Mary, Reconciler of Sinners

Editor: This talk was given as part of an eight-day retreat given on the Holy Mountain of La Salette by Bishop Jean Guy Rakotondravahatra, M.S. (1934-1996), Bishop of Ihosy, Madagascar, pages 39-41.

The Christian people, in an inspired intuition of piety, spontaneously invoked Our Lady of La Salette under the title, “Reconciler of sinners”. Official church documents make no mention of it among the titles it attributes to Mary. Let us, however, listen to what Vatican Council II teaches:

01Bishop Jean Guy Rakotondravahatra, M.S. (1934-1996)
“The Father of mercies willed that the consent of the predestined mother should precede the Incarnation, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. This contrast was verified in outstanding fashion by the Mother of Jesus. She gave to the world that very Life which renews all things, and she was enriched by God with gifts befitting such a role... By thus consenting to the divine utterance, Mary, a daughter of Adam, became the mother of Jesus. Embracing God’s saving will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son. In subordination to him and along with him, by the grace of Almighty God she served the mystery of redemption” (Lumen Gentium, #56 emphasis added).

To be sure, Christ alone is Savior, Christ alone is Mediator between God and humanity, and it is Christ who, by his blood, accomplished the work of reconciliation. St. Paul in Ephesians 2:13-17 says that Christ, by means of the cross, is our peace, our reconciliation. But another text of the same St. Paul says:
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God” (Colossians 1:24-25).

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The Arm of My Son

01What a picture these words of our Blessed Mother at La Salette bring to mind as we reflect on their meaning! The heavens seem to open for a brief moment to our wondering gaze and we witness the blessed work of Mary’s ongoing intercession before the throne of God...

These words of the Blessed Mother – “I shall be forced to let go the arm of my Son” – besides recalling to us that profoundly Catholic doctrine of Mary's part in the great work of Divine Redemption, also bring to mind a sorry picture of humanity's baseless ingratitude to God.
Sin and Punishment Versus Love and Mercy
On the one hand, we can envision a sinful world, unmindful of God, given over to all manner of crime and self-indulgence; and, on the other hand, an outraged God, with patience, mercy and long-suffering exhausted, raising the …arm of justice over the head of guilty humanity. Yet the Psalmist reminds us: “Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger, abounding in mercy. He will not always accuse, and nurses no lasting anger; he has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our wrongs deserve” (Psalm 103:8-10).

At La Salette, the Sinless Virgin pledges to hold back "the arm of my Son!" How sad is our state when Jesus, the meekest of all, the Good Shepherd – the one who would not “crush the broken reed nor quench the smoking flax,” (Isaiah 42:3 and Matthew 12:20) – raises at last the hand of justice against his creatures, made in his own image and likeness. How sad that the one who “came not for the just, but for sinners,” (Luke 5:32), who “had compassion on the multitude,” (Matthew 14:14) finds his patience almost exhausted.

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The Gift of Mary’s Tears

Editor: This is the introduction by Fr. Flavio Gillio, M.S., to the new book to be published soon, “Food for the Journey; the Biblical Roots of the La Salette Message, Volume One”, by Fr. Normand Theroux, M.S. This book is a welcome addition to our library of materials on the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette., and will be available in a paper version, in digital form and also as an audio book, all sold online on and other outlets.
Untitled 1
I have never personally met Fr. Normand Theroux, M.S. and yet we have become good friends. Whenever I have a chance to visit his gravesite in the small cemetery the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Enfield, New Hampshire, we spend a little time together and we peacefully converse. Yes, I guess we have become good friends. After all, we both share the same passion for the Scripture, we both studied in Rome at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and, more importantly, we have both being seduced by the same “Beautiful Lady”!

I have, therefore, welcomed with joy the invitation to write an introduction to this volume, Food for the Journey; the Biblical Roots of the La Salette Message, Volume One. Fr. Theroux’s own title for this collection evokes one of the most used biblical metaphors to unfold the hidden meaning of our own lives – that of a journey or pilgrimage.

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Our Weeping Mother and the Twelve Steps

This year I marked 47 years as a La Salette Missionary. That means I have spent the greater part of my life as a member of this Congregation dedicated to the Apparition and the Message of the Beautiful Lady here at La Salette. Now I find myself living in the very place where the Apparition occurred and the Message was given. That fact feels like a great grace and a great challenge.
Untitled 1Fr. Joseph Bachand, M.S., presently Superior of the La Salette Community at the Holy Mountain in France

Looking at our life with new eyes

As I reflect on the years and the many assignments I have had, it occurs to me that each ministry entrusted to me provided the perspective or lens through which all past assignments would be viewed. I believe this is true for all of us: our present situation in life demands that we look at all that went before with “eyes” made more aware by the new situation. So I look back at all that has transpired in ministry with a greater understanding of conversion, reconciliation and relationship with God that Our Blessed Lady recommends.

Called to Minister as Spiritual Director

With that in mind, one period of my history stands out as instrumental in my own formation as a reconciler. I was blessed to spend four years (1998-2002), with the permission of my superiors, at a treatment center for priests and religious. I held the position of Director of Spirituality for the St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland, but worked more specifically with the men, individually and in groups.

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We Have Cause to Celebrate

Untitled 1The representation of the ethnicity of Jesus by cultures
…The month of September has always had a Marian flavor for the Church. In fact, the liturgy urges us to celebrate various feasts of Mary: her Nativity – September 8th, the Holy Name of Mary – September 12th, and Our Lady of Sorrows – September 15th. These are worldwide liturgical memorials that speak to us of the nearness of Mary in the life of every human being, and of her total involvement in the sufferings of Christ for the salvation of humankind. To these we must add, since 1846, the Feast of the Apparition at La Salette on September 19th.

Our Faith is Centered on Christ

This month is also important for each one of us in that we are invited at this time to return regularly to the roots of our spirituality, which is fundamentally Christo-centric – “Christ is the rule of our life” (Rule of Life, #7).

Yet we are also exquisitely Marian, because our life, ministry and rule of life are inspired by the message of Mary in her apparition at La Salette and by her faithful example throughout her life dedicated to the person and to the work of her Son:

“Our life of religious consecration finds its inspiration in Mary, ‘whose life is a model for all’ and whose unceasing intercession supports our efforts. Conscious of the challenge which the Apparition of the Lord's Handmaid continues to put before us, we resolve to devote ourselves entirely, as she herself did, to the person and work of her Son” (Rule of Life, #13).

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The Crucifix of La Salette

Maximin said: "The 'Beautiful Lady' wore a cross, about eight inches long: on one side of the cross there was a hammer and on the other, pincers" (from “Notes of Fr. D. Lagier”).

Melanie said: "She had a very small chain to which was attached a crucifix: at the right, pincers; at the left, a hammer" (from "The Truth Concerning La Salette" by Fr. Pierre J. Rousselot).

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Nelson Mandela – Icon of Reconciliation

Scripture says: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:13-18).

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Mary’s Tears Touch Your Heart

Editor: This article was written in French by Fr. Pierre Liaud, M.S. (1865-1930), first published in 1897 in his book, "The Mystical Flowers of the Mountain of La Salette (Les Fleurs Mystiques de la Sainte Montagne de La Salette)". This article, chapter six, has been edited.

The children who beheld the Virgin Mary, seated on the stone of the mountain, saw her weeping in profound desolation, overwhelmed with the most bitter grief and shedding abundant tears. "She cried all the time she spoke to us," the children said. "I saw her tears flowing," added Melanie, the little shepherdess.

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No One Else But Jesus

(Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord: Daniel 7:9-14; 2 Peter 1:16-19; Matthew 17:1-9)

Over the main entrance to the Basilica on the Holy Mountain of La Salette is a stained-glass representation of the Transfiguration of Jesus. As you step outside, the site of the Apparition our Our Lady is directly in front of you.

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