Lourdes Part II: Called

God calls each of us in different ways.

He may speak words that we hear in our minds or words that we hear through another person.

He may place a deep feeling within our heart or allow us to receive a revelation through Scripture or prayer.

We may experience His call in a dramatic or sudden way. More often, the encounter is gentle or gradual.

A call from God is both personal and specific. Each person’s experience is unique, and it can be hard to explain or put into words.

In this post, I’d like to share more about my call to Lourdes.

“Would you do me the kindness of coming here for fifteen days?” ~ Blessed Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous, February 18, 1858

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The Queenship of Mary

Today, August 22nd the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

From the earliest ages of the catholic church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen (Venerable Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginam 1).

During my recent pilgrimage in Lourdes, I witnessed Mary’s Queenship being honored in a number of ways.

One event stood out to me the most. I’d like to share it with you because it connects to today’s feast.

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The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, August 15th is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that Catholics must attend Mass.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote on the teaching of the Assumption:

The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory (Munificentissimus Deus 44).

The Solemnity of the Assumption — known as the Dormition of Mary in the Eastern Churches — is a special day for me and an important day for all Christians.

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Spiritual Warfare

Like it or not, you are at war.

No matter who you are — whether or not you know it — you have a mortal enemy [the devil] that wants to destroy you, not just in this life, but in the next.

No matter where you live on this planet — whether or not you can see it — you live on a hotly contested battlefield, and you can’t escape the conflict.

It’s a spiritual war with crucial consequences in your everyday life. And the outcome of that war will determine your eternal destiny (Manual for Spiritual Warfare).

For those who think this sounds dramatic or extreme, know these words are true.

They’re supported by Sacred Scripture, the teachings of the Church, writings of the saints, legitimate prophecies, and history itself.

Just look around. We see violence, corruption, crime, impurity, vice, and division at almost every turn.

Why do they exist in the world? Because of the presence of evil.

Some may be surprised to hear this truth. Others are already aware and consciously fighting the spiritual battle.

For those who are learning this for the first time, I pray you take the message to heart. Whether you believe it or not, it’s the truth; and there’s a reason you’re reading this post today.

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The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, May 31st, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel visits Mary and says she’s been chosen to bear the Son of God. He also says that her relative Elizabeth, who was considered barren, is in the sixth month of her pregnancy.

Immediately after hearing this news, Mary travels to visit Elizabeth. This is known as the Visitation.

First, we’ll look at the Gospel account of the Visitation.

Then, I’ll share four lessons from this significant event.

Visitation 1
Church of the Visitation: Ein Karem, Jerusalem. Photos from a friend.

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