Amethyst Grotto

This cut geode is a natural grotto for the little statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.  Its interior is full of amethyst crystals, a purplish quartz.
       Besides being a rock of beauty surrounding a representation of a beautiful person, it just happens there are some things pertaining to it, upon which one may meditate.  The color of the crystals here, and their reflecting light, are something to think about.    
        Purple is a color of royalty.  It is also the color of suffering, and a liturgical color for sorrow and penance.
       As to royalty, Mary is the mother of the King of Kings, a royal personage herself, the Queen of Heaven. 
       As to suffering, the Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium (58), says that she persevered with her Son to the cross, where she endured with Him "the intensity of his suffering." 
       As to sorrow, she is known as Our Lady of Sorrows, with her feastday on Sept. 15th.   We speak of her Seven Sorrows or Dolors: these are the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, losing Jesus for three days, meeting Him as He carried the cross, His death upon that cross, His being taken down from it and His burial.
       As to penance, when she appeared at Lourdes, an event this picture depicts, she asked for for prayer and penance to convert the world.  Purple vestments are worn during Lent, a time of mortification and penance.
       Even the origin of the word amethyst fits in, in a meditative way.  It was called by the Greeks amethystos, the -methystos part deriving from methy, wine (To them it was a charm against the effect of overimbiding). 
       While we can safely discount the non-intoxicating belief of amethyst, we may associate amethyst with wine, and hence, with Mary's Son Jesus.  Not only did He work a miracle in response to His mother's concern at the wedding feast of Cana, by changing water into wine, but wine is changed into His blood at the consecration of the Mass, where the one sacrifice of the Cross is made present again for our benefit.
       It was at Lourdes in 1858 that Mary told Bernadette "I am the Immaculate Conception" when Bernadette asked who she was.  In telling her this, the Blessed Virgin confirmed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, declared by the Church a few years earlier in 1854.  This privilege of hers, this fact of being without sin, made her a fit vessel to bring Christ into the world.  He was surrounded by her sinlessness and perfection, and wrapped in her holiness.   Her life led to His life, and His life would lead to the Cross, to the Mass and to our salvation.

John Riedell

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Site Last Updated on 05/10/19