Ordinary of the Mass
“One Lord, one
faith, one baptism. One God, and Father of all….”
We are quite used to the idea that there is only one
God—less often we hear that “God is one.” There is but one divine nature, even
though it is shared among the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Athanasian
Creed, written centuries ago to refute the Arian heresy (which denied the
divinity of Christ) tells us that:
Whoever wishes to be saved * must
before all else adhere to the Catholic Faith…. Now this is the Catholic
Faith: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity; Neither
confusing the persons * nor distinguishing the nature.
This essential “oneness” in God means that there can be no
contradictions in the various aspects of God. If we look at God from the
perspective of His wisdom, His justice, and His mercy, we will always see the
same thing. God’s justice is tempered by His mercy, but the two are not in
conflict. God will not tell us what He requires of us and then back down from
His requirements as the result of His mercy. In His wisdom He knows what we
must do for our own good, and for His glory, and He knows our capabilities to do
what we must. He never allows us to be tempted beyond our strength,
but He expects us to make full use of the strength He has given us. God is
one—and His oneness is the ground of all objective truth. And He truth never
changes, for He is “without change, or shadow of alteration.”
Of course the modernists will deny that there is such a
thing as objective truth. The “god” of the modernists exists in the continuous
change of the Hegelian dialectic—their “god” even changes within Himself—the
modernist “god” admits of contradiction in all of his aspects. He can command
one thing, but be satisfied with something less. All too many modernists will
admit the reality of Hell, while denying that anybody goes there.
Yet, we have no shortage of statements by Jesus Christ
Himself about the real possibility of condemnation to eternal punishment:
Be not afraid of them who kill the
body, and after that have no more that they can do…. fear ye him, who after he
hath killed, hath power to cast into hell.
Amen I say to you, as long as you
did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall
go into everlasting punishment….
It is better for thee with one eye
to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell
Go ye into the whole world, and
preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall
be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.
That last quote is significant. The Gospel, which everyone
must believe is a uniform thing. There is not one Gospel for men and another
for women! There is not a Gospel for the Europeans, another for the Russians,
and yet another for the Americans—no! there is but one Gospel for all nations:
All power is given to me in heaven
and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations…. to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the
consummation of the world.
The authority to preach the Gospel comes from Jesus Christ,
who has “all power … in heaven and earth” and will be with His preachers,
delegating that almighty power to them until the very end of the world! They
are to teach “all things whatsoever I have commanded”—nothing less and nothing
more; and don’t expect it to change “even to the consummation of the world.”
We keep hearing about a “Year of Mercy.”
But please be assured that there is no mercy in condoning sin. Christ alone is
the judge of all things. He has told us what He expects of us, and in His
justice expects us to obey to the very best of our ability. In His mercy, He
will consider our circumstances and examine our actual abilities. In this He is
not changing in Himself—only examining the abilities of His frail creatures
before passing uniform judgement.
The Church can forgive any sin for which we are contrite
and repentant—that is to say that we must recognize our faults and intend not to
commit them ever again. Without contrition and repentance there can be no
forgiveness of sin.
And recognize, please, the difference between forgiveness
and permission. If we are truly contrite and penitent, the
Church can forgive us many times over. But the Church cannot—the Pope, the
cardinals, and all the bishops together—cannot grant permission for even the
smallest sin. “Permission to sin” would imply doing something evil without
contrition and without repentance!
Such “permission,” if it were granted would be nothing like
mercy—indeed, it might well condemn the otherwise innocent to the fires of
Hell. No one can grant such permission, and all of us should recognize our
obligation to practice the Catholic Faith to the best of our ability. To accept
the supposed “permission to sin” is to reject Christ and His Church.
Saint Paul calls us to “walk worthy of the vocation in
which you are called.” This is the vocation of living the Christian life in the
divine unity of the Blessed Trinity—“One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God,
and Father of all….”