Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Mary the mother of Christ

For Reformed Christians celebrating Advent we read this week
Luke 1:26-38 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

If you didn't notice, Mary's first supernatural encounter was with an Angel. If you know your OT, angels didn't always mean something good. They were there to destroy Sodom and Gomoroah, in Isaiah an angel destroyed an army, and well, lets just say the list goes on. But on this occasion, angels delivered a message about a long awaited Savior. So why are people still talking about his Mom?

What is the lady of Guadelupe? If you follow Wikipedia it states:

Our Lady of Guadalupe, also called the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe or Virgen de Guadalupe) is a 16th century Roman Catholic icon from Mexico representing a Marian apparition. It is perhaps Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image. Our Lady of Guadalupe's feast day is celebrated on 12 December, commemorating the account of her appearances to Saint Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City from 9 through 12 December 1531.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is a symbol of significant importance to Catholics. She is recognized as "Patroness of the Americas". The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the second most visited Roman Catholic shrine in the world.

The Virgin of Guadalupe has also symbolized the Mexican nation since the Mexican War of Independence. Both Miguel Hidalgo and Emiliano Zapata's armies traveled underneath Guadalupan flags, and Our Lady of Guadalupe is generally recognized as a symbol of all Mexicans. The Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that "...one may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe."[1]

Nobel Literature laureate Octavio Paz wrote in 1974 that "the Mexican people, after more than two centuries of experiments, have faith only in the Virgin of Guadalupe and the National Lottery".[2]

Sad to say, to this day you will hear more of the the lady of Guadelupe, and less of Christ on spanish TV this time of year. Even now I've already heard many announcements on Spanish TV (thanks to my Dad's TV habits) advertising one event or another involving the lady. (SOmeting we would never do in the US if you think about it). Can anyone discredit the apparitions that Juan Diego had of the lady? I don't know. I do know, that when you let a miraculous experience alone guide your religious life, you end up with Mormonism!

More so, the real question to ask is this: what would Mary have wanted us to do with her and her son? Thankfully when we come to the Bible, we are not left without an answer. Today's Advent reading tells us:
John 2:1-11 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Two things to note. After the gospels, she is never mentioned again. James the brother of Christ is however. Also, note that this was written by John. If you recall, Jesus asked John to care for his mother at the cross. John 19:26-27 says
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said, " Woman, behold your son!". Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own home.
John tells us about Mary and Jesus' encounter at Canaan. Having lived with the woman, if he had wanted to add anything else about Mary, this was the time. John did record her words from that day at the wedding, words we would do well to live by: do what Jesus commands. She pointed to him, not to herself.


  1. Catholics celebrating Advent also hear the passage about the Annunciation proclaimed, including the verses which you cite but do not quote, among which are Mary's words, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord." It is my understanding that the black cords about Mary's wrists in the image were a sign of pregnancy in the native culture of the 16th century. So the image would represent Mary during the time from the annunciation until the birth of Jesus.

    So why are people still talking about Jesus' Mom? Because "all generations shall call [her] blessed." Luke 1:48

    It is not true that after the gospels Mary was never mentioned again. In Acts 1:14 we read, "These [the apostles] all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."

    As for Mary at Cana, Pope Paul VI developed the same point you make in a message to the people of Mexico on October 18, 1970, in which he states, in part
    //The same most holy Virgin, with her example, guides us along these two paths [of love of God and love of neighbor].
    In the first place, she exhorts us to make Christ the center and summit of our whole Christian life. She remains hidden [I believe he is talking about her few appearances in the gospels], with supreme humility, so that the image of her Son might appear to humanity with all its incomparable brightness. For this reason, true Marian devotion reaches its fullness and its most rightful expression when it is a path to the Lord and directs all its love toward him …
    But in addition, and precisely because she loved Christ so dearly, our Mother fulfilled perfectly that second commandment which must be the norm of all human relations: the love of neighbor. How beautiful and delicate was the intervention of Mary at the wedding feast of Cana, when she moved her Son to accomplish the first miracle of turning water into wine solely to help those young spouses! It is a complete sign of the constant love of the Virgin for humanity in need, and ought to be an example for all those who seek to be considered truly her sons and daughters.

    This is what the Virgin of Guadalupe asks of you today, this fidelity to the Gospel, of which she know how to be the most eminent example.//

    BTW, the image is venerated because it is believed to have been miraculously imprinted on the tilma of Juan Diego as he used it to carry roses which had appeared out of season on the hill of the apparition to the bishop as a sign of the authenticity of the apparition.

  2. I stand corrected, indeed, she is called blessed. And the rest of the NT authors mention nothing of it ever again. She is blessed in her very special role. However to think that she "kept herself out", I find it hard, because it says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that God inspired the Bible. I'm sure he had a great deal more to say about who was or wasn't emphasized in the NT. You mentioned the 10 Commandments. You also mentioned the veneration of an image of the Virgin. This would be a grave violation of the second commandment, to not worship graven images. (I'm guessing you meant the second part of the greatest commandment when you mentioned second commandment). And more so, I have to ask: Where in the NT is she ever called "Our Mother" or have any of her images venerated? Or is mentioned as an object of veneration?

  3. Well, I suppose it's possible that Mary was around Jesus during all of his public ministry calling attention to herself and the only reason it isn't recorded in the NT is that God inspired the writers to leave it out. I consider it more likely that at the times when there is no mention of Mary in the gospels, she was at home in Nazareth, so that the gospels show Mary as she was.

    You accuse me of mentioning the ten commandments. Actually, I didn't. I quoted Pope Paul's reference to the second commandment. Matthew 22:39, cf. Mark 12:31. But to respond to your concern about the second commandment of the decalogue, the verbs venerate and worship are not synonymous. No Catholic thinks that an image of a saint is a god, and no Catholic gives to an image of a saint the worship which is due only to God. I don't know what you think of the Lincoln Monument, but to me the statue of Lincoln reminds me of a great man and it is worth visiting and standing before in an attitude of respect because of the greatness of the man it reminds us of.

    No Catholic is required to believe anything about Our Lady of Guadalupe. Most find the 16th century accounts of her apparition credible and thus believe that the image is the miraculous work of God himself. To fail to appreciate it would be to disrespect God's work.

    We call Mary our Mother because the Church has understood Jesus's giving her to John as extending to those who are taught by John through his gospel. The giving to John is understood as a giving to all disciples of the Lord. Jesus says that Mary is John's mother. When we become disciples of the Lord, adopted children of the Father, we are in the same condition as John was. I do not say that this is the only possible understanding of the passage, but I consider it a legitimate understanding which arises from our Christian dignity.

    It seems to me that veneration and calling her blessed amount to the same thing.