A Mary Moment Monday post

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Paul Badde, author of the new book, The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus. When I was reading his bio, I couldn’t help but notice that he wrote a book about Our Lady of Guadalupe, Maria of Guadalupe: Shaper of History, Shaper of Hearts.

He told me, in the interview, with quite a bit of enthusiasm, that Maria of Guadalupe was a precursor to The Face of God. He said that he felt that Mary led him to this current project with the Veil of Manoppello. In fact, he encouraged me to read Maria before I read Face of God, and that’s just what I did. His insistence spoke to where I was in the calendar year — the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 coming up soon — and where I was in my pregnancy — ready to have the baby within a month, and wondering which Marian feast the birth would fall on.

My devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe runs deep and it is in this title of Mary that I find myself most able to relate to Mary as a person, as a mommy, as an approachable intercessor. I had a secret hope that my baby would be born on this feast, but I was pretty sure he wouldn’t wait that long…and sure enough, he was born two weeks before the Guadalupe feast day. (I’m not complaining. The day he was born is not only a Marian feast, but a family feast as well.)

Among the Marian books I’ve read in the last few years, I’d have to rank this as one of my new favorites. Last year, I read Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love, by Carl Anderson and Eduardo Chavez. At the time, I was so enthusiastic about the quality of it that I lent it to my pastor with the breathless insistence that he HAD to read it. Reading that book helped me understand the Guadalupan message and the importance of the symbolism. Anderson and Chavez gave me new perspective and insight into a title of Mary that I had loved rather blindly, just because I liked it.

Badde’s Maria is a great companion work for anyone with any sort of interest in Our Lady of Guadalupe. Not only does he delve into the story in ways that I haven’t encountered before — from a European standpoint, for one thing, which is quite a bit different from our North American “everyone knows about Guadalupe” view — but he also shares his story of meeting Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It is, at its core, a story, and that’s what kept me turning the pages and carrying it around with me, in the hopes that I would have a chance to tuck a few more minutes of reading time into my day. As a journalist, Badde talks to many different people, and when he relates what they’ve told him, he does it in a way that makes you feel like you’re sitting right there in the room with them.

This is not a book of sappy devotion or compelling evidence for why everyone should believe in and venerate Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe. What Badde does, instead, is weave a series of personal experiences and observations in with facts, history, and interviews. The result is a delightful read and a lovely aid for anyone wanting to better understand and explore this apparition of Mary.

One of the best reads of the year for me, and highly recommended.