A New and Incomparable Outpouring of the Redemption

The Virgin invites us to the blessed grotto in her Divine Son’s name for the conversion of our hearts and in the hope of forgiveness. Will we heed Her?

Every Christian land is a Marian land; there is not a nation redeemed in the Blood of Christ which does not glory in proclaiming Mary its Mother and Patroness. This truth is brought into sharp relief by reflection on the history of France. Devotion to the Mother of God dates back to the origins of its evangelization […].

Marian manifestations filled with predilection

In many ways the nineteenth century was to become, after the turmoil of the Revolution, a century of Marian favours.

To mention but a single instance, everyone is familiar today with the Miraculous Medal. This medal, struck with the image of Mary conceived without sin, was revealed in the very heart of the French capital to a humble daughter of St. Vincent de Paul whom We had the joy of inscribing in the catalogue of Saints, and it has spread its spiritual and material wonders everywhere.

A few years later, from February 11 to July 16, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary was pleased, as a new favour, to manifest herself in the territory of the Pyrenees to a pious and pure child of a poor, hardworking, Christian family. “She came to Bernadette,” We once said. “She made her her confidante, her collaborator, the instrument of her maternal tenderness and of the merciful power of her Son, to restore the world in Christ through a new and incomparable outpouring of the Redemption.” […]

Rock from which spring living waters

You know, Beloved Sons and Venerable Brethren, the astonishing circumstances under which the voice of that child, the messenger of the Immaculate, compelled the world’s recognition despite ridicule, doubt, and opposition. You know the steadfastness and purity of her testimony, wisely tested by episcopal authority and approved since 1862.

Crowds flocked even then and they still surge into the grotto of the apparitions, to the miraculous spring, and to the shrine erected at Mary’s request. There is the moving procession of the lowly, the sick, and the afflicted. There is the impressive pilgrimage of thousands of the faithful from a particular diocese or country, or the quiet visit of a troubled soul seeking truth. “Never,” We once said, “has such a procession of suffering been seen anywhere on earth, never such a radiance of peace, serenity, and joy!”

Nor will anyone ever know, We might add, the full sum of the benefits which the world owes to the aid of the Virgin! “O blessed grotto, favoured by Mary’s presence! O hallowed rock whence spring a flowing stream of vivifying waters!

Pontifical definition confirmed in Lourdes

This century of Marian devotion has also in a certain way woven close bonds between the See of Peter and the shrine in the Pyrenees, bonds which We are pleased to acknowledge. The Virgin Mary herself desired this tie. “What the Sovereign Pontiff defined in Rome through his infallible Magisterium, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, blessed among all women, wanted to confirm by her own words, it seems, when shortly afterward She manifested herself by a famous apparition at the grotto of Massabielle…”

Certainly the infallible word of the Roman Pontiff, the authoritative interpreter of revealed truth, needed no heavenly confirmation that it might be accepted by the faithful. But with what emotion and gratitude did the Christian people and their pastors receive from the lips of Bernadette this answer which came from Heaven: “I am the Immaculate Conception!” […]

The fiftieth anniversary of the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin gave St. Pius X occasion to attest in a solemn document to the historic connection between this act of the Magisterium and the apparitions at Lourdes: “Pius IX had hardly defined it to be of Catholic faith that Mary was from her very origin exempt from sin, when the Virgin herself began performing miracles at Lourdes.” […]

“Pray to God for sinners”

In a society barely conscious of the ills which assail it, concealing its miseries and injustices beneath a prosperous, glittering, and care-free exterior, the Immaculate Virgin, whom sin has never touched, manifests herself to an innocent child. With maternal compassion She regards this world redeemed by her Son’s blood, where sin accomplishes so much ruin daily, and thrice makes her urgent appeal: “Penance, penance, penance!” She even requests outward expressions: “Go kiss the earth in penance for sinners.” To which gesture must be added a prayer: “Pray to God for sinners.”

Timeliness of the message

As in the days of John the Baptist, as at the start of Jesus’ ministry, this command, strong and rigorous, shows men the way which leads back to God: “Repent!” (Mt 3:2; 4:17). Who would dare to say that this appeal for the conversion of hearts is untimely today? […]

The Virgin invites us to the blessed grotto in her Divine Son’s name for conversion of heart and in hope of forgiveness. Will we heed Her? […]

To a society which, in its public life, often contests the supreme rights of God, the Virgin Mother has sent a veritable cry of alarm

But the world, which today affords so many justifiable reasons for satisfaction and hope, is also undergoing a terrible temptation to materialism, denounced on many occasions by Our Predecessors and Ourselves. This materialism is not confined to that condemned philosophy which dictates the policies and economy of a large segment of mankind. It rages also in a love of money that creates ever greater havoc as modern enterprises expand, and that sadly determines many of the decisions weighing heavy on the life of the people. It finds expression in the cult of the body, in excessive desire for comforts and the avoidance of all austerity of life. It encourages scorn for human life, even for that destroyed before seeing the light of day; it is present in the unrestrained search for pleasure, which flaunts itself shamelessly and tries, through reading matter and entertainments, to seduce souls who are still pure. It shows itself in indifference towards one’s brother, in a selfishness that crushes him, a justice that deprives him of his rights – in a word, in a concept of life that regulates everything exclusively in terms of material prosperity and earthly gratifications. […]

Urgent mission for priests

To a society which in its public life often contests the supreme rights of God, to a society which would gain the whole world at the expense of its own soul (cf. Mk 8:36) and thus rush to its own destruction, the Virgin Mother has sent a veritable cry of alarm. May priests be attentive to her appeal and have the courage to preach the great truths of salvation fearlessly. […]

Just as the Immaculate, compassionate of our miseries, but discerning our real needs, came to men to remind them of the essential and austere steps of religious conversion, so the ministers of the Word of God should, with supernatural confidence, point out to souls the narrow road which leads to life (cf. Mt 7:14). ◊

Excerpts from: PIUS XII.
Le pèlerinage de Lourdes, 2/7/1957



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