The State of Virginity

The State of Virginity
I should like you to be free of all worries. The unmarried man is busy with the Lord's affairs, concerned with pleasing the Lord; but the married man is busy with this world's demands and occupied with pleasing his wife. This means he is divided. The virgin - indeed, any unmarried woman - is concerned with things of the Lord, in pursuit of holiness in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has the cares of this world to absorb her and concerned with pleasing her husband. I am going into this with you for your own good. I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Saturday, January 30, 2010

BERNADETTE RECOUNTS HER APPARITIONS

Much has been written about the apparitions in Lourdes. However, the most authentic and vivid account has been left to us by Bernadette herself. It is an account without any distortion, an account which is essentially characterized by its simplicity, fluency, liveliness and spontaneity. It is as simple and spontaneous as Bernadette always showed herself to be.

In this book, complete and detailed narratives of great value have been written about the events which took place in Lourdes through the witnesses and documents of that time. Bernadette's accounts are all different but in their entirety they represent the most genuine evidence of the apparitions. This book aims at introducing them to the reader in the way that Bernadette left them to us.

The accounts are preceded by a concise description of the life of the Saint; as much as is necessary to allow the reader to understand all the tragedy of poverty, suffering and humiliation which characterized the life of this young girl privileged by Our Lady.

This publication also contains a reproduction of the autographed manuscript on the apparitions, photographs of the main protagonists connected with the events, and other photos concerning the Sanctuary of Lourdes. The work as a whole constitutes not only a work of enthralling interest to the reader, but also an indispensable record for the pilgrim. Below is an excerpt taken from this book.

In her LETTER TO ABBE CHARLES BOUIN (A priest of deep devotion to the Virgin Mary), Bernadette gave him an account of her apparitions and of the events at the grotto. This can be found on pages 59-61 of this book. Here it goes:

"The first time that I was at the grotto I went to collect wood together with two other girls.

On reaching the mill, I asked them if they would like to see where the discharge water ran into the river. They said yes. We went along the channel and arrived in front of a grotto. My companions crossed the water, whereas I remained on the other side.

I asked them to throw some stones into the channel to enable me to cross over it without taking off my shoes. They told me to do as they had done if I wanted to cross.

At this point, I went a bit further down in an attempt to cross over, but didn't succeed in doing so. I returned in front of the grotto.

I began taking off my shoes. I had just taken off one shoe when I heard a noise similar to a gust of wind. I turned towards the meadows and noticed that the trees were motionless. I began taking off my other shoe and then heard the same noise.

I lifted my head towards the grotto and saw a lady dressed in white. She had a white dress, a blue girdle, a white veil over her head and a yellow rose on each foot.

I thought I had made some mistake and rubbed my eyes. I looked again and again noticed the same lady. I then put my hand in my pocket and took out my rosary.

I wanted to make the sign of the cross but was unable to do so because I could not reach up my hand. Although filled with fear, I remained.

The apparition made the sign of the cross; I too tried to do so and succeeded. After making the sign of the cross, I calmed down and recited the rosary, with the image of the lady constantly before me.

She motioned to me with her finger to draw near, but I did not have the courage to do so and remained in the same place.

At the end of the rosary I asked my companions if they had seen anything. They replied that they had not. I pressed them again, but their reply was always in the negative. I asked them to say nothing about it to anyone. They said to me:- So you've seen something?-

I didn't want to tell them about it, but they urged me so much that I decided to tell them everyhting on condition that they would maintain absolute silence. They promised me to do so; but no sooner had they arrived home than they lost no time in saying that I had seen a lady dressed in white.

This is what happened the first time I went to the grotto. It was Thursday, 11th February 1858.

On the following Sunday I returned there a second time together with various other persons. Some people had advised me to take paper and ink with me and to ask the lady, if she should appear again, to put down in writing anything she had to say.

On reaching the spot, I began the rosary. At the end of the first then Hail Mary's, the lady appeared and I asked her to put down in writing anyhting she had to say to me. She smiled and said that it was not necessary to put into writing what she had to communicate to me. She asked me to have the goodness to return to the grotto for fifteen days.

I promised her that I would do so.

She also asked me to go and tell the priests to build a chapel on the spot, to go and drink at the fountain and wash myself, and to pray for sinners. She repeated this to me several times.

She told me that she promised me happiness not in this world, but in the next.

I repeatedly asked her who she was: she only replied to me with a smile. I saw her on fifteen consecutive days, with the exception of a Monday and a Friday.

At the end of the fifteen days she told me she was the Immaculate Conception. She had blue eyes."

Lourdes, 22nd August 1864

Bernadette Soubirous

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