Sermons

Summary: What we need in life is purification, holiness, total reliance on Divine Providence

Tuesday of the 17th Week in Course 2019

Bl. Solanus Casey

Today’s reading from the book of Exodus is taken from two consecutive chapters of the book, and so are really two related but separate situations. The first one shows the daily routine–if you can use that word about an encounter with God–of Moses and his people. Moses entered the tent of meeting and the cloud–which was the sign of God’s presence in His people’s midst–would descend. The Lord had an intimate contact daily with Moses. And Joshua, who would be his successor, stayed to guard the tent of meeting. We should remember that as the cloud descended over Moses, giving access to the closest possible God-to-man interaction, so the Holy Spirit descended on the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that interaction produced the God-man, Jesus Our Lord.

The second situation appears to have come later on, when Moses, up on the mountain, for a second time received the law. At that time the Lord passed before Moses and told him, and us, something we dare never forget. The Lord’s primary characteristic is hesed and ‘emet, mercy and compassion, loving kindness and faithfulness. We celebrate that at every Eucharist, in fact at every sacrament. Psalm 137 tells us in just a few words to praise Him because His mercy is everlasting. When He says that it endures for thousands, that means forever. But when we are forgiven–and he will always forgive if we are truly contrite and obedient–we must follow through. If we live a life of practical atheism and injustice, the effects of those crimes will not just harm us and those around us now, but will last for three or four generations. I’ve documented that over the years by following the bad results of the crimes of several families. God’s mercy extends forever, but the ill effects of sin sound hurtful echoes for a hundred years. Just think of the tragedy of generation after generation in the wake of the Supreme Court’s terrible decisions of 1973, legalizing the murder of unborn humans, and compromising the consciences of men and women for three generations already.

So, yes, at the end of time there will be a great separation of moral sheep from moral goats, good wheat and evil weeds, and there will be a great, everlasting cabrito roast none of us wants an invitation to. But we know from our own experience that the pains of hell don’t start at death. They begin to eat at us, and roast us alive, the moment we commit a mortal sin. That’s why it’s called “deadly.” It consumes body, soul, spirit, and only the divine mercy can pull us out of that fire of our own lighting.

Today’s saint is Father Solanus Casey, declared to be among the blesseds in November of 2017. He is a saint of our time, dying in 1957 in his eighty-seventh year of life. He was poorly educated and his vocation to the priesthood, although authentic, had to be as a simplex priest in the Franciscan Capuchin order at age thirty-four. He could celebrate Mass but not preach doctrinal sermons or hear confessions. He began his ministry telling all that he had two loves, the sick and the poor.

He would say: ‘“Pray for poor Fr. Solanus--who like all poor sinners needs the grace of God to be fully converted.” True or real conversion, he said, couldn’t happen this side of heaven. Even during his final illness, he said, “I’m offering my sufferings that all might be one. If only I could see the conversion of the whole world.” It is Fr. Solanus’ humility, the modesty of his own importance, that sets him apart. Fr. Solanus saw in himself the limitations and weaknesses of being human.’

Solanus suffered from a skin disease that kept coming back, and eventually contributed to his death. But he used that as a means to an end–purification, holiness, total reliance on the providence of God. Whatever our situation, whatever our gifts, whatever our suffering, isn’t that what we all need in life? Blessed Solanus Casey, pray for us.

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