One of the most striking aspects of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is its simplicity. Juan Diego is a humble farmer, recently converted to the Catholic Faith. The task that Our Lady asks of her "dear little son"--to build, in Our Lady's words, "a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion"--is a relatively simple request. When I read the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe I am always amazed at the momentous impact it has had on the Catholic world. Centuries later, the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is so well-known that you can purchase candles bearing its likeness at major superstores.
And yet the story also reveals a strange paradox: simplicity is not always easy. It is not merely a lack of effort. To accomplish a simple task can, as in the case of Juan Diego, require the miraculous. In our age of modern convenience, we must be especially aware of this paradox. Too often we settle for the easy way out with the illusion that we live "the simple life." Perhaps the most obvious example is in the realm of food. Easy, convenient food is not the same thing as simple food. Easy food can be warmed up in seconds in a microwave. Simple may food take hours, days, even years to stew, roast, brew...it is often inconvenient and rarely quick. May Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego give us the persistence to "keep it simple," even if it requires a bit of extra effort.
To celebrate this feast day, here is a simple (and easy) recipe for Mexican hot chocolate that also makes a delicious winter treat:
3 cups hot cocoa mix
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Mix all the ingredients together. Warm some water, or use milk for creamier hot chocolate. Use about 3 heaping tablespoons per one cup of liquid. Serve with a cinnamon stick, whipped cream and grated Mexican chocolate or mini chocolate chips.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas and of All Unborn Children, Pray for us.