There is a distinctive Marian character to Advent. The stational church for the First Sunday of Advent is Rome’s (and Christendom’s) principal Marian shrine, Santa Maria Maggiore. In the Litany of Loreto, Our Lady is called the “Morning Star,” after that bright heavenly body that illumines the night sky, heralding the arrival of the sun — and yes, Jesus is the “Sun of Justice,” Sol Iustitiae.1 A lovely hymn in the Roman Breiviary puts it this way:
Mary the dawn, Christ the perfect day;
Mary the gate, Christ the Heavenly Way!
[Read the rest of this hymn here — scroll to the end.]
For all this, it is fitting that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception takes place during Advent. For us in the New World, the occurrence of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 is also apposite, for that wondrous apparition heralded the Christian conquest of Mexico. (By “conquest,” I mean the spiritual triumph of the Prince of Peace over the happy souls of Mexico’s people.) Just as she did in the Gospels, particularly in the mystery of the Visitation, Mary visited Mexico and brought Jesus with her.
Who better to get us into the Advent Spirit that the Blessed Virgin?
- The morning “star” is actually the planet Venus, which is named after the goddess of love, who is the Roman version of Aphrodite, who is the Greek version of the Pheonician goddess Astarte. While the Fundamentalist may see in this connection a dangerous syncretism, the faithful will glorify God for Mary’s conquest over the pagan deification of sex as represented by the impure cults of these demons. Our Lady is the Virgin Most Pure. ↩