Posted by: fvbcdm | December 12, 2013

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (12 December 2013)

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the mid-point of the holy season of Advent. There is a delightful tenderness in the relationship between Our Blessed Mother of Guadalupe and the Mexican Indian man, Saint Juan Diego. The year was 1531, just a few years after the coming of the Europeans and their Catholic faith to Mexico. Juan Diego was a catechumen, studying to become a Catholic. When the beautiful young woman appeared to him on the hill of Tepeyac, outside Mexico City, she spoke to him very gently and lovingly as “Juanito, Juan Dieguito,” using the endearing diminutives of his name and telling him that she was his mother.  He, in reply, addressed her as “Nina,” which means “little girl” but was the Aztec way for an older person to speak to a young woman.

I think we all know the story: she sent him to the Bishop of Mexico City—a very recently erected diocese—to ask that a chapel in her honor be built where she was standing. He went, but the Bishop understandably didn’t put very much faith in the story of this simple Indian who spoke of a beautiful lady out on a hilltop asking for a chapel. To put him off, the Bishop requested a sign of the authenticity of the lady and her wishes.  In the meantime, Juan Diego’s uncle had fallen ill and the nephew was concerned for his life. The uncle sent Juan Diego to bring a priest who would provide all the spiritual benefits of the Church.  Since he was in haste, Juan Diego deliberately avoided the spot where the lady had appeared to him twice.  This is the only case I know of in which someone has tried to avoid Our Blessed Mother!

But there she was, standing in his path; he could not avoid her. Again, kindness itself, she told him that he need not worry about his uncle who had already been cured. Rather, he was to go pick flowers at the top of the hill and bring them to her. The native man knew that there would be no flowers there in December, but since the beautiful young woman insisted, he went. And there, much to his amazement, he found an abundance of flowers, which he brought to the lady. She arranged them with her own hands in his cloak, then told him to bring them to the Bishop. This he did. But the Bishop was much less interested in the flowers than in the image of the young lady which had become imprinted on the cloak itself. So there hangs today in the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the outskirts of Mexico City that nearly 500-year-old cloak bearing the picture of the young woman who said to Juan Diego and says to the entire world, “I am your mother.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.

Note:  This is a CDM composed by Father Brown in the past.

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