18 February 2017

The 2017 Lourdes Theme

The Lourdes theme for 2017 is 'The Lord Has Done Great Things For Me'.

In 2017 the Sanctuary of Lourdes invites pilgrims to follow the path opened by the 25th World Day of the Sick celebrated in a special way in Lourdes this year for the anniversary of its first celebration on 11th February 1993. 

We are invited to look at suffering through the eyes of Mary. From the first moments of the Gospel, in Cana, she knows how to make known to Jesus the needs of men, and she knows how to make known to men the path of Jesus1 . Throughout the ministry of Jesus, She remains the one who accompanies Him in faith, a faith which is manifested in her willing presence at the foot of the cross: she then receives the disciple as her son (Jn 19:26). 

The hour of Jesus is also the hour of the woman (Jn 16:21). For her, every suffering becomes the pain of childbirth. She is "the mother" who welcomes and passes on the gift of love of the crucified Christ. It is she who reveals herself to Bernadette, deep inside the dark recess of a Pyrenean rock. Bernadette is facing a dead end. She can see in front of her "a real abundance of wood and bone," precisely what she came for, but this is made inaccessible to her by the cold water of the stream. That moment sums up her existence, fated by illness, poor harvests and mismanagement, unable to attend school and catechism lessons. At 14, she is an outcast, on the periphery of Lourdes. She could disappear from Lourdes without anybody caring... 

But someone has seen her in the depths of her void. A girl "as young and as small as me," she says. Someone similar to her, someone who was insignificant like her in the eyes of men, but whom God saw in the depths of her lowly house in Nazareth. "God does not see as man sees: for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. (1 Sam 16:7) 

Through her eyes and her smile Mary shares with Bernadette the joy of the Magnificat, the fruitfulness of a life that allows itself to be touched by God. Mary shares with the Church the joy of hearing again "a sound like a gust of wind," the breath of Pentecost, the breath of new beginnings. "She looked at me as one person talking to another person”. I exist for someone! It is the joy experienced by little children, the same joy of the Trinity of Divine Persons who exist one for the other!