Our Lady of Lourdes (Mary’s light)

Friends in Christ,  today is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
In 1858, the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France. Bernadette, having told a number of people that she was seeing a beautiful Lady who prayed the rosary with her and spoke to her – well, many doubted her story at first. Her parents and teachers, and even the parish priest were skeptical of the claims of this young girl.
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Bernadette went each day, for 14 days, to the grotto to see the Blessed Virgin. By the final days, some 20,000 people were there with her, full of Faith. Why did the people have this faith? To see this, we might consider what St. Bonaventure says. Bonaventure says that the sun in the sky is a type of Jesus Christ, shining its light. But the moon is a type of the Blessed Virgin, who shines brightly in the night sky, yet in actuality, it is reflecting the light of the Sun to the earth. So to see the bright light of the moon at night, is to see the light of the Sun. The reflection is there.
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To look upon Mary is to feel the warmth of the love of Christ; she reflects it to us. With this in mind, we ask again, what was it that caused those people of Lourdes to believe that Bernadette was seeing Mary? Was it because of the miraculous spring which came forth to heal many? Did this make them believe? Was it because of Bernadette’s sincerity and persistence? Perhaps something else.
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Those 20,000 people believed Bernadette, because of the effect that Our Blessed Mother had on her. Because Mary, who reflects the light of Christ, reflected her light upon Bernadette, which they could see.
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An unbeliever who was a skeptic, who went to the grotto to see Bernadette, he writes about his experience: ‘She was on her knees, her eyes wide open and fixed on the grotto. She had in her folded hands her Rosary, which she began to pray. At the 3rd Hail Mary she entered into ecstasy. As soon as the Lady appeared, Bernadette’s smile became lovely and her face changed. It was a delight to see her. Tears were streaming from both her eyes. She was smiling and her face was lovely – lovelier than anything I’ve ever seen. To see her face like that brought tears to your eyes.’[i]
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So, it was Bernadette’s face – a face of heavenly joy, seeing Mary reflected in her face, that caused those thousands of people to believe. Another witness wrote this: ‘I was facing her, only about 2 yards away; if you had only seen her eyes! It was enough to bring you to your knees.’[ii] Her smile[iii] was beyond all description – I felt that I was on the threshold of Paradise.[iv]
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That’s where Mary wants to bring us; to the arms of Jesus in Paradise.

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[i] St. Bernadette Soubirous, p. 52, 63

[ii] p. 66

[iii] It was a sight to see – thousands of people, in a profound silence, as if in Church.

[iv] p. 112, 125, 126

 

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