When the Teaching of the Gospel Tastes Good

Pentecost Monday

John 7:37

“But on the last day of the feast which was the most glorious one Jesus appeared and cried and said: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.””

 

Poor consciences, when they would deal with God, would like to know that our Lord God said to them once: “Your sins are forgiven,” so that they may comfort themselves and say: “I am certain that my sin is forgiven.” Then the thirst is quenched. Otherwise, the heart says: “I do not know whether I have a gracious God and whether my sins are forgiven; for I have lived badly.” Such a thirsty person, even if he had done good works for a hundred thousand years, can never find this out and say: “God says yes to me; I am certain that my sins are forgiven.” This is what abbot Hilarion of Gaza experienced. He had lived the holy life of a monk for almost seventy years. When he was about to die, he too was frightened by death, although he said: “My soul, why are you afraid, since you have served God for almost seventy years?” This would not have worked for the murderer on the cross since he had no works or service to boast of. Indeed, those who do not properly know Christ and his Word must remain thirsty. But the pope, Muslims, Jews, the common man, and the sectarian spirits do not know Christ. This is why this thirst will kill them, and they must die in it. But those who feel the thirst, know Christ, and hear and accept his Word are amazed by it and say: “He is the true Prophet and the true Christ.” People did not preach like this in the papacy, as is done nowadays. When the Word of God came to prominence again about 12 or 15 years ago, the people listened diligently. All the people were glad that they no longer had to torture themselves by good works, saying: “Praise God that we now have water to drink. For we have been thirsty. The teaching of the gospel tasted good. We drank it, and it was a delightful teaching.” But now we are full and tired of the drink. Our Lord God must go away and let us die of thirst. For he remains with those who feel their misery. But those are few who know this. The majority of the people turn the gospel into carnal freedom, a carnal refreshment and drink, that is, they no longer want to fast and pray. They have gained an advantage from the gospel and no longer care about the fate of their soul. They do not seek comfort from the gospel. They also no longer like the taste of it.

 

St. Louis ed., 8:79-80.

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