Daily Archives: December 11, 2011

The Winter Roses of Our Lady of Guadalupe

To be honest, we should be somewhat ashamed about the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but at the same time, like Adam’s sin, the fall out was so wonderful we could perhaps called it “oh happy fault!” as we do with Adam.

The Aztec religion was truly horrible and the mass slaughter at the Temple had left the neighbouring tribes fearful and resentful of their stronger masters. So when the ships arrived from Spain and Portugal it was hardly surprising that many of the Indian leaders were all too keen to join forces and defeat their Aztec enemies and their bloodthirsty gods.

Bringing the Good News of Christ could have been a wonderful turn around for the people. Only it barely happened.  The problem the missionaries faced was the behaviour of their fellow countrymen who thought stealing and slavery were a good way to live. The Dominicans spoke and fought strongly against the enslavement of the Indians and were backed by other orders and by the Pope who wrote strongly against what was happening out there in the New World.  But the evil continued, and so understandably many of the Indians equated Christianity with their oppression.

At that point God stepped in directly. While His sons in the religious orders were being undermined, and his children of the New World were being turned away from Truth and freedom, He could not stand by. He sent His greatest weapon against evil, the one who could stamp on the head of the serpent – His Mother.

When you look at many of the moments where Our Lady has turned up, she has done so when it is about to get dark or is already dark and about to get darker. She came to Fatima in Portugal to beg for prayer and repentance so that one World War could end and we could have avoided the horrific bloodbath of Communism and the Second World War if we had only listened – only we didn’t.

And she appeared at Kibeho for the same reason, was ignored and the bloodbath followed.

She wept in France and in Japan.

And yet we still ignore her message.

But the Indians of Mexico did not ignore her. They responded with courageous willingness to find the Truth and within a few years millions and millions have received baptism and found the love of Christ that He offered through the love of His Mother. The Tilma that the quiet and rather shy Indian St. Juan Diego carried to the the bishop filled with unseasonal Castilian Roses bears a beautiful image – a copy of which I have in my kitchen.

We can be amazed at the miracle of the winter roses and the stunning and deeply symbolic image left on St. Juan Diego’s grass woven tilma – but the greatest achievement was the conversion of the people.

Not all mothers are wise, as she is wise and not all mothers are good as she is good and not all mothers love their children, but she does. We need to accept her love and guidance as Juan Diego did. She is the best Mother we have ever been given; and she points always to her Son as she makes the only command she ever gave in Scripture “Do whatever He tells you.”

It is better to light the Pink Candle than to curse the darkness ;)

Guadette Sunday – it just makes you feel better no matter how naff you feel physically. The “already but not yet” moment of Christ’s coming seems even more imminent as we hurtle towards His birthday.

In the Gospel reading the question of who John the Baptist is gets asked. It is the same question that is later asked of Jesus. Some wonder if John is Elijah returned as the prophets have proclaimed but John says he isn’t. On the other hand Jesus says he is.

Spend any time studying Scripture and you will soon see God likes typology. He tells us His story by the stories of those who foreshadow Christ. So John is not literally Elijah, though he carries the same charism; he is a type of Elijah, a foreshadow of the prophet who will return at the time of the Second Coming (along with Enoch the other gentleman of the Old Testament who doesn’t die but is taken).

So what has John’s role, preparing for Christ got to do with pink candles and all that joy in the midst of the penitential season? And if todays reading are really pointing us to the Second Coming, isn’t that more scary than joyful?

I’ve no idea, but I suspect the church in her infinite wisdom and knowledge of human nature might want to remind us that Jesus coming again is actually a GOOD thing. Not for everyone of course, but surely those who love Christ will be glad to see Him.

This reminder comes as next week is the last Sunday of Advent and we really should have made straight our lives and remembered our baptismal promises so whether He comes of as the Divine Child or Divine Mercy, we are ready. If not of course He will be the Just Judge. But we get plenty of preparation time, so lets get ready.