I don't want to spend too much time blogging this morning, since we are visiting with my sister-in-law and her family and we'll be getting on the road soon to complete another four-hour leg of our trip. But I did want to post a prayer in honor of the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was celebrated in the Catholic Church yesterday.
In 1858, Our Lady appeared to a poor, humble peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous--who of course was later canonized and is known today as Saint Bernadette. This was the first and most widely recognized Marian apparition of modern times. Our Lady, calling herself the "Immaculate Conception," spoke to young Bernadette in the girl's native Basque, delivering a message for the world about the merits of prayer, penance, poverty, and church. She also told the future saint that she would not "find happiness in this world, but only in the next."
This story, as well as the story of Mary's apparitions to the three shepherd children at Fatima in 1917, touched me deeply as a child. I always thought that it would be so wonderful to have Mary appear to me and speak to me, and I sometimes stared at the statue of Her at my parish church, willing Her to come to life. But of course only a chosen few very special and holy souls have been afforded this supreme gift--and those who receive it are also usually required to bear the sorts of sufferings that most of us could not bear. Far from saintlike myself, I must rely on prayers to Saint Bernadette, along with Our Lord, Our Blessed Mother, and all the other holy saints in Heaven, to help me as I struggle here--so that hopefully, I too might find happiness in the next world.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us! Saint Bernadette, pray for us!