Our Blessed Lady Comes to Guadalupe
The poignant story of Our Blessed Lady's appearance at Guadalupe in 1531 has been recounted innumerable times during the last five centuries. The Ever-Virgin Mother of God appeared to a humble Indian peasant, Juan Diego, who at first was not believed by the local Bishop. But after Mary left her stunning image on Juan's tilma and some luscious roses (in December!) fell from his poor cloak after he opened it, the Bishop realized that, far from being a liar, Juan had told the truth about his unique encounters with Our Lady.
The underlying message of Guadalupe, however, seems to be much less known.
After Juan saw Mary, life did not pass as usual in Mexico. There are some estimates that in the following ten years, there were 9,000,000 conversions to the Catholic Faith. The sacrifice to the pagan gods of newborn babies halted. A fresh spiritual vitality--centered on prayer, self-denial, chastity and the reception of the Holy Sacraments of the Church--was observable, thanks to the fail-proof intercession of Mary and the enthusiastic, faith-filled response of the Mexican and Aztec peoples.
Such indisputable facts remind us that God is always giving to His beloved sons and daughters. But if the fruits emanating from those extraordinary gifts are to have fullest effect, then the recipients must cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
The apparitions of Our Lady at Guadalupe are really a paradigm of the Lord's continuing initiative and our necessary response. The Almighty constantly invites us to accept new spiritual life. What is our reply? We may think that we are receptive. But are we truly like Saint Juan Diego who allowed God to chart a different course for his life?
Great things occur when men and women "permit" God to set the agenda. His all-wise plan cannot be matched by anything that we devise.
Juan Diego yielded to the sacred desires of the Blessed Virgin--and the world has never been the same. This convert to Catholicism helped to usher in a remarkable era of interior transformation and exterior devotion.
Imagine the other stories that could be told, the astounding miracles that would have been performed, if I . . . you . . . we . . . had surrendered to the Paraclete. The mind spins.
Yet, we must not despair. Regardless of our past infidelity to the ways of our benevolent Master, now is the time to imitate Juan Diego and his incredible--and inspiring--confidence in the approachable Madonna. God is just waiting for us to do as He bids us. Previous lethargy does not stop the Lord of the Universe from using us and, in the process, transfiguring us into His cherished saints.
Guadalupe: the Ever-Virgin and a man willingly to be fashioned into a magnificent servant of the Kingdom. This is the message of Guadalupe. This is our summons, too.
"God of power and mercy, You blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary at Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through Your justice present in our hearts may Your peace reign in the world. We ask this through out Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Saint Juan Diego, pray for us!
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Our Lady of Guadalupe; Saint Juan Diego
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