Links for Learning
Curriculum Connections for High School Teachers and Students
This months Links for Learners will support high school
World historyworld event timelines parallel
to Mary's apparitions
Christian lifestylesimportance of faith and
prayer; Mary's role in evangelization
Sciencerole of paleontology in miracle authentication
Understanding Basic Terms in This Months Article
Look for these key words and terms as you read the article. Definitions or
explanations can be researched from the article itself, or from the resource
materials cited throughout the Link for Learners.
Does Mary Make Her Presence Known?
What reason could Mary possibly have for appearing to a man
like Juan Diego? Was it to magnify her own name? Or to have
yet another church built? To better understand Mary's purpose,
first review the story
of Juan Diego, and especially Mary's
words to him. What elements can you identify in the story?
It should be clear that Mary chooses a person of faith and
simplicity. She then calls forth a deeper response in faith.
She asks for prayer. She directs Diego to tell others about
her message. Mary always talks of Jesus. She requests that
a church be built in Tepeyac as a place where many believers
can gather in faith and prayer.
All this aims at strengthening faith in her son Jesus. In
Juan Diego's situation, she sought to support the spread of
the Christian faith in Mexico and the Americas.
Mary's appearances, her interventions in our lives, occur
in times hostile to faith. Consider a historical timeline
of the period.
Juan Diego encountered Mary in 1571. Missionaries preaching
in the Americas were associated with the Spanish conquistadors,
who were brutally suppressing native religions and oppressing
the peasants in the newly discovered land.
Yet because of Juan Diego, Indians native to Mexico and the
Americas came to believe in Christianity. They saw that Mary,
the mother of the Christian God, had spoken to one of their
own in his own language and miraculously left her image in
Look at several of Mary's other
apparitions that have occurred since Guadalupe. Reviewing
concurrent timelines will show that Mary appears in times
when faith is in crisis. Mary appeared to the teenaged Bernadette
in 1858, in a time when France was in turmoil after years
of war. She left believers with a healing spring to restore
health and, most importantly, faith.
In 1917 Mary made herself known to several children in Fatima,
Portugal, a country on the brink of totalitarianism
following the revolution of 1910. Church property was confiscated,
religious orders were broken up, and political leadership
was openly anti-religious. World War I was raging in Europe.
Yet the faith of the Christian peasants in Portugal was strong.
Mary's appearances and miraculous signs brought many back
Beginning in 1969, Mary again made her presence felt in a
series of events, this time in Akita,
Japan. Speaking to a simple Sister in her convent chapel,
Mary revealed herself as Our Lady of Sorrows, suffering because
so many rejected the love of her son Jesus. A wooden statue
of Mary in the chapel repeatedly shed human tears, including
once on television when a camera crew was doing a report on
the occurrences. Mary used the power of technology to reach
a broader audience!
Mary Choose You?
As you've been reading and thinking about Mary's apparitions,
does something familiar come to mind? Read the Gospel of Luke
1:26-56. The people like Juan Diego who hear a divine
message and respond in faith are just like Mary herself. Mary
was a poor, simple teenage girl when God's angel first spoke
to her. Yet she was extraordinarily strong in faith. The angel
Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found
favor with God." She opened her heart in faith when she
responded, "May it be done to me according to your word."
Her faith set in motion Jesus' coming into our lives.
Juan Diego, the children at Fatima, Bernadette at Lourdesall
opened their hearts to Mary's message and responded in faith.
In so doing, they played a part in spreading the word of Jesus'
Note that Mary did not communicate with the bishops of the
church. Nor with politicians. Nor with wealthy landowners
and business people. Not even with the missionaries in early
America. Rather she spoke to such as Juan Diego, the kind
of simple man who would be kept waiting for hours before reluctantly
being admitted to see his bishop, yet a man courageous enough
to be an early convert to the Christian faith.
Regretably, many of us would have to admit that even though
we may not be bishops and politicians, we nevertheless aren't
the kind of person Mary would appear to. For the most part,
we strive to be popular. We live comfortably. We often obsess
over grades. We are concerned with appearances. We can be
wise in the ways of the world. We are not proficient at listening
with an open heart. We want our own way.
Mary's messenger will always be strong in faith, a person
of prayer, open to Jesus' love.
We don't need extraordinary or miraculous interventions in
our lives in order to be a messenger of God's love. Learning
to pray with an open heart will gradually transform us into
persons of deep faith. Try taking a few minutes away from
surfing the Internet or instant-messaging, and use your computer
to pray. You can simply read a Bible
passage and let its message sink in, visit AmericanCatholic.org's
Meditations or see Sacred
Space, the site for daily 10-minute guided prayer. A simple
openness to God's words will show us how to live.
See the University of Dayton for an extensive bibliography
on Our Lady of Guadalupe.
For a glimpse at the lives of paleontologists and archeologists,
see National Geographic's Explorers-in-Residence
series. These specialists assist in authenticating miraculous
events, such as the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the
simple cloak of Juan Diego.
Try accessing some of these Internet sources for further general reference.
Be aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for downloading articles
contained within the site’s archives.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
of Vatican II
The New York Times
The Los Angeles Times
The Washington Post
The Miami Herald
The Associated Press
PathfinderAccess site to a number of online news publications
The History Channel
The Close Up Foundation Washington, D.C.-based
Channel One online resource for the school channel