vendredi, février 17, 2006

In Honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Mass in honor of the Immaculate heart of Mary
( Cathedral Christ the King, Atlanta, October the 8th )

Dear Brethren,

It is a great honor for me and a real pleasure to celebrate this Mass in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the mother-church of our Archdiocese, the Cathedral Christ the King. I would like, first, to thank the pastor, Monsignor Thomas Kenny who allows me to offer the Sacrifice of Our Lord according to the ancient and venerable Liturgy, “ canonized ” – so to speak – by Pope Saint Pius V and, about which Pope John Paul II said few years ago, that it is a treasure of our Church.

I also would like you to pray with me for our Archbishop, her Excellency Wilton Gregory, now in Rome to participate with about 200 bishops from all the world in a Synod led by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. The stake of this Synod is important since the Pope desires to restore the devotion and the love for the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, which presupposes first the respect that, has unfortunately disappeared from so many churches and so many souls. Under the fallacious pretext to make Jesus a friend – that he is truly, we don’t deny this truth – and to celebrate the congregation, we have forgotten the vertical dimension of the Liturgy that connects men to God.
One of the different meanings, relayed by Saint Thomas, of the word “ religion ” in Latin is re-ligare, which signifies: to bind again, to tie again. An authentic Liturgy has to connect us to God, especially today in our world, which is more and more dechristianized. If it is only the celebration of the congregation, the cult of man by man, it is absolutely unable to save us and can only give a false hope that will be finally deceived. Benedict XVI said last Sunday for the opening of the Synod that Without understanding and living the Eucharist, Christian communities would lose their authentic nature.
This statement of the Pope appears to be true. Look how so many Catholics have lost their identity of Catholics. They don’t know who they are and what the Church truly is. Is it not because so many priests have lost their identity of priest? And is it not because these priests have lost the sense of the Eucharist? Forgetting they are first and mainly the men of the Eucharist, they made themselves community workers in social or cultural activities, reducing their priesthood to a natural and horizontal dimension.
The lack of faith of priests in their priesthood and the Eucharist marks the decline of the Church. No other result is possible from this set of circumstances, because the Church lives and grows on the Eucharist and the Priesthood and the two go hand in hand. The Church will recover her identity, her health and her radiance only if She first restores holiness in her clergy and a true understanding and love of the Eucharist in her faithful. And those are two goals of the Holy Father.

Archbishop Jose Mario Bergoglio from Buenos Aires said during the Synod that the faithful link together their love for the Eucharist and their love for Our Lady. It is not surprising that our protestant brothers abandoned the belief in the Eucharist and the devotion for Mary.
The conception of Christ in his human nature took place in the womb of Mary. That was a generation. The Incarnation is a generation that happened thanks to Mary who accepted God’s will. Transubstantiation, that is the change of bread and wine into the body, the soul, the divinity and the humanity of Jesus Christ is another kind of generation. And this one could not happen if the first one didn’t happen 2000 years ago. It is true that, in the absolute, God doesn’t need the help of creatures to operate our salvation, but in the present situation, it appeared that God requested the participation of Mary for this work. And theology, as a true science, doesn’t consider what could be possible but what it is, in fact reality. The fact is that we can benefit today from the fruits of the sacrifice of Jesus because Mary said yes to God.
Stabat juxta Crucem Jesu Mater ejus ! Saint John says. There stood by the Cross of Jesus his mother! She was there, standing despite her terrible sadness at this most dreadful time of the History. She was there, standing in a gesture of offering while she could have been weighed down with sorrows of the agony of her Son. She was there, standing in silence with a perfect submission to God’s will, because she knew with a firm confidence that God’s will is always good, sovereign, infallible and efficient. Didn’t her Son say that he came into the world precisely for this hour? And Mary, by her pressing charity hurried the accomplishment of this hour as it appears at the wedding of Cana.
The Cross and the wedding of Cana refer to Genesis III: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head. According to Saint Maximilian Kolbe, this sentence marks the beginning of a fight in which the woman, who is Our Lady, is engaged. This is the missionary work given by God to The Immaculate. For Saint Maximilian Kolbe, the mission of The Immaculate refers directly to the words of Saint Paul in the epistle to the Ephesians: Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. Put you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
And Father Kolbe observed that we are in the front of evil. By contemplating the splendor of The Immaculate, he saw better the devastation caused by sins. So the consecration to The Immaculate makes us more available for the fight to save souls. Our Saint explains that we have to fight on 3 front lines : ourselves, our circles and the whole world. They are focuses where Our Lady is waiting for us and where we can give her the opportunity to work for the Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven is definitively the state of perfection in love, but the earth is still the battle field where nothing is stable and all is to be conquered.
Dear brethren, if you are here now, in the middle of the night, I guess it is because you love Our Lady and you want to be dedicated to Her Immaculate Heart. This dedication is the best way to work for the kingdom of Jesus Christ. But it has to be a true and total dedication, the consecration of your entire person up to the point to become a slave of Mary according to Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort. He said that the Apostle of the last times will be recognizable since they will have the crucifix in one hand and the rosary in the other.

The Cross won over the world and Mary stood by it. Let us stand up after her and follow her until the final victory of her Son. Our weapons are the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacrifice of the Cross so hated by the enemies of God and the rosary. Let us confide our communions especially this one to, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that she can introduce us into the mystery of love of Our Lord Jesus Christ in whom only we can find salvation.


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