This morning I was playing for an Anglican parish, and I heard what was one of the most thought-provoking homily; something the preacher said struck a chord that any true priest I know hasn’t said.
I don’t participate, it’s not the Mass. However, I do like to listen to the readings and the sermon to see what good is in it, and today I believe I found gold. Their gospel reading was that from the book of St Matthew, in particular Chapter 5 – the Beatitudes.
Now Jesus seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain, and when he had sat down, his disciples came to him. And opening his mouth he taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you untruly, for my sake; rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward is very great in heaven: for so they persecuted the prophets, that were before you.
Of the fourth beutitude, St John Chrysostem says:
What is this poverty of spirit, but humility and contrition? This virtue of humility is placed in the first place, because it is the parent of every other virtue, as pride is the mother of every vice. Pride deprived our first parents of their original innocence, and nothing but humility can restore us to our former purity. We may pray and fast, we may be possessed of mercy, chastity, or any virtues, if humility do not accompany them, they will be like the virtue of the Pharisee, without foundation, without fruit. (Hom. xv.)
The Anglican fellow said nothing of St John, nor of the fourth beatitude, but I thought that was nice for consideration as it does connect to what he says. Our humility and contrition is founded and rooted as the pine tree in our love of Christ: our knowing of him, our obedience to him, our friendship in him. He is God, and He has opened up the gates of Heaven. What our priestly-minded friend posed this morning was this: when the hour of our death has come and we knock on the door of heaven, will God the father ask His Son “who standeth there?” and will he reply “this is my brother, someone who loves me and I have known for a short while” or “this is my brother, whom I have known his entire life, and who loves God with all his heart.”? Will we be shown to the room that He has prepared to us?
When we knock at the door, will the Father say “who standeth there?”, the response only being “I know not who stands there.”?
Now, I know there are some theological inaccuracies here and you’ll have to forgive me because I’m only half awake to begin with as well as dying with the flu-season’s gifts, but isn’t that something that tugs at the strings of your mind? Do we know He that died for us, our redeemer, the Blessed Trinity, the one, undivided, eternal, and adorable Godhead? Do we know the role of our Blessed Mother, who brought forth the son into His humanity? Do we take the assistance of the saints that surround us?
Here’s your thought. Chew on it. I certainly am, and I don’t know how to answer my own questions. The only thing is this: I’m going to talk to my parish priest about this, and I think everyone should consider that in an examination of conscience before confession. God Love You All.