Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mexican Beauty

“Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.’” Luke 1: 30-31


No, it’s not the daily lotto number. It’s the year that God chose to send His Mother to the Americas in order to show us His love and mercy. It was in December of this year that Our Lady appeared to St. Juan Diego, bringing her Son’s message of love and peace.

At this time in history, the Spanish had “conquered” what is known today as Mexico. The Aztec Indians for all intents and purposes, had been subjugated by the Spanish. And while there were certainly abuses against this native people, the Spanish also brought with them the Catholic Franciscan friars, who came as missionaries to bring the Truth to these honorable people who nonetheless sacrificed men, women and children each year to their gods.

Our Lady came to offer herself as proof to these people and to the Spanish that the Lord Jesus was in charge. She revealed herself to the local bishop on the tilma (cloak) of Juan Diego, a devout, 57-year-old widower. This image can still be seen in the Shrine near Mexico City.

This image represented many things to the Aztec people, whose written language was rich with pictures and symbolism. From this image, they learned that she was greater than their moon god, greater than their sun god and greater than their star gods. They knew that she was pregnant and that she was the mother of the “conquerors” God. Because of this image and Mary’s appearance, untold graces were unleashed upon the people of the Americas. Within 10 years, over one million native people had become baptized Christians. Because of her great spiritual influence in this hemisphere, Our Lady of Guadalupe has been declared the patroness of the Americas. And because this is the only time that Our Lady has appeared pregnant with the Baby Jesus in her womb, she has been declared the patroness of the unborn.

Mary is not Jesus. She is not God. She has no powers in and of herself. Yet God chose her to be His mother and to this day she continues to point us to Him. She continues to appear to select, humble disciples, with messages from her Son. During this Advent season, as we wait for the coming of the Lord, we turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who with patience bore the Baby Jesus within her womb for nine months in order to bring Him to us. May we turn to her intercession and guidance in a more purposeful way, that just as in a stable in Bethlehem—or in 1531 or today, she may bring Jesus to us and us to Him.

Dear Jesus, thank you for sending Mary to us and to the people of Mexico. Through her intercession, may all of us in the Americas become closer to You and may the holocaust of abortion stop. Amen.

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