“Be not Afraid,” as a theme of message at Guadalupe

"Be not Afraid," as a theme of message at Guadalupe

opened his pontificate with the proclamation “Be not Afraid” —  “Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power
the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the
vast empires of culture, civilization and development. Be not afraid!”

John Paul II put on his papal coat of arms the M for , under the cross with the motto “Totus tuus.” Our Lady provided him with inspiration and protection for his life and mission.

Our Lady said to Juan Diego on 12 december 1531:

Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son; let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart, or your countenance. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need? Do not fear illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Let not illness of your uncle affect you, because he is not going to die now if what he has himself. Be sure that he will get well.  

Monsignor Angel M. Gariby, a canon of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in mexico City said of this statement that “it is beautiful and  perfect conformity with the poetic style of the Mexican language of the prehispanic period. But its content is much richer than its poetic beauty.” (From A Handbook on Guadalupe, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate 1997). He explains that the opening is the most important part of the message: “He must fear nothing, he must let nothing discourage him, he is not alone in the world nor without help. Of whatever evils there are he must fear none. Then she tells him why his soul must be free from fear.” The reasons are:

(i) “Am I not here who am your Mother?” As the Mother of God, she is the Mother of all humanity. And a Mother cares for each of her children, Juan Diego and his uncle.
(ii) “Are you not under my shadow and protection?” The cypress and cotton trees offer shade and protection. Mary “compares herself to a tree with luxuriant foliage that protects from the heat of the sun or from rain, and gives shelter and joy to whoever takes refuge under its branches.” As a Mother, her “protection, tenderness and kindness is never exhausted.”
(iii) Am I not your fountain of life? Monsignor explains  that the root of the word translated as life is very rich (nimopaccayeliz) denotes “well being, contentment, and happiness.” Also it suggests a peaceful existence and living in some place. Thus it affirms that Mary is “the fountain, cause, or origin of good existence, of persistence, and being in peace.” Mary is the “Mother of the One Who is Life, He is the fountain of grace, which is the communication of Divine Love to the soul.” And he took his human form from her. The supernatural reality becomes concrete and palpable through her, and thus she is “the life of the soul in its joyous perfection.”
(iv) “Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms?” This picture the Monsignor says is “the sweetest and most profound.” It is a “perfect picture from family life with which the Indian was familiar.” We must understand that “the fold made in the shawl or mantle of a woman, or in a man’s tilma” is used to wrap around that which is “most cherished or precious.” It is a portable crib. The crossing of the arms is a “symbol of new born life, as fire is created from the friction of two pieces of wood.” And of course it signifies “the manner in which a mother crosses her arms when she presses her child to her part.” Thus Mary declares that “Juan Diego and all who are personified in him, lie in the warm cavity of her mantle and in the crossing of her arms.”

Monsignor  Gariby concludes: “To shelter and protect! Is there any better way of expressing the functions of a mother? In this form, with these examples, part poetical and part metaphysical, the Queen of Heaven told Juan Diego, the MExican nation, the world, that she is the one who protects and assists; that it is she who gives life and peace; that it is she who with motherly tenderness carries the child in her arms, presses it to her heart and quiet and defends it. Greater precision is impossible; greater beauty cannot be conceived.” From “the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary,” pp. 9-16.

Blessed John Paul II shared this prayer with the Church:

of the Apostles, accept our complete readiness to work for the
restoration and fulfillment of your son’s kingdom. May we not withhold
anything at all in helping to bring his salvific will to fruition. May
we be completely dedicated to the cause of the Gospel and of ultimate
peace in the world. May our struggle be firmly grounded on justice, and
be a stimulus for reciprocal charity among men and women and all
nations. 27 January 1979.

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