the Name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
dogma of the Immaculate Conception, solemnly
proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854, was
later confirmed by the Blessed Virgin
herself in 1858, to Bernadette at Lourdes.
any doubt, this feast of the Immaculate
Conception is much older than its definition.
More precisely, the definition of these
dogmas by the Sovereign Pontiffs occurs
always after the Church, in her Tradition
and in her Faith, has manifested in a
permanent way that she believed these
truths revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ
through His apostles.
the truth, which we celebrate today concerning
the Immaculate Conception of the Most
Blessed Virgin Mary, is a truth contained
in Revelation taught by Our Lord Jesus
feast teaches us a great lesson, and particularly
to you, my dear friends who, in a few
moments, are going to pronounce your engagement
for the first time or renew it.
think that I must draw your attention
to the fact that this engagement requires
you to practice in a particular way, truly
and wholeheartedly with full adhesion,
the holy virtue of obedience.
there is a virtue that shines in this
feast of the Immaculate Conception, it
is precisely this virtue of obedience.
Why? Because what made us lose sanctifying
grace, what made us lose the friendship
of God, was the sin of Eve, the mother
of mankind. By her sin, by her disobedience,
she drew after her all the souls who followed
her. Since that sin of our first parents
occurred in the history of mankind, all
those who are born henceforth are born
with original sin, except the Most Blessed
Lord Jesus Christ has thus willed, God
has willed, that in this history of mankind,
wounded by the sin of disobedience of
the mother of mankind, this sin be repaired
by a similar creature - our heavenly Mother,
the Blessed Virgin Mary.
if it was by disobedience that sin began
in mankind, it was by the obedience of
the Blessed Virgin Mary that this sin
is an admirable antithesis, willed by
the Good Lord - at least permitted by
Him. Indeed, the Good Lord has not willed
the sin but He permitted this fault of
mankind, as the liturgy of Holy Saturday
says: "Felix culpa - blessed
fault" - in a certain way, because
it merited for us so many graces, it obtained
for us to have in our midst the Son of
God; it permitted us to have the Blessed
we ought to profit from this lesson offered
to us by the Blessed Virgin Mary: the
lesson of obedience. [We ought to open
our souls to] the grace of this feast
- sanctifying grace - through she who
was called "full of grace."
Why is she full of grace? Because she
obeyed, because she submitted to God.
is precisely what we ought to have as
our first desire in life. This virtue
of obedience is at the very heart of our
sanctification. It is in the center of
our whole life, of our natural life as
well as of our supernatural life. There
can be no true natural life without obedience.
There can be no true supernatural life
then, is obedience? In what does it consist?
It seems to me that we could define it
as "the power of God - Dei omnipotentis,"
coming into our souls, our existence,
our wills, our intelligence, our body.
This virtue of God Almighty, Virtue which
is the power of the Almighty God impressed
into our lives, into our daily life, into
our existence, because we are nothing
without this power of the Almighty God.
This virtue of the Almighty God is written
in the Law, in the Commandments of God,
in the Commandments of life: "Love
your God, love your neighbor" - this
is what we ought to do. On fulfilling
this condition, we shall live both in
the natural order and in the supernatural
must therefore firstly have the desire
to see this Virtue of God, this natural
and supernatural power of God, being infused
into our souls and take over our whole
self, all what we are. Not to let anything
escape from this supreme power of God
in us, to submit ourselves totally to
the grace of the Good Lord, to His power,
to His life, this is obedience.
this is the fruit of obedience: natural
life, supernatural life, and thereby eternal
life in the life of the beatific vision.
All this is inscribed in the virtue of
my dear friends, this should be the profound
disposition of your souls while you pronounce
your engagement: I want to be obedient,
obedient for my whole life, obedient to
God. I submit myself to the Will of God
in order that He may communicate to me
His Life, by communicating to me His Truth,
truth in our intellect by the natural
light of reason, but also and above all
by the light of faith. Indeed faith is
nothing else: it is the obedience of our
intelligence to the revelation of Our
Lord Jesus Christ who gives us His Truth,
who transmits to us His Truth, and this
Truth is a source of life. It shall be
for us a source of life, a source of grace.
Thus, wholeheartedly submit your intelligence
and your will to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
this through the intercession of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, asking Him that she give
you this grace, that she give you the
humility to submit yourself entirely to
His Divine Will. She showed you the example
in her "fiat," in her
humility: "He looked upon the humility
of His handmaid," as we sing in the
Magnificat. And her cousin Elizabeth
says to her " Beata quae credidisti:
blessed art thou because thou hast
believed!" Faith is nothing else
than the obedience of our intelligence,
the submission of our intelligence to
the Truth revealed by the authority of
God. This is what your obedience ought
to be like.
this grace of obedience you shall transform
your lives, and your lives shall become
fully conformed to the Will of God.
the circumstances in which we live, in
the confusion in which the Church finds
herself today, we can wonder: "But
where is this obedience today? How is
obedience practiced in holy Church today?"
must not forget that our first obedience,
our fundamental and unconditional obedience
must be to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to God!
Indeed, it is He who asks for our obedience;
He it is who commands our submission.
The Good Lord has done all so that we
may be enlightened in our obedience. For
two thousand years of the existence of
the Church, the light was given by Revelation,
by the Apostles, by the successors of
the Apostles, by Peter and by the successors
of Peter. If an error was made by some
so that the transmission of the truth
was incorrect, the Church corrected it.
The Church took care to transmit to us
the truth conformed to the will of God.
now, by an unfathomable mystery of Divine
Providence, Providence permits that our
time be perhaps a unique time in the history
of the Church, that these truths be no
longer transmitted with the fidelity with
which the Church has transmitted them
for two thousand years. Let us not even
search for the causes; let us not even
search for those having responsibility
for these facts. But the facts are here
before us. The truth which was taught
to the children, to the poor - "pauperes
evangelizantur: the poor have the
Gospel preached unto them," said
Our Lord to the envoys of St. John the
Baptist - well, now, the poor are no longer
evangelized. They are no longer given
the bread, the true bread which children
want, the true Bread, the Bread of Life.
They have transformed our sacrifices,
our sacraments, our catechisms.
we are stupefied and painfully surprised.
What are we to do when confronted with
these facts, before this reality full
of anguish, tearing us apart, crushing
us? Keep the Faith! Obey what Our Lord
Jesus Christ has given us for two thousand
years! In a moment of terror, in a moment
of confusion, in a moment of destruction
of the Church, what should we do but hold
fast to what Jesus has taught, what His
Church has taught us as being Truth forever,
cannot change what has been defined once
and for all by the Sovereign Pontiffs
with their infallibility. It is not changeable.
We do not have the right to modify the
truth written forever in our holy Books.
Because this immutability of Truth corresponds
to the Immutability of God. It is a communication
of the Immutability of God to the immutability
of our truths. To change our truths would
be tantamount to changing the Immutability
of God. We say it every day in the Office
of None: “Immotus in Se permanens -
God remaining immutable in Himself”
we must attach ourselves to this truth,
which has been taught in a permanent way,
and not let ourselves be troubled by the
disorder we witness today. Consequently
we must know, at some point, not to obey
in order to obey. This is it.
this Virtue of Almighty God of which I
was speaking not long ago, the Good Lord
has willed that it be transmitted to us
somehow by men who participate in His
authority. But in the measure that these
creatures are not faithful to the transmission
of this life, of this virtue of God, in
that measure also we can no longer accept
their orders and the obligations they
impose on us. Because to obey men who
are unfaithfully transmitting the message
given to them, would be to disobey God,
it would be to disobey the message of
Our Lord Jesus Christ.
when we have to choose either to obey
the message of Our Lord Jesus Christ or
to obey the message of men, transmitted
to us by men, insofar as the message transmitted
by men corresponds to the message of Our
Lord Jesus Christ, we have no right not
to obey them to the last iota. But, in
the measure in which these orders, these
obligations given to us, do not correspond
to those Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us,
we cannot. We must obey God rather than
men. In these occasions these men do not
fulfill the function for which they have
received the authority the Good Lord has
St. Paul himself said: "If an angel
from heaven or myself" - remember
it is the great St. Paul himself who speaks
– “If an angel from heaven or myself would
teach you a truth contrary to what has
been taught to you originally, do not
listen to us!” Today we are living
this; we are faced with this reality.
would myself say to you very willingly,
my dear friends, I would repeat this word
very willingly: “If it would happen that
I teach you something contrary to what
the whole Tradition of the Church has
taught, do not listen to me! At that moment
you have the right not to obey me, and
you have the duty not to obey me!
Because I would not be faithful to the
mission given to me by the Good Lord.”
is what our obedience ought to be: to
obey God before all else. This is the
only way to reach Eternal Life. Obedience
is the way that leads to Eternal Life.
this we follow the example of the Blessed
Virgin Mary. She was obedience itself.
She is the most perfect, the most beautiful,
the most sublime example of obedience,
contrary to the disobedience of the mother
let us ask her today, my dear friends,
to teach us this obedience, to make us
keep it until our death. And to make sure
that these promises you are going to make
in a few moments be truly the expression
of what you have in the depth of your
in these prayers, I thought it good to
put the beautiful prayer taught us by
the Roman Missal shortly before the consecration
of the Holy Eucharist: “Hanc igitur
oblationem servitutis nostrae - receive,
O my God, the oblation of our obedience,
of our slavery! - hanc igitur
oblationem servitutis nostrae!” This
is what you are going to say. If the Good
Lord gives you the grace to become priests,
every day when you say this prayer, and
already now when you recite it with the
priest, renew your profession of obedience
and of slavery towards God and towards
the Blessed Virgin Mary. May this be the
grace the Good Lord grants you today.
the Name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109
XIV, No. 2, Feb. 1991