We celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe today, a commemoration elevated to a feast on the eve of the Third Millennium by Pope John Paul II, who also declared her patroness of all of ‘America’, south, central, and north, a vast expanse of land from the Arctic circle to Tierra del Fuego jutting towards Antarctica.
Appearing to (now saint) Juan Diego in 1531, while the Protestant ‘Reformation’ was wreaking havoc across the Atlantic in Europe, the Virgin tenderly asked ‘Juanito’ as she called him, and through him asked all of us, ‘Am I not your mother?’, to which there is really only one answer.
Yes, she is our Mother, even in the midst of all the chaos, evil and mayhem not only of her time, when thousands of innocent victims were sacrificed on the pagan ziggurats, but also of our time, when, still, thousands of innocent victims, the unborn, the elderly, the dying, are sacrificed on a host of other ‘altars’, convenience, pleasure, power, money. More hidden, but for that fact, more insidiously evil.
Yet the Mother triumphs over the dragon. We know not how many souls Our Lady has brought into the Church through her miraculous image, which sort of ‘floats’ on the tilma or cloak (which by any law of nature should have decomposed centuries ago); the image maintains a temperature of 98.6 degrees, and scientists have detected a heartbeat; just recently, there was discovered in her eyes, only discernible by modern microscopic analysis, a reflected image of the bishop, Fray Juan de Zummaraga, and someone else, as they likely appeared to her as she appeared to them on this day in December, 1531.
In sum, no scientist has any explanation for how the image was placed on, or is maintained, on the fragile tilma. The image truly is one of those motiva credibilitatis, a ‘motive of credibility’, which has disposed untold millions towards the Faith, and increased the Faith of many more.
We are now more than halfway through Advent, when the Light will soon be increasing, and with that, truth and hope, even though the darkness seems, and I say seems, to prevail. In the end, goodness always wins.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, ora pro nobis!