Gospel Reflections

Feasts of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego

Luke 1:39-45

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Marilyn Kerber

Published: December 12, 2016

Read Luke 1:39-45

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. Read More…

Artistic renditions of Mary abound. The liturgical year holds many Mary feasts. Among all the artistic renditions and all the feasts of Mary, this Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe holds a number of unique treasures for us to reflect upon.

Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531 in Mexico. During his third visit to the Bishop, Juan Diego brought flowers that could not have grown in that area of the country during wintertime, as a sign from the Virgin, that this was indeed an apparition. As Juan Diego opened his cloak presenting them to the Bishop, Mary’s image appeared on his cloak. This image is preserved in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Mary is a woman for all time, who loves poor people and embraces all cultures.

This feast is also special to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Why? For the beginning of the Congregation came under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as Mère Julie, Françoise and Catherine Duchâtel each received from Père Varin a medal depicting the Guadalupe image on February 2, 1804. Julie and Françoise each wore the medal as part of her habit. Saint Julie’s medal remains in our Institute Archives. Mother Saint Joseph’s medal has been passed on from Superior General to Superior General. Sister Teresita Weind, SNDdeN, the current Congregational Leader, wears it on special occasions. We do not know what happened to the third medal. The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is indeed a beautiful and precious connection to this feast of Mary for Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and our Associates.

The Church’s Lectionary offers us two First Readings and two Gospels for this feast. I have chosen the reading from Zephaniah (2:14-17) and the Gospel of Luke (1: 39-47). In the reading from Zephaniah we hear “Sing and rejoice, … See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the Lord.”  I believe that God dwells with us in so many ways! And in Mary is one of these most special of dwellings. What does the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe evoke in me? Do I strive to grow “in the spirit of Mary, the virtue of Mary, the strength and power of Mary?”  (St. Julie)

In the Gospel of Luke, we read of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Mary traveled to be with her cousin Elizabeth, older and pregnant. Mary’s attentiveness to the needs of others, including the couple who ran out of wine at their wedding and standing beneath the cross of her son, is the Mary we meet in the Gospels. And in today’s feast, Mary chooses a poor man to bring her request to the Bishop. How do I relate to the poor people I meet in my life? Is my first thought to be with others who are in need?

Our Lady of Guadalupe, grant me grace of a love for poor people, of attentiveness to the needs of others and an ability to embrace cultures other than my own.

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