St. John Vianney on the great evil of Blasphemy July 18, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, priests, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
Actually, the sermon St. John Vianney gave on blasphemy as recorded in The Sermons of the Cure of Ars is about 8000 words long – a tad bit long for this ol’ boy to type out. So, I excerpted the bit that is most relevant to me, having to do with damning things in the name of God.
My dad, God love him, imparted many really good things to me. I feel blessed to have him as a father. But one bad thing he gave me at a very young age is a habit of cussing. And not just your average run of the mill cussing, my dad crawled his way up oil industry ladder from standing up to his ankles in benzene cleaning the inside of tanks (although benzene is supposed to be a severe carcinogen, he’s almost 80 and still has never gotten cancer) to working the gas fields of the Texas/Oklahoma Panhandle to finally being a an upper middle or lower upper manager at what was then a mid-major and is now a part of BP. Before that, he was a farm boy with a father, grandfather and aunt – aunt! – that would cuss a blue streak.
That is to say, I inadvertently absorbed all manner of horrific phrases, some of which even sailors and roustabouts have never heard before. I was so bad as a kid one of my best friend’s moms almost banned me from their house for my vulgar tongue.
I say all the above as context to let you know that I really appreciated St. John Vianney’s catechesis here. Generally I’ve overcome this habit, especially when I’m on my good behavior, but when I’m very hot and tired and the @#$%^&!! bolt won’t come unstuck, some tragic things still fly out of my mouth, or, more frequently, still bounce around the inside of my empty noggin without ever coming out.
I also bring it up because blasphemy is actually growing steadily worse in the world, with all manner of evils being attributed to God, or falsely called “godly” goods. Like the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the idea that God created sodomite relationships (even pretending to be married) as something holy and reminiscent of our Creator’s love for us.
Taking up St. John Vianney on pp. 96-8:
It is a horrible blasphemy to damn something in the name of God.
This sin of blasphemy is so great and so hideous in the eyes of God that it draws down all sorts of evils upon the world. The Jews had such a horror of blasphemies that when they heard anyone blaspheming, they rent their garments…….The holy man Job had such fear that his children had blasphemed that he offered sacrifices to God in case they had……….St. Augustine says that those who blaspheme Jesus Christ in Heaven are more cruel than those who crucified Him on earth. [I thank God that blaspheming the Holy Name of Jesus Christ is NOT one of those things I heard growing up. Even though rough around the edges, my forebears had enough propriety to know that some things just aren’t said] The bad thief blasphemed Jesus Christ when He was on the Cross, saying: “If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.” The prophet Nathan said to King David: “Because thou hast given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, for this thing, the child that is born to thee shall surely die.” God tells us that whoever blasphemes the Name of the Lord shall die. We read in Holy Scripture that the people brought a man to Moses who had blasphemed. Moses consulted the Lord, Who told him that he must have the man brought to a field and put to death by stoning.
We can say that blasphemy is truly the language of hell. St. Louis, King of France, had such a horror of this sin that he ordained that all blasphemers should be branded on the forehead. An important person from Paris, who had blasphemed, was brought to the King and several people interceded for him, but the King said that he would die himself in order to wipe out this dreadful sin, and he ordered that the man should be punished. The tongues of those who were wicked enough to commit this crime were cut out by order of the Emperor Justin. During the reign of Robert, the kingdom of France was overwhelmed by all kinds of evils, and God revealed to a Saint that while the blasphemies continued, the chastisements would, too. A law was enacted which condemned all those who blasphemed to have their tongues pierced with a red-hot iron for the first offense, and ordered that on the second offense they should be executed. [Naturally, this seems a bit extreme today, but while some may find this kind of treatment unnaturally cruel, it does underscore the total horror Catholics had for blasphemy in the great Age of Faith. Our callousness towards this and so many other (all?) sins reveals the coldness of faith in these our times, even if we might feel that maiming someone for life for uttering a single blasphemy is perhaps an excess of zeal against mercy]
Be warned, my dear brethren, that if blasphemy reigns in your homes, all therein will perish. St. Augustine tells us that blasphemy is an even greater sin than perjury because, as he says, by perjury we take the name of God in witness of something that is false, whereas in blasphemy we are saying something false of God. What a crime this is!………
……..We blaspheme when we perform actions which are directly opposed to the goodness of God – as when we despair of our salvation and yet are not willing to take the necessary steps to obtain it; as when we are angered because others receive more graces than we do. Take great care never to allow yourselves to fall into these kinds of sins because they are so very horrible!
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I believe you can safely color me convinced. Get that poker heated up.