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I am Mexican, so my heart has always had a very special place for Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast we celebrate on December 12. Since I was a young girl, I learned to love her and to ask for her intercession, as I always felt she was very close to me. But Our Lady of Guadalupe is not only the Queen and Patroness of Mexico. In 1999, the Church proclaimed her the Empress of the Americas and the Protectress of Unborn Children. Anyone who comes to her is under her special care.
In 1531, when the Spanish conquistadors occupied the city of Tenochtitlan and Catholic missionaries were trying to bring the natives to the Christian faith, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego. Juan was one of the natives who had already embraced the Christian faith. He was canonized by Saint John Paul II in 2002.
Juan Diego was able to understand that the Mother of Our Savior was standing right before his eyes because Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to him surrounded by the symbols that his ancestors, the Aztecs, knew and revered. When the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, she was standing in front of the sun (one of the Aztec’s deities), which demonstrates her supremacy over it. Over her head and body, she was wearing a veil covered with stars and painted with green and blue, which were the colors of the Aztec gods. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s complexion is dark, and her hair is black, but her hands show something very peculiar: one of them is lighter than the other one, which symbolizes the union between the two cultures. Beneath her hands, we can see a black ribbon belt with a special knot that indicates that she is expecting. For the Aztecs, the crescent moon was the symbol of Quetzalcoatl, one of their most important gods. Mary appeared standing over the moon, which suggests her superiority over him.
The Virgin Mary called Juan Diego “the smallest of her children” and told him: “Do not be afraid, am I not here, your Mother? Aren’t you under my care?” When life’s problems become heavy and unbearable, Our Lady of Guadalupe invites us to find refuge in her arms and to trust her intercession. Throughout my life, I have found comfort in those loving words in every situation.
LET US PRAY: By the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may we find peace and serenity as we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus this coming Christmas Day.
To access a live broadcast of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Basilica in Mexico City and leave a petition or a prayer, click here.
Image credit: M.MIGLIORATO/CPP/CIRIC