Her Doctrine and Morals

Second Sunday after Pentecost

11 June 2023


The Sunday


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Dear Friends,

Our Lord has invited His chosen people to a Supper. His chosen people are all those who have received the grace of Faith. In today's world, we would see these as Catholics. In the time of Christ, it was the faithful of the tribes of Israel. It is a supper — the last meal of the day — and not a dinner that Jesus invites us to. Jesus is the Master who is inviting us to His Supper. The Supper is the Kingdom of God on Earth — the true Catholic Church. It is the last opportunity for salvation. Outside of the Catholic Church, there is no salvation. Those who refuse to come and receive Him into their bodies in the Holy Eucharist have no life in them.

In these last days of Our Lord (today), we are once again invited to come to The Church and taste and see how good God is. But, all too often, we see that these chosen ones who have received an invitation reject the invitation, thinking that they have better things to do or will find greater happiness in the things of this world.

St. Gregory tells us that our bodily appetites are so ordered that what we do not have, we desire the most; when we obtain them, they soon lose all (or most) of their appeal. The three examples from today's gospel suggest to us the appetites of lust (I have married a wife and cannot come); avarice (I have bought a farm and must go and see it); and curiosity (I must try out my five yokes of oxen [the five yoke (pairs) of oxen represent the five senses, which are usually in pairs — two eyes, ears, nostrils, etc.]) In the pursuit of these bodily appetites we must all confess that the joy is primarily in the "anticipation" rather than in the "participation" of them. Someone once commented that the pleasures of the body are 95% anticipation and only 5% participation.

Therefore, this burning desire of our bodily appetites is an illusion of our weak and fallen nature. The disgust that follows satiety is daily confirmation of this truth. If we are wise, we will soon discover from our own firsthand experience what St. Augustine warns us against and tries to spare us the hardship of learning the hard way: Our hearts are only made for God — "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."

This false attraction to bodily appetites and our stupidity in refusing to learn from other's mistakes and even our own firsthand experience is bad enough, but what is worse is that in our pursuits of these bodily appetites, we are so occupied that we fail to consider, much less pursue spiritual needs. We are too often like the dog returning to his vomit; or the fool who keeps doing the same thing expecting something different to happen. The bodily appetites keep promising happiness but invariably keep disappointing us.

Our spiritual appetites, however, work in a diametrically opposite manner. When we first consider the soul's delights, they appear to have very little or nothing to attract us. The "anticipation" seems to be only about the "5%" of joy or satisfaction. The "95%" of pleasure and satisfaction only comes with "participation."

All those who have responded to the invitation to the Supper begin here on earth to taste some spiritual delights. In the tasting of these, the appetites (desires) of the soul increase. The more we receive, the greater our desire becomes. There is no satiety or disgust for the soul.

While in our bodies, we are more inclined to believe the deceits and illusions of the physical and discount the promised joys of the spiritual world. Only in cooperating with the grace of Faith do we turn away from the joys of anticipation in worldly pleasures and turn towards the participation of spiritual ones.

Many fail to set aside their bodily appetites and pursue the spiritual Supper because they see the lowliness and even the sins of the servant sent to invite them. How often do we hear of people who no longer come to the Church and Sacraments because of this or that priest? They starve their souls because they despise the messenger. The servant is not the master. The Supper is not the servant's but God's. Let us not despise God or His grace because of the lowliness of His servants.

If we who have been invited fail to heed the invitation, we will be eternally excluded. Then we will be forever denied all spiritual joys, and the physical pleasures of this world and body will soon prove to be what they genuinely are: illusions. This will leave us forever tormented and regretting our folly. And many of those we may have looked down upon will come in and take our places. The sinners and dejected of this world who are filled with misery, suffering, and lowliness and are incredibly humbled here and now will be filled at this great Supper. Our sinfulness and spiritual misery are not obstacles but benefit us if we are genuinely humbled and repented by them. If we cooperate with God's ministers, our misery will compel us to come to the Supper that Heaven may be filled.

May we learn from this to despise the appetites and enticements of this world and our flesh and humbly pursue the feasting upon spiritual delights. In this, we will never experience the disgust of satiety but will ever be filled with increasing joy as we desire more and more.

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