Browsing From the Pastor's Desk

Let Us Run to Mary

Feb 21, 2019

Everything in her radiated happiness, majesty, innocence, goodness, sweetness and peace. Her forehead was smooth and serene; her eyes were blue, full of love; and her lips appeared soft and meek. Our Lady seemed to be greeting Bernadette tenderly while she bent toward her.

Bernadette took her rosary from her pocket, since she always carried it with her, made the sign of the cross as if to protect herself, and her hand became paralyzed. At this moment the Blessed Virgin took the cross of the rosary, made the sign of the cross, and asked Saint Bernadette to do the same. Her paralyzed arm became free at that moment. Our Lady started to go through the beads of the rosary between her fingers and Bernadette started to pray her rosary. After she finished, Our Lady made a sign with her finger so that Bernadette may come closer. With her hand extended she leaned gently with a smile as if she was departing from her. (Then) the vision ended.
from The Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes

This week the Church celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Lourdes is one of the most popular places of pilgrimage dedicated to Our Lady. The Lourdes grotto has over 3 million visitors each year. In February of 1858, the Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Bernadette, a thirteen year-old girl, and two friends. The Blessed Mother would appear to Bernadette 18 times over the next months. There have been thousands of miraculous cures reported from Lourdes over the years. Seventy of them have been declared supernatural and authentic by the Church. One of the characteristics of each visit was Mary praying the Rosary with Saint Bernadette.

Sixteen years ago today my mother went to the Lord. When someone we love dies, we remember many details of their final days with us. The Sunday before my mom died, I remember receiving a phone message telling me to go to the hospital. She had been in the hospital at that point for almost a month. We were all going to see her every day. In those final days my family kept vigil with her, praying the Rosary every night around her bed. When the doctor realized there was nothing more he could do for her, he joined us in the praying of the Rosary, kneeling in his lab coat and all next to my mother’s hospital bed. Father Ralph came every night to pray the Rosary with us. After six days, we were emotionally and physically drained. We spent the night at the hospital every night. On Sunday evening, a nurse, one we had never seen before, came into the room around 7.

She told my sister and me we should go home and get some rest. We were hesitant. We didn’t want to leave her. The nurse told us our mom would be alright. My sister and I honored the nurse’s wishes and went home. We spent the night at my dad’s house, which was close to the hospital. About three o’clock the next morning, the phone rang. It was the hospital. Of course, they don’t tell you anything over the phone but to come to the hospital right away. When we arrived at the hospital, the room was cleared out and clean.

There were no more machines humming. All my mother’s belonging lay in neatly packed bags by the door. My mom was physically there but we could feel her soul was somewhere else. The nurse who sent us home that night was Mary, and since that night she sent my sister and I home, we never saw her again.

As always, we’re never short of things to pray for in this world. It seems every day our world is becoming more and more divided. We hear stories of political unrest, countless attacks on human life through radical new abortion laws, families torn apart by political policies, violence of many forms in our own communities, neighborhoods, and around the world. While there are many civil and faithful ways to take action, we should always remember the power of prayer. One of the most powerful forms of prayer is the Rosary. Of the many appearances of our Blessed Mother and her various messages, she always tells us to pray the Rosary. So, maybe we can prayerfully consider rededicating ourselves to this powerful prayer in some way or other - as a private devotion in the car to work, with our families in the evening, or in Church before or after Mass. We all know there is always a need for more prayer.

Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence. - Saint Francis de Sales

God bless you and your families,
Father Aidan, OSB

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