Bonjour, chers amis!

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Dear readers of Vultus Christi,

After a long hiatus, I am able today to connect to the internet and give you some news. I am writing from the home of Jean-Baptiste and Thérèse Garnier, friends of the Monastère Saint–Benoît in Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne. Jean–Baptiste and Thérèse have DSL, and were kind enough to invite me to their home to update Vultus Christi.

I have been in France since 12 September, the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. For the first few weeks I stayed at the Monastère Saint-Benoît in Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne. After giving a conference at the General Chapter of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified at Brou-sur-Chantereine on Saturday, 29 September, I went to Subiaco, a dependence of the Monastère de l'Incarnation in Saint-Loup-sur-Aujon.

On Wednesday 3 October, the feast of Blessed Columba Marmion, I arrived at the monastery of the Benedictines du Saint-Sacrement in Craon (Mayenne) to make a personal retreat of adoration and discernment. The monastery of Craon, steeped in adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist, is a blessed place indeed. My retreat there was life-changing.

The day before leaving for my retreat I received a book in the mail. I had not solicited this book, but the librarian of a certain Benedictine monastery, knowing "the interests of my heart" sent it without knowing that I was about to begin a retreat of adoration and discernment. The book, published in 1930, was La Sainte Messe, échelle de la sainteté, by Dom Eugène Vandeur (1875-1967). The evening before my retreat I opened the book at random and read:

Let me be wholly and entirely thy priest, like John, thy beloved disciple, standing at the foot of the Cross, the Tree of Life.

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I was astonished. This one sentence sums up my personal vocation and the thrust of my life for the past thirty years. There was still more. At the end of the book, I read:

O Mary, Virgin and Mother of priests,
I will place myself close to thee, today and all the days of my life,
there, in the very place where stood Saint John, the disciple whom Jesus loved,
the preferred Priest of His love;
I will remain there, with thee, facing the cross, and I will gaze upon Him,
this Jesus Crucified, the only science that a priest need know, love, and preach.
"To know only Jesus and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:29). . . .

O Mary, teach this priest of Jesus this folly of the Cross,
true Wisdom in the sight of God
and the solemn manifestation of His power.
Teach me how one passes into Jesus Crucified;
how, following the example of the Apostle,
one comes to bear in oneself the wounds of the Lord Jesus.
"I, for my part, bear in my body the wounds of the Lord Jesus" (Gal 6:17).

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Thou dost answer me, O Mother,
saying that I will learn this at the holy altar,
the mountain of myrrh and the hill of incense (Ct 4:6),
that, each morning, I will ascend with thee
to enter into the wounds of Jesus Crucified.

There is much more that I could share about this retreat, but my time is limited. The signal grace of the retreat was a call to live in adoration and reparation for all my brother priests, and to allow my soul to be "johannized," that is to say, to consent to become, by the merciful goodness of Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit, another Saint John, a beloved disciple for His Heart and for the Heart of His Mother.

The desire of the Heart of Jesus is that there should be priest adorers and reparators: priests who will adore for those who do not adore, priests who will make reparation for those who do not. Our Lord asks me — and will ask other priests as well — to remain in adoration before His Eucharistic Face, offering all the priests of the Church to His Open Heart present in the Sacrament of His Love.

Our Lord asked me to consecrate every Thursday (day of the Eucharist and of the Priesthood) to this particular mission of adoration and reparation for priests.

Let each Thursday find me close to the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood,
deep in adoration, and offering Thee the reparation Thou askest of me
in the name of all Thy priests.
Make me an entirely Eucharistic priest,
according to the desires of Thy Sacred Heart
and the designs of Thy merciful goodness upon my life.
I desire nothing else.
I want to love Thee more each day;
I want to be the faithful adorer of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the consoling friend of Thy Sacred Heart
hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
where it beats, wounded by love, forgotten, forsaken,
and waiting for the adoration and for the love of even one priest.

9 Comments

God Bless you Fr. Mark. Your retreat in the way HE intended allowed me to take part as well in just this brief posting by transcending all space and time. What blessings HE has bestowed upon me through your own spiritual renewal. Thank you LORD for Fr. Mark's witness-a true witness to St. John!
May HE continue to bless you in all that you do.

+Dear Father,

What joy to hear from you again after a long wait... Of course! The Tree of Life! The evergreen tree is symbolic of eternal life. I urge you to remember and consider as part of your discernment that beneath the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, along with Our Lady and St. John, there were standing the Holy Women...I am taking all of this to prayer. We are discerning, also,and ask your continued prayers for us.

We miss you, Father, but are glad you are having such a wonderful retreat.

Time 'wasted' with the Lord is THE vocation to which we are called! There can be nothing more glorious than this time of adoration...nothing more enriching...nothing more filling! Enjoy the remainder of your time in solitude and prayer. We await your return to share the fruits of your contemplation. You are daily being 'surrounded' with prayer and held closely in the bond of faith. May she who is the model of adoration continue to bless you with His presence and the fire of His love!

Your poorest brother in Jesus & Mary,

Little Pius One

Dear Father
I have for years make expiation and reparation for Priests. My prayer is to keep strong those that are strong and that they may grow even stronger in their Priesthood. For those Priest who are weakening that through the Divine Mercy of our Lord they may be give the graces to become strong again. For those Priest who are on the edge of the precipice that through Thy Precious Blood they may be washed, healed and become your Priest again. For those Priest who You knew that You would lose, that I with your Holy Mother may kneel beside You in Your agony in the garden to make expiation. reparation and to comfort You, for nothing could cause so much pain as the loss of even one of Your Priests.

I am so pleased you are back! What a wasteland without you! I just discovered your return tonight. I'm pleased you shared the grace of your retreat with us. I will unite with you in your adoration.

Fr. Mark: I know that several of Vandeur's books were translated into English. My French is poor (nonexistent). What would be the English title of Vandeur's book?

Father Joseph, The English title of Dom Vandeur's book is "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Ladder of Sanctity," Meditations translated from the French of Dom Eugène Vandeur, Monk of St. Benedict, by Clara Morris Rumball, M.A., New York, Benziger Brothers, 1937.

Hi, did you visit the Benedictine nuns of the Blessed Sacrament monastery? If you did or do you know anything about them - as in do they take women vocations from the USA? I do speak French. Thanks.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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