A triptych I did a long time ago, terrible photo, but the only one I have.
It is based on a nicho I once saw, but I added two of my
favorite Mexican saints, Felipe of Jesus and Miguel Pro.
Our Lady called him Juanito Dieguito.
How sweet is that? This indigenous peasant man was favored by Heaven. The lowliest man in Mexico was visited by the Empress of the Americas, the Queen of Heaven commissioned him to announce her message. Juan Diego was 57 years old when Our Lady called him. Our Lady told him she was mother of all those who lived in this land and that she wanted a chapel built so that she could could relieve the sorrows of all those who come to her in need. He protested saying he was a man of no importance, and that she would be better off choosing another. Yet she encouraged him not to fear, lovingly assuring him, "No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?" It makes me cry.
Little father St. Juanito Dieguito
pray for us, pray for all the Americas,
remember especially your people
and are turned away from our borders.
remember those who have lost homes and possessions,
those who find themselves
like those who no longer have a homeland
and seek to immigrate
to new lands - help us to embrace one another
in our poverty and homelessness
and desperate need of
the Mother of God
and of mercy.
So many people are losing everything in the fires in California, so many others have already lost their homes and possessions, family, pets and even faith. Yet Our Lady assures us, "Am I not here, I who am your mother?" When we cry, doesn't she enfold us in her arms? No matter who or what we are, what condition we are in, spiritually and physically. Is there a prison so enclosed, a pit so deep, that her love is not deeper still?
I was sad because some of my friends are sad, a couple have serious illnesses, much of the news is sad, all is sad. Yet Juanito Dieguito helped me to see Our Lady this morning. Not as he did of course, but as she is, present spiritually, manifested in her images, which I try to copy. Images and devotions which leads me to prayer and deeper devotion - and an intimacy I can't explain. I can say even more frankly than St. Juan, I'm a man of no importance. And that is wonderful to know, to experience, to be. It gives me hope.
The outer doors of the triptych
depict Francis and Clare
since the message of Guadalupe
was first entrusted to the Franciscans.
Anyway - these are the holidays - holy-days - which we all can delight in, abandoned and poor though we may be. Our Lady visits us ... she roams the world looking for the dejected, the outcast. Yesterday she manifested in the Church as the Immaculata, today she calls us with Juanito Dieguito to confidence and love, tomorrow she lifts us up and carries us within the Holy House, demonstrating that we are on a journey to our true homeland, Heaven. The Holy House of Loreto is a sign for us, a reminder that we are pilgrims, our home here is not lasting. In a few days we will see that Great Sign, the Virgin clothed with the sun, the ever Virgin Mother of God has already been revealed for all to see at Tepeyac, one Saturday morning so long ago, on December 9, 1531. We still see her, we still hear her: "I am the compassionate mother of you and of all you people here in this land, and of the other various peoples who love me, who cry out to me ..."
I rejoiced when I heard them say, let us go to God's house ... even now our feet are standing within your gates O Jerusalem! Jerusalem built as a city, strongly compact...
Photo, Showers. Prisoner with tattoo
of N.S. Madre de Dios de Guadalupe
Danny Lyon, 1968
Holy Mary, Mother of Guadalupe,
pray for us sinners,
and at the hour of our death.