Great Signs

12 Dec

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  (Rv 12:1)

In the Gospel of John, we read about an encounter with an official and Jesus.  The official asked Jesus to go with him to heal his son who was near death.  Jesus replied, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”  The official still insisted that Jesus go with him.  Jesus turned the tables on him, most likely to test his faith, and instructed him to return home, assuring him that his son would be well.  Indeed, the son recovered.

On December 9, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego on a hill at Tepeyac, Mexico.  She instructed Juan Diego to go to the bishop and request that a chapel be built in her honor so that she might relieve the distress of all who came to her in their need.

The bishop was skeptical on Juan Diego’s message and told him, after subsequent appearances, that he would need a sign.  On December 12th, Juan Diego was on his way to see the bishop and Mary appeared to him and instructed him to gather some flowers that were growing out of season and take them to the bishop.

Juan Diego gathered the flowers into his cloak.  When Juan Diego took the flowers to the bishop, he let them fall out of his mantle and, left behind, was the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary which the bishop immediately venerated and afterward, he authorized the building.

Sadly, it is true that we often demand great signs from God before we are willing to believe.  Today’s feast reminds us that God is often present to us in great signs and wonders.  Yet, myriads of times, He is there in simplicity and it takes a great faith to see those moments.

We celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary today on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and thank God for giving her to us and for working great signs through her.  We also ask God to give us the simplicity of Mary to be able to see him in the small things in our lives and to respond to Him in faithfulness and trust.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray a favorite Marian devotion today or read the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe.