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Nine Day Novena In Honor Of
The Most Holy Face Of Jesus


"All those who, attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my divinity. This splendor shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance." (Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude)

 

DAILY PREPARATORY PRAYER
O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask Thy help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love, and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. (Start novena)

  


Day One Day Four Day Seven
Day Two Day Five Day Eight
Day Three Day Six Day Nine

 

Day One

  • Console The Holy Face
  • recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 51, 3-4.
Have mercy on me, O God in Thy goodness, in Thy great tenderness wipe away my faults; wash me clean of my guilt, purify me from my sin.
O most Holy Face of Jesus, look with tenderness on us who are sinners. Thou art a merciful God, full of love and compassion. Keep us pure of heart, so that we may see Thee always. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us; Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Our Almighty Father
Almighty Father, come into our hearts, and so fill us with Thy love that forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace Thee, our only good. Show us, O Lord our God, what Thou art to us. Say to our souls, I am Thy salvation, speak so that we may hear. Our hearts are before Thee; open our ears; let us hasten after Thy voice. Hide not Thy Face from us; we beseech Thee, O Lord. Open our hearts so that Thou mayst enter in. Repair the ruined mansions that Thou mayst dwell therein. Hear us, O Heavenly Father, for the sake of Thy only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (St. Augustine)

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


 

Day Two

  • Console The Holy Face
  • recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 51, 5-6a.
My offenses truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against Thee, Thee alone, have I sinned; what is evil in Thy sight I have done.
Prayer
Most Holy Face of Jesus, we are truly sorry that we have hurt Thee so much by constantly doing what is wrong; and for all the good works we have failed to do. Immaculate Heart of Mary; Saint Joseph, intercede for us, help us to console the Most Holy Face of Jesus. Pray that we may share in the tremendous love Thou hast for one another and for the most Holy and Blessed Trinity. Amen.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctifier, all powerful God of love, Thou Who didst fill the Virgin Mary with grace, Thou Who didst wonderfully transform the hearts of the Apostles, Thou Who didst endow all Thy martyrs with a miraculous heroism, come and sanctify us; illumine our minds, strengthen our wills, purify our consciences, rectify our judgments, set our hearts on fire and preserve us from the misfortune of resisting Thine inspirations. We consecrate to Thee our understanding, our heart and our will, our whole being for time and for eternity. May our understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of Thy Holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible guide; may our heart be ever inflamed with love of God and neighbor; may our will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may our whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory forever. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


  

Day Three

  • Console The Holy Face
  • recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 51, 6b-7.
Thou art just when Thou dost pass sentence on me, blameless when Thou givest judgment. Thou knowest I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment of conception.

Prayer of Pope Pius IX
O Jesus! Cast upon us a look of mercy; turn Thy Face towards each of us as Thou didst to Veronica; not that we may see it with our bodily eyes, for this we do not deserve, but turn it towards our hearts, so that, remembering Thee, we may ever draw from this fountain of strength the vigor necessary to sustain the combats of life. Amen. Mary, Our Mother, and Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer of Saint Francis
All highest, glorious God, cast Thy light into the darkness of our hearts, give us true faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, so that with wisdom, courage and perception, O Lord, we may do what is truly Thy holy will. Amen.

Prayer to the Angels and Saints
We salute Thy, through the Holy Face and Sacred Heart of Jesus, O all ye Holy Angels and Saints of God. We rejoice in Thy glory, and we give thanks to Our Lord for all the benefits which He has showered upon ye; we praise Him and glorify Him, and offer ye, for an increase of Thy joy and honor, the most Holy Face and gentle Heart of Jesus. Pray that we may become formed according to the heart of God. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


 

Day Four

  • Console The Holy Face
  • recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 51, 8-9.
Indeed, Thou dost love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me Wisdom. O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus, Who has said, learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart, and Who did manifest upon Thy Holy Face the sentiments of Thy divine heart, grant that we may love to come frequently and meditate upon Thy divine features. We may read there Thy gentleness and Thy humility, and learn how to form our hearts in the practice of these two virtues which Thou desirest to see shine in Thy servants. Mary our Mother and Saint Joseph help us.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer in Honor of the Dolors of the Blessed Virgin
O Most Holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs! Who stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of thy dying Son, look down with a mother’s tenderness and pity on us as we kneel before thee to venerate thy Dolors, and place our requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of thy wounded heart. Present them on our behalf to Jesus, through the merits of His most sacred Passion and Death, together with thy sufferings at the foot of the cross, and, through the united efficacy of both, obtain the favor which we humbly ask. To whom shall we go in our wants and miseries if not to thee? O Mother of Mercy, who having so deeply drunk of the chalice of thy Son, graciously alleviate the sufferings of those who still sigh in this land of exile. Amen.

Prayer to the Souls in Purgatory

My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine agony in the garden, in Thine scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in Thine crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken. Deliver them from the dire torments they endure. Call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)

 


 

Day Five

  • Console The Holy Face
  • Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 5 1, 10-11.
Make me hear rejoicing and gladness that the bones Thy have crushed may revive. From my sins turn away Thy Face, and blot out all my guilt.

Prayer
Holy Face of Jesus, Sacred Countenance of God, how great is Thy patience with humankind, how infinite Thy forgiveness. We are sinners, yet Thou lovest us. This gives us courage. For the glory of Thy Holy Face and of the Blessed Trinity, hear and answer us. Mary our Mother, intercede for us; Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Joseph
Dear Saint Joseph! Adopt us as thy children, take charge of our salvation; watch over us day and night; preserve us from occasions of sin; obtain for us purity of body and soul, and the spirit of prayer, through thy intercession with Jesus, grant us a spirit of sacrifice, of humility and self-denial; obtain for us a burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet, tender love for Mary, our Mother.

Saint Joseph, be with us in life, be with us in death and obtain for us a favorable judgment from Jesus, our merciful Savior. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


 

Day Six

  • Console The Holy Face
  • recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 51, 12-13.
A pure heart create for us, O God; put a steadfast spirit within us. Do not cast us away from Thy presence nor deprive us of Thy Holy Spirit.

Prayer
May our hearts be cleansed, O Lord, by the inpouring of the Holy Spirit, and may He render them fruitful by watering them with His heavenly dew. Mary, most chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit, intercede for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel
O Victorious Prince, most humble guardian of the Church of God and of faithful souls, who with such charity and zeal took part in so many conflicts and gained such great victories over the enemy; for the conservation and protection of the honor and glory we all owe to God, as well as for the promotion of our salvation, come, we pray Thee, to our assistance, for we are continually besieged with such great perils by Thy enemies: the flesh, the world, and the devil; and as Thou wast a leader for the people of God through the desert, so also be our faithful leader and companion through the desert of this world, until Thou conduct us safely into the happy land of the living, in that blessed fatherland from which we are all exiles. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


 

Day Seven

  • Console The Holy Face
  • recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 51, 14-15.
Give me again the joy of Thy help, with a spirit of fervor sustain me; that I may teach transgressors Thy ways and sinners may return to Thee.

Prayer
Lord Jesus! After contemplating Thy features, disfigured by grief, after meditating upon Thy passion with compunction and love, how can our hearts fail to be inflamed with a holy hatred of sin, which even now outrages Thy Adorable Face! Lord, suffer us not to be content with mere compassion, but give us grace to so closely follow Thee in this Calvary, so that the opprobrium destined for Thee may fall on us, O Jesus, that thus we may have a share, small though it may be, in expiation of sin. Amen.
Mary, our Mother, intercede for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us.


Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer in Honor of Mary
Hail Mary, Most Delightful Daughter of God the Father! Hail Mary, Most Admirable Mother of God the Son! Hail Mary, Most Chaste Spouse of God the Holy Spirit! Hail Mary, Temple and Sacrarium of the Most Holy Trinity! Hail Mary, our mistress, our wealth, our mystic rose, Queen of our hearts, our Mother, our life, our sweetness, and our dearest hope! We are all thine, and all we have is thine. O Virgin blessed above all things, may thy soul be in us to magnify the Lord; may thy spirit be in us to rejoice in God. Place thyself, O faithful Virgin, as a seal upon our hearts, that in thee and through thee we may be found faithful to God. Grant, most gracious Virgin, that we may be numbered among those whom thou art pleased to love, to teach and to guide, to favor and to protect as thy children. Grant that with the help of thy love, we may despise all earthly consolation and cling to heavenly things, until through the Holy Spirit, thy faithful spouse, and through thee, His faithful spouse, Jesus Christ, thy Son, be formed within us for the glory of the Father. Amen. (St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort).

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


 

Day Eight

  • Console The Holy Face
  • recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 51, 16-17.
O rescue me, God my helper, and my tongue shall ring out Thy goodness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Prayer
Most merciful Face of Jesus, Who in this vale of tears was so moved by our misfortunes to call Thyself the healer of the sick, and the good Shepherd of the souls gone astray, allow not Satan to draw us away from Thee, but keep us always under Thy loving protection, together with all souls who endeavor to console Thee. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Peter
O glorious Saint Peter, who, in return for thy lively and generous faith, thy profound and sincere humility and thy burning love, was honored by Jesus Christ with singular privileges, and in particular, with the leadership of the other apostles and the primacy of the whole Church, of which thou wast made the foundation stone, do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith that shall not fear to profess itself openly in its entirety and in all of its manifestations, even to the shedding of blood, if occasion should demand it, and to the sacrifice of life itself in preference to surrender. Obtain for us likewise a sincere loyalty to our Holy Mother the Church. Grant that we may ever remain most closely and sincerely united to the Holy Father, who is the heir of thy faith and of thy authority, the one true visible head of the Catholic Church. Grant, moreover, that we may follow, in all humility and meekness, the Church’s teaching and counsels and may be obedient to all her precepts, in order to be able here on earth to enjoy a peace that is sure and undisturbed, and to attain one day in heaven to everlasting happiness. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


 

Day Nine

  • Console The Holy Face
  • recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
  • then…

Psalm 51, 18-21.
For in sacrifice Thou take no delight, a burnt offering from me Thou wouldst refuse; my sacrifice a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart Thou wilt not spurn. In Thy goodness, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then Thou shalt be pleased with lawful sacrifice; holocausts offered on Thy altar.

Prayer
Sacred Face of Our Lord and Our God, what words can we do to express our gratitude? How can we speak of our joy? That Thou hast deigned to hear us, that Thou hast chosen to answer us in our hour of need. We say this because we know that our prayers will be granted. We know that Thou, in Thy loving kindness, listened to our pleading hearts, and will give, out of Thy fullness, the answer to our problems. Mary, our Mother, we thank Thee for Thy intercession on our behalf. Saint Joseph, we thank Thee for Thine prayers.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Trinity
Most Holy Trinity, Godhead indivisible, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, our first beginning and our last end. Since Thou hast made us after Thy own image and likeness, grant that all the thoughts of our minds, all the words of our tongues, all the affections of our hearts, and all our actions may be always conformed to Thy most Holy Will, so that after having seen Thee here on earth in appearances and in a dark manner by the means of faith, we may come at last to contemplate Thee face to face, in the perfect possession of Thee forever in paradise. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.
*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


 

 

The Golden Arrow Prayer

May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored, and glorified in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen. 

 

“The Golden Arrow” is a prayer that Jesus gave to Sister Marie of St. Peter in August of 1843 in France. Sister Marie, a Carmelite nun, spoke of it as “an Act of Praise that Our Lord Himself dictated to me, notwithstanding my unworthiness, for the reparation of Blasphemy against His Holy Name.

While opening His Heart to her, Jesus complained bitterly of blasphemy. He said that this most grievous sin was the sin that most offends the divine Majesty; more than all other sins, for it was like "a poisoned arrow."

Then He dictated what He called “The Golden Arrow” prayer. He told Sister Mary that He would be most delightfully pierced by those who would recite this prayer, and that in addition, it would also heal those other wounds inflicted on Him by the malice of sinners.

 


 

Family Consecration
To The Holy Face Of Jesus

O Lord Jesus, we believe most firmly in Thee, we love Thee. Thou art the Eternal Son of God and the Son Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thou art the Lord and Absolute Ruler of all creation. We acknowledge Thee, therefore, as the Universal Sovereign of all creatures. Thou art the Lord and Supreme Ruler of all mankind, and we, in acknowledging this, Thy dominion, consecrate ourselves to Thee now and forever. Loving Jesus, we place our family under the protection of Thy Holy Face, and of Thy Virgin Mother, Mary most sorrowful. We promise to be faithful to Thee for the rest of our lives and to observe with fidelity Thy Holy Commandments. We will never deny before men, Thee and Thy Divine rights over us and all mankind. Grant us the grace to never sin again; nevertheless, should we fail, O Divine Savior, have mercy on us and restore us to Thy grace. Radiate Thy Divine Countenance upon us and bless us now and forever. Embrace us at the hour of death in Thy Kingdom for all eternity, through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, of all thy Saints who behold Thee in Heaven, and the just who glorify Thee on earth, O Jesus, be mindful of us forever and never forsake us; protect our family. O Mother of Sorrows, by the eternal glory which thou dost enjoy in Heaven, through the merits of thy bitter anguish in the Sacred Passion of thy Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for us the grace that the Precious Blood shed by Jesus for the redemption of our souls, be not shed for us in vain. We love thee, O Mary. Embrace us and bless us, O Mother. Protect us in life and in death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 


 

Read: The Holy Face Devotion - Bruised for our Sins

 

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DAILY QUOTE for December 14, 2017

Contemplation is nothing else than a secret, peaceful, and l...

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December 14

 

Contemplation is nothing else than a secret, peaceful, and loving 
infusion of God, which
if admitted,
will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love.


St. John of the Cross


 BLASPHEMIES? Even at CHRISTMAS? NEVER!

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. John of the Cross

While assaulted with terrible temptations, he was also perse...

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St. John of the Cross

John’s father, Gonzalo de Yepes, was of a prominent family in Toledo, Spain. At his marriage to a poor girl, Catherine Alvarez, he was disinherited, and tried his hand at the silk-weaving trade. When Gonzalo died young, Catherine was left destitute with three young sons, John being the youngest.

Sent to a poor school in Medina, John found work at the city’s hospital, and there labored for seven years.

Already given to the practice of prayer, and to bodily austerities, he studied with the Jesuits. It was revealed to him that he was to serve God in an Order, the ancient perfection of which he would help to renew.

At twenty-one he took the Carmelite habit as John of St. Matthias. Though meaning to be a lay brother, he excelled in theology and was ordained in 1567. Early on, he obtained permission to follow the original Carmelite rule, without the mitigations allowed by various popes.

When St. Teresa of Avila, the great reformer of Carmel, met John in Medina-del-Campo, she knew he was the man for the reform of the male branch of the order.  Though John was small in stature, Teresa sensed his courage and commitment. With all the proper backing and credentials, she and John proceeded to found reformed branches of the Carmelite Order in Duruelo, Pastrana, Mancera and Alcalá. As a reformed Carmelite, John took the name of John of the Cross, indeed a prophetic title.

Around this time in his life, after tasting the joys of contemplation, John entered a period of aridity, scruples, and interior desolation. While assaulted with terrible temptations, he was also persecuted with calumnies. His book, Dark Night of the Soul is the child of these trials. But in the calm that followed the storm, St. John became a great mystic, writer, and is deemed one of the best poets that ever lived.

He later, along with St. Teresa, suffered much by confusions generated within their order, as a result of the reforms. He was imprisoned by his own brothers, as he was pressured to abandon the reform. He also suffered a severe beating at the hands of the Vicar General, which marks he bore until his death. After nine months of incarceration, he managed to escape, and fled to a reformed friary.

In 1579 he became head of the college at Baeza, and in 1581 was chosen prior at Granada. It is around this time that he began the writings on mystical theology that made him a Doctor of the Church.

But troubles within the order followed him. At one point he was stripped of all status and was sent to a remote friary. Another time there was a threat of expulsion of the holy reformer from the order. Ultimately, he died in a friary whose superior was hostile to him though, ultimately, repentant.

But John of the Cross had reached that level of sanctity where crosses were welcomed and gladly embraced in union with his crucified Lord. After suffering acutely for three months, he rendered his sterling soul to God on December 14, 1591.

WEEKLY STORY

The Miracle

On July 31, 2002 the Holy Father canonized Juan Diego, a hum...

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The Miracle

On July 31, 2002 the Holy Father canonized Juan Diego, a humble Indian to whom the Mother of God appeared in Mexico in 1531 and on whose cloak she left her image as Our Lady of Guadalupe. With this canonization, the Church has placed one more seal on the authenticity of the apparitions that changed the course of the history of Mexico and gave all the Americas a great patroness. Alongside our invoking the intercession of the Virgin of Guadalupe, we may now also say, “Saint Juan Diego, pray for us.” We dedicate the following article to him.

 

"Eagle that speaks"

In the year 1474, a boy was born in Aztec Mexico in the village of Cuautitlan, about seven miles from the capital of the Empire, then known as Tenochtitlan, today Mexico City.

He was named, Quauhtlatoatzin, or “Eagle that speaks.” His origin was humble and poor, yet this boy had been chosen by God to convey one of the greatest messages ever delivered to any nation.

Despite having reached the first degree of civilization with its cities and writing system, Mexico’s religion was satanically barbarous. In the words of one historian: “Nowhere else in human history has Satan so formalized and institutionalized his worship with so many of his own actual titles and symbols.” This was the old Empire of Mexico worshiping the “Lord of the Dark” and the “Stone Serpent,” requiring a quota of, at least, 50,000 human sacrifices each year.

When “Eagle that speaks” was thirteen years old, a sacrifice of no less than 80,000 victims was offered to inaugurate the greatest of all pyramids. As he witnessed these horrors, maybe the young boy sent up a prayer for the accomplishment of an old Mexican prophecy that, one day, a God who hated human sacrifice would reach Mexico. Oddly enough, this prophecy even specified the year and the date on which this God would arrive.

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Sails on the horizon

The year by the Christian calendar was 1519; the day was a Good Friday. Montezuma II, then Emperor, a superstitious man, was on high alert because that was also the date in the Mexican prophecy.

If any Aztecs scanned the horizons of Mexico on that Good Friday morning, they saw eleven ships bearing great white sails marked by a black cross heading for their shore.

Commanded by the thirty-three-year-old Spaniard Hernan Cortes, the fleet anchored. Soon, at the captain’s orders, a cross was planted in the sand.

Hernan Cortes and his six hundred warriors were descendants of men who had battled Muslims for eight hundred years to free their beloved Spain from the dominion of Islam. It took all that bravery seething in their veins to tackle the monumental task that lay ahead of them: namely, to snatch fifteen million people from the darkness and oppression of a satanic regime and introduce them to the sweet yoke of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sinking his ships in a gesture of unparalleled bravery so as to spare his men the temptation to flee, Cortes set his face and his small army to conquer Mexico for the Faith. The next year saw a series of battles of biblical proportions, terrible defeats, renewed attacks, great feats of diplomacy resulting in solid alliances with certain native tribes, and daring coups. The odds were those of one against ten thousand but, like Emperor Constantine of old, Cortes launched his mission under the banner of the cross, telling his men: “Brothers and companions, let us follow the sign of the Cross with true faith and in it we shall conquer.”

At the end, Montezuma was dead, Mexico City had been conquered, a new government was established and churches began to rise in place of the old pagan temples.

Twelve Apostles

By this time, “Eagle that speaks” was a man entering middle age. He was married to a good woman and worked at farming, weaving mats, making furniture and anything else that would support them. He had an innate sweetness and compliant nature and a very humble disposition coupled with a quiet dignity.

One day, a few barefooted men in brown habits entered his village. They were Franciscans, a few from a group of twelve sent by Emperor Charles V of Spain for the evangelization of Mexico. These brave and zealous men had arrived in 1521, only two years after Cortes.

“Eagle that speaks” attentively listened to all they had to say and was soon bowing his head before one of them to receive the redeeming waters of Baptism. He was Christened Juan Diego. Baptized alongside him were his wife and uncle, who received the Christian names of Maria Lucia and Juan Bernardino. Juan Diego and his family were among the first natives to accept the Catholic Faith in Mexico. It was the year 1525.

After baptism, Juan Diego and Maria Lucia often continued to walk to Mass and instructions to the new church in Tlatelolco near Mexico City, about fifteen miles from their village.

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Tepeyac Hill

On December 9, 1531, which was then the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Juan Diego again made his way among cactus plants and mesquite bushes to the Church at Tlatelolco near Mexico City as was his custom. He now covered the distance alone since his good wife had died two years before. He must have missed her sorely for he had moved to Tepotzotlan to be with his uncle.

Nearing Mexico City, Juan Diego always passed a hill called Tepeyac. Its summit had been the site of a former temple to the pagan “Mother God.”

This morning as he neared Tepeyac, he suddenly stopped, hearing ineffable music that seemed to come from the top of the hill. Juan strained his bewildered eyes as he looked upward in hopes of discovering the source of so delightful a melody. It was then that he saw a dazzling cloud, emblazoned by a brilliant rainbow. Suddenly the melody ceased altogether and he heard the sweetest of all feminine voices calling his name in his native Nahuatl: “Juantzin…”

The voice used the diminutive of his name and it is impossible to convey what that meant as far as affectionate expression. Maybe, in our English it would be something like: “My dear little John.”

Without fear, Juan Diego clambered up the 130-foot-high summit and found himself facing a lady of dazzling beauty. Her garments shone like the sun and the light streaming from her person transformed all nature around her into a play of color as if seen through a stained glass window. Even the smallest leaves looked like sparkling emeralds and turquoises and the tiniest branches as if dipped in gold.

The lady motioned for Juan Diego to approach and as he did so, she spoke:

“Listen, my dearest little son, Juan, where are you going?”

“My lady, my queen, my little girl,” answered the happy Indian, “I am going to your little house in Mexico-Tlatelolco, to follow the things of God that are taught to us by those who are the images of Our Lord, our priests.”

“Know for certain, my little son,” said the lady, “that I am the perfect ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the one true God…. I am your merciful mother, yours and of all the people who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me and of those who trust in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow and will remedy and nurse all their troubles, their miseries, their suffering.”

Then she went on to ask Juan Diego to go to the Bishop of Mexico, Don Juan de Zumarraga, to ask him to build her a house on the hill. She finished by thanking him for his trouble and promising to reward him abundantly.

After some difficulty, Juan Diego saw Bishop Zumarraga who listened to him attentively but did not take him very seriously. The bishop dismissed him kindly, promising to think about all he had said and to see him again.

Knowing he had not convinced the prelate, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac Hill and found the Mother of God waiting for him. At her feet, he told her all about the interview and begged her to send someone of more renown, of a higher station in life, one who would be more readily believed.

Our Lady replied affectionately: “Listen, my little son, I have many servants, many messengers… but it is most necessary that you go personally to plead, and that, through you, my will be realized… So, go and tell him once more, that it is I, the ever-virgin Holy Mary, I who am the Mother of God, who sends you.”

On the next day, a Sunday, Juan Diego returned to the bishop’s house. After much difficulty with the servants, he was received. Juan Diego again delivered his message. Bishop Zumarraga questioned him closely and finished by asking for a sign.

“Señor Governador,” answered Juan Diego, “think about what the sign you ask for will be, because then I will go to ask for it of the Queen of Heaven who sent me.”

Once Juan Diego left, Bishop Zumarraga had him followed. But near Tepeyac, his followers lost sight of him. Quite upset, they returned to the Bishop convinced that the Indian was only making up stories. So it was decided that when he returned he would be punished.

Meanwhile Juan Diego was with the Virgin explaining to her the bishop’s request for a sign.

“That’s fine, my little son, return here tomorrow so you may take to the bishop the sign which he asks. With this he will believe you and no longer doubt this and no longer suspect you. And know well, my little son, that I will reward you all the trouble and fatigue that you have undertaken for me. Go now. I will be waiting for you tomorrow.”

Juan evades the Virgin

But the next day, Juan Diego did not return. His uncle had sickened and was dying, so Juan spent all of Monday with him. On Tuesday, before dawn, the good Indian made his way to Mexico City to call a priest to give his uncle the last rites. Passing Tepeyac hill, he thought of skirting it so the Lady would not see him and stop him.

As he did so, however, he saw her coming down the hill to meet him.

“What’s wrong, my little son? Where are you going?”

Bending low, Juan Diego greeted her and wished her a good morning as he explained his uncle’s predicament.

“Listen, and place it deeply in your heart, my littlest son,” spoke the Queen of Heaven. “What frightens and worries you is nothing. Do not let it disturb you. Do not fear this sickness, or any other sickness, or any sharp and hurtful thing. Am I not here, your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and my protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you; do not let your uncle’s illness upset you, because he will not die of it now. You may be certain that he is already well.”

Juan Diego, greatly comforted at these words, begged her, instead, to send him to the bishop with her sign. Then the Blessed Virgin told him to go to the top of the hill and gather the flowers he would find there.

Astonished at the beauty of the blooms miraculously growing in that spot, he gathered them all and returned to where the Lady awaited him. With feminine touch, she arranged them with her own hands inside his tilma, a cloak he wore to shield him from the cold, and bade him go to the bishop again.

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The miracle

The servants at the gates of the bishop’s residence would not listen to the poor Indian’s entreaties to see Don Zumarraga. Juan Diego, having no other recourse, waited patiently for a long time. Seeing him standing there holding something in his tilma, the doorkeeper and servants became curious and began to harass him so that he let them have a peek.

Great was their amazement at the sight of the exquisite flowers, their perfume, and the fact that this was not at all the season for these blooms. Three times they tried to grab a few out of Juan Diego’s tilma but, as they attempted to do so, the flowers became as if painted on the cloth, thus evading their grasp.

The servants then ran to tell the bishop what they had seen. Hearing this, Don Zumarraga realized that here was the sign he had requested and had Juan Diego brought in immediately.

As soon as he entered the bishop’s chamber, Juan Diego prostrated himself in his presence and related to him all that had happened and how he had found these beautiful flowers blooming out of season on top of the hill at the Lady’s command.

The humble Indian then held out his tilma and just as the flowers cascaded to the floor, before all present, O marvel, there appeared on the cloth an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary just as Juan Diego had seen her.

Weeping and falling to his knees, Don Zumarraga, asked the Mother of God’s forgiveness for not having immediately carried out her will.

Then, untying the tilma from around Juan Diego’s neck, Bishop Zumarraga had the miraculous icon placed in his private chapel. 

Guadalupenos

As Juan Diego returned home, he found his uncle cured and ecstatic with joy because the Lady of Tepeyac had also appeared to him. On delivering him of his illness, she had also revealed her name: “Coatlaxopeuh,” or “she who crushes the serpent.” It soon was to be understood as Guadalupe.

Meanwhile, as Bishop Zumarraga prayed fervently before the miraculous image of the resplendent Virgin of Guadalupe, his heart overflowed with gratitude as he remembered a prayer of some time before.

Two of the first Spanish governors appointed to Mexico were cruel to the Indians. Other Spaniards in authority also had more heart for gold than the welfare of the natives. He, Zumarraga, eventually had these men ousted but, meanwhile, the Indians threatened to revolt. The Indians also felt that they had lost their identity on accepting the religion of the Spaniards. Before, despite the horrors of paganism, they were Aztecs. But now, what were they?

In his affliction, Bishop Zumarraga had asked for a sign of the Mother of God that she would protect the new colony. He had asked for Castillian roses not native to Mexico. And Castillian roses were the very flowers that had cascaded onto the floor as Juan Diego opened his tilma! And then the Mystical Rose herself had left her wondrous portrait.

Our Lady, by appearing to an Indian in the turquoise robes of Aztec royalty with their own brown features, had sent the whole of Mexico the message: “I am your Queen, your Mother and you are my very own.” The natives now had a place and a name: the place was the very heart of God’s own Mother and the name, Guadalupenos.

A chapel was soon built on Tepeyac Hill, to be followed by a great basilica. Former Aztec Indians began to flock there by the thousands with the result that in seventeen years the number of baptisms had catapulted from two hundred thousand to nine million.

Juan Diego spent the rest of his life by his beloved Virgin. He died in 1548 venerated by his people for his untiring service and solid virtue. To this day the greatest blessing of Mexican parents on their children is: “May God make you like Juan Diego.”

By A. F. Phillips

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On July 31, 2002 the Holy Father canonized Juan Diego, a humble Indian to whom the Mother of God appeared in Mexico in 1531 

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