Tuesday, December 12, 2017
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28b
Today, in Mexico, the United States and across the Americas, we honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.
On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego, an Indian convert to the faith, was walking to a nearby village so that he could attend Mass. On his way, a woman appeared to him amidst the sound of celestial music. She announced to him:
I am your merciful Mother, to you and to all mankind who love me and trust in me and invoke my help. Therefore, go to the dwelling of the Bishop in Mexico City and say that the Virgin Mary sent you to make known to him her great desire.
Though Juan Diego did not accomplish this at first, he eventually followed the instruction of the Virgin of Guadalupe in subsequent apparitions and brought fresh roses from the mountain top to the bishop as a sign that the Virgin wanted a shrine built there. Roses did not usually grow that time of year so this was clearly a miraculous sign. Upon arriving at the bishop’s residence, Juan Diego opened his cloak (tilma) carrying the roses so as to pour them out onto the floor before the bishop. When he did so, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared, miraculously, upon the threads of this cloak. The cloak is still visible to all who wish to see it at the shrine in Mexico City. And what is amazing, scientifically speaking, is that the image is not painted, rather, each and every thread has changed color so as to create this holy image. Furthermore, the cloak is made of a cactus plant that normally disintegrates within ten years. Today, the cloak is almost five hundred years old and it is as fresh and vibrant as ever.
Though the miraculous nature of the tilma of Juan Diego is fascinating to ponder, what is of far greater significance is the message of our Blessed Mother as she appeared to Juan. ”I am your merciful Mother…” she said. She is our Mother when we trust her and invoke her help.
The Feast of Our Lady, therefore, ought not simply be seen as a cultural, historical or miraculous phenomena. Rather, it must be seen as a glorious invitation from the Queen of Heaven to accept her as our mother.
Reflect, today, upon your own relationship with our Heavenly Mother. Do you trust in her intercession and help? Do you know that Jesus has entrusted you to her care? Have you consecrated your life to her protection? One of the best ways to honor our Blessed Mother is to pray the rosary. Pray it today, at least a decade. And as you do, ask her to gently guide you to her Son, Jesus.
Dearest Mother, Virgin of Guadalupe, I consecrate myself to your motherly care. I thank you for your perfect concern, help and mercy. Please intercede for me as I place my trust in you. Take me to Your Son Jesus that I may love Him with your beautiful heart. Mother Mary, pray for us. St. Juan Diego, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.