Originally Published in The Messenger, for Spanish-speaking people in the Diocese of Belleville Click here to read the article en Español
You may have heard the story. On the 9th of December in 1531, as he headed to the city of Mexico on the path of Tepeyac, a humble man named Juan Diego saw a vision of a young woman covered with light. He later described her as the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Virgin made known that it was her wish that a small house be built on that hill so that she may be present to all people of those lands.
Having heard what had happened, the Spanish bishop told Juan Diego to return to the same place and to ask for a sign from the young lady to prove who she was.
Juan Diego found Castilian roses, flowers typical of Spain, the home land of the bishop. The Blessed Virgin Mary asks Juan Diego to go to the bishop and present the roses to him and make him feel at home.
When Juan Diego opened his tilma to present the flowers to the bishop, roses along with the well-known and venerated image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared. Her image had the characteristics of both Spanish and indigenous cultures which enabled everyone to say “She looks like me.”
All visits of the Virgin Mary to our world have a deeper meaning than just the event itself.
It is always a great gift that our mother Mary wants to come to visit us as she visited her own cousin Elizabeth. It’s a grace filled moment for us.
Every revelation from God tells us something about what God is thinking and wants us to know. With the visit of Our Lady of Guadalupe God wants us to know that at church we are all “at home”.
Any person of any nationality looking at their mother’s face cannot help but feel at home. Feeling at home with Mary, who brings Jesus, is the Guadalupe message.
The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is truly a sign that God wants all of us, people of all nationalities, languages and cultures, to feel at home with each other. Our Lady of Guadalupe is Our Lady of Love, as she comes to us filled with God in her womb. She is a reminder that God is a God of love.
Mary’s intention is to create a space where everyone can come and feel loved, listened to, and cared for, where our needs and our prayers are heard and the solutions to problems are found.
In other words we are in our home with our mother.
Millions of people have been converted by the feeling of unconditional love by our Mother and by others in our common home, the Church.
Her image on the tilma is also an invitation to dive into the beauty of what it’s like to feel loved and accepted just as we are with our own cultural, social and religious identity.
Mary is the model for us of what it means to be loved and how to love, she is the Model of the Art of Loving. Let us celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe with our sisters and brothers throughout the world, knowing that we have all found our home together.