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제목 The True Virtues in the Catholic Life(2015-03-14)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-03-16



     The True Virtues in the Catholic Life(14th March 2015) 


My dear brethren,
Today in the Gospel we see the true mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ: He does not condemn the sinner, but offers forgiveness. Yes He does not approve sin, and required “sin no more!” These two aspect of true mercy are essential, especially in our times where some wicked Cardinals would like to offer a false mercy, that no longer requires to sin no more.

I would like to take this occasion to show what the “morals of St Paul” are. St. Paul has a wonderful way to approach morality. He is not like the pagan philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle who disserted on virtues and vices in long discourses… but did not practice much! For him, virtue is not something abstract, but very concrete, very personal. He summed it beautifully in one word: “Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20). “For to me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). “I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the principle and the end, the Alpha and Omega of our Catholic life: He is the source of grace and the object of our love and desire. We have been created by Him and ought to return to Him. Moreover, He is not only the principle and the end; He is also the Way to the Father: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6).

Concretely speaking, St Paul says: “Be ye therefore imitators of God, as most dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness” (Eph. 5:1-2). I slightly corrected the translation; the English usually has “followers”, but the Latin has “imitatores = imitators”, and the Greek has “μιμηταὶ = mimetai = to mime, to copy the behaviour” to such a point that people seeing us should be able to recognise our Lord Jesus Christ! As you can see, such morality is not abstract, but very concrete: this is the true Christian life, the true Catholic life: the imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You all know the beautiful little book called “the Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis, which I most strongly recommend to all of you; it is filled with the wisdom of the Saints and of the Scriptures. In our daily life, we should always ask ourselves: what would our Lord Jesus Christ do in my place? Is what I am doing pleasing Him? How would He react in my situation? How would He behave? If anything would displease Him, then we should absolutely not do it.

Here the Law of God come to our help: to know what is the Will of God, the Holy Will of our Lord Jesus Christ, St Thomas Aquinas says, we should first consider what He has commanded us. But that law is not a blind obligation to which we unwillingly obey, but rather it is the expression of the Will of the beloved, which we ardently want to fulfil. Hence the Law is not a burden, it is a friend, it is a light on the right path; this is what St Paul meant when he wrote that “we are not under the law” (Rom. 6:14, Gal. 5:18), that is, we are not crushed by the law, but rather we are “not without the law, but rather in the Law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). Charity makes us love to please God, love to obey His holy Will, His Law, and thus gives us a wonderful freedom, the true freedom of the children of God: the freedom to do lovingly the Will of the Father, what God commands, not relying on our strength but on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus St Paul writes: “if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law… The fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:18, 22-23).

This beautiful and fruitful life of charity is achieved when one participates in the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt. 16:24). This St Paul expresses clearly: “they that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences” (Gal. 5:24). They fight strongly against temptation, not giving an inch to the Devil. Because they know that “the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21). And to the Ephesians he is as strong and as clear: “fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: Or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose; but rather giving of thanks. For know you this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief” (Eph. 5:3-6).

As you can see, for St Paul, because Christ died on the Cross to redeem us from our sins, we ought to do the same by dying to sin: “So do you also reckon, that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord”(Rom. 6:11). Mortification – which often frightens us – is done in order to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ crucified. And this is the guarantee that we shall have part with Him in His resurrection: “we are the children of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:16-18).

Thus good and holy Catholic morals are the fruit of charity, of the practical and burning love for our Lord Jesus Christ, and our Lord Jesus Christ crucified. To help us concretely, I strongly recommend to have a crucifix or a holy picture in each room of your house, so that you can lift up your eyes easily on our Lord Jesus Christ, with our Lady and the Saints, in order to imitate them, and to please them. Even in your work, if you are in a truck, you can easily have a little holy picture there, or on your office desk, or in any other situation: have such reminders that will help you, to pray always: “My eyes are ever towards the Lord” (Ps. 24:15).

Also I strongly recommend some spiritual reading, that feed your mind with the good examples of our Lord Jesus Christ, of His holy Mother and of His Saints. You cannot think of nothing: the way to overcome any bad thought (not only against purity, but also of vanity, of pride, of revenge, etc.) is to replace them by good thoughts, and the best thought is the thought of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The blessed Virgin Mary is called “Mirror of Justice” because she perfectly imitated, copied the model of our Lord Jesus Christ, and she obtained the grace to be herself cause of grace upon her little children which we are. So love to go through Mary to obtain that grace of the imitation of Christ, which is the Royal Way to Heaven.
 
 In this month of St Joseph, it is good also to look at this great model of sanctity: He lived with Jesus and Mary; He was their dearest friend. To imitate St Joseph is to live with Jesus and Mary like he did, to strive to please them like he did.

Also the Holy Family remind us of our duties towards our own family. Fraternal charity starts within our own family: our parents, relatives, and also our in-laws: that is, the parents of your spouse, the relatives of your spouses. Catholic marriages weave a marvellous network of relations of charity in society, which is not made up of unconnected individuals but rather of families, bound together by these relations of love. And as you know well, and it is true both in the family and in the society at large, there is need of much patience and forgiveness. Give and it shall be given to you; forgive and it shall be forgiven you. And do so with generosity, knowing that you are gaining an eternal reward, by extending the examples of the Holy Family!

 May the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph obtain all these graces for you.


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


Father François Laisney (asiasspx)