Saturday, March 17, 2007

Promises of faith a dream?

I read a sermon by John Baptist Massillon this morning. I have never read him and thought I’d see what he had to say about “The Small Number of the Saved”.
A verse that always sobers any Christian. The context is about hating the world, the flesh, and the devil. I think I will begin this passage with the end of it, where he poses a very sobering question that were we to carefully consider may make us blush, or worse. Here goes---

“And, should it happen, that you alone were left upon the earth, may we not say that the corrupt world would be revived in you; and that you would leave an exact model of it to your posterity? When I say you, I mean, and I address myself to almost all men.”

The way I reflected on it was to consider that the world had a clean slate, and the only corruption that would influence it would come from me. How Holy a place would it be?
I shudder to think.
On with the balance of the thought---

"We are told that we are to hate “the world, the flesh, and the devil.”
Now, what is this world which you ought to hate? I have only to answer that it it’s the one you love. You will never mistake it by this mark.
This world is a society of sinners, whose desires, fears hopes cares projects, joys, and chagrins, no longer turn but upon the successes or misfortunes of this life.
This world is an assemblage of people who look upon the earth as their country; the time to come as an exilement; the promises of faith as a dream; and death as the greatest of all misfortunes. This world is a temporal kingdom, where our Savior is unknown; where those acquainted with His name, glorify Him not as their Lord, hate His maxims, despise His followers, and neglect or insult Him in His sacraments and worship. In a word, to give a proper idea at once of this world, it is the vast multitude. Behold the world which you ought to shun, hate, and war against by your example.
Now, is this your situation in regard to the world? Are its pleasures a fatigue to you? Do it excesses afflict you? Do you regret the length of your pilgrimage here? Or on the contrary, are not its laws your laws; its maxims your maxims? What it condemns, do you not condemn? What it approves do you not approve?

And, should it happen, that you alone were left upon the earth, may we not say that the corrupt world would be revived in you; and that you would leave an exact model of it to your posterity? When I say you, I mean, and I address myself to almost all men.”

4 comments:

fcb4 said...

So dad...do you sit there in your study and sift through all the books you have bought with your children's inheritance and strive to pick out the most melancholy of writers to post? Eeek gads! I wouldn't want to meet that fella.

Anonymous said...

When I read this piece I had just received some scalding criticism, and was reflecting on my reaction to it. Not good. Simple words brought out in me such emotion, such contempt, revenge, hate, maybe hate is a bit too strong, but initially I went through a litany of reaction. So when I read this piece with the experience so fresh in my mind it spoke loud and clear that were I the first father, not much would change.
Love Dad

Anonymous said...

I like this kind of thing too. I often think his thoughts. I often ache this pilgrimage and myself. God knows why I fear dying, because I'm mostly in some state of misery. The only good I can see is there are slight glimmers of love we have between eachother and there is a hint of the promise of heaven on earth when I see people reaching out for others. For me this is Christ. The rest is distraction. ~Matt

FCB said...

Matt, I loved your post-- "always in some state of misery", that cracks me up, no disrespect intended, I can so relate, seems to be the fate of man regardless of circumstances. I also agree, if there is anything that moves me it is when I see someone doing some act of love or kindness. Maybe that's why I love movies so much, I see in them more love action than in real life. Sad state of affairs, and maybe some exaggeration, but not by much.