June 29 – “DIGNITY IN SUFFERING”
“DIGNITY IN SUFFERING”
During the weeks preceding the canonisation of Montfort the Institute experienced hope and concern. On 19 March Br. Anastase had written to his Brothers: “The Congregation of tomorrow will be indebted to today’s for the recognition or rejection of Montfort as our founder.” The cardinals of the Congregation for Rites met on 15 April to decide the issue; the decree signed on 25 April stated that Father Deshayes, and not Montfort, was the founder. Br. Anastase wrote that he was “anxious to hear, otherwise than through rumours” what decision had been made; he left for Rome and the news was conveyed to him officially there on 20 May. He applied immediately for a private audience with the Holy Father. He had to wait for more than a month. It was during that time, on 29 June, that he addresed a very beautiful circular to this Brothers “on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul”. Here are some extensive excerpts:
“We do not give :up going further into this question. It has nothing to do with pride, and if only our vanity were at stake we would choose another arena where we could be more successful and suffer less. However, it is our duty to our predecessors, to our successors and to you, Brothers, to claim the basic right to be and remain ourselves.
We will therefore go on our way quietly, in possession of our charter, I mean the decree of approbation, about which we know that every word in it was selected and weighed most carefully: We will cherish it without either exaggerating its significance or diminishing it; as for the rest, we commit ourselves to God and our advocates.
We will continue to give Montfort the place he occupied in our devotion as in our chapels, oratories, classrooms and community rooms. What we were to him yesterday, we still are today. We have the same reasons for honouring and glorifying him. We will celebrate his canonisation as planned.
Towards those who oppose our cause we will entertain no deliberate feeling of dislike or ill-will. We will pray for them: our family status in their regard, our ties of relationship depend neither on us nor on themselves. And the duties flowing from this remain what they have always been.
“We shall be in Rome on 20 July. Our presence alone will testify for the present and the future. Even if we are kept away from the place to which our convictions entitle us, we will offer up to our Fa.ther, through our filial piety and our sorrow and resignation, the homage and glorification which we owe him. “Carry your cross joyfully,” Montfort advises us, “you will find in it a victorious strength which none of your enemies will be able to resist.” Who knows whether the night we are going through is not an omen of the light and victory to come?
“A man is great when he can face the storm and remain unshaken when he faces adversity. The worst thing that could happen would be to lose heart. If this is true of any man, how much more true it is of the christian, the religious, who knows that his Master chose for himself the royal path of humiliation to enter into his glory.”