Our Lady of Light
As I noted in my January column, this year we will explore in detail the apparitions of our Lady. My hope is that this practice of reflection and prayer with the Blessed Virgin will awaken a deeper understanding of the meaning of these events in you and bring to light a richer encounter with the mystery of Jesus and his gospel.
While many may have heard of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the details of her apparition as related by St. Juan Diego are inspirational and may not be well-known. In Our Lady of Guadalupe: A New Interpretation of the Story, Apparitions, and Image, a book by Fr. José Luis Guerrero (© 2008, Liguori Publications), we can listen in as young Juan Diego relates his experience with the Mother of God, as quoted in Fr. Guerrero’s book:
“It was Saturday, very early in the morning, when [Juan Diego] went in search of the knowledge of God and of his commandments. As he drew near to the hill called Tepeyac, day was just dawning. He heard singing on the hill above, like the song of numerous fine songbirds. When their voices fell silent, it seemed like the hill itself answered them in a most gentle and pleasing way; their songs surpassed those of…fine songbirds….”
“Arriving at the top the hill, he was delighted to see a young woman…who was standing, graciously inviting him to come closer. Her garments shone like the sun, and the rock upon which she stood seemed to emit beams of light.”
Light is the most important symbol for us to unravel, because it is present in all apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The repeated occurrence of light reveals a divine presence surrounding our Lady and her messages to visionaries.
The second key apparition element to explore is the cosmic symbolism of Mary’s appearance. Juan Diego’s experience is all about evangelism. Our Lady’s relationship with the man showed him, through her image, the special message of God’s revelation of salvation. The message was revealed in symbolic language that native people would understand. It shows that the familiar stories of our favorite apparitions have deeper meanings that we may overlook because we’re caught up in the excited energy around our devotion to the Mother of God.
I pray that my columns in 2021 help you gain a deeper spiritual understanding of our Lady’s apparitions.
Let us pray:
Our Lady of Light, enlighten us to see God in the many ordinary experiences of life. Amen.