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 ...

                                                    

                                            WE HEAR WITH OUR EARS BUT WE LISTEN WITH OUR HEARTS

   In the parable today of the sower  going out  to sow the seed, I think of the rich land all around this beautiful Shrine. Our maintenance  person puts in a lot of time and effort mowing that rich  green grass; the flowers are so varied and beautiful up by the replica of the Apparition or simply the roses as we enter the Church; and the trees are so full and lovely in their canopy of  leaves and pine needles.

      We know the parable is explaining the importance of listening  to the Word of God. It falls  on bare ground, rocky  ground, soil cluttered with thorns  and finally rich soil. The message is asking us what is the condition of our hearts……. do we have rich soil or hard ground?   There is a great deal of wisdom in saying that we hear with our ears but listen with our  hearts. We can often hear the words that a person is saying but if we immediately  criticize what he or she is saying, are we truly listening to that person?  It is easy to hear but it takes self-discipline and a lot of patience  to really listen.

      In the opening lines of the Gospel,  Jesus is speaking to such a large crowd that he needed to get into a boat and pull off a short distance from the shore  so that everybody could hear him. So that means there was a great variety of persons;  Pharisees, faithful disciples, and probably some curious bystanders.

      Where do we fit into the crowd?  First of all, to truly listen to God's Word at Mass, it helps if we read it before we come to Mass or reflect on it after Mass.  Otherwise we can be like that bare ground; with all the distractions in our heart, nothing sinks in.

      Or else we need to remember that God speaks to us through other people.  Do we truly listen to other people, perhaps members of  our own family?  Do we put  them in boxes, having already concluded  what they are trying to say even before they finish speaking; so we are like that rocky ground  that chokes off the meaning of their words almost as soon as they have spoken.

      And finally can we listen to our own heartfelt  thoughts and feelings  without letting  them be covered over by our fears and anxieties of what other people might think or say? Jesus has a powerful message for us today.  Ask Him to teach us how to listen to Him, others, or even our deeper selves with a heart open,  like the rich soil on the hillside of our lovely Shrine.

      We have many summer activities coming up in the approaching weeks. This weekend we have Fr. Pat's concert  on Saturday and the Healing service on Sunday.  Next weekend  we have the parish picnic on Sunday starting at 12:30 PM  together with Saint Helena's and Saint Mary's. And at the end of the month we can participate in the Enfield Old Home Days.

                                                                                          Father John Sullivan M.S.


                                                    KNOWING JESUS IS KNOWING THE FATHER

      After the Mass at 11:00 AM as you know we always have a reception in the cafeteria  for those people who want to share with us some conversation along with snacks and drinks. I do not worry about preparing such a setting.  My focus is the Mass, thinking about the homily and preparing the gifts. The "burden" of preparing the cafeteria  I confidently leave in the hands of the La Salette Associates who never let me down.

      So although I use the word "burden,"  it is not a burden to me because others have shared the responsibility in preparing  such a meeting.  There are many burdens that we carry that are  made lighter because we share them with others, be it taking care of our children or grandchildren, preparing a meal, or simply washing the dishes after the meal.

      In today's Gospel Jesus says:  "Come to  me, all you  who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest…… for my yoke is easy, and my burden light."   What is  the "burden" that Jesus is referring  to?  It is to know fully that God is our Father.  Does He love us completely even when we are unloving, not only to God  but also the people around us, members  of our own family?  Often our greatest burden is ourselves,  which is putting up with ourselves with all our lack of love for God, others, and even ourselves.

      That is why these words of Jesus can be so comforting and consoling: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes  to reveal  him."  Jesus wants so much to help us overcome all our burdens or our fears of God our Father, to draw close to our Father in an intimate bond of love. In knowing Jesus we also know the Father. We know Jesus through the Scriptures, the Sacraments,  the loving relationships we have with other people. Jesus clearly shows us, God our Father is not to be feared, but to be fondly embraced  as Abba - Daddy.  God the Father is the center of Jesus' life, from a twelve year old boy in the Temple, to His teaching us how to pray, to His dying words on the cross: 'Into your hands Father  I commend my spirit."

      Jesus wants us to be one with Him in that love, in that one lifelong  mission.  But how do we achieve that?  Humility, again I repeat, humility. "You have revealed them to little ones " or, "for I am meek and humble of heart." We need to become child-like, trusting, as when a child puts his hand in the hand of his father or mother before crossing a busy street. Then we will  understand how we can be freed of our burdens. There still will  be many challenges in daily life but we have Christ's assurance: knowing Jesus is knowing the Father.  

                                                                                            Father John Sullivan M.S.


               WHEN JESUS IS THE VERY CENTER OF OUR LIVES , WE ARE TRULY IN BALANCE

      One of the most widely known or recognized saints in our contemporary world is Mother Theresa of Calcutta, India.  Just about everyone knew of her, not just Catholics but people of all religions, be it Hindu or Christian, Jewish or Buddhist. Why?  Because Jesus was the center of her life. She saw Jesus in everyone, especially the poor and dying, but also the politicians and the Pope.  She was not afraid to talk about Gospel values anywhere. Consequently when she was asked to speak at Harvard University, she spoke of the defense of the unborn and the sanctity of life.

      Like her, if Jesus is truly the center of our lives, we are going to live love filled lives. It will not be easy but it certainly can be an adventure. Jesus expresses so much in one sentence in today's Gospel : "Whoever finds his life will lose it ,  and whoever loses  his life for my sake will find it." What does that mean?  Those three words are  key:  "for my sake".  In other words ,  to the extent  I know Jesus to be the center of my life, I also know who I am, and I have growing and healthy relationships with others,  because I have such a firm foundation in my knowledge of Christ.

      The problem is that most of us live unbalanced lives. We are out of balance because our center is not Jesus but rather our own ego, or our attachment to another person or material possessions. As Jesus says in the Gospel, even our own families can pull us away from Jesus. For example my spouse or my grown children try to talk me out of going to Mass  on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.  "Oh just relax. Let your hair down. Why bother going to Church. Let us enjoy the pool or Lake Mascoma."

      It is not easy to stay centered on Jesus  not just on the weekend, but every day,  all day.  That is a real challenge. That is perhaps why Jesus also states:   "and whoever does not take  up his cross ad follow me is not worthy of me."  That cross - we are asked not to run from it, but accept it, - even embrace it each day.

      Everyone knows about this coming week.  It is July 4th, the beginning of the joy of summer with BarB-Q's  and fireworks, and getting together with family and friends. That can be a wonderful time to enjoy being together.  However, since Christ is the center of our lives, let us spend a little time, perhaps before a meal, to thank Our Lord for His  countless blessings on us and on our Country. Let us also ask him for the strength to work for freedom and justice for every person that lives in this Country. That is  what it means to have Christ at the center of our lives.

      This Sunday afternoon, July 2nd, we have a family activity, beginning here in the chapel  at 2:00PM.  We are going to give a children's version of the story of La Salette and then go up to the replica of the Apparition with people dressed as the characters in the story. We end with ice cream and cookies for everyone in the cafeteria. Children of all ages are invited to participate.

                                                                                              Father John Sullivan M.S.

 






No One Else but Jesus by Father Rene Butler, MS La Salette Provincial

(Feast of the Transfiguration: Daniel 7:9-14; 2 Peter 1:16-19; Matthew 17:1-9)

Over the main entrance to the Basilica on the Holy Mountain of La Salette is a  stained-glass representation of the Transfiguration of Jesus. As you step outside, the site of the Apparition our Our Lady is directly in front of you.

The visual comparison is obvious. On a ‘holy mountain,’ Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. The Blessed Virgin at La Salette was first seen in a globe of blinding light, and she herself was all light. In both cases we seem to be dealing with what St. Paul calls the glorious, spiritual body (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:43-44).

Jesus chose three witnesses. Mary chose two. St. Peter emphasizes that he and his companions were eyewitnesses of the ‘majesty’ of Jesus. Maximin and Mélanie were eyewitness of a ‘Beautiful Lady.’

Then there are the words. In the Gospel they come from the cloud: “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” This left Peter, James and John ‘very much afraid.’ Jesus then tells them not to be afraid. Since the children were terrified at seeing the globe of light, Mary first told them to come closer without fear.

The most essential point in common between the two ‘high mountains,’ however, is the Beloved Son. He is the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision of “One like a Son of man, who received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.”

Mary mentions her Son several times, and twice reproaches her people with the abuse of his name. In other words, they do not serve him; they do not respect his dominion, glory and kingship.

It was after the Transfiguration that Jesus began his last journey to Jerusalem.  As he approached that beloved city, he wept, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace.” He then predicted the calamities that would befall her, “because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).

If those who call themselves Christian fail to recognize and welcome Christ, the consequences are devastating. But conversion is always possible.

And so, Mary directs us to her Son and, like the voice from the cloud, invites us to listen to him.



The Question of Prayer

(Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  1 Kings 3:5-12; Romans 8:28-30;  Matthew 13:44-52)

It is fairly common for people devoted to Our Lady of La Salette to say an Our Father and a Hail Mary because that is what Mary told Mélanie and Maximin to do. Her exact words, however, were: “Ah, my children, you should say your prayers well, at night and in the morning, even if you say only an Our Father and a Hail Mary when you can't do better. When you can do better, say more.”

That’s an important distinction. This is not an encouragement to settle for the minimum, which in ordinary circumstances could not be qualified as “praying well.”

Nor is it just a question of time. Solomon’s prayer is a excellent example. After acknowledging (in the omitted verse 6) God’s goodness to his father David and to himself, he then asks not for what anyone in his position might want, but for what he knows he will need to govern well his—and God’s—people. He has prayed well, and the Lord responds accordingly.

Discernment is essential when we come before God to ask for something. There is nothing wrong with wanting something for ourselves, but prayer must never be selfish. St. Paul writes, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God,” so we can place unfailing trust in him to meet our needs even as we pray for the needs of others. The important thing is to pray for what is… well… important!

Think of the treasure in the field, or the pearl of great price. Part of “selling all we have in order to buy it” is the willingness to place all we have and all we are in God’s hands, at God’s service.

Consider the magnificent prayer of St. Ignatius:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own.

You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will.

Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.

Think of that the next time you ponder the Beautiful Lady’s question: “Do you say your prayers well, my children?”



Interesting Possibilities

(Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  Wisdom 12:13-19; Romans 8:26-27;  Matthew 13:24-43)

Today’s readings are a veritable treasure trove of La Salette connections.

In Wisdom: God has care of all; he has not condemned unjustly; he is master of might, but judges with clemency; he has given his children the possibility of repentance.

Mary asked the children, “Do you say your prayers well?” They did not; but they had never been to catechism and had not learned to pray properly. Paul writes to the Romans, “We do not know how to pray as we ought.” The Spirit, therefore, takes over, as it were, and God reads what is in our hearts.

The Gospel speaks not only of seeds—a recurring image in the parables that we find also in the Message of La Salette—but of God’s patience with us. There comes, however, a time of harvest; patience then comes to an end. Our Lady speaks not only of ruined harvests past and future, but of the arm of her Son. Jesus also uses a frightful image: the weeds will be cast into the fire. But this is followed by a wonderful image: “Then shall the righteous shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father,” while the Beautiful Lady evokes a vision of heaps of wheat and self-sown potatoes.

The parables of the mustard seed and the measure of yeast have nothing fearsome about them. The seed and yeast just take their natural course to grow and expand. This is what is the Kingdom of heaven is like.

Jesus came to lead his people into that Kingdom, “an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe).

The Blessed Virgin came to La Salette to lead her people back into that Kingdom. They had not followed the natural course of faith; that seed, instead of growing, had withered; that yeast had somehow lost its power to permeate their lives.

But all is not lost. “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness.” The unrighteous can be restored to righteousness. It is almost as though the weeds can be transformed to wheat, impossible in nature, but eminently possible by grace.