Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Queen of the Americas. This date commemorates the legendary appearance of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to an Indian peasant, Juan Diego, in Mexico asking him to be her messenger to the local Catholic Bishop with instructions to build a chapel in honor of her.
I have no interest in whether this “actually happened” or not. I am interested in the pieces of the story that survive for how they speak Wisdom to us today. Here are the pieces that speak to my soul:
1. The Mother of God appeared to a lowly peasant of Indian origin with a message to the most powerful authority at the time: a Catholic bishop. Message? Authority can begin from below and move up. It’s not always the other way around.
2. Mary appeared in the garb and ethnic appearance of Aztec indigenous peoples. Message? The Divine is local and present in the NOW.
3. When truth speaks to power there is often immediate conflict–even suffering. Juan Diego was abused by the bishop’s servants for presuming to give the bishop instructions. Ultimately, though, truth triumphs over power as the miraculous image of the Virgin on Juan Diego’s cloak convinces the bishop that he speaks the truth. Message? Keep on speaking the truth.
I love this story, and I love the message which I understand this way: Deep, abiding peace results when we ground in who we are; when we honor what is RIGHT NOW in our lives; when we keep speaking the truth to power.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is, for me, the Patroness of HERE, NOW and TRUTH. She is the Patroness of deep, abiding peace.
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