Wednesday, October 01, 2008
offenses of this world
From the Homily for St. Michael:
. . . Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! . . . - Matthew 18:1-10
"The offenses of the world are many. Life is rejected by the killing of children during the nine months before they are born. Life is polluted by the taking away of the innocence of children. This is sin as is all forms of relationships and marriage that do not conform to God's creation and blessing. Sin takes that which is holy and precious and re-creates it in its own image. People who are not offended by the world are converted to the life the world demonstrates. This is not new. The problem of sin is as old as Adam and Eve. One church father witnessed the degradation and immorality of his day and wrote, "He grows into praise by virtue of his crime; and the more he is degraded, the more skilful he is considered to be. Such a one is looked upon - oh shame! and looked upon with pleasure . . . Men imitate the gods whom they adore, and to such miserable beings their crimes become their religion." (Cyprian, to Donatus, ANF 277:8)
"It is enough to know about these things for the world reminds us of them every day. Those who live in this way with no thought of repentance and the life that comes from above are in danger of being cast into hell fire. Usually, that is the farthest thing from their minds. Such is the measure of the offenses of this world. And we too are no better if we avoid repentance, Christ and seeking the face of our Father in heaven. This is why Jesus came and this is why He was sent, that we may have life in His name and see the face of our Father in heaven. He leads us away from all ungodliness and gives us grace to overcome all sin. Jesus bore all sin, as ugly as it is, on the cross and by His stripes we are healed. On the cross the head of the serpent is crushed and the prince of this world has lost the war for all eternity. Jesus' blood washes us clean and in His name we are forgiven. The powers of the devil, the world and death are shattered and the gates of hell will not prevail against the holy Church. This is holy Baptism, the ever-flowing fountain of God's mercy and forgiveness for His children."
From the St. Michael Prayer:
". . . O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."
From the Collect:
"Everlasting God, You have ordained and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth . . . Amen."