11 February: Feast of Our Lady of Lourdeseditor
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.”
During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning “this thing.” It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.” Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.
Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.
We might reflect today on the importance of praying for the sick; I’m thinking especially of our bloggers, Athanasius and RCA Victor, who have been very ill recently. Hopefully, they will be back in harness soon. Feel free, too, to ask for prayers for your own family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances. Our Lady of Lourdes, Health of the Sick, pray for them.
It is also appropriate, surely, to seek special help today for the Church, not least here in Scotland where it is all but extinct. Let’s pray for those priests who are doing their best to live faithful Catholic lives, albeit thoroughly dispirited, as many of them are bound to be, by the bad press caused by the faithlessness of other clergy who bring the Church of Christ into disrepute.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Priesthood
Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ the High Priest, Mother of All Priests, you have a particular love
for all priests because they are the living images of your only Son.
You assisted the Lord Jesus throughout His earthly life and continue to assist Him now in Heaven.
Please, pray for priests!
Pray that we might always have priests to give us the sacraments, to preach the Gospel,
and to teach us how to become true children of God.
Blessed Virgin Mary, pray to the Father for all priests in all their many needs,
and because your intercession is so powerful before Him, obtain for us, O Mary, priests who will be holy.
Finally, as always with Feast Day threads, post your own favourite prayers and hymns, and any edifying stories/account of miracles in your own life. Enjoy the day – Happy Feast!