Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! The story is a beautiful one and the
miraculous tilma is an intriguing witness to the power of God. There are a few
different reading options for today’s celebration, and all are full of the honor given
to Mary. “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun.” “You are
the highest honor of our race.” “The power of the Most High will overshadow you.”
“Most blessed are you among women!” She is honored and clothed in queenly
raiment, spoken of in sweeping and glorious terms. The Gospel options are filled
with theophany, whether it’s the angelic proclamation of Gabriel or the joyous
And yet, for Mary’s contemporaries, her pregnancy would have seemed quite ordinary, even perhaps scandalous. Now we speak of Mary in terms reserved for no other created being. But once she was hidden. Once she was misunderstood, underestimated, small. In her appearance to Juan Diego, Mary resembled the native people, not the conquering Spaniards. In this feast, we’re invited to recall the supreme elevation of the ordinary, the splendor of the secret things of God. This holds true in our lives. No matter your external appearance or reputation, God sees all of you. He sees your hidden splendor. He sees your quiet acts of sacrifice and charity. He sees the hope of glory shining through your wounds. Can you see this in yourself?
And can you see it in others? There are people all around us – the withdrawn, the
harried, the cast-offs – who so easily become ordinary and overlooked. As children
of God, made in His image and likeness, we too contain His theophany. Every
ordinary person is a reflection of God’s splendor. Today and throughout this Advent
season, choose to find God in your neighbor where He has hidden Himself.
Anna Carter is the Co-Founder of Eden Invitation, a project for Catholic young adults experiencing same-sex attraction and living in the truth of Christ.