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Cardinal Gerhard Müller and Chartres PilgrimageLifeSiteNews

CHARTRES (LifeSiteNews) — The following is the homily of Gerhard Cardinal Müller delivered on Monday for the 2024 Chartres Pilgrimage. 

Dear brothers and sisters in faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God! 

To see God, we must follow Christ all the way along the path of our lives, until we reach our destination in the eternal home. Jesus is not just any prophet, a creator of meaning, or a producer of values; rather, He is the Word of God made flesh. Only He could say to His disciples: “He that seeth Me seeth the Father also” (John 14:9). 

The marvelous consequence of the incarnation of the Word of God in human nature and in the history of the life of Jesus is that we can recognize the glory of God in the human face of Jesus. The Logos, or the Word and Reason of God, is the light that illuminates every person. Jesus Christ leads us safely towards the meaning and purpose of our lives, when we shall see God face to face. And the procession of so many thousands of young (and not so young) Christians from Paris to this magnificent cathedral in Chartres symbolically represents the Church’s pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem. 

In the Holy Eucharist, which we are now celebrating together, the Church sacramentally anticipates the heavenly wedding banquet of all the redeemed with the Lamb of God, who offered Himself up truly and historically for our salvation on the altar of the cross. Both the physical difficulties that we overcame on our pilgrimage and the temptations of the soul and doubts of the heart that we conquered deepen and strengthen the hope of believers that they are on the right path to the Kingdom of God, in which His justice, goodness, and love form the basis of the new order of the world. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, referring to Saint Augustine’s great theology of history in his work De Civitate Dei, described the Church’s pilgrimage towards the Triune God as follows: “The Church, like a stranger in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, announcing the cross and death of the Lord until He comes. By the power of the risen Lord it is given strength that it might, in patience and in love, overcome its sorrows and its challenges, both within itself and from without, and that it might reveal to the world, faithfully though darkly, the mystery of its Lord until, in the end, it will be manifested in full light” (Lumen Gentium 8). 

Cardinal Müller at Chartres Cathedral
Cardinal Müller at Chartres Cathedral

On one side of our earthly pilgrimage, then, there are the persecutions from which the Church has suffered, as did her head and master Himself. From the very beginnings of Christianity in Roman Gaul, many Christians in Lyon and Vienne were subject to the full arsenal of hostility towards the Catholic faith, from public calumny to the most brutal forms of execution, at the hands of the popular masses and the state authorities. The mere fact of confessing Christ made them punishable by death. And even today, Christians are the most persecuted religious community in human history. The de-Christianization of Europe is the present agenda of those who want to rob it of its soul and have it fall victim to their post-humanist atheism. 

But history, according to the Christian interpretation, is not a battleground of struggles for power, wealth, and the selfish enjoyment of life. Eusebius of Caesarea, in Book 5 of his History of the Church, in which he described the martyrdom of Christians in Lyons at the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, instead explained that he saw the history of the City of God as a peaceful struggle for the peace of the soul and the salvation of all. The heroes of Christianity are not, as in secular history, emperors and generals, but warriors for truth and for the faith. Christians do not fight against others, but against evil in their own hearts and in the world. They fight for peace in the world and for social justice. The principle of all ethics is the dignity of every human being as a person created by God and destined to everlasting life. 

Notre-Dame de Chrétienté/Facebook
Notre-Dame de Chrétienté/Facebook

On the other side of our pilgrimage towards God, there are also God’s consolations. With His help, we go forward with courage and look upwards with hope, despite all external challenges, and despite the temptations of resignation and the inner exile of the soul. 

“Have confidence, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The crucified and risen Lord repeats this every day to His disciples, who go out to meet Him on the journey of their personal lives, in communion with the entire pilgrim Church. Those who live in the conviction that God chose them from all eternity, redeemed them in Jesus Christ, and destined them for eternal happiness and peace, are immune to the propaganda and opium of substitutionist political religions. Self-destruction through suicide and euthanasia, drugs and alcohol, or the rejection of our male or female sexuality, are not an option for Christians. And we stand fearlessly for the right to life of every human being, from conception to natural death, for their inviolable dignity, and for the civil, ethical, and religious freedom of every person. 

Notre-Dame de Chrétienté/Facebook

Oftentimes, the Church of Christ is but a small flock, a persecuted and misunderstood minority. But in reality, in Jesus Christ, she is the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the pioneer of all humanity on its way to its goal. This should not be confused with all the horribly failed experiments in building a man-made paradise. The goal of history is “a new heaven and a new earth – the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven” (Rev 21:1f). Temporal well-being and eternal salvation come from God, who by His grace saved us from the destructive power of evil. God has called us in the Holy Spirit and made us capable of helping to build the kingdom of justice, love, and peace. 

The true consolation, the consolation that sustains us in life and in death, is the knowledge of the truth in the relationship between God and man: “God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn 3:16). 

Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat in saecula! Amen.