THE VIRGIN MARY, standing in a cave-like place along the River Gave at Lourdes, France, appeared to Bernadette Soubirous eighteen times in 1858.
The grotto itself resembles a great ear: that I would be silent, listening to and hearing the Words of Jesus and the voices of others.
The Virgin Mary smiled, perhaps even more than she spoke: heaven smiles on us, maternally, even in our disarray and error.
That when Bernadette made the Sign of the Cross at Lourdes, it is said her gesture had the power to convert a hardened heart: that I would tap my forehead as if to remember the things of God - knock at the door of my heart to awaken love - touch my left and right shoulders, a kind of stretching out to those on either side of me throughout the day.
Accompanying the photos below from Lourdes is the Hail Mary sung by Olga Szyrowa in Latin (Ave Maria) - a very beautiful and contemporary setting composed by Michal Lorenc.