Today’s the third Sunday in Advent and also the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.
The virgin of Guadalupe, Nuestra Virgén, is so important to Mexicans because she appeared to Juan Diego, an indigenous peasant, and gave him the task of honoring her. She came to him and asked him to fight for her against the white Spanish church structure in Mexico, which was her way of fighting for him and for all of her native people by empowering them to fight for themselves. She fought for them to know they were created in the image of God, who loves them.
Mary asks us to fight for ourselves just as she fought for herself and for her son. In the excellent article “No More Lying About Mary,” Nancy Rockwell posits that Mary was not a teenager, was not terrified, and was not unaware of what bearing the Son of God would involve. Rockwell uses evidence from the Bible to sort out what we know and what we’ve spun into myth because it makes us feel better to make Mary weak and in jeopardy. Her conclusion is that Mary was strong and capable, and knew who to surround herself with for help.
Mary took on the mission offered to her by the angel willingly because she knew she could fight for God and for his son, her child. The Magnificat was her battle cry, Joseph her retainer.
The cover by Cliff Chiang of the DC Comics comic book Wonder Woman #32 shows Wonder Woman as a mother fighting with her child on her back. The child is a bald-headed toddler in blue-striped footie pajamas (indicating that he’s a boy), strapped to her with yellow cloth. Her hair is streaming wildly and she’s fighting an enormous muscled male figure with a sword in each hand, ready.
This is Mary if we’d been representing her as a warrior princess this entire time instead of as a helpless empty vessel begging for acceptance. Focused on her mission. Strong, sexual, maternal, fierce. Fighting for her child and for her people. Como peleó Nuestra Virgén. Like we are called to fight for our children and for other people’s children and for ourselves. All of us made in the image of God, who loves us.
Courage. God guides and strengthens us for what he calls us to do.