Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God,
you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life
Saint Paul is
apparently writing to some new converts among the
Romans—urging them to practice the Catholic Faith with at least as
much zeal as they did evil when they worshipped the pagan “gods.”
Quite likely, his remarks are also intended for others who had been
Catholics for some period of time. Recent converts are usually
pretty zealous in the practice of their new Faith. This would have
been particularly true in Saint Paul’s time when someone converting
from paganism was likely to face economic and social difficulties,
physical punishment, and perhaps even death—no sane person puts
himself in danger of such difficulties unless he is really
enthusiastic about practicing his new Faith.
We too can take Paul’s words
to heart. We live in a world where Christianity has become
unpopular, and sometimes downright difficult to practice, so we
could stand to have a bit of that “convert’s zeal” in our practice
of the Faith.
One way to preserve the zeal
for our Faith is not to be misled and talked into doing things
contrary to God’s Truth and God’s Commandments. In the Gospel our
Lord cautions us: “Beware of false prophets—b y their fruits you
shall know them.”
We learned the truths of the Faith as children—and we should
recognize that truth does not and cannot change.
No one, no matter how high their rank in the Church or civil society
can command you to sin or to disbelieve the truths of the Faith.
And we can generally identify the false rulers by the moral failures
of their own lives. Those who worship false “gods,” who steal, who
lie, and who commit adultery certainly cannot be the moral and
theological guides of Catholics.
Be particularly careful
about believing anything that comes out of the modernist camp.
Often their falsehoods seem very comfortable and pleasant to
follow. But the reality is that people do go to hell; the souls of
the damned are not conveniently annihilated . Serious sin requires
all three—contrition, a firm purpose of amendment, and sacramental
Confession before receiving Holy Communion. No one can give you
permission to sin.
Another element of
preserving our Faith is consistency in our spiritual lives. One
cannot “pray up a storm” for the first half of the month, and forget
about God for the second half. If you have ever driven a car up a
hill covered with snow, you know that you must maintain a constant
speed until you get to the top of the hill. If you stop halfway up
and stop, there is a good chance that your wheels will just spin
when you try to start up again—you may find yourself sliding back
down the hill again! The spiritual life is much the same—if you
don’t make constant progress toward God, you are likely to fall
farther away from Him.
Consistency can be difficult
for those living in the world. We have responsibilities to
ourselves and to those around us. Some of us work full time
jobs—perhaps more than one job. Some of us must cook and clean and
otherwise maintain a household. Some must do both. Some care for
children. There are only so many hours in the day. So, we must
budget our time wisely—even our time for prayer.
I always caution people to
make a realistic estimate of how much time they have for their
devotions. For example, praying the Rosary is a very good thing—but
maybe fifteen decades a day is too much for a busy person. You
don’t want the Rosary to be “fired off” in a rapid and distracted
manner and you don’t want to send the kids to
bed without dinner or a bath!
There is a very good article
in the July 2017 Catholic Family News by a young lady,
entitled “Keeping Devotions Simple.”
(It is not on the Internet yet, but if they post it, I will link it
here—perhaps you can borrow a copy.) She has gone from having a
medal for every saint she could find attached to her scapular to
finding greater fulfillment sitting before the Blessed Sacrament
listening to God in silence—not that the medals are bad, mind you,
but God Himself is infinitely better, and speaks without noise. She
also emphasizes the penitential value of cheerfully getting up on
time to fulfill one’s responsibilities—things like preparing
breakfast, seeing that the children are properly dressed, feeding
the cat, and driving to work—with a reasonable time for prayer and
thanksgiving to God who makes this possible.
In summary, let me urge you
to be zealous about your Catholic Faith. Don’t be misled by those
who would take your Faith away and exchange it with some
sugar-coated replacement. And do be consistent in your spiritual
life—remember that when you stop making spiritual progress you will
that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven,
he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”