Franciscan Spirit Blog

A Look at St. Juan Diego

“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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9 thoughts on “A Look at St. Juan Diego”

  1. Pingback: Saint Juan Diego – Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church

  2. What is their to say that has not been said. What is their to do again that was not done. My G-d did everything for us. But we have changed the path. Our horses now runs on the rocks and our cattle plow on rocks also. As such we are changing the order of the world. We have prevent the good way and we expect to survive and prosper. Please let us ALL return to the Lord- Blessed be his holy name.
    G-d Bless.

    1. Yes, the world is full of selfishness and sin. Yet, Jesus still comes to us with mercy and forgiveness. Let us never doublt God’s great love. Let his grace be our request and driving force as we live through such troubling times. Praise be God forever.

    2. RL, it should be “there,” not “their.” As an editor, I get a headache when seeing such errors. I’m grateful when others point out to me my own mistakes. If I hurt your feelings, sorry. I’m trying to do you a favor.

  3. Juan Diego worked cleaning the temples before the European invasion. He would be someone to whom original peoples would listen. He was addressed by La Virgen in his native language and agreed to approach Bishop Zumarraga in the “place I would never visit.” The good bishop needed a sign, proof. Food for thought in these times in which hunger and safety drive so many to our borders and they are not welcomed and are rejected. With whom would la Virgen speak now?

  4. I have always loved St. Juan Diego from the first moment I learned about Tepeyac. I am so very glad that he is a Saint with a capital S!

  5. I’m compelled to leave this comment today because the small blessings I have been receiving in a serious family predicament that I chose to take over are profound as The Blessed Mothers appearance to Saint Juan Diego! First, praying and begging our Father on what to do, Secondly, accepting his word and following his wishes and thirdly, accepting the unknown daily suffering and joy that has come from this predicament. Today the love of my Blessed Mother and my brother Saint Juan Diego only add to the encouragement of my choices to continue on the correct path to God, Amen, ❤️🙏

  6. Mary Esther Murillo

    To tell you the truth, I think instead of Our lady of Guadalupe she should have been named Our Lady of Juan Diego. The bishop didn’t believe a poor man like that could have had the Virgin appear to him. He had him beaten & thrown out of his office. It wasn’t until Juan Diego came back with proof of roses that he was finally believed.
    Glad he was finally recognized for his beliefs.

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