December 12, 2018
(Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas)
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD. Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they shall be his people, and he will dwell among you, Zec_2:14-17
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. . . .
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. . . .
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” . . .
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Lk_1:26-38
If there’s one thing that’s challenging about this human life, it’s that sometimes we have a really hard time separating our devotion to the Lord from all those emergencies, those priorities, that we think are so dreadfully important. We seem to feel like we need to make sense of everything. And that sense is all based on our own feeble knowledge of ourselves and of our God.
It’s funny because, even the Blessed Virgin Mary, herself, questioned the Angel’s proclamation, when she asked, ‘How can I possibly have a child when I don’t even have a husband?’ And in the back of her mind, she also understood that IF she got pregnant without a husband, it would certainly result in her own death – by her not-so-understanding neighbors and the Jewish authorities.
And then it came to her! . . .
That it was really NOT her will, but it was God’s Will that would, in the end, be done. And in recognizing that fact, Mary understood that she didn’t have to worry about any of it, for it WAS all – IN – God’s hands! And isn’t it – just that thought, that brings us to rejoicing too!
In God’s hands, beloved,
we don’t have to worry about anything!
Some 1500 years later, after all that Mary had been through:
– raising a good Son,
– watching Him devote his life to healing and saving and bringing joy to others, and then
– seeing Him so unjustly executed;
– from a long way off, and yet, so very near by, Mary watched our own suffering: from persecutions, to wars, to enduring all the evil a human heart can imagine.
And after all that, 1500 years later, it was now Mary’s turn to intervene. You see, just like the angel who had appeared to her a millennia and a half earlier, Mary appeared to a simple Mexican native by the name of Juan Diego.
And just like her own questioning of human wisdom versus God’s supernatural reality, Juan and his bishop questioned the authenticity of this miraculous vision. Juan even tried to avoid an encounter with the “Lady from Heaven” when the illness of his uncle required his attention. Of course, Juan felt that it was simply a matter of human priorities. And Mary, as usual, took the back seat, the second place, so that Juan could drive.
And just like the Angel Gabriel’s perseverance with Mary’s Annunciation, Mary persisted with Juan Diego.
In the process, not only was Juan’s uncle healed by God through Mary’s intervention, but Mary left such an indelible sign with Juan, that scientists, even today, are astounded by the miraculous properties of the image Mary left on Juan’s white overcoat.
487-years later, that flimsy cloth still survives. And the incredibly detailed and symbolic image of our Holy Mother, on Juan’s tilma, remains unscathed, surviving time, smoke and even an explosion.
Ever since Mary’s apparition to Juan Diego and his uncle in 1531, there have been millions upon millions who have converted to the Catholic Faith because of it.
You see, God just cannot be out done.
And the ONLY thing we need fear is that we lose our faith to trust in Him. Mary’s “yes” is our encouragement. And the sacrifice of Jesus is our salvation.
All we need do is – Trust in Him, FIRST of ALL, in everything!
And then listen very carefully for when our Mom speaks to us!
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