Friday, August 4, 2017

The Burning Candle

Our Lady's Grotto, Lourdes, France - 07/04/17
     
THE BURNING CANDLE

EASTER-SUNDAY had arrived.  Notwithstanding the pious apprehensions of the Minister of Public Worship, the marvelous occurrences at Lourdes had not “weakened the religious feeling of the population of the district.”  Numberless conversions had taken place, and the confessionals were in a state of siege.  Usurers and robbers had made restitution of their ill-gotten gains, and many scandals had ceased.  The Faithful crowded to the Holy Table.
     On Easter-Monday, the fifth of April, that is to say the very day the Prefect had visited the Bishop, the Mother of God had once more by an internal call, summoned the daughter of the miller, and the child, soon followed by an immense crowd, had repaired to the Grotto, where, as on the preceding days, the Heavens had opened themselves before her eyes, and displayed to her the Virgin Mary in a state of glory.
     That day a very singular occurrence took place before the wonder-struck eyes of the multitude.
     The taper, which Bernadette had either brought with her, or received from one of the bystanders, was of considerable size and she had rested it on the ground, supporting it at the bottom between the fingers of her hands, which were half clasped.  The Virgin appeared to her.  And behold, by an instinctive movement of adoration, the youthful Seer, falling in a state of ecstasy before the Immaculate Beauty, slightly raised her hands and let them rest calmly, and without thinking of what she was doing, on the lighted end of a taper.  And the the flame began to pass between her fingers, which were half open, and to mount above them, flickering in different directions, according as the light breeze blew.  Bernadette, however, remained motionless and absorbed in the heavenly contemplation, utterly unconscious of the phenomenon which caused so much astonishment to the multitude around  her.  Those who witnessed it pressed closely on each other in   order to obtain a better view.  M.M. Jean-Louis Fourcade, Martinou, Estrade, Callet, warden of the forest, the demoiselles Tard’hivail, and a hundred other persons were spectators of this unheard of    incident.  M. Dozons had remarked by his watch that this extraordinary state lasted more than a quarter of an hour.  All at once a slight shudder was perceptible in the frame of Bernadette.  Her features lost their lofty expression.  The Vision had vanished and the child resumed her natural state.  The bystanders seized her hand but it presented nothing unusual to the eye.  The flame had spared the flesh and the youthful Seer during her ecstasy at the feet of Mary.  The crowd, not without sufficient reasons, exclaimed that a Miracle had been performed.  One of the spectators however, wishing to test the fact, took the taper which was still lighted and applied it to Bernadette’s hand, without her being aware of what he was doing.
     “Ah! Sir,” she exclaimed, drawing back quickly, “you are burning me.”


     The occurrences at Lourdes had produced such an excitement in the surrounding districts, and the influx of strangers was so great, that on that day the multitude which had in a moment flocked around Bernadette amounted to nearly ten thousand persons, and these had not been warned beforehand, as was the case during the Quinzaine.

OUR LADY OF LOURDES BY HENRI LASSERRE - 1868



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