Ave Maria!

Monday Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Zec 2: 14 – 17 or Rev 11: 29, 12: 1 – 6, 10/Jdt 13: 18 – 19/Lk 1: 26 – 38 or Lk 1: 39 -47

Ave Maria!
The Father of the Church Athanasius proclaimed, “Christ became who we are, that we might become who he is!”  This is one of the most profound truths of Christianity.  Simply put, Jesus became man that man may have the opportunity to share in the life of God. This is the mystery of the Incarnation. God’s Incarnation is the passage way to man’s Divinization. This is the good news that the Lady who appeared to Juan Diego revealed. This is the good news that the image miraculously imbedded in Juan Diego’s cloak proclaimed.  It depicted the image of Our Lady, dressed as a native Aztec princess, wearing a black belt, a symbol of a woman pregnant with child.

Until now, that image is venerated all over the world. Pilgrims visit the Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico to pray in front of the tilma, the cloth bearing Mary’s image. Let us remember however that our Lady did not manifest herself in that cloak to be looked at and adored. When we contemplate the image of our Lady of Guadalupe, we are not only looking at Mary. We are contemplating the Child that Mary bears in her womb.

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There was once a story about a little girl who likes spending her time in her studies. One day this girl studied the symbols used in arithmetic. She learned the different images used in math:  plus sign, minus sign and many more. One sunny day she accompanied her father to the nearby church in their village. Upon their arrival at the church’s door, the little girl quickly asked her father, “What is that big plus sign doing in front of the altar?”  The father answered the little girl, “my dear daughter that is not a plus sign, that is the cross; it is where our Lord Jesus Christ was nailed for us to be saved!”

In a way, the little girl was correct in saying that, the cross is a plus sign. The image of the cross as the plus sign pictured our redemption because through this cross a big plus had been added into our life – something that we could not have accomplished by our own power, something that we could not have gained apart from Mary’s receptivity to God’s invitation!

Had it not been through the cross of Christ, man would have remained alienated to God. Had it not been through the wood of the cross, men would have been alienated from fullness of life.

When you bless yourself with the sign of the cross, do it with conscious reverence and gratitude!

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