By Emily Anderson
One in a series
LOURDES, France — Yesterday, we visited Lourdes to see the grotto where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette. Lourdes is, in so many ways, a peaceful and intense place. There are not words to describe what it is like to be in a place where Mary actually appeared!
There are probably a million graces from visiting yesterday, but I just want to talk about one for now. Yesterday we started with the Way of the Cross. This is no joke in Lourdes. It started with us going to the stations up stairs on our knees. It is seriously uphill from there. There were a few times where I thought I was going to literally keel over. If you know me, you know I am not in the best of shape, so this was literally a labor of love for me! The Way of the Cross is not typically prayerful for me, but this time around it was great. I was a sweaty mess, but I actually prayed through it. There is something unifying about hearing the stations in a ton of different languages.
One of the reflections was about Jesus falling for a second time. The reflection spoke about forgiveness for the times our sinfulness caused others to fall! What a thing to walk with and reflect on. How many times has our sinfulness kept others from heaven? Whoa! Think about it! I carried this with me for the day and really thought about the people I have affected with my sinfulness! What a great day. I have a lot more to share about Lourdes, but for now, we are off to the next adventure. Thanks for the prayers!
Emily “Em” Anderson, 28, is the director of youth ministry at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, Va. She is excited to be traveling with seven teens and two other adults from her ministry. This is her second World Youth Day, having trekked across the world to Sydney with 10 teens for World Youth Day in 2008. She enjoys laughing, singing at the top of her lungs — rather badly — praying liturgy of the hours and planning her next party.