Call to Integrity
(Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time: Malachi 1:14-2:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13; Matthew 23:1-12)
Today’s reflection is definitely off the beaten path.
Malachi’s strong words to the priests of his day, and Jesus’ criticism of the Scribes and reminded me of a curious, tangential episode in the history of La Salette.
During her Apparition, Our Lady of La Salette spoke privately to each of the children, telling them not to share with anyone what she said just then.
These “secrets” were not included in the Bishop’s approval of the Apparition in 1851, and the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are, you might say, allergic to them, and show little interest in them.
In 1851, Maximin and Mélanie were persuaded to write down their secrets for the Pope. The letters were later lost, and rediscovered only in 1999.
Mélanie’s secret included the following: “Priests and Religious women, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and many will die for their faith in Jesus Christ… Among the Ministers of God and the Brides of Jesus Christ, there will be some who will give themselves over to disorder, and that will be something terrible.”
But 28 years later, in 1879, Melanie published a much longer version, beginning with the following: “The priests, ministers of my Son, the priests, by their wicked life and their lack of piety in celebrating the sacred mysteries, by love of money, honors and pleasures, have become sewers of impurity.” There is no mention of some dying for their faith.
Recent Popes—Francis, Benedict XVI and John Paul II—have pledged to repair the great harm done, especially but not exclusively to children, as well as to the Church, by priests and religious.
St. Paul, on the other hand, never one to understate his ministry, writes: “We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children... Working night and day in order not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.” There are similar passages in many of his letters.
God grant that similar passages be written in bold letters, so to speak, in the lives of all whose lives are dedicated to the service of God and his people.