Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Happy Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! I went to Mass this morning and among my other intentions, I prayed for all my blog readers. So if you are here reading this, I offered Mass for you and your intentions this morning. :)
Mom and I were fortunate enough to visit Lourdes this past August, 150 years after Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette. I had seen pictures of Lourdes, heard about what it was like, and had my own expectations... but somehow, seeing the place of the apparitions for myself was more moving than I had anticipated it would be.
The 150th anniversary (coupled with THE vacation month in Europe) meant that there was a lot of hoopla throughout the entire town of Lourdes and crowds of people at the Grotto. Nonetheless, standing before the statue of Our Lady in the rock and surrounded by people who were devout believers and others who were simply curious, I felt an almost palpable calm, a tangible peace. It was as though Our Lady was reiterating, "I am your Mother. You have nothing to fear. Come to me." I did not get that impression anywhere else... In fact, on occasion, it was quite the opposite. What they have done to St. Bernadette's former parish church and the place where she received her First Holy Communion is revolting. Yet, no matter the time of day, regardless of the crowds of pilgrims and tourists, in rain or in sunshine, every visit that we made to the Grotto (4 times in all, if I remember rightly) was marked by the same sense of the sacred.
And my impression of Lourdes was changed forever.