Juan Diego, on December of 1531 was assured by the Lady who had been appearing to him that his sick uncle would be healed.
And the Lady told Juan Diego, “Worry not about this illness or about any other misfortune, Am your mother, Am I, not here at your side,? Are you not protected by my shadow? Am I not your safety?”
This particular message from the Virgin Mary points to her role as Our Lady, Health of the Sick. And a feast day in honor of this devotion was celebrated on August 24 historically. But now, it holds on the Saturday before the last Sunday in August.
Even the Gospels sees her as someone who was always there to help others. Her life is a consistent testimony of self-gift. At the Annunciation, we see her surrender entirely to God’s will. Then, comes her service to her cousin Elizabeth.
Classic artwork portrays Mary’s parents, St. Joachim and St. Ann, as loving parents who took beautiful care of their special child. Though, it is not written in the Gospels, but we can’t help but to imagine how she loved and cared for them as well.
We then can imagine of her and her Son sitting with St. Joseph as he is old and dying. St. Joseph, who is the patron of the dying, has his true love ( Mary) by his side wiping his brow, keeping his lips wet, always keeping vigil, and not leaving her husband’s side until his time is done.
There is no doubt that she is truly the “Health of the Sick.”
The greatest challenge and heartbreak of Mary came as she had to watch her Son with his free will allow Himself be whipped, beaten, crowned with thorns, mocked and ridiculed. Mary ,then had to follow Him, bloodied, and battered, as He carried His cross to the hills of Calvary. She watched his son die and held His blood-soaked and lifeless body in her arms before he was buried.
As Jesus was dying on the cross, he gave his Mother to all of us and Mary also gave her all to Him and, as our Mother, will do so for us. As we continue to suffer patiently in life, she accompanies us as she did Him. She is always standing at the foot of our own crosses too.
This is why she is called Our Lady, Health of the Sick.
The book, magnificent Stabat Mater (Sorrowful Mother) was written to explain the pain and suffering Mary had to endure during the crucifixion and death of her Son.
At Guadalupe, as she said to Juan Diego 1500 years after she watched her firstborn on the Cross: Am your Mother, Am I not here at your side? Are you not protected by my shadow? Am I not your safety?
Our Lady, Health of the Sick; Please intercede for us.