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How to Open the Kingdom of Heaven


Jesus, finding himself in the company of those who busied themselves about worldly things, said to them:

CastingOutMoneychangersDo not be so anxious about these things: Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well.  And he meant to imply by these words that if they would be so happy as to strive their utmost to please God and to save their souls, their heavenly Father would supply them with all that was necessary for their bodies.

But you will say, how can we seek for the kingdom of God and his justice?  How, my dear friends?  Nothing is easier or more consoling: by being zealous in the service of God, which is the only means we have to lead us to the noble and blessed end for which we were created.  Yes, my friends, we all know it, that we are in this world solely to serve God and to keep his commandments.  But, you will ask me, why are there so few who strive for this?  My friends, the reason is this: some consider the service of God to be too difficult.  They imagine they haven’t sufficient strength to undertake it, and if they did undertake it they would not continue it.  It is just that, my dear people, which makes so many turn away instead of listening to these consoling words of our Redeemer, who in his own words tells us that his service is easy, and that if we obey him we shall find peace in our souls and rest for our hearts.

Yes, my dear friends, whichever way we consider the service of God, whether by prayer or penance, or the frequent reception of the sacraments, by our love of God and of our neighbour, or in our absolute self-sacrifice—yes, dearly beloved, in all these things we shall find only joy, pleasure, and happiness for the present and the future, as you will soon see.  Those who know their religion and practise it understand that the cross and persecution, contempt, suffering, poverty, and death itself are changed into sweetness, consolation, and an everlasting reward.  And to prove it to you in such a way that you cannot doubt it, listen to Jesus Christ himself, who says: How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.



vianneySaint John Vianney. "How to Open the Kingdom of Heaven," excerpt from Sermons for the Sundays and Feasts of the Year. The Newman Press (1901).

Reprinted under fair use. Image credit: Carl Bloch, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Author

Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars († 1859), is the patron of priests.

Copyright © 1901 The Newman Press
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