Thoughts for Lent, Saturday after the Third Sunday in Lent

The Individual Judgment

Since the world wars, many books have been printed, and sermons and lectures delivered, upon the morality of nations. It has become customary for men to speak of nations as if they were individuals; as if virtue and vice, and free-will and responsibility, could be predicated of a nation as of an individual. Men speak of the "Responsibility of Germany," "The Soul of Russia," "The Fate of Austria," "The Crimes of England," "The Destiny of Ireland," and so on. Now all these phrases are only metaphorically true. Edmund Burke, the great statesman, declared that you must not make an indictment against a whole nation. Likewise, you must not impute responsibility or guilt or vice or virtue to a whole nation. Neither Russia nor England will be judged by the eternal Judge. Neither France nor Germany will be called upon to give an account of its stewardship. But every individual in every nation will be judged. We shall never reform the world by pooling our responsibilities, by imputing sin to a nation. But if we can persuade every individual that he, personally, is accountable before God on the day of judgment, then indeed shall the face of the earth be changed.

- Father James M Gillis

Love for our neighbor must be disinterested and generous, but it must be pure, not the indulgence - even at some cost of physical effort - of mere good nature, or, what it is a tendency, if not a fault of the present generation to make it, an outlet of energy, an object of business. Love for our neighbor must not be rash, but sage and discreet. We must render him the services due to him from us; help to instruct ignorant brethren, to correct them, or soothe them in spiritual or corporal need. But we must not injure our own eternal interests by love to our neighbor. An Ancient philosopher was once asked by a neighbor to do him some kindness at the expense of his honour, and on his refusal was asked sharply, "What is the good of your being my friend, if your friendship is useless to me?" To which the philosopher answered wisely, "What good is yours to me, if it does me harm?" Our test should be a similar one, and none of us have any right to go beyond the line thus marked.

- Abbee Puyol

Though you are bound to set a good example, thou must never do it solely with this view; else you wilt lose all benefit to thyself. - Scupoli

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou are with me O Lord. - Gradual

O Lord, You knowt what is best for us, let this or that be done, as You shall please. Give what You will, and how much You will, and when You will.

Deal with me as You think good, and as best pleases You. Set me where You will, and deal with me in all things just as You will. Behold, I am Your servant, prepared for all things; for I desire not to live unto myself, but unto You; and oh, that I could do it worthily and perfectly! Amen.

- Thomas a Kempis

To do something great and heroic may never come; but I can make my life heroic by faithfully and daily putting my best effort into each duty as it comes round. - Father William Doyle, SJ

- the texts are taken from -