mercredi, avril 30, 2008
mardi, avril 29, 2008
Mais, une fois ces préliminaires achevés, une fois obtenu le consentement des deux volontés : la volonté de Dieu et la volonté de la Vierge, à l’union dans le sein de cette Vierge bénie, de la nature divine et de la nature humaine, à qui revenait de droit et à raison de son caractère personnel, de former ce nœud de l’union hypostatique pour le temps et l’éternité ? Il me semble que c’est à l’Esprit de Dieu. C’est à lui que revient l’œuvre de l’union. Parce que c’est Lui qui est le nœud et le lien de la Trinité, parce qu’Il poursuit à l’extérieur l’œuvre qu’Il accomplit dans la Trinité, toutes œuvres d’union Lui reviennent.
A Lui l’union du Père et du Fils, à Lui l’union surnaturelle à Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, à Lui l’union hypostatique. Il est le lien étroit, indissoluble, de toutes les unions surnaturelles parce qu’Il est l’amour et la pureté vivante : « Et nos cognovimus et credidimus caritati quam habet Deus in nobis. » - Et nous nous savons, et nous croyons à l’amour que Dieu nous porte (1 Jean, IV,16). Nous ne contesterons pas : « Et nos cognovimus… » - « Ut societas nostra sit cum Patre et cum Filio ejus Jesu Christo. » - Que notre societé soit avec le Père et avec son Fils Jésus-Christ. (1 Jean I,3)
Et credidimus caritati : un motif de charité, un motif de désintéressement : si nous sommes aimés, si Dieu nous aime, rien n’importe. Tout est sauf si nous sommes aimés et nous savons que Dieu nous aime.
Je remarquais, il y a quelques jours, l’union ou, mieux, l’unité du Seigneur et de sa Mère. Il n’y avait qu’un cœur et qu’une âme. Néanmoins, il peut survenir entre les Saints des désaccords de détail. Et je crois reconnaitre quatre circonstances où la volonté de Notre Dame et la volonté du Seigneur se séparèrent :
- Lorsque le Seigneur, âgé de douze ans, demeura à Jérusalem. Le jeune adolescent voulait déjà exercer son ministère. Il avait la sagesse voulue : stupebant. Il avait des paroles extraordinaires : « Quid est quod me quaerebatis – Pourquoi me cherchiez-vous ? » Si on ne l’avait pas cherché ! Notre Dame, plus grave, trouvait que c’était trop tôt.
- A l’âge de trente ans, les vouloirs furent contraires encore, mais inversement à la circonstances présente. J’ai vu la tendresse profonde, douce et grave de cet amour-là. Le Seigneur avait goûté de Notre Dame. Il s’était accoutumé, Il avait réussi, Il aurait près d’elle oublié tout le monde, Il se faisait prier. C’était elle, cette fois, qui le poussait : les noces de Cana : « Manifestavit gloriam suam et crediderunt discipuli ejus – Il manifesta sa gloire, et ses disciples crurent en Lui. » Mais, cette fois encore, Il fit ce que voulait sa Mère.
- Lorsque vint la mort ou dormition de Notre Dame. Le Seigneur crut qu’elle n’avait pas à satisfaire, elle, l’Immaculée, et que, pour suffire à son rôle de corédemptrice, son étonnante présence au calvaire était assez. Notre Dame ne pensait pas ainsi : « Alors, nous ne sommes plus un ? J’ai vécu votre vie. Comment nous nous aimions, Vous le savez. Vous êtes passé par la mort, pourquoi ne voulez-vous pas que j’y passe comme Vous, après Vous ? Ce sera une ressemblance avec Vous. Et ce sera une force pour mes enfants, vos frères. » Elle l’obtint encore. Et le Seigneur calque l’historique des deux morts.
- A la glorification : ma gloire c’est Vous. C’est Vous mon joyau. Je n’ai pas besoin de gloire créée. Est-ce que Vous ne m’êtes pas plus de dix diadèmes ? J’ai besoin de Vous voir heureux, j’ai besoin de Vous voir glorieux, de voir votre gloire. Une gloire personnelle me sera importune. Je suis de l’Incarnation. Je suis du mystère de l’effacement. On me dira bienheureuse. Mais donnez-moi de n’avoir d’autre gloire que Vous.
Et je crois qu’elle l’obtint encore : « Nonne gloria mea vos estis ? – N’êtes-vous pas ma gloire ? ( Cf : I Thess II,19-20) Gaudium meum et corona mea – Oui, vous êtes ma joie et ma couronne. (Phil IV,1)
Et la gloire de Jésus, c’est sa Mère. Et la gloire de sa Mère, c’est Jésus.
lundi, avril 28, 2008
Saint Anselm was one of those seekers of God. Quaero vultum tuum - I am looking for Thy face, O Lord! And then he asks: Teach me how to seek Thee and show Thyself to those who seek Thee. Here is the concern of the Saints. Here is their greatest desire: they want to see the face of the Lord. From morning to evening, and even during the night, their mind is full of the thoughts of the Lord. They constantly sigh after Him. They want to see Him so much, that they do anything for that. Love is their strength and the motive of their actions. They do the word of God, because they know that it is the way to go to Him.
Many men look at their face in the mirror and when they look too much, they forget the face of Jesus. They are hearers of the word, but not doers. And finally, they even forget their own face when they go away. There is no constancy in their lives. They hear the word, they look at themselves, they go and they forget.
Such a behavior is certainly stimulated by our modern society. In a society of productivity and consumerism, where profit is extolled, there is not much place for meditation. In a society where the notion of acting is more important than the notion of being, there is not much place for silent contemplative prayer. Modern thought makes us believe that in order to blossom you have to do many different activities. But we can lose ourselves in the midst of too many activities, not because they are bad in themselves, but if they don’t give us time to think and to consider the reality of things, there is a great danger of forgetting who we are and what we are really supposed to do. For us Catholics, there is a danger of thinking that our Catholic activities are just more activities among many others. We come to the church, we hear the word of God and then we go away and return to our worldly activities, forgetting who we are. We introduce a certain dichotomy in our lives, because faith is not really the principle of our lives, but rather a kind of peripheral phenomenon.
There is one way to avoid such a danger, which is the deepening of our interior life. If we want to find the face of Jesus, we have to look first into ourselves; because we know that Jesus is there. It is the purpose of the Divine grace that He allows to dwell in us.
In today’s gospel, Our Lord says that if we ask, we will receive. But we still have to ask for the good things. The first thing should be to ask for the face of Jesus. We can pray with these beautiful words from Psalm 118:135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. Or again with psalm 79:4 let thy face shine, that we may be saved.
Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you. (Jn.16:23) These are the words of Jesus and they are true. They are true, but we do not understand them completely. Therefore, we might think sometimes that God does not hear us or does not answer our requests. It is certainly because we do not ask in the name of Jesus, but maybe in our own name. Our Lord tries to explain to us: Hitherto you have not asked anything in My name. (Jn.16:24)
Hallowed be Thy name! What should we ask first? We should ask anything that makes the name of God hallowed, makes His kingdom come, and makes His will done on earth as it is in heaven. If our requests are not related to these ends, then they are not presented in the name of Jesus.
May Our Blessed Mother teach us how to ask in the name of her Son, so that our joy may be full. Let us learn from her how to find the face of Jesus for His glory and our greatest joy. Let us pray with her: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!
lundi, avril 21, 2008
dimanche, avril 20, 2008
How far this position is removed from that of Catholic teaching! "
Our Lord gives the reason of the necessity of His departure: If I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. (Jn.16:7) The Paraclete will come as a comforter and a counselor for those who believe in Jesus Christ. For the others, He has another mission: He will convict the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. (Jn.16:8)
As Saint Augustine points out, He will convict the world through the Apostles who will soon preach the Gospel throughout the world. This will be the work of charity that banishes all fears. Look how the Apostles changed after they received the Holy Ghost! Nothing could stop them. The love of God was so strong and so deep in their souls that they did not even fear death.
Now, how will the world be convicted? Of sin, because they do not believe in me; of justice, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no more. (Jn.16:9,10) It is necessary that Our Lord return to His Father, so that we can have faith in Him. Remember what Jesus told Thomas – it was in the gospel three weeks ago – Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. (Jn.20:29) Faith, indeed, supposes that we do not see, as we can read in the Epistle to the Hebrews: faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not. (Heb. 11:1) We have to believe without seeing in order to be convicted of justice. Saint Paul says that the just man lives by faith. (Rom.1:17)
Then, the world conspires against faith. From the very beginning, many heresies arose here and there, each time giving opportunity for the Church to clarify her doctrine in order to defend her faith. One of the major strikes came in the XVI century. Its strategists were Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. Their attacks opened a huge breach in the edifice that was Christendom. Then came the philosophy of the so-called “Enlightenment” which would bring the Revolution. It has undermined the temporal order which was the foundation of a strong spiritual order. The century of rationalism – the XIX century – continued the work of destruction. It has generated the greatest heresy within the Catholic Church. It has been well described and firmly condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in his encyclical letter “Pascendi Dominici Gregis” in 1907. One century later, this encyclical letter is still topical, because modernism is still within the Church.
Pius IX already had written this in 1846: “The enemies of Divine Revelation extol human progress to the skies, and with rash and sacrilegious daring would have it introduced into the Catholic religion as if this religion were not the work of God but of man, or some kind of philosophical discovery susceptible of perfection by human efforts.” Yes today, Divine Revelation is misunderstood by many believers or simply rejected by the atheists and rationalists. Even for many Catholics today, faith is not a strong adherence to the truth divinely revealed but rather a feeling, expressed by a ‘liturgy’ which hardly expresses the essence of our Religion.
Dear Brethren, you have to understand how necessary it is to consider faith as real and objective as it is, not according to your own sensibility, perception or feeling. It is quite a paradox that those who proclaim the importance of reason give up their reason when it is about faith, as if theology was not a science. But truly, it is a science, and even the most excellent science because of its object, its principles and its origin. And the act of faith is an act of our intelligence, certainly enlightened by grace, but truly an act of our intelligence.
Our faith is constantly challenged, and for that reason I insist again on the importance of a good and strong doctrinal formation in order to protect it. You have to believe first, and then good feelings will result accordingly. But if you think that your feelings are more important, then I am afraid that you will not believe according to sound truth. The priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter have no other desire than to sustain your faith by the Sacraments that they offer according to the liturgical books prior to the last reform and as such are guardian of the orthodoxy of the faith. They also want to help you by giving a good doctrinal teaching, which is more than ever necessary in our time. Do not neglect such a grace!
The Advocate will convict the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. May Our Blessed Mother help us to be found just, when the time of our judgment comes!
mardi, avril 15, 2008
lundi, avril 14, 2008
Let us now return to our missal. A deep and attentive reading of the proper of the Mass helps us to acquire the feelings of the Church. It is a good thing to read them before Mass, which will help you to follow the Liturgy better. It is sometimes difficult to catch all the richness and the fullness of the liturgy when you just discover the texts as they are being read or sung. This is especially true if you have to take care of children at the same time. I know that for the parents of large families, it can be a perilous and delicate exercise.
There is especially a part of the Mass that we do not often consider as well as we should, and yet it is certainly an important one that can truly help us to understand and acquire the feeling of the Church for the current day. It is the first prayer of the proper of the day, which is named the Collect. For those who are not familiar with the Liturgy, it is the prayer that takes place after the Gloria, or right after the Kyrie Eleison when there is no Gloria. It is a request addressed by the Church to God, through Our Lord – per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum. As such, this prayer is always heard and accepted by God who cannot ignore the voice of the Church. Therefore, it is a model of prayer for us, that should inspire our own prayer and if we really want to feel with the Church, we should join our minds and our hearts to pray with her for the very particular intention she has every day.
Another good thing to do would be to open your missal during your morning prayer and to read the Collect of the day. At least you can do it for the Sundays and important liturgical feasts. Then you can take a few minutes to meditate on it, so that you can understand the intention of the Church and make a good resolution in order to make this intention yours. For families that have prayer in common, which I hope you do, it would be a good idea that a member of the family read aloud this prayer, and the father – who is supposed to be the head of the family and the leader of its prayer – can give a commentary which can help the children to understand it and encourage them to pray for this intention.
The daily missal: it will help you to pray with the Church
Let us take a look now on today’s Collect: O God, who dost show to them that are in error the light of Thy truth, that they may return into the way of righteousness; grant to all those who profess themselves Christians to reject those things which are contrary to that name, and follow such things as are agreeable to the same. Through our Lord.
This text is rich enough to keep us busy meditating on it for a good while. There are different elements on which we can fix our thoughts. For example, “the light of the truth.” What is it? Is the truth really luminous? How? Why? You see, just with these few words – the light of the truth – you have your subject of meditation for today. Then what does God want? He shows the light of His truth to them that are in error. Is this also what you want? Do you desire as much as the Church does that those who are in error can see the light that can guide them toward the port of salvation? So, your meditation can be followed by a prayer that asks God to excite your desire for the conversion of souls. You can ask God what you can do in order to help them see the light of the truth. Then your prayers can be followed by a resolution. If you want to help others see this light, you must first know how to recognize it and know what the truth is and how to teach it. On this matter, there are a lot of resolutions that you can make.
Then, the second part of the prayer concerns us, “those who profess themselves Christians.” What does the Church ask for us? She desires that we reject those things which are contrary to the name of Christian. Here again, a deep subject of meditation. What is contrary to the name of Christian? How can we discern these things in the world where we live now? How can I find the courage and the strength to reject them? Once again, this meditation should be followed by prayer and resolutions. Then, we do not have only to reject what is not Christian, but we have to “follow such things as are agreeable to the same” name. Christian life is not only renouncing the things that are not compatible with faith, but it is first something positive. Here again, another subject of meditation: what are the things agreeable that we have to follow? How can we follow them? And again, this meditation should be followed by prayer and resolutions.
What I have given you today is just a way, an easy way, to feel with the Church. Everyone can do this, and for you parents, it is something that you can teach to your children. Give them the habit of using their missal while they are still young. The missal is the book that every Catholic should keep with him all of his life. It is a family heritage that we can give from generation to generation. Indeed, it is with a certain legitimate pride that we keep in our homes the beautifully illustrated missals of the beginning of the XX century that belonged to our grandparents.
May Our Lady teach us how to feel with the Church so that we can be totally and entirely one with her.
vendredi, avril 11, 2008
Sans aucun doute, ce bienfait nous vient de Dieu : “ Omne donum perfectum desursum est, descendens a Patre luminum.” - Tout don excellent descend d’en haut, du Père des Lumières (Jacques I, 17). Et, à un titre supérieur, ce don est Dieu. Dieu seul peut se donner : nul n’a autorité ni propriété sur Lui.
Ce bienfait est à l’actif de Dieu, du vrai Dieu, de Dieu Père, Fils et Saint-Esprit. Ce n’est pas ici le lieu de répéter après saint Augustin, et toute l’Ecole, que les œuvres de Dieu sont indivises, comme est indivise entre les trois personnes la nature même de Dieu : « Indivisa sunt opera Trinitatis sicut et indivisa Trinitatis essentia. » C’est ainsi que l’Incarnation est sûrement l’œuvre de cette tendresse incréée et profonde, de cette tendresse vivante et première qu’est le Père : et c’est à cette source première que l’Apôtre aime à rapporter l’inestimable bienfait : « At ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit Deus Filium suum factum ex muliere. » - Lorsque fut venue la plénitude des temps, Dieu a envoyé son Fils, formé d’une femme. (Galates IV, 4) C’est la même doctrine aux Romains : « Qui proprio Filio suo non pepercit, quomodo non etiam cum Illo omnia nobis donavit ? » - Lui qui n’a pas épargné son propre Fils…comment ne nous aurait-il pas donné toute chose avec Lui (Romains VIII, 32). « Sic Deus dilexit mundum ut Filium suum Unigenitum daret. » - Dieu a tellement aimé le monde, qu’il lui a donné son Fils unique (Jean III, 16).
Mais ce bienfait est, de façon spéciale, l’œuvre du Fils,
- parce que c’est en sa personne qu’elle s’est accomplie,
- parce qu’il n’y a nulle contrainte, mais un empressement admirable à accomplir le dessein du Père : les Psaumes nous en ont conservé l’écho : « Tunc dixi : Ecce venio. In capite libri scriptum est de me ut facerem Deus voluntatem tuam : Deus meus volui et legem tuam in medio cordis mei. » - Alors j’ai dit : Au début du livre il est écrit que je viens faire votre volonté. Je la veux, ô mon Dieu ! et votre loi est au milieu de mon cœur (Psaume XXXIX, 1).
Et n’est-ce pas un sujet de la plus douce contemplation, qu’au même instant de la durée Dieu ait reçu de la Vierge et du Fils de Dieu ce double et unique témoignage d’obéissance et d’adoration :
« Ecce venio ut faciem voluntatem tuam… » - Je viens faire votre volonté (Hébreux X, 7)
« Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. » - Voici la servante du Seigneur : qu’il me soit fait selon votre parole (Luc I, 38).
Et pourtant, malgré cette part de privilège que semblent pouvoir revendiquer dans l’œuvre de l’Incarnation la Personne qui envoie et la Personne qui est envoyée, la doctrine catholique paraît s’être complu à attribuer au Saint-Esprit l’œuvre divine. Même dans l’Evangile, l’Ange dit à la Vierge : « Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. » - L’Esprit-Saint surviendra en vous, et la vertu du Très-Haut vous couvrira de son ombre (Luc I, 35). Et c’est la voix de tous les symboles qui, depuis les Apôtres jusqu’au dernier jour du monde et jusque dans l’Eternité redira ces paroles : « Qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto. »
Les maîtres de la doctrine nous ont expliqué à quel titre l’Eglise attribue à l’Esprit de Dieu l’accomplissement du mystère. N’était-il pas naturel de montrer la gratuité infinie, la pure bienveillance de l’œuvre qui s’accomplissait ici, en la mettant au compte et à l’actif de Celui qui est le don de Dieu ? Si c’est le don de Dieu qui agit, l’œuvre est donc de pure bienveillance. Nul mérite antérieur.
Ils ont invoqué une autre raison : une œuvre d’amour appartenait naturellement à Celui qui est, dans la Trinité, l’amour subsistant : « Sic Deus dilexit mundum ut Filium suum Unigenitum daret. » - Dieu a tant aimé le monde qu’Il lui a donné son Fils Unique (Jean III, 16)
Enfin, ont-ils ajouté : le terme de l’Incarnation devait être une sainteté créée, mais éminente. Même en nous. C’est à l’Esprit de Dieu que remonte l’œuvre de la sanctification : « Quoniam estis filii, misit Deus Spiritum Filii sui in corda vestra. » - Parce que vous êtes fils, Dieu a envoyé dans vos cœurs l’Esprit de son Fils (Galates IV, 6). A un titre plus haut, la sainteté du Seigneur : « Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi, ideoque et quod nascetur ex te Sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. » - L’Esprit-Saint surviendra en vous, et la vertu du Très-Haut vous couvrira de son ombre. C’est pourquoi l’être saint qui naîtra de vous sera appelé le Fils de Dieu (Luc I, 35).
Est-il permis de glaner là où d’autres ont moissonné ? Ont-ils absolument épuisé les harmonies du mystère ? Ne pouvons-nous pas nous rappeler aussi que l’œuvre qui s’accomplissait alors, c’était l’union ineffable de la personne divine avec une nature humaine ?
jeudi, avril 10, 2008
The following statement was given by Bishop-Elect Taylor during the press conference April 10 to announce he is the next bishop of Little Rock.
When Archbishop Sambi, the papal nuncio to the United States, called me on March 18 to tell me that the pope had chosen me to be bishop of Little Rock, I was stunned speechless. I heard all the words but they didn't register at first.
Nothing could have been further from my mind and my first words were: Oh my gosh! It was like one of those near-death experiences, all my life flashed before my eyes. And then my next thought was: What will happen to my parish?
The Pope apparently needs a clearer response than: Oh my gosh! so Archbishop Sambi pressed a little further, asking: How do you feel about this? And all I could think of was: humbled. Humbled by the trust the Lord is placing in me, humbled by the confidence everyone who has had a hand in choosing me to be the next bishop of Little Rock, humbled by the scope of this new calling which is far greater than anything I have ever done before, humbled by my own inner conviction that when the Lord calls the only answer that a faithful servant can give is: "Yes Lord, I will do whatever you ask."
Every bishop traditionally comes up with a coat of arms and a motto, and I have taken my motto from Psalm 37:11 which Jesus quotes in Matthew 5:5 as one of the Beatitudes: "The Humble Shall Inherit the Earth." But there is a problem in that the word translated as humble is different from humble as we usually think of it -- a humble or timid attitude.
In Psalm 37:11 the underlying Hebrew word is Anawim, meaning those of humble circumstances: the poor, the oppressed. Those of humble circumstances will inherit the earth. Jesus' preferential love of the poor and marginalized was courageous, not timid, and so also must we be if we are to be his faithful servants. Not to the exclusion of anyone else but in recognition that those with the greatest need have the greatest claim on us.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 40 years ago this month and on the day of his death God gave me an insight that helped me eventually hear his call to the priesthood. I was 14 at the time.
The insight was this: being a faithful Christian requires more than just saying prayers, obeying the Commandments and trying to get your own soul into heaven. If you're only interested in your own spiritual welfare in the next life, you don't really believe in the redemptive power of the cross of Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther King taught me that being a faithful Christian required that I do whatever I could to help build the Kingdom of God here and now, and that to do so would require courage not timidity, fear of God not fear of man. If you don't align yourself with the Kingdom of God in this life, how do you expect to be admitted into the Kingdom of God in the next?
And who are the people of humble circumstances of the Diocese of Little Rock?
Probably the same people whom I have served for over 27 years as a priest in Oklahoma, the same people whom my inspiring predecessors have served here in Arkansas in the past.
Bishop Byrne who ministered to Arkansas Catholics living in the most humble circumstances imaginable.
Bishop Fitzgerald who rebuilt the Church following the disastrous Civil war by recruiting sisters and encouraging immigration.
Bishop Morris who established schools for disadvantaged boys and troubled girls.
Bishop Fletcher who integrated all the Catholic hospitals and schools in Arkansas and publicly rebuked the governor for trying to block the desegregation of Central High School in 1957.
Bishop McDonald and his work on behalf of organized charities and his forceful defense of the sanctity of life.
Bishop Sartain's efforts to reach out to Hispanic immigrants and his call for immigration reform that respects human dignity.
All six of my predecessors reached out to the humble of their day, the people of humble circumstances of their day with special love and commitment, as have thousands of other faithful Arkansas Catholics over the last 165 years -- clergy and laity, sisters and monks.
And I pray to God that the Lord will make me as good a shepherd for the Church and people of Arkansas as those on whose shoulders I now stand.
The following statement was given by Msgr. J. Gaston Hebert during the press conference April 10 to announce Father Anthony B. Taylor as the next bishop of Little Rock.
This is truly the day the Lord has made. We rejoice and are glad in it. This day is about Jesus Christ and all who live within him.
It is about Jesus giving his apostles the power to teach, rule and sanctify. It is about apostolic succession. It is about the fullness of the priesthood possessed by the bishop of a diocese.
The Diocese of Little Rock was established 165 years ago. During that time we have had only six bishops, an average of almost 28 years per bishop, even though Bishop Sartain, our last ordinary, served here only six years.
Today Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the seventh bishop of Little Rock, Bishop-elect Anthony B. Taylor. “Good things come to those who wait.” Bishop Taylor is tailor-made by God for our diocese. With a doctorate in Scripture, he will proclaim the Word with authority.
Educated at the North American College in Rome, he received the best of education in Dogmatic and Moral theology. Fluent in Spanish, he has the capabilities to be a true shepherd to all Catholics in the diocese. Having chaired almost all of the boards of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma dealing with the clergy, he is knowledgeable about the concerns of his priests.
Having chaired the diaconate formation process, he will be invaluable to the new formation program we have just begun. His many other qualities and experiences as a priest make him the perfect choice as bishop for our diocese.
Bishop Taylor the laity, religious, and priest of diocese welcome you with grateful and loving hearts.
mardi, avril 08, 2008
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
For three weeks, in accordance with the camp's theme, we put ourselves in the skins of the Vendeans that bravely fought "pour Dieu et le Roy". Our roleplaying wasn't all pretense, as the Company was from Versailles with all that entails (two of the girls were actual descendants of Vendean leaders mentioned below), and even I have French noble blood in me.
The story of Vendée is a sad but moving saga and one of the all-too-numerous historical events that were overshadowed by more spectacular ones. The French Revolution is universally remembered today, but how many outside France have ever heard of the Vendean Wars?
This land deeply touched my heart and I have long wanted to talk about it.
The French Revolution caused deep religious changes in France: the old clergy was replaced with a new one – one that depended on the State rather than answering strictly to its own authority. In the countryside, especially the West, the Catholic religion had cohabitated peacefully with remains of Paganism for centuries. Rural priests knew better than to attempt to forbid practices such as the worship of sacred oaks, and by their understanding they earned the trust and fierce loyalty of their parishioners. For the peasants, to see "their" priests replaced by intruders was intolerable, a threat against their very faith. Rebellion ensued as well as a full-fledged war against the dictatorship of the "Blues"– the Revolutionaries or Republicans. As for the Vendeans, they called themselves the Whites after the colour of the king. Their emblem: the Sacred Heart, surmounted by a cross on a white field, worn on the chest. This vibrant symbol is still present all over Vendée, a poignant reminder of something the locals are not likely to forget. They even derived their own hymn from the rather bloody Marseillaise:
Allons armées catholiques
Refrain: Aux armes vendéens ! Formez vos bataillons !
Ô sainte Vierge Marie
Refrain To arms, Vendeeans! Form your battalions! March, march, The blood of the blues Will redden our furrows!
II What of the infamous heretics Who would make the law in our homes? What of the mercenary cowards Who would crush us under their feet? (Repeat) And abominable Rodrigue [Antoine Rodrigue, a local bishop who defied papal authority to cooperate with the Revolution] Infamous henchman of the demon Who would settle in the house Of our adorable Jesus?
Tremble you perverse and timid, Before the bonfires of the adversaries. Tremble, your perfidious intrigues shall finally receive their due. (Repeat) All are raised to fight you From Saint Jean d’Monts to Beaupréau, From Angers to the town of Airvault, Our lads want to only fight.
Christians, true sons of the Church, Reject your enemies and The weakness and the servile fear Which you see in a conquered country. (Repeat) But these bloody “citizens,” These allies of Camus, These treasonous and imposed priests Are the cause of all our miseries.
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Lead and support our avenging arms! Against an enemy gang, fight alongside your zealous warriors! (Repeat) To your standards is promised certain victory. The regicides’ death Shall be your triumph and our glory!
When war broke out the Vendeans fought without any weapons other than their work tools, but as they accumulated victories they gathered a good deal of ammunitions from the vainquished garrisons. The latter were originally small and unprepared for the uprising of the Vendean population, hence the relative ease with which they were beaten. However the courage of the Whites, their uncompromising loyalty to God and King, and their intimate relationship with their land, were what really made up for their ignorance of warfare.
The advantage of the White armies was, surprisingly, its indiscipline. It was composed of a small group of experienced fighters joined by a mass of men. This crowd was so impressive that the opposite army often just broke and ran, fooled by the number. These men rallied to the the troop when it moved close to their hometown, and left again after the battle, making the Vendean forces unseizable: whilst the Blue army was a sitting duck in case of defeat, the Whites simply scattered and went home and their army slipped like sand through the other's fingers.
Some women dressed up as men to participate in the fights; children worked as spies and messengers. Even windmills were put to good use to communicate signals over great distances: the wings could take four different positions to mean "at ease", "gather", "danger approaching" or "danger passed".
Vendée had a fearsome reputation but it was overdone. D'Elbée's grim quote was actually quite lucid: "It is the struggle of the pot of clay against the pot of iron." Once more experienced Republican troops were sent to Vendée, things did not go so well for the Whites. The leaders did not always agree on movements of troops, and this caused several defeats; besides the Blues destroyed everything in their way, making life all but impossible throughout the country.
The battle of Cholet, on the 17th of October 1793, was the decisive event that begun the final the crushing of the Vendean rebellion. Most of her leaders who survived were summarily executed afterwards – d'Elbée was carried to the execution field in his chair as he was grievously wounded.
Yet through the tragic defeat a collective act of grace shines like a star...Bonchamps, the beloved and skilled leader, was mortally wounded at Cholet and carried back to Saint-Florent with 100 000 Vendeans fleeing in front of the advancing Republican army. With them were brought 5000 Blue prisoners. In their fury and despair, the Whites were ready to exterminate them. The clamour of their "Death to the Blues!" cries reached Bonchamps on his deathbed. "My friends, you have always obeyed me... Mercy for the prisoners! Do not let me die without knowing that their lives will be spared". His last command, his final words flew from mouth to mouth. The weapons were dropped; the prisoners were saved.In the 19th century David d'Angers would build a monument to immortalize "The Forgiveness of Bonchamps". The artist was a hardcore Republican and never accepted to sculpt a prince or a king, but his father had been one of the spared soldiers. His work was his way of giving thanks to the fallen hero.
The Republicans were not so chivalresque in their dealings with the thousands of Vendean resistants. Quoth a Blue: "Over here we use a different way to get rid of this mob. We cram all the rascals inside ships that we then sink. [...] Today we made about twelve hundred drink it this way." For a year or two an atrocious guerrilla war went on in the impenetrable broom forests of the region. With the lack of food and supplies, both sides reached such a degree of exhaustion that the republic offered a truce. The negociations granted Vendée a quasi-autonomy where she was allowed to keep "her soldiers, her cult, her laws". This illusory peace divided the royalist camp and eventually weakened it. The war was not over, and the fighters had not seen the last of battles. This time though, nobody wondered about the outcome: "Vive le roi quand même!" ("Long live the king anyway") was Stofflet's new, wry battle cry.
When the last Vendean leaders were killed in 1796, the fighting was officially over, yet the massacres were neither forgotten nor forgiven. It is difficult to estimate the number of victims, but roughly a third of the population of Vendée was massacred by the Revolutionaries. Victor Hugo wrote an incredible story in his usual profoundly humanistic style, set in the Vendean wars: "Ninety-three."
Even today Vendée remembers, often fiercely. Street plates commemorate the names of the Whites, and the oral tradition keeps them alive. In the Puy du Fou, a castle destroyed during the war and restored to be the center of a historical theme park on 18th-century Vendée, a living memorial is presented in a grandiose sound-and-light spectacle. The highlight of our camp was precisely this theme park and the show. It was so overwhelming we were singing royalist hymns for a month...
lundi, avril 07, 2008
vendredi, avril 04, 2008
‑ Eutrapélie. Je dis, ou plutôt je répète : Eutrapélie. Oh ! ce n'est pas une de ces Dames souveraines, les vertus théologales, ni même une de ces graves dames d'honneur, les vertus cardinales ; c'est une bonne petite vertu toute simple, toute serviable, une soubrette de vertu. Elle ne fait pas beaucoup parler d'elle, les chaires ne retentissent pas de son nom, ignoré même de la plupart de ceux qui l'emploient. Mais se priver de ses soins discrets et anonymes, c'est ce qui ne se peut aucunement.
On n'est pas de fer ! Dans notre corps, tout n'est pas fait de ces tissus distingués, de ces tissus éminents et hautement qualifiés que sont les nerfs, les muscles ou ce beau tissu liquide qu'est le sang. Il faut une espèce de « colle » pour que tout cela ne se défasse pas. La « colle », c'est ce roturier, ce plébéien, ce prolétaire tissu que les savants appellent « conjonctif », ma foi parce qu'il sert à conjoindre les autres. Il ne sert qu'à cela, mais les autres se disjoindraient sans lui.
Eutrapélie (ce n'est pas de sa faute si elle a un nom grognon, c'est comme une petite fille aux joues de pomme qui s'appellerait Le Pâle de son nom de famille; du reste son parrain Aristote parlait grec et Eutrapélie c'est très beau en grec), Eutrapélie donc, c'est la vertu « conjonctive ». Entre deux exercices de grandes vertus, de vertus nobles, elle « fait le joint », elle avertit en souriant qu'on peut souffler, elle donne le sens et la mesure de la récréation légitime ; elle est, pour changer de comparaison, elle est le brave sergent fourrier, pas trop militaire malgré l'uniforme, qui signe la permission de détente.
Voilà l'éloge d'Eutrapélie au vilain nom, aux bons offices. Elle fait que le repos même est pris selon Dieu.
mardi, avril 01, 2008
Prière de Saint François de Sales à Saint Joseph
0 vous dont la puissance infinie s'étend à toutes nos nécessités et sait nous rendre possibles les choses les plus impossibles,
Dans l'embarras et la peine qui nous pressent, nous recourons à vous avec confiance.
Daignez prendre sous votre charitable conduite cette affaire importante et difficile,
Faites que son heureuse issue tourne à la gloire de Dieu et au bien de ses dévoués serviteurs.