The daffodils on the side of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church here in North Carolina are blooming in mid-February, just in time for today’s feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The picture above was just before the snow and ice came crashing down upon them. And then the rains came, melting the snow and ice, but not enabling them to stand up again. That will need some sunshine.
Lourdes has its own weather system. It can be all sunshine and blue skies just a mile out of Lourdes, but the village is nestled in the mountains in such a way that it can entirely overcast, and misty, and pouring rain, only in Lourdes. In mid-February, this can make for mighty cold, damp, freezing, dreary days. Here’s a picture I took of that slate-grayness back in the day when I was a chaplain in Lourdes. This is from the Immaculate Conception Basilica above the grotto:
At that time, after a good month of entirely below-freezing temperatures, I laboriously made my way down the icy zig-zag path from the Chaplains House above to the grotto. Stopping at the grotto before heading off to hear confessions, I noted these gentle roses smashing through the ice and snow to give honor to Our Lady on her feast day:
I love Lourdes.
When Saint Bernadette insisted on knowing the lady’s name, the response in the local dialect was:
QUE SOY ERA IMMACULADA COUNCEPCIOU
I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
In humility we find truth. She who is the Queen Mother, the immaculate, virgin, Mother of God, Mother of Jesus, Queen of Heaven and Earth, of angels and men, is equating herself with her conception. Why? Because at that time – due to her being free from original sin as we understand from Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:28 – she was completely and already perfectly doing the will of God just as she is now in heaven. And that’s what’s important, doing the will of God. For us that means remaining in the state of grace, keeping up with the Sacraments, being on our way to heaven, love of God and love of neighbor, our lives entirely dedicated to the Immaculate Conception’s Divine Son, Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One, and His good mom always points us to Him.
Oh, and I promised to put up this picture as well:
This is the statue that used to be in the shrine at the parish church. That was replaced, with this one finding a place in a kind-of-a-grotto high up on a ridge overlooking the parish from the mountain range due South of the church. I’m happy to see the angel there. Can you see him?