I would like to share with you this story of a dream . . .

She dreamed she was the Mother of God, of the Messiah. Everything was perfect for her. As God’s Mother, she lived in a beautiful golden palace and everyone loved her! There were servants that looked like angels who did everything for her, and it was like being in heaven all the time. Her Son was so successful, He could do anything He wanted to because He was God, and she was His mother. Her dream was so clear and wonderful that she was sure it wasn’t a dream but a beautiful reality in her life. When she woke up, she realized that, in fact, it WAS a dream. Even though she was the Mother of God, she didn’t live in a beautiful palace, she lived in a house just like all the others here in Nazareth.

She was not surrounded by any servants but rather she was surrounded by all the housework and chores needed to keep a family going. Joseph, the man that she was engaged to, almost had separated from her because she was pregnant before they were married, but now, he was her husband. He was wonderful to her and cared for her and her Son. She knew that the neighbors gossiped about her because she was pregnant before she married Joseph.

Being the Mother of God was not like living in a dream, it was sometimes like living in a nightmare. She remembered when Jesus was separated from them while they were on a trip to Jerusalem, and that upset her very much. She would never forget that horrible feeling, like a knife through her heart, that awful fear that had gripped her into thinking that she had lost her Son forever. As the years went on, Jesus left after her husband died, and He began preaching, moving from town to town. She understood His message, His “Good News” to the people. She loved Him deeply and had heard about the miracles that happened since she asked Him for help at the wedding feast at Cana. Then things began to fall apart, and He fell into trouble with the authorities, not only civil but also the religious authorities in the Temple. She never believed it would end the way it did, her dear Son executed for being a criminal, executed by a terrible death. The Mother of God preferred the dream to this hideous reality of death and pain.

Hers was a very difficult life, but she was a strong woman and she had worked hard, cared for her family, loved her husband and Son very much. Even with all this suffering in her heart she knew she was still the Mother of God and that meant she would know suffering and pain, a mother’s pain, which only a mother can understand. And, with her Son’s Resurrection, only the joy a mother’s heart can feel. Even as the Mother of Jesus, Mary knows and feels the pain and suffering of every mother. That is why she appeared to Bernadette, a poor young girl, who knew the suffering of poverty, hunger, and illness. Our Lady appeared at Lourdes to let the world know that she understands the heartbreak that often comes with motherhood. She knows the joys of being a mother, and she knows the pain, frustration and loneliness that comes to mothers everywhere. You may ask, “How can she understand my pain and suffering, my frustration that comes with being a parent?”

Because Mary never stopped being a human being, and a mother to Jesus. She was just like you; she suffered and also enjoyed the happiness of being a parent. Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, understands all your pain, love, frustration, and happiness in your children. She came to us at Lourdes to reassure us that she does understand us, that she knows our suffering and joy, and that she is there for us with her love.

Please celebrate this Great Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes with the Franciscan Friars. The Novena will be celebrated at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, NJ from February 2nd to February 10th, with a Mass on the Feast Day February 11, 2021.

Join your prayers with ours, in this beautiful tribute Novena to the beautiful woman Bernadette saw, Our Lady of Lourdes. Your gift will also help the Franciscan Friars care for Mary’s poor and desperate, as you bring her Son, Jesus Christ, into our world just as Mary did. Your generosity to the poor brings Mary’s grace and blessing to you and your loved ones as you follow her example of love.

We know Mary is the model of generosity and love in our world. Just like Our Lady of Lourdes, will you bring YOUR generosity and love to the poor of our world who come to our doors every day?

May Our Lady of Lourdes fill you with the courage and love to be her presence in our world!

Fr. David Convertino, OFM
Executive Director
St. Anthony’s Guild