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Solemnity of Mary
Sunday, December 15th
Family Christmas Concert
Look for details in the bulletin soon!
Third Sunday of Advent
from Fr. Muir on December 15, 2013
JUST LAST THURSDAY we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. If you don’t know who she is, or the miraculous image that represents her, or the meaning and importance for us of her image, read on!
In 1531, the Catholic missionaries—largely from Spain—were struggling to make any spiritual progress amongst the native Aztec peoples in the New World. Despite the outward cultural signs of prosperity and advancement, the native culture was dominated by death and fear. Human sacrifice took place at a mind-numbing pace and people operated under the dark belief that the gods were blood-thirsty, vengeful monsters. Bloody human sacrifice was the way to appease the gods, to keep them at bay. Fight death with death.
The missionaries’ “good news” that God wanted to be close to the people was hardly good. It seemed crazy, undesirable…at worst, like suicide.
Then a young woman of unspeakable beauty appeared to a native man in his 50’s named Juan Diego, a recent convert to Catholicism. She spoke these words to him:
"My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother's Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard."
Through a series of events, Juan found that on his cloak (a tilma), an image was imprinted; the young woman in bright, rich colors. The image spoke to the native people with a power and a clarity that goes beyond description. A flood of conversions began. For the next five years, an average of 3,000 people PER DAY were baptized. The message of this woman was irresistible. It continues to speak to us today in important ways. I’ll list just a few of them below.
Mary appears as a mestizo, a mixture of native and Spanish peoples. In this she represents that the gospel is, in essence, an offer of marriage, a union of love, not a task of domination and violence. God wants to unite himself to his creatures, not to destroy them.
The beams of light behind Mary represent the sun, which for the native people was a symbol of their highest god, Huitzilopochtli. Thus, this woman hides but does not extinguish the power of the sun: she announces the God who is greater than their sun god.
The Lady is standing upon the moon. For Juan Diego’s people, the moon was the god of the night. By standing on the moon, she shows she is more powerful than the god of darkness.
The bow around her waist is a sign of her virginity, but it also has several other meanings. The high position of the bow and the slight swelling of the abdomen show that the Lady is "with child".
The angel supporting the Lady testifies to her royalty. To the Meso-American Indians only kings, queens and other dignitaries would be carried on the shoulders of someone. The angel is transporting the Lady to the people as a sign that a new kingdom has come.
The nine flowers on her reddish-beige tunic are jasmine flowers which symbolically depict both the heart and the face, and therefore meant the person’s deepest identity and future. Like an unborn baby implanted in her mother’s womb, the stems of the flowers are “planted” in the woman’s blue mantle. Meaning: a person’s deepest identity—heart, face—is rooted in relationship to God, which is now available and inextricably connected to this woman’s motherhood.
A few months back I visited the actual tilma in Mexico City. Its colors and beauty are breathtaking. I prayed for every person in our parish boundaries, that each would come to know more fully the One who this woman carries in her womb. I picked up an official, life-sized replica of the tilma for our meditation during Advent, with a renewed sense of the power of this Lady to bring her son into lives and cultures. I couldn’t resist.
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at Ironwood Country ClubRead more
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Tue, Dec 24 Christmas Eve 4:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm in the St Rose Spirituality CenterRead more
Wed, Dec 25 Christmas Day 8:00am & 11:00am at St. Rose Spirituality Ctr. 9:30am at Good Shepherd Mission.
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Tue, Dec 31 4:00pm Vigil Mass at St. Rose
Wed, Jan 1 8:00am at St. Rose, 9:30am Mass at Good Shepherd
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