Letters to Young Girls

31 - Two Forces That Clash


écrit

PUBLICATION DATE

04 . 07 . 2024

Rubric

Letters to Young Girls

32 - Two Forces That Clash

Author

The Daughters of Mary

Deux forces s'opposent

Dear Friend,

Mathilda is glued to her computer screen. After having finished her homework, she joined a few girlfriends who were “connected” to participate in a game online. Her parents had given her permission to do so for half an hour, because afterwards, it was the family’s evening prayer time. After 35 minutes, her mother reminds her of this. Mathilda insists, asking that she be allowed a little more time, but her parents indicate that this was enough for today and that they were waiting for her to recite the rosary.

Chapelet en bois

Her mother adds: “Let’s joyfully give some time to God. This is how, under the divine influence, we will have the strength to make of our lives a life of love.” Mathilda has already heard those words so many times… And, if the truth be known, they are so upsetting! Especially right now! While shutting off her computer with rather abrupt movements, she repeats interiorly with displeasure and annoyance: “Let’s joyfully give some time to God. Let’s joyfully give some time to God!

In her being, the fight was on. It was as though a part of her did not want to adhere to this appeal to make an effort to foster her life of friendship with God, whereas at other times, she easily and often thinks of Him with love. After a few chaotic moments, the family has gathered together and the rosary begins.

As the “Aves” follow one another, to which Mathilda responds with obvious annoyance, she gradually calms down and reflects. It’s as though two forces were clashing in her. How come one is attracting her to God, to lofty spiritual heights, while the other one would slowly like to draw her towards religious indifference as a result of which she would no longer have to make any effort? She realizes that even if she wants to be good, it happens, in reality, that she isn’t always good.


What a hard battle, in fact! Do you feel this in you too, sometimes? Are you the only one to experience such things? We want to reassure you, dear friend, with Marie-Paule’s own words: “Through concupiscence and atavism, we have in us all the evil tendencies which we must master, control, in order to destroy them…. But at the same time…, we feel within us a natural impulsion that orients us towards what is good and beautiful.” (Life of Love, Appendix V, p. 17)

There exists in France, more precisely in the Saint Nizier parish in Lyon, a Way of the Cross that was inaugurated in 2019. What distinguishes this Way of the Cross from the others we are used to seeing is the fact that the clothes and the hair styles of the personages around Jesus are like those of the men, women and young people of our time.

This manner of representing it makes the scenes from Jesus’ Passion seem more current, closer to us. However, the artist, in proceeding in this manner, also wanted to help us see ourselves more clearly in the loving or sympathetic persons or in those who, at times, are indifferent or even become Jesus’ torturers, adding to His suffering.

Croix-Pâques

How moving is the scene of a young girl coming forward with compassion, defying the scorn or contempt to wipe Jesus’ blood-stained face, He who is suffering so much. Can we not identify with her when we courageously live our faith in a world that scorns God? When through an act of will, we foster our friendship with Him? Or when, out of love for Him, we try to console Him through the virtue of purity we courageously guard? Can we not also see in the actions of this young girl, all our efforts to comfort and integrate those whom the group rejects or looks down upon?

For we must remember that both Jesus and Marie-Paule said: ”What you do to one of these little ones who are my brothers, you do it to me.” Moreover, Marie-Paule warned us: “If today, we believe we are following the right path, who knows about tomorrow… for we could go off track.”  (Marie, Les Éditoriaux, p. 118)

Thus, other paintings from this Way of the Cross urge us to make a serious examination of conscience, the one for the ninth station for example. Exhausted, Jesus falls for the third time. The torturer following him, sporting an ordinary sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers, is standing behind him holding his telephone in his hand. He is taking advantage of this “stop” made by Jesus, exhausted and suffering, to look at what is on his screen!

Like this young man and like Mathilda was tempted to do, does it not happen to us often that we too sacrifice the time of prayer in order to have fun on our screens?

 Are we not allowing them to take up more and more room in our lives, without being able to pull ourselves away from them, to the detriment of our spiritual life?

These paintings by Bruno Desroche, a young talented artist who has a very deep spiritual life, speak to us, challenge us.

As we head into Holy Week, let us reiterate to Jesus and Marie-Paule our desire to be among those who will always console them.
Coeur floral

Here is the link to Bruno Desroche’s website if you would like to see his Way of the Cross:  https://brunodesroche.fr/chemin-croix/

Being a website from France, the text and the video are in French, but if you scroll almost to the end, you will see the different stations appearing in a row, one after the other. If you click on the picture, you will be able to view each of the stations.

The Daughters of Mary


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