Ash Wednesday is just eighteen days away. Here, Pope Benedict explains how Our Lady's message to Saint Bernadette is intimately connected with the season of Lent and the joy of Easter morning that is our end should we love heroically.
"[T]the message which Our Lady still offers at Lourdes recalls the words Jesus said at the beginning of his public mission and that we hear so often in [the] first days of Lent: ‘Convert and believe in the Gospel, pray and do penance. Let us respond to the call of Mary who echoes that of Christ and let us ask Her to help us 'enter' Lent with faith and live this season of grace with deep joy and generous commitment"
— Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus February 10, 2008
Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
O Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfortess of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with your mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues in full so that I may one day share your company in eternity. Amen.