Just a short (ie, lazy) post to let people know what was celebrated today, and why, by Mexicans everywhere.
Here’s how the morning started in Mexico City at the Basilica.
Today, December 12th, is The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas, Heavenly Patroness of the Philippines.
If you live anywhere near any Mexicans, you have, without a doubt, seen La Lupe’s image everywhere. We can’t bear to be without her.
We see her everywhere.
La Lupe, Christ’s mother, visited Mexico and did something she had never done before or since: she left behind something tangible, a tilma that can still be seen all these years later. “Non fecit taliter omni nationi,” from Psalm 147:20 (“God has done nothing like it for any other nation”). We Mexicans have reason to feel so blessed.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico City, which houses the tilma, is the most visited Marian shrine in the world, and I believe, the third most visited Catholic site in the world.
Rev. Virgilio Elizondo has written much on OLG, including this article, “Our Lady of Guadalupe: A Guide for the New Millennium.”
It is amazing that Guadalupe appeared when the culture and the people were being annihilated and, like the Incarnation, offers hope in the midst of one of the darkest moments in history. In the midst of this confusion and death, Our Lady with a mestiza face encounters the native Juan Diego in 1531 at Tepeyac, the sacred site of the ancient mother goddess Tonanzin. The Lady requests a home for all the inhabitants of this land. She introduces herself as the mother of the Christian God and linked to the native deities—totally unthinkable to any of the religious thinkers of that period and even of today!
What the missionaries were trying to destroy, she affirms. What the natives could not comprehend, she explains. What neither could grasp, she reveals. She purifies the native religions of the need for human sacrifice, but equally calls the Church itself to conversion by offering love and compassion instead of cruel punishment and eternal damnation—which was the common Christian preaching of that time. She invited both the native people and the Church to a profound conversion to something new, and as such gave birth to both the new Church and the new humanity of the continent.
In the article following Fr. Elizondo’s, Barbara Beckwith writes:
Mexicans want to share their mother with us because she is so accessible to them. She hears their ordinary petitions, the small things of daily life. The Lady of Tepeyac cared about Juan Diego and his uncle, as well as the generations to come.