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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

THE BASILICA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION


The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is also known as the upper basilica because it is situated above the Rosary Basilica and the Crypt. It is in Gothic style and like the Crypt, is the work of the architect Hippolyte Durand. Construction began in 1866 and it was officially opened for worship on 15 August 1871. It was consecrated on 2 July 1876 by Cardinal Guibert, the Archbishop of Paris. This was the tangible answer to the wishes of the Madonna, "I want a chapel to be built here." For this reason it was named the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Together with the Crypt, it actually rises on the rocky mass of Massabielle, of which the grotto of the apparitions was part.

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception can hold 600 worshippers. 51 metres long and 21 metres wide, it has a single nave. It rises 20 metres above the River Gave that flows past on the right. The basilica's nave is completely encircled by nineteen stained-glass windows. They illustrate scenes concerning the Immaculate Conception, from the beginning of mankind right up to the dogma's proclamation by Pope Pius IX which took place on 8 December 1854. On the upper left: the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after committing original sin; then scenes from the Old Testament symbolising the Immaculate Conception. On the upper right: a depiction of events from the New Testament and the history of the church. The windows were designed and constructed by Laurent Gsell under the guidance of Canon Lambert of Paris.

The columns and arcades are made of stone from Angouleme. The altar of white Carrara marble is directly over the grotto of the apparitions. On the right of the presbytery is the white Carrara marble statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. Sculpted by the French sculptor, Emilien Cabuchet, it was placed in the basilica in 1876 during the ceremony of the coronation of Our Lady of Lourdes. The organ, made of Russian oak, is composed of 25 organ-stops.

The exterior is dominated by a rectangular 70 metre gothic spire which stands 100 metres above the River Gave. Above the entrance is a mosaic depicting Pope Pius X. The basilica clock plays the "Ave Maria of Lourdes" hourly.

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