Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
“Lighting hearts on fire” is the moto and goal of the year of consecration announced by our Bishop Most Rev. James Checchio. We are asked to consecrate ourselves to the maternal care of Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The purpose of this year of consecration is to refresh us in our own faith and bring back all our lost faithful. For too many reasons our faith and our church have been trampled down in these recent years. We need a renewal in our church and our personal life. The renewal is possible thru our consecration. Consecration means to set aside for a Holy purpose. Although we may never have thought about it or realized it, in the sacrament of baptism and confirmation we, too, were consecrated, set apart for God. We became children of God called to be his disciples, his witness in the world.
Why Our Lady of Guadalupe? Because she is the Star of the New Evangelization and Patroness of the Americas. Nearly five hundred years ago the state of affairs in what is now known as Mexico City was grave. There was a clash of cultures unfolding and both sides seemed hopelessly lost in violent destruction. The darkness of sin had become a stronghold that not even the zeal of the Spanish missionaries could break. Then a desperate plea was uttered on the part of the bishop for some form of supernatural intervention and it was heard! The response from on High changed Mexico forever – God sent a mediator, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego (a native convert to Catholicism), as a woman resembling the people of the Mexican community. Her clothing contained the Gospel message written in Aztec codex. Those who saw the miraculous image on Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak) were so profoundly impacted, that nine million converted to Christianity within eight years – practically the entire population of Mexico at the time! Through the collaboration of Juan Diego she unleashed a grass roots wave of evangelization, the likes of which have never been seen before or since.
Today, our world is in need Our Lady of Guadalupe’s intervention once again. Times are dark and the faith of so many has been weakened or lost, putting many souls in jeopardy. Who can help us get back on track and spread the Gospel message anew if not the one who came at the inception of Christianity in the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe? She is The Patroness of the Americas, as well as The Star of the New Evangelization. (From www.lighting heartsonfire.org)
As we continue our advent journey and are getting closeer to Christmas this consecration is more meaningful. As I always say the best way to prepare for Christmas is to invite the Blessed Mother into our lives. She will transform us into a true disciple of Jesus, her son. Mary was the first disciple of Jesus, and she unhesitatingly responded ‘Yes’, to the will of God in her life. She was completely receptive to God and her openness to ‘let’ His will be done in her life according to His plan, is what we want to imitate. We want her to lead us in ‘doing whatever he tells us to do’ so that an authentic renewal of our hearts and our diocese can commence. May each one of us respond as wholeheartedly as she did by saying, ‘Let it be done to me according to your word, Lord.’ Our true discipleship is what is needed today for the new evangelization. Our commitment to truly practice and share our faith will make miracles. Let us take the year of consecration seriously.
God Bless You,