May We Be Made As Simple and Trusting
Thomas A. Droleskey
Juan Diego, a chosen soul who was as humble and simple and trusting as other chosen souls to whom Our Lady had favored with apparitions. Among these chosen souls are Saint Catherine Laboure, Sister Justine Bisqueyburo, Saint Bernadette Soubirous, and Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos. Each came from humble backgrounds. They did not high positions in the world. They were not people of influence. They did not come aristocratic backgrounds. They were not cultured. they spoke but one language, that of their own native place. Yes, it is to these simple and trusting souls who came from the same kind of poverty in which the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived, setting an example for us not to place our trust or our hopes in the wealth of this passing world.
Pope Leo XIII, writing in Rerum Novarum, May 15, 1891, explained that Holy Mother Church does not condemn those who have acquired wealth honestly. Indeed, she teaches us that that those whose talents and honest industry have provided them with a surplus of the means of this world are the ones who can provide for the needs of Holy Mother Church and for the poor, who Our Lord Himself told us we would always have with us. Both the wealthy and the poor must store up for themselves treasures in Heaven:
But the Church, with Jesus Christ as her Master and Guide, aims higher still. She lays down precepts yet more perfect, and tries to bind class to class in friendliness and good feeling. The things of earth cannot be understood or valued aright without taking into consideration the life to come, the life that will know no death. Exclude the idea of futurity, and forthwith the very notion of what is good and right would perish; nay, the whole scheme of the universe would become a dark and unfathomable mystery. The great truth which we learn from nature herself is also the grand Christian dogma on which religion rests as on its foundation -- that, when we have given up this present life, then shall we really begin to live. God has not created us for the perishable and transitory things of earth, but for things heavenly and everlasting; He has given us this world as a place of exile, and not as our abiding place. As for riches and the other things which men call good and desirable, whether we have them in abundance, or are lacking in them -- so far as eternal happiness is concerned -- it makes no difference; the only important thing is to use them aright. Jesus Christ, when He redeemed us with plentiful redemption, took not away the pains and sorrows which in such large proportion are woven together in the web of our mortal life. He transformed them into motives of virtue and occasions of merit; and no man can hope for eternal reward unless he follow in the blood-stained footprints of his Savior. "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him." Christ's labors and sufferings, accepted of His own free will, have marvelously sweetened all suffering and all labor. And not only by His example, but by His grace and by the hope held forth of everlasting recompense, has He made pain and grief more easy to endure; "for that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory."
Therefore, those whom fortune favors are warned that riches do not bring freedom from sorrow and are of no avail for eternal happiness, but rather are obstacles; that the rich should tremble at the threatenings of Jesus Christ -- threatenings so unwonted in the mouth of our Lord -- and that a most strict account must be given to the Supreme Judge for all we possess. The chief and most excellent rule for the right use of money is one the heathen philosophers hinted at, but which the Church has traced out clearly, and has not only made known to men's minds, but has impressed upon their lives. It rests on the principle that it is one thing to have a right to the possession of money and another to have a right to use money as one ills. Private ownership, as we have seen, is the natural right of man, and to exercise that right, especially as members of society, is not only lawful, but absolutely necessary. "It is lawful," says St. Thomas Aquinas, "for a man to hold private property; and it is also necessary for the carrying on of human existence.'' But if the question be asked: How must one's possessions be used? -- the Church replies without hesitation in he words of the same holy Doctor: "Man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need. Whence the apostle saith, 'Command the rich of this world . . to offer with no stint, to apportion largely'." True, no one is commanded to distribute to others that which is required for his own needs and those of his household; nor even to give away what is reasonably required to keep up becomingly his condition in life, "for no one ought to live other than becomingly." But, when what necessity demands has been supplied, and one's standing fairly taken thought for, it becomes a duty to give to the indigent out of what remains over. "Of that which remaineth, give alms." It is duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity -- a duty not enforced by human law. But the laws and judgments of men must yield place to the laws and judgments of Christ the true God, who in many ways urges on His followers the practice of almsgiving -- "It is more blessed to give than to receive"; and who will count a kindness done or refused to the poor as done or refused to Himself -- "As long as you did it to one of My least brethren you did it to Me. "To sum up, then, what has been said: Whoever has received from the divine bounty a large share of temporal blessings, whether they be external and material, or gifts of the mind, has received them for the purpose of using them for the perfecting of his own nature, and, at the same time, that he may employ them, as the steward of God's providence, for the benefit of others. "He that hath a talent," said St. Gregory the Great, "let him see that he hide it not; he that hath abundance, let him quicken himself to mercy and generosity; he that hath art and skill, let him do his best to share the use and the utility hereof with his neighbor."
As for those who possess not the gifts of fortune, they are taught by the Church that in God's sight poverty is no disgrace, and that there is nothing to be ashamed of in earning their bread by labor. This is enforced by what we see in Christ Himself, who, "whereas He was rich, for our sakes became poor''; and who, being the Son of God, and God Himself, chose to seem and to be considered the son of a carpenter -- nay, did not disdain to spend a great part of His life as a carpenter Himself. "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?"
From contemplation of this divine Model, it is more easy to understand that the true worth and nobility of man lie in his moral qualities, that is, in virtue; that virtue is, moreover, the common inheritance of men, equally within the reach of high and low, rich and poor; and that virtue, and virtue alone, wherever found, will be followed by the rewards of everlasting happiness. Nay, God Himself seems to incline rather to those who suffer misfortune; for Jesus Christ calls the poor "blessed"; He lovingly invites those in labor and grief to come to Him for solace; and He displays the tenderest charity toward the lowly and the oppressed. These reflections cannot fail to keep down the pride of the well-to-do, and to give heart to the unfortunate; to move the former to be generous and the latter to be moderate in their desires. Thus, the separation which pride would set up tends to disappear, nor will it be difficult to make rich and poor join hands in friendly concord.
But, if Christian precepts prevail, the respective classes will not only be united in the bonds of friendship, but also in those of brotherly love. For they will understand and feel that all men are children of the same common Father, who is God; that all have alike the same last end, which is God Himself, who alone can make either men or angels absolutely and perfectly happy; that each and all are redeemed and made sons of God, by Jesus Christ, "the first-born among many brethren"; that the blessings of nature and the gifts of grace belong to the whole human race in common, and that from none except the unworthy is withheld the inheritance of the kingdom of Heaven. "If sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and co-heirs with Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, May 15, 1891.)
Although he worked hard, very hard, Juan Diego lacked the riches of this passing, mortal vale of tears. He was made rich unto eternity when he and his wife Maria Lucia converted to the Holy Faith and they began to store up for themselves treasures in Heaven by assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on a daily basis despite the arduous trip that they had to make to get there from their home village. And perhaps it is fair to speculate that Juan Diego's dear wife, Maria Lucia, pleaded with Our Lady after her, Maria Lucia's, death to enrich him and their people even more by appearing to him to effect the conversion of the Americas to Christ the King through the direct action of Mary our Immaculate Queen.
As recounted at the end of May We Be Made As Simple and Trusting, part one, Juan Diego thought that he had failed Our Lady after his first visit to Fray Juan de Zumarraga in Mexico City to submit her request that a temple be built in her honor on Tepeyac Hill. Our Lady consoled him, telling him to persevere in the mission that she, the Queen of Heaven and of Earth, had entrusted to him, the most lowly of her sons:
He went doggedly on until he reached the top of the hill. Throughout his misery, he never doubted that he would find the Queen of Heaven waiting for him in the same place that he had seen her before. It was this certainly which had upheld him throughout his hard climb. When he caught sight of her again, clad in her radiant robes and standing serenely above the rocks which she transformed, he quickened his pace and flung himself down before her.
"Nina mia," he breathed. It was the greeting that he had used the first time, the same greeting that she had used in speaking to him. The literal meaning of it is "my child," but it is the form of address which for centuries in Mexico was customary for servants and other humble folk to employ in addressing their superiors, especially in rural regions. It denotes tenderness as well as respect. "My Lady, least of my Daughters and my Child," he continued, "I went where you sent me and obeyed your orders. I entered into the place which is the seat of the Bishop, thought I did this with difficulty. I saw him and I delivered your message, exactly as you told me. He received me kindly and listened to me, but when he answered me, it seemed that he did not believe me. He said to me, '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 goo will and the earnest desire that caused you come to come to me.' I understood perfectly, by the manner in which he replied, that he thinks that I am inventing the story of your wish to have a temple here, and that is not a real order from you. So I beg you most earnestly, my lady and my Child, to send someone of importance, well known, respected, and esteemed, in order that he may be believed. For I am everything that is mean and lowly, and you, my Child, the least of my Daughters and my Lady, you have sent me to a place where I have caused you great annoyance and disappointment as your messenger, my Lady and my Mother."
He was overcome with the sense of his own unworthiness. Now, having poured out his whole heart, there was nothing more he could say, and he waited with bowed head for her reply. But even before she answered him, he could feel the compassion of the Virgin, as it encompassed him with tenderness and healing.
"Listen, the least of my sons," she said to him gently, "thou must try to understand that I have many messengers and servants whom I could charge with the delivery of my message and cause to do my will. But it is altogether necessary that that thou myself shouldst undertake this entreaty and that through thy own mediation and assistance my purpose should be accomplished. I earnestly implore thee and definitely command thee to go again tomorrow to the Bishop. Give orders in my name and let him know my whole will, which is that he should undertake the erection of the temple for which I ask. And go on to tell him that I, in person, Holy Mary, Ever Virgin, Mother of God, am she who sends thee."
Juan had begun to feel strength and courage flowing back into his brain and body like a warm flood. He was able to answer with a new ring of determination in his voice.
"My Lady and my Child,I will not cause you affliction. I will gladly go to accomplish your will. I will not cease from striving nor will I find the way too hard to do your bidding. But perhaps I shall not be graciously heard, and if I am heard, perhaps it will be without belief. I do not know. So tomorrow afternoon, when the sun is setting, I will come to give you a report concerning the reception of your message, together with an account of the Bishop's answer. With this assurance let me take my leave of you, my little Daughter, my Child, and my Lady. Rest quiet in the meanwhile, until I come again."
He bowed himself out of her presence. Then without looking back, he resumed the rough road over the mountains that led to Tolpetlac. When he reached the village, he went straight to his own home and himself laid down to rest.
He had need of this rest, for as usual it was very early in the next morning when he left his house the next day. The force of habit was too strong for him to break, and he first went directly to Tlaltelolco, to be present at the "count." to remain for Mass, and to receive instructions in Christian doctrine. But immediately afterward, he started in the direction of Mexico City. It was almost ten o'clock before he was under way, for on Sundays the "count" took longer than it did on weekdays. More people came to church, and when Mass was over they did not disperse immediately, but lingered around the great stone cross dominating the walled courtyard in front of the church. Here they exchanged greetings and items of interest their neighbors before going to their separate homes, after the custom of church-goers the world over from time immemorial. In one way, Juan regretted his delay, for he had sincere in saying that he would be proud in continuing to do the Virgin's bidding. Yet in a sense the delay was a respite. He had no delusions concerning the sort of reception that he would be given him, and he could not wholly suppress his sense of dread at the prospect of seeing the Bishop's servant again.
As he anticipated, he experienced more difficulty in penetrating to the presence of this functionary than he had the first time. The servants put him off. The Bishop was busy, they said" he had retired for prayer and meditation, he was taking counsel with his advisers. The courtiers came and went, casting careless glances in the direction of the Indian as he waited patiently, hour after hour, in the patio, his tilma wrapped around him. But he declined to be cowed. And finally his persistency was rewarded. Grudgingly he was told that the Bishop had consented to see him briefly a second time.
He stood up well under the order of waiting. But when his vigil was over, something vital within him snapped. He did not have complete command of himself when tried to talk. Tears choked him, making him incoherent. Finally he cast himself at the Bishop's feet, wringing his hands imploring as he stammered out the hope that this time his message might be believed and that the will of the Immaculate might be accomplished through the erection of a temple in the place which she had designated.
"God grant that this may be do!" he cried over and over again.
The Bishop, who instinctively disliked undisciplined behavior, was less favorably inclined toward Juan than he had been the first time. Somewhat sternly he told the Indian that incoherency and importunity would avail him nothing; if he were to make himself believed, he must state facts briefly and answer questions meticulously.
Juan made a supreme effort. He understood the manner of his approach had prejudiced his cause and that he must manage to adopt his untutored ways to the formality of his surroundings and suppress his overflowing emotion in the presence of dignity and decorum. Forcing himself to assume at least the appearance of self-control, he wait respectfully for the Bishop to speak to him; then, he answered without evasion or hesitation. In the quiet repetition of his narrative, he retracted nothing that he had said before and was not confused by the cross-questioning. He steadfastly continued to repeat that he had seen the Virgin and had talked to her. In detail he described her appearance and the place where she stood. He reiterated that she had sent him to the Bishop to deliver a message and that he felt duty bound to do so. And again he insisted that the message related to the erection of a temple which must be built of Tepeyac.
Zumarraga, seeing him so unshaken, was inclined to temper his severity. But he was still disposed to believe that the Indian, though sincere, was suffering from some kind of delusion. He suggested, not unkindly, that Juan should return once again, and that on the occasion of his next visitation he should bring with him some kind of sign from the Queen of Heaven as proof that he was speaking the truth.
The Indian did not seem in the least disturbed by the suggestion. Indeed, he seized upon it with eagerness. His only query concerned the form that the Bishop desired to have it take.
"Sir, consider what this sign for which you ask should be, that I may go and ask it of the Queen of Heaven who sent me here."
It was Zumarraga's turn to be slightly nonplused. He had given no time to the considering of this aspect of the case and he was not prepared to say exactly what sort of sign would serve to convince him. He indicated that Juan was dismissed without giving him a definite answer. Then he ordered some of his people, in whom he had confidence, to follow after the Indian, carefully observing where he went, whom he saw, and with whom he talked. He spoke to them in Spanish lest Juan might be lurking close enough to overhear; presumably, an Indian would not regard eavesdropping as an indelicacy.
The Bishop's servants obeyed him with pleased alacrity. Their own curiosity was piqued, and as Juan retraced his footsteps and hurried along the causeway leading to north, they followed closely after him. Indeed, for a long distance they kept at his heels. Then suddenly something inexplicable happened. As they neared the ravine beneath the bridge of Tepeyac, they were aghast at finding that he had vanished from their view.
They hunted far and wide, at first incredulously, then with the mounting anger of defeated purpose. There was, to be sure, a slight mist rising from the ravine and enveloping the road. Such a vapor was rare in a place where, as a rule, the air was clear as crystal under a bright blue sky. But it could not account, at least to them, for Juan's disappearance. Like many other men, before and since that time, they tried to put the blame for their own failure on the alleged trickiness of someone else.
They began by telling each other that the Indian was a charlatan and a fraud and that they had known it all the time; they could not understand why His Excellency should bother about such a low creature. Then they went trudging back along the causeway to Mexico City, hot and tired, dirty and disgusted. and said much the same thing to the Bishop. They told him that they were sure that the Indian was bent on deceiving him, that Juan had invented his story or based what he had told as true upon a dream; in either case he was merely a nuisance. In their opinion, if he returned, the Bishop should permit them to seize him and beat him, in order that he might learn better than to lie and cheat again.
Zumarraga, who was more and more inclined to reserve judgment, dismissed them without commitment, which added to their discomfiture. This would have been greater still if they had known how unperturbed the object of their displeasure was by their angry contempt. He did not doubt that the cloud which concealed him from his persecutors had been sent to envelop him by the Virgin, that they had once formed part of the aura which surrounded her, and that when he had ceased to have need of them, they would again be wafted away to celestial heights. Meanwhile, without obscuring his accustomed path, they veiled it in ethereal beauty. He reached the summit of the hill speedily and in safety, and once again told his story to the Radiant Lady who awaited him there.
Her answer came calmly and reassuringly, like everything else she had said to him. "So be it my son. Return here tomorrow, in order that thou mayest secure for the Bishop the sign for which he has asked. When this is in thy possession, he will believe thee; he will no longer doubt thy word and suspect thy good faith. Be assured that I shall reward thee for all that thou hast undergone. Go now. Tomorrow I shall await thee here again." (Frances Parkinson Keyes, The Grace of Guadalupe, published in 1941 by Julian Messner, Inc., pp. 39-44.)
We must believe will reward each of her consecrated slaves who must undergone hardship in her behalf in this passing, mortal vale of tears. The difficulties of the present moment--whether they be personal, social or ecclesiastical--will pass. Our Lady will reward even poor sinners such as us if we persevere until the point of dying breaths in a state of Sanctifying Grace as a member of the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without which they can be no true social order. Those who may not believe us now about the necessity of referring all things to the true Faith or about the true state of the Church Militant during this time and apostasy and betrayal will believe us in the end. Our Lady will make right all of our stammering and stuttering efforts to defend the truth. We must trust in her to do the bidding of her Divine Son, Christ the King. We cannot worry about who will not believe us in this life. It is enough that we attempt to maintain the the Faith without making any concessions to conciliarism and its false doctrines and its offensive liturgical rites.
Our Lady came to Guadalupe to effect the conversion of peoples to the true Church, a goal that has been abandoned by the conciliarists in favor of "dialogue" and the "inculturation" of the very superstitious rites of pagan and barbaric peoples that Our Lady wanted eradicated in the Americas. It should teach us something about the state of apostasy and betrayal that is upon us at this time that the conciliarists exalt what Our Lady sought to eradicate; they forbid what Our Lady come to do, that is, to seek with urgency the unconditional conversion of non-Catholics to the true Faith.
The path on which we must trod to serve Our Lady is the same one that we must trod to save our immortal souls, that is, the rocky road that leads to the Narrow Gate of Life Himself, her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And it was quite literally a rocky road that Juan Diego trod when he went to visit Our Lady atop Tepeyac Hill.
Anxious to care for his beloved uncle, Juan Bernardino, who appeared to be dying, Juan Diego could not keep his promise to visit Fray Juan de Zumarraga for yet a third time so that he could be informed of the specific sign that would be proof of Our Lady's apparition. He wanted to secure the Sacrament of Extreme Unction for his dying uncle, and thus tried to evade Our Lady as he did so on Monday, December 11, 1531:
In his desperation, he felt that there was not a moment lost. If went to the top of the hill, in accordance with promise to the Lady, he felt that she would detain him by talking to him about the sign for the Bishop; she might even insist upon sending him to Mexico City with such a token, according to their original plan. And meanwhile Juan Bernardino lay dying. It seemed to Juan Diego that his duty was clear. He took a side road, skirting the hill at the east, his mind distracted by the sense of his uncle's extremity, his eyes fixed on the path that led to the home of the brothers with healing hands.
"In his ignorance he thought that by taking a roundabout route he would be unobserved by her who sees everything," Valeriano [the contemporary chronicler of these events] tells us at this crucial point of thes tory. (How many there are, far less ignorant and far less conscientious, too, who have made this same mistake!) "But he saw her descend from the summit--where he had beheld her before. She came to meet him on the side of the hill and said to him, 'What is the matter, least of my sons? Where art thou going?' "
He had failed her, but she did not fail him. Since had not sought her on the heights, she had sought him in the depths. Shame and grief overwhelmed him, and with his shame and grief, fright was intermingled. In an endeavor to cloak this, he tried to speak to her lightly, using the familiar form of greeting in addressing her, asking if the morning found her well, and exclaiming, "God grant that you be content with me!" But the moment was too solemn for pleasantry, and almost instantly Juan was aware of this. He steadied himself and spoke more soberly.
"I am going to cause your grief," he said, "for I must tell you that a poor servant of yours, my uncle, is seriously ill. He has the plague and is about to die. I am now hurrying to your house to call one of the priests beloved by Our Saviour, in order that he may absolve my uncle after confession, for in the midst of life we are in death. But if I first succeed in doing this duty, I will return here later, to go and deliver your message. Forgive me, my Lady and my Child. Be patient with me, for the moment. I am not deceiving you, least of my Daughters. Tomorrow I will come in good season."
He saw that while he was laying his troubles before her and beseeching her sympathy and understanding she regarded him with infinite compassion, even great than she had shown before. He knew that she needed no words of his to explain that he had been torn between two loyalties and that he had tried to do what was right, in so far as he knew what this was. She answered him, with supreme gentleness.
"Listen and take heed, least of my sons," she said quietly. "There is nothing which thou nee dst dread. Let not thy heart be troubled. Do not fear this illness, neither any other illness or affliction. Am I not here beside thee; I, thy Merciful Mother? Am I not they hope and salvation? Of what more dost thou have need? Let nothing distress or harass thee. As to the illness of thy uncle, he will not die of it. Indeed, I ask thee to accept as a certainly my assurance that he is already cured." (Frances Parkinson Keyes, The Grace of Guadalupe, published in 1941 by Julian Messner, Inc., pp. 47-48.)
Although I have included these words of Our Lady in many articles on this site, it is useful, I believe, to emphasize them again in the context of the natural anxiety that Juan Diego felt over what appeared to be the impending death of his beloved uncle, Juan Bernardino.
We are not to fear any illness or affliction. There is no suffering that we can bear in this life that is the equal of what one of our least Venial Sins caused Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer in His Sacred Humanity during His fearful Passion and Death as those Seven Swords of Sorrow were plunged through and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Why do we fear a particular illness?
Why are we so upset about what others think about us or what they might think if we admitted to them that the conciliarists are imposters who do not hold their ecclesiastical offices legitimately?
Why do we fear the likes of Barack Hussein Obama or Harry Reid or Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi?
How many people alive today know the names of Trajan or Valerian or even Diocletian, men who persecuted Catholics with particular ferocity?
Do we not know that the petty caesars of today will be consigned to the dustbin, the trash heap of history, that they will be mostly forgotten as pawns of the devil, who uses his minions in this life only to discard them as he mocks them for all eternity if they do not convert to the true Faith and repent of their crimes before God and men?
Why do we fear when Our Lady is so near? Why? Why believe in the absolute farce that is the naturalistic farce called partisan politics as the means to retard various social evils, including chemical and surgical baby-killing and the advances being made by the exponents of perversity? Can't Our Lady effects miracles today the way that she has done in the past? Indeed, haven't you--each of you--been the beneficiaries of abundant miracles of grace worked in your own lives and those of your family in members or acquaintances?
Shouldn't we be fortified by these words that Our Lady spoke to Juan Diego? He was! Why not us?
Again, he felt strength and courage coming back to him as he listened. Even his deep concern for his uncle was assuaged. If the Queen of Heaven told him that all was well with the old man, who was he to question that this was so? Penitently, he sought to prove that he believed her: he renewed his offer to go at once to the bishop, without stopping at Tlaltelolco, taking with him any sign which she might designate.
She gave her instructions instantly. "Go my son, to the summit of the hill where I gave thee thy first orders. There thou wilt find a large variety of flowers. Gather them and assemble them. Then fetch then hither."
"Juan Diego went immediately up the hill," Valeriano tells us. (Again I feel that it is his narrative that I should follow from afar, rather than attempt one of my own. for how could I hope to clothe such a lovely story in such lovely language?) "And when he arrived at the summit, he was astounded to find that quantities of exquisite Castilian roses had blossomed there, out of season, for at this time of year everything was frozen. They were very fragrant and covered with dewdrops, which looked like precious pearls. He began at once to pick them, making them into a cluster and taking them into his tilma. It was the more strange that he could do this, for the summit was strewn with rocks, thistles, thorns, prickly pears, and mesquite; and what vegetation there was did not flourish in the month of December, when all was destroyed with cold.
"As soon as he had picked the flowers, he went down the hill again, taking to the Queen of Heaven the roses which he had gathered. When she saw them, she took them in her own hands, and rearranged them in her own hands, and rearranged them in his tilma, saying as she did so, 'Least of my sons, this cluster of roses is the sign which you are to take the Bishop. You are to tell him, in my name, that in them he will recognize my will and that he must fulfill it. You will be my ambassador, wholly worthy of my confidence. I enjoin you only that in the presence of the Bishop shall you unfold your mantle and disclose that which you carry. Omit nothing in the telling. Say that I ordered you to go to the top of the hill and that there you found flowers in abundance for gathering. And, furthermore, repeat the story of all you have seen and admired, so that you may induce the prelate to give his help, so the end that temple for which I have asked may be built.
"After the Queen of Heaven had given him these her orders, Juan took the road toward the causeway which leads directly to Mexico City. He was already tranquil and confident of a happy outcome, and he carried with great care the contents of his tilma, being watchful that nothing should slip from his hands and meanwhile rejoicing in the fragrance of the beautiful flowers.
"When he arrived at the palace of the Bishop, the prelate's major-domo and other servants came out to meet him. He asked them to say that he desired to see the Bishop. But none of them wished to do so. They acted as if they could not hear him, perhaps because they knew already that he would only annoy them with his importunities, and, furthermore, their companions had already told them that they had had the misfortune of losing him from view when they had gone to follow him. Accordingly, they made him wait for a long time. But when they saw how patiently he stood there, with hanging head, waiting to be called, and how closely he was guarding something that he seemed to be holding in his robe, they approached him, in order to find out what he had and satisfy their curiosity.
"When Juan diego saw that he could not conceal the fact that he was carrying something and that on account of this burden the servants intended to molest him, shoving him about and striking him, he gave them a glimpse of what he had. Seeing that this was a great variety of Castilian roses and knowing that this was not the time when such flowers normally blossomed, the servants were greatly astonished, and all the more so because the flowers were in such full bloom and were so fragrant and so beautiful. Avidly they tried to snatch them away. But they met with no success, though three times they attempted to wrest them form him. Each time they sought to size the roses these no longer seemed to be growing flowers, but only something that had been sewn or embroidered or painted on the tilma of Juan Diego.
"Discomfited, they went to tell the bishop what they behold and to say that the Indian who had been there so many times before again wished to see him. When he heard this, the Bishop was convinced that they must have seen something of the sign which in its entirety would bear witness to that for which the Indian had asked. So he immediately ordered that Juan Diego should be brought into his presence.
"As soon as the man entered the room, he bowed down, as he had done before, and told the Bishop again everything that he had seen and heard, besides delivering his message. 'Your Excellency,' he said, 'I did that which you asked. I told my Mistress, the Queen of Heaven, Holy Mary, Mother of God, that you required a sign in order that you might believe what I had told you regarding the temple she enjoins you to build in the place she asks that you should erect it. And, furthermore, I said that I had given my word to bring here some sign and proof of her will, as you asked. She met your request and with graciousness accepted your condition concerning the sign you needs must have before her will might be accomplished. Very early this morning she told me to come to see you again. So I asked for the sign which would make you believe and which she has said she would give me. Instantly she complied with m petition. she sent me to the top of the hill where I had previously seen her pick to pick Castilian roses. Although I well know that the summit of the hill is not a place where flowers grow, nevertheless I doubted nothing. And when I arrived at the top, I saw that I was in a terrestrial paradise, where every variety of exquisite flowers, brilliant with dew, flourished in abundance. These I gathered and carried back to her. With her own hands she arranged them and replaced them in my robe in order that I might bring them to you. Here they are. Behold and receive them.'
Until that moment, Juan had kept the folds of his tilma closely drawn, guarding his roses zealously. Now, with a sudden movement, he released them. They fell on the floor in a colorful cascade, scattering perfume about them. Looking down at them, he felt waves of exultation sweep over him. He had delivered his burden, he had accomplished his mission, he had fulfilled his trust. Like Saint Paul, he could declare with conviction, "I have kept the faith." It seemed the supremely glorious moment of his dreary and heavy-laden life.
But his triumph had not yet reaches its pinnacle. As he stood still, his heart pounding and his eyes fixed on the flowers, still bright with drew, that lay at his feet, he was suddenly aware that the Bishop had been moved by some miracle even greater than that of the roses. Zumarraga descended form his throne and dropped on his knees. His lips were parted in prayer, and in his eyes glistened tears, as bright as the dewdrops on the roses. His transfigured gaze was turned not downward but upward, and with astonishment that knew no bounds. Juan saw that this was fixed with fervor upon his own humble person. Increasingly bewildered, he himself glanced toward the tilma from which the mass of brilliant bloom had so recently been released.
Its coarseness was completely concealed. On it, in glorious tones, was painted the image of the Blessed Virgin, exactly as she had appeared to him on the heights of Tepeyac. (Frances Parkinson Keyes, The Grace of Guadalupe, published in 1941 by Julian Messner, Inc., pp. 48-52.)
Juan Diego was rewarded for the simple trust he put in the words of the Mother of God. Why do we doubt that that the words that Our Lady spoke so recently to the seers at Fatima are not going to be fulfilled? Do not we not realize that her Immaculate Heart will indeed triumph in the end? Again, I ask a simple question: why do we live in so much fear. Our Lady wins! Christ the King will be victorious through the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We just have to overcome our fallen natures, which are prone to worry in the midst of troubles, and ask Our Lady to be made as simple and trusting as Juan Diego himself. It's really that simple.
The next segment will focus on the gracious and humble gestures of apology offered to Juan Diego by Fray Juan de Zumarraga and his associates. The final segment will focus on the reaction of some of our true popes to this great miracle that Our Lady wrought on Tepeyac Hill that resulted in the conversion of so many millions of souls and in the hastened flowering of Christendom in what we call today Latin America.
For the moment, however, I would like to close with another note of speculation about the role that Juan Diego's deceased wife, Maria Lucia, may have played in these remarkable events.
To wit, I am prone to think that it was no accident that this great miracle that was made manifest on Tepeyac Hill occurred on December 12, 1531, the day before the feast of our dear Saint Lucy, that
immovable foe of religious liberty. Our Lady, Mary of Nazareth, came to Tepeyac Hill to the bring the light of the Holy Faith to the Indians of the Americas just as the Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr, helps us to see our own lives and the events of the world more clearly by the light of that same Holy Faith. Perhaps--just perhaps, mind you--it was to honor the long years of devotion that Maria Lucia paid to her, the Mother of God, that Our Lady chose to manifest the great miracle of the Castilian roses and of her image on Juan Diego's tilma the day before the feast of Saint Lucy. Perhaps. Just perhaps.
As we continue our observances of Advent during this third week of Advent in which the Ember Days (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) of fast and partial abstinence (total abstinence, of course, on Friday, December 17, 2010) occur so that we can welcome the Baby Jesus with greater joy and with hearts and that purer and more fervent and more devout, may the joy of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is observed in some traditional venues today because the feast day, which is a mandatory liturgical feast in the Americas, fell on a Sunday this year, continue to inspire us to do our parts to plant a few seeds for the conversion of the countries of North and South America that have never been confessionally Catholic (Canada, the United States of America, Belize, which was once the colony of British Honduras, Guyana, which was once the colony of British Guiana, and Suriname, formerly the colony of Dutch Guiana) and the re-conversion of the formerly Catholic countries of the Americas, especially by praying as many Rosaries each day as our state-in-life permits.
Each Rosary we pray will be all the more efficacious if we pray to be made as simple and trusting as Juan Diego.
What are we waiting for?
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