The Tenth Apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes
On Saturday, the 27th, Bernadette, with the idea of remaining at her favorite post, came and knelt at the place where, at Our Lady’s bidding, she had scooped out the earth the previous day and made a muddy pool ooze up. Seeing this water, clear and abundant, without showing the least surprise, she makes the sign of the Cross, drinks, and then bathes her face. That was to be, beyond all doubt, the rite of all good pilgrims in the future.
Returning to her rock, already she was flooded with ecstatic bliss, when the well-known voice, suddenly sorrowful, said to her: “Bernadette, kiss the earth for sinners!” Oh, that solicitude for sinners is never absent from her thoughts! You would think that the more pure and bright and dazzling she shines at Massabielle, the more she is mercifully interested in all that is sinful in this world; and as though it were not enough to pray for the intention of poor sinners, she wills that in their favor her agent should perform a series of penitential acts, such as applying her chaste lips to the ground trampled by every wayfarer, a thing naturally repugnant.
This mortification, added to her humiliation, was not difficult for the pious shepherdess. But soon, not content with having done it on her own behalf, she is seen fearlessly climbing the rose-tree, with tears in her eyes, as though on a moving pulpit, the better to invite all the crowd to kiss the ground in the same way; and (the strange influence of virtue in the weakest of beings) at the bidding of this peasant-girl, acting as the oracle of Heaven, every forehead was bent to the ground, just as in the autumn fields the proud ears of corn bow before the caresses of the winds.
This was (for the good of the crowd as well as of the favored child) a gradual initiation in the trying ordeal of the purgative life, until the fullest revelation they could desire should be possible. Thus the spiritual work of Lourdes was harmoniously fulfilled, and already, by the striking conversions that followed one after another, and the inexplicable cures that frequently took place, souls came to be caught on all sides in the toils of infinite love.