On December 12, 1531, the mother of Jesus impressed her lovely image on the tilma of Talking Eagle, an Indian in Mexico.
Mary the Israelite thereby communicated her loving care for the people of the western hemisphere.
Where does the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe stand among the greatest events of history?
Certainly, it is trumped by the Incarnation. When God became man, which took place in the eastern hemisphere of the globe, the history of the entire world turned.
Many citizens of the eastern hemisphere, in fact, run the entire race of their earthly lives without even knowing that the Blessed Mother spoke to an Indian man on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in 1531. And these eastern-hemisphere people are not necessarily the worse off for their ignorance of the fact.
But now let’s focus on places to which we ourselves can drive. Two summers ago, I drove to the Grand Canyon. It takes 33 hours to drive there. It takes 37 hours to drive from here to the Basilica of Guadalupe.
For us denizens of this beautiful American land-mass, the significance of the events of December 1531 can hardly be overstated.
Maybe you know that our beloved late Holy Father, Blessed Pope John Paul II, convoked a special synod of bishops to discuss the Church in America. The Synod concluded fifteen years ago today. The Pope said:
The appearance of Mary to the native Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531 had a decisive effect on evangelization. Its influence greatly overflows the boundaries of Mexico, spreading to the whole Continent…Not only in Central and South America, but in North America as well, the Virgin of Guadalupe is venerated as Queen of all America…It is my heartfelt hope that she, whose intercession was responsible for strengthening the faith of the first disciples, will by her maternal intercession guide the Church in America, obtaining the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as she once did for the early Church, so that the new evangelization may yield a splendid flowering of Christian life.
The stronger we are, the more good we can do for God. The more united we are, the stronger we are. And for everyone who lives in Eastern, Central, Mountain, or Pacific time: the more we love the immaculate, embarazada Virgin of Guadalupe, the more united we are.