An admirable balance, or rather, a necessary subordination. Was not this inflamed preacher, this tireless missionary, going to be swept into the whirlwind of activism?
Personally, Marcel Lefebvre never knew any hiatus between his Mass, his breviary, his mental prayer on one hand and his apostolic activity on the other. The source of exterior activity is in union with God, which is perfection. But the pastor was aware of the danger of a disordered exterior activity. He warned his priests:
How many priests have lost all sense of the priesthood and all taste for contemplation and mental prayer through activism under the pretext of apostolate!
There is no apostolate without contemplation. Contemplation does not necessarily mean the cloister. It is Christian life: the life of faith and of the realities of our Faith. And the great reality to be contemplated is the Mass.
The soul of the apostolate
From St. Dominic and from Dom Chautard whose book The Soul of the Apostolate he greatly appreciated, he retained that “action must be the organized overflowing of contemplation.” “The members of the Society,” he said, “must be characterized by their contemplation of Our Lord on the cross, seeing in Him the summit of God’s love, love driven to the supreme sacrifice. That is Our Lord! That is the principal object of the Church’s contemplation.”
An unshakable certitude
“We will be missionaries by our desire to spread the blood of Our Lord over souls.” “We must have an absolute confidence in the position we have taken,” he concluded, “for it is the attitude of the Church. It is not mine,” he insisted, “it is not ‘Archbishop Lefebvre’s attitude’; it is the Church’s. One day or another all the rest will crumble.”
Kirche. Eines Tages wird der gesamte Rest zusammenbrechen.“
"We contemplate God in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus is there, present in our hands, with His body, His blood, His soul, His divinity, in His glory, surounded by all the saints and all the holy angels of Heaven."
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
Econe, July 4, 1982
- 1. Text eines geistlichen Vortrags in Ecône am 3. Dezember 1982.