Friday, December 12, 2014

The Virgin of Guadalupe in Her Own Words

It has become the custom of this blog to post, on this great Feast Day, two excerpts from the original account of the events of December 9-12, 1531, as dictated by Saint Juan Diego in the language of the Nahua peoples and recorded by an indigenous Mexican, Antonio Valeriano. These are Mary's words to Saint Juan Diego and to all of us, and they are an important complement to the singular icon that accompanies them.

Three times I have been a pilgrim to the Villa de Guadalupe, in 1999, 2002, and 2003. I have spent hours upon hours in her company, and I know the truth of what she says in these words. The icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe is not just a picture, and the greatest wonders that are worked through her are beyond all the observational and measuring techniques of the sciences.

The testimony of science to the inexplicable nature of the image and its preservation are enough to impress us and gain our attention.

But what matters above all is the dialogue that our Merciful Mother carries out with each of her children who seek her, cherish her, and bring to her their needs.

Readers will no doubt find this version slightly different from other versions they may have read. The Guadalupe account is translated in various ways from various sources (usually from Spanish translations of the original). I am using here the translation of the late Father Martinus Cawley, O.C.S.O., a lifelong scholar of Nahuatl and native Mexican texts, above all the critical edition of Antonio Valeriano's original account, known as the Nican Mopohua. Father Cawley endeavored to render into English the poetic cadence of the text, which corresponds to the rich aesthetic quality of the image.

To communicate herself and her Son, Mary entered a particular place, time, and culture. In the same way, she desires to dwell in a particular way with each one of us, in our families, our homes, and our communities.

In her company, we always find her Son and our Brother, Jesus. And through her we learn how much Jesus wants to stay with us.


The words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego
(as presented in the Nican Mopohua):

"Do know this, do be assured of it in your heart,
My Littlest One,
that I Myself, I am the Entirely and Ever Virgin, Saint Mary,
Mother of the True Divinity, of God Himself.
Because of Him, Life goes on, Creation goes on;
His are all things afar, His are all things near at hand,
things above in the Heavens, things here below on the Earth.

How  truly  I wish it, how greatly I desire it,
that here they should erect Me My Temple!
Here would I show forth, here would I lift up to view,
here would I make a gift
of all My Fondness for My Dear Ones,
all My Regard for My Needy Ones,
My Willingness to Aid them,
My Readiness to Protect them.

For truly I Myself, 
I am your Compassionate Mother,
yours, for you yourself,
for everybody here in the Land,
for each and all together,
for all others too, for all Folk of every kind,
who do but cherish Me,
who do but raise their voices to Me,
who do but seek Me,
who do but raise their trust to Me.

For here I shall listen to their groanings, to their saddenings;
here shall I make well and heal up
their each and every kind of disappointment,
of exhausting pangs, of bitter aching pain."

. . . .

"Do listen,
do be assured of it in your heart, My Littlest One, 
that nothing at all should alarm you, should trouble you, 
nor in any way disturb your countenance, your heart.

And do not be afraid of this Pestilence,
nor of any other pestilence, 
or any rasping hardship.

For am I not here, I, Your Mother? 
Are you not in the Cool of My Shadow?
in the Breeziness of My Shade? 
Is it not I that am your Source of Contentment?
Are you not cradled in My Mantle?
cuddled in the Crossing of My Arms? 
Is there anything else for you to need?

Nothing else, though, should trouble you,
should disquiet you."