Today, I had the privilege of leading the faculty and staff of Cascia Hall in Morning Prayer for our annual Advent prayer service. Here is the brief homily (homilette?) I gave on today's feast.
Today’s feast celebrates the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the poor
farmer St. Juan Diego in 1531 in what is now Mexico City. You’ve probably seen pictures or reproductions of the famous image of Mary that appeared miraculously in Juan Diego’s tilma (a traditional Aztec cloak), but another detail of this encounter sometimes goes unremembered.
After his bishop did not believe his story, Juan Diego asked Mary for a sign to help convince him. She led the farmer up a hill, where he found a Castilian rosebush in full bloom. This kind of flower is not native to that region, nor should it bloom in the cold of December. Juan Diego gathered these roses in his tilma, and the image appeared when he laid them out before his bishop.
This might remind us of another hibernal-floral miracle: when St. Rita, on her deathbed, requested and received a rose from her parents’ garden in the cold of January.
These miracles remind us that God’s creative medium is beauty and that he creates beauty at unexpected times and in unexpected places. As we await the beauty of Christmas break and Christmas Day, with their thankfully well-defined arrival dates, let’s also remember to await with joyful hope the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, both in his glory in the fullness of time and in the unexpected times and places of our everyday lives.