Dear Faithful, Friends and Benefactors,
Holy week is upon us already. What a moving time this is! Our hearts and minds are turned to that what is most important to us, not only in this life, but for all eternity. The passion and death of Our Lord and His resurrection lie at the very heart of our faith. St. Paul says, “If Christ be not resurrected, then my faith is vain.” Yet the resurrection has no meaning if it was not preceded by the greatest act of charity known to all of creation, for it was by the love that God had for us that He sent his only begotten Son. And what a Son! What a Redeemer! Who would have thought that God would redeem the world by the death of His Son upon the cross? Not even the devil. St. Augustine wrote that if he, the devil, knew that He would redeem mankind by his own death, an ignominious death upon the cross, he would have done everything in his power to stop it. The devil and the world were confounded by the humility and subjection of the Son of God. Up to then and even still, man has no other conception of conquering than by pride.
What a lesson we have had from the cross! What an example the Son of God has given us! Truly, millions of souls have reached their sanctity, even laying down their lives, through the one and supreme example of Jesus Christ. It cannot be otherwise. For us too, as so many saints have testified, the cross of Christ is an open book wherein is found every lesson necessary for sanctification.
By His passion, Our Lord Jesus Christ bought our souls from the shackles of sin. Since He paid the full price for our redemption, it is true to say that we belong to Him. This is why the Church has taught for two thousand years that He is the unique King and that all power comes from Him. How heartbreaking it is to see that so many nations have rejected the kingship of Christ. In rejecting Him, they reject His laws and formulate opposing laws based solely upon the passions and capriciousness of man. In dethroning Him, they have enthroned man. It is then not surprising to see everywhere a new reign, a reign of terror, a reign of pride, a diabolical reign. The battle for the kingship of Christ still rages and will continue until Our Lord is once again enthroned.
You too, dear friends, are called to this battle. Let me enumerate, here below some things which have come to pass, or are still on the agenda. They are given not only for your information, but they are in themselves also so many different ways in which you can play your part in this struggle for the kingship of Christ.
Firstly the sad situation in Zimbabwe (not to mention the same steep incline followed by South Africa). Every time I visit that country, the situation is worse than before. One wonders how bad it can still become. Our priests in Harare are trying their best to help. From everywhere we find donations pouring in, either as food parcels or in the form of money. I think there have been more than 200 parcels coming in from all directions, especially, it must be said, from France, Germany and Switzerland. From these same countries and from many others, including South Africa, USA, Great Britain, Canada, we have received money donations. These donations are reaching close to R700 000.00. A phenomenal amount indeed. I have already been able to take R100 000.00 across and am in the process of sending a large freight of food (22 tons) at the cost of R320 000.00. This freight was supposed to leave SA on the 4th or 5th of March, but as yet, the paper-work has not been completed. Why? Simply because of the immense instability of the country, the permits change at the drop of a hat. We cannot know if, by the time the freight reaches the border, the law would not again have been changed. In this, dear friends, you cannot help much, but, what we do ask of you is your prayers. Prayer, let us never forget, is more powerful than any law or government. There is yet another reason to ask your prayers. Zimbabwe will be going to the voting polls on the 29th of March. There is no reason why we should not hope that things will change for the better. It is for this, that I urgently ask you to join us all in a novena of prayers for this poor country. We ask you to implore heaven by this prayer below from the 20th to the 28th of March. We are having a little prayer card printed, but, since many of you may not receive it before the 20th, here it is:
Almighty and everlasting God, in Thy hands are the powers and rights of all nations; look down graciously upon those in authority over us, especially in Zimbabwe, that by the protection of Thy right hand, soundness of religion and safety of the State may ever abide. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Three Hail Marys.
In our struggle for the Kingship of Christ, vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life form the most important part in the battle line. Up to this date, southern Africa has produced 24 vocations from the ranks of tradition. We are not counting those who have so generously tried but found that God did not called them. Then the number would be three-fold. Of the 24 mentioned, some of them are still seminarians or postulants. We need to support them. We cannot expect the countries in which the seminaries or convents are found, to support our youth. It was for this reason that we had founded a fund in 2003. The total income since then has been R162 179.00. We have distributed this money to the different seminaries or convents accordingly. Yet we are lagging behind. In this I once again ask your generosity. Pray also, not only for new and many vocations, but also for these who are at the moment striving in the religious life.
This brings me to the next subject. Brother Vinzenz, of the congregation of the Holy Ghost, who has been with us since 1985, will be celebrating his 50th jubilee of his vows. The actual date is on the 20th of May, but we will celebrate it publicly at the 9am Mass on Sunday the 25th of May. You are all, without exception, most cordially invited. Closer to the date, I plan to write you another letter on the subject of the religious vocation of a brother.
To end off this letter, I wish to mention two more things which can be elaborated at a later date: We will have no bishop here on the feast of Christ the King since they will all be in Lourdes. It is, this year, the 150th anniversary of the apparitions and the Society is organising a big pilgrimage. Anyone interested in organising a contingency from southern Africa, please contact me. Lastly, next year, 2009, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Society in southern Africa.
Dear friends, we take this opportunity in wishing you all a most holy and blessed Sacred Triduum as well as a blessed Easter. May God and His Holy Mother bless and guide you always.