Ya gotta love South Bend in the winter time.
It's always a hoot watching the prospective students and their parents come through on tours in September – the month of Indian summer, when all is golden, the air is warm during the day and crisp at night. "And it's like this all the time!" So say the tour guides.
But then along comes November, and December close behind, and Old Man Winter serves up one of two delectable dishes: either constant grey, and a damp cold that's only mildly aggravating, or those legendary high pressure systems that swoop down from Alberta, Canada – with a cold so intense that your toenails want to curl up and die.
So in the midst of this harshness, I take comfort in one of the more colorful, joyful moments of the liturgical year, one that presented itself at Notre Dame this week: the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The sheer color and alegria of the day makes my heart glad. Mariachi trumpet players with their fat, joyful vibrato, Mexican dancers whose costumes are a resplendent riot of azure and gold and ruby, a Basilica full of faithful people who carry bright red roses and carnations in prayerful pilgrimage... these things are a feast for those who hearts are surrounded by the constant grey and white of Northern Indiana.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is an amazing mystery to me: a tilde presented to an illiterate and indigenous peasant, an image filled with such profound imagery that no one could've conceived it, a maternal presence so strong that it converted a nation to Catholicism when the might of a Spanish army could not. But when I survey these most amazing things, it was the presence of roses in winter that made my heart the happiest. The Patroness of the Americas knew what she was doing when she brought this gift of color and witness to the world. We need them up here, up in South Bend.
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