May 2023 - The Radicalism of the Gospel
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
The sermon given by His Excellency Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta is succinct and clear about what Christian life should be. It seemed important to us to present it to your meditation so that this month of Mary may be a month of grace and conversion to that Christian spirit that is so lacking today.
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves le Roux
Sermon of H. E. Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta
Ordination to the Sub-Diaconate
St Thomas Aquinas Seminary, April 1, 2023.
My dear brethren,
The ordination to the subdiaconate is a great stage in the journey toward the priesthood because it is the day we give ourselves totally and definitively to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest. The Pontifical insists on this, reminding you, dear ordinands, that you are taking a definitive step, which consists in giving yourselves entirely to the service of God, “to the service of the Divine Sacrifice and of the Church of God which is the Mystical Body of Christ,” that is, to the service of the souls of the members of the Mystical Body. It is, therefore, a gift forever at the service of the Holy Church. And from this flow the obligations you assume on this day, including celibacy, the recitation of the divine office.
What spirit should animate you on this day?
We have the answer in today’s Gospel, in this Mass, in the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: “If the grain of wheat that falls into the ground does not die, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears abundant fruits, many fruits.” “If someone loves his life, he loses it. If he hates his life in this world, he keeps it for eternal life”.
Such is the radicalism of the Gospel.
And Our Lord adds: “If anyone is My servant, My minister, let him follow Me; he will follow Me, and wherever I am, he will be too.”
And what does “where I’ll be” mean? Our Lord explains it immediately afterward: “When I am lifted up on earth, I will draw all things, I will draw all to Myself.”
Therefore, in this donation of yourselves, which implies sacrifice and self-immolation, we must always have the eyes of the soul fixed on Christ and the crucified Christ.
And how do we do that? From where will we draw this spirit that is not natural to us, that is supernatural? Our Lord Himself gave us the answer in the Gospel of St John: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Those who believe in Me, from within, will flow rivers of living water.”
And Saint John adds: “He spoke of the Holy Ghost.” Therefore, first of all, we must thirst for Our Lord, that is, to have an ardent desire for the grace of Our Lord, for His gifts, His holiness, His justice, and His will: “Blessed are those who thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.”
This is the first condition for thirsting for Our Lord, a condition sine qua non, without which it is impossible to drink. And in fact, we will drink from this water of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the exact extent of our thirst, no more, no less.
And then Our Lord adds: “Let him come to Me.” In the spiritual life, we must constantly go to Our Lord Jesus Christ and seek Him. The driving force of the spiritual and supernatural life is piety and devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ; it is to live in His presence, seeking Him continually.
The practice of virtues and the eradication of defects are essential, but that is only the body of the spiritual life. The soul of the spiritual life, its driving force, is this attachment, this search for Our Lord Jesus Christ. The devotion to Christ thus becomes the foundation and the center of our whole life.
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me,” and Our Lord adds: “and let him drink!” But, spiritually speaking, to drink of Our Lord Jesus Christ means to apply the faculties and powers of our soul to Him in the most perfect way possible, that is to say, that Our Lord must be the object of our contemplation, of our intelligence, our study, our prayer. He must remain in our memory by His presence throughout the day and, especially, He must remain in us by charity, by the love by which we are attached to Him and His will because love is the union of wills, to want what Our Lord wants and not to want what He does not want. In this way, we can drink abundantly from this inexhaustible source. And Our Lord Himself manifests this to us by adding and giving us a definition to grasp the nature of this “drink”: “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”
So it is not a question of following with the eyes or walking towards Our Lord, but by the affections of the soul, of the heart, by faith. It is a living faith, full of trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself up for us, full of love in this quest to conform our life to His will. And inasmuch as we will therefore apply our powers in this supernatural manner, in this same measure, we will be filled with the Holy Ghost and His gifts, His graces and His virtues, and even with His charisms, for this is the consoling promise of Our Lord, especially for those who by their duty of state must communicate this life and spirit to others. Therefore, from the heart of “he who believes in Me” in this perfect way will flow for others and the Church, rivers of this water, of this grace of the Holy Ghost.
Suppose you want to understand clearly and manifestly what this spirit is. Then, in that case, you only have to think of our holy and venerable founder, Mgr. Marcel Lefebvre, because what he lived is precisely this: this love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, High Priest, Savior, King, God. And so he was filled with this grace of Our Lord and the Holy Ghost, and that is how he was the savior of Holy Mass, the priesthood and tradition, of faith and, we may say, of the Holy Church.
Dear confreres, dear faithful, we are sinking more and more into an essentially naturalistic world, all turned towards creatures, towards man, towards the goods and pleasures of this world, without almost any connection with the Creator, with God, with practically no real and genuine relationship to Our Lord Jesus Christ. And if this is the evil of societies, it is also essentially the evil that eats away at the Holy Church. We see it every day: faith, worship, and morality, all subject to the will of man wounded by sin.
In the face of all this, there is only the supernatural order. There is only the life of grace that flows from Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the only remedy to all our evils, all the evils of the Church, and all the evils of society. That is our mission. It is necessary to transmit the true faith, true doctrine, valid sacraments, authentic worship, true sacrifice, and true spiritual doctrine, but also our own holiness, which must therefore be the object of our intentions every day of our life: to be a little more holy, living more of the grace of Christ, of the life of Our Lord. That is the key to that abundance of the Holy Ghost that flows into others.
If Our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of living waters, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the aqueduct, the channel. We receive through the hands of the Virgin Mary, through the heart of Mary, this vital influx that comes from head to body, to the members, for she is the neck through which come to us the senses and movement, that is, the sense of faith and the movement of charity, in other words, the life of Christ and the Truth of Christ.
Today, therefore, let us ask the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to give us this grace to truly learn, with her help, to know, to follow, to serve, and to love Our Lord Jesus Christ. May she give us this grace to drink the life and grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ abundantly. It is the only desire of the Heart of Jesus and the only true desire of the Heart of Mary.