Our Lady of Guadalupe, our inspiration, guide, companion
By Patti Gutiérrez, Pastoral Associate, St. Michael, Sebree
As we embark on a more intentional effort of New Evangelization in our diocese, Living as Missionary Disciples – reaching others with the message of Jesus Christ – we can look to Our Lady of Guadalupe as our inspiration, our guide and our companion.
Our inspiration: When Our Lady appeared to the indigenous man Juan Diego, there was a deep divide between those who had come to colonize Mexico and the native peoples of Mexico. There was distrust of the missionaries who looked and sounded like the violent Spanish rulers. The message and image of Our Lady of Guadalupe led to massive conversions. Historians say that within 10 years, 10 million indigenous people were converted and baptized and the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice had ended. May we learn to listen to the pain of those who have not heard, or need to hear again, the Good News of Jesus Christ. May her example inspire hope in us that God can overcome whatever obstacle stands in the way of Evangelization.
Our guide: Just as the stars serve as a guide when at sea, Our Lady, Star of Evangelization, serves as a guide as we “put out into the deep” to be fishers of men. Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego not only speaking his Aztec language, but also her very image spoke volumes. The image is a pictograph, easily interpreted by the Aztecs. For example, she stands in front of the sun, meaning she is greater than their Sun god, yet she is in a position of prayer meaning she is not God and there is someone greater than her. The ribbon around her waist is a maternity band, the four-petal flower right below the ribbon is a sign of the divine and she wears her hair as a young Indian maiden. All of these combine to tell them without words that she is the Virgen, Mother of the one, true God. May we meet people where they are and speak in a “language” they can understand. May they see in us, even without words, the love of Christ.
Our companion: Our Lady goes before us, walks with us and never abandons us. May we invoke Mary’s intercession as we strive to bring the Gospel to those who need to hear it most. As John Paul II said at the end of his visit to Mexico in 1999, “To conclude, I would like to turn my thoughts to Tepeyac, to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the first and the new evangelization of America. To her I entrust the pilgrim Church in Mexico and the American continent, and I fervently ask her to guide her children, so that they will enter the third millennium with faith and hope.” (JPII, homily 1/24/99)
For more information about Our Lady of Guadalupe, her history, her image and her shrine here in the U.S. visit: http://www.guadalupeshrine.org/
How do you incorporate evangelization in your ministry? Share your best practices in the comment section!