Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yesterday was the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Or, 'long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!'1

Yesterday was the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This morning's reading from the New Testament included the bit from Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab; 12:1-6, 10. It's the part that includes "1A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman2 clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."

The person in the hood may not have been feeling entirely well: Our Lady of the Angels church wasn't all that cold today. Or maybe she wanted to make sure people saw the upper part of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the back. December 13, 2009.

I've written before, about Our Lady of Guadalupe. ("Our Lady of Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas" (August 11, 2009)) As I wrote then, the insides of Catholic churches aren't for the most part, known for being bland. We do know how to make use of images, to get people's attention and help them remember the Church's teachings.

Today, for instance, there was a reproduction of the image that's on Juan Diego's tilma, on display at the front of the church. Until the homily (that's Catholic for "sermon"). Then the deacon picked up the picture and, followed by two altar servers carrying candles, went up and down the aisles. He stopped once, while Father Statz was still talking, and was told to keep walking. Which, of course, he did.

Sure, I'd have paid attention to the homily anyway: but it's a bit easier to remember, with the visual memory of that image being processed around the sanctuary.

Worship, No! Venerate, Yes

You don't have to venerate Mary to be Catholic, but quite a few of us do. That's "venerate," not "worship."
"VENERATION (OF SAINTS): Showing devotion and respect to Mary, the Apostles, and the martyrs, who were viewed as faithful witnesses to faith in Jesus Christ. Later, veneration was given to those who led a life of prayer and self-denial in giving witness to Christ, whose virtues were recognized and publicly proclaimed in their canonization as saints (828). Such veneration is often extended to the relics or remains of those recognized as saints; indeed, to many sacred objects and images. Veneration must be clearly distinguished from adoration and worship, which are due to God alone (1154, 1674, 2132)."
(from Glossary, Catechism of the Catholic Church)

"WORSHIP: Adoration and honor given to God, which is the first act of the virtue of religion (2096). Public worship is given to God in the Church by the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ in the liturgy (1067)."
(from Glossary, Catechism of the Catholic Church)
When it comes to Mary, whoever looks to her will get essentially the same instructions she have the servers at that wedding feast at Cana: " 'Do whatever he tells you.' " (John 2:5) It was right after that that Jesus started with water and stone jars, and ended with wine.

The point is, go toward Mary and she'll point you toward Jesus.

At Guadalupe, she was wearing a sash that - following local custom - identified her as being pregnant. Yes, I know: my Lord had been born over a dozen centuries before Mary appeared to Juan Diego. What can I say? She's shown up holding an infant Jesus, and I'm not going to argue with her Son and His Father over what can and can't be done in their creation.

There's a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe in "Liturgy Guide Respect Life 2009-2010," Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The specified dates for the novena (December 4 to December 12) are past now, but I don't see how it would hurt to start now - or whenever.

From the second day:
"Mary, Mother of divine grace, you appeared to Juan Diego standing on the moon and robed in a royal mantle adorned with stars, showing that you are the Queen of Heaven and Earth, yet far from a haughty or distant Queen. With hands folded in supplication, eyes cast downward in humility and compassion, you did not ask for a temple where you could be honored, but one where you could attend to the 'weeping and sorrows of … all the people of this land, and of the various peoples who love me....' May all who are sorrowing due to abuse, violence, exploitation, neglect, and all sins against the dignity of life, fly to you, Mother, for comfort and hope."
("Liturgy Guide Respect Life 2009-2010")
That "supplication, eyes cast downward in humility" probably doesn't sit too well with people whose assumptions about the world were set somewhere in the sixties: but the way I see it, Mary is "Queen of Angels" - it's not such a stretch to see the angels as a sort of military outfit, a queen is a sort of leader, so Mary can be seen as the leader of a military organization. A general of sorts. I'd say she can afford to be a bit humble. (August 11, 2009)

What's a novena? Nine days of reflections and prayers. And, another topic.

Related posts: Background, about Our Lady of Guadalupe

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I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

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Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.