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of his love for us ; a memorial of his sacred passion, and a source of grace and sanctification. This is the sacrament of the blessed Eucharist, in which he gives us himself for our food, who gave his life for our ransom. To this celestial banquet-to this true manna he invites his miserable creatures : he sends his servants to inform them, that their presence is expected ; to say to them that they should come, for now all things are ready. But, unaccountable obstinacy and blindness ! many reject the invitatien, and invent excuses to justify, or palliate their neglect. I have bought a farm, and must of necessity go out and see it; I pray thee hold me excused. This excuse, according to St. Augustine and St. Gregory, is the apology of the proud, who disdain to accept the invitation from a conceit of their fancied superiority or independence. Pride keeps too many from approaching to this holy sacrament. Some refuse to acknowledge the presence of their God in the humble exterior in which he comes to visit his creatures, not considering that his condescension in so doing does not prove his lowliness, but ours ; does not degrade him, but ought to humble us. For in this our weak and lowly condition, how could we receive the Lord of Glory, arrayed in all the splendours of infinite majesty ? How could we contemplate the bright radiance of his countenance, and not be confounded by the glorious effulgence! He comes to us concealing the greatness of that power and majesty, which would overpower the weakness of human nature; he gives himself to us under humble veils, compassionating thus our feeble powers, yet enriching our souls with his inestimable gifts and graces. Let pride be humbled and confounded at the goodness and condescension of infinite power, in pity of our littleness and for our example.
The second excuse mentioned in the gospel is a sinful avarice, and how often does this sordid vice keep back unhappy men from approaching to this feast of charity? I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I
to try them. I pray thee, &c. Alas! mere terrestrial advantage, worldly interests, are continually preferred to the duties and benefits of religion. This faith which you profess, this Catholic faith, is not unfrequently acknowledged to be the faith of Jesus Christ; but it is said, if we embrace this faith, such is the prejudice that exists against it in this country, that our prospects, as to this world, will be obscured, our terrestrial success injured, and, at all events, we must live. But this will not justify their absenting themselves from the feast of God's table.
Do they not know that they were created to love God, and to serve him, in spite of difficulty? Did they not, in their baptism, renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, knowing that against their suggestions and assaults, they would have to struggle through life? Why are ye fearful, 0 ye of little faith? (Matt. viii. 26.) The Lord will not forsake those who trust in him. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Id. vi. 33.) But fearful of losing terrestrial goods, and improvidently regardless of future and eternal possessions, many neglect this blessed institution, and permit their souls to perish.
They cannot frequent the sacraments? Why not?
The concerns of business—the hurry of situation the cares of the world do not leave time for preparation.
preparation. What is this, but to say that the concerns of the present life, present gain, and present emolument must have the preference of eternal salvation? The body, and its conveniences and enjoyments must first be studied and obtained, and then the soul
be considered. What is this but a sordid attachment to the earth, and the things of the earth? A miserable servitude, which, however, is embraced and cherished by many, who call themselves Christians; willing slaves to human respect, human interest, human motives, to which they sacrifice all their better prospects
for eternity. There is a third description of persons represented by the man, who, in consequence of matrimonial engagements, without using excuse or apology, positively refused his attendance. I have married a wife, and therefore cannot come. (v. 20.)
The state of matrimony is a state of sanctity, without doubt : it leads to holiness, because its end is holy; it has God for its founder, and in the new law, has been raised to the dignity of a sacrament by the Son of God; but alas, this holy state is often profaned by those who enter it, and instead of being made by the united efforts, example and mutual encouragements of the parties, a help to sanctification, is very often made a source of perpetual discord, strife and misery here, and of eternal misery hereafter.
This state of life, though the state to which the generality of mankind are called, should be engaged in, not with that precipitate indeliberation which is so discernible for the most part; not with that motive of worldly advantage, profit, or convenience, which makes so many barter away their liberty, their happiness, their persons for gold, and makes the sacred engagement of matrimony a mere pecuniary transaction-a sordid traffic. Nor should it be embraced with that impetuosity of passion, which has no other object in view, but the low pleasures of sensual gratification, by which it is made not a remedy against concupiscence, but the occasion, and the means of indulging sinful lust. No, it should be sought from virtuous motives, embraced from a desire of facilitating the practice of virtue, by the mutual support of the sexes ; with a view of propagating the species; of bringing up children who may perpetuate God's honor and service on earth, and people heaven; and as a secondary motive, it may be embraced as a legitimate remedy against the assaults of concupiscence; and when engaged in, all its comforts and enjoyments, all its occasional trials and crosses, should be made subservient to the great concern of salvation. By an opposite conduct, it is made a state of difficulty and danger, whence the Apostle St. Paul declares to us that he that is with a wife is solicitous for the things of the world. (1 Cor. vii. 33.) But he says, I would have you to be without solicitude. (ib. v. 32,) therefore he recommends to those who are enabled, by the grace of God, to lead a life of perpetual continency, to do so; I say to the unmarried and to the widows, it is good