Sins of Ignorance and Weakness

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“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Heb.10: 22.

Among the reasons which may be assigned for the observance of prayer at stated times, there is one which is very obvious, and yet perhaps is not so carefully remembered and acted upon as it should be. I mean the necessity of sinners cleansing themselves from time to time of the ever-accumulating guilt which loads their consciences. We are ever sinning; and though Christ has died once for all to release us from our penalty, yet we are not pardoned once for all, but according as, and whenever each of us supplicates for the gift. By the prayer of faith we appropriate it; but only for the time, not for ever. Guilt is again contracted, and must be again repented of and washed away. We cannot by one act of faith establish ourselves for ever after in the favour of God. It is going beyond His will to be impatient for a final acquittal, when we are bid ask only for our daily bread.

Fasting a Source of Trial

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“And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered.” Matt. 4: 2.

The season of humiliation, which precedes Easter, lasts for forty days, in memory of our Lord’s long fast in the wilderness. Accordingly on this day, the first Sunday in Lent, we read the Gospel which gives an account of it; and in the Collect we pray Him, who for our sakes fasted forty days and forty nights, to bless our abstinence to the good of our souls and bodies.

Prospects of the Catholic Missioner

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A strange time this may seem to some of you, my brethren, and a strange place, to commence an enterprise such as that, which relying on God’s mercy, we are undertaking this day. In this huge city, amid a population of human beings, so vast that each is solitary, so various that each is independent, which, like the ocean, yields before and closes over every attempt made to influence and impress it,-in this mere aggregate of individuals, which admits of neither change nor reform, because it has no internal order, or disposition of parts, or mutual dependence, because it has nothing to change from and nothing to change to, where no one knows his next-door neighbour, where in every place are found a thousand worlds, each pursuing its own functions unimpeded by the rest-how can we, how can a handful of men, do any service worthy of the Lord who has called us, and the objects to which our lives are dedicated?

The Humiliation of the Eternal Son

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“Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared, though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:7, 8.

The chief mystery of our holy faith is the humiliation of the Son of God to temptation and suffering, as described in this passage of Scripture. In truth, it is a more overwhelming mystery even than that which is involved in the doctrine of the Trinity. I say, more overwhelming, not greater –

The Cross of Christ the Measure of the World

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“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” John 12: 32.

A GREAT number of men live and die without reflecting at all upon the state of things in which they find themselves. They take things as they come, and follow their inclinations as far as they have the opportunity. They are guided mainly by pleasure and pain, not by reason, principle, or conscience; and they do not attempt to interpret this world, to determine what it means, or to reduce what they see and feel to system. But when persons, either from thoughtfulness of mind, or from intellectual activity, begin to contemplate the visible state of things into which they are born, then forthwith they find it a maze and a perplexity. It is a riddle which they cannot solve. It seems full of contradictions and without a drift. Why it is, and what it is to issue in, and how it is what it is, and how we come to be introduced into it, and what is our destiny, are all mysteries.

St. Paul’s Characteristic Gift

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“Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Cor. xii. 9.

All the Saints, from the beginning of history to the end, resemble each other in this, that their excellence is supernatural, their deeds heroic, their merits extraordinary and prevailing. They all are choice patterns of the theological virtues; they all are blessed with a rare and special union with their Maker and Lord; they all lead lives of penance; and when they leave this world, they are spared that torment, which the multitude of holy souls are allotted, between earth and heaven, death and eternal glory. But, with all these various tokens of their belonging to one and the same celestial family, they may still be divided, in their external aspect, into two classes.