September 2019 - District Superior's Letter
The broken chain
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
In his meditation on Two Standards, St Ignatius tells us how Lucifer, the chief of the enemy,“goads his innumerable demons on to lay snares for men and bind them with chains” (n. 141-142).
The snares and chains are inveterate bad habits, addictions, black mail, and whatever else gives the feeling of being entangled morally, spiritually, in our reputation, and with a sense of impossibility to emerge from it, of powerlessness, of being prisoner.
Was that not what St Paul himself experienced when he exclaimed:“For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do. I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members. Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom 7: 19, 23-25)
Saint Augustine, in his Confessions, describes that very same struggle he had between being attracted to chastity by the wonderful example of so many Christians who were chaste, and a will chained in a frightful passion of lust.
“With what scourges of rebuke did I not lash my soul to make it follow me, as I was struggling to go after Thee? Yet it drew back. It refused. It would not make an effort. All its arguments were exhausted and confuted. Yet it resisted in sullen disquiet, fearing the cutting off of that habit by which it was being wasted to death, as if that were death itself.
“Wretched youth that I was, I had entreated chastity of Thee and had prayed, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.” Thus, I was sick and tormented, reproaching myself more bitterly than ever, rolling and writhing in my chain till it should be utterly broken.”
Saint Paul came to his rescue, he who knew that only “the grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord” could deliver him from the body of death. Augustine, after seeing his utter weakness to free himself, had the humility to admit it and to ask for that divine grace which he received, precisely, through the inspired pages of the Apostle.
He heard a young voice chanting: “ ‘Pick it up, read it!’ I snatched up the apostle’s book, and in silence read: ‘Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof’ (Rom 13:13). Instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away.”
These stories and so many others of the same kind are a source of great hope today at the sight of innumerable souls caught by the addiction of pornography, of computer games, of drug and of so many others. The grace of God is still omnipotent, let us never forget it, it is healing and elevating, it can break absolutely any addiction, and make saints out of great sinners. This can be seen especially through the practice of frequent and well-prepared confessions (with a true firm purpose of amendment, and therefore of avoiding the proximate occasions of sin), of fervent holy communions and of devotion to Our Blessed Lady.
Our Lord Jesus Christ came precisely to break that chain of the slavery of sin, as St Paul writes repeatedly in his epistles. “The law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath delivered me from the law of sin and of death.” The liturgy too often stresses that healing and elevating nature of grace, such as when we ask, in the Christmas collect, that the birth of the Savior “may deliver us who are held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin”, and, in the octave of Easter, that through the Resurrection, we “may deserve to obtain perfect liberty and advance towards eternal life”.
There is hope! Courage!
Our priests were busy this summer with 6 retreats, 6 camps and 2 pilgrimages. Deo gratias!
A third priest for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy :we welcome Rev. Fr. William MacGillivray, newly ordained American, to our boys’ school in New Hamburg. We assure him of our fervent prayers for this his first assignment and that he may be an inspiration to all our students.
Change of priests in Holy Family School, Lévis:we thank Fathers Bie Bibang and Pons for the long years they have spent at the school (14 and 12 respectively) and assure them of our prayers in their new assignment (Libreville, Gabon, and Phoenix, USA). And at the same time, we warmly welcome the two French priests who will replace them, Fr. Raphaël d’Abbadie d’Arrast and Fr. Paul Perrot. Ad multos annos!
Upcoming events :
- September 14: Toronto : Public conference on the Holy Shroud, by Dr. J. Jackson, PhD, world specialist. Contact the priory of Toronto for details.
- September 20-22: Youth Conference sponsored by the Fatima Centre, in Cleveland, USA. Contact the priory of Toronto.
- September 27-28: Pilgrimage to the Canadian Martyrs, Midland
- October 12-13: JQCR Congress in Québec
- October 12-20: Visit of Bishop Fellay: Lévis, Winnipeg and Langley
Yours truly in Mary Immaculate,
Fr. Daniel Couture