Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. Her apparitions there, and the miraculous spring that appeared during one of the apparitions when Our Lady instructed St. Bernadette to dig in the ground, are known as a source of countless physical healings. The sick go to Lourdes by the thousands each year to pray in the grotto where Our Lady appeared, to drink from the spring, and bathe in its healing waters.
In one of the apparitions, Our Lady said to St. Bernadette: “I do not promise you happiness in this world, but in the next.” This is important for those who are sick to understand. The goal of our life is not happiness in this world, but rather in heaven. Surely there are happy moments in life and even when we are sick, but heaven will be far and away better!
St. Bernadette would later in life, amidst her own great suffering, say “Anyone who is not prepared to suffer all for the Beloved and to do his will in all things is not worthy of the sweet name of Friend, for here below, Love without suffering does not exist.” Truer words have not been uttered. We cannot call ourselves the friend of the Beloved unless we are willing to suffer for him. In this life love requires suffering. After all, do we really love if we are not willing to give our very lives for the sake of the ones we love? All we must do to see an example of this kind of love is to look at a crucifix. There we see a love that was lived by suffering. We too, if we want to truly love, must do the same.
As we are on the verge of Lent, we should resolve to make this Lent to be imbued with sacrificial love. I hope, for your own good, that this Lent you will suffer for the Beloved of your soul.