I havent' always really appreciated Our Lady of Guadalupe. Heck... in many ways, though raised in a Catholic home, I can honestly say that there are many times that I haven't appreciated Our Lady PERIOD. I didn't always understand what she was there for... or what her motherhood meant for me. I think I just didn't always understand motherhood. Dare I say... I didn't always "trust" it.
Yet, as a mother... she was patient with me. Patient with my lack of appreciation. Patient with my independant spirit. Patient with everything. ...and over the years I've changed. I've come to love her so much and that young lady who thought on her with such "hesitation" and did not really vocalize to others how hard it was to open my heart to her... she has truly embraced her as a daughter embraces a mother.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the unborn. Shaun and I always have prayed to her for our babies. There's a beautiful image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at a perpetual adoration chapel we have downtown in the city where we live. Shaun and I would consecrate our relationship and our marriage to her whenever we would go to Adoration while we were dating. We would consecrate Ava Marie to her all through my pregnancy (and time in the hospital) and even now since she's been born. We consecrate this new little one in my womb to her over and over (Shaun does it for our family when he goes to his weekly holy hours). ...and she watches over us I'm sure. By my side of the bed is a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe...
She's been there since before we were married... even before we started dating. Waiting over my side of the bed. Almost like she was waiting for me to come and be Shaun's wife. It's sortof funny because a friend calls that "the baby making room" and it's only appropriate that the "Patroness of the unborn" would watch over us (and me) while I sleep and while babies are made.
Little Ava LOOOOOOOooooves Jesus and Mary. We call her "Mary's girl" because from such a young age she has loved her. She honestly has. She finds pictures of her or holy cards or books and kisses and kisses and kisses pictures of her. She does the same thing when she sees a crucifix or image of Jesus. We don't tell her to! She found a little cross made of palms yesterday somewhere in the house and just giggled and ran all over the house kissing it and pointing to every picture she could find of Jesus with it. I will find her in the corner with a crucifix or holy card, sitting and hiding and just kissing him over and over and over. As she plays she looks up at his picture or the cross throughout the day and just blows him kisses a hundred times. Every morning as we lift her from the crib, the first thing (literally the first thing) she does is reach up to take the little crucifix off of the wall and kiss him, then she presses the cross to our mouth and to kiss and when he's back on the wall, she points immediately to Mary. She folds her hands and gets ready to say a simple morning offering we pray each morning.
"Oh my Jesus, I offer you this day, all I think or do or say, in work or play, let me be, always Jesus just for Thee... through the Immaculate Heart of Mary" -Amen
She makes sure that I never forget (which is a good thing). She just LOVES them! It's beautiful to see. What can I say? She's "Mary's girl" ...named for Our Lady and always been hers even from the womb.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, I came to understand as such a loving, gentle mother in her story. You have to read her story if you have not. She came into a country at a time of such bloodshed and cultural clash and united it in a way that no one up until that time had been able to.
Have you seen the movie "Apocalypto"? At the end of the movie, there's a scene where the ships are coming to the shore and the family in the story talk about a "New Beginning". If you've watched it and seen the bloodshed at that time ...THIS was the culture Our Lady came to.
She came to bring about an end to the bloodshed, the killing of innocent life, and in the midst of division, she came to unite her children. She came in the image of a "mixed race" (she looked like both races-mixed). She came with a black sash about her waist (this meant she was pregnant) and she was "clothed in the sun" (they worshipped a sun god) sort of in the form of a "goddess", conquering all their "gods" of the sun and the moon (under her feet) and more... but NOT a goddess, because her head and gesture was bowed in humility.
She came to sweet, child-like Juan Diego (or "Juanito" as she would lovingly call him). She brought about miracles through this humble man.
The actual image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is filled with miracles. Just filled. Too many to list here.
The thing I always think of, though when I think of her? It's not always the miracles or facts or what she accomplished in that country at that time...
...It's what she said to Juan Diego when he was troubled about the health of one he loved. She gently took all of his worries and put them in perspective.
“Listen and let it penetrate your heart…do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.
Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?” (Our Lady’s words to her servant Juan Diego.)
Just read that one more time.... slowly.
How beautiful. "Am I not here who am your Mother?" How often have I said that to Ava when she's distressed, "I'm here baby, mommy's here" and isn't everything better when mommy's there?
"Are you not in the folds of my mantle?" Think of that! How CLOSE she draws us to herself and tucks us into the folds of her garment, hiding us away from anything that would cause us anxiety or pain.
"In the crossing of my arms" I can instantly visualize that now, as I imagine myself now as a mother, holding little Ava in the crossing of my arms and rocking her off to sleep.
...and what else DO we need? I always was told when thinking about anything that would frighten us with it's evilness and malice. Our troubles, are they real? Yes they are real. Satan, is he real? Yes, he is real... he is real. And he's powerful... yes he is powerful.
But Our LADY! Ahhh! Our Lady! If we stay close to Our Lady. She is far far more powerful... and he knows it ...and he is afraid of her.
Whenever we are afraid of anything. Let us run to her as Jesus did in the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help that I mentioned a few days ago, sandal flying from our feet. Remembering her words which have "penetrated our hearts", let us jump into the "crossing of her arms" rest in the "folds of her mantle" and know that she who is OUR mother... is near, and loves us... and there is nothing ...nothing else we need.
(NOTE... now I feel for some reason or other compelled to write this little part, probably remembering all the years when people would talk on Our Lady and I would have a very difficult time appreciating what they were saying about her... I know for those who have difficult relationships with their mothers, it's not always better, when "mommy's here" but at least we should be able to grasp from the hurt we experience if a mother does not bring comfort and solace... that we recognize somewhere in us that is in fact what a mother is supposed to bring? Our Lady is not an "imperfect" mother... she is perfect. She will not fail us. She wants us to know how much she loves us. How much she loves you. She does love you. ...and she will be patient with you until you know that love.)