In his Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), the Holy Father refers to the “Great Sign” of the “woman clothed with the sun” from chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation as representing “the mutual relationship between the mystery of the Church and Mary.”
This “Woman” is Our Lady of Guadalupe. The “Woman” described in the book of Revelation (see Rev 12:1-2) is the same as Our Lady of Guadalupe who also appears in her image as a great sign in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and pregnant with child.
Our Lady of Guadalupe appears in her image as a pregnant woman, signified by the sash tied above her womb and confirmed by gynecological measurements.
The association of Our Lady of Guadalupe with chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation dates from 1648 when the historian Miguel Sanchez first wrote of it. The association was also made in poetry by a seventeenth century nun, Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz, who wrote, “This marvel composed of flowers, Divine American Protectress who from a rose of Castile is transformed into a Mexican rose; she whose proud feet made the Dragon humbly bend his neck”.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is shown in artwork as protecting children from this Red Dragon. See Rev 12:4. This “American Protectress” is also the Protectress of the Unborn.
She said to Juan Diego, “I will give all my protection to the people. I am the merciful mother of all mankind… Am I not your fountain of life?” She came to Tepeyac to replace Tonantzin, the false mother goddess that was worshiped there. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a mother who protects her children, both born and unborn, from death.
When Pope John Paul II dedicated a chapel to Our Lady of Guadalupe next to St. Peter’s tomb in the Basilica in Rome, he prayed that she would “always defend the gift of life.”
Cardinal John O’Connor said, “We commend the Pro-Life Movement of the Archdiocese of New York to the protection and guidance of Our Lady of Guadalupe…Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for America, pray for the unborn.”
With the title of Protectress of the Unborn, we place under her patronage and protection the Pro-Life Movement and all unborn children. We beg her protection of the mothers of the unborn and the children within their wombs. We ask her to help these mothers to bring their children to birth and to save the souls of those who have been killed by abortions and those who were responsible for them. This has been done on many occasions with the Missionary Image by an Act of Consecration.
In his Gospel of Life, the Holy Father develops the symbolism of the “Woman” and the “Red Dragon” contained in the Book of Revelation. He says,
The ‘Great Sign’ of the ‘Woman’ (Rev 12:1) is accompanied by ‘another sign which appeared in heaven: a great Red Dragon’ (Rev 12:3), which represents Satan, the personal power of evil, as well as all the powers of evil at work in history and opposing the Church’s mission…
Mary thus helps the Church to realize that life is always at the center of a great struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness. The Dragon wishes to devour ‘the child brought forth’ (see Rev 12:4), a figure of Christ, whom Mary brought forth ‘in the fullness of time’ (Gal 4:4) and whom the Church must unceasingly offer to people in every age. But in a way that child is also a figure of every person, every child, especially every helpless baby whose life is threatened, because – as the Council reminds us – ‘by His Incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every person.’ It is precisely in the ‘flesh’ of every person that Christ continues to reveal Himself and to enter into fellowship with us, so that rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ. This is the fascinating but also demanding truth which Christ reveals to us and which His Church continues untiringly to proclaim: ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.’ Mt 18:5; ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Mt 25:40.
The Holy Father concludes his great encyclical with this prayer to Mary,
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life:
Look down, O Mother
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.
For stories of life and hope see our catalog and order my video, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Hope! and my book, Teresita’s Choices, A Testimony of Life, Healing and Hope.