“We pray to Our Lady of Pontmain that she will give back Hope, pride to the men of the Church”. Following is a sermon given by Fr. Thierry Gaudray FSSPX, May 6, 2018. In order to preserve the character of this sermon, the oral style has been maintained.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
All places, all countries belong to the good Lord, and yet there are places that the good Lord has chosen, especially. There are places that are consecrated by the Church, by her authority as spouse. She can consecrate places, churches, basilicas, cathedrals. But there are places that the good God himself, the Blessed Virgin, has chosen. And Pontmain is one of these places chosen by God, to protect France. The good God has shown his concern for our country here in Pontmain.
All times belong to God. At all times, we must have recourse to God. The Christian life, the interior life is a conversation, should be a current conversation with the good God. And yet there are times when the good God blesses more. There are liturgical times, there are pilgrimages, there are graces that the good God gives today. And there are graces that the good God gives today.
The good God is rich in mercy. He gives a lot of grace. All graces come from him. He gives all those graces that lead us to heaven. In our miseries, in our requests, we know that the good God is always there. He responds to all needs. Yet there are particular graces to ask for, in this place, on this date, on this Sunday before the feast of the Ascension. Yes, we have come here to ask for Hope. This is the grace that the good God certainly wants to grant us today, here in Pontmain.
And let us ask for this grace, first of all, for France, since here the good God has shown his goodness, his attention to our country. Yes, we have come here to pray for France.
Of course, we came here to pray for the Church, too. For the crisis that is shaking the Church is our great concern, our great cross. And we cannot forget our Mother.
And then, of course, we have come here to ask, beyond all our particular intentions, we have come here simply to ask for the salvation of our souls. For this is the object of the virtue of Hope. Yes, I hope for eternal happiness in the other. I hope that you will give me, Lord, your grace in this world, and if I keep your commandments, eternal happiness in the other.
We have come for France. On January 17, 1871, when the Empire had fallen, while the Prussians were in Laval, the Blessed Virgin appeared in heaven and stopped this invasion, saved our country which was about to perish.
The Blessed Virgin deals with politics. For politics, the city, is the place where we sanctify ourselves. It is important to the Blessed Virgin, it is important to our sanctification, that we be devoted to our country, that we have love for our homeland, and the Blessed Virgin manifested this concern she had for France, which is our country.
The good Lord had manifested this concern for temporal matters of course, through the sending of Joan of Arc. And the Blessed Virgin herself, here in Pontmain, came to protect France.
We love our homeland, that is to say this heritage of faith, of virtue, which makes France what it is. We love it, even though France itself is guilty. We love our country, we have come here to implore God's mercy.
How could we hope for God's graces, if we did not first ask for forgiveness for the sins of France, the ungodliness of this country, which has removed from its constitution the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the very name of God? This country which has produced in its legislation iniquitous laws, contrary to natural law, to the most elementary things of human nature. A country, which because of its ungodliness, its sin, is on the verge of dissolution, caught in a frightful vice in the two jaws of an impersonal Europe and a conquering Islam. Will the good God save France?
There is no promise. The Roman Empire, the Christian, the Roman Empire has fallen. Saint Jerome mourned the disappearance of the Roman Empire. Are we, too, going to mourn the disappearance of a country, of France?
We came here, perhaps not in Hope, but in confidence. In confidence because the Blessed Virgin, who came here, well, she is not going to abandon us.
We came here too, as if supported, supported by the prayer of our forefathers. We are not the first. We come here every year to pray to Our Lady of Pontmain; there are generations and generations of Christian souls who have come to pray for the salvation of France. And leaning on this prayer that repeats itself, that perseveres, yes, we trust that the good God will do something for our country, that the good God will save, save France and make her once again faithful to the grace of her baptism.
We have come to pray for the Church. On April 9, not even a month ago, the Head of State gave a speech before the bishops of France and said that his role was to ensure that the French may or may not believe, that they have the right to manifest their atheism. And he asked the bishops of France, well, an absolute, total, uncompromising respect for all the laws of the French republic. And the bishops, hearing this speech, applauded, fervently!
This applause freezes our blood! It is an act of apostasy! It is the refusal to make Our Lord Jesus Christ reign! It is the refusal to exercise the authority that is theirs, the authority to feed the flock, to lead souls to God. Poor priests, poor bishops who no longer believe in the royalty of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
Yes, these souls, these souls have as it were lost their faith, lost their faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, for truly if one believes that He is God, how can one not desire, how can one not work for this social reign, for this reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ?
If it was only a discouragement - for it was certainly a discouragement - why has the Church come to this point? Why did these men, why did these priests, these bishops, finally think that religious freedom was a wonderful thing? That it was indeed necessary, in the name of conscience, to give it to all men? To be able effectively, publicly, in the face of all, to deny the very existence of God? In the beginning certainly this was a lack of Hope. A kind of loss of Faith in the power that is given to them, in this capacity that they have to preach the Gospel. They have been blessed by Our Lord for this; it is they, the bishops, who have this power to graze, and to preach the Gospel, they have been sent for this. And now they no longer believe in it. They no longer feel the strength to preach the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
It seems that they have, in the name of this religious freedom, in the name of this ecumenism, finally renounced their authority. When the Holy Father gathers those who call themselves "Christians," does he ask them to believe in him? To submit to his authority?
He who is Peter, he who is the successor of St. Peter, the vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ! The representative of God on earth! Does he ask them to obey, to submit? No. No, it is finished. He no longer dares, no longer says anything. He who is Peter, on the contrary, preaches freedom, the dispersion of the Lord's sheep. He who is charged with ensuring the unity of the Church, by his authority, does not ask for it. Let each one believe what he wants, and everyone, in this way, could go to heaven.
In Pontmain, the Blessed Virgin showed the respect she had for the authority of the Church. The parish priest, MONSIEUR L'ABBÉ GUÉRIN, had been the parish priest of Pontmain for thirty-five years when the Blessed Virgin appeared. The Blessed Virgin, as long as the parish priest was not there, said nothing, announced nothing, did not manifest her will. When the parish priest came, and as the prayers that the parish priest had recited or sung went on, the Blessed Virgin changed her expression. According to the hymn that the parish priest asked for, then she would rejoice, she would smile. It even seemed as if she was pointing the finger at this music, this hymn.
On the contrary, when it was a hymn of repentance, then we would see the Blessed Virgin sad. It seemed as if the Blessed Virgin was obedient to this parish priest, to this priest who had indeed, with great zeal, converted and maintained his entire parish with great fervor.
She was dressed in blue because the parish priest had decorated his church in blue. She was surrounded by candles, because the priest had put candles in his church, four candles around the statue of the Blessed Virgin. What respect for authority!
What an example for us! Yes, here is a parish priest! Here is someone who is in charge of the salvation of souls, of his flock! What are priests doing today? What do priests do? What do bishops do? What does the Pope do?
We are going to pray, yes, here in Pontmain, for the Church to regain its pride, for the men of the Church to regain their pride. May the Pope understand that he is the first, the supreme authority on earth. And that all must recognize his authority in order to go to heaven. It is precisely for him that we pray and suffer in this crisis of the Church. Through him, most certainly, unfortunately, but above all for him. We want to offer our prayers and our sacrifices so that he may indeed become Pope again, in truth, in his deeds! And may he govern the Church! And may he proclaim the Gospel to souls! And may he proclaim to them the consequences of disobedience to God, that there is a heaven and a hell! Let him say it! He has authority for that.
Yes, we pray to Our Lady of Pontmain that she will give back Hope, pride to the men of the Church.
And then we come here of course to pray for our salvation, our eternal salvation. Ah here is the object, the object of the virtue of Hope. Yes, I hope, I hope one day, well, to see you in heaven.
The good God, gives us all these graces, to us who pray. He who prays, saves himself, certainly.
We noticed of course that in Pontmain, it was to the little children, that the Blessed Virgin appeared. Because in childhood, well, there is innocence. But it is an innocence that is in fact. That is not to say that children were not marked by original sin. You only have to look at the children in any playground to realize that this innocence is not perfect. It is a de facto innocence. They are too young to be really bad, too young to be able to do real harm.
We want to become real children again by virtue, we want this innocence of heart. Only children enter heaven. See what Hope, what admirable Hope! Yes, I, poor sinner, poor old man, I hope, I hope one day to have this innocence of childhood. And to reach heaven pure, for only pure hearts can see the good God.
Hope is a virtue that is divine, that is theological. What we hope for is not purely human. Our Hope is not in temporal things. Our Hope is the Charity of the good God. What we want is that perfect innocence, which will enable us to resemble God himself. May you be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect! (Mt 5:48). This is what we hope, yes, to be perfect like God himself. This is what the good God asks of us, and this is what he commands us to hope for.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, our good Mother in heaven, bless us! May she bless our country! May she give back to the Church her pride, to the men of the Church their pride, and may she soon bring us eternal salvation!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, so be it!
Abbé Thierry Gaudray