Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The Virgin of Guadalupe, whose feast day is today, did not just come almost 500 years ago. She comes from the Father right now – to you and me. As he so often does, God inserts himself into human history – directly into the culture, whether it be the culture of the Aztecs or our own.
The Aztecs engaged in human sacrifice to help stave off the battle between darkness and light, which intensified at the winter solstice. The poignant timing of Mary’s appearance is no mistake. God sends Santa María de Guadalupe to a simple, fearful man to bring to his culture the news of her son. Mary comes reflecting Jesus, the Christ Child, within her. In the picture she left us, she is poised in the humility of prayer, looking to God in whom she finds her very essence and peace. Her knee is seen bent, symbolizing the motion of life – of serving, of dancing, of moving forward as an agent of revolutionizing the culture in unity and victory.
To Juan Diego the Virgin proclaims, “I am the ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God.” This is an astonishing statement! She, like the woman of Revelation, overthrows the forces of evil. Human sacrifices come to an end, and countless miracles of physical and spiritual healing follow the apparition at Tepeyac, imbuing the people of Mexico with gratitude and sparking deep devotion. The Virgin is sent to engage in this spiritual battle and win over Aztec culture by proclaiming the culture of life, bringing about the astounding conversion of at least nine million people – an entire nation.
Mary brings to us all the message of ultimate peace in the death and life of Jesus, in the truth of the Eucharist, in the Gospel of self-giving love. And in a special way, she reveals her heart for us women, coming near the end of her pregnancy. She knows our lives. Mary is the radiant reflection of Jesus, the son, the only-begotten one. It is because of Jesus, that we are no longer slaves to fear. As in today’s reading from Philippians, Mary tells Juan Diego – and us – not to give in to anxiety and worry. Let nothing else worry you or disturb you.
We are no longer afraid of life – we have been called to self-giving joy!
The call to us as mothers who honor Santa María de Guadalupe is to ask her to pray for us, to show us the way to vanquish the culture of death, and to embrace abundant life in Christ. Her visitation is not a one-time event. Her feast is a vital reminder that we must not fear. We must proclaim the joy of life. We, too, must bear the reflection of Jesus in his self-giving, forgiving, merciful strength, both at home and in the marketplace. Santa María de Guadalupe, pray for us!