Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Lourdes
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Virgin Immaculate, you appeared 18 times to Bernadette at the grotto in Lourdes to remind Christians of what the truths in the Gospel require of them. You call them to prayer, penance, the Eucharist and the life of the church.
To answer your call more fully, I dedicate myself, through you, to your Son Jesus. Make me willing to accept what he said. By the fervor of my faith, by the conduct of my life in all its aspects, by my devotion to the sick, let me work with you in the comforting of those who suffer and in the reconciliation of people that the church may be one and there be peace in the world.
All this I ask, confident that you, Our Lady, will fully answer my prayer.
Blessed be the Holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
St. Bernadette, pray for us.
This Tuesday we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On February 11, 1858, Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old peasant girl, at a cave in Massabielle, France. Identifying herself as the Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin urged Bernadette to live a life of prayer and penance for world peace and spiritual healing. Though many, including her parents, did not initially believe Bernadette’s fantastic story, the miraculous nature of her vision soon became undeniable. Very quickly, the focus of the pilgrims who traveled to the grotto to see where Mary appeared centered on the spring of water that Bernadette unearthed at the Lady’s promptings. Though at first the spring waters ran muddy, it soon became evident that some who washed in its waters were cured of various maladies. Word spread like fire and, though at first the Church was circumspect with regard to these miraculous reports, the scientific community verified the veracity of many of these claims of cure. With joy the Church approved the apparitions and today Our Lady’s grotto in Lourdes is one of the most visited Marian sites in the world, attracting more than 6 million pilgrims annually.
Pope Pius XII wrote a beautiful encyclical letter about the Lourdes apparitions in which he powerfully articulates how we can learn from and be healed through Our Lady’s intercession: In the school of Mary one can learn to live, not only to give Christ to the world, but also to await with faith the hour of Jesus, and to remain with Mary at the foot of the cross. Go to her, you who are crushed by material misery, defenseless against the hardships of life and the indifference of men. Go to her, you who are assailed by sorrows and moral trials. Go to her, beloved invalids and infirm, you who are sincerely welcomed and honored at Lourdes as the suffering members of our Lord. Go to her and receive peace of heart, strength for your daily duties, joy for the sacrifice you offer. (Le Pelerinage de Lourdes)
One does not have to travel to France to be touched by the compassion of Our Lady who appeared to St. Bernadette. At St. Dominic’s we honor Our Lady at our Lourdes Grotto. Now situated in the parking lot, the Grotto was originally part of St. Rose Academy and resided in a garden cloister area used by our Dominican Sisters of San Raphael. When the Academy came down, the Grotto remained in place and today serves as a focal point of prayer and devotion. No matter the time of day, the Grotto always draws devotees who come to call upon Our Lady for her powerful intercession. I think of the countless prayers, rosaries and sacrifices offered at the foot of the Grotto (even in the most inclement weather), and know that many a pilgrim has experienced the peace and comfort of the Blessed Virgin at this special shrine. For those who have visited the Grotto, you have experienced its comfort. For those who have not, I invite to make a visit. Our Lady awaits!
Also, this week we have had the pleasure of having our own Pastor Emeritus, Fr. Martin Walsh, O.P., lead us in the St. Jude novena for Our Lady of Lourdes. In these past days, Fr. Martin has given us insight into the life of Mary. By looking to her words and even her silent contemplation, we are encouraged and inspired in the hopes and dreams of our spiritual journey. Called to be disciples, we are led by Mary who is the first and preeminent disciple. Even if you have not been able to join us for the novena, I invite you to come to the culmination celebration of this feast at the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Tuesday. May our Lady of Lourdes enlighten our path, touch our hearts and lead us to the embrace of her Son!
~ Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.