C277 De sancta Anna matre beatae virginis Mariae. Sermo
St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P. – Sermon on
your fruit unto sanctification," (Rom. 6:22). This text is found originally in Romans 6,
and is read in the epistle of the current solemnity. Today's feast and solemnity is of that
blessed and holy mother of the Virgin Mary,
I present the
proposed text of
Note, the similarity to that of the rose, which is picked by one, and given to another, and that one carries it and holds it in a closed hand. In whom therefore does more of the fragrance of that rose or apple remain, in the one giving or the one receiving? Certainly it is in the one receiving. So the Rose of Paradise and the Apple of Virtues, the Virgin Mary, was given by Joachim to St. Ann through generation, and St. Ann received, bore and nurtured, and nursed her for three years, more of the odor of sanctity therefore remained in her.
This is the reason why there is a feast of
I find that
By desiring at length (desiderando longe)
By hoping firmly (sperando certe)
By conserving worthily. (conservando digne.)
DESIRING AT LENGTH
First, I say, that
First, through devout prayers,
Second, through giving alms,
Third, by many fasts,
Fourth, by a vow and promise.
For the first she went often to the temple
to pray, that God might give them the fruit of marriage, because that is the
end, -- so trees are planted in the garden, that they might bear fruit -- and
they said, "Lord you have placed us
in the garden of marriage, etc."
And weeping they begged for a child.
So on one occasion when
Now you have to know that it is the sin of many who when the cannot have a child of their marriage turn to diviners and fortune tellers etc. And so repent and confess, and seek from God, because if the fruit of marriage be useful to your soul, infallibly he shall give it to you. The authority of Christ on this: "Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you," (Jn 16:23). Note: "In my name," which is Jesus, that is, savior. It is asked in the name of the savior when a man ask something useful for salvation, and not for damnation.
Second, Joachim and Ann begged God for a child through alms, because the angel said to Tobias, "Prayer is good with fasting and alms more than to lay up treasures of gold,"
(Tob 12:8). And because they were rich, not from usurious interest, but from their possessions. And Jerome says, that he divided his goods into three parts. The first he gave to God. The second to pilgrims, orphans and the poor. The third they kept for themselves and the family's house. Note how he divided his grain: The first part he sent to the temple, the second was set out for the poor, the third for themselves. The same for the wine, the oil and the rest. In this manner prayer is aided by alms, and vice versa. Therefore scripture says, "Give alms out of your substance, and turn not away your face from any poor person: for so it shall come to pass that the face of the Lord shall not be turned from you," (Tob 4:7).
Morally. We find this teaching, that if you are not able to give so much alms as you are bound, nor does the heart suffice, you should pay at least a tenth and first-fruits. There are some who say, "O shall I give my goods to wicked sensual (concubinariis) clergymen? Certainly not!" It is said that it is given to God, and not to them. If however God has bad clergy, he shall castigate them, and by this you ought not to hold back from them their right. For if a king has bad soldiers, you ought not for this reason withhold from him what is due, because someone else would receive the commission for him. So too for God, because, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof: the world, and all they that dwell therein," (Ps 23:1). And he grants it to us for an annual account, and in a sign of his dominion he keeps for himself a tenth, but he does not eat it, but gives it to his servants. And when it is paid well, he keeps and conserves it, otherwise all is lost. When you believe you have grain or wine does not God say, "Because you paid me badly, I shall devastate all. And so come storms, hail etc." Therefore Malachi said: "For you afflict me. And you have said: Wherein do we afflict you? in tithes and in first fruits. And you are cursed with want, and you afflict me, even the whole nation of you," (Mal 3:8-9). This is the remedy. "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and try me in this, says the Lord: if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven, and pour you out a blessing even to abundance. And I will rebuke for your sakes the devourer," (Mal 3:10-11). Note, "Bring". He does not say that it will be dumped into the vineyards and fields, that the beasts, and the pigs, etc. can eat.
Also if you cannot give as much alms as
Third they petitioned with fasting, although they were noble and delicate, yet they kept all fasts and precepts and even more, saying, "That from our flesh may proceed the fruit of marriage, let us make the fruit of fastings. And each could say, "I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer shall be turned into my bosom," (Ps 34:13).
Morally, you have here the teaching that you
should keep the fasts of the church. To
this especially are bound those who can have one good meal. Others, laborers, excuse themselves from the
fast of the church, who nevertheless are not excused if they do not hear mass fasting. Also they do not drink in the taverns in the
place where they have a home. So the
Apostle, "What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in?" against
those who drink in taverns, "Or despise ye the
VOWS AND PROMISES
Fourth they sought a child from God
by promises, because together Joachim and Ann made a vow that if God would give
them the fruit of marriage, they would serve God in the temple. Just as now if you would promise to become a
religious or a nun. But many are damned
by promises and vows, making vows and not caring to fulfill them. It is a grave sin to break vows in any way,
greater than homicide, because it is unfaithfulness. Therefore the wise man said, " If you
have vowed any thing to God, defer not to pay it: for an unfaithful and foolish
promise displeases him: but whatsoever you have vowed, pay it. And it is much better not
to vow, than after a vow not to perform the things promised," (Eccl
5:3-4). When they are young, they make a
vow to [on pilgrimage] to St. James (Santiago de Compostella), and the years go
by, year after year, and they don't bother to fulfill it, and when they are old
they ask for a dispensation from the vow.
When there a definite time is fixed, within which it ought to be
fulfilled. If however there is not
fixed a determined time, it must be understood that they are to fulfill it
immediately. And because there are many
who do not care about God, therefore they are damned. And so beware of vows. It is clear therefore how the fruit of
Second, I say that
Here women have a model, how they should
console their husbands who are upset by business, and when they come home, the
wives ought to console them. But there
are some who do not comfort them, rather sadden them even more. When however
While Joachim so wept praying in the
wilderness, the archangel Gabriel appeared to him, and Joachim was afraid,
because this is the condition of the spirit, for flesh cannot stand the
presence of a spirit. But the condition
of a good spirit is to comfort immediately, saying to him, "Behold, your
prayers are heard. Because of that
patience which you had, God sent me to you, that I might announce to your that
you, with your wife shall have a daughter, not a son, who shall be greater that
all daughters, and shall be the mother of the Messiah king of heaven. And as a sign of this, go into
Morally. According to what I said in the first part,
Joachim and Ann persisted for twenty years, praying, giving alms, fasting and
vowing, and with all this they did not have a child. And because he kept his patience in this
shaming inflicted on him by a priest, immediately he had the promise of a
child. It follows from this that before
God, patience is better than prayers, alms, fastings or promises. Now think about it, for if you will to have
patience in injuries or events, this virtue counts more with God for getting
that which you need in this world, and salvation in the other, than anything
else. Therefore throw out rancor,
hatred, and ill will. And so sacred
scripture says: "For patience is necessary for you; that, doing the will
of God, you may receive the promise," (Heb 10:36). Behold how
Third, I say, [
First in the womb, in which the body is formed, and the spirit is created by God, on the same day and hour the Virgin Mary was sanctified. Nine months she was in the womb of her holy and blessed mother, and her mother, St. Ann took care that she did not ride about here and there, as men do, and took care to refrain from dancing, because by this many women lose the treasure committed to them.
she cared after giving birth by nursing her.
Thus did the holy women of old.
But nowadays the wife immediately says to her husband, "Do you have
a wet nurse?" And she does this so
that she is able to show off her breasts etc.
They prefer not to give milk to their child, and give to a bitch instead. They do evil, because just as the womb is the
chamber of the child, so thus the
breasts ought to be its pantry. But
Third, she cared for her in the temple. After
Here you have an example of staying in the
First, to cease from all temporal business, not to get a shave (facere barbi tonsura), nor do any other servile work. Reason, because on Sunday, Christ ceased from all business and labors by rising, and so he wished that Christians representing that resurrection and quiet ought to rest on Sundays. Same for the saints, because on that day they rested in eternal rest. Who however does not wish to rest, shall labor forever in hell.
Second, that you hear mass fasting. The reason is stated why taverns ought not to be open before mass on a feast day.
Third that you should be on time for mass. For you ought to be there at the beginning, for the "I confess," which is for your sake.
Fourth, you ought to remain at mass until the final blessing is given by the priest.
Fifth, that you ought not talk during mass, but today it is abused, because they no nothing else but talk of vain things at mass, etc. "Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath," (Ex 20:8).
But for those who keep these five, it can be said: "You have your fruit," good works, "unto sanctification," (Rom. 6:22).