Laetare Sunday: Rejoice and be Glad 


Sinful anger loses its temper, and righteous anger uses it.

Our Lord as the Way uses His righteous anger against demagogues, as the Truth against hypocrites, and as the Life against the cruel. His anger is love, rescuing them from their own folly. But He never gets angry at Satan, who is beyond redemption. Christ shouts down those who place burdens on others, and whips those who defile the Temple, but He is very cool with Satan. Ordinary people cannot coolly outwit and outshine the Prince of Lies and Darkness on their own, and so Christ says: "Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:31-32).

Satan pays a backhanded compliment when he tempts. St. John Vianney told his people: "The greatest of all evils is not to be tempted, because there are then grounds for believing that the Devil looks upon us as his property." The Liar likes liars and tempts the Church and the Pope, who — as Simon Peter's successor — with his fellow bishops, tells the truth. "For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God" (John 3:20-21).

While the New York Times is having problems, it did not need the $52,000 that is was paid as the price of an angry advertisement on March 9. The voice of the ad sounded like Goebbels or a Grand Wizard of the Klan saying: "It's time to quit the Roman Catholic Church." At first it seemed like a clever satire of "Liberal Catholics," but it was meant to be a serious plea from the "Freedom From Religion Foundation." Its diction proved Chesterton's adage tha journalism consists in writing badly on an enormous scale. Satan was writing crookedly with straight lines. As the Liar tempted Christ in the desert to live by bread alone, here he wrote: "You're better than your church. So why? Why continue to attend Mass? Tithe?" Then he tempted us to fly against reality by calling Catholicism "an irrational sect determined to blowout the Enlightenment." After that, he became angry that we would not exchange the Kingdom of Heaven for all the kingdoms of this world: "Obama has compromised, but the Church never budges."

On Laetare Sunday, the Church has special cause for joy. For all our failings, the Liar still is unrighteously angry at us: "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5: 11-12).




Father George William Rutler. "Laetare Sunday: Rejoice and be Glad." From the Pastor (March 14, 2012).

Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.


Father Rutler received priestly ordination in 1981. Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Cardinal Egan appointed him Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, effective September 17, 2001.

Since 1988 his weekly television program has been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. Father Rutler has published 17 books, including: Cloud of Witnesses - Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Copyright © 2012 Father George W. Rutler

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