She is more than just the mother of Jesus – she is the mother of all Mexicans and part of our Mexican national identity.
I can recall my early childhood years: our family and church community praying the rosary for 12 days before her feast day, going on pilgrimages, dressing up in traditional Mexican indigenous attire, waking up in the early morning hours to visit her and serenade her with songs. All of these memories are near and dear to my heart. My entire family has a strong devotion to our Lady – both Catholic and non-Catholic believers.
Thanks to God and the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I became a mother. Two doctors told me that chances of becoming pregnant were 10%. I prayed to our Lady for months and asked her if it was in God’s will to make me a mother, to allow for it to happen. If it were not God’s will, I would learn to live with His plan for me.
After only two months of prayer, I started to have odd symptoms and took a pregnancy test. Then I took another and another!
I called my doctor right away and again she said there was no way, the test must be wrong. She sent me to a lab where they ran a blood test. Sure enough, a day and a half later, she called and officially told me I was pregnant.
My son is truly our miracle child. As my husband and I considered names for our coming child, the name MATEO, which means Gift of God, was our first choice. Our Mateo was born on December 11th, just hours before the Feast of our Lady. I know this is no coincidence.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 (NMW Toolkit p.9)
Dear Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates
When I read this Hebrew verse, I smile and think about the image of angels that surround us during this Advent and Christmas season. It’s a tradition to decorate with lovely angels present at the crib. But this year in National Migration Week 2019 (January 6-12), our Christmas angels could represent other angels who are perhaps strangers to us. These new angels might be the immigrant strangers who are barefoot, hungry, and in danger, as they approach our or other international borders.
The DSOP Immigration Reform Committee has decided to describe these other ‘angels’, who are strangers, that DSOP Sisters and Associates meet each day in ministries, neighborhoods, parishes, on the streets, and at the wall by creating a representation of images and words for our “band of angels” who God has sent as strangers in our lives.
Please reflect on your encounters with ‘angel refugees/immigrants/migrants’ and send us a photo, personal art, or your own words. Use this season of Advent as the time to create and submit your “angel image” by December 20. Send it to Conni Dubick (email@example.com) or contact Conni with any questions.
The IR Committee will launch these “angel images” in time for the January 6-12 National Migration Week to illustrate our DSOP efforts ‘to show hospitality to strangers who are angels and we were unawares.’
The Immigration Reform Committee members are Sisters Alicia Alvarado, Esther Calderon, Gemma Doll, Barbara Kane, Regina McCarthy, Roberta Miller, Rachel Sena, Carol Ann Spencer, Thoma Swanson, Janice Thome, Roserita Weber, Rene Weeks, and Associates Conni Dubick, Judi Engel, Dora Harper, Martha Maloney, Jim Tinnin and Tom Winters.
Not long ago in human memory, Aldo Leopold was in the adrenalin rush of his career. Tasked with getting a mountain in tip-top shape for deer hunting, he wondered if killing off the wolf would make for a hunters’ paradise. One afternoon, watching a young pack welcome an old wolf “with a melee of wagging tails and playful maulings,” he saw the mother wolf die. “We never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack….When our rifles were empty, the old wolf was down. We reached her in time to watch a fierce green fire die in her eyes….I realized then that there was something new in those eyes, known only to her and to the mountain….seeing her and the green fire die I sensed that neither she nor the mountain would agree with [my] view.”
Beholding the cascading destruction of his “over the top” zeal, Aldo Leopold came into communion with the mountain. Embedded in deep time, mountain intelligence reverberated freshly within Leopold’s awakening. Over population of one species becomes a defoliated mountain, “the starved bones of the hoped-for herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of dead sage….”
This is more than a cautionary tale. Don’t you see the possibility of new love stories? Where previously, killing off the enemy seemed good enough for the “happily ever after” effect, Leopold developed the land ethic by “thinking like a mountain”. The climate crisis now urges the unfolding of a planetary ethic.
Adaptive measures to climate disruption are the talk of the moment. Widely touted plans preserving comforts for the humanly privileged, but not by any count creating the greatest good for the greatest number may be akin to “We never knew heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf.” The ethical challenge now upon us is to bring to light that which is hidden: to think like a planet.
Reimagining how we are to live as Earthlings is undoubtedly a stretch. But it is also raw necessity: noticing the sparrow who falls; the civilizations crumbing; the mother hen, with tenderness gathering blind destructive powers under her wing. Thinking like our planet infuses gospel stories with new vigor.
The prairie, the plains, forests, deserts, the waters, estuaries, the night sky, emerging cultures of food and place are no longer used as backdrops to buttress communion with the Divine; they become what we are to contemplate. Absorbing their revelatory pulse widens our stunted identities. These are Earth communities -some severe, some sweet, all verbs, voices, summoning us, stirring faith, spawning a felt possibility of humans re-inhabiting Earth. Streaming through the pores of our skin are ecotones of new psalms; praises we never knew that we knew reweave our ruptured selves with the land, our holy mother. Humility rouses us to participate actively, reverently as sacramental beings. There is nothing not kin in this sacramental revelation. An inner climate change indeed.
The eye of fierce green fire welcomes the vista of moral virtues developing in response to climate chaos: gratitude to those who photosynthesize; reciprocity, choosing to invest our love in healing relationships with each other and with the land; self-restraint through ecological practices building communities of peace and economies protecting the abundance and variety of other lives; intergenerational justice transforming our “too-much” fear into legacies of reverence; moral courage creating a world beyond war. (KDMoore and RKimmerer)
In the vast immediacies of our moment leaps a new ethic of planetary affection. Midwife like a planet, no matter the cost, no matter the outcome.
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a case of poison ivy. Now, I’ve never had poison ivy and didn’t quite know what to expect but after some Googling, I knew to try Calamine Lotion, anti-itch cream, soap, alcohol. I had the ability to learn about and obtain these ‘cures.’ Although there were times when the itching drove me to scratch, I mostly was able to let it alone to heal. Now it’s pretty much run its course and I can see an itch-free time ahead.
But it got me thinking about the many people in our world who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or freedom from the pain they are experiencing. They don’t have the knowledge or resources to alleviate their pain. For instance: what about the doctor who has run out of medicine because of a civil war …. or the father whose child has been taken from him at the border…. or the young girl, raped by a terrorist, who is now pregnant… or the child who has seen her parents die of HIV…. or the humanitarian who can’t get food to where it needs to go. What about the little boy trying to be reunited with his mother or the mother without enough food to feed her children. So many of us have no idea of the immense pain suffered around the world.
Let us take a minute of silence to remember them.
In the big scheme of things my poison ivy was inconvenient, irritating, and itchy, but I had recourse to heal it. Let us remember and pray for those who aren’t so fortunate.
They say that pictures are worth a thousand words. On June 17, the New York Times featured a front-page picture of a little girl in red clothes at the border. She was crying as her mother was being patted down by a border agent. They were from Honduras as are so many others. Similar pictures have appeared each day and have touched the hearts (and souls) of many – myself in particular – because they represent the hundreds of children and families I knew and loved in Honduras during my 18 years in that country.
We are hearing of more than 2000 children separated from their mothers. We question the misuse of selective Biblical quotes used as justification for “zero tolerance” policies. We can’t believe it.
We notice once again that no one is asking why these families make their way to the border through the desert, the rivers, and all the other dangers. They know full well what may await them but they are desperate. Honduras, for example, is a military government (and considered as dangerous as the gangs that rule its cities).
We question why the voices of Congressional men and women do not shout out, why the wives of Congressional members do not speak out
Our President wants a “physical wall” at all costs. We fear that the cost of “the wall” will be the excuse to do nothing about the children.
Law is meant as a protection for the common good – Jesus’ law is about the love of enemies as the readings of this week tell us. How we see the “other” determines how we act. We exist in relation to one another as God’s children. That seems to be a foreign language to this administration.
Those who espouse “zero tolerance” are really afraid. So let us not be afraid: to speak out, to love, to be who we really are: preachers of the truth, preachers of love and members of God’s family.