December 12, 2018
A happy and most glorious feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Our Lady of Guadalupe is a special patron of the FSSP, as our North American seminary is named for her.
Today’s feast recalls the appearances of Our Lady on the hill of Tepeyac, near Mexico City, to a humble Catholic Aztec named Juan Diego in December of 1531. Appearing as a beautiful maiden and speaking to him in his native language of Nahuatl, she asked him to tell the Bishop that she wished a church to be built on the hill. The Bishop listened to Juan Diego’s story and asked him to bring a sign of its verity. Our Lady directed Juan to pick roses, miraculously growing in the winter, and bring them to the Bishop as a sign. When he brought the roses to the Bishop, they cascaded to the floor, and on St. Juan Diego’s tilma was the beautiful image of Our Lady.
In the image, Our Lady’s feet rest upon the moon and she eclipses the sun, symbols of two Aztec gods, illustrating how she crushes the head of the serpent and conquers the demons that had held sway over the Mexican people. The iconography also evokes the image of the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” from the Book of Revelation. St. Juan Diego’s tilma is kept at the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and venerated by countless pilgrims every year, and though the cactus-fiber material should have disintegrated long ago, it has been miraculously preserved for over 485 years.
During these apparitions Our Lady appeared as a woman with child, as they occurred in December near the time of Our Lord’s Nativity. Hence she is honored as the Patroness of the Unborn and invoked against the evil of abortion, as she interceded for the Aztecs against the terrible scourge of human sacrifice that characterized their pagan worship.