I don’t know what it is that so entrances me about the story of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico and the image of Mary that miraculously appeared on the tilma (cloak) of an unassuming man named Juan Diego.
Why do I love this feast so much?
1. Maybe it’s the fact that Mary appeared to an indigenous man and spoke to him in his language.
2. Maybe it’s the fact that Mary appeared as a mestiza, a mix of the Spanish and indigenous race. And one of her hands is lighter than the other, a symbol of races mixing and racial harmony. Pretty ahead of the times for 1531. (An appropriate message then, and today).
3. Maybe it’s the fact that the tilma is almost 500 years old even though it is made from agave and would normally last twenty, maybe sixty years. The cloth defies science simply by still being in existence.
4. Maybe it’s because the title Guadalupe derives from the Aztec Nahuatl word that translates to “She who crushes the head of the serpent.”
5. Maybe it’s because we live in an age when torture and other forms of horrific disregard for human life are still present, just often more sanitized and hidden than some aspects of Aztec culture. In the midst of a culture of death that is alive and active today, we can turn to our powerful Mother of Life to intercede for us before God.
6. Maybe it’s because Our Lady of Guadalupe is wearing a maternity belt in the image on the tilma, which shows that she is a pregnant mamma (all while she digs her heel into the head of the serpent…no biggie, all in a day’s work for the Mother of God)7. Maybe it’s because by using digital imagery, scientists have found the figures of people in the eyes of the image of Our Lady on the tilma, most likely the people who would have been with the bishop when the miracle occurred.
8. Maybe it’s because our Church in the Western world needs renewal and conversions and her apparitions in Mexico encouraged millions of conversions. Millions. Mary, Mother of the New Evangelization, pray for all those who are away from the Church, and help their friends and family invite them back.
And most importantly, what other Marian feast involves: