Her Doctrine and Morals

Septuagesima Sunday

17 February 2019


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Dear Friends,

We have been created by God for God. There is an unspoken rebellion against God when we think only of ourselves. We mistakenly think that we exist to please ourselves — to serve ourselves. We have been made to serve in the vineyard of God — not in our own vineyard. We possess nothing in our own right in this life. All that we have and all that we are belong to God — we are just passing through this world and cannot permanently hold on to anything material.

We are as day laborers in this world. We wait to be hired and told what to do because we have no land of our own. We must spend the majority of our day working for another, while only a small fraction of the day is our own. The honest laborer is ashamed to ask the master for payment when he has done nothing to earn it. Perhaps, we must conclude that many are dishonest as they seek their own will and do nothing for God, but expect Him to feed them and care for their every need.

Those standing idle in the marketplace represent to us sinners of every kind. They are not working for God and so are doing nothing. Therefore, they have no reason to hope for any payment from the Master. They deserve nothing because they have done nothing. What rewards they may take are truly stolen from God — they are thieves.

How necessary it is then, for us to do all that we do for the love of God. If we must rest, we should rest for the love of God. If we must work, we should work for the love of God. In this manner, everything is changed from idleness to honest work worthy of recompense.

It is said that idle hands are the devil's workshop. Those who are not working for God seldom remain neutral or indifferent. The moment our intentions waver from the service of God, they turn to self-service and then to demonic servitude. The devils, as of old, present slavery as freedom, and service to God as slavery. Obviously, the devils are liars because the opposite is the truth. True freedom is in the service of God and turning to sin is slavery. Sin is addictive and becomes a brutal tyrant. The devils promise gratification and happiness in payment for sin, but they cannot deliver any of this. At the end of the day, the sinner has nothing and is given nothing.

In the service of God, we are promised a just reward at the end of the day. The devils have promised an immediate reward in sin and idleness. In this they fail as all the pleasures and joys of this life are fleeting and vain. During the day of our lives, joys are always just out of reach and then at the end of the day, all hope of ever attaining them is gone. Sin promises everything and delivers nothing.

God invites us to labor for Him during the day (the time of our lives here on earth), with the promise of a reward in eternity. The devils have mirrored this and so they present the direct opposite: reward or pleasure now and an eternity of hard labor and suffering in Hell. In reality, the devils can deliver nothing — either in this life or in eternity. The happiness sin and the devils promise is a lie that can at most produce a fleeting pleasure that is soon followed by disgust, misery, sorrow, and suffering. There is no true happiness in sin.

God does not call everyone at the same time or for the same duration. He calls when He wills and whom He wills. We need not compare ourselves with others in this regard. All that God does is good and holy. It is of no use to us that some are called early and some are called late. What is of use to us, is that we have been called. We have received the grace of faith and baptism and therefore we must labor and work out our own salvation in fear and trembling. We must ever strive to do more for God and to do better for God because we hope for an everlasting reward with Him in Heaven. Our labors, by themselves, will never merit the reward that is promised. It is the merits of Jesus Christ that gain for us this reward, but He has conditioned the gift of His merits being applied to us to our following and cooperating with Him. We must daily take up our cross and follow Him.

We must daily heed His call to work in the vineyard and bear whatever heat or discomfort that is before us for the love of Him and in imitation of Him. He has led the way, now we must follow — the entire day (all of our mortal lives).

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