THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Fifth Sunday After Epiphany
6 February 2011
Saturday, February 05, 2011
The good must suffer with the bad for a time. Our zeal and love for God often opens us up for some very serious temptations from the devils.
The evil deed of the devils does not end with the sowing of the cockle. He continues to try and corrupt the good. The evil one suggests to the good that it is a good thing to cut down and destroy the evil immediately. In this way he can destroy both good and bad together. The bad is prevented from ever converting and becoming good and the good is corrupted in usurping the judgments of God, and thus falls into pride and vanity.
When the devils cannot succeed in tearing the grace of God away from souls, their next effort is to corrupt it. This is the attempt that we see manifested in the parable for today. The devils are in a second stage attack. They have seen the grace that God has sown through His ministers and now they set out to destroy it by over sowing evil in the midst of the good. There will always be those who are with us but are not of us. (1 John 2, 19); the devils will make sure of that. Their desire is to tempt us to follow the bad example of others or to become prideful and look down upon such unfortunate souls. In either situation they accomplish their mission of robbing God of the souls that He created for Himself.
We are therefore forewarned by Jesus with the parable for today. We must first realize that the enemy has done this while we were sleeping. While it is true that no mortal man can remain physically constantly vigilant, we can always be spiritually vigilant. Many pastors in the past have failed to keep out these evil weeds from their flocks, so now we are left to deal with this as Our Lord directed in the parable today. Each of us has our own souls to pastor over. We must be constantly vigilant so that the enemy does not come and plant evil thoughts and desires there. We must not allow these to take root. We must fight them with all our might. For they cannot be left there to grow with the good graces, because the two cannot grow together in the same soul the way that good and bad men can grow side by side.
Because we live in this world we are forced to live with and beside men who are living evil, sinful and scandalous lives. We cannot kill them because in the process we may be killing the one future repentant soul that would cause more joy in heaven than over all the others that have no need of repentance. (Luke 15, 7). That would make us far guiltier than the one we are attempting to pull out.
What must we do then? The parable tells us that we must be patient until the harvest time (the end of our lives or the world). While we are being patient, we are to remain vigilant. We must do all that we can so that we do not follow the bad example around us and become one with the weeds. At the same time we must courageously give a good example so that the evil “weeds” around us may receive and cooperate with the grace of God and be converted. In this manner God will be doubly honored and we will have merited greater graces and rewards for ourselves and our neighbor.
We are social creatures and it is usually the effect of those around us that bring out the best or the worst in us. St. Augustine says that we cannot be as good as we can be when we are alone; nor can we be as bad as we can be when we are alone. It takes others to bring out the best or the worst in us. While we must live in this world often surrounded by evil that is always trying to bring out the worst in us we must try to insulate ourselves from that influence and draw closer to those who will help to bring out the good within us. As the good appear to be very few and far between we must learn to associate not so much by physical proximity and physical means as by supernatural proximity and supernatural means. We have many saints and angels eager to be our friends and offer us the companionship and help that we need to draw out the best in us. Our guardian angels are always near us. We can always lift up our hearts and minds to God, Mary, the Angels, and Saints in Heaven and even the Souls in Purgatory. We are always capable of making acts of Faith, Hope, Charity, and Contrition. We can make Spiritual Communions all day long and remain in this manner always in the presence of Jesus.
We can in this manner draw out the best in ourselves, insulate ourselves from the evil influences around us, and draw others to Christ. With the help of God’s grace we can turn the evil that the devils have sown into good for God and souls.