Advent Journal: Day 10–Guadalupe


Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.  -Zechariah 2:14-15

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”                   -Luke 1:47

He went up the hill and caught sight of a lady of unearthly grandeur whose clothing was as radiant as the sun. She said to him in words both gentle and courteous: “Juanito, the humblest of my children, know and understand that I am the ever virgin Mary, Mother of the true God through whom all things live. It is my ardent desire that a church be erected here so that in it I can show and bestow my love, compassion, help, and protection to all who inhabit this land and to those others who love me, that they might call upon and confide in me.”

–From the Report of Don Antonio Valeriano, on the appearance of the Blessed Virgin to Juan Diego

By 1531, the Reformation had proceeded apace; the break with Rome was imminent, and much of Germany was permanently lost to Protestantism.  Soon, parts of Scandinavia would join them.  Yet in the lands of the Aztecs, that land reeking of blood sacrifice and slaughter, there appeared the young girl of Judea to Juan Diego, a native Aztec.  Why would the Blessed Virgin appear in this way?  Even the Spanish bishop was skeptical.  Unlike the learned of Europe (and the Protestant leaders were that, if nothing else), this poor soul was raised on Aztec myths:  sun god, rain god, the cruelty and glory of nature draped in the guise of a heavenly court of sadistic kings and their courtiers.  He had been converted to Christian faith, but how much could Juan Diego know of it?  Did he understand the Trinity?  Or what the Incarnation meant?  Moreover, did he even realize that Mary the mother of Jesus had been of the Jewish race?  I do not know, but I suspect not. But then this shows that, however wonderful knowledge is (and we do, as children of God, possess genuine knowledge of Him), it is not knowledge that crowns the Christian life.  Rather, it is faith and humility, the same faith and humility that allowed Juan Diego to see Our Lady in his own kind.  For she came as, and she was, Mary, mother of Jesus, a 1st century Jewish woman; but to the eyes of the one who persevered in faith, despite its difficulty (the narrative above makes it clear he was not necessarily comfortable with her appearance), and so he saw her as the Aztec princess so famous from the image today. And from that image–I do not know, but I believe it to be true–he must have gained a spiritual insight into the Holy Trinity, that could give itself even to peasants without much social honor; insight into the Incarnation, that God would unite Himself to humanity in that manner; and insight into the nature of that most loving Jewish mother, who only asked that her followers might ask for her intercession, that they might come to know her Son through her love.  God is a worker of strange things, indeed.  And that I believe, and truly.  Amen.

~ by Alypius on December 13, 2017.

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