The earliest account of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe dates from 1556. It was written almost completely in Nahautl, the language of the Aztecs, by Fr. Luis Laso de la Vega, Vicar of the Shrine of of Guadalupe. Original copies can be found in the New york Public Library, and the National Library of Mexico. What follows is part one of the story right up until the miraculous image on the Tilma of Juan Diego.
("HERE IS TOLD") and set down in order how a short time ago the Perfect Virgin Holy May Mother of God, our Queen, miraculously appeared out at Tepeyac, widely known as Guadalupe.
First She caused herself to be seen by an Indian named Juan Diego, poor but worthy of respect; and then her Precious Image appeared before the recently named Bishop, Don Fray Juan de Zumárraga.
1 Ten years after the City of Mexico was conquered, with the arrows and shields put aside, when there was peace in all the towns,
2 just as it sprouted, faith now grows green, now opens its corolla, the knowledge of the One by whom we all live: the true God.
3 At that time, the year 1531, a few days into the month of December, it happened that there was a humble but respected Indian, a poor man of the people;
4 his name was Juan Diego; he lived in Cuauhtitlán, as they say.
5 and in all the things of God, he belonged to Tlaltilolco.
6 It was Saturday, not yet dawn; he was coming in pursuit of God and his commandments.
7 And as he drew near the little hill called Tepeyac it was beginning to dawn.
8 He heard singing on the little hill, like the song of many precious birds; when their voices would stop, it was as if the hill were answering them; extremely soft and delightful, their songs exceeded the songs of the coyoltotl and the tzinitzcan and other precious birds.
9 Juan Diego stopped to look. He said to himself: "By any chance am I worthy, have I deserved what I hear? Perhaps I am only dreaming it? Perhaps I’m only dozing?.
10 Where am I? Where do I find myself? Is it possible that I am in the place our ancient ancestors, our grandparents, told about, in the land of the flowers, in the land of corn, of our flesh, of our sustenance, possible in the land of heaven?".
11 He was looking up toward the top of the hill, toward the direction the sun rises from, toward where the precious heavenly song was coming from.
12 And then when the singing suddenly stopped, when it could no longer be heard, he heard someone calling him, from the top of the hill, someone was saying to him: "JUAN, DEAREST JUAN DIEGO."
13 Then he dated to go to where the voice was coming from, his heart was not disturbed and he felt extremely happy and contented, he started to climb to the top of the little hill to go see where they were calling him from..
14 And when he reached the top of the hill, when a Maiden who was standing there say him,
15 She called to him to come close to her.
16 16 Ant when he reached where she was, he was filled with admiration for the way her perfect grandeur exceeded all imagination:
17 her clothing was shining like the sun, as if it were sending out waves of light,
18 and the stone, the crag on which she stood, seemed to be giving out rays;
19 her radiance was like precious stones, it seemed like an exquisite bracelet (it seemed beautiful beyond anything else);
20 the earth seemed to shine with the brilliance of a rainbow in the mist.
21 And the mesquites and nopals and the other little plants that are generally up there seemed like emeralds. Their leaves seemed like turquoise. And their trunks, their thorns, their prickles, were shining like gold.
22 He prostrated himself en her presence. He listened to her voice [her breath], her words, which give great, great glory, which were extremely kind, as if from someone who was drawing him toward her and esteemed him highly.
23 She said to him, "LISTEN, MY DEAREST AND YOUNGEST SON, JUAN. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?"
24 And he answered her: "My Lady, my Queen, my Little Girl, I am going as far as your little house in Mexico-Tlatilolco, to follow the things of God (everything that makes God be God) that are given to us, that are taught to us by the ones who are the images of Our Lord: our priests."
25 Then she talks with him, she reveals her precious will;
26 then she says to hem: "KNOW, KNOW FOR SURE, MY DEAREST AND YOUNGEST SON, THAT I AM THE PERFECT EVER VIRGIN HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF THE ONE GREAT GOD OF TRUTH WHO GIVES US LIFE, THE INVENTOR AND CREATOR OF PEOPLE. THE OWNER AND LORD OF WHAT IS AROUND US AND WHAT IS TOUCHING US OR VERY CLOSE TO US THE OWNER AND LORD OF THE SKY, THE LORD OF THE EARTH. I WANT VERY MUCH THAT THEY BUILD MY SACRED LITTLE HOUSE HERE.
27 IN WHICH I WILL SHOW HIM, I WILL EXALT HIM ON MAKING HIM MANIFEST:
28 I WILL GIVE HIM TO THE PEOPLE IN ALL MY PERSONAL LOVE, IN MY COMPASSIONATE GAZE, IN MY HELP, IN MY SALVATION:
29 BECAUSE I AM TRULY YOUR COMPASSIONATE MOTHER,
30 YOURS AND OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE TOGETHER IN THIS LAND,
31 AND OF ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT ANCESTRIES, MY LOVERS, THOSE WHO CRY TO ME, THOSE WHO SEEK ME, THOSE WHO TRUST IN ME,
32 BECAUSE THERE I WILL LISTEN TO THEIR WEEPING, THEIR SADNESS, TO REMEDY, TO CLEANSE AND NURSE ALL THEIR DIFFERENT TROUBLES, THEIR MISERIES, THEIR SUFFERING.
33 AND TO BRING ABOUT WHAT MY COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL GAZE IS TRYING TO DO, GO TO THE RESIDENCE OF THE BISHOP OF MEXICO, AND YOU WILL TELL HIM HOW I AM SENDING YOU, SO THAT YOU MAY REVEAL TO HIM THAT I VERY MUCH WANT HIM TO BUILD ME A HOUSE HERE, TO ERECT MY TEMPLE FOR ME ON THE PLAIN; YOU WILL TELL HIM EVERYTHING, ALL THAT YOU HAVE SEEN AND MARVELED AT, AND WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD.
34 AND KNOW FOR SURE THAT I WILL APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH AND REWARD IT,
35 THAT BECAUSE OF IT I WILL ENRICH YOU, I WILL GLORIFY YOU;
36 AND BECAUSE OF IT YOU WILL DESERVE VERY MUCH THE WAY THAT I REWARD YOUR FATIGUE, YOUR SERVICE IN GOING TO REQUEST THE MATTER THAT I AM SENDING YOU FOR.
37 NOW, MY DEAREST SON, YOU HAVE HEARD MY BREATH, MY WORD: GO, DO WHAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR (IN THIS EFFORT)."
38 And immediately he prostrated himself in her presence; he said to her: "My Lady, my Little Girl, now I am going to make your venerable breath, your venerable word, a reality; I, your poor Indian, am leaving you for a while."
39 Then he came down (the hill) to put her errand into action: he came to get onto the causeway, he comes straight to Mexico City.
40 When he reached the center of the city, he went straight to the palace of the Bishop, the Governing Priest, who had just recently arrived; his name was Don Fray Juan de Zumárraga, a Franciscan Priest.
41 And as soon as he got there, he then tries to see him, he begs his servants, his helpers, to go and tell him he needs to see him;
42 after a long time, when the Reverend Bishop ordered that he enter, they came to call him;
43 And as soon as he entered, first he knelt before him, he prostrated himself, then he reveals to him, he tells him the precious breath, the precious word of the Queen of Heaven, her message, and he also tells him everything that made his marvel, what he saw, what he heard.
44 And having heard his whole story, his message, as if he didn’t particularly believe it to be true,
45 he answered him, he said to him: "My son, you will come again. I will still hear you calmly, I will look at it carefully from the very beginning, I will consider the reason why your have come, your will, your desire".
46 He left; he came our sad, because the errand entrusted to him was not immediately accepted.
47 Then he returned, at the end of the day, then he came straight from there to the top of the little hill,
48 and he had the joy of meeting the Queen of Heaven: there exactly where she had appeared to him the fist time, she was waiting for him.
49 As soon as he saw her, he prostrated himself before her, he threw himself to the ground, he said to her:
50 "My dear little Mistress, Lady Queen, my littlest Daughter, my dear little Girl. I did go to where you sent me to carry our your dear breath, your dear word; although I entered with difficulty to where the place is of the Governing Priest, I saw him, I put your breath, your word, before him, as you ordered me to.
51 He received me kindly and he listened to it perfectly, but from the way ha answered me, it’s as if he didn’t understand it, he doesn’t think it’s true.
52 He said to me: "You will come again: I will still listen to you calmly, I will look well to what you have come for, from the very beginning, to your desire, your will.
53 The way he answered me, I could clearly see that he thinks your house that you want them to build for you here, maybe I’m only making it up, or that maybe it is not from your lips.
54 I beg you, my Lady, Queen, my little girl, to have one of the nobles who are held in esteem, one who is known, respected, honored, (have him) carry, take your dear breath, your dear word, so that he will be believed.
55 Because I am really (just) a man from the country, I am a (porter’s) rope I am a backframe, a tail, a wing, a man of no importance: I myself need to be led, carried on someone’s back, that place your are sending me to is a place where I’m not used to going to or spending any time in, my little Virgin, my Youngest Daughter, my Lady, Little girl;
56 please excuse me: I will grieve your face, your heart; I will fall into your anger, into your displeasure, my Lady, my Mistress."
57 The Perfect Virgin, worthy of honor and veneration, answered him:
58 "LISTEN, MY YOUNGEST AND DEAREST SON, KNOW FOR SURE THAT I HAVE NO LACK OF SERVANTS, OF MESSENGERS, TO WHOM I CAN GIVE THE TASK OF CARRYING MY BREATH, MY WORD, SO THAT THEY CARRY OUT MY WILL;
59 BUT IT IS VERY NECESSARY THAT YOU, PERSONALLY, GO AND PLEAD, THAT MY WISH, MY WILL, BECOME A REALITY, BE CARRIED OUT THROUGH YOUR INTERCESSION.
60 AND I BEG YOU, MY YOUNGEST AND DEAREST SON AND I ORDER YOU STRICTLY TO GO AGAIN TOMORROW TO SEE THE BISHOP.
61 AND IN MY NAME MAKE HIM KNOW, MAKE HIM HEAR MY WISH, MY WILL, SO THAT HE WILL BRING INTO BEING, HE WILL BUILD MY HOUSE OF GOD THAT I AM ASKING HIM FOR.
62 AND CAREFULLY TELL HIM AGAIN HOW I, PERSONALLY, THE EVER VIRGIN HOLY MARY, I, WHO AM THE MOTHER OF GOD, AM SENDING YOU."
63 For his part, Juan Diego responded to her and said to her "My Lady, Queen, my Little Girl, let me not give you anguish, let me not grieve your face, your heart. I will most gladly go to carry out your breath, your word; I will absolutely not fail to do it, nor do I think the road is painful.
64 I will go and carry out your will, but perhaps I won’t be heard, and if I am heard, perhaps I won’t be believed.
65 Tomorrow afternoon, when the sun goes down, I will come to return to your word, to your breath, what the Governing Priest answers to me.
66 Now, I respectfully say goodbye to you, my youngest Daughter, young Girl, Lady, my Little Girl, rest a little more."
67 And then he went to his house to rest.
68 On the following day, Sunday, while it was still night, everything was still dark, he left there, he left his house, he came straight to Tlatilolco, he came to learn what pertains to God and to be counted in roll call; then to see the Reverend Bishop.
69 And around ten o’clock everything had been taken care of: Mass was over and roll had been called and the crowd had gone away.
70 And Juan Diego went to the Reverend Bishop’s residence.
71 And as soon as he arrived he went through the whole struggle to see him, and after much effort he saw him again;
72 he knelt at his feet, he wept, he became sad as he spoke to him, as he revealed to him the word, the breath of the Queen of Heaven.
73 that would to God the errand, the will, of the Perfect Virgin would be believed, of making for her, of building her sacred little house for her, where she had said, where she wanted it.
74 And the Governing Bishop asked him many, many things, pursued many, many, questions with him, to make certain of where he had seen her, what She was like; he told absolutely everything to the Lord Bishop.
75 And although he told him absolutely everything, and that in everything, he saw and marveled that it appeared with absolute clarity that she was the Perfect Virgin, the Kind and Wondrous Mother of Our Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ,
76 nevertheless, it still didn’t happen (his message was still not believed).
77 He said that not simply because of his word would his petition be carried out, would what he asked for happen.
78 That some other sign was very necessary if he was to believe how the Queen of Heaven in person was sending him.
79 As soon as Juan Diego heard that, he said to the Bishop:
80 "Señor Governor, 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."
81 And when the Bishop saw that he was in agreement, that he did not hesitate or doubt in the slightest, he dismisses him.
82 And as soon as he is on his way, he orders some of house-hold staff in whom he had absolute trust to go along following him, to carefully observe where he was going, whom he was seeing, to whom he was talking.
83 And that’s what they did. And Juan Diego came directly. He took the causeway.
84 And those who were following him lost him on the wooden bridge where the brook comes out near Tepeyac. And even though they searched all over for him, they couldn’t find him anywhere.
85 And so they turned back. He made them angry, not just because they had made terrible fools of themselves, but also because he had frustrated their attempt.
86 So they went to tell the Lord Bishop, they put into his head that he shouldn’t believe him, they told him how he was only telling him lies, that he was only making up what he came to tell him, or that he was only dreaming or imagining what he was telling him, what he was asking of him.
87 Therefore they decided that if he came again, if he returned, they would grab him right there and would punish him severely, so that he would never come again to tell lies or get the people all excited.
88 Meanwhile, Juan Diego was with the Most Holy Virgin, telling her the response that he was bringing from the Lord Bishop;
89 when she had heard it, she said to him:
90 "THAT’S FINE, MY DEAR SON, YOU WILL COME BACK HERE TOMORROW SO THAT YOU MAY TAKE THE BISHOP THE SIGN HE HAS ASKED YOU FOR;
91 WITH THIS HE WILL BELIEVE YOU, AND HE WILL NO LONGER HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT ALL THIS AND HE WILL NO LONGER BE SUSPICIOUS OF YOU; 92 AND KNOW, MY DEAR SON, THAT I WILL REWARD YOU CARE AND THE WORK AND FATIGUE THAT YOU HAVE PUT INTO THIS FOR Me.
93 SO, GO NOW: I WILL BE WAITING HERE FOR YOU TOMORROW."
Part 2 to follow! at 5 AM, December 12th, the hour of the apparition.
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