Items filtered by date: August 2022

Called to Account

(25th Ordinary Sunday: Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13)

A steward is in charge of another person’s property. It is a position of trust. The main character of today’s gospel is a dishonest steward, whose master told him: “Prepare a full account of your stewardship.”

In the Church, the concept of stewardship is often applied to time, talent and treasure and, more and more, to the planet. After reading the text from Amos as well as the gospel, we may feel that we have just been served a summons from God and must now prepare an accounting of our stewardship.

From a La Salette perspective, we might say that the Beautiful Lady dwelt on the stewardship of time. “Do you say your prayers well?” Praying well does not mean we should just be careful to avoid distractions, for example. Rather, it is a question of giving appropriate time to prayer, and making sure that we are praying from the heart, not only with our lips.

Mary also mentioned the Lord’s Day twice. First, speaking like the prophets in God’s name, she says, “I gave you six days to work; I kept the seventh for myself, and no one will give it to me.” Later she states that only a few elderly women go to Mass in the summer, and that when others do go to church, they make a mockery of religion.

Finally, “In Lent they go to the butcher shops like dogs.”

Even outside of the religious context, we need to examine our use of time. Allowing, of course, for appropriate leisure, we need to avoid wasting hours on activities—or inactivity—that we are unable or ashamed to account for. In our professional life, do we put in an honest day’s work?

As for talent and treasure, do we put them to good use for the Christian community and those in need around us? Or do we squander them for our own pleasure and greed, storing up treasure which will not go with us to the grave.

What would it be like if God would demand a full account of our stewardship? Actually, the question is not hypothetical. What will it be like, when…?

We should also be ready to give an account of one of our greatest gifts—our La Salette vocation.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)
Friday, 26 August 2022 05:24

Rosary - August 2022

Published in LAY ASSOCIATES (EN)

Reclaiming our Inheritance

(24th Ordinary Sunday: Exodus 32:7-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32)

The Pharisees and scribes, in today’s gospel, complained about Jesus. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” They would never do such a thing. For them, it was disgusting!

Jesus offers no apology. Instead, he tells three parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin, the prodigal son. They are all about the joy of finding what was lost, and welcoming back the repentant sinner.

It is only the third parable, however, that depicts a sinner, the younger son squandering his inheritance, swallowing up the father’s property with prostitutes, as the older brother bluntly states.

In the first reading, God complains that his people are worshiping a molten calf. (Remember that they squandered their gold to create it.) He is so enraged that, in speaking to Moses, he calls them “your people,” and “stiff-necked.”

At La Salette, Mary’s language is similar. “If my people refuse to submit.” She is not enraged, quite the contrary; but she wants her people to be aware of the danger they face unless they humbly seek God’s mercy.

They once had a rich inheritance of faith, but they cast it away. Today, sadly, we can see the same reality. We ourselves need to acknowledge, claim ownership of, and take responsibility for our fallen nature, as part of a people that tends to supplant our Creator, with the false god represented by the golden calf.

To the extent that we share that attitude, we need to avail ourselves of the beautiful sacrament of reconciliation, humbly confessing our sinfulness to our Father and reclaiming our inheritance. After that, far from separating us from our people, our La Salette vocation calls us to imitate Jesus, who welcomed sinners.

Each of the three parables begins by identifying a person, the real protagonist, who has lost something precious. The intensity of their loss passes over into their frantic searching or, in the father’s case, deep longing, and is revealed still more forcefully when the lost becomes the found.

This is how Jesus wants us to feel. This is what Mary came to accomplish, by her merciful apparition, and by the commission she has given to us.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)

The Wisdom of La Salette

(23rd Ordinary Sunday: Wisdom 9:13-18; Philemon 9-10, 12-17; Luke 14:25-33)

When was the last time you thought about God in these terms: omnipresent, omnipotent, all knowing, all seeing? In that context we easily understand the question raised in Solomon’s prayer in today’s first reading, “Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?”

The answer is simple. On our own, we can’t. This is why Solomon adds, “except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high.”

Of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the first is wisdom, which bears a special relation to faith. Fr. John Hardon, S.J. (1914-2000) explained this as follows: “Where faith is a simple knowledge of the articles of Christian belief, wisdom goes on to a certain divine penetration of the truths themselves.”

The deeper we enter into our faith, the more our faith will guide us. In particular, Jesus speaks to us in today’s gospel about carrying our cross. You will recall that St. Paul wrote, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).

Jesus took on our flesh and followed the way to Calvary, in order to teach us not to be dominated by the flesh. Without the mercy and grace of God and the working of the Holy Spirit we would find the cross to be too heavy a burden to bear.

The apparition and message of La Salette are situated in this same tradition. Mary bears the crucifix on her breast. She weeps over those who are perishing due to their lack of faith. She helps us to judge the things of the world (the signs of the times) in the light of our highest end, our salvation, to which we draw closer when we respect the things of God.

She knows, as stated in the first reading, that “the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.” She is not unsympathetic to her people’s suffering and anxiety, but she wants us to look beyond. She is a wise Mother.

We are all called to contemplate God. In Mary’s company, the Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom will guide us ever closer to fulfilling that noble ambition.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)

Humble Prayer

(22nd Ordinary Sunday: Sirach 3:17-29; Hebrews 12:18-24; Luke 14: 1, 7-14)

In today’s first reading we hear, “My child, conduct your affairs with humility.” In the gospel, Jesus says, “The one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

At La Salette, the Beautiful Lady asked, “Do you say your prayers well, my children?”

At first, this connection between La Salette and the readings may come as a surprise. But when you think about it, what is prayer if it does not come from a humble heart? Is there any other way to approach God? We are not the creator but the creation. If we happen to be blessed with talents or enjoy a certain prestige in our community, it is especially important for us to humble ourselves the more, as Sirach says.

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor,” Jesus told his fellow guests at the pharisee’s home. This advice applies even more to prayer. When we come into God’s presence, any comparison we might make between ourselves and others is pure vanity. (Remember the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector? More on that in two months.)

When Mary was offered the honor of becoming the mother of the Messiah, she answered, in genuine humility, “I am the handmaid of the Lord.” In her prayer of praise, the Magnificat, she acknowledges that God “ has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”

When, at La Salette, Mary speaks of her own prayer, we see that she humbles herself in two different ways. First, she comes before her Son in the attitude of a beggar. Second, she identifies herself with a people of sinners, “my people,” for whom she pleads constantly.

Many of us pray with our heads bowed. Isn’t this an act of humility, submitting ourselves before our Lord and Savior?

We may find joy in our ministry of reconciliation, but there is no place here for arrogance or superiority. Yes, we have a gift to share, but we need to set ourselves aside, so that Our Lady’s message may shine forth. We never take credit for what the Lord may accomplish in answer to our humble prayer.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)
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