Launch at the Grotto
Nicolas Brouwet, bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, welcomed the young people in front of the Grotto of Massabielle: “In Lourdes, everything is simple. Bernadette was chosen because she was the poorest. We are all poor. When we venerate Our Lady of Lourdes, we venerate her statue in the Grotto. This Grotto represents three things in our culture and our anthropology: a refuge, a place of anxiety and a place of maternal welcome. Faith reveals to us that at the base of this Grotto is always the “source”, the Christ. Let us open ourselves up to the grace of this “source”! The Blessed Virgin shows us the Grotto in ourselves. Mary looks at us with great tenderness, she smiles at us. Let’s walk together in procession!”
Grace is the gift of Lourdes
After praying lauds presided over by Msgr. Nicolas Brouwet, the young people gathered in the church of Saint Bernadette welcomed Father Horacio Brito, chaplain of the Hospitalité Notre-Dame de Lourdes.
He asked the young people to applaud Mary, the one who calls us to come here, “the one who reminds us that we are not alone. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of young people will never come to Lourdes and yet they live with this grace!” he noted.
Mary is the source
Lourdes began from the relationship between Mary and Bernadette, from an encounter between two Christians. Just as at the foot of the cross where Jesus entrusts Mary to John and John to Mary.
When you enter the Sanctuary through the main entrance, Saint Michael’s gate, what do you see? The Breton Cross: the crucified Christ, Mary and John. They represent each of us. Father Horacio Brito invited everyone to “identify with Christ”.
He entrusted us to Mary, “because she is the tender, devoted, gentle mother, but she also asks a lot of us.” Mary is the one who shows us the source. “She is also the most beautiful fruit,” explained Father Brito. He advised us: “Allow her into your lives. Give yourself to her! She wants the best for us all. “. Bernadette Soubirous understood this when she was told: “Go and drink at the spring and wash yourself there.”
1- “Go and drink at the spring and wash yourself there”
May we always receive the grace to go there!
2- Drink from the source
To experience a personal relationship with Christ, this is the “source”. To open up a dialogue, to listen, to live the Eucharist, to trust in prayer and offer a gesture of charity.
3- “… and wash yourself there”: this is our invitation to become like the “source”.
“Go and say …”: When leaving Lourdes, tell people about the profound change in your heart, your conversion. In Lourdes, you helped someone else. This service must continue in your own homes.
In Lourdes, you can experience many wonderful things. You just need to uncover the “source”. Sometimes, like Bernadette, you have to dig a bit to get there. Father Horacio Brito added: “The fruit of the meeting at the Grotto between the two girls is us. This “source” that is in us, justice, forgiveness, listening, can others come and drink there? Let’s ask this question.”
To reveal our inner “source”, let us put ourselves in Mary’s presence, by means of the five different approaches suggested by the Sanctuary.
- The Baths
- The High Stations
- Join an “In the footsteps of Bernadette” tour to visit the places where Bernadette Soubirous lived: the Saint Bernadette museum, the Boly mill and the Cachot. By doing so, you will get to the heart of the message of Lourdes and therefore the Gospel message, too.
The Adoration chapel is just behind the Saint Bernadette church.
- The path of signs: drink at the spring and wash at the taps, go to the Grotto, touch the rock, light a candle in the chapels of light.