A reminder that Mass will be celebrated at St Winefride's. Holywell at 11.30am tomorrow.
We are commanded to be solicitous for the Kingdom of Heaven, but not for the things of this earth. There is no denying that all the things of this earth are good and desirable, because they were made and given to us by God, Who is good and desirable. However, God has created a hierarchy of goodness in everything. There are some things of greater value and some of lesser value. We must never invert this order that God has created, yet this is all too often what we do. We are constantly tempted to love the creature more than the creator. In falling into this deception, we make a god of a creation and thus become guilty of idolatry.
God is the greatest good and we must love Him more than anything, and be willing to give and sacrifice everything else for Him — even ourselves. After God, our love should be for our own immortal souls, the souls of others, our own bodies, and the bodies of others. Last and least of all are all the material things that are given to us for the sustenance of our bodies. The food, clothing, and shelter of our bodies are all good things, and they are necessary for our bodies; but, they should never take preference to the things that are necessary for our souls.
All the material things that God has created, He has created for us. That is, He has created them for our bodies. Our bodies, have likewise, been created for our souls. Our souls have been created for God. We must, therefore, seek out nourishment for our bodies so that we do not abuse this precious gift of a body that God has given us. We must seek out clothing and shelter for our bodies so that we protect our bodies from harm. All these aids to the body are good. They are, however, of much lesser value than the body, and even of much less value than the soul, or even of the spiritual things that appertain to the soul.
We must labor for the care of our bodies, but we must never allow this care of our bodies to take away from the care that is necessary for our souls. Labor is necessary to sustain our bodies. Our bodies have been made to work; if we fail to employ them in this matter, then we must seek out some artificial labor or exercise to maintain our health. Work, then involves more than obtaining our daily bread. Even before Adam sinned, he was given the task of ruling over the material world. The punishment of sin was not that we should now have to work, but rather that now our labors have become odious to us. If we could return to right order, we would work for the love of God, and in the presence of God — not because we are forced by necessity to work, or by a disordered avarice or greed.
Our labors, then, become noble and uplifting. Catholics used to be looked upon as the best employees. This was because we understood the dignity of labor, and because we worked for God and in the constant presence of God. Catholics understand the necessity of honesty, and integrity in performing their labors. A Catholic could then be trusted and counted upon to do the job well. He looked principally to God for a reward and only secondarily to the employer. Our workplaces and marketplaces are not what they should be simply because we as a society have lost sight of the fact that we must first give an account to God; and that He is always with us and is watching us. Men may be able to deceive and cheat one another; but they will never be able to do this to God. If not before, then on the last day, they will have to give an account of themselves to Him.
We must not abandon our physical labors, but rather ennoble them by doing them to the best of our ability for the love of God — seeking first and foremost an eternal reward. Our honesty and integrity may appear difficult in this life but the eternal reward itself will be more than sufficient compensation. However, very often, this honesty and integrity is also amply rewarded materially in this life. A productive, honest employee with integrity is almost priceless to every employer. Such employees, because they are such an asset to any company will advance in their place of employment, they will be given raises or other incentives to try and keep them. A good employee is hard to find or replace. In this we see that what Our Lord has told us is very true. If we seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and Its Justice, everything else will be given us.
It may be true that employment opportunities are not what they used to be, this should not suggest that we give up, but rather, that we humble ourselves and become even better employees. If we approach our labors for the love of God, willing to embrace any cross or task — no matter how lowly — and do so honestly and conscientiously to the best of our abilities, we will soon be advanced. The key is to do it for God, not the money or any other material advantage. In laboring for God, we are seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven. Such an employee is rare today and is in great demand. We would venture to suggest that such qualities are even more valuable to an employer than educational degrees and titles. As we strive to truly serve God; we find that He truly does take care of all the material things.
Among the ten lepers in today's Gospel, we find one Samaritan. The Father's of the Church find in this a symbolic representation of the Israelites (the chosen people of God) and the Gentiles (the other nations). All are brought together in Jesus Christ.
Leprosy symbolizes the sin of the soul, and all men both Israelite and Gentile have been infected with the disease of sin from our first parent — Adam. We are all God's creatures, but we have gotten lost in our journeys to Him. Some have wandered farther away than others, but all have strayed in Adam.
Jesus came first to the Israelites because they had not strayed as far as the Gentiles; but His desire is to call all men together once again and unite us through Himself to God. We are all called upon to be one in Jesus Christ. He is both our God and our Brother. Through Him, we may return to our proper place as Children of God. We must therefore not despise one another, but truly love one another and seek to help each other draw nearer to God through Jesus Christ.
Many of us have received great blessings from the Hand of God — just as the lepers did. To the nine Israelites, it was as if they expected that they had a right to be cured. They did not find it necessary to return to Jesus and show any appreciation or gratitude. Too often we sinners find ourselves in the same scenario. We receive the blessings of God and we do not even stop to think about giving thanks. One of the saddest scenes is that of a penitent leaving the confessional — just having his sins forgiven him — and he barely takes enough time to say the penance given him; much less, to spend some time to express his gratitude to God. Catholics are the modern day equivalent of the Israelites; they are the chosen people of God. They have all the sacraments, blessings and graces of God at their disposal — but seldom do they truly appreciate what has been given to them.
Frequently, we witness converts with more zeal, and appreciation for the Church, the sacraments and blessings, than the so called "cradle Catholics." Just as the Samaritan leper showed more appreciation than the nine Israelite lepers, so converts surpass life-long Catholics. This is truly the opposite of what it should be. Those who have received blessings for a longer period of time and have received more graces or more opportunities for graces should be the most appreciative. The Israelites received much from their inheritance as the Children of God; the cradle-Catholics have similarly received much from the Faith given to them through their parents. Yet, both are put to shame by someone coming in from the outside — the Israelites by the Samaritan; and the cradle-Catholics by the converts.
Jesus sent all ten lepers to go show themselves to the priests. On many occasions, Jesus simply healed those who petitioned Him, but today He first sends them to show themselves to the priests. The Fathers of the Church suggest that Jesus wishes to acknowledge the Church that He has established. Jesus came not to destroy, but to build up. Today, Jesus sends us to the Catholic priests to be forgiven. There is no doubt that Jesus can directly pardon and heal; but He has established a Church and priesthood that He desires us to enter into and cooperate with.
The Israelites were necessary to supply the foundation for all the Gentile nations to come to Jesus Christ. In a similar manner, the cradle-Catholics are necessary for the converts to have something to convert to — a place to enter. This is a noble and great dignity. Sadly, most have proven themselves most unworthy of this calling from God. It is time for us to shake off the lethargy and complacency that have too readily contaminated the hearts and souls of cradle-Catholics or long-time converts. In all humility, we should be looking to the Samaritan leper and learning what we must do.
We must first, humbly examine ourselves and come to a true appreciation of the seriousness of our illness — sins. Then, we must petition God for help — realizing that we can do nothing for ourselves. Next, we must present ourselves in Penance to a Catholic Priest. Lastly, we must perform the penance that the priest gives us; and most importantly, we must make sure to show our appreciation to God for the graces we have just received.
In a pilgrimage inspired by our Medieval predecessors, the Chartres Pilgrimage, and similar events around the world today, we walk 59 miles from Ely to Walsingham with the Traditional Mass, the Rosary, traditional devotions, chants, hymns and songs, to do honour to Our Lady of Walsingham and to pray for the conversion of England.The pilgrimage starts with registration in Ely on the evening of Thursday 23rd August; and concludes with devotions in Walsingham on Sunday 26th August. There is an additional Mass for those staying Sunday night in the Slipper Chapel on Monday 27th August. This is the weekend of the August Bank Holiday.
Don’t miss your chance to take part in this unique event, by walking it, volunteering in it, or sponsoring the pilgrims.
Pilgrim's Handbook (Vademecum Peregrini)We have specially created a re-usable Pilgrim’s Handbook with Mass texts, prayers, devotions, chants, and hymns for the road.
All pilgrim's will be issued with one at the time of the pilgrimage, but you may wish to buy one and have it delivered to your home in advance if you want to look at it ahead of the pilgrimage. It is available direct from the Lulu self-publishing website here (link is external)
Please allow at least 10 days for Lulu's standard delivery option.
If you are unable to undertake the Walking Pilgrimage, for whatever reason, you are welcome to join a day pilgrimage by coach from London on the Sunday - 26th August. Full details, booking form and payment facility can be found HERE.
If you are not a member of the LMS, sign up today to save money on the pilgrimage and other events through the year, and support the work of the LMS.
Today's Gospel takes place after the seventy two disciples have returned from their missionary works and are filled with joy. Christ tells them that they are blessed because they have seen and heard things that prophets and kings in the Old Testament desired to see and hear.
After a few introductory questions we arrive at the parable for today of the Good Samaritan. The questions show us clearly that the most important thing of all is love; first of all the love of God, then ourselves, and then our neighbour as ourselves. Then comes the question that brings about the parable for today: Who is my neighbour?
Our neighbour is obviously everyone but, especially those who are in need. And we are admonished to offer him our assistance even though there is no hope of payment or reward. We are admonished to offer him our assistance even if it is inconvenient for us or ends up costing us time and/or money. For this is what it means to truly love.
But, now let us look a little further into this parable and perhaps see in this the true goodness of God.
Spiritually all of mankind is just like the man who fell among the robbers. We come into this world already robbed (deprived of Sanctifying Grace). We are further beaten and left for dead by all of our own actual sins. We are truly a helpless mess with no resources at our disposal. Without the generous benefactions of someone else we are surely to die an eternal death. But, there were none on earth that were able to assist us, as all of mankind found himself in the same situation.
The man who fell among the robbers was very disgusting to behold; the priest and the Levite were probably very repulsed by the bloody, bruised, and broken body of this man. This is what a soul in the state of sin is like to those who are able to see it. It is said that St. Catherine of Sienna would become physically ill when a person in mortal sin entered the room. No doubt, God who is goodness itself is repulsed by the sight of this evil, disgusting and repulsive sin residing in the soul where grace and the love of God should reside. The Good Samaritan was therefore Christ who took the lowliest position here on earth just as the Samaritans were considered the lowest of people. He who is God and the Highest of beings took upon Himself the lowest position. And it is from this place that He comes to assist us in our miseries.
Not only did He come, but He established the Church to continue His work and He lives on in the true Church continuing this same work as the Good Samaritan for the rest of time.
Christ established within His Church the power to Baptize and wash away the penalties of Original Sin. He has given her power and authority to cleanse the wounds of sin sustained after the reception of Baptism in the sacrament of Penance.
Not only has Christ and His Church cleansed and healed the wounds of sin in our souls, but He has gone further and established a food for our souls that will strengthen us in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Each and every one of the sacraments has the power to heal and strengthen us in our spiritual journey. And Christ through Our Holy Mother the Church offers them to all who do not place obstacles in their way. Sadly, all too often, men who are spiritually dying or are already dead refuse the assistance offered them by Christ in the sacraments. They choose to continue to suffer with their evils and die in that hopeless situation and be eternally lost.
Let us reflect on what we were before we received the benefactions of the sacraments of our Holy Mother the Church. And then, let us thank God (The Good Samaritan) for all that He has done for us through His Mystical Body, the Church!
A short post by way of a reminder.
As is usual in August, there is no second Sunday Mass at Llay. This Mass Mass will resume on Sunday 2nd September.
The Latin Mass Society's Annual General Meeting will take place in Westminster Cathedral Hall next Saturday, 11th August 2018. This will be followed by High Mass in the Cathedral.
A buffet lunch will be provided for all paid-up LMS members. There is a charge to help defray costs. To book lunch, please complete the at the LMS website here.
Photo: High Mass in Westminster Cathedral 2017. John Aron.
In the Gospel for the XI Sunday after Pentecost, we witness a man who was cured by Jesus and now “speaks right.”
This is a very necessary thing for us to consider. Speaking rightly involves much more than vocalizing intelligible sounds. We must also consider that we need to speak only that which is true and good.
Speech is a most wonderful gift from God. Of all of His creation we are the only ones granted this blessing. The animals have no way of communicating vocally their inner desires and thoughts. The angels communicate purely with thought. Men have been commissioned by God to speak of Him to all of creation, and to be the voice of all the inarticulate creatures in praising and glorifying Him.
In this lofty position as the head of the creatures of this earth and commissioned by God to praise Him on their behalf, we must consider how we use this gift and office.
Speech is too precious a gift to waste upon falsehoods, vulgarity, and all manner of verbal perversity. The nobility of this gift demands a greater accounting before God. The tongue is like a two edge sword. More people slay themselves with their own tongues than they do others. In their lies, calumnies, slanders, etc. we find that the evil they project outward upon others falls principally upon themselves. Our Lord tells us that it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles him, but rather that which comes out from his mouth. It is the evil that is in his heart that he spreads with the tongue that creates the most evil. We can readily see the evil that slander and calumny produce in society, but what we often fail to observe is the destruction of the individual’s soul.
In lashing out with evil intent and verbally doing harm to others, it is principally oneself that is wounded. The damage that we can do here upon earth is minimal compared to the damage that is eternal. While with our tongues we can do tremendous damage here on earth, our tongues can do little harm to the eternal souls of those who have come under our attack. The damage that does occur in souls and affects their eternal happiness comes to the one speaking evil not the one spoken about. In the desire to destroy here upon earth we only end up destroying our eternal happiness.
This tremendous gift that God has given us for His honour and glory is too often to our shame used to destroy that which God loves and seeks to save. It is bad enough for us to entertain such evil thoughts or suggestions, but the matter becomes progressively worse once we begin to verbalize them. Once a word has escaped our lips it can never be taken back.
Our words can be for the edification and salvation of ourselves and our fellow men or they can be scandalous and destructive of life here on earth and therefore for our own lives in eternity. The evil example that our words offer to others may entice them to similar or even greater evils. For their sins too the scandaliser shall be held accountable. We can give the example of virtue and goodness with our speech or we can give the example of evil. The choice is in our own hands. Let us consciously strive to be an example of goodness and holiness to others and in this way we likewise will have a share in their goodness.
It is necessary that there should be scandals in the world so that the truth will be brought forward, but it is dreadful for the one who is the source of those scandals. Our Lord tells us that it would have been better for that man had he never been born. Let us learn from this deaf man to guard our speech so that when we open our mouths it will always be for the greater honour and glory of God. In this manner we will not have to fear being slain by our own tongues on judgment day.
Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus: praetende super famulos tuos, et super congregationes illis commissas, spiritum gratiae salutaris; et, ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuae benedictionis infunde.
Kevin Jones is the local representative for the Latin Mass Society in Wrexham Diocese. Any views expressed neither represent those of the Latin Mass Society or the Diocese of Wrexham.