The Crowned Virgin – Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes – France
9 February 2008
The cards for the General Promotion of the Rosary have been distributed by tens of thousands. On the front they show a photograph taken by Brother Louis-Marie Ariño-Durand, OP, and can be used as a simple and evocative sermon. Be they large or small, they are all the same overleaf: you will find the site’s slogan in the three official languages of the Dominican Order, “Pray, preach, live… the Rosary!”
Amongst all the images which have been handed out for the general Promotion of the Rosary, this one occupies a particularly special place. Dare I say it’s my favourite?
Those of you who know well the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes will have recognised the statue of the Crowned Virgin, located in the middle of the esplanade. It is a meeting point for the pilgrims.
That evening, the day before the eve of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions, I waited for the moon to be in the Virgin’s crown. And the moon was shining intensely. In the photo, you could even say that it was a host! And Mary holds it in her crown. Even more than usual and in a very singular manner, she shows us her Son and becomes in a way a monstrance!
Some people react on seeing this image: we don’t see Mary any more! That’s true. But isn’t it quite natural that the Virgin stays in the background when her Son appears?
This image shows better than all others what the Rosary is: find Jesus, through, like and with Mary. Shine brightly with his light…but let us no longer be visible.
However, if we look carefully at the statue, we’re aware that something can still be clearly distinguished: the crucifix of Mary’s rosary. There’s another message here: we can have Christ, the Eucharist, the presence of Our Lady in light, but the cross is there. We can never do without the cross because the “disciple is not above his teacher.” (Mt 10, 24)
That’s the Rosary!
Find Jesus, through, like and with Mary, in the light!
Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, OP
General Promoter of the Rosary