Just a few days before we celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the day after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we remember St. Juan Diego. And how very appropriate it is for this saint to be tucked in between two Marian feast days!
One of the most apparent aspects of St. Juan Diego's character was his humility, his littleness. His well-known quote "I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf," describes how he saw himself. Each of the items St. Juan Diego mentions are all but useless. What can you tie with a small rope? What can you reach with a tiny ladder? What can you do with a tail or a leaf? Nothing.
St. Juan Diego really, really, had no idea why the Mother of God would appear to him. Of all the people in the world, why him? That's such a contrast to how we usually think about ourselves. It is more common for us to think "Well, why NOT me?" The idea of humility is not particularly embraced or cultivated today.
That's why this ornament, the latest in the Cookie Cutter series, works well for St. Juan Diego. It shows a simple little mouse, sitting at the base of a Christmas tree. The mouse looks young, like a child, and he has received a gift. He's looking off into the distance at something beyond our sight. It's as though he's seen something, and received something, wonderful. Something having to do with Christmas and generosity and abundance. And, of course, he has, just as we all have, just as St. Juan Diego did.
St. Juan Diego understood that all he had received was a gift. He understood that the apparitions were a gift. That his uncle's return to health was a gift. That all he had, in fact, was a gift. That's also what this ornament reminds us. Whether or not we have lots of stuff under the tree this year, we have each been given many gifts already. One of the greatest gifts, however, is recognizing our place before God, and cultivating an attitude of humility and gratitude and seeking to live a "little" life.
This blog page is a slightly different type of Advent calendar. Using ornaments, Scripture and poetry for reflection, we journey through the 28 days of Advent 2022 to Christmas morning, and the Incarnation of Christ.