Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Juan Diego was born in 1474 in what today is a part of Mexico City, Mexico. He lived a simple life as a weaver, farmer, and worker. He was baptized at the age of 50 by a Franciscan missionary, and so began a faithful “walk” with God each day…15 miles to be exact! Every day, Juan would walk to Mass the full 15 miles!

He is more famous for the amazing miracles he witnessed at the hands of Heaven; Our Lady appearing to him, the roses the bishop asked for blooming in winter, and the magic of the tilma, a stunning work of art painted by Heaven itself on his burlap clothing (which still exists today, defying all scientific comprehension and study).

But in all this, it was still his walk that strikes us. The dedication, the patience, the sheer strength of his character, his obvious passion for the Eucharist….. staggering. And when Mary Immaculate called him to his special mission, he called himself a “nobody.” Wow!

Walking 15 miles through desert terrain to stand, to kneel, and to bask in the glow of that Divine Fire of the Eucharist…. Wow!

Today we celebrate this Lady of Guadalupe! According to the traditional account, the image appeared miraculously on the front of Juan Diego's cloak. The image still exists; it is on display in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. It is perhaps Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image, and the focus of pilgrimage.