Church Crisis/Duties of State: how do we make the best use of our time?

Editor writes…

Since the announcement that this blog will close permanently at the beginning of next summer, there has been some interesting discussion (on the

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” (Lord of the Rings)

Christmas thread) about the use of blogging as a means of apostolic action, a challenge, to those responsible for the crisis in the Church and a means of support for the faithful suffering as a result of the scandals. There is also the issue of carrying out our personal duties of state, and of pursuing our own spiritual well-being. How to make best use of the little time available to us, is, really, the issue at the heart of this debate.  Enter St Alphonsus Liguori!

St Aphonsus Liguori teaches… 

SERMON XXIV. THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. – ON THE VALUE OF TIME “A little while, and now you shall not see me.” JOHN xvi. 16.

THERE is nothing shorter than time, but there is nothing more valuable. There is nothing shorter than time; because the past is no more, the future is uncertain, and the present is but a moment. This is what Jesus Christ meant when he said: “A little while, and now you shall not see me. ” We may say the same of our life, which, according to St. James is but a vapour, which is soon scattered for ever. ”For what is your life? It is a vapour which appeareth for a little while.” (James iv. 14.) But the time of this life is as precious as it is short; for, in every moment, if we spend it well, we can acquire treasures of merits for heaven; but, if we employ time badly, we may in each moment commit sin, and merit hell. I mean this day to show you how precious is every moment of the time which God gives us, not to lose it, and much less to commit sin, but to perform good works and to save our souls.


1. “Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped thee.” (Isa. xlix. 8.) St. Paul explains this passage, and says, that the acceptable time is the time in which God has determined to confer his favours upon us. He then adds: ”Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. vi. 2.) The Apostle exhorts us not to spend unprofitably the present time, which he calls the day of salvation; because, perhaps, after this day of salvation, there shall be no salvation for us. “The time,” says the same Apostle, “is short; it remaineth that they that weep be as though they wept not; that they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as if they used it not.” (1 Cor. vii. 29, 30, 31.) 

Since, then, the time which we have to remain on this earth is short, the Apostle tells those who weep, that they ought not to weep, because their sorrows shall soon pass away; and those who rejoice, not to fix their affections on their enjoyments, because they shall soon have an end. Hence he concludes, that we should use this world, not to enjoy its transitory goods, but to merit eternal life. 

2. ”Son,” says the Holy Ghost, ”observe the time.” (Eccl. iv. 2 3.) Son, learn to preserve time, which is the most precious and the greatest gift that God can bestow upon you. St. Bernardino of Sienna teaches that time is of as much value as God; because in every moment of time well spent the possession of God is merited. He adds that in every instant of this life a man may obtain the pardon of his sins, the grace of God, and the glory of Paradise. “Modico tempore potest homo lucrari gratiam et gloriam.” Hence St. Bonaventure says that “no loss is of greater moment than the loss of time.” (Ser. xxxvii. in Sept.) 

3. But, in another place, St. Bernardino says that, though there is nothing more precious than time, there is nothing less valuable in the estimation of men. ”Nil pretiosius tempore, nil vilius reputatur.” (Ser. ii. ad Schol.) You will see some persons spending four or five hours in play. If you ask them why they lose so much time, they answer: To amuse ourselves. Others remain half the day standing in the street, or looking out from a window. If you ask them what they are doing, they shall say in reply, that they are passing the time. And why says the same saint, do you lose this time? Why should you lose even a single hour, which the mercy of God gives you to weep for your sins, and to acquire the divine grace? “Donec hora pertranseat, quam tibi ad agendam pœnitentiam, ad acquirendam gratiam, miseratio conditoris indulserit.”

4. O time, despised by men during life, how much shall you be desired at the hour of death, and particularly in the other world! Time is a blessing which we enjoy only in this life; it is not enjoyed in the next; it is not found in heaven nor in hell. In hell, the damned exclaim with tears: “Oh! that an hour were given to us.” They would pay any price for an hour or for a minute, in which they might repair their eternal ruin. But this hour or minute they never shall have. In heaven there is no weeping; but, were the saints capable of sorrow, all their wailing should arise from the thought of having lost in this life the time in which they could have acquired greater glory, and from the conviction that this time shall never more be given to them. A deceased Benedictine nun appeared in glory to a certain person, and said that she was in heaven, and in the enjoyment of perfect happiness; but that, if she could desire anything, it would be to return to life, and to suffer affliction, in order to merit an increase of glory. And she added that, to acquire the glory which corresponded to a single Ave Maria, she would be content to suffer till the day of judgment the long and painful sickness which brought on her death. Hence, St. Francis Borgia was careful to employ every moment time for God. When others spoke of useless things; he conversed with God by holy affections; and so recollected was he that, when asked his opinion on the subject of conversation, he knew not what answer to make. Being corrected for this, he said: I am content to be considered stupid, rather than lose my time in vanities. 

5. Some of you will say: What evil am I doing ? Is it not, I ask, an evil to spend your time in plays, in conversations, and useless occupations, which are unprofitable to the soul? Does God give you this time to lose it? “Let not,” says the Holy Ghost, ”the part of a good gift overpass thee.” (Eccl. xiv. 14.) The work men of whom St. Matthew speaks did no evil; they only lost time by remaining idle in the streets. But they were rebuked by the father of the family, saying “Why stand you here all the day idle ?” (Matt. xx. 6.) On the day of judgment Jesus Christ shall demand an account, not only of every month and day that has been lost, but even of every idle word. ”Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it on the day of judgment.” (Matt. xii. 36.) He shall likewise demand an account of every moment of the time which you shall lose. According to St. Bernard, all time which is not spent for God is lost timeClick here to read St Alphonsus’ entire sermon On The Value of Time (scroll to p.98)

Comments invited…  

38 responses

  1. Wow is that sermon scary! It really struck me and made me realise just how much time I waste.

    Regarding apostolic action and duty of state, I think we need to apply common sense. The Church does not expect us to engage in apostolic action at the expense of our duty of state. It would be wrong to neglect our job in order to blog etc, or neglect a child or elderly parent. This doesn’t mean that we can retreat from apostolic endeavours and use our duty of state as an excuse. In fact, speaking as a parent, it could be argued that part of our duty of state is to set a good example and encourage our children in the lay apostolate.

    I have to admit that I have failed many times in this regard. I have used my duty of state to excuse myself from apostolic action. I convince myself that I work hard and have children to raise. However, I think of the times I watch too much television, spend too much time on social media and generally sit about doing hee haw! I imagine if I try to use those excuses at my judgement I will be given short shrift! What a terrible thought !

    With regards to the need for personal holiness, again there should be no conflict with apostolic endeavours. They are not mutually exclusive or in competition with each other. Our personal holiness should inspire our action. St James tells us faith without good works is dead!

    I’d just like to address a comment on the Christmas thread because it is pertinent here and important that I correct myself. I made a comment that the blog discussions has become repetitive. I have to say that editor is correct to say that this due to the nature of the crisis. So, I was wrong to say that. However, I think what exacerbates this is when only a few bloggers comment regularly. Given my haphazard blogging habits, I have to take some responsibility for this.

    So, the sermon posted by St Alphonsus is a timely reminder not to waste time. I’m going to try to make more effort to blog more in the final six months or so. The question is, what are we going to do once the blog closes? It’s going to be much more difficult to engage in apostolic action. I fear it will be a classic case of not knowing how good something is until it’s gone.

    • Exactly. I’m ashamed too, that I don’t find the time. My duty of state is in need of examination too! Time goes very fast, so this a good opportunity to refocus on how we use our time in fulfilling our duty of state and Catholic action.

      • Catherine,

        Like Petrus, you are being too hard on yourself. I happen to know that you are a mother young children in your care, plus a couple of teenagers, and I know, too, that you have come on here from time to time to contribute to a relevant discussion, so please don’t feel guilty – I’m sure the cohort of bloggers here do all that they can, and nobody could ask for more.

        The issue really is one of advertising our presence, and that is not easy when, for whatever reason, we are not quickly found on the search engines; that’s the primary way to get traffic to our site, I believe.

      • Catherine,

        I think the article will be of very good use to all of us. I note that the editor has said it’s really about self- discipline and I think that’s spot on. I also agree that recreation is vital. It’s all about healthy balance!

    • Petrus,

      I think you are being much too hard on yourself.

      St Alphonsus Liguori is, indeed, very strict, demanding in his exhortations and it is always good to have a high goal – that way, we might get to somewhere around the middle!

      But, remember, even the monks and nuns in strictly enclosed monasteries enjoy a couple of hours (in total) of recreation every day so it’s not wrong to relax. It is, in fact, essential.

      The words “haphazard blogging habits” jumped out at me from your comment because I think people (especially those who offer me unstinted praise for “all the work I do on the blog”) don’t realise that it’s just a matter of a little discipline. I don’t sit at my computer all day although I’m sure it must seem that way and I’m blessed in being able to type fast; it really is just a matter of taking a few minutes on a regular basis to contribute something and it may simply be a word of encouragement to another contributor. I think some people imagine they have to write paragraphs upon paragraphs. Indeed, the one blogger who springs to mind, who used to cause me some concern because he did just that, didn’t take too long to hang up his hat and disappear into thin air. It’s impossible to keep up that level of writing, even, I imagine, if your name is John Grisham!

      Anyway, it’s all academic now – you’ve been a very faithful CT blogger over the years – as has Athanasius – so neither of you has anything with which to reproach yourselves, apart from not lobbying the Government for a New Year’s Honour for Best Editor of the Year 😀

  2. I have been thinking a lot over the last day or so about the reasons for closing the blog etc. I was surprised that the reasons are because of the falling level of contributions; I also had assumed that Editir was closing it for health or family constraints.
    I really missed it during Advent as I usually follow it every day. However I too am only a sporadic contributor I suppose. In the few years that I have been following it I have learned a lot about the Faith and about the importance of tradition. However I only add something if I feel I have some thing useful to say or want some clarification. In general I do not comment on Scottish parochial matters as I am not well informed on them and rarely on some of the scandals from errant priests etc. Again because it is a bit “same old” .. I did get involved in the blogs about the sick children but found a lot of the contributions very distressing so backed off in the end.
    I think there is no doubt that much if the content is repetitive: Novus Ordo, Pope Francis, homosexuality, failure to consecrate Russia, Catholic schools etc but as editor says all these things are ongoing and part of what should be thought about and discussed.
    I wonder why we do not get more people blogging? Maybe because generally speaking, trolls apart, the standard of contributions is quite high and learned and could perhaps intimidate people who do not feel they have the requisite level of expertise to add anything. I would certainly think twice before arguing with some of our more erudite bloggers! However the lurkers could be the very ones who actually gain the most from their visits to the blog. They are receiving a genuine catechesis and a traditional take on the church which is not found in many places these days. So it is a very valuable apostolate in itself surely? My Advent Reading has been Cardinal Sarah’s wonderful book The Power of Silence which I would recommend to all of you, but as editor says our confirmation duties must also include shouting our faith from the rooftops so silence is only the basis for our spiritual life not the whole part o& it. If that makes sense. At least in the blog context I hope.

    For what it is worth I would implore Editor to have another think about closing us down. Please. I would really miss all the wonderful bloggers who in a real way have become part of my life! I will also promise to comment more often too.

    Anyway that is my twopennorth on the subject. I must now reread St Alphonsus who always terrifies me too.

      • Excellent observation, Petrus. The trolls and the other enemies of God will be happy that the CT blog is closing down. To echo Elizabeth, I missed CT during St. Philip’s Fast (Advent) and will be very unhappy 😢 when it closes down in 2019.

        Imho, someone should take over the blog for Madame Editor and keep it alive. Obviously, it should be someone who is in tandem with Madame Editor and promotes the full Message of Fatima.

        That’s my .02 for today.

        Margaret 🇺🇸

        • Margaret USA,

          I know you mean well but I need to make clear the fact that we cannot ask Catholic Truth donors to fund someone else’s blog! I can “keep it alive” without any problem, but it’s hardly “alive” if very few people contribute to it! THAT is the issue. It’s about our (lack of) ability to attract visitors through the search engines, for example, as I’ve already explained, and the fact that the other “traditional” blogs do not advertise us – they being not exactly brimming with zeal for the world at large, but apparently exclusively interested in their own neck of the woods. Understandable, if less than impressive.

          I doubt very much that the number of contributors would increase just because another administrator is running the blog, so, really, I can only repeat what I’ve already said – anyone can start their own blog. Some are even free, although you then risk advertising some highly unsuitable products.

          I really didn’t mean to begin a debate about the closure of the blog; rather, I hoped to ignite a discussion about being active in the lay apostolate generally.

          • Dear Madame Editor,

            I think you misunderstood my suggestion. I thought that if someone worked with you at CT (I.e. you managing the print version and another person managing the CT blog under your direction) it would help you personally and also keep the CT blog alive.

            I’m sorry if I confused you.

            Wishing you and the CT family a happy and holy New Year.

            Yours in the Infant King;

            Margaret 🇺🇸

            • Margaret USA,

              I see – I get it now. However, that would double my workload. Managing the blog is not an issue, as I have explained. It’s getting the contributors to sign up – that’s the issue! Doesn’t matter if it’s my unworthy self or A.N. Other who is preparing and posting reports for comment, if there is nobody or very few commenting, THAT is the issue!

              Anyway let’s leave it there. I remember you telling us that you often blog over at The Remnant so you won’t be homeless! 😀

              Happy new year to you as well, when it comes.

    • Elizabeth,

      My reassurances to Petrus and Catherine applies also to your good self. There’s only one thing I would add and it is this…

      With reference to your remarks about readers not feeling knowledgeable enough, people feeling “intimidated” by the standard of knowledge displayed by the regular bloggers here, I would say the following – although my suggestion depends on how much time individuals may have at their disposal. It’s only a suggestion not a command!

      Research! When St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, was asked to be novice mistress, she was reluctant, feeling inadequate for the task. However, having accepted the duty in a spirit of religious obedience, she soon experienced what any teacher will tell you, that it was in teaching her novices that she learned herself.

      Nobody knows everything about anything! That is a fact. It’s a strength to admit not knowing something, not a weakness. Only the class bully thinks it’s a weakness, and hands up anyone who cares what the class bully thinks!

      One of the things which I most enjoy about blogging is precisely the satisfaction of seeking an answer to an assertion or a statement which makes me raise my eyebrows, or I’m not sure about or I simply don’t know the answer.

      Searching the topics here over the years, I’ve learned loads. So, no-one need feel intimidated either about posting a question or seeking an answer or an idea or ten. That is how we all learn.

      • Editor,

        I couldn’t agree more. I recently had to teach a unit on World War I. The only thing I knew about it was that it was a war that started in 1914 and ended in 1918. I made it clear to the pupils that I was learning with them.

  3. I think it’s important to read these lessons from the saints objectively, even if, occasionally, they appear quite pessimistic.

    We are made of body and soul, both of which need nourishing. It would be ideal if we could all be mystics spending our entire time in the presence of God, but that’s not how human nature generally works and God knows it. Hence, even in the most severe religious orders there are mandatory periods of recreation, times when the religious relax their minds and bodies in harmless pastimes.

    I seem to recall a saint (can’t remember who) saying “enjoy yourself but sin not”. God wants us to be happy in His grace, enjoying the simple pleasures He provides for us in life. He knows well that we need some rest from the stresses and strains of life or we would break under the pressure. The notion that spending time in non-religious activities is somehow a waste of time is actually not Catholic, it’s Puritan. Some of these poor souls think it a sinful waste of time to laugh.

    It could be that St. Alphonsus was addressing the greater problem of societal indifference to religion than those who actually try to be faithful and do their duty. In this regard I would say his sermon is well needed in society today. We all see the apostasy from God unfolding, the greater part of humanity putting God aside in their pursuit of earthly riches and pleasures. That’s the kind of waste St. Alphonsus is referring to, the waste that leads to personal misery in this life and Hell in the next. Human beings can only be truly happy when they have the grace of God in their soul. It’s what we were created for and no earthly pleasure can take its place.

    Our Lady of Fatima said that all that’s required by God for salvation is that we keep the Commandments, say the rosary daily and do our duty in accordance with our state in life. If we do this with a measured enjoyment of rest and the legitimate pleasures in life then we’ll be doing well. Fr. John Considine S.J. once wrote that in the days of great penance and bodily austerity there was no stress, no nerves. Stress is the great penance many of us have to suffer today and we do well to manage it by God’s grace and a little respite every now and again.

    Now I would write more here on the subject but I simply don’t have the time!!

    • Athanasius,

      I think you are right to point out that we can, and must, enjoy simple pleasures. However, these pleasures can get out of hand. For example, I enjoy watching television. I watch a lot of documentaries and human interest programmes. I love programmes about vet surgeries and doctor surgeries. However, I’ve fallen into a bad habit of watching daft soaps. It’s something I do need to address.

      I guess this is where we need to have the common sense to read that sermon by At Alphonsus and apply it carefully to our own lives. We can’t feel guilty for enjoying some recreation . As the editor pointed out earlier, even Religious in monasteries and convents are permitted to engage in recreation.

      A wee laugh to lighten the conversation a little. One of my favourite ways to relax is to spend time with my animals in the garden shed. Last week I must’ve left one of the hutch doors open before I closed up the shed. When I went back the next morning you would have thought a bomb had hit it! The animals had climbed out and had a right shindig during the night!

    • Athanasius,

      While Our Lady of Fatima certainly did say that our first duty is to be faithful to our duties of state – and I have to allow for the (remote) possibility that I may be wrong on this – I have no recollection of her saying that that is all we need to do for salvation (+commandments). If I thought that, I’d never have started the blog in the first place and you can take it as read (so to speak) that my editorship of the CT newsletter would definitely be history – with immediate effect… 😀

      Because, If fidelity to our duty of state is all that is required (over and above keeping the commandments) what are we to make of Pope Pius XII who, in an address to the American Bishops about the importance of Catholic influence in society, spoke of the lifelong duty of the faithful to be Soldiers of Christ:

      “The Christian, if he does honour to the name he bears, is always an apostle; it is not permitted to the Soldier of Christ that he quit the battlefield, because only death puts an end to his military service.”

      Of course, there is no particular, mandatory method of fulfilling our Confirmation duty; for you, it may simply be to slow down on the motorway and stop yelling at me 😀 while for me, well… I am perhaps called to win countless converts from among our Presbyterian brethren, currently being ecumenically led astray. Who know? God’s ways are not Athanasius’ our ways…

      • Editor

        I’m only repeating what Sister Lucy herself revealed. She said that Our Lady told her that all that is required for salvation is that we keep the Commandments, do our duty faithfully in accordance with our state in life (which does not rule out apostolic works), and say the rosary. This is a well known statement of Sister Lucy, I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it.

        Fr. Gruner spoke of this a few times making reference to the fact that our world is so stressful today that the penances of old are rarely taken on, other than Church imposed ones. So Our Lady was letting us know that we need not live austere lives of penance and mortification to be saved.

        It’s like when the rich young man asked Our Lord what he must do to inherit eternal life Our Lord answered that he should keep the Commandments. He didn’t add anything to that, just the Commandments. Our Lady mentioned the rosary and duty as two additional requirements, but even these are not overbearing. Sounds very merciful to me.

        • Editor

          Forgot to say: I prefer God’s ways to the highway, yet always seem to find myself on the latter route! It’s not fair!

        • Athanasius,

          Yes, I do know of that statement but I’ve never heard it interpreted as meaning we do not need to engage in the lay apostolate – Father Gruner would certainly not have advocated such an interpretation, as he’d have had no helpers at all! You’ve made a jump, in any case,from apostolic action (as an essential duty arising out of the Sacrament of Confirmation) and living austere lives of penance and mortification! You’ll never find me claiming that austere lives, penance, mortification are essential to salvation. You kidding me? All I say is what we should all have been taught from our childhood that if we get to Heaven, we won’t be going alone. Our Confirmation duty requires us to spread the Faith in whatever way we can, and that is part and parcel of our duty of state, as I think you’ve actually acknowledged and Petrus has stated. So, how can I be wrong, in such auspicious company?!

          However, to be clear, I do not mean to minimise the importance of austerity; those who live lives of penance and mortification, as do those monks and nuns in the strictly enclosed Orders, will undoubtedly be used by God to save, not only their own souls, but the souls of others who may otherwise have been lost.

          About the young man, well, just to remind ourselves, Our Lord did, actually add something; he told the young man that if he wanted to be perfect, then in addition to keeping the Commandments, he had to sell all his possessions give them to the poor, and “Come, follow Me” – the higher state is always the religious state.

          Finally, to clarify, because I’m sure you already know this, I wouldn’t say that Our Lady added the rosary as an additional requirement for salvation because although the rosary is, of course, important and, as one priest said to me once, when he forgets to pray his rosary he feels like he has committed a mortal sin! Still, the rosary is not a dogmatic requirement of the Church, but a centrally important devotion.

          There are, however, many quotes from saints to underline that the rosary is salvific in its nature. Apart from St Dominic’s famous “one day, through the rosary, Our Lady will save the world” we have this from St Louis Marie de Montfort: “Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”

      • Editor,

        I agree. Apostolic endeavours are a must. As I mentioned earlier, I’m of the opinion that this is part of our duty of state. We spread the Faith wherever we are and however we can. There’s no conflict between duty of state and apostolic action.

  4. Petrus

    What have I told you about keeping tigers in a shed in the garden? They’re not pussy cats, you know!

    I see your point about watching too much television, a definite waste of valuable time. I remember a priest referring to the TV as “the devil’s tabernacle” before which the world worships. He went a bit over the top, but there’s something in what he says when you consider that very little on TV is wholesome. Like you, I’m into good documentaries, animal programmes and selective comedy and drama. To be fair, it’s a challenge these days trying to find a decent programme that isn’t 60 years old or 25 times repeated.

  5. Every single day I find myself thinking back to my mother’s death and lamenting that I didn’t have just five more minutes with her. Five more minutes. St Alphonsus is onto something when he speaks of the value of time, and it is true that we don’t really appreciate its value… because, of course, we can’t imagine not having time. I knew that my mother was dying yet I just could not imagine that soon she would be gone. I left so much unsaid – such as where did you put the China teapot? 😀

    So, to all of you who are blessed still to have your parents with you, I urge you to spend as much time as you can with them. Although, if you think they might complain to Social Services, don’t push it 😀

  6. This summer I attended a traditional sacred music retreat, whose featured speaker was an Oratorian from Washington DC. His theme was something I’d never considered before, but it was a theme closely related to this thread: how the Church sanctifies time.

    He started off with a quote from St. Augustine from Book II of the Confessions – “God has put the timeless into our hearts” – and went on, while discussing the Liturgy of the Hours (both the Roman Office and the Monastic Office), to point out such things as Our Lord’s reference to “His hour,” the “day” of the Lord, etc.

    I think part of our “job” as Catholics, to state the obvious, is to sanctify our personal time with prayer, spiritual reading, mental prayer and penance, in addition to sanctifying our public time with the Church at Mass, Adoration, Benediction, Missions, Lenten exercises….

    This certainly doesn’t exclude healthy forms of recreation, since, as Athanasius pointed out, we are both body and soul, and the body requires rest and rejuvenation. In fact, I think such recreation helps to bring order to our personal lives – an order which should dovetail with the public order of the Church.

    In fact, at a certain level, this seems to be the major battle of our troubled times: Divinely ordained order vs. Satanic disorder.

  7. Interesting to note Sajid Javid’s comments today about those crossing the Channel ….’not being genuine asylum seekers’… No kidding, Sherlock!

    It’s obvious to a blind horse these guys are being bankrolled. Far from being ‘poor, desperate, destitute people fleeing for their very lives’, they are mostly fit and able young men who are being provided with brand-new boats and are turning up on our shores wearing all brand-new gear.

    If Javid was serious about ‘clamping down’ on this, he could start by seizing their bank cards to find out who’s been paying into their accounts. Rocket science?

    • Pat,

      I wonder if your comment might be better suited to the General thread?

      What do you think of the lead article by St Alphonsus?

    • Pat,

      I’m afraid Petrus is correct – this thread is really intended to make us think about how we are using our time in this world, in the context of exercising our Confirmed duty to be Soldiers of Christ. The General Discussion thread is available for off topic comments. I know that it’s not always clear where the line is drawn, but I think in this case, the answer is “crystal”!

      I’ve also replaced your doctored crudity (thanks for doctoring it! Still recognisable – I sometimes see this sort of thing on the most surprising of Catholic blogs, but here we definitely seek to steer clear. Again, “crystal” 😀 I know you won’t mind.)

      If you haven’t (and I suspect you haven’t) read at least some of St Alphonsus’ sermon at the top of this thread, I recommend you do so because it is, to say the (crystal clear) least, chilling!

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