Monday, December 8, 2008

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

One fine spring day, a few years ago, I was running an errand for my daughter. She had asked me to pick up some plants from a local nursery/statuary yard that the owner, had offered to give her for her window boxes.
I have had a Mary Garden for years and love to browse statuary whenever I see some, but on that particular day, I was totally engrossed in just hurrying over there, retrieving the pro-offered plants and getting back home to my own spring planting. At the time my small patio garden had all the statuary I thought it needed. I certainly had no plans to explore the nurseries large selection. Well, as they say, the best laid plans are easily undone and for me especially when Our Lady is involved.

As I pulled up in the parking lot, my eye spotted the biggest and most gorgeous,” Our Lady of Guadalupe “statue I had ever seen. Naturally, I made a quick detour into the statuary yard to look at it. Inspecting it up close, it quickly became an “I must have it urge.” The strange thing was that it had no price or sign on it like all the others in the yard. But I quickly became convinced by perusing the prices of other statues in the yard that this was a high end statuary business, and my tiny budget would never stretch to buy it even if I could think of a place to put it.

Sighing with longing, I pressed a kiss to the hands of the Statue and chuckled a quick response saying; “Well, my beautiful Lady, I hope you find a very beautiful Garden and someone to love you as much as I do. With that, I went on into the nursery office to retrieve the plants my daughter had sent me for. The only employee around turned out to be the woman I was suppose to see for the plants. While she went to retrieve them for me, I browsed the little nic nac’s they had inside the office, just killing time. As soon as she returned from the back office, my plan was to thank her and hurry on my way.

Again, those best laid plans got way laid as the woman was so nice and I just had to ask her how much the Statue of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” was. She looked very puzzled at my question and said: “What Statue is that.” I pointed out the window to the Statue and she laughed and said;”OH! Is that what it is called? We received it by mistake and had no idea what it was called. It’s too big and heavy to return so we just decided to keep it and sell it. The Price is $400. “

Well worth it, I responded. I told her that I was sure someone will really love to have that one as it is extra special, especially in these times of so much confusion concerning the alarming abortion rate this country is in. So many women who feel overwhelmed and confused when facing an unplanned pregnancy don’t realize that the life of an unborn child is very precious to God. God loves those poor mothers so much, and Our Lady of Guadalupe is a wonderful devotion which symbolizes Gods love and mercy for woman and children, especially those who make the mistake of aborting their children, thinking it will solve the problems they face.

In the blink of an eye, the woman’s face dropped and tears began to flow. She sobbed so hard that I put my arms around her. She then began to tell me her story. She shook as she explained that she had aborted her baby boy, just a few months earlier and felt so guilty and ashamed of her decision. She asked me over and over, if I thought God would ever forgive her. Cradling her in my arms, I assured her that indeed, God could and does forgive her. I told her the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe and how Mary’s message was still relevant today. God knew from all eternity, abortion would destroy many lives, but that those little lives are not really lost. The babies are safe in His arms, and the Mothers are precious to Him too. Mistakes are made by all of us, especially in difficult situations. God does not hate the sinner. They are His children. He hates the sin because of the damage it does to His creation.

As she calmed down and listened, I gently took her hand and said; “Have you named your little boy?” She replied, yes, I think of him as Matthew. Then I told her about Project Rachael and promised to get her all the information on it.

The next afternoon,I returned with the information I had promised her. Of course I prayed many prayers before that, asking Our Lady to comfort the woman and help her get the healing she needed. When I walked into the office she rushed toward me and exclaimed; “I can’t thank you enough for listening to me. I had my first restful night in many months. I dreamed of my baby and OH! He is so beautiful and happy. I dreamed he said “I forgive you Mommy and so does God Our Father.”

After giving her the information and a few words of encouragement, I turned to leave promising to remember her in my prayers. And as I was leaving she said; “You know, that statue didn’t cost us anything because the supplier sent it by mistake and didn’t want to pay the return shipping charges. Would you like to have it?

All these years later, that statue is my favorite one in my Mary Garden. Over the years, it has been a source of conversation for visitors and even workmen working on my house. Sure enough, Our Lady keeps mending souls. The men and the woman who have ventured through my garden, are drawn to her, and in conversation, many of them have told of the pain they have suffered from having had abortions or their wife or girlfriend aborting their child. And they all seem to name their aborted children Matthew or Mary. Our Lady never stops pleading for her children.

Just as a Postscript: Our Lady comforts me also. The above picture of my statue was taken last winter, December 13th, which is the anniversary of my beloved husbands death. Roses blooming in ice and snow, are no problem for her either. Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to call us all to conversion and healing. Today, may we all go to Our Mother, for comfort and grace in all the situations we find difficult. Our Mother will always listen and give us the grace we need, no matter how difficult the situation may seem. Happy Feast day Mama Mary!