mardi, décembre 30, 2008

Sermon for Sunday in the Octave of Christmas

This Child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted!

Let us continue our meditation of the mystery of the Nativity of Our Lord with the great Bossuet. Religion, he says, is a sentiment composed of fear and joy. It inspires fear in man because he is a sinner; it inspires joy in him, because he hopes in the remission of his sins. It inspires fear, because God is just; it inspires joy because God is good. This is the reason why the Psalmist invites us to serve the Lord with fear and to rejoice into Him with trembling. (Ps 2,11)

It is true that Our Lord is an object of consolation for many who, in spite of their condition of sinners, truly hate their sins and amend their lives. They are those who serve the Lord with fear every day of their life and do not content themselves of a mere ritual participation in the exercises of public worships, which is certainly a most excellent thing in itself but can be quite insufficient or even pharisaic if it is not preceded and followed by other acts of virtue. There are not a few, these Christian whom piety vanish right after Mass. There are not a few, these penitents who claim that they will amend their life in the confessional, but as soon as they have left it, return exactly to their same earthly and mundane life. For such Christians who do not have the fear of God, Christ can hardly be an object of consolation.

He rather is an object of contradiction. He is such a sign for the proud people who do not recognize and accept the Incarnation of the Word. He also is such a sign for many Christians, who, while they believe in this mystery, do not understand the great lesson of humility given by Christ. They have forgotten the baseness of their own birth, Bossuet comments. Christians by name, they prefer to be served rather than be servant. The true nobility is first the one of the heart not the one received by birth and the true servant of God is recognizable by his magnanimity, the greatness of his soul. There is no magnanimity without humility.

And what does offend the world is precisely the humility of Our Lord, Bossuet says again. It is such a scandal for those who seek only the earthly good and their own satisfaction. They were many among the Jews; they are still many among the Christians. Then, since Christ disturbs their own conception of their life, they charge Him and accuse Him:
Doth the Christ come out of Galilee? - But we know this man, whence he is. -thou being a man, makest thyself God. - Thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil. - Behold a man that is a glutton and a wine drinker, a friend of publicans and sinners.

The humility of the Son of God is unbearable for them as it reminds them that they should imitate Him and renounce to their life of sin. The Savior tells them: You seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. (Jn 8,37) And Bossuet puts these words in the mouth of Our Lord: The lights of your conscience and its persecution that it creates in your heart do not move you. For this reason you want to switch them off. The truths of the Gospel scandalize you. You begin to fight them, not with reason; you do not have a reason. You fight them out of laziness, blindness or fury.

You might think that those words are not for you. You do not attend to kill Our Lord and you do not judge Him! Are you so sure? You certainly do not act this way toward Our Lord in person, but have you forgotten what He told you many times? Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me (Mt 25,40)
Can you say with the same certitude that you never judge your neighbor or that you are never angry with him, which would make you a murder: You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Mt 5, 21-22)

Be sure that if you do not amend your life, Christ will be a sign of contradiction to you. Is He destined to be for your fall or for your rise? This depends on how you receive Him in your life and how you conform yours to his life. The humility of the crèche shows us what our life should be. It anticipates the sufferings of the Passion, but then, we know that it is for our rise.

May Our Blessed Mother help us understand this truth for the good of our souls.

lundi, décembre 08, 2008

Padre Pio Miracle Man

I have seen different movies on Saint Padre Pio, but I was disappointed by all of them... until tonight when I watched this one:

Padre Pio Miracle Man
by Carlo Carlei
with Sergio Castellito as Padre Pio

In one word : Beautiful!

Movie available at Ignatius press:

vendredi, décembre 05, 2008

A Catholic Monarch stands against euthanasia

LUXEMBOURG, December 4, 2008 ( -

The Grand Duke of Luxembourg is set to lose his power to veto laws after he threatened to prevent the passage of a law permitting euthanasia in the tiny European country.
As the head of state, Grand Duke Henri has the power to prevent the passage of a law by refusing to sign it, according to the existing constitution. He stated recently that for "reasons of conscience" he would not be able to sign the proposed law, which would allow doctors to kill their patients under certain circumstances.
After his statement provoked what the press described as a "constitutional crisis," the Grand Duke agreed to an amendment to the constitution that would make his signature a mere formality, rather than a promulgation of a law. Under the new system, he says he will be willing to sign the law, because he believes that it will no longer signify his approval.
Although the Luxembourg Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Junker, also opposes the law, Junker claims that the vote of the nation's representatives must override the conscientious objection of the Grand Duke.
“I understand the Grand Duke's problems of conscience," he reportedly told the press. "But I believe that if the parliament votes in a law, it must be brought into force."
The duke's threatened non-cooperation in the promulgation of the law would have been the second time in the last one hundred years that the veto power was used by the nation's sovereign. The last time was in 1919, when the Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide refused to sign a law that would have reduced religious instruction in the nation's educational system.
In a similar case, the King of Belgium refused to sign his country's pro-abortion law in 1990, and the law was promulgated without his signature.
However, Luxembourg's Grand Duke has been unwilling to imitate his Belgian counterpart and resist the new law using his constitutional power. Instead, he has voluntarily given it up so that the nation's legislators can pass the law without his approval.
The law will allow doctors to kill patients diagnosed as "terminally ill" upon the patient's request, after review by two doctors and a panel of experts.
Luxembourg, which is nestled between Germany, Belgium, and France and has a population of slightly less than half a million people, is the wealthiest nation per-capita in the world, and the vast majority call themselves Catholic. However, despite a large percentage of the population that continues to cherish family values, the nation's democratically elected officials have largely rejected Catholic moral teaching in the last 30 years. Abortion, for example, has been legal since 1977.

His Royal Highness Henri, by the Grace of God, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenelnbogen and Diez, Burgrave of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein.

Crown Prince Henri was sworn in as Luxembourg's new monarch October, 7 when his father, Grand Duke Jean, stepped down after 36 years at an abdication ceremony. Henri, 45, became Luxembourg's sixth grand duke since 1890, when the modern monarchy was established. His father, 79, resigned in order to hand responsibility to his son. Henri pledged allegiance in the parliament, located next door to the grand ducal palace. Afterward, he and his Cuban-born wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, strolled from the parliament, around the block - waving to spectators and shaking outstretched hands - and back to the palace, a Disneyesque building of turrets and wrought iron that rises above the city's narrow cobblestone streets. In a proclamation, Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker's government said Henri will be ``a most worthy grand duke,'' due to his ``fine character and in-depth knowledge of his people.''

From a balcony at the palace, the new grand ducal couple, their five children and the outgoing monarch waved to hundreds of people packing the narrow Rue du Marche aux Herbes below them. The nation of 429,000, wedged between Belgium, France and Germany, measures only 52 by 36 miles. The capital city straddles a deep, craggy ravine that was first settled in the 10th century. It is lined by 14 miles of centuries-old fortifications.
The country's national motto is 'We Want To Stay What We Are' and continuity is what the new monarch promised his overwhelmingly Roman Catholic subjects. In his first address after taking office, he urged them to retain family values, to ensure equal rights for men and women and to not be blinded by their own prosperity that comes from relaxed banking rules that have brought hundreds of financial institutions to gleaming offices ringing the old city center. ``We have received a great deal. Yet are we giving enough in return? Are we not too selfish? Do we still notice people less fortunate than ourselves here in Luxembourg and abroad?'' he asked, speaking in Luxembourgish, which is a blend of French and German.
The Grand Duke Henri was married on the 14 February, 1981, to Miss Maria Teresa Mestre, born in Havana (Cuba) on the 22 March, 1956. Their children are Prince Guillaume, (11-11-1981), Prince Félix (3-6-1984), Prince Louis (3-8-1986), Princess Alexandra (16-2-1991) and Prince Sébastian (16-4-1992).

lundi, décembre 01, 2008

Sermon for the first Sunday of Advent

The first Sunday of Advent begins the new liturgical year and the church already presents to our minds a meditation on the end of times. From her foundation by Our Lord and her public manifestation on the day of Pentecost to the end of times, the Church continues her pilgrimage until the achievement of everything. The old regimes, namely the Law of nature and the Mosaic Law, have been abolished and we are now in the fullness of time according to Saint Paul or already in the last times according to Saint Peter, since the mystery of the Incarnation has been revealed.
Everything has been set by God before the foundation of the world but the manifestation of God’s plan to the creatures finds its fulfillment in history. God is not in the time: He is eternal, He is The Eternal. It is hard for us to realize what eternity means because we have no experience of it. We certainly have an intellectual concept of eternity, which is the absence of time, but since we are in the time, we hardly understand the notion of eternity. And the problem with us, poor and frail creatures, is that we often prefer to feel and to experiment rather than to comprehend with our intellect. This is a temptation of our fallen nature, but when it’s become a principle, it has some terrible consequences very harmful to souls. Saint Pius X have well explained the error of modernism that is founded upon a wrong principle: vital immanence. Religion is not any more something revealed by God but comes from a need or an impulsion. Therefore, Saint Pius X, says, as God is the object of religion, we must conclude that faith, which is the basis and foundation of all religion, must consist in a certain interior sense, originating in a need of the divine. This need of the divine, which is experienced only in special and favorable circumstances cannot of itself appertain to the domain of consciousness, but is first latent beneath consciousness, or, to borrow a term from modern philosophy, in the subconsciousness, where also its root lies hidden and undetected.
In other words, Religion, Faith, Revelation don’t have any more a supernatural and superior principle, but come from ourselves as a result of a need that has to be expressed in a way or another. Unfortunately, we can see the result of this error almost in all the churches where the liturgy became an occasion to express this need. Since modernism has changed the faith of the Church, it is not really surprising that it has changed her liturgy that is, by its very nature, the expression of her faith, and especially faith in the mysteries of the Incarnation and of the Redemption. The liturgy became a place and a time of experimentation, a laboratory. You know that in chemistry when you put together different compounds you may obtain a new one. So, when you introduce in churches different things that don’t pertain to the liturgy, you may obtain a new thing that is not any more a liturgy according to the mind of the Church, but a kind of celebration in the meaning of a party. The Holy Mysteries are no longer meditated and people end by losing faith. The sacred liturgy loses its character of objectivity – the objectivity of faith – and is submitted to the personal interpretation of each one. Then, you judge and appreciate a Mass according to some subjective principles that can be the personal piety of the priest or the talent of the singers and musicians or the dress of the lady that reads the epistle or whatever you want. And if you are pleased by what you see and hear, you declare that it is a beautiful Mass.
But Mass is beautiful in itself, by its nature, because it is first true and good. It is the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ and along with all others Sacraments and Offices and prayers that constitute the Liturgy of the Church, it is a visible sign of the mysteries hidden from the beginning and now revealed to men. The liturgical year is a kind of unwinding in a period of time of the eternal mysteries of God and it leads us toward the consummation of centuries when finally times will end.

The liturgy introduces us into the Divines mysteries and leads us toward eternity

Now Charles Cardinal Journet wonders why the Church goes on and lasts in the time. The first answer is obvious, he says. The mission of the Church is to dispense until the end of times the mystery of the Redemption of Christ. Our Lord saves us by, and only by His Church. This is why He sends the Church in mission in all the Nations to preach the Gospel and to sanctify people through the reception of the Sacraments of the New Law. Here is the true progress of the Church. The Church progresses when the Gospel is taught and when the Sacraments are performed and offered to the people. This is the continuation, the development and the manifestation throughout the centuries and all over the world of the gift of Pentecost. The Church continues her mission and her pilgrimage between the persecution of men and the consolations of God according to Saint Augustine. This is the time of the Church that takes place between the first and the second coming of Christ and we have nothing else to expect.
But this mission can be fulfilled only with Charity, which is the love of God and of the truth, which is finally the same thing. God is the Truth. So we cannot pretend to have charity if we do not have the courage of proclaiming the truth. And as the time when we live now is more difficult because of the rejection of God and of the revelation, we certainly need more courage than our elders, and we certainly need more charity. We certainly live in a time when God asks us more. You know, in difficult times for the Church, especially in times of persecution, we can see two things. We can see the renunciation of certain Christians who give up their faith and embrace the ideas of the world. But we can see also the heroism of others who are ready to give up anything, even their own life, for God, and who display a beautiful example of charity.
As we come near the end of times – obviously we are nearer year after year – we expect more persecution of men. But we are waiting for a great consolation of God when things that are still hidden will be unveiled with the second coming of Christ. Until this day, let us continue to meditate on the mysteries of our faith by living them, especially through the Divine Liturgy that the Church offers.