Sermon in Lille - 1979

Sermon in Lille - 1979

This sermon was held on Septem ber 23, 1979 in Versailles at the  occasion of his 50th Sacerdotal  Jubilee. Through these lines we  understand better the love that  this man of the Church had for the  Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

My dear brethren, 

Allow me before beginning the  few words which I would like to  address to you on the occasion of  this beautiful ceremony, to thank  all those who have contributed to  its magnificent success. Person ally, I had thought of celebrating  my sacerdotal jubilee in a private,  discreet manner at the altar which  is the heart of Econe, but the  beloved clergy of St. Nicholas du  Chardonnet and the beloved priests  who surround me, invited me with  such insistence to permit all those  who desired to unite themselves  in my thanksgiving and my prayer  on the occasion of this sacerdotal  jubilee, that I could not refuse and  that is why we are gathered here  today—so great in numbers, so  diverse in origin—having come  from America, from all European  countries which are yet free. Here  we are united for the occasion of  this sacerdotal jubilee. 

How then could I define this  gathering, this manifestation, this  ceremony? Homage, a homage to  your faith in the Catholic priest hood, and in the holy Catholic  Mass. I truly believe that it is for  this reason that you have come, in  order to manifest your attachment  to the Catholic Church and to the  most beautiful treasure, to the  most sublime gift which God has  given to man: the priesthood, and  the priesthood for sacrifice, for the  Sacrifice of Our Lord continued upon our altars. 

This is why you have come; this is  why we are surrounded today by  these beloved priests who have  come from everywhere and many  more would have come were it not  a Sunday, for they are held, by their  obligations to celebrate Holy Mass  in their parishes, and they have  told us so. 

I would like to trace, if you will  permit me, some scenes to which  I have been a witness during the  course of this half century, in order  to show more clearly the importance which the Mass of the Cath olic Church holds in our life, in the  life of a priest, in the life of a bishop, and in the life of the Church. 

As a young seminarian at Santa  Chiara, the French Seminary in  Rome, they used to teach us attach ment to liturgical ceremonies. I  had, during that time, the privilege  of being a ceremoniaire, that which  we call a “master of ceremonies,”  having been preceded no less in  this office by His Excellency, Bishop Lebrune, the former bishop of  Autun, and by His Excellency, Bishop Ancel, who is still the auxiliary  bishop of Lyons. I was therefore  a master of ceremonies under the  direction of the beloved Fr. Haegy,  known for his profound knowledge  of the liturgy. We loved to prepare  the altar; we loved to prepare the  ceremonies and we were already  imbued with the spirit of the feast  the eve of the day when a great  

ceremony was to take place upon our altars. We understood therefore, as young seminarians, to love  the altar. Domine dilexi decorem  domus tuae et gloriam habitionis  tuae. This is the verse which we re cite during the Lavabo at the altar:  “Lord I have loved Thy house and  the glory of Thy dwelling.” 

This is what they taught us at the  French Seminary in Rome under the direction of the dear and  Reverend Fr. LeFloch, a well loved  Father, who taught us to see clearly  the events of the time through his  commentaries on the encyclicals of  the popes. 

I was ordained a priest in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart de la rue  Royale in Lille on September 21,  1929, by the then Archbishop Lien art. I left shortly afterwards—two  years afterwards—for the missions  to join my brother who was already  there in Gabon. There I began to  learn what the Mass truly is. 

Certainly I knew by the studies  which we had done, what this great  mystery of our Faith was, but I had  not yet understood its entire value,  efficacy and depth. This I learned  day by day, year by year, in Africa,  and particularly in Gabon, where  I spent 13 years of my missionary  life, first at the seminary and then  in the bush among the Africans,  with the natives. 

There I saw—yes, I saw—what the  grace of the Holy Mass could do. I saw it in the holy souls of some of  our catechists. I saw it in those pa gan souls transformed by the grace  of baptism, transformed by assist ance at Holy Mass, and by the Holy  Eucharist. These souls understood  the mystery of the Sacrifice of the  Cross and united themselves to  Our Lord Jesus Christ in the sufferings of His Cross, offering their  sacrifices and their sufferings with  Our Lord Jesus Christ, and living as  Christians. 

“I saw—yes, I saw— what the grace of the  Holy Mass could do...  I was able to see these  pagan villages become  Christian, being transformed not only, I  would say, spiritually  and supernaturally,  but also being transformed physically,  socially, economically  and politically.” 

I can cite names: Paul Ossima de  Ndjole, Eugene Ndonc de Lam barene, Marcel Mable de Donguila,  and I will continue with a name  from Senegal, Mr. Forster, Treas urer-Paymaster in Senegal, chosen  

for this delicate and important  function by his peers and even by  the Moslems due to his honesty  and integrity. These are some of  the men produced by the grace  of the Mass. They assisted at the  Mass daily, communicating with  great fervor and they have become  models and the light of those about  them. This is just to list a few with out counting the many Christians  transformed by this grace. 

I was able to see these pagan  villages become Christian, being  transformed not only, I would say,  spiritually and supernaturally, but  also being transformed physically,  socially, economically and politically. Because these people—pagans  that they were—became cognizant  of the necessity of fulfilling their  duties, in spite of trials, in spite of  the sacrifices of maintaining their  commitments, particularly their  commitment in marriage. Then the  village began to be transformed  little by little under the influence  of grace, under the influence of the  grace of the Holy Sacrifice of the  Mass. Soon all the villages were  wanting to have one of the Fathers  visit them. Oh, the visit of a missionary! They waited impatiently  to assist at the Holy Mass in order  to be able to confess their sins and  then to receive Holy Communion. 

Some of these souls also consecrated themselves to God: nuns,  priests, brothers, giving themselves  to God, consecrating themselves to  God. 

There you have the fruit of the  Holy Mass. 

Why did all this happen? 

It is necessary that we study somewhat the profound motive of  this transformation: sacrifice. The  notion of sacrifice is a profoundly  Christian and a profoundly Catholic notion. Our life cannot be  spent without sacrifice, since Our  Lord Jesus Christ, God Himself,  willed to take a body like our own  and say to us: “Follow Me, take  up thy cross and follow Me if thou  wilt be saved.” And He has given  us the example of His death upon  the Cross; He has shed His Blood.  Would we then dare—we, His  miserable creatures, sinners that  we are—not to follow Our Lord in  pursuit of His Sacrifice, in pursuit  of His Cross?

There is the entire mystery of  Christian civilization. There is  that which is the root of Christian  civilization: the comprehension of  sacrifice in one’s life, in daily life,  the understanding of Christian  suffering, no longer considering  suffering as an evil, as an unbearable sorrow, but sharing one’s  sufferings and one’s sickness with  the sufferings of Our Lord Jesus  Christ, in looking upon His Cross,  in assisting at the Holy Mass, which  is the continuation of the Passion of Our Lord upon Calvary. 

Once understood, suffering becomes a joy and a treasure because  these sufferings, if united to those  of Our Lord, if united to those of all the martyrs, of all Catholics, of all the faithful who suffer in this world, if united to the Cross of  Our Lord, they, then become an 

inexpressible treasure, a treasure unutterable, and achieve an extraordinary capacity for the conversion of other souls and the salvation of our own. Many holy souls,  Christians, have even desired to suffer in order to unite themselves more closely to the Cross of Our  Lord Jesus Christ. There you have  Christian civilization: 

 Blessed are those who suffer for righteousness' sake. 

 Blessed are the poor. 

 Blessed are the meek. 

 Blessed are the merciful. 

 Blessed are the peacemakers. 

These are the teachings of the Cross; it is this that Our Lord Jesus  Christ teaches us by His Cross. 

This Christian civilization, penetrating to the depths of nations only recently pagan, has transformed them, and impelled them  to desire and thus to choose  Catholic heads of state. I myself  have known and aided the leaders  of these Catholic countries. Their  Catholic peoples desired to have  Catholic leaders so that even their  governments and all the laws of  their land might be submissive to  the laws of Our Lord Jesus Christ  and to the Ten Commandments. 

If, in the past, France—said to be  Catholic—had truly fulfilled the  role of a Catholic power, she would  have supported these colonized  lands in their new-found Faith. Had  she done so, their lands would not now be menaced by Communism,  and Africa would not be what it is  today. The fault does not so much  lie with the Africans themselves as  with the colonial powers, which  did not understand how to avail themselves of this Christian faith  which had rooted itself among the  African peoples. With a proper  understanding they would have  been able to exercise a brotherly  influence among these nations by  helping them to keep the Faith and exclude Communism, If we  look back through history, we see  immediately that what I have been  speaking of took place in our own  countries in the first centuries after  Constantine. For we too, are, in our  origins, converts. Our ancestors  were converted, our kings were  converted, and down through the  centuries they offered their nations  to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and they  submitted their countries to the  Cross of Jesus. They willed too that  Mary should be the Queen of their  lands. 

One can read the admirable writings of St. Edward, King of Eng land, of St. Louis, King of France,  of the Holy Roman Emperor, St.  Henry, of St. Elizabeth of Hungary,  and of all the saints who were at  the head of our Catholic nations  and who thus helped to make  Christianity. What faith they had in  the Holy Mass! King St. Louis of  France served two Masses every day. If he was traveling and happened to hear church bells ringing to announce the consecration, he would dismount to adore on  bended knee the miracle being  performed at that moment. There  indeed was Catholic civilization!  How far from such faith we are  now, how far indeed! 

There is another event which we  are bound to mention after these  pictures of Christian civilization in  Africa, and in our own history, that  of France particularly. A recent event, an event in the life of the  Church, and an important event:  the Second Vatican Council. We are  obliged to declare that the enemies  of the Church knew very well, perhaps better than we, what the value  of just one Mass is. There was a  poem once written on this subject  in which one finds words attributed  to Satan showing how he trembles  each time a Mass, a true Catholic  Mass, is celebrated because he is  thus reminded of the memory of  the Cross, and he knows well that  it was by the Cross that he was  vanquished. The enemies of the  Church who perform sacrilegious  Masses in the well-known sects,  and the Communists, too, know  what value is to be had from one  Mass, one true Catholic Mass. 

I was recently told that in Poland the Communist Party through their  “Inspectors of Religion,” keep  under surveillance those priests in  Poland who say the old Mass but  leave alone those who say the New.  They persecute those who say the  old Mass, the Mass of All Time. A  foreign priest visiting Poland may say what Mass he pleases in order  to give the impression of freedom,  but the Polish priests who decide  to hold firm to Tradition are persecuted. 

I read recently a document about the PAX movement which was communicated to us in June of  1963 in the name of Cardinal  Wyszynski. This document told us: 

You think we have freedom, you are made to think that we have it,  and it is the priests affiliated with  Pax, who are friends of the Communist government, who spread these ideas abroad because they are propagandists for the government, as is even the progressive  French press. But it is not true; we  are not free.” Cardinal Wyszynski  gave precise details. He said that  in the youth camps organized  by the Communists the children  were kept behind barbed wire on  Sundays to keep them from going  to Mass. He told, too, how vacation  hideaways organized by the Catholic priests were surveilled from  helicopters to see if the youth were  going to Mass. Why, why this need  to spy upon children on their way  to Mass? Because they know that  the Mass is absolutely anti-Communist and, how indeed could it be  otherwise? For what is Communism if not “all for the Party and all  for the Revolution”? 

The Mass, on the other hand, is “all  for God.” Not at all the same thing  is it?

All for God! This is the Catholic  Mass, opposed as it is to the program of the Party, which is a  Satanic program. 

You know well that we are all tested, that we are all beset with difficulties in our lives, in our earthly existence. We all have the need to know why we suffer, why these  trials and sorrows, why these Catholics are lying sick in their beds; the hospitals are full of sick people.  Why? The Christian responds: to  unite my sufferings to those of Our  Lord on the altar, to unite them on  the altar and through that act to  participate in the work of redemption, to merit for myself and for  other souls the joy of heaven. 

Now it was during the Council that the enemies of the Church infiltrated Her, and their first objective was  to demolish and destroy the Mass insofar as they could. You can read  the books of Michael Davies, an  English Catholic, who has written magnificent works which demonstrate how the liturgical reform of  Vatican II closely resembles that  produced under Cranmer at the  birth of English Protestantism.  If one reads the history of that  liturgical transformation, made  also by Luther, one sees that now  it is exactly the same procedure which is being slowly followed  and to all appearances, still ap parently good and Catholic. But it  is just that character of the Mass  which is sacrificial and redemptive of sin, through the Blood of  

Our Lord Jesus Christ, which they  have removed. They have made of  the Mass a simple assembly, one  among others, merely presided  over by the priest. That is not the  Mass! 

It is not surprising that the Cross  no longer triumphs, because the  sacrifice no longer triumphs. It is  not surprising that men think no longer of anything but raising their  standard of living, that they seek  only money, riches, pleasures,  comfort, and the easy ways of this  world. They have lost the sense of  sacrifice. 

What does it remain for us to do,  my dear brethren, if in this man ner we deepen our understanding  of the great mystery which is  the Mass? Well, I think I can say  what we should have: a crusade!  A crusade supported by the Holy  Sacrifice of the Mass, by the Blood  of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by that  invincible rock, that inexhaustible  source of grace, the Holy Sacrifice  of the Mass.

This we see every day. You are here  because you love the Holy Sacrifice  of the Mass. And these young seminarians who are in the seminary in  Econe, the United States, and Ger many—why do they come into our  seminaries? For the Holy Mass, for  the Holy Mass of All Time which  is the source of grace, the source  of the Holy Ghost, the source of  Christian civilization; that is the  reason for the priest. 

It is necessary that we undertake a  crusade, a crusade which is based  precisely upon these notions of  immutability, of sacrifice, in order to recreate Christianity, to reestablish a Christendom such as  the Church desires, such as she has always done, with the same principles, the same Sacrifice of  the Mass, the same sacraments, the same catechism, the same Holy  Scripture. We must recreate this  Christendom! It is to you, my dear  brethren, you who are the salt of  the earth and the light of the world, that our Lord Jesus Christ  addressed Himself in saying: “Do  not lose the fruit of My Blood, do  not abandon My Calvary, do not abandon My Sacrifice.” And the Virgin Mary who stands beneath the  Cross, tells you the same thing as  well. She, whose heart is pierced,  full of sufferings and sorrow, yet at  the same time filled with the joy of  uniting herself to the Sacrifice of  her Divine Son; she says to you as  well: “Let us be Christians; let us be  Catholics.” 

Let us not be borne away by all  these worldly ideas, by all these  currents of thought which are in  the world, and which draw us to  sin and to hell. If we want to go to  heaven we must follow Our Lord  Jesus Christ. We must carry our  cross and follow Our Lord Jesus  Christ, imitating Him in His Cross,  in His suffering, in His Sacrifice. 

Thus I ask the youth, the young people who are here in this hall,  to ask us to explain to them these  things that are so beautiful and so  great, so as to choose their vocations, whatever be the calling that  they may elect—be they priests or religious men and women, or  married by the Sacrament of Matrimony, and, therefore, in the Cross of Jesus Christ, and in the Blood of Jesus Christ, married in the  grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let  them comprehend the greatness of  matrimony, and let them prepare  themselves worthily for it—by  purity and chastity, by prayer and  reflection. Let them not be carried  away by all the passions which  engulf the world. Thus let this be  the crusade of the young who must  aspire to the true ideal. 

Let it be as well a crusade for  Christian families. You Christian families who are here, consecrate  yourselves to the Heart of Jesus, to  the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Oh, pray together in the family! I  know that many of those among  you already do so, but may there  always be more and more of you  who do so with fervor. Let Our  Lord truly reign in your homes! 

Castaway, I beg of you, anything which impedes children from entering your family. There is no greater gift that the Good God can bestow upon your hearths than to  have many children. Have big families. it is the glory of the Catholic  Church—the large family! It has been so in Canada, it has been 

so in  Holland, it has been so in Switzer land and it has been so in France— everywhere the large family was  the joy and prosperity of the  Church. There are that many more chosen souls for heaven! Therefore  do not limit, I beg you, the gifts of  God; do not listen to these abominable slogans which destroy the  family, which ruin health, which ruin the household, and provoke divorce. 

And I wish that, in these troubled times, in this degenerate urban atmosphere in which we are living,  that you return to the land whenever possible. The land is healthy;  the land teaches one to know God;  the land draws one to God; it calms temperaments, characters, and  encourages the children to work.  

And if it is necessary, yes, you yourselves will make the school for your children. If the schools  should corrupt your children, what  are you going to do? Deliver them to the corrupters? To those who  teach these abominable sexual practices in the schools? To the so-called “Catholic” schools run by  religious men and women where  they simply teach sin? In reality  that is what they are teaching to  the children: they corrupt them  from their tenderest youth. Are you  to put up with that? It is inconceivable! Rather that your children  be poor—that they be removed from this apparent science that the  world possesses—but that they be  good children, Christian children,  Catholic children, who love their  holy religion, who love to pray, and  who love to work; children who love the earth which the Good God has made. Finally, a crusade as  well for heads of families. You who  are the head of your household,  you have a grave responsibility in  your countries. You do not have the  right to let your country be invaded  by Socialism and Communism! You  do not have the right, or else you  are no longer Catholic! You must  fight at the time of elections in  order that you may have Catholic 

mayors, Catholic deputies, so that  France finally may become Catholic again. 

That is not mere politics, that  is to wage a good, campaign, a  campaign such as was waged by  the saints, such as was waged the  popes who opposed Attila, such as  was waged by St. Remy who converted Clovis, such as was waged  by Joan of Arc who saved France  from Protestantism. If Joan of Arc had not been raised up in France  we would all be Protestants! It was  in order to keep France Catholic  that Our Lord raised up Joan of  Arc, that child of 17 years, who  drove the English out of France.  That, too, is waging a political  campaign. 

Surely then this is the sort of politics which we desire: the politics  of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Just a few moments ago  you were heard to chant: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat. Are these but words,  mere lyrics, mere chants? No! It  is necessary that they be a reality.  You heads of the family, you are the  ones responsible for such realization, both for your children and for  the generations which are to come.  

Thus you should organize yourselves now, conduct meetings  and hear yourselves out, with the  object that France become once again Christian, once again Cath olic, It is not impossible, otherwise  one would have to say that the  

grace of the Holy Sacrifice of the  Mass is no longer grace, that God is  no longer God, that Our Lord Jesus  Christ is no longer Our Lord Jesus  Christ. One must have confidence  in the grace of Our Lord Who is  all-powerful. I have seen this grace at work in Africa. There is no reason why it will not work as well  here in these countries. This is the  message I wanted to tell you today. 

And you, dear priests, who hear me now, you too must make a profound sacerdotal union to spread  this crusade, to animate this cru sade in order that Jesus reign, that  Our, Lord reign. And to do that you  must be holy. You must seek after  sanctity and manifest it to others,  this holiness, this grace which acts  in your souls and in your hearts,  this grace which you receive by the  Sacrament of Holy Eucharist and  by the Holy Mass which you offer,  which you alone are capable of offering. 

I shall finish, my dearly beloved brethren, by what I shall call my testament. Testament—that is a  very profound word—because I  want it to be the echo of the testa ment of Our Lord: Novi et aeterni  testamenti. 

Novi et aeterni testamenti—it is  the priest who recites these words  at the consecration of the Pre cious Blood—Hic est enim calix  Sanguinis mei: novi et aeterni  testamenti. This inheritance which  Jesus Christ gave to us, it is His Sacrifice, it is His Blood, it is His  Cross. the ferment of all Christian  civilization and of all that is necessary for salvation. 

And I say to you as well: for the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity,  for the love of Our Lord Jesus  Christ, for the devotion to the  Blessed Virgin Mary, for the love  of the Church, for the love of the  pope, for the love of bishops, of  priests, of all the faithful, for the  salvation of the world, for the salvation of souls, keep this testament  of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Keep the  Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Keep the Mass of All Time! 

And you will see civilization  reflourish, a civilization which is  not of this world, but a civilization  which leads to the Catholic City  which is heaven. 

The Catholic city of this world is  made for nothing else than for the  Catholic City of heaven. 

Thus by keeping the Blood of  Our Lord Jesus Christ, by keep ing His Sacrifice, by keeping this  Mass—this Mass which has been  bequeathed to us by our predeces sors, this Mass which has been  transmitted from the time of the  Apostles unto this day. In a few  moments I am going to pronounce  these words above the chalice of  my ordination, and how could you  expect me to pronounce above  the chalice of my ordination any  other words but those which I  pronounced 50 years ago over this  same chalice—it is impossible! I  cannot change the words! We shall  therefore continue to pronounce  the words of the consecration as  our predecessors have taught us, as  the pope, bishops and priests who  have been our instructors, have  taught us, so that Our Lord Jesus  Christ reign, and so that souls be  saved through the intercession of  our Good Mother in heaven.