Moments of Love with Mary
– The Spiritual Letter Box –
The Vocation to the Priesthood
I have read, line by line, all the articles published in your paper. The logical sequence of the articles and the keen interest they arouse present a POWERFUL IDEA which every reader can clearly discover. The light is before our eyes.
The themes, as conclusive as they are unexpected, are of a burning timeliness and have the effect of a “Marian explosion”…, not for the purpose of destroying or frightening, but to seize…, to make us become aware of a very specific situation. In an ultimate appeal, Mary is inviting her children to open their eyes and to take a stand.
I deeply appreciated the distinguished quality or standard of the various publications, the delicate manner of presenting certain realities. The reader feels at ease and positive in spite of the austerity of those truths. Believe me, to interpellate without offending is quite an art.
My most sincere congratulations to the directors of the new paper and long life to “MARIE”!
Upon reading the article on “The GRANDEUR of the PRIESTHOOD”, I experienced two sentiments. On the one hand, a deep sentiment of admiration for priests who have remained dignified in their sublime vocation, transmitting with a heroic faithfulness Christ’s doctrine in all its purity, fulfilling their priestly functions in a total and continuous giving of themselves, and offering to the scrutinizing eyes of their faithful, the sight of a life totally centered on Christ…, the heart of priest that is not divided… Oh, how such a priest is worthy of the grandeur of his priesthood!
On the other hand, a sentiment of deep sadness over the fact that so many priests (chosen and privileged souls of Christ the Priest) do not seem to be conscious of the exceptional grace they received through their priesthood. Fragile, hesitant and wavering, a great many of them let themselves be carried away by the fascinating whirlwind of life – broad, easy and with so-called “freedom”. We know the consequences of this and we suffer from them. The faithful sheep search for “good green pastures” and “sources of pure water”, but who will lead them there if not GOOD SHEPHERDS, representatives of Christ on earth?
On reading the article already mentioned, I thought to myself: what a consolation and what a legitimate feeling of pride for priests who remained upright and faithful in spite of the violent gusts of the post-conciliar era… and, on the other hand, what bitter disappointment, what agonizing struggle must experience in their hearts the “poor priests” who let themselves be seduced and then carried away along the spacious and heady way of the false goods. And I asked myself:
1. Why do so many priests “give up” before the demands of their priestly vocation, which is yet so noble?
– Is it the weight of the demands which is too heavy?… And yet, the particular graces bound in with the priesthood are abundantly granted. Or do the compromises and desertions stem from a much deeper cause?
2. Do the seminaries still give an adequate formation to the ecclesiastics? – Seminaries are emptying more and more. Is that due to a lack of ideal among the young men or a lack of genuine spiritual directors to guide them? Would it be due to a depreciation of the value of the priesthood? or the role of the priest being called into question?
3. What do you think of the option of priest-laborers at a time when the Church has to have recourse to lay people to accomplish certain functions of the cult which would normally be a part of the priestly ministry?
“The honest and unflagging exercise of their priestly functions, would that not be the most authentic means of reaching HOLINESS?”
Perhaps I have too many questions… But many faithful are questioning themselves as I am and are concerned over the QUALITY of the priest in several milieus.
I ask of you LIGHT and CONSOLATION for all those faithful, thirsting for an authentic teaching and a real witness of Christ the Priest.
Simonne D., Quebec City
Your encouraging words are a valuable encouragement and a precious consolation. Thank you.
Your appreciation was shared by numerous readers, judging from the many letters received in echo to the presentation of the first issue of our paper “Marie”. Deepest gratitude to each one.
If you appreciated particularly the article on “THE GRANDEUR OF THE PRIESTHOOD”, it is certainly because your love of the Church remains very lively and, as a consequence, you are not indifferent to the message delivered or transmitted by each one of its ministers, according to the conditions of his own spiritual aspirations.
Many reasons arouse our admiration for those who give a witness of fidelity in a lucid commitment, transcending all kinds of circumstances and trials. By that very fact, those religious sustain the trust and crystallize the hope of those who are looking for support in order to get through the present storm.
What a consolation is reserved to those who remain faithful, for the Church will emerge victorious from the battle. The Lord’s words come back to mind: “The gates of hell will not prevail against it.” It is when everything seems to be lost, that the victory is assured. “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph,” Mary told us at Fatima.
It is not for us to condemn, of course, but it is permissible to reflect and to question ourselves.
A real tornado has descended upon the post-conciliar Church and it is throwing the people of God into complete confusion.
Now, in nature, what happens when there is a tornado? Large dark clouds slide by rapidly, pushed by winds that whirl about and demolish everything. Rain falls furiously, torrents gush down the slopes and uproot trees, carry away bridges, flood land, etc. And we are helpless, overwhelmed, worried, panic-stricken before the unleashed elements of nature, dark and cut through by flashes of lightning. One single thought persists: find shelter to protect ourselves.
The same is true on the spiritual level. For years now, an infernal wind has been swirling within the Church, shaking all it has built up. The rain of the word in a questionable teaching is infiltrating everything and torrents of false ideas are tirelessly flowing in all milieus, bringing about a loss of faith. Men of the Church who, in the past, were pillars as solid as rock, are being carried away by the devastating current which has affected society and the family drowning in the muddy waters of corruption. False shepherds are casting about the lightning flashes of their bold ideas which fall back into the darkness from which they were drawn.
1- A SPECIAL PROTECTION
But in the tempest of the world and of men, it is easy to find a shelter, a zone of protection, and it is Mary, our Mother, who is our “Ark” of salvation. All the din of this earth cannot drown out the call of a sincere soul to Mary who has promised her aid and assistance, especially in the present dangers against which, as a good Mother, she came to forewarn us.
A priest who consecrates himself to Mary and remains filially devoted to her, is certain to benefit from a special protection. “I am the ONE who has the responsibility of forming in my priests the image of my Son” (“Our Lady Speaks to Her Beloved Priests”). “Suffer with the Pope, with the bishops, and with the priests who have remained faithful,” she added. “This is the cross that Jesus asks you to carry today: to live next to brother-priests who no longer believe, who no longer live in the state of grace, who betray the Gospel, who are unfaithful servants and yet remain in the Church to be ministers of this infidelity…. This scandal will become even worse. You will be called upon to suffer more and more, because this veritable apostasy from the Gospel will one day become general in the Church before the coming of that purification which will liberate.” (“Our Lady Speaks to Her Beloved Priests”, July 9, 1975)
God is watching over the Church of His Son and, through Mary, is incessantly warning us of the difficulties: “The time has come when some of my priest-sons are preparing to oppose openly, my Son, Myself, the Pope and my Church.
“Then I will no longer be able to recognize them as my children: I will descend, myself, from Heaven to place myself at the head of the cohort of my beloved sons, and I will overthrow them…. The time for doubt and uncertainty is past: now is the time for battle!
“Let me enfold each one of you in my Immaculate Heart.” (id., April 25, 1975)
Grace is never lacking provided we remain attentive and receptive. But as soon as we stray away from our Mother even a little bit, we risk no longer recognizing her maternal voice and not being able to benefit from her kindnesses. Thus, the priest who wishes to enter too much into the world loses his identity and the current of the world risks carrying him away. He absorbs much more of the worldly life than he gives of his priestly life. Then, he is no longer a witness of the Church and the people of God look for the true Shepherd. “It is my duty as a Mother to give nourishment to the souls of my sons: if the voices of ministers are stilled, the Heart of the Mother will open more and more.” (id., October 30, 1975)
2- AMONG THE YOUNG PEOPLE
The young people who are thirsting for that which is absolute and do not discover the way that corresponds to their desires because they find fewer examples or witnesses of an authentic religious life, turn away disappointed, unfulfilled, for they are capable of noble sentiments and they can nourish in their hearts great desires in an ever-increasing generosity.
But today, is the young person encouraged to transcend himself through the practice of virtue in order to live on the heights of detachment where peace is to be found? Self-denial procures a joy that perfumes existence and fosters a radiance, that is to say, the exalting joy of victory; whereas the fault brings about a fleeting and transient satisfaction which leaves behind the bitter aftertaste of defeat, produces discontent regarding oneself, and this has repercussions on others.
Oh, how grand and sublime is the mission of leading souls to God!
“My messages will multiply all the more when the voices of my ministers refuse to proclaim the Truth,” Mary said to her beloved priests.
“Because of the infidelity of so many priests, how many of my sons suffer from a truly spiritual famine of the Word of God.
“The most important truths for your spiritual life are no longer preached: heaven that awaits you; the Cross of my Son that saves you; sin that wounds the Heart of Jesus, and mine; hell, into which each day, fall innumerable souls; the urgent need for prayer and penance…
“The more sin spreads like a plague and causes the death of souls, the less we speak of it; today many priests deny sin.” (id., October 30, 1975)
The teaching of a wonderful psychological understanding of souls, based on a theological doctrine that conceals its powerful structure, that directs all things in their development towards the ascent of souls, there you have a pressing necessity today.
Has not the priest strayed too far from this wonderful knowledge of the mysterious ways through which God calls souls and leads them to perfection?
There you have, perhaps, the explanation of the research and the study carried out by the lay people and the nuns of the valuable book “I Want to See God” by Father Marie-Eugène, O.C.D. which deals with the works of the great mystical doctors of the Church: Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila. The author also underlines the little way of the spiritual childhood of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
At the moment, this authentic doctrine is protecting many souls from the traps of the devil who disguises himself as an angel of light in order to deceive sincere souls.
Oh, how serious today is this shortage of spiritual masters, at a time when, more than ever, the sheep are searching for the Shepherd able to give them the real light, the pure source of “Living Waters” of which Christ spoke in His time which was just as troubled as ours is.
3- THE PRIEST-LABORER
Many experiments have been tried in this regard.
Is it necessary for a doctor to become a laborer in order to be able to treat his patients? Is a lawyer encouraged to have the knowledge of a mechanic in order to defend a case?
It suffices that each one possess a high level of competence in the profession he practises honestly, in order to keep his clientele and maintain his reputation.
Now, the priest, whose mission it is to lead souls to God, ought normally to possess a theological knowledge which is at the same time, spiritual, ascetic and mystical. The two appear indispensable. If maps and highway signs are necessary to those who travel, how much more necessary and of a major importance are not the knowledge and the lights which must mark the route of the pilgrims we are on the march towards the heavenly City?
And it is the Lord’s ministers who must assume this twofold role: making God known and ensuring the spiritual progression of souls by guiding them to Him in ways that are often mysterious.
And those ways are so mysterious that it happens that priests who are holier than they are knowledgeable, such as, for example, a holy Curé of Ars, have led more souls to God within their very sublime ministry itself, without any other recourse than faithfulness to God and to the Holy Spirit in prayer and penance.
A priest who understands and accomplishes his providential mission in this manner does a tremendous and in-depth amount of good. When God grants the grace of such a meeting, one’s life is not too long to be worthy of it.
(Paper “Marie”, vol. 1, no. 2)