World Day of the Sick
Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
In 1858, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in a cave at Massabielle, near Lourdes in France. Just four years earlier, in 1854, the Church had declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, so when the “beautiful woman” of Bernadette’s visions identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, there was initial skepticism. Although others accompanied Bernadette to the grotto, no one else could see or hear the visions. It did not take very long for an Episcopal Commission, an official inquiry, to state: “We judge that Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, did really appear to Bernadette Soubirous on February 11th, 1858, and on certain subsequent days, 18 times in all, in the Grotto of Massabielle, near the town of Lourdes; that this appearance bears every mark of truth and that the belief of the faithful is well-grounded.”
(c. February 2021 Living with Christ VOL. 27 NO. 2, pp. 165-166).
The ministry of Jesus to the sick is central to the life of the Church. February 11th (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes) highlights the healing ministry of the Church. It reminds us that service to the sick and suffering cannot be neglected. It recognizes the great efforts of doctors, nurses, health care institutions, and pastoral care givers to restore health to those afflicted with illness and disease
(c. Ordo: Liturgical Calendar 2020-21, p. 140).
“The supreme witness of the Father’s merciful love for the sick is his only-begotten Son. How often do the Gospels relate Jesus’ encounters with people suffering from various diseases! He “went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people” (Mt 4:23). We do well to ask ourselves why Jesus showed such great concern for the sick, so much so that he made it paramount in the mission of the apostles, who were sent by the Master to proclaim the Gospel and to heal the sick (cf. Lk 9:2).”
Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
Loving God, you are always near us, especially when we are weak, suffering and vulnerable.
Reach out to those who experience mental illness.
Lift their burdens, calm their anxiety, and quiet their fears.
Surround them with your healing presence that they may know that they are not alone.
We ask this through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes and in the name of your Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.