And Mary Said: "If My People Refuse to Submit"

The two little witnesses at La Salette stood so close to their heavenly Visitor that a third person, they tell us, could not have passed between them and her, and in that delightful proximity to the Queen of Heaven, they listened eagerly to her heavenly message.
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Later on, Maximin was to say that his first impression when he beheld Mary weeping at La Salette was that she was some poor mother who had been beaten by her children and had fled for safety to the mountains. The little boy in his guileless way all but expressed the reality.

Our Need for Submission…

The first words the Blessed Mother spoke to the shepherds after inviting them to come near, were of her disobedient children… "If my people will not submit…" And these opening words of her message give the purpose of the whole Apparition at La Salette. It is a protest against sin—the non-submission of humans to their God.

In the modern trend toward unbelief, there is a growing tendency to scoff at the notion of sin as though it were an old-fashioned idea that present-day education had exploded. Humans believe themselves self-sufficient and independent, and any system that involves submission and subservience to a higher authority, outside the material universe, is smiled on patronizingly as though it were good folk lore for children, or the superstitious cant of the ignorant and gullible.

Our Dependency…

People today have become intoxicated with their mechanical and scientific success. Their rapid progress along technical lines has made them lose sight of their character as creatures, the product of a Creator, from whom they received their very existence and all concomitant perfections, on whom they depends for every instant of their allotted span of earthly existence, and without whom they would naturally revert to the abyss of nothingness out of which Divine Power has drawn them.

This is the fundamental doctrine of the origin of humanity, and the most advanced science we have today cannot assign any other adequate source for human existence. Submission to God then is a fundamental obligation and necessity for humanity. Every sin is a forgetfulness or a downright negation of this basic relation of humans to God, as creature to their Creator. It is the insane revolt of the flower against the sun from which it derives its warmth, life, beauty and existence; the treason of a slave toward his liberator; the base ingratitude of an unruly child to an over-indulgent parent.

She Weeps For Us…

Untitled 2Is it any wonder that Mary wept at La Salette when she reflected on the enormity of her people’s crime of non-submission? She shed tears for the God offended, and she lamented the inevitable destruction and ruin of her offending people. God was so good, kind and holy; had done so much for humanity; planned to do so much more one day when the sands of time had run out and God’s people were all gathered in their heavenly home with their the Eternal Father.

And yet humans turned against God, raised the cry of revolt, scorned God’s laws, sought their own pleasure and comfort, and for the perishable things of time, cast away "the pearl of great price" – eternal life. Like Moses of old, Mary prayed and wept on the mountaintop before God, pleading with her Son to spare her people that God would “not accuse forever, nor always be angry” (Isaiah 57:16).

Meanwhile down in the valley below, the chosen people laugh and dance in sinful merriment, all unmindful of God and God’s laws, giving adoration and love to false gods, to a Golden Calf of their own handiwork. Mary wept for the offended, outraged God.

Being Mother of all People, she wept also for the blindness, unreasoning perversity of those people ransomed from the slavery of sin by the blood of her Divine Son. "If my people will not submit…" She pleaded with God; she sent up prayers in reparation and atonement, echoing the words of Joel: "Spare your people, Lord! Do not let your heritage become a disgrace, a byword among the nations!” (Joel 2:17). And she implores us to pause for a moment in our mad whirl and passionate quest for pleasure to consider our obligations and duties toward the Creator and his divinely appointed laws.

A Call to Reconciliation with God

She threatens; she promises; she begs us to reconsider our unhappy course in life, to return once more in humble submission to our God and to the faith founded by her Son, leading to God’s Kingdom. We had strayed from the true road. We were lost on our journey back to the Father, and were heading for darkness, ruin, and death.

The broad road we has taken so lightly and merrily would soon lead to our eternal loss. We must return. God’s only salvation lay in submission to God and God’s will, obedience to the Church, our divinely appointed guide showing us Jesus as “the Way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). Mary wept for her sinful people.

Our Disobedience and Hardness of Heart

Untitled 3This is the lesson the Blessed Virgin teaches us in these words of her merciful discourse at La Salette: "If my people refuse to submit…" Salvation lies in submission.

Lack of submission is the fatal disease of our modern society. "By that sin fell the angels” (William Shakespeare, Henry XIII, Act 3, Scene 2, the Fall of Wolsey). It is the cry of revolt echoed through the halls of highest heaven, attributed to Lucifer by James Joyce in “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”: "I will not serve." Disobedience expelled our first parents from the blissfulness of Paradise, and condemned them to toil and misery all the days of their lives.

Submission – the Acid Test

The obedience of Christ "even unto death" saved humanity, just as the battle cry of the Archangel Michael "Who is like to God?" preserved the good Angels from eternal damnation. Submission to God has been, and will always be, the acid test, and the price of salvation. Each individual person will one day rise or fall according to that standard, and Mary at La Salette makes that fundamental lesson the burden of all her tears, promises and complaints: "If my people refuse to submit…"

(Reprinted from “Our Lady’s Missionary”, August, 1934, pgs. 127-128)

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