mardi, mai 29, 2007

Memorial Day in Auburn

We had a wonderful day in Auburn Alabama. Thanks to all who permitted the realization of this event: Archbishop Lipscomb of Mobile; Msgr Skoneki, pastor of Saint Michael in Auburn. Thanks to all of you who helped for the Liturgy and the cookout. Thanks to Lieutenant General Hal Moore who honored us by his presence and gave us a beautiful testimony of Faith.
God bless you all!

Little sermon for great men

In 1931 a young man wrote: "If I did not have Jesus with me every morning, I would succumb under the weight of my task. All my efforts consist now in improving myself in every manner and in growing more and more so that I can become a leader full of pep who knows his job and his men, a leader committed to them. You must have some prestige in order to be a leader. You can obtain this prestige by generosity, by mutual help, by self-sacrifice. Jesus said: Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. If only He would permit that it happens to me, I would be so grateful for this."

Jesus heard the prayer of this young man. A few years later, he was admitted at the military school of Saint-Cyr in France, which is the equivalent of West Point in the US army. After his classes, he chose the Alpine troops as a young lieutenant. The Alps Mountains would become the tragic scene of his life and of his death.

In 1940 the war separated him from his family: his wife, Marie-Germaine, whom he married two years previously and his young sons Robert and Philippe. In 1941 it seemed that there was no more hope. Young Lieutenant Tom Morel did not understand it this way. After the demobilization of the French army, he wrote: "We, officers, must acknowledge and make ours two great principles: the first one is that France is immortal. The second one is that one day, we will vanquish."
In the darkest time of our History, Lieutenant Tom Morel kept an invincible hope that he communicated to his men. For him, there was no place for despair. He joined the Resistance because he knew that his country could recover his liberty, at whatever the cost. In fact, soon he would pay with his own life. He died in March 1944, offering his life for his country, but first to God. Three month later, thousands of American, Canadian and British soldiers would die in Normandy. In August of the same year, the second Armored Division of General Leclerc, a great soldier and a man of profound faith, would free Paris. Lieutenant Tom Morel would never see the achievement of his dream to see his country free, but he died with the certitude that his sacrifice was not useless. A few days before he died, he told someone: I always do what I think to be my duty, even though I have to die for this. Where did he find the strength to do this? In the heart of Jesus! "He is my great potential of energy. If He were not in my heart, I could not do anything!"

Dear brethren, today we celebrate the memory of the American soldiers who died for the United State of America. Forgive me if I did not evoke the memory of an American soldier, but I speak of what I know. And I am sure that your army had, and still has the honor to have such great men as Lieutenant Tom Morel in its ranks.

The military virtues are universal and deserve to be respected and honored in every country. They are a testimony of courage, honor and sacrifice. Often they predispose men to the Faith, because these virtues are eminently Catholic, even though they can exist on a mere natural level. It is maybe not a coincidence that the man who provoked the admiration of Jesus Christ for his faith was a Roman Centurion. And among the beautiful figures of the martyrs of the early Church, we can number many soldiers. One of the most famous is certainly Saint Maurice, General of the Legion of Thebans. Saint Maurice shows us that, even though the service of the country is important, the service of God is more important. He was a faithful servant of his Emperor, but when Maximian ordered him to sacrifice to the gods, he could not accept. He would pay his fidelity to Christ by his life.

We remember only the great names of History, the names of those we call today heroes. But there are so many unknown heroes whose lives were a sacrifice offered for liberty, justice and peace. Let us pray to God so that their sacrifices were not useless and that they can find the eternal rest in the place where there is true liberty, true justice and true peace forever. We are not here today to judge of the morality of war. Even when a war is legitimate and conforms to the moral principles taught by the Church, it is still something horrible. Certain ones among you have learned to know it. Certain ones have seen its devastation and its works of death. But wars are not decided by militaries but by politicians. So let us pray to have wise politicians. And let us honor those who have died for their country. They are for the youth of today a beautiful example. May Our Lady obtain for them eternal rest and may the example of their virtues help us to live with a true dignity and sense of honor.

More pictures here:

Pilgrimage of Chartres (the pictures)

On my honor!

Priests and seminarians of the Fraternity of Saint Peter
On the news!

dimanche, mai 27, 2007

Sermon for Pentecost Sunday

The progressist theologians and their disciples are right when they say that the Church is in progress. She truly is! But the way they understand the progress of the Church is wrong. She has been in progress since the day of Pentecost and will remain in progress until the second coming of our Lord. For certain people, the Church has been in progress only since the Second Vatican Council. I wonder what the Church did for 20 centuries before the Council.

The idea of progress has always existed since man has been on earth, but it is only since the XIX century that its concept became systematized and theorized, even though it had some precursors before. Today, the notion of progress is omnipresent in the society and is in the heart of the political debate. Being a person of progress seems to be necessary in the modern world.

But the Church did not wait for the new theories of progress in order to progress and even to make the world progress. Even on a natural level, she is at the origin of many progresses: social progress, cultural and artistic progress, economical and political progress and scientific progress. Knowledge and savoir-faire were spread throughout Europe by the monks during the Middle Ages and later. To give some examples, especially one that I particularly like, Dom Pérignon was a Benedictine monk who brought many progresses to the viticulture and I cannot imagine what a good champagne would be without him. You can also think about the contribution of the monks to music. The most famous is certainly Guido of Arezzo, the inventor of modern music notation. In the area of the sciences, look at the XIII Century with its great universities. Saint Albert the Great, was not only a great Saint and a theologian. He was also a famous zoologist and anatomist and his works were the beginning of a new era for these sciences.

The world has many reasons to be grateful to the Church for her civilizing work, yet it is not her most important action. Her mission is not to bring progress to the world. In fact, she does this as a consequence of her main mission which is to spread the benefits of the Incarnation and of the redemption throughout time and space. She completes the work of her Divine Founder, which was a renewal of the original creation, unfortunately wounded by the first Adam and fortunately restored by the new Adam. On the Cross, Jesus made all things new. Each day the Church renews the face of the earth. Each day, the gift of Pentecost is manifested to the world. This is the true progress of the Church, as Charles Cardinal Journet explains: In the Church, as for Christ, the progress does not consist in an improvement of the initial gift “gift of the Incarnation in Christ and the gift of Pentecost in the Church“but in a successive manifestation of the demands of this initial gift. And he adds that the events of the Incarnation and Pentecost are the center of time. So, we don’t have to expect a new era and a new Pentecost, because there will never be one. But each day we have to rediscover the beautiful gift of God.

Si scires donum Dei! If thou didst know the gift of God! (Jn 4,10) It is probably the grace that we need to ask on this day of Pentecost: the grace to know the gift of God. We need to know it so that we can taste it, appreciate it and be thankful for it.
The gift of God is first, the Incarnation of His Son. It is also the gift of His Church, which extends the Incarnation in time and space. Cardinal Journet explains that the mystery of the Incarnation is a fact. It is completed in what concerns its essence as soon as Mary says Fiat. But in another point of view, the mystery of the Incarnation embraces the entire progression of the life of Jesus. For what concerns its unfolding, it will be achieved only on the Ascension day.

Then Cardinal Journet says that it is the same thing for the Church. The Church of the New Law is achieved and completed in her essence as soon as the Holy Ghost comes upon her on Pentecost day in order to fill her with the capital grace of Christ. But concerning her unfolding, she is in process and progress is open to her.

The progress of the Church takes place between the first coming of Our Lord, when Jesus came to save the world and His second coming when He will judge the world. During this time, the Church marches like a pilgrim toward a holy place, in the midst of the hazards of life, sometimes shining to the eyes of the world, sometimes exhausted and running out of steam, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes triumphing, sometimes persecuted, but still and always the same Church preaching the same Truth and leading men toward God, when they accept being led. As Saint Augustine explains in his City of God, two cities are fighting each other throughout the centuries. The City of God has to face the attacks of the Prince of the World and progresses between the persecutions of men and the consolations of God.

According to the book of Revelations, the time between the two comings of Our Lord is a thousand years and three and a half years. One thousand symbolizes peace and perfection. The Church keeps throughout her history an unalterable and divine peace, signified by the 1000 years. Three and a half is 7 divided by two. Seven is a plenary number which signifies completeness of time and space and achievement. You can think about the 7 gifts of the Holy Ghost, the 7 Sacraments, the 7 days of the Creation, the 7 colors of the rainbow, the 7 notes of the diatonic range etc. But the completeness is broken, which is signified by the division by two. So, three and a half signifies the attacks from Satan throughout the Messianic era. They are violent and strong but finally they cannot prevail against the Church and are precarious.

Cardinal Journet says again that after two millennia the Church experiences her own weakness but also the power of God in her. She is more and more aware of the way that Our Lord wants her to progress. He impresses in her the resemblance of His own battles, His humiliations, His paradoxical victories and He silently prepares her for the great final battle which will come when the antichrist will show up.

When will it be? I do not know and I think that we do not need to know. Our Lord did not want to reveal it. But He revealed something much better. He revealed Himself and He continues to reveal Himself through His Church. For that reason, we should love the Catholic Church more than anything else. We should love her as real and fleshly like a child loves his mother.
Pius XII wrote in his beautiful Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis that our pastoral office now requires that we provide an incentive for the heart to love this Mystical Body with that ardor of charity which is not confined to thoughts and words but which issues in deeds. If those who lived under the Old Law could sing of their earthly city: "If I forget thee O Jerusalem let my right hand be forgotten; let my tongue cleave to my jaws if I do not remember thee, if I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy," how much greater then should be the joy and exultation that should fill our hearts who dwell in a City built on the holy mountain of living and chosen stones, "Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." For nothing more glorious, nothing nobler, nothing surely more honorable can be imagined than to belong to the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, in which we become members of one Body as venerable as it is unique; are guided by one supreme Head; are filled with one divine Spirit; are nourished during our earthly exile by one doctrine and one heavenly Bread, until at last we enter into the one, unending blessedness of heaven.

On this Day of Pentecost, let us ask Our Blessed Mother to help us be able to recognize the gift of God and to love the Church. As long as we remain faithful children of the Church, we can share her glories until we reach our goal: the beatific vision. The tribulations of this world are nothing in comparison to the glory of the future world. May Our Lady introduce us in the glory of God.

samedi, mai 26, 2007

Pilgrimage of Chartres

Thousands of pilgrims are on the way to Chartres for a 70 miles pilgrimage. They left Paris this morning under the rain. Let us pray for them!

Here are the first pictures

mercredi, mai 23, 2007

The churches of France in danger

France can be proud of her heritage and of her patrimony, but like the prodigal son, her children squander them. First, it is the heritage of Faith which has been lost. The Elder Daughter of the Church is now the country of secularism, fruit of the Revolution. But it is not enough. There are still visible signs of her Catholic history… and they are to be destroyed. Today, 2800 churches are in danger. The pretext is that they cost too much money for nothing, since they are deserted. The Bishops don’t seem to be moved. For Father André Boudier, responsible of the Sacred Art for the Diocese of Angers, only the churches of quality have to be saved. The others have to be destroyed so that they can build new buildings more adapted to the needs of today!

We cannot accept these sacrilegious destructions.

L'article du Figaro du 18 mai 2007

Pas moins de 2.800 des 15.000 églises rurales sont en péril selon un rapport rédigé par le Sénat.

De moins en moins fréquentées, les églises coûtent cher à entretenir et les maires s'interrogent. Faut-il les préserver ou doit-on les démolir ? Pas de doute, de gros nuages noirs surplombent désormais les petits clochers ruraux. Comme si le tabou de leur destruction commençait à se lever. Béatrice de Andia, à la tête du nouvel Observatoire du patrimoine religieux, affirme que, sur la base d'un rapport du Sénat, « 2 800 des 15 000 églises rurales protégées » seraient « en situation de péril ». « Ce qui laisse augurer, explique cette ancienne responsable de l'action artistique de la Ville de Paris, que les bâtiments non classés, qui ne sont pas une priorité pour l'État, ont un sombre avenir devant eux. » Christian Prunier, créateur en 2003 du site, destiné aux gé­néalogistes, reconnaît, lui, que « pour se débarrasser d'un bâtiment, il suffit de le laisser pourrir 20 ans, de l'entourer ensuite de bandes rouges pour signifier son danger puis de faire établir un arrêté de péril. La démolition n'est alors plus une honte. Elle est conseillée ». Les Français sont pourtant « viscéralement attachés » à leurs églises, dit Alain Guinberteau, créateur de, qui a lancé un concours photos couronnant le meilleur chasseur de clochers.
Dans la région historique des guerres de Vendée, où les chapelles ont fleuri au XIXe siècle, de plus en plus d'édiles ont franchi le pas et commencent à détruire leur clocher faute de moyens pour les entretenir.
DE L'HERBE folle a poussé entre les tas de pierres, de vieux carrelages et d'ardoises brisées. Un angle de mur est encore vaguement debout et des tiges de fer rouillées pointent vers le ciel. En cet endroit désolé, il y a moins d'un an, se dressait encore une église dominant toute cette région, théâtre des guerres de Vendée. Bâtie en 1870 sur un point culminant du Maine-et-Loire, à 200 mètres d'altitude, l'église paroissiale du village de Saint-Georges-des-Gardes a été démolie en août dernier. « Déconstruite », précise le maire, Gabriel Lahaye, qui, sans être un adepte du philosophe Jacques Derrida, a choisi ce terme pour son image moins violente, « plus respectueuse ».
La commune de 1 500 habitants possède une autre église et, ne pouvait pas supporter les charges d'une réhabilitation : bien au-delà du million d'euros. Les églises construites avant 1905 sont, en effet, à la charge des collectivités locales. « On m'a­vait dit : tu le regretteras ! Mais il n'y a rien à regretter », assure Gabriel Lahaye. Un habitant, Gérald Eloire, a bien tenté de s'opposer à la démolition avec une lettre ouverte au maire, la création d'une association, la mobilisation des médias. En vain. Cet athée convaincu, qui avait choisi de s'installer dans ce village justement pour le charme de son église, n'a entraîné qu'une poignée d'habitants derrière lui. Et récolté beaucoup d'hostilité.
Le maire, qui va faire construire un petit oratoire de style contemporain sur le site de l'ancienne église, assure que « d'au­tres communes s'apprêtent à franchir ce pas ». La région est en effet pleine d'églises construites au XIXe siècle pour accueillir une population très pratiquante et en pleine croissance, en « réparation » aussi de la Révolution, quitte alors à détruire des églises trop petites ou trop abîmées qui avaient pourtant, elles, une réelle valeur architecturale. À 18 km de cette colline des Gardes, en effet, Bernard Briodeau, maire « plutôt centriste » de Valanjou, affirme avoir tourné les plans, les expertises, les aides régionales ou départementales et les comptes communaux dans tous les sens avant de se rendre à l'évidence : l'église Saint-Martin de son village est aussi vouée à la disparition. À terme, il espère ne conserver qu'une tour défensive du XVe siècle contre laquelle avait été édifié le bâtiment au XIXe.
« Acte sacrilège »
Pour l'instant, la démolition ne concerne que le clocher et la chambre des cloches. Comme à Saint-Georges-des-Gardes, le clergé, affectataire des lieux, n'a pas bronché. La messe est célébrée dans une autre église de cette petite commune blottie dans les chemins creux et qui ne compte pas moins d'une cinquantaine de chapelles, oratoires ou calvaires. « La pratique a nettement chuté ces dix dernières années, souligne le maire, et les catholiques pratiquants acceptent la décision. Ils savent leur foi plus forte que des vieilles pierres sans valeur. La priorité de l'Église, aujourd'hui, ce sont les pierres vivantes ! » En revanche, Bernard Briodeau a reçu des lettres de personnes parfois extérieures à la commune, anonymes ou non, lui promettant « le feu de l'enfer » s'il commettait « cet acte sacrilège ». « Je sais, admet-il, que dans cette région, on ne touche pas à une église, même si la messe est un lointain souvenir. C'est historique et viscéral. Mais que puis-je faire ? »
Maire de Gesté, à 45 km de là, Michel Baron dit lui aussi avoir cherché d'autres solutions. D'au­tant que l'église, très vaste, dont le conseil municipal vient de voter la démolition, est la seule de la commune de 2 500 habitants. La messe y est encore célébrée. À la place, le maire promet de construire « une salle de 500 places, susceptible d'être divisée en deux, moderne, facile à chauffer, attirante pour les jeunes... » Le curé de la paroisse, Pierre Pouplart, reste sur la réserve. « Ce sont les affaires de la commune, esquisse-t-il, je comprends qu'elle s'interroge sur le coût de l'entretien. » Responsable de l'art sacré pour ce diocèse d'Angers, le père André Boudier observe : « Les églises de qualité doivent être sauvegardées. Pour les autres, il faudra accepter de les détruire et de construire à la place des édifices mieux adaptés aux besoins d'aujourd'hui... »

Eglise Saint Georges des Gardes ( Maine et Loire )

Aout 2006

Cela doit-il se répéter 2800 fois ?

23 mai: San Giovanni Battista De Rossi

Born in Voltaggio, he studied in Rome, became a priest and worked tirelessly there for homeless women, the sick, prisoners and workers, becoming a very popular confessor. He was canonized in 1881, and a church was commissioned to him in Rome in 1940 though construction was delayed by the Second World War and it was only consecrated in 1965 (with the saint's relics being moved in on the following day from SS Trinità dei Pellegrini).

Giovanni Battista De Rossi, santo, i resti sono conservati dal 23 maggio 1965 nella moderna chiesa parrocchiale a lui dedicata, costruita nel 1940. Il santo nacque a Voltaggio (GE) il 22 febbraio 1698 e morì a Roma il 23 maggio 1764. Fu beatificato da Pio IX e canonizzato l’8 dicembre 1881. Era precedentemente sepolto nell’ultima cappella destra, prima della crociera, della chiesa della SS. Trinità dei Pellegrini.

Au Martyrologe:

M.R.: 23 maggio - A Roma san Giovanni Battista De Rossi, Sacerdote e Confessore, celebre per la pazienza e per la carità nell'evangelizzare i poveri.

A Rome, en 1764, prêtre. Il assurait que la route la plus courte vers le ciel passe par le confessionnal.

lundi, mai 21, 2007

22 mai : Santa Ghjulia

L'Eglise célèbre le 22 mai, la fête de l'illustre martyre corse santa Ghjulia (sainte Julie) qui partage avec santa Divota le patronage de la Corse. Comme toujours lorsqu'il s'agit des saints des premiers siècles, la vie de sainte Julie divise les hagiographes. La version des Bollandistes fut adoptée par le propre des offices du diocèse d'Aiacciu, mais elle n'est pas sans contradictions : sainte Julie, selon eux, serait issue d'une noble famille de Carthage. En l'an 439, les Vandales, sous la conduite de Genséric, soumirent toute la population de la ville. Julie devint l'esclave d'un négociant natif de Syrie appelé Eusèbe. La jeune chrétienne se soumit à son maître, effectuant les tâches ménagères qui lui étaient confiées avec un zèle extrême et un dévouement sans égal. Lorsque Eusèbe s'embarqua pour la Gaule où l'entraînait son commerce, il ne voulut se séparer de sa servante et l'emmena avec lui. Leur bateau fit escale en Corse. Ils débarquèrent près de Nonza où précisément ce jour-là, on célébrait les dieux et l'on s'apprêtait à faire le sacrifice d'un taureau.

Eusèbe, le maître de sainte Julie, se joignit donc aux habitants de Nonza qui célébraient la fête des dieux païens. Julie, elle, se tint à l'écart sans cacher néanmoins sa réprobation. Très vite, le gouverneur de la région en fut averti et demanda à Eusèbe qu'il lui livrât cette jeune chrétienne. Eusèbe tenait à sa dévouée servante et ne voulut à aucun prix la lui donner. Félix, le gouverneur, invita donc Eusèbe à partager son repas et l'enivra. Lorsque le marchand fut profondément endormi, il se fit apporter la jeune chrétienne et lui demanda de sacrifier aux dieux.

La réponse hardie de sainte Julie signa son arrêt de mort. On lui frappa le visage jusqu'au sang, on la traîna par les cheveux, on la fouetta avec barbarie. Enfin, on la fit attacher à une croix sur laquelle elle mourut comme le Christ qu'elle avait servi pendant sa courte existence. On dit alors qu'une colombe s'échappa de sa bouche, symbole d'Innocence et de sainteté. Des religieux de l'Île de Gorgone (ou Marguerite) vinrent chercher son corps et le placèrent à l'abri dans leur monastère. Plus tard, ses ossements transportés à Brescia, sainte Julie fut vénérée dans toute l'Italie septentrionale.
La seconde version de la vie de santa Ghjulia paraît plus vraisemblable; de nombreux chroniqueurs tels que Vitale, Colonna ou Fra Paolo Olivese, l'ont soutenue. Santa Ghjulia serait en effet native de Nonza, et contemporaine de santa Divota. Elle aurait donc été persécutée sous le règne de Dioclétien, au tout début du IVéme siècle. Parce qu'elle refusait de sacrifier aux dieux, les Romains la torturèrent de multiples manières. Parmi ces supplices, il en est un qui resta légendaire: ses bourreaux lui coupèrent les seins et les jetèrent contre les rochers, en contrebas de la ville de Nonza; deux fontaines jaillirent aussitôt de la roche. Le miracle ne fit qu'exaspérer la rage de ses bourreaux qui l'attachèrent à un figuier et la laissèrent mourir dans la souffrance. Lorsqu'elle rendit l'âme, une colombe s'échappa de sa bouche. Les Nunzichi (habitants de Nonza) rendirent dès lors un culte fervent à leur sainte martyre. La Fontaine des Mamelles, qui ne s'est jamais tarie, attira très tôt une foule de pèlerins, venus de la Corse entière. Ses eaux miraculeuses opérèrent de nombreuses guérisons. Autrefois, les femmes qui invoquaient la sainte contre le tarissement du lait maternel se rendaient en pèlerinage à Nonza, pieds nus. Aujourd'hui, chaque année encore, la fête de santa Ghjulia, patronne des Nunzichi mais aussi de tout le peuple; corse, fait l'objet d'une très belle cérémonie. Sainte Julie fut proclamée patronne de la Corse (avec sainte Dévote) par un décret de la Sacrée Congrégation des Rites du 5 août 1809.
( texte trouvé sur )

Le village de Nonza

dimanche, mai 20, 2007

Sunday after Ascension

At first sight, the words of Jesus that we have heard in the gospel are not very encouraging: “They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God.”(Jn16,2) The History of the early Church would confirm the words of Jesus. The Jews, who had not known the Father and not recognized His Son expulsed the Apostles and their disciples from the synagogues. They killed those who professed that Jesus who was crucified was now risen from the dead, because they were blasphemers. Doing this, they thought that they did a service to God. Among them, one of the most zealous, was Saul of Tarsus. A day would come when he would truly glorify God, not with the blood of his victims, but with his own blood after having glorified Him with the ardor of his charity as the Apostle of the Gentiles for many years.

But who turned Saul into the great Saint Paul? It was certainly not himself and he would deny this fact. He rather said: “By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Co 15,9) You can hear a true disciple, who does not deny the work of God in him, but who knows how to recognize it and to glorify its Author. It is again Saint Paul who says that “the grace of God has appeared to all men.” (Tt 2, 11)

The grace has appeared and it has changed the world. First, it changed the Apostles, who still had understood almost nothing until the effusion of the Spirit they received on Pentecost day. Twelve men have really changed the world, or more exactly, God through twelve men. They were the rock on which Jesus Christ built His new Church. (Eph2,20) The miracle has endured until today. The same Church, teaching the same Faith, providing the same Sacraments and diffusing the same grace throughout the world is now renewing the face of the earth. “The grace has appeared to all men” (Tt2, 11) and God did not take it back.

Certainly, the powers of Hell try to hide the light of the world and to make tasteless the salt of the earth. It is true that the Church shines of merest radiance today than what she used to in days of old. But it is not because the clouds impede us of seeing the sun that the sun does not shine. Even in the midst of the torrent of impurity of the world, she is the “holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”(Rev21,2) Even in the midst of the stream of relativism and liberalism, She is the Mistress of truth who teaches and enlightens the consciences.

The Church today is still a visible expression of the grace in the world. As the first Vatican Council reminds us, “there is a visible teaching authority which publicly proposes dogma that must be interiorly believed and openly professed. There is a visible priestly office which publicly supervises and takes care of the visible mysteries of God by which interior sanctification is conferred on men and due worship is paid to God. There is a visible governing body which orders the union of the members among themselves and which guides and directs the whole external and public life of the faithful in the Church.”

The Church in herself is a grace, but one needs a particular and individual grace in order to listen to her and to accept her as the means of salvation given by Jesus Christ. The grace has appeared to all men: to all men as humanity in general, but also to each single person. The truth is taught in an audible manner by the Church, but one needs to enter into oneself in order to hear it. That is the meaning of the sentence of Saint Augustine which we commented on last week: “Foris admonet, intus docet.” You can hear the truth with your ears, but if you don’t want to believe, then you don’t believe. And we need a prompting of divine grace so that our will can accept the teaching of the Church. We need the grace of God in order to believe. We need the grace of God in order to bear testimony of Jesus Christ, as the Apostles did in their time. The laws of divine grace are not different today than what they were 2000 years ago. Like the first disciples, we are weak and cowards, but like them we have been told by Jesus: “But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. "(Jn15,26)

Dear Brethren, we do not live in a more difficult time today than the Apostles 20 centuries ago. I would say that we have even more than they did. We have 20 centuries of Tradition of the Church and we can be proud of this heritage in which we can find the strength to continue the work of evangelization. For sure, many things are not perfect today and we can find many reasons to complain every day. But then, what would be the use of complaining? Because we don’t live in a catholic society? Because it is not easy to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ today? Well, it is for these reasons that Jesus promised to send the Paraclete. What else do you need? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! If we have God and His grace, it is sufficient as Saint Paul says. But now, we still have to bear fruit and it is our work, under the promptings of grace. What the first Christians accomplished, we can also do even though we have to be expulsed out of the synagogues “understand churches” or even though we have to be killed. And this cannot take away our joy, if we are really with God.

So may Our Lady help to accept the grace of God in our souls, so that we can truly and entirely respond to it and be good and faithful disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

mardi, mai 15, 2007

Calme du soir !

Voici un très beau texte du Révérend Père de Chivré. Je ne résiste pas à la tentation de le partager avec vous. Il nous élève vers les hauteurs divines, et ce faisant, nous offre un peu de cette paix dont jouissent les élus qui sont auprès de Dieu.

Calme du soir

Calme du soir, sans bruit parce que complet,
sans mouvement parce que dense,
sans émoi parce que sûr,
Sûr de tes étoiles pour donner la lumière
Et sûr de tes ténèbres pour éteindre les cris.

J’évolue dans ta pacifiante étendue et je pense…

Je pense aux calmes déjà connues, à celui de la prière,
à ceux des actions de grâce, à ceux des recueillements,
au calme des contritions et des absolutions…

J’évolue dans ta prophétique étendue et je pense…

Je pense aux calmes qui m’attendent,
à celui du sommeil sous les ailes de Dieu,
à celui de la mort, à celui de ma mort,
au calme de mon jugement, au calme de la rencontre,
au calme impressionnant de la première étreinte avec Lui
et à la clameur d’amour qui s’en suivra.

Calme du soir, prière de l’univers à la miséricorde de Dieu,
implorant le silence des justices divines
et permettant à l’homme de se sentir aimé.

Calme du dernier soir ou du premier matin,
tu n’es que le fourrier de Dieu
et tu racontes le repos qui n’aura plus de fin.

Calm of the Evening

Calm of the evening, without a noise being all complete,
without movement being dense,
without emotion being sure,
sure of your stars to give the light
and sure of your darkness to quench the cries.

I evolve in your soothing expanse and I think…

I think about the calms already known, about the one of prayer,
those of thanksgiving, those of contemplations,
about the calm of contritions and absolutions…

I evolve in your prophetic expanse and I think…

I think about the calms which await me,
about the one of sleep under the wings of God,
the one of death, the one of my death,
the calm of my judgment, the calm of the meeting,
the impressive calm of the first embrace with Him
and about the clamor of love that will follow.

Calm of the evening, prayer of the universe to the mercy of God,
imploring the silence of the Divine justice,
and allowing man to feel being loved.

Calm of the last evening or of the first morning,
you only are the harbinger of God
and you tell the rest which will end no more.

lundi, mai 14, 2007

"Foris admonet, intus docet"

"Listen, O my son, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of thy heart, and cheerfully receive and faithfully execute the admonitions of thy loving Father, that by the toil of obedience thou mayest return to Him from whom by the sloth of disobedience thou hast gone away."
(Prologue of the Rule of Saint Benedict)

Sermon for the 5th Sunday after Easter

I think you would all agree: there is a difference between doing and hearing. Hearing is the faculty that allows us to perceive sounds and as such it is a source of knowledge for us, human beings. Senses, indeed, play a major role in the acquisition of knowledge, even for the supreme knowledge of God as Saint Paul says: Fides ex auditu “Faith comes by hearing…

Hearing! How important is it to be able to hear! It is the proper behavior of the disciple. It is an attitude that is an expression of wisdom. A wise man is someone who hears and listens. It is absolutely necessary to hear in order to have Faith, a Faith which is truly a principle of life in our souls, which is effective and makes us live as authentic disciples of Jesus Christ. If you do not hear, you cannot be a disciple, because you do not even know what the will of your Master is. You think that you know and you speak to show that you know, but you don’t really know. You are not a disciple but you try to make yourself a master.

Adeodat, the son of Saint Augustine, considered himself to a disciple of his father. Saint Augustine denied the title of master that his son gave him, quoting Jesus: Neither be ye called masters; for one is your master, Christ. This gave the opportunity to Saint Augustine to write a beautiful treaty known as De Magistro. He says that the truth is in us. It dwells within man. This idea was already explained by Plato. But now, the truth has a name: Jesus. Jesus Christ is the interior truth that we receive by Faith and that we have to understand. Then Saint Augustine quotes the third chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, the one we read every first Friday during the Mass of the Sacred Heart. It is a beautiful and deep text that allows us to catch a glimpse of the mystery of the Heart of Jesus: "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man, That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity, You may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. "

Faith gives us the knowledge of God, but we can comprehend Him only by charity because it surpasses all knowledge. But Christ has to dwell first in your heart and it is possible only if you are an inward person, that means only if you are able to be silent and to hear. Saint Augustine adds that Jesus Christ is the immutable and eternal wisdom of God. Every rational soul consults Him, but He opens Himself to each one according to one’s capacity, which depends on one’s will.

What Saint Augustine tries to make us understand is that it is not hearing the audible external words which is the most important, but hearing the voice of Jesus Christ our Master who speaks within ourselves. The ears of the soul are more useful than the ears of the body. Thus, Saint Augustine explains to his son, and to us, that he is not a master, but only someone who helps us hear the Master. He finally sums up his thoughts: "Foris admonet, intus docet", which means that the language, even the words of Jesus Christ advise on an external level, but only the Truth teaches on an internal level.
In today’s epistle, Saint James tells us that we should be doers of the word of God and not only hearers, otherwise we would deceive ourselves. Hearing is not doing but we cannot do if we don’t hear first. Saint James adds that doing the word of God is neither speaking: And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man's religion is vain. His or her religion is vain! These are very strong words that Saint James tells. If someone cannot bridle his tongue, his religion is vain. You can attend Mass everyday, you can multiply your devotions, you can keep to the letter of the dress code and all the codes you want, but if you cannot bridle your tongue you deceive yourself and your religion is vain.
You know, it is difficult to do two different things at the same time. So when you speak, you can hardly hear. When you speak, you usually look at yourself and you do not 'look into the perfect law of liberty."

Remember what we have meditated on two weeks ago: only true disciples are free because they hear Jesus in themselves. I like to define freedom as the ability to hear the Truth. It is not the ability to tell our truths but to hear the Truth and then to accept it and to live it. The true disciple is a mirror in which we can see the face of Jesus. He does not reflect himself but the Master.

So dear brethren, I would like to finish with an invitation. I invite you to look into yourself, as I will do for myself. Then ask yourself what or who do you see. The answer is just for you. Take the time to do this. Remain in silence for a while, look and hear. You might be surprised.
And after the invitation, maybe a little suggestion: when you receive Holy Communion, Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in you in a very special manner. There is no better state of union on earth. So after Mass, instead of running into the parish hall to speak, why don’t you stay a while in the church to listen to Jesus? He has certainly many things to tell you. Please, give Him these few minutes after each Communion. They can really change your life.
May our Lady, perfect mirror of Her Son help us to hear the truth in the depth of our soul so that we can do the word of God and be true disciples. Today is the anniversary of the apparition in Fatima. Our Lady has certainly many graces to offer today. Let us not miss them.

samedi, mai 12, 2007

Pensée du jour....

...empruntée au Révérend Père de Chivré:

" La république, c'est le châtiment de Dieu sur le peuple français coupable,
et la dictature, c'est le fouet dont Dieu se sert pour punir les républiques."
"The republic is the punishment of God on the guilty French people,
And the dictature is the whip that God uses to punish the republics."

lundi, mai 07, 2007

What about some vacations in France?

It is the good time for vacations in a charming country full of nice people, especially now since the country is quiet: only 367 cars have been burnt during the night.

dimanche, mai 06, 2007

The illusion of Democracy

Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Easter

The acceptance of the truth makes the difference between a disciple and a true disciple. This was our conclusion last week. But let us be sure we have a solid understanding. We are not speaking about the general and objective truth given to everybody, namely the Revelation, but of a more intimate and personal truth: the truth about myself. Who am I? What is my vocation? What does God expect from me? Knowing this truth will make me a free and true disciple, on the condition that I accept it. This condition seems to be a paradox, because, in order to be free, we must accept the ‘vocation’, so to speak, of slavery.

We never grow tired of drawing spiritual advice from Saint Francis de Sales. “ God has ties with whom He enchains as His servants. Our Lord Jesus-Christ enchains many souls with ties of love and dilection and He makes them His subjects and slaves, but it is a sweet slavery. These souls have no consideration of fear, but are totally attracted by the love of Our dear Master and come to consecrate themselves entirely to His service.” Saint Francis de Sales speaks here about the Religious who “have left the false freedom of the world.” It is truly a false freedom because it is illusory. Liberty, or freedom, is the new battle cry of the world which wants to establish its new order. But what kind of liberty?

Liberty is now a god, or a goddess, whichever you prefer, with its religion named democracy. It has its priests and preachers, the great champions of human rights, the tenors of tolerance, the cantors of freethought. But as soon as you deny their creed, they excommunicate you and ban you from of the society. The great inquisitor Saint-Just has returned the verdict two centuries ago: “No liberty for the enemy of liberty!” Since this day, the blade falls and falls again. It is important to have good worshipers totally devoted to the cause. So the goddess Liberty eliminates all its opponents, and for them, it has no tolerance. You might say that I exaggerate and that today there is no more guillotine. For sure, Liberty shows a nicer face today, but it can still kill you on a social, political and professional level. Today, in our democratic countries, the victims of the goddess Liberty are more numerous than you can imagine. And I even don’t speak about the millions of sacrificed victims offered to the new Baal, the unborn babies who don’t have a chance to defend themselves in the womb of their mothers. What a tragic and sarcastic irony in the land of freedom that are our modern democracies!

Today France will have a new President. Next year, the US will have their new president. And soon or later, the other western countries will have their new Presidents or Prime ministers. They all promise changes; they all promise the beginning of a new era with more security, more prosperity. Were are lucky: after decades and decades of liberty, which allows us to choose the best man – or woman – to lead our country toward happiness, we certainly live today in a wonderful world where peace and justice mean something.

But when I open my eyes, I see a different world than the world promised by our politicians. Do we have to be surprised? After all they all belong to the religion Democracy and worship the goddess Liberty and its saints: Rousseau, Danton, Washington or Lincoln for example. Yes, Democracy is certainly the greatest illusion of the modern times. It is the illusion to believe that you are free because you can vote and decide. But decide what?

Almost all the major laws are decided in the Masonic lodges. Then it is just a matter of time. The great Democracy starts its brain washing so that people finally accepte these laws and vote for them. Then, they say that the people has decided, so the laws are now legitimate. Today they teach your children in the public schools that homosexuality is just a legitimate difference and tomorrow your children will vote for a candidate who is in favor of same-sex marriage. They call this the social-progress, the progress of the ideas, of tolerance etc…

Hans-Hermann Hoppe, a professor of economics at the University of Nevada wrote an interesting book named: Democracy – the god that failed. I wish it is true, but Democracy is still an active and powerful god. The perspective of Hoppe is more about economics, but he has some interesting thought. He shows what are the so-called progress of Democracy: “In comparison to the 19th century, the cognitive prowess of the political and intellectual elites and the quality of public education have declined. And the rates of crime, structural unemployment, welfare dependency, parasitism, negligence, recklessness, incivility, psychopathy, and hedonism have increased.” In a more lapidary manner, Pope John Paul II evoked the “structures of death” of the modern society.
Dear Brethren, we must understand that the world is against Our Lord Jesus-Christ. It is not new. The world wants us to be its slaves and it makes us believe that we are free. The world has established its new order with its new religion and its new creed. It is a caricature of the true God and of the true Religion and we can recognize here the author of this new order, the one who is jealous of God from the beginning: Satan!
As Saint Augustine said, there are two cities which are fighting against each other. We have to choose, one or the other, but we cannot belong to both. One will make us free, the other gives us the illusion that we are free. One seems hard, because it involves renouncements, the others proposes a world of pleasure and comfort. One asks you to humble yourself in front of the true God, the other makes you a god. But one is good and leads to the real liberty and happiness while the other is a trap that leads to perdition.

Now you can choose. But when you choose, be sure to be really free, because your choice will have terrible repercussions now on earth, and later in the eternity. As Saint Francis de Sales says again, our free will is really free only when it is slave of God’s will.

May Our Lady help us to understand this and to escape from the slavery of the world, so that we can enjoy the true liberty of the children of God.

mercredi, mai 02, 2007

Sermon for the Third Sunday after Easter

"The truth shall make you free!"

The notion of liberty is certainly one of the most tarnished concepts in the modern thought. It is misunderstood by our contemporaries who think that it is the ability to do whatever you want to do. This false notion of liberty generates a certain uneasiness because, in fact, if liberty is truly the ability to do whatever you want, it can never be obtained. The philosopher Jean-Michel Besnier describes the modern man and says that what characterizes him is “ the will of fleeing from himself. It is an evasion toward the mirages of a radiant future, but also a lateral avoidance through all the instruments of moronization that we have invented from the consummation of the medias to the consummation of neuroleptic pills. But the wise, the ancient wise, thinks that the only one liberty is to dwell in oneself.”
But even among the disciple of Jesus-Christ, many do not understand what exactly is liberty. Blaise Pascal says that “ there is a lot of difference between disciples and true disciples. We can recognize them by telling them that the truth shall make them free. For they reply that they are free and that it is in their power to leave the devil’s bondage. They are, indeed, disciples, but not true disciples.
After reading these words of Pascal, I thought: What makes the difference between a disciple and a true disciple? It is important to know the answer, because it is not enough to be a disciple. We should be true disciples and for this, we must know the constitutive element which makes us true disciples.

Jesus teaches: “The truth shall make you free!

As Christians, we can accept the idea of the Elders that we can find liberty by dwelling in ourselves, but only on one condition: we have to enter into ourselves and to dwell there in order to meet Our Lord Jesus Christ, and not to remain only with ourselves. Then, in the intimacy of our souls, we will meet Jesus, who is the truth. He will reveal us to ourselves and reveal Himself to us. At this point, we can hope to start to become free, but not before. The disciples are not yet free but they have not met our Lord in the intimacy of their souls. They met Him only in a external manner, but they don’t know the whole truth about themselves and about Jesus. And for not knowing the truth, they cannot be free. If you ask them: for you, who is Jesus Christ? They will answer that He is the Son of God, true God and true man who came into the world in order to redeem us. They will give the perfect answer given by the catechism that they know – because they are disciples – but their answer will remain formal. Now, ask a Saint, who is a true disciple, who is Jesus Christ. The answer will come from his heart because you ask him to speak about the One he loves.

A disciple is not free because he did not accept the plenitude of truth in his life. A true disciple is free, because he loves, and then, he walks in the light and the truth of God. He enjoys the true liberty of the children of God.

Dear brethren, I think that we don’t enjoy this liberty, because we don’t understand what our Religion truly is. In a certain way, it is sad. In another way, it opens the doors of hope, because it shows that we have so much progress to make and it is exciting, like when you prepare for a trip or an adventure. And we are all on the same adventure: the quest for God. I wish you could understand this and then open wide your soul so that it may expand and its opening of itself to God will know no limits. Magnanimity! It means to have a great soul – magna anima in Latin. It is the virtue of the Saints, the virtue of the true disciples, the virtue of the knights, of the nobles, of the heroes. It is the mark of the free men, those who have found Jesus Christ in the intimacy of their souls.
The opposite of magnanimity? Well, we see it every day around us, so I will not speak about it. It is finally not very interesting. Don't you agree?

So, dear brethren, Saint Peter encourages us today: let us live as free men, because we have been freed by Our Lord Jesus-Christ. It is not the world which can give the true freedom. It is neither ourselves. It is the truth. The problem is that too often, the truth frightens us. Then we try to find a way out through the illusions of the world. But this way does not lead toward freedom.
May Our Lady help us to open our eyes so that we can see the truth and make the mirages of the world disappear. May she lead us toward Her Son, source of our freedom. If God wills, next time we will look at how to walk in the truth in order to obtain our freedom.


mardi, mai 01, 2007

School: a place of corruption!

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable. Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."
(Romans I;18-25)

C'est le mois de Marie, c'est le mois le plus beau !

Voici un texte de Saint Alphonse de Liguori, extrait des Gloires de Marie, pour revivifier notre amour pour la Mère de Notre Divin Rédempteur.


Combien le nom de Marie est doux pendant la vie et à la mort

L'auguste nom de la Mère de Dieu, le nom de Marie, n'est pas d'origine terrestre ; il ne fut pas, comme les autres noms, inventé par l'esprit des hommes ; il ne lui fut pas donné par livre choix : descendu du ciel, il lui fut imposé par un décret divin ; ainsi l'attestent saint Jérôme, saint Épiphane, saint Antonin et d'autres auteurs.
" Le nom de Marie, dit saint Pierre Damien, fut tiré du trésor de la Divinité ". Oui, ô Marie, ajoute Richard de Saint-Laurent, votre nom sublime et admirable est sorti du trésor de la Divinité ; les trois personnes de la Trinité sainte vous l'ont donné d'un commun accord, ce nom qui éclipse tous les noms après celui de votre Fils ; elles l'ont rempli de tant de majesté et de puissance que, quand il est prononcé, il faut que tout se prosterne pour le vénérer, au ciel, sur la terre et dans les enfers ". Mais, sans parler des autres prérogatives que le Seigneur a voulu attacher au nom de Marie, considérons ici combien il l'a rendu doux aux serviteurs de cette céleste Reine, soit pendant la vie, soit à l'heure de la mort.
Premièrement, le nom de Marie est doux à ses serviteurs pendant leur vie. Le saint anachorète Honorius le trouvait plein de tout ce qu'il y a de douceur et de suavité en Dieu ; et, pour le glorieux saint Antoine de Padoue, ce nom avait les mêmes charmes que saint Bernard trouvait dans celui de Jésus. " Le nom de Jésus, avait dit Bernard, le nom de Marie, reprenait Antoine, est une joie au coeur de ses pieux serviteurs, un miel sur les lèvres, une mélodie pour leurs oreilles ". Le vénérable Juvénal Ancina, évêque de Saluces, goûtait, en prononçant le nom de Marie, une douceur sensible telle, dit son historien, qu'il s'en léchait les lèvres. On lit la même chose d'une femme de Cologne : " Je ne prononce jamais le nom de Marie, assurait-elle à l'évêque Massilius sans que mon palais soit flatté d'une saveur supérieure à celle du miel ". Massilius adopta sa pratique la même douceur.
Lors de l'Assomption de la Vierge, les anges demandèrent à trois reprises quel était son nom ; on peut le conclure de ces trois passages des Cantiques : " Quelle est celle-ci qui mont du désert comme un nuage d'encens ? - Quelle est celle-ci qui s'avance comme une aurore naissante ? - Quelle est celle-ci qui s'élève du désert, nageant dans les délices ? " Pourquoi, se demande Richard, pourquoi les anges répètent-ils tant de fois leur question : Quelle est celle-ci ?. . . C'est sans doute, répond-il, afin d'entendre répéter le nom de Marie, tant ce nom résonne délicieusement à l'oreille des anges eux-mêmes.
Mais ce n'est pas de cette douceur sensible que j'entends parler ici : il n'est pas donné à tous de la sentir ; je veux parler d'une douceur spirituelle, d'un sentiment salutaire de consolation, d'amour, de joie, de confiance et de force, que le nom de Marie inspire communément à ceux qui le prononcent avec dévotion.
L'abbé Francon dit à ce sujet : " Après le saint nom de Jésus, le nom de Marie est si fécond en biens de tout genre, que, ni sur la terre, ni dans le ciel, on n'entend prononcer aucun nom qui remplisse les âmes dévotes d'autant de grâces, de consolation et d'espérance. En effet, continue le même auteur, le nom de Marie renferme je ne sais quoi d'admirable, de doux et de divin, qui fait qu'il ne peut retentir dans un coeur aimant sans l'embaumer d'une odeur de sainte suavité. Et voici, dit-il en finissant, la merveille de cet auguste nom : mille fois répété, il paraît toujours nouveau à ceux qui aiment Marie, aussi bien que le plaisir avec lequel ils l'entendent ".
Le bienheureux Henri Suson avait bien fait, lui aussi, l'expérience de cette douceur du nom de Marie. En le prononçant, il se sentait, disait-il lui-même, pénétré de confiance et enflammé d'amour ; aussi, versant des larmes de joie et transporté hors de lui-même, il eut voulu que le coeur lui bondît de la poitrine jusque sur les lèvres ; car, assurait-il, ce nom si doux, si cher, se liquéfiait au fond de son âme comme un rayon de miel. Après quoi, il s'écriait : " O nom plein de suavité ! O Marie ! que devez-vous donc être vous-même, si votre nom seul est déjà si aimable et si gracieux ? "
De son côté, saint Bernard, s'adressant à sa bonne Mère, lui disait, en ces termes pleins de tendresse, la flamme dont il brûlait pour elle : " O grande, ô clémente, ô admirable Marie ! ô Vierge très sainte et digne de toute louange, combien doux et aimable est votre nom ! On ne peut le prononcer sans se sentir embrasé d'amour et pour vous et pour Dieu ; il suffit même que ce nom se présente à la pensée de ceux qui vous aiment, pour accroître beaucoup leur amour et les consoler ". - Ah ! si les richesses consolent les pauvres, en les tirant de leur misère, ajoute Richard de Saint-Laurent, combien plus, ô Marie, votre nom nous console dans nos peines, car, bien mieux que les richesses de la terre, il adoucit les angoisses de la vie présente !
En un mot, ô Mère de Dieu, votre nom est tellement rempli, comme le dit saint Méthode, de grâces et de bénédictions divines, que, comme l'affirme saint Bonaventure, on ne saurait le prononcer dévotement sans en tirer quelque bien. Quelque endurci que puisse être un pécheur, eût-il même perdu toute confiance en Dieu, qu'il vous nomme seulement, ô Vierge pleine de bonté ; et, ajoute le pieux Idiot, telle est la vertu de votre nom qu'il sentira sa dureté s'ammolir d'une manière merveilleuse ; car c'est vous qui faites revivres les pécheurs à l'espérance du pardon et de la grâce.
Votre doux nom, dit à son tour saint Ambroise, est un baume qui répand l'odeur de la grâce ; ah ! que ce bauime de salut descende au fond de nos âmes ! Voici donc ce que le saint vous demandait par ces paroles, ô Marie, et ce que nous vous demandons après lui : faites que nous pensions souvent à invoquer votre nom avec amour et confiance ; car c'est là, sinon un signe de la présence de la grâce divine en nous, du moins un gage de son prochain retour. Il en est bien ainsi, car, ô Marie, selon la pensée de Ludolphe de Saxe, " le souvenir de votre nom console les affligés, remet dans la voie du salut ceux qui en sont sortis, et fortifie les pécheurs contre la tentation du désespoir. "
" De même donc que, par ses cinq plaies, Jésus-Cbhrist a préparé le remède à tous les maux du monde ; ainsi, par la vertu de son très saint nom composé de cinq lettres, Marie ménage chaque jour aux pécheurs, observe Pelbart, la rémission de leur faute ". Voilà pourquoi il est dit dans les cantiques sacrés : Votre nom est comme une huile répandue ; paroles qu'Alain de l'Isle commente ainsi : " L'huile guérit les malades, répand une odeur agréable, et nourrit la flamme ; et le nom de Marie guérit les pécheurs, réjouit les âmes, et les embrase du divin amour." Aussi, Richard de Saint-Laurent exhorte tous les pécheurs à invoquer ce nom assez puissant à lui seul pour les délivrer de tous les maux ; car il n'est point de maladie si funeste, assure-t-il, qui ne cède aussitôt à sa vertu salutaire.
D'autre part, au témoignage de thomas a Kempis " les démons redoutent à tel poinjt la Reine du ciel, que, si quelqu'un vient à prononcer son nom, ils fuient incontinent loin de lui, comme on fait pour échapper aux atteintes de la flamme ". Et, d'après une révélation de la bienheureuse Vierge elle-même à sainte Brigitte, il n'est pas en cette vie de pécheur, si froid, si étranger soit-il à l'amour divin, qui ne puisse forcer l'esprit malin à s'éloigner, à la seule condition d'invoquer le saint nom de Marie avec le bon propos de se convertir. Une autre fois, revenant sur le même sujet, Marie disait à la même sainte : " Tous les démons révèrent mon nom et le redoutent ; et, rien qu'à l'entendre, ils relâchent au plus vite l'âme qu'ils tenaient déjà entre leurs griffes ". Par contre, pendant que les anges rebelles s'éloignent des pécheurs qui incoquent le nom de Marie, les bons anges se rapprochent davantage des âmes justes qui le prononcent dévotement ; c'est ce qu'a dit encore Notre-Dame à sainte Brigitte.
Selon saint Germain, comme la respiration est un signe de vie, ainsi la répétition fréquente du nom de Marie est un signe, ou que déjà la grâce vit en nous, ou qu'elle y revivra bientôt ; car ce nom puissant a la vertu d'attirer en ceux qui l'invoquent, le secours de Dieu et la vie.
Enfin, Richard de Saint-Laurent dit que ce nom admirable est comme une forte tour où le pécheur qui s'y réfugie est à l'abri de la mort, où les plus désespérés trouvent une défense sûre et le salut. Mais, continue le même, cette tour céleste ne préserve pas seulement les pécheurs du châtiment qui leur serait dû ; elle protège encore les justes contre les assauts de l'enfer ; et, après le nom de Jésus, aucun nom n'est secourable aux hommes, aucun n'est salutaire à l'égal du grand nom de Marie.
Notamment, c'est chose universellement reconnue, et dont les serviteurs de Marie font tous les jours l'expérience, que son nom puissant donne la force de vaincre les tentations contre la chasteté. Sur ces paroles de saint Luc : " Et le nom de cette vierge est Marie ", le même Richard observe que l'évangéliste a joint ensemble le nom de Marie et celui de Vierge, pour nous donner à entendre que le nom de cette Vierge très pure ne va jamais sans la chasteté. De là, cette sentence de saint Jean Chrysostôme : " Ce nom béni est indice de chasteté ". C'est-à-dire : celui qui doute s'il n'a pas consenti à un tentation impure, mais qui se souvient en même temps d'avoir invoqué le nom de Marie, qu'il se rassure, il n'a pas blessé la sainte vertu ; cette invocation même en est un signe certain.
Puisqu'il en est ainsi, soyons fidèle à suivre le sage conseil de saint Bernard : " Dans les périls, dans les difficultés, dans les perplexictés, pensez à Marie, dit-il, invoquez Marie ; que son nom ne quitte jamais vos lèvres, qu'il soit consamment dans votre coeur ". Oui, toutes les fois que nous sommes en danger de perdre la grâce de Dieu, pensons à Marie, invoquons le nom de Marie, conjointement avec celui de Jésus ; car ces deux noms ne doivent jamais se séparer. Que ces deux noms si doux et si puissants ne s'éloignent jamais de notre coeur ni de nos lèvres ; ils nous donneront la force de ne pas succomber et de vaincre toutes les tentations.
Admirables sont les faveurs promises par Jésus-Christ à ceux qui sont dévots au nom de Marie ; sainte Brigitte les apprit de la bouche du Sauveur lui-même s'entretenant avec sa sainte Mère : " Quiconque , lui disait-il, invoquera votre nom avec confiance et avec le propos de s'amender recevra trois grâces signalées, savoir : un parfait repentir de ses péchés, la grâce d'en faire pénitence avec la force de parvenir à la perfection, et finalement la gloire céleste. Car, ô ma Mère, ajouta le divin Sauvuer, vos paroles me sont si douces et si agréables, que je ne puis vous refuser aucune de vos demandes ".
Saint Éphrem va jusqu'à dire que " le nom de Marie est la clef du ciel " pour ceux qui l'invoquent dévotement. Saint Bonaventure a donc raison de proclamer Marie le Salut de tous ceux qui l'invoquent : O salus te invocantium ! comme si c'était une même chose d'invoquer le nom de Marie et d'obtenir le salut éternel. Et, en effet, Richard de Saint-Laurent nous assure que, par l'invocation de ce nom si saint et si doux, nous acquérons une grâce surabondantes en cette vie et un sublime degré de gloire en l'autre.
Concluons par cette exhortation de Thomas a Kempis : " Voulez-vous donc, mes frères, être consolés dans toutes vos peines, recourez à Marie, invoquez Marie, recommandez-vous à Marie ; réjouissez-vous avec Marie, pleurez avec Marie, priez avec Marie, marchez avec Marie, cherchez Jésus avec Marie, désirez enfin vivre et mourir avec Jésus et Marie. Par ce moyen, ajoute-t-il, vous avancerez toujours dans la voie du Seigneur ; car Marie priera volontiers pour vous, et le Fils exaucera certainement sa Mère ".
Le saint nom de Marie est donc pour ses serviteurs pendant leur vie la source de bien des douceurs et de grâces bien précieuses ; il nous reste à voir combien plus doux encore il leur devient au dernier moment, en rendant leur mort tranquille et sainte.
Le Père Sertorius Caputo de la Compagnie de Jésus, engageait tous ceux qui doivent assiter un mourant, à lui répéter fréquemment le nom de Marie ; prononcé à l'heure, disait-il, ce nom de vie et d'espérance suffit à lui seul pour mettre en fuite tous les démons et fortifier les mourants dans toutes leurs angoisses. Avec non moins de zèle, saint Camille de Lellis recommandait à ses religieux d'exciter souvent les moribonds à invoquer les noms de Jésus et de Marie. Après avoir lui-même suggéré toujours cette sainte pratique aux autres, il apprit par sa propre expérience combien elle est douce et salutaire à l'heure de la mort. En ce moment suprême, raconte l'auteur de sa vie, il prononçait avec tant de tendresses les noms, si chers à son coeur, de Jésus et de Marie, que les flammes dont il était consumé, se communiquaient aux assistants. Enfin, les yeux amoureusement fixés sur les images de Jésus et de Marie, le front serein et les bras en croix, il expira dans une paix céleste, en invoquant encore ces doux noms, qui furent les dernières paroles de sa vie.

Jésus ! Marie ! . . .

est-il prière plus courte que celle-là ? et pourtant, remarque Thomas a Kempis, autant elle est facile à retenir, autant elle est douce à méditer, et elle est une puissante sauvegarde contre tous les ennemis de notre salut.
Heureux, s'écriait saint Bonaventure, heureux celui qui aime votre doux nom, ô Mère de Dieu ! Votre nom est si glorieux, si admirable en est la vertu, que tous ceux qui ont soin de l'invoquer à l'article de la mort, n'ont rien à craindre des attaques de l'ennemi.
Ah ! quel bonheur de mourir comme le Père Fulgence d'Ascoli, capucin, qui rendit le dernier soupir en chantant :

O beauté sans égale ! ô Marie, ô Marie !

Je veux quitter la terre en votre compagnie.

Quel bonheur de mourir comme le bienheureux Henri, moine de Citeaux, qui, d'après les annales de l'Ordre, sortit de ce monde en articulant le nom de Marie.
Prions donc, pieux lecteurs, prions Dieu de nous faire cette grâce que la dernière parole de nos lèvres mourantes soit le nom de Marie. Tels étaient le désir et la prière de saint Germain : " Que ma langue, au moment de se glacer, répète encore une fois le nom de Marie ". Oh ! que la mort est douce et paisible, sous les auspices et la protection de ce nom de salut, de ce nom que Dieu accorde d'invoquer au moment de mourir, à ceux-là seuls qu'il veut voir sauvés !
Ma douce Souveraine et Mère, je vous aime beaucoup ; et par amour pour vous, j'aime aussi votre saint nom ; je suis résolu et j'espère, avec votre secours, de l'invoquer pendant toute ma vie, et à ma mort. Je vous adresse donc, en terminant, cette tendre prière de saint Bonaventure : Pour la gloire de votre nom lorsque mon âme sortira de ce monde, venez au-devant d'elle, ô Vierge bénie, et daignez la recevoir entre vos bras. Ayez la bonté de venir la consoler alors par votre douce présence : soyez pour elle l'échelle et la voie du ciel ; obtenez-lui la grâce du pardon et l'éternel repos. O Marie, notre Avocate, c'est à vous de défendre vos serviteurs et de plaider leur cause au tribunal de Jésus-Christ.