In this Traditional Catholic Sermon we speak of the virtue of St John the Baptist contrasted with that of a cowardly Catholic. These “fair weather” Catholics while practicing many virtues and avoiding sin will not defend the Honor of God and suffer immensely from the vice of human respect. We must Love God above all things even the opinions of men.
Catholic Sermon for Advent : Cowardly Catholics (click on Link to Listen to Sermon)
Originally Named: Fair Weather Christians
What went you out into the desert to see? A reed shaken with the wind? — Matthew 11:7
Our Lord asked this question of his disciples, my brethren, regarding his precursor, St. John the Baptist, whom also they had followed in his time. “Why,” said he, “did you take such trouble to see him? Why did you think so much of him? Was it because he was like a reed shaken by the wind? No, but because he was just the opposite of that. You thought highly of him, you honored him as I myself honor him, because he did not shake and tremble at the breath of popular opinion; because he was not afraid of the world, or of all the powers that are in it; because he only thought of God, and of his duty; of the work that he had been sent to do.”
But would our Savior be able to praise us so highly, my brethren, if he should come down now in our midst? Would he not say rather that we were indeed like reeds, turning to one side or another, according to the wind that happens to be blowing? I am afraid that he would have too good reason to find fault with the words and actions of many who call themselves Christians, and who even pass for pretty good ones.
Who are these people whom he would find fault with? There are plenty of them. They are what I should call fair-weather Christians. They go to church regularly, perhaps, and to the Sacraments, it may be, quite often; when they are with pious people they can be just as pious as anybody else. They say their prayers not only in church, but at home, too; they certainly try in a way to be good; sometimes at least they would not say or do anything wrong of their own accord. And when they are alone they do very well, too; they resist many temptations, and avoid a great deal of sin. They are not what one would call hypocrites; far from it; they have a good many virtues, within as well as on the outside.
But the trouble with them is that they have little or none of what is commonly called “backbone” Alone or in good company they are all right; but take a look at them on the street, in the shop or factory, at their work or their amusements with their associates, and they do not stand the test so well. They laugh at every vulgar, filthy, and impure word that anyone else pretends to think is funny and wants them to laugh at, or if they do not laugh out right they give a miserable, cowardly smile. They hear something said about the faith which they know is a vile falsehood, but they say nothing in reply; perhaps they even allow that there is some truth in it. It takes a long while for anyone to find out that they are Catholics who does not guess it by their names or know where they go to church ; it takes a great deal longer to find out that they are supposed to be good ones.
Now, what is the reason of this contemptible sneaking and meanness in those who ought to be brave and generous soldiers of Christ? It is just one thing. These people do not love God enough to dare to displease anyone else for his sake. Most of them have got pluck enough when something else is concerned. They would resent an insult to themselves; perhaps for years they have not been on speaking terms with many people on account of some trifling slight or injury. But when God’s honor and love are concerned, the first breath of disapproval keeps them from standing up for him, as the reed bends with the gentlest breeze which strikes it.
Yes, that is the difficulty ; these good people do not love God enough to stand up for him as all Christians worthy of the name should do. Let them think of this seriously. For if one does not love God enough to offend bad men for his sake, how can he love him above all things? And if one does not love God above all things, how can he be saved?
An Excerpt From :
Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul. Five Minute Sermons for Low Masses on All Sundays of the Year. Vol. 2. [S.l.]: Catholic Publication Society, 1886. Print. starts pg 23-25