Friday, February 18, 2011

Penance! Penance! Penance!

"Pray to God for sinners. Kiss the ground as an act of penance for sinners!"

"Thus spoke the Mother of God herself to Bernadette Soubirous at the Grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes, France, on February 24, 1858, the eighth time that she had appeared there to Bernadette Soubirous, the first being on this very date one hundred fifty-two years ago...

"This is the Mother of God speaking. It is not to be a Jansenist to love penance and to live penitentially. Our Lady, the Mother of God herself, has told us that we must do penance, something she stressed in approved apparition after approved apparition, including her apparitions in the Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal, fifty-nine years after she appeared to the impoverished fourteen year-old Bernadette Soubirous as she was gathering wood near the River Gave not far from the Grotto of Massabielle. Shouldn't that be good enough for us.

"After repeated entreaties by Saint Bernadette Soubirous to reveal her identity, Our Lady said, "I am the Immaculate Conception," on March 25, 1858, the sixteenth apparition and the Feast of the Annunciation (as well as the traditional date on which her Divine Son was Crucified on Good Friday). These words were uttered by the Mother of God three years, three months and seventeen days after Pope Pius IX had solemnly defined the doctrine of her Immaculate Conception in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus. Our Lady was ratifying that solemn proclamation of her own perpetual freedom from sin, begging us as well to try to live as sinlessly as possible in cooperation with the graces that have been won for us by the shedding of every single drop of her Divine Son's Most Precious Blood and which flow through her own hands (as she had shown Sister Catherine Laboure in the convent at Rue de Bac twenty-eight years before) as the Mediatrix of All Graces.

"Yes, Our Lady was conceived without stain of Original Sin. She committed no Actual Sin in her life. We must aspire to root out sin and selfishness from our lives by embracing our crosses with joy, yes, with joy, for each and every one that comes our way. Each cross has been fashioned for us from all eternity by the very hand of God Himself. It is the means of our purification from sin, the means of sanctifying and thus saving our own souls, the means by which we can offer to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart whatever merit we gain for bearing it without gratitude and with love..." 

St. Bernadette, Pray For Us

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