2010 / ten years after Y2K

St. Augustine, Florida at Christmastime © bob traupman 2007. all rights reserved.

Dear friends,

Can you believe that  a full decade of the Third Millennium has past under the bridge?

Do you remember the awesome millennial celebrations all over the earth ten years ago today?

Do you remember that for one shining moment the whole earth was one (won)?

And where are we today?

Ten years ago I dreamed about “A New Humanity for a New Millennium.”

In the December 1999 issue of Arise I wrote:

We  have failed to embrace the potential of the human family.  Even though we have failed, we are called to a deeper faith and hope.  The work of Jesus is hardly begun.  The task of building a new humanity, partially begun in the first and second millennia, remains the agenda for the third.

At this moment of western history, (as the clocks turn to 2000) we can take our blinders off and think in millennia, at least for this one brief moment, instead of years or seasons. As we reach beyond our self-imposed limits of sight, we can see where we are headed.

Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saw humanity as evolving toward the “Omega Point,” a point of union of all of creation drawing together in Christ.  The Omega Point, Teilhard observes, is the endpoint of the historical process.

Perhaps we can see glimpses of this wonderful and exciting world view in the theology of St. Paul:

“There is no Jew or Greek . . . Christ is everything in all of you” (Colossians 3:10).

And again:

“Let us profess the truth in love and grow toward the full maturity of Christ the head. Through him the whole body [the world?] grows and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16)

Thus, we are part of something big; with each generation, we grow closer to the goal of all humanity — complete and utter union with Christ.  We can look upon this process with hope that, despite our failures in love, humanity will one day grow into loving relationship with all there is.

Can you feel it?  Can you peer down into the future of humanity and see that we are growing in our ability to love?  Or can we only be cynical about all of the devastation that so many humans now create for one another and our planet?

If there is one thing that we can learn at the threshold of the Third Millennium, it is that we live in the present moment,  yet connected with a past with all of its achievement and failure, and with a future, yet connected with all of its hope and uncertainty.

The focus of renewing humanity has got to be with renewing ourselves, of having faith in our own growth and hope in our own future. Of  realizing that we can be transformed again and again into a new person by receiving the grace of transformation that the incarnate and risen Christ extends to us.

Where are we, this New Year’s Day 2010, Lord?

Are we better off or worse off than we were ten years ago?

And what will 2010 bring for us?

Are we prepared for whatever it will bring?

Do we realize that “You never know . . . what the next minute will bring?

Give us hope, Lord, this New Year’s Day.

A realistic hope that we might be a little kinder with one another,

a little less self-centered,

a little more willing to go the extra mile for someone, even — or especially — a stranger.

Give us the strength to be ready for whatever may come.

— If the economy would get worse;

–if we lose our job;

–if any of the dreadful possibilities I I pray might not happen that would send our country into dire crisis and possible ruin.

Give us the grace to be truly thankful and truly repentant, truly humble this New Year’s morning.

This is my prayer, Lord, for me, for my friends, for our country, for our world.

This morning may we pray as St. Francis taught us . . .

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen!

May it be so! may it be so!

And now this prayer on YouTube sung by Angelina

A Happy and Blessed New Year, everyone!

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

St. Stephen’s Day – Heroic Love

Today, December 26, is the second day of Christmas,  the first day of Kwanzaa (African American).  May we learn about our own and each others’ celebrations.  It’s easy, just Google the word Kwanzaa.

For us Christians the mystery of Incarnation (God-becoming-human in the person of Jesus Christ) needs more than one day to celebrate.  Here is Day Two:  The Catholic liturgy centuries ago put the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, the day after Jesus’ glorious feast to show that our faith is not sentimental but requires of us heroic, sacrificial love.  Stephen fearlessly witnessed in court (the word martyr means witness) to his conviction that Jesus is  the Messiah, knowing that his testimony was his death sentence.  (Read the account of Stephen’s testimony and martyrdom in Acts Chapter 6).

How heroic is our love, Lord?

Do we abandon people — our friends, our lovers, our spouses, our children when the going gets tough?

And I ask you please to be with those who have been abandoned by loved ones, Lord, like children of alcoholic parents or kids who have gone through the foster care system and may never feel Your Love, as a result.

Are we only concerned about our own survival?  What’s best for Number One — Me?

Are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of a friend in need — for You, Lord?

I ask you, Lord, on this second day of Christmas 2008 that you would allow me the grace to give my life in the service of my friends and those you present to me to care for.

Allow me the grace to always witness to your love for me, Lord, always to share it.

My life has meaning only when I share the love and kindness you have shown to me.  Allow me the grace to do that this day, St. Stephen’s Day and every day.

Stephen, a young man,  has always been one of my heroes, Lord.

We need such heroic love in our time, Lord, such heroic young people.

Inspire young people to break through the wall of their isolation and be there for their friends in the hard times ahead, Lord.

Teach us to never abandon a friend, Lord.

And let my readers know that you love them, Lord,  and will never abandon them either, no matter what.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest/ writer

Merry Christmas, everyone!

(Check this video out first!)

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,
From Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half spent was the night

Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind
With Mary we behold it,
The Virgin mother kind

To show God’s love aright,
She bore to us a Savior
When half spent was the night

The shepherds heard the story
Proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of Glory
Was born on earth this night.

To Bethlehem they sped
And in the manger they found him,
As angels heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere;

True man, yet very God,
From Sin and death he saves us,
And lightens every load.

Dear Friends,

I have been silent for a week now because I have been dealing with my usual Christmas depression.

I have no family to celebrate with; I’m an only child.  And I am a celibate with no grandkids to dote on.

Nevertheless, I have my Lord and my Lady.

I have the peace and satisfaction that I have poured my love into my writings and the tiny community I care for though I get little response.

I am at peace.  My heart is ready to receive the special gift Jesus wants to give me this Christmas.

And I pray so very earnestly that you receive the special gift God wishes to give you.

Cleanse your heart of resentments / of preoccupations with unnecessary things.

Ask yourself what really is the meaning of life?

For me the answer is to love as best I can.

I am a flawed human being.  I have serious character defects.

I have shortcomings that irritate people.

But I have a lot of love in my heart to share with whomever would like to receive.

I also have some wisdom to share that arises out of many years of suffering with the heavy cross of manic depressive disorder.

But I see it as a gift and it keeps of giving.

So, I hope you have received something nourishing and sweet in the 19 posts I have been able to create this Advent.

They are my gift to you.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family.

And if your Christmas is lonely like mine with no one really special to share it with,

know that you have someone here who understands and who reaches out to you from my heart to yours.

And be sure to open yourself to the holiness / the wholeness / the peace of Christmas.

It is there beneath all the craziness and hype.  It is yours if you seek it and ask for it.

Merry Christmas,  everyone!

Glory to God in the highest and peace to [humans] of good will!

YouTube video:  Lo, how a rose

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 18 – What wondrous love is this?

Friday of the third week of Advent (Final day of Hanukkah)

O Come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here,

Until the Son of God appear,

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Emmanuel, they tell us you are “God-with-us.”

Where are you, Emmanuel?

Are you here?

Are you here in the messiness of our lives?

Can you really ransom us from our captivities,

our slaveries to addictions, our hatreds and grudges and jealousies

that eat us up and spit us out?

Our guilts, our “coulda, shoulda, wouldas — our druthers and regrets?

Our lethargy, our hopelessness, our slumber, our rage?

O Israel!  O America!

Do you want Emmanuel to come?

Do We want you to?  (Do I?)

Many languish in mourning, Emmanuel

in exiles made by Wall Street and homelessness and sickness

and loneliness and selfishness.

Many a young heart mourns / aches for direction and meaning and love.

Prisoners waste away.  Such a waste of young lives!

Will you ransom their hearts, and souls Emmanuel?

— our hearts and souls?

Will you change our justice system to be truly just?

Will you truly rain down justice as the psalmist says?

Yes, O come, Emmanuel!

Be God-with-us!

Even though we can sometimes hardly be with ourselves.

Captivate us, inhale us with Your love.

Dazzle us with hope and new life and possibility.

Yes, Emmanuel!  We believe you will come.

Maybe not today or tomorrow.

You will transform the secret mournings of our souls.

We will dance and sing and embrace You and each other

because you came among us, Emmanuel.

You ARE with us, Emmanuel.


If only we could — would — see You, right in front of us — with us.

Then, would we — could we — embrace You / open our hearts to you!

Because of  You our being becomes “being-in-love!”

We rejoice! We give thanks! We believe!

Come, Lord Jesus!  Yes, Lord Jesus, come.

Brothers and sisters, this Christmas let each one of us give thanks

— and receive again in a new way

such a precious, wondrous love,

such a wonderful gift.

Here is a YouTube presentation of the powerful hymn sung by Steve Green  “What wondrous love is this?

Enjoy and have a wonderful day!

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 18 — Our vulnerable God

Our Lady breast feeding Jesus -- Shrine of our Lady of La Leche -- St. Augustine, Florida

Thursday of the third week of Advent (Hanukkah Day 7)

Luke tells us the charming story that God became incarnate — enfleshed — as a little vulnerable baby boy.

It truly is amazing to really think about that.

Even if you’re not ready to accept the story as true, the meaning of that story can really grab you if you let it.

But, sadly, so many of us celebrate Christmas all our lives without really reflecting on the implications of the story for our lives.

Jesus was not only vulnerable in his birth, but also in his death.

He chose to stand before Pilate, bound, scourged and silent.

He chose to say nothing or do anything in his defense.

Vulnerable indeed.

What’s the message here?

St. Paul gives us a clue:

“When I am powerless then I am strong” 2Cor 12:9-10

How can that be?

I think about that a lot because I am powerless a lot dealing with depression

Some days I cannot get out of my chair.

Jesus is showing that in our vulnerability,

in our weaknesses,

in our poverty of spirit,

in the brokenness of our lives

we will find God.


You came into this world as a little child

as needy as any other baby.

You sucked at Mary’s breast and

received your nourishment as God from a human mother.

You became one of us and with us.

You accepted our fleshiness, our misery, our joys and sorrows.

You came down to our level to raise us up to the dignity of God

Thank you, Jesus!

Come into our world this day.

Teach us to accept our own vulernabiity as something positive.

Teach us to reognize Your face in the most vulnerable among us

for they can be our most radical spiritual teachers.

They know.

Help us understand, Lord.  Help us truly understand.

Now to get us in the mood here is a charming YouTube rendition of  The Little Drummer Boy.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 18: Depressed or lonely at Christmas?

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer

Our spirits by thine advent here;

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O Antiphons

Wednesday of the third week of Advent (Hanukkah Day 6)

There sometimes can be a lot of depression swirling around at Christmas.

People can feel lonelier because we’re expected to be cheerier and we just don’t feel it.

This blog is meant for us to pray and reach out and notice these folks.

Let’s be with folks who have lost a loved one and still miss them.

With kids who are shuffled back from one parent to another to “celebrate” the holidays.

With soldiers far away from home and their families at home without them.

And so, may we pray:

There are sometimes dark clouds in our lives, Lord.
Pierce the gloominess of our lives with Your very own Light.
May we allow You to dawn in us this day.
May we be ready for Your dawning in a new way in our lives this Christmas.
May this celebration of Jesus’ birth bring meaning and joy in the midst of our worries and concerns.
And may we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice
in our homes, our neighborhoods, our jobs, our world.

And there are dark and ominous clouds over our world right now, Lord.
Pierce our greed and hate and fear and complacency and violence with hope, Lord.
May we pray earnestly for a new dawn for our beloved country and our world.
May we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice in our land.

Lord Jesus, come!  May we be ready for the dawn of your coming in a new way this Christmas,
May the light of that dawning transform our lives and our land.
We need Your Light and Your Love more than ever.

And now for your listening enjoyment The Many Moods of Christmas Robert Shaw conducting.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 17 – What’s it all about?

Tuesday of the third week of Advent (Hanukkah Day 5)

Dear reader,

I’ve decided to take a deeper turn in this Advent blog.

As I get closer to Christmas, my prayer is opening up to two things in the last few days.

(1) a deeper realization of my sinfulness and frail human nature; this has caused me depression and pain and soul-searching.

and (2) an ongoing surrender to the process of transformation that is occurring in me as I turn my life and my will over to my Higher Power.

That, ongoing dual process —  “a kind of coincidence of opposites,” dear friends, is what gives meaning and joy to my life.

The Church invites us to enter into that process of ongoing repentance and conversion each year during Advent.

To step out of  the rat race. To take a look at our the maneuvering / scheming / elbowing /  for  status or power or success or prestige or any of the things that we are told we’re supposed to have in our American society today to make us happy.

The wise person realizes they won’t!

Let’s reflect a little more on what we can learn from John the Baptist what it’s all about:

He was a pretty successful preacher.  People were streaming out into the desert to listen to him; he was persuasive.  People were willing to change their lives after listening to him.

But he didn’t let it go to his head.  He realized what his role was.  He was just the “advance man.”  And was content with that.

He knew who he was.  He didn’t let success go to his head.  He didn’t want to be the star.  Even though many thought he was “The Man.

The saying of John that I love and pray often myself is:

“He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

My spiritual director reminds me all the time to stay focused on Jesus. To make all my plans provisional.

“To seek through prayer and meditation knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out.”  (Eleventh  Step of Alcoholics Anonymous)

I was a young ,cool, creative priest.  I was a rising star.  I thought I was pretty hot stuff.

A bishop once told my father, “He’ll be a bishop someday.”

But God had other plans.

I ended up strapped to a gurney with a massive shot of thorazine in you-know-where and have had several bouts of the crazies in 32 years.

Today, I’m just a little guy, content  with a tiny flock to care for and writing a little blog few know about.

Arrogance was my greatest character defect and it has taken till recently to whittle that away.

And so today I pray with the one who cried in the wilderness:

Jesus, You are the light of my life.

Without You I would be nowhere.  Nada. Nothing.

And that’s fine with me.

(And to tell ya the truth, I’m amazed at that! That’s quite a transformation for me!

I want You to be in all my relationships,

in all of my writing,

in everything.

You help me to be humble, Lord.  You cast me down and raised me up again.

You chastise me; You heal me.

With St. Paul, You have helped me realize that in the midst of my brokenness,

it was — and is — You who make me strong.

Not in the ways of this world,  with ambition or striving for power or success or influence,

but in knowing You are right here:  You are enough for me, Lord.

Whatever flows from my relationship with You will be good as I allow You more and more to increase

and  allow my false self, my little (Big) ego to fall away.

To  be humble is to be close to the “humus” — “muck”.

So, I’m content with the muckiness of my life.  I have always hated when people put me on a pedestal like a plaster statue.

I’m just as sinful as anyone else. I don’t pretend not to be.

And yet, You have surprised me / delighted me / ravished me

with Your love and helped me accept my humanity / my fragility / my sins;

And you know what?  There, I found You!

You raised me up!  You drew me to Yourself!

You bound up my wounds!  You clothed me with LOVE!

What a joy!

And now I’m eager to share Your Love.

To help everybody realize that You love each and everyone — no matter what.

But You want us to love You in return.

Yes, Lord Jesus, You must increase; I must decrease.

Let me never ever forget that.  No matter what.

In the coming days I will try to have you take a deeper look at  the mystery of the Incarnation — God’s love affair with our messy /mucky / crazy (at least I admit it!!) human race as it is appears in Luke’s story that God came into our world as a vulnerable, homeless baby who cooed and pooped in his pants like the rest of us.  That story — even if you just look at it as a story — has much to teach us.  Let’s take a fresh look at it and go down to a deeper level.  We’ll do that in the next week.

Here is a YouTube orchestral and voice arrangement of J. S. Bach’s lovely Advent piece Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 16 – The Burning Bush of the World

Monday of the third week of Advent –  (Hanukkah Day 4)

Advent themes are all about waiting for light to shine in our darkness.
For we who are Christians we await, Jesus, Yeshua, who is for us the Light of the World.
We prepare a place for him to shine in our own hearts this day.
We invite you to search out your own inner meaning whatever that might be.

On this the fourth day of Hanukkah we honor our Jewish brothers and sisters with these words
that appear in the Catholic liturgy just before Christmas, one of the magnificent O Antiphons:

O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel,

you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush

and on Mount Sinai gave him your law.

Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.

And my prayer . . .

O Adonai*, we need you in our world more than ever!

You appeared in the burning bush long ago.

I remember this awesome sunrise two years ago over the ocean at  St. Augustine Beach.

I’m reminded of the old sailor’s maxim:  “Red at night, a sailor’s delight; red in the morning, sailor’s take warning.”

Come with your refiner’s fire and burn your way into our hearts.

so that we can prepare the way for the Messiah to come into our lives,

into our homes,

our workplace and marketplace,

our neighborhoods

our beloved  country,

our waiting world!

Come Lord Jesus!


What are  the “O Antiphons?” One of the most cherished collections of our ancient liturgical chants are the seven “O Antiphons” which are sung each of the seven nights before Christmas at Vespers. They have beautiful chant melodies.  I am using some of them interspersed in the next 11 days before Christmas. Here is a web site that has information and  recordings of the chant melodies of all seven. (Scroll down to the bottom.)

Here is an audio slide show of O come, O come Emmanuel for your reflection.

* Adonai — one of the names the Jewish people use for God.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 15 – What should we do?

Third Sunday of Advent (Day 3 of Hanukkah)

In our Catholic liturgical calendar this is “Gaudete Sunday — the Sunday of Joy.  (You’ll see why at the bottom of this entry.  We’re half way through Advent and the vestment color is Rose, rather than purple, the color of penitence.  So, we see the celebrant in rose vestments, which is a little too close to pink (ahem!)  I had a “Rose” cell phone once; everybody asked me why I had a pink cell phone (Don’t ask. I bought it when I was manic.)  I insisted it was rose – not pink!

Enough foolishness. Let’s think again about John the Baptist and his message for us.

The crowds went streaming into the desert of Judea.

Hot and sweaty, hungry and thirsty they crowded along the shore of the River Jordan.

What drew them there?

Very strange!  He was telling them they had to repent.  To change their lives.

That wrath was coming.  They listened.

It was a new era. A special time in human history.

People knew that they needed to change.

They were ready.

But wrath may be coming to us in America if we don’t wake up.

But we’re not listening.

They asked John, What should we do?

He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”
Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah.
John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire(Luke 3: 1 – 18)
Note how simple and practical John’s suggestions are!

They stood in line to be baptized with water.

To be cleansed of their sins.

But he railed at the hypocrites.  The ones who were pretending to be religious but whose hearts were filled with jealousy and hatred.  The ones who justified themselves and condemned everyone else.

We have to be sincere.  Authentic. Real. Honest with ourselves and others.  We need to look at the “Real Me” — not the face we put on for the world.

Advent is a time to look inward to ask God and ourselves “What should I do?”

What should I do to make my life better?  What do I need to root out of my life that is disordered — that hurts me or my family or others?

What do we need to do in America to root out what is disordered — that hurts people, that marginalizes some at the expense of others?

I share with you now an example of what I am praying for today:

Just this morning, I disturbed my own peace by getting frustrated and upset about something I could not control. I had tried to get books to a one of the guys I am sponsoring in prison that would enable him for the first time in his life to enter into this holy season.  I had brought him back to the faith and hoped to help him to enter into it more deeply.  It’s now the third week of Advent and they haven’t let him have them yet.  I have to deal with prison rules all the time to help the three guys  in prison I am sponsoring to change and grow, to love the Lord.

It’s just so awful, Lord.

Our American prison system is so inhumane.

People who want to change have to struggle to do so.

And those who care for them have to struggle to to contact them,

expensive phone calls, no hard cover books, background checks for visits, yada, yada, yada.

As a priest I cannot even bring in a pen.

Many come out more angry than they went in.

And I have to try to wade my way through the mine field of “the System,”

Teach me not to get frustrated and angry, Lord.

It’s one of those things I cannot change and need “the wisdom to know I can’t.”

I’d like to not let life disturb me no matter what.

But I’m not there yet, Lord.

I ask for that grace today, Lord.

Allow me to be at peace in all circumstances.

I know it will take some time.

“Progress, not perfection.”

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again:  rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

— the second reading of today’s Mass (Phil.4:4-7.)

Yes, Lord that’s exactly what I need to hear.

Please grant me  — us — the grace to live that way.

To You be honor and glory.  Amen!


(even if we are wearing pink — er — “rose” vestments.
Here’s Randy Travis and “Shall we gather at the River.”

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 14 – God prefers the poor

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – December 12  (also Day 2 of Hanukkah)

Today,we honor our sister and brothers in Mexico
as they celebrate the appearance of the Mother of Jesus  to a poor peasant native Mexican.

Today, may we unite ourselves in solidarity with all the peoples of North and South and Central Americawho rejoice in this feast day;indeed may we unite ourselves in solidarity with  all the world’s poor.
Here is the charming story:

An elderly Indian man named Chuauhtlatoczin (“Juan Diego” in Spanish) had a vision of Mary, the mother of Jesus, at Tepeyac, a squalid Indian village outside of Mexico City, 469 years ago. Mary directed Juan Diego to tell the bishop to build the church in Tepeyac. The Spanish bishop, however, dismissed the Indian’s tale as mere superstition. He asked that he bring some sort of proof, if he wanted to be taken seriously. Three days later, the Virgin Mary appeared again and told Juan Diego to pick the exquisitely beautiful roses that had miraculously bloomed amidst December snows, and take them as a sign to the bishop. When the Indian opened his poncho to present the roses to the bishop, the flowers poured out from his poncho to reveal an image of the Virgin Mary painted on the inside of the poncho. That image hangs today in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City and is venerated by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.

Significantly, Mary appeared not as a white-skinned, blue-eyed, blond-haired European Madonna but as a dark-skinned, brown-eyed, black-haired “Tonantzin,” the revered Indian Mother, and she spoke to Juan Diego not in cultured Castillian but in his own Nahuatal language. She spoke in the language of the powerless, disenfranchised, and despised Indians. She was then and is today, “La Morenita” – the Brown One. Her message to the bishop was that God’s church should be built out on the fringes of society, amidst the poor and the downtrodden. The vision challenged the powerful conquerors, the Spaniards of Mexico City, to change their way of thinking and acting. It challenged them to move out from their position of power and influence to the periphery; to leave their magnificent cathedral and build God’s house in Tepeyac – among the poor and the despised, away from the center of power and culture and education and the arts.

Guadalupe is a “vision” story and, like all such stories, tells us something about God and something about ourselves. More precisely, it tells us how God wants to be among us. St. Juan Diego’s vision of where God wants to be or whom we should listen to should come as no surprise to us. Throughout history, God has consistently chosen to be with poor people. In that respect, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s message to St. Juan Diego at Guadalupe is a restatement of Jesus’ mission: That God is in those who are hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, naked, sick, stranger, and suffering. The challenge for us is to heed the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the message of Christ’s Gospel, and reach out to those who belong to the margins of our society.
Source: The Manila Bulletin online.

God of power and mercy,

you blessed the Americas at Tepeyac

with the presence of the Virgin Mary at Guadalupe.

May her prayers help all men and women

to accept each other as brothers and sisters

Through your justice present in our hearts

may your peace reign in our world.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

. . . official prayer from today’s Mass

The Image of Our Lady is actually an Aztec Pictograph

which was read and understood quickly by the Aztec Indians.        
She was greater than the dreaded Huitzilopochtli, their
sun-god of war.
She had clearly crushed Quetzalcoatl,
the feathered serpent moon-god.
She was greater than the stars of heaven which they worshipped.
She was a virgin and the Queen of the heavens for Virgo rests over her womb and the northern crown upon her head.
She appeared on December 12, 1531 and the stars that she wore are the constellations of the stars that appeared in the sky that day!
She was a Queen because she wears the color of royalty.
Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son who died
on the cross for all mankind.
She was with child because she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.
She was the Mother of God because the flower was a special symbol of
life, movement and deity-the center of the universe.
She was not God but clearly there was one greater than Her and she
pointed her finger to the cross on her brooch.
She is the Queen of the Earth because she is wearing a contour map of
Mexico telling the Indians exactly where the apparition took place.

The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Science

1.   The image to this date, cannot be explained by science.

2.  The image shows no sign of deterioration after 450 years!
The tilma or cloak of Saint Juan Diego on which the image of Our Lady has
been imprinted, is a coarse fabric made from the threads of the maguey
cactus. This fiber disintegrates within 20-60 years!

3. There is no under sketch, no sizing and no protective over-varnish on the

4.  Microscopic examination revealed that there were no brush strokes.

5.  The image seems to increase in size and change colors due to an unknown
property of the surface and substance of which it is made.

6.  According to Kodak of Mexico, the image is smooth and feels like a
modern day photograph.  (Produced 300 years before the invention of

7. The image has consistently defied exact reproduction, whether by brush or

8.  Several images can be seen reflected in the eyes of the Virgin. It is
believed to be the images of Juan Diego, Bishop Juan de Zummaraga, Juan
Gonzales, the interpreter and others.

9.  The distortion and place of the images are identical to what is produced in
the normal eye which is impossible to obtain on a flat surface.

10. The stars on Our Lady’s Mantle coincide with the constellations in the sky on
December 12, 1531. All who have scientifically examined the image of Our
Lady over the centuries confess that its properties are absolutely unique
and so inexplicable in human terms that the image can only be supernatural!

P. S.  Today is the first anniversary of this blog.

I rejoice and give thanks for the Lord’s gift of creativity in word and image to share with you.  There have been 90 posts this year — an average of three a week, though there have been long times in which I was silent.  My goal is to post every day from the fruit of my reflection and prayer.  How long it will take to get there, I don’t know.  I just respond to the inspiration God gives me when he so chooses.  A single post takes about 2 -3 hours to write and compose.

Thank you, dear readers!

I look forward to 2010!

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer