In his book of the three greatest prayers, St. Thomas Aquinas takes up the question of polytheism in his day. Aquinas states that if you love other things before God, you have slipped into a kind of polytheism. If you look at the list of 5 false Gods given by St. Thomas Aquinas, and you look at the new Gods that have arisen in our time (money, possessions, recreation, sports), it would be surprising if we did not find at least one that has, quite quietly, but very powerfully, become a God in our our lives.
A saint, according to the definition of the church, is someone who shows heroic virtue. St. Catherine of Sienna lived in a time when there was great corruption in the church, and great conflict in the world with many wars going on. She had to walk a very fine line because she chose to try to advise military leaders, religious leaders, even the Popes. And while she was encouraging, and sometimes even correcting the great men of her time, she had to maintain the highest level of respect and virtue.
Sermon based on the parable of the man who sowed good seed (Resumed 5th Sunday after Epiphany, Matt 13:24-30) – Our Lord is using a very simple example to teach us something about the spiritual life. It is interesting that Our Lord so often uses examples of things that are alive to talk about the spiritual life. Whether he’s talking, in this case, about those who are good and those who are evil, they are both something planted, something which grows.
Old people were once thought to be good advisers, good friends, and good to have around. Now we have surgeries to disguise our aging. And that’s why we have this paranoia about smoking, or drinking or anything else that harms the body, because we don’t really believe there’s anything else. That’s really what drives it – it’s a kind of atheism. We believe that when life’s over, that’s really it. It’s a relief to know through our faith that there’s something quite different – death means that life is changed, not taken away.
The roots of knowledge are bitter. But the fruit of knowledge is sweet. This means when you begin to study something, whether it’s music or art or any other discipline, you have to do the grunt work of memorizing, of practicing, of painful discipline. But once you know it, it’s joyful. But study is not just for high schoolers or college students. Study is a part of what human life is.
Our Lord said he had come to earth to light the fire of divine love, and His will was that this fire would be kindled. In the Prayer to the Holy Ghost are these words, “Come Holy Ghost, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.” In what way does the church pray for this, and in what way did the Lord mean when He said it?
Out of the seven capital sins, the most dangerous one is pride for two reasons. First, Pride disrupts your thinking. It makes you do things which are stupid, and it makes you do things which are evil more than any of the other sins. The second problem is that you don’t notice it or feel it. Pride doesn’t move the passions like the other capital sins, which makes it a quiet, spiritual poison.
Sermon based on the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Luke 18:9-14) – Pride is a very dangerous thing, a very destructive thing. But it’s not an obvious thing. It’s the most dangerous of the seven Capital sins.
Sermon based on the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (Matthew 7:15-21) – Our Lord’s lesson is very plain: If the tree is a good tree, it makes fruit, but otherwise, it doesn’t produce anything good. And so it is with people. There are good kinds and there are bad kinds. Good people do good things, and bad people do not. Sometimes people can be confusing on the outside, but what they do shows you what they are.