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Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
During those days 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord God, thank you for this great Marian feast day! In 1945, Pope Pius XII declared Our Lady of Guadalupe to be Empress of all the Americas. Help me to imitate her simplicity and littleness, of which I read in the Gospel because it was this that enabled you to make her so great.
- Mary Is Apostolic: This Gospel scene is exciting. Two pregnant women, and dear relatives at that, met on the grand stage of salvation history: Mary of the House of David and Elizabeth of the daughters of Aaron; Christ the Savior of mankind and John the Baptist his herald. A rush of the Holy Spirit, a loud cry, and a leap in the womb! What has brought about this Gospel joy, this abundance of saving grace? Certainly, it was Elizabeth’s prayer and Mary’s “yes.” But it was also Mary’s apostolic zeal. Although newly pregnant, she toiled through hilly terrain to meet her friend. She could not keep God’s marvelous work to herself; she wanted to share it. Therefore she went quickly, with haste, an apostle in a hurry to spread the good news.
- Mary Is Contemplative: Elizabeth had many things she wanted to say to Mary upon her arrival. “Why did you come? How was the journey? You, the mother of my Lord! And you are so blessed, how did you believe right away? You are the greatest among women!” Likewise, Mary must have felt the impulse to speak about her experience, but she didn’t, not directly. She contemplated before she spoke. She gave praise to God for his salvation, and magnified his holy name. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” This praising of God’s greatness is exactly what makes Mary great. Because she humbled herself, God exalted her. Her contemplative spirit ensured that she would accomplish great deeds for the Lord.
- Mary Is Motherly: “Am I not here who am your mother?” These are the words Our Lady of Guadalupe spoke to St. Juan Diego. In 1531, she visited the American continent, just as she once visited her cousin Elizabeth. Solicitude for her cousin drove her to the latter, while love for all her American children prompted her to the former. As the collect of today’s Mass says: “Father, you placed your people under the singular protection of your Son’s most holy Mother.” Mary is our mother, and she runs in haste to find us, even when we are lost amid the hills of life. Mary comes!
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you are just a babe in your mother’s womb, but soon you will be born and laid in a manger! Let Mary be my sure guide this Advent, teaching me love for prayer, love for apostolic action, and tenderness toward my brothers and sisters. Thank you for giving me your mother.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will go to Mary, my mother, and ask for her intercession for my friends and family, mentioning them by name.
For Further Reflection: Watch the 2006 movie The Nativity Story.
Written by Br. Erik Burckel, LC.