A Week in Mexico City (part 2)

Day 2

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

First stop, La Basílica de Guadalupe. According to the Roman Catholic faith this is the site where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego. Not being a religious person much of the lore is lost on me, but I must admit the tranquility of the place is uncanny.

The story goes, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to the peasant, Juan Diego, and asked for a church to be built in her honor. Juan Diego went to the Archbishop to deliver the message. Of course he was laughed at and sent on his way.

She reappeared and said if he met her again the next day she would give him a sign to convince the Archbishop. But overnight his uncle fell sick and he didn’t make it to the meeting.

Seems to me when the Mother of God schedules a meeting you find someone else to tend your sick uncle. Then again I’m in no position to judge the future SAINT Juan Diego.

So he misses the meeting. Our Lady tracks him down saying, “Am I not here, I who am your mother?” That could be interpreted in many ways but to me it says if you had trusted in me in the first place you wouldn’t be in all this trouble. To prove her case, she heals the uncle and causes non-native Roses to grow on a barren hill in the middle of winter. She instructs Juan to wrap the roses in his cloak and present them to the Archbishop.

Roses? That’s the big miracle? But wait. Juan Diego holds the thorny roses close to his chest and when he opens the cloak the roses fall away to reveal a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the blood-soaked cloth.

Long story short, there are two Basilicas sitting side-by-side. The first was built in 1695. The 2nd in 1974. The painting hangs above the alter and numerous miracles have occurred there, including the 1921 terrorist bombing that destroyed the alter and shattered the frame but left the painting undamaged.

Regardless of your beliefs, the painting and both buildings are impressive. I leave feeling refreshed and inspired. It’s kind of a chicken or egg thing… did Our Lady choose the site because it has some special qualities or is it special because she appeared there and people come from all over the world bringing with them hope and good will? I guess you’ll have to go and decide for yourself.