Our Lady of Lourdes
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: "O Mary conceived without sin."
During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was "something white in the shape of a girl." She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning "this thing." It was "a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm." Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.
Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.
Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and healing, but even more of faith. Church authorities have recognized over 60 miraculous cures, although there have probably been many more. To people of faith this is not surprising. It is a continuation of Jesus' healing miracles—now performed at the intercession of his mother. Some would say that the greater miracles are hidden. Many who visit Lourdes return home with renewed faith and a readiness to serve God in their needy brothers and sisters. There still may be people who doubt the apparitions of Lourdes. Perhaps the best that can be said to them are the words that introduce the film The Song of Bernadette: "For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible."
"Lo! Mary is exempt from stain of sin, Proclaims the Pontiff high; And earth applauding celebrates with joy Her triumph, far and high. Unto a lowly timid maid she shows Her form in beauty fair, And the Immaculate Conception truth Her sacred lips declare." (Unattributed hymn from the Roman Breviary)
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
To be present is to arrive as one is and open up to the other.
At this instant, as I arrive here, God is present waiting for me.
God always arrives before me, desiring to connect with me
even more than my most intimate friend.
I take a moment and greet my loving God.
I will ask God's help,
to be free from my own preoccupations,
to be open to God in this time of prayer,
to come to know, love and serve God more.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
The Word of God
Reading 1 Gn 2:4b-9, 15-17At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens—
while as yet there was no field shrub on earth
and no grass of the field had sprouted,
for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth
and there was no man to till the soil,
but a stream was welling up out of the earth
and was watering all the surface of the ground—
the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.
Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and he placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The LORD God then took the man
and settled him in the garden of Eden,
to cultivate and care for it.
The LORD God gave man this order:
"You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
From that tree you shall not eat;
the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1-2a, 27-28, 29bc-30R. (1a) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
All creatures look to you
to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
Alleluia See Jn 17:17b, 17aR. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth:
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 7:14-23Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile."
When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
"Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?"
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
"But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."
Listen to audio of this reading
Watch a video reflection
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today.Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end.
Meditation: Mark 7:14-23Our Lady of Lourdes
The things that come out from within are what defile. (Mark 7:15)
Did you know that the saying, "You are what you eat" is a variation of the old French proverb, "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are"? While modern science would say this is true in a nutritional sense, some historians believe that it was also part of the spiritual foundation of the Jewish dietary laws—also known as the kashrut, or kosher laws.
One part of the kashrut determines that the Jewish people must eat only certain ruminant animals—animals that derive most of their food from plants. The ruminants that are considered kosher tend to be gentle, domesticated animals that are not predatory by nature. The thought was that by eating of these gentle creatures, you would absorb some of their gentleness. By the same token, refraining from eating predatory animals would keep you from taking in these species' aggressive, violent natures.
So if the tradition of kashrut has such a noble background, why did Jesus take exception to it? Part of the answer may come from the way some Jews of his day took excessive pride in their ability to follow these laws. Jesus rebuked them for worrying so much about which kinds of foods would make them unclean while paying so little attention to their words and actions—things that actually did defile them and the people around them. He longed to see them put a higher priority on their words and actions.
Today's Gospel offers us the opportunity to reflect on our own choices. Are we paying too much attention to the outside, to how rigorously we follow traditions? Or are we keeping an eye on the inside, our thoughts, words, and actions, so that we can have a positive rather than a negative impact?
Mercifully, God offers us a solution: receiving Jesus in the Eucharist can help us absorb his nature—and it can give us the grace to overcome our sinful thoughts and actions.
"Lord, help me remember that receiving you in the Eucharist has the power to transform my heart and lift me out of my sin. Help me to absorb your nature so that I can become clean inside and out."
Genesis 2:4-9, 15-17
Psalm 104:1-2, 27-30
Today's 5 minutos said:
"In was in 1926, in the Sanctuary of Lourdes, in France. It was the hour of blessing of the sick. In the esplanade there were hudreds of sick laying stretchers or sitting in wheelchairs, under the vigilant assistance of the sick. Amongst them there was a youth in a grave state. At any moment they were wating for him to come to an end. Moments before he had received the annointing of the sick. The celebrant started to run by the lines of the sick. Sustaining in firm hands the monstrance with the Consecrated Host, he paused a moment at each sick person making a great cross upon them. It was the young man's turn. He received a blessing with great hopes, but seemingly his hopes frustrated him. He didn't feel any betterment. Making a gathering of all his strengths he said in a complaining tone: "Jesus, you haven't cured me. I am going to tell your mother." Moved by this prayer, the celebrant turned to the sick and for a second time he gave him a blessing with the Blessed Sacrament. And the Son of God put in action His power. The youth, feeling healed, jumped from the stretcher shouting with joy: "Jesus, Son of Mary, you have healed me. I am going to tell your mother so she can help me give you thanks." Let us give thanks today to God our Father, for all the marvels that He has poured over us, through Mary our Mother."
We read today about the creation of man in today's 1st Holy Scripture. We can not emphasize enough what happened at the moment God poured breath into the nostrils. In came holiness and goodness, already made from what was pure and virgin, the earth He touches. This is a theological concept of our life with our Lord and Father. For non-catholics, I suggest a book by Scott Hahn, a convert himself. The book is called "Reasons To Believe". At the heart of the book is Hahn's examination of the ten "keys to the kingdom"—the characteristics of the Church clearly evident in the Scriptures. As the story of creation discloses, the world is a house that has a Father, a palace where the king is really present. God created the cosmos to be a kingdom, and that kingdom is the universal Church, fully revealed by Jesus Christ. The Psalms pray "O bless the Lord, my soul". We sang the song 10,000 Reasons, at the closing of a cursillo last year that sings just that, "Bless the Lord Oh My Soul" and in turn it is praise and worship to our God. The Psalms today sound like we are talking about Ash Wednesday and a prayer to the Holy Spirit, "If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth." And indeed, God breathes life into us in the Holy Church. Gasping for virgin, pure air. In comes the Virgin, Mother of God. Jesus talks today about what goes into man does not defile but what comes out of the heart. When it comes to God the Father coming into the Virgin Mother of God, in comes the new Adam, the heart of God is revealed and calls us to a life of Jesus. We all have a custom cross in life, but lived for Him is a life worth living...according to design. The Church has revealed that she, Our Mother, is the Immaculate Conception. She was made super Holy. The world tries to tell you otherwise, and why? Because the LIAR is telling this lie so that Jesus is less Holy. Brant Pitre said this weekend "if anything we are making God too Holy...if there is such a thing".
I write to you from my little hometown, and our only Catholic Church happens to be named Our Lady of Lourdes. The story of Our Lady of Lourdes is the story of Christ reaching out to bring in the flock to be loved and healed, and more-so, the healing of the soul which many times over, heals the body. So we are getting to the heart of the matter. Jesus asking you to come, let the gravity of His love pull you, stop fighting it, let Him love you. This healing and communion with Him will in turn not only have you breathe in and take in holiness, but soon after start breathing it on to others by the pulsating of our hearts and expulsion of our lungs. Our days are counted because we know of good and evil now. Only in God's arms in Heaven will we know eternity the way it should be...totally good, just like the stuff He made us come from...