Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Blessed offered the following prayer during his first visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of in Mexico, 1979:

O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church!, who from this place reveal your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection, hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.

Mother of Mercy, Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love. We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities and our sorrows. (read it here)

St. Louis de Montford was the saint who most deeply formed Blessed John Paul II’s devotion to . From him he derived his motto “Totus Tuus,” adopted in 1958 when he was consecrated a Bishop. In the Making of the Pope of the Millenium we learn much about Wojtyla’s interest in De Montford.  In 1965 (May 20) he gave a talk to the priests of Krakow about Mary. He explained that the book True Devotion to Mary made a big impression on him as he studied for the priesthood. He was worried that devotion to Mary would somehow obstruct his devotion to Christ. He read the Treatise so many times that the paperback cover and pages were soiled (he was working in the quarry at the time). Here is his ephipany about Mary:

I understood that [with] true devotion to the Blessed Mother, it is necessary to refer to Her in the full context of the Mystery of our Redemption. Redemption is in the foreground, and a little further in the background would be the whole mystery of the Trinity, and specifically, that, which St Thomas’s theology refers to as missiones divinarum personarum.  . . . There is also a second side to the issue: the devotion introduces us to the Mystery of the Incarnation. (p. 250)

Indeed, we may open the book True Devotion to Mary and find the following:

It was only through Mary that God the Father gave his Only-begotten to the world. Whatever sighs the patriarchs may have sent forth, whatever prayers the prophets and saints of the Old Law may have offered up to obtain this treasure for a full four thousand years, it was only Mary who merited it and found grace before God (Lk 1:30) by the force of her prayers and the eminence of her virtues. The world was unworthy, says St Augustine, to receive the Son of God directly from the Father’s hands. He gave Him to Mary in order that the world might receive him through her. The Son of God became man for our salvation; but it was in Mary and by Mary. God the Holy Ghost formed Jesus Christ in Mary; but it was only after having asked her consent by one of the first ministers of His court.

De Montfort elaborates on each: e.g., “God the Father communicated to Mary his fruitfulness”; “God the Son descended into her virginal womb as the new Adam”: “Of her, God the Holy Ghost produced his Masterpiece, Jesus Christ.”

In other words, in devotion to Mary we discover the essentials of faith — the Trinity and the Incarnation, and the very dynamism of evangelization, namely, the Redemption of Mankind. He told his fellow priests that they should read Lumen Gentium to find a confirmation for this understanding of Mary. In his book Sources of Renewal he selects this text from Lumen Gentium:

Devoutly meditating on her and contemplating her in light of the Word made man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her spouse. Having entered deeply into the history of salvation, Mary, in a way, unites in her person and re-echoes the most important doctrines of the faith: and when she is the subject of preaching and worship  she prompts the faithful to come to her Son, to his sacrifice and to the love of the Father.  (§65)

[ For a 2010 post on Guadalupe , click here. ]

The experience of St Juan Diego at Guadalupe: “He went up the hill and caught sight of a lady of unearthly grandeur whose clothing was as radiant as the sun. She said to him in words both gentle and courteous: ‘Juanito, the humblest of my children, know and understand that I am the ever virgin Mary, Mother of the true God through whom all things live. It is my ardent desire that a church be erected here so that in it I can show and bestow my love, compassion, help, and protection to all who inhabit this land and to those others who love me, that they might call upon and confide in me. Go to the Bishop of Mexico to make known to him what I greatly desire. Go and put all your efforts into this.'”.

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