"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Saturday, October 10, 2015

St. Vianney, "Repairing the Wrong & Renouncing Sin Once & for All"

 St. Vianney, "Repairing the Wrong & Renouncing Sin Once & for All"

These are two Sermons from a holy Saint that we must reflect upon this day if we are to advance in the interior life. I hope these two sermons cause all to reflect today upon our own sinfulness. We all have alot of interior work to do. Labor in the Vineyard! Let us have a look...



Having made satisfaction to god, we must then make satisfaction to our neighbour for the wrong which-either in his body or in his soul -- we have done him. I say that it is possible to wrong him in his body, that is to say, in his person, by attacking him either by injurious or insulting words or by bad treatment. If we have sinned against him by injurious words, then we must apologise to him and make our reconciliation with him. If we have done him some wrong by belabouring his animals, as sometimes happens when we find that they have been doing damage among our crops, we are obliged to give him all that we have been the cause of his losing: we could have got compensation without maltreating these animals. If we have done any harm, we are obliged to repay as soon as we can; otherwise we will be gravely at fault. If we have neglected to do that, we have sinned and we must confess it. 
If you have done wrong to your neighbour in his honour, as, for instance, by scandalous talk, you are obliged to make up by favourable and beneficent talk for all the harm you have done to his reputation, saying all the good of him which you know to be true and concealing any faults which he may have and which you are not obliged to reveal. If you have calumniated your neighbour, you must go and find the people to whom you have said false things about him and tell them that what you have been saying is not true, that you are very grieved about it, and that you beg them not to believe it. 
But if you have done him harm in his soul, it is a still more difficult thing to repair, and yet it must be done as far as possible; otherwise God will not pardon you.
You must also examine your conscience as to whether you have given scandal to your children or to your next-door neighbours. How many fathers, mothers, masters, and mistresses are there who scandalise their children and their servants by not saying their prayers morning or evening or by saying them when they are dressing or sitting back in a chair, who do not even make the Sign of the Cross before and after a meal? How many times are they heard swearing, or perhaps even blaspheming?
How many times have they been seen working on Sunday morning, even before Holy Mass? 
You must consider, too, whether you have sung bad songs, or brought in bad books, or whether you have given bad counsel, as, for instance, advising someone that he should take his revenge on someone else, should exact satisfaction by force.
Consider, too, whether you have ever taken anything from a next-door neighbour and neglected to pay it back, whether you have neglected to give some alms which you had been told to give or make some restitution which your parents, who are dead, should have made. If you wish to have the happiness of having your sins forgiven, you must have nothing belonging to anyone else which you should and could pay back. So if you have sullied your neighbour's reputation, you must do all in your power to repair the damage. You must be reconciled with your enemies, speak to them as if they had never done you anything but good all your life, keeping nothing in your heart but the charity which the good Christian should have for everyone, so that we can all appear with confidence before the tribunal of God. 


All that is very true, you will tell me, but what will people say about me after seeing me go to Confession several times and then not make my Easter duty? People are going to believe that I am leading a bad life; besides, I know plenty of others who are worse sinners than I who have been given absolution; you have received So-and-So well, and he has broken the law of abstinence with me; and So-and-So, who has been out on Sundays, as well as I have, at..[sentence incomplete - Trans.] 
The conscience of another person is not yours. If he does wrong, it is not for you to listen to accounts of it. Or do you want, just in order to keep up appearances, to damn your soul by committing sacrilege? Would not that be the greatest of all evils? You think that people will notice you because they have seen you going to Confession several times and yet you have not been to Holy Communion. Ah, my poor friend, fear rather the eyes of God, before which you have done the wrong, and pay no attention to all the others. You say that you know of some, more guilty than you, who have been given Absolution.
What do you know of them? Did an angel come to you to tell you that God had not changed or converted them? And even if they should not have been converted, should you therefore do wrong because they do wrong? Would you want to be damned because others are damning themselves? Dear God, what frightful talk!
But, these penitents still protest, these penitents who not only have not been converted, but who indeed do not want to be converted at all but only to save their faces in public.... When will it be the right time then to come for Holy Communion? 
When will it be time to come for Holy Communion? Listen to St. John Chrysostom. He himself is going to tell us when it will be time for Holy Communion. Is it at Easter, at Pentecost, at Christmas? No, he tells us. Is it at the point of death? No, he tells us again. When is it then? It is, he says to us, when we have renounced sin for good and all, and are fully resolved, with the help of God's grace, not to fall into it again. When you have paid back that which is not yours, when you have become reconciled with your enemy -- that is when you are genuinely converted. 
Other sinners will tell us: "If you are going to be so difficult, we will go to those who will allow us to go to Holy Communion. Look at how many times I have come. I have other things to do than to be walking the roads. I am not coming back for a long time, for I can see quite plainly that you are angry with me. What great harm have I done, then?" 
You will go to find another, my friend? You are entirely free to go to anyone who seems good to you. But do you think that another would wish, any more than I would, to damn himself?
No, I am sure you do not. If he receives you, it is because he does not know you well enough. Do you want to know what sort of a person talks like that, and who goes in search of Absolution elsewhere? Listen, and tremble. He leaves his guide, who can lead him surely, to look for a passport to go straight to Hell. 
But, you will say to me, look at how many times I keep coming.
Very well, my friend! Change your ways and you will be allowed Absolution the very first time you return.
I am not coming back, you say, for a very long time.
So much the worse for you alone, my poor friend. In not coming back you are taking a big step in the direction of Hell. 
There are some who are so blind that they will go so far as to believe that the confessor is angry with them because he does not give them Absolution. Undoubtedly, my friends, he is vexed with you, but it is because he desires the salvation of your poor souls. It is for that reason that he does not want to give you an Absolution which, very far from saving you, would damn you for all eternity. 
But, you say, what have I done that is so bad? I have not killed, or stolen....
You say not killed, not stolen, you say? But, my friend, Hell is full of other people who have not killed or stolen. There are more than two sins which drag souls into Hell. But if we were so lax as to give you Absolution when you do not merit it, we would be playing the part of executioner of your poor soul, which caused so much suffering to Jesus Christ. 

http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2015/09/st-john-vianney-on-temptations.html   http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2015/08/st-john-vianney-thoughts-about-penance.html 
http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2015/08/st-john-vianney-sewer-of-hell.html   http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2015/08/st-john-vianney-sermon-public-plague.html http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2015/08/st-john-vianney-dreadful-state-of.html  http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2015/07/st-francis-de-sales-goal-of-prayer.html  http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2014/10/sermons-of-saints-st-john-leonardi-i.html

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  1. You are entirely free to go to anyone who seems good to you

  2. His sermons are so timeless! It's as if he's here speaking in our time. We are so blessed to have such holy saints as our hero's and role models.