Mateo Crawley-Boevey, Apostle of The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart
Father Mateo was a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of
Jesus and Mary. His health was restored at the shrine of the
apparitions of the Sacred Heart in Paray-le-Monial, France, and that is
where he conceived the bold plan of conquering the world, family by
family, for the Sacred Heart. Pope Saint Pius X "commanded" him to
devote his life to this work of Christian and social regeneration, and
thus the Work of Enthronement of the Sacred Heart was born. Father
Mateo's idea was that by entering a picture or a statue of the Sacred
Heart into homes, each household member would be permeated with the
love of Christ and would show it by a truly Christian family life.
Extending his zeal even further, Father Mateo asked families to mount a
successive nighttime honor guard for Jesus, King of their homes.
Beginning in 1907, he traveled all over the world for forty years,
imploring families not to leave Jesus standing on their doorstep. Until
his dying day, he issued publications and launched campaigns in favor
of reparatory Communion, daily Mass, the Rosary, and even of
recognition of the rights of Christ in the UN. He preached more than
seventy retreats in Canada alone.
Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, the great Apostle of the Sacred Heart
passed away in 1960. It is not hard to understand the impact created by
his conferences. Though this particular one was addressed to a Trappist
community, it nonetheless reveals where lies the true secret of the
most beautiful apostolate, even in the world, for all fervent souls who
do not preach but who can love, labor, pray and suffer with Jesus.
Can you be an apostle? This question asked by Father Mateo had already
been formulated in the hearts of many among us [the Trappist monks in
the Abbey of Sept-Fons], or rather in the hearts of all. Can anyone
hear of the wonders wrought everywhere by the Work of the Enthronement
of the Sacred Heart without wanting to do his little part? But what
could we do? We are contemplative religious who have little or no
relations with the outside world.
"What do you mean?" Father replied. "You have secluded yourselves for
the love of Jesus, the prisoner of love. And as a result of this
sacrifice, you would be deprived of the merits of an apostle? That is
impossible. It would be unjust. Not only can you be apostles, it is
your noble duty to be so!
"What is an apostle? A voice ringing out? Someone who bustles out?
Someone who bustles about, who creates a sensation, a sower rushing
here and there to sow the good seed? No, a thousand times no!
Converting souls, winning them for Jesus Christ, is a supernatural
work. Now, the supernatural operates only by means of the supernatural.
Knowledge and eloquence alone cannot accomplish that work. It is not
scholars or great orators that we need, especially at the present
is Saints. An
apostle is a chalice full of Jesus that pours out its overflow upon
souls. Be full of Jesus, full of Divine life, and you will be apostles.
"And where can you fill up your soul? Is it not in contemplation,
silence, mortification and prayer
things that your life is made of? Consequently, who can be an apostle
more and better than you? Far from saying that a Trappist cannot be an
apostle, I would dare to assert that no one can be one without having
the spirit and heart of a Trappist."
This was certainly not the first time anyone had spoken to us about the
fruitfulness of our way of life; but up until now, no one had ever done
it in such a limpid and convincing manner. A few examples helped us to
gain an even better insight into Father's thought.
In Switzerland a parish priest came to him and said, "If you are
looking for a soul that could help you, I know one who can.
She is a young girl whose entire body is suffering. All that she has
left is her head to think of God and her heart to love Him with. She
can't come to church because she is paralyzed, but she would really
like to meet you." Father went to see her, and he spoke to her about
the apostolate, saying, "I want you to make me a gift of your illness
and your sufferings. Are you willing to offer yourself as a victim of
love to the Divine Heart in order to be an apostle?" With signs and eye
movements, she showed that she understood, and that from then on she
would offer herself for the extension of the Work of Enthronement.
Here is another example that provides obvious proof of the tender
delicacy of the Heart of Jesus:
Father had gone to preach in Lyons. Although large crowds had come to
hear him, when it was time to leave he was
disappointed and pained, and after his Mass the morning of his
departure, he said simply to Our Lord during his thanksgiving, "Lord,
You know I am leaving with a heavy heart, because I have not met a
single soul here who is ready to pray, love and suffer for the Work. If
this Work I am preaching is to bear any fruit here, send me one of
those little and generous souls who, following the example of Sister
Therese of the Child Jesus, will offer herself up to pray, love and
suffer for the reign of Your Heart." He had said this prayer three or
four times when someone came and interrupted him, saying, "Reverend
Father, there's a poor working girl at the door, a little nuisance who
insists on seeing you and talking to you. But don't bother, I'll tell
her to go away. All right?"
"Oh no, bring her in."
And the young girl was brought in. "Father," she said, "I heard you
speaking about the Work. I would like to do something, too. If you need
a little soul who, following the example of Sister Therese of the Child
Jesus, offers herself to pray, love and suffer, please tell me."
Stupefied, Father remained silent when he saw with what eagerness Jesus
had answered his scarcely-formulated request. Thinking he had not
understood very well, the young worker started over:
"Father, didn't you understand? I would like to be a little soul like
Sister Therese of the Child Jesus, who prays, loves and suffers for the
reign of the Sacred Heart . . . Will you accept me?"
"Yes, certainly, my daughter."
"In that case, Father, come to the chapel. I'll make my oblation to
Jesus, and you will ask Him to ratify it."
Father Mateo could only bless the Lord. Now he could leave Lyons: the
Work would be accomplished because there was a soul who accepted to
pray and sacrifice herself unceasingly for the great cause. Father went
on to say:
"Sometimes people say, 'Here is what Father Mateo is doing!' How simple
can you be? Do you know who the true apostles of the Sacred Heart are,
those who work the wonders I told you about and the others, far more
numerous, that I am not at liberty to tell you about? It is these
little souls, so very simple and above all very
that I encounter everywhere: in the Court of Spain and in castles, just
as well as in little cottages and among the beggars at church doors.
These are the ones who by offering themselves as a holocaust to the
Sacred Heart in order to love, pray and suffer, are bringing about the
reign of Jesus, King of Love.
"Do you also want to be counted as an apostle? From Father Abbot to the
last Lay Brother, you can be one, but on one condition: you must be
Saints, at least through effort and sincere desire. Now you will say,
'That is very difficult, very complicated!' On the contrary, nothing
could be simpler."
And then, not without a hint of irony, Father Mateo told the Trappists
about certain biographies that seemed to have been written for the
express purpose of discouraging souls of good will. Stories of Saints
who never sleep, never eat, never drink, never have any passions or
undergo any temptations or combats, like the good foundress of a
certain congregation who, if anyone were to believe her biography, had
the genius of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the eloquence of Saint John
Chrysostom, the purity of Saint Agnes, the meekness of Saint Francis de
Sales, the seraphic soul of Saint Francis of Assisi, and on and on. And
Father Mateo added, "If all that were true, surely the Blessed Trinity
must not have known what to do when the time came to choose the Mother
of God, and no doubt He was obliged to draw lots to decide whether it
would the Blessed Virgin or that good soul.
"No, the Saints are not little Angels fallen ready-made from Heaven.
With the exception of the most pure and most immaculate Virgin Mary,
they all had to endure temptations and combats. And this ought to be an
encouragement for us. If they did it, why can't I?
"So then, what is a Saint?" continued Father Mateo. "Here is the
definition that I think is a sound one: A Saint is a person who lives
by faith and love."
Continued next page, click forward flowers.