The Tears of Mary, Reconciler of Sinners

Untitled-1Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656)The Christian people... 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:


“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... she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son... (B)y the grace of Almighty God she served the mystery of redemption” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, #56).


The Meaning of Mary’s Tears

... In her role as Mother, she shared in a singular manner in the salvation accomplished by her Son. This is the meaning of her tears at La Salette... We know that tears are the consummate language of maternal love... we are familiar with the story of St. Monica; what torrents of tears had she shed for her son, Augustine. Well then, Mary’s tears are the expression of her maternal love for us... Her tears speak to us “who pay no heed!”

...Appearing in tears at La Salette, Mary shows us how seriously she takes her spiritual maternity toward all (her children)... Mary has entered, body and soul, into blessed eternity: that is the meaning of the light which envelops her. But the fact remains: the Beautiful Lady is weeping... It must relate to something real at the heart of her happiness in heaven. “How long a time do I suffer for you!”

...Seeing what threatens to befall us as a result of our obstinate refusal of Love, would she still be a mother if, now that she is in heaven, that did not at all trouble her? ...An expression of her motherly love for us, the tears of Mary will be meaningful for our salvation only if they help us further penetrate the true relationship between God and (humanity)...


The Tenderness of God’s Forgiveness

Untitled-2The Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) God’s truth bursts forth in the tenderness of forgiveness. The tears of Our Lady invite us to open ourselves to this pardon of God. On the other hand, God’s wrath manifests the seriousness of our freedom... He respects it, whatever use we may make of it. And God does not deal with us underhandedly. He has done everything to have us see where our decisions take us; to life, if we open ourselves to his love; to death, if we stubbornly refuse it.

The whole of salvation history, as the Bible describes it to us, shows that God does not give up on (humanity). He awaits the return of the prodigals that we are. His wrath tells us that sin is not fatal, that there is a way out of it, if we are willing to listen to his voice, understand the warnings he gives us. Truly this is the meaning of the words the Virgin spoke to us through her tears (at La Salette): “I showed you last year with the potatoes...” If, understanding the warnings, we come back to God with a sincere heart, ...he is already awaiting us...

This truly is the meaning of the Beautiful Lady’s tears. Had God given up forever on the sinner, the apparition of the Beautiful Lady would have been nothing more than a mockery ... (and) to say that God does not give up on (his people) – is this not to acknowledge the true relationship between God and (humanity)?

...Speaking to us through her tears, the Virgin at La Salette opens for us the way of hope which St. Augustine described in these terms: “You made us for yourself, Lord, and our heart knows no rest till it comes to rest in you.”

God does not give up on us. The tears of the Virgin tell us so. In this we can place our hope.

Untitled-3Our Lady of La Salette, weeping as she speaks to the two children