Monday, June 05, 2006

Whit Monday

From "Devout Instructions" by Fr. Goffine

Filled with joy over the gracious descent of the Holy Ghost, the Church sings, at the Introit of the Mass,"He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia, and filled them with honey out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia. Rejoice to God, our helper, sing aloud to the God of Jacob" (Ps. Ixxx). Glory be to the Father, etc.

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 mayest also impart peace. Through Christ our Lord, etc..

EPISTLE (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 by 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.

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 doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.

By what has God most shown the greatness of His love?
By giving up His only-begotten Son to the most painful and ignominious death, that we, the guilty, might be delivered from eternal death, and have life everlasting.
If, then, so many are lost, is it the fault of God?
No: as the physician gives up only the incurable, so God condemns only those who believe not in Christ as their Saviour and God; who love darkness, that is, the principles and works which correspond to their corrupt inclinations; who despise Jesus, the light of the world, and His doctrines; who neglect the divine service, the public instructions, and the reception of the holy sacraments; who take this licentious life for wisdom and enlightenment; who refuse to be taught, and have pronounced their own condemnation, even before the final judgment.
Why should we love God?
Because He has loved us from all eternity: He loved us when as yet we were not. If we love him who does us some good, who helps us in need, or exposes himself to danger for our sake, how much more should we love Him Who has given us all that we have: the angels to be our guards, the sun, moon, and stars to be our light; the earth to be our dwelling-place; the elements, plants, and animals to supply our necessary wants, and to serve us and protect us from countless dangers; Who continually preserves us and protects us from countless dangers; Who has subjected Himself for our sake, not merely to the danger of His life, but to the most painful and humiliating death; Who forgives all our sins, heals all our infirmities, redeems our life from destruction, and crowns us with compassion and mercy.