LOURDES, 1858: IF I SHOULD EVER FORGET YOU…..
Bob Lord’s favorite Shrine was Lourdes.
There is a quotation in Sacred Scripture regarding Jerusalem that
reads: “JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM, IF I SHOULD EVER
There are many holy places that this passage would apply to including
Jerusalem. But for us, when we hear this passage, our minds race to
that magical place where honor is given to Our Lord Jesus through
His Mother Mary, her shrine at Lourdes in France.
LOURDES, LOURDES, IF I SHOULD EVER FORGET
Lourdes is such a tribute to, and affirmation of, the love and care,
the concern, patience, and attention that is showered on us by our
Heavenly Family. It is also a magnificent prayer of faith the world
has been given in the the desire of Our Sweet Mary, Bernadette’s
Aquero (Dear One), to take care of our physical and spiritual
needs. The natural question we are asked after we have visited
Lourdes is, DID YOU SEE ANY MIRACLES, ANY CURES IN
Praise you, Jesus, we have seen so many miracles, so many gifts
from Son to Mother, and Mother to children. Lourdes is the Wedding
Feast of Cana, multiplied a thousand fold. We can just picture Jesus
and Mary up in heaven. “Mother, it’s not my problem”, and Mary,
just smiling, saying to us “Do whatever He tells you”. Miracles
abound in Lourdes.
We have SEEN MIRACLES in Lourdes. We have seen CURES
in Lourdes. In order for us to witness to the physical cures the Lord
has given us at Lourdes, we have a man in our little Parish church
who was cured of terminal lung cancer in the baths in Lourdes.
There is also a doctor in our village, who was a very unhappy man.
He found early in his career that he didn’t like dealing with people.
He gave up his general practice to become an anesthesiologist, so
that he wouldn’t be required to have personal contact with patients.
He had a son who was a member of our Junior Legion of Mary. The
father did everything to block the boy from coming to our meetings.
Either he would not bring him to our home on the evenings of the
meetings, or he would bring him late, and pick him up early. The
doctor was very angry with the Church.
The children of the Legion grew up. Many of them moved away.
Our Junior Legion of Mary was disbanded. But one day, some years
later, the doctor’s son called us on the telephone, and asked us to
pray for his father, who had a brain tumor. He said to us “Jesus and
Mary listen to your prayers.” We told the boy we were on our way
to Lourdes; we would pray at the shrine, and go into the Baths for
his father’s cure.
At Lourdes, Penny went into the Baths for this doctor. Normally,
the women only sit down in the baths, while the men are completely
submerged. Without Penny saying a word to the volunteers, they
submerged her, so that the back of her head was in the water, the
same place where the doctor had the tumor.
Our daughter, Sister Clare, called us the following day, to ask what
we had done the previous day. She said the doctor had called, to
say he had experienced a burning sensation in the back of his head,
followed by a renewal of energy.
That was in 1981. The doctor still has the tumor, but it has been in
remission since that day Penny went into the Baths. He has made
a pilgrimage of Thanksgiving to Lourdes, as well as to Knock. He
has had a complete conversion. Today, he embraces the Church
passionately. He said to us on one occasion, “I’m thankful for my
cure. But if I should lose my new relationship with Jesus and Mary,
I would rather die.”
He is now the unofficial doctor for our local seminary. He begs for
free medicine, lab work, and x-rays for the seminarians. The rector
of the seminary told us recently that Dr. Bill has saved the seminary
nearly a million dollars in medical expense over the last 6 years. So
we can say with certainty that cures and miracles occur at Lourdes.
But physical healings are not the greatest miracle of Lourdes. What
is the Miracle there? Is it solely in the fact that the Mother of God
came here to visit a young, uneducated girl? Is the Miracle the many
cures that have taken place here? Is it the Spring, the miraculous
waters that have poured out for the last 130 years, and show no signs
of letting up?
Indeed, all these things are miracles, gifts from Our Lord Jesus
through His Mother, His loving, giving Mother. But I believe that
these were just the beginnings of a greater miracle, a catalyst of
the real miracle, the ongoing miracle, the miracle of Church. The
word Catholic stands out like a neon light in Lourdes. At any given
time, tens of thousands of Catholics from hundreds of points on the
earth can be found here, praising God, loving His beautiful Mother,
and saying, YES, LORD, THANK YOU LORD, I BELIEVE. I
TRUST YOU WITH MY LIFE’”.
We’re told that in France, the eldest daughter of the Church, less
than 5% of the Catholic population go to Church and receive the
Sacraments. We’re not about to argue these statistics, but if they’re
true, all these people must be at Lourdes each time we visit there.
We have seen Faith in Lourdes, that if, spread over the entire world,
would be strong enough to give us peace forever.
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT? WHAT HAPPENED IN
Why did Mary come? What was so important at this time in history,
in this country? It’s easy in retrospect to understand the need for
divine intervention in 1858. The Church had gone through one of
its worst periods possible in Europe. It had not quite recovered from the French Revolution. New governments, new revolutions attacked
the Church and the people. In 1848, the Archbishop of Paris was
murdered when yet another revolution took place in France. It then
spread itself to Rome. The Pope’s Prime Minister was murdered.
The Papal Palace was attacked. Many were wounded or killed. It
became violent to the point of driving Pope Pius IX out of the Vatican
State. Belief and trust in the promise of Jesus waned badly. It seemed
as if the Church was tolling its death knell. Louis Napoleon brought
his French troops to the aid of the Church temporarily, and the Pope
was able to return to Rome. But the calm was shortlived. The war
clouds loomed over the horizon again. Satan poised his troops in
preparation for the final destruction of the Church.
In 1854, in the midst of this, and in the face of massive opposition,
one of Mary’s staunchest supporters, Pope Pius IX proclaimed to the
world what had been believed down through the centuries, but had
never been made a Dogma of the Church. THE IMMACULATE
CONCEPTION was declared fact, and all Catholics were required
to believe this. There had been a popular heresy spreading throughout
Europe at this time, Pantheism, which claimed that man was equal
with God. By this proclamation, Our Lord Jesus through the Pope
declared that with the exception of Jesus, only Mary was conceived
without Original Sin. The rest of the human race are heirs of Adam
and Eve, and all that goes with it.
This proclamation caused more problems than it meant to solve.
Rumbling went on inside the Church, and outsidein Protestant
circles. It was outrageous, they said, to give this singular honor to
a woman. Read more here
We will be visiting Lourdes in June as part of our Fatima Pilgrimage
go here for details
Read about Our Lady of Lourdes in Many Faces of Mary book