Sunday, August 18, 2019
Why did Jesus recite the parable of the Pharisee and the publican? To warn us against pride, ambition, and vanity in our good works, which thereby lose all their merits; to teach us not to despise or judge any man, although he should appear most impious; finally, to show us that if we would be heard in our prayers, we must appear before God with an humble and penitent heart.
Why was not the Pharisee’s prayer acceptable to God? Because it was not a prayer, but rather a boast; for he praised himself, attributing his good works to himself, instead of giving God glory for them. Thus, despising and presumptuously judging others, he sinned the more against God, instead of making himself worthy of his praise.
Why was the prayer of the publican acceptable to God? Because, though short, it was most humble and penitent. He did not, like the Pharisee, advance into the temple, but remained afar off, as though unworthy the presence of God and the fellowship of men. There he stood, with eyes cast down, in token that, for his sins, he was not worthy to look up to heaven; nay, he openly confessed himself a sinner, and in sorrow smote his breast, thereby punishing, as it were, says St. Augustine, the sins which had come from his heart. Let us, then, be afraid of vainglory, like St. Ignatius, who said, “They who praise me scourge me” and St. Hilary, who wept when he saw himself honored, because he was afraid of receiving his reward on earth. Learn to despise vainglory and think of what St. Augustine says: God is most high; exalt yourself, and He withdraws from you; humble yourself, and He comes down to you.” Seek in all things not your own but God’s glory; accustom yourself before every undertaking to raise your heart to God by making a good intention, and you will, like the publican, find grace before God.
However, the worst part of Woodstock was its role in creating the spiritual desolation of imagining a utopian society without religion or the Catholic Faith. Woodstock presented itself as a mystical experience with its own dark spiritual message. It was almost a liturgical act of an anti-religion of the unbridled passions that denied a moral law.