"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]

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fr. Voigt, "Bear Fruit a Hundredfold"

Fr. Voigt, "Bear Fruit a Hundredfold"
Right now go to the window of your house or take a car trip around your city or visit a major mall and what do you notice about the general population?  They are obese.  They have indulged themselves to such an extent that they have become fat and ugly.  Does it have to be this way?  No.  Our Lord
presents an answer to the disease afflicting both the body and the spirit--over indulgence.  In one simple word it is the cardinal virtue of Temperance.  Let us consider the words of our Lord dealing with the Sower Who went out to sow His Seed.

First, we find that there are four soil (soul) conditions which are found in the world:  1) soil used to walk upon; 2) rocks;  3) soil with thorns and 4) good soil.  Three types lead us to one place alone...Hell.  Fr. Armijon remarks in his classic work, The End of the Present World, that when good is presented as evil and evil as good, then the hell which should come after this life enters into this life.  Every condition of the soil (soul) listed above is not able to be changed in the 
natural aspect of the world.  Any farmer throwing his seed on hard ground, rocks or amongst the thorns would be foolish.  In this case we are dealing not with simply soil but the soul.  Your soul and my soul are under consideration.

Second, the soul is not determined by the devil, the world or the flesh.  The soul is determined by the will.  The soul, the living principle within each of us, is composed of the intellect which seeks the truth and the will which chooses the path of truth.  Hence the pathway, the rock, and the thorns can all be converted to good soil if I will seek the truth and choose to live in Truth. 
What does this mean in reality?

Third, the consequences of living in the Truth is that we no longer just "do it" but we reflect and ask ourselves:  "Is this for the glory of God or for my sensual satisfaction?"  Do all for the glory of God and you will change spiritually and physically.  You will no longer be the slave of Satan who steals the Word of God as quickly as possible.  Instead you will dwell on that Word and that Word will create a holy soul within you.  You will crush the head of the serpent as Mary 
did because you hold onto the Word in your heart (=mind and will united).  Your heart will soften and the hardness of the rock will transform itself into soft and fertile soil.  Your soul will then root out the attachments it had to riches and the pleasures of this world and seek to perform the corporal acts of mercy as often as possible.  

Fourth, now the good soil is everywhere because men and women are living according to the plan of God.  Glorifying God is their goal for living in the world and they are happy.  But did men and women get the message?  Look around and examine yourself as well.  What makes you move?  Is is the desire for more and more money; or is it the longing for power; or is it the belly that moves your actions.  Consider this quotation from the great St. John Chrysostom dealing with the intemperate world population of his days.

"Why then, will you tell me, why then do you fatten the body?  Are we going to offer you in sacrifice?  Are you being prepared for the table? Rightly do you fatten birds; and even them not too much, for when they are too fat they are worthless as healthy food.  So Great a perversion is gluttony, that the evil of it is shown even in the brutes.  For in them excessive fat is worthless, and from this grossness there arises only a moist rottenness.  Animals that are not fed in this way, but as it were live sparingly, are profitable both to themselves and to us, for food and for other uses.  They who live on them are healthier.  They who eat the other kind become like them, becoming dull and sickly, and bearing a heavier halter.  For nothing is so injurious, nothing so damaging, to the body as self-indulgence; nothing so rends it asunder, overloads it, corrodes it, as profligacy.

"The folly of men in this regard is truly astonishing; that they should treat themselves with less regard than others have for their wine-skins.  For the wine-sellers do not allow the skins to be filled more than is right, lest they burst.  But the self-indulgent do not regard their own miserable bodies as worthy of such consideration, but when they have already been filled and distended, they fill them yet more, to the very ears, to the nostrils, to the throat, with wine; inflicting a double strain, upon the soul, and upon the power that governs the active living body. ...the stomach was given not simply for the reception of food, but for the reception of moderate food."
Salvation comes to us when we understand that the "exterior is the manifestation of the interior", which means that the body is the expression of the soul.  The perfection of the soul is manifested in the perfection of the body.  Do these five things daily and you will grow in holiness:
1) Get us and ask God to accept your day and its sacrifices to save a soul of a sinner in need;
2) Spend time in prayer get up before all others and in silence speak with God;
3) Work in the house if a housewife, in the office or the site God has chosen for the man;
4) Play daily, take a walk, frolic in the snow with the kids, but be active physically;
5) Eat, drink, sleep all in moderation.
Doing these five things daily as much as you can will lead you to a life of temperance and the soil of your soul will produce 30 fold or 60 fold or the perfect hundred-fold.  God bless you with a truly temperate life in His Glory.

In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Fr. Richard Voigt