This coming Saturday is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. As Mary feast days go, this one has a special place in my heart.
For one thing, I’ve a bit of an affinity for France. And, unlike most Marian apparition sites, I’ve actually visited Lourdes. In a very indirect and surprising way, that visit changed my life. It was in Lourdes that the first little inkling of a “new Mary” entered my mind. Thanks to Lourdes, I could start to see her as more than just the glacially perfect woman in the statues. I started to see her as a woman who actually lived.
The Lourdes story is about Mary putting herself in the middle of the rock and grit, and finding what’s beautiful there. 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. Mary’s coming revealed that there was more to Bernadette than anyone suspected, including Bernadette herself. Mary’s coming also tapped into the latent faith of the people of Lourdes, just as Bernadette tapped into the healing waters of the spring. In a way, one could say that the Lourdes story is really about venturing below the surface, finding the beautiful depths that exist there, and harnessing them for good.
And that’s a lesson that never grows old.
This is a rerun of a post from 2010. (I guess I’ve been blogging for a long time, haven’t I?)