Message: When you're down, when critics make you want to throw in the towel, look to Mary.
Four days ago on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception I pointed out the three colors on the Mexican and Italian flags - green, white and red - how in Dante they symbolize the theological virtues: faith, hope & charity. Mary embodies those virtues.
Today on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we see another essential virtue: persistence. We see persistence (or determination) in the Gospel. Mary is found unexpectedly pregnant. In a small town like Nazareth you can imagine the gossip and criticism: "Well, people thought she was so good; look at her now." Mary however does not crawl into a hole. She takes actions. She goes to accompany her kinswoman Elizabeth also in a surprising pregnancy. Elizabeth was well beyond child bearing years. Neither complains. Both rejoice. And Mary says, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord." Mary doesn't let critics bring her down. She presses ahead.
The reading from Revelation gives a bigger picture of Mary's persistence. The symbolic language - signs in the sky, the dragon set to devour her child - speak of Mary's role in the cosmic battle. Mary places herself under God's protection and fulfills the mission entrusted to her.
In Mary's appearances to Juan Diego we also see the virtue of persistence. I won't go into details. Our youth will present them in the form of a drama. Suffice it to say Mary allows nothing to deflect her mission - bringing Jesus to the people of the New World. For that persistence she earns the title Our Lady of the Americas.
In Resisting Happiness Matthew Kelly has a powerful chapter on persistence. He quotes the U.S. President Calvin Coolidge: "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
When you're down, when critics make you want to throw in the towel, look to Mary - the great model of persistence. With her we say, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior." Amen.
From Archives (Guadalupe Homilies):
Homily about Blessed Juan Diego
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
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Bishop Bob Barron's Homilies
Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
Review of Roe