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A Message for the World

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By Marc Massery (Sep 13, 2018)
This is the final article in a series on approved apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The sun shone brightly through the cloudless sky over an obscure hamlet in the French Alps on Sept. 19, 1846. Melanie Calvat, 14, and Maximin Giraud, 11, lay down in the grass near a babbling brook and fell asleep, tired from herding four cows up Mount Sous-Les-Baisses.

Melanie awoke suddenly from her rest and called to her companion: "Let's go and find our cows. I cannot see them anywhere."

They climbed up a slope overlooking the alpine pasture and saw their cows calmly chewing their cud. As Melanie went back down the incline, she froze frightened of what she saw. She called to Maximin, "Look at that great light over there!"

A globe of fire burned in the very place they had been sleeping, as if "the sun had fallen there," as the children would later describe. From this light appeared a woman, seated with her head in her hands, weeping with grief.

In her trepidation, Melanie dropped her shepherding staff. Maximin held his tight, saying to Melanie, "Keep your stick. I will keep mine and will give it a good whack if it does anything to us."

As the weeping woman stood, she spoke to them in a voice as beautiful as music. "Come near, my children, be not afraid. I am here to tell you great news," she said.

They felt an instant sense of calm and approached her, getting so close that another person could not have passed through. The woman looked as if she were made of light, wearing a chain from which hung a Crucifix.

She continued crying as she said, "If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let fall the arm of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it. ... For how long a time do I suffer for you! If I would not have my Son abandon you, I am compelled to pray to Him without ceasing; and as to you, you take not heed of it. However much you pray, however much you do, you will never recompense the pains I have taken for you."

Then she rebuked them and their people for not keeping Sunday holy and for using the Lord's name in vain. "These are the two things which make the arm of my Son so heavy," she said. "There are none who go to Mass except a few aged women. The rest work on Sunday all summer; then in the winter when they know not what to do. They go to Mass only to mock at religion. During Lent, they go to the meat-market like dogs."

She predicted famine and even the death of innocent children if people did not change their ways.

But she also had good news. "If they are converted, the stones and rocks will change into mounds of wheat, and the potatoes will be self-sown in the land," she said.

She finished, "Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people." Then she crossed over the nearby brook, slowly rose a few feet off the ground, and as she raised her eyes to Heaven, slowly disappeared.

On Sept. 19, 1851, Bishop Philibert de Bruillard of Grenoble approved this apparition of Our Lady of La Salette as authentic.

View the first article in this series.

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