After 165 years of healings, conversions and miracles: is Lourdes a devotion to the past, or is it also for the present?
Newsroom (11/02/2023 6:33 PM, Gaudium Press) — From a cave of Massabielle, 165 years ago – there was a source of water – and of graces – that flowed to benefit all humanity. A series of events began that would mark the history of the Church. It was there that a young peasant woman from the Pyrenees region, which borders France, saw an apparition known as Our Lady of Lourdes.
Since then, millions of people would flock to the future shrine in order to implore the help of the Immaculate Conception, both for bodily ailments and for those of the soul. Now, after more than a century and a half have passed since the apparitions, how can we contemplate Lourdes today? If miracles continue to happen, how is the fervor of today’s Catholics? Judging by the facts, well diminished.
Suffice it to consider that, in former times, the more threatened the world’s health was, the greater the influx of pilgrims towards the miraculous grotto. In recent years, however, everyone has been content to see the baths closed and just when they seem to be the most needed. This is not to say that devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes has disappeared but rather that it may be on the way out.
There are even more reasons to regret this: among the few words of the Virgin that were made public, one could hear: “penance”; or again: “conversion of sinners”. But, 165 years later, who remembers this appeal? It is good to remember Lourdes to ask for a grace or to receive a cure, however, would it not also be good to remember it to ask for the conversion of humanity, even suffering for this cause, if that is what Our Lady wants?
Perhaps the situation of our current world and Church, is one of the reasons for the visible sadness that Saint Bernadette manifested during some apparitions. It is certain that, if the saint only saw the miracles and conversions that would take place in Lourdes, there would be no reason to be sad.
The miseries of our century could well be one of the causes of Mary’s tears – why not? This reason alone shouldn’t be cause for discouragement. Let us remember that the same Virgin Mary who appeared in Lourdes also appeared in Fatima, years later assuring her that, in the end, her immaculate heart would triumph! As Saint Paul says, “where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more” (Rm 5:20).
The circumstances in which we live could well be the time awaited by Our Lady to pour out her most copious blessings on the dying humanity. Therefore, let us ask her, who, having compassion on the human race, works a transformation in us and brings about the spiritual healing that is so necessary and so urgent.
May the healing of our century be the most recent and greatest of the miracles wrought in Lourdes. In this way, on the days when the story of Lourdes seems to be ending, it can start again with a splendor never seen before. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
By Aloísio de Carvalho
Compiled by Donna Smolders