Lourdes Day

Thirty years ago John Paul II declared February 11th as World Day of the Sick in honor of the first apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes to 14 year old Bernadette in 1858.

Years ago Eric, Alex, and I took a road-trip pilgrimage to Lourdes in honor of Oma, whose devotion to and trust in Mother Mary never wavered. Year after year she prayed a daily rosary to benefit our whole family, and throughout her final agony she continued night after night to call out to her mother with unending Hail Marys.

On her last visit to America she insisted that I transform the little stone water pump house at Himmelblau Haus, on Kelley’s Island, into a grotto to honor Our Lady of Lourdes.

The reading for today’s Lourdes Day is John 2:1-11 (the wedding feast at Cana).

Late in life John Paul II added five new luminous mysteries to the traditional joyful, sorrowful, and glorious ones. These luminous mysteries describe events in the life of Jesus’s adult ministry. The second luminous mystery, the first miracle of his ministry, is this poignant exchange between Jesus and his mother. Despite Jesus’s frustration with his mother he does what she asks him to do.

Perhaps our time has come to listen to her? At the heart of the story is Mary’s instruction: “do whatever he tells you to do!”
In these fearful pandemic times what does Jesus tell us to do? Can we choose to trust that he can still turn water into wine?
What about us? Are we willing to provide the equivalence of six large stone jars and are we ready to fetch 90 gallons of hard-to-pump fresh water to fill those jars?

In his book Now is the Hour of Her Return: Poems in Praise of the Divine Mother Kali, Clark Strand includes a poem entitled “Call Me Mother” that concludes:

…If you love Me, call Me Mother,
Daughter, Sister, Lover, Bride
Treat me like a Beloved
If you want to feel my embrace…

“Yes we can” overcome anything, including fear of darkness and disease, if only we are ready to become the beloved community we are searching for.

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