Patroness of the Americas and protector of unborn children, the Feast of the extraordinary Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12, announcing the Life that springs forth at Christmas…
God always chooses what is poor and small
On December 9, 1531, the first day of the Octave of the Immaculate Conception, God chose to reveal the Blessed Mother to a poor Aztec peasant in Mexico. That morning, Juan Diego had just left his impoverished house and was on his way to Mass when the beautiful song of a bird surprised and delighted him. He then heard a voice full of sweetness and affection calling him:
-« My little Juan, my little Juan Diego! »
Believing himself transported to Paradise, the humble peasant ran up to Tepeyac hill, from where the voice came, and he suddenly found himself facing a young girl of amazing beauty, standing in the middle of a kind of river of light. The girl’s clothes emitted rays of light that transformed this arid landscape of cacti and rocks into precious stones, emeralds and turquoise. Juan Diego prostrated himself, and the girl said to him:
– « Listen, my little child, smallest one – – “know and believe for certain, my son, littlest one, that I am the perfect and ever Virgin Mary… »
At Christmas, God makes the astonishing choice of smallness and poverty. God could have had his Son born in a magnificent palace… but he chose the most wretched place, a cave used as a stable, cold, dark, dirty… Around the Infant God, there were no powerful men, but his humble, poor parents, and the lowliest ones- – the shepherds…
For no one can welcome God if he has not become small and poor.
God wants to come to us through his Mother
On Tepeyac Hill, the marvelous young girl, radiant with light, added:
– « I desire very much that in this place they build me a little “house of God“. There I will show Him, I will exalt Him, I will give Him to men through the mediation of my love. »
Since the first Christmas, Mary is the one who gives us Jesus. Her role, her mission, her power, is to give Him to us…
What if we asked her?
Mary strengthens our hearts through the test of persevering trust
Poor Juan Diego was sent by the luminous Virgin Mary to his Bishop to ask him to build a church on the site of the apparition. But the servants refused to allow this lowly man to see the Bishop. Juan Diego had the obstinate patience of the humble and waited to see the Bishop. The Bishop listened half-heartedly to Juan’s story and told him to come back another time. Juan Diego begged the beautiful Queen of Heaven to send someone more respected in his place, but she sent him back to the Bishop and asked him to persevere in trust. Bravely, he returned to face the humiliations of the servants and the skepticism of the Bishop. In tears, Juan Diego threw himself at the Bishop’s feet and begged him to believe him.
Mary at Christmas, a model of persevering trust: As she was about to give birth, she agreed to leave her home to travel 100 km on the back of a donkey, in the icy winter wind. Then, having been refused every opportunity to welcome her in Bethlehem, she confidently accepted the poor stable to give birth to her Son.
So let us be courageous! Like Mary, let us persevere in trust!
Mary cannot act without us
The Bishop of Mexico City asked Juan Diego for a sign to believe him. So the humble peasant ran to Tepeyac Hill and asked the wonderful girl for a sign. She answered with a heavenly smile:
-” All right, my son; tomorrow you will go to the Bishop with a sign that I will give to you so that he believes you. Trust that I will reward your concern, your pain and your fatigue. Now go, I’ll wait for you tomorrow”.
The next morning, before dawn, Juan Diego arrived at the foot of the hill and the beautiful Queen of Heaven appeared to him:
“Go up, my son, smallest one, to the top of the hill, where you saw me, and you will find various flowers. Cut them, make a bouquet and bring it here to me.”
Juan Diego climbed to the top of the hill where he saw only thistles and thorns. He froze in amazement before a bed of the most beautiful flowers of Spain, in which the dew made an ornament of precious pearls. The Indian peasant quickly cut a bouquet given to him from the Queen of Heaven and placed them in the hollow of his tilma or cloak.
After suffering more humiliation by the servants, Juan Diego finally appeared before the Bishop, opened his cloak and the beautiful flowers, among which were roses with sweet perfumes, fell to his feet. It was the middle of winter making it impossible that these flowers could be there!
What are these precious flowers that Mary asks us to gather? They are the priceless flowers of our prayers! Is not the Rosary a garland of roses? And shouldn’t we go up the mountain of God, like Juan Diego, to pray?
To prepare for Christmas, let us offer all our prayers to the One who will make them bear fruit!
A miracle unique in the world
When Juan Diego opened his white cloak to show the beautiful flowers, an extraordinary image appeared; the image of the venerable, perfect and ever Virgin, Blessed Mary Mother of God, was painted on his cloak. Even after five centuries, this image on the cloak can still be seen today. In awestruck silence, the Bishop, knelt down in tears and begged the Virgin Mary to forgive his disbelief. When he arose, the Bishop removed the cloak with the image of the Queen of Heaven from Juan Diego and placed it in his oratory. The Bishop soon had a chapel built on the site of the apparitions. Since then, countless numbers of people have come to venerate the heavenly image of the Mother of Mercy, who has never ceased to help human misery with numerous miracles and cures that continue to this day. Uniquely, the ever Virgin, Our Lady of Guadalupe, has left her image. And all the modern scientific examinations that are becoming more and more advanced confirm the mystery of the celestial origin of this image! The textile cloak, so rustic that it usually disintegrates within a few years, shows no signs of wear after five centuries, even without any protection. The ophthalmological examination of the eyes, shows that they are as if alive, reflecting the image of several people. The temperature of the cloak itself is constant, at 36.6°C, which is scientifically impossible. And, the cloak of the Virgin, strewn with stars, has also been analyzed, by astronomers, and here is what they discovered: The place of the stars on the cloak corresponds exactly to their place in the sky of Mexico City on December 12, 1531, the day when the image was printed on the cloak!
Pregnant Virgin, Protector of Life
The “ever Virgin Mary of Guadalupe,” as she called herself, appears in her image dressed as an Aztec princess. One element of her clothing is of great importance: her dark belt, which in traditional culture indicates that she is pregnant. This is the only apparition in the world where Mary is revealed carrying her Son in her womb! This is why Saint John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe “protector of unborn children“! He invites us to entrust to this sweet Mother the children yet to be born.
Until Christmas, let us keep vigil with the pregnant Virgin. Let us offer her the roses of our Rosary and ask her for her Son, so that she can give Him to us on the blessed night of His birth. He, the Way, the Truth and the Life, will then fill us with His superabundant Life…