From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Thu Apr 15 23:40:30 2021
Of Love of Solitude and Silence [IV]
It happens very often that those whom men esteem highly are more
seriously endangered by their own excessive confidence. Hence, for
many it is better not to be too free from temptations, but often to be
tried lest they become too secure, too filled with pride, or even too
eager to fall back upon external comforts.
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ –Bk 2 Ch 20
April 16th - St. Bernadette
18 February on some calendars
We can’t think of Lourdes without thinking of the 14-year-old girl to
whom Our Lady appeared there in 1858--Bernadette Soubirous.
St. Paul wrote, “God … singled out the weak of the world to shame the strong.” (I Cor. 1:27). In her apparitions to various people, Mary has followed the same policy. She has never revealed herself to presidents
or potentates or plutocrats. She has chosen simple but substantial
people, whether men or women or children.
Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes was just such a person. A teenager who
was physically frail and who, at that point, had not yet learned to
read or write, or even studied her catechism or made her first Holy
Communion! Bernadette was nevertheless solid, balanced and docile. A
good one, in other words, to be sent as Mary’s ambassador to urge
Catholics to prayers and penance for sinners, and to urge the local
clergy to set up a chapel at the riverside grotto of the apparitions.
In exchange for Bernadette’s prophetic role, Mary did not promise her
to make her happy on this earth, only in the next. Bernadette began to experience frustrations during the apparitions themselves, in the form
of excessive pestering by the curious people who flocked to the new
shrine. But when the apparitions ceased, the young girl sought to
escape from this turmoil. By then her embassy was basically
accomplished. Now she wanted to hide from the world--to be retired,
she said, as an old broom is retired behind the door.
At the age of 18, Bernadette sought entrance into the Sisters of Notre
Dame at Nevers. However, she could not be completely anonymous even
there. The very nuns of her religious community sometimes expected her
to be proud because of her special graces. But she would point out,
“Don’t I know that the Blessed Virgin chose me because I was the most ignorant? If she had found anyone else more ignorant than me, she
would have chosen her.”
Although St. Bernadette’s mission was officially finished in July,
1858, she had the continuing duty of living up to Mary’s injunctions,
and of thus setting an example for others. As a nun, she sought to
fulfill perfectly the rule of her community. She accepted even her
chronic illness in that light. Thus, on a certain day, one of her
superiors, finding her in bed because of her serious ailments, twitted
her, “What are you doing there in bed, you lazy little thing?” Sister
Marie Bernarde (her name in religious) replied, “Why my dear Mother,
I’m doing my job.” “And what is your job?” “Being ill” said Bernadette.
Always a vital part of her own “prayers for sinners” was the rosary,
which she constantly recommended to all. Part of the rosary was the
sign of the cross. Whether in the rosary or at any other time, from
the days of the Lourdes apparitions on, Bernadette was noted for the
wonderful way she made the sign of the cross. One observer at the
grotto later wrote, “If the sign of the cross is made in heaven, it
can only be made in this manner.” Everybody marveled at the way she
crossed herself--slowly, reverently, “with majesty.” “It is important
to make it well,” she told one of her fellow novices in the convent.
The sisters respected the way she blessed herself, because they knew
who had taught her. It was Our Lady herself, during the Lourdes
Do we make the sign of the cross often? (Do you know that we can
obtain a partial indulgence, applicable, if we choose, to the souls in purgatory, every time we make it?) Why not take on the project of
always blessing ourselves slowly and reverently, pondering meanwhile
what that sign means? If we offer up these signs of the cross for the conversions of sinners, we will also be corresponding with what Our
Lady of Lourdes asked of us through her humble ambassadress,
Nothing is anything more to me; everything is nothing to me, but
Jesus: neither things nor persons, neither ideas nor emotions, neither
honor nor sufferings. Jesus is for me honor, delight, heart and
You must receive God well; give Him a loving welcome, for then He has
to pay us rent.--Saint Bernadette
The more I am crucified, the more I rejoice.
--Saint Bernadette Soubirous
Love is watchful
“Love is watchful.
Sleeping – it does not slumber.
Wearied – it is not tired.
Pressed – it is not straitened.
Alarmed – it is not confused
but like a living flame,
a burning torch,
it forces its way upward
and passes unharmed,
through every obstacle.”
--Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) The Imitation of Christ