Tag Archives: World Day of the Sick

Our Lady of Lourdes

LourdesOn February 11, 1858, a very young Bernadette Soubirous (1844–79)  and two other young girls were gathering kindling wood for families. At some point in the wood-gathering expedition, Bernadette was alone on the shores of the River Gave, near the grotto of Massabielle. It was here that Our Lady, Mary the Mother of God, unexpectedly appeared to her.  From this moment until July 16, “the beautiful Lady in white” appeared 18 times.

As the history goes, on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, Bernadette asked the beautiful woman in white: “Would you please tell me who you are?” The answer she heard was: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The title was something Bernadette never knew until this moment. Remember, only four years earlier did Pope Pius IX define(December 8, 1854) Mary’s Immaculate Conception. This grotto named Our Lady of Lourdes has become one of the most famous shrines in Western Europe dedicated to Mary.

Countless pilgrims go there to present their petition for a healing and cure –miracles are frequent. In 1890, Pope Leo XIII permitted the local Diocese of Tarbes, in which Lourdes is located, to celebrate this feast; Pope Pius X extended it to the universal Church in 1907.

Liturgically, we acclaim Mary as the sinless Mother of God, and the sacred Liturgy recalls for us  the name that our Lady gave herself when she said “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Bernadette entered in 1866 the Sisters of Charity and Christian Instruction of Nevers. She died in 1879 and was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933.

Today’s feast is the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Let’s remember those in need of a healing and cure from God.

Go and do likewise –21st World Day of the Sick

Today is the 21st observance of the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. This one paragraph of Pope Benedict’s is instructive. The picks some holy people to help us see the face of Christ more clearly in the everyday. Can we be a good samaritan in the communities in which we find ourselves?

May Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

For the rest of the document, see the link here.

The Year of Faith which we are celebrating is a fitting occasion for intensifying the service of charity in our ecclesial communities, so that each one of us can be a good Samaritan for others, for those close to us. Here I would like to recall the innumerable figures in the history of the Church who helped the sick to appreciate the human and spiritual value of their suffering, so that they might serve as an example and an encouragement. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, “an expert in the scientia amoris” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 42), was able to experience “in deep union with the Passion of Jesus” the illness that brought her “to death through great suffering” (Address at General Audience, 6 April 2011). The Venerable Luigi Novarese, who still lives in the memory of many, throughout his ministry realized the special importance of praying for and with the sick and suffering, and he would often accompany them to Marian shrines, especially to the Grotto of Lourdes. Raoul Follereau, moved by love of neighbour, dedicated his life to caring for people afflicted by Hansen’s disease, even at the world’s farthest reaches, promoting, among other initiatives, World Leprosy Day. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta would always begin her day with an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and then she would go out into the streets, rosary in hand, to find and serve the Lord in the sick, especially in those “unwanted, unloved, uncared for”. Saint Anna Schäffer of Mindelstetten, too, was able to unite in an exemplary way her sufferings to those of Christ: “her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel” (Canonization Homily, 21 October 2012). In the Gospel the Blessed Virgin Mary stands out as one who follows her suffering Son to the supreme sacrifice on Golgotha. She does not lose hope in God’s victory over evil, pain and death, and she knows how to accept in one embrace of faith and love, the Son of God who was born in the stable of Bethlehem and died on the Cross. Her steadfast trust in the power of God was illuminated by Christ’s resurrection, which offers hope to the suffering and renews the certainty of the Lord’s closeness and consolation.

In Christ’s wounds we are healed: World Day of the Sick and Our Lady of Lourdes

OL of Lourdes.jpgWe celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 19th World Day of the Sick.
God of mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, the sinless mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness.

By his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24)

Many in the world suffer. That is a given and we ought to keep the suffering of others in the forefront of our minds. I think this is appropriate for no other reason than the example of Jesus who showed had compassion on all suffering people, healing them in body, mind, and soul. He even allowed Himself to be conquered by evil and suffering, though we know that He ultimately defeated death by death itself when on the third day he rose from the dead. Jesus’ own suffering and rising is proof of a love that knows know limits. As Benedict has said in various places that “Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith.”

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Our Lady of Lourdes & World Day of the Sick

OL Lourdes2.jpgRejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may suck and be satisfied with her consoling breasts; that you may drink deeply with delight from the abundance of her glory.


God of mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, the sinless mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness.


At Sunday’s Angelus the Pope spoke to the following address to the gathered people:


Today [Febraury 8, 2009] the Gospel (cf. Mark 1:29-39) — in direct continuation with last Sunday — presents us with Jesus, who after having preached on the Sabbath in the synagogue of Capernaum, cured many ill people, beginning with Simon’s mother-in-law. Entering his house, he found her in bed with a fever and immediately, taking her by the hand, he healed her and had her get up. After sunset, he healed a multitude of people afflicted with all sorts of ills.


The experience of the healing of the sick occupies a good portion of the public mission of Christ and it invites us once again to reflect on the meaning and value of illness in every situation in which the human being can find himself. This opportunity comes also because of the World Day of the Sick, which we will celebrate next Wednesday, Feb. 11, liturgical memorial of the Virgin Mary of Lourdes.


Despite the fact that illness is part of human existence, we never manage to get used to it, not only because sometimes it comes to be burdensome and grave, but essentially because we are made for life, for complete life. Precisely our “internal instinct” makes us think of God as plenitude of life, and even more, as eternal and perfect Life. When we are tested by sickness and our prayers seem in vain, doubt wells up in us and, filled with anguish, we ask ourselves: What is God’s will?


It is precisely to this question that we find an answer in the Gospel. For example, in the passage of today we read: “He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him” (Mark 1:34). In another passage from St. Matthew, it says: “He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people” (Matthew 4:23).


Jesus healing.jpgJesus does not leave room for doubt
: God — whose face he himself has revealed — is the God of life, who frees us from all evil. The signs of this, his power of love are the healings that he carries out: He thus shows that the Kingdom of God is near, restoring men and women to their full integrity in spirit and body. I refer to these healings as signs: They guide toward the message of Christ, they guide us toward God and make us understand that man’s truest and deepest illness is the absence of God, who is the fount of truth and love. And only reconciliation with God can give us true healing, true life, because a life without love and without truth would not be a true life. The Kingdom of God is precisely the presence of truth and love, and thus it is healing in the depths of our being.


Thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, the work of Jesus is prolonged in the mission of the Church. Through the sacraments, it is Christ who communicates his life to the multitude of brothers and sisters, as he cures and comforts innumerable sick people through so many activities of health care service that Christian communities promote with fraternal charity, thereby showing the face of God, his love. It is true: How many Christians all over the world — priests, religious and laypeople — have given and continue giving their hands, eyes and hearts to Christ, true physician of bodies and souls!


Let us pray for all the ill, especially for those who are most grave, and who can in no way take care of themselves, but depend entirely on the care of others; may every one of them be able to experience, in the solicitude of those who are near to them, the power of the love of God and the richness of his grace that saves us. Mary, health of the sick, pray for us.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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