We invite you to sojourn with us in contemplation as we enter this Advent Season.
Today's Meditation is a reflection on Our Lady of Guadalupe empowering Juan Diego to give voice to God's care for all. Juan Diego felt unimportant and yet he too had a role to play in giving God's care for God's People a voice and a compassionate presence.
We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.
In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.
We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!
With our love and care,
Ron and Jean
MEDITATION Blessed Among Us Our Lady of Guadalupe
On the morning of December 9, 1531, a Christian Indian named Juan Diego passed a hill at Tepeyac, not far from present-day Mexico City. Hearing a voice calling him by name, he looked up to see a young Indian maiden. Speaking in his Nahuatl language, she instructed him to tell the bishop to construct a church on this hill, the site of an ancient shrine to the mother goddess. The bishop paid Juan no attention. In subsequent showings the maiden identified herself as the Mother of God and told Juan to gather roses that grew, unseasonably, at her feet. When he returned to the bishop and opened his cape, Juan revealed a full-color image of the Lady mysteriously imprinted on the rough fabric.
So was born the cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe (as the Indian name of the Lady was rendered in Spanish). But the apparition truly marked the birth of the Mexican people—a fusion of the Spanish and Indian races and cultures. With her dark skin and Indian features, the Lady offered an image of divine compassion for a demoralized people. Speaking to Juan Diego in his own language, she presented herself in terms of compassion and solidarity, not power and domination. Through him, she called the Church to heed the voice of the poor, to serve as a vehicle for their cultural and spiritual survival.
The image, enshrined in a basilica in Mexico City, attracts millions of pilgrims each year. Juan Diego was canonized in 2002.
“My dearest son, I am the eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, Author of Life, Creator of all and Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth.”
—Apparition of Our Lady to Juan Diego
The Message of Guadalupe
Juan Diego was but a simple man. He was Our Lady of Guadalupe’s kind. To him, she entrusted the delivery of a message instructing his bishop to build a sacred site that would serve as a place of refuge and peace—a place where her Son would give the people his help, compassion, and protection. When the bishop turned him away, Juan Diego begged Mary to choose someone of status or nobility to do the very important work of God. “I am a nobody,” he said, “a nothing, like a pile of sticks.” But the Blessed Mother picked him up from his knees and commissioned him to go.
Our Lady of Guadalupe does the same for us. She reminds us of our vocation to be disciples of God’s work on earth. She promises, like a faithful mother, to be with us in that work: Listen, put it into your heart [my child] that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing: do not let it disturb you. . . . Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Our Blessed Mother lifts us up so that in our social justice ministries we can offer Jesus’ compassion, protection, refuge, and justice to all her children in the world. The message of Guadalupe, our mother, is for us to continue building a world in which all God’s children will be well fed and safely sheltered, will have access to good health care, housing, and schools—and will be treated with the same dignity and respect as the Son of God she bore.
¡Que viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
Verónica Rayas serves in ministry at the Diocese of El Paso. She is the director of the Office of Religious Formation, the Casa Guadalupe Retreat Center, and Centro San Juan Diego (an arts, cultural, and formation center for youth). She is a proud native of El Paso, Texas.
A PRAYER FOR THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
We all have our Tepeyac,
Our hill we're hurrying over in these December days.
Perhaps, like Juan Diego,
We are even avoiding You
In our rush to get where we're going---
To finish the shopping,
To hang the decorations,
To prepare the meal.
May each one of us be stunned,
Stopped in our tracks,
By your call to us in our native tongue,
Alone as we may feel this Advent,
speak to us once more--
Remind us of this:
That you are here,
That You are Our Mother,
That you love us tenderly and unfailingly,
May we gather Your roses,
So improbably blooming in the winter chill
And shower them on a weary world,
Hungry for hope.
This Advent we invite you to join us in reflecting on the Freedom Poetry of Advent as offered to us by the work of Maya Angelou. The introduction to this time of reflection includes a quote from Maya:
“I’m always amazed when people walk up to me and say, ‘I’m a Christian.’ I think, ‘Already? You already got it?’ I’m working at it, which means that I try to be kind and fair and generous and respectful and courteous to every human being.” + Maya Angelou
If you are seeking a prayerful focus for Advent, and Maya's works speak to your spirit, we hope that you will join us! We will gather for one hour each Wednesday of Advent (from 7:00-8:00PM) during Advent sharing on the suggested scripture verse, along with the poem by Maya selected for the week, and proposed practices for us to further integrate the sacred messages. You will find Digital and Print options for the Prayer Guide attached to this email.
The link will be the same link we use every Sunday for Eucharist. We will send it out again on Wednesday.