Juan rounds the hill and sees the Lady, still surrounded by rays of light but this time standing on a crescent moon which is held by an angel with colored wings. Juan explains to the Lady why he missed his appointment and the illness of his uncle. The Virgin says, “Listen, put into your heart, my youngest son, that which frightens you, what afflicted you is nothing; do not let it disturb your face, your heart; do not fear this sickness nor any sharp and hurtful thing. Am I not here, I who have the honor to be your mother? Are you not in my shadow and under 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?” The Lady then goes on to assure Juan that his uncle will not die and is well.
The cultural accuracy of this dialogue manifests itself in how an inferior never addresses a superior by name or relationship. It is the superior, the Lady, who stoops down to Juan’s level calling him her precious son. The phrasing of her words is reminiscent of words an Aztec emperor would use on his ascension to the throne. Juan hears that the Lady is both his mother and a queen. He has a queen mother; the cosmic orphan is a prince, someone of noble bearing worthy of carrying her message to the Bishop. The instantaneous healing of his uncle carries this encounter between a man and a queen mother beyond the realm of Church to one of State. The village people who witness the healing are brought into the drama of the bishop’s discernment. Who is Juan Diego and what does he want?
Fifth and Final Dialogue
Juan Diego’s hope is restored, his trust is confirmed and he acts quickly on the Lady’s directions. She instructs Juan Diego to go to the top of Tepeyac hill, cut the flowers he finds, and bring them back to her so she can arrange them. Juan Diego, on a cold morning in December, in a barren location when all vegetation should be dead from frost, does not doubt. He climbs the hill, cuts the flowers, and brings them to her. The Virgin addresses him, “My youngest son, these different kinds of flowers are the proof, the sign that you will take to the bishop. You will tell him for me that in them he is to see my wish and that therefore he is to carry out my wish, my will; and you, you who are my messenger, in you I place my absolute trust”. How wonderful it must have been to hear those words, “in you I place my absolute trust.” Very much reminiscent of the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” (Mt 25:21) Do we not want to hear those same words resulting from such a confidence of trust? Will the flowers finally be the sign that will convince the Bishop? Does Juan find a place to belong, a home?
To be continued….
Edward Sri and Scott Hahn, Queen Mother, A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship
(Emmaus Road: Steubenville, OH) 2005