Lourdes, a place of prayer
Pilgrims in Lourdes make the sign of the cross as soon as they enter the Shrine, because they know that they enter a place of prayer and recollection. It is forbidden, in the entire area, to smoke, run, or do anything that one would not do inside a church… All the places there encourage prayer, but the places where pilgrims are most challenged are:
- The Grotto
- The fountains
- The candles
Without forgetting the basilicas, churches and places of worship where they can attend a mass, a celebration or be guided by the mosaics or stained-glass windows that tell us about the Life of Christ or the place and its apparitions.
In Lourdes too, pilgrims can receive God’s forgiveness in the Chapel of Reconciliation, or prepare for this encounter by making one of the proposed Ways of the Cross to meditate on the unconditional love of the Lord who gave himself to the end.
Pilgrims can let themselves be lulled by the rosary at the Grotto, praying in communion with all the pilgrims there and with all those who follow the prayer on TV Lourdes or the social networks.
All those who enter the Shrine can take advantage of the Lord’s real presence to have a heart-to-heart with Him and place their sorrows and joys in the Lord’s hands, in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
This same Blessed Sacrament can be found in the Eucharistic Procession with the blessing of the sick, inviting us to pray also for all those who are sick, handicapped or wounded by life.
At the end of the day, pilgrims can finish their prayer walking with other pilgrims and visitors singing and praying the “Ave” of Lourdes in the Marian Torchlight Procession. This is another way of praying to the Virgin Mary in communion with the universal Church.
How to pray in Lourdes?
Worshipping, thanking, asking for grace, and asking for forgiveness are the four purposes of prayer for Christians and in particular for Catholics. Prayer is an exchange. It strengthens the bond between man and God. Prayer is the means by which man maintains his friendship with God, like two friends who love each other.
There are two types of prayer: vocal prayer and inner prayer. This distinction helps us to understand what St. Paul meant when he said: “we must pray without ceasing”. Vocal prayer is done through attitude and words. The main vocal prayers of the Catholic Christians are: the “Hail Mary”, also called the Angelic Salutation, which refers to the salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the angel Gabriel. It is an essential prayer in the life of Christians. The second important prayer is the “Our Father” which the Lord Jesus taught his apostles.
Pilgrims can join in the common prayer offered in the Shrine, but they can also enter into their own hearts and place themselves in the presence of God. Through meditation and recollection, the soul places itself in the presence of God. In silence, it opens itself to God in an act of faith and Hope.
Christians can pray at any time of the day. The Virgin Mary, for example, in her various apparitions, and especially in Lourdes, asked us to pray for sinners. Christians pray especially for those who are close to them, that is to say their families, parents, brothers and sisters, friends, and also for those who are close to them in faith.
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit
Of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners now,
And at the hour of our death.