Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dec. 9, 2014 Tuesday: St. Juan Diego

The story of Guadalupe offers a simple and symbolic representation of the dynamics of Marian consecration. After Juan Diego is told to ask the heavenly apparition for a miraculous sign, Our Lady sends him to the top of Tepeyac hill. She instructs him to collect the Castilian roses that he will find miraculously growing there despite the winter season. Interestingly, Our Lady tells Juan Diego to bring them to her, so that she may carefully arrange the roses in his mantle before he presents them to the bishop in Mexico City.

These roses, given by God and arranged by Our Lady, represent the gifts God has entrusted to each of us, beginning with the gift of life. Our Lady takes these gifts along with the details of our lives and arranges them, directing and caring for them in a way that we would be unable to do on our own. She invites us to allow her to dispose of our talents and the circumstances of every day. As with the roses of Juan Diego, she will prune them, remove their thorns, and arrange them as only she can.

Juan Diego allowed Our Lady to prepare and arrange all within and around him, and he entrusted her entire future to her care. This is why, though he faced trials and problems of every kind, Juan Diego never worried. All was left to Our Lady, the one who had said so tenderly to Juan Diego:

“Listen and keep in your heart, my littlest son: There is nothing for you to fear, let nothing afflict you. Let not your face or your heart be worried. Do not fear this sickness or any other illness. Let nothing worry or afflict you. Am I not here, I who am your mother? Are you not in my shadow, under my protection? Am I not the fountain of your joy? Are you not in the fold of my mantle, in my crossed arms? Is there anything else you need? Don’t let anything afflict you or perturb you.”

There is need for an interior discipline here. We need to give to Our Lady, repeatedly through the day and over the course of the years, our worries, doubts, pains, problems, and all self- reference. This is the key, the last step that will bring full relationship with her and allow her fully to intervene in our lives, to act on our behalf as she did for Juan Diego, and for many other hidden ones whom history will never know. Without this commitment, without the gift of our willing permission, Mary is not free to act. But once we take even the first halting steps of consecration, Our Lady begins to enter our lives in a perceptible way. Her goal is to fashion our soul after the pattern God first established in her own, to see us transformed into a living temple of the Lord, an Ark of the Covenant, that we might carry Christ to the world.

Fr. Joseph Langford, MC
"Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady"