Have you ever been asked this question? Or whether Hispanic Catholics are more devoted to Mary than to Jesus? Have you ever heard anyone accuse Catholics of “Mariolatry”?
The answer, of course, is that as Catholics we believe Jesus Christ alone is necessary for salvation. But that is only a partial answer. We believe that God’s love for us is so vast that God did not stop at what was necessary. Does a father who gives his children food and shelter say “my love consists in providing what is necessary for you”? No. His love is shown in giving his children not just the bare necessities of life, but his guidance, his affection, his very self.
The most precious things in life are the gifts that are not necessary. They communicate the overflow of our love. So when God sent Jesus to redeem us, he didn’t just do the bare minimum. He sent Jesus as God become human to accompany us in all the joys and sorrows of life. And God didn’t stop there. He gave Jesus a loving mother who is also our mother, a gift made all the more precious because God did not have to do things this way. God sent his only son and gave us our mother Mary to show his overflowing love for us.
A few years ago Guadalupana Socorro Durán reminded her fellow parishioners at St. Leander parish in California that our troubled times are “not that different” from Mexico at the time of Juan Diego or the time of Jesus 2,000 years ago. But just as Christ’s birth and Juan Diego’s encounter with Guadalupe were both “a sudden, unexpected event which then and now brings hope and expectation to us,” so too the Guadalupe feast “renews hope in our wilting spirits.”
Guadalupe is our mother. Throughout the Americas, all of us who partake in her feast-day celebration enter into the ongoing eruption of God’s compassion that St. Juan Diego first experienced in her centuries ago. Our devotion to our mother Guadalupe does not take away from her son Jesus. It expresses our gratitude to her and to the God who loves us so much he went infinitely beyond what was necessary for our salvation.
2013 © Tim Matovina. All Rights Reserved.