“No estoy yo aquí que soy tu Madre?” Estas palabras fueron pronunciadas por Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe a un hombre indígena mexicano hace casi cinco siglos, y cambiaron el curso de la evangelización en el nuevo mundo. Los españoles ya llevaban varios años intentando convertir al nuevo mundo, pero nada funcionaba. La hostilidad entre los indígenas y los conquistadores era lo único que resultaba de los muchos intentos. En medio de este ambiente de hostilidad, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe vino al rescate de los necesitados. Ella vino a San Juan Diego y le dio todo su amor y compasión maternal.
“Am I not here who am your Mother?” These very words were spoken by Our Lady of Guadalupe to a Mexican indigenous man nearly five centuries ago, and they changed the course of evangelization in the new world. The Spanish had already spent several years trying to convert the new world, but nothing was working. Hostility between the indigenous people and the conquistadores was the only thing coming out of their many attempts. Into this environment of hostility, our Blessed Mother came to the aid of those in need. She came to St. Juan Diego and gave him all of her motherly love and compassion. Now, she is known as the Queen of Mexico and Empress of America.
In 2016, Pope Francis raised the rank of today’s celebration of Mary Magdalene from Memorial to Feast in the liturgical calendar. This means that not only will the special readings for the day be proclaimed, but the Gloria will be prayed, and, for the first time ever, a special Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer will be included in the celebration of the Mass.
In the previous installments of this series, I described preaching as a relationship that leads to an encounter with God. But what constitutes “good” preaching? Can it really change people’s lives? How we define “good” preaching affects both how preachers evaluate themselves and how listeners respond in feedback. If preacher and parishioner are to work together to renew Catholic preaching, then what does “good” mean?
During a recent conversation with an acquaintance of mine, I found myself striving at all costs to evangelize via information. This person recently shared that they were interested in exploring multiple denominations of Christianity, curious to seek out the Truth after only ever knowing one particular theology. After a few discussions, I learned that this individual was holding a certain belief about God that I personally thought fell short. In turn, getting excited about the potential of their conversion and feeling a responsibility to instruct, I combated my friend’s theological idea with numerous scriptural references. This approach, unfortunately, did not produce the results I had hoped for. Instead, I fell right into a trap known as the “righting reflex”—a trap that I, as a counselor, have been trained to avoid.