The Word Among Us

Saints & Heroes Resources

Mary, Mother of Life

Our Lady of Guadalupe

By: Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, miraculously imprinted on St. Juan Diego’s cloak, speaks a message about life. First, it shows that Mary is carrying Christ within her.

She is wearing a dark cord with two tassels hanging down from her waist, called a cinta, which was worn only by pregnant women. And photographs of the image, studied by scientists, reveal a slight protrusion of the abdomen, indicating Our Lady is carrying the Christ Child in her womb.

An interesting symbol of life on the image is a particular four-petaled flower called the “Flower of the Sun,” which is placed directly over Mary’s womb. To the Aztecs, who worshipped the sun, the appearance of this sun flower heralded the birth of someone great who would inaugurate a new era. Mary’s Son would be the Son of life. In fact, Mary described herself to St. Juan Diego as the mother of all the living.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe communicated a sense of dignity to each person and of the sanctity of human life. This brought an end to the practice of human sacrifice among the Aztecs. Mary told the people about a God who sacrificed his own body and blood so that all people could live. And within ten years of Mary’s appearance, nearly nine million Aztec people embraced the Catholic faith.

Through her appearance as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary teaches us respect for the dignity of human life in all its manifestations—for the unborn, for the disabled, for the elderly, and for the terminally ill. That is why we pray to Mary to restore the sacredness of life, especially under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Mary truly deserves to be called the mother of life. Let us ask for her prayers so that we may help to restore the God-given dignity of every human life that has been degraded by abortion, euthanasia, or assisted suicide. Furthermore, let us ask her prayers so that all may come to the fullness of life that her Son promised when he said, “I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

This is excerpted from Following Mary to Jesus, by Andrew Apostoli, CFR. Visit the book section of our website to learn more about Following Mary to Jesus or other books related to Mary.