|A Good Day to Come Home.
The Fifth Wednesday of Ordinary Time; or, the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Lessons from the primary feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Genesis 2: 4-9, 15-17.
• Psalm 104: 1-2, 27-30.
• Mark 7: 14-23.
The Third Class Feast of the Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
Lessons from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Apocalypse 11: 19; 12: 1, 10.
• Canticle 2: 12, 10, 14; Judith 15: 10 [in place of the Psalm]
• Luke 1: 26-38.
Lessons from the triodion, according to the typicon of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Rite:
• II Peter 2: 9-22.
• Mark 13: 14-23.
10:26 AM 2/11/2015 — It's good to be back with you again after a long absence. And what more beautiful day could there be to return to the Shrine than the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes?
Today's feast is the anniversary of the first apparition of the Mother of God to fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous in 1858; there were eighteen in all, the last being the following July. There wasn't quite so much of an apocalyptic character to our Lady's messages as She would later deliver at Fatima; the messages of Lourdes were basically a call to conversion, prayer and charity. She would say essentially the same thing at Fatima, but with an increased sense of urgency and with reference to certain specific events.
In one of the apparitions at Lourdes She made specific reference to Herself as the Immaculate Conception, a dogma that had been almost universally believed but never defined; and, it was Bernadette's report of this that contributed, in large part, to Holy Mother Church recognizing these apparitions as genuine, since Bernadette, who had no education, wouldn't have even known the phrase "Immaculate Conception." In fact, when questioned about it, she said that she didn't even know what it meant; she was just repeating what the Mother of God had told her.
People are attracted to Lourdes now because of the miraculous spring that heals the sick, and many of these cases have been thoroughly documented. I've been to Lourdes twice in my life, and was very moved both times, especially when seeing the vast throngs of sick people who come seeking relief from their suffering in the healing waters. Not all of them are cured, of course, but all of them have faith; and, even the ones who are not cured come away changed, if not physically, then certainly spiritually: sometimes it is miracle enough for someone to receive the grace to except one's cross as a participation in the sufferings of Christ in reparation for all of the offenses being committed in our day.
As devotees to the Mother of God of Fatima, we know this all too well, but it's always good to be reminded of it once in a while. As we watch the news and see all the atrocities going on around us—not just in far away lands but even in our own country in the form of an increasing acceptance of immorality and all manner of perversions—we know that the world needs conversion and reparation more than ever. Let's take the opportunity of this Mass, on this day of Our Lady of Lourdes, to offer ourselves anew to that purpose, and resolve to accept our crosses for the good of our own souls and for the whole world.