What I see in the Tilma: A New Prayer Ministry

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I was sitting here thinking about what this amazing Feast day meant to me and how I could bring that to light for you. Sure, I could speak about her being a Latina, Mexican specifically; especially given my #7QT post last week. How I could find the touchstone to relate to this wonderful day in our liturgical year. I then remembered a verse from the Morning Prayer from the Divine Office yesterday and it clicked. Well, three things clicked, actually:

One, reading scripture is good. Very, very good. and two:

1 Samuel 2: 5-7

The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.
The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world; he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich,
he humbles, he also exalts.

I think often of how I cannot have children anymore. I don’t feel as if I have a place to complain, or be sad. I did it to myself. I had my Fallopian tubes cauterized. This means, I burned them, lasered their connection so fertilization could never take place. I thought with my husband’s three children, my son Lexicon, and our last (and only) child together, Little Monk – we had enough mouths to feed – we were like a nouveau Brady Bunch, his, mine and ours.

And three, I would also like to announce a new page on this blog to collect your prayers specific to irreversible procedures that impede your having more biological children. My friend, S and I will pray for you. All you have to do, is gather up the courage to submit your name and as much or as little detail as you like surrounding your situation. Each week, we will offer it up in prayer as our Lady of Guadalupe rearranged the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma.

I wasn’t Catholic then and didn’t know what I was really doing. Yes, this sentence conjures up the scripture:

Luke 23: 24

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

I knew what children meant and still mean to me. How I love them and look for children anywhere to kneel before and speak to. I relish knowing how they think what they think. I didn’t realize that I was lasering a connection between myself and future joy after Little Monk. I also had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy. I’ll never forget sitting in the ladies room, with my boss in the next stall calling out to me as I watched my unborn baby slip away in a stall. I didn’t stop crying for days. I didn’t speak for longer. I looked like a battered housewife. I wouldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t bear the thought of not having life in me. I was so happy to have conceived after my long, hard struggle with endometriosis, the laparoscopy, the piercing pain as I waited for trains on a subway platforms and a six month imposed menopause in the middle of winter in NYC. It was all too much.

I remember walking into my apartment building after receiving confirmation that the baby was lost and a song was playing in the hallway by Shania Twain. Forever and For Always. I know it’s a love song. But imagine, if you will, a mother who just lost a baby the day before she was to see the little peanut on the screen and these words emanating from a radio, echoing in her ears…

Cause I’m keeping you
forever and for always
We will be together all of our days
Wanna wake up every
morning to your sweet face–always

Mmmm, baby
In your heart–I can still hear a beat …

Reading this as I type it brings me back to that place, looking down at the floor though my big sunglasses as I heard the words. Feeling the rush of life-giving hormones rush out of my body with every step. My usual cheery hello to the security guard was replaced with silence and a walk of mourning. I keep that pregnancy deep, deep within my heart. There are details of that day that I can’t bring myself to write. I still haven’t packed them up yet. I hold them close like mass cards for the dead.

Now, I have spiritual children. Those people that God has placed in my life, my goddaughter L, the pilgrims at RCIA, especially Rosiemer and her daughter V. I find myself wanting to dote on them much like children. I know there will be more, for

The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world; he raises up again.

He definitely raised me up again.

So with that, let’s pray:

Virgin of Guadalupe,
Patroness of unborn children,
we implore your intercession
for every child at risk of abortion.

Help expectant parents to welcome from God
the priceless gift of their child’s life.

Console parents who have lost that gift
through abortion,
and lead them to forgiveness and healing
through the Divine Mercy of your Son.

Teach us to cherish
and to care for family and friends
until God calls them home.

Help us never to see others as burdens.
Guide our public officials
to defend each and every human life
through just laws.

Inspire us all to bring our faith into public life,
to speak for those who have no voice.

We ask this in the name of your Son,
Jesus Christ, who is Love and Mercy itself.

Amen.

From CatholicCulture.org

Patroness of: The Americas; pro-life movement. Read more about her here.

Things to Do:

  • Start a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
  • If you live close to La Crosse, WI visit the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe; if not make a virtual visit. I’ll add that if you’re in Pennsylvania you could visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Allentown, PA (and have lunch with me! I’m nearby!) They don’t have a dedicated website and of course, I thought, hey….I could reach out and do it…then I thought – my husband will kill me if I take one more thing on. ’tis tempting though, no?
  • Read more about this title of Our Lady.
  • Make a sacrifice, say a prayer or visit the Blessed Sacrament for an end to abortion.
  • If your parish is having a pro-life Mass or holy hour try to attend.
  • Have a party, which includes a procession and a special Mexican dinner to celebrate the feast – maybe I’ll make tacos, Little Monk’s favorite!

7dc463c38accaf86fba2b477b54e409bThe Image…

Far from a simple ‘painting’, the image of Our Lady on Juan Diego’s tilma has some noteworthy features that were immediately recognised by the native Mexicans and their Spanish conquerors.

The colour of her skin identifies her as a mestiza, a mixed-blood of white Spanish and dark native, presenting herself as the link between the two races as their mother.

With the sun at her back and the moon at her feet, the Spaniards recognised her as the Woman of the Apocalypse (Rev 12:1), while the native peoples saw it as her having power over the blood-thirsty Aztec sun and moon god.

She is pregnant: the black sash normally worn at the waist by Aztec women is worn higher up during pregnancy.

Her tunic is covered with symbolic gold flowers. The Jasmine flower that is positioned over her womb identifies her child as divine and that this omnipotent being is reachable by any human being through his mother.

Her posture indicates a profound humility. Significantly, her entire body is in motion with one knee bent in a dance-step position which was the highest form of prayer for the Aztecs.

Read more about the symbolism of the image here.

If you’d like to add your name to a prayer ministry for women who have had miscarriages, I (and my friend S introduced me to her) suggest making your way here.

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