Am I not here, I who am your mother?
December 7, 2015
This is a wonderful week of Marian Feasts. December 8th is the Immaculate Conception, December 10th is Our Lady of Loreto, December 11th is Our Lady, Queen of the Angels, and December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! December 8th also marks the beginning of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.
On Wednesday, December 9th, we remember St. Juan Diego, who in December 1531 was visited four times by the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Rising before dawn every morning, Juan Diego walked 15 miles to go to daily Mass. One cold December morning, as he made his way past the hill at Tepeyac, he saw a cloud surrounded by a rainbow and a vision of Our Lady dressed as an Aztec princess in the cloud. La Virgen told Juan Diego she wanted him to give a message to the bishop; she wanted a chapel built in her honor so she could ease the suffering of all those who called to her in their need.
Juan Diego did deliver the request as the Blessed Mother had asked, but the bishop wasn’t very receptive. As Juan Diego headed home, Our Lady appeared to him for the second time. He told her that she should get someone else – someone more worthy than he, but she insisted that he should go back to the bishop the next day, and he reluctantly agreed.
This time, the bishop told Juan Diego that he wanted a sign to prove that the apparition was from heaven. For the third time, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego and agreed to bring him a sign the next day. But Juan Diego’s uncle became ill and seemed on the verge of death, so Juan Diego missed his appointment with the Blessed Mother. Early the next morning, as he hurried to get a priest for his uncle, Juan Diego went a different route so Our Lady wouldn’t find him! One thing I have learned about Our Blessed Mother is that once she has you, she does not let go!
Appearing for the fourth time, Our Lady gently chided Juan Diego for not turning to her for help for his uncle. She spoke these words that have been inscribed above the door of the Basilica of Guadalupe. : "No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?" (Am I not here, I who am your mother?).
Telling him his uncle was now well, she sent Juan Diego up the hill to gather roses blooming there to take to the bishop. Using his tilma to carry the flowers, when he was admitted to the bishop, Juan Diego opened his mantle and the flowers cascaded to the floor. The bishop saw the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe on the tilma and fell to his knees. As a result of these miracles, in 9 years there were 7 million conversions to the faith in Mexico.
The Knights of Columbus have produced an amazing documentary entitled, “Guadalupe: the Miracle and the Message.” EWTN will broadcast it on December 11th, 12th and 13th. Here’s a link of days and times: http://www.guadalupethefilm.com/en/broadcasts.html
Here is a prayer from Catholic Doors for the intercession of St. Juan Diego:
You who were chosen by Our Lady of Guadalupe
as an instrument to show your people and the world
that the way of Christianity is one of love,
compassion, understanding, values, sacrifices,
repentance of our sins, appreciation and respect for God's creation,
and most of all one of humility and obedience.
You who we know is now in the Kingdom of the Lord
and close to our Mother,
be our angel and protect us,
stay with us as we struggle in this modern life
not knowing most of the time where to set our priorities.
Help us to pray to our God to obtain the gifts of the Holy Spirit
and use them for the good of humanity
and the good of our Church,
through the Heart of Our Lady of Guadalupe
to the Heart of Jesus.