(Pentecost: Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3-13; John 20:19-23)
Jesus had told his disciples to “stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) This is why they were “all in one place together,” but they cannot have known what to expect. Then, suddenly, many things happened all at once—wind! fire! the ability to speak in new tongues!
We speak of the “gift” of tongues. It is not so much a gift to the person who receives it, but it is “for some benefit” to the Church. In theology, this kind of gift is called a charism.
Apparitions and miracles are referred to as “charismatic events,” because they are a gift to believers. They serve to reinforce our faith, or increase our devotion and commitment, and thus they benefit the whole Church.
The charism of La Salette was carefully studied in the 1970’s, and came to be identified with Reconciliation. This gift is not unique to La Salette, but is given through La Salette in a unique way.
Today’s Gospel provides an excellent illustration. Jesus breathes on the disciples and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
At La Salette Shrines and in La Salette ministry generally, people are reminded of the importance and the value of the gift that is the Sacrament of Penance, as well as the gift of mutual forgiveness and reconciliation with our neighbor. Reconciliation is thus a focal point.
But Reconciliation is not unique to La Salette. The Missionaries of the Precious Blood, for example, see it as their charism also, but it doesn’t “belong” to them either. It belongs to the Church, which received it when Jesus reconciled the world to the Father, “making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:20).
The uniqueness comes from the different perspective, the prism through which the charism is received and reflected. This, too, is a gift of the Spirit.
In our case the gift and charism of Reconciliation is filtered through the event, the message and the Beautiful Lady of La Salette.