Monday, 16 May 2011
A sermon in which Jesus Christ does not figure is useless….
The sermon, which prolongs the Word of God, is a function reserved to the ministers of the sacrifice. It must have a sacred character in order to dispose souls to live the gospel and to unite themselves to Our Lord’s sacrifice.
1. A ministry conferred upon the deacon
Ordination to the diaconate confers a power not only over the real, physical Body of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, but also over His Mystical Body. For insofar as a consecrated person advances nearer to Our Lord Jesus Christ, from the tonsure to the diaconate and finally ascending to the priesthood, he enjoys a proportionally greater power over the Eucharist, and equally over the Mystical; Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why the Church already grants you a certain number of powers. You will eventually be able to give Our Lord Himself in the Blessed Sacrament to souls. By reason of this authorisation and power, you have the duty to prepare souls to receive the Blessed Sacrament well, and that is what you will do by preaching. Preaching is, then, a very important thing.
2. The principal object of the Sermon
One of the chief manifestations of the presence of the Holy Ghost in a soul is his preaching. When the Holy Ghost enlightens a soul about the work of Our Lord and His Passion, at the same time He imparts. The Acts of the Apostles relate that, after St Peter’s discourse before the Sanhedrin, the Christians gathered together, and they prayed. And “when they had prayed, the place was moved wherein they were assembled; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with confidence” (4:31). At a time when no one believes any longer in Our Lord Jesus Christ, when no pone believes any longer in the power of the Holy Ghost, nor in the supernatural gifts and the virtues, we must show in our words, our preaching, and our whole life, this presence of the Spirit.
“And with great power did the apostles give testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ Our Lord; and great grace was in them all” (Acts 4:33). It is a remarkable fact that the object of the Apostles’ and St. Paul’s’ preaching is the person of Jesus. St Paul has some magnificent expressions on this subject: “I preach Jesus and Jesus crucified” (I.Cor.2:2)… we must preach Our Lord. A special grace of illumination is given to the faithful concerning all the events of Our Lord’s life, and particularly, of course, concerning His crucifixion and resurrection.
A sermon in which Jesus Christ does not figure is useless; either the aim or the means in missing. “For we preach not ourselves” says St Paul, “but Jesus Christ Our Lord” (II Cor. 4:5). Jesus Christ must always enter into our sermons because everything relates to Him. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Consequently, to ask the faithful to become more perfect or to convert without speaking of Our Lord is to deceive them; it is to fail to show them the way by which they can succeed. “But we preach Jesus crucified” (I Cor. 1:23).
Ardent preaching is mediated by the holy sacrifice of the Mass, that is to say, by the cross and by the most Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus and Mary are the great sources of grace: Jesus by Mary. Jesus in the holy Sacrament of the Mass represents all the Sacraments, all the sources of salvation; and Mary communicates them.
To be continued
From The Mass of All Time Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre Angelus Pres 2007.