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Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12)

December 12, 2006

Blessed Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Since I told her story last week when we honored Juan Diego, today I offer you her words, taken from the original Aztec account as found on

Do know this,
Do be assured of it in your heart,
My Littlest One,
that I Myself,
I am the Entirely and Ever Virgin,
Saint Mary,
Mother of the True Divinity,
of God Himself.
Because of Him, Life goes on,
Creation goes on;
His are all things afar,
His are all things near at hand,
things above in the Heavens,
things here below on the Earth.
How truly I wish it,
how greatly I desire it,
that here they should erect Me My Temple!
Here would I show forth,
here would I lift up to view,
here would I make a gift of
all My Fondness for My Dear Ones,
all My Regard for My Needy Ones,
My Willingness to Aid them,
My Readiness to Protect them.
For truly I Myself,
I am your Compassionate Mother,
yours, for you yourself,
for everybody here in the Land,
for each and all together,
for all others too,
for all Folk of every kind,
who do but cherish Me,
who do but raise their voices to Me,
who do but seek Me,
who do but raise their trust to Me.
For here I shall listen to their groanings,
to their saddenings;
here shall I make well and heal up
their each and every kind of disappointment,
of exhausting pangs,
of bitter aching pain.
But in order to realize what I have in mind
in My Regard for My Needy Ones,
do you, please, go to the Palace of the Bishop of Mexico;
go and tell him
how it is I Myself who am commissioning you
that you should present to him how strongly I desire it
that here he should house Me,
that here, on the level ground, he should erect My Temple.
And give him a full account
of all you have seen and wondered at
and of whatever you have heard.
And do be assured of it in your heart
that I shall be full grateful and
that I shall repay.
For I shall enrich you and
make you prosperous
and you shall very much merit
that I compensate you
for the fatigue and the exertion
of your going to procure
what I am commissioning you to do.
And so you have heard, My Littlest One,
My Utterance, My Declaration;
do, please, betake yourself and
make every effort to carry it out.”
[When Juan Diego returned, asking her to send someone “more important” because the bishop didn’t believe him]:

Do listen to this
My Littlest One,
and let your heart be assured
that it is not to the Wealthy Ones among My Stewards,
My Commissioners,
that I am wont to leave it
that they should bear My Utterances,
My Declarations, or
that they should realize  My Wishes.
Thus rather is it necessary
that it be you yourself who live this through,
who act as spokesman on this matter, and
that it be by your hand that it be realized,
that it be done,
this Will,
this Wish of Mine.
And so well may I beg of you,
My Littlest One, and
strongly do I bid you,
that once more, on the morrow, you go,
you go and visit the Bishop.
On My Behalf let him know,
let him listen well,
how it is My Will and
My Wish
that he realize,
that he make,
the Temple for which I am asking.
And indeed say to him once more how it is
I Myself,
the Ever Virgin
Saint Mary,
Mother of God,
Who am commissioning you.”
[Two days later, when Juan Diego was hurrying past the hill of apparition to get a priest for his dying uncle, hoping to avoid the Virgin–this picks up after she’d already asked where he was going]:

Do listen,
do be assured of it in your heart,
My Littlest One,
that nothing at all should alarm you,
should trouble you,
nor in any way disturb your countenance,
your heart.
And do not be afraid of this Pestilence,
nor of any other pestilence
or any rasping hardship.
For am I not here,
I, Your Mother?
Are you not in the Cool of My Shadow?
in the Breeziness of My Shade?
Is it not I
that am your Source of Contentment?
Are you not cradled in My Mantle?
cuddled in the Crossing of My Arms?
Is there anything else for you to need?
Nothing else, though, should trouble you,
should disquiet you.
And do not let it trouble you,
this Pestilence of your Uncle’s,
for he is not going to die of it now.
Do be assured of it in your heart
that he has already healed up.” [Juan Diego later found this to be true]
Our Lady of Guadalupe, compassionate mother, pray for us!

Because Our Lady of Guadalupe is Patroness of the Americas, the readings today are specific for the feast here in the U.S.:

Zechariah 2:14-17 (God is coming to dwell among us)
OR: Revelation 11:19, 12:1-6, 10 (the ark of the covenant:  a woman clothed with the sun)
Judith 15:9, 13:18,19 “You are the highest honor of our race”
+ Luke 1:26-38 (the Annunciation)
OR: + Luke 1:39-45 (the Visitation)

Before we can celebrate the birth of a Baby, there has to be a pregnancy, right?  That little detail often gets lost in our thinking about Christmas.  Mary is in her final month, great with Child, eagerly looking forward to being able to hold her Baby in her arms for the very first time.

This feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe highlights Mary’s pregnancy.  The black belt around her waist indicated to the Aztecs that she was with Child, and the readings are all about God’s Presence in her womb.  Through Zechariah, God tells us, “I am coming to dwell with you”, which He did in Mary’s womb.  “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day”.  When God came to Mexico in Mary’s womb, that nation joined the many nations that had embraced Christianity.  “Silence, all mankind, in the Presence of the Lord!  For He stirs forth from His holy dwelling.”  Jesus stirred forth from Mary, His holy dwelling, in the stillness of the night on the first Christmas.

In St. John’s description of the visions God revealed to him in exile on the Island of Patmos, he saw the long-lost ark of the covenant; the awe-inspiring dwelling place of God among men.  Then he saw the new ark of the covenant, a woman about to give birth, clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and a crown of stars on her head.  She was about to give birth.  When Mary appeared in Mexico, she stood in front of the sun, so that its rays surround her like a garment.  The moon is under her feet, there are stars all over her cloak, and she is with Child.  She is the woman of Revelation.

Our two options for the Gospel both speak of Mary with Child as well; first we read of her yes to God’s invitation to be His mother, and then of her journey to share the good news and to share the Presence of the Baby in her womb with her kinswomen Elizabeth, who was also with child.

In our Psalm response, we exclaim to Mary that she is the highest honor of our race.  How?  Through her motherhood, which opened the way to our salvation.  The highest honor of our race, and certainly of women, is the incredible ability to surrender to God in the creation and nurture of eternal souls destined for the splendors of Heaven.  When St. Paul told the young bishop, Timothy, that holy women would be saved through childbearing (I Timothy 2:15), that was a compliment!  Mary participated in bringing the souls of all of us to Heaven by saying yes to motherhood.  Holy women throughout the ages have done the same, although in more limited ways.  Even those of us women who cannot physically give birth have a call to spiritual motherhood, to nurturing souls and drawing them to Heaven.  When women say no to their sacred vocation of motherhood, Heaven and earth are both deprived of the crown of God’s creation.  If all women said no to motherhood, the human race would vanish from the planet in one generation.  Joseph Cardinal Mindzenty says it better than I can:


The most important person on earth is a mother.
She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame cathedral.
She need not.
She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral–
a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of baby’s body.
The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.
They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven.
Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature.
What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: To be a mother?
-Joseph Cardinal Mindzenty

As we celebrate this feast of Mother Mary, may we honor and encourage all mothers in their high calling of bringing life to the world.

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