Even to this day her messages continue, only now to many Our Lady is saying that her time to be with us in this extraordinary way is coming to an end. From the most recent messages emanating from many reliable areas and the fact many messengers have announced their own messages have ceased, it would seem to indicate it is sooner than many of us can imagine.
Thus, in this tenth installment of our continuing series on THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS, we return to 1846, to a mountain region in France called LaSalette. It is not as vital to reveal to the reader as much the background about the apparition as it is to convey the full message, the secret imparted only to the young visionary Melanie Mathieu; not to the other seer - a young boy named Maximim Giraud.
LaSalette is an approved apparition site, and the secret, only given by word of mouth from Melanie throughout most osf her life, was finally written down by the visionary shortly before her death. She wrote out the complete secret in November of 1978. This message was then printed with the "IMPRIMATUR" of Bishop Zola in November, 1879. It was reprinted "ne varietur" at Lyon, France in 1904 a few months before Melanie's death. But the translation of the message into English took time. Thus, the secret of LaSalette, so intricately connected to all of the other Marian apparitions since that time, and particularly in our own day, is necessary in order to try to understand in the light of the Holy Spirit, what Our Lady's coming truly means, and why she is calling us back even more urgently in these, the End Times.
The date: September 18th, 1846; the setting: the rich pastureland valleys in the mountains of Southern France; the visionaries: Melanie, a young 14-year old who tended to her master's cows and a visiting 12-year old boy Maximim who was temporariliy tending his master's cows in the same vicinity. Melanie enjoyed her task of tending to the herds for it also afforded her privacy during the long hours spent high in the mountains. But that privacy was invaded on that day when Maximim showed up, announcing he would join her, as he had come from nearby Corps on the request of his master to shepherd his cattle for a period of ten days. Melanie was distressed. She didn't want company. This loner liked the quietude, and, especially at her age, didn't in the least want this boy around. But he persisted, and together they went up the mountain.
Melanie shortly discovered that Maximim was a very good, simple boy who did not really know God, and was not overly religious; neither was Melanie for the life was hard and the work long and she often missed Mass. But Melanie took this opportunity to talk to Maximim about God, and they devised a game which they played together called "Paradise" in which they constructed a small little house of stone. The ground floor was where they were to live, while the second story was to be "Paradise." This they decorated with flowers of all kinds gathered from the surrounding hills, and had quite a wonderful time at this "game." Then, having eaten a meager lunch of bread and cheese, they fell asleep.
It was Melanie who awoke first. Not seeing the cows, she climbed up a little mound until she spotted them in a gully, grazing peacefully. Starting back down to arouse Maximim, her eyes saw a light shining brighter than the sun.
Melanie managed to call out to Maximum before she felt something inconceivably wonderful happen to her. She was to describe this later to the authorities as being drawn toward this light. She felt a great respect. She experienced so much love that her heart was racing.
Then the light, upon which her eyes were transfixed, seemed to open wider, and she caught sight of an even more brillian light which was moving. It was within this moving light that Melanie first beheld a beautiful lady sitting on the top of their "Paradise" house, with her head in her hands.
By now Maximim was fully awake and as the two children watched in awe, Our Lady stood up and crossed her arms, watching the young ones and saying: "Come, my children, fear not, I am here to PROCLAIM GREAT NEWS TO YOU." At these words the children rushed to her side. Once Melanie was close enough, the beautiful lady began to speak again, but now there were tears flowing from her eyes.
In the next installment we shall examine why the Blessed Mother was weeping so as we examine some of the messages that are so very pertinent today in 1996, 150 years after.
NEXT WEEK: The Apparitions of LaSalette: The Warnings from Our Lady of LaSalette part two
82. It is with this strong conviction of faith, and with awareness of the heritage of human values which the observance of Sunday entails, that Christians today must face the enticements of a culture which has accepted the benefits of rest and free time, but which often uses them frivolously and is at times attracted by morally questionable forms of entertainment. Certainly, Christians are no different from other people in enjoying the weekly day of rest; but at the same time they are keenly aware of the uniqueness and originality of Sunday, the day on which they are called to celebrate their salvation and the salvation of all humanity. Sunday is the day of joy and the day of rest precisely because it is "the Lord's Day", the day of the Risen Lord.
83. Understood and lived in this fashion, Sunday in a way becomes the soul of the other days, and in this sense we can recall the insight of Origen that the perfect Christian "is always in the Lord's Day, and is always celebrating Sunday". (131) Sunday is a true school, an enduring programme of Church pedagogy — an irreplaceable pedagogy, especially with social conditions now marked more and more by a fragmentation and cultural pluralism which constantly test the faithfulness of individual Christians to the practical demands of their faith. In many parts of the world, we see a "diaspora" Christianity, which is put to the test because the scattered disciples of Christ can no longer easily maintain contact with one another, and lack the support of the structures and traditions proper to Christian culture. In a situation of such difficulty, the opportunity to come together on Sundays with fellow believers, exchanging gifts of brother- hood, is an indispensable help.
84. Sustaining Christian life as it does, Sunday has the additional value of being a testimony and a proclamation. As a day of prayer, communion and joy, Sunday resounds throughout society, emanating vital energies and reasons for hope. Sunday is the proclamation that time, in which he who is the Risen Lord of history makes his home, is not the grave of our illusions but the cradle of an ever new future, an opportunity given to us to turn the fleeting moments of this life into seeds of eternity. Sunday is an invitation to look ahead; it is the day on which the Christian community cries out to Christ, "Marana tha: Come, O Lord!" (1 Cor 16:22). With this cry of hope and expectation, the Church is the companion and support of human hope. From Sunday to Sunday, enlightened by Christ, she goes forward towards the unending Sunday of the heavenly Jerusalem, which "has no need of the sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light and its lamp is the Lamb" (Rev 21:23).
85. As she strains towards her goal, the Church is sustained and enlivened by the Spirit. It is he who awakens memory and makes present for every generation of believers the event of the Resurrection. He is the inward gift uniting us to the Risen Lord and to our brothers and sisters in the intimacy of a single body, reviving our faith, filling our hearts with charity and renewing our hope. The Spirit is unfailingly present to every one of the Church's days, appearing unpredictably and lavishly with the wealth of his gifts. But it is in the Sunday gathering for the weekly celebration of Easter that the Church listens to the Spirit in a special way and reaches out with him to Christ in the ardent desire that he return in glory: "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!'" (Rev 22:17). Precisely in consideration of the role of the Spirit, I have wished that this exhortation aimed at rediscovering the meaning of Sunday should appear in this year which, in the immediate preparation for the Jubilee, is dedicated to the Holy Spirit.
86. I entrust this Apostolic Letter to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, that it may be received and put into practice by the Christian community. Without in any way detracting from the centrality of Christ and his Spirit, Mary is always present in the Church's Sunday. It is the mystery of Christ itself which demands this: indeed, how could she who is Mater Domini and Mater Ecclesiae fail to be uniquely present on the day which is both dies Domini and dies Ecclesiae?
As they listen to the word proclaimed in the Sunday assembly, the faithful look to the Virgin Mary, learning from her to keep it and ponder it in their hearts (cf. Lk 2:19). With Mary, they learn to stand at the foot of the Cross, offering to the Father the sacrifice of Christ and joining to it the offering of their own lives. With Mary, they experience the joy of the Resurrection, making their own the words of the Magnificat which extol the inexhaustible gift of divine mercy in the inexorable flow of time: "His mercy is from age to age upon those who fear him" (Lk 1:50). From Sunday to Sunday, the pilgrim people follow in the footsteps of Mary, and her maternal intercession gives special power and fervour to the prayer which rises from the Church to the Most Holy Trinity.
87. Dear Brothers and Sisters, the imminence of the Jubilee invites us to a deeper spiritual and pastoral commitment. Indeed, this is its true purpose. In the Jubilee year, much will be done to give it the particular stamp demanded by the ending of the Second Millennium and the beginning of the Third since the Incarnation of the Word of God. But this year and this special time will pass, as we look to other jubilees and other solemn events. As the weekly "solemnity", however, Sunday will continue to shape the time of the Church's pilgrimage, until that Sunday which will know no evening.
Therefore, dear Brother Bishops and Priests, I urge you to work tirelessly with the faithful to ensure that the value of this sacred day is understood and lived ever more deeply. This will bear rich fruit in Christian communities, and will not fail to have a positive influence on civil society as a whole.
In coming to know the Church, which every Sunday joyfully celebrates the mystery from which she draws her life, may the men and women of the Third Millennium come to know the Risen Christ. And constantly renewed by the weekly commemoration of Easter, may Christ's disciples be ever more credible in proclaiming the Gospel of salvation and ever more effective in building the civilization of love.
My blessing to you all!
Those with weak faith will not survive. Jesus asked the rhetorical question, "When the Son of man comes again (the Second Coming of Christ), will there be faith left on earth?" (Luke 18:8).
We see people now who have some moderate degree of faith, who play around the lower levels of faith but who are not really cultivating their faith. They exercise faith merely to get their pains relieved. They don't cultivate faith for yielding to God's love, or faith for converting whole countries from communism, or faith to save starving millions. They cannot think of faith beyond its use to relieve an earache or a toothache; that's the tragic limit of their faith. When the pressure is really on, they will drift away. Only those will survive spiritually who have cultivated a close companionship with Jesus and absolute security in Him, who never question His will for them. Sadly, they will be few. Jesus is going to rebuild His body, His Church, with only the very best building materials available-the "remnant" few, as Isaiah calls them.
When you see a handful of charismatics in every city going around raising the dead and walking through hospitals emptying them of patients by instant healing, you will witness a spread of Christianity as never before. From the faith of these faithful few will spring forth faith throngs of other faithful ones. And God's Church will flourish as never before!
Take China with a fourth of the world's population, most of whom have never even heard the name of Christ or seen a Bible. Far less than one percent of the people is Christian. Walk into a country like that and try to evangelize it without the Holy Spirit's power, without faith-spawned miracles and you'll find yourself butting your head against the Great Wall of China. But go in there and start curing incurable diseases by the thousands and other faith-released miracles, and watch those Chinese come flocking to Christ. In other countries, you would see countless Muslims and Jews turn to Christ. That is going to be the day, but it is going to start with a very few faithful Christians.
In the next installment, part two of "Survival of the Spiritually Fittest.
Pope Clement V becomes the 198th successor of Peter. Some Vatican archives show this French pontiff was elected June 5, 1305 - others November 14, 1305, and still others on this day August 5, 1305. Regardless, Clement was the first pope to be submitted to the Captivity of Avignon due to the influence of Philip the Fair of France. During his nine year reign he called the 15th Ecumenical Council and founded the University of Oxford.
Christopher Columbus lands on the shores of South America, becoming the first European to set foot on the continent and bringing the faith to South America.
Pope Alexander IV is invited to dine with his cousin Caesare Borgia and Cardinal Adriano Castellesi by a family member who poisons the three. Caesare survived, but the cardinal and the Pope both died, the latter two weeks later on August 18.
Pope Pius IX issues his thirtieth encyclical commemorating his twenty-fifth anniversary as Pope entitled Saepe Venerabiles Fratres.
Pope Leo XIII releases his 67th encyclical in the twentieth year of his pontificate on civil marriage law entitled Quam religiosa.