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December 18, 1987     The Message
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December 18, 1987

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Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, December 18, 1987 Page 4 * Faith Today "When it is difficult to pray, the most im- portant thing is not to stop praying, not to give up the effort. At these times, turn to the Bible and to the church's liturgy. Meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. Ponder the wisdom and counsel of the and the challenging of the prophets. Try to make your own the beautiful prayers of the Psalms." (Pope John Paul II addressing youth in New Orleans, September 1987) Dropping in on Sunday Mass for the first time, a visitor from outer ON PILGRIMAGE space might not grasp what is happening very well. He would see that the people listen to words read aloud to them. He would hear the people bring numerous needs of theirs to the attention of someone not plainly, seen in the room. And he would discover that when the people speak, they often speak in unison, tittering phrases prepared for them in advance. What our visitor from another galaxy might conclude is that these are passive hearers; that with all their requests to God they aren't very self-reliant; that they possess a mass identity without personality -- lacking a real spark. As we said, this visitor hasn't grasped the whole picture. What he hasn't grasped is the spirit of the liturgy. Because of this spirit, the listening that takes place here can be active. The peo- ple listen as people do in an in- timate relationship; a two-way communication process occurs that draws out the best in them. What the visitor doesn't grasp immediately is that the liturgy does not intend to reduce the per- sonality of these people to the lowest common denominator. In- stead, this communal activity can heighten self-awareness and atten- tiveneso to the true identity of others. Finally, it will take time for this visitor to see that while people in this assembly often pray out of a recognition that they do not con- trol the outcome of most events, their petitions need not reduce .them to passivity and inaction. In- stead, their petitions can lead to intensified action to resolve prob- lems and meet needs --'but not action isolated from God and the rest of the Christian community. The spirit of the liturgy fosters awareness of God and trust in his goodness. The liturgy creates an atmosphere where honesty with God and oneself leads to personal growth; where the mandate to recognize Christ in others stirs people to action that spreads God's love. In the vision of the Second Vatican Council, all prayer can be linked to the liturgy and to its spirit. ..o.o.o.o.o.e.o.o.o.o.o.o. CHILDREN'S PLACE.o.,.,.o...o.,.,.,*,.,',.,',',',','o',','.','.-- By,Janaan Manternach NO News Service er real name was Marie Bernarde, but everyone called her Bernadette maybe because she was so small. Bernadette was sickly from the time she was born in the village of Lourdes, France, in 1844. She suf- fered from asthma, making it hard for her to breathe. Her illness and her family's poverty kept her from going to school. But Bernadette had a strong spirit. She needed it. By the time Bernadette was 10 her father lost his job and was unemployed. The Soubirous family was forced out of their simple home. The only place they could afford to live was the dark, windowless basement of a crumbling old house. Bernadette did what she could to help her parents. One thing she could do was collect firewood. On Feb. 11, 1858, she and several girls were searching for firewood along the shore of the Gave River near Lourdes. Suddenly Bernadette noticed a beautiful girl in a white dress standing in the cave above Bernadette of Lourdes the river. A rosary hung from the girl's arm. Bernadette's girlfriends did not believe her when she told them about the girl in white. Ber- nadette's mother told her to stop making up stories. But Bernadette saw the girl the next day in the same spot. In fact she saw her each day for two weeks. But no one else did. Her parents were puzzled. Neighbors and relatives thought Bernadette was mentally ill. Others suspected her parents of putting her up to this in order to make some money. One day the lovely girl, whom Bernadette called "the lady," told her to dig a hole in the ground with her hands. The next day a spring, began to flow from that hole. / Almost a mon later the lovely lady asked Bernadette to tell her pastor she wanted him to build a chapel there: The skeptical pastor told Bernadette to ask the lady her name. The lady told her, "I am the Immaculate Conception." Ber- nadette did not know what the words meant, but the pastor did. He now believed the lady was Mary, Jesus' mother. All the publicity and pressure was hard on Bernadette. She decid- ed to join the Sisters of Charity. For 13 years she was a nun. She cared for sick sisters and took care of the chapel. She Suffered from asthma until she died in 1879. She was 35 years old. Today the church honors Ber- nadette as a saint, celebrating her feast each April 16. Millions of peo- ple visit the cave and church at Lourdes each year. The spring has been a site of many healings: Many Catholics have deep devo- tion to Mary as Our Lady of Lourdes. Her feast day is Feb. 11. (Ms. Manternach is the author of catechetical works, Scripture stories and original stories for children.) Crossword Puzzle rail of the words can be found in this week's story.) ACROSS: 1. Appeared in the cave 2. Marie Bernarde's nickname 3. Mny  have taken place at the spring. Down: I. Village in France 4 Breathing illness 5. _ River Answers: eAo9 'g ou.'o 't7 m m Iil F-1 I u II IIII SelnO'l ' I. 'N&CX] ff:Jlle4 %' oepouJee 2; XPOl '  '5ODV What do you think? [] Look ahead to the new year which is about to begin. Now, in just a few sentences -- three or four -- write your own prayer for 1988. From the bookshelf In Tallahassee Higgins, by Mary Downing "Hahn, Tallahassee is a sixth grader who is sent to live with her Uncle Dan by her free-spirited mother, Liz. Uncle Dan cares about.Tallahassee a lot but Aunt Thelma finds It difficult to have a child In her home, especially LIz'sdaughter. 1 When the weeks stretch into months and her mother rarely even 1 writes, Tallahassee is forced to come to terms with some painful truths 1 about her mother. Gradually, helped by a friend named Jane and an older woman In the neighborhood, as well as her uncle and her aunt, 1 who really does care for her, TaUahassee settles into life In Hyatts- 1 dale and enjoys the. contentment of belonging. (Clarion Books, 52 1 Vanderbilt Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017. 1987. Hardback, $12.95.) i