A shining pregnant queen, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet — Our Lady of Guadalupe — continues to be a model of Christian motherhood.
Our Lady of Guadalupe first appeared to St. Juan Diego on Dec. 9, 1531, and continued apparitions followed. Her message of hope and maternal affection to the Indian people, particularly the pagan Aztecs, had an unprecedented effect on the Mexican nation. The building of a cathedral in her honor, as she requested, combined with her famous miraculous image on Juan Diego’s tilma, converted thousands of pagan natives to Christianity.
Since then, Our Lady of Guadalupe has been venerated and honored by Mexico and the New World, especially at her cathedral in Mexico City, which is the most popular pilgrimage site in the world. Pius XII named her the patroness of the Americas in 1945, making Our Lady of Guadalupe not just the mother of Mexico, but the “Empress of America.”
Now, more than ever before, we can see the need for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe — we are besieged by the culture of death, as St. John Paul II rightly referred to our present society in Evangelium Vitae, in which abortion and euthanasia are viewed as moral rights and the societal norm.
With the recent media coverage unearthing Planned Parenthood’s covert and horrific crimes against the most innocent members of humanity, not so different from what was happening in Latin America almost 500 years ago, we can turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe as a special advocate for unborn children.
It is especially appropriate that we celebrate this efficacious feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12, in the middle of Advent, for several reasons. Our Lady, having appeared pregnant to Juan Diego, gives evidence to her maternal love and protection, not just for the hidden child in her womb, but to all of her children, born and unborn. Her apparitions to St. Juan Diego occurred during some of the darkest moments in history, providing light and hope to a land mired in bloodshed and destruction, giving to all a glimpse of her Son, the “Light which shines in the darkness, which the darkness could not overcome” (John 1:5). She brought peace to an oppressed people, just as Christ, the Prince of Peace prophesied by Isaiah, accomplished at his coming in the fullness of time.
Though she can be viewed as the glorious “Empress of America” and the triumphant conqueror of the pagan Aztec culture, Our of Lady of Guadalupe preferred to be seen as the Mother of Christ and of the poor and humble, in keeping with her fiat, which made the Incarnation possible. She is the Mediatrix of all grace, which she longs to bestow on those who beseech her intercession.
Let us turn to her this Advent, with the special intention of ending the widespread slaughter of innocents in our nation and restoring peace and harmony in the hearts of all men with the coming of Christ, her Son, at Christmas.
Liz Beller writes from
Front Royal, Virginia.