Our Lady of Guadalupe
“Hear me, my littlest one. Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance… Am I not your mother? Are you not under the protection of my mantle?” ~Our Lady to Saint Juan Diego
“In accepting the Christian message without forgoing his indigenous identity, Juan Diego discovered the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God. Thus he facilitated the fruitful meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expresses her spiritual motherhood which embraces all Mexicans.” ~John Paul II
How well Mary’s own words describe Juan Diego: “God has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly” (Luke 1:52). Through him, for the diverse peoples of the Americas, indigenous and immigrant, the Mother of God became known as their Mother, too. Cuauhtlatzin, his given name, means “One Who Speaks Like an Eagle,” and Juan Diego faithfully delivered the Virgin’s request that a church be built at Tepeyac where she had appeared to him. To the skeptical bishop’s request for a sign, Our Lady showed Juan Diego roses blooming through stony ground, despite winter’s cold. When he unfolded his tilma to present them to the bishop, imprinted there was Mary’s image! Her blue sash and the flower over her womb were traditional Aztec symbols of pregnancy and new life. But her features were those of a mestiza, indicating mixed Aztec-European heritage. Thus to peoples too easily prone to a “clash of cultures,” Our Lady of Guadalupe remains the enduring icon of unity-in-diversity, the fruit of our one baptism into Jesus, her Son. ~Peter Scagnelli, © J. S. Paluch Co.