Our Lady of Guadalupe: Pilgrimage Experience and Beyond
It is hard to know where to start to describe what I experienced on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe….I went anticipating experiencing a physical destination; I returned having encountered the person who is my mama Mary. I will be “unpacking” this encounter for many months, if not years to come.
The codex found in the tilma/the image of OLG is fascinating and miraculous. However, experiencing and encountering Our Lady’s image through the eyes of JPII’s Theology of the Body (TOB) and Christopher West’s interpretation, rocked my world! I found myself disturbed (in a challenging & good way) and also elated at the same time.
You have heard the enemy deceives by twisting and distorting truths; in short, he lies. The #1 lie I fell for: Growing up, I felt unloved and unwanted, tolerated at best by my mother. Nothing I did, changed her indifference to me. I so desired to feel loved, wanted, and cherished by her. Through TOB teachings presented by Dr. West, this painful childhood memory /belief was placed in a context that for the first time made sense. Knowing we are all made to be loved and to love, this was a rightly ordered deep desire for any child. The frustration of not feeling the love I so desired ultimately manifested itself in anger—not a healthy response but a logical, all be it, a disordered one. I was an angry child with a volatile temper. My mother and I did not get along.
[Disclaimer: As there are many folks who knew my mom, it is likely early childhood hospitalizations and postpartum depression played into our not bonding, for my mother was a sweet, kind, and gentle woman—our personalities simply clashed.]
Through Unbound prayer, I have dealt with this issue some time ago, but as with God, there is always more He wants to give us. The “more” I experienced through/with OLG, and am still experiencing each day, was received when taking precise, painful memories to Mary’s womb; it is there that these deep wounds are being healed and my heart is being regenerated and nourished in her unconditional, loving, warm embrace. I am experiencing the love of a mother, like I have never known.
As always, Mary leads us to her Son, our Savior, Jesus. It is as if I was drinking from puddles around the well before OLG. Mary has brought me to the well that is her love joined with Jesus that is infinitely deep and I am just starting to drink from it.
It is like after trying to trudge up a mountain for years, being suddenly transported to the summit by Mary. I would tell anyone: If there is an ache, a sense of yearning for more, a desire that can’t be verbalized, even a slight curiosity, consider the possibility it is Jesus, through the gentle coaxing of His mother bidding you to “do whatever He tells you to” and attend a Christopher West TOB class, event, pilgrimage; he (and He) will not disappoint and it will change your life.
Update: At O, Come Let Us Adore on 12/10, while resting in Mary’s womb, my mom joined me there. Mary hosted a wonderful reunion for us. I was able to love on my mother as I never had while she was alive, in a way I know she deserved and desired to be loved by her daughter. Thank you, Mama Mary!!
Editor’s Note: Thank you, Jan, for sharing your beautiful testimony of the Lord’s and Our Lady’s goodness!