Charles George Deuther.

The life and times of the Rt. Rev. John Timon, D. D. : first Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo online

. (page 30 of 30)
Online LibraryCharles George DeutherThe life and times of the Rt. Rev. John Timon, D. D. : first Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo → online text (page 30 of 30)
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Lord and Saviour the grace to put them in execuiion.

Then will God Himself speak and act by you and with you. Then will the
Spirit of God be united to you and dwell in your inmost heart; and whether you


speak words of consolation to the poor and sick whom you visit, or mildly reprove
the sinner, or praise your children kindly, your words will be blessed by God, and
rendered fruitful for His glory, His greater glory, and the salvation of those whom
you are bound by your holy rules to instruct and edify.

Pray, my beloved children, especially during these days of holy retirement, for
all these spiritual blessings, and in your fervent prayers, do not forget my many


You are now, my beloved Sisters, drawing near the end of your holy retreat.
You have, I know, tried to profit well of all the graces given you, and to put your-
selves in that state in which you desire that death should find you. Now, then,
turn to good account the time which remains. Holy writers who treat of these
things tell us that the most precious days of retreat are perhaps those after confes-
sion, for the best of us must feel some anxiety until we have settled our accounts
with God, and repaired anything that may have been defective in our past confes-
sions. But this is the time to resolve for the future, and believe me, dear children,
the difficulties are chiefly imaginary. Many people say to me: "O, it is very hard
to curb our passions ! " Yes, I answer, but it is harder not to curb them . We are
much happier, even as regards this world, when we control them. And then, think
of the happiness of the next world, when we shall see God, and possess peace, joy,
love, bliss unutterable, for eternity. We are now but some beginning of the crea-
ture, as St. Paul expresses it, but then we shall be perfect. Hence holy Job sighed
for that great change. Spiritual writers have tried to give us some idea of the
glories prepared for us, by metaphors and similes. One of the best they used is
that of iron, borrowed from Holy Scripture. Iron cast into the furnace soon becomes
red, and assumes all the properties of fire; its lines of dimension alone still prove
that it is not fire, but iron, so thoroughly penetrated with fire as to become almost
one with it. So, when we shall be plunged in the ocean of God's dazzling beauty,
and infinite perfections, we should become almost one with Him by the most per-
fect union. And this for so little — merely for curbing our evil inclinations for a

Suppose some great, some supernatural personage were to say to you: "Here is
my horse, hold him for five minutes, and I'll make you a King for a hundred years.
It is very easy to manage him if you only mind; don't let go the reins, watch him,
it is very little trouble. But if you don't be careful, if you let him slip away, I
shall punish you severely!" Oh, if such a man had the misfortune to let the horse
nin oflf, how grieved he would be! Oh! he would exclaim, what a glorious oppor-
tunity I have lost! Had I been a little more vigilant just for five minutes, I should
be a great king; and now I have lost riches and a kingdom, and am punished
besides! Oh, what a fool I was! It is so with us, beloved children; our passions
may be compared to a restive horse of which we have got charge; they will take ua
to heaven or to hell, according as we govern them well or ill. If we curb and
check them when they incline us to evil, they will lead us to heaven ; if wo give
them free rein, they will take us to hell. Passions are talents to be regulated and



tamed, for God's glory. People who have not strong passions never do much good;
in fact they can do neither harm nor good, on a large scale. St. Francis Xavier
had his passions, so had St. Ignatius; you need only recall their lives to see how
they subdued them, and how much they increased their glory in heaven. Others
had passions as well, but they would not curb them. Some had a passion for drink ;
well they got drunk, and died in that state, and went to hell. Others had passions
for other crimes, and they indulged them, and died in the act, and they too, went
to hell. And though their passions gave them no real pleasure, still they preferred
a base gratification to God's pleasure, and they received their reward. When peo-
ple tell me it is hard to gain heaven, I reply that it is harder to gain hell, for if we
are trying to gain heaven, we have peace in this world, and look for bliss in the
world to come. Beg of God, my dearly loved children, to make you thoroughly
comprehend all this. In some form, you will have to teach it to others, don't
neglect to impress it well on yourselves! You must always be able to say to those
under your charge what St. Paul said to his converts : ' 'Be ye followers of me as 1
am of Christ." See, then, whether you do not fall short of the examples given
you by the saints. Have you as yet subdued all your passions? Your holy vows
are directed precisely against those passions to which poor fallen nature is most
prone. O, be careful to observe them faithfully. Ah ! my Sisters, I have known
novices so touchy that they could not brook the least correction, and I have seea
them afterwards the wives of men who treated them brutally, and would strike
them whenever they dared to remonstrate. I have seen those who would wear only
the finest and neatest, and murmur if an old garment were given them, and I have
afterwards met them in rags. T have known young men who could not bear to
obey even the rules of the Seminary to which they belonged, who would not take
the mildest reproof, and I have seen them in after years crouch before the tyrants
who ruled them. I wish I could make some people think of this; it would make them
do more cheerfully for God what others are obliged to do for taskmasters. But you,
my children, continue as you have been, or rather, aim at still greater perfection,
remembering that the more perfectly you conquer self and becorne all for God, the
greater shtill be your merit in this life and your glory in the next. Pray for me,
dear Sisters, that I may practice what I preach to you.

N. B. — The word "Conference" is used in a European, or rather a Continental
sense. Conferences are familiar instructions, possessing neither ''the dignity of ser-
mons nor the formality of the lectures."

Online LibraryCharles George DeutherThe life and times of the Rt. Rev. John Timon, D. D. : first Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo → online text (page 30 of 30)