Honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe

La Purisima Catholic Church, their parish

As Catholics we have so many feast days to  celebrate. Last week we celebrated St. Nicholas, St. Ambrose, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Juan Diego. Some of us Catholics take these feast days to heart. I’m one of those.

St. Norbert, my parish

December 12th is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe; it is also my husband Mike’s birthday. Our Lady (the Blessed Mother) apparitions have been going on for centuries. This particular apparition in Mexico City took place in December 1531 when the Aztecs’ King Montezuma II ruled over the land. Daily human sacrifices were terrifying and up to as many as 25,000 lives were murdered yearly in the name of their Aztec gods . So the Lord sent His precious Mother to intervene.

The Dream

The Lord gives me dreams; some of these dreams are prophetic. I recently had a dream about a friend’s business dealing. In the dream I was instructed to warn my friend about a business deal. I did not want to impose on my friend so I prayed about it for a few days. My conscience would not let me rest, so I finally informed them about the dream. The dream was entrusted to me and it was my responsibility to share it. What they decide to do with the information is their decision.

When you remember a dream in detail, it’s because it has an important message. Montezuma’s sister had a dream that would change the course of history.  In 1509 Princess Papantzin had a prophetic dream. She was thought to be dead and was placed in a tomb. She was not dead but in a coma. It was during this time that she had a vivid dream about an angel visiting her. The angel led her to the seashore. As she was standing looking toward the sea, she saw several ships appear. On the sails were black crosses, which were the same as the cross on the angel’s forehead. The angel told Papantzin that these ships were bringing  men to conquer her nation and bring the knowledge of the True God to Mexico. In great detail, the princess was told that she would be the first to be baptized to wash away her sins. Papantzin wasted no time in sharing the dream with her brother Montezuma. It took over ten years before the Spanish victory led to the fall of the Aztec Empire .

The Spaniards

My kitchen counter

There are good and bad Christians, and this holds true for the conquistadors. Hernan Cortes and the men who fought with him were religious. They understood who God was, but Catholic doctrine was unknown to them. Hernan Cortes came to convert the pagan country to Christianity, and history tells of the brutal behavior of some of his men. But what was unbelievably appalling to the conquistadors  were the human sacrifices taking place by the Aztecs. Cortes tore down many pagan altars and put crucifixes and statues of Mary to replace all the idols. Many of the indigenous Aztecs were converted, including Juan Diego.

Being Used of God

Juan Diego was middle class of this highly civilized nation. Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) was the world’s largest city of its time. His Aztec citizenship gave him the right to vote. He was educated because under the empire it was compulsory for boys to attend school until they were old enough to have a trade. Juan Diego was a business man who farmed and made furniture and mats from reeds.

Before being used of God we must be trained; it was no different for Juan Diego. Along with his wife and uncle, Juan Diego and Princess Papantzin were some of the first converts to the Catholic faith. Juan Diego received religious instruction from the traveling missionaries. He walked 14 miles to attend Mass and receive communion. On December 8th, the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, he had his first encounter with the Blessed Mother. Perhaps some of you do not fully know the story of the Miracle of Guadalupe. Juan Diego was on his way to Mass when he heard the most beautiful voice calling him in his native tongue. Our Lady instructed Juan Diego to go before Fray Juan de  Zumarraga, the Arch Bishop of Mexico City, and have him erect a church in Her honor.Our Lady of Guadalupe

At first the Arch Bishop was not convinced, so Juan Diego felt it was out of his hands. Again the Lady appeared to him on December 12th, but this time She gave him instructions to go to the top of Tepeyac hill and pick Castilian roses. This was an unusual request because these roses were native to Spain, and the weather in Mexico was too cold at this time to produce roses. Juan Diego was obedient to the Lady and did as instructed. He gathered the roses and wrapped them in his tilma. Tilmas were usually made of ayate (cactus), which was a coarse fabric of threads from the maguey plant and vegetable fiber. The interesting fact about this fiber is that it naturally decays after 20 years.

When Juan Diego arrived to see the Arch Bishop, he had the roses wrapped in his tilma; when he released his hands from his garment, beautiful Castilian roses fell to the ground. But it was what was image of Our Lady of Guadalupe imprinted on his tilma that brought them to their knees. This same tilma is still housed in Mexico City and is in the same condition as when it was first worn by St. Juan Diego. Juan Diego was 50 years old when the Lady appeared to him. At that age he was considered old, yet he was used to convert an entire continent. How much will the Lord use us? This Advent season is the perfect time to go into prayer and ask the Lord how you are to be used of God.


Roses are synonymous with The Blessed Mother. Twice in my life I have experienced the special scent of roses: once after sharing a message at a service with a lay group and once after serving the homeless on Skid Row. Out of nowhere came the strong, sweet smell of roses that filled the air around us. All who were present knew that Our Lady was well pleased with the work well done. It is for this reason that our home is always filled with roses, mostly from my backyard.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, thank You for Your beautiful Mother. May all mothers follow her example. In our quest for answers, guide us to understand the love You have for Your Mother. May we all honor Her as You did. I pray for all who have a strained relationship with their mothers. Lord, teach them to honor their mothers as You did Yours. It is never too late to mend a relationship. Call your mothers!

Lord, I continue to lift up Bobbie and Amy for a miracle healing. Amen

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