The family is a reality, a natural institution that is found in all cultures, even if family life is lived differently in different places and times.
It is undeniable that our family life marks us deeply. There was a time when grandparents, parents, children and here and there an aunt or uncle lived in the same house every day. Nowadays, this intergenerational dimension is less present. But the family network still has a certain influence.
That morning I was to preach on the Gospel of the Multiplication of the loaves. Now I didn’t feel like talking about the parallel between the multiplication of the loaves and the Eucharist yet. As I reread the Gospel, another clue emerged with the seven loaves.
We are in a desert place, far from any settlement. For three days a huge crowd has been following Jesus without eating. Jesus is moved by compassion. But how to feed all these people? The apostles have only seven loaves of bread. So Jesus asks them to bring them to him. The disciples comply. Jesus blesses the seven loaves and asks the apostles to distribute them. Not only do they feed the crowd, but they collect seven baskets of leftovers! Because they put their poverty at the service of Jesus, he was able to do wonders.
Dear friends, well before the pandemic, the people that are now called guardian angels were already embodied in home caregivers, many of whom have taken Saint Brother André as their patron. Following him, home caregivers know that no matter what the ordeal we experience now, life cannot overmaster hope… when you want to believe. Believing is like an immense Yes to life.
“Behold, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:1,2)
That is how Lent begins.
But, is it an “acceptable” time when we are struck down by catastrophe, anxiety, or doubt? When a pandemic hits the entire world, we can recognize at what point we become vulnerable and unsteady about that which we cannot control. The power of nature seems stronger than the power of science. Sometimes, there is panic. Fear presses us towards someone or something which can bring a feeling of security to our lives.
Abbé Pierre said, “The greatest evil that can happen to human beings, even to little ones, is to think only of themselves. The one and only rule which leads to goodness and to happiness is to look after the weakest.”
Over the years, the Counseling Office of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, a space of welcome, of listening, and of compassion, has without question become a valuable service offered to people who are wounded, not necessarily physically – as was the case in the time of Brother André (1904 to 1937) — but rather psychically, psychologically, emotionally, affectively, morally, and religiously.
Conformity to Christ is a fundamental aspect of the spirituality of Blessed Basile Moreau, CSC. He understood this spiritual way of life following the teachings of St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who is living in union with me” [Galatians 2:20].
In November, the landscape is stripped away to settle gently into the white silence of winter. A privileged moment to remember our dearly departed ones who have migrated to infinity, to another life. In November, it is these loved ones who inhabit our memory and our hope.
To mark our gratefulness for Father Claude Grou’s recovery, following his attack on March 22, and to salute his return to pastoral fonctions, we are happy to share the homily he gave, in French, during Mass on Friday March 29.