Tuesday, 24 February 2009
8th Apparition- Penance
The crowds had continued to swell and now there was about 250 people surrounding the little grotto and the little visionary (to the left you can see a typical day at the grotto now-taken last February). For the first time Bernadette would carry a message to the crowd -one of serious gravity. The message of the "lady" was "Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners. Kiss the ground as an act of penance for sinners!". Bernadette was the first to obey this command - kissing the ground reverently and then raising herself back to a kneeling position. People were impressed with her immense humility and the dignity of the little peasant girl. People described how her whole physique changed when she encountered the Lady. It was almost as though her beauty was reflected in Bernadette's face. I think just looking at Bernadette's eyes a residue of that beauty could be seen for the rest of her life. They seemed to be looking beyond this world. While the events of this day may have moved and impressed the crowd as Bernadette cried out Penance! Penance! Penance! at the close of the vision - kneeling at these words; tomorrow's vision would bring Bernadette ridicule and humiliation...at least until something utterly extraordinary happened.