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St. John Chrysostom ... Eight Homilies (given in 387 A.D.)
against the un-baptized pagans who call themselves jews ...
Warns Catholics against being judaized in Theology and Morals by the Enemies of Truth.
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St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407 A.D.) >
"Let no one say to me: 'I have nothing in common with him, I would be lucky to manage well my own affairs. No one can manage his own affairs if he does not love his neighbor and work for his salvation. This is what Paul meant when he said: 'Let no one seek his own interest, but those of his neighbor.' He knew that your own interests lie in what benefits your neighbor. You are in good health, but your brother is sick. So then, if you are in your right mind, you will be distressed over him who is in distress and you will, in this matter, follow the example of that blessed soul who said: 'Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not inflamed?' "
St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407 A.D.) >
"The jews have mortally hurt their victim's soul, inflicted on it ten thousand wounds, and left it lying in the pit of ungodliness."
St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407 A.D.) >
"What did Christ do? He did not sit in Jerusalem and call the sick to come to Him. He went around to cities and towns and cured sickness of both body and soul. He could have stayed sitting in the same place and still have drawn all men to Himself. But He did not do this. Why? So that He might give us the example of going around in search of those who are perishing."
St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407 A.D.) >
"You must do this, too, beloved. You know that the present life is short; if we do not earn our profits here, we will have no salvation hereafter. Gaining a single soul can often erase the burden of
countless sins and be the price which buys us life on that day. ... You must do this with all the strength you have. You must devote all your zeal and concern to bringing back those who have strayed."
Note: Bring them to the Catholic Faith and water baptism even though we do not have any Church buildings at this time.
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This Section contains Homilies VII and VIII, please see Sections 78, 78.1, and 78.2 for the others.
1. The religion of the Old Testament Israelites was the Catholic Faith unfulfilled, it wasn't "judaism". The man-made fable called "judaism" started in about 200 B.C. when a group of Israelites left God's covenant for talmudic judaism which is based on the pagan Babylonian talmud. The Babylonian paganism was carried out of the Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C. The Catholic Church unfulfilled wrote the Old Testament and fulfilled wrote the New Testament.
2. See Section 39.1 which explains how the words "jew" and "jews" have fraudulently appeared in the English Old Testament versus the correct "Judean" and "Judeans". The authentic Bible in English is the Douay-Rheims.
3. When the Church and Saint John Chrysostom use the words "jew" or "judaism" they are referring to that group of un-baptized pagans who refer to themselves as "jews".
4. To infer that the un-baptized pagans who call themselves jews have something to do with the Old Testament Israelites is complete 100% error. By fraudulently claiming and believing that they have something to do with God's covenant with Abraham leads to their eternal damnation with the other pagans ("buddhists", "mohammadens", "hindus", etc.) and with the heretics ("lutherans", "baptists", "vatican-2-ists", etc.). After the First Pentecost the Church needed words to identify this group of pagans ("jew" and "jews") just as the Church uses identifiers for other types of pagans ("buddhists", "hindus", mohammedans", etc.).
5. At the time of Christ, those descendants of Abraham who were with Him were the people of the Israelite covenant. Those who were against Him can be called "jews" as this word has become the identifier for the apostate (truth rejecting) Judeans (who were no longer Israelites). See Section 39.2 of this site for dozens of scriptures where God states that His covenant is one of faith not genealogy after He established the faith covenant with Abraham.
Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Osee 2:20 >
"And I will espouse thee to Me in faith: and thou shalt know that I am the Lord."
HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH of the fight against the jews? Or do you wish me to take up the same topic today? Even if I have already had much to say on it, I still think you want to hear the same thing again. The man who does not have enough of loving Christ will never have enough of fighting against those who hate Christ. Besides, there is another reason which makes a discourse on this theme necessary. These feasts of theirs are not yet over; some traces still remain.
(2) Their trumpets were a greater outrage than those heard in the theaters; their fasts were more disgraceful than any drunken revel. So, too, the tents which at this moment are pitched among them are no better than the inns where harlots and flute girls ply their trades. Let no one condemn me for the boldness of my words; it is the height of boldness and outrage not to suspect the jews of these excesses. Since they stubbornly fight against God and resist the Holy Spirit, how can we avoid the necessity of passing such sentence upon them?
(3) This festival used to be a holy one when it was observed according to the Law and at God's command. But this is no longer true. All its dignity has been destroyed because it is observed against God's will. Those who, above all others, treat the Law and the ancient festivals with the least respect are the very ones who are ready today to observe the Law and festivals more than anyone else. But we are the one who honor the Law above all others, even if we let it rest like a man who has grown old and infirm, even if we do not drag it, gray with age, to the arena, even if we do not force it to enter the contests which are not suited to its years. In my past discourses I gave adequate proof that today is not the day of the Law nor of the old commonwealth and the old way of life.
Note: The religion of the Old Testament Israelites was the Catholic Faith unfulfilled, it was not "judaism". The Catholic Church unfulfilled wrote the Old Testament and fulfilled wrote the New Testament. These Catholic writings do not apply to anyone outside of the Catholic Church. The Truth from Heaven is the Catholic Dogmas listed in Section 3 of this website.
(4) But come now, let me investigate what remains to be discussed. I did enough to complete my task when I proved from all the prophets that any such observance of ritual outside Jerusalem is transgression of the Law and sacrilege. But they never stop whispering in everybody's ear and bragging that they will get their city back again. Even if this were true, they could not escape the charge of transgressing the Law. But I gave you abundant evidence to prove that the city will not be restored nor will they get back their old commonwealth and way of life.
Note: The people who refer to themselves as "jews" will not get their temple back because the True Sacrifice of men to God is the Catholic Mass. Which unfortunately is not available in our time - you can still get to Heaven if you are baptized in water and believe the Catholic Faith. You must believe the Catholic Faith at the moment of baptism for the baptism to be valid (infants have adult sponsors).
(5) Once that has been proved, there is no room for disagreement on any of the other points. For example, neither the form of sacrifice, nor of the holocaust, nor the binding force of the Law, nor any other aspect of their old commonwealth and way of life can stand. To begin with, the Law commanded that three times each year every male go up to the temple. But they could not do this once the temple was destroyed. Then, too, the Law commanded that sacrifices be offered by the man afflicted with gonorrhea, the leper, the woman in her menstrual period, the woman who had given birth to a child. But this is impossible since the place no longer exists nor is there an altar to be seen. The Law commanded them to sing sacred hymns but, as I showed before, the place they were living in prevented them; the prophets condemned them and said they were reading the Law and making their confession of praise to God in a foreign land. Since they could not even read the Law outside Jerusalem, how could they observe it outside Jerusalem?
(6) This is why God threatened them and said: 'I shall not visit your daughters when they commit fornication nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery.' What does this mean? First, I shall read to you the old Law and then I shall try to make His meaning clearer. What, then, does the Law say? 'If a woman transgresses against her husband, disdaining and disregarding him, and if someone sleeps with her the sleep of intercourse, and if she escapes the eye of her husband and there is no witness against her, nor is she caught in the act, nor if a spirit of jealousy comes over her husband when she has not been defiled ...'
(7) This is what the Law means. If a woman commits adultery and her husband suspects it, or if he suspects her when she has not committed adultery, but there is no witness nor conception to prove the suspicion, 'he will bring her to the priest and take along barley meal as an offering for her.' Why, I ask, must it be barley meal rather than fine flour or the meal of wheat? Since what happened was a source of pain, accusation, and wicked suspicion, the form of the sacrifice imitated a household disaster. This is why the Lord said: 'You will not pour oil on it nor put frankincense over it.' 'Then' (for I must cut the account short) 'The priest shall lead her forward and will take pure water in an earthen vessel; he will pick up some of the dust which is on the floor and throw it into the water; he will make the woman stand, will make her swear an oath, and he will say to her: 'If you did not transgress so as to become defiled for your husband, be immune from the water of reproof. But if you did transgress and you are defiled, if someone other than your husband did have intercourse with you, may the Lord make of you an execration and a curse among your people.'
(8) What is the meaning of 'an execration and a curse'? As the saying goes; May what happened to that poor woman not happen to me! 'By the Lord causing your belly to swell and the water that brings a curse will enter your belly to make it swell.' And the woman will say: 'Amen, Amen'. And it will come to pass, if the woman is defiled, that the water of the curse will enter her belly to make it swell, and the woman will be an execration. If she is not defiled, she will be unharmed and will conceive offspring.' Once the jews had gone off into bondage, none of these things could be done because there was no temple, no altar, no Meeting Tent, no sacrifice to be offered. Because this was the case, when God threatened them, He said: 'I shall not visit your daughters when they commit fornication nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery.'
(1) Do you see that the Law takes its force from the place? And since the city is gone, there can no longer be a priesthood. There can be no emperor if there are no armies, no crown, no purple robe, none of the other things which weld together an empire. So, too, there can be no priesthood if sacrifice has been destroyed, if offerings are forbidden, if the sanctuary has been trampled into the dust, if everything which constituted it has disappeared. For the priesthood depend on all these things.
(2) As I said before, it was enough for my purpose to prove that neither the sacrifices, nor the holocausts, nor the other purifications, nor any other part of the jewish commonwealth and way of life would return. It was enough, finally, to prove that the temple will never rise again. Now that it is no more, everything has been taken away; if something ritualistic seems to be going on, it is against the Law and a reckless crime. In the same way, once I have proved that the temple will never be restored to its former state, I have at the same time also proved that the rest of the ritual of worship will not return to its former condition, that there will be no priest, there will be no king. If not even a commoner of jewish blood was allowed to be a servant to foreigners, it would be all the more forbidden for their king himself to be subject to others.
Note: St. John is speaking of the people who refer to themselves as "jews", but the people of the Abraham covenant were not "jews" they were the Old Testament Israelites. But the unbaptized pagans who call themselves "jews" are the subject of this series of homilies. The Church has preached against other groups of un-baptized pagans also, such as the people who call themselves "mohammadens".
(3) But since my effort and zeal are here devoted not only to stopping up the mouths of the jews but also to instructing your loving assembly, come now and let me take another authority and prove this same point. Let me prove that both the sacrifices of the jews and their priesthood have completely ended that day will never again return to their former status.
(4) Who says this? That great and wonderful prophet, David. He made it clear that the one kind of sacrifice would be abolished and another brought in to take its place when he said: 'Many are the wondrous works you have done. O Lord my God: and in your thoughts there is no one like to you. I have declared and I have spoken.' See how wise the prophet is. He said: 'Many are the wondrous works you have done,' and he stood aghast at God's power to work miracles. But he did not go on to tell us about the creation of the things we see of Heaven, earth, and ocean, of water and fire; he did not tell us of those strange marvels which happened in Egypt, or of any other miracles like those. What did he say were wondrous works? 'Sacrifice and oblation you did not desire.'
(5) What do you mean, David? Is this a strange marvel? No, he said. For this was not the only thing he saw. Inspired by Heaven, he saw with prophetic eyes how God would lead the nations to Him; he saw how those who were nailed to their gods, who worshipped stones, who were worse off than brute beasts suddenly looked up and recognized the Master of all creation; he saw how these men put aside their foul worship of demons and gave pure and bloodless worship to God. At the same time he saw that the jews, too, who were even more imperfect than the pagans, would put aside their worship through sacrifices, holocausts, and other material things and be led to our way of life. And he pondered on God's ineffable loving-kindness which surpasses all understanding; he stood aghast at how greatly things had changed, how God had reshaped them, how He had made men from demons into angels, and how He had introduced a commonwealth and way of life worthy of Heaven.
(6) All this was to take place after the old sacrifice had been abolished and after God had brought into its place the new sacrifice through the Body of Christ. This is why David stood aghast and marveled and said: 'Many are the wondrous works You have done, O Lord my God.' To show that he made this whole prophetic prediction in behalf of Christ when he said: 'Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire,' David went on to say: 'But a body you have fitted to me.' By this he meant the Lord's Body which became the common Sacrifice for the whole world, the Sacrifice which cleansed our soul, canceled our sin, put down death, opened Heaven, gave us many great hopes, and made ready all the other things which Paul knew well and spoke of when he exclaimed: 'Oh, the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments and how unsearchable are His ways.'
(7) David, then, foresaw all this when he said: 'Many are the wondrous works You have done, O Lord my God.' He went to say, speaking in the person of Christ: 'In holocausts and sin offerings You had no pleasure, and then continued: 'Then I said, Behold I came.' When was 'then'? When the time was ripe for more perfect instructions. We had to learn the less perfect lessons through his servants, but the loftier lessons which surpass the nature of man we had to learn from the Lawgiver Himself.
(8) This is why Paul said: 'God, who at sundry times and in varied ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the world.' And again, John said: 'For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.' And this is the highest panegyric for the Law, namely that it prepared human nature for the Teacher.
(9) But he did not want you to look on him as a new God or any kind of innovation. Hear what he said: 'In the head of the book it is written of Me.' What he meant was this: 'Long ago the prophets foretold My coming and at the beginning of the Scriptures they opened them a little to give men a glimpse of the knowledge that I am God.'
(1) An so, at the beginning of creation, when God said: 'Let us make mankind in Our image and likeness,' He was revealing to us in a rather obscure way the Divinity of His Son, to whom He was then speaking. Later on the Psalmist showed that this new religious way of life did not contradict the old, but that it was God's will that the old sacrifice be abolished and the New Sacrifice replace the old. The New was an extension of the right way of worship; it did not oppose or fight with the old. He showed this when he said: 'In the head of the book it is written of Me,' and added: 'That I should do Your will, O my God; I have desired it and Your law in the mist of My heart.' And when he explained what God's will was, he made no mention of sacrifice or holocausts or offerings or toil and sweat, but said: 'I have declared Your justice in a great assembly.'
(2) What does he mean when he says: 'I have declared Your justice?' He did not simply say: 'I have given,' 'I have declared.' What does this mean? That He has justified our race not by right actions, nor by toils, not by barter and exchange, but by grace alone. Paul, too, made this clear when he said: 'But now the justice of God has been made manifest independently of the Law.' But the justice of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ and not through any labor and suffering. And Paul took up again the testimony of this Psalm when he spoke as follows: 'For the Law, having but a shadow of the good things to came, and not the exact image of the objects, is never able by the sacrifices which they offer continually, year after year the same, to perfect those who draw near. Therefore in coming into the world, He says: 'Sacrifice and oblation You wished not, but a Body you have fitted to Me.' By this he meant the entrance into the world of the Only-Begotten, the dispensation through the flesh. For this is the way He came to us. He did not change place - how could He since He is everywhere and fills all things - but He was made visible to us through the flesh.
(3) Here we are fighting not only against the jews but also against the pagans and the heretics. So let me uncover for you the deeper meaning here; let me search out the reason why Paul mentioned this text when he had countless testimonies to show that the Law and the old commonwealth and way of life are no longer productive. He did not cite this simply by chance but he did it with good reason and ineffable wisdom. Everybody would agree that he had on this subject other testimonies, both of greater length and more vehement, if he had wished to bring them forward.
(4) For example, Isaiah said: 'I have no pleasure in you. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams. I desire not fat of fatlings and blood of bulls and goats, not even if you come into My sight. Who required these things at your hands? If you offer Me wheaten flour, it is in vain. Incense is an abomination to Me.' And again, in another place: 'I did not call you now, Jacob, nor, Israel, did I make you weary. You did not honor Me with sacrifices nor did you worship Me with your gifts; I did not weary you with frankincense, nor did you get incense for Me with silver.' And Jeremiah said: 'Why do you bring Me incense from Sheba and cinnamon from a far country? Your holocausts have not pleased Me.' And again: 'Heap up your holocausts upon your sacrifices and eat up the flesh.' And another prophet said: 'Take away from Me the sound of your songs: I will not hear the canticle of your harps.' And again, there was another text, where the jews were saying: 'Will the Lord receive it in place of holocausts if I give my first-born for my wickedness, the fruit of my body for the sin of my souls?' And the prophet reproved them and said: 'It has been announced to you what is good and what the Lord God requires of you, that you love mercy, do judgment and justice, and be ready to walk behind your God.' David also spoke in the same vein when he said: 'I will not take calves from your house nor goats from your flocks.'
(5) When Paul had so many testimonies in which God surely rejects those sacrifices, the times of the new moon, the Sabbaths, the festivals, why did he omit all these and mention just that one text? Many of the infidels and many of the jews themselves who are now doing battle with me maintain that their commonwealth and way of life was not abolished because it was imperfect or its place taken by a greater way of life - I mean ours - but because of the sinfulness of those who offered the sacrifices in those days. And Isaiah certainly did say: 'If you stretch out your hands, I will turn away My eyes from you: and if you multiply your prayers, I will not hear.' Then, to give the reason for this, He went on to say: 'For your hands are full of blood.' These words are not an accusation made against the sacrifices; they are an indictment of the sinfulness of those who offered them. God rejected their sacrifices because they offered them with bloodstained hands.
(6) Again, when David said: 'I will not take calves from your house nor goats from your flocks,' he went on to add: 'But to the sinner God said: 'Why do you declare My justices and take My covenant in your mouth? You hated discipline and cast My words behind you. If you saw a thief, you ran along with him and you threw in your lot with adulterers. Your mouth abounded with injustice and your tongue wrapped up deceits in your words. You sat down and spoke slander against your brother and set a stumbling-block for your mother's son.' This makes it clear that in this instance God did not simply reject sacrifices, but that He rejected them because those who offered them were adulterers and thieves and plotted against their brothers. So these enemies of mine maintain that, since each prophet accuses those who offer the sacrifices, his prophecy is saying that this is the reason why God rejected their sacrifices.
This is what my opponents say to me. But Paul dealt them a knockout blow and said enough to shut their shameless mouths when he cited as his witness the text I have discussed. When Paul wished to prove that God had rejected the old commonwealth and way of life, because it was imperfect, and that He had rendered it inoperative, he took as testimony that text in which no accusation is made against those who offered the sacrifices. He used a text which makes it clear that the sacrifice was in itself imperfect. For the prophet David made no accusation against the jews; he simply said: 'Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire, but a Body you fitted to Me: in holocausts and sin offerings You had no pleasure.'
(2) In explanation of this text Paul said: ' He annuls the first covenant in order to establish the second.' If David had said: 'Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire,' and then said no more, their argument would have some place to defend itself. But since he also said: 'But a Body You fitted to Me,' and showed that another Sacrifice was brought in to replace it, he left no hope for the future that the old sacrifice would return. And in explaining this, Paul said: 'Through this Offering we have been sanctified in the Will of Christ;' and also: 'If the blood of bulls and goats and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer sanctify the unclean for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the Blood of Christ, Who through the Holy Spirit offered Himself unblemished, cleanse our conscience from dead works? This gives us abundant proof, then, that those old rituals have stopped, that a new rite has been brought forward to replace them, and that the old will not hereafter be restored.
Note: We see clearly here that the religion of the Old Testament Israelites was the Catholic Faith unfulfilled, it wasn't what people call "judaism" - which is a fable which started about 200 B.C. when many Israelites fell out of God's covenant with the Israelites and into "talmudic judaism".
(3) What is left to discuss now? For some time I have been anxious to prove to you that their kind of priesthood has disappeared and will never return. Let me make this expressly clear from the Scriptures themselves. First I must preface this with a few remarks, so that my explanation of what the scriptures say may be even more obvious.
(4) On his return from Persia, Abraham begot Isaac; Isaac then begot Jacob; Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs from whom arose the twelve tribes - or, rather, the thirteen, because, in Joseph's place, his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, became leaders of tribes. A tribe was named after each of Jacob's sons: for example, the tribe of Ruben, of Simeon, of Levi, of Judah, of Naphthali, of Gad, of Asher, of Benjamin. So also in Joseph's case, his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, gave their names to two tribes; one was called the tribe of Ephraim and the other the tribe of Manasseh. Of these thirteen tribes all but one had fields and large incomes, all but one tilled the fields and devoted themselves to all the other secular pursuits. But the tribe of Levi was honored with the priesthood; it alone was freed from secular work. They did not till the farms, nor do anything else of the sort, but devoted their attention exclusively to the priesthood. From all the people they received tithes of wine and wheat and barley and everything else; all gave them tithes and this was their income. No one from any other tribe could ever become a priest. From this tribe - I mean the tribe of Levi - came Aaron, and by succession, his descendants received the priesthood; no one from another tribe ever becomes a priest. And so these Levites received tithes from the rest and, in this way, supported themselves.
(5) But in the time of Abraham, before the day of Jacob and Isaac, before the coming of Moses, when the Law had not yet been written, when the priesthood did not clearly belong to the Levites, when there was no Meeting Tent or Temple, before the division of the people into tribes, before Jerusalem existed, before anyone at all had yet taken control of the government among the jews, there was a man named Melchizedek, a priest of the Most High God. This Melchizedek was at the same time both priest and king; he was to be a type of Christ, and Scripture makes clear mention of this. For Abraham attacked the Persians, rescued his nephew Lot from their hands, seized all the spoils, and was returning from his mighty victory over his foes. After describing those events the Scripture had this to say about Melchizedek. 'Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, for he was a priest of the Most High God. He blessed Abraham and said, 'Blessed by the Most High God, creator of Heaven and earth: blessed be the Most High God who has delivered your enemies into your hand.' Then Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.'
(6) If, then, any prophet clearly says that after Aaron, after that priesthood, after those sacrifices and oblations, there will rise up another priest, not from Levi's tribe but from another tribe from which no one ever became a priest, a priest not according to the order of Aaron but according to the order of Melchizedek, it is just as clear that the old priesthood has ceased to exist and another, a new priesthood has been brought in to take its place. If the old priesthood were going to remain effective, it would have to be called a priesthood according to the order of Aaron and not according to the order of Melchizedek. Did any prophet speak of this new priesthood? Yes, that same prophet who before spoke about the sacrifices and who was speaking of Christ when he said: 'The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand.'
(1) To prevent anyone from suspecting that this was said about some ordinary man, it was not Isaiah nor Jeremiah, nor any prophet who was a common man that said it, but King David himself. But a king cannot call any man his Lord; it is God alone whom he can call Lord. If David were a common man, perhaps one of those shameless people would have said that he was talking about a mere human being. But now, since David was a king, he would not have called a man his Lord. If David were talking about some ordinary person, how could he have said that this person sat at the right hand of that ineffable and mighty Majesty? That would have been impossible. But of this person said: 'The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.'
(2) Then, to keep you from thinking that this person was weak and powerless, David went on to say: 'With You is the principality in the day of Your strength.' And he made it still clearer when he said: 'From the womb before the daystar I begot You.' But no mere man was begotten before the daystar. 'You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.' He did not say: 'According to the order of Aaron.' So ask the jews why David brought in another Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek, if the old priesthood was not going to be abolished.
(3) At any rate, see how Paul made this clearer when he came to this text. After Paul said of Christ: 'As he (David) says also in another place. 'You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,' the Apostle went on to say: 'On this point we have much to say, and it is difficult to explain it.' After he reproved his disciples - but I must cut the account short - he went on to tell them who Melchizedek was and to tell the story. 'He met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; to whom Abraham divided the tithes of all.' Then, to give some insight into Melchizedek, the type, he said: 'Now consider how great this man is, to whom even Abraham the patriarch gave tithes of all.' He did not say this for no purpose but because he wanted to show that our priesthood is much greater than the jewish priesthood. And the excellence of the realities is shown beforehand in the very types which foreshadow them.
(4) Abraham was the father of Isaac, the grandfather of Jacob, and the ancestor of Levi, for Levi was Jacob's son. The priesthood among the jews began with Levi. So this man Abraham was the ancestor of the Levites and the jewish priests. But in the time if Melchizedek, who is the type of our priesthood, Abraham had the rank of a layman. Two things make this clear. First, he gave tithes to Melchizedek, and it is the laymen who give tithes to the priests. Second, he was blessed by Melchizedek, and laymen are blessed by priests.
(5) We again see the excellence of our priesthood when we find Abraham, the patriarch of the jews, the ancestor of the Levites, receiving a blessing from Melchizedek and giving tithes to him. Surely the Old Testament says that Melchizedek blessed Abraham and exacted a tenth part from him. And Paul brought these very points to the fore and said: 'Consider how great this man is.' Who is 'this man'? Paul told us. Melchizedek, 'to whom even Abraham their patriarch gave tithes from the best portion of the spoils.' 'And indeed they who are of the priestly sons of Levi have a commandment to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brethren, though these also have come from the loins of Abraham.'
(6) What Paul means in this. He said that the Levites, who were priests among the jews, received a commandment, according to the Law, to take tithes from the other jews. Although they all were descended from Abraham, both the Levites and the rest of the people, nonetheless the Levites took tithes from their brothers. But Melchizedek, who was not of their descent, because he was not a descendant of Abraham, and who was not of the tribe of Levi but from another nation, exacted a tenth part from Abraham, that is, he took tithes from him.
(7) Not only this, but he did something further. What is that? He again blessed Abraham, even though it was Abraham who had received the promises. What does this show? That Abraham was much inferior to Melchizedek. How can this be? 'Beyond all contradiction, that which is less is blessed by the superior,' so that, unless Abraham, the ancestor of the Levites, were inferior to Melchizedek, Melchizedek would not have blessed him, nor would Abraham have given tithes to Melchizedek. But Paul wished to show that, because of the excellence of Melchizedek, that inferiority might have continued, so he went on to say: 'Even Levi, the receiver of tithes, was also, so to speak, made subject to tithes, though Abraham.'
(8) What does he mean by 'was made subject to tithes'? Although Levi was not yet born, through his father, he, too, gave tithes to Melchizedek. As Paul said: 'He was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.' This is why Paul was careful to say: 'So to speak.' He went on to tell why he said this. 'If the perfection was by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the Law), what further need was there that another priest should rise, according to the order of Melchizedek, and said not to be according of Aaron?'
(9) What is it that Paul meant? He meant this. If the jewish religion was perfect, if the Law was not a foreshadowing of future blessing but had been efficacious in every respect, if it was not going to yield to another Law, if the old priesthood was not going to disappear and make way for another priesthood, why did the prophet say: 'You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek?' He should have said: 'according to the order of Aaron.' This is why Paul said: 'If then perfection was by the Levitical priesthood, what further need was there that another priest should rise, according to the order of Melchizedek, and said not to be according to the order of Aaron.'
(10) This surely made it clear that the old priesthood was ended and that another much better and more sublime priesthood has been brought in to replace it. When we admit this, we would also agree that another way of life suited to the new priesthood will be brought in and another Law given, and clearly this is ours. Paul prepared us for this when he said: 'When the priesthood is changed, it is necessary that a change of law be made also, for the Author of these is One.'
(11) Many of the prescriptions of the Law were devoted to the ministries of the priesthood, and the old priesthood has been abolished. Since another priesthood was brought in to replace the old, it is clear also that a greater Law had to be brought in to replace the old. To make clear Who it was of whom these words were spoken, Paul said: 'For He of whom these things are said is from another tribe, from which no one has ever done service at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, and Moses spoke nothing at all about priests when referring to this tribe.'
(12) Christ clearly is sprung from that tribe, namely the tribe of Judah; Christ surely is a Priest according to the order of Melchizedek; Melchizedek is surely much more venerable than Abraham. Then we must also admit from every angle that one priesthood is being brought in to replace another and that it is much more sublime than the old priesthood. If the type was such, if it was more magnificent than the jewish priesthood, the reality which it foreshadowed is itself still much more magnificent. This is the point which Paul was making when he said: 'And it is yet far more evident if there arise another priest, according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become so not according to the Law of carnal commandment, but according to a life that cannot end.'
(13) What did Paul mean when he said: 'Not according to the Law of carnal commandment, but according to a life that cannot end'? He meant that none of Christ's commandments are carnal commandments. He did not order the sacrifice of sheep and calves; He ordered us to worship God through the virtue of our lives; as our reward for this, He set the prize of a life that cannot end. And again, after He had died as the price of our sins, He came and raised us up; He saved us by freeing us from a double death: the death from sin and the death of the flesh. Since He came bringing us such gifts, Paul said: 'Not according to the Law of carnal commandment, but according to a life that cannot end.'
(1) I have, therefore, now proved what was left to be proved. I have proved that, because the priesthood was changed, it was reasonable and necessary that there also be a change of Law. And again I was able to prove this very point by bringing forward as my witnesses the prophets. They testified that the Law will be changed, that the old commonwealth and way of life will be transformed for the better, and that never again will a king arise for the jews.
(2) But I must say only as much as my audience can listen to and heed; I must not crowd everything together and say it all at once. Therefore, I will store up the rest for another occasion and, for the present, I will stop my instruction at this point. But let me first exhort you loving assembly to keep in mind what I have said and to connect it up with what I said before. And what I asked you before, I shall now ask you again. Rescue your brothers and show great concern for our members who have grown negligent. I do not undertake this great task just to hear myself talk or to enjoy the tumult of your applause; I do it to bring those who have been cut off back to the path of Truth.
(3) Let no one say to me: 'I have nothing in common with him, I would be lucky to manage well my own affairs.' No one can manage his own affairs if he does not love his neighbor and work for his salvation. This is what Paul meant when he said: 'Let no one seek his own interest, but those of his neighbor.' He knew that your own interests lie in what benefits your neighbor. You are in good health, but your brother is sick. So then, if you are in your right mind, you will be distressed over him who is in distress and you will, in this matter, follow the example of that blessed soul who said: 'Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not inflamed?'
(4) If we find joy in tossing down a couple of obols and spending a little money on the poor, what great pleasure will we reap if we can save men's souls? What recompense will we enjoy in the life to come? Certainly, in this world, as often as we run into these men, we will derive great pleasure from meeting them, because we recall the good turn we did for them. When we see them in the next world before the dread tribunal of judgment, we will experience a great confidence. When the unjust, the greedy, the plunderers, and those who have inflicted countless evils on their neighbors go before this tribunal and see their victims - and they surely will see them, as Christ says, and as is clear from the story of the rich man and Lazarus - they will not be able to open their mouths nor to say a word in their own defense. They will be overwhelmed with the great shame of their condemnation and will be swept off from the sight of their victims into the rivers of flame.
(5) But when those who taught and instructed their neighbors in this life stand before the tribunal, they will see those whom they saved pleading in their behalf. And they will be filled with great confidence and trust. Paul made this clear when he said: 'We are your boast, as you will also be ours.' Tell me, when will this be? 'In the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
(6) And, again, Christ gave good counsel when He said: 'Make friend for yourselves with the mammon of wickedness, so that when you fail they may receive you into the everlasting dwellings.' You see that much confidence will come to us from those to whom we have done good in this life. But if there are so many prizes, such great recompense, such ample repayment for the money we spent on others, how will we fail to gain many great blessings when we help a soul? Tabitha clothed widows and aided the poor and came back to life from the dead. If the tears of those to whom she did good brought her departed soul back to her body - and this before the day of resurrection - will not the tears of those whom you rescued and saved do something to help you? The widows who stood around Tabitha's corpse pointed out that she who had died was alive. In the same way, those whom you saved in this life will stand around you on the day of judgment. They will snatch you from the fire of Gehenna and see to it that you enjoy His loving-kindness in abundance.
(7) Knowing, then, what we now know, let us not be roused to fervor only for the present hour; fan the fire you now have, go forth, and spread salvation over the city; even if you do not know them, get busy and find those who have this sickness. I shall be all the more eager to speak to you when I have found out from your very deeds that I did not scatter my seed on rocky ground. And you yourselves will be more eager to practice virtue. In money matters, the man who has made a profit of two gold pieces gets a greater enthusiasm to collect and amass a profit of ten or twenty pieces. This happens, too, in the matter of virtue. The man who has succeeded in doing a good deed gets some encouragement and motivation from doing this right action. The result is that he will undertake other good deeds.
(8) Let us, then, rescue our brothers and store up beforehand pardon for our sins. Much more, let us first store up abundant confidence and, before all else, let us see to it that God's name is glorified. To do this, let us take our wives, children, and households and go out after this game and quarry. Let us free from the snares of the devil those whom he has made captive to his will. And let us not stop until we have done everything in our power to rescue them, whether they heed or reject our words. But it would be impossible, if they are Christians, for them not to heed us.
(9) Still, I do not want you to have even the excuse that they would not heed you. Let me say this. If you pour out many words and do everything in your power and still see that he refuses to heed you, then bring him to the priests. By the help of God's grace the priests will surely overcome their quarry. But it will all be your doing, because it was you who took him by the hand and led him to us. Let husbands talk to their wives and wives to their husbands, fathers to their children and friends to friends.
(10) Let the jews learn how we feel. Let it also become known to those who side with the jews, even though they pretend to be ranked with us. We have an eager and vigilant concern for our brothers who have deserted over to the jewish side. When the jews find this out, it will be they, rather than we, who thrust out those of our number who frequent their synagogue. I should say, there will be no one hereafter who will dare to flee to them, and the body of the Church will be unsullied and pure.
(11) It is God's will that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. May He give you strength for this hunt and may He lead them back from this error. May He save us all together and make us worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven for His glory, since it is fitting that His be the Glory and the Power for ever and ever. Amen.
(1) Gone is the fasting of the jews, or rather, the drunkenness of the jews. Yes, it is possible to be drunk without wine; it is possible for a sober man to act as if he is drunk and to revel like a prodigal. If a man could not get drunk without wine, the prophet would never have said: 'Woe to those who are drunk not from wine;' if a man could not get drunk without wine, Paul would never have said: 'Do not be drunk with wine.' For he said this as if there were a possibility of getting drunk some other way. And it is possible. A man can be drunk with anger, with unseemly desire, with greed, with vainglory, with ten thousand other passions. For drunkenness is nothing other than a loss of right reason, a derangement, and depriving the soul of its health.
(2) Therefore, I would not be making too strong a statement if I
should say that we find a drunkard not only in the man who is a heavy
drinker of strong wine but we also find one in the man who nurtures
some other passion in his soul. For the man in love with a woman who
is not his wife, the man who spends his time with prostitutes, is a
drunkard. The heavy drinker cannot walk straight, his speech is rude,
his eyes cannot see things as they really are. In the same way, the
drunkard who is filled with the strong wine of his undisciplined
passion is also unsound of speech; everything he utters is
disgraceful, corrupt, crude, and ridiculous; he, too, cannot see
things as they really are because he is blind to what he sees. Like a
deranged man or one who is out of his wits, he imagines he sees
everywhere the woman he yearns to ravish. No matter how many people
speak to him at gatherings or banquets, at any time or place, he
seems not to hear them; he strains after her and dreams of his sin;
he is suspicious of everything and afraid of everything; he is no
better off than some trapped animal.
(3) Again, the man in the grip of anger is drunk. In the same way as
other drunkards, his face becomes swollen, his voice grows rough, his
eyes are bloodshot, his mind is darkened, his reason is submerged,
his tongue trembles, his eyes are out of focus, and he does not hear
what is really said. His anger affects his brain worse that strong
wine; it stirs up a storm and causes a distress that cannot be
(4) But if the man in the grip of passion or anger is drunk, this is
all the more true of the impious man who blasphemes God, who goes
against His laws and never is willing to renounce his untimely
obstinacy. This man is drunk, mad, and much worse than the insane
revelers, even if he does not seem aware of his condition. And this
is the characteristic which most marks a drunkard: he has no
awareness of his unseemly behavior. This, in fact, is the special
danger of madness: those who suffer from it do not know they are
sick. So, too, the jews are drunk but do not know they are
(5) Indeed, The fasting of the jews, which is more disgraceful than
any drunkenness, is over and gone. But let us not stop thinking ahead
for our brothers, let us not consider that our concern for them is
now no longer timely. See what soldiers do. Suppose they have met the
enemy and routed them. As they return from pursuing the foe, they do
not immediately rush back to camp. First they go back to the
battlefield to pick up their fallen comrades. They bury the dead but,
if they see among the corpses men who are not mortally wounded but
are still breathing, they give them as much first aid as they can,
they pick them up, and carry them back to their camp. Then they
extract the dart, call the physicians, wash away the blood, apply
remedies to the wounds, and by giving them every care, they bring the
wounded back to health.
(6) Therefore, we must do the same. By God's grace, we made the
prophets our warriors against the jews and routed them. As we return
from pursuing out foes, let us look all around to see if any of our
brothers have fallen, if the fast has swept some of them off, if any
of them have shared in the festival of the jews. Let us bury no one;
let us, however, pick up every fallen man and give him the treatment
he needs. In battles between armies of this world, a soldier cannot
bring back life or recover for further service a comrade who has
fallen once and for all and died. But in a battle of this war of
ours, even if a man has been mortally wounded, if we have good will
and the help of God's grace, we can take him by the hand and lead him
back to life. Unlike a casualty in war, here is not a man's body that
dies, but his will and his resolution. And it is possible to restore
to life a will that has died; it is possible to persuade a dead soul
to come back to its own proper life and to acknowledge again its
(1) We must not grow weary, my brothers, we must not became
exhausted, we must not lose heart. Let no one say: 'We should have
done all we could to put them on their guard before the fast. Now
that they have fasted, now that they have sinned, now that their
transgression is complete, what use is there in helping them
(2) If anyone knows what it means to look out for his brothers, he
also knows that he must look out for them and show this concern now
more than ever. We must not only put them on their guard before they
sin but we must also extend a helping hand after they have fallen.
Suppose God had done that from the beginning; suppose He had put us
on guard only before we sinned; suppose, after we had sinned, He had
given us up and let us lie where we had fallen from one end of our
life to the other. Then no one of us would ever have been
(3) But God does not act that way. He loves men, He is kind to them,
He desires their salvation above all things. And so He looks out for
them even after they have sinned. He said to Adam: 'From every tree
in the garden you will eat; but from the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil do not eat; for on the day you eat of it; you will
surely die.' God put Adam on his guard by giving him every warning he
would need: He showed him the ease of fulfilling the Law, the
liberality of what it permitted, the harshness of the future
punishment, and the speed with which it would come. For God did not
say: 'After one, two, or three days, but, 'on the very day you eat of
it, you will surely die.'
(4) God looked out for Adam very carefully; He instructed him,
exhorted him, and gave him many blessings. But even so, Adam
disregarded His commands and fell into sin. Still God did not say:
'What good will it do now? What is the use of helping now? He ate the
fruit, he fell into sin, he transgressed the law, he believed the
devil, he dishonored My commandment, he was wounded, he became
subject to death and died, he came under the judgment. What need have
I to speak to him now?
(5) But God said none of these things. Rather, He came immediately to
Adam, spoke to him, and consoled him. Again God gave Adam another
remedy - the remedy of toil and sweat. God kept right on doing
everything and exerting Himself until he raised up fallen nature,
rescued it from dead, led it by the hand to Heaven, and gave it
greater blessings than it had lost. By the things God Himself did, He
taught the devil that he would reap no profit from his plot. Satan
had succeeded in driving men from Paradise but he would soon see them
in Heaven mingling with the angels.
(6) In the case of Cain, God did the same thing. Before Cain's great
sin, God spoke plainly to him, warned him, and said: 'You sinned;
stop it. His (Abel's) refuge is in you and you will rule over him.'
See God's wisdom and understanding. He said: 'Because I have honored
Abel, you are afraid he will take from you the privilege of the
first-born; you are afraid he will take the first place, which is due
to you.' For the first-born necessarily had a more honored position
than the second-born. So God said: 'Take courage, do not be afraid,
feel no anguish over this. His refuge is in you, and you will rule
over him.' This is what God meant: 'Stay in the honored position of
the first-born; be a refuge, a shelter, and a protection for your
brother. But do not jump to bloodshed; do not come to that impious
act of murder.' Even so, Cain did not listen, he did not stop, he did
commit that murder, he did bathe his hands in blood from his
(7) But then what happened? God did not say: 'Let him go now. What
further use is there in helping him? He did commit the murder, he did
slay his brother. He scorned My advice; he dared to do that mad and
unforgivable deed of slaughter. Even though I was looking out for
him, instructing him, even though he enjoyed such benefice from Me,
he drove all these from his mind and paid them no heed. Let him go,
then, and be hereafter cast from My sight. He has deserved no
consideration from Me.'
(8) God neither said nor did anything like that. Instead, He came
again to him, corrected him, and said: 'Where is your brother Abel?
When Cain said he did not know, God still did not desert him but he
brought him, in spite of himself, to admit what he had done. After
Cain said: 'I do not know, 'God said: 'The voice of your brother's
blood cries to Me.' What God was telling Cain was that the very deed
proclaimed who the murderer was. And what did Cain say? 'My guilt is
too great to be forgiven. If you drive me from the land, I shall also
be hidden from your face.'
(9) What Cain meant was this. 'I have committed a sin too great for
pardon, defense, or forgiveness; if it is Your Will to punish my
crime, I shall lie exposed to every harm because Your helping hand
has abandoned me.' And what did God do then? He said: 'Not so!
Whoever kills Cain shall be punished sevenfold.' What God said was
this: 'Do not fear that. You will live a long life. If any man does
kill you, he will be subject to many punishments.' For the number
seven in the Scriptures means an indefinitely large number. So, then,
Cain was stricken with many punishments - with torment and trembling,
with grief and discouragement, with paralysis of his body. After he
had undergone these penalties, as God put it: 'Whoever kills you and
frees you from these punishments will draw the same vengeance upon
(10) The punishment of which God spoke seems to be excessively harsh
but it does give us a glimpse of His great solicitude. God wanted men
of later times to exercise self-control; therefore, He designed the
kind of punishment which was capable of setting Cain free from his
sin. If God had immediately destroyed him, Cain would have
disappeared, his sin would have stayed concealed, and he would have
remained unknown to men of later days. But as it is, God let him live
a long time with that bodily tremor of his. The sight of Cain's
palsied limbs was a lesson for all he met; it served to teach all men
and exhort them never to dare do what he had done, so that they might
not suffer the same punishment. And Cain himself became a better man
again. His trembling, his fear, the mental torment which never left
him, his physical paralysis kept him, as it were, shackled. They kept
him from leaping again to any other like deed of boldness; they
constantly reminded him of his former crime; through them he achieved
greater self-control in his soul.
(1) As I was speaking, it occurred to me to bring up a further
question. Cain confessed his sin and condemned what he had done; he
said his crime was too great to be forgiven and that he deserved no
defense. Why, then, could he not wash away his sins? The prophet
Isaiah said: 'Be the first to tell your iniquities, that you may be
justified.' Why, then, was Cain condemned? Because he did not tell
his sins as the prophet commanded. Isaiah did not simply say: 'Tell
your iniquities.' What did he say? He said: 'Be the first to tell
(2) The question here is this. It is not simply a matter of telling,
but of being the first to tell and not waiting for an accuser to
convict you. But Cain did not tell first; he waited for God to accuse
him. And then, when God did accuse him, he denied it. After God had
once and for all given clear proof of what he had done, Cain then
told his sin. But this is no longer a confession.
(3) Therefore, beloved, when you commit sin, do not wait for another
man to accuse you but, before you are accused and indicted, you
yourself condemn what you have done. Then, if someone accuses you
later on, it is no longer a matter of your doing the right thing in
confessing, but of your correcting the accusation which he makes. And
so it is that someone else has said: 'The just man begins his speech
by accusing himself.' So it is not a question of accusing but of
being the first to accuse yourself and not waiting for others to
(4) Peter certainly sinned gravely in denying Christ. But he was
quick to remind himself of his sin and, before anyone accused him, he
told of his error and wept bitterly. He so effectively washed away
his sin of denial that he became the chief of the Apostles and the
whole world was entrusted to him.
(5) But I must get back to my main topic. What I said has given us
sufficient proof that we must not neglect or scorn our brothers who
fall into sin. We must put them on their guard before they sin and we
must show great concern for them after they have fallen. This is what
physicians do. They tell people in good health what can preserve
their health and what can ward off every disease. But if people have
disregarded their instructions and have fallen sick, physicians do
not neglect them but, especially at that time, they look out for the
patients so that they may free them from their ailments.
(6) And Paul certainly did this too. Incest is a sin and serious
transgression which is not even found among the pagans. But Paul did
not scorn the man who had committed incest. Even though this man
rebelled and refused to be cured, even though he kicked about and was
unmanageable, Paul led him back to health and he did it in such a way
as to unite him again to the body of the Church. Paul did not say to
himself: 'What good would it do? What would be the use? He committed
incest, he has sinned; he does not want to give up his licentious
ways; he is puffed up and boastful and has made his wound incurable.
So let us be done with him and leave him in the lurch.'
(7) Paul said none of these things. The very reason why he showed
great concern for this sinner was that he saw the man had slipped
into unspeakable wickedness. So Paul never gave up frightening him,
threatening him, punishing him both through his own efforts and with
the help of others. Paul left nothing undone, nothing untried until
he brought the man to acknowledge his sin, to see his transgression.
And, at last, Paul freed the man from every stain of sin.
(8) Now you do the same thing Paul did. Imitate the Samaritan in the
gospel who showed such concern for the man who had been wounded. For
a Levite passed that way, a Pharisee passed by, but neither of them
turned to the man lying there. They just went their way and, like the
cruel, pitiless men they were, they left him there. But a Samaritan,
who was in no way related to this man, did not hurry past but
stopped, took pity on him, poured oil and wine on his wounds, put him
on his own animal, and brought him to an inn. There he gave some
money to the innkeeper and promised him more for taking care of a man
who was in no way related to him.
(9) He did not say to himself: 'What do I care about him? I am a
Samaritan. I have nothing in common with him. We are far from the
city and he cannot even walk. What about this? Suppose he is not
strong enough to make the long journey. Am I going to bring in a
corpse, will I be arrested for murder, will I be held accountable for
his death?' Many a time people go along a road and see men who have
been wounded but are still breathing. But they pass them by not
because they are stingy with their money, but because they are afraid
that they themselves may be dragged into court and held accountable
for the murder.
(10) That gentle and benevolent Samaritan feared none of these
things. He scorned all such fears, put the man on his own beast, and
brought him to an inn. He did not think of any of these things -
neither the danger, nor the expense, nor anything else. If the
Samaritan was so kind and gentle to a stranger, what excuse would we
have for neglecting our brothers when they are in deeper trouble? For
those who have just observed the fast have fallen among robbers, the
jews. And the jews are more savage than any highwaymen; they do
greater harm to those who have fallen among them. They did not strip
off their victim's clothes nor inflict wounds on his body as did
those robbers on the road to Jericho. The jews have mortally hurt
their victim's soul, inflicted on it ten thousand wounds, and left it
lying in the pit of ungodliness.
(1) Let us not overlook such a tragedy as that. Let us not hurry past
so pitiable a sight without taking pity. Even if others do so, you
must not. Do not say to yourself: 'I am no priest or monk; I have a
wife and children. This is a work for the priests; this is work for
the monks.' The Samaritan did not say: 'Where are the priests now?
Where are the Pharisees now? Where are the teachers of the jews?' But
the Samaritan is like a man who found some great store of booty and
got the profit.
(2) Therefore, when you see someone in need of treatment for some
ailment of the body or soul, do not say to yourself: 'Why did
so-and-so or so-and-so not take care of him?' You free him from his
sickness; do not demand an accounting from others for their
negligence. Tell me this. If you find a gold coin lying on the
ground, do you say to yourself: 'Why didn't so-and-so pick it up?' Do
you not rush to snatch it up before somebody else does?
(3) Think the same way about your fallen brothers; consider that
tending his wounds is like finding a treasure. If you pour the word
of instruction on his wounds like oil, if you bind them up with your
mildness, and cure them with your patience, your wounded brother has
made you a richer man than any treasure could. Jeremiah said: 'He who
has brought forth the precious from the vile will be as my mouth.'
What could we compare to that? No fasting, no sleeping on the ground,
no watching and praying all night, nor anything else can do as much
for you as saving your brother can accomplish.
(4) Consider how frequent and numerous are the sins you commit with
your mouth. How many obscene things has it said? How many
blasphemies, how many abuses has it uttered? If you give some
thoughts to this, you will surely never hesitate to look out for your
fallen brother. By this one good deed you can cleanse every stain
from your mouth. Why do I say cleanse? Because you will make your
mouth as the mouth of God. And what honor could be equal to that? It
is not I who make this promise to you. God himself said it. If you
bring back one person, He said, your mouth will be cleansed and holy,
as My mouth is.
(5) So let us not neglect our brothers, let us not go around saying:
'How many kept the fast? How many were filched away from us?' Rather,
let us show our concern for them. Even if those who observed the fast
are many, you my beloved, must not make a show and a parade of this
calamity in the Church; you must cure it. If someone tells you that
many have observed the fast, stop him from talking so the rumor may
not get around and become public knowledge. You say to him: 'For my
part, I don't know of anyone who observed it. You are mistaken, sir,
and deceived. If you see two or three filched away, you say that
these few are many.' So stop this accuser from talking. But you must
also see to it that you show your concern for those who were snatched
away. Then you will keep the Church safe from a double hurt: first,
by preventing the rumor from making the rounds and, secondly, by
bringing back to the Sacred fold the sheep who were snatched
(6) Therefore, let us not go around asking: 'Who fell into sin?' Let
our only zeal be to set straight those who have sinned. It is a
dangerous practice and a terrible thing only to accuse your brothers
and not to come to their aid, to parade in public the sins of the
sick and not cure them. Let us, then get rid of this wicked practice,
my beloved, for it leads to no small harm.
(7) Let me tell you how it does this. Somebody hears you say that
there were many who observed the fast with the jews and, without any
further investigation, he spreads the story to somebody else. And the
second man, without inquiring into the truth of the rumor, again
tells it to still another. Then, as the evil rumor little by little
grows greater, it spreads a great disgrace over the Church. And this
does no good for those who have fallen away; in fact, it causes
considerable harm both to them and to many others.
(8) Even if those who did fall are small in number, we make them a
multitude by the multitude of our rumors; we weaken those who
resisted and we give a push to those on the point of falling. If one
of our brothers hears the rumor that a large number joined in keeping
the fast, he will be more inclined to be careless himself; again, if
it is one of the weak ones who hears the story, he will rush to join
the strong of those who have fallen. Even if many have sinned, let us
not join with those who rejoice at this or any other evil. If we do,
we make a parade of the sinners and say that their name is legion.
Rather, let us stop the rumormongers and keep them from spreading the
(9) Do not tell me that those who observed the fast are many. Even if
they are many, you must set them straight. I did not expend all these
words for you to accuse many, but for you to make the many few and to
save even these few. Therefore, do not put their sins on parade, but
treat their wounds. Some people parade rumors and have time only for
that. They see to it that the number of those who have sinned is
judged to be large even if only a few have fallen. In the same way,
if people reprove the rumormongers and shut their mouths, if they
show concern for those who have fallen, no matter how many they be,
it is no hard task for them to set the sinner straight. And
furthermore, they keep those rumors from doing harm to anyone
(10) You have heard David's lament for Saul when he said: 'How the
mighty have fallen. Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the street
of Ashkelon so that the daughters of foreign tribes may not rejoice,
so that the daughters of the uncircumcised may not exult in
arrogance.' If David did not wish the matter paraded in public so
that it might not be a source of joy to his foes, so much the more
must we avoid spreading the story to alien ears. Rather, we must not
spread it even among ourselves for fear that our enemies may hear it
and rejoice, for fear that our own may learn of it and fall. We must
hush it up and keep it guarded on every side. Do not say to me, 'I
told so-and-so.' Keep the story to yourself. If you did not manage to
keep quiet, neither will he manage to keep his tongue from wagging.
(Note: This is not to say that we are not supposed to identify heresy
and heretics who are lying against the Catholic Faith and therfore
contibuting to the damnation of immortal souls.)
(1) What I say applies not only to the actual observance of the fast
but also to ten thousand other sins. Let us not only ask if many were
filched away; let us ask how we may bring them back. Let us not exalt
our enemies' side and destroy our own. Let us not show that they are
strong and that our side is weak. Let us do quite the opposite. Rumor
can often destroy a soul but, just as often, it can lift it up; it
can put zeal in a soul where there was none and, again, it can
destroy the zeal that was there.
(2) So I urge you to increase the rumors which exalt our cause and
show its greatness, but not the rumors which spread shame on the
community of our brothers. If we hear something good, let us
broadcast it to all; if we hear something bad or evil, let us keep
that hidden among ourselves and do everything we can to get rid of
the evil. Therefore, let us now go forth, let us get busy and search
for the sinner, let us not shrink back even if we must go into his
home. If you do not know him, if you have no connection with him, get
busy and find some friend or relative of his, someone to whom he pays
particular attention. Take this man with you and go into his
(3) Do not blush or feel ashamed. If you were going there to ask for
money or to get some favor from him, you have reason for feeling
ashamed. If you hurry to save the man, no one can find fault with
your motive for entering his home. Sit down and talk with him. But
start your conversation on other topics so that he does not suspect
that the real purpose of your visit is to set him straight.
(4) Say to him: 'Tell me, do you approve of the jews for crucifying
Christ, for blaspheming Him as they do, and for calling Him a
lawbreaker?' If the man is a Christian, he will never put up with
this; even he be a judaizer times without number, he will never bring
himself to say: 'I do approve.' Rather, he will stop up his ears and
say to you: 'Heaven forbid! Be quite, man.' Next, after you find that
he agrees with you, take the matter again and say: 'How is it that
you attend their services, how is it that you participate in the festival,
how is it that you join them in observing the fast?' Then accuse the jews
of being obstinate. Tell him about their every transgression which I
recounted to your loving assembly in the days just past. Tell him of
their transgressions connected with the place, the time and the
temple, and how the prophets gave proof of these in their
predictions. Show him how the whole ritual of the jews is useless and
unavailing. Show him that they will never return to their old
commonwealth and way of life and that they are forbidden to fulfill,
except in Jerusalem, what the old life demanded.
(5) Furthermore, remind him of Gehenna. Remind him of the test he
will undergo before the Lord's dread tribunal of judgment. Remind him
that we will give an accounting for all these things and that no
small punishment awaits those who dare to do what he is doing. Remind
him that Paul said: 'You who are justified in the Law have fallen
away from grace.' Remind him of Paul's threat: 'If you be
circumcised, Christ will be no advantage to you.' Tell him that, as
is the case with circumcision, so, too, the fasting of the jews
drives from Heaven the man who observes the fast, even if he has ten
thousand other good works to his credit. Tell him that we have the
name of Christians because we believe in Christ and not because we
run to those who are His foes.
(6) Suppose he uses the cures which the jews effect as his excuse;
suppose he says: 'They promise to make me well, and so I go to them.'
Then you must reveal the tricks they use, their incantations, their
amulets, their charms and spells. This is the only way in which they
have a reputation for healing; they do not effect genuine cures.
Heaven forbid they should! Let me go so far as to say that even if
they really do cure you, it is better to die than to run to God's
enemies and be cured that way. What use is it to have your body cured
if you lose your soul? What profit is there that you find some relief
from your pain in this world if you are going to be consigned to
(7) So that no jew may say he will cure you, listen to what God
said: 'If there arise among you a prophet or dreamer of dreams who
gives you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he
spoke come to pass, and if he says: 'Let us go and worship other
gods,' do not listen to that prophet; for the Lord, your God, is
testing you to see if you love the Lord, your God, with all your
heart and with all your soul.'
(8) What God means is this. Suppose some prophet says to you: 'I can
raise a dead man to life or cure a blind man. But you must obey me
when I say:
'Let us worship demons, or let us offer sacrifice to idols.' Then,
suppose the man who said this can cure a blind man or raise a dead
man to life. God said that you must not heed him because of these
signs and wonders which he works. Why? Because God is testing you, He has
permitted that man to have this power. It is not that God does not
know your thoughts but that He is giving you a chance to prove if you
really love Him. And there are men who are eager to drag us away from
our Beloved. Even if they show dead men brought back to life, the man
who truly loves God will not stand apart from God because he has seen
such signs and wonders.
(9) If God said this to the jews, He says it all the more to us. We
are the ones he led to a greater life of virtue. He opened the door
for us to rise again. He gave the command to us not to love our
dwelling here on earth but to keep all our hopes aimed at the life to
(1) But what are you saying? Is it that a bodily ailment is
afflicting you and crushing you? You have not suffered as many ills
as did blessed Job. You have not endured even the slightest part of
his pain. First, he lost the whole throng of his flocks, his herds,
and every other possession. Then the whole chorus of his children was
snatched off. And all this happened on a single day, so that not only
the nature of his calamities but also the unbroken succession of his
losses might crush this athlete down to earth.
(2) After all that, he received a lethal blow on his body, he saw
worms swarming forth from his flesh, he sat naked on a dung hill, a
public spectacle of disaster for all men there to see, Job the just,
truthful, God-fearing man who kept himself aloof from every evil
deed. And his troubles did not stop there. All day, all night, he
suffered distress, and a strange and unusual hunger assailed him. He
said: 'I see my food is a stench.' Each day he was reproached,
scoffed at, mocked, and ridiculed. He said: 'My servants and the
children of my concubines have risen up against me, my dreams are
filled with terror, my thoughts are tossed with constant
(3) But his wife promised him freedom from all these things when she
said: 'Speak some word against the Lord and die.' What she meant was:
'Curse God and you will be free from the troubles which oppress you.'
Did her advice change the mind of that holy man? It did just the
opposite; it gave him great strength so that he even reproached his
wife. He chose to feel pain, to endure hardship, and to suffer ten
thousand terrible things rather than curse God and so find release
from his terrible troubles.
(4) The man who had been thirty-eight years in the grip of his
infirmity used to rush each year to the pool and each year he was
driven back and found no cure. Each year he would see others cured
because they had many to take care of them. But he had no one to put
him in the water ahead of the others and so remained in the constant
grip of his paralysis. Even so, he did not run to the soothsayers, he
did not go to the charm-users, he did not tie an amulet around his
neck, but he waited for God to help him. That is why he finally found
a wonderful and unexpected cure.
(5) Lazarus wrestled all his days with hunger, disease, and poverty,
not only for thirty-eight years but for his whole life. At any rate,
he died while he was lying at the gateway of the rich man, scorned,
scoffed at, famished, laid out before the dogs for food. For his body
had grown to weak to scare away the dogs who came and licked his
wounds. Yet he did not search for a soothsayer, he did not tie tokens
around his neck, and he did not resort to the charm-users, he did not
call in those skilled in witchcraft, nor did he do anything he was
forbidden to do. He chose to die from these troubles of his, rather
than to betray in any small way his life of godliness.
(6) Look at the torments and sufferings those men endured! What
excuse will we have if for our fevers and hurts we run to the
synagogues, if we summon into our own house these sorcerers, these
dealers in witchcraft?
Hear what the Scripture says: 'My son, if you come to serve the Lord,
prepare your soul for trial, put straight your heart, and be
steadfast. Be obedient to Him in sickness and in poverty. As gold is
tested in the fire, so the chosen man is tested in the furnace of
(7) Suppose you flog your servant. Suppose, that, after you have
dealt him thirty or fifty lashes, he then loudly demands his freedom,
or that he flees from your control to take refuge with men who hate
you. Suppose that he then incites them against you. Tell me this. Can
he get you to forgive him? Can anyone offer a defense in his behalf?
Of course not.
(8) But why? Because it is a master's duty to punish his servant. And
this is not the only reason. If the slave had to run away, he should
not have gone to the enemies who hated his master; he should have
gone to his master's true friends. You must do the same. When you see
that God is punishing you, do not flee to His enemies, the jews, so
that you may not rouse His anger against you still further. Run
instead to martyrs, to the saints, to those in whom He is well
pleased and who can speak to Him with great confidence and
(9) But why talk about slaves and masters? If a father flogs his son,
the son cannot do what the slave did, nor can he deny his
relationship to his father. Suppose the father flogs his son, suppose
he keeps him from his table, suppose he drives him from his house,
and punishes him every way he can. Both the laws of nature and those
established by man command the son to be brave and endure all this.
No one ever excuses the son if he refuses to obey his father and put
up with the punishment. Even if the boy who was flogged lifts his
voice in ten thousand bitter laments, everybody tell him that it was
his father who flogged him, that his father is the master and has the
power to do whatever he wants, that the son must meekly endure it
(10) So, then, slaves put up with their masters and sons put up with
their fathers even though the punishments they get often do not fit
the fault. Will you refuse to put up with God when He corrects you?
Is He not more your master than your master is? Does He not love you
more than any father? When He interferes and does something, it is
not done from anger. He does everything for your own good. If you get
some slight illness, will you reject Him as your Master and rush off
to the demons and desert over to the synagogues? What pardon will you
find after that? How can you call on Him for help again? Who else
will be able to plead your cause even if he could speak with the
freedom and confidence of a Moses? There is no one.
(11) Do you not hear what God said to Jeremiah about the jews? 'Do
not intercede for this people because even if Moses and Samuel shall
stand (before My face), I will not listen to them.' That is how far
some sins go beyond forgiveness and how incapable of defense they
are. Therefore, let us not draw down such anger on ourselves. Even if
the jews seem to relieve your fever with their incantations, they are
not relieving it. They are bringing down on your conscience another
more dangerous fever. Every day you will feel the sting of remorse;
every day your conscience will flog you. And what will your
conscience say? 'You sinned against God, you transgressed His Law,
you violated your covenant with Christ. For an insignificant ailment
you betrayed your faith. You are not the only one who has suffered
this ailment, are you? Have not others been much more seriously ill
than you? Still not one of them dared commit such a sin. But you were
so soft and weak that you sacrificed your soul. What defense will you
make to Christ? How will you ask for His help in your prayers? With
what conscience will you set foot in the church? With what eyes will
you look at the priest? With what hands will you touch the sacred
banquet? With what ears will you listen to the reading of the
(1) Every day your reason will sting you and your conscience will
flog you with these words. What kind of health is this when we have
such thoughts in our minds to accuse us? But if you put up with your
fever for a little while, if you scorn those who want to chant over
you an incantation or tie an amulet to your body, if you insult them
roundly and drive them from your house, your conscience will
immediately bring you relief like a drink of water. Even if the fever
recurs time and time again, even if it is burning up your body, your
soul brings you a solace that is better and more profitable than any
relief from water or perspiration.
(2) Even if you recover your health after the incantation, the
thought of the sin you committed leaves you worse off than those who
are tossed with fever. And if you are the one who has the fever now,
if you are the one who suffers ten thousand torments, you will be
better off than any healthy man, because you have gotten rid of those
foul sorcerers. Your reason will exult, your soul will rejoice and be
glad, your conscience will praise you and voice its approval.
(3) And what will your conscience say? 'Well done, well done, good
man. You are the servant of Christ, you are the man of faith, the
athlete of the godly life. You chose to die in torment rather than
betray the life of godliness entrusted to your care. You will stand
with the martyrs on that day. The martyrs chose to be flogged and
torn on the rack that God might hold them in honor. So you chose this
day to be flogged and racked with fever and wounds rather than submit
to profane incantations and amulets. Because you nurture yourself
with these hopes, you will not feel the torments which assail
(4) If this fever does not carry you off, another one surely will; if
we do not die now, we are sure to die later. It is our lot to have a
body doomed to die. But we do not have this body so that we may heed
its passions and take to ourselves a life of godlessness, but that we
may use its passions for the godly life. If we live the sober life,
this corruption, this same mortal body will become the basis for our
honor and will give us great confidence not only on that day but also
in the present life.
(5) So, go ahead and insult those sorcerers roundly and drive them
from your house. Everybody who hears of it will praise you and marvel
at you. People will say one to the other: 'So and so was sick and in
pain. Time and time again people came to him and urged him, and
advised him to subject himself to magic incantations. He did not give
in but said: 'It is better to die the way I am than to betray my
faith and the godly life.' 'Those who hear these words will applaud
him long and loud; they will be astounded and give glory to
(6) Do you not think this will be more rich in honor than many
statues, more brilliant in its magnificence than many portraits, more
remarkable in its distinction than many dignities? Everyone will
praise you, everyone will count you happy, everyone will crown you
with the victor's wreath. And they will be better themselves, they
will experience a return to zeal, they will imitate your courage. If
somebody else does what you did, you will carry off the reward
because it was you who gave him his start, it is you whom he
(7) Your good deeds will not only bring praise to you but also rapid
release from your sickness. The nobility of your choice will win God
to even greater Good Will; all the Saints will rejoice at what you
have done; they will pray for you from the bottom of their hearts. If
such courage brings these rewards in this life, consider what reward
you will receive in Heaven. In the presence of all the Angels and
Archangels, Christ will come forward, take you by the hand, and lead
you to the middle of that stage. Everyone will listen when He
(8) 'This man was once gripped by fever. Many people urged him to be
rid of his ailment, but, for My Name's sake and because he feared he
might offend Me in some way, he scorned these people and thrust aside
those who were promising to cure him in that fashion. He chose to die
of his illness rather than betray his love for Me.'
(9) If Christ leads to the center of this stage those who gave Him to
drink, who clothed and fed Him, He will do this all the more for
those who endured fevers for His sake. Giving food and clothing is
not the same thing as submitting to a long continuing disease. To
submit to the disease is a much greater thing. And the greater the
suffering, the more glorious will be the reward.
(10) In sickness and in health, let us rehearse for this day and talk
about it one to the other. If we find ourselves in the grip of a
fever we cannot endure, let us say to ourselves: 'What about this? If
someone brought a charge against me and I was dragged into court, if
I were tied to the whipping post and my sides were torn with lashes,
would I not have to put up with it at any rate, even though I would
get no profit or reward?'
(11) Now let us ponder on this. Suppose there is set before you a
reward for your patience and endurance; suppose the reward is large
enough to encourage your fallen spirit. 'But my fever is severe,' you
say, 'and hard to bear.' Then compare your fever to the fire of
Gehenna. You will surely escape that fire if you show great endurance
in putting up with your fever.
(12) Remember how many sufferings the Apostles endured. Remember that
the just were constantly afflicted. Remember that blessed Timothy had
not rest from his illness, but lived with his disease from one end of
his life to the other. Paul made this clear when he said: 'Use a
little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities.'
That just and holy man took in hand the superintendants of the world,
brought the dead back to life, drove out demons, and cured ten
thousand ailments in others. If he experienced such terrible
suffering, what defense will you have for groaning and grieving over
ailments which will last only for a time?
(13) Did you not listen to the Scripture? It says: 'Whom the Lord
loves He chastises; and He scourges every son whom He receives.' How
many times and how many men have yearned to receive the crown of
martyrdom? In this you have a perfect martyr's crown. A martyr is
made not only when someone is ordered to offer (false) sacrifices or
die rather than offer the sacrifice. If a man shuns any practice, and
to shun it can only bring on death, he is certainly a martyr.
(1) So that you may know that this is true, remember how John (the
Baptist) died, from what motive and why. Remember, too, how Abel
died. Neither John nor Abel saw an altar with its fire, nor a statue
standing before them. They heard no voice commanding them to offer
sacrifice. John only reproached Herod and had his head cut off; Abel
merely honored God with a more excellent sacrifice than his brother
did, and Cain slew him. They were not deprived of martyr's crowns,
were they? Who would dare to say that? The very way they died is
enough to make everyone agree that they belong in the front ranks of
(2) If you are looking for some Divine proclamation about these two
men, listen to what Paul said. He made it clear that his words are
the words of the Holy Spirit when he said: 'I think that I also have
the Spirit of God.' What then, did Paul say? He began with Abel and
told how Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
and through his faith, though he is dead, he yet speaks.
(3) Then Paul continued his account down through the prophets and
came to John. After he said: 'They were put to death by the sword,
and other were tortured,' after he recounted many and different modes
of martyrdom, he went on to say: 'Therefore, let us also, having such
a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, put away every encumbrance and
run with patience.' Do you see that he also called Abel a martyr,
along with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? For some of these died
for God's sake in the same way that Paul spoke of when he said: 'I
die daily', they died not by dying but only by their willingness to
(4) If you do this, if you reject the incantations, the spells, and
the charms, and if you then die of your disease, you will be a
perfect martyr. Even though others promised you relief along with an
ungodly life, you chose death with godliness. And I have spoken these
words to those boastful talkers who say that the demons do effect
cures. To learn how false this is, listen to what Christ said about
the devil: 'He was a murderer from the beginning.' God says he is a
murderer; do you rush to him as you would to a physician?
(5) Tell me this. When you stand indicted before God's tribunal, what
reason will you be able to give for considering the jews' witchcraft
more worthy of your belief than what Christ has said? God said that
the devil is a murderer; they say that he can cure diseases, in
contradiction to God's word. When you accept their charms and
incantations, your actions show that you consider the jews more
worthy of your belief than God, even if you do not say it in so many
(6) If the devil is a murderer, it is clear that the demons who serve
him are murderers, too. What Christ did has taught you this lesson.
At any rate, he gave the demons leave to enter into the herd of swine
and the demons drove the whole herd down the cliff and drowned them.
He did this so that you might know that the demons would have done
the same thing to human beings and would have drowned them if God had
allowed them to do so. But He restrained the demons, stopped them,
and permitted them to do no such thing. Once they had gotten power
over the swine, the demons made quite clear what they would have done
to us. If they did not spare the swine, it is all the more sure they
would not have kept their hands off us. Therefore, beloved, do not be
swept off by the deceits of the demons but stand firm in your fear of
(7) But how will you go into the synagogue? If you make the Sign of
the Cross on your forehead, the evil power that dwells in the
synagogue immediately takes to flight. If you fail to sign your
forehead, you have immediately thrown away your weapon at the doors.
Then the devil will lay hold of you, naked and unarmed as you are,
and he will overwhelm you with ten thousand terrible wounds.
(8) What need is there for me to say this? The way you act when you
get to the synagogue makes it clear that you consider it a very
serious sin to go to that wicked place. You are anxious that no one
notice your arrival there; you urge your household, friends, and
neighbors not to report you to the priests. If someone does report
you, you fly into a rage. Would it not be the height of folly to try to
hide from men your bold and shameless act when God, Who is present
everywhere sees it?
(9) Are you not afraid of God? Then, at least, stand not in some awe
and fear of the jews. How will you look them in the eye? How will you
speak to them? You profess you are a Christian, but you rush off to
their synagogues and beg them to help you. Do you not realize how
they laugh at you, scoff at you, jeer at you, dishonor you, and
reproach you? Even if they do not do it openly, do you not understand
that they are doing this deep down in their hearts?
(1) Tell me, then. Will you put up with their jibes? Will you
tolerate them? Suppose you had to suffer incurable ills; suppose you
had to die ten thousand deaths. Would it not be much better to endure
all that rather than have those abominable people laugh and scoff at
you, rather than live with a bad conscience?
(2) My purpose in speaking is not to have you hear this for
yourselves; I want you also to work to cure those who have this
sickness. They are feeble in their faith, and for this I blame them.
I also blame you for your unwillingness to set the sick ones
straight. It is not in question that, when you come here to the
Church, you listen to what is said; you leave yourself open to
condemnation when you fail to follow through with action according to
the words you hear.
(3) Why are you a Christian? Is it not that you may imitate Christ
and obey His Laws? What did Christ do? He did not sit in Jerusalem
and call the sick to come to Him. He went around to cities and towns
and cured sickness of both body and soul. He could have stayed
sitting in the same place and still have drawn all men to Himself.
But He did not do this. Why? So that He might give us the example of
going around in search of those who are perishing.
(4) He gave us another glimpse of this example in the parable of the
shepherd. The shepherd did not sit down with the ninety-nine sheep
and wait for the lost one to come to him. He went out himself and
found it. And after he found the lost sheep, he lifted it to his
shoulders and brought it back. Do you not see that a physician does
this same thing? He does not force patients who are confined to bed
to be brought to his home. The physician himself hurries to the homes
of the sick.
(5) You must do this, too, beloved. You know that the present life is
short; if we do not earn our profits here, we will have no salvation
hereafter. Gaining a single soul can often erase the burden of
countless sins and be the price which buys us life on that day.
Ponder on this question. Why were we sent prophets, Apostles, just
men, and often even Angels? Why did the Only-Begotten Son of God come
among us Himself? Was it not to save men? Was it not to bring back
those who had strayed?
(6) You must do this with all the strength you have. You must devote
all your zeal and concern to bringing back those who have strayed. At
every religious service let me keep exhorting you to do this; whether
you pay attention or not, I will not stop saying it. Whether you
listen or not, it is God's law that I fulfill this ministry. If you
listen to me and do what I say, I will keep on doing this and feel
great joy. If you disregard it and become indifferent to what I say,
I will keep on saying it but I will have great fear instead of
(7) If you disobey, it will involve no risk for me hereafter. I have
fulfilled my part. Even if there will be no danger for me because I
have carried out my full fair share, I will feel sorrow for you when
you are accused on that day. Even listening to me will be fraught
with danger, when you fail to follow up my words with your
Note: This last sentence is not to imply that you can get to Heaven by staying ignorant of the Catholic dogmas and doctrine, or by staying ignorant of the works in which the Catholic God wants us to engage in to get to Heaven. At some point in their lives all persons are made aware of the dogma.
(8) Hear, at any rate, how Christ both reproved the teachers who
buried the meaning of His message but how He also terrified those
whom they taught. For after He said: 'You should have deposited My
money with the bankers,' He went on to add: 'And on My return I
should have demanded it back with interest.'
(9) What Christ showed by the parable was this. After hearing a
sermon (for this is depositing the money), those who have received
the instruction must make it produce interest. The interest from the
teaching is nothing other than proving through deeds what you have
been taught through words. Since I have deposited my money in your
ears, you must now pay your teacher back the interest, that is, you
must save your brothers. So, if you should just keep holding on to
what I said and produce no interest by action on your own part, I am
afraid that you will pay the same penalty as the servant who buried
his talent in the ground. And for this he was bound hand and foot and
cast into the darkness outside, because the words he heard brought no
profit to others.
(10) So that we may not have this happen to us, let us imitate the
servant who received five talents and the one who received two.
Whatever you will be asked to spend to save your neighbor, be it
words, money, bodily pain, or anything else whatsoever, we must not
shrink back or hesitate. Then each of us, in every way, will multiply
proportionately the talent given him by God. Then each of us will be
able to hear those happy words: 'Well done, good and faithful
servant; because you have been faithful over a few things I will set
you over many; enter into the joy of your Master.' May we all gain
this by the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ
through Whom and with Whom be glory and power to the Father together
with the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
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Immaculate Heart of Mary ~ Our Lady of Good Remedy ~ Our Lady of La Salette ~
Immaculate Heart of Mary