The Rainbow on the Mantle of Guadalupe

First she deigned to let herself be seen by those who have suffered exclusion inside the temples, their names: LGBTIQ+; and it was later that her precious and beloved Image appeared in front of the religious authorities.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022, was a historic day for the rainbow Catholic communities, since at the feet of the Virgin of Guadalupe, we were blessed and received with open arms as a mother does. We carried in our hands, like Saint Juan Diego, the rainbow tilma filled with symbolic flowers that represented the souls of those who, because of our diverse sexuality, have been victims of marginalization and oblivion in many of our spaces of faith.

During the pilgrimage through the central aisle of the Guadalupe enclosure and accompanied by the entrance song, the questions resounded in our rainbow minds as they did to Juan Diego:

“Perchance am I worthy, am I deserving of what I hear? Perhaps I am only dreaming? Perhaps I only see it as if between dreams?”… And when the chanting suddenly ceased, when it stopped being heard, then he heard them calling him from above the cerrillo, they said to him: ‘Juanito, Juan Dieguito.’ Then he dared to go to where they were calling him; no disturbance troubled his heart nor did anything upset him, but rather he felt joyful and happy in every way, he went up to the hill to go and see where they were calling him from.” (Nican Mopohua 9; 12 and 13).

And so we arrived where they were calling us. “We are here to thank you that you love us, that you receive us with your maternal heart full of affection, and that you bless us so that we may continue in our Fourth Assembly studying, praying and organizing ourselves to work all in favor of Inclusion and the construction of a Synodal Church.” (Homily September 14, 2022, Gonzalo Rosas sj).

Our rainbow hearts burned, we could see it, we could feel it, it was enough to look around to feel the presence of God in those who were present and participated in such an emotional celebration. At no time did we feel tension, but rather love and acceptance for those of us who for a long time have suffered intolerance and exclusion. The words of Mary of Guadalupe to Juan Diego were more alive than ever:

“For, in truth, I am honored to be your compassionate mother, yours and all of you who live together on this earth, and also of all the other varied races of men, those who love me; those who call me, those who seek me, those who trust in me. For there, indeed, I will hear their cry, their sorrow, to remedy, to cure all their different sorrows, their miseries, their pains.” (Nican Mopohua – 29 to 32).

And as almost 500 years ago of the apparitions of Guadalupe, her love was also accompanied by a request: “…go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will tell him how I send you…” (Nican Mopohua – 33); likewise, as people who belong to the rainbow Catholic communities we have received the mission to approach the hierarchical and regular Church to build bridges and work together in creating safe spaces of faith for those who live in diversity.

However, like Juan Diego, sometimes we have not been heard or spaces have been closed, just because of the fear of embracing what is different, because it is out of the “norms”. Nevertheless, Mary of Guadalupe asks us to insist, she asks us to trust that the message we carry comes from God, because it is a message of love and inclusion.

Undoubtedly, this rainbow celebration was a reminder not to forget our mission to bring the face of welcome, love and inclusion to all people. Our Lady of Guadalupe reminds us of her maternal bond by calling us, as she did Juan Diego: my little one. This smallness does not disqualify us, but on the contrary, it shows us that from that reality our vocation must include doing something great: to bring faith and hope to all people who are losing it.

Finally, let us make the sweet and loving words of the Virgin of Guadalupe resound in our rainbow lives, especially when we feel the bitter loneliness generated by swimming against the current:

“Am I not here, who have the honor and joy of being your mother? Are you not under my shade and shelter? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything else? Let nothing else afflict you, let nothing else trouble you…” (Nican Mopohua – 119 and 120).

The challenge is great, but we have been entrusted with a beautiful mission that can only flourish if we welcome it in our hearts and believe that God accompanies us and guides us across all the rainbow…

Antonio Ortiz Siliceo, September 2022