Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11 ---- Our Lady of Lourdes

         When one thinks of Lourdes, one thinks of miracles.  For over 150 years, Lourdes has been the place where over five million pilgrims travel to seek healing. Divine Providence has generously answered these requests.  On one hand, Our Lady works a miracle and people are cured of physical ailments.

On the other hand, Our Lady in her ineffable goodness, works spiritual miracles of conversion.  Both types of miracles give testimony that she is our Mother who loves us and wants to succor our ills both on earth and in eternity.

Sometimes, people are not cured because she knows that suffering would be needed for their sanctification.  Today the role of suffering is not understood. St. Francis de Sales affirmed that suffering is the Eighth Sacrament and that it is indispensable to salvation. 

At Lourdes, the Convent of Carmelite sisters know this and  offer themselves to win graces for cures of pilgrims who come with all sorts of mental and physical maladies. In other words, they take upon themselves the suffering that others would have to endure.  Realizing how this kind of abnegation is so repugnant to human nature, we see a miracle taking place that is even greater than the other cures of Lourdes.  It is a miracle of generosity that wins Heaven for souls unknown.

Our Lady appeared at Lourdes on February 11, 1858 and then seventeen times after.  She came for the particular purpose of leading souls to God and to Heaven.  Some are cured because it is good for their soul. Some are not cured of illness but are cured of their blindness to the efficacy of suffering and they embrace their cross with generosity and resolution.  Could this not be considered a greater cure? 

Let us ask Our Lady of Lourdes to help us to understand suffering and to have the courage to face it even with joy for our own salvation and for the salvation of others.

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