dimanche, décembre 30, 2007

Sermon for Sunday within the Octave of Christmas

Dum medium silentium!

Our spirit is quite insufficient and certainly does not allow us to apprehend the fullness of the mystery of the Incarnation in one instant. When someone approaches God and His mysteries, he can only notice his own littleness and his incapability to understand God completely and totally. He has to renounce his own concepts in order to begin to learn something about God. The true knowledge of God is not obtained by a work of scholarly knowledge, but is a gift given to humble people. This gift is offered to every soul which enters into itself and opens itself to God.
There are different stages that you must necessarily take in order to reach the knowledge of God. The book of Proverbs explains what they are. First you must be attentive, so that you can listen. But what is required is not only a sensible attention, that we can name concentration, but first the attention of the heart. We often hear people say that they have difficulties in praying because of a lack of concentration. Well, I guess that this is a false pretext because concentration is not necessary to approach God. You might need your concentration to study, to realize a difficult technical work or to win a football game, but you definitively do not need it to speak or to listen to God. What you need is to turn your heart to God, which is not concentration, but attention of your heart. It is different and it even gives the possibility to concentrate on something else while your heart is with God.
For example, when you drive, it is better to not be concentrated on God, but on the road and the directions. Otherwise I am afraid that your piety which would not be sustained by the virtue of prudence would be the cause of an accident. A piety without prudence would be a false piety, which could bring spiritual or material damages. So when you drive your car or conduct your own life, be concentrated on the proper object in order to avoid accidents, material or spiritual. Do what you have to do, and do it well. And you can always keep the attention of your heart with God, whatever you do. The 2nd chapter of the book of Proverbs says: That thy ear may hearken to wisdom: incline thy heart to know prudence.
If you pass this first stage of the attentive prudence, then you may reach the second stage, which is another step toward the acquisition of the knowledge of God. This second stage is the fear of the Lord. For if thou shalt call for wisdom, and incline thy heart to prudence: If thou shalt seek her as money, and shalt dig for her as for a treasure, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord. (Prov.2:3-5) Let us understand well: we have to desire wisdom as earthly people desire money. It is a quest for wisdom and a quest means that we have to take the means to obtain it and make the necessary effort.
Where can we find wisdom? Where can we be sure to find it unerringly? It is to the Incarnate Wisdom that we have to go. The Eternal Wisdom has a name: Jesus Christ! Saint Louis de Montfort says that nothing is more consoling than to know divine Wisdom, and after having given the reasons, he adds that the knowledge of eternal Wisdom is also the most useful and the most necessary since eternal life consists in knowing God and Jesus Christ, his Son. Eternal life is knowing God, and we can begin to know Him now, and consequently already anticipate eternity during this life.
The time of Christmas is a beautiful invitation to turn to the Eternal Wisdom that we can contemplate, since it is now visible through the person of Jesus Christ. I said in the beginning that we cannot apprehend the fullness of the mystery of the Incarnation in one instant. So, the Church comes to help us and offers us a whole week which is like one day which develops throughout the week. The Octave of Christmas allows us to take a spiritual break and to focus on the mystery of the birth of Jesus.
For us, who are supposed to desire wisdom as a treasure, what an opportunity! We just have to turn to Jesus and to contemplate him. We do not need our concentration but rather our imagination. Let it fly toward the manger of Bethlehem and let us offer the attention of our hearts to the Baby Jesus. Simplicity and tranquility are the doors of contemplation. It is not difficult, it is not demanding. But you still have to make the effort to give a good part of your time for this spiritual activity that we call mental prayer or meditation. And you have to do it every day. I said you have to, but it is not the case. We should not have to take time to pray and to meditate. It rather should be a ‘natural’ consequence of our love for God, even though it involves supernatural acts of faith and of charity.
But if our charity is not yet burning, at least our daily meditation will kindle it more and more. Saint Francis de Sales explains that it puts our intelligence in the clearness and the divine light and exposes our will to the celestial love. I think that the beautiful Introit of the Mass depicts very well the canvas of our meditation. It is precisely taken from the book of wisdom. When a profound stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful Word, O Lord, bounded from heaven’s royal throne. It is really in the silence of our souls that we can hear the Word of God.
May Our Lady help us to silence. Then the light of God will shine in the nights of our earthly lives. We will just have to follow it toward eternity.

mercredi, décembre 26, 2007


"A holy day has dawned upon us.Come you nations and adore the Lord.Today a great light has come upon the earth."(Day Mass of Christmas, Gospel Acclamation)

Dear Brothers and Sisters! “A holy day has dawned upon us.” A day of great hope: today the Saviour of mankind is born. The birth of a child normally brings a light of hope to those who are waiting anxiously. When Jesus was born in the stable at Bethlehem, a “great light” appeared on earth; a great hope entered the hearts of those who awaited him: in the words of today’s Christmas liturgy, “lux magna”. Admittedly it was not “great” in the manner of this world, because the first to see it were only Mary, Joseph and some shepherds, then the Magi, the old man Simeon, the prophetess Anna: those whom God had chosen. Yet, in the shadows and silence of that holy night, a great and inextinguishable light shone forth for every man; the great hope that brings happiness entered into the world: “the Word was made flesh and we saw his glory” (Jn 1:14).
God is light”, says Saint John, “and in him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn 1:5). In the Book of Genesis we read that when the universe was created, “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” “God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Gen 1:2-3). The creative Word of God is Light, the source of life. All things were made through the Logos, not one thing had its being but through him (cf. Jn 1:3). That is why all creatures are fundamentally good and bear within themselves the stamp of God, a spark of his light. Nevertheless, when Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, the Light himself came into the world: in the words of the Creed, “God from God, Light from Light”. In Jesus, God assumed what he was not, while remaining what he was: “omnipotence entered an infant’s body and did not cease to govern the universe” (cf. Saint Augustine, Sermo 184, No. 1 on Christmas). The Creator of man became man in order to bring peace to the world. For this reason, during Christmas night, the hosts of angels sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those whom he loves” (Lk 2:14).
Today a great light has come upon the earth”. The Light of Christ is the bearer of peace. At Midnight Mass, the Eucharistic liturgy begins with this very chant: “Today true peace has come down to us from heaven” (Entrance Antiphon). Indeed, it is only the “great” light manifested in Christ that can give “true” peace to men: that is why every generation is called to welcome it, to welcome the God who in Bethlehem became one of us.
This is Christmas – the historical event and the mystery of love, which for more than two thousand years has spoken to men and women of every era and every place. It is the holy day on which the “great light” of Christ shines forth, bearing peace! Certainly, if we are to recognize it, if we are to receive it, faith is needed and humility is needed. The humility of Mary, who believed in the word of the Lord and, bending low over the manger, was the first to adore the fruit of her womb; the humility of Joseph, the just man, who had the courage of faith and preferred to obey God rather than to protect his own reputation; the humility of the shepherds, the poor and anonymous shepherds, who received the proclamation of the heavenly messenger and hastened towards the stable, where they found the new-born child and worshipped him, full of astonishment, praising God (cf. Lk 2:15-20). The little ones, the poor in spirit: they are the key figures of Christmas, in the past and in the present; they have always been the key figures of God’s history, the indefatigable builders of his Kingdom of justice, love and peace.
In the silence of that night in Bethlehem, Jesus was born and lovingly welcomed. And now, on this Christmas Day, when the joyful news of his saving birth continues to resound, who is ready to open the doors of his heart to the holy child? Men and women of this modern age, Christ comes also to us bringing his light, he comes also to us granting peace! But who is watching, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a vigilant, praying heart? Who is waiting for the dawn of the new day, keeping alight the flame of faith? Who has time to listen to his word and to become enfolded and entranced by his love? Yes! His message of peace is for everyone; he comes to offer himself to all people as sure hope for salvation.
Finally, may the light of Christ, which comes to enlighten every human being, shine forth and bring consolation to those who live in the darkness of poverty, injustice and war; to those who are still denied their legitimate aspirations for a more secure existence, for health, education, stable employment, for fuller participation in civil and political responsibilities, free from oppression and protected from conditions that offend against human dignity. It is the most vulnerable members of society – women, children, the elderly – who are so often the victims of brutal armed conflicts, terrorism and violence of every kind, which inflict such terrible sufferings on entire populations. At the same time, ethnic, religious and political tensions, instability, rivalry, disagreements, and all forms of injustice and discrimination are destroying the internal fabric of many countries and embittering international relations. Throughout the world the number of migrants, refugees and evacuees is also increasing because of frequent natural disasters, often caused by alarming environmental upheavals.
On this day of peace, my thoughts turn especially to those places where the grim sound of arms continues to reverberate; to the tortured regions of Darfur, Somalia, the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia; to the whole of the Middle East – especially Iraq, Lebanon and the Holy Land; to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, to the Balkans and to many other crisis situations that unfortunately are frequently forgotten. May the Child Jesus bring relief to those who are suffering and may he bestow upon political leaders the wisdom and courage to seek and find humane, just and lasting solutions. To the thirst for meaning and value so characteristic of today’s world, to the search for prosperity and peace that marks the lives of all mankind, to the hopes of the poor: Christ – true God and true Man – responds with his Nativity. Neither individuals nor nations should be afraid to recognize and welcome him: with Him “a shining light” brightens the horizon of humanity; in him “a holy day” dawns that knows no sunset. May this Christmas truly be for all people a day of joy, hope and peace!
Come you nations and adore the Lord.” With Mary, Joseph and the shepherds, with the Magi and the countless host of humble worshippers of the new-born Child, who down the centuries have welcomed the mystery of Christmas, let us too, brothers and sisters from every continent, allow the light of this day to spread everywhere: may it enter our hearts, may it brighten and warm our homes, may it bring serenity and hope to our cities, and may it give peace to the world. This is my earnest wish for you who are listening. A wish that grows into a humble and trustful prayer to the Child Jesus, that his light will dispel all darkness from your lives and fill you with love and peace. May the Lord, who has made his merciful face to shine in Christ, fill you with his happiness and make you messengers of his goodness. Happy Christmas!

mardi, décembre 25, 2007

Llibre Vermell

After the Midnight Mass , the choir of the Latin Mass community of Cherokee Village sang two pieces from the Red Book of Montserrat during our Christmas party .

Medieval Spain had two famous places of pilgrimage: Santiago de Compostela and Santa Maria de Montserrat. Situated on a cleft mountain near Barcelona, the monastery of Montserrat was the center of devotion for the Virgin Mary for all of Catalonia. The monastery was founded around 1025 as a branch of the benedictine monastery of Ripoll. Legend tells us that the Virgin Mary performed miracles there which explains the fact that the mountain had been inhabited by hermits as early as the end of the ninth century. During this time the mountain was reconquered from the "Saracens" and conveyed to the monastery of Ripoll by the counts Wifredo and Suner. The monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat originated out of one of the hermitages. A large number of pilgrims went there, mainly because of their belief in the wonder-working power of the black statue of the Virgin Mary which was put up around the year 1200. The monastery was also a cultural center of the first order: some of the monks had studied at far away universities like Paris or Bologna. Clerics from noble Spanish families, mostly from Catalonia, represented the aristocracy in Montserrat through their celebration of daily masses. This is how Montserrat became the spiritual, cultural and political center of Catalonia. With the conquests of the Catalon-Aragonese crown, Montserrat became "famous" worldwide: Churches were built in honour of the Virgin from Montserrat in Mexico, Chile and Peru. In the colonies, islands and settlements were named after her. After the almost complete devastation of the monastery by Napoleon in 1811, Montserrat regained its former significance only during the Catalonian 'Renaixença' at the end of the nineteenth century.

The most precious treasure from the library of Montserrat is a codex from the late fourteenth century, the 'Llibre Vermell' or 'Red Book'. The manuscript is named after it's red velvet cover which stems from the late 19th century. 35 of the original 172 sheets in folio of this manuscript are lost today. Besides various other contents, mainly for liturgical use, one of the fascicles (folio 21v - 27r) contains ten musical works (notated during the years 1396-1399).

Stella Splendens

Resplendent star on the mountain, like a sunbeam miraculously glowing, hear the people.

All joyous people come together: rich and poor, young and old, climb the mountain to see with their own eyes, and return from it filled with grace.

Rulers and magnates of royal stirpes, the mighty of the world, possessing grace, proclaim their sins, beating their breast, and call on bended knee: Ave Maria.

Prelates and barons with their noble suite, all monks and also priests, soldiers, merchands, citizens, sailors, townspeople and fishermen are praising here.

Peasants, ploughmen and also scribes, advocates, stone-masons and all carpenters, tailors and shoemakers and also weavers, all craftsmen thank here.

Queens, countesses, illustrious ladies of power and maidens, young girls, virgins and old women and widows, climb the mountain, and also nuns.

The community is gathered here to make a vow, to give thanks and to fulfil the vow for the glory of this place, so that all may see and return in joy, partaking of salvation.

We shall all - of both sexes - pray, and full of humility confess our sins to the glorious virgin, mother of clemency, so that in heaven we may be with the merciful.

Splendens Ceptigera

Canon in two or three voices:

Shining sovereign be our advocate. Virgin Mother. Beating our breast we confess our guilt, oh Lord.

Sermon for the Midnight Mass

This night is most certainly a night of glitter, but it is a contained glitter which does not blind, but rather brings a softer light to the dark world. It is the light of a night in winter which comes to heat up the hearts of those who approach it, as a chimney fire which heats the bodies and warms the hearts. The crackle of the logs and the game of the fire which reflect like a Chinese shade are soothing and fascinating. Yet, let the fire amplify and it can become frightening.

It is precisely like the light of God that we contemplate tonight. It is a beautiful light which brings peace and joy and delights minds and hearts. But it is a contained light which does not show entirely the essence of God. It just reveals to us a little bit, just enough to sustain our faith, to arouse our hope and to kindle our charity. But the full light of God is not yet shown. It is not yet possible to see it now, because it would blind us. We are not able, in our present condition to see it. So God gives us just what we can receive. The light of the Incarnation shines from the shed of Bethlehem. It radiates in time and space for all men and all nations. It comes to enlighten mankind and to make it rediscover the brightness of God which is in it, but which has been concealed by sin. It comes to bring peace to all men of good will. Peace is not given to everybody, but to men of good will. Who are they?
By becoming a man, God came to the encounter of men of good will, those who finally accept the fact of the Incarnation. They are represented by the shepherds of the gospel, humble men who do not care for the honors of the earth, but are predisposed for the celestial approaches. Ignored by the princes of the world, they have been chosen by the angels to receive the great news of the Nativity. They are those little souls, with a spirit of childhood, who can accept the mystery of the Incarnation. They are those who give up all the theories of the world, the well conceived ideas of society and the slogans in fashion, in order to receive the good news of the Gospel. They are those who seek for the truth because they have made straight the way of the Lord in their souls.
The message of Christmas is first a message of humility given by God, Himself. The second Person of the Most Holy Trinity came into our world in the dispossession of the crèche. What man on earth could have imagined this? The ways of God are definitively not the ways of men, and this is good and comforting. Our God is a God of tenderness who can move the heart of the most obdurate person. He is a God of passion and of love, a God of humility and simplicity. He appears in a visible manner with the feature of a baby. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice in front of such a mystery.
Tonight we would like to participate in the sweet joy of creation which receives its Creator. Let this joy strengthen our faith and fill our hearts with the love of God. Let us join Our Lady and Saint Joseph in this celebration of the temporal birth in the flesh of the Incarnate Word. There is nothing else to say and only a God to love now. As Saint Gregory of Nazianzus put it, let the generation of the Word be honored by our silence.

dimanche, décembre 23, 2007

Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Advent

The coming of the Messiah is now near. A new era is about to begin. God has predisposed every thing for the coming of His Son. It is as if the whole creation were waiting for this event. Heaven and earth are urged to deliver the Just and the Savior. The desire of the everlasting hills is fervently expected. He will seal the end of the time of the patriarchs announced by Jacob: The blessings of thy father are strengthened with the blessings of his fathers: until the desire of the everlasting hills should come. (Gen.49:26) The time of the patriarchs and the prophets is now completed. The One that all the patriarchs and prophets prefigured or announced is near.
Now, we can hear the last prophet, Saint John the Baptist, who asks us to make ready the way of the Lord and make straight his paths. In order to understand these words well, we can think about what a prophet is. In the mind of many, a prophet is someone who makes some prophecies, which means someone who says something about the future. This is not necessarily wrong, but it is a very limited notion of a prophet. Let us try to go further with the help of Benedict XVI. In his book, Jesus of Nazareth, the Pope writes that the conclusion of Deuteronomy returns to the promise and gives it a surprising twist that takes it far beyond the institution of prophecy. The Pope refers to the Prophecy of Deuteronomy (Deut.18:15) that says: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you… him you shall heed. The Pope adds: in so doing, it gives the figure of the prophet its true meaning. And there has not risen a prophet since in Israel like Moses whom the Lord knew face to face. (Deut. 34:10)

Saint John the Baptist: make ready the way of the Lord

A new prophet like Moses has still to come and the Lord knows him face to face. Moses led the chosen people into the Promised Land, but it was not yet the definitive salvation. Moses had seen something of the glory of God, a foretaste of the beatific vision. This is what is essential to a prophet. He has seen God and spoken with Him. Benedict XVI explains that he shows us the face of God, and in so doing he shows us the path that we have to take. The prophet can do this because God has first shown him His face and His path. He has received a particular mission from God in order to lead others in the path of truth. Among all the paths of history, the path to God is the true direction that we must seek and find, the Pope says again. The whole history of the Old Covenant, of which Moses was the mediator, is the story of the chosen people seeking for the true direction. Many times, they moved aside and divert from this direction. God always called them back by sending his prophets.
Now the whole of mankind has a rendezvous with the great Prophet who calls not only the people of Israel, but also all the Nations. We have a new Mediator for a New Covenant in whom we see in His Humanity the face of God. He is the Prophet par excellence because He sees God face to face. From the very beginning of His conception in the womb of Mary, He always had the beatific vision. The Humanity of Jesus is the true direction toward God. He is the Way.
We have to prepare the way for His coming. We have to seek Him and to look at Him. He that sees me sees the Father also. (Jn.14:9) In a couple of days we will go in Spirit to the manger of Bethlehem. There, we will see a little Baby and we will adore Him, because this Baby is God. But we need faith to see God through the humanity of Jesus. We have to make straight His way by increasing our faith. Faith is the only way possible to apprehend the mystery of the Incarnation and consequently the mystery of the Redemption. Benedict XVI tells us what Redemption means: a stepping beyond the limits of human nature, which had been there as a possibility and an expectation in man, God’s image and likeness, since the moment of creation.
A human being has been associated with these mysteries to the point that they would have been impossible without her consent. So, we turn to her in order to penetrate into these mysteries of our faith. May Our Blessed Mother help us to make straight the way of the Lord so that we can accept Him into our lives and let Him restore the beauty of God’s image that we have blemished by our sins. Let us follow Mary without any hesitation to be sure that we are going the right direction to God. It is the true way toward happiness, toward the place where we will see God face to face and become prophets for all eternity.

jeudi, décembre 20, 2007

A little Christmas present

Here is a very interesting movie made by the Italian Television about Pius XII
Part I

Part II

dimanche, décembre 16, 2007

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent

During our recollection, yesterday, Father Duroisin reminded us of the importance of the theological virtues. They are important – I should say, they are essential – because they have God for their proper object. In other words, they put us directly in relation with God. These virtues of faith, hope and charity constitute us as Christian, true disciples of Jesus Christ and establish us in a very particular relation with God. All the other virtues are good in themselves, but finally are useless regarding our eternal destiny if they are not grounded on the theological virtues.
Faith, Hope and Charity
Musée du Louvre

The world has lost the sense of God, and losing it, it also has lost good common sense. A certain chaos ensues from the abandonment of God and you just have to open your eyes to realize that the world has been going crazy for the last two centuries. Certainly there has never been a golden age with everything perfect, since original sin. Even in the times of Christendom, human nature was still in rebellion against its Creator, but at least the states and the institutions provided a better environment for the salvation of souls, which is ultimately the most important thing on earth. Salvation of souls is the main duty of the Church who has the sufficient means to provide this: as such, she is a perfect society and does not need any help from the state or any other institution. One has to be a member of the Catholic Church and to follow her teaching in order to be saved. That’s all. No political system, no human institution, and no man can provide salvation, but only Our Lord Jesus Christ through the Church He founded.

Nevertheless, as long as we live on earth in time, we belong to the temporal order. Even though this one is distinct from the spiritual order, it still has to recognize its supremacy. When the temporal order revolts against the spiritual order, there is a lot of damage to souls. The spiritual order has been strongly attacked by the temporal order within the last two centuries. The century of Enlightenment brought the Revolution which was the rejection of God from society. Then different totalitarian systems tried to annihilate Christianity and even God Himself. They perished as a system even though their ideas still exist today.
Now, a materialistic society continues the work of destroying the faith. Today, we, the disciples of Jesus of the XXI century, live in a world that has rejected God. As we were told during the recollection, we in a certain way are in a similar situation as the Jews at the time of King Achaz. It was a difficult time for the people of God and the survival of the Kingdom of Israel was at stake. But God through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah gave a strong warning: Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm. (Is. 7: 9)
The temptation is great for us to follow the world and consequently to fall into its errors. It is hard to not follow the tidal wave of liberalism that takes everything on its way. For Cardinal Henry Newman – one the greatest spirits of the XIX century – liberalism is a figure of the Anti-Christ. So, we have to be firm in order to resist it and our faith has to be firm. But being firm in our faith puts us in a situation of conflict with the world. For us it involves the refusal of many practices which are incompatible with revealed truth, such as abortion or contraception.
The world has its dogmas and wants us to accept them. They are hidden behind the new universal virtue called ‘tolerance.’ Some new prophets, who do not speak the gospel of Jesus, but their own gospel, even try to make us believe that tolerance is a Christian virtue. I would like to know where in the gospel Jesus gives a lesson of tolerance. The gospel is all about charity, but charity is not tolerance. For now, I can only remember this assertion from the great Cardinal Pie, who said that if you want to know what the true religion is, you have to look at which one is the most intolerant. And this is the Catholic religion.
Let us be firm in our faith. The world cannot save us and trying to find a compromise with it is an illusion. As the prophet Isaiah reminds us, salvation is not in such a compromise, but in God only. God gave a sign to Israel. This is the great prophecy that we hear during the time of Advent: Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel. (Is 7:14) Emmanuel! God is with us. It is the message of the Incarnation that brings the true hope into the world. Benedict XVI says in his recent encyclical letter about hope that this revelation is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life. Accepting the gift of the Incarnation is receiving a new life and is a great source of joy.

Gaudete! Rejoice! Have no anxiety, Saint Paul says, but rejoice in the Lord! When the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah came, the angel said to Mary “Do not be afraid!” These words are for us. There is no reason to be anxious and there is no reason to be afraid, because God is with us.
May Our Lady help us to understand this, so that we can receive the message of the Incarnation with a heart full of joy. It is the best answer we can give to the world like the martyrs who ran to their torments with joy. Will the world think that we are foolish? Yes we are, for the foolishness of God is wiser than men. (1Co1,23)

mercredi, décembre 12, 2007

Happy Feast Day

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Patron of the Americas

Pope Pius XII:"For we are certain, that as long as you are recognized as Queen and Mother, Mexico and America will be safe."

L'Inter de Milan part en croisade !

Un avocat turc a porté plainte contre l’Inter Milan et demande à l’UEFA d’enlever au club italien les points acquis face à Fenerbahçe. L’intitulé de la plainte de Baris Kaska, est “Manifestation de façon explicite de la supériorité d’une race”.
Le 27 novembre, l’Inter avait joué en Turquie avec son deuxième maillot, blanc barré d’une grande croix rouge, ce qui était le symbole des Templiers, moines soldats qui ont effectué la première croisade à Jérusalem en 1099. «Cette croix rappelle les jours sanglants du passé», a expliqué cet homme de loi du cabinet juridique Tukoglu & Turkoglu.

Un avocat turc fan du Fenerbahçe a demandé à l’UEFA d’annuler la victoire de l’Inter Milan contre le club turc (3-0) en raison du maillot porté par les Milanais ce jour là.
Le maillot du centenaire de l’Inter Milan n’a pas plu à Baris Kaska. Selon la Gazzetta dello Sport, cet avocat turc, spécialiste de droit européen a demandé à l’UEFA d’annuler le résultat du dernier Inter - Fenerbahçe (victoire des Milanais 3-0) en raison du maillot porté par les Italiens le 27 novembre. Les joueurs de Roberto Mancini revêtaient à ce moment là leur tunique du centenaire : un maillot blanc barré d’une grande croix rouge. Selon l’avocat turc, ce symbole rappelle le temps des Templiers, moines soldats qui ont effectué la première croisade à Jérusalem en 1099. Baris Kaska n’est pas le premier à soulever ce problème puisque le journaliste turc Mehmet Y. Yilmaz en avait déjà parlé dans le journal Radikal au lendemain du match.

La maglia dell'InterROMA - La maglia dell'Inter finisce sotto accusa. Non la tradizionale casacca a strisce nere e blu, ma quella bianca con la croce rossa sul davanti, adottata in occasione del centenario della società. E che si ispira il simbolo della città di Milano. A sentirsi offeso da quello che definisce "un attentato all'Islam" è un avvocato turco, Barsia Kaska, che ha chiesto alla Uefa di multare la società di Moratti che ha indossato la maglia biancorossa in occasione della partita di Champions contro il Fenerbahce a San Siro lo scorso 27 novembre. "Ricorda il simbolo dei Templari" tuona Kaska. Una campagna a cui si sono accodati diversi mezzi di informazione turchi che hanno accompagnato la foto della maglia con le immagini del monaci soldati. Un ordine nato dopo la prima crociata del 1096, che arrivò a Gerusalemme e cacciò i musulmani. "Quella croce ricorda giorni sanguinosi" dice Kaska che ha chiesto alla Uefa e alla Fifa di revocare i tre punti conquistati dall'Inter contro il Fenerbahce, perché avrebbe manifestato "una forma esplicita di superiorità razzista di una religione". Dei sentimenti suscitati dalla maglia interista è testimonianza un editoriale di Mehemt Y.Yilmaz, famoso commentatore turco, dal titolo netto: "Perché lo Uefa lo ha permesso?". Riferendosi appunto alla casacca con la croce. Per chiarire meglio la questione, però, vale la pena di tornare indietro di qualche anno. Precisamente al 1928 quando l'Fc Internazionale si fuse con l'Unione Sportiva Milanese. La maglia era bianca rossocrociata, e marchiata da un fascio littorio. Una divisa che venne sostituita poco dopo da quella a strisce nerazzurre. In occasione del centenario, l'Inter ha deciso di riproporla. E mai il club di Moratti avrebbe pensato di scatenare un caso calcistico-religioso.

Et pour le jeu, les trois buts de l'Inter, dont le premier fut marqué par Cruz !!!!!

dimanche, décembre 09, 2007

Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent

As much as we progress on our way in Advent, the Church wants us to be prepared for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord. The Lord shall come to save the Nations, the introit says. Then we pray to the Father: stir up our hearts to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son. (Collect of the day) The gospel shows us the example of Saint John the Baptist whose mission was to prepare the way of Christ.
This reminds me of a thought from Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity who said that the life of the priest is an advent that prepares the Incarnation in our souls. The Jews of the Old Testament were hoping for the coming of the Messiah. They had the Law and the Prophets who prepared them for this event. This event occurred two millenniums ago and now we live under the regime of grace as Saint Paul says. But we still have to accept the fact of the Incarnation and to let Jesus Christ dwell in our souls. We have to prepare our hearts to welcome Him. As Elizabeth of the Trinity said again in a beautiful way, we have to offer to Jesus another humanity in which He may renew His whole mystery.

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity: being another humanity for Jesus!

The life of the priest is supposed to help us to do so. His life takes place essentially in the church which is the place of his functions. In the baptistery, he sanctifies the souls marked by original sin and makes them children of God. In the confessional, he exercises the ministry of mercy towards the sinners who often recover their peace and joy after having run away from God. At the pulpit, he instructs the faithful about the truths revealed by God and encourages them to lead holy lives. And finally, at the altar – the highest place – he offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is the source of all graces. The priestly acts have one goal: infusing and increasing the life of grace in souls. Such a holy mission requires holy men. Priests are holy by an objective holiness due to the Sacrament of the Order they have received and which places them above other men, which also includes Our Lady. A priest is conformed to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the High Priest. Now, they still have to correspond to this objective holiness by their own holiness. This holiness is not a matter of function, but of love and in this matter, a priest is like every other man.
But as long as a priest continues to perform the priestly acts of his ministry, the divine grace will still be given to the faithful, no matter the personal holiness of the priest. Each priest is a gift from Our Lord that you have to use well. He is the instrument which communicates the grace of God and grace is the condition that permits the dwelling of Jesus in your souls.
So, in preparing the way for the Lord, means going to the priest in order to receive from him Jesus Himself. A priest has nothing else to give but Jesus. This does not mean that you have nothing else to do than go to the church to receive the Sacraments. You still have to receive them with a good disposition of heart which can be obtained only by a life of prayer. Your prayers have to be nourished by your meditation, which should be at least 20 minutes a day, and by spiritual reading that we call lectio divina. There is no way to make progress in the spiritual life without these. But if you persevere in your daily meditation and your spiritual reading, it is impossible for you not to increase the life of grace in your soul.

Jesus wants to dwell in our souls, but He does not force us. With an extreme delicacy, He wants to be the guest of our souls. When you receive a guest that you like into your home, you want to welcome him well and you clean your home, cook good food and give these little attentions that make him comfortable. It certainly requires some effort, but you are so happy when your guest comes and feels so welcome in your home, that you consider your efforts as nothing.
If you want to offer a warm welcome to Jesus, it also requires a lot of effort. But when Jesus finds in your soul a beautiful place where He can dwell, you will consider all your efforts as nothing and you will find peace. It is the peace of Christmas that we can already perceive. When you will be another humanity for Jesus, there will be nothing else that you can desire. Then you will proclaim with Saint Teresa of Avila and all the Saints that God alone is enough.

May Saint John the Baptist, the Patron Saint of our Latin Mass Community of Arkansas, help us to prepare the way of the Lord in our hearts! May Our Lady teach us how to welcome Him with a tenderness of love!

Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos in Versailles

Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos was in Versailles on December 8th
to celebrate the 25th anniversary
of the
Association Notre-Dame de Chrétienté.

Pictures of Boys Scouts Troop 7 from Paris

Pictures of Fabien Vieillefosse (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)

samedi, décembre 08, 2007

Sermon for the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the opening of the new Jubilee Year promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of The Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, in 1858. A Jubilee Year is a beautiful gift from the Church which allows the faithful to receive an abundance of graces. It is for us, now, an invitation to penetrate deeper into the great mystery of the Immaculate Conception.
I am the Immaculate Conception. Our Lady presented herself as such to a young French shepherdess who did not even understand the meaning of these words. She reported them to her pastor, Father Peyramale, who was until then skeptical about the dependability of apparitions of Our Lady. But now, Bernadette Soubirous told him the name of the Lady who appeared to her, a name that she did not understand.
Four years earlier, Pope Blessed Pius IX had promulgated the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary has been preserved from any sin, especially original sin, by a special privilege given by God. She was conceived without any sin. Bernadette was the chosen one of Mary who confirmed the Pontifical dogma. Mary is the Immaculate Conception.
It is a title of glory for our blessed Mother, which also brings more light about the reality of our condition, especially now in a time of naturalism. This dogma reminds us of an important fact already taught by the Scriptures, but yet forgotten by many. Original sin is a real fact that affects each human being, except Mary who has been preserved from it. It reminds us of the motive of the Incarnation, which is the remedy to sin. By assuming our nature, Christ wanted to restore it. By becoming a man, He began the work of the recapitulation of mankind. As Eve collaborated with Adam in the work of the first sin, Mary, the new Eve was chosen to collaborate with Jesus, the new Adam in the work of restoration. The Immaculate Conception is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the book of Genesis. Mary is the one who would crush the head of the serpent. (Gen.3:15)

The Immaculate Conception, by Gian-Domenico Tiepolo

By promulgating the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in a time when rationalism attacked the foundation of the faith, Blessed Pius IX raised the voice of the Church to defend and to glumly reaffirm the existence of the supernatural order. God had created men, but they turned away from Him. The Incarnation was the answer of God: rendering good for evil! How much do we need to understand this!
The gift of the Incarnation came through Mary. From all eternity, the Father had prepared a temple which would become the house of the Son for nine months. And when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman. (Gal.4:4)

Today we honor this woman in a very special manner. We give thank to God for the gift of the Immaculate. We rejoice because of the beauty of this creature who is now our mother, the new Eve, who brought back peace, harmony and beauty into the world by giving her Son. If only we could see the world through the prism of Mary!
She really is the pearl of the whole creation. Bernadette was absolutely delighted when she saw her. Then, the things of the earthly world were just secondary and she had no other desires than to see her again.
Tota pulchra es! Thou art all beautiful, o Mary! The beauty of Mary is the remedy against the ugliness of sin. Where sin abounded, grace did more abound. (Rom 5:20) And grace was given in abundance to Mary. Ave Maria gratia plena! We have already a lot of matter for our daily meditation with this sentence. Hail Mary, full of grace!

Yes, Mary is full of grace and we give thanks to God for this, because she wants to share this grace with us, her children. Let us now proclaim with the Church and all generations that she is blessed. Let us pray also so that all the Christians can recognize her as such and can fulfill the words inspired by the Holy Ghost to her: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Luke:1:48)

Tota pulchra es Maria et macula originalis non est in te!

vendredi, décembre 07, 2007

Hommage à Marie

A little video that I made last year. I present it again at the occasion of the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Benedicta excelsa Mater Dei, Maria sanctissima!
Benedicta sancta eius et immaculata Conceptio!

Indulgence for the jubilee year

Indulgence Offered for Lourdes Jubilee
Faithful Invited to Visit Where "Her Feet Trod"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2007 (Zenit.org).-
Benedict XVI will grant the faithful a plenary indulgence for the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes.
The Holy See published a decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary today, stating that a plenary indulgence is granted to faithful who take part in the jubilee year, which will begin Saturday, and last through Dec. 8, 2008.
The decree was by Cardinal James Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, major penitentiary and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, respectively.
The decrees states: "The forthcoming 150th anniversary of the day in which Mary Most Holy, revealing herself as the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette Soubirous, wished a shrine to be erected and venerated in the place known as 'Massabielle' in the town of Lourdes calls to mind the innumerable series of prodigies through which the supernatural life of souls and the health of bodies has drawn great advantage from the omnipotent goodness of God.
"Indeed, by venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary in the place 'upon which her feet trod,' the faithful draw nourishment from the Holy Sacraments, expressing the firm intention to lead in the future Christian lives of increasing faithfulness."
The text recalled that "in the year 1858 Mary Most Holy showed herself to [...] Bernadette Soubirous using the words of the dogmatic definition: 'I am the Immaculate Conception.'"

The Immaculate Conception was defined a dogma on Dec. 8, 1854.


The decree continues: "Benedict XVI has decided to concede the gift of plenary indulgence to the faithful under the usual conditions -- sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Holy Father -- in the following way:

"If between Dec. 8, 2007, and Dec. 8, 2008, they visit, preferably in the order suggested: (1) the parish baptistery used for the baptism of Bernadette, (2) the Soubirous family home, known as the 'cachot,' (3) the Grotto of Massabielle, (4) the chapel of the hospice where Bernadette received first Communion, and on each occasion they pause for an appropriate length of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, [...] and the jubilee prayer or other Marian invocation.

"If between Feb. 2, 2008, [...] and Feb. 11, 2008, feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes and 150th anniversary of the apparition, they visit, in any church, grotto or decorous place, the blessed image of that same Virgin of Lourdes, solemnly exposed for public veneration, and before the image participate in a pious exercise of Marian devotion, or at least pause for an appropriate space of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, [...] and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

The decree concludes by recalling that faithful who "through sickness, old age or other legitimate reason are unable to leave their homes, may still obtain the plenary indulgence [...] if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the usual three conditions, on the days Feb. 2-11, 2008, in their hearts they spiritually visit the above-mentioned places and recite those prayers, trustingly offering to God, through Mary, the sickness and discomforts of their lives."

dimanche, décembre 02, 2007

Le Soleil d'Austerlitz

December 2nd 1805

The sun rises at Austerlitz

Fortunately, a soldier of the Personal Guard of the Emperor had his camcorder during the battle. Thanks be to him, now we can watch the battle as if we were present.

The Story of the Battle

The Story (part II)

The substance of things to be hoped for!

Sermon for the first Sunday of Advent

Spe salvi! At the beginning of the new liturgical year, the Holy Father invites us to renew our hope in the Lord.

For the beginning of the new liturgical year, the Holy Father has gratified us with a new Encyclical Letter about hope, Spe Salvi. For we are saved by hope, according to the verse of Saint Paul to the Romans. (Rom. 8:24) Our hope is connected to our faith, as Benedict XVI says, commenting on another verse from the Epistle to the Hebrews which gives us a definition of faith: Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not. (Heb.11:1) We believe in things that we do not see now, but that we hope to see later.

Now the question, for each one of us, is: What do we hope? The Pope says that every man desires happiness. It is certainly in our very nature that we want to be happy. But we still have to know what can make us happy, and the answer is given precisely by faith. And faith is an evidence, even though we do not see it. This might be difficult to understand for the non-believers and the rationalists: how can we be sure of things that we cannot see? How things that appear not, can be evident?

The rationalists are right in a certain way. Reason cannot prove the evidence of what we believe. There is no rational proof of the existence of the Trinity or of the fact of transubstantiation, for example. Nevertheless, we, Catholics, firmly believe that God is Three Divine Persons, equal in everything and yet clearly distinct. We firmly believe that after the words of the consecration there is no more bread and no more wine on the altar, but the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ with His body, His blood, His soul and His divinity. We firmly believe in these mysteries and we hope that we will understand them better in a different manner later, when we will see God face to face. Is our hope just a beautiful dream, or a reality?

We hope that if we receive during our life on earth the body of Christ and if we eat it, we will have eternal life, which is true happiness. After all, we desire nothing else than any other man of whatever religion, or even non religious man. But unlike many other men, we are sure that our hope is not vain. Why?

Reason cannot prove the evidence of what we believe, or at least certain things that we believe. We agree with many rationalists. But they forget one thing. There is another order of knowledge, which does not contradict the order of reason, but surpasses it according to its mode and to its object. This is the order of Divine Revelation.

The Revelation is the manifestation, or the unveiling of things which had been hidden until then. Speaking about the essence and the mode of the Divine Revelation would be too long during a sermon, but I will start an Apologetics class about this subject in January and I already invite you to come in order to learn more about your faith and to strengthen your hope. As the Pope recalls it, the Apostle Saint Peter urges you to be ready always to satisfy every one that asks you a reason of that hope that is in you. (1 Pet. 3:15)
Why do we believe? Why do we hope? Are we wise or insane? I guess we are wise according to the Spirit of God, but for the world, who are we? We are the loving disciples of Jesus-Christ, the God who became a man two millenniums ago. The God who became man! It is precisely in the mystery of the Incarnation that all the answers to our questions lie. By becoming a man, God has shown a part of the things that appear not. Therefore, He brought hope into our world.

We will celebrate the manifestation of God soon in a few weeks. We will rejoice in the Nativity of the Incarnate Word. We will taste the peace of God so well expressed by the Gregorian cantilenas which will introduce us into the mystery of the eternal begetting of the Son: Dominus dixit ad me, Filius meus es tu. Ego hodie genui te. – Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee.

We have to immerse ourselves into the incommensurable mystery of love of the Divine Persons to renew our hope and acquire a deep peace. Let the time of Advent be a way out of the agitation of the world toward the tranquility of the crèche. This afternoon, the Antiphons of Vespers will encourage us on our way toward Bethlehem: Ecce Dominus veniet - Behold our Lord shall come, and all his saints with him: and there shall be in that day a great light, Alleluia!
The light of the Incarnation reveals to us the substance of the things to be hoped for. It moves our hope and pushes us to continue our earthly pilgrimage with joy, giving thanks always to God for all His kindness.

May Our Lady lead us toward the mystery of the birth of her Child, so that we will be able to tenderly contemplate the Fruit of her womb and to sing with her the eternal Magnificat of gratitude to God.