Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Honoring Our Lady of Quadelupe

This Sunday, our Parish honored the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

What a great festive day this was.

It all began after all the Masses for the weekend were completed.  I was honored to help carry the image of our Lady of Guadalupe.

On December 12, 1531, Heaven intervened in the Americas in a big way.

The Indians were being enslaved by the Spanish as Spain had stripped them of their land and freedoms.  Before dawn, St. Juan Diego was walking to Mass 20 miles away when he was passing Tepeyac hill.  He heard the songs of birds when he witnessed a great site.

Juan Diego saw a beautiful woman radiating light.  This vision of Juan Diego reminds me of the "Queen arrayed in Ophirs gold" who stands at the Lord's right hand" (Psalms 45:10).  This same Queen "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars"  (Revelation 12:1)

St. Juan Diego was given more than the vision, the Queen of Heaven told him that she was the Virgin, the Mother of the True God.  She asked that a Church be built on this very spot.

The Virgin Mary reminded St. Juan Diego that God would hear the cries of the poor and the oppressed.  What a great message for the Season of Advent.  Luke 4:18 states, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor".

The Virgin Mary asked Juan Diego to take this message to the Bishop of the diocese in Mexico City.  Bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga at first did not believe him.

What would you think if I just told you I saw the Virgin Mary?

You might wonder what kind of cactus juice I was sucking or something.  But the good Bishop remembered 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ comes in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God."

The Virgin Mary provided proof that has endured scrutiny ever since.

She directed St. Juan Diego to go to the top of the frozen hill where he found fragrant roses growing amid the rocks and brambles.

Not only out of season, but was not known in Mexico.  These were known in Spain.

Mary arranged the flowers in St. Juan Diego's tilma (cloak) made out of cactus, and he took them to the Bishop.

When he unfolded the tilma so the Bishop could see the roses, Mary's image materialized on the tilma.

What a great sign given us by the Lord Jesus Christ giving us His Mother's image much like the miraculous image on the Shroud of Turin.

There were many miracles associated with the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe to include the healing of Juan Bernardino of smallpox.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is loved and honored through all of the Americas.

In many Latin American Countries, before dawn, mariachi trumpets call people to the Holy Mass to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This is called "Mary's morning serenade".  There may be children dressing up as St. Juan Diego, the girls dress up as Indian women.

The story is read or re-enacted.

After the Liturgy, we went to the parish hall for a luncheon of tamales.  There was much food along with the dancing and ceremonial dress costumes.

There is ceremonial dancing that depicts  the healing of an Indian who had been accidentally shot in the neck by an arrow the following Christmas.

These traditions of dancing and story telling helps keep alive the story of  when Heaven intervened to spread the True Gospel of Jesus Christ in the New World.

It says in Acts 2:17-19, "It will come to pass in the last days, God says, that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh.  Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.  Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy.  And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below."

We have been given much, we are well blessed.

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