Monday, December 12, 2011

Labyrinth Mondays: Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Power of Pilgrimage

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Power of  Pilgrimage

Today December 12 is the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Who is she? It is said that the story began around December 9, 1531 when a homeless person (peasant) was walking along the hills of Tepeyac near Mexico City. The peasant, Juan Diego, saw a vision of a dark young woman surrounded by light and she told him that a church had to be built on the Tepeyac Hills, right in the very spot she was standing.

When Juan Diego went to the Bishop and reported that a young woman had appeared to him and told him that a church needed to build on the Hills of Tepeyac, the Bishop sent him back to the spot and demanded proof. Juan Diego traveled back to the spot and the dark woman surrounded by light appeared to him again. Diego said, “The Bishop wants proof that you are of a messenger of God.” The woman told him to take roses from the bush on top of the Tepeyac Hills. Juan Diego did not expect that anything would be growing at that time of the year; however, there was a beautiful Castillian Rose bush at the top of the mountain. Castillian roses were not indigenous to that area, but in the middle of desolation, there was the bush. The woman helped Juan Diego, place the pedals in his peasant cloak and Juan Diego returned to the Bishop. There Juan Diego told the Bishop, “The woman in light said to bring you these flowers.” Diego opened his cloak and the petals fell to the ground and in his cloak where the roses had been were the words, Our Lady of Guadalupe. From that day through December 12, 2011, the story of our Lady of Guadalupe and the church that was built at her direction has become a Mecca for pilgrims around the world with many stories of miracles and mysterious blessings from Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is re-enacted and revisited each year by pilgrims making a pilgrimage to sacred places where Our Lady has been seen or her miracles have taken place. Each year millions of pilgrims find their way to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tepeyac, near Mexico City. Other pilgrims find other Holy places to make pilgrimage too.

In Los Cruces New Mexico over a 1,000 pilgrims walk early morning, by candle light four miles to the top of Tortugas Mountain and have been doing so since the early eighteen hundreds. In addition, there are hundreds of other stories on the internet about Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is not the patron saint of The Americas. I can fill you full of rich history by sharing the importance of Our Lady, but my focus on Labyrinth Mondays, is about pilgrimage, the journey to the center of the labyrinth and back out again. What is the hunger for pilgrimage, what is the call within that inspires over 6.1 million people to descend on the Basilica in Mexico City or carry on a heritage of tradition of over 1000 in Los Cruces, New Mexico. It seems irrational to spend money, time, energy to go on a real pilgrimage to a place, but rationality is not what spirituality is made of. Rationality would deny that Our Dark Lady spoke to anyone and that perhaps he was hallucinating out of hunger. See, the brain tries hard to make sense out of non-sense. However, for a pilgrimage of 6.1 is hard to deny, to say, “No, this is not happening.” It would ludicrous to deny that the spiritual does not exist, it exist within. You can have the same aliveness as the 6.1 million have that flew, drove, found his/her way to the Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Basilica in Mexico City. You just have to be willing to take one- step outside of your very narrow and dark box. You can start safe by finding a Labyrinth (11 or 7 circuit) near you, drive there start at the beginning. Put one foot in front of the other and say, “Our Lady of Guadalupe, I am here. I come seeking a sense of fulfillment and peace that I hear you can offer me. I want to start my spiritual journey now and let it unfold. Help me, My Lady of Guadalupe. I need you.”

Almost had you considering a spiritual journey until you had to admit that you have a need and regardless of how hard you try, you cannot meet that need without some form of assistance. To begin this journey, you don’t even have to admit that you are hurting or lacking of anything, you can just start by putting on foot in front of the other on path of the Labyrinth and keep your mouth shut. Just do it and see what happens. It is a challenge. I am challenging you to move one-step closer to your spiritual self.

If you do not want to do this alone then join me on Saturday January 7, 2012 at Trinity Cathedral downtown Phoenix. You can sign up today at Please, if you have no interest pass on this information to people whose lives are richer because they take a risk to step outside the box.

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