Monday after Pentecost : Gift of Understanding

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INSTRUCTION ON THE MONDAY AFTER PENTECOST

"The Gift of Understanding enlightens us by shedding a clear, searching and extraordinary light on the meaning of revealed truth, and by giving us a certitude that what God has revealed bears such and such a sense and no other".

The Introit of the Mass is the same as on the Feast of Corpus Christi.

COLLECT O God, who didst give the Holy Ghost to Thine apostles: grant to Thy people the fruit of their pious petition; that to whom Thou host given faith, Thou mayst also impart peace. Thro'.

LESSON (Acts X. 34., 42-48.) In those days, Peter opening his mouth, said: Men brethren, the Lord commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead: to him all the prophets give testimony, that through his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him. While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they heard them speaking with tongues, and magnifying God. Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

EXPLANATION This lesson relates the manner in which the Holy Ghost descended upon the converted Gentiles who were assembled with the centurion Cornelius, and who heard the sermon of St. Peter with hearts burning for knowledge. — Endeavor, to assist at sermons with a heart desirous of learning, and the Holy Ghost will enlighten you; and do not fail to invoke the Holy Ghost, before the sermon.


GOSPEL (John III. 16-21.) At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus: God so loved the world, as to give his only-begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged: but he that doth not believe is already judged; because he believeth not in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved. darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil:, for every one that Both evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that has works may not be reproved. But he that Both truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.

How has God shown His love for us?
He has given us His only Son fox our Teacher and redeemer, delivering, Him up for our sake to the most ignominious and painful death of the cross. For God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. (John III. 16.)

Why, then, are so many lost?
Because they despise this love of God and reject Christ, the Light of the world, that is, do not follow His teachings, even hate Him, loving more the darkness, that is, the suggestions of Satan, and the pleasures of this world.

Has the Holy Ghost come into this world as a light?
Yes; for. He inwardly, enlightens the hearts of men by His grace, that they may properly understand the truths, of salvation; and as the natural light leads us out of darkness, so the Holy Ghost by His supernatural light leads us, out of the darkness of ignorance, and from the snares and dangers of the world and the devil, into eternal happiness.


MOTIVES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD


God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son. (John III. 16.)

What will we render to God for the love He has shown us heretofore and still manifests towards us every moment? He has loved us from all eternity when we were not, and although He knew that we would be sinners and enemies to Him, He loved us with infinite love, showing His love by creating all things for us. But even this was not enough; to release us from the misery of sin, He gave us His only-beloved Son, who, clothing Himself with our mortal flesh, and having become our equal in all things, except in sin, shed the last drop of His blood on the cross as a ransom for our sin's; gives Himself to us for our nourishment in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar; offers Himself daily, in the Mass, to His Heavenly Father for us, and is, day and night, present with us in the most adorable Sacrament. What more could the infinite love of God give us? One thing more — the Holy Ghost, and Him He has sent with all His gifts and fruits.

"If," says St. Bernard, "we love him who does us good, assists us in our needs, undergoes danger in our behalf, how then, must we love Him who has given us all that we have; who has given us the angels to be our guardians, the sun, moon, and stars to shine for us, the earth for our dwelling, the elements, the plants, the animals to supply our necessities, our food, our pleasure; who continually preserves us, that we fall not back into original nothingness; who constantly guards us from innumerable dangers and evils; who has not only endangered His life, but has really suffered the most bitter death for us; who so mercifully forgives us all our sins, heals all our weaknesses, keeps us from perdition, and crowns us with mercy and compassion!" (Ps. CII. 4.)

Let us therefore with our whole heart love this good and gracious God, who has loved us without any merit of ours, let us be ashamed that we have until now loved Him so little, and performed so little for love of Him. God seems to live only for us, to occupy Himself only with us, and we — alas! instead of living for Him alone, have until now lived only for the world, lived only to offend Him! Let us cast ourselves down in sorrow before the face of God, and exclaim with St. Francis of Assisi: "My God and my all! What art Thou? and what am I, but a worm of the earth? Most Holy Lord! Would that I loved Thee! Sweetest Lord! Would that I loved Thee!" Say with St. Ignatius:

Only Thy grace, For it makes me so rich,
Only Thy love, I ask no more;
Only that, O Lord, If I am Thine and Thou mine,
Only that give me. Then shall I be eternally happy.


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A Homily by St. Augustine the Bishop
The Physician cometh to do all he can towards the healing of the sick. And the sick person who will not attend to the advice of the Physician bringeth on his own death. This Physician is come, as a Saviour, to the world. Why is he called the Saviour of the world, except that he came, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved? Hast thou no desire to be saved through him? by thine act be thou condemned. Any why do I say, Be thou condemned? Because it is written: He that believeth on him is not condemned. What then dost thou expect will be said to him that believeth not? This shall be said: He is condemned. Indeed he hath already said more than that, to wit: He that believeth not is condemned already. Though the condemnation be not yet openly pronounced, it hath nonetheless already taken place.

The Lord knoweth them that are his. He knoweth them that will continue unto the crown, and likewise he knoweth them that will continue unto the fire. He knoweth the wheat on his threshing floor, and the chaff. He knoweth the field (which is the world) with its good grain, and its tares. He that believeth not is condemned already. Why? Because he hath not believed in the Name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation: That light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Whose deeds, my brethren, doth the Lord find to be good? None. He findeth the works of all men to be in themselves bad. How then do we hear that some there be who do the truth, and come to the light? For it is written: He that doeth truth, cometh to the light.

But he saith: Men loved darkness rather than light. And here he maketh the great point of difference between such as love darkness, and such as come to the light. There be many who have loved their sins. Also there be many who have confessed their sins. He that confesseth, thereby denounceth his sin, and is working already with God. God denounceth thy sins, and if thou denounce them likewise, then dost thou join thyself with God in his act. The man and the sinner are, as it were, two different things. God made the man; man made the sinner. Destroy what thou hast worked in thyself, and God will save what he hath already made. Thou art behoven to hate in thyself thine own works, and to love God's work. When thine own works begin to displease thee, then is it that thou beginnest to do well, because thou denouncest thine own evil works. The first thing to do, if thou wouldest do good works, is to acknowledge thine evil ones.

Deo grátias
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