In the early morning hours of December 9, 1531, the frost was still on the ground. All living things, such as flowers and grass, and leaves on the trees, had died for the winter, waiting for the warmth of Spring to breathe life back into them. Juan Diego was a simple Indian. He had been converted just recently to the Catholic Faith. He and his wife were baptized in the Church of Santiago, built out of the rubble of the destruction of the Aztec temple of Huitzilpochtli.
Juan had risen from bed before dawn on this Saturday morning to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. After Mass, he was to take lessons at the Indian school, run by the Franciscans, for those newly converted to the faith.
As he passed Tepeyac hill, a blanket of warmth and peace overtook him. He could hear the sound of sweet angelic voices singing above him, coming from the top of the hill. He had never heard anything like it before. He listened intently. They stopped. Then their voices echoed from a great distance. They began again. He was overcome by the angelic melody. After a short while there was silence again. Then one single voice rang out to him like a bell.
“Little Juan, Juan Dieguito”.
This should have been unusual to Juan, because the voice was so young and sweet that it had to come from someone much younger than his 57 years, and yet she spoke to him as if he were her child. That didn’t concern him, however. He darted up the hill as quickly as his legs could carry him. The sight he beheld filled his heart with such joy, he thought it would burst. But the dazzling beauty of what he saw before him made him freeze on the spot. He couldn’t catch his breath.
There before him was the most beautiful lady he had ever seen. She was young; she was regal. She did not look of this world. He had never imagined anything that even closely resembled the vision before his eyes. He had no idea of who she might be, but he didn’t care. He wanted to be swallowed up by the elegance of the lady. Everything around her sparkled like the finest diamonds. Gold reflected from her garments. She wore the most exquisite gown he had ever seen. Even the rocks and bushes glistened from the reflection of her. She spoke to him.
“Juanito, the smallest of my children, where are you going?”
“My Lady and my child, I must go to your church in Mexico Tlatiloco, to continue the study of the divine mysteries taught us by our priests, who are missionaries of Our Lord.”
The eyes, those piercing eyes, looked deep into his soul.
“Be it known and understood by you, the smallest of my children, that I am the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God from whom all life has come; of the Creator, close to whom is everything, the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
I ardently desire a temple built for me here, where I can show and offer all my love, compassion, help and protection, for I am you Merciful Mother, wishing to hear and help you, and all those others who, loving me, invoke and place their confidence in me; therein to hear your complaints and remedy all your sorrows, hardships, and suffering.
And in order to carry out what my mercy seeks, you must go to the bishop’s palace in Mexico and tell him that I sent you to make it clear how very much I desire that he build a temple for me here on this place. You shall tell him exactly all you have seen and marvelled at, and what you have heard.
Be assured that I shall be very grateful and reward you, for I shall make you happy and you shall greatly merit my compensation for the work and trouble that the mission I entrust you with will cause you. Now you have heard my command, my son, the smallest of all. Go now and give it your best effort.”
Juan Diego did not know how to behave in front of this heavenly creature. He bowed as low as he could, and said,
“My Lady, I am going now to carry out your command. For the present, your humble servant takes leave of you.”
He attempted to back down the hill, so as not to turn his back on the radiant lady. But he found himself slipping, and so he bowed again, turned his back and left. He kept turning around as he went down the hill. She was so beautiful, he didn’t want to take his eyes off her. He couldn’t get enough of her. She remained there until he was too low to see her anymore. He immediately set out for the Bishop’s palace in Mexico City to tell him what Our Lady had commanded.
For more about Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe go here http://www.bobandpennylord.com/many-faces-of-mary/our-lady-of-guadalupe.htm