For the first time, while listening to a preacher, I heard about the miracle of Our Lady of Las Lajas.

This occurred in a place in Colombia (yes, our annual major competitor for the Ms Universe crown!).

A poor woman and her mute daughter got stranded in the mountains during a heavy rain.

They took shelter on a rock when suddenly the girl was able to speak.

She pointed to a nearby slab of stone, and said: The Mestiza lady is calling me!

The mother was surprised to see on the rock a beautiful image of Our Lady surrounded by light

And on each side, flanked by St Dominic and St Francis.

A follow-up story said that the girl died of an illness and the mother brought her back to the site.

Upon reaching the site, the girl was brought to life again.

Many miracles have since been recorded in the place.

Chapels, and later a big basilica, was constructed on the side of the mountain, having as its central

Altar the stone on which the image appeared.

When geologists studied the rock, there was no paint, or ink, or anything that could have produced the image.

The colors of the image were formed from the natural colors of the rock.

Today we start the year 2020 with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

When the shepherds came they saw Mary and Joseph with the Baby Jesus.

Mary treasured all the mysteries of Christ in her heart.

While the center of the Christmas season is always Jesus, Mary is also given to us as a reminder of how the love of God works in the world. And how we can return love to the Father.

Christmas is proof of the strength of God’s love.  This is a love that is originally, carved in stone.

Nothing compares to the love that traverses the distance of heaven and earth, eternity and temporality, power and weakness.

And this love is shared to us, made available to us, given to us so that we can respond to it. And Mary gave the fitting response.

Mary loved God so much; her love was so strong that even if she did not understand everything always, she always said Yes, she always obeyed, she always trusted.

Her love was, in imitation of divine love, “carved in stone” like the image at Las Lajas.

This year we are challenged to imitate Mary in her fidelity.

How much do we love the Lord?

Is our love “carved in stone?”

… or just on paper that is easily burned

… maybe on wood that surely decays

… or painted on a wall that fades through time?

Carved in stone, Mary’s fidelity to Jesus could never be destroyed.

In the coming months, surely there will be ups and downs, blessings and challenges, triumphs and trials… let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to walk with us and teach us how to continue to believe and to trust in the Lord.