May We Be Made As Simple and Trusting
Thomas A. Droleskey
The miraculous appearance of the Castilian roses atop the rocky ground of Tepeyac Hill on Tuesday, December 12, 1531, and the even more miraculous image that Our Lady left on the tilma of the fifty-five year-old widower named Juan Diego startled Fray Juan de Zumarraga, the Bishop of Mexico City (appointed on August 20, 1530, but not consecrated as a bishop until April 27, 1533, although he had title of a Bishop at the time of the apparitions), who recognized immediately that he was face to face with a miracle.
This should give us pause for reflection.
Those of us who are privileged to live close to true offerings of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition are face-to-face with the great miracle of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ becoming Incarnate under the appearances of bread and wine as an alter Christus, acting in persona Christi, utters the terrible, awe-inspiring words contained in the Roman Canon:
Hoc Est Enim Corpus meum
Hic Est Enim Calix Sanguinis Mei, Novi et Aeterni Testamenti: Mysterium Fidei, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum.
This is the greatest miracle on the face of the earth.
Granted. Most Catholics today do not have ready access to this great miracle. This is part of the chastisement that is being visited upon us during these times of apostasy and betrayal. So many people, however, whose schedules could be arranged to assist at Holy Mass on a daily basis refuse to do, choosing to think that something else is more important that being present at the unbloody re-presentation of Our Lord's Sacrifice of Himself to His Co-Equal and Co-Eternal Father in Spirit and in Truth on the wood of the Holy Cross in atonement for our sins.
Many Catholics in the conciliar structures have lost Faith altogether in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, something that is a byproduct of the sacramental invalidity of the conciliar rites of episcopal consecration and priestly ordination and the invalidity and thus sacramental barrenness of the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service itself. It is sad to note, however, that many Catholics who do have access to the true sacraments are not startled enough by the wonderment of our God become Flesh for us in the Holy Mass to make whatever sacrifices, including getting less sleep, if necessary, to get to be present at this greatest of all miracles.
Fray Juan de Zumarraga, however, did have a proper sense of awe and wonderment upon seeing the miraculous image of Our Lady on Juan Diego's simple tilma. Deo gratias! Here was a bishop willing to admit his errors and to repent of them! Deo gratias!
Only the ignorant and vainglorious assume that they are incapable of error; only the ignoble and the ungenerous are reluctant to acknowledge mistakes. Don Fray Juan de Zumarraga was a great gentleman as well as a great statesman and a great ecclesiastic. The revelation which had given such impetus to his faith and such force to his fervor did not render him oblivious of his obligations to the man whom he had humiliated by delay and wronged by distrust. His first act, when he rose from his knees, was to approach Juan Diego with outstretched hands and with every mark of courtesy make manifest his contrition for the ordeal for which his own incredulity has subjected the Indian. In the tone of one addressing an honored guest the asked Juan Diego to remain overnight at the palace. Early the next day, he said, they would go together to inspect the place where the temple should be built; meanwhile, he must insist that his visitor have rest and refreshment.
Having made his apology, extended his invitation, and given his essential promise, Zumarraga leaned over and, adroitly untying the knots of Juan's tilma with his long flexible fingers, lifted the transfigured garment from the Indian's neck and bore it away to his oratory, in order that he might contemplate it in prayerful seclusion. Juan himself was still too stunned to stir him from the spot where stood. It had been hard enough for him to grasp and absorb the miracle of the roses; confronted by another miracle, infinitely greater, he was stupefied with the shock. The fleeting sight of the Queen of Heaven had,in itself, been enough to beatify his life. The lasting imprint of her Sacred Image upon his own humble garment suffused his soul with such wonder and such awe that he could neither move nor speak nor collect his dazzled thoughts.
The followers of the Bishop had been swift to follow His Excellency's example. They too had fallen on their knees at the sight of the radiant painting; the too had shed tears and offered up prayers as they gazed at it. Indubitably, their amazement was genuine and their adoration spontaneous, but Juan would have been more than human if he had not felt a pang of pleasure at the consciousness that there was an element of fright in their astonishment, and if there had not been some secret scorn in his heart from the change in their attitude toward him. Only two days before they had not been content to deride and torment him; they had been bent on beating him before they chased him away. Now they fawned about him, desiring that he would deign to notice them and striving to insinuate themselves into his good graces. Only his own essential humility and unfailing loving-kindness kept him from revealing the contempt they might logically have aroused.
Still bemused, he suffered himself to be led away from the audience chamber and to accept the accommodations and entertainment so prodigally offered him. But though his clarity of conscience eventually prevailed over his confusion of mind, he still did not feel reconciled to his resting place or at ease in his heart. His surroundings were too strange and his anxiety for his uncle was too great for that. Even if he had experienced no other emotional upheaval, these elements would have sufficed to disturb him; and, as it was, there was also to the supreme manifestation of the Virgin's grace to pervade and preoccupy his mind. He longed to consider it in private and at untroubled length, as the Bishop was now considering the tilma which had once been the Indian's own.
All this being so, Juan was thankful beyond measure when the morrow came and Zumarraga gave the signal for departure. Though he shrank before the size and importance of the gathering which had assembled to accompany them, there was relief in action and the recovery of familiar ground. Today no mist obscured his progress: the sun shone brightly and the mountains were white in the distance. Still, the crossing of the causeway was not rapid enough to suit him and the very barrenness of Tepeyac was beautiful in his sight. For this was the beginning of the road that would take him home, to the village which he knew and the uncle whom he loved, after his eyes had rested once more on the desert where he had gathered roses and the rocky ground which had served as a footstool for the Queen of Heaven.
Unhesitatingly, he pointed out the place where the glorious Lady had stood. The Bishop accepted the designation without question. Some sort of shrine, His Excellency assured the Indian, would be built there are once. Probably only a chapel or something of that sort, for the time being; possible a hermitage would best answer the purpose at first. Later on, of course, more elaborate plans could be made and executed.
This part of the program, as far as Juan was concerned, seemed relatively unimportant. It was not for him to decide what form the sanctuary should take. That must be left to the enlightened knowledge of those who were wiser than he. His own task, as he saw it, was ended. He had revealed the place of the Virgin's choosing, and he had received the assurance that her will should be accomplished there. This done, he humbly asked for permission to depart.
The Bishop graciously gave it. But he did not suffer the Indian to go alone. Instead, he designated other persons to accompany him, as an escort of honor. Juan Diego's arrival in Tolpetlac savored of a triumphal entry. Wondering crowds collected to hail, to stare at the strange Spaniards who followed in his train, and then to salute them. But he was too anxious to profit by this tribute from his neighbors; unelated, he hurried on toward his uncle's house.
In a sense, he was beginning to accept the occurrence of miracles without inner turmoil. Still, a great wave of relief swept through him when he saw, with his own eyes, that his uncle was not only alive but also convalescent. The old man was sitting up in bed, and everything about his appearance indicated a substantial improvement in health and a lively interest in all that was happening about him. He was unfeignedly impressed by the company in which his nephew had returned; like most men living in small villages and in a a simple fashion, it gratified him to see personages of importance congregating around his home. But he could hardly take time to listen to an explanation of the presence of these magnificent strangers before he launched upon an exciting narrative of his own.
Juan Diego had scarcely left him, he said, to fetch the priest who was to confess and absolve him than his painful stupor had been glorified by a miraculous vision: the Queen of Heaven, splendidly appareled, had appeared before him, and from the moment of her arrival he had felt himself cured. More than this: she had spoken words of comfort and encouragement to him. She had told him that she had sent his nephew into Mexico City, and why. He knew the whole story of the marvelous apparitions and the beautiful roses that had appeared in glowing colors on the coarse tilma. He knew that a temple was to be built at Tepeyac in honor of the Blessed Lady who wrought all these wonders. yes, and there was still something. The same Blessed Lady had confided to him, Juan Bernardino, no less, the name which her image was to bear when it was suitably enshrined. It was to be called Santa Maria de Guadalupe Siempre Virgen.
So new he also had a message to- give the Bishop. With his own lips he must tell His Excellency about the benign visitation and above all about this important title. Unperturbed by any of the qualms which had caused his nephew to quail, he demanded to be borne to the episcopal palace.
Zumarraga, having taken due note of the significant situation at Tepeyac, had not gone on to Tolpetlac with the followers whom he had designated to accompany Juan Diego. Instead, with the rest of his retinue, he had returned to Mexico City, in order to put his plans for some sort of sanctuary into immediate execution. But the servants who had so impressed Juan Bernardino were, in their own turn, more and more awed. Far from trying to discourage the old man, they agreed with alacrity to take him to the Bishop's palace. A litter was improvised on which he could rest easily during the course of his journey. He was lifted into it with solicitude and carried away by careful stretcher bearers. With his nephew at his side and the Bishop's suite bearing up in the rear, he left his native village with even more pomp and far greater self-satisfaction than Juan Diego had anxiously entered it a few hours earlier.
There was no waiting about in the portal or the patio this time. The old man was promptly carried into the audience chamber and the Bishop rose to the occasion with complete savoir-faire. He expressed himself as being delighted to see them and assured both nephew and uncle that they were more than welcome. Indeed, he hoped that they would be his guests for several days--until such time, as a matter of fact, as he could complete the arrangements for the transfer of the miraculous image to Tepeyac. He listened with great attention to all that Juan Bernardino had to say and seemed especially impressed with the name which the Virgin had revealed as her choice. Juan Bernardino left the episcopal presence and retired to rest filled with gratification and heartfelt pleasure.
The Bishop's own reveries, however, were prolonged far into the night. He had already decided that he should not keep the miraculous painting concealed in his own privately oratory any longer. Instead, he proposed to transfer it to the Cathedral where everyone could inspect it at will. There were many details about it which should be remarked. The seam that divided the two parts of the tilma, for instance, was still plainly visible. It ran straight through the Virgin's robe and along the sides of her folded hands, but it altogether escaped her blessed and beautiful face. The texture of the tilma was another matter of moment. Coarse material of this type, under normal circumstances, did not take or hold colors well, as any craftsman skilled in their use would readily testify, but these colors were fast and shining on both sides of the fabric. It was significant that the Virgin stood in the center of the crescent moon, but surrounded by the sun's rays, with clouds behind her and the firmament beneath her; it gave the symbolic effect of her sovereignty over both day and night, over both the heavens and the earth. Even the expression of the cherub with rainbow-tinted wings, who supported the figure of the Virgin, repaid scrutiny. It could be seen, upon investigation of this fortunate angel, that his happiness in bearing such a burden was amply apparent. The Bishop was confident that the populace would be much moved by the sight of such a picture and that great devotion would come of it. Indeed, in his opinion, it might mark the beginning of a new cult.
What a strange coincidence it was that Guadalupe should have have been designated as the name for the image! Juan Bernardino was an ignorant man. It was beyond the realm of possibility, as the Bishop well knew, that he could ever have heard of the shrine by the same name so greatly revered in Spain and thus have drawn upon his own imagination in attempting to interpret a supernatural message. There might be other explanations for the designation. In the Nahuaatal language, Coatl was the word for serpent, Tlaloc was the one for goddess, and tlalpia the expression for watching over. By sliding the words together, as one naturally did in speaking, thus suppressing the sound of the tla, the three together became Coatalocpia, which had almost exactly the same sound as Guadalupe in Spanish. And in the churches which he frequented with his nephew, Juan Bernardino had certainly seen images of the Blessed Virgin in which she was represented as crushing a snake under her feet. It was not unnatural that she might have appeared to him as a "goddess watching over a serpent."
But after all, the name, like everything else, was part of an inexplicable but sublime pattern. Why seek for its sources? Was it not enough to know that it was settled and to go on from there?
Don Fray Juan de Zumarraga, first Bishop of Mexico, decided that it was.
(Frances Parkinson Keyes, The Grace of Guadalupe, published in 1941 by Julian Messner, Inc., pp. 53-60.)
Yes, there is a lot to reflect upon in these passages from the late Frances Parkinson Keyes's The Grace of Guadalupe.
First, of course, there is the humility of Fray Juan de Zumarraga, the first Bishop of Mexico, in admitting that he was wrong, that he had dealt harshly with a chosen soul. He did not stand on the privileges that are those of one who possesses the fullness of the Holy Priesthood by taking refuge in the assertion that he had to be harsh with Juan Diego in order to test whether he was fabricating the story of having seen Our Lady atop Tepeyac Hill. No, there was instant repentance as he sought to do justice to Juan Diego by according him honors here on earth that he, Juan Diego, did not seek but were fitting one who had been so honored by the very Mother of God herself.
Second, the processions that accompanied Juan Diego from Tepeyac to Tolpetlac and that took him back to Mexico City with his uncle, Juan Bernardino, are but foretastes of the processions that accompany the souls of the elect to Heaven after their deaths or after they have paid back the debt they owed God for their sins by being purified by the torments and fires of Purgatory.
These processions are also symbolic of the fact the all of the souls of the Church Triumphant in Heaven and the Church Suffering in Purgatory are present with each of the nine categories of angelic spirits (Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Archangels, Principalities and Angels) at every true offering of Holy Mass. Imagine being escorted by a company of angels as you receive Holy Communion! Actually, you don't have to imagine. They accompany us up to the Communion rail, a thought that should send shivers up our spines and cause us to reflect on how privileged we are to be Catholics.
Third, the miraculous nature of the image left by Our Lady on Juan Diego's tilma still defies scientific explanation. If you think about it, however, many scientists, especially those who believe in the junk science represented by the ideology of evolutionism, have yet to figure out that the world was created by God and is ordered down to its last detail by His own willing it so. Why should it amaze us that the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the tilma of her chosen soul, Juan Diego, is rich and exquisite the details of its beauty and brilliance to such an extent that rationalists in the various fields of science cannot accept the simple fact that God worked this miracle through His Most Blessed Mother?
Although the final installment in this four-part series will appear on Friday, December 16, 2010, tomorrow's article will continue the themes explored thus far in this series as it anticipates the concluding part, perhaps it is pertinent to note at this juncture that the public honor that Bishop Juan de Zumarraga knew had to be given to the Mother of God stands in stark contrast to the unwillingness of most Catholics in public life, including most of the conciliar "bishops," to mention anything about Our Lady in "mixed company." A lot of these "bishops," starting with the non-bishop who lives in the Apostolic Palace and presents himself as "Pope" Benedict XVI, even omit references to Our Lady's Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in "mixed company." This has emboldened the forces of rank secularism that Ratzinger/Benedict says he wants to counter with the help of "other religions" to push ahead in their efforts to eliminate even the generic Judeo-Masonic references to God that have survived in popular culture, no less references to Our Lord Himself and/or to His Most Blessed Mother.
We are living through a period similar to the French Revolution or the Bolshevik Revolution or the Mexican Revolution or the Spanish Revolution wherein any public reference to or visible display of Christian symbolism is considered to be "offensive" to unbelievers. The difference between those revolutions and what is happening before our very eyes is that most Catholics are not in the least bit bothered by the removal of Christian symbolism or by the failure to reference Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen in popular culture or social discourse on the issues of the day as they have been so brainwashed by the ethos of conciliarism that they cannot see the plain truth that the lords of Modernity have won them over to naturalism because of the counterfeit church of conciliarism's hypersensitivity to "inter-religious dialogue" and "diversity" as essential to "peace" within and among nations.
Caesar Barackus Obamus Ignoramus is playing a very insidious role in this regard, and very few people are noticing it, no less protesting about it, a phenomenon that will be examined in tomorrow's article.
For the moment, however, it is good to renew our prayers to be made as simple and trusting as Juan Diego and as humble as Bishop Juan de Zumarraga. They saw a miracle and gave thanks to the good God and His Most Blessed Mother for it. We have the miracle of the Sacraments before us--Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Extreme Unction, do we not? Do we give thanks for these miracles that are in our midst, these miracles that bring souls to life (or back to life) or fortify one's soul in the path to holiness or make men able to bring God down from Heaven under the appearances of bread and wine or prepare us for death? Do we?
May we beseech Our Lady of Guadalupe, especially through her Most Holy Rosary, to be true Americans by helping others recognize that the Americas really do belong to her, and that everyone and every nation in this hemisphere is meant to be a Catholic who submits himself with humility and docility to the Social Reign of Christ the King as they give public honor to Mary our Immaculate Queen.
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.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints