Fighting for the Vulnerable at CPAC Mexico

An address to CPAC Mexico by Jason Jones

By Jason Scott Jones Published on December 11, 2022

It is a privilege to be here at CPAC Mexico. First, I would like to thank Matt Schlapp and CPAC for putting on such a wonderful event and my dear friend, Eduardo Verastegui.

When I first met Eduardo almost 20 years ago, I shook his hand, I looked at him, I said, “Wow, you’re handsome.” He said, “In the United States, I’m handsome. In Mexico, I’m just average looking.” And I don’t want to get in trouble with Matt, but I have to say, CPAC Mexico is very good looking, very good looking. And the hospitality of the volunteers and staff is unlike anything I’ve experienced in my life.

And I believe that hospitality exemplifies perfectly what it is to be a conservative. What Is conservatism, and what does conservatism have to do with the international campaign to defend the vulnerable from violence? Conservatism, unlike socialism, communism, fascism, unlike inorganic ideologies, looks different in every country. Conservatism is organic. It belongs to a place. It is unique.

Grassroots Not Astroturf

So when we come together from all over the world, I’ve met people from Poland, from France, from Guatemala, from Cuba, of course, Mexico, the United States. When we come together, unlike other political movements, we don’t look like a bunch of plastic synthetic flowers that are the same. But it is a beautiful bouquet of real, living, beautiful flowers. And it is an honor to be here.

But we share something in common. We share important things in common. And I believe that a genuine conservative is moved by an overpowering passion for piety.

What is piety? We find it in Virgil’s Aeneid when his hero, Aeneas, carries his father from a burning Troy as it’s collapsing. His father is over his shoulder, his young son in his one hand and his wife is by his side. Honoring your family, your community, using your strength to serve those who are vulnerable around you, that is what it is to be pious.

Love Starts with Love for God

We love and revere the truly good things that exist, and the institutions that honor them. And this starts with what exists eternally. And that is God. Our love then radiates out to the images of God, which we find in our neighbors, our friends, our families, our countrymen, and even our enemies. But our love does not stop there. It extends to the timeless truths that God has written on our hearts. And we call those glimmering moral realities the Natural Law.

When we support an institution, a policy, or a law, it is because it expresses in our time and our place and in our culture these truths. There is a law above the opinions of man. There is a law above decrees of governments. But what else? There is the truth that we are made in the image and likeness of God, that each and every one of us has an enviable dignity, beauty, and worth.

Please Support The Stream: Equipping Christians to Think Clearly About the Political, Economic, and Moral Issues of Our Day.

And as I stand here today with you from the United States, we are not just neighbors, but we are family. Because you see, my mother is from Mexico City. Yes. Yes. You may know her, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Most Important Event of the Past 1000 Years

And I believe that in the past 1000 years, if we look all over the planet, what is the most important thing that has happened? A lot of important things have happened. We’ve landed on the Moon, the printing press, the invention of penicillin. But I believe that the truly most important event in the history of the world in the past 1000 years is the appearance of our Blessed Mother to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill.

You see the tilma, a work of art given to us by our creator, tells us so much about our mother. Archbishop Fulton Sheen called the Blessed Mother the world’s first love. Just saying it makes you want to cry. That our Creator, out of all eternity knew His creature that would be His mother. And so on the tilma, we see that he made the moon for her. He clothed her with the stars. The sun exists just to light her. That in all of creation, she is the most beautiful. But yet her head is bowed to her Creator. Her dignity would vanish if she lifted that chin, and she’s carrying the second Person of the Trinity in her womb.

The God-Given Glory of the Human Person

But you see, the tilma tells us more than that. I believe it is the most perfect catechism on the dignity of the human person. Because do you know who else Our Lord clothed with the stars? The child in the womb, the migrant suffering and alone and missing his family, the victim of human sex trafficking, the widow, the orphan, you and me. He has clothed us with the stars. The moon is our footstool. He lights us with the sun because He created us in His image and likeness. And yet, if we lift our chin and defy our Creator, we choose to reduce ourselves and to become less than human. We throw away that beautiful dignity.

These are the truths that we find in the tilma. I want to share another work of art. The Pieta, this famous image of Our Lady, which compliments the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Think of The Pieta, the heartbreaking portrait of Mary holding her crucified Son across her lap. A creature cradling her Creator. The weak caring for the strong. What does this mean? It is something profound. Those of us who have been blessed with the duty to serve the vulnerable need to learn something from The Pieta.

The Suffering Aren’t Weak, But Strong

The people we serve are not weak. They are strong, probably stronger than us, but they have been placed in impossible situations. The orphan, the widow, the child in the womb that will grow to be strong, but they find themselves in moments of incredible vulnerability. And when we stand with them together we are strong.

By standing with these heroes, we in fact are protecting ourselves from the cruelty of nihilism, which of course is coming for you, for Mexico, for the United States. And if we do not fight, we will lose the blessings that we have inherited. But if we order our life to the incredible grace that God has given us, we can leave to our posterity a more humane society, a culture of life, and a civilization of love.

Some 17 years ago today my wife and I were married in Rome, at Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, where Our Lady appeared to Ratisbonne. It’s the altar where my patrons saint St. Maximilian Kolbe celebrated his first Mass. And after my wife and I were married, the first thing we did was we presented a bouquet of flowers to Our Lady. And we asked her to order our lives to defend the vulnerable, to always thrust our new family between the vulnerable and the violence, to throw us against the Culture of Death till it breaks or we break. That was our prayer of consecration.

My Hero

Do you know it was eight weeks after that prayer that I met Eduardo Verastegui. Eduardo is my hero. And together we have traveled the world. He is a role model of mine, of what it is to be a good man and a faithful citizen. I have been with Eduardo in the deserts of Sudan, in the halls of Congress, on Death Row in the United States, in the White House. And wherever we go, all he can sing about how much he loves his biological mother, our Holy Mother and Mexico. This is all I hear from Eduardo all of the time.

But I want to share a story with you about Eduardo that you may find unbelievable and may not know. Eduardo heard that I was going to Darfur, Sudan during the genocide. This is almost 15 years ago now. And he said, “Hermano, I want to go with you to Sudan.”

I said, “No, you cannot go. It’s going to be very dangerous.”

He said, “I heard you tell your wife it’s not going to be that dangerous.”

I said, “It’s going to be dangerous. We’re visiting Christians that are suffering genocide and we’re bringing them medicine and drilling water wells for them. We want to bring media attention to their plight.”

And he said, “Well, I want to come.”

Will We End Up as Martyrs?

So I made it very difficult for him. I said, “Well, if you want to come, you have to be at this airport in Kenya on this day to catch a supply plane that’ll meet us.” And I never answered any of his follow-up texts, calls or emails for clarification. So I thought, “Okay, I solved that problem.” And then lo and behold, our supply plane lands, and who dances off the plane with a big smile and a headband and sunglasses looking like a movie star in the middle of a war? Eduardo Verastegui.

Well, it was pretty dangerous. And there was a moment where we thought we were going to die, be martyred. And when in these moments where I shared this information with Eduardo, he looked up at me with a big smile and said, “The world is going to know how much we love Jesus.” And that’s when I knew who Eduardo really was.

Well I, being who I am, I looked at Eduardo and I looked up, I said, “Lord, I want the world to know how much Eduardo loves you. I want to go home and tell them all about it.” But then for a brief moment, I had this thought, “I’m going to have my own prayer card, Saint Jason of Darfur. Every kid at Catholic schools in the next 20 years is going to be named Jason.” Then I looked at Eduardo, I was like, “Oh, it’s going to be Saint Eduardo and companion.” And this is true.

Defend the Vulnerable

Today, I want to reconsecrate my marriage and my family and my life to defending the vulnerable. So pray with me:

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Please use us to defend the vulnerable. Viva Cristo Rey.

 

Jason Jones is a senior contributor to The Stream. He is a film producer, author, activist and human rights worker.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Like the article? Share it with your friends! And use our social media pages to join or start the conversation! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MeWe and Gab.

Inspiration
Military Photo of the Day: Through the Smoke
Tom Sileo
More from The Stream
Connect with Us