This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), who appeared to Saint Juan Diego on December 9, 10 and 12, 1531. Our Spanish Mass this weekend will focus on Our Lady of Guadalupe. Growing up I never knew anything about this approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Perhaps some of you do not know much about it either. Here are some facts (which I pulled from the website of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lacrosse, Wisconsin – a great place for pilgrimage, if you have the opportunity!)
- The image left on Saint Juan Diego’s tilma is the only true picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in existence.
- The image has remained intact with all its original vibrancy for 475 years. The natural lifespan of a cloak made with fiber from the gave or maguey plant is only about 30 years.
- The image is a pictograph which could be read and understood by the Aztec Indians.
- Our Lady appears as a beautiful young Indian maiden and Queen.
- Her eyes are looking down with humility and compassion. She is human, not God.
- She is wearing a blue-green mantle (the color worn by royalty) covered with stars.
- The stars signify she comes from heaven – the Queen of Heaven. The constellations are in the exact position as appeared before dawn on the morning of December 12, 1531.
- Her robe is colored rose or pale red and covered with Aztec flowers, symbolic of an Aztec princess.
- In the center of her robe, overlying her womb, is a four petal quincunx flower in the shape of a cross which is the sign of the Divine and the center of the cosmic order to the Aztec. The Virgin’s Baby, Jesus, is Divine and the new center of the universe.
- Her hands are joined in prayer and, therefore, she is not God but clearly there is one greater than she and she points her finger to the cross on her brooch.
- Her fur cuffs symbolize royalty.
- She wears a black maternity band signifying she is with Child.
- A black cross is on the brooch around her neck. This signifies she is a follower of the God of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ who died on the cross for all.
- She stands in front of the sun. The sun symbolizes the greatest Aztec god – Huitzilopochtli. She announces the God who is greater than their sun god.
- She stands on the moon. The crescent moon symbolized the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent moon god. She has clearly crushed and defeated him.
- An angel with eagle’s wings supports the Mother of God. The eagle was the “bird of the sun.” Here the eagle is the servant of the Virgin. He holds her mantle in one hand and robe with the other, signifying the Son she bears is from both heaven and earth.
- To date the image cannot be explained by science.
- The image on the tilma was able to do what up to that time the missionaries were not able to do significantly. Namely, clearly explain Christianity to the Indian people. The proof is in the fact that after the apparitions, eight million natives of Mexico converted to Catholicism from 1531 to 1538.
No wonder Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered the Queen of Evangelizers! No wonder Pope St. John Paul II in a 1999 apostolic exhortation referred to Our Lady of Guadalupe as “Patroness of all America and Star of the first and new evangelization”.
On another note, as of the writing of this letter we have not had any volunteers step forward for live streaming our weekend Masses. If we don't get anybody, we will most likely stop live streaming the Saturday 4:30 PM Mass, and just keep the Sunday 8:00 AM Mass live stream. Weekday Masses will still be live streamed, since Anthony Gallina only plays organ when the weekday Mass happens to be a feast. I am committed to the live streaming, because it serves our homebound and nursing home parishioners, including those who in prudence believe they should not come to Mass because of COVID concerns. The system is very easy to use and ample training will be provided. If anybody is able to help, please contact Anthony Gallina as soon as possible.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, help us all to help those around us encounter and live Jesus Christ!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu, Mariae et Iosephus,