Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twitter takes me to Lourdes

My candle at Lourdes
While on Twitter last Wednesday night (August 10), my friend Elie Fares tweeted he had arrived at Lourdes, the town at the foothills of the French Pyrénées famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes.

I immediately replied to his tweet: “Shou helou (how nice)!!! How lucky! Light me a candle please :-))” 

I couldn’t believe it when a couple of minutes later Elie (@eliefares) replied: “Done,” and attached a snapshot of “my” candle at Lourdes to his tweet.

I was in tears!

That is the power of Social Media… the social in media!

A visit to Lourdes has always been one of my dreams. I hope to go there one day, as I look forward to do the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known as The Way of St. James. Imagine all the posts and pictures likely to be generated along the 100-kilomter-pilgrimage route!

It is near Lourdes, in the grotto of Massabielle, that in 1858 Our Lady appeared 18 times to a young and sickly peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous.

Bernadette had 18 apparitions from the “Lady,” between 11 February 1858 and 16 July 1858. It is only on the 16th Apparition that the “Lady,” as Bernadette called the apparition, revealed her name. Bernadette is said to have always asked the “Lady” who she was. That day, she dared to ask three times. "Then slowly opening Her hands and leaning towards me, She said to me in a voice vibrating with emotion, ‘Que Soy Era Immaculada Conception’ (I Am The Immaculate Conception). She smiled again, spoke no more, and disappeared smiling."

St. Bernadette (via Wikipedia)
Bernadette Soubirous was declared a Saint by Pope Pius XI on 8 December 1933, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Her body, in the main chapel of the Convent of Saint Gildard in the city of Nevers in France, remains entirely incorrupt. Around her shrine are inscribed the words of the great promise made to her at Lourdes by the “Lady,” and fulfilled by Her: "I do not promise that you will be happy in this world, only in the next." 

There is so much faith and belief on such pilgrimages, that I often wonder what it would feel like, and what would I ask for once there. Certainly health for loved ones… What can be more important?

What would you ask for?

So it is with great emotion that I thank you, Elie Fares, for lighting a candle for me at Lourdes. It has surely burned down by now, but it means a lot to me. I hope to light one for you before long.
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