Today the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.
On February 11, 1858, in Lourdes, France, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubirous. The Blessed Virgin came to Bernadette eighteen times over the next few months calling the people of the world to personal conversion, prayer, and charity.
During one apparition, Mary told Bernadette to dig in the ground for a spring.
Though Bernadette appeared foolish to many onlookers, she obeyed. Soon, water began to trickle from the hole that Bernadette dug. In the years since, countless cures have been claimed by those who bathe in this water, and many have been verified and recognized by both Church and secular investigators. This spring still flows today (up to 10 gallons per minute!), and approximately six million people journey to Lourdes each year for the opportunity to bathe in the healing waters of the spring. Is it any wonder that Our Lady of Lourdes is the patroness of the sick? I had the privilege of bathing in this water in 2002.
I can assure you of two things: it is freezing, and it is worth it!
Maybe today finds you struggling with a chronic disease. Maybe a loved one is battling a terminal illness. Perhaps your child is suffering from repeated illnesses or you have a cold that you just can’t seem to shake. The list of physical ailments and challenges we encounter is neverending. Likewise, maybe you or a loved one struggles with depression and/or anxiety. Maybe there is a relationship in your life that is fractured and in need of healing.
We all have hidden afflictions that are often shielded from the view of others but nonetheless painful to endure. Lastly, are you struggling with carving out time or motivation to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Do you feel as if your relationship with God is distant or even broken? Where in your life are you spiritually in need of healing?
God desires our healing and wholeness physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
How fortunate we are to have a mother in Heaven, who seeks to intercede for us on our journey of healing! Though we may not all be able to travel to Lourdes and bathe in the miraculous waters, we can always beg the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, our Mother, who is ready and willing to wrap us in her mantle of love and guide us to the Heart of her Son. It is Jesus who heals our brokenness and makes us whole again. Friends, when we are sick we sometimes can’t make the journey to the Heart of Jesus by ourselves. That is when we can call on our Mother to help us. Today especially, let us seek together the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the healing of all our bodily, spiritual, and emotional ills.
A Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, health of the sick, refuge of sinners, comfort of the afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests. I will endeavor to imitate your virtues, that I may one day share your glory, and bless you in eternity. Amen.