The Feast of Nossa Senhoura Aparecida
(Gal 5 : 18 – 25; ; Resp. 2; Luke 11: 42 – 46)
St. Paul writes: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” In the Gospel Jesus strongly condemns religion in which people decide what is of God, what is Spirit life while conveniently forgetting the great law – love of God, fear of God, reverence and obedience, respect for all of God’s creation, in a word, failing to live in the Spirit and following the Spirit’s lead.
Our Lady is our great example, her whole life was Spirit directed. She was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in her body, her heart, her soul. Her “let it be done as you say” could come only from a Spirit directed heart. Her magnificat “My soul magnifies the Lord” , proclaimed by her lips, was first placed into her heart by the Spirit for from nowhere else could it come.
Today in Brazil, the country and our Cistercian brothers and sisters, in particular, are celebrating the feast day of the patroness of Brazil – Nossa Senhora Aparecida – Our Lady of the Appeared Conception. Briefly this is the history behind it (thanks to Google!)
Three hundred years ago on October 12, early in the morning three Brazilian fishermen set out on a river and fished for hours without a single catch. They had almost given up, when one of them decided to give it one more try. He cast his net and there was something, but it wasn’t a fish…rather a piece of wood. When they pulled it out, they saw that it was a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the head
The net was cast again and pulling it in, they discovered another piece of wood…the statue’s head. As in a response to some strange instinct, the net was cast a third time and this time, it was full of fish! (There are echoes of a Gospel account in this!) The fishermen gave her the name “Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Apparecida, ” i.e., Our Lady of the Appeared Conception. A small chapel was built and soon witnesses began to tell of the many graces and the many miracles received through Our Lady. In 1930, Pope Pius XI declared Our Lady of Aparecida to be the Patroness of Brazil.
Whatever title we give Our Lady and she has many and whatever that title be, her message at Cana is eternal, “Do whatever He tells you.” As Mary’s sons and daughters, we turn to her Son, our Lord, and say, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.” This heartfelt petition, this earnest prayer comes from living truly in the Spirit and following the Holy Spirit’s lead. Like Mary’s “fiat” such a petition on
our part comes from the Holy Spirit…for our good.