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I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. I am the Light of the world.1
We have seen Him full of grace and truth.2
by Father Mathurin of the Mother of God
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
First of all, we want to express our respect and love to our Heavenly Father, whom we celebrate on this first day of the year. We want to convey all our good wishes and our adoration to Him, in our own name and in the name of the entire Church, in the name of the Church that He has entrusted to us.
In the liturgy of the Mass of the Nativity of Our Lord, we read the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Apostle begins by declaring, by acknowledging the divinity of the Word, of Jesus. Then he says: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. And we saw His glory, His glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.3 He came, and we saw Him – I, John, and the other witnesses, the Apostles and Disciples – we saw Him full of grace and truth.
That is our wish for this year. I wish you to be like Jesus, full of grace and truth. I wish you to be in the truth, graciously, to be true.
We have never heard so much talk about lying as in our world today. Without a doubt, the times we are living in are times of confusion. What is the reason for these times of confusion? The answer is quickly found. Men are living in confusion because they live only for the present time. Never before have we heard so much about “fake news”, a real buzzword today. On the one hand we have the supporters of an idea that is being presented to the general public; they label those who disagree with them as “conspiracy theorists” or supporters of “fake news”. On the other side they say, “No, it is you people who are lying, it is you who are giving out ‘fake news’, who are relaying lies to us.” Both sides accuse each other of being liars! And in a way, each side is a little right to accuse the opposite side, because in all that is presented to us, everything is analyzed in a mundane manner. We observe, analyze discuss and comment on things from an earthly point of view.
If there is a great lie that is spread upon the earth, a lie for which most humans fall very easily, it is this: We live for the earth and we analyze everything without any reference besides the earth, as if it were our home, our goal, as if our earthly existence were to last forever. With most public speakers, there is no reference to God, and even less to Jesus. They forget God, they forget His Word. They forget His teaching, they forget His examples. They forget eternity! I don’t want to cast stones at anyone, but even the pastors are neglecting to talk about eternity.
We are giving you as the watchword: be true. There is only one way to be true: to put ourselves in the school of Jesus, contemplate Him, study Him, unite ourselves to Him, enter into His Truth. He said: I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me does not walk in darkness, but he will have the light of life…4 light of the true life which is eternal life, the life that is our destiny, our goal. You can understand that this does not diminish our wisdom for temporal things – quite the contrary!
Jesus said, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.5 My brothers and sisters, the Truth is Jesus. He is the only Truth. And man is true only insofar as he is united to Jesus, united to His thought, His teaching, insofar as he wants to imitate His divine examples. Then a man is in the truth. When man does not apply himself to study, to know, to imitate Jesus, and even more to unite himself to Him; when man does not make this the goal of his life – well, he remains in falsehood. It is as simple as that. He is mistaken, he errs and wastes his whole life.
We desire that this year, my brothers and sisters, all our friends and cenacle homes, we desire that each one of you studies Jesus in the Gospel, in prayer. Take your Gospel, read it in prayer, humbly. Read it page by page, line by line. As you read, unite with the thought, the teaching, the example of Jesus in His Gospel. You humbly adhere to each one of His words, each one of His teachings, all His examples. You adhere to them. And you do this reading in prayer – you can do it on your knees, you can do it sitting down – you pray and you implore. For example, when you read the words I am the Truth, you tell yourself: “My Jesus, I want to think as You do. I want to be like You, Jesus. You said: I am the light of the world. He who follows Me does not walk in darkness.”
The logic is simple: those who do not follow Jesus are in darkness. On this subject, Jesus also says, Can a blind man guide another blind man? What happens to them? Will not both of them fall into the ditch?6 They are both lost. Neither of them is saved. The world is full of blind people guiding other blind people, because they do not follow Jesus, the Light of the world. This year, that is our motto: be true, follow the Light in the Truth. Do it graciously like Jesus: We saw Him, full of grace and truth, as Saint John testifies.
The teachings Our Lord gives us are of such great importance! He wants so much for us to know and understand them that He often uses the expression: Amen, amen, I say to you… which means, “In truth, in truth, I say to you…” It would be interesting to calculate how many times, before presenting a teaching, He begins by saying, “Amen, amen, I – the Word of God incarnate – say to you…” He wants to communicate the truth, His Truth to us, to take us out of the darkness, to show us the way, so that we will be in the truth.
As we said, people have never talked so much about fake news and lies. They label each other, they defame each other: “Oh, he’s a liar. He is misinformed. It’s not true. What he says is false.” And many wonder: “Where is the truth in all that?” In human things we may have a little idea, but we may be mistaken. However, we are not mistaken when we walk in this Light which leads us to our eternal goal.
The truth is that we are not created for the earth. We are not at home here. When we judge all earthly things thinking of eternity, from God’s point of view and by the light He has brought us, then we are in the truth. When we live by His teaching, then we are in the truth, and we live here below as a pilgrim traveling on earth, on his way to his eternal destiny, which is his only goal.
Truth is of the utmost importance. You remember what Jesus answered Pilate, who questioned Him:
“Are you the King of the Jews?… Are you a King, then?”
You have said it, I am King. I was born, I have come into this world to bear witness to the Truth. Whoever is on the side of the Truth hears My voice.7
This is why I have come on earth, to make the Truth known. Jesus says this to us at the moment they are going to massacre Him. So it must be taken seriously! This Truth is the most important thing of all. He says: I have come for this, to bear witness to the Truth. Whoever is on the side of the Truth hears My voice. I wish for you this year to be on the side of the Truth, to hear the voice of Jesus, to follow it. And with truth, under His divine gaze, while reading your Gospel, in prayer – in prayer! – humbly put yourself in His school: “My God, I want Your Truth. I really want it.”
Pilate did not understand Jesus’ answer. Tormented in his heart, he must have wondered, “What kind of talk is this?” Do not act like Pilate, who after asking Jesus, “What is truth?” turned his back on Him and walked away; he did not want the truth. Returning outside to the Chief Priests and the Jews, he said to them, “I find no cause for condemnation in this man.” He was mystified, but he did not seek any further to know the truth, and he ended up condemning Jesus anyway.
This year, my brothers and sisters, you will read your Gospel and adhere to it. Before you open your Gospel, invoke the Holy Spirit. Say to Our Lord: “My Jesus, I want to hear this Truth that You came to teach us, I want to put it into practice. This truth will certainly condemn me. Well then, I condemn myself, my Jesus. I want to make my life completely conformed to Your examples, Your teachings, Your doctrine, Your thought. I want to. I want to be in the truth.” The words may vary, but the idea will be there. Sometimes – even without formulating it, in a moment – let it be the intention of your heart. “You were born, my Jesus, You came into this world and You wanted to die in the most horrible manner, scorned and humiliated to the extreme, You wanted to be rejected, my Jesus, my King, my God. This is how You wanted to make the Truth known to me. I want Your Truth, my Jesus! I embrace it, I love it. I desire, I want my entire life to be in conformity with Your Truth.”
Things are going badly in the world? We must be in the truth. There are no other formulas. There are no others. It is a chastisement from God to let us live in an age of lies, lies spread everywhere. On all sides, everyone seems to be defenseless in the face of falsehood. There are very good people, fairly righteous people on both sides, and often there are even more than two sides. It is a chastisement because people did not want to follow Jesus, the Eternal Truth. Jesus said, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. The Eternal Truth is my salvation – but the Truth that I adhere to, the one that I embrace.
There is a less beautiful page in the Gospel. It is really terrible. I will read it to you for your instruction. It is a warning: beware! When Jesus was teaching in the Temple and attesting His divine origin and that of His Heavenly Father who sent Him, He answered the Jews who rejected His testimony and His teaching: You know neither Me nor My Father. If you knew Me, you would know My Father also. They said to Him, “We are sons of Abraham…” and “We have only one Father, God!” Then Jesus said this to them:
If God were your Father, you would surely love Me! For it is from God that I came forth and that I come. No, again I say to you, I have not come of Myself; it is He – My Father – who sent Me. Why then do you not recognize Me by My speech? It is because you cannot even listen to My word. Your father is the devil, and it is your father’s instincts that you want to satisfy! And it is to the following words that I want to draw your attention: He was a murderer from the beginning, and he did not stand in the truth. The truth was manifested to him, he knew it. Lucifer was an angel, a prince of the heavenly court. He became Satan because he did not stand in the truth, and with him a myriad of other angelic princes. He did not stand in the truth; that is why the truth is not in him. When he lies, he speaks from his very nature, for he is the Liar, and the father of lies.8
I quote this text in order to get your attention. You already adhere to the truth, but really make it a kind of passion this year. Adhere to the Truth of Jesus. Your heart, your thought, your reason, let your whole being embrace, adhere to the thought, the word of Jesus, to His teaching, so as not to do as we have just read: He did not stand in the truth. He was there, but he became the Liar, and the father of lies, because he did not stand in the truth, and he became a murderer, a homicide and a deicide. It is enormous! Our salvation is in Jesus. We must adhere to it.
You know, all those who do not adhere to Jesus, Eternal Truth, God incarnate – all those who voluntarily do not remain in the Truth that He made known to us in His Gospel – all of them, like their father (Satan), become homicides and deicides, one way or another. This is infallible like the word of Jesus. This page from the Gospel enlightens us greatly on what is happening now. Many who lived around Jesus, God incarnate, did not want Him or His Truth, and they became homicides and deicides. This is something to think about. We must beware for ourselves, each one us… Adhering to the Truth, to Jesus, is the answer, the solution.
Not so long ago, we were still kids. You hear kids arguing in the playground, and everyone loudly asserts, “I’m the one who is right!” As we get older, we do not always dare to express it, but we often have the same conviction! And so we stick stubbornly to our convictions. We must not remain like kids. It is by following Jesus that we will really be right. The Saints – who were mocked by the worldly – were right. The Saints were ridiculed, scorned, condemned, sometimes even massacred. They were treated as good-for-nothings. But it was the Saints who were really right. They were good, they were right. They were in the truth.
On December 31, we highlighted the tenth anniversary of the death of our Father John Gregory. The world and its allies joined forces against him, so to speak. Yet he was right. The teaching he gave us, which revolted worldly men, was true. Does the world recognize this today? No, not any more than it did ten years ago. Does this change the fact that he was right? It does not change anything; he entered into Eternal Truth. Jesus, in His priestly prayer at the Last Supper, said to His Father: This is everlasting life, to know You, the only true God, and Him whom You have sent, Jesus Christ.9 Those who follow Jesus have eternal life.
I think of our deceased who left us last year. They were right to persevere. Father Jean de La Salette, who died last December… Do you remember what he said? “I am happy, I have faith.” – “Are you suffering?” – “I am happy, I have faith.” – “Are you afraid?” – “I am not afraid, I have faith.” He repeated it until the end. He was at peace. He was right.
And the last words of our Father Sylvio du Coeur de l’Immaculée on his deathbed: “I am a free man!” All his life, this great servant of God followed the truth. That is why he was truly a free man.
Jesus says, You shall truly be My Disciples if you abide in My Doctrine; you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.10 The great Liar was free in Heaven. For not having adhered to the Truth, he lost that freedom. He is no longer free, he is in chains. This is not just a caricature, a fanciful drawing the Church makes by representing Satan in chains. His chains are not material, but it is to show that he is in bondage. He is not free. He is morally chained because he did not stand in the Truth. You want to be free? Remain in the Truth. If God finds among us servants who live in the Truth, who follow Him, then the reign of lies and of the Liar is coming to an end.
Today, all kinds of restrictions are decreed and more are being added! All this will pass. But the man who applies himself to serve God is truly free. The one who studies Jesus and wants to imitate Him, who unites himself to Him, is free. I want to invite you to stand in the Truth, in prayer and in humility. I wish for you to be true.
I have recommended the reading of the Gospel to you; I also recommend the Lives of the Saints, which is like a practical commentary on the Gospel. The Gospel and the Lives of the Saints – but especially the Gospel – are two beacons that make you know the Truth. The darker the days, the more these beacons enlighten us and fill us with joy. I wish you to experience this. Read the lives of the Saints, humbly – not just a curious reading so that you can tell their beautiful stories. That is not bad, mind you, it is even good to interest your neighbor with the stories of the Saints; it is certainly better than telling secular stories, but that is not the primary purpose. When you read the Gospel and the Lives of the Saints, you read to enlighten your soul, to know what God wants for you. You adhere to it and you pray humbly. This reading becomes a beacon that enlightens you and fills you with joy. And the more you adhere to it, the more this reading fills you with joy. You have probably experienced this already.
May we adhere, may we conform to Jesus in such a way, so graciously, with such pleasure, that our whole life, our behavior is an invitation, a kind of current that draws, that attracts, not towards us but towards Jesus, towards the Eternal Truth. May men, seeing your good works, glorify your Father who is in Heaven.11 Apply yourself, not to be seen but only to please Him, and with a great deal of warmth and grace. Contemplate Jesus under this facet presented by Saint John: this is how we have come to know Him, full of grace and truth.
Let us be so identified with Him that each one of our brothers and sisters of the earth who come into contact with us may recognize an image, a likeness to Jesus, something of the grace, the truth which was that of the Divine Master. This is my invitation to you. This is my wish, this is my prayer, this is my watchword for all souls of good will, to prompt an impulsion towards a return to God. The Church began that way. The road to Heaven is narrow,12 yet there was an immense impulsion in the early Church.
That is why I urge you to read the Lives of the Saints, humbly, prayerfully. Not out of curiosity, but really with this desire to have the thought, the spirit of these Saints, which was the thought of Jesus. So that men may see you and give glory to your Father in Heaven and, following your example, want to be good children of this Heavenly Father. You do not do this to be seen by them, out of vanity, but to draw them to your Heavenly Father.
In the practice of truth, of virtue, one must be gracious. If we are like porcupines, it does not attract anyone very much. We must attract souls to God. Among the first Christians, there was something that attracted souls. “See how they love each other!”13 the pagans remarked. The first three centuries of the Church produced eleven million martyrs! It was by the grace of Jesus, and because Christians were mirrors, representations, images of Jesus. They followed Him, they imitated Him, they attracted souls to Him.
And the worse the days are, the more gracious we must be. We are going through tribulations now, and there will be more. Humanity is not done suffering. Suffering in our body hurts, yes. We do not like it. When it hurts, let us think about eternity – eternity!… We Christians, all Christians must live in the truth and follow the Truth of Jesus, which is eternal and is not in the things of the earth.
I like to recall the example of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe. During the Second World War he was interned in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. One of the prisoners had escaped. In retaliation, the camp commander ordered the execution of ten prisoners. Father Kolbe offered to take the place of one of the condemned, a family man. The poor man who had been picked at random was in despair, thinking of his wife and children whom he would never see again. The Saint offered to replace him in the starvation death bunker. Ordinarily, those poor condemned men died in tears, shouting and screaming. This time it was totally different. Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe was there. A true disciple of the Divine Master, his soul conforming to the soul of Jesus, he entered the bunker of starvation with the other condemned prisoners.
The soldiers and guards were the only witnesses to their slow death. At first it may not have been very serene, but at a given moment they heard them singing hymns in the bunker. We can imagine that Father Maximilian confessed them all. He even had them singing hymns. Probably he sent them all straight to Heaven as saints, because he had love in his heart and a grace emanated from him. He was gracious, he drew them to God. Generously they died of starvation and misery, in a cold, damp cell. They died graciously, singing hymns, because this holy priest was with them.
May you all be this. May men, seeing you, want to follow our Jesus, graciously. May they say: “Truly, Jesus is a good Master and we will not go wrong following Him. That is the truth.” We were made for this Truth. The world must change. There is so much useless talk! We must preach the Truth, but above all we must win souls to follow the Truth. That is why this testimony of Saint John really touches me a lot: We have seen Him full of grace and truth.
Let us not complain too much; let us not criticize the present situation too much. It is not bad to inform each other of events, even if they are very difficult, sorrowful, painful, upsetting, but let us be careful of the tone we take. Let us be careful not to overwhelm our neighbor with bad news; we are fragile. We must lift up our neighbor – tell the truth, but mildly, so as not to overwhelm him.
Humanity is suffering immensely, and it is not going to get any better for quite some time. Father Kolbe is truly a beautiful example. Like him, let us be gracious. There are some who are truly capable of being gracious. I know, I see you doing it. And when you are suffering, remain gracious, in the truth. That is my wish, my watchword.
We ask the priest who is going to celebrate the first Holy Sacrifice of this year to offer it for this intention – to ask Jesus, who is going to sacrifice Himself on this altar, for an efficacious grace so that we may live in the truth. Then, all of you who are priests, if you will, say your first Mass of the year for this intention – for all Christians, for all the faithful, for all souls of good will: may we follow our Jesus graciously, no matter what sufferings may come.
I ask you all, as a tribute of gratitude – in gratitude for my inviting you, insisting a little, prompting you – to pray that I may do this. May we all serve God graciously!
Happy and Holy New Year!
1St. John 14:6, 8:12.
2St. John 1:14.
3St. John 1:1,14.
4St. John 8:12.
5St. John 14:6.
6St. Matthew 15:14.
7St. Matthew 27:11; St. John 18:37-38.
8St. John 8:42-44.
9St. John 17:3.
10St. John 8:31.
11St. Matthew 5:16.
12St. Matthew 7:14.
13Tertullian, Apologeticus, ch. 39, sect. 7.
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.