Lourdes and the Modern World


George Weigel bespreekt Lourdes: Body and Spirit in the Secular Age,

Professor Harris’ scholarship is impeccable, but it’s neither detached nor dessicated. As few secular academics do, she went to Lourdes as a volunteer aide to the sick and found herself caught up in a web of human solidarity, open-mindedness and “spiritual generosity” (as she puts it in a fine phrase).

That experience, coupled with the discovery that modern medicine had no diagnosis (let alone a cure) for a condition then plaguing her, led Ruth Harris to question the modern mythology of scientific progress, according to which phenomena like Lourdes are mindless and reactionary. Breaking with the chief unexamined assumption of secular modernity — that humanity, tutored by the scientific method, will outgrow its “need” for religion — Professor Harris found her scholar’s interest piqued by aspects of the story of Lourdes that skeptics typically miss.

en Lourdes: Font of Faith, Hope, and Charity,

Elizabeth Ficocelli tells the story of the shrine of Lourdes through the prism of the three theological virtues. Her description of Bernadette — whom the Church recognizes as a saint, “not because she saw visions, but because of her heroic virtue in responding to God’s mysterious call” — is a powerful reminder that sanctity is for everyone, and that the extraordinary enters the ordinary in order to call us to our true vocations. Genuine conversion, not spectacle, is what visions are for.

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