The Advent season can be a deeply spiritual one if we avoid the materialism of the secular culture. One of the best ways to do this is to celebrate the holy days and feast days throughout the month.
Today we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Americas. Sometimes it is difficult to keep up with all of Mary’s names that we give her and what they all mean. But the reason we have so many names for Mary is because she is so special to so many different people, and they all see her through their own lens. The name Our Lady of Guadalupe, like the name “Immaculate Conception,” was something that Mary gave to us directly. That is, she told St. Juan Diego to call her that when she appeared to him in Mexico.
Mary has appeared to a variety of different people, cultures, races, etc. throughout history in order to strengthen our faith. Each time she visits someone, she shows loving humility, and points us to Christ. For every appearance, Mary opens the hearts of thousands, usually by starting with a single lowly person. When Mary visited at Lourdes, she spoke to a small child. She appeared to a group of three children at Fatima. At Tepeyac (where she appeared to St. Juan Diego), she chose to visit a convert instead of the bishop or someone of importance.
Our Lady of Guadalupe eventually converted all of Mexico through her apparitions to St. Juan and the miraculous image that appeared on Juan’s tunic. Mary continues to draw us closer to her son and demonstrates to us that God lifts up the oppressed, the humble, and the meek. “Guadalupe” is sometimes thought to mean “the one who crushes the serpent.” Christ’s birth was the triumph of good over evil and the defeat of Satan’s work that began at the Fall. Mary, as the one who crushes the serpent, has a part in this through her motherhood. Her “yes” to God aids in our salvation.
Let us reflect on how Mary acts as the moon–shining brightly, but pointing us to a light that shines even brighter–her Son (pun intended). Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, pray for us!
O Virgin of Guadalupe,
Mother of the Americas,
grant to our homes the grace of loving
and respecting life in its beginnings,
with the same love with which
you conceived in your womb
the life of the Son of God.
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of Fair Love,
protect our families so that
they may always be united
and bless the upbringing of our children.
Our hope, look upon us with pity,
teach is to go continually to Jesus,
and if we fall
help us to rise again and return to Him
through the confession of our faults
and our sins in the Sacrament of penance,
which gives peace to the soul.
We beg you to grant us a great love
of all the holy Sacraments,
which are, as it were,
the signs that your Son left us on earth.
Thus, Most Holy Mother,
with the peace of God in our consciences,
with our hearts free from evil and hatred,
we will be able to bring to all others
true joy and peace,
which come to us from your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
who with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns for ever and ever.
-written by St. Pope John Paul II
Reading 1: RV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB
God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.”
Responsorial Psalm: JUDITH 13:18BCDE, 19
R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Gospel: LK 1:39-47
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
Bishop Robert Barron, in his Catholicism DVD series, explains the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. For a clip of this story from his series, click here.
Just three hours away from Canton, there is a special library and Marian institute at the University of Dayton. If you are visiting the area or want to make a day trip, check out the website to see if they have any Marian exhibits. Also available on their website is an entire encyclopedia relating to Mary. There is even a seasonal section devoted to prayers, meditations, poetry, and magisterial documents. Take a look!
O our Lady of Guadalupe,
make intercession for Holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from thy most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance.
(taken from http://www.christian-miracles.com/ourladyofguadalupe.htm)