December 12th, is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
When Christian missionaries came to America they had little success. Only a few hundred of the Aztecs converted after years of missionary work.
Human sacrifice was an important part of the Aztec religion. Over 20 thousand people were sacrificed each year.
On Dec 12, 1531, Mary appeared to an Indian convert Juan Diego. She appeared as a beautiful Aztec princess, and spoke to him in his native Aztec language. There were miracles. The Virgin asked Juan Diego to take flowers to the Bishop. He gathered flowers even though it was winter. He carried the flowers in his apron, his tilma.
When he took the flowers from his tilma, the image of a pregnant Mary had appeared on the tilma. She is wearing a blue-green cape. That color was worn by the emperor. Her hair was down in a style used by virgins. She is a pregnant, virgin, queen.
The image of Mary standing in front of the sun was taken as a sign that Christianity had eclipsed Aztec sun worship. This struck a cord with the Aztecs. In a short time 6 million were baptized.
The tilma is on display in the Basilica in Mexico City. Every year since 1531 pilgrims have come to view it. Annually there are over 20 million pilgrims. Over 5 million pilgrims are expected on her feast day. Moving walkways carry pilgrims in two directions in front of the tilma. The shrine in Mexico City has more visitors than any other Marian shrine.
In 1921 a terrorist exploded a bomb a few feet from the tilma. Windows of nearby homes were blown out. A bronze crucifix was bent. The tilma suffered no damage.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is Patroness of the Americas. Patroness of the pro-life movement. And Patroness of the United States.
Mary continues to influence. Our Lady of Guadalupe attracts millions. She is working for the coming of the Kingdom. She raises up the Church, stronger than an army in battle array.
Our Lady of Gaudalupe, pray for us.