One of the beauties of the Catholic Church is that tradition is always supported, in some way, with Scripture. Despite accusations from those outside the Church, the faith brings the believer back to Christ and Sacred Scripture. Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of those beautiful examples of how tradition points us back to the Bible.
As the patron of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe is not only important to Mexico but is also special to the United States. Our Lady appeared to Aztec convert St. Juan Diego between December 9-12, 1531. The last apparition being on December 12, which is why we have her feast day on December 12. The image left on St. Juan Diego’s tilma not only points us back to Christ, but also points us to one of the most powerful images we have of the Blessed Mother in Scripture. In order to understand the Biblical of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we must first understand the image of Guadalupe.
The miraculous image Our Lady imprinted on Juan Diego’s tilma reflects Our Lady wearing a blue mantle covered with gold stars and the moon is beneath her feet. She appears with loose hair and a belt that symbolizes she is not only a virgin but is also pregnant. These, of course, are not the only symbols, but are the ones which points us to what St. John tells us about Our Lady in Revelation.
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head, a crown of twelve stars. She was with child…” (Revelation 12:1-2a)
We see in St. John’s Revelation there is a woman, who as the chapter later indicates, gives birth to a child “destined to rule the nations”.
“She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations, with an iron rod.” (Revelation 12:5)
We know the Blessed Mother is the only individual who fits this description in Revelation 12. It is difficult to argue the scripture is speaking of any other woman when the message is clear that she has power and position, gives birth to a ruler, and the enemy tries to destroy the child from the time he is born. Sounds like a really accurate description of Mary, even for Protestants.
Now that we have briefly established that St. John is speaking of Mary in Revelation 12, let’s go back to the Our Lady of Guadalupe image. We see in the image where Mary is wrapped in a blue mantle covered with stars. In the Our Lady of Guadalupe image, we see 46 total stars which form the constellations that would have been seen in Mexico at the time of the Marian apparition. Although there are not 12 exact stars, as mentioned in Scripture, the existence of the stars on Our Lady’s blue mantle reminds us she is Queen of the Apostles. We see the “moon beneath her feet” in the miraculous image and the belt reminds us she is pregnant, as spoken of in Revelation.
Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image points us back to Sacred Scripture and reminds us that Mary is ever interceding and active in our lives.