Saturday, January 16, 2016

Cana and Pontmain: "Do Whatever He Tells You"

In the year 1871, France was being devastated by the brutality of the Franco-Prussian War. On the night of January 17, as German forces approached the mountain village of Pontmain, two young boys, Eugéne and Joseph, were helping their faith in the family barn. Eugéne looked outside and saw an apparition of a woman in the star-studded sky smiling at him. The woman, clothed in a blue gown covered with golden stars, wore a black veil under a golden crown.
 

A contemporary icon
of Our Lady of Pontmain
As the vision continued, the villagers—including two girls, Françoise and Jeanne-Marie—gathered outside the barn while the parish priest and sisters from the parish school led the people in singing hymns and in reciting the rosary; only the children of the village were able to see the “beautiful lady.” Eventually, a banner appeared beneath the woman’s feet, on which a message appeared: “But pray, my children. God will you in time. My son allows himself to be touched.”

Toward the end of the vision, as the villagers sang a hymn in honor of Jesus, the woman’s expression changed to one of profound sadness and a red crucifix appeared in her hands, with the words “Jesus Christ,” above it. The apparition lasted for about three hours.

That same evening, the Prussian trooped unexpectedly ceased their advance and a peace accord was signed only a few days later; the 38 young men from Pontmain who had been drafted to serve in the French army returned home safely. Pilgrims began to make their way to the site of the apparitions and on February 2, 1872, the bishop of Laval issued a pastoral letter approving the apparition of Mary under the title of “Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain.”

On this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time--the 145th anniversary of the apparition at Pontmain--we hear the story of the wedding at Cana during which Mary told the stewards, “Do whatever he tells you.” Our devotion to Mary should always be leading us to her Son and the Gospel today reminds us that the quality of our discipleship should also always be leading others to follow Christ in a more intentional and faithful way.

Ask Mary, Our Lady of Hope, to help you always be attentive to the voice of the Lord in each moment of life, trusting that her Son has the power to transform the simple moments of life into moments of grace, mercy, and joy.

Prayer +
All-holy Father,
in your divine wisdom and love
you chose that the Blessed Virgin Mary
should pay her part
in the mysteries of our salvation;
grant that by heeding the words of Christ’s mother
we may do what he commands us
in the Gospel he has given us,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from the Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1992 edition): Our Lady of Cana)

This post was originally written for Aleteia.org and published on their website on January 17, 2016.

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