Reflections from the Shrine ...
From The Desk Of The Director
Rev. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
August 10, 2019
I love light houses. I have seen many while growing up on the New England Coast. While still a young child, my family would spend two weeks of August at our summer cottage in Ocean Bluff, Massachusetts. I have several good memories of sharing with my family at the beach while also going to Mass early in the morning with my mother. She loved to return to our cottage by walking along the beach, looking for ocean treasures.
As we approach the Feast of the Assumption of Mary this coming Thursday on August 15th, perhaps we can imagine Mary as our lighthouse. She is guiding us on our earthly journey to keep us close to her Son Jesus as He in turn shows us the way home to our heavenly Father.
There is an Irish American tradition that if you bathe in the ocean on August 15th, Our Lady will keep you in good health for the coming year. My mother made sure that her four children did that even if she could not swim a stroke and some of those August mornings were quite chilly, both in the air and in the water.
However, Mary is our "Star of the Sea." She shows us how to knit: together the human and the divine, the physical and the spiritual." Her assumption into heaven reminds us that she has gone home to God, but still she is very present with us in the Scriptures and in her apparitions, especially on the Holy Mountain at La Salette. Still, we are responsible to try to transform this world into a place more in keeping with God's will.
Like in the Gospel for the Feast Day we can join Elizabeth her cousin in praising Mary as we reflect on: "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
Mary's Assumption is a beautiful reminder that our life in this world is not our permanent home. We are all pilgrims on "The Way,” trying not to be weighted down too much by the things of this world.
Consequently, we will be offering Mass even if it is a Thursday, on August 15th at 11:30 AM. It is a holy day of obligation. Let Mary, our strong lighthouse, continue to guide and protect us on our pilgrim way.
Next weekend we will also have a Mission Appeal given by Bishop Donald Pelletier, M.S. from Madagascar in support of our Missions. Our own Sharon and John Markowitz will be offering the appeal.
Fr. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
The Treasure of Faith
(19th Ordinary Sunday: Wisdom 18:6-9; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 12:32-48)
“Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.” This phrase from today’s Psalm finds an echo in our second reading: “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
This, as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews insists, is because Abraham and other patriarchs acted “by faith.” Later generations were not so faithful. Psalm 95 expresses God’s frustration with his people during the wandering in the desert: “Forty years I loathed that generation; I said: ‘This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways.’”
That is what we find at La Salette. Mary weeps over her people’s sufferings, to be sure, but also over their wayward hearts. They had forgotten the privilege of being chosen.
God chose a people for himself; he treated them as a personal inheritance. He rightly expected that they would in turn recognize him as their chief treasure. “I will be your God and you will be my people,” is one of the most important recurring themes in the Bible.
We see this carried out in the liberation of Abraham’s descendants from slavery. Our reading from Wisdom states that they had courage precisely because they had faith in God’s promises.
It is something of a mystery that believers can lose their faith. It may mean that the faith has not become their faith; in other words, it is not deeply personal. When religious practice becomes routine, it does not nourish the soul. One does not recognize the gifts offered through the Sacraments.
Or, it may mean that we do not wish to accept the moral demands that living by faith places on us. This was, for example, a major part of St. Augustine’s struggle before he finally was baptized. There are also many trials that put our faith to the test.
Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” There is no doubt where the Beautiful Lady’s treasure is: “My people…My Son.” In her words and in her tears, she reveals her abiding love for both.
It is that love that moved her to come to come and call us to live in faith, to appreciate the treasure that is ours.
Very Rev. Rene’ Butler, M.S.