Planting the Seeds of Love and Truth|
The Gospel for Sexagesima Week refers to Semen est verbum Dei for it is all about planting the seed which is the Word of God, and we can only have good seed if there is good will and love for God first and then, because of that, for others. This way we help moisture the fertile soil, keeping it free of rocky ground and thorns. Only then can the seed grow in grace for God. We are all gardeners of God's love and our labors wherever we are in life will not be in vain if we are faithful to His word just as Christ guarantees.
Father James F. Wathen
"St. Paul said, "Faith...cometh by hearing" (Romans 10:17), meaning that it will be passed from one individual to another by word of mouth. The infinite God will judge each personís response to the message as if it were being communicated by Christ Himself. The same principle will apply to all efforts to convert those who have fallen away from the Faith, to those who have been baptized, but never practiced the Faith, and to those Catholics who are living a life of sin. It applies to modernist Catholics today, whom we try to awaken from their mesmerism, their brainwashing, their stupor, whatever it is that possesses their souls."
Father James Wathen
The Gospel of Saint Matthew 10: 34-42 is the message of Saint Valentine's Day past, and every day. Jesus says in
"Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword."
In another context, our Lord speaks of being the source of peace: "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27). But here He is speaking of what a person must expect if he dares to become a true disciple of Christ. He must expect conflict; and it will be a hard conflict, because it will isolate him from his family and his dearest friends. In other circumstances, it will isolate families from all their relations. And in others, individuals and families will have to endure the persecution of the State, and bear the opprobrium of being an enemy of the whole citizenry.
"For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10: 35-36).
It is neither the Lordís will nor His intention to cause this division, as He desires the conversion of everyone and the salvation of everyone. He says here what will happen, because many will turn away from the truth, and they will grow hostile toward him who accepts it, and wishes to impose it on themselves.
We Traditional Catholics know very well what the Lord means, because we have experienced it in varying degrees of unpleasantness and befuddlement. We have been amazed at how thin our relationships turned out to be, and how apparently ephemeral the love of our relatives and friends. We had priest friends, our pastors, uncles, cousins, classmates. When we tried to talk to them about THE CHANGES!, the friendship had curiously evaporated. All the people we lost seemed to be different from what we knew them to be. We wondered what our friendship was built on in the first place. Whereas before, we enjoyed each otherís company, shared many laughs, and happy experiences, went on trips together, spent holidays together year after year. All the sudden, whatever warmth and affection there had been had gone with the wind. Instead, there was this antagonism, this resentment, which made it impossible to hold a conversation on anything. Perhaps we had grown up and they had not.
Many found themselves totally isolated. Over night, they were alone. Their relatives and friends treated them as objectionable, unwanted, someone with a bad and irreformable attitude.
But those who experienced this ostracism were not altogether sad. They felt fortunate, strengthened, grateful. Better to know what they knew and see what they saw than to be both deaf and blind. They genuinely rejoiced in their Faith. They saw it as a treasure which they had not appreciated sufficiently before. They recognized it as more precious than any human association, even though, in many cases, their family life was totally disrupted. They did not feel hatred toward those who had "turned on them," but disappointed, awakened, bewildered. They felt that their friends did not have the substance they thought they did, nor the reasonableness. Eventually, they found others who had had the same the experience and new friends among those who had been disowned by their relationship.
Our Lordís words had proven to be very apt, because in many cases, the rift has been bitter and heartrending. Husbands and wives have lost communication with each other; grown children have turned away from their parents, and parents from one or more of their children. What has made the situation so difficult is the impossibility of discussing the issues sensibly and objectively. Instead, there has been anger and hard language and exasperation.
"He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10: 37).
Here our Lord tells us what price we must be prepared to pay for the love that we bear Him. With these words, He teaches us of the supernatural relationship which will exist between Himself and those who are granted the faith to know Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus says here that that every man in the world can have and must have a relationship of faith, hope, and love with Him, and that this relationship exceeds in its value and excellence all other relationships, because they are merely earthly and productive of nothing of eternal consequence.
Jesus is also saying that it is possible and praiseworthy to devote oneself entirely to the love of Himself, so that oneís whole life is subordinated to loving Him and growing in love of Him. He is saying that it is in the love of Himself that one can and must find union with the eternal God, that He Himself is God, and worthy of total love, such as no human being deserves.
"And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10: 38).
The Lord Jesus has not as yet suffered His passion in which He will carry His cross to Golgotha and be nailed to it, but He thinks of Himself as already carrying it. From the day of His conception in Maryís womb, He has borne it in His mind, both longing for it and dreading it simultaneously. He says here that His disciples must make a choice. Either to live like those in the world whose main concern is to make life easier for themselves, easier and more enjoyable, or to disregard any concern about oneís own comfort and pleasure, as well as oneís relationship with other human beings, except in so far as they encourage and enable one to devote oneself unstintingly and uncompromisingly to the cause of Christ, which is the salvation of souls, the exaltation of the Church, and the glory of the Father.
The term, " to carry oneís cross daily" turns out to have illimitable meanings. It can mean that for the love of Christ one must patiently accept all the hardships and privations which his life entails--this suggesting that whatever life one finds himself burdened with has been provided by Christ as oneís cross. Carrying oneís cross can mean something far more costly, of oneís own volition, living the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, giving up oneís freedom completely, giving up every natural desire and inclination, the desire to live comfortably, to marry and have a family, the desire to perpetuate oneís name in oneís offspring, the desire for normal, innocent pleasures, associations, and independence.
Accepting the Lordís cross can involve no end of sacrifices whether in marriage, in religious communities, in the mission field, as a victim soul in a long and painful illness. Through the cross one unites with the Crucified Savior Who gave Himself over to the hatred and fury of the sins of all men. With Christ, one surrenders oneís will completely to that of the Father for souls. Carrying the cross with Christ calls for the highest virtue, the most generous offering to God, and the purest charity.
"He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for Me, shall find it" (Matthew 10: 39).
These words are printed in the same pitch as all the other words in the King James Version and the modern Bibles that Liberals read. But their meaning, indeed, their very presence, is lost on all who prefer an easier reading of the words and mind of Christ. But to those who know and love Christ, these words allow no escape. We do not count the cost, we bank on the promise. The Lord Jesus here promises that dying to oneself for the sake of supernatural love is the way to inexhaustible life and spiritual fullness. In other places, He delineates the return on the investment. For example:
"Jesus answered and said to her: 'Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him shall not thirst for ever. But the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting'" (John 4:13, 14).
These words must be read to refer to spiritual happenings within the soul. The fruit of life in Christ, first of all, is satisfaction that one has found what the soul craves and needs. Second, Jesus abides in the soul by the Spirit, so that one enjoys constant and unassailable union with Him. Third, the divine presence is like a fountain, something living and active, Whose existence faith assures us, and Whose charity quickens and motivates us. Fourth, union with Christ will be the cause of our salvation and everlasting existence with God in Heaven.
"He that receiveth you, receiveth Me: and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me" (Matthew 10: 40).
This is a grave saying. Jesus is speaking to the Apostles, primarily, but to all His followers for all time to come. The Faith, the Gospel, the Catholic Truth will not be presented to any man by the visible Christ, but by those who believe and practice it. It is their duty to spread the word to as many as possible. The propagation of the Faith will depend almost completely on ordinary Catholic men and women, and priests, brothers, and sisters, who have dedicated their lives to it.
St. Paul said, "Faith...cometh by hearing" (Romans 10:17), meaning that it will be passed from one individual to another by word of mouth. The infinite God will judge each personís response to the message as if it were being communicated by Christ Himself. The same principle will apply to all efforts to convert those who have fallen away from the Faith, to those who have been baptized, but never practiced the Faith, and to those Catholics who are living a life of sin. It applies to modernist Catholics today, whom we try to awaken from their mesmerism, their brainwashing, their stupor, whatever it is that possesses their souls.
Therefore, never consider as unimportant or wasted any effort you make to convert or to reclaim anyone. Proceed with prudence, patience, and good manners, but seize any opportunity to speak the truth to whoever will listen. Say to him only as much as he will listen to. Do not be overbearing or importunate; you are not trying to close a deal! It is not necessary to get a profession of faith, or a confession of sins, or a promise of reform; it is not nothing if you give the man something to think about. You may be sure that any effort you make will be assisted by the Holy Ghost. The effort will count in your favor regardless of the response. And once spoken, the hearer will always be held accountable; however he responds, he will have received a most precious actual grace.
"He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive the reward of a prophet: and he that receiveth a just man in the name of a just man, shall receive the reward of a just man" (Matthew 10: 41).
Here our blessed Savior assures us of the divine largesse; we will even be rewarded for all that we did to save our own souls. Both the convertmaker and the convert will be treated like the great apostles and missionaries of centuries gone by, St. Paul, St. Gregory the Wonderworker, St. Francis Xavier, Fr. DeSmet.
"And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you he shall not lose his reward" (Matthew 10: 42).
Only the infinite God can make such promises, because only He will know and remember all the acts of kindness performed by everyone. And only He can be so magnificent. He will reward both natural and supernatural acts of kindness. The latter are those performed by those in the state of grace for the love of Christ. How much more will He reward those who have given their lives into His service and persevered to the end. How great will be the reward of all who do the charity which their lives impose upon them, whether they be the fathers and mothers of children, or nurses or teachers, policemen or firemen. Who is not called upon to do good things, fair things, generous things, honorable things for others? All who do such things, provided they are in the state of grace, are as Other Christs, doing Godly things for a bowed-over world. No tiniest kindness will go unrewarded.
"Give: and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom" (Luke 6:38).
Please accept my thanks for your prayers. I thank also everyone who has sent cards and letters to assure me of his remembrance; and everyone who has helped me with gifts of money, which are most helpful. By the mercy of our great God and Savior, I send my priestly blessing.
For those who want to help Father or write him, you can do so at:
Father James F. Wathen
P.O. Box 15152
Evansville, IN 47716
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