Tuesday, September 22, 2015

our most valuable treasure: el Cobre


Today, on the fourth and final day of Pope Francis' visit to Cuba, he celebrated Mass at el Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity.

Almost by "chance," I stumbled on a video of el Papa Francisco praying silently before Our Lady of Charity last night, and I was moved by this simple and profound image.

As I read the words that Pope Francis prayed out loud with those gathered at the Basilica yesterday, I heard echoes of many others who, like him, understand the power and the hope that this particular image of Mother Mary has for the Cuban people. 

I could hear Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict as they, too, knelt before her. I could hear the awe of Thomas Merton as he described his devotion to la Caridad. I envisioned Ernest Hemingway humbly leaving his 1952 Pulitzer prize medal there. And above all, I could hear my parents telling me once more about their love and confidence in la Caridad, whose shrine they visited together on their honeymoon. 

I can't find an English translation of Pope Francis' words -- but I will translate for you two of the paragraphs I've copied below in Spanish, the ones I have highlighted in bold.

The bottom line... for all cubans, La Cachita is nothing less than a tangible reminder of God's love--and God's presence amidst his Cuban children.

With these words, the Pope of Mercy is once more challenging all Cubans, on the island as well as exiles, to search for and ask for the graces of unity and reconciliation through our Catholic faith, and under the mantle of Our beloved Lady of Charity.

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¡Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre,
Patrona de Cuba!
¡Dios te salve, Maríallena de gracia!
 eres la Hija amada del Padre,
la Madre de Cristo, nuestro Dios,
el Templo vivo del Espíritu Santo.

Llevas en tu nombreVirgen de la Caridad,
la memoria del Dios que es Amor,
el recuerdo del mandamiento nuevo de Jesús,
la evocación del Espíritu Santo:
amor derramado en nuestros corazones,
fuego de caridadenviado en Pentecostés sobre la Iglesia,
don de la plena libertad de los hijos de Dios.

¡Bendita  entre las mujeres
bendito el fruto de tu vientreJesús!
Has venido a visitar nuestro pueblo
y has querido quedarte con nosotros
como Madre y Señora de Cuba,
a lo largo de su peregrinar
por los caminos de la historia.

Tu nombre y tu imagen están esculpidos                          Your word and your image are engraved
en la mente y en el corazón de todos los cubanos,          in the mind and the heart of all cubans,
dentro y fuera de la Patria,                                                  within and outside their patria
como signo de esperanza                                                    (homeland), as a symbol of hope
y centro de comunión fraterna.                                  and as the center of our brotherly communion.

¡Santa María, Madre de Dios y Madre nuestra!            Oh holy Mary, Mother of God and our Mother!

Ruega por nosotros ante tu Hijo Jesucristo,
intercede por nosotros con tu corazón maternal,
inundado de la caridad del Espíritu.
Acrecienta nuestra fe,
aviva la esperanza, aumenta y fortalece
en nosotros el amor.

Ampara nuestras familias,
protege a los jóvenes y a los niños,
consuela a los que sufren.
Sé Madre de los fieles
y de los pastores de la Iglesia,
modelo y estrella de la nueva evangelización.

¡Madre de la reconciliación!                                     Mother of reconciliation!
Reúne a tu pueblo disperso por el mundo.            Gather together your (Cuban) people 
Haz de la nación cubana                                          dispersed throughout the world.
un hogar de hermanos y hermanas                         Make the cuban nation
para que este pueblo abra de par en par                a home of brothers and sisters
su mente, su corazón y su vida a Cristo,                so that as a people they may open wide
único Salvador y Redentor,                                      their mind, heart, and life to Christ,
que vive y reina con el Padre                                   our one and only Savior and Redeemer...

y el Espíritu Santo,
por los siglos de los siglos.

Amén.
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"This is our most valuable treasure (Cobre), this is our greatest wealth and the best legacy we can give: to learn like Mary to leave home and set out on the path of visitation.  And to learn to pray with Mary, for her prayer is one of remembrance and gratitude; it is the canticle of the People of God on their pilgrimage through history.  It is the living reminder that God passes through our midst... he has come the aid of his servant, even as promised to our forebears and their children for ever."
Our Lady of Charity of el Cobre