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 ...

               

MARY AT LASALETTE ACCOMPANIES US, ENCOURAGING US DAILY, TO DRAW CLOSER TO HER SON

      The past few weeks have given us several  examples of not only how important is the gift of our faith in God,  but also how much we need to depend on one another.  That helps us come through the very difficult moments that are part of the lives of each  one of  us.

      The fierce rain storms and hurricanes in Texas and Florida as well as  the tragic violence that occurred this past week at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital  challenge many of us to slow down and ask:  "Where is God in all  of this?"

      The message of Our Lady of La Salette can be  such a good response to that question.  That is because it shows that God is very close to us in those storms and events that seem to have no logical explanation.  Through  the tears of Mary, she displays God's own compassion for us,  His forgiveness, calling us to  "Come near, my children, do not be afraid.  I am here to tell you great news."

      But that requires constant transformation from doing our will to trying our best to do  God's will;  from not focusing only on the darkness but rather being aware of the light of love all around us, in God, and in our own families, friends and neighbors,  as well as the splendor of nature's beauty.

      The readings for the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette give us so much to reflect upon so that we can better understand the plan of God and our purpose in life.  The Gospel shows us how Jesus  instructs his own beloved mother to be with us, even as  he himself  is dying  on the cross.  He expresses it so simply, "Woman,  there is your son."  And  to  John,  his beloved disciple, "There is your mother."

      The reflection from the book of Genesis reminds us that God has an eternal covenant, like a marriage bond, between Him "and all  living beings - all mortal creatures that are on the earth."  Through Saint Paul, God gives us the timeless challenge: "that he has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us. This makes us ambassadors for Christ,  God as it were appealing through us….."

      So let us obey Mary with our whole being,  to convey to others around us, by words and especially by our example: "Now, my children, you will please make this known to all my people."

      We will have the last session on "Love in the Family" this coming Tuesday evening in the cafeteria from 6:00 to 7:30  PM.  All are invited  to participate.  On Saturday September 30th,  we will have a blessing of animals at 10:00 AM by the statue of Saint Joseph behind the cafeteria. This will be in honor of Saint Francis  of Assisi, the patron of animals, as well as Pope Francis' Encyclical:  "Caring for Our Common Home."  Please bring your pets that transmit so much joy to our lives.

                                                                                       Father John Sullivan  M.S.

THE  WORK OF RECONCILIATION IS  NOT JUST  PERSONAL  BUT  COMMUNAL  AS   WELL

      In this month of September when we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette, we have a powerful example of reconciliation, which is the main message of her Apparition, in today's Gospel. In the opening lines,  Jesus instructs  us:  "If your brother sins against you, go and  tell him his fault between  you and him  alone."  Do not do it in public. That could humiliate him, but  do  it  in private, and not in judgment,  in love,  with hopes  that he will respond and listen.

     The whole process  of  correction is  done  in such a spirit of love and patience. It is a process. If the person will not listen, we are told to go to  the second level,  to  ask  the help of two  or three witnesses so  that together, the three or four of you  can give "testimony"  of the person's error. Like any process of correcting another, this is difficult, and it can only be done,  I repeat, in a  spirit of  love and truth.

      It is surprising the depth of love that Jesus shows in this  instruction.  He goes to a third level  if the person continues to not listen -  to the Church or the  whole  community. This clearly demonstrates  that a person that is disruptive in the Church  can effect  not just another person but  the  entire  community.  It is the  responsibility of the whole community then,  to respond,  in love.

      I recall  how I painfully learned from my own experience at our Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts to be  loving to my community and not judging.  It was a situation of a member of the community who had  special needs - for professional  help.  In my self-righteousness,  I thought we could handle it if only we  gave the person enough of our help and attention.  I was mistaken and had nor respected  the opinion of  the Community.  It took me some time to  listen and discover the best solution to a difficult situation.

      The La  Salette Cross that is so much at the  heart of the message of Our Lady reminds us that it is easier to grab the hammer in judgment of others  instead of the pliers,  to remove our hard nails  of self-righteousness  or  indifference.  Our Lady's tears  remind us that compassion is at the heart of any solution.

      We are  also encouraged by the  closing lines of today's Gospel.  Our Lord is always present with us, whether we are alone or in the company of others.  "For where two or three are gathered together  in my  name, there am I in the midst of them."

      For our  Shrine announcements, we have a second collection this weekend for the victims of Hurricane  Harvey. Also do not forget our triduum for the Feast of Our Lady  of La Salette.  Friday and Saturday, Mass and procession beginning at 6:30 PM.  Sunday Mass and devotions  begin at 11:00 AM.  Today,  September 10th, during the hospitality session after Mass,  we will  present   information on the theme of our La Salette  Laity program .    

                                                                                                 Father John Sullivan  M.S.   

DO NOT MISS  THE BEST  PART  BECAUSE  YOU  ARE  UPSET  BY THE FIRST  PART

      There is a dramatic change in Jesus' attitude  toward Peter from last week 's Gospel to this week. This  past Sunday Jesus was saying:  "You are  Peter,  and upon this  rock  I  will build my church."  Today he is saying,  "Get behind me,  Satan . You are an obstacle  to  me."  What happened?  From calling him a "rock " to calling him "Satan" is quite a transformation.

      Last week Peter was obedient,  listening  to the voice of the Holy Spirit in his heart.  This week Peter is trying to take charge, to tell  Jesus what to do. Like ourselves,  he has  gone from obedience  to disobedience, from doing it God's way to trying to do it his way.

      The words of  Jesus are very  important:  "Get behind me….."  Or, in other words,  you are the disciple, follow  me.  I am the Messiah and I will lead you.  "You are thinking not as  God does, but as  human beings do."  Perhaps in the words of Jesus, he is  saying that my idea of a Messiah is to suffer and die for my people to  show them my love and not  to  dominate and kill their enemies who are the members of the Roman Empire.

      That  is  still a very difficult lesson for us to learn,  to try to think as God does and not as us human beings.  Like Peter,  we are shocked by the first  things Jesus says:  "that he must go to  Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders,  the  chief priests,  and the scribes, and be killed……."

      We do not listen to the last part of his message;  "and on the third day  be raised."   As  it has been said countless times,  we cannot arrive at Easter Sunday if we do not  pass  through Good  Friday.  "Whoever wishes to come after me   must deny himself,  take up his cross, and follow me." 

      It is a walk in faith,  no escaping  it.  However it is worth every sacrifice to lose our lives for Christ and then to discover those lives again with all their richness and love and joy, as if for the first time.  We need to  pray  that  God  will teach us, even if we are slow learners.  Like Peter,  it is a gradual  process  that extends over our entire lives.   But what an adventure,  what a reward,   what a meaningful life of love we  can have if only we can get behind  Jesus and let him show us the road ahead.

      Because of the tragic flooding in Houston, Texas  and the surrounding area,  we will have a second collection next weekend. All the money collected will  be sent to Catholic Relief Services  to  be used to  help the flood victims. So please come with a little extra to share.  You are reminded  of the next presentation this Tuesday evening on "Love in the Family" in the cafeteria from 6:00 to 7:30  PM. You are also reminded of our triduum in this month of September in honor of Our Lady of La Salette on the 15th,16th and 17th. More information will be given next week.

                                                                                             Father John Sullivan   M.S.



     

                                             



Expectations by Father Rene Butler, M.S. Provincial
(Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Ezekiel 18:25-28; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 21:28-32)
“When you found the potatoes spoiled, you swore, and threw in my Son’s name.” These words of Our Lady of La Salette come very close to those of the prophet Ezekiel: “You say, ‘The Lord’s way is not fair!’”
This week we are confronted once again with the question of God’s fairness. It is a matter of expectations.
Jesus had only one expectation for his life: to accomplish his Father’s will. Even when, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked to be spared the suffering that lay ahead, there was no hint of blame. He was, as St. Paul writes, obedient to the point of death. 
Like the parable in today’s Gospel, the message of La Salette presents opposing scenarios—refusal to submit to God’s will, on the one hand, and conversion on the other—only one of which is acceptable.
Suffering is a great mystery, and Jesus expects his disciples to carry their cross. The Christian response to suffering can be one of questioning why, or asking to be spared—or conversion. The parable recognizes that people can change. The message of La Salette has the same expectation.
Conversion, turning to the Lord, doesn’t necessarily ease suffering, or provide the answer to the problem of pain. What is does is simply to let God in.
That is really what the Beautiful Lady is asking. Through prayer, worship, reverence, we can open the door and invite the Lord into our lives, painful or peaceful as they may be.
We will find that the Lord has been there all the time, just waiting for us acknowledge his presence.
Ezekiel says that whoever turns away from sin will “surely” live. The Hebrew here uses two forms of the verb “to live,” which could be translated literally as “living he will live,” or “he will live to live.” It suggests more than just being alive, a new intensity of life.
“If they are converted,... potatoes will be self-sown in the fields,” Mary says. If we return to the Lord with all our heart, even if our lives are far from easy, we will know his blessing.
That is our Christian expectation. It’s called hope.

Latecomers by Father Rene Butler, M.S. Provincial

(Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 55:6-9; Philippians 1:20=27; Matthew 20:1-16)

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard often evokes a negative reaction in listeners, who feel that there is really something unfair in the landowner’s method of paying his workers. But God doesn’t think the way we think, Isaiah reminds us.

I maintain, furthermore, that this parable is especially compatible with the message of Our Lady of La Salette.

Jesus was addressing two different issues. The more obvious one is that we can’t place a price, as it were, on service for the Kingdom. The other is this: different persons respond in their own way, and in their own time, to the Good News. Even though there is always a certain urgency to conversion, it can’t be rushed.

As we can see in many of St. Paul’s letters, becoming a Christian implies a fundamental change of lifestyle. That was dramatically true in his own life, and even as an Apostle in the midst of his service to the Lord, he had to take the needs of others into account, as we see in today’s second reading.

St. Augustine’s path to a full Christian way of life took over ten years. St. Teresa of Avila describes herself as having been a fairly mediocre nun for a long time before committing herself to a serious life of prayer.

Focusing as we do on the conclusion of the parable, we tend not to notice how often the landowner goes out to hire more workers. Reversing the appeal of Isaiah to “seek the Lord while he may be found,” it is the Lord who goes out to seek those who need what he has to offer, while they may be found.

Resentment toward ’latecomer Christians’ implies that those who followed Jesus earlier have lost something, because they have carried the “burden” of the Christian life longer. Nothing could be farther from the truth! The latecomers are the ‘losers’, because they have missed so much along the way. All the saints who were ’late’ converts expressed regrets similar to St. Augustine’s famous phrase, “Late have I loved thee, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new.”

The Beautiful Lady of La Salette wants her people to seek that Beauty, ideally now, but latecomers will always be welcome.



Jeremiah, Maximin, You  by Father Rene Butler, M.S. Provincial
(Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time: Jeremiah 20:7-9; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-17)
In Chapter 1 of Jeremiah, the prophet attempted to refuse his vocation, citing his age. Nineteen chapters later he blames the Lord for giving him such a thankless task.
There are indications in the story of Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat that they sometimes wearied of the position that their encounter with the Beautiful Lady had put them in. Uneducated as they were, they were opposed and contradicted, by local government representatives and even in Church circles. Some called them liars; other said they were innocent dupes. They were hounded by the curious; a few persons even tried to involve them in political controversies of the day.
There came a terrible moment in Maximin’s life when, in 1850, 15 years old, he was brought to the famous Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney. After their encounter, the saint regretfully announced he no longer believed in the Apparition of La Salette. It was not until eight years later that he regained his faith in it.
We know that Maximin’s teens were a troubled period. He lost his father when he was 13. The Bishop of Grenoble was often annoyed with him for failing to take his schooling seriously.
His later years were no easier for him. On one occasion, when he was 26, having the story of the Apparition, he concluded by saying that when the Lady disappeared, “She left me with all my faults.”
The Apparition changed his life in positive ways, of course. In his own way, he was ‘transformed by the renewal of his mind.’ He became a man of faith.
But this did not change who he was. Humanly speaking, he was not a success. He carried his cross as best he could, and died at the age of 38. In his will he reaffirmed the truth of what he had witnessed on September 19, 1846.
People often expect witnesses of Apparitions to become saints. Perhaps Maximin was a saint, just not a candidate for canonization.
This is a comforting truth. Our goal in life is not to be canonized but, like Jeremiah, like Maximin, to be faithful to our vocation.