Reflections from the Shrine ...
I want to express my gratitude for all who contributed to the success of our Triduum, or three days of celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette. I cannot remember another occasion when the scripture readings from the Mass of La Salette meant so much on the theme of our covenant with God calling us to be ambassadors of reconciliation, with our Blessed Mother as our model and teacher when she stood at the foot of the cross on Good Friday. I do not want to mention names for fear of forgetting someone. I can only say we really worked as a team with the beautiful celebrations at Mass, the blessing at Mary’s Garden and up on the hell by the site of the apparition, and the hospitality that was extended to everyone in the cafeteria.
Our Haitian pilgrims from Randolph, Massachusetts with their enthusiastic singing of the Magnificat at the Mass on Sunday reminds us that we are a global community as well as a local community as we are all part of the growing La Salette family. Of course our Lord also blessed us with beautiful weather for all three days of our activities.
Where do we go from here after such a wonderful participation from so many people? With grateful hearts we look ahead to our next major event - the planning for our Festival of Lights for the whole month of December. With the faithful accompaniment of Jesus and Mary I trust we can hope for continued growth in our love for God, for our Church with her many signs of new life, and for ourselves as children and images of God.
Perhaps that may move you to share in our healing service tomorrow which is Sunday, the 29th of September. We will put out the Blessed Sacrament at 2 pm and invite those who wish to come forward to be blessed by the St Raphael Healing Oil as well as ask for prayer for a special intention. Simply praying in silence before the Blessed Sacrament can be very healing in and of itself as well.
Our own health is such a marvelous gift from God. It gives us the strength to come to Mas and hopefully reach out in support and love to those around us. Let us continue to remember in prayer and perhaps in a visit to those people who are not able to be with us in church. Do enjoy the awesome changing colors of Autumn.
Rev. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
Fr. Joseph Gosselin, M.S.
Get out of the Comfort Zone
(26th Ordinary Sunday: Amos 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 19-31)
The expression “comfort zone” has been in common use for many years. We settle into a set of ideas or a way of life that is taken for granted, and we are not happy when they are challenged.
The rich man of today’s parable, and the rich persons described in the reading from Amos are so comfortable in their wealth and luxury that they care nothing about the misery outside their doors, assuming they are even aware of it. They are secure, complacent.
But it is by no means only the rich who can become complacent. Anyone can become smug about some aspect of life, ready to ignore the rest of the world.
St. Paul tells Timothy to “compete” for the faith and to “keep the commandment without stain or reproach.”
Amos and Jesus both use images intended to shake their listeners out of their complacency.
Mary at La Salette is within that same tradition. Her people had settled into a comfort zone where their more or less generic faith did not challenge them, a rationalism which took for granted that religion was for the unenlightened.
This attitude is reflected in the first reaction of the secular press to news of the Apparition, published in Lyons on November 26, 1846, not ten weeks after the event: “Well, here we go again! More stories of apparitions and prophecies!” The article goes on to present a completely trivialized account of the Apparition and the Message.
Even believers can become complacent, faithfully observing the same religious practices that the Beautiful Lady specifically mentioned, but not grasping that these are intended to lead us to a deeper awareness, to see the world around us as she sees it and respond to it as she does.
Our Lady of La Salette speaks of the minimum daily, weekly and annual requirements of Catholic life, without which our faith cannot grow: prayer, Eucharist, Lent.
She does not even remotely suggest, however, that we complacently settle for the minimum!
Very Rev. Rene’ Butler, M.S.