New Provincial Council in Italy
It is with a great joy that we announce the new Provincial Council of the Province of Mary Mediatrix (Italy). The Provincial Chapter which is currently in session in Salmata elected today September 24, 2020:  Fr. Gian Matteo Roggio, Provincial... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 28th Ordinary Sunday - The...
The Lord will Provide (28th Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 25:6-10; Philippians 4:12-20; Matthew 22:1-14) Just look at all things that God promises, in our first reading, to provide for his people! The image of rich food and choice wines is so enticing, it might... Czytaj więcej
Marian Year
Marian Year The Marian Year will begin on 19 September 2020. The Congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette and the Lay faithful Who carry and are very close to the message of the Beautiful Lady of La Salette are preparing for the... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 27th Ordinary Sunday -...
Anxiety, with Trust (27th Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 5:1-7; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43) St. Paul writes, “Have no anxiety at all.” Surely this is unrealistic. In fact, the same Apostle wrote to the Corinthians, “I came to you in weakness... Czytaj więcej
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Items filtered by date: August 2020

Worthy of the Gospel

(25th Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 55:6-9; Philippians 1:20-27; Matthew 20:1-16)

There are many individual verses in Scripture that can be said to summarize the Message of La Salette. We find such a verse in today’s second reading: “Conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

Since in many places the Anniversary of the Apparition is being celebrated this month, let us see how La Salette helps us respond to Paul’s exhortation.

Respect for the Lord’s Name and the things of God is not simply the opposite of disdain. Yes, disrespect is to be avoided; as Isaiah says, “Let the scoundrel forsake his way.” But if our respect does not lead to a deep abiding love for the Lord, it is not yet “worthy.”

Praying well naturally includes the avoidance of distractions—though sometimes distractions are the real prayer. But Isaiah also says, “Let the wicked forsake his thoughts.” A genuinely prayerful life is, as it were, so filled with prayer as to leave no room for wicked thoughts. As today’s Psalm says, “The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.”

The evangelical spirit, inherent in Paul’s vision of Christian life and in the example he sets, reminds us that the following of Christ is not a private devotion. If we are to make Mary’s message known, all the more we must live to attract others to the Gospel. There must be no selfish thinking, no comparing our achievements (like the workers in the vineyard) to those of others.

Submission is much more than doing as we are told. Isaiah reminds us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” Those who want a God suited to their own thoughts and ways are inclined to blame him in hard times.

It is in such moments that we need to remember that “The Lord is just in all his ways and holy in all his works,” not in a way to inspire fear, but drawing us to “turn to him for mercy” to quote again the psalmist and Isaiah.

In Philippians 1:6, St. Paul expresses his confidence “that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” It is he who gives worth to what we do.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

The Mystery of Forgiveness

(24th Ordinary Sunday: Sirach 27:30—28:7; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35)

Today we begin with statistics. How often, I wondered, did God forgive his people, as compared to the times he punished them. It took little research to show that, in the vast majority of cases, forgiveness is either given or promised.

One of the classic texts is found in today’s Psalm: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.” 

In the first reading and the Gospel, it is clear that our starting point or, if you prefer, our default position, ought to be a readiness—dare we say eagerness?—to forgive.

During my research, however, I was struck also by the number of times forgiveness is paired with atonement. A typical example is in Leviticus 5:13: “The priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf for the wrong committed, so that the individual may be forgiven.”

Herein lies the connection to the reading from Romans. Paul writes: “For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living,” The context for this saying is made clear in the very next sentence: “Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.”

We are not lords of one another. That title belongs exclusively to Jesus. It was bestowed on him when he offered himself on the cross as atonement for our sins. As his disciples, we do not have the option to withhold forgiveness.

Part of the submission to which the Beautiful Lady of La Salette calls us is that we accept the mercy won for us by her Son. Once we do so, it will be a joy for us to honor him as he deserves.

Novelist Terry Goodkind writes, “There is magic in sincere forgiveness; in the forgiveness you give, but more so in the forgiveness you receive” (Temple of the Winds, p. 318).

Substitute the word “grace” for “magic,” and see how the text is transformed: no longer words of wisdom, but an invitation to enter into one of the great mysteries of our faith.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

Maternal Correction

(23rd Ordinary Sunday: Ezekiel 33:7-9; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus foresees that conflicts will inevitably arise between members of his Church.

His first concern is that the matter be resolved peacefully. It must not be allowed to fester, leading to serious divisions that might spread into the community.

It is equally important, however, that the issue be kept within the Church. In 1 Corinthians 6, St. Paul complains about believers bringing cases to civil courts: “Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers? But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers?”

Many religious communities have (or had) an exercise called “fraternal correction.” In pairs or small groups, members point out one another’s failings. Ideally, each would take the comments  to heart with gratitude and strive to improve oneself.

Some might even be called to a more prophetic stance, especially if they believe that the community itself is in danger of going astray. Like Ezekiel, they feel a personal responsibility to challenge others.

The hard thing in all this is to be faithful to the commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We ought to behave towards one another without giving or taking offense, and with no hardening of the heart. Then the issue of reconciliation does not arise.

However, since the Church is made up of real persons, occasional conflict will arise, ranging anywhere from strong differences of opinion to serious accusations of wrongdoing. The first condition for reconciliation that it be genuinely desired by both parties. 

What does any of this have to do with La Salette, one might ask? A great deal. Mary addressed herself to a people absorbed with their own troubles and blaming God. They had so lost sight of Christ, that reconciliation did not even occur to them.

It took a Beautiful Lady, speaking in prophetic terms, to make them see that reconciliation was desirable and achievable. Through her tears, she offered maternal correction, giving us a model of the truly reconciling heart.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

God’s Urging

(22nd Ordinary Sunday: Jeremiah 20:7-9; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20)

Most legal systems grant an accused person the right to remain silent. A prophet, on the other hand—as Jeremiah learned—has no such right. God’s word within him burned with such intensity that it could not be silenced.

Our Lady of La Salette likewise had to speak. She felt obliged to speak on our behalf, in constant prayer to her Son; and she came with urgency to speak to her people, with a message longer and more complex, one might even say more intense, than in many other Marian Apparitions.

She places only one choice before her people: refuse to submit, or be converted. Or, to use St. Paul’s terminology, she is telling them, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Discernment of God’s will is not an academic exercise. It serves one purpose only: to enable us to live in harmony with God by doing what he asks of us.

Perhaps you had a major conversion experience? In that moment, you knew, at least in a general way, where God was leading you. Did you know what you were getting into? Were you able to foresee the cross you would carry, the ways in which you would have to lose your life for Jesus’ sake? 

If not immediately, you discovered in due time the specific way in which you would carry out God’s will. Ideally, this grew into a passion, and you reached a point where you could not hold back, even if you wanted to. Today’s Psalm expresses this intensity: “O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.”

Even if one has a Spiritual Director, discernment remains deeply personal. This explains the difference between St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Theresa of Avila. We all build differently on the same foundation.

It is wonderful to know how many people have discovered a passion for La Salette. Even then, the possibilities are so many, as each of us responds to a different aspect of the Apparition and/or the message.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

The Key

(21st Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 22:19-23; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20)

As usual, there is a clear connection between the first reading and the Gospel. It lies in the symbolism of keys. Eliakim will be given Shebna’s keys; Jesus entrusts the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter.

At first glance this might appear to be a prize which Peter won by coming up with the correct answer to the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is the Father who has revealed this to him. 

As the same question is raised from generation to generation, we need to answer it also for ourselves. Peter’s response is not self-evident. What is one to do in circumstances where one feels surrounded by people who make a mockery of our religion? Perhaps this is part of what St. Paul calls God’s “inscrutable judgments and unsearchable ways.” But what is the key to maintaining our peace of soul?

At La Salette, Our Lady spoke about just such a situation. The faithful few were becoming fewer and fewer, in an aggressively anticlerical world. The key Mary offered is the one she wore around her neck: the image of her crucified Son.

She emphasized the importance of our relationship to Jesus, and to the cross on which he died for us. Far from reviling his name, we are called to proclaim in word and action, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That means living as faithful and, yes, happy disciples.

Jesus said to Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” While a fortress mentality is not necessarily to be encouraged, this promise is a source of comfort.

There is another encouragement in today’s Psalm: “The Lord is exalted, yet the lowly he sees.” As with Maximin and his father on their way home from the field of Coin, his watchful eye is upon us. 

With Mary we can pray without ceasing. We can make ours the words of the psalm response: “Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.” Even if nothing changes, we can be what Isaiah calls “a peg in a sure spot,” unshaken in our faith.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)
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