THE SACRAMENT OF
THROUGH THE LENS OF
THE MESSAGE OF
OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE
(Reflection by Isabel M. Dion)
When our Lady appeared to two illiterate and very poor children on the mountain of a little village called La Salette, one of her messages was that "during Lent, people go to the market like dogs.” Those were very tough words. Our Lady was using an expression that Mark [7; 24 – 30] and Matthew [15; 21 – 28] use in their gospels. Remember the woman, a Greek, Syrophoenician by birth, whose daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit? Jesus was in Greek territory when the woman approached and begged Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus’ response was to feed the children first before giving the bread to the dogs. For the Greeks, a dog was a symbol of dishonor and was used to describe a person who was daring and shameless.
Our Lady of La Salette used the same word to jolt us - to call the attention of those who do not honor the value of Lent as a time of abstaining from the desires of the flesh for self-gratification. It is a kind of self-centeredness - a navel gazing attitude. She calls her people to turn away from such an attitude and to direct themselves to her Son—her Son who gave All that he was for the salvation of humanity.
In her message to the children at La Salette the Blessed Virgin Mary, mentioned “My Son” six times. She wants her people—us— to pay attention to her Son. Hence, our Lady of La Salette wants us to remember that Lent is a call to CONVERSION that leads to a life of Reconciliation. Conversion relates to the Greek word, “metanonia, which means a change of mind and heart. This conversion is not a one-time event. It is a daily process of dying to self and rising above self-centeredness. Thus, we need the sacrament of reconciliation in our lives. This is the sacrament through which Conversion and Reconciliation are celebrated. Now please allow me to present the similarities between the message of our Lady of La Salette and our journey to the sacrament of reconciliation.
1. At La Salette: Following the path of her Son, she chose the mountain to talk about her message of conversion to two poor, uneducated and humble children. Her Son went to the mountain to meet His Father. [Mark 9; 2 – 13] Our Lady instructed the children with words and symbols. Christ instructed His disciples with words and symbols.
2. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is our mountain too. For some of us it takes some time to climb that mountain. Like the disciples who were there that day, we have to work at keeping our lives centered on Jesus. It is our call to a constant process of conversion to make ourselves worthy of being a part of Christ’s inner circle of friends.
(To be continued)