Homilies of Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly of Conakry, Guinea
Here are excerpts from two brilliant homilies given by Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly, of Conakry, Guinea, during our week of study and Congress. First on Sept. 3, at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Marieville (a town next to Rougemont):
Put out into the deep water
Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly
I thank the Lord Who gave me the opportunity to participate at this important Congress — a Congress that commits us even more to the fight against the scandal of poverty, through the knowledge, diffusion and application of the social doctrine of the Church.
I also thank His Eminence Bernard Cardinal Agre, for having strongly recommended that the Pilgrims of St. Michael invite me to this international congress. With this invitation, the Pilgrims of St. Michael have opened up to my dear country of Guinea.
I also thank the Pilgrims of St. Michael for the invitation, the welcome and the rich teaching I am receiving during this congress on social credit and the necessity of changing the present financial system. I am comforted by the faith and commitment of the Pilgrims of St. Michael in their service to the poor, and in their volunteer work…
In thinking of my country and above all, of those who live in extreme poverty, the Gospel of today inspires me in two ways, two attitudes. Firstly, it inspires me with prayer. "Since the day that we have heard about your faith in Christ, we do not cease to pray for you", said St. Paul to the Colossians (1, 3-4). The present financial system can only be changed with prayer, just as certain demons can only be vanquished with prayers, according to the recommendations of Jesus to His Apostles. What is impossible to men is possible for God.
We are then invited to pray to exorcise the demons that pervert the heart and spirit of those who support the present financial system, to stop them from being intrepid and disinterested servants of the common good. We are invited also to pray for the commitment of each and every person as servants of the common good, without waiting for things to be decided by higher authorities. We are invited to pray that we all (in particular those unable to read or write, the people of the informal sector, the peasants, etc.) are respected and listened to in every country because if they understand everything, if they are enlightened and formed, they will want to make a personal effort. They should also be sure of profiting from the fruits of their work and efforts.
Second attitude: perseverance in work. "After having taught the crowds, Jesus said to Simon: ‘Put out into the deep water and cast your nets once again to catch’ " (Luke 5, 4-5). The Louis Even Institute has been battling the scandal of poverty for 70 years by teaching the application of the social doctrine of the Church and social credit. Others have only been working a few years or months. To each of us the Lord Jesus says: "Put out into the deep water." Put out into the deep water, and do not be blocked by the moment. Put out into the deep water and cast your nets, even if you have made efforts that have not produced fruits, like Pierre and his companions who toiled all night without finding any fish.
Put out into the deep water while looking towards Mary, the Star of the sea. I am thinking of this beautiful exhortation of St. Bernard: "Whoever you may be, you are tossed on the waves by gales and storms more than you walk upon dry land; do not turn your eyes from the beam of this star if you do not wish to be swamped by the storm! If the winds of temptation engulf you, if you are running onto the rocks of adversity, depend upon the star, call upon Mary… Following her, you will not stray; praying to her, you will not despair; reflecting upon her, you will not go wrong. With her taking your hand, you will not fall down; with her protecting you, you will not fear; with her leading you, you will not grow weary; with her favour, you will accomplish your goal."
May the Virgin Mary accompany us during this Congress and may God bless us in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Archbishop Coulibaly concelebrating Holy Mass in Marieville on Sept. 3, 2009
Archbishop Cloulibaly’s homily on Sept. 5
And now, excerpts from Archbishop Cloulibaly’s homily on Sept. 5 in St. Michael’s parish church in Rougemont:
This Saturday in ordinary time, the Church gives us the possibility to celebrate in memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary because there is no other particular feast day. This tradition invites us to renew our faith and hope in Mary on Holy Saturday. To be invited to celebrate in memory of Mary is to put ourselves under her guidance, and to know and proclaim Jesus Christ to the world. To put ourselves under Mary’s guidance is to contemplate her as the Model of hope at the foot of the Cross of Jesus. It is to rediscover with her, Jesus, the Son of God that she carried, listened to and accompanied all the way to the Cross.
To put ourselves under Mary’s guidance is to learn compassion from her: it means to feel bad when someone else does not feel well; to be in solidarity with those who suffer; to do all that is possible so that every man and woman goes from a life condition that is inhuman to a human one. We read this in Evangelii Nuntiandi (of Pope Paul VI), in Paragraphs 25 and 30. The culture that was put in our hearts by the Holy Spirit should become action in favor of men and women; and above all the poor. In other words, we should become the arms and hands of Jesus to caress and consol every man, especially the poor. Our charity should always be visible and alive; it should hear all men and women, especially the poor. It is under Mary’s guidance that we will be able to follow the mission of Jesus in preaching the Gospel, the liberation of man from all types of slavery and the renewing of our dignity as sons…
"Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel", writes St. Paul. (1 Cor. 9:16.) To follow the mission of Jesus today means to live the Gospel, to be a witness with all our life. Pope Paul VI says again in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Paragraph 41: "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. St. Peter expressed this well when he held up the example of a reverent and chaste life that wins over even without a word those who refuse to obey the word. (cf. 1 P3, 1). It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words, by her living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus – the witness of poverty and detachment, of freedom in the face of the powers of this world, in short, the witness of sanctity."
This is for me the eloquent and luminous testimony of the Pilgrims of St. Michael that I am discovering in this year of grace 2009: pilgrims who advance each day with courage in risking their lives, because they are like little Davids, fighting the huge Goliath. Pilgrims who are ready to die to liberate the poor and to help them to stand. Pilgrims who are decided each day to pursue the battle up to the moment when God will get rid of their bodies of flesh to assume them into eternal glory…
This discovery of the Pilgrims of St. Michael leads me to make my own these words of the venerable Louis Even: "The good God takes care of us when the hour has come for Him to intervene. In our country and all countries of the world, we know that today the people are suffering; we could say that it is the hour of God, who put Social Credit on our path."
For my part, all the days of my life, I will bless the good God for putting this on my path. I will always remember the rich and wonderful days of September 2009 in Rougemont and I will put even more effort, once back in my own country, in the service of the social doctrine of the Church and social credit. May the Virgin accompany us on the road of the liberation of man and may she support our efforts every day for the glory of God and the salvation of man, today and forever and ever. Amen.