Archbishop Lefebvre: Spiritual Journey - The Sacraments of Jesus Christ
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: Spiritual Journey
Chapter VII - The Sacraments of Jesus Christ

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The Word of God was made flesh on account of the sin of man, to make reparation for it and to bring about a rebirth of divine life in souls, so that they might again become acceptable to God and glorify Him in this world and for eternity.

Thus Jesus, in His merciful love, chose to assume in a certain way the sins of humanity and to offer Himself as a sacrifice of redemption and of propitiation to His Father in order to restore the life of the Holy Ghost, the life of charity, in souls through a participation in His own life, which has become the sole source of life and salvation for men.

The Sacrifice of Calvary appears, then, as the Light which shines in the darkness, as the only fountain of life in the middle of the desert. By what means does God communicate this new life to us? It is by perpetuating Calvary. There will never be but one Sacrifice of the Cross, but one Victim, but one Priest: it is Jesus Himself.

We will never be able to insist enough on this marvelous invention of Divine Mercy, which sheds light on everything ordered by Divine Providence in the establishment of the Church, the Priesthood, and the Sacraments, of which the Eucharist, fruit of the Sacrifice and source of our sanctification, is the center and, in a certain way, the raison d’être. Which is the greatest and the most important of all these sacraments, and the one to which the rest are directed and whereby they are in some sort perfected?

It is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. For in this Sacrament, our Lord Himself is present substantially, whereas in all the other sacraments there is only a power or a virtue which comes from Him. Further, all the other sacraments would seem to be directed to the Holy Eucharist, as Holy Orders which effect the sacrament; or as Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, and Extreme Unction, which make one worthy or more worthy to receive the Holy Eucharist; or as Marriage which signifies it, in so far as it is a union.(Pegues, pp. 247-8, III, Q. 65, Art. 3)

Would that we were able to give to the Mystery of the Cross its full value, its full place in the divine plan of the Redemption and in its application to souls throughout the history of the Church!

We must recognize that proper place is not always given, even in the teaching of the Church, in catechisms, to the Sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated on our altars. There is a tendency to give all recognition to the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and to make but an accidental allusion to the sacrifice. [color#71101d]This is a great danger for the faith of the laity[/color], especially in face of the violent attacks of the Protestants against the Holy Sacrifice. The devil is not mistaken when he is out to make the Sacrifice disappear. He knows that he is attacking the work of Our Lord at its vital center, and that any lack of esteem for this sacrifice brings about the ruin of all Catholicism in every domain.

The devil’s action since Vatican II is very revealing. It obliges those who wish to remain Catholic to courageously defend the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Priesthood as Our Lord instituted them.

It is essential for the spiritual life of priests as for that of the faithful to clarify our faith and our knowledge of the act, willed by Divine Wisdom, which has spiritually and supernaturally revived humanity.[/b] This act is the reason behind the Incarnation. It is the accomplishment of the Redemption. It is the act which glorifies God infinitely and opens the gates of heaven for sinful humanity. It is the Sacrifice of Calvary.

One cannot but be struck by the insistence of Our Lord during His entire earthly life on His “hour.” “Desiderio desideravi —greatly have I desired,” said Our Lord: Greatly have I desired this hour of My immolation. Jesus is stretched forward, as it were, towards His Cross.

The Mysterium Christiis, above all, the Mysterium Crucis —the mystery of the Cross. That is why, in the designs of the infinite Wisdom of God for the accomplishment of the Redemption, for the Re-creation and Renovation of humanity, Jesus’ Cross is the perfect, total, final, and eternal solution. It is by His Cross that all will be resolved. It is with respect to the relation each soul has with Jesus Crucified that the judgment of God will be delivered. If the soul is in a living relation with Jesus Crucified, then it prepares itself for eternal life and already participates in Jesus’ glory by the presence of the Holy Ghost in it. It is the very life of the Mystical Body of Jesus: “If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth” (Jn. 15:6).

For our justification, for our sanctification, Jesus organizes everything around this fountain of life which is His Sacrifice of Calvary. He founded the Church, He transmits His Priesthood, He instituted the sacraments to share with souls the infinite merits of Calvary. St. Paul does not hesitate to say: “For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2).

This Sacrifice of Calvary becomes on our altars the Sacrifice of the Mass, which at the same time as it continues the Sacrifice of the Cross brings about the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which makes us participants in the divine Victim, Jesus Crucified.It is therefore around the Sacrifice of the Mass that the Church, the Mystical Body of Our Lord, is organized. It is around the Sacrifice of the Mass that the Priesthood lives, in order to build up this Mystical Body by the preaching which attracts souls to purify themselves in the water of Baptism so as to be worthy to participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Jesus, in the consuming of the divine Victim, and so as to unite themselves more and more to the Holy Trinity, beginning celestial and eternal life already here below.

It is also from the Cross that the grace of matrimony, received at the Sacrifice of the Mass, builds up Christendom, the social reign of Jesus Crucified, in families and in society. Christendom is society living in the shadow of the Cross, in the shadow of the parish church constructed in the form of a cross, surmounted by the cross, sheltering the altar where Calvary is renewed daily, in which souls come to receive and feed the life of grace by the ministry of priests, who are “other Christs.”

Christendom consists of this village, of those villages, cities, and countries which, following Christ on the Cross, accomplish the law of love under the influence of the Christian life of grace. Christendom is the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.The authorities of this Christendom call themselves “lieutenants of Jesus Christ,” for they simply stand in His place and are thus charged with the application of His law, with protecting faith in Jesus Christ and with aiding its extension by all means possible, in full accord with the Church.

One can say in truth that the blessings of Christendom come from the Cross of Jesus and from Jesus Crucified. It is the resurrection of a fallen humanity thanks to the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. This marvelous program, put together by the eternal Wisdom of God, could not be realized without the Priesthood, whose particular grace is to perpetuate the unique Sacrifice of Calvary, source of life, of redemption, of sanctification, and of glorification.

The radiance of priestly grace is the radiance of the Cross. The priest is at the heart of the renovation merited by Our Lord. His influence is the determining factor on souls and for society. A priest enlightened by faith and filled with the virtues and gifts of the Spirit of Jesus can convert numerous souls to Jesus Christ, raise up vocations, and transform a pagan society into a Christian society.

Clearly, the role of the bishop—who is priest in the full sense of the term—is considerable. His function is the multiplication of true priests, the encouragement of religious vocations, the building up of Christian institutions, for the vitality of Christendom and the growth of Our Lord’s universal reign.

The bishops are responsible for keeping an unfailing, uncompromising faith in the virtue of the Cross of Jesus, unique source of salvation. They must not turn, as does the world, towards the use of human means as a so-called more effective apostolate. This would be a sign of their loss of faith in Jesus Christ Crucified. It is precisely this which we have observed for many decades and which has led to the self-destruction of the Church, according to the word of Paul VI, himself a decisive collaborator in this self-destruction.

It is Israel abandoning Yahweh, the one, true God, to prevaricate with false gods from neighboring tribes, whose daughters they took for wives and whose gods they adopted. Israel ended up by being guilty of deicide. But its glory would come from a virgin of the tribe of Judah, predestined to be the Mother of God and the Mother of the New Israel.

Thus, in spite of the promises of Our Lord, which in truth do not cease to be fulfilled, the majority of Church authorities prevaricate with false modern gods by ecumenism! These false, modern gods are not only those worshipped by false religions, but also the false deified ideologies: the goddess Reason, the goddess Liberty, and the goddesses Democracy, Socialism, and Communism.

God, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross and of the Mass, and the true Catholic Priesthood are not ecumenical because they proclaim a Credo and practice an anti-ecumenical Law: they work towards the universal reign of the King of Kings: Jesus Christ Crucified: “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism” (Eph. 4:5).

Along these lines, since we have touched on the meaning of the sacraments, it seems an opportune time to return to the importance given to Baptism of water and of the Spirit by Our Lord. It is by this Baptism that Our Lord intends to constitute the new people of God, destined for the promised land, for eternal life.

The fact that He wished to be baptized by St. John the Baptist, and that all the significance of Baptism by water and by the Spirit was then manifested in a marvelous fashion, is of paramount importance for the work of the Redemption.

During His baptism, the whole Trinity deigned to make Itself manifested—[the Second Person] in His human nature, the Holy Ghost under the form of a dove, and the Father in the voice that was heard—in order to make known what would be the form of the Sacrament. He also made known the effect of this new baptism by the fact that the heavens were opened above His head; this was to show that by His baptism the gates of heaven were opened for men, in virtue of the baptism of blood where He washed away in His own person the sins of the world. (III, Q. 39, Arts. 1-8)

Thus the universality of the power of the Cross is manifested. By the character imprinted on the soul, the soul becomes able to participate in the Church, in the effects of Our Lord’s priesthood. But it cannot exercise the hierarchical acts of this priesthood.

Those who have received the grace of Baptism and who carry forever its indelible character, insofar as they are faithful to its grace, surpass in dignity and in excellence all creatures, considered in their own nature.

Our Lord wanted us to learn of His conversation with Nicodemus in St. John’s Gospel. His words were clear: “Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God....unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3-5).

It is also the command that Our Lord gives in a solemn manner when, before ascending to heaven, He sends the apostles on mission: “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (Mt. 28:18).

It is this valid baptism of water which confers the sacramental character and constitutes a person as a full member of the Church, with rights and duties; and this even if baptism does not confer sanctifying grace, that is, even if it is not fruitful. This is the case with Protestants when their baptism is valid. Not having the true faith, they cannot receive grace, and yet they do receive the sacramental character, from which they can receive grace if they foreswear their heresies.

There is in the Church a teaching filled with errors, if not heresies, on the subject of the sacraments and especially of Baptism. It is very important to remember the doctrine of the Church on this subject. The new Rite of Baptism has been influenced by these errors, especially in what concerns the effects of Baptism. The true doctrine concerning Baptism corresponds well to the missionary spirit Our Lord inspired in His apostles. The visible outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the baptized at the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel confirms the capital importance of Baptism. Still today, in pagan regions, missionaries recognize the baptized by their faces—faces which are open, relaxed, trusting—while the pagans breathe fear, servility, and distrust.

Henceforward, the blood of Jesus, in which Christians have been baptized, calls them to unite themselves to Jesus’ Sacrifice every Sunday and thus to accomplish the most important act of the virtue of religion in union with Our Lord and all His Mystical Body for the glory of the Holy Trinity.

Before closing these meditations on the Holy Mass and the sacraments, it seems useful to consider especially the sacrament of Penance, which in numerous circumstances occupies a great part of the time that the priest consecrates to the apostolate. Given the weakness of souls and the scandals of a corrupt society in the midst of which they live, falls are frequent. Our Lord, in His infinite wisdom, instituted “a second plank of salvation” for us to hold on to.

The Fundamental Principle of the Spiritual Combat
The Wounds in Our Soul after Baptism

The acquisition of that holiness which is necessary for the salvation of our souls is not a simple thing. In effect, our daily experience and the teaching of the Church inform us that the grace of Baptism, although it gives us sanctifying grace by the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and frees us from original sin and from the control of the devil, does not free us from all the consequences of original sin. These consequences explain why our spiritual life takes on the bearing of a spiritual battle lasting throughout all our lives here below.

This teaching is fundamental and governs all of our apostolate. We remain sick and in need of the Doctor of our souls and of the spiritual helps He has provided for. Here is the teaching of the Church, expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas (I-II, Q. 85, Art. 3; Father Pegues, Catechism of the Summa, p. 128 [Fr. ed.]):
Quote:Original sanctity was lost by the sin of the first man. That is why all the powers of souls remain disordered, in a certain measure, with respect to their proper end, by which they were adapted to the practice of virtue. This absence of order is called the wounding of nature (vulneratio naturæ).

Insofar as reason is without its order to the truth, it is the wound of ignorance (vulnus ignorantiæ).

Insofar as the will is without its order to good, it is the wound of malice (vulnus malitiæ).

Insofar as fortitude is without its order to the accomplishing of difficult things, it is the wound of weakness (vulnus infirmitatis).

Insofar as fleshly desires are without the government of reason in that which is pleasurable, it is the wound of concupiscence (vulnus concupiscentiæ).

In his First Epistle, St. John confirms this truth: “All that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life” (I Jn. 2:16).

These four wounds undermine the four cardinal virtues and thus provoke in us a continual disorder. The most devastating seems to be that of ignorance or blindness, that is to say ignoring God and Our Lord Jesus Christ. For it is in this knowledge that eternal life resides: “Now this is eternal life: That they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (Jn. 17:3).

How, in effect, can we render to God the love and the worship which are due to Him if we remain blind with respect to Him? The seminarians and priests will never be able to thank God enough for having led them to the seminary, where all studies teach them to know God and Our Lord, and where all life is directed to render to the Holy Trinity by the person of the Word Incarnate the honor, worship, and love which are due Him, “per Christum Dominum nostrum.”

May priestly souls enter courageously into the spiritual combat to heal their souls of these wounds and thus learn to become doctors of souls by their preaching, by the prayer of the Holy Mass, by the Eucharist, and by the sacrament of Penance. Retreats are a powerful means for diminishing the blindness of souls and for healing the other wounds.

Without knowledge of these elementary truths, one cannot comprehend the Catholic spirituality of the Cross, of sacrifice, of despising temporal goods so as to be attached to eternal goods.

The demons use all that appeals to the senses and is delectable to deepen our wounds. What happened to Eve continues to happen now. Having listened to the word of the devil, Eve saw that the fruit was delectable—pulchrum visu et delectabile (Gen. 3:6). She would say to God, but, alas, too late: “The serpent deceived me” (Gen. 3:13). Hence the insistence of the Church, in all its spirituality, and especially for priestly souls or those consecrated to God, on distancing oneself from the world and its spirit so as to seek nothing but eternal things, following Jesus and Jesus Crucified.

But it is yet another of the disastrous consequences of the Council that this traditional and Catholic spirituality, a spirituality of self-denial, of the cross, of contempt for temporal things, of being invited to carry one’s cross following Our Lord, is destroyed. The alternative proposed is the search for social justice based on envy and the desire of the goods of this world. Thus whole populations are thrown into a fratricidal struggle, and the poor increase in number. On the contrary, it is the true Catholic spirituality which will change hearts and bring about a turn towards greater social justice.

This bad spirit of the Council—the spirit of the world—has invaded priestly and religious life and has led to a destruction without precedent of the priesthood and of religious life. The great triumph of Satan is to have accomplished by men of the Church the destruction which no persecution has ever produced.

The priest has received the power to apply the merits of the Cross and of the Blood of Jesus to souls who confess their sins with contrition and make satisfaction for the punishment due for sins already pardoned. The fruitful exercise of this ministry requires of the priest numerous qualities: knowledge of the divine law and of the laws of the Church so as to judge the gravity of the sin confessed; prudence, discretion, counsel, merciful charity following the example of Our Lord, in order to bring appropriate help to the sick soul. Souls generally are more appreciative of sweet firmness than of liberal laxity; they yearn to be healed, even if this desire is not explicit.

Contrition being essential to the reception of the sacrament of Penance, it is often useful to insist on this disposition, as also on firm resolutions. To be effective, contrition must be interior and habitual. This profound sentiment of regret for sin, if it persists, shelters the soul from further sin, maintaining it in humility, self-distrust, and in a state of continual vigilance. This is indeed the advice constantly repeated by Our Lord: “Vigilate—Watch!”

Satisfaction is, of course, accomplished by the prayers or actions imposed by the confessor, but it should also be continuous; in our daily prayers, in sacrifices and self-denial, in fasting and almsgiving. In the context of that satisfaction which is applied by indulgences, the reality of the Mystical Body appears in all its effectiveness. Without doubt, in the course of history, indulgences were abused for financial gain. But these simoniacal abuses, although condemnable, do not obliterate the priceless reality. Indulgences do help us to pay back in satisfaction for the debt which we still have with respect to God before the particular judgment at the hour of our death.

In this apostolate we should act in such a way, publicly and socially, that nobody would have any reluctance to ask for the sacrament of Penance; that is to say, we should always conduct ourselves in a truly priestly manner.

- Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Spiritual Journey. Kansas City: Missouri. Angelus Press. E-Book

[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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