April 2020 - District Superior's Letter: Peace!
Peace! “My peace I give unto you!”
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
“My peace I give unto you!” This is the great message of Easter, which I extend to you all, and which takes on a very special meaning this year with what we are experiencing at this very moment. God is almighty, nothing can happen without His permission and He even draws good from evil. We must be filled with these simple truths, sources of profound peace.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.”
Judas had just left the Upper Room, “it was night,” a witness to the scene tells us, and it was then that Jesus spoke to His closest friends about the peace which He had come to bring on earth, from the time of His birth, “to men of good will.” This peace He gave with an even greater strength with His victory over sin on Good Friday, and over death, the consequence of sin, on Easter Sunday. Have we not all felt it in some way when, after having had the misfortune of falling into sin, we threw ourselves at the feet of a priest for a good, sincere and humble confession? “Go in peace!” “Ah! It feels so good to know that we are in a state of grace!”
In this wonderful Easter Vigil liturgy, we re-read the story of the most spectacular miracle in the history of the world: the crossing of the Red Sea by a procession of about two million people. They had the Egyptian army behind them and an impassable sea before them. Humanly speaking, it was certain death, they were caught in a vice. But God watched over His people, and intervened to save them and give them an unparalleled proof of the infinitely powerful love with which He cared for this multitude. Moses and the prophets up to St. Stephen often reminded them of this in the centuries that followed.
The darkest moment in the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, humanly speaking, was when He lay lifeless, wrapped and bound in His shroud, in the sepulchre closed by a large stone. The reaction of the disciples on Easter Sunday when Jesus appeared to them shows that they really had lost faith in the preceding days. Yet how many miracles had He performed before their eyes to manifest His divinity, His omnipotence, and how many times had He shown them that He was stronger than death! “Jesus said to Martha: ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this?’”
“Believest thou this?” He is still asking each one of us this question in these days of lockdown.
We are truly privileged to have over 6,000 years of history behind us to help us. Bible History, especially with this Providence that multiplied the most extraordinary miracles in addition to the crossing of the Red Sea — the manna, the brazen serpent, the water from the rock and so many others — to lead His chosen People to the Holy Land. Then, of course, the New Testament with all the miracles of Our Lord, including His own Resurrection celebrated at Easter, and the Holy Shroud (which the Archbishop of Turin graciously wished to show the world once again last night, on Holy Saturday). If, after all these truly apologetic and historical proofs, we still doubt His vigilant and all-powerful love, Our Lord will be right to say to us, as He did to Saint Peter: "Why do you doubt, O man of little faith?”
We also have 2,000 years of Church history behind us, and what a fantastic story that is! Following the Divine Master, the Church was also persecuted, put to death, and resurrected so many times! “It was by faith in the Resurrection,” would say St. Paul, that the Christians of the first three centuries overcame those ten great waves of bloody Roman persecutions. The very names of Decius, of Diocletian, which we often hear at the martyrology, give us shivers, but although they too had to die, the Church continues indeed to live!
“It was by faith in the Resurrection” that English, Irish, Japanese, Vendean and other Catholics did so many things to hide their priests (the priests’ holes), to have Holy Mass (the ‘Mass Rocks’), to be able to receive Communion. As Jeremiah said, “We buy our bread at the risk of our lives; before the sword of the desert.”
“It is by faith in the Resurrection” that Catholics under communist regimes, even today, suffer persecution for their faith, “they of whom the world is not worthy. They too are wandering in the deserts and mountains, in the caves and dens of the earth.”
“It was by faith in the Resurrection” that Mrs. Rose Hu suffered 26 years in communist prisons before becoming a member, a few years later, of the Third Order of the Society of St. Pius X in the USA. Her autobiography, “Joy in Suffering,” is a best seller (available at the district house), a good read during this time of lockdown. When the normal rhythm of life resumes, hopefully in the near future, it will be necessary to write another one: “Joy in Suffering in Time of Lockdown”!
If until now we had thought the Church was living its Good Friday as we saw it, as it were, dying, now with most churches closed, masses forbidden, fear, lockdown, we have certainly moved on to its Holy Saturday: the Church is now buried. However, by saying Holy Saturday, we refer to the day when the only one who kept faith in the resurrection of her Son was His Immaculate Mother. All Saturdays are days of the Blessed Virgin because of this first Holy Saturday. Therefore, it is Our Lady again who will save the faith of the Church; she, Our Lady of Holy Hope, will rekindle in the souls and hearts of all her children the faith in the resurrection and hope of Heaven.
“He has risen as He said!” Alleluia!
“The gates of hell will not prevail,” “as He said!” Alleluia!
Father Daniel Couture
April 12, 2020