July 2006 - "Stop Looking at Yourself!"

"Stop looking at yourself!" Such is the judicious advice that St Augustine gives us. Indeed, a man who looks at himself always betrays a secret and unhealthy complacency regarding himself. If he abandons himself to this pernicious failing, he is slowly poisoned and contracts an incurable disease, a spiritual leukemia that drains the living forces of his soul and leads him to death.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

"Stop looking at yourself!" Such is the judicious advice that St Augustine gives us. Indeed, a man who looks at himself always betrays a secret and unhealthy complacency regarding himself. If he abandons himself to this pernicious failing, he is slowly poisoned and contracts an incurable disease, a spiritual leukemia that drains the living forces of his soul and leads him to death.

This poisoning results in the loss of the understanding of his end. The man who sees only himself loses the sense of order and, no longer interested in the raison d’être of things, considers the events of life only according to advantages that he can obtain from them. He despises reality. Only his own satisfaction dictates his choices. Judging everything under the light of his own interest, he locks himself up into an evil self-sufficiency that leads to violent anger when he is contradicted even a little. Centered on himself, he cannot conceive that the world does not turn around him. He also falls into a profound discouragement when flashes of insight show him that he is nothing.

This morbid huddling up of the soul - from which all of us suffer to a certain degree - is very serious. It prevents the love of Christ from blossoming in our souls, and it also allows the devil to cunningly infiltrate our hearts.

He who loves goes out of himself and is ready to devote himself completely to the object of his love. But the man who constantly seeks only himself never gets out of himself. On the contrary, he complacently dwells on the inexhaustible subject of his own excellence! This unhealthy love is a radical obstacle for the divine love. It atrophies the powers of the soul, rendering it unable to love and to be loved. The soul becomes like an old wineskin, desiccated by too long an exposure to the sun and thus unable to receive new wine.

What is a man unable to love? A monster. A monster thirsty for pleasures, and for whom the thirst for happiness only increases, because the pleasures, far from quenching that thirst, only excite it. A monster that does not back away from anything in order to have his share of pleasure and who, completely turned upon himself, sinks into a serious psychological imbalance.

The nobility of man resides in his capacity to love, to give himself, to go out of himself. In this act of love, man understands that his ultimate end does not consist in these fleeting, vain and selfish satisfactions. He acknowledges that it is necessary to renounce himself in order to be able to give, even at the cost of his own ease. To love truthfully is a proof of intelligence. It is by loving that we will find our balance and be men in an increasingly decadent world, in which what is human disappears and is replaced by pure animality - and even more.

Indeed, man does not remain for long at the level of the animal world. Prisoner of his passions, he only acts to feed them and very soon his life is reduced to some restricted vegetative functions. This is the daily spectacle offered by today's youth, stuffed with vulgar music, dressed - if that is the word! - in bits and pieces of rags that have neither form nor style, slumped in front of their computer or television screens. Man staggers drunkenly, constantly wavering between the animal and vegetable worlds.

He must find again the sense of the gift of self, the understanding of love as renouncement. Only sacrifice can remake a people, sacrifice alone gives back to man the full sense of his vocation. Man must apply to the letter the advice of St. Augustine and, forgetting himself, follow the path that leads assuredly to happiness.

Nothing is more urgent than to learn again this forgetfulness of self. Let us take our eyes away from ourselves in order to stop dwelling upon our misfortunes and aggravating them. We must turn resolutely towards God. Let us learn to live in His divine sight. Let us simply be Catholics, witnesses of the divine hope of heaven, aspiring with our whole being to meet one day, at the sunset of our life, He who is the only one worthy of being looked at. We must live from now on in His sight, so that His sight purifies ours. We will then be able to admire the beauty of creation, to be filled with wonder at the Love that God has for us, without any merit on our part, and to live in the peace and the joy of the souls in grace.

"Stop looking at yourself!" Our survival is at stake. Let us be one of those souls, free because they have forgotten themselves, capable of loving and of answering to the divine Love. Souls capable of understanding that, whatever our own misery may be, the mercy of God is infinite and that He has the power to transform the sinner into a saint, provided that he turns his eyes away from himself and lets them rest, in all trust, upon the crucified and forgiving Christ.

"Stop looking at yourself!" Cease to be proud. Be humble. Do not lock yourself up in those sterile lamentations that are the evident proof that your suffering is no more than the huddling up of your pride infuriated by the realization that you are nothing but dust. You have suffered very little, in fact, for having scorned and crucified Christ by your faults! It is time to convert and - rather than exhausting yourself in interminable and selfish moaning - dare to look at the Crucified and ask Him to show you His mercy, without dwelling too much on yourself.

Stop looking at yourself and turn to the Lord so that your life can be a Sursum Corda heralding the eternal Sanctus.

In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,

Fr. Yves le Roux


• Second semester exams ended on Wednesday, June 14 and on the following day, the Seminary celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi. The solemnities began with First Vespers on Wednesday evening and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night. In the morning, Solemn High Mass was celebrated followed by the traditional procession and outdoor benediction.

• This year, nineteen seminarians and one professor, Rev. Fr. Patrick Abbet, attended the pilgrimage of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York. They were privileged to be accompanied by Rev. Fr. Alain Nely, the District Superior of Italy. The seminarians were spread out amongst the various participating parishes and gave short conferences and meditations throughout the day. They returned to the Seminary quite tired but edified by the excellent spirit of the pilgrims.

• On June 23rd, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, the Seminary hosted approximately 1,500 faithful and 59 priests for the ordinations to the priesthood and the diaconate. His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay conferred sacred orders on four priests and one deacon. Please join us in thanking the Sacred Heart for these proofs of His love.

• Following the ordinations weekend, the Seminary welcomed more visitors for the annual School Principals' Meeting of the U.S. District. This was the first time that the Seminary hosted this event. The twenty priests in attendance met for three days and benefited from a number of lectures given by Rev. Fr. Yves le Roux and Rev. Fr. Juan Carlos Iscara.

• The number of new applicants for next academic year at the Seminary keeps increasing and promises to be a record... God be praised!

• The maintenance projects during the summer, particularly those related to enabling the Seminary to receive the new applicants, require a proportionate increase in our expenses, and for that we appeal again to your proven generosity.

• Finally, we remind you of the change to the Seminary Mass schedule for the summer months, due to the absence of many priests. This year, from July 2 to August 27, inclusive, there will be only one Mass on Sundays, at 9:00 am. During the week, the Masses will continue as usual.