Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
PALM SUNDAY, 1936.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
As we adore we remember what we ourselves are. The memory of our sins becomes grievous in the light of the presence of our sinless Saviour. In our effort to find words to express our abasement we turn to the penitential prayers of the Church. We look to the treasuries of devotion bequeathed to us by great penitents who become great saints. We are gladly engulfed in the currents of penitence and carried on to find refuge in the Sacraments of the Church. We are filled with courage to seek and endure the humiliations which promise peace. We are cheered by the hope that at last we are escaping from the former pride which was our undoing. Then we are faced with a sudden and subtle temptation to pride. Unconsciously we had only been trying to escape humiliations. Pride, so difficult to dislodge, had been taking the form of presumptuousness.
Then pride appears in a new form. We begin to yield to discouragement. Discouragement leads to despondency. Despondency leads to scrupulosity. Scrupulosity, if unchecked, leads to despair. We mistake all this for humility.! And it is not humility at all. It is pride. We have to learn our lesson in humility all over again. We must shun presumptuousness and despair.
Then by God’s mercy and patience we are led to look away from ourselves and to look up to Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us. It is not God’s will that one of us should be lost. It is God’s will that we should become what he always intended us to be. He who created us can recreate us. We can be changed. It is God’s will to change us. By the mystery of the holy Incarnation, by the holy Nativity, by the Agony and Bloody Sweat; by the Cross and Passion; by the precious Death and Burial; by the glorious Resurrection and Ascension, Almighty God accomplished our redemption and gave to us the effectual means of grace to restore our hope of glory.
“This is the Lord’s work and it is marvelous in our eyes,” we cry at last. At last we are humble. At last we can say, “I believe.”
Affectionately in Our Lord,