Her Doctrine and Morals

Second Sunday after Pentecost

3 June 2018


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Dear Friends,

The Divine Wisdom works within us in various ways. All are invited to the eternal Supper of Heaven, but some are given more freedom to enter or not enter, while others experience a compulsion to enter.

It seems very peculiar that those that have been given the most of the material blessings in this life, often appear to be the most ungrateful. A man who was given a farm, another who received five yoke of oxen, and the man who received something of even greater value than these combined — a wife — all have become dismissive of their benefactor. All good things come from God, and all the material blessings of this world, including power or authority over another, are His gifts to us. These material blessings are temporary and are subject to loss at any time, yet we tend to prefer these to God and the eternal joys of Heaven.

Material blessings should be the greatest aid to us in loving God and drawing ever closer to Him. However, they seem to most often have the opposite effect. The cure for this is learning the true value of all things so that we can follow the suggestion of St. Paul and use these things as if we used them not. When our hearts are attached to something that is ultimately subject to loss, we are truly miserable even before they are taken from us. And yet, men seem to love their very misery. What is happening here, is that we make gods out of the material things that we have been given. We fall into a kind of idolatry as we look for everlasting happiness in the temporal pleasures of this life. Eternal happiness is only to be found in Heaven, not in anything or anyone on this earth. This appears to be the disease that leads us to refuse the most beautiful and generous invitation of God to enter into His eternal Supper.

The more He has given us and the greater freedom He has given us, so the greater our abuse becomes. We love the gift more than the Giver of the gift. Thus, Jesus tells us that those are truly blessed who are poor in spirit. Those who have a spirit of detachment from these material things, or who can use them as if they used them not — these are the ones that are blessed. Without this poverty of spirit, it seems that the gifts of God actually become obstacles to our love for Him.

Those, in today's Gospel who are not only spiritually poor but also materially poor find themselves compelled to enter into the Great Supper. The material poor souls in this world, often appear to have little control over their own life. They are compelled to go and to do whatever they can simply to survive. They are not restrained to any one place (a farm), or any particular object (oxen), or even to any particular person (a wife). Their very lives are receptive to the least hint of aid or relief. These souls often find themselves out in the highways and hedges of this world — transients in this world. In this manner, they are practicing (willingly or unwillingly) the spiritual truth that we are only passing through this life — this world is not our home. In this state, the servants of God easily compel them to enter into Heaven. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Those with material blessings also have everything to gain but are only asked to make a small sacrifice or loss of what they have been given.

Sadly some who are unwillingly material poor, refuse the invitation also. These grow bitter and resentful to God, they grow envious and jealous of others and thus block off all openness to God's true gift that He has prepared for them.

The ideal or perfect life in this world is very clear. Jesus told this to many. If we want perfect happiness we must become His disciples. To be His disciples, He would have us go and sell all that we have, give it to the poor, and come follow Me. Follow in poverty — without even a place to place our head. (The foxes have their dens, the birds their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.)

In the willing sacrifice of our material blessings for the love of God — espousing poverty to be able to follow Him, we find ourselves readily compelled to enter into His Supper. Those who enter into a Religious Order and faithfully live the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are almost of necessity carried away into Heaven. Saintly Popes have said that anyone who faithfully lives the Franciscan life will without a doubt enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The key is to not only enter but to live it. Sadly many who find themselves in the easiest path to enter into Heaven, lose their way because they fail to live the very life they have taken up.

The most frightening aspect of all is the situation with many that Jesus has called to Himself, but they refuse to answer His call. They, like the rich young man, go away sad because they do not want to sell all that they have and give it to the poor, in order to follow Him. We believe that God has given many vocations, but that these calls are not headed, and hence these souls live out the rest of their lives in sadness, if not outright misery. The joys of material things become bitter to them, yet they cling to them all the more.

Let us pray that, those whom God has called to be compelled to enter may answer this call and true vocations should increase. And for those whom God has given much of this world, that they love Him more than they love His gifts to them.

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