Fr. James Phalan, C.S.C., explains how Mary, as our Mother in faith, calls us closer to Christ.
As I write, I am at the Lourdes Sanctuary in France, serving, once again, in our Rosary Center in this holy place. Being here, I give thanks that Mary is our Mother. Particularly here, I have come to grow in my understanding and experience of how she leads us deeper and calls us closer to Christ. She truly is our Mother in Faith. She calls us all to cry out with her, “My soul magnifies the Lord,” in our own lives, now!
Mary’s journey took a great step when she said YES to God’s invitation to become the mother of the Son of God. Then she said YES to all the Lord brought her, giving herself completely to Him and His mission. She became transformed by grace – and a key figure in His transformation which we call the New Creation.
Most of us probably have heard that part—but many may think something like, “Well, that’s the Virgin Mary, not me. I’ll never be like that! I have a hard enough time just getting through today.” Not so! As our Mother in faith, she calls, she leads, she prods, and she teaches in very real and concrete ways.
Was her life easier than ours? She had been told when Jesus was two months old how her life was to be that of the Sorrowful Mother. She was schooled, from Christ’s infancy, in this faith that would allow her to embrace, with Jesus, the Cross by which He would turn creation around, completely and forever. From the Cross, Jesus says to us, “Behold your Mother.” At Pentecost, already filled with the Holy Spirit since the Annunciation, Mary is the Mother of the Church, loving and guiding.
Fast-forward to our times: we may not know if things are more challenging now, but we do sense something unique, something perhaps crucial or pivotal, is going on. Know that the Holy Spirit is with us now! One particularly intense manifestation of that guiding Light happened in 1858 in the town of Lourdes, in the mountains of southern France.
The Immaculate Conception came to Bernadette, a girl of a pure heart, to mother her faith and to lead her into holiness. Through Bernadette’s journey and through what so many have experienced here, we are to understand how our Holy Mother is reaching out to all her children now.
Bernadette was totally surprised by a grace that called her into a relationship with the beautiful young woman she encountered. The young Lady led her into a deep peace that Bernadette came to know more and more as Jesus Christ Himself, notably as she led Bernadette in praying the Holy Rosary in each of the 18 apparitions. Bernadette became a great saint.
Was it easy for Bernadette? No way—people close to her thought at first that she was crazy, and then atheist politicians around her tried to get her committed into an insane asylum! Yet Bernadette let the Lady show her the Way that she had lived alongside her Son: saying yes to all the Lord brings, giving all in working with Him, becoming transformed by grace.
Through Bernadette’s steadfast fidelity, millions of people have learned to walk this journey together in our times. That is the great miracle of Lourdes.
I thank God to be back here at Lourdes again. I don’t write to tell you that you have to come here, however, if you were to get a chance, that would be great, of course! I do write hoping to share from my heart to yours:
Something we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life. (1 John 1:1)
Let Our Lady lead you into the Heart of Christ.
This is the month of October, the Month of the Rosary. Please take up your Rosary and let Our Holy Mother guide you to Jesus!
The Family That Prays Together Stays Together
Copyright 2022 Fr. James Phalan, C.S.C.
Images: Holy Cross Family Ministries
About the Author
Father James Phalan, C.S.C. is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and the National Director of Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years as part of the Family Rosary team, travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!