Friday, December 12, 2014

Blessed Are You

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Minute Meditations

Firm Ground Minute Meditations
It's a great gift: sensing keenly that amidst darkness, change, and uncertainty, the only firm ground we can stand on is God. The God we meet in Advent calls us into a future greater than we can ever imagine.
— from St. Anthony Messenger

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Join with Catholics of the Americas today who honor Mary under this title.

The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the 16th century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.

A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.

He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared and within it stood a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.

Eventually the bishop told Juan Diego to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan Diego's uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Diego to try to avoid the lady. The lady found Diego, nevertheless, assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.

When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop's presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees. On Juan Diego's tilma appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac. It was December 12, 1531.


Mary's appearance to Juan Diego as one of his people is a powerful reminder that Mary and the God who sent her accept all peoples. In the context of the sometimes rude and cruel treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards, the apparition was a rebuke to the Spaniards and an event of vast significance for Native Americans. While a number of them had converted before this incident, they now came in droves. According to a contemporary chronicler, nine million Indians became Catholic in a very short time. In these days when we hear so much about God's preferential option for the poor, Our Lady of Guadalupe cries out to us that God's love for and identification with the poor is an age-old truth that stems from the Gospel itself.


Mary to Juan Diego: "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...and it is my desire that a church be built here in this place for me, where, as your most merciful Mother and that of all your people, I may show my loving clemency and the compassion that I bear to the Indians, and to those who love and seek me..." (from an ancient chronicle).

Patron Saint of:


Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


I remind myself that, as I sit here now,
God is gazing on me with love and holding me in being.
I pause for a moment and think of this.


Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God


Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Reading 1 zec 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

or rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

God's temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

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.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed."

Responsorial Psalm jdt 13:18bcde, 19

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
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.


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

Gospel lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.

or lk 1:39-47

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

And Mary said:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

From today's 5minutos:
"When we contemplate the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and we see her countenance, we want to entone a song of admiration and the beauty of that painting, without doubt made in heaven and that she has left us in the Basilica Sanctuary that the Mexican people have built.  Yes, a song of emotion and gratitude to the merciful love of God, that has always wanted to give us the best of Him and so help us on the way, arduous and difficult of our life.  God always does things right.  In creation, the best that came out was man made with so much detail and care.  He seemed as a "god, by the great resemblance.  But there came the night of sin and man and woman ruined history.  Adam and Eve were infected and this contamination has trespassed centuries: the original sin.  With everything God encountered the medicine.  With the same clay and with the same blood He proposed to make a New Man, born of a clean woman that would liberate from the infection and furnish salvation.  We are nearing Christmas, that constitutes a divine and human page of history, when the divine nears the human and the human touches the divine.  God, through love, wants to be humanized.  The man, through faith, opens to God.  All of this mystery unfolds in the life of Mary.  she allows the Holy Spirit of God to cover her with His shadow and in this marvelous way they would intersect the yes of God and the yes of Mary.  Mary Mother of God is also our Mother and asked for a "little house" to remain with us forever. "

So what you say about my Momma!  LOL.  I remember I think last year, a young man Isaac had decided to enter a trial period of a  Carmelite Monastery in Christoval, TX, and his sponsor "padrino" told me how he approached him to ask him to be his sponsor.  He said that Isaac said "...big Momma told me to ask you if you would be my sponsor", and he was referring to our Blessed Mother.  Had she spoken to Isaac?  Does the Holy Spirit speak?  Our Blessed Mother has spoken through the ages to the poor, sometimes little kids, people that we tend not to believe because of their status.  So maybe the question today is "what is your status"?  Thou shall not make any graven image. RIGHT!  The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is not a man-made image, it is a miracle.  Want to see a picture drawn in Heaven for us of our Mother in Heaven?  Here we have it, and in a short time, this picture that spoke a thousand words to the Indians converted millions and millions and millions to the faith of Christ, baptized Christians.  What does this all mean for me, here and now, about 483 years later?  It means the same message to the Indians, to all the non-believers and doubters of those trying to bring you to the means we are not alone in this world and that God provides.  What He provides is all we need.  He provided a Son.  The indians worshipped the sun, and now, they would worship the Son of God, not the sun they had made a god.  This means to me and you a message of salvation.  I can be, and I will be saved through Jesus Christ.  The message means everything, a yes on our part, and the yes on His part that is ALWAYS there, always has been, and always will be.  The message is one of love. 
Now think about this, how would you like to serve God in Heaven?  Because God serves Himself from Heaven.  At times, He sends angels, archangels, and even the Mother of Heaven.  How would you like to serve God in Heaven?  Hers is STILL a Yes.  It was a yes forever on earth, and yes forever in Heaven. 
Isn't that amazing?  Still evANGELizing in Heaven and Earth.  "My soul proclaims the greateness of the Lord, and my Spirit rejoices in God my SAVIOR!"