The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fruit in due season

"He who delights in the law of the Lord
is like a tree that is planted beside the flowing waters,
that yields its fruit in due season."
Psalm 1

From this morning's second reading at Vigils:

This world is a scene of conflict between good and evil. The evil not only avoids, but persecutes the good; the good cannot conquer, except by suffering. Good men seem to fail; their cause triumphs, but their own overthrow is the price paid for the success of their cause. When was it that this conflict, and this character and issue of it, have not been fulfilled? So it was in the beginning.
And from the way in which St. Paul speaks on the subject we may infer that it is ever so to be: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Or, as he says, after referring to the history of Isaac and Ishmael, “As then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” And indeed we see this fulfilled in its measure before our eyes even at this day. Hence our Savior, to console all who suffer for his sake, graciously says, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
In many, very many ways you may be called upon to bear the ill-usage of the world, or to withstand its attempts to draw you from God; but you must be firm, and you must not be surprised that they should be made. You must consider that it is your very calling to bear and to withstand. This is what you offer to God as a sort of return for his great mercies to you. Did not Christ go through much more for you than you can possibly be called upon to undergo for him? Did he bear the bitter cross who was sinless, and do you, who are at best so sinful, scruple to bear such poor trials and petty inconveniences?
When we are brought into temptation of any kind, we should lift up our hearts to God. We should say to him, “Good Lord, deliver us.” Our Lord, when he was going away, promised to his disciples a comforter instead of himself; that was God the Holy Spirit, who is still among us (though we see him not), as Christ was with the apostles. He has come in order to enlighten us, to guide us in the right way, and in the end to bring us to Christ in heaven. And he came down, as his name “Comforter” shows, especially to stand by, and comfort, and strengthen those who are in any trouble, particularly trouble from irreligious men. The disciples, when Christ went, had to go through much trouble, and therefore he comforted them by the coming of the holy and eternal Spirit, the third person in the Blessed Trinity.“These things I have spoken unto you,” he says, “that in me you might have peace; in the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

-- Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman


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