The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 165.

Our Lady of La Sallette Melanie Calvat,15 and Maximin Giraud,11

I quote such stories as these, not because I feel sure that in all respects they correspond with reality —obviously it is impossible at this distance of time to test the evidence upon which they were originally accepted and narrated—but because they show the mental and spiritual attitude of the Fathers towards such supernatural phenomena, and prepare the way for us to examine similar narratives, the evidence of the truth of which we are generally able to examine closely, since the events occurred in our own days, when critical enquiry is exercised on all subjects, and is everywhere in the very air we breathe.

At the opening of the nineteenth century religion appeared all but to have vanished from the pleasant land of France - The great Revolution had it would seem, done an even more deadly work in France than the Protestant Reformation had effected in Germany and England. The Reformation had at least preserved belief in God and Christ, the Revolution had attacked and seemingly uprooted all religion, natural as well as revealed, from the minds and hearts of the people. Not only had the Image of Christ Crucified been removed from the Courts of Law, but the very Name of the Creator had been effaced from the school-books. All Christian worship had been proscribed, all Christian teaching was an offence against the State. The official restoration of Catholicism under Napoleon, rendered necessary by the appalling condition into which the country had fallen, came—it was feared—too late. When the nineteenth century dawned, the Catholic Religion was, it is true, once again externally in the land. Mass was once more said in the churches, sermons were once more preached—but there were but few of the Faithful left either to hear Mass or to listen to sermons. The Faith seemed to have lost its hold over men's affections, and its power over their minds and conscience.

We now know that what seemed to be lifeless required only the touch of the Hand of God that it might arise from the sleep that held it inert and
captive, to a new life full of vigour and promise. The history of the last hundred years in France has been the history of the gradual but sure awakening of Catholic belief and practice in the land. Storm after storm arose against religion, each of which testified to its vitality. After every attack the Church was seen to be stronger than before its coming. This revival of Catholicism has, under God, been due in great measure to Visions of our Lady which have thrilled the heart of all that is noblest and most chivalrous in France to love and enthusiasm for our Lord and His Virgin Mother.