Vatican City, Dec 11, 2013 / 06:26 am
At the end of his general audience, Pope Francis reflected on tomorrow's feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, extending his greetings to all on the American continent.
"Mary's embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together," the Pope explained after his Dec. 11 general audience address.
Following his discourse given Saint Peter's Square on the last part of the Creed in which believers proclaim their belief in "the resurrection of the body," the Pope drew special attention to the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas, taking place tomorrow.
"I would like to greet all my brothers and sisters on that continent, and I do so thinking of the Virgin of Tepeyac," he stated.
"When Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego, her face was that of a woman of mixed blood, a mestiza, and her garments bore many symbols of the native culture," reflected the Pope.
"Like Jesus, Mary is close to all her sons and daughters; as a concerned mother, she accompanies them on their way through life," and "shares all the joys and hopes, the sorrows and troubles of God's People, which is made up of men and women of every race and nation," the pontiff observed.
"When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego," the noted the Pope, "it was the prophesy of an embrace."
This embrace, continued the pontiff, envelops "all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come," and shows what the American continent "is called to be."
It is called, he explained, to be "a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother's womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity."
"That is the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it is also my message, the message of the Church."
"I ask all the people of the Americas to open wide their arms, like the Virgin, with love and tenderness," encouraged the pontiff, adding that "I pray for all of you, dear brothers and sisters, and I ask you to pray for me!"
"May the joy of the Gospel always abide in your hearts. May the Lord bless you, and may Our Lady be ever at your side."