April 22 - Ars

April 22 - Ars

At dinner tonight we were discussing the highpoints of the day when someone mentioned that each of the three saints we had seen honored since Paris were young, not very educated, and yet were called and chosen to reveal God’s mercy to those around them.  Once again God chose not the wise but the simple to bring the Good News. 

We had ended Friday with Mass in the chapel in Nevers, where St Bernadette of Lourdes had spent the last 13 years of her life.  We left early on Saturday and headed for Paray le Monial where we celebrated a late morning mass in the Chapel of the Visitation.  Here a young novice, Margaret Mary Alacoque had several visions of Jesus where he revealed his sacred heart.  Like St Bernadette her words were not accepted at first and only over time did her visions gain credibility.  After our lunch we travelled to Ars where St John Vianney served as pastor to the parish there.  St John, despairing at the lack of faith in Ars began to build his community through prayer, sacrifice, and service.  He became well known for his holiness and his compassion in the confessional.  He is the patron saint of parish priests. 

Several of the last few stops dealt with a person’s heart; Mary’s, Jesus’, St Vincent de Paul’s, Sacra Coeur.  What is it about this muscle that is so important to our bodies and so important to our relationship with God?  Could it be that it is not our heart but our relationship that is key?  Could it be that our life is sustained by our hearts and by God? 

As a child I had issues with my physical heart (I still do).  One of my earliest memories is of laying on a hospital bed at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane with a green scapular safety pinned to my pillow.  The green scapular includes an image of Mary’s heart.  Is this another link in my pilgrimage?  I long for some quiet time in a secluded area like a park for some contemplation and discernment.  Maybe in Lourdes.

 

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