Last Sermon of His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
To Express Our Love of God in Prayer
Grace offered his last Solemn High Mass
delivered his last sermon on this date.
Guillou, traditional Priest of Nice,
Monk, died on May 19th,
Feast of Pentecost.
rest their souls.
My dear brethren,
It is a great
joy and a great satisfaction for me to be with you in this wonderful
Church of St. Claire, which is filled with so many memories. Divine
Providence chose the First Sunday of Lent for me to be among you.
Allow me, therefore, to give you some advice in order that you practice
this Lent well - Lent which is nothing other than the preparation
for the beautiful Feast of Easter. Before becoming partakers in
the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we must be partakers
in His Passion, in His Redemption, in His Sacrifice.
Lent is undoubtedly
a time of penance. Therefore, we must make some efforts to deny
ourselves usual satisfactions - in eating, and drinking and the
like. It is good to deny ourselves in these things in order to attach
ourselves more to the spiritual goods, forgetting the temporal goods
in order to elevate ourselves towards the eternal ones.
But more than
by our penances, God is pleased by our observance of His Commandments.
God created us to be with Him one day. The way that leads us to
Him through the years that we have to spend here below is marked
by His Law towards Him. His Law is in fact nothing else than the
road signs, which Our Lord has placed along the way of our earthly
life, leading us towards Heaven in order that we attain heavenly
What then are
these Commandments of God? Our Lord Himself took care to remind
us of them and St. Paul says the same thing as well. They consist
in loving God and loving our neighbor. All the Commandments of God
are summed up in this. In the very measure in which we love God
and love our neighbor and put this love into practice in our daily
lives are we walking peacefully towards the happiness of Heaven.
How can we
manifest in a particular way our love towards the Good Lord? I think
that the most profound, the most essential way to manifest our love
to God is to pray. We have all learned to pray in our catechism,
the little catechism of old - since today's catechisms have distorted
everything and do not teach anything clearly. But we keep the good
definition of old: prayer is an elevation of the soul towards God.
It is simple,
it is short, but it is much - to lift up our soul towards God. I
think that if we would put more in practice this definition of prayer,
to lift up our soul towards God, we would indeed be less attached
to the goods of this earth and we would be more attached to God
Himself and to the heavenly goods.
us make an effort during this Lent to pray better and to pray more.
And what are
the different ways to pray? What are the different kinds of prayer?
is vocal prayer: that which you do here during Mass, during the
prayers in common, the Rosary you said together just a while ago.
These are vocal prayers, in which you express your love for God
and through which you lift up your souls towards God. Therefore
we must hold in high esteem this kind of prayer and practice it
much. We do so in particular by assistance at Mass and also when
we can by the recitation of the Rosary, praying to the Blessed Virgin
Mary, uniting ourselves to her, and by all the practices of vocal
prayers, all the devotions approved by the Church, which all the
devout souls have practiced in their lives, these souls which have
gone to Heaven before us and are now singing the praise of the Good
Lord in Heaven, in particular all the saints.
kind of prayer is mental prayer or meditation. Mental prayer consists
in lifting up our mind towards the Good Lord by meditating on the
grandeur of God, on His perfections, without pronouncing exterior
words. It is another kind of prayer. When you come during the day
and adore the Blessed Sacrament, close to Our Lord, without the
need of words, lifting your soul to the Good Lord, submitting yourselves
to Him, thinking of Him, living with Him for a while, forgetting
the worries of this world, daily worries, in order to elevate your
soul towards God, you practice mental prayer. Spiritual directors,
all the saints and founders of Orders recommend it. You well know
that the good Poor Clares who were here before - behind these grilles
- spent a long time in mental prayer. The same is done in all the
Carmels, in all the religious congregations. Even the rules for
the clergy required of priests, monks and nuns the practice of mental
prayer. It is good also for the faithful to imitate those who have
consecrated themselves to God and to practice mental prayer in a
special way. You can do it in a church, in a chapel, but also at
home in front of a statue of the Virgin, in front of a Crucifix,
or a little home oratory that you may have arranged in your home.
Everyone can pray to Our Lord and unite himself with the Blessed
Virgin Mary in his mind.
There is a
third kind of prayer which is essential, and which is the most important,
beside vocal and mental prayer: the prayer of the heart.
What is the
prayer of the heart? It is that which shows internally love for
the Good Lord, without even a particular thought on this or that
subject, such as this perfection of God, or that manifestation of
the charity of God towards us. But to simply love God, to express
our love to the Good Lord. It is somewhat like a little child in
his mother's arms, like to what he has in his heart for his mommy
and daddy. He is happy - he is in his father's arms or his mother's
arms. He does not think of anything else. He thinks only of loving
his parents. Well, we should have such a natural, profound and constant
love for the Good Lord. This prayer is the most pleasing to God
because it places us entirely at His disposal. By it, we offer our
whole self to God. We offer our body, our will, our time and all
that we are to Him Who created us, to Him who awaits us, to give
us this heavenly bliss which He has prepared for us. This is the
best way not to sin any more, at least not to sin grievously. He
who truly loves God gives in a way his very being and all that he
is throughout the day and at all times. This prayer of the heart
can be permanent, without stopping. As a child who loves his parents
loves them always, with a perfect continuity, so we should love
the Good Lord in a similar way. In loving God this way we will not
fear sin because we will feel that any disobedience to God will
draw us apart from Him. Thus, if we truly love Him how could we,
at the same time, love Him without our whole heart and displease
and disobey Him? This would be a contradiction. This is why the
prayer of the heart is so important.
I beg you,
during this Lent, to put yourselves into the hands of the Good Lord,
to forget the things of this world in order to attach yourselves
to the Good Lord. This is the first advice I will give you to fulfill
the Law of the Good Lord asking us to love Him. The first Tablet
of the Law of Moses had these three Commandments towards God. The
second Tablet shows us the law of the love of our neighbor. How
can we manifest our love for our neighbor? Undoubtedly the services
we render to our neighbor outside our families, in our profession,
in our daily lives, but we could also ask ourselves where we most
frequently fail to love our neighbor.
To this end
let us ask St. James who, in the epistle he wrote and which belongs
to Holy Scripture, tells us of this little organ given to us by
the Good Lord called the "tongue." He tells us: "It
is with the tongue that one sings the praises of the Good Lord but
it is with the tongue that one ignites the fires of iniquity and
the fires of division." This is true.
us make an effort to practice charity in our words and by this very
fact charity in our thoughts. Thus let us avoid rash judgments,
detractions, and calumnies, which are so easy and sometimes so tempting
in our conversations. Unfortunately, some love to criticize this
or that, dividing rather than uniting, rather than practicing charity.
Let us make efforts to manifest the love towards our neighbor during
this Lent by striving to avoid detractions and calumnies - all the
sins of the tongue. Such is, my dear brethren, the advice I deem
good to give at the beginning of this Lent.
Let us ask
the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and the Child Jesus to live
as they lived at Nazareth. We must remember that the example Our
Lord has given us is absolutely remarkable. What did God Himself
- for He is God Who came down among us - do during the thirty-three
years of His life? Of these thirty-three years He spent here below
before ascending into Heaven, He remained thirty years in family
life except when, leaving His parents, He remained at Jerusalem
to teach the Doctors of the Law. This is the only event we know
of His infancy or His youth. Until the age of thirty He practiced
charity in the family. This is an admirable example Our Lord gave
does not ask us things, which are utterly impossible - no, just
the practice of charity towards God and towards our neighbor, as
He Himself has done in the family of Nazareth.
Let us ask
the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph to help us to practice this
Charity so that, by the grace of the Good Lord, by the grace of
the Sacraments which we receive, we may walk little by little towards
the goal of our life here below: to share one day the happiness
of Heaven with all those whom we love and who have left us.
In the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.