On September 19th, 1846, Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat, two shepherd children – who seem the common recipients of what follows – were coming home from tending their flock outside the picturesque hamlet of La Salette, nestled in the French Alps. Sitting on a rock, weeping profusely, was a beautiful woman, clothed in a white robe, with a gold crucifix around her neck. All quite real, it seemed, but quite extraordinary, to say the least.
The woman, still weeping, lamented the sins of mankind, especially the violation of the Sunday rest and blasphemy of God’s name. She said if men did not repent, ‘the potatoes would rot’, meaning a famine, prophesying the beginning of the potato blight which changed the face of Europe. There were other secrets and messages given to the children, with the theme that all men must be converted to Christ, or the wages of sin would have their day.
Saint Jean Vianney and Saint John Bosco were devotees of the visions, and the message has an enduring value. Should not one consider that Covid – and, more to the point, its societal effects, the deleterious consequences of the lockdowns, distancing and masking, the full extent of which is yet to unfold – is a just punishment from God? Something is being revealed to us, and we must have eyes to see, and ears to hear, what that might be in our day, 174 years on from that mysterious day on the mountain. We should recall one thing, that God disciplines those whom He loves, so that they turn away from sin, and choose the path to life with Him in eternity.