Conference during the Congress of the Third Order of Carmel, in Sao Paulo, November 15th 1958 (*)
The topic I was given to speak about at this brilliant congress of the Third Order of Carmel is “the scapular and profession in the Third Order of Carmel constitute principally an act of consecration to Our Lady. This truth must be spread with great zeal for a deeper and more perfect knowledge of the Carmelite spirituality.”
The statement of thesis manifests the praiseworthy purpose of avoiding that the Third Order of Carmel remains just in externals. In effect, the scapular is a tangible object that symbolizes in a very sensitive way our connection to Our Lady. But it is precisely because this symbol represents those qualities that certain spirits easily fall into the idea that its mere ownership and use are enough to maintain a connection to Our Lady.
Also the profession in the Third Order of Carmel, habitually done in such a solemn and festive way, speaks much to the senses and imagination. For this same reason certain people easily form the idea that the simple act of profession establishes such a deep link between us and Our Lady that it itself is enough to forever be united to Our Lady without any other obligations.
Man’s condition on earth is such that even the best and most praiseworthy things are susceptible to abuse. Not because there is anything bad in them, but because of the evil in man, whose nature decayed with original sin. So we could say that these externals, so useful, so opportune, so wise, so necessary to man’s nature, can nevertheless be used in a wrong way. That which the symbol signifies is forgotten. And only the material reality of the symbol remains. It is evidently insufficient for the goals that the symbol was instituted for in the first place.
We really must understand that ownership of the scapular or its use, or simple profession in the Third Order of Carmel, don’t constitute all the essence of our link to Our Lady. And they would be nothing if it were not for our special interior consecration to the Virgin of Carmel. Yes, this is the basic element of our condition as Third Order Carmelites. And the use of the scapular, as well as profession in the Third Order, are nothing but a material object and a juridical act – of great significance and importance – that express that consecration. The main thing, therefore, is that the Carmelite is consecrated to Our Lady in a way that, once the profession is official, it is preserved and increased throughout his whole life.
Therefore, the Third Order Carmelite should understand that it is this interior act that binds us to Our Lady of Carmel and makes of us Carmelites in the true sense of the word. In final analysis, this tie is developed in the mysterious terrain of the relationship of souls with God, inaccessible to any human eye and put directly under the eyes of God Himself.
Thus, however great our appreciation for the scapular and our profession in the Third Order, it is of capital importance that we take our interior consecration as the most important element of our Carmelite life. It is very much the statement of thesis we were given to develop here tonight. It affirms a truth that should be spread with great zeal, so as to avoid the danger of many of us having a life of a Carmelite entirely deviated from its spirit, and from its truest and deepest meaning.
Consecration to Our Lady and life in our times
Now while these truths are very easy to say, and are proof enough for themselves, however it is much more difficult to determine what true consecration to Our Lady really is, and especially that way that consecration should be done in our times.
The layman’s apostolate is to develop in his own times, acting in the bosom of civil society to promote the salvation of souls by all licit means, even the impregnation of the Church’s spirit in all the values proper to the temporal sphere. So it is not to avoid the things of his times as such. It is not to flee to the desert or sacred refuge of a strict contemplative order. Nor does it mean that we live in a monastery dedicated to the external apostolate. What it means for us to that within our days we ordain for God the values of our century that were created for Him, and which should give him glory. We must communicate to those values their true Christian character.
In such conditions, we must have an exact idea of what consecration to Our Lady in our time means. But to speak of our times merely in thesis says little. We must take into consideration how temporal society lives in our days, and the peculiarities of our times. Doing this, we should keep in mind the well-known positive elements without forgetting the negative ones.
Who is the prince of this world? Who is the enemy we should not serve? Who is that other “lord,” who asks that we consecrate ourselves to him, and who is incompatible with the celestial Lady we claim to serve? Unless we refuse this “lord” every form of service and vassalage, unless we fight him everywhere and always, our consecration to Our Lady won’t be really complete.
God, final cause of the universe
Now we pass from generic terms of our thesis for the evident point of our consecration. How must it be accomplished in our lives as children of the militant Church in the twentieth century? This implies that we ask what the consecration of our persons, and the genuine values of temporal society, to Our Lady, consists in.
The current notion about this, entirely true and vastly precious, comes from the consideration of God as final cause of the universe. Since God is the end of all things, everything must be ordained towards Him, what means everything should be ordained towards the fulfillment of the Law, the salvation of souls and the exaltation of the Church on earth. These principles are so true, so clear and so known to you gentlemen, that I won’t stop to get into them at length.
But on par with these principles there is an aspect that corresponds to many of the concerns of contemporary philosophy, and that remained more or less buried in the store of knowledge of Catholic doctrine current among great masses of faithful. It seems to me it would be good to go through it at more length. It is the consideration of God as exemplary cause of the universe.
God, exemplary cause of the universe
God created the universe, and then gave to man the ability to complete several aspects of the order and beauty of the universe through his action. So that, as Dante said, all things are God’s children, and the works of human skill should be considered God’s grandchildren. Thus, when God created the universe, he had in mind an admirable plan of harmony and beauty, but he left the accomplishment of part of that plan to man’s wits, will, and dexterity.
Why this whole plan, this whole universe of order and beauty instituted by God? I insist on the idea of the universe of beauty, because nowadays the universe is habitually first considered as a great machine that works perfectly. Thus, when they speak of the Creator’s wisdom, they almost always show how things are so linked together in such a way that they are not destroyed, nor do they collide with each other, but they coexist harmonically and support each other mutually. It is a functional vision of the universe entirely true, for sure, but that just shows one aspect that our mechanical and ultra-technical times more easily understand.
But there is another aspect of the universe related with God as exemplary cause, as uncreated and infinitely beautiful Being reflected in a thousand ways in all the other beings He created. So much so that there is not any being that in one way or another does not reflect of the uncreated beauty of God. Above all God’s beauty is reflected in the hierarchical and harmonic ensemble of beings, to such an extent that, in a certain sense, there is no better way of knowing the infinite uncreated beauty of God than analyzing the finite created beauty of the universe, considered not so much in each being, but in the ensemble of them all.
God is again reflected in a higher and more perfect masterpiece than the cosmos. It is the Mystical Body of Christ, the supernatural society that we venerate with the name of Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. It constitutes itself an entire universe of harmonic and variegated aspects, that sing and reflect, each one to its own way, the holy ineffable beauty of God and of the Incarnate Word. In contemplating the universe, on one hand, and the Holy Catholic Church on the other, we can rise up to the consideration of the holy, infinite uncreated beauty of God.
The rules of aesthetics of the universe
There is a set of rules of aesthetics that can help us know the beauty that God put in the universe, as a starting point to rise up to the consideration of its uncreated beauty. The most fundamental of those rules is the harmonic coexistence of unity and variety.
However, instead of trying to coldly enumerate and define those principles, it would perhaps be more interesting to consider them as accomplished in one of the beings that we have seen with our own eyes.
Unity. Let’s begin with the sea. One of the first elements of it’s grandeur is it’s unity. All the seas of the earth are joined to each other. And they constitute an immense mass of water that girds the terrestrial globe. Thus at any edge of the sea, anywhere in the world, one of the most pleasant considerations we can make is to remember that the immense liquid mass extending before us to the far reaches of the horizon doesn’t end there, but has behind it immensities following other immensities, to form the great and single immensity of the sea that moves, plays and frolics across the surface of the earth.
Variety – But at the same time that the sea presents us that splendid unity, it impresses us with its great variety. In the first place, we see its variety of movement. At times the sea appears meek and serene, seeming to satisfy all our soul’s desires for peace, tranquility and quietness. Then it moves discreetly and smoothly, small waves forming on its surface that seem to want to play before us, to make us smile and relax our spirit, as if it had present the interesting and gentle realities of life. Then finally, it shows itself majestic and wild, rising in sublime movements, attacking with fury the haughty rocks and pulling from its abysses unfathomable masses of water to submerge islands and invade continents. In this state, the sea seems to be dominated by an overpowering fury, and it sings with its roars and its grandeur of all the power that exists in its depths, but which we could not even suspect it had in its moments of meekness and grace. That is when it seems to witness the most striking and heroic moments of history.
Aesthetic variety – There are also aesthetic varieties in the sea. Sometimes it is so clear that you can see the whole liquid mass to the bottom. At other times it appears dark, impenetrable, deep, mysterious. If in certain panoramas the sea has immense, almost limitless, surface, in other panoramas it is circumscribed by the rough coast and forms small closed gulfs in which it, so to speak, is happy to be intimate with us, making itself small for us to better see and love it.
By its noise the sea is not less varied. Now murmur gives the impression of a caress that sooths and puts to sleep. Then it murmurs like an old friend’s prose, already heard many times. But soon after it addresses us with a king’s dominant bellow, imposing his will on all the elements.
The way it “behaves” on the beach it is equally varied. Sometimes the sea arrives at land swift and breathless. At other times it slowly meanders towards it lazily with languid waves.. Other times it seems so completely stopped, that we would almost say it is satisfied at watching land without touching it.
Now, all the sea’s diversities would not have connection or enchantment, if they didn’t come from a great background of a fixed, invariable and grandiose unity. This is the beauty of unity in variety.
Marks of variety
Notwithstanding, we should recognize that the sea’s variety is such a powerful element of beauty not because it is just any variety, but because it offers a high degree of the specific marks of real harmonic variety. These marks are:
Opposition – This variety reaches opposition. That is to say, it is so great that its extreme points reach opposite aspects. We could say these aspects are contradictory to each other. This variety, by the very fact that it gathers in itself such a spectrum of sharp extremes, has a supreme harmony, an unquestionable beauty. We would not find such beauty in the sea if, for example, it was not so extremely meek and so extremely furious, so extremely majestic and so extremely graceful. It is in the harmony of an extreme of meekness and the extreme of fury, for example, that we can see the perfection of the sea’s variety.
Symmetry – This variety in opposition should contain some symmetry. That means that when something has an element that leads it to an extreme, the opposite side has to go to an equally accentuated extreme. If the sea were extremely furious in certain movements, and a little calmer in others, its beauty would not be great. For opposition to be perfect, the sea should be at times furious and other times deeply mild. Only with this symmetry is it entirely beautiful.
Intermediary Steps – But at the same time, the harmonic varieties of the intermediary steps also contribute notably to the sea’s beauty. Those transitions are so harmonic that at certain moments we cannot say well what the sea seems to be like. Is it wild? Is it meek? Is it clear? Is it dark? We don’t know what to say, because the sea is passing from one extreme to another through several intermediary phases, so splendidly and harmonically variegated that human language falls short to describe it, and the only way we can try is through comparison. For example, whoever saw the sea furious but becoming meek can say with truth that it is meek. But when he remembers the sea when it is really meek, and considers it on this point of transition, he still has the impression of a furious sea. By this type of contradiction of opposite aspects existing in the same middle, we have a good idea of the whole rich spectrum of intermediary states that the sea crosses.
True continuity – But the relationship between those same intermediary states should present a true continuity. The sea doesn’t jump from one extreme to another, but it always passes more or less quickly through all the intermediary states. Those states are normally perceptible in successions, as shades of color that change progressively. But when the succession of shades is very well done, it at times gives the impression that it doesn’t move. After a while and without knowing how, the observer is before a different picture. It is that those changes were so delicate and so imperceptible, that they exceed the precision of our senses, or at least the sharpness of our attention.
Variety of progress – There is a type of variety that is not so clear in the sea, but very relevant in the sky: variety of progress. In the heavens there is a variety of aspects from dawn to dusk. It offers a charming dawn fresh as dew. Later the colors grow in force and majesty till arriving to the glorious fullness of midday. Afterwards it slowly dissipates till arriving at the twilight sadness. And it finally takes on its nocturnal aspect, preserving it more or less immobile till the first bright rays of dawn. Thus there appears throughout the day in harmonious succession, the glimmers to the apogee, and thence to the waning, a cycle of varied aspects of progress and retreats travel through the sky.
Monarchic principle – Another principle of variety which bestows an uncommon beauty is the so called monarchic principle. It is the ordering of multiple forms and varieties around one element or central point, in function of which they are harmonized and reciprocally take meaning. That is the sun’s role in the heavens. In function of the sun all variety in the sky are nothing but backgrounds that cooperate to enhance its beauty in a thousand ways.
So now we have the several principles of beauty as they are in the sea and in the sky, that is, in two creatures we frequently see, and that are a splendid likeness of the uncreated spiritual beauty of God Our Lord.
The beauties of God in Our Lady
We know by Catholic doctrine that the beauty of all these things is an image of God, pure and infinitely perfect Spirit. By the same token, since man was made to the image and likeness of God, they are also made in man’s image. The sky and the sea, in their several states, bring to mind the human soul in its many dispositions, the complex game of human passions, the virtues of the human soul when it really reflects the sanctity of God Our Lord.
These rules of aesthetics are means for us to consider the true beauty of sanctity in man. And therefore the beauty and sanctity of the highest of all mere creatures, Our Lady, who, with so much and such splendid accuracy, has been and should be compared to the sky and the sea. Soul of an ineffable immensity, in which all forms of virtue and beauty exist with supereminent perfection, of which none of us can have an exact idea. Our Lady is really that sea, that sky of virtues before which man should be stuck with fright and admiration, and should try with all his strength to love and imitate.
Our Lady also possesses the same unity in the variety of the gifts God gave her. This is quite noticeable in the fact that, being one, she comes to us in an admirable variety of invocations. She is Our Lady of Peace and Our Lady of Joy, but also Our Lady of the Sorrows. She is Health of the Sick, but also Our Lady of a Good Death. All contrasts harmonize in her. She is at the same time Help of Christians and Refuge of Sinners. She is glorified by her incomparable humility, but all the seers who had the happiness of contemplating her speak of her sovereign majesty. She is presented ut castrorum acies ordinata, but at the same time she is Mater clementiæ et misericordiæ.
We could make a study of Our Lady using the same principles that we used in the analysis of the sky and sea. We can contemplate, in perfect harmony, seemingly irreconcilable contrasts, such as the same Mother we call Virgin of Virgins, we could also very licitly and validly call the Mother of Mothers.
Consecration of man to Our Lady, masterpiece of creation
If Our Lady is like this, men are obliged to consecrate themselves to her, the masterpiece of Creation, so that through her, they can love more deeply and strictly the work of God in the universe.
Now, consecration to Our Lady consists in man giving himself to her. And, since he can somehow accomplish in himself the virtues that shine in her, for man to give himself to the Mother of God means to try to imitate her and also to serve her. The understanding of Our Lady, the admiration of Our Lady, the imitation and the service of Our Lady are integral to this complete consecration to Our Lady that we truly want to realize.
Now we will pass on to a question: What influence do the conditions peculiar to life in our times exercise in the way we live our consecration? The life nowadays should be such, that the same principles of universal beauty, which ultimately revert in principles of morality and universal sanctity, should be reflected not only in souls, but in all that surrounds man.
By mysterious affinity, forms, sounds, colors and perfumes can express states of spirit in man. Therefore, it is necessary that they reflect virtuous states of spirit, so that man finds the necessary resources for his sanctification in his surroundings. They should be images of God, that speak to the senses and show him the attractiveness of virtue, and thus stimulate him to know and long for that uncreated beauty of God that he will only see face the face in the glory of heaven. To organize a temporal order that forms souls in this way and invites them to heaven – there we have a high mission of laymen living in the world.
Of course, such a temporal order would have deep consonance with Revelation, the teachings and laws of the Church, as well as with the dictates of true science. For it would be the reign of Jesus Christ, the reign of Mary on earth.
Consecration to Our Lady in our times
At this point we can ask: In our times, what does service to Our Lady mean? It means saving souls by all possible legitimate means, among which we want to accentuate one: to take all things, to order them according to this spirit and to build Christian culture and Civilization. Because, under a certain aspect, these are nothing but the disposition of things so that they reflect God in this life, and thus guide souls to eternal life. To be consecrated to Our Lady and to serve her means to sustain, to promote and to defend culture and civilization from its opponents. Culture and civilization, comparable to that precious pearl man should seek, selling all his things to purchase, these are peace on earth that the angels of Bethlehem promised to the men of good will, the only peace of Christ in the reign of Mary.
Thus, every true Third Order Carmelite who understands his consecration is not only a deeply interior man, but a born soldier of Christian culture and civilization.
Problems unique to the action of consecrated souls at the climax of the Revolution
To understand well how to serve Our Lady in our century, we must consider the circumstances unique to it.
In our days we live in a revolutionary process that began with Protestantism and humanism in the XVI century, reached a universal victory with the French Revolution in the XVIII century, and extended these principles to the whole world in the XIX century. That process now arrives to its extreme with communism. We are, therefore, at the climax of a long series of apostasies. This is the dominant note of events of our days, and of the circumstances within which the Church acts, lives and fights right now.
In other times the Church has also had opponents to face. Never, perhaps (and in this sense the papal citations are numerous enough to dispense their reading here), has she had to face such a profound assault which attacks with such furor all the points of its doctrine, its customs, its institutions and its laws. Its enemies never showed so much coherence, so much unity of objectives and so much deep-seated hatred as nowadays. So whichever the way we look at today’s scene, we must center all our perspective on this phenomenon: the centuries-old assault of the evil forces arrive today at their paroxysm.
This revolutionary process undermines and corrodes the glorious reality of Christian Civilization. Consequently we have an enemy to attack and a patrimony to defend. The patrimony is the whole immense and invaluable treasure of traditions of those 20 centuries of Christian Civilization behind us. A patrimony should not be considered as a static value, but to which, on the contrary, every century gave its contribution. We also, by our fidelity and by our life, should increase this glorious treasure. In our face is that Revolution, exactly the contrary of everything we love, and we should attack it in all its manifestations.
This is the way we explain one of the essential aspects of our apostolate, really adapted to our days. Such an aspect merits a easy explanation so that we understand well what perseverance in our consecration to Our Lady means concretely and fully. In effect, it is said that the Catholic should be a man of his time, he should be open to all progress, he should be a man as comfortable as possible with the circumstances of the times in which he lives. Nobody could say that these expressions are in themselves false. But we should be able to distinguish an intelligent acceptance full of discernment, from a simpleton, thoughtless, weak, tepid acceptance, that embraces not only the good conditions of the time, but also that Revolutionary spirit hiding even in many of the good conditions of our time. So, there are acceptances to make, we should be men of our time. But there are also categorical rejections to make. It is exactly the line dividing one thing from another that we should carefully mark.
The XIX century
In what sense can and should a Catholic be a man of his time?
Each age normally differs from the one before by correcting and wanting to correct some of its egregious defects, but oft times it departs from the previous one by disagreeing with its qualities. In relation to our proximate past, we do not, should not, and can not accept everything, but reject certain elements with discernment. For example, the past age appreciated florid, bombastic, verbose and torrential oratory at all possible occasions. A birthday, graduation, marriage, or the return from a long trip, everything was occasion for a speech. And these speeches were so standardized that there were even manuals of oratorical pieces of circumstance. These speeches could be repeated, for example, all over Brazil, from the Amazon to Rio Grande do Sul, in Portugal and the colonies.
We think that the type of romantic man who came before us was not very efficient, that his spirit was inhabited with empty dreams and an imagination on fire. He didn’t excel in the strength of his logic nor in the desire to turn his dreams into concrete facts. For us, evidently, that whole abundance of speeches is patently superfluous. The few speeches we make today should be fast and lively, in language less conventional, less rigid. For us, all the flowery rhetoric is already worn-out from use, and consequently belongs in a museum. Not one of us would be enchanted, as an old friend of mine was, on hearing a speech of Rui Barbosa on board a ship, in which, this expansive speaker used fourteen synonyms to say a same thing. All of us would be thinking of the fourteen minutes wasted, and we would be upset with that long-winded prolixity.
According to the canons of the late romantic spirit, for example, a taste for sadness was essential. According to the style in vogue, a young man should be sick and unhappy. He should let out his misery and disease on a guitar. He should exchange the night for the day. He should be one of those Bohemian debauched dreamers, so typical of the old Law School. To us today, all of that seems wrong. Without speaking of debauchery, all this glorification of melancholy, love of sickness, this mania to feel sad, seem anti-natural and ridiculous to us.
From this order of ideas we can easily pass on to another. Man’s incomprehension of the sea, for example, is flagrant for the last 120 or 130 years, and here in Brazil much more recently. Who, having the resources to build a palace the size of Catete (note: Palace in Rio de Janeiro built by a Baron of the Empire, used as the Palace of the Republic while Brasilia was built), would have constructed it like they did, facing the city and with its back to the sea, obviously avoiding the beauty of the view of the Flamengo (note: Ocean bordering region of Rio de Janeiro known for its breathtaking beaches)? They say that the same gentleman wanted to build three more mansions on the corners of the square in front, one for each of his children. So the sea, in the urban architectural concept, was completely excluded. Which of us could think we should return to that concept? The Itamarati palace (note: another palace built by the Baron of Itamarati, confiscated by the Republic and presently the Office of Foreign Affairs), which today enchants the visiting foreign diplomats, which of us, if he built it today, would bury it in the middle of Rio de Janeiro city, instead of on a pretty island, or at least on a picturesque point of the coast?
No past age can or should be untouchable. We can always, by a real progressive movement, abolish defects and improve qualities. But this is not enough. We must also remember that many of the present transformations don’t represent an intelligent work to glean and develop the traditions we inherited, but on the contrary, they constitute a clear destructive effort or a surreptitious falsification of the values of Christian Civilization.
In a letter to His Eminence Carlos Carmelo de Vasconcelos Cardinal Archbishop Mota from His Excellency Bishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, then substitute Secretary of State of the Holy See, speaking with the responsibility of his position, we can read that the contemporary world almost completely lost the Christian sense of life due to laicism. I call attention to these words. Now, we all know that a man cannot be deprived of his sense. If he loses the Christian sense, he substitutes it with a anti-Christian spirit. Therefore, almost everybody today is marked to a greater or lesser extent by an anti-Christian sense of life. Unhappily, we are children of our time. And we are everywhere unsuspectingly exposed to the risk of letting that anti-Christian sense of life seep in.
To preserve Christian tradition in Our Lady
We all are acquainted with people who think they have true Catholic spirit because once in a while they receive the sacraments and practice some pious acts. However, their ways of thinking, feeling and acting are marked by a spirit opposite that of the Church. We even find the same among pious people, albeit on a smaller scale. Consequently, we have reason to even distrust ourselves really. And we should, with the greatest diligence and fear, devote ourselves to distinguishing in our time what there is of good and bad. We are obliged to this by a holy fear of renouncing one of those Catholic traditions we received from our ancestors, and that we should transmit to posterity not only intact, but even increased.
We do well to judiciously correct the past. But to modify it without that discernment, carelessly, for any reason, and at times for the simple taste of change, this is what we should not do at all. We cannot imagine anything more opposed to true consecration to Our Lady than this lack of care to protect Christian tradition. Subsequently, if the Third Order Carmelite surrenders without criteria nor reservations to his times, he serves two masters. He is not a true Carmelite, and his consecration is not effective. Thus, although formally rejecting the idea that we should preserve the past immobile, we affirm that never, in the history of Christian Civilization, was it so difficult for someone to discriminate between the true values of the past and that which should be rectified.
A clear notion of this can be found in the illuminated words of the Holy Father Pius XII to the Patriciate and Roman Nobility, on January 19, 1944. They show well that every renewal done according to the spirit of the Church should contain a deep love for tradition. The mourned Pontiff says:
“Things of this earth flow like a river in the course of time: Of necessity the past gives way to the future, and the present is but a fleeting instant joining the former with the latter. This is a fact, a motion, a law; it is not in itself an evil. There would be evil if this present, which should be a tranquil wave in the continuity of the current, became a billow, upturning everything in its path like a typhoon or hurricane and furiously digging, by destruction and ravage, a gulf between what has been and what must follow.
“Such chaotic leaps as are made by history in its course constitute and mark what is called a crisis, in other words, a dangerous passage, which may lead to salvation, but whose solution is still wrapped in mystery amid the smoke of the conflicting force.
“Patriciate and Nobility, you represent and continue tradition.
“This word, as we well know, resounds disagreeably in many ears, and it is justifiably unpleasant when pronounced by certain lips.” These are exactly the lips, we add, of those who want to preserve the past in an impossible immobility.
“Many minds, even sincere ones, imagine and believe that tradition is nothing more than memory, the pale vestige of a past that no longer exists, that can never return, and that at most is relegated to museums, therein preserved with veneration, perhaps with gratitude.
“But tradition is something very different from a simple attachment to a vanished past; it is the very opposite of a reaction mistrustful of all healthy progress. The word itself is etymologically synonymous with advancement and forward movement – synonymous, but not identical. Whereas, in fact, progress means only a forward march, step by step, in search of an uncertain future, tradition also signifies a forward march, but a continuous march as well, a movement equally brisk and tranquil, in accordance with life’s laws,
“By virtue of tradition, youth, enlightened and guided by the experience of elders, moves forward with a surer step, and old age can confidently pass on the plow to stronger hands, to continue the furrow already begun. As the word itself implies, tradition is a gift handed down from generation to generation, the torch that at each relay one runner places in and entrusts to the hand of the next, without the race slowing down or coming to a halt. Tradition and progress complement each other so harmoniously that, just as tradition without progress would be a contradiction in terms, so progress without tradition would be a foolhardy proposition, a leap into darkness.”
Hence, our consecration during these times, our consecration to Our Lady, expressed by the effective act of profession and commemorated by the use and ownership of the scapular, is accomplished in our days by renewing souls and all the values of temporal society, so that they give glory to God within the paths of Christian Civilization, having in God its final cause, having in God its exemplary cause, in a direction that, if it is the way of true progress, for that reason, and really that reason, it is a direction indicated by the magnificent principles of Christian Tradition.