Monday, April 13, 2009

Three Sermons

Fr Greg, the visiting Dominican at our local Carmel, has continued his masterly sermon series.  I cannot do them justice in extenso, but can summarize the burthen of his words.  

At the Easter Vigil, he impressed upon us what oft we neglect to note in the Gospel account: that the myrrhbearing women at the Tomb were amazed and terrified, not just by the Angel, but by the news of the Resurrection of Christ - for Easter, while joyous, should also amaze and alarm us.  After all, now that One has risen from the dead, our lives take on a totally different meaning: with eternal life now in prospect, we must needs reorder our affairs to take cognizance of this fact, and this will be no simple or painless task (as the lives of the Apostles, Martyrs, and all Christian Saints illustrates).  

On Easter morning, Fr's homily concerned the deepest truth of this Feast of feasts: that the Resurrection signifies the Father's Yes to Christ, His Yes to His Son's trust in Him, and therefore His Yes to all human hopes for deliverance, for life, for salvation.  Having had such an answer, what sure-founded joy is ours!

To-day, commenting on the Novus Ordo Gospel appointed, about the holy women seeing Our Lord, falling down before Him and clasping His sacred Feet, our preacher pointed out what he had once years before told me in pithy form: that the cure for all doubt and fear is worship and prayer.  (As he had put it, and as I ever remember it and repeat to others and pay heed to it, "If you lose your faith, the last thing you do is stop saying your prayers and stop going to Mass" - for that is precisely when you most need to pray and go to Mass!  True.)  

How do we have hope and trust and faith in Jesus Christ, in His salvation, in Him saving even us?  For we can feel unworthy of God's love - "As if that had anything to do with it," Fr commented forcefully: leaving unsaid what we ought ever recall,  that God's love is gratuitous and unmerited!  Or we may feel - in our Pelagian age - that we have no need of His salvation, which our goodness will deserve of itself, thank you very much, God perforce granting it, as too many suppose.  (O wretched deception and presumptuous heresy!  Salvation is unmeritable!)

We strengthen our faith and win against doubt and fear when we come to worship God at Mass, when we pray, when we contemplate Divine things.  The contemplative life is essential for our souls.  (I suspect the nuns well know the force of this: that's why they are in Carmel, for God's love and to save their souls, yea, and by intercession and example to help save men.)

As always, Fr Greg's homilies are deserving of praise, and I do wish he will one day publish them.  In the meanwhile, I will continue to note what I comprehend of them: but be mindful that "everything is received according to the mode of the receiver" - I do note them do with my emphases, in my language, with my editing, comments, revisions and excisions!  Poor Father...

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