Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On Dec. 12, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in Guadalupe, Mexico. She urged Juan to go to the bishop an ask him to build a Church on the site (Tepeyac). The bishop demanded a sign; the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared on the tilma that Juan was wearing in the presence of the bishop. The next day, the tilma was carried in procession to the cathedral, with many people flocking to see it. Between 1532-1538, 8 million Mexican natives were baptized! Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Here are so more questions from bloggers:

"On one side we say that we are children of God and that He loves us all, but then we say that only those who are baptized go to heaven. I do not get this one."

Jesus says in Jn 3:5, "no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit". We refer to this as baptism by water. There are two other ways that a person can be baptized: by blood and by desire. Baptism by blood refers to martyrs. Baptism by desire refers to those who haven't heard of Christ and his Gospel, but desire to live good lives and do God's Will. God is the one who has told us that we need to be baptized in order to go to Heaven; by doing so in one of these three ways, we participate in his covenant, in the forgiveness of sins, and thus in his Kingdom.

"How do we show God we are very thankful to Him in a consistent way?"

Mainly through prayer and service. The best way to give thanks is through the Mass. Eucharist means "thanksgiving". When Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he showed us the best way to worship God and give thanks to Him who has given us everything. Making a regular effort to attend Mass daily is an awesome way to consistently be thankful to Him. Outside of Mass, we can make time to pray in the presence of Christ in a Church or chapel regularly, if even for a few minutes. Coming to Adoration at St. A's on Friday nights (7-8 pm) is a great way to give thanks! Also, a simple daily prayer from our hearts - like "thank you, Jesus" - is a beautiful way to be thankful. Lastly, we can consistently show God our gratitude by being women and men of service - volunteering, serving the poor, donating time or treasure to charity, etc.

"By the way, the other day I saw something at Church that really bothered me (not St.Stephen's Church). The priest changed the holy water that they put at the entrance of the Church, I suppose it was dirty. Well, he just went to the kitchen and filled the vesicle with tap water. Did I miss something? When does the Holy come along?"

When he blesses it (there is a Rite of Blessing that makes tap water Holy Water).

"Question about Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the tree: Is that symbolic for something? I ask because eating a piece of fruit is not an inherently bad thing to do. I realize that God forbade them to do it, but why that? I have always figured that eating the fruit is symbolic for either some other bad act or having a sinful quality."

The fruit of the tree in the Garden is good because God created it. But, to eat it was inherently bad mainly because God said not to do it. There are other things that are inherently good - sex, e.g. - but in some situations, are bad because God says so (sex outside of marriage, e.g.). Fruit is seen as "God's sowing", and in that sense very good. When we are open to God's Grace, we share in God's sowing, bearing good fruit in our lives (the fruits of the Holy Spirit, e.g.). But, when we reject Grace (like Adam and Eve), we bear bad fruit (see Mt 7:17), or the "fruit of sin". We all bear fruit in our lives- the question is, is it good fruit or bad fruit? "So by their fruits you will know them" (Mt 7:20).


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