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Friday, 20 May 2022

Lourdes Love is the True Cure - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Devotions

Lourdes
Love is the True Cure
Pope Benedict XVI
ISBN 9781860825507
CTS Booklet D698


Over the last few years I have read over 275 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. While researching a different book to review it I stumbled across several older titles from the CTS by Pope Benedict XVI. This is one of about a dozen that I added to my ‘to be read’ list when I found them. Because they are out of print they can be harder to track down. The few I have obtained were well worth it. The description of this book is:

“In his celebrated visit to the Shrine of Lourdes in France, Pope Benedict XVI took occasion to explore and explain the heart of the Christian message as presented through the experience of Lourdes. Through the liturgies, celebrations, history of the Shrine, and above all the dialogue that took place between the simple young Bernadette Soubirous and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Benedict lucidly and beautifully explains the many profound lessons Lourdes has to teach the people of today: principal among them that Love is the true cure for all illnesses, sorrows, sufferings and despair, and that Christ alone is our only true hope and liberator.”

The chapters in this book are:

Lourdes – Love is the Cure
Lourdes in Faith and Love
Keep your lamps Burning: Lourdes Torchlight Procession
The Message of Lourdes: Holy Mass at Lourdes
Come in Truth and Simplicity: Praying the Angelus
Lord Jesus We Adore You
     Blessed Sacrament Procession and Meditation
Seeking the Smile of the Virgin:
     Holy Mass for the Sick at Lourdes
Last Work
Prayers

I picked this book up and took it to me for a Holy Hour. It was an excellent little volume for spiritual reading before the Blessed Sacrament. We are informed that this booklet was drawn from homilies and addresses of Pope Benedict XVI taken from his Apostolic journey to France on the 150th Anniversary of Lourdes, September 12-15th 2008. This volume is drawn from 6 pieces by Pope Benedict XVI and the introduction is taken from an interview during the flight to France. That introduction states:

“The day of St Bernadette’s Feast is also my birthday. This fact already makes me feel very close to the little saint, this little girl, young, pure and humble, with whom our Virgin spoke.

To encounter this reality, this presence of the Blessed Virgin in our Times, to see the traces of this young girl who was a friend of the Virgin and moreover, to meet the Virgin, her Mother, is a very important event for me. Naturally, we are not going to Lourdes in search of miracles.

I am going in order to find there the love of our Mother which is the true cure for all illnesses, all sorrows. I go to be in solidarity with all those who are suffering: I go in a sign of love for our Mother. This seems to me a very important sign for our epoch.”

This is a wonderful little volume. We see Pope Benedict’s simple faith, and yet deep theological understanding. The faith that is seen in these pieces is inspiring and also challenging. It is a book I could easily return to and one I wish was still in print to be able to give copies to others. I highlighted several passages my first time through this booklet, some of them are:

“The principal reason for my visit is the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes. It is my desire to join the multimedia of countless pilgrims from the whole world who during this year are converging on the Marian shrine, filled with faith and love. It is this faith and this love that I will celebrate here in your land during these four days of grace which have been granted to me.”

“Mary teaches us to pray, to make of our prayer an act of love for God and an act of fraternal charity. By praying with Mary, not heart welcomes those who suffer. By praying with Mary, our heart welcomes those who suffer. How can out life not be transformed by this? Why should our whole life and being not become places of hospitality for our neighbours? Lourdes is a place of light because it is a place of communion, hope and conversion.”

“As night falls, Jesus says to us: “Keep your lamps burning” (Lk 12:35): the lamp of faith, the lamp of prayer, the lamp of hope and love!”

“The prayer of the Rosary, so dear to Bernadette and to Lourdes pilgrims, concentrates within itself the depths of the Gospel message. It introduces us to contemplation of the face of Christ. From this prayer of the humble, we can draw an abundance of graces.”

“Nevertheless, she said “Yes” without hesitating. And thanks to her “yes” salvation came into the world, thereby changing the history of mankind. For your part, dear young people, do not be afraid to say yes to the Lord’s summons when he invites you to walk in his footsteps. Respond generously to the Lord!”

“Mary, the holy Virgin, is with us this evening, in the presence of the Body of her Son, one hundred and fifty years after revealing herself to little Bernadette.

Holy Virgin, help us to contemplate, help us to adore, help us to love, to grow in love for him who loved us so much, so as to live eternally with him.”

“To seek Mary’s smile is not an act of devotional or outmoded sentimentality, but rather the proper expression of the living and profoundly human relationship which binds us to her whom Christ gave us as our Mother.”

“Lourdes is like a light in the darkness of our groping to reach God. Mary opened there a gate towards a hereafter which challenges and charms us. Maria, porta caeli! I have set myself to learn from her during these three days.”

Those few examples will show you the faith, devotion, and practicality of the writing in this wonderful volume. The book concludes with a small selection of prayers which includes:

Jubilee Year Prayer
Prayer of St Bernadette
Your Cross
The Angelus
The Regina Caeli
Magnificat
The Memorare
Apostles Creed
The Holy Rosary
The Hail Holy Queen
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Anima Christi

This book an excellent resource from the CTS and Pope Benedict XVI. Even 14 years after the anniversary I was greatly blessed by reading this. It works very well as a whole considering it is drawn from 6 homilies and addresses. I am thankful I tracked it down, and I am certain you would be blessed by tracking it down and reading it as well.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Benedict XVI:

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