It is our first night in Lourdes, France. From the open window of my lodging, I could witness the small glints of flame lights gradually moving in obscurity. The congregation ringers are chiming boisterous into the chilly night. At that point, I hear the reciting of Ave, Ave, Ave Maria by a huge number of pioneers.

I sense that I have returned in time. Lourdes gives you that immortal inclination. Maybe it is on the grounds that the confidence is intensely alive in this town; it is the focal point of life which, for me, is wonderful considering in this period of realism.

Nobody comes to Lourdes by some coincidence.

When I go into my room at La Solitude Hotel and see Van Gogh’s painting, CafĂ© Terrace on the Place du Forum, holding tight the divider over the bed, I start to comprehend why nobody comes to Lourdes by some coincidence. How might I clarify the incident of finding the specific artwork of Van Gogh hanging in my own room back in the Philippines? It is no mishap that I am here in Lourdes.

You were called by our Lady of Lourdes. She has a directive for you.

For three days, we hear an English mass each 9:00 am at the Chapel of St. Universe and St. Damian. The mass is concelebrated by various ministers, and on the principal day I have the pleasure of perusing the Gospel before a crowd of people of numerous ethnicities – American, English, Indian, Filipino, Australian, Canadian, and so on. The ministers in Lourdes are exceptionally enthusiastic about their Catholic confidence, and by God’s effortlessness they illuminate the travelers with astuteness in their lesson. Fr. Marian, the occupant cleric, discloses to us that nobody comes to Lourdes by some coincidence. We are called by Our Lady with a message. It is dependent upon us to perceive that message.

Humility, contrition, humility. Implore God for the change of heathens.

Our Lady’s words to Bernadette actually sounds valid today: Penitence and Conversion. Enlivened by the ceremony of the Eucharist, my companions and I stroll to the Reconciliation Chapel, where admission starts at 10 am regular. We plunk down to ponder our wrongdoings, guided by a pamphlet on the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

You have come to encounter the Lord’s absolution and sympathy. It is an exceptionally close to home second in your relationship with God. Sin isn’t only a progression of disappointments. It is likewise our partaking in what is really detestable: unbelief, detachment, childishness, savagery, hatred for the frail, sensuality, bigotry, disregard of poor people, cash chasing, inefficiency, a feeling of pride and prevalence. The call to compromise is important for the message of Lourdes.

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