Our Lady Of Guadalupe: Shows, Exalts And Makes Manifest Jesus In Our Midst
December 12th is not a normal day for Catholics from Latin America, most especially from México. The expectation built before December 12th and the preparations for the coming celebration are beyond telling! December 12th is a day full of happiness, color, dance, food, and of manifestations of love and gratitude to Our Lady of Guadalupe! The summit of this festive day is the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist! We might rightly wonder why we—Latino people—celebrate with such a joy the Memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe (In Mexico, this is a Liturgical Feast). There are various reasons; but, the most important is that She is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Now, Our Lady of Guadalupe is not only the Patroness of México; but she is also the Patroness of all the Americas as it was decreed by Pope Pius XII in 1946. Some of the Latino countries, besides having Our Lady of Guadalupe as Patroness of the Americas, also have their own patroness. For instance, the Patroness of Honduras is Our Lady of Suyapa, and the patroness of Colombia is Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá. The stories of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary under a specific advocation are culturally, spiritually and theologically meaningful! It is worthy to research some of these apparitions!
There is so much to reflect about the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the advocation of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to Saint Juan Diego at the little hill of Tepeyac, México—from the picturesque scenario and the cultural native symbols of the narrative to the wonderful miracle crowning the story. I would like to reflect on the core of the narrative, namely, the request of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego—“I want very much that they build my sacred little house here in which I will show him (Jesus), I will exalt him (Jesus) on making him (Jesus) manifest.” The mission of the Virgin Mary from her immaculate conception to her total fulfillment in Heaven is the same: to show, exalt, and make manifest her Son, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. She fulfills her mission by her Fiat (yes) to God at the Annunciation regardless of the social implications, by delivering Jesus regardless of the circumstances, by keeping God’s word in her heart, by her silence, by her suffering at the Cross, by her joy at the Resurrection, by her witnessing at Pentecost, and, as Tradition affirms, by her intercession and assumption in body and soul to Heaven. By wanting to build a house to continue to show, exalt and make manifest Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe is, in the words of Pope Francis, a missionary disciple for all the Americas. In this regard, there is no room to divinize Mary; but to a deep veneration that moves us to follow her example—to be missionary disciples by showing, exalt, and make manifest Jesus to others.
The Virgin Mary under any advocation, but especially as Our Lady of Guadalupe, is also our Mother. Maybe God is inviting us to appreciate deeply his gift of our Mother’s apparitions so that our whole selves may contemplate Jesus, the One she longs to show, exalt and make manifest for our sake. In this way, our liturgical, spiritual, festive, and logistic means would not be enough to adore God and to thank our Blessed Mother for her missionary heart. We might need Jesus Christ today in our lives, and his mother would like to show him to us. Hopefully, we can contemplate him working wonders in our lives, as well as healing our wounded nature thirsting for him. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us, pray for the Americas.
Pedro Mendez is Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation, Sacramental Preparation and
Parish Leadership Training for the Diocese of Evansville Office of Hispanic Ministry.