Our Lady of Guadalupe
Blessed John Paul II, in the apostolic exhortation on the Church in America, reminds us that the Blessed Virgin is linked in a special way to … the peoples of America; through Mary they came to encounter the Lord…. Mary, by her motherly and merciful figure, was a great sign of the closeness of the Father and of Jesus Christ, with whom she invites us to enter into communion.
This feast commemorates the glorious apparitions in 1531 of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego in Tepeyac, Mexico. Our Lady chooses to appear on the summit of a small hill where formerly had stood a temple to a pagan goddess whose hair was a mass of writhing snakes. That is, Mary chooses to insert herself with all her maternal love right into the heart of our idolatry. The Mother of God comes to the place where we are most distracted or distanced from God, to invite us back to his love. There she shows herself to be brimming with power.
In the miraculous image from that apparition, Our Lady stands with her foot on a crescent moon a sign of her authority over one of the Aztec deities. Similarly, Mary’s stance in front of the sun proclaims her supremacy over the dreaded Aztec sun god. And the green- blue hue of Mary’s mantle proclaims her to be royalty. The very presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe moves us to surrender to God’s mercy. But the Guadalupana also speaks. Her words are filled with tenderness and hope: “I am … the Mother of the True God. I will offer … all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection.… Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Am I not here who am your Mother?”
And most awesome of all, she leaves us her image miraculously imprinted on the tilma of Juan Diego. After twenty years, the frail plant fibers of the cloak should have disintegrated. Yet after five hundred years, the heaven- made image is as vibrant and radiant as ever. We pray to remain as faithful to the Mother of God as she is persistent in remaining wondrously in our midst.
Fr. Peter Cameron OP
Novenas for the Church Year