History and Significance of Dogma of Immaculate Conception
where Mary, with her apparition to Bernadette in 1858, confirmed the truth of her immaculate conception, proclaimed by the magisterium. From the beginning, Lourdes has become a charismatic place enveloped by a special presence of the mystery and of the spiritual maternity of Mary Immaculate as remedy for the illnesses of body and soul.
It is a therapeutic place in the most beautiful sense of the word, that is, where Mary continues to exercise her protection and her characteristic maternal function in favor of Christ's brothers, sick in body and spirit because of sin which has introduced in the world illness and death, physical and moral weakness.
With his presence, the Pope highlights these aspects; he goes to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the place where a special confirmations was received by the Virgin Mary herself, and as a pilgrim he bears in his person the weakness of this world and the imploration of the spiritual presence of Mary to heal the wounds of our society, which needs the Gospel of hope.
Q: Mary is the expression of God's charity toward humanity. Might it not be for this reason that she appeared in Lourdes? And that she continues to be our Advocate?
Father Castellano Cervera: Mary's maternal presence always accompanies the life of the Church and of every faithful one; what is more, of every person, entrusted by Christ to her from the Cross.
However, this presence in particular circumstances becomes an "epiphany," a visible and solemn manifestation -- in this case, to indicate that the Immaculate Conception is a mystery of faith and salvation, a manifestation of the love of God that conquers sin and death, and a sign of hope for all.
How many in Lourdes have experienced healing of infirmities of body and spirit, the many "pneuma-pathologies" of our humanity, are witnesses of a special presence of Mary that calls to conversion and a new life, source of reconciliation with God and with brothers.
Mary, united to the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, continues to be, as we invoke her in the "Salve Regina," "our Advocate," the one who prays for us, who defends us from evil and the Evil One, but who also inspires us and stimulates us to live in Christ.
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Immaculate, Conception, Mary, Mother, Jesus
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