Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe; a day to remember and reflect upon Our Blessed Mother’s appearance to Juan Diego. When Our Blessed Mother appeared to Juan Diego, his country was under the influence of pagan beliefs in false gods. Mary appeared to him to set into motion a means for personally evangelizing the people of Central America. Her specific words to Juan Diego were:
I greatly desire that a church be built in my honor, in which I will show my love, compassion, and protection. I am your Mother, full of mercy and love for you and all those who love Me, trust in Me, and have recourse to Me. I will hear their complaints and I will comfort their affliction and their sufferings. So that I might show all My love, go now to the bishop in Mexico City and tell him that I am sending you to make known to him the great desire I have to see a church dedicated to me built here. 1
Naturally, when Juan Diego met with the presiding Bishop of the region to relay the Blessed Mother’s wish, Juan Diego met with disbelief. However, when he was returning to his home after the meeting, Mary was waiting for him. Mary knew what the Bishop’s reaction would be, and sent Juan Diego back to the Bishop with the message that it was the very Blessed Virgin and Mother of God who was making the request to have the church built.
Juan Diego complied with the Virgin’s wishes and once again met with skepticism. Yet, this time, the Bishop asked for a tangible sign, so that he might believe. As Juan Diego walked home, he once again met with Our Lady of Guadalupe, who told Juan to come to this very place in the morning to receive the tangible sign.
The next morning, Juan Diego’s uncle took ill and Juan stayed home to care for him. The next morning after that, on December 12th, his uncle asked for a priest, so Juan started walking toward town, but avoided the spot where he had met Our Lady. That did not deter Our Lady of Guadalupe from finding Juan! She met up with him, and told him to go to the top of the hill and pick the flowers; Castillion roses that do not normally bloom in winter! Juan Diego picked the flowers, as instructed, and placed them in his cloak (tilma).
Our Lady of Guadalupe Convinces the Doubtful
Juan Diego ran to the bishop. When he arrived, the servants made him wait for hours. Amazed at his patience, and intrigued by what he was carrying in his tilma, they finally informed the bishop, who, although with several people, had him shown in immediately. The Indian related his adventure, unfolded his tilma, and let the flowers, which were still shining with dew, scatter to the floor. With tears in his eyes, Bishop Zumárraga fell to his knees, admiring the roses from his country. All of a sudden, he perceived, on the tilma, the portrait of Our Lady. MARY’s image was there, as though printed on the cloak, very beautiful and full of gentleness. The bishop’s doubts gave way to a sure faith and a hope filled with wonder. 2
Our Lady of Guadalupe Brings About Conversion
Needless to say, the church was built, as Our Blessed Mother requested. The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe along with Juan Diego’s simple obedience and witness to Our Blessed Mother, became the impetus for numerous conversions to the Catholic faith for the Central American Indians.
Nine years after the apparitions, nine million Indians had converted to the Christian faith—nearly 3,000 a day! 3
With obedience, what might we do to evangelize on behalf of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps it is a simple witness to the virtues of Christ by imitating those virtues with our fellow men. Or maybe an act of charity, especially at this time of year, just might make the world a better place. Be like Juan Diego and do as our Mother asks!
Happy Feast Day to Our Lady of Guadalupe! May she shower us with virtues to be more like her Son. Amen.
1 “Our Lady of Guadalupe.” EWTN. EWTN Catholic Global Network, n.d. Web 17, Nov. 2016