Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Second Week of Advent
December 12, 2012

Let me begin with an explanation of the hiatus that just ended ... thanks to a young lady in New Dehli, India.  She was the individual who brought my modem and my computer to the table and a genuine compromise was made even here in suburban Washington, DC.  The "compromise" was simple yet so simple that it confused a few computer experts.  Sorrry, therefore, that I could not reach you through any of my high tech devices.

Let me suggest that you find some little time to read a brief history of this unique feast day for all of the Americas -- South, Central, USA and Canada.  Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of all the Americas.

In reading about five apparitions related to the beginning of this feast, you will encounter the determination of Mary to be of help to many generations of people.  It was on the morning of December 9, 1531 that Juan Diego, a recent convert to our faith, would become a part of our Church's history in a manner he could hardly imagine.  This very simple man was moving forward from his reception into the Church to become one of its proclaimed saints.  Little did such a thought enter his mind.  While making the walk to church where he would attend Mass and a catechism class, Juan passes by Tepeyac Hill.   He notices a brightness at the top of the hill and heard music.  Strange as that might seem in the earlier days of the 16th century, even more unusual was this:  he heard the voice of a woman calling him to come to the top of the hill.  Then it happened.  Our simple traveler saw the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She shared with him her desire that a shrine should be built on this hill top.  She was clear:  "... to you and to all mankind who love me and trust in me and invoke my help" I will be a merciful mother.  Then she asked Juan to go to the Bishop of Mexico City.  There Juan was to tell the Bishop that Mary had appeared to him and that her message to the Bishop was to build a shrine to Mary there on Tepeyac Hill.

There were three other apparitions that happened:  each of them Mary appeared to Juan to give him instructions in dealing with the Bishop who was doubtful at the outset.  On this day Mary appeared to Juan, apparently twice: first, she asked Juan to return to the doubting Bishop; second, because the Bishop asked for a sign from this woman.  Juan returned to Mary, reporting on his meeting with the Bishop and his desire for a "sign" that would convince him that this was indeed the Mother of God.  Mary came to Juan, listened to his report and asked him to return to the hill the next morning.

Juan did not show because his uncle was dying and Juan went to get a priest to come to his uncle.  Two day later, December 12, Mary stopped Juan on his way to Mass to bring the priest to his uncle.  He explained his failure to meet Mary as agreed.    She spoke words to him that seem to be what many of us fail to recall when in a difficult situation.  "Do not let anything afflict you and be not afraid of illness of pain....  Are you not under my shadow and protection?  She told Juan his uncle was already well.

In the history that you will find as indicated above, by click onto Our Lady of Guadalupe in the heading above,  you will read the story of Mary's determination.  The thought that comes to my mind is this:  when will Mary appear to someone again, this time in the USA, to serve as a reminder to people that she has a special intercessory role that she wishes to offer to those who trust and believe.  She is aware of our need for a strong faith and clearly is willing to confront any opposition that will not allow her to be who she is nor to receive her care and protection.  She truly is our heavenly mother who wants to care for us.

Perhaps had I turned to Mary for some motherly help and support last week, I may have come to the computer-modem compromise sooner!  Hail Mary ... pray for us sinners!