We celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe today, a commemoration elevated to a feast on the eve of the Third Millennium by Pope John Paul II, who also declared her patroness of all of ‘America’, south, central, and north. Appearing to (now saint) Juan Diego in 1531, while the Protestant ‘Reformation’ was wreaking havoc across the Atlantic in Europe, the Virgin tenderly asked ‘Juanito’ as she called him, and through him asked all of us, ‘Am I not your mother?’, to which there is really only one answer.
Yes, she is our Mother, even in the midst of all the chaos, evil and mayhem of this world. Yesterday, on Gaudete Sunday, a time for rejoicing in the Lord in this subdued season of Advent, a Catholic Church was bombed in Cairo, with more than two dozen killed, many more injured, many of them women and children. It is difficult to quantify ‘evil’, but this at least qualifies as a good amount of it. Alas, the voluntarism of Islam (may we say, certain strains of Islam, but of its essential, original and radical nature?) wherein the decrees of Allah are to be carried out regardless of reason, mercy and charity…
We can only ‘rejoice’ that the souls of the victims are now rejoicing in heaven, but we must also have sorrow, and offer prayers, for the victims and, most of all, the perpetrators of this heinous act.
We know not how many souls Our Lady has brought into the Church through her miraculous image, which sort of ‘floats’ on the tilma or cloak, maintains a temperature of 98.6 degrees; scientists have detected a heartbeat, and there is in her eyes, detectible only by modern microcopic analysis, reflected the image of the bishop and someone else, as they likely appeared to her as she appeared to them on this day in December, 1531. No scientist, as yet, has any explanation for how the image was placed on, or is maintained, on the fragile tilma, which by any law we know should have disintegrated centuries ago. The image truly is one of those motiva credibilitatis, a ‘motive of credibility’, which has disposed untold millions towards the Faith, and increased the Faith of many more
We are now more than halfway through Advent, when the Light will soon be increasing, and with that, truth and hope, even though the darkness seems, and I say seems, to prevail. In the end, goodness always wins.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, ora pro nobis!