As a prominent Patroness of my diocese, Our Lady of Guadalupe gradually made a home for herself in my life after I saw numerous images of her and heard saintly people asking for her intercession. However, my love for her as my Mother – for this is how she revealed herself to St. Juan Diego – was not truly nourished until I was on the brink of graduating High School . . . with a completely open future in front of me.
In the midst of this great unknown, I decided to pray a novena, asking for the intercession of this Patroness of Life.
Although I did not know much about her, I came to realize that Our Lady of Guadalupe is loved by a great multitude of people. She is not only highly honored by the Mexican people, which is the nation that she appeared to. Our Lady is also honored in the Pro-Life movement as “Patroness of the Unborn” due to her effect on the nation and the symbolic nature of her appearance. Through her, the Aztec culture that sought salvation through death converted, seeking salvation through life instead. In this image of Our Lady, she also reveals herself to be pregnant with a divine child. She herself is a regal Lady who gives life to all the world through her womb.
This is where her Motherhood comes into play: couldn’t this Pro-Life image be seen in conjunction with some of her best-known words? To Juan Diego, she said, “Am I not here, who am your Mother?” As God told Moses that He is “I AM WHO AM” (Exodus 3:14), so does Mary reveal her very self in these words. She is our Mother. Imprinted upon Juan Diego’s tilma is a black ribbon and a flower on Mary’s tunic. They symbolize a babe in her womb – and not just any babe: the Christ Child. Here it is in her womb that she becomes the very source of Life, for Life resides within her and emanates from her (depicted by the sun behind her). As her loving gaze reveals, she does not desire to keep this Life to herself. “I am your Mother.” She desires for us to be that child in her womb, to form us in this Life as well, so that we may in turn become Life for the savage and fallen nation around us. Mary formed Juan Diego with her guiding words, patience, fidelity, love . . . with her Mother’s Heart. As the Mother of Christ, she fashioned Juan more into the image of her Divine Son. By forming this humble man in her “spiritual womb,” she brought him (and those around him, especially his ill uncle) further into the newness of Life that Christ promises.
“I am your Mother.” Our Lady of Guadalupe is not only revealing her Son to us, even though this is the primary reason for her appearance. She is also inviting us to become Christ within her womb, by humbly giving ourselves to her as Juan Diego did. Through our own filial devotion to her, we can also be formed by her Love. In my case, she gently guided me to the place, the school, that I needed to be at so that I could be formed more intimately by her graces.
My Queen and Mother continues to be Mother to me: to guide me to the dwellings I am to be and to the people I am to love, nourishing my heart with the Life of her Son along the way. Yes; she is bringing me, her child, into the fullness of Life. Our Lady of Guadalupe has become and will always be my Mother: the one who beckons me as her child, invites me to rest in her womb with her Divine Son, and forms me more into the woman God created me to be, making me a new creation as her Son promised. And one day, may she be the Mother who bares me into Eternal Life.
Through the novena I prayed, I asked for her Motherly assistance in knowing what step to take next and for her to provide the means to do so. In the end, I received more than just an answer to a question. I received a Mother to form me and mold me into the woman I was created to be – to make me new in Christ. And it is in this that I have come to know, love, and serve Our Lady of Guadalupe: by becoming her daughter.
“Mother, my Lady of Guadalupe, help me to receive You more as my Mother. Receive me more into your womb as your child, taking me into the ultimate resting place of your Son. Form me there with Him; bring me into the fullness of His Life, guiding me along the path of God’s will and, thereby, crushing the head of Satan with you. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!”