‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit’
This week some of us have been in Lourdes. Those who have been there will know that a highlight of the pilgrimage is the torchlight procession. Each evening, at 9pm, thousands of people gather in Rosary Square to walk in procession in honour of Our Lady, to recite the rosary, to sing hymns and say prayers.
What makes it so wonderful?
Well first, it is so beautiful. As the sun sets in the heat of the evening (unless it’s not raining of course) hundreds of lamps light up the darkness and make sea of light swaying through the evening. If you have not been, have a look at the photographs – it is an amazing sight.
But that of course, cannot be all.
It is also wonderful because we are joined with so many others who share our faith. It is not embarrassing to say the rosary in public, to sing hymns in the open air, to live our catholic faith out in the open. We realise that we are not one or our own, or a small number gathered together, but rather a great cloud of witnesses, a multitude who praise God. Sometimes we can feel discouragement in our faith. Our family members no longer go to Mass. Friends, even good people, do not understand why the faith is important to us. To be part of such a great throng is an inspiration.
And thirdly it is wonderful because we walk. Yes, of course some stand by and watch. Some climb up the arms of the basilica and gaze upon the crowd below. But most of us walk. We join the procession. We do not just watch, but we must do. Happy are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Like those in the gospel we are dressed for action – the master finds us at our employment. We know to believe the catholic faith is not just talk the talk, but to walk the walk. It is about not just what we believe, but even more about what we do.
The night may sometimes seem dark. Shadows may be all around. We may feel we are alone in our worries, or isolated in our faith – but Do not be afraid, says Jesus. We carry our torches high as we sing our Aves for he has given us the Kingdom.