Fr. René Butler MS - 5th Ordinary Sunday - Right...
Right and Just (5th Ordinary Sunday: Job 7:1-7; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39) In the Preface, which introduces the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, we affirm that it is “right and just, always and everywhere,” to praise the Lord our God for the... Czytaj więcej
Bulletin - Salette Info 2020
Salette Info - Bulletin of the Congregation Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 4th Ordinary Sunday - “I...
“I Know Who You Are!” (4th Ordinary Sunday: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28) In today’s Gospel, the people were astonished because Jesus “taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” One man in... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 3rd Ordinary Sunday - A New...
A New Song (3rd Ordinary Sunday: Jonah 3:1-10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Matthew 1:14-20) We begin this reflection with today’s Entrance Antiphon: “O sing a new song to the Lord; Sing to the Lord, all the earth” (Ps. 96:1). It provides an insight into... Czytaj więcej
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Right and Just

(5th Ordinary Sunday: Job 7:1-7; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39)

In the Preface, which introduces the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, we affirm that it is “right and just, always and everywhere,” to praise the Lord our God for the blessings being recalled in that day’s liturgy.

Always. Everywhere. This seems to suppose a life of constant celebration. But Job, a true man of God, states, “I shall not see happiness again.” That he found himself in such a state is sad, but it is important for us to know—and accept—that believers can have bad days, weeks, months, even years.

You may recall that Job’s situation was the result of a wager. God praised Job’s righteousness, but Satan answered, “Put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.” So God allowed Satan to torment Job. And although Job complained loud and long of his sufferings, we read, “In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God.”

In many parts of France in 1846, the people were facing severe hardships. They responded by using Jesus’ name, not with prayerful respect, which is right and just, but in the expression of their anger, as Mary pointed out at La Salette.

Like Job, there are times when we have lots more questions than answers, regarding our own troubles or those of others. It is especially troubling to see Christians, struggling with fear, doubt, stress, etc., sometimes abandoning the faith, turning away from God at the time when they need him most. The Beautiful Lady’s call to conversion is addressed to just such persons.

St. Paul writes, “An obligation has been laid upon me.” He preached the Gospel out of love for Christ; out of love for others, he became “all things to all.”

Jesus also strove to bring his preaching and healing ministry, grounded in prayer, to as many as possible.

Mary tells us to make her message known. She has laid an obligation on us. In our own hard times, heads bowed low, if necessary, and humble as dust, it is right and just that we bear what we must for the sake of the Gospel and of our neighbor, in the hope of helping all to recognize Jesus’ healing presence.

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

“I Know Who You Are!”

(4th Ordinary Sunday: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28)

In today’s Gospel, the people were astonished because Jesus “taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” One man in the synagogue, however, was not astonished but terrified. Possessed by an unclean spirit, he was the only one to recognize Jesus, and cried out, “I know who you are!” Jesus then did exactly what the demon feared most, and cast it out.

The unclean spirit knew him, while those who ought to have known him did not. At La Salette, the Beautiful Lady saw that her people, judging from their behavior, no longer knew her Son. To use the language of today’s Psalm 95, they had hardened their hearts and refused to hear his voice.

La Salette is therefore prophetic. While Mary’s appearance and manner are very different from how we usually imagine prophets, her message, like theirs, contains exhortations, promises and warnings.

God told Moses that he would raise up another prophet like him from among the people. “I will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him.” He kept this promise, over many generations.

In baptism, each of us was given a share in the dignity of Christ’s prophetic role. This responsibility may seem too much for us. So we pray, “Let your face shine on your servant. Save me in your merciful love. O Lord, let me never be put to shame, for I call on you” (Communion antiphon, Ps. 31).

The demon called Jesus “the Holy One of God,” and trembled. Christians call Jesus by that same title, and draw near. Psalm 95 puts this attitude into words. “Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.”

Our worship and our faith-filled way of life are by nature prophetic, drawing attention to God’s presence and action in our world. In other words, it should be possible for those around us to say, “I know who you are—a follower of Jesus Christ.”

Some may even recognize a certain La Salette quality about us, and seek to understand what that is or, better still, how they may acquire it for themselves.

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

A New Song

(3rd Ordinary Sunday: Jonah 3:1-10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Matthew 1:14-20)

We begin this reflection with today’s Entrance Antiphon: “O sing a new song to the Lord; Sing to the Lord, all the earth” (Ps. 96:1). It provides an insight into the readings and into La Salette.

In all the readings, there is momentous change. Nineveh responded to Jonah’s preaching. Jesus proclaims: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.” Four fishermen have abandoned their nets to follow him. St. Paul tells us, “The world in its present form is passing away.”

The La Salette Apparition was life-changing as well, not only for Mélanie and Maximin, but for many thousands of others, down to our own day and age.

The invitation to sing a new song applies not to the change itself, as if it were just a matter of novelty. It comes always in a context of joy and celebration. Something wonderful has happened—such as conversion or reconciliation—with intense new feelings seeking new expression.

There are many songs in many languages in honor of Our Lady of La Salette. But there is one that is intimately associated with the Shrine on the Holy Mountain in France. It makes no mention of the Apparition or the message. Rather, it is a poetic translation of the Angelus, set to music, and it is sung at the end of the candlelight procession every evening.

It is known as the La Salette Angelus, and regular pilgrims know it by heart. It is, in a way, their new song, renewing their love for the Beautiful Lady every time they sing it. Such a new song helps to drive out old negative habits and thoughts that often try to creep back into our lives.

Today’s Psalm contains an awesome prayer: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me.” We need to have our feet planted on the firm ground of God’s guiding truth, which is never old.

The new song goes both ways. Consider this wonderful text from Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.”

Our new song is God’s, and his is ours!

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


Titles

(2nd Ordinary Sunday: 1 Samuel 3:3-19; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20; John 1:35-42)

Do you have a title? La Salette Missionaries write MS after their name, and the La Salette Sisters SNDS. Some of you, our readers, surely have academic titles, or wear a name tag indicating your role and status in your place of work.

In the Bible, names often serve this purpose. Jesus tells Simon, “You will be called Cephas,” which means Peter and defines his role, his vocation. It would be interesting to speculate what name Jesus might give to each of us. One thing is certain: it would be both a blessing and an obligation.

Take the simple name of disciple, for example. It is a beautiful thing to follow Christ; but the refrain of our life then becomes that of today’s Psalm: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”

This is the submission that the Beautiful Lady calls us to at the very beginning of her discourse.

Sometimes we fail to hear the call or, like Samuel, to understand where it is coming from. It may need to be repeated several times. Another person, like Eli, can help us understand what is happening.

If we accept one or both of the titles given us by Our Lady of La Salette—”my children, my people”—we may reasonably be expected to honor her by living accordingly and carrying out the great mission she has given us.

St. Paul proposes two less obvious names for believers: “temple of the Holy Spirit,” and “purchased at a price.” He draws the connection to the moral code that distinguished the Christians from the rest of Corinthian society.

Once we have recognized and accepted our vocation, it reveals itself constantly. Andrew said to Simon, “We have found the Messiah!” The truth of that statement resonated in their hearts and minds for the rest of their days.

For us, this is especially true of the Eucharist. In the Liturgy of the word we say in our hearts, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” At the altar we remember the great price Jesus paid to save us. Where else can we be more conscious of being built into the temple of the Holy Spirit? There we draw the strength we need to live our Christian name and title.

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


Testimony

(Baptism of the Lord: Isaiah 55:1-11; 1 John 5:1-9; Mark 1:7-11)

In today’s Gospel, there are three who bear witness to Jesus. The first is John the Baptist, who foretells his coming.

The other two, in order of appearance, are the Holy Spirit, in the visible form of a dove, and God the Father, who is heard, not seen. At the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, they assume their role in all that is to follow. St. John sums this up in our second reading: “The Spirit is the one who testifies, and the Spirit is truth... Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son.”

Witnessing to Christ is the vocation of the whole Church. This takes the form of words, of course, in the Scriptures and in Church teaching.

But as we see throughout the Gospels, the Father and the Spirit affirm Jesus’ person and ministry through their power and presence as well. Thus is fulfilled the saying of today’s first reading: “For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth... my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”

At La Salette, as important as the Beautiful Lady’s message is, her witness is far more than words. It is light, it is a crucifix, roses, and chains, it is the eloquence of tears.

Similarly, there is a difference between speaking the truth and living it. No doubt, people in the area around La Salette used traditional religious speech, such as “Thank God,” but it did not translate into a way of life, at least not, as Mary pointed out, in participating in the great thanksgiving, the Eucharist.

The life of the baptized is not purely sacramental, of course. Our whole way of life ought to manifest the authenticity of our faith. At baptism we received a white garment; so too we ought always to be clothed in faith, hope, and love, as we live out the beatitudes.

None of this is to say that words are unimportant. We cannot think of La Salette without Mary’s loving invitation, her discourse, and her final sending forth. It is possible, too, that our words might help others to understand our way of life, as we play our part in fulfilling the mission of the Church.

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

Their Story, Our Story

(Epiphany: Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-6; Matthew 2:1-12)

The story of the Magi is one of the most familiar Gospel narratives. It never fails to charm us, but it also invites personal reflection.

As you look back, can you recall who or what was your Star of Bethlehem, leading you to Jesus? Many famous Christians have described the circumstances of their conversion. They all speak of a key experience or a meaningful encounter. Join that conversation. Ask yourself: Who, What, When, Where, How?

While in Jerusalem, the Magi lost sight of the star, and had to rely on Scripture scholars for directions. Afterward, “the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them... They were overjoyed at seeing the star.” Try to relive the experience of your own joy in finding your faith in Christ Jesus.

Our joy would be even greater if everyone around us could share it. It is hard to understand why some of the people we love have never known what it is to believe deeply. In our La Salette context, this is where we experience the greatest challenge to “make the message known.”

The Magi prostrated themselves before the child, and did him homage. In our case, this could represent initial feelings of guilt for past sins, or gratitude for blessings never noticed, or wonder: “why me?”

“Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” What treasures did you bring, what gifts did you offer?

In answering that question, consider the prayer from the offertory of the Mass: “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you.”

St. Paul writes to the Ephesians about “the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit.” We are stewards, not owners, of our gifts; they have been entrusted to us for service.

The Lord will help us discern which of our gifts will best accomplish his will. Is it possible for us to think that our La Salette charism will not be among them?

He will also grant us the desire, perhaps even the need, to serve his people through action and prayer.

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

Where Faith Takes us

(Holy Family: Genesis 15:1-6 & 21:1-3; Hebrews 11:8-19; Luke 2:22-40)

Faith is mentioned twenty-four times in Chapter 11 of the Letter to the Hebrews, almost always in the phrase, “by faith.” Today’s readings highlight the faith of Abraham and Sarah, and God’s promise of a family and descendants as numerous as the stars.

In the first reading we are told: “Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.” It was God who attributed a certain power to Abram’s faith, and this served as the basis for the covenant which followed.

This power acts in two directions. God accepts our faith and answers our prayers, as we find in the splendid examples of Simeon and Anna in today’s Gospel. At the same time, however, we see the transformation wrought by faith in their lives; Anna “never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer,” while Simeon lived for the day when the Lord’s promise to him would be fulfilled.

Shared faith works the same way in groups, families, communities, and the Church. When the faith of some is lost, the group is adversely affected. A certain Beautiful Lady observed this from her place in heaven, and she decided to intervene. Her words closely resemble God’s to Abram in Genesis: “Fear not! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.”

Rediscovered faith has at least the same impact as faith that was never lost. Maximin’s father is a good example. Once he came to believe in the Apparition, he recovered his Christian faith and returned to the Sacraments which he had long abandoned, and with greater fervor than ever.

It would not surprise us to learn that many La Salette Laity have experienced just such a conversion. But why limit this to the Laity? We may certainly include the Sisters and the Missionaries. 

Faith places demands on us, and may at times feel burdensome, especially when we consider our own weakness and doubts. But, like Abraham and Sarah, Simeon, Anna, not to mention Mary and Joseph, we can go where faith will take us.

We pray that the story of your lives and ours may be interspersed often with the words, “by faith.”

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

Who? Me?

(4th Sunday of Advent: 2 Samuel 7:1-16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38)

When they first saw a globe of light at the place where they had eaten their lunch of bread and cheese, Maximin told Mélanie to hold on to her staff, in case of danger. They were terrified.

The Beautiful Lady understood their fear. She, too, had been “greatly troubled” at the greeting of the angel. So she did for the children what the angel had done for her, saying: “Don’t be afraid,” and explaining the purpose of her coming. 

Have you ever fantasized how you would react if you found yourself in a similar situation? You might think, What? Who? Me? Not possible! 

But look at the patriarchs, the prophets and the apostles. Some felt unworthy of their call, or unready, even afraid; but not one of them doubted its authenticity. Though some faltered along the way, all but one remained faithful.

Look at King David. In our first reading, as in many other places, God calls him “my servant David.” Yet David, as we know, had serious flaws and had committed grievous sins. Being absolutely perfect is clearly not a precondition for serving the Lord.

Today’s psalm describes God’s promise to David as follows: “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations.” The angel in the Gospel declares that those words are fulfilled in Jesus: “Of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Paraphrasing today’s opening prayer, we recognize that God has poured forth the grace of reconciliation into the hearts of those who have responded to the invitation of Our Lady of La Salette to “come closer.” She calls us to have hearts that are entirely with the Lord, as the Scripture says of David (1 Kings 11:4). That is our part in the covenant relationship.

Then we will be ready to undertake God’s work, which he has entrusted to us, even though he knows our faults better than we do.

Mary has given us the example. Her yes to the angel changed the world. We can say yes to her, acting on her words and hoping to make a difference. Who? You!

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

Rejoice Always

(3rd Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 61:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-28)

We all know people who are not cheerful. Some are simply of a somber disposition; others are afraid of what lies ahead, or they may be mourning a loss, recent or old. In these and similar cases, it is hard to hear St. Paul’s exhortation: “Rejoice always.”

The Weeping Mother of La Salette bewails her people’s suffering and danger, and even complains of being obliged to pray for us without ceasing. Her Apparition could be considered an unhappy event, except for one thing: “I am here to tell you great news.” Those words are similar to Isaiah’s: “The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” 

Mary appeared in the hollow of a ravine, but after speaking to the children she climbed to a higher spot and then rose beyond their reach before vanishing from their sight. It was a movement from grief to glory.

La Salette is a place of joy. This is true not only of the Mountain where the Beautiful Lady stood, but of every La Salette shrine. Many come in sadness, yes; but most leave with a spirit that, like Mary’s, “rejoices in God my savior,” echoing Isaiah: “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.”

This is often a deep interior joy, a quiet peace, which is not the same as joviality. It might not dispel fears or stop tears or change one’s personality. It cannot always be described, it cannot be denied either.

John the Baptist is introduced in today’s Gospel with these words: “A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” 

Here is a challenge for you. Change the text to “A person named [your name] was sent by God, to testify to the light.” Is this a joyful thought?

We have reason to believe that the Baptist was happy in his ministry, because in John 3:29, when he learned that everyone was now going to Jesus, he responded: “This joy of mine is made complete.”

The verse just before today’s Gospel text reads: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” This should be true of our joy, too. May nothing ever overcome it.

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

Comforting Justice

(2nd Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 40:1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8)

About four months ago, we had the same Responsorial Psalm (85) as today, and we commented on the words, “justice and peace shall kiss,” as opposites. In the context of today’s readings, however, the perspective is different.

In modern languages, justice is a legal term. In the news, we hear of persons or groups “demanding” justice. But in the Bible, it is primarily theological. Like peace, it is God’s gift to his faithful people.

Isaiah speaks wonderful words of comfort, predicting the end of the exile, which was God’s punishment upon the iniquity of his people. St. Peter reminds us of God’s promise of “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” Some translations have “justice.” Either way, it means the state of those who are such as they ought to be.

In this sense, John the Baptist was just, because he was faithful to his vocation. Mary, too, was just when, at the annunciation, she acknowledged and accepted her role as handmaid of the Lord. Both, in their humble service, were as they ought to be.

When we consider Mary’s message at La Salette, we are inclined to associate justice with “the arm of my Son.” But once we admit our sinfulness and make the humble submission that she asks of us, we are ready to hear her tender word of comfort.

We often draw attention to the crucifix on Mary’s breast. Today is no exception. See how it reflects Isaiah’s words as if they were addressed to the Beautiful Lady: “Go up on to a high mountain, fear not to cry out and say: Here is your God!” 

As St. Peter writes, “The Lord does not delay his promise, ... but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 

Comforting words indeed. What he adds a bit later is more challenging: “What sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion?”

How full our life would be if, unworthy as we are, we were always able to give comfort, to speak tenderly, and to proclaim the forgiveness of sin, in kindness, truth, justice and peace. This is yet another way to make the La Salette message known.

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

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