mercredi, octobre 31, 2007

La prière des Chefs

The following text is well known by the Boys Scouts and by the Officers of the Army in France. I think it applies very well for each of us. Is our goal not to become a Saint, as the numerous Saints that we celebrate on the Feast of All Saints?

Leading the way... toward Heaven!

Si le fardeau est trop lourd pour toi, pense aux autres.
Si tu ralentis, ils s’arrêtent.
Si tu faiblis, ils flanchent.
Si tu t’assoies, ils se couchent.
Si tu doutes, ils désespèrent.
Si tu critiques, ils démolissent.
Mais si tu marches devant, ils te dépassent.
Si tu donnes la main, ils donneront leur peau.
Et si tu pries alors ils seront des saints.

If the burden is too heavy, then think about the others.
If you slow down, they stop.
If you weaken, they flag.
If you sit, they lie down.
If you doubt, they despair.
If you criticize, they demolish.
But if you walk ahead, they run over.
If you give your hand, they will give their life.
And if you pray, they will become Saints.

Colonel de Charette, leading the Pontifical Zouaves at the battle of Loigny

dimanche, octobre 28, 2007

Sermon for the feast of Christ the King

Certainly in spite of himself, Pontius Pilate is the instrument of God’s Providence. Asking Our Lord if He really is a King, he receives this short, precise and elegant answer: Thou sayest that I am a King. He takes these words for granted and he ordered to put a title on the Cross of the condemned: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. The protests come immediately but Pilate would not yield. Quod scripsi, scripsi! – What I have written, I have written. The title of the Cross would remain forever, written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, as a universal proclamation of the Kingship of Christ. Many centuries later, Bossuet would address the following words to Pilate:
Then write, O Pilate, write the words that God dictates to you and whose mystery you do not understand. No matter what they assert and what they present: do not change what is already written in heaven. Let your orders be irrevocable, because they are the enforcement of an unchangeable decree from the Almighty. Let the Kingship of Jesus Christ be promulgated in Hebraic language, which is the language of the people of God; in Greek language, which is the language of the learned people and of the philosophers; in the Roman language, which is the language of the empire and of the world, the language of the conquerors and of the politicians. Now come, O Jews, heirs of the promises; and you, O Greeks, inventors of the arts; and you, Romans, masters of the earth: come to read this admirable title and kneel in front of your King.

The Nations of the earth are invited to acknowledge the Kingship of Christ. The Father has delivered all things to the Son (Luke 10:22) and now all things have to be restored in Christ.

At the very beginning of his pontificate, Pope Saint Pius X took the pen and expressed his fears to the Bishops about the sacrilegious war which is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God. In his first Encyclical Letter E Supremi, he planned out the goal of his pontificate, asking the collaboration of all the Bishops for such a huge task: To restore all things in Christ!
For in truth, the Pope wrote, "The nations have raged and the peoples imagined vain things" (Ps.2) against their Creator, so frequent is the cry of the enemies of God: "Depart from us" (Job 21).

At the beginning of the XX century, the Church was indeed in serious trouble. The old Christendom was coming to its end and the States, little by little were getting rid of all the elements of a Christian social order. The great heritage which had been built throughout the centuries was about to disappear. A civilization was about to die. The Eldest Daughter of the Church was achieving her work of destruction of the Catholic faith when she struck the Church with the Law of Separation between the State and the Church in 1905, sending her army and her police into the churches and monasteries. Italy was not in a better state after her unification which had been done at the expense of the Pontifical States. Pius IX considered himself as a prisoner of the Vatican.
Today it seems to be a different world. Christendom exists no longer. Even among the Catholics, many think that it was a necessary thing because the temporal order has to be distinct from the religious order. They have given up the battle for the social Kingship of Christ and believe that religion is merely a matter of private life. The attitude of certain ‘Catholic’ politicians regarding this issue is particularly telltale. The defenders of secularism could not be more pleased and find better allies. They say that the Church cannot be involved with politics.
One century ago, Saint Pius X noticed the consequences of such an ideology: As might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will - nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God.

Today, laws which offend the grandness of God are numerous. Abortion, same sex marriage, and divorce are considered by many as legitimate and good things. When the Church raises her voice and says that we cannot accept these laws because, not only do they offend God, but they also hurt men and societies, the free-thinkers and all the clique of politically-correct people condemn the Church for her intolerance.
Is she really intolerant? I hope so, because how can you in good conscience tolerate what is evil? How could a mother who would let her children do evil be a good mother? How would she help them become mature and reasonable by displaying such a tolerance? I hope our Mother the Church is not so tolerant, and I know for sure that she is not, thanks be to God. The Church is a loving mother and love cannot accommodate itself with evil.

Today, she tells the States that they have to acknowledge the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the hymn of Vespers reminds us: May the rulers of the world publicly honor and extol Thee; May teachers and judges reverence Thee; May the laws express Thine order and the arts reflect Thy beauty.
Do not be mistaken, dear Brethren. Today, Christ is not publicly honored by the States and the Nations, even here in the United State of America. Certainly, the American Constitution mentions God; certainly the pledge of allegiance reminds us that America is one Nation under God; certainly it is written on the bills that In God we trust. But what God is it about? Is it the God of the Revelation or the God of the Masonic lodges?
Do not be mislead by false prophets who invoke God but do not follow Him. Certainly we have to render unto Caesar those things which belong to Caesar (Matthew 22), but only those things which belong to him. And we have to let him know that he also has to render unto God those things which belong to God.

The Nations have their own vocations in God’s plan and we can hope and pray that they will follow them. It is our duty to remind our rulers that they have to govern according to God’s will and not according to the thought of the majority. It is our duty to pray for them and for their conversion. As Pope Saint Pius X said to the French – but it is true for every people – a Nation is great as long as it acknowledges the supreme sovereignty of God. In another words, a Nation is great when it proclaims Christ for its King. Today, the greatest Nations are certainly not those of whom we think about first.

May Our Lady, Queen of heaven intercede for us and for our Nations, so that Her Son can be publicly acclaimed as King of the Nations and His authority be respected.

Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

The Kings of the earth receive their crowns from the King of Kings

jeudi, octobre 18, 2007

Lecture on the Motu Proprio

The diocese of Little Rock (Arkansas) organized a work session for priests. The Fraternity of Saint Peter, which is present in the diocese in North Little Rock, Cherokee Village and Moutain Home, was invited to give some lectures about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. The session finished this morning with a high Mass celebrated in the chapel of the diocese office, Saint John Catholic center. The Mass was celebrated by Father Terrence Gordon, FSSP and the homely said by Father Joseph Portzer, FSSP in the presence of Msgr. Gaston Hebert, the diocesan Administrator and about 40 priests and deacons from the diocese. Other people working in the Diocesan offices attented this Mass.

Saint John Catholic center, Little Rock

I gave the first lecture Tuesday 16th and Father Portzer others lectures Wednesday 17th.

Here is a summary of the first part of the lecture that I gave.


By July 7th 2007, Pope Benedict XVI had published the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum on the Roman Liturgy prior to the reform of 1970.
This document has been commented on by many within and outside the Church and has even been a screamer in many newspapers in America as well as in Europe on a local and national level. Television has also been interested and journalists have gone to many churches for photo shots and coverage. The world acknowledged that the Pope has reestablished the old Mass in Latin. Reactions have been numerous and various. For some – maybe the great majority – it is something new that they did not even think about before. For others, it was the success of a long expectation finally satisfied. For some others, it is a flashback that brings back the Church to a kind of dark period of time. Some think it is a very good thing, others think it is a mistake from the Pope and others simply do not care.

Now, my purpose is not to bring a judgment on the Motu Proprio, even though you may guess in which category I belong, being a priest of the Fraternity of Saint Peter. Whether one rejoices or deplores this pontifical document, one has to recognize that it is not without importance, as the numerous reactions verify.

What will be the effects of the Motu Proprio on the life of the Church? It does not belong to me to give this answer. We can have certain leads of reflection, we can presume certain things, but it is still too early to have certitudes regarding the effects of the liberalization of the traditional liturgy on the long range. And by the way, my purpose is not to try to make any projections for the future – I think Father Portzer will do this – I wish only to present the context or background of the Motu Proprio. So, let us take a look now on the past few decades.

The object of the Document

The Motu Proprio is a document on the liturgy. It permits the celebration of the Roman liturgy according to the liturgical books of 1962 and mainly – but not only – the Missal, traditionally called that of Saint Pius V and more recently called that of Blessed John XXIII since this Pope made some modifications to it.
The liturgy has always been a concern for the Church, which is easily understandable, since the liturgy is her highest and most excellent work, as it is her public and official prayer. It is the prayer of the Head and of the members who compose the Mystical Body. It is the expression of the faith of the Church, the manifestation of her hope, looking toward eternity, and the realization of her charity. You can find many definitions on the liturgy given by many authors. Many Fathers of the Church used to preach and to write about the liturgy. Among them we can mention Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, in the IV century, whose catechetical lectures contain beautiful thoughts about the celebration of mysteries, especially, Baptism, Chrism and Communion.

Later, due to the boom and expansion of monks in the Middles Ages, Christendom has always kept an interest for the liturgy, the monasteries being like embassies of heaven on earth. Saint Benedict asked his monks to prefer nothing to the liturgy, which he called the Divine Work. Monasteries were seats of knowledge and culture which really permitted the building of Europe. For this very reason, Saint Benedict has deserved to be named patron Saint of Europe. Yet, he had no other purpose in the world than to live for God and to establish a school for the service of the Lord. In the Middles Ages, the liturgy went past the limits of churches and monasteries into the social, economic, political and artistic life. We can have a glimpse of this through some vestiges which are the liturgical dramas, half sacred and half profane, which took place often in the forecourt of the churches.

More recently, another son of Saint Benedict gratified us with his liturgical science: everybody has heard about Dom Gueranger, founder of the Abbey and Congregation of Solesmes. Dom Gueranger is certainly at the origin of what we call the liturgical movement which began in the late XIX century and spread essentially in Europe, but also for a part in America in the XX century. The liturgical movement brought a real renew of interest for the liturgy and allowed the faithful to have a better understanding of its essence and a better participation to its celebration. To give an example, the International Congress of Gregorian Chant which took place in New York in 1920 shows the impact of the liturgical movement in the United Sates. A choir of 4,000 children sung the Mass. At this time, the number of children practicing Gregorian Chant is estimated to be around 500,000 in the country.

The Roman Pontiffs, throughout the centuries have expressed their concern for the liturgy, as Benedict XVI says in the beginning of the Motu Proprio. He mentions Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Pius V, who sustained by great pastoral and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers, and provided them for the use of the Latin Church. His name would remain associated to the missal and today we still speak of the Missal of Saint Pius V, even though he was not its creator. Benedict the XVI mentions others of his predecessors, such as Clement VIII, Urban VIII, Saint Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius X, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII. About Pius XII, it is important to mention his Encyclical Letter Mediator Dei about the Divine Liturgy. It is a portentous document as it expresses the teaching of the Church in liturgical matter.

The Councils also have expressed their concerns regarding the liturgy. The last ecumenical Council known as the Second Vatican Council even has a whole constitution about the liturgy: it is the document Sacrosanctum Concilium, which might be good to read in order to know exactly what it says. It reminds of the importance of the liturgy in the life of the Church. The document says for example that the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper.[1]

It is something that we, priests, should keep in our minds. All our works of charity, of preaching, of mercy, all our pastoral zeal should be oriented toward the supreme activity of the Church which is the liturgy. And since it is the summit, it has to be well done. That supposes from our part a sufficient knowledge of the liturgy, which is required by the Church as it is expressed in the conciliar document, paragraph 16: The study of sacred liturgy is to be ranked among the compulsory and major courses in seminaries and religions houses of studies; in theological faculties it is to rank among the principal courses. It is to be taught under its theological, historical, spiritual, pastoral, and juridical aspects. Moreover, other professors, while striving to expound the mystery of Christ and the history of salvation from the angle proper to each of their own subjects, must nevertheless do so in a way which will clearly bring out the connection between their subjects and the liturgy, as also the unity which underlies all priestly training. This consideration is especially important for professors of dogmatic, spiritual, and pastoral theology and for those of holy scripture.

In addition of the knowledge, we should also take a sufficient time in order to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the liturgy. It is not only a function that we must accomplish because it is a duty, but it should be our spiritual food and the heart of our priesthood. The priest, by his very essence and by the virtue of his ordination, is the man of the liturgy, and especially of the Mass. It has always been the way the Church understands priesthood and she desires that her priests are aware of this. Blessed Karl Leisner said that it was the love for the Mass which led him toward priesthood.

The Council and the Missal of 1969

But let us return to the text of the Council. After considerations about the essence and the need of a restoration of the liturgy, the Council gives certain norms. The first one reminds us of a general principle: Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.[2] The reason is that, as we said, the liturgy is the official and public worship of the Church.

Now the Church, through the Council, asked for a revision of the liturgical books, which is of course legitimate and have been done many times in the past. As you know, every time that modifications occur, there are some people who are pleased and others who are not. And I don’t speak only about liturgy; it is true for every thing. Now, we still have to consider if the reasons for which we are pleased or not are legitimate or not.
In 1969, 4 years after the end of the Council, Pope Paul VI promulgated a new missal, which was something new in the whole history of the Church as the Pope himself said. Let me give you some quotes from Paul VI said during the general audience of November 26th 1969.
- We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass.
- A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries.
- This novelty is no small thing.

The Pope explained what are some of the great modifications. It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.

This passage, if you think about it, is really surprising and a little bit unsettling. First, it has to be noticed that the intention of the Pope went far beyond the wishes of the Council.
The Council asked for a revision of liturgical books: The liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible.[3] But the revision of an old book is not the creation of a new one, which are two different things.

Concerning the language, the Council explicitly says that particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.[4] It gives more liberty for the use of the Latin, but does not abrogate neither prohibit its use. It rather says that steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.[5]

Paragraph 113 is even stronger since it says: As regards the language to be used, the provisions of Art. 36 are to be observed; for the Mass, Art. 54; for the sacraments.

I cannot give now all the references but let us say that according to the Council, the Latin remains the proper language of the liturgy and then, that the use of vernacular languages is permitted for certain parts with the approbation and under the control of the Ordinary. We have another very good example with this paragraph regarding the Divine Office: In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office. But in individual cases the ordinary has the power of granting the use of a vernacular translation to those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a grave obstacle to their praying the office properly. The vernacular version, however, must be one that is drawn up according to the provision of Art. 36.

The Chapter 6 of Sacrosanctum Concilium concerns the sacred music. About the Gregorian chant, it says: The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
So, here it what the Council says. Then six years later – Sacrosanctum Concilium is dated by December 4th 1963 – Pope Paul VI says the opposite: No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. Then the Popes expressed some kinds of regrets for what we are about to lose with the introduction of the new missal. We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth.

But what is more surprising is the reason invoked by the Pope: we shall do well to take into account the motives for this grave change. The first is obedience to the Council. But the decision to give up Latin and Gregorian chant contradicts the Council.
So we are not here to judge Paul VI and his intentions that only God knows. The fact is that the new missal promulgated in 1969 goes beyond the desires of the Council.

[1] S.C. n.10
[2] S.C. 10 / 1
[3] S.C. 25
[4] S.C. 36
[5] S.C. 54

dimanche, octobre 14, 2007

Sermon for 20th Sunday after Pentecost

Today, Saint Paul gives us a course of action: See therefore, brethren, how you walk circumspectly; not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph.5:15,16) Circumspection comes from the Latin word circumspicere, which literally means to look around. So, walking circumspectly means walking with prudence and caution as someone walking in a hostile environment. And we are in a hostile environment, as Saint Paul puts it: the days are evil.
Our Lord Himself tells us in Matthew 6:34, that sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. The days are not evil in themselves, but because of the perversion of men. And we first have to deal with our own perversion, which expresses itself in the works of the flesh which Saint Paul often warns us against, especially throughout the Sundays after Pentecost. Today, it is drunkenness that he asks us to avoid.
Saint John Chrysostom explains that the excess of wine makes us irritable and cheeky and makes us swift to fail and to lose our temper. Wine in itself is good, as is all creation, but we have to use it properly. Saint John Chrysostom says that it has been given to us for joy and not for drunkenness. The book of Proverbs says: Give strong drink to them that are sad; and wine to them that are grieved in mind. And Psalm 103, also says that, wine may cheer the heart of man. So it is a good thing, given to us as a comfort and a medicine for health. Saint John Chrysostom then says, that the cause of drunkenness is not the wine, but the abuse of wine. In fact, evil is not in the creation, all is created good by God, but it is in the misuse of the creation. Saint Ignatius of Loyola puts it very well in the famous principle and foundation of his spiritual exercises: Man is created to praise, reverence and serve God Our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created. From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it.
Therefore, we have to use created things well in order to reach our end, which is our salvation.
This is why Saint Paul tells us to be wise. Wisdom makes us govern our life toward our end, which is God. We have to turn to the Uncreated and Eternal Wisdom in order to be wise. Be filled with the Holy Spirit, Saint Paul says again. Saint John Chrysostom explains that being filled with the Holy Spirit depends on us. We first have to remove from our soul lies, rancor, fornication, impurity and cupidity. Then, when we become good, merciful, indulgent toward others, when we avoid improper jokes, when we finally make ourselves worthy to receive the Holy Spirit, what can impede Him from rushing up into our souls?
It depends on us. The grace of God is certainly necessary, but it is given to us. Now, I have to use it well and to work on myself in order to correspond to it. My first concern should be my own sanctification, and then – and only then, the sanctification of my neighbor. But if I am not good, why should I expect my neighbor to be good? Complaining and gossiping about my neighbor will certainly not help him become better and can only make you worse. Complaining and gossiping are poison for the spiritual life and cause great damage in a community. How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit if I am accustomed to them?
Saint Paul gives us a very good way to love our neighbor. It is a very good way, but as you know, not an easy one, because it requires a lot of renouncement and humility. Be subject to one another, in the fear of Christ! As you see, it is not easy. We already have many difficulties in order to be subject to our legitimate authorities that being subject to one another seems to be repugnant to our pride. It requires a lot of humility. But Saint Paul points out something very important: in the fear of Christ! The fear of the Lord is precisely the beginning of wisdom, as the Scripture teaches. If I can keep in my mind that I will be judged according to the way I act toward my neighbor, it may help me a lot to be indulgent toward him and not judgmental. At least, the fear of Christ should restrain me from criticizing or gossiping. Then, a more perfect love will come with time. As much as we are purified of our defects and bad intentions, it gives more place for love in your heart.
It is never too late to begin this work of purification. So why don’t we start right now. May Our Lady help and assist us, so that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. May she teach us what wisdom and prudence are, so that we do not only have an intellectual comprehension of these virtues, but we can really practice them.


lundi, octobre 08, 2007

Requiescat in pace

Serge de Beketch
(12 décembre 1946 - 6 octobre 2007)

A Dieu... et merci !
Je célébrerai une messe de requiem pour le repos de l'âme de Serge de Beketch, le vendredi 12 octobre 2007.

dimanche, octobre 07, 2007

The rosary: a way to spiritual childhood

Sermon for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Gaudeamus! Today’s liturgy begins with an invitation to rejoice. Gaudeamus! Let us rejoice in the Lord! What a beautiful feast is the celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary! It is a feast of heaven in which the angels participate.
Let us rejoice, dear Brethren, but I would say let us rejoice well and for a good reason. The reason of our joy should be a supernatural one. Gaudeamus in Domino “Let us rejoice in the Lord!” It is the joy of the Redemption and the joy of knowing that we are loved. It is the joy that a heart burning with love gives to the soul. It is the joy of God’s children.
Today we honor, Our Lady of the Rosary. I think that the Rosary helps us to be God’s children, at least if it is said well, or rather prayed well. Saying the Rosary is not in itself a sign of holiness, but truly praying it. As Saint Louis de Montfort says, it is a mark of predestination. The Rosary helps us to be God’s children, because the prayers are for humble and simple people. It is the prayers of those who live with all their hearts the Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! It is really a prayer for the poor in spirit. It is a prayer for us who do not know how to pray.
We don’t know how to pray. If you think you know, you don’t understand what praying is. The disciples did not think they knew: Lord, teach us how to pray! And He taught them the most beautiful and the most perfect of prayers which begins with these two words: Our Father! This prayer taught by the Savior Himself was a true revolution for the whole history of humanity. No one before this time, not even the Jews of the Old Covenant, had the notion that God is our Father. It is really a new revelation.
It is also a relief. God is not only the One that we have to fear, but also the One that we have to love. We have to love Him not in an abstract manner like we love an idea or a concept, but we have to love Him as a Father. We are not only the creatures and the subjects of God, but we are also his children. Thus, simplicity, smallness and the spirit of childhood suits the spiritual life. They are the marks of a deep intimacy with God that we can clearly see in the lives of the Saints.
Let us take a look at these three attributes of the spiritual life. Simplicity! God is absolutely simple. He is. He is not this or that, but He simply is. He is simple by His very nature. We are not. We are not simple by nature, but we have to tend to the simplicity of life, simplicity of mind and of heart. As Father Louis Charlier puts in, we have to strip ourselves in order to let our real personality appear, as we strip an old piece of furniture in order to set the oak wood in which it is made. So many times we are not ourselves, but we play a character. There is a lack of truth and of sincerity in this. We are not ourselves but another whose mask we wear. It is seeming and not being. It is simulation and not authenticity. When you do it consciously, when deliberately attempting to act in such a way, it is duplicity and hypocrisy.
But, as Father Charlier explains, simplicity is a part of the virtue of truth which opposes duplicity. It makes our secret intention in harmony with our behavior. It honors sincerity and rightness and it abhors lies and trickeries. Simplicity is not naivety, but it is spontaneous and makes us natural because it makes us true.
The spirituality of a child of God is simple, because it always brings him back to the only essential thing, which is God Himself. What can make our life simple if it is not charity? Charity makes us love God as He is and since a true love tends to unite wills and persons, it tends to make us simple like God. Above all the creatures, Father Charlier says again, the masterpiece of simplicity is Mary. In her, human nature rediscovers its original purity and has its fullness of authenticity.
The Gospel mentions in different passages the little ones. I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. (Luke 10:21) There are things that the wise and the prudent according to the spirit of the world cannot know. They cannot understand because they don’t have the soul of a child and a humble heart. I am always impressed and touched when teaching catechism to young children. You think about how can you explain the mysteries of faith and wonder if they can understand something of what you say. Then, you realize that what is difficult for us to comprehend is not so hard for children. God is God. He is almighty and can do whatever He wants. For children it is obvious, probably because they have the simplicity we were talking about in the Beatitudes. Blessed are they!
Evangelical smallness disposes us to a certain intimate familiarity with God. It includes reverence and delicacy while banning servile fear.
It gives us confidence in God, the same confidence that a little child has with his parents. He is entirely dependant on them, but he knows that they take care of him and provide for everything he needs.

Our meditation about smallness brings us to the crèche of Bethlehem and the joyful mysteries of the Rosary. Everything is marked by simplicity, smallness and humility in these mysteries. From the Fiat of Mary to the finding of the child Jesus in the temple, it is a magnificent and beautiful teaching of what spiritual childhood is. When you pray your rosary, look at Jesus and Mary and contemplate them with the eyes of your soul. See how they show us the way. It is a way of spiritual poverty, of renouncement, of smallness; it is the way of the little ones and of humble hearts. This way leads necessarily towards Calvary and the sorrowful mysteries, as the crèche anticipates the Cross. But if you go on this way of the Cross with simplicity and a child like spirit, you have nothing to fear and everything to hope, because the sorrowful mysteries are just a step toward the glorious mysteries, those which we can only fully comprehend in heaven. But meditating on them, especially through the prayer of the rosary, makes us desire them with more ardor and more intensity. And when we have to struggle in this life, when we have to suffer and when the cross seems to be too heavy, then we can turn our sight towards heaven. There is a place for us there. There is a place for each one of us; a place where we can sing the eternal Magnificat of Love with Mary to the Glory of God.
The daily rosary that we should really pray and not only say is a powerful help on our way to heaven. It is the prayer of the pilgrims who are on their way. As much as we walk toward God, this prayer changes us day after day, little by little. It is the prayer of the little souls which makes them great in the hearts of Jesus and Mary.
May Our Lady teach us how to pray it well so that it can not only be an instrument of piety but also and mainly an instrument of sanctification that molds our souls into the image of Our Lord. It will make us true children of God.

mercredi, octobre 03, 2007

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

October 3rd is the Feast of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
This is an occasion to meditate on her words and to ask God to give us the same simplicity of soul that Little Flower had.


True Charity consists in bearing with all the defects of our neighbor, in not being surprised at his failings, and in being edified by his least virtues; Charity must not remain shut up in the depths of the heart, for no man lighteth a candle and putteth it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. (Cf. Matthew 5:15). It seems to me that this candle represents the Charity which ought to enlighten and make joyful, not only those who are dearest to me, but all who are in the house.

When Charity is deeply rooted in the soul it shows itself exteriorly: there is so gracious a way of refusing what we cannot give, that the refusal pleases as much as the gift.


He whose Heart ever watcheth, taught me, that while for a soul whose faith equals but a tiny grain of mustard seed, He works miracles, in order that this faith which is so weak may be fortified; yet for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He did not work miracles until He had put their faith to test. Did He not let Lazarus die through Martha and Mary had sent to tell Him that he was sick? At the marriage at Cana, the Blessed Virgin having asked Him to come to the assistance of the master of the house, did He not reply that His hour was not yet come? But after the trial, what a recompense! Water changed to wine, Lazarus restored to life...

A sister showed her a photograph representing Joan of Arc consoled in the prison by her Voices. Saint Therese said: "I too am consoled by an interior voice. The Saints encourage me from above, they say to me: 'So long as thou art in fetters thou canst not fulfill thy mission; but later, after thy death - then will be the time of thy conquests'."
A hour...and we shall have reached the port! My God, what shall we see then? What is that life which will never have an end?...Jesus will be the Soul of our soul. Unfathomable mystery! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what great things God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9). And this will all come soon - yes, very soon, if we ardently love Jesus.

We hold the the life !

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