December 12, 2014

Our Lady of Guadalupe....pray for us

As I mentioned in my previous post, we are marking the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe today with prayer services in our chapel during all theology classes.  The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe hangs outside our gym and I brought it to the chapel today and bookended it with candles.  When the students arrive, I explain the significance of this feast day, especially for Latinos, and how this day is for them like St. Patrick's Day is for the Irish.  This feast has taken on greater significance over the years with the dramatic increase in Latino population in our country and in our Church.  The feast is a reminder, I tell them, that God indeed enters human history (as Fr. Richard said at Mass this past Monday) and always remembers the poor, the lowly, the outcast.  Mary herself was young, poor, and from an insignificant city, and yet God called her to be the Mother of Jesus.

The image of our Lady of Guadalupe is so powerful to many because she looks like Juan Diego, the man to whom she appeared - she has dark skin, dark hair, she is dressed like a humble native, etc.  The image hangs today in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and the basilica is the most visited church in the world.

After my introduction, we listened to the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas" as it focuses on the king reaching to and helping a poor man "on the feast of Stephen."  I called the students' attention to the last line:

"Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing, Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing."

We then prayed the Magnificat monastic style, again, a prayer of Mary that she prayed after learning she would be the mother of God.  In the prayer, she expresses her joy that God has "lifted up the lowly" like her and "filled the hungry with good things."  We then listened to the gospel of the day which was the story of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, offered intentions, and together prayed this final prayer:

O Lady of December,
A woman wrapped in a poor cloak on a barren hill,
We wait for you to show us Christ's Light again,
To remind us all of the dignity of every human person,
To pray for us to be generous with justice,
Bringing it like roses to your daughters and sons,
To all those who have been waiting. Amen.

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