The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Since it has been quite a while since I wrote my last reflection, I would like to honor the memory of Our Mother.  The most blessed Virgin Mary was conceived spotless without a trace of original sin.  Based on the evangelist Luke 1:28, “Hail, full of grace” (RSV), means that Mary was always filled with grace and thus without sin.  From the historical standpoint, wide before Pope Pius IX dogmatic declaration of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, the Council of Basel (1431), stated that Mary, by a special gift of grace, had never been subject to original sin. Furthermore, the council declared that such a belief was “pious and agreeable to the worship of the Church, the Catholic faith and the teaching of Holy Scripture.” Later, Pope Sixtus IV prescribed the feast for the diocese of Rome in 1477 but did not command it. Pope Clement XI prescribed the feast for the whole Church in 1708, to be celebrated on Dec.8.

Mary Immaculate, the mother of Jesus, the same Mary that appeared to the Apostle James in Spain with the advocation of  Our Lady of the Pillar (first Marian apparition). is the same Mary that appeared in Fatima, Lourdes and numerous parts of the world.  These apparitions confirm that Mary is the woman of the book of Revelation (chapter 12).  She always appears with a missionary message.  Pondering the words of the Lord (Lk 2,19), Mary brings the message of our Savior.  We venerate her because of her humbleness and simplicity. The same humbleness and simplicity that she showed when she appeared to Juan Dieguito.

As Fr. Fehlner says in an article posted in his site “Mother of all Peoples”,  Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico really is the Immaculate, the “Perfect Virgin” of the Nican Mopohua (accounts of Our Lady of Gudalupe’s written in Nahualt). In bringing about the conversion of nations to Jesus she does in some real sense crush the head of the enemy of the Savior and our salvation, whatever form this opposition takes. She is the Mother of Mercy intervening in history to secure the conversion, sanctification and salvation of all peoples. It is also important to take into consideration the word Coatlaxopeuh used by Juan Bernardino, (Juan Diego’s uncle) whatever it means in Nahuatl when pronounced does sound like Guadalupe in Spanish! But to say that the link between Guadalupe and the Immaculate is based only on the misunderstanding of the word Guadalupe is a capital error. This fails to take into account the role played by the Franciscans at both Guadalupan shrines:  During the XV century, the Franciscans had placed in the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Extramadura a statue of the Immaculate Conception, one which soon became a popular object of veneration. There is also good evidence that the same statue had already been made known by the Franciscan missionaries in Mexico to the Indians and that perhaps a reproduction was already venerated in the vicinity of Tepeyac. The similarity between the depiction of the Immaculate in the statue placed by the Friars in the sanctuary of Extramadura and the Image on the tilma is extraordinarily close.  Look at the image and look at the link.

The Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States and Nicaragua celebrated on December 8.  Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Americas celebrated on December 12.  She is the same Virgin Mary with a different vestment.  Any cultural difference is united in Mary because she wants us to see her Son and turn to Him.  The Immaculate Conception of Mary depicted in the miracle of Guadalupe through fragrant roses and a humble native, Juan Diego, set the stage for Christianity in the Americas.  Aztec idols were set apart and Christ was preached and accepted in our lands. That is why Mary is model of evangelization.

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