Thursday, December 12, 2019

Celebrating Our Lady of Guadaloupe in Rome

At 6:00pm local time in Rome today (noon EST), inside the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father, Pope Francis presided at the Eucharistic Celebration on the occasion of the Liturgical Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.

Homily of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
during the Mass celebrated inside the Vatican Basilica

Today's celebration, the biblical texts that we have heard, and the image of Our Lady of Guadaloupe that reminds us of the Nican mopohua, suggest three adjectives that we can use for her: lady-woman, mother and mestiza.

Mary is a lady-woman.  She is a lady, she is a woman, as the Nican mopohua says.  A lady with the manner of a woman.  She appears as a woman and with a message from someone else; that is to say that she is a woman, a lady and a disciple.  Saint Ignatius liked to call her Our Lady.  And it is that simple, there is no need to pretend that it is otherwise: she is a woman, she is a disciple.

Throughout the ages, Christian piety has always sought to praise her with new titles: they were filial titles, titles of the love of the people of God, but they did not touch that woman-disciple being at all.

St. Bernard told us that when we talk about Mary, no amount of praise or titles are never enough; none of them could ever touch her humble discipleship at all. She is a disciple.

Faithful to her Master, who is her Son, the only Redeemer, she never wanted to take anything from her Son.  She never introduced herself as co-redeemer. No, she is a disciple.

And some Holy Father says that discipleship is more worthy than motherhood. Matters for theologians, but a disciple. She never stole anything from her Son, she served him because she is a mother, she gave her life in the fullness of time, as we hear about that Son who was born of a woman.

Mary is our Mother, she is Mother of our peoples, she is Mother of all of us, she is Mother of the Church, but she is also a figure of the Church. And she is the mother of our hearts, of our souls. Some Holy Father says that what is said about Mary can be said, in her own way, of the Church, and in her own way, of our soul. Because the Church is feminine and our soul has that ability to receive grace from God, and in a sense the Fathers saw the Church as feminine. We cannot think of the Church without this Marian principle that extends to include it.

When we seek the role of women in the Church, we can go by way of functionality, because women have functions to fulfill in the Church. But that leaves us halfway.

Women in the Church go further, with that Marian principle, that maternalizes the Church, and transforms her into Holy Mother Church.

Mary is a woman, Mary is a mother, without another essential title. The other titles — think of the letanías lauretanas— are titles of children in love who sing to their Mother, but do not touch the essentiality of Mary's being: woman and mother.

And a third adjective that I would say looking at her: mestizo. But not only with the little Juan Diego, also with the people. She was mestizo in order to be the Mother of all, she was mestizo with humanity. Why? Because she mixed God. And that is the great mystery: Mary the mestizo Mother of God, who was true God and true man, in her Son.

When we come with stories that we have to declare this, or to do this other dogma or this other thing, do not get lost in nonsense: Mary is a woman, she is Our Lady, Mary is the Mother of her Son and the Holy Mother of the hierarchical Church and Mary is mestizo, a woman of our peoples, but who mixes with God.

May she speak to us as she spoke to Juan Diego with these three titles: with tenderness, with feminine warmth and with the proximity of mestizo. Amen.
Texto original en español

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