It has occurred to me that the story of Our Lady of Lourdes is not necessarily known by all. So, today on our trip there, I thought I’d share the story with you all and why it is so important.
At the age of 13, Bernadette was preparing for her First Holy Communion. One of Bernadette’s chores was to collect wood for the fire. On a cold day in February 1858, Bernadette and 2 companions headed off to the Gave River to collect pieces of wood. The 2 companions ran ahead and left Bernadette struggling to keep up. As Bernadette was taking off her shoes to make her way through the river, she was startled by a peculiar wind and rustling sound.
Bernadette looked up towards the grotto and the caves on the riverbank. Near the opening of the grotto, Bernadette glanced and noticed the cave was suddenly filled with golden light. Lifting up her eyes, she saw a lady of great beauty, dressed in a pure white robe with a blue sash, a veil over her head, a rosary clasped in her hands and yellow roses at her feet. Bernadette rubbed her eyes. What a beautiful lady! But where did she come from? And what was she doing here?
The beautiful lady smiled at Bernadette and asked her to say her rosary. Bernadette said her prayers and when she was finished she looked up, the lady had vanished. Bernadette caught up to her 2 friends and discovered that they were upset with her. What have you been doing? Playing in the river, while we are out here collecting wood? Bernadette told them about the vision she had just witnessed. The girls told Bernadette she was silly and probably just seeing things. (Link to read more about the whole story.)
Young Bernadette saw Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the grotto that day, and many days after. Many didn’t believe her, both in the town and in the church. “Nevertheless, she persisted”, and Bernadette continued to visit and see a vision of the Beautiful Lady. Eventually, Mary called herself a name – “I am the Immaculate Conception”.
Ok- if you are like me, that phrase means nothing. My immediate response is “huh? What’s your name?” But in Christian terms, that statement speaks to deep deep mystery revolving around the birth of Mary, the circumstances of “full of grace”, and the glory afforded her because of her motherhood. Mary was untouched by sin, for the glory of God, so that she could be the mother of God. Whoa, deep. And I would LOVE to get into discussion with anyone about this, if you have questions, please please please comment and we’ll Havarim!!!
Mary had several messages, but the one that I’d like to speak of is “Go to the fountain, drink and wash from it.” There was no spring in the grotto, there was a river. nearby but that wasn’t what was meant. Bernadette began to scratch the ground, and water began to bubble up. The next day it was a strong trickle, then a full stream. The spring is still there today, and while many people said then and say now that the spring was there, just waiting to bubble up, the fact remains that it’s still there and Bernadette found it as a result of a direct command. Mary also asked that people come to Lourdes, the chapel, in pilgrimage.
And that’s what we are doing. We are going to a site where we the faithful were asked to pilgrimage to, to bathe and drink from the spring, praying for healing from my ALS and from anything that God wants to heal me from. I’m praying for all y’all, for your intentions, and for healing for those that aren’t there to join us.
There have been 70 verified miraculous cures at the baths, subject to the severest scrutiny and medical review by an international group of physicians. There have been over 7000 other claims to cures, and millions more healings unreported or unclaimed.
I’m a believer in miracles. I don’t necessarily think miracles are big flash bang things, either. It is a miracle that I’ve done so well with ALS so far, that I was able to get on to the Radicava, and now to have a chance at the NurOwn trial. Small things in life that seem to be coincidences or “luck” are just miracles.
So, for Lourdes, what am I expecting? With trepidation and hope, I want to be cured from ALS. But, what happens if I’m not healed from ALS? What do I do then? There is hope is healing, and miracles of healing are more than just physical.
I know that God can do with me what He will. I will continue. I think that is a key message of Lourdes. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!