SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY –
The Liturgical Year – By Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.
The Church offers to our consideration, during this week of Sexagesima, the history of Noah and the deluge. Man has not profited by the warnings already given him. God is obliged to punish him once more, and by a terrible chastisement. There is found out of the whole human race one just man; God makes a covenant with him, and with us through him. But, before He draws up this new alliance, He would show that He is the sovereign Master, and that man, and the earth whereon he lives, subsist solely by His power and permission. As the ground-work of this week’s instructions, we give a short passage from the Book of Genesis: it is read in the Office of this Sunday’s Matins.
From the Book of Genesis – Chapter VI
And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, it repented him that he had made man on the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, he said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air. For it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace before the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just and perfect man in his generations: he walked with God. And he begot three Sons: Sem, Cham, and Japheth. And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity. And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth), he said to Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me: the earth is filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth.
Noah, The Eve of the Deluge’- John Linnell, 1848
This awful chastisement of the human race by the deluge was a fresh consequence of sin. This time, however, there was found one just man; and it was through him and his family that the world was restored. Having once more mercifully renewed His covenant with His creatures, God allows the earth to be repeopled, and makes the three sons of Noah become the fathers of the three great families of the human race. This is the mystery of the Divine Office during the week of Sexagesima. The mystery expressed in today’s Mass is of still greater importance, and the former is but a figure of it. The earth is deluged by sin and heresy. But the word of God, the seed of life, is ever producing a new generation: a race of men, who, like Noah, fear God. It is the word of God that produces those happy children, of whom the beloved disciple speaks, saying: ‘They are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ Let us endeavor to be of this family; or, if we are already numbered among its members, let us zealously maintain our glorious position. What we have to do, during these days of Septuagesima, is to escape from the deluge of worldliness, and take shelter in the Ark of salvation; we have to become that good soil, which yields a hundredfold from the heavenly seed. Let us flee from the wrath to come, lest we perish with the enemies of God: let us hunger after that word of God, which converteth and giveth life to souls. With the Greeks, this is the seventh day of their week Apocreos, which begins on the Monday after our Septuagesima Sunday. They call this week Apocreos, because they then begin to abstain from flesh-meat, which abstinence is observed till Easter Sunday.
Basilica of St. Paul outside the walls
At Rome the Station is in the basilica of St. Paul outside the walls. It is around the tomb of the Doctor of the Gentiles, the zealous sower of the divine seed, the father by his preaching of so many nations, that the Roman Church assembles her children on this Sunday, whereon she is about to announce to them how God spared the earth on the condition that it should be peopled with true believers and with faithful adorers of His name.
The Introit, which is taken from the Psalms, cries out to our Lord for help. The human race, all but extinct after the deluge, is here represented as beseeching its Creator to bless and increase it. The Church adopts the same prayer, and asks her Savior to multiply the children of the Word, as He did in former days.
Arise, why sleepest thou, 0 Lord? Arise, and cast us not off to the end. Why turnest thou thy face away? And forgettest our tribulation? Our belly cleaveth to the earth. Arise, O Lord, help us, and deliver us.
Psalm – We have heard, 0 God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us thy wonders. V. Glória Patri.
Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? Arise, and cast us not off to the end. Why turnest Thou Thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? Our belly hath cleaved to the earth: arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us.
In the Collect, the Church expresses the confidence she puts in the prayers of the great apostle St. Paul, that zealous sower of the divine seed, who labored more than the other apostles in preaching the word to the Gentiles.
O God, who seest that we not place no confidence in anything that we do: mercifully grant that, by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles, we may be defended against all adversity. Through our Lord…
The Epistle is that admirable passage from one of St. Paul’s Epistles, in which the great apostle, for the honor and interest of his sacred ministry, is necessitated to write his defense against the calumnies of his enemies. We learn from this his apology what labors the apostles had to go through, in order to sow the word of God in the barren soil of the Gentile world, and make it Christian.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians – 11
St Paul preaching at Athens – Raphael
Brethren, you gladly suffer the foolish, whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonour, as if we had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly) I dare also. They are Hebrews: so am I. They are Israelites: so am I. They are the Seed of Abraham: So am I. They are the ministers of Christ: (I speak as one less wise) I am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes, save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea. In journeying often, in perils of waters, in’ perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren. In labour and painfulness, in much watchings, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things which are without: my daily instance, the solicitude for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me; and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed), but I will come to the visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ about fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth), such an one rapt even to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell, God knoweth), that he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter. For such an one I will glory; but for myself I will glory nothing, but in my infirmities. For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan to buffet me. For which thing thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me: and he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
In the Gradual, the Church beseeches her Lord to give her strength against those who oppose the mission He has entrusted to her, of gaining for Him a new people, adorers of His sovereign Majesty.
Let the Gentiles know that God is thy name: thou alone art the Most High over all the earth.
O my God, make them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind.
Whilst the earth is being moved, and is suffering those terrible revolutions which, deluge-like, come first on one nation and then on another, the Church prays for her faithful children, in order that they may be spared, for they are the elect, and the hope of the world. It is thus she prays in the following Tract, which precedes the Gospel of the word.
Thou hast moved the earth, o Lord, and hast troubled it.
Heal the breaches thereof, for it is moved.
That they may flee from before the bow: that thy elect may be delivered.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke Chapter 8.
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together, and hastened out of the cities to meet Jesus he spoke by a similitude.
The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns; and the thorns growing up with it, choked it. And other some fell upon good ground, and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundred· fold. Saying these things he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him what this parable might be. To whom he said: To you it is riven to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables: that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground, are they, who in a good and very good heart hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.
Sexagesima Sunday sermon on listening to the priests that the preach God’s word at Mass. – Fr Isaac Mary Relyea
St. Gregory the Great justly remarks, that this parable needs no explanation, since eternal Wisdom Himself has told us its meaning. All that we have to do, is to profit by this divine teaching, and become the good soil, wherein the heavenly seed may yield a rich harvest. How often have we, hitherto, allowed it to be trampled on by them that passed by, or to be torn up by the birds of the air! How often has it found our heart like a stone, that could give no moisture, or like a thorn plot, that could but choke! We listened to the word of God; we took pleasure in hearing it; and from this we argued well for ourselves. Nay, we have often received this word with joy and eagerness. Sometimes, even, it took root within us. But, alas! Something always came to stop its growth. Henceforth, it must both grow and yield fruit. The seed given to us is of such quality, that the divine Sower has a right to expect a hundred-fold. If the soil, that is, our heart, be good; if we take the trouble to prepare it, by profiting by the means afforded us by the Church; we shall have an abundant harvest to show our Lord on that grand day, when, rising triumphant from His tomb, He will come to share with His faithful people the glory of His Resurrection.
Inspirited by this hope, and full of confidence in Him who has once more thrown this seed into this long ungrateful soil, let us sing with the Church, in her Offertory, these beautiful words of the royal psalmist: they are a prayer for holy resolution and perseverance.
Perfect thou my goings in thy paths; that my footsteps be not moved. O incline thy ear unto me and hear words. Show forth thy wonderful mercies; who savest them that hope in thee, O Lord.
May the sacrifice we have offered to thee, O Lord, always quicken us and defend us. Through,
The visit, which our Lord makes to us in the Sacrament of His love, is the grand means whereby He gives fertility to our souls. Hence it is that the Church invites us, in the Communion antiphon, to draw nigh to the altar of our God; there, our heart shall regain all the youthful fervour of its best days.
I will go up to the altar of God; to God, who rejoiceth my youth.
Grant, we humbly beseech thee, O Almighty God that those whom thou refreshest with thy sacraments, may, by a life well pleasing to thee, worthily serve thee. Through our Lord
We will end our Sunday by a hymn taken from the ancient breviaries of the Churches of France: it will help us to keep up in our souls the sentiments proper to the season of Septuagesima.
The days of ease are about to close; the days of holy Observance are returning; the time of temperance is at hand; let us seek our Lord in purity of heart. Our sovereign Judge will be appeased by our hymns and praise. He who would have us sue for grace, will not refuse us pardon.
The slavish yoke of Pharaoh, and the fetters of cruel Babylon, have been borne too long: let man now claim his freedom, and seek his heavenly country, Jerusalem. Let us quit this place of exile: let us dwell with the Son of God. Is it not the servant’s glory, to be made co-heir with his Lord? O Jesus I be thou our guide through life. Remember that we are thy sheep, for whom thou, the Shepherd, didst lay down thine own life
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son; honor too be to the holy Paraclete: as it was in the beginning, now is, and shall ever be. Amen.
From The Liturgical Year – Volume IV – Septuagesima – Very Ven. Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.
SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY – ON THE UNHAPPY LIFE OF SINNERS, AND ON THE HAPPY LIFE OF THOSE WHO LOVE GOD
“And that which fell among the thorns are they who have heard, and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches of this life, and yield no fruit.”
In the parable of this day’s gospel we are told that part of the seed which the sower went out to sow fell among thorns. The Saviour has declared that the seed represents the divine word, and the thorns the attachment of men to earthly riches and pleasures, which are the thorns that prevent the fruit of the word of God, not only in the future, but even in the present life. Misery of poor sinners! By their sins they not only condemn themselves to eternal torments in the next, but to an unhappy life in this world. This is what I intend to demonstrate in the following discourse.
There is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord
First Point – Unhappy life of sinners
The devil deceives sinners, and makes them imagine that, by indulging their sensual appetites, they shall lead a life of happiness, and shall enjoy peace. But there is no peace for those who offend God. ”There is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord.” (Isa. xlviii. 22.) God declares that all his enemies have led a life of misery, and that they have not even known the way of peace. ”Destruction and unhappiness in their ways: and the way of peace they have not known.” (Ps. xiii. 3.)
Brute animals that have been created for this world, enjoy peace in sensual delights. Give to a dog a bone, and he is perfectly content; give to an ox a bundle of hay, and he desires nothing more. But man, who has been created for God, to love God, and to be united to him, can be made happy only by God, and not by the world, though it should enrich him with all its goods. What are worldly goods? They may be all reduced to pleasures of sense, to riches, and to honors. “All that is in the world,” says St. John, “is the concupiscence of the flesh,” or sensual delights, and “the concupiscence of the eyes,” or riches, and “the pride of life” that is, earthly honors. (1 John ii. 16.) St. Bernard says, that a man may be puffed up with earthly goods, but can never be made content or happy by them. ”Inflari potest, satiari, non potest.” And how can earth and wind and dung satisfy the heart of man? In his comment on these words of St. Peter” Behold, we have left all things” the same saint says, that he saw in the world different classes of fools. All had a great desire of happiness. Some, such as the avaricious, were content with riches; others, Ambitious of honors and of praise, were satisfied with wind; others, seated round a furnace, swallowed the sparks that were thrown from it these were the passionate and vindictive; others, in fine, drank fetid water from a stagnant pool and these were the voluptuous and unchaste. O fools! adds the saint, do you not perceive that all these things, from which you seek content, do not satisfy, but, on the contrary, increase the cravings of your heart?”Hæc potius famem provocant, quam extinguunt.” Of this we have a striking example in Alexander the Great, who, after having conquered half the world, burst into tears, because he was not master of the whole earth.
Many expect to find peace in accumulating riches; but how can these satisfy their desires?”Major pecunia,” says St. Augustine, ”avaritiæ fauces non claudit, sed extendit.” A large quantity of money does not close, but rather extends, the jaws of avarice; that is, the enjoyment of riches excites, rather than satiates, the desire of wealth. ”Thou wast debased even to hell; thou hast been wearied in the multitude of thy ways; yet thou saidst not, I will rest. ” (Isa. Ivii. 9, 10.) Poor worldlings! they labour and toil to acquire an increase of wealth and property, but never enjoy repose: the more they accumulate riches, the greater their disquietude and vexation. “The rich have wanted, and have suffered hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good.” (Ps. xxxiii. 11.) The rich of this world are, of all men, the most miserable; because, the more they possess, the more they desire to possess. They never succeed in attaining all the objects of their wishes, and therefore they are far poorer than men who have but a competency, and seek God alone. These are truly rich, because they are content with their condition, and find in God every good. ”They that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good.” To the saints, because they possess God, nothing is wanting; to the worldly rich, who are deprived of God, all things are wanting, because they want peace. The appellation of fool was, therefore, justly given to the rich man in the gospel (Luke xii. 19), who, because his land brought forth plenty of fruits, said to his soul: “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years: take rest, eat, drink, make good cheer.” (Luke xii. 19.) But this man was called a fool. ”Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee; and whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ?” (v. 20.) And why was he called a fool. Because he imagined that by these goods by eating and drinking he should be content, and should enjoy peace. “Rest,” he said, “eat, drink.” “Num quid,” says St. Basil of Seleucia, “animam porcinam habes ?” Hast thou the soul of a brute that thou expectest to make it happy by eating and drinking?
But, perhaps sinners who seek after and attain worldly honors are content? All the honors of this earth are but smoke and wind (“Ephraim feedeth on the wind” Osee xii. 1), and how can these content the heart of a Christian? “The pride of them,” says David, “ascendeth continually.” (Ps. lxxiii. 23.) The ambitious are not satisfied by the attainment of certain honors: their ambition and pride continually increase; and thus their disquietude, their envy, and their fears are multiplied.
They who live in the habit of sins of impurity, feed, as the Prophet Jeremiah says, on dung. “Qui voluptuose vescebantur, amplexati sunt stercora.” (Thren. iv. 5.) How can dung content or give peace to the soul? Ah! what peace, what peace can sinners at a distance from God enjoy? They may possess the riches, honors, and delights of this world; but they never shall have peace. No; the word of God cannot fail: he has declared that there is no peace for his enemies. ”There is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord. ” (Isaias, xlviii. 22.) Poor sinners! They, as St. Chrysostom says, always carry about with them their own executioner that is, a guilty conscience, which continually torments them. ”Peccator conscientiam quasi carnificem circumgestat.” (Serm. x. do Laz.) St. Isidore asserts, that there is no pain more excruciating than that of a guilty conscience. Hence he adds, that he who leads a good life is never sad. ”Nulla pœna gravior pœna conscientiæ: vis nunquam esse tristis? bene vive.” (S. Isid., lib. 2, Solit.)
The wicked are like the raging sea, which cannot rest!
In describing the deplorable state of sinners, the Holy Ghost compares them, to a sea continually tossed by the tempest. “The wicked are like the raging sea, which cannot rest.” (Isa. Ivii. 20.) Waves come and go, but they are all waves of bitterness and rancour; for every cross and contradiction disturbs and agitates the wicked. If a person at a ball or musical exhibition, were obliged to remain suspended by a cord with his head downwards, could he feel happy at the entertainment? Such is the state of a Christian in enmity with God: his soul is as it were turned upside down; instead of being united with God and detached from creatures, it is united with creatures and separated from God. But creatures, says St. Vincent Ferrer, are without, and do not enter to content the heart, which God alone can make happy. “Non intrant ibi ubi est sitis.” The sinner is like a man parched with thirst, and standing in the middle of a fountain: because the waters which surround him do not enter to satisfy his thirst, he remains in the midst of them more thirsty than before.
Speaking of the unhappy life which he led when he was in a state of sin, David said: ”My tears have been my bread, day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God ?” (Ps. xli. 4.) To relieve himself, he went to his villas, to his gardens, to musical entertainments, and to various other royal amusements, but they all said to him: “David, if thou expectest comfort from us, thou art deceived. “Where is thy God? Go and seek thy God, whom thou hast lost; for he alone can restore thy peace.” Hence David confessed that, in the midst of his princely wealth, he enjoyed no repose, and that he wept night and day. Let us now listen to his son Solomon, who acknowledged that he indulged his senses in whatsoever they desired. “Whatsoever my eyes desired, I refused them not.” (Eccl. ii. 10.)
ALL IS VANITY – Vanitas by Antonio de Pereda y Salgado
But, after all his sensual enjoyments, he exclaimed:”Vanity of vanities … behold all is vanity and affliction of spirit.” (Eccles. i. 2 and 14.) He declares that all the pleasures of this earth are not only vanity of vanities, but also affliction of spirit. And this sinners well know from experience; for sin brings with it the fear of divine vengeance. The man who is encompassed by powerful enemies never sleeps in peace; and can the sinner, who has God for an enemy, enjoy tranquillity? “Fear to them that work evil.” (Prov. x. 29.) The Christian who commits a mortal sin feels himself oppressed with fear every leaf that moves excites terror. ”The sound of dread is always in his ears.” (Job xv. 21.) He appears to be always flying away, although no one pursues him. ”The wicked man fleeth when no man pursueth.” (Prov. xxviii. 1.) He shall be persecuted, not by men, but by his own sin. It was thus with Cain, who, after having killed his brother Abel, was seized with fear, and said:”Every one, therefore, that findeth me shall kill me.” (Gen. iv. 14.) The Lord assured him that no one should injure him: ”The Lord said to him: ”No; it shall not be so” (v. 15.) But, notwithstanding this assurance, Cain, pursued by his own sins, was, as the Scripture attests, always flying from one place to another “He dwelt a fugitive on the earth.” (v. 16.)
Moreover, sin brings with it remorse of conscience that cruel worm that gnaws incessantly, and never dies. ”Their worm shall not die.” (Isa Ixvi. 24.) If the sinner goes to a festival, to a comedy, to a banquet, his conscience continually reproaches him, saying: Unhappy man! You have lost God; if you were now to die, what should become of you? The torture of remorse of conscience, even in the present life, is so great that, to free themselves from it, some persons have put an end to their lives Judas, through despair, hanged himself. A certain man who had killed an infant, was so much tormented with remorse that he could not rest. To rid himself of it he entered into a monastery; but finding no peace even there, he went before a judge, acknowledged his crime, and got himself condemned to death.
God complains of the injustice of sinners in leaving him, who is the fountain of all consolation, to plunge themselves into fetid and broken cisterns, which can give no peace. ”For my people have done two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have digged to themselves cisterns broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jer. ii. 13.) You have, the Lord says to sinners, refused to serve me, your God, in peace. Unhappy creatures! you shall serve your enemies in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and in want of every kind. “Because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joy and gladness … thou shalt serve thy enemy in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and in want of all things.” (Deut. xxviii. 47, 48.) This is what sinners experience every day. What do not the vindictive endure after they have satisfied their revenge by the murder of an enemy? They fly continually from the relations of their murdered foe, and from the minister of justice. They live as fugitives, poor, afflicted, and abandoned by all. What do not the voluptuous and unchaste suffer in order to gratify their wicked desires? What do not the avaricious suffer in order to acquire the possessions of others? Ah! if they suffered for God what they suffer for sin, they would lay up great treasures for eternity, and would lead a life of peace and happiness: but, by living in sin, they lead a life of misery here, to lead a still more miserable life for eternity hereafter. Hence they weep continually in hell, saying: “We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction, and have walked through hard ways.” (Wis. v. 7.) We have, they exclaim, walked through hard ways, through paths covered with thorns. We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity: we have labored hard: we have sweated blood: we have led a life full of misery, of gall, and of poison. And why? To bring ourselves to a still more wretched life in this pit of fire.
Second Point. The happy life of those who love God
“Justice and peace have kissed.” (Ps. lxxxiv. 11.) Peace resides in every soul in which justice dwells. Hence David said: “Delight in the Lord, and he will give thee the requests of thy heart.” (Ps. xxxvi. 4.) To understand this text, we must consider that worldlings seek to satisfy the desires of their hearts with the goods of this earth; but, because these cannot make them happy, their hearts continually make fresh demands; and, how much so ever they may acquire of these goods, they are not content. Hence the Prophet says: “Delight in the Lord, and he will give thee the requests of thy heart.” Give up creatures, seek your delight in God, and he will satisfy all the cravings of your heart.
This is what happened to St. Augustine, who, as long as he sought happiness in creatures, never enjoyed peace; but, as soon as he renounced them, and gave to God all the affections of his heart, he exclaimed: “All things are hard, O Lord, and thou alone art repose.” As if he said: Ah! Lord, I now know my folly. I expected to find felicity in earthly pleasures; but now I know that they are only vanity and affliction of spirit, and that thou alone art the peace and joy of our hearts.
The peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding.
The Apostle says, that the peace which God gives to those who love, surpasses all the sensual delights which a man can enjoy on this earth. ”The peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding.” (Phil. iv. 7.) St. Francis of Assisium, in saying “My God and my all,” experienced on this earth an anticipation of Paradise. St. Francis Xavier, in the midst of his labors in India for the glory of Jesus Christ, was so replenished with divine consolations, that he exclaimed: “Enough, Lord, enough.” Where, I ask, has any lover of this world been found, so satisfied with the possessions of worldly goods, as to say: Enough, O world, enough; no more riches, no more honors, no more applause, no more pleasures? Ah, no! Worldlings are constantly seeking after higher honors, greater riches, and new delights; but the more they have of them, the less are their desires satisfied, and the greater their disquietude.
It is necessary to persuade ourselves of this truth, that God alone can give content. “Worldlings do not wish to be convinced of it, through an apprehension that, if they give themselves to God, they shall lead a life of bitterness and discontent. But, with the Royal Prophet, I say to them: “taste, and see that the Lord is sweet.” (Ps. xxxiii. 9.) Why, sinners, will you despise and regard as miserable that life which you have not as yet tried? “Taste and see.” Begin to make a trial of it; hear Mass every day; practice mental prayer and the visitation of the most holy sacrament; go to communion at least once a week; fly from evil conversations; walk always with God; and you shall see that, by such a life, you will enjoy that sweetness and peace which the world, with all its delights, has not hitherto been able to give you.
St. Alphonsus Liguori – Sermons for Every Sunday