Feb 11 –Memorial for Our Lady Of Lourdes
Today is an optional memorial for Our Lady of Lourdes. The apparitions concerned began on Feb 11, 1858, when St. Bernadette Soubirous, then a 14-year-old peasant girl from Lourdes admitted, when questioned by her mother, that she had seen a ‘lady’ in the cave of Massabielle, about a mile from the town, while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Similar appearances of the ‘lady’ took place on 17 further occasions that year. Most Catholics believe that the ‘lady’ concerned is the Virgin Mary.
It was on the ninth appearance on Feb 25 that Bernadette was told by the Lady to dig under a rock and drink the water that she found. A day later, a spring began to flow from it. On Mar 1, the 12th appearance, Catherine Latapie reported that she bathed her paralyzed arm in the spring and instantaneously regained full movement. This was the first of the scientifically unattributable events to take place.
On the 13th appearance on Mar 2, the Lady commanded Bernadette to tell the priests to “come here in procession and to build a chapel here”. The priests would not do so until they knew who the Lady was. On the 16th appearance on Mar 25, the Lady, with her arms down and eyes raised to heaven, folded her hands over her breast and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
To ensure claims of cures were examined properly and to protect the town from fradulent claims of miracles, the Lourdes Medical Bureau was established. About 7,000 people have sought to have their case confirmed as a ‘miracle’, of which only 68 have been declared a scientifically inexplicable ‘miracle’ by both the Bureau and the Catholic Church.
Because the apparitions are private revelation, and not public revelation, Roman Catholics are not required to believe them, nor does it add any additional material to the truths of the Catholic Church as expressed in public revelation. In Roman Catholic belief, God chooses whom He wants cured, and whom He does not, and by what means. Bernadette said, “One must have faith and pray; the water will have no virtue without faith.”
And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh.
“Well, Lord, it’s your Church, you take care of it.” This was Pope John XXIII’s prayer before he went to bed. And I’ve read that he slept soundly, even though he was a Pope during one of the difficult times in the Catholic Church.
We worry about so much that sometimes, it robs us of our sleep. So I really find this phrase assuring – that while I’m sleeping, God is up to something good. Something wonderful is happening when we are not doing anything except sleeping!
And I was wondering why God would want to work when we are asleep. Here are some points I’ve reflected on.
First, God is a God of surprises. I’m not sure if you’ve experienced waking up to a wonderful surprise. Perhaps, a gift from a lover, a wonderful good morning message, or waking up in the airplane and seeing the sun rise in a different country. By working while we are sleeping, God can give us a wonderful surprise.
Second, I remember how my friends who are parents are not able to do anything during the day, because they have to keep watch over their kids. (No matter how old we are, we are always God’s children.) My friends are so busy keeping watch over their kids to make sure they are well-fed, clean, and safe. We all know how dangerous it is to leave kids on their own. Maybe God is doing that during the day. He’s so busy trying to save us from our selves and making sure that we are well-provided for. So when we sleep, God can do what he’s been wanting to do for us because we stay put. (Of course, I know God is all powerful but I just feel happy with this image of him like as a parent).
Finally, maybe God works while we sleep because that’s the time he can talk to us without us interrupting him. Have you ever had this experience where you talk to someone when they sleep because you can tell them everything you want to tell them, just because they won’t interrupt you? I’m guilty of being so busy during the day that I hardly sit still and let God finish what he wants to tell me. So maybe when I’m asleep, that’s when God is really connecting with me.
So for tonight, I hope we look forward to sleeping, because we know that God is looking forward for us to sleep so that He can work in us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: (at night) Dear Lord, thank you for this day. I leave everything to you as I sleep.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for watching over me 24/7. I look forward to sleeping in your arms.