Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wise As Serpents, Innocent As Doves: A Guide to Catholic Voters


Just a few weeks to go before the May 9 national and local elections, the election fever is switching to a high gear with all the bashing and political mudslinging going around. I am reposting here a set of guidelines issued by CBCP to help us Catholic voters to discern and choose our future leaders wisely. At the same time let us also pray for an orderly and peaceful elections in the coming polls.


As the rhetoric and the noise traditionally associated with Philippine politics and elections reach higher levels of intensity, we wish to offer some guidelines to our Catholic voters deriving from the moral teachings of the Church.

1. Reject claims by candidates that they are candidates of the CBCP, or of a diocese, or of a particular bishop. It has never been the practice of the Catholic Church to hold out a candidate to the faithful as the “chosen” candidate of the Church. Church doctrine has remained consistent: Partisanship is an arena into which the Church should not venture.

2. We your bishops commit to desist from any action or statement that may give the appearance of persuading the faithful to vote for a particular candidate. While bishops, as citizens of the Republic, have the right to make their own choices, our office in the Church as well as our stature, of which we are all unworthy, urge upon us that circumspection that should prevent misunderstanding and confusion among our flock

3. The desired qualities of leaders as well as the political options open to the people are proper subjects of the collective discernment of the members of our lay Catholic communities and associations, as long as these take place in the context of prayer, a careful reading of the Scriptures in the light of the Church’s teaching, a sense of fairness and concern for the common good.

4. The Catholic voter must evaluate candidates according to the model of Christ, who came to serve, not to be served. They must look for the realization of Gospel values in the lives, words and deeds of those desirous of public office, realizing that there are no perfect candidates. There is a crucial difference between one who has been wrong in the past and is willing to amend his ways, and one who exhibits stubbornness and obstinacy.

5. Surveys and polls show trends, and they are as limited as the methodology that is used to conduct them. The Catholic therefore cannot make his or her choice depend on who is topping or trailing in the polls and surveys. There is a vocation to authenticity: the Spirit-inspired courage and determination to make decisions for ourselves, setting ourselves free from “trends” and “herds”, to do what is right and to choose who is right!

6. A Catholic cannot support a candidate who vows to wipe out religion from public life. While we expect every public officer to give life to the constitutional posture of “benevolent neutrality” in respect to the attitude of the State towards religion, the Catholic voter cannot and should not lend his support to any candidate whose ideology binds him or her to make of the Philippines a secular state that has no tolerance for religion in its public life.

7. Similarly, a Catholic voter cannot, in good conscience, support a candidate whose legislative or executive programs include initiatives diametrically opposed to Church moral teachings on such vital issues as abortion, euthanasia, the return of the death penalty, divorce and the dilution of the character of Christian marriage.

8. A Catholic is not closed to the candidacy of a non-Catholic. In fact, there are worthy candidates from other Christian communities and other religions. Their qualifications and aspirations must be given serious heed by our Catholic voters, their truly helpful plans and visions must be supported.

9. A candidate who has thus far spent his time demolishing the reputation and tarnishing the good name of fellow candidates must be suspect. He may have nothing positive to offer, and he debases the level of political discourse by calling attention to the shortcomings of his rivals and competitors, rather than on the programs and projects he or she might have.

10. We warn against the use of government resources, the power of government offices and instrumentalities and subtler forms of coercion and intimidation to promote the chances of a particular candidate. It is God’s will to provide his people with shepherds after His merciful heart!

Finally, we appeal to COMELEC to insure that all the security measures mandated by the Automated Election Law be implemented diligently. The credibility of the elections and the stability of our democracy is at risk if the security and sanctity of the every ballot is compromised.


As Christians we will align ourselves not with powers like Herod who trembled at the news that the King had been born. We shall, like the wise men, choose a different route, guided by intimations of the Gospel, and so do our part, in response to God’s initiative, to make all things new!



From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, December 30, 2015

+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
President, CBCP


"See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)

Monday, April 4, 2016

To Kneel or to Stand



It seems that most of the faithful Catholics attending Mass are not yet aware or have been made aware by their local parish priests and/or bishops about the practice of kneeling during the entire Eucharistic consecration of the Mass. I attended Mass today and only saw two ladies kneeling after the Holy, Holy, Holy (Sanctus) part up until the grand Amen or right before the Our Father. I myself have only very recently learned that this should be the proper way to do it and rightfully so because this is the part of the Mass when the Transfiguration happens and the Lord deserves utmost reverence no less. Please see letter below from CBCP for a full and detailed explanation.


On the QUESTION of Kneeling or Standing
After the Consecration Until After the GREAT AMEN
During the Eucharistic Celebration

March 19, 2016

Your Eminences and Excellencies,

During the January 2016 112th CBCP Plenary Assembly in Cebu, there was a discussion on the issue of standing or kneeling after the consecration until after the Amen. The discussion included a question on why we do not continue kneeling after the consecration until after the Amen. After a short discussion, the Permanent Council of the CBCP was tasked to look into this issue.

So, at the March 15, 2016 meeting of the CBCP Permanent Council one of the issues discussed was this issue on the posture of standing after the consecration and to keep standing or of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer. This is the reason for this letter.

Before the 1990s, we can still recall that we had the established practice of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer.

In the 1990s the practice of standing after the consecration was begun. This change in the established practice was based on the 1990 Guidelines for the Eucharist which were approved by the CBCP in January 1990. Number 3 of the 1990 Guidelines states: “The people should kneel from the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer…. If the acclamation after the consecration is sung, the people may stand for it and keep standing.” 

However, in reality the practice became always standing after the consecration until the Amen.

In January 2003 at the 86th CBCP Plenary Assembly, one of the proposals that the CBCP approved to include among the Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002 was: “Proposed Philippine Adaptation: ‘In the Philippines, the people kneel after the Sanctus, rise for the memorial acclamation, and kneel after the Lamb of God.’”

In both instances, the 1990 Guidelines for the Eucharist and the proposed Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002, no recognition was ever received from Rome.

Specifically for the Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002 that were submitted to Rome, no answer was ever received. Archbishop Romulo Valles, during an ad limina visit in September 2003, made a follow up at the office of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the status the Philippine proposed adaptations. After that, until up to now we have not received a formal written reply.

In February 2016, Bishop Julius Tonel, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy, made a query with the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments about this specific proposed adaptation. In reply to his query, it was confirmed that a formal reply or recognition had never been given.

With the above information, we sought the advice of some of our bishops knowledgeable in the Code of Canon Law. They have responded that no answer or silence from Rome means that the recognition has not been given. Without the recognition the CBCP does not have the authority to make or implement any such adaptation. This being the case, we have to revert to the established practice before the request.

Based on the above documented information, the Permanent Council came to the decision that we must ABANDON the practice of standing after the consecration until the Amen as we do not have the authority to make such an adaptation nor do we have the authority to implement it. We must go back to the previously established practice of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer.

To go back to our established practice is very much in keeping with our current General Instructions of the Roman Missal, approved by the CBCP and given the needed recognition from Rome, published in the Philippine Edition of the Roman Missal of 2011. Number 43 states: “Where it is the practice for the people to remain kneeling after the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer …, it is laudable for this practice to be retained.”

Another way of saying this is that we go back our established practice where the people kneel beginning after the Sanctus and remain kneeling until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer knowing that this is in harmony with the present GIRM.

You are kindly requested to inform our clergy and Catholic faithful about this re-statement of position and lead them, through liturgical catechesis, to deepen our reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament. The spirit of the law is to observe greater reverence for the Real Presence.

We remind you of some lines contained in our Pastoral Exhortation to Open the 2016 Year of the Eucharist and the Family:

Kneeling is part of our Christian culture. We cannot abandon or set aside the culture of kneeling in favor of the culture that says as freemen we must face God on our feet. Bending the knee before the tabernacle in genuflection, kneeling down at the celebration of the Eucharist, kneeling down to adore the exposed Blessed Sacrament— these are little but sublime acts of adoration that we must preserve and protect.


Sincerely yours,



+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!



After meditation on the Passion and Death of our Lord, we now focus our gaze at His Glorious Resurrection. This excerpt is from an Easter sermon by St. Maximus of Turin, an early Church Father.


Christ is risen! He has burst open the gates of hell and let the dead go free; he has renewed the earth through the members of his Church now born again in baptism, and has made it blossom afresh with men brought back to life. His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven, which stand wide open to receive those who rise up from the earth. Because of Christ’s resurrection the thief ascends to paradise, the bodies of the blessed enter the holy city, and the dead are restored to the company of the living. There is an upward movement in the whole of creation, each element raising itself to something higher. We see hell restoring its victims to the upper regions, earth sending its buried dead to heaven, and heaven presenting the new arrivals to the Lord. In one and the same movement, our Savior’s passion raises men from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights.

Christ is risen! His rising brings life to the dead, forgiveness to sinners, and glory to the saints. And so David the prophet summons all creation to join in celebrating the Easter festival: Rejoice and be glad, he cries, on this day which the Lord has made.

The light of Christ is an endless day that knows no night. Christ is this day, says the Apostle; such is the meaning of his words: Night is almost over; day is at hand. He tells us that night is almost over, not that it is about to fall. By this we are meant to understand that the coming of Christ’s light puts Satan’s darkness to flight, leaving no place for any shadow of sin. His everlasting radiance dispels the dark clouds of the past and checks the hidden growth of vice. The Son is that day to whom the day, which is the Father, communicates the mystery of his divinity. He is the day who says through the mouth of Solomon: I have caused an unfailing light to rise in heaven. And as in heaven no night can follow day, so no sin can overshadow the justice of Christ. The celestial day is perpetually bright and shining with brilliant light; clouds can never darken its skies. In the same way, the light of Christ is eternally glowing with luminous radiance and can never be extinguished by the darkness of sin. This is why John the evangelist says: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never been able to overpower it.

And so, my brothers, each of us ought surely to rejoice on this holy day. Let no one, conscious of his sinfulness, withdraw from our common celebration, nor let anyone be kept away from our public prayer by the burden of his guilt. Sinner he may indeed be, but he must not despair of pardon on this day which is so highly privileged; for if a thief could receive the grace of paradise, how could a Christian be refused forgiveness?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Love of the Cross


This Black Saturday, let us all contemplate on the love of the Cross, the chief instrument of our salvation.


In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection against our enemies, in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the Cross is strength of mind, in the Cross joy of spirit, in the Cross the height of virtue, in the Cross the perfection of holiness.

There is no salvation of the soul, nor hope of everlasting life, but in the Cross. Take up therefore thy Cross and follow Jesus, and thou shalt go into everlasting life. He went before, bearing His Cross, and died for thee on the Cross; that thou also might bear thy Cross and desire to die on the Cross.

For if thou be dead with Him, thou shall also in like manner live with Him. And if thou share His punishment, thou shall also share His glory. Behold! in the Cross all does consist, and in our dying all lieth; for there is no other way unto life, and unto true inward peace, but the way of the holy Cross, and of daily mortification.

(Thomas A. Kempis from The Imitation of Christ)

-oOo-

Our Blessed Lord to Sister Josefa Menendez:

"Whoever loves Me loves the Cross, and whoever loves the Cross loves me. Only those who love the Cross and embrace it willingly for love of Me will possess Eternal Life. Whoever generously accepts the Cross walks in true light, follows a straight and sure path, with no danger from steep inclines in which to slide, for there are none there."

-oOo-

Because Jesus loved us so much, He desired to be loved very much by us; and therefore He did everything that He could, even by suffering for us, in order to conciliate our love, and to show that there was nothing more that He could do to make us love Him. "He endured much weariness", says St. Bernard, "that He might bind man to love Him much."

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Sacred Wound in the Shoulder of Jesus


Today, Good Friday, let us meditate on the Sacred Wound in the Shoulder of our Lord Jesus.


It is related in the annals of Clairvaux that St. Bernard once asked our Lord which was His greatest unrecorded suffering and that our Lord condescended to answer:

"I had on my Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the way of sorrow, a most grievous wound which was more painful to Me than the others and which is not recorded by men because they knew not of it. Honor the Wound with devotion and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merits; and in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins and will no more remember their mortal sins."

3 Paters 3 Aves 3 Glorias

-oOo-


SALUTATION OF THE WOUND IN THE SHOULDER OF JESUS

O most loving Jesus, meekest Lamb of God, I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy flesh and laid bare Thy bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful. I praise Thee, I bless Thee and glorify Thee and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and most painful Wound. Beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross, to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the way of the Cross.
Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Prayer to the Agonizing Jesus in Gethsemane


Today, Maundy Thursday, let us reflect on the agonies of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane through this beautiful prayer composed by St. Padre Pio. 


Jesus, in the excess of Thy love, and for Thy victory over the hardness of our hearts, give many graces to those who meditate on and diffuse the devotion to Thy Holy Passion in Gethsemane.

I pray for the desire to set my heart and my soul to thinking often of Thy bitter agony in the Garden, pitying Thee and joining myself to Thee as far as possible.

Holy Jesus, Who bore in that night the weight of all our faults, and Who paid for them completely, give me the great gift of perfect contrition for my numerous faults, which made Thee sweat blood.

Holy Jesus, through Thy very great struggle in Gethsemane, give me the ability to win a complete and definitive victory over temptations, and especially over those to which I am most subjected.

Suffering Jesus, through the anxieties, the fears, and the unknown but very intense pains Thou didst suffer in the night in which Thou wast betrayed, give me a complete understanding of Thy Will, and strength to do it, by giving me the ever present thought of the great effort and fearful struggle Thou didst bear victoriously, in order to do not Thy Will but the Father's.

Blessed be Thou, very sweet but vastly saddened Jesus, for the prayer, human but divine, which overflowed from Thy agonizing Heart in the night of the unthankfulness and treason.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee all the past, present and future Holy Masses united to the agonizing Jesus in the Garden of Olives.


Most Holy Trinity, make the knowledge and the love of the Holy Passion of Gethsemane diffuse itself through the whole world. Make those who love Thee, Jesus, seeing Thy Crucifix remember too Thy incredible pains in the Garden, and, following Thy example, learn to pray well, to fight and win, and thus to come to the Glory of Heaven. So be it.

Monday, February 15, 2016

First Courage Philippines Orientation Seminar 2016


Dear CP Reader/s:

I am cordially inviting those who struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA) to attend this event on March 19, 2016, Saturday, which falls on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary. It will be held somewhere in Makati City. This is an opportunity for you to get to know the work and mission of the Courage Apostolate in the Philippines. For those who are interested, kindly refer to the poster above for contact persons. Please also feel free to forward this invitation to anybody whom you know will benefit from Courage.

Thank you and God bless.


Yours truly in Christ,

CP Blog Moderator

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fast2Feed a Hungry Child


As we begin to observe the season of Lent this Ash Wednesday, let us intensify our desire to practice prayer, fasting, and works of mercy both corporal and spiritual. One way we can exercise this is to support HAPAG-ASA Feeding Program for hungry and malnourished children. See details below on how you can help.


Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a reminder for all of us to answer God's call to pray, fast, and do acts of charity. If we fast and let the poor, hungry and malnourished children benefit from it, we relive what Jesus said, "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat." By donating whatever we save from fasting to HAPAG-ASA Integrated Nutrition Program, we feed a poor, hungry and malnourished child.

HAPAG-ASA feeds hungry and malnourished children 6 months to 12 years old once a day, 5 days a week for 6 months with nutritious food. Apart from the supplemental feeding, parents are also provided with basic knowledge, skills and values to improve their capacity to care for their children and livelihood and skills training to give them access to employment and income generating activities.

In the last nine years, HAPAG-ASA has already fed about 1.5 million children. But there's a lot more to reach since based on the 2013 8th National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, about 8 million Filipino children are still underweight and stunted.

HAPAG-ASA appeals to you for help in feeding our hungry and malnourished children by donating to HAPAG-ASA's FAST2FEED fund campaign. It only takes P10 a day or P1200 for six (6) months to feed one child.

For inquiries, please contact HAPAG-ASA Secretariat at 5th Floor Unit 503 Prestige Tower, F. Ortigas Jr. Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Tel. No. (02) 6321001 to 03 * Fax (02) 6327844 * hapagasa@gmail.com * www.hapagasafeeding.com


YOU MAY DEPOSIT YOUR DONATIONS TO:

Pondo ng Pinoy-Hapagasa Current Accounts

Metrobank Acct No: 175-7175-50963-8
Banco de Oro Acct No: 2638-00407-0
Bank of the Philippine Islands Acct No: 3061-0858-22
China Banking Corp. Acct No: 103-57972-19
Security Bank Acct No: 141-026133-002

To donate with your Globe postpaid/prepaid load:

Text FAC and send to 2899
Ex. FAC 100
Amounts are P5, P15, P25, P50 and P100

To donate online, please visit www.hapagasafeeding.com/donate


"He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor." - Prov 22:9

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Call to Battle





This short but powerful and awesome video is for all men out there. There is an ongoing 'crisis in masculinity' today and it has devastating effects to our society as a whole. All the evil that we currently witness in the world today can be traced back to this 'crisis in masculinity' where men abandon their responsibilities and fail to live up to that noble vocation he is called to be. Let us all rediscover once again our true identity as men after Christ's image and wage a battle against every form of evil, sin, and corruption in our society starting in our own family.

Friday, January 1, 2016

On The Value of Time




New year, new beginnings. This is the perfect opportunity to reassess our lives, set personal goals, and work on achieving them, but only if we resolve from hereon to use our most precious resource well - our TIME. I chose this article by St. Alphonsus Liguori because during his life he made a vow never to waste a moment of his time. It is my prayer this new year that you and I will invest our time in meaningful and productive ways. Let us also keep in mind that time is a talent loaned to us that we have to give an account of before God when our time is up so let us endeavor to use them well.


On the Value of Time
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

"A little while, and now you shall not see me."--JOHN xvi. 16.


There is nothing shorter than time, but there is nothing more valuable. There is nothing shorter than time; because the past is no more, the future is uncertain, and the present is but a moment. This is what Jesus Christ meant when he said: "A little while, and now you shall not see me." We may say the same of our life, which, according to St. James is but a vapour, which is soon scattered forever. "For what is your life? It is a vapour which appeareth for a little while." (James iv. 14.) But the time of this life is as precious as it is short; for, in every moment, if we spend it well, we can acquire treasures of merits for heaven; but, if we employ time badly, we may in each moment commit sin, and merit hell. I mean this day to show you how precious is every moment of the time which God gives us, not to lose it, and much less to commit sin, but to perform good works and to save our souls.

1. " Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped thee." (Isa. xlix. 8.) St. Paul explains this passage, and says, that the acceptable time is the time in which God has determined to confer His favours upon us. He then adds: "Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. vi. 2.) The Apostle exhorts us not to spend unprofitably the present time, which he calls the day of salvation; because, perhaps, after this day of salvation, there shall be no salvation for us. "The time," says the same Apostle, "is short; it remaineth that . . . . they that weep be as though they wept not; that they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as if they used it not." (1 Cor. vii. 29, 30, 31.)

Since, then, the time which we have to remain on this earth is short, the Apostle tells those who weep, that they ought not to weep, because their sorrows shall soon pass away; and those who rejoice, not to fix their affections on their enjoyments, because they shall soon have an end. Hence he concludes, that we should use this world, not to enjoy its transitory goods, but to merit eternal life.


2. " Son," says the Holy Ghost, "observe the time." (Eccl. iv. 23.) Son, learn to preserve time, which is the most precious and the greatest gift that God can bestow upon you. St. Bernardino of Sienna teaches that time is of as much value as God; because in every moment of time well spent the possession of God is merited. He adds that in every instant of this life a man may obtain the pardon of his sins, the grace of God, and the glory of Paradise. " Modico tempore potest homo lucrari gratiam et gloriam." Hence St. Bonaventure says that "no loss is of greater moment than the loss of time." (Ser. xxxvii. in Sept.)


3. But, in another place, St. Bernardino says that, though there is nothing more precious than time, there is nothing less valuable in the estimation of men. " Nil pretiosius tempore, nil vilius reputatur." (Ser. ii. ad Schol.) You will see some persons spending four or five hours in play. If you ask them why they lose so much time, they answer: To amuse ourselves. Others remain half the day standing in the street, or looking out from a window. If you ask them what they are doing, they shall say in reply, that they are passing the time. And why says the same saint, do you lose this time? Why should you lose even a single hour, which the mercy of God gives you to weep for your sins, and to acquire the divine grace? "Donec hora pertranseat, quam tibi ad agendam poenitentiam, ad acquirendam gratiam, miseratio conditoris indulserit."


4. O time, despised by men during life, how much shall you be desired at the hour of death, and particularly in the other world! Time is a blessing which we enjoy only in this life; it is not enjoyed in the next; it is not found in heaven nor in hell. In hell, the damned exclaim with tears: "Oh! that an hour were given to us." They would pay any price for an hour or for a minute, in which they might repair their eternal ruin. But this hour or minute they never shall have. In heaven there is no weeping; but, were the saints capable of sorrow, all their wailing should arise from the thought of having lost in this life the time in which they could have acquired greater glory, and from the conviction that this time shall never more be given to them. A deceased Benedictine nun appeared in glory to a certain person, and said that she was in heaven, and in the enjoyment of perfect happiness; but that, if she could desire anything, it would be to return to life, and to suffer affliction, in order to merit an increase of glory. And she added that, to acquire the glory which corresponded to a single Ave Maria, she would be content to suffer till the day of judgment the long and painful sickness which brought on her death. Hence, St. Francis Borgia was careful to employ every moment of his time for God. When others spoke of useless things; he conversed with God by holy affections; and so recollected was he that, when asked his opinion on the subject of conversation, he knew not what answer to make. Being corrected for this, he said: I am content to be considered stupid, rather than lose my time in vanities.


5. Some of you will say: "What evil am I doing?" Is it not, I ask, an evil to spend your time in plays, in conversations, and useless occupations, which are unprofitable to the soul? Does God give you this time to lose it? "Let not," says the Holy Ghost, "the part of a good gift overpass thee." (Eccl. xiv. 14.) The workmen of whom St. Matthew speaks did no evil; they only lost time by remaining idle in the streets. But they were rebuked by the father of the family, saying: "Why stand you here all the day idle?" (Matt. xx. 6.) On the day of judgment Jesus Christ shall demand an account, not only of every month and day that has been lost, but even of every idle word. "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it on the day of judgment." (Matt. xii. 36.) He shall likewise demand an account of every moment of the time which you shall lose. According to St. Bernard, all time which is not spent for God is lost time. "Omne tempus quo de Deo non cogitasti, cogita te perdisse." (Coll. 1, cap. viii.) Hence the Holy Ghost says: "Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly: for neither work nor reason . . . shall be in hell, whither thou art hastening." (Eccl. ix. 10.) What you can do today defer not till tomorrow; for on tomorrow you may be dead, and may be gone into another world, where you shall have no more time to do good, and where you shall only enjoy the reward of your virtues, or suffer the punishment due to your sins. "Today if you shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts." (Ps. xciv. 8.) God calls you to confess your sins, to restore ill-gotten goods, to be reconciled with your enemies. Obey his call today; for it may happen that on tomorrow time may be no more for you, or that God will call you no more. All our salvation depends on corresponding with the divine calls, and at the time that God calls us.


6. But some of you will perhaps say: I am young; after some time I will give myself to God. But, remember that the gospel tells us, that Jesus Christ cursed the fig tree which He found without fruit, although the season for figs had not yet arrived. "It was not the time for figs." (Mark xi. 13.) By this the Saviour wished to signify, that man at all times, even in youth, should produce fruits of good works; and that otherwise, like the fig tree, he shall be cursed, and shall produce no fruit for the future. "May no man hereafter eat any more fruit of thee for ever." (Ibid., v. 14.) " Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day; for His wrath shall come on a sudden." (Eccl. v. 8, 9.) If you find your soul in the state of sin, delay not your repentance nor your confession; do not put them off even till tomorrow; for, if you do not obey the voice of God calling you today to confess your sins, death may this day overtake you in sin, and tomorrow there may be no hope of salvation for you. The devil regards the whole of our life as very short, and therefore he loses not a moment of time, but tempts us day and night. "The devil is come down unto you having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time." (Apoc. xii. 12.) The enemy, then, never loses time in seeking to bring us to hell: and shall we squander the time which God has given us to save our souls?


7. You say: "I will hereafter give myself to God." But "why," answers St. Bernard, "do you, a miserable, sinner, presume on the future, as if the Father placed time in your power?" (Serm. xxxviii., de Part., etc.) Why do you presume that you will hereafter give yourself to God, as if He had given to you the time and opportunity of returning to Him whenever you wish? Job said with trembling, that he knew not whether another moment of his life remained: "For I know not how long I shall continue, and whether after a while my Maker may take me away." (xxxii. 22.) And you say: I will not go to confession today; I will think of it tomorrow. "Diem tenes," says St. Augustine, "qui horam non tenes." How can you promise yourself another day, when you know not whether you shall live another hour? "If," says St. Teresa, "'you are not prepared to die today,' tremble, lest you die an unhappy death."


8. St. Bernardine weeps over the blindness of those negligent Christians who squander the days of salvation, and never consider that a day once lost shall never return. "Trauseunt dies, salutis et nemo recogitat sibi perire diem ut nunquam rediturum." (Serm, ad Scholar.) At the hour of death they shall wish for another year, or for another day; but they shall not have it: they shall then be told that "time shall be no more." What price would they not then give for another week, for a day, or even for an hour, to prepare the account which they must then render to God? St. Lawrence Justinian says, that for a single hour they would give all their property, all their honours, and all their delights. "Erogaret opes, honores delicias, pro una horula." (Vit. Solit, cap. x.) But this hour shall not be granted to them. The priest who attends them shall say: Depart, depart immediately from this earth; for your time is no more. " Go forth, Christian soul, from this world."


9. What will it profit the sinner who has led an irregular life, to exclaim at death: O! that I had led a life of sanctity! O! that I had spent my years in loving God! How great is the anguish of a traveller, who, when the night has fallen, perceives that he has missed the way, and that there is no more time to correct his mistake! Such shall be the anguish at death of those who have lived many years in the world, but have not spent them for God. "The night cometh when no man can work." (John ix. 4.) Hence the Redeemer says to all: "Walk whilst you have light, that the darkness overtake you not." (John xii. 35.) Walk in the way of salvation, now that you have the light, before you are surprised by the darkness of death, in which you can do nothing. You can then only weep over the time which you have lost.


10. He hath called against me the time." (Thren. i. 15.) At the hour of death, conscience will remind us of all the time which we have had to become saints, and which we have employed in multiplying our debts to God. It will remind us of all the calls and of all the graces which He has given us to make us love him, and which we have abused. At that awful moment we shall also see that the way of salvation is closed for ever. In the midst of these remorses, and of the torturing darkness of death, the dying sinner shall say: O fool that I have been! O life misspent! O lost years, in which I could have gained treasures of merits, and have become a saint! but I have neglected both, and now the time of saving my soul is gone for ever. But of what use shall these wailings and lamentations be, when the scene of this world is about to close, the lamp is on the point of being extinguished, and when the dying Christian has arrived at that great moment on which eternity depends?


11. " Be you then also ready; for, at what hour you think not, the Son of Man will come." (Luke xii. 40.) The Lord says: "Be prepared." He does not tell us to prepare ourselves when death approaches, but to be ready for His coming; because when we think least of death, the Son of Man shall come and demand an account of our whole life. In the confusion of death, it will be most difficult to adjust our accounts, so as to appear guiltless before the tribunal of Jesus Christ. Perhaps death may not come upon us for twenty or thirty years; but it may also come very soon, perhaps in a year or in a month. If any one had reason to fear that a trial should take place, on which his life depended, he certainly would not wait for the day of the trial, but would as soon as possible employ an advocate to plead his cause. And what do we do? "We know for certain that we must one day be judged, and that on the result of that judgment our eternal, not our temporal, life depends. We also know that that day may be very near at hand; and still we lose our time, and, instead of adjusting our accounts, we go on daily multiplying the crimes which will merit for us the sentence of eternal death.


12. If, then, we have hitherto employed our time in offending God, let us henceforth endeavour to bewail our misfortune for the remainder of our life, and say continually with the penitent King Ezechias: "I will recount to thee all my years in the bitterness of my soul." (Isa. xxxviii. 15.) The Lord gives us the remaining days of life, that we may compensate the time that has been badly spent. "Whilst we have time, let us work good.'' (Gal. vi. 10.) Let us not provoke the Lord to punish us by an unhappy death; and if, during the years that are passed, we have been foolish, and have offended Him, let us now attend to the Apostle exhorting us to be wise for the future, and to redeem the time we have lost. "See, therefore, brethren, now you walk circumspectly, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil . . . understanding what is the will of God." (Eph. v. 15, 16, 17.) "The days are evil." According to St. Anselm, the meaning of these words is, that the days of this life are evil, because in them we are exposed to a thousand temptations and dangers of eternal misery; and therefore, to escape perdition, all possible care is necessary. "What," says St. Augustine, "is meant by redeeming the time, unless, when necessary, to submit to temporal loss in order to gain eternal goods?" (de horn. 50, horn, i.) We should live only to fulfil with all diligence the divine will; and, should it be necessary, it is better to suffer in temporal things, than to neglect our eternal interests. Oh! how well did St. Paul redeem the time which he had lost! St. Jerome says, that though the last of the apostles, he was, on account of his great labours, the first in merits. "Paul, the last in order, but the first in merits, because he laboured more than all." Let us consider that, in each moment, we may lay up greater treasures of eternal goods. If the possession of all the land round which you could walk, or of all the money which you could count in a day, were promised you, would you lose time? or would you not instantly begin to walk over the ground, or to reckon the money? You now have it in your power to acquire, in each moment, eternal treasures; and will you, notwithstanding, misspend your time. Do not say, that what you can do today you can also do tomorrow; because this day shall be then lost to you, and shall never return. You have this day; but perhaps tomorrow will not be given you.


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