Feast of Our Lady of Candelaria
This piece is contributed by Soeur Marie Courage
All the watching hosts of Heaven know that hard times plague the race of men who, in their suffering, have forgotten to laugh with joy at the gift of Life.
Deep at the bottom of the ocean, in the womb of creation, the Mother's song rises and creates being from nothingness. A conscious choice is made, and the sea births Her holy treasure.
You sway in the waves, cascading toward shore, and when you touch the sand, your fluidity takes form. No longer water, you become wood, and root your love in the land of your arrival. At the sea's edge, you record the song of the Mother upon your feet, to remember your mission, the waves lapping and frothing about you.
EAFM IPNINI FMEAREI
The bottom of the ocean is the place of eternal patience, and so you wait. For men to come. For time to pass. For humanity to welcome love's readiness. You hold your child to you tenderly, for He is hope, and you rock Him in your wisdom, singing a lullaby.
EVPMIRNA ENVPMTI EPNMPIR VRVIVINRN APVI MERI PIVNIAN NTRHN
Darkness descends, and in the warm night you almost feel as if you were back at the bottom of the sea, singing with your sisters. But no. That time is over. You know what you must do. You take a single green candle from the folds of your robe, and ignite it with a whisper. Come.
Here they are just now, two goat herds. Rough men with random thoughts. Humans tend to resist the unfamiliar, and upon seeing you, rather than dropping to their knees in reverence at the soft light of your amazing grace, they react with violence. One raises a stone, the other a knife. They advance with fear and malice.
You move a hand, gently, as if waving. As if writing. As in a caress.
The first man's eyes widen in terror. His arm, still clutching the rock, is frozen in an uncomfortable paralysis. The second man is mute with fear. He cannot stop it. He cannot help it. He slices into himself with his knife. Away, like two jackals, they run howling along the beach.
Sometimes it takes a small act of war to wage peace.
And you wait some more, rocking your babe, who coos at you and looks up at the stars. They encircle your head in a crown of light, as each crashing wave now begins to chant your names. Shh. Shh. Shh. They are secret. They are thousand.
The men come back, crying and bleeding, cowering behind another man who risks nothing but bold eyes. They hang back while he inspects you, the diamonds in your eyes twinkling dangerously as you meet him with steady regard. He orders the men to come and lift you, to carry you back to his village. Aghast, trembling, they approach. One reaches to cautiously grasp you about the waist with the only good arm he has left. Miraculously, his paralyzed arm loosens instantly.
The second man reaches to support you at your back, bleeding on your gown from his knife wound. The blood seeps into your wood, staining it rich. The gash on his arm glistens for a moment, then sears closed and scarless as he yelps with surprise.
Fully healed and whole once more, NOW THEY BOW WITH REVERENCE.
Knowing Mother, you teach from the place of profound Mystery. You know the secrets of human-rearing, and you apply them to the children these men have become. Your Yes will only mean something to the race of men if you give them your No first. Otherwise, they will treat your Yes carelessly, dishonoring themselves with casual entitlement. The sea has taught you well.
They enshrine you, call you Mother. Of course.
They venerate you and give you gifts. Silly. You want only their humility. But it makes them feel good to do it, so you turn away nothing.
They give themselves to you in utter trust, weeping, and you devour their surrender. Hungrily.
Another day will come, a day of guns and cannons and crosses. But that is not today. Today you are The Goddess. Today you are The Dark Mother. Today you sparkle black from your Shrine and call me to come. Today is a good day. I'll bring you fishes, gasping in the nets I wove till my own hands bled with roughness. That will be my gift.