Laurent Landete, general moderator of the Emmanuel Community explains the meaning of this consecration.
It is customary to speak of the consecration to Jesus by Mary and the members of the community are invited to say that of Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort every day. Yet it is a first for the Community to make a solemn consecration to Jesus and Mary, can you tell us what led to this decision?
A year ago, while I was at the beatification of Father Marie-Eugène de l’Enfant-Jésus, I had an interesting encounter. Father François-Marie Lethel, a Carmelite specialist in the theology of saints, challenged me at the end of the celebration in a very charismatic way: “You, Emmanuel, must deepen your understanding of why you dedicate yourselves every day to Mary, with the prayer of Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort. Those words you’re saying really engage you.” Just as he was talking to me, I was overwhelmed. I understood in the minute that followed that there was certainly a call from the Lord to put us under the gaze of His Mother in a new way, taking up step by step the words of this consecration, making the link with our charism, in order to better transmit what was given to us at the very heart of our foundation. It was then that I decided to propose to the Community throughout the world a Marian Year on this particular theme. We must advance in depth, in the roots of our vocation to be Emmanuel.
Moreover, in recent years we have undertaken a long work with the Council and the Consultative Committee to express what we are, in an adjusted way in the light of the teachings received during the retreats of the Fraternity of Jesus, during the meetings of priests and during the Jubilee of Emmanuel in 2012. This work of anamnesis has resulted in a reformulation of many passages of our statutes: what is well conceived is clearly stated! And what is clearly stated is transmitted more intensely and more widely, one could also say. We have therefore experienced an important event in recent days with the official confirmation of these new Statutes. This decision of the Holy See also concluded a long process that allowed the creation of a new canonical entity for the priests, deacons and seminarians of Emmanuel, clarifying their belonging to the Community in an ecclesiastical world where it was sometimes contested. That can no longer be the case.
At first glance, this may seem far removed from the missionary concerns of our brothers and sisters, but we must be aware of the practical consequences of these Roman decisions for the daily life of our community: the Church confirms us in our call to live resolutely this communion of states of life which the Second Vatican Council so strongly promoted (Lumen Gentium 10).
It is therefore clear that this is another important step for the Community. And this recognition comes during this Marian year which began providentially last September 8. I fervently wished in this context that we could solemnly entrust ourselves to Jesus with Mary. Both are united with such strength and so close to us, so close to our own fragile hearts!
That is why we are going to live this consecration to Jesus with Mary on Saturday, around the world, asking for their protection for the renewal that awaits us. Renewal of the whole Church, to which she invites us to take our part, with the legal encouragement of recent weeks. It will be a journey of joy and really exciting, I believe. It is truly an incredible hope, but a path in which we must be faithful to our own call. Indeed, we will necessarily find conflicts, because “births” are never without trials. We must prepare ourselves serenely, united to one another, and in joy, for Christ is victorious. This renewal of the Church is not a facelift or a makeover of circumstances. Yes, I am certain that the renewal to which the Church is called concerns this adjustment of relations between priests and laity. With what I have seen in recent years, I feel that this is certainly one of the most exciting renewals in its history. Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort speaks of the apostles of the last times. I have a hunch that’s part of what this is about. What is at stake, in fact, “is the credibility of the Church in its mission”, as Cardinal Farrell told us at the official presentation of our statutes. We must put all our heart, all our intelligence, all our charity too… and we cannot do it without entrusting ourselves to the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary. If we are all close to Jesus and Mary, it is the assurance of this righteousness that removes the stakes of power, to simply be at the service.
The main place will be L’Ile-Bouchard, in communion with all the other places, what is its meaning?
As you know, the Ile-Bouchard is a very important Marian place, far beyond the borders of France, even if it is here that such important stakes for the freedom of this country were established, particularly in the face of post-war communist totalitarianism. But what goes beyond the framework of France in the message of L’Ile-Bouchard is precisely this attachment to the universal Church, and precisely the irreplaceable place of Mary in the key moments of the history of peoples. Whatever the culture! How can we not think of Kibeho in Rwanda, Guadalupe in Mexico, or Fatima in Portugal, whose centenary we are also celebrating? We are living, as we have just said, a kind of changeover with regard to a “renewal of the credibility of the Church”, and this changeover cannot be done in the right direction without the One who tells us throughout History, with infinite gentleness: “do whatever He tells you”!
Mary calls us today to follow Jesus who asks us to pour a new wine into new wineskins, protecting us from pride. But these new wineskins are urgently needed for the ever new wine of Grace, for the salvation of the people who await it. The outcome is joyous for the Church, for the Almighty is working wonders throughout Holy History! And in L’Ile-Bouchard, Mary, the One whom all ages will say Blessed, shows us the way that leads us to this “new Magnificat” for this new time.
Paray-le-Monial and Ile Bouchard are two sanctuaries entrusted to the Emmanuel Community. Can you clarify the link with the history and charisma of Emmanuel?
We need to understand and deepen something essential: the spirituality of the Heart of Jesus and our attachment to Mary, to her Mother’s Heart, are intimately linked to our Charism.
In Paray, Jesus shows us his Heart of flesh: “Here is this Heart! ». He thus invites us to worship, to receive everything from Him. He also gives us a heart of compassion, making us share his pain of not being loved, of being the object of so many “ingratitudes”. Then he calls us to evangelization, saying to each of us, as to Marguerite-Marie: “I want you to draw hearts to my heart.”
Let us also note that Sacred Scripture reveals Mary’s heart to us at decisive moments in the history of salvation, linked to the mystery of God’s presence in this world, and thus to the manifestation of the charism of Emmanuel. During the Nativity, Mary, in the company of the shepherds, the little ones, is the very model of Adoration. At the Cross, she immerses us in Jesus’ compassion. “She entered into her son’s passion through her compassion,” Benedict XVI tells us in this sense. At Pentecost, when the apostles receive the outpouring of the Spirit, Mary is still there as the mother of evangelization. That is why we are so linked to the hearts of Mary and Jesus and why our presence in Paray and other Marian shrines like Beauraing for forums in Belgium, or Altötting in Germany, is so important for the Community.
This event corresponds to the 70th anniversary of the pilgrimage to Notre Dame de la Prière in L’Ile-Bouchard, what special grace are we called to receive from this place?
I think it’s very simple. I have just given some elements, but let us look at yet another aspect: Mary, at L’Ile-Bouchard is invoked as Our Lady of Prayer. Well, it seems to me that all the challenges to which we are called together and to which I have just referred very quickly: deepening our call, the apostolate of the last times, communion of states of life, as well as all forms of renewal of the Church, can only be lived if we are anchored in a life of authentic prayer. Not simply a devotion, but a personal and constant attachment to Christ, the Word made flesh, the Emmanuel. In other words, no holiness without a life of prayer. But no fear: “Holiness is God’s strength in man’s weakness”, as Blessed Mary Eugene of the Child Jesus says.