The first [favor I ask of God] is that you may receive the grace of rendering to the true Church that which she is owed. ... The spirit of the Savior is a spirit of peace, of love and of union; he wished that those who were his own would be completely involved by unity: he did not satisfy himself with an interior and invisible unity, he wished to establish a complete interior and exterior unity, in a way that it would be due to this visible and remarkable sign that we would recognize his true disciples. Therefore, woe to those who separate themselves or who remain separated from the rod that takes the sap to all branches! Woe to those who divide in two, or who leave divided that which Jesus Christ wished to make one.
Notice, please, that the greatest saints, and the writers of interior life, who possessed the most touching marks of the spirit of grace, were, as Saint Francis de Sales, in the Roman communion, and more prepared to die than to leave it.
The humble and peaceful souls, who live only by virtue of meditation and love, are always small before their own eyes, and enemies of conflicts; they are very far from rising up against the body of the pastors, of judging, of condemning, of insulting, as Luther and Calvin did countless times. Their style has nothing that is bitter, prickly, or scornful. They do not work for a reform that is dry, judgmental, or haughty, that aims to sever unity and to defend that the husband has abandoned the wife. If they witness abuse or superstition, they mourn sweetly: and the mourning of the dove is always discreet and modest; it mourns only for a tender and calm love. They never raise their voice in presumptuous arguments ... their voice is but love and obedience. Their interior gifts, far from inspiring in them a proud elevation and a sentiment of independence, are used only to humiliate their own selves, to make them more pliant and less sure of themselves ... .
Oh, how much they are horrified by bitter zeal and all battles of words! Instead of argument, they make use of guidance, patience, and edification; instead of speaking of God to men, they speak of men to God, so that he may touch, persuade, transform them in a way that none other can do. Prayer vanquishes all arguments. In true prayer, no one is overwhelmed by his own sentiment, each one silences his own mind. ...
Search as much as you want outside this holy unity, and you will find only haughty, contentious, and dry hearts; you will find doctors who are dried up and blinded by their own knowledge, who languish in endless disputes, who vaporize in their own reasoning ... . It is necessary to let the chaff and the wheat grow until the harvest, so that a reckless reformation will not carry away the wheat along with the chaff, so that it will not devastate instead of reform. The true Church is the one that nourishes the pure wheat along with the chaff, and that tolerates the chaff with the hope that the Lord will one day separate the pure wheat himself.
Once again, sir, it is only in the Catholic Church that you will find this prayer that you love so, and that gives you such an attraction for God. ... In the ancient Church, we calm down, we make ourselves small, we rejoin childhood by way of simplicity, we count for little, we renounce our own selves, we are the sacrifice of love. ... Only unity leads to such fruits.
Abp. F. Fénelon
Lettres sur l'autorité de l'Église (Letters on the authority of the Church)
1719 (posthumous - written between 1700 and 1711)
Omnipotens et misericors Deus, qui ad defensionem populi christiani in beatissima Virgine Maria perpetuum auxilium mirabiliter constituisti: concede propitius; ut, tali praesidio muniti certantes in vita, victoriam de hoste maligno consequi valeamus in morte. Per D. N. ...