Thursday, December 9, 2010

St. Juan Diego: a man of humility

“John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Our Lady of the Tepeyac Hill as the ‘Star of Evangelization.’ And the main thing for that title is what happened afterwards; so many conversions took place. Before that point there were only baptized infants, and also people who were dying who were baptized. Those in the middle could care less. They had some other pagan gods to worship, etc.

But after the apparitions, thousands of Indians began flocking everyday to the missionary centers seeking baptism. And some priests had to baptize as many as six thousand people a day. And then, in this one particular friary, this one Franciscan missionary, it was recorded that he baptized 14,200 Indians in the course of five days. And then between 1532 and 1538 (Our Lady appeared in 1531) there were about nine million people voluntarily received baptism and other sacraments of the Church. Thus Our Lady’s title ‘Star of Evangelization.’

As I mentioned, today is the memorial of Saint Juan Diego. John Paul II canonized him in 2002 at the end of July. He is the first indigenous Saint of the American continent. He was baptized when he was fifty-one years old along with his maternal uncle, Juan Bernardino, which is where Brother Juan got his name after Juan Bernardino.

Juan Diego was married, but his wife Maria Lucia died without leaving him children. But John Paul II described him as “The simple Indian who contemplated the sweet and serene face of Our Lady of Tepeyac.” He described him as a “just and upright man, a loyal son of the Church, docile to his pastors, a faithful disciple of Jesus, and one who deeply loved the Virgin.” That’s the words of our Holy Father John Paul II.

I was so impressed by the humility of Juan Diego. Just the way he acted toward Our Lady and the way Our Lady spoke to him. The reason why Our Lady had chosen him was because of his humility.

The first thing that Our Lady said was: “Where are you going Juan, smallest and dearest of my children?” And then he replied, “I am hurrying to get to Mass to hear the homily.” Then Our Lady said, “I love you my dear, little son.” She kept on calling him — ‘little son.’ These great terms of endearment, but at the same time, I believe because of his humble heart that Our Lady was attracted to. “I love you my dear, little son. I am Mary the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the True God who gives life and protects it. He is the creator of all, Lord of heaven and earth. He is all present. I desire that a church be built on this place.”