November 2019 - District Superior's Letter
Thank God for the missionaries who brought us the Faith!
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Every day at the preface of the Holy Mass we express our deep gratitude to God in a wonderful way: “It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to Thee, Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal Father…” The Holy Mass is the Holy Eucharist, the supreme act of gratitude for all the gifts, natural and supernatural, we have received from God. The Holy Mass is a school where we learn the great virtue of gratitude.
St Paul wrote that a mark of the later days would be a lack of gratitude: “Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, (…) ungrateful, wicked, (…) having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim 3:1-5).
The Synod of the Amazon, which has just ended, has been one more of these sad events where, among other scandalous issues, many speakers have asked pardon for the work the missionaries did over five centuries. I have seen the same in Asia, and this rejection of history is also taught right here in the public schools in French Canada. According to them, the missionaries should have stayed home and not proudly imposed their beliefs on these good indigenous people. Kyrie eleison!
We reach here the worse kind of ingratitude, “to esteem kindness as though it were unkindness”.
“The first degree of ingratitude”, teaches St Thomas, “is when a man fails to repay a favor (to his benefactor), the second when he declines to notice or indicate that he has received a favor (not to say thank you), while the third and supreme degree is when a man fails to recognize the reception of a favor, whether by forgetting it or in any other way.”It can even get worse, says the Angelic Doctor: “it (also) belongs to the first degree of ingratitude to return evil for good, to the second to find fault with a favor received, and to the third to esteem kindness as though it were unkindness.”
Thus, by finding fault with the work of evangelisation, it is of course God Himself that is found guilty. Why, in the first place, did He send His Son on earth? A few days ago, in the epistle of the feast of Christ the King, we heard the Apostle exclaiming: “Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love” (Col 1: 12-13).
This modern “synodal Church” may have the “appearance indeed of godliness”, of kindness towards the indigenous people, but it certainly “denies the power thereof”, the power of God’s grace delivering us from the power of darkness, from the slavery of sin, making us children of God through baptism. These churchmen are truly ashamed of the Gospel contrary to St Paul.
For a change, listen to one Indian chief who was indeed truly grateful for the faith he received. The story took place in Three Rivers, the morning of the day St Isaac Jogues and his companions were ambushed, arrested, cruelly tortured, and some of them killed – including chief Eustache –, by the Iroquois. This is August 1, 1641. They had just had the Holy Mass and Holy communion.
Before leaving, “the Hurons held a council, as is usual with the Indians in critical affairs, in order to encourage each other. It showed the influence which Faith had acquired over their hearts. One of the chiefs said, ‘Is there any amongst us who would renounce his belief in God were he to be burned by our enemies? We are Christians to be happy in heaven, not on this earth!’ They all applauded the words, and professed to be of the same sentiment.
“Ahasistari (Chief Eustache) spoke last, and he did it as a Christian hero: ‘Brothers, should I fall into the hands of the Iroquois, 1 cannot hope for life; but before I die I shall ask them, ‘What have the Europeans (ie., the Dutch) brought into their country? — hatchets, blankets, pots, guns. And 1 will say to them, ‘They love you not: they hide from you the costliest of all ware, which the French give us without barter. They have made us acquainted with a God who has created all things, an eternal fire destined for those who offend Him, and a place of happiness everlasting for those who serve Him, where our souls and our bodies, which will one day arise again, shall be in glory,’ And I will say again, ‘Behold my great happiness. Wreak now all your cruelties on my body; by your torments you will separate my soul from it, but you cannot tear this hope from my heart.’ Then turning to Charles Tsondatsaa: ‘My brother, if it be God's will that I fall captive to the enemy, and you escape, return to my country, bring my relations together, and tell them, for the love of me, and much more of themselves, to embrace the Prayer. Prayer alone can strengthen and give comfort. If they follow the part of Faith, we shall one day be united. God, the Master of life, is all my hope; and wherever I may be, I shall live and die for Him.’ ” (Fr. Isaac Jogues, by Fr. Martin, 1873, pp. 70-71). They were truly grateful men.
Like these brave heroes, let us give thanks to God, “at all times and in all places” for the tremendous gift of faith that the missionaries have brought to us in centuries past, obeying the command of our divine King: “Going therefore in the whole world, teach all nations! Preach the gospel to every creature!”
As our Superior General has just requested, all our faithful, even the children according to their capabilities, are encouraged to join us in a day of fasting on Saturday November 9, and on November 10, to sing or recite the Litanies of the Saints. Both days, including the Sunday Mass, are in reparation for the abominations and idolatry that took place in the recent Synod in Rome.
Do not hesitate to send us the list of deceased people to be put on our altar during the whole month of November. Donations for the Holy Souls may be included but they are not considered mass stipends.
God bless you all.
Fr. Daniel Couture