Across the world one can find images depicting the events that we celebrate next Monday. Our Lady of Lourdes has proved to be the most popular of all the apparitions of the Mother of God. The tale is well known of the simple girl Bernadette who saw a lady who declared herself to be ‘the Immaculate Conception’, and who, after much personal pain and suffering, convinced the Church that she had indeed had this vision.
The shrine is still packed now over 160 years after the vision took place. It has a special place in Catholic consciousness. This is undoubtedly something to do with the simplicity of the message and the hope that the place embodies.
We are living in a society that increasingly wants to marginalise the sick, the imperfect, and the disabled. We are being sold the lie that we can live without pain and suffering and sickness. But we know that this is not the case.
We do not say that pain and suffering are good things. They are signs rather of our fallen humanity. But we don’t try to pretend they are not there. Rather, Lourdes, and the other shrines, show us a Christian response.
May Our Lady of Lourdes pray for us. P.D.