Definition: A grotto in France where an apparition appeared to a young girl named Bernadette, circa 1858. In order to test the authenticity of the apparition, Bernadette threw holy water at the lady claiming to be Mary. This met was met with approval by the apparition, and Bernadette fell into a trance. For the next 15 days the young girl returned to the site, prayed the Rosary, and became entranced. On the ninth day, she was directed into the grotto, where she dug and discovered a spring of water. [Many miraculous cures have been attributed to this water]. During another visitation, Bernadette inquired as to the apparition’s identity, and was told “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The infallible Catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary in the womb of her mother had been decreed four years earlier. About 5 million pilgrims visit Lourdes annually.
Discussion: Ask a Catholic if they worship Mary, and they will tell you “NO!” But the facts shout otherwise. Mary is the focus of prayer; her intercession is sought at the point of death; millions of pilgrims flock to visit sites where she allegedly appeared; and popes have committed their lives to her care. We are warned in the Scriptures to hold fast to Jesus, and not be seduced by any spirits. Spirits masquerading as the mother of Jesus have one purpose: to defraud the Catholic of the prize of eternal life available by trusting in Jesus (Col. 2:18-19).
Articles & Viewpoints:
- Article by Richard Bennett – Pope Benedict XVI at Lourdes: A Descent into Darkness
- Site devoted to the apparition – Lourdes