In Nomine Dei Summi - Sermon 2

From R. E. McNally, "In nomine Dei summi": Seven Hiberno-Latin Sermons', Traditio 35 (1979), pp. 121-43.


In the name of God most high.

Come together frequently to the church! Declare your sins to the priests; and on account of your sins ask them to ask God that he be generous to you.

You ought to offer offerings every Day of the Lord for yourselves and your families. For what is worthy and acceptable to God is this, that Christians (who often act negligently) should wash away their sins through holy offerings, through alms, through pure prayer and contrition of heart, and through fasting and abstinence. And in this way you ought to act in all things.

Consider yourselves! For what were you born into the world? For what other than that you should do good? And if you do something through ignorance and stupid contrariness, it is necessary that you amend for this through a good work, and seek that it will be brought home to your memory that the way you live with your wife will be the manner that is fitting for a Christian.

Lay out honour to your parents.

You should love your wife.

You should teach your children the law of God and the catholic [law] with the greatest discipline so that they may know how to love and fear God, and to honour their parents - for this is what is pleasing to God.

Above all you must abstain from foul talk. Do not detract from your neighbour, and if he does something that displeases you, talk with him and admonish him with charity; and if that profits you, you will save yourself also.

Take care about drunkenness on all occasions, for it is a great destroyer of the soul. Just as fire easily sets fire to the stubble and the light straw, so drunkeness corrupts the soul and casts it into great sin.

When you enter the house of God, reflect with great fear that then you are going to your master so that you can beseech him for what you have neglected, and you are asking for a life which perhaps you do not deserve on account of your sins. And while you are standing in the church, always have your mind raised to God, and always watch with the eyes of your heart how consolation is offered to you by God from on high. If you do this often, and you have God always before your eyes, then the Adversary will flee from you and will not prevail against you. Then the angel of the Lord is a helper with you in these good things, where he looks through your mind to see if you have a prepared soul. Reflect that 'God is honourable' and that he accepts the prayers of those who pray with purity, and he does not delay his promises. At once he received the cries and lightens and stretches out his help to those who are sorry.

How is it possible to perform something good which you have in your minds? If the last day finds you with these good works, then the angels will greet you and will receive you with joy, and they will lead you before the tribunal of judgement, there you will receive according as you have done. This should not be put to one side among you, for our Lord Jesus Christ has announced this to us, through the holy scripture which is read each day in the catholic church, that the end of this world is coming closer every day, and the signs which predict it are being found each day. I hope his coming will be in the very near future and that he will judge the whole universe with fire. Whatever is made plain to our eyesight, we know this: that 'on the last day' when the sin of humans will be complete, the Lord will not wish to endure this any more, then fire will come forth from the Lord to burn the whole universe with all the things that are in it, and everything will be reduced to nothing on account of the sins of human beings. Then next, and after not many days, almighty God will rebuild all the better things that had been in it, and it will be the resurrection of human beings, and all human beings, both good and bad, shall have to rise in one moment. And then our Lord Jesus Christ has to come to judge where he has placed them, 'and all the angels with him' and all 'the powers of the heavens will be shaken'. 'Then' the king, the redeemer of all, 'will sit' in the seat 'of his majesty and before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats'. 'He will place those' who are good to his right, but the evil ones to his left.

'Then' he 'will say to those on his right, "Come, O blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom which is prepared for you from the beginning of the world." ' And he will continue saying: 'For I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was naked and you covered me, sick and in prison and you visited me.' Then the just will answer him, 'O Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or naked, or sick or in prison, and serve you?' Then he will say to them, 'As much as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me'.

And then he will say to those who are on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is predestined for the devil and his angels. I hungered and you did not give me to eat, I thirsted and you did not give me to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, I was naked and you did not cover me, sick and in prison and you did not minister to me'.

Consider, my children, the great piety of God, and ask that in the coming judgement that he will not reprove our sins, nor say 'You have done evil', but rather that he chide those who have acted and have not mended their ways. So this is something to be considered by us in all things while each of us is able, while each has time and has his reward in his hands. In so far as he has the upper hand, each person can buy himself back so that when it comes to him he will not be with the evil ones sent into hell, but with those who on account of good works are received into the heavenly kingdom. For there will be a separation between the good and the bad, after which none of the good will be with the bad, nor any of the bad with the good: each will have that sort of companion he joined with in this life and has willed to be with forever, goodness has not ebbed from the good person, nor evil from the sinners and the negligent who have walked with proud hearts and in the desires of the flesh who, having finished this life, shall live forever in the eternal tortures without either end or remedy.

Just as the Lord has offered and promised that those who love and fear him, and keep his commandments, shall rejoice with him without end in the heavenly kingdom, so those who consent to the allure of the Adversary and have not improved their ways will be tortured without end.

So the Almighty saves us and rescues us with the greatest love. And he gives this to us so that when we do evil, we can improve; and so with that help be found worthy to come to the everlasting good life, he helping us who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

(From "Journeys on the Edge: the Celtic Tradition" by Thomas O'Loughlin, (Traditions of Christian Spirituality Series) 2000, London, Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd. )

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