The apparitions of Our Lady
of Guadalupe which occurred in Mexico in 1531 were an evangelization experience
unsurpassed in all of Church history with the possible exception of the
Day of Pentecost. December 12th marks the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe,
who I believe can be titled, Patroness of the Church Militant. I say this
because, in that experience, She brought together all of the elements
of a spiritual army that conquered what was then a total culture of death;
if She could overcome the evil forces that directed the massacre of thousands
of innocent human beings in 16th Century Mexico, we can be assured that
She can repeat that victory for our modern day culture of death and dethrone
the abortion demon from his altar of sacrifice.
Despite the glowing accounts
of revisionist historians about the Aztec Indians (16th Century Mexico),
the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice in a systematic and brutal manner.
Their “religion” was based upon obeisance to bloodthirsty
false gods who demanded a regular glut of killing to provide them with
fresh hearts and blood of sacrificial victims. They had their own priests,
rituals and a theology/cosmology tied to the idea that only blood sacrifice
would appease their gods and so keep the world in order. It is estimated
that as many as 50,000 victims a year were offered on the pyramidic temples
of these gods dotting the landscape of Mexico.
After Hernando Cortes conquered
the kingdom of Montezuma in 1521 he wiped out all the temples and put
a legal end to the abomination of human sacrifice; yet, the murderous
practice continued under the cover of darkness because the people were
not converted from their killing instincts and practices which were deeply-rooted
in culture and history. Enter Our Lady of Guadalupe with Her maternal
love a decade later when the crisis of culture in the newly-conquered
land had reached an apex.
The Virgin Mary appeared to
St. Juan Diego, one of the early Christian converts from the pagan religion,
and decreed by Her magnificent authority that the killing would stop in
the hearts of the people as well as in their law. The story of the apparitions
is well-known (see sidebar) but the effects of the apparitions are not,
and these effects are equally important to understand in order to grasp
what I call “The Guadalupe Event.” That is, the conversion
of the people of that time from their idols and the dissipation of the
Aztec culture of death. It was done precisely by marshaling an army of
faith, and in this, She gave us a formula for the Church Militant that
only needs to be repeated to conquer our own culture of abortion.
The first and critical element
of the “Event” was the wholehearted cooperation of a holy
and discerning bishop, Juan Zumárraga. To him Our Lady sent St.
Juan Diego for the building of a church. It was not the project of the
layman to build the church. St. Juan Diego proved his sanctity by being
a faithful messenger of Our Lady’s plan, but She did not ask him
or want him to build a church lest the pagan people think that She was
setting up another religion other than the one Her Son founded. The bishop
was the recipient of the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary impressed
on the Indian’s cloak (tilma) and afterwards gladly built the church
that Our Lady requested for the people. Following that, he sent out his
cohort of missionary priests to baptize and sacramentally cleanse the
people of their idols of polygamy, human sacrifice and demonic religion.
The combination of the churchmen working hand-in-hand with the lay faithful
in a full-scale assault on the idol-worship of the time is how the culture
was purified. There are various estimates of just how many Indians came
into the Catholic Church in the decade following the apparitions (1530s),
but all accounts admit that there were 8-10 million conversions. That
amounted to three-fifths of the entire Aztec population at the time!
Our Lady did not use a political
process or a Supreme Court to accomplish this mass conversion. She engaged
the Church in a battle of spirit with the demonic culture and thus purified
the lives of the people from all their idols. Do not all the prophets
foretell that God will purify His people from their idols if only they
will turn to Him? Well, Our Lady shows us that the cleansing of body,
soul, spirit—and culture—is indeed possible; if only
the Church will become once again a Church Militant marching under the
standard of Our Lady’s leadership.
On December 12th, the Feast
of Our Lady of Guadalupe, please join me in praying for the Church Militant
to rise up again and defeat the culture of death!