The Apparitions at Lourdes, and the Mysterious Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: A Wellspring of Grace for those Struggling with Disordered Sexuality and Pornography

The Apparitions at Lourdes, and the Mysterious Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: A Wellspring of Grace for those Struggling with Disordered Sexuality and Pornography

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By Kevin Burke, LSW

On February 11, 1858, a poor, sickly French peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, experienced her first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

A miraculous spring emerged from the site of the apparitions, and reports of the healing powers of the waters soon spread.  In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions.

During the apparition of March 25, Mary identified herself with the words, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” 

The mysterious dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and the apparitions of Lourdes, hold the key to a special grace that is desperately needed in our increasingly sexually disordered, and porn addicted world. Many young people are confused and tormented about fundamental aspects of their identity; the seeds of this confusion are planted and nurtured by those with nefarious agendas.

 Never before, in the history of the human family, is there such a widespread need for us to draw upon the wellspring of grace and spiritual protection that flows from the message of these apparitions. 

But first, let’s clear up some common misunderstanding about a key component of the apparitions at Lourdes.  On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.   

Steubenville professor of Theology Mark Miravalle:

The Immaculate Conception is not the virgin birth… Furthermore, the conception that was “immaculate” was Mary’s, not Christ’s.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception says that at the very moment of Mary’s conception, both her soul and her body were created without the stain of Original Sin; [her body and soul] were immaculate…

When Catholics talk about Original Sin, we’re refer­ring to the inherited wound all men and women have in their souls.

All of us who were conceived in the ordinary way are not “stained” by our parent’s natural relations; sex is a good thing created by God.  Original sin is a spiritual wound to our souls, passed on within the human family from the sin of our first parents.

Some may ask, why was Mary given this singular privilege to be exempt from the stain of original sin on her soul? 

First you have to suspend your linear, time based reasoning and consider the eternal nature of God; the Almighty is not bound by time and space. 

In anticipation of the victory of Jesus over Satan, sin, and death, God shared this singular gift with Mary because of her special vocation as Mother of the Word made flesh.   

Doesn’t this extraordinary action make perfect sense when we consider that Mary was called to offer her womb as the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that overshadowed her as she conceived the Christ child?  This brings to mind the cloud of God’s presence that overshadowed the Ark of the Covenant in the journey of God’s people from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land.  (Exodus 40:35)

The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a Gift to a World Drowning in Disordered Sexuality, Identity Confusion, and Pornography

Mary’s special vocation, her unique consecration to God, was not so much a privilege, but more a blessed gift to the entire human family.   Given her role in salvation history, in nurturing and giving birth to the Christ, this is certainly one great manifestation of that gift.

But there is another aspect to this gift.

 It is a font of grace that, like the spring flowing from Lourdes, we can draw upon in our daily life, to battle a still ascending and foul spirit of perversion, and confusion, that is enslaving countless Christians, and people of all faiths.

Readers of this blog are likely well aware of the scourge of online pornography, and the impact on individual souls, relationships, marriage and family life. 

Ninety-three percent of boys and 62% of girls will be exposed to pornography on the internet by their adolescence. Sixty-four percent of young people (age 13–24) seek out pornography weekly or more often. (The Pornography Epidemic)   

The content of porn has become increasingly abusive, shockingly perverted, and degrading. This demonic industry is a source of great suffering, and soul crushing, body disfiguring pain for those that work in creating the product.  Sociologists Gail Dines Ph.D., calls internet porn, a public health crisis

For those struggling with the use of pornography, involved in disordered sexual temptations, behaviors and relationships – a multi-faced approach is needed. 

I’ll include some practical resources to help those struggling with sexual addiction and pornography use at the close of this article.

But alongside such important help, we need to tap into the spiritual grace flowing from the apparitions at Lourdes, and the Immaculate Conception.

No matter how far you, or someone you love, have fallen, you have a Spiritual Mother that still intensely looks upon, and loves the innocent child that lies buried beneath your pain, shame and grief. 

You may feel unworthy, or uncomfortable in that shame and guilt to draw near to Mary, as she is pure, immaculate, beyond human temptation.   This must cause her great grief, as she longs to love and guide you to reclaim your sexual dignity.

 Mary’s purity, her immaculate conception, are not meant to elevate her beyond your reach, or cast you out into the darkness of your shame and guilt.   Rather, they are gifts that she wants to share with you in your times of temptation, discouragement, and despair. 

By drawing close to Mary, as her beloved son or daughter in prayer, especially through the daily recitation of the rosary, you can call upon her as Our Lady of Lourdes, the Immaculate Conception, and pour out your heart to her.  

Be assured that Mary’s Immaculate Heart is in complete unity with the Heart, and will, of her Son Jesus. Mary will draw you closer to Jesus in sacred scripture, the sacrament of Reconciliation, and especially, the Eucharist, where Jesus will share his very Heart with you; a Heart tortured and traumatized in his sacrifice of love for you.

If you truly desire to reform your life, Mary will shower abundant grace from her Immaculate Heart that will empower your journey to chastity and freedom from the slavery of sexual immorality and pornography.   In your moments of greatest struggle, even when you fall back into sin and feel great shame, pray even more fervently, draw even closer to Mary at those times.    

There is Battle Raging for Souls

Widespread spiritual blindness, scandals within the Church, and forces being unleashed in our communities and around the world have left many vulnerable to be swept away into behaviors and relationships that threaten their eternal souls.   

But we are not alone, and we are not abandoned.  We must put on the armor of God, set out on the journey of healing and restoration, and remain faithful to the teaching of the Church that guide our relationships, and the proper use of the sacred gift of human sexual intimacy.

Here are just a couple of the programs available to help provide practical support:

You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son who hates iniquity. Obtain for us, then, a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, so that our every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial, that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels and of men. Amen.

An Act of Consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

O Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate, we dedicate and consecrate ourselves to you under the title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. May this Medal be for each one of us a sure sign of your affection for us and a constant reminder of our duties toward you. Ever while wearing it, may we be blessed by your loving protection and preserved in the grace of your Son. O most powerful Virgin, Mother of our Savior, keep us close to you every moment of our lives. Obtain for us, your children, the grace of a happy death; so that, in union with you, we may enjoy the bliss of heaven forever.  Amen.

Below and Original Song and Video about the Real Presence of the Eucharistic Heart of Christ and his eternal love for the human family
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