Posted by: fvbcdm | December 11, 2015

Feast of Pope Saint Damasus I (11 December 2015)

Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who has been proclaimed the patroness of all the Americas by our Holy Father. That being so, I’d like to ask you to reflect with me today on the notion of the TRANSCENDENCE of our Lord and his immaculate mother.  What does “transcendence” mean? It comes from two Latin words, “trans” meaning “across,” and “scendens,” meaning climbing.  That which transcends climbs across the borders of time and space and enters a totally different dimension of existence.  That’s pretty philosophical; let’s get it down to particulars.

When we think of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, we can focus our attention either upon her historical reality, or her transcendent position today. Historically, Mary was at the time of the Annunciation a little Jewish teenage girl, living in a remote village in a remote part of the land of Israel, in a remote corner of the Roman empire.  Were it not for her relationship with her son, we would never have heard of her.  She was a product of that country, of that culture, of those people, living just as they did, ekeing out an existence as they did.  But even then, she was different from them in one very important way: she had been conceived without sin and filled with God’s grace.  She probably did not realize that, but it set her apart from all her relatives, friends, and fellow countrymen.  Her relationship with God was far deeper than theirs; she could pray far more intensely than they could; she understood more clearly and loved more intensely than they did.

Then came the archangel of the Annunciation; Mary became the mother of the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Lord.  She spent about thirty years in the intimacy of the holy family with him.  She no doubt followed his public life from a distance and treasured every word that he was reported as saying. The terrible day of his death came and found her at the foot of his cross, suffering in a way that we cannot even imagine.  But that horror was short-lived.  About forty hours after he died, he rose to new and eternal life.  Then, after some years of mothering the young church of her divine son, she was taken into heaven to be with him forever.  And at that moment, she left this world as we know it and entered the transcendent world of heaven.  Since then, she has been present to every human being who prays to her; she has appeared in a number of times, places, cultures, language groups, forms. She has been the majestic Mother of God to the Greek church; the Mother of the Savior to the Latins; the Sorrowful Mother to those who grieve; the Queen of Peace, the Immaculate Conception, the Lady of the Rosary, the Mother of the Church.

To Saint Juan Diego in 1531 in Mexico, she looked like an Aztec lady and spoke the language of the Aztecs with exquisite tenderness and affection. To Saint Bernadette in France in 1858, she looked like an indescribably beautiful young French lady and spoke the patois of the Pyrenees. Who would have thought that we here in the United States in the 21st century would be devoted to an Aztec lady who left her image on an Indian’s cloak? But she says to us as to him, “I am your mother. Am I not the source of your joy?” Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.


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