Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Our Friend Juan Diego

Here is Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in a statue that I got in Mexico some years ago during one of my pilgrimages. I took a few quick pictures of it today and worked on them in various ways with digital graphics, just to exercise my brain.

The statue is usually in the dining room looking very small beneath a great framed photographic reproduction of the Tilma. And Juan Diego wouldn't want it any other way.

Here is a "saint" who is so humble that his identity is almost entirely transparent to the Mother of God. It is true, he is a patron of indigenous peoples of America as well as all lay persons. He is a wonderful example for us all of what it means to live the gospel with faith and love, simplicity and perseverance.

But he was just a poor man who encountered the beauty of Jesus living in Mary, and followed. He gave himself over to a humble place in a great and mysterious story. And he remains standing behind the Merciful Mother, giving her a place where she can give Jesus to us. The image of the Virgin remains on his cloak today after nearly 500 years, in a great Basilica in one of the most widely visited religious shrines on earth.

I pray to him every day. I am convinced that he is one of the greatest saints of the Church. He stands forever in a humble relationship to Mary, her "dearest and smallest son" and in this way so much like Jesus.