Our Lady of Guadalupe

A reflection by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB, on how Mary shows us the way to love beyond our hurts

Photo of a rose in Mother Maria-Michael’s courtyard rose garden

The Office of Readings for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is so important.  We see how Juan Diego is called tenderly by Mary to accomplish a special mission for the Church “in words both gentle and courteous.”  That is really the speech of heaven—gentle and courteous.  We should try to remember that and take it on as well.  She calls Juan Diego to build a church so that people may “call upon and confide in me.”  That is the call of the Blessed Mother.  It’s as if she said, “Confide in me, and I will help you.  Do not be afraid to tell me the things deepest in your heart. I will bring you to God.”  That call hasn’t changed.  She is incredibly loving toward the deepest sinners, because those are the ones to whom God says, “I want you, and I’m not letting go.”  

Juan Diego approaches the bishop about building the church, but he is rejected.  The next time he needs to pass over the same hill where he met Our Lady, he tries to skirt around the place where he met her last.  What’s so beautiful is that the Blessed Mother takes no offence, she simply goes to the other side and meets him with a tender, “Juanito!”  It is so lovely how heaven lets us be people, doesn’t hold our humanity against us, but simply goes to meet us where we are.  She makes roses miraculously appear on the hilltop and asks him to cut them and bring them as a sign to the bishop to prove God’s will. She sends him forth, calling him her “ambassador, very worthy of trust.”  

I pray that she would say the same to each one of us: “You are my ambassador, very worthy of trust.”  If you hear those words, can you embrace them, and act accordingly?  When you ask a sign from heaven, not because you lack faith, but because you really want to do God’s will, receive it and shout for joy.  Embrace it as a total gift.  Our Lady truly cares.  When you confide in her and ask her help, believe me, she does not leave you alone.  And even if you should run round the hill to skirt her, she will just simply run sweetly to the other side and call you. Let us all follow the Blessed Mother’s example of meeting each other where we are, and not having unreasonable expectations for others that lead to us being impatient and frustrated.  Remember that “as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,” (Matthew 7:2).  So let us be generous in loving one another, even when we feel disappointed or hurt.  When you decide to forgive people, you do not have to feel warm and fuzzy toward them, no, your love has to be deeper than that.  You have to make up your mind that you want what is best for them, for their healing and salvation, and that you will one day be together in heaven as the people you were created to be.  Healing from wounds is a lifetime of work, and we should try to support, not hinder, each other from this process.  St. Benedict says in his Rule to pray for the troubled brother suffering from illness of the soul… and who of us is not this brother from time to time?  We all need each other’s’ prayer and good will.  It is my hope that the next time the occasion arises for you to shut down because someone offended you, you remember Our Lady of Guadalupe and decide to run to meet the person on the other side of the hill with a kind word and a smile.

Click here to read more about the miracle of Juan Diego’s tilma

Mary meets Juan Diego on the hill
Drawing by one of our Sisters