This coming Saturday is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Â As Mary feast days go, this one has a special place in my heart.
For one thing, Iâ€™ve a bit ofÂ an affinity for France.Â And, unlike most Marian apparition sites,Â Iâ€™ve actually visited Lourdes.Â In a very indirect and surprising way, that visit changed my life.Â It was in Lourdes that the first little inkling of a â€œnew Maryâ€ entered my mind.Â Thanks to Lourdes, I could start to see her as more than just the glacially perfect woman in the statues.Â I started to see her as a woman who actuallyÂ lived.
The Lourdes story is about Mary putting herself in the middle of the rock and grit, and finding whatâ€™s beautiful there.Â I love how Mary appeared to the little shepherdess, a person no one ever thought was holy or special enough to have such a visitor.Â Maryâ€™s coming revealed that there was more to Bernadette than anyone suspected, including Bernadette herself.Â Maryâ€™s coming also tapped into the latent faith of the people of Lourdes, just as Bernadette tapped into the healing waters of the spring.Â Â In a way, one could say that the Lourdes story is really about venturing below the surface, finding the beautiful depths that existÂ there,Â and harnessing them for good.
And thatâ€™s a lesson that never grows old.
This is a rerun of a post from 2010. Â (I guess I’ve been blogging for a long time, haven’t I?)