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 ...

                                                    

FAITH IS A PROCESS  OF FALLING IN  LOVE WITH  JESUS ON A  DAILY  BASIS

      We all have watched a little child taking her/his first steps in life.  It is so exciting with mom and dad usually there to catch the child when he/she stumbles. They gently pick  the child up and then encourages the child to try again:  "You  can do it.  Don't be afraid.  I am here."

That is what I think of in today's Gospel when we read Peter saying:  "Lord, if it is you, command me to come  to  you on the water." Jesus' response is  simple and direct:  "Come."  We know what happens. "Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus."  He was doing fine till: "when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out:  'Lord save  me.'  And just like a loving parent:  'Immediately  Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter and said to him: "O  you of little faith, why did  you doubt?"

      Isn't that what life is all about?  How is our relationship with the Lord growing? He wants to teach us, to travel  with us, to call us out of  our security, like Peter stepping out of the security of  the boat.  We are invited  to walk toward Jesus,  even amidst the storms of life. Let us  keep our eyes fixed on him, and not the wind and the waves of our own fears that can distract us from keeping our focus on the Lord.

      And it is not just in the storms and big events of daily life that God makes us aware of his loving presence.  It is also in the calm days and the small events of life.  That is why I love the first reading from the Book  of Kings.  When God appeared to Elijah the Prophet , God was not present in the strong wind or the earthquake, but in "a tiny whispering sound;"  like the wild flowers along the highway, the Queen Ann's Lace or the Golden Rod standing so tall.

       Faith is simply a process of falling in love with Jesus each day.  It is a process, and like any loving relationship, it takes  time and effort , in the sunny days and the pouring rain. It takes  prayer. We see Jesus in the opening lines of the Gospel. After he dismissed the crowds, "He went up the mountain  by himself to pray." Even Jesus needed to keep in close contact with his Father, to talk with Him,  to share, to listen, even though, as his own disciples said: "Truly you are the Son of God."  So let us continue to fall in love with Jesus every day. It can be a great adventure. Father Aruppe S.J. summed it up well when he said:  "Nothing is  more practical than finding God, that is,  falling in love in a quite absolute, final way….. Fall in love. Stay in love: and, it will decide everything."

      Tuesday is  the Feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is a holy day of obligation. We have Mass here  at 11:30 AM.  There is also a Mass at 12:10 PM at Saint Helena's. That evening I will  continue with the series  "Love in the Family" at 7:30 PM in the cafeteria. Next Sunday, August 20th, we have an outdoor  rosary with the children at 2:00 PM, followed by ice cream in the cafeteria.  Yummy, Yummy.

                                                                                             Father John Sullivan M.S.

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS DISCOVERING GOD'S PRESENSE IN THE DETAILS OF DAILY LIFE

      A big part of discovering the kingdom of heaven in my life was my decision to go to the missions about 35 years ago. There in a new way, I found the presence of God in three different areas of my life; in the people of Argentina that I came to serve, in a deeper discovery of myself, and in the sacraments I celebrated, especially  at Mass,  be it in Church or out in the "campo."

      This weekend you will  be hearing a presentation on our La Salette Missions,  especially in Madagascar. Sharon and  John Markowitz  had the joy and challenge of visiting that country a few years ago and they are eager to share with you their experience.

      Jesus said to His disciples: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person …….sells all that he has and buys that field."  The Kingdom of Heaven is the gift of God's very self to us that can really transform our lives.  Like two people falling in love, it is a gradual awareness of being loved and wanting to love in return, that changes everything in a person's life. Such a person has a new way of seeing, hearing and even touching the beauty of life all around him. Like Solomon in the reading from Exodus, such a person has  "……..an understanding heart  to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong ….."

      The big challenge or obstacle is not to be afraid is to sell all that we have and buy that field where the treasure is buried. It is to know that God is the only Absolute in our lives and everyone and everything else is relative to God.  Like any meaningful relationship, it does not happen all at once.  Rather it is a gradual process of growth over our whole life time as we come to know God Who has always loved us first, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

      Then even the little details of life can take on a whole new meaning or beauty. That can be as simple as a lovely sunset, the grasp of a child's hand in yours,  or as complicated  as a delicious home cooked meal  "with all the trimmings."

      That is why I encourage you this weekend to truly listen to the Word of God and the homily on our foreign missions. It will remind  us that we all are missionaries. Then please be generous in  both your continued prayer for all missionaries, past, present,  and future, and your financial support that is so important for them to continue their life-giving ministry.

      Next Sunday, August 6th, will be a Healing Service at 2:00 PM with Father Marc Montminy. You are also invited to come to my fourth presentation on "Love in the Family" on Tuesday evening, August 1st, at  7:30 PM in the cafeteria.  I also hope that you are enjoying this delightful summer weather that we have been having recently, thanks be to God.

                                                                                               Father John Sullivan M.S.

                                            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.


                                                  







Wisdom, Submission, Tears by Father Rene Butler, MS La Salette Provincial
(Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 22:19-23; Romans 11:33-39; Matthew 16:13-10)
The readings are about authority. A certain Shebna is replaced by Eliakim as master of the palace; Simon is established as the rock foundation of the Church, with power to loose and bind; and God’s judgments require no advice from anyone.
From another perspective, however, they are less about authority than about God’s free choice. Why God chose Shebna or Simon is not stated, but God’s wisdom and knowledge are deep and rich, and he knows what he is doing and why. This can be difficult to grasp, especially in moments of public or private tragedy. ‘It’s God’s will’ is not always perceived as a satisfactory explanation. Even Job and Jeremiah seemed to expect God to justify his treatment of them.
It should not surprise us, then, that the farmers around La Salette railed at God when their crops were ruined. Theirs was a hard life at the best of times, and rules about Sunday rest and worship were for them just old wives tales, of interest only to the ‘few elderly women who go to Mass’—to use the Beautiful Lady’s words.
Mary feels no need to defend God. Quite the opposite, she calls us to submit. The submission she envisions is not mere passivity. It is an active recognition of who God is and who we are, of God’s all-encompassing knowledge and infinite wisdom.
This theme is not new with La Salette. Spiritual writers have long used the language of ‘abandonment’ and ‘surrender’ to God’s will. What stands out at La Salette is what happens when the People of God do not recognize his will, accept it and submit to it.
Natural disasters, for example, are exactly that: natural, though they are often called ‘acts of God.’ Not every catastrophe is a punishment. Still, the suffering and unhappiness that often surrounds us can make us wonder about our world and our place in it.
Mary provides a detailed list of troubles appropriate to the place where she appeared: crops of all kinds were failing, and young children were dying. If she were to appear in our country, what disasters and tragedies would bring tears to her eyes today?


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 by Father Rene Butler, MS La Salette Provincial

(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?”