Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, December 08, 2002


Just to prove that the Catholic bit of this blog is somewhat important, I'll point out that today would have been the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, if it weren't the Second Sunday of Advent instead.

Quick misconception check: It's not about the virgin birth of Jesus. The "Immaculate" part in Immaculate Conception doesn't mean Mary's parents didn't have sex, or had her without sex; it means God waved his hand and made Mary free of original sin _from the moment of her conception_. (You could compare this to being conceived already baptized, or you could compare Mary to the pre-fall Eve, the new Eve to bear the new Adam. I've never heard if there's a theological preference, but the poetic tradition all goes for the Ave/Eva dichotomy.) So Jesus was immaculately conceived, too, but Mary is _the_ Immaculate Conception -- the first member of the renewed human race.

I'm supposed to sing with my parish's choir at UD tonight, as part of their "Christmas on Campus". (Well, they can't have a big Christmas thing on campus when everyone's gone, so they pick a Sunday mass during Advent and just add a lot more songs.) I'm not sure this is going to work too well, as my throat is sore, my knee is killing me, and I missed Tuesday's practice. (Oooops.) But the show must go on. I will simply avoid any soprano descants and hope for the best.

"My lady, my queen, my little girl"

Given that I have a prayer card of Our Lady of Guadelupe tacked up in my cube, I hope I'll actually remember to post something about her feast next week. I will recommend in advance getting one of the wonderful albums of Mexican baroque music dedicated to La Guadalupana. My album's "Guadelupe: Virgen de los Indios", by the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE). It includes songs in Nahuatl and Spanish from cathedral archives throughout Latin America. Several were composed by Native American converts. There's also spoken texts from the Nican Mopohua, the Nahuatl account of the Guadelupe apparitions. (And if you go to their page, you can hear some MP3 clips.)

Speaking of Nican Mopohua, you can read a translation of the full text online. It's beautiful and not all that long.

And as he drew near the little hill called Tepeyac it was beginning to dawn. He heard singing on the little hill, like the song of many precious birds; when their voices would stop, it was as if the hill were answering them; extremely soft and delightful, their songs exceeded the songs of the coyoltotl and the tzinitzcan and other precious birds. Juan Diego stopped to look...

And then when the singing suddenly stopped, when it could no longer be heard, he heard someone calling him, from the top of the hill...And when he reached the top of the hill, a Maiden who was standing there said to him...

"Listen, my dearest and youngest son, Juan, where are you going?"

"My lady, my queen, my little girl, I am going as far as your little house in Mexico-Tlatilolco, to follow the things of God...that are given us, that are taught to us by the ones who are the images of Our Lord -- your priests."

...."Know -- know for certain, my dearest and youngest son, that I am the perfect, ever-virgin, holy Mary, mother of the one great God of truth who brings us life, the inventor and creator of people...I very much want them to build my little house here, in which I will show him, I will exalt him in making him manifest.

"I will give him to the people in all my personal love...because I am truly your compassionate mother -- of you and of all the people who live together in this land, and of all the other people of different ancestries -- those who love me, those who cry to me, those who seek me, those who trust in me...."

...And immediately he prostrated himself in her presence; he said to her: "My lady, my little girl, now I am going to make your venerable breath, your venerable word, a reality...."

Now that Juan Diego's been canonized, I suspect this feast will be particularly merry down in Mexico.


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