Monday, August 21, 2006

Meeting Guadalupe in Chacala

I had never heard of Guadalupe until I came to Chacala. Well, I had heard the name, but didn't know her story. Or that in Mexico it is Guadalupe who revered, similar (I think) to how Mary is revered by Catholics in the US. Never having a been a Catholic, I am a little loose of the details, but I was aware of Mary, and people saying the Rosary (Hail Mary, full of grace,.....). I don't know who people say rosaries to Mexico, but I think I will ask someone.

But, somehow, I have become attached to the image of Guadalupe. Not even knowing anything about her except the famous story of her appearing to.......can't remember to details, but it involves roses and building a cathredral. Anyway. Somehow, here in Mexico, I have some kind of fascination with photos and figures and candles etc, related to Guadalupe. And when I go somewhere I tend to buy Guadalupe stuff, or at least look for it. It's kind of a mindless addiction.

Yesterday I was walking around town, doing errands, and I ran into Isreal. Isreal is a gardener and helps his wife run a small rental operation (six units) called Mirador, here in Chacala. I doubt he is would appreciate the "helps his wife" description. But anyway, he was all spiffed up, looking freshly showered and hair brushed. It was obvious he has taken special pains with his appearance.

After we exchanged greetings, he showed me the flyers he was delivering around town. It was an ad for a revival for charismatic Catholics. I am not sure what they are, but the event is taking place in Las Varas ,and is a big deal, at least for Isreal. He kept telling me to come. That his family (1/3 of the town) would give me a ride into Las Varas. First, I said that my Spanish isn't good enough to understand the Priest. He said it would still be a good thing for me to come.

Then I said that I was sorry, but I wasn't a Catholic. A Catalico. He looked stunned and surprised. It took him a few seconds to pull himself together. I don't know what was going thru his mind but I suspect it was something like this: If she isn't a Catholic she must be with the Devil. But no, she is nice and helps us get renters and loves my little grandson, Adrian. Probably isn't with the Devil".

So he smiled, and said I should come anyway, and he would leave a flyer at my house. Chacalaeno's are almost always polite, not matter what they are thinking about you.

I have had that reaction before. About not being a Catholic. Even though the schools are no longer run by the Church in Mexico, the culture is so Catholic that the schools are full of Catholic ideas, history and so on. And people are rarely exposed to the idea that there are only a few Catholics in the world. And I think Catholics here feel sorry for the rest of us poor fools who are going to Hell, or maybe Purgatory. Who knows, maybe of few of us are. I think think of a few candidates for that trip. To hell I mean.

Anyway, I am continuing with my fascination with the image of Guadalupe. Not her story. Just the image. Weird. Probably a sign of old age.

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