Today – Thursday after Ash Wednesday – is the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Living Faith has a special Lent daily devotional booklet. They don’t put the entries online as they do with the regular devotional (my last entry in it is here), but the e-version of the devotional is only .99 and is available here. Today happens to be one of my entries, and you can read it if you click on the “look inside” feature and scroll down a bit.
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
Perhaps I have made some plans for Lent. Perhaps I have worked out what my daily cross shall be: Extra prayer times and practices I’ll take on; particular pleasures I’ll forgo; works of mercy to which I’m committed.
After all, intentionality and a thoughtful spiritual plan are good things.
But I’m struck that on this first full day of Lent, I’m also invited to consider how God’s grace moves in completely unexpected ways in quiet corners of life. MORE
(Another .99 daily Lenten devotional? You got it – right here.)
Bernadette was afraid, of course, but it wasn’t the kind of fear that made her want to run away. She stayed where she was and knelt down. She reached into the pocket of her worn-out dress, found her own rosary, and started to pray with the girl. When she finished, the girl disappeared.
Bernadette didn’t know who or what she had seen. All she knew was that being there had made her feel happy and peaceful. On their way back to Lourdes, she told her sister and friend what had happened, and soon the whole village knew.
Over the next few weeks, Bernadette returned to the grotto and saw the beautiful girl several times. Each time she went, more people went with her. Although only Bernadette could see the girl in white, when the other villagers prayed with her in the grotto, they felt peaceful and happy too. Those who were sick even felt that God had healed them while they prayed.
During those moments in the grotto, the girl spoke to Bernadette only a few times. She told her that a pure, clear spring flowed under the rocks. She told her that people needed to be sorry for their sins. And near the end, the girl said one more thing: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Bernadette had no idea what this meant. She repeated it to herself over and over on her way back to the village so she wouldn’t forget the strange, long words. When she told her parish priest what the girl had said, he was quite surprised.