O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Party's Over; Sober Up and Get to Work

XIX Sunday after Pentecost - II Class
Epistle: I Cor. 1:4-8 ["Put on the new man."]
Gospel: Mt. 22:1-14 [Parable of the Wedding Feast.]
Full Latin-English propers here.

The world tells us to pursue pleasure and whatever makes you happy. The success of your life is measured by how enjoyable it is. The more fun and satisfying your life is, the more successful it is. That is a fat crock of snot. That is a complete lie. Life is about attaining the dignity for which God created us. One who attains that dignity is successful and consequently enters Heaven. One who does not attain that dignity is a failure and is consequently cast into Hell. We are all born with some dignity, but our Divinely created dignity begins wounded and degraded by original sin and personal sin degrades our dignity further. Original sin wounds and degrades the dignity of all human beings (save Our Lord and Our Lady), where as personal sin wounds and degrades the dignity of individual human beings.

So while we begin with a severely damaged dignity, we must repair our dignity and achieve the level of beauty and dignity for which God created us. This too is on two levels. First, there is the purpose that all people serve: to know, love, and serve God. That is why God created us. That is why we exist. Second, there is the specific purpose that individual people serve. One man is to be married, another to be a monk, another to be a priest, and so on. Committing sin degrades our dignity and serving the purpose for which we were created restores our dignity. The things that degrade us can be counteracted by performing the opposite action. Each vice has a contrary virtue that repairs the damage it caused. Lust has chastity, pride has humility, anger has meekness, etc. That is what St. Paul tells us today: the liar is to henceforth tell the truth and the thief is to henceforth to labor honestly.

We must not put this off. We must not grow discouraged by the difficulty. We must not give up because of the impossibility. We will all die and we know not the day nor the hour. We must undo the damage that sin caused through the practice of virtue. We only have until we die to attain the dignity for which we were created by God. Those who attain it go to Heaven those who ignore God's purpose for them in favor of "having fun" and "living life their way" go to Hell. We have until death to choose which we want. The catch is that we don't know when death will arrive. It could be in a four minutes. It could be in forty years.