Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the America’s and of Relevant Radio®. Our Lady’s apparition in the year 1531 resulted in the conversion of millions of people in Mexico, and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is still strong today.
This morning on The Inner Life,® Fr. Tom Wilson shared a story of conversion that shows how Our Lady of Guadalupe is still drawing souls closer to herself and to the Lord. Fr. Wilson said:
“One of my first real encounters with Our Lady of Guadalupe as an adult was when I was a seminarian in St. Paul, and a group from the diocese was running a Marian conference on the grounds of the seminary. There was a priest from one of the neighboring dioceses who was one of the main speakers, and he was sharing his own personal story of vocation and relationship with the Blessed Mother.
He explained to us that by some family quirk he was actually baptized Catholic, but raised Lutheran. It was a family that was faithful to Christ, but didn’t have much contact with the Blessed Mother as a youth. In his late teens he knew he had a call to serve in ministry, and he had to figure out whether he was Catholic or Lutheran.
He did the research and the discernment and decided he was Catholic. He did the work to get formed, ended up in the seminary, was ordained and was a very faithful priest. And as a young priest, he was assigned to a parish, and one of the first things that the ladies of the parish asked him to do was lead a pilgrimage to Mexico City and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
He was not comfortable with that. He had kind of accepted intellectually the concept of Mary, but hadn’t really received her into his heart. But he loved his people, and so he said he would go and be their spiritual advisor.
So he goes down there, and as he’s celebrating Mass at the Basilica, with dozens and dozens of other priests from throughout the Americas, and he hears as audible a voice as he has ever heard in his spiritual life that says, ‘If I want to use My mother to convert 10 million people in seven years, what business is it of yours?’
And from that moment, he became devoted to Our Lady, especially Our Lady of Guadalupe, as the Lord Himself told him that she was there doing His work, and the priest had no business questioning His work.
He’s been a real apostle about our Blessed Mother ever since. Not just intellectually understanding the teachings of the Church about her, but also realizing her motherly and nurturing presence in the lives of our people.
I think sometimes those of us who are cradle Catholics, we have the images and we pray the Hail Mary, but sometimes it takes a moment for Mary to become very, very real to us.”
Listen to the story below:
The Inner Life airs weekdays at 12:00 p.m. Eastern/9:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio.