Msgr. Eduardo Chavez has a convincing style. When he talks about Our Lady of Guadalupe, his face lights up, his voice rises in excitement, and he moves his hands quickly to emphasize his points.
As the featured expert on the Guadalupe event at the Marian Congress, Msgr. Chavez has kept large audiences in rapt attention for the past two days while expounding on every detail surrounding Mary’s appearance to Juan Diego.
Pacing the stage, and occasionally walking into the audience, Msgr. Chavez has gone through the frames of his PowerPoint presentations with a truly religious fervor, almost like a televangelist working his audience. Yet his message about Our Lady of Guadalupe is so pure and heartfelt that the truly Catholic audience has responded with respectful silence and joyful applause.
Msgr. Chavez is the postulator of the cause for Juan Diego and canon of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, where the original image on Juan Diego’s tilma is displayed. A little more than a year ago, the Knights of Columbus began an association with him in preparation for this Marian Congress, and for other plans to spread the message of Guadalupe throughout the world.
On Friday, Msgr. Chavez continued his presentation on the background of Mary’s apparition and the full meaning of the message given to Juan Diego.
Here are some interesting points:
• According to Aztec prophecy, the year 1531 (when Our Lady appeared) was supposed to be a year of great changes.
• That year there were three earthquakes in Mexico and an eclipse of the sun.
• Mary appeared on the most important feast day of the Aztec religion, signifying that she was bringing something new.
• To replace the Aztec practice of human sacrifice that the Spaniards has suppressed, Mary brought the final sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
“The Aztecs had taken the heart and blood of human victims to feed the gods of their religion,” Msgr. Chavez pointed out. “Now Holy Mary of Guadalupe was showing them the real sacrifice in the blood of Jesus Christ. In the image of Guadalupe, Mary is pregnant; in the center of the image is Jesus Christ in her womb. She is saying you don’t kill victims to feed gods, but the Son of God will give you his own flesh and blood in the Eucharist, to nourish you with eternal life.”
The Aztecs were sad and fatalistic after the Spanish conquerors took away their altars of sacrifice and smashed their temples. But Mary said that God wishes to dwell within them in the Eucharist. “That is why she sent Juan Diego to the bishop to ask for a house for God, a church,” Msgr. Chavez said. “She is asking for a place for the priests and bishops to present the bread of Life to the people.”
In asking for a temple, he said, Mary is asking for the establishment of a new civilization in the heart of the New World. “This would be a civilization of love for all people,” he noted. “This is still the time of the new civilization. We still need to build this civilization in obedience to the request of the Mother of God.”