Today we celebrate the great Marian feast of Mexico – Our Lady of Guadalupe. Known as the Patroness of the Americas and the Patroness of my home diocese, Phoenix, the Virgin of Guadalupe is loved by both Mexicans and Americans. Not only does this continent love her; many Catholics across the globe also have a great devotion to Our Lady under this title as well.
In the final year of his short papacy, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI traveled to Mexico (as well as Cuba) from March 23-29, 2012. It was on this Apostolic Journey that he realized what his predecessor meant when he said he knew what it felt like to be a “Mexican Pope.” In an improvised address, Pope Benedict said,
“Mexico will always be in my heart. I can say that for years I have been praying every day for Mexico, but in the future I will pray much more. Now I can understand why Pope John Paul II said: ‘I feel I am a Mexican Pope’.
The Mexican people loved both John Paul II and Benedict XVI – with open arms, they embraced them as their own.
To celebrate today’s great Marian feast of Mexico and to ponder the mysteries behind the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, here are 5 quotes from the German Pope focusing on the Rose of Mexico –
1. “In Latin America, in general, it is very important that Christianity mean more to the heart than to reason. Our Lady of Guadalupe is recognized and loved by all, because people understand that she is a Mother to all and has been present from the outset in this new Latin America, after the arrival of the Europeans.”
2. “Mexico, and the majority of Latin American nations, have been commemorating in recent years the bicentennial of their independence…during these celebrations, as in the Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Most Holy Mary was invoked fervently, she who gently showed how the Lord loves all people and gave himself for them without distinction. Our Heavenly Mother has kept vigil over the faith of her children in the formation of these nations and she continues to do so today as new challenges present themselves.”
3. “This was how Our Lady of Guadalupe showed her divine Son to Saint Juan Diego, not as a powerful legendary hero but as the very God of the living, by whom all live, the Creator of persons, of closeness and immediacy, of heaven and earth (cf. Nican Mopohua, v.33). At that moment she did what she had done previously at the wedding feast of Cana. Faced with the embarrassment caused by the lack of wine, she told the servants clearly that the path to follow was her Son: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).”
4. “As we now pray the Angelus and remember the Annunciation of the Lord, our eyes too turn spiritually towards the hill of Tepeyac, to the place where the Mother of God, under the title of “the Ever-Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe” has been fervently honoured for centuries as a sign of reconciliation and of God’s infinite goodness towards the world. My predecessors on the Chair of Saint Peter honoured her with affectionate titles such as Our Lady of Mexico, Heavenly Patroness of Latin America, Mother and Empress of this continent.
5. “Recognizing the faith in Jesus Christ which I have felt resounding in your hearts, and your affectionate devotion to his Mother, invoked here with beautiful titles like Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Light, a light I have seen reflected in your faces, I wish to reiterate clearly and with vigour a plea to the Mexican people to remain faithful to yourselves, not to let yourselves be intimidated by the powers of evil, but to be valiant and to work to ensure that the sap of your Christian roots may nourish your present and your future.”
Patroness of the Americas, the Rose of Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray for Us.