Posted on 12/12/2019 07:00 AM (Saint of the Day | AmericanCatholic.org)
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint of the Day for December 12
The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the 16th century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.
A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower, and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.
Juan was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared, and within it stood an Indian maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.
Eventually the bishop told Juan to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Juan to try to avoid the lady. Nevertheless the lady found Juan, assured him that his uncle would recover, and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.
On December 12, when Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground, and the bishop sank to his knees. On the tilma where the roses had been appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac.
Mary’s appearance to Juan Diego as one of his people is a powerful reminder that Mary—and the God who sent her—accept all peoples. In the context of the sometimes rude and cruel treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards, the apparition was a rebuke to the Spaniards and an event of vast significance for the indigenous population. While a number of them had converted before this incident, they now came in droves. According to a contemporary chronicler, nine million Indians became Catholic in a very short time. In these days when we hear so much about God’s preferential option for the poor, Our Lady of Guadalupe cries out to us that God’s love for and identification with the poor is an age-old truth that stems from the Gospel itself.
Posted on 12/11/2019 19:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
George Bailey, the hero of It’s a Wonderful Life, is not a simple, good-natured cornpone from upstate New York; he is a man carrying a real bitterness within, that shows itself in little ways. A man who has had to cast aside every dream in order to do “the right thing,” the thrill-seeking Bailey is — thanks to an old injury — denied even dubious adventure of soldiering during World War II. Watch him spit in disdain at himself and his situation, after he has responsibly handled a blackout drill in his neighborhood. When the big man from the small town comes beeping by in a slick, shiny car and an even shinier woman, see George Bailey’s lip curl, not because his wife is wearing a baseball cap and sitting in his old clunker, but because she is so clearly content with the cap, and the clunker, and with trapped old George,…
Posted on 12/10/2019 19:00 PM (Word On Fire Sermon Podcast)
On this third Sunday of Advent, we hear for the first time this season of the great figure of John the Baptist. It’s not really possible to understand Jesus apart from his precursor. All four Gospels compel us to come to grips with John. His job is always the same: he points to Jesus. If we’re staring at John, we’re missing the point. Well, in our Gospel for today, John indicates the Lord in a most distinctive manner. Mass Readings Reading 1 – Isaiah 35:1-6A, 10 Psalm – Psalm 146:6-10 Reading 2 – James 5:7-10 Gospel – Matthew 11:2-11…
Posted on 12/10/2019 19:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
As grateful as I am that museums preserve Catholic art, I cannot spend time in religious exhibitions without feeling a certain melancholy. Stripped of their original context (church or chapel) and of their original viewers (praying Catholics), these works often fail to evoke in me admiration, let alone devotion. And yet, as I wandered through the medieval section of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, glancing at old, ornate reliquaries and sadly displaced stained glass windows, I came across a statue of Mary that stopped me where I stood. She was not quite two feet tall, carved in ivory, standing there on a pedestal. A line cut straight down the front of the statue, from the crown of her head to her feet, and on both of her sides there were hinges. The statue stood open like a little triptych—a three-piece altar panel. Inside the statue, the sculptor had carved…
Posted on 12/9/2019 19:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Over dinner the other night a millennial priest asked me about some characteristics that define Generation X. I started by telling him that my generation was born between 1964 and 1981 and that we GenXers are significantly smaller in number than the generation that came before us (baby boomers, 1945-1963) and the generation that followed (millennials, 1982-1995). Another GenX priest and I went on to inform our millennial friend that we were the first generation to experience the effects of no-fault divorce and the new reality of both parents going to work, which resulted in the moniker “latch-key kids,” and that we’ve been understood as the experiment of many cultural revolutions. (Tragically, a third of our generation conceived after 1973 never made it out of the womb.) As far as ecclesial life is concerned, no GenXer has a living memory of the Church before Vatican II. Through our most formative…
Posted on 12/8/2019 19:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere. —G.K. Chesterton Over the recent Thanksgiving weekend, our family stumbled upon George Clooney’s 2014 World War II film The Monuments Men, a cinematic adaptation of Robert Edsel’s book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. Given that my family had never seen it, we figured we would give it a go. Awash with big names (George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, and John Goodman), the movie revisits the drama of the Allied Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program racing through war-torn Europe to find and preserve artistic masterpieces from rampant looting and wanton destruction. As World War II began to draw toward its bloody and (for the Germans) near-apocalyptic close, Adolf Hitler became increasingly deranged and maniacal in…
Posted on 12/5/2019 19:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute, is something truly unique. We wanted to establish a smart, beautiful, and practical journal that was reflective of the Word on Fire ethos. But its overall purpose would not be primarily academic, artistic, or pastoral; instead, the purpose of our journal would be to evangelize the culture—and more to it, to train others to become evangelizers of the culture themselves. If this journal can help with that in a small way, I would be delighted. We are excited to announce the second issue of the Word on Fire Institute Journal is coming out this month! This issue focuses on matters of economics and Catholic Social Teaching. The intent of the journal is to provide Word on Fire Institute members with a tangible source…