Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: February 17th On the opposition there is between the world and the Gospel

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by




Consider first, that ’tis not for nothing that the Son of God, in the Gospel, so often declares against the world, as a capital enemy of him and his; because light and darkness are not more opposite than the world and the Gospel. The maxims and practices of the one are quite contradictory to the other. The world perpetually recommends what the Gospel condemns, and condemns what the Gospel recommends. The world is made up of pride, ambition, and vain-glory; the Gospel breathes nothing but humility, self-contempt, choosing the lowest place, and becoming as little children; assuring us that otherwise there is no heaven for us. The world inspires a covetous spirit, the love of Mammon and a fondness for worldly toys; the Gospel inculcates the necessity of despising all these things, and of quitting all things, at least in affection, to follow Christ. The world is a slave to sensual pleasures, and places its whole happiness in gratifying and indulging its own humours and inclinations; the Gospel requires, as the very first and most necessary condition to be a disciple of Christ that we should deny ourselves, hate our own humours and inclinations, and take up our cross, and follow him. The world imagines them blessed, that abound the most with worldly honours, riches, delicacies, pastimes, and other worldly enjoyments, and have no one to thwart or contradict them. The Gospel, on the contrary, pronounces those blessed that are poor in this world; that suffer injuries and affronts with meekness; that weep and mourn, and are reviled and persecuted by men. In a word, the life of worldlings is a perpetual contradiction of the Gospel of Christ; and the life of Christ, and of all the true children of the Gospel, is a perpetual censure of the world and its maxims. See, my soul, which thou wouldest rather follow, the world or the Gospel; the road way, or the narrow; the way of perdition, or the way of life.

Consider 2ndly, that Christianity never had a more dangerous enemy than the world; and never yet suffered half so much from all the persecutions of infidels, that have been from the beginning, as it continually suffers from those false brethren, who under the Christian name, are perpetually undermining the Gospel of Christ, and promoting the kingdom of Satan. The persecution of infidels made innumerable Saints, and served very much to purify, and to propagate the church and kingdom of Christ; whereas, this war that is continually carried on by wicked Christians against the morals and maxims of the Gospel, draws away innumerable souls from Christ, corrupts the innocence even of the best inclined, and enslaves them to Satan and sin, and condemns to hell. O let us beware of this mortal enemy of our salvation, this torrent of worldly custom, these pernicious maxims of a deluded and deluding world. 

Consider 3rdly, with relation to this very time of Shrove-tide, how wide a distance there is between the true spirit of Christianity and the practice of the children of this World. The Church sets aside this time for a time of devotion and penance, that it may be a suitable preparation for the solemn fast of Lent; therefore she puts on, at this time, her penitential attire, she calls upon her children to enter into a penitential disposition, to renounce now their evil ways, and to confess their sins, that they may be properly prepared for melting with mercy and grace, at this approaching time of mercy and grace. The very name Shrove-tide, in the ancient English signifies the time of confession and sins, because our Catholic ancestors were taught to turn to God at this time with their whole hearts, by humble confession and penance. But how sadly has the spirit of the world perverted this pious institution, and turned this time of devotion and penance into a time of riot and sin, even of such excesses and extravagances, as would much better suit with the heathenish festivals of Bacchus, than with any Christian solemnity, much less with preparation for a penitential fast! Beware then, my soul, of conforming thyself to the world, in any of its extravagances at this time, lest by joining now with this enemy of God and of thy salvation, thou come to lose both thyself and thy God for all eternity. 

Conclude to give ear to the divine oracles. ‘Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ 1 John ii. 15. ‘The friendship of this world is the enemy of God; whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God,’ James iv. 4. and since the word of God thus expressly declares that there can be no such thing as being a friend both to God and the world, keep off from the love of the world, and from its maxims and customs, lest thou make God thy enemy.

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