Monday, February 11, 2013

Our Lady of Lourdes and Christ's Love of the Lowly

Today (February 11) is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On this day, Mary first appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a poor but pious peasant girl, in a grotto in France.
Our Lady appeared many more times to St. Bernadette, asking her to pray and do penance. A miraculous healing spring arose in the place where St. Bernadette was commanded to dig by Our Lady. Mary also confirmed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception to St. Bernadette at Lourdes.
No one could have predicted that Mary would appear to a poor peasant girl in the middle of nowhere. But God loves the poor, and chooses them frequently to fulfill his designs. After all, He chose Mary, a poor Jewish girl, to become His mother.
To the secular world, this emphasis on the poor and lowly is utter foolishness. From those accustomed to viewing reality from the prisms of power and evolutionary struggle, supporting the poor is counterproductive at best. (And considering the Pope's announcement of his abdication today, the focus on the “hierarchy” of the Church might seem appropriate on this day of all days.)
But on deeper reflection, this solicitude of Our Lord and Our Lady for the poor and weak makes perfect sense. For the “handmaid of the Lord” was raised from poverty to become the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her son, the omnipotent God, was born in a stable, became a preacher with “nowhere to lay his head,” (Matt 8:20) and was stripped even of His garments before He died.
Is it any wonder why Jesus and His mother love the poor and lowly? They lived and worked among the least of God's children, during their time on earth.
Truly, God and Our Lady have a special love for those whom they grew up around. Mary herself declared in her great Magnificat: "He hast cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has raised up the lowly." (Luke 1:52)

The beautiful stained glass window in this post was made by Stained Glass Inc. More artwork can be found at

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