Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent Calendar - December 12, 2012

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a; 10ab; Luke 1:39-47

Reflection by Sister Carlita Koch
Prayer ministry

“Breath of Heaven, hold me together, be forever near me,” sings Amy Grant on the album, BREATH OF HEAVEN: MARY’S SONG. The song that Ms. Grant sings shares some of the feelings Mary experienced on the trip to Bethlehem that first Christmas eve. A young, pregnant mother-to-be (Mary) believes that this child is special to God, but she herself has already suffered from shame and disgrace in the eyes of her neighbors and friends, even from Joseph at first, but no longer. She feels alone and afraid at times. Her prayer shows her absolute trust in God. She sings, “Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness. Pour over me your holiness, for you are holy, Breath of Heaven.”

I find myself quite attracted to this hymn. One senses Mary’s struggle to believe—so much like our own struggle at times. And there is also the struggle of the pregnant woman in today’s first reading from the book of Revelation. What a blessing when she is carried away for protection—but notice that it is in the wilderness.

We are celebrating today the feast of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary appeared to Juan Diego in the form of a young, pregnant Indian woman. She was responding to the struggles of the Indian population of Mexico as they suffered from living under the power of the European invaders.

The gospel of Luke focuses on two pregnant women, Elizabeth and Mary. So the liturgical texts and the historical occurrence at Tepeyac focus on pregnant women. That is why the Right-to-Life movement has chosen Our Lady of Guadalupe for their patron.

The Mexican people have promoted this devotion to Mary, the pregnant virgin, and have kept the memory of her appearance alive. The observance reminds us of the plea that the Right-to-Life movement has made. Pray to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe for an end to abortions and for those women who have reversed their earlier decision and decided to spare their baby.

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