Monday, 12 December 2011

Third Week of Advent: Following the Sacred Heart to Mexico

Last week ( Friday 9th) we celebrated the feast of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin or  St. Juan Diego.   An important day for the Church in the Americas and in particular in Mexico.  And today is the feast of  Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Having been to the basilica  in Mexico on a number of occasions I am especially touched by the message of Guadalupe.  I carry a small picture of the image of the Virgin with me , and as I write a I am overlooked by a  statue  that I bought several years ago when I visited the shrine with my wife.  It is also my sister's birthday, so all in all, it is an important day for me.  Everywhere you go in Mexico you see the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Sacred Heart - often together - and when I think of both my thoughts immediately transport me back to Mexico.  Above all I recall the simple devotion of the people to Mary and we here in Western Europe could learn much from  their devotion.  What strikes me is that you feel intensely close to Mary in Mexico and especially at Guadalupe and I try to remember how that feels when I see the famous image.    

 Guadalupe is a deeply spiritual place whose peace I treasure in my heart.   Reflecting on this I imagined what the Virgin might  have said to St. Juan Diego if he had asked her what he must do to become pure in heart.  Straight away I thought she would have said: 'Let God's will be done'.  And that seems to me to be the essence of Mary's response to the Angel Gabriel: she has the grace to simply let go of herself and allow God's will to be done in and through her.   That is the message of Guadalupe: we have to pray for the grace to  open our hearts to  God's love.  And that is the real miracle of Guadalupe: when God becomes the very centre and core of your existence.  

So on this day I pray for the people of Mexico and especially for all my friends in that great country that the Virgin will watch over and guide all those who trust in God's will. 

(Although  I  have to confess that  every time I see the image  I always think of Hillary Clinton's gaffe in 2009 when she asked ' who painted it ' and was told 'God!'  ( See here! )   )

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