OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR.
Patroness of Spain and of the Hispanic people.
Holy Mary of the Pillar, listen to our prayer while we celebrate your feast, Mother of God and Mother of men, Queen and Lady. You, the joy and honor of the people, you are our sweetness and our hope. From your throne, you look, guard, protect us, Mother of Spain. Tree of life that Christ gave us, the blessed fruit of your virgin womb, remain with us until we arrive with you safely at the port “. (Hymn Lauds)
- HISTORY OF THE APPARITION OF THE VIRGIN TO ST. JAMES.
The tradition, as has emerged from some thirteenth-century documents preserved in the cathedral of Zaragoza, goes back immediately after the Ascension of Jesus Christ, when the apostles, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, preached the Gospel. It is said that, at that time (40 AD), St. James the Greater, the brother of John and son of Zebedee, preached in Spain. Those lands had not received the Gospel, for they were tied to paganism. St. James got the blessing of the Blessed Virgin for his mission.
The documents say literally that St. James, “through Asturias, arrived with his new disciples through Galicia and Castilla, to Aragon, the territory named Celtiberia, where the city of Zaragoza, is located on the banks of the Ebro. There, St. James preached many days and among the many converts chose eight men as companions, which whom he preached the kingdom of God day and night.”
On the night of January 2 of the year 40, St. James was with the disciples at the Ebro river when he “heard voices of angels singing Ave Maria, gratia plena and saw the Virgin Mother of Christ, standing on a marble pillar“.
- Mary consoled and comforted the Apostle James, already discouraged by the difficulties encountered in these Aragon at the beginning of the evangelization.
- The Blessed Virgin, who still lived in mortal flesh, asked the Apostle build there a church, the altar around the pillar where he stood and promised that “this site will remain until the end of time so that God’s power might work wonders through my intercession for those who implore my patronage in their needs. “
After the appearance, James continued his task of bringing souls to God, struggling to overcome the stubbornness and fearlessness of the people in that region of Aragon. Soon enough, fruits came. Many people got converted to Christianity, and together with his disciples, St. James began to build a chapel where the column was, giving it the name “Santa Maria del Pilar”.
Since then, The Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar is considered as “the symbol of the firmness of faith” (St. John Paul II, Homily at Zaragoza, 6-XI-1982). “In the firm and ancient tradition of Pilar the apostolic dimension of the Church in all its glory shines(…) The Faith which the Spanish missionaries brought to Latin America is an apostolic faith inherited from the faith of the Apostles, which, according to the venerable tradition , has its seat here in Pilar, (St. John Paul II, Zaragoza, October 10, 1984).
- This steadfastness and firmness of faith is what fueled the Spaniards to bring the faith in many places. “Through them… many Christians have embraced the faith in Christ, Son of God and Mary (Ibidem).”
- On the day when the feast of Our Lady of Pilar was celebrated in Spain in 1492, the voice of Rodrigo de Triana’s voice cried out: Land! Admiral Columbus heard his voice which put an end to despair and exhaustion of the journey by sea. It is she, Our Lady of the Pillar, who seemed to give to Her Son a new world through Columbus and his sailors aboard three ships, whose name and “captain” Santa Maria.
- THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY CONSOLES AND STRENGTHENS HER CHILDREN IN THEIR JOURNEY TOWARDS HEAVEN.
Dear friends, today’s feast is a demonstration of how THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY CONSOLES AND STRENGTHENS HER CHILDREN IN THEIR JOURNEY TOWARDS HEAVEN.
- In following Jesus, we will always find difficulties and discouragement. However, we should never forget that we have a very powerful intercessor and protectress: our Mother Mary. The Virgin Mary is the strong pillar, which supports the Church of Her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ and which safeguards the authenticity of the Christian faith. Josemaria said: Love for our Lady is proof of good spirit, in organizations and in individuals. Distrust the undertaking that lacks this characteristic. (The Way, n.505)
- Today’s feast shows that Our Mother Mary cares a lot and helps us to be strong, firm and steadfast in our faith, and in following Jesus, in order to arrive at our heavenly port.
- SHE DOES NOR DENY ANYONE WHO ASKS FOR HER PROTECTION: “Love our Lady. And she will obtain for you abundant grace to conquer in your daily struggle. And the enemy will gain nothing by those foul things that continually seem to boil and rise within you, trying to engulf in their fragrant corruption the high ideals, the sublime determination that Christ himself has set in your heart. Serviam, I will serve! (The Way, n. 493) So your strength is fast failing you? Why don’t you say to your Mother, ‘comforter of the afflicted, help of Christians… our hope, queen of apostles’ ? (The Way, n. 515) Mother! Call her again and again. She is listening, she sees you in danger perhaps, and with her Son’s grace she, your holy Mother Mary, offers you the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace. Call her, and you will find yourself with added strength for the new struggle. (The Way, n. 516)”
“Holy Virgin of the Pillar: increase our faith, strengthen our hope, rekindle our charity … Encourage the young to fully give themselves to God. Protect Spain and her people… and maternally assist, oh.. Mary, those who invoke you as the patroness of the Hispanic people
(Saint John Paul II, op.cit).”
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei, CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness/) , website (www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com ) and YouTube channel ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcDJHftL07idfLDs9vK6LcA )
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AUDIO CREDIT AND SOURCE: “Ave Regina Caelorum” (Alonso Lobo) in Zefiro – Marian Antiphons by Zefiro Usage Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 in https://archive.org/details/Zefiro-MarianAntiphons_158