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Fr. René Butler MS - 13th Ordinary Sunday - In...
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Synodality...
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Fr. René Butler MS - 11th Ordinary Sunday -...
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Items filtered by date: March 2021

Monday, 29 March 2021 10:06

Letter - Easter 2021

Holy Easter 2021

“Christ died for our sins, he was buried and he was raised on the accordance with the scriptures” (1Cor 15,3-4)

“If they are converted....” (Our Lady of La Salette)

Dear brothers,

like last year, this year again Easter greetings from the General Council and from myself reach you in your communities and in your places of pastoral work, as the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of calming down. On the contrary, it continues to rage with varying degrees of intensity all over the world, sowing fear and uncertainty about the future, and putting a strain on the health, social and economic systems of our various countries.

In different ways, we all feel involved in this phenomenon which is changing our way of conceiving and seeing the world, society, interpersonal relationships and our own life. We are in fact experiencing a true “Copernican” revolutionregarding the values around which we are called to build the near future, ours and that of the world, in the hope that it will be better than the present one. From the centrality of doing and efficiency, we are rightly passing to the centrality of the person with his or her rights to be respected and the duties to be implemented.

Consequently, even religious life is not entirely exempt from this ongoing great change. Far from the frenetic pace of life that characterized our condition as religious and priests, suddenly limited in our movements and our ministries, we discovered, throughout this year, the importance of interpersonal relationships, made above all of small gestures of welcome and listening to others, of attention and mutual services, of generous gratuity and shared time. We have also experienced, together with the challenge of living the faith in community..., the beauty of the rediscovered taste for personal and community prayer life, accompanied by the effort to "keep up to date" the way of being present to the people of God entrusted to our pastoral care.

I hope that this experience, unwanted but imposed by force and without warning by the adverse circumstances that we know, will be transformed into a "Kairós", in a favorable time of grace for all of us and will help us to pick ourselves up and get back on track with responsibility, determination, enthusiasm and without fear by profoundly renewing our way of living our fidelity to follow the Lord in the light of the message of the weeping Mother of La Salette.

It will be a missed opportunity if, once this "pandemic storm" has passed, things go back to the way they were before in our personal and community religious life and even in our pastoral ministry without leaving any trace of its passage and the stimuli that it fostered. Pope Francis has stated that from this pandemic, one either comes out better or comes out worse..., and in any case never the same as before. There is no other way. If this is true for everyone, much more it must be true for us, missionaries of La Salette.

Together with the whole Church, we too will be called to renew our "religious" language, which often appears worn out and obsolete, made up of abstract and empty words and therefore unable of communicating with freshness and incisiveness the richness of the Gospel and the joyful witness of our religious life to today's world. It is a challenge that confronts us all personally and from which none of us can easily escape.

We should come out of this unusual and in many ways painful experience renewed and heartened at all levels. This is my wish for each and every one of us.

There is no Easter of Resurrection without the narrow passage of suffering, the cry of abandonment and death experienced on Good Friday. Only in this way does Easter become the celebration par excellence of hope that does not deceive and of the explosion of new life offered to all and inaugurated by the risen Christ.

We all know that the message of La Salette is essentially an Easter message made up of strong calls to conversion, to personal commitment, to review and renew one's relationship with God and with the Church, but also of promises of a fullness of life enlightened and purified by that dazzling light which emanates from Christ, crucified and glorious at the same time, hanging on the chest of the Beautiful Lady. For this reason, together with St. Paul, we too can strongly and loudly affirm: "The risen Christ is our hope" (1 Cor 15).

The Paschal Mystery, of death and resurrection, of suffering and rebirth, also accompanies this year the two La Salette missions in Africa and the Region of Myanmar.

In Mozambique the situation does not seem to have improved from what was reported in the Christmas letter. In fact, it continues to be critical and seems to have gotten out of control of local and national police forces. Recently some news agencies have reported horrific crimes against children in the Cabo Delgado region, which is in the hands of unscrupulous jihadist groups. At the moment, Father Edegard is working in the city of Pemba assisting and as companion to the many refugees who are from the parish of Nangololo and other regions. In close collaboration with the Provinces of Brazil and Angola, the GC plans to restructure the community as soon as possible and to reorganize its pastoral presence in the diocese. The diocese, after the recent transfer of Bishop Luiz to another charge (in Brazil), is headed by an apostolic administrator in the person of Bishop Juliasse, auxiliary bishop of Maputo. While waiting for the new bishop, with whom we will discuss the future of the La Salette presence in the region, we keep this community and its future development, as well as the persecuted people it serves, constantly in our prayers.

In Tanzania, we are in the process of purchasing a house and an adjacent piece of land in view of the opening of a first vocation promotion program and a formation house for young people who wish to become part of our religious family. The plan of the GC, supported by the community of Rutete, is to begin the formation program in the current Marian Year or at the latest at the beginning of 2022. I place this project with great confidence under the protection of the Beautiful Lady of La Salette, our Mother and Patroness. At the same time I entrust it to the attention and prayers of the entire Congregation. 

On behalf of the Congregation, I would like to express our spiritual closeness and solidarity with our confreres in the young Region of Myanmar who are experiencing a moment of great bewilderment and concern for the fate of the democratic process in the country, abruptly interrupted by the recent military coup (February 1). We hope that the state of war established by the military, which caused the understandable popular uprising and unfortunately the death of so many innocent people, will end soon and that justice and respect for democratic rules properly restored will prevail over the hatred and divisions now present in the country. In this context of uncertainty and fear for the near future, the four new priestly ordinations that took place on March 19, feast of St. Joseph, are a great sign of hope for the country, the Region and the Congregation. We thank the Lord for the gift of their vocation. Enlightened and guided by our charism, they will certainly work to foster paths of reconciliation in the country, which is thirsting for peace and justice, with their words and above all with the witness of their lives.

May this Holy Easter, with its overwhelming load of light and new life, lead us ever more to integrate our existence as human being and as religious into that of the Risen Christ and to allow us to communicate life in fullness through his Spirit!

May the Resurrection of Christ encourage us to give reason always and without fear to this faith and this hope which must animate our life as Christians and religious everywhere and in every situation!

To our elderly or suffering brothers, to those who are immersed in pastoral work, to the young religious, to the novices and to those who are in formation, as well as to the sisters of La Salette and to the many La Salette Laity who, animated by the charism of reconciliation, work with us in the field of evangelization and charity, I address also in the name of the General Council, my best and most Christian wishes for a         

Happy and Holy Easter of Resurrection!

Fraternally yours,

Fr. Silvano Marisa MS

Superior General

Published in LAY ASSOCIATES (EN)
Sunday, 28 March 2021 20:33

The invitation – anamnesis

The invitation – anamnesis

April 2021

The Eucharist – Source and Summit of History

The same words of the introduction – “Come closer, my children” and “I am here to tell you great news” – are on the part of the Beautiful Lady, an invitation to remember what God had planned from the beginning of time: namely, that God wants to have us all close to Himself, in Heaven. This is practically the task of man on earth: first of all to desire for himself, and then to support others in their desire to discover this plan of God and to accept it as their own. There is no one among men who cares so much about fulfilling it as the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all believers in Him.

Mary points us to the concrete places and times where we can discern this plan and experience God’s personal support in the grace that comes from Her Son, Jesus. It is first of all a question of Holy Mass, through which Jesus Christ wishes to bestow his gifts upon us; it is also a question of prayer and the time devoted to it, which Mary is not afraid to reduce to the recitation of the Our Father and the Hail Mary. For some, these prayers have already become something unknown, because they are not taught by their parents, who today more and more often do not even feel the need to baptize their children. Lent, too, is no longer a time of preparation for the Sacred Easter Triduum, but is treated like normal weekdays, without any special significance.

Mary did not fail to mention that our deteriorated relationship with God is also reflected in our damaged crops and ruined harvests. We always forget the connection between God’s commandment, “Subdue the earth and rule over it,” and Mary’s words, “If they are converted, the stones and rocks will turn into piles of grain and potatoes will spring up on their own in the fields.” We can only subdue the earth satisfactorily then, when we ourselves allow ourselves to be subdued by God. Mary reminds us of this truth already at the beginning of the French part of her Message: “If my people do not want to submit…”. She herself wants to show herself as the first to submit to God and is proud of this choice. Nothing builds inner peace so strongly as adherence to the Will of God, and the Immaculate Virgin is a constant example of this for us. Therefore, speaking of us, she says “my people”, because she hopes that, as within herself, so too in each of us there is this natural desire for God and the desire to please Him out of love, and not out of calculation or hidden malice.

If something does not go according to our plans, then we swear distracted: either against drivers, or against pedestrians, against unpleasant people, against state authorities, against public services, against health care, against drought, against the coronavirus pandemic and the speculation connected with it, against damaged crops, against the prices of services and products, against evildoers and against failures and setbacks of all kinds. Mary reminds us that all this requires God’s intervention. Jesus is ready to help us, but our behavior and indifference to our eternal relationship with God require ever stronger means of reparation.Mary appeals to Jesus - to whom she mentions with tears - to use more delicate solutions. But she too is aware that by our behavior, we are faced with a choice between the loss of eternal life and the heavy intervention of Jesus’ arm, which is no longer possible to restrain even by Mary, even though she is full of grace. He does not want to punish. Punishment is the name we give to the wrath of God. The wrath of God, in the words of the prophets, means the zeal of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to put everything in order, as God had willed from the beginning of the world.

Let us follow this invitation of Mary to submit to God and obey Him in all that is written in the Decalogue. Let us then remember that God is merciful in the worldly time and always wants to help us. But when this time is over, He unfortunately has to be just, something we forget.

And Mary at La Salette suffers precisely because we forget this.

Karol Porczak MS

Published in MISSION (EN)
Sunday, 28 March 2021 20:05

Reflection - April 2021

The invitation – anamnesis

April 2021

The Eucharist – Source and Summit of History

The same words of the introduction – “Come closer, my children” and “I am here to tell you great news” – are on the part of the Beautiful Lady, an invitation to remember what God had planned from the beginning of time: namely, that God wants to have us all close to Himself, in Heaven. This is practically the task of man on earth: first of all to desire for himself, and then to support others in their desire to discover this plan of God and to accept it as their own. There is no one among men who cares so much about fulfilling it as the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all believers in Him.

Mary points us to the concrete places and times where we can discern this plan and experience God’s personal support in the grace that comes from Her Son, Jesus. It is first of all a question of Holy Mass, through which Jesus Christ wishes to bestow his gifts upon us; it is also a question of prayer and the time devoted to it, which Mary is not afraid to reduce to the recitation of the Our Father and the Hail Mary. For some, these prayers have already become something unknown, because they are not taught by their parents, who today more and more often do not even feel the need to baptize their children. Lent, too, is no longer a time of preparation for the Sacred Easter Triduum, but is treated like normal weekdays, without any special significance.

Mary did not fail to mention that our deteriorated relationship with God is also reflected in our damaged crops and ruined harvests. We always forget the connection between God’s commandment, “Subdue the earth and rule over it,” and Mary’s words, “If they are converted, the stones and rocks will turn into piles of grain and potatoes will spring up on their own in the fields.” We can only subdue the earth satisfactorily then, when we ourselves allow ourselves to be subdued by God. Mary reminds us of this truth already at the beginning of the French part of her Message: “If my people do not want to submit…”. She herself wants to show herself as the first to submit to God and is proud of this choice. Nothing builds inner peace so strongly as adherence to the Will of God, and the Immaculate Virgin is a constant example of this for us. Therefore, speaking of us, she says “my people”, because she hopes that, as within herself, so too in each of us there is this natural desire for God and the desire to please Him out of love, and not out of calculation or hidden malice.

If something does not go according to our plans, then we swear distracted: either against drivers, or against pedestrians, against unpleasant people, against state authorities, against public services, against health care, against drought, against the coronavirus pandemic and the speculation connected with it, against damaged crops, against the prices of services and products, against evildoers and against failures and setbacks of all kinds. Mary reminds us that all this requires God’s intervention. Jesus is ready to help us, but our behavior and indifference to our eternal relationship with God require ever stronger means of reparation.Mary appeals to Jesus - to whom she mentions with tears - to use more delicate solutions. But she too is aware that by our behavior, we are faced with a choice between the loss of eternal life and the heavy intervention of Jesus’ arm, which is no longer possible to restrain even by Mary, even though she is full of grace. He does not want to punish. Punishment is the name we give to the wrath of God. The wrath of God, in the words of the prophets, means the zeal of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to put everything in order, as God had willed from the beginning of the world.

Let us follow this invitation of Mary to submit to God and obey Him in all that is written in the Decalogue. Let us then remember that God is merciful in the worldly time and always wants to help us. But when this time is over, He unfortunately has to be just, something we forget.

And Mary at La Salette suffers precisely because we forget this.

Karol Porczak MS

Published in INFO (EN)
Sunday, 28 March 2021 15:45

The path of conversion

The path of conversion

March 2021

Letting oneself be guided by God

Conversion does not necessarily mean just turning away from evil and toward good. This can be called a conversion that saves eternal life.

There can also be another conversion, consisting in renouncing the good that depends on our will, which in its own way discovers a beautiful and good vocation in life, and follows the vocational path indicated by God’s decision.

As religious we should be aware of our natural vocation to family life, to marriage and to paternity, but we have chosen to live the religious vows, inspired by the Message of the Beautiful Lady or by the example of life of the members of La Salette. In this way, we have interpreted God’s will for each of us; that is, we have converted to another vocation, more demanding than the natural one. And Mary, did she also experience a conversion?

In the first sense - never, because she is an immaculate person.

In the second sense - yes, and many times.

She already had her plans for a virginal life in her marriage to Joseph. She was to become a wife and housewife in the house of Nazareth. This is how she had interpreted her vocation in life. At the Annunciation of the Angel, God changed this plan and Mary immediately “converted” her will, making her obedient to the will of God. Asking the Archangel Gabriel, the question: “How is this possible? I do not know any man”, she practically wants to know who should participate in the conception, since with Joseph she had already established the pact not to be joined carnally. The Virgin Mary immediately points to the concrete. As we know, Gabriel explains to her the role of the Holy Spirit in this act. Her famous fiat voluntas tua is a decision to abandon her own (very noble) plans and to involve herself fully in God’s unexpected plan.

Similarly in Jerusalem, having found Jesus after three days, she does not understand Jesus’ explanations, but she keeps all these things in his heart. She does not allow herself to be tormented by thoughts about not paying attention to Jesus, but she imprints this fact in her memory: she converts (turns) her thoughts to God and expects explanations from Him. She recognizes that she will receive explanations at the right time, when God wills it. Perhaps that experience of the three days of separation helped her to sustain the three days of waiting for the resurrection of her crucified Son. There is yet another trait of conversion in Mary’s life.

When people began to judge Jesus, believing him to be insane, the family wanted to defend his reputation and sent for the Mother. When Jesus learns that His Mother and brothers are waiting for Him, He replies, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” And turning to those sitting around him, he says, “Here are my mother and my brothers.” (cf. Mk 3:20-21.30-35).

In this event, Jesus did not fail to mention doing the will of God. Why is this an occasion of conversion for Mary? She understood at that moment that her role as Mother, Educator and Friend of Jesus had ended. From then on, she became the disciple of her Son in doing the will of God. Maintaining the authority of the Mother of the Savior, she follows the example of humiliation and obedience to her Heavenly Father, following the model of Jesus, in her journey of faith.

Karol Porczak MS

Published in MISSION (EN)

Come Closer

(3rd Sunday of Easter: Acts 3:13-19; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48)

Today’s title quotes Mary’s first words to the children at La Salette. She adds, “Don’t be afraid.” We recognize the pattern, in reverse, from the Scriptures.

In last Sunday’s Gospel, Thomas was invited to come so close as to touch Jesus’ wounds. Today, Luke tells a similar story. While two disciples were telling how they had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus, suddenly, there he was!

He reassured them, “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”

In both accounts, Jesus’ first words are, “Peace be with you.” Of course, this might simply have been the normal greeting, “Shalom,” but the context gives it a richer meaning. The invitation to touch is viewed as a way of restoring inner peace.

It is almost as if the Church this week is giving us a second chance, a second invitation to recognize Christ crucified, Christ risen, and to desire ever more zealously to be his faithful disciples.

Peter’s speech in today’s first reading acknowledges that his audience missed their chance to accept Jesus as the Redeemer and, instead, put him to death. But all is not lost. If we read between the lines, Peter is saying, “Even you can be saved.” By telling the people to repent and be converted, he is inviting them to draw closer to the one who can give them true peace.

Is that not what Our Lady tells us? Even we can be saved. She reminds us in her own way of what we hear today in the second reading: “Jesus is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.”

After calming his disciples’ fears, Jesus said, “It is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” All are called to come closer.

Maximin said that, when he and Mélanie ran down to the Beautiful Lady, “No one could have passed between her and us.” She came to bring her people closer to her Son, to restore us to peace with him. We are called to make that message known.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)
Saturday, 27 March 2021 09:49

Letter - Easter 2021

Holy Easter 2021

“Christ died for our sins, he was buried and he was raised on the accordance with the scriptures” (1Cor 15,3-4)

“If they are converted....” (Our Lady of La Salette)

Dear brothers,

like last year, this year again Easter greetings from the General Council and from myself reach you in your communities and in your places of pastoral work, as the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of calming down. On the contrary, it continues to rage with varying degrees of intensity all over the world, sowing fear and uncertainty about the future, and putting a strain on the health, social and economic systems of our various countries.

In different ways, we all feel involved in this phenomenon which is changing our way of conceiving and seeing the world, society, interpersonal relationships and our own life. We are in fact experiencing a true “Copernican” revolutionregarding the values around which we are called to build the near future, ours and that of the world, in the hope that it will be better than the present one. From the centrality of doing and efficiency, we are rightly passing to the centrality of the person with his or her rights to be respected and the duties to be implemented.

Consequently, even religious life is not entirely exempt from this ongoing great change. Far from the frenetic pace of life that characterized our condition as religious and priests, suddenly limited in our movements and our ministries, we discovered, throughout this year, the importance of interpersonal relationships, made above all of small gestures of welcome and listening to others, of attention and mutual services, of generous gratuity and shared time. We have also experienced, together with the challenge of living the faith in community..., the beauty of the rediscovered taste for personal and community prayer life, accompanied by the effort to "keep up to date" the way of being present to the people of God entrusted to our pastoral care.

I hope that this experience, unwanted but imposed by force and without warning by the adverse circumstances that we know, will be transformed into a "Kairós", in a favorable time of grace for all of us and will help us to pick ourselves up and get back on track with responsibility, determination, enthusiasm and without fear by profoundly renewing our way of living our fidelity to follow the Lord in the light of the message of the weeping Mother of La Salette.

It will be a missed opportunity if, once this "pandemic storm" has passed, things go back to the way they were before in our personal and community religious life and even in our pastoral ministry without leaving any trace of its passage and the stimuli that it fostered. Pope Francis has stated that from this pandemic, one either comes out better or comes out worse..., and in any case never the same as before. There is no other way. If this is true for everyone, much more it must be true for us, missionaries of La Salette.

Together with the whole Church, we too will be called to renew our "religious" language, which often appears worn out and obsolete, made up of abstract and empty words and therefore unable of communicating with freshness and incisiveness the richness of the Gospel and the joyful witness of our religious life to today's world. It is a challenge that confronts us all personally and from which none of us can easily escape.

We should come out of this unusual and in many ways painful experience renewed and heartened at all levels. This is my wish for each and every one of us.

There is no Easter of Resurrection without the narrow passage of suffering, the cry of abandonment and death experienced on Good Friday. Only in this way does Easter become the celebration par excellence of hope that does not deceive and of the explosion of new life offered to all and inaugurated by the risen Christ.

We all know that the message of La Salette is essentially an Easter message made up of strong calls to conversion, to personal commitment, to review and renew one's relationship with God and with the Church, but also of promises of a fullness of life enlightened and purified by that dazzling light which emanates from Christ, crucified and glorious at the same time, hanging on the chest of the Beautiful Lady. For this reason, together with St. Paul, we too can strongly and loudly affirm: "The risen Christ is our hope" (1 Cor 15).

The Paschal Mystery, of death and resurrection, of suffering and rebirth, also accompanies this year the two La Salette missions in Africa and the Region of Myanmar.

In Mozambique the situation does not seem to have improved from what was reported in the Christmas letter. In fact, it continues to be critical and seems to have gotten out of control of local and national police forces. Recently some news agencies have reported horrific crimes against children in the Cabo Delgado region, which is in the hands of unscrupulous jihadist groups. At the moment, Father Edegard is working in the city of Pemba assisting and as companion to the many refugees who are from the parish of Nangololo and other regions. In close collaboration with the Provinces of Brazil and Angola, the GC plans to restructure the community as soon as possible and to reorganize its pastoral presence in the diocese. The diocese, after the recent transfer of Bishop Luiz to another charge (in Brazil), is headed by an apostolic administrator in the person of Bishop Juliasse, auxiliary bishop of Maputo. While waiting for the new bishop, with whom we will discuss the future of the La Salette presence in the region, we keep this community and its future development, as well as the persecuted people it serves, constantly in our prayers.

In Tanzania, we are in the process of purchasing a house and an adjacent piece of land in view of the opening of a first vocation promotion program and a formation house for young people who wish to become part of our religious family. The plan of the GC, supported by the community of Rutete, is to begin the formation program in the current Marian Year or at the latest at the beginning of 2022. I place this project with great confidence under the protection of the Beautiful Lady of La Salette, our Mother and Patroness. At the same time I entrust it to the attention and prayers of the entire Congregation. 

On behalf of the Congregation, I would like to express our spiritual closeness and solidarity with our confreres in the young Region of Myanmar who are experiencing a moment of great bewilderment and concern for the fate of the democratic process in the country, abruptly interrupted by the recent military coup (February 1). We hope that the state of war established by the military, which caused the understandable popular uprising and unfortunately the death of so many innocent people, will end soon and that justice and respect for democratic rules properly restored will prevail over the hatred and divisions now present in the country. In this context of uncertainty and fear for the near future, the four new priestly ordinations that took place on March 19, feast of St. Joseph, are a great sign of hope for the country, the Region and the Congregation. We thank the Lord for the gift of their vocation. Enlightened and guided by our charism, they will certainly work to foster paths of reconciliation in the country, which is thirsting for peace and justice, with their words and above all with the witness of their lives.

May this Holy Easter, with its overwhelming load of light and new life, lead us ever more to integrate our existence as human being and as religious into that of the Risen Christ and to allow us to communicate life in fullness through his Spirit!

May the Resurrection of Christ encourage us to give reason always and without fear to this faith and this hope which must animate our life as Christians and religious everywhere and in every situation!

To our elderly or suffering brothers, to those who are immersed in pastoral work, to the young religious, to the novices and to those who are in formation, as well as to the sisters of La Salette and to the many La Salette Laity who, animated by the charism of reconciliation, work with us in the field of evangelization and charity, I address also in the name of the General Council, my best and most Christian wishes for a         

Happy and Holy Easter of Resurrection!

Fraternally yours,

Fr. Silvano Marisa MS

Superior General

Published in INFO (EN)
Saturday, 27 March 2021 08:33

Reflection - March 2021

The path of conversion

March 2021

Letting oneself be guided by God

Conversion does not necessarily mean just turning away from evil and toward good. This can be called a conversion that saves eternal life.

There can also be another conversion, consisting in renouncing the good that depends on our will, which in its own way discovers a beautiful and good vocation in life, and follows the vocational path indicated by God’s decision.

As religious we should be aware of our natural vocation to family life, to marriage and to paternity, but we have chosen to live the religious vows, inspired by the Message of the Beautiful Lady or by the example of life of the members of La Salette. In this way, we have interpreted God’s will for each of us; that is, we have converted to another vocation, more demanding than the natural one. And Mary, did she also experience a conversion?

In the first sense - never, because she is an immaculate person.

In the second sense - yes, and many times.

She already had her plans for a virginal life in her marriage to Joseph. She was to become a wife and housewife in the house of Nazareth. This is how she had interpreted her vocation in life. At the Annunciation of the Angel, God changed this plan and Mary immediately “converted” her will, making her obedient to the will of God. Asking the Archangel Gabriel, the question: “How is this possible? I do not know any man”, she practically wants to know who should participate in the conception, since with Joseph she had already established the pact not to be joined carnally. The Virgin Mary immediately points to the concrete. As we know, Gabriel explains to her the role of the Holy Spirit in this act. Her famous fiat voluntas tua is a decision to abandon her own (very noble) plans and to involve herself fully in God’s unexpected plan.

Similarly in Jerusalem, having found Jesus after three days, she does not understand Jesus’ explanations, but she keeps all these things in his heart. She does not allow herself to be tormented by thoughts about not paying attention to Jesus, but she imprints this fact in her memory: she converts (turns) her thoughts to God and expects explanations from Him. She recognizes that she will receive explanations at the right time, when God wills it. Perhaps that experience of the three days of separation helped her to sustain the three days of waiting for the resurrection of her crucified Son. There is yet another trait of conversion in Mary’s life.

When people began to judge Jesus, believing him to be insane, the family wanted to defend his reputation and sent for the Mother. When Jesus learns that His Mother and brothers are waiting for Him, He replies, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” And turning to those sitting around him, he says, “Here are my mother and my brothers.” (cf. Mk 3:20-21.30-35).

In this event, Jesus did not fail to mention doing the will of God. Why is this an occasion of conversion for Mary? She understood at that moment that her role as Mother, Educator and Friend of Jesus had ended. From then on, she became the disciple of her Son in doing the will of God. Maintaining the authority of the Mother of the Savior, she follows the example of humiliation and obedience to her Heavenly Father, following the model of Jesus, in her journey of faith.

Karol Porczak MS

Published in INFO (EN)

Impossible?

(2nd Sunday of Easter: Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31)

For the Apostle Thomas one thing was certain: Jesus was dead and buried. Therefore, it was simply impossible that the others had seen him alive. The doors of his mind were shut even tighter than those of the place where the disciples were gathered on that evening of the first day of the week.

Another impossible thing is presented as fact in the first reading. “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” And in the Psalm we read: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

These things are beyond human comprehension, so the psalmist adds: “By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.” The second reading puts it another way: “And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.”

Anyone seeing the state of Christianity in nineteenth century France might have thought it impossible for the Church to survive, given the hostility that surrounded it, and the tepid faith of many within it. But, like the Apostles who “with great power bore witness to the resurrection of Christ,” the Mother of our Lord, with great tenderness, called her people to reconciliation and a conversion of heart, through a faithful return to prayer and the Eucharist.

Today’s Gospel story about Thomas is a reminder for us not to take our faith for granted, but rather to cherish it as the greatest and most beautiful of gifts. Yes, Jesus can pass through the locked doors of indifference, complacency, pride, despondency, etc. But do we really wish to put ourselves in that position?

Jesus mercifully took the initiative to restore Thomas to his rightful place among the Apostles. Then he pronounced a Beatitude: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” That was for us.

The goal is beautifully expressed in today’s Opening Prayer: “that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed.”

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

Published in MISSION (EN)
Friday, 19 March 2021 19:18

France - Chapter

PROVINCE OF OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE - FRANCE

Provincial Chapter: March 14-20, 2021, Notre Dame de l'Hermitage, Noirétable, France

New Provincial Council:

Fr. Pierre Jeannot Rakotonindrainy, Provincial Superior (center)

Fr. Frantz Monnet, Provincial Vicar (right)

Fr. Paulino Nguli, Second Assistant (left)

Picture1

Published in INFO (EN)

Bystanders No More

(Easter: Acts 10:34-43; Colossians 3:1-4 OR 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9)

Holy Week can be experienced as a journey or, better still, a pilgrimage, to the empty tomb. The Commemoration of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, and of his Passion on Good Friday, and especially the Easter Vigil are meant to renew, strengthen and intensify our faith.

Today, then, we are ready to cry out with the psalmist: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad,” and “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

Here, as in the first reading, we find the notion of witnessing. In our La Salette context, we always speak of Mélanie and Maximin as witnesses of the Apparition, as indeed they were. But has it never struck you that the Beautiful Lady herself came as a witness?

“I am here to tell you great news,” she said, but her news was no mere matter of information. Knowing what she knew, and seeing what she saw among her people, she felt not only obliged to plead constantly on their behalf, but also to speak. She bore witness to her crucified Son, bearing his image on her breast. But the dazzling light of her crucifix reflected the glory of the resurrection as well.

The Church gives us a choice for today’s second reading. 1 Corinthians highlights a word we will hear constantly over the coming weeks: “paschal.” We may think that it means: having to do with Easter. But its original meaning is: having to do with Passover.

It is not a coincidence that Christ’s passion and death happened around the feast of Passover. He became our Paschal Lamb, that his blood might be put on the lintels of our hearts and souls, so that death may pass over us without harm, and we may receive the gift of eternal life in Christ.

If Lent has brought about a conversion in us, what then might this Easter accomplish? Does the Holy Spirit move within us as we enter the empty tomb? What shall we say and do as we return from there to our everyday world? (Imagine those gentiles, in the first reading, after they heard Peter’s preaching.)

As Christians, perhaps we have been bystanders or observers. Has the time come for us to be more, to find a way to share our Easter joy?

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

Published in MISSION (EN)
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