During the season of Advent, we contemplate Mary’s expectation as a Mother for her Child to be born as we prepare ourselves for Jesus to enter our lives once again at Christmas. However, Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus, but our Mother too, as can be seen in the wondrous apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was through this title that Mary drew me to herself, as I had the great joy of receiving my First Holy Communion on her feast day. Since then, I have learned more about the tender care she shows to her children through this apparition, and I want to share two of the lessons she has taught me.
At times, we may think we need to change who we are to be holy, that our past and current circumstances are preventing us from becoming saints. Our Lady of Guadalupe tells us something different. She came in this apparition as a woman of mixed descent, a pregnant virgin, dressed in a way the Aztecs and other indigenous people would understand because she had taken on their culture. Yes, the people still needed to convert and turn from sin, but Mary taught them they could do this without losing their culture, without trying to be something they were not. She wants the same for us too.
I also learned that when things are difficult it can be easy to try to avoid the heavy task we think God has for us, but we are not left alone. We can see this in the apparition as at one point Juan Diego tried to hide from Our Lady by staying close to the base of the hill instead of the peak where she normally appeared. However, Our Lady came to him and told him not to worry, asking “Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?” She asks the same to us, letting us know we need not fear anything so long as we run to her tender protection. Thank you, Our Lady of Guadalupe, for taking such good care of us!
~ Written by Sister Mary Anthony