Today we celebrate the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Juan Diego, and the miraculous image that was revealed in his tilma when Juan approached the bishop, as Our Lady instructed him. A chronology of the events surrounding this tradition may be found here.
Julie Malchow, a woman who contacted me after reading Behold Your Mother, sent me this slide show that I'd like to share with you in honor of the feastday of the Patronness of the Americas. I hope you find it as fascinating and inspiring as I did! Listen to her words to Juan Diego:
"Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."
Juan Diego was canonized by John Paul II in 2002; Pope Pius XII declared The Virgin of Guadalupe Patronness of the Americas in 1946. While we are not obliged to believe in the contents of private revelation, we can follow confidently the example of our Church leaders who have put themselves under her protection time and again.
As the handmaid of the Lord, the Blessed Mother does nothing on her own power; hers is pure reflected glory as she carries the hope of Christ out into the world. Her hands -- glorified yet fully human -- are a mother's hands, hers a mother's heart. United with the heart of God the Father, ever close to God the Son, adored by God the Spirit, she is God's messenger of light to a world trapped in darkness. "My little child, crawl upon my lap. Am I not your mother?"