The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
This is not a meditation but a commentary which may inspire your prayer and devotion to Our Blessed Mother for our contemporary world. I share this with the help of the late, Fr. Virgilio P Elizondo, author and professor at Notre Dame University and the Mexican-American Cultural Center.
In the middle of our faith-shaping pilgrimage through Advent, we pause to celebrate one of the most dramatic, historic phenomena in the last 500 years in the Western Hemisphere – the visitation of our Blessed Mother to a simple Indian peasant, Juan Diego, a recent Christian convert. The encounter with Mary on the top of a hill known as Tepeyac, near Tlatelolco, once an Aztec center and the place where the final battle of the Spanish conquest had taken place just 10 years earlier.
Our Mary’s apparition is the entrance into the so-called “ ’New World’ which simply opened new territories where people could be segregated, dominated and enslaved; (from the perspective our Blessed Mother,) it is the entry into the real New World where men and women of all colors, ethnicities and backgrounds could live and work in peace, mutual respect, and harmony.” (Elizondo)
Our Lady is God’s special gift to America at the very beginning of the New World. Providentially, God would not allow the Gospel “to become an instrument of colonization and through Guadalupe” would assure that the Gospel would continue to heal, liberate and unite all peoples of this hemisphere. This new unity of peoples will be America’s true gift toward the formation of a real world community.” (Elizondo)
Such a grace-filled time in history! This appearance happens when the culture and the people were being annihilated. This divine intervention offered hope in the midst of one of the darkest moments in history.
It is amazing how in moments of great historical crisis, Mary has appeared once again to usher in the healing, liberating, unifying and saving presence of Her Son.
“Truly she ‘lifted up the lowly’ (Luke1:52) as Juan Diego and millions after him are transformed from crushed, self-defacing and silenced persons into confident, self-assured and joyful messengers and artisans of God’s plan for America. (Elizondo)
Advent is God’s shaping of our lives, and the honing of our vocational commitments. Today Mary charges us with a mission. She spoke to Juan as the does to ourselves, “Am I not here, I who am your mother?”
She shows us how to meet our brothers and sisters where they are. Coming to know Mary comes with obligations. She claims us for God and asks us to do as she does. Through our encounter with those beyond or “safe zone,” we introduce others to Jesus. We “birth Him into the world,” where his presence is hidden. “Am I not here, I who am your mother?”
What is it Mary asks us to do in the “birthing of her Son?”
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P., is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.