A Mary Moment Monday post

Yesterday was Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, the one with the pink candle. And today is the feast of my homegirl, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Rejoice!

By the third week of Advent, I’m usually ready to decorate: I’m either resigned to the fact that Christmas is coming or, as in the case of this year, slightly encouraged by my children’s excitement and anticipation.

The fact that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe falls so close to Gaudete Sunday this year–and, now that I think about it, just about every year–speaks to the reticence I feel about this season in general.

What is it that appeals to me so much about Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe? Is it that she’s pregnant, that she’s looking down, that she strikes me as pretty in a very human and approachable way? Could it be the influence of the huge image, one of eight that’s been touched to the actual tilma and blessed, hanging in our parish church?

I think, though, that it has as much to do with what I learn about Mary from this image of her.

She appeared to Juan Diego, who was–just like the disciples themselves–the most unlikely of people. He was simple and humble and a convert. He had a difficult life, but he embraced his faith.

And he believed her. He loved her.

Her words to him resonate with me, and when they came up as part of the December image on a Marian calendar I have, I felt them, once more, in my heart:

“Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”

God is always choosing “badly,” isn’t he? I mean, when you stop to think about it, that phrase about how he doesn’t call the qualified (though I think he does), he qualifies the called is basically pointing this out.

God has his own way of choosing, and it goes agains the wisdom of the world. What seems obvious to us as logical isn’t at all how God operates, at least not in my experience.

In Our Lady of Guadalupe, I see a mom looking down at me who can live up to everything I need. She holds me gently and never fails to point me to her son.

Whether I need a shoulder or a boost, comfort or cheering, she’s there.

In Mary, and especially in Our Lady of Guadalupe in mid-December, I’m reminded that I don’t need to do it all and I certainly don’t even need to try to do it alone. In Our Lady of Guadalupe, I’m given the opportunity to embrace and follow, to practice and fail, to smile and continue.

As I light the third candle this week with my family, I’m going to be mindful of walking with Mary through this last part of Advent. I’m going to look at her when I’m feeling the blackness swoop in. I’m going to lean into her when I feel overwhelmed. I’m going to remember that it’s about a Baby, that it’s a celebration, and that the stress can be largely dismissed with the right mindset.

Speaking of Advent wreaths, have you sent me yours?

My past Our Lady of Guadalupe columns:

Advent wreath from Whispers in the Loggia

Our Lady of Guadalupe image from our parish church