Monday, April 16, 2007

Lourdes, France

This shrine and specially Our Lady will always have a special place in my heart. The first time I visited Lourdes was more than 20 yrs ago with my late parents.

I attended all the services from Blessing of the Sick to Torch Procession but I got scared to go with them and actually dip on the Baths.

Later on I regretted it.

I didnt know that when we were in Rome, as we were guests of an Archbishop, dad didnt feel well. He saw some blood in his urine.

We only got to know about this when he related to us the miracle he experienced after he bathed in Lourdes. He was almost in tears as he related how the Blessed Mother interceded in his healing. I said then to myself maybe I had so little faith. I prayed to the Lord and Mama Mary to grant me another opportunity to visit that holy place.

She answered my prayers and I didn't come back only once but perhaps a dozen more times. In my last trip to France the other year, I made sure I will pass by Lourdes even if it meant going out of the way.

"place where Bernadette prayed on Feb 1858"

She has also granted me miracles during my visit. After a couple of times of pilgrimage in Lourdes, I seem to have always developed fever and tonsilitis. Despite this, I vowed to still dip in the holy water and each time I felt well. I never had to take medication again. I knew it was a test and of course I had the option not to do it. Being there was enough and even drinking the water but I told her that I will always bathe, pray at the grotto, attend the major services including the sacrament of reconcilitation whenever I get the chance to visit.

It is a long way and quite expensive. Being there each time though, I consider a great blessing specially if you see the large number of sick people, who can hardly walk, nor move but who show so much faith in the Virgin Mary that they trekked from far places hoping for that miracle.

The miracle may not necessarily be in the form of physical healing - it maybe something spiritual and more profound