MY soul doth magnify the Lord, * and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded * the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth * all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me; * and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him * throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; * he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, * and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; * and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; * as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
The Readings for Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Tuesday 2 Advent):
Et signum magnum apparuit in cælo: mulier amicta sole, et luna sub pedibus ejus, et in capite ejus corona stellarum duodecim…
And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars…
This image from the book of the Apocalypse, I remember that the famous Protestant End-Times teacher, Hal Lindsey, had the darnedest time reading this image. He realized, of course, that the child born to the woman was Jesus. But who could the woman be? He finally came up with the tortured idea that she was Israel. I mean, right? Jesus was a Jew, so…
Lindsey, good Neocon that he is, also used that wonky reading to build up his idea that America should continue to politically invest in Israel. This was such a common idea among American Evangelicals that when, in the early 1980s, a group of Evangelicals converted en masse to Orthodoxy, joining the Antiochian (Syrian) Orthodox Church, they demanded Metropolitan Philip (R.I.P.) confirm Israel’s right to exist. I’m not sure how the Metropolitan did that, but the political hangovers from that era of American Politics still haunt us. And they haunt our Christian Brothers and Sisters in the occupied lands of the Fertile Crescent as well.
Of course, the historic Christian Reading is that the Woman Clothed with the Sun is the Virgin Mary. She was dressed that way in Mexico as well and so the Virgin of Guadalupe is a sign of something that haunts us too.
She is brown.
She is “dark and comely” as Solomon says.
She’s not white.
Worse, in her brown self, she is the Patroness of the Americas. Yes, the Immaculate Conception is Patroness of the USA, but this brown teenager is the Patroness of everything in this stolen land from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. And never let a white boy forget that.
She is a sign that the Kingdom of God is way bigger than our politics. She is a sign we Americans tend, at heart, to be Partisans, rather than Catholic.
How do I mean that?
There are several ways to be Partisans:
I will only vote for/support one political party no matter what is happening, no matter who their nominees are.
I will use my understanding of the National interest (and political process) to critique the Church’s teachings.
I will highlight one teaching of the church – to the exclusion of all others – just so I can feel good about/justify my support – and belittle others for their lack of support.
I will use my political point of view to deny that others are really Catholic, or even really Christian.
This partisan thinking really is the reverse of Catholicism. It’s really the Anti-Catholicism, the reverse of our faith which name means “whole” or “universal”. The only way to be Catholic at all is, essentially, to reverse all those partisan processes:
Recognizing that we are Catholics who live in the world but are not of it, we also live in nations but are not of them. We will use all of the Church’s teachings to critique every political moment in our culture and nation – and in other cultures and nations – to the end of bringing all people into the Kingdom of God’s justice, peace, righteousness, and love in this time, on this world, here and now.
In our present state, Guadalupe was a sign from God to the Spanish Conquerors of the Aztecs that the Aztecs were there not for slavery but for salvation: these people are also God’s Children, destined for heaven.
How much more should she be a sign that we – as Christians who live in America – are responsible for the defense of our Catholic brothers and sisters, are responsible for the support, care, love, and even the protection and sanctuary, for theses peoples, whose economic destruction has been wrought by the nation we call home.
And yes, such an action may be contrary to our partisan, national interests and to the law.
As we used to say in school, BFD.
The Woman clothed with the sun is a sign to all Nations that paying attention to the mighty is probably not the best idea. The Magnificat in our Gospel today is a sign that paying attention to the rich is equally bad. The Woman of Tepeyac, raised on the tilma of an Aztec victim of colonial occupation, is a sign that coming from the Richest and Most Powerful nation in the world, we need to bow to the real ruler of the Americas.
The Virgin of Guadalupe has always called out to me. I was overjoyed to find an Orthodox Icon called the Holy Tilma of Tepeyac, put out by a very conservative group of Russian Orthodox Monks. Naturally, there’s always someone more conservative out there, willing to know more, be more conservative than even the monks. Obviously the Monks were deluded at best, maybe satanic plants… when one is stirring up hatred for satanic weeds in God’s Church, one always imagines oneself as innocent, well-bred wheat, you know? Anyway: this year I can celebrate her as a Catholic.