16 August 2012
FSSR Update: Letter from Fr. Michael Mary
The words that spring immediately to my mind in writing a response to yesterday's Canonical Recognition of the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer are words that the priest prays every day at Mass from Psalm 115:
"Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi?"
"What return shall I make to the Lord for all He hath given to me?"
This is the question that we ask when we realise that what we have received from Our Lord through His Church is far beyond what we merit; His Mercies can never be repaid. On one hand we cannot survive without these Mercies, on the other hand we do not deserve them nor have the means of repaying them. Caught between the necessity of the having a canonical recognition and our own indigence and unworthiness that we are very conscious of, what can we do except repeat the prayer from the psalm and cast ourselves before Him awaiting the moment of rescue from our plight. Only prayer can save us!
And praying, I said: O Lord God, destroy not thy people, and thy inheritance, which thou hast redeemed in thy greatness, whom thou hast brought out of Egypt with a strong hand. Remember thy servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: look not on the stubbornness of this people, nor on their wickedness and sin: Lest perhaps the inhabitants of the land, out of which thou hast brought us, say: The Lord could not bring them into the land that he promised them, and he hated them: therefore he brought them out, that he might kill them in the wilderness, Who are thy people and thy inheritance, whom thou hast brought out by thy great strength, and in thy stretched out arm. (Deut. 9 26-29) The application of this text to our history is appropriate; but we did not have to wander for forty years, and we did not die in the wilderness: in any case, in monastic life, the wilderness is our chosen place of abode.
We are profoundly grateful to the many friends who have supported us over these last years; thank you! We have been mightily supported by our families and friends, holy prelates and priests and nuns. On a personal note, I thank my own parents and family. For over twenty years they took the neighbourhood, clerical and other brunt of my commitment to the old Mass and lived through the 'wilderness of doubt' of the last years. It has all turned out fine in the end! But thank you for bearing things that would have hurt you deeply. In the end all has been part of God's permissive Will. It has led to the canonical establishment of a Congregation of priests and monks, officially recognised by the Church to continue permanently offering the old Mass and to serve souls. You taught me that it is a good thing to have something to put up with and to offer to Our Lord and Our Lady! Quite right!
We are equally grateful to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, to Bishop Hugh of Aberdeen and Bishop Barry of Christchurch for their mercy and kindness towards us. The graces we needed flowed abundantly through them; they are our Fathers in God and each of them have had the right words and acts of solicitude for us. We come into Full Communion with the Church having a Pope who deeply cares for traditionalists and we were directed to two dioceses of choice by God's 'great strength and His stretched out arm'. In fine, could we but rejoice? Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatae Mariae Virginis: Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.