THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
28 July 2019
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Those who work to corrupt the bodies are evil. Such mongers of sinful pleasures are fairly easily recognized. We should be wary of these, but the greatest danger to our souls is the teachings of heretics. These cleverly disguise their poison as something that is good. The late Bishop Louis Vezelis OFM once said that sometimes 99% of what the heretics say is correct, it is only the one percent of their teachings that is wrong. It is like putting one percent of poison in the well. Ninety-nine percent of the water is good water, but it is all spoiled by the little bit of poison. A wise person will not drink any of it. In the same manner, a wise person will not listen to anything the heretics have to say.
This often appears as harsh or over the top and we are reminded to look at all the good they do. We are asked to see all the charitable works they do, and thus overlook the evil of their heresies. We must be on our guards against such suggestions. If there is any true goodness there it is there in spite of them. It is an instruction to us that God makes good come from everything, even out of evil. When we discover persistent heresy we must strive to avoid exposing ourselves to it. Sometimes it means distancing ourselves from others either physically or spiritually. We should remember to not render evil for evil. We should pray for them and be truly compassionate towards them all while protecting ourselves from them. As a doctor cannot avoid those with contagion, so we cannot avoid all those infected with heresy. However, we must remember that the wise doctor wears protective masks, gloves, and clothing as barriers to prevent him from contracting the contagion. If we are truly wise we will constantly wear spiritual protection to prevent us from being exposed to the heresies all around us.
St. John Chrysostom comments on Jesus' words: "The Lord, therefore, knowing that there would be false teachers, warns them of the various heresies to come, by saying: Beware of false prophets. And as these would not be obvious unbelievers, but persons cloaked with the name of Christian, He did not say: Look well at them, but, Beware. For where a thing is certain it is seen; that is, it may be readily be seen. But when it is uncertain it is looked at, or watched carefully. And again He says, Beware: for to know whom to shun is a firm safeguard of security. He does not warn us to beware as though the devil will introduce heresies against God's will, and not by His permission. For since He will not choose His servants without trial, He permits them to be tempted. And as He wills that they should not suffer through ignorance, He, therefore, warns them. "And so that no heretical teacher may say, that He did not say they were the false prophets, but rather the teachers from both Gentiles and Jews, He goes on to add: who come to you in the clothing of sheep. For Christians are spoken of as sheep; and the sheep's clothing is their outward pretense of Christianity and pretended religion. There is nothing that so menaces what is good as pretense. For evil that is hidden under the outward appearance of Good is not guarded against, since it is not known.
"And that heretics may not here say that He is speaking of those who are true teachers, but also sinners, He adds this: But inwardly they are ravening wolves. Catholic teachers, though they may have been sinner of as ravening wolves, but as servants of the flesh: for they do not seek to destroy Christians. He, therefore, is manifestly speaking of heretical teachers: for it is to this end that they put on the garb of Christian; that they may rend Christians with the evil fangs of their seductions. And of these the Apostles said: I know that after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (Acts 20,29)"
There is a saying that if something sounds too good to be true then it usually is. The heretics are grand promoters of things like this. They will have us believe that we do not have to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. They will tell us that our works are evil and condemned by Jesus; salvation is a gift that cannot be merited; God is too good to send anyone to Hell; etc. We do not have to look too far ahead to see that implementing the errors of heretics will soon cause disorder and anarchy. We can see this when we consider what would happen if everyone believed and acted upon these errors? If everyone put Luther's teachings into practice and "sinned on bravely" the world would be cast into chaos and Hell would soon be overflowing.
May we hold ever more tightly to the unchanging teachings and traditions of the true Catholic Faith.
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