As much of a pain as the snow has been, it is beautiful. I’ve never really paid attention to the holly trees, but today it looked like a greeting card. I do hate, however, when it gets dirty. It’s depressing because it’s not what it was, what it should be.
…thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Oh how quickly it turns, both the snow and the soul.
Mass today was for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I must confess to never having a strong devotion to the Patroness of the Americas, partly because of how her image is used in cultural kitsch instead of devotion. I am tainted by the fact that I can win a velvet Our Lady of Guadalupe at the county fair if I knock over four milk bottles with a baseball. This is something I need to work on. In my homily I addressed why Mary is so important and how we neglect her at our own spiritual peril. The more we focus on Mary, the more we focus on Jesus. Blessed John Henry Newman’s confessor said that one cannot love the Mother of Our Lord too much, as long as he loves her son all the more. By focusing on Mary, we preserve the orthodoxy of Jesus Christ. Mary gave birth to Jesus, thus he is fully man. Yet Mary was a virgin, thus he is fully God. Her various titles, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Walsingham, Our Lady of Lourdes, Fatima, etc., remind us that her protection – and spiritual protection flows from fidelity – is local. Her witness and her light is the reflection of the light of her son and is contextualized to wherever we may be. Loving Jesus is not for a distant people in a distant land. It’s for here and for us.
Mid-morning I led the weekly Bible Study. I was surprised by the numbers with the roads still difficult in many places (school continues to be out). Using the readings for this coming Sunday we talked about how we tend to operate under the assumption that our sins aren’t actualized unless they are discovered. John the Baptist disagrees.
Mass again at noon with unction. A quick drive-thru lunch of grilled chicken and a kale salad and a pre-martial counseling session at 2pm. For years I have used a resource called Pre-Marriage Awareness Inventory. Most couples roll their eyes at it first, but then appreciate the process. I always tell couples that no matter what I say regarding the fitness of their relationship, I assume they are going to get married anyway by someone else (they universally nod their heads in affirmation). My job is to make sure they have the best possible shot going forward. I use the awareness inventory to force conversation about topics couples usually avoid, namely communication, money, sex, and religion. For someone, either the husband or wife, there is not enough of one of those. For the past several years I have also used genograms from Family Systems Theory and I have them map their emotional family trees. I find this extraordinarily helpful for the couples. On the whole, however, I am not pleased with my pre-martial preparation and this is something I need to address in the near future.
Evening Prayer was next, followed by Shrine Prayers, and the Rosary. I blessed three rosaries at the conclusion. Fitting, I thought, on the feast day.
The day ended with the Christmas Pageant rehearsal, which if I may say, could be the Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever. It’s old fashioned, sound, and powerful. As it should be.
On the ride home the night was brighter because of the snow. Dirty as it may be, it still can reflect the light.