His books are a hit! In a few weeks, the first edition was exhausted. Would Léandre Lachance, a business leader nearing retirement, move from the business community to that of best-selling authors? The title of his work: For the Happiness of My Own, My Chosen Ones – Jesus does not leave any room for speculation about the adopted literary genre. It would be a collection of presumed “messages” of Jesus captured during the author’s daily meditations. Nothing less!
But Léandre Lachance did not fall on his head. I was able to realize this during the interview he gave me in his comfortable condo, with a splendid bucolic view of the Sherbrooke golf course.
A calm, confident, practical man who, at the height of his career, ran various businesses, including an insurance brokerage of more than a hundred employees and twenty offices. The character thus has his feet firmly anchored on earth. And he has no symptoms of mystical delirium.
Dictation or inspiration?
I still asked him how a man like him, used to dealing material and financial affairs, could come to receive “messages” from the Lord? And right now, he corrects me.
“I do not claim to receive messages from the Lord. I think I was inspired to write. “
The nuance is important. An analogy drawn from the professional context of Mr. Lachance allows us to understand this nuance. In prophetic communications, the situation of the divine “instruments” could be compared either to the stenographer who takes a dictation, or to the collaborator to whom his boss entrusts the drafting of any report.
In the first case, the secretary’s job is to reproduce a speech textually. In the second, the collaborator will compose a text himself that accurately reflects the thought of his boss.
It goes without saying that the contribution of the latter to the final text is considerable compared to the mechanical reproduction of the stenographer. Transposed into mystical terms, this type of prophecy requires more advancement in the spiritual life and, as a corollary, involves more responsibility of the author both in the literary form of his writing than in the possibilities of error.
Obviously, Monsieur Lachance’s celestial symposia are similar to the second type. But our author is modest. While admitting the importance of his contribution to the composition of his work, he refuses to attribute any merit to it that comes from a privileged relationship with the Lord.
His books, he says, come from a heart to heart:
“I am convinced that the communications that I have had with the Lord are possible to anyone who prays and remains attentive to Him.
A work of the Spirit
But what assures you that this is truly the Lord, I asked him?
“I admit that I had doubts at first. Between imagination and divine inspiration, the margin can be thin. What led me to believe in inspiration is the indescribable peace I feel every time I stand before the Lord to listen to Him. And then, when I reread my text, sometimes even years later, I find the same peace that I feel when I write. I never heard a voice speak to my physical ear. It is in pure faith, as the Lord told me, that He wants to lead me. Another sign that told me I could trust the inspiration I feel is that writing has always been a difficult experience for me. Normally, I do a lot of erasures and rewrite, again and again. But my books were entirely written without erasures, in one stroke of inspiration. “
All the same, I objected, when you write under inspiration, you speak in the name of God. Do you not think that’s a bit daring?
“It is in faith that I do it. Whether in the name of Jesus or Mary, I simply let myself be guided to express what the Spirit inspires in my heart. The key to this inspiration is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit wants to take more and more space in us. I think that’s one of the signs of the times in which we are. We are at a time when grace abounds in anyone who listens to the Holy Spirit. “
The fruit of consistency
Such docility to the Spirit did not happen overnight. The Sherbrooke businessman quickly evokes at my request the major stages of his journey.
“All my life, I have been a believer. Religious practice has always been important to me. In the sixties, I was involved in Catholic Action movements. “
The entrepreneur then suffers a lot, he says, “from the collapse of social and religious values”. He is sorry to observe a dramatic erosion of structures, both in the Church in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council and in Quebec society then in the midst of the “quiet revolution”.
In the Church, he sees with anguish the priests abandoning their priesthood, the nuns leaving the communities, the couples separating. But the committed layman is careful not to associate these defections with the Council itself.
“I have always lived well with Vatican II. The transformation that took place in the Church, I did not have any problem with that. Where I had more difficulties in this respect in the sixties, was rather on the side of our society where we have applied ourselves – and we continue to do so – to attack the Church on all fronts. For me, it is a blatant injustice, for example, that men and women of the Church who have devoted their whole lives to education without receiving a real remuneration are being accused of keeping the people in ignorance. “
Love of Church
But Mr. Lachance isn’t just complacent towards the Church here. He believes that before Vatican II, it was too far from our people. And he believes that to fit into the guideline printed by the Council, it had to begin a serious shift “to get closer to the people.”
He regrets, however, that we swung to the other extreme of the pendulum and that “we let the thoughts of the world invade the Church. And our Church must not be there to please the world. It is here to please God. It is there to lead her children to God and not to do the will of the world. If I have a grievance to express inside my Church, it is this one. “
That said, the author of the religious best-seller immediately hastens to affirm unequivocally his complete submission to the institution founded by Christ.
“I want to be very faithful to my church and I love it very much. I am well aware that we are living a difficult time in the Church. Our priests and bishops are the pillars of our Church. And I think that when the pillars are weakened, it’s not the time to batter them. We must rather love them and show them appreciation. “
In your books, you often mention the advent of a new Church. Does this mean that our present Church is destined to be replaced one day by a new ecclesial structure, I asked him?
“When I speak of a new Church, it is very important to understand that it is not in any way a parallel church or a church on the sidelines of our present church. It is a renewed Church, as it has been renewed many times in history. This renewal is very present now in the Church. Some 25 years ago, I attended a lecture by Marcel Clément during which he prophesied that the Lord would remake all the fabrics of his Church by micro-Christendom. I see that this is really happening right now. All these prayer groups that are radically engaged in a process of faith is our hope. This is what it is, the new Church! “
A renewal that begins to manifest itself to him in the late sixties at the height of his spiritual depression. His desolation turns into joy when small groups of prayer arise everywhere. This is the beginning of the Charismatic Renewal.
“I did not participate directly in this movement,” he says, “but later, I had the opportunity to experience some of the things that can be linked to this renewal, especially in the Catholic movement of businessmen, ACWC (Association of Christian Witnesses in their Company). “
Mr. Lachance then experiences a deeper awakening of his faith. On many occasions, he sees that the Lord is present in his life.
“I have always sought to situate myself in the Lord’s will, even though I am not sure that I always did what He wanted,” he laughs.
A decisive choice
But the decision that has been decisive in his spiritual life dates back ten years. He and his wife then journey in the faith with a prayer group. Among them, some are challenged to devote a whole day of the week, on Wednesday, to prayer.
Léandre is invited by a retired man to participate in this movement. The spirit of the process was to compensate the Lord for the violations of sabbatical rest. Wednesday was chosen precisely because it disturbs more, in the middle of the work week.
“My first reaction was to answer no, because of my professional obligations. But later, another man, who was not retired, unlike the first one, offers me the same invitation. I then wondered if it was possible that the Lord was asking me to do that! I often told Him: “Ask me what you want and I will do it”. And there, could it be that my first reaction, when He was actually asking me something, was to answer no? “
Léandre then presents the fleece of Gideon (see Jug 6: 36-40). He asks the Lord for a sign that He is really calling upon Him, “not a ‘little’ confirmation but a solid confirmation, undeniable”, he exclaims.
“At that time, I was CEO of my company. I really did not see how I could devote a day to prayer in the middle of the week, in the heart of overflowing activities. I still told the Lord that if He wanted my Wednesday, He had to make sure that no one asked me for an appointment for the following Wednesday and, secondly, that I did not have any uncompleted files on Tuesday night.”
“The next Tuesday, I see that my desk is clean. I check my calendar and I have no appointments the next day. I had just got my answer, I was trapped! Never mind ! Let’s make the best of this situation, he said to himself.
He can take the opportunity to take a day off in the countryside with Elisabeth, his wife. They will be able to join the prayer group during the afternoon and have a good meal in a tête-à-tête at the restaurant during the evening.
But when he proposes Elisabeth this pretty program, she tells him that she does not need to ride an hour and a half on the highway to pray and that she can pray at home. He tells her what had happened and makes her understand that he had no choice. She answers: “But go! “
“So, on a sunny Wednesday morning in August, I swallowed an hour and a half of highway to go to pray. I do not know if you can guess what happened in my head during the trip! I thought I had gone crazy. I thought of everything I could have done if I had stayed in the office. Finally, it was a very beautiful day. And it was the case, three consecutive Wednesdays.
So, I understood. For twelve years, I have been faithful to Wednesday prayers with my wife and other prayers, until the mission of the Chosen Ones of Jesus took flight, forcing me to give lectures and retreats. . Since then, I had to make 30 trips to Europe as part of this mission. I think that giving my Wednesday to prayer has been an important decision for my spiritual life. It was also a great thing for my health and to prepare for my retirement.”
The total “Yes”
In your books, you often return to the importance of giving an unconditional and irrevocable YES to the Lord to progress in the spiritual life. When we read your book, it seems easy. You yourself seem to answer yes invariably to the Lord. Is it really so easy to always say yes?
“The most difficult part, I think, is that you also have to say no. We cannot say yes to the Lord and not say no to things that are contrary to Love. One cannot say yes to the Lord and say yes at the same time to all the currents of thought of the world. To say yes, we must first agree to say no, and that is the most difficult thing. If you want to live a more intimate life with the Lord, you have to decide, for example, not to be bothered by television. But after making the decision to just watch the news, we realize that it is not that difficult. We even find ourselves very well. “
How to discern the will of God, once one has excluded moral faults, I objected? How to understand His plan about us in the details of everyday life?
“On several occasions, I have been able to verify that the Lord speaks to us. It is about being attentive in prayer and attentive to events. And you have to be ready to accept the answer. When we are ready to accept the answer, no matter the direction, whether yes or no, we can understand His will.”
But what’s the matter, I exclaimed! What does the Lord want from us? Is He really fabricating us? Does He not have a big job before Him to be able to shape us in His image?
“What I understand is that the Lord wants to transform us so that we become beings of love. I think this is the true plan of the Lord. Jesus taught us to pray to God Our Father, saying, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth.” His reign and his will for us today is that love reigns on earth. And we are close to this time when love will reign on earth. But for love to reign, we must accept to be transformed by Him. Everyone in particular. There is no other way to transform the world than the transformation of hearts.
More than twenty years ago, a collaborator and I realized that if there were no conversion of hearts, society would be done for. There are no human capacities capable of reversing the situation. We are witnessing this state of affairs more and more at the moment. I’m talking about everything happening in the world.
The twentieth century has been a century where emphasis has been placed on the power of man. We believed in the power of man and we put all our trust in the power of man … to realize, at the dawn of the third millennium, that we cannot do it.
So, it is urgent that we realize that this does not work. And it urges that we decide to put our trust in God. And when we have put our trust in our Creator, He can change our hearts. He will be able to complete His creation and finally realize His plan of love that passes necessarily through the heart of man. “
By Paul Bouchard
(Published in the New Catholic Informant of December 26, 1999 – taken by the same author May 3, 2012 and adapted by the Foundation of the Chosen Ones of Jesus.)
3 volumes of “For the Happiness of My Own, My Chosen Ones – Jesus”