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Time for A Miracle
On Feb. 11, the same day as the World Day of the Sick, the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the title referring to Mary's apparitions at Lourdes, France, in the late 1800s that revealed a miraculous spring of water through which pilgrims are healed to this very day.
Coincidence? I think not. The Church's liturgy is a carefully woven texture of meaning, showing those with eyes to see the true and hidden nature of the world in its interaction with times and seasons, with history and the present, with the warp and the weft of human lives and the order of heaven and earth. In the world created by God, full of angels and demons at war for the souls of humanity, where all things came into being because of love and all will meet again on the last day before the judgment seat of that Good Lover, there are no such things as coincidences.
And so it's no coincidence that Our Lady identified herself at Lourdes with the words "I am the Immaculate Conception" to an ill-educated peasant girl for whom those words would have held no meaning whatsoever, even though the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been defined by Pope Pius IX a few years before.
It's no coincidence that it took an act of extreme humility and obedience from St. Bernadette Soubirous, there in the grotto at Massabielle, to uncover the spring from which the healing waters of Lourdes still flow.
It's no coincidence that Our Lady, the wife of a carpenter and mother of a carpenter who died a criminal's death outside the walls of Jerusalem, appeared to St. Bernadette, the easily overlooked daughter of a garbage man from a poor village in the mountains of France.
It's no coincidence that now the names of Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Bernadette Soubirous, and the Immaculate Conception adorn churches and chapels all across the world, while the names of the priest and the local magistrate who questioned St. Bernadette are remembered only by those who study the history of Lourdes.
It's no coincidence, in other words, that Our Lady gave true prophecy when she gave her Magnificat. There, written in Scripture, is the story of Lourdes, an apparition about 1900 years and thousands of miles away from the Holy Land when Jesus walked the earth:
Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever" (Lk 1:46-55).
Let us ask Our Lady of Lourdes to intercede for us in our every illness and need, that she who provided the Church and the world with the miraculous spring at Lourdes might secure for us through her prayers the graces we need to be whole and holy. Let us trust in the intercession of Mary and all the saints, especially St. Bernadette, to bring light into the darkness of the present age.
If you consecrated to Jesus through Mary or completed the Consoling the Heart of Jesus retreat, we'd love to hear your story. Please take a moment and share your journey below. If you have pictures, we'd love to see them, too. Just email them to HAPP@Marian.org!