Her Doctrine and Morals

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

8 October 2017


The Sunday


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Dear Friends,

As a cloud is consumed, and passeth away: so he that shall go down to hell shall not come up (Book of Job, vii. 9). Pride lifts us up to great heights just like a cloud; and, just like a cloud, pride makes us the sport of every wind that blows. The cloud has no substance, foundation, or root to maintain its position or even its very shape. The sinner, when he has let go of charity (see the Sunday Sermon from last week) and is filled with the hot air of vain pride, likewise loses all his substance, foundation, or root. He becomes the play thing of every passion and temptation that blows him. There is no rest or peace for a cloud and so there is none for the sinner.

When the heat of the sun burns upon the cloud, it is soon dissipated and goes away. When the judgment of God shines upon the sinner he, also, "passeth away" into the depths of hell. All is not hopeless for the sinner, though. What the heat of God's judgment drives away is sin. If there is any goodness or solidity within us (charity) it is purified in this process. Pride and vanity all appear to be something or to have some substance, just like a cloud; but, just like a cloud, they are found, upon closer inspection, to be without any solidity or substance. When this is burned away, many are left with nothing. In truth, they never had anything to begin with, it was all an empty shell. For the truly blessed, however, the heat of God's judgments burn away all that is holding them back, when sin is removed the kernel of goodness (love) is all that is left.

The converted sinner finds a great void in his life, he sees how much of his life (time, effort, resources) has been wasted in the pursuit of the pride and vanity of this world. However, with sin out of the way, he also finds a lot of room for the kernel of love to grow and develop.

As the man in today's Gospel returned to his house, so the sinner can return into his soul. In the quiet and peace of his soul he may tend to and nurture the virtue of charity. The distractions and space wasting clouds of sin have been removed and we find ever more room to grow and advance in our love for God and our fellow men.

It was, however, necessary that the sins be first forgiven. The cure of the soul is primary, the cure of bodies (when this is given) sometimes come before and sometimes after; but the soul always takes precedence over the body. The cure of the paralysis was not the important thing — it was the cure of his soul. Both are easy for God to do. He drives away bodily infirmities as simply as he drives away the diseases of the soul (sin). With our physical ailments it is never enough to simply have them removed, we must allow the body time to heal and to strengthen. The same is true with our souls, once God has forgiven our sins (through the sacrament of Penance), we must then leave the world and enter into our houses (our souls) and there quietly nurture them.

The wounds that our souls have sustained from sin remain even after the sin is forgiven and removed. To return to the world in this vulnerable stage is to invite reinfection. We have nothing (or very little) within us to resist temptation, trials, or tribulations. We enter into the privacy of our souls and there with God's grace nurture our souls with prayer, sacrifices, and penances, we feed our souls with Him in the Holy Eucharist. Our wounds of sin scar over and the risk of re-infection diminishes. Our spiritual immunity (grace) is built up and is made strong. We are fortified with Him. It is the life of Jesus living within us that now makes us strong. It is He that overcomes sin within us. It is He that is the immunity for our souls that prevents sin from re-entering. Once we have returned to Him in the quite of our house (soul) let us do all that is necessary to keep ourselves in Him. The life of Jesus lives with in us in the lasting virtue of charity (love).

Love is not self-seeking. The soul that loves is forgetful of self. He lives and works not for himself, but for God and his fellow men. In our world today, we see the majority asking what they can get from others (society, the government, the Church, God). In this they are seeking their own self and they are killing off the virtue of true love. If we are to advance in the spiritual life, we must be ready to die to ourselves; and ask ourselves: "what can I do for others." What can I do for: God, the Church, society, etc. is how we ultimately die to ourselves and live in love. This is why we must enter into the house of our souls and nurture the greatest of virtues — charity — above all others.

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