February 11, 2016
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” –Luke 9:23
Yesterday, on Ash Wednesday, Aidan talked about the ash on our foreheads as a sign that there is something wrong with us. In a way, Ash Wednesday is a treat. It’s a chance to recognize our failings, focus collectively on the task of fasting, and decidedly redirect our attention to God’s mercy in the face of our lousiness. It’s a day when we can feel less alone in our spiritual struggles because we see the marks on the faces of so many people and know that they, too, are trying to walk the path of Christ.
Today, once we’ve (hopefully, for hygiene’s sake) washed the ashen crosses from our foreheads, we wake up and find that there is still a cross and that it’s sitting, heavy and awkward, on our shoulders. It can be a kind of bummer to remember that, knowing that it’s for the rest of our earthly lives that we will be carrying the load of our sins, our bad habits, our jobs, our frustrations, and all the other things that make up the crosses that we carry each day. But God has given us a gift that makes it possible for us to carry any burden imaginable: the intercession of His Mother.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Since her apparition to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, people have been flocking to the grotto to seek the help of Our Lady. The water flowing from the spring at Lourdes has been the source of countless miraculous healings, as has the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes for those who entrust their intentions to her.
With each passing day of Lent, as the weight of our crosses bears down more heavily on us, let us entrust these crosses to Mary. Let us let her support that weight by her constant prayers that go directly to the heart of Our Lord. And if it is for the benefit of our souls that the cross get no lighter, that the load feel no less burdensome, let us trust that she is still with us, suffering with us with her Mother’s heart.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
St Bernadette, pray for us!