Tag Archives: Our Lady of Guadalupe

ADVENT 2014: Reflection for Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12

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by Rev. Ray East

Zechariah 2:14-17 or Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab | Luke 1:26-38 or 1:39-47

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars (Rev 12:1)

Our Lady of GuadalupeWe Advent peacemakers cannot overestimate the importance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to those who are poor, oppressed, or imprisoned. From the family without papers in Alabama to the landless campesinos in Chiapas to the former gang member in an overcrowded California prison, we all seek protection under her tilma or mantle. Of the Lectionary options, I suggest Revelation 11:19—12:10. John the Evangelist’s description of the sun-clothed, star-crowned mother is miraculously mirrored in the image on Juan Diego’s yucca tilma. Also read aloud the first gospel selection, Luke 1:26-38. Every meeting San Juan Diego had with the beautiful lady is a distant echo of that saving exchange between Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary. Rising before dawn this day with millions of “Guadalupanas,” let us together listen as “la Morenita”—the brown-hued, Expectant Queen—whispers, “Am I not your Mother too?”

Have you felt the healing, loving care of Our Lady of Guadalupe?

Can you identify with the plight of those who desperately seek her protection?

*This reflection originally appeared in Pax Christi USA’s Advent reflection booklet, Unshakeable Belief: Advent 2013.

TAKE ACTION: National call-in days for immigrant justice, Dec. 9-12

from Justice for Immigrants

Justice and dignity for all immigrantsThe Justice for Immigrants National Call-In Days to Congress are this week, beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 9th and going through Friday, Dec. 12th, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.

On Dec. 9-12,  the toll-free number to use to call Congress is 1-855-589-5698 and our message is simple:

Please oppose including language in a federal funding bill that bars the President from using his authority to protect immigrants and their families from deportation.”

Executive authority to protect potentially millions of immigrants from deportation is under threat from federal lawmakers. Please ask your advocacy networks and supporters of immigrants to call their Representatives every day during the call-in period and convey our message.

REFLECTION: A pilgrimage to Mexico to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe

Rev. John Dear, S.J.

by Fr. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

This week, I’m in Mexico, spending time each day at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, trying to enter her story and presence and begging for the grace of peace and wisdom. My friend Jim Reale proposed this retreat. He has just finished two years of daily two-hour meditation every morning in front of her famous image. He wanted to conclude this part of his spiritual journey with a pilgrimage to her and invited me along.

We took as our text one of the best books ever on the mythic story, Guadalupe: Mother of the New Creation by Virgilio Elizondo (Orbis Books, 1997). The first part features a current translation of an ancient story, the Nican Mopohua, written for the Nahuatl people, followed by 100 pages of Elizondo’s insightful commentary on the document.

Everyone knows the story. Juan Diego, one of the poorest of the poorest indigenous people, is walking on Mount Tepeyac, a desert hill on the outskirts of Mexico City, in 1531. It’s the age of Hernán Cortés and the Spanish Catholic conquerors who committed genocide against the indigenous people. A new convert, 57-year-old Juan Diego is on his way to morning Mass 15 miles away when he hears a large gathering of birds singing loudly on Tepeyac. He climbs higher to investigate this extraordinary sound when he encounters an indigenous woman, beautifully dressed, shining like the sun, infinitely compassionate — Our Lady of Guadalupe

Click here to read this entire article.

ADVENT 2012: Reflection for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12

By Sr. Esther Pineda, CSJ

Zechariah 2:14-17 (or Revelations 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab) | Judith 13:18bcde, 19 | Luke 1:39-47 (or Luke 1:26-38)

Virgen_de_guadalupe1The message of Our Lady of Guadalupe is for the restoration of justice. She highlights the need to be present to those who are poor, to those devastated by war, to those whose voices have been silenced by the pillage of conquest, to those who are rendered invisible by social and political structures. Through Juan Diego, now St. Juan Diego—he was canonized August 2002—she becomes the visible love of God. She is God’s action on behalf of those who are poor. Our Lady of Guadalupe gathers the people and restores their sense of dignity and self-worth, reveals to them that they are both loved and loving and reveals to them the unconditional love of the One God who has not abandoned them.

This is the fundamental imperative of the Gospel.

Her presence becomes a conversion—a call to see the world upside down. . . “The meek shall inherit the earth, the last shall be first,” and so on. She calls on Juan Diego, a poor, uneducated, indigenous peasant and makes him an ambassador with the message for the Bishop of Mexico. The bishop is to build a church on the outskirts of what is now Mexico City . . . among the people who live on the periphery of the city, on the outskirts. Prior to her apparition, the church was located in the heart of the city, in the heart of the commercial and political arena. It was difficult for those living on the outskirts to attend liturgy and avail themselves of God’s word and sacraments. The Church is to be in the midst of the poor. As is often being said, “Option for the poor is not an option, it is a mandate.” It is a mandate from our God, the God who sides with those who are poor, who sides with the anawim of society.

As we continue to contemplate Our Lady of Guadalupe, as we continue to prepare for the coming of her Son, let us be about justice-making.

Sr. Esther Pineda, CSJ is a member of the Pax Christi USA National Council.

For more Advent resources, click here.

IMMIGRATION: Letter of the Hispanic/Latino bishops to immigrants

The following letter of the Hispanic/Latino bishops in the United States was directed to immigrants and sent on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, 2011. Signed by 33 bishops (including Pax Christi USA Bishop-President Bishop Gabino Zavala), the letter was released simultaneously from Los Angeles and San Antonio, the sees of the two highest ranking Hispanic archbishops.

Dear immigrant sisters and brothers,

May the peace and grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you!

We the undersigned Hispanic/Latino Bishops of the United States wish to let those of you who lack proper authorization to live and work in our country know that you are not alone, or forgotten. We recognize that every human being, authorized or not, is an image of God and therefore possesses infinite value and dignity. We open our arms and hearts to you, and we receive you as members of our Catholic family. As pastors, we direct these words to you from the depths of our heart.

In a very special way we want to thank you for the Christian values you manifest to us with your lives—your sacrifice for the well-being of your families, your determination and perseverance, your joy of life, your profound faith and fidelity despite your insecurity and many difficulties. You contribute much to the welfare of our nation in the economic, cultural and spiritual arenas.

The economic crisis has had an impact on the entire U.S. community. Regretfully, some in reaction to this environment of uncertainty show disdain for immigrants and even blame them for the crisis. We will not find a solution to our problems by sowing hatred. We will find the solution by sowing a sense of solidarity among all workers and co-workers —immigrants and citizens—who live together in the United States.

In your suffering faces we see the true face of Jesus Christ. We are well aware of the great sacrifice you make for your families’ well-being. Many of you perform the most difficult jobs and receive miserable salaries and no health insurance or social security. Despite your contributions to the well-being of our country, instead of receiving our thanks, you are often treated as criminals because you have violated current immigration laws.

To read the full letter and see the list of signatories, click here.

ADVENT 2011: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, fiesta, 12 de diciembre del 2011

By Arturo Chávez, Ph.D.

Zacarias 2, 14-17 o Apocalipsis 11, 19a; 12, 1-6a; 10ab | Lucas 1, 26-38 o 1, 39-47

“Dichosa tú que has creido, porque lo que el Señor te ha dicho se cumplirá…” (Lucas 1, 45)

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Hoy celebramos uno de los días más santos del año para los americanos de América del Norte, Central y del Sur. La fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, la madre de la Iglesia UNA de América, es una historia de cómo Dios actuó en la historia de un pueblo para darle luz en tiempos de gran oscuridad. El primer relato de la historia de Guadalupe dice que “cuando era de noche” apareció un gran signo en esta parte del mundo: “Una mujer revestida del sol, con la luna debajo de sus pies” (Apocalipsis 12, 1).

Esta dulce mujer encinta vino con una mensaje de esperanza, una visión de unidad del Dios “que está cerca y junto.” Al hablar a un poderoso a través de un indio humilde y sabio, ella ofreció a todos sus hijos la oportunidad de contruir juntos una Iglesia en la cual se da la bienvenida a los sin hogar, Consuelo a los trstes, y poder a los sin voz. La huella de este bello rostro Moreno en las hebras de la túnica de Juan Diego sigue llamando a la Iglesia de América a tejer entre sí las razas y grupos culturales del continente, formando así una “nueva creación”.

El mensaje de la Virgen de Guadalupe es el mismo que cantó hace más de dos mil años en su bello Magníficat. “Dios,” dijo, “se ha dignado fijarse en su humilde sierva. Desde ahora me llamarán dichosa todas las generaciones” (Lucas 1, 48). María, la pobre jovencita de Nazaret, sabía lo que quería decir no valer nada a los ojos de este mundo. Ella, como Juan Diego, vivió su vida terrena como miembro de un pueblo conquistador que vivía ocupado. Sin embargo, aún frente a una realidad aparentemente sin esperanza, María entrevió una nueva realidad – el Reino de Dios amaneciendo sobre el mundo desde su seno.

Este reino, proclamó María, será una revolución completa, no con espadas ni violencia, sino un cambio total del orden social tal como lo conocemos ahora. Los pobres serán exaltados y compartirán en un banquete suntuoso, mientra que los ricos en su avaricia y orgullo caerán sobre sus rostros y se irán vacíos. Esta no es la venganza cruel de un dios enojado; sino una manera compasiva de fortalecer y sanar los desheredados , y una oportunidad de conversión para los que no pueden aprender de otra manera.

  • El temple de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe está todavía por construirse: ¿Podemos comenzar a vislumbrarlo? ¿A diseñar su plano? ¿A suministrar la mano de obra oara construirlo?
  • ¿Cómo podemos ofrecernos a nosotros mismos – según las palabras de San Pablo – como “piedras vivas” para crear UNA Iglesia en América y el mundo?

ADVENT 2011: Reflection for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12

By Arturo Chávez, Ph.D.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Zech 2:14-17 or Rev 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab | Lk 1:26-38 or 1:39-47

“Blessed is she who trusted that God’s words to her would be fulfilled…” (Luke 1:45)

Our Lady of GuadalupeToday we celebrate one of the holiest days of the year for Americans throughout North, Central, and South America. The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mother of the ONE Church in America, is a story of how God acted in a people’s history to bring light in a time of great darkness. The earliest account of the Guadalupe story states that “when it was night,” a great sign appeared in this part of the world: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet” (Revelation 12:1).

This gentle, pregnant woman came with a message of hope, a vision of unity from the God of “What is Near and Together.” Speaking to the powerful through a humble and wise Indian man, she offered all her children the opportunity to build together a Church where the homeless are welcomed, the sorrowful comforted, the sick healed, and the voiceless empowered. The imprint of her lovely brown face on the strands of Juan Diego’s garment still calls to the Church in America to weave together the many races and cultural groups of the continent into a “new creation.”

The message of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the same one she sang over two thousand years ago in her beautiful Magnificat. “God,” she says, “has looked upon my lowliness and from this day all generations shall call me blessed!” (Luke 1:48). Mary, the poor, young woman from Nazareth, knew what it meant to count for nothing in this world. She, like Juan Diego, lived her earthly life as a member of a conquered people living under occupation. Yet even in the face of a seemingly hopeless reality, Mary could envision a new reality — God’s Reign dawning upon the world from inside her womb.

This reign, Mary proclaimed, will be a complete revolution — not of swords and violence — a total change in the social order as we know it now. The poor will be lifted up and partake in a sumptuous banquet, while those who are rich in their greed and pride will fall on their faces and go away empty. This is not the cruel payback of an angry god; rather, it is a compassionate way of bringing empowerment and healing to the disinherited, and an opportunity for conversion for those who will learn in no other way.

  • Our Lady’s temple is yet to be built. Can we begin to envision it? Design the plan for it? Provide the labor for it?
  • How can we offer ourselves — in the words of St. Paul — “as living stones” for the creation of the ONE Church in America and in the world?

This reflection is from Awakening the Prophet Within: Reflections for Advent 2006, by Dr. Arturo Chavez. This year’s booklet by Diane Lopez Hughes is still available and can be ordered online here. Dr. Chavez is the President of the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio and former National Council member of Pax Christi USA. 

For more Advent resources, click here.