Sermon Given by Father Pancras Raja. On December 22nd , 2019
Fourth Sunday of Advent
“Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight”
(Lk. 3:1 – 6)
Catholic Christians prepare the way of the Lord by removing from their soul all that can impede the coming of Christ.
Hence the proximate preparation for the feast of Christmas as said in today’s gospel consists in filling every valley, bringing low every mountain and hill, making straight the crooked and make the rough ways plain, so that every flesh shall see the salvation of God.
– Filling up of the deep valleys of ungodliness and sensuality.
The deep valleys of slothfulness and indifference to our religious duties and the gutters of sensuality must be filled with zeal for souls, frequent reception of sacraments and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
– Bringing low the high mountains of pride and vanity.
The high mountains of pride and vanity of self-complacency and worldly ambitions must be brought low by humility, detachment and penance.
– Smoothing the rough grounds of unkindness and jealousy.
The soothing of rough ground of jealousy, envy, hatred and un-charitableness must be done by helping the poor, visiting the sick and comforting the afflicted.
– Straightening the crooked paths of dishonesty and deceit.
The straightening the crooked paths of our habit of falsehood, detraction, calumny and causing injustice; and this kind of twisted, devious and perverse way of life must be straightened by sincere confession and straightforward behavior.
Thus, we must prepare the way of the Lord. And when he comes, where are we to lodge him?
What dwelling place are we to offer the Lord?
It is our heart we must offer him! But do we not know that our hearts are so impure and unworthy of his divine majesty?
What then are we to do to make our hearts worthy of his coming – for his dwelling there in? Here is a great advice – the admirable secret! – to make our hearts worthy dwelling place for the Lord!
Let us take the Blessed Virgin Mary! And this good mistress will give herself to us in a real manner. And then the eternal incarnate Wisdom will come and dwell in that immaculate manger in our heart!
How happy is the man who dwells in the house of Mary, where Jesus was the first to dwell! Yes, to make this ideal preparation for the feast of Christmas, that we are called today:
- To entrust our body and soul into the hands of the Holy Mary – to be sanctified.
As Jacob brought to his mother (Rebecca) two young goats, we the children of Mary must bring our body and our soul, with all our faculties to Mary:
That She may accept us as Her own.
That She may, by divesting us of self-love, make us die to sin and to self.
That She may cleanse our body and souls from every stain of inordinate affection and guile.
That She may clothe us with Her own virtues and graces according to the heavenly Fathers’ taste and for His greater glory.
That She may present us before God, as deserving of His Blessing.
- We are called to be obedient to the Queen Mary and to follow her advice in everything.
Here we are simply following the example set by Our Lord Himself, who spent thirty of the 33 years, “glorifying” God in perfect and entire submission to Mary.
Jacob received his blessing through the obedience to the advice of his mother Rebecca. (At Cana – As a reward for following the advice of Our Lady, water was changed into wine).
In the same way all who are to receive the wondrous graces of God, will receive them only as a result of their perfect obedience to Mary. On the other hand, “the Esaus” (Protestants) will lose their blessing because of their lack of “devotion” (submission) to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- By hiding and loosing ourselves in the Blessed Mary, we taste the sweetness of Jesus.
We have great confidence in the goodness and power of Mary. We rely on Her mercy and kindness to obtain forgiveness for our sins. We experience Her Motherly comfort in our troubles and anxieties. We even cast ourselves into Her Virginal Bosom, hide and loose ourselves there, and are filled with pure love. Thus, we are purified from the least stain of sin. (Through the Sacrament of Penance of course), and we find Jesus in all His fullness.
Sinners on the other hand deplorably choose to satisfy their hunger elsewhere, because as St. Gregory says: “they do not want to taste the Sweetness already prepared within themselves and within Jesus and Mary.”
4) We are happy in imitating the virtues of the Holy Mary.
“Happy are those who keep My ways” (Prov. 8:32)
Happy are those who practice the virtues of the Blessed Virgin.
Her Ten Principal Virtues are:
- Profound Humility
- Lively Faith
- Blind Obedience
- Continual Mental Prayer
- Mortification in all things
- Ardent Charity
- Heroic Patience
- Angelic Sweetness
- Divine Wisdom
- Virginal Purity
Happy are those who practice the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this world: because of the abundance of grace and sweetness which Our Lady imparts to them out of Her fullness of grace – fullness of Divinity, fullness of divine love and fullness of Divine Maternity.
They are happy to celebrate Christmas with a supernatural joy, because they receive the Christmas grace more abundantly than others who do not imitate Mary Our Mother so closely.
They will be happy for all eternity, because no servant of Mary our Mistress who imitated Her virtues during life has ever been lost.
Let us not say like those people of Bethlehem that there is no place for the heavenly Mary in our homes! Let us give place to Mary our Queen in our hearts, in our homes, in our town, in our nation and in our world!