NOTE: All reflections throughout the Advent season will be available on our homepage and then archived on our Advent 2022 webpage.

The reflection below is from Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Fr. John Dear from the 2007 Advent reflection booklet, The Advent of the God of Peace: Reflections for Advent 2007.

by John Dear
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10 | Luke 1:39-47

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. (Lk 1:39-40)

Today, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we read again of Mary, now moving into the second stage of the Advent journey. From the Annunciation to the Visitation–from contemplative nonviolence to active nonviolence. God came to her in response to her prayer, and she in turn goes to Elizabeth in her need.

The scene is the hinterlands of Palestine; a blood-stained reality hovers unspoken in the air. Palestine is occupied territory. Roman garrisons and checkpoints and patrols, surveillance and harassment and summary executions, a population taxed and terrorized, the peasants on the edge of malnutrition. And here Luke presents us with two women, disenfranchised and colonized, the one reaching out in love to the other. Mary serves her neighbor at risk.

But then, a surprise. Despite the dread realities, we hear no hint of bitterness or anger. The two speak words of love. They greet one another in the language of peace. “Peace be with you.” Then they start to engage in what St. Ignatius called “spiritual conversation” and start offering beatitudes. “Blessed are you who believed that what the God of peace has said will be done” (Lk 1:45).

These great women teach us a thing or two about love, about community. Prayer pushes us to reach out in love to a neighbor in need. Peacemaking begins by talking first of all about the God of peace and what the God of peace is doing in our lives. These holy women invite us to share with relatives and friends about where we find the God of peace working in the world. That holy conversation deepens relationships and friendships, spreads the holy spirit of peace, builds community, and inspires nonviolent action and vision. It consoles our hearts and lifts them from despair.

Note the three beatitudes. “Blessed are you…” “Blessed is the child…” “Blessed is the one who believed…” (Lk 1:42-45). The blessings tumble forth like a cascade over rocks. Their font is active love. Contemplative nonviolence always leads to active love which gives forth into new beatitudes. Mary and Elizabeth invite us to prepare for the coming of the God of peace and for peace on earth by reaching out with love to those in need, speaking words of peace, noticing the blessings we receive, and proclaiming beatitudes of peace. This too is the work of Advent.


How do you reach out with active nonviolence to love your neighbor in need,
as Mary does in the story of the Visitation?

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6 thoughts on “A reflection for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12

  1. We must first recognize the sinfulness of man. Also must contemplate of Mary as she brings forth Jesus to take away the sins of the world.

  2. Wonderful writing on a great group of beatitudes given in Mary and Elizabeth’s conversation.

  3. Deep gratitude for this Advent reflection around these two women and their beatitudes. We are dealing with MYSTICISM at its best. These words were attributed to Mary and Elizabeth thanks to the inspiration of an author. (there was no tape-recorder there….) The same with the mythology in connection with the Guadalupe story. Imagination and mysticism take center stage and provide us with this Advent mystique. gracias….

  4. I always assumed one of their “ladies in waiting” (attendants) overheard their conversation, and that’s how it was passed on without a tape recorder.
    I like the picture; who is the artist? I like what they are holding up over their wombs– before there were ultrasounds; and the modern day guys in the background! Interesting picture.

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