lundi, mai 25, 2009

Quid hoc ad aeternitatem?

Sermon for the Ascension of Our Lord

We celebrate today the glorious Ascension of Our Lord after having contemplated Him in the mystery of His Resurrection. What is the point of the Ascension? We answer with the Doctors that it is the crowning of the work of Redemption of Our Lord, the achievement of his exaltation that He has merited by His Passion and His entire life on earth since the day of the Incarnation. Saint Thomas explains that heaven was due to Christ because of His nature. It is natural that a being returns to the place from where he has its origin. And Our Lord told us from where He came. We heard that in last Sunday’s Gospel: I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again I leave the world and go to the Father. There is no more reason for Him to remain in the world since the work of Redemption has been performed.
And also, Our Lord shows us that His kingdom is not of this world and that our lives are just passing and transitional in this world. We are called to join Him: Where I am, there also shall my servants be.
Our Lord is the One who has revealed the mystery of the Holy Trinity; this mystery of love between the Divine Person. He tells us the secrets of His Father. He helps us to keep our attention toward the invisible realities of the Kingdom of grace. Our conversation is in heaven, Saint Paul says beautifully. There, there is someone who speaks now to His Father after He has spoken to us about His Father.
Communication has been established, Paul Claudel says. Now there is at the Father’s right hand a voice to explain this new acquisition and extension of His Son, this Passover that He so longed to take with us, this sin that was somehow unspeakably translated into love, this enriched declension of His Word, this bridal bouquet that sacrifices to Him its sweetness! A voice, and I could also say an ear: a divine ear within us pressed to our heart, a divine ear within us pressed to the heart of God!
You see, if you would spend more time about being more curious about God, more time of meditation about Our Lord Jesus Christ and more time for a true conversation – and not only prayers that can be so easily become a kind of routine – you would understand better the love of God for us. And this would make you happier. It would give you more peace. It would help you to understand that the troubles of this life are nothing in comparison with the glory of heaven. Quid hoc ad aeternitatem? Saint Bernard used to repeat constantly. What does this matter for eternity?
In fact, what does matter for my eternity is not the event that I face in my life, but how do I handle them. Do I accept everything with gratitude and do I always complain about others or about the burden that is on my shoulders. I was thinking a few days ago about the great number of prayer requests for friends or relative who are sick. Often we pray for the healing of someone, and there is nothing wrong about that, provided of course that the usual dispositions required when we pray are here. It is good to pray for each other. But I also realized how rare it is to receive prayer requests of thanksgiving when someone is sick. Of course, such a request should come from the sick person himself. I think I have seen that just once since I was ordained.
Quid hoc ad aeternitatem? How often do we ask for temporal good! How rarely do we ask for spiritual good! It is like if we have to spend our all eternity in this world. How often do we ask to be poor with Christ? How often do we pray to desire insults with Christ loaded with them or to be accounted as worthless and a fool for Christ? (Cf Spiritual exercises by Saint Ignatius) We are men of little faith. Very little!
We should desire what is the best for us in order to gain heaven. The fact is that might be better for us to be sick rather than healthy, or poor rather than wealthy, depending on how we use the temporal good. It is legitimate to pray for temporal good, but let us be sure that we will use them for the glory of God and our salvation when we ask for them.
Like Saint Paul, we should be able to say that our conversation is in heaven. Christ is there now. May Our Blessed Mother help us to understand this truth and encourage us to take the glorious way of the Cross! It is the only way that leads to the glory of heaven.

27th Pilgrimage of Pentecost

May 30th - June 1st 2009
From Notre-Dame de Paris to Notre-Dame de Chartres

The Paris-Chartres Pilgrimage is a three-day walk from Notre-Dame de Paris to Notre-Dame de Chartres, approximately 75 miles. Pilgrims are organized into groups of 20-65 people, that are referred to as "chapters". The "walk" is through the streets of Paris, and then into the countryside. It can be muddy, rocky, and demanding-and the rewards of such a penitential exercise are eternal. Good sturdy shoes are a must. Each chapter is accompanied by at least one chaplain, who hears confession and gives spiritual direction to each pilgrim who avails himself of the priest's presence. This pilgrimage originated in the 12th century, with interruptions for the various wars our European brethren seem to find themselves in from time to time. A plenary indulgence is granted, under the usual conditions.Pilgrims will meet in front of Notre Dame de Paris at 6 a.m. on May 30, and the journey of faith and foot begins.

samedi, mai 23, 2009

The pursuit of happiness

Sermon for the fifth Sunday after Easter
The optimist considers that the absolute good that he seeks can be gained through the realization of his earthly hopes. The “pursuit of happiness” that is considered as an inalienable right of man in the American Constitution, is a specific product of such an optimistic mentality. At a first look, you may not see what is wrong with that. Is it not legitimate to pursue happiness? The answer is: yes it absolutely legitimate. Now it depends on how do you consider happiness and how do you seek it. Aristotle in his time already said that all men acknowledge that the supreme good is happiness, but right after, he added that there are different opinions concerning the nature of happiness. Basically, there are three main common opinions. Happiness resides in pleasure, in honor or in wealth.
It is interesting to see how Aristotle considers these three theories and how much his thought is very topical today. After all, it is not really surprising. Gustave Thibon has well said that Things have not really changed in two thousand years. The same repetition of error and evil commands the same repetition of truth and of good. We can see regularly here and there a champion of change claiming that a new era is about to begin and that the only thing we need is to believe in it. "Yes, we can!" he claims. Is there any novelty in this belief? If it is something new, it is at the very least already 300 years old. Charles Péguy in his time had already denounced the oldest error of the world that is repeated at every generation like the sap that rises every spring. This very ancient error is to believe that man can remake the society according to his wish. But, as Gustave Thibon points out, there is a conformism of revolt and chaos as there is a conformism of order. It seems after all that our innovators and heroes of change, of liberty, of nonconformism are more traditional than they believe. The Revolution has indeed its own tradition. The progressive and the modernist people have their own traditions. They have them so well, that we can anticipate their so called novelties. They say that nothing will be as before. Let us answer them: the more it changes, the more it is the same thing!
Certainly, the Revolution has different faces, and Gustave Thibon, speaking about this, notices that the ideological and moral contents of the various revolutions were totally different. But their authors were all similar in the way that all of them believed that they could perform a deep and lasting transformation, and they lived on the pretention that nothing would be as before. In a certain way there were right: everything, in general, became worst.
And as long as the great majority of men, especially those who are in charge of the destiny of our nations, believe that the supreme good resides in an earthly happiness, it will continue to get worst. And we will continue to see optimistic people saying that it can be better. To the question: “is the pursuit of happiness truly an inalienable right of man?”, let Our Lady answer.
Our Lady told Bernadette Soubirous: I don’t promise you to make you happy in this world, but in the other. Our Lady, seat of wisdom tells us what true happiness is. We can find it only in God. Aristotle had already discovered that happiness is a divine gift, in the highest degree among all human things and that it is the best of all things. And he added that every man can find it. What is his definition of happiness? It is an operation of the soul that is conform to virtue! Not too bad for a pagan! The Christian Revelation would confirm this definition and perfect it. Man’s happiness must of necessity consist in an operation, Saint Thomas Aquinas says. In fact, perfect happiness consists in an act of our intellect, which is nothing else than the vision of the Divine essence. This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God! (Jn 17,3)
This is not the optimism of the world, but the concrete reality of the nature of things. It is something that the innovators and the revolutionaries have forgotten. Even the naturalists do not understand the natures of things because they do not acknowledge the principle of nature. The optimism of Rousseau led the world to a global Revolution that finally becomes a world without God. Most of our contemporaries continue to believe in the noble savage myth and their optimism is nothing but an illusion.
And of course, they will accuse us of being pessimistic. With Gustave Thibon, we answer that we simply believe in original sin. The philosopher even adds: I do not need to believe it; the evidence exempts from faith. Are we pessimistic? We are simply Christians. We believe in original sin, but we believe also in the Redemption. Yet, as Thibon says, at the level of appearances, the balance between sin and Redemption is not equal. Sin is an evil that devastates all men and breaks out everywhere. But the benefits of Redemption remain in a very large measure virtual, for the great majority of men neglect or refuse to receive them. It is not enough that a remedy is infallible and universal. The sick must also use it.
It is legitimate to pursue happiness, but it can be find only in God and in the gift of Redemption. Refusing this gift can only leads to the ruin. The modern philosophers and politicians think they can provide happiness in this life. Our Lady promises it in the other life. Between illusion and reality, we should not hesitate. May Our Blessed Mother help us to make the good choice.

jeudi, mai 14, 2009

Saint Pierre était-il corse ?

Extrait de Sur les chemins de l'âme corse, Sauveur m'a dit...
De André Giovanni

La face tragique, celle des offenses, du sang versé et du sacrifice, est probablement celle que la Corse a regardée avec la plus vive compassion. Songeons au catenacciu de Sartène. Notre peuple s’y est reconnu que n’ont épargné ni les malheurs, ni les outrages, ni les violences, ni les injustices.
Et quel Corse, en son for intérieur, ne s’est pas retrouvé dans l’apôtre Pierre quand, au moment de l’arrestation du Christ, il tire le glaive pour frapper le serviteur du grand prêtre ? Ce geste vengeur, inutile, attire la réponse souveraine du Maitre : « Celui qui prend l’épée périra par l’épée. »
Le caractère insulaire, pétri de passions, a prouvé qu’il savait se dominer et surmonter les tragédies pour s’accomplir dans la charité. La charité du Christ. L’histoire de notre ile s’est jouée, et se joue encore aujourd’hui, dans un balancement violent entre la rusticité des passions humaines, les malheurs subis comme une malédiction fatidique qui pousserait l’homme à se faire justice, et finalement l’imitation du Christ, cloué sur la Croix par Amour, dans un sacrifice suprême pour la Rédemption de l’humanité.
Notre peuple, sans rien perdre de son identité et de ses justes revendications, doit dépasser les ressentiments provoqués par des vicissitudes trop humaines, pour accéder à un autre ordre, celui de la Miséricorde, tant pour lui-même que pour les autres, les frères, les voisins, et ceux qui passent. Se revêtir de la noblesse du Roi du monde, dans la lumière de la Charité. La justice suprême, c’est le pardon des offenses. « Pardonnez-nous nos offenses comme nous pardonnons à ceux qui nous ont offensés. Et délivrez-nous du mal.”

U lamentu di Maria

lundi, mai 11, 2009

He will convince the world of sin

Sermon for the fourth Sunday after Easter
Our Lord prepares His Apostles for His departure: it is expedient to you that I go. If I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you. We read this text during paschaltide, in the context of the Resurrection and as a preparation to the mysteries of the Ascension and of Pentecost, but they were said during the Last Supper. The Apostles certainly did not understand the meaning of all the words of the Lord at this time, but they would understand when the Holy Spirit would come upon us. In the Chapter 14 of Saint John , Our Lord had already promised the Apostles that the Father will give them another Counselor and the Spirit of truth. He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Pope John Paul II in the Encyclical Letter Dominum et Vivificantem, says that the Holy Spirit is not only the Counselor of the Apostles, but of the whole Church. The words "he will teach" and "bring to remembrance" mean not only that he, will continue to inspire the spreading of the Gospel of salvation but also that he will help people to understand the correct meaning of the content of Christ's message; they mean that he will ensure continuity and identity of understanding in the midst of changing conditions and circumstances. The Holy Spirit, then, will ensure that in the Church there will always continue the same truth which the Apostles heard from their Master.
Our Lord says another Counselor, because He is Himself the first Counselor as He is the first bearer and giver of the Good News. There is an intimate bond, Pope John Paul II adds, between Christ and the Holy Spirit. In fact, The Holy Spirit continues the mission of Christ through His members: He teaches and bears witness as Jesus did during His life on earth, and that is precisely what the militant Church does on earth. The Holy Spirit has a very important mission in the Church and is like her soul. We will have the opportunity to meditate on this mystery in a few weeks.
But now, let us consider the mission of the Paraclete in the world. He will convince the world of sin, and of justice and of judgment. He will convince the world of sin! It is first the sin of those who rejected Christ and condemned Him to the death of the Cross. Jesus spoke these words only a few hours before His death. By dying on the Cross He performed the works of remission of sins. He did not come into the world to judge it but to save it. When the Holy Spirit convinces the world of sin, He also convinces it of the remission of sins. Therefore the world is divided into two sides. On one side, there are those who acknowledge the remission of sins and who accept it for themselves. They have received the Holy Spirit. On the other side, there are those who refuse the gift of redemption and this rejection will be their condemnation. The conviction of sin is intrinsically connected to the death of Christ on the Cross as Pope John Paul II points it out: it is the demonstration of the evil of sin, of every sin, in relation to the Cross of Christ. Sin, shown in this relationship, is recognized in the entire dimension of evil proper to it, through the "mysterium iniquitatis" which is hidden within it. Man does not know this dimension-he is absolutely ignorant of it apart from the Cross of Christ. So he cannot be "convinced" of it except by the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of truth.
The mystery of iniquity has its beginning with original sin. What do we know about the beginning? In the Beginning God created heaven and earth. It is the gift of Creation, a gift from the Three Divine Persons. The Word, who is the Second Person of the Trinity, is the principle of the Creation according to Saint John. In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.
But at the beginning, there was also a spirit that is opposed to the Word of God and that has its origin in the will of the rational creatures. There was a tree in the garden and this tree brought death into the world by the disobedience of Adam. One day, another tree would bring back life by the obedience unto death of the New Adam. The spirit that opposes the Word, we can name it with Pope John Paul II, the Anti-Word or the Anti-truth.
This "anti-truth" is possible because at the same time there is a complete falsification of the truth about who God is. God the Creator is placed in a state of suspicion, indeed of accusation, in the mind of the creature. For the first time in human history there appears the perverse "genius of suspicion." He seeks to "falsify'' Good itself; the absolute Good, which precisely in the work of creation has manifested itself as the Good which gives in an inexpressible way: as bonum diffusivum sui, as creative love. Who can completely "convince concerning sin," or concerning this motivation of man's original disobedience, except the one who alone is the gift and the source of all giving of gifts, except the Spirit, who "searches the depths of God" and is the love of the Father and the Son?
Living in this world where two antagonistic spirits oppose each other, we often vacillate from one to another. Between Word and the Anti-Word, there is no hesitation possible. The Word is the principle of my being and of my life. May the Anti-Word not be the principle of my actions! Let us turn to the Mother of the Incarnate Word, so that we can live according to the Spirit of truth and reject the works of darkness that lead to death. Amen!

samedi, mai 09, 2009

vendredi, mai 01, 2009

Saint John Bosco Academy

St. John Bosco Academy will be opening at Star of the Sea Village, near the Cherokee Village FSSP apostolate, starting in August 2009. Due to faculty constraints, the first year of classes will meet only three days a week - Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with homework assigned for a fourth school day.

St. John Bosco will offer standard K-12 classes.

For further information contact Lorri Sonnier at (870) 834-1541 or (870) 834-8993.