Rockets for la Virgen

All night we celebrated the 487th anniversary of the appearance of la Virgen of Guadalupe in Mexico. That is, all night we listened to rockets go off in honor of la Virgen’s appearance. I want to say something snarky about how she’d prefer to be honored by harp….

Dec 12 is the day, so people pilgrimage from around Mexico and Central America to special churches, including the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Morelia. Some people have been walking for days already; others show up after work or school. (More photos of the church here.)

Mostly it seems an opportunity to buy, sell and take pictures. But as I cynically shook my head at the junk food and plastic toys, I realized that Mother Mary wants us to eat together, provide for our families, and celebrate community. But a communal trash pick up would be a good way to honor her tomorrow!

The boys with facial hair make-up on were my favorite part. They were dressed as Juan Diego, the first indigenous person to become a saint in the Americas (and the one who saw la Virgen).

The greater the sacrifice (steps walked on pilgrimage, amount of money donated to the church, crawling on one’s knees in pain) the greater the chance la Virgen will grant one’s prayer request. The superficial theology offends me, but I see a deeper wisdom.

We learn as we go, we shape our character and values through how we spend time (how many steps we walk on pilgrimage), how we use our money (church and otherwise) and what we feel (pain for purpose, pleasure for purpose). Reminds me of the Korean story about the tiger’s whisker.

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