Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Saturday, February 11, 2006

World Day of Prayer for the Sick

The fame of the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes is unparalleled in the history of the Church. Since 1858 when Our Lady appeared to St Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old shepherdess and revealed herself to be the Immaculate Conception, causing springs of healing water to sprout from the rock of Massabiele, pilgrims have flocked to the site as a place of prayer, penance and healing. Crowds of Catholics and non-Catholics alike throng to this unique French town to seek the blessing of God through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin; they seek healing of body and soul and countless have come away refreshed and renewed. The daily miracles of Lourdes are primarily those of faith, hope and love, reverence for the Holy Eucharist and devotion to the Blessed Mother, notwithstanding the official miraculous healings.

As such, February 11, the anniversary of the first of eighteen apparitions of the Blessed Mother to St Bernadette, is both the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of Prayer for the Sick.

This year, the Holy Father Pope, Benedict XVI, has granted a plenary indulgence to all who participate in the Mass for the XIV World Day of the Sick, to be held this year in Adelaide, Australia, and to those who participate in a similar ceremony that day "at any other place decided by the ecclesiastical authorities." A plenary indulgence is also granted to health-care personnel whose duties make it impossible for them to attend ceremonies for the World Day of the Sick, and to sick people who cannot attend the ceremonies, if they pray for the welfare of the sick on that day, and fulfill the ordinary conditions as soon as they are able. Most of us will be unable to do this so the Pope has granted a partial indulgence, with the usual conditions, to anyone who prays for the sick on the days surrounding the World Day of the Sick, February 9 to 11.

A beautiful hymn in honour of today's memorial is found in the old Dominican Breviary which deserves to be more widely known and sung. As such, I offer the following translation of Omnis expertem maculae Mariam in the hope that this may be accomplished:

Free from all stain, immaculate is Mary!
So the Church teaches, faith's supreme exponent;
All Christian peoples triumph of the Virgin
Celebrate gladly.

Showing herself to simple lowly maiden,
Mary, blest Virgin, cheers the fearful gazer,
And with lips holy, then proclaims her title,
Sinless conception.

Cave surely favoured, honoured by the vision
Of God's own Mother granted in thy precincts!
Rock aye revered, whence life's healing waters
Gushed forth in full spring.

Hither the pious sons of France come trooping,
Hither from far lands stranger bands are hasting,
Suppliant pilgrims, all, thine aid imploring,
Virgin most potent.

Mother, her needy children's tears perceiving,
Grants to the sickly health so long desired;
Their wish obtaining, pilgrims wend their footsteps
To their own borders.

Pity our lot here, humbly pray we; Virgin,
Still be our helper, cheer us in our labours,
Till thou procure us, sad hearts, gift of gladness,
Life everlasting.

Unto the Father and the Sole-Begotten
Son, may be glory, and to Thee, O Spirit,
Equal of each, in power ever-during,
One God for ever. Amen.


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