May We Be Made As Simple and Trusting
Thomas A. Droleskey
There is a hideous shrine to the Masonic notion of "liberty" that stands in New York Harbor. It is, of course, called the Statue of Liberty, exalted even today by some traditionally-minded priests as a beacon of "hope" and a sign of the "greatness" of the United States of America as a land of liberty. Sure, this is a land of liberty, a land of false liberties such as "freedom of speech" and "freedom of the press" and "freedom of religion" that have been condemned by true pope after true pope and that helped to pave the way for the triumph of the spirit of heresy of Americanism at the so-called "Second" Vatican Council, especially in Gaudium et Spes and Dignitatis Humanae, both of which were issued on the last formal day of that false council, December 7, 1965.
Bishop Donald Sanborn pointed out the Masonic nature of this country's shrine to false notions of liberty in
The Cult of Liberty:
One of the many proofs of Freemasonry’s cult of liberty, and furthermore of its deep influence upon our culture and mentality, is the Statue of Liberty. This colossus in New York’s harbor was conceived by Freemasons, financed by Freemasons, built by Freemasons, and installed by Freemasons in a Freemasonic ceremony.
The maker of the statue was Freemason Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. He had already made a statue of the Freemason Marquis de Lafayette for the city of New York, for the occasion of the centenary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Bartholdi sailed to America, at the suggestion of other Freemasons and kindred spirits in France, for the purpose of proposing the project. Although he had no drawings as he set sail, his masonic biographer says that, as he entered New York harbor, “he caught a vision of a magnificent goddess holding aloft a torch in one hand and welcoming all visitors to the land of freedom and opportunity.”
Returning to France, he managed to raise, through the help of a great deal of masonic propaganda, the sum of 3,500,000 French francs, a very large sum for the period of the 1870’s. For the face of his “Goddess of Liberty” he chose his own mother. The structural framework was provided by Freemason Gustave Eiffel, later to be famous for the 984-foot Eiffel Tower.
Although financial support for the statue was forthcoming in France, America was not willing to put up the money for the pedestal. It was Joseph Pulitzer, the owner and editor of the New York World, who managed to raise over $100,000 for the project.
On Washington’s Birthday in 1877, Congress accepted the statue as a gift from the French people. Bedloe’s Island, now Liberty Island, was chosen by General Sherman, the well-known Atlanta-burner. Meanwhile in Paris the work gradually progressed. Levi P. Morton, the then Ambassador to France, drove the first rivet. The statue was finished on May 21, 1884, and presented to Ambassador Levi Morton on July 4th of the same year by Ferdinand de Lesseps, builder of the Suez canal.
On the American side, the chairman of the American committee to receive the statue contacted the Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York. It had been a tradition in America to have the cornerstone of major public and private buildings and monuments “consecrated” with full Masonic rites, ever since Freemason George Washington, in 1793, had personally laid the cornerstone of the Capitol, with the assistance of the Grand Lodge of Maryland. The cornerstone of the Washington Monument was also laid in a Masonic ceremony.
The ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone was set for August 5, 1884. It poured rain. The decorated vessel Bay Ridge carried about a hundred Freemasons, along with some civil officials to Bedloe’s Island. Freemason Richard M. Hunt, the principal architect of the pedestal, handed the working tools to the Masonic officers.
Then Freemason Edward M. L.. Ehlers, Grand Secretary and a member of the Continental Lodge 287, read the list of items to be included in the copper box within the cornerstone: A copy of the United States Constitution; George Washington’s Farewell Address; twenty bronze medals of Presidents up through Chester A. Arthur (including Washington, Monroe, Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Johnson and Garfield, who were all Freemasons); copies of New York City newspapers; a portrait of Bartholdi; a copy of Poem on Liberty by E. R. Johnes; and a list on parchment of the Grand Lodge officers.
The traditional Masonic ceremony was observed. The cornerstone being found square, level and plumb, the Grand Master applied the mortar and had the stone lowered into place. He then struck the stone three times, and declared it duly laid. Then the elements of “consecration” were presented, corn, wine, and oil.
The “Most Worshipful” Grand Master then spoke a few words. He posed the question: “Why call upon the Masonic Fraternity to lay the cornerstone of such a structure as is here to be erected?” His answer was: “No institution has done more to promote liberty and to free men from the trammels and chains of ignorance and tyranny than has Freemasonry.”
The principal address was given by the Deputy Grand Master: “Massive as this statue is, its physical proportions sink into comparative obscurity when contrasted with the nobility of its concept. Liberty Enlightening the World! How lofty the thought! To be free, is the first, the noblest aspiration of the human breast. And it is now a universally admitted truth that only in proportion as men become possessed of liberty, do they become civilized, enlightened and useful.”
The statue arrived in dismantled pieces in June of 1885. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. President Grover Cleveland (Freemason) presided over the ceremony and Freemason Henry Potter, Episcopal Bishop of New York gave the invocation. Freemason Bartholdi pulled the tricolor French flag off the statue’s face. The main address was given by Freemason Chauncey M. Depew, a United States Senator. (The Cult of Liberty, published originally in the Spring 1995 issue of Sacerdotium.)
Yes, the Statue of Liberty is indeed a shrine to the false, naturalistic, religiously indifferentist and semi-Pelagian principles of the founding of the United States of America.
As has been noted consistently on this site, the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America believed that it was possible to realize personal and social order absent a due submission in all that pertains to the good of souls to the Deposit of Faith that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has entrusted exclusively to His Catholic Church for Its eternal safekeeping and infallible explication.
The framers of the Constitution of the United States of America believed that it was possible for men to be virtuous on their own without any belief in, access to or cooperation with Sanctifying Grace.
Many of the men who founded this nation had great contempt for Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and for His Most Blessed Mother, Mary our Immaculate Queen, and for our Holy Mother Church. No one who hates Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother is a person we can exalt and praise. The "ideas" of such agents of the devil are meant to convince men that "they" can organize themselves and their nations without reference to Christ the King and His true Church. This is a lie, and anyone, priest or layman, who does not recognize this is surrendering himself to nationalistic myths that are the antitheses of the authentic Social Teaching of the Catholic Church and of genuine notions of patriotism that are, after all, to prompt us to seek the good of our nation, the ultimate expression of which is her complete conversion to the Catholic Church by means of recognizing and submitting to the Social Reign of Christ the King.
What should be standing in New York Harbor? You know, don't you? Don't you? Of course you do. Think about it.
What should be standing in New York Harbor is a beautiful, glorious statue of Our Lady of the Guadalupe, she who is the Patroness and the Empress of the Americas.
As noted in today's republished article,
The Americas Belong to Our Lady, the Americans truly belong to Our Lady. This does not simply mean that we are to have a pious devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe as the Patroness and Empress of the Americans and to Our Lady under the title of her Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of the United States of America. No! A thousand times no! This means that we are to attempt to plant the seeds for what Our Lady wants, namely, the conversion of each nation in the Americas to the Catholic Faith, and the United States of America is not an exception to the work that began when she appeared to a simple fifty-five year-old Indian man named Juan Diego four hundred seventy-nine years ago now. The conversion of between nine and thirteen million indigenous peoples what we call Latin America now within a short time after Our Lady left that miraculous image of herself on Juan Diego's tilma on this very day in the year 1531 was meant to presage the conversion of all peoples and all nations of the Americas to the Catholic Faith without any exception whatsoever.
We need to ask Our Lady to be made as simple and as trusting as Juan Diego, the mere peasant to whom she condescended to appear to bring about the conversions of millions upon millions of Indians in the Americas at the same time as millions upon millions of Catholics in Europe were abandoning the Holy Faith to plunge themselves headlong into the demonic errors of the Protestant Revolution. It is indeed the case that Our Lady chooses the lowly and those who count for nothing in this world to show forth her Divine Son's bountiful mercy for the race He redeemed by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. (See, for example,
In Ways That Baffle the Minds of "Modern" Men, part one and
In Ways That Baffle the Minds of "Modern" Men, part two.) Juan Diego was chosen to be the human instrument through which Our Lady could replicate the spirit of Christendom in the Americas that was in the process of disintegrating in Europe.
Who is this Juan Diego? I think that it would be good to focus on this simple peasant whose deep and abiding humility and sense of lowliness to understand why Our Lady chosen to appear to him and to leave on one of his few possessions, his tilma, her miraculous image to effect the conversion of the Americas:
Long, long ago, there dwelt in a little Mexican village, Cuautitlan, a poor Aztec Indian whose name was Juan Diego.At least, that is what the Spaniards, who had then recently come to Mexico for the first time, always called him, and it is the name by which he has been known ever since. It is much easier to remember and to pronounce than his Indian name, which was Cuatitlatuoatzin. So it is the name I shall use in telling his story.
The situation in Cuautitlan, his birthplace, is beautiful. In the distance, misty blue mountains rise toward the soft blue sky and green hills slope upward from the green plains to meet them. The growth of cactus is luxuriant on these slopes, and it furnishes both solid and liquid nourishment to the people who live among it. They have always been hard-working people, and in the time of Juan Diego they had no beasts of burden to help them with their work When the Spaniards first came to Mexico there were no cows in the country, no sheep or horses, they brought all these useful domestic animals with them. But at first they had barely enough for themselves, and they had no dispensation to share them with the Indians in any case. It did not trouble them to think that the Indians worked hard and that the only animals the conquerors discovered in the villages were queer dogs, unlike any they had ever seen before.
Juan Diego was one of the most hard working men of Cuautitlan. He belong to the class known as mazohuales, the poorest and humblest of all the Indians. So his little home was poor and humble like himself. Its walls were made of dried mud and its roof was thatched with cornstalks and there was one small windowless room in it. In the daytime, the was uncovered, so that the warm Mexican sun might stream in, but at night Juan Diego hung a straw mat called a petate in front of it to keep out the cold, which in this country comes quickly after the brief twilight.
Though he had few possessions, there were several petates among them. They could be put to various useful purposes besides keeping the cold from the door. For instance, they could be laid ont he ground as a rug or a mattress; they were akin to the cloaks, also made of straw, which could be wrapped about the person, as an outer garment., when the rain pelted down or the wind blew fiercely. The other garments which Juan Diego had did not suffice to shield him from the wind and rain. He wore trousers and a shirt made of coarse colorless cotton, and over these, sometimes, two long pieces of cloth called ayate--woven from ichti, the fiber of the cactus plant--which were joined in a straight seam and together called a tilma. The ends of this tilma were knotted together at the back of the neck, and when not in use, it hung straight down in front, like an apron or a scapular. when Juan Diego held it up, it served as a bag in which to carry food and wood and tools, and when he twisted it and wrapped it around his shoulders, it served as a cloak, which shrouded his slight figure. He was a small man and his features were far less fierce than those of the Indians whom the French and Indian settlers found farther north. His habits were not warlike, either. His bronzed face was friendly and his harmless ways were trustful toward others. There was reserve and resignation in his look. His bearing was humble, and when he walked he was inclined to stoop and shuffle.
The garments worn by Juan Diego's wife, whom the Spaniards called Maria Lucia, were gayer than his. She was clever in the use of cochineal, and with the juice extracted from this insect she colored her full petticoats a beautiful clear red. Sometimes she used other dyes, blue and green, which were made with vegetables instead of insects and which gave a fine color, too. She embroidered the blouses that hung straight down over her skirts and the square pieces of cloth with which she covered her head. She wore her hair in two long braids, with the part between them running all the way from her forehead to the nape of her neck. The braids were glossy and thick, for her hair, like her eyes, was beautiful. In manner she was gentle and there was dignity in her carriage and her movements. When she carried a jar on her head, it seemed to become a part of her figure. When she was still, she gave repose to her surroundings. It is the way of Indian women.
Because she and Juan Diego were so poor, Maria Lucia would not have as many ornaments as most of her neighbors, only earrings and a necklace, instead of many chains and beads. Her ornaments were made of a green stone, not unlike jade in color and texture, and shaped to form tiny figures strung together. But she was satisfied with these and with the bright garments which she wove and dyed and embroidered herself. Her loom stood in the corner of her little home, near the pots where she kept her dyes. She had other pots, too, which she used for containers and cookery--large round jarros and cazuels, besides the shallow comales, in which she made tortillas. Even when they times were at their hardest, Maria Lucia made tortillas, taking the dough into which maize had been ground, after boiling, and patting this dough between her palms before baking it on her clay griddle. If times were better, she folded meat and red peppers into the tortillas, changing their shape from flat cakes into turnovers, wrapped them in corn husks, and boiled them. When they were thus transformed, they will called tamales and were considered a great treat. Maria Lucia could cook frijoles, too,l so that they tasted better than any beans in the village. At least her husband told her so, and it pleased her to believe him.
Juan Diego himself raised the beans and the corn and the chili which Maria Lucia prepared with such skill. It was on these foodstuffs that they lived, for the most part, through sometimes they had venison and wild turkey, too, when Juan Diego had time to hunt these, for both were abundant. So was a specimen of wild pig, that this did not have flesh that was toothsome, and it was covered with quills, like a porcupine. After he and his wife, had eaten the flesh of a deer, Juan saved the skin for sandals, which he called huaraches. He was clever in fashioning these, and he wore them when he walked on rough ground, though Maria Lucia went barefoot about the house and the terrain on which it stood.
Though they lived so simply, Juan Diego and Maria Lucia were cleanly in their habits. Near their home was a little hut used as a bathhouse. It was called a temazacal. In this hut was a large pile of stones which they heated until it was almost red hot, then they placed sweet-smelling herbs which had been crushed among the stones and poured water over the whole. A vapor rose after that, filling the little hut with steam and scent, and this vapor formed the bath which the Indians loved and used. In villages like Cauatutilan they do so to this day.
The life of Juan Diego and Maria Lucia was very uneventful. Occasionally, ritualistic or popular dances took place tot he accompaniment of a tambour called a teponaxtle, and to strains of singing and wiling. But these celebrations, in a village as poor as Cuatutitlan, were infrequent, and there were few others, except at weddings. So when the missionary brothers, who were called Frailes, appeared among the inhabitants, this marked a great occasion in their lives. The Frailes celebrated Mass on the tops of Aztec pyramids and other high places where the people could look up to see the ceremony, for such elevations were impressive and aroused admiration. They also made free use of music, which they knew the Indians loved. Furthermore, they gathered men and boys together men and boys together in groups and taught them. The taught them Spanish first of all, and themselves learned the different Indian dialects so that there might be mutual understanding. Then they taught many useful arts and crafts, to help the Indians in the cultivation of their land and the care of of their homes and the fashioning of their garments. The Frailes were practical in their purposes no less than lofty, and by such means they tried to prepare the Aztecs for the Gospel they ardently desired to preach.
The Indians did not always listen willingly and attentively when the Frailes tried to talk to them. They were suspicious, after a little, of all Spaniards. At first they had been overcome with amazement and a sense of adoration when they had seen the strange white men, who wore glittering armor and rich robes and who carried fluttering banners and bright swords. They had abased themselves before the invaders and hastened to do their bidding. But in many cases the Spaniards had abused their trust. They had been cruel in their conduct. The rule of the Indians, Cuahuhtemoc, had been tortured and put to death when he declined the reveal the hiding place where the Aztec kings kept their treasure. The Aztec temples had been destroyed and the Aztec priests had perished with their gods. When the Indians saw these things happen, they shrank away inf ear not only from the soldiers but from the Frailes, though these holy men were almost as simple of habit and clothing as they were themselves. The Frailes were clad in coarse brown garments and wore no ornaments except long strings of beads knotted to their girdles. Small pieces of wood or bone, placed across each other, were attached to the ends of these strings of beads, and on such crosses was nailed the figure of a Man, whose form and face revealed great suffering.
It was about this Man that the Frailes talked to the Indians whenever they could persuade the poor people to listen. They explained that He was the Only Son of their god, and that before being forever enthroned in glory He had lived on earth for thirty years, like any man. Although His virgin MOther had become the Queen of Heaven, and He Himself was a great teacher and a great healer, He had always been poor and humble in His way of living; His birthplace was a stable and His foster father was a carpenter. He had felt infinite compassion for other men who were poor and humble and finally He had suffering death on the Cross for their sakes. But it was not an ordinary death. Before it took place, He had shown His followers, at the time of the last supper they ate with Him, how they might find succor and salvation by commemorating this; and after it took place, He had proven that other words He had spoken to them were also true, by rising from His tomb and returning to the home of His Heavenly Father.
There were many other marvels that the Frailes explained to the Indians also. They said that besides the Sacrament of the Last Supper, which was now commemorated in the Mass, and in Holy Communion, the Man who died on the Cross for their sakes, and whose name was Jesus Christ, had ordained other Sacraments also. One of these was Baptism; another was Confirmation; another was Penance; and so on. The Frailes explained the meaning of each of these Sacraments and, little by little, others besides. They showed the people how they might have a part in them, how they might benefit by the great privileges that were offered to them. And gradually fear left the hearts of the Indians again. They began to trust the Frailes and to love them. They began to listen willingly when the brothers talked to them. And some of them came creeping up to the good priests and made these holy men understand that they wished to be baptized.
Among the very first of the Indians who dared to signify this desire was Juan Diego and Maria Lucia. The Spaniards has been in Mexico only three years when they were baptized. And after this they went regularly to Mass, though it was not easy for them to do so. There was no church in Cuautitlan. The nearest was the one built by the Franciscans in connection with the Convent at Tlaltelolco, which was fifteen miles away even by the short cut over the hills which made up the range of Tepeyac. Although they walked rapidly, like all Indians, and were adroit in finding their way across stony land and marsh ground, it took them two hours or more to make the trip. They had to rise long before dawn, in order to reach Tlaltelolco in time for Mass. They were not allowed to be late for this. They were required to be in their seats before the services began, for it was the habit of the priests to count their congregations and call upon each worshiper to answer to his name. This was in order that they might be sure there were no backsliders, that none was missing from his appointed place.
For a long time Juan Diego and Maria Lucia were never missing. But at lat the time came when Juan followed the rough road and answered the brief roll call alone. Maria Lucia had died, leaving no child behind her. There was no one with Juan now in the little hut and the dye hardened in the pots. There was silence in the room, instead of the pleasant sound that a woman makes when she moves quietly about on her appointed tasks. And there was silence in Juan's heart, instead of the music that had been there for so long. He was very lonely, and his life was empty of tenderness and love and all that had given it beauty.
If he had been a young man, this would not have been so hard for him to bear. There is a hopefulness which is a part of the heritage of youth and which neither death nor desolation can wholly kill. Even when it seems crushed, it rises again, it is a wellspring. But with maturity, this hopefulness becomes less vital; and with advancing years, it altogether declines, unless something happens to give it new strength.
The years passed, and nothing gave new strength to the hope of regained happiness which Juan had almost lost. He had reached the age of fifty-five and he saw only more loneliness and more silence stretching out before him: no renewal of beauty, no prospect of reward. And still he did not fail to keep his tryst and cling to his faith. He continued to rise, before the starlight had faded, and make his way over the hills, in order that he might worship God in spirit and in truth and pay the tribute of his deep devotion to the Queen of Heaven.
It was increasingly difficult for him to make the journey, although he did not have as far to go as he had in the beginning. He had left Cuautitlan, where the silences had become unbearable to him, and had gone to live in another village, called Tolpetlac, which was closer to Tlaltelolco. He han uncle living in Tolpetlac, whose name was Juan Bernardino, and near this uncle's home he built himself another little hut, under the shadow of a hill. The countryside was less wide and open here than in the place where had had lived before, but it was green and friendly and productive, too. It took him only a short time, not more than five minutes, to reach his uncle's home from his own, so it was possible for them to be a great deal together. He was fond of Juan Bernardino, who always made him welcome and who was a good man, a believer, like himself, in the teaching of the Frailes. In a way his uncle took the place of a father in his life. But no one took the place of Maria Lucia.
He dwelt on this sadly, as he went painfully over the hills to Mass one Saturday in early December. The tones on the path hurt his feet, piercing through his leather sandals; the cold wind penetrated his coarse clothing. He wrapped his tilma more and more closely about him. But it was not enough. He could control his shivering by the time he reached the summit of Tepeyac.
It was always a bleak and barren place. But never before had it seemed as bleak and as barren as it did now, when he reached it with heaviness in his heart and sorrow in his soul. Then he stopped, suddenly astounded. For the silences were filled with music. The darkness was flooded with light. and out of the distance came a gentle voice, calling him tenderly by name. (Frances Parkinson Keyes, The Grace of Guadalupe, published in 1941 by Julian Messner, Inc., pp. 17-29.)
This is quite a portrait of our seer, a simple, humble peasant who loved to go to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a man who walked with his wife a total of thirty miles round trip just to do so. Juan Diego was a man who moved closer to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass once his dear wife, Maria Lucia, had died.
Quite apart from Juan Diego's humble bearing as he went about his business on a daily basis to give honor and glory to God, there is a very salutary lesson to be learned from Juan Diego's devotion to the unbloody re-presentation of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Sacrifice of Himself to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on the wood of the Holy Cross in atonement for our sins.
Juan Diego's example teaches us that nothing is more important than assisting at Holy Mass. Nothing. Why is this lesson so difficult for Catholics to take to heart today? Why are we encumbered by attachment to a certain place or to certain conveniences? Why do we care so much about earthly possessions and our familiar surroundings. Everything around us is dust. It will perish just as surely as our bodies will turn back after our deaths into the elements from which they were made until they are resurrected and reunited with our souls on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the living and the dead. Why not make the same kind of sacrifices to move to where true priests offer Holy Mass, the perfect prayer? Imagine the merit that is lost today as Catholics who ought to know better make one excuse after another as to why it is "impossible" for them to rearrange their lives to be near Holy Mass. After all, a parent with grown children can do more for his children and grandchildren, if any, by assisting at Holy Mass and praying for them there than they can by their physical presence. Juan Diego teaches us that a simple heart yearns for the eternal joys that are contained within and foreshadowed by every true offering of Holy Mass.
The beautiful music that Juan Diego heard as he walked to Holy Mass on Saturday, December 9, 1531, was just a prelude to meeting the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, the very fairest flower of our race, Mary our Immaculate Queen, just a day after the Feast of her Immaculate Conception (which was celebrated variously as the Feast of her Immaculate Conception or as the Feast of her Conception, depending upon the local tradition in the centuries leading up to the solemn definition of this doctrine by Pope Pius IX in the Papal Bull Ineffabilis Deus on December 8, 1854). The late Frances Parkinson Keyes described the scene for us as it was recorded by contemporaries at the time it took place:
"It was Saturday very early in the morning"--the ancient chronicler relates--"and Juan went in search of Christian learning, as revealed through divine doctrine. When he reached the top of the hillock called Tepeyac, dawn was breaking; and thence he heard strains of music coming. It sounded like the song of rare and wonderful birds. For an instant the singing ceased, and then it seemed as if the mountains echoed with response. The song, very suave and delicate, resembled that of the Coyoliteototl and the Tzinizcan and other beautiful birds.
"Juan Diego stopped to look about him and said to himself, 'How can I be worthy of what I am hearing? Am I dreaming? Have I ceased to sleep? Where am I? Am I in the terrestrial Paradise, of which our elders told us? Am I already in Heaven?'
"He gazed about, looking toward the east, beyond the hillock, whence came the celestial song; and when suddenly this ceased and there was silence, this was followed by the sound of a voice which called to him, saying, 'Juanito, Juan Dieguito.' Then he ventured to pursue the sound.
"He was not in the least frightened. On the contrary, he was filled with gladness, as he went on up the hill to discover who was standing there serenely, and who motioned to him that he should approach. Once arrived within the radius of her presence, he greatly marveled at this, for there was something supernatural about it. Her garments were shining like the sun. The cliff on which she stood glittered with glory, like an anklet of precious stones, and illumined the earth like a rainbow. The mesquite, the prickly-pear trees, and the other scrubby plants growing there took on an emerald hue. Their foliage changed to turquoise and their branches and thorns glistened like gold.
"He bowed before her and hearkened to her words, which were gentle and courteous, spoken after the manner of those addressed to one greatly esteemed. She said, 'Juanito, the least of my sons, where art thou going?'
"He replied, 'My Lady and my Child. I must needs go to the church at Tlaltelolco, to study divine mysteries, which are taught us by our priests, the emissaries of our Lord and Saviour.' Immediately she resumed her discourse and revealed her sublime will.
" 'Know and take heed, thou, the least of my sons, that I am Holy Mary, Ever Virgin Mother of the True God for whom we live, the Creator of all the world, Maker of Heaven and Earth. I urgently desire a temple should be built to me here, to bear witness to my love, my compassion, my succor and protection. For I am a merciful Mother to thee and to all thy fellow people on this earth who love me and trust me and invoke my help. I listen to their lamentations and solace all their sorrows and their suffering. Therefore, to realize all that my clemency claims, go to the palace of the bishop in Mexico and say that I sent thee to make manifest to him my great desire; namely, that in the valley a temple should be built to me. Tell him word for word all that thou hast seen and heard and admired. Be assured that I shall be grateful and that I will reward thee, for I will make thy life happy and cause thee to become worthy of the labor thou hast taken and the trouble thou performist to do that which I enjoin thee. Now thou hast heard all my bidding, least of my sons. Go and do thy utmost.'
"At this point he bowed before her and said, 'Lady, I go to do your bidding. As your humble servant, I take my leave of you.' Then he went on to accomplish her will, taking the causeway that leads directly to Mexico City. (Frances Parkinson Keyes, The Grace of Guadalupe, published in 1941 by Julian Messner, Inc., pp. 31-32.)
"Juanito, the least of my sons, where art thou going?" Doesn't this bring tears to your eyes?
Our Lady, the very Immaculate Mother of God, called Juan Diego the "least of her sons." Shouldn't we desire to be called this by Our Lady?
Where are we going with our lives? To strive for Heaven with every beat of our hearts, consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary? Or to immerse ourselves headlong in the midst of the world and its false attractions? Where are we going? Do we want Our Lady's help to make us as simple and trusting and humble as the Indian peasant named Juan Diego? Are we desirous of undertaking the work that Our Lady desires of us to sanctify our souls as members of the Catholic Church as we seek to spread devotion to her, particularly by means of her Most Holy Rosary and Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and the Miraculous Medal and the Green Scapular and True Devotion to Mary as taught by Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort?
Juan Diego was desirous to do the bidding of Our Lady, determined to set out for Mexico City, which was as intimidating in his day as it is now to those who are visiting it for the first time. And he discovered, of course, that he was to be tested in his determination to obey Our Lady once he arrived at the palace of Fray (Bishop) Juan de Zumarraga:
The causeway which Juan Diego took was the one by which the travelers entered from the north, and though there were few of these abroad at this early hour, their appearance was alien to him and added to his sense of strangeness. The looks which they cast in his direction, sometimes curious and sometimes condescending, discomforted him also. He was only too well aware of his coarse clothing and his shuffling gait. Only the conviction that he was charged with a sacred trust gave him the courage to persevere. He had no more hesitated to undertake his mission than he had doubted the reality of his blessed and beautiful vision. The Queen of Heaven, whom he had so long and so devotedly venerated from afar, had left the realm of Paradise, and on a rocky mountaintop had condescended to come close to him, heralded by song and surrounded by glory. She had done even more; she had made him her chosen messenger to approach a great dignitary and express her will. He could not fail her in so high a purpose.
Having conquered his abashment and entered the city, he made his way without undue difficulty to the episcopal palace, which was located near the Zocalo and was not hard to find. Concealing his inner trepidation, he asked the servants whom he found stationed at the portal to take him at once to see the Bishop. He was told, not too discourteously, to sit down in the patio and wait; and presently a messenger returned, saying that His Excellency would deign to receive him. . . .
From the beginning of his career in Mexico, he [Don Fray de Zumarraga] was outstanding for his apostolic zeal and for his sympathetic attitude toward the Indians. He became one of their warmest defenders against the forces which sought to exploit, oppress, and abuse them. If Juan Diego had only known how warm and tender a heart was beating under the brown robes of this personage whose penetrating eyes were fixed firmly upon him, his own frightened and fluttering heart would have been instantly calmed.
As it was, the whole experience was terrifying to him. Mexico City, with its impressive size and incipient splendor, was unfamiliar ground. He had never before gone beyond Tlaltelolco, which stood on the outskirts and had remained essentially an Indian settlement; there when he left his own people he moved only among the friendly Friars, whose cool conventual corridors were as bare as his own home and whose hands were active in healing hurts. He was the element product of a small village, accustomed only to this and to other villages akin to it, to the simple folk that peopled them, to the open plains that lay about them and the rugged hills that rose above them. The blue and distant mountains, the still bluer and more distant skies, seemed less remote to him than did this capital of the Conquistadores. The episcopal palace, with its high walls and its succession of stately apartments, was overpowering, too. Never before had he beheld such furnishings, such draperies, and such adornments as were there. The servants who were lounging about the entrance, eying him suspiciously from the first and taking no trouble to conceal the scorn in which they beheld him, made him conscious of their mockery and their contempt. He smarted under it. In the audience chamber itself, the Bishop's entourage regarded him with condescension and the Bishop with courteous incredulity. He quailed before it. And still he persisted, thinking of the Lady he had seen and the goodness which shone through her glory.
He bowed and knelt before the Bishop. Then lest fright should overcome him before he could accomplish his mission, he began, without preamble, to deliver the message with which he had been entrusted. He told everything that he had seen and heard, and, in his simple way, he tried to express his amazement and his admiration.
"I saw a great light shining behind the summit of the hill. I thought it was the sunrise. Instead, it was the Blessed Virgin."
The expression on the Bishop's face did not soften when Juan said this, as the Indian had hoped that it would. he felt instinctively that the prelate did not believe him, and he stumbled on, striving to clarify and convince. but he would not change the purport of his words, no matter how much he repeated them. Zumarraga had heard him, though. But when he stopped, inwardly and shamefacedly, the bishop raised a deprecating hand.
"You must come again, sometime, my son, when I can hear you more at my leisure. I will reflect on what you have told me, and I shall not fail to take into careful consideration both the good will and the earnest desire that caused you to come to me."
The Bishop made a gesture which the Indian realize was one of dismissal. He rose from his knees and turned away, said in the knowledge that he had utterly failed in his mission. On his way out, he passed the condescending courtiers and the mocking servants again. Though he turned away his head, he could feel their scornful gaze upon him. He continued to feel it as he made his way slowly out of the city, sunk in the bitterness of defeat, and took again the causeway that led across the marshes north to Tepeyac. (Frances Parkinson Keyes, The Grace of Guadalupe, published in 1941 by Julian Messner, Inc., pp. 34-36, 37-38.)
Juan Diego thought that he had failed the Queen of Heaven. He had not done so. He did what he was instructed to do with proper fear and respect of the clerical authority possessed by Fray Don Juan de Zumarraga and the knowledge of his low social station. Do we stop to reflect, yes, if even for moment, how we do indeed fail Our Lady by refusing to keep our promises to her? How many extra Rosaries that we promised to pray never get said? How many faults that we have asked her help to correct remain as ingrained in our lives now as they have been in the past because we have not sought to cooperate with the graces that she sends us. Juan Diego was shamefaced although he was on a mission given him by the very Mother of God herself. Are we ever ashamed of our interior lukewarmness or of our inconstancy in prayer and mortification and self-sacrifice? Ever? Just a little bit ashamed?
We need to pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe on this day, Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, is commemorated as we prepare ourselves for the Nativity of her Divine Son Who appeared with her as an unborn Child on Tepeyac Hill, that we will be fortified in our resolutions to serve that Divine Son of hers, Christ the King, through her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, especially by praying as many Rosaries each day as our state-in-life permits, so that we can be made as simple and humble as Juan Diego and thus receive the favors of Heaven now and at the hour of of deaths.
May our beloved Americas return to Christ the King through the loving intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe!
A blessed commemorated feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe to you all.
To be continued.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Pope Saint Damasus, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints