Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

2/23/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Among the many aspects of this story, this was the one most meaningful to me: How can any of us be so consumed by life's tasks - especially those moments of the severest testing - that we forget to ask for divine help?

Having never been to a major Marian shrine, I didn't quite know what to expect. Some years ago, in the summer of 2004, I made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. I went there, like other pilgrims, to ask for Her protection during a hard time in my life.There is no more important Catholic destination, or place, in the Americas. Only a few kilometers from the heart of the city, the shrine contains the image of Mary given to Juan Diego through an armful of flowers. Though Her importance to Latinos is well known, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Lady for all the Americas. It was well past time for me to pay my respects, and I needed Her.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/23/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary, Mother of God, Marian, Theotokos, Patroness of the Americas, Queen, rosary, pilgrimage, Deal W Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - Having never been to a major Marian shrine, I didn't quite know what to expect. Some years ago, in the summer of 2004, I made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. I went there, like other pilgrims, to ask for Her protection during a hard time in my life.

I had been to only one Marian shrine before, the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal at 140 rue de Bac in Paris, where St. Catherine Laboure received three apparitions of Mary who asked her to strike the medal. It was a humble place, as I suppose is befitting, but it was sparsely attended and worn down, not what I expected from a "shrine." So when I went to Mexico City, I consciously put aside all preconceptions about what I should experience. I wanted just to let it happen.

There is no more important Catholic destination, or place, in the Americas. Only a few kilometers from the heart of the city, the shrine contains the image of Mary given to Juan Diego through an armful of flowers. Though Her importance to Latinos is well known, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Lady for all the Americas. It was well past time for me to pay my respects, and I needed Her.

Mexico City, if you've never been there, is filled with both the worst traffic and the nicest people you'll ever meet. Each day there I marveled that people could remain so kind, so generous and smiling, when it took forever to drive even short distances. And yet I would return to the city just for the pleasure of spending time among them.

The shrine, when you first approach it, appears as a cluster of old and new church buildings sitting on Tepeyac Hill, surrounded by the harum scarum sprawl of one of the largest cities in the world. Like most pilgrims, I tried to visualize the moment nearly five centuries ago when this rocky hill stood far apart from the palaces of the Aztec empire.

The words I particularly kept in mind were those Mary spoke to Juan Diego on the day he was avoiding her and seeking a priest for his dying uncle, Juan Bernardino:

"Listen, and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son. Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?"

Among the many aspects of this story, this was the one most meaningful to me: How can any of us be so consumed by life's tasks - especially those moments of the severest testing - that we forget to ask for divine help?

The shrine itself and the plaza that fronts it bear the stamp of the 70's utilitarianism in architecture. But once you enter the sanctuary that houses the sacred tilma (cloak), all those concerns are swept aside by the peace that descends upon the pilgrim. I arrived just in time to light my candles, ride the moving sidewalk under the tilma, and join the other pilgrims for Mass.

Perhaps you've experienced the sense of total comfort in an otherwise strange place. I had been advised by a bishop who loves the shrine to "ask for something big." But Mary gave me something I didn't ask for-an ease in prayer that was totally unexpected, as if something that had been clogging the lines of communication had been suddenly removed. Mary put a kind of beautiful but unheard music in the air.

After Mass I went back down behind the altar for another look at the tilma but stepped aside to observe, instead, the faces of those pilgrims gazing up at it. The radiance of piety transcends language and culture-its impact is universal. No wonder the Church has been commending Marian pilgrimages since its earliest days. I'm sorry it took me so long. Like most of the best things in life, they are recognized much later than we would like but at the moment they are most needed.

I walked up the lovely ceramic-lined steps to the top of the hill and down to the gardens on the other side, but I didn't want the solitude offered by the gardens. I went back to the plaza to look at the pilgrims' faces and become one more face among them, transported by the sense that nothing needs to be withheld from Mary's care. It wasn't solitude I had come for, that I wanted to leave behind in the crowds of Washington, DC. Rather, I had come for Mary's shadow and protection, and I preferred to stand among those who shared my prayer.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, will begin broadcasting in February on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Americas

Was it really a meteorite? NASA scientists remain skeptical about Nicaraguan crater Watch

Image of A meteorite from a passing asteroid may have caused a crater in Nicaragua on the evening of September 6.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A meteorite crashed in Managua, Nicaragua, late on the evening of September 6, causing a loud explosion and leaving a crater 39 feet across, Nicaraguan government officials reported. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nicaraguan spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said ... continue reading


These 14th century artifacts are headed back to their proper home Watch

Image of 14th century artifacts from Colombia being displayed in a Spanish museum.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Spain has returned 691 indigenous artifacts to Colombia, which were seized during a police operation 11 years ago LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most of these ceramic items are of huge cultural and archaeological value, and date to around 1400 BC. They had been ... continue reading


Is the Islamic State - In Mexico? Officials deny 'car bombing' rumors Watch

Image of While it's nightmarishly plausible - and there have been warnings from the international community to the United States as such, the Department of Homeland Security has denied claims on from a watchdog group that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has militants stationed in Juarez, Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it's nightmarishly plausible - and there have been warnings from the international community to the United States as such, the Department of Homeland Security has denied claims on from a watchdog group that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has ... continue reading


Deadly silence: 92,000 Columbians remain missing Watch

Image of Around 4,000 graves have been discovered and 5,000 bodies found, following the confessions of scores of paramilitary warlords.

By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation

More than 92,000 Colombians have disappeared during 50 years of war and at the hands of drug gangs, and the government needs to step up efforts to find missing people, the Red Cross said. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every day nine people are reported missing ... continue reading


GOING DIGITAL: Ecuador plans digital currency Watch

Image of Some believe that Ecuador's new digital currency will eventually lead to the nation's abandonment of paper and coin currency altogether - i.e., the United States dollar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a bold move into the 21st Century, the South American nation of Ecuador is now planning digital currency. Some believe this will eventually lead to the nation's abandonment of paper and coin currency altogether - i.e., the United States dollar. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


California Governor: 'You're all welcome,' even illegal immigrants Watch

Image of California Governor Jerry Brown meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California Governor Jerry Brown in a speech this week declared that all Mexicans, including illegal immigrants, are welcome in California. While introducing Mexican President Enrique Pe√Īa Nieto, who said America is "the other Mexico," Brown "spoke about the ... continue reading


Argentine president may take drastic measures to deal with debt Watch

Image of Argentinian President Cristina FernŠndez praised her nation's financial system as being

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Argentinian President Cristina Fern√°ndez praised her nation's financial system as being "one of the most solid in the world" during a speech at the Buenos Aires stock exchange last week. Many disagree, saying that they fear the mercurial president may go to ... continue reading


GRISLY HARVEST: Mexican children, adults murdered for their organs Watch

Image of Victims targeted by organ harvesters usually range in age from seven to 10 years while younger children are often kidnapped for adoption.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The already rampant criminal network in Mexico and South America, in addition to dealing drugs, has taken to abducting children and adults in order to murder then and harvest their vital organs. The lucrative, underground business of livers, lungs and eyes to ... continue reading


MASSIVE ACID SPILL: Mexico closes 88 schools after 10 million gallons of acid spills from copper mine Watch

Image of Officials are working to de-acidify the two rivers by adding heaps of calcium to the water. Acid levels are dropping, Mexico's National Water Commission said, but the water is still not totally safe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ecological disaster of momentous proportion is unfolding near the U.S. - Mexico border after a massive acid spill from a copper mine has found its way into waterways. Up to 5,000 school children will be kept out of 88 schools for a week as 800,000 people ... continue reading


The new favorite weapon of the drug cartels has arrived in America -- and it will shock you Watch

Image of Mexican soldiers with hundreds of bricks of marijuana, which is about to be burned.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mexican drug cartels are utilizing a deadly military weapon to keep local residents in terror and protect drug stockpiles. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Authorities on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border say that the cartels are using the grenades. Four live ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 55:6-9
6 Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
2 Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 1:20-24, 27
20 all in accordance with my most confident hope and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 21st, 2014 Image

St. Matthew
September 21: St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter