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Header - Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the unborn

 

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Why “Patroness of the Unborn”?

Virgin of Guadalupe ImageOf all the many manifestations of Mary’s loving presence among us throughout the centuries, in this apparition alone does she appear to us in the manner of a pregnant mother. She holds within her the unborn Christ, proclaiming the sanctity and blessedness of life within the womb. Her reverence and tenderness communicate to us the joy and awe with which we must approach each embryonic life.

Since 1973, with the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade which gave legal protection to the monstrous sin of abortion, a parallel shedding of innocent blood has taken place. The unborn innocent victim is brutally tortured in that very place he was placed by God for his protection and development.

Today we find ourselves in the midst of an even more enormous and dramatic conflict between good and evil, the "culture of life" and the "culture of death." Just as Our Lady of Guadalupe freed the indigenous peoples of Mexico from their savage customs, so can she “crush the serpent’s head” here in America under the title of “Protectress of the Unborn.”

Let us not cease in crying out for her protection on behalf of our pre-born brothers and sisters. Only by imitating Our Lady’s respect for life from the moment of conception can we hope to inherit Life itself. Under her gentle direction we find not only shelter and rest, but confidence and strength to go forth to battle the evil of abortion in our land. Full of confidence in her power to obtain great victories from God, let us turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

 

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A Brief Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe

On December 12, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary spoke to a humble native in his own Nahuatl tongue. The exact sound that met the Mexican’s ears was “Juanito, Juan Diegito.” It was an endearing expression that a fond mother would use for her child. English would render it: “Dear little Juan.”

Image of Our Lady of GuadalupeShe motioned Juan to come closer. Advancing a step or two he sank to his knees, overwhelmed by the loveliness of the vision. The beautiful lady requested that a shrine be built and dedicated to her on the Hill of Tepeyac. Speaking to him in the native language, Our Lady called herself “of Guadalupe,” a Spanish name meaning the one "who crushes the serpent."

Sadly, the bishop refused to believe that the Mother of God would appear to a poor, illiterate Mexican like Juan. Juan returned to the place of the apparition where Our Lady again appeared. She told him to return the next morning when she would give him a sign that would convince the bishop of the truth of her appearance and her request.

The following morning Our Lady told Juan to go to the top of the hill and gather Castilian roses that he would find there. Although he knew that only cactus grew there, he obeyed, and his simple faith was rewarded by the sight of beautiful roses growing where she had told him they would be.

He gathered them and showed them to Our Lady who rearranged them for him, placing them in his cloak or “tilma.” Juan returned to the bishop. As he opened his tilma, the roses fell to the floor. All who were present were startled to see an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe clearly imprinted on the tilma.

Today this image is still preserved on Juan Diego's tilma, which hangs over the main altar in the basilica at the foot of Tepeyac Hill just outside of Mexico City.

In the image, Our Lady is pregnant, carrying the Son of God in her womb. Her head is bowed in homage, indicating that she is not a goddess, but rather the one who bears and at the same time worships the one true God.

 

The Serpent’s Head Is Crushed

When Mary first appeared to Blessed Juan Diego, Mexico had been in the hands of Christian leaders for only a short time. Human sacrifice, where the blood of innocents was often spilled to appease the thirsty demons of the old rite, was still practiced. The Aztec priests executed annually at least 50,000 inhabitants of the land — men, women and children — in human sacrifices to their gods. In 1487, just in a single four-day ceremony for the dedication of a new temple in Tenochtitlan, some 80,000 captives were killed in human sacrifice. The same practices, which in most cases included the cannibalism of the victims’ limbs, were common also in earlier Mesoamerican cultures, with widespread Olmec, Toltec and Mayan human sacrificing rituals.

Children were said to be frequent victims, in part because they were considered pure and unspoiled. The early Mexican historian Ixtlilxochitl estimated that one out of every five children in Mexico were sacrificed. Into this cavern of darkness and ignorance, our Lady of Guadalupe brought a message of maternal compassion:

“I am the merciful Mother, the Mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate their suffering, necessities, and misfortunes.”

By 1541, just ten years after the apparitions, there were ten million Indians who had been converted from paganism. Before Our Lady’s coming the missionaries were able to pour the saving waters of Baptism upon the heads of only one million natives, and most of these were orphaned children, victims of war, whom the loving missionaries had adopted and educated. Such a mass conversion was an unprecedented phenomenon, the likes of which had never been witnessed in any country of the world.

How much our nation still needs her message of compassion! Let us together pray for the assistance and protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her face radiates the very light of God, while her example reveals authentic femininity. She shows unparalleled compassion to the poor and defenseless, but unyielding power and triumph over the evil one and his cohorts.

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 30, 2020

I would rather die than do a thing which I know to be a sin....

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May 30

 

I would rather die
than do a thing
which I know to be a sin.

St. Joan of Arc


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Joan of Arc

When Joan was thirteen she began to receive visions of St. M...

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St. Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc’s story is nothing but extraordinary. Born in Domremy, Champagne, in 1412, she was a peasant girl who received from on high the mission of leading France militarily against the invading English.

Joan’s father was Jacques D’Arc, a farmer of some means, and her mother a kind, caring woman. One of five children, Joan was a pious, prayerful and charitable girl.

In 1415, when Joan was three, the English king, Henry V, taking advantage of a civil war between the Dukes of Orleans and Burgundy, invaded Normandy and claimed several cities. Things were going from bad to worse for France when, in the village of Domremy, God began to put in motion a most unexpected solution.

At age thirteen, Joan began to receive visions of St. Michael and Sts. Catherine and Margaret who gently prepared her for her mission.

By 1428, when she was about sixteen, the saints insisted that Joan go to Charles VII, the ineffectual heir to the throne and offer him to lead an army with the objective of repelling the English, and crowning him king. The frightened girl resisted but finally took action on being assured that her extraordinary calling “was God’s will”.

Joan persuaded an uncle to take her to the nearby town of Vaucouleurs to the commander, Robert de Baudricourt. At first Baudricourt and his entourage laughed at the maiden, but when Joan announced that the city of Orleans had just fallen to the English, and the fact was later verified, hilarity turned to respect.

Accompanied by respectful soldiers, and dressed in a man’s clothing for her personal protection, Joan traveled to the court of Charles VII who, wishing to test the visionary maiden, hid himself among his courtiers. But Joan promptly picked him out, and set at rest for him an intimate doubt he had secretly prayed about as to his legitimacy as true son of the king of France, Charles VI.

Ultimately, after extensive debriefing and debate, Joan was outfitted with armor, sword and a white-gold standard bearing the names of Jesus and Mary, and an image of God the Father and angels offering Him a Fleur-des-Lys, the symbol of France.

In the company of the Duke of Orleans, other French nobles, and their armies she freed the besieged city of Orleans. To everyone’s amazement, Joan proved an effective general and strategist, though she never personally killed a man.

After other victories, she and her army accompanied the reluctant prince to Rheims where he was triumphantly crowned. But after his coronation the weak king began to haggle with Joan, and ultimately failed and abandoned her.

In a skirmish outside the city of Compiegne, she was taken prisoner and led to Rouen where she underwent an infamous “trial” conducted by a bishop, Pierre Cauchon, who courted English favor. She suffered a long, painful imprisonment, was finally branded a heretic and a sorceress and condemned to burned at the stake. She was nineteen years old.

To the very end she sustained that her “voices” had not deceived her. Her last gasping word was “Jesus!” Although the flames consumed her virginal body, her heart never burned.

What Joan had begun others picked up and France was ultimately freed.

Twenty-three years after her death, Joan’s mother and brothers appealed to Pope Callistus III for a re-trial. This new trial completely vindicated the “Maid of Orleans”on July 7, 1456.

Joan was canonized on May 16, 1920.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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