Bishop Glen John Provost

Bishop of Lake Charles

Our Lady of LaSalette Catholic Church

Sulphur, Louisiana

September 18, 2016

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Celebration of the 170th Anniversary of the 
of the Virgin Mary to two children 
near the small village of LaSalette in France

The Mass also concluded the nine-day
novena to the Blessed Mother

“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala… and the disciple there whom he loved.”   John 19:25, 26

We are told through the witness of the children of LaSalette, Melanie and Maximin, that our Lady wept.   Our Lady was not unfamiliar with tears.    She had stood at the foot of the cross of her Son.  She had seen Him suffer and die.  No one spends their entire life crying, however, and our Lady is no different.   Life is a combination of moments of sorrow, sometimes very deep sorrow, and happiness, sometimes exhilarating joy.  

Almost 170 years to the day, on September 19, 1846, Melanie Mathieu and Maximin Giraud encountered Our Lady on the Mountain of LaSalette.   At the first sight of Our Lady, the children were understandably frightened, but Mary spoke words of welcome to them.  “Come near, my children, be not afraid.  I am here to tell you great news.”    Hearing this their fear left them and they were reassured.   
What continued was an exhortation to repentance.   We speak of a change of heart when we refer to conversion.   Our Lady wished her children to make known this message of repentance.   
Many have remarked how Our Lady chose to reveal herself within a short period of time to children.   We think of Lourdes, Fatima, and LaSalette, all within the space of approximately 80 years.   The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.  None of these children were sophisticated.   They came from simple backgrounds.   In each case, the message they carried from Our Lady made them seem precocious.   By God’s will, she had chosen what the world considers weak and foolish to confound the wise and the clever.  
In this confused and confusing world, the message of Our Lady of LaSalette is as pertinent today as it was 170 years ago.   We have need of it, desperate need.   The litany of sins is daunting—as daunting as the one given by St. Paul in the Letter to the Romans.   The children of the age “are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite.   They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God.  They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents.  They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Romans 1:29-31).    There is much for which to repent.    
We cannot serve two masters.  The heart cannot be divided.  It seeks to submit itself, and better for the heart to submit to its Creator than to a creature.   
Let us not forget the words of Our Lady.   They were the words of Our Lord, Her Son.   More recently they were some of the first words of Pope St. John Paul II when elected to the chair of St. Peter.   “Be not afraid.”   Why?   “We know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28) (2).  
May Our Lady of LaSalette bring us to Her Son, repentant, unafraid, and loving the God who created us.