Every age has her own unique way of listening to, interpreting and acting upon the truth she discovers.
Around us a whole new world is being shaped. Many often speak about the rapid change of life. We are challenged to scrutinize these changes, to reflect on their meaning, to critique them from a Gospel point of view. And then, we must either take part in their dynamics or struggle to curb their negative impact.
We are also part of the major shifts occurring in the Church today. They are signs of challenge – issues that cry out to us for our response. They cannot be silenced. Refusal to be part of their authentic dialogue can never be seen as fidelity to the Gospel but as treason to its values!
The Ongoing Renewal of Religious Life
We are part of a religious life slowly but surely being stripped of outdated trappings. As La Salettes, we will be condemned unless we discover ways of living harmoniously in our multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-social Congregation. How do we shape and transform our La Salette identity, in a human and a gospel fashion, to fit our local and global realities? How can we live a life focused on God, embracing a lifestyle that now questions what we previously accepted as normal, important, possible, and even necessary?
In some of our provinces, a major concern focuses on the question: How do we deal with the phenomena of aging membership and diminishing recruits? And in still other provinces, there is a quandary about how we meet the welcome challenge of youthful membership and an overwhelming number of candidates? On what do we base our hopes and fears when we speak of renewing our religious life?
Paul Valéry, the French poet, essayist, and philosopher (1871-1945) in “Our Destiny and Literature” ironically comments: "The future, like everything else, is no longer quite what it used to be." We are called to step into tomorrow. We are on a pilgrim journey… in the Spirit, …without maps. Our role is to walk in faith into the uncharted future. Perhaps our most trusted guide will be the Spirit – of hope and creativity.
Our French Connection
How daringly creative it was of Mary to bring her tearful message to two uneducated children in the isolation of the French Alps, and then send them out to make it known to all her people!
Jesus' Good News of Reconciliation, so creatively paraphrased at La Salette, has never been a message immobilized in space and time. Mirrored in our eyes and echoed in our voices every day are our hopes and fears, assumptions and expectations, our enduring questions and challenges.
Also present in our daily life and ministry is a sense of vibrant life, of joy at being La Salettes, of dedication to a mission, of God’s grace empowering our future. We have resources far superior to those which Melanie and Maximin possessed.
Mary's people are waiting to see whether we, with all the baggage of our many years of La Salette presence in her world, still possess the energy, enthusiasm, courage, imagination and creativity necessary to bring her message boldly and without compromise into the future.
(Originally published in the La Salette Publication, Salette Info,
no. 13, 1993, 01, pg. 30 and updated by the author)