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제목 Labour, Trust, and Prayer (2020-02-09)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2020-02-09




Labour, Trust, and Prayer (2020-02-09)

And when he went out about the eleventh hour, he found others standing there, and he said to them: Why stand ye here all day doing nothing? »
They say to him, "That's because nobody hired us. " He said to them, "Go, you too, to the vineyard. (Matthew 20)

The phrase: “Go you also into the vineyard” = it can give us occasion to speak of manual labour, and we shall add here some ideas from St Thomas Aquinas on this point. Also, it reminds us of the will of God that all men should be saved and prayer as a means to attain that salvation.

LABOUR
What does St Thomas (the greatest mind of the Catholic Church) say about Work for the Catholic?
1. Work has four purposes:
(a) principally to sustain life, which was why Adam was told that he would earn his bread by the sweat of his brow (Gen.3. 19);
(b) to avoid idleness, from which so many evils come (Ecclus.33· 29);
(c) to avoid attacks of evil passions, since work keeps the body both occupied and also tired (2Cor.6. 5);
(d) so that we may be able to give alms or help to others in their need (Eph.4. 28).


Having explained that the Apostles had no need to work with their hands for their own support, since they should have received this from the faithful, he goes on to suggest certain reasons why St Paul worked with his hands:

i. to remove from false apostles the occasion for their preaching, since they used this office to gain money for themselves, not for spiritual reasons;

ii. to avoid putting graver burdens on those to whom he preached (2 Cor. 12. 13);

iii. to give an example to those who were idle (2 Thess. 3. 8).

(However, St Paul did not do this in those places where he had the opportunity of preaching and pastoral work every day.)


iii. 나태 상태인 사람들에게 모범을 보이기 위해서입니다. (테살로니카 후. 3. 8).

So we see that Work (all three kinds - Manual, Intellectual, Spiritual) is part of our necessary life as Catholics and we see how St Thomas explains it is very necessary for the good of our souls (not just the good of our bodies!). Let us make sure that we are not avoiding work, but rather embracing it as the good (although sometimes difficult) habit that it is for our souls and the souls of others.


SALVATION OF SOULS AND PRAYER:
Now let us remember that the world is a large field of harvest, not of plants/crops, but of souls that are in need of salvation! We see here in the Gospel of today that there are many workers needed in the field of harvest and that God (the Master of the Harvest) is always asking for more helpers to save souls.


Yes, it is the will of God, the salvation of souls: He gives all the means of salvation in some way or another for He is perfectly Just. Our salvation is a mystery hidden in God, but we can pray for it; and prayer is one of the best means of obtaining from God the gift of salvation.

St Alphonsus de Ligouri speaks of the necessity of prayer and several benefits to our eternal salvation:

Distrust in ourselves. = "With fear and trembling," says the apostle, "work out your salvation" (Phil. 2:12). To secure eternal life, we must be always penetrated with fear; we must be always afraid of ourselves and distrust our own strength; for, without the divine grace, we can do nothing. "Without me," says Jesus Christ, "you can do nothing" – we can do nothing for the salvation of our own souls. St. Paul tells us, that of ourselves we are not capable of even a good thought. "Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (II Cor. 3:5). Without the aid of the Holy Ghost, we cannot even pronounce the name of Jesus so as to deserve a reward. "And no one can say the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost" (I Cor. 12:3).

Even the greatest saints had a prayerful distrust of themselves. In rising from bed, St. Philip Neri used to say every morning, ”O Lord, keep Thy hand this day over Philip, if Thou do not, Philip will betray Thee.” And one day, as he walked through the city, reflecting on his own weaknesses, he frequently said, I despair, I despair. A certain religious who heard him, believing that the saint was really tempted to despair, corrected him, and encouraged him to hope in the divine mercy. But the saint replied, "I despair of myself, but I trust in God, hence, during this life which we are exposed to so many dangers of losing God, it is necessary for us to live always in great distrust in ourselves, and full of confidence in God.

Prayers also increases the Confidence in God. = St. Francis de Sales says that the more we distrust our own strength, the more we should confide in the divine mercy. This is a balance, says the same saint, in which the more the scale of confidence in God is raised, the more the scale of confidence in ourselves descends.

 St. Cyprian says that the divine mercy is an inexhaustible fountain. They who bring vessels of the greatest confidence, draw from it the greatest graces. Whenever the Devil terrifies us by placing before our eyes the great difficulty of persevering in the grace of God in spite of all the dangers and sinful occasions of this life, let us, without answering him, raise our eyes to God, and hope that in His goodness He will certainly send us help to resist every attack. "I have lifted up my eyes to the mountains, from whence help shall come to me" (Ps. 120:1). And when the enemy represents to us our weakness, let us say with St Paul the Apostle, "I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13). Of myself I can do nothing; but I trust in God, that, by His grace, I shall be able to do all things.

 Hence, in the midst of the greatest dangers of perdition to which we are exposed, we should continually turn to Jesus Christ, and throwing ourselves into the hands of Him who redeemed us by His death. Our prayers should be said with great confidence of obtaining eternal life. We should remember to ask the Mother of God to take our weak prayers and present them lovingly at the throne of Her Son in such a way that he cannot refuse them.

Fr. Patric Summers(SSPXASIA)