Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Gift of Faith and St. Juan Diego

The beauty of our faith is that it truly is a gift from the Almighty. This time of the year we can relate to the idea of gifts. What should I get ?Will he or she like it? Throughout our history the gift of our faith has inspired great men and women from the first disciples of Christ, St. Peter, St. John, St. Matthew, St. Paul to St. Mary Magdalen. They have ranged from the intellectuals of St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas and the simplicity of St. Francis to great women in the likes of St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Theresa Lisieux, Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska, and Mother Theresa.

"When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

I think it is very telling in Matthew's passage in Chapter 16:13-19 that after Jesus asks the question of who they think He is, and Peter replies correctly, Jesus proclaims that Peter's faith is in essence a gift from His Father. After this faith is established in Peter, Christ initiates His Church with Peter being the Rock.

Between the 9th and 12th of December, 1531, God desired to meet mankind through His own Mother, Saint Mary of Guadalupe. She chose the humble and modest Juan Diego as her messenger, to ask the Bishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan Zumarraga, for permission to build a small church on the plain by the hill of Tepeyac. There she would offer to the human race all her love - her own Son Jesus Christ. (from Monsignor Eduardo Chavez Sanchez, postulator for the cause of Saint Juan Diego)

Faith is a gift that me must willingly assent to. Like gift packages, some large, some small it comes to us in many different means. It is easier to recognize for those who are humble, but we must be open to receiving it, our hearts must be still willing to allow God to walk in. Juan Diego did so and on July 31, 2002, Pope John Paul II canonized him. I have never been to Mexico City to see Our Lady of Guadalupe, the image of the Blessed Virgin that appeared on the inside of Juan's clock also known as a tilma, my son went there not too long ago and said it is extraordinary, the colors seem to suspended above the material. Our faith truly beautiful and one of the marvelous gifts from our loving Father.

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