THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
19 August 2018
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We have so much to be grateful for, and yet, we are often so ungrateful. God has thought of each one of us from all of eternity even before He created the heavens and the earth. He has brought us into existence in time. Not just any time, but precisely the time that is best for us. We seldom consider what a miracle it is that we have survived as long as we have. There are so many hazards to life from the very moment of our conceptions. There are many dangerous times in our mothers' wombs without even considering the malice of abortions. It is a miracle of God's goodness that we survived the gestation period and then that of being born. Yet, even after this, our infancy and childhood were filled with many unseen or even unconsidered dangers. Through all this and many more, even to our present day, God has watched over us and even appointed an angel to watch over us protecting us and guiding us. We can never be truly thankful enough for this, but God has done so much more than this for us.
We may be materially poor, but we are truly rich because we are alive. We are heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven. The grace of Baptism, as well as the other sacraments, have called us to ever higher stations in the Spiritual life. We, perhaps, sometimes think of the blessings of our worldly birth and station. We glory in our family name as if this were all important.
The Jews gloried in their name and station, but they failed to see that this was a gift of God and was not due to any worthiness or merits on their own part. In showing us the gratitude of the Samaritan, Jesus points out to us that our parentage is not what is important. We must have faith, but we must also be grateful. The nine Jewish lepers had faith, but not gratitude. The Samaritan had both, despite his birth outside of the race of Chosen People.
Those who have been given the true Faith often end up infected with spiritual leprosy. In forgetting the source of the goodness within them and filled with pride, they are soon spotted with various errors or heresies. The proud are humbled and brought down. Sadly, few of these proud and fallen souls see or understand that they have fallen. They mistake their own errors and falsehoods for Truth and Goodness. In this way making false gods of themselves. They loudly proclaim their errors as truth and become instruments of the devils in rebellion against God. They develop a hatred toward the truth and those who profess it fulfilling the prophecy of Christ (The time will come when men will kill you, thinking they are giving glory to God.) They profess to act and speak for God when they are in reality very far from Him.
St. Augustine says of these heretics: "They may, mystically, be understood as lepers who, having no knowledge of the True Faith, profess various false doctrines. For these do not hide their ignorance, but proclaim it as the highest learning, And pride themselves on their discourses. Leprosy is a blemish of color. True and false doctrines, therefore, mingled without order in a man's argument or discussion and showing like colors on a human body, resemble leprosy which spots and blemishes human bodies with patches of true and false color. The Church must shun such as these, so that they may, if possible, from afar off cry out with a loud voice to Christ. That they invoked Him as Master, does, I think, sufficiently indicate that false doctrine is a leprosy which a good teacher will wipe away."
Especially in our days, we should thank God for the faith that is in us, and we should beg of Him the purging of all that is evil within us both physically and spiritually, but especially to purge all spiritual evils from us. If we are truly seeking the Truth, God has promised to give this to us "Seek and you shall find. Ask and you shall be given."
We should all consider our spiritual poverty. We have nothing of ourselves. In this spirit, we can cry out for Jesus to help us. We also find that we have been given much, both physically and spiritually, and for this, we must continually return to Jesus thanking Him and giving glory to God. In this humbly honest frame of mind and heart, we are drawn ever nearer to the Heart of Christ and are given ever greater spiritual treasures.
We have much to be grateful for and nothing to be proud or boastful of. All that we have that is good has been given to us. We can glory in God and His gifts, but not in ourselves. We must seek Him and call out to Him to save us from our leprosy of sin, and even more importantly we must return to Him again and again in humble gratitude.
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