Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you

For 12 December 2022, The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, based on Revelation 12:1-2, Judith 13:18a-19

(Image by Yolanda Lopez)

Revelation 12:1-2 (excerpt from the alternative first reading)
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.

Response verse from the Book of Judith
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.

Alleluia verse
Alleluia. Alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.

Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.

On a writing retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in March 2020, I met a young mother whose Spanish and Indigenous ancestry goes back four hundred years. That’s just one hundred years shy of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531. When I consider that the Dominicans first came to the Americas just twenty years earlier in 1510, the colonization, evangelization, and cultural birth of the Americas seem, in my mind, to be almost contemporary. And in many ways, I believe these formative events continue in our culture and our faith even today.
Over recent years, I have frequently returned to New Mexico in body and spirit. I am inspired by the living Mestizo faith of this people, whose culture could be said to have taken root in Tepeyac, near present-day Mexico City, where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego in 1531. This living faith shows a fierce devotion to God’s vision for us made manifest in Our Lady of Guadalupe—that we all might be one. Because we know that Mary sees us, no matter who we are, we know God sees who we can be.
On this feast of Guadalupe, I would love it if those of us who listen faithfully to The Word could meet by Zoom to tell the stories of Marian devotion that have given meaning to our lives and our people’s lives in so many cultural contexts around the world. We could celebrate how Mary sees the little ones among us and how God consecrates us to mutual solidarity and devotion.
Perhaps we would pray together the opening prayer for Mass on this feast:

O God, Father of mercies,
who placed your people under the singular protection
of your Son’s most holy Mother,
grant that all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe,
may seek with ever more lively faith
the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and of peace.

Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Gregory Heille, O.P.

Gregory Heille, O.P., serves as Professor of Preaching and Evangelization and director of the Doctor of Ministry in Preaching at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a friar of the Province of St. Albert the Great USA and has a particular interest in racial equity education.