Fighting for the Right Army
Thomas A. Droleskey
We become soldiers in the Army of Christ at the moment of our reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation. We must fight valiantly with the weapons of the Holy Faith in order to advance the Social Reign of the King in Whose army we fight the forces of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Some of the battles we fight for Christ the King involve defending ourselves against the devil's advances in our own individual lives. Some of the battles we fight for Christ the King involve advancing His rights over men and their nations to thwart the devil's bold moves in every aspect of national life and popular culture.
Obviously, the battles believing Catholics must fight in defense of the Social Reign of Christ the King are all the more difficult because the leaders of the conciliar church do not believe that the civil state must recognize the Catholic Church as the true religion and subordinate itself in all that pertains to the good of souls to the Deposit of Faith that Our Lord has entrusted solely ot her. The leaders of the conciliar church attempt to fight various evils on secular or religiously indifferentist grounds, never once pointing out that the institutionalization of so many abject evils in our land is the logical and inexorable result of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King wrought by the Protestant Revolt and the subsequent rise of Judeo-Masonry and all of the myriad, inter-related and ever-mutating political "philosophies" and "ideologies" that assert themselves as possessing the means to better man's condition in this passing vale of tears.
Although there are some conciliar bishops who have opposed with vigor the proposition, Amendment 2, on the ballot in the State of Missouri (where my late mother was born on March 6, 1921) which proposes to limit the ability of the Missouri State Legislatures to restrict embryonic stem-cell research by permitting in the Show-Me State all forms of such research permitted by Federal law, none of them have been bold enough to put the issue in its proper context. That is, it is not enough to explain that embryonic stem-cell research involves the killing of human beings, some of whom have been created via means of in vitro fertilization specifically so that they could be killed for the harvesting of their stems. It is not enough to explain that adult stem cells, even from one's own body, offer more a promise of treating conditions such as Parkinson's Disease whose symptoms are said to be abated by the implantation of embryonic stem-cells. Anyone calling himself a Catholic and who wants to fight for Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen must also explain that the laws of God admit of no exceptions and that all men and all nations must subordinate themselves at all times without any exception to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law as they have been entrusted to the Catholic Church for their safekeeping and infallible explication.
Some will respond by saying that such "rhetoric" would alienate Protestants who are also opposing Amendment 2 in Missouri, that the "united" opposition that has arisen within various Protestant denominations provides an opportunity for "authentic" ecumenism and mutual understanding. Nonsense. It is very good that members of Protestant sects see the truth about the horror of embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning. It is much better, however, that they come to understand that this fight is being waged in the first place as a result of the revolt against the Divine Plan God Himself had instituted for man's return to Him through the Catholic Church. Issues such as Amendment 2 provide ostensibly Catholic bishops with the opportunity to explain the historical roots of our contemporary problems and to exhort those outside of the true Church to be converted to her maternal bosom. Far from being a "distraction" in the effort to oppose Amendment 2, such an effort would help at least a few souls to understand that a world where Christ does not reign as King through His Catholic Church is bound to degenerate more and more over the course of time.
These words of Pope Leo XIII, contained in Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890, are important to keep in mind as we speak out about the current issues of the day:
But in this same matter, touching Christian faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance, necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: "Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.'' To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: "Have confidence; I have overcome the world." Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.
The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent. Now, faith, as a virtue, is a great boon of divine grace and goodness; nevertheless, the objects themselves to which faith is to be applied are scarcely known in any other way than through the hearing. "How shall they believe Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Since, then, faith is necessary for salvation, it follows that the word of Christ must be preached. The office, indeed, of preaching, that is, of teaching, lies by divine right in the province of the pastors, namely, of the bishops whom "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule the Church of God.'' It belongs, above all, to the Roman Pontiff, vicar of Jesus Christ, established as head of the universal Church, teacher of all that pertains to morals and faith.
No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. "All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Savior, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith.'' Let each one, therefore, bear in mind that he both can and should, so far as may be, preach the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes. In respect, consequently, to the duties that bind us to God and the Church, it should be borne earnestly in mind that in propagating Christian truth and warding off errors the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play.
Yes, we must speak as Catholics at all times. What are the Protestants going to do, vote in support of Amendment 2 if the conciliar bishops provided some catechesis as to how we got to this moment and why it is we must return to the Social Reign of Christ the King as exercised by the Catholic Church? Are Protestants going to stay at home on November 7, 2006, if an ostensibly Catholic bishop points out the truth that no vote of the people, such as a referendum, or a vote of an institution of civil governance, such as a legislature, can repeal the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. No judge has any authority to issue a decision contrary to the law of God and thus contrary to the good the souls for whom Our Lord shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. The belief that matters pertaining to the good of souls are subject for any kind of vote at any time demonstrates the abject bankruptcy of the modern state, founded as it is on the rejection of the right of the Catholic Church to exercise the Social Reign of Christ the King.
Even Cicero, a pagan who lived in Rome the First Century before Christ, understood that God's law was immutable and that it could not be repealed by a vote of the "people" of the senate. This what Cicero wrote in Book III in On the State:
True law is right reason conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil. Whether it enjoins or forbids, the good respect its injunctions, and the wicked treat them with indifference. This law cannot be contradicted by any other law, and is not liable either to derogation or abrogation. Neither the senate nor the people can give us any dispensation for not obeying this universal law of justice. It needs no other expositor and interpreter than our own conscience. It is not one thing at Rome, and another at Athens; one thing to-day, and another to-morrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must forever reign, eternal and imperishable. It is the sovereign master and emperor of all beings. God himself is its author, its promulgator, its enforcer. And he who does not obey it flies from himself, and does violence to the very nature of man. And by so doing he will endure the severest penalties even if he avoid the other evils which are usually accounted punishments.
Cicero had it almost entirely correct. Almost. He was wrong in asserting that the natural law does not need any "other expositor and interpreter than our own conscience." He lived before the Incarnation and before the founding of the true Church upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Cicero thus did not know that man does need an interpreter and expositor of the natural law, namely, the Catholic Church. Apart from this, however, Cicero understood that God's law does not admit of abrogations by a vote of the people or of a "representative" body, such as the Roman Senate in his day or the United States Congress or state legislatures, et al. in our own day.
For a conciliarist to point this out, however, would be admit that conciliarism's concessions to the separation of Church and State are flawed and represent its mindless adherence to the very "principles" that have brought us to the social acceptance of contraception, sterilization, and baby-killing (each of which was common in the Roman Empire before its collapse) and to the brave new world of in vitro fertilization and human cloning. Any form of government, to which the Church has taught from time immemorial that she can adapt, including the representative form of government, that does not admit of any external authority over itself is powerless--and I mean absolutely powerless--to retard the advance of evil in every aspect of our popular culture. We are all at the mercy of whoever happens to constitute a majority in the populace at large or who constitutes a majority in a legislative body or on a judicial tribunal.
Pope Leo XIII pointed this out in Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885, that the right ordering of laws depends upon the religion with which God is worshiped:
In political affairs, and all matters civil, the laws aim at securing the common good, and are not framed according to the delusive caprices and opinions of the mass of the people, but by truth and by justice; the ruling powers are invested with a sacredness more than human, and are withheld from deviating from the path of duty, and from overstepping the bounds of rightful authority; and the obedience is not the servitude of man to man, but submission to the will of God, exercising His sovereignty through the medium of men. Now, this being recognized as undeniable, it is felt that the high office of rulers should be held in respect; that public authority should be constantly and faithfully obeyed; that no act of sedition should be committed; and that the civic order of the commonwealth should be maintained as sacred.
So, also, as to the duties of each one toward his fellow men, mutual forbearance, kindliness, generosity are placed in the ascendant; the man who is at once a citizen and a Christian is not drawn aside by conflicting obligations; and, lastly, the abundant benefits with which the Christian religion, of its very nature, endows even the mortal life of man are acquired for the community and civil society. And this to such an extent that it may be said in sober truth: "The condition of the commonwealth depends on the religion with which God is worshipped; and between one and the other there exists an intimate and abiding connection."
Alas, the result of a religiously indifferentist state is the triumph of atheism as the lowest common denominator, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei:
The authority of God is passed over in silence, just as if there were no God; or as if He cared nothing for human society; or as if men, whether in their individual capacity or bound together in social relations, owed nothing to God; or as if there could be a government of which the whole origin and power and authority did not reside in God Himself. Thus, as is evident, a State becomes nothing but a multitude which is its own master and ruler. And since the people is declared to contain within itself the spring-head of all rights and of all power, it follows that the State does not consider itself bound by any kind of duty toward God. Moreover. it believes that it is not obliged to make public profession of any religion; or to inquire which of the very many religions is the only one true; or to prefer one religion to all the rest; or to show to any form of religion special favor; but, on the contrary, is bound to grant equal rights to every creed, so that public order may not be disturbed by any particular form of religious belief.
And it is a part of this theory that all questions that concern religion are to be referred to private judgment; that every one is to be free to follow whatever religion he prefers, or none at all if he disapprove of all. From this the following consequences logically flow: that the judgment of each one's conscience is independent of all law; that the most unrestrained opinions may be openly expressed as to the practice or omission of divine worship; and that every one has unbounded license to think whatever he chooses and to publish abroad whatever he thinks.
Now, when the State rests on foundations like those just named -- and for the time being they are greatly in favor -- it readily appears into what and how unrightful a position the Church is driven. For, when the management of public business is in harmony with doctrines of such a kind, the Catholic religion is allowed a standing in civil society equal only, or inferior, to societies alien from it; no regard is paid to the laws of the Church, and she who, by the order and commission of Jesus Christ, has the duty of teaching all nations, finds herself forbidden to take any part in the instruction of the people. With reference to matters that are of twofold jurisdiction, they who administer the civil power lay down the law at their own will, and in matters that appertain to religion defiantly put aside the most sacred decrees of the Church. They claim jurisdiction over the marriages of Catholics, even over the bond as well as the unity and the indissolubility of matrimony. They lay hands on the goods of the clergy, contending that the Church cannot possess property. Lastly, they treat the Church with such arrogance that, rejecting entirely her title to the nature and rights of a perfect society, they hold that she differs in no respect from other societies in the State, and for this reason possesses no right nor any legal power of action, save that which she holds by the concession and favor of the government. If in any State the Church retains her own agreement publicly entered into by the two powers, men forthwith begin to cry out that matters affecting the Church must be separated from those of the State.
Their object in uttering this cry is to be able to violate unpunished their plighted faith, and in all things to have unchecked control. And as the Church, unable to abandon her chiefest and most sacred duties, cannot patiently put up with this, and asks that the pledge given to her be fully and scrupulously acted up to, contentions frequently arise between the ecclesiastical and the civil power, of which the issue commonly is that the weaker power yields to the one which is stronger in human resources.
Accordingly, it has become the practice and determination under this condition of public polity (now so much admired by many) either to forbid the action of the Church altogether, or to keep her in check and bondage to the State. Public enactments are in great measure framed with this design. The drawing up of laws, the administration of State affairs, the godless education of youth, the spoliation and suppression of religious orders, the overthrow of the temporal power of the Roman Pontiff, all alike aim to this one end -- to paralyze the action of Christian institutions, to cramp to the utmost the freedom of the Catholic Church, and to curtail her ever single prerogative.
Now, natural reason itself proves convincingly that such concepts of the government of a State are wholly at variance with the truth. Nature itself bears witness that all power, of every kind, has its origin from God, who is its chief and most august source.
The sovereignty of the people, however, and this without any reference to God, is held to reside in the multitude; which is doubtless a doctrine exceedingly well calculated to flatter and to inflame many passions, but which lacks all reasonable proof, and all power of insuring public safety and preserving order. Indeed, from the prevalence of this teaching, things have come to such a pass that may hold as an axiom of civil jurisprudence that seditions may be rightfully fostered. For the opinion prevails that princes are nothing more than delegates chosen to carry out the will of the people; whence it necessarily follows that all things are as changeable as the will of the people, so that risk of public disturbance is ever hanging over our heads.
To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.
These are truths that need to be addressed. Fighting the symptoms of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church is sometimes necessary. Granted. However, we must do so as Catholics, seeking to use these moments of genuine common ground with others outside of the true Church to explain to them why we are fighting these symptoms and how they will be ameliorated as a result of the Triumph of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Let's face facts, folks: there are lot of Protestants who have far more integrity in their Protestantism than many Catholics (across the ecclesiastical divide, traditional and conciliarist alike) have in their Catholicism. There are Protestants who are unafraid to speak up in defense of what they believe, including their absolute rejection of the "Roman" church. Consider this remark from an ally of Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family that was included in an article by Tim Townsend of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on October 21, 2006:
But current theological differences can be striking, and they are apparent among the highest ranks of church leadership. For instance, the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and board member of the influential evangelical organization Focus on the Family, told CNN in 2000 that "as an evangelical, I believe that the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false Gospel."
Ever faithful to the conciliarist novelty of ecumenism, however, the conciliar bishops cannot bring themselves to address root problems even when they attempt to fight the symptoms of problems that have their proximate origin in the Protestant Revolt and have been reaffirmed by the entire ethos of conciliarism itself. When has it been the case since the wretched reign of Paul VI that a conciliarist bishop has said in public--in front of adherents of other religions--that the Catholic Church is the one and only true Church founded by Our Lord Himself? Over 3,.000 Jews were converted on Pentecost Sunday by the clear preaching of Saint Peter, the first pope. Why do we doubt the efficacy of God's graces to effect such conversion in our own day as a result of the clear proclamations of the truths of the true Faith? Why has there been such a fundamental abandoment of the mission given by Our Lord to the Eleven to convert all men to the true Church at all times until His Second Coming in glory at the end of time?
Moreover, Catholics of all ecclesiastical stripes also have abdicated the responsibility to point out the very hard truth that it is not possible to cure all diseases. While it is a useful work of the scientific community to attempt to find ethical cures and treatments for various diseases, Catholics must keep in mind--and must teach all others--that physical diseases are the consequences of Original Sin. The human body is frail as a result of Adam's fall. We are going to suffer and die. Suffering is the path by which we are untied to the Cross of the Divine Redeemer. We should not flee from suffering. We must embrace the sufferings that come our way, mindful that each cross we are asked to bear, no matter how great or small, comes from the hand of God and has been perfectly fitted for us from all eternity.
Some people are going to die sooner than others. Some are going to die suddenly. Some are going to die after long illnesses requiring those around them to provide them with years of support and assistance. Some are going to be injured in accidents and find themselves disabled. Each of these crosses is a moment of grace for those who suffer and those who assist them. The abandonment of Catholicism by the world-at-large has resulted in the triumph of the spirit of sentimentality, to such an extent that even the men accepted by most Catholics as their bishops do not even begin to address the deeper, supernatural significance posed by efforts of sentimentalists to put an end to human suffering by circumventing and/or abrogating entirely the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. It is only the Catholic Faith, which has been lived to the point of martyrdom, both bloody and white, of countless saints for the love of God as they sought ot make reparation for their own sins and those of the whole world.
Mary Fabyan Windeatt described the suffering of Blessed Claude de la Colombiere in her book on Saint Margaret Mary and the Promises of the Sacred Heart:
"Dear Lord, please give me some of Sister Margaret Mary's patience!" he pleaded silently.
There was frequent need to repeat this prayer, especially in the long weeks of convalescence that he spent at the Jesuit house in Lyons. What a cross to be an invalid! To be constantly weak and tired, and of no use to anyone!
Yet even as the depressing thoughts came, Father de la Colombiere firmly set them aside. His present state of poor health was what God had chosen for him. For the time being, it was the only key which would open that particular door to Heaven through which he was meant to enter. How foolish, then, to want to throw it away! To regret the fact that he had not been found worthy to suffer martyrdom with his fellow priests in England, several of whom had died on the gallows since his own return to France. . .
Ah, yes, God knew best, as He always did. The soul's task was to abandon itself to Him, trusting in Him completely. (pp. 161-162)
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ amplified this point directly to Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque:
At Father de la Colombiere's next meeting with Sister Margaret Mary (arranged this time with no opposition from Mother Greyfie), Sister Margaret Mary agreed. In fact, Our Lord had told he that if Father de la Colombiere were well, he would glorify Him by his zeal, but since he was ill, Our Lord would glorify Himself in Father de la Colombiere.
Yes, Father de la Colombiere's active life might be over, but he still could be of use to others by patiently bearing the heavy cross of illness. And who was to say that a childlike trust in God's Providence might not win more grace than giving a course of eloquent sermons? Than writing many spiritual books? Than martyrdom itself?
Yes, thought, Father de la Colombiere, sickness was a cross, but it was a grace, too. It could be very good for the soul. It was one of God's tools for breaking off one's last little attachments to self-will--attachments that one didn't even see!
Ah, yes, he could see that sickness had been a great grace." (Mary Fabyan Windeatt, Saint Margaret Mary and the Promises of the Sacred Heart, p. 168)
Why is not any conciliar bishop pointing this out to, say, actor and Parkinson Disease sufferer Michael J. Fox, who has appeared in an advertisement in support of a Democrat senatorial candidate in Missouri who supports Amendment 2? They have not done so because they offending the sensibilities of a sentimentalist age, believing that secularism can be fought with everything other than Catholicism and Catholicism unalloyed.
Yes, the problems that we face will continue to escalate despite the efforts of well-meaning people to retard this or that evil. The irrationality of sentimentality, one of the chief tools of the devil to deceive fallen men, admits of no defeat, marching on to scorch the earth on each and every point contained in the Deposit of Faith. We must take refuge, therefore, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary and pray offer her our prayers and sufferings and mortifications and penances as her consecrated slaves to help plant the seeds for the restoration of Tradition in the Church and Christendom in the world. How ironic it is that the Fatima Message Our Lady gave to Jacinta and Francisco Marto and to Lucia dos Santos in 1917 concerning the consecration of Russia to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart has been ignored just as Our Lord's message to Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque about the consecration of France to His Most Sacred Heart was ignored by King Louis XIV and the bishops of France. We are living through a chastisement now just as France (and the world) was chastised for the infidelity of 317 years ago.
The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, by the Right Revered Emile Bougaud, makes this abundantly clear:
There is to the devotion of the Sacred Heart a private side and a social side. Margaret Mary begins with the first.
"In fine, my dear Mother," she writes, " are we not all consumed in the burning heart of His pure love? It will reign, this amiable Heart, in spite of Satan, his imps and his agents. This world transports me with joy. But to be able to express to you the great graces and benedictions it will attract upon all that shall have procured it the most honor and glory is what I cannot do in the way that He has given me to understand it.
"He has made me see the devotion to His Sacred Heart as a beautiful tree, from all eternity to spring up and take root in the midst of our Institute, and to extend its branches into the houses that compose it, so that each may gather from it fruits most pleasing to her liking and taste. But He desires that the daughters of the Visitation should distribute abundantly to all that will eat of it the fruits of this sacred tree. By this means He desires to restore life to many; and, by withdrawing them from the way of perdition, and destroying the empire of Satan in their heart, to establish in them that of His love."
Behold the first design, the supernatural, the social side of devotion to the Sacred Heart, that which regards souls at all times and in all places. Margaret Mary continues: "But He does not wish to stop here. He has still greater designs, which can be executed only by His almighty power."
Which are those designs that the Saint calls the greatest, and for which she invokes the All-powerful?
"He desires, then, it seems to me, to enter with pomp and magnificence into the palaces of kings and princes, therein to be honored as much as He has been despised, humiliated, and outraged in His Passion. May He receive as much pleasure therein at seeing the great ones of the world abasing and humbling themselves before Him as He once felt bitterness at beholding Himself annihilated at their feet!"
The tone of these words convinces one that Margaret Mary, when uttering them,. was in a sort of ecstasy. What follows leaves no room for doubt on the subject.
"Here are," she continues, "the words that I heart on this point: 'MAKE KNOWN TO THE ELDEST SON OF MY HEART,' SPEAKING OF OUR KING, 'THAT AS HIS TEMPORAL BIRTH WAS OBTAINED THROUGH DEVOTION TO THE MERITS OF MY HOLY CHILDHOOD, IN THE SAME MANNER HE WILL OBTAIN HIS BIRTH OF GRACE AND ETERNAL GLORY BY THE CONSECRATION THAT HE WILL MAKE OF HIMSELF TO MY ADORABLE HEART, which wishes to triumph over those of the great ones of the world. IT WISHES TO REIGN IN HIS PALACE, TO BE PAINTED ON HIS STANDARDS AND ENGRAVEN ON HIS ARMS, IN ORDER TO RENDER HIM VICTORIOUS OVER ALL HIS ENEMIES.'"
Margaret Mary spoke only of the king, because, in the spirit of those times, the king and France were one. The king personified all the souls of France living and breathing in one single soul.
To comprehend Almighty God's request with regard to the standard, we must recall that, from the earliest ages, France had always had a sacred standard, one that was not borne to vulgar combats; one that rested in the sanctuary of St. Denis under the shadow of the country's holy protectors. It was removed from its sacred shrine only when the monarch headed the army, when it was solemnly sought in the hour of the greatest danger, or when it was to be carried afar to the holy wars. It symbolized the religious soul of France, and floated like a sacred prayer amid the nation's banners. It was a standard of this kind that God had given to Joan of Arc. He had prescribed its form and emblems, and communicated to it the secret virtue that roused exhausted France to unhoped-for triumphs. Today, through the lips of the virgin of Paray, God asked of the king of France something of the same kind, a sacred standard which was to symbolize an act of faith. It was to be borne side by side with the nation's flag, and, in a voice that could be distinctly heard above the proverbial bravado of her enemies, proclaim that France places her trust in the blessing of God.
Mother de Saumaise was probably rather surprised by so serious a communication and one that tallied so little with what she knew of Margaret Mary's humility. She made no reply, and our sweet and humble Marguerite became anxious at her silence. Were her letters lost? Would Mother de Saumaise, until then so courageous for the interests of the Heart of Jesus, hesitate before this new perspective? Again she wrote to her, August 12, 1689: "I declare to you, my dear Mother, that your silence regarding the two long letters that I have had the honor to write you has given me a little pain. I know not to what to attribute it, except that perhaps I have set down my thoughts too freely and simply. I should perhaps have kept them concealed under a humble silence. You have only to tell me this, and I assure you that it will greatly gratify my inclination never to speak of these things, but to bury them in the secret of the Sacred Heart of my Divine Master. He is witness of the violence that I must do myself to speak of them. I should never have resolved to do so, had He not made known to me that it is for the interest of His glory; and for that I should cheerfully sacrifice millions of lives, if I had them, through my great desire to make Him known, loved, and adored. But perhaps you have not received my letters, and that would be still more afflicting to me." It was perhaps in the fear that these letters were lost, and that in the event of her death her secret might not descend with her into the tomb, that Margaret Mary reduced to writing the following. It was in the month of August, some days after the 12th, perhaps the 25th, the feast of St. Louis. It is less a letter than a sort of declaration, throughout which reign unaccountable solemnity and majesty:
"Live + Jesus!
"The Eternal Father, wishing to repair the bitterness and agony that the Adorable Heart of His Divine Son endured in the palaces of earthly princes, amidst the humiliations and outrages of His Passion, wishes to establish His empire in the heart of our great monarch, of whom He desires to make use in the execution of His designs, which is to have an edifice erected in which shall be a picture of His divine Heart, to receive the consecration and homage of the king and all the court.
" Moreover, this divine Heart wishes to make itself the defender of the sacred person of the king, his protector against all his enemies. Therefore has it chosen him as its faithful friend, to have the Mass authorized by the Holy Apostolic See, and to obtain all the other privileges that ought to accompany devotion to this divine Heart.
"It is by this divine Heart that God wishes to dispense the treasures of His graces of sanctification and salvation, by bestowing His benediction on the king's undertakings, according a happy success to his arms, and making him triumph over the malice of his enemies."
A consecration of the nation to the Heart of Jesus, a national temple raised to the Heart of Jesus, an inscription to the Heart of Jesus on the national standard--this is what Our Lord asked of the blessed Sister. Under this condition: He will render the king, that is, France, victorious over all her enemies, and will give her an eternal reign of honor and glory.
Saint Margaret Mary then goes on to recount the best means for realizing this plan; the best means for reaching the ears of Louis XIV. She mentions Pere de la Chaise, the king's confessor, who at this time enjoyed great favor: "If the goodness of God," says she, "inspires this great servant of the Divine Majesty to employ the power He has given him, he may rest assured that he has never done an action more useful to God's glory, more salutary to his own soul, nor for which he will be better recompensed.
"It will be very difficult, on account of the great obstacles Satan purposes putting in the way, as well as of all the other difficulties God will permit in order to His power seen. He can effect all that He pleases, though He does not always do so, not wishing to do violence to man's will. For this we must pray much and get prayers."
We may have remarked that in all these letters there breathes a deep and holy enthusiasm. The Heart of Jesus will reign in spite of its enemies! All that God wishes from France--that national consecration, that national temple, that inscription to the Heart of Jesus on a standard,--all will be accomplished; but it will take time, and nothing less than the omnipotence of God is necessary. Fearful misfortunes will, moreover, take place in the mean time.
We have not Mother de Saumaise's answer to his letter of August, 1689. She who had known how to reach Rome and arouse the thoughts of the Sovereign Pontiffs would neglect nothing to to reach even Louis XIV. We know that she had recourse to the Superioress of the Visitation of Chaillot, the refuge of Mlle. de la Fayette, where dwelt the queen of England, and which held, so to say, its door open to the court of Louis XIV. Might it happen that Pere de la Chaise would not dare to speak of it to the king? Might it happen that Louis XIV's soul would not be sufficiently humble to comprehend the Christian grandeur of such a thought? Be that as it may, those tender and magnanimous advances to the Heart of Jesus were not understood, and Margaret Mary's last admonitions were without avail, were lost in oblivion. They were, indeed, her last words, we are at the close of 1689, and she was nearing her death.
1689! Involuntarily we pause at this date, for it evokes another, 1789! A century has just rolled by between the epoch in which the humble virgin, hidden in the depths of a cloister, pointed out to Louis XIV the ark of salvation prepared for him by the goodness of God, and that other epoch in which arose the storm that was to sweep away the monarchy, and with it all other monarchies. If told in the days of his splendor of the perils in store in France, of the necessity of seeking a remedy, a shelter far above man, yea, even in the Adorable Heart of Jesus, Louis XIV would have smiled incredulously. And yet this was true. From Louis XIV France descended to Louis XV, from Louis XV to Voltaire, from Voltaire to Robespierre and Marat; that is to say, from pride to corruption, from corruption to impiety, and from both the one and the other to a hatred of God and man which was to bring about her universal punishment.
Ah, this was only the beginning of our sorrows! From 1789 let us go to 1889. There we find a new century, one scarcely les sad than its predecessor; one in which minds are darkened and hearts chilled; one in which nothing is lasting; one whose every cycle of fifteen years witnessed a storm that carried away a throne; one in which man lives amidst constantly recurring political convulsions, in distrust of the present, in uncertainty of the future.
It was for such times that had been providentially prepared, and it was in the midst of such catastrophes, that we see making its way, painfully but surely, devotion to that Heart which is meek and humble, which suited so well the age of Louis XIV; which is pure, for it was of purity that Louis XV's reign had so much need; which was consumed by love and devotedness, qualities that would not have proved prejudicial to the age of such as Robespierre; which raises sad hearts and comforts crushed souls; which suits our own time and all times. (Right Reverend Emile Bougaud, The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. Published in 1890 by Benziger Brothers. Re-printed by TAN Books and Publishers, 1990, pp. 267-273.)
Pretty powerful, wouldn't you say? Although it is important to do as much good as we can in this passing vale of tears to try to retard the evils of our own day in cooperation with the graces won for us by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow to us through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, we must not deceive ourselves into thinking that there is any political or programmatic "solution" to problems that have their remote cause in Original Sin and their proximate cause in the Actual Sins of men, made manifest in many ways, especially by Modernity's warfare against the Social Reign of Christ the King. We must, therefore, be assiduous in our own lives to renew our consecrations to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, offering unto these twin Hearts acts of love and reparation on a daily basis.
The First Friday of November, the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, is eight days away. The First Saturday of November is nine days away. Now is a very good time to prepare to make the best First Friday and First Saturday of our lives. Now is a very good time to get into the practice of a daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament, spending time either before or after Mass (or at some other point during the day), to console these Hearts for how much we have caused them to suffer by our ingratitude, our coldness and yes, our sins, both great and small. Now is a very good time to consider how the restoration of Tradition in the Church and of Christendom in the world as the fruit of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary depends upon our own efforts to plant the seeds in our families and in the souls of all those God chooses to put into our daily lives for the conversion of men and their nations to Christ the King and to Mary our Immaculate King.
We have great weapons as we fight the spiritual battles as members of the right army, the Army of Christ the King. We have the Miraculous Medal. We have the Brown Scapular. We have the Green Scapular. We have the Seven Dolors of Our Lady. Most importantly, though, we have Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary. May we never flag in our love of the Rosary and never doubt its power to work miracles so that one day there will be a Catholic States of America, a nation that subordinates itself in all things all times to the Mind of the Divine Redeemer as He has revealed It exclusively to the Catholic Church.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, son of Zebedee, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saints Chrysanthus and Daria, pray for us.
Pope Saint Evaristus, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.