Saturday, February 03, 2018

Mary - homely and revolutionary

Today Honduras celebrates its patron, Mary under the title of the Virgin of Suyapa, after the image found in 1747 by two campesinos – a statue of about 2.5 inches.

It wasn’t until a week or so ago that I saw a photo of the real statue. Mary is homely – and apparently not white. I love the image.

I have been a bit put off by the images of the Virgin of Suyapa – often ten to twenty times large than the original – adorned with a beautiful large dress.

Mary has been kidnapped.

Not like the two times the statue was stolen – once being found in a men’s bathroom in a restaurant in Tegucigalpa.

No she’s been co-opted – no longer a campesino.

In addition, she is the patron of the Honduran armed forces, their “capitan.” And the festival Mass in the basilica in Tegucigalpa has often been turned into a love fest for the government, with the president and others in the front pews.

But this is the Mary who said “yes” to the unlikely proposal of becoming the mother of God.

This is the Mary who gave birth to her child and laid him in a manger.

This is the Mary who stood at the foot of the Cross of her son.

This is the Mary who, finding out she was pregnant, visited her relative Elizabeth, while she herself was in the first months of pregnancy.

This is the Mary who, reflecting the words of Hannah in 1 Samuel, sings a revolutionary song of praise of God who overthrows the proud, send the rich away empty, casts down the mighty from their thrones.

This is the Mary who bears a God who lifts up the lowly, fills the hungry, sends the rich away empty.

I wonder if her Magnificat will be banned in Honduras as revolutionary.

Yet I am beginning to love the Virgencita de Suyapa.

This Mary, the tiny Virgin of Suyapa, homely, dark-skinned, campesina is the servant of the Lord who bears God-made-flesh and shows me what God is really like.

This is the Virgin whose statue was found when Alejandro Colindres felt a sharp pain in his back – from trying to sleep on the statue. May she still be a sharp pain in the back of all those who oppress the poor, who rely on power and wealth, who do not realize that they are servants of the Lord.

Thank you, Virgin of Suyapa. Pray for us. Pray for Honduras. 

Virgin, homely and revolutionary, I love you. Move us and all Honduras to repentance.

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