“Hear and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also do not fear any illness or trouble, 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 fold of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? ... Is there anything else you need?”
—Virgin Mary ot St Juan Diego
I would not be Catholic if it were not for Our Lady of Guadalupe. So it goes without saying that her image is tattooed across my heart, just as it is imprinted, forever, on St Juan Diego's seemingly indestructible but definitely miraculous cactus-fiber tilma.
How do I love her?
I cannot count the ways.
I love her more than the perfectly aligned stars on her azure cloak.
My love for her is brighter than the rays that encircle her,
deeper than the black of her hair,
and stronger than the angel who bears her up in his little arms.
While I have not had the privilege of meeting her in person, she resides in my soul and is Queen of my heart.
Today, we honor her, Queen of Mexico, Queen of the Americas, Queen of the Unborn, Protectress of us all.
So I'd like to share with you some articles I wrote for spiritualdirection.com on the history of her visit to Mexico, back in 1531, on the miraculous tilma that she left behind, and on the shrines that honor her, one in the U.S., and the one that was built on her request, in Mexico City.
If the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our mother, had not visited the country of the home of my ancestors back in 1531, God only knows what would have become of Mexico. As it is, it is clear that the devil has a special place in his blackness for that country, so lovingly honored by the beautiful Woman who crushes His head whenever she wills, and who will do so on the last day.
Let us pray for Mexico and for its people today, and beg la Virgencita to have mercy on those people who she once visited and whose hearts she once converted. Convert them again, dearest Mother.
O María, concebida sin pecado, ruega por nosotros, que recurrimos a Ti.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us, who have recourse to Thee.
Images: Both in public domain. 1.)Original image of the tilma 2.) Virgin of Guadalupe, oil on canvas by Antonio de Torres, c. 1720