Our Lady of Lourdes
When I visited Lourdes eight years ago, I finally understood why millions of pilgrims visit each year.
If you have ever been on the site of a Marian Apparition, you might understand when I say that the feeling you get there is unlike any other. The best way it can be described is a moment frozen in time; a moment of serenity, solitude, warmth, and love. Your soul feels it the moment you set foot in this holy place. Even after all these years, I remember my soul feeling this longing to stay. It was my first time at a Marian site, and I know it will not be my last.
Visiting Lourdes and what I experienced there gave me a small taste of what's to come if I live according to God's Will for my life. It is a great comfort to be reminded that this world is not the end-all-be-all, but a temporary pilgrimage headed towards eternity.
In particular, our Lady's words to St. Bernadette are of great reassurance when she told the Saint, "I don't promise to make you happy in this life, but in the next."
Our lives, no doubt, can sometimes be filled with worries, challenges, and tragedies of many kinds. But if we take a simple look at the lives of the saints that came before us, we will see that this does not mean we should lose our joy.
There is a joy we cannot even imagine awaiting us in the next life, so long as we choose to stay on the path towards it. It's not easy, no. And quite frankly, with its incredible and eternal worth, it shouldn't be. The Lord already told us that the gate is narrow, but what is beautiful is that we all have the opportunity to go through it if only we so desire and strive towards it.
This life may not always be perfect and may not always bring us joy. But that's okay. There is a joy much greater that we can one day experience, and our Lady of Lourdes serves as a gentle reminder of that.
In Christ, Kasia