"I am the Immaculate Conception."
February 11 marks the day on which Our Lady appeared to fourteen year old Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France in 1858. There were fourteen apparitions in all, the last of which occurred on July 16 of that year. Our lady revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception, a term which the young girl never heard before and did not understand. She asked that all people be reminded of the need for conversion and penance. She also said that each person can participate in Christ's Redemption of the world through suffering and mortification. In pain, sickness or in any adversity, we have the opportunity to grow deeply in our relationship with God. We can become less dependent on material things and more trusting in God.
Our Lady of Lourdes told St. Bernadette to go and wash in the spring. After digging in the place to which Mary pointed, water started to bubble forth. This is now the miraculous waters of the spring of Lourdes. Many sick people have been cured by bathing in this water, and many have not. We do not know why this is, but we trust that God does what is ultimately best for us and for others. There have been numerous spiritual cures in Lourdes. People have come from there with renewed faith and love for Jesus.
Our Lady always leads us to her Son. So, at Lourdes she indicated that a chapel be built. Thus, there would be a place where confessions would be heard and Masses would be offered. We thank God for granting us the apparitions of Mary in Lourdes and in all the places and times of our world. We thank Him for this most beautiful help so that we might be on a continuing road of conversion, penance and therefore growth in the love of God.
Besides praying to God directly, let us ask Our Lady to pray for all of us and to pray especially for all those who are sick.