Fr. René Butler MS - 29th Ordinary Sunday -...
Finding our Place (29th Ordinary Sunday: Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8) In 1876, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, not yet 25 years old, were faced with a decision. A proposal was made, to develop the Congregation in two branches: one... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 28th Ordinary Sunday -...
Gratitude for Healing (28th Ordinary Sunday: 2 Kings 5:14-17; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19) Since we are going to reflect on gratitude, we begin by thanking all of you, our faithful readers, and those among you who occasionally send helpful and encouraging... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 27th Ordinary Sunday -...
Increase our Faith (27th Ordinary Sunday: Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 1: 6-14; Luke 17:5-10) When the apostles asked Jesus, “Increase our faith,” they were implying two things: first, that they already had it; and second, that it was his... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 26th Ordinary Sunday - A...
A Merciful Heart (26th Ordinary Sunday: Amos 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31) We enter into our reflection with today’s Entrance Antiphon: “All that you have done to us, O Lord, you have done with true judgment, for we have sinned against you and... Czytaj więcej
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Items filtered by date: May 2022

La Salette, a Blessing

(Corpus Christi: Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-36; Luke 9:11-17)

“Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you.” These words are recited by the priest at the offertory of every Mass.

This is such an ancient prayer (as reflected also in Jewish practice), that one is tempted to think that when Jesus, in the Gospel, “said the blessing” over the loaves and fish, and over the bread and wine at the Last Supper, he may well have used words almost identical to those.

Melchizedek, in the first reading, prays in similar terms, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth,” and then adds, “Blessed be God Most High.” Who is blessing whom? We understand how God blesses us, but how can we bless God?

The Hebrew verb “to bless” is related to the Hebrew noun meaning “the knee.” When we bless God, we are bending our knee to him, a gesture of worship. But in that case, how does God bless us, since he cannot possibly worship us?

When he blesses us, God “bends the knee” in order to come down to us in our need, much as we might kneel by the side of a person who has fallen.

In today’s solemnity we give thanks for the Eucharist—which itself means thanksgiving—and for the priesthood which makes it possible for the Church to carry out Jesus’ command, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Most of us are able to attend Mass daily if we wish. But in many parts of the world the faithful cannot receive the Eucharist daily or even weekly, but only when a priest makes the rounds. Then they flock to the Mass from miles away. (Please pray for priestly vocations.)

Those whom Our Lady of La Salette called “my people” had fallen so low that they did not recognize the gift of the Eucharist, even though it was easy to get to the local Church. So Mary, having so often bent the knee to her Son on our behalf, came down to us in the hope of raising her people to a life worthy of the name of Christian.

Through the Beautiful Lady, God has blessed us. There are many ways in which we may bless him in return.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)
Thursday, 26 May 2022 09:00

Rosary - May 2022

Published in LAY ASSOCIATES (EN)

Faith, Peace, Grace, Hope

(Trinity Sunday: Proverbs 8:22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15)

In his prayer the amazed psalmist asks God, “What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?” This is a very important question, which we might ask again as we read the last words of the first reading, where Wisdom, God’s collaborator in creation, declares, “I found delight in the human race.”

We might ask the same question of Our Lady of La Salette. Why should she care about us? Why does she still take such pains for us, when she herself tells us we can never repay her? And it was obvious in her apparition that she did not find delight in her people, but a source of tears.

What does this have to do with the Trinity? The Son of God, her Son, is visible on Mary’s breast. The Spirit who, as Jesus says in the Gospel, “will guide you to all truth,” may be perceived in her message and in the mission of the children. And it is, of course, the Father, not Mary, who sanctified the seventh day and kept it for himself.

Those connections are not necessarily the most important, however. The second reading may be even more relevant. Paul, inspired by the Spirit, writes: “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.”

Mary came to revive our faith and hope, restore our peace, and renew our access to grace, by drawing us back to participation in the sacred mysteries and to a loving, prayerful relationship with God the Father, Son and Spirit. Should we not be grateful for his care, and find delight in the one who delights in us?

All of salvation history revolves around this reality. Of all creation, the human race is God’s favorite. It’s no wonder—and yet so wonderful!—that he reaches out to us in so many ways, even by revealing the Trinity.

The Beautiful Lady, too, has gone to great lengths for us. How could she ever forget the circumstances in which Jesus entrusted her “people” to her? We must never forget them either.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)

Suddenly, Quietly, Pentecost

(Pentecost: Acts 2:1-11; Romans 8:8-17; John 20:19-23. Other options possible.)

By way of encouragement, St. Paul wrote to the Christians of Rome: “You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit.” He then compared them to non-believers. “Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

By way of admonishment, a Beautiful Lady spoke to Christians in and well beyond the village of La Salette: “If I want my Son not to abandon you, I am obliged to plead with him constantly.” She wept at the prospect of hearing him say, “I don’t know those people, they don’t belong to me.”

The Spirit of God can dwell only where he is welcome. Mary’s aim was to prepare hearts to receive him. This is essential to our charism. Mary gives us the example of compassion paired with forthrightness, warnings with promises, reproaches with tenderness, and tears throughout—whatever it takes to touch us.

This echoes much of what we find in today’s Sequence, a magnificent poetic text composed some eight hundred years ago. We invoke the Spirit as “the soul’s most welcome guest;” he is “grateful coolness in the heat,” but we also ask him to “melt the frozen, warm the chill.”

In this same context we pray: “Bend the stubborn heart and will;... Guide the steps that go astray.” The Spirit was surely empowering the Blessed Virgin to accomplish these things at La Salette.

Our need of the Spirit is forcefully expressed: “Where you are not, we have naught.” This aptly sums up the second reading.

In Acts the Spirit is described in wind and fire, evoking the creation of the universe in Genesis 1. John, on the other hand, tells how Jesus breathed on the Apostles, closer to the creation of man in Genesis 2, where God “formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

The first is more dynamic, the other more intimate (in keeping with Jesus’ words, “Peace be with you” and the experience some have had of “resting” in the Spirit). Both offer life. However the Spirit comes to us, let us welcome him and place ourselves at his service.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)

Ready, Willing, Able

(7th Sunday of Easter: Acts 7:55-60; Revelation 22:12-20; John 17:20-26)

The death of Steven is recorded in the first reading. The account includes this sentence: “The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.” This is the same Saul who would be later known as Paul.

Steven is venerated as the first Christian martyr. So, it might surprise you to learn that the original Greek word for the witnesses in this passage is martyres. How can this be?

During the Easter season, we have often encountered the same word. The Apostles present themselves as witnesses of the Risen Christ, always martyres in the Greek. That’s what the word means. A martyr, in our modern sense, is first a witness to Jesus, but one who shed his blood for the sake of the Gospel.

Stephen witnessed by word and by imitation. His dying prayer was, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit... Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Jesus crucified prayed, “Father, forgive them” and, later, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:34, 46).

During his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus said, “You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mt 26:64). That is exactly the vision described by Stephen, which so enraged his audience.

Saul, too, would become a faithful and persecuted witness. Over the centuries, how many? How many more to come?

The La Salette Missionaries chose to remain in their mission, witnessing Christ to their people, during Angola’s civil war. Three of them died in the crossfire. Another accompanied the refugees to a camp in Zambia, where he nearly died of starvation. As we write, our Missionaries from Poland are continuing their mission in Ukraine in spite of the war with Russia.

Most of us, “ordinary” witnesses, have not had to make such sacrifices. But it is not enough just to admire their courage as we bring the Beautiful Lady’s great news to the world, by word and example.

Like them, we have to be ready, willing and able to accomplish the mission entrusted to us. If we have the necessary preparation and desire, we can count on Our Lord and Our Lady to give us the courage.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)

The Holy Spirit and Us

(6th Sunday of Easter: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rev. 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29)

The letter sent to the Gentile Christians, in today’s first reading, is essential to our understanding of the Church. The resolution of the crisis is prefaced with the phrase, “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us.”

It is not conceivable that the Apostles and elders might disagree with the Holy Spirit. Why then do they add their decision to that of the Holy Spirit? We will get back to this.

The other readings express similar ideas. Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” In the Apocalypse we read, “I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb.”

All of these texts reflect the intimate union of the human and the divine in the Church. We have rightly become accustomed to thinking of ourselves as the Church. Without Jesus and the Father and the Spirit, however, we are no different from any other organization. Without us, on the other hand, God lives in trinitarian glory, but there is no Church.

The Beautiful Lady of La Salette spoke to Christians who were Church in name only. Many, by cutting themselves off from the sources of faith provided by the Holy Spirit in the sacraments, were no longer God’s dwelling place or temple.

Two expressions in today’s readings are heard at every celebration of the Eucharist, close together in the Communion rite. They are, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you,” and “the Lamb.” Mary came to restore us to a state of peace with the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

Now we return to the question raised above. The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus calls “the Advocate,” is the teacher sent by the Father. We the Church cannot go astray when we teach what the Spirit teaches, through our institutions and structures, and in our individual lives. Thus the decision of the Holy Spirit is ours as well.

The very existence of La Salette Laity is a fairly recent manifestation of this reality. Let the new holy temple be within each of us as we allow the Advocate to work within us to the glory of God and the Lamb.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)
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