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A god begging and with the hammer giving

How many times have you said this proverb?

Do you know what its origin is?

Tradition puts the origin of the proverb in Spain, they say that a carter broke one of his carts on a road and that it coincided that San Bernardo was passing through there, whom the carter begged to intercede with God to help him. fix the car The holy man told him: "I will pray to God for you, my friend, but in the meantime, take a mallet and start to repair the broken wheel of the cart."

The mallet is an instrument that is used in trades of force, it is a large wooden hammer that is used in certain jobs -such as carpentry to nail or hit pieces that do not want to break or damage, making carts or on the roads . 

It means that it is not enough to expect everything from Providence, but that it is necessary to join the effort to prayer if we work and God will help us; and we don't want him to keep us idle. In fact, Saint Benedict, the Cistercian founder, exhorted his friars to live and practice 'Ora et labora' 'pray and work'. It is possible that sometime a miracle will get us out of trouble, but just in case and in the meantime, we must do everything possible to solve it with our effort and work. Saint Ignatius for his part said: «Act as if everything depended on you, knowing that in reality everything depends on God».

And now that we are beginning the second week of advent, the Gospel of Luke is accompanying us these weeks of advent and in particular in this second week the evangelist invites us to live this dynamic 'ora et labora', that is, preparing for advent is prayer and job. It is believing and acting, doing everything as if everything depended on us, knowing that everything depends on him.

In fact, this Sunday's gospel reminds us of it through a special figure, Isaiah, a very important prophet of the Old Testament, who was probably born in Jerusalem around the s. VIII BC, they have called him 'the prince of the prophets', he died a martyr and his prophetic ministry was religious-political because he denounced that the people and their government preferred to make alliances with foreign powers and mistrusted the alliance with the Lord, in fact the people will be taken captive to Babylon and in the midst of great desolation due to exile, a prophet disciple of the great Isaiah, continuing with his same prophetic mission, and invites the people to wait for the consolation of God, which comes then, even though they have sinned, forgetting and disregarding the alliance with the Lord, he does not win mercy and will come to save them from the misfortune that they caused themselves by trusting in other false gods. The prophet Isaiah invites them to wait, but to wait while working: "In this desert, prepare a way for the Lord"... These will be the words that the Gospel of Luke 3,1-6 will take up from Is 40,1-5.

Lk 3,1-3 places us in time, the current political powers at that time in contrast to the alliances that the people of Israel and their rulers had made with foreign powers, now those words are updated, there are new foreign rulers in the time of Jesus, is the power of the Roman Empire: Tiberio Cesar, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, Lisanio and the important personages and maximum authorities of the People of Israel, the high priests, Annas and Caiaphas. In the midst of this situation, a new voice arises in the desert and desolation, as the voice of Isaiah arose in the s. VIII a. C. in the desert of the exile of Babylon.

Now the people of Israel are not exiled, but the people find themselves abandoned to the fate of foreign and native governors who give no consolation to the people. The Lord in the midst of his history has decided to become close and announces the arrival of Salvation "Every man will see the salvation of God" (Is 40,5 / Lc 3,6).

That voice in the middle of the desert is not Isaiah now, it is John the Baptist, who remembers that those words of the prince of the prophets, Isaiah, are still valid, even more so, now at this moment in history they become definitive, they are incarnated and they are they do, salvation will be seen by every man. But in order to see it, the way must be prepared. The text says:

"This was already written in the book of the prophet Isaiah: Hear that cry in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, smooth his paths. The ravines and valleys will be filled and the mountains and hills leveled. The torturous will be straightened and they will be smoothed the rough roads. Every mortal will then see the salvation of God" (Lk 3,4-6)

In short, we are invited to grab the mallet and start working... no laziness na na na... whoever wants light blue... exactly... whatever it costs...

Preparing the way in Isaiah and in Lk comes from the Hebrew verb pannu, which means to order in such a way that a place is ready for a guest, in the case of the road, for the passage of the guest, so that his path is agile and he can arrive without so many complications to destiny, so that your foot does not stumble or is not lost at crossroads. It is about making the path clear, therefore, Isaiah invites us:

"Smooth the paths", that is, make the paths straight, remove the grass so that it is clear, but also make the paths passable, since they are usually old and eroded paths that get confused and lost in the forests or the desert. Pave the paths means that the fast but hidden and forgotten roads become passable roads, it means working to avoid the long roads, building new paths in the midst of the confusion of the forest or the dryness of the desert, establishing straight or direct paths, that's why some bibles translate as "straighten the paths" to say that we make them passable to the point that they become direct so that the guest arrives directly without going around so many times, the poor thing would be dizzy.

Isaiah also reminds us: "The ravines and valleys will be filled in and the mountains and hills leveled", so that the road is passable, direct, fast, the prophet Isaiah invites to fill in and lower. The ravines and valleys must be filled, where the slope is too low in such a way that it will be difficult to climb later, the gap must be filled so that the path is even, as we say in Mexico, and if there are hills, hills or even mountains you have to lower them because among so many ups and downs the guest would not only take time to arrive, perhaps he wouldn't even arrive... or he would arrive exhausted, also thieves would hide among the hills and hills who could steal him and leave him half dead. 

"The tortuous will be straightened" to save the path, because they are overlapping paths, which only turn around, detours and waste time and "the roughness of the paths will be smoothed"... all this work to make a flat, serene, welcoming path .

The question to which the gospel is pointing is that our life is destined for a wonderful encounter: "All flesh will see the Salvation of the Lord", our life is the meeting place with that Salvation that at the same time comes out to meet us, called Jesus. And to be able to find it, we only have to prepare the way, it is our part of the work, what does it mean for me in these moments of my life, to prepare the way, to fill in the ravines, to level the hills, to straighten the tortuous, to soften the rough roads ? Isn't it about rethinking each day if I follow the path outlined or if I have deviated from the route that leads me to my final destination? Isn't it about rearranging the lost path by straightening my will if I have strayed? It all depends on how clear I have the goal, the destination for which my God and Lord has created me, not my community partner, my superior, my father or mother, my brothers, my teacher, my travel companion in this life.... no, no, not me.

And this makes me think how many times one must reorient the path, paving the way for internal and external difficulties. I play the guitar, I like it, and the Lord in Italy fulfilled my wish, someone donated one to me and I can play in the parish where I live for the Sunday Eucharist. Except that obviously I don't know Italian songs and it's not easy to sing in another language, so thank God I'm with a small group with which I've gradually learned essential songs. But the pleasure has not lasted long hehe because it turns out that the expert for several important reasons cannot always attend and I am left alone to direct, sing and play. Oh God...difficult, actually, I don't have a lot of time to rehearse and sometimes no one comes to support me to sing and I was there...singing and playing...In fact, I was so scared that I quit... I did not go for two weeks to play... but the patron saint of my parish, St. Maria Goretti... did not go unnoticed and through the people of the parish and the parish priest, they complained to me that why I did not come, that it does not matter if I don't know how to sing all the songs, it's enough that I sing the same songs and animate the mass on Sunday. And I have had to straighten my path and despite the valleys of discouragement at seeing myself alone, the panic of my hills because I feel incapable of raising the tones hehe and the thousand paths in which I evade, my patron saint and my good God does nothing but wait for me there on my tortuous paths to tell me that they are waiting for me, that I am valuable in their eyes, that they know this part of the road and come with me and there is always someone by my side to encourage me and sing along with me... ... and there they have me redirecting the path because everything I have is the Lord who has given it to me and I only owe myself to him. Amen.

And where are you directing your life? Is it a destination that crosses the barriers of time, space to eternity? Is it a divine destiny? Because our life, ultimately, will be accountable only to him and he invites us to reorient, redo, recreate our present based on the future. Isaías says it clearly with an example: "Why are they going to spend their money on what is not bread and their salary on things that do not feed?", it is to say that it would be foolish who did not do that, and that is why he ends up saying "If you listen to me, you will eat delicious things and your palate will be delighted with exquisite foods" (Is 55,2), as if to say "do not waste time wasting on useless paths and deviating towards routes that are only tortuous and only take you to go round and round without taking you to the goal.

For this reason, the question we can ask ourselves is, at this moment in my life, where am I directing myself and my loved ones? which path am I taking? Is it leading me on the right path and to the destination designed for me? We are the only beings in the universe who have been endowed with rationality and freedom and we are the only ones who, combining these gifts, have the will to decide what to do after combining our reason and freedom, nothing and no one can or should decide for ourselves, we are we who forge our destiny, even when it is full of mountains, valleys, tortuous paths, etc. The road will not be easy, but I decide the ultimate destination of my life, no one else.

For example, today in Algeria, 19 martyrs for the faith, secular and religious, were beatified between 1992-2002. People who decided that their life was a path to the final destination and around that they decided which path to take, among them are also the seven monks of Tibhirine, who were kidnapped from their abbey located in the Atlas, next to the city of Medea. , in March 1996 and found decapitated two months later. Let us ask for their intercession so that they help us to get back on track when we stray, to fill in the gaps that sin leaves in us, to lower the hills that we raise sometimes uselessly, and to soften the roughness that discourages us from moving forward.

And in this perspective, a great Isaiah of our time and also a Mexican came to mind, San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin "the eagle who loves", our Juan Dieguito, a man, an indigenous person who knows how to make and redo his path despite the thousand difficulties that he will encounter in order to fulfill his mission, the one that the Lady of Heaven, his Child, entrusts to him. It is about external and internal difficulties, but it does not stop even when his will to surround the Tepeyac hill is proven so as not to find the Lady from heaven that morning and go find a confessor for his uncle. But the Lady from Heaven will solve his impediment, asks him for confidence and sends him back to the bishop.

The other external difficulty will be that neither the bishop nor his subjects believe him, judge him, follow him, mistreat him and he, in his sincerity and confidence, asks the Girl from Heaven to send someone else because, as he defines himself, he is nothing more than a little man, a string, a ladder, the tail, leaf... no one important, but the Lady from heaven has chosen this little man and little thing as her ambassador, the ambassador from heaven. Nothing less than this mission has been entrusted to him and he wants him to be an Indian, of those to whom today we continue to apply the racial law of mestizos, those are nothing. But the Lady from heaven chooses him with a mission: to give a message to the bishop so that he can build her a little house to receive her children... (For those who don't know the story well below I put the link of the Nikan Mopohua, the story of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe).

And there goes Juan Dieguito, opening and making the way for the Lady, flattening with his humility and patience the mountains of the proud who do not believe him, filling with the tenderness of his words the mistreatment and disdain of the holders of ecclesiastical offices, straightening the route when he deviates because he does not want to follow the order of the apple of his eye. Let's savor this text:

"Lady, the youngest of my daughters, my child, I went where you sent me to fulfill your errand; although with difficulty I entered where the prelate's seat is; I saw him and exposed your message, just as you warned me; he received me benignly and he listened to me attentively, but as soon as he answered me, it seemed that he did not take it for granted, he told me: "You will come again; I will listen to you more slowly: I will see very from the beginning the desire and will with which you have come..."

I perfectly understood from the way he answered me that he thinks that it is perhaps my invention that you want them to build a temple for you here and that perhaps it is not your order; For this reason, I earnestly beg you, my Lady and Child, that you commission one of the principals, known, respected and esteemed to carry your message so that they believe it because I am a little man, I am a rope, I am a little plank ladder , I am tail, I am leaf, I am small people, and You, my Child, the smallest of my daughters, Lady, send me to a place where I do not go and where I do not stop. Forgive me for causing you great grief and falling into your anger, my Lady and Owner."

The Blessed Virgin replied: "Listen, my youngest son, understand that there are many my servants and messengers, whom I can entrust to carry my message and do my will; but it is absolutely necessary that you yourself request and help and that with your mediation my will be fulfilled.

Juan Diego answered: “Lady and My Child, I do not cause you affliction; I will gladly go to fulfill your errand; in no way will I stop doing it nor do I consider the path difficult. I will go to do your will; but perhaps I will not be heard with pleasure; or if I were heard, perhaps I will not be believed. Tomorrow afternoon, when the sun goes down, I will come to explain your message with what the prelate answers. Now I say goodbye to you, my daughter, the youngest, my Girl and Lady. Rest in the meantime."

May the walker of Tepeyac, little ambassador man teach us to fulfill our personal mission, not to be afraid of making the way when walking and when we look back we can contemplate the path that will never be trodden again but of which we can be proud because it is the ours is the one made by walking with the Lord between falls and rises but in struggle without failing and full of his immense mercy.

That like Antonio Machado we can recognize:

Walker, are your footprints

the road and nothing else;

Traveler, there is no path,

the path is made by walking.

Walking makes the way,

and looking back

you can see the path that never

it has to be stepped on again.

walker there is no path

but wakes in the sea.

(Excerpt from Proverbs and Songs (XXIX)

Lord that I can recognize the personal mission that you entrust to me and no one else!

May he have the courage to redo the path a thousand times without fear and with love like the Eagle he loves, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin!

That I can love the path that I have traveled until today, with my ups and downs, with my valleys and ravines, that I am not afraid to move on even if sometimes I get lost among a thousand sidewalks and alleys!

May it be like that traveler who makes his way as he walks... and who, as he walks, makes his way towards my final destination, and that death finds me begging God and with the mallet giving...

Shall we sing walkers? 


martin valverde





It was there in Tepeyac

where the music began

It was there in Tepeyac

where the flowers were born

Where a maiden with the sun at her back

Said to be the mother of all men.

And that's where the youngest of his children passed by

The Indian Juan Diego was chosen among all

He put his breath and word into action

He did not estimate that the road was tiring.


Tell me, what's up, Juan Diego?

Why does heaven sing to us today?

Music and flowers of Tepeyac

What are they coming to tell us today?

What does your ayate wrap?

Say what treasure did you find?

Tell us, dear son, the youngest

what does the Mother of God say?





I ask God for the strength of that Indian messenger,

Carry his word like the Eagle that loves,

That my heart like your ayate Juan Diego

Keep the message of the Mother of heaven.

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