June 2023 - In Persona Christi
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
In the middle of the Mass, the priest stops and bows to the altar. He pronounces a few very simple words, words so simple that they are not of human origin or human power. They are divine words, and the transubstantiation is accomplished by them on the altar. This power of transubstantiation belongs only to the High Priest, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and it takes place at the very moment that the deep unity between the High Priest, the Cross, the sacrifice of the Cross, the altar, the Holy Eucharist and the priest bowing over the altar, is realized.
Perhaps it is time to refer to St. Joan of Arc and paraphrase what she said about the Church and Christ, and to see that all these beautiful realities are a whole, an identification between the High Priest, the Cross, the altar, the Holy Eucharist and the priest.
In today’s feast, we consider this identification between the Holy Eucharist and the priest. Both are inseparable from Christ’s charity. Of course, in the Holy Eucharist, we can see the fulfillment of the promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ when He told us in the Gospel that He will stay with us until the end of time. But we must go farther.
The Mass, the Holy Eucharist, makes the sacrifice of the Cross present on our altars. We have to insist that the Holy Eucharist is first of all to make the sacrifice of the Cross present on our altars, and we have to try to penetrate this mystery of love.
Perhaps we can do so by considering one of the most beautiful figures of the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, the sacrifice of Abraham and Isaac.
First of all, we can see in this beautiful episode of the Old Testament the deep relation between the father and the son. When Isaac saw that they had everything for the sacrifice, to build the altar and perform the sacrifice, he said in his surprise, “Where is the victim?” And Abraham told him God would provide.
But once they were on the peak of the mountain, Isaac repeated his question to his father, “Where is the victim?” And here we have a double revelation. One on the natural level, and one on the supernatural level, and both are important.
We know the revelation on the supernatural level well: God has the right to receive our complete homage by the destruction of everything, even the destruction of the most beautiful creature, man.
Perhaps we tend to push away, or at least not to stop to consider the natural revelation. It is certainly lacking today. Abraham had to explain to Isaac that he was the victim. Not only because he was a creature, but because he was a man.
That is the secret of what a man is, as opposed to a woman. We know that a woman gives life, and we know that this maternity of woman explains everything about her. But what about man? What is his raison d’être? What is a man’s vocation?
Abraham explained what is no longer explained to us: that a man, to be a real man, has to give his own life. The vocation of a man on the natural level is to become a victim, to give his life for his God, for his country, for his children, for whatever he is called to give it for.
At exactly the same place as this sacrifice of Abraham, the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ would be accomplished a few centuries later, and we see in it the same relation. God the Father with God the Son, Our Lord, and the Holy Ghost who becomes suffering in the heart, in the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the Passion is the scourging, the nails, the tortures, the physical tortures that we can see and that help us so much to understand how terrible sin is. But the heart of the Passion, explained so beautifully by King David in Psalm 21, is this relation between the Father and the Son, this dialogue, this exchange between the Father and the Son, knowing one another perfectly, loving one another perfectly. This love is charity, it is the Holy Ghost, and this presence of the Holy Ghost acts in the heart of the High Priest, in the soul of the High Priest.
He wants to express the glory of God, outraged by our sins. That is the real suffering that we hear in the first verse of Psalm 21. And we have here, in this dialogue between the Father and the Son, the peak of all history, the peak of the Mass. Omnis honor et gloria. Honor to repair for sin. Glory to give back to God the glory that belongs to Him from all eternity. We have all these beautiful expressions of reparation, honor and glory in the Mass.
Dom Guéranger explains that there is a Catholic meaning to history. We have to understand that the devil wants to destroy the work of God. From Adam to the Cross, the devil exercised a narcissistic domination over men. At the time of the Cross, at the moment of this action of the Holy Ghost in the heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, when He breathed His last, when He died, the power of the devil was destroyed, and at that moment, he understood his error. And his rage increased.
He started to try to destroy the work of God first by persecutions, then by heresies and schisms. And the result was Christendom, the victory of Christ over nations and peoples. So, the devil decided to change his strategy. He decided to not attack only individuals, but society itself. And that gave us our modern times, the revolutionary times that began in the 14th and 15th century, followed by the Renaissance.
What is the Revolution? It is a blasphemy. A blasphemy against the majesty of God, a blasphemy against His authority. The same proposition made to Adam at the very beginning of mankind is made to society: you will be like unto God, with the same authority, choosing good or evil, determining what is good and what is evil. If we understand this well, we can understand that deep down, the Revolution is a crime against the paternity of God. It is really, deeply, always a patricide. We see that with Luther, cutting himself off from the Pope. We see it with the French Revolution, cutting off the head of the King of France. We see it in October 1917, with the Communists in Russia. We see it, unfortunately, in the last Council, Vatican II, and the present state of the Church, which is the liquefaction of doctrine and theology, leaving us with this democracy in the Church, the synodal Church.
In summary, from original sin to today, history is either a recognition of the paternity of God or a rebellion against it. When we see the decadence today, we can be tempted to think with discouragement, “What is the point?”
We will certainly not fall into this error. We have to respond to the devil’s attack. How? By recognizing the paternity of God. We do so by the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by this eternal dialogue made present on the Cross, by this dialogue of Our Lord Jesus Christ dying on the Cross, by offering the Mass, by living our Mass since we understand the identity between the sacrifice of the Cross, the altar and the priest.
There exists no other answer. We understand how relevant what Archbishop Lefebvre called his “dream of Dakar” is today. We know that he was not expecting a providential man. We know that the answer is not to look for a solution, but for a consecration. The consecration of our life, in the light of the Cross, the light of the Mass, the light of the Holy Eucharist.
And really, truly, deeply, today it is time to bow down over the altar, to realize in our life the unity between the High Priest, the Cross, the altar, the Holy Eucharist and ourselves. It is God’s plan and not our calculations to put the Holy Eucharist and the priest back in the center of the village. It is time for us to come back to Isaac, to become truly a man by becoming a son, and by offering ourselves to the merciful love of God, never doubting the means Our Lord Jesus Christ has given to His Church and His priests. Why? Credidimus caritati.
By becoming a man, and more and more a man of the altar, an alter Christus acting in persona Christi, by becoming an adorer, a worshiper in truth, we will be consecrated to the business of Our Father by our life of prayer and sacrifices, and we will become apostles by spreading the secret of immolation, which will stimulate a generation of men led by love.
But we know well that being consecrated to the business of Our Father is beyond human conception. It is impossible to truly grasp what it means and to understand it fully. It is time to go to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who understood what Our Lord Jesus Christ said to her, that He had to be consecrated to the business of His Father, when she was at the foot of the altar, herself united to this mystery of love. The Blessed Virgin Mary, as our Mother, will introduce our souls into her Fiat, the spirit of childhood, always doing what pleases God. That is the spirit of the priest. “Make him a sanctuary of fire” for the love of God, by the love of the Holy Ghost in his soul.
That is the priest who is a priest of the Holy Eucharist, of the Mass, of the sacrifice, the priest who is the first victim of his own priesthood. It is time for us to lie down on the altar, to become hosts for the glory of God, flames of resurrection, proclaiming the rights of the Father, to be instruments of grace, of the Holy Eucharist, apostles in this time of apostasy, because we will be sons immolated for the glory of the Almighty Father.
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves le Roux
We constantly entrust our Seminary to your prayers and kindness, which have shown to be always unfailing. In our March Letter, we asked for your assistance in the beautiful and urgent work of the formation of priests by helping us with the ongoing repayment of the internal loans that allowed us to build our Seminary. Your answer to our request has been, as at all times, overwhelmingly generous.
Our gratitude to you will continue to be expressed by our efforts to form faithful and holy priests and by our assurance of our prayers for you and all those who are dear to you.