Tuesday, January 20, 2009

For the Lourdes Novena

The Lady looked at me,
She smiled
and said: “Come Closer.”

These three simple statements from

the lips of the little child at the Grotto,

sum up the heart of the Lourdes message.

When the young Bernadette knelt enraptured before the Lady of the Grotto in Lourdes, she didn’t even know that there were mysteries to the Rosary. For all that, she was a mystic in the making, for she knew how to be still and linger in love. “I simply looked at the Lady and she looked at me and smiled.” Bernadette knew something simpler yet deeper than the saying of words and the thinking of thoughts. She had the sense of divine presence and heaven was very close. “The grotto was my heaven on earth.” It was for her,-- a holy communion.

The Parish priest was at first sceptical and asked for a sign. “Tell the Lady, to make the wild rose at her feet burst into bloom and then I’ll believe.” It was February and the icy winds of the Pyranees were cutting through the bones of the people and through the bushes and brambles of the Massabielle rock. It was not the season for roses.

The physical miracle did not happen, but the breath of the Spirit blew through the valley, and the desert began to blossom like the rose of Sharon. Here, is an image of the splendour that can bring honey out of the rock and living water to wash our souls in the Siloe of stillness and silence.

For the one who has grown to maturity in the Rosary, it is often enough to simply hold on to the blessed beads and let them blossom and emit their own healing fragrance. Before ever the beads have been in our soiled hands, the mother of God has come with them in her sacred hands. They are her jewels and she entrusts them to us poor sinners. We hold them and touch them in faith, as the woman of the Gospel reached out to touch the hem of the Lord’s garment.

In our Winter weakness, may we help even a little to make the wild rose bloom in our valley. Just as there is no end to the variety of the rose family, so the garden of the Rosary continues to bring forth fresh and varied blooms.

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