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제목 Pray and Sacrifice Themselves for the Salvation of Sinners! (08-15)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2017-08-15




Mother of Mercy; Pray and Sacrifice Themselves for the Salvation of Sinners! (Assumption, Sunday 15th August 2017)


My dear brethren,


The feast of the Assumption celebrates the final reward of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the beautiful reward of her perfect docility to the Holy Ghost, of her Immaculate Heart. God gives both the merit and the reward, first the merit and then the reward. If we want the reward, we must do the work that merits it. By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we can do that work; God does give his grace to the humble. The blessed Virgin Mary is the most beautiful example of that cooperation with the grace of God, and shows the marvellous fruit of it.

Now, if we consider the Providence of God, what is the MAIN work that God requires from us, and that He rewards so excellently? One can answer: work of charity, “faith that worketh by charity”, according to the word of St Paul: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision: but faith that worketh by charity” (Gal. 5:6). But I think one should go one step further: what is the “utmost of charity”? This is an expression of Archbishop Lefebvre: Mercy is the utmost of Charity! And this is the great work that first Christ has done, and then asks us to do with Him: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Lk. 6:36). And St Paul says: “be ye kind one to another; merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ” (Eph. 4:32). The most Blessed Virgin Mary has understood and done this more than anyone else: she is the Mother of Mercy.

Mercy is essentially compassion and help given to those in misery. Now there are two kinds of miseries: material and spiritual misery. Hence there are two kinds of mercy: corporal works of mercy and spiritual works of mercy. Far from excluding one another, they complement one another. To exclude one or the other would not be Catholic; corporal works of mercy that would exclude and/or deny the need of spiritual works of mercy would no longer be acts of charity: they would not proceed first from the love of God, but from mere philanthropy and would be often very deficient – even if financed by much money. One sees this in the modern world, where efforts are made to push for euthanasia for sick people. Given that suicide is the direct road to hell, euthanasia is the worst thing one can push on sick people! Either it is according to the will of the patient, and then it drives him to hell, or it is against his will and then it is very evidently plain murder: neither of that is true Catholic mercy!

Now among the two miseries, the greatest is evidently the spiritual misery, i.e. the misery of sin and of its consequences. And therefore the greatest mercy is the spiritual mercy, that looks at our spiritual misery and provides remedy. Some people object and say: if there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world? The truth is that God’s work is perfect, He is not the cause of evil, but rather on the contrary provides remedy for evil. The cause of evil is sin, that is, the rebellion of a creature against its Creator, the neglect and contempt that some free creatures have for their Creator: THIS is evil, and the cause of all other evils. God is powerful enough and could indeed have prevented that evil; but He created us free and does not want to destroy our freedom: we have only ourselves to blame for the evil use of our freedom; it is wrong to blame our Creator for OUR evil use of our freedom!

Indeed when one considers all the material creatures, one sees that they all obey perfectly the laws that God has set to them: all planets and stars obey perfectly the laws of gravity, and even every single particle in the huge whole universe perfectly obeys the laws of physics which God has set for them. But they all obey out of necessity: they are not free. God has created spiritual creatures, angels and men, and has granted them freedom precisely for this, that they obey His Law out of love and not out of necessity. We must always remember this: God gave us our freedom NOT in order to disobey His law, but in order to obey His law out of love. This is indeed beautiful and wise, but man has only himself to blame if he disobeys the law of God and then suffers the consequences of his disobedience.

Good is above evil; good is a certain fullness and perfection of being; evil is a certain lack and privation of being: the privation of due good. So since it is evident that being is above the absence and privation of being, it clearly follows that good is above evil, and since the cause is proportionate to the effect, it follows that the first cause of good is above the first responsible of evil. God is the First Cause of all good. He cannot be the first responsible for evil, precisely because this first responsible for evil is below the First Cause of good. The first responsible for evil is the created will when it rejects its subjection to God: sin.

And here one finds the whole purpose of the Incarnation and Redemption: God did not prevent sin in order to manifest His Mercy, that is the perfection of His Charity, by providing the remedy for our evil, for our sins. The bountifulness of God in His Creation is marvellous; but His Mercy is even more beautiful: “For thy mercy is better than lives: thee my lips shall praise” (Ps. 62:4). “For thy mercy is great above the heavens” (Ps. 107:5). God draws good out of evil; He draws the great good of manifesting His Mercy out of the evil of our sins. He did not abandon us in our sins and their consequences; He came down from Heaven to save us from sin. But even in delivering us from our evil will, God, Who created us free, does not want to destroy our freedom. How then can He change our hearts, move us away from loving creatures more than Him, and turn our heart to loving Him more than the creatures, without doing violence to our freedom?

He works both from within and from without, making us being touched by the extent of His love: that God would care so much for each one of us to the point of sending His only begotten Son into this world to pay off the debt of our sins on the Cross, this is truly most admirable, most marvellous. Our Lord says: “For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn. 3:16). And St John marvels: “By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him. In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn. 4:9-10). And St Paul marvels: “God commendeth his charity towards us; because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us;” (Rom. 5:8-9). “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). If any man despises that extreme of the Love of God for him, then truly he deserves Hell, he will have no excuse in hell! “What is there that I ought to do more to my vineyard (=to my people), that I have not done to it?” (Isa. 5:4).

When God opens the eyes of the sinner and he sees this most admirable care that god has for him, this most kind mercy for his misery, then he is moved to tears of contrition for having offended such a good God, he detests his sins and returns with a contrite heart to His loving Creator and Saviour.
 
In this divine Mercy, what we must note attentively is the central part of the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ: first of all, it is the supreme act of worship, perfect adoration and thanksgiving on behalf of all men and even of all creation towards the Creator, by which the creature returns to its creator, more pleasing to God than all the sins of the world; but it is also essentially an act of satisfaction, paying the debt of sinful mankind to the divine Justice over and even above what was owed. Thus the Justice of God is not opposed to His Mercy nor is His Mercy opposed to His Justice, but both united most marvellously in this holy Sacrifice.

God could have simply written off the debt of sin, without asking for any compensation: but then His Justice would not have been satisfied; God did not choose this, but rather He sent His only begotten Son to pay that debt. Does that mean that we have nothing to do at all? The Protestants claims that we have nothing to do except to believe in what our Lord has done. But this is not true. God is merciful to us, but He requires us to be merciful to our neighbour: “forgive, if you have aught against any man; that your Father also, who is in heaven, may forgive you your sins. But if you will not forgive, neither will your Father that is in heaven, forgive you your sins” (Mk. 11:25-26).

Precisely because God wants to heal our soul from sin, He wants us to be good: now real goodness is incompatible with sin. One cannot at the same time continue in sin and pretend to have obtained mercy from God. The claim of Luther that one can be both just and sinner is an absurdity and truly opposed to God’s goodness, as if God would leave us in our misery rather than heal us from that misery of sin. And since the utmost of charity, utmost of goodness, consists in mercy, God wants us to be merciful to others.

 Now the greatest mercy is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, in offering Himself as the perfect Victim of the redemptive Sacrifice. So, mercy for our neighbour will require from us that we too participate in that Sacrifice for the redemption of our neighbour by MAKING REPARATION FOR SINS, for our sins and for the sins of our neighbour. And here we have the whole devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is what the Sacred Heart asked from St Marguerite Marie; this is what our Lady asked at Fatima: that we make sacrifices for the reparation of the sins, of our sins and of the sins of the world.

God loves innocence: the more innocent one is, the more that reparation and sacrifice obtains graces for one’s neighbour. God compensates overwhelmingly for the innocent suffering: one sees that in the lives of the Saints. Look at St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who never committed any mortal sin, yet suffered so much from tuberculosis (without pain killers, at that time) that she said: “I did not know one could suffer so much”. But look at so many thousands, millions of souls who were helped by her sufferings faithfully offered in union with Jesus’ Sacrifice! Look at Padre Pio and the millions who obtained grace through his sharing in the sufferings the Passion of our Lord!

Above all the Saints, this is most marvellously exemplified in the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is perfectly innocent, by the preeminent grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: from her Immaculate Conception, continued by perfect innocence and fidelity throughout her life – and this is her Immaculate Heart. She, the Innocent Virgin, lived a life hidden from the world, but comes forward at the time of the Passion: she is the first at the foot of the Cross, leading St John and the holy women. In that most intimate union with Jesus suffering, offering herself with him, she became the Mother of Mercy: she did not suffer for herself, being perfectly immaculate: she suffered for us with Jesus.


So she is the New Eve, “helper like unto him” (Gen. 2:18) to Christ the New Adam: this is the very antique doctrine of the Church, explicitly found in the very second century, exposed by St Irenaeus, whose teacher was St Polycarp, a disciple of St John who was with Mary at the foot of the Cross! So after having earned grace for us with Christ, she can distribute it: she is the best “steward of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 4:10): steward of the mercy of God, Mother of Mercy.

In our turn, we ought to imitate her, and as St Peter says here: “As every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another: as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 4:10). And we do that when we fulfil the requests of the Sacred Heart to make reparation for the offenses against Him, the request of our Lady of Fatima to make reparation to her Immaculate Heart, on behalf first of our own selves in reparation for our sins, but also on behalf of our neighbour in order to obtain mercy for him. When we consider the amount of sins in the modern world, there is more than ever need of many devout souls, eager to make reparation, eager to practice that mercy which is so pleasing to God. It seems that God waits for granting His grace precisely for such souls. He asks: I have asked so many times for generous souls making reparation, where are they?

Remember Abraham’s prayer: God revealed to him his intent to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham prayed: “If there be fifty just men in the city, shall they perish withal? and wilt thou not spare that place for the sake of the fifty just, if they be therein?” (Gen. 18:24). “And the Lord said to him: If I find in Sodom fifty just within the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake” (Gen. 18:26). And Abraham continued: “… and said: Seeing I have once begun, I will speak to my Lord, whereas I am dust and ashes. What if there be five less than fifty just persons? wilt thou for five and forty destroy the whole city? And [God] said: I will not destroy it, if I find five and forty” (Gen. 18:27-28). Abraham continued to intercede, if there were only 40, then only 30, only 20, and each time God said: “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty” (Gen. 18:31).


And Abraham prayed once more: “I beseech thee, saith he, be not angry, Lord, if I speak yet once more: What if ten should be found there? And [God] said: I will not destroy it for the sake of ten” (Gen. 18:32). And Abraham did not dare to ask further, because really if there were not that many just, then the city really deserved to be destroyed. God sent two angels to deliver the one just soul, Lot, with his family from being destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah.

The modern world with its millions of abortions, and filthy corruption in impurity and greed and pride, unbelief and blasphemies deserves a huge punishment, and God asks through His Mother for generous souls that pray and sacrifice themselves for the salvation of sinners! God is willing to spare and forgive to many for the sake of a few generous souls, merciful souls who sacrifice themselves for others, like our Lord did on the Cross, like our Lady did at the foot of the Cross. Shall we remain aloof and not respond? We must offer ourselves generously. In so doing, God grants both an abundance of grace of repentance to many, and these generous souls He grants an even greater abundance of grace of holiness by the practice of mercy. This was the holiness of our Lady, Mother of Mercy, which has been eternally rewarded so eminently today by her Assumption. Amen.


Fr. F. Laisney