Whenever the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes gently asks remembrance, my thoughts always lead to the Lourdes seer, St Bernadette Soubirous, and the three little goldpearls which describe this saint and her life ~ Humble, Holy, Hidden. A life led only to seek God, taking nothing for herself – no accolade, no comfort, no elevation.
In my mind, I see my plans and ambitions, the career moves I pursue. The prayers prayed against the holy will of God. I recall my anger and disappointment at thwarted hopes. In my responses, in each of them, I had cast aside humility ~ the diamond of heaven, seeking instead the false gold of the world. It is a dangerous foolishness I have sought with vigour, but must now desist if I am to see heaven some day.
For St Bernadette, God was her only consolation through poverty, suffering, sorrow and humiliation because she allowed herself no other comfort. God was the only light she yielded to.
My God I love You, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength.
Hers is a journey I am beginning only now. To make God my all, as Bernadette once did. But how hard it is, how deep the craggy rocks of obedience and holiness cut into my bare soles. The pain is felt ever so deeply because I do not love enough. Too much of me is still attached to this world and its sordid allures. Yet, although I have not completely surrendered to the will of my Lord, I can at least pray her prayer to pave the way. My God I love You, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength. And even if my heart has not fully yielded, it will begin to.
This journey of mine, into the heart of God, must be hidden, for the most part. Hidden to not incur unnecessary derision and hurt. Hidden to protect me from pride. Hidden to keep my seeking pure, unsullied by blighted sight and impure motives. This hiddenness costs me, though. It brings with it loneliness and aloneness. The steeper the climb gets, the fewer the companions, lesser the comfort of pilgrim empathy and understanding.
This journey of the soul, from earth to heaven, should never be like an interrupted train journey, undertaking and disembarking on a whim although it pauses at many stations, weakening at the behest of capricious winds. It is one that calls for resoluteness and stoicism, though many its tumbles and falls. Humble, holy, hidden is an arduous, yet joyful journey, leading to an embrace of life that will see heaven some day and bring souls the peace yearned for – that which surpasses understanding.