11 October 2020: Solemnity of Our Lady of La Leche
SHARING THE LIVING WORD
by FR. Clyde, Parochial Vicar
‘Our Blessed Mother always invites us to Pray!’
This Sunday, the whole Diocese of Saint Augustine celebrates the feast of our Blessed Mother – Our Lady of La Leche.
It was in the 1500’s that the Spanish-Franciscan-Missionaries from Madrid brought this devotion to the Christians of Florida. Its origin is from Bethlehem itself, “a devotion that touched the first generation of Christians of Florida” says Bishop Estevez.
My dear brothers and sisters, Sunday is always the Lord’s day, and yet we celebrate this day as a day of Mary, our Blessed Mother. Let us always remember that “the love of Mary and the message of Mary and the love of God and the message of God are not contradictory.”
In reality, they are complimentary.
Let me take you back to the history of the church, wherein we hear the apparitions of our Blessed Mother for the past 2,000 years. The following are church approved Marian apparitions: Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in 1531; Our Lady of La Salette in France in 1846; Our Lady of the Golden Heart in Belgium in 1932; Our Lady of Knock in Ireland in 1879; Our Lady of Fatima in 1917; Our Lady of Lourdes in 1858; Our Lady, Virgin of the Poor in Belgium in 1933; Our Lady of Happy Meeting, in France in 1664; Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in France in 1830; Our Lady of Hope in France in 1871; Our Lady, Help of Christians in Czech Republic in 1866; Our Lady of Gietrzwald in Poland in 1877; Our Lady of Lezajsk in Poland in 1578; Our Lady of Siluva in Lithuania in 1608;
Our Lady of Zion in Rome, Italy in 1842; Our Lady, Mother of the Word in Rwanda, Africa in 1981; Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin here in the US in 1859; Our Lady of Good Success in Ecuador in 1594; Our Lady of Eternal Aid in France in 1652; Our Lady, Madonna of Montagnaga in Italy in 1729; Our Lady of Sorrows in Italy in 1888; Our Lady of all Nations in Netherlands in 1945; Our Lady, Reconciler of People and Nations in Venezuela in 1976; Our Lady of Akita in Japan in 1973; Our Lady of Cuapa in Nicaragua in 1980; Our Lady of the Rosary in Argentina in 1983, and many other Marian apparitions that are still in the process of approval.
With all these Marian apparitions, there is one thing that is very much certain: every time our Blessed Mother appeared in human history, she always carried three very important messages.
First, she always spoke about turning away from sin. Conversion. She revealed it in Fatima. She requested that also in Lourdes and in her apparition in France. Saint Juan Diego also mentioned it in Guadalupe. This message is the same in the “Miraculous Medal” apparition. Our Blessed Mother always tells people, “Turn away from sin. Conversion. Return back to the Lord and have a change of heart.”
The main reason for this is because humans chose to turn away from the bosom of God. Humans have created another “gods” in the form of consumerism and materialism and or terrorism that somehow twisted his God-given pure conscience.
Second, Our Blessed Mother in all her apparitions would always invite people to Pray. That is why we have the 5 Fatima prayers. She mentioned it in all of her apparitions all throughout the world: “Pray and return to my Son.”
The obvious reason is that people are always busy doing things for the physical body only and not doing something beneficial for the soul. A lot of people nowadays do not know that the food of the soul is prayer. Saint Anthony of Padua reminds us, he said: “The life of the body is the soul, and the life of the soul is God”. Therefore, prayer, gives life to both the body and the soul.
Third, she would always say in her apparitions: “Return to my Son, Jesus. Be united with one another and be united with my Son, Jesus.”
She said this to re-affirm what Jesus once said: “apart from me, you can do nothing”. Indeed, our lives would be without meaning if we are not united with Jesus. If we unite ourselves to Jesus during our persecutions and sufferings – our agonies become meaningful and purposeful. A life without Jesus is a sad life. It has been said that a sad Christian is a bad Christian. Therefore, let us be united and be connected with Jesus always.
My dear friends, as we all together celebrate this wonderful feast of Our Lady of La Leche, let us always remember the messages of our Blessed Mother and put in inside our hearts and concretely act on it because “everything that our Blessed Mother says is what Jesus wants to say.”
Happy feast day to all of you!