Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Father's Day Sermon by Fr. John Perricone

We share with you a sermon written by Fr. John Perricone for Father's Day (3rd Sunday after Pentecost/External Solemnity of the Sacred Heart).  Fr. Perricone offers the Traditional Latin Mass at All Saints-Assumption parish in Jersey City, NJ and has offered many retreats and Latin Masses for Knights in the NJ/NY area over the years.

Father John A. Perricone

As with every mystery of our Catholic Faith, the Holy Trinity is called a mystery not because it is like a riddle, but because it is like an ocean.  Divine mysteries are as incomprehensible as trying to count all the stars of the universe, or the sands on earth.  They are beyond our ken because their beauty, truth and wonder is infinite, exceeding reason’s grasp.  Even in the Beatific Vision the mysteries of the Faith will never be entirely comprehended by men or angels, because their intellects are created, and therefore limited.  All of eternity for the Blessed will be a series of new adventures into the bowels of Love, one never like another.  Each one fuller, deeper and bursting with an ecstatic joy far grander than the one before.

One of the ways to begin climbing near the edges of the mystery of the Holy Trinity is to look at human fathers.  They are faint echoes of the Trinity; traces of Their ineffable beauty.  St. Thomas teaches: “bonum diffusivum est.”  (good, of its very nature, pours itself out.)  Since the Trinity is the Good Itself, Its very nature is always pouring out Itself in love.  Father eternally begets (pours out Itself) the Son, and their infinite love spirates (pours out) the Holy Spirit.  Yet this divine diffusion could not end there.  Per impossibile, or else God’s Divine Nature would be violated.  So God then pours Himself out of Himself, resulting in creation.  In the words of Fr. Edoard Hugon, the great Thomist and friend of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange: “The world (creation) is the first revelation of God, the first book where His eternal ideas are printed, the first vestiges of His attributes, the image of His beauty, the first echo of His voice.”  The apex of God’s material creation is man, but not man alone.  Man is truly man only with and in another in love (“It is not good for the man to be alone.”  Gen 2:18).  The heights of human love are reached in the nuptial union where the spouses pour themselves out to the other resulting in the pouring forth of new life.  This kind of motion, intrinsic to the Holy Trinity, imprints Itself in a unique fashion on fathers.  As the Father begets the Son in love, so fathers beget children in blessed union with their spouses.  Fathers are intrinsically allied to the Heavenly Father in the generation of new children.  This alliance is irreparably betrayed when man uses this generative faculty in any other way than the Father does.  Just as the Father’s actions are always fecund, so must every nuptial act of natural fathers.  Just as the Father’s acts are always overflowing with abundance, so must the marital acts of fathers result in abundance of children.  Our God is not a God of carefully calculated limits, neither should earthly fathers be.  If so, he ceases to be a man at all, and deforms himself into a caricature of a man.

Natural fathers possess a special duty to uphold and defend the natural order of things.  They are guardians of truth.  The Trinity bequeaths fathers a singular imitation of Their inner life, and expects them to be on the front lines of exhibiting Their riches.  Hence, the obligation of nurturing their own families in the truth of God’s life.  Today this is a formidable task.  Navigating the heaving swells of secularism demands the courage of a hundred armies and the savvy of a dozen Patton’s.  As we have seen in the past few weeks, swarms of militants will not rest until they have shredded every fabric of civility, morality and Western Civilization.  They must be met and scattered.  First, by fathers.  This is a part of their principal vocation.  Yes, they must furnish food, shelter and security for their families.  However, all of that will be in vain if truth is permitted to die on the vine.  Where were the voices of the millions of good fathers when political leaders, sports idols, Hollywood elites and the Fortune 500 titans bowed to the Maoist venom of Black Lives Matter and Antifa?  Where was the million-man-march of good fathers as Stalinists occupied actual sectors of our cities?  Fathers, you are marked with the sign of the Trinity.  Where is your valor?  What has become of your thirst for heroism? Before the Holy Trinity, it is your solemn obligation to find it again.

Fathers, with all that the Trinity has blessed you, you are invested by Them with even more.  Threaded into the very fiber of your being is an aching homesickness: a homesickness for heaven.  Never rest in reminding your boys and girls of this homesickness.  Even as they admire your success and wealth, warn them that life is not about these, though important in their proper place.  Life is using all these things to win heaven.  Teach them that every hour in the classroom, all the days in the library, all their struggles for good grades are for one purpose: ad maiorem Dei gloriam.  Remind them of the stirring exhortation of the seventeenth century Archbishop of Paris, Benigne Bossuet, who exclaimed from the pulpit of Notre Dame: “Woe to the knowledge that does not turn to loving God!”  Tell your children that Christ Crucified matters above all things.  They will not believe you unless they see you acting day in and day out with this primacy of purpose.  When you become lukewarm, they will become bad.  To your horror, they will become the heirs of the children looting stores and tearing down our nation.

On this Fathers’ Day, the Trinity and Holy Church begs you to be true fathers.  Only when you execute that role will our lost world find its way back to God.  Your virile example will teach other men to be men again, and resist the cowardly retreat we have seen on full display these past few weeks.  Let ring in your minds the warning of Shakespeare in Julius Caesar: “Before a coward dies, he dies a thousand deaths.”  Make your campaign to take captive the debased ideas that have brought our beloved America to her knees, and chain them in cages.  Then drag your conquest to the throne of Christ the King and present it as the booty of your brave war for Him.

Fathers, be the standard bearers of the Blessed Trinity.  Though you are not that Mystery, you bear the royal mark of that Mystery.  Heavy responsibilities lay upon your shoulders.  Don’t fear them.  The Blessed Trinity expects you to make Their echoes heard to every corner of the earth. 

We wait to see the mark you make.  More importantly, God waits.