Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
I believe in the Word of God bringing us to the fulfillment of God’s Plan, the harmonization of all God’s creation, and the ultimate reunification with with our Creator, that “all be one again.” I believe in the Word, which we hold aloft, bless, incense, proclaim and, habitually, put into effect with a courageous trust. It is the Word that proclaims a non-violent response to the power of evil. It is the Word that teaches love of enemies and those who persecute us. It is the Word that asks us to submit to God’s loving Will in total surrender. It is the Word that attracts, in the most mysterious ways, that which is broken, abused, addicted, disrespected and scattered. This Word has uncanny way of gathering into that Body, which it inspires, the Church. The Word informs those who strive to fulfill it like the birthing of a child, birthpangs and all. Birthpangs continuing in the fight for justice for all . (Did you know that there is a new, national movement afoot to bring back a poor peoples’ fight for justice?)
This Word became flesh in a most dramatic fashion through the apparition of our Blessed Mother to a man named Juan Diego in December of 1531 on a hill called Tepeyac in Mexico. It could be considered the most provoking appearance of our Lady in history.
The Spaniards had entered into what was then the territory of Mexico to abscond gold from the land, in the cheapest way possible, through slavery of the native population.This master/slave relationship evolved into genocide of these tribes as the Spaniards gained a more commanding foothold. These horrific actions on the part of the Spaniards and this sudden appearance of our Blessed Mother reflect the imagery of the Book of Revelation and that of verses in the Gospel of Luke whereby our Blessed Mother stands, pregnant with Child face to face with the great red dragon who wanted to devour the newborn. Her strength would be revealed in her declaration that her “soul magnifies the Lord,” and her “spirit rejoices in God” her Savior. The 30,000,000 Hispanic people in our midst continue to remind all of us of our vigilant and strong “Virgencita” and her love for the oppressed and downtrodden.
Be mindful of the opening prayer on this feast, where we pray to seek with ever more lively faith the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and peace.
Let us celebrate this festival of our Lady of Guadalupe, as a reminder that the Word continues to become enfleshed through our activity to establish the reign of God.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P., is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.