Today is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.Â I don’t feel inspired to blog on every Marian feast day — a good thing, otherwise I’d never stop blogging — but Lourdes is special to me.
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.Â It was in Lourdes that the first little inkling of a “new Mary” 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 actually lived.
The Lourdes story is aboutÂ Mary in the middle of the rock and grit, finding what’s beautiful.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 Mary’s coming revealed that there was more to Bernadette than anyone suspected, including Bernadette herself.Â 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.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 that’s a lesson that never grows old.