Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today's the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, and we celebrate her appearance to Juan Diego and the miraculous Tilma. Many attribute the remarkable conversion of Mexico to this; I have a personal interest.

There I was, years ago, saying the evening Office in a church on the suburban ghetto side of the DC/Maryland border. It was my first US parish and I prayed fervently that God would grant us real Marian devotion. No, not the typical Anglican small-icon-in-a-corner, fine as that is, but the whole nine yards.

Note Shrine at Back of Church

Perhaps you know the kind of prayer, heartfelt and white knuckled as you like, and there it was. The next day I went over to church to say Morning Prayer and knelt down in the usual place, but out of the corner of my eye something seemed different. It was.

Over against the back wall of the church sat a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe on a table, and not a small one either. This statue was a good four foot high and came complete with eyelashes. No kidding, the real deal.

A Typical Street Scene

It turns out some Mexicans had brought her over as an offering after I'd finished Evening Prayer. And there she was, La Guadalupana. Those of you who know what that means in an Anglican church without Marian devotion can imagine my reaction. But I'd prayed for it and found myself caught out!

In my last year in that parish, the infamous heretic bishop figure, John Chane, came to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. He came with a couple of seminarians in tow from Virginia Theological Seminary, famous then for its lesbian ethics professor. 

All Rigged up For Easter And Solemn High Mass

I showed one of the seminarians around the sanctuary before Mass, and he asked in his bow-tied way if we had any "programs." I answered, "No, not especially," and he sat down in the benches, looking skeptical and annoyingly brainy. 

Thirty minutes later they began to arrive, at least 300 people and 35 confirmands; for goodness sake, it was standing room only and people spilled out onto the grounds.

Remember, Roman Catholics and big church Evangelicals, this is a lot for an Anglican church in Maryland. My bow-tied friend sat there, next to the banditos, and they were, meditating on the nature of the program. Well, you can't beat that old time religion.

A Statue

At the end of Mass, I directed heretic Chane to the Guadalupe shrine, where the people were 6 deep and in the spirit. He knelt down and lit a candle while I intoned the Regina Coeli. Moral of the story?

Don't underestimate the power of prayer and the intercession of Our Lady.




Jules said...

What a powerful story. Very nice church too. Maybe i can bring you a Theresa May figurine? Incase you want a day off.

LL said...

Thinking of the Feast Today:

Our Lady of Guadalupe also appears on tortillas in Mexican neighborhoods. Heretic speech? Not at all. The question before us (see above) is whether Theresa May will appear on a tortilla in Mexico on this most auspicious day.

Think of this when you go to Karen's for your brisket burrito. If Hillary Clinton appears on your tortilla, DO NOT EAT IT. Ask Karen to cook another one. And frankly, I wouldn't eat a Theresa May tortilla either.

However, should Melania Trump appear on a tortilla, that's another thing all together.

Adrienne said...

Lovely story, LSP. Actually 35 comfirmands is quite a few.

We're having great festivities at our church today, but, alas and alack, it snowed quite a bit and so I will be missing it.

Anonymous said...

Very glad to hear this story padre. Your last sentence is beautiful and powerful. And true.

LSP said...

Juliette, that's an extremely kind offer! Imagine the shock when visitors to the Manse see the May idol. It'll work as a kind of litmus test.

Some will give a slight head bow and smile warmly, they want to REMAIN, but they will have to leave, there's no room for them in this particular inn. Let them go to Bob Geldof.

Others will stop, stunned, with that "what the devil's this?" look on their face and make to leave. I'll explain it's a test and they passed. These guests can stay.

LSP said...

You've got me thinking, LL.

Picture the scene, we roll up to Karen's and order the business but what's there on the tortillas? Weiner, Schumer, Pelosi and Huma. We turn them back, understandably, and what comes back? Muellers! Maybe a Beto.

At that point we'd have to face reality. I'd fall back and start the rig while you called in an airstrike.

But yes, Melania? Totally different deal.

LSP said...

I'm glad you liked the story, Adrienne, it was a powerful service and a BIG testimony to the lib heretics. They wanted that kind of immigrant involvement but couldn't get it because they didn't believe, not least in the BVM.

Sorry about the snow!

LSP said...

Thanks, Anon, I appreciate that. The business of our religion is true and I think we get surprised by that from time to time. I was with Guadalupe!

God bless.