Mass With the Kaiser-Karl-Gebetsliga

The Kaiser Karl Gebetsliga's German Website

The Kaiser Karl Gebetsliga’s German Website

A confrère  of mine, Pater Marian Gruber, O.Cist., is the “Stellvertretender Geistlicher Assistent” of the “Kaiser-Karl-Gebetsliga” (Emperor Karl League of Prayers), a society founded during Bl. Charles’s lifetime for the sake of praying for peace between peoples.

The Prayer-league's Facebook page

The Prayer-league’s Facebook page

At Pater Marian’s suggestion the Gebetsliga recently had a meeting here in Heiligenkreuz, at which Archduke Charles of Austria was also present. (Nor was it the Archduke’s first visit here. He has been here before, for example in 2006 when the Order of the Golden Fleece held its St Andrew’s Day Feast in Heiligenkreuz)

Archduke Charles of Austria in Heiligenkreuz, 2006

Archduke Charles of Austria in Heiligenkreuz, 2006

Pater Marian has also organized a monthly Mass for the Gebetsliga in the Giovanni Giuliani’s beautiful baroque chapel in the Heiligenkreuzerhof in Vienna. Last Thursday he invited me to celebrate Mass there.

The Chapel of the Heiligenkreuzerhof in Vienna

The Chapel of the Heiligenkreuzerhof in Vienna

The Gospel was Luke 11:47-54. I preached on the verse, “the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, will be required of this generation.” The persecution of Christ manifests that the persecution of all the prophets was really implicitly an opposition to God. But where does this hatred of God come from? I quoted the following text of St. Thomas:

Every aversion towards God has the character of an end insofar as it is desired under the notion of liberty, as according to the words of Jeremiah (2:20): For a long time you have broken the yoke, you have broken bonds, and you have said, ‘I will not serve.’ (ST IIIa Q8, A7, r.)

The intrinsic final cause of creation is the good of order. But order involves subordination, and this requires a certain self-transcendence that can be rejected. That is the root of all sin. It is the root of the hatred of God and His prophets, who appear as a threat to liberty. And it is the root of all the sufferings of Blessed Charles of Austria.

A House Built on Stone

begraebniss F-J

Today is the Feast of Bl. Charles of Austria. There is a wonderful, Christian paradox in the Benedictus antiphon that we sing on his feast. As I have mentioned before it is taken from Matthew: “Similabo eum viro sapienti qui aedificavit domum suam super petram: I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” (Mt 7,24) From a temporal point of view this is almost the opposite of the truth. It was during the blessed emperor’s reign that the House of Austria lost everything. But it is precisely in the ruin of temporal things that the foundation of Bl. Charles’s house becomes manifest: Christ the Lord.

Archduke Otto of Austria, 1912-2011

Yesterday I was in Vienna for the funeral of His Imperial and Royal Highness, Archduke Otto of Austria, Royal Prince of Hungary etc., eldest son and rightful heir of Bl. Charles of Austria, the last Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary.

Requiem fŸr Otto v. Habsburg; mit Kardinal Christoph Schšnborn & al.

One of the the most striking things about the solemn and elaborate ceremony was how joyful it was. From whence came that joy? What could be more calculated to plunge us once again into all the piled-up sadness of the 20th century – that most ruinous of all periods in the history of Central Europe – than the funeral of the head of the House of Austria who lived through practically all of it? Otto von Habsburg was still a child when the the World War shattered the “clay pot” of Austria-Hungary into dozens of unstable fragments, but he was then quite an active behind-the-scenes player in the following decades which saw the Anschluss, the Second World War, the establishment of Marxist dictatorships in almost all of the former crown lands, and the astonishing spiritual and moral decline of the West. Continue reading