General of the Society of Saint Pius X
the Feast of Pentecost, 1988
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
My very dear
friends, my very dear brethren,
The Acts of
the Apostles reports for us these words of our Lord, spoken before
His Ascension, on the diffusion of the Holy Ghost whom He is about
to send to His apostles:
Baptista baptizavit vos aquae. John the Baptist baptized you
with water. I will send you, after some days, the baptism of the
Holy Ghost. Baptizabimini in Spiritu Sancto.
recall, moreover, what our Lord Himself said to Nicodemus:
renatus fuerit ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto, non potest introire in
Regnum Dei... unless a man be born again of water and the Holy
Ghost he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Thus the apostles,
who have been baptized by John the Baptist, are now going to receive
the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Now the Acts
of the Apostles manifests what more the effects of this baptism
of the Holy Ghost has in the souls of the Apostles. There was a
radical change; a total renovation.
Some time before
the Ascension of our Lord the apostles asked Him, "When are
You going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?" Their occupations
are still terrestrial. They think only of a kingdom of this world.
They have not understood why our Lord has come. And our Lord reproaches
them for their hardness of heart.
And so there
was this extraordinary event, which was the descent of the Holy
Ghost. (There were, according to the Acts of the Apostles, some
120 there surrounding the Blessed Virgin.) He made them understand
that what mattered was not a kingdom of earth: it was the kingdom
their hope, and their charity grew. And under the influence of the
light of the Holy Ghost, they understood what was the object of
their faith, what was the object of their hope, and what was the
object of their charity: it was our Lord Jesus Christ. And from
now on we shall see them preaching our Lord Jesus Christ. There
is no longer anything but that which counts for them.
Peter was speaking to the assembled faithful, to the assembled Jews,
they asked him, "What must we do?" "Do penance and
be baptized!" And they baptized 5,000. And so this renovation
of which the apostles were the object is also going to be that of
the faithful who are going to be baptized. And little by little
this fire shall be spread throughout the entire world.
And, as for
us, we also have received our Pentecost. Our Pentecost was our baptism.
And it can truly be said of most of us that we were baptized as
children some days after we were born. We have not become sufficiently
aware perhaps, of the extraordinary thing, which has happened to
us. We also have had our baptism. We also have been baptized with
the Holy Ghost and our souls have been transformed even as were
those of the apostles. It is the same Spirit! There are not two
Holy Ghosts! There is only one! The Holy Ghost Who descended upon
the apostles is the One Who descended upon our souls on the day
we were baptized.
We must become
aware of this transformation which was brought about in our souls
in order to come to its aid so that we do not stifle it, so that
we do not bring sorrow to the Holy Ghost, so that we do not prevent
Him from acting within us, and so that we may see the same effects
in us as were produced in the apostles after Pentecost.
To live for
Jesus - that our Lord Jesus Christ may be truly, and at the same
time, the object of our faith, the object of our hope, and the object
of our charity. And we must ascertain, in effect, that if we are
truly Christian, that is, attached to our Lord Jesus Christ, our
whole life becomes transformed. Our lives have an entirely different
meaning from those of the pagans whose hope is only in this earth.
in the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ; faith in His coming amongst
us upon earth. That is, moreover, all that the gospel teaches us.
Our Lord repeats it often enough. St. John and St. Paul say it likewise
without ceasing: we must believe, believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who believes shall be saved: he who does not believe shall be
And our Lord,
speaking to Nicodemus, adds these important words, "He who
does not believe is already judged." "I have not come
to judge the world but to save it", said our Lord to Nicodemus,
"but he who does not believe is already judged". Terrible!
To be judged - judged for eternity! If only they might at least
be converted and believe.
It is therefore
faith, which is at the root of our renovation; which is the first
effect that is produced in our souls by the descent of the Holy
Ghost on the day of our baptism. And besides, what did we ask for
on the day of our baptism? We asked from the Church; the faith.
Well, this grace of the Holy Ghost has given us back the faith.
We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are Christians. And that,
once again, has an influence upon all our daily actions. We put
ourselves under the law which our Lord Jesus Christ has given us;
the law of love.
Love God and
love your neighbor. For our Lord has taught us that the whole decalogue
is resumed in these two precepts: love God and love your neighbor.
And this love
transforms families. It transforms society. It has made pagan society
into Christian society - this mutual love, this love, this respect
for others, this desire to do good to others. To do them good, that
is to bring to them our Lord Jesus Christ; to help them to better
imitate our Lord Jesus Christ in their lives - for that is true
love. True love causes souls to be brought to God. It puts us in
the atmosphere of the descent of the Holy Ghost, of this fire of
love, which must fill our souls.
And I insist
not only upon faith but also upon hope; a virtue too much forgotten.
Now it is the virtue of the pilgrim. We are pilgrims. If our faith
teaches us the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, hope makes us
hope and desire to be united to Him for eternity - to enter into
the glory of the Blessed Trinity through our Lord Jesus Christ and
in our Lord Jesus Christ. And that is no small thing.
If we lived
more in hope we would not fear death. Many fear death - have a horror
of death. Whereas death is really a deliverance, when our souls
(this is why they were created), go towards eternal happiness. Let
us compare our souls to caterpillars which are enclosed in their
cocoons, and which gently, very gently, prepare to fly away. The
caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly, which flies away towards
the sun. Well, it is a little bit like that for us here below. We
are like the caterpillars. But one day, though our bodies will be
inanimate, our souls will fly towards the good Lord, towards the
Eternal Sun, towards God Who is Eternal Light.
That is our
life. That is why we were made. So if we have hope, death will not
frighten us, and on the contrary, we will desire it as St. Paul
desired it. “Copio disolvi et esse cum Christo”, said St.
Paul. "I desire to leave my body and to be with Christ."
And how many holy souls have also desired this moment to go and
join God in eternity - to join our Lord! We must live according
to this hope.
And we must
likewise live according to charity. Already now, we can enjoy God
through the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ within us - by the
presence of His Spirit within us. We must enjoy the presence of
God within us. And particularly through the sacraments, which maintain
the presence of Our Lord within us - and especially the Holy Eucharist.
That is the result of Pentecost.
It is a source
of consolation which the pagans do not know, and that is why we
must desire to be missionaries and want to spread around us the
good news of the coming of our Lord amongst us; to want to communicate
His Spirit through the sacrament of baptism to all souls who surround
us - to all souls whom we know and who are still far away from our
That is the
missionary spirit of the Church. That was the missionary spirit
of the apostles. See how they went out to cross the world – twelve
apostles, a tiny and insignificant little group. They brought the
fire of love to the four corners of the world. They transformed
the world. That should also be our thought, our desire.
But, as you
know well, we are today living through a drama. This faith, this
hope, and this charity are decreasing and seem about to disappear
inside the Church and in Christian surroundings. Many no longer
believe in the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many abandon their
faith - their religious practice - and join the sects, which do
not believe in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is apostasy
- an apostasy which is becoming more and more general! They are
joining that immense group of those who do not have the faith and
who are already judged by God, by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Now all that
is most painful and we must not console ourselves concerning this
situation. That is why we must, more than ever, do penance and pray
for the conversion of souls.
You, my very
dear brethren, you have taken the resolution to keep the Catholic
faith. And you ask "how?" in this atmosphere, which is
sometimes, even quite close to you. In your families even, you see
these people who abandon their religious practice and who seem to
no longer have the faith. Instead of allowing yourselves to be tempted
by this bad example you have taken the resolution to maintain your
And how have
you been able to maintain your faith? What was the means, which
seemed to you right for maintaining the Catholic faith, to remain
Christian? It was Tradition!
to imitate your parents, you grandparents, and your great-grandparents.
Our parents acted in such a way that they were able to keep the
faith. They kept the faith! They died in the love of our Lord Jesus
Christ. You want to do as they did. And consequently, you want to
maintain what they have achieved, what the Church has taught them,
what they have practiced, what the holy priests have taught them,
what the holy bishops have taught them. And you are right!
It is thus
that you maintain your families in the Catholic faith. It is a great
grace in the middle of this universal disarray, as it can be called
in reality. So we must make the resolution to maintain this tradition.
And you, my very dear friends, it is you who are going to be, and
indeed already are, the instruments of this permanence of tradition.
You have found
this tradition here in your seminary. You have found it in your
studies. You develop your Catholic Faith through the studying, which
you do here. You can consult all the older books in your library,
the books of the Fathers. You can consult that which was the faith
in past centuries and imitate that faith. You can read the lives
of saints: how the saints acted - these saints who were the models
of adhesion to the divinity of Christ and of receptivity to the
Holy Ghost Whom they received. And you try thus to follow our ancestors
who listened to and maintained the traditional teaching of the Church,
and who put the Christian virtues into practice.
And so, strengthened
by these examples, strengthened by this tradition, you are going,
with the grace of the good Lord, to be clothed in the grace of the
priesthood; also an effect of this Pentecost, an effect of the coming
of the Holy Ghost.
You will have
noticed that all ceremonies of ordination make allusion to the grace
of the Holy Ghost descending upon you - in a more particular manner,
yesterday, during the ordinations to the diaconate. Well, you will
be the instruments of the maintaining of the Catholic faith, the
instruments of the maintaining of hope and the instruments of the
maintaining of charity. Thus, you will maintain what was called
Christian civilization - Christianity! Without you, if there are
no longer going to be these heroes who manifest the teaching of
our Lord, who manifest this hope, this diffusion of the Holy Ghost
in the world, how will Christian families maintain the faith? It
That is why
we deeply desire to be able to give you successors in the episcopate;
so that they may keep you, maintain you, in this Catholic faith,
that they may maintain you in this hope, that they may maintain
you in this charity, in order to be able to continue the witness
which was given by the apostles after Pentecost; to not allow the
grace of the Holy Ghost to be stifled; to not have it reduced to
nothing. For it is easy, in an environment like that in which our
Christians live in the world, to lose the faith, to abandon the
faith, if they do not have, through your mediation, through your
help, the graces of which they have need in order to keep the Catholic
faith, their hope and their charity. For these are souls who are
in danger of becoming coarsened amongst the ranks of those who live
as if they no longer believed.
So let us ask
the good Lord to make it possible for tradition to continue. That
is what we have always asked of Rome, to let us carry out the experiment
of tradition. Give us the means to continue with tradition in order
to maintain this Pentecost, the true Pentecost, the Pentecost, which
has been given to us by the sacraments, by our Lord Jesus Christ
Himself, for the Church; so that we may be able to maintain it.
That is what we are asking without cease of Rome.
May the Blessed
Virgin Mary in this month of May, in the remembrances of our Lady
of Fatima, bring us to this goal, and insure that the Catholic faith,
along with hope and charity, may be maintained in souls.
In the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109
XII, No.5, May 1988