A burst of hope, Spiritual and civic reflections for the world to come
by Bishop Matthieu Rougé
Ed. from the Observatory, 124 p., € 14
Live and hope
by Bishop Stanislas Lalanne
Salvator, 102 p., € 9.80
The Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences for our confined societies inspire the French bishops. Two of them, Mgr Matthieu Rougé, Bishop of Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine), and Mgr Stanislas Lalanne, Bishop of Pontoise (Val-d’Oise) have just taken up the pen to invite hope, in books published just before a second lockdown put our activities, including spiritual ones, on hold.
The paradoxes of a crisis
Both return to the unique experience of spring 2020. “What happened to us? “, wonders in the preamble of his work the Bishop of Nanterre, suggesting that “We sinned by amnesia and pride”.
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To support his statements, Bishop Rougé quotes Maurice Druon. In an excerpt from his famous Cursed kings, the immortal describes the plague of 1348 in terms reminiscent of the experience of recent months. “The son no longer dared to visit his father, nor the father to visit his son… All those who could fled to their country palace. ” In XXIe century as in the 14the, we meet at “To fight head to head against an unidentified virus, resistant to our usual medical prowess, capable in addition to the rest of causing discord among scientists and doctors. “
The Bishop of Nanterre describes the revelations and paradoxes of this crisis, during which treasures of generosity and solidarity were deployed, but also a spirit of fear, sometimes of denunciation. The spring 2020 containment was, for some “A time of suffering, of mourning, of economic anxiety, of conjugal and family tensions, of isolation, of spiritual and friendly desert, even of depression, while, for others, it leaves the memory of a moment of grace , intellectual and spiritual deepening, renewed conjugal and family harmony, contemplation of nature, unprecedented fraternity “, he explains. A finding shared by the Bishop of Pontoise.
Find an authentic hope
Certainly, “This pandemic adds to the drama of the thousands of innocent people dying in wars, tragedies and earthquakes”, describes Bishop Lalanne. But, he adds, “What a strange wonder it is to see the dawn of new life dawning through this void, crossing the black abyss to find oneself in the dazzle of mutual aid, brotherhood, benevolence towards the other . “
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Bishop Lalanne thus returns to these spring weeks when the department of Val-d’Oise (to the limits of which its diocese corresponds), one of the most populous in the country, was also one of the most affected by the epidemic, after the Haut-Rhin and Seine-Saint-Denis. He offers a human and spiritual rereading, identifying the spiritual struggles to which we are called and inviting us to rediscover an authentic hope.