1 Kings 8:22-30; Ps 84 How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God; Mk 7:1-13
"For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible."
These are the opening lines of the documentary movie about the apparitions of Our lady of Lourdes, The Song of Bernadette.
Bernadette was an illiterate, poor, very young. At the age of 14 she wasn't permitted to receive communion because of her inability to understand the Catechesis which was given in French. Her family lived in an abandoned jail. Her Father had spent time in jail for stealing bread to feed the family.
After the apparitions began, things got worse. The town folk mocked and made fun of Bernadette. She was hounded by the police and local authorities. She was interrogated and even threatened with prison because of the visions.
Yet she remained steadfast. She would go to the grotto carrying a lit candle and pray the rosary.
From Feb 11, 1858 until july 1858, Bernadette received these visions.
What was the message of our lady? She asked that a shrine be built on the spot where the water would flow. She asked that we pray for sinners. She took the title, "Immaculate conception."
She told Bernadette that she would find happiness in heaven.
Over 60 miraculous cures have been officially recognized through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes. Many more have gone unofficial. The pilgrimages to the place continues. The process seeking the intercession of Our Lady daily. Many who visit Lourdes return home rejuvenated with a renewed faith and a readiness to serve God in their neighbor.
How often in the gospel is the sick privileged place for the encounter of the divine? How often is it to those that Jesus reveals his divine power?
Sickness isn't a punishment as much as it is an invitation to humble thyself and seek refuge in him who alone can console.
We pray that Our Mother continue to lead us on the path that culminates in the heart of Christ her son.