Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day Nine - God's Wild Imagining: Roses in Winter!

THE GUADALUPE STORY CONTAINS PLENTY OF TROUBLE: Juan Diego's people are defeated, Bishop Zumarraga is disbelieving and keeps putting off Juan Diego, the bishop's household is fed up with Juan Diego and spies follow him, Uncle Juan Bernadino is sick to death, Juan is demoralized at his apparent failure. And so the ending of the story: roses blooming in winter and the wondrous image on the tilma, might cause us to think, "Ah, after all the problems and challenges, the story ends happily ever after."

But not so fast - this is heaven's story, not Dorothy, the Tinman, Lion and Scarecrow running through the sleep inducing poppy field; the refreshing snow leading them through their troubles. We need to go much deeper than that.

In folklore when flowers bloom out of season (roses in winter) it is often a symbol of bad luck. Indeed, flowers out of season symbolize death - the danger of the abnormal. When we encounter God's normal - we perceive and fear it as abnormal - indeed, it means the death of our normal: our business as usual, our tradition, our tried and true, our we've always done it that way, our it was good enough for them; it's good enough for me, our my country take it or leave it, our orthodoxy, our to die for politics, our well that's just the way I am.

So yes, of course, Pope Francis speaking plainly about a new economy is going to shake up the world and bring him ridicule and new enemies. And his purifying the Church is going to arouse the ire of those who benefit from dishonesty within the Church. God's abnormal ways pose a deadly threat, a danger, to our ways.

The Guadalupe speaks Juan Diego's native language, not Spanish. Would we dare to imagine asking indigenous peoples, whose languages and cultures are becoming extinct, how we might solve global problems.

The Guadalupe chooses as her ambassador, the littlest one. Imagine the United Nations Security Council giving to the world's smallest and poorest countries on rotation, the same vote as the "super powers."

The Guadalupe doesn't present herself as a gift  for the conquerors but for "all my people." Imagine a global project to eradicate Smokey Mountain in the Philippines and other places like it. See: Sorting Through the Mess of Child Labor Red Flag Magazine

The Lady arranged the roses in Juan Diego's tilma (the feminine touch). The pope speaks of the feminine genius - but there is no forum for women to share their genius with the Church comparable to that of men.

The Lady stands on the ground - with us, not above us. Imagine affording the barefoot people of the planet the same importance and investment we give to sports, space exploration, war preparations, fashion, entertainment and Black Friday.


  1. While this might not be how I have been taught the Guadalupe story, I greatly appreciate this thought provoking lesson. We can always learn new things from people's differing interpretations. Thank you for causing me to pause and reflect anew.

  2. Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of my favorite feast days. Your pictures were so pretty and made this Feast Day more meaningful to me.

  3. At our Guadalupe Mass and celebration last night, I couldn't help but think of your words, littlest one, all my people, feminine genius. I understand your points, but how do you propose that women gain a "comparable forum" within the Church? How is this even feasible? You have written about the exploitation of women and girls, but not of their inferior position within the Catholic Church. Is this not an issue of equality also? Other religions have bowed to allow women positions of authority, but the Catholic Church is unbending. We can revere and respect women of course, but we cannot allow them an equal voice within these confines.

  4. I understand. Let's both watch this pope who hasn't been in office for a year yet. I'm eager to read Evangelii Gaudium, the pope's Apostolic Exhortation. We need to allow him to speak to us. There are indications he "gets" the problems. It is said that the Catholic Church lost working class men in the 19th century. In Europe the churches are mostly populated with women. It is said that the next group to be lost to the Church is women - at least in the first world of Europe, Australia, The United States, Canada and South America where it is developed. The pope has said the Catholic Church needs a new theology of women - others have countered that the Catholic Church needs to understand the fullness of what it means to be laity. Clericalism is alive and well. The pope knows. Let's give him his time and prayerfully love him.

  5. Great Novena Father. Insightful & uplifting.

    May the Holy Mother Mary continue to stand with us. Amen

    God Bless You