The Sky of Lorraine and
the Kingdom of Our Lord
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Knowing how to insert an ensemble of ideas perfectly into art and concrete things is inherent to the French way of being. Sometimes I wonder if the French people are aware of all the messages they place in the things they do; whether they intend to express those things or they just follow some rules and the good results are mere consequences.
Let us take Versailles, for example. Once when I stayed in a hotel in Versailles, I had some leisure time and used it to stroll through the lanes of beautiful maple trees on the silver sandy roads in the palace park.
Maples in Versailles Palace park
Walking along at sunset, I was impressed by the great harmony, elegance and excellence of the ensemble. I wondered whether those who built the palace fully understood the beauty they were creating there or if they were unaware of that harmony and had just applied some rules of art that normally produce beautiful things. At times I have seen French persons working and had the impression they do not entirely understand everything they do. At any rate, they certainly make beautiful things.
On that trip to Europe, my airplane was called Ciel de Lorraine [the sky of Lorraine]. I learned that other planes of Air France had been given similar names, but from other provinces of France. So, one would be called Ciel d’Auvergne, another Ciel d’Ile de France, etc. These were beautiful names. If one were to give the name Sky of Botucatu [a city in the Brazilian State of São Paulo] to an airplane, it would not be as beautiful as Ciel de Champagne. This is indisputable.
The different names suggest that the sky seen over each of the French provinces has something different about it. Each province has its own regional characteristics, its own culture, its own soul that somehow influence the way one sees the sky in that area. It is a sky seen through the eyes of a particular culture, a sky of culture. Although it is the same physical blue sky, it is different in Lorraine than in Champagne or the Ile de France.
Thus, even if we know that the sky and the clouds are the same from one province to another, it makes sense to say that there is a special sky over Lorraine that is different from the one over Auvergne.
The idea of these different skies speaks of the diversity of each province or region; each has its own cultural value, a soul with its own special significance, whose existence constitutes something essential for the integrity of a kingdom. If the kingdom were to lose that province, it would lose much more than a territory and its economic production. It would lose something that has a moral and cultural value. Should one province be separated from it, the kingdom would bleed like a body that lost an arm or a leg which was violently severed. The kingdom would remain irremediably mutilated until that part was reintegrated to the whole.
For this reason after the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, when Alsace and part of Lorraine were taken from France, the Parisian people covered the statues representing those two provinces with black mourning sashes, to be removed only when they were again returned to France. This symbolized that the whole country was mourning for the lost unity of the French soul, which was, so to speak, the substance of the unity of the nation.
Christ’s royalty over His ‘provinces’
You might ask me: What do these considerations have to do with the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ?
I have the impression that a person who is not open to understand the reality I just described will not so readily comprehend the significance of Our Lord’s Kingship over persons rather than whole territories. In this Kingship over souls, each individual, each family, each human group, each religious order, each nation has, so to speak, a different sky from which he sees Our Lord in his own way.
The French sky of Lorraine, above, differs from the sky of Auvergne, below
The harmony of all these human groups, families of souls and individual souls constitute the full Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the whole that expresses the full divine beauty of His Kingdom. As King, He defends each soul against the attack of the adversary, fully aware of the value of every single soul in the ensemble of His Kingdom. With much greater zeal than the King of France would defend Auvergne, Lorraine or another of his provinces, Our Lord defends each one of these souls. Each one of us is Our Lord’s Lorraine.
He knows that just as there is a different way to see the sky in each province, so also each individual has a primordial light through which he sees God: a unique way to contemplate Him. The horizon of spiritual and moral beauty particular to each one of us is loved by Our Lord more than any French man loves Lorraine and the sky of Lorraine.
From this we can realize that for Christ the King, the provinces and cities are men. Each time that He does not effectively exercise His royalty over a soul, each time that His Kingdom diminishes, He experiences a sadness similar to a King who is losing a province. The full horizon of the ideal beauty that should be realized is lost. But each time a soul returns to Him, He feels a contentment and joy like that of a King who re-conquers his province. This is what is being continually played out in the feast of Christ the King.
The sky of the Counter-Revolution
If there are different skies for the different families of souls, we could then ask: Which sky is the one proper to us, who are counter-revolutionaries? What is the beauty, the harmony, the light that our family of souls represents in the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ?
What special moral values are we called to represent? What preponderant virtue should we practice? What heroism, what unconditional dedication, what call to face every kind of risk, danger, effort, scorn and humiliation comprises the special vocation that Our Lord designed for this particular time and to which He has called us?
When we consider the Kingdom of Christ, we should ask ourselves: Are we fulfilling in ourselves the kingship of Christ through the queenship of Mary as we should? As Our Lord and Our Lady desire? Considering how He is so persecuted and scourged in this epoch, we should ask ourselves: Are we a consolation for Our Lord and Our Lady or do we increase their sufferings?
Even when we are not perfectly faithful and have infidelities to regret, we should have a great desire to be entirely faithful so that His Kingship over our souls might be complete, so that our sky of the Counter-Revolution might have all the beauty it was supposed to have in the full horizon of Holy Mother Church.
Each region, village and individual is called to reflect one aspect of God. Above, peasants of Bretagne
When we go to Communion, it is true that we are receiving Our Lord, but it is also true that He is receiving us. He comes planning to give us special graces so that we might accomplish what He wants from us.
How does He receive us? This is the primary question. I believe He receives us as we receive those who are less than and weaker than we are. That is, He receives us with a great joy, some sadness and much hope. Since His kingship over our souls is still incomplete He has sadness; but He is joyful because we are marching toward completion with that hope and aim.
Therefore, let us ask Our Lord through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to help us to understand all the skies of the Catholic Church, all the skies of the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and to know how our counter-revolutionary sky is placed in this ensemble. It is a most precious sky, we might say, since its guiding star is the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Understanding the graces we receive will help us to expect forgiveness and mercy and develop a respectful intimacy with Our Lord and Our Lady to ask filially for the many favors we need.
Here we reach the final point where these high considerations led us. Our final recourse to achieve these ends is to pray.
Posted February 16, 2011
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