Tuesday, December 12, 2017

His Word Today: Guadalupe

Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the apparition of the Virgin Mary to a Mexican peasant by the name of Juan Diego.  The Virgin Mary appeared to him three times - on consecutive days - between December 9 and December 11, 1531.  On the first two days, she explained that she was the mother of the very true deity and asking for a church to be built on the hill of Tepeyac in her honour.  By the third day - December 11 - Juan Diego's uncle Juan Bernardino had fallen sick and Juan Diego was obliged to care for him.  In the very early hours of December 12, Juan Bernardino's condition had worsened, forcing Juan Diego to set out for Tlatelolco to fetch a priest to hear Juan Bernardin's confession and to administer the Sacrament of the Sick.

In order to avoid being delayed by the Virgin and ashamed at having failed to meet her on the Monday as agreed, Juan Diego chose another route around the hill, but the Virgin intercepted him and asked where he was going (fourth apparition); Juan Diego explained what had happened and the Virgin gently chided him for not having had recourse to her. In the words which have become the most famous phrase of the Guadalupe event and are inscribed over the main entrance to the Basilica of Guadalupe, she asked, ¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre? (Am I not here, I who am your mother?). She assured him that Juan Bernardino had now recovered and she told him to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, which was normally barren, especially in December. Juan followed her instructions and he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming there. The Virgin arranged the flowers in Juan's tilma, or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before archbishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Juan's simple faith has inspired millions of people to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and to pray for her maternal protection.  Anyone who has ever visited that Shrine will testify to the fact that the crowds come and go all day long, in  a constant parade of song and rejoicing.  They know at the depth of their hearts that the Lord is coming to dwell among us (Zec 2:14).  Today also marks the National Day (in Canada) of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples of this country.  Let us pray today especially for the poor, for those whose voices are too often ignored by our society.  Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may their prayers be whispered in the ears of the Lord who always welcomes the pleas of his beloved children.

Have a great day.

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