"To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop." ~ Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.101
Everything is grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love.Everything is grace because everything is God's gift.Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events -- to the heart that loves, all is well.
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Amazing Catechists and Catholic Mom Puppet Show Ministry
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Ellen Gable, author, "Emily's Hope"
"I love the zeal Jean puts into her posts, especially when it comes to the prolife movement." Esther, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.
"Jean of Catholic Fire...provides so much informative content. She posts about pro-life issues and events, what happened 'on this day', biographies of saints, prayer intentions, and lots more each day. No matter what she's posting about, I can always come away each day feeling uplifted...and that's saying a lot for me, as I'm someone who often tries to avoid thinking about some of the political and other issues that she posts about. It must be her strong faith and trust in God, as well as her love, shining through her posts, that inspire me." Margaret Mary Myers , Reflections, Catholic BVI Readers, VIP Homeschooler.
As my regular readers know, today is a special day for me, as it marks the 16th anniversary of my Marian consecration.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of of Lourdes -- the anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 to St. Bernadette Soubirous. Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Mother appeared to a poor, uneducated, sickly fourteen-year-old Marie Bernade (St. Bernadette) 18 times in the hollow of the rock at Lourdes, called “de Massabielle”.
On March 25, the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1858, she said to the little shepherdess who was only fourteen years of age: "I am the Immaculate Conception." Because the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been officially proclaimed less than four years earlier, and Bernadette could not have even known of its existence, when Bernadette repeated the words, it gave credibility to her apparitions. It was confirmation from heaven that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was indeed true.
During one of these apparitions, when Bernadette was told by Mary to begin digging in the ground; she obediently did so, to the townspeople’s scorn. Water immediately began flowing from the spot where Bernadette dug, a tiny stream that has since has grown to the size of a small river. Thousands of healings have been reported as the result of people bathing in or drinking this miraculous water. The walls of the grotto where the Blessed Mother appeared are lined with the crutches of the lame who have walked away from the waters, totally healed.
What is the message of Lourdes?
First, we are called to look at the grace and holiness of Christ in Mary, become converted, and be healed spiritually. It is a call to enter fully into the mystery of the redemption.
The second message was that of prayer. In order to be more fully conformed to the will of God, we must pray without ceasing. Prayer leads us to the Spirit of God.
The third part of the message was Bernadette herself – simple Bernadette. She was uneducated and poor. She could not explain things very well. But, she had a pure heart. And, it was this purity of heart that opened her up to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit and to experience the fruits of the redemption.
Our Lady made some rather bizarre requests of Bernadette – to eat grass like salad, to dig in the dirt and mud with her hands to find a healing stream. Though humbling, Bernadette willingly performed these tasks despite the fact that she was laughed at and mocked by the townspeople. Mary’s appearance and Bernadette’s response present a picture of what it means to love God with our whole heart, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is a visible expression of purity of heart that calls us "Be it done unto me completely and fully according to your word. Accomplish in my life fully what you want to accomplish." This is in contrast to our culture where one’s own will, pleasures, desires, and interests take precedence. In our self-centered culture, the motto is, "Be it done according to my will."
Thus, the message of Lourdes is a call to personal conversion, prayer, and charity.
Let us follow the example of Bernadette in her purity of heart, obedience to God's will, and love for God and neighbor. May our hearts be purified by the Holy Spirit, as we follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.