"Listen and understand, my humblest son. There is nothing to frighten and distress you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and let nothing upset you. Is it not I, your Mother, who is here? Are you not under my protection?" --Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego
Juan Diego and his family were among the first Indians to embrace the Catholic faith when it was brought to the land we know today as Mexico. The story of the apparitions of Mary to Juan Diego are well known. It is touching to remember that one day, when Juan Diego was hurrying to visit his sick uncle, he took a different route for fear of being detained by Mary--but she found him, anyway, and cured his sick uncle as well. After the miracle of the tilma and the construction of a church on the hill of Tepeyac, tradition holds that Juan Diego lived as a hermit near the church, caring for pilgrims who came to visit the miraculous image and worship the true God.
Juan Diego is a companion for us during Advent because of his humility and obedience--virtues which are also traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary who appeared to him. Although he was rebuffed several times by the bishop, who did not believe in the apparitions at first, Juan Diego continued to return and make Mary's requests known to the bishop. Juan Diego valued the good graces of God above any human opinion, and he trusted in Mary, his mother and ours. May we imitate him as we continue our way through this Advent season!