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)
Today 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.
4 thoughts on “ADVENT 2011: Reflection for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12”
I left Mexico’s Shrine of Our Lady of Guadaloupe about 60 years ago with a fresh understanding of worship, which was shown powerfully by each of thousands of pilgrims. The hope for peace and friendship is rekindled by every prayer to the Son she brought into the world.
Ave Maria siempre ….
What a lovely surprise to see Arturo Chavez’ reflection. I first met him when I hired him in the early ’80s to teach Art to 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Houston,Texas, a school that will celebrate 100 years in 2012. What a wonderful role model he was for the boys.
For me the best expression of the meaning of Our Lady of Guadalupe is an experience I had one morning when a mother, her second-grade daughter and I went into OLG parish church. We were alone and knelt in the first pew. Both mother and daughter were “morenas” – beautiful, dark complected Mexican-Americans. The child’s gaze went back and forth between her own clasped hands and the face of the Virgen so beautifully depicted in the mosaic which fills the apse behind the altar. Up and down…. up and down. Finally, she turned to her mother and said “Mommy, she looks just like me!”
For me that said it all and, nearly 30 years later, it still does.
Thank you, Arturo, for stirring up that memory and for all that you give of yourself in so many ways!
Clare Pratt, RSCJ
Sr. Clare! My hero! You believed in me and I rose to your gentle expectations. I remember the many lessons you taught me and so many of your “student” teachers. You, Sr. Rosie, and so many other RSCJ’s revealed the loving face of La Morenita as you affirmed us and showed such respect for our culture…love you! Arturo