This Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has referred to it as “The Sunday of Joy”. He continues to call upon the faithful to strive to avoid the commercialism of the Advent Season as we wait in joyful anticipation of the coming of the Christ Child. He challenges us to heed the call of John the Baptist, acknowledge our shortcomings and failures, repent of our sins, and change our hearts.
We also celebrate on Monday the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the patroness of the United States, Mexico, and all of the Americas, as well as the protector of the unborn. She is a religious as well as a cultural figure to the people of Mexico. In 1531, she appeared in a vision of a humble peasant farmer named Juan Diego near Mexico City. The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe helped generate the conversion of Mexico and Latin America to Catholicism. Her feast day is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm throughout the Americas and helps the faithful embrace the joy of the gospel message.
As reported by the media publication “National Catholic Register”, Pope Francis called upon the people of the Americas to embrace the spirit of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He stated, “…like Juan Diego, we know that here is our Mother. We know that we are under her shadow and her protection, which is the source of our joy, and that we are in the cross of her arms.”
The following “A Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe”, provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, asks for the intercession and guidance of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, that in your apparitions on Mount Tepeyac you promised to show pity and compassion to all who, loving and trusting you, seek your help and protection.
Accordingly, listen now to our supplications and grant us consolation and relief. We are full of hope that by relying on your help, nothing can trouble or affect us.
As you have remained with us through your admirable image, so now obtain for us the graces we need. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, as we consider the profound words of Our Holy Father, and as we remember the example of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may we truly embrace the joys and blessings of this season as we continue and persevere on our Advent journey of faith.