I stared at the screen, frowning. QuickBooks would NOT let me finish an important invoice my boss had asked me to prepare.
We’re a small staff at the community newspaper where I write, so we all have to pitch in to get things done. And that’s how a wordsmith like The Soulful Catholic ended up taking on preparing invoices for our esteemed advertising clients.
Did I mention my math skills are abominable? That I had to drop college algebra?
Previous to my run-in with QuickBooks, I’d been in my car listening to a podcast from The Diocese of Phoenix in which Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted spoke about Our Lady of Guadalupe.
I have a rather shocking confession to make: I’ve never felt particularly drawn toward her. I’m not sure why, but she hadn’t really touched my heart — or, as is more likely the case, I hadn’t opened my heart to HER for some reason.
Bishop Olmsted spoke about the profound effect Our Lady of Guadalupe had on the Aztec people. Their pagan religion taught them that if they did not sacrifice their children to their god in a most brutal way, violently ripping out their hearts, their crops would fail.
“They didn’t want to sacrifice their children,” Bishop Olmsted explained, and it caused them great sorrow to do so. They truly believed that if their tears of anguish did not water the earth, their god would not be appeased.
Growing up listening to my mom’s stories about how our family’s ancestors fled starvation due to the potato crop failure of mid-19th century Ireland, my interest was piqued. More than 1 million men, women and children starved to death on the Emerald Isle and just as many left the country.
What Our Lady of Guadalupe taught the Aztec people was that yes, a sacrifice was necessary, but it was not their children who needed to be sacrificed. Instead, God had sent His own Son into the world to redeem it by His death on the cross.
The saving message of the Gospel as shared by la Guadalupana, as she is affectionately known throughout Latin America, led to the rapid conversion of 9 million people.
But back to my QuickBooks dilemma. I tried every which way to get the annoying invoice completed. I tried Googling a solution. I tried rebooting. Drop-down menus. Nothing. And the only thing that stood between me and my, albeit brief, Christmas break, was getting this little puppy ready to print so the company could get paid.
“OK, Our Lady of Guadalupe. I’ve never been drawn to you under this title, but I’m going to promise you something: If you’ll intercede for me and help me fix this invoice, I promise I’ll promote your devotion.”
What did I have to lose? I’d never prayed like this before and I held my breath, wondering what would happen next.
Now, for all of my dear Christian brethren who are not Catholic, please don’t sweat this. No human person ever loved Jesus more than His mother. No one (except Jesus) ever did the will of God more perfectly than Mary. She trusted in the will of God even when she couldn’t understand it. She guided and formed Jesus as a child and young man, persuaded Him to perform His first miracle and stood at the foot of the Cross as He bled to save us all.
She has appeared at various times throughout history and sparked mass conversion, perhaps nowhere more dramatically than Tepeyac where she visited the humble Juan Diego.
Over the years, I’ve covered the Honor Your Mother event in Downtown Phoenix that draws thousands of people for a day of prayer and pageantry centered around the beloved Guadalupana. The ebullient, colorful, good-natured outpouring of affection for the Mother of God is astonishing. You’ve got little kids dressed up like St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe; dancers in brilliant costumes; people carrying banners and pounding out a driving beat on their drums. They LOVE her! She brings them to Jesus. She doesn’t look down on them.
She is one of them.
Well, I’m going to claim her now, too. Because not 20 seconds after making my promise, the invoice was finished without any issues whatsoever!
So now I’m making good on my promise and telling you to get to know la Virgen. She’s not just a great mother — she’s the mother of our Savior Jesus Christ and she points us to her Divine Son every time.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending your Son Jesus Christ into the world to redeem us. Thank you for hearing our prayers for the huge things, the mundane things and the little things. We know that You know what’s in our heart before we even speak. Thank You for sending Our Lady of Guadalupe to bring us all closer to You. Amen.