He is risen !
N° 226 – November 2021
Director : Frère Bruno Bonnet-Eymard
“Infirmitas hæc non est ad mortem, sed pro gloria Dei, ut glorificetur Filius Dei per eam.” (Jn 11:4)
O Word made flesh, divine Spouse of the Church, I know not which of the two of You I love most, but no matter, since You are but one! It is she who instructed me, as a child, about Your delightful Name and Your mysteries, but later it was through You that I came to know her Spirit and her heart. She was born from Your opened side, this new Eve, as the invention of Your love. Through the centuries, however, her devotion, her fidelity and her tenderness have responded eloquently to Your own.
What a privilege to have been entrusted to her alone from my earliest youth! She was beautiful at that time, my holy and virgin Mother. I was enchanted by her teachings, her prayers and her hymns. My soul exulted in the luminous torrents of her immense wisdom. If I were to dwell on the soul of the Church, I could talk forever; if I were to enumerate the beauties of her body, I would never finish. I loved You dearly, O my Jesus, in the inflamed words of Your preachers, in the lives of the saints who were Your confidants, and in the resplendent faces of so many wonderful friends who lived only for You in the Church. At that time, I loved all Your priests with an equal love, I venerated Your consecrated virgins, and I felt myself of one family with all Your faithful. The sanctuaries, the statues, the ornaments and the precious vessels are the jewels and the vestments and the dwelling of this spiritual Mother whose wisdom nourished me even in the splendour and the orderliness impressed on marble and gold. I grew up, nourished on her bountifulness. I bless You for having allowed me to know the Church in this springtime of my youth and hers, when her whole being radiated the serene glory and happiness of a fulfilled spouse. I could only guess what unique love might be her secret.
Then misfortune struck. Although at first it was hidden, the sickness we dreaded began to take hold of this body, inexorably. For ten years now our fears and affliction have been on the increase. At first her beauty took on a somewhat pathetic radiance and the energy she displayed made us admire her even more. But then her trials became too heavy. Her body was covered in dark blotches and her members became deformed, making her a pitiable sight. Soon her skin was stretched to its limit and started to crack. She was saturated in great streams of pus, blood and flesh, causing a most appalling odour. We cared for her as best we could, using the same methods that we had formerly seen her apply to us, and our tears were mixed with her blood. Little could we have imagined the worst, that she would begin to lose her mind. When in her delirium she uttered the most painful words against us, in vain did we repeat to ourselves that she was not in her right mind and a dreadful turmoil took hold of us. Several of those who had endured the sleepless nights, the fatigue of continuous care and the stench of her wounds, let themselves be overwhelmed by doubt and discouragement. They abandoned the bedside of their mother who unconsciously started to call out to her imaginary lovers whilst tearing at the caressing hands of her sons, refusing to recognise them as her children any longer.
By what grace was it that I stayed behind, I the most unworthy of all, who put up so badly with suffering, humble devotion and ingratitude? It was not the memory of her past beauty, of her former goodness that kept me near to her, defending her against her enemies, showing the door to charlatans, beseeching the true doctors, and giving encouragement to the last of her faithful children. Sometimes a ray of light would flash in her eyes, a trace of her beloved smile, of the immense tenderness she had shown in former times. For a moment I would recognise her, and then the darkness returned and there was nothing but ugliness and horror, groans and curses. I was afraid of being the next to succumb to it. I knew, however, that I would remain with her, venerating, loving and serving this Church in a state of disgusting rottenness and decay, because, today as yesterday and for all eternity, she is the unique and beloved Spouse of my Lord. I look at the Cross and I see You on it, similar to her now. How could I abandon her? I am sure that deep within this putrefaction, beyond this delirium, her veiled Heart is the same, virginal and fervent, the Spirit remains Holy, the Life, divine life struggles invincibly against this terrible attack of Evil. Tomorrow, yes, tomorrow, recovery will occur. It is for her today that we hear Your prophecy: “This sickness will not end in death, but it is for God’s glory so that through it the Son of God may be glorified.” The Church will recover! Nothing will remain of this long nightmare but the stigmata of her glorious wounds resembling Yours, and in her expression a more penetrating ardour of unutterable tenderness for her Spouse Who will have saved her from death.
I believe that You, her Spouse, and we, her children, will cherish her even more after this calvary. It is in longing for this day that we remain close to her during the night. (Mystical Page, June 1969)
Father Georges de Nantes
The Gospel According to Saint John 11:4
This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.