On Saturday evening, during the prayer of the Rosary before the grotto of Lourdes, Pope John Paul called Christians to pray for more priestly and religious vocations and challenged them to change the world starting “from the inside,” meaning personal conversion.
“Kneeling here, before the grotto of Massabielle, I feel deeply that I have reached the goal of my pilgrimage. This cave, where Mary appeared, is the heart of Lourdes.”
“It reminds us of the cave of Mount Horeb where Elijah met the Lord, who spoke to him in ‘a still small voice’”, the Pope said.
“As pilgrims to Lourdes –he added,- we too wish this evening to retrace in prayer, together with Mary our Mother,” “We wish to learn from the lowly handmaid of the Lord an attitude of docility and openness to the word of God and a generous commitment to welcoming Christ’s teaching into our lives.”
Before starting the prayer of the Rosary, the Pontiff invited Christians “to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to virginity for the Kingdom of God, so that all those who are called will respond with generosity and perseverance”.
After the Rosary, the Holy Father addressed a personal prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes, asking her among other things to “be our guide along the paths of the world.”
“Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ, to stand with you before the innumerable crosses on which your Son is still crucified,” he prayed.
The Pontiff also asked the Virgin to “teach us to build up the world beginning from within: in the depths of silence and prayer, in the joy of fraternal love, in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross.”
Read the Pope’s full prayer at: