Meditations given by the Rev, Bede Jarrett, O.P., during the Novena preached in the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in preparation for the celebration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Apparitions at Lourdes, February 2nd - February 10th, 1933
BECAUSE Our Blessed Lady is holy, she is merciful. Mercy is one of the inevitable effects of holiness or goodness. But what, exactly, do we mean when we say of her, or of anyone, that she is holy or good? If you were asked how you would tell whether someone was good or holy, perhaps at first you might have some difficulty in describing exactly what you meant. You would remember, however, that Our Blessed Lord in His teaching as it reaches us through the gospels, was determined that we should truly understand what goodness, holiness, really was. He was at pains to point out to us what goodness was not. Goodness is not to be judged by what we do. It is quite possible for us individually to be thought good by other people and yet really not to have goodness. It is possible for us to misjudge those around us; to be ourselves misjudged. Thus Our Blessed Lord indeed thundered against those who imagined that you could tell human goodness by human action. You remember again, how that apostle whose teaching is but an amplification of our Lord’s own teaching, but a greater fullness of the teaching that our Lord gave, you remember again how determined St. Paul is that we shall not misunderstand the gospel of Christ. He is determined that we should realise that the following of Christ is not in external good actions (these should be, these should follow — but they are not the essence,) that it is possible for people, apparently, to live good lives and yet not have goodness; apparently to break no law, and yet to have (it is possible) no holiness at all. Our Lord was asked, "What is the first and the greatest commandment?” and our Lord’s answer was, "There is but one. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.” In His teaching goodness is not in doing things, but in the reason why we do them: not what but why.