Friday, January 15, 2010
The Road to Juquila - Part 1: The Desire to Get to Know Her, La Virgin of Juquila, Begins
I have so many, many thoughts,
so many things run through my head
after my recent pilgrimage to Juquila.
this will be the first of many blog entries
about that most wonderful trip.
It has been a process.
And like all processes,
it started somewhere. . .
. . .when I least expected it. . .
and only now am I realizing
how many years ago
this desire to visit La Virgen de Juquila
began in me.
I have always had a devotion to
and a love for
Anyone who knows me even ever so slightly
knows this about me.
I’ve even built a website in Her honor.
And I have always had a particular interest
in the titles given to Our Lady
by the peoples of the Americas.
But I must admit
that I do not know
a great many of the stories
attached to these titles
of Our Most Blessed Mother.
And such was the case for me
with the Virgin of Juquila.
I knew that this was a title of Our Lady
venerated by the people
of the state of Oaxaca in Mexico,
but I really didn’t know much more than that.
I also knew several people
who had gone to the little church
where she is venerated by that title.
And then, several years ago,
a priest said something in casual conversation
that just made me absolutely angry.
At the time
I just could not believe the words
that were coming from this man’s mouth.
At the time
I found his words to be unforgivable.
Oh, I know, I know.
We are all human
and as such
we all say and do things
that we later regret.
The thing is,
there were others there
who actually believed what he said.
And that’s what made me angry.
If it were just a conversation with me,
well, that’s one thing.
But he said some things
that others present believed to be true.
to whom much is given
much will be expected.
To be ignorant of a subject matter is one thing.
But to speak things that are so untrue
that is another matter entirely.
And if one is uncertain of what the truth is
of a particular subject matter,
would it not be better
not to speak what you are unsure of??
Would it not be better
to keep one’s tongue silent????
this man made me angry.
He said that the veneration to Juquila
was a veneration to an abortion clinic.
People who said that they visited Juquila
had actually gone to have an abortion
or have accompanied someone who had an abortion.
He said that there was no title to Our Lady
under the name “Juquila,”
but rather that it was all about abortion cover up.
Juquila is the name of the little mountain municipality.
(Actually, Santa Catalina Juquila.)
That being the case,
there could very well be a clinic of some sort
that uses that name.
having recently returned from Juquila
I can honestly say
that I never saw any abortion clinic.
this is not to say
that maybe there isn’t one
somewhere up in those mountains,
but I never saw it.
he spoke a blatant lie
when he said
that there was no Lady of Juquila,
when he stated that there was no real veneration
to Our Lady by that title.
But you know,
his cold and callous untruth,
his sheer stupidity
started the fire
that began to burn in me that day.
And that desire
was to travel the Road to Juquila.
Little did I know
that when he spoke his untruths
I would begin developing the promesa
I would later make to Our Lady,
the promise to tell and share Her story
with as many people as I can.
It still angers me,
and a justified anger, I do believe,
that this priest could somehow
make an abortion accomplice of Our Lady.
I am thankful.
Were it not for his unwillingness
to study the matter further,
his stubbornness at not wanting to know the truth,
the desire would never have been born in me
to seek the truth for myself
and to visit Her at Juquila.
I suppose that Spanish colloquial statement
fits well here:
No Hay Mal Que Por Bien No Venga
(There is not bad from which good doesn't come.)
And so while he may choose
to distance himself from Our Lady,
I grow ever closer to Mary of the Magnificat,
La Virgen de Juquila.
I began my travels
down the long and winding
Road to Juquila
about six years ago
during a time in my life
when I had
neither the gumption needed to correct this priest
nor the financial means
to take a plane south of the U.S. border.
I’ve since flown to Mexico several times,
with hopes of returning to Mexico
twice more this year alone.
I just returned from visiting that shrine in Oaxaca.
And now, with this blog,
I hope to set my mind at ease
and correct this man’s error
as best as I can.
in him will also be born
to travel to the state of Oaxaca in Mexico,
the desire to travel
that long and winding road,
full of twists and turns
up that high mountain,
up that road full of obstacles.
Perhaps one day there will be born in him
the desire to travel
The Road to Juquila.
I certainly hope so.
At the very least,
I pray to Our Lady
that this minister of God
would learn to respect
the popular religiosity
of a people so strong in their faith.
For as I see it,
he is the living embodiment
of why some people
are a people of faith
in spite of the Church
and not because of her.
In the end,
I guess it is always
a Holy Spirit thing.
As I write about my experiences
on the Road to Juquila
(which will include the story
of La Virgen de Juquila)
I will keep this gentleman in my prayers
and I ask all who read this blog
to do the same.
And you know,
I’ve always said that sometimes
we need to hear the exact opposite
of what we know to be true
to move us from our complacency.
Sometimes it takes someone
saying something we know isn’t right
to make us stand up and take notice,
stand up and take action.
And with those thoughts,
I think of my father,
who always taught us
to stand somewhere.
And so I do not think it is a long stretch to say
that the Road to Juquila
really, really began in me as child
with my father teaching me
to love justice and truth.
Wow. . .
. . . . Our Lady has been waiting for me
for quite some time. . .
Sort of reminds me of that Spanish hymn
to Our Most Blessed Mother:
“Una madre no se cansa de esperar. . .”
(A mother never tires of waiting. . .)
And thus began
my journey to Juquila.
Like most journeys of faith,
it began with a movement of the heart,
when and where I least expected it.
It has not been a journey of miles,
but rather, one of years.
And I am ever grateful
that I headed the call
to take The Road to Juquila.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray For Us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray For Us.
Our Lady of Fatima, Pray For Us.
Virgen de Juquila, Ruega Por Nosotros.
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About the photo:
I picture I took of some statues of La Virgen de Juquila,
handmade by local artisans,
sold by the local street vendors.