Vatican II Put Into a Code of Laws – The New Cod of Canon Law (1983)


Vatican II Put Into a Code of Laws

The New Code of Canon Law (1983)

by a Dominican Father of Avrillé

(published in Le Sel de la terre 120, Spring 2022)

When error is once embodied in legal formulas and administrative practices, it penetrates the minds to depths from which it becomes as if impossible to extricate it.

Cardinal Pie, Pastoral Works, VI.

Preamble: Is Canon Law Amiable?

When a priest makes this cheerful comment to one of his confreres: “So you study Canon Law?” one can easily guess some ulterior motive which could be translated as follows: “What a turn of mind you have!” or again: “What courage!

Is Canon Law really so boring? Is it so abstract, so cold, so unpleasant? We would like to prove here how lovable it is in itself, lovable especially because it introduces us, like theology, to the heart of the Church and to the Heart of Christ1.

It was of the traditional Code of Canon Law, that of 1917, that Father Coache spoke in these terms in the 1980s. But first of all, what is Law?

In French, Canon Law is translated “Droit canon”, and the French word Droit (in Latin Jus) comes from the Latin words dirigere and regere. In this case, it means a set of laws intended to direct us, to govern us. As for the word “canon“, it comes from a Greek word which means: rule.

We can now define Canon Law:

Canon Law is the body of laws proposed, established or approved by the supreme ecclesiastical authority, to direct Christians towards the end of religious society2.

A classic commentary adds the following clarification:

The subjects of ecclesiastical law are Christians, that is, all those who have received baptism, even if they are heretics, schismatics, excommunicated or even apostates.

As for the end of religious society, it is none other than the salvation of men, and, more immediately, the preservation of divine worship, of the purity of the faith and of honesty of morals among the Christian people in general3.

It is important to note the link between Canon Law and theology:

– it can be said to protect dogmatic theology, laying down rules to preserve the purity of the faith, in particular laws on teaching, prescriptions on professions of faith, censures against heresy and schism4;

– It supports moral theology as from the outside, for if moral theology orders human acts (interior and exterior) to personal eternal salvation, Canon Law has as its object the exterior acts of the baptized in their relation to the social good of the Church on this earth, to enable her to work for the salvation of souls and the reign of Our Lord over societies. Canon Law does not judge the internal forum of consciences, which is reserved for the confessional. Hence the adage: de internis Ecclesia non judicat.

The Code of Canon Law is therefore as important in the Church as dogma, morals, or the science of the Holy Scriptures. It shows the face of the Church and of Christ in their magnificent justice and their sweet mercy. It is the legislation of Christ and of His Bride, an expression of the Love of Our Lord and of His Church for their children. It is the Code of Canon Law that makes known to us the spirit of the Church. It is therefore lovable, and we must respect and love it5 .

Two Codes, Two Stories

The 1917 Code

– The Sources of Traditional Canon Law

The Supreme Pontiff and the General Councils are the two immediate sources of Canon Law; and since the decrees of the General Councils have authority only through papal approval, it can be said that papal authority is the primary generative source of General Canon Law6 .

– From the Apostles to the 12 th century: the birth of ecclesiastical legislation

In the early days, the discipline of the Church was not regulated by written laws, but by an oral tradition which came from the Apostles and the first successors of Peter. Gradually, especially after the era of persecution, synods began to be held in which decrees or canons were issued, forming the first texts of ecclesiastical law. They were gathered in collections bearing the name of the Apostles (Didascalia7 of the Apostles, Constitutions of the Apostles, Canons of the Apostles, etc.) or of some great ecclesiastical figure (Octateuch of Clement, Canons of Hippolytus, etc.). These are compilations of local customs or conciliar decisions, but they do not go back further than the third century8 .

From the 4 th century onwards, there are collections of different conciliar decisions classified by region and chronological order (Councils of Africa, Councils of Spain, etc.) and Decretals of popes.

The most famous canonical collection is the Decree of Gratian, published around 1145 in Bologna, which groups in a logical order and comments all the texts available at the time. John Gratian was an Italian Camaldolese monk and professor of Canon Law at the University of Bologna. His collection had the same notoriety and influence as the Sentences of Peter Lombard for theology.

– From the 12 th to 16th century: stabilization of the Law

After the Decree of Gratian, several ecumenical councils were held, and the great popes of the time, Alexander III (pope from 1159 to 1181) and Innocent III (pope from 1198 to 1216) in particular, had made a number of important decisions for the whole Church. The decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council (1216) provided the main basis for the Church’s legislation until the Council of Trent.

Gregory IX (pope from 1227 to 1241) commissioned his chaplain, the Dominican St. Raymond de Pennafort (1175-1275), to compile a collection of them. These were the Decretals of Gregory IX, published in 1234, the most important official canonical collection until the Code of 1917.

At the beginning of the 16 th century, a Corpus Juris canonici was published, including the Decree of Gratian, the Decretals of Gregory IX and the documents of the following popes.

– From the 16 th to the 20 th century: the crowning of the Law

The decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and the promulgation of new laws soon made the Corpus Juris canonici insufficient. Several popes tried to complete it, while new collections, due to private initiative, were created.

At the time when St. Pius X (pope from 1903 to 1914) ascended to the See of Peter, it was difficult to find one’s way through the ecclesiastical legislation.

[It was] an enormous mass of documents scattered in so many volumes and without any order, many of which were not real laws, but answers to particular cases, or had been abrogated by later laws or by custom9 .

[Moreover, many of these laws], because of the changes that had taken place, were of difficult application or of lesser use for the salvation of souls10 .

Already at the first Vatican Council, many bishops had made urgent requests for an updating of the ecclesiastical laws. Leo XIII had begun by codifying the legislation of the Index and of religious congregations with simple vows.

In 1904, St. Pius X judged that the codification of all Canon Law could be undertaken. By his Motu Proprio Arduum Sane Munus of 19 March, he set up a commission of cardinals, presided over by Cardinal Gasparri, working in conjunction with several consultors and bishops. Bishops and religious superiors were then invited to give their opinion. It was under Pope Benedict XV that the work was completed. The Code was promulgated on May 27, 1917, the day of Pentecost, by the Bull Providentissima Mater, declaring that it would have the force of law from May 19, 1918.

On September 15, 1917, by the letter Cum Juris canonici, Benedict XV had instituted a cardinal commission charged with the interpretation of the Code and with the drafting of additional canons that might become necessary in the future. Since then, there have been many new texts and provisions, for example, the change of discipline for the Eucharistic fast, or the permission for evening Masses. Pius XII alone, through his speeches and decrees, has greatly advanced the Law. The changes were published in the Acta Apostolicæ Sedis (Acts of the Holy See)11 .

The 1983 Code

An update of the Canon Law was therefore necessary.

In 1953, the Jesuit Father Regatillo published a 720-page work interpreting, completing or correcting – with official responses from Rome – a large number of canons.

It was John XXIII, on January 25, 1959, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, who simultaneously announced the holding of a Roman Synod, the celebration of an Ecumenical Council, and the reform of the Code of Canon Law.

But it was only on March 28, 1963, after the first session of Vatican II, that John XXIII established a “Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law” composed of forty cardinals. At its first meeting, on 12 November 1963, the Commission decided to wait until the end of the Council before setting to work.

On April 17, 1964, Paul VI added to the Cardinal’s Commission a body of seventy consultors, among whom were almost all the secretaries of the Conciliar Commissions.

The work began a few days before the solemn closing of the Council, under the presidency of Cardinal Felici12 . In 1966, forty-eight bishops and one hundred and twenty-one consultors, priests, religious and laity, were added in order to involve the universal Church in this elaboration13 .

After ten years of work, the project was sent to all the bishops, to the superiors general of the religious orders, to the Catholic universities and pontifical ecclesiastical faculties for consultation. Thirty thousand suggestions were examined, and new cardinals, archbishops and bishops, priests and laity from the five parts of the world were added to the Commission. Everything was then presented to Pope John Paul II on 21 April 1982. The latter revised the whole with a group of ten experts (cardinals, bishops and priests).

The new Code was promulgated by Pope John Paul II on January 25, 1983, in the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, twenty-four years to the day after John XXIII had announced the reform. In it, the Pope noted the “collegial” character of the work that led to this new Code, as shown by the large number of people who had worked on it:

If we look at the kind of work that preceded the promulgation of the Code, and the way in which it was carried out, especially during the pontificates of Paul VI and John Paul Ist, and from then until today, it must be made absolutely clear that this work was carried out to the end in a marvellously collegial spirit14 . And this is true not only for the material drafting of this work, but also, and in depth, for the very substance of the laws that were drawn up.

Now this note of collegiality which characterizes and distinguishes the whole process of giving birth to this new Code corresponds perfectly to the magisterium and the character of the Second Vatican Council15.

Two Codes, Two Minds

It is interesting to see in what spirit Pope St. Pius X on the one hand, and Pope John Paul II on the other, have endeavored to bring together the ecclesiastical laws in a single Code.

The Intention of St. Pius X

Let us quote here a few lines from the Motu Proprio Arduum Sane Munus of St. Pius X, written only eight months after his election16 , which shows how much the pope considers this task a priority:

As soon as, by a secret council of divine Providence, We assumed the painful task of governing the universal Church, the main goal and the rule which We imposed on Ourselves, as it were, was, as far as Our strength would allow, to restore everything in Christ. […]

But knowing full well that ecclesiastical discipline, above all, must contribute to the restoration of everything in Christ – for if it is well regulated and flourishing, it cannot but be very fruitful in the fruits of salvation – We have directed Our attention and Our paternal solicitude to this area. […]

Many illustrious prelates of the Holy Church, even cardinals, have urged that the laws of the universal Church which have been promulgated up to this time be distributed in a clear and precise order, excluding those which have been abrogated or which have fallen into disuse. The others would, when necessary, be adapted to the needs of our time17 .

The pope is clearly following in the footsteps of his predecessors, updating the laws of the Church in order to effectively implement his program of restoration of all things in Christ.

The Intention of John Paul II

In the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges of January 25, 1983, Pope John Paul II explains the spirit in which he requested the publication of a new Code of Canon Law:

The reform of the Code of Canon Law was clearly desired and requested by the Council itself, for it had devoted the greatest attention to the Church. […]

This is why the Code, not only in its content but already from its inception, has put into action the spirit of the Council, whose documents present the Church, the “universal sacrament of salvation18“, as the People of God, and where its hierarchical constitution appears to be based on the College of Bishops united to its head. […]

This instrument, the Code, corresponds fully to the nature of the Church, especially as described by the magisterium of the Second Vatican Council in general, and in particular in its ecclesiological teaching. In a certain sense, one could even see in this Code a great effort to translate into canonical language this very doctrine of conciliar ecclesiology. If, however, it is not possible to translate perfectly into canonical language the conciliar image of the Church, the Code must nevertheless always be referred to this same image as its primordial exemplar, whose features, by its very nature, it must express as much as possible. […]

As a result, what constitutes the essential novelty of the Second Vatican Council, in continuity with the Church’s legislative tradition, especially with regard to ecclesiology, also constitutes the novelty of the new Code.

Among the elements that characterize the real and authentic image of the Church, we must highlight the following in particular:

– the doctrine according to which the Church presents herself as the People of God (cf. Constitution Lumen Gentium, 2) and hierarchical authority as service (cf. ibid, 3);

– the doctrine which shows the Church as a communion19 and which, therefore, indicates what kind of relationship should exist between the particular Churches and the universal Church, and between collegiality and primacy;

– the doctrine that all members of the People of God, each according to his or her own modality, participate in the threefold function of Christ: the priestly, prophetic and royal functions. Linked to this doctrine is that concerning the duties and rights of the faithful, and in particular the laity; and finally the Church’s commitment to ecumenism. […]

After all these reflections, it remains to hope that the new canonical legislation will become an effective means for the Church to progress in the spirit of Vatican II, and to make herself better adapted each day to fulfill her function of salvation in this world20.

The quote is a bit long, but it was difficult to shorten it.

Pope John Paul II makes it clear that the 1983 Code is a new Code in its conception of the Church as “People of God” and “communion”, and that it was promulgated to advance the Church in the spirit of Vatican II.

The Main Divisions of the Code

The different spirit of the two Codes is first evident in their design.

The 1917 Code

The 1917 Code is divided into five books, which in turn are divided into 107 titles (Tituli):

– Book I: General Norms: of ecclesiastical laws, customs, time calculation, rescripts, privileges, dispensations.

– Book II: Persons: clerics, religious, laity.

– Book III: Things: sacraments, sacred places and times, divine worship, ecclesiastical magisterium, ecclesiastical benefits, temporal goods of the Church.

– Book IV: Trials in justice, causes of beatifications and canonizations, the manner of proceeding in some cases and penal sanctions.

– Book V: Sanctions and Punishments.

The 1983 Code

The 1983 Code does not repeat this division:

It should be noted that the general organization of the new Code is symptomatic of the spirit in which it was composed. The division of legal matters has abandoned the general division of the 1917 Code, which was dependent on the ancient principles of Roman law. […]

Henceforth, the division of the titles of the new Code follows a distribution more in conformity with the directives of the Council and, in the titles themselves which have been adopted, reveals the spirit which animated this reform21 .

– Book I: General Norms: ecclesiastical laws, custom, general decrees and instructions, particular administrative acts, statutes and regulations, natural and juridical persons, the power of government, ecclesiastical offices, prescription, calculation of time.

– Book II: The People of God: the faithful of Christ, the hierarchical constitution of the Church, institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.

– Book III: The Teaching Function of the Church: the ministry of the Word of God, the missionary activity of the Church, Catholic education, the means of social communication and in particular books, the profession of faith.

– Book IV: The Office of Sanctifying in the Church: the Sacraments, Other Acts of Divine Worship, Sacred Places and Times.

– Book V: The Temporal Goods of the Church.

– Book VI: Sanctions in the Church.

– Book VII: The Trials.

Outline of the 1983 Code

Since this article is not a treatise on Canon Law for specialists, we will not make an exhaustive study. The reader will, however, find sufficient elements to make a judgment on the new legislation.

Book I: General Norms (C. 1-203)

Like the 1917 Code, the 1983 Code begins by establishing “General Norms”. This is Book I, which establishes the main principles governing the constitution and interpretation of ecclesiastical laws.

Although the number of canons has increased from 86 to 203, and there have been some changes in titles and subject matter, there is no significant difference here, between the 1917 and 1983 legislation.

It should be noted, however, from this introduction, that the chapter on ecclesiastical offices, which was in the part dealing with clerics, has been transferred to the General Norms. Canon Paralieu gives the explanation:

Lay people, and even women, can now receive an ecclesiastical office (unless the office involves a full charge of the soul): a lay person can be a diocesan bursar, a woman can be a defender of the [marital] bond in an ecclesiastical Tribunal [Paralieu, p. 75]22 .

With respect to these offices, the 1983 Code states:

To be appointed to an ecclesiastical office, one must be in the communion of the Church [can. 149 § 1].

In itself, this is obvious, but we will see what this notion of “communion” implies today, in connection with the new profession of faith.

Let us now go further into the new legislation.

Book II: The People of God (C. 204-746)

Book II of the new Code, with its 543 canons, is the most important by its length. It constitutes almost a third of the work. But it is especially important for its new conception of the Church.

– Part I: Christ’s faithful (C. 204-329)

1. Preamble (C. 204-207)

– The 1983 Code is based first of all on a new conception of the Church defined as “People of God”, which even gives its title to Book II:

C. 204, § 1: The faithful of Christ are those who, being incorporated into Christ by baptism, are constituted as the people of God and who, for this reason, having been made participants in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ, are called to exercise, each according to his own condition, the mission which God has entrusted to the Church for the accomplishment of this mission in the world.

It should be noted here that the 1983 Code ‑, again for the first time, ‑ uses the name “Christ’s faithful” to designate both the laity and the hierarchical clergy; an egalitarianism which is reinforced by the fact that the Code begins by enumerating the obligations and rights common to all, without distinction (Title I).

On the other hand, while the 1917 Code deals with persons according to a descending hierarchy (clerics, religious, laity), the 1983 Code reverses things by dealing first with the laity (Title II), before examining the legislation concerning clerics (Title III). As for religious, they are relegated to a place after the associations of the faithful (Title V23 ) and the part concerning the hierarchy of the Church.

Let us note paragraph 2 of the same canon with the famous “subsistit in”:

C. 204, § 2: This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.

The expression is taken from the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium on the Church (I, 8). Traditional teaching expressly states that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, which means very clearly that there is absolute identity between the Church founded by Our Lord and the Catholic Church. The other ecclesial communities, falsely qualified as Christian, do not belong to the Church of Christ, but have left it. The expression subsistit in introduces an ambiguity which allows us to maintain that outside the Catholic Church, there are true ecclesial realities24 .

Ecumenism has come.

– In his introduction to Canon Paralieu’s work presenting the new Code, Father de Lanversin explains the reason for the changes:

Book II of the new Code (De Populo Dei) is the one that puts in place the most new elements resulting from the conciliar decisions; and first of all a reversal of the ecclesiological perspectives following the Constitution Lumen Gentium on the Church. In fact, the binomial of the old Law: “hierarchy/people of God” gives way to this one: “people of God/hierarchy”; that is to say, the Church is presented as an evangelical community in which the hierarchy, willed by Christ, is not so much envisaged as a power (potestas) as an office (munus) and a service (diakonia) within the people of God. In the perspective of “ecclesial communion”, this part of the Code sets up the various instances of the “communio hierarchica” within the people of God. In the same way, an entire section of Book II is devoted to the establishment of “organs of participation” in the Church. […] This part of the Code also includes an entire treatise on the laity, without forgetting the right of association of the faithful [p. 24-25].

In his book Church, Ecumenism and Politics, Cardinal Ratzinger explains why this has happened. After recalling that German theologians began criticizing the concept of the Mystical Body in the 1930s25, he adds:

We wondered whether the image of the Mystical Body was not too narrow a starting point for defining the multiple forms of belonging to the Church that are now present in the complicated meanderings of human history. The image of the Body offers only one form of representation of membership, that of member. Either one is a member or one is not, there is no middle ground. But, one might ask, would not the starting point of this image be precisely a little too narrow, since there are obviously intermediate degrees in reality? The concept of the people of God was found, which from this point of view is much broader and more flexible. The Constitution Lumen Gentium makes it its own, in specifying this sense, when it describes the relationship of Catholic Christians with the Catholic Church by the concept of connection (conjunctio)26, and that of non-Christians by the concept of ordination (ordinatio)27. In both cases, the idea of the people of God is used.

It can be said that the concept of the People of God was introduced by the Council primarily as an ecumenical bridge28.

– What do we think of these changes?

This ecumenical notion of the “People of God”, which we shall see has no basis in either Sacred Scripture or the Magisterium, has no basis in history either.

In the Old Testament, God certainly began by forming a people from the twelve sons of Jacob exiled in Egypt, and it was later that he constituted a hierarchy around Moses to guide them. It is worth noting that this people had very precise boundaries, because of the circumcision that distinguished it from all the neighboring peoples. There was no room for “imperfect communion”. One belonged to the people or one did not.

But in the New Covenant, Our Lord began by forming for three years, not a people, but twelve Apostles, to whom he gave a leader, St. Peter; and from Pentecost onwards, it was these same Apostles, with St. Peter at their head, who constituted a people, through baptism, which distinguishes it from other peoples. Very quickly an intermediate hierarchy was established through the ordination of deacons, sub-deacons, etc.

The Magisterium has moreover clearly pronounced itself on this question. Thus, on June 29, 1943 – not so long ago – Pope Pius XII wrote the encyclical Mystici Corporis, on the Church Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.

This doctrine, which Cardinal Ratzinger considers to be “a starting point that is too limited, […] and a little too narrow”, Pius XII recalled that the Church nevertheless “received it from the lips of the Redeemer himself; and it puts in its true light this never sufficiently exalted benefit of our close union with this sublime Head”.

And the Pope continued with St. Paul:

“Christ,” says the Apostle, “is the head of the Body which is the Church” (Col 1:18). If the Church is a Body, it is therefore necessary that it be a single and indivisible organism, according to the words of St. Paul: “Though we are many, we are one Body in Christ” (Rom 12:5). […]

It is therefore a departure from divine truth to imagine a Church that cannot be touched, that is only spiritual, in which the many Christian communities, though divided from one another in faith, are nevertheless united by an invisible bond.

It is the notion of the body that allows us to better understand the need for a hierarchy:

The body, in nature, is not formed of any assemblage of members, but must be provided with organs, that is to say, with members which are not equally active and which are arranged in a suitable order.

It is again the notion of the body that gives the Church its missionary impetus:

Those who do not belong to the visible organism of the Church […] we invite to come out of a state in which no one can be sure of his eternal salvation. […] Let them, therefore, enter into Catholic unity and, united with us in the one organism of the Body of Jesus Christ, let them all run to the one Head in a most glorious society of love.

In fact, with the new conception of the Church as the people of God and a communion, not only has a democratic spirit undermined the authority of the Catholic hierarchy instituted by Our Lord, but the “ecumenical bridge” permitted by the new definition of the Church has opened the door to the end of the mission, the essential task which Christ had entrusted to his Apostles:

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned (Mk 16:15-16).

Archbishop Lefebvre considered this change in conception to be exceptionally serious:

There is a new ecclesiology, that’s clear. In my opinion, it is exceptionally serious to be able to say that there can be a new ecclesiology. We are not the ones who make the Church, we are not the ones who made her, not the Pope, not the bishops, not history, not the Councils. It was made by Our Lord. [It does not depend on us. So, how can we suddenly say: “Now, since Vatican II, there is a new ecclesiology”, and this is said by the Pope himself. It is unbelievable29.

(To be continued)

Translation by A. A.

1 – Abbé Louis Coache (1920-1994), Doctor of Canon Law, introduction to his book: Is Canon Law Kind? Beaumont-Pied-de-Bœuf (Moulin du Pin), 1986. The work is an introduction to Canon Law, augmented by a critical study of the new Code. It is a very easy read.

2 – Adrien Cance, Le Code de Droit Canonique, Paris, Gabalda, 1938, p. 8.

3 – Adrien Cance, ibid. , p. 9-10.

4 – Censure is a punishment that the Church inflicts on one of its subjects for his amendment, and of course for the common good. We will discuss this in connection with Book VI of the new Code.

5 – This preamble is inspired by the introduction to the work of Father Coache.

6 – A brief history of Canon Law can be found in the volume by Adrien Cance, Le Code de Droit canonique, Paris, Gabalda, 1938, vol. 1, pp. 6-21, which we have used. A more detailed study has been made by Raoul Naz in his Traité de Droit Canonique, Paris, Letouzey et Ané, 1946, vol. 1, pp. 9-63.

7 – This word comes from the Greek didaskalia which means: teaching.

8 – For a more in-depth study, one can consult here the articles of F. Nau in the DTC: “Canons of the Apostles, Apostolic Constitutions, Didascalia of the Apostles”.

9 – Cardinal Gasparri, in the preface to the 1917 Code.

10 – St. Pius X, Bull Arduum Sane munus, March 19, 1904.

11 – A very valuable work, Canon Law Digest, by the American Father Bouscaren S.J., gathers together all the pontifical documents relating to Canon Law, from 1917 to 1983 (published in Milwaukee, USA, by The Bruce publishing company.

12 – He died of a sudden heart attack just before presenting the final work to Pope John Paul II.

13 – By comparison, the drafting of the 1917 Code had required only ten cardinals under the chairmanship of Cardinal Gasparri, assisted by a small number of consultors. The work lasted thirteen years.

14 – Italics in the original text.

15 – John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sacræ Disciplinæ Leges, Latin-French Code of Canon Law, Paris, Centurion/Cerf/Tardy, 1984, p. x.

16 – St. Pius X was indeed elected pope on August 4, 1903.

17 – St. Pius X, Motu Proprio Arduum Sane Munus, March 19, 1904, Documents Pontificaux de S.S. Saint Pius X, Publications du Courrier de Rome, 1993, volume 1, p. 152-153.

18 – Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1, 9, 48.

19 – Italics in the original text.

20 – John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sacræ Disciplinæ Leges, 25 January 1983, reproduced in the work Code of Canon Law, Official Text and French Translation, Paris, Centurion/Cerf/Tardy, 1984, pp. IX ff.

21 – Roger Paralieu, Guide Pratique du Code de Droit canonique, Bourges, Tardy, 1985, p. 23. Preface by Cardinal Etchegaray.

22 – We will speak a little later about the influence of feminism in the Church today, in the section on institutes of consecrated life.

23 – Title IV is like a parenthesis which deals with personal prelatures, a novelty of Vatican II.

24 – On this expression Subsistit in, we can see, among others, the explanations of the Catholic Catechism of the Crisis in the Church, question 45 (in Le Sel de la terre 51, p. 19-20).

25 – So it was under Pope Pius XI. Modernism was acting in a subterranean way, waiting to show itself in the open during the Council.

26 – “The word “connection” means that there is some imperfect fellowship in Christ” (book note).

27 – “The word ordination means that there is some still more imperfect communion in the same God or about the same” (book note).

28 – Joseph Ratzinger, Église, Œcuménisme et Politique, Paris, Fayard, 1987, p. 27. To deepen this new conception of the Church, one can refer to the article by Brother Pierre-Marie o.p. “Comparative Ecclesiology”, published in Le Sel de la terre 97, Summer 2016.

29 – Archbishop Lefebvre, spiritual conference of March 17, 1986 in Ecône (in CD #2, The Holy Church).

News From Rome

News From Rome

Published in “Le Sel de la terre” 120

1. The March 25, 2022, Consecration

* What Did Our Lady of Fatima Ask?

“God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and we will have peace. […] I will ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the reparative Communion on first Saturdays.

“If my demands are heeded, Russia will convert and there will be peace.

“Otherwise, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, several nations will be annihilated.

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, it will convert, and a certain time of peace will be granted to the world1.

“The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart. He promises to save her by this means2.”

Sister Lucia’s commentary:

God wills the consecration of Russia, and of Russia alone, without any addition, because Russia is a vast, well-circumscribed territory, and her conversion will be noticed, thus bringing the proof of what can be obtained by consecration to the Heart Immaculate of Mary3.

* What Did Pope Francis Do On March 25, 2022?

Pope Francis consecrated: 1) his person, 2) all of humanity, 3) Russia, 4) and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

It is, of course, not a bad thing in itself, even if one can deplore the long globalist and ecological text which preceded the formula of consecration. However, according to Sister Lucy’s indications, this does not entirely respond to Our Lady’s requests, since the consecration focused more on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict than on Russia itself. The letter addressed by Pope Francis to all the bishops of the world asking them to join in the consecration does not mention the requests of Our Lady—nor the consecration of Russia, nor the devotion of the first Saturdays—but says:

[…] Also welcoming many requests from the People of God, I wish to entrust, in a special way, the nations in conflict to Our Lady. As I said Sunday at the end of the Angelus prayer, March 25, Solemnity of the Annunciation, I intend to perform a solemn Act of consecration of humanity, and particularly of Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary4.

Let us recall that the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary carried out by Pius XII in 1942 (with a text of another elevation, but which was not what Our Lady had requested) was immediately followed by a significant turn in the course of the hostilities – which prepared the end of the war – but did not stop the terrible progression of Communism: the Yalta agreements delivering Eastern Europe to the communists, Communists invading China and Southeast Asia, the purging in France, wars in Algeria and Vietnam, infiltration of the Church and its consequences, etc., and now the neo-Communism of globalism.

The consecration carried out on March 25, 2022, certainly goes further, but it does not yet fully meet the demands of Heaven.

Whatever the results—for there will certainly be some ‑ let us continue, for our part, to console Our Lady and to respond to her requests at our level: daily rosary, reparative Communion on the first Saturdays, offering of the sacrifices of our daily duties to her Immaculate Heart for the conversion of sinners.

2. The “Demos” Report: Assessment of a Pontificate

March 13, 2022, was the ninth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis ‑ who thus entered the tenth year of his pontificate.

His health difficulties having increased over the past year5 ‑ he has been 85 since December 17, 2021 ‑ Roman circles are starting to talk about his succession.

To this end, an anonymous memorandum, signed “Demos6”, very severe on the current pontificate and which has the merit of lucidity, was addressed to the cardinals at the beginning of Lent. The text was published on the blog of the famous vaticanist Sandro Magister, who does not exclude that the very serious document emanates from a cardinal.

It is divided into two parts: “The Vatican today”, and “The next conclave”.

The commentators, from all schools – with the exception of Father Spadaro S.J., director of the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica and very close to Francis – agree that this pontificate is disastrous from many points of view, a real catastrophe for the Church.

Here are the main excerpts from this memorandum, with some comments.

A. The Vatican Today

+. Previously, it was said: Roma locuta est, causa finita, Rome has spoken, the cause is finished.

Today we say: Roma loquitur, confusio augetur, Rome speaks, confusion increases.

[At the same time, some guilty silences:] the German synod speaks of homosexuality, of women priests, of Communion for the divorced; the papacy is silent. Cardinal Hollerich rejects Catholic teaching on sexuality; the papacy is silent. It is silent regarding the scandals and at the same time persecutes the traditional Mass.

+. The Christocentric dimension of the teaching is weakened, Christ is removed from the center. Rome itself seems confused about the importance of strict monotheism; she thus refers to a broader concept of divinity which is not quite pantheism, but which resembles a variant of Hindu pantheism. Demos denounces the cult rendered to the Pachamama, goddess of the earth [placed on the papal altar in Saint Peter, during the Amazon synod in 2019].

This judgment may seem excessive. It is not so. The Osservatore Romano, an unofficial organ of the Holy See, flattered itself with quoting the following reflection by Mrs. Vandana Shiva, Indian militant feminist, alternative Nobel Prize winner in 1993: “When I read the encyclical Laudato si’ by Pope Francis on ecology and sustainable development, I felt like reading our ancient Vedic texts, especially Atharvaveda, on our duty to respect the Earth and all its creatures.”7

+. The change in personnel at the Academy for Life has had unheard-of consequences: some members justify assisted suicide, others support abortion.

+. The pope often rules by papal decrees which deprive those affected of any possibility of appeal.

+. The pope enjoys weak support among seminarians and young priests, and widespread division exists within the Vatican Curia.

+. The Vatican’s financial situation is serious. The last ten years have been in deficit. Before Covid, it was 20 million euros per year; since Covid, from 30 to 35 million per year, not counting the ongoing trials of ten people for financial malfeasance.

+. The political prestige of the Vatican is at an all-time low. The political influence of Pope Francis and the Vatican is negligible. Decisions and political orientations are limited to “political correctness”.

B. The Next Conclave, and Guidelines for the Future Pope

+. The College of Cardinals has been weakened by eccentric appointments, and has not met since 2014 (eight years!) when they met to discuss Communion for remarried divorcees. Many cardinals do not know each other, which adds an extra dimension of unpredictability to the upcoming conclave.

+. Since Vatican II, Catholic authorities have often underestimated the hostile power of secularization, of the world, of the flesh, of the devil, especially in the West8; and overestimated the influence and power of the Catholic Church.

The Church is weaker than 50 years ago: the number of believers has declined, as has Mass attendance. Many religious orders are in decline or have disappeared.

+. The new pope’s first task will be to restore doctrinal clarity in matters of faith and morals and to ensure that the first criterion for the appointment of bishops is the acceptance of Apostolic Tradition.

To give doctrinal authority to national or continental synods would constitute a new danger for the unity of the Church, given, for example, that the German Church adopts doctrinal points of view which are not shared by the other Churches, and which are not compatible with Apostolic Tradition. If no correction of these heresies comes from Rome, the Church will be reduced to a vague federation of local Churches, with different visions, probably closer to an Anglican or Protestant model than an Orthodox one.

+. The possibility of an apostolic visitation within the Jesuit Order should be taken seriously. They face catastrophic numerical decline and moral decline.

+. We must look at the decline of Catholics and the expansion of Protestantism in South America. It was hardly mentioned at the Amazon synod.

+. Continuing financial difficulties will be a significant problem, though far less serious than the doctrinal and spiritual threats facing the Church, especially in Europe.

3. Deaf to Criticism, Francis Accelerates Reforms

Jean-Marie Guénois, a religious columnist at Le Figaro, cannot be called a traditionalist, but he is a realist, and generally very informed about what is happening in the Vatican. Here are the main excerpts from an article he published on Pope Francis’s reform plans9. We summarize his comments by quoting, most of the time, the journalist’s own words.

* Reform of the Curia

Since 2013, the pope has in view a vast reform of the curia. It will come into force on June 5, the day of Pentecost, already arousing a lot of internal resistance:

1. All ministries (congregations) are placed on the same plane, which means the abolition of hierarchies within Vatican congregations.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was first, is even mentioned after the Dicastery for Evangelization and before a new Dicastery for Charity and Humanitarian Works.

Comment: Regarding the Dicastery for Evangelization, which replaced the illustrious missionary congregation of the Propaganda, it must be understood that the word “evangelization” is not here synonymous with mission. Modernists have hijacked the meaning of all words. The Pope’s appointment of Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as head of this Dicastery since 2019 clearly indicates the radical change in direction.

In Corrispondenza Romana of December 11, 2019, historian Cristina Siccardi would write:

With the arrival of Cardinal Tagle, the original spirit of the missionary nature of the Church, so masterfully structured by the Propaganda Fide, will disappear; because the new prefect has a clearly conciliar physiognomy, and at the same time he is a follower of ecological and integral conversion, where the spirit of Assisi and the spirit of Abu Dhabi converge in the new humanism, in the new way of feeling universal brotherhood, where everyone can think about religion as they see fit. Tagle also shares with the pope a visceral attention to Mother Earth, and an unrealistic and haphazard reception of the migrating masses.

In this context, we understand that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is relegated to the background.

Let’s continue to summarize Jean-Marie Guénois:

2. Another key point imposed by the pope, but bitterly debated by important cardinals: a layman, man or woman, will henceforth be able to direct a Vatican Congregation. This office was previously reserved for bishops and cardinals for fundamental theological reasons relating to the very constitution of the Catholic Church10.

3. The curia is decapitated: the “Secretary of State”, who until then was like the pope’s prime minister, and patron of the Roman curia, loses this primacy and is no more than a secretary general with the sole function of coordinating the various Congregations, which clearly reinforces the power of the pope. He decides almost everything.

* Synodal Effervescence

The “synod” is indeed the great reform of Francis. It wants to instill a collective, democratic spirit, associating the faithful, men and women, at all levels of governance of the Catholic Church: parish, diocese, episcopal conference, Holy See.

For that purpose, he launched in 2021 a special synod on synodality, which is taking place in all the dioceses during the year 2022. A final and decisive session will take place in Rome in October 2023. It will vote on proposals that Francis intends to implement at the beginning of 2024.

Inspired by the governance of the Orthodox Churches but also that of Protestant Churches, this revolution is deeply worrying in Rome, in view of the ongoing experience of a local synod in the German Church, which competes with reformist audacity: marriage of priests, reception homosexual people, women’s place. The Vatican seems to have lost control over this initiative. This does not prevent Francis from having appointed as rapporteur for the next Roman synod a prelate supporting the German synod: Msgr. Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg, a Jesuit he created cardinal in 2019. This arouses strong opposition within of the curia: in mid-March, Cardinal George Pell summoned the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to intervene officially against the words of Bishop Hollerich and the German Synod.

Comment: The name of Cardinal Hollerich is to be remembered, alongside that of Cardinal Tagle (supra), because he is a rising personality and is particularly revolutionary. During interviews granted to La Croix on January 20, and to Katolische Nachrichten Agentur on January 27, he declared to be particularly favorable to the priestly ordination of married men; to changing our way of seeing sexuality (“we had a rather repressed vision”) and of judging homosexuality (“the Church’s positions on the sinfulness of homosexuality are wrong; the time has come to change doctrine”); to Eucharistic Communion given to Protestants; the need to change the discourse on abortion because it is no longer followed, etc. He will be the reporter of the next Roman synod concluding all the national synods.

* Against Going Back

Last September, to Slovak Jesuits he met in Bratislava, the pope spoke of his “suffering” at seeing an “ideology of going backwards” take hold in the Church, because “freedom is frightening”.

It was to put a stop to this “ideology of going backwards” that he promulgated his Motu Proprio on July 16, 2021, Traditionis Custodes against the traditional Mass, in order to stop the development of parishes according to the Tridentine rite. “I will continue on this path”, he confided to the same Jesuits, rebelling against the young priests who, “barely ordained”, ask the bishop for authorization “to celebrate in Latin”. They must be “landed on the earth”, he insisted.

And on April 21, 2022, receiving Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort and several French bishops, he confirmed that the priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter could only celebrate the Tridentine rite in their homes [not in diocesan churches as has most often been the case until now], and should all agree to concelebrate in the new rite, at least once a year for the Chrism Mass. The noose is tightening11.

To top it off, on May 28, 2022, the pro-LGBT Bishop Bertram Maler, Bishop of Augsburg, conferred the diaconate on 10 seminarians from the Wigratzbad Seminary of the Society of St. Peter. The German branch Pro Missa Tridentina of the Una Voce Federation expressed its “surprise” by recalling that in June 2021 Bishop Maler declared on German state television that he was ready to bless homosexual unions. On the official website of the seminary, on May 28, we read the following press release from the authorities of the Fraternity of Saint Peter: “We are very grateful to Bishop Maler for his benevolence and his concern12”.

Once again, Archbishop Lefebvre was clairvoyant:

This transfer of authority, that is what is serious, that is what is extremely serious. It is not enough to say: “We have not changed anything in practice13”. This transfer is very serious, because the intention of these authorities is to destroy Tradition14.

The subjects do not make make the superiors, but the superiors make the subjects15.

We feel the absolute necessity of having ecclesiastical authorities who embrace our concerns and help us to guard against the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi16.

4. Pope to Visit Kazakhstan for Congress of World Religions

The news is given by the Vatican News website17:

Pope Francis has expressed his intention to visit Kazakhstan on the occasion of the 7th Congress of Leaders [!] of World and Traditional Religions which will be held on September 14 and 15 in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan [formerly Astana].

The information, first given by the Kazakh presidency, was confirmed by the director of the Press Room of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni. Francis broached the subject during a video-conference interview with the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The first Congress of World and Traditional Religions was held in Astana in 2003, inspired by the “Day of Prayer for Peace” convened in Assisi by John Paul II in January 2002, in order to reaffirm the positive contribution of the different religious traditions to dialogue and harmony between peoples and nations after the tensions following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

At this first congress, the Holy See was represented by the Slovak Cardinal Joseph Tomko, then president of the Pontifical Council for the Evangelization of Peoples. At successive congresses, the French cardinals Roger Etchegaray and Jean-Louis Tauran took the Vatican delegations.

The upcoming Seventh Interfaith Congress will be themed “The Role of World Leaders and Traditional Religions in the Socio-Spiritual Development of Humanity in the Post-Pandemic Period.”

The SSPX News website comments18:

These Congresses are a copy of Assisi, a reinforced version, both in terms of the multifaceted participation of “religions” and the effacement of the Catholic Church, which finds itself drowned among the guests, rubbing shoulders with the false gods, and being lowered to their level. It is difficult to carry the insult further to the Incarnate Word, the only true God with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

May the trivialization of these meetings which lower the Catholic religion and its Founder never find us indifferent, but may we always protest vigorously to defend the honor of Christ and of our Mother the Church, his Spouse.

Quo vadis? Peter, Peter, where are you going?

It will be interesting to know the reaction of Bishop Schneider. The latter is not only the auxiliary bishop of Astana but also the secretary of the Kazakh Episcopal Conference19.

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Bishop Schneider concelebrating new Mass at the episcopal conference in Kazakhstan

November 20, 2019, Bishop Schneider signed a document, together with the other bishops, in which he declared:

The Bishops and Ordinaries of Kazakhstan hail the establishment of the Council of Traditional Christian Confessions of Kazakhstan, which was held on May 13, 2019, in the synod hall of the spiritual, cultural, and administrative center of the Kazakhstan metropolitan district of the Russian Orthodox Church of the city of Nur-Sultan20.

On January 13, 2020, he personally participated in the ecumenical meeting of this council. The official website of the Catholic Church of Kazakhstan issued a statement:

image

On May 13, an important step was taken towards a real dialogue between the Christian denominations in Kazakhstan: the Council of Traditional Christian Denominations was created, which includes the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches. And today, January 13, 2020, the first official meeting of the Council was held in the spiritual and cultural center of the metropolitan district of Nur-Sultan, which was attended by a large delegation from the Catholic Church, which included the Nuncio Apostolic to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, president of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Kazakhstan and bishop of the Holy Trinity diocese in Almaty, […] the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Maria in Astana, Athanasius Schneider; […]

The importance of “awakening religious feelings in the hearts of new generations” was also highlighted as one of the ways to deal with “individualistic, selfish and conflicting tendencies, as well as blind radicalism and extremism”. In addition to the above, the Council has set itself many other objectives arising from these intentions. To achieve these goals, the Council “in cooperation with other traditional religions of the world, within the framework of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, established by First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, intends to promote fraternal dialogue and solidarity between religions and cultures as a concrete and effective contribution to support the creation of a universal family based on human, moral, spiritual values, as well as on fundamental and inviolable principles21.

5. The Pyramid of Peace in Astana

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We read on the site the official tourism site of Astana the following text that speaks for itself22:

The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, also translated as Pyramid of Peace and Accord, is a 253 ft tall building in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The structure was built by Sembol Construction at a cost of 8.74 billion Kazakh tenge (about $58 million) and was opened in late 2006.

The pyramid part of the building is 203 ft. high and rests on a block of earth 40 ft. high. […] The structure is made up of five “levels” of triangles, each triangle measuring 39 ft. on a side. […] Engineers had to design the building to resist expansion and contraction due to temperature variations of over 144 F, from -40 F to over 104 F—causing the building to expand up to 1 ft.

The Pyramid was specifically built to house the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. It contains accommodations for different religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, and other beliefs. It also houses a 1,500-seat opera house, a national museum of culture, a new “university of civilization”, a library and a research center on ethnic and geographical groups of Kazakhstan. […] The building is intended as a global center for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence, and the promotion of faith and human equality.

The Pyramid of Peace expresses the spirit of Kazakhstan, where cultures, traditions and representatives of various nationalities coexist in peace, harmony and agreement. Bathed in the glow of gold and pale blue glass (colors taken from the flag of Kazakhstan), 200 delegates from the world’s major religions and faiths will meet every three years in a circular chamber—inspired by the meeting room of the Security Council United Nations in New York.

Translation by A.A.

1 — July 13, 1917; confirmed by Our Lord in May and June 1930.

2 — June 29, 1929.

3 — Sister Lucia to Bishop Hnilica, May 14, 1982; remarks reported by Msgr. Hnilica to Brother François de Marie des Anges (of the CRC), during an interview on November 10, 1982, and reported by the said brother in two works: in Jean-Paul 1er le pape du secret, CRC, 2007, p. 423 and in Fatima, salvation of the world, CRC, 2007, p. 345.

4 — Letter from Pope Francis to bishops around the world, March 23, 2022.

5 — Very heavy surgery on the intestines on July 16, 2021 (acute diverticulitis) forcing him to a very strict diet; acute inflammation of the ligaments of the right knee (gonalgia), a direct consequence of a structural problem of sciatica in the hip which he must correct with every step. He sometimes has to get help to walk, and even uses a wheelchair. Surgery would be too risky (source: Jean-Marie Guénois, article reported below).

6 — A name meaning “people” in Greek.

7Osservatore Romano of 1 December 2020, n° 48, p. 8.

8 — This was John XXIII’s great illusion at the opening of the Council: there are no more enemies, no more combat (Editor’s note).

9http://ilsismografo.blogspot.com/2022/05/vaticano-conteste-sourd-aux-critiques.html

10 ‑ It must even be said that it is an attack on the divine constitution of the Church (Editor’s note).

11https://laportelatine.org/actualite/traditionis-custodes-enieme-precision-et-confusion.

12 — References: Medias-Presse-Info as of May 8, 2022 (announcing the ordination), and the “Official Page” of Wigratzbad Seminary as of May 28, confirming that the ordination took place.

13 — That is what all those who joined at the start say to justify themselves.

14 — Archbishop Lefebvre, Conference at Écône on October 8, 1988.

15 — Archbishop Lefebvre, in Fideliter n° 70, p. 6.

16 — Archbishop Lefebvre, Letter to Pope John Paul II, June 2, 1988.

17https://www.vaticannews.va/fr/pape/news/2022-04/francois-kazakhstan-pour-le-congres-religions-mondiales.html

18https://fsspx.news/fr/news-events/news/le-pape-se-rendra-au-kazakhstan-pour-le-congres-des-religions-mondiales-74065.

19— He was elected for four years at the meeting of the episcopal conference in November 2019, so he will still be secretary when the pope comes.

20— November 20, 2019. https://catholic-kazakhstan.org/en/communique-of-the-38th-plenary-of-the-conference-of-catholic-bishops-of-kazakhstan/

21https://catholic-kazakhstan.org/en/the-first-meeting-of-the-council-of-traditional-christian-confessions-this-year-held-in-nur-sultan/

22https://www.astana-kazakhstan.net/attractions-2/culture-and-entertainment/palace-of-peace-and-reconciliation/

The Ladder of Paradise – Simple Method to Reach the Heights of Mystical Life

The Ladder of Paradise

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Simple Method to Reach the Heights of Mystical Life

by Guigues the Carthusian

(XI Century)

We present here extracts of a text from the Middle Ages, published by “Les Éditions du Sel” in Avrillé, to raise your souls above the turmoils of this world, who rejected the Kingship of Our Lord. Spirituality is the strength of the Catholics in times of crisis.


The Four Degrees of the Spiritual Exercises

One day, while I was thinking about the exercises of the spiritual man, I suddenly saw four degrees: 1) reading, 2) meditation, 3) prayer, 4) contemplation.

This is the ladder of the contemplative souls, which takes them up from earth to Heaven.

It has few rungs: it is very high, however, and incredibly long. The base rests on the earth; the top surpasses the clouds and penetrates the depths of the Heavens. From these rungs the name, number, order and use are distinct. If one carefully studies their properties, functions and hierarchy, soon this careful study will seem short and easy, so useful and gentle will it be.

Reading is the attentive study of Sacred Scripture, made by an applied mind.

Meditation is the careful investigation, with the help of reason, of a hidden truth.

Prayer is the elevation of the heart to God to ward off evil and obtain good.

Contemplation is the elevation to God of the soul delighted in the savor of eternal joys.

**

Having defined the four rungs, let us look at the function of each of them.

The ineffable sweetness of the blessed life – reading seeks it, meditation finds it, prayer asks for it, contemplation savors it. This is the very word of the Lord: “Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you”. Seek while reading, you will find while meditating. Knock while praying, you will enter while contemplating.

I would like to say that reading brings substantial food to the mouth, meditation grinds and chews it, prayer tastes it, and contemplation is the very sweetness that rejoices and makes you happy. Reading stops at the bark, meditation goes into the marrow, prayer expresses the desire, but contemplation revels in the savor of the sweetness obtained.

For a better understanding, here is an example among many others. I read the Gospel: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”; short maxim, but full of meaning, infinitely sweet. To the thirsty soul it offers itself like a bunch of grapes. The soul looks at it and says: this word will be good for me. Gather yourself my heart, try to understand and above all to find this purity. Oh how precious and desirable it must be, since it purifies those it inhabits, and has the promise of the divine vision – eternal life, since the Holy Scriptures never cease to praise it!

Then, the desire to understand better invades the soul: and it seizes the mystical bunch, it gathers it up, it crushes it, it puts it in the press, and it says to reason: look and seek what it is, tell me how one acquires this so precious and desirable purity of heart.

II  Meditation

The soul then approaches to meditate on the text. What then does attentive meditation do? It is not enough for it to approach: it penetrates the text, it goes to the bottom, it scrutinizes the hidden corners. And first of all, it notices that the Lord did not say: “Blessed are those who have a body, but a pure heart”, for it would be little to have hands free from evil works if the mind were stained with perverse thoughts. The Prophet had already said, “Who will climb the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in his sanctuary? He who has innocent hands and a pure heart.” (Ps 23:3).

The meditation notes again what powerful desire the Prophet called this purity of heart, since he said in his prayer, “Lord, create in me a pure heart, for if iniquity is in my heart, the Lord will not be able to hear me”. With what care Job watched over this intimate purity, he who said: “With my eyes I made a pact not to think even of a virgin” (Job 31:1). This holy man had to close his eyes to useless things so that he could not see what he would unconsciously desire afterwards.

Having thus scrutinized purity of heart, one continues one’s meditation by examining the reward promised to him. O glorious and delectable reward! Contemplate the longed-for Face of the Lord, beautiful beyond all the beauty of the children of men! The Lord, no longer abject and vile in that appearance with which his mother in the Synagogue clothed him, but adorned with immortality, crowned with the diadem which his Father imposed on him on the day of his resurrection and glory, “the day which the Lord made“. And in his meditation, the soul thinks of how full that vision will be, how overflowing his joy will be… “I shall be filled with joy as I contemplate your glory, says the Prophet” (Ps 16:15).

Ah! What generous and abundant wine flows from the little grape! What a fire has been kindled by the spark! As she lays down on the anvil of meditation, the small mass of metal, that short text: “Blessed are those who are pure of heart, for they shall see God”. And how much more would it lengthen if it were worked by an experienced servant of God! Yes, the well is deep, but, poor novice, I was only able to draw from it a few droplets.

**

What will she do, the poor soul, burning with the desire of this purity that she cannot attain? The more it seeks it, the more it thirsts for it; the more it thinks about it, the more it suffers from not possessing it, for meditation excites the desire for this innocence without giving it water. No, it is neither reading nor meditation that makes one savor its sweetness: it must be given from above.

The wicked as well as the good read and meditate; pagan philosophers, guided by reason, have glimpsed the sovereign Good, but because “knowing God, they did not glorify him as God” (Rom 1:21), and proud of their strength, they said: “We will exalt our tongue, our goods are ours, who is our master?” (Ps 11:5) They did not deserve to find what they had glimpsed. “Their thoughts vanished” (Rom 1:21) and “all their wisdom was devoured” (Ps 106:27), for it came from a human source, not from that Spirit who alone gives true wisdom, which is that savory knowledge which, uniting itself to the soul, pours out priceless sweetness, joy and comfort, and of which it is written: Wisdom does not enter the soul that wants evil. It proceeds from God alone. The Lord has entrusted to many the office of baptism, to few the power to forgive sins, he has reserved this power for himself. As St. John says of him, “This is He who baptizes,” so we can say: this is He who alone gives the savory wisdom that enables the soul to taste it. The text is offered to many, but few receive wisdom. The Lord infuses it to whom He will and how He will.

III  Prayer

The soul understood: this knowledge so longed for, this sweet experience, it will never reach them by its own strength alone; the more its heart rushes forward, the more God appears to it. Then it humbles itself and takes refuge in prayer.

O my Lord, whom only pure hearts can see, I have sought, through reading and meditation, true purity so that I may become able to know you a little. “I have sought your face, O my Lord, I have desired to see Thy adorable Face” (Ps 26:8). “For a long time I meditated in my heart and in my meditation a fire was kindled, the desire to know Thou more and more” (Ps 38:4). When you break the bread of Scripture, I already know you, but the more I know you, O my Lord, the more I want to know you, not only in the crust of the letter, but in the reality of union. And this gift, O my Lord, I implore, not by my merits, but by your mercy. It is true, I am an unworthy sinner, but don’t the little dogs themselves eat the crumbs that have fallen from the master’s table? To my distressed soul, O God, give a deposit on the promised inheritance, at least a drop of heavenly dew to quench my thirst, for I burn with love, O my Lord.

IV  Contemplation

With such ardent words, the soul inflames its desire and calls the Bridegroom by incantation of tenderness. And the Bridegroom, Whose gaze rests on the just and whose ears are so attentive to their prayers that He does not even wait for them to be fully expressed, the Bridegroom suddenly interrupts this prayer: He comes to the greedy soul, He flows into it, moistened with the heavenly dew, anointed with precious perfumes; He restores the tired soul; He feeds it, fainting; He waters it, parched; He makes it forget the earth, and from His presence He detaches it from everything, marvelously He strengthens it, invigorates it and intoxicates it.

In certain coarse acts, the soul is so strongly chained by lust that it loses its reason and the whole man becomes carnal. In this sublime contemplation, on the contrary, the instincts of the body are so consumed and absorbed by the soul that the flesh no longer fights the spirit in any way, and man becomes all spiritual.


What Are the Signs That We Recognize the Coming of the Holy Ghost

O my Lord, how will I know the time of this visit? At what sign will I recognize Your coming? Are sighs and tears the messengers and witnesses of this consoling joy? What indeed is the relationship between consolation and sighs, joy and tears? But can we say that they are tears? Is it not rather the intimate dew poured from above, overflowing, to purify the inner man and overflowing? In baptism the external ablution signifies and operates the internal purification of the child: here, on the contrary, the intimate purification precedes the external ablution and is manifested through it. O happy tears, new baptism of the soul through which the fire of sins is extinguished! “Blessed are thou who weep, thus you will laugh” (Mt 5:5).

In these tears, O my soul, acknowledge your Bridegroom, unite yourself to your desire. To His torrent of delights intoxicate yourself, suckle with the milk and honey of His consolation. These sighs and tears are the marvelous gifts of the Bridegroom, the drink that He measures out for the day and night, the bread that strengthens thy heart, sweeter in its bitterness than the honeycomb.

O Lord Jesus, if they are so sweet, the tears that flow from a heart that desires you, what will be the joy of a soul to whom You show Yourself in the clear eternal vision! If it is so sweet to weep while desiring you, what a delight it is to enjoy you!

But why desecrate before all, these intimate secrets? Why in banal words try to translate inexpressible tenderness? One who has not experienced them, will not understand. One reads these mysterious colloquies only from the book of experience, or is instructed in them only by divine action. The page is closed, insipid the book to the one whose heart does not know how to illuminate the external letter with the sense of intimate experience.

VI  The Spouse Retires for a While Shut Up, My Soul, You’re Talking Too Much

It was good up there, with Peter and John, contemplating the glory of the Bridegroom. Oh, stay with Him for a long time, and if He had wanted to, raise not two or three tents, but only one to dwell in together in His joy.

But already the Bridegroom cried out, “Let me go, behold, the dawn is coming up”: you have received the bright grace and the visit so longed for. And He blesses you, and like the angel to Jacob in the past, He mortifies the sinew of your thigh (Gn. 32:25,31), He changes your name from Jacob to Israel, and behold, He seems to withdraw. The long-awaited Bridegroom quickly hides Himself, the vision of contemplation fades away, His sweetness vanishes.

But He, the Bridegroom, remains present in your heart and governs it, always.

*

Fear not, O wife, do not despair and do not think yourself despised if sometimes your Bridegroom veils His face. All this is for your own good; both His departure and His coming are a gain. It is for your sake that He comes and for your sake that He withdraws. He comes to comfort you, He withdraws to guard you, lest, intoxicated with His sweet presence, you should be proud. If the Bridegroom were always substantially present, would you not be tempted to despise your companions and to believe that this presence is due to you, when it is a pure gift granted by the Bridegroom, to whom He wills and when He wills, over which you have no right? The proverb says: “Familiarity breeds contempt“. To avoid this disrespectful familiarity He shuns you. Absent, you desire Him more strongly; your desire makes you seek Him more ardently, and your expectation more tenderly finds it.

And then, if consolation were here on earth all the time – though beside eternal glory it is enigma and shadow – we would perhaps believe that we have here the permanent city and we would look less for the future City. Oh, no, let us not take exile for the fatherland, and the deposit for the inheritance.

The Bridegroom comes, He goes, consoling, desolating; He lets us taste a little of His ineffable sweetness; but before it enters you, He shuns, He is gone. Now this is to teach us to fly to the Lord. Like the eagle, He spreads his wings widely over us, and provokes us to soar. And He said, “You have tasted a little of the sweetness of my gentleness. Would you like to eat some? Run, fly, to my perfumes, lift up your hearts to the top, where I am at the right hand of the Father, where you will see Me, no longer as a figure or enigma, but face to face, in the full, total joy that no one will ever be able to take from you”.

**

Spouse of Christ, understand this well: when the Bridegroom retires, He is not far from you. You no longer see Him, but He keeps looking at you. You can never escape His sight, ever. His messengers, the angels, were spying on your life when He hid, and they would soon have accused you if they saw you light and unclean. He is jealous, the Bridegroom, and if your soul would admit another love and seek to please someone, He would immediately forsake you to unite with the more faithful virgins. He is delicate, noble, rich, the most beautiful of the children of men: therefore he wants in His wife [your soul] all beauty, and if He sees in you a stain or a wrinkle, He will turn away His eyes, for He cannot suffer any impurity. Therefore be chaste, reverent, and humble before Him, and you shall receive His visit often.

***

I got carried away with my speech, I was too long. But how can I resist the training of such a fertile and gentle subject? These beautiful things have captivated me. But let’s summarize for clarity:

All the degrees on our scale stand together and depend on each other:

Reading is the foundation; it provides the material and commits you to meditation.

Meditation carefully searches for what to desire, it digs and uncovers the desired treasure; but unable to grasp it, it excites us to pray.

Prayer, rising with all its strength to the Lord, asks for the desirable treasure of contemplation.

Finally, contemplation comes to reward the work of her three sisters and intoxicates the altered soul of God with the sweet heavenly dew.

Reading is therefore an external exercise. It is the level of the beginners.

Meditation, an inner act of the intelligence. It is the rung of those who progress.

Prayer, the action of a soul full of desire. It is the rung of those who are God’s.

Contemplation surpasses all feeling and knowledge. It is the rung of the blessed.

VII  Reading, Meditation, Prayer and Contemplation Support Each Other

Reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation are so strongly linked to each other, and help each other so much that the first are of no use without the last, and that one never, or by great exception, reaches the latter only by passing through the latter. What is the use of spending our time reading the lives and writings of the saints if, in meditating and ruminating on them, we do not draw the juice from them, and make it our own and go down to the depths of our hearts? Vain will be our readings, if we do not take care to compare our lives with those of the saints and if we allow ourselves to be carried away by the curiosity of reading rather than by the desire to imitate their examples.

On the other hand, how can we keep on the right path and avoid errors or childishness, how can we remain within the just limits set by our fathers without serious reading or learned teaching? For in the term of reading we understand teaching; is it not commonly said: the book I read, although sometimes it was received through the teaching of a master?

In the same way, it will be vain to meditate on one of our duties, if it is not completed and strengthened by the prayer that obtains the grace to fulfill that duty, for “every exquisite gift, every perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (Jac. 1:17), without whom we can do nothing. He works in us, but not entirely without us, for, says the Apostle (I Cor. 3:9): “we are cooperators with God”. He deigns to take us as helpers of His works and, when He knocks at the door, He asks us to open to Him the secret of our will and consent.

To the Samaritan woman the Savior asked for this will, when He said to her: “Call your husband”; that is to say, here is my grace; you, apply your free will. He excited her to prayer by saying: “If you knew the gift of God and the one who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would certainly ask Him for the living water”. For this woman, as though instructed by meditation, said in her heart, “This water would be good for me”; and inflamed with longing, she began to pray: “O Lord, give me this water that I may never thirst again and come to this well”. The divine word heard, invited her heart to meditate, and then to pray. How would she have been inclined to pray if the meditation had not ignited her desire? And, on the other hand, what use would it have been to her to see spiritual goods in meditation if she had not obtained them through prayer?

What, then, is fruitful meditation? That which blossoms in fervent prayer, which almost ordinarily obtains the most suave contemplation.

*

Thus, without meditation, reading will be arid.

Without reading, meditation will be full of errors.

Without meditation, prayer will be lukewarm.

Without prayer, meditation will be unfruitful and vain.

When prayer and devotion are united, they obtain contemplation. On the contrary, it would be a rare exception and even a miracle to obtain contemplation without prayer.

The Lord, whose power is infinite and whose mercy marks all His works, can well turn stones into children of Abraham, by forcing hard and rebellious hearts to want good. A prodigy of His grace: He pulls the bull by the horns, as one says vulgarly, when, unexpectedly, He melts with a quick blow in the soul. He is the sovereign Master; and so He did in Saint Paul and in a few other chosen ones. But we must not wait for such prodigies and tempt God. Let us do what is asked of us: let us read and meditate on the divine Law, let us pray to the Lord to help so much weakness, to look at so much misery. “Ask and you will receive, He Himself told us, seek and you will find knock and you will be opened. The kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and it is the violent who prevail” (Mt 7:7; 11:12).

**

Blessed is he who, detached from creatures, is constantly practicing to climb these four degrees! Blessed is he who winds all he possesses to acquire the field where the treasure so desirable of contemplation lies, and to taste how sweet the Lord is! Applied to the first degree, prudent to the second, fervent to the third, delighted to the last, of virtue in virtue he ascends in his heart the steps that lead him to the vision of the Lord in Sion. Blessed at last is he who can stop at the top, if only for a moment, and say: I taste the grace of the Lord; behold, with Peter and John on the mountain I contemplate His glory; I have gone with Jacob to Rachel’s caresses.

But let him take heed, this happy one, not to choose sadly from the heavenly contemplation in the darkness of the abyss, from the divine vision in the worldly vanities and impure fancies of the flesh.

The poor human soul is weak, it cannot sustain for long the radiant splendor of the Truth: it will therefore be necessary for it to descend one or two degrees and rest quietly in one or the other, according to her will or to the graces she receives, absolutely remaining as near from God as possible.

O sad condition of human weakness! Reason and Holy Scripture agree that these four degrees lead to perfection, and that spiritual men must work to practice them: but who does this? A lot begin. A few goes to the end. May God permit us to belong to this few number of souls!

VIII  Of the Soul That Loses the Grace of Contemplation

Four obstacles can prevent us from climbing these degrees: 1) inevitable necessity, 2) the usefulness of a good work, 3) human weakness, 4) worldly vanity.

The first is excusable; the second, acceptable; the third, pitiful; the fourth, guilty.

Yes, for him who departs from his holy resolution out of worldly vanity, it would be better to have always ignored the glory of God than to refuse it after having known it. How can one excuse such a fault? To this unfaithful person the Lord reproves justly: “What could I have done that I did not do for you?” (Is 5:4). You were nothing, I gave you being; a sinner and slave of the devil, I redeemed you; with the ungodly you wandered through the world, I took you back by choice of love, I gave you My grace and established you in My presence; in your heart I chose My dwelling place: and you despised Me; My invitations, My love, I in the end. You threw everything away to run after your lusts.

O God, infinitely good, sweet, gentle; tender friend and cautious adviser: how foolish and foolhardy is he who repels You and drives from his heart such a humble and compassionate guest! Wretched and damnable exchange: drive out his Creator to hospitalize impure and perverse thoughts; deliver the dear, closed retreat of the Holy Ghost, still embalmed with the recent heavenly joys, to low thoughts and sin; profane with adulterous desires the still warm remains of the Bridegroom. O shocking ungodliness! Those ears which a short while ago listened to the colloquies that man cannot repeat, are now filled with lies and calumnies; those eyes, purified by holy tears, are pleasing to vanities; those lips barely cease to sing the divine epithalam and the burning canticles of love which united the husband and the wife introduced into the mystical cellar, and there they say vanities, trickery and slander. O Lord, preserve us from such falls!

If, however, human weakness in this misfortune causes you to fall, do not despair, frail soul; no, never despair, but run to the gentle Physician who “raises from the ground the needy and the poor from their dunghill” (Ps 112:7). He does not want the sinner to die. He will help you and heal you.

Conclusion

I have to close my letter. I pray the Lord to weaken today, to remove tomorrow from our soul every obstacle to contemplation. May He lead us from virtue to virtue to the top of the mysterious ladder to the vision of the Divinity in Sion. There, it is no longer drip by drip and intermittently that His chosen ones will taste the sweetness of this divine contemplation; but always flooded by this torrent of joy, they will possess forever the joy that no one can take away, the immutable peace, the peace in Him! O Gervais, my brother, when by the grace of the Lord you have reached the top of the mysterious ladder, remember me, and in your happiness, pray for me. Let the curtain be drawn to you, and let Him who hears say: Come!

The end

Devotion to the Holy Face and the Golden Arrow ​Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre (1816-1848)

Devotion to the Holy Face and the Golden Arrow

Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre (1816-1848)

from Le Sel de la terre 110, Autumn 2019

(continued)

Gravity of Blasphemy

“He made me understand that men are incapable of understanding the insult done to God by this sin of blasphemy; blasphemies pierce His heart and make Him a second Lazarus covered with wounds (Luke 16, 20). He invited me to imitate the dogs who comforted poor Lazarus by coming to lick his wounds; I would do Him a great service by employing my tongue to glorify every day the most holy Name of God despised and blasphemed by sinners, without considering whether this exercise gave me interior consolations; it would be enough for me to think that I was healing His divine wounds and causing Him great satisfaction.”

The Holy Face of Christ Offended by Blasphemies

“I understood that, as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the sensitive object offered to our adoration to represent His immense Love in the most holy Sacrament of the altar, so, in the work of reparation, the Face of Our Lord is the sensitive object offered to the adoration of the associates to repair the outrages of the blasphemers who attack the Divinity of which it is the figure, mirror, and expression. By the virtue of this adorable Face, presented to the eternal Father, we can appease His anger and obtain the conversion of the impious and blasphemers.”

“Our Lord made me see that the Church, His Spouse, is His mystical Body, and that religion was the face of this body; then He showed me this face in the face of the enemies of His Name, and I saw that the blasphemers and the sectarians were renewing on the Holy Face of Our Lord all the opprobrium of His Passion. I saw, thanks to this divine light, that the impious, by uttering evil words and blaspheming the Holy Name of God, were spitting on the Face of the Savior and covering it with mud; that all the blows given by the sectarians to the holy Church, to religion, were the renewal of the many blows that the Face of Our Lord received, and that these unfortunate people were making this august Face sweat by striving to annihilate its works.

“Our Lord showed me, with the help of a simple and just comparison, that the impious by their blasphemies attacked His adorable Face, and that the faithful glorified it by the homage of praise rendered to His Name and to His person.

“Merit is in persons, but the glory that accompanies them is in their name; it bursts forth when it is pronounced; the merit or demerit of a person passes into his name. The most holy Name of God expresses the divinity, and contains in it all the perfections of the Creator; it follows from this that the blasphemers of this sacred Name attack God himself. Now let us remember these words of Jesus: “the Father is in me and I in the Father.” (Jn. 10:38). Jesus made Himself passible by the Incarnation; and He suffered, in His adorable Face, the outrages done by the blasphemers to the Name of God, His Father.”

“Our Lord has shown me that there is something mysterious about the face of a despised man of honor; yes, I see that his name and his face have a special connection. Behold a man distinguished by his name and merits, in the presence of his enemies; they do not lay hands on him, but they overwhelm him with insults, they add bitter derision to his name, instead of the titles which are due to him. Notice then what happens to the face of this insulted man; would you not say that all the outrageous words that come out of the mouths of his enemies come to rest on his face and cause him to suffer a real torment? We see this face covered with redness, shame, and confusion; the opprobrium and ignominy it suffers are more cruel to bear than real torments in the other parts of its body. Well, here is a weak portrait of the Face of Our Lord outraged by the blasphemies of the impious! Let us represent this same man in the presence of his friends, who, having learned of the insults he has received, hasten to console him, to treat him according to his dignity, pay homage to the greatness of his name by calling him by all his titles of honor; do you not then see the face of this man feel the sweetness of these praises Glory rests on his forehead and, shining on his face, makes it all shiny: joy shines in his eyes, a smile is on his lips; in a word, his faithful friends have healed the bitter pain of this face outraged by his enemies, glory has passed the reproach. This is what the friends of Jesus do through the work of reparation; the glory they give to His Name rests on this august forehead, and rejoices His most Holy Face, in a very special way, in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.”

Healing the Blasphemers

• 3 November 1845:

According to the care you will take to repair My portrait, which was disfigured by blasphemers, I will take care to repair yours, which was disfigured by sin. I will reprint My image on it, and I will make it as beautiful as it was when it came out of the font of baptism. Abandon yourself therefore into My hands and be willing to suffer all the operations necessary for the restoration of this image. Do not be troubled if you experience sadness and darkness, for you know that in an image, the dark colors serve to bring out those that are more vivid. Men have the art of restoring bodies; but only I can be called the restorer of souls, and who restores them to the image of God. I have made known to you this work of reparation, I have shown you its excellence, and now I promise you the reward.”

“Oh! If you could see the beauty of my Face! Your eyes are still too weak!

• 5 January 1846:

Our Lord made me aware that Lucifer willingly left to other demons the care of leading other flocks of sinners, such as for example: the impure, the drunkards, the greedy; but the blasphemers form his favorite flock. He made it known to me that this work of reparation embraces not only the reparation of blasphemy proper, but also that of all other blasphemies uttered against religion and the Church; however, it applies especially to blasphemies of the Holy Name of God.”

[…]

Changing the Wine of Justice Into the Wine of Mercy

“I saw other punishments prepared to satisfy this Justice. When I saw this, I said to Our Lord : Sweet Jesus, if only I could drink the rest of this cup, so that my brothers might be spared!”

“He answered me that He accepted my good will, but that I was not capable of emptying this cup, and that only He could drink it. The Savior, seeing my pain, beckoned me to enter His divine Heart; in His excessive mercy, He gave it to me as a vessel worthy of being presented to the eternal Father to receive this wine of His wrath, making me understand that, passing through this channel, it would be changed for us into the wine of mercy. But He does not want to entirely infringe the rights of justice; if I may express myself in this way, He wants to make a covenant between His justice and His mercy, and for this purpose He asks for the establishment of the work of Reparation to the glory of His Name. Yes, He will disarm the anger of God, His Father, if He offers Him a work of reparation for us! Is it not the least we can do, O sweet Jesus, to make reparation by our prayers, by our groans and by our adoration, for the enormous sins of which we are guilty towards the majesty of God? This, Mother, is the prayer that Our Lord put into my mouth, and which I want to repeat unceasingly:

Eternal Father, look upon the divine Heart of Jesus which I offer to you to receive the wine of your justice, so that it may be changed for us into the wine of mercy’.

He made me understand that, each time I made this offering, I would obtain a drop of this wine of divine anger, which, falling, as I said above, into the vessel of the sacred Heart of Jesus, would change into the liquor of mercy.”

Waging War on the Communists

In 1847, the League of Communists was founded in London. Two of its members, Marx and Engels, received the mission to write the doctrinal manifesto that appeared in February 1848 under the title Manifesto of the Communist Party 1.

On March 14, 1847, Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre wrote to her superior:

“Our Lord today, after Holy Communion, made me understand that the plagues we have been struck with were only the forerunners of those which His justice is preparing for us if His anger is not appeased, and He showed me the sins of blasphemy and the profanations of Sunday under the emblem of two pumps, with which the men who are guilty of these crimes draw the waters of His wrath over France and expose themselves to being submerged by them, if this work of reparation which He gives her in his mercy as a means of salvation is not established. Then He told me that the sectarians called Communists had only made one excursion: ‘Oh’! He added, ­‘if you knew their secret and diabolical machinations, and their anti-Christian principles! They are only waiting for a favorable day to set fire to France. Ask, therefore, for the work of Reparation to whom it belongs, in order to obtain mercy.’”

• 29 March 1847:

“Our Lord has entrusted me with a new mission which I would be afraid of if I were anything; but as I am nothing but a weak instrument in His powerful hand, I am perfectly at peace.

He commanded me to make war on the communists, whom He told me were the enemies of the Church and of His Christ, making me understand that these lion cubs were, for the most part, born in the Church whose cruel enemies they now declared themselves to be. Then He added:

I have made it known to you that I hold you in My hands like an arrow. Now I want to shoot this arrow at My enemies. I give you the weapons of My Passion to fight them: My Cross, whose enemies they are, and the other instruments of My torture. Go to them with the simplicity of a child and the courage of a valiant soldier. Receive, for this mission, the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost’.

Then I prayed to the Blessed Virgin to be the custodian of these divine weapons, given to me by her dearest Son, who is compared to the Tower of David, from which hang a thousand shields. Our Lord gave me, on this subject, several other lights which it would not be easy for me to relate. “Lord,” I said, “train my hands for battle, and teach me to use your instruments.

He said to me:

The weapons of My enemies give death, but Mine give life.’

How to Fight the Enemies of God

This is the prayer I often recite for this purpose:

Eternal Father, I offer you, against the camp of your enemies, the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ and all the instruments of His holy Passion, that You may put division between them; for, as Your beloved Son has said, every kingdom divided against itself will be destroyed [Mt. 12:25].

[…] Jesus gives me grace to draw my weapons; today, after Holy Communion, He encouraged me to fight, and He promised to give me a cross of honor, which, He told me, would open heaven for me, if I were faithful […]. But, Reverend Mother, after having fought the enemies of God with all my strength during these three days of feasting, I now feel almost contrition. I explain myself: it is because I fear having made imprecations against them.

I know that the holy King David does the same in his psalms (108, for example); but I do not know if I am allowed to do so. Finally, I have said everything that Our Lord, it seems to me, inspired me to say; if it is wrong, and I am mistaken, I will not do it again.

I will tell you that I begin by placing my soul in the hands of Our Lord; then I beg him to bend His bow and shoot His arrows at His enemies; then I fight them first by His Cross and by the instruments of His Passion, as He taught me; then by the virtue of the most holy Name of God. And this is my concern for the imprecations, for if it is wrong, I have repeated these words a hundred times; but I had no intention of wishing harm to these criminal people; I am only angry at their malice and their passions; I only want to kill the old man in them. So this is what I say:

Let God arise, let His enemies be dispelled, and let all those who hate Him flee from His face.

May the name of the thrice holy God overturn all their plans.

May the sacred name of the living God divide all their feelings.

May the terrible name of the God of eternity destroy their impiety.

I say some more, and when I have thus beaten them well, I add:

I do not want the sinner to die, but to be converted and live. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [Lk. 23:34]

I do these exercises without restraint of spirit and with great ease, because I let myself be led by the grace that guides me.

PROMISES OF OUR LORD JESUS-CHRIST

revealed to sister Marie de Saint-Pierre

1. By offering My Face to My Eternal father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.

2. By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God, and drow down mercy on sinners.

3. All those who honor my Face in a spirit of reparation, will by so doing perform the office of the pious Veronica.

4. According to the care they take in making reparation to my Face disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the Seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.

5. Those who, by words, prayers or writings defend My cause in the work of reparation, especially My priests, I will defend before My Father, and will give them My kingdom.

6. As in a kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the king’s effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face.

7. Those who on earth contemplate the wounds of My Face shall in Heaven behold it radiant with glory.

8. They will receive in their souls a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that they by their likeness to My Face they shall shine with particular splendor in Heaven.

9. I will defend them; I will preserve them, and I assure them of final perseverance.

Two Sermons of His Excellency Bp Gerardo Zendejas

1. Sermon of His Excellency Bp Gerardo Zendejas

at Ordination of three Subdeacons

for the Society of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary

in the church of the Dominicans in Avrillé (France)

April 2, 2022

 

M;. l’abbé Paul ROUSSEAU

M. l’abbé Etienne PEREZ

M. l’abbé Emeric BLANCHET

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Your Excellency [Bp Faure], Rev. Fathers, Sisters, Seminarians, Brethren,

It is a great honor to be here among all of you, on this singular occasion for giving the first major order within the frame of the Sacrament of the Holy Orders, for the purpose of continuing the priestly Crusade launched to preserve the Traditional Roman Rite of Ordinations by our venerable Founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

As a matter of fact, in the midst of today’s darkness which is confusing minds and hearts, we are witnessing how the Operation Survival worked out in 1988 by the Archbishop still continues to be a spring source, inspiring young men to come over into the ranks of the Traditional Catholic priesthood. Here and now we have three candidates willing to receive the subdiaconate and not long from today to pursue their priestly Ordination.

To become a priest needs much courage and determination in your part, but it essentially needs the grace of God from above – gratia supponit naturam. Hence, there is a need to cooperate with the grace of God in the mystery between what is Divine and what is human. Certainly, clergy and laity today look at the human part with all its struggles and implore the Divine Grace to recapitulate all things in Christ. In that sense, Pius XII said that “if at times there appears in the Church something that indicates the weakness of our human nature, it should not be attributed to her essential foundation, but rather to that regrettable inclination to evil found in each individual which its Divine Founder allows even at times in the most exalted members of His Mystical Body, FOR THE PURPOSE OF TESTING THE VIRTUE OF THE SHEPHERDS no less than of the flocks…. That is not a reason why we should lessen our love for the Church but rather a reason why we should increase our devotion to Her members” (Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, June 29, 1943).

We certainly have to acknowledge, and to be aware of the tragic situation in which our Catholic Faith is going through, leading by heresies into a general apostasy. One cannot close his eyes in witnessing today’s crisis in the world and within the Church. The realities are right there in front of us; we witness to all of the horrible things that are happening in the Holy place, in the Holy of the Holies, as well as in public lives of the sacred ministers who celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the veritable holocaust of Calvary. The more time goes by, the more the errors with their blasphemies are spreading, and the more not only the faithful but also priests are losing the practicing of Catholic Faith by exercising the coldness of Charity. “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke, 18)

Here moreover are some words said by Archbishop Lefebvre: “Right now we do not have the happiness of living in peace and in total confidence in the hierarchy. We are caught up in a great disorder but it is our duty to maintain the most appropriate attitude, so we don’t go astray and don’t hold in our hearts certain sentiments and orientations that would lead us straight out of the Church” (Ecône, September 7, 1981).

Indeed, the Church is divine; She will always possess the eternal Truth. She does objectively communicate to us divine realities, in particular the Holy Eucharist. Yes, the Church is divine, but She is also human. On the contrary, the Church is made up of sinful men. It is true for instance that the Pope has a share in the divinity of the Church to a certain degree by the charism of the Infallibility, yet he remains ‑ outside of that infallible quality ‑ a man entangled with the consequences of the original sin which could prompt him to sin. Then, it is the same tragic scenario for any other churchman who has received the Sacrament of the Holy Orders.

Are we supposed to separate then ourselves from the Roman Catholic Church?

Are we supposed to attach ourselves one by one directly to our Lord Jesus Christ in order to belong to any Christian church but without Christ Himself?

In spite of all difficulties and adversities inflicted against the Church, and in the midst of all persecutions that religious and laity are suffering, even from those who have authority in the Church, let us not abandon the Roman Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.

We want to continue the Tradition in the Church by transmitting the Royal Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ, by celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of Saint Pius V, by administering and receiving the true Sacraments, by believing the Latin Bible, by teaching the true and perennial Catechism of Trent, by learning the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and by practicing the Canon Law without any doctrinal contamination fostered since the Second Vatican Council.

Absolutely, for that end Archbishop said, “one thing only is necessary for the continuation of the Catholic Church: bishops who are fully Catholic, without the least compromise with error, who found seminaries where young aspirants may be nourished on the milk of true doctrine, placing our Lord Jesus Christ in the center of their minds, of their wills, of their hearts; a lively faith, a profound charity, a boundless devotion will unite them to our Lord; like Saint Paul they will ask us to pray for them, so that they might advance in the knowledge and the wisdom of the MYSTERIUM CHRISTI, where all the divine treasure is to be found” (Spiritual Journey, p 9).

*

Now let me say some words for you who are receiving the first of the three great Orders: the subdiaconate.

The Council of Trent registered it among the major Orders; it confers the right to arrange everything in the sanctuary, and to assist the priest at the altar. As subdeacons you are going to come into the Holy of the Holies, to the Sanctuary where the Blessed Sacrament is adored. That’s why in this ceremony, coming forward with a step, you are going to pledge yourself to the celibacy which will give you a perpetual honor; and to the recitation of the Breviary, which will make you an official churchman of public prayer.

1.‑  CELIBACY

In ecclesiastical law, from the beginning of the ordination to the subdiaconate, the bishop warns the candidates that perpetual chastity is imposed upon them and that no one may be admitted to this holy order without the sincere will to accept celibacy (Canon 132).

The ceremonial of the Subdiaconate remarks the holiness of the priesthood, which is an inward holiness. It finds concrete expression in the decision to give oneself completely to Jesus-Christ and to leave the world, to abandon all the cares of the world.

My dear subdeacons, celibacy is like a shining beam of light coming from the sublimity of Our Lord reflecting on you. With holding nothing back, you are desiring to belong entirely to almighty God. Nothing manifests the holiness of the Church like this commitment. Indeed, the more the virtue of purity is present in your soul, the stronger it will be the crystal integrity of the doctrine in your thoughts, words, and deeds, because you are going to participate in the great mystery of God in a manner even more effective and profound.

In true, the essential element for consecrating priestly celibacy is the same reason for which the most Blessed Virgin herself remained a virgin. It was fitting that she remained a virgin because she had carried our Lord in her womb. The priest also brings God to earth by the words which he pronounces at the consecration when saying Mass. He has such closeness to God, who is spiritual Being, a Spirit above all, that it is good and just and eminently fitting that the Priest should be a virgin and to remain celibate. This is the essential element for his chastity.

More than ever, the public presence of the religious habits in today’s filthy chaos, is in much need, in particular from those who have received major Orders or have pronounced religious vows. That’s why it is a divine honor to belong to the Holy Trinity in this particular manner through the incredulity of today’s world imbued in its satanic hedonism. Doubtless to say that the grace of God is always ready to protect us, as Saint Augustine explained that God does not ask us anything impossible, in response to Him he said, “ask me whatever You want but give that grace to do so.”

2.‑ BREVIARY

In order to allow the subdeacons to raise their mind regularly to God, the Church commands them to recite the breviary, under the penalty of Mortal sin (Canon 135). Their new state demands of them a profound spirit of faith and the practice not only of purity of body but also of soul.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino, a Franciscan friar, was once asked by a bishop the best means to sanctify his clergy,  “Get your priests ‑ he said ‑ to recite the Divine Office with attention and to celebrate Mass with devotion. These two exercises are enough to make them perfect.

What is the Breviary? It is an admirable compendium of all Christian truths; it is a magnificent picture in which, one by one, the mysteries of our Faith come into view and how the great Christians have been produced; it is THE CATHOLIC PRAYER; it is the praising united with both the Triumphant Church and the Militant Church, with the Suffering Church; it is the ETERNAL PRAYER ‑ Jesus Christ Yesterday, Today, and the same Forever.

Indeed, in reciting the Breviary what do you do? You present yourself as one chosen by the whole Church to adore God, to praise Him, to give Him thanks and to entreat with Him of the Eternal interests of souls in interceding for all, as an ambassador from Heaven.

And how should you recite the Breviary? Digne, Attente, et Devote. Saint Augustine said, “What do you profit with clashing words if your heart is silently careless? It should be with Dignity, with Attention and with Devotion”.

So, from today onward, you are going to carry the prayer of the whole Church through your Breviary, and you are going to pray every day, until the end of your life, to ask God to spread His graces over the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. This is a necessity of the Church ‑ the prayer of the validly ordained priest. In manifesting your spirit of prayer, you will be rejoicing the Church; you will be rejoicing the hearts of the faithful, and you will inhabit the shrine of the Holy Trinity.

**

Lastly, let us remember that some of those who have received Majors Orders have abandoned our Lord and His true Church; some others have faithfully remained to their religious duties for the greater Glory of God and the eternal salvation of many souls. What group you would like to be accounted in?

Therefore, let’s take care of our duties because to the extent that we move away from our Lord Jesus Christ, then dissensions certainly would arise, and hatred, and divisions, and wars among the faithful and priests, among the individuals and countries, within and without the Church. So, we must not give into discouragement Oportet Illum regnare, He Must Reign, said Saint Paul; Viva Cristo Rey, said the Cristeros in offering their lives to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us not faint in the combat we are waging for Christ the King, in order to contribute for the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven, for the preservation of the priesthood of Our Lord Jesus-Christ according to the Roman Latin Rite, against the Communist and Globalist Agenda with their satanic idols and pluralist Green Religion of mother earth and Pachamama.

On the contrary, We should contribute in our level but with all our strength, to the restoring of the kingdom of Our Lord Jesus-Christ over hearts, over souls, families, nations… May Christian civilization be restored, and for that purpose we ask the intercession of Saint Pius X in order to re-enkindle the fire and zeal of the tribe of Judah of the New Testament, as he named after this beloved country of France.

And above all, let’s have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, who in several times has manifested her maternal protection, as She did at “Rue du Bac”, in the Apparition of the Miraculous Medal: Oh Mary conceived without Original Sin, Pray for us who have recourse to Thee. Amen.

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2. Sermon of His Excellency Bp Gerardo Zendejas

for the ordination of a Deacon at the Seminary of

the Society of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary

in Morannes (France)

April 9, 2022

 

 

M. l’abbé Paul ROUSSEAU

 

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Dear confreres in the priesthood, seminarians and sisters, dear faithful.

We are gathered in the chapel of the Seminary of Saint Louis-Marie to celebrate this ceremony of ordination to the diaconate. In today’s particular circumstances, we find ourselves in the Alma Mater of the Congregation of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary — in fact, we find ourselves in the heart of the Resistance, so to speak, where the vital principles for the fight of our Faith are forged against the pluralistic modernism, impregnated with political humanism, and by which the churchmen are leading to the apostasy of the faith, resulting in the abandonment of Catholic civilization.

We absolutely oppose to the masonic principles of the Second Vatican Council, as Archbishop Lefebvre has given us not only the means but also the example to continue the royalty of the sacred priesthood instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We must continue to defend our Faith in spite of the reigning chaos in which we live. Yes, we must continue to be faithful even alongside and in the battle line where many priests are truly remarkable, either for their fidelity in practicing the priesthood, or for their tepidity in practicing their consecrated priestly life which is at last going to be the driving force in abandoning the doctrine of the Deposit of the Faith.

No doubt these principles of action were also experienced in the ministry of the Apostles after the ordination of the seven deacons — Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicholas (Acts 6:5-6). The history of the Church teaches us about those events that followed the ordination of the first deacons. Hence, we should at least remember two things: the first is the greatness of St. Stephen due to his faithfulness to the Holy Ghost, and the second is the downfall of Nicholas, who inoculated the virus of the plague of the Nicolaitan heresy, characterized by committing sins against the flesh (and all impurities) in spite of their consecrated life to God, as it is said in the book of the Apocalypses (Rev. 2).

Certainly, the living testimony of the Faith according to the revealed Truth is maintained by the practice of the Christian virtues. This is why it is always good to meditate on the example of the saints so that we might always admire them, as sometimes might imitate them as well. Catholic deacons should be inspired by the example of St. Stephen, protomartyr, well-known in the Greek rite — the Catholic rite — for his zeal to preach until his death, which at that time his death led to the conversion of Saul into Saint Paul.

Deacons must also contemplate the fidelity of St. Lawrence, who is a glory of the Roman Rite. It is a very important fact in order to understand the word romanitas which Archbishop Lefebvre has talked about in his book Spiritual Journey (Itinéraire spirituel à la suite de Saint Thomas d’Aquin).

As a matter of fact, deacons receive the Holy Ghost by the ceremony of the Ordination, alike to St. Stephen and St. Lawrence who were filled with the Holy Ghost, and through their fidelity they preached the Truth supernaturally revealed in the Holy Scriptures. So, their fidelity to the Deposit of Faith is the example that we must keep alive.

In addition to the power of preaching, the deacon receives the grace to baptize begetting children of God in order to lead them to the heavenly glory, and to administer the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist ‑ Let us not forget this principle when receiving Holy Orders: the closer a sacred minister comes to the altar, the more power he receives over the Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why the deacon has a place of honor in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar — to the right of the priest.

On the other hand, let us not forget the infidelity of Nicholas, deacon. Most certainly, Our Lady of La Salette referred to the loss of faith in some sacred ministers by leading a double life — one on the outside by keeping the appearances of the consecrated life, but another on the inside by indulging in sins of the flesh and impurity against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments of the Law of God. One can see with his own eyes the deep crisis in which some ministers consecrated to God are living, transmitting the horrible consequences of doctrinal errors, full of heresies that certainly are leading to the General Apostasy. Let us remember that corruptio optimi pessima — from the corruption of the best comes the worst.

So, let us consecrate ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary in order to remain faithful to our religious vocation in the midst of the darkness of today’s world. God will surely give us the grace to continue carrying the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us also ask for the grace of divine joy, because the fight in defending the Faith we perhaps may encounter the temptation to get some envy and bitter zeal, for example when priests criticize priests, when bishops criticize bishops.…

Envy is sadness for the good of others, says St. Thomas; and bitter zeal DESTROYS the charity of God in the soul, says Dom Marmion. Let us not be envious or bitter like the Pharisees.

Finally, may Our Lord give us the graces of martyrdom, like all the saints who were martyred in the region of La Vendée (France), whose general said in the heat of action, “If I advance, follow me; if I retreat, kill me; if I die, avenge me.”

Or like José Sanchez del Rio, that 12-year-old boy who joyfully offered his life for the love of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrament, whose last words were “Long live Christ the King!”

Amen.

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Devotion to the Holy Face and the Golden Arrow

Devotion to the Holy Face and the Golden Arrow

​  Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre (1816-1848)

  from Le Sel de la terre 110, Autumn 2019

1. A Life Hidden in God

Perrine ELUERE, who was to become Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre in the Carmelite Order, was born on October 4, 1816 in Rennes (French Britanny). Born into a family of twelve children, she lost her mother at the age of twelve and asked the Blessed Virgin to be her mother.

Deciding to become a nun, she had to wait several years before realizing her vocation and invoked Saint Martin of Tours for this intention. On November 11, 1839, her feast day, she left Rennes for the Carmel of Tours.

There she was favored with revelations from Christ, on the gravity of blasphemy and desecration of Sundays and the need to make reparation for so many crimes that directly offend God. Jesus taught her a prayer of reparation – The Golden Arrow and also asked for the establishment of a brotherhood of reparation. He entrusted France to her prayers.

Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre lived in great devotion to the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Very humble, helpful, and patient, she accepted the most modest tasks with obedience, following the example of the Child Jesus.

Put to the test by her superiors, to whom she had opened up about the revelations she had received, she always showed obedience and humility. Stricken with pulmonary tuberculosis, she died in the odor of sanctity on July 8, 1848, in her thirty-third year, after a painful agony.

Six months after her death, in January 1849, a miracle in Rome popularized devotion to the Holy Face throughout Christendom and encouraged the saintly man from Tours, Mr. Dupont, to exhibit the image in his salon, which quickly became a very popular oratory because of the miracles that multiplied there.

But even before that, Mr. Dupont, who knew Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre personally, advised everyone to pray at her tomb to ask for graces. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, in turn, had a special devotion to the Carmelite nun of Tours, from whom she drew inspiration for her childlike way.

2. Making Reparation for the Blasphemies and Offenses Against God

The Golden Arrow

On August 26, 1843, during the evening prayer, Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre received the inspiration to spread a devotion named The Golden Arrow. The holy man from Tours, Mr. Dupont, who learned about it later, saw it as a response from Heaven, for he had prepared the feast of St. Louis (August 25) with a novena asking the holy king for his intercession and help in the fight against blasphemy in France. Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre reported to her Mother Superior in these words:

Our Lord opened His Heart to me, gathered the powers of my soul in it, and addressed these words to me: ‘My Name is blasphemed everywhere; even children blaspheme!’ “And He made me hear how this awful sin hurt His divine Heart more painfully than all the others; by blasphemy, the sinner curses Him to his face, attacks Him openly, annihilates the Redemption, and pronounces himself his condemnation and his judgment. Blasphemy is a poisoned arrow, which continually wounds His Heart: He told me that He wanted to give me a golden arrow to wound Him delightfully, and to heal the wounds of malice that sinners make Him.”

Here is the formula of praise that Our Lord, in spite of my great unworthiness, dictated to me for the reparation of blasphemies against his holy Name. He gave it to me like a golden arrow, assuring me that every time I say it, I will wound his Heart with a wound of love:

Golden Arrow:

May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible, and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored, and glorified forever in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most holy Sacrament of the Altar. So be it.

Our Lord, having given me this golden arrow, added: ‘Pay attention to this favor, for I will ask you to give an account.’”

At that moment it seemed to me that streams of grace for the conversion of sinners were coming out of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, wounded by this golden arrow.

Jesus’ Great Desire: to Glorify the Name of the Father

A month later (September 29, feast of St. Michael), the sister communicated to her Mother Superior:

Our Lord inspired me to join to the praise of the Golden Arrow some prayers to make reparation, by twenty-four adorations, the blasphemies professed at each hour of the day, and He was kind enough to let me know that He accepted this exercise. This divine Savior made me share in the desire He feels to see the Name of His Father glorified; He told me to apply myself to praising and blessing this adorable Name, in imitation of the angels who sing in heaven perpetually: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; and thus I will fulfill the order He gave me to honor His Heart and that of His holy Mother, for they are both wounded by blasphemy. He also made me understand that this would not prevent me from honoring Him in His mysteries, as I am accustomed to do, because in all the mysteries of His life His Heart has suffered for the sin of blasphemy.

Gravity of the Desecration of Sundays

On November 24, the sister relayed these words of Our Lord:

The earth is covered with crimes! The breaking of the first three commandments of God has angered My Father; the blasphemy of the Holy Name of God and the profanation of the Holy Day of Sunday have added to the measure of iniquity; these sins have reached the throne of God and provoked His wrath, which will be poured out if His Justice is not appeased. I desire, but with a strong desire, that a well-approved and well-organized association be formed to honor my Father’s name.

[…]

3. The Holy Face of Our Lord

Offering Jesus to His Father

On December 25, 1843, Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre made an act of perfect donation to the Most Holy Child Jesus according to the extent of His will for the accomplishment of His designs to the glory of the Holy Name of God. From this date on, Jesus asked her to join devotion to His holy Face to acts of reparation against blasphemies:

He said to me, ‘Just as in a kingdom you can get everything you want with a silver coin marked with the effigy of the prince, so with the precious coin of My holy Humanity, which is my adorable Face, you will get everything you want in the kingdom of heaven’”.

It seems to me that we should only pray and present ourselves before the eternal Father with some merit of His Son in our hands, in order to offer it to Him and thus oblige Him to fulfill the admirable promise of our Lord: ‘Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, He will give it you.’ (Jn. 16:23). If we have no virtues to offer to God, let us offer Him all those of Jesus our Savior, who sanctified Himself for us. Let us offer His gentleness, humility, patience, obedience, poverty, fasts, vigils, and zeal for the glory of His Father and the salvation of souls! Let us also offer His divine and effective prayers; He prayed during his mortal life; the Gospel says that He withdrew at night to pray; He prays in Heaven; He shows His wounds to His Father for us; finally He prays in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.”

O what an ineffable mystery! A Savior God praying for His creatures, and prayed to by these same creatures!”

Let us unite our prayers with those of the incarnate Word, and they will be answered; let us offer to the eternal Father the sacred Heart of Jesus, His adorable Face, and His divine wounds; let us offer His tears, His blood and His sweat; let us offer His travels, works, words, and silence, all that He suffered in each of His mysteries; finally, let us always have our eyes fixed on the Gift of God; let us search in this treasure unknown to the world; let us, if we can, enumerate all the goods we possess in Him, and we will soon be rich and enrich poor sinners: For we can offer the humility of Jesus for the conversion of the proud, His poverty for the avaricious, His mortification for the sensual, His zeal to glorify His Father for the blasphemers, finally all the accusations He suffered from the Jews saying He was violating the Sabbath law, for the conversion of the true violators of the holy day of Sunday.”

O gift of God that I have ignored for too long, You will be my only treasure from now on; I discover new riches in Thou every day.”

Importance of Reparation

On February 2, 1844, Jesus expressed again the great concerns of His Heart, the honor of His divine Father and that of His holy spouse:

O you who are My friends and My faithful children, see if there is a pain similar to Mine; My divine Father and My Spouse, the holy Church, the object of the delights of My Heart, are despised, outraged by My enemies. Will no one arise to console Me, by defending them against those who attack them? I can no longer remain in the midst of this ungrateful people; see the torrents of tears that flow from My eyes. Will I find no one to wipe them away, making reparation to the glory of My Father and asking for the conversion of the guilty?

To Intercede for Sinners

Another day, He showed me the multitude of those who continually fall into hell, inviting me in the most touching way to help these poor sinners, and making me understand the strict obligation of the Christian soul towards these blind wretches who are precipitating themselves into the eternal abyss and to whom His mercy would open their eyes, if charitable hearts interceded for them. He told me that if He would ask the rich for an account of the temporal good He had entrusted to them to help the needy, how much more would He ask a Carmelite, a religious soul, rich with all the goods of the heavenly Spouse, for a rigorous account of the use she had made of them to help unfortunate sinners? Then this amiable Savior, opening to me His immense treasures composed of the infinite merits of His life and passion, added: –‘My daughter, I give you my Face and My Heart, I give you My Blood, I give you My wounds: draw and pour! Draw and pour! Buy without money, My Blood is the price of souls. Oh, what a sorrow for My Heart to see that remedies that cost Me so much are despised! Ask My Father for as many souls as I shed drops of blood in My Passion.’”

Gravity of Blasphemy

“He made me understand that men are incapable of understanding the insult done to God by this sin of blasphemy; blasphemies pierce His heart and make Him a second Lazarus covered with wounds. He invited me to imitate the dogs who comforted poor Lazarus by coming to lick his wounds; I would do Him a great service by employing my tongue to glorify every day the most holy Name of God despised and blasphemed by sinners, without considering whether this exercise gave me interior consolations; it would be enough for me to think that I was healing His divine wounds and causing Him great satisfaction.”

The Holy Face of Christ Offended by Blasphemies

“I understood that, as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the sensitive object offered to our adoration to represent His immense love in the most holy Sacrament of the altar, so, in the work of reparation, the Face of Our Lord is the sensitive object offered to the adoration of the associates to repair the outrages of the blasphemers who attack the Divinity of which it is the figure, mirror, and expression. By the virtue of this adorable Face, presented to the eternal Father, we can appease His anger and obtain the conversion of the impious and blasphemers.”

“Our Lord made me see that the Church, His Spouse, is His mystical body, and that religion was the face of this body; then He showed me this face in the face of the enemies of His Name, and I saw that the blasphemers and the sectarians were renewing on the holy Face of Our Lord all the opprobrium of His Passion. I saw, thanks to this divine light, that the impious, by uttering evil words and blaspheming the holy Name of God, were spitting on the Face of the Savior and covering it with mud; that all the blows given by the sectarians to the holy Church, to religion, were the renewal of the many blows that the Face of Our Lord received, and that these unfortunate people were making this august Face sweat by striving to annihilate its works.”

“Our Lord showed me, with the help of a simple and just comparison, that the impious by their blasphemies attacked His adorable Face, and that the faithful glorified it by the homage of praise rendered to His Name and to His person.”

“Merit is in persons, but the glory that accompanies them is in their name; it bursts forth when it is pronounced; the merit or demerit of a person passes into his name. The most holy Name of God expresses the divinity, and contains in it all the perfections of the Creator; it follows from this that the blasphemers of this sacred Name attack God himself. Now let us remember these words of Jesus: “the Father is in me and I in the Father.” (Jn. 10:38). Jesus made Himself passible by the Incarnation; and He suffered, in His adorable Face, the outrages done by the blasphemers to the Name of God, His Father.”

“Our Lord has shown me that there is something mysterious about the face of a despised man of honor; yes, I see that his name and his face have a special connection. Behold a man distinguished by his name and merits, in the presence of his enemies; they do not lay hands on him, but they overwhelm him with insults, they add bitter derision to his name, instead of the titles which are due to him. Notice then what happens to the face of this insulted man; would you not say that all the outrageous words that come out of the mouths of his enemies come to rest on his face and cause him to suffer a real torment? We see this face covered with redness, shame, and confusion; the opprobrium and ignominy it suffers are more cruel to bear than real torments in the other parts of its body. Well, here is a weak portrait of the Face of Our Lord outraged by the blasphemies of the impious! Let us represent this same man in the presence of his friends, who, having learned of the insults he has received, hasten to console him, to treat him according to his dignity, pay homage to the greatness of his name by calling him by all his titles of honor; do you not then see the face of this man feel the sweetness of these praises Glory rests on his forehead and, shining on his face, makes it all shiny: joy shines in his eyes, a smile is on his lips; in a word, his faithful friends have healed the bitter pain of this face outraged by his enemies, glory has passed the reproach. This is what the friends of Jesus do through the work of reparation; the glory they give to His Name rests on this august forehead, and rejoices His most holy Face, in a very special way, in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.”

Healing the Blasphemers

• 3 November 1845:

According to the care you will take to repair My portrait, which was disfigured by blasphemers, I will take care to repair yours, which was disfigured by sin. I will reprint My image on it, and I will make it as beautiful as it was when it came out of the font of baptism. Abandon yourself therefore into My hands and be willing to suffer all the operations necessary for the restoration of this image. Do not be troubled if you experience sadness and darkness, for you know that in an image, the dark colors serve to bring out those that are more vivid. Men have the art of restoring bodies; but only I can be called the restorer of souls, and who restores them to the image of God. I have made known to you this work of reparation, I have shown you its excellence, and now I promise you the reward.”

Oh! If you could see the beauty of my Face! Your eyes are still too weak!”

• 5 January 1846:

“Our Lord made me aware that Lucifer willingly left to other demons the care of leading other flocks of sinners, such as for example: the impure, the drunkards, the greedy; but the blasphemers form his favorite flock. He made it known to me that this work of reparation embraces not only the reparation of blasphemy proper, but also that of all other blasphemies uttered against religion and the Church; however, it applies especially to blasphemies of the holy name of God.

To Draw Tirelessly From the Gold Mine

“Our Lord […] again gave me the order to pray for France, telling me […] that I should draw on His divine wounds for His sheep; finally, that He was giving Himself to me like a gold mine, to pay to His divine Father the debts which our country owes to His justice, allowing me to take for this the great treasures of His Heart. Then Our Lord made me understand that I must be careful not to act like the lazy servant of the Gospel who did not use his talent: He will ask me for an account one day, and it is very easy for me to take from this gold mine that He himself dug by his works and sufferings. I believe that He very much desires to find someone who will oblige Him, through prayer, to show mercy to France.”

Intercede for France

  • 23 January, 1846:

The face of France has become hideous in the eyes of My Father, provoking His justice; offer Him therefore the Face of His Son, in whom He is pleased, in order to draw mercy on this France; otherwise, it will be punished.’

  • November 22:

This is what the divine Master told me: ‘My daughter, I take you today as My bursar, and I place My holy Face in your hands again, so that you may offer it unceasingly to My Father for the salvation of France. Make use of this divine talent; you have in it enough to do all the business of My house; you will obtain, through this holy Face, the salvation of many sinners; with this offering, nothing will be refused you. If you only knew how pleasing the sight of my Face is to My Father!’

Changing the Wine of Justice Into the Wine of Mercy

[…] I saw other punishments prepared to satisfy this justice. When I saw this, I said to Our Lord, “Sweet Jesus, if only I could drink the rest of this cup, so that my brothers might be spared!”

“He answered me that He accepted my good will, but that I was not capable of emptying this cup, and that only He could drink it. The Savior, seeing my pain, beckoned me to enter His divine Heart; in His excessive mercy, He gave it to me as a vessel worthy of being presented to the eternal Father to receive this wine of His wrath, making me understand that, passing through this channel, it would be changed for us into the wine of mercy. But He does not want to entirely infringe the rights of justice; if I may express myself in this way, He wants to make a covenant between His justice and His mercy, and for this purpose He asks for the establishment of the work of Reparation to the glory of His Name. Yes, He will disarm the anger of God, His Father, if He offers Him a work of reparation for us! Is it not the least we can do, O sweet Jesus, to make reparation by our prayers, by our groans and by our adoration, for the enormous sins of which we are guilty towards the majesty of God? This, Mother, is the prayer that Our Lord put into my mouth, and which I want to repeat unceasingly: ‘Eternal Father, look upon the divine Heart of Jesus which I offer to you to receive the wine of your justice, so that it may be changed for us into the wine of mercy’. He made me understand that, each time I made this offering, I would obtain a drop of this wine of divine anger, which, falling, as I said above, into the vessel of the sacred Heart of Jesus, would change into the liquor of mercy.

Waging War on the Communists

In 1847, the League of Communists was founded in London. Two of its members, Marx and Engels, received the mission to write the doctrinal manifesto that appeared in February 1848 under the title Manifesto of the Communist Party. On March 14, 1847, Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre wrote to her superior:

“Our Lord today, after Holy Communion, made me understand that the plagues we have been struck with were only the forerunners of those which His justice is preparing for us if His anger is not appeased, and He showed me the sins of blasphemy and the profanations of Sunday under the emblem of two pumps, with which the men who are guilty of these crimes draw the waters of His wrath over France and expose themselves to being submerged by them, if this work of reparation which He gives her in his mercy as a means of salvation is not established. Then He told me that the sectarians called Communists had only made one excursion: ‘Oh’! He added, –‘if you knew their secret and diabolical machinations, and their anti-Christian principles! They are only waiting for a favorable day to set fire to France. Ask, therefore, for the work of Reparation to whom it belongs, in order to obtain mercy.’”

• 29 March 1847:

Our Lord has entrusted me with a new mission which I would be afraid of if I were anything; but as I am nothing but a weak instrument in His powerful hand, I am perfectly at peace.

He commanded me to make war on the communists, whom He told me were the enemies of the Church and of His Christ, making me understand that these lion cubs were, for the most part, born in the Church whose cruel enemies they now declared themselves to be. Then He added: –‘I have made it known to you that I hold you in My hands like an arrow. Now I want to shoot this arrow at My enemies. I give you the weapons of My Passion to fight them: My cross, whose enemies they are, and the other instruments of My torture. Go to them with the simplicity of a child and the courage of a valiant soldier. Receive, for this mission, the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’. Then I prayed to the Blessed Virgin to be the custodian of these divine weapons, given to me by her dearest Son, who is compared to the Tower of David, from which hang a thousand shields. Our Lord gave me, on this subject, several other lights which it would not be easy for me to relate. “Lord,” I said, “train my hands for battle, and teach me to use your instruments.”

He said to me: ‘The weapons of My enemies give death, but Mine give life.’

How to Fight the Enemies of God

This is the prayer I often recite for this purpose: –Eternal Father, I offer you, against the camp of your enemies, the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ and all the instruments of His holy Passion, that You may put division between them; for, as Your beloved Son has said, every kingdom divided against itself will be destroyed [Mt. 12:25].

[…] Jesus gives me grace to draw my weapons; today, after Holy Communion, He encouraged me to fight, and He promised to give me a cross of honor, which, He told me, would open heaven for me, if I were faithful […]. But, Reverend Mother, after having fought the enemies of God with all my strength during these three days of feasting, I now feel almost contrition. I explain myself: it is because I fear having made imprecations against them.

I know that the holy King David does the same in his psalms (108, for example); but I do not know if I am allowed to do so. Finally, I have said everything that Our Lord, it seems to me, inspired me to say; if it is wrong, and I am mistaken, I will not do it again.

I will tell you that I begin by placing my soul in the hands of Our Lord; then I beg him to bend His bow and shoot His arrows at His enemies; then I fight them first by His cross and by the instruments of His Passion, as He taught me; then by the virtue of the most holy Name of God. And this is my concern for the imprecations, for if it is wrong, I have repeated these words a hundred times; but I had no intention of wishing harm to these criminal people; I am only angry at their malice and their passions; I only want to kill the old man in them. So this is what I say:

Let God arise, let His enemies be dispelled, and let all those who hate Him flee from His face.

May the name of the thrice holy God overturn all their plans.

May the sacred name of the living God divide all their feelings.

May the terrible name of the God of eternity destroy their impiety.

I say some more, and when I have thus beaten them well, I add:

I do not want the sinner to die, but to be converted and live. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [Lk. 23:34]

I do these exercises without restraint of spirit and with great ease, because I let myself be led by the grace that guides me.

Ten Punishments for the Violation of the Ten Commandments

Ten Punishments for the Violation of the Ten Commandments

Editorial of Salt of the Earth 118, Fall 2021


MORE THAN 3,000 YEARS AGO, God struck Egypt with ten terrible plagues called the Ten Plagues of Egypt.

God wanted to force Pharaoh to let the Jewish people out of Egypt, as Moses had asked. But Pharaoh was hard-hearted and it was only at the tenth plague, the most terrible, that he let the Hebrews go.

St. Augustine showed in a sermon how the ten plagues of Egypt can represent the punishments God inflicts on men when they break the ten commandments. Now more than ever the world is transgressing the Ten Commandments. This explains the painful events we are undergoing and perhaps the more serious ones that still await us.

The transgression of each commandment is punished by the corresponding wound, not in the historical sense, but in its symbolic sense.

1. You shall have no other God but Me.

First plague of Egypt: water turned to blood. Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses, so Aaron, his brother, struck the waters of the river with his staff, and all the waters of the land were turned to blood. The fish died and the Egyptians could no longer drink.

Water means life, blood symbolizes death. The world that does not want to worship God, the author of life, is punished by death.

More than ever, the world rejects God, and especially rejects Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only true God. So it is punished with death. Death is found even before birth with abortion, it is found at the end with euthanasia, death is even now omnipresent: continuously the radio, the television, the media speak about death and dying.

2. You shall not take the name of God in vain.

Second plague: the plague of frogs that covered the land of Egypt. When they died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields, they were piled up in heaps, and the land was infected with them.

Men who no longer wish to pronounce the name of God with respect, and who blaspheme him, are given over by God to vain chatter, represented by the croaking of frogs. The heaps of dead and fetid frogs represent the bitterness that these conversations leave in the souls.

Today, we proclaim the right to blasphemy, while banishing the sacred name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, excluded in the name of “secularism”, as if God had not come to teach and save us.

The punishment is the hollow chatter of the media, of television, of the internet, of all these means of social communication, which croak like frogs, which never speak of the essential, and leave behind them emptiness and sadness in the soul.

3. Remember to keep the feasts holy.

Third plague: the invasion of flies.

Men who do not want to respect the Sunday rest live in unrest, the opposite of rest which the Latin quies signifies. Permanent agitation, continuous torment symbolized by the flies.

Go to a big city, look in the street: everyone is running, there is no more peace and quiet.

4. Honor your father and your mother.

Fourth plague: the sending of a gnat called the dog flea, which tormented the Egyptians by its bites.

Little dogs are born blind, they do not recognize their parents. This plague means that men who do not honor their parents, will themselves have to suffer from their children who will treat them cruelly.

The modern world crams old people into real warehouses, where they die of boredom when they are not victims of euthanasia.

No doubt good Christians do what they can to take care of their elderly parents, and some even make great sacrifices, but the fact remains that our society is hard on the elderly, it makes them suffer, and this is a punishment for the transgression of the fourth commandment.

5. Thou shalt not kill.

Fifth plague: the cattle plague which kills the Egyptians’ herds.

Murderers are often punished by dying like animals.

Our world is murderous: it not only kills children and old people, but it promotes terrorism, drugs, suicide, it multiplies useless and ever more deadly wars. As a punishment, men die like beasts. How many immortal souls have arrived in recent months at the threshold of death without any preparation? The priest is no longer called, and they even want to prevent him from approaching the dying.

6. You shall not commit impure acts.

Sixth plague: ulcers and tumors bulging into blisters.

Impurity is often punished with shameful diseases.

The modern world is afflicted by all kinds of diseases, including AIDS, which is one of the most deadly.

7. Thou shalt not steal.

Seventh plague: the hail that destroyed the crops of the Egyptians.

Those who steal often end up in misery. Spiritual misery, deprived of the only true wealth which is God, but also often material misery.

Our modern societies live by an organized theft called usury. We did not want to listen to the Church, we let the usurers take control of the financial world. The punishment for this will be the general ruin that will inevitably come. Communism in Russia and China led to general misery and terrible famines. The Neo-Communism that is being set up all over the world is also likely to result in misery and famine.

8. You shall not give false testimony.

Eighth plague: the locusts with their terrible teeth.

Those who live a lie end up devouring each other.

The modern world is one of institutionalized lying:

  • lie of secularism, which excludes God in the name of a false neutrality;

  • lie of Darwinism, which praises a world that would be self-constructing;

  • lie of Machiavellian democratization which openly replaces authority by the manipulation of the supposedly sovereign people.

The result: the modern world is a jungle where man is a wolf to man.

9. You shall not desire another’s wife.

Ninth plague: the darkness preventing one from seeing even in daylight.

Figure of the darkness of the heart ravaged by bad desires.

Alas, so many young people, so many adults even, are watching bad things on the screens. Here they are in thick darkness, which is only the prelude to the outer darkness where they will be thrown if they do not come to their senses.

10. You shall not desire the good of others

.

Tenth plague: the death of the firstborn.

The firstborn represents the soul, which should be dearer to us than anything else.

The sin of envy is punished by the death of the soul.

Through commercial advertising and revolutionary ideology, the modern world advocates envy as the engine of economic and social progress.

The result is the death of the soul, through sin and progressive dehumanization. We even come to advocate transhumanism.

After having listed the ten plagues, punishments for the violation of the ten commandments, it is necessary to recall that the punishments of this world often have, in the designs of God, a medicinal value.

They are intended to correct, not to crush.

To show that they cannot really harm faithful men, these plagues were cruel only to the Egyptians, and did not reach the Hebrews.

The situation is not exactly the same today, since good Christians can suffer the consequences of crimes they did not commit. But in reality, nothing can harm them, because “all things work together for good to souls who love God” (St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 28).

In the New Covenant, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Innocent One par excellence, came to suffer for the guilty.

The sufferings of Christians serve not only to atone for their own sins, but to save many sinners.

If we have to suffer the punishments that God in his goodness sends to our guilty world, let us see it as an opportunity to sanctify ourselves.

Let us ask for the grace to accept them.

If we ourselves have transgressed the Ten Commandments, let us accept these sufferings as an expiation for our sins. And if we suffer for the sins of others, let us thank God for associating us with his Cross.

Translation by A.A.

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé–No. 37: January 2022

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

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Adoration by the Magi (Lorenzo Monaco, 1421-1422).

No. 37: January 2022

O Great Mystery

Joy is one of the most striking sentiments of the liturgy for the mystery of the Nativity. The Church invites us constantly to be joyful recalling the words of the Angel to the shepherds “To you I announce good news which will be for you the source of great joy: a Savior is born”. (St. Luke 2: 10-11). The joy of Christmas is one of deliverance, of a conquered heritage, of peace, and especially of the vision of God given to men. “And he will be called Emmanuel”. (Isaiah 7: 14; St. Matthew 1: 23)

But this joy will only be assured if we remain faithful to the grace given to us by the Savior and which makes us His brothers. “O, Christian,” says St. Leo the Great in his sermon that the Church reads during the Holy night, “recognize your dignity. And participating in the Divinity, be careful not to fall from such a sublime state.”

“If you knew the gift of God” (St. John 4, 10), said Our Lord. If you knew this Son who is given to you! Let us receive Him as we should. May it not be said of us: “He came into the world and His own received Him not.” (Christmas Gospel) By creation we are all in the domain of God, we belong to Him; but there are those who have not received Him on this Earth. How many Jews and pagans have rejected Our Lord because He appeared in humility and corruptible flesh! Souls drowned in the darkness of pride and sensuality: “The light shown in the darkness and the darkness received it not.” (Last Gospel)

And how must we receive it? By Faith – those who “believe in His Name”. It is to those who believing in Him, in his words and works, have received this Child as God that it has been given in return to become themselves children of God.

Such is, indeed, the fundamental disposition that we must have in order that this great mystery (antiphon of the Octave of Christmas) produces in us all its fruits. Only by Faith may we know the terms and the manner in which it is realized. May we penetrate into the depths of this mystery and have a true knowledge worthy of God.

There are different modes and degrees of knowledge.

“The ox and ass knew their God,” (Isaiah 1: 3) was written by Isaiah speaking of this mystery. They saw the Child lying in the manger. But what did they see? That which an animal can see: the form, the size the color, the movement- rudimentary knowledge which does not leave the realm of sensation. Nothing more.

The passers-by, the curious who came to the stable saw the Child; but for them, He seemed to be like all others. They did not go further than this purely natural knowledge. Perhaps they were struck by the beauty of the Child? Perhaps they were saddened by His destitution? But this sentiment did not last, and indifference took over quickly.

The shepherds, simple souls, “enlightened by a ray of light from on high” (St. Luke 2: 9) certainly understood more; they recognized in this Child the promised Messiah, the expectation of the Gentiles. (Genesis 49: 10) they gave Him homage and their souls were for a long time filled with joy and peace.

The angels also contemplated the New – Born, the Word made flesh. They saw in Him their God. This knowledge cast these pure spirits into stupor and admiration at such a debasement, impossible to understand. It is not the Angelic nature that He wanted to take, but the human nature. “For nowhere doth He taketh hold of the angels: but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold.” (Hebrews 2: 16)

What would we say of the Blessed Virgin Mary when she saw Jesus? To what depth of this mystery did this regard so pure, humble and tender, full of kindness penetrate! We would not be able to be express with what graces the soul of Our Lord filled His Mother and what sublime adorations, what perfect homages Mary gave to Her Child, to Her God, and to all that of which the Incarnation is the substance and root.

There is finally, and this is undeniable, the regard of the Father contemplating His Son, made flesh for men. The Heavenly Father saw that which never, neither man nor angel nor Mary herself, will ever understand: the infinite perfections of the Divinity which are hidden in a Child. And this contemplation was the source of unspeakable glory, “Thou art by beloved Son. In Thee I am well pleased.” (St. Matthew 1: 11; St. Luke 3: 22)

When we contemplate at Bethlehem the Word made flesh, let us lift ourselves above our senses, and only look with our eyes of Faith. The Faith allows us to participate here below in the knowledge that the divine Persons have of one another. There is no exaggeration in this. Sanctifying Grace makes us indeed, participants of the Divine Nature. And the activity of the Divine Nature consists in the knowledge and love that the Divine Persons have for one another. So, we participate in this knowledge. And even as sanctifying grace opening itself into glory will give us the right to contemplate God as He sees Himself; so on Earth, in the shadows of Faith, grace gives us the possibility to look into the depths of these mysteries through the eyes of God. “A new ray of your greatness has shown in the eyes of our souls” (Preface of Christmas)

Extract of Dom Marmion,

Christ in His Mysteries


Community Chronicle

September 26th: In the beginning of the new school year a parish pick-nick allows our faithful to deepen the bonds of charity among each other and have an afternoon to speak with different Fathers of the community.

October 2nd: As history has proved, during times of great distress it is necessary to pray fervently, especially the rosary. On our little scale, as the world wide situation continues to go downhill, we try and help others to invoke our Lady. During this month October we organize a public Rosary in front of the cathedral every Saturday afternoon.

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Public Rosary in front of the cathedral.


November 14th: Better late than never! After about a two month’s delay we are at last able to start our different conferences for the formation of our faithful on such topics as catechism, philosophy and education.

November 16th: We sing a Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Father Xavier Ignatius, Indian priest and Dominican tertiary. He passed away after 70 years of priesthood and shortly before his 100th birthday. During many years he travelled all around the South of India in order to spread the Rosary Confraternity and support our tertiaries. One of our priests was able to visit him in 2004.

November 21st: Thanks to the generous help of many faithful, the annual winter market is the occasion to help finance our grade school and gather our parishioners for a pleasant afternoon.

December 8th: Once again this year we cannot do the procession through the streets of Angers because of the governmental restrictions. But we organize the Rosary in front of the cathedral in honor of the Immaculate Conception.

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The Nativity scene in our church.


December 22nd-January 5th: During Christmas vacation, with all the activities of our schools ceasing, our community gathers around the crib and the great mystery of the Word made flesh. These moments of greater calm and recollection remind us that Dominicans are contemplatives whose contemplation simply overflows into different forms of apostolate for the salvation of souls.

News from our worksites

We have begun enclosing the woods of our property with a real fence. During the past few months we have also finished up some smaller jobs such as the new school sacristy and a roof for our Lady’s statue in our woods. God willing, we shall shortly be able to start up the worksite of the future parish hall.

Thank you for all your help!

“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)

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Construction of the fence around our woods.


Remember, Oh Most Pious Virgin Mary!

In the face of a spiritual battle, spiritual weapons are needed. […] Human forces alone are unable to face the looming threat. For this we must understand how important and irreplaceable is the use of prayer and divine help, with the invincible weapon that the Blessed Virgin Mary has given us to fight the Enemy of mankind.

I invite everyone to a World Rosary Crusade, to obtain God’s intervention and victory over the unleashing of the forces of Evil through the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin.[…]

In all nations, in all cities of the world, may the cry of our prayer be raised confidently and loudly. As children gripped by tribulation we throw ourselves at the feet of our Mother, invoking her with the certainty of obtaining listening. Let us make our own the words of Saint Bernard: Remember, O most pious Virgin Mary, that it has never been heard in the world that some have resorted to your protection, begged for your help, asked for your help, and been forsaken.

Let us kneel to pray in our homes, churches, streets and squares of our cities. In recognizing that we are all in need of the help of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary, we honor the divine order against the infernal chaos, placing all our hope in her who at the foot of the Cross was given to us as Mother, and who as Mother loves and helps us, as it always has done throughout history.

May even the little ones accompany us in this Crusade, whose innocence moves Heaven. May the elderly and the sick also be spiritually united with us, offering their sufferings in union with the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The devil is terrified by the prayer of children and the penance of those who suffer, because in purity and sacrifice he sees the image of Christ, who has defeated him.

May our heartfelt prayer resound everywhere. We ask the Mediatrix of all Graces to put an end to this destruction of our world, of our freedom, of our identity, of our affections. We ask you to open our eyes, so as not to be pushed into the abyss of despair, hatred, social conflict, pandering to those who sow division in order to hit us in body and soul. […] We ask you to convert the Shepherds, to whom the Lord has entrusted his flock and to whom he will ask for an account of every soul. And for this to happen, we implore the forgiveness of our sins and the public sins of the Nations, since only with repentance and the resolve to no longer offend His divine Son can we hope to be heard.

Animated by this trust, I turn to you, O Mother, Virgin of virgins; I come to you, before you I bow down, repentant sinner. Do not, oh Mother of the Word, despise my prayers, but listen to me kindly and hear me.

+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop

January 6, 2022

The Epiphany of the Lord

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The Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes

The Motu Proprio

  Traditionis Custodes

From Pope Francis

July 16, 2021


Dogs, Wolves and Sheep Skin

Editorial from Le Sel de la terre 117

(Summer 2021)

Domini canes: was the pun likening the sons of St. Dominic (Domini-cani) to the dogs of the Lord (Domini canes) approved – even prompted – by Heaven itself?

The way in which the founder of the Preachers was announced to his mother in a dream, under the figure of a little dog, might suggest this.

In any case, this underlines the originality of a religious order that owed its birth to a heresy, that of the Albigensians, and was specifically founded to respond to it.

Like a shepherd’s dog, Dominic preached: Bringing back to the path the lost sheep. And knowing how to bark when the wolf roamed.” (hymn to St. Dominic).

* Domini canes or Traditionis Custodes?

But if the eighth centenary of his entry into Heaven (August 6, 1221) provided a beautiful opportunity to evoke St. Dominic, a burning current event has caught up with this anniversary. This summer, in the Church, much more than Domini canes, there was talk of Traditionis Custodes: the sarcastic title of a Motu Proprio signed by Pope Francis on July 16, when the Latin text was still unknown – it still is – and was probably not even written. A minor detail, compared to the substance of the matter, but indicative of the ever-increasing cynicism of conciliar Rome.

There was a time when it tried to keep up appearances. Now it is displaying its Machiavellianism more and more openly.

When Francis sticks this fine Latin title on a text that despises Latin as much as it despises Tradition, when he invokes collegiality to impose his personal ideas, when he trumpets that he wants to restore the liturgical authority of the bishops, but in fact grants them only the right to forbid the traditional liturgy and denies them the right to authorize it more broadly, no one can be deceived. Such obvious lies do not even try to be believed. The situation at least gains clarity.

* The Wolf and the Sheep Skin

Since 2007, like a sheep’s skin, the distinction posed by Benedict XVI between the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the one Roman rite 1 masked the reality. Francis is tearing apart this pretense. An indissoluble link unites Vatican II, the new Mass of Paul VI, and the new morality of Francis (which only logically applies the principles of the Council). It is the new religion. The conciliar wolf is naked.

Archbishop Lefebvre had perceived its voice as early as 1965:

This pastoral Constitution is neither pastoral nor emanates from the Catholic Church […] never has the Church spoken like this. […]. We know the voice of Christ, our Shepherd. This one we do not know. The garment is that of the sheep; the voice is not that of the Shepherd, but perhaps that of the wolf 2.

* The Ecclesia Dei Institutes facing reality

When the shepherd turns into a wolf, resistance is a duty:

When the shepherd turns into a wolf, it is up to the whole flock to defend itself. According to the rule, no doubt, doctrine descends from the bishops to the faithful; and the subjects must not judge their leaders in matters of faith. But in the treasure of Revelation there are essential points, of which every Christian, by the very fact of being a Christian, has the necessary knowledge and obligatory custody 3.”

For fifty years, Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer, Father Calmel O.P. and many others, have set an example of this resistance, clearly denouncing the errors of Vatican II (without, however, allowing themselves to judge and then recuse the leaders of the Church, as the sedevacantists want to do).

For thirty years, the Ecclesia Dei Institutes have tried to find a middle way, keeping the traditional liturgy without rejecting Vatican II. But the pope himself is dispelling their illusions, peeling off the sheep’s skin. Francis himself is destroying the famous hermeneutic of continuity, laboriously built up by Benedict XVI.

The Ecclesia Dei Institutes are up against the wall. Will they make the choice of consistency? Will they recuse Vatican II, like Archbishop Vigano or Bishop Schneider?

We need to pray for the future.

We must pray for this intention.

1 ‑ Benedict XVI, Motu proprio Summorum pontificum (July 7, 2007).

2 ‑ Excerpt from a text delivered by Archbishop Lefebvre to the Council Secretariat on September 9, 1965, concerning the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes.

3 ‑ Dom Guéranger, Liturgical Year, Time of the Septuagesima, Feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé – No. 36: September 2021

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

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The Tavola, one of the first paintings of Saint Dominic, surrounded by his Brothers at table.


No. 36: September 2021

Motto of the Dominican Order

For the 800th anniversary of Saint Dominic’s birth into Heaven (August 6, 1221), let us give a few explanations on the motto of his Order: VERITAS. From the very beginning our Order has been faithful to the Truth and throughout the centuries the Dominicans have considered it as their first title of nobility. In 1266, Pope Clement IV, wanting to define the Dominican vocation officially proclaimed the Order of Saint Dominic “the keeper of Truth.” This means that above all we were founded to defend and spread the truth. The Dominican apostolate is essentially doctrinal and our first work is an intellectual one.

The intellect, handmaid of man, must establish our minds in truth and enable man to practice virtue. Without the base of truth, the will can lean on nothing solid to make resolutions. Whoever despises the intellect and truth removes from man his first force against the powers of disorder. It is a great misfortune that in Catholic preaching sentiment takes the place of the idea. The result is a piety without order which produces unbalanced souls, who only ask for the sensible in the mysteries of Faith. Joseph de Maistre wrote, “Man is only worth what he believes,” and Bonald “dogmas make people.”

Thus the Dominican wants above all to be a sower of truth, and to spread light. Before stimulating men, he wants to enlighten them. Confident in the Divine sense which Baptism has planted in the Christian soul, he does not fear to expose the highest truths even to the crowds, which he endeavors to bring to the heights of Christianity. He is persuaded that he will only bring the hearts of men to Christ by revealing God as much as God has revealed Himself.

A necessary consequence is that the Dominican spirit is without mercy for error. The measure of one’s love for Truth is the measure of one’s hatred for error. History shows the Dominican Order detesting heresy and pursuing it tenaciously to the point that we could summarize these 800 years as a long combat with error. Today, however, a despicable doctrinal liberalism makes all ideas equal, giving the same rights to both truth and error. Nothing is more hateful than this false modern tolerance. Error has no rights, except to disappear.

Far from hurting the apostolate, this doctrinal intolerance fructifies it. What is the first need of modern souls, lost in the complexity of systems without harmony and unity? Doctrine! Is there such a thing as a “modern” soul? No, there are simply ruined intellects. The Dominican applies himself to restore order, bring back the exiled truth, generous and magnificent Queen. In her escort, she will bring back all our old lost Christian glories.

Saint Dominic’s Testament

“My very dear brothers, this is what I leave to you as a possession to be held by right of inheritance by you, my children. Have charity, preserve humility, and possess voluntary poverty.”

Such was the testament of Our Father St. Dominic on August 6, 1221. “Do not weep, I will be more useful after my death than I was during my life,” he added before giving his soul to God.

A little beforehand, after making his general confession to Brother Ventura, he told the Brothers around him, “The mercy of God has conserved until this day my flesh pure and stainless. If you want this same grace, avoid all suspicious occasions. The way in which this virtue is kept makes the servant agreeable to Our Lord and gives him glory and credit before people. Keep serving God in the fervor of the spirit, apply yourselves to uphold and spread this Order which has only started, be constant in holiness, in regular observance and grow in virtue.”

After 800 years we can notice that this inheritance has been transmitted from generation to generation. The Order has had to be reformed many times because of human weakness, but has never ceased to produce Saints and to preach the Sacred Truth.

More than ever the harvest is great and the laborers few. Hence to celebrate St. Dominic this year, we dare ask all our friends to storm Heaven with their prayers for Dominican vocations.

The Religion of Medicine and the credulity of skeptics

Medicine holds a high place in the society of skeptics. The more man distances himself from Christian virtues, the more he attaches himself to life. Whether he believes to return to nothing, or the thought of an afterlife comes to torment him, to live a long time is his principal affair, since his nature abhors nothing and his conscience fears eternity.

He fears sickness not only because it is the privation of pleasure, the only happiness to which he looks for, not only because it causes pain, of which he ignores the price and against which his soul is powerless, but because it is the announcement or threat of this death which will either destroy him completely like an animal or perhaps deliver him to perish in the hands of the Supreme Justice. As long as he is well, he is voluntarily skeptical, and irreverent towards the art of healing, at the first sign of sickness, medicine becomes his only hope. He delivers himself to medicine docile to the point of cowardice, gullible to the point of stupidity.

The Religion of medicine knows no atheist among those who deny the rest. How often do we not see these people, mocking religious practices and abstinence, who as soon as they have a real or imaginary disease become sober, chaste, flee the world and its seductions, make a retreat to the countryside, and pilgrimages far off […]. There is nothing that medicine cannot obtain from them. Their body which gives them so many worries is submitted to penances without number. They pay and swallow without complaining the worst drugs, they stay in prison, and they walk vigorously through the countryside, whip themselves, exile themselves, or even go into icy or putrid waters. What will they not do?

If the doctor told them to spend every day two hours kneeling on a kneeler before a lighted candle, certainly they would fill our churches and force the State to build new ones.

-Louis Veuillot (1813-1883)

Community Chronicle

February 14th: Our senior class leaves for their pilgrimage to Rome accompanied by Father Terence. Because of the present circumstances the churches are rather empty, which thus allows a greater recollection for prayer.

February 27th: His Excellency Bishop Faure confers the tonsure on our Brothers Pie-Marie and Marie-Thomas as well as the second minor orders upon Brother Augustine-Marie.

April 21st: All the brothers available are called on to help plant 2500 potato seedlings in our garden.

May 23rd: Several of our Fathers are absent to accompany pilgrimages for the feast of Pentecost, for example at Ile Bouchard or Vézelay.

June 3rd: Father Prior represents the community at Riddes in Switzerland for the 60th anniversary of Father Epiney’s priestly ordination. Father Epiney is the priest who “welcomed” Archbishop Lefebvre to Ecône when the seminary was founded because Ecône is geographically in the parish of Riddes. Father has remained faithful despite many persecutions and trials over these 60 years.

June 19th: Part of the community assists at the ordinations conferred by His Excellency Bishop Faure at Morannes (about 45 minutes from our friary). Rev. Fr. Chirico (from Italy) was ordained to the priesthood and Rev. Mr. Nass (from Brazil) was ordained to the diaconate. Both of them followed their studies at our friary.

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July 4th: Fathers Innocent-Marie, Marie-Dominique and Emmanuel-Marie participate at the 50th anniversary celebration of the MJCF (a French Catholic youth movement for apostolate). Many conversions and vocations have come from this movement. The first members of our Dominican community also come from this youth group.

July: Among our summer apostolate there are two retreats (one men’s and one ladies’) and also several camps for young boys and young girls. It is an example of the Dominican life that preaches in all circumstances (from a Sunday sermon to classes in a school, from a spiritual retreat to two weeks in the mountains for a summer camp).

August 4th: This year it is the 800th anniversary of our Holy Father Saint Dominic’s entrance into Heaven (August 6th, 1221). His Excellency Bishop Faure honors us with his presence to help celebrate the occasion with a Pontifical High Mass and a conference on the present day crisis. In the evening our annual retreat begins preached by Father Dominique Rousseau on the mystery of the Transfiguration.

August 14th: For the Vigil of the Assumption our Brother Vincent makes his first vows while Brother Augustine-Marie renews his. As for Brother Jean, he makes his perpetual profession in the Third Order as an oblate brother.

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August 15th: Procession in honor of Our Lady through the streets of the neighborhood.

August 18th: Father Marie-Laurent leaves for a few days of apostolate in Prague and its surroundings.

August 19th: Father Alain accompanies our tertiaries on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Saint Dominic at Fanjeaux.

August 22nd: For the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Miss Juniper Figueroa (from St. Mary’s, Kansas) received the Dominican habit in the young community of teaching sisters just five minutes from our friary. Her name is now Sister Catherine-Marie (in honor of St. Catherine of Ricci).

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September 7th: Father François-Marie celebrates the funeral of his two parents, who died three days apart shortly after their 70th wedding anniversary.

September 13th: The school year begins once again for both our grade school and our boarding school.

News from our worksites

The Covidian Crisis brings along with it many delays. Among others, the construction companies are taking much longer to respond to our bidding invitations.

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Parish Hall Project

We are also considering enclosing the woods of our property with a real fence. Yet, it remains to be decided before God which worksites are the most important, taking into account our present means.

“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)