He is my Love-Person

Another feast day is upon us. It’s Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day! And if you’ve ever experienced her feast day in the true “Guadalupano”[1] style, then you know that there’s no celebration like it.

The festive traditions usually begin at midnight with the singing of “Mañanitas”[2] and other traditional Marian songs in the “Virgencita’s”[3] honor.

Then come the bouquets of roses. From the first streaks of dawn to well beyond the fading of the sunset, rose upon rose is offered to Our Lady. Some people offer them in thanksgiving; others offer them in supplication. Regardless of the intention, every single one is offered in love.

And we cannot leave out the processions, the folk dancing, and the food!

But on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we can ask ourselves, is this enough to satisfy her love? Or is she hoping for something more? By looking deeper into her mission on Tepeyac in light of the principles of true devotion to Mary, these are the questions we want to answer on this twelfth day of December.

In Christ Alone

According to St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, the first principle of true devotion to Mary is Jesus Christ.

In his well-known work he writes, “Jesus, our Savior, true God and true man must be the ultimate end of all our other devotions.”[4]
But he doesn’t stop there. He also states the reasons:

  • In Christ alone really dwells the fullness of divinity (Col 2:9)
  • In Christ alone is the complete fulness of grace, virtue and perfection.
  • In Christ alone have we been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3)
  • God has given us no other basis of salvation, perfection and glory than Jesus Christ

Based on these motives, he concludes saying, “If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ.”[5]

In a distinctive way, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe complies perfectly with this first principle of Montfortian Mariology.

To understand how we must listen to the very words of the Blessed Virgin in her first apparition to St. Juan Diego:

“I want very much that they build my sacred little house here in which I will show Him, I will exalt Him and make Him manifest. I will give Him to the people, He who is my Incarnate Love, He who is my Compassionate Gaze, He who in my Help, He who is my Salvation.”[6]

My Sacred Little House

On that chilly December morning of 1531, atop the rocky and barren Tepeyac hill Mary explicitly asked for a church. Veiled within Mary’s request for a building is her implicit desire for a place of Catholic worship and devotion. In other words, a place for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In drawing the men and women of the New World to her she ultimately wanted to draw them to the privileged place of her Son’s Presence: in the Eucharist. The following excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church will help remind us of our Catholic faith teaches us about this Presence.

1373 “Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church:[7] in his word, in his Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,” (Mt. 18:20) in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, (cf. Mt 25:31-46) in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But “He is present…most especially in the Eucharistic species.”[8]

1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.”(St. Thomas, S. Th. III, 73, 3c) In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”[9]

 “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”[10]

…my help, He who is my Salvation

What we also see in Mary’s request for temple is a magnificent expression of effective Catholic evangelization. For the Mexica-Aztec people, the first act of establishing a civilization was the building of temple. Without their gods they were nothing. Additionally, they saw their place in the universe as the providers of sustenance to their divine protectors. In order to maintain life in the universe they needed to keep the gods alive. And what the gods fed on—according to the understanding of these indigenous people—was human blood. Hence, the Mexicas dedicated themselves to “guerras floridas” (religious warfare), human sacrifices, and to a culture of death. In a word, the purpose of their life was centered on death.

Despite having a noble ideal, they were gravely mistaken.

And why were they mistaken? Because they did not know Christ. Every person who places the meaning of their life in something that is not Jesus Christ is mistaken. As a good mother, a zealous missionary, and a true defender of mankind, the Virgin Mary understood this and therefore she came to bring to the indigenous people the truth of her Son, and better said of her Son…my Incarnate Love.[11]

And our purpose in life…is it founded on Jesus Christ? Our love and devotion to Mary, is it leading us closer to Christ? Even more, is it leading us closer to Christ in the Eucharist?

In honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I hope that today the serenades of love resound. I hope her images and altars burst with the colors and fragrances of roses. I hope her name is repeated a thousand times over on the lips and in the hearts of her beloved children.

But I know that in addition to all of these beautiful expressions of love, she hopes for something more. She hopes for the renewal[12] of a Christ-centered lifestyle anchored to a Eucharistic love and devotion. This is how Our Lady of Guadalupe loves with a mother’s heart. She not only wants to satisfy the thirst of love in the heart of her Son, but she also wants to quench the thirst for His love in the hearts of all her children.

Perhaps this is why she came down from heaven on that beautiful morning as an expecting mother. She came to give birth. Not to another feast day on the calendar, but to give birth to Christ, her Love-Person in the hearts of all those who love her, those who call her, those who seek her, those who trust her.[13]


Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
Seize the day and make it all Hers!


Fr. Christopher Etheridge, IVE



[1] Spanish for “devotee of Our Lady of Guadalupe”.

[2] A song traditionally sung to awaken someone on their birthday.

[3] Literally, “the Little Virgin”. When attached to names or titles, the diminutive form in Spanish expresses fondness or affection.

[4] True Devotion to Mary, 61

[5] Ibid., 62

[6] From the Spanish “Mucho quiero, mucho deseo, que aquí me levanten mi casita sagrada, en donde lo mostraré, lo ensalzaré al ponerlo de manifiesto, lo entregaré a las gentes; a Él, que es mi Amor-Persona, a Él, que es mi mirada compasiva, a Él, que es mi auxilio, a Él, que es mi salvación.” Nican Mopohua, 26-28

[7] Rm 8:34; cf. Lumen Gentium, 48

[8] Sacrosanctum Concilum, 7

[9] Council of Trent (1551): DS 1651

[10] St. Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei, 39

[11] Our Lady’s words: Amor-Persona (Person-Love or Incarnate Love); cf. Nican Mopohu en nahuatl, español e inglés, ed. Eduardo Chavez, (Mexico City: ISEG, 2021), 28

[12] “Devotion to the most holy Virgin of Guadalupe must be for all of you a constant and specific demand for authentic Christian renewal.” Pope St. Paul VI, Message to the Mexican people, (L’Osservatore Romano, 18 October 1970).

[13] Nican Mopohua, 31.