Reflections from the Shrine ...
From The Desk Of The Director
Rev. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
May 11, 2019
This weekend May 11 - 12 is designated as “World Day of Prayer for Vocations”. That is because the Gospel for this weekend puts so much focus on Jesus as the shepherd. He is our model as pastor, calling his sheep to be of one flock. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.” Most of us are better at talking to God and others and not so good at listening. To truly listen is to give up control and take an interest in hearing what another person has to say. Then it is truly a dialogue and not a monologue.
Being a day of prayer for vocations this weekend is an especially good opportunity to pray for more pastors to guide the many sheep that make up the Catholic Church. As we know there is a great shortage of priests to guide Our Lord’s flock, not only in this country but in many parts of the world. I have been encouraged by my own L Salette community to talk about my vocation and encourage young men to follow a similar path.
I want to say quite simply, I have been a priest for almost 50 years. I am very grateful for that call and I continue to grow in that gratitude with each new year. It has been such a privilege and an honor to serve as our Lord’s representative in the administration of the sacraments and the preaching of God’s living word. I have had the joy of working with God’s people both in our country as well as almost 20 years in South America. I certainly have had a difficult times in being true to my calling as well as countless wonderful times. For any young man thinking even the possibility that god may be calling him to such a life and ministry. I would strongly encourage him to pray about it, to have the courage to listen to the voice of Jesus our Shepherd. It woul be very helpful to also talk to his family and friends to receive their opinion on such a possibility. The next step would be to talk to a member of the La Salette Missionaries to better understand where the Holy Spirit may be leading the person.
It is important to note that May 12th is also Mother’s Day. I believe deeply that Our Lady is our mother, protector and guide of all priests. Certainly her apparition at La Salette in France has been a essential part of my priestly vocation. May our Lord as well as Our Lady guide many young men and women to seriously consider the possibility of becoming members of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette.
Fr. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
Why Don’t they Get it?
(4th Sunday of Easter: Acts 13: 14, 43-52; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:27-30)
Have you ever had the experience of knowing something to be true but being unable to convince others? To you it is perfectly clear, but everyone looks at you as though you were speaking a foreign language, and you wonder, “Why don’t they get it?”
This was the experience of Paul and Barnabas. They went to the synagogue, eager to share with their Jewish brethren the fantastic news that the Scriptures had been fulfilled and the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. There was initial interest—we are told that almost the whole city gathered to hear them. Paul’s preaching was clear, logical, verifiable. Why didn’t they understand?
At La Salette, Mary addressed a similar situation when she said: “You take no heed!” Her people were oblivious to her concern for them, and to the ways she had tried to make them aware of the consequences of neglecting their faith.
So she did what she had to do to get their attention. She came, she wept, she spoke, sometimes even harshly—whatever it might take to make her people see what she saw.
The Church has often been in the same situation. We Christians have such Good News to share, but there are obstacles to faith. Secular society has little respect for believers. Scandals in the Church make it difficult to hear the Shepherd’s voice above the outcry. Rivalries among Christians distract them from the Christ they all strive to serve. In the case of Antioch in Pisidia, jealousy on the part of the synagogue leaders led to rejection of Paul’s preaching; then came opposition and, finally, persecution.
At the time of the Apparition, among the chief obstacles to the practice of the faith in France was the anticlericalism inherited from the French Revolution. Besides that, life was hard for so many. But Our Lady of La Salette chose not to stand by and watch her people bring destruction on themselves.
Her tears, her words and even her choice of witnesses, were to make sure that we “get it,” so that we might stand among the multitude shepherded by the Lamb of God to springs of life-giving water.
Very Rev. Rene’ Butler, M.S.