YEAR OF FAITH – Springs of Living Water

Post date: Aug 30, 2013 2:02:48 PM

Most of the people who went on the recent pilgrimage brought back little bottles of water from the Lourdes spring, either for their own use or at the request of other people. What is the purpose of Lourdes water? It does not have magical powers. It does not contain any healing properties, except perhaps for the naturally occurring minerals which are dissolved in it like the mineral water found at Buxton or Bath. So what is it that makes Lourdes water any different from Spa water?

In a book for pilgrims by A Doucet, printed in 1994, there is a section entitled “What the water from the grotto means,” with the simple explanation that it is an invitation to spiritual purification. The water is a sign through which we are invited to renew our Baptismal promises. There is also an invitation to Reconciliation with God, and to everyone else, with the suggestion that the Sacrament of Confession is a type of bathing of the spirit. Those who bathe in the water, in faith, are looking for spiritual, rather than physical healing. There is no denying that miraculous cures do occur, but they are not the primary reason for bathing in the water.

Other kinds of miracles happen all the time at Lourdes. Nothing spectacular, but personal miracles by which our souls are invigorated and cleansed from impurities. Perhaps the Lourdes water is made holy, not by taking it from a holy place, but by making a conscious effort to lead lives that are holier (more Christ-like) than they were before, and by giving something of ourselves with the holy water which we want to share with others.

Next Year of Faith discussion group at St Hugh’s - Sat. 21st September after 10 am Mass.