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 ...

OUR CALLING IS TO "COME AND SEE" SO THAT WE MAY MORE CLEARLY KNOW OUR OWN VOCATIONS

      A few times each year our director of vocations plans a weekend for interested young men to encourage them to think  about entering our La  Salette  Community as a candidate. The weekend  is called "Come and See" based on the response that Jesus gives to two disciples thinking about following him as it is described in today's Gospel.

      We are like those two disciples who perhaps want  a closer relationship with Jesus but  we are not sure where to begin. That is why the question of Jesus is so important: Jesus  turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?"

      What is our heart telling us?  Can we listen to our own soul's response to the question:  "What do I want to  do  with my life?"  It is  a question that cannot be ignored if we want to have a real purpose in our lives. The response of  Jesus to the disciples who want to know where Jesus is staying is the same answer he gives to us: He said to them, "Come, and you will see."

      The two disciples were probably Andrew and John, two fishermen, the first disciples called by Jesus. The Gospel says simply: "so they went and saw were Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day." It made such an impression, that day he first really met Jesus, he even recalled the time of day: "It was about four in the afternoon."  We too remember places and details when we meet someone who deeply influences our lives.

      So that is also  what  we can do. I encourage you to spend more time with Jesus - perhaps in quiet prayer, reading the Scriptures, or simply reflecting on Jesus' profound question: "What are  you looking for?"  I suggest that you also talk to a good friend who knows you and who you deeply respect. Perhaps that person can help you decide or "discern" what is the purpose of your life.

      We can take the example of Samuel in the first reading. Several times, God calls him during the night but he does not know it is the Lord till Eli the Prophet tells him to say when he hears God's voice: "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

      Those weekend experiences for the young men can have long term consequences as they think about their future vocations.  So too, each of us has our own vocation to be clarified day by day in our relationship with Our  Lord and with our Church. That is why that question of Jesus really  deserves our thoughts,  our prayer, or simply deeper reflection:  "What  are you looking for?"

       With that thought in mind,  I remind you that we still  have our traveling vocation kit for that person or family that would want to take it home with them for the week to pray for vocations in the privacy and the holiness of your own homes. If you are interested,  please speak to any member of the staff and we will see that you are able to borrow our "kit."

                                                                                          Father John  Sullivan  M.S.


THE  FAMILY IS THE SCHOOL OF LOVE AND OF LIFE AS WELL AS THE FOUNDATION FOR OUR SOCIETY

      It is amazing to think about, but so much  of our  knowledge of Jesus comes from only three  years of public  life. That extends from his baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan to his crucifixion and death on the  cross and his glorious resurrection. What about the other thirty years he spent growing up in Nazareth as part of the  Holy Family with Mary  and Joseph?

      Just as we are all profoundly influenced by our own families as we grow up and move away from home, so too we can learn a lot about Jesus from meditating on those thirty years.  That is why the Church is wise to offer us this  Feast of the Holy Family as a reminder that the family is the school of love and life as well as the foundation of our society.

      Today's Gospel ends with Mary and  Joseph returning to Nazareth after presenting  Jesus as a little baby in the temple in Jerusalem. The last sentence gives us much to reflect  on: "The child  grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor  of God was with him."

      One  commentary I  read  raised some good questions:  "How  many of  us imagine  Jesus  as a toddler, or as a young  boy? Would he  have had to ask questions?  to  learn? Certainly  so. Jesus was fully human. To be so meant he had to learn. He grew and became strong. He reached maturity. He was not  a divine puppet on the human stage, but he was a real  human being, born into a family,  and raised to maturity."

      What does  that say about  our  own families?  Do we think  about how in our own families, we can influence one another for bad  or for good? The ideal of course is to offer one another the selfless and  unconditional  love that Jesus  offers to  each of  us.  The Holy  Family  is a model  for our families  as  we struggle together to adapt and cherish one another with all  our gifts as  well as our shortcomings.

      Children too can be their parents'  best  teachers of love and  generosity.  They  can reveal to us the wonder of creation and move us to gratitude for everyone and everything God  has made. The prophetess Anna in the Gospel  also has much to teach us as a widow and as an eighty four year old woman. She reminds us that our families need to include the single, widowed,  or childless. 

      That is why all the  readings in today's liturgy have much to teach us  about the importance and the dignity of the family. With all its challenges, the family plays a big part in shaping who we are and what  we  want to be as  disciples of the Lord.

       Tomorrow,  Sunday, we also  celebrate another beautiful feast: the  Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  We will celebrate Mass 6:30 PM on Sunday  evening. That would be an excellent way to begin the New  Year as we reflect  on Mary and the hope  she brings us for 2018.

                                                                                        Father John Sullivan  M.S.    


                           MARY'S  EXAMPLE SHOWS  US  THAT  "NOTHING  WILL  BE IMPOSSIBLE  FOR GOD."

            On this last Sunday  before Christmas,  the example of Mary can be such  a great help to aid us in preparing our hearts, our minds.  our very souls for the coming  of  Christmas.  The birth of Jesus approaches once again in our homes,  our Country, our  whole world. 

            Mary was born as a Jewish  country  girl in a small  Galilean town  at the very bottom of the social ladder of her time.  God who  created  all things  makes  the fulfillment  of His promise            dependent on one of the  most powerless of His creatures. As one  Scripture commentary reads:   "Yet God  exalts her  humility, her simplicity,  her trust in his love and  mercy; in Mary, God reveals his "favor" for the  poor, the  rejected, the abandoned, and the forgotten among us today."

              "The Holy Spirit  will  come upon you, and the power of  the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child  to be born will be called  holy, the Son of God."  Mary  is not afraid  to ask the angel how this can be.  She receives  her answer that forever  transforms the world.

               Mary's response  to God's  wonderful  plan stands as  an example for each  of us to participate in God's hope for our world: Mary  said, "Behold,  I  am the handmaid of  the Lord. May it  be  done to me according  to your word." 

                That is the extraordinary  fact to  remember at this special time of year. Not only Mary, but  each one  of  us is  special.  Each of us  has received the Holy Spirit on the day of our Baptism. Consequently, like Mary, we are  called  to be messengers, to do great things  for Our Lord with the testimony of our own lives in our  relationships with God and one another.

                The  angel Gabriel assures Mary to have confidence in God by telling her  that her own cousin Elizabeth who was thought barren in her old age, shall conceive a son:  "For nothing will be impossible for  God."

                 Let those  words  also be an encouragement for us.  Although we may  not  have much education or be of  advanced aged ourselves  in our years,  God  has  great  confidence in each  one of us to proclaim The Good News of God's love  by our own loving actions. That is because: "Nothing  will be impossible for God."

                   Tomorrow is Christmas  Eve.  We will be celebrating  Mass at 6:30 PM as  we begin by putting the Baby Jesus outdoors in the  manger. May Mary and  Joseph's love, together with our own, keep Him warm.

                                                       
                                                                 Father John Sullivan  M.S.      
 





                 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.



  Purpose in Life  Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial

(Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Job 7:1-7; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39)

“Woe to me,” writes St. Paul, “if I do not preach the Gospel.” He is not complaining, just stating the fact that this responsibility, laid on him without his being consulted, had become the all-consuming purpose of his existence.

Jesus says something similar:  “For this purpose I have come,” namely his preaching.

Job takes us to the other extreme. His life has become a drudgery, and he finds no purpose in it. He expects that he will never know happiness again.

The tears of Mary at La Salette, such a beautiful and powerful image, are troubling in a way. They can make us repent our sins; that is good. But some wonder how Mary, in heaven, can experience unhappiness.

And yet she talks about the trouble her people’s infidelity have caused her personally: “How long a time I have suffered for you! … You pay no heed… You will never be able to recompense the pains I have taken for you.” More than a sign of unhappiness, her tears are a sign of her compassion, which she cannot possibly have set aside in heaven.

Peter’s mother-in-law can help us understand the situation. Once healed, what does she do? She waits on Jesus and his companions. In her illness she was, so to speak, enslaved and without purpose. The Lord restored her to her dignity as the lady of the house. Her honor lay in honoring her guests. The same could probably be said of all the persons Jesus cured that day, especially those he delivered from demons.

The purpose of the Beautiful Lady is the same: to restore us to our dignity as Christians. She came to speak to those who were Catholics in name only—including Mélanie and Maximin. Were they even aware of the promises made on their behalf at baptism?

We might paraphrase St. Paul and the message of La Salette together by saying, “Woe to me if I do not live the Gospel.” Mary lists her people’s woes, the consequence of their religious indifference.

In 1980, St. Pope John Paul II issued a challenge to the Christians of France: “France, eldest daughter of the Church, are you faithful to your baptismal promises?”

Indeed, what purpose can Christians find in not living and practicing their faith?

 


              Mensaje Urgente   Father Rene Butler M.S. La Salette Provincial

  (Tercer domingo del Tiempo Ordinario  Jonás 3:1-10; 1 Corintios 7:29-31; Marcos 1-14-20)

 A lo largo de los siglos, mucho más de cien fechas fueron predichas para el fin del mundo por un número interesante de personas: San Martin de Tours, el Papa Silvestre II, el artista Sandro Botticelli, Martin Lutero, Cristóbal Colón, y una horda de famosos o desconocidos pronosticadores. Ninguna de esas profecías se cumplió. ¡La más reciente fecha predicha fue hace solo hace cuatro meses!

Jonás entra dentro de esta categoría. Él era un profeta verdadero, enviado por Dios, para proclamar ante los ninivitas que su tiempo llegaba a su fin. Pero en el capítulo 4 del libro de Jonás, el profeta culpa a Dios por haberlo enviado y hacerlo pasar por un tonto.  Él sabía desde el principio, y lo reclama, que fallaría y que Dios se echaría atrás con el castigo con el que había amenazado.

Pablo escribe diciendo que el tiempo se acaba. María de La Salette dice: “Si mi pueblo no quiere someterse, me veré forzada a dejar caer el brazo de mi Hijo, es tan fuerte y tan pesado que no puedo sostenerlo más”. Ambos parecen hablar con una cierta urgencia amenazante.

Podemos decir que María en La Salette esperaba la misma clase de fracaso por el que Jonás pasó. Ella no quería que sus predicciones sobre el hambre y la muerte de los niños se cumplan. Ella nos ofreció una alternativa. ¡Nunca es tarde! La transformación es siempre posible.

Jesús da comienzo a su ministerio público proclamando un tiempo de cumplimiento y llamando a su pueblo al arrepentimiento. No hay nada amenazador en esto. Aun así, Jesús está anunciando el fin del mundo – ¡tal como lo conocemos! Un tiempo de transformación ya llega. Esto es lo que San Pablo quiere decir cuando escribe que “El mundo es su forma actual está pasando”

No tenemos manera de saber por qué Simón, Andrés, Santiago y Juan dejaron todo para seguir a Jesús. Una cosa es cierta: era el fin de su mundo tal como ellos lo habían conocido. Convertirse en discípulos de Jesús cambió dramáticamente sus vidas en toda forma imaginable.

Para nosotros, como para ellos, el encuentro con Cristo nos cambia inevitablemente, y no solamente una vez sino una y otra vez. Pero a veces nos resistimos al cambio y necesitamos ser llamados o desafiados nuevamente. Es ahí donde el mensaje de La Salette encaja. Nos hace falta una Bella Señora, o alguien que la ama, para hacerlo conocer.