The cause of all our punishment by God is sin, especially obstinacy in sin. If we do not remove the cause of the scourge, how can we escape the scourge itself?
The man sick of the palsy besought Jesus Christ to restore the health of his body; but before doing so the Lord first restored health to his soul. Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. (Matt. ix. 2). The pain will not be removed till the thorn has been taken out.
The invocation of the Sacred Names of Jesus and Mary, says Thomas a Kempis, is a short prayer, as sweet to the mind and as powerful to protect those who use it as it is easy to remember. Let us therefore take advantage of the beautiful advice given by St. Bernard: “In dangers, in perplexities, in doubtful cases, think of Mary, call on Mary; let her not leave thy lips; let her not depart from thy heart!”
It is of Faith that Jesus Christ the true Son of God, for the love of men, humbled Himself so as to be born in a stable, and to lead a despised life, and in the end, to die by the hands of executioners on an infamous gibbet. Now, after all God has done and suffered for the love of man, will man refuse to humble himself for the love of God?
Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart (Matt; xi. 29). Pride was the chief cause of the fall of our First Parents. Unwilling to submit to obedience and obey the commands of God, they brought ruin on themselves and on the whole human race. But to repair the universal ruin God in His mercy decreed that His only-begotten Son should humble Himself, take upon Him our flesh, and by the example of His life induce men to love humility and detest pride.
Life in his good will (Ps xxix. 6). Our entire salvation and perfection consists in loving God. Have charity which is the bond of perfection, says the Apostle, but the perfection of Charity consists in conformity to the Divine Will.
We see that the truly wise are those who know how to acquire Divine grace and Heaven. Let us pray the Lord to give us the wisdom of the Saints which He bestows on those who ask it of Him. She gave him the knowledge of holy things.
Poor sinners! They labour, they spare not themselves in order to acquire worldly knowledge, and the art of gaining the good things of this life which is so soon to end! And these very men neglect the riches of the life that never ends! Oh, that they would be wise!
The Blessed John of Avila would have wished to divide the world into two great prisons — one for those who do not believe and the other for those who do believe and yet live in sin! The prison for these last he would call the prison for fools.
Be assured, St. Paul wrote to his disciples, that God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able. God has promised to give us sufficient help to conquer every temptation, if only we ask Him. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find (Matt. vii. 7). He cannot, therefore, fail of His promise. It is a fatal error of the heretics to say that God commands things which it is impossible for us to observe.