SEEK FOR HARSH PREACHING
Harsh preaching is needed for
sick souls and an adornment for healthy souls. So God commands His
preachers, ". . .show my people their sins." The priest Heli
was punished by God because he was too lenient; he lacked
severity. For this, 30,000 of his people died, also his two sons and
he, himself, fell backwards and broke his neck; and the ark of the covenant
was taken away from them.
But Phineas, who exercised
holy severity by striking two adulterers, was praised by the Lord: "Phineas,
the priest, moved with My zeal and turned My wrath away from the
When sinners are rebuked for
their crimes, they usually do not accept it with humility and obedience,
saying: "Others also do this." Unhappy soul. A crowd
of miserable people is a comfort to you. Just because others go to
hell, you will also go to hell? Be humble and say: "I know
my iniquity and my sin is always before me." Do not say: I
remain in my sin, anyway I see that sinners are not punished on earth.
This is so because their punishment is so great, it is reserved for the next
"God chastises the one He
loves; " therefore if He does not chastise a man, He does not love
him. God punishes his children here on earth so that they may not be
punished in hell.
Accept what is preached to you
even if it is bitter and harsh. Medicines are usually bitter and
Preachers cannot always cure
with tenderness and flatteries but sometimes they must be harsh.
When one is sick, he goes to
the doctor; but why is it that when the soul is sick we do not seek the
spiritual director but instead seek a flatterer? Doctors do not always
cure their patients; but Christ's commands always cure the soul. So
why does the body seek medicine even at great expense but neglect the
medicine of the soul when it is even free? Because we care more for
the body than the soul.
Seek, therefore, for harsh
preachings because this cures the soul.
St. Caesarius of Arles: