Bulletin – June 2016
“So the faith was planted: so must it be restored”
Eight Pond Place – Oyster Bay, NY 11771
I Looked for One that Would Comfort Me
Taken from a sermon by The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
…..This year the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was the First Friday of the month. Some of our chapels have Mass in the evening followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and all night adoration every First Friday. It is my fond hope and fervent prayer that many people will attend the First Friday Mass and that many will also be a part of the all-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This is my hope, not only for this coming First Friday, but for each and every First Friday. I pray that more and more of you – families and individuals – will make the First Fridays an important part of your lives.
…..I know that Our Lord desires with a great desire to be honored by you in this way. He waits for you in the tabernacle. He longs for you to keep Him company. Is it not sad that while Our God longs for our company, we do not have time for Him? I am afraid that all too many of us have less regard for Him than He has for us. While He goes to a divine excess to win our hearts, we all too often seek to do the least we can to get by.
…..We are minimalists. A minimalist is a traditional Catholic who wants to get by with the least expenditure of effort. He is the type of person who acts as though he has before his mind the question, “What is the least I can do and still save my soul?” There are, of course, degrees of this lack of generosity with God. There are also a number of causes, not the least of which is that this fallen nature of ours is inclined to pleasure and comfort and revolts against the very idea of sacrifice and inconvenience.
…..Another cause is a great deception of the devil which has increasingly influenced the minds of good Catholic priests and laity over the past two hundred years. It is the error which says that high holiness is for a small, select group of special people and not for the great body of priests and people and certainly not for me. It is the error which holds that we are not all called to holiness. It is the error which says that while God seeks the salvation of all, He seeks the sanctification of only a few special souls. A few special souls are called to holiness – this error says – and the rest of men are called to merely maintain themselves in the state of grace.
…..Nothing could be further from the truth. God says differently. Even in the Old Testament we read, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: Be ye holy, because I the Lord your God am holy.” (Lev. 19:1,2) “You shall be holy unto Me, because I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from other people, that you should be Mine.” (Lev. 20:26)
…..In the New Testament St. Peter says, “But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also . . . holy: Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16) Our Lord Himself said, “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48)
…..But how shall we grow in holiness if we are not zealous for holy things? How will we grow in the love of God if we regard Him in such a way that we deem it expedient to do the least we can for Him? To say, “What is the least I can do and still save my soul?” is not conducive to the love of God. Indeed, such an approach will surely put out whatever fire of love does exist in us. Love does not seek to do the minimum for the beloved. True love seeks to do more, not less, for the one loved. That is the nature of love. Love seeks the good of the beloved. It does not seek the easiest way, nor does it seek to bestow the cheapest gifts on the beloved.
Generosity is itself the measure of love. We know God’s love for us because of His generosity. He gave His Son as a ransom for us that we may be freed from the bondage of sin and of Satan. The Son then, in turn, gave us all that was precious to Him. He gave us His Father that we might be able to say “Our Father.” He gave us His Mother. He gave us His Body and Blood as food for our souls. Then He gave His life. Christ is no miser. He is not cheap with us. He left Heaven. He emptied Himself and became a slave for us. Every aspect of the life of Our Lord bespeaks generosity. Thus, everything testifies to His love for us. We can and should measure His love by His generosity. He can and does measure our love by ours.
…..Holiness is nothing more or less than the love of God. The measure of our holiness, then, is our love. How much do we love God? How much do we desire to love Him? To become holy, to grow in holiness, means to grow in the love of God. It means generosity with Him in every way – with our prayers, our time, and our resources. We must ask for the greatest of all graces which is the grace to love God, and we must act. We must do the things which are the marks of love: obedience and generosity and pious exercises, prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments, the daily Rosary and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the First Fridays and adoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
…..To what extent would we go to secure temporal things like health and material possessions? How much effort would we expend if we saw ourselves in peril of losing these? When it comes to such things, we find that we are not minimalists but maximalists. There is no limit to the effort we would expend to preserve health and property and worldly possessions.
…..Yet, when it comes to securing the love of God, we turn into small-souled and sometimes very cheap creatures of God. It doesn’t make sense to be preoccupied with the quest for earthly friendship, temporal life and a temporary dwelling place, and at the same time to be almost indifferent in seeking to secure the friendship of God, eternal life and an everlasting dwelling place. It just doesn’t make sense. It is no wonder that Our Lord said that the children of darkness are wiser in their pursuit of the things of this world than the children of light are in their pursuit of the kingdom of Heaven. How many souls there are in Hell today who went through life being stingy with God! How many who only sought to squeak by and make it into Purgatory ended up losing their souls!
…..Many years ago I read an article about a plane crash which said that the passengers had no time to prepare because they received no warning. One minute they were going to land at JFK Airport, and the next they crashed with scores of people dying on impact. In one instant they were thinking of those waiting for them, and without even knowing what had happened, they stood in the presence of Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead. The state of their souls at the moment of death determined their fate for all eternity.
…..Do not aim low. Do not aim to do the least. Do not consider yourself lucky to get out of doing things for God. You deserve more and God deserves more. So God commands that you strive for holiness. The less zeal a person has for holiness, the more they are in danger of losing their souls. The more one desires to love God, the more one does love Him. In fact, a consciousness of how little we love Him mingled with a healthy fear of losing our souls is a special grace by which God will get you to Heaven. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is a sign that you do love Him and that He will cause that love to grow greater. Of course, one of the most beautiful expressions of this devotion is keeping the First Fridays and adoring and consoling Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
…..Furthermore, the devotion to the Sacred Heart is the solution to all our problems. It is the solution to our individual problems, to our family problems and to the problems in the Church. It is our last and best hope. This devotion is God’s last great effort, as it were, to save a race of men that is on the brink of destruction. It is His cry, His plea to us. It is the culminating expression of the immensity of His love so wondrously manifested at Bethlehem and on Calvary. To convince us of this love, God chose a young nun to be His instrument in revealing these things to the modern world. This young nun loved God so much and, consequently, was so holy that He took a singular delight in her soul, which was consumed with love for Him. He said to her: “I take such pleasure in seeing your heart that I wish to put Myself in its place, and to serve as your heart.” These are the words that Our Lord spoke to St. Margaret Mary in the 17th century. St. Margaret Mary was so convinced that Our Lord’s words were literally true that she was able to write concerning this: “I could not doubt it.” Then she said that Our Lord looked upon her heart as a sanctuary lamp of divine charity. “Sometimes He allowed me,” she wrote, “to see my heart, which is truly His and no longer mine, as a lamp before the Blessed Sacrament.” “A lamp before the Blessed Sacrament!”
…..If this sanctuary lamp here in this chapel could think and speak, I believe I know what its thoughts and words would be. It would think of itself as privileged to spend its life before the tabernacle and to serve the purpose of reminding the world that its Lord and God remains among us as a Prisoner of love. It would proclaim how happy it is to watch night and day before Him. It would count itself blessed to keep the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus company along with the adoring angels that surround the tabernacle at every moment. It would, no doubt, wonder at how men, endowed with reason and free will and called to eternal life by the God Who became a Man and died for them, could be so indifferent to Him, present day and night in the Blessed Sacrament.
…..God calls you to be sanctuary lamps before the Blessed Sacrament, but He does not ask that you be physically present all the time. He actually asks very little as a token of your love for Him – an hour once a month. Can you not hear His words spoken with sadness and disappointment in the face of our indifference? “Could you not watch one hour with me?” Just “one hour!”
…..Yet, what is the answer He continually hears? “No. No, I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to – it’s just that I don’t have the time. I have too many things to do. Especially on Friday nights. Friday nights were made for recreation not adoration. Friday nights were made for watching T.V. and not for watching before the tabernacle. They were made for going out. They were made for dates and good times. Everybody knows that. Besides we have to be reasonable. We can’t get fanatical about religion, you know. You make Christ so demanding. You make the service of God so burdensome. Why, the way you talk, you would think that we owe God something besides Sunday Mass. The way you talk, you would think that God died for us or something.”
…..Can we not hear Our Lord’s response: “Do you think that I ask too much? Do you think that I have not done enough for you that I may expect something in return – like a Holy Hour once a month on First Fridays? In truth, how much more must I do? What is there left for Me to do? Is it not enough that I sweat blood for you? That I was scourged for you and crowned with thorns? That I carried your cross to Calvary and received your death sentence? Did I not hang there for you for three hours and cry out to My Father to forgive you? Why did I do this? It was for love of you. It was to win your love for Me. How sad it is that I, your Creator, have done so much for you and have received so little in return!”
…..In the Mass for the Feast of the Sacred Heart, we hear the words of Our Lord pleading with us: My heart hath expected reproach and misery: and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none; and for one that would comfort me and I found none.
…..Will you comfort Him? Will you console Him? Will you give Him one hour? Give it to Him on First Friday – this month and every month.