January 2018 - District Superior's Letter
Christmas: a public feast
Dear friends and benefactors,
These beautiful feasts of the Savior's Nativity that we are celebrating these days, and this New Year that is beginning, clearly manifest the public, external side of our holy religion. Ambient liberalism seeks by all means to reduce religion to the internal forum, to the personal conscience, to a question of private opinion.
The return of Christmas every year, and the Gregorian calendar that the international world follows, proclaim openly the opposite. By his incarnation, Our Lord has indeed entered human history, politics, geography, the time in which we all live.
It was through obedience to Caesar Augustus' census that Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem and Micheas’ prophecy was fulfilled. Moreover, Palestine had been under Roman tutelage for nearly 70 years before the birth of the Savior. This was also prophesied more than 2000 years earlier by the old patriarch Jacob, dying, surrounded by his 12 sons, on the banks of the Nile.
It will be also be through obedience to an order from a Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, that Our Lord will submit to the death of the cross on Good Friday.
A dozen years or so after the Ascension, at the request of his Master, a simple Galilean fisherman, St. Peter, arrives in Rome and establishes his headquarters in the very heart of the Empire he came to conquer. He was armed only with the grace of God and the revealed truth, and he soon sprinkled them with his blood. However, this bloodshed, along with that of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of others during the persecutions that followed, succeeded in conquering the city. Tertullian, this fiery apologist, will proclaim it two centuries later:
Yes, we are but of yesterday, hestemi sumus, and already we fill your cities, your islands, your castles, your municipalities, your markets, your camps, your tribes, the palace, the senate, the Forum: we have left you only your temples!"
Christmas announces to us that this Divine Child has received all power in heaven and on earth, that the Epiphany reminds us clearly that He is the King of kings. His arrival on earth is a public event.
It is not surprising then to see the world and its prince doing everything in their power to take away our Lord from Christmas. This is done through the exaltation of "Santa Claus", it will be wishes for "the happy holiday" wishes and Christmas cards that have absolutely nothing to do with the birth of the Savior ... How many times have we not received Christmas cards with a family photo? This is becoming an unfortunate custom even among our good Catholics. Christmas is not the feast of our families. It is the Savior's Day! Have we even installed a beautiful crib in our living rooms, at the foot of the tree? Christmas without the crib is no longer Christmas.
Not only, however, are they trying to remove the Saviour and His crib from the anniversary of His feast, but every year we see more and more mockeries of the crib, daring cribs like that of the Vatican this year, and sometimes even blasphemous ones.
Christmas is a public event, let us never get tired of saying it. Another simple proof, but all powerful in its simplicity, is precisely the fact that we are now in 2018. It is very interesting to see the Gregorian calendar, the one we follow and which reminds us of the year of the birth of the Savior, to be the international civil calendar adopted by practically every country on the globe. It is true that within certain Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu countries, for example, we will find other calendars, but when it comes to crossing the borders, taking a plane, showing a passport, the universal norm is the calendar of Pope Gregory XII of 1582, called Gregorian. In other words, it is the reminder of the year of the Saviour's birth!
This Child is disturbing. In 1793, France tried to change the calendar in order to eliminate the reference to the Savior that they wanted to dethrone. It was weeks of ten days, months with the strangest names. This lasted 13 years, until Napoleon Bonaparte agreed to return to the Gregorian calendar. In 1966, Sri Lanka also tried to impose a Buddhist calendar, but because of trade difficulties, returned to the Gregorian calendar five years later.
Our Lord wants the salvation of the whole world and whoever is of good will can, following the course of the history, find the peace promised by the Angels, and be found, humble and contrite, at the foot of the Holy Manger. Pray that there will be more and more such conversion in this New Year.
In Sherbrooke, Quebec: On December 8 we finally signed the purchase contract for a magnificent church dedicated to Saint Joan of Arc. You can see pictures of it on our website. The interventions of Providence in this acquisition were quite impressive. The former Sherbrooke chapel purchased in 1985 was dedicated to Notre-Dame de Lourdes. However, despite our many efforts in recent months to close the contract, it was on the day of the Immaculate Conception that the contract was signed. It is Saint Pius X who beatified Saint Joan of Arc in 1909, and one of the miracles that was necessary for her canonization was obtained in Lourdes. Deo gratias!
Fr. Daniel Couture