Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day Two ~ Guadalupe Novena Countdown ~ Daybreak

Lets' not be just admirers of the Guadalupe story, but see how even the details of the account play in our own lives today.

The account of the First Apparition of the Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego begins: On a Saturday just before dawn, he was on his way to pursue divine worship and to engage in his own errands. As he reached the base of the hill  known as Tepeyac, came the break of day, and he heard singing atop the hill, resembling the singing of varied beautiful birds. 

The words before dawn indicate that Juan Diego had set out in the dark, and as he reached the bottom of the Tepeyac hill, day break occurred. We're not just being told the time of day but symbolically, in the coming of light, there is signified the coming of understanding. I would suggest that as the conversation unfolds between Juan Diego and the Lady, that he will come to understand not only who She is, but perhaps even more importantly, who he and his people are.

We might also imagine that Bishop Juan de Zumarraga will come to some new understanding of who these non-Spaniards are. Pray that as She appears in the dawn-light of understanding that anyone who draws near to Her will understand as God understands: that each human person is irrevocably soul-endowed and heaven-born.

In the early morning too, our perceptions are heightened. Perhaps it is because we are rested and ready for what's new. Daybreak transforms what's familiar and gives the senses new depth. Moments before the apparition takes place, Juan Diego even asks, "Am I awakening?" 

But Juan Diego's heightened perception wasn't simply of his outer environment; he was waking up spiritually and psychologically. Maybe in those dawn moments he started to grow up in some new human way. We must remember, Juan Diego was a man whose race had been defeated. The possibilities for new understandings were tremendous. Defeated, crushed, degraded - even enslaved, Juan Diego might be asking, "Who am I, who are we now?"

"We are always beginning again," Dorothy Day said. To appreciate the Guadalupe story is to appreciate this daybreak aspect - that of new beginning, new understanding. There is an Easter echo in all of this too, isn't there: And on the first day of the week at dawn the women came to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared." (Luke 24: 1,2)

  • A relationship is healed and amends are made.
  • An opportunity is presented to learn something new.
  • The first creative thoughts of the day are acknowledged.
  • Perhaps some insight was revealed, even in the night's dreaming.
  • A marriage comes to a place of new relational depth - even born of sorrow.
  • There is the resolve to begin again after some failure or setback.
  • A mistaken or fruitless approach, method or way of thinking is abandoned.
  • Health is restored or not - and we grow in new understandings.
  • A reprieve is given.
  • One sets out in new sobriety.
  • Pride or fear is put down and growth can occur.
  • Sadness, perhaps as deep as depression, is pushed back.
  • We stop rationalizing, procrastinating and justifying and start to live in the truth.

Name the dawn - the coming out-of-night to break-of-day.


  1. I find the use of a cactus in this daybreak image is very fitting. The spines on the cactus protect the plant and tell other living things to stay away from what is hidden within. We fear the pain of pressing on these prickly barbs, so we stay away from examining what lies inside. We are like the cactus, protecting ourselves from revelation. This Guadalupe interpretation is scraping off the outer protective layer and examining the deeper, innermost, more intense understanding of things. Every dawn that breaks presents us with new opportunities for enlightenment.

  2. Yes, too often in religion we stay at the surface level and never get around to asking "Why?" or "What does this mean?" You have to go out on a bit of a limb when you start asking those kinds of questions. Desert-y places invite us to attend to the essential things

  3. Amen. Let us not be afraid to look under the glossy surface, even if it makes us uncomfortable. I am not afraid to embrace new perceptions as they relate to real life. I am looking forward the the next seven days.