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April 15 (Tuesday in Holy Week)
Maria Addolorata

1. INTROD.—It is often said that men in trial act well or ill, according to their previous life, which then is brought out. They cannot work themselves up to be martyrs. This applies also to the contemplation of the sufferings of the saints, and of our Lord and His blessed Mother. I should like e.g. to bring before you the subject of the Mater Addolorata. But how am I to do so? It depends on yourselves. Are you familiar with her image? Is she a household word? If so, you will meditate well; if not, ill.

2. This comes on us at this time of year, when we wish so much to meditate, and find it so difficult. We shall keep this time well, according as we have kept the year well. As we have meditated through the year, so shall we celebrate this season. We cannot force our minds into love, compassion, gratitude, etc.

3. So as to matters of this world. We hear of deaths, losses, accidents, etc., with emotion or not, according as we know the persons, according as the name is familiar to us.

4. I cannot impress this knowledge upon you or {74} myself, and this makes me almost loth to discourse on these great topics. The very sight of a crucifix or holy picture, such as we have in our chambers, should be enough. It is not a matter of words, but of heart.

5. Think then of her, first as she was, as she had been, and you will understand what she was in her grief. Go through her character—so lovely, so perfect, so glorious; the ideal of painters and poets; yet superhuman, the flower of human nature—the soul so beaming through her that you could not tell her features, etc.; so gentle, winning, harmonious, attractive; so loving towards others; so pained at sorrow and pain; so modest, so retiring: her voice, her eyes—yet still so chaste and holy that she inspired holiness. Hence the fulness of the sanctity of St. Joseph: it was inspired by her.

6. And she had lived with a Son who cannot be described in this way only, because He is God; who surpassed her infinitely, but in another order. In the one the attributes of the Creator, in the other the most perfect work. What a picture! what a vision! Mother and Son.

7. Next, that Son has left her. And now the news comes to her that He is to die, to be tortured; that He is to die a criminal's death of shame and torment; His limbs to be torn to pieces, etc., and He so innocent. Why, it is worse than killing and torturing the innocent babe.

8. Under those circumstances, remarkable boldness in coming to see Him die. Does a mother commonly so act? Here the perfection of Mary's {75} character. Hagar, 'Let me not see the death of my son,' Gen. xxi. 15-16 [Note 1].

9. [She saw] Christ bearing the cross. Then at cross.

10. Our distress at seeing mother's grief, which we cannot help.

11. On mental pain. Greatest. Christ's mental pain would have swallowed up even His bodily, had He not willed to feel it.

April 27 (Low Sunday)
Faith the Basis of the Christian Empire

1. INTROD.—Our Lord came to form a kingdom all over the earth unto the end of time. And to this end the commission to preach the Gospel, etc. [Mark xvi. 15.]

2. Now observe what a great problem is this. It had never been done before; it has never been done since, except in the instance of that kingdom. Why, a large empire extending over many countries, mole ruit sua! On the four empires and others—but were by an effort and ephemeral.

3. Even the Jews, small as they were, could not keep together in one. Divisions of Reuben— {76} Benjamin slaughtered; ten tribes; various sects, Pharisees, etc.

4. (So in Protestants, though fain would be one, but cannot), but the Catholic Church has lasted one through all time, and is as much or more one now than ever she has been.

5. Now today's Mass tells us in the epistle and gospel how it is, and what means God took. It was by means of faith, which is not only the beginning of all acceptable service, but is the binding principle of the Church. John xx. 29, St. Thomas, 'Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.' 1 John v. 4, 'This is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.' Now consider this attentively. It is a problem which has never been solved before. He did not take self-interest, worldly benefit, etc., because they would not last; and it is what the world proposes to mankind.

6. When He would make a universal empire, He did not take a book or law for the basis. Some would have said the Bible, but the event, the divisions of Protestants show it would not do.

7. Not a law, nor a polity, nor episcopacy (as Anglo-Catholics say). Quis custodiet, etc. What shall make bishops obeyed, etc.?

8. Nor reason (as Liberals and Latitudinarians will say), for it only arrives at opinion.

9. Nor love (as religious persons may think), quoting: 'By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, because you have love one for another'; for concupiscence overcomes love [Note 2], and the good {77} will never be the many. Some principle must be taken which all can have.

10. Therefore He took faith—a supernatural gift. Faith may be possessed by good and bad, and is most influential; even the bad are made to serve His glory and praise. And it is the bond, for thus all have common objects. Faith is not easily lost.

11. Hence 1 Peter ii. 9, 'a royal priesthood' as in yesterday's epistle—hence Jeremias xxxi. [33-34 [Note 3]]—and 'our hearts enlarge.' They obey because they believe. It is not the Church enforces on them faith, but faith obliges them to take the Church—1 John ii. [20], 'know all things'; [ib. 27], 'no one to teach you.'

12. Hence the people never wrong (individuals indeed, and sometimes nations, may apostatise), but I mean the whole body. Unlike the Jewish Church. Aaron and calf. Pilate 'willing to content the people.' But the Christian people cannot be wrong. Vox populi, etc. Hence 'when the Son of Man cometh shall faith be found,' etc., because of the obscuration under Antichrist.

13. This is our consolation at all times. Our very sins do not overcome the Church, for faith is independent of sin. {78}

May 1 (Month of Mary 1)
On Mary as the Pattern of the Natural World

1. INTROD.—Why May the month of Mary?

2. Consider what May denotes. It is the youth of the year; its beauty, grace and purity. Next is its fertility; all things bud forth. The virgin and mother.

3. See how the ecclesiastical year answers to it. Our Lord passed His time in the winter—born at Christmas, etc. He struggles on. We sympathise with Him. We fast in Lent—the rough weather continues. He comes to His death and burial when the weather is still bad, yet with promise—fits of better anticipations. He rises; the weather mends; but, as He was not known as risen, not all at once. But at length it is not doubtful. He is a risen king, and, still the weather gets warmer. As a climax May comes, and He gives His mother.

4. Such is the comparison. Nothing so beautiful in the natural world as the season when it opens. Nothing so beautiful in the supernatural as Mary. The more you know of this world the more beautiful you would know it to be—in other climates—beauty of scenery, etc., etc.

5. But this is not all. Alas, the world is so beautiful as to tempt us to idolatry. St. Peter said, 'It is good to be here' [on Mt. Thabor], but 'It is not good to be in the world.' Say 'Hast thou tracked a traveller round,' etc.; all that is so beautiful tempts us. Hence all Nature tends to sin (not in itself), etc. {79}

6. Here then a further reason why the month is given to Mary, viz. in order that we may sanctify the year.

And thus she is a better Eve. Eve, too, in the beginning may be called the May of the year. She was the first-fruits of God's beautiful creation. She was the type of all beauty; but alas! she represented the world also in its fragility. She stayed not in her original creation. Mary comes as a second and holier Eve, having the grace of indefectibility and the gift of perseverance from the first, and teaching us how to use God's gifts without abusing them.

May 4 (Second Easter)
On the Good Shepherd and Lost Sheep

1. INTROD.—God is from eternity and ever blessed in Himself, and needs nothing.

2. On His, being such, taking part in things of time.

3. An office of ministration—one towards things physical; a further towards things moral, i.e. which have free will.

4. A further still towards man fallen—on his waywardness, arising from concupiscence and ignorance—and even the just [not exempt]—of which ignorance remains more fully in all. Ignorance is the best estate. This is portrayed in sheep. Other animals [Note 4] are fearful, etc., and represent sinners, but the innocent sheep, ignorant and helpless, is the fit type of the {80} just. What a picture this gives us! We are tempted to laugh at sheep, who will not go the right way, start at every noise, do not know the meaning of anything, and are obliged to be forced by terror, as by the dog; yet it is our best image. Our Lord, the Good Shepherd, is obliged to frighten us, etc., etc. Yet so patient.

5. O how patient towards us! But more than patient—the lost sheep, and His laying down His life for it—the wolf [Note 5]—nay, and that a one, though one.

6. What is meant by one? Because any one must consider Himself the one. Every one is worst to himself: he alone knows himself.

7. On St. Augustine, this day St. Monica's day.

8. Does the Church lament over you, O one sinner! Hero we are in the happy time of the year—Christ risen and the month of May come—yet you have not been to your duties, or have not got absolution, or have fallen again into sin. Mater Ecclesia deplores you, our blessed Lord deplores you, etc.

May 8 (Month of Mary 2)
On Mary as Our Mother

1. INTROD.—Our Lord from the cross said, 'Behold thy mother.' These words, spoken to St. John, have been considered by the Church to apply to us all. {81}

2. When our Lord went up on high, He supplied us with all those relations in a spiritual way which we have in a natural way. He is all of them—our physician, our teacher, our ruler or pastor, our father and our mother. Explain how our mother—as bearing us in pain. 'Shall a mother forget her sucking child?' and in nourishing us with the milk of the Holy Eucharist.

3. And as St. Peter the one pastor, as St. John, etc., and the prophets and doctors [as teachers], as priests His physicians, so He has left His own mother to be our mother.

4. 'Behold thy mother,' etc. Month of Mary.

5. Now consider what is meant by this—a mother's special gift—fostering care, tenderness, compassion, unfailing love, so that whenever we would express what is home, and a refuge, and a retreat, and a school of love, we call it our mother. Our country is our mother: our schools, colleges, universities, etc., etc. [Note 6] Hence the Church.

6. This is what Mary fulfils to all who seek her care, and in a far higher degree than any mother can do; for,

7. First, many lose their mothers, or have unkind mothers, etc. Everything of earth fades.

8. Second, a human mother's standard of things may be wrong: it may lead from God, hence human affections keep so many from the Church.

9. Everything human has a chance of fostering idolatry. What is always present hides the unseen.

10. Our heavenly mother cannot fail and cannot {82} err, cannot obscure her Son and Lord, but reminds of Him.

11. Let us try to get this filial feeling, though we can only learn it by degrees, and cannot force ourselves into it.

May 11 (Third Easter)
Oratory of Brothers—
On the General Scope of the Institute

1. INTROD.—Perhaps some of you do not know what it is we are offering you in this association.

2. In one word, which, vague as it is, still is true, we are meeting together to do something towards saving our souls.

3. Difficulty of saving the soul. St. Philip's saying that no one could be expected to get to heaven who had not feared hell. Scripture texts, 'narrow is the way,' etc.

4. Grace most abundant. Till the last day, we shall not know how much.

5. But there is a most unaccountable waywardness in man. It is needless to speculate on it. Every one feels it. He cannot steady, command, direct himself—inefficacious desires. He is beaten about here and there at the mercy of the waves. Sloth, cowardice, anger, fretfulness, sullenness, vanity, curiosity, concupiscence, ever lead him astray.

6. Hence all serious men look out for a rule of life to defend them against themselves. {83}

7. This leads many into religion for assistance, for sympathy, for guidance.

8. The Oratorium Parvum is a slight bond of sympathy and of mutual assistance.

9. Hence it matters not what we do, or whether you have anything definite in it beyond this end, if you secure it.

May 18 (Fourth Easter)
On the World Hating the Catholic Church

1. INTROD. In the discourse of which the gospel is part, our Lord speaks of the world hating us.

2. This remarkable, viz. that we should be hated. That the Catholic faith is difficult and a stumbling-block is intelligible—but hateful! Difficult to realise, for we are drawn to all, and cannot believe they hate us.

3. Consider its beauty—acknowledged by intellectual men—of its services; of its rites; of its majesty; doctrine of our lady, etc., etc. Its connection with art, etc., etc. Paley on Romans xii., in Evidences.

4. Yet so our Lord has said—quote John xv. 18-19 [Note 7], {84} John xvii. 14 [Note 8], and 1 John iii. 1 [Note 9]. 'Wonder not if the world hate you.'

5. And what is remarkable further, it is a prophecy. It has been fulfilled and is fulfilled to this day; it is literal honest hate. The world is not merely deceived; it has an instinct, and hates.

6. But more than this, or again, it is a note of the Church in every age; in the Middle Ages, when religion was established as much as now.

7. And none but the Church thus hated. So that our Lord's prophecy falls on us, and connects us with the apostles.

8. Others, indeed, by an accident and for a time.

9. For sects have (1) something true and good in them; (2) are extravagant; and these two things make them persecuted.

10. But it is for a time. The truth goes off, and the extravagance—they tame down; thus the Methodists and the Quakers.

11. But Catholics, nothing of this—sober—by token men of the world get on with us.

12. Yet the suspicion, irritability, impatience, etc., etc.—Demoniacs, and it is the devil's work.

13. This must not make us misanthropic, but cast us on the unseen world and purify our motives. This one benefit of the present agitation. {85}

June 8 (Whitsunday)
The Life-Giving Spirit

1. INTROD.—We have what we have waited for. Paschal time is not only a time of rejoicing, but of waiting for a gift. The whole creation groaning, etc. Hence, now being the end, we go no further, but date our time from Pentecost.

2. The gift of today set up the Church, hence it is said to be a vehement wind filling the house. Solomon's temple filled with the glory, as the sweet nard filled the house.

3. For up to this date the Church was not formed. The multitude who followed Christ was but matter [Note 10]. They were not a body filled with Christ. Christ was with them, but external [Note 11]; they were not confirmed. They were all scattered abroad as sheep. Hence as an individual may have first actual, then habitual grace—so the multitudo fidelium all Paschal time is begging to be the bride of Christ.

4. Now then the Spirit came down, to gather together the children of God, etc., all those who had fled away, etc.; returned—3000-5000 [Note 12].

5. Like the resurrection of dry bones, Ezech. xxxvii.

6. Such is the power, the manifestation, of the Spirit; thus sudden, thus gentle, thus silent. It is life from death—what health is after sickness. It makes young. Oh what a gift is this! Who would {86} not wonder if a physician could make an old man young? See him, unable to do more than grope about, his limbs stiff, his face withered, etc., etc. But the physician comes, and health and comeliness and vigour return, etc. This is what is fulfilled by the power of the Spirit, in a measure in individuals, certainly in the body.

7. And is it possible such is in store for England?—(explain). Nothing unexpected, nothing too difficult. It is grace, yet spreading not at once.

8. Prayer for it. Never so much prayer as now.

June 29
The Rock of the Church—St. Peter and St. Paul

1. INTROD.—If nothing else could be said for our holy religion than the topic of this day suggests, I should think it abundantly proved.

2. At present we see a vast body with vast power all over the earth. We know how great the British power. Such (I don't say with the same weapons) is the Catholic Roman Church, nay, far more fully, because it reigns more directly—not through other powers, as the British in India, etc.

3. Now look at the British Empire. What is its peculiarity? It has grown, as it happens, in the course of a century; but never mind that. The Catholic Church has never grown; it always has been [what it now is].

4. Now one point is the great youth of all other powers compared with the Catholic Church, but I won't dwell on that. {87}

5. What I wish to dwell on is, that whether they be young or old, they have had a growth—a beginning, a progress, and an ending like a tree—(enlarge). Look at the great Roman Empire; Gibbon has written its decline and fall.

6. No one can write, I will not say the decline and fall, but the growth of the Catholic Church—(explain). I don't say it has not developed in many respects; in consolidation, in temporal power, in definition of doctrine, in experience; but it is stationary.

7. Look back five centuries. Just the same—stationary. Look back ten, etc. No, it expanded at once in the apostles, and has ever since possessed the earth. 'Blessed are the meek,' etc.

8. But further. Suppose not only the British Empire had lasted long, that not only it was stationary, being just what it was in Alfred's time; but supposing Alfred declared it should last; suppose all the kings who ever were declared it would last—moreover, in consequence of an old prophecy in Julius Caesar's time, etc.

9. This fulfilled in the Church—St. Leo 1400 years ago. Our Lord's test—the rock—how exactly it fulfils it. 'The house upon the sand'—Protestantism.

August 10 (Ninth Pentecost)
On the Death of the Sinner

1. INTROD.—The gospel—our Lord weeping over Jerusalem. Particulars of it. The Jews so little {88} aware. They thought a great conqueror was coming to them. Their great infatuation. They had a vast future (they thought) before them. The Temple rebuilt. Our Lord saw through it all.

2. Application to the soul of the individual. Type of sinner in death. Our Lord looking and prophesying ill—(particulars). 'Cast a trench,' 'hedge them in.'

3. 'Hedge them in.' Yes, Satan will take possession of him; keep God out; keep him all to himself. What a portentous thought!

4. Christ foresees it, weeps over the man, but He leaves him.

5. But does He not give grace? Yes, but it is ineffectual.

6. Why does He not give more? What is that to the purpose? He does not.

7. We cannot change things by asking questions. Why does He punish him? Can you change it by disputing? Your wisdom is to take things as they are, and submit and improve them. Is not this the way you do with this world? You do not quarrel with the wind, the flame, etc., but use them. Our Lord with Judas. His denunciations of eternal woe. His own sufferings [are as if He said], 'I say not why, but I suffer.'

8. Well, then, the fact is this. The sinner generally is thus 'walled in.' Vide St. Alfonso on this day.

9. Saul. Antiochus.

10. Encircled—wild beasts. Sins as faithful friends who encircle you in their arms.

11. The priest's prayers in vain. {89}

12. The sacraments in vain.

13. Our Lady not. Ave Maria! St. Andrew Avellino!

14. Let us ask her to intercede for us.

August 31 (Twelfth Pentecost)
On Christ the Good Samaritan

1. INTROD.—Go through the parable briefly, applying it in a secondary sense to the sinner and Christ.

2. In the parable the traveller was robbed against his will, the sinner with his will. Satan cannot conquer us against ourselves. Eve—temptation, etc.; it is a bargain.

3. Thus he gets from us justice, habitual grace, etc., nay, part of our mere nature, for he leaves wounds. Thus he may be said to suck the blood from us. A vampire bat sucking the blood out. All terrible stories of ghosts, etc., etc., are fulfilled in him who is the archetype of evil.

4. He has the best of the bargain, as is evident. What have we to show for it?—there are improvident spendthrifts who anticipate their money, and get nothing for it. What have we to show if we have given ourselves to Satan?

5. (1) Those who commit frauds—ill gains go. (2) Anger, swearing and blasphemy—what remains? (3) Sensuality is more rational, because men get something.

6. Yet in a few years where is it all? Let a man {90} enjoy life, let him be rich, but he gets old, and then! Wisdom [v. 8]. 'What hath pride profited us?'

7. Thus Satan has the best of the bargain, and we lie like the traveller.

8. Nothing of this world can help us—priest or Levite: there we should lie for ever, etc.

9. Christ alone, by His sacraments.

10. Mind He is a Samaritan—so Nazareth—because the Catholic Church is hated. She is the good Samaritan to Protestants. Observe again the text, 'He who showed mercy to him.' Has the Catholic Church or Protestantism done this for us?

September 28 (Sixteenth Pentecost)
On the M. Addolorata—the Seven Dolours

1. INTROD.—The usual representation which painters make of our Lord and His mother is that of virgin and child. Describe the peaceful virgin, secure because she has Him, and He the Life and Light. Hence she the Seat of Wisdom, etc., etc.

2. But let thirty years pass, and there is a great change come over the picture. It melts into something different. He is taken up from her soft arms. He is lifted aloft. Something else embraces Him. He is in the arms of the cross. There He lies not easily, etc. He has grown to man's estate. He has been scourged, etc. And she is standing still, but it is at His feet. She can be of no use to Him; she can only lament. How the group is {91} changed! He is covered with wounds; she is almost killed with grief.

Such is the picture which the Church puts before us today, and that because, we may suppose, Easter is so long past.

3. Well, as to the sufferings of the Son of God, they are awful mysteries; but they need not surprise us, for He comes to suffer. He indeed might have saved us without suffering, but it was in fact bound up in His coming. He was a combatant—combatants suffer. He was prophesied as a warrior and man of blood. He fought with the devil. He fought with sin, not indeed His own, but sin was imputed to Him. He came in the place and character of a sinner: no wonder He should suffer.

4. But there was one who neither sinned nor took on her the character of a sinner. What had she to do with blood, or wounds, or grief? She had ever lived in private; she bore Him without pain; she had never come forward. She had on the whole been sheltered from the world, yet she suffered. This makes Mary's suffering so peculiar. She is the queen of martyrs.

5. Yet she too was to suffer. She is innocent, so harmless, not provoking the devil, etc. She was to suffer, and be the queen of martyrs. Joseph was taken away; she remained.

6. It is true she was not to undergo that bodily pain and violent death which literally makes a martyr. He alone suffered all who died for all. He alone suffered bodily and mentally. Her tender flesh was not scourged, but His was; her virginal form was not rudely exposed, but His was. All {92} this would have been unseemly and unnecessary. He was to save us by that body and blood which she furnished; not she. He was to be made a sacrament for us as well as a sacrifice.

7. Yet she was privileged to share the acutest part of His sufferings, the mental, once she came into the midst, at His crucifixion.

8. Mental pain all in a moment, like a spear; despondency, sinking of nerves; no support.

9. Yet she stood.

10. Surely it quite changed her outward appearance to the end of her life.

October 26 (Twentieth Pentecost)
On the Patrocinium B.V.M.

1. INTROD.—This festival of our Lady [is] more immediately interesting to us than any, because by it we are made over to her and she to us. [In] the Incarnation, the Assumption, etc. [we celebrate more immediately her relations to Almighty God], but [in] this [feast we call to mind particularly her relations to ourselves].

2. It is like the divine works to turn things to account. Thus, though she subserved the Redeemer, she also subserves the redeemed. Hers is a ministry to us, and it was to Him originally.

3. As a pope makes a congregation over to a cardinal, or a king gives some one a ring, etc., saying, 'Whatever you want, send the ring and you shall have it.' {93}

4. Thus she is the fount of mercy, as a magistrate of justice, etc.

5. Hence Protestant absurdity of saying [that] we rate her more merciful than Christ. Christ is the judge also. Show what is meant by it. Can a ring be merciful?

6. As this [is] the feast most intimately interesting to us, so we hear much of this character and office in Scripture, in the Holy Fathers.

7. Gen. iii., Apoc. xii.—Advocata with clients; mother of all living. 'Behold thy mother,' John xix. 27.

8. Hence first instances in history represent her in this character—St. Gregory Thaumaturgus—St. Justina—against unbelief, against impurity respectively [Note 13].

9. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus has a creed given him—St. Ignatius—St. Philip.

10. Experience of all saints.

11. Let us use it, for living, for dead, for young, for old. The two first instances [given] above are [of] a young man, a young woman.

1851
The Immaculate Conception the Antagonist
of an Impure Age

1. INTROD.—The world always the same, and its history the same. It is always sinning, always going on to punishment. Judgments and visitations {94} always [coming] upon it. Christ always coming [in judgment].

Sin provoking wrath.

2. This is seen in the judgments on cities for their crimes—Nineveh, Babylon, etc., and above all, Sodom and Gomorrah—all figures of the end of the world.

3. And especially eras—the deluge—the Christian era [Note 14]—the end of the world. And they are compared together in Scripture, Matt. xxiv., etc.

4. What sin (provoking wrath)? Sensuality.

As the loss of vital powers brings on dissolution of [the] body, so when passion emancipates itself from conscience, the death of the world.

5. The truth is, that the flesh is so strong, it is always struggling against conscience. It is like a wild beast in a cage, ever trying to get out, and but slowly subdued. Heavy things fall; steam rises up. So with concupiscence; and hence St. Peter [speaks of] 'The corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world,' 2 Peter i. 4.

6. Now as this goes on in a state, reason becomes infidel and the conscience goes, and then there is nothing to restrain concupiscence.

7. Hence we are sure (exceptis excipiendis) that wherever there is not religion there is immorality. What is to keep a man from indulgence?

8. Statesmen see this so well that they advocate religion.

9. Hence [came the] deluge—[the] Christian era [Note 15]. {95} [hence will come the] end of the world, [i.e. when] infidelity [has] brought in sensuality.

10. This age [is] an impure age.

11. Hence [the] B[lessed] V[irgin] M[ary] [is] attacked.

12. Hence [the devotion to] the Immaculate Conception is so apposite.

1851
The Special Charm of Christmas

1. INTROD.—[The] two chief festivals [of the Church are] Easter and Christmas; [of these] Easter [is] the greater.

2. Yet somehow we adorn our churches more brightly and spontaneously, now than then. There is more of heart, apparently, in what we do. And there is an inexpressible charm over all. The midnight Mass, the three Masses. The special representations, whether the Stable or the Infant. [Again, the singing of] carols.

3. Why is this? Christmas is easier to understand to the mass of men; it comes home to them more readily, and imposes an easier duty on our worship.

4. It is the difference between coming and going. The apostles felt that sorrow filled their hearts [at the going of the Lord]. Mane nobiscum Domine.

Easter is the feast of the perfect. If we were perfect, we should rejoice in Easter the more [of the two festivals]. In the one Christ comes to us, in the other we go to Christ.

5. All our human feelings are soothed by Christmas— {96} Abraham had to leave his country.—We naturally do not like to move. We are allowed to remain at home: Christ comes to us as our guest.

6. And coming, He brightens everything. He does not take away, He adds. He adds grace to Nature. If at any time we might love the world, it is now. If at any time, [it is when He is come to be our Emmanuel].

7. He makes the world our home, for he deigns to be the light of it. He sanctifies families with the image of Mary and Jesus. And where there is no home in a family, then He brings us all together in one family in church. The midnight Mass is our holy celebration [of Christmas], eclipsing the world's merrymaking.

8. And we think of Him who put off all His glory, of which our celebrations are but a type. The priestly vestments a type of His glory, [which He put off in order] to come into this bleak prison and suffer for us.

9. Let us rejoice in Him.

December 28 (Sunday in Octave of Christmas)
On Christian Peace

1. INTROD.—Peace is, as we all know, the special promise of the Gospel.

2. Isa. xl., Rom. xi., Isa. ix., 'Peace on earth.' 'Peace I leave with you' [John xiv. 27]. 'Peace be with you,' and St. Paul 'making peace' [Rom. xii. 18]. {97}

3. This is the great want of human nature. It is what all men are seeking; they are restless because they have not peace. They always think the time will come when they shall be happy, yet it never comes.

The schoolboy—the young man—the soul in disorder.

4. Hence it forms to itself notions of peace and happiness, [such notions as we find in] novels, tales, poems; [notions which are] imaginary.

And above all, [notions of] religion. It attempts to make religions for itself, where everything shall be beautiful, etc.

5. Thus it goes on, and then it looks down on Christianity. Christ Jesus (they say) does not bring peace.

This is the way of so many infidels now. They say they want a religion more beautiful, more comfortable than the Gospel. They point to the gloominess of Catholicity—nothing sunny and bright—confession, penance, mortifications of the senses and the will; monks, etc., etc.; and they say this is a dreary religion, and they could form a better one. They say they could form a better god than the Father of Jesus Christ—a god of their own dreams; [they could form] a religion without sin and without punishment.

6. Thus they go on; but what is this but to say, 'Peace, peace, where there is no peace'?

7. The more haste, the worse speed. Shrubs putting out their leaves too soon—the hare and the tortoise. 'The end is the trial.'

8. The truth is, once beautifulness and peace did {98} come first, viz. in the Garden of Eden. Since then there has been a fall. There must be a restoration, and it is painful.

9. Contrasting pantheism with true religion, recollect we are only in process, etc., and therefore we look to disadvantage.

Hence religion gloomy, because it is an intermediate state.

10. But we look forward for peace to the next world.

January 11, 1852
On the Epiphany, as Christ's Reign Manifested to Faith

1. INTROD.—On the peculiarity of this octave.

2. Viz. no saint's day in it. Contrast Christmas. Contrast Easter and Whitsun as not perfect [Note 16], [the latter containing] fast days. Contrast [octaves of the] Ascension, Corpus Christi, [the] Assumption.

3. Why? Christ [is] a king, and we anticipate His reign. It is the season most nearly typical of heaven.

4. Now, how was this fulfilled? His palace a stable, His throne a manger—(enlarge).

5. Here it was the three kings came. They came a long way to see, what? The poor child of a poor woman—(describe). They entered. Mary drew off the covering cast over the sleeping Child. They gazed, etc.; they offered gifts; they adored.

6. What a remarkable scene! And this was the {99} manifestation of His glory! For this they had travelled their weary way!

7. Describe what they had to go through—the wonder of their people—why were they setting off?—Then, they did not know whither they were going, etc.

8. Describe their state of mind. They knew they ought to go; they knew there was something to find.

9. Enlarge on faith and reason, and explain.

10. This is that faith which is the beginning of salvation in every age, and the greatest specimen [of it]. It is like St. Thomas's, with less evidence, 'My Lord and my God.'

11. Greater than, yet like that in the Holy Eucharist.

(No date)
Self-Denial in Comforts

[Note 17]

1. INTROD.—Contrast between men and other animals, that they [the latter] are sufficient for themselves.

2. The Creator has so ordained things that everything is there, where it can flourish. External nature and the nature of animals correspond.

3. Thus warmth and air, abode and food given to all; and when external nature is likely to press hard, [there are given] internal means of meeting it, e.g. furs, or hardiness, or instincts, etc., etc.

4. But man an exception. Strange to say, if born in a state of simple nature, he would die. {100} His delicate frame ill-suited to the elements, etc. He needs clothes, a house, etc.

5. Revelation tells us it was [not] always so, not in his creation, for he was in Paradise; but it is one of the consequences of the fall.

6. Hence man is ever striving to get out of this state of fallen nature (so far [as concerns the needs of his body]). Curis acuens mortalia corda [Note 18]. Hence his arts, etc. Hence his loom and his carpentering, etc., etc. I may say the whole course of life is escaping from this state of fallen nature, i.e. as regards the body: for the worst penalties, viz. the wounds of the soul, he leaves untouched.

7. Till at length he surrounds himself with comforts. They are called comforts, and make the whole world minister to him, and make his home and his rest here.

8. Now it is startling how our Lord took just the reverse course. He threw away comforts—born in a stable, carried into Egypt, not a place to lay His head, etc.

9. WHAT AN AWFUL CONTRAST between Him and us—(enlarge).

10. Let us take a lesson from it. We have here no abiding city, etc.

January 25
On the Character of the Christian Election—
St. Paul's Conversion

1. INTROD.—A great principle—not many mighty, noble, wise, called. {101}

2. St. Paul—exceptio probat regulam.

3. Still, such is the awful phenomenon in every age. When Catholicism [is] national, then indeed all Catholics. But when the Church acts freely, then the same characteristic as at the first.

4. E.g. the Church now [is] what it was in the apostles' time—few learned, etc.

5. It is a most wonderful phenomenon how it goes on. Why it does not fall to pieces, [seeing there are but] just enough of learned, etc., men to keep it going.

6. And here we see the reason, viz. that it may be manifestly God's doing.

7. This [is] set forth in Epistle to Corinthians [Note 19].

8. Describe how riches, power, learning, nay, natural goodness, often prejudice [men] against [the] Gospel.

9. On self-sufficient virtue, on putting up our own feelings, etc., as the rule. These men complete in themselves

10. Apoc. iii. [vv. 1, 2, 8, 17, etc.], 1 Cor. iv. [vv. 4, 7, etc.], and not thrown upon God.

11. But I have [not] got at the bottom of the mystery. I have been speaking only of the called, but [there is] a second [and] wonderful mystery perfectly hid from us—who are the chosen?

12. The visible Church does not stand for the invisible future elect. Those rich men who are in {102} the Church may be holier than the poor. So many of the saints [were both] rich and noble men.

13. [The] moral is, the necessity of waiting on God's grace, and not quenching it.

February 1 (Fourth Epiphany)
Present State of Our Oratory

1. INTROD.—This day, commencing with this evening, is a great day for our Congregation, for it is the anniversary of its establishment in England.

2. This day four years [ago in England], and again this day three, in Birmingham.

3. The Purification, though not the greatest feast, [is] a good day, suitable to those who are beginning a work in an heretical country.—

(1) It is a forlorn day in winter.
(2) Christmas gone, Lent coming.
(3) A little child and a poor mother coming to the Temple.
(4) Purification reminds us of necessity of purity of heart.

4. To me especially interesting, for it has been my great feast-day for thirty years. Thirty years this year since I was brought under the shadow of our Lady [Note 20], whom I ever wished to love and honour {103} more and more. And thus, when I became a Catholic, it was the day of the Congregation, etc.

5. God has blessed us through her intercession for three years in this place (Alcester St.). We have gradually prospered, year after year, and now a more definite establishment at Edgbaston.

6. Everything has come naturally, like a tree growing, and we hope it will still [grow].

7. About the Achilli matter. When it first arose, I said, 'The devil is here. Look not on prosecutor, lawyers, friends, etc. They are all weapons of the devil.' A NET—pulling strings close. Vide Psalter.

8. Therefore the remedy was prayer. What showed this more, was the extreme difficulty [of the case].

9. Eph. vi. 12, 'We wrestle,' etc.

10. Number of prayers offered.

11. The sequel has shown it—a great noise ending in nothing, so as to disappoint—first a roaring lion, then a serpent slinking away; so it is now. People will say, 'Oh, there was no great danger.'

12. If we fail, it will be because we do not pray enough.

13. Therefore commend ourselves to our Lady. {104}

August 15 (Eleventh Pentecost)
On Our Lady as in the Body

1. INTROD.—Question.—Whether this feast, [the Assumption, is] not inconsistent with the Immaculate Conception; for why should our Lady die if she did not inherit Adam's sin?

2. Answer.—Because she was under the laws of fallen Nature, and inherited its evils, except so far as sin [is concerned]. Thus our Blessed Lord [suffered fatigue, pain and death]. Thus she had not perfect knowledge from the first. She had need of shelter, clothing, etc., not in a garden [as our first parents were].

3. Hence, since all men die, she died. Our Lord died.

4. Yet even as regards the body, our Lord observed a special dispensation about her. Hence she was not only protected from diseases, but from torture, wounds, etc.

5. It was becoming that she who was inviolata, intemerata, should have no wound.

6. The difference between men and women as to warfare. The women protected and sit at home. How many a wife, or sister or daughter, suffers in mind, and you hear them say, 'O that I were a man!' And they suffer in soul, [as the] saints about the cross [who were] not martyrs [suffered].

And hence Mary had a sword through her [heart]. Mental pains, like bodily. And this her pain. {105}

7. And hence she brings before us the remarkable instance of a soul suffering, yet not the body.

8. She lived therefore to the full age of human kind. [In this she was] different from our Lord.

9. What a picture this puts before us! Fancy her thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, looking still so beautiful and young, not fading, more heavenly every year; so that she grew in beauty, and the soul always grew in grace and merit.

10. And then, fancy the increased pain at the absence of Christ, [for she lived] fifteen or sixteen years without Him!

11. On the long life and waiting of the antediluvian patriarchs—Jacob's 'I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord'; Moses; Daniel; the souls in Limbo Patrum like Mary, though the time [of her waiting] shorter.

It was like purgatory, waiting for Christ's face; except with merit and not for sin.

12. Hence [it is] not wonderful [that] it is a pious belief that she died from love. This alone could kill that body. It was a contest between body and soul. The body so strong, the soul so desirous to see God. No disease could kill that body. What killed it? The soul, that it might get to heaven.

13. (1) By languishing; (2) by striving to get loose.

14. Hence [it was] fitting that, when she did get loose, her Son should not let the body be so overmatched and overcome, but at once that the soul had got the victory, He raised up the body without corruption.

15. Our Advocate in heaven. {106}

December 8, 1853
On the Peculiarities and Consequent Sufferings
of Our Lady's Sanctity

1. INTROD.—Genesis iii. We cannot be surprised at our Lady's Immaculate Conception.

2. The reason is so plain that it seems axiomatic, nor, though it has been a point of controversy, do I think any holy person in any age has ever really denied it; if they seemed to do so, it was something else they opposed.

3. Has not God required holiness wherever He has come?—(1) burning bush [Note 21] (2) 'Be ye holy, for,' etc. [Note 22] (3) priests' purifications; (4) consecration of Temple and tabernacle; (5) without sanctity, no one, etc.; (6) Confession before Communion. If, then, our Lady was to hold God, etc.

4. Still more, if from her flesh, etc.

5. Hence, though the Church has never proposed it as a point of faith [Note 23], it is not difficult to conceive it should be one, and there has been a growing wish that the Church could find that it was part of the original dogma. Indeed, it is almost saying what has been said in other words, for if no venial sin, must there not be Immaculate Conception?

6. Now to explain what the doctrine is. Eve, as Adam, had been not only created, but constituted {107} holy, grace given, etc. Eve was without sin from the first, filled with grace from the first.

7. When Adam and Eve fell, this grace was removed; and this constitutes the state of original sin. Describe war of passions, etc. This is the state into which the soul of man comes on its creation. Nothing can hinder it but a return of the great gift.

8. Now in the text she was to restore, and more, the age of Paradise. She was promised upon the fall. Eve has been deceived. She was to conquer. How would this be the case, unless Mary had at least the gifts which Eve had?

9. We believe, then, that Mary had this sanctifying grace from the moment she began to be.

10. This being the case, I wish you to contemplate her state. First, her wonderful state before her birth. She had knowledge and the use of reason from the first. This [was] necessary for love, therefore she had it. What knowledge ?—(1) supernatural, (2) not physical, (3) of divine objects—[as] the Holy Trinity, which commonly requires external instruction.

11. Not of sin. Here difference from our Lord, by way of illustration.

12. Consequences—her idea of disobedience; no recognition of separate sins. It is only temptation brings this knowledge home to ordinarily innocent people. She would know she could disobey if she would, but it was like willing to jump down a precipice; she was sure not.

13. She would not be able to comprehend how people came to sin. And if the supernatural information told her the fact, she would take it of necessity simply on faith. {108}

14. Let us suppose her passing out of her first infancy. She is taught external things. She is taught to read. She learns Scripture. She hears of the sins of her people. She has to take it on faith.

15. She is a little child, not three years old, but she cannot pass her mother's threshold but the very scent of the world overpowers her. It is a bad world: how is she to live in it? She understands many things: she does not understand it.

16. At length she is taken to the Temple, and there she lives ten years—what a blessed change!—in the presence of her God. But even then, though she looks at the priests as God's ministers, yet, alas, how is she to bear the world, even in its best shape!

17. Time comes that she must return. Alas! she has a growing suffering; she is thrown on the world. Do you not see that there cannot be a more insufferable penance than to be thus perfectly holy, yet in this unholy world? I know she has full consolations, but she is in a sinful world, and has the poena damni.

18. She looks back on the happy mysterious time which passed between the creation of her soul and her birth.

19. What a comfort to find herself transferred to St. Joseph's charge! This is the first alleviation, for a time, which God gives to her penance.

20. Then the angel Gabriel. Ah! here is an alleviation indeed. She is no longer desolate for thirty years.

21. Prophecy of Simeon. Loss of Jesus at twelve years old. His ministry. His crucifixion. {109}

22. O Mary, you were young, now you are old—old, yet not as other old people, dwindling, but increasing in grace to the end. But oh what a penance! O commutationem! [Note 24]

23. And to go about the world! to go to Ephesus! Oh wonderful! Your journey to St. Elizabeth, to Bethlehem, was with your Son. Now you journey further without Him.

24. CONCLUSION.—The holier we are, the less of this world [can we endure].

25. Fitting to be the Feast of the Congregation [of the Oratory] since, especially in a country like this, we must begin with holiness.

July 23, 1854 (Seventh Pentecost)
[Nature and Grace]

1. INTROD.—Text: 'Jesus loved him.'

2. Explain the circumstances. And then we come to this anomaly—that God loves for something in them those who will not obey His call.

3. Now this is a difficulty surely which we feel ourselves. People are (1) amiable, (2) conscientious, (3) benevolent; they do many good actions, but are not Catholics; or not in God's grace.

4. Explanation. Nature not simply evil. We do not say that Nature cannot do good actions without God's grace. Far from it. Instances of great heathens.

5. What we say is that no one can get to heaven without God's grace. {110}

6. Contrast of two states as on two levels: (1) moral virtues with 'their reward,' industry, etc., has a reward in this life.

7. (2) Spiritual state of grace. It has all these virtues and a good deal more, and especially faith.

8. This is why faith is so necessary. Explain what faith is, as a door. It is a sight, [power of vision]. It is looking up to God. When we pray, we have faith, etc., etc.

9. Now what an awful thought this is when you look at the world—if something more than Nature is necessary for salvation.

10. People say, 'If I do my duty'—'He was such a good father'; 'He was upright,' etc., etc. All this is good, but by itself will not bring a man to heaven.

11. When you think what heaven is, is it wonderful? Think of our sins. Is it wonderful God does not give forgiveness to Nature?

12. Is it wonderful that grace alone can get repentance?

13. Let us turn this [over] in our hearts.

August 6 (Ninth Pentecost)
'No One can Come to Me except the Father,' etc.

1. INTROD.—I said, a fortnight ago, that when we saw what is good in those who are external to the Church, we must say that it is from Nature, and did not prove that such persons were in God's favour. {111}

2. This is true, but you may insist that Protestants, [as well as] those who do not believe that Christ is God, etc., etc., have an appearance of religion; that you cannot deny your senses; that as you believe them in other things, e.g. that they are honest, so you must here; that they must have grace if they have faith and love, and therefore must be in God's favour and in the way to heaven.

3. I am going, then, to give a further answer. First, I grant they show often real faith, real hope, real love, and that it comes from grace, and that while they obey that grace, etc., they are in a certain sense in the way to heaven; but still this is quite consistent with what I have said.

4. All men in God's wrath. How are they brought out of it? By God's grace coming like a robe (the ordinary way in baptism, and afterwards by penance) and making them pleasing to Him. Few are in this state. It is called the state of grace, and it is the state to die in, and since we may die any moment, the state to live in, if we would be safe.

5. And though few are in this state, it is the state in which God wills all to be in, for Christ died for all.

6. As He sends out preachers all over the earth, and as still more, guardian angels, so graces.

7. To all He gives grace, even to those who are not yet in His favour, or in grace. He gives them this grace in order that they may come into a state of grace—heathens, idolaters, Jews, heretics, all who are not Catholics. All have grace without knowing it—'[even when they are] without God'—while they are far from Him. {112}

8. When you see men, not Catholics, will good things, acknowledge it, but understand why they [these graces] are given, viz. like preachers, to bring them into the Church; and they are brought into the Church by obeying them, though not all at once.

9. Instances. A kindness to a Catholic [or to] any strangers—generosity—leads to hearing something about Catholicity. More grace [follows]. [The man] resisting [at first], but yielding [gradually], etc., etc., till he is brought in.

10. Again, purity may keep a person from bad company. This throws time on his hands. He passes a Catholic chapel, he goes in, and he is attracted by a picture of our blessed Lady, etc.

11. All the while these persons may be out of God's favour, not yet justified, though He has died for them and wishes to save them, and is gradually drawing them.

How [about] heathen? Sends angels?

12. And thus I answer the question with which I began.

13. I entreat all those who are in doubt or inquiring to be faithful to grace, and they will be brought in.

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Notes

1. 'And when the water in the bottle was spent, she cast the boy under one of the trees that were there. And she went her way, and sat over against him a great way off, as far as a bow can carry: for she said, I will not see the boy die. And sitting over against him, she lifted up her voice and wept.'
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2. Written over these words—'love the heart, not the whole body.'
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3. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least of them even to the greatest.'
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4. Written above—'animals,' 'or swine.'
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5. Killing the shepherd? or, running away with one sheep?
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6. E.g. Alma mater.
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7. 'If the world hate you, ye know that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.'
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8. 'I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, as I also am not of the world.'
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9. 'Behold, what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called and should be the Sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us because it knew not Him.'
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10. I.e. materia sine forma. A bold figure or comparison which must not be taken too literally.
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11. 'External' is followed by some words which are nearly illegible. They look like 'for was not a form.'
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12. 'There were added in that day about three thousand' (Acts ii. 41). 'The number of the men was made five thousand' (Acts iv. 4).
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13. For the stories here referred to, see Development of Christian Doctrine, pp. 417, 418.
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14. The allusion must be to the destruction of the Temple and the rejection of the Jews.
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15. Cf. Romans i.
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16. 'The octave of Christmas is full of saints' days—St. Stephen, St. John, etc. Those of Easter and Pentecost are cut short by Low Sunday and Trinity Sunday respectively.
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17. 'Not used as yet.'
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18. Virgil, Georgics, i. 123.
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19. 'For see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble: but the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise,' etc.—1 Cor. i. 26-27.
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20. Elected Fellow of Oriel (the House or Hall of Blessed Mary) in 1822.
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21. 'Come not nigh hither: put off the shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.'—Exodus iii. 5.
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22. 'Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy: because I am the Lord your God.'—Levit. xx. 7.
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23. See p. 116, sec. 6.
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24. See Note 9, p. 337.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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