Five centuries ago, Mary, the mother of Christ appeared to an indigenous peasant in Mexico, namely St. Juan Diego. She appeared wearing the local indigenous dress for young mothers and virgins. She spoke in Juan Diego’s indigenous language. She asked that a Church dedicated to her, be built. That Church was eventually built and remains a popular site for pilgrimage to date.
Mary’s apparition to Juan Diego transformed Mexico into a Catholic Christian nation. Her apparition is celebrated each year in the Catholic Church on December 12. Here are some lessons that we can draw from this amazing apparition.
- Inculturation is Important
Know the culture of the society where you live. This is important to bring the gospel to those around you. Learn their language, both formal and colloquial. Use similar language (minus the vulgarity) to re-present the gospel of Christ. This way you make the gospel fresh and attractive; and help Christ to become all things to all people without losing the truth (1 Cor 9: 19-23).
2. Humility, Humility, Humility
Mary appeared to a poor peasant, Juan Diego. This is no surprise given that God opposes the proud, (James 4:6). Mary herself was deeply humble and continues to be, (Luke 1: 47-49). Jesus chose to come to earth and to live in a humble place, and to die in a humiliating way (Phil 2: 7-9).
Work on your humility. Try to pray the litany of humility once and see which lines are hardest for you to pray. The parts that are hard to pray are a good indication of areas you need to work on in your journey toward humility.
3. Improve Your Trust
Pray to God to increase your faith. Juan Diego tried to avoid Mary’s apparition so he could run an errand for his sick uncle. But Mary appeared before him asking, “Am I not your mother”? Can you not trust me? She assured Juan Diego that his uncle would recover. So, she urged him to obey her and have faith.
Say often in your heart: Jesus, I trust in you.
4. Play Your Part
Focus on the tasks in front of you and do them well. Is God asking you for something that seems impossible? It is not your job to make the whole thing happen. Do what is within your power and let God do the rest, with his own power.
Juan Diego was not sure how he could run Mary’s errand to go and tell the bishop to build a Church in honour of Mary. Yet, when he finally accepted his part, namely, to go and tell the Bishop, Mary did the rest. She worked a miracle that ultimately moved the bishop to do what she asked for. In addition, Juan Diego’s uncle was healed.
Do your best at your tasks, obey the will of God, and God will do the rest.
For incredible discoveries in and around the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
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