Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let's all give thanks to Our Lady of La Salette

Have you heard the exciting news?  Pope Benedict XVI has named Auxiliary Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Rockville Centre as the 10th Bishop of Manchester.  The appointment was announced on September 19th by Msgr. Jean-Francois Lantheaume, charge d'affaires at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C..  See here.

There are no coincidences in the spiritual life.  I truly believe that.  Which is why I am thanking Our Lady of La Salette for her maternal intercession and the gift of Bishop Libasci to New Hampshire.  Already Bishop Libasci has indicated his desire to listen to the faithful of the Granite State.  This is a far cry from his predecessor, who was overheard screaming at parishioners of St. Patrick's Parish in Jaffrey and who wasn't very pastoral as he transferred abusive priests from parish to parish.

Let us all pray that Bishop Libasci will listen to Our Lady of La Salette: Reconciler of Sinners, and lead the Diocese on the sure road of penance.  Most of us are aware that sin destroys our relationship with God and that it also undermines our relationships with family members, friends and others with whom we come into contact. Reconciliation refers to that precise effect of Christ's redemption of the human race by His sacrificial death on the Cross which restores our relationship with God and breaks down the barriers of sin which prevent us from engaging in authentic relationships with others.

In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance." (1435).

In other words, our transformation in Christ, our daily conversion, is made manifest by such gestures of reconciliation by which we demonstrate our commitment toward the theological virtue of charity "by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God" (CCC, 1822). We are told in Sacred Scripture that a faith without works is dead (James 2:14-19). An authentic reconciliation, therefore, will show itself in a charity which embraces both God and neighbor.

As Jean Jaouen so eloquently puts it, "..Christian compassion cannot be a cerebral, fleshless reality. It is completely impossible for one who loves people coldly to dissociate eternal salvation from the temporal well-being of a human person. A person is a whole. Time is eternity already begun yet still not completely visible. The conflict will be resolved if Christian apostles learn to live with their people while remaining present to the Lady who, with her Son, weeps over both the death of souls and the death of little children. 'Lady of heaven, empress of earth.' Through the Virgin Mediator and Queen, apostles will find a balance between the demands of heaven and those of earth." (Jean Jaouen, m.s., "A Grace Called La Salette: a story for the world," pp. 327-328, grassroots publishing international, Enfield, New Hampshire, English edition 1991).

A balance between the demands of heaven and those of earth. Do we maintain such a balance in our own lives? Or are we so caught up in the affairs of this world that we neglect our personal conversion? It's no secret why there is no real peace in our world. Peace is more than the mere absence of conflict. Peace is the tranquility of order which results from people and other realities being as they ought to be. As Pope Paul VI reminded us in his Christmas message of 1966: "Peace is not a primary good, but a resultant and derivative good that infers and requires a prior good. This prior good is precisely order, justice, the harmony of things."

I know Our Lady of La Salette has a special plan for the 10th Bishop of Manchester.  And I pray she will cover His Excellency with her mantle.

To put it simply: we will never be at peace with others if we are not at peace with ourselves. And how can we be at peace with ourselves unless we are living an authentic prayer life and confessing our sins before the Lord Jesus?


Stewart said...

That's terrific news for New Hampshire. The fact that SNAP and Bishop Accountability have already issued critcal statements is a good sign. These are radical groups with an anti-Catholic agenda now.

Ellen Wironken said...

It is Stewart. I think Rome took over a year to find a replacement for Bishop McCormack for a reason. The Holy Father wanted to ensure that the Catholic Church in New Hampshire would get a Bishop who is a man of prayer and a man who cares for the faithful. I believe Bishop Libasci is such a man.

Siobhan said...

I knew Fr. Libasci when he was a young priest at St. Raymond's in East Rockaway, New York. Truly a good, holy priest with a great sense of humor. You're very lucky. God Bless!

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Siobhan, I couldn't agree more. Thank you for your input. May Our Lady cover Bishop with her mantle.

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