Sunday, October 16, 2011

Of Sermons and Doxologies

I've been privileged to meet up with a friend, a young Dominican priest, Fr Paul, who has been here this week-end in order to say Mass for the Carmelite nuns; in response to a question of mine (I having noted this at each of his Masses, Friday, Saturday and Sunday), he confirmed that he concludes all his sermons with a doxology, that is, an ascription of praise to God (very good that: the Fathers did so), having heeded the suggestion of Fr Joseph, another Dominican, to do so.

He tells me that it influences him to turn his sermons toward the goal of eternal life and heaven: if so, Amen!  What else should a sermon turn toward?  I recall Fr Rowe telling me that he basically preached but one theme, and that is to win through to eternal life; I think yet another Friar Preacher, Fr Bernard, said the same; and if only all priests had such a right orientation toward the one thing necessary, we might be spared much foolish nonsense.  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness..." – so may we ever give glory to the Trinity!

Just now, while searching for something else, I came across the ending of a homily of St John Chrysostom (Homily 6 on Hebrews) that indeed ends aright:

For if when we go out into a plain, and there see the soldiers' tents fixed with curtains, and the spears, and helmets, and bosses of the bucklers glittering, we are lifted up with wonder; but if we also chance to see the king himself running in the midst or even riding with golden armor, we think we have everything; what do you think [it will be] when you see the everlasting tabernacles of the saints pitched in heaven? – for it is said, They shall receive you into their everlasting tabernacles (Luke 16:9) – when you see each one of them beaming with light above the rays of the sun, not from brass and steel, but from that glory whose gleamings the eye of man cannot look upon? And this indeed with respect to the men. But what, if one were to speak of the thousands of Angels, of Archangels, of Cherubim, of Seraphim, of thrones, of dominions, of principalities, of powers, whose beauty is inimitable, passing all understanding?

But how far shall I go in pursuing what cannot be overtaken? For eye has not seen, it is said, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9) Therefore nothing is more pitiable than those who miss, nor anything more blessed than those who attain. Let us then be of the blessed, that we may attain to the everlasting good things that are in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost be glory, might, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.

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