(22nd Ordinary Sunday: Jeremiah 20:7-9; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20)
Most legal systems grant an accused person the right to remain silent. A prophet, on the other hand—as Jeremiah learned—has no such right. God’s word within him burned with such intensity that it could not be silenced.
Our Lady of La Salette likewise had to speak. She felt obliged to speak on our behalf, in constant prayer to her Son; and she came with urgency to speak to her people, with a message longer and more complex, one might even say more intense, than in many other Marian Apparitions.
She places only one choice before her people: refuse to submit, or be converted. Or, to use St. Paul’s terminology, she is telling them, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Discernment of God’s will is not an academic exercise. It serves one purpose only: to enable us to live in harmony with God by doing what he asks of us.
Perhaps you had a major conversion experience? In that moment, you knew, at least in a general way, where God was leading you. Did you know what you were getting into? Were you able to foresee the cross you would carry, the ways in which you would have to lose your life for Jesus’ sake?
If not immediately, you discovered in due time the specific way in which you would carry out God’s will. Ideally, this grew into a passion, and you reached a point where you could not hold back, even if you wanted to. Today’s Psalm expresses this intensity: “O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.”
Even if one has a Spiritual Director, discernment remains deeply personal. This explains the difference between St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Theresa of Avila. We all build differently on the same foundation.
It is wonderful to know how many people have discovered a passion for La Salette. Even then, the possibilities are so many, as each of us responds to a different aspect of the Apparition and/or the message.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.