My friend Padre Evagrio Alvarez, OSB has the following sermon for the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe posted on his blog, http://volaturae.blogspot.com. I took the trouble to translate the piece because it is beautiful and edifying. In reading it, I was reminded of what the preacher Father Luis Mendez stated (1700’s ?) when he said, “The image of the Most Holy Mary [of Guadalupe] was made with such beauty and perfection so that in it, we might have an example of virtues to imitate, and a mirror in which to place and from which to take, all that pertains to our perfection.”
Enjoy. We are in the octave of her feast!
In solemnitate BVM de Guadalupe, Mexici Regina et Americæ Imperatrix
The saintly Church Fathers believed and taught that before original sin, roses bloomed without thorns, but that later, after sin entered the world, the stems bristled. It is in this manner that roses announced our redemption. As the rose emerges tender and lovely without assuming anything hard from the stem, or anything sharp, thus, sprung Mary, sweet with grace, perfumed of Christ, beautiful with love. Like the rose, she, born from the thorn, issued forth from our human flesh. And as the rose is the glory of the thorn, likewise Mary is the glory and the remedy of our nature.
The august Mother of God in being thus elevated, passed through the old thorns of our deformed nature, aromatizing the heavens. And her heavenly fragrance is the announcement of our Redemption. It is the sweet odor of Christ, the fragrance that revives the fainthearted, the unction which heals the wounds of sin.
As the rose pales when caressed by the rays of the moon, so was Mary graced in whiteness by her impeccable virginity. And as the rose brightens in ruddiness when touched by the sun, likewise Mary was set aflame by charity when in the afternoon of her holy life, the Sun of Justice came to dwell amongst us.
In all truth, a spiritual Master teaches that the saints are small flowers which the tempests of spiritual combat shake violently, and the dry winds of temptation agitate; but Mary is the Mystical Rose dawning in the springtime, when there are no devastating tempests nor drying winds. She sprung forth during a time of peace when God desired to set all things in peace for the birth of His Son, born of the flesh, because of the birth of Him who is the Prince of peace.
Because of that, Mary never ever broke any hearts, nor offended the eyes of anyone. What entered into the eyes of our humanity, was her chastity which attracts a love for heaven, for the beauty of what is holy. And as the largest of roses inclines the entire cluster, so Mary teaches us that humility is the weight of the most excellent grandeur.
This glorious Woman placed in our hearts the divine Word, the Son whom the Father engendered in a most ineffable manner. That is why today there pours forth from our lips a beautiful poem: “Apparuerunt flores in terra nostra”. Well, brethren, flowers did sprout in our land when you appeared, O Woman, in the midst of our thorns. Your humble apparition, Holy Mother of God, has inebriated with joy our sinful souls, much like a bee – which cannot lose its stinger without dying – delights with happiness before charming roses
Together with the birds, which with all their colors are unable to perfume the skies, [Oh, heavenly Mother] we fill the heavens with song and orations; but neither the most beautiful of songs, nor the most sublime of words can equal the perfume of your virtues: perfume of unity, perfume of charity, perfume of love. Take us with you, beautiful Virgin. Cut off our thorns like we cut roses, and thus, humble and simple, present us before the Father with the good odor of Christ, the good odor which you gave forth on the day of His birth, the day of the joy of His Heart.