Today, the Church commemorates the 151st anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette Soubirous. I just couldn't let the day pass without a short commentary about my gratitude and devotion to Our Lady.
I was fortunate enough to visit the apparition site of Our Lady of Lourdes in France some years ago. I wrote her a long letter then to express my thanks and requests for the health and safety of my family. I handed the letter to the people who were volunteering there and it was safely tucked in one of the creases of the grotto. And as a tradition, I also splashed my face and body with the water from the spring of Lourdes and asked God to heal me from any infirmities (and to make my pimples disappear --- and He did!).
The number of sick people of different races who were there in Lourdes to ask for God's healing is really overwhelming. I remember joining the huge candlelight procession wherein the rosary was prayed in some many languages. It was a great experience and what good it did for my soul. The next day, my friends and I woke up very early in the morning to attend the mass that was held right underneath the grotto. It was freezing cold that morning. I still vividly remember feeling my face so cold but my heart was sort of burning with love and devotion for Our Lord. You could feel and almost touch the faith of the people around you because it was so real. I really cried out of happiness after that mass.
Anyway, to end, let me share to you a prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF LOURDES
O Immaculate Virgin Mary,
Mother of Mercy,
you are the refuge of sinners,
the health of the sick,
and the comfort of the afflicted.
You know my wants,
my troubles, my sufferings.
By your appearance at the Grotto of Lourdes
you made it a privileged sanctuary
where your favors are given to people
streaming to it from the whole world.
Over the years countless sufferers
have obtained the cure for their infirmities -
whether of soul, mind, or body.
Therefore I come to you
with limitless confidence
to implore your motherly intercession.
Obtain, O loving Mother,
the grant of my requests.
Through gratitude for Your favors,
I will endeavor to imitate Your virtues,
that I may one day share in Your glory.