Her Doctrine and Morals

Second Sunday after Pentecost

18 June 2017


The Sunday


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Dear Friend,

The pursuit and enjoyment of the pleasures of this world make promises to our hearts and souls which they cannot keep, yet we continue following them. The three men that refused the invitation to the Great Supper give representation to the three types of temptations that assail us all. Avarice and the temptation of dominion are represented in the man who bought a farm and must go see it. Pride of the eyes and curiosity are represented in the man with five yoke of oxen who must go and try them. Lust and sensual passions are represented in the man who married a wife and cannot come.

There is little that fills our hearts with pride as the legitimate ownership of material things. They become signs and symbols of our worth and status. In the eyes of the world, the more that we possess the better off we are. Those with many possessions are the envy of others. Yet, we see that the preacher in Ecclesiastes has labeled these things as vanity of vanity and all is vanity; and as a chase after the wind. There is nothing to them. The more of them we obtain, the emptier we become. Blessed Giles of Assisi once said that the person that has the largest portion of this earth has the worst part; and the person who has the least portion of this earth has the best part. Our hearts and souls were not made for these things. The only thing that is solid and sure is God, and only He can fill our hearts and souls. We can only rest in Him — nothing else can ever truly satisfy us.

The five yoke of oxen represent to us the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. There is an unending desire of these senses to experience new things. "All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing." (Ecclesiastes) Curiosity, when regulated and used for the love of God, is very good and draws us ever closer to Him. However, unrestrained curiosity that yokes us to the material experiences of this life are a great hindrance in our spiritual life and growth. Curiosity into the lives of others is extremely dangerous to us. We are too eager to see the lives of our neighbors so as to make a secret (sometimes a very open) comparison to our own lives — always finding ourselves better than our neighbor. We are too eager to hear reports of the life and conduct of our neighbors; etc. As if this curiosity were not bad enough in its own rite, the spiritual writers tell us that it is sister to indiscretion. What we so eagerly discover with our senses, we eagerly share with others — in the hope that we can get them to tell us what they have discovered. Gossip and the sins of the tongue abound in those who are ever "trying their five yoke of oxen."

The sin of lust not only takes hold of souls, but we see that it even renders the soul weak and incapable. The other men asked to be held excused, but this man simply says: "I cannot come." Marriage is good and holy when entered into for the love of God, but very frequently it is entered into without a thought of God and more for the gratification of the passion of lust. Obsessed or consumed with this passion, the poor soul is weakened to the point of even being incapable of rising up out of the mire or of doing anything different. This vice should, therefore be one that is feared the most. We should go out of our way to avoid the snares of this quicksand that take down so many so quickly.

There is ultimately no excuse for us not to enter the Church and follow Jesus Christ. This Great Banquet (The Church) has been prepared and filled, with the most precious and delicious food, for our souls. While we are in the pursuit of worldly things or pleasures, we too often fail to hear the invitation for our souls. We must set aside, at least from time to time, the cares and solicitudes of this life, so that we can make the preparations to be ready when we are called. When the Church calls us to partake of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we must understand that this is the most important thing we can do this day, or even this week. In entering in and partaking of the graces set before us, we set the stage for the eventual entering into the even Greater Banquet of eternal happiness in Heaven.

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