Posted by: fvbcdm | February 13, 2012

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (11 Feb 2012)

On Saturday of this weekend, we celebrated the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes.  That’s because on February 11, 1858, Our Blessed Mother appeared to a fourteen-year-old French peasant girl in the Pyrenees mountains of southern France, and set into motion an enormous chapter of spirituality which is still going on to this day, 154 years later.  Our Lady said the Rosary with Saint Bernadette, as the girl was named; she asked Bernadette to tell “the priests” to build a chapel on the place where she appeared, to encourage processions to come there, and to drink from a spring and wash there when no spring was visible.  Bernadette dug with her bare hands into the sandy soil of a cave near the river Gave on the outskirts of the town of Lourdes.  The shallow hole that she produced filled with muddy water.  She smeared some on her face and tried to drink of it, which caused her some nausea.  But the beautiful lady in the cave had told her to do it, so she did. 


Let me recommend to you the famous book by Franz Werfel, an Austrian Jewish author, by the name of “The Song of Bernadette.”  It was written during World War II and was almost immediately made into a movie by Hollywood.  The book is basically true and accurate, although the author may have embroidered to some degree on thoughts and conversations surrounding the apparitions of the beautiful lady in the niche. 


One event during the weeks of the apparitions impressed me.  A lady in the town who believed that the beautiful lady appearing in the grotto was in fact the Mother of God asked Bernadette to exchange rosaries with her for just one apparition so that Bernadette might pray using the other lady’s rosary which was much fancier than the simple one which Bernadette owned and commonly used.  Bernadette was not very enthusiastic about this plan, but didn’t want to refuse the request, so it was done, but with the owner of the richer, fancier rosary kneeling right behind Bernadette.  The lady in the niche appeared, smiled at Bernadette and greeted her as always.  But then she seemed to catch sight of the expensive rosary that Bernadette was holding.  The slightest cloud of displeasure came across her beautiful features, and she said to Bernadette, “Where is YOUR rosary?” We are told that with the speed of a tiger pouncing upon its prey, Bernadette turned to the other young woman, tore her own rosary out of the other’s hands, and held it up for the lady in the niche to see.  After that, all was well again, but never did Bernadette swap her plain and poor little rosary with that of anyone else, no matter how much more costly or beautiful the other rosary might be.  Let us remember that this beautiful lady who preferred Bernadette’s own rosary to something more elegant is the woman who laid her newborn baby in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn at Bethlehem. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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