December 12, 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe by Lisa Gesterling

Ladies, is there anything more attractive than a man who loves his mom and his Mom?
When my husband and I started dating, he shared that he had a strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I wasn't surprised. I knew he had a great love for the Virgin Mary. He grew up in a small town with a strong Mexican heritage, and he was part of the pro-life club on campus.
Of course I fell head over heels for him. Can you blame me?
what a hunk
But I also fell in love with Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It's my own
I was a cradle Catholic, but I never embraced my faith, nor cared to know more about it, until I was in college. So I didn't know the story behind the beautiful mestiza woman who approached a simple man with a grand request. I didn't know about the roses that mysteriously grew in the middle of winter, or the miraculous origin of the image found on Juan Diego's tilma. Or the fact that the black sash cinched high above her pregnant belly is symbolic of the Aztec maternity belt.
It's a sensational story. But if that's all you get out of it, you're missing the best parts.

Another title for Our Lady of Guadalupe is the “Star of the New Evangelization.” The “New Evangelization,” coined by Blessed John Paul II, calls us to action in the midst of the modern world challenges. A daunting task, I know.
But we have a model in Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the Christ-Bearer, the Light of the world growing within her womb. She appeared to Juan Diego during a dark time in Aztec history, a beacon drawing the people into the Light of her Son. And she reminds us that God loves to work through humble hearts, as he did with St. Juan Diego.
How does this apply to us? We're small. We have a small circle of influence.
Perfect. (At least this is how I imagine Mary would respond.)
We start with our own hearts, within our homes, with our family and friends. Nothing is more transformative than witnessing an authentic love for Christ.
Mary was the living Gospel, and she was a woman of few words. "Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words," as the famous saying goes (credited to St. Francis). Yes -- but also be ready to make a defense for the hope that is in you (1Peter 3:15). A priest once recommended to prepare an "elevator talk" -- a short account of before you knew Christ, how you came to know Christ, and how your life is now different. Short enough to share in an elevator. This Advent, let's prepare our story. Just in case the Holy Spirit asks us to step up. We don't want to be caught with a bushel over our lamp. That would be embarrassing.
And who loves Jesus more than his own mama? Let's make sure we invite her into our homes too!
We've tried different crafts and recipes to celebrate OLG's feast day, some more successful than others:

I hope this Advent fills you with hope. And some chips and salsa.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Lisa Gesterling is much funnier than she lets on.  Married to Paul and the mother to three, she recently moved from Illinois to Colorado, making her parents and in-laws very happy but leaving behind a whole village of sad, heartsick friends.  She blogs at Gesterlingpalooza about food, faith, family, and running.  It's worth clicking on the link to her blog just so you can see the family  portrait wherein her son is kicking her elder daughter in the head.  It's hilarious.

For more posts on Advent traditions and reflections check out the Advent series.


  1. I realize I may seem like a jerk for the whole "hilarious picture of Q kicking E in the head" but we all talked about it on Facebook and everyone agreed. (That it's hilarious and I'm a jerk.)

    Also - we made our tilmas yesterday so we'd have them for today. The boys don't hate them but Lydia loves hers. She colored roses on it and had Travis pretend to be the bishop and me pretend to be Our Lady as she walked back and forth, acting out the story. So cute!

    1. haha, it doesn't make you a jerk if it's true.

      I'm glad your kids liked the tilmas. Oh Lydia, you overachiever ;) (tell her good job!). I think we'll try them again today. Although I have visions of the kids using them to restrain each other. All good fun.

      (PS -- if I read your intro again, I might cry)

  2. I love the idea of an elevator talk! Must start working on mine.

  3. Well done, Lisa. It was beautiful. I'm finally glad my Mexican craving has a legit, liturgical excuse today... Mexican Pizzas, anyone?!

    1. Thanks, Alisha. And now that you mentioned "mexican pizza" I can't get it out of my head. Gotta scrounge up some change so I can hit up Taco Bell for lunch. I'll play Feliz Navidad in the car.

  4. Loved this! I would add to check out Holy Heroes Advent Adventure. They have a video about the feast day and a free coloring book to download.

    1. Thanks! And admittedly, while I get the Advent Adventures emails, I usually forget to open them in time. I'm glad you mentioned this, I'll have to check it out!