. If a man does not hate
dirt, it is preaching up the chimney to try to make him love to
be clean. Prayer cleans the heart. Prayer clothes the soul with
the grace of God. Prayer brings down God. Prayer drives away the
devil. Or, I might rather say, that for a clean heart, and in
order to get the grace of God, and in order to vanquish
temptation, prayer is simply and indispensably necessary.

Once a man came to me and said: Father, for years I was addicted
to habitual vice of the worst kind (and here he named a fearful
sin), but I began some time ago to say the Litany of the Blessed
Virgin every morning and the Litany of Jesus every night, and
this practice has entirely cured me of that dreadful habit. Some
such story as that, my brethren, every man must tell before he
can say that he is delivered from sin.

For my own part, I look upon regular morning prayers as a plain
mark of predestination to eternal life. "Ask and you shall
receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to
you," is our Lord's promise to those that pray; and the best
prayer is the morning prayer. Be ready, therefore, to correct
yourself for omitting it. The day you forget it go without
something you like to eat, put a nickel in the poor-box, double
up your night prayers, make a special request to your guardian
angel to get you up in good time for morning prayer the following
morning. For the "Our Father," "Hail Mary," "Apostles Creed,"
"Confiteor," and Acts of Faith, Hope, Sorrow, and Charity, that
you say in the morning will in the end give you a happy death and
the kingdom of heaven.

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

{363}

               Sermon CX.

      Feast Of St. Mary Magdalen.

  _Many sins are forgiven her,
  because she loved much._
  --Gospel of the Day.


My dear brethren, no one who has faith can fail to be more or
less anxious as to whether he will in the end save his soul. We
all know that our faith alone will not save us; that faith, as
St. James tells us, without works is dead. And we know that
everything depends on the last moment; that as the tree falls, so
will it lie for all eternity. So we tremble to think that perhaps
that last moment will find us with our sins unforgiven, and all
unprepared to meet our Judge; and that, in spite of our having
borne the name of Christ, we may be then cast away from his
presence into the outer darkness for ever.

Some people, I know, have a very simple way of reassuring
themselves about this all-important matter. They think that, of
course, when they come to die they will send for the priest;
then, if he gets there in time, of course there can be no
question about their salvation. And even if he does not, perhaps
they would not altogether despair; certainly their friends will
not despair of them. God, they think, will not utterly cast off
those who have always believed in him; their prayers and those of
their friends will certainly obtain them a place in purgatory,
and at last they will save their souls, at least by fire.

{364}

But, after all, do not even the most confident of us sometimes
have a fear that even the last sacraments may not make our
salvation absolutely sure? The last sacraments are not so very
different from the others we have received before; and do we
always feel fully prepared to die after every Communion which we
make? No, there is a haunting fear that something is not right
which pursues us even at the altar-rail; we would give much if we
could only do something which would take it away altogether.

Let us not be troubled because we have this fear; it is better
not to be entirely free from it; above all, let us not stay away
from the sacraments because we have it. If we stay away in any
case except that of known and certain mortal sin which is not
forgiven, we shall only make matters worse. But still this fear
is generally a sign of something wrong; it does not altogether
come from humility, or from the desire of salvation. It comes
from a want of something which we ought to have; from a want of
the greatest of all virtues, of that which includes all others,
and brings all others with it--from a want of the love of God.
Not an entire want of it, but a want of strength in it, a want of
affection; a want of that feeling which we have for our friends,
and which, above all, we should have for the greatest and best of
all.

Yes, perfect love, as St. John tells us, casts out fear. It is
the short cut out of all these worries, difficulties, and
anxieties which all who are not hardened sinners must have
without it. It was the direct and simple road which St. Mary
Magdalen took in escaping from sin.
{365}
She followed the Friend of sinners as he went on his mission of
mercy; she saw the miracles of his power and goodness; she saw
the love for men which shone in his face and inspired his every
word and action, and her heart was touched and melted. She took
it away at once and for ever from all those vain things to which
it had been attached and gave it truly and entirely to him who
had made it, and who had come in sorrow and suffering to win back
his own. And her many sins were forgiven because she loved much;
because all the powers of earth and of hell cannot put an
obstacle between God and the soul that loves him as he should be
loved.

If we would only do as she did; if we would put away all these
bargainings about just how much we are bound to give to God, and
how much we can safely keep for ourselves; if we would love him
as she did, not with a mere passing sentiment, but with that
devotion and self-sacrificing affection which it is so easy
sometimes to give to a mere creature; if we would let him, as he
wishes, into our hearts as our dearest and best, and make
everything else give place, then fear would pass away, and we
should say, "Let God take me when he will; let me suffer what my
sins deserve, but surely he will not keep me from loving him."
Yes, my brethren, to love God is the one thing necessary; to love
him is to save our souls.

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

{366}

     _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.
{367}
  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. 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 CXI.

        Want Of Confidence In God.


  _He hath done all things well._
  --St. Mark vii. 37.


The spectators of the double miracle related in this day's Gospel
were filled with admiration at our Lord's power and goodness;
they could not help exclaiming, "He doth all things well." Would
to God, brethren, that such a sentiment of our Lord's love and
power filled our hearts! Confidence in God, however, is the very
virtue many Christians lack most. True, we say and believe that
God is infinitely good--that he is mercy itself. But such
language is very indefinite and may express a very dim
conception. It is something like saying that a stone is very hard
or that water is very wet. We are apt to form pictures of God's
attributes in our minds, just as a painter may make a portrait of
some historical personage he never saw; many of our notions of
God are fancy portraits, all imagination.

But just think of the actual grounds of our confidence in our
Blessed Lord. Just realize that this wonderful being is filled
with the tenderest human love for the worst of us, and has all
the divine power at his command--being both man and God--to make
good his love by bringing about our spiritual and temporal
welfare.
{368}
The Incarnation is the divine Mercy made man for the love of us.
Can we suppose that such a being, having begun the good work of
our salvation by giving us the true religion, will leave anything
undone, that we will let him do, to bring us to the kingdom of
heaven? Do you think that such a loving Father would teach us,
his children, A B C except with the set purpose of going clean
through to X Y Z? Just think, that it positively never happened
that any wretched sinner, how ever degraded, ever implored our
Lord's forgiveness and was rejected; nay, that he himself
secretly inspires sinners with their grief and horror for their
evil ways, and then imparts forgiveness in return for his own
gift. The fact is that the question is not whether God will
forgive us, but whether we will let him do it. In a word, this
infinitely good and infinitely powerful being is bent and
determined that we shall enjoy perfect happiness, world without
end.

What a wonder, then, that we can treat our Lord in our
cold-hearted way! Scrupulous persons treat him as if he were a
tyrant; lukewarm Christians treat him like a stepfather;
obstinate sinners treat him with open contempt. The practise of
prayer, the reception of the sacraments and other aids of
religion--we treat them as school-children do their lessons: we
do it all because we are afraid of the consequences if we don't.
Considering how much God loves us his service should come as easy
to us as breathing the air; it should be the element in which we
live. If our faith were a little more practical God's loveliness
would be as plain to us as the open day and the sun in the
heavens.

{369}

Furthermore, and this is still more practical, lack of confidence
in God is why we repine at his visitations. It is easy enough to
say, be resigned to the will of God, but how can we be content to
suffer unless we are penetrated with confidence in the divine
goodness? Brethren, you know how we sometimes take medicine. We
wrap it up in a pleasant-flavored wafer or hide it in a spoonful
of sugar, and down it goes and we never taste its bitterness. So
a lively confidence in God, if we only had enough of it, is the
sweetness to wrap around the bitter things of life. Temptations,
long and wearisome poverty, ill-health, unpleasant companions in
the household--these and other such trials are the bitter pills
of the soul; when we fairly realize that God means them for our
spiritual good we can bear them with patience, even with
thankfulness.

Did you ever hear of the witch-hazel, and how people used to
fancy that a crooked branch of it thrown into the air would fall
on the spot where a good spring of water could be found? Well,
the witch-hazel of the Christian soul is just this question: How
much confidence have you in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ for
you? If that does not reveal the hidden springs of your heart and
bring the waters of love gushing forth, then that heart is
hopelessly dry.

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

              Sermon CXII.

      Devotion To The Blessed Virgin.


Why do Catholics pay so much honor to the Virgin Mary? Are they
not doing an injury to her Son by over-honoring his Mother? What
is the reason, the doctrine, of the Catholic's devotion to Mary?

{370}

Very fair questions, brethren; questions which you should be
ready to answer with intelligence and kindness. So that now, as
we approach the Feast of Our Lady's Assumption into heaven, let
us renew our faith in her dignity. What, then, does the Catholic
faith teach us about her? It teaches us that she is the Mother of
God; and further, that, on account of the foreseen merits of her
Son, she was preserved from the stain of original sin; that she
was always a virgin; and that it is lawful and profitable to ask
her prayers. Such are the articles of faith concerning the
Blessed Virgin.

Once you know something about her Son's divinity you easily
perceive her dignity of Mother of God. Her title of Mother of God
plainly rests upon the fact that her Son is God. Jesus Christ is
God; his nature is divine and his person is divine. And here you
must bear in mind the distinction between nature and person. He
has the nature, being, essence of God. And he has the person of
God; for our Saviour is God the Son, second person of the Most
Holy Trinity. What, then, is human about him? for we know that he
is as truly man as he is truly God. The answer is that he has a
human nature as well as a divine nature. He became man; and he
did so by taking human nature from Mary, his Mother. But, you ask
again, is he a human person also? No, for we have seen that he is
the divine person, God the Son. There cannot be two persons in
Christ. He is but a single person, one individual, and that is
divine. So that the divine personality of the Son of God takes
human nature and unites it to the divine nature. The one divine
person whose name is Christ, and who is of both divine and human
nature, has no human personality, but divine.

{371}

And this is the Son of Mary. Is she not the Mother of our Lord,
personally his Mother? Can any one be a mother and not be mother
of a person? Is he not personally her son? What a dignity! What a
mysterious and wonderful eminence, to be mother of the divine
person of the Son of God made man. No wonder that we honor her;
although we know full well that all she has of dignity and
sanctity she has by no power of her own, but by gift of God, and
that she is purely a human being. Those who do not honor Mary
fail to appreciate the majesty of Christ; fail to understand the
doctrine of the Incarnation; fail to grasp the immensity of the
divine love in God becoming man.

No wonder, then, that God should have saved her from the taint of
Adam's sin, should have preserved her a spotless virgin, should
have saved her pure body from the grave's filth by the Assumption
into heaven. The Angel Gabriel tells us what Mary is: "Behold
thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and thou shalt bring forth a
son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and
shall be called the Son of the Most High. ... The Holy Ghost
shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall
overshadow thee, and therefore the Holy (One) that shall be born
of thee shall be called the Son of God."

{372}

Now, brethren, to be a mother is to hold an office. It is to
exercise by divine right the highest powers committed to a human
being. What wonderful rights a mother possesses! An affectionate
allegiance is due her from her son: an obedience instinctive,
sacred, supreme; a reverential and hearty loyalty which arouses
the noblest emotions in the hardest heart and gives birth to
heroic deeds even in men of the weakest natures. A mother is
entitled to her son's love by the most sacred of all obligations.
Well, just think of it: our Blessed Lord was, and is yet, bound
to his Mother by that imperative divine law; he was, and is yet,
subject to the sweetest and, for a noble nature, the most
resistless impulse to do his Mother's will and to make her happy.
He owes her love, obedience, reverence, friendship, support,
companionship, sympathy. And he that doth all things well, would
he not do his whole duty as Son, would he not be a model Son?
Would he not grant her lightest wish while he lived with her on
earth, will he not gladly do so now in heaven?

Hence our Lord Jesus Christ spent nearly his whole life in his
Mother's immediate company, consenting to postpone for her sake
his Father's work of publishing his divinity and preaching his
Gospel. Hence he worked his first miracle at her request at the
wedding of Cana. Hence he inspired her to prophecy that all
generations would call her blessed. Hence, too, our Lord has
instilled into every Christian heart some little glow of his own
deep filial love for her.

In truth, brethren, whatever Christ's Mother is to him by nature,
that she is to us by adoption. Just in proportion to our union
with him are we bound to her. And if we wish to know him well we
can study in no better school than his Mother's. If we wish to
love him tenderly, her maternal heart can best teach us how. And
if we have favors to ask him we shall be glad, if we are not too
self-conceited, to secure her prayers to assist us.

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

{373}

              Sermon CXIII.

               Gratitude.

My brethren, we have had a word to say before this about the vice
of ingratitude, and of how mean a vice it is, especially in a
Christian. Now let us consider the opposite virtue--gratitude. It
is, to be sure, one of the little virtues. Yet how can we call
any class of virtues little? No doubt there are, strictly
speaking, grades of merit very much higher one above the other.
But that is not so much from the action done in each case as from
the motive that inspires the action. One saves a man's life for
the love of money; another gives a glass of cold water for the
love of God. The glass of water is nothing compared to a human
life; yet the glass of water will be rewarded for all eternity,
and the saving of the human life is paid for as we pay for a load
of coal. Brethren, beware of thinking there is any thing to be
called little that has to do with God and eternal life; and
always bear in mind that, by practising little virtues with an
earnest purpose to please God, your merit is according to your
heart, and not according to your hand.

I do not intend to speak specially, just now, of gratitude to
God; but between man and man gratitude is one of those gentle
virtues that increase our fondness for each other. Gratitude is a
short cut to sincere and lasting friendship.
{374}
And if a supernatural motive inspires one's gratitude to his
friends, then a holy friendship is the result. Some people
complain that they have no friends. I think they are most to
blame themselves. Have they never had a favor done them? Why,
every one of us has had a score of favors done him every day of
his life. Those who bear it in mind, who say a word of hearty
thanks, who watch a chance to do a favor in return, never lack
friends. Brethren, never forget a favor. Return it if you can, at
least in part; but at any rate never forget it. Feel grateful at
least; say a thankful word; offer up a prayer for your
benefactors now and then. The best use we can make of our
memories is to remember our benefactors. Favors done and favors
gratefully remembered are the two halves of a happy life. It
would be only simple justice if we looked on gratitude as we do
on a just debt; for gratitude pays debts, first in good-will, and
before long in a more substantial manner. You know that an honest
debtor will always try to save a little from day to day to pay
his debts. So we can do a little from time to time by way of
instalments, so to speak; we can say a daily prayer for our
benefactors, write an occasional letter, pay a visit now and
then, often praise them to our friends.

Of course, those who have done us the greatest favors are
entitled to the deepest gratitude. Now, who has done so much for
us as our parents? Certainly, next to God, our parents stand
first in the list of our benefactors. Yet many, especially after
they have married and settled down in their own families, are
wanting in gratitude to their parents. Married persons who are
badly treated by their own children should sometimes ask
themselves if it be not in punishment for their forgetfulness of
their own parents.
{375}
Of course, when we are in middle life, what was done for us in
childhood seems very far away; it was diffused over many years;
it was a regular habit and course of life; it was bound up in our
parents own happiness. But let us bear in mind, all the same, how
true and deep the love that inspired it; how unwearied the
patience; how self-forgetful the devotion of our parents, and let
us seek every chance to make their last years happy.

Brethren, shall I say a word about gratitude due to us of the
sanctuary? Has not some priest done you a favor; converted you by
a sermon, inspired you to perseverance by his advice in the
confessional, soothed your sick and weary heart, or reconciled
you to a dreary burden? If so, you ought to pray for him, and
especially for your pastors.

But gratitude to God is, of course, the first and best of all.
From him we have received all, and, having forfeited every favor,
again and again received them back from the divine bounty.

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

{376}

   _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?
{377}
  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 CXIV.

          The Good Samaritan.


  _Go and do thou in like manner._
  St. Luke x. 37.

How few of us, brethren, are really naturally of a
self-sacrificing disposition! How few actually enjoy, for
example, the offices of the sick-room, or so much as a little
visit of condolence to an afflicted friend!

{378}

That is why our Blessed Lord, in this day's Gospel, has given us
the beautiful parable of the good Samaritan. Although a heretic
and schismatic against the law of Moses, he is chosen as a model
because he had a tender, compassionate heart, and was willing to
put himself to trouble and expense for his neighbor's welfare.

The corporal works of mercy, brethren, are the easiest of the
ways to the love of God. People are fond of admiring the members
of religious orders, who, for the love of God, serve the sick and
the aged, the insane and the orphans; often forgetting that if
this is good as a life-work for them, it is not bad as an
occasional practise of virtue for us living in the world. All
around us there are shoulders bending under weary burdens and
hearts breaking with insupportable cares: yes, even in one's own
household. How often do men deny their wives the pleasure of
their company; when Sunday comes, going off with any chance
companions and leaving the poor mother to mind the children, to
miss Mass, and sit lonely at home the livelong day. How very
often do young men think of taking anybody's sisters to some
respectable place of amusement rather than their own sisters! I
think that if a spiritual thermometer were dipped into such men's
hearts they would be found pretty near the freezing point.

But, brethren, the sick-room--ah! that is the place on the road
between Jerusalem and Jericho where men and women are oftenest
found lying in the direst distress. Have you ever been very sick?
If so, you know the value of a little good nursing. A man who was
just recovering from a very dangerous sickness told me once that
when his head was burning with the fever he would willingly have
given a hundred thousand dollars for the cooling, restful relief
he enjoyed every time the nurse rearranged the pillows for him.

{379}

And if you cannot be a regular nurse for the sick, there is no
reason why you should not pay an occasional visit to the
sick-room. You can spend a pleasant quarter of an hour in
cheerful conversation. You can relieve some poor, weary watcher,
so that she or he may get a little rest. You can take the ailing
child from the worn-out mother's arms and let her lie down and
rest her stiffened limbs, or go to church to refresh her anxious
soul. You can bring some little delicacy to soothe the sick
person's palate. You can read some prayers beside the sick bed
morning or night; for we all know that in time of illness it is
almost impossible to pray one's self. You can lend a hand to set
things to rights, to cook a meal of victuals, or wash the dishes,
or run an errand to the drug-store or grocery; and ever and
always you can say a word of comfort, of hope, of resignation to
the divine will--words cheap to give but precious to receive.

And when at last death is come your presence may be of the
deepest comfort. Then is the time to come forward promptly and
help to lay out the Christian corpse; to set up for a night
beside that strange, silent guest in the coffin; and, when you
find two or three gathered about it, to have the courage to lead
in reciting the rosary for the soul's happy repose.

I know, brethren, that there are many kind hearts who zealously
practise these lovely virtues. But there are others, especially
among the men, who nearly quite forget them. And others still who
do them grudgingly, and only after many entreaties. To obtain a
kind act from an unwilling heart, and after encountering many
excuses, is like blowing a dying fire: before you see the bright
coals your face is pretty well covered with ashes and cinders.

{380}

Brethren, let us not be put to shame by the Samaritan. When
confronted with persons suffering from poverty, sickness, death,
or any misfortune, do like the Samaritan: forget all about their
nationality, or acquaintanceship, or religion. Say something or
do something in charity and for the love of God; your neighbor's
deepest gratitude and God's sure reward will amply repay you.

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

              Sermon CXV.

            Our Neighbors.


  _Which of these three, in thy opinion,
  was neighbor to him that fell among robbers?
  But He said, he that showed mercy to him._
  --Gospel of the Day.


We are taught in the Gospel of today to love our neighbors as
ourselves. Now, if we have this love it shows itself in deeds.
If, when we see our neighbor in distress, we pass by, thinking
some one else may help him, but _we_ cannot, we are like the
proud priest and the Levite, not like the good Samaritan. Our
Lord, after describing the charity of this Samaritan, says: "Go
and do thou in like manner." We can not pass by our neighbor when
he is in extreme necessity without sin; and if his necessity be
great we must help him, at least out of our abundance. It is a
mistake to think that we are free of obligation in this matter.
St. John says: "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?"

{381}

Are not all men creatures of God? Are not all men redeemed by the
Blood of Christ? Does God give more of this world's goods to one
man than to another because he loves one more than another? Not
at all. The poorest in this world's goods may be rich in God's
grace. It is plain, then, that if God has charity for all men, we
cannot have his grace if we do not exercise charity towards all,
and particularly our neighbor in distress. We must love those
whom God loves if we love God, and this love must be
_active_--"not in word nor in tongue," says St. John, "but
in deed and in truth."

We all pray to God for mercy; but if we would find mercy we must
show mercy. "Blessed are the merciful," says our Lord, "for they
shall obtain mercy." But, says St. James, "judgment without mercy
to him that hath not done mercy." Mercy shall be granted to the
merciful, but it shall be denied to the hard of heart. "Deal thy
bread to the hungry," says Isaias, "and bring the needy and the
harborless into thy house. Then thou shalt call and the Lord
shall hear."

St. Jerome says: "I have never known a merciful man to have a bad
death." The word of God encourages us "to redeem our sins with
alms and our iniquities with works of mercy to the poor." It says
further: "For alms deliver from all sin and from death, and will
not suffer the soul to go into darkness." We are taught also in
Holy Scripture that Christ considers as done to himself what we
do for the poor, but that if we refuse to help those in distress
it is as if charity were refused to Christ himself. The sentence
which shall decide our eternal happiness or woe will be according
to our behavior towards our neighbor in distress.

{382}

Let us take care not to be deaf to the cries of the suffering
poor; let us rather embrace with affection the lovely virtue of
mercy. Bishop Challoner says: "It was mercy which brought the Son
of God down from heaven to us, and it is mercy which carries us
up to him." He calls "mercy the favorite daughter of the great
King." The reward of the merciful will be very great. "He that
hath mercy on the poor lendeth to the Lord, and he will repay
him."

Those of us who labor in the sacred ministry and those who do
work in the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul meet continually
with persons whose distress appeals most powerfully to our
charity. How we wish the offerings for the poor were more
generous! How we wish God would inspire pious Christians to send
in donations for the poor! If you would sometimes send into the
church-office envelopes containing money for the poor, what good
use we could make of it, and how it would call down the mercy of
God upon your souls! Brethren, we have Jesus Christ with us in
the persons of the poor.

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

               Sermon CXVI.

            Occasions Of Sin.


  _Who is my neighbor?_
  --From the Gospel of the Sunday.

{383}

This is a very important question, my brethren. We depend much
for our happiness on the kind of persons who live around us and
on how they feel to-wards us. Our Lord answers the question by
the famous and touching parable of the Good Samaritan. By that
parable he teaches us kindness of heart; he makes that the mark
of true neighborly conduct. The good neighbor is the friendly and
benevolent one. But may we not turn the question around and learn
another good lesson from it? I think we can. The Gospel is like a
piece of good cloth. You know when a wise mother buys some cloth
to make the children clothes she will get a piece that, as they
say, will do to turn--that is, when one side is worn out you can
rip up the garment and make it over again with the inside turned
outside, and so it will last quite a while longer. So we may
learn, perhaps, another lesson from the question in the Gospel by
reversing it and asking, "Who is not my neighbor?" The
saloon-keeper is not your neighbor. Geographically speaking, no
doubt he is your neighbor. He takes care to be handy to you. He
is on the ground-floor of the big tenement-house you live in, so
that you must pass his door to get to your own. Or he is on the
corner you must turn twenty times a day. If nearness were the
only mark of a neighbor, the saloon-keeper is very neighborly
indeed. But, morally speaking, and in the meaning of our Lord's
parable, he is perhaps the last man who can claim to be your
neighbor. Yet many honest fellows treat the saloon-keeper not
only as their neighbor, but as a partner in their business. They
do the hard work; the workingman's share in the partnership is to
bend under the heavy hod in the hot sun, or to strike with the
heavy sledge on the rocks, or to be half-stifled the livelong day
in the hot factory; the other partner has for his share of the
work only to smile and pass the bottle.
{384}
You know which one gets the bulk of the profits; or if you do
not, the working-man's wife and family know it all too well. How
many foolish men are there who have taken this bad neighbor into
partnership the most confidential, and not only give him most of
their money in return for worse than nothing, but have made him,
besides, the managing partner of their leisure, their
friendships, and their politics! As to the sorrows that are bred
by the saloon-keeper's traffic, he manages to escape them for a
time; and may God give him the grace to repent of his sins and
fly from their occasion--that is, change his business--that he
may escape the divine wrath in the future.

Another very bad neighbor, and one very unworthy of that name, is
a certain class of newsdealers. I say a certain class, for I hope
that not all news dealers are alike. But there are very many of
them who are guilty of the loss of human souls by selling
periodicals and books which can only corrupt the mind and heart
of the reader. I ask you, Christian parents, what do you think of
those who dress out their windows, with bad pictures to lure
passionate youth to the early wreck of soul and body? What do you
think of persons who actually make a living in selling journals
which are but the pictured proceedings of the police courts? O my
brethren! how often is the grace of a good confession and
Communion destroyed by a few minutes bad reading! How many there
are whose first mortal sin has been some act of youthful
depravity suggested by what was bought at a newsdealer's! Such
news dealers hold Satan's certificates to teach the science of
perdition.
{385}
What need has the Evil Spirit to fear the Catholic Church and
Catholic school as long as he is not hindered from laying his
snares for youthful virtue in every direction, as long as the
laws against obscene literature are a dead-letter? Therefore, let
Catholic parents furnish their families with good reading, both
secular and religious; let them take at least one Catholic paper,
and let them patronize and direct their children to patronize
news dealers who do not sell dangerous matter.

Of course there are other bad neighbors, such as those who invite
you to a public dance, or a moonlight excursion, or a Sunday
picnic, or a low theatre. But I think you will agree with me that
the commonest vices are intemperance and impurity, and that our
worst enemies are those two bad neighbors, the saloon-keeper and
the vender of impure literature.

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

{386}

        _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. 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.
{387}
  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 CXVII.

              Thanksgiving.

  _Where are the nine?_
  --St. Luke xvii. 11.
    [USCCB: St. Luke xvii. 17.]

Of the ten lepers whose cure is related in this day's Gospel,
only one returned to give thanks, and he was a Samaritan; the
others went their way; they were cured indeed of their dreadful
disease, but disgraced by our Lord's sad question, Where are the
nine?

Thanksgiving, brethren, should follow after God's mercies to us,
not only as a matter of justice, but in order to secure the
effect of those mercies themselves. Just as, in our bodily life,
in order to get the benefit of fresh air, breathing _in_
must be followed by breathing _out_, so the giving of thanks
must follow the reception of all divine favors. The grace of God
is to the soul what the breath is to the body; and the body, to
live, must not only draw the air in, but give it forth again to
make room for new and fresher air. So in the life of our souls we
breathe in God's grace and we breathe out thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is furthermore a matter of justice. The holiest debt
we owe to God or man is the debt of thanks. Every honest man
gives thanks for favors received from other men, and every
upright soul gives thanks to God.
{388}
It is the most indispensable of all our obligations, because it
is the least that we can do. In all our traffic with heaven,
gratitude is the only coin we can mint ourselves. Thanksgiving is
that part of our sanctification necessarily our own. Well,
brethren, if this be really true and who can deny it?--then a
great many of us are insolvent debtors of the worst kind. Now you
hear it said sometimes that the man who does not pay his debts is
as bad as a thief, and in many cases this is perfectly true. So
the difference between an open sinner and a thankless Christian
is that between a thief and a man who by his own fault does not
pay his debts. Indeed, we sometimes feel as if God ought to thank
us for the favor we do him by condescending to serve him.
Confession and Communion and daily prayer, forgiveness of in
juries and resisting temptations so puff us up with conceit that
we are apt to blame God because in view of our holiness he does
not exempt us from the ordinary ills of life!

As a matter of fact it is with God and us as with a storekeeper
and his customer. You know why a man cannot get trust at a store;
it is because he was trusted before and didn't pay his debts. Now
pretty nearly all the pay that God asks for his favors is that we
shall give him thanks, and if we will not do that much he can
hardly think us worthy of his further bounty. If we do give
thanks he multiplies his favors; for he is determined to keep us
in his debt, and as fast as we return thanks so much the faster
does he lavish his love upon us.

So when we ask why we suffer this miserable stagnation in our
spiritual career, perhaps the true answer would be that we are
members of a big multiple of that original thankless nine.

{389}

Oh! let us thank God that we have the blessings of the true
religion, that he is our Father, Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and
the Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother. Let us thank him for his
gracious promise of the everlasting joys of Paradise. For these
unspeakable favors our thanks should be ceaseless.

Let us give thanks, too, in our fervent morning prayers that we
have escaped the dangers of the night, and in our night prayers
that we have been saved from the noon-day demon. When we rise
from our meals let us offer a word of thanks, making at least the
sign of the cross, blessing God for the health he gives us and
our family. Let us thank him for our afflictions--yes, even for
temptations; for the pains we suffer thereby are the
growing-pains of the soul. Especially after receiving Holy
Communion let us give long and heartfelt thanks for all God's
dealing with us; for we have then received the greatest of all
his gifts, his only-begotten Son.

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

              Sermon CXVIII.

         Shamelessness In Sinners.


  _There met him three men that were lepers,
  who stood afar off and lifted tip their voice,
  saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us._
  --The Gospel of the Sunday.


Leprosy, my brethren, is often spoken of in Holy Writ, and is
considered a type of sin. It is a loathsome and contagious
disease, and when a man was so unhappy as to contract it, besides
being driven away by the Mosaic law, he fled in very shame from
the company of others.
{390}
So it is with the common run of sinners; one of their direst
sufferings is shame, from which comes such remorse, such
self-detestation, such reasonable envy of the happy state of the
innocent, that, standing afar off, the poor sinner at last lifts
up his voice and cries to our Lord for mercy. So there is always
some chance for a poor sinner while he is ashamed of himself;
where there is shame there is hope.

But, brethren, it happens in our times that there are many
sinners without shame. Many great sins are done almost as a
matter of course, and some even made matter of jest, perhaps of
boast. Need I mention them? Time was that if a man wished to see
a vulgar play he was forced to creep up some dark alley; now he
may go to a filthy opera in a coach and four, and with the lords
of the land, ay, even the ladies of the land. When you and I were
boys there was but one commonly known illustrated paper with
immoral pictures and bad reading matter; the news dealers now
hang their stands all over with them, and young men, and even
young women, buy and read them without a blush. You and I can
remember when it was a disgrace for a man to idle behind a
bar-room counter and get his living from the drunkard and
spendthrift. These men make our laws now. It used to be the pride
of a young man to get to work as soon as possible to help the old
folks along; we hear now too often of hearty young men
shamelessly dependent on their parents. And we know of too many
parents who are not ashamed of habits of intoxication nor of
cursing in the hearing of their little ones.
{391}
And how many mothers of families are there whose harsh voices are
heard all over the neighborhood, quarrelling with their husbands
and scolding their children! Time was when a drunken woman was
what Scripture says she is, "a great wrath, and her shame shall
not be hid." Now they publicly send their little boys and girls
to the saloon for beer.

Do I exaggerate? Am I not, on the contrary, forced for decency's
sake to pass over other shameless sins, which all but the blind
and deaf know of among us? Indeed, dear brethren, the word of God
is true now as of yore that sinners "preach their shame like
Sodom." The lepers laugh at their leprosy. They run in among us
to blight us. Their disease, that blight which withers the soul
with eternal decay, they rub off upon us. They do it by bad
example, by laughing at the simple virtue of good Christians, by
jesting and mockery, by bullying, by ill-gotten riches and
ill-gotten power.

But we must remember that they are all this time really sinners,
and worse than ordinary sinners, because without shame. Here,
then, is our first duty; not to permit human respect, worldly
position, or a bullying tongue to silence our love of God's
honor, our detestation of what does it harm and our pity for the
sinner himself. A good remedy against shamelessness in sinning is
just a little plain talk. If sometimes, instead of laughing at a
vile jest, we should say, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself,"
we should please God and save souls. In the family, especially,
parents should create a sound family opinion about places and
persons and reading and amusements and all things else that lead
to sin: bad theatres, moonlight excursions, public balls, liquor
stores, and beer-gardens. A little plain talk, accompanied by
good example and much prayer on the part of good Christians, will
do a great deal, if not to cure the leprosy of sin in those who
have it, at any rate to keep the lepers standing afar off from
the uncontaminated and innocent.

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

{392}

              Sermon CXIX.

         Dangers Of Venial Sin.


  _I know thy works,
  that thou art neither hot nor cold._
  --Apocalypse iii. 15.


It is plain that these words of Holy Writ describe a person in
the state of venial sin; or rather one who is in that state
wilfully and quite careless about it. Now, my brethren, I do not
wish to make you scrupulous, but there is no mistake about this;
all experience shows that persons careless of venial sins are
pretty sure to slip down into mortal sins. Indeed (on the other
hand), about the only ones who manage to keep clear of mortal
sins are those who are fearful of falling into venial sins. Save
the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves; or,
waste the pennies and the dollars will waste themselves.
Scripture applies this as follows: "He that despiseth small
things shall fall little by little." If one keeps the dogs and
goats out of the garden the cows will have small chance to get
in. Keep a watch on the venial sins and the mortal sins will keep
out of sight.

{393}

And does it not stand to reason that, if one is habituated to
look keenly after little sins, it is morally impossible for him
to be carried away by great sins? If you are anxious and
distressed because your soul seems less pure, less holy, less
beautiful than it ought to be, with what horror will you be
filled at the bare thought of becoming a regular slave of the
evil spirit! And how much easier is it, brethren, to keep a sharp
lookout for a few little trifles, rather than to be always
running the risk of eternal woe!

And now I will tell you of some of those who are full of venial
sins, and pretty sure to be sooner or later in a state of mortal
sin. Those who are content with their Easter duty--a soul content
with a spiritual meal once in twelve months cannot have very
vigorous spiritual health or a very strong appetite for divine
things. Those who are often late for Mass--once in a while they
will miss it altogether, and for no particular reason, except
that they feel it a great bore to have to do anything for the
love of God. Those who continually neglect their morning prayers:
even though they make an effort to say their night prayers, they
have omitted deliberately the most necessary religious act of the
day. Those who are addicted to idleness; for that is one of the
worst occasions of sin, both mortal and venial. Those who are
stingy, especially to their near relatives and the poor; to love
money is to love something our Lord has a great contempt for.
Those who are touchy and resentful; for they cannot live in peace
with anybody, and peace is necessary for our spiritual welfare.
Those who tell improper stories, and are fond of hearing others
do it; but as to this class, I am not sure but that they are in
mortal sin already: "Can a man put fire in his bosom and not be
burned?" Those who are fond of gossip; for God will not permit us
to trifle with our neighbor's good name, and gossipers and
tale-bearers are often not in mortal sin, only because, malicious
as they are, they are just as stupid.
{394}
Those who, though they don't get drunk, yet hang around saloons,
and those who are fond of drinking and treating; and this is a
case, my brethren, where only judgment-day will tell where venial
sin ends and mortal sin begins.

Dear brethren, the only really safe way of dealing with God is
the generous way. Arouse yourself with high and noble motives to
be a real friend of God, faithful and true in things little as
well as great, and religion will seem something new and ever so
much pleasanter to you. Otherwise you will not have the comfort
of being sure of God's friendship at all. You may be like an old
lady who once told me very sorrowfully about how her daughter
died. "I was watching at her bedside," she said, "and, after a
long spell of suffering, she dropped off at last into a gentle
slumber. I turned down the lamp and stepped softly into the next
room, waiting to hear her call me when she woke up. An hour
passed, another hour, a third, and still she slept on. Finally
the doctor came, and so we had to wake her up. But oh! when we
came to the bedside we found her dead, cold and dead, while I
thought her asleep." So your soul may seem to you only sleeping,
only lukewarm in God's service, only careless about your
religious duties; whereas it may be all the time, if not in the
very state of spiritual death--mortal sin--at least in the
torpor which goes before it.

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

{395}

         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?
{396}
  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 CXX.

       The Poverty Of Christ.


  _For after all these things do the heathen seek._
  --St. Matthew.  vi. 32.


In this day's Gospel our Blessed Lord would teach us that the
difference between men is the difference between the objects for
which they live. And he lays down the fundamental law of his
kingdom, that if the chief object of one's life is the enjoyment
of the things every where about us--eating and drinking and money
and lands--he has therein a mark of belonging to the kingdom of
this world. To belong to our Lord's kingdom we must live for none
of these things as the end of our endeavors. We may, indeed, have
and use the things of this world, but for higher purposes than
the world itself can offer; as far as any enjoyment in them is
concerned, it is too trifling a matter to engage our serious
pursuit.

{397}

Yet, brethren, is not the whole Christian world absorbed in
seeking after what should be the heathen's peculiar treasure? Is
not this the most anxious inquiry, How shall I get rich? Is not
the possession of riches deemed the most enviable happiness? Is
it not the best praise of an individual that he is prosperous,
and of a nation that it is wealthy? What a serious lesson it is,
therefore, that our Lord expresses his contempt for what is
deemed the height of human wisdom among us--a contempt no less
profound because so gently expressed! If--he as much as says--if
you and I are to make choice of beauty, you may choose King
Solomon's wardrobe with all its jewels, and I will take the
new-blown lily; if you talk to me of foresight and skill in the
business of life, you may admire the successful speculator, but
the little sparrow is my model.

And our Lord's life was fully in accord with his doctrine. For it
was of set purpose that he saw fit to lack those things that
nearly all men covet most; that he was the child of a poor
maiden, and the apprentice of a country carpenter; that he was a
wanderer barefoot and needy about Judea, yet all the time the
only-begotten Son of the Lord of all majesty; that he was
seemingly a tried and convicted malefactor, and died naked and
all but alone upon the gibbet, yet all the time the immortal King
of ages.

The truth is that this unhappy overvaluing of the more lowly
things of life is a fault deeply rooted in our fallen nature.
That the eager pursuit of wealth is not compatible with God's
service; that it is the peculiar province of the heathen we
indeed know.
{398}
And we know that the human soul is too noble a being to expend
its dearest action to purchase any perishable thing whatever. Yet
very many persons who deem themselves good enough Christians are
quite proud of their success in the heathen's way of life. And
many other Christians fall into downright despair because God has
deprived them of the things that "the heathen seek." Far be it
from us indeed to underestimate the burden of poverty, or to say
that it is an easy thing to suffer it. God knows that it is a
terribly hard thing to be poor; to see one's family suffer actual
hunger; to wander about the streets with no roof to cover one; to
lie helplessly sick and be too poor to get proper food or
medicine. But on the other hand it is wrong to act under such
circumstances as if all were lost, or as if God hated us; that is
the very time to arouse one's faith in God's love and one's
reliance on his promises; to seek his consolation in the holy
sacraments; to raise one's eyes hourly to his countenance by
fervent prayer that he may relieve the burden, or at any rate
grant patience to bear it.

Oh! how few there are who gladly and heartily choose the Kingdom
of God and his justice in preference to the treasures of this
world! How few there are who do so even grudgingly and
doubtfully!

Yet the doctrine stands: to labor for a postponed reward is the
Christian's life, and for a present reward the heathen's. To pass
by a seen and present joy for the sake of an unseen joy is the
Christian's wisdom. To trust the voice of an unseen benefactor--in
a word, to walk in the darkness of a supernatural faith--is
the fundamental virtue of our religion.

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

{399}

              Sermon CXXI.

          Brotherly Love.


  _But the fruit of the spirit is charity._
  --Epistle of the Sunday.


Mark these words, brethren; for they describe the Christian
religion, at least as far as its practical effects are concerned.
The presence of the Holy Ghost is known by a kindly disposition,
a friendly feeling towards others, a longing to make others
happy, an affectionate sympathy for their sufferings; and all
this for the love of God. So St. John says: "We know that we have
passed from death to life because we love the brethren." The
necessary result of sanctifying grace is a deep attachment to our
friends and a loving forgiveness towards our enemies. "For all
the law," says St. Paul, "is fulfilled in one sentence: thou
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Kindness of heart,
generosity, self-forgetfulness, done to be like Jesus Christ, is
the beginning and the end of our holy faith.

"I give you a new commandment," said our Lord to his disciples,
"that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you love
one another." Again: "By this shall men know that you are my
disciples if you have love for one another." He thus tells us
what his law is--fraternal charity; that is the newness of life
man got from heaven above; that is the torrent of heavenly
influence rushing down upon us and bearing us away upon its
billows; and that is the mark set upon us by which we know
ourselves, and others may know us, to be the fruit of the Holy
Spirit.

{400}

But somebody might say, How about the love of God? Is not the
love of God the end of all religion? Is it not our first duty to
love God so strongly that we prefer him to all things else, even
our nearest relatives? Is not the love of God the one absorbing
duty of our lives? In answer, my brethren, I have only to say
that that is but another way of looking at the same thing; for
since the coming of our Lord among us God has become man, and we
are born in holy baptism, "not of blood, nor of the will of the
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." When our Lord, true
God as he was, took human nature, he took our poor nature just as
it is, saving its sinfulness; and it is his blessed will that one
by one every man, woman, and child in the world should personally
be joined to his divine nature by baptism, and, as St. Peter
says, be made partakers of the divinity he possesses. And even
the poor, unbaptized heathen, they are to be gifted with this
divine privilege by our love for them and our loving efforts to
give it to them. Now do you not see why our Lord, his Apostles,
and his church made so much of the love of one's neighbor? And do
you not see that, whether you begin to love with God or with man,
if you do it along with Jesus Christ, you do it with the God-man,
and therefore always in God and never out of man?

Yet another might say: But, Father, what about the sacraments,
and what about the practice of prayer, and what about the laws of
the church? I answer by a comparison: Why do men plant and then
reap a field of wheat? That they may in due time get the grain,
make bread of part for themselves and families, and sell the rest
to their neighbors.
{401}
Now, some may use the very old-fashioned way of thrashing out the
grain by the tread of oxen, and others by the beating of the
flail, and others by the great, roaring thrashing-machine. The
last way is the quickest and cleanest and best. So our Lord, when
he became man, invented the sacraments; he established his church
as the new and best way of obtaining the ripe fruit of the Holy
Spirit, and that way he commands us to use. So the man who really
loves his neighbor as himself learns to do it by using our Lord's
methods, the sacraments, and he cannot get along without them.
So, brethren, cultivate more and more this sweet Christian virtue
of fraternal love; and especially in your families. When the
children cry, when they are sickly and peevish, when others are
cross and exacting, when some are dull and stupid, when the meals
are too late or the food is not cooked right, when the
thousand-and-one annoyances of living with others vex and harass
you, remember that you are a Christian, and that loving patience,
great good nature, fondness for friends--to say nothing of zeal
for the conversion of poor sinners--are virtues that will win you
the kingdom of heaven.

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

              Sermon CXXII.

         Religion For Week-days.


  _No man can serve two masters. ...
  You cannot serve God and Mammon._
  --Gospel of the Day.

{402}

What does our Lord mean by this, my brethren? "No man," he says,
"can serve two masters." "Why," you might perhaps answer, "I do
not see any difficulty about serving two masters. What is to
prevent a man, for instance, after his regular hours of work are
over, from hiring himself out for the evenings to some other
employer, if he has strength enough to spare? Or, if he can make
such an arrangement, why should he not work for one in the
morning, and another in the afternoon? And are there not, in
fact, many people, teachers, for example, who give private
lessons, who have a great number of employers whom they agree to
serve at stated times?"

Yes, this seems true enough. It seems so true that I believe
there are many people who, in spite of our Lord's statement to
the contrary, divide their service between God and Mammon. They
hire themselves out to the devil, or at least to the world during
the week, and when Sunday comes round, and they put on their good
clothes, they change their master at the same time, and, at least
for the time that they are in church, read certain words out of
their prayer-books, in which they offer their service to God. And
they do not appear to think that there is anything strange about
this. They think that, of course, decency requires that God
should want part of their time for his service, and that he is
quite reasonable in only asking for one day out of seven; but
that he should have any claim on them during the part of the week
that he does not specially reserve does not seem to occur to
their minds. That is the time engaged to the other master--that
is, to their worldly interests or pleasures. They find no
difficulty in reconciling the service of God and Mammon at all;
they can be good Christians and also men of the world like others
without the slightest trouble.

{403}

But I seem to hear some one say, "Father, are you not pushing
this matter rather too far? Surely one cannot be in church or
saying his prayers at home all the week. Some people may find
time to come to early Mass and all the devotions, and live what
you may call a pious life generally; but I have to go to my
business or my family will starve. What would you have me do?"

Well, I will tell you. I do not find fault with any one for
attending to his business during the week, and working as much as
he is obliged to provide for himself and his family properly; but
I must say, by the way, that many people, under this excuse, fall
into the snare of avarice, and work early and late to hoard up
riches which neither they nor their family need, and which, left
to their children, is only too likely to be an occasion of sin.
However, I repeat, no one is to be blamed for attending to the
proper duties of his state of life; for working at his business,
if it is a legitimate and useful one. But what one is to be
blamed for is for attending to it as if, instead of being God's
business, as it ought to be, it was no business of his at all; as
if he had nothing to say about it, and his laws did not apply to
it. The delusion that too many Christians are under is that their
religious life and their life in the world are entirely separate
concerns; that religion, morality, God's laws in general, have
nothing to do with politics, business, buying or selling, or what
they call practical affairs. They say, If we did not do as others
do about these things, we could not get on at all; so they calmly
take for granted, even, perhaps, in the confessional, that such
things have no moral aspect whatever.

{404}

This is a great delusion and a fatal blunder. A Christian has got
to be a Christian first, last, and all the time; one cannot be a
Catholic on Sunday, and to all intents and purposes a Protestant
or an infidel during the week. If you can't get on on the
principle of serving God and trying to find out and do his will
on Monday as well as on Sunday, then all I have to say is, "Don't
get on." I dare say there is some truth in your complaint; a man
who manages his business and daily life generally, as if there
was no God in the world, will probably make money faster, and
have in some ways a better time, than one will who believes in
God and tries to do his will. Very well, then, if you prefer this
world to the next, act according to its standard Sunday, Monday,
and all the time; but don't try to cut inside of it and get a
pass to heaven on the ground that you have used another standard
now and then.

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

{405}

    _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 Naim: 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.
{406}
  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 CXXIII.

         The Fruits Of A Bad Life.

  _Be not deceived, God is not mocked;
  for what things a man shall sow,
  those also shall he reap._
  --Epistle of the Day.


One would think, my dear friends, that the Apostle would hardly
have needed to remind any one having common sense, or even a
little experience, of such an obvious truth as this. Surely no
one expects, when he plants some kind of seed, to have some other
kind of crop come from it. "Do men," says our Divine Lord,
"gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" No, we are all
well aware that if we want to grow any kind of grain or fruit we
must sow the seed or plant the tree which produces it.

And yet, strange to say, though we all do acknowledge this law of
nature in everything outside of ourselves, we fail to apply it to
ourselves, and especially to our souls. In matters simply
pertaining to the body we do indeed know that the cause will
produce its effect. If we sow the seed of some fatal disease in
ourselves we expect it to break out and run its course; we do not
believe that, as a rule, tears or even prayers are going to stop
it.

{407}

But when it comes to the soul, many Christians seem to think that
everything regarding it may be shifted at their own will; that
they may go on for years sowing the seeds of all kinds of
abominable vices in their souls, and that, later on, whenever
they may desire, all this work can be undone in a moment, and
those souls, which sin has rotted through and through, can be put
right back where they were as they came from the baptismal font,
or even set on a perfect level with those in which the seed of
every virtue has been implanted and carefully nurtured from
childhood.

Ah! my dear brethren, this is a great and a terrible mistake.
Hear the words in which St. Paul continues: "He that soweth in
his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption; but he that
soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting."

"He that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap
corruption." Here is the great evil of sin, which repentance,
however sincere, cannot utterly undo. True contrition will, no
doubt, especially if accompanied by the Sacrament of Penance,
take away the guilt of sin; but unless it be very intense, and
accompanied by an extraordinary love of God, like that of the
great saints, it will not, in releasing from guilt, remedy all
the deformity which long-continued habits of vice have worked in
the soul. Yes, sorrow may come in such an overflowing torrent as
to break down and sweep away all obstacles in its path; but how
often does it come so? To have such sorrow for sin is a rare and
remarkable grace from God which the sinner has no right to
expect.

{408}

All this is specially true, as the words of the Apostle teach us,
of the sins of the flesh, such as drunken-ness and impurity. The
body will hang on to sin after the soul has given it up, and will
drag the soul again down with it. Oh! that those who are addicted
to these horrible sensual habits would realize their danger, and
feel the net which the flesh has been weaving round their spirit.
But no; they go on from week to week, from month to month,
making, it may be, now and then a feeble effort to escape; but
too often it can be seen after each confession, though they are
indeed on their feet again, that the odds against them are
greater than ever, and that their weapons are dropping out of
their hands.

Brethren, grace is powerful, surely; but you are much mistaken if
you think it is going to destroy and make of no effect the law of
nature. Rouse yourselves to the combat which is before you while
there is yet time; for the time may come, and perhaps sooner than
you think, when the corruption of the flesh will quench the
feeble spark of contrition which God has hitherto given you, and
in which lies your only hope.

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

              Sermon CXXIV.

            Sins Of Parents.


  _And Jesus said, Young man, I say to thee, arise._
  --St. Luke viii. 14.

{409}

Many mourning parents, brethren, are represented by the poor
widow of Naim, told of in this day's Gospel; and their mourning
is for sons dead in mortal sin. These are indeed days of many and
various vices, and our young people are far from being exempt.
Blasphemy and religious indifference; neglect of prayer, Mass,
and the sacraments; drunkenness and impurity; such are the
plague-spots on the spiritual corpses of many of our young
people.

Yet, alas! as parents raise their eyes to our Lord's gracious
countenance and beg his pity, they should sometimes confess that
they are not without blame for their misfortunes. Many parents
spoil their children by bad example. For if they profane the name
of God in the midst of their families, they need not be surprised
to find that in after-years their children have no reverence for
God or for his church or his sacraments. Fathers who come home
smelling strong of drink, and now and then plainly intoxicated,
may indeed hope to save their own souls by thorough repentance,
but are likely enough to have drunkards among their children.
Parents who tolerate improper language in the household, and can
laugh at a double-meaning joke, and see no harm in a lascivious
dance or a doubtful novel, need not be surprised to find that
their daughters have lost maidenly reserve, and that their sons
are given to open debauchery. Parents who neglect their Easter
duty, and who easily excuse themselves from Sunday Mass, need not
be surprised if their children fall quite away from the practice
of religion and even from its belief.

Now, it often happens that children who have been treated too
leniently while quite young are treated too severely when a
little older. Too much authority should not be used with boys and
girls who are some years in their teens.
{410}
With them authority is at best a medicine, and not a food. To
strengthen a boy's virtue, to make him love religion, to give him
a bright notion of the next world and of the value of his soul,
the exercise of authority is one means, but perhaps the least
useful of all. In some cases authority can only do harm. To make
a person who has full use of reason a good Christian it is
necessary to put him in the way of intelligent instruction, by
giving him good, readable religious matter, books or papers; by
persuading him by such inducements as an occasional little
present, and by a continual interest in his progress, to keep his
place at Sunday-school; by introducing and discussing religious
topics in family conversation, and by interesting him to attend
sermons and lectures. Meantime let there be many kind words and
much sympathetic conduct, forgetfulness of past offences,
patience with natural difficulties and with youthful folly; let
all this go beforehand and authority will find nothing left to
do.

Brethren, do not suppose that it is always best to _force_
one to do what he ought to do; try rather to induce him, to
attract him. St. Francis de Sales says: "You can catch more flies
with one drop of honey that with a barrel of vinegar"; and he
also says: "For every ounce of good advice add a pound of good
example."

Therefore it is that so many scolding parents end by becoming
weeping parents. Parental authority, which should be merely the
supremacy of all that is worthy of affection, has made home
hateful and driven the children into occasions of sin--the saloon
and the low theatre for the boys, the stolen interview and the
common dance for the girls.

{411}

But, some one might say, what if your child has got beyond you
and will be bad in spite of every best endeavor on your
part--what then? Well, at any rate there is no sense in railing
at him. If you can not make him better, what is the sense of
making him miserable? And is not then the very time to lay him,
spiritually speaking, in his coffin, and lead our Lord up to him,
and, kneeling down, say: O Lord! have pity on me, for this is my
dear son, dead in mortal sin? Say but the word; touch his dead
soul with thy loving hand; stir him up to repentance!

Many such prayers cannot be said without producing their effect:
the resurrection of your child's soul from the death of mortal
sin.

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

              Sermon CXXV.

           The Law Of Charity.


  _Bear ye one another's burdens,
  and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ._
  --Epistle of the Day.


The law of Christ, dear brethren, is essentially a law of
charity. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole soul
and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy
neighbor as thyself." This is the whole law of Christ summed up,
and it is plain that this is a law of love. But the Apostle bids
us bear one another's burdens that we may fulfil this law, which,
as is evident from the text just quoted, imposes upon us the love
of our God and of our neighbor. How, then, will the bearing of
others burdens help us to serve God better?

{412}

That we have burdens, and some of us rather heavy ones, is clear
enough; and that most of us are only too willing to have some one
help us to carry them will be, I think, generally agreed to.
Every one has his own difficulties; every one has something which
he would like to get rid of if he could, because it interferes
with his comfort. Now, I do not think the Apostle wished us to
suppose from his words that God would have us free each other
from _all_ suffering, since that is not possible, as we know
that hardship forms a necessary part of our probation. We must
expect to have something to suffer always.

But what he would have us do, it seems to me, is to help each
other by counsel and material aid, to make what otherwise might
be almost unbearable easier to carry. "My yoke is sweet and my
burden light." This is the spirit he wishes us to strive after.
It is an unselfish spirit he desires for us, such as will make us
forget our own sufferings in ministering to the wants of others.
He wants us to cultivate charity; to look beyond ourselves and
our own interests, and take up the troubles of our brethren.

But you say to me: "I do not see what advantage there is in all
this; if I take another's burden, I am but adding to my own." It
is just here that our really helping each other appears. It is by
this very assistance we give our neighbor that we fulfil the law
of Christ, which demands suffering of us. For by our sympathizing
with others and sharing in their difficulties our own burdens
become lighter. If we simply took care of ourselves and were
forgetful of all the rest of the world, we would chafe beneath
our load; we would be so wrapped up in ourselves that nothing
could persuade us that our sufferings were the very best things
that could befall us.

{413}

By helping our neighbor we help ourselves. We are led to be
reconciled to our lot, to expect nothing more from God for
ourselves than what we see others getting. We know that they have
as just a claim upon him as we, yet they have their troubles as
well as we. The road to heaven is open to all, but all must take
what they get as they go along, and be thankful for it and make
no comparisons. All get a goodly share of what is disagreeable to
nature on the way; our own portion differs only in kind and
quantity from that of others.

By helping our neighbor, too, we fulfil, as the Apostle tells us,
the law of Christ, for the law of Christ is charity--love towards
God, love towards our fellow-man. Our stooping to our neighbor's
need fosters God's love in our souls no less than love of our
neighbor. It makes us go to God as our Father and recognize his
justice. We perceive the necessity of mortifying our rebellious
appetites and placing ourselves entirely in God's hands. How much
happier, how much better Christians we would be did we but bear
each other's burdens! Then we would soon learn what now seems so
hard: that the yoke of Christ is indeed sweet and his burden
truly light.

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

{414}

         _Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Ephesians iii._ 13-21.

  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 with out 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.
{415}
  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 CXXVI.

           Christian Humility.


  _He that humbleth himself shall be exalted._
  --Gospel of the Day.


As we hear these familiar words, my brethren, some of us will
perhaps be inclined to say, or at least to think, that this
matter of humility is just a little threadbare, so to speak; that
we have already heard pretty much all that can be said about it.
I dare say this is true; but when a thing is very important it
has to be spoken of quite often. And humility is very important;
after the love of God and of our neighbor, there is nothing more
so. In fact, the difficulties in the way of loving God and our
neighbor as we should, come, we may say, entirely from our
inordinate love of ourselves; and this inordinate love of
ourselves generally takes the shape either of pride or
sensuality. In other words, pride and sensuality are the two
great causes of all our sins; what wonder, then, that our Lord
should warn us so frequently about them?

{416}

And the very fact that we think we have heard enough about
humility shows that we are not so humble as we ought to be. If we
think that we are well up in this matter, it is a good sign that
we are not. Many people will say, especially when they are on
their knees, "Oh! I am a miserable sinner; I am everything that
is bad"; but when they get up from their knees, and look around
them, you will find that they think themselves in point of fact
pretty nearly as good as anybody else, and perhaps, on the whole,
rather better than most people whom they know.

It is not, however, after all, about the matter of goodness that
pride is most sensitive. Most Christians, unfortunately, do not
try very hard to be saints, and are not very much tempted to be
proud of their achievements in that direction. But almost every
one considers himself tolerably well gifted in the matter of
natural common sense; he thinks his brains about as good as any
one else's, though he may readily admit that he has not had so
great advantages as another, or, in other words, that he is "no
scholar." So, to be thought or called a natural-born fool is a
very hard trial for any one's humility; almost all of us, I am
afraid, would rather be called a rascal. To be considered
bad-looking, that again is a great mortification to some people;
or to have one's birth and family despised, to be thought low and
vulgar, how many can you find that will put up with that? That is
the real reason why you so often hear some one find fault with
somebody else for being "stuck up"; it is that when he or she is
stuck up I am stuck down.

{417}

You notice, my brethren, that this matter of pride is mostly
comparative, as I may say. We should not mind other people being
stuck up, if we could only be stuck up too. And it is just here
on this tender point that the parable of our Lord in to-day's
Gospel touches. He says: "When thou art invited to a wedding, sit
not down in the first place, lest, perhaps, one more honorable
than thou be invited." This is where the shoe pinches, this
admitting that some one else is more honorable than we are;
especially in this country, where every one shakes hands with the
President, and all are made, as far as possible, equal. Still, we
can manage to admit that there are some who are better entitled
to the first place than ourselves; indeed, we cannot well help
that. But our Lord would have us go farther than this. He says:
"Sit down in the lowest place."

That is the great lesson of humility that is so hard for us to
learn. Not to say, "I am a miserable sinner; I am blind, weak,
and fallible." Oh! yes, we can say that easily, because we feel
that everybody else ought to say it of himself, and probably will
say it. But to be ready to acknowledge, especially if the general
opinion goes that way, that we are inferior to anybody else,
whoever it may be that we may be compared with; to take this for
granted, and not be surprised if others agree with us, this is
that true humility which is exalted, not by being put in a place
where it can be able to crow over others and thus be turned into
pride, but by being granted the exaltation of being brought
nearer to God.

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

{418}

              Sermon CXXVII.

                 Vanity.

  _When thou art invited to a wedding,
  sit not down in the highest place._
  --St. Luke xiv. 8.


It is not many Sundays ago that our Lord's words taught us
humility by the spectacle of the Pharisee's pride contrasted with
the publican's lowliness. Yet holy church repeats the same lesson
to-day by telling us what our Lord thinks of one who is vain
enough to take too high a place at the wedding-feast. And indeed,
brethren, it takes much teaching for us to learn the corruption
of our own hearts. If there is anybody we lack close acquaintance
with, it is our own very selves. If there is one book harder for
us to read than any other it is the book of our own hearts. Yet
in spite of this ignorance of ourselves, either before God or in
comparison with our neighbor, we are always tempted to set
ourselves up for something far better than we really are, and no
less tempted to depreciate our neighbor.

We are too anxious to exercise the same certain judgment about
relative merit in spiritual things as we fancy we can do in
temporal affairs. You doubtless know the various standards of
worldly preference. One person looks around at others and
exclaims in his or her secret heart: With what shocking bad taste
do such and such ones dress! They must be very vulgar indeed;
surely I cannot be expected to demean myself by going in
_their_ company. Another says: There is a great deal in
social standing. Let every one know his place in the world and
keep it; as for me, I am certainly quite above the company of
such and such persons.
{419}
Another says: Brains is the standard; good clothes and social
position--what are they but miserable vanity and prejudice? But
I have brains; and I know it, and can show it; therefore, stand
aside for me, for I am entitled to preference.

Now, brethren, what is there in the spiritual life that answers
to good clothes? I will tell you: it is certain external
practices of devotion. External devotions are indeed necessary
for the soul just as clothes are for the body, and if used in the
right spirit give one spiritual warmth and adorn the soul with
interior virtues. But we must not be vain of them. And what
answers in the spiritual life to the consciousness of social
position? The remembrance of many years spent in God's service
and the various spiritual gifts received from him. But beware of
spiritual pride. And what answers to human talents and ability?
Facility in prayer, glibness of speech about spiritual things,
knowledge of devotional books, and the like. And these may be
made a cause of vanity.

So when our Lord looks in among the guests at his spiritual table
we may well imagine his saying to one or other of us: Friend, I
perceive that you have been trusting a trifle too much to certain
external practices; they are very good in themselves, but should
be joined to a deeper and truer contrition for your sins and a
more practical use of penance and mortification. I am sorry to
make you blush, but really you must step down a few seats lower.
{420}
To another he says: Friend, you are in the wrong place; I know
that you have received many graces from me in the past, but I
also notice a great want of gratitude on your part; besides this,
I see from your present disposition of mind that, if you are left
where you are, you are likely to be quite puffed up with vanity.
So I will set you down a little lower to a place opposite a good
dish of thanksgiving and an other of humility. To another he
says: What are you doing there, you who are so fault-finding and
overbearing? Do you trust to your knowledge of spiritual things
and your pious talk? Your religion consists of words, words,
words, and what I want is deeds. So, down with you to the last
place at the table; and if I had any place lower than the last
you should certainly have it.

Brethren, let us be glad to sit down anywhere at our Lord's
banquet; glad of so much as the crumbs from the table. That is to
say, the friendship of God is too precious a thing, and too much
all his own to give, that we should presume to glory in it.
Humility, detachment from our own excellence, willingness to
think poorly of our own merits--such are the virtues that
underlie all true piety.

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

              Sermon CXXVIII.

            Behavior In Church.


  _And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited,
  marking how they chose the first seats at the table._
  --Gospel of the Day.


Our Blessed Saviour in this day's Gospel teaches us a lesson of
good order and practical conduct which may be applied in many
ways. I will make the application of it this morning to our
conduct in church.
{421}
We will consider the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the great feast
to which we are invited, the church the banquet-hall, and the
pews the places set apart for the guests.

There is nothing more conducive to the pleasure and purpose of an
assemblage than the good order and proper arrangement of
everything connected with it, and we often hear persons speak of
some event in which they participated as being most enjoyable
because everything was so well ordered and arranged. Now, all
this applies with double force to the public services of
religion. Catholics greatly enjoy the public services of the
church when every is well ordered and arranged, and there is
nothing to distract them or jar upon them. For at every service
there is the divine presence, and where perfect order reigns it
soon makes itself felt: its calm peace steals in upon the soul,
it communes sweetly, and worships "in spirit and in truth."

But in order to secure an external condition of things in our
churches so essential to recollection and prayer, each one must
know his place and occupy it without delay or confusion, and in
our present system of church arrangement each worshipper is
supposed to have his or her special place assigned, and the
regular seat in the church has become a requirement of devotion
as well as a necessity of church finance.

Hence, to secure a permanent place in the church is a duty of
devotion as well as something of an obligation; and we find that
truly pious Catholics almost invariably try to secure seats in
their parish churches, be they ever so humble. Indeed, Catholics
who fail to do this are not apt to be very steady in the practice
of their religion; and there can be no doubt as to the neglect of
duty in the case.
{422}
To contribute to the support of religion is as much a positive
law of the church as to attend Mass on Sundays, and the ordinary
revenue for the support of religion comes from the pew-rents. We
insist, therefore, that every Catholic who can possibly afford it
should have his seat in church; good order requires this as well
as duty and devotion. It is a poor business to be all the while
occupying other people's pews, and sometimes, perhaps, be
required to vacate them. Pew-holders have their rights, and they
must be protected in them. Nevertheless, to secure good order and
harmony at the services of the church, pew-holders must be
willing at times to waive their rights and allow strangers and
others to occupy the vacant seats in their pews. This is no more
than politeness and common Christian charity demand. To refuse a
vacant seat in church to a stranger is selfishness gone to seed,
and they are few, I hope, who would be guilty of such vulgarity.

But while all who possibly can should have their regular places
in church, there will, no doubt, always be a very considerable
number who, through poverty or perverseness, will be pew-holders
at large, and to them I would also address a few remarks. The
Catholic Church is the church of the poor! This is our glory and
our pride. No one can be too poor to attend the services of the
Catholic Church. God is no respecter of persons, nor is his
church. The poor are always welcome in her grandest temples, and
none should ever miss a single service of religion because they
are too poor to hire a regular seat. In this church, thank God,
everything is free to them, and there are always vacant seats for
them to occupy.
{423}
We not only wish non-pew-holders to occupy the vacant seats in
our church, but we insist on their occupying them, for the good
order and harmony of the services require that, as far as
possible, all should be seated. The only condition we impose is
the Gospel injunction: "Do not sit down in the first place" or in
the place of another; and if you are told to move up higher, do
not refuse. Crowding around the doors is more objectionable than
anything else, for there is nothing else that interferes so much
with the good order and arrangement of the services. Let me
repeat, then, in conclusion, the words of the parable: "Friend,
go up higher," and don't crowd around the doors.

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

{424}

         _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 called 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.

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

{425}

              Sermon CXXIX.

          Prayer For Sinners.


  _And the other is like unto this:
  Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself._
  --St. Matthew. xxii. 39.


How great must be the dignity of human nature, my brethren,
since, as we learn by this day's Gospel, our Lord couples the
love of his fellow-men with the love of his own sovereign and
divine self! Perhaps if we appreciated the native worth of human
nature we should be a trifle more patient with its faults. I
mean, of course, other people's faults, for with our own faults
we are all too patient.

The practical lesson conveyed by the commandment, "Love thy
neighbor as thyself," is that it is our duty to love sinners and
to pray for them. To love good people is easy enough, and we
think a man a kind of a monster who has not at least one or two
dear friends whose virtues have won his love. But it takes a good
Christian to love what at first sight seems so hateful--a
drunkard, a libertine, an apostate, a bully, a thief. To have an
actual, practical affection for such persons, even when one is
related to them, seems quite a special thing--a peculiar
vocation, a side-path in the spiritual life, and not by any means
the common business and regular vocation of every-day Christians.
Yet a moment's thought shows that it is, without any doubt, our
Lord's blessed will that we should have a special affection for
just such hardened sinners. Are they not men, and are they not
purchased by the Blood of Christ?

{426}

How much we mistake our duty in reference to such poor wretches!
When you say of one, "Oh! he is a most worthless creature," how
surprised you would be if you could hear a whisper coming from
his guardian angel: "Jesus Christ thought him worth dying for."
And when you say of another, "Oh! I can't bear him; I can't stay
a moment in his company," how surprised you would be to hear,
"And I, an angel of God, I gladly keep him company day and
night." Surely, brethren, there is something worth loving,
heartily loving, in a soul that our Lord would die for, and to
whom God would give a bright angel as a constant companion. We
are like men going through a picture-gallery: we admire only the
brilliant and unmistakable beauties displayed there--here a
gorgeous sunset, there a fine battle-scene, and again a ship
tossing upon the waves. But one of better taste than common,
without forgetting all these, will be able to detect the work of
a great master, though faded with the lapse of many years and
covered all over with dust. So it is with the poor sinner's soul:
it is the work of a great master. And what though it be all
stained and spotted with mortal sin; is there no such thing as
true repentance? Are there no fountains of living waters in the
sacraments in which it may be washed whiter than snow? Are there
no gems of divine grace with which it may be decked out as a
bride waiting for the bridegroom?

Prayer for the conversion of sinners should be far more practised
than it is. Why, brethren, look around you in this great city,
and if you can count the stars of heaven or the sands of the
sea-shore you can count the men and women in mortal sin; and,
alas! very many of them belong to our religion. Nay, look about
in your own families.
{427}
How seldom will a family be found where there is not at least one
member living openly at enmity with God! Now, just here, in the
midst of the worst wickedness, are many thousands of devout
servants of God, and in every family one or two souls whose very
names might be Faithful and True. And God arranges this mingling
of good and evil, that the good souls by their prayers may save
the bad ones from eternal death; just as in southern countries
men plant eucalyptus-trees in low, marshy places, for the
eucalyptus, with its fragrant leaves, counteracts the poisonous
vapors of the swamp.

If, therefore, you pray for yourself you do well; but do not
forget that, if you are a true Christian, the poor sinner is your
other self. And if you pray for the souls in purgatory, do not
forget that there are many souls about you who are always in
danger of hell, and unless many prayers are offered for them they
are likely enough to be lost for ever.

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

               Sermon CXXX.

         The Christian Vocation.

  _I beseech you to walk worthy of your vocation
  in which you are called._
  --Epistle of the Day.


In the Gospel our Lord says that the perfect love of God and of
our neighbor fulfils all the law and the commands of God through
the prophets. At another time he said: "Be ye perfect as your
Heavenly Father is perfect." It is plain that every Christian has
a vocation--that is, is called to a Christ like, a God like life.
Something more is expected of him because he has received infused
light to know by divine grace how to do more. In general, we call
that a higher, a more exalted spiritual state. Now, there are
degrees even in this depending upon the particular grace it
pleases God to give to one person or another.

{428}

One star differeth from another star in brightness and glory, and
so shall the glory of the Christians differ in heaven, according
to the perfection to which they have brought their souls while in
this school-time of the world-life. Over and above what are
called strict Christian laws, which one must obey or lose heaven,
there are certain principles of Christianity called Evangelical
counsels--namely, poverty, chastity, and obedience. Some folks
fancy these counsels apply only to monks, nuns, and priests. That
is a great mistake. Monks, nuns, and priests receive grace and
are bound by _their_ vocation to practise these counsels in
a high degree, and yet not even all these in the same manner. A
secular priest, for instance, is not called to practise poverty
in the same manner as a priest of a religious order, although he
or even a layman living in the world may practise that counsel,
as he may the other counsels, too, just as perfectly as any monk
ever heard of. All depends on the grace one has. His vocation and
his responsibility and his position in heaven all hang on his
fidelity to grace.

All Christians should practise the counsel of poverty. Yes, both
rich and poor. The spirit of poverty is detachment from created
things. One's heart must not be set on them. One must not love
riches for their own sake. One must feel obliged to share with
the poor. One must not despise the poor, but love them for
Christ's sake.
{429}
One must give a good deal for religious purposes. One must keep
his baptismal vows to renounce the devil and all his pomps. One
must, therefore, deny himself in many things that savor of the
pride of riches, even if he is rich. Why? Not because he is a
monk, nun, or priest, but because he is a Christian.

Every Christian must practise the counsel of chastity. Heaven
help us! In these degraded times, to judge by the fashionable
indecencies sanctioned by so-called society people--the horrible
abuses of the holy state of marriage, the filthy accounts
appearing every day in the newspapers--one would think that even
the Sixth Commandment was abolished. Now I need not enter into
particulars, but you know, without further argument or
illustration, that every Christian man, woman, and child would be
unworthy the name if they did not, almost every day, make many
sacrifices and struggles against temptation--all of which mean
practising the counsel of the Christian perfection of chastity.

So also of obedience. One must obey the Ten Commandments and the
laws of the church. Oh! yes. And have we not also to obey the
special decrees of the Holy Father, of our bishop, and of our
pastor? What sort of a Christian is he who is his own shepherd,
or one who is always "standing up for his own rights," as they
say, submitting just within law and only when he cannot help
himself? And does _Christian humility_ mean nothing in act?
That is a narrow road of obedience and a long one, as you all
know; and blessed is he who joyfully walks therein.
{430}
Instead of wanting to shirk these counsels, and put all upon the
shoulders of religious, every one ought to be praying hard that
God will, of his divine bounty, give us, too, men and women
living in the world, more and more grace to practise all that our
worldly condition will allow us to do, convinced by faith that he
is most truly happy here, as he will certainly be hereafter, who
is filled with high Christian aspirations, striving to "walk
worthy of his vocation" and realize in himself the picture of a
perfect Christ-like life.

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

              Sermon CXXXI.

       Erroneous Views Of Vocation.


  _As a prisoner in the Lord,
  I beseech you that you walk
  worthy of the vocation in which you are called._
  --Ephesians iv. 1.


Brethren, has it ever occurred to you that each one of us has a
vocation in this life? I refer not to our Christian vocation,
which we all have in common, but to the particular state of life
to which each one of us has been called. It is not an uncommon
error for people to think that priests and nuns are the only
privileged mortals who are called by God to some special work,
and that to their vocation alone God has attached peculiar and
extraordinary graces.

This is an error we must correct. We have all, thank God, the
vocation to be Christians and the call to be saints, but we have,
moreover, our own special calling, suitable to our character and
disposition; and our common Christian vocation, and in a great
measure our eternal salvation, depends on our fulfilling worthily
the particular vocation in which we are called.

{431}

Some of us God has called to be priests, to serve continually at
his altar. Some to be fathers of families, and others to remain
single all their life. Some he has called to the higher
professions, and others to the hard but manly toil of every-day
life. But to all these vocations, to all these different states
of life, he has attached certain duties, peculiar obligations,
which must be met and fulfilled.

The great danger, brethren, that we have to avoid is the common
and stupid error of those who hold that their every-day vocation
has nothing to do with this Sunday calling; that there is little,
if any, connection between their own special calling and their
general calling to be Christians; who maintain that as business
men they can and must act in their own business-like way,
banishing God from their hearts and his law from their lives, at
least during their hours of business.

This error, stupid as it is, is not so uncommon as one might at
first imagine. Take a few practical cases. How many are there
who, when they examine their conscience, ever think of
questioning themselves upon the duties of their position in life?
How many fathers of families, listening to these words to-day,
question themselves daily as to how they govern those whom God
has put under their charge; how they watch and provide for the
spiritual and temporal welfare of those whom they are called upon
to support? How many young men ever think of asking themselves
how they have fulfilled the obligations they are under to
parents, now perhaps unable to take care of themselves? How many
business-men question themselves as to the honesty or propriety
of this or that mode of action they have been following?
{432}
Alas! they are few indeed. And this is the practical outcome of
not recognizing the close connection there is between our
every-day calling and our Christian vocation. As every vocation,
brethren, has its duties and its difficulties, so every calling
has its special helps and graces. God saw each one of us from all
eternity--just as we are to-day, with all the weaknesses of our
character, with all the difficulties that surround us, and all
the temptations with which we have to contend. He foresaw all
these things and provided for them, regulating his helps and
graces according to our wants, and directing all things towards
our final destiny. His grace is always sufficient for us, and as
long as we remain in his friendship there is no vocation or
calling so difficult or trying but what can be cheerfully and
manfully borne and worked towards our soul's salvation. The lot
of some is certainly not an easy one, but God always fits the
back for the burden.

The practical question I would have you ask yourselves to-day,
brethren, is this: Granted that I have a vocation in this life;
granted that Providence has placed me in a position that involves
duties and obligations to God, my neighbor, or myself; how am I
fulfilling these obligations? How am I walking in the vocation in
which I am called? Worthily or unworthily--that is the
all-important question for me to answer to-day to the
satisfaction of my conscience, as I will have to answer it one
day to Almighty God.

Am I the father or mother of a family? If so, do I discharge the
duties of my calling? Do I make my home pleasant and agreeable
for my children? Do I supply them with suitable home amusements?
Do I furnish them proper reading matter, or do I allow them to
waste their time and ruin their souls with the vile penny
literature of the day?
{433}
Do I oblige them to come to Mass and approach the sacraments,
while I neglect these duties myself? Or am I a business-man who
deals squarely and honestly with my neighbors, never on the alert
to take advantage of the ignorant and weak? Am I in the
employment of others, and, if so, do I fulfil my calling worthily
by doing all that strict justice or Christian charity requires of
me? Or am I just to men who work for me? These are some of the
questions regarding your vocations that I would have you ask
yourselves to-day.

Brethren, when we come to render our account to God, be sure of
this: he will not trouble us with the question as to whether we
have been experts in our respective professions, whether we have
been successful business-men or skilled mechanics; no, but
whether we have been just and honorable, whether we have walked
_worthily_ in the vocations to which we have been called.
Walk then, brethren, worthy of your vocation, worthy of the
church which has reared you, worthy of the hope that is in you,
worthy of the name you bear, that of Christ, who has redeemed
you. Imitate him, live as he lived, and suffer in your calling
the things he suffered. Then the prayer of our patron St. Paul
will not be in vain, and we will walk worthy of the vocation in
which we are called.

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

{434}

         _Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  I _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.

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

{435}

              Sermon CXXXII.

        Presumption Of God's Mercy.

  _Unless you have believed in vain._
  1 Corinthians xv. 2.


Dear Brethren: The Apostle appears to be of a different mind from
some of us, who seem to think that there is no such thing as
believing in vain. Do not sinners rest quite secure in their
wickedness just because they believe in the true religion? Do
they not feel sure of salvation because they know how to be
saved? Is not the blessed privilege of the holy faith the secret
reason of many a person's delay of repentance? It is against all
such that St. Paul stands when he speaks of a vain faith; and our
Blessed Lord himself when he says that pagan Tyre and Sidon shall
rise up in witness against those who had the true religion and
used it only to puff them selves up with spiritual pride.

To be guilty of an unused faith is the high-road to eternal loss
among Catholics. Some poor souls will be lost because, though
born in error, they have refused to follow the light of reason
into the church. But we shall be lost, if at all, because we have
believed in vain. Some outside of the church shall be lost
because they have sinned even against the simplest precepts of
nature's law. But we shall be condemned for believing all that
our Lord revealed and making it vain by our wicked deeds. A vain
faith is like the background of a picture: the eye catches and
dwells on the objects in the foreground, but these could not be
seen clearly but for the tints in the background against which
they are drawn. So what we do will one day be contrasted with
what we know; the strong light of faith will only cause the
black, filthy sins of our life to be more fully revealed to the
Judge.

{436}

Have you never seen a blind man whose eyes seemed perfectly good,
clear, and bright, and yet utterly blind? There is such a kind of
blindness; some men really have eyes and see not, because the
nerve is dead, and the nerve is like the soul of the eye. So with
our faith: God gave it to us to see by and walk by and live by;
to know his law and live up to it, to know our sins and to
confess them with true sorrow--in a word, to practise what we
know that we ought to practise. But some become like the idols of
the nations you read of in one of the Vesper psalms: "They have
eyes, and see not; they have ears, and hear not." Wicked
Catholics perceive the right way; they hear of the dangers of the
wrong way, and go right along with this knowledge, and neglect
prayer and Mass, blaspheme and fight, get drunk and debauch, and
steal, yet having all the time full assurance that somehow or
other their faith will save them. Brethren, their faith is vain;
their hope of eternal life is not reasonable or well founded; the
beauty of the truth they possess is like the cold beauty of a
corpse, which makes one shudder only the more from its
incongruity with the putrid decay so surely approaching.

Yet how rich a treasure is the true faith! What a comfort to know
the truths of religion! What a privilege to know our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ, and to be in communion with him, his
Blessed Mother, his glorious saints, his holy church! What a
perversity, then, to use all this as a burglar uses his
rope-ladder: a means of making a criminal life more secure.
{437}
But it cannot be. It is a delusion. There is no means of making a
criminal life secure, except by turning quickly away from it,
detesting it, confessing it, and, by the light of faith and the
strength of charity, leading a good life.

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

              Sermon CXXXIII.

               Drunkenness.


  _Take heed to yourselves,
  lest perhaps your hearts be over charged
  with surfeiting and drunkenness,
  and the cares of this life._
  --Luke xxi. 34.


These words of our Lord recorded by St. Luke contain a very
direct admonition against intemperance and its associate vices.
Gluttony and drunkenness are closely allied, inasmuch as the
former is generally associated with excessive eating, and the
latter is used to denote excess in intoxicating drink. Not only
from a religious standpoint, but from medical science, St. Luke
knew and could teach the injurious effects on the human system
produced by the unrestrained gratification of the appetites. His
knowledge in these matters was evidently recognized by those
associated with him in preaching the Gospel, for St. Paul speaks
of him as "the beloved physician" (Colossians iv. 14).

There are many passages of Holy Scripture that show forth the
dangers of drunkenness. In the Old Testament we read that Noe and
Lot were both taught by sad experience the shame and degradation
arising from the loss of self-control through the excessive use
of intoxicating drinks.
{438}
No sanction can, be found in the Bible for the opinion that
intemperance is a pardonable weakness. It is a very long time
ago, indeed, since this vice of drunkenness was first condemned
by the authorized teachers of religion. Among the vices it is
properly classified with gluttony, which is one of the seven
deadly sins.

The Apostles sent forth by our Lord to teach all nations
strenuously inculcated the duty of _sobriety_ and
_watchfulness_ on each individual Christian. St. Peter and
St. Paul especially insist on this personal vigilance as being of
the utmost importance. _"Being sober_, hope perfectly for
that grace which is offered you at the revelation of Jesus
Christ. _Be sober and watch_, because your adversary, the
devil, as a roaring lion goeth about, seeking whom he may devour"
(First Epistle of St. Peter v. 8-13).

St. Paul teaches the same lesson of _personal vigilance_ in
these words: "Let us _watch and be sober_, having on the
breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the hope of
salvation" (1 Thessalonians v. 6-8). "For the grace of God our
Saviour hath appeared to all men, instructing us that, renouncing
impiety and worldly desires, we should _live soberly_, and
justly, and piously in this world" (Titus ii. 3).

A great doctor of the church, St. Augustine, in the fourth
century declared that there were at that time drunkards, plenty
of them, and that people had grown accustomed to speak of
drunkenness, not only without horror, but even with levity. This
condition of things was brought about by the vicious teaching of
the pagans, who sanctioned every form of sensual gratification.
{439}
In one of his sermons St. Augustine uses these words: "The heart
of the drunkard has lost all feeling. When a member has no
feeling it may be considered dead and cut off from the body. Yet
we sometimes are lenient, and can only employ words. We are loath
to excommunicate and cast out of the church; for we fear lest he
who is chastised should be made worse by the chastisement. And
though such are already dead in soul, yet, since our Physician is
Almighty, we must not despair of them."

Again in a letter to a bishop, written in the year 393, St.
Augustine refers to the intemperance then prevalent in the city
of Carthage. "The pestilence," he says, "is of such a magnitude
that it seems to me it cannot be cured except by the authority of
a council. Or, at least, if one church must begin, it should be
that of Carthage. It would seem like audacity to try to change
what Carthage retains." Then he proceeds to urge that the
movement against intemperance be conducted in the spirit of
meekness, saying: "I think that these abuses must be removed, not
imperiously, nor harshly; by instruction rather than by command,
by persuasion rather than by threats. It is thus one must act in
a multitude: we may be severe towards the sins of a few."

From the words just quoted we see that St. Augustine was justly
opposed to the indiscriminate condemnation of a multitude for the
sins of a few. And it is very necessary to bear this in mind
while dealing with the vice of intemperance, which is so widely
prevalent at the present time. The crimes of drunkards are
frequently exposed to view in the columns of newspapers, yet the
unvarnished truth is seldom stated concerning those who
co-operate with them in the nine ways of being accessory to
another's sin; and this means especially those who, in cities
infected with intemperance, keep saloons, and those who invite
men to drink whom they have reason to fear will abuse it.
{440}
We know that there are leaders in the ways of vice as well as in
the ways of virtue. Special severity is needed with those who
deliberately persist in doing wrong with malice aforethought. Men
who strive to make laws to defend iniquity, who teach and foster
vice for their own personal profit, may properly be called blind
leaders of the blind, whose fate has already been predicted by
our Lord, the Supreme Judge of the world.

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

               Sermon CXXXIV.

     The Dignity And Happiness Of Obedience.


  _Children, obey your parents in all things;
  for this is pleasing to the Lord._
  --Colossians iii. 20.


Brethren, there are many new things found out nowadays; but there
are also some old ones and good ones being forgotten. Among other
things we are apt to forget the happiness of obedience. Of course
I do not mean obedience to the church; perhaps there never was an
age when Catholics rested so content in the gentle restraint of
our holy mother the Church. But I refer to the practice of
obedience one to another, done after the pattern of our Lord
Jesus Christ. The loveliness of this virtue is best seen in the
bosom of the Christian family. Affection, indeed, is the bond of
the family, but the fruit of affection is obedience. There is
nothing more pleasing to God than the son who is always at the
service of his father and mother.
{441}
Few families are without at least one such son. He is often the
one of whom at first the least was expected; of poor natural
talents, of delicate health, of irascible temper, or one whose
earlier years were wayward. But all the time he was observant,
though no one, not even himself, gave him credit for it. Year by
year the spectacle of father's and mother's affection and
sacrifice penetrated him, till he became deeply attached to them.
How much this reverent love for his parents had to do with his
religious state as a boy and a young man! It may be true that
scarcely any boy ever grows up to be a man and is never a liar to
his father and mother, or a pilferer of cake and fruit and
pennies about the house. But the good boy drops all this at First
Communion or when he goes to learn a trade, and he becomes honest
and truthful in little things as well as great. One of the
happiest days for him between the cradle and the grave is when he
runs and puts the first dollar he has earned into his mother's
hands. That good son lets all his brothers go away from home to
seek their fortunes; he stays with the old folks, comforts their
old age, closes their eyes in death, and with much love and many
tears follows them with his prayers beyond the grave. The others
were, perhaps, good children, but he is the hero of the family.

Then there is the good daughter, who in childhood is the sunshine
of the family, and in maturer years everybody's other self. How
many parents, too poor to hire a servant, have living riches in
an industrious daughter! How often do parents find one at least
of the girls who from very infancy is the joy of the whole
family; who seems to have received in baptism such a fulness of
the Holy Spirit that charity, joy, peace, patience, long
suffering, kindness, and piety are the common qualities of her
character!
{442}
The faith also finds an apostle in such women. An intelligent
woman, though perhaps unable to argue skilfully, can establish
the truths of religion by methods all her own. A friendly jest,
good-natured silence, a patient return of loving services for
ill-treatment, the spectacle of her good life, not an hour of
which lacks a virtue--all this in one instinct with religion is
an unanswerable argument and often irresistible. How did it
happen, people sometimes ask concerning this or that person, that
she did not marry? She had good enough looks, excellent sense, a
bright mind, affectionate disposition, and saw plenty of company.
Why did she not marry? My brethren, the day of judgment will tell
us that it was because God had set her apart that she might be
for her widowed mother or her shiftless, unhappy brothers and
sisters the pot of meal that should not waste and the cruse of
oil that should not diminish. Brethren, I know of no order of
nuns more pleasing in God's sight than the devout women who live
a dependent, obscure, hard life in the world, and are old maids
for the love of God.

Finally, you may say that such sons and daughters are hard to
find. I answer that there are multitudes who approach the
standard we have been considering, and more, perhaps, than you
fancy who actually attain to it.

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

{443}

         _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.
{444}
  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. 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 CXXXV.

                 Lying.


  _Wherefore, putting away lying,
  speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor._
  --Epistle of the Day.


Of all the vicious habits into which we are prone to fall, there
is none more common, and none more miserable, mean, and
contemptible, than this one of which the Apostle here speaks.
There is also none about which Christians in general have so lax
and careless a conscience. True, every one regards lying as in
some sense at least sinful; and many would hesitate about going
to Holy Communion if they had told a lie after confession. But in
spite of that, when the Communion is once made, the tongue which
has just received the God of justice and truth will immediately
begin again to offend him by telling falsehoods which are too
often unjust as well as untrue.

{445}

Still, when there is an injustice done by telling a lie; when
some one else suffers by it in his character or his goods, there
are, I hope, few who do not see what a sin they have committed,
and understand that they must make reparation by taking back what
they have said, if they wish to be good Christians. But, for all
that, how many injurious lies are told, even by those who think
themselves good Christians, and never properly retracted or even
thought of afterward by those who tell them! The most abominable
slanders pass from mouth to mouth; they are listened to and
repeated with the greatest interest and eagerness, without any
trouble being taken to ascertain whether what is said is true or
not. These people who are so free with their tongues never seem
to imagine for a moment that, even when circumstances would
justify them--and it is very seldom that they do--in telling a
fact bearing against their neighbor they are under an obligation
first to find out by careful examination whether it be indeed a
fact; otherwise the sin of an injurious lie will rest on their
souls.

There are, however, some, and indeed many, who abhor slander, and
who are really careful about telling injurious lies, and who
hasten to retract what they have said against others, if they
find out that, after all, the fact was not as they had good
ground to believe. But there are not by any means so many who are
careful about the truth for its own sake, and who do not scruple
to tell white lies, as they are sometimes called.

What are these white lies? They are of two kinds. The first are
those which are told for some end in itself good, to get some
advantage for one's self or for another, or to get one's self or
some other person out of a scrape; to conceal a fault, to avoid
embarrassment, or to save somebody's feelings. These are called
officious lies.
{446}
Then there are others, called, jocose, which do no good to any
one, but are told merely for fun; such as the little tricks on
others which are often indulged in, or boasts made about things
which one has never done. They may be taken back before long, and
only meant to deceive for a moment; still they are meant to
deceive, if only for a moment, and are, therefore, really lies.

Now officious lies are really forbidden by God's law as well as
injurious ones, though of course not so bad as those. And yet how
few act as if they really were sins at all! People will say, "I
told lies, perhaps three or four every day, but there was no harm
in them." No harm! No harm to other people; no, perhaps not,
except by bad example and the loss of confidence in your word and
that of others; though there is great harm even in that way. But
there is a greater harm than this: it is that which the liar does
to the sacredness of truth itself, and, as far as he can, to God
who is the eternal truth, who loves truth unspeakably, and
requires that we should love it for his sake. He will not allow
us to tell the most trivial falsehood, though by it we could save
the whole world from destruction, or bring all the souls which
have been damned out of hell and put them in heaven.

Remember this, then: there are lies which are not injurious, but
there are no lies which are not harmful and sinful; no lies for
which you will not have to give an account at the judgment of
God. Stop, therefore, I beg you at once, this mean, disgraceful,
and dishonorable habit of falsehood; it will never be forgiven in
confession unless you make a serious and solid purpose against
it. Put away lying then at once and for ever, and speak the truth
in simplicity; you may sometimes lose by it for the moment, but
you will profit by it in the end, both in this world and in the
world to come.

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

{447}

              Sermon CXXXVI.

              Truthfulness.


  _Wherefore, putting away lying,
  speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor,
  for we are members one of another._
  --Ephesians iv. 25.


St. Paul here teaches us that truthfulness of speech should be a
mark of those who profess the true faith. He speaks of the
darkness of understanding, the ignorance, the blindness of heart
of those who are alienated from the life of God; "but you," he
says, "have not so learned Christ. You have been taught the truth
as it is in Jesus. You have been taught to put off the old man
who is corrupted according to the desires of error, and to 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."

Yet, even without these supernatural reasons and motives, the
duty of truthfulness is plain to everyone by the light of natural
reason alone. The gift of speech which so strongly marks the
distinction between man and the lower animals enables us to
clearly communicate our thoughts to each other. If, then, we make
it a means of deceiving others, we plainly offend against the law
of nature, which is God's law. In every relation of life we are
obliged to depend upon the statements of other men; we have a
right to the truth from them, and it is therefore our duty to
tell the truth to others.
{448}
We can have no feeling of security if we cannot trust the word of
those with whom we are brought into daily contact. If lying is
common in any class or community, it creates a spirit of distrust
and uneasiness instead of that mutual confidence which should
prevail.

A high sense of honor in men of the world will often make them
strictly truthful. Such men despise a lie as something base and
mean and utterly beneath them. If, then, purely human motives, a
mere sense of worldly honor, will keep men from lying, how much
more should this fault be avoided by those who claim to be trying
to serve God, and who are constantly assisted by his grace. Our
Lord has told us that liars are the children of the devil, "for
he is a liar and the father thereof." But we are called to be the
children of God, who is the eternal truth; we have been given the
light of the true faith. We glory in the certain truth of our
religion; should we not then be zealous for the cause of truth in
all things, even in the least. Absolute, unswerving truthfulness
in speech should therefore mark the true disciple of Christ.

"But," some may say, "a lie is only a venial sin." Yes, it is
true that a lie which is not malicious, which does not, and is
not intended to, harm our neighbor in any way, is not a mortal
sin; but it is the meanest of venial sins, and we know that a
long and terrible purgatory awaits those who are guilty of
deliberate venial sin. Moreover, carelessness about the
commission of venial sin leads to mortal offences, and there is
nothing which will more readily lead a man into other and graver
faults as the habit of deliberate untruthfulness.

{449}

Cultivate, then, a love for truth, and seek to acquire the habit
of truthfulness even in the smallest matters. Every one despises
a deceitful person, and there is nothing a man resents so much as
being called a liar. If you do not like being called a liar, do
not be one.

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

              Sermon CXXXVII.

                White Lies.


  _Wherefore, putting away lying,
  speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor._
  --Epistle of the Day.


There is perhaps no sin, my brethren, for which people seem to
have so little real sorrow, or for which they so seldom make a
practical purpose of amendment, as this miserable one of
falsehood, of which the Apostle here speaks. You will hear it
said: "I told lies, but there was no harm in them; they were to
excuse myself, or to save trouble." They are matters to be
confessed, oh! yes; the liar will perhaps even run back to say
that he is a liar, if he (or quite likely she) has forgotten to
mention it at the time. But as for correcting the habit, that is
quite another matter. It would seem that the Sacrament of Penance
is expected to take effect on these sins by mere confession,
without contrition or purpose to avoid them for the future.

{450}

But the liar will say: "I am sorry; I have contrition for these
lies." Let me ask, however, what kind of sorrow have you? You are
sorry that things were so that you had to tell a lie; but if
things were so again to-morrow, would not you tell the lie again?
If you are sincere, I am afraid you will say: "Yes, I suppose I
should." Where, then, is the purpose of amendment? Without
purpose of amendment contrition is nothing but a sham.

Let us, then, my friends, look into our consciences about this
matter, and get them straightened out properly. I do not want to
be too harsh about it; for after all there are some expressions
which people call lies, which are not really so, because the one
to whom they are addressed is not expected to be deceived by
them, but merely to be prevented from asking further questions.
Some people, too, call it a lie when they do not tell the whole
truth, but we are not always required--though we often are--to
tell the whole truth; and when we are not, there is no lie, as
long as what we say is actually true as far as it goes. But it
would take too long to go into all the cases concerning what is
or is not a lie; and as a general rule one can by a little common
sense find them out for himself. Find them out, then; if you
cannot surely do so by yourselves, get advice; and when you are
certain that you are all right, do not call it a sin to act
according to your conscience and reason, and do not make a matter
of self-accusation out of it.

But when you cannot see any way to make out that what you say
really is not a lie, then do not fall back on the idea that, if
it does not injure anybody, there is no harm in it. You are false
to yourself in this; for you know there is harm in it, otherwise
you would not feel uneasy about it.

{451}

And what is the harm? The harm in a lie is simply that it is a
lie, and therefore an offence against God, who is the truth. This
is what St. Paul tells us in this very Epistle of to-day. "Put
on," he says, "the new man, who, _according to God_, is
created in justice and holiness of truth. Wherefore," he
continues, "putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with
his neighbor."

Yes, my brethren, God is the truth, and he infinitely loves the
truth, in himself and in his creatures. He does not wish us to
sacrifice it in the slightest degree, even to save the whole
world from destruction. There is harm in a lie, then; harm, if I
may say so, to God himself and to his dearest interests. Do not
think, then, to save his interests, or any one else's, by lying.
Tell the truth and let him look out for the consequences. Tell
the truth for God's sake, because he loves it, and hates a lie;
tell the truth, and love the truth, for its own sake. We are, as
St. Paul says, "created according to God, in holiness of truth";
let us keep the pattern to which we have been made.

Stop, then, deliberate lying for a purpose, which is but too
common. But also be careful in what you say; try not even to fall
into falsehood thoughtlessly. Let it be your honest pride that
your word is as good as your oath.

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

{452}

    _Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost._


  Epistle.
  _Ephesians v._ 15-21.

  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.

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

{453}

              Sermon CXXXVIII.

            Christian Marriage.

My dear brethren, we shall, on this occasion, occupy the short
time allotted to us with some remarks on a most important
subject, namely, that of Christian marriage. We ask for your
especial attention to what we have to say on this matter, on
account of the great bearing which it has on your happiness both
here and hereafter, and hope that you will endeavor to understand
thoroughly the teaching of the church regarding it, and that you
will resolve not only to obey the laws, but also to follow her
suggestions and be governed by her spirit in an affair in which
your welfare is so deeply concerned.

The great majority of Christians, as well as of the world in
general, are called in the providence of God to the state of
marriage; and their calling is as truly a divine vocation as that
of others to the religious life and to the priesthood. If, then,
the priest or the religious cannot expect to save his soul if he
neglects the virtues and the duties proper to his state, neither
can those who enter the state of matrimony, if they do not
appreciate and endeavor to fulfil the requirements and conditions
which God has attached to it; if they rush into it without
thought, and remain in it simply from convenience or necessity,
without realizing its responsibilities or feeling the burden
which it imposes on their consciences.

{454}

And yet this is what very many seem to do. Of course we take it
for granted that a Catholic, worthy the name, will not marry a
person of a different religion. But one should not marry a bad
Catholic. Many appear to be indifferent in this matter to their
eternal salvation and act as if conscience and religion had
nothing to do with it, but they disregard and fling to the winds
even the most common and obvious dictates of prudence as to their
comfort and peace in this world. What possible hope of happiness
in married life, for instance, can a young woman have who unites
her destiny with that of a man who is evidently falling, if,
indeed, he has not already fallen, into confirmed habits of
intemperance; whose past and present life gives no assurance of
advancement or worldly success, but, on the other hand, every
indication of the drunkard's failure, ruin, and degradation? What
can she be thinking of who, for a mere fancy or caprice, accepts
the offer of one to stand as her protector and support whose
selfish and beastly appetites are sure to make him soon trample
her under his feet, and treat her merely as a drudge to be
starved with her children in order that he may gratify his
passion for drink, and to be kicked and beaten if she so much as
implores him to reform? Or how can she dare to take for her
husband one whose sensual passion is certain soon to extinguish
every spark of true love he may have felt for her, and who will,
before long, be unfaithful to her for the very reason that made
him at first seem faithful?

It is painful to speak of these things; but, unfortunately, the
frequency of such cases obliges us to do so. Such miseries in
marriage cannot be considered, at least in cities like this, as
exceptional and extraordinary; no, they must be taken into
account, not as mere possibilities, but as actual realities. And,
of course, there are others which we have not time to enumerate;
the ones of which I have spoken will serve as examples.
{455}
It is, then, the part not only of Christian prudence but also of
worldly common sense, to make sure, as far as possible, to avoid
these dangers. It is far better to remain single than to make a
bad marriage; let every one, then, before taking this most
important of all steps in life, look carefully where it will
lead. Let every one, and certainly every Christian, before
selecting a companion for life, whose place no one else can take,
satisfy himself or herself that the one who is thus selected has
the qualities that are calculated to insure happiness to both
parties; that he or she has natural virtues and good habits, well
and solidly formed; at least industry, sobriety, and those
qualities in general which business-men, for example, try to
secure in those who are to be charged with matters of far less
consequence than the support and care of a family.

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

              Sermon CXXXIX.

     Mortification Of Our Lower Nature.


  _Now if we be dead with Christ
  we believe that we shall live also together with Christ._
  --From the Epistle of the Sunday.


The meaning of the Apostle, my brethren, is expressed in one
great Catholic word--mortification. The lower nature that is in
us must be put to death that the higher may live. The animal must
die that the man may live. And if literal death be not hereby
signified, yet so really destructive of mere appetite is the
Christian's union with Christ that mortification or putting to
death is one condition of obtaining it.
{456}
Human ease and pleasure are opposed to the soul's fulfilment of
its destiny. In itself no doubt the natural joy of this life is
not evil. But there is no joy of man simply "in itself." It all
flows from that root of bitterness which original sin planted in
our hearts, and which makes it necessary that we be not simply
obedient to God's law, but "born again"; "for," says the Apostle
in this same Sunday's Epistle, "we are buried together with
Christ by baptism into death, that as Christ is risen from the
dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness
of life." "Knowing this: that our old man is crucified with him,
that the body of sin may be destroyed." "For he that is dead is
justified from sin."

These are very strong words, my brethren. They and the many other
such words in Holy Scripture have much to do with explaining our
religion--the cross on our churches, the crucifix over our
altars, the shamefaced confession, the constant self-denial; even
the plaintive tones of the church's voice in her chants, even the
touch of sadness in her most joyful offices. Indeed, the true joy
of a Christian is in the theological virtue of hope--is placed in
a paradise which for him is yet to begin. He is too hardly
pressed with the conflict of his higher and lower nature to be
quite happy, except in anticipation of a victory never fully
gained this side the grave. And it is only when the very taste
for ease and pleasure has become blunted that the consolations of
the Holy Spirit begin to be felt. The whole inner life of a
Christian is regulated by his power to deny himself, and to deny
himself, especially in outward things--in eating and drinking, in
working and resting, in seeing and hearing.

{457}

To noble spirits the very innocent care of the body is irksome;
and this from no sin of sloth, but because the soul, absorbed in
high spiritual things, is vexed by the mean things of our animal
nature. Hence the every-day business of a religious man is to
restrain the headlong folly of corrupt nature by the bit and
bridle of mortification. And this is every Christian's duty.
Though one may feel no call but to the ordinary Christian state,
yet is he plainly called to self-denial. Outside the church there
is little or nothing of the practical self-restraint of the
Gospel. And even among ourselves many are forgetful of this war
of the spirit against the flesh, except at the rare intervals of
infrequent confession or during such seasons as Lent and Advent.
The need of constant self-denial is one of those truths that the
ever-flowing waters of forgetfulness wash out of our memories the
quickest. Hence it is related of St. Philip Neri that he was
accustomed to say in the morning: "Lord, keep thy hand upon
Philip to day, or, Lord! Philip will betray thee."

So, my brethren, there is no grace you have more need to pray for
than the strength of will to practise some daily mortification.
Nay, pray for the grace to accept those that God sends every day
and it is enough. Oh! if we could bear patiently for the love of
God with his own visitations, with such things as sickness of
body and dulness of mind, with poverty and disappointment, with
the evil temper of other members of the family, their stupidity
and selfishness, we should soon be safe. Brethren, we are all
novices, and God is the universal novice-master, and these are
his daily mortifications. Others he gives us, too, through the
ministry of holy church. Not a week passes over but we must give
one day to God and to our better selves by abstinence from flesh
meat.
{458}
Not a season goes by but the three Ember days are set apart for
hunger and thirst. Holy Advent, the penitential season of Lent,
make a loud call--would it were better heeded--on our higher
nature to reduce the beast to subjection. Meantime, if one wants
more self-denial, let him advise with his father confessor, let
him consult spiritual writers, let him hearken to the spirit of
God within him, always bearing in mind that beyond such
mortifications as are of obligation it is not prudent to go,
except by advice of a prudent spiritual adviser.

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

              Sermon CXL.

          The Value Of Time.


  _Redeeming the time._
  --Epistle of the Day.


There is a precious treasure, my dear brethren, which is always
partly, but only partly, in our possession. Now and then we wake
up to the conviction how valuable it is. There is something which
must be done, and there is only just time to do it in; we wish
there were more, but no, only just so much is allotted to us.
Then we realize how priceless time is. The sinner, suddenly
struck down by some terrible accident, and with only a few
minutes to live--what would he not give for a half-hour more;
for time to look into his confused and disturbed conscience; for
time to rouse himself to real contrition for his sins; for time,
at least, to send for a priest, and with his help make some sort
of preparation for eternity!

{459}

But it is not only at the end of our lives, or in moments of such
supreme importance, that we would pay for time with gold, or with
other things upon which we set great value here. Often we would
give much to be able to put ourselves back a day or even an hour
in our lives; what an advantage it would give us! We look back on
many hours and days in the past; there they were, once at our
service, but now squandered and gone for ever.

Time, then, is this precious treasure, which we shall never
wholly lose till we pass out of this world for ever. Its golden
sands are running rapidly away from us, but still some remain.
The uncertainty how much of it is still left should make us put
to the best use each instant as it passes. Who would not draw
prudently from a chest in which his whole fortune was locked up,
if its amount were unknown to him, if the next demand might
exhaust it; and who would not put to the best use each penny that
he drew?

This is the instruction, the warning that the Apostle gives us in
to-day's Epistle: "To walk circumspectly; not as unwise, but as
wise, redeeming the time." Saving it--that is to say, not letting
it slip by us idly and unprofitably; not only having it while it
lasts, but receiving also the precious fruits with which it is
laden.

How much this caution is needed! How careless we are about this
priceless possession which is ours from moment to moment! Some
part of it indeed we are generally obliged to employ, and
fortunate we are that it is so, in some occupation of profit to
ourselves or to others.
{460}
Yes, fortunate; for that man must earn his bread by the toil of
his body or mind is hardly after the fall a curse, but rather a
blessing. Place fallen human nature in the paradise of our first
parents, and its final loss could hardly be averted. But the
rest: how often do we see, when work is over, that the only
thought, even of Christians, is to get rid of this invaluable
gift, the precious time which God has given them! They seem to
have no thought but to lose themselves and it in some mere
sensual pleasure, to fritter it away in gossip or some foolish
and needless diversion, or to forget it and throw it away in
slothful and unnecessary sleep.

Brethren, some day we shall want all this time that we are now
wasting. Then it will stand out before us in its true value; we
shall see that it should have been redeemed, and that it is now
irredeemable. And what is more, God, who gave it to us, will
require an account of it at our hands. He gave it to us for an
object; there is not a minute of it that he did not mean us to
turn to good use. And we can carry out his purpose if we only
will. Let us, then, beware of idleness; even our recreation and
rest should be such that we can feel that he would approve of
them, and that they will help us in our remaining hours to do the
work that he has required and expects us to do. To kill time--let
this be a word unheard among us; to kill time is to trample down
the seed of eternal life and to invite death to our souls.

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

{461}

    _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.
{462}
  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 CXLI.

         Forgiveness Of Injuries.


  _Shouldst not thou then have had compassion
  on thy fellow-servant,
  even as I had compassion on thee?_
  --St. Matthew, xviii. 33


These words of to-day's Gospel are spoken by our Lord to every
one who has been wanting in charity to his neighbor. Each one of
us, as a servant of God, as a steward of the gifts, both temporal
and spiritual, which he has entrusted to us that we may use them
for the furtherance of his honor and glory, is a heavy debtor to
the divine justice. But his mercy and love are always ready to
temper his justice, if only we show the proper dispositions, if
only we bend our rebellious wills to the condition he requires of
us, without which it is impossible for us to obtain forgiveness.
{463}
This condition is found in the oft-repeated but little thought of
petition of the Lord's Prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we
forgive those that trespass against us." The servant in the
parable received forgiveness from his lord for the sum of ten
thousand talents (a very large sum of money), yet he was
unmerciful to his fellow-servant, who owed him a hundred pence.
The difference between these sums is by no means so great as the
difference between our offences against Almighty God and those of
our brethren against us. If we could only realize who it is that
we have offended, and then reflect as well upon our ingratitude
in offending him, as upon the innumerable benefits he has
showered upon us, we might form some faint idea of the gravity of
our sin, and of the immense debt that we owe to his justice. We
could not then refuse forgiveness to our neighbor for the
trifling, and perhaps merely fancied, injuries that we may have
suffered from him. "With what measure you shall mete, it shall be
measured to you again." "If you forgive not every one his brother
from your hearts," you cannot hope for pardon from God.

How, then, can we best practise this forgiveness which is so
necessary for us? In the first place, it must be earnest and
sincere forgiveness. It must be "from your hearts," as our Lord
says. No mere outward show of forgiveness will be enough, for God
sees the heart, and no appearances will satisfy him. But, on the
other hand, the forgiveness will not be real and earnest unless
it be shown outwardly. Many profess their willingness to forgive
who yet show resentment and a spirit of revenge in many little
ways, by looks, words, and actions which prove that there is no
real forgiveness in the heart.
{464}
Then again we find persons who, when they are urged to forgive
some wrong, answer: "Well, father, I suppose I must forgive, if
you tell me so." It is plain that this is but a very unwilling
and faint-hearted forgiveness, which, will not answer before God.
Why will not the generosity of God towards us lead us to show a
like spirit towards our brethren?

We should strive to forgive offences the moment they are
committed against us. Our natural impulse when any insult is
offered to us is to resent it at once, and pay back in the same
coin. How different is this from the example set us by our Lord,
"Who, when he was reviled, did not revile; when he suffered, he
threatened not." We should check the first uprisings of
resentment, and keep back the angry reply, in imitation of our
Blessed Lord's silence before his accusers and tormentors. By the
practice of this Christian silence many a feud of long
continuance would be prevented.

We must also "lay aside all malice," and be ready, when an injury
has been done, to be reconciled with our offending brother. This
is often very hard for us to do, and very repugnant to our
natural inclinations, but it is, nevertheless, absolutely
necessary. If we bear malice towards any one, we are not worthy
of the name of Christians, or followers of Christ.

Try, then, to put in practice the teaching of this day's Gospel,
and forgive from your heart those who have offended you, showing
your forgiveness by your words and acts. There is nothing more
scandalous and injurious to the Christian name than constant
quarrels and long-continued animosities between those who go
regularly to the sacraments. Follow, then, the injunction of St.
Paul: "Let all bitterness, and anger, and indignation, and
clamor, and blasphemy be taken away from you, with all malice.
And be ye kind to one another, merciful, forgiving one another,
even as God has forgiven you in Christ."

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

{465}

               Sermon CXLII.

                Gossiping.


  _Laying hold of him he throttled him, saying:
  Pay me what thou owest._
  --Words Taken From To-day's Gospel.


The Gospel of this Sunday, my dear brethren, inculcates in the
strongest possible way the distinctively Christian virtue of
brotherly love--the duty, that is, of cherishing a spirit of
charity and consideration for other men, and especially of
forgiving any injuries which they may have done us. This
obligation is, however, so clearly and frequently and earnestly
enforced in the New Testament, and from our earliest days has
been brought home to us in so many ways, that at first sight it
might seem that I could do something better this morning than to
go back to such an old and familiar subject. And yet, old and
familiar as it is, every-day life affords so many proofs that we
do not carry our knowledge into practice that I am sure that nine
in every ten, perhaps ninety-nine in every hundred, stand in need
of being reminded of this old and familiar though badly learned
lesson.

{466}

For of what is the every-day talk of most women and a great
number of men made up, if not of ill-natured criticism and
depreciation of their acquaintances, neighbors, and even friends?
In the words of St. Paul, are we not continually biting and
devouring one another? Are not the newspapers filled with stories
which pander to this uncharitable spirit? What, in short, is more
common than detraction, and even slander? Yet even these evils,
grave and deadly as they are, are but small compared with other
manifestations of this same uncharitable spirit. Why, I have been
told of people who have worked side by side in the same
work-shop, attended the same church, even knelt at the same
altar-rail, and yet, for some trifling cause or other, have
refused to speak to one another for years! What trouble priests
have with people who come to confession to them! Sometimes the
very most they can get is a vague, half-hearted expression of
forgiveness, but on no account can they in some cases induce
their penitents to extend to one another that which is due to
every man, be he Jew or Turk, Catholic or Protestant--the
ordinary salutations which civility requires.

Now, that all this is wrong is evident. Not one of us is so blind
as not to be able to see that. But what the Gospel to-day points
out, and what I wish to present to your serious consideration
this morning, is the very unpleasant consequences which will
infallibly follow upon such conduct. We know the story very well.
A slave is in debt to his master for a very large amount--an
amount which, while quite willing, he is utterly unable to pay.
His master releases him from this debt. Whereupon this fine
fellow, meeting a brother-slave who owed him a paltry sum,
accosts him in the brutal manner mentioned in the text, demands
immediate payment of the money, and, not withstanding the
debtor's entreaties and his willingness to make it good as soon
as possible, locks him up in prison until the amount is
forthcoming.
{467}
Thereupon his conduct is brought to the knowledge of their
master. He at once summons the wicked slave before him and
"delivers him to the torturers until he pays all the debt." Then
our Lord says, and I ask for your serious attention to his words:
"So also shall my Heavenly Father do to you if you forgive not
every one his brother from your hearts."

Of course, it is unnecessary to point out how strictly this
applies to us. Many other texts might be cited from the Gospels
to the same effect. One only I will mention, and that is, that we
cannot say an "Our Father" without making the very forgiveness of
our sins, which we ask for, dependent upon our forgiveness of the
faults of others. We must forgive if we wish to be forgiven, and
this forgiveness must be from the heart; no mere form of words,
sufficient to satisfy men, but it must be a forgiveness sincere
and genuine, such as to satisfy God, the searcher of hearts,
before whom we must appear to give an account of our whole life.

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

              Sermon CXLIII.

             Mixed Marriages.


I wish to give a short instruction on the Sacrament of Matrimony
this morning.

{468}

If a marriage with a merely nominal Catholic be fraught with
dangerous consequences, and be the cause of much disturbance and
anxiety to one who wishes to be a Christian in deed as well as in
name--and that it is so I think all will agree--what shall we say
of a mixed marriage, as it is called--of the union of a Catholic
with one who holds religious views opposed to the faith of the
church, or who, perhaps, has no belief or religion at all? How
can any true harmony or peace be expected when there is
discordance in the matter of religion, which lies nearest to the
heart, and is more thoroughly interwoven in all the ideas,
opinions, feelings, and practices of a practical Catholic than
any other whatever?

Sympathy, union of interests and desires, of plans, hopes, and
efforts, must exist in all true friendship; nay, more, without it
association or companionship of any kind soon becomes a burden.
There is no remedy for this except by dropping or putting in the
back ground those aspirations and affections which are not shared
by the other party. And what is true of all friendship is, of
course, true above all of that which should be the highest,
nearest, and dearest of all friendships--namely, that of
marriage. The only way for a Catholic to be at all happy in a
mixed marriage is to put religion in the background; to regard
it, as, unfortunately, too many do, as a matter of very little
importance; as something to be professed, indeed, and
occasionally practised, but which is to have no special influence
on the general course and tenor of one's life.

{469}

How can a Catholic wife, for instance, who is earnest about her
religion be really happy with a husband who cannot attach any
importance to, or see any sense in, her practices of devotion; to
whom holy Mass, Benediction, the sacraments, the veneration of
the saints and angels, and many other things which are her great
helps and consolations in life, are mere idle mummeries and
superstitions; who looks contemptuously on her observance of
Lent, of Fridays, and fast days; who considers all the teachings
and laws of the church an imposition and a fraud, to be done away
with as far as possible; who, in short, either looks forward to
nothing at all beyond this life, or, if he hopes for heaven, has
a different one from hers, and seeks for it in a different way?
The only plan that can be followed to secure even a seeming peace
and agreement is to bring down the Catholic religion to its
lowest level, to make out that it is not so very different from
Protestantism after all; to be content with Mass on Sundays; to
eat meat on Fridays whenever it is more convenient; to let the
pope and the church generally get on as best they can, and to say
no more about them than can be helped. Yes, this mixture even in
the Catholic party of Catholic and Protestant is only too likely
to be the result of a mixed marriage.

I know that it may be said, and with truth, that Protestants are
not always prejudiced against our religion; that sometimes a
Protestant husband is not only willing but anxious that his
Catholic wife should attend thoroughly to her religious duties;
and we find cases of Protestant wives even becoming Catholics,
mainly, as it would seem, to induce by their example a more
faithful practice of religion in their Catholic husbands. But
these are results which we have no right to expect--no, not even
if they are promised beforehand. And too often we find a state of
things in a mixed marriage much worse than what I have described.
{470}
We find, in spite of the most solemn promises made beforehand, a
bitter and shameless persecution; Mass and the sacraments
forbidden; children denied not only Catholic instruction, but
even the grace of baptism; the priest not allowed in the house
even in time of sickness, and nearly all hope gone of receiving
the last rites of the church at the hour of death. We do not wish
to blame the Protestant party too much in these cases; he may be
acting according to his conscience, but such a conscience, though
perhaps good enough for him, is not one which a Catholic should
run the risk of being governed by.

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

{471}

         _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.

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

{472}

              Sermon CXLIV.

    Obedience To The Civil Authorities.


 _Render therefore to Cæsar
 the things that are Cæsar's,
 and to God the things that are God's._
  --Matthew xxii. 21


Our Lord made this reply, my dear brethren, to the question of
some who asked him whether it was lawful to give tribute to
Caesar or not; or, in other words, whether it was right to pay
taxes to support the government of the Roman Empire, to which the
Jews were then subjected, and which was a pagan, and in many ways
an impious and ungodly power. They hoped that he would say that
it was not; for if he did, they would have a very good charge to
make against him before the Roman governor, as one who was a
rebel and a disobeyer of the laws; and could thus bring about his
ruin, which they earnestly desired. Now, if it really had been
wrong to pay these taxes Christ would of course have said so;
for, as they had said to him in truth, though they meant it as
flattery, he was a true speaker, and would not betray the truth
to please any man or to escape any danger. But instead of
answering in this way, as they hoped, he surprised them by saying
that they ought to pay the taxes which were imposed on them; he
commanded them to obey the power, hateful in many ways as it was,
whose subjects they were.

We must, therefore, conclude that the power of the state, or the
law of the land as it is called, has a real claim in the name of
God and of Christ to our obedience. For if our Lord required
those who heard him to obey the Roman authorities, he would also
require us to obey the duly constituted authorities under which
we live at any time. For the cruel and persecuting pagan empire
of Rome was surely no more worthy of respect and obedience than
any other under which our lot is like to be cast.

{473}

And if we could have any doubt as to our duty in conscience on
this point, St. Paul confirms this lesson most emphatically.
"There is no power," he says, "but from God; and those that are,
are ordained of God. ... And they that resist purchase to
themselves damnation. ... Wherefore be subject of necessity, not
only for wrath" (that is, for fear of the consequences) "but also
for conscience sake." And coming to the very matter of which our
Lord has spoken, he proceeds: "Render, therefore, to all men
their dues. Tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom
custom."

We see then clearly, my brethren, that the laws of the land bind
us in conscience. And we do not by any means need to go back to
apostolic times to find instruction to this effect. The
successors of St. Peter, and those teaching in union with them,
have always insisted on this duty of obedience to the civil power
very strongly. Only last year, for instance, our Holy Father,
Pope Leo XIII., has, in an encyclical letter, taught it to us
very clearly. "The church," he says, "rightly teaches that the
power of the state comes from God." And he tells us that,
whatever the form of government may be--that is, whether the
rulers are chosen by the people or not--it is not simply from
the people that their right to rule and to be obeyed comes; the
people in an elective government do not make the power, although
they designate the person or persons in whom the power of God is
to rest.

{474}

Of course no one denies that the civil power may, in particular
cases, forfeit its claim to our obedience by requiring of us
things manifestly unjust or plainly contrary to the law of God or
of the church; as, for instance, if it should require us to
attend Protestant worship, or should forbid us to make our Easter
duty. But such cases are very rare, at least here in this
country. We shall know easily enough when they arise. There is
little fear, as things now are, of too great respect for law
among us; the danger, rather, is of our regarding laws as the
mere decisions of a majority, to which we have to submit as far
as we cannot help it, and because we cannot help it, but to which
we owe no interior reverence, and by breaking which we commit no
sin. Whereas the truth is that we do sin by breaking any law of
the land which is not manifestly unjust or contrary to the rights
of God and the obedience we owe to him.

Remember, then, my brethren, to render to Cæsar the things that
are Cæsar's. The President, Congress, our governors and
legislatures, and the other powers that be are really God's
vicegerents, though not in so high an order as the spiritual;
still in their own place they truly act in God's name. Find out
and consider what they require; confess and amend any disregard
or disrespect for their laws, unless you wish to be guilty of
contempt and disobedience to him from whom all law comes.

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

{475}

              Sermon CXLV.

           Thanksgiving Day.


    _Giving thanks to God the Father._
    --Colossians i. 12.


This week, as you know, my brethren, a day has been appointed by
the civil authorities, according to long-established custom,
which we are invited to devote specially to thanksgiving for the
many blessings which we have received from God during the year.
And though the observance of this day is not an ecclesiastical
obligation, yet there is a singular appropriateness in it for us
on account of its falling just at the close of the year which the
church celebrates. At this time, when we have completed the round
of the mysteries of our faith, and are about to recommence it in
the season of Advent, it must naturally occur to us to look back
and thank God, not only for all his temporal benefits, but also
and especially for the spiritual blessings which he has given us,
and which we have just finished commemorating.

Even in the temporal order, however, we have abundant cause to be
grateful to God. True, we have had our trials and sufferings,
some more, some less; though even these we can perhaps even now
see, and shall see more clearly hereafter, to have been blessings
in disguise. But we have had much happiness and comfort in spite
of these trials. Surely we ought not to pass this by unnoticed.

But this is just what we are too likely to do. Somehow or other,
we are all apt to take things when they go right as a matter of
course, and only to notice them when they go wrong. When we are
sick we complain and make a great fuss, and perhaps are not
satisfied unless we can make everybody else unhappy as well as
ourselves; but when we are well, that is just as it should be: no
thanks to anybody for that.
{476}
No thanks to God, whose loving care and providence are necessary,
and are given to us at each moment of our lives, and who is
continually warding off from us a thousand dangers to which we
are exposed, often through our own fault; no thanks to him whose
angels watch over us to keep us in all our ways. By our ignorance
and imprudence we are frequently endangering this wondrous life
which he has given us; with all the science in the world, we do
not understand it and could not direct it; it is he who causes
our breath to come, our hearts to beat, and our blood to flow in
our veins.

So also in the common affairs of life, our industry and skill
would avail nothing if God did not come to our assistance. If our
work or business prospers at all, it is due to him; it is his
free gift. And all the conveniences of modern life which we pride
ourselves so much on are the fruits of his power and skill which
he lends us. It is he who shines on us, not only by the sun and
moon, but also in those lights which we think that we ourselves
produce; it is he who sends our telegraphic messages for us, who
carries us where we will in our steamers and railway trains.

These perpetual and ordinary comforts of life, then, in which we
all share, as well as our very life itself, are God's gift. And
beside these, are there not more blessings which we can see if we
look back on the year, standing out from the rest? Have we
thanked him for all these? If not, let us then really make this a
time to atone for past neglect; a time of thanksgiving in deed as
well as in name.

{477}

But, above all, let us, whom he has given the signal and
unspeakable blessing of the true faith, thank him for that. To
those who have just come from the doubt and confusion of the
world outside this true church this is a happiness which
outweighs all troubles, a perpetual sunshine which drives away
all clouds. Why should it not be so to us all? This is what St.
Paul in his epistle wishes that it should be. "Giving thanks," he
says, "to God the Father, who has 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." Let us think on these words, and see if
there is not enough in them to make at least one Thanksgiving
day.

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

              Sermon CXLVI.

         The Communion Of Saints.


We are so near the Feast of All Saints and the commemoration of
all the faithful departed--All Souls day--that we may well let
our affectionate thoughts follow after our brethren who have gone
before us and sleep in the peace of Christ.

There is scarcely one of us, dear brethren, who has not been
familiar from childhood with the article of the Apostles Creed,
"I believe in the communion of saints"; and there are few, if
any, who have not derived consolation from this dogma of our
faith, teaching, as it does, that we are not entirely cut off
from those who have gone before us, but form with them one great
family, of which the head is Christ and the members the souls of
the just, whether in heaven or in purgatory, or still in the
flesh.

{478}

But if this truth of holy religion brings consolation, it brings
also the duty of praying for our brethren who are passing through
the cleansing fires of purgatory; who, because of sin or the debt
due for sin, cannot enter their eternal home until they have
repaid the last farthing. They can do nothing for
themselves--their day of meriting is past; they look to us who
are their friends to help them.

While they were with us they were very dear to us--bound to us
by ties of blood or friendship. Let us do our duty to them now;
let us, by our good works in their behalf, show how much we love
them; let us show that our affection for them was not selfish nor
pretended, but so real and strong and lasting that death has but
strengthened it and brought it to its fulness.

What one of us but has his daily task--his allotted work? Yet as
each day brings its own burdens, so each day is full of
opportunities of gaining indulgence for the souls in purgatory.
The many inconveniences we all of us are called upon to suffer,
the many sacrifices of comfort and of pleasure we make, the
disappointments we meet with, the fatigues we bear--all these may
be made sources of refreshment to our friends beyond the grave.
If in the morning we would but offer to God all we shall do and
suffer during the day for his honor and glory, and for the relief
of the departed, oh! how soon would the angels welcome them to
their true country, and how many advocates we should have before
the throne of God!

{479}

But if so much can be done without any particular effort on our
part, what shall we say of the efficacy of the special prayers we
recite for them and the Masses we have offered for their repose!
How shall we tell of their gratitude, of their unceasing
supplications for us! We lose nothing, dear brethren, by praying
for them; be assured we are rather the gainers, for not only do
they pray for us, but more--our charity towards them deepens in
our souls our love for God, and makes us thirst the more after
virtue and holiness, and wins for us a higher place in heaven and
a brighter crown of everlasting glory. Let us be generous, then;
let us storm heaven with our prayers for the souls in purgatory,
and we shall find rest for ourselves as well as for them.

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

{480}

    _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.
{481}
  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 CXLVII.

             Mixed Marriages.


From the simplest lessons of experience, my dear brethren, I
think it ought to be plain enough how miserable a thing a mixed
marriage is likely to be. Even if the faith and practice of the
Catholic party and of the children is what it should be--which is
certainly hardly to be expected--there will be great and
continual suffering to them on account of the separation of the
Protestant father or mother--who is all the more loved the better
and kinder he or she may be--from the unity of the church and
from the ordinary means of salvation.

In fact, it can hardly be imagined how any one having a lively
faith in the Catholic religion can marry a Protestant or infidel,
unless under the influence of a hope that some time or other the
conversion of the other party will be effected. This hope does
occasionally prove not to be a vain one. There are cases, no
doubt, in which a Protestant, who would not probably otherwise
have turned his thoughts to the question at all, does become a
Catholic by means of marriage.
{482}
But the best chance to obtain such a conversion is before the
marriage is entered on; that is the time to try to secure it; and
it is the duty of every Catholic who thinks of marrying one
outside the church to do the best in his or her power to bring
the other party over, not only in name but in fact, to the true
faith. I say in fact, for, unfortunately, many a non-Catholic,
who has no strong conviction about religion in any way, will be
willing to call himself a Catholic, and even to be baptized, in
order to remove objections which may be made. Take care, then,
that the conversion which is professed is a sincere and genuine
one, and not merely got up for the occasion. I have heard of a
case in which the Protestant party, when his religion was urged
by the priest as an objection to the marriage, which would make
trouble, most cheerfully replied: "Well, father, if it would be
any convenience to you, I am quite ready to be a Catholic." Such
converts are not so very uncommon, though it is not often that
they let their state of mind be seen so plainly. They will sit
through several instructions given to them by the priest, making
no question or remark about anything which he says, that they may
get through as soon as possible; and when they do get through,
that is about the last of their Catholic profession, or at least
of their attendance to any Catholic duties.

If, then, a conversion, and a real and true conversion, cannot be
obtained before marriage, there is certainly much fear that it
never will be accomplished afterward. Be warned, then, in time;
do not indulge false hopes in this regard; do not marry in haste
and repent at leisure.

{483}

And about this matter of conversion I will say a few words, with
reference not to Protestants, but to careless and negligent
Catholics. A Catholic who is negligent of his duties has, it is
true, if he keeps his faith, a resource which the Protestant has
not; he knows what to do to be reconciled with God at the last;
he will probably try to do it, and he may succeed. There is then
more hope for his final salvation in this way than for the
Protestant; but that does not make him a better companion during
life; and many of the miseries of a mixed marriage are met with,
and some, perhaps, even in a greater degree, with nominal
Catholics than with Protestants. If, then, you contemplate
marriage even with a Catholic, be sure to see that he or she
attends to the duties required of Catholics, and has not
contracted vicious and dangerous habits. Do not delude yourself
with the idea that a confession and Communion must be made at the
time of the marriage, and that the priest will attend to all that
is necessary. For this confession and Communion may be in some
cases not so very good and fervent; they may be something like
what some Protestants, as I have said, go through with for
convenience or necessity. No, do not leave it all to the priest,
but do your own part. If the behavior of the other party before
marriage is not such as becomes a Christian, both with regard to
the frequentation of the sacraments and also in the matter of
temperance and in others of which you are the best and indeed the
only judge, it is not likely that it will be so afterward. Take
care, then, before taking a step which you cannot retrace. You,
not the priest, are the one to secure now the amendment of life
which is so necessary. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

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

{484}

              Sermon CXLVIII.

          Imitation Of The Saints.


  _My fellow-laborers,
  whose names are in the book of life._
  --Philippians iv. 3.


Thus does St. Paul in the Epistle of to-day speak of St. Clement
and the others who had "labored with him in the Gospel." Do you
wish that your name, too, should be written in the book of life?
Follow the path trodden here below by the saints of God, and
then, even while yet on earth, your name will be recorded in
heaven. For holy church commands us to observe this festival of
All Saints, of which we are now keeping the octave, not only in
honor of those whose names are in the calendar, and whose feasts
come round in the course of each year, but also in praise of that
great multitude which no man can number--of all nations, and
tribes, and peoples, and tongues--who stand before the throne and
in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their
hands. The saints whom the church has honored with canonization
are but a small number in that vast multitude. They were the
heroes of the Christian army, but the great majority of those who
are now receiving the homage of the church were the rank and
file--common every day Christians, like ourselves. The festival
of All Saints, therefore, especially appeals to us by showing us
that sanctity is not something away off out of our reach and
entirely beyond our powers, but that it is what we must each
strive after if we hope to win heaven. For nothing defiled can
enter there, and without holiness no man shall see God, As, then,
we hope to be one day saints in heaven, we must try now to be
saints on earth.
{485}
That is why St. Paul addresses all the faithful as the "beloved
of God, called to be saints." Yet many Christians are forgetful
of this high vocation. They seem to think that God has laid down
one rule, one course of life for saints, and quite another for
ordinary people. This is all a mistake. God's law is the same for
every one. There are, indeed, special duties belonging to
particular states of life, but apart from these there is no
difference in what is required of every Christian. We are all of
us bound to follow the strait and narrow way which leadeth unto
life. The chief happiness of that life will consist in the sight
of God, to be always in his presence, serving him continually in
joy and thanksgiving. And the way to this life our Lord has told
us in the sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they shall see God."

So, then, in order to attain to this life, to dwell for ever in
the sight of God, it is not necessary to imitate the saints in
their extraordinary deeds, their heroic acts of penance and
self-sacrifice, their suffering for the faith. Some of us are,
indeed, called upon to stand out conspicuously among other
Christians, as they did, and show to the world an example of
courage and heroism. But for all of us the hidden virtues are the
ones required, and if we cultivate these, God, who seeth in
secret, will himself reward us openly in the day when the secrets
of all hearts shall be revealed. The one thing needful for each
one of us is purity of heart, to cleanse our hearts from sin and
from all affection towards sin. "Dearly beloved," says St. John,
"if our heart do not reprehend us, we have confidence towards
God."
{486}
See to it, then, that your heart is all right towards God.
Cleanse your soul from mortal sin by turning your heart away from
the sin you have committed by sincere and hearty contrition and
by a good confession. Then _keep_ your heart right towards
God by giving it to him who says to you, "My son, give me thy
heart." God alone is worthy of the full love of our hearts, and
he alone can satisfy the heart of man. If we set our affections
upon sin or upon the passing things of this world there is
reserved for us in the end nothing but unsatisfied longings and
bitterness of heart. But if we purify our hearts from every
affection that would lead us away from God we shall indeed be
called "blessed," and our names shall be written in the book of
life.

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

              Sermon CXLIX.

                 Heaven.


  _Blessed are the poor in spirit,
  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven._
  --St. Matthew. v. 2.
    [USCCB: Matthew. v. 3.]

All Saints' day is a solemn and glorious festival for all heaven
as well as for all the world; for to-day God is praised, and the
great salvation by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ magnified
and lauded by a common, universal act of holy congratulation and
worship among all the saints--that is, among all souls that are
united to God in the communion of saints, whether in the church
triumphant, in the church suffering, or in the church militant.

{487}

It seems to me that none but Catholics believe in heaven, the
eternal home of the saints after death, because they alone appear
to understand what a saint is, as the church has proved herself
to be the only power which has been able to train and canonize
one.

Yes, all we can know of heaven is, that it is the reward, the
everlasting life, the new and divine state of being which the
saints enter into and enjoy when they have left this world--that
is, when they die in the church militant and rise in glory in the
church triumphant. If any Christian, then, or so-called
Christian, fancies he can meditate about heaven, and hopes to get
there without knowing what a saint is, and without striving to be
as near one as he can, he is simply deceiving himself. I fear
that the kind of place some people think would be a good enough
heaven for them, if we are to judge by the way they live, is, in
fact, not much above what the state of hell really is. Many are
the souls who ought to have been saints, and are damned because
they were unfaithful to the vocation God gave them, and too
sensual to make the necessary sacrifices that such a vocation
demanded. What kind of a heaven, for instance, do you think the
many intelligent Protestants we meet with every day will likely
get, who know they ought to become Catholics to save their souls,
and are yet afraid to take the step; who stand still and count
the cost, and cheat their consciences with the false doctrine
that no real sacrifices are demanded of them, because God will be
more glorified if they leave all to him and do nothing
themselves? And yet these people, and a good many Catholics, too,
are living just such lives, and in their deaths they will not be
divided.

{488}

And now do you say: O Father! tell us, then, what a saint is,
that we may be sure we are not all wrong, but may have some hope
of imitating such, and so join the company of the glorified ones
in heaven when we die! I answer: A saint is one who does
everything he feels that God wants him to do, and carefully gives
up and avoids everything that he feels is not pleasing to God.
Apply that to yourself. God does not want the same thing of
everybody, nor require all to make the same sacrifices. So that,
as a fact, there are all kinds of saints, as we know. But in what
he does require he demands that one should aim at doing it
_perfectly_. "Be ye perfect, as your Heavenly Father is
perfect," said our Lord. Be perfectly honest, be perfectly pure,
be perfectly sober, be perfectly charitable, be perfectly
obedient to the laws of God and man, be perfectly humble, be
perfectly free from loving money or other riches.

Don't let me ever hear you say again that you are "a man of the
world and must live in it" as an excuse for the wretched apology
for a Christian life you lead. You know that is a lie. You are a
man, and _a Christian man of the kingdom of God and of his
saints_, and _that_ is the kind of a place you live in,
and must square your life accordingly, or you will never see the
kingdom of God and of his saints in glory, which is heaven, when
you die. In to-day's Gospel our Lord pronounces the eight
beatitudes. Think on them, and, if you do not know them by heart,
take out your Bible when you go home and read them at the
beginning of the fifth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. So live
that you will merit to be one of those our Lord declares to be
"blessed," and you will surely be a saint.

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

{489}


_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. _

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

{490}

    _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.
{491}
  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 CL.

      Marrying Out Of The Church.

{492}

In our course of instructions on marriage, my dear friends, we
have so far spoken chiefly of the care which should be taken in
the selection of the person who is to be one's constant companion
through life, and shown that not only earthly happiness, but even
the salvation of the soul, may depend on this choice being made
wisely. We will now go on to consider the ceremony of marriage
itself.

Some people, though they have always been Catholics and lived
among Catholics, seem to be entirely ignorant of the laws and
requirements of the church on this subject. They appear to think
that nothing has to be done but to call on the priest some fine
evening, and that he will marry them then and there. And if it is
not convenient to go to the priest, or if he makes any difficulty
about it, why, then a Protestant minister or his honor the mayor
will do at a pinch.

Now there are several points which these people need instruction
about, and several mistakes which they make in this very
important affair. We shall have to consider them separately. And
we will begin with the greatest mistake of all which can be
fallen into by Catholics who wish to get married, and that is to
go to a Protestant minister for the purpose.

What is, then, the harm exactly of going to a Protestant minister
to get married? Is it that a Protestant minister is an immoral or
vicious character, with whom we should have nothing to do? By no
means. He is, indeed, more likely to be to blame for his errors
in religion than his people, for he has, from his greater
knowledge in religious matters, a better chance to know the
truth; but even a minister may be in good faith about his
doctrine. And in other respects he may be a worthy and estimable
gentleman.

{493}

But the reason why Catholics should avoid going to him for
marriage is that marriage is one of the seven sacraments which
our Lord has entrusted to the keeping of his church. These
sacraments, then, belong to the church, and we cannot recognize
the right of those who separate from her to administer them or to
assist officially at them, though they may have the power to do
so validly. Therefore, though marriage be real and valid when
contracted before a Protestant minister, and though his own
people, of course, are not to blame, if in good faith, for
availing themselves of his services, we cannot do so. In deed,
this would be the case even if marriage were not a sacrament, but
merely a religious rite or ceremony; we cannot allow the
ministers of any sect separated from the church to act as such
for us in any religious function; to do so would be to allow
their claim to act in the name of Christ. This we can never do,
and, above all, where the sacraments are concerned.

Another, and a very weighty reason, why Catholics cannot go
before a minister for marriage, is that no one but the Catholic
clergy can be supposed to be sufficiently acquainted with the
laws of God and of the church regarding Christian marriage. There
are impediments, as they are called, which make marriage invalid
unless a dispensation is obtained from the proper source. Some of
these are commonly known, such as those which proceed from a near
relationship of the parties; but there are others which are not
known even by name to the great mass of the faithful, and which a
Protestant minister, even should he happen to know them, would
never for a moment regard.
{494}
Catholics, therefore, if they go to a minister to get married,
run a great risk of not being really married at all, owing to
these impediments not being detected or attended to. By the law
of the State their marriage may be a good and real one, but in
the sight of God it will not be so, if any such impediment should
exist, and not have been removed by dispensation; and this holds,
even though no suspicion of such an impediment should have
arisen. You see, then, how important it is in this matter to
consult those who are competent to advise them.

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

              Sermon CLI.

         Joy In God's Service.


  _Let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, ...
  and be, ye, thankful._
  --Colossians iii. 15.


Of the several great lessons contained in to-day's Epistle, the
one most insisted on and brought out is that of thankfulness and
joyfulness in the service of God.

In the labors of St. Paul (and his labors were more abundant than
all the Apostles), in his frequent tribulations and crosses, he
never ceased giving thanks in all things--nor did he ever tire of
inculcating this same duty on the first Christians. If, then, my
brethren, thankfulness and joyfulness are such a great part of
religion, it would be well this morning to see if they be
characteristic of our service. We have a multitude of reasons for
being thankful to God, if we but thought of them--the gifts of
nature--life, health, strength, the pleasures and gratifications
of the mind, learning, objects of interest, of study and beauty,
both in nature and art, the pleasures of home, the joys of
friendship.
{495}
These are real and great benefits; they are causes of joy and
motives of thankfulness. Our good God intended us to find
enjoyment in the moderate use of them, not, indeed, as ends in
themselves, but as means to our one great end. And so he has
spread the charm of beauty over this place of our sojourn and
made it pleasant and interesting, lest we lose heart and become
sad, and languish on our journey to heaven.

But to speak of higher gifts and benefits: What motives of joy
and thankfulness ought we not to find in the knowledge of God,
his truth, mercy, and goodness as made known to us in the
Scripture and in his Divine Son, our Saviour and friend, the
God-Man; in the gift of the faith, the spiritual riches of the
church and the sacraments, his mercies to us
personally--blessings on our labors, the removal of dangers from
our paths, his gracious forgiveness of our sins, time and again.
Then, too, what we expect and through his mercy count on for the
future--the joys of heaven, those delights which pass our
understanding. The life of heaven will be pure joy, and its one
occupation thankfulness. Surely, then, this life should be a
figure and foretaste of it; and so St. Paul thought, for he bids
us "be thankful," "rejoice and rejoice always"; singing in grace
in our hearts, and in every word and work giving thanks to God.

{496}

It is plain that, since God has done his part in bestowing the
benefits in such abundant measure, we should do ours in returning
thanks, for gratitude is the correlative of benefit. It is
equally plain that the true religion is joyful. Now, is such our
religion? Is this the way we act? Is it the way we consider God's
service? We see, I think, more anxious and sad faces than
thankful and glad ones; and I fear that the joyfulness of the
latter does not come generally from the reasons I have given. It
comes too often from worldly causes, from success in temporal
things, from hopes and prospects which relate to indifferent
things, if they are not dangerous and positively bad. Whereas the
common idea of religion is that it is an unpleasant, sad, up-hill
sort of a thing, which imposes restraints upon us, and, far from
being a cause of thankfulness and joy, is a great interference
with the pleasure of life. Pious people, too, are regarded as
dull, simple, spiritless creatures, quite the opposite of joyful.

This is all wrong, all false, and, if it be our religion, then we
_have not_ the true religion, at least practically. For as
God's benefits are real and great, so our thanks and joy should
be in them and correspond to them. Religion, being our highest
duty, should be and can be our highest pleasure. God says it is,
and he is truth; those who have tried say the same. "What shall I
render to God for all he hath rendered to me?"--"better one day in
thy courts than a thousand years in the tents of sinners"--"taste
and see how sweet the Lord is." Our consciences and
experience bear out the same truth; for surely evil cannot be
compared to good in fulness, in intensity; and, above all, it
will not wear, it will not last, and it leaves us dissatisfied,
fearful, sad. The pleasure and joy of a good life to a good man
even here are far greater than the pleasure of sin to a sinner.
{497}
Let us, then, make up our minds, once for all, that not only is
religion the most necessary, but the wisest and the happiest
thing for us. Let us serve God with thankfulness, both for what
he has done and will do for us, if we are faithful. If he has
done so much in this state of probation, exile, and punishment,
what will he not do when the time of reward and enjoyment
arrives. Surely, considering what we are and what we have done,
the pains and crosses bear no proportion to the benefits, and we
have cause even in present labors to be thankful and in every
word and work to give him praise through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

              Sermon CLII.

        Forgive And Be Forgiven.


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


This, my dear brethren, is the law of Christ. It is a law we are
bound to keep. We cannot save our souls unless we do keep it.
There is no possible way to escape its requirements, for our Lord
himself declares positively: "But if you will _not_ forgive
men, _neither_ will your Father forgive _you your
offences_" (Matthew vi. 15). Therefore, there is no way to
save our souls, no way to be true Christians in life, unless we
forgive all and every one, without exception, every injury they
have done us.

{498}

But one may say: I do forgive all who have injured me if they
repent, say they are sorry, and ask pardon! My dear brethren,
this won't do. You must forgive whether they repent or not.
Nothing less will satisfy the Lord. The best reason is that since
the Lord has forgiven us, so we also are bound to forgive all. A
true lover of the Lord doesn't want a better reason. A greater or
a better cannot be given. Our Lord himself has set the example.
He has taken our sins upon himself, and caused the Eternal Father
to forgive us our sins for his sake beforehand, before we have
even repented or shown by a single sign that we want to belong to
God and to hate sin. Do we not receive in our baptism, as
infants, the grace that destroys original sin? Original sin
placed us under the power of the devil, and made us unworthy to
be called the sons of God, but our Christian baptism made us
again the sons of God. Does not God forgive us also our mortal
sins, giving us time to repent, and even waiting patiently for
our repentance? Remember, these sins after baptism are all the
greater because after being made innocent we again become guilty.

But some try to excuse themselves and say: It is hard to have to
do this; I can't do it. The sin against me is too great; it ought
not to be forgiven. This is not true. There is nothing we can't
forgive, nothing we are permitted to leave unforgiven. We can
forgive any sin against us if we will. If it is hard, pray and it
will become easy. Sincere prayer for him who is our enemy is sure
to remove very soon all feeling against him. This is certain:
that it will, _without fail_, prevent the malice and revenge
in our hearts from overcoming us and causing us to sin grievously
against charity. Remember that everything we do well for our Lord
is hard at first, but is made easy by prayer and faithful,
persevering effort.

{499}

Again, some object: I try to pray but cannot, because when I pray
I think of my wrongs and begin to hate my enemy, so that my
prayer is insincere or stops on my lips! Then pray for all poor
sinners, and don't mean to leave your enemy out of your prayers.
This is a good beginning, and keeps you from mortal sin, for pray
we must _for our enemies_. This is a fundamental law of the
Christian life. If we intentionally leave out one single soul
when we pray for all poor sinners, we sin in the very presence of
God, and our prayers are rejected; nor shall they be accepted
until we include that soul also.

Let us remember, my dear brethren, that we are called by our Lord
to show to the world that being the friends of God means that he
puts into our souls his loving, merciful, long-suffering Spirit,
and thus makes us like to himself. Does any one want to be
God-like? Then let him forgive from his heart every injury and
all who injure him.

To gain courage to forgive, let us see what forgiveness does. It
saves God's honor. It prevents his being insulted. For example:
when one insults us, he sins against God and insults him also. If
we answer back, we also insult God, and make two sins instead of
one. Next, our angry answer makes our enemy reply again; for
another sin are we responsible. So it goes on until a number of
sins are committed by each one. Silence on our part would have
prevented these insults to God and left our souls unstained. We
were not silent. The consequence is we not only increased
another's sin, but we added our own and lost the friendship of
God.
{500}
Had a forgiving spirit been in each soul this could not have
happened. Had it been in one of them, one soul at least would
have been kept from sin. Cultivate, then, a forgiving spirit, and
"even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so you also" forgive all.

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





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Five-minute Sermons for Low Masses on All Sundays Of The Year, Volume II" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home