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Litany of Humility

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Novena Prayer to St Philomena

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Prayers for Priests & Vocations

Prayers, Novena & Litany to St Anne
Prayers, Novenas & Litany to St Jude Thaddeus
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Various Prayers
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Audio Files - SSPX
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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Fourth Sunday after Easter

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
3rd May 2015

 On the Fear of the Humble by St. Bernard

We must fear when grace is present. What if it departs? Must we not then fear much more? Obviously much more, because when grace fails you, you fail. Just listen to what the giver of grace says: "without me you can do nothing". Fear, therefore, when grace is withdrawn, like a man who is liable to fall. Fear and tremble, as you become aware that God is angry with you. Fear, because your keeper has abandoned you. Do not doubt that pride is the cause, even if it does not seem so, even though you are not conscious of it. For God knows what you do not know, and he is the one who judges you. "It is not the man who commends himself who is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends." Does God in any way commend you when he deprives you of grace? Is it possible that he who gives grace to the humble takes his gift away from the humble? Therefore the deprivation of grace is a proof of pride. There are times though when it is withdrawn, not because of pride already present, but because of pride that will occur unless it is withdrawn. You have clear evidence of this from the Apostle, who unwillingly endured the thorns of his flesh, not because he was puffed up but lest he be puffed up. But whether already, or not yet existing, pride will always be a cause of the withdrawal of grace.

Now if grace returns appeased one must then fear all the more lest he suffer a relapse, as that gospel text teaches: "See, you are well, go and sin no more, that nothing worse befall you". You hear that a second fall is worse than the first. As the danger increases, then, let fear also increase. You are fortunate if you have filled your heart with that threefold fear: that you fear when grace is received, even more when it is lost, and far more when it is recovered. Do this and you will be a water jar at Christ's banquet, filled to the very brim, containing not two measures merely but three, and so you shall win the blessing of Christ who will change your waters into the wine of gladness, and perfect love will banish fear.

What I mean is this. Fear is water, because it cools the heat of carnal desires. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." If fear is wisdom and wisdom is water, then fear is water. Hence, "the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life". Moreover, your mind is a water jar. Fear the Lord at all times, and from your whole heart, and you have filled the jar to the brim. God loves an entire gift, a total affection, a perfect sacrifice. Take care then to bring to the heavenly nuptials a water jar that is full, so that it may be said of you, too, "the spirit of the fear of the Lord filled him". He who fears like this neglects nothing. For how can negligence insinuate itself into fullness? In any case something which still has room for more is not full. For the same reason you cannot possess this fear and at the same time be puffed up. Filled with the fear of the Lord you have no means of entertaining pride. And other vices must be similarly judged, all are of necessity excluded by the fullness of fear. Then at last, if your fear is full and perfect, love, at the blessing of the Lord, will add flavour to your waters. For without love fear expects punishment. Love is the wine that gladdens man's heart. "Perfect love casts out fear", and what was water becomes wine, to the praise and glory of God, forever.