Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 12 March – The Third Sunday in Lent – Ephesians 5:1-9, Luke 11,14-28 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“To Thee have I lifted up my eyes,
Who dwells in Heaven.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.”
“Every kingdom divided
against itself is laid waste.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
“IN TODAY’S GOSPEL[Lk. 11:14-28], Our Lord insists that every kingdom divided against itself, (not united in itself) is brought to desolation.
On the other hand, the converse is true, too – all kingdoms united in concord, not permitting any division to enter, will surely be filled with consolation. For if the propositions are opposite, the consequences must be, too.
These words are among the most remarkable, noteworthy and important that our Divine Master ever spoke. For this reason the ancient Fathers carefully interpreted them.
They agree that our Saviour had three kinds of concord or union in mind when He spoke, where division in any of them, results in desolation.
The first is the concord which should exist between a king and his subjects, making subjects submissive and obedient to his laws.
The second is the union which we ought to have within, in our inner kingdom, where reason must be the king to whom are subject, all the faculties of our spirit, all our senses and even our bodies. … (Without this obedience and submission we cannot avoid having desolation and trouble, any more than there could be peace in a kingdom in which the subjects are not obedient to the laws of the king.)
… The third, is that which we ought to have with each other. This union or concord, has been earnestly preached, recommended and taught to us by Our Lord, equally in word and example. … Nothing is so stressed, nothing stated so completely as the observance of this Commandment [the Commandment of love[. He does so with good reason, for the beloved of the Beloved, the great Apostle St John, assures us that anyone who says that he loves God and does not love his neighbour, is a liar [1 Jn.4:20-21]. On the other hand, he who says he loves his neighbour but does not love God also contradicts the truth. That simply cannot be. To love God without loving the neighbour, who is created in His Image and Likeness [Gen. 1:26-27], is impossible.
But what should this union and concord be which we all ought to have? Oh! What should it be indeed! It must be such that if Our Lord Himself had not explained it, no-one would have been so daring as to use the same terms as His.
At the Last Supper, after He had given the incomparable pledge of His love for us men, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, He said:
“Father, My very dear Father, I beseech Thee that all those whom Thou hast given Me may be one, as Thou and I, Father, are One ” [Jn 17:11-12, 21-22].
To show that He was not speaking only for the Apostles but for all the rest of us, He added: “I do not pray for them alone (that is, those He had just mentioned) but for all those who will believe in Me, through their word” [Jn 17:20].
Who would have dared, I repeat, to make such a comparison, or to ask that we might be united as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are united? – (Sermon for the Third Sunday of Lent, 27 February 1622).
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