This year’s chapter of the Institute took place in the first week of September at the motherhouse in Gricigliano. For St. Louis readers, I thought it would be nice to post a few items of local interest.
Sermon delivered by His Grace, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
At the 2009 Chapter of the Institute of Christ the King
Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever!
These days of the chapter are rich in grace for an institute of consecrated life. Through the venerable institution of the chapter, your congregation seeks always to be faithful to the gift of the Holy Ghost, given to your founder and recognized by the highest authority of the Church. In reflecting upon the grace of your foundation during this chapter meeting, the members of your congregation help each other to respond more efficaciously to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, in order to fulfill the mission they have received. In your case, the chapter possesses a particular richness, because the grace of this foundation of secular canons is extended and transmitted also in a foundation of women religious, consecrated to praying and offering sacrifice for the canons of the Institute, and all priests. The celebration of the mass today is in a particular way, an offering of thanksgiving to God for the gift of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and the Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest. It is also the most sublime form of prayer offered for the continual effusion of the Holy Ghost upon the members of the Institute and the Adorers, it is above all through the sacraments of the most Holy Eucharist and that of Penance, that they are able to respond always and everywhere with fidelity and generosity to the grace of their divine vocation.
It is well opportune that we celebrate today the feast of St. Pius X, pope and confessor, during the course of your chapter. In the life and death of St. Pius X, we find a heroic degree of fidelity and generosity in response to the grace of his divine vocation. In his first encyclical letter, “E supremi apostolatus cathedra”( 4 October 1903), the holy pontiff exposes the goal of his service to the universal Church, according to the words of St. Paul: to restore all things in Christ (instaurare omnia in Christo)(Eph.1:10). Thus St. Pius X desired to place Christ at the center of all that he said and did as supreme pastor of the Church, in the same way, he exhorted all the faithful with insistence to live in Christ alone, conforming to the truth that for us, Christ is all in all (Col.3:11). In order to accomplish his goal, he laid out the teaching and discipline concerning the sacred liturgy and, in particular, concerning the reception of Holy Communion by children having attained the use of reason. His efforts to encourage daily reading of Holy Scripture and the establishment of the commission for the revision of the Vulgate and the institution of the Pontifical Biblical Institute are intrinsically linked to his preoccupation with the sacred liturgy.
Finally, in order to better provide for the needs of the faithful as supreme pastor of the Church, he set about the codification of the laws of the Church and the reorganization of the Roman Curia.
The exercise of his pastoral office as Vicar of Christ on earth carries necessarily a participation in the sufferings of Christ. This holy pontiff who ended his earthly ministry in the anguish of the beginning of the First World War (the so-called “Great War”), could rightly declare to the faithful of the universal Church what St. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost had written to the Thessalonians: But as we were approved by God that the Gospel should be committed to us: even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, who proveth our hearts (1Thes.2:4). All during his pontificate, he bore great sufferings for the flock of God, which was committed to him. Thus he had the courage to condemn the grave and multiple errors of the modernist heresy.
Through his encyclical letter Pascendi dominici gregis, the holy pontiff distinguished and condemned the grave errors propagated by the adherents to this heresy, in view of the salvation of all believers (ad salutem omni credenti). Upon the issuance of the encyclical, he saw to it that disciplinary measures would be taken to extirpate this deadly poison from the life of the Church. He didn’t speak or act to please men but to please God, who proveth our hearts. Saint Pius X understood the profound meaning of the triple interrogation of Our Resurrected Lord addressed to St. Peter on Lake Tiberiade. Three times, he asked St. Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Our Lord poses the question three times in order to emphasize to St. Peter the seriousness of his affirmative response:
Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee. When Peter declares for the third time his love for Our Lord, the Good Shepherd, this last thing shows us that his love for Him and consequently for the lambs and sheep, His mystical body, will go to total abandon to Our Lord in his priestly mission: Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not (John 21:18). The life of St. Pius X was the story of total self-abandon to Christ, the Good Shepherd, for the salvation of the flock. In contemplating the life of St. Pius X, we understand that to love and to shepherd the lambs and the sheep in the truth of the faith and the grace of the sacraments signifies nothing other than offering one’s own life in an act of priestly love.
St. Pius X is a model for those who are consecrated as priests, to act in the person of Christ, the Leader and Pastor of the flock, to teach, to sanctify and to govern the flock committed to them. The heart the and most sublime expression of the priestly office ids the celebration of the sacred liturgy, above all the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the absolution of sins in the sacrament of Confession. The clear and integral teaching of the faith and the application of the discipline which preserves the most sacred realities of that faith are intimately connected to the priestly office of sanctification. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated a year for priests to commemorate the anniversary of the death of the Cure of Ars, St. Jean Marie Vianney, in order to show everyone the irreplaceable service of the priest in the Church and to spread an abundance of graces on all priests, especially through the ardent prayers offered by all the faithful for priests. In making reference to the heroic life of the Cure of Ars, Pope Benedict XVI reminds all priests of the extraordinary exigencies of their office, exigencies that include a participation in the sacrifice that Christ made of His own life for our eternal salvation:
“Over and above the concrete penances to which the Cure of Ars delivered himself, the central theme of his teaching remains always valid for us: Jesus pours out His blood for souls and the priest cannot consecrate himself to their salvation if he refuses to participate personally in the high price of the redemption.”
We see in the life of St. Pius X this participation in the offering of Christ the Sovereign High Priest for the salvation of souls. During this “Year of the Priest”, we pray that all priests find in the Eucharistic Sacrifice the identity of their sacerdotal office and the grace to fulfill the duty of offering their life, with Christ, for the salvation of souls. In truth, after the words of St. Jean Vianney, the Priesthood, it’s the love of the heart of Jesus.
My dear brothers of the Institute of Christ the King and the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus, assembled in chapter, may St. Pius X inspire you and grant you a new energy and a new enthusiasm for the inspired work of your foundation: the sanctification of priests for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. During this “Year of the Priest” may you discover anew this great and irreplaceable gift of Our Lord to the Church… the Holy Priesthood. That you offer ever more ardent prayers for all priests, above all, for those priests who are discouraged or who are in danger. During this year for priests, may you discover anew the great gift of your divine vocation in the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and in the Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Sovereign Priest.
As we now lift our hearts to Our Lord in His Eucharistic Sacrifice, let us lift them up to Him in the prayer of all priests throughout the world. Let us mystically commend all priests to the glorious and pierced Heart of Jesus, open for us in the Holy Mass, so that they find rest and strength in the Royal Heart of Jesus so that they can be the love of the heart of Jesus for souls in our world. Through the celebration of Holy Mass, may Our Lord pour out abundantly the grace of the Holy Ghost on you all, oblates, seminarians and priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, as well as on the postulants, novices and professed sisters of the Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest, Amen.
As a bonus, continuing the old home week theme, here are a few more photos: