In Mexico, it is said that four million people come in pilgrimage to honor and greet our Virgencita, our sweet Mother who speaks our language. There is one Church named after her in every city in Mexico. Her image is in every Catholic Mexican home. Our Lupita gives us our Catholic Mexican identiy. Our Morenita came to show us the infinite love of the Father. She unites us all under her mantle of stars and tell us:
For am I not here-I, your Mother? Are you not in the cool of my shadow, in the breeziness of my shade? Is it not I that am your source of contentment? Are you not cradled in my mantle, cuddled in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else for you to need?".
In many parts of Mexico, on the eve of the feast of the Virgen of Guadalupe, babies and toddlers are dressed in representation of the many Indian tribes of Mexico. The procession begins and fills the streets, accompanied by singing and punctuated by firecrackers. It ends at the Church named after Her, for the Mass of thanksgiving for her protection and grace. At the end of Mass the children leave baskets of roses or poinsettias, light the candles and pray, quietly waiting for their turn to revere our Madrecita.
After their offering at the temple, parents take their kids to take a picture. (I've got one of those!) Children will pose on the traditional burro, dressed up with crepe paper and flowers with the image of Our Lady up on top. Thereis also the pose at the grottoe, with the figure of Juan Diego kneeling before the Blessed Mother, that can serve as a background. (notice Juan Diego behind me)
December the 12th marks a special event in the history of America. Our Niña Amada came to help two great civilizations to dialogue. And thanks to that dialogue, the Mestizo people were born. AND, she chose to stay, she asked for a templito (a little temple) to shw us her Son. It is once again, a very pregnant Mary looking for an inn.
And when Juan Diego tells her: "Niña, why do you send me where I can't go? Send someone who is worthy" and She responds: "Juan Dieguito, you are my most worthy ambassador." And I believe it is She who is asking the same of us. She is asking us to be her ambassadors, taking her roses of love all over the world. She is telling us to not be afraid, she is with us, God is with us. How can we fear?
Nuestra Señora sees all of the nation, rich and poor, exalted and humble, as her children, and holds us in her protective grace. Our pilgrims do not come asking for health as in Lourdes, they do not come asking for pardon and mercy as in Portugal, they come to Tepeyac to be cuddled by their Madre.
¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!