“Let not your heart be disturbed… Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.” (Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego)
As I sit and watch the news these days with the ever increasing violence committed by terrorists in the name of God, I cannot help but think of another world, ages ago, that was terrorized by violence. One where people were sacrificed to the gods. That world was in Mexico and was a world that Juan Diego probably knew.
Mexico had been inhabited by a people who practiced human sacrifice. They sacrificed the people to appease their Gods. The Spanish came, some of them also brutal, and so only a very few converted to Christianity.
Juan Diego was one of the converts. He would walk each day to the Franciscan Monastery for Mass. As many of you already know, Our Lady appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill. She is sometimes known as Our Lady of Tepeyac, and sometimes as Our Lady of Guadalupe. When Juan Diego went to the Bishop, the Bishop wanted proof. Later the Bishop got his proof, as Our Lady imprinted herself onto Juan Diego’s tilma. A tilma that can still be seen today. The Spanish roses fell, the Bishop knew it was a miracle. Even today, in the eyes of Our Lady on the Tilma, you can see the Bishop’s reflection. She was clothed in the sun and stars with the moon at her feet.
Word of the Lady spread like wildfire, and miraculously the killing stopped. They stopped the human sacrifice. She appeared on the Tilma, looking like a combination of the Indians and Spanish. She carried a message of mercy. She showed them their own dignity.
Throughout the ages Mary has led people to her Son, Jesus Christ. Her “yes” to God is the highest example to all of us of conforming human will to God’s will. Her image, imprinted on the Tilma and still miraculously surviving, is an outward sign to all of us of the love of God and the dignity of each human person.
As I watch the news of beheadings, the lack of care for human life, the fear creeps in. But then I remember Our Lady of Tepeyac. She has a message. The message is that her Son loves all of us with unfathomable mercy. I pray for the terrorists, who like the Indians long ago, had no regard for human life, but who in a moment were changed. Changed by a miracle. It seems no coincidence to me that even in Islam, Mary is considered one of the most righteous women. She is actually mentioned in the Koran more than in the new testament. The 19th chapter of the Koran is named after her.
Perhaps, the woman who always leads people to Jesus Christ her Son, who is also the woman who showed a native people their own dignity as human beings, perhaps, if we ask for her intercession, she can lead those, whose hearts are so hardened that they murder, to her Son. My prayer is that if we all pray for her intercession, her mantle will reach far and wide, and her Son will melt the hardest of hearts.
Today, I ask you to trust in God. Ask your will to conform to His. Bring love and truth and to one another. I leave you with a prayer;
Remember, O most gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, that in your apparitions on Mount Tepeyac you promised to show pity and compassion to all who, loving and trusting you, seek your help and protection.
Accordingly, listen now to our supplications and grant us consolation and relief. We are full of hope that, relying on your help, nothing can trouble or affect us. As you have remained with us through your admirable image, so now obtain for us the graces we need. Amen.