A most blessed and joy-filled Easter to all our friends and readers!
The sermon preached at Mr. John Vennari’s funeral may be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiDGD4gFu6M The sermon runs from 0:53-19:00 and is preached by Fr. Adam Purdy.
As we begin to celebrate in this season of Our Lord’s Resurrection, we would do well to continue striving to grow in Virtue. Hopefully all of the good resolutions that were made during Lent have strengthened us against temptation and helped us to amend what is necessary in our lives. Let us only be careful not to relapse! A celebration in sin is not a celebration of our Risen Lord, but a celebration praising the Devil.
In our modern world, Virtue is not entirely shunned. In fact, many try desperately to grasp them to maintain feelings of (incomplete) peace and self-fulfillment. However, it is impossible to truly make sense of Virtue without recognizing the source of Goodness itself. Here is where much of the confusion present today lies. A couple of examples to illustrate my point:
We see today’s schools and workplaces, for example, stress the importance of “cooperation” and “giving back to the community”. Much of the time, these humanitarian works are expected or even required of these students or employees. There is also still a general expectation that everyone connected to each other in these institutions or companies will remain kind to one another and provide help and assistance when needed. However, much care is often taken by those in charge to eliminate those “conflicts” about Religion and even to eliminate God from being acknowledged at all.
We see a similar pattern followed in books and entertainment. We all know, for example, of television programs designed for children which feature a character overcoming obstacles within himself or his surroundings to grow in a particular virtue. The child will see this character having grown in attaining a good trait, but rarely will anything connected to God or the Church be discussed. The authors will instead attempt to fill the gap with considerations entirely rooted on the natural level.
Alas, what a great confusion that is sowed in the world! If God does not exist, what reason is there to practice virtues? We are supposed to remain kind to each other for what reason? Are all of our efforts meant to remain on this Earth to be briefly acknowledged by a few men?
No, the reason to grow in Virtue is not to be necessarily “nice” to each other, but to grow in Love of God and to help our neighbor also love God, save His soul, and be respected as a beloved child of God. It is true that men by nature are attracted to goodness, which is why goodness to a degree is still pursued in this atheistic world. However, as long as God is not given His due Honor, those following the world will be living a great contradiction. As Faith without good works is essentially dead, the opposite is also true. How can anyone truly do good without acknowledging He who is Good? Surely some actual graces might be gained based on the person’s disposition, but one cannot save His soul in such a condition.
St. Gregory the Great: “The virtues, if separated, cannot be perfect in the nature of virtue; for that is no true prudence which is not just and temperate and brave”. How true is this statement when the foundation of our existence, Faith in God, is shunned! Let us then pray for all men, that they might be moved to cease living such a contradiction, which will only lead to despair and loss of eternal goodness!
~ Steven C.