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제목 What is the True House of the Lord?- Protestant's errors(2015-03-15)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-03-16



What is the True House of the Lord? -The Protestant's Errors

(15th March 2015  Fourth Sunday of Lent)


My dear brethren,
The liturgy today gives us to contemplate the mystery of Holy Mother Church: the New Jerusalem. The Introits sings the joys of the heavenly Jerusalem, where God consoles His Saints in an ineffable way; and already here below, we “rejoice in hope” (Rom. 12:12), as the psalmist says: “I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord” (Ps. 121:1). The very fact of being on the right road to the House of the Lord is a very great joy. These words of the psalm were the last words of St. Louis, King of France, at the moment of his death.

In the epistle St Paul compares the Synagogue and the Church, the Old and the New Testaments, to Agar and Sara, the wives of Abraham. And he says: “that Jerusalem, which is above, is free: which is our mother” (Gal. 4:26), our Holy Mother the Church; we are “sons of the promise”, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The beautiful gradual repeats the verse of the Introit, and completes it with another verse of the same psalm: “I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord… Let peace be in thy strength: and abundance in thy towers” (Ps. 121:1, 7).


The heavenly peace is ineffable in the overabundance of eternal joy, beatitude. And the Communion antiphon quotes a third verse of the same psalm: “Jerusalem, which is built as a city, which is compact together. For thither did the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord: to praise thy name, o Lord!” (Ps. 121:4-5) The Church is the city of God, where God is praised in truth with exceeding joy by all the tribes of the earth, of which Jerusalem in the Old Testament was merely a figure, a type.

And in the Gospel our Lord multiplied the loaves, thus giving an image of the Holy Eucharist – and we find in St John’s Gospel a long discourse which our Lord Jesus Christ gave after the multiplication of loaves, announcing the Holy Eucharist itself, which is the greatest treasure of the Church.

The Church that Christ built is the Holy Catholic Church: indeed it is the only one that has the historical bond with Christ, the unbroken line of apostolic succession. Without this historical bond, no church is entitled to call itself “Christian”: they make of our Lord a liar, since He said: “behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt. 28:20).


Where was He before Luther? And many other protestant churches are even much more recent: they come too late to be able to call themselves Christian: they usurpate the name.

But more fundamentally, their faith is false. Their error can be summed up in one word: “alone”. They claim “faith alone” rejecting good works; they claim “Bible alone” rejecting the Fathers of the Church and the Magisterium of the Church; they claim “Christ alone” rejecting the Saints and especially rejecting the Mother of Christ, Mary: in one word, rejecting the Church. In all this, they are deeply deceived (not to say deceiving). It is important not to be deceived by their propaganda, and to understand how deeply wrong such faith is. Let us pray for their conversion, because they need to be converted in order to find salvation in Christ in truth.

Each of their “alone” is a rejection of charity. Indeed, where they say “we are saved faith alone”, St Paul says: “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision: but faith that worketh by charity” (Gal. 5:6).


Faith working through charity, this is what “avails”, i.e. what counts, what profits unto salvation. This is very understandable: if we love Christ, if we love God, we want to please Him; we want to do something for Him. Now we cannot give to God something that He does not already have; so how could we give something to God?


Our Lord has given us the solution: “as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:40). In other words, by good works, we do please God! And to these good works is given AS A REWARD the eternal beatitude: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. BECAUSE I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in, etc…” (Mt. 25:34-35). The key word is “because”: the good works are really the reason why they get the eternal beatitude: salvation is a reward of good works.

On the contrary, those who have “faith without works”, which St James calls “dead” (Jams 2:20, 26), are put on the left; they are condemned BECAUSE of their absence of good works: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. BECAUSE I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink, etc.” (Mt. 25:41-42).


In other passages of the Gospel, Our Lord is as explicit as here: “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Mt. 7:21-23). They had faith, calling Him “Lord, Lord”; they had faith even to the point of making miracles in his name! Yet, because of their evil deeds, they are condemned.

Now one must understand good works properly: by ourselves we can do nothing. Our Lord said indeed: “I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).


This beautiful sentence says both aspects of the truth: 1/ in our Lord Jesus Christ, with His grace, we can – and must – bear much fruit, but 2/ without Him we can do nothing good unto salvation. He is the first cause of our salvation, we are only the secondary cause of our salvation. Protestant so insist on the fact that God, Christ is the first cause of our salvation that they suppress our cooperation, our being secondary causes.


This is a very deep error. Indeed God is supreme goodness; He alone is supreme, in every domain. He alone is goodness by Himself. Yet He is also CAUSE of goodness in the creatures! Far from being jealous of His creatures, He is the one Who gave them their goodness. And not only did He give goodness to creatures, but He also gave to some of them to be secondary causes of goodness in others. Similarly, God is Life; He alone has Life by Himself (Jn. 5:26). Yet He gave life to some creatures, and, even more, He gave them to be able to transmit life to others!

Thus God alone is the first cause of salvation; yet He gave to us to be secondary causes of our salvation: we must cooperate with the grace of God, the grace of Christ, by doing good works in order to reach salvation: “He that received the seed upon good ground, is he that heareth the word, and understandeth, and beareth fruit, and yieldeth the one an hundredfold, and another sixty, and another thirty” (Mt. 13:23). He who refuses to cooperate will not obtain the ultimate fruit, salvation: “Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire” (Mt. 3:10).

St Thomas Aquinas explains that it is charity, which is the root of merit and of spiritual fruitfulness. A soul is living when it has sanctifying grace, with faith, hope and charity. Without charity, a soul is spiritually dead. Yet charity itself “is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rom. 5:5). By claiming that we are saved “by faith alone”, Protestants destroy the need of charity.

Sometimes some Protestants (not all) claim that, yes, we should do good works, but we are not saved by them. That makes God unjust: indeed he would punish the evil works, but not reward the good works?! Also, this destroys the very motive of the good works: they do such works not in order to please God, but “to prove to themselves that they are justified”. That becomes a very self-centred motive, no longer a motive of charity.

Now St Paul says “we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law” (Rom. 3:28). As you just noticed, he is very clear: it is “without the works of the LAW”, i.e. without circumcision, and the other external observances of the Old Testament. He does not claim one should have faith without works.

There is a second aspect of St Paul’s sentence: St Paul speaks of “justification”, not of “salvation”. The difference is this: justification is the passage from the state of sin to the state of justice, the state of grace: it is at the beginning of the Christian life. Salvation in its full sense is at the end of the Christian life, as Christ says: “he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved” (Mt. 10:22; Mt. 24:13): it is the passage of the state of grace on earth to the state of glory in Heaven.


Now before justification, one was a sinner; what one deserved was punishment, not grace: it is thus without any previous merit that one is justified. But before entering Heaven, one must be just and one must have good works (at least all adults, since the baptised infants are saved if they die before reaching the use of reason, and thus without personal merit).


The place of the good works are between justification and salvation, between the beginning of the Christian life and the end of it on earth: it is the proper of a good Christian life to be fruitful in good works, as St Paul says: “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). This is the Catholic life, the true Christian life. Protestants, by rejecting the need of good works, completely denature the Christian life: it becomes… dead! It is no longer a life at all.

The second saying of the Protestants: “Bible alone” is also a refusal of life and charity. Indeed St Paul writes: “the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth” (2 Cor. 3:6). If one takes the letter alone, the bible alone, it is dead and deadly. One needs the Spirit, the Holy Ghost. And that Spirit is found… in the Church: no one can be animated by the Spirit of Christ except in the Body of Christ, because there is no opposition between the Divine Persons!


St Paul said: “Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). He did not say: Faith comes by reading, but by hearing. “How shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14).


The Word of God is essentially a spoken word, not a written word. When a part of it was written, both in the Old and the New Testament, it did not stop to be a spoken word; the few Apostles who did write something, did not stop preaching once they had written their small text. Their predication was much more than what they had written. Moreover, Christ opened to them the Scriptures (the Old Testament): all those explanations of the Old Testament, that they heard from Christ and certainly passed to the early Christians, where do we find them? There is very little of that in the New Testament (though there is some).


It is in the writings of the Fathers of the Church which we find a lot more of the predication of the Apostles. They are the witness of the life of the Church and of the preaching of the Apostles. Thus to take the bible alone is to take a dead letter, rejecting the life of the Church, the life which animated those who precisely had heard the apostolic predication. It is a rejection of charity, which is the life of the church.

Moreover it is a great pride, as if they would understand the Scriptures better than those great Doctors and Fathers of the Church, those great heirs of the Apostles.

Lastly it is a rebellion against the authority which our Lord Jesus Christ gave to His Church to interpret authoritatively the Scriptures: indeed He said to His Apostles and to their successors: “He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me” (Lk. 10:16).

That brings us to the last “alone” of the Protestant. They say: “Christ alone”, and thereby reject the Saints, the Church and especially Mary. But they deceived themselves: it is IMPOSSIBLE to have Christ alone, without the Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ will not allow Himself to be cut off, He the head from the Church His body, He the groom from the Church His bride.


To cut the head away from the body is tantamount as decapitating our Lord Jesus Christ! That can’t please Him. To separate Christ from his Church is to ask Him to divorce His beloved spouse: never! “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt. 19:6).


Our Lord Jesus Christ “loved the Church, and delivered himself up for it: that He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: that He might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). He shed His precious Blood for His Church; it cost Him too much to allow some to separate Him from Her. If they don’t want of her, they won’t have Him.


See how that last “alone” is a rejection of Charity: how can they claim to love Christ, those who share so little in the great love of His Heart? And if Christ loves the whole Church, including the sinners in her, how much more He loves His Saints, and especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, His beloved Mother! “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).


For sure Christ perfectly obeyed the commandment “honour thy father and mother.” Thus if He honoured Mary, they, who refuse to honour her, do not have in them the mind of Christ. Moreover they deprive themselves of all the gifts that Christ wants us to receive through His mother, especially the gift of humility, of being “little children”, without which one cannot enter into the kingdom of God (Mt 18:3).

This brings me to the last point of this already long sermon: the Holy Eucharist. Protestants reject the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the “transubstantiation”. Yet this is perhaps the greatest marvel that our Lord Jesus Christ did for His Church, the greatest proof of His charity, in which He concentrated all His other gifts. What more could He have given us than Himself? What more intimate union could He have invented: “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:57).

They claim to believe the Scriptures, yet they do not believe what our Lord Jesus Christ said: “This is my body” (Mt. 26:26). They do not believe what our Lord Jesus Christ said: “this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins” (Mt. 26:28). They do not believe what our Lord Jesus Christ said: “For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:56-57).


My dear brethren, let us ask for the grace of fidelity, that we may keep that Faith of the Catholic Church, the one True Faith necessary for salvation, and let us pray for the conversion of the protestants. They are many indeed, but they do need conversion, to embrace of the Faith of  the Fathers, the Faith of the Catholic Church. An ecumenism that would not lead them to conversion would be a false ecumenism.


May the Blessed Virgin Mary give us a great love of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, the one place where we can find salvation, in which we find the abundance of the gifts of Christ, especially the greatest of all, the most Holy Eucharist, so that living a life worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ, a life full of good works, we may obtain the eternal reward. Amen.


Father François Laisney(sspxasia)