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.

14 Comments on “Coatlaxopeuh”

  1. In the Burbs says:

    “Be gracious to us who are so ungracious” What a great prayer.

  2. Dan says:

    Glad to hear the project went well. I understand how stressful that can be. Thanks for sharing this story.

  3. MAMaK says:

    My favorite prayer on this day:

    Dios te salve, María. Plena eres de gracia, El Señor es contigo. Bendita eres tú entre todas las mujeres, y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre, Jesús. Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores, ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte. Amén.

  4. Edy says:

    La llena de Gracia.

    I always thank The Virgin Mary. My conversion came prying the Holy Rosary. My ex-boyfriend always invited me to pray the rosary. I never care for it until everything start getting complicated. So I tried and start liking. That s how begin walking to Christ and carrying my Cross (ssa) It’s much liter now.
    I heard about you on the radio. I thank you for all your post. They help me a lot and my ex-boyfriend too.
    I said ex-boyfriend because we both change our heart. Well he changed for us. Now we pray the Rosary and thanks Mary for her prayer.
    B.t.w. this is my second language. Sorry if there are any errors on my typing.

  5. Ron says:

    Our Lady of Guadalupe is unique among Marian apparitions in many ways. Chief among them is that she left us her image. She appeared not as a Spanish woman, but as a native woman, one of the humble ones. And she is a MOTHER, both by her appearing as a woman with child, and by her words: “There is nothing to frighten and distress you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and let nothing upset you. Is it not I, your Mother, who is here? Are you not under my protection? Are you not, fortunately, under my care?” (from a document from the 16th century).

    I remember when the large earthquake hit Mexico City in 1987 or 1988. There was an image on the news that has stayed with me all these years: an elderly woman praying before the image in the Basilica. I don’t know what pain she was bringing, but she brought it to her Mother.

  6. Perpetua says:

    Love it! What a great story!

  7. John Henry says:

    “I rarely ask her for anything, but when I do, it’s something big, and she’s always come through.” At the risk of repeating myself, me too.

    And the title of your post – is that the Nahuatl name for Guadalupe?

  8. Dante says:

    As a baptized non-observant Catholic teen who had rarely if ever been enrolled in CCD or entered a church for Mass, I had ventured into the Bible-only land of the Disciples of Christ denomination as college-time approached. One night during Bible Study I couldn’t get the IMAGE of Mary out of my mind (it was werid). Every time I closed my eyes to focus on the youth pastor’s spontaneous prayer the IMAGE of Mary, pure and glorious, raidant as the sun, keep “intruding” into my mental theater. Then, out of the blue while trying to shake off the IMAGE, I felt this compulsion that I tried to ignore: go to the nearest Catholic Church. It got so strong that I got up, excused myself and drove my Mustang to the nearest parish. It was a December weekday around 7:30PM so I was suprised to find cars in the parking lot. As I entered the church doors I heard the announcer say, “Welcome to (name) Catholic Church. Today is the holyday of the Immaculate Conception…” It would be a short time later til I went to confession to reconcile BUT I stayed for Mass and that night is marked forever in my life as the day I came home. Mom was the initiator calling out to me and my Big Brother was waiting at the front door for my arrival. Thanks, Mom! Thanks bro!

    1. Beautiful, Dante! Thanks!

  9. Sarah says:

    Wow, Steve, you just described my attitude towards Marian Devotion PERFECTLY.

    Especially the part about aggravating family rosary nights. Argh.

    I struggle with this a lot, too. And yeah, I don’t really know why, either. Maybe it’s a gender thing for me, too? At least partly? I seem to gravitate towards male saints, as well, and have never had particularly close relationships or friendships with other girls. I’m not one of those women who will say she doesn’t LIKE other women, and men are just “oh, so much more interesting,” but for whatever reason, the men outnumber the women by a mile in my list of valuable people in my life. I’ve pondered over this in regards of my struggles with Marian devotion for a while. But yeah, what can ya do? Feelings are feelings.

  10. Ron says:

    And THANK YOU, Dante for sharing your story. Welcome home, brother.

  11. justme says:

    I can’t prove it, but I’m sure the Apostles used an open-source compiler.

    1. Trying and failing to think of an equally geeky comeback. My hat is off to you, sir.

  12. DFWShook says:

    Bishop Fulton Sheen told the following joke: One day Jesus is in Heaven and He sees Peter and says, “Peter, I gave you the Keys to Heaven and there are souls everywhere. What’s going on?” Peter replies, “Don’t blame me Lord. Everytime I lock the door, Mary opens a window.”

    The Holy Mother has answered many of my prayers and some she has answered immediately. She brought me back to the One True Faith after many years of stubborness on my part. The Holy Mother will always lead her (lost) children to her Son Jesus Christ. We just need to be attentive. A very good book is Saint Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary.

    Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis.

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