|Our Lady, Mother of Tenderness|
A Lay La Salette Missionary’s Reflection
on the Apparition of the
Virgin Mary at La Salette
We can call September, Mary’s Month. Why? It is because it is the only month during the year that the Church celebrates four feasts in her honor. October, the month of the Holy Rosary and the third calendar month dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is a close second with three. (Yes, May included)
September 8 celebrates her date of birth. How do we know that this day is Mary’s Birthday since the Scripture is silent about it? In the Catholic Church tradition plays a big role in our devotional practices
and piety in expressing and living out our faith.
The tradition that Mary was born on September 8 comes from the Eastern Church which begins its church year on this date. This date helped the Western Church or the Latin Church (Roman Catholic Church) to determine the date of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The tradition that Mary was born on Sept. 8 has existed since the Sixth Century. This tradition account from the Proto-Evangelium of James says that Anna and Joachim, Mary’s parents, prayed for a child and their prayer was granted. (Ref: Proto-Evangelium of St. James)
September 12 celebrates the feast of her Most Holy Name. This feast began in Spain in 1513. It has its origin when the King of Poland, John Sobiesk, who in order to stop the advancement of Muslins to the outskirts of Vienna, entrusted himself to Blessed Virgin Mary resulting in the defeat of the Muslims.
September 15, celebrates the Seven Sorrows of Mary. This devotion grew out of the reflection of the lay faithful on the passion of Christ and their desire to promote the union of Christ’s sufferings with that of his Mother. These seven sorrows are biblical: a) the prophecy of Simeon, b)the flight into Egypt; c) the loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple; d) Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary; e) Jesus dies on the cross; f) Mary receives the Body in her arms; g) Jesus’ Body placed in the tomb.
September 19, 1846, celebrates Mary’s apparition at La Salette, France. Although this feast is not yet in the liturgical calendar, it is nevertheless, a very important one. The Church, by God’s inspiration, put all these feasts honoring Mary as precedence of her apparition at La Salette. The Church once again, put the Exaltation of the Cross and the feast Of Mary’s Sorrows as “prologue” to her apparition on September 19, 1846 at La Salette, France. The very large cross, with the pincer and hammer on each side of the beam, that our Lady wore on her chest speak to us of the passion and suffering of her Son. The children described it as very large and very bright and the light that surrounded her came from the Cross – a symbol of Christ’s resurrection.
The feast of our Lady of Sorrows leads us up to her crying at La Salette. Our Lady’s tears and sorrow at La Salette invite us to repentance and conversion so that we can be reconciled with her Son who suffered death and rose for all of us.
The Blessed Mother’s apparition on this Holy Mountain uses Scriptural symbolism in teaching her message of conversion and reconciliation to all her people. For ALL her people.
(To be continued…)