Lenten Conferences of Fr. Lacordaire No. 11

by | Mar 4, 2024 | Formation

At the request of Frederic Ozanam and other university students, the Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor de Quélen, instituted the Lenten Conferences at Notre-Dame, which are still held today. The first cycle of conferences took place from February to March 1834. Father Lacordaire, who would later join the Dominicans but was then a diocesan priest, preached those of 1835 and 1836. These extracts come from those conferences.

Love produces love

Conferences of the Rev. Père Lacordaire, p. 377

Catholic doctrine appearing in the world does not say like Spartacus: “Arouse, arm yourselves, lay claim to your rights”— it says, with calm and simplicity, “Love one another.” If there is any one among you who complains that he is not loved, let him love the first: love produces love. When two shall love each other, and the joy of their hearts shall be seen, a third will come who will desire to be loved also in giving his love; and then a fourth. That which is wanting to you is not a right, it is a virtue. Now no law can give you a virtue, no victory can create it for you. If Spartacus had vanquished, the world would have become on the morrow what it was the day before: the slaves would have become masters, the masters slaves; and yet all those victors, intoxicated with the spoils of Rome, would have slain each other in the name of fraternity. A virtue is not born upon battlefields; the soul is the only ground in which God sows its seed and from which he gathers the harvest … the kingdom of God is within you; the land is your soul, and you have just received the seed; it is contained in these words: Love one another.

Jean-Baptiste-Henri-Dominique Lacordaire (1802-1861) was a renowned preacher and restorer of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in France. He was a great friend of Frederic Ozanam (in fact, he is the author of a very interesting biography on Ozanam) and very close to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Image: Lacordaire, painted by Louis Janmot (1814-1892), friend of Frederic Ozanam and an early member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

*Source: Conferences of the Rev. Père Lacordaire: Delivered in the Cathedral of Nôtre Dame, in Paris. Author: Jean Baptiste Henri Dominique Lacordaire. Translated from the French by Henry Langdon. Publisher: T. Richardson in 1853.