I gave presentations on Our Lady of Guadalupe to the primary and elementary classes, and I handed out cards with a photo reproduction of the image and Mary's words promising to heal and strengthen and carry us--the words of our Compassionate Mother.
Giving out the cards is a tradition I've had for a long time. I used to do it in my own classroom on the feast day. Usually, December 12 is a final exam date for college students. They would all stumble in, bleary-eyed, in sweat pants, with caps on their heads to cover their unwashed hair, giving one last look to their study sheets. I would give the cards to them first. If any of my former students are reading this, I hope you still have yours.
I was very happy yesterday to speak with children about Mary.
People can analyse these things in hundreds of ways, but in the end its very simple. Mary is a real person. She is the mother of Jesus. And Jesus is my brother. That means Mary is my mother too.
But what good does it do to talk about a "compassionate mother" in a world of orphans? After all, isn't the appalling loneliness of our own lives what we fear most?
"Mother of God and my mother, carry me!"--but when I cry out, I am already in her arms. She is already holding me.
This is what Mary says to each of us: "I am here."