Friday, August 26, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Hnery Newman:

Now, it cannot surely be doubted that multitudes in the Church are such as I have been describing, and that they would not, could not, at once welcome our Lord on His coming. We cannot, indeed, apply what has been said to this or that individual; but on the whole, viewing the multitude, one cannot be mistaken. There may be exceptions; but after all conceivable deductions, a large body must remain thus double-minded, thus attempting to unite things incompatible. This we might be sure of, though Christ had said nothing on the subject; but it is a most affecting and solemn thought, that He has actually called our attention to this very danger, the danger of a worldly religiousness, for so it may be called, though it is religiousness; this mixture of religion and unbelief, which serves God indeed, but loves the fashions, the distinctions, the pleasures, the comforts of this life,—which feels a satisfaction in being prosperous in circumstances, likes pomps and vanities, is particular about food, raiment, house, furniture, and domestic matters, courts great people, and aims at having a position in society. He warns His disciples of the danger of having their minds drawn off from the thought of Him, by whatever cause; He warns them against all excitements, all allurements of this world; He solemnly warns them that the world will not be prepared for His coming, and tenderly intreats of them not to take their portion with the world. He warns them by the instance of the rich man whose soul was required, of the servant who ate and drank, and of the foolish virgins. When He comes, they will one and all want time; their head will be confused, their eyes will swim, their tongue falter, their limbs totter, as men who are suddenly awakened. They will not all at once collect their senses and faculties. O fearful thought! the bridal train is sweeping by,—Angels are there,—the just made perfect are there,—little children, and holy teachers, and white-robed saints, and martyrs washed in blood; the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. She has already attired herself: while we have been sleeping, she has been robing; she has been adding jewel to jewel, and grace to grace; she has been gathering in her chosen ones, one by one, and has been exercising them in holiness, and purifying them for her Lord; and now her marriage hour is come. The holy Jerusalem is descending, and a loud voice proclaims, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him!" but we, alas! are but dazzled with the blaze of light, and neither welcome the sound, nor obey it,—and all for what? what shall we have gained then? what will this world have then done for us? wretched, deceiving world! which will then be burned up, unable not only to profit us, but to save itself. Miserable hour, indeed, will that be, when the full consciousness breaks on us of what we will not believe now, viz., that we are at present serving the world. We trifle with our conscience now; we deceive our better judgment; we repel the hints of those who tell us that we are joining ourselves to this perishing world. We will taste a little of its pleasures, and follow its ways, and think it no harm, so that we do not altogether neglect religion. I mean, we allow ourselves to covet what we have not, to boast in what we have, to look down on those who have less; or we allow ourselves to profess what we do not try to practise, to argue for the sake of victory, and to debate when we should be obeying; and we pride ourselves on our reasoning powers, and think ourselves enlightened, and despise those who had less to say for themselves, and set forth and defend our own theories; or we are over-anxious, fretful, and care-worn about worldly matters, spiteful, envious, jealous, discontented, and evil-natured: in one or other way we take our portion with this world, and we will not believe that we do. We obstinately refuse to believe it; we know we are not altogether irreligious, and we persuade ourselves that we are religious. We learn to think it is possible to be too religious; we have taught ourselves that there is nothing high or deep in religion, no great exercise of our affections, no great food for our thoughts, no great work for our exertions. We go on in a self-satisfied or a self-conceited way, not looking out of ourselves, not standing like soldiers on the watch in the dark night; but we kindle our own fire, and delight ourselves in the sparks of it. This is our state, or something like this, and the Day will declare it; the Day is at hand, and the Day will search our hearts, and bring it home even to ourselves, that we have been cheating ourselves with words, and have not served Christ, as the Redeemer of the soul claims, but with a meagre, partial, worldly service, and without really contemplating Him who is above and apart from this world.
The Feast of St. Jeanne Elizabeth des Bichier des Anges, Virgin and Foundress
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of Pope St. Zephyrinus , and St. Teresa de Gesu, Jornet y Ibars, Virgin and Foundress.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

On August 25, 1872..
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

The 'Two Masters'
1. INTROD.—Two masters. Why cannot we serve two masters? Most men wish to serve God and the world.

2. What is it to have a master? what is meant by it?

3. Not merely an employer; this not enough.

4. A master is one who has some hold over us. In old times slaves, but now it is by compact. If I promise, if I take wages, I willingly take a master. As children are naturally subject to parents, so, by free will, servants to masters. They may change, but while they have a master they are bound.

5. Now on serving a master. Consider St. Paul, Eph. vi. 5-6 .

6. And if so of all masters, so especially of the good—idea of a household.

7. Now we see what in religion is meant by God being our master. (1) He has created and bought us. (2) We have made an everlasting contract with Him. (3) It is not a contract in this or that— as employers—but we are of His household and family. (4) We are one of His, and must study His interests. (5) He is a good master.

8. Hence, if our Lord is our master, we can have no other master, and we must be full of zeal and love.

9. He has given Himself wholly to us.

10. The other—Mammon! So not only we can't have two; we must have one.

11. Now let us ask ourselves: Is in fact God our master? Do not we follow our own will, taking one day one master, another another.

12. There would not be all this variety of religions, and this infidelity in the world, if men really made God their master. They would soon agree together.

On men of no party. Apoc. iii.—Laodiceans
My friends, the McMenamins...
made one of the local newspapers.
Zenit had an article...
on the way a gentleman was brought to the Faith partly through the influence of a fellow Secular Oratorian whose canonization cause is now being studied.
The Catholic Carnival
is up.
The Feast of St. Louis IX, King
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Joseph Calasanz, Sch. P., Priest and Founder. A blessed feast day to any Piarists outn there !
Fans of the Professor might want to note that it is also the feast of St. Peregrin, Martyr.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

The Pharisees, it is true, said one thing and did another; but they were not aware that they were thus inconsistent; they deceived themselves as well as others. Indeed, it is not in human nature to deceive others for any long time, without in a measure deceiving ourselves also. And in most cases we contrive to deceive ourselves as much as we deceive others. The Pharisees boasted they were Abraham's children, not at all understanding, not knowing what was implied in the term. They were not really included under the blessing given to Abraham, and they wished the world to believe they were; but then they also themselves thought that they were, or, at least, with whatever misgivings, they were, on the whole, persuaded of it. They had deceived themselves as well as the world; and therefore our Lord sets before them the great and plain truth, which, simple as it was, they had forgotten. "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." [John viii. 39.]

This truth, I say, they had forgotten;—for doubtless, they once knew it. There was a time doubtless, when in some measure they knew themselves, and what they were doing. When they began (each of them in his turn) to deceive the people, they were not, at the moment, self-deceived. But by degrees they forgot,—because they did not care to retain it in their knowledge,—they forgot that to be blessed like Abraham, they must be holy like Abraham; that outward ceremonies avail nothing without inward purity, that their thoughts and motives must be heavenly. Part of their duty they altogether ceased to know; another part might still know indeed, but did not value as they ought. They became ignorant of their own spiritual condition; it did not come home to them, that they were supremely influenced by worldly objects; that zeal for God's service was but a secondary principle in their conduct, and that they loved the praise of men better than God's praise. They went on merely talking of religion, of heaven and hell, the blessed and the reprobate, till their discourses became but words of course in their mouths, with no true meaning attached to them; and they either did not read Holy Scripture at all, or read it without earnestness and watchfulness to get at its real sense. Accordingly, they were scrupulously careful of paying tithe even in the least matters, of mint, anise, and cummin, while they omitted the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith; and on this account our Lord calls them "blind guides,"—not bold impious deceivers, who knew that they were false guides, but blind. [Matt. xxiii. 24. Luke xi. 39-52.] Again, they were blind, in thinking that, had they lived in their fathers' days, they would not have killed the prophets as their fathers did. They did not know themselves; they had unawares deceived themselves as well as the people. Ignorance of their own ignorance was their punishment and the evidence of their sin. "If ye were blind," our Saviour says to them, if you were simply blind, and conscious you were so, and distressed at it, "ye should have no sin; but now ye say, We see,"—they did not even know their blindness—"therefore your sin remaineth." [John ix. 41.]

This then is hypocrisy;—not simply for a man to deceive others, knowing all the while that he is deceiving them, but to deceive himself and others at the same time, to aim at their praise by a religious profession, without perceiving that he loves their praise more than the praise of God, and that he is professing far more than he practises. And if this be the true Scripture meaning of the word, we have some insight (as it appears) into the reasons which induced our Divine Teacher to warn His Disciples in so marked a way against hypocrisy. An innumerable multitude was thronging Him, and His disciples were around Him. Twelve of them had been appointed to minister to Him as His especial friends. Other seventy had been sent out from Him with miraculous gifts; and, on their return, had with triumph told of their own wonderful doings. All of them had been addressed by Him as the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the children of His kingdom. They were mediators between Him and the people at large, introducing to His notice the sick and heavy-laden. And now they stood by Him, partaking in His popularity, perhaps glorying in their connexion with the Christ, and pleased to be gazed upon by the impatient crowd. Then it was that, instead of addressing the multitude, He spoke first of all to His disciples, saying, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy;" as if He had said, "What is the chief sin of My enemies and persecutors? not that they openly deny God, but that they love a profession of religion for the sake of the praise of men that follows it. They like to contrast themselves with other men; they pride themselves on being a little flock, to whom life is secured in the midst of reprobates; they like to stand and be admired amid their religious performances, and think to be saved, not by their own personal holiness, but by the faith of their father Abraham. All this delusion may come upon you also, if you forget that you are hereafter to be tried one by one at God's judgment seat, according to your works. At present, indeed, you are invested in My greatness, and have the credit of My teaching and holiness: but 'there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known,' at the last day."
Prayers requested...
for Deacon José Juan Ortiz of the Pharr Oratory, (down in southern Texas), who will be ordained to the priesthood tommorow.
The Feast of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin
is today. There is information on her here.

It is also the feast of St. Philip Benizi, O.S.M., Priest. To any Servites out there, blessed feast day !

Sunday, August 21, 2005

From Sermons Preached on Various Occasions
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Our duty to the Holy See, to the Chair of St. Peter, is to be measured by what the Church teaches us concerning that Holy See and concerning him who sits in it. Now St. Peter, who first occupied it, was the Vicar of Christ. You know well, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who suffered on the Cross for us, thereby bought for us the kingdom of heaven. "When Thou hadst overcome the sting of death," says the hymn, "Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to those who believe." He opens, and He shuts; He gives grace, He withdraws it; He judges, He pardons, He condemns. Accordingly, He speaks of Himself in the Apocalypse as "Him who is the Holy and the True, Him that hath the key of David (the key, that is, of the chosen king of the chosen people), Him that openeth and no man shutteth, that shutteth and no man openeth." And what our Lord, the Supreme Judge, is in heaven, that was St. Peter on earth; he had those keys of the kingdom, according to the text, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven."

Next, let it be considered, that kingdom which our Lord set up, with St. Peter at its head, was decreed in the counsels of God to last to the end of all things, according to the words I have just quoted, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." And again, "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." And in the words of the prophet Isaias, speaking of that divinely established Church, then in the future, "This is My covenant with them, My Spirit that is in thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." And the prophet Daniel says, "The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed ... and it shall break in pieces and shall consume all those kingdoms (of the earth, which went before it), and itself shall stand for ever."
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of Pope St. Pius X.
The Pittsburgh Oratory has a first-class relic of St. Philip, which was once owned by Pope St. Pius X. Thus, it is also a second-class relic.
It would also be the feast of Our Lady of Knock. The shrine has a website.