In the midst of our remembrances of Pope Benedict XVI’s historic resignation, let’s not forget that today is also the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF LOURDES
O holy Virgin, in the midst of your days of glory, do not forget the sorrows of this earth. Cast a merciful glance upon those who are suffering, struggling against difficulties, with their lips constantly pressed against life’s bitter cup. Have pity on those who love each other and are separated. Have pity on our rebellious hearts. Have pity on our weak faith. Have pity on those we love. Have pity on those who weep, on those who pray, on those who fear. Grant hope and peace to all. Amen.
Here are some impressions from my visit to Lourdes, in December 2013.
The famous, miraculous grotto, with its image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, as pilgrims visit it during the day. It was cold.
Here is the same grotto at night, during the candlelight procession. This was on the vigil of the 80th anniversary of the Canonization of St. Bernardette Soubirous, who had the visions of Our Lady in this place as a young girl.
Here is a smaller-scale replica of the famous bronze statue of St. Peter – the original is in St. Peter’s in Rome. The faithful traditionally touch his feet as they ask for his intercession, hence they are really worn down (the feet, hopefully not those who are praying). It seems that this statue was placed in honor of the declaration of the Dogma of Papal Infallibility at the First Vatican Council in 1870, given the prayer that is inscribed on its base. I translate the prayer at the bottom of this post – be sure to have a look, and say it. This is part of our faith.
Finally, one of my favorite things to find in old churches, and something that is particularly beloved in France: some ex votos. These were in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (the big church above the grotto of Lourdes).
Here is my translation of that prayer on the St. Peter statue base:
ACT OF FAITH
in the Dogma of Papal Infallibility.
Lord Jesus: cover, with the protection of your Sacred Heart, our Holy Father the Pope, in the infallibility in which we firmly believe.
“He who hears you hears me.” – St. Luke 10:16