Mexico City, Mexico, Tuesday 10th September 2019
Sabrina :Monsignor Chavez, I would be very interested to hear from you what motivated you to spend all your life to learn more, to study Our Lady of Guadalupe and also to spread the message She gave the world in 1531.
Monsignor Chavez :I believe that question should be for Our Lady of Guadalupe Herself. Why did she choose me?
I do not know. To be a priest, I studied philosophy, theology; I was sent to study history but later I met HER; I have always been Guadalupano because we, Mexicans, bear Guadalupe DNA since the moment of our birth. But I met Her and I think She was the first one to begin all of this. I do not know how to thank Our Blessed Mother of Guadalupe for having noticed me a little, because it has been an adventure and we never finish discovering Her, it is unbelievable!
It has strengthened my priesthood, my Christian life, my WHOLE being and everything I can do. It is an adventure, because I try to know her more in depth and to send the message to the whole world that, more than ever, we need, not only in Latin America, not only in Mexico, but the whole world needs the message from Our Lady of Guadalupe which is so topical. A friend of mine who is a priest tells me: “hey Eduardo you used to be so normal and now everything is Guadalupe, Guadalupe, Guadalupe, Guadalupe” and I tell him: “You are right, Guadalupe fills all my world” let us talk about something else and he says:“like what?” Let us talk about shoes and so I said “have you noticed the little shoe of Our Lady of Guadalupe (laughs) it is incredible and I mean it! this is unbelievable, as well as the four-petal flower in her womb and the clasped hands and her dark skin.” I am a painter, so the very image of Herself, the fact that it materialized spontaneously, that some acid was accidentally spilled on Her and nothing happened, that a bomb exploded in 1921 and nothing happened, I think all this is a message which the world, every human being’s heart today have to know. It is so important that people regain faith and the sense of their existence, so we must give every heart this treasure.
Sabrina :I remember the first time of my life in front of Her, I could have died at that moment and it would have been fine. Look at Her, this is a reproduction but when we are looking at our Lady of Guadalupe, all of us are visionaries because we ALL can see what Juan Diego saw when the image was given to him. How do you feel, do you remember how you felt the first time that you approached Her, that you watched Her with your own eyes?
Mgr Chavez :Yes, what you pointed out Sabrina is So right, So true, So beautiful. All of us who see Our lady of Guadalupe, in some way, can testify about what SHE is and what She does in our hearts. She has a merciful gaze, a gaze full of joy, of peace that eliminates every fear, every anguish, every calamity in our personal and community lives. With Her you may be sure that all She tells San Juan Diego applies to each of us: Don’t be afraid! It is me here, who has the honor, the joy of being your mother!
It is really true that we become witnesses, visionaries of something so big, because she left us her imprinted image like NEVER before. The first time I saw the original image of Our Blessed Mother, it was precisely when I still was at the seminary and it was being transferred from the old basilica to the new one in 1976.
I was studying philosophy at the seminary and this first time I was so struck that I did not really acknowledge her… I had probably seen Her from a distance in the shrine… but at THAT moment, while walking from one shrine to the other, I felt in pilgrimage, in Her safe hands. Lateron I was able to see her all the time, especially when I had the honor of becoming the postulator for San Juan Diego’s cause and I had the chance of entering the tiny room sheltering Her image. The principal at that time was Msr Enrique Gleenie who asked me to talk about the Tilma whenever a group went in to see Her. It was a joy for me to contemplate Her too at the same time, to do it over and over again and to HELP other people contemplate Our Lady of Guadalupe, paying attention to this or that detail. I knew that during this contact with Her, She touched the hearts in different ways, it is a kind of a mystery meeting with God through Our Lady of Guadalupe, because She is expectant, She brings Jesus to the center of this image and while contemplating Her, we contemplate the source of that merciful gaze, Jesus.
Sabrina :You met three Popes: Saint John Paul II, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis; the three of them have been in love with Our Lady of Guadalupe. What could you share with us, since they talked to you about it?
Mgr Chavez :Well, Saint John Paul II came for the first time in 1979 and the moment he met Our Lady of Guadalupe he knew, he sensed how to conduct his apostleship, his mission throughout the world, thanks to Our Lady of Guadalupe. HE FELL IN LOVE! And that is certain, because whenever he came, he would gaze at Her, he even kissed Her. It was incredible, just like the things he said many times. I remember his words in 1999, when he named Her patroness of the American Continent: he stressed that She was the model for perfectly enculturated evangelization, which is true.
She knows how to place Jesus at the center of the human heart, she knows how to collect the seeds from the Verb and enhance them to the fulfillment of Jesus.
John Paul II was in love with Our Lady of Guadalupe. When, as a postulator I worked close to this Pope, I saw that his love was so strong that, while he was very ill and his fifth visit to Mexico to canonize Juan Diego was nearing, everybody in Rome told him not to travel, due to his weakness. The plan was for him to go to Canada, to Guatemala and then to Mexico for the canonization of Juan Diego. When his aides had spoken, he asked: “have you finished? I must go to Mexico even in a wheelchair or on a stretcher, I have to go kiss Our Lady of Guadalupe because it ALL started with that image.” I was there when he canonized Juan Diego here in the Tepeyac, looking at Her.
The German Pope emeritus Benedict XVI loves her too, dearly, wonderfully and he had the intuition of gathering all bishops on the continent, acknowledging what St. John Paul II had done. (naming Her patroness of the American continent) during a mass on 12 December 2011, a mass dedicated to Her at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. ALL cardinals and bishops of the Americas were there. In 2012, again on 12 December, he invited everyone to speak about Our Lady of Guadalupe: all the Vatican curia, cardinals, bishops and the most important laymen of church movements were there. Thanks to him, the message was known in depth.
And Pope Francis! Pope Francis loves Our Lady of Guadalupe in such a way that the last church he built in Buenos Aires (at his own expense), when he still was Cardinal Bergoglio, was dedicated to Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. When I went to Rome with a group to visit him, he showed us pictures of this church he was so proud of. When he was already Pope, he asked Cardinal Norberto Rivera from Mexico to consecrate that church. Another beautiful memory with Pope Francis is when I showed him the book I had finished: the Nican Mopohua.He told me “go on, go on getting deeper in the Guadalupean event. Go on spreading the message throughout the world for us to understand”. How can I forget that moment! Another highlight was when he asked, in all humility, the Mexicans to let him be with Our Lady of Guadalupe in the tiny room sheltering Her image. There, he gazed at Her for more than twenty minutes. We all saw how deep in prayer he was, contemplating, not just looking at Her, putting himself under Her merciful gaze; such moments are unforgettable.
Sabrina :So, three different popes have encouraged you, Monsignor Eduardo Chavez, to spread the message of Guadalupe and we are so joyful, so happy, because you have agreed to come and join us for a first Congress, which we are organizing in Medjugorje in May 2020. We will be delighted to share Her with such a large crowd that comes to pray in the Shrine of Medjugorje, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Why did you agree? and what motivates you to come with us?
Mgr Chavez :It is a beautiful question because there are many elements in it. First: I am telling you this from my heart, I feel undeserving, I really mean it, to be HER messenger. Second: I am convinced that She wants to speak there, at that moment, Our Lady of Guadalupe does not convey a historical message. The message She gave from December 9 to 12, 1531 when she appeared, is a message that still continues. She wants to spread the word of her son Jesus and She wants to do it in that specific, blessed place. Third: the motivation of so many people involved is so pleasing to me because it is precisely a woman, Mary, who is bringing Jesus to us and she chose a lay person, the simple, humble Juan Diego, to talk about all this, but always under the bishop’s authority. This ecclesial message is what we need, a message full of hope and full of mercy and we are talking about a Jewish woman, with the Jewish name Maria and also a name of Arabian origin, Guadalupe, in which SHE is harmony, new life for all people of the world. She gives us her son Jesus Christ. I am very happy, I say this in all humility, I do not know why Our Blessed Mother of Guadalupe still takes notice of me (laughs) but it fills me with joy. It is a huge honor She bestows upon me, enabling me to have a part in all this, but I am sure it is She places her words in each heart. She does it all.
Sabrina :Why do you think it is important nowadays that we be audacious and go to places where we haven’t been before, for example, you have never been to Medjugorje and you said yes, why is it important that we go to all these places which are unknown to us?
Mgr Chavez :Of course, all places are important, but especially Medjugorje, now that the Vatican has encouraged visits to the sanctuary … it is true, I have heard some people say: “Why do you come from Mexico if Mexico is your home?” I believe her Heart is in every heart, in fact Tepeyac means “the hill of heart” and I am sure She has an important intention to make this place a blessed one as well, where She wants to manifest Herself in the Tepeyac of each human being. This is why I am at Her service, happy to do it and also accomplishing the mission that has been directly entrusted to me by Mexico’s cardinal. Let us remember that Our Lady of Guadalupe submits to the authority of the Bishop of Mexico and it is him who asks me to help spread the Virgin of Guadalupe’s message around the world. This is why I am so extremely happy.
Sabrina :We came to Mexico to talk to you, to invite you to Medjugorje and my heart was overflowing with joy, because you also agreed to accompany us to the Holy Land. I cannot tell you how happy I am to know you will be with us in the Holy Land and that you will be able to also speak to the pilgrims and to the population of the Holy Land, Christians and also non-Christians, who will come and join us to hear you speak about Her.
Mgr Chavez :I have no doubt it has really been Our Lady of Guadalupe, a woman who bears a Jewish and Arabic name and gives it to a native of Mexico. What I mean to say is that talking about this actually means being part of the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a blessed place where Jews, Arabs and Christians live together… wow! I thought this was going to happen, but not with me, I thought this was going to happen much further on! But I do believe that we need it NOW! Our families, our communities, our countries are getting out of our hands, our countries are at a commercial war, arms, drugs, prostitution, this is a terrible war. We are now in need of a message to restore the human being, a message in favor of life. Let us remember that she carried Jesus in her Immaculate womb. Also, I am going to talk to you precisely on 12 December, the day of Her appearance, when She conveyed the profound meaning of the Easter message. I will talk about the place where all this happened, explain why this is something real, that truly existed. She is going to talk about the real Easter of Jesus, it is just amazing! And then the circle will close again because, according to what I understand, we will also visit the site of Annunciation and it is our Virgin of Guadalupe, who said: “yes, let it be done unto me according to Your word”. She is the Virgin Mother of Jesus and all this happens in country of Passover; it is something incredible! I am thrilled, but we need to pray a lot so that SHE will touch the hearts.
Sabrina :Is it time for the whole world, all the people of goodwill to join together, to take hands and under Her mantle, join Her in prayer for the healing of the world?
Mgr Chavez :Yes, for the healing of our hearts, lives, minds and souls. For us to be really brothers and sisters, the unique family of God. What She asks is a new civilization of God´s love. We will be able to do it with HER, because She is bringing us Jesus in HER hands. Alleluia!
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