I’ve never had much Marian devotion. Maybe it’s some lingering sola scriptura sentiment from my parents’ Evangelical days, maybe it’s the way the family Rosary always turned into an aggravation-fest — we’ve always loved each other in my family, but we haven’t always been good at being in the same room — or maybe I just don’t like women that much.
Flippancy aside, one reason I’ve always had trouble with Mary is that there’s so little about her in the Bible. That’s not a good reason, because Tradition is just as much of a source of revelation as Scripture is (who do you think compiled the Bible, for Pete’s sake?), but feelings are feelings and logic is logic and what can you do.
That’s one reason I’ve always liked Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s a picture of her that she herself made, which means it contains the truth about her. No pious inventions, just straight from the source herself. You can look at that image forever. Sometimes it’s perfectly flat, other times there’s no bottom to it. Like prayer itself.
Just because I’ve never drawn close to her doesn’t mean she’s never drawn close to me. When I first set foot in Peru, something uncanny happened: her image, as OLG, settled in my mind and stayed there, for all three months. Just that, the image, no words: a simple presence. So now she is connected in my mind with that time, three months of equal parts paradise and purgatory among dear, holy people.
I rarely ask her for anything, but when I do, it’s something big, and she’s always come through. Since August I’ve been working on a project that scared me, my first big responsibility for the company, with a small fortune resting on the outcome. As the deadline came nearer I got more and more freaked out. Finally I asked her: whatever happens, please make sure this turns out well.
I wish I could say I kept my mind free of anxiety and rested in perfect trust, but uh-uh. I took the freakout down a notch or two, but that’s as much as I can say. I should have known better. I didn’t notice it at the time of the prayer — her feast days always sneak up on me — but guess when the deadline was?
Today. Feast day of Nuestra Señora herself. Needless to say, everything turned out well.
Lady, beautiful queen clothed with the sun, be gracious to us who are so ungracious. Ruega por nosotros.