jeudi, novembre 01, 2007

Sermon for the Feast of All Saints

Throughout the liturgical year, we celebrate many Saints who have been raised by the Church to the glory of the altar. The reason of their canonizations is that the Church, by a solemn judgment and decree, has recognized and proclaimed the heroic character of their virtues. The Saints have not been canonized because they performed miracles or did extraordinary things, but because they have practiced virtues in a high degree.
Many people like extraordinary things, because for them it is a kind of entertainment. They would like to see a miracle, as you like to go to a show. Remember how happy Herod was when he saw Jesus. Saint Luke reports that he was desirous of a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things of Him and he hoped to see some sign wrought by Him. The world wants miracles for themselves and for the pleasure of the eyes, but it does not want to recognize the power and the authority of the One who is the author of miracles. With outrage, it defies God Himself: If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross.
It would have been easy for Jesus to come down from the Cross. But He did not. He did not, because, first, our Redemption had to come from the Cross, and then, Jesus also wanted to give us the perfect example of the Christian life, which is a total renouncement and abandonment into the hands of the Father. This is truly what holiness is all about.
The world is more attracted by extraordinary facts than by holiness. At least, I wish it could be more attracted by the extraordinary form of the Roman Missal, which is, one example, of a precious source of holiness. But it is not the kind of extraordinary thing that the world likes, because this one reminds it of the Sacrifice of Jesus. The world does not accept this Sacrifice. It does not accept the message of the Cross because it is a message hard to receive. As the disciples who left Jesus, the world says: This saying is hard; and who can hear it?
As you see, even some disciples do not want to hear the message of Jesus. They accept Jesus as a friend, but they do not want Him as a Redeemer who teaches them to carry the Cross. And today, many Catholics, and even many priests, want to hear only about a ‘happy Jesus’ who is friends with all men. These Catholics have put the Cross away from their lives. No wonder, with this impression, that they consider the Mass as a happy gathering. They like extraordinary things during Mass like dances, worldly music or anything else according to their imaginative sense of creation. Finally, they change the Sacrifice of Jesus into a show.
Dear Brethren, we are not here to judge or to criticize them, but to tell them, with charity, that they are wrong. We have to tell them that there is another way to worship God, which is the way of all the Saints. It is the way of the Cross.
All the Saints, without any exception, have walked by the way of the Cross during their lives. All of them! There are the great Saints that we know, because they have been canonized by the Church. And there are so many others that we do not know, because they just lived an ordinary life. It was an ordinary life according to the world: a humble, and sometimes a hidden life. Apparently there was nothing extraordinary, for the world is always fond of sensational things. But in the Heart of Jesus, they were really extraordinary people. Today, in Heaven, the good Lord can tell them, face to face, how much He loves them and how very happy He is that His Sacrifice was not useless. And for them, all the Saints of Heaven, they can now see their Savior, and it is enough to give them an extraordinary joy. After having served Him in the darkness of faith, now they enjoy Him in a clear vision.
Our extraordinary form of the Mass, maybe has nothing extraordinary for the world, but it allows us to anticipate the glory of Heaven, by making us participate in the Sacrifice of Jesus. For this reason, it is our treasure and the glorious heritage of our elders in faith. This Mass, which has known an organic development since the time of the Apostles, is the Mass of the Saints of all times. We come now at the foot of the altar to receive the fruits of the Sacrifice of Jesus, just as generations of Christians before us. Therefore, it is truly an extraordinary thing. And if we really understand it, as much as our limited intelligence allows us to understand, it can truly be a source of holiness for us. But there is a condition: we do not just have to attend Mass, but we still have to live it, so that it can impregnate our whole lives. Living the Mass means following Jesus to Calvary. Living the Mass means keeping the commandments of God, especially the most important one which is the commandment of love. Living the Mass means recognizing our condition as sinners and to consider seriously the means of Redemption given by the Lord through His Church. In other words, living the Mass means living as a Saint. If we do not do this, our attachment to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite would just be an ordinary vanity. I guess Our Lord expects more from us.

May all the Saints that we honor today, help us to realize and achieve our Christian lives so that we can join them one day for the most beautiful liturgy that no one can imagine. Among them, Our Lady stands at the place of honor and as a Queen. But before this, she stood near the Cross of her Son. For the world, it was an ordinary thing. But we know the value of her extraordinary Sacrifice. It is a value that puts her above all the Saints of Heaven.

An extraordinary means of holiness for ordinary people

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