Monday, December 11, 2006

Guadalupana, Strong Protector

December 12th is the Feast of Mary under the title "Our Lady of Guadalupe", the patron of the Americas who appeared to St. Juan Diego in the 16th century. As a sign to the unbelieving Spanish Bishop of Mexico to whom Juan was sent, the Aztec peasant's tilma, or robe, was imprinted miraculously with the image of Mary as a young peasant girl, but with many of the details mentioned in Chapter 12 of Revelation. Tests of the tilma have failed either to explain the origin of the image, or to account for its continued existence on a fibrous material which under normal conditions decomposes within 5o-60 years.
The icongraphy of the image is unmistakeably Aztecan. The Virgin is a young native girl rather than a Caucasian European. She wears the traditional brown belt only worn by those who have previously given birth. She herself looks pregnant again, as if about to bear anew her children, the Aztec peoples who converted following Her appearance. She is surrounded by the rays of the sun, the traditonal Aztec Sun god, and treads underfoot the moon, another Aztec diety. Her blue robe is decorated with stars, the third presence in the Aztecan pantheon.
Yet, this young girl is not a goddess herself. Her head is bowed in prayer, humbly asking God to bless Her people. What a strong image of both mercy and justice, of solidarity and intercession. She prays for all of us in the Americas, asking again the divine assistance with the single phrase "Fiat!" Let it be done... according to Your Word, oh God. Her yes to God which leads to the new creation echoes God's Word at the first creation, "Let it be done." So, the Guadalupana, like all the rest of us who are redeemed by Christ, has become a created co-creator.
She and we are called to create a New World which mirrors both God's justice and His love and mercy. How far we have to go before her prayers are answered.

God of power and mercy,
You blessed the Americas at Tepeyac
with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.
May Her prayers help all men and women
to accept each other as brothers and sisters.
Through Your justice present in our hearts
may Your peace reign in this world.

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