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.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Señor, Dios nuestro,
que has concedido a tu pueblo la protección
maternal de la siempre Virgen María, Madre de tu Hijo,
concédenos, por su intercesión, permanecer siempre firmes en la fe
y servir con sincero amor a nuestros hermanos.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo, tu Hijo,
que vive y reina contigo en la unidad del Espíritu Santo y es Dios,
por los siglos de los siglos. Amén.
As far as I can gather, every year in the morning of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe there is a concert in her honour at the Basilica there in which top Mexican singers and musicians perform. It is called Las Mañanitas. Mañanita means 'daybreak'. The artists stand before the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and sing and play to her, not to the audience.
Perhaps we could learn something from that about the way we celebrate Mass.
The Diocese of Mexico was established in 1530 and it was the following year that San Juan Diego saw the Blessed Mother on the Hill of Tepeyac. The diocese became an archdiocese in 1546. It included the Philippines until the Diocese of Manila was set up in 1579, becoming and archdiocese 16 years later.
Detail of the face on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Patron of the Pro-life Movement
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patron of the Pro-life movement. As it happens, it is expected that this afternoon the House in the Philippine Congress will vote on the controversial Reproductive Health Bill. The Catholic Church leadership has been strongly opposing this since it was first introduced about ten years ago. I'm not sure that the Church's approach has always been helpful. Friends have told me, and I've read in newspapers, that in parishes the priests speak about nothing else on Sunday. And last week a bishop is reported to have said that Typhoon Bopha/Pablo, which caused hundred of deaths in Mindanao, almost all of poor people, was a message from God about the RH Bill. This has given fodder to those who want to push contraception and abortion, though not all who support the former are in favour of the latter. Nor does everyone understand that some forms of 'contraceptives' are abortifacients, nor do they see that the wide availability of contraceptives in countries such as the UK or Britain, for example, has not led to fewer abortions. When you remove any activity from its proper context you are in trouble.
Perhaps we can pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe who, under that title, is a Patroness of the Philippines, that the vote today, if it goes ahead, will be in accordance with God's will.
Some Pro-life Websites
Priests for Life (USA)
Choose Life 2012 (an initiative the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference)
Rachel's Vineyard, USA; Ireland (a ministry of healing to women and men directly affected by abortion)
Family & Life (Ireland)
The Visitation, El Greco
I find myself constantly going back to El Greco's painting, such a wonderful 'Dance of Life'. Luke 1:39-47 is one of two suggested gospels for today's feast.
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
En aquellos días, María partió y fue sin demora a un pueblo de la montaña de Judá. Entró en la casa de Zacarías y saludó a Isabel. Apenas esta oyó el saludo de María, el niño saltó de alegría en su seno, e Isabel, llena del Espíritu Santo, exclamó: «¡Tú eres bendita entre todas las mujeres y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre! ¿Quién soy yo, para que la madre de mi Señor venga a visitarme? Apenas oí tu saludo, el niño saltó de alegría en mi seno. Feliz de ti por haber creído que se cumplirá lo que te fue anunciado de parte del Señor».
María dijo entonces: «Mi alma canta la grandeza del Señor, y mi espíritu se estremece de gozo en Dios, mi salvador.
The English text of the gospel is from the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition and the Spanish text from the Vatican website.