Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thank You for Our Gift

During the week I homeschool a fourteen year old girl and today, my homeschooler is doing her California State Testing for mathematics. She is a bright girl who can understand most of the concepts, but "big numbers" in word problems throw her off. So I am constantly telling her to re-create the problem using the same situation, but with smaller numbers. Instead of saying that Suzie ate 13,452 pieces of candy in 782 days, I would have her work out something like "If Suzie ate 120 pieces of candy in 20 day, about how many pieces of candy did she eat each day?"
Then she gets it! She now knows that all she has to do is divide, when before, her mind was paralyzed with confusion!

I guess those numbers were just so overwhelming, that she forgot how simple of a concept it really was. I think that a lot of times we do the same thing with our Blessed Mother. Many can not understand the love and the honor that we Catholics give to Our Lady. So to better understand our veneration, I propose that you simply "make the numbers smaller."

Our Mexican-Catholic brothers and sisters have a beautiful devotion to Our Lady of Guadelupe, as do many other cultures, and rightfully so. But because Our Lady appeared in their native land, their love for her is especially great. Here, then, is where I choose to set up my "word problem." If you do not know the complete story of Our Lady of Guadelupe...please look it up. For the sake of brevity, I will say only that Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego with a mission. The Church has approved this apparition (declared it valid and true) and as a result of her visit, 6 to 8 Million people were converted to Christianity!!

Now, lets pull out the essential information: We have a Gift, a giver, and a recipiant. Mary brought the saving love of Jesus to the Native people. Indeed, Mary's "yes" brought Jesus to the whole world! Remember, she didn't have to say "yes." But this is still too big to grasp, so let us simplify this problem so we can understand the concept.

Imagine Chrismas morning, Grandma comes to visit her twin 8 year old grandsons. She brings them each a gift. The first boy opens up a bright red sweater with a big yellow bird stitched right on the front. The second boy opens up the newest gaming station: wiiX3. Can you imagine their respective reactions? The first boy may manage to give his grandma a tight lipped smile and a quiet "thank you," while the second boy, on the other hand would barely be able to contain himself. He would be jumping all over the place, kissing his grandma on the cheek, repeatedly throwing out shouts of gratitude all the while keeping his eyes fixed on his new gift.

We can see here so clearly that their reactions were indicative of how much (or little) they valued their gifts. Can we not use this simple reasoning then, and apply it to the gift given to us by our Blessed Mother? I want to jump up and down and kiss my Mother Mary on the cheek and sing beautiful songs of gratitude to her! For truly, I have never been given such a Gift as this! Thank You Jesus for coming to us! And thank you Mary for letting it be!

Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima!

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