Lourdes Interpreted by the Salve Regina Part 12.

Meditations given by the Rev, Bede Jarrett, O.P., during the Novena preached in the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in preparation for the celebration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Apparitions at Lourdes, February 2nd - February 10th, 1933

"To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.” In these distresses of ours we turn to the Mother of God. And what do we expect from God’s Blessed Mother when we turn to her, overwhelmed with our sense of banishment in the hostile world we live in — hostile to the body that enfolds us, hostile, (or is it our own spirit that is hostile?), to the consolations even of prayer ? What do we expect God’s Mother to do for us? She loved God. She was obedient to the divine commands. She followed God’s way. And what did she gain ? Is her life, because of her goodness, protected from distress? Did she go through her life untouched with sorrow or toil? Pain, is she free of pain, that Mother? She goes through life, and what does she meet with from good people and from evil people? What is her gain out of life? Joseph finds her with child, and she never enlightens him as to the manner of its coming to pass. She does not defend herself. That is not her way. She knows what is in St. Joseph’s mind. He is minded to put her away. She says nothing. She expects nothing of comfort. This is a hostile world. She comes to Bethlehem, carrying the Child with her, within her. There is no room for her in the inn. No room for God’s Blessed Mother! You see ? Even for her this is a hostile world. Even for her there is little resting place. Moreover immediately the Child’s life is threatened. She must go off into Egypt. This is God’s world, and this is God’s Mother, and with her is the Divine Child, yet the earth is still hostile for her, even for her. She lives her life. We do not know her circumstances, whether she was really poor, or whether the carpenter shop carried them quietly along. We do not know. We only see her from time to time, and the real circumstances of Nazareth are hidden from us. We only know that she tasted sorrow and bitterness. We know in the end she just had to watch her own Son die, hear Him in His dying jeered at, see Him in agony, with His spirit veiled in darkness and with God withdrawn. She had to outlive her Son. As she grew old, she was unable to do anything. She had to lay her activities aside. We know that much about her. Even God’s Mother, or, shall we say, all the more because she is God’s Mother, she must suffer. Here she has no home; "Attend and see. Is there sorrow like my sorrow ? Is their grief like mine ?” She challenges the world, she the most obedient, the most loving, the most innocent of creatures, she challenges us that our sorrows do not match with hers.

A hostile world, cursed by God. This is the world we live in. Now, go to her and kneel at her knees. She will teach you. The Mother and the child at her knee has been always the broad base of education. That is where all human teaching begins. Now ask her and she will speak to you out of her own experience. Go to her with your troubles, whatever they be, and she will tell you, Ah! of deeper troubles, to put yours in the true proportion, to help you to see your life as you should. Suffering have you? Yes: now look at her suffering. Poverty have you? Well it looks as though her life, at least at times, was desolately poor. Half a rock and half a ruin, that is where her Child was born. Tell her of your sorrows, and she will only answer you perhaps with a happy smile, "I also had my sorrows.” Perhaps your complaining will die down, for it may be that she will tell you not only of what she suffered, but of that which came first. To her, first, was the good news told. "Thou shalt conceive, and He that shall be born of thee shall be the Holy One, the Son of God.” That was her comfort. She knew that first. She had all her suffering, but here was a blessed thing to be remembered. She is the Mother; she carries the Child. She has the Child with her always. She suffered banishment as we all do, poor banished children of Eve. She also was Eve’s child. She, too, paid the penalty, not by her sin, but by all sin’s dreadful consequences, sorrow, pain, loneliness, death. She suffered all that. So she will teach you, teach you to bear your burden for the same reason she bore hers.