Our Lady of Guadalupe has a special place in my heart. My relationship with the Blessed Mother waxes and wanes, but any devotion I have is always a gift from her, and I feel from Our Lady of Guadalupe in particular. There was a missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at a Catholic women's conference my mom and I went to when I was a teenager. People lined up to see it in between presentations because it was a miraculous image. When I found this out, I dragged my mother away from dinner early so that we could get in line before the last talk of the evening.
There was a woman standing by the image with a stethoscope. She placed the stethoscope over Mary's heart, and some people heard her heartbeat--and then she'd place it over her womb, and some people also heard Jesus' heart. As I came up in line she was wiping the ears of the stethoscope with her last alcohol swab, so I was one of the last people she let listen. She looked at me and told me cheerfully, "Children always hear the Baby Jesus' heartbeat."
I remember feeling kind of insulted, because it was literally the day before my sixteenth (or fifteenth?) birthday. Ha. She helped me put the stethoscope in my ears, held it over Our Lady's heart ...
... and there it was. Clear and slow and deep, the slowest and most even heartbeat I have ever heard. Like when I was little and curled up in my mother's lap listening to her heart.
And before I had a chance to take it in, she moved the stethoscope down to Our Lady's belly--I could point out to you the exact flower on her dress--and I heard Him. A much smaller, faster heartbeat, but just as clear. And as I listened to it, it moved. And as it moved, I heard splashing--the liquid inside Our Lady's womb moving as her Son swam inside her.
I couldn't fathom it. I had hoped to hear His heartbeat, but this? And as I tried to wrap my mind around that, then ... I heard His voice. A cooing, happy sound. The kind I am blessed to hear every day when Michael is occupied in examining a piece of string or a toy and suddenly looks up at me and says something, just because he is content and I am there.
I heard Jesus' voice.
It was a gift from my Mother, to whom I'd had little devotion up until that point, even though I knew I was "supposed" to--a generous and completely unmerited gift.
Before I had a baby, and even while I was pregnant, I could pretend to "get" the Incarnation. As in, God becoming man--big and mind-boggling and mysterious as it was--was something I could picture and imagine. But since having a baby? That poops and laughs and looks at me and screams in the middle of the night for reasons I don't always understand?
God did all that?
I can't even pretend to "get" it anymore. It's almost ridiculous. I can imagine God as Man, but God as a baby?
And yet, I've heard that Baby's voice.
It was really important to me to get to Mass on her feast today. So yesterday I asked St. Juan Diego to please help me get there (the guy walked a good fifteen miles to get to Mass on Sunday!), and he came through. Somehow I made dinner early in the day, packed up the baby, and went. I don't think I've been to daily Mass since Michael was born (although I really can't remember). I've only been to adoration once. In addition to things like preparing dinner and making sure that Michael gets his naps, it's hard for me psychologically to get out and do these things. I know that I need to place myself more often in the presence of God; I need to learn what this looks like in my life as it is now, as a wife and mother, rather than a single person whose time is her own to do with as she pleases.
I read this in The Way yesterday: "If you accustom yourself, at least once a week, to seek union with Mary in order to go to Jesus, you will have more presence of God." So simple, and yet such an important reminder.
Other good things today: going to Wendy's with my dear friend Stephanie after Bible study; visiting with my mom; inviting two young women to our apartment after Mass for homemade chicken noodle soup, salad, and olive oil bread; pureeing some soup for Michael (he is becoming quite the carnivore! and he gets mad now if we take too long giving him his own food at dinnertime, hehe); singing O Come Emmanuel after lighting the Advent wreath with two extra voices.