12 Dec – Memorial for Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Blessed Virgin appeared on Dec 9, 1531, to 55-year-old Juan Diego, a neophyte, who was hurrying down Tepeyac Hill to hear Mass in Mexico City. She sent him to Bishop Zumarraga to have a temple built where she stood. She was at the same place that evening and Sunday evening to get the bishop’s answer. The bishop did not immediately believe the messenger, had him cross-examined and watchd, and finally told him to ask the lady who said she was the mother of the true God for a sign. The neophyte agreed readily to ask for the sign desired, and the bishop released him.
Juan was occupied all Monday with Bernardino, an uncle who was dying of fever. Indian medicine had failed and Bernardino seemed at death’s door. At daybreak on Dec 12, Juan ran to nearby St. James’ convent for a priest. To avoid the apparition and the untimely message to the bishop, he slipped round where the well chapel now stands. But the Blessed Virgin crossed down to meet him and said, “What road is this thou takest, son?” A tender dialogue ensued. She reassured Juan about his uncle, to whom she also briefly appeared and instantly cured.
Calling herself Holy Mary of Guadalupe, she told Juan to return to the bishop. He asked for the sign he required. Mary told him to go to the rocks and gather roses. Juan knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses, but he went and found them. Gathering many into the lap of his tilma, a long cloak or wrapper used by Mexican Indians, he came back. The Holy Mother rearranged the roses, and told him to keep them untouched and unseen until he reached the bishop. When he met with Zumarraga, Juan offered the sign to the bishop. As he unfolded his cloak the roses, fresh and wet with dew, fell out. Juan was startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him. The life-size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as Juan had described her, was glowing on the tilma. The picture was venerated, guarded in the bishop’s chapel, and soon after carried in procession to the preliminary shrine.
The clergy, secular and regular, has been remarkably faithful to the devotion towards Our Lady of Guadalupe. The bishops especially fostered it, even to the extent of making a protestation of faith in the miracle a matter of occasional obligation. Pope Benedict XIV decreed that Our Lady of Guadalupe should be the national patron and made Dec 12 a holiday of obligation with an octave, and ordered a special Mass and Office. Pope Leo XIII approved a complete historical second Nocturne, ordered the picture to be crowned in his name, and composed a poetical inscription for it. Pope Pius X permitted Mexican priests to say the Mass of Holy Mary of Guadalupe on the twelfth day of every month, and granted indulgences which may be gained in any part of the world for prayer before a copy of the picture.
– extracted from Patron Saint Index
‘To whom can you compare me,
or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look:
he who created these things leads out their army in order,
summoning each of them by name.
So mighty is his power, so great his strength,
that not one fails to answer.
How can you say, Jacob, how can you repeat, Israel,
‘My way is hidden from Yahweh,
my rights are ignored by my God’?
Did you not know? Had you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
He created the remotest parts of the earth.
He does not grow tired or weary,
his understanding is beyond fathoming.
He gives strength to the weary,
he strengthens the powerless.
Youths grow tired and weary,
the young stumble and fall,
but those who hope in Yahweh will regain their strength,
they will sprout wings like eagles,
though they run they will not grow weary,
though they walk they will never tire.
‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
We are not only burdened with our own problems. We’re also burdened with the worries of others. When friends confide in us, we sometimes feel the burden of responsibility to help.
When applied to this context, today’s readings tell us that we don’t have to take this burden upon ourselves. Instead, we do with the problems of our loved ones what we do with ours – bring it to Jesus in prayer. He has the power, strength and wisdom to resolve what we cannot, to touch places where hope seems to have dried up.
As one who has experienced the love of God, will you lift the troubles of another to God in prayer today?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
Prayer: Lord, we lift up people who need Your touch in their lives.
Give thanks to the Lord for: giving us the ability to sense pain in others so that we are moved to help them.
Thu, 13 Dec – Isaiah 41:13-20; Matthew 11:11-15; Memorial for St. Lucy, virgin, martyr
Fri, 14 Dec – Isaiah 48:17-19; Matthew 11:16-19; Memorial for St. John of the Cross, presbyter, doctor
Sat, 15 Dec – Sirach 48:17-19; Matthew 17:10-13
Sun, 16 Dec – Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11; Third Sunday of Advent
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