Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Feast Day Reflection

12 December 2012

First Reading: Luke 1:46-55
Psalm:  Adapted from the poem Great Mother's Words by Rita Adan
Gospel Reading: John: 15: 9-12

Today’s homily is a bit different.  It does not address the readings directly.  Rather, I want to talk about the love in action that Our Lady demonstrates.  If we look at the three most famous and celebrated appearances of our Blessed Mother, we begin to see a pattern.

When she appeared to Bernadette, France had fallen on hard times.  Bernadette was the eldest of four surviving children of a miller and his wife.  Her family like the country had also fallen on hard times and would have been homeless if one of her mother’s relatives had not let them live for free in a one-room basement, nicknamed "the dungeon."

Our Lady appeared to three peasant children in Portugal during a time of internal and external political turmoil.  We know that times of turmoil always have a detrimental effect on the lives of members of the peasant class. 

In Mexico, Juan Diego's existence as an Indigenous person made him subject to the Spanish government’s policy in which Indigenous people were required to provide tribute and free labour to the equivalent of a feudal lord. The “lord” was responsible for their welfare, their assimilation into Spanish culture, and their Christianization.  For the Aztecs and other Indigenous people of Americas, it was a time of destruction: destruction of their religion, their culture and their freedom.

So it would seem, Our Lady, makes herself known during times of turmoil.  She doesn’t appear to the rich or the ruling class but to the poor and those without a voice.  Today, the place most in danger of destruction and most in need of our collective voice is the Earth.  This December 12th, all over the world, people are gathered in prayer: some because of the feast we are celebrating, others because of their care and concern for our home, Mother Earth.   It is my belief that Our Lady working through all of us is calling us to hear and to act. 

In May 2010 after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Chief Arvol Looking Horse issued an open letter entitled, A Great Urgency.  It was an appeal to all religious leaders.  I can think of no better time than today, feast of Our Mother as Mary, as Tonantzin, to share Chief Arvol’s message with you.

My Relatives,

Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.

We, from the heart of Turtle Island, have a great message for the World; we are guided to speak from all the White Animals showing their sacred color, which have been signs for us to pray for the sacred life of all things. As I am sending this message to you, many Animal Nations are being threatened, those that swim, those that crawl, those that fly, and the plant Nations, eventually all will be affected from the oil disaster in the Gulf.

The dangers we are faced with at this time are not of Spirit. The catastrophe that has happened with the oil spill which looks like the bleeding of Grandmother Earth, is made by human mistakes, mistakes that we cannot afford to continue to make.

I asked, as Spiritual Leaders, that we join together, united in prayer with the whole of our Global Communities. My concern is these serious issues will continue to worsen, as a domino effect that our Ancestors have warned us of in their Prophecies.
I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel our united prayers for the sake of our Grandmother Earth are long overdue. I believe we as Spiritual people must gather ourselves and focus our thoughts and prayers to allow the healing of the many wounds that have been inflicted on the Earth. As we honour the Cycle of Life, let us call for Prayer circles globally to assist in healing Grandmother Earth (our Unc’I Maka).

We ask for prayers that the oil spill, this bleeding, will stop. That the winds stay calm to assist in the work. Pray for the people to be guided in repairing this mistake, and that we may also seek to live in harmony, as we make the choice to change the destructive path we are on.

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember June 21st, World Peace and Prayer Day/Honoring Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children’s future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe
May 2012

Like Indigenous peoples, we too should see the earth as a living being and relative, created by God.  So in essence this homily is about the gospel.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

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