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Before I speak to you, dear brothers and sisters, I want to begin by offering – in my name, in your name, in the name of the entire Church – our homage and our best filial and cordial wishes to our Heavenly Father. What words could worthily honor our Heavenly Father? Our poor earthly words cannot. And yet, they can! Our Heavenly Father is delighted with our faint praises, our words so feeble, imperfect and powerless that they do not really convey the feelings of our heart.
Happy feast day, Heavenly Father! To You be glory, honor, praise! Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus! Holy! Holy! Holy! is God our Father, represented here in this chapel by a picture, and by His Word really present in the Holy Eucharist. Good Heavenly Father, in addition to praising and blessing You, we bend low in adoration before You. We bow down before You in spirit and in truth1, in our own name and in the name of all our brothers on earth.
The year 2020 is history, it belongs to the past. It is a landmark year that will be mentioned in a special way in all the annals of human history as a very singular year. It is also a year that will be mentioned in the annals of the history of the Church, on the one hand from a very sad angle, seeing how much our God has been set aside. The religion He came to teach us, the sacraments He so generously gave us, have generally been set aside as secondary, unimportant. “Public health above all! God?… let Him wait! His Kingdom in souls, His sacramental graces are not essential.” It is therefore a dark year from this angle, but nevertheless a luminous year for souls of goodwill who – throughout the world, in this darkness and abandonment – have turned to God, and who in the secret of their confinement have prayed and praised God in their heart. God knows who they are.
The year 2020 is past, we cannot change it. Oh, the year that is beginning! What will it be like? What will mark it? Will we see even more notable events this year? We certainly will. There will be even more significant events. But for you, my brothers and sisters, my dear friends, what will mark this year the most? Political events? The decisions of politicians? I think that what will mark this year is that more than ever, our Heavenly Father will find servants ready to fight for Him. 2020 was only the aperitif, an appetizer to prepare us for the banquet. This year our Heavenly Father will find in you, dear brothers, dear sisters, dear friends, His servants who will be ready to fight, to combat, who will be ready for everything, everything for Him.
I give you our watchword for 2021 by way of an invitation. I invite you to fight, to combat. Developments during the year 2020 have provided evidence that the forces of evil are increasingly triumphant. The media generally report only negative things which seem to favor the reign of evil. We hear the commentaries; perhaps we make some ourselves. We say, “Well, the Church is not at its post, the pastors have capitulated, they are not holding the torch of the Gospel, they are not giving a guideline to the people. And moreover, where are they?”
The problem is that good people are too cowardly. Good people are lukewarm, they lack ardor. They do not really have faith, a burning faith in the face of these rapidly developing scenarios. My brothers and sisters, we are in the very midst of the events, the upheavals which have been predicted for so many years.
The year 2020 that has just ended is a first page of coming events. This is not the time to lounge around, philosophize and make needless comments. We can have an idea of what is happening, but let us not make too many comments. More than ever, it is time to fight, to combat. Victory is certain: God has promised to defeat the forces of evil. Victory is guaranteed by God Himself. He says to us, Take courage, I have overcome the world.2 Right here, how often have Our Lord and the Virgin Mary, under the title of the Mother of Salvation or Our Lady of Tears, how often has Heaven given us the assurance of victory! At Fatima, the Virgin Mary promised, “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph!”3
One day Saint Joan of Arc, barely sixteen years old, came before Charles VII, saying that she had been sent from Heaven to save the kingdom of France, to have him crowned as king, to put things in order. Joan claimed to be mandated by God. To prove it, she gave signs to Charles, in particular a sign that was very personal to him. The entire Royal Council was hesitant, especially certain powers within it. The king had Joan examined by the ecclesiastical court at Poitiers. A judge said to her: “Joan, you say that God sent you to take charge of the army in order to save France. But Joan, if God has decided to save France, He will save her! Why do we need to go to war?” And Joan replied, “In God’s name, the soldiers will fight, and God will give the victory!”
Well, my brothers, my sisters, dear friends, in God’s name I say to you: We will fight, we will combat, and God will give the victory. God wills it. This year, this is your watchword: fight, combat in God’s name. Where will this combat take place? Wherever there is a child of God. There are billions of them. The forces of evil are deployed everywhere to snatch God’s beloved children away from Him. From the very beginning, the forces of evil have been bent on ruining the children of God, one by one. And this infernal warfare against God, against the children of God, has reached a climax, almost a summit. But would God let that happen?
Jesus came to establish His Kingdom of love on earth. But Satan and his accomplices want to establish their diabolical reign, which is in opposition to God in every way. This is blatantly obvious. All the forces of evil – from the very beginning, and now more than ever before – are deployed, spread out in every realm, every level of society, everywhere. I say it directly. The forces of evil are in control everywhere to prevent the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Many are working blindly in Satan’s service, but many others are active accomplices of Satan directly engaged in fighting against that Kingdom.
Jesus says, The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and only the violent bear it away.4 This year will be the year of violence to carry off the Kingdom of Heaven. That is what I mean by violence, fighting, combat. When the Son of God decided to establish His Kingdom on earth in time, He left the bliss of His Heaven. In our words, He left the comfort, the well-being, the divine advantages, divine welfare and felicity. He left all of that to come to this earth in order to establish His Kingdom in the hearts of His children, by beginning in poverty.
Out of devotion, we represent the manger in Bethlehem all illuminated, lit up and attractive, to symbolize Jesus’ irresistible attraction at His coming. But the setting in which He came…. What poverty! What humility! What abasement! What human desolation! That is how He begins to establish His Kingdom. Not content with all that, He is also at the mercy of the wickedness of a jealous and cruel earthly king. Upon learning that a new king had been born, Herod fears that he might be subjugated by Him, supplanted by Him. Earthly kings, worldly potentates, want to protect their domination over earthly kingdoms. Jesus does not come for that. He comes to reign over our hearts.
Concentrate on studying Jesus. Contemplate Him! Penetrate yourself with His teachings, penetrate yourself with His examples. In our own words: is it not doing violence to yourself to leave Heaven and happiness to come and embrace the suffering, misery, humility, abasements and rejection of those He loves above all else, for whom He sacrifices Himself?
Sweet Jesus, show us Your ways, teach us how to fight, how to combat along with You. The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and only the violent bear it away. What an example of this You give us! What violence You did to Yourself! You are the King of Heaven and Earth, the Creator of the visible world and of the invisible world which totally escapes us. Even the visible world escapes us. We have been on earth for six thousand years and we are still making new discoveries. We think we invent things. We discover laws of nature, forces of nature. And the more we discover, the more true scientists realize that they know nothing, that they are ignorant people. The Creator of these visible and invisible worlds is going to live in silence thirty years, hidden in Nazareth!
My brothers and sisters, understand clearly the plan I am proposing to you of the combat that God is expecting from us. This year more than ever, God wants this combat, wants this fight, wants this violence, because the hour has come for the establishment of His Kingdom. He has promised victory, but He wants the fight first. In God’s name, you will fight, and God will give the victory.
After thirty years of hidden life, Jesus continues during the years of His public life to teach us with excess, prodigality, generosity, tenderness, humility, putting Himself at our feet. Despite all this we reject Him, we do not accept Him, we do not want Him, and we lead Him to the gallows. We lead Him to the cross, after inflicting all kinds of ignominies, affronts, insults and mistreatment upon Him. Is it not doing violence to yourself to embrace so much suffering?
And we who have been called to labor for the salvation of the world: He is asking us to follow Him in this fight. We, His children, want His Kingdom to come. We pray to Him for it every day. His Kingdom will come on condition that we do violence to ourselves. Oh, with love, as Jesus did! It is the violence of His love that brought Him to this fight, this combat.
Then see the Apostles, His twelve intimates, who were spineless, fearful, oh so cowardly! but who were touched by grace, filled with the Holy Spirit, and then went over all the earth. For the sake of the Kingdom of God, they suffered and endured everything. There is no torment, no weariness they did not suffer so that the Kingdom of God might be established, that Jesus might be known, that He might reign in hearts all over this planet earth. The Apostles did not spare themselves.
Then, for three centuries, there were so many martyrs, millions of martyrs! It was by their sacrifice that the Church was established. They understood so well that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and that only the violent bear it away. This violence takes place in us, in our hearts which we want to belong totally to God. If people want to destroy us, let them destroy us! But we will serve God!
Let us also see in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and elsewhere, the monks who left the world behind. What violence they did to themselves! They said to themselves: “The Word of God left the bliss of His Heaven behind, He became incarnate to show us the way; could we not leave the world behind, leave all these things that are called earthly felicities and joys? There is no comparison between the world and Heaven! The monks understood this. They left everything behind, everything, to go and enclose themselves in solitude, to live in obedience, in all sorts of penances.
From the beginning of Christianity, from the earliest centuries of the Church, virgins consecrated themselves to God, leaving earthly pleasures behind to glorify God, so that His Kingdom might be established. Throughout the ages, religious of all kinds and missionaries left the comfort of their home, sacrificed the affection of their human and even religious families, to go all over the world in order to establish the Kingdom of God.
So many Christians in every vocation, at every level – all these Christians worthy of the name who lived for God, all these Saints – held the earth in contempt. What violence they did to themselves! This was not done without effort. And God reigned for centuries. The more generous souls there were, and the more generous those souls were, the more God reigned.
After these centuries when there was a summit of fervor in the Church, we are witnessing the abyssal, catastrophic fall of the Church. God is asking us to reestablish His Kingdom. My brothers and sisters, this will be done with a fight, with combat.
It will be 175 years this year that Our Lady of La Salette said in Her message: “There are no more generous souls.”5 I am certain that just like me, in your hearts, this little sentence cries out to you, it moves you. There are no more generous souls… There are none left! This year we will be these generous souls.
I call upon the generous souls among you, my brothers, my sisters, our friends, our cenacle homes, and all souls of good will throughout the world. In God’s name I call upon them to be generous and not weep over their little person: “Oh, it hurts, it’s no fun to deny yourself. God is very demanding.” Oh no! This attitude is not generosity, it is pettiness, the gift of Cain: “Lord, if You want to have offerings, here, take these leftovers.” That is what Cain did. Let us give God generous gifts, not gifts of Cain. There are no more generous souls because there are no more people who give generously.
“My Jesus, this year we want to be these generous souls. May You find in me and among my brothers and sisters, among our friends, so many Saint Michaels who, in every encounter, on every occasion, will react and say to You: Quis ut Deus!6 Who is like God! Whatever You will, my God, I will.” The forces of evil were overthrown and cast into hell when Saint Michael cried, “Who is like God!” Behind him all the faithful Angels rose up and repeated: “Who is like God! He is the One we obey. We will do whatever He wants of us and even more if that is what He wants! We will it, we will make it happen!” May you all be Saint Michaels this year.
On the evening of the Last Supper, just before going to Calvary, Our Lord Jesus Christ delivered a discourse full of love. Among other things, He spoke this little phrase: Let him who has no sword sell his tunic and buy one.7 The sword represents the good fight to which I am inviting you this year. In order to have this sword of the good fight, we must sell our tunic, the tunic we wear, which represents everything we care about, all the earthly things that stick to our skin. To attain the Kingdom of Heaven, to fight this war, this good fight of the latter times, we need to sell our tunic, that is, we need detachment, absolute renunciation. Let us sell our tunic; in our heart, let us renounce all the things of the earth.
The Kingdom of God is within you,8 says Jesus. If our heart is attached to the things of the earth, how can the Kingdom of God be established within it? And if the Kingdom of God is not established in my heart, in your heart, how can it be established on earth? To establish His Kingdom, Jesus left everything, He left His Heaven. We have pointed out what the Apostles, the Martyrs and the Saints have done. They gave up everything to establish the Kingdom of God.
By fighting this good fight, by working to detach yourself from all the things of the earth, you will have the good sword of God in your hand. No power from hell will be able to stop you, nothing will be able to turn you away from God and His Kingdom. You will know how to defend yourself. But it takes courage to do this. In a message to Father John Gregory in 1963, Our Lord told us that He needs good soldiers, courageous, intrepid, energetic, skillful soldiers. It takes courage, intrepidity, energy to detach our heart from all the things of the earth. We really have to want it.
We have mentioned that the forces of evil have taken control, that even the ministers of the great Church have capitulated. Why is this? Because love of the world entered their hearts. Some attribute the decadence of the Church to the notorious Second Vatican Council. Oh no! Vatican II did not bring about the fall of the Church; it was merely the official, public manifestation of it. It brought the decadence of the Church to light because love of the world reigned in the hearts of these ecclesiastics, these churchmen.
My brothers and sisters, in order to establish the Kingdom of God, we must fight against the spirit of the world, fight against its thinking and its maxims. In order to do this better, we must absolutely disengage ourselves from all the things of the world, absolutely! When we get too close to the things of the world, our heart clings to them and moves away from God. If someone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,9 says Saint John. We must disengage ourselves from the world’s pleasures, its amusements, its distractions, reject its justifications. People let themselves go and then abandon God, but always with justifications. The worldly person lives for his pleasures and justifies every pleasure he gives himself: “You know, God does not ask for so much. We have to give a little something to poor human nature!” The world excels in fine speeches, fine reasons to justify itself.
My brothers and sisters, that is why We insist so much: Never, never justify yourself. Let this be one of your resolutions this year. Let us never justify our cowardice, our lukewarmness, our indifference, our heedlessness, our negligence. Never justify them, neither with our lips nor even in our heart. When we discover our shortcomings, let us say instead: “Lord, how sad! Lord, forgive me! There is so much indifference, neglect, slackness, lukewarmness and sin in me! My Lord, pardon! Pardon!”
Seek the Kingdom of God, do all you can to serve God. And yet, poor children that we are, full of all sorts of frailties, you will have deviations that you would not have wanted. Never justify yourselves. Condemn everything in your life that is not absolutely in conformity with God, everything that turns you away from God in the slightest way, everything that distracts you from God.
What will our arms for this fight be? First of all, faith. “Let your faith be the light that enlightens you in these days of woe.”10 Faith and the works of faith: prayer. In this good fight, in this combat, we will need faith – and to maintain it, prayer. I invite you to a great deal of prayer this year, a lot of prayer, otherwise you will not be able to conduct this combat. This fight takes place within you against the forces of evil that want to turn you away from God, that want to destroy the Kingdom of God within you. Voluntarily, you will have to dedicate a lot of time to prayer.
It will require penance. When I spoke to you about selling your tunic, it was indeed a matter of penance, of detaching ourselves from all things. The loss of faith comes from self-seeking, from attachments that we do not want to let go of: attachments to earthly things, to pleasures, attachments to our ideas, to our vanities, to all the various forms of pride. Faith is lost by not fighting against our attachments, by not doing penance. To keep the faith, we must make these sacrifices. Otherwise you lose it – gradually, little by little, inch by inch. Step by step, you descend to the abyss. Then you say, “Oh, what’s happening? I no longer understand, I no longer see. Things are no longer clear. I don’t feel like serving God anymore.” How did you get into such a state? Step by step you moved away, you abandoned the pathway of renunciation, penance, asceticism. When you stopped selling your tunic, you lost your sword, you lost the faith.
Among our arms of faith we have the Rosary. The Rosary is a powerful arm, especially in our present time. Let us recall the conversation of Lucy of Fatima with Father Fuentes, postulator of the cause of Jacinta and Francisco, the two little children of Fatima.11 She told him to inform the world that it is time for all Christians to take the work of their salvation into their own hands – to fight this combat for their own salvation – without counting on anyone, neither the priests, nor the bishops, nor anyone. Lucy added: “In these latter times in which we live, the Blessed Virgin has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary. There is no problem, temporal or especially spiritual (referring to the personal life of each one of us, our families, families in the world or religious communities, and to the life of peoples and nations) – I repeat, there is no problem, however difficult it may be, that we cannot resolve with the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
I encourage you to recite the full Rosary during this year of combat. The Rosary has the particularity of combining a multitude of elements. There is the contemplation of the examples of Jesus and Mary throughout the fifteen mysteries. Then there is the repetition of a simple, humble little prayer. The Rosary can be a little demanding at times. Repeating Hail Marys like a little child is humble. Heaven wanted to give an increased power to the Rosary because pride prevails and has destroyed everything. You discover everything in the Rosary, all our arms are contained within it. That is why the devil tries so hard to discourage souls from praying the Rosary.
Among our arms, there is also Mass and Communion. The Mass is one of our principal arms, especially for us, most of whom are priests by a will of God. It was already told over three hundred years ago to Saint Louis Mary de Montfort: “They will be a priestly race.”12 God willed it because the Mass is the sacrifice of Calvary, it is Jesus immolating Himself to establish His Kingdom.
Among our arms, there is also hope in God, the confidence that God will have the last word, that He will have the victory. With confidence we will fight, we will give our measure. We will humble ourselves over doing it so pitifully, not as well as we would like to glorify God according to the generous desire of our heart. We will humbly weep over not doing more, while maintaining the confidence, the assurance that God will give the victory. Nothing will take this hope away from us – nothing!
Another of our arms: charity. We will accomplish all these actions, this combat, with love, because we want God to reign. This is our motivation, the desire that torments us. “Tormenting” implies that this thought is always on your mind, always talking to you in the back of your head. He must reign, He must! This is the passion of my heart. There would be so much to say about charity and love…
In these principal arms I have given you, you have recognized the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. I add humility as an absolutely invincible weapon, absolute in overcoming the forces of evil.
My brothers, have these arms in your heart. In God’s name do it, and rest assured that God will give the victory. How will that victory be attained? That is not your problem; it is not mine, either. What we have to do is practice these virtues in God’s name, to establish the Kingdom of God in our heart. That is our problem, it is all that matters. The rest does not concern us. Our role is important. You will recall the insistent words that the Blessed Virgin addressed to us when She entreated: “My children, I need you, it is urgent. If you do not do it, it is all over.”
My brothers and sisters, fight this fight with joy, with ardor. I told you earlier: God does not love the gifts of Cain. God loves a cheerful giver.13 Sacrifice your tunic with joy. It may cost us, it may hurt us, but let us do it good-heartedly, willingly, for the glory of God, for Him alone. Even if it tears us apart, let us cry with one eye and laugh with the other. “Yes, my God, yes! I am very happy that this fight for You devastates me. The earth is nothing, it should not devastate me, but I am a poor little child, a toad stuck to the earth. It hurts me to detach myself from it. You are a witness of this, O Lord.”
In conclusion, I will leave you with a quote from Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus:
“In the past, in the world, when I woke up in the morning, I used to think about what was likely to happen to me during the day that would be pleasant or unpleasant: and if I foresaw nothing but trouble, I would get up sad. Now it is just the opposite; I think at once of the pain and suffering that await me and I rise all the more joyful and full of courage as I think of the beautiful opportunities I foresee to prove my love to Jesus and earn a living for my children, since I am a mother of souls. Then I kiss my crucifix; I lay it gently in my place on the pillow, and all the time I get dressed, I say to Him: ‘My Jesus, You worked enough and wept enough during the thirty-three years of Your life on this poor earth! Today, take Your rest… It is my turn to fight and to suffer.’ ”14
Every day, say this little prayer to Jesus yourself. New Year’s is dawning. I wish you a day of joy. I have given you a glimpse that the year 2021 will be more difficult than the one that has just passed. At the moment we foresee painful things. “I rise all the more joyful and full of courage as I foresee more opportunities to prove my love to Jesus and to save souls. I kiss my crucifix and I say to Him: ‘My Jesus, You worked enough during the thirty-three years of Your life on this poor earth! Today, take Your rest… It is my turn to fight and to suffer.” Here is your program for this year, my brothers and sisters. Let us accomplish it with joy.
We offer this holy sacrifice of the Mass, the first of this year, for the glory of our Heavenly Father. As we offer His Son to Him upon the altar, we ask Him especially for you, my brothers and sisters here present and in our missions, for you, dear friends, dear cenacle homes, and for all souls of goodwill, that this year you may be these soldiers, these combatants for Jesus, who will fight with joy, that is, most willingly. That does not mean we always feel joy, no! It is not a felt, frivolous joy; it is a voluntary joy, a peaceful joy, a contentment for doing something that hurts us for our Jesus, our God, for His Kingdom. May you establish the Kingdom of God within you with exertion, with combat, with energy.
All of you, my brothers and sisters, join in this intention. Let us pray for one another. I myself am doing it especially for all of you. Together let us pray for our brothers and sisters in the missions, for our friends, our cenacle homes, all those who believe in this work of salvation that God has entrusted to us. We offer this first sacrifice of the Mass especially for them, and for each one we ask for this great grace: to be disciples of Jesus like the apostles, the martyrs, the virgins, the monks, the missionaries – like all these Saints in every state of life.
1 The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. (St. John 4:24)
2 St. John 16:33.
3 July 13, 1917.
4 St. Matthew 11:12.
5 Secret of La Salette, in The Apparition of the Most Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette (Magnificat: Mont-Tremblant, 1989), p. 16.
6 The name Michael comes from the Hebrew Mi-cha-el which means Who is like God – in Latin it is Quis ut Deus.
7 St. Luke 22:36.
8 St. Luke 17:21.
9 I St. John 2:15.
10 “Appeal to the Apostles of the Latter Times,” Secret of La Salette, in The Apparition of the Most Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette (Magnificat: Mont-Tremblant, 1989), p. 24.
11 For those who wish to read the complete interview of Father Fuentes with Lucy of Fatima (December 26, 1957), see Magnificat magazine, May 2017.
12 “They will be children of Levi,” that is, a priestly race. (True Devotion to Mary) “Blessed and a thousand times blessed are the priests whom You have so well chosen and predestined.” (Prophetic Prayer)
13 St. Paul, II Corinthians 9:7.
14 Conseils et souvenirs de Sœur Marie de la Trinité – Counsels and Recollections of Sister Mary of the Trinity.
It is not enough to pray: in times of war one must fight, combat; and in truth, fighting is praying.
Bl. Melanie Calvat
LIFE is a combat and a cross. It will be so till the end of the world. The good grain will always be mixed with the chaff, the good fish with the bad. Let us pray, suffer and work, so that the Name of God may be sanctified, His Kingdom come, His Will be done, so that every soul may praise the Lord: let us serve and give our life for the redemption of souls, like the one and only Model…
Bl. Charles de Foucauld
“O my Jesus, I will fight for Your love till the end of my life. Since You did not want to enjoy any rest on earth, I want to follow Your example; I am burning t fight for Your glory; I beseech You, strengthen my courage, arm me for the fight!”
“When I don’t feel anything, when I am in dryness, incapable of praying, of practicing virtue, I look for little occasions, little nothings, to please my Jesus: for example, a smile, a kind word, when I would prefer to remain silent and show how bored I am. If I have no occasions, I at least want to tell Him often that I love Him…”
“On this earth where everything changes, only one thing remains stable, and that is the conduct of the King of Heaven towards His friends. Ever since He raised the standard of the Cross, it is beneath its shadow that everyone must fight and carry off the victory.”
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Sister Lucy told me again: “Father, let us not wait for a call to penance to come from Rome by the Holy Father for the whole world. Nor should we expect it to come from our bishops in their dioceses, nor from religious congregations. No. Our Lord has already employed these means many times, and the world has not paid any attention to them. That is why it is now necessary for each one of us to begin his own spiritual reform. Let each one think of the enormous responsibility he has to save not only his own soul, but also all the souls that God has placed on his path.”
Interview of Sister Lucy, seer of Fatima, with Father Augustin Fuentes – December 26, 1957
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.