Grace to you!
Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most popular feasts among Catholics and many non-Catholics of the Hispanic culture, especially those from Mexico. It’s in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared to a young man, Juan Diego, on a hill in the town of Tepeyac. The name of the Lady was rendered from an Indian name to Spanish as Guadalupe. Hence the name—Our Lady of Guadalupe.
She is rightly honored as “Heavenly Patroness of the Philippines” (a title given in 1935 by Pope Pius XI) and “Queen of Mexico and Patroness of the Americas" (1946, by Pope Pius XII).
Why was this feast very significant for the Mexicans? One could say it’s because it marked the actual birth of the Mexican Christian culture. Ten years after the apparition to Juan Diego, the impact of the messages and the conversion stories overturned the racism and discriminatory culture that was the mainstream between those of Spanish heritage, the native Indians and indigenous people of Mexico.
The Marian Apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, flowing from the grace of Christ, our peace, broke the walls of division and enmity among the people (see Ephesians 2:14), reconciling men and women as one people, one nation, and one Christian identity. No longer was there the deep-seated hate and fighting between the so-called superior race versus the inferior race; of those from Spain, Native Indians and the Aztec, the people became, for the most part, one family in Christ.
Mother Mary became, and has continued to be, the rallying point for the people, their common heritage. It’s no surprise the Mexicans have a lavish devotion to Mother Mary. I admire their Marian piety.
Wherever Mother Mary appears, it seems, she becomes the rallying point of the entire community. This is true of Fatima, Portugal, where she appeared to three children (Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta), as it is true of Lourdes where she appeared to Bernadette Soubirous.
Mary is the sign of unity for many cultures and families. Actual grace of being bridge builders or fostering unity is one of the many divine blessings dispensed through Marian spirituality—that is, the spirituality based and rooted in Mary Our Mother. Like a Mom, Mary brings all God’s children under one fold, covering them with her wings like eagles; the grace of the Son Jesus Christ, enveloping them with love and peace. Isn’t it true that Mary is a symbol of the family unity of the Church?
A Church that recognizes the unique role of Mary is a Church that is both divine, as well as truly human. Mary reconnects us, in the most profound way, to the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ without which we can’t relate to him as our brother. The filial affections of Christian spirituality are intricately connected to God’s bequeathed maternal grace of the Mother from whom Our Lord and brother, Jesus, was born.
See how impactful the reconciliatory spirit of Mary is among many. In Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a symbol of the unity of the nation, the end of racism and division, and the flourishing of faith, culture, and Christianity. Among non-Christian believers, Mary is also extolled as a woman of excellence. Little surprise that even the Islamic Koran and the Prophet Mohammed saw in Mary (who he called Miriam) an exceptional woman, greatest of all.
I believe, with Venerable Fulton Sheen, that the reconciliation of Christianity and Islam could happen under the patronage of Mary just like the conversion of communist Russia is attributed to devotion to her.
I propose to you today, no matter your Christian or religious tradition, to investigate the life of Mother Mary, the Mother of Jesus our Lord. You would be refreshed and thrilled by this jewel of great price.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may peace reign in a troubled world. Amen.
May she intercede for us so that the dividing walls of hate, racism and all forms of discrimination, will be overcome by love. Amen.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.