18 March, 2020

Lenten Pastoral 1853 : 1

And we helping, do exhort you that you receive not the Grace of God in vain.  For He saith : in an accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of Salvation have I helped thee.  Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold now is the day of Salvation .... In all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God.
2nd Epistle to the Corinthians 6 : 1-4.

To the Christian, the fulfilment of his obligations as a Christian, constitutes real business of life. To this, every object, every pursuit, every employment ought to be rendered subservient. To aid us in the fulfilment of them are the Sacraments ordained, the Graces of Heaven given, prayer, fasting, alms-deeds are commanded - very powerful means to assist us in the accomplishment of all our duties as the disciples of Jesus Christ. Yet in our continued attention to the concerns of this world, in our eagerness to make our own the world’s wealth and the world’s enjoyments, we are too apt to forget them, or to omit them as though they were of slight account.

And furthermore we are instructed, that not only the priest who stands before the Altar is the Minister or servant of God, but that each Christian in his respective capacity is also the Minister of God, to whom duties of a more or less exalted character are assigned by his great Master; that for the due discharge of these duties, he is strictly responsible; that no pretext can excuse. Eternal happiness is the reward promised to him who shall be found faithful unto the end; endless misery the consequence of neglect.

Wherefore are we now exhorted to renovate the spirit of our mind, and to apply ourselves to the accomplishment of all our duties, according to our respective states of life. We are encouraged to do so by the assurance that this is an acceptable time, these are the days of Salvation, when the wounds of our divine and living Redeemer pour forth a greater abundance of Graces; when the omission or negligences of the past may more readily meet with forgiveness; when dispositions, in accordance with the importance of our obligations - under the influence of this holy time - are more readily formed.

To be continued ...

Excerpts from Bishop John Bede Polding's Pastoral Letter for 1853 as contained in the anthology The Eye of Faith.



The Eye of Faith was printed by the Lowden Publishing Co., Kilmore Victoria in 1977.  The editors were Gregory Haines, Sister Mary Gregory Foster and Frank Brophy.  Special contribution to the volume were made by Professor Timothy Suttor and James Cardinal Freeman.

From 1849 - 1854 the Pastoral Letters written by Archbishop Polding for the Season of Lent were published both under his name and that of the bishop-coadjutor, +Charles Henry Davis OSB.

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