This is the universal "International Lay Salettinian Day." It is also the first time that this special day coincides with the day of our first monthly meeting. We have been keeping a schedule of two meetings per month for slightly more than 4 years. We are few, we are a core and today we decided to ask ourselves the hard question,
"Why am I here? Why am I still here?"
The answer to the first part seems almost too simple to lead to the answer of the second, but as we listened to each other, the connection was unmistakable. As you read this you'll understand.
I am here because ...
"I was invited out of the blue, one day."
"I was in the Bible study and I needed something more."
"I was hearing some of my friends talking about doing Something else in church."
"The La Salette Missionaries are so kind and so dedicated."
"I was looking for more than just Mass. I got invited here, so I came."
Over the years it is quite certain that the people who have come and gone had similar responses to the same question. Those who have come and stayed answered the second part of the question, thusly:
I am still here because ...
"It is a deep spiritual experience to be here. The shared meditation on the Sunday readings is an exalting community experience, like Mass really, but more interactive"
"This is the La Salette foundation of my ministry. I go back a long way with the La Salettes."
"This supports me spiritually in what I do for others."
The little community of Lay Salettinians in Southern California is composed of those who have been working side by side with the priests for years without a supporting group. Others with the priests in a supporting group, like the Rosary Group that has been active and persevering for over 10 years. There are those who maintain a set prayer pattern in the chapel of adoration and at home. One is a leader of a group of people from a 3rd world country who raise funds for the inner city school from which they all graduated. One is an active influence in local politics, and a long time catechist. They are all parishioners who have committed themselves to the spirituality of La Salette call to Reconciliation and "making it known to all my people."
The common thread holding the community together is the grace that is found in the reconciliation between the acts of mercy and the charism of La Salette. The La Salette Laity of California is a spiritual reality that grows from the mission of the religious who serve the parish and attracts the laity who experience it and devote themselves to live it. In the lay La Salette community they learn that the charism of La Salette informs the virtuous work that they do according to their own talents and creativity in the name of God. They admit that their persevering dedication to the Message and the Mission of La Salette enriches their lives and the lives of those to whom they offer their efforts.
That's what we did today to celebrate the International Day of La Salette Laity.