French Grace Before Meals: Bless us Lord, bless this meal, those who prepared it and give bread to those who have none. Amen.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our Catholic Faith, the Priesthood, saints, that every-thing is grace, pure love, incense, the Sacrament of Baptism, selfless volunteers, devoted directors, trusting pilgrims, our dedicated staff, babies and children at Mass—the future heard in Mass in the Church, the Sign of the Cross, St. Bernadette holy example of humility, the Pope, Purgatory, the Teaching Magisterium, the Catholic Catechism of the Church, mighty Archangels, the Communion of Saints, stained glass windows, ALL that is family, the Mother of God—our perfect Mother, the Grotto at Lourdes and all Grotto replicas, Holy Adoration, the words of absolution, that angels sing, the Nativity, religious sisters, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, confessionals, the Eucharistic Procession at Lourdes, total forgiveness—especially when unasked or undeserved, our military guardians keeping us free to worship, Rosarymediations, Feast Days and days of fasting, the Bible, the Sacrament of Matrimony: for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health; all the Virtues, prayers like the Guardian Angel night prayer, or the Hail Mary, the international language of Lourdes: a smile, the graciousness of Our Lady, shared meals, Holy Water, Lourdes Water and drinking water, autumn leaves, that birds sing in the early morning, any act of kindness, generosity, the French grace before meals, babies first laugh and a hearty adult laugh, the pilgrimage journey, witness to holiness, songs sung in harmony, the Charism of Lourdes Volunteers, the North Star, the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace, our personal individual Guardian Angels, unexpected joy, the Ave Maria sung a cappella, toddlers, the soft smell of garden flowers like lilies of the valley or lilacs or roses, hope, really tall trees, when our will is God’s will, the New Eve, joy, people praying together, young adults and teens with faith, long lines waiting for Confession, fluffy snowflakes, selfless devotion, well-worn rosary beads, seminarians praying the Divine Office together, patron saints, when your guardian angel finds a parking space even though it’s really impossible, Advent anticipation, miracles of all kinds (documented, proven and the unknown—thought of as coincidences or luck to anyone but us who know that miracles are true, all authored by God, both big and small) that God chose to give us holy St. Peter as an example so when we screw up like him we know it is possible to persevere to holiness (his cross is on our Hospitalte Notre-Dame de Lourdes commitment pin), wild horses running, standing room only at Mass, forever friends-in-Christ that help us get to Heaven, First Holy Communicants in white dresses with veils or little white suits, Christmas card art, modesty in dress, a fresh gentle breeze, a good cuppa hot tea with real sugar and milk or the smell of freshly brewed coffee early in the morning, monks singing Gregorian Chant in an ancient musty smelling monastery, awe in witness to holiness, Christian Soldiers at Confirmation readying to defend the Faith, someone praying for us when we don’t even know it, One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, genuine humility, new buds blooming after winter, Good Friday, the Candlelight Procession, knowing old ladies are always praying in churches everywhere you go, the Miraculous Medal, home cooked meals, planes to bring us to holy places far away, the sacred Rite of Christian Burial, the Holy Spirit breathing life into our Faith, the Bishops and Cardinals of the world, the Guardian of the Grotto, the smell of freshly cut evergreens, the Ten Commandments (isn’t it better to have a list of rules?), Godparents, the Act of Contrition, Baptism and Absolution by desire, the Other World, newborn wrinkles, that incorrupt St. Bernadette is so beautiful that school children ask Sister Margaret Mary to wake her up!,Daily Mass, the Infant Jesus, holy water fonts, that Mary was conceived without sin, holy ground, our Founding Bishop, Lenten sacrifices, the holy example of the saints, God’s immeasurable love and infinite mercy, the reverence and joy in new converts, the beautiful Sanctuaries at Lourdes, doctors of the church, that Christ gave us His Mother, Novenas, Papal Encyclicals, the charity of Hospitality Notre-Dame de Lourdes, writings of the saints, the prudence of Holy Mother Church, knowing that an angel is always on duty for us alone, the splendor of old Churches, seeing the Face of Jesus in others, the priests who direct us, holy statues and crucifixes, God’s fingerprints in nature, edifying example of others, the thought that in Eucharistic Adoration ourpatron saint is on the other side adoring forus always, innocence preserved, serendipitous events of grace to bring us where we need to be when we need to be there, prayerful discernment, holy deaths and the sacred ground of hospices, the litany and titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, spontaneous selflessness, that nothing is too beautiful for God, a priestly blessing, the Blessed Trinity: Three Persons in One God, the Gospel Message of Lourdes, the joyous Easter Resurrection and the Gates of Heaven open!! Alleluia! Alleluia!
That God loves us so that His Son ransomed us Heaven with Him—and that the Mother of God came to Lourdes graciously reminding us to help others to get there, too… Thank You, Thank You, Thanks Be to God!
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