Discussion in 'Video Blogs' started by padraig, Jun 10, 2017.
This year, some seventeen thousand pilgrims arrived in Chartres on Pentecost Monday. The procession into the Cathedral included over one hundred traditionalist priests, monks and a handful of abbots, along with the Bishop of Chartres, Michel Pansard, and, finally, Cardinal Burke himself in full traditional regalia.
Just ahead of the Cardinal was the reliquary containing the glory of Chartres—the Veil of Our Lady, Christendom’s most holy relic, and the reason the Cathedral was built. The Veil was elevated on the shoulders of several scouts, and, some with tears of joy in their eyes, the pilgrims knelt in veneration as it passed. This is the silk garment which Our Lady used to cover the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem’s cave. It was discovered, along with the true Cross, by St. Helena, and was later given to Charlemagne by the Byzantine Empress Irene. Its history is rich and meticulously chronicled, since Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles the Bald, donated the veil to Chartres in the ninth century. Recent carbon 14 analysis of the veil reveal evidence of first century pollen from Palestine in its weave.
It was to venerate this holy veil that the pilgrims of the Middle Ages came; and for the same reason they come today--that and to proclaim the kingship of Christ. And while this holy veil caused Christendom’s gothic jewel in Chartres to become the fourth most popular place of pilgrimage in Christendom, for a time in the last part of the nineteenth century the popularity of the Chartres Pilgrimage began to wane. Its rejuvenation was sparked in the early part of the 20th century when a then-agnostic poet named Charles Péguy took it upon himself to walk from Paris to Chartres in search of the intercession of the Mother of God.
His story is well worth the retelling, as it offers yet another powerful testimonial to the efficacy of Our Lady’s intercession, especially when prayed for at the place Henry Adams describes as “Our Lady’s Playhouse”.
For a good part of his life, Charles Péguy (1873 – 1914), was an ardent socialist and an on-again, off-again agnostic. Before his death on the battlefield in the early days of World War I, he’d become a believer whose gradual conversion was met with disbelief by France’s literary community.
For Péguy, his coming to terms with the Catholic Faith was a lonely and often turbulent fight that manifested itself through some of the most soul-stirring and provocative French-language poetry of the 20th century.
Though he’d become a believer, it wasn’t until Péguy found himself on the battlefield that he resolved to fully return to the Sacraments. Nevertheless, so compelling was his written record of transformation from agnostic to believer that when word of his death reached T. S. Eliot the great English-language poet mourned “one of the most illustrious of the dead who have fallen in this war.”
Péguy is no plaster saint. His journey into the light is not without long and extended dark nights. Even after his conversion he remained among the walking wounded of post-Revolution “enlightened” France, ever searching for a way back home. As one writer put it, “Péguy seems to have come to an understanding through his experience that pain and even a vulnerability to sinfulness often are the only ways to open channels by which real grace can reach us, particularly those of us who think our faith and morals are already enough.”
Not surprisingly, the notion of Catholic pilgrimage emerges as integral to the struggle of Charles Péguy, so much so, in fact, that this passionate and often volatile personality practically single handedly breathed life back into what had come to be regarded as an outmoded “medieval ritual”.
Had it not been for Péguy it is highly unlikely that the Chartres Pilgrimage would have survived the attempted purging of all things Catholic which took place in Europe from World War I to the present.
Here is what happened.
Charles Péguy’s son Marcel had fallen deathly ill and, rather than giving in to despair, Péguy placed his son in the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary – vowing to retrace the ancient pilgrim’s path (the French starting point on the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela) from Paris to Chartres when his son regained his health.
Marcel recovered, and his father was true to his word, walking to Chartres not once but several times before his death two years later. Through the process of physical pilgrimage the warrior poet evidently sought to earn the right to lay claim to the Faith he’d once strained against. Pious platitudes and easy creeds were not the stuff of which Charles Péguy was made. He was a soldier and a poet, but not a saint and, as such, the notion of pilgrimage appealed to his warrior heart.
Inspired by his example if baffled by his conversion, friends tracked Péguy along his newfound pilgrim’s path. And after his death, when his popularity began to increase, admirers from all walks became interested in retracing the footsteps not only of Joan of Arc and St. Louis IX, but also Charles Péguy—over the plain la Beauce, through the forests near Choisel, and into the gothic sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Chartres where Péguy had surrendered his cold rationalism at the altar of Faith. Here the sophisticated man of letters shocked the world by humbly declaring himself “subject to the Virgin of Chartres.” And all Paris gasped!
As a 19yr old I made this Pilgrimage in 1988.
About 10,000 attended. It was very special.
To have Cardinal Burke offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the end, must have been wonderful for the young pilgrims.
All I got was .... I got on the wrong train back to Paris and had to walk across the city at night to get from one train station to another.A very memorable experience.
This is so uplifting! Wow! Thank you for posting this!!!
PS- If only this story made the nightly news, our culture is too busy paying homage to the wrong people.
I received an interior urge to make this pilgrimage next year just after my ordination to dedicate my life as a deacon to Our Lady! Hmmmm....
Safe in the Refuge of the Immaculate Heart!
Yes , good idea. I think I will do my best to make it next year , if I am allowed to bring my dogs and if I can persuade one of my family or someone to come with me . I have never been to France before!!
Yes I hope I will. I do hope Cardinal Burke will say the mass again.
Our Lady of Chartres, pray for us.
Crowned With Stars (Couronne d'etoiles)
We hail you,
Oh Our Lady Mary,
Holy Virgin clothed with the sun
Crowned with stars, the moon is under your feet
In you we are given
The dawn of salvation
1 - Mary New Eve and joy of your Lord,
You have given birth to Jesus the savior.
Through you the doors of the garden are opened to us
Guide us on the way, morning star.
2 - You stayed faithful, mother at the foot of the cross,
Sustain our hope and guard our faith.
From the side of your son, you have drawn for us,
The water and the blood that saves us from sin.
3 - Such was the joy of Eve when you were lifted,
Higher than all the angles,
higher than the clouds,
And such is our joy, sweet Virgin Mary
To contemplate in you the promise of life.
4 - Oh Immaculate Virgin, preserved from sin,
With your soul and your body, you entered the heavens.
Brought in glory, holy queen of the heavens,
You will welcome us, one day in front of God.
I would like to be there too if the God permits another year. Padraig maybe MOG could organize a group to go. I am serious. We could all meet in Ireland and go over together.
Let's pray about this. I have a feeling that events are moving so quickly in the Church and the World that we are about to be astonished. I am looking forward to this.
This is a very encouraging thread, so great to see, I pray that I can go also. Could Cardinal Burke be the angelic shepherd?
I will pencil in taking a couple of daughters next year.Very exciting to be a part of.
Wow! The still picture on this video looks like a bunch of crusaders headed off to battle!
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