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December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Posted on: December 11, 2018 8:00 am
Tags: Blog, Prayer,

Under this title, Our Lady is the patron of Mexico, the United States, and all of the Americas, as well as the protector of unborn children. In 1531, she appeared in a vision to the peasant Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City and charged him with asking the bishop to build a church on that spot. But the bishop demanded a sign, so Our Lady had Juan gather flowers in his cloak in December to take to the bishop. When Juan opened his cloak, the colorful image of Guadalupe was emblazoned on the cactus cloth. That icon is preserved in the most famous shrine in the Western Hemisphere, and Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to inspire poor and oppressed people worldwide. -From USCCB.ORG

 

Reflection by Stephanie Ramsey, Notre Dame Associate

A little over a year ago, my cousin was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Her first full throat dissection was on December 12, 2017, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. My cousin is not Catholic, nor is she very religious, but I was compelled to share with her the story of Juan Diego and Our Blessed Mother.

I found the best online summary I could, had a Mass said for her on December 12, and sent the packet off in the mail. She called me once she received it and shared with me that it brought her to tears. She had never heard the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and hearing it for the first time touched her deeply.

One year, two full throat dissections, and seven weeks of radiation later, I wish I could say that Tess is cancer free. I wish I could say that she has started going to church. Mercifully, I can say that she is at peace. She is not afraid. That kind of peace and security can come only from God.

I think of how frightened Juan Diego must have been. As beautiful as it was, seeing an apparition had to be unnerving. Then he, a lowly peasant, was told to go to his bishop? With a request?! We are all faced with experiences in this life that can terrify us and shake us to the core of our very being. When we trust in Jesus and when we rely on the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, we can attain peace and we can live without fear … no matter the circumstance, the diagnosis, the impossible task. As Our Lady instructed Juan Diego, “Now go and put forth your best effort.”

Reflection by Sister Maria Francine Stacy

“Am I not your Mother?” 

Our Lady of Guadalupe is, above all, a mother. Indeed, in the apparition of Guadalupe, she says, “Am I not here, I who am your mother?” And those are the very words one immediately sees inscribed in front of the basilica in Mexico where her image lies. Several days before her feast on December 12, the Mexicans begin to pray to honor her. 

I once asked a Mexican singer if he could sing at the traditional Vigil service called Las Mañanitas even though it would be at midnight and he would have to go very early to work the next day. "Oh yes," he said without hesitation, “I will do it for my mother.”

If we look at the image of Our Lady, her eyes are downcast, as if she were looking at us. I believe she is! She shows a humility in her being and yet the sun behind her reminds us of her royal state as Mother of God. As such, she is a great and a willing intercessor for us. 

For Prayer: Look at the picture of our Lady of Guadalupe, allow her to fix her loving gaze on you and talk to her as you would talk to a mother.

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