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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

La Llorona

Ah, this is a tragic, tragic tale.

There are a few versions to La Llorona and I will let you search the web for them. I see that there is a movie that links her to the story of La Malinche, for, as we all know, legends take on a life of their own. As it is, I suggest you search out the term yourself and see what you find. I will try to piece it together here in a simplistic way:

Most legends of La Llorona (Weeping Woman) begin with the beauty of a young Mexican woman who catches the attention of a noble man, and in fact, men of both wealth and poverty. Predictably, she becomes the concubine of a wealthy man, possibly a Spaniard, and bears him two sons. Some stories suggest she already had her two sons when she met the nobleman with whom she fell in love.

In any case, the man is tempted either back to Spain or at least to live out a more "noble" calling by marrying a woman of higher privilege...maybe one without children. In some legends, he is a man whom, she believes, hates children and finds them an obstacle. In other legends, he has already fathered children by a noblewoman whom his family has convinced him to marry. In either case, La Llorona, as the scorned woman, is so distraught that she believes that if she is without children she will become the cherished bride she has always desired to be, and so she takes her infants and stabs them in the heart, dropping them into the river where she cries out in distress, "Mis Hijos!"

And still she is rejected by her lover, the death of her children was a vain sacrifice to the altar of convenience and selfishness.


There are other legends that tell a similar tale, but one more tame. In this other version, the sons of La Llorona played by the riverside in the evening while she cavorted with the men who so desired her beauty. And in her neglect, unsupervised, they found themselves without assistance in their boyhood games and, tragically, were drowned.

The final outcome of all the legends has the distraught mother weeping and wailing at the riverside for her lost children. Yet, she isn't crying through innocent loss, but her direct involvement in their deaths, whether through negligence or her own hand.

In the end, she took her own life, and to this day wanders the riverside, weeping and wailing for her lost children, seeking them eternally.

Mexican and American Southwestern folklore has La Llorona seeking her own children, a malevolent spirit wandering the riverbeds, digging in the mud but willing to swipe living children from the hands of other neglectful parents who allow their progeny to wander alone in dangerous areas, especially at twilight where the Xtabay also lingers seeking to devour lost souls.

Pondering La Llorona

I can't ever read this particular folklore without thinking of the reality she lives every day, in the women who so willingly slaughter their children...and in those who stand up and declare the morality of abortion.

When I hear or read the word "abortion", I see and hear La Llorona, weeping and wailing for her lost children.

I remember the laws recently passed in Mexico, and wonder how a culture that has La Llorona and Our Lady of Guadalupe so ingrained within it, which so IDENTIFIES it, can find the abomination of abortion to be compatible so as to be made LEGAL?

I don't understand how on one end so many in Mexico and America can give witness to the Legend of La Llorona and to the pregnant belly of Our Lady Of Guadalupe with the unborn infant Jesus, and how a culture so Matriarchal and so aware of the spectrum and battle for human life can, in the end, adopt the culture of Death.

I don't understand.

Can't the people, EVERYWHERE hear La Llorona crying in agony for her lost children?

Can't we hear the cries of ruptured infants, crying for their mothers, crying for their fathers who would ALLOW such destruction? Can we hear the cries of La Llorona's drowning children?

SHOULD we care for the cries of the selfish Llorona? Or should we leave her to Perdition?

In Jeremiah 31:15 we read:

Thus says the LORD: In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more.

The Legends of La Llorona reveal her as a woman with unbound hair, a woman of sin, weeping among the banks of Mexican rivers. When I drew my picture of La Llorona, though, I drew her in union with the Blessed Mother, who weeps for all her children.

When I ponder the story, of the woman in sin, I also hear the echoes of Sacred Scripture that point to Redemption.

In the Eighth Station of the Cross, (Luke 23) Jesus meets the weeping women.

"Weep not for Me," He tells them, as He bleeds upon their sandals, and their tears mingle with His blood, "But for your yourselves and for your children."

Our Blessed Mother wept for her Son, whom she gave up to the Cross on our behalf.

Our Lord bade the weeping women to weep NOT for Him, but...but for their own sins and those they inflicted upon their progeny, for if they could not first weep for what they lacked in themselves, how could they ever have children to mourn? Can life come out of death?

At the foot of the Cross, Jesus gave His Mother to us all, and so she weeps not for Him, who is our Savior and hers, but for all, especially those who do not weep for the right reasons. Our Lady wanders among us, crying her tears as she snatches us not to a watery grave, but to the eternal water that means life for eternity, to the ever-flowing blood of the Cross that warrants redemption, for the oil that is the Holy Spirit that empowers her children to bring life, not death, into the world.

My La Llorona shown above with a veil similar to Our Lady's, is also a tragic figure, but one who seeks out those who sacrifice their children on false altars, knowing what it is to allow true sacrifice for ultimate Redemption.

When I look at the La Llorona of folklore, I see the world as it is, a world that refuses Hope. But when I consider her under the mantle of Our Lady, I realize that even La Llorona does not weep in vain, for she is only one of those who meet Jesus as He carries His Cross, and in her weeping, helps to unite us all with our bloody Bridegroom.

1 comment:

Owen said...

I am reminded, He came to seek and save the lost; He is close to those whose heart is broken and contrite.

May He save me from myself and every tiny self righteous leaning of mine and allow me to bring my brokenness to Him even as an offering.