22 years ago today, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre departed this world to meet the Savior and Judge he had so long devoted his life to serving. Twenty-two long and eventful years in a growing apostolate. Twenty-two years in which the Society he founded and formed on the principles of the Church has remained faithful to that charge. Twenty-two years of flourishing vocations, of large and generous families, of countless new missions, schools, convents, priories, and more. How does one even begin to measure the life of this great man or the debt of gratitude owed by all Catholics faithful to Tradition? The following excerpts, covering his last moments, are taken from Marcel Lefebvre: The Biography, written by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais and available from Angelus Press
“A smile…a look upon the Crucified…these were the last words of Archbishop Lefebvre. A smile…to say thank you, to reassure, to encourage others to have the same serenity, a smile of charity and attentiveness to others in self-forgetfulness. A look towards the crucifix, the last conscious gesture that his sons saw him make: the look of the adoring worshiper and priest”…
It was Monday of Holy Week, March 25, Feast of the Annunciation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the day that Heaven smiled at Earth and when hope was reborn in souls: the day of the Incarnation of the Son of God and the priestly ordination of Jesus Christ as Sovereign Priest. On this day, the soul of Marcel was judged…
So on that March 25, 1991, when God asked him what he had done with the grace of his priesthood and episcopacy, what indeed might he have replied, this old soldier for the Faith, this bishop who had restored the Catholic priesthood?
“Lord, look, I have handed on everything that I could hand on: the Catholic Faith, the Catholic priesthood, and also the Catholic episcopacy; You gave me all of that, and all of that I handed on so that the Church might continue.
“Your great apostle said, ‘Tradidi quod et accepi’ and like him I wanted to say: ‘Tradidi quod et accepi,’ I have handed on what I received. Everything that I received I have handed on.”
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