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« Reply #238 on: April 17, 2015, 09:43:13 AM »

A WORD TO PARENTS.

1. Parents will remember that the prayers of their children are of immense importance. The Holy Scripture says that the prayers of little children are perfect before God. Ps. viii. A great authority says, that it is the prayers of little children which save the Church of God in the midst of persecutions. Therefore the prayers of children are most precious. Parents then should be most particular in making and seeing their children say their prayers on their knees and well, night and morning. Parents should send their children to Mass on Sundays, to pray for them. One child only in a family not saying its prayers well, may be to that family the occasion of the loss of many blessings from God.

2. There are innumerable examples of children converting others, even their own parents. We read in the life of St. Francis Xavier, "that by means of the children, a great change of morals was worked throughout the great city of Goa. The modesty and devotion of the children became a tacit censure to the dissoluteness of persons of more advanced age. The children admonished their parents with a liberty surpassing their age."

3. In the order of Providence, children are designed to be the models of virtue to the world. Matt. xviii. Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.

4. Let parents remember, that, when after death they stand before the judgement-seat, the Great Question put to them will be -- Did you bring up your children in the fear and love of God?

Parents! Let your children say their prayers well, and keep out of bad company, during their earliest infancy, or it will be too late. Lock the stable-door before ­the horse is stolen.

THE END.
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« Reply #239 on: April 17, 2015, 09:43:53 AM »

And with this ends the book study of Fr. John Furniss' book 'God Loves Little Children'.  Cheesy

I know I enjoyed it immensely. I hope folks did too.
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« Reply #240 on: April 26, 2015, 08:00:20 PM »

STUMBLING-BLOCKS;
OR,
THE OCCASIONS OF SIN.


I. THE CHILD THAT FELL DOWN.

A child walking along the road happened to stumble and fall down. Somebody afterwards said to the child, "What was the occasion of your falling down?" "I think," answered the child, "that a stone which tripped me up was the occasion of my falling." Therefore when we talk about the occasion of sin, we mean -- that which makes us fall into the sin, like the stone made the child fall down on the ground.

There is some bad book which makes you commit sin; that book is the occasion of sin to you. A man goes into a public-house or whiskey-shop, and gets drunk there: this public-house is the occasion of sin to that man. You go into a certain person's company, and on this account you fall into sin: then the company of that person is the occasion of sin to you. Do you know, my dear child, how dangerous it is to put yourself willingly into the occasion of sin, that is, to go near it?

II. Eve near the Tree.

God gave Adam and Eve leave to eat the fruit of all the trees in paradise, except the fruit of one tree. That tree was the Tree of Knowledge. He told them that they should die if they ate of it. Eve happened to be standing near that tree. She lifted up her eyes and looked at it, and then she put out her hand and took the fruit, and ate it, and disobeyed God. Very likely if Eve had not been near that tree and had not seen it, she would not have eaten it.

When the devil tempted Jesus Christ, he did not show him the kingdoms of the world in a picture or no a map, or read their names from a geography: he took Him to the top of a high mountain, and let Him see these kingdoms with his eyes. So when the devil tempts a little child to steal the sugar, he tries to bring the child in sight of the cupboard or press where the sugar is kept. When we are near what is bad, and in sight of it, we always feel more tempted than when we are away from it.

Remember, then, that if you willfully and without necessity go where there is great danger of your falling into mortal sin, then -- you are sure to fall into sin. God himself says so. Eccus. iii. "He that loveth the danger shall perish in it." St. Bernard says, "To expose yourself to the danger of sinning, and not to sin, is a greater miracle than raising the dead to life." Besides, the experience of every day shows that boys and girls who do go into the danger of sin -- do commit sin. Prov. vi. Therefore, go not in the way of ruin. -- Eccus. xxxii.

THE THREE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO GO INTO THE OCCASION OF SIN.

III. The First Excuse.

A BOY or girl says, Oh, do not fear. If I go again into the company of the person who led me into sin before, I will not commit the sin again. He is not so bad now, he will not tempt me any more. The temptation is no more, it is dead. You say the temptation is dead! What sort of death did the temptation die? Let us see.

How the Bears Die.

It is said that in Africa the bears hunt the monkeys, and when they catch them they kill them and eat them. So when the monkey sees the bear coming he runs away from him. The monkey has more sense than many Christians, who, instead of running away from the danger of sin, run into it. Where then do you think the monkey runs to, because the bear can run as quick as he can? He runs to a tree, and climbs up to the top of it, because he knows the great bear cannot follow him up to the top of the tree. When the bear comes to the foot of the tree, he looks up, and sees the monkey is out of his reach? What then does he do? He lies down close to the tree and pretends to be dead. Then the monkey looks down from the tree and is glad to see his enemy the bear lying on the ground and looking quite dead. The monkey knows that a dead bear cannot bite, so he comes down from the tree. When he has come down from the tree, he goes up to the dead bear and he looks at him. At that moment up jumps the dead bear, quite alive, catches the monkey in his paws, and kills him. No doubt your temptation is as dead as the dead bear; that is, it is dead till you go back to it, till you come again into that bad company, and then be sure the temptation will jump up again as much alive as ever. Your eyes and your ears and senses will be so taken with the temptation, that your good resolutions will go away, and you will throw yourself blindly into sin.

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« Reply #241 on: April 26, 2015, 08:01:09 PM »

Here begins the next volume of Fr. Furniss' works.  Cheesy
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« Reply #242 on: May 09, 2015, 02:21:53 AM »

IV. The Second Excuse.

You say that, although the temptation may be strong, you have force, you have strength against it; you are not weak as you were before; you are now good. You have been to Confession, you have received Holy Communion, you have made a firm resolution not to consent to the sin again. So now you can trust yourself with that person who made you commit sin before. No doubt you are leading a very holy life, but did you never hear about David? He also led a most holy life, but he was cast into mortal sin by one look of his eye. Perhaps you are not more holy than St. Jerome. Now, let us see what he did. St. Jerome was a most holy man, a Doctor of the Church. He left the world, and went into the deserts of Palestine, where there was no human creature living, but only the wild beasts. He spent his days in fasting, prayer, and penance. Vigilantius, his friend, wrote a letter to him, to ask why he had left the world, why he did not live in a town like other persons. St. Jerome answered this letter and said, "I will tell you the reason why I have left the world. I fear the dangerous occasions of sin; I fear the temptations; I dare not trust myself; I fear lest my eye should be caught by some evil look -- by the eye of a woman." Did you never hear of a certain holy man who had his tongue plucked out during the time of persecution? By a miracle God gave back to him his speech. But this man having incautiously admitted into his house a young person who sought his advice, fell into sin, and lost his speech again. Say not, then, that you have received the grace of the Sacraments, and that, therefore, you may now go into the occasion of sin without harm. Take notice, the grace of the Sacraments is given to keep you away from the occasions of sin, and not to save you, if you wilfully go into these occasions.

V. The Third Excuse.

You say that if you go into the dangerous occasions of sin, God will help you, and keep you from sin. God says just the contrary. He says, Eccus. ii. "He that loveth danger shall perish in it." Will God help you do what he does not want you to do?

St. Paul Shipwrecked.

St. PAUL was shipwrecked int he sea, but God saved him from being drowned. But how did God save him? Did he send him wings and make him fly out of the water? No. Why not? Because St. Paul did not need wings; he was able to walk out of the water on his feet: so God did not send wings to St. Paul to save him.

Now if you wilfully go into bad company, will God send you help to save you from sin? No. Why not? Because you are able to save yourself by keeping away from bad company. So if you wilfully go into bad company, you are sure to fall into sin; for God does not help those who wilfully go into bad company. God says, "He that loveth danger shall perish in it." -- Eccus. ii. Therfore it is nonsense to say -- "I will go into bad company, but I will not commit sin." Tell me, if you want a dog not to bite you, what do you do? Do you keep away from him, or do you go up to his mouth? Then -- keep away from temptation. It is bad to commit sin yourself, but it is worse to lead others into sin.

VI. Leading others into Sin.

IT may happen that these lines may meet the eye of some boy, some young man, who has ruined the soul of another. Young man, I speak to you only. How could you dare to ruin a soul for which Christ died? What is your name? -- Your name is Thief. You robber -- you thief. You robbed Jesus Christ of a soul which he had bought with his own precious blood. Go back, young man, in your thoughts to the days when Jesus Christ was alive on this earth. Look at Him walking along the roads of Palestine. He is covered with dust, as one who is making a long and wearisome journey. His face is pale and bathed with sweat. He is hungry and thirsty. Wither is he going? What is he seeking? He seeks a soul which he had created. He has found that soul, and made it his own child. He has watched over it day and night, as a mother watches over her baby in the cradle. But you, young man, you have robbed Christ of that soul, and ruined it. He hangs on the Cross of Calvary. Listen to his sorrowful sighs. The last drop of His blood has run down on the rocks; his last sigh in this world is breathed. Young man, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is dead on the Cross. He has died to save that soul which you have lived to ruin. Woe to you, young man. Look up at the cross -- look up at the face of Jesus. He sees you, and -- He is silent; He speaks not. But He will not be silent forever. There will come a day -- the day of your death; and on that day He will speak to you in His anger; He will let you know what sort of a thing it is to ruin a soul for which He died. Poor young man, who shall speak for you at the tribunal of Jesus Christ on the terrible day of your judgment. Shall it be the Angel Guardian of the soul which you have ruined? Shall it be the saints, whose companion you have given to the devil? Shall it be the blood of Jesus, which you have wronged and trampled upon? No, young man, in the hour of your judgement there will be no voice to cry out to Jesus to have mercy on your soul.

VII. A Ruined Soul before the Judgment Seat

YOUNG man, perhap that person whom you ruined is dead! -- dead in that sin which you brought into her soul. The moment after her death, her soul went up before Jesus Christ to receive the everlasting sentence. When Jesus Christ saw that soul came before His tribunal, dark, hideous, blackened with that sin which you had made it commit, He spoke thus -- "Depart from me," He said: "Go down, O soul in mortal sin, and burn for ever in the unquenchable flames of hell." Then that girl fell down on her knees, and spoke thus to Jesus -- "O Jesus, my Creator, what you say is very true and just. I know it; I deserve to go to hell; it was my own fault: I did it with my own free will. But, O Christ, before I go down into hell, let me speak one word. Hear me, O Christ. O Jesus, I was a poor innocent girl, and there came to me a wicked boy, and be deceived me. O Christ, look at my poor soul redeemed by your precious blood; look at my poor murdered soul, murdered by that wicked boy. O Jesus, by your holy death on the cross, avenge me; let the blood of my murdered soul be on the head of that wicked boy." Then the girl went down into hell. Her place is beside the door of hell. She never leaves it for a moment day or night. Her eyes are always fixed on that door, without ever leaving it for the twinkling of an eye. Each time that terrible door is opened, in order that more souls may come into the flames of hell, she watches them, she fixes her eyes sharply on the face of each as he passes. But what is she looking for? She is looking for the cruel murderer of her soul; she is looking for you, O wicked boy, and the very first moment you set your foot in hell, she will fly at you and tear you in pieces, and let you know what it is to have ruined her soul.
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« Reply #243 on: May 11, 2015, 01:52:52 AM »

VIII. The Cries of Ruined Souls.

GEN. iv. "Cain said to his brother Abel, let us go forth abroad. When they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. Then God came to Cain and said to him, where is thy brother? And Cain answered, I know not, am I my brother's keeper? Then God said to Cain, what hast thou done? thy brother's blood crieth to me from the earth. Now, therefore, cursed shalt thou be on the earth." If such be the cry of a murdered body, what shall be the cry of a murderered soul?

Apoc. vi. "I saw under the altar the souls of them who had been slain for the word of God, and they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord dost thou not revenge our blood?"

Oh, the cries of ruined souls that will be heard on the last day of this world, rising up before Jesus Christ. How many souls will cry on that day, Revenge me, O Lord! "Revenge me, O Lord," will cry a youth; I was innocent, and there came to me one, and he taught me evil that I knew not. Revenge me, will cry another; I had listened to the words of the priest, who told me to repent, because you were a good and merciful God. I was going to confess my sins, when there came to me a wicked companion, and he laughed at the words of the priest, and the confession I was going to make, and he led me back into the sin, and I never rose out of it again. Revenge me, will cry a poor hired servant, led into sin by a heartless master. I was helpless, I knew not whither to go. It was not my desire to break your commandments, but I was weak and without help, and he drew me into his snares. Revenge me, will cry that son, that daughter; revenge me on my father, my mother; it was from them I learnt those curses, those immodest words; it was from their example I learned to become a drunkard. Revenge me, O Christ, will cry another; I was a poor forsaken orphan girl, and there came to me one and he promised me bread, and he promised me clothes, and he promised that he would never forsake me; and at last, by his deceits, I fell into sin. Revenge me, O Christ, revenge me.

IX. The Death Bed.

BERENGARIUS says blessed Leonard, denied the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and he brought many other persons into his error. When he was on his death-bed, he was seized with a great fear. The priest who assisted him in his last passage, tried to encourage him. What was his answer? I am about, he said, to go before the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ; I will tell you, that for my own sins I hope for pardon; but for the sins I have made others commit, I fear I shall not be pardoned. I fear I shall be damned, for I do not know how to repair the damage I have done.
Read these words.

MATT. xviii. "He that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals."
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« Reply #244 on: May 11, 2015, 02:14:14 AM »

II. THE HEAVY CHAIN;
OR,
THE HABIT OF SIN.

X. What is Meant by the Habit of Sin.

YOU say that a person has a habit of cursing; this means that he curses very often, that he curses for the least thing, that he curses almost without thinking of it. In like manner, people sometimes have a habit, or custom, or practice of drunkenness, of impurity, &c.

The Old Tree.

A HOLY monk in Egypt took his disciples into a garden and showed them a young plant, just springing up out of the ground; when they had looked at it, he said, "Pull it up." One of them took hold of it and easily drew it out of the ground. He then showed them a young tree which had been growing there for some time, and desired them to pull it up. One of them set to work at the tree, and pulled very hard, but he could not get it out of the ground. Then two or three of the others came and helped him. They pulled at it with all their force and at last they drew it out of the earth. The monk then showed them an old tree which had been growing there for many years, the roots of which had struck deep into the earth. Pull up the old tree he said to them. They took hold of the tree, and pulled, and pulled, with all their force, but they could not get it out of the ground -- it was impossible. It had been growing there so long, the roots were gone so deep, and were so firmly fixed in the earth, that they were obliged to leave it. So it is with sin. At first it is easy to take a sin out of the soul, as it was easy to pull up the young plant out of the earth. You have the misfortune to commit a sin once -- it is an easy thing to confess it, and commit it no more. But when you go on committing this sin again, and again, day after day, week after week, for months, perhaps for years, then the habit of this sin will stick in your soul, almost as firmly as the old tree stuck in the earth. Each time you commit the sin, the roots of it go deeper and deeper into your soul.

XI. THE HEAVY CHAIN.

There was a man who had a dog. He put a strong heavy chain of iron round the neck of the dog. The iron chain rubbed against the dog's neck and made the skin come off it, and the dog's neck was very sore. The dog never dared to run away, because if it tried to get away, the man pulled the chain that was round its neck, and the dog felt very great pain. So the dog was always obliged to follow the man wherever he went. When any one has done a great sin very often, he soon begins to find out that this sin is tied round him like the heavy iron chain was tied around the dog's neck! Ps. xxvii. -- "For my sins, as a heavy burden, are become heavy upon me." Often he wishes to get free; but the chain is so heavy and so strong, that he does not know how to get free. So it often happens, that if a person has some bad habit of sin when he is young, this bad habit keeps hold of him when he is grown old, and even when he is dying, till he breathes out his last breath. You will see examples of this a little later. Prov. xxii. "It is a proverb: A young man according to his way, even when he is old he will not depart from it."

XII. STEALING BREAD.

THERE were some holy men living in a monastery in the desert. They lived far away from the temptations of the world, that they might be able to serve God more fervently. One day a certain young man came to the monastery. What did he want? He asked if he might live with them and become a monk. They consented and he stayed there. Unfortunately, this young man, before he came to the monastery, had a very bad habit of stealing. However, he had mad a good resolution to steal no more. after he had been living there for some time, the temptation to steal came back to him. The young man gave way to the temptation, and went and stole some bread. After he had stolen he felt sorry, and told it to one of his companions. His companions asked him why he had stolen. He answered that it was because he was hungry, and did not get enough to eat. Then, said his companion, you had better go let the Superior know you have been stealing, because you did not get enough to eat. The young man said he would be ashamed to go himself. "If you wish it," said his companion, "I will go and tell the Superior about it." The young man answered, "I shall be very glad if you will do so, for I should not like to do it myself." Accordingly, his companion went to the superior and told  him how the young man had been stealing because he was hungry and did not get enough to eat. The Superior answered, "Let him have as much bread as he asks for, then there will be no occasion for him to steal." After this, the young man always received as much bread as he asked for. Sometime afterwards this young man came to his companion and told him that he had been stealing bread again. "But how is that?" said his companion: "why did you steal? did you not get as much bread as you asked for?" "Yes," said the young man, "but I was ashamed to ask for as much as I wanted, so I stole." After this they took care that the young man should have as much bread as he wanted, without even asking for it. Now see how difficult it is to break off a bad habit. After some time the young man came again to say that he had been stealing! "How can this be," said his companion to him, "that you stole? did they refuse to give you bread?" "No." "Did you get as much bread as you wanted?" "Yes." "Then why did you steal? What was the reason?" "I cannot tell you." answered the young man. "I only know one thing, and that is, that I steal -- I do not want what I take, yet I steal it. I am sorry after I have stolen -- yet I go on stealing. I often cry because I have stolen, and wish that I had not stolen, and yet I always steal. I have so long had the habit of stealing, and this habit is so strong, that it seems to me as if I could not help laying my hands on the things I see, and stealing them, even when I do not want them." "Then," said his companion, "did you want the things you stole?" "No," answered the young man, "they were of no use to me." "Then what did you do with the stolen things?" "I threw some of them to the beasts," he said; "others I hid under my bed." The people of the house went and made a search, and they found, as the young man had said, some of the stolen things were thrown away, others hidden under his bed. Mich. i. "The wound is desperate." Be wise then; break off the habit of stealing at the beginning. If you let the habit go on and on and become strong, perhaps you will never break it off.

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« Reply #245 on: June 06, 2015, 04:01:04 AM »

XIII. The Shop Girl.

A CERTAIN girl got employment in a shop. he had not been there long before she began to steal. At first she stole trifling things -- bits of thread and bits of cloth. However, she let this habit of stealing things go on, and after a while she began to steal things of greater value. At last, some persons standing in the shop saw her stealing something, and charged her with it. She blushed, told a lie, and excused herself saying, that she did not mean to keep the thing. On another occasion a bit of stolen lace was seen hanging out of her pocket, and again she excused herself. After this, she found that she was watched. Would you believe it? still she went on stealing. She was not in want, she had good wages. Many of the things she stole were of no use to her; she knew that if she was found out she would lose her place and her character, and be punished; yet she went on stealing. She made many a resolution to steal no more; still it was always the same, she was always stealing. Mich. i. -- "The wound is desperate." The habit of stealing was so strong, that she often stole without thinking what she was about. At last, the people of the shop, who had missed a great many things, began to suspect that she was the thief. They went ot a large box she had, opened it, and found it full of stolen things. The poor girl lost her situation and character, and was put into prison.

XIV. Bridget and the Silver Cream Jug.

THOSE who have a habit of stealing are sure to be found out in the end. A lady had two servants, Emma and Bridget. Emma was about twelve years of age and Bridget might be about fifty. One day the lady's silver cream-jug was stolen out of the pantry. There was room for suspecting that it had been stolen by one of these servants. The lady, therefore, called the two servants into a room. She first asked Bridget if she knew anything about the silver cream-jug. Bridget answered, that she knew no more about it than a child unborn; then she said, that she had seen Emma go into the pantry the night before the jug was missed. Emma blushed when she heard this; but she said positively she had not stolen it. Then said her mistress, what did you go into the pantry for? Emma blushed again, and could scarcely give an answer, for at the moment, she could not remember why she had been in the pantry. It looked as if Emma had been stealing, so her mistress gave her notice, that she must quit next morning. Emma left the room in tears, but in her heart she said, "My God, may your holy will be done;" for she was innocent. The next morning she had to make up her things in a bundle and left the house. She went home to the house of her father, who was a poor, laboring man; she told him what had happened, and gave her solemn word she had not stolen the cream-jug. Half a year had passed, and the cream-jug and Emma were almost forgotten. One day, the lady told Bridget to go over to the butcher's and get some mutton chops; on her return her mistress asked her how many mutton chops had she bought? "I have bought four," said Bridget. "Then," said the lady, "get them ready for dinner." After dinner the lady went out of the house, and happening to pass by the butcher's shop, she thought she might as well pay the bill for the mutton chops. She went to the shop, and said to the butcher: "I sent my servant girl here this morning for some mutton chops." "Yes," answered the butcher, "she took six chops." "Six did you say," said the lady. "Yes, ma'am, six." The lady paid for the six chops, and returned home. She met Bridget at the foot of the staircase and said to her, "How many mutton chops did you bring from the butcher's shop this morning?" "Four ma'am," answered Bridget. "Do you say four?" "Yes, ma'am, four." At that moment there was a noise on the staircase. The dog bounced out of Bridget's room with a mutton chop in his mouth. "Oh!" aid the lady, "where did the dog get this mutton chop?" She then went into Bridget's room, and the first thing she saw was a paper, half open, with another mutton chop peeping out of it. The dog had smelt the two mutton chops, and stole one of them out of the paper. The lady saw a large box belonging to Bridget; she opened it, and found nothing there but some old clothes. She was just going to shut it again, when she saw a bit of paper sticking up in one corner; finding there was something heavy in the paper she drew it from the midst of the clothes, and behold -- the stolen silver cream-jug fell out of the paper. Bridget did not remain many hours in the house; indeed she was so ashamed, that she was glad to get away. The lady went over to the house where Emma lived, and begged her a thousand pardons for having wrongly judged her. She took her back again into her house, and gave her double the wages she had before. So the thief was found out and punished, and the innocent rewarded.

Do not then, get into a habit of stealing; if you steal little things, perhaps you will afterwards steal great things. Many who have stolen pounds, began by stealing pennies. A bad habit is like a fire, -- the more you feed it the greater it becomes.
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« Reply #246 on: April 18, 2016, 10:31:43 AM »

XV. The Gambler

A CERTAIN man became a gambler and played for money. He went on playing till he lost all his money, and ruined himself and his family. Why do you think he gambled? was it to amuse himself? At first, while it was new, it was an amusement, but the amusement of it soon wore away. He did not then gamble for pleasure, for he was always in a fever of vexation, and miserable while he gambled. Did he do it for gain? No; he lost by it. Did he gamble because others asked him? No; for he asked others to gamble. Did he gamble because he wished to gamble? No; for he used to curse his bad habit, and a thousand times he made up his mind to gamble no more. Then why did he go on gambling in spite of himself; this bad habit held him fast, like a strong chain, and he never could get free from it till he lost all that he had, and was ruined, and could gamble no more.

Eccus. xxii. -- "Go not in the way of ruin." Children and young people are recommended not to gamble and not to play at pitch and toss for money, &c. especially on Sundays. 2. Because those who do so, often stay away from Mass on Sundays. 2. Because they are sure to get into idle and bad company. 3. Because they spend money in gambling that should be spent on their poor brothers and sisters. 4. Because they get into a bad habit. Those who play for half-pennies and pennies will, perhaps, afterwards play for large sums and ruin themselves.

XVI. The Death of the Swearer

James iii. -- "The tongue is an unquiet evil full of deadly poison." When a person has a habit of cursing, or of committing any other sin, he often commits it without thinking. There was a man who had a great habit of swearing. It happened that for some crime he had committed he was condemned in a court of justice to be hung. He was already on the scaffold, ready for the rope to be put round his neck. By some accident he was thrown off the scaffold and fell down. Now, see how strong his habit of swearing was; at the very moment when he began to fall, he shouted out and swore. The next moment he was on the ground, and his neck was broken, and he was dead! Those who have a habit of cursing and swearing are recommended to strike their breast, or asay the Hail Mary each time they curse, that they may be cured.

XVII. The Child and the Wolf

EPHES. iv. -- "Put away lying." A certain child used to amuse itself with telling lies and deceiving people. One day, this child screamed out, "A wolf, a wolf is coming!" At the cry of the child, all the neighbors came running out of their houses; they heard a wolf was coming, and perhaps it might kill the child. When the child saw they were deceived, it only laughed at them. This child did the same thing several times; the people seeing that the child only wanted to deceive them, came out no more. One day it happened that a wolf really came; the child shouted out as loud as it could, "a wolf, a wolf!" but it was of no use, the people thought the child only wanted to deceive them as it did before. So they did not come, and the poor child was eaten by the wolf. Thus you see that nobody believes those who have a habit of telling lies.

XVIII. The Hardened Drunkard

THERE was a sober steady man. He was a good workman. He took great care of his children. He sent them to school, to holy mass, and to catechism. But a great change was coming for him! One day he met with some bad company, who went often to the public house. He went with them once or twice; after some time he began to go to the public house every night and get drunk! After a while his master turned him off, and he lost his work on account of his drunkenness -- still he continued to get drunk. His house was empty, all the furniture of it was sold to buy drink -- still he got drunk. His children were crying for bread, his wife was broken-hearted --  still he got drunk. His health began to give way on account of his drunkenness -- still he got drunk. The doctor told him to give up the habit of drinking, or he would kill himself --  still he got drunk. The priest came to him and told him to give up drinking, or he would lose his soul. What answer did you think the drunkard made? Did he say, I will give up drinking? No. Then what did he say? Listen, you young people who get wages, and already have begun to go to the public house, listen to the drunkard's answer. This, then was his answer. He did not say, I will not give up drinking, but he said, I cannot give up drinking, I am not able, the habit is too strong; there was a time when I could have given up drinking, but it is now -- too late.

The best way for a drunkard is 1. Never to go into a public house or whiskey shop. 2. To abstain altogether from drinking intoxicating liquors; or, at least, to limit himself to a small fixed quantity. Eccus. xxxii. -- "Go not into the way of ruin."
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« Reply #247 on: April 22, 2016, 02:22:47 AM »

XX. The Englishman, or a Fine Day

THERE was an English nobleman, who died a few years since.  He was a well known sinner.  He had spent his days in committing sins against the sixth commandment.  A sinner sometimes goes on for a long time in his sins, and seeing that God does not punish him,  he thinks that He has forgotten his sins. But God does not forget sins.  He is patient; He wishes that a sinner should be converted; remembering that the sinner is His own creature -- the work of His hands and redeemed by the blood of His Son Jesus. So in His mercy he sometimes gives the sinner length of days in this world, that he might be converted.  But if the sinner does not repent, God's day comes at last, and then, "He speaks to the sinner in his anger." -- Ps. ii. The time of that nobleman's death was near at hand; he was lying on his death-bed. He was rich and wealthy. He lay on a grand bed, in a magnificent room, filled with the most beautiful furniture. The hour was come when his soul was to go out of this world, and give an account of his crimes to the terrible God who taketh away the spirit of princes. The agony of death had come upon him, the last struggle twixt life and death. Still no thoughts of repentance came into the heart of the dying sinner. There was a low whispering of voices round the death-bed. Were they the voices of those who sought his conversion? No. They were shameless voices, which spoke words which should not be even named amongst Christians, and words of blasphemy and mockery. They were the voices of those who for years past, had been the evil companions of that nobleman in his wickedness. And now he had desired that those evil companions should come in and be round his death-bed, while his spirit was departing out of this world. Suddenly the dying man turned his head a little towards one of the windows -- a curtain had been drawn before the window. "Draw aside the curtain," he said. Somebody drew the curtain aside. It was a bright, beautiful day, the sunshine streamed through the window into the room. "What a fine day it is," he said -- "What a fine day to go to hell!" Having said this he turned round and died. Thus the ruling passion was strong in death. The passion of impurity ruled over that unfortunate man in the days of his life, so on the last day of his life he died, at his own desire, in the midst of those who had been his companions in this passion.

XXII. The Great Chain

THIS sin is the great chain with which the devil binds people and they find it harder to break the chain of this sin than of any other. This sin lives in the senses, and the bones and marrow of the body. It is often as difficult to take away this sin from a sinner as to take the skin from his body. If you threaten him that he will go to hell, he is not frightened. If you cry for him, he is not softened by your tears. If he is punished for it, he becomes more hardened in his  bad habit, like a lump of iron becomes harder under every stroke of the hammer. B. Leonard says, that "the habit of committing sins of impurity after some time becomes a sort of necessity, then it becomes a sort of impossibility to avoid it, then the sinner goes to despair, and from despair to hell." St. Bernard says, "At first a man commits this sin for the pleasure of it; -- after a time he finds no pleasure in it, still he goes on ; -- at length he gets disgusted with it, still he goes on, because he thinks it a habit which he cannot break off."  Mich. i. -- "The wound is desperate." Impurity is a sin, which people often will not quiet even when they are dying. The Scripture says, Prov. xxii. -- "A young man according to his way, even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Of the sin of impurity, above all others, it may be said, "Break off this sin in the beginning, for if you get into a habit of it, it may be too late to break it off." It may be that if you do not break it off, you may become like a certain youth. Being near death, the priest told him to break off his bad habit. The young man answered with a sigh -- "Alas, I cannot; I wish I could, but it is too late, the habit has become too strong!" So do not feed the fire by committing fresh sins.

XXIII. Feeding the Fire

One day a fire was burning in the fire-place. What do you think the people did to it? Every minute almost they were feeding the fire, putting fresh coals on it. So every minute the fire became hotter. At last the fire became such a great, hot, burning fire, that the people could not stay in the house any longer, and they were obliged to go out! Every time you commit the same sin again, you are feeding a bad habit.

XXIV. Can the Habit of Sin be Cured?   

CERTAINLY a habit of sin, however strong it may be, can be cured. Jesus Christ died for the habitual sinner, as well as for other sinners. St. Augustine was once a habitual sinner; for many years he was in the habit of committing sins of impurity, yet he was cured. St. Mary Magdalen was an habitual sinner, and she was cured. They broke off their bad habits. What they did you can do. Ps. xiv. "He looseth them that are fettered."

What must the Habitual Sinner do to be Cured?

A CERTAIN MAN, named Lazarus, died; he was buried and he had been in the grave four days. Then Jesus Christ came to the side of the grave, and cried out, "Lazarus, come forth." The voice of Jesus, which is living and effectual, went down into the grave, and sounded in the ears of that body, which was cold and stiff with death. Then the spirit of life came into him who was dead, and he stood on his feet alive, and came forth out of the grave. But his hands and feet were tied with winding-bands. Then Jesus Christ said to the Apostles, "Loose him and let him go." The habitual sinner is dead in sin; he wants to be raised to life, and be loosed from his bad habit of sin. Let us see what must be done.

I. How he comes to Life again.

THE habitual sinner is dead -- he must come to life again. He will come to life again, if he makes a good and sincere confession; then his sins will be forgiven by the priest, to whom Jesus Christ has said, John xx. -- "whose sin you shall forgive, they are forgiven."

II. How he becomes Strong.

AFTER the sinner has been raised to life, he must be set free from the weakness which comes from his bad habits -- he must be loosed from the winding bands. Jesus Christ has also given to his priests the power of loosing from the weakness of a bad habit. John xx. -- Whatsoever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven." The priest will tell the habitual sinner what he must do, in order to have his weakness quite cured, and whatsoever the priest bids him to do, that he must do most carefully, or he will not be cured. Besides, he must go often to confession; every week or fortnight, or month as he can. He must also go to confession at any time when he feels very much tempted to go back to his forever bad habits. Especially if he ever has the misfortune to fall into the old sin again, he must go instantly to confession. The habitual sinner will never get cured, unless he goes very often to confession. A perfect cure of the soul may be long and tedious, and troublesome, like the perfect cure of a bodily disease; but it is better to have a little trouble in this world than to burn in the flames of hell in the next world.

XXV. How the Devil Cheats You

BEWARE of a bad habit. The would is not yet desperate. Your years are but few, the habit of sin is not yet rooted in you. Do not let it take root. Do not allow yourself to get into the habit -- the custom of committing any mortal sin. The devil will try to cheat you. He will say to you "commit this mortal sin once -- only once." If you commit it once, then he will say, "might you not as well commit it twice? the priest can forgive two sins as easily as one." If you commit it twice, he will say, "You might as well go on committing this sin till your next confession." THe time for your next confession is come, the devil will say, "Put off your confession for a while." In the meantime you have formed a bad habit. Remember, it is easy to keep your hand out of a lion's mouth, but if you put your hand between the lion's teeth, it is difficult to take it  back again. So it is easy to keep out of a bad habit; but most difficult to get free from it, when you are once in it.
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« Reply #248 on: April 22, 2016, 02:24:20 AM »

III. THE SLIPPERY WAY; OR, RELAPSE INTO SIN.

Ps. lxxvii. -- They turned back and tempted God.

XXVI. THE MAN WHO GOT THE FEVER AGAIN.

A MAN had a fever; the doctor came to see him, and gave him some medicine. The man was getting well, but the fever unfortunately came back. Again the doctor gave him medicine; again he was cured. Again the fever came back; then the doctor said, "This is a very bad case, I am afraid for this man; he is worse now than he was before; I think it is all over with him." This is called relapsing into the fever, that is, falling into it again. A sinner goes to confession, and his sin is pardoned. Soon after confession he falls easily into the same sin. What the doctor said to the man who fell back into the fever after he had been cured, may be said of the sinner who falls again into the same sin after confession. His case is a very bad one. Matt. xii. -- "The last state of the man is made worse than the first." There is reason to be afraid for him, lest he should go on committing the sin all his life, and at last die in it. Nobody has pity on a man who gets the fever back again, because he eats something which he knows is bad for him, or which the doctor particularly told him not to eat; it is his own fault. You would pity much more a man who got ill again, without any fault of his own. It is so with people who fall again into the same mortal sin after confession: some are much more to be blamed than others. It generally happens that people fall again into sin in one or the other of the three ways which are going to be mentioned.
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« Reply #249 on: April 23, 2016, 02:06:52 PM »

XXVII. THREE WAYS OF FALLING AGAIN INTO SIN.

I. He went again into bad Company.

Gal. iv. -- "How turn you again?" A boy went to confession. He went away, and soon after he fell into the same sin again. Why did he fall? Tell me why did the sick man get the fever again? Because he ate something which he knew would bring the fever back. So this boy fell into sin again because he did something which would make him fall -- he went into bad company again.

2. He did not do what the Priest told him.

ANOTHER boy in like manner, after confession, fell again soon into the same sin which he had confessed. Why did this boy fall again? Was it because he went again into some bad company? No, for the sin which he committed was when he was alone by himself. Then why did he fall? Because he neglected to do what the priest, at confession bid him do -- to pray, &c. ; like the sick man who did not do as the doctor told him, and so fell sick again.

3. He was very weak.

ANOTHER person also fell back into the sin which he had confessed. Why did he fall? Was it because he went into bad company? No. Was it because he neglected to do what the priest bid him? No; he did all the priest bid him. Then, why did he fall? He fell through his own great weakness; he wished most sincerely not to commit the sin again. When the devil tempted him, he prayed and struggled against the temptation; but in a moment of weakness, almost without thinking, he fell again into the sin. But he repented directly, and went to confession as soon as he could. Now, what is to be said of this sinner? is his case a bad one? No. This person was not like the two others mentioned before. Let him always when tempted, pray and struggle against the temptation. If, through human weakness he falls, let him repent directly, and go to confession as soon as he can. Jesus Christ sees his weakness and pities him; for "the bruised reed he will not break, and the smoking flax he will not extinguish;" sooner or later Jesus Christ will make this poor sinner victorious over his own weakness.

XXVIII. The Gaoler and his Prisoner

Is. viii. -- "They shall be ensnared and taken." The devil is like the gaoler. A gaoler had a prisoner shut up in his prison; on the door were iron bars and bolts and locks. One day, the gaoler forgot to lock the prison door. The prisoner, finding the door unlocked, opened it, walked out, and ran away. When the gaoler found that his prisoner was gone away, he went after him. After hunting for a long time he found him again, and had him brought back to prison. After this the gaoler took care never to leave the prison door unlocked again. Relapsing sinner! you have made a good confession, and you have got out of the devil's prison. Mind you do not commit that sin, and get into the devil's hands again. If you let him get hold of you again, perhaps he will keep such fast a hold of you, that you will never escape from him anymore.
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