What to Wear?
(The Holy Family: Genesis 15:1-6 & 21:1-3; Colossians 3:12-21; Luke 2:22-40)
Pilgrims to La Salette often ask about the meaning of the roses, chains, crucifix and, especially, the hammer and pincers which the Beautiful Lady added to the otherwise simple costume of the women from around Corps. Since she herself offered no explanation, and even though there exists a certain tradition concerning these details, any reasonable interpretation is possible.
These elements, however, do not concern the essence of the Apparition. Let us take a closer look at this woman, dressed in “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Yes, this is Our Lady and our Mother, in whom we find the virtues recommended by St. Paul to the Colossians.
The gentleness of her voice reassured Maximin and Mélanie and calmed their fears. Her kindness is evident in all she does and says—even changing from French to the local dialect when she observed that the children didn’t understand. Her message, even in its more demanding parts, is imbued with the compassion that moved her to come to us, to reconcile us with her Son. In all humility, Mary wept in the presence of two young strangers. “And you yourself a sword will pierce,” as Simeon had told her.
These are also the qualities of the Christian family, in both senses of the term: the Christian home, and the universal Church. St. Paul further writes: “… bearing with one another and forgiving one another… And over all these put on love.”
Is this really possible? Of course. Still, examples of it seem relatively rare. We see so many conflicts, so much hate. Forgiveness is proving to be more and more difficult, even among Christians.
Christian love is not automatic. “Christian” refers to faith in Jesus. In Genesis we read, “Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.” Just as faith was the foundation of the edifice of Abram’s descendance, so is it also for the Christian family. But it needs to be deep and solid.
Many persons who dedicated themselves to Our Lady of La Salette, wear a cross with the hammer and pincers. But we should also imitate her way of dealing with the two children she had chosen; like her, we need to put on “heartfelt compassion, kindness….”