Yesterday, our reading included St. Thomas’ post-Resurrection encounter with Christ. One topic was miracles, including the apparition of Mary to St. Juan Diego. Some guys knew only a bit about it. Here is some background from the Archdiocese of Baltimore:
On December 9, 1531, in Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor humble Aztec Indian who had recently converted to the Catholic faith. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him to build a church where she said “I will show and offer all of my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to my people.” Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop asked for a sign that this message was really from Our Lady.
Mary granted his request. On December 12, she showed Juan where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in bloom because there was frost on the ground, and the ground was an infertile place where only cactus and thistles grew. After he gathered them, she helped arrange them in his tilma, or poncho, and told him to show them to the Bishop.
When he brought them to the Bishop, the Bishop was amazed at the roses, but was even more amazed at what began to happen to Juan Diego’s tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our Lady began to form on the cloth. The picture of Mary was beautiful and the Bishop fell to his knees. He had the church built at her request.
The tilma is still intact after 470 years. The colors have not faded and the cloth has not deteriorated. It has been on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for all this time.
But why is this important? Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, Pd.D explained in this excerpt from short, compelling pamphlet he wrote:
God intervenes by means of his own Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who
is sent by the Father, through the Holy Spirit, to manifest her Son, Jesus Christ, and to allow every human being to become a participating part of Him. She is the first disciple and missionary who manifests and delivers to us the message of salvation. At the same time, she forms disciples and missionaries who can bear witness, at the expense of their own lives, to their immense joy upon encountering the love of Jesus Christ through his Mother and our Mother.
It is a real and true story, just as the love of God is real and true. The Guadalupan event is part of the history of salvation, which has a decisive
influence upon the evangelization of the whole continent, just as the Holy Father affirmed. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Star of Evangelization,
“perfectly inculturated,” a role model for the entire world.
What a loving God we have – a God who constantly reaches out to us in ways small and large. It is both comforting and troubling. Comforting that He does reach out and troubling to think about how poorly we respond.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Filed under: Catholic Believe It Or Not | Tagged: Archdiocese of Baltimore, Believe it or not, Benedict XVI, Eduardo Chavez, evangelization, Guadalupe, Juan Diego, Luke, Mary, Mexico, Mexico City, miracle, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Juan Diego, St. Thomas | Leave a comment »