Category Archives: Jansenism

Sacred Heart vs the Heresy of Jansenism


-by Joseph Heschmeyer, a former lawyer and seminarian, he blogs at Shameless Popery.

“Why do Catholics today celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus? After all, we don’t have feast days dedicated to any other organs of Jesus’ body. There’s no “Solemnity of the Arm of Jesus,” for instance, to honor His baptisms and Healings. So why a feast day for His Heart?

Biblically, the heart is “our hidden center.” Scripture refers to the heart more than a thousand times, often, as the Catechism (CCC) notes, in the context of prayer (2562-63). The greatest commandment of the Law is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5; Mark 12:30). In speaking of the Sacred Heart, then, we’re referring to the person of Jesus, to his humanity, and to his love for the Father and for us, what the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) calls his “infinite divine-human love for the Father and for his brothers.” In a special way, the image of the Sacred Heart captures the moment in which that love was poured out for us on the cross, when a soldier pierced the side of Christ, and blood and water flowed out (John 19:34).

As the CDW notes, we find devotion to the Sacred Heart throughout the Middle Ages, but it goes from being a personal devotion to a liturgical feast in no small part in response to the heresy of Jansenism. In the words of Pope Pius XI, “the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was instituted at a time when men were oppressed by the sad and gloomy severity of Jansenism, which had made their hearts grow cold, and shut them out from the love of God and the hope of salvation.”

So what was the Jansenist heresy, and how was the Sacred Heart an answer to it?

Although the heresy of Jansenism is sometimes unfairly oversimplified, there were three particular features of the heresy that (inadvertently) produced disastrous effects. The first was a double predestination: that God destined some for heaven and others for hell, irrespective of merits. As Leszek Kołakowski traces in his book God Owes Us Nothing, Jansenist theology argued that God gives some people the graces necessary for salvation and withholds them from others (pp. 31-35). The result of this idea would be that some people are going to hell, and there’s literally nothing they can do about it. They aren’t saved—not because they refuse God’s overtures, but simply because God doesn’t want to save them.

The second feature regarded imperfect contrition, sometimes known as attrition. In simple terms: If I turn away from my sin out of fear of hell (rather than out of love of God), is that good enough to be forgiven? The Catechism (1453) now clarifies: by itself, “imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins”; however, imperfect contrition is sufficient to receive absolution through the sacrament of Penance, since imperfect contrition can be perfected through the sacramental graces flowing from the confessional. But the Jansenists taught the opposite: that even for a valid sacramental confession, a penitent needed perfect contrition. Worse, Jansenist priests “routinely withheld absolution, in the belief that few penitents demonstrated sufficient precision and adequate contrition.”

Third, because so few people could count on perfect contrition, Jansenists warned against receiving Communion frequently, in a misguided attempt to avoid the scandal of unworthy reception.

What was the combined effect of these three teachings? That ordinary Catholics doubted God’s love for them; doubted whether they were (or could be) forgiven, even after going to confession; and stayed away from the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion out of fear, thereby depriving themselves of sacramental graces. The resulting vision of God was thereby distorted. As Pius XI would later recount, “God was not to be loved as a father but rather to be feared as an implacable judge.”

This is an important insight, because it gets to the heart of the matter. It’s not just that Jansenism got the details of predestination or contrition or sacramental reception wrong. It’s that Jansenism got God wrong, in a fundamental way that many of us still get him wrong today.

Perhaps it is only fitting, then, that it was God himself who set things straight. While multiple seventeenth- and eighteenth-century popes vainly tried to quash Jansenism, Jesus intervened in an unexpected way: through a series of apparitions to a French nun named Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690). In the last and most famous of these apparitions, Jesus showed her His Heart and said:

“Behold the heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love; and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in this sacrament of love.”

Theologically, this is the corrective Jansenism needed. Jesus did not deny any of what Jansenism was getting right: that sin offends God, that so many of us seem indifferent to God, that we can slip into ingratitude toward God with startling ease. But rather than express this in terms of divine wrath, Jesus presents it as a tragedy of unrequited love. That is, sinners act this way not because God denies them the graces to do otherwise, but because they fail to appreciate the depth and breadth of God’s love for them. Jesus saw the same problem that the Jansenists saw, but he answered it with open arms and an open heart.

A great difficulty in believing in God’s love and mercy is simply accepting that God is so radically other. It’s hard to wrap our minds around the idea that the uncreated and unchanging God of the universe has a personal love for us. And so Jesus reminds us that He has a human heart, and with it, the full range of human emotions. Yet He is fully divine as well as fully human. Thus, our devotion is not just to the heart, but to the Sacred Heart. Jesus has at once the full experience of human emotions and the perfect vision of divine foreknowledge.

Pius XI illustrates the implications of this divine-human union in a beautiful reflection on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. On the one hand, he points out that it was chiefly “because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen” that the soul of Christ became “very sorrowful, even to death” (Matt. 26:38). In other words, what weighed upon Christ was not principally the looming shadow of the Cross, but the weight of our sins.

But there is a happy corollary to this idea: that when we read that “there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him,” this should also be taken as Christ foreseeing our acts of reparation to the Sacred Heart, that “His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation.” And so, the pope concludes, “even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men.”

This is a wonderful and mind-bending insight. The promise of the Sacred Heart is that our actions today are wrapped up (through God’s perfect foreknowledge) with Christ’s experience in Gethsemane, that we are either adding one more burden to Him through our sins, or giving Him one more consolation through our acts of love and reparation. And so (in yet another encyclical on the Sacred Heart!) Pius XI encouraged that “the Feast of the Sacred Heart be for the whole Church one of holy rivalry of reparation and supplication,” in which we hasten in large numbers “to the foot of the altar to adore the Redeemer of the world, under the veils of the sacrament,” pouring our hearts out to His. What better way can we celebrate the triumph of Jesus’ love over the cold justice of Jansenism and our false conceptions of God?”

Within Thy Sacred Heart, dear Lord,
My anxious thoughts shall rest.
I neither ask for life, nor death;
Thou knowest what is best.

Say only Thou hast pardoned me,
Say only I am Thine,
In all things else dispose of me:
Thy Holy Will is mine.

And may Thy Sacred Heart, dear Lord,
E’er be my counsel sure,
Led in Thy Heart’s obedience
To make my own heart pure.

And when Thou shalt come claim my soul
Then may we never part,
For there shall be my only joy:
Within Thy Sacred Heart.


-please click on the image for greater clarity

Love, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place our trust in Thee!! (for generations, a traditional part of McCormick grace at evening meals),
Matthew

The Heresy of Jansenism & Cancel-Culture


-Abbess Angelique Arnauld, S.O.Cist., (1591-1661), a champion of the heresy of Jansenism.  Please click on the image for greater detail.


-by Shaun Blanchard, PhD


-plan of Port-Royal-des-Champs, after an engraving by Louise-Magdeleine Horthemels, c. 1710, please click on the image for greater detail.

“…The epicenter of Jansenism was the convent of Port-Royal des Champs (outside Paris), a formally lax establishment, which had been overhauled by the formidable abbess Angélique Arnauld (1591–1661).[1] Mére Angélique was serious about reform, because she had imbibed the rigorist Christocentric renewal currents coming from the circles of Pierre de Bérulle (1575–1629), and two men she knew personally: François de Sales (1567–1622) and the Abbé Saint-Cyran (1581–1643). The latter, a very close friend of Jansen, eventually became the spiritual godfather of the nuns of Port-Royal… [Ed. The scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623–62) was a convert to the early Jansenist cause.]

…Closely connected with the Jansenist desire to defend the “truth” about grace and predestination in the face of Jesuit “novelty” was their concern for protecting the Eucharist from profanation. It was this debate that gained a great deal of popular attention and thrust Pascal into the spotlight. The pastoral (or lax) opinion championed by many Jesuits was that attrition was sufficient for absolution in the confessional—that is, one needed only to seek forgiveness because one feared divine wrath.

The rigorist position, which Jansenists argued was the practice of the Early Church and sufficiently clear in patristic sources, was that only contrition—that is, love of God and sorrow for having offended him—sufficed for absolution. This debate sparked Pascal’s famous Provincial Letters, which ridiculed the lengths to which Jesuitical “casuistry” would go to lessen the weight of sin or excuse it entirely. Pascal’s brilliantly entertaining satirical letters might have been unfair to the many good and devoted Jesuit pastors, but they certainly described some real problems in French society…

…King Louis XIV [decided]to act decisively. The divine-right monarch had never liked Jansenists. They stank of a stubborn individualism, a spirit of inquiry, and a questioning of his absolutism. It was especially irksome that a group of women (the indomitable nuns of Port-Royal) continued to defy not only successive archbishops in Paris and popes in Rome, but even the Sun King in Versailles.

Louis XIV had had enough of this, and he finally demolished Port-Royal (literally) in 1711, and scattered the surviving sisters into different houses…Nevertheless, the women of Port-Royal were exemplars of female Catholic bravery and scholarship; these learned and devout women tenaciously asserted their right to read scripture and the Church Fathers and participate in theological debates.[5]”


-nuns being forcibly removed from Port-Royal des Champs abbey, please click on the image for greater detail.


-a solitary surviving chapel from Port-Royal des Champs abbey, and Mere Angelique’s tomb, amid the ruins of Porty-Royal des Champs abbey.


-by Fr Christopher Pietraszko, is a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of London, Ontario, Canada

“There is a close connection between cancel-culture and the heresy of Jansenism. Jansenism’s error was to myopically assess the work of grace, and perhaps over-simplify it.  As a result grace was seen as to not abound, or to be extended to all people sufficiently. As a result, a Puritan-like attitude arose, where if something was corrupt, the whole thing would be thrown out. Any slight imperfection meant the whole thing was abject and worthy of condemnation.

Looking upon the past with a cavalier attitude will only come back to haunt ourselves as the next generation sees our own blindness, and throws us into the same gutter.

Recognizing that the world is corrupted is honest. Throwing it away is reckless. Why? Because of a very sound doctrine that teaches us that evil is always adhering to something good, and by uprooting the evil, we also uproot the good. Christ Himself taught us this with the parable of the weeds and the grain. The middle way is to seek to redeem what is broken, to heal what is wounded, to distinguish carefully and diligently between what is unjust and what is just.

This tendency towards Jansenism is not only seen in secular society, but I’ve observed it as well within attitudes towards canceling the Novus Ordo, or the TLM, or the Pope, or the Bishops, or adhering to sacred obedience. It’s a sneaky trap that transcends all political categories and seeks to uproot the good with the bad. It doesn’t enjoy the hard work of discernment, and flippantly and in an often fraudulent (fallacious) way, doesn’t distinguish between the good and the evil. It reacts and throws the whole thing out.

If there was ever a heresy so close to Calvin’s “total depravity” this is it. God teaches to do something different. He wants what is dysfunctional and imperfect to enter a process of sanctification. He builds off what is already good, to undermine the ravages of what is already evil. He does not flip a switch of grace and make one perfect in an instant, but rather slowly unfolds a path before us that saved, is saving, and will save us.”

Love, His grace, His transformation, His sanctification of us, was, is, will be,
Matthew

[1] F. Ellen Weaver, The Evolution of the Reform of Port Royal: From the Rule of Cîteaux to Jansenism (Paris: Beauchesne, 1978); Louis Cognet, La Réforme de Port Royal (Paris: Sulliver, 1950).

[5] Among many excellent studies see Daniella Kostroun, Feminism, Absolutism, and Jansenism: Louis XIV and the Port-Royal Nuns (Cambridge: CUP, 2011); John J. Conley, SJ, The Other Pascals: The Philosophy of Jacqueline Pascal, Gilberte Pascal Périer, and Marguerite Périer (South Bend, IN: Notre Dame, 2019).

Apr 28 – St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716), Priest & Confessor, God Alone!!


-Statue in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Louis de Montfort, Founder Statue by Giacomo Parisini, 1948, in which St Louis tramples the devil who holds a scroll listing the 7 deadly sins.  Please click on the image for greater detail.

When I encounter non-Catholics concerned about the Catholic emphasis on the Blessed Mother, I assure them not to worry they will love her more than Jesus did.

I
La croix dans le mystère
Est voilé pour nous ci-dessous;
Sans grande lumière pour voir,
Qui sa splendeur connaîtra-t-elle?
Seul l’esprit noble
Cette trace secrète élevée;
Et personne ne trouvera le ciel
Qui ne le saisit pas par grâce.
Dieu seul.

The Cross in mystery
Is veiled for us below;
Without great light to see,
Who shall its splendor know?
Alone the lofty mind
Shall this high secret trace;
And none shall heaven find
Who grasps it not by grace.
God Alone.

II
La nature que la croix abhorre;
La raison lui donne un froncement de sourcils;
Le savant l’ignore.
Satan le démolit.
Malgré un art pieux,
Même l’âme fervente
Souvent, cela ne me tient pas à cœur,
Mais joue le rôle du menteur.
Dieu seul.

Nature the Cross abhors;
Reason gives it a frown;
The learned man ignores It.
Satan tears it down.
Despite a pious art,
Even the fervent soul
Oft takes it not to heart,
But plays the liar’s role.
God Alone.

III
L’arbre est essentiel,
Et nous qui connaissons son coût
Doit monter au Calvaire
Ou languir et être perdu.
Comme le dit Saint Augustin
Avec un tollé inquiétant,
Nous sommes tous réprouvés
A moins que Dieu ne nous châtie.
Dieu seul.

Essential is the Tree,
And we who know its cost
Must mount to Calvary
Or languish and be lost.
As Saint Augustine states
With outcry ominous,
We all are reprobates
Unless God chastens us.
God Alone.

IV
Sa nécessité

Une route vers le ciel court:
L’autoroute de la Croix.
C’était le fils royal,
Son chemin vers la vie après la perte.
Et chaque pierre
Qui guide les pieds du pèlerin
Est ciselé juste pour s’adapter
Dans la rue sainte de Sion.
Dieu seul.

Its Necessity

One road to Heaven runs:
The highway of the Cross.
It was the royal Son’s,
His road to life from loss.
And every stone of it
That guides the pilgrim’s feet
Is chiseled fair to fit
In Zion’s holy street.
God Alone.

V
Vain est la victoire
De celui qui, vainqueur
Le monde manque de maîtrise
De soi par la souffrance;
Vain s’il n’a pas Christ,
Tuez le Christ, pour exemplaire,
Ou repousse les sacrifiés
Pour la crainte de blessure et de cicatrice.
Dieu seul.

Vain is the victory
Of him who, conquering
The world, lacks mastery
Of self through suffering;
Vain if he has not Christ,
Slain Christ, for exemplar,
Or spurns the Sacrificed
For dread of wound and scar.
God Alone.

VI
Ses victoires

Croix du Christ, retenant l’enfer,
A vaincu la malédiction d’Eden,
Citadelle de Satan prise d’assaut,
Et a gagné l’univers.
Maintenant à son groupe fidèle
Il donne cette arme brillante
Pour armer le cœur et la main
Contre le mal sprite.
Dieu seul.

Its Victories

Christ’s Cross, restraining Hell,
Has conquered Eden’s curse,
Stormed Satan’s citadel,
And won the universe.
Now to His faithful band
He gives that weapon bright
To arm both heart and hand
Against the evil sprite.
God Alone.

VII
Dans ce signe de bon augure
Tu seras vainqueur,
Dit-il à Constantine,
Qui ce fier Standard portait;
Un augure glorieux,
Dont la valeur prodigieuse
Les dossiers sont tous d’accord
Au paradis et sur terre!
Dieu seul.

In this auspicious Sign
Thou shalt be conqueror,
Said He to Constantine,
Who that proud Standard bore;
A glorious augury,
Of whose prodigious worth
The records all agree
In Heaven and on earth!
God Alone.

VIII
Sa gloire et son mérite

Malgré un sens trompeur
Et le changement inconstant de la raison,
La croix en toute confiance
Nous prenons comme le propre cadeau de la vérité.
Une princesse que nous voyons
En qui, que la foi se confesse,
Nous trouvons toute la charité,
Grâce, sagesse, sainteté.
Dieu seul.

Its Glory and Merit

Despite deceitful sense
And reason’s fickle shift,
The Cross with confidence
We take as Truth’s own gift.
A princess there we see
In whom, let faith confess,
We find all charity,
Grace, wisdom, holiness.
God Alone.

IX
L’amour de Dieu n’a pas pu résister
Une telle beauté ou son appel,
Qui lui a dit de garder un rendez-vous
Avec notre humanité.
Venant sur terre, il a dit:
Ceci, Seigneur, et rien de plus:
Ta croix sauvée enracinée
Ici dans le cœur de mon sein.
Dieu seul.

God’s love could not resist
Such beauty or its plea,
Which bade Him keep a tryst
With our humanity.
Coming to earth, He said:
This, Lord, and nothing more:
Thy saving Cross imbed
Here in My bosom’s core.
God Alone.

X
Il l’a pris, l’a trouvé juste,
Un objet pas honteux
Mais l’honneur, le fait partager
La flamme la plus tendre de son amour.
De l’heure matinale de l’enfance
Son désir gardé en vue
Comme la beauté serait une fleur
La croix de sa joie.
Dieu seul.

He took it, found it fair,
An object not of shame
But honor, made it share
His love’s most tender flame.
From childhood’s morning hour
His longing kept in sight
As beauty would a flower
The Cross of His delight.
God Alone.

XI
Enfin dans sa caresse
Longtemps recherché avec impatience,
Il est mort de tendresse
Et la totalité de l’amour.
Ce cher baptême suprême
Pour lequel son cœur avait pleuré,
La croix est devenue son chrisme,
L’objet de l’amour est indéniable.
Dieu seul.

At last in its caress
Long sought for eagerly,
He died of tenderness
And love’s totality.
That dear supreme baptism
For which His heart had cried,
The Cross became His chrism,
Love’s object undenied.
God Alone.

XII
Le Christ a appelé le pêcheur
Un Satan scandaleux
Quand il grimaça pour scanner
Ce que le Christ porterait pour nous.
La croix du Christ que nous pouvons adorer,
Sa Mère, nous ne pouvons pas.
O mystère et plus!
une merveille au-delà de la pensée!
Dieu seul.

Christ called the Fisherman
A Satan scandalous
When he but winced to scan
What Christ would bear for us.
Christ’s Cross we may adore,
His Mother we may not.
O mystery and more!
a marvel beyond thought!
God Alone.

XIII
Cette croix, maintenant largement dispersée
Sur terre, un jour se lèvera
Transporté, glorifié,
Aux cieux célestes.
Sur une hauteur nuageuse
La croix, brillante,
Doit, par sa vue même,
Jugez à la fois les rapides et les morts.
Dieu seul.

This Cross, now scattered wide
On earth, shall one day rise
Transported, glorified,
To the celestial skies.
Upon a cloudy height
The Cross, full-brillianted,
Shall, by its very sight,
Judge both the quick and dead.
God Alone.

XIV
Vengeance, la croix pleurera
Contre ses ennemis maussades;
Pardon et joie d’en haut
Et la bénédiction pour ceux
D’une fidélité prouvée
Dans la foule immortelle,
Chanter sa victoire
Avec chanson universelle.
Dieu seul.

Revenge, the Cross will cry
Against its sullen foes;
Pardon and joy on high
And blessedness for those
Of proved fidelity
In the immortal throng,
Singing its victory
With universal song.
God Alone.

XV
Dans la vie, les saints aspiraient
Rien que la croix;
«C’était tout ce qu’ils voulaient,
En comptant tout sauf la perte.
Chacun, mécontent
Avec de telles afflictions douloureuses
Comme le châtiment du ciel a envoyé,
Se condamna à plus.
Dieu seul.

In life the Saints aspired
To nothing but the Cross;
‘Twas all that they desired,
Counting all else but loss.
Each one, in discontent
With such afflictions sore
As chastening Heaven sent,
Condemned himself to more.
God Alone.

XVI
Saint-Pierre, en prison,
Il y avait une plus grande gloire
Qu’à Rome, il a gagné
La première chaise du Christ-Vicaire.
Saint André, fidèle, s’écria:
O bonne croix, laisse-moi céder
Pour toi et en toi te cache,
Où la mort dans la vie est scellée.
Dieu seul.

St. Peter, prison-chained,
Had greater glory there
Than when at Rome he gained
The first Christ-Vicar’s chair.
Saint Andrew, faithful, cried:
O good Cross, let me yield
To thee and in thee hide,
Where death in Life is sealed.
God Alone.

XVII
Voyez comment le grand Saint-Paul
Dépeint avec un maigre brillant
Son ravissement mystique,
Mais des gloires à la croix.
Plus admirable encore,
Il est plus riche en mérite,
Derrière son cachot
Que dans son extase.
Dieu seul.

See how the great St. Paul
Depicts with meagre gloss
His rapture mystical,
But glories in the Cross.
More admirable far,
More merit-rich is he,
Behind his dungeon bar
Than in his ecstasy.
God Alone.

XVIII
Ses effets

Sans croix, l’âme
Est lâche et docile;
Comme le feu à un charbon
La croix s’enflamme.
Celui qui n’a pas souffert,
Dans l’ignorance est liée;
Seulement dans le sort dur de la douleur
Est-ce que la sainte sagesse est trouvée.
Dieu seul.

Its Effects

Without a Cross, the soul
Is cowardly and tame;
Like fire to a coal
The Cross sets it aflame.
One who has suffered not,
In ignorance is bound;
Only in pain’s hard lot
Is holy wisdom found.
God Alone.

XIX
Une âme non éprouvée est pauvre
En valeur; nouveau, sans formation,
Avec un destin incertain
Et peu de sagesse a gagné.
O douceur souverain
Que ressentent les affligés
Quand heureux que sa douleur
Aucune consolation humaine ne vole!
Dieu seul.

A soul untried is poor
In value; new, untrained,
With destiny unsure
And little wisdom gained.
O sweetness sovereign
Which the afflicted feels
When pleased that to his pain
No human solace steals!
God Alone.

XX
C’est par la croix seule
La bénédiction de Dieu est conférée,
Et son pardon connu
Dans le mot absolu.
Il veut que tout porte
La marque de ce grand sceau;
Sans cela, rien n’est juste
Pour lui, aucune beauté réelle.
Dieu seul.

‘Tis by the Cross alone
God’s blessing is conferred,
And His forgiveness known
In the absolving word.
He wants all things to bear
The mark of that great seal;
Without it, nought is fair
To Him, no beauty real.
God Alone.

XXI
Partout où la place est donnée
La croix, les choses autrefois profanes
Devenez instinct avec le ciel
Et jeté leur tache.
Sur la poitrine et le front, signe de Dieu,
Porté fièrement pour lui,
Bénira avec Power Divine
Chaque tâche que nous entreprenons.
Dieu seul.

Wherever place is given
The Cross, things once profane
Become instinct with Heaven
And shed away their stain.
On breast and brow, God’s sign,
Worn proudly for His sake,
Will bless with Power Divine
Each task we undertake.
God Alone.

XXII
C’est notre caution,
Notre seule protection,
La pureté blanche de notre espoir,
La perfection de notre âme.
Si précieux est sa valeur
Que les anges apporteraient
L’âme la plus bénie sur terre
Pour partager nos souffrances.
Dieu seul.

It is our surety,
Our one protection,
Our hope’s white purity,
Our soul’s perfection.
So precious is its worth
That Angels fain would bring
The blest soul back to earth
To share our suffering.
God Alone.

XXIII
Ce signe a un tel charme
Que sur l’autel
Le prêtre peut Dieu désarmer
Et tirez-le de son trône.
Au-dessus de l’hôte sacré
Ce signe puissant qu’il joue,
Signale le Saint-Esprit,
Et le Divin obéit.
Dieu seul.

This Sign has such a charm
That at the altar-stone
The priest can God disarm
And draw Him from His throne.
Over the sacred Host
This mighty Sign he plays,
Signals the Holy Ghost,
And the Divine obeys.
God Alone.

XXIV
Avec cet adorable signe
Un parfum est diffusé
Le plus exquis et le plus fin,
Un parfum rarement utilisé.
Le prêtre consacré
Lui fait cette offrande
Comme encens d’Orient,
Rencontrez la couronne du roi du ciel.
Dieu seul.

With this adorable Sign
A fragrance is diffused
Most exquisite and fine,
A perfume rarely used.
The consecrated priest
Makes Him this offering
As incense from the East,
Meet crown for Heaven’s King.
God Alone.

XXV
Sagesse éternelle toujours
Tamise nos pauvres crasses humaines
Pour celui dont le cœur et la volonté
Est digne de la croix,
Cherche toujours un esprit rare
Dont chaque pouls et chaque souffle
Est-ce le courage de supporter
La Croix-Christ jusqu’à la mort.
Dieu seul.

Eternal Wisdom still
Sifts our poor human dross
For one whose heart and will
Is worthy of the Cross,
Still seeks one spirit rare
Whose every pulse and breath
Is fortitude to bear
The Christ-Cross until death.
God Alone.

XXVI
O Croix, laisse-moi me taire;
Dans le discours, je t’abaisse.
Que ma présomption, écrasée,
Son insolence s’efface.
Depuis toi j’ai reçu
Imparfaitement, en partie,
Pardonnez-moi, ami lésé,
Pour mon cœur réticent!
Dieu seul.

O Cross, let me be hushed;
In speech I thee abase.
Let my presumption, crushed,
Its insolence erase.
Since thee I have received
Imperfectly, in part,
Forgive me, friend aggrieved,
For my unwilling heart!
God Alone.

XXVII
Chère Croix, ici en cette heure,
Je m’incline devant toi avec admiration.
Demeurez avec moi au pouvoir
Et enseigne-moi toute ta loi.
Ma princesse, laisse-moi briller
Avec ardeur dans tes bras;
Accorde-moi de savoir chastement
Le secret de tes charmes.
Dieu seul.

Dear Cross, here in this hour,
I bow to thee in awe.
Abide with me in power
And teach me all thy law.
My princess, let me glow
With ardor in thine arms;
Grant me to chastely know
The secret of thy charms.
God Alone.

XXVIII
En te voyant si juste,
J’ai faim de posséder
Ta beauté, mais j’ose
Pas dans mon infidélité.
Viens, maîtresse, par ta volonté
Éveille mon âme faible
Et je te donnerai encore
Un cœur renouvelé et entier.
Dieu seul.

In seeing thee so fair,
I hunger to possess
Thy beauty, but I dare
Not in my faithlessness.
Come, mistress, by thy will
Arouse my feeble soul
And I will give thee still
A heart renewed and whole.
God Alone.

XXIX
Pour la vie je te choisis maintenant,
Mon plaisir, honneur, ami,
Seul objet de mon vœu,
Seule joie à laquelle j’ai tendance.
Par pitié, imprimer, tracer
Vous sur mon coeur,
Mon bras, mon front, mon visage;
Et pas un rougissement ne commencera.
Dieu seul.

For life I choose thee now,
My pleasure, honor, friend,
Sole object of my vow,
Sole joy to which I tend.
For mercy’s sake, print, trace
Yourself upon my heart,
My arm, my forehead, face;
And not one blush will start.
God Alone.

XXX
Je possède avant tout
Je choisis ta pauvreté;
Et pour ma tendresse
Ta douce austérité.
Maintenant sois folle sage
Et toute ta sainte honte
Comme la grandeur à mes yeux,
Ma gloire et ma renommée.
Dieu seul.

Above all I possess
I choose thy poverty;
And for my tenderness
Thy sweet austerity.
Now be thy folly wise
And all thy holy shame
As grandeur in my eyes,
My glory and my fame.
God Alone.

XXXI
Quand, par votre majesté,
Et pour votre gloire,
Tu m’auras vaincu,
Cette conquête que je prendrai
Comme victoire finale,
Bien que digne de ne pas tomber
Sous tes coups, ou sois
Une moquerie pour tous.
Dieu seul.

When, by your majesty,
And for your glory’s sake,
You shall have vanquished me,
That conquest I shall take
As final victory,
Though worthy not to fall
Beneath thy blows, or be
A mockery to all.
God Alone.

-Hymn, Triumph of the Cross by St. Louis de Montfort

God alone.


-by Br Louis Mary Bethea, OP

“Today we also celebrate the great Breton saint, Louis de Montfort. Tall, very strong, stubborn, and with a quick temper…After his seminary studies at St. Sulpice he would begin his missionary life with crushing rejection and resistance. Yet, tromping barefoot from town to town across France, he would be the instrument of great conversion because he trusted in

God alone.

St. Louis embraced the scorn of others, whether it came from a bishop or a supercilious nitwit jeering at him during a mission. Yet he never felt worthy of the mockery that he received: I am not worthy “of being a sign of contradiction to the world.” He attributed the fruits of his labors wholly and rightly to the grace of his Creator. Blossoming from his blessed humility, St. Louis’s famous motto was born:

God alone.

Commonly, when not preaching to the faithful, he would storm the local establishments of ill repute to implore conversions of heart. His frequent companion, Pierre des Bastieres, described one such instance when “one man, furious at this intrusion, drew his sword, and threatened to run him through the body unless he immediately left. […] Completely unperturbed, he looked his assailant straight in the eye and told him that he was very ready to be killed on condition that his murderer would promise to change his way of life. Such courage completely broke the man’s nerve; he trembled so badly that he could scarcely sheathe his sword, and had to grope his way to the door” (The Man Called Montfort, 108). This was the effect of St. Louis because he was a man for

God alone.

St. Louis’s love of Jesus through Mary and his zealous way of life, always yearning for the salvation of souls, stands out as an example to follow, especially when times grow difficult like during our present viral pandemic. Fortified by heavenly consolation, St. Louis was always with the God who dwelt in his heart, enabling his perseverance even to the point of his own demise for the salvation of another…Yet in his humility, St. Louis attributed everything to God, recognizing that God alone was his goal, in God alone is the living bread of life for which man yearns and by which man is saved; he realized that the glory forever belongs to

God alone.”

St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673 – 1716) was born in Brittany, France, to a large farming family. As a child he displayed an unusual spiritual maturity and spent much time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. At the age of 19 he went on foot to Paris to study theology at a prestigious school with the support of a benefactor; along the way he gave his possessions to the poor and made a lifelong vow to live in poverty supported entirely on alms. He was ordained a priest at the age of 27, and at 32 discovered his calling to be an itinerant preacher, receiving the title of “Apostolic Missionary” from the Pope after his bishop tried to silence him. For the next 17 years he preached missions in countless towns and villages throughout France with an emphasis on renewal and reform. His fiery devotion, oratory skill, and identification with the poor led many souls to conversion. He was persecuted by the Jansenists, who, in their spiritual pride, poisoned him, banished him from preaching in their dioceses, and made an assassination attempt on his life. He had a profound devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and taught on the power of the Holy Rosary. He also wrote a number of classic works on Marian devotion, the most famous being True Devotion to Mary.

“We do find, it is true, great battles to fight, and great hardships to master; but that good Mother makes herself so present and so near to her faithful servants, to enlighten them in their darknesses and their doubts, to strengthen them in their fears, and to sustain them in their struggles and their difficulties, that in truth this virginal path to find Jesus Christ is a path of roses and honey compared with other paths.”
—St. Louis de Montfort

“Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.”
–St. Louis De Montfort

“Often, actually very often, God allows his greatest servants, those who are far advanced in grace, to make the most humiliating mistakes. This humbles them in their own eyes and in the eyes of their fellow men.”
–St. Louis de Montfort

“O most loving Jesus, deign to let me pour forth my gratitude before Thee, for the grace Thou hast bestowed upon me in giving me to Thy holy Mother through the devotion of Holy Bondage, that she may be my advocate in the presence of Thy majesty and my support in my extreme misery.

Alas, O Lord! I am so wretched that without this dear Mother I should be certainly lost. Yes, Mary is necessary for me at Thy side and everywhere that she may appease Thy just wrath, because I have so often offended Thee; that she may save me from the eternal punishment of Thy justice, which I deserve; that she may contemplate Thee, speak to Thee, pray to Thee, approach Thee and please Thee; that she may help me to save my soul and the souls of others; in short, Mary is necessary for me that I may always do Thy holy will and seek Thy greater glory in all things.

Ah, would that I could proclaim throughout the whole world the mercy that Thou hast shown to me ! Would that everyone might know I should be already damned, were it not for Mary! Would that I might offer worthy thanksgiving for so great a blessing! Mary is in me.

Oh, what a treasure! Oh, what a consolation! And shall I not be entirely hers? Oh, what ingratitude! My dear Saviour, send me death rather than such a calamity, for I would rather die than live without belonging entirely to Mary. With St. John the Evangelist at the foot of the Cross, I have taken her a thousand times for my own and as many times have given myself to her; but if I have not yet done it as Thou, dear Jesus, dost wish, I now renew this offering as Thou dost desire me to renew it.

And if Thou seest in my soul or my body anything that does not belong to this august Princess, I pray Thee to take it and cast it far from me, for whatever in me does not belong to Mary is unworthy of Thee.

O Holy Spirit, grant me all these graces. Plant in my soul the Tree of true Life, which is Mary; cultivate it and tend it so that it may grow and blossom and bring forth the fruit of life in abundance.

O Holy Spirit, give me great devotion to Mary, Thy faithful spouse; give me great confidence in her maternal heart and an abiding refuge in her mercy, so that by her Thou mayest truly form in me Jesus Christ, great and mighty, unto the fullness of His perfect age. Amen.”

“My Jesus, I long ardently For you to come to me this day; Without you life is misery. Come to me soon, I pray. Without the fervor that you bring, O Love, I languish night and day; And do you not desire my love? Inflame my heart, I pray. Good Shepherd, bear your lost sheep home Within your arms, whene’er I stray; From ravening wolves that round me roam Oh, keep me safe, I pray. O bread of Life, for you I sigh,

Give me yourself without delay; For otherwise my soul must die. Give me to eat, I pray. O fount of living waters clear, How long and weary is the way; Refresh my soul which thirsts for you. Give me to drink, I pray. O loving Lord, my soul is chilled By icy winds that round me play; O fire of love, let me be filled With warmth from you, I pray. Like the blind man who cried to you: Have mercy on me, Lord, I say, O Mary’s Son, that I may see; Increase my faith, I pray. Lord, I am sick beyond all cure, But with a word you can display Your power; without you death is sure. O heal me, Lord, I pray. My Lord, I knock upon your door; Your favors I can ne’er repay, Yet in my want I beg for more. Fulfill my needs, I pray. I am not worthy, Lord, that you Should come into my house today As heavenly food; say but the word And heal my soul, I pray. Lord, you alone are my true friend, My treasure which can ne’er decay; All earthly joys do you transcend. Do visit me this day.”
-Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort

“Often, actually very often, God allows his greatest servants, those who are far advanced in grace, to make the most humiliating mistakes. This humbles them in their own eyes and in the eyes of their fellow men.”
-St. Louis de Montfort

“True devotion to Our Lady is constant. It confirms the soul in good, and does not let it easily abandon its spiritual exercises. It makes it courageous in opposing the world in its fashions and maxims, the flesh in its weariness and passions, and the devil in his temptations; so that a person truly devout to our Blessed Lady is neither changeable, irritable, scrupulous nor timid. It is not that such a person does not fall, or change sometimes in the sensible feeling of devotion. But when he falls, he rises again by stretching out his hand to his good Mother. When he loses the taste and relish of devotions, he does not become disturbed because of that; for the just and faithful client of Mary lives by the faith (Heb. 10:38) of Jesus and Mary, and not by natural sentiment.”
—St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

“God the Father has communicated to Mary His Fruitfulness, as far as a mere creature was capable of it, in order that He might give her the power to produce His Son, and all the members of His mystical Body.
—St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

“Dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it is possible, that I may have no other spirit but yours to know Jesus and his divine will; that I may have no other soul but yours to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may have no other heart but yours to love God with a love as pure and passionate as yours. I do not ask you for visions, revelations, feelings of devotion, or spiritual pleasures. It is your privilege to see God clearly; it’s your privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it’s your privilege to triumph gloriously in heaven at the right hand of your Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men, and demons; it is your privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as you wish . . . The only grace I beg you to obtain for me is that every day and every moment of my life I may say: Amen, so be it, to all that you did while on earth; amen, so be it, to all that you are now doing in heaven; amen, so be it, to all that you are doing in my soul, so that you alone may fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity.”
—St. Louis de Montfort

“When will the happy time come when the divine Mary will be established Mistress and Queen of all hearts, in order that she may subject them fully to the empire of her great and holy Jesus? When will souls breathe Mary as the body breathes air? When that time comes, wonderful things will happen in those lowly places where the Holy Ghost, finding His dear spouse, as it were, reproduced, in all souls, shall come in with abundance, and fill them to overflowing with His gifts, and particularly with the gift of wisdom, to work miracles of grace.”
—St. Louis de Montfort

“True devotion to Our Lady is holy; that is to say, it leads the soul to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of the Blessed Virgin, particularly her profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual prayer, her universal mortification, her divine purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness and her divine wisdom. These are the ten principal virtues of the most holy Virgin.”
— St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

“All our perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ; and therefore the most perfect of all devotions is, without any doubt, that which the most perfectly conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ. Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is devotion to His holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus.”
—St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

“True devotion to Our Lady is interior; that is, it comes from the mind and the heart. It flows from the esteem we have for her, the high idea we have formed of her greatness, and the love which we have for her. It is tender; that is, full of confidence in her, like a child’s confidence in his loving mother … It implores the aid of its good Mother at all times, in all places and above all things: in its doubts, that it may be enlightened; in its wanderings, that it may be brought into the right path; in its temptations, that it may be supported; in its weaknesses, that it may be strengthened; in its falls, that it may be lifted up; in its discouragements, that it may be cheered; in its scruples, that they may be taken away; in the crosses, toils and disappointments of life, that it may be consoled under them. In a word, in all the evils of body and mind, the soul ordinarily has recourse to Mary, without fear of annoying her or displeasing Jesus Christ.”
—St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

“Let us say boldly with St. Bernard that we have need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself, and that it is the divine Mary who is the most capable of filling that charitable office. It was through her that Jesus Christ came to us, and it is through her that we must go to Him. If we fear to go directly to Jesus Christ, our God, whether because of His infinite greatness or because of our vileness or because of our sins, let us boldly implore the aid and intercession of Mary, our Mother. She is good, she is tender, she has nothing in her austere and forbidding, nothing too sublime and too brilliant. In seeing her, we see our pure nature.”
—St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

“You never think of Mary without Mary interceding for you with God. You never praise or honor Mary without Mary’s praising and honoring God with you. She is the echo of God, that says nothing and repeats nothing but God. If you say `Mary,’ She says `God.’ St. Elizabeth praised Mary and called Her blessed because She had believed. Mary, the faithful echo of God, at once intoned: `My soul magnifies the Lord (Lk 1: 46). What Mary did then, She does daily. When we praise, love, honor, or give anything to Her, it is God who is praised, God who is loved, God who is glorified, and it is to God that we give, through Mary and in Mary.”

“We ask for the grace of receiving Communion as Mary received the Word and letting it become flesh again in me; for the grace to receive the Eucharist from the hands of the Church, putting our hands out like a paten (meaning manger), feeling that it is our Lady who places the host there and entrusts it to us; for the grace to sing with Mary the Magnificat in that moment of silence that follows communion; the grace to look forward in the Eucharist all that will be in our day or week, with all the good and positive offered together with the bread, and all that is suffering and passion offered along with the wine; for the grace to believe and to put with love all our hope in that first fruit and pledge of salvation that we already have in each Eucharist, to then shape our lives in the image of what we receive.”
—St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

“Only he will receive, will find, and will enter who perseveres in asking, seeking, and knocking. It is not enough to ask Almighty God for certain graces for a month, a year, ten, or even twenty years; we must never tire of asking. We must keep on asking until the very moment of death, and even in this prayer that shows our trust in God, we must join the thought of death to that of perseverance and say; “Although he should kill me, I will trust in him” (Job 13:15) and will trust Him to give me all I need.”
–St. Louis Mary de Montfort

Love,
Matthew

Irish Catholic Jansenism – #JOY is @#Heart of the Gospel!!!!!

OLPerpetualResponsibility

OLPerpetualResponsibility2

Jn 5:11

My mother, lovingly, and with the best of intentions for me, used to remind me, frequently, as a child, “The lightning is going to strike you, Mashew!!”  Ostensibly, to keep the straight and narrow.  And, “If my children lose their faith, I have failed as a mother!”  NO PRESSURE!!!

There is a severity in Irish Catholicism, cf joyless Irish nuns of discipline, i.e. Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, Lake Wobegon, MN.  Workhouses for Wayward Girls & Truant Boys, etc.  I thought the Irish were tough, until I met the Polish in Chicago!!  Jeesh!!!  Did anyone else notice how the Polish jokes just stopped dead cold after JPII’s election?  They did.

“…Why do they call this heartless place
Our Lady of Charity?

These bloodless brides of Jesus
If they had just once glimpsed their Groom
Then they’d know, and they’d drop the stones
Concealed behind their rosaries.
They wilt the grass they walk upon
They leech the light out of a room…”
-“Magdalene Laundries”, The Chieftains, Tears of Stone, 1999

Cornelius_Jansen_by_Evêque_d'Ypres_(1585-1638)
-Cornelius Jansen (1585–1638), professor at the Old University of Louvain, painting by by Evêque d’Ypres

The heresy of Jansenism is named after Cornelius Jansen, who was the Bishop of Ypres in the early 17th century. His main work, Augustinus, was published after his death. In this work, he claimed to have rediscovered the true teaching of St. Augustine concerning grace, which had been lost to the Church for centuries. Even though he was not strictly a heretic, his writings still caused great harm to the Church.

At that time, the Jesuits were heavily preaching on the mercy of God. This was seen by some as moral laxity. Also the debates with the Calvinists had an influence on Jansen’s thoughts. Without going into the details of the “five propositions from Jansen”, this heresy essentially taught that God’s saving grace is irresistible, though not given to everyone. According to Jansen, a person could neither accept or reject this grace due to his fallen nature. Although persons, who received it, were sure of salvation. Unfortunately not everyone received this saving grace. God decreed who was saved and who was lost. Jansen denied human free will and God’s desire to save everyone (1 Tim. 2:4). Even though the Jansenists hoped to combat the moral laxity of their time through moral rigorism, their denial of human free will and God’s mercy actually promoted moral despair or a carefree, frivolous life style, since personal actions had no effect on personal salvation. Due to the duplicity of its promoters, this heresy harmed the Church for over seventy years.

Summary of Catholic Teaching on Grace & Free Will:

1) The grace merited by Christ is necessary for us for all actions of piety and the exercise of every virtue and should be asked of from God.
2) With the help of grace, all the commandments of God are possible to obey, such that a chaste and holy Christian life without mortal sin is possible. Also, without this grace, we cannot do anything that is truly good, nor even persevere in good except by grace.
3) Grace prevents and aids our wills in such a way that we owe our salvation to God’s grace; if we do fall, it should be imputed to ourselves.
4) Grace strengthens and supplements our freedom, but in no way destroys it.
5) While maintaining the existence and freedom of the will, we should nevertheless remain in a posture of humility, remembering that our will is aided by grace in ways we don’t understand.

I have been trained as a catechist that the Truth, which the Church seeks, is often found in a middle course, a middle way between extremes. This is NOT splitting the difference!!! But, rather, a sincere search for and discovery of the Truth of God. The fact of the matter is, I have been trained, is that Truth happens to often be found in the moderation of extremes.

There are two known poles regarding the theological and metaphysical interplay of grace & free will, from a Roman Catholic perspective. The first, the heresy of Pelagianism, errs in assigning too great a role to free will and debasing God’s grace; the other, of course, is that of Calvinism, in which free will is negated and the operation of grace inflated to the point that we arrive at total (or double) predestination. These extremes are the Scylla and Charybdis of the theology of grace; a truly Catholic approach to this problem must sail skillfully between these two dangers, turning neither to the left nor to the right.

michael_moreland
-by Michael Moreland
May 26, 2015

“The big story coming out of the weekend was the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage, accompanied by barely concealed glee in some quarters at the humiliation of the Catholic Church. Here’s a hypothesis to ponder about the historical reach of theological ideas and the place of Catholicism in different cultures (not so much about the substance of the same-sex marriage debate itself), even if it might not hold up in every detail to scrutiny.

As Damian Thompson writing at the Spectator notes here, the influence of Catholicism in Ireland has waned for various reasons (most especially the sex abuse scandal), and one factor he mentions in passing is “the joyless quasi-Jansenist character of the Irish Church.” Indeed, while the Church’s influence across Europe has fallen, the collapse in those parts of Europe (or places missionized by Europeans) arguably influenced by Jansenism has been ferocious: the Low Countries (we think of Jansenism as primarily a French movement, but Cornelius Jansen himself was Dutch and Bishop of Ypres), France, Quebec, and Ireland. The place of the Church in the culture of those parts of European Catholicism less tinged by Jansenism has fared a bit better: Poland, Austria, Bavaria, Italy, and, most especially, Spain and Portugal and their former colonies in Latin America and the Philippines.

I am simplifying a great deal here, of course. There was, for example, a robust Jansenist movement in parts of modern-day Italy, and, more importantly, it is hard to say how much Jansenist influence there really was in Irish Catholicism (captured by the “quasi-” in Thompson’s essay). Because of English persecution, there were no seminaries in Ireland up through the end of the eighteenth century and so Irish clergy were often trained at Jansenist French seminaries, and there might have been some Jansenist influence in the early days at Maynooth, the Irish national seminary founded in 1795. But the scope of the actual influence of Jansenist ideas on folk Irish Catholicism is much harder to determine, as Thomas O’Connor notes in his 2007 entry on “Jansenism” in The Oxford Companion to Irish History (“The frequent claim that Irish Catholicism was Jansenist-influenced springs from the tendency to confuse Jansenism with mere moral rigorism.”). Jansenism was just one (perhaps small) factor among many contributing to Seán Ó Faoláin’s “dreary Eden.”

If there is something to this, though, we shouldn’t be surprised. Jansenism—with its hyper-Augustinianism, insistence on human depravity, confused doctrine of freedom and grace, other-worldliness, and moral rigorism—was theologically pernicious (condemned in Cum occasione by Pope Innocent X in 1653 and in Unigenitus dei filius by Pope Clement VI in 1713). A Catholic culture shaped by it distorts our understanding of the human person and society, and bad theological doctrines about God, human nature, and sin can wreak havoc even if the institutional forms of the Church endure for a time. Jansenism produced a towering genius in Blaise Pascal and a minor genius in Antoine Arnauld, but it was an unfortunate development in early modern Catholicism. As we think about how to build (or re-build, as it may be) Catholic culture, we would do well to remember that joy is at the heart of the gospel, and a Catholic culture drained of such joy by Jansenism or its cousins will, when the time comes, all too easily be swept away.”

Love & the JOY!!! of the Gospel,
Matthew