Mary's Little Office

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Our Lady's Feast Day - Phoenix, Arizona

Guadalupe, in the Aztec Indian tongue, means "She shall crush thy head," but has been extended to the church containing the picture and to the town that grew up around it. Guadalupe is three miles northeast of Mexico City, Mexico. Pilgrimages have been made to this shrine almost uninterruptedly since 1531.

The picture which has aroused all this devotion is a representation of the Immaculate Conception, with the sun, moon, and stars, accompaniments of the text in the Apocalypse. Mary, clothed in a blue robe dotted with stars, stands on the crescent moon. Underneath the crescent is a supporting angel. The rays of the sun shoot out on all sides from behind the central figure.

According to tradition the Blessed Virgin appeared to a fifty-five-year-old neophyte named Juan Diego, who was hurrying to hear Mass in Mexico City, on Saturday, December 9, 1531. She sent him to Bishop Zumarraga to ask that a temple be built on the spot where she stood. She was at the same place that evening and Sunday evening to get the bishop's answer. After cross-questioning Juan, the bishop ordered him to ask for a sign from the lady who had said she was the Mother of God. Juan was occupied all Monday with Bernardino, an uncle, who seemed dying of fever. On Tuesday, December 12th, the grieved nephew had to run for a priest and, to avoid the apparition, slipped around where the chapel now stands. But the Blessed Virgin crossed down to meet him and said, "What road is this thou takes, son?" A tender dialogue ensued. Reassuring Juan about  his uncle-whom at that instant she cured and in an apparition to him also called herself Holy Mary of Guadalupe-she bade him go again to the bishop. Without hesitating he joyously asked for a sign. She told him to go up to the rocks and gather roses. He knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses, but he obeyed. Gathering the roses into the long cloak worn by Mexican Indians, he returned to the Blessed Mother, who rearranged them and warned him to keep them untouched and unseen till he reached the bishop. When he arrived at the bishop's home, Juan unfolded his cloak and the roses fell out. Startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him, he looked at the cloak and saw glowing there the life-sized figure of the Virgin Mother, just as he had described her. The picture was venerated in the bishop's chapel and soon after carried in procession to the first shrine.

The coarsely woven material which bears the picture is as thin and open as poor sacking. It is made of vegetable fiber and consists of two strips, about seventy inches long by eighteen wide, held together by weak stitching. The chief colors imprinted on this material are deep gold in the rays and stars, blue-green in the mantle, and the rose in the flowered tunic.

In 1709 a rich shrine was erected; in 1904 it was made a basilica. Nineteen Popes favored the shrine and its tradition. Pope Pius X decreed that Our Lady of Guadalupe should be the national patron, and made December 12th a holy day of obligation (no longer so) and ordered a special Mass and Office.

When Our Lady imprinted her image on the cloak of Juan Diego, there was no United States. From the Gulf to the St. Lawrence was one continent, and that continent had been dedicated to Our Lady by the Spaniards. The United States was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception by the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1846. The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the image of the Immaculate Conception. She is The Woman of the Apocalypse, clothed with the Sun, standing on the Moon, and, though without the crown of stars, wears them on her mantle. Significantly, the Child Jesus does not appear. The apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mary's only recorded appearance in North America. Pope Pius XII said, "We are certain that so long as you (Our Lady of Guadalupe) are recognized as Queen and Mother, America and Mexico are saved."

Be reason of the fact that we live and work for God in one section of the earth, joined together by common interests and common needs, the people of the Americas are bound to love one another with a special charity. The force of charity by which the peoples of the Western Hemisphere must be bound together is one of those graces which the Mother of God can and will procure for her children in Christ. As the patroness of Pan-American unity, Our Lady of Guadalupe influences her children to turn toward one another in common affection for her and for Our Lord.  


Mary, Mother of God, in honoring you as Our Lady of Guadalupe, we honor you as the Immaculate Conception. The picture you imprinted on the cloak of the Indian at Guadalupe was the image of the Immaculate Conception. You appeared as the Woman of the Apocalypse, clothed with the sun, standing on the moon.

I believe the doctrine of the Church concerning your Immaculate Conception, which teaches that at the first moment of your conception you were, by the singular grace and privilege of the omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved from all stains of original sin. The foundation of this doctrine is to be found in Sacred Scripture where we are taught that God, the Creator of all things, after the sad  fall of Adam, addressed the serpent in words which the Church applies to you: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head" (Gen. 3:15). If at any time you had been without Divine grace, even for the shortest moment, there would not have come between you and the serpent that everlasting enmity spoken of by God.

Since the angel saluted you "full of grace" and "blessed . . . among women" (Luke 1:28), you were the abode of all divine graces, adorned both the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that you were never subjected to the evil spirit.

This doctrine was received in the early Church and handed down by the Fathers who praised you with extraordinary titles and most important writings.

Mary, My Mother, may the example of your sinlessness urge us to that innocence and purity of life which flees from and abhors even the slightest stain of sin. Forming with your Divine Son one spiritual body, we experience the rage of Satan until the end of time. But we, too, by our union with Jesus, and by the power of His grace, will also be united with Him in His victory over the devil. As the seed of the serpent includes all those descendants of the first man and woman who by their sinful lives bear within them the traits of the devil, so, too, the seed of the woman includes all who in the course of ages will take their stand with your Son, Jesus Christ, in His ceaseless conflict with the enemy of God.

Mary, Mother of God, your apparition at Guadalupe teaches me that devotion to you is a source of great graces. The Church has always taught that God has entrusted to your hands all heavenly treasures, and many of the saints assure me that you give to your clients as much of these treasures as you wish and when you wish to do so.

How consoling it is to know that you have these heavenly blessings at your disposal! I have but to ask for them for the salvation of my soul. There is nothing you want more than to give them to me, because you are even more anxious to save my soul than I am, for you know better than anyone else the price your Son has paid for it and the precious worth of each grace He so graciously offers to me through you.

Devotion to you brings with it sweetness and consolation for the soul. As a child runs to its mother in every need, and finds comfort in her glance and kind word, I can turn to you for help when I need it, for you are truly my Mother, whose heart is overflowing with kindness and mercy.

Mary, My Mother, the Church puts these words of the Canticles on you lips: "I love those who love me." I want to love you with all my heart that I may in some way merit that you love me in return. I already know of your great love for me for the sake of your Son Who entrusted the care of my soul to you. But I want to beloved by you even more; hence give me an ever growing love for you. This love for you was the source of great joy in the hearts of the saints. May I have more of their love for you that I may experience more of their joy in being devoted to you. Take my cold heart; put it into your own and inflame it with a fire of love like your own.

Mary, Mother of God, because the United States was dedicated to your Immaculate Conception, be pleased to take our country under your special protection and grant that, guided by justice and nurtured by charity, it may serve God faithfully and be blessed with peace and prosperity. Continue to work wonders on our shores for our spiritual and material prosperity and keep us in peace and charity. Intercede for us that we may win the victory over evil and that we may live and reign with Jesus, your Son. Our Lady of Guadalupe, who we acclaim our Queen and Mother, lead our country to God.

Mary, My Mother, your apparition at Guadalupe as the Immaulate Conception is your only recorded appearnnce in North America. Bless the people of the Americas, to which uncounted thousands have come to seek refuge and livelihood. Preserve their faith, assailed at every hour by the forces opposed to Christ. Petition God that their hope may never fail amid the troubles and the cares of this life. We beg you for a burning charity for God to imitate the works of Christ. We ask you to procure for us, by your prayers, the great grace of final perseverance so that those who are joined to honor you in the kingdom of your Son on earth may be together always in heaven.  


Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, make intercession for holy Church, protect the Sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke you in their necessities, and since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance.  Amen.

Sign of Salvation with Jesus the Light, Clothed with the Sun thou art radiant bright! Promised of old as the serpent's defeat, Queenly adorned with the moon 'neath thy feet!
Garden of Eden, where sin has no part,Life-giving Tree, bearing Christ in our heart.Ark, where the Manna was hidden away,Holy of Holies, Immaculate Way!
City of God, with the Lamb as thy Light, Dawn of Eternal Day knowing no night! Bride of the Spirit and Form of our God, Heavenly Path which the Blessed have trod!

O God, Who bestowed upon us unceasing favors by having place us under the special protection of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, grant us, Your humble servants, who rejoice in honoring her today upon earth, the happiness of seeing her face to face in heaven. Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Our Lady in Catholic Life, MacMillian Co., 
 by Fr. Lawrence Lovesik, 1957

Photos - Diocese of Phoenix Facebook

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