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With so many Marian apparitions and shrines around the world, occasionally I wonder what was Mary’s preferred language.

Of course, I am not wondering about what language Mary actually spoke with Jesus as she and Joseph guided him through the many stages of “growing in wisdom, age, and grace.” (I am, however, reasonably certain she spoke some Aramaic dialect of the common people.)

I then begin to think of another language I had not considered … “mother tongue”.

First some background…,

The Privileged place of Guadalupe

The world-renowned Marian Center at the University of Dayton reports that the twentieth century alone has been rich in reported apparitions of the Blessed Mother on every continent on our globe. It records 386 but reminds us the Church has only deemed eight of them as having supernatural character.

It is the first apparition of modern times. Mexican’s claim that Guadaloupe is also the first shrine of national and worldwide significance was Guadalupe. They also consider it the greatest place of pilgrimage in the world after Rome (seven million pilgrims annually).

I started this reflection by exploring the meaning of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparition to a young indigenous man almost 500 years ago on a hill in Mexico. Revealing my ignorance, I wondered whether she spoke Spanish or the native dialect of that time. It seems it was the native Indin dialect.

The wider context

Those who have seen Mary have come from many walks of life: men, women, and children. The locations where Marian apparitions have occurred are numerous: large cities, remote areas, caves, churches, fields, homes, monasteries, and other places.

As I thought of it, I was struck by how many other such appearances there have been over the centuries. It is truly astounding!

But there is another wonder. These apparitions appear in almost every country in the world. In each, Mary speaks the language of the time and place. I am reminded of the passage in the Acts of the Apostle. “They each heard them in their own language.” The languages were different, but the message was clear.

Then it dawned on me! The mother of Jesus speaks the universal language of mothers or “mother tongue.”
In each apparition, she speaks the motherly language of comfort, advice, warning, or encouragement.

Mary speaks to our hearts

This Vincentian Mindwalk is about her continued motherly concern for each of us no matter where we live or what we speak. Mary speaks to our hearts.

In this she echos her God, our God.

God certainly speaks to us of comfort and challenge, advice, warning, or encouragement. But, as in so many other things, I wonder whether we fall back on what we first experienced in our mother’s arms. “I still remember what my mother told me…”

The Old Testament prophets offered us words of comfort, advice, warning, or encouragement. Jesus enfleshed words of comfort, advice, warning, or encouragement. I wonder whether Jesus gave us his mother knowing that we are so often predisposed to not only listen to but also long for our mothers. I wonder wis preferred use of “father” falls i the same category.

Let us…

  • Learn the language of Mary  – comfort, advice, warning or encouragement.
  • Give thanks for our mothers who spoke in this language.
  • Pray for all mothers today.

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk.

Do you speak “mother tongue”?
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