410 NH Route 4A - PO Box 420 

Enfield, NH 03748


Fr. John P. Sullivan, M.S., Director

Office hours, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Tel: 603.632.7087 Fax: 603.632.7648

La Salette of Enfield

Center for Reconciliation

410 NH Route 4A - PO Box 420 Enfield, NH 03748 

Tel: 603.632.7087 

Fax: 603.632.7648 


Office hours, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 

Director Fr. John P. Sullivan, M.S.



INTERNATIONAL NATIVITY SETS EXHIBIT
Open by appointment

Reflections from the Shrine ...


JESUS  KNEW  THE  PURPOSE  FOR  WHICH  HE CAME.    DO WE?

      Why are you here? I know you are here to come to Mass. As a good Catholic, you want to participate at Mass.  It is part of your obligation as a Catholic. But I am asking a bigger question. Why are you here in this world? For what reason are you alive and still kicking?

      Do not say it is to watch the super bowl with the Patriots this Sunday. Perhaps that will bring some excitement and enjoyment sharing the game with  family and friends. Really - what is the purpose of your  existence? Why do you have a place in this sometimes confusing but still  beautiful world? It is a fundamental  question we all  need  to answer.

      Jesus has a clear answer to that question in today's Gospel. When Simon and some of his  fellow disciples go out  looking for Jesus early  in the morning to bring him back to their village, he has a clear response.  "He  told them, 'Let us go on to the nearby villages that I  may preach there also.  For this purpose I have  come."  He had success  healing and preaching in one village. The people loved him and probably wanted him to stay. But no, it was time to go, to move  on to other places that needed his compassion and powerful  preaching.

      As one commentary says: "His ministry  is not to  restore bodies to health but to restore spirits to wholeness." Simon's mother-in-law is a good example. He healed her of her fever. However the Scripture continues:  "Then the fever left  her and  she waited on them."  Jesus attended to her physical illness but also restored her desire and  energy to  get up and serve the people in the house of her son-in-law Simon.

      We read of the enthusiasm of Saint Paul in his letter to the Corinthians to be busy about preaching to a whole variety of people, both  weak and strong:  "To the weak I became weak, to win over the  weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some.  All this I do for the sake of the gospel,  so that I too may have a share  in it."

      So I return to that important question: Why are you here?  Perhaps you are not called to preach as a priest from the pulpit with a microphone.  But as  Followers as Jesus are we not all called to preach  the Good  News by the example of  our lives? That is  true - as parents,  teachers, truck drivers, construction workers, students - no matter what is our vocation. Underneath it all, that is our purpose in life.

      Perhaps, especially as Lent approaches we too, like Jesus,  need to get away to "a deserted  place" to think and pray about that question. Why am I here?  What is the purpose of my life?

      As Lent quickly approaches, I plan on offering a Scripture reflection again, on the Mass readings, on Tuesday mornings in the cafeteria from 10 AM to 11:30AM with a coffee and snack included. If you would like to be part of it, mark your calendars and plan to attend. It will begin on the morning of February 27th and end on March 27th.

                                                                                 Father John Sullivan M.S.       


OUR LORD JESUS IS  THE REAL DEAL AND HE CALLS US TO LIVE IN  A  SIMILAR  MANNER

      A few weeks ago, on January 15th, we  celebrated the memory of Martin Luther  King. When he  stood up to speak, whether it  was at the Lincoln Memorial  where he gave his famous  "I have a Dream" speech or a Baptist  Church in Montgomery, Alabama,  people were quiet and listened. That was  because  he spoke with authority; he practiced what he preached; as  Alcoholics Anonymous says: "He did  not just talk the talk,  but he walked the walk."

      In the opening lines of today's Gospel we read:  "The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as  one  having authority  and not as  the scribes."  What was the difference between Jesus and the Scribes?  They knew the  Scriptures in their  minds and  they could  preach about  it with clarity. But often they said one thing and practiced another.  There was division between their words and their actions.

      But not with Jesus.   Even in the synagogue, a place of prayer, there  was a man with an unclean spirit.  Jesus healed him with his  brief but powerful words: "Quiet!  Come out of him." In this way  Jesus  showed the compassion of God, in both Word and deed.

        Again on the question of the great authority of Jesus, we read:  "All were amazed and  asked one another, what is this? A new  teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and  they obey  him."

      That is  because Jesus is the real deal. There  is nothing  false or duplicitous about  him. He practices what he preaches and preaches what he practices.  That is  true where ever he is,  whether in the Synagogue in Capernaum or on the hillside multiplying loaves of bread for the people to  have their strength with food  for the journey home. It is also with all types of people, be it his own disciples or the poor,  the lame, and the blind.

      Jesus gives us the tremendous challenge to live with the same  "authority" in our lives. As Christians  we need to ask  Jesus  to  heal the "unclean spirit" in our own lives - the jealousy, the resentments,  the pride  - that can so easily separate us  not only from God  but also from the people that are important to us.  Then as the healing continues to take place in our own lives by God's grace,  we are better able to  be messengers of healing to the wounded people that God sends into our lives. The refrain in today's readings  from Psalm 95 says it so well:  "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

      Just a reminder - the beginning of  Lent is  just a few weeks away.  How are you going to use this special  time of penance, prayer and alms giving to grow deeper in your relationship with God  and with others?

                                                                                    Father John Sullivan  M.S.       


THE MORE WE LISTEN TO THE  CALL OF JESUS, THE MORE  HE  TRANSFORMS  OUR  LIVES

      We are less than a month away from the beginning of Lent - which is  February 14th - Ash Wednesday. It is humorous because Ash Wednesday this year falls on Valentine's Day. The  day we begin to fast and pray with a special intensity is also the  day we honor the love of our lives, be it our spouse or a special boy friend  or girl  friend.

      However we can find  meaning  in that if we realize  that any loving relationship takes time to grow and mature, be it with a girl friend or with Jesus Himself.  True love is a lot more than flowers and a box of  chocolates. As we know, love is a decision we  need to make over and over again,  on the bright sunny days  as well as  the dark nights of strong winds and pouring rain.

      In today's Gospel we see Jesus reaching out in love to call  His first disciples: " Jesus said to them,  'Come after me, and  I will  make you fishers of men.' Then they abandoned their nets and followed him."

      It is still  a surprise to me that Jesus  chose hardworking fishermen  who were fixing their nets by the Sea of Galilee.  He did not call people with a good education or those in powerful  political positions but common fishermen. It also seems there must have  been something awesome or very compelling about Jesus. It took  only one call to leave everything, although perhaps they had some previous  contact with Jesus when they were together in the company  of John the Baptist who had recently been arrested. Looking down the road, we  see how that call of Jesus truly transformed their whole lives.  They certainly had their doubts and even later denials,  but in the end, to follow Jesus, they gave up their very lives by their own deaths on a cross.

      What about us?  Where are we in our  response to the call of Jesus Our Lord?  It is clear that the more we listen to the call  of  Jesus and obey Him, the more it really transforms our lives. Saint  Paul  gives us a wakeup call  in the second reading when he writes: "I tell you,  brothers and sisters, the time is running out……………For the world in its present form is passing away."

      We know that living a love filled life is  very difficult. But yet with all  its struggles, we also are aware that there is no better choice  to be made.  Like the hearts  so common on Valentine's Day, we know deep down in our  own hearts,  we do not have to do it alone. Jesus has all the grace we need.

      In the quiet of winter we continue to ask your prayer for the full recovery of Brother David's health and all family and friends who are dealing with health issues. We also encourage you to find  a book perhaps in our gift  shop that would make for good spiritual reading  as we begin to prepare for another Lenten Season and the new challenges of 2018.

                                                                                         Father John Sullivan M.S.     





                     The Son ...  Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial

(Second Sunday of Lent: Genesis 22:1-18; Romans 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10)

At the conclusion of the dramatic story of what transpired on a mountain in the land of Moriah, Isaac’s life is spared, a substitute is found for the holocaust, and Abraham, who was willing to offer up his beloved son at God’s command, is rewarded for his unstinting faith. In Old Testament and New Testament times, the place where it was believed Abraham went to sacrifice his son continued to be venerated. The Temple of Jerusalem was built there.

In our second reading, St. Paul alludes indirectly to another small mount within easy walking distance of the Temple. The evangelists call it Golgotha.

And on an unnamed mountain, somewhere in Galilee, Jesus appeared in his glory, along with Moses and Elijah.

These various elements all find a resonance at yet another mountain, in the French alps, called La Salette.

In remembrance of the Passion of Jesus, the Beautiful Lady wears a large crucifix on her breast. It is the brightest point in the Apparition, the source of its light. The hammer and pincers, instruments of the Passion,  draw attention to it in a unique way.

Reminding us of the covenant proclaimed through Moses, and calling us to the steadfast commitment of Elijah, she speaks in the manner of the prophets. (It is interesting to note that in 2 Peter 1:18, the place of the Transfiguration is referred to as ‘the holy mountain.’ We use the same phrase when we speak of La Salette.)

Finally, like God speaking to Abraham, Mary also makes a grand promise of hope and prosperity to those who will live by faith.

More important than any of these similarities, however, is the word Son. “Take your only son, whom you love, and offer him up as a holocaust;” “God did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for us all;” “This is my beloved Son.”

When Our Lady of La Salette speaks of her Son, it is to reproach her people for their ingratitude to him and their disrespect for his Name. We must never allow ourselves to forget that her Son is God’s beloved Son, handed over for us.

As he is at the heart of Scripture, he must be at the heart of our faith, of our way of life.  Lent is  a good time to ask ourselves if this is really the case.



                    Hallowed be...  Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial

(Third Sunday of Lent: Genesis 9:8-15; 1 Corinthians 1:22-25; John 2:23-25)

Every time we recite the Lord’s Prayer, we say, Hallowed be thy name. This is raised as a concern by Our Lady of La Salette, in two distinct contexts. First she expresses her sadness at the abuse of her Son’s name. Later, she encourages the children to say at least an Our Father and a Hail Mary in their night and morning prayers.

This is also her way of reminding us of the Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.

Interestingly, the notion of “hallow” occurs in the next commandment: Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Our Lady reminds us of this commandment as well. ‘Hallow’ and ‘holy’ are what linguists call cognate words. Like ‘strengthen’ and ‘strong,’ one is a verb and the other an adjective to express the same idea.

In the Gospel, Jesus was angry that the Temple, his Father’s house, was being turned into a marketplace. The very place that contained the Holy of Holies was not being kept holy. The sellers of sacrificial animals had forgotten God’s word to Solomon: “I have consecrated this house which you have built and I set my name there forever; my eyes and my heart shall be there always” (1 Kings 9:3).

The reading from St. Paul is from the first chapter of First Corinthians. The letter opens with Paul addressing “the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy.” Coming so early in the letter, it states the theme of much that is to follow. Later In the same letter he writes: “The temple of God, which you are, is holy.”

Without using those words, Mary surely has that same notion in mind when she speaks of “my people.” There can be no doubt that she means the people ransomed by her Son, called to be “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own” (1 Peter 2:19).

Jesus taught us to pray, “Hallowed be thy name.” This   is a promise on our part to hallow it. In that same spirit of commitment we might add:

Hallowed be thy day;

Hallowed be thy house;

Hallowed be thy people.

      

                   A Reconciling Touch   Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial

(Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Leviticus 13:1-2 and 44-46; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45)

St. Paul may appear to be vain when he writes, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” But he was, in fact, a good model of discipleship, and all of us are called, likewise, to be imitators of Christ, doing everything for the glory of God.

Very recently I met a woman who had a wooden sculpture, a gift from a missionary Sister. It was carved by a leper, who gave it to the Sister to acknowledge his special gratitude, because she was the only person who had ever touched him. She was an imitator of Christ as we see him in today’s Gospel.

His touch produced more than the physical healing. It was surely unexpected, perhaps even shocking, and, therefore, a very powerful sign, an example to follow. It was a healing and reconciling touch.

Normally we think of reconciliation as the restoration of a relationship between persons separated by some deep offense. It is, as you know, a key word in the vocabulary of La Salette Missionaries, Sisters, and Laity, who desire all to be reconciled to God and fully incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ.

How does this apply to leprosy? Apart from two clear examples (Miriam in Numbers 12, and Gehazi in 2 Kings 5), there was no offense associated with the disease.

The fact remains that, by law, as we read in Leviticus, lepers lived in a state of alienation. Unclean, they could have no association with others, and anyone who had contact with them became unclean as well, though only for a short time. That situation was here reversed. By a touch the leper was restored to health and to a normal life. He could once again enter the temple. His alienation was over. This was an act of reconciliation.

In the 1960’s the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette founded a leprosarium in Burma. Fr. William Doherty wrote: “We established a leprosarium for the many people afflicted by this dread disease—people until that time unwanted and uncared for.” This was perfectly in keeping with our mission of reconciliation. These persons, unfortunately, could not be restored to their families. But their total alienation was ended.

Not only sin committed or offense given, but any form of alienation, calls for a reconciling touch.