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제목 Sing to the Lord a New Canticle-16th. Sun. after Pentecost
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-09-14



Sing to the Lord a New Canticle -16th. Sun. after Pentecost(2015-09-13)


 “Cantate Domino canticum novum, quia mirabilia fecit Dominus !

 Sing to the Lord a new canticle, because the Lord has done marvellous things!”

My dear brethren,


 In these words of the alleluia, we are exhorted to sing the praises of God, with a new canticle. This implies that there was already an old canticle, but that now we have a new and better canticle to sing. The first canticle is the canticle of creation, singing glory to God for the marvels He has done in Creation; the new canticle is the canticle of Redemption, singing even greater glory to God for the even greater marvels He has done in the Redemption.

 Indeed God created man at the summit of all material creation, as the “priest of creation”. What comes from God ought to return to God. Yet God does not need us, does not need His creation: what can we give Him that He would not already have, since He is absolutely perfect? What creatures give to God is “glory”, i.e. acknowledging His Divine perfection, acknowledging Him as the supreme source of all goodness, giving testimony to His wisdom, His might, His Goodness, as to the greatest artist.


 Thus contemplating the beauties that God has put in creation, from the splendour of a sunset or a rainbow to the delicateness of a flower, from the might of galaxies to the gentleness of a little koala, from the power of thunder to the sweet singing of a bird, man exclaims: “O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! For thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens” (Ps. 8:2). “All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever” (Dan 3:57). “Praise ye him, O sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars and light” (Ps. 148:3). This is the Canticle of Creation.
 
 All human activity on earth should tend towards this praise of God, thus returning to God all the benefits that we received from Him. It is good therefore that many souls consecrate their whole life to the praise of God in monasteries and convents, in consecrated life, singing the psalms, living really for God.


 The priests also by their “divine office” – the breviary – offer this praise to God. This was the main activity of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In so doing man fulfils his mission and his debt of gratitude to God, and prepares himself to eternal life when he will be able to contemplate God face to face and to sing the Excellence of God in an infinitely superior manner, which no human word can describe – and that will be eternal joy, everlasting blessedness!

 But instead of returning to God by singing faithfully this canticle of creation, man fell into sin, putting his ultimate end in those created things rather than using them to return to their Creator. Forgetting God and loving earthly things as his ultimate end, man searched to accumulate riches, pleasures and power for himself, and no longer in the service of God.


 Sin introduced disorder, evil, in creation and especially in man; God would not let evil prevail, would not let evil have the last say. Thus He restores the order of Justice by requiring satisfaction! But it is easier to destroy than to rebuild; man, who was able to fall, was not able to raise himself back; man was able to kill the spiritual life which God had given him but was not able to return to life by himself. So God in his infinite Mercy devised a more beautiful work than all creation together: the work of Redemption.


 To restore the Glory of God and to heal fallen man, sinful man, to bring him back to life, God decided to send His only-begotten Son as the Saviour of the world, and to have His Son pay the satisfaction for our sins and the sins of the whole world, and by His grace to heal these souls and adopt us as God’s children!


 There could be no greater proof of God’s Charity that the Incarnation and Redemption: “God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn. 3:16). “By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him” (1 Jn. 4:9). “In this we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us:”(1 Jn. 3:16).

 This marvellous divine Charity, that does not despise the sinner but stoops down to pick him up from the misery of his sins and heals him and elevates him to the marvellous state of child of God, is called the Mercy of God. God is infinitely merciful, and has manifested His mercy towards men by sending His only begotten Son to save us.


 The more we contemplate the mercy of God, the more we ought to exclaim: “The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever”(Ps.88:2).This is the Canticle of Redemption! These are the first words of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus in her autobiography: she had understood the Mercy of our Lord. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: and why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ez. 33:11). No matter how big the sin, God’s mercy is greater: He can – and wants to – convert the sinner and bring him back to life!


 Not only does God want this our conversion, but He helps the sinner to turn away from his sins; how? First of all, He paid the debt, the satisfaction for his sin: this draws the heart of the sinner towards such Benefactor!


 Suppose a criminal had set his neighbour’s house to fire; not having the wherewith to rebuild it, he is put in prison; now someone comes and pays the price to rebuild the house and thus obtains freedom for the prisoner, should not this criminal be grateful for his benefactor?


 We were this criminal by our sins; by not giving glory to God and by abusing of the creatures we incurred a debt we could not pay; Christ paid for our debt: we must be eternally thankful to Him! When God makes us understand this, He draws our heart back to Him.
 
Once we understand thus the Goodness of God whom we had offended, we must do like Mary Magdalen and weep for our sins, and make penance for our sins, and detest them and by “contrition” crush our sinful heart. There is no real love for God without this detestation of sin. He who does not detest sin, how can he claim he really loves God?


 This detestation of sin must lead to a real change of life, doing penance for the past sins, avoiding the occasions of future sins, taking the means to avoid them: real and regular prayer, meditation, instructions, and good works. And our Lord Jesus Christ helps us all the way, not only being the ultimate model of all virtue, encouraging us in this path of penance because He first has carried the Cross for us, but also inwardly strengthening us on this path: and this is the purgative life, the first step in the spiritual life, when the main focus is to avoid sin and make up for past sins.


 The fear of the Lord is a great help then to avoid whatever displeases Him: it is truly the beginning of wisdom. Thus the sinner who, like Mary Magdalen, has understood the Mercy of God and wants to return to God, must come to our Lord Jesus Christ with great contrition, weeping for his sins, and with a firm will and resolution to avoid absolutely sin and the occasions of sins, and take the means to avoid them. For instance, if television is an occasion of sin, get rid of it! Do not hesitate! “If thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished” (Mk. 9:46-47).

 Once freed from sin by a good confession and true penance, the soul is now free to sing this canticle of Redemption, striving to practice virtue out of love for our Lord Jesus Christ, imitating Him and learning always more about Him: this is the illuminative life, where the main focus of the spiritual life is to know and love better and better our Lord Jesus Christ, through contemplation and the practice of all good works.


 This does not mean that one no longer practice penance: on the contrary, the more one knows and loves our Lord Jesus Christ, the more one detests his past sins and continues practices of reparation for them; but these have become easier, because there is more love in this second stage of the spiritual life. And the love of God makes all virtue easier!

 Through perseverance in this life of virtue and good works, one reaches unitive life, the third and highest degree of the spiritual life here below, where the main focus is to unite oneself always more and more deeply with God, in our Lord Jesus Christ, by the reign of charity over all aspects of life.


 Prayer becomes simpler and deeper, virtues become stronger and more perfect, one is attentive not only to do the right thing, but also to purify one’s motive, reaching pure love of God. Usually such deep spiritual life also goes with carrying greater crosses, whereby one enters into the mystery of Redemption suffering with Christ to obtain the conversion of many others: this is the life of the Saints on earth, and an immediate preparation to Heaven.

 The first Adam had started well to sing the canticle of Creation, but then miserably fell and drew in his fall all his descendants; the Church teaches that the first Adam did repent and painfully sang the canticle of Redemption, waiting for the New Adam to heal and repair all the damage he, the first one, had caused.


 The New Adam came and most perfectly sang both the canticle of Creation and the canticle of Redemption; but even higher, He is – as the Eternal Word – the perfect Canticle of the eternal glory of His Father, to which all our canticles on earth are just a very faint echo.


 The Saints in Heaven will hear that Eternal Canticle, and this will be their beatitude for ever; they will unite themselves fully to this Eternal Word, to our Lord Jesus Christ, singing in Him, with Him and by Him the glory of the Father in the burning fire of the Holy Ghost. May we be admitted to that Heavenly choir, heavenly orchestra!


 Then will be fulfilled perfectly those words of St Paul: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16).

 May the Blessed Virgin Mary, who sang those canticles with a most delightful voice on earth, obtain for us this grace, to sing it with her in Heaven! Amen.


Fr. F. Laisney (sspxasia)