Peasants, virgins and “FAITH!”

On the way to school this morning — the offspring were actually driven! (Do you hear heavenly singing? Or my children shouting “you’re the best mother EVER?” No? Me either. Ingrates.) — we were discussing the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which happens to be today. Oh yes, that’s how we roll around here. Feast Day conversations and what not. There was quick clarification that this was not a school prayer service day (which would, of course, trigger “dress uniform” compliance) and also *not* a Holy Day of Obligation (we just had one of those — dress uniforms invoked last week).**

[A nod to the power of our tuition dollars/Catholic education: Child #4 was able to tell us the ENTIRE story of the peasant Juan Diego, the apparition that appeared to him, the flowers in his cloak, the disbelievers, the whole shebang. He began the story with a brief overview of the Spanish colonization of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Impressive retelling; gracias Senora Moreno.]

At any rate, we’re motoring along, discussing Juan Diego and the appearance of what he presumed to be Mary. Which brought up the question, how did he know? (I kept answering “FAITH!” over and over, since that’s my go-to answer on all matters of religious confusion and questioning. It’s a good catch-all. Try it sometime.) “Did he go up to her and ask, Who are you?” “Yeah, and she probably said, ‘it’s me, Mary, duh!” This was the kind of intellectual conversation we were having. There were variations on the theme of mistaken identity. (Some were hilarious. But maybe sacrilegious, unless Jesus appreciates the humor of 9 and 11 year old boys. Which I think He does.)

The car settled down for a minute again, and in the gap #2 turned to me and said, “You know, I never understood why she is called the VIRGIN Mary, and then I learned the meaning of that word. THAT was an A-HA moment, let me tell you!” [Subtract power points from the tuition dollar/Catholic education tally mentioned above.]

To which either #3 or #4 said, “What DOES ‘virgin’ mean?”  (Irrelevant as to which boy asked — neither child needed this particular vocab lesson this morning.)

I just turned the radio up and yelled “FAITH!”

I’m thinking I can let Senora Moreno address the whole Virgin thing.


**Adults teach children lots of things. Too many to count. Some lessons are simply taught through example, some are more overt. At the risk of protecting She Who Must Remain Nameless, all that I can recall about Holy Days of Obligation is this: years and years and years ago my sainted xxxxxx (saintly? Does this imply Xxxxxxx’s with saints in heaven? Xxxxxx’s not; she’s here on earth with the rest of us {saintly and not}) once told me, “I hate Holy Days of Obligation. I don’t go to church on Holy Days. I don’t want the Church telling me when I have to go to church.” I thought that was funny then, I still think it’s funny now.


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