Our Lady of La Salette – September 19
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
On September 19, 1846, Our Lady appeared to two small shepherds, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat. The beautiful lady, as the children called her, appeared in an attitude of profound sadness asking prayers and penance to help her prevent the arm of her Son from falling over mankind for its sins. Our Lady also revealed to the shepherd children a secret. Since this apparition took place on the mountain called La Salette in the Diocese of Grenoble, France, a new invocation of Our Lady soon spread throughout the world – Our Lady of La Salette.
There have been three major apparitions of Our Lady in the last 150 years: La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima. In all of them the Church accepted the authenticity of the apparitions and endorsed them by making special feasts to commemorate them. In each of those three apparitions Our Lady left a secret.
In all of them, Our Lady manifested herself as profoundly sad because of the state of mankind, and predicted an enormous chastisement that would come at a chosen moment. Therefore, in the last 150 years Our Lady has adopted a position very similar to that of counter-revolutionaries.
You all know members of the High and Low Clergy as well as Catholic lay people who are very happy, who think that everything is going very well. If you tell these people that a chastisement is being prepared for mankind, they respond that it is absurd. They affirm that Religion is experiencing an extraordinary progress.
Next to such persons, we look gloomy and sad. We play the role of the pessimistic hypochondriacs who do not fit into the joyful, carefree atmosphere of our days, which always disseminates an optimistic and positive opinion about everything.
Our role is a hard one, because it is always hard to foresee and announce chastisements for a mankind turned toward enjoying life. It is not surprising that very few people are willing to believe and follow our political and religious perspectives regarding events, which demonstrates the ever greater victory of the Revolution. They do not want to hear about the great chastisement that God is preparing. Since Our Lady herself brought three major messages that were not accepted, it is not surprising that our apostolate also is not well received.
This is characteristic of all epochs that take the wrong path. When people hear someone saying that they are going astray, they do not listen. For this reason, the great chastisements come. If the people would listen, they would convert and the chastisement would be averted. It is precisely because they do not open their souls to the message that the catastrophe becomes inevitable. The fact that they do not believe in Our Lady’s messages is the proof that those messages will be fulfilled.
Someone could object: One hundred and fifty years have already past and nothing has happened. How have these messages been fulfilled?
I sustain that in ovo (in the egg; in its seed) the great chastisements have begun. Our Lady appeared in La Salette in 1846; in 1870 the Franco-Prussian war started as a result of the rivalry between France and Germany. This rivalry would reach an apogee in 1914 and be the most profound cause for World War I, as well as for World War II. The quarrels of WWII still have not been resolved completely and the perspective of a World War III lies on the horizon. A possible WWIII with its nuclear apocalypse could very well be the start of the great chastisement predicted at La Salette and Fatima.
The great chastisements of God defy the patience of those few who are faithful. The most characteristic example was the Deluge where everybody laughed at Noah who was building his ark in expectation of a great chastisement. It took him 100 years to complete his work, and then the Flood came. At times Noah might have been tempted to think that he was wrong and that the people laughing at him were right. But he did not relent. He remained faithful to the message he received from God and continued to prepare for the chastisement. The fact that it took a long time to come did not mean that it would not come; rather, it meant that it would be an enormous chastisement.
Our Lord predicted that the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed. When He died, an earthquake shook its floors and the veil of the Temple was rent in the middle. Some walls were damaged but the Temple remained standing. Decades passed and the prophecy was not fulfilled. Several times the faithful of Jerusalem thought that the signs were ripe for the chastisement and fled to the mountains, as Our Lord had advised them to do. However, nothing happened and they returned to their normal lives, perhaps a little discouraged.
Then, 40 years after Our Lord’s death, and apparently by chance, a soldier from the army of Titus threw a torch into one of the side windows of the Temple. A fire started and spread quickly, engulfing all the buildings. Then, in truth, not one stone remained over the other just as Our Lord had predicted. Afterward the Temple was never rebuilt.
We should be convinced that we were chosen to be among the few who listen to the voice of Our Lady and wait for the chastisement she predicted. These cherished ones must give proof of their love. They must give proof of their fidelity before the word of God is accomplished. This is the situation we are in. I do not know how many years we must await for the promises of La Salette and Fatima to be fulfilled. At times we think: “Now it has to come, because it is impossible for the situation to be any worse.” Then, it does not come. The stormy sky releases just a few drops of rain and the clouds dissipate. Again the sky becomes stormy… People laugh at us. We should remember Noah. When the rain finally fell, it was the Deluge.
To confide against all appearances and to believe after all the delays is what God requires of those with whom He selects to make His alliance. This is the great teaching of La Salette. This is the spirit we should ask to receive on the feast day of Our Lady of La Salette: to have a blind confidence in her promise and to be certain that its fulfillment will come.