Our newsletter has now too many issues to send them all in the ‘starting mail’. Here is a small summary of issues 18,19 and 21.
Issue 18 – April 2003: GIVING TESTIMONY AFTER THE REVELATIONS IN THE USA
A few months ago there was an explosion of evil in the Church of the USA.
The Pope and the cardinals of this Church had strong, urgent and courageous words.
An evil that is exposed is for those who ignore evil a scandal. And here there is a scandal.
But for those who meditated upon evil and salvation, upon the only Saint, there is nothing but a sad exposure.
Can the Church still give testimony? YES, it can.
First, there are in the Church as in the whole humanity, a few saints, many common people who hobble along their paths lit by their consciences, and a few criminals, mad people, certainly ‘big sinners’. It is up to God and to canonizations for Christian or pagan saints. For example, I like very much the figure of Vaclav Havel.
The testimony of the Church is not the testimony of a club of very nice people who would say: See all the beautiful things God did for us, come with us. The act of repenting in which we are led so wisely by our Pope says properly the limit of this language. Here is rather our testimony: Come and see, God is believable, He is the only one to be lovable, because He is the only one who knows how to live with the poor so that he may forgive them and sanctify them. It is crucifying for Him, but it is the only source of His glory in our salvation.
Overwhelmed with the sadness of so much evil – an evil that is suffered, transmitted and aroused – I am even more overwhelmed with the suffering of God. His most painful suffering is not His own, but the suffering of his sons who are so poor.
The world focussing on the Church must also be evoked.
Many people feel that this is an unfair settling of scores about a problem affecting everybody. There is some truth in that, but for me, that is of secondary importance.
People are right to address the Church first. Even if it hurts or if it is humiliating – which is secondary considering the suffering of God and of children – our duty to testify, our duty to show the Father through Christian family fathers and fathers who are parish priests, sends on the front line and demands from us that we sort out sin and salvation.
However, it is a place where the mystery of iniquity is revealed, in a field difficult for human people, where sexuality and psychology blend. If it is in our society and in the Church that we must face, for the first time in the history of mankind, a universal evil that has always been taboo, an evil sometimes justified but never eradicated, it is because God’s healing action continues. It must be acknowledged that Man, thanks to the evolution of his intelligence, cannot bear any longer what he starts naming and treating in his horizon, in his culture, with his modern tools, among which there is psychology.
Let’s join up humbly intelligence and prayer so that the sanctifying and healing work may go on harmonizing, so that Man may be at the same time, and thanks to God, healthier and holier.
Paradoxically in this tragic moment of our history there is good News for the Creation.
Issue 19 – July 2003: MARY
Mary, Mother of us all, will be celebrated soon, on August 15th, Assumption Day. She will be honoured in Lourdes and will support in prayer all those who cannot go on the pilgrimage.
Mary is very fragile, very gentle and very motherly. Mary who is very humble and very faithful knew how to receive in her womb the germ of God’s Love for his children.
As she confidently told God ‘Yes’, Mary turned her faith into a commitment and agreed to forget her own self to carry our Saviour.
Mary is completely offered to God. She is obedient to God’s promise, able to let Him lead her, to let Him convert her.
Mary, whose motherly heart is pierced through, accepts everything… even at the foot of the Cross.
Mary supports particularly these abused children. Her heart is first and foremost the heart of a mother, of a good mother.
But Mary is also the one with whom we can pray for sinners; she is in the image of Christ on the Cross (‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’); she has compassion for the guilty abusing adult who is also suffering; she understands all and she is a comforter.
Didn’t she say in Lourdes: ‘Give me all your burdens to be free to throw yourselves into Jesus’ arms’?
Let’s give Mary these children and these abusing adults for whom we pray every day. May their lives be transformed and may they discover in Mary the image of the gentle, good mother.
Issue N°21 – January 2004: TO UNDERSTAND THE FATHER’S ATTITUDE
In some churches, we can admire stained-glass windows or any other works of art representing a ‘Throne of Glory’: God, the Father, his Son on the Cross and between them, the dove, the Holy Spirit. But we can also see there something having to do with the Invisible…
We often reproach God with the fact that human beings hurt one another; we criticize him for ‘being absent, for doing nothing in spite of his power’ and we think that ‘if he did exist, He would be well advised to show his famous power’. And here’s what proves that the Father is not Father: he must be really perverse to let his Son die apparently to save us.
Jesus could say as much about this father, about his Father whom he called precisely at the time of his crucifixion: ‘why have you forsaken me?’ And this is what so many people think. The psalm had already said: ‘Where is your God?’
Let’s go back to our ‘Throne of Glory’… Jesus, whose hands are nailed on the Cross, experimenting deeply with the living of sinners who believe they are abandoned in the death of their sins, feels lonely, forsaken.
Watch carefully! At the same time, the Father’s hands carry the Cross, and the Father’s heart gives his most precious treasure, his Son. But be careful, for many people the Father’s attitude is a sign of cowardice. Actually, instead of denouncing the bad father, the Gospel of the Cross tells us the Love of this father, who, as he gives us his son, gave us everything. He loved us so much that he wanted to be united with his Son in the gift of himself. A true father, he loved us so much that he let his Son give himself to human beings and together they want to raise them, to bring them back to life.
Ask a father or a mother what is the most difficult: their suffering or their child’s? David who mourned for his son used to cry: ‘O my son Absalon, my son, my son Absalon! Would God I had died for thee!’ (2 Sam 18:33). How much more painful is the suffering of God the Father when he lets his Son give himself so that all the love of the Trinity may be involved.
If we read it as an icon – but isn’t faith nourished with icons? – this Throne of Glory tells us about these words by Jesus: ‘He who sees me sees the Father’.
Through the Father’s attitude we are facing again the Mystery of Redemption, the mystery of Christ Jesus who died on the Cross so that all our sins may be forgiven.
This Redemption offered by God our Father, for us, through his Son, tells us again and again the disproportionate Love that this Father has for us, praying members, abused children and abusing adults… We are ALL sinners and we are ALL redeemed by the blood of the Cross.
This Redemption is real: as Christ suffered and died, he really took our places. This Redemption is free: thanks to his great mercy, our Lord came and offered his life for us. This Redemption is overabundant: to save us, he gave us even his life. This Redemption is universal: Christ offered his life for all mankind.
To take part into the redeeming action of our Saviour, we must be united with him [‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.’ (John 15 :5)]. This is union in prayer for wounded mankind, victimized children and torturing adults.
We know how difficult it is to pray for abusing adults. Some of you tell us that they have no mercy, no compassion for them. Indeed, child abuse is a despicable, unbearable crime! Yes, we are facing the root of Evil! But how easily are we contaminated by Evil when we let our hearts reject abusing adults!
Let’s look at Maria Goretti praying, on her deathbed, for the one who killed her and forgiving him. Let’s imitate John Paul II who forgave his assailant.
Let us not sin spoil the Father’s Love image within ourselves, let’s the Holy Spirit blow on our weaknesses and our desire to pray only for the little victims. It is crucial to pray for abusing adults. They need our prayer as much as children and perhaps even more than them. And let’s look at Christ who, on the Cross, kept on praying: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!’ (Luke 23:34).
Father Bruno and Mona