he First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, xiii. 1-13. Brethren: If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal; and if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know I part: but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity: these three, but the greatest of these is charity.
St. Paul here teaches the Romans, and us in them, the necessity, the qualities, and the advantages of charity:
The necessity - because all natural and supernatural gifts - all good works, virtues, and sacrifices - even martyrdom itself - cannot save us if we have no charity. By charity only are we and our works pleasing to God.
The qualities of charity - which are good-will without envy, suspicion, perversity, or malice; pure intention without self-love, ambition, immodesty, or injustice; untiring patience without hastiness; and finally, humble submission to God, Who is all to him that possesses charity.
The advantages of charity - in that it gives to good works their value, and that it never fails; for while all things else cease - while faith passes into seeing, hope into possesion, knowledge in part into knowledge of the whole - charity is everlasting, and therefore the greatest of the three. "Faith," says St. Augustine, "lays the foundation of the house of God; hope builds up the walls; charity covers and completes it."
O God of love, pour into my heart the spirit of charity, that, according to the spirit of St. Paul, I may always endeavor to be in the state of grace, that so all my works may be pleasing to Thee, and of merit to me. Amen.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Luke, xviii. 31-43. At that time: Jesus took unto Him the twelve, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man; for He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way side, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing commanded him to be brought unto Him. And when he was come near,He asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people when they saw it gave praise to God.
Why did Our Saviour so often predict His sufferings to His apostles?
1. To show that He already knew of them, thereby indicating His omniscience; and that, 2. He desired to suffer. 3. In order that His disciples should not be scandalized at His humiliation, nor think evil of Him as if He had deceived them, but, by remembering His words, be rather confirmed in their belief in Him as the Son of God and Redeemer of the world.
Did not the apostles understand anything of what He thus predicted in regard to His sufferings?
They may have known that He was to suffer, for St. Peter undertook to dissuade Him from it (Matt. xvi. 22), but they could not reconcile these predictions with their expectation of a future glorious kingdom. Nor would we be able to cast off our prejudices, and understand the truths of the faith, however plainly taught, were we not enlightened by the Holy Ghost.
What should we learn from this history of the blind man?
1. The inexpressible misfortune of blindness of the heart - a state in which we know not our God, our Redeemer and Sanctifier, and see neither the way of divine life, nor the hindrances to our salvation, but grope about in the darkness of ignorance and sin.
2. Where to find One Who will save us from this awful condition, in Jesus Christ healing and enlightening us through and in His Church.
3. The holy zeal and perseverance with which we should seek and call upon Him for deliverance, disregarding alike the bad examples, persecutions, and mockery of the world.
4. How fervently we should thank God, and how faithfully we should follow Him, after He has opened the eyes of our soul and freed us, by His grace, from the spiritual blindness of sin.