Wednesday, February 11, 2015

With Our Lady...

A retrospect...

     Today, seven years ago, February 11, 2008,  I was 'there' at Lourdes, France. It was the 150th Jubilee of the apparition of  Our Lady to a young peasant girl Bernadette. 

Grotto of Massabielle, France "Lourdes Grotto"
      I was on my 8 Days Annual Retreat in preparation to my final year of formation as a Lay Religious Brother.

       I could still remember, I was having my breakfast at the retreat house, just a 30 minutes drive to the Shrine when the retreat master announced, "the Provincial approved the permission to spend this day, 150th Year of the Apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette at the Shrine."

A Blessing....

I spent the morning on "Jubilee Way" [Chemin du Jubilé] where I went on a personal pilgrimage. I re-traced and walked on the places where Bernadette Soubirous 'walked' leading to the site where our Lady appeared to her. At the beginning of the pilgrimage, all pilgrims were given an empty badge and at every pilgrimage site we obtained the site's souvenir sticker to place on our empty badge.

Jubilee Way

My Jubilee badge with 4 stickers 

The Basilica from the Outside

Crypt- Lower Church

Souvenir Video February 11, 2015 World Day of the Sick - Lourdes, France
Souvenir Video : February 11, 2008 World Day of the Sick - Lourdes, France

      Before noon I had the opportunity to come and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation in English Language. Though my mom was born in Northern France, to speak a familiar language is a treat! "Homesick perhaps, after living in France for many years.

      I attended the Eucharistic celebration at the Crypt church. Finally the experience of being immersed on the Pool that cures many illnesses - both body and soul was the highlight of my afternoon. We, pilgrims prayerfully awaited our turn to enter the individual pool filled with the water of Massabielle. You would be surprised, men waiting for their turn to enter the pool room outnumbered women! 

       There alone, before the statuette of Our Lady of Lourdes, I renewed and resolved to be reconciled to follow the Will of God and asked Our Lady's intercession and protection on my journey.

        Just like each one who came to the Pool, my experience was beyond words...

A Blessing indeed!

My Pilgrimage that day was concluded with the Procession of Light. 

Just a reflection...

Who would ever thought that this young woman born in a culture where women are considered unequal to men and who were not even allowed to enter the synagogue to pray nor to read the Torah was the chosen one by God...for God-- a lowly peasant, perceived unimportant, to play a very important role in the history of humanity - to be the Mother of the Son of God and of His Church. 

Is there any other woman most celebrated in history than Mary?

 "[...] From this day all generation will call me blessed. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name." - Luke 1:48-49

   Isn't it ironic? 
       But, that is the Wisdom of God...

"[...]God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong." - 1 Corinthians 1:27  

Though Mary was chosen, she needed to make an act of the will, to consent on her election.
God’s grace works only on subjects that are docile. “Be it done to me according to your Will.”

O Mary,Our Mother, pray for us and obtain from us many graces and blessings.

Song to Our Lady: 
O Holy Dwelling Place of God

Words spoken by the Blessed Mother at Lourdes
The Apparitions in Lourdes, France