Since RCIA resumed every week, we’ve generally reserved Mondays for working on presentations, but my prince got his done on Saturday, leaving Monday as an option for our date this week. Having been inspired by the creative ideas for celebrating the Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe (it got transferred to Monday this year because it fell on a Sunday & nothing trumps a Sunday of Advent) on Catholic Cuisine (I love this site!), I decided to see how far we could go with that theme.
Although I don’t find the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe itself especially appealing, this particular celebration is meaningful to me for several reasons. First, I love flowers :). When Mary told Juan Diego to gather roses in December, she got my attention! Second, the way the Blessed Virgin spoke to Juan Diego was endearing. She called him by a pet name, “Juanito” and said things like
For am I not here,
I, Your Mother?
Are you not in the Cool of My Shadow?
in the Breeziness of My Shade?
Is it not I
that am your Source of Contentment?
Are you not cradled in My Mantle?
cuddled in the Crossing of My Arms?
Is there anything else for you to need?
Nothing else, though, should trouble you,
should disquiet you.
(For more details, see here and here)
I’m also fond of symbolism and the image Mary left on Juan Diego’s tilma (besides being miraculous) is full of it. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also patroness of the Americas and patroness of the unborn (the black sash around her waist was an Aztec indicator that she’s with Child). Finally, our diocese has recently built a magnificent shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, which we’ve had the privilege of visiting.
Here’s the invitation:
When I packed my prince’s lunch, I gave him a head start by attaching a couple of notes:
May this “brick” of breakfast bread remind you to be a “living stone” in the temple Our Lady of Guadalupe requested be built in her honor–its blue & white [it was blueberry] reminding you of her colors
May the shape of these almonds remind you of the mandoorla of rays surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe 🙂
Then I started my own list & got busy in the kitchen.
Since wheat & corn are both off-limits, I made oat skillet bread to represent Juan Diego’s tilma. And since we didn’t have shaved ham to roll into “roses”, I ground ham for ham salad to represent the roses inside. The steamed potatoes represent Tepeyac hill, where Mary appeared (I printed the pictures, then “laminated” them with packing tape & taped a toothpick at the back to hold them in the potatoes). I served corn, since the goddess of corn used to have a temple on Tepeyac, and the other custard cup holds a spicy navy bean soup (since Mexicans eat lots of beans & spicy food).
Finally, the “chips” are fried scraps of the oat skillet bread that I cut off in shaping the tilmas. I put just enough oil in a frying pan to float them, so they are deep fried–as close as I could come to Mexican crispas. These were very good :). I left most of them plain, since my prince has been off of sugar entirely for a couple of years. We’ve introduced a little recently, but I don’t want to overdo it!
Partway through the meal I remembered to put on the cd of music
about Our Lady of Guadalupe.
My prince was suitably impressed :).
Over supper we compared notes on the things we’d found
that reminded us of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Here’s our list:
Breakfast bread: brick to build her temple
Bird mobile over the kitchen table: Joan Diego heard music, like beautiful birds singing
Moses (our cat) chirped at me (another bird connection 🙂 )
Almonds: shaped like the rays around Our Lady
Prayer (we both pray daily): Our Lady’s hands are folded in prayer
I floated a raspberry on my prince’s breakfast green smoothies to represent one of Our Lady’s roses
I wore her colors (and a floral skirt) and a necklace of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Hugs (we hug each other when we wake up & before my prince leaves for work): Our Lady said we’re held in the crossing of her arms
Stars in the sky (my prince leaves at 6am, at which time it was still easily dark enough to see the stars, and we saw them again at night during the date): stars on Our Lady’s mantle
My prince’s students are about the age Mary was when she was with Child (Aztec women wore a black sash around their waist to indicate that they were pregnant)
Housework: Mary’s a housewife
Fr. Feltes posted a Jewish politician for us to pray for & Mary’s Jewish
We’re praying for the unborn & Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of the unborn
It was cold. So was Mexico
We got to see the dawn, which was the time Mary appeared to Juan Diego
Rug: Juan Diego made rugs
My prince went to Mass before work & Juan Diego was on his way to Mass when he saw Mary
My smoothie was sweeter than usual (I forgot I’d added coconut cream & added banana too) & Mary spoke sweetly to Juan Diego
Holy water font: Aztecs begged for Baptism after the apparition
Moses (cat) was very persistent in getting my attention. Mary didn’t let Juan Diego get away with trying to evade her!
I mailed a package. Mary was sending a message via Juan Diego
I looked up information on the “Golden Mass” (which is Marian) for my blog of daily Advent reflections
We had “mountains” of snow outside!
My prince said my summer jacket reminds him of a tilma (it was supposed to be like a cape, but just ended up being very big & floppy)
My prince has a Hispanic student
This one takes a little more figuring out. My prince was praying the St. Andrew Christmas “novena,” which got him thinking (in a slightly quirky sort of way 🙂 ). St. Andrew was St. Peter’s brother & St. Peter was the first Holy Father, which makes St. Andrew an “uncle”…and Mary cured Juan Diego’s uncle, Bernardino
The moon was still a crescent, and Mary’s standing on a crescent moon
The wife of one of my prince’s fellow math teachers is with child (as Mary was when she appeared at Guadalupe)
My prince had sand on his shoes & it’s sandy in Mexico
After supper, we traveled to pick up my ailing sewing machine from the house of the repairman, who said he couldn’t find anything wrong with it. It works fine for me now too! That resembles Juan Diego going to get a priest for his dying uncle, only to find that Mary had appeared to him and miraculously healed him :). And my prince “healed” the printer (it had been refusing to print yellow–even with a new ink cartridge).
We ended the evening by praying Evening Prayer (as we do every night),
but with the special hymn, psalms, antiphons & prayers for Our Lady of Guadalupe.
I was impressed by how many connections we were able to make with the theme!
We both enjoyed the creativity of the date as a whole :).