Ave Maria! Today is Saturday, the day of the week on which we, in the Catholic tradition, honor the Blessed Mother! On Monday, we will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In anticipation of this great feast, I will focus on Our Lady and the Lourdes message as the topic for this post.
In 1858, Our Lady appeared in the Grotto at Massabieille to the young French maiden – Bernadette Soubirous. “I am the Immaculate Conception:” this is how “the Beautiful Lady” identified herself to St. Bernadette. At Lourdes, Our Lady brought to us a message of hope and healing as well as a stern prophesy for St. Bernadette and all who truly committed to Christ: “I cannot promise you happiness in this life, only in the next.” Today most especially, we must cling to this same message and promise.
We are all wounded children. With the exception of the Old Testament Adam and Eve, Christ the – New Adam – and Mary – the New Eve, we have all been conceived in Original Sin. Yes, the Sacrament of Baptism does remove Original Sin from our souls, but it’s effects are still present in our fallen world. Our wills are weak, our spirits are wounded. Sooner or later we fall, driving deeper the thorn into our flesh. When we find ourselves bogged in this quagmire of sin, let us call on Mary “the Immaculate Conception,” for it is through the Mother to the Son! Let us ask her to “scrub us clean” so that we may most worthily present ourselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
As part of our fallen nature, we seem to instinctively be drawn to the easy wide road. If we let our guard down, we find that our feet, seeking happiness, effortlessly glide down the path to destruction. Now, I am not saying that our search for happiness is intrinsically bad, as indeed it is not. It is only when we hush our consciences and choose sin – which on the surface gives the appearance of happiness – over God – Who will bring us true Joy – that we find our search to be painful, disappointing and fruitless. We must remember that happiness flows from true Joy, which only God can give. If we search just for the fruit of Joy – happiness – without making any effort to find God who will give us the tree – true Joy – then we will find our pursuit unfulfilling. This is why we should “strive to enter the narrow gate” and take the path which is difficult and requires our constant relying upon the Lord. We would do well to remember Our Lady’s promise: “I cannot promise you happiness in this life, only in the next.” Let us not join or continue in the frivolous quest for fleeting, earthly happiness. Rather, let us set our sights on the true Joy of Heaven – the Beatific Vision.
Sweet Mother, please help us your wounded, devoted children. Help us to not seek after the fleeting things, of this life but rather lead us to the Joy of your Son.
Forgive your children whose hearts have been hardened and whose consciences have been dulled. Remove from us our error, may we not persist in it.
Thank you for the continued help you offer us each day. May we open our eyes and hearts to accept the guidance and strength.
“Immaculate Mary your praises we sing. You reign now in Heaven with Jesus our King. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria; Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.”
Thank you for singing the praises of Immaculate Mary with me, and please remember to offer her little acts of love on this her special day.