Our Lady of Guadalupe and Spiritual Multiplication
You might rightfully ask, “Why? What does Our Lady of Guadalupe have to do with spiritual multiplication?” Well, Mary comes to us under different titles for our sake — to help us understand that whatever the time, place or challenge, she is particularly suited to helping us. So, then — what’s so special to us in 2018 about the Mestiza virgin of the 1500s?
In the Grip of Satan
The Aztec culture was unprecedented in its cruelty toward friend or foe, whether they were men, women or children. Human sacrifice was a regular part of life for these people. For example, early estimations said that one out of every five children in Mexico was sacrificed.
One orgy of sacrifice warrants special note, as described by the late Warren Carroll in “Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness.” In 1487, Tlacaellel, the architect of the Aztec empire, dedicated the new pyramid-temple of Huitzilopochtili, situated in the center of what is now Mexico City. Huitzilopochtili, an Aztec god who was the principal deity of Mexico, was known as Hummingbird Wizard, the Lover of Hearts and the Drinker of Blood. The ceremony of dedication went on for four days and four nights, where more than eighty thousand men were sacrificed.
Let us not gloss over the sheer size of this number. In his book, Carrol says that “Nowhere else in human history has Satan so formalized and institutionalized his worship with so many of his own actual titles and symbols” (9).
Peer-to-Peer Conversion: A Guadalupan Specialty in Dethroning Satan
At the time of this sacrifice, in a northern town a little way off there lived a 13-year-old peasant to whom the Blessed Virgin would show forth her love and bring to Jesus Christ in baptism. His baptismal name was Juan Diego.
Through Juan Diego’s relationship with the Blessed Virgin, we witnessed a people to come in droves to Christ. In 10 years, 10 million indigenous people were baptized into the Catholic Church. This explosion of baptism was brought about by a peer-to-peer chain reaction similar to FOCUS’ model of spiritual multiplication. The postulator for the cause of canonization of Juan Diego, Msgr. Eduardo Chávez, writing with Carl Anderson in “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love,” described it like this:
“…Instead of conversions being inspired from the top down, that is, from political dignitaries to the people, the Guadalupan event allowed the evangelization of the New World to spread through personal exchanges between the Indians, especially within the family, working as a powerful complement to the work of the Spanish missionaries. As one missionary at the time recalled:
In the beginning, [the Indians] started going [to receive baptism] 200 at a time, then 300 at a time, always growing and multiplying, until they reached thousands; some from two days journey, others from three, others from four, and some from farther away. This caused great admiration in those who saw it. Grown people brought their children to be baptized, and the young baptized brought their parents; the husband brought his wife, and the wife, her husband.”
Guadalupe for Today
When we first heard of the scale and goriness of human sacrifice among the Aztecs, horror should have struck our hearts. However, let us not overlook the cruelties of our own culture. This is a battle for all cultures of any time, running deeper than flesh and blood. It is a battle against principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12), and our culture can make that battle either harder or easier for our children.
As Pope St. John Paul II said in his encyclical “Redemptoris Mater,” “before anyone else it was God himself, the Eternal Father, who entrusted himself to the Virgin of Nazareth, giving her his own Son in the mystery of the Incarnation.”
Let us ask her once again to perform the miracle of peer-to-peer evangelization in a culture in concert with the devil, blessing our efforts to spiritually multiply. Let us call on Our Lady of Guadalupe with one strong voice, petitioning her to vanquish the evil one’s reign here and now. As Peter Kreeft’s satirical demon hissed in “The Snakebite Letters,” “… that old bear — he knows her power as few of his soldiers do…Remember this — be as sure of this as the old Polish bear is: Where she comes, He comes!”
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, pray for us!