Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Recently I was able to travel to Mexico on a personal pilgrimage. The level of civilization of the pre-European peoples was utterly remarkable. But just as remarkable was the horror of the human sacrifice which was at the heart of the local religion in the area of what would become Mexico City. The human figures all expressed that horror, even in the midst of obviously highly intelligent architecture and artifacts.

For me, the high point of that horror was seeing the black stone image on which the hearts of the sacrificial victims were placed: that black stone still stained red with the blood of countless human hearts, many centuries later (in the Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City).  Like William Butler Yeats’ line description of the Sphinx of Egypt – a “gaze blank and pitiless as the sun.” Leaving Mexico I was reminded of that blank and pitiless quality passing through customs at the LA Airport on return….

And into this pitiless world came the Mother of God, the one we call the “Mother of Mercies.” Our life, our sweetness and our hope.  Apart from any miraculous origin to the tilma, or image, of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the far greater miracle of such love, such tenderness, mercy, love. That God should not be a bloodthirsty force, but a Father whose Son had a human mother, most tender of our often un-tender race was a revolutionary revelation. She remains Queen of Heaven and earth. May her face be seen in places like our airports! Perhaps we her children are the ones to bring that gentle smile there –

December 12th, 2013