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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

From Today's Office, Two

From a sermon by Saint Augustine

If I wanted to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ

This is our glory: the witness of our conscience. There are men who rashly judge, who slander, whisper and murmur, who are eager to suspect what they do not see, and eager to spread abroad things they have not even a suspicion of. Against men of this sort, what defence is there save the witness of our own conscience?

My brothers, we do not seek, nor should we seek, our own glory even among those whose approval we desire. What we should seek is their salvation, so that if we walk as we should they will not go astray in following us. They should imitate us if we are imitators of Christ; and if we are not, they should still imitate him. He cares for his flock, and he alone is to be found with those who care for their flocks, because they are all in him.

And so we seek no advantage for ourselves when we aim to please men. We want to take our joy in men – and we rejoice when they take pleasure in what is good, not because this exalts us, but because it benefits them.

It is clear who is intended by the apostle Paul: If I wanted to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. And similarly when he says: Be pleasing to all men in all things, even as I in all things please all men. Yet his words are as clear as water, limpid, undisturbed, unclouded. And so you should, as sheep, feed on and drink of his message; do not trample on it or stir it up.

You have listened to our Lord Jesus Christ as he taught his apostles: Let your actions shine before men so that they may see your good deeds, and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, for it is the Father who made you thus. We are the people of his pasture, the sheep of his hands. If then you are good, praise is due to him who made you so; it is no credit to you, for if you were left to yourself, you could only be wicked. Why then do you try to pervert the truth, in wishing to be praised when you do good, and blaming God when you do evil? For though he said: Let your works shine before men, in the same Sermon on the Mount he also said: Do not parade your good deeds before men. So if you think there are contradictions in Saint Paul, you will find the same in the Gospels; but if you refrain from troubling the waters of your heart, you will recognise here the peace of the Scriptures and with it you will have peace.

And so, my brothers, our concern should be not only to live as we ought, but also to do so in the sight of men; not only to have a good conscience but also, so far as we can in our weakness, so far as we can govern our frailty, to do nothing which might lead our weak brother into thinking evil of us. Otherwise, as we feed on the good pasture and drink the pure water, we may trample on God’s meadow, and weaker sheep will have to feed on trampled grass and drink from troubled waters.

What Dies Can Come Alive Again After a Moral Winter

If the life of Christ teaches us anything, it is that we are all destined for the Resurrection of the Dead.

The Resurrection of Christ opened the door of Hell, which we call the Harrowing of Hell, and Christ led the faithful captives into glory. We affirm this in the Creed, "He descended into hell".

"Releasing the captives" as a theme resounds again and again in the psalms. We find this psalm in today's Office of Readings.

Psalm 9 Douay-Rheims 

Unto the end, for the hidden things of the Son. A psalm for David.
I will give praise to thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: I will relate all thy wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing to thy name, O thou most high.
When my enemy shall be turned back: they shall be weakened and perish before thy face.
For thou hast maintained my judgment and my cause: thou hast sat on the throne, who judgest justice.
Thou hast rebuked the Gentiles, and the wicked one hath perished: thou hast blotted out their name for ever and ever.
The swords of the enemy have failed unto the end: and their cities thou hast destroyed. Their memory hath perished with a noise.
But the Lord remaineth for ever. He hath prepared his throne in judgment:
And he shall judge the world in equity, he shall judge the people in justice.
10 And the Lord is become a refuge for the poor: a helper in due time in tribulation.
11 And let them trust in thee who know thy name: for thou hast not forsaken them that seek thee, O Lord.
12 Sing ye to the Lord, who dwelleth in Sion: declare his ways among the Gentiles:
13 For requiring their blood he hath remembered the: he hath not forgotten the cry of the poor.
14 Have mercy on me, O Lord: see my humiliation which I suffer from my enemies.
15 Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death, that I may declare all thy praises in the gates of the daughter of Sion.
16 I will rejoice in thy salvation: the Gentiles have stuck fast in the destruction which they have prepared. Their foot hath been taken in the very snare which they hid.
17 The Lord shall be known when he executeth judgments: the sinner hath been caught in the works of his own hands.
18 The wicked shall be turned into hell, all the nations that forget God.
19 For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end: the patience of the poor shall not perish for ever.
20 Arise, O Lord, let not man be strengthened: let the Gentiles be judged in thy sight.
21 Appoint, O Lord, a lawgiver over them: that the Gentiles may know themselves to be but men.
22 Why, O Lord, hast thou retired afar off? why dost thou slight us in our wants, in the time of trouble?
23 Whilst the wicked man is proud, the poor is set on fire: they are caught in the counsels which they devise.
24 For the sinner is praised in the desires of his soul: and the unjust man is blessed.
25 The sinner hath provoked the Lord according to the multitude of his wrath he will not seek him:
26 God is not before his eyes: his ways are filthy at all times. Thy judgments are removed from his sight: he shall rule over all his enemies.
27 For he hath said in his heart: I shall not be moved from generation to generation, and shall be without evil.
28 His mouth is full of cursing, and of bitterness, and of deceit: under his tongue are labour and sorrow.
29 He sitteth in ambush with the rich in private places, that he may kill the innocent.
30 His eyes are upon the poor man: He lieth in wait in secret like a lion in his den. He lieth in ambush that he may catch the poor man: to catch the poor, whilst he draweth him to him.
31 In his net he will bring him down, he will crouch and fall, when he shall have power over the poor.
32 For he hath said in his heart: God hath forgotten, he hath turned away his face not to see to the end.
33 Arise, O Lord God, let thy hand be exalted: forget not the poor.
34 Wherefore hath the wicked provoked God? for he hath said in his heart: He will not require it.
35 Thou seest it, for thou considerest labour and sorrow: that thou mayst deliver them into thy hands. To thee is the poor man left: thou wilt be a helper to the orphan.
36 Break thou the arm of the sinner and of the malignant: his sin shall be sought, and shall not be found.
37 The Lord shall reign to eternity, yea, for ever and ever: ye Gentiles shall perish from his land.
38 The Lord hath heard the desire of the poor: thy ear hath heard the preparation of their heart.
39 To judge for the fatherless and for the humble, that man may no more presume to magnify himself upon earth.

A human being's greatest fear may be to be subjected to slavery and death. We all face these possibilities, and for those of us who were held captive by sin, and were freed from eternal death, we are grateful forever for God's graces.
At this time of great sadness in America, we must keep our eyes on the truth that the Resurrected Christ will come again into our lives--into each one's life at the particular judgement, and at the end of time, when He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
In the meantime, we have two jobs to do: first, to cooperate with grace in order to save our own souls' second, to save the souls of others around us. I pray daily for dead souls. This is part of my vocation as a contemplative in the world. I have a list of dead souls I hold up to Our Lady and God daily.
I pray for my own soul, never forgetting that the grace of final perseverance is a grace, indeed, not to be assumed.
Another psalm from today's Office speaks to how many of us feel today. Where are the saints? Where are those who love God first?
In a few minutes, I shall be off to daily Mass, which today is followed by a rosary and adoration. Only a few, four old ladies, in fact, stay for the rosary, Fewer stay for adoration. Christ in the midst of the city, as this church lies smack-dab in the downtown, is ignored. 
He is the Hidden God and few want to find Him. Where are the saints?
Yet, what dies can come alive again, with prayer, fasting, penance.
I live in penance daily, I have chosen this way, but first, God chose this way for me. The way of penance brings great joy. Sitting in this storage room cum bed, I find the Hidden God, Who gave His life for us so that we may live. 
Pray for the dead souls of those who are celebrating sin. Pray for the confused dead souls. Pray for me, as we all head into a moral winter. But, no life will come without suffering, penance, prayer. 
This is my job directly, and yours, perhaps directly, but indirectly as well. Do not waste grace in this moral winter to come.

Psalm 11 Douay-Rheims 

11 Unto the end; for the octave, a psalm for David.
Save me, O Lord, for there is now no saint: truths are decayed from among the children of men.
They have spoken vain things every one to his neighbour: with deceitful lips, and with a double heart have they spoken.
May the Lord destroy all deceitful lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things.
Who have said: We will magnify our tongue; our lips are our own; who is Lord over us?
By reason of the misery of the needy, and the groans of the poor, now will I arise, saith the Lord. I win set him in safety; I will deal confidently in his regard.
The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried by the fire, purged from the earth refined seven times.
Thou, O Lord, wilt preserve us: and keep us from this generation for ever.
The wicked walk round about: according to thy highness, thou hast multiplied the children of men.

From St. Alphonsus

"I again repeat what Father Balthasar Alvarez use to say, that a soul out of prayer is like a fish out of water."

from The True Spouse of Jesus Christ

From A Hermit

“The fraternal life, understood as a life shared in love, is an eloquent sign of ecclesial communion. It is practiced with special care in Religious Institutes and in Societies of Apostolic Life, where community living acquires special significance. Nor is the dimension of fraternal communion alien...even to forms of the consecrated life lived individually. Hermits, in their profound solitude, do not withdraw from ecclesial communion but serve that communion by their specific charism of contemplation." ~Pope St. John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, #42.

Is it not our fault that we have not prayed enough and done enough penance up to this point in history? Why are pray-ers not valued in our now sad society? Without prayer, those who act go into battle without backup, without ammo.

Sermon by St. Alphonsus on the Abuse of Mercy, Part Two

Continuation from yesterday from St. Alphonsus Sermon on the Abuse of Divine Mercy

my comments in blue

By this sermon he has today given you a new call. He appears to me to say to you: "What is there that I ought to do to my vineyard, that I have not done to it (Isa. v. 4)?" What more ought I to do for you that I have not done? What do you say? What answer have you to make? Will you give yourselves to God, or will you continue to offend Him?

Modern Catholics as well as the secular society have a blind spot regarding the justice of God. 

Consider, says St. Augustine, that the punishment of your sins has been deferred, not remitted; "unfruitful tree! the axe has been deferred. Be not secure: you shall be cut off." If you abuse the divine mercy, you shall be cut off; vengeance shall soon fall upon you. What do you wait for? Do you wait till God sends you to hell? The Lord has been hitherto silent; but He is not silent forever. When the time of vengeance shall arrive He will say: "These things hast thou done, and I was silent. Thou thoughtest unjustly that I should be like to thee: but I will reprove thee, and set before thy face (Ps. xlix. 21)." He will set before your eyes the graces which he bestowed upon you, and which you have despised: these very graces shall judge and condemn you. 

We need to be mourning for our own sins. Our own failures to pray and do penance.

Brethren, resist no longer the calls of God; tremble lest the call which He gives you today may be the last call for you. Go to confession as soon as possible, and make a firm resolution to change your lives. It is useless to confess your sins, if you afterwards return to your former vices. 

But you will perhaps say, that you have not strength to resist the temptations by which you are assailed. Listen to the words of the Apostle: "God is faithful, Who will not permit you to be tempted above that which you are able (1 Cor. x. 13)." God is faithful: He will not permit you to be tempted above your strength. And if of yourself you have not strength to overcome the devil, ask it from God, and He will give it to you. "Ask, and you shall receive (John xvi. 24)." "Praising," said David, "I will call on the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies (Ps. xvii. 4)." And St. Paul said: "I can do all things in Him Who strengthened me (Phil. iv. 13)." Of myself I can do nothing; but with the divine assistance I can do all things. Recommend yourselves to God in all temptations, and God will enable you to resist them, and you shall not fall. 

Again, please join me in a day of prayer and fasting on July 4th.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Landmark Posting Day

24 post day! Not so many tomorrow...

One More Good Shepherd

Archbishop Gustavo García‐Siller  Official Statement June 26, 2015 Archdiocese of San Antonio

I am profoundly troubled by the decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court concerning Same‐Sex “marriage.”  I unite with my brother bishops across the nation, calling this decision a “tragic error.”   The Catholic Church will continue to proclaim the truth about marriage in our pulpits and in the public square.  In Catholic teaching about the sanctity of marriage, it is clear that the union of one man and one woman in Holy Matrimony is more than a human convention or a legal contract, it is a sacred bond that reflects a great reality both in Natural Law and in our deepest held beliefs. 

In our wedding liturgy we pray:  "Father, to reveal the plan of your love, you made the union of husband and wife an image of the covenant between you and your people. In the fulfillment of this sacrament, the marriage of Christian man and woman is a sign of the marriage between Christ and the Church." 

It is our belief that God is the author of marriage as a holy covenant between a man and a woman as a blessing to both.  The Catholic Catechism teaches;   "By creating man and woman he called them to an intimate communion of life and of love in marriage: 'So they are no longer two but one flesh....By its very nature it is ordered to the communion and good of the couple and to the generation and education of children." 

Catholic teaching explains that marriage is a loving union between a man and a woman and is not intended to be exclusively a prohibition, but is even more, a proclamation of God's love of humanity, and the beauty of love itself.  In this way the Church carries out the Father’s plan, enriching the lives of married couples and serving the common good. 

With love and respect to every human person, the Church will continue to invite men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation, to walk their journey of faith with us, discovering God's plan for them and for all society.  However, it is not within our power to recognize this redefinition of marriage nor participate in this misrepresentation of what we believe to be a sacred union created and reserved to one man and one woman. 

Another Good Statement

June 26, 2015
Bishop Terry R. LaValley 
Diocese of Ogdensburg
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision, ruling that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage. Regardless of the legal gymnastics that five of the nine jurists performed, no one can change what marriage really is. Divine law always trumps civil law. Marriage is the intimate partnership of life and love between one man and one woman, for the good of the spouses and for the procreation and education of children. Without this basic understanding of what marriage is, there is no limit to what “marriage” could mean.
Redefining marriage in the civil law teaches that one sex is interchangeable with the other, and that either a mother or a father is dispensable as a parent. It teaches that marriage is whatever consenting adults say it is. Protecting marriage matters to everyone. Mothers and fathers are irreplaceable, not interchangeable. Unjust discrimination is wrong, always wrong. However, treating differently that which is different is not unjust discrimination.
It’s no secret, the world at large is not eager to accept what the Church has to say. But our courts are not the ultimate arbiters of truth and that truth cannot be measured based on public opinion, even if it appears prevailing. Fidelity to the divine law is always, always the “loving thing to do.” Our mission is to inform and transform a world that seems, in so many ways, bent on succumbing to a philosophy of life that is at odds with God’s law.
The redefinition of legal marriage has serious consequences, especially for religious freedom. It changes every law involving marital status, requiring that other relationships be treated as if they were the same as the marital relationship of a man and a woman. No person or community, including religious organizations and individuals of faith, should be forced to accept this redefinition. For many of us, accepting a redefinition of marriage would be to act against our conscience and to deny our religious beliefs and moral convictions. Government should protect these convictions and beliefs without fear of intimidation or unwarranted charges that our values imply bigotry or hatred of others.
The majority opinion indicated that “those who adhere to religious doctrines may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” The five justices ruled that “the First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” We intend to exercise that First Amendment right to the fullest extent possible because this Court decision will not stop public dialogue.
Surely, we are disheartened and disappointed, but not deterred. We shall increase our efforts to strengthen marriages and families and to rebuild a marriage culture for the sake of our children. Motivated by the truth and strengthened through prayer, we will continue to follow Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are hope-filled because we are Christ-led and Christ-fed.

Excellent Statement--"civil disobedience may be a proper response"

I do not know why I cannot copy some of these pdfs.

Weird thing today.

But, please read this.

"No priest or deacon of this diocese may participate in the civil solemnization or celebration of a same sex marriage."

This excellent bishops also states that no diocesan, parish or any building associated with any Catholic groups may be used for these civil marriages. He also urges Catholics not to attend such false weddings

This is a great document. Why I cannot copy some pdfs is frustrating my attempt to share the entire document.

Entire List to Date with Links


Statement from Bishop Strickland

Joseph Edward StricklandBy the Grace of God and the Apostolic See
Bishop of Tyler
On the morning of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 5-4 decision establishing the legal right of two individuals of the same sex to legally marry in all 50 states. By doing so, the Court has acted in contradiction to their duty to promote the common good, especially what is good for families. I join with the Bishops of the United States in calling this decision a “tragic error.”
Let me unambiguously state at the outset that this extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it.  In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family. Regardless of this decision, what God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.
Marriage is not just a relationship between human beings that is based on emotions and feelings. Rather, our Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions tell us that God established true marriage with its own special nature and purpose, namely the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.
While taking a strong stand for marriage is the duty of all who call themselves Christian, every type of unjust discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies should be avoided. We must treat these individuals with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons. Christ rejects no one, but he calls all of us to be converted from our sinful inclinations and follow the truth He has revealed to us. Nevertheless, our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.
While some of us may have family members who have same-sex attraction, and there are even some who are members of our local churches, this decision to require the legal recognition of so-called marriage between homosexual persons should in no way lead us to believe that the living out of this orientation or the solemnizing of relationships between two persons of the same sex is a morally acceptable option.
We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience, thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.
Given this and recognizing my responsibility and moral authority as the shepherd of this Church of Tyler, I will shortly issue a decree in this Diocese establishing, as particular law, that no member of the clergy or any person acting as employee of the Church may in any way participate in the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages, and that no Catholic facilities or properties, including churches, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or any places dedicated or consecrated, or use for Catholic worship, may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages.
Finally, I call on the Catholic faithful of the Diocese to turn in prayer to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, asking their intercession for our nation that all of us may come to a greater understanding of the beauty, truth and goodness that is found in marriage as revealed to us by our Savior.
I instruct that this letter is to be publically read by the priest-celebrant following the proclamation of the Gospel at all Masses of obligation in the parishes, missions and chapels of Diocese of Tyler on the weekend of July 3-4, 2015.
Given at the Diocesan Chancery
On the 26th day of June
Friday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen
Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler

Statement from Cardinal O'Malley

June 26, 2015 - Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley's Statement on Supreme Court Decision

Following is the Cardinal's statement regarding the Supreme Court decision today:
"As a citizen of the United States and a Catholic bishop, I am saddened by the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage.
The institution of marriage understood in its human, moral and legal dimensions is a fundamental building block of any society.  The protection of marriage and families is a shared responsibility for all of us.
In a pluralistic society we inevitability face disagreements about important political and legal questions. But our division over this question in its moral, political and legal significance is particularly painful.
Certainly every citizen of this land, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserves to be respected in their personal and civic life.  But enshrining same sex marriage in our constitutional system of governance has dangers that may become fully evident only over time.
I can only express my disappointment with the decision and invite members of my own religious community to remember and reaffirm the fundamental truths of our faith about marriage.  At the same time, faced with a decision that embodies a quite different understanding of the meaning of marriage than held by the Church, we should as citizens and Catholics both protect our own deeply held values and participate with civility and charity in the continuing national discussion about this decision." 

Archbishop of Dallas' Statement

Bishop Kevin Farrell responds to the SCOTUS ruling on marriage

Obispo Kevin Farrell responde a la decisión de la Corte Suprema en referencia al matrimonio

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling that redefines the civil definition of marriage.  Marriage, as understood in the Catholic faith, has always been and still is the sacred lifelong commitment of one man and one woman.  Marriage as the union of one man and one woman predates all nations, laws and constitutions.  Marriage is not only a relationship of love between two persons who are committed to one another, but it is also about creating the next generation — this requires both a man and a woman.
The same Constitution that has now been held to open civil marriage to same-sex couples confirms and protects the Church’s right to carry forward the historic teaching of the Church regarding the Sacrament of Marriage.
As Catholics we believe in the dignity of each and every human being made in the image and likeness of God.  As such, we accept all persons with respect, compassion, and sensitivity and must be mindful that, even in polarizing times, there is no place for derision or smugness.  I pray that all persons who hold dear the civil liberties afforded by the United States Constitution will join us in working to safeguard the rights of people of faith to live and exercise that faith as they believe God requires.
I ask all to pray for the sanctity of the Sacrament of Marriage and to join me in continuing to always pray for our country.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


La Corte Suprema ha emitido un fallo que redefine la definición de matrimonio civil.  Nuestra fe Católica nos dice que el matrimonio siempre ha sido y sigue siendo el compromiso sagrado permanente de un hombre y una mujer.  El matrimonio, como la unión de un hombre y una mujer, es anterior a todas las naciones, leyes y constituciones.  El matrimonio no es sólo una relación de amor entre dos personas que se han comprometido mutuamente, se trata también de procreación - esto requiere de un hombre y una mujer.
La misma Constitución que ahora abre el matrimonio civil a parejas del mismo sexo, confirma y protege el derecho de la Iglesia a continuar con su enseñanza histórica con respecto al Sacramento del Matrimonio.
Como Católicos creemos en la dignidad de cada ser humano creado a imagen y semejanza de Dios. Como tal, aceptamos a todas las personas con respeto, compasión y sensibilidad, y conscientes de esto, incluso en estos tiempos de polarización, no hay lugar para el escarnio o la petulancia. Le pido a Dios que todas las personas que apreciamos las libertades civiles que ofrece la Constitución de los Estados Unidos se unan a nosotros, trabajando para salvaguardar los derechos de las personas de fe que viven y ejercen esa fe como creen que Dios manda.
Les pido a todos que oren por la santidad del Sacramento del Matrimonio y que se unan orando continuamente por nuestro país.

A Meditation for Today, Part One-Those Who Mock God Morally Abandon Him

On the Abuse of Divine Mercy
Sermon by St. Alphonsus Liguori

In this day’s gospel we read, that a certain man fell into the hands of robbers, who, after having taken his money, wounded him, and left him half dead. A Samaritan who passed by, saw him, and taking pity on him, bound up his wounds, brought him to an inn, and left him to the care of the host, saying: "Take care of him." These words I this day address to those, if there be any such among you, who, though their souls are wounded by sin, instead of attending to the care of them, continually aggravate the wounds by new sins, and thus abuse the mercy of God, who preserves their lives, that they may repent, and not be lost forever. I say to you: Brethren, take care of your souls, which are in a very bad state; have compassion on them. "Have pity on thy own soul (Eccl. xxx. 24)." Your souls are sick, and what is worse they are near the eternal death of hell; for he who abuses to excess the divine mercy, is on the point of being abandoned by the mercy of God. This shall be the subject of the present discourse.

St. Augustine says that the devil deludes Christians in two ways "by despair and hope." After a person has committed sin, the enemy, by placing before his eyes the rigour of divine justice, tempts him to despair of the mercy of God. But, before he sins, the devil by representing to him the divine mercy, labours to make him fearless of the chastisement due to sin. Hence the saint gives the following advice: "After sin, hope for mercy; before sin, fear justice." If, after sin, you despair of God’s pardon, you offend him by a new and more grievous sin. Have recourse to His mercy, and He will pardon you. But, before sin, fear God’s justice, and trust not to His mercy; for, they who abuse the mercy of God to offend him, do not deserve to be treated with mercy. Abulensis says, that the man who offends justice may have recourse to mercy; but to whom can they have recourse, who offend and provoke mercy against themselves? 

When you intend to commit sin, who, I ask, promises you mercy from God? Certainly God does not promise it. It is the devil that promises it, that you may lose God and be damned. "Beware," says St. John Chrysostom, "never to attend to that dog that promises thee mercy from God (Hom. 50, ad Pop)."

If, beloved sinners, you have hitherto offended God, hope and tremble: if you desire to give up sin, and if you detest it, hope; because God promises pardon to all who repent of the evil they have done. But if you intend to continue in your sinful course, tremble lest God should wait no longer for you, but cast you into hell.
Why does God wait for sinners? Is it that they may continue to insult Him? No; He waits for them that they may renounce sin, and that thus He may have pity on them, and forgive them. "Therefore the Lord waiteth, that he may have mercy on you." (Isa. xxx. 1, 8.) But when He sees that the time which he gave them to weep over their past iniquities is spent in multiplying their sins, He begins to inflict chastisement, and He cuts them off in the state of sin, that, by dying, they may cease to offend Him. Then He calls against them the very time He had given them for repentance. "He hath called against me the time (Lam. i. 15)." "The very time," says St. Gregory, "comes to judge."

O common illusion of so many damned Christians! We seldom find a sinner so abandoned to despair as to say: I will damn myself. Christians sin, and endeavour to save their souls. They say: "God is merciful: I will commit this sin, and will afterwards confess it." Behold the illusion, or rather the snare, by which Satan draws so many souls to hell. "Commit sin," he says, "and confess it afterwards." But listen to what the Lord says: "And say not, the mercy of the Lord is great; He will have mercy on the multitude of my sins (Eccl. v. 6.)." Why does He tell you not to say, that the mercy of God is great? Attend to the words contained in the following verse: "For mercy and wrath come quickly from Him, and His wrath looketh upon sinners (Ibid., ver. 7)." The mercy of God is different from the acts of His mercy; the former is infinite, the latter are finite. God is merciful, but He is also just. St. Basil says, that sinners only consider God as merciful and ready to pardon, but not as just and prepared to inflict punishment. Of this the Lord complained one day to St. Bridget: "I am just and merciful: sinners regard Me only as merciful." St. Basil’s words are: "Bonus est Dominus sed etiam Justus, nolimus Deum ex dimidia parte cogitare." God is just, and, being just, he must punish the ungrateful. Father John Avila used to say, that to bear with those who avail themselves of the mercy of God to offend Him, would not be mercy, but a want of justice.

Mercy, as the divine mother said, is promised to those who fear, and not to those who insult the Lord. "And His mercy to them that fear Him (Luke i 50)."
Some rash sinners will say: God has hitherto shown me so many mercies; why should He not here after treat me with the same mercy? I answer: He will show you mercy, if you wish to change your life; but if you intend to continue to offend Him, He tells you that He will take vengeance on your sins by casting you into hell. "Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time, that their foot may slide (Deut. xxxii. 35)." David says, that "except you be converted," He will "brandish His sword (Ps. vii. 13)." The Lord has bent His bow, and waits for your conversion; but if you resolve not to return to Him, He will in the end cast the arrow against you, and you shall be damned. O God! there are some who will not believe that there is a hell until they fall into it. Can you, beloved Christians, complain of the mercies of God, after He has shown you so many mercies by waiting for you so long? You ought to remain always prostrate on the earth to thank Him for His mercies, saying: "The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed (Lamen. iii. 32)." Were the injuries which you offered to God committed against a brother, he would not have borne with you. God has had so much patience with you; and He now calls you again. If, after all this, He shall send you to hell, will He do you any wrong? "What is there," He will say, "that I ought to do more for my vineyard, that I have not done to it (Isa. v. 4)?" Impious wretch! what more ought I to do for you that I have not done?

St. Bernard says, that the confidence which sinners have in God's goodness when they commit sin, procures for them, not a blessing, but a malediction from the Lord. "Est infidelis fiducia solius ubique maledictionis capax, cum videlicet in spe peccamus (Serm, iii., de Annunc)." O deceitful hope, which sends so many Christians to hell! St. Augustine says: "Sperant, ut peccent! Vae perversa spe (In Ps. cxliv)."

They do not hope for the pardon of the sins of which they repent; but they hope that, though they continue to commit sin, God will have mercy upon them; and thus they make the mercy of God serve as a motive for continuing to offend Him.
Accursed hope! hope which is an abomination to the Lord! "And their hope the abomination (Job xi. 20)." This hope will make God hasten the execution of His vengeance; for surely a master will not defer the punishment of servants who offend him because he is good. Sinners, as St. Augustine observes, trusting in God's goodness, insult Him, and say: "God is good; I will do what I please (Tract, xxxiii. in Joan)." But, alas! how many, exclaims the same St. Augustine, has this vain hope deluded! "They who have been deceived by this shadow of vain hope cannot be numbered." St. Bernard writes, that Lucifer’s chastisement was accelerated, because, in rebellion against God, he hoped that he should not be punished for his rebellion. Ammon, the son of king Manasses, seeing that God had pardoned the sins of his father, gave himself up to a wicked life with the hope of pardon; but, for Ammon there was no mercy. St. John Chrysostom says, that Judas was lost because, trusting in the goodness of Jesus Christ, he betrayed Him. "Fidit in lenitate Magistri."

He that sins with, the hope of pardon, saying: "I will afterwards repent, and God will pardon me:" is, according to St. Augustine, "not a penitent, but a scoffer." The Apostle tells us that "God is not mocked (Gal. vi. 7)."

It would be a mockery of God to offend Him as often and as long as you please, and always to receive the pardon of your offences. 
"For what things a man shall sow," says St. Paul, "those also shall he reap (Ibid., ver. 8)." They who sow sins, can hope for nothing but the hatred of God and hell. "Despisest thou the riches of His goodness, and patience, and long-suffering (Rom. ii. 4)." Do you, O sinner, despise the riches of the goodness, of the patience, and long-suffering of God towards you? He uses the word riches, because the mercies which God shows us, in not punishing our sins, are riches more valuable to us than all treasures. "Knowest thou not," continues the Apostle, "that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance (Ibid)?"

Do you not know that the Lord waits for you, and treats you with so much benignity, not that you may continue to sin, but that you may weep over the offences you have offered to Him?

For, says St. Paul, if you persevere in sin and do not repent, your obstinacy and impenitence shall accumulate a treasure of wrath against the day of wrath, that is, the day on which God shall judge you. "According to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God (Ibid., verse 5)." 

To the hardness of the sinner shall succeed his abandonment by God, Who shall say of the soul that is obstinate in sin, what he said of Babylon: "We would have cured Babylon; but she is not healed; let us forsake her (Jer. li. 9)." 

Look at this part, readers. for this is serious.

And how does God abandon the sinner? He either sends him a sudden death, and cuts him off in sin, or He deprives him of the graces which would be necessary to bring him to true repentance; He leaves him with the sufficient graces with which he can, but will not, save his soul. The darkness of his understanding, the hardness of his heart, and the bad habits which he has contracted, will render his conversion morally impossible. Thus, he shall not be absolutely but morally abandoned.

"I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be wasted (Isa. v. 5)." When the master of the vineyard destroys its hedges, does he not show that he abandons it? It is thus that God acts when He abandons a soul. He takes away the hedge of holy fear and remorse of conscience, and leaves the soul in darkness, and then vices crowd into the heart. "Thou hast appointed darkness, and it is night: in it shall all the beasts of the wood go about (Ps. ciii. 20)." 

And the sinner, abandoned in an abyss of sins, will despise admonitions, excommunications, divine grace, chastisement, and hell: he will make a jest of his own damnation. "The wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sin, contemneth (Prov. xviii. 3)."

That sinners prosper is a scary thing. This is what is happening now in America.

"Why," asks the Prophet Jeremias, "doth the way of the wicked prosper (Jer. xii. 1)?" He answers: "Gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice (v. 3)." Miserable the sinner who is prosperous in this life!

The prosperity of sinners is a sign that God wishes to give them a temporal reward for some works which are morally good, but that He reserves them as victims of His justice for hell, where, like the accursed cockle, they shall be cast to burn for all eternity.

"In the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers: Gather up the first cockle, and bind it in bundles to burn (Matt. xiii. 30)."

Thus, not to be punished in this life is the greatest of God’s chastisements on the wicked, and has been threatened against the obstinate sinner by the Prophet Isaias. "Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice (Isa. xxvi. 10)." On this passage St. Bernard says: This mercy I do not wish for: it is above all wrath. "Misericordiam hanc nolo; super oimiem iram misericordia ista (Serm, xlii., in Cant)."

And what greater chastisement than to be abandoned into the Lands of sin, so that, being permitted by God to fall from sin to sin, the sinner must in the end go to suffer as many hells as he has committed sins?"

Add thou iniquity upon their iniquity. . . . let them be "blotted out of the book of the living (Ps. lxviii. 28, 29)." On these words Bellarmine writes: "There is no punishment greater than when sin is the punishment of sin." It would be better for such a sinner to die after the first sin; because by dying under the load of so many additional iniquities, he shall suffer as many hells as he has committed sins. This is what happened to a certain comedian in Palermo, whose name was Caesar. He one day told a friend that Father La Nusa, a missionary, foretold him that God should give him twelve years to live, and that if within that time he did not change his life, he should die a bad death. Now, said he to his friend, I have travelled through so many parts of the world: I have had many attacks of sickness, one of which nearly brought me to the grave; but in this month the twelve years shall be completed, and I feel myself in better health than in any of the past years. He then invited his friend to listen to a new comedy which he had composed. But, what happened? On the 24th November, 1688, the day fixed for the comedy, as he was going on the stage, he was seized with apoplexy, and died suddenly. He expired in the arms of a female comedian. Thus the scene of this world ended miserably for him.

Let us make the application to ourselves, and conclude the discourse. Brethren, I entreat you to give a glance at all the bygone years of your life: look at the grievous offences you have committed against God, and at the great mercies which He has shown to you, the many lights He has bestowed upon you, and the many times He has called you to a change of life.

to be continued...