By Fr. Francis Tordilla
Now that the lights are out, the loudspeakers are mute and the crowd has thinned and gone. How is Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, “siempre la Reina de nuestra region”?
I’d say her reign starts now when the pomp is gone; when the euphoria has died down. Her “queeness” is not that of being regal or dominant or spectacular. The new Queen Mother is a gentle but relentless force in fighting for the rights of the poor, the voiceless, and the suffering.
When Fr. Maximo Juguera, CM, composed the hymn to Ina in 1924, in time for her canonical coronation, he was deliberate on highlighting this reality so that we would never forget. In the third stanza we find: “Los pobres y tristes te buscan con fe (The poor and the downcast seek you with faith.) Te miran llorando les miras tambien. (They gaze at you with tears and you look at them too.) Al punto sus lagrimas se truecan en bien, (At once, their tears become well) Y a casa gozosos les vemos volver”(And we see them return home in joy).
Devotees are back at work. Once again, the daily grind has started. Does she continue to reign among us? Is her reign mirrored in our lives? Try bartering help for the tears of the poor and the downcast and she will be queen for our land, por siempre.