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Audio Files - SSPX
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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
21st September 2014

Bishop Fulton Sheen on The Need for the Atonement for Sin

Our Lord's first follower and emulator in this high mission of Redemption was the Blessed Mother, who claimed no immunity, no noblesse oblige from the vocation of suffering from sin. Although she had no personal guilt requiring satisfaction, she allowed her heart to be pierced by the swords of evil done by other men and women. She too, in her more limited way than His, would share the world's guilt as her own.

The same high mission is continued today in the contemplative orders of the Church: the Trappists, Carmelites, Poor Clares, and dozens of other gifted souls renounce the world, not because they want to save only their own souls, but because they want to save the souls of others. The cloistered religious are like spiritual blood banks, storing up the red energy of salvation for those anaemic souls who sin and do not atone. It is possible that these souls, praying and fasting in secret, are alone holding back the arm of God's Wrath from a rebellious and a blasphemous age. As ten just men could have saved Sodom and Gomorrah, so a scattered few of these consecrated victims may save a nation or the world. Their merits overflow to others who have made no contribution to goodness, as the benefits of electricity come to many of us who have never put a screw into a dynamo.

The communicability of merits in the Communion of Saints is one of the most beautiful and consoling truths taught by the Church. Sacrificial souls love God and long to undo what ever has offended Him, they see other people's sins as their own, as works of evil they are called to set aright by sacrifice and prayer. The Saint believes that to know of another's sin is to be obliged to do penance for it - God, he feels, has made him clear-sighted about another's sin only in order that he may undo the damage. He does not scold the sinner for not doing the work himself. Tolerance says: "He is as good as I am." Charity says: "He may be far better than I." By this the Saint means that if the other man knew God's love as he knows it, the present sinner might love Him much more fervently than the Saint. The fully Christian soul not only forgives others; it suffers for others, takes on others' sins as its sins. The best men and women never consider that they are good; they feel constantly in need of Divine Mercy for their own failures to love perfectly; to merit it, their hearts overflow in mercy and kindness to others. The sinful conscience is cruel and cynical; the repentant conscience is kind and filled with Charity.

Reparation, like self-discipline, depends on love of God. Though such an ideal is transcendent to most of us, it is still well for the world to have some souls dedicated to ideals which the mass of men will never practice. The illiterate in a village will point with pride to the one man who can read and write; through him, they derive their education vicariously. The Saints fulfil such a spiritual role in humanity - through them, some satisfaction is made vicariously for the failings of us all. As soldiers offer their lives that the non-combatants can preserve political freedom in time, so these soldiers of Christ sacrifice their lives that others may enjoy their spiritual freedom in eternity.