Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Feast Day December 12

Photograph of image by Bill Bell
Of the many, many apparitions of the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most famous.  The message of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531 was a pro-life one.  After identifying herself to Juan Diego as the Blessed Mother of the one true God, creator of the universe (of course, she was referring to Jesus Christ, God the Son), she asked that a church be built on the site where she appeared.  The hill where she met St. Juan had once been the site of human sacrifices to the pagan gods.  The Blessed Mother asked that the chapel be built so that those who came there would believe in the one, true God, the God of Life.

Mary's Message to Juan:

"Dear little son, I love you. I want you to know who I am.
I am the Virgin Mary, Mother of the one true God, of Him who gives life.
He is Lord and Creator of heaven and of earth.
I desire that there be built a temple at this place where I want to manifest Him,
make him known, give Him to all people
through my love, my compassion, my help, and my protection.
I truly am your merciful Mother, your Mother
and the Mother of all who dwell in this land, and of all mankind,
of all those who love me, of those who cry to me,
and of those who seek and place their trust in me.
Here I shall listen to their weeping and their sorrows.
I shall take them all to my heart, and I shall cure their many sufferings,
afflictions, and sorrows.
So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Lord Bishop all that you have seen and heard."

18th c. painting of God, the Father
"painting" the image on the tilma
The bishop asked for a sign from the Lady because he did not believe St. Juan at first.  The Lady told St. Juan, in his native tongue, to gather the roses on the hill.  He was surprised to see the roses but obeyed the lady and gathered them in his tilma, a sort of cloak woven from certain grasses.  When he went back to the bishop and open his tilma, the roses tumbled out onto the floor revealing the miraculous image of Our Lady on the tilma.  Of course, the bishop believed him then.  A church was built on the spot soon afterward.  Mary appeared as a young woman of Aztec decent, speaking their language. The conversion of millions of native Mexicans were credited to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Some interesting facts about the appearance:
1) The original tilma worn by St. Juan Diego is still intact and on display in the basilica.  The only specimen of its kind that is over 500 years old.

2) Scientific studies show that the image is painted by "brushes not of this world." (Pope Blessed Pius XII)

Close up of the face of
Our Lady of Guadalupe
3) Scientific studies also show that microscopic images of the persons present in 1531 appear inside the eyes of the image.  The bishop and several others can be seen there. 

4) The Castillian roses that grew on Tepeyac Hill that day were not native to Mexico and did not normally grow in December.  Roses are a sign associated with the Blessed Virgin in several of her apparitions (for instance, the roses on her feet at Lourdes, France, in 1858).

5) A drawing of the image of Our Lady on a document dated to 1540 was discovered in 1995, proving the image to date back to that date.  The oldest written document, a sermon mentioning the image, dates to 1556.

6) Our Lady of Guadalupe holds the titles:  Patroness of the Americas, Empress of Latin America, Queen of Mexico, and Patroness of the Unborn

Readings for the Daily Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Painting of Our Lady's appearance to
St. Juan Diego
First Reading:
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.
Zech 2:14-17

Responsorial Psalm Jdt 13:18bcde, 19
R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Gospel Lk 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.
"From Mary we learn to surrender to God's will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust when all hope is gone. From Mary we learn to trust her Son and Christ the Son of God."

Further Reading:
Catholic Online Article on Our Lady of Guadalupe with several sources linked

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