Bernadette knelt before this strange and beautiful Lady. The Lady was dressed in white, with a white veil and a blue girdle, and a golden rose on each foot. On her right arm she carried a white rosary with a golden chain.
Bernadette had her rosary in her hands, and the Lady took hold of her own, as well. Bernadette tried to begin the prayers, but couldn’t lift her hand to make the Sign of the Cross. Then, when the Lady signed herself, Bernadette was able to do the same.
They prayed the Rosary together, there in the little grotto of Massabielle. But Bernadette noticed that the Lady only prayed the Glory Be. She was silent during the Our Father and Hail Mary.
There is a very important reason why. Both the Our Father and Hail Mary presuppose that the reciter is a sinner: “Forgive us our tresspases.” “Pray for us sinners.”
Furthermore, it would have been odd for the Blessed Mother to salute herself in the Hail Mary—exalting herself is something this humble Virgin never did.
The Glory Be, however, is a prayer that Our Lady prayed—in word, thought, and action—at every moment of her life. She continues to proclaim it now as she reigns in Heaven.
Our Lady’s selective recitation of the Rosary prayers thus offered a clue as to her identity. She would reveal it in a later apparition, when she said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” She was the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the only one of us creatures who was not a sinner, the one who committed no trespasses.
Significantly, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception—though always believed as dogma by the Church—had been solemnly defined less than four years before the Lourdes apparitions. Pope Pius IX had promulgated the doctrine in 1854 in his apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus.
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