Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our Lady of Lourdes

Today, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, is also the World Day of the Sick. I've never been to Lourdes, but people who have been there say it is a wonderful place. It is a place of peace and serenity. In the silence of the grotto, one can imagine how Mary must have looked when she appeared to Bernadette.
One interesting aspect of the story of Lourdes is the way Bernadette interacted with Mary. Bernadette didn't say she had seen the Blessed Mother, but that she had seen a beautiful lady. Bernadette called her "aquero," meaning "that one." Prompted by those who wanted to know more, Bernadette finally asked her who she was. The lady replied, "I am the Immaculate Conception."
The pastor was astounded when Bernadette reported this, because the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been proclaimed four years earlier, in 1854. He knew that Bernadette, who struggled to learn even the basics of the catechism, didn't know anything about the proclamation of the dogma. She couldn't have made it up.
Bernadette was the perfect witness because she never changed her story. She didn't elaborate on it and add more details as she got older. She reported exactly what she saw and that was that.

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