Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Thoughts - Reflections on Mexico City, Part 1

Photograph by Jan Zatko courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons
Mexico City is just so big. It's sheer size is overwhelming. Whereas most metropolitan cities went up into skyscrapers, Mexico City spread out like a dog taking a nap using much more space than it need to. Despite this, I also enjoy the city because there is so much mystery in it. It has hidden delights and history that is one of the oldest in this hemisphere. It contains within it the contradiction of the Mexican people: ardent faith and a tendency toward socialism. It holds a government riddled with communists and la Basilica de la Virgen de Guadalupe. They seem at peace but are indeed in a silent war in the hearts of the Mexican people.

I've also noticed a certain Epicurean attitude within the people of Mexico City. The colors of houses, clothes, and care are bold, bright, and pleasurable to look at. Public displays of affection are much more numerous and much more intimate than in the US. Advertisements border on pornography putting the strip club advertisements in New Orleans to sensual shame. It is a very different place, and yet the same time very similar. The similarity lies in the people. No matter the culture, no matter the sins, man is still striving for God.

From right to left: My sister, Katie, my father, me,
and my Mameré
I entered the city not to experience its vice, although it wears it on its sleeve, bur rather for its virtues. I came for the same reasons millions of people go to D.F. (as the Mexicans call it), La Señora de Guadalupe. La Señora had been active my life in a very particular way. She had walked with me through my entire vocational journey. Her intercession began when I was child. My Mameré  (French for grandmother) made pilgrimage there when I was young. When she returned she gave me a stone statue (which I brought with me and TSA thought it was a weapon) of La Señora. She sat in my room my entire childhood, through my tumultuous teenage years, and throughout my seminary career. She stood as a sentinel to intercede for me in time of difficulty and great despair. It is also important that my Mameré gave me this. The only Catholic in my four grandparents, she was the bulwark of faith in my family. When she wasn't with the family, she was in the parish doing this or that. Her prayer life was solid and worthy of imitation. A few years after she died and I had already started seminary, my father showed me her daily prayer book. In it was a prayer for vocations. Although it is only speculation, she was praying for one of her three grandsons to become a priest. When all my family came in from all parts of the US for my ordination, there was a unified chorus telling me my Mameré was rejoicing in heaven watching the fruit of her prayer and suffering. Her prayers, connected with the prayers of my heavenly mother, fostered in me an openness to hear the Lord's call.

I will continue this story next Friday ...

1 comment:

Katie Sanders said...

That is great picture of us. I think that was the famous Christmas night of laughter with Mamere. I will never forget it.