19 August 2006

The Devil's Day vs. The Lord's Day

We must be on guard that we live not for this day, this moment, this time, but that we live for the Lord’s Day. For the devil has his day—and he can easily seduce us to believe that his day is the best day. How does he do this? Whenever we live for earthly gain or fleeting pleasures; whenever we agree with the Truth but pursue compromise for the sake of peace; whenever we look for honor and praise; whenever we place convenience ahead of living the Lord’s Word; whenever we feed our appetites and gratify our desires; whenever we tolerate false teaching by remaining in communion with it—then the devil is successfully luring us into his day, seducing us to prefer his day over the Lord’s Day. However, the Lord’s Day—both now at Holy Mass, and eternally in the heavenly kingdom—that is the day we must live for, the day we must fix our eyes upon, the day we must desire more than any days that we find comfortable. And for the sake of this eternal day, we must be willing to forsake all our self-chosen days.

The soul that gives itself over to present affairs, the soul that melts at the prospect of earthly comforts or peace at the expense of truth—that soul has hidden the coming evils from itself. It shrinks from anticipating future things which might disturb its present happiness. And when it abandons itself to the delights of the present life, what else is it doing but rushing headlong into the fire with eyes closed? So if there is any happiness that we may derive during these days, let us always temper that happiness with a clear vision of what will be—with true fear of the judgment to come, and true faith in the greatest joys and pleasures that Our Lord has stored up for us, and even now permits us to taste in His holy sacraments.

Our Lord provides us with His mercy in the sacred mysteries. He does this precisely so that we might not deviate from the Way that He is, so that we don’t lose His Way by going our own way. Our Lord extends to us, time and again, His strength and His might in the Eucharist so that we might withstand the seductions of the devil, and so that we might live not for this day but for His Day. In fact, with St Gregory, we may say that Our Lord uses His Gospel in Sacraments and bishops as obstacles to block our self-chosen way. For you have heard that when you go [your way] with your adversary to the magistrate, while you are on the way, endeavor to be delivered from him (Lk 12.58). Our adversary on the way is God’s word, which is contrary to our physical desires in this present life. One who submits humbly to His commandments is delivered from this adversary. So by surrendering your self-serving pride and your self interests and, instead, living the Lord’s mercy, you both make this godly “adversary” your greatest friend, and you abandon your self-destructive way in favor of the Lord’s highway into His kingdom.

An excerpt from tomorrow's sermon. The portions in green are from Homily 39 in Forty Gospel Homilies of St Gregory the Great.

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