Dec. 12, 2018, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe I walked into morning Mass and the sight before my eyes took my breath away. Not only the sight but also the wonderful aroma of all the roses made me stop in the tracks. I heard myself whisper, “Oh, my goodness.”
On the morning of Dec. 9, 1531, a Mexican peasant, Juan Diego, near the Hill of Tepeyac, encountered a young native woman. She spoke to him in his native tongue. She said she was “mother of the very true deity.” She then asked him to build a church for her religion’s honor on this site.
Juan went and spoke with the Archbishop of Mexico City and told him what happened. The bishop didn’t believe him. On the same day, Juan saw the Virgin Mary again, and again she asked him to keep insisting.
Dec. 10, 1931, Juan went and spoke with the bishop again. This time, the bishop told Juan to ask the lady for a true miraculous sign to prove she was who she said she was. The same day, Juan saw her again and told her what the bishop requested. She agreed to give him a sign the next day. That evening, Juan’s uncle became sick and Juan needed to care for him.
Very early in the morning of Dec. 12, 1531, with his uncle near death Juan set out to get a priest to bless his uncle. Fearing he would be delayed if he met the Blessed Virgin on his way, he took a different route. The Blessed Mother still found him and asked, “Am I not here, I who am your mother?” She said his uncle would be well and to go gather roses on the top of Tepeyac Hill. Juan knew the area was void of all flowers especially in such a cold December. Juan did as he was told and on the top of the hill, he found Castilian roses growing in abundance. These roses were not native to Mexico but rather to Spain. The Virgin Mary arranged the roses in Juan’s tilma. Juan ran to show the bishop. When he opened his cloak, the roses fell out and an image of the Virgin Mary was on the fabric.
Dec. 13, 1531, Juan found his uncle completely healed. His uncle told Juan how he too had seen the Blessed Mother. He explained she asked him to tell the bishop he too had seen her, had been cured and she wanted to be known under the title of Guadalupe.
Dec. 26, 1531, in great ceremony, Juan’s tilma was taken to a small chapel built on Tepeyac Hill.
I love Mary appearing to a common pheasant, speaking in a language he understood, dressing like him in clothes of the region. I love her persistence. But what I found really wonderful is how Juan listened and believed even when he didn’t know of this woman. He stopped, listened and he did as he was told over and over again.
How often have we stopped in this busy time of Advent, getting ready for all the things we need to “get ready”? Stop to listen, reflect and act. Not to worry if these times have been far and few between. Now, is the time we can still stop and listen, reflect and act. Listen…..
Prayer of Guadalupe
O Virgin of Guadalupe,
Mother of the Americas,
grant to our homes the grace of loving
and respecting life in its beginnings,
with the same love with which
you conceived in your womb
the life of the Son of God.
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of Fair Love,
protect our families so that
they may always be united
and bless the upbringing of our children.
This piece of art work is entitled: The Miracles of the Roses