Thought for the Day – 12 December – The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Rome’s Response
Over the years the Popes have responded with unparalleled enthusiasm to all the pious demands of the Mexican hierarchy to further the cause of their Benefactress. In all, fifteen Pontiffs have affixed their signatures to Guadalupan decrees. She has been canonised the Patroness of Mexico and of all Latin America. Pope Pius XII extended her reign even further by declaring her Empress of all the Americas, North, South and Central.
We cannot pass by the Popes without mentioning the most devoted of all the Vicars of Christ to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Benedict XIV. This enigmatic Pontiff, who refused even the Catholic Queen Mary of England a Mass in honour of the then controverted devotion to the Sacred Heart (1750’s) proved incapable of applying his famed over-cautious rigourism to the Mother as he did to her Son. Toward the Mexican Virgin his heart became soft as wax. He did everything he could to honour her. He gave her a Mass, a place in the Divine Office and the first of the above-mentioned titles. And he once told Fr Lopez, the Mexican Jesuit who had introduced him to the miraculous Image, that, if his duties did not prevent him, he would make a pilgrimage to the New World shrine and approach the Holy Virgin as the other poor pilgrims did, “barefoot and on his knees”. In 1754, when none of his predecessors in the chair of Peter had as yet officially approved the apparition, that was a courageous and beautiful thing for a Pope to say.
However, the privilege was left to Holy Father John Paul II  to be the first Pope to visit Guadalupe in person. That was in January, 1979. Though it is true that wherever he went in his world-wide tours he drew record-breaking crowds of welcomers, nowhere did he receive the overwhelming turnout that he did in Mexico. God alone knows where they came from or how they got there but an estimated nine million people lined this poor country’s thoroughfares to greet the Holy Father, waving their bandettas and shouting thunderously,
“Long live the Pope! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe! Long live Christ the King!”
(*excerpt from BR. MICHAEL, M.I.C.M.)
Mary’s appearance to St Juan Diego as one of his people, is a powerful reminder that Mary–and the God who sent her–accept and love all peoples.
While a number of (the indigenous peoples) had converted before this incident, they now came in droves. According to a contemporary chronicler, nine million Indians became Catholic in a very short time. In these days when we hear so much about God’s preferential option for the poor, Our Lady of Guadalupe cries out to us that God’s love for and identification with the poor is an age-old truth that stems from the Gospel itself.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, protect us, guide us, teach us, pray for us!
Quote of the Day – 12 December – The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
“When she appeared to St Juan Diego, her face was that of a mestiza (mixed race) woman and her clothes were full of symbols of the indigenous culture. Following the example of Jesus, Mary is close to her children. She accompanies them on their way, as a solicitous mother and shares the joys and hopes, sufferings and anxieties of the people of God, who are called to form part of all the peoples of the earth…. The appearance of the image of the Virgin on the tilma of Juan Diego was a prophetic sign of an embrace, Mary’s embrace….”
One Minute Reflection – 12 December – The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Who is this that comes like the dawn ….. as awe-inspiring as bannered troops?…..Song 6:10
REFLECTION – “Mary is an arsenal of graces and she comes to the aid of her clients. She sustains, strengthens and revives us by the heavenly favours that she heaps on us.”…..St Paulinus of York (died 644)
PRAYER – Lord Jesus Christ my Lord, help me to become a devoted client of Your holy Mother Mary. Through Your grace, may I receive the spiritual strength she has promised to all her clients. May I, in simplicity, like St Juan Diego, become her vessel to share Your Light of Love throughout my world. Our Lady of Guadalupe Pray for us! Amen
Our Morning Offering – 12 December – The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
for the holy Church,
protect the sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke you
in their necessities,
and since you are the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us,
from your most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
of sweet hope in the midst
of the bitterness of life
of burning charity
and the precious gift
of final perseverance.
Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent – 12 December
“Let us adore the Lord, the King who is to come.”
Daily Meditation: Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever...Isaiah 40:7-8
Our God comes with power to save us.
Each of us can name what it is we long to be saved from.
Today, let’s imagine ourselves freer.
Throughout the day, let’s picture new ways of responding
to challenging relationships, habitual sins,
and other ruts we are in.
As we envision our freedom we experience
how much our God desires to save us.
It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost…Matthew 18:14
Today’s Daily Reflection – Intercessions:
To Jesus Christ our Lord, the light of the world,
let us cry out with joy:
Come Lord Jesus!
Dispel our darkness with the light of Your presence,
– and make us worthy of Your gifts.
Save us, Lord our God,
– that we may praise Your holy name this day.
Enkindle in our hearts the flame of Your love,
– and make us long to be united with You.
You bore our infirmity,
-aid the sick and those who are to die this day.
I hear it over and over: You are coming to me.
I feel my heart stir in anticipation,
and I know that You are inviting me
to enter more deeply
into the mystery of Your birth.
Help me to feel renewed love settle in my heart,
and to lift my face in joy.
I have been like a lost lamb,
but I hear Your voice calling me
and I feel how deeply You want me to return.
Somehow I know that You rejoice in my desire to find You.
Help me not to be afraid to say out loud, to believe:
Here is God, coming into my life.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Saint of the Day – The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – 12 December – Our Mother of Guadalupe, The Madonna of Tepeyac, Tonantzin – The First Apparition was on 12 December 1531 and was approved by the Holy See on 12 October 1895, during the Canonical coronation granted by Pope Leo XIII – Patronages: of Americas; New World, Central America, Mexico, New Mexico, Pojoaque Indian Pueblo, 12 dioceses, 3 cities.
Guadalupe is, strictly speaking, the name of a picture but the name was extended to the church containing the picture and to the town that grew up around the church. It makes the shrine, it occasions the devotion, it illustrates Our Lady. It is taken as representing the Immaculate Conception, being the lone figure of a woman with the sun, moon and star accompaniments of the great apocalyptic sign with a supporting angel under the crescent. The word is Spanish Arabic but in Mexico it may represent certain Aztec sounds.
Its tradition is long-standing and constant and in sources both oral and written, Indian and Spanish, the account is unwavering. The Blessed Virgin appeared on Saturday 9 December 1531 to a 55 year old neophyte named Juan Diego, who was hurrying down Tepeyac hill to hear Mass in Mexico City. She sent him to Bishop Zumárraga to have a temple built where she stood. She was at the same place that evening and Sunday evening to get the bishop’s answer. The bishop did not immediately believe the messenger, had him cross-examined and watched and he finally told him to ask the lady who said she was the mother of the true God for a sign. The neophyte agreed readily to ask for sign desired and the bishop released him.
Juan was occupied all Monday with Bernardino, an uncle, who was dying of fever. Indian medicine had failed and Bernardino seemed at death’s door. At daybreak on Tuesday 12 December 1531, Juan ran to nearby the Saint James convent for a priest. To avoid the apparition and the untimely message to the bishop, he slipped round where the well chapel now stands. But the Blessed Virgin crossed down to meet him and said, “What road is this thou takest son?” A tender dialogue ensued. She reassured Juan about his uncle, to whom she also briefly appeared and instantly cured. Calling herself Holy Mary of Guadalupe she told Juan to return to the bishop. He asked Mary for the sign he required. She told him to go to the rocks and gather roses. Juan knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses but he went and found them. Gathering many into the lap of his tilma, a long cloak or wrapper used by Mexican Indians, he came back. The Holy Mother rearranged the roses and told him to keep them untouched and unseen until he reached the bishop. When he met with Zumárraga, Juan offered the sign to the bishop. As he unfolded his cloak the roses, fresh and wet with dew, fell out. Juan was startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him. The life size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as Juan had described her, was glowing on the tilma. The picture was venerated, guarded in the bishop’s chapel and soon after carried in procession to the preliminary shrine.
The coarsely woven material of the tilma which bears the picture is as thin and open as poor sacking. It is made of vegetable fibre, probably maguey. It consists of two strips, about seventy inches long by eighteen wide, held together by weak stitching. The seam is visible up the middle of the figure, turning aside from the face. Painters have not understood the laying on of the colours. They have deposed that the “canvas” was not only unfit but unprepared and they have marvelled at apparent oil, water, tempera, etc. colouring in the same figure. They are left in equal admiration by the flower-like tints and the abundant gold. They and other artists find the proportions perfect for a maiden of fifteen. The figure and the attitude are of one advancing. There is flight and rest in the eager supporting angel. The chief colours are deep gold in the rays and stars, blue-green in the mantle and rose in the flowered tunic.
Sworn evidence was given at various commissions of inquiry corroborating the traditional account of the miraculous origin and influence of the picture. Some wills connected with Juan Diego and his contemporaries were accepted as documentary evidence. Vouchers were given for the existence of Bishop Zumárraga’s letter to his Franciscan brothers in Spain concerning the apparitions. His successor, Montufar, instituted a canonical inquiry, in 1556, on a sermon in which the pastors and people were abused for crowding to the new shrine. In 1568 the renowned historian Bernal Díaz, a companion of Cortez, refers incidentally to Guadalupe and its daily miracles. The lay viceroy, Enríquez, while not opposing the devotion, wrote in 1575 to Philip II asking him to prevent the third archbishop from erecting a parish or monastery at the shrine. Inaugural pilgrimages were usually made to it by viceroys and other chief magistrates. Processes, national and ecclesiastical, were laboriously formulated and attested for presentation at Rome, Italy in 1663, 1666, 1723, and 1750.
The clergy, secular and regular, has been remarkably faithful to the devotion towards Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bishops especially fostering it, even to the extent of making a protestation of faith in the miracle a matter of occasional obligation. Pope Benedict XIV decreed that Our Lady of Guadalupe should be the national patron of Mexico and made 12 December a holiday of obligation with an octave and ordered a special Mass and Office. Pope Leo XIII approved a complete historical second Nocturne, ordered the picture to be crowned in his name and composed a poetical inscription for it. Pope Pius X permitted Mexican priests to say the Mass of Holy Mary of Guadalupe on the twelfth day of every month and granted indulgences which may be gained in any part of the world for prayer before a copy of the picture.
The place, called Guadalupe Hidalgo since 1822, is three miles northeast of Mexico City. Pilgrimages have been made to this shrine almost without interruption since 1531-1532. A shrine at the foot of Tepeyac Hill served for ninety years and still forms part of the parochial sacristy. In 1622 a magnificent shrine was erected and in 1709 a newer, even more beautiful one. There are also a parish church, a convent and church for Capuchin nuns, a well chapel and a hill chapel all constructed in the 18th century. About 1750 the shrine got the title of collegiate, a canonry and choir service being established. It was aggregated to Saint John Lateran in 1754. In 1904 it was created a basilica, with the presiding ecclesiastic being called abbot. The shrine has been renovated in Byzantine style which presents an illustration of Guadalupan history.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Feast)
St Agatha of Wimborne
Bl Bartholomew Buonpedoni
St Pope Callistus II
St Colman of Clonard
St Columba of Terryglass
St Conrad of Offida
St Corentius of Quimper
St Donatus the Martyr
St Edburga of Thanet
St Finnian of Clonard
St Gregory of Terracina
Bl Ida of Nivelles
Bl James of Viterbo
Bl Ludwik Bartosik
Bl Martin Sanz
St Simon Phan Ðac Hòa
St Spyridon of Cyprus
St Vicelin of Oldenburg
Martyrs of Alexandria – (6 saints): A group of six Christians martyred for their faith during the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than five of their names – Alexander, Ammonaria, Dionysia, Epimachus and Mercuria. They were burned to death c 250 in Alexandria, Egypt.
Martyrs of Trier – (4 saints): A group of six Christians martyred for their faith during the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than five of their names – Alexander, Ammonaria, Dionysia, Epimachus and Mercuria. They were burned to death c 250 in Alexandria, Egypt.