Sermon for Thursday in the First Week in Lent: Examination of Our Duties and State of Life
by Bishop Richard Challoner, 1807
Consider first, that in order to know the true state of our souls, we must also examine how we discharge ourselves of all our duties and not only of all such duties as are common to all Christians, but also of all such as are particularly incumbent on us in our station of life. Alas! how many take notice of their sins of commission, but not of their sins of omission! How many make some account of such duties as relate to the regulating themselves, but are not concerned to see that others under their charge serve the Lord! How many examine themselves upon the commandments of God, and the precepts of the Church, as far as they appertain to all Christians in general; but pass over the particular duties and obligations annexed to their calling or state of life, to which, nevertheless, they are strictly bound either by law, or by covenant, or by oath, or by the very nature of the calling. Reflect thou my soul, on all these things. The grand duty of man, the great end for which he came into the world, his whole business in life, is to dedicate and consecrate his very being and his whole life to the love and service of his Maker. All thy days, O man, are given thee for this end. The omission of this great duty is highly criminal; it is usually the first sin that man falls into. And yet how few sufficiently reflect on it! Alas, how many millions of souls are lost by this omission, who, though they are neither guilty of blasphemy, nor murder, nor adultery, nor theft, etc., are justly condemned for the omission of dedicating themselves in earnest to the love and service of God!
Consider 2ndly, Christian soul, what care thou takest of thy children, of thy servants, and of all under thy charge. The regularity of thy own life will never bring thee to heaven, if through thy negligence of them their lives be irregular. Reflect ever on this, and see if thou art not guilty of many criminal omissions in this kind. Again, reflect on the particular obligations annexed to thy calling, and how far thou performest what the law of God or man requires of thee in thy station; for example, that of a pastor, a teacher, a lawyer, a physician, a tradesman, a servant, etc. See whether thou makest good thy covenants. And if an oath were required at thy first admission, or afterwards, see what care thou hast taken to discharge thyself of the obligations of it. Alas! how many, in entering upon their respective callings, take certain oaths, and afterwards perhaps think no more of them! And can this be the way to heaven! See then how necessary it is that a Christian, who has a mind to secure his soul, should look well into himself.
Consider 3rdly, whether thou hast nothing to apprehend with regard to thy salvation, from the sins of other men. And this not only from thy omissions or thy neglect of restraining those under thy charge from sin, or of keeping away from them the occasions of sin; but because of thy commissions too, in promoting or encouraging sin by word or work; in enticing or provoking to sin; in flattering or applauding people in their sins; and in contributing to keep up the pernicious maxims of the world, in point of honour, interest, and pleasure, by which numbers of poor souls are enslaved to sin, and dragged into hell. Reflect withal how little guard thou generally hast upon thy words in thy ordinary conversation, and whether thy carelessness therein may not frequently be attended with very bad consequences to the souls of thy neighbours, by giving them some occasion or other of sin, either in thought, word, or deed? Alas! how many sins will be brought to light in the great day, which careless souls, in the time of this life, but little apprehend, and so continue till death in the guilt of them.
Conclude to make such good use of the spiritual exercises of this time; and especially to study so well what passes within thee, as to be no longer blind to thy own sins. O my God! do thou give me grace now at least, perfectly to know myself. O grant that I may renounce, and do penance for all my past sins, and henceforward settle my soul upon a foundation that may stand for eternity.
Subjects for Daily Meditation
Remember, Christian soul, that thou hast this day, and every day of thy life--
God to glorify,
Jesus to imitate,
The Angels and Saints to invoke,
A soul to save,
A body to mortify,
Sins to expiate,
Virtues to acquire,
Hell to avoid,
Heaven to gain,
Eternity to prepare for,
Time to profit by,
Neighbors to edify,
The world to despise,
Devils to combat,
Passions to subdue,
Death perhaps to suffer,
And Judgment to undergo.
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartly sorry for having offended Thee; and I detest all of my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.--Proverbs 22:6
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Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009
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