A RELIGIOUS historian once wrote that the Philippines is a country that loves the Blessed Mother Mary. Looking at every Catholic home in the Philippines, one could see the image of the Blessed Mother and a rosary at home, if not in the pockets of individuals. Every Filipino Catholic has a devotion to the Blessed Mother. The Philippines had been dedicated and consecrated to the Immaculate Conception. It is entrusted to her protection and she has never failed us, Filipinos.

The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception makes Catholics believe that Mary was conceived without original sin. Its feast will be celebrated as a holiday in the country. It is taught that the Blessed Mother was prepared by God to be the Mother of His Son. In the process, she was blessed among all women by being exempted from original sin for she has to carry the Son of God. Original sin is the sin we all have inherited from Adam and Eve.

Also, the Blessed Mother’s humility and obedience had made her “yes” and the Salvation History was materialized. When God made His faithful promise after the fall of man that He will send a savior. He was already hinting that He will give us a mother who shall bear the promise of his only begotten son. The acceptance of the Blessed Mother of the will of God is a great virtue that we shall emulate. The Blessed Mother said yes to the will of God. This is celebrated on the Feast of the Annunciation.

We also have many titles for the Blessed Mother. Some are based on the places of her apparitions. Among them is Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Edsa and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her other titles like Queen of Peace, Nuestra Senora de la Salud and Queen of all Nations, Mediatrix of all Graces, Mystical Rose, Virgin of Virgins were taken from the great attributes and virtues she possessed. Yet other titles were taken from the humble life of the Blessed Mother.

My maternal family had a great devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe that they named our farm as Hacienda Guadalupe which was acquired in the late 1920s in La Carlota City. This is where the historic “Balay Daku” is found. The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated every December 12. This is a story of the apparition of our Blessed Mother to St. Juan Diego in Guadalupe, Mexico. The blessed Mother gave the humble native a cloak of roses amidst the cold winter season, which he in turn presented to the bishop and the community for them to believe that indeed, the Blessed Mother is appearing and has a message.

After Christmas, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family where we see the loving figure of Mary and St. Joseph as a model family with the child Jesus. The Holy Family becomes our model of unity and togetherness in the family. We see that Jesus was with his parents and worked at home and only started his work at the request of his Mother at the wedding at Cana, where Jesus was a little hesitant to change the water into wine. At the request of his mother, he performed the miracle.

Every first day of the year, we dedicate the new year to the Blessed Mother as the Mother of God. This is our acknowledgement of the great role of the Blessed Mother in making God human. We acknowledge the motherhood of the Blessed Mother. Her cloak of protection will always be with us throughout time.

So, the Blessed Mother will always have her mantle of protection over us. She is our protection that during the pandemic she was always there for us. So we continue to be a country who loves Mary (Pueblo Amante Maria), Mother of God, pray for us.