In this 2019 file photo, a child smiles as her family stands before an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Michael Parish in Sebree on Dec. 11, the evening before the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. COURTESY OF JENNY GLENN
A Mother that comforts in adversity
BY DEACON CHRIS GUTIÉRREZ, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
All of us in one way or another find ourselves still recovering in different ways from a long pandemic and all the anxiety, suffering, pain and loss it has brought with it. Also, as we come to the end of this year 2021, we realize the enormous divisions, suspicion, struggles and challenges we continue to face as people of our great nation. Many brothers and sisters of all ages also struggle with different levels of depression or isolation; many turning to their smartphones for the illusory comfort and to escape into the fantasy worlds the internet seduces with.
So, current realities as described beg the question. Is there anything or anyone that can give us hope and comfort us during these difficult times? And the answer should be Yes! Absolutely! As Catholics, especially during the month of December every year, we are reminded of a Mother we all share; a Mother that cares, knows of our pains and difficult journeys. Mary is our Heavenly Mother, who in the case of Our Lady of Guadalupe decided to stay among us (via the miraculous image of her on the tilma of St. Juan Diego) and remains present in the Americas to this day.
The words said, almost 500 years ago, by Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego in response to his concern for his uncle Juan Bernardino who was gravely ill, still resonate and could be meaningful to so many of us in our time:
“Listen; put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing. Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed. Do not fear this sickness of your uncle or any other sickness, nor anything that is sharp or hurtful. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more?”
As we commemorate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12 may these words echo in our hearts. May we find hope and consolation knowing that our Mother Mary never leaves our side. She covers us with her mantle and wraps us in her arms in a maternal embrace. Do we need anything more?
Deacon Chris Gutiérrez is the director of Hispanic/Latino Ministry for the Diocese of Owensboro. Learn more at owensborodiocese.org/ministerio-hispano.
Mañanitas and novena
Contact your parish to find out their schedule for the novena in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the mañanitas celebrations.
Originally printed in the December 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.