February 2010 - Return to Christ

Do we, Catholic souls, know where our true happiness lies? Don't we doubt it from time to time? Aren't we too negligent when compared with the love of God for us, this ocean of divine love?

Dear friends and benefactors,

Do we, Catholic souls, know where our true happiness lies? Don't we doubt it from time to time? Aren't we too negligent when compared with the love of God for us, this ocean of divine love?

Wouldn't it be sensible to take some time for considering serenely the immense love that God has for us, and thus to find the aid we need to overcome our doubts and negligence? We will quickly realize that we lack the words to adequately express our great joy - so much does this love exceed our poor human understanding.

Our souls, enriched by grace with divine life, are really cherished by God. We receive from His omnipotent and gratuitous mercy the graces necessary to allow us not to walk blindly, groping and staggering at every step. On the contrary: enlightened and strengthened by Catholic doctrine, we can walk assuredly, certain of the path we must follow. The powers of the world and hell are dashed to pieces against this firm certainty that comes from God himself. Like St. Paul, we can loudly affirm that we know in Whom we believe, on Whom our hope rests and our charity is rooted.

However, we have to acknowledge that we do not always have this certainty of faith, hope and charity, and that we live as foreigners and passers-by in the House of our Heavenly Father. How do we manage to do this when at the same time we are receiving so much from God's liberality, "grace upon grace"? From where does this detestable ingratitude arise?

At the bottom, the reason is very simple: we live like foreigners in the House of our Father, because we treat His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, as an ordinary stranger with whom we do not associate, keeping Him out of our activities. He should be the center of reference and attraction of our lives - and He is not! Admittedly, He is not completely absent from our lives, but we are indifferent to His presence. We dedicate to Him an insignificant part of our lives, by reciting some prayers, hasty and inattentive, more for calming our conscience than for paying Him the homage of our love. We comply with the legal minimum, but we do not engage our spirit and our heart in this legalistic exercise.

And we are miserly with God not only in the matter of prayer; we adopt towards Him the same attitude when it is a question of looking further into Catholic doctrine, of incarnating it in our moral life, or of fully living our Christian life in a spirit of sacrifice and dependence.

We are too often satisfied with what we remember of the catechism learned (more or less) in our childhood, without taking the trouble to deepen the treasure of doctrine and to penetrate all its consequences. Also our intelligence has only a vague and confused idea of the majesty and the beauty of God. Our soul remains a waste land, deprived of solid food, and is thus in danger of being carried away by a flood of false doctrines, so abundant in these times of "diabolic confusion", according to the forceful and correct expression of Sister Lucy of Fatima. In the midst of this confusion without precedent, we do not see doctrine as the privileged and sure means to know Christ better in order to unite ourselves unfailingly with Him and to adore Him in spirit and truth.

Knowing Him little and badly, we love Him without fervor and do not know how to discover His presence in our brethren or in the common events of our poor lives. We go our way and take the twisting path of practical naturalism, where all that is supernatural is banished. We hardly lend value to the very clear words of Christ, Who solemnly told us that He would introduce us into His eternal kingdom, or would forever close its doors, for a glass of water offered or refused to anyone.

This naturalism also destroys in us the understanding of the fact that we need to live in a spirit of sacrifice, in order not to sink into the spirit of this world, which invites us to enjoy ourselves and forget our eternal destiny. Have we been degraded to the point that only our lowest instincts guide us, as animals without reason? This ignorance of the need of sacrifice to maintain us on the narrow peak of human balance leads us to ignore Christ Himself; only the understanding of sacrifice leads us to Calvary, where Christ reveals Himself and gives Himself totally to us. Without this understanding, we cannot claim to know Christ, since only the concrete participation in the sufferings of Christ Crucified gives that knowledge: "I do not know but Jesus and Jesus crucified", says St. Paul, who also adds: "To know Him and the resemblance to His death".

Christ remains always the Great Unknown, in spite of what we know of Him and about Him. We live outside the sphere of His life-giving influence. We see, judge, love according to our own interests and, at best, we give Him only a portion of our lives. We recite the Creed by heart, but without putting our heart into it, which we reserve for the satisfactions of our self-love. We lack faith: that living faith that tears us away from the persistent desires in which we delight to wallow.

To return to Christ; to finally discover His beauty and His goodness, to understand that without Him we will die, but that in Him there is Life...

To return to Christ; so that He may tear us away from ourselves and introduce us into the secrets of His filial Love...

To return to Christ - this is the profound reason why Holy Mother Church has established the season of Lent.

Let us answer with generosity and filial spirit this maternal and merciful invitation of the Church, by nourishing ourselves with the texts of the Liturgy, attending the mysteries of the Altar with respect and love, receiving more often and with a renewed faith the sacraments of communion and confession. Let us, finally, learn deprive ourselves of some sensual satisfactions in order to free ourselves from the carnal chains that nail us to the ground and prevent Christ from seizing our souls and realizing in them His Redemption.

May this Lent be for all of us synonymous with graces of conversion, so that on Easter morning, when nature wakes up after a long winter, we may also wake up and, leaving the shadows of death in which we had lingered for so long, make room for Christ.

In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,

Fr. Yves le Roux