(LifeSiteNews) — The following is a sermon delivered by Gerhard Cardinal Müller on January 21, the feast of St. Agnes. His Eminence gave the sermon during the Mass he celebrated at the church of San Agnese in Agnone, which is his titular church in Rome.
Sermon on the feast of St. Agnes, 2024
The criticism of Jews and Christians of ancient polytheism is not at all that pagans turned their gaze to a higher power, but that they worshiped creatures as gods instead of the one true God. Although every human being is able to recognize the existence of God and his eternal power from the works of creation on the basis of his reason, most people have nevertheless been seduced by the allure of the world, wealth, power and fame.
Paul sums up the tragedy that unfolded at the beginning of his letter to the Romans: “They exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, they worshiped the creature and honored it instead of the Creator” (Rom. 1:25).
In a nihilistic world in which the motto prevails, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall be dead” (1 Cor. 15:32), the ideal of the ascetic and oblative life of Christians must seem like a red rag on which the bull of naked enjoyment of life pounces with savage fury. What was idol worship in the ancient world is now the personality worship of the rich, beautiful and powerful. But even for the frivolous oligarchs of the New World Order and the arrogant elites of Agenda 2030, the same truth applies, and that is that the glory of the world will pass away and all men will have to die one day.
And even if their nefarious deeds were silenced by the mainstream press and remained unknown to us, they cannot remain so before God and they will not be able to escape the inexorable judgment of God’s truth. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23). If this word of Scripture is true, the conclusion is this: A priest of Christ cannot bless a sin against human nature in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Certainly: God loves everyone – but not everything. That is why it is not up to us to interpret Divine love; rather, God Himself reveals His love to the sinner as the only way to redemption: “As it is true that I live-oracle of the Lord God-I do not rejoice in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should be converted from his wickedness and live. Repent from your wicked conduct.” (Ez 33:11)
St. Agnes, whom we venerate today, was a Christian martyr in the final stages of the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. This virgin martyr represents the ideal of new life in Christ our Lord and Redeemer. Catholics around the world admire the 12-year-old Roman girl for her heroism and venerate her as a saint and as an advocate for our Christian youth.
About St. Agnes’ devout death to God, the great Church father St. Ambrose of Milan says: “So that in the one sacrifice there is a double martyrdom, that of virginity and that of worship: she remained a virgin and received the crown of martyrdom.” (De virginitate II, 9).
True worship of God and authentic chastity of spirit and body are mutually dependent. Worship of the idols of sex, money and power has – as the Apostle Paul explains – a self-destructive consequence for our thoughts and behavior, which must end in moral and spiritual death:
Therefore God gave them up to infamous passions; their women changed natural relationships into relationships against nature. Likewise also men, leaving the natural relationship with woman, have kindled themselves with passion for one another, committing ignominious acts men with men, thus receiving in themselves the punishment that befitted their transgression. And because they have despised the knowledge of God, God has abandoned them at the mercy of a depraved intelligence, so that they commit what is unworthy, filled as they are with every kind of injustice, wickedness, covetousness, malice full of envy, murder, rivalry, fraud, malice; slanderers, backbiters, enemies of God, outrageous, haughty, fanatical, ingenious in evil, rebellious to parents, foolish, disloyal, heartless, merciless.
And although they know the judgment of God, namely, that the perpetrators of such things deserve death, they not only continue to do them, but also approve of those who do them (Rom. 1:26-32).
This is the meaningless existence that the wicked lead under the dominion of the idols of this world.
Chastity as a Christian virtue, which stems from the worship of the one and only true God as the Creator and Perfecter of our lives, expresses recognition of the positive significance of physicality in general and male and female sexuality in particular. God has indeed created human beings as male and female. They have been blessed in Christ with all the blessings of his Spirit, that they may manifest his love to one another and that they may transmit life in the mutual love of parents and children in the succession of generations. In this way, spouses and parents participate in God’s universal will of salvation.
The fact that the atheistic ideology of gender troubles pubescent youth in their male or female identity by deluding and seducing them to the point of having their bodies mutilated, shelling out a lot of money, is evidence of the misanthropy of the new paganism. It does not take much intelligence to understand wicked propaganda when these crimes are euphemistically veiled with the phrase about free gender choice.
Actually, the human being is a natural unity of soul and body. By joyfully accepting the irreducible yes that the Creator has said to my existence in space and time, I can also accept myself. I am a creature of God; indeed, all of us are sons and daughters of the Father, we are brothers and sisters of God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and we are friends of the Holy Spirit.
Christian morality and particularly the 6th and 9th commandments: “Thou shalt not commit impure acts” have nothing to do with training the wild animal in us or our instincts disciplined by pragmatic reason, as Kant thought.
All the commandments concerning man’s relationship with himself and his fellow human beings are centered on person-to-person love. Love makes a human being perfect, whether he lives voluntarily according to his charism in celibacy for the Kingdom of Heaven or according to divine vocation in marriage. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from impudence; that each one know how to keep his own body with holiness and respect, not as an object of passions and lusts, like the pagans who do not know God; that no one offend and deceive in this matter his brother, for the Lord is vindictive of all these things, as we have already told you and attested to you. God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification” (1 Thess 4:3-7).
May St. Agnes help us to distinguish God’s truth from the lies of the new paganism. To her intercession we commend children and young adolescents in particular so that they may discover the profound meaning of humanity touched and transformed by the grace and light of the Gospel, and so that by living fully the dimension of faith they may become witnesses of the eternal realities, of the incorruptible treasure of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Saint Agnes pray for us! Amen.