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Saturday, December 12, 2015

La Guadalupana

Happy Saturday! I hope your weekend is going well.

A deep freeze has settled over southern Arizona. The cold front moved in last night with snowy-looking clouds and rain, and today we dealt with temperatures only in the 50s with rain on and off throughout the day. The mountains were covered with clouds and precipitation, giving them a smoky, eerie look and on my Facebook feed, people who live in the mountain communities were posting pictures of the snow.

We had planned on going to the 4th Avenue Winter Street Fair, an annual street fair in downtown Tucson where vendors gather to sell their wares and display handmade crafts. But with the weather being as it was, there was no way in hell we were going to subject our baby or ourselves to the elements. So, we stayed home until it was time to go to Confession.

Since our other church is located in a largely Mexican area, I thought we might be able to catch the Guadalupe celebration since today is Her feast day. Though we arrived long after the procession and festivities had ended, I was still delighted to have gone because I got to see my favorite Carmelite priest. The Benedictine Abbey he was called to teach at was out for the Christmas break, so he came back here to Arizona and attend to his pastoral duties here. In turn, he was happy to see us as well. Of all the priests I've encountered and known here in Diocese Tucson, this Carmelite is one of the few who has a consistently strong, bonafide connection with the Holy Spirit. As we were leaving, we saw the rector of the church and said hello. He'd been working outside, getting the lights strung up around the courtyard and the decorations in place for Christmas.

The decorated courtyard. This will look nice once the sun sets.

In honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I will post a few classic songs in Her honor. Lady Guadalupe is special because Her appearance in Mexico in the 16th Century was the first documented apparition of the Virgin Mary in the New World. When She appeared to Juan Diego to request a church built in her honor, She appeared speaking not Latin or Spanish, but Nahua to him so that he would understand and relate to Her. And when Her roses left their miraculous imprint of Her image on Juan Diego's tilma, Lady Guadalupe appeared in a way that when ordinary Natives saw her, they too could relate to her through her dark features and Aztec-specific symbolic imagery.

Despite many people over the centuries using Lady Guadalupe as a subject of theories and prophecies, the fact is that Her appearance in central Mexico spurred a mass conversion of a scale never before seen or seen since. There is a reason the phrase "non fecit taliter omni nationi" ("God’s done nothing like it for any other nation" (Ps. 147:20)) is often seen specifically on images of Lady Guadalupe. Will there be a repeat of the conversion scale seen in Mexico in other parts of the world or even here in the US? Maybe. It is written that prior to the arrival of the Conquistadors, Mexico was itching for something else, something bigger. The state religion had its human sacrifices and pagan rituals, but the people were searching for something more. When Our Lady appeared, everything fell into place.

Enjoy the music. Viva!

*Note: the title of this post, "La Guadalupana", is a Mexican-Spanish phrase used to describe female devotees of Lady Guadalupe. Male devotees are "el Guadalupano" and plural is "los Guadalupanos".

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