St Francis Q&A

Friday, May 12, 2006

A teen's experience of Lourdes

Below is an inspiring and powerful post by Maggie, a teenager from Virginia who was on our trip to Lourdes. She wrote this as a comment to one of my posts, but it's so good that I wanted everyone to read it. Thanks, Maggie!!
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"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."

6 Comments:

  • Everyone has been speaking about the miracels of Lourdes and I will like to talk about a Mother's Day Miracle.

    My husband has been away from the church for 10 1/2 years not showing even the slightest interest in going to church etc. Yesterday he told me he not only wanted to start going to church again but would like to register in a parish!!!!!!!!!!!!! So tomorrow as a couple we will register together! I am so excited and can't wait to tell my mother in law this wonderful news. She will be so HAPPY! What a wonderful gift this will be for her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:29 PM  

  • Anon...WOOHOO!!! That is great news! What a mother's day present, indeed? Any idea what brought about his change of heart?

    Thanks very much for posting your extraordinary news...I celebrate with you and your family!!

    By Blogger Fr Greg, at 3:13 PM  

  • He told me that for a long time he felt that something was missing from his life, and that he was inspired by my going to Mass and Eucharist adoration on a regular basis.

    Congratulations on your upcoming ordination.

    Bye!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:14 PM  

  • I have a question regarding the Lord's Prayer that has troubled me for many years. Exactly what does this statement in the prayer mean "... and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." It seems to imply that it isn't satan that could lead us to temptation, but God. Or are we asking God for protection from evil?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:48 AM  

  • Anon, great question! Below are some excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (sections #2846-2854 address these two petitions from the Lord's Prayer). Also, an excellent book which explains much about the Our Father is "The Lord's Prayer" by Romano Guardini.


    "AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION"

    '"God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one"; on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle "between flesh and spirit"; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength" (#2846).

    '"Lead us not into temptation" implies a decision of the heart' (2848).

    'Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer' (2849).


    "BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL"

    'In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God' (2850).

    'When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world' (2854).

    By Blogger Fr Greg, at 3:13 PM  

  • Once again I am impressed and encouraged by one of our Catholic youth !!! What an awesome experience it sounds like you had while at Lourdes. I love when you mentioned that "Lourdes isn't just about the water". So many times when we hear of Lourdes we think just that. About the healing waters. And yes while that is a very exciting and awesome aspect to Lourdes, your mention of the coming together of so so many catholics who are proud of their faith and want to share with others about it, had moved you possibly the most. That is so wonderful to hear. I am so happy to hear of a young person like yourself finding the passion and excitement for their faith. We need many many more like you. Please ask Christ to keep that fire burning bright in you, and please spread your joy, passion and excitement you have found about our Catholic faith to all those around you. As Bishop Holly said at this past weekends Confirmation... you young are not the future of the church, YOU ARE THE CHURCH RIGHT NOW. Amen to that !! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences !!

    By Anonymous Seeker of Truth, at 6:43 PM  

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