INSTRUCTION ON THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER
Because of the joyous
Resurrection of Christ, and the graces flowing to us on account of
it, the Church sings at the Introit of the Mass:
INTROIT The earth is full of the mercy
of the Lord, alleluia; by the word of the Lord the heavens were
established, alleluia, alleluia. Rejoice in the Lord, ye just:
praise becometh the upright. (Ps. XXII.) Glory be to the Father,
COLLECT O God, who in the humility of
Thy Son hast raised up a fallen world; grant to Thy faithful a
perpetual joyfulness; that whereas Thou bast rescued them from the
perils of eternal death, Thou mayest bring them to the fruition of
everlasting joy. Through &c.
Pet II. 21‑25.) Dearly beloved, Christ suffered for us, leaving you
an example that you should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither
was guile found in his mouth. Who, when he was reviled, did not
revile; when he suffered, he threatened not; but delivered himself
to him that judged him unjustly; who his own self bore our sins in
his body upon the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live to
justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep
going astray: but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop
of your souls.
St. Peter teaches the Christians patience in misery and
afflictions, even in unjust persecution, and for this purpose places
before them the example of Christ who, though most innocent,
suffered most terribly and most patiently. Are we true sheep of the
good Shepherd if at the smallest cross, at every word, we become
angry and impatient?
ASPIRATION O Lord Jesus! grant me the
grace to follow Thee, my good Shepherd, and not to complain and make
threats whenever I am reprimanded, reviled or persecuted for justice
X. 11-16.) At that time, Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good
shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the
hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are
not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth; and
the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling flieth,
because he is a hireling, and he bath no care for the sheep. I am
the good shepherd, and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father
knoweth me, and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for my
sheep. And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also
I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one
fold and one shepherd.
Christ proved Himself a good Shepherd?
By sacrificing His life even
for His enemies, for those who did not yet love Him, (I John IV. 10;
Rom. V. 8.) and could not reward Him. He has besides given Himself
to us for our food.
How are we
to know if we are among the sheep of Christ, that is, His chosen
If we listen willingly to the
voice of the Shepherd in sermons and instructions, in spiritual
books and conversations; are obedient to it, and especially give ear
and follow the rules of the Church through which the Good Shepherd
speaks to us, (Luke X. 16.) "for he," says St. Augustine, “who has
not the Church for his mother, will not have God for his father;" if
we gladly receive the food of the Good Shepherd, that is, His sacred
Body and Blood in holy Communion; if we are patient and meek as a
lamb, freely forgiving our enemies; if we love all men from our
heart, do good to them, and seek to bring them to Jesus.
Who are the
other sheep of Christ?
The Gentiles who were not of
the fold of Israel, whom Christ sought to bring by His disciples,
and now by their successors; into His fold. To these sheep we also
belonged by our ancestors. O how grateful we should be to God, that
He has brought us into the fold of His Church, and how diligently
should we conduct ourselves as good sheep!
there be but one fold and one shepherd?
When, by the prayers of the
Church and by her missionaries, all nations shall be converted to
the only saving Church, constituting then one Church under one head.
Let us pray that this may soon come to pass.
PRAYER O Lord Jesus! Thou Good Shepherd
who on the cross didst give Thy life for Thy sheep, grant us, we
beseech Thee, by Thy death, the grace to be faithful to Thy voice
and teachings like obedient lambs that we may one day be numbered
among Thy chosen ones in heaven.
INSTRUCTION ON HOPE
I lay down my life for my sheep. (John
Christ obtained for us by His death?
The remission of our sins,
the grace to lead a life pleasing to God in this world, and eternal
happiness in the next, for which we now firmly hope, with secure
confidence may now expect, and most assuredly will obtain, if we do
not fail on our part.
In what does
eternal happiness consist?
In the beatific vision of
God, which includes the most perfect love of Him, by which those who
are saved become, as it were, one with Him, possessing in this union
everything that they can possibly desire.
What are the
necessary means of obtaining eternal happiness?
The grace of God, that is,
His continual assistance; the practice of the three divine virtues:
Faith, Hope and Charity; the keeping of God's commandments; the
frequent use of the holy Sacraments, and constant prayer. These
means must be diligently employed, for "God who", as St. Augustine
says, created us without us, will not save us without us," that is,
without our cooperation.
especially enable us to hope for eternal happiness?
The infinite mercy and
goodness of God, who from all eternity has loved us more than an
earthly mother, and. because of this love did not even spare His
only-begotten Son, but gave Him up, for our sake, to the most bitter
death. Will He then deny us heaven, He who in giving us His Son, has
given us more than heaven itself? The fidelity of God: He has so
often promised us eternal happiness, and in so many texts of
Scripture so clearly explained that He wishes us to be saved, that
He must keep His promise, for He is eternal truth and cannot
deceive. (Heb. VI. 18.) He says not yes today, and no tomorrow,
there is no change in Him, nor shadow of alteration. (James I, 17.)
The omnipotence of God, who can do all that He pleases, whom no one
can oppose or prevent from doing what He will; if we have confidence
in a rich and honest man who assures us he will assist us in need,
how much more should we hope in the goodness, fidelity, and
omnipotence of God!
we make an act of Hope?
As soon as we come to the use
of reason and, are sufficiently instructed concerning this virtue
and its motives; in time of trouble or of severe temptation against
this virtue; when receiving the holy Sacraments; every morning and
evening, and especially at the hour of death.
The same thing is to be
observed in regard to acts of Faith and Love.