Posted by: fvbcdm | February 11, 2013

Commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes (11 Feb 2013)

We come now with great delight to the commemoration day of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is also the 155th anniversary of her first apparition to Saint Bernadette there. And recently, our Holy Father has also asked that it be observed as World Day of the Sick because of the connection of Lourdes and its miraculous healings with the sickness and suffering in the world. Never in the history of the Church has Our Blessed Mother revealed herself as beautiful, as kindly, friendly, attractive, appealing, refined, and loving as she did to Saint Bernadette at Lourdes. Despite the fact that the girl was only fourteen years old, something of a slow learner in school, and not even able to speak standard French (she spoke the patois of that part of rural France), nevertheless she was able to convey to the world a striking sense of the ravishing beauty of the young woman who treated her with such delicate courtesy, instructed her to dig a hole in the ground from which water has been flowing to this day, and then, as a climax to their deep love-relationship, said to her, “I am the Immaculate Conception” — a dogma that had been infallibly defined by Pope Blessed Pius IX just four years before. Lourdes and what happened there and what is still happening there is one of the most beautiful flowers in the bouquet of our Catholic faith-life.

Then we should also be aware that today is also the 84th anniversary of the Lateran Treaty between the government of Italy and the Holy See, by which the Vatican City State was formally created. In the middle of the 1800s, the newly unified Italy had simply invaded the independent nation of the Papal States which lay across the Italian peninsula and taken possession of it. It had belonged to the Church for centuries and its revenues enabled the Church to conduct missions and charities throughout the world. The Pope vehemently protested this violation of Church rights and properties, but could do nothing more. To register their protests, the Popes, from that moment until 1929, never left the Vatican, a tiny enclave within the city of Rome. The situation was painful and difficult, and finally Pope Pius XI was able, after some three years of negotiations with Mussolini, the dictator of Italy, to conclude a treaty with Italy which renounced the Church’s claims to the former Papal States and recognized Italy’s right to that country as part of a united Italy. In return, the Vatican City State was created as an independent nation, ruled by the Pope, and a certain amount of money was given to the Church by way of indemnification to be invested for income. The treaty was a stroke of genius; it kept the Vatican out of World War II, and permits the Church to maintain diplomatic relations with countries all over the world and to have an official voice in the United Nations and other international bodies. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown., O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.

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