November 2016 Print

The Last Word

Dear readers,

Only one thing is necessary . . .

Frank Duff, the founder of the Legion of Mary, relying on the famous words of St. Augustine—“Our heart is made for Thee, O Lord, and finds no rest until it rests in Thee”—urges us never to hesitate to speak of God to those we meet. Only God, the infinite Truth and infinite Good, can fill our mind and our heart. That is true for everyone on the planet.

Our big problem during our life here below is that we get distracted from our last end. So many things get in God’s way that we forget the one and only necessary: God.

These distractions will surely be the cause of the passage of so many through the terrible fire of Purgatory. Here is how the Angelic Doctor proves it. He inquires about the intensity of the sufferings of Purgatory and asks whether the pains of Purgatory surpass all the temporal pains of this life?

“The least pain of Purgatory, he writes, surpasses the greatest pain of this life. For the more a thing is desired the more painful is its absence. And since after this life the holy souls desire the Sovereign Good with the most intense longing (intensissimus)—both because their longing is not held back by the weight of the body, and because, had there been no obstacle, they would already be enjoying the Sovereign Good—it follows that they grieve exceedingly for their delay” (Suppl. 71 bis, a.3).

“The more a thing is desired the more painful is its absence.” Try to remember the moment you had the greatest desire in your life: it can be the morning of one’s wedding, the thought of having lost one’s child in a crowd, or watching firemen trying to save a beloved one in a burning house.

“The weight of the body”—that is a reference to all the distractions of life.

Purgatory and computers: The inventors of the internet openly admitted that its purpose was to de-concentrate, to distract its users, to reject “the intellectual tradition of solitary single-minded concentration” (Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows, p. 114). He could have added that it was “to interfere with the one necessary thing.”

When we see the madness of the world around us, the example, the latest craze of the Pokemon Go users (we have them daily around our Montreal priory!), we can only deplore that they are being led by the nose like blind beasts, missing the only one thing necessary.

The day we will die, all these distractions will also vanish, and we will see that we were made for that one necessary thing: “to rest in Thee.” Let us be wise and say like St. Francis of Assisi: “My God and my all!”

Fr. Daniel Couture