samedi, décembre 30, 2006
lundi, décembre 25, 2006
The Gregorian Mass of Midnight is probably the most expressive and moving of the entire liturgical repertory. It introduces us into the mystery of the Holy Trinity and allows us to hear the intimate dialogue between the Father and His Son: Dominus dixit ad me! The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.
In presence of these words we can only remain silent and bow down with humility. God is speaking! He is speaking to Himself and His speech is Himself. His speech is His Word and His Word now has a name since he became visible: Jesus-Christ!
Tonight we can hear the Divine Word resounding from one end of the earth to the other filling the heavens and our hearts. We listen to Him and this brings peace and well-being in our souls. But the world hears too. Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? The world is not mistaken. The Baby of Bethlehem comes to foil its plans. Then, a conspiracy is organized in order to eliminate Him. The night of Christmas is already stained by the blood of the Holy Innocents. But it is not enough. They – the enemies of God – want the blood of Jesus. They will be satisfied. They will have His blood. Christ will give it to them. But this time, they will be mistaken. His blood will be for their condemnation and for the salvation of the just.
Now the Gentiles can rage and the people can continue their plots, but it is too late. Jesus Christ already came into the world and He died. The mass murder of the Holy Innocents anticipates the death of Jesus. But they didn’t die for nothing. Nor did Jesus die for naught.
Now the light shines upon the world. Now we have an opening, a path to the Truth and a way toward salvation. Now we have a reason to hope and a God to love. This God gave us a precious gift: His own Son. This is the Baby we come to adore tonight. A Baby! Who could imagine that God had to come under the appearance of a Baby. And it is not merely an appearance since the humanity of Jesus is real and belong to Him. Here is the mystery of the Incarnation. And we are now facing this mystery, unable to understand it. It is ineffable. We can only stammer a few feeble words in an effort to express this mystery. Or better yet, we can remain silent and adore it. Let the generation of the Word be honored by our silence, as a Father of the Church said – I think it is Saint Gregory of Nazianzen. It is the same silence which is most appropriate for another kind of generation, when the Word comes to the altar during Mass. Men cannot express adequatly the greatness of God and it is so much better for them to worship in silence.
In the silence of this very special night, in the silence of our hearts, we can hear God speaking to His Son: In splendoribus sanctorum ex utero ante luciferum genui te - in the brightness of the Saints: from the womb before the day star I begot thee.
Tonight we share with all the Saints the brightness of God. We certainly don’t see it yet, but it has already come to enlighten our intelligence and make us believe. Now we should keep this light preciously cherished until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts as Saint Peter says. It will be the day of our generation to eternal life prefigured by the generation of the Word to the temporal life.
This generation will not be completed without our Blessed Mother who was required by God Himself for the temporal generation of His Son. Thus, we turn to her and congratulate for the great honor of being the Mother of the Savior. It is a great mystery that God has chosen to make our salvation depending on the agreement of a woman. And she said Fiat! This little word, as little as was the Incarnate Word in the manger, has changed and renewed the World.
Fiat! Fiat Amen!
dimanche, décembre 24, 2006
The beautiful Alleluia of this Mass is a proclamation of Faith and Hope. We, disciples of Jesus-Christ, know that the feast of the Nativity means the end of the reign of Satan on earth. We know that the birth of Jesus has changed the world and that now a kingdom of peace and justice has been established. The first vespers of the Nativity will remind us this afternoon that the King of Peace reigns now over the entire world. It is true! It is a fact! We must believe it.
Yet, if we look at the world, it doesn’t seem so evident. Iniquity remains and the Savior doesn’t reign supreme. Tomorrow’s proper first make reference to the days after the coming of the Savior. For the Jews of the Old Testament, tomorrow meant the coming of the Messiah. What about for us?
Let Pope Benedict XVI answer the question, or rather Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. He wrote in his book, The spirit of the Liturgy: “The Church Fathers described the various stages of fulfillment not just as contrast between Old and New Testament, but as the three steps of shadow, image and reality. In the Church of the New Testament the shadow has been scattered by the image. ‘The night is far gone, the day is at hand.’ (Rom 13,12) – this was the epistle of the first Sunday of Advent – But, as Saint Gregory the Great says, it is still only the time of dawn, when darkness and light are intermingled. The sun is rising, but it has still not reached its zenith. Thus the time of the New testament is a peculiar kind of ‘in-between’, a mixture of ‘already and not yet.’ The empirical conditions of life in this world are still in force, but they have been burst open, and must be more and more burst open, in preparation for the final fulfillment already inaugurated in Christ.”
Dear Brethren, tomorrow the sun will rise but it will not yet reach its zenith. And it will not until all is fulfilled and the number of the elect is achieved. The sun will rise but there will still be clouds in our sky and even, at times, some eclipses that seem to shut out the light. If some days you don’t see the sun, then don’t forget that it is still here, above the clouds.
Our life is like mountaineering. If you want to reach the top of the mountain, you have to get up early in the morning and start climbing in the dark. When the clouds are low and it is raining, your climb to the top becomes more difficult, but you know that at the top of the mountain the sun will shine. The thought of the beauty you will contemplate there gives you so much ardor that you no longer care about your fatigue or the weight of your backpack and the rain that soaks you. You move forward with more strength of will and more enthusiasm than ever. The idea of giving up now becomes unbearable. After all the effort you have already made, it would be complete nonsense. You are right. You are right because the pains you suffer during the ascension are nothing in comparison to the beauty of the panorama you will enjoy standing at the top and to the feeling of well being you will have.
And such is our life on earth: an ascension toward the Sun of Justice. As long as you walk through life with hope, you will go forward, because you know that your present sufferings will be changed into joy. The Baby Jesus is the guarantee that our hopes are not vain. He already came into the world, poor and rejected by men. His coming was already his first suffering. But at Bethlehem, in the manger, it is not the appropriate place for wails and lamentations. It is the time for joy and hope.
In a few hours we will hear the angel of God saying: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.
Dear Brethren, the joy of Christmas prefigures the eternal happiness of Heaven. Let nothing come to remove it from our souls. And let us spend the time who have before the birth of Jesus with His mother. The sweet and maternal presence of Mary will appease our hearts and help us to open our souls to God.
lundi, décembre 18, 2006
This recommendation of Saint Paul seems to be quite appropriate on this Gaudete Sunday since our parish is full of worries and rumors. Now you know the reason: there is not enough money to pay for everyone and everything. The virtue of prudence requests that we should take care of this real problem and it is, perhaps, the occasion for us to think about the purpose of our parish and our raison d’etre.
The priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter was founded in 1988 in order to train seminarians to be priests for the service of the Catholic Church. Those priests must observe faithfully the liturgical and spiritual traditions according to the dispositions of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei. This is the purpose. Then the means are various: parochial ministry, schools, preaching of retreats, missions and anything else this purpose may demand.
We also have to remember that our Fraternity has been created and still continues to grow up in the midst of a very serious crisis within the Church. The fact is that the great majority of parishes, monasteries and other churches dispense a poor liturgy and bad doctrine which divert the souls from the worship in spirit and in truth. By the grace of God, our Fraternity is faithful to the authentic principles of the Catholic Faith and allows the faithful who come to our churches to be sanctified through the Sacraments performed in the ancient rite and through the good doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God, we are not the only ones to offer this opportunity but finally the places in the world where you can fin a good church are very few. Many of you have to drive many miles to come here because you cannot find a real substantial and spiritual food in your local parishes, but at least you have this parish, which is a great grace.
I think it is very important to not forget our background and the circumstances in which the traditional movement continues to develop. We are on the battlefield. We must fight for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for the true doctrine of Jesus Christ, which means for Jesus-Christ Himself. We are attacked and attacked on every side and there are many frontlines.
We, and mainly our predecessors, had to fight to defend the Latin Mass and to continue the work of the Church as it has been done for many centuries. In the early Seventies, the situation didn’t look very good. Archbishop Lefebvre started the Society of Saint Pius X with a few priests and few material means. Some good diocesan priests had to oppose their Bishops and some religious priests their superiors, just for being able to continue what the Church has done from the beginning. A priest, who is now in our Fraternity, was arrested while celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He had taken a church by force and the Bishop called the police for this. Without the great work and the courage of our elders, there would be almost no Latin Mass today and the Fraternity of Saint Peter would probably not exist. But they kept persevered in fighting the good fight and keeping the Faith, as Saint Paul did. I cannot tell you in a sermon all the details of the fight for the Latin Mass in the 70’s and 80’s, but it was a great and very difficult task. Then, in 1988, it was necessary to start again from scratch. It was a great challenge for our founders because nobody knew what would happen.
Now, the situation is certainly more comfortable. We still have to fight, but at least we are recognized by the highest authorities of the Church. This doesn’t mean that things are easier everywhere. Here, in Atlanta, I can say that we are lucky and blessed. The situation is quite comfortable: a personal parish with two priests who give the Sacrament and solid doctrine, a nice church, full every Sunday, a polyphonic choir and a Gregorian Schola, a Scout troop and many other activities. Thanks be to God! But I hope that comfort would not make us forgot the fact that everything is not due to us. I hope we would not fall asleep in a kind a routine. I hope we would not loose and miss our goal.
A comfortable and easy life has never been conducive to the spiritual life. A minimum of austerity is required, according to each person’s individual disposition. I come from a country where the Catholic Church is poor, at least today. With no support from the State and only 10% of churchgoers among the Catholic population, it goes without saying that it is difficult for the Church to provide for all her needs. Many dioceses and religious communities have no other choice than to sell their properties. So, when I arrived in the U.S. three years ago, I was very impressed by the money that the Church has here. Even our own small parish, which is probably one the poorest in the diocese, is definitively more prosperous than my two previous parishes in France where I used to serve with another Fraternity priest. The possibility of losing a priest due to financial difficulty has never even been a possibility in these parishes of France.
So, dear Brethren, I just want to reassure you. There is no reason that your priests will leave as long as we remain faithful to our goals and to the purpose of the Fraternity of Saint Peter. We are here to give you Our Lord Jesus Christ and we can continue to do this even with less money. At least, I can assure you that I will not leave just because of a lack of money. That would be an abandonment and a defeat after the 40 years of battle for the Latin Mass and I don’t want to give Satan this pleasure.
Listen again to the words of Saint Paul: “In nothing be solicitous; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
This trial is for us an occasion to turn to God and to ask for His grace and His help. Then, everyone will do in conscience what he must do. We have already received many graces from God in this parish. Let us give thanks to God. Now, perhaps God wants to purify us and remind us of what is most important and useful for our souls. Let us accept the warning and the lesson and let us keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We are in good hands.
May Our Lady quieten our hearts and encourage us in the practice of a true charity. May she helps us to prepare our souls for the Feast of the Nativity and to welcome Our Lord Jesus Christ. God is good, and we will continue to work for Him !
samedi, décembre 16, 2006
Par René Girard, de l'Académie française ; Michel Déon, de l'Académie française ; Bertrand Collomb, de l'Institut ; Jean Piat, comédien ; Claude Rich, comédien ; Jean-Laurent Cochet, comédien et metteur en scène ; François Ceyrac, ancien président du CNPF ; Charles Beigbeder, chef d'entreprise ; Jean-François Hénin, chef d'entreprise ; Jean-Marie Schmitz, cadre dirigeant, président de la faculté libre de droit, d'économie et de gestion (faco) ; Raphaël Dubrulle, cadre dirigeant ; Jean François, président d'honneur du groupe Lafarge ; Jean-Marie Le Méné, président de la fondation Lejeune ; Jean Raspail, écrivain ; Jean des Cars, historien ; Denis Tillinac, écrivain et éditeur ; Robert Colonna d'Istria, écrivain ; Isabelle Mourral, président d'honneur des écrivains catholiques ; Jacques Heers, professeur d'université, historien, ancien directeur des études médiévales à l'université Paris-IV Sorbonne ; Alain Lanavère, maître de conférences à l'Institut catholique de Paris ; Jean-Christian Petitfils, historien et écrivain ; Yvonne Flour, professeur à l'université Paris I, vice-président du conseil scientifique ; Jacques Garello, professeur émérite à l'université Paul-Cézanne, Aix-Marseille III ; Jean-Didier Lecaillon, professeur des universités (Panthéon-Assas) ; Catherine Rouvier, maître de conférences à l'université de Sceaux, avocat ; Patrick Louis, professeur à l'université Lyon III, député européen ; Jean-Yves Naudet, professeur à l'université Cézanne, président de l'Association des économistes catholiques ; Bertrand Fazio, membre de l'Association des économistes catholiques ; Roland Hureaux, écrivain, ancien élève de l'École normale supérieure et de l'École nationale d'administration ; Jean Sevillia, historien et écrivain ; Henry de Lesquen, haut fonctionnaire, ancien élève de l'École polytechnique et de l'École nationale d'administration ; Yvan Blot, haut fonctionnaire, ancien élève de l'École nationale d'administration ; Jacques Trémolet de Villers, avocat à la cour ; Alexandre Varaut, avocat à la cour ; Solange Doumic, avocat à la cour, ancien premier secrétaire de la conférence du stage ; Frédéric Pichon, avocat à la cour ; Francis Jubert, président de la Fondation de service politique ; Anne Coffinier, ancienne élève de l'École normale supérieure, ancienne élève de l'École nationale d'administration, diplomate ; Benoît Schmitz, professeur agrégé d'histoire, ancien élève de l'École normale supérieure ; Marie de Préville, professeur agrégé de lettres classiques ; Alexis Nogier, chirurgien, chef de clinique à la Pitié- Salpêtrière ; Philippe Darantière, consultant ; Thierry Boutet, écrivain et journaliste ; François Foucart, écrivain et journaliste ; Philippe Maxence, écrivain, rédacteur en chef de L'Homme nouveau ; Jacques de Guillebon, écrivain ; Falk van Gaver, écrivain ; Mathieu Baumier, écrivain ; Christophe Geffroy, directeur de la NEF ; Anne Bernet, écrivain ; Louis Daufresne, journaliste ; Fabrice Madouas, journaliste ; Hilaire de Crémiers, journaliste.
Nous laïcs, catholiques romains, souhaitons, devant l'émoi médiatique provoqué par une possible libéralisation de la messe grégorienne, témoigner publiquement de notre fidélité, de notre soutien et de notre affection au Saint-Père, Benoît XVI.
1. La constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium du concile Vatican II rappelle : « Obéissant fidèlement à la tradition, le concile déclare que notre Sainte Mère l'Église considère comme égaux en droit et en dignité tous les rites légitimement reconnus, et qu'elle veut, à l'avenir, les conserver et les favoriser de toute manière. » Nous considérons donc comme une grâce la diversité des rites dans l'Église catholique et nous voyons venir avec joie la libéralisation de celui qui fut notre ordinaire, celui de nos parents et de nos grands-parents, et qui a nourri la vie spirituelle de tant de saints.
Nous voulons dire au Saint-Père et à nos évêques notre joie de voir apparaître de plus en plus de communautés paroissiales ou religieuses attachées à la beauté de la liturgie sous ses différentes formes. Nous partageons le constat de celui qui n'était alors que le cardinal Ratzinger : « Je suis convaincu que la crise de l'Église que nous vivons aujourd'hui repose largement sur la désintégration de la liturgie ». (Ma Vie, Fayard, 1998.)
2. « Promouvoir la restauration de l'unité entre tous les chrétiens, c'est l'un des buts principaux du saint concile oecuménique de Vatican II. Une seule et unique Église a été instituée par le Christ Seigneur », affirme l'introduction du décret Unitatis Redintegratio.
C'est dans cet esprit décrit par le concile que nous avons accueilli avec joie la création de l'Institut du Bon Pasteur et que nous prions et espérons que tous ceux qui se sont éloignés de la pleine communion suivent ce même chemin de réconciliation.
3. Nous sommes choqués par l'idée qu'un catholique puisse être inquiet de la célébration de la messe qui fut celle que célébrèrent le Padre Pio et saint Maximilien Kolbe. Celle qui a nourri la piété de sainte Thérèse de l'Enfant-Jésus et du bienheureux pape Jean XXIII.
Nous savons que l'Église est composée d'hommes et de femmes, et que des propos critiquables et parfois insultants ont pu être échangés « parfois par la faute des personnes de l'une et de l'autre partie » (Unitatis Redintegratio, 3).
Nous demandons à Dieu de « pardonner nos offenses, comme nous pardonnons aussi à ceux qui nous ont offensés ».
Nous mesurons combien est difficile le gouvernement de l'Église et combien est lourde la charge de notre Saint-Père le Pape, comme est exigeante celle de nos évêques.
Nous souhaitons afficher par ce texte notre soutien total à Benoît XVI qui, après Jean-Paul II le Grand et dans la longue et magnifique chaîne des successeurs de Pierre, continue de travailler avec humilité, courage, intelligence et fermeté à la nouvelle évangélisation
mercredi, décembre 13, 2006
L’histoire des hommes, l’histoire de tout homme est marquée par ce rapport au mal auquel nul n’échappe. D’une façon ou d’une autre, les personnes et les civilisations, y sont confrontées. Mel Gibson dans son dernier film Apocalypto nous montre jusqu’à quelle limite le mal peut étendre son influence au point d’en dénaturer notre humanité.
Apocalypto : un nouveau commencement ! Mais pour qu’il y ait un nouveau commencement, il faut que quelque chose se termine. Tel est l’idée du film qui nous montre la fin d’une civilisation. Une parmi tant d’autre. En son temps, Saint Augustin s’était déjà intéressé à l’histoire des civilisations dans sa grandiose œuvre La cité de Dieu. Celle-ci demeure tandis que les civilisations passent. Souvent, elles s’effondrent d’elle-même, victimes de leurs propres erreurs, de leurs fautes, agonisant sous le poids de leurs propres vices. Il en fut ainsi de Rome dont Salluste nous dit qu’elle fut « peu à peu changée, tombée de sa gloire et de sa vertu dans le vice et la honte. »
Une autre civilisation peut alors prospérer, n’ayant qu’à rebâtir sur les ruines de celle qui l’a précédée. La transition est souvent accompagnée des maux les plus horribles dont le genre humain a le secret, sachant cultiver comme un raffinement l’art de la cruauté. Salluste nous rapporte encore le témoignage de César s’adressant au Sénat : « Vierges enlevées, enfants arrachées des bras de leur mères ; femmes livrées aux outrages des vainqueurs ; maisons et temples pillés ; des armes partout ; des cadavres partout ; le sang et le deuil partout. » Ainsi Rome que l’on considère comme un modèle de civilisation n’a pas échappé à la barbarie. Il s’agissait après tout d’un peuple païen, qui saura d’ailleurs faire preuve de beaucoup de cruauté, lorsque le temps viendra où il s’agira d’éliminer ses enfants qui auront embrassé la Foi au Christ. Et faut-il aller si loin dans le passé pour contempler des prodiges d’horreur ? La Révolution Française est-elle déjà si loin derrière nous pour que l’on en oublie les crimes dignes de ceux commis plus tard par ses enfants, les totalitarismes du soi disant monde moderne ? Pourtant notre vieille Europe avait connu les bienfaits civilisateurs du Christianisme. Cela ne l’épargna pas pour autant de bien des horreurs qui n’arrivèrent pas de l’extérieur mais qui furent engendrés en son sein. Est-ce parce que la civilisation chrétienne – qu’il faut différencier de l’Eglise qui transcende toute civilisation – devait a son tour disparaître afin qu’une autre naisse sur ses ruines ? Et aujourd’hui même, n’assiste-t-on pas à un « choc des civilisations » comme Samuel Huntington le prétend. Ce choc, s’il existe – et nous croyons qu’il existe – ne se fera pas sans grands bouleversements ni sans engendrer certaines peurs. D’ailleurs pourquoi parler au futur de ce qui se réalise déjà aujourd’hui ? Bouleversements et peurs sont bien présents dans le monde actuellement.
C’est précisément de bouleversements et de peur qu’il est question dans le film de Mel Gibson. Le film débute par une citation de William Durant, auteur de The Story of Civilization, ouvrage de référence dans les bibliothèques américaines : « A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within. » La caméra nous plonge ensuite dans le monde des Mayas du XV siècle, à l’âge de son déclin peu de temps avant qu’une autre civilisation ne s’étende sur son vaste territoire allant du Mexique à l’Honduras.
S’agissait-il vraiment d’une grande civilisation ? Nous avons tendance à la mésestimer pour plusieurs raisons. Peut-être tout d’abord par ignorance. Il est vrai que nous connaissons peu de choses sur les Mayas, mais ‘peu’ n’est pas ‘rien’. Nous en savons assez pour pouvoir porter un jugement de valeur. C’est d’abord une civilisation qui a perduré plus de trente siècles. Or bien souvent, nous ne connaissons des Mayas que ce que nous en ont rapporté les récits des Conquistadors et missionnaires du XVI siècle. A cette période, ils avaient sombré dans la décadence et la barbarie, phase de déclin déjà commencée au X siècle. Mais qu’en était-il auparavant ? Il semble que la civilisation Maya étaient bien avancée dans plusieurs domaines tel que les mathématiques, l’astronomie ou l’architecture. Un sens religieux était donné aux arts et aux sciences. Si ces derniers firent des Mayas une grande civilisation, en revanche, leur religion primitive contribua fortement à son déclin. Le panthéon Maya n’avait rien à envier à celui des Romains. Nous pourrions lui attribuer ces paroles de Saint Augustin qui condamnait ainsi le paganisme romain :
« Et maintenant, par quelles raisons ose-t-on attribuer l’étendue et la durée de l’Empire romain à ces dieux que l’on tient pour légitimement honorés par des jeux infâmes et d’infâmes ministres ? Et d’abord y a-t-il là sens ou raison, quand il est impossible de montrer que la félicité soit le partage d’hommes vivant dans les horreurs de la guerre, dans le sang de leurs concitoyens ou de leurs ennemis, dans le sang des hommes, esclaves de sombres terreurs et de passions sauvages ? »
Car la religion Maya eut certainement un grand rôle dans la disparition de cette civilisation. D’une part, du fait des sacrifices humains qui augmentèrent de façon exponentielle au XV et XVI siècle. D’autre part – et en fait les deux phénomènes sont liés – une croyance ancienne situait la fin du monde au XVI siècle. Il s’ensuivit un phénomène de peur croissante au fur et à mesure que l’échéance approchait.
Cette peur est bien l’un des éléments du film Apocalypto. Les habitants d’un petit village la sentent grandir en eux. Mais pour quelle raison ? Il leur faudra la dominer et la vaincre. Réaction bien humaine. Et c’est précisément d’hommes dont il est question dans ce film. Au delà de la culture Maya, il me semble que Mel Gibson a voulu simplement dresser un portrait de l’humanité. Apocalypto signifie aussi ‘dévoilement’ – ‘unveiling’ comme le fait remarquer le réalisateur. Si le titre du film peut résumer le scénario, nous dirions donc qu’il est question d’un nouveau commencement et d’un dévoilement. L’homme nous est dévoilé dans son humanité avec tout ce qu’elle a de noble, mais aussi avec son cortège d’atrocités. Ainsi le film nous place face à nous-mêmes. Il nous rassure et nous déconcerte tour à tour. Il peut aller jusqu’à nous faire peur en nous montrant de quoi sont capables les hommes pour le pire. Il y a dans ce film un crescendo, une avancée progressive dans le mal, qui nous plonge dans l’antichambre de l’enfer. Et ce serait déjà l’enfer si le temps n’y mettait un terme.
 La Cité de Dieu, Livre IV, 3
A ce moment-là, on pourrait s’écrier : mais n’est-ce pas malsain que de nous montrer ceci ? Je ne le pense pas. Je n’ai pas eu cette impression. Je me rappelais au contraire, tandis que s’ébranlait à l’écran la procession démoniaque vers l’autel des sacrifices, les méditations sur l’enfer que Saint Ignace de Loyola nous propose. C’est tout un peuple sous la domination des puissances infernales qui se meut et se noie dans le sang de ses victimes. Le parallèle entre cette foule regroupée autour des pyramides Mayas et la foule qui conspue le Christ dans la Passion est d’ailleurs saisissant. Satan est à l’œuvre dans les deux cas.
C’est donc le tableau de l’humanité sans Dieu qu’il nous est donné de contempler dans Apocalypto. Mel Gibson veut certainement faire passer un message, lorsqu’il affirme que d’ « une étrange façon, la fin de la civilisation Maya a un parallèle avec notre civilisation aujourd’hui. » On nous objectera qu’entre la barbarie des Mayas et notre monde moderne, il y a fossé immense et que la comparaison est bien audacieuse, car nous vivons tout de même dans un monde civilisé. Je répondrai que le confort du monde moderne peut nous égarer et nous illusionner. Nous pouvons tout perdre du jour au lendemain et retomber dans la sauvagerie en très peu de temps. Il suffit d’allumer un poste de télévision pour s’en convaincre. Alors il restera l’homme nu face à lui-même, sans barrières sociales, sans les clichés et les interdits des castes sociales, culturelles et politiques. Il restera à l’homme un choix ultime à faire, un pas à faire dans un sens ou dans l’autre, comme cela fut le cas pour Jaguar Paw, le ‘héros’ du film. Ce pas, il se fera vers le Christ, l’Homme-Dieu qui Lui seul peut réconcilier l’humanité avec son Dieu. Ou bien il se fera dans une autre direction, laissant l’homme dans l’impasse de sa nature blessée, défigurée et limitée.
C’est cette nature humaine que Mel Gibson nous dépeint dans Apocalypto. Nature corrompue mais appelée à la grâce comme le laisse entendre la fin du film. La caméra nous dévoile une part de nous-mêmes en nous faisant suivre Jaguar Paw dans sa lutte pour survivre. Le mal nous est montré, mais je dirai, et ce, malgré la violence de certaines scènes, avec une certaine retenue et pudeur. Le bon coté des hommes nous est aussi montré avec parfois tendresse et humour. Ainsi l’on s’aperçoit par exemple que le problème des belles-mères est universel – comme quoi, il y a bien une permanence dans la nature humaine, au delà des cultures et des civilisations. On y voit des hommes, des femmes et des enfants s’aimer ou s’entretuer, rire ou pleurer, espérer ou craindre… vivre tout simplement.
Ajoutons enfin que d’un point de vue technique et artistique, le film est admirablement réalisé. Pour le reste, c’est ce qu’on en dit des gouts et des couleurs… on n’aime ou on n’aime pas.
Après tout cela, on demandera : faut-il aller voir ce film ? Bien sûr que non ! Il n’y a jamais de nécessité à aller voir un film, pas même la Passion du même Mel. Je ne connais ni commandement de la loi naturelle, du droit divin ou du droit ecclésiastique qui nous fasse un devoir d’aller au cinéma. Mais s’il en est que l’histoire des hommes intéresse, alors volontiers je leur dirai : oui, allez voir ce film… il est pour vous !
dimanche, décembre 10, 2006
This dogma came during a difficult time for the Church. You know that the belief in the Immaculate Conception has not always been evident to all throughout centuries. Even the great and genius Saint Thomas Aquinas didn’t think that Our Lady could have been conceived without any sins. He would have been right, if God Himself had not preserve Mary by a unique privilege. It is only after many centuries of theological discussions and reflexions that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed and this took place in the middle of the XIX century which was renowned for its strong rationalism. The Magisterium was forced to intervene many times to refute and correct the numerous errors of this century. Pius IX would condemn them in his famous Syllabus of errors in 1864. In a certain way, I would say that they were already implicitly condemned by the Bull of proclamation of the Dogma: Ineffabilis Deus.
First, because this dogma is a dogma, and, as such, requests the adherence of our Faith. Refusing to give our assent would, ipso facto, exclude us from the Communion of Saints and of the unity of the Church. Secondly, this dogma is Marian. Our Most Holy Mother Mary, who, by crushing the head of the serpent, is victorious over all heresies. And finally, by its content, this dogma is a refutation of rationalism. By declaring that Our Lady, “in the first instant of her conception, by a unique grace and privilege of the omnipotent God and in consideration of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin”, the Church obviously reaffirms the truth of original sin. And through this, she also reaffirms the existence of a supernatural order, which has been wounded by original sin and restored by Jesus Christ. It is precisely in consideration of the Incarnation, and consequently the Redemption, that Mary was preserved from original sin. So, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception truly is at the center of our Faith. It sheds a new light on the mystery of the Incarnation and cannot be understood without it.
The Second Vatican Council has recently given more precision to the explanation of dogma stating that Our Lady was “Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie. She is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth.”
Though the dogma was proclaimed only recently, the belief in the Immaculate Conception had already been liturgically expressed for many centuries by the Church. Pope Sixtus IV approved the liturgical celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1477. Then, Clement XI made this feast a universal one in 1708. Finally, Our Lady herself recognized her title. She presented herself to Saint Catherine Labouré as being conceived without sin. And she ratified the Bull of Pius IX four years later by telling Saint Bernadette: Que soy era immaculada councepciou.
What a beautiful privilege! What a beautiful gift from God! What a great dignity for Mary! As Cardinal Journet says, “The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary was already a first degree in the union with the Divine purity. This union would reach its peek in the Incarnation." Mary knew it. She knew that she had been preserved by God in order to become the Mother of the Savior, the Mother of God. She has been consecrated for a unique mission in the History of men. The sign of this consecration is her virginity, the beautiful expression of her Immaculate Conception. Immaculate Conception and Blessed Virgin are precisely two names of Mary. They express who she is. Denying one of them is denying Mary herself and denying her is denying the work of God. It is reducing the mystery of the Incarnation to a pure human concept. It is a rationalization of the Mystery. This is a frequent temptation because we would like to understand the mysteries, but we cannot because they are above our reason.
Yet, God gives us a way to approach Him. The way of the little and of the poor in spirit. It is the way of humility, the way of Mary. We don’t understand the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception. Then what? With Dom Delatte we say: “What does it matter if those truths are above our intelligence? It is already a joy for us to not be able to measure and to mumble when the supernatural beauty of the Blessed Virgin is spoken about. It is by excellence the field of God’s liberty and liberality.”
What can we say about the Immaculate Conception of Mary? Dom Delatte says again that in this matter, "we miss the appreciation and the measure of the appreciation." We can only say with Saint Anselm and the entire Catholic Tradition that the Supernatural beauty of Mary is such that no greater beauty can be found except in God. All the works of God are wonderful – Mirabilia facta sunt – but Our Lady exceeds all of them, because she is the Mother of the Incarnate Word.
How is it possible that so many Christians don’t see that? Why don’t they understand or why don’t they want to understand? How can they say that glorifying Mary is belittling God? Admiring the gem made by the hands of the jeweler is recognizing his ability. Mary is the purest creature made by God and recognizing this can only compel us to glorify God more. Our Lady, better than anyone can say these words of Saint John: De plenitudine ejus omnes nos accepimus et gratiam pro gratia - of his fulness we all have received, and grace for grace.
Mary has received all from God and she renders all to God. We, her children, want to do nothing else but to render grace for grace with her to God our Father. May Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, lead us on the way of humility – her way – so that we can return to Our Father from whom we come.
vendredi, décembre 08, 2006
jeudi, décembre 07, 2006
The liturgical year starts with this prayer of a soul who seeks God and reminds us that we should recognize ourselves as mendicants, as beggars who need and expect everything from Him. In front of God, we can only be mendicants, because we have absolutely no rights to Him. Our good, our abilities, our being and our lives, everything has been given to us for free, by a pure act of liberality. Facing God, we have no human rights to claim, but only His mercy to invoke. And God is infinitively merciful, we shouldn’t forget this truth.
The highest expression of God’s mercy is the Incarnation. The Incarnation is not a due. Nothing can justify it. Reason cannot explain it. It is simply the effect of the love of God, a God of mercy who wants to save his creatures lost by their sins. Men have devastated the garden given by God. They truly deserve a punishment for this, yet God found the most unbelievable way to forgive them. He would plant another tree in the garden of man, a tree that no one can cut down. This tree has been drawn many times in old manuscripts. It has been described by many spiritual men. This tree is the lignum vitae, the tree of life.
Saint Bonaventure tells us that this tree is divided into three parts: the mystery of origin, the mystery of the Passion and the mystery of glorification. Each mystery is composed of four leaves and each leaf has four flowers. In 48 flowers, the great theologian of the Middle-Ages depicts the mystery of the God-Man who came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost. Jesus is the tree of life planted by God to irrigate the arid soil of mankind.
Death came into the world by the fruit of a tree. This tree is man himself, who stands on his legs towards God, which is the sign of his dignity as Saint Gregory of Nyssa says. But his pride has produced a bad fruit which has contaminated his entire species. Now, he must humble himself in front of this new Tree planted by God and kneel as a sign of his humility. By the way, the practice of receiving Holy Communion while standing is a terrible error and the consequences are probably more devastating than we can imagine. I don’t need to make any commentary on this; just observe what happens in so many churches during Holy Communion. Where is the sense of God and of His majesty? Where is the expression of man’s humility? Virtues beckon acts because there is no virtue without acts. The proper and corresponding act of the virtue of religion is kneeling. I mean, the outward act of this virtue.
During the Advent season, we wait for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ because we know that we need Him. With all the saints of the Old Testament and especially Isaias, we beseech the Heavens to drop dew down from above, and let the clouds rain upon the just. He will come soon, so we have to prepare ourselves to welcome Him. Because His mercy is for everyone, but only those who accept Him can benefit from it.
May Our Lady help us during this time of preparation. May she help us to kneel and to lift up our souls to God.
mercredi, décembre 06, 2006
The Christian community needed some time to understand that He might not come back soon. In fact, Jesus was not very clear: A little while, and now you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father. The disciples who were there wondered: What is this that he saith, A little while? we know not what he speaketh.
A little while! It is supposed to be a short time and yet, 2000 years later, we are still waiting. When will you be back, O Lord?
At the end of the liturgical year, the Church encourages us to renew our hope and our confidence in God. As Saint Paul states, we are partakers of the lot of the saints in light. We have been delivered from the power of darkness, and have been translated into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.
In our present condition, we are waiting for the full achievement of the Kingdom of God, which will happen at the Last Judgment. At this time the words of Psalm 84 will be entirely fulfilled: Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace have kissed. Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice hath looked down from heaven. For the Lord will give goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit. Justice shall walk before him: and shall set his steps in the way.
The second coming of Our Lord is therefore something good and desirable. We should pray more often for its realization. We should desire it with more intensity. It is true that this time will be preceded by terrible events as Jesus says in today’s gospel. But the disciples have nothing to fear, unlike the enemies of Christ. They will have a good reason to fear and we should already be praying for them so that they may obtain the grace of conversion they will need.
For us, the thought of the end times means the end of sin and this is a very peaceful thought. It means the coming of Our Lord in His glory, it is a hopeful and comforting thought. But we must be found just by the time this day arrives. And only God can justify us, by His grace.
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort composed a canticle, among many others, about the Divine Grace and he invites us to seek the Grace of Jesus Christ before it is too late. It should be our unique concern, because all the rest is ordered for this. A good job, a nice wife, a beautiful house, money and whatever you may want could be useful, but only if we use them well as means in order to serve God, but if we use them in a wrong manner by making them our gods, they will be our unique rewards now, and later, our motive of condemnation. And anyway, we should keep in mind that we will have to give up everything at the end of our life. Everything!
We should be more inspired to follow this recommendation of Jesus: Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.
Dear Brethren, I wish we could understand better that there is an imperishable treasure, which is Jesus Christ Himself. His Sacred Heart is the source of all benefits and kindnesses that we receive from His liberality.
A new liturgical year will start Saturday. Let us turn to Our Lady so that we can benefit from this new liturgical year by following Jesus in the mysteries of the Incarnation and of the Redemption. Then, He will introduce us into the great mystery of the Trinity. The richness of the traditional liturgical calendar will help us to meditate throughout the year on these mysteries and to strengthen our Faith, Hope and Charity so that we can be ready for our future meeting with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
mardi, décembre 05, 2006
Le Pape est allé en Turquie ! Alors que depuis plusieurs semaines, nous attendions un geste du Vatican en faveur du rétablissement dans ses droits de l’antique liturgie de l’Eglise, voici que le Saint Père pose des actes qui ravivent de vieilles douleurs. L’esprit d’Assise souffle-t-il donc toujours ?
Il est vrai que la démarche de Benoit XVI dérange. Le Pape entre dans une mosquée, se déchausse, se recueille et prie. Pourquoi ? Un geste pour apaiser les Musulmans après « l’affaire de Ratisbonne » ? Faire avancer « la fraternité de l’humanité » comme l’a dit lui même le Souverain Pontife ? Nous comprenons que la paix est un bien désirable, et loin de nous la pensée de rechercher les conflits avec l’Islam. Mais devons-nous courber le dos devant les prophètes d’une religion qui cherche à nous conquérir, une religion fondée dans le mensonge et la violence, a l’opposée du Christianisme ?
Le Pape est accueilli par le grand muphti d’Istanbul. Parfait ! Mais ensuite ? Qu’en est-il des milliers de Chrétiens persécutés par l’Islam dans le monde ? Doit-on faire la sourde oreille aux menaces professées par les fidèles d’Allah dans nos propres contrées ? La réalité, et nous la déplorons, n’est hélas pas aussi idyllique que n’a pu l’être la visite du Pape à la mosquée bleue. Ne nous trompons pas : l’Islam n’est pas une religion de paix ! L’Islam aujourd’hui nous menace, non pas uniquement dans notre foi ou notre culture, mais dans nos vies. Nous cherchons le dialogue aujourd’hui ? Fort bien. Mais attention… demain nous faudra t-il peut-être tout simplement… chercher à survivre.
Nous ne jugeons pas le Pape. D’ailleurs qui le peut ? A vrai dire, nous ne sommes pas même surpris de son geste. Certains croyaient à un retour à la Tradition. Mais Benoit XVI n’a jamais affirmé qu’il s’éloignerait de la ligne tracée par Jean-Paul II. Ne déclarait-il pas lors de son homélie du 20 avril 2005, au lendemain de son élection, se préparer « à poursuivre l'engagement de mise en œuvre du Concile Vatican II, dans le sillage de mes Prédécesseurs et en fidèle continuité avec la tradition bimillénaire de l'Eglise » ? La question demeure la même depuis 40 ans : comment être fidèle à la fois au Concile Vatican II et aux Papes qui l’ont suivi tout en s’inscrivant dans la continuité de la Tradition bimillénaire ?
Face à ces derniers événements, nous poursuivons notre chemin, dans la fidélité à nos principes, c’est à dire dans la fidélité au Christ qui a choisi un homme pour gouverner son Eglise. Nous touchons du doigt le mystère de l’Eglise, humaine et divine à la fois. Lorsque la tête est solide, tout le corps l’est. Lorsqu’elle a ses faiblesses, le corps en souffre. Mais nous ne saurions décapiter le Corps Mystique, ce qui le dénaturerait si cela était possible. Ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia… cette vérité, c’est bel et bien dans la Foi que nous devons la vivre !
samedi, décembre 02, 2006
"Deus, qui errata corrigis, et dispersa congregas, et congregata conservas: quaesumus, super populum christianum tuae unionis gratiam clementer infunde, ut, divisione rejecta, vero pastori Ecclesiae tuae se uniens, tibi digne valeat famulari. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum."
“The Russian army facing you intends to avenge the Austrian army at Ulm: they are the same battalions as you defeated at Hollabrünn and that you have relentlessly pursued until now…
“Soldiers, I shall lead your battalions myself: if you, with your usual bravery, wreak havoc and confusion on the enemy ranks, I shall stay far from their fire; but if at any time victory is uncertain, you will see your Emperor face the fire in the front lines, for victory cannot hesitate, on this day most of all when the honour of the French infantry is at stake, which is so vital to the honour of the Nation…
“This victory will conclude our campaign, and we can return to our winter quarters where we will be joined by the new armies that are being raised in France. Then, the peace that I shall make will be worthy of my people, of you, and of me.”
At this day of Austerlitz, you have justified everything that I expected of your intrepidity; you have enriched your eagles with an everlasting glory. A 100 000 man army, under command of the Emperors of Russia and Austria, was, within less than four hours, cut or disbanded. What escaped your blades drowned in the lakes. Forty flags, the banners of the Russian imperial guard, 120 pieces of artillery, twenty generals, more than 30,000 prisoners, are the result of this day now famous forever. This infantry so reputed, and superior in number, could not resist your shock, and now you have no rivals to fear. So, within two months, this third coalition was vanquished and disbanded. Peace cannot be far away; but, as I promised to my people before crossing the Rhine, I shall make only a peace that will give us guaranties and ensure retribution to our allies.
Soldiers, when the French people placed the imperial crown upon my head, I entrusted myself to you to maintain it forever in the high beams of glory which could only make it worth to my eyes. But in the same moment, our enemies thought about destroying and dishonoring it! And this crown of iron, conquered by the blood of so many French, they wanted to force me to place it upon the head of our most cruel enemies! Temerarious and insane projects which, upon this very anniversary of the crowing of your Emperor, you have annihilated and destroyed. You taught them that it is easier to defy us and threaten us, than to defeat us!
Soldiers, when everything that is necessary to ensure the happiness and prosperity of your fatherland will be accomplished, I shall bring you back to France; there, you will be objects of my outmost favours. My people shall see you back with joy, and it will be enough for you to say "I was at the Battle of Austerlitz" for you to be answered "here is a gallant man".
lundi, novembre 27, 2006
samedi, novembre 25, 2006
King Louis XIV, in spite of a youth of sins, knew this truth and gave a good lesson of humility at the time of his death. “Why do you cry?” he asked those who accompanied him during his agony. “Did you believe that I am immortal?” God gives life and he takes it back. He makes the kingdoms and takes them down. He does what He wants. No one can resists Him. No one can impede His will to be done.
Knowing this, dear brethren, we should rejoice and be in peace. We certainly need a lot of faith to understand this truth, especially when we see the state of the world today. The Church seems to be a sinking ship. The apostasy is almost universal. The great majority of the clergy is unfaithful and consequently the great majority of the baptized have forgotten their duties of disciples of Jesus-Christ. Satan reigns thru immorality, pornography, idolatry and whatever you want.
I will probably surprise you, but I would say: thanks be to God! Of course, not for the actual condition of the world and of the Church and not for the reign of evil. But thanks be to God, because if God permits this situation, it is good. In one way or another, God will show his power and its justice and His faithful disciples will be exalted.
Many of you are tempted to despair or to become angry because of what’s going on actually. But it is not the right attitude and the appropriate answer. It is a trap from Satan to make you forget your duty of sanctification. In fact, the right thing to do in order to make the world better is just to become more holy.
The kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed. It is also of our responsibility to take care of this little grain It is also like leaven. We must knead this leaven with the meal so that it can leavened.
Dear Brethren, none of us is indispensable. We have to consider ourselves as useless servants. But we have the obligation to work for the kingdom of Christ. After, God will use our actions and prayers to build the Kingdom, or He will not.
Today, the preaching of the Gospel is still accompanied by miracles. But a different kind of miracles than at the beginning. It is a kind of perpetual miracle that only a few can see and understand. It is the permanence of the Catholic Church who still stands in the World and teaches the eternal and immutable truth. As the first Council of the Vatican says, quoting the prophet Isaias, the Catholic Church is a standard set up unto the Nations. For that reason, the Council invites all the faithful to keep their Faith and their Hope.
“The situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have embraced the catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the guidance of the church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for calling it into question. This being so, giving thanks to God the Father who has made us worthy to share with the saints in light let us not neglect so great a salvation, but looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, let us hold the unshakeable confession of our hope.”
Dear Brethren, we are still the salt of the earth and the light of God. So, don’t forget to act as such, full of joy, hope and love.
May Our Lady give us the strength to stand into the world and to be witnesses of the love of God for men.
mardi, novembre 21, 2006
mardi, novembre 07, 2006
When the world was completed, the angel in charge of the distribution dared to question the Almighty:
- Lord, You wanted, in Your infinite wisdom that two gifts are granted each one of Your people, but the French have received three gifts and they are placed at the top of the others. Is that conformed to Your Justice?
Just a few days before his death, he wrote a letter to a Carmelite sister, the confidante of his heart. “ Sister, I am now at the battle. Maybe I will not come back from it. I had beautiful dreams and beautiful aspirations, but, apart the pain that will cause my poor mother and my dears, I truly rejoice. I have had so much nostalgia of Heaven, and now, its door is about to open. The sacrifice of my life is not even a sacrifice, since my desire of Heaven and of the possession of God is so immense. I had a dream of becoming a Saint and of being a model for the cub scouts, the boys scouts and the rovers. The ambition was perhaps too high for me, but it was my dream. Now I just have to run happily to my last adventure.”
So as he lived, he died. Guy de Larigaudie was faithful until the end to the Scout oath he took one day.
What is this oath? We can say that it is the code of honor of the new knights that are the Scouts:
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally upright.
Lord Robert Baden Powell certainly had a good intuition when he decided to start an adventure with a group of 22 boys on Brownsea Island in 1907. Who could imagine that these young boys under the authority of a retired General of the British army would become the pioneers of a great community of children and men all over the world? Indeed, the idea was great.
Baden Powell, the Father of Scouting, was not Catholic, but his theories and conceptions about the education of the young are so good and realistic that when Father Sevin and Father Cornette discovered his work, they decided to start a Catholic movement of Scouting in France. Many other countries followed and started the adventure too.
In 1909, American businessman W. D. Boyce became lost in a dense London fog. As he was trying to find his way, he was approached by a boy carrying a lantern, who offered to take Boyce to the address he was looking for. When they arrived at the destination, Boyce offered the boy a tip. The boy refused, saying, "No, sir, I am a Scout. Scouts do not accept tips for courtesies or Good Turns." Boyce was so impressed with the lad and the Scouting concept he brought the idea back to the United States. On February 8, 1910, Boyce filed incorporation papers for the Boy Scouts of America in the District of Columbia. Scouting was born in the New World.
Last year, with Mister Ray Young, we decided to continue the Scout Adventure in our parish and we have created troop 1376 of the Boys Scouts of America. Our desire is to propose to our young children, and even to adults, a different life, far from the daily routine of the work, and also far from the comfort in which we like to establish ourselves. Taking the Scout road means renouncing to a certain ‘too easy’ way of life , which is a gain for your spiritual life. The heros and the Saints are not those who stay comfortably at home, sitting in a sofa with air conditioning and all the benefits of technology. Taking the Scout road is answering Our Lord’s call: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me!
Scouting is a school of life, and a very good one. Lord Baden Powell has oriented scouting toward five goals, which are: health, character, service, ability and sense of God. The purpose is to make the children, future men of honor, of self-sacrifice, and of responsibility. Our purpose as a Catholic troop, is also and mainly to make them holy. The sense of God is given through the traditional Liturgy of the Church, the practice of the Sacrament and the teaching of a good spirituality which has made many Saints in the past. We want to be faithful to the authentic and traditional spirit of Scouting which has already borne many good fruits, such as many vocations. It is not just a coincidence if many of our traditional seminaries and monasteries are full of many former Scouts. I said ‘former Scout’, but, actually I should not use ‘former’ since a Scout is a Scout for ever.
Today, there is even a religious scout Order, according of the spirit of Father Sevin, and by the way, this Order is a part of Ecclesia Dei with the traditional Liturgy. It is the Institute of The Holy Cross of Riaumont, in northern France. Those of you who came to Chartres last year had the opportunity to meet them. The idea of Father Sevin was “a religious life in the spirit of scouting with the service of the young people.” Like Guy de Larigaudie, and, I suppose, like every Scout in the world, Father Sevin had a dream: “I dream of the team of missionary scouts, who, under the dress or the khaki tunic would be inserted into the African bush... to give the tribes as well as the little boys of France the sumptuous gift of an always young Scouting, a living herald of the Gospel, truly yours, my dear sons, and truly theirs.”
Boys Scouts of Riaumont with their 'Father'
during the Pilgrimage of Chartres
So, dear Brethren, we want to give you this same gift, here for the young American children. But we need your help to realize this dream. The fact is, because of the regulations, we must have at least 6 children in order to have a troop. We also need adults to help us. Because of the departure of some families, we will soon lack both children and adults for our troop. This means that we will have to close our troop in January if we cannot meet the minimum requirement for the number of scouts. So, we need you in order to continue our adventure. Today I ask you to rouse from a certain torpor which manifests itself in different ways. I ask especially the young adult group to think about this. I know that you have your studies and works and they are your main duty. But then, there are other ways to spend your available time rather than just going to parties. I ask especially the ‘former’ Scouts and eagle Scouts to remember their oath. As I said, you are not former Scouts, but you are still and forever a Scout. We need you.
We need all souls of good will in order to continue the work of formation of the youth, the future adults of tomorrow, and hopefully the Saints of the XXI century.
May Our Lady, Mother of the Scouts take us under her mantel. May she help us to be faithful to our oath and to keep the Scout Law and to be prepared.
vendredi, novembre 03, 2006
The following text is a translation of an editorial of Michel De Jaeghere, published in a special issue of Le Figaro.
Verdun. The entire French Army had a rendez-vous there. It was necessary to hold strong and fast. They, the Germans, would not pass. The young men of the country rushed there, as water rushes to estuary, to offer their lives. Verdun. This is the battle of the greatest of wars: the symbol of courageous hearts and of the horror of battle, the symbol of the incredible enduring forbearance of men and of the inhumanity of modern warfare. Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, who was wounded there on February 25th 1916, wrote: “Verdun! No more trees, no more houses, no more animals for five leagues around. Divisions were destroyed even before they joined the front line. Men killed each other without ever seeing the eyes of their enemies. Lines were tangled. Artillery pieces were found far away from the desolation like warships caught in the middle of the battle by the tempest.”
For a long time, the landscape has remained wasted and tragic. On this ravaged ground plowed by fire, the feet of mangled and jagged trunks stood alone toward the grey sky. Then, life’s breath gently blew over this cold and desolate land. Red poppies bloom in the trenches and thistle in the ravine of Death. Beaumont, Fleury, Cumières: the litany of the martyred villages about which an astonished passer-by notes that nothing remains but a chapel which marks its tracks in the frothing of the shell’s holes, like the melancholy of a poem of the Val de Loire.
But there, in this land, nothing would ever be the same again. This land, as Montherlant wrote, “is now forever unfit for frivolity. Having been indelibly marred, it took the sudden magnificence of the wounded, and like them, purified from what is accessory, enlarged to the infinite, crowned by silence, past from mediocre contacts to the mystery of a tremendous secret and entered into an immortal gravity.” For his part, Maurice Genevoix who fought not too far from there, at the Eparges, said: “ Here are the fields of the lost men. And even now, at this moment, I can see bleeding wounds and young dying bodies. I still hear, in the dark and rainy night, their moans, their desesperate voices which yell my name, which call me…”
In Verdun, you walk between the crevices. Fortresses no longer show their geometrical lines. They are now shapeless crests, pockmarked by scars, flat like anvils sunken into the ground by the hammering of the sky’s fire. Communication trenches cross the copsewoods, and, for a long time, visitors have been warned against the potential danger, here and there, of buried shells, grenades and weapons. And you only have to dig a little bit to unearth bullets lying just below the topsoil. In Douaumont, a crucifix is enscripted with the words: “ To an unknown named Marcel.” Another one reads: “Two Frenchmen” reunited for the last rest. But it is the entire countryside of Verdun which is really just an immense cemetery. 160,000 French soldiers, as many, or almost, as many as German soldiers or almost, fell on the 20 kilometer front. How many of them have escaped the research and are left out of the cold statistics? How many of these forgotten and uncounted lay without graves while the mixed bones of their French and German brothers finally reconciled, joined the burial vault of the ossuary? A survivor said once: “ If all the men who died here stood up, they wouldn’t have enough room to stand shoulder to shoulder, because they have fallen in successive waves.” In Verdun, you don’t set foot only on a bruised land but on an immense necropolis, it is the bloody face of war.
Montherlant, who attended the ceremony in August 1920, related that when the foundation stone was laid, not a single word was uttered. “ The silence of the consecrators suited the rest of the men who had accepted in silence, who had suffered in silence and who had died in silence.” Standing on the ridge of Thiaumont, Marshal Pétain was content with soberly narrating the main stages of the battle: “Pausing after each sentence, so that it could be translated for the foreigners who attended the ceremony, his narrative had a scanned rhythm, as the inscriptions on stones, as if at this very moment, he was composing it for the temple of glory.”
Composing this issue for the 90th anniversary of the battle of Verdun, we endeavored to imitate the sobriety and the gravity of the ossuary’s the founders. We tried to recall the mortal wounds of the men lying in the eternal mud in order to revive without effects those who died without sentences. Maurice Genevoix wrote again: “He who has once heard during a cutting and rainy night, the moan of a wounded man lost in the front of the lines, or caught in the depth of his eyes the glance of a dying army friend, will always hear this moan and see this shattering glance. Words are now, and forever, nothing.”
You have a heavy heart when you contemplate the terrifying pictures of this epic, as well as when you turn over the pages of the picture books of Epinal, or the beautiful books of Job which liken it to the victories of the Grognards of the Empire, or the yellowed leafs of the Poilus’ letters. They have served. They have suffered! They gave their lives. They have been paid only and solely by their own greatness of soul, because of what the war has revealed of them. They intended to save France. But, in the end, they could not drag her from the dark spiral of her decadence. They thought that they would end the last of the wars. Yet, it would come again even before one generation had passed. Some of them believed that it was perhaps their role to save the inheritance of the civilization. In fact, it was the opposite, they merely opened the century of the combined totalitarianisms and the barbarisms of Communism and Nazism. The Old Europe didn’t rise again from the blood of her martyrs: she died in it. They bequeathed to us – but what they have done is tremendous – only the example of their detachment and of their courage: they held strong and fast.
In Verdun, an entire generation went to the front line, like at the altar of the sacrifice. “Up there.” They were our fathers and our grand-fathers. We owe them all.
One speaks, instant in season or out of season, about the duty of memory, most of the time in order to disparage France and to destroy the seeds that implant the love of country and countryman in the hearts of new generations. For us, this commemoration presented the opportunity to fulfill this duty in order to entertain, on the opposite, one of the most necessary feelings, because the transmission of the inheritance of who we only are the transient depositaries depends on it. This precious feeling is filial devotion.
 The “Grognards” were the soldier of Napoleon's Old Guard .
 The "Poilus" were the French soldiers during WW I
The duty of memory:
honoring those who fought for the country!
mardi, octobre 31, 2006
Enjoy the Swiss accent !! ;)
dimanche, octobre 29, 2006
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine Altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely Consecrates himself today to Thy Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy Precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most Merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the Faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house lest they die off wretchedness and hunger. Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord holds aloof, and call them back to the harbor of Truth and Unity of Faith, so that soon there may be but One Flock and One Shepherd. Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the Light and Kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of Mercy toward the children of that race, once Thy chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may It now descend upon them a laver of Redemption and of Life. Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all Nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: "Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our Salvation; to It be Glory and Honor forever."
This is something very important that we should always keep in our minds. Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to give testimony to the light, that is the truth. This is especially clear in the Gospel of Saint John. It appears that the world is divided into two antagonistic camps: The camp of those who, receiving the light of God, recognize the Truth; And the camp of those who refuse to consider the fact that objective truth can exist. They are the Liberals, those who believe that man has absolute freedom of thought. They claim that there is no truth which transcends the mind of man, in other words, that truth is what men have decided they want it to be. Consequently, the truth of the Liberals is one of common consent, one which would satisfy the great majority of people. Or, if you have enough power, the truth can be what you believe and impose upon others. This is the truth of the dictators and tyrants. Liberals and the dictators and tyrants of partisan totalitarianism, there is not so much difference between them after all. In both cases, there is the refusal to accept the objective Truth.
The enemies of the truth show a false humility in order to prove that they are right. They say that nobody can pretend to know the truth and consequently nobody can pretend to teach it to others. With humility, every one should recognize that they may be wrong.
Well, let us accept their postulate and let us say with them that every one can be in the error. Of course, so can they! According to their reasoning, they can be wrong, and if they are wrong by saying that nobody can pretend to know the truth, that means that it is possible to know the truth. So, the mere logic is sufficient to prove that the deniers of the truth are not in the truth.
The fact is that refusing the truth is so much easier than accepting it. Jesus says that every one that is of the truth, hears His voice. But it is so very convenient and easy to not hear Our Lord. Hearing Jesus means accepting His doctrine and His doctrine disrupts our habits and enliven our intellect. Hearing Jesus means that one has to change ones life in order to model it on Jesus. Hearing Jesus means the acceptance of the Cross. So, for many, it is better to not hear Jesus and to believe that there is no truth so that they can continue to lead a quiet and easy life. Many people are non-believer just by pure convenience. Some others by fear or cowardice. So was Pilate who recognized that Jesus was innocent but didn’t dare to save his life. His position was more important than the life of an innocent. “What is the truth?”
Now dear Brethren, take care not to estimate yourself enough satisfied because you have accepted the truth. Let me ask you if you really have accepted the entire truth with all its implications. I don’t mean the great truths we recite every Sunday in our creed. I assume that if you come here regularly you certainly know them. What I mean is have you totally accepted Our Lord Jesus Christ as your King? Do you let Him rule your life and are you utterly devoted to Him?
You come today to this Church to celebrate the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ and I can only congratulate you for this. But it is my duty to tell you that this is good, but not sufficient. Further, it may be quite hypocritical, or at least illusory, to come to honor Christ the King now at church and to forget you duties as subjects to such a King when you are in other places and in other circumstances.
Don’t you hear the impious shout of the world outside? Scelera turba clamitat: Regnare Christum nolumus as we will sing this afternoon at Vespers – a wicked crowd shouts: We don’t want Christ to reign! Don’t you understand that the world doesn’t want Our Lord Jesus Christ and that it does anything in order to expel Him out of the souls? For this, they want to expel Him first out of the society. It is a tragic error to relegate God merely to the sphere of private life. It is an error condemned by the Church, notably by Pius IX in his Syllabus and Pius XI in his Encyclical Letter Quas Primas on the Kingship of Our Lord. Who among you knows these two major documents?
The fact is, dear Brethren, that the world wants you to separate and divide your life in two. A part of your life would be for God: basically few minutes a day and one or two hours on Sunday. The rest of your life, they say, is for your family, your job and yourself. But this is wrong. You must give to God 100% of your time and of your activities. This doesn’t mean that we must pray 24 hours a day but that we must do all thing for the love and the glory of God and, as Saint Paul says, that we must restore all things in Christ – instaurare omnia in Christo.
In the present situation, the truth is that you cannot content yourself with a comfortable and easy little spiritual life. In a time of apostasy and in a time when the truth is even no longer taught everywhere in the Church, your obligation of being Saint and soldiers of Jesus Christ is more urgent. Prayers are necessary but not enough. Quietism is a easy temptation. Because God is almighty, He will do what is necessary for us, so we just have to pray and He will do the rest, so believe the Quietists. This is wrong! As Saint Joan of Arc said, Men fight and God gives the victory! It is certain that there will be no victory if men don’t fight.
The battle is first an ideological one. The world spreads its poisonous doctrine which destroys our intelligences. You must be intellectually well molded in order to opposite all the sophisms and error of our time. We give you this opportunity here at Saint Francis de Sales with catechism class for adult and the Saint Thomas Aquinas group. The topic of this year is precisely the social doctrine of the Church. I wish we could be more than 5 or 6 in our meetings. Saint Pius X, one century ago, already deplored the lack of religious knowledge among the faithful. What would he say today?
The battle is also a moral one, but we can win this battle only if we have enough strength at the level of ideas. Morality cannot do without intelligence. It is admitted that ideas rule the world. So we act according to a certain philosophy and certain principles. If they are wrong, we act in a wrong manner.
Finally, the battle is a battle for holiness. It is a battle for the acknowledgement of the order of Divine Grace in the world. It is a battle for the acknowledgement of the supremacy of Christ the King over the societies, the States, the families. Every single members of the Church are needed for this battle, especially those who have been confirmed. One of the effect of the Sacrament of Confirmation is to make us soldiers of Christ.
The battle field is the world. It is the schools, the universities, the Congress and parliaments. It is the hospitals, the tribunals and the offices. It is the stores, the warehouses, the gymnasiums and stadiums. It is the military bases, the police stations, the train stations and the airports. Wherever you are and whatever is your job, you must fight for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Coming into the Church and praying piously is not enough if you forget God immediately after you leave it.
This afternoon after the Solemn Vespers, we will renew our Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as Pius XI ordered it when he instituted the liturgical solemnity of Christ the King. May this consecration be the mark of our total engagement for the establishment of the Kingship of Christ in the world. May Our Lady help us to be faithful to this engagement, so that Christ the King could live, reign and rule in and over the world.
May she obtain for the Church leaders who have a true concern for the Kingdom of Christ and for salvation of souls. The church doesn’t need managers and public-relations officers. At least it is not her first need. She needs pastors who teach the authentic and entire Faith and who are ready to give their lives for Christ the King. May Our lady obtain from the Heart of her Son such pastors for our souls.
Christus Vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat !