The man of the word

Blessed FredericBlessed Frederic is not a man we would call a theologian who excels at explaining the Gospel by extracting all the sense in a progressive way. No, he expresses what the Church always said, in the expression of his faith, but he does it with warmth, brightness, with passion with great confidence, according to the witnesses, in such a way that he brings us directly to Jesus of Nazareth. His life and his preaching illustrate what was said of Jesus himself: “The zeal for the house of God consumes me (John 2,17)”. The pastoral zeal of this untiring preacher finds its origin in his love for Jesus’ country. Further the secular Fraternities of Saint Francis and of their pastor who often used their visitor for entire weeks, unceasingly demand him for homilies. The summer pilgrims, come by boat or trains to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Cape and, after 1912, to the Oratory of Saint-Joseph of Mount-Royal, offered him the privileged opportunity to prolong his talks before an already captive audience.

He sends his Word; survives the thaw; He spreads his breath; eyes water
(Ps 147, 18)

Preaching at Cap-de-la-Madeleine

He could preach 100 homilies in 9 days, as he did in Cairo in 1881, and often these homilies lasted up to two hours. Sometimes, he gave as many as six homilies the same day, sometimes leading two retreats simultaneously, such as at Bordeaux and again in Cairo. He gave lengthy homilies, presided over the Mass and heard confessions, sometimes from 8 o’clock in the morning until 10 o’clock at night. Father Leandre Poirier wrote:

“If we simply stop at the feast of August 2nd, Our-Lady-of-the-Angels, or the Portioncule Indulgence, we must speak of a veritable marathon which covers the animation starting at noon on the vigil of the feast, late into the night, so that the faithful constantly renew themselves to gain the most indulgences possible, based on the number of their visits to the Church.”

Connected to an interior source

Many people are touched by the realism of his word, because the word of God is incarnate in him. It is a nuptial and mystical experience, so it is also filial. He really lives like a son of Mary. That is manifested through his obedience to his superiors, which doesn’t prevent him from being audacious. Hence, it is not a restrictive obedience, but an audacious, upsetting, imaginative obedience. Frequently, his superiors must have said: look at him, he overflows with his interior freedom and his capacity to go toward life. The people were not wrong, the simple, the little, those who have the gift to discern through him, an authentic presence of God. They never tired of listening to him. It was touching; the people were moved, they cried, the exterior healings came, but it is certain the interior healings were infinitely more numerous. He sends his word on earth, quickly his Word follows.

It isn’t surprising that with his word, he touched so many people!