Lourdes Interpreted by the Salve Regina Part 24.

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

After this, our exile. It is through that vision we should try and look at death. Oh, no doubt, when it.comes death will be something frightening. King death, we say, for it has a majesty, a terror of its own. Death is strange and difficult and frightening because it is uncertain, the lot that lies for us on the other side. Who shall know ? Death must always be disconcerting, for that reason: "No man knoweth whether he be worthy of love or hatred.” Judgment—who dares foretell his judgment? It is the awful uncertainty of death that is the dreadfulness of it. Yet there is an element in it of home-coming. Through that gateway, though it be awful and dreadful, you must go to your home.
There are hills, sometimes, that men climb, steep and rocky, with their tops covered with snow; and sometimes to reach the summit, which has been split by ancient land convulsions, the climber must go in to the rock through darkness where the only light is the light that straggles in from the entrance of the cave. There are boulders in front of you. At first you do not see your way at all. It is dark and uncertain, but you must go that way now to reach the summit and find the air and light of day. There is nothing else but to dare that dark cavern and the heavy stones in it that trip you as you grope your way. It is terrible but it is your only escape. Half frightened, not knowing what is coming next, and feeling your way with your stick to make sure there is no hole in front of you, you must go onwards. It is your only way out to the light. Such is the dark cavern of death.

After this, our exile, show unto us the Blesse.d Fruit of thy womb. That is her business. She showed Him mortal to mortality. She shall show Him immortal to immortal men. She brought Him forth in His first birth; she shall bring us forth in that second birth of ours to the vision of the Fruit of her womb. God gave us Him through her, and the gifts of God are without repentance. God never goes back on His gifts. He shall give the Son to us again through the Mother. She will lead us to Himself.

"After this, our exile.” She knew that life was an exile. She longed for home. She knew that she was only a traveler. As a traveler in a strange place, she brought forth her Child. As a traveler she fled away to Egypt. She stayed in Egypt as a stranger. As a traveler out of Egypt again she came. She went to Nazareth and journeyed to Jerusalem, and lost Him and found Him, and He taught her that life was full of coming and going. "You cannot expect to have Me always with you. You cannot expect that. I must be about My Father’s business. You must be content with that assurance.” Every mother has got to learn that, not to be master of her child. He and she, boy and girl, must leave her. They have their life to live, their independence, their own home one day to form. Our Lady had to learn that, to learn that she was a traveler. Each stage would be passed and over. He was to leave her one day. She has only a respite of
years, and then He goes out from her, and she but slowly follows. She is there on the edge of the crowd. She is a pilgrim; though she is His mother, she is a stranger. Is not this God’s world? Yes, but she must journey on.

And then He dies and she lives on. He comes back from the dead and she sees Him. He ascends into Heaven, ah, then her heart was nearer to breaking than when He died. How the sunshine must have gone from her life when He went out of it. All her happiness, we might suspect, would have left her. All? Not all. There was Mass, there was the Son again, as John, the beloved disciple, took her to his own, as he recited the liturgy and broke bread at dawn. She received again into her bosom the Son that had dwelt there. But then He left her morning by morning, when Communion was done; and she, that poor and lonely Mother, was only again a traveler, a pilgrim. Even she. Then old age grew on her. She was indeed but a pilgrim, a traveler. Earth was no home for her. Earth was exile for her. For her of all people, this earth, with all its beauty was but a place of exile. She was shut out from home.

And then her homecoming! the Assumption, we call it. Human love, divine love, mingled in perfect order. Her happiness, as she came home! Home? Why that could be no home, for she had never visited it, had not come out of it? It is people who make the home. That was home to her, where her Son was. Home for her; home for us: we follow her, we are exiles with her: "After this, our exile, show us the Blessed Fruit of thy womb.”

My brethren, we must seek a city. We must remember that here we are travelers and pilgrims. Here we have no home, but we seek a city whose builder and maker is God. No, it is finer than that, even. God is not merely the builder and maker, God is the city itself. We shall dwell in God.

Dear Blessed Mother! Here we are in exile, with its discomforts, with its unsettlement, with its change. Mother, grant that we who taste the bitterness of exile may not lose in the end the sight of Him; that we and those dear to us may be gathered where you stand, and be received and led by you to the vision of the Blessed Fruit of thy womb. Just in proportion to the way we have lived here as exiles, shall we find ourselves there at home. The vision of God is proportionate to the desire for God on earth. As you have longed for Him, so you shall find Him. If you have longed for Him less ardently, you shall find less of His overflowing fullness, when you come to Him. If you have longed for Him greatly, He will fill all your longing; all your yearning will He satisfy.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after this home of theirs. They shall have their fill.