“Thus says the wisdom of God: “The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth.” Proverbs 8:22
Everyday I see pilgrims gathered around the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe that resides close to my office door, just near the stone altar on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They come dressed up, carrying bouquets of flowers, usually in groups although sometimes alone. In silence, they stand and pray awhile. Some leave plaques that say “thank you” in Vietnamese with a family name recorded. Through the years, I have come to know that the shrine is famous in Southern California, associated with miracles and healing. Exactly when the phenomena started or how remains a mystery for there are many different stories. But does that matter? Shrines are built in an attempt to make an inner spiritual experience visible. They put concrete on cries of the heart that are universally held by all of us who want divine intervention when we feel powerless. The presence of faith, the connection to the Holy Mother who stands suspended beyond time, names and anchors a place as a sacred threshold. The prayers of pilgrims simply erupt and cannot be stopped. They are then caught up like the ocean’s morning mist, by the Blessed Mother whose presence remains, strong and stalwart, for all eternity.