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Sermon for the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity of our Lord – December 30, 2018 by Monsignor Patrick Perez

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Monsignor began the sermon by reciting the Hail Mary.

In the gospel for today we have the Presentation in the Temple and the words “And Simeon blessed them”. One of the subjects suggested to speak about on this occasion, the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, is an instruction on blessing.

Now what I’m going to do, I think you’ll like it because it seems a little bit shorter than what I usually do, (Monsignor laughing – so everyone will be happy). In doing my homework for this sermon, I found an instruction on blessing. It was written in the 1700’s and is not very long. What I usually do for sermons is to research what I want to say and use this and that and then St. Thomas said this and this; and I’ll put everything together for the sermon. Well I read this one thing which is basically a long paragraph and it was so complete in itself and what it has to say about the instruction on blessing that I thought, well, I’m just going to copy it and read it from the pulpit. So, this is from Father Leonard Goffine; he was a French priest from the 1700s. If anybody is familiar with him you know he is very good. He goes over pretty much every Sunday of the year and does kind of a spiritual reflection. And because we at OLHC really haven’t changed any since the 1700s, that’s kind of handy. The Novus Ordo couldn’t do that. Who knows what they’re doing today – but I can use something from the 1700s written just for us!

As I said, “Simeon blessed them”. Now this is basically a whole instruction on blessing, why we need blessing and what blessing is and why we should have things blessed, and get blessed, is my introduction to this:

Seduced by Satan, the first man violated the holy commandment of God, and by his sin brought upon himself and his habitation the curse of divine wrath. Man was made by God and therefore subject to Him, but was himself master of all created things. After the sin of disobedience, however, all creation revolted against him: the animals fled from him, the fields yielded only thorns and thistles, the herbs became poisonous to him, or refused him their former wholesome power. Innumerable evils followed, all men and even the whole earth suffered from them; the devil drew both into his sphere and made them his servants, and this evil spirit now made use of created things to divert man altogether from God and to cause his eternal ruin. But God decreed that man and earth should not remain in this condition: Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth, redeemed it from the bonds of Satan, and gave all men the power to become once more God’s children. The devil was conquered by the cross, but not slain; man and the earth were indeed taken from his dominion, but not from his influence; for he even now, as the apostle writes, goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, and as he used the forbidden fruit in paradise to seduce man, he now uses the created things of the earth to tempt man, and, make him his servant. Man and all creation had to be drawn from this pernicious influence, to be liberated from the bondage of corruption and be brought to the freedom of the children of God. This is done in the Church, to which Christ entrusted the power of binding and loosing, and gave the work of sanctifying through the Holy Ghost, by means of blessing and consecrating. By virtue of the merits of Christ, and with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, the Church, or the priest in her name, therefore blesses and consecrates persons as well as other created things which they are to use, or which she is to apply to the service of God. In this the Church follows the example of Christ and the Apostles. Jesus embraced children and laid His hands upon them, blessing them; He blessed bread and fishes, the food of thousands; blessed bread and wine at the last supper; was recognized by the disciples in the blessing of bread; blessing the disciples He ascended into heaven; by His command the apostles wished peace to every house into which they stepped; and St. Paul expressly says, that every living thing is sanctified by prayer and the word of God. Following the example and command of Christ the Church also introduced blessings and benedictions which were prefigured in the Old Law. God commanded the priests to sanctify and to consecrate whatever was to belong to His service, and the Old Law is full of blessings and consecrations which had to be used by the priests; and if persons and things used for God’s service were to be blessed, how much more so in the New Law which in place of the type, contains the reality and truth. The testimony of Scripture is confirmed by all the holy Fathers, and by the constant practice of the Church which has received from Christ, the power to bless and to consecrate.

The blessing or benediction of the Church is nothing more than a prayer of intercession which the priest makes in the name of the Church, that for the sake of Christ (therefore the sign of the cross) and the prayers of the saints; God may give His blessings to a person or thing, and sanctify it. Through consecration, in which besides prayer and the sign of the cross, the anointing with holy oil is used, things required for divine service are separated from all other things and especially sanctified. Thus persons, fruits, bread, wine, houses, ships and fields, are blessed; churches, altars, bells and so forth are consecrated.

The chief effects of the blessing of persons are: preservation or liberation from the influence of Satan; preservation of the soul from his temptations and evil suggestions; reservation of the body and of the property from his pernicious malice; forgiveness of venial sins, and strength to suppress concupiscence; curing of sickness and physical evils, whether natural or supernatural; a blessing upon the person and his surroundings, the imparting of the grace of conversion; the advantage of the prayer of the Church and further grace for the remission of temporal and eternal punishment. The blessing of things withdraws them from the influence of the devil, so that he can no longer use them as a means of bringing us into sin, but that they rather serve us as a protection against the evil spirits and as a means for our salvation.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Posted on January 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm

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