St John's Q&A

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

One of the most powerful spots in the world

Update from Maria Stefko Turner, our good, young friend who is courageously battling cancer. She writes: "I had a reoccurence and just went through a stem cell transplant. I am continuing to recover and am very grateful for all your prayers. Please continue praying".--Maria
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Many of the daily and nightly activities in Lourdes come from what the Blessed Mother asked of Bernadette. She told her to build a chapel on the site of the well, and to go "in procession for the glory of God". So, every day we were there, there were numerous activities in the large and beautiful Basilica, and a nightly procession glorifying God in honor of our Lady.

It was really quite staggering to me how much goes on in Lourdes EVERY DAY. Every day, there are many Masses at the Grotto or in the other churches, off and on chanting all day and night, processions, praying of the rosary, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, talks, washing at the baths, malades everywhere, Stations of the Cross...it was unbelievable how much Catholic stuff happens there every day in that town. At one point in one of the processions, I thought, "this is what Heaven will be like".

Just about every night, I walked from our hotel down to the Grotto (which is open pretty much all night). It is impressive how alive the place is with all these activities. I really enjoyed the place and the people we were there with. I would walk around the Grotto, taking in all the sights and sounds, and then find myself right in front of the spot. It caught me off guard and overwhelmed me.

What spot? The spot where Mary appeared to Bernadette. I thought, 'this is where the Mother of God appeared on Earth 148 years ago. Whoa!' It really was a powerful realization that stayed with me the whole trip. I tried to remember to pray for people back home while I was at the spot, and in the Grotto. As I wrote in my last post, at least one of the people I prayed for at the Grotto has already experienced a miracle. It's a powerful spot!!

Another time, I came back to the spot, and noticed something else going on at the Grotto. Now, the spot took on an even greater importance...it was the spot in front of Jesus appearing on the altar in the monstrance. I've been in the Presence of the Lord many times, but this was one of the most meaningful. Then I thought, 'there's such a huge deal made about Mary appearing here, and rightly so, but Jesus appears here every night, and where are all the people and hoopla for this?'

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