St Francis Q&A

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

One of the most powerful spots in the world

DC 'HOOD game: Our basketball team of priest and seminarians, DC 'Hood, is playing against Holy Redeemer in Kensington this Friday, May 12, 6 pm at Holy Redeemer's outside court. Come out and support vocations and root for the 'Hood! All are invited!!
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Many of the daily and nightly activities in Lourdes come from what the Blessed Mother asked of Bernadette. She told her to build a chapel on the site of the well, and to go "in procession for the glory of God". So, every day we were there, there were numerous activities in the large and beautiful Basilica, and a nightly procession glorifying God in honor of our Lady.

It was really quite staggering to me how much goes on in Lourdes EVERY DAY. Every day, there are many Masses at the Grotto or in the other churches, off and on chanting all day and night, processions, praying of the rosary, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, talks, washing at the baths, malades everywhere, Stations of the Cross...it was unbelievable how much Catholic stuff happens there every day in that town. At one point in one of the processions, I thought, "this is what Heaven will be like".

Just about every night, I walked from our hotel down to the Grotto (which is open pretty much all night). It is impressive how alive the place is with all these activities. I really enjoyed the place and the people we were there with. I would walk around the Grotto, taking in all the sights and sounds, and then find myself right in front of the spot. It caught me off guard and overwhelmed me.

What spot? The spot where Mary appeared to Bernadette. I thought, 'this is where the Mother of God appeared on Earth 148 years ago. Whoa!' It really was a powerful realization that stayed with me the whole trip. I tried to remember to pray for people back home while I was at the spot, and in the Grotto. As I wrote in my last post, at least one of the people I prayed for at the Grotto has already experienced a miracle. It's a powerful spot!!

Another time, I came back to the spot, and noticed something else going on at the Grotto. Now, the spot took on an even greater importance...it was the spot in front of Jesus appearing on the altar in the monstrance. I've been in the Presence of the Lord many times, but this was one of the most meaningful. Then I thought, 'there's such a huge deal made about Mary appearing here, and rightly so, but Jesus appears here every night, and where are all the people and hoopla for this?'

2 Comments:

  • Sounds awesome. I'd love to go there some day and experience all that you've described. Thanks for sharing.

    Hey, if you took any pictures, post'em here.

    Can't wait to call you Fr. Greg! You're in my prayers bro!

    By Blogger Ty Roach, at 8:55 AM  

  • Hey!

    I'm one of the teens from the trip and think its great that you've posted blogs about Lourdes. As you know, once you've been to Lourdes you just "get it." For me it was the international community of believers united to celebrate Catholicism. For someone like myself who had low expectations and fading faith, I left Lourdes grateful for being Catholic. As a cradle Catholic I felt like a was only a Catholic by default. Lourdes provided me with a very individualistic experience with Christ. One of the most meaningful experiences for me was the Eucharistic procession where I carried one of the flags next to the exposed Host. I was literally "walking with Jesus" and felt His presence along with all the Catholics that followed from the Domain to the altar. Most importantly I felt completely secure discussing Catholicism with you and other pilgrims. Since I don't usually talk with my friends in depth about Jesus and the faith it was great to have your perspective and advice on the numerous questions I had about the faith. It made me feel more confident in its teachings.

    The truth is Lourdes isn't about the water. It's a chance to put your life in perspective. When you walk together with the sick, the clergy, and the laity in prayer you develop a sense that no matter your struggles whether they are visible or not, Jesus bore all of them on his cross and calls for you to join him in eternal joy in heaven. Although God's plan for each of us is unclear and may be frightening at times we can be comforted knowing He loves us. What problems we face is undeterminable and our joys will be coupled with suffering. However, we are comforted with the fact that if we submit to God's will and partake in his plan than we will reach eternal happiness with him. The only way we can approach the uncertainty of life is through prayer and as you eloquently said Deacon, "to tell the people you care about that you love them at every opportunity because you never know what will happen." It is this love of Jesus and one another that unites us and comforts us through life and all the struggles we may experience. Whether God calls us to advocate his plan at a young age like Mary and Bernadette or later in life like the apostles, may we be open and accepting of his plan. As Bernadette innocently welcomed her journey that was accompanied by persecution and doubt, we are called to experience Jesus with this same childish innocence.

    I encourage everyone to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes to demonstrate there willingness to partake in God's plan with a loving community of advocates of Christ.

    Thanks for your wisdom and friendship Deacon (soon to be Father!) Greg.

    By Anonymous Maggie, at 9:48 AM  

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