Well, it is cold and windy this election day here in New York, and my husband and I stood in line for over two hours to cast our votes. This is pretty much unheard of in our little Long Island town, where voting usually takes five minutes, tops.
And there were all kinds of people voting, lots of older folks who were smart enough to bring chairs and turned their political hats backwards so as not to break the rules. Lots of younger people shivering in yoga pants and sweaters because young people do not understand the importance of a good woolen cloche, such I wore, like a sound old lady.
It is quite true in cold weather one loses 20% of one’s body heat. So hats matter. When I was young I didn’t get it, either.
Anyway, so it’s cold and windy, but that has not deterred the crowds at the polls. I’m not sure what such a turnout means here in ever-blue New York, but I know that the wind means something; my grandmother used to tell me that “the Holy Spirit travels on the wind”.
True enough, I’ll wager. If the prince of the air brings darkness and chaos on the air and over it, then I’m sure the Holy Spirit brings light in the same way, into that battle going on all around us.
But my Granny also would remind me, on blustery days like these, that Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, seemed always to travel on the wind in all of her varied visitations to the earth — at Lourdes and at Fatima and elsewhere, visionaries and witnesses reported that her arrival and departure would noticeably stir the air.
Well, if Our Lady moves on the air, perhaps those of us shivering on the other end of it should call on her — the Woman of Revelation, who is Clothed with the Sun, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, to intercede for the United States on this day so fraught with anxiety, suspicion, fear and doubt. The Woman who permitted God to use her own immaculate flesh and blood so that Christ Jesus could set his tent among us, die and rise for us, is also the woman who, at a wedding in Cana, brought the needs of the bride and groom to Jesus’ attention, saying “They have no more wine.” And then she so trusted him to do what was necessary that she scurried over to the waiters and said, “Do whatever he tells you to.”
And Jesus, interestingly enough, didn’t say “Well, they ordered badly, so they have this humiliation coming to them.” Rather, he apparently sighed, said “How is this my problem? It’s not my time!” Then he respected the trust that his mother had placed in him and saw to what was — in the grand scheme of things — a rather minor problem, a social hiccup.
But here’s the thing: If Jesus could be trusted by Mary to look after the small things she brought to him, then we know he can be trusted in the big things, as well. If Mary, his mother, brings something to his attention, he will not ignore her. And apparently he won’t even bother to say, “They got themselves into this mess, they can get themselves out of it.”
Unable to sleep earlier today, I asked God to send his angels to guide and sustain us through this difficult day and all the ones still to come.
Now, I am wondering if we shouldn’t also go to The Woman, the one who travels upon the wind, and ask her prayers — go to Mary like goofy newlyweds who planned our stuff badly and say, “Ummm… yeah, we’re in a pickle, here. We’ve made an awful mess of things. Brought it all upon ourselves, yeah, but please, could you ask your son to help us out? We may deserve a penance more than a superior wine, but could you ask your son, who is All Justice, All Good, All Mercy to help gentle our hearts, calm our roiled society, guide our minds toward real wisdom? We don’t deserve it but we believe in grace, so we ask it anyway. And we ask you to deliver our plea, because we know that he will never disrespect you or ignore what you bring him. He might note, “they’ve got it coming, you know,” (because he is Just) but we know that if you ask he will also attend to us with mercy. And even a small dollop of Christ’s mercy could do a great deal to help a people greatly in need of it.
To that end, over at Word on Fire, I’ve written a Litany to Mary, Patroness of the United States, that calls on Our Lady (who, in her many various titles, is also the patroness of every state in the union), asking her motherly intercession for the sake of this troubled nation. Perhaps pray it while waiting in line to vote, or waiting to hear updates. Here is the link.
Image: The Immaculate Conception, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1767-1769 (Public Domain