This past summer three of my girls and I drove up through Virginia, Washington, Baltimore, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky. It was an awesome drive. We had no schedule and no places to stay. We did have a GPS, thank goodness, because traveling the back roads and finding hotels got a little stressful. Let's just say that many times there was "no room in the inn".
As we walked up to the shrine, the huge gold statue of Our Lady of Grace loomed in front of us. She looked out over the land and seemed to have a scowl on her face. She seemed sad.
But, as we got closer, actually right below her with her hands spread wide as to welcome, she smiled down upon us. She almost seemed happy we had arrived. We walked the paths and read the signs and watched others who had come to be blessed.
As we entered the Chapel that was built on the place of the original, natural grotto, we noticed a pair of shoes left at the door. A young man knelt with his head down for quite some time then stood and kissed his hands and placed them on the plexiglass covered sign at the kneeler. After he left, we approached the altar and knelt and read: "You are now alone with Him in this Chapel. Speak to Him now while you may. Beg pardon of Him now while you may. Then it may be too late. Now He calls you from out of this Tabernacle. Have you nothing to say to him?" We took our turns on the kneeler. With Him.
Then, we ventured down to the pool of water below and washed our hands and faces in the water from the facets. It took me back to my time in Lourdes, France. It took me to Our Lady. Here I shared the experience with my girls. We stood within Her loving arms and she led us to Her Son.
On this day set aside for Our Lady of Lourdes, may she lead us all to the very One who can heal, our selves, our communities, our country.