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Thoughts for the Week


The Circumcision of Our Lord

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
1st January 2017

Christmas and Our Conduct by St. Gregory the Great

In time of persecution we should give our lives; in time of peace, restrain our desires: When Christ suffers bloody persecution then there is often need to give up life itself, as the farmer buries the seed and allows it to die in the earth, so that he may obtain the fruit. But since, in the Holy Church, there are times of persecution and times of peace, our Redeemer distinguishes between one and the other in His precepts. In times of persecution we should lay down our lives; and in times of peace kill all those earthly desires, as far as we can. And what are they? How are they overcome?

A contradiction between Christ and our desires: Perhaps it may not cost much effort to give up all we possess, but it is a very difficult thing to deny ourselves. Just as, in the games, it is necessary to be stripped of all clothing, so that the enemy has nothing to catch hold of, so we have to fight the Devil, naked of heart and stripped of all earthly affections.  Let us separate ourselves from ourselves, that is, from what we made of ourselves through sin; and let us remain in the state in which grace constituted us. The lustful man, the miser and the proud, once they take upon themselves the contrary virtues, deny themselves and follow Christ. To follow Him it is essential to deny oneself and take up the Cross, which may consist in mortification or in charity, according as we suffer in body or in soul, when we have compassion on the evil of our neighbour as if it were our own.

Dangers of time of peace:  Love of riches and human respect:  When there is no persecution on the part of the enemy we must be alert and careful to safeguard our affections, because, when we live at peace and there are no real trials, ambition usually attempts to take possession of us. Let each one meditate on the brevity of this life and the little we need in order to live it. It would be stupid to take much luggage with us when the journey is so short.

There are times when we do not over-esteem the things which perish, but we do not dare to manifest clearly the interior righteousness which is ours, and especially we manifest God's justice less the more we fear men. If you wish to know whether you confess Christ or are ashamed of Him, examine your consciences to see if you cease to act according to His precepts out of human respect. In times of persecution it can easily be seen that there was a possibility that Christians might defect, being ashamed of Christ, because they were stripped of all things they possessed but nowadays we have other things to try us, namely, the sincere following of Christ in His precepts.