I was number 21 as our Worthy Grand Knight and Lady Knight Sherry greeted those coming to mass at the Gila Chapel yesterday. Fr. Tony presided at mass and we had a pretty full chapel to celebrate the great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Fr. Tony's homily reinforced the broad appeal of OLG as she is not only Patroness of the Americas, but also places like the Philippines where Spanish faith traditions accompanied the assimilation of language and culture. This was a salient point--expanding the geography. I used to assume all the imagery and celebration of OLG was essentially part of the popular piety of Latinos in California and Mexico. But Our Lady finds ways to educate all of us by her quiet presence and influence in our way of faith. The Quilt was a magnificent work of art. Many people bought a ticket for the chance to bring it home. Who would win it?
Pope John Paul II once said: "There are no true coincidences--only holy occurrences we don't fully understand." That "maxim" has followed me around for many years. It reminds me of the presence of God, and in this case, the active presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe. When Worthy Brother Chuck lifted the winning ticket for the Quilt, I wasn't surprised that a story came with it.
The winning ticket was held by Gerry Agnew.
Ed and Gerry‘s daughter Julian bought the tickets for someone she knows who is a convert and her decision to convert was due to information that she had read about our Lady of Guadalupe. So the great results of the story is that our Blessed Mother rewarded this convert with that quilt. Not many of us see such a tangible sign of "divine intervention" but we all were pretty satisfied that the right person took home the prize.
We also take home a prize every time we celebrate our faith. The Church helps us prepare for the Coming of the Lord at Advent with Our Lady of Guadalupe giving us pause for thought. OLG is the only apparition of Mary where she appears pregnant. If you look closely at the image, you will see a black sash is tied around Mary's waist, with a bow just below her folded hands. The black sash was a sign of the Aztecs that a woman was expecting.
Expecting who? Mary carries the Christ-Child, the miracle of God taking on human flesh.
Let us always celebrate with Mary on December 12th. Let it always be a find a reminder of the beauty of Advent and the Coming of the Lord at Christmastime.