Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Pope Comments on CHARITY IN TRUTH; Death of Marie-Elise Proulx

Pope Benedict XVI comments on his latest encyclical at today's General Audience

"Today I wish to reflect on my Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. Some forty years after Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Populorum Progressio, it too addresses social themes vital to the well-being of humanity and reminds us that authentic renewal of both individuals and society requires living by Christ’s truth in love (cf. Eph 4:15) which stands at the heart of the Church’s social teaching.

"The Encyclical does not aim to provide technical solutions to today’s social problems but instead focuses on the principles indispensable for human development. Most important among these is human life itself, the centre of all true progress.

"Additionally, it speaks of the right to religious freedom as a part of human development, it warns against unbounded hope in technology alone, and it underlines the need for upright men and women – attentive to the common good – in both politics and the business world.

"In regard to matters of particular urgency affecting the word today, the Encyclical addresses a wide range of issues and calls for decisive action to promote food security and agricultural development, as well as respect for the environment and for the rule of law.

"Stressed is the need for politicians, economists, producers and consumers alike ensure that ethics shape economics so that profit alone does not regulate the world of business.

"Dear friends: humanity is a single family where every development programme – if it is to be integral – must consider the spiritual growth of human persons and the driving force of charity in truth.

Let us pray for all those who serve in politics and the management of economies, and in particular let us pray for the Heads of State gathering in Italy for the G8 summit. May their decisions promote true development especially for the world’s poor."

Here from the encyclical Caritas in Veritate is a rich reflection on human life as a gift we make to one another, leading to hope(par. 34):

"Charity in truth places man before the astonishing experience of gift. Gratuitousness is present in our lives in many different forms, which often go unrecognized because of a purely consumerist and utilitarian view of life. The human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension. Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society. This is a presumption that follows from being selfishly closed in upon himself, and it is a consequence — to express it in faith terms — of original sin.

The Church's wisdom has always pointed to the presence of original sin in social conditions and in the structure of society: “Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action and morals.”

"In the list of areas where the pernicious effects of sin are evident, the economy has been included for some time now. We have a clear proof of this at the present time. The conviction that man is self-sufficient and can successfully eliminate the evil present in history by his own action alone has led him to confuse happiness and salvation with immanent forms of material prosperity and social action. Then, the conviction that the economy must be autonomous, that it must be shielded from “influences” of a moral character, has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way. In the long term, these convictions have led to economic, social and political systems that trample upon personal and social freedom, and are therefore unable to deliver the justice that they promise.

"As I said in my Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, history is thereby deprived of Christian hope, deprived of a powerful social resource at the service of integral human development, sought in freedom and in justice. Hope encourages reason and gives it the strength to direct the will. It is already present in faith, indeed it is called forth by faith. Charity in truth feeds on hope and, at the same time, manifests it.

"As the absolutely gratuitous gift of God, hope bursts into our lives as something not due to us, something that transcends every law of justice. Gift by its nature goes beyond merit, its rule is that of superabundance. It takes first place in our souls as a sign of God's presence in us, a sign of what he expects from us. Truth — which is itself gift, in the same way as charity — is greater than we are, as Saint Augustine teaches.

"Likewise the truth of ourselves, of our personal conscience, is first of all given to us. In every cognitive process, truth is not something that we produce, it is always found, or better, received. Truth, like love, “is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings.”

Yesterday, I learned of the death of Marie-Elise Proulx, a woman who had found in the Emmanuel Community her personal spirituality. She had also suffered from cancer and had been offering her sufferings for the fruitful outcome of the Rencontre Emmanuel Encounter that took place last week in Quebec.

Particularly, she had wanted to offer her sufferings for the benefit of priests. She died just as the assembly concluded and it was remarked after the fact that this was the feast date of St. Philomena, to whom the Cure of Ars was much devoted and to whose intercession he attributed the miracles that took place in his ministry.

The Albisettis, a French couple who had come to Canada to establish the Emmanuel way of life, shared the news of her death with their associates and have permitted me to share their account of her role in their lives:

Nous venons vous annoncer le retour au Père de Marie-Élise Proulx, survenu hier soir, alors que notre première Rencontre Emmanuel venait de se terminer.

Marie-Élise a eu un parcours éclair dans la Communauté : elle a participé assidûment et rapidement à la louange du matin et au temps d’adoration qui suit, à la paroisse St Thomas d’Aquin. C’est comme cela qu’elle est venue à sa première rencontre de fin de semaine, en décembre dernier au Cap de la Madeleine, durant laquelle les membres engagés dans la Communauté de l’Emmanuel ont renouvelé leur engagement. En rentrant de cette rencontre, elle partageait dans la voiture que c’était à cette vie communautaire qu’elle aspirait, elle aurait voulu s’engager tout de suite !

Elle est entrée en étape d’accueil et discernement en février dernier, alors que des frères de Saskatoon et Toronto étaient également présents.
Elle a demandé à cheminer en maisonnée, et sans trahir le partage de maisonnée, nous pouvons témoigner de la profondeur de sa Foi et de sa vie spirituelle. Nous avons été marqué lors de son premier partage : c’est comme si elle avait déjà tout compris du sens de notre partage !

Et elle a tellement intégré les grâces de la Communauté qu’elle a accepté de devenir un pilier de l’équipe de l’école d’adoration. C’est elle qui, en tant que laïque, a donné le premier enseignement, sur Marthe et Marie : nombreux sont ceux qui en ont été marqués. Son dernier enseignement a été sur le fait de vivre en présence de Dieu continuellement. Reprenant le Frère Laurent de la Résurrection, elle disait : « que
chacun se fasse un oratoire dans son cœur ».

Parallèlement à ce cheminement communautaire, elle a suivi le chemin de la Croix avec une maladie qui ne lui a pas laissé beaucoup de repos. Elle a choisi d’offrir ses souffrances pour les prêtres, la croissance de la Communauté et la réussite de notre première Rencontre Emmanuel, en union avec les frères et sœurs de la Croix Glorieuse.

Lorsque nous l’avons vue dimanche dernier, elle nous disait avec malice qu’elle allait suivre assidûment la Rencontre Emmanuel et la suite de la vie communautaire, aux premières loges, comme si elle savait déjà ce qui s’en venait.

Marie-Elise avait décidé d’offrir sa maladie et ses souffrances pour les prêtres, et qu’elle est décédée le jour de la Ste Philomène, qui était la Sainte préférée du St Curé d’Ars : il lui attribuait tous les miracles qu’il opérait. Le Bon Dieu a dû vouloir la remercier de son offrande.

Marie-Élise était une femme de prière et d’adoration. Nous pouvons être sûrs que nous lui devons beaucoup pour la réussite surnaturelle de ce temps fort d’évangélisation, où la grâce communautaire a si bien transpiré.

La douleur nous étreint, la peine est réelle, et paradoxalement la joie que l’on pouvait lire sur son visage vient nous habiter : Marie-Élise est désormais auprès de son Maître, et même si elle doit passer par l’étape de purification au feu de l’Amour, elle est accueillie par les frères et sœurs de la maisonnée du Ciel. La Belle Province a désormais une représentante au sein de cette maisonnée céleste.

Prions pour elle et pour sa famille. Nous vous proposons d’offrir une heure d’adoration cette semaine à son intention.

Laurent & Marie-Noëlle (Albisetti)

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