August 2015 - Fair Promises, Miracle of Grace
This month the rector focuses on the incoming "humanities" class which will begin its pre-seminary year in October 2015. In his anticipation of the entering class, Fr. le Roux reflects on the grace which must undoubtedly be active in the response to the call which a man makes when he decides to enter the seminary. In addition, he focuses on the battle for souls which is waged between the devil and the future seminarian and priest.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
At the beginning of October, God willing, we should have a beautiful crop of seminarians entering into the year of Humanities. After a few lean years, we are overjoyed by this promise. If the figures for this year are confirmed, about thirty young men will be knocking at the seminary door this autumn.
The Church, the souls, society, the families need priests. After a half-century of unheard-of disaster, we understand better the words of the Curé of Ars, who said that, after thirty years without a priest in a parish, “men would adore animals.” There were certainly free-thinkers at the time of the Curé who thought that he was exaggerating: they were wrong, and in time the facts proved him right. We find ourselves there now. Msgr. Lefebvre said that, in our times, each vocation is a miracle of grace.
There are so many powerful entreaties, exciting inducements, so many occasions of grave sin openly exposed everywhere, that one does not have to be a genius to acknowledge that our Founder was right.
Miracles of grace because these fair promises of vocations, still in the world, are already exposed to the repeated and heinous attacks of the devil, who does not wait until these young shoots are sheltered within the greenhouse that is the seminary. As soon as they ask for admission, the devil regards them as his enemies and strives to disturb them, to throw their souls into sadness, to multiply obstacles and traps in their path, in order to discourage from them carrying on their way.
A request of admission to the seminary is nothing less than a declaration of war against the devil, who is not deceived and uses any available means against them. These future seminarians have also a strict right to our prayers and sacrifices. They must be well armed to face these diabolic attacks, and it is necessary for us to be well aware that only our freely offered prayers and sacrifices will give them the strength to carry on regardless and, in spite of everything, knock at the door of the seminary.
A miracle of grace – that is how our Founder is described a vocation. It would be good to meditate on this mysterious reality of the divine call and of the answer given by him who is called, because this miraculous, mysterious aspect is often absent from the analyses made regarding the decreasing number of vocations. Indeed, these analyses usually take into account only the many human criteria which, admittedly, play an undeniable part in this tragic decrease. For this reason, the pitiful state in which the modern world and the holy Church are obviously represents a determining factor of this alarming weakening. Nothing in the world or the Church favors the blossoming of vocations.
But to consider only these criteria would be a serious error. It would be to forget that the lack of vocations is due, for a great part, to the lack of prayers and sacrifices of faithful souls for this intention. Our Lord is extremely clear on this subject, when in the Gospel He enjoins us to pray His Father to send forth laborers into His harvest. The prayer addressed to the Father as a divine condition sine qua non of vocations is often forgotten. However, even if the vocation is really a gratuitous gift given by God, it is also – as affirmed by the divine will – the fruit of prayer; of prayer and sacrifices. Sacrifice being, indeed, closely related to prayer, since Christ gave His life on the Cross. From the top of that sacred pulpit, by His example, He teaches us that prayer and sacrifice cannot be dissociated.
The appeal of God to souls is always an invitation to share into the cross of Our Lord, jewel of divine love. Thus, by our prayers and sacrifices, let us try to obtain for these young souls the grace to hear this call and to answer it with generosity.
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves le Roux