Every year, on December 12, we celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. While many Catholics know the general story Our Lady’s apparition to St. Juan Diego, there are many significant and often overlooked details that show the depth of God’s providence and Our Lady’s love for humanity. Let us review a few of those details that illustrate the intentional love and mission of Our Lady to the Americas!
Mary Declared Herself to be the Mother of All People, With Special Mention to the Americas
Upon her introduction to Juan Diego, one of the first things Our Blessed Mother said was, “Iam your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me.” At the time of the Our Lady of Guadalupe apparitions, the new world had recently been discovered, and Mexico and the United States did not exist yet as their own countries. When She speaks of “this land” we believe She is speaking of all the Americas, including Mexico, the United States and all the countries of North and South America. This is why She is recognized as Patroness of the Americas. However, she also defines herself as the merciful mother of all who love her, regardless of geography.
A Site of Human Sacrifice now A Site of Honor for Our Lady
Our Lady choose to appear to Juan Diego on a site of great significance, and horror, to the Aztec people. Tepeyac Hill, which now holds the chapel built at the request of the Virgin to Juan Diego, was formerly a place that the Aztec people would offer human sacrifices to who they believed to be the earth goddess, or the goddess of fertility. A former place of occult sacrifice is now a place which frequently holds the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Can you think of a more perfect form of redemption?
Mary’s Tilma is Full of Love for the Aztec People
At the time of the apparitions, the Aztec Empire had recently been dismantled by Spanish colonizers, understandably leaving the native people in great distress. According to experts, Our Lady’s tilma is full of symbols that would have resonated with native Aztecs at the time. One example of this is the fact she is wearing an Aztec maternity belt in the image, which indicates she is pregnant. Our Lady of Guadalupe evangelized the Aztec people in their time of need by presenting herself as one of them—as their merciful mother, and the mother of their Lord, in a way they could relate to and understand.
Let us continue to invoke the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe who loves our Land and all who love her within it!