A Great Message from the 14th Sunday After Pentecost (1962MR)

Those attending the Extraordinary Form today will have heard the propers for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost. A point I have been discussing and praying over often lately surfaced within the readings, specifically the Communion proper, Matthew 6:23.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God: and all things shall be added unto you, saith the Lord.

It is a point that CS Lewis sums up succinctly in the pictured quote below:

The message is simple but of paramount importance for the person who desires both an ordered life on earth–filled with as much joy and free from as much despair as possible–for themselves and their family and a spot in heaven. If one’s actions are healthily oriented towards heaven, they will likely also be rewarded with worldly benefits. But if one orients their actions according to worldly enjoyments, they will, ultimately, end up with nothing.

Father John Zuhlsdorf expands well on this point, in the context of today’s other propers:

There is nothing wrong with material, created things or wealth until we seek them for themselves. Only God must be seated on the throne of our heart. It is hard to make material gains and we toil for them. But we can easily perform small acts that are meritorious for heaven. These acts accrue. Small incremental acts help us to greater acts, especially in regard to mortifications and performance of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Working in small increments is a good way to proceed in the spiritual life. This is how we conquer vices and build virtues. And the spiritual merits we gain accrue exponentially when we are in the state of grace. […] Even the smallest acts we perform, if we do them prayerfully for love of God, uniting them to Him and His will for us, are meritorious. Examine your consciences in regard to created things, which includes people. No created thing, which includes people, can be on the throne of your heart. That’s God’s. When our loves are ordered, we can love people and use material things properly and in ways that are meritorious.