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Franciscan Spirit Blog

A Look at St. Juan Diego

Dec 9, 2020
wood carving of saint juan diego | billperry

“I am a nobody. I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf…
and you send me to a place I would never visit.”
—St. Juan Diego

There are times in our lives when we feel down on ourselves or unworthy. Juan Diego felt that way when he failed to convince his bishop of Mary’s request to build a chapel in her honor. He suggested to Our Lady that perhaps she should entrust the message to someone more worthy of the task.

Instead, Mary reaffirmed her belief in him and encouraged him to try again. With her help, he did. Having someone believe in us when we don’t believe in ourselves is such a wonderful gift. But we should also always believe in ourselves. We are not, as Juan Diego said of himself, small, tiny, the tail end, or a leaf. We are wonderfully made in the image of God and are, therefore, perfect.

Knowing that Mary would choose to appear to an indigenous farmer when she could appear anywhere and to anyone brings to many people a symbol of hope. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image on the inside of Juan Diego’s cloak is the first time Mary presented an image of herself, which perhaps contributes to the extreme popularity of, and connection with, this image.

The message of Our Lady of Guadalupe extends to all of us throughout the world. Let us celebrate the blessing she has brought to all our lives, that of her loving embrace and reminder that she is with us always.


Across Generations

We all have our views on various generations—Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials. Many of these probably come from a lack of knowledge or understanding of each other. There is no more powerful connection, though, than when someone takes the time to meet you where you are.

When Our Lady of Guadalupe spoke to Juan Diego, she did so in his native language, Nahuatl, rather than the Spanish language of those who had come from Europe and powerfully imposed themselves on the native people. In doing so, Our Lady sent the message that she was connecting to Juan on his terms and exactly as who he was. How affirming that must have been for him— and other indigenous peoples of that region. The challenge for each of us is to reach out and connect with others, respecting them for who they are.

Chances are, we are not going to have an experience as profound as the Blessed Mother appearing to us. But what if we stayed alert and sought out even the smallest blessings in our everyday moments? During this season of Advent, let us search and be open to all we encounter, embracing each moment for the blessing that it is.

So often we fear the unknown and end up catastrophizing and overanalyzing situations. When we do that, we lose sight of any potential for blessings. But what if we stopped—especially during the chaos of this time of year—and allowed ourselves simply to be present in the moment? In that momentary pause, what if we opened ourselves to the blessings that might accompany those times?

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Wed, 12/09/2020 - 09:25 AM
Thank you for sharing your story, bless you, Merry Christmas &Happy new Year's too
Wed, 12/09/2020 - 09:43 AM
All our gifts come from God. As someone messaged me just the other day: And as the finale is played in your heart, you thank God. You turn to face the audience and only Him you see applaud.
Wed, 12/09/2020 - 10:49 AM
We are in a total lockdown because of covid 19. This message is a great help. Please pray for us and thank you.
Wed, 12/09/2020 - 05:38 PM
Saint Cuauhtlatohuac, pray for us...!
Thu, 12/10/2020 - 01:16 AM
"We are wonderfully made in the image of God and are, therefore, perfect." Really? Why is it, then, that we still sin? Human perfection exists only in heaven, right?
Thu, 12/09/2021 - 06:40 AM
The very fact that we are created “in the image and likeness of God” is a given. Thus we reflect the Divine Creator. That in and of itself is the very foundation of perfection. The reality, however, that sin and evil exist does not in any way diminish the image of perfection in which we were created. The tension between good and evil have been with us from the creation of man. The Snares of Satan are all too real. Only Christ and His Holy Spirit can restore us to the perfection to which we have been called. Take heart then, my friend, while evil is real and many have succumbed to its lures, evil can and never will overpower the Goodness of God and His divine plan for us. As the 2nd letter of St. Peter instructs is, “Remain sober and alert. The devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Remain strong in faith. Our Lady of Guadeloupe, pray for us.
aleli carabeo
Thu, 12/09/2021 - 06:34 PM
aleli carabeo
Thank you for this powerful statement. May God bless us all.
Fri, 12/11/2020 - 12:42 AM
Merry Christmas 2020; (Y Felices Navidenos 2020; Et Joyuex Noel 2020;...,...Happy Hannukah 2020), A-m-e-n, A-m-e-n, and A-m-e-n. San-t-o Juan-o Diego rece por nosotros y nosotras, A-m-e-n, A-m-e-n, and A-m-e-n. Yo te quiero muchisimo el lo mund-i-o-l enter-i-ol entre el la mund-i-al enter-i-al, A-m-e-n, A-m-e-n, and A-m-e-n.
Mike Reininger
Thu, 12/09/2021 - 11:57 AM
Mike Reininger
I've always loved this Our Lady of Guadalupe story/miracle and the tilma is still with us down there in Mexico City! I met this one Anglo dude who told me that he was going to move to Mexico. I just assumed he had a Mexican wife. I wonder if Mexico is not as bad as the news on TV makes it out to be. There's an Anglo fellow in my parish church who's fluent in Spanish, and has a Mexican wife, who told me he's afraid of visiting his wife's country due to the crime. Maybe someday Mexico will resolve their current difficulties and Mexico will be a tourist destination once again.

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