Great Dominicans: Robert of Uzes
A native from Provence in the South of France, Robert d’Uzes was probably born in 1263. He joined the Dominican Order thirty years later in Avignon and travelled in France, Germany and Italy. But he died suddenly in 1296 in Metz in Lorraine. From 1293 until his death, he was granted revelatory graces and had visions, which he put in writing in two books, the Book of Visions and the Book of Word.
A witness of the unsuccessful attempts of the Council of Lyon in 1274 to reform the administration of the Church and of the resignation of Pope Celestine V, Robert of Uzes lived in a trouble time for the Church, stained by hypocrisy and scandals. He was very upset by these events. And that is when he had these apocalyptic visions. In one of them, he is transported in Rome and finds the city empty and dusty, because the Antichrist lives there. In another one, he has a meeting with a tattered pope, and when Robert asks him why he is so wretched, the pope answers that he has to be humiliated. In order to fight against the Antichrist, Robert was expecting an angelic pope who would be able to enhance poverty and virtue within the Church. At all time, power and wealth are always a temptation and it took enthusiastic preachers such as Robert to remind us of the evangelical precepts.
In another vision, Robert saw Jesus Christ, his face covered, so as not to remember his mercy and punish the sinners. But his mother, the Virgin Mary, intervened, so that Christ removed the veil and consented to show his mercy.
The Church is the community of the faithful, who are sinners, like all human beings. And we all have been once upset by the wrong doings of members of the Church, and perhaps firstly ourselves. But apocalyptic visions such as those of Robert of Uzes could help us to enlarge our understanding of the love of God and his plan for his Church. Did Saint Paul not pray that we may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph 3,18-19)?