Deus Vult! God Wills it! Have Enthusiasm for Our Lady! – Part 1

May 24, 2018

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Reverend Father Olavo Trindade, [Prof. Fernando Furquim] Vice-President of the National Council, Members of the National Council, ladies and gentlemen, dear SEFAC participants.

It is incumbent on me to say a few closing words after a few days of intense and fruitful work in the light of the great ideals that have just been sung in the beautiful lyrics of the Spanish-language TFP hymn composed by the President of the Argentine TFP, Mr. Cosme Beccar Varela. Having spent these days in the light of these great ideals, you now prepare yourselves, in the warmth of this closing session, for supreme farewells that will take you back to your everyday struggles.

Every day struggles which, for a TFP member, are undoubtedly not light but heavy and laden with shadows, a fight that for this very reason deserves from the one who presides over the National Council of the oldest TFP, the Brazilian TFP, a word of encouragement, guidance and courage that invites you to the combat.

Inviting for combat, uttering fighting words, combating for an ideal in a bloodless ideological struggle waged by legal means to achieve a great ideal: How all this is far removed from the basic impulses that drive millions and millions of men, and why not say it, that drive whole crowds and gigantic masses in this highly troubled, shaken and carefree Western world, so attached to the enjoyment of life!

Indeed, it can be said that if the West is shaken and troubled it is because it is dominated by the concern that, since this earthly existence is something to be enjoyed in its entirety, one has to use it for one’s own benefit, and to the last drop. We must live under the sign of utility and pleasure so that, from this life, we take to the grave as few hardships as possible, and as many joys and advantages as possible.

This neo-pagan conception is reminiscent of the paganism of all time. It reminds me of the tomb of Queen Nitocris, the famous Egyptian sovereign who was buried on top of a portico in a city of the Old Kingdom in which she reigned. Back then, many centuries before Our Lord Jesus Christ came to the world, she had inscribed on that portico this phrase which is so twentieth century: “You, passer-by, eat, drink, rejoice and sleep while you are alive; for after death there is no pleasure, no existence, and it’s all over.”

Darius Opens the Tomb of Nitocris by Eustache Le Sueur

This profoundly pagan mentality used to drive all the masses before Our Lord Jesus Christ, and started to drive them again more and more as they gradually abandoned Our Lord Jesus Christ and the ideals that never die and are now returning to the world. That pagan ideal completely diverts man’s attention from his true reason for being, from the true meaning of life, and therefore turns the existence of a TFP member in the contemporary world into a living contradiction – something we do not hide but are proud of.

Indeed, while some people only look forward to a hypothetical future which they hope to be bright because they do not want to see the truth; while others look down, concerned only with the present day and with their immediate material interests, the TFP member walks with his eyes on high, looking straight at eternity, proud of what he is, not bothering with mockeries, laughter or campaigns of silence, defamation or isolation. Proud because he has his eyes fixed on Our Lady, on the Catholic Church and on Christian civilization, and because he finds in this chivalrous pride the very motive, joy and meaning of his daily existence.

This is how, ladies and gentlemen, the portal that separate some from others can be called the portal of holy pride. Because as we disperse—leaving this environment in which everything speaks to us of our ideals—and penetrate the great crowds in which these ideals are so often defiled and denied, we take with us the standard, with our rampant lion and under it the words that appear on the standards you have received as a souvenir of this SEFAC: Deus vult! – God wills it!

God wants, in the twentieth century, to have sons who will do His will, sons who rejoice and are proud of remaining in His service while so many abandon Him; sons who are proud of the traditions that so many cast aside; sons who, like new Crusaders and knights of the twentieth century – as the motto God wills it reminds us of the Crusades and of Chivalry – exclaim: God wills it! Sons who penetrate ignorant and hostile crowds in which, nevertheless, unexpected sympathies arise here and there, to carry out this great Crusade, the Crusade of the twentieth century. It is an extension of the TFP which, having begun so tiny on a ground floor of a small building preserved today almost as a relic, at the Martim Francisco Street, is now developing throughout a whole continent, from the icy cold pampas all the way to North America; transposing the ocean, it has penetrated the lands of Portugal, Spain, and is now making its good odor felt and giving rise to hopes in France, Italy, and England.

This great Crusade, this Crusade of twentieth century Knights, this Crusade of pride requires me to say a few words about this pride as we part ways.

Let me emphasize from the outset that by pride I mean panache, valor, idealism, and therefore the idea is a world apart from the cheap and crass utilitarianism of an epoch in which material and physical values, body, health and gold are worshipped and appear to be the only values worth living for; and for the sake of which, men work and sacrifice everything to gain advantages and rise in life until death reaps them and they ingloriously fall to the ground.

Pride. What does pride mean here? Without a doubt and above all, pride is a feeling, a state of soul in which the person has a faith that doubts nothing, a solid and unalloyed enthusiasm. The knight-errant departed full of enthusiastic pride when he set out on his expeditions to do justice, to defend the poor, widows and orphans, and to make the Law of Christ reign. When a Crusader would depart to wage war, he would leave full of enthusiastic pride; proud at being a crusader, proud at being a knight errant.

Traditional Marriage, Pro-Life, Protesting Socialist Health Care Mandates and various Blasphemous plays and “art work”. Rosary Rallies across this country….this is our Crusade.

What was the fundamental reason for this pride? It was, above all, the Roman Catholic and apostolic faith. The Crusader had faith, the knight-errant had faith. He knew that the Catholic faith is the true Faith; he believed in it with all his strength and fully drew all its consequences. He had no doubt, and that certainty caused a great light to be born in his soul. What was that great light? It was the light of loving enthusiasm. It was not enough to have faith; it was not enough to believe. He loved the faith he had, understood that it was the greatest value of his existence, and that it was worth more than all the things on this earth; he did not despise the goods of this earth – tradition, family, property, wealth, position, culture, prestige – but he conceived them as true values only when lived in function of the Catholic faith and in the hierarchical order established by the Catholic faith.

How lively, in the soul of the knight, were the great affections of this earth such as filial affection, affection for one’s motherland, for superiors, conjugal affection, fraternal affection, paternal affection, affection among friends! How much medieval chronicles tell us about the feats performed by those knights under the impulse of those affections!

However, it must be said that for them, those affections were hierarchical, dominated and enlightened by a superior affection which was the affection for Our Lord Jesus Christ: an affection that does not even deserve this name because it is more than affection: it is adoration, veneration, filial love for Our Lady, and love for the angels and saints who constitute the heavenly Court.

But it is not enough to speak of love: it is necessary to speak of something that our century does not know, something that our egalitarian century is forgetting more and more: it was not horizontal love, it was not the kind of love for Our Lord Jesus Christ that would lead to blasphemously call Him “the boss,” but it was a love full of admiration. Medieval man had admiration. And as Mr. Cosme Beccar told me a short time ago, Aristotle said that “to think is to admire, to live is to admire.” The man of the Middle Ages lived intensely because he lived in admiration.

He had a most profound and complete admiration for the human and Divine figure of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore he admired all those who followed Him and lived on this earth adorned and marked by the sign of the Faith. And for that reason he also had the greatest admiration and veneration for the Roman Catholic Church, Queen of souls, Queen of humanity, and Teacher of truth. And since what we admire somehow penetrates our soul, and medieval man had his soul filled with immense admiration, he was in some way the consubstantiation of that admiration.

Medieval man was to the Church like a mirror is to the sun, facing it, and open to receive all its rays. He receives those rays in full and thus sends them forth with extraordinary fullness. Medieval man, and above all the medieval knight, received the sun of faith in his soul and thus spread the faith all around him. And he not only spread it on extraordinarily fruitful missions but made the faith admired even by those he could not convince about it.

Thus, for example, when made a prisoner by the Mohammedans, St. Louis the King of France, a glorious ancestor of our dear Prince Bertrand, was chosen by them to be an arbiter of their quarrels. For they knew that complete righteousness, virtue and seriousness could not be found except in one who was a perfect servant of Christ Himself, Whom, oh mystery of iniquity, they nevertheless fought against.

The Life of King St. Louis by Alexandre Cabanel

This faith, this admiration filled medieval man with enthusiastic pride. It filled him with pride because he had that light in its fullness. And though others did not recognize that light in him, though others denied that light, though others took up the sword to overthrow him because of the light he spread all around, he gave no importance to these facts. Sure of himself, he traveled long distances, broke up the ranks of his adversaries, distributed blows on all sides, killed a thousand on his right and a thousand on his left, as the Scripture says of the perfect Catholic man, and won memorable battles.

 

To Be Continued

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