of the Unborn”?
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Of all the many manifestations
of Mary’s loving presence among us throughout the centuries, in this
apparition alone does she appear to us in the manner of a pregnant mother.
She holds within her the unborn Christ, proclaiming the sanctity and
blessedness of life within the womb. Her reverence and tenderness
communicate to us the joy and awe with which we must approach each
Since 1973, with the Supreme
Court decision in Roe v. Wade which gave legal protection to the monstrous
sin of abortion, a parallel shedding of innocent blood has taken place.
The unborn innocent victim is brutally tortured in that very place he was
placed by God for his protection and development.
Today we find ourselves in the
midst of an even more enormous and dramatic conflict between good and
evil, the "culture of life" and the "culture of
death." Just as Our Lady of Guadalupe freed the indigenous peoples of
Mexico from their savage customs, so can she “crush the serpent’s
head” here in America under the title of “Protectress of the
Let us not cease in crying out
for her protection on behalf of our pre-born brothers and sisters. Only by
imitating Our Lady’s respect for life from the moment of conception can
we hope to inherit Life itself. Under her gentle direction we find not
only shelter and rest, but confidence and strength to go forth to battle
the evil of abortion in our land. Full of confidence in her power to
obtain great victories from God, let us turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
On December 12, 1531, the
Blessed Virgin Mary spoke to a humble native in his own Nahuatl tongue.
The exact sound that met the Mexican’s ears was “Juanito, Juan
Diegito.” It was an endearing expression that a fond mother would use
for her child. English would render it: “Dear little Juan.”
She motioned Juan to come
closer. Advancing a step or two he sank to his knees, overwhelmed by the
loveliness of the vision. The beautiful lady requested that a shrine be
built and dedicated to her on the Hill of Tepeyac. Speaking to him in the
native language, Our Lady called herself “of Guadalupe,” a Spanish
name meaning the one "who crushes the serpent."
From “AMERICA NEEDS
Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one that many of you may know,
especially if you are Mexican, but on this great feast day let’s listen
to it again.
Juan Diego was from Mexico; but not the
Mexico you and I know. He was from a Mexico that was mostly still Aztec
and worshipped false gods. These false gods demanded human sacrifice, so
their “priests” said. It’s estimated that between 20,000 and 250,000
people – mostly children – were sacrificed to the gods every year.
Juan, however, was swimming against the
tide. He was Catholic, and one of only a few. He was a poor man and was
taking care of his dying uncle, minding his own business… when low and
behold, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him! She told him that she
wanted a church to be built and he was to tell the Bishop. Easy mission
right? Not when the Bishop won’t believe you, and wants proof that
you’re seeing apparitions from Heaven.
Juan’s uncle suddenly got more ill, and
while Juan was rushing to get a doctor he purposefully avoided the hill
where Mary appeared to him. She appeared anyway and told him his uncle
would be cured. Mary also miraculously showed him where to pick roses
(even though it was December) to take to the Bishop. Juan followed her
instructions, and when he opened his cloak to show the Bishop the roses
there was a beautiful picture of Our Lady on the inside, just as she had
appeared to him. The Bishop was stunned at this miracle and had the church
What’s so awesome about this story is that
Juan Diego was obedient and faithful even when things weren’t going well
in his life. Because of his trials his virtue shone even brighter. Six
million Mexicans converted to Catholicism because of the miraculous image
of Our Lady, who pointed them toward the true God, her Son. This
huge conversion began in 1531, a time when the Protestant reformation was
going on in Europe and millions were leaving the faith.
Crazy Cool Facts about the Tilma!
The Miraculous image on the tilma
A tilma is a very coarse, woven covering
worn by field workers. It is thin, made of poor sacking material (a sort
of vegetable fibre) and consists of two strips, each about 70 inches long
by 18 inches wide, held together by very weak stitching.
Over the centuries people have wondered at
the beauty of the image. Hundreds have tried to duplicate it with waters,
paints and oils and none have come close to doing the image justice, or
capturing its beauty. The colors have been compared and tests have shown
that the flower like tints and abundant gold colors ‘cannot be
duplicated.’ Tests have revealed that there are NO brush strokes and
that the image could not be the work of a painter.
Artists note that the proportions of the
woman are perfect for a maiden in her early teenage years, that the figure
(Mary) is pregnant with child, her hands are folded in prayer as a sign of
holiness and piety, and that her knee is bent as a sign of penitence and
honor to God.
There were various commissions where people
inquired as to the validity or truth of the story, and the miraculous
origin of the tilma. Sworn evidence, wills, and contemporaries of Juan
Diego and those involved with the miracle offer substantial proof that the
events of December 1531, and the subsequent events over the past several
centuries, are inexplicable especially the lifespan of the poorly made
tilma that usually would have given out in less than five years. But the
tilma has lasted, without preservation, for an unfathomable 470 years!
The Name Guadalupe means what?
It is believed that the name ‘Guadalupe’
came about because of the translation from Nahuatl to Spanish, of the
words used by the Virgin during the apparition. It is believed that Our
Lady used the Aztec Nahuatl word of “coatlaxopeuh” which is
pronounced “quatlasupe” and sounds remarkably like the Spanish
word Guadalupe. Coa meaning serpent, tla being the noun ending which can
be interpreted as “the”, while xopeuh means to crush or stamp out.
So Our Lady must have called herself the one
“who crushes the serpent.”
What effects did the apparitions and tilma
At the time, the Aztecs offered annually at
least 20,000 men, women and children in human sacrifice to their gods. In
1487, just in a single 4 day long ceremony for the dedication of a new
temple in Tenochtitlan, some 80,000 captives were killed in human
sacrifice. But following the Apparitions of our Blessed Mother and the
miracle of the blessed tilma in 1531, over 9 million Aztecs converted to
Christianity in little over a decade.
More Miraculous Facts about the tilma:
The tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth,
which should have deteriorated in 20 years but shows no sign of decay 470
years later and still defies all scientific explanations of its origin.
Photo imaging demonstrates that the eyes of
the Blessed Virgin apparently even reflect what was in front of her in
There is reason to believe that at Tepeyac
Mary came in her glorified body, and her actual physical hands rearranged
the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma, which makes this apparition very
In 1921, a bomb (hidden in a vase of
flowers) placed beneath the image exploded, causing severe damage to the
Church and altar but nothing happened to the tilma
In 1945, Pope Pius XII stated that the
Virgin of Guadalupe is the ‘Queen of Mexico and Empress of the
Americas’ and that she had been painted ‘by brushes that were not of
In 1962, Dr. Charles Wahlig, O.D. announced
the finding of ‘two images’ reflected in the eyes of the Virgin while
studying an enlargement (25 times the size) of the original tilma
In 1979, using the most sophisticated
digitization and image processing techniques, Dr. Jose Aste-Tonsmann
announces the finding of at least four human figures, reflected in both
eyes of the Virgin.
An incredible list of miracles, cures and
interventions are attributed to Her. Yearly, an estimated 10 million visit
her Basilica, making her Mexico City home the most popular Marian shrine
in the world, and the most visited Catholic church in the world next to
Other Interesting Facts:
In 1999, Pope John Paul II declared the date
of December the 12th as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent.
During the same visit Pope John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to her
loving protection, and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives
of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born.
She is the Patroness of the Unborn and The
Americas and her feast day is celebrated on December 12th.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, help us to remain
faithful to your Son, even through our struggles. Renew in us a greater
respect for life, especially for unborn children. Draw us constantly
closer to your loving heart, where you comfort and care for us. Amen.