Monday, November 19, 2018

Message from a 17th Century Saint to Catholic Twitter

I am working on a project (coming soon!) that will promote the "9 First Fridays" in honor of the Sacred Heart, and as part of my research I read this week a biography of St John Eudes. He was the great predecessor of St Margaret Mary in spreading devotion to the Heart of Jesus, starting subtly by introducing a feast in honor of the Heart of Mary, which he found easier to popularize, given the climate among educated Catholics in those days. Let's just say that the Jansenists were no small threat to Eudes' mission, and a persistent thorn in his side. And then one of his benefactors, a man whose commitment of financial support had made it possible for Eudes to establish a seminary in the diocese, withdrew that support out of fear that Eudes gave too much responsibility to a suspected Jansenist.

There's a line in Eudes' response that needs to get out to the Catholic Internet these days. Take away the reference to Jansenism and it very well could have been written last week. So without further ado, here is a message from the 17th century, now suitably digitized:

Jansenism is a very pernicious thing because it is a heresy which destroys faith. Schism and division among the servants of God, however, are no less dangerous, insofar as they destroy charity which is a virtue more excellent even than faith. "And now the remain faith, hope and charity comedies three: but the greatest of these is charity," says the Holy Spirit.

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