"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]

Monday, July 23, 2018

A PROFITABLE SUMMER by the Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul, 1893

by the Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul, 1893
Brethren: Summer is come, and that means for many a great relaxation of attention to their religious duties. How very much more wisely our enemy, the evil spirit, acts than such careless Christians! 

Ever watchful, he avails himself of each opportunity. Our employments, our associates, our home surroundings, are all considered by him. The strength or weakness of our minds and bodies, our inclinations, our likes and dislikes, he makes good use of in his warfare against us; nay, he brings the very elements to his service as much as he may. A pleasant day helps him to get you to miss Mass, or a cold morning to rise too late to say your prayers. It is true that he sometimes overreaches himself and that he often fails in his efforts, but that is not because he has not tried to succeed. He seeks no rest. He takes no vacation. With him there is increasing endeavor to attain his ends. Obstacles which present themselves serve but to incite him to greater exertion.

And this powerful, crafty spirit is our enemy. A cheerful prospect, you will say! I say, not a very alarming one, if we but "watch and pray." The great difference between our mode of warfare against Satan and his against us is, that we sleep at our posts while he entrenches himself, and we awaken only to find ourselves in a state of siege; indeed, we may be happy that we have not been surprised, stormed, and captured.

We are too fond of ourselves and of our comfort, especially in the summer months. We forget that we have all eternity wherein to rest, if we do now the work each day brings us. We forget, too, that in this life there is no standing still with us. Whoever we are, or whatever our place in the world, every period of our lives has its peculiar temptations demanding our attention, and we must be always moving either forward or backward, especially during the summer season.

Summer is at hand, and with the warm weather comes a whole troop of spiritual enemies to be met. Dangers threaten every one of us. For some, who have leisure and money, and who betake themselves to the sea-shore or the fashionable country resort, the danger will arise from idleness and dissipation. For others, it will spring from the desire of drinking. Others will be betrayed by the chance acquaintance formed at a promiscuous gathering.

Against all these dangers we must take a bold stand. We should not act as if we believed that there was one set of commandments for the winter and quite another for the summer. We are called to the constant service of God--spring, summer, autumn, and winter. You have heard of fairweather Christians. But some are better Christians in foul weather than in fair.

What do you think of one who will climb big mountains week-days, and be unable to walk a mile or two of a pleasant country road on Sundays?

What must we think of those who on Sundays, in warm weather, make no effort to hear even early Mass, but rush off to the sea-side or the country, stained with guilt of mortal sin? Will the sea wash the stain away? How can we hope to avoid the dangers of the season if we neglect the means of grace? Yet how many there are who never frequent the sacraments during the heated term. Living constantly in the midst of temptation, more or less proximate occasions of sin all about them--in far greater peril, in fact, at this time than during the other parts of the year--many nevertheless go the whole summer long without confession and Communion, always to the great detriment of their souls and sometimes with the loss of God's grace.

Take your reasonable recreation during the hot spell, but don't fail to go to Mass every Sunday, and go to the High Mass, if not every Sunday, at least several times during the season. The sermon will help you. It will suggest good thoughts and arouse you to spiritual progress. Receive the sacraments; they are chief means of obtaining and preserving God's grace in the soul. Say your prayers morning and evening; they are your spiritual daily bread.

Do this, and then you can say with the Hebrew children: "O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord."