Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Our Lady of Guadalupe: She Who Smashes the Serpent
Posted on 12/12/2009 3:13:07 AM PST by GonzoII
|Written by Cesar Franco|
|Monday, 30 November 2009 11:59|
On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego was on his way to attend Mass in what is today Mexico City. It was dawn as he approached Tepeyac Hill, a few miles from his destination. Juan Diego was no ordinary Indian, but the grandson of King Netzahualcoyotl,1 and the son of King Netzahualpilic and Queen Tlacayehuatzin, who was a descendant of Moctezuma I.
Bishop Zumarraga tearfully took the tilma from Juan Diego, placed it in his private chapel, and entreated Juan Diego to stay with him for the night in the palace. The next day, with a crowd following behind them, the two went to the site where Our Lady wanted her church built. Juan Diego gave a detailed account of the apparitions. Then they went to see Juan Bernadino and check on the state of his health.
She Who Smashes the Serpent
Juan Bernadino was surprised to see his nephew accompanied by the bishop and a crowd of admirers. Naturally, he asked what was happening. The miracle was told again and Juan Bernadino acknowledged that he was cured. Our Lady appeared to him and cured him. She told him of her desire to be called Santa María de Guadalupe. Guadalupe in Spanish corresponds phonetically to Coatlaxopeuh in Náhuatl, which means “I smashed the serpent with the foot.”
The bishop then displayed the tilma in the Cathedral of Mexico for public veneration, and called on all to help in the construction of the new church, which was completed on December 26, 1531. On that day, a great procession was made from the cathedral to the new church. Spaniards and Indians, ecclesiastical and imperial officials alike, accompanied Our Lady of Guadalupe to her new shrine. The Indians performed war dances in her honor, and covered the whole path to Tepeyac Hill with flowers.
Amid the festive rejoicing, an overzealous Indian fired an arrow, mortally piercing the throat of another Indian. There were cries and sobs over the dead Indian. Then, inspired by grace, all began to ask that his lifeless body be placed in front of the tilma. As everyone began to invoke Our Lady of Guadalupe’s help, the dead Indian came back to life, his throat instantly healed. Everyone cheered as he rose to his feet. Strengthened by the miracle, the procession resumed and the image was placed in the new shrine.
Miracles That Defy Science
Since the tilma is made of cactus fiber, it should have disintegrated after 20 years. However, it has survived from 1531 until the present day without cracking or fading. Scientists cannot explain how this is possible. In the 18th century, Dr. José Ignácio Bartolache had two copies of the image made and placed where the original was. After several years, the two copies deteriorated.
Over time, the faithful have tried to “embellish” the tilma. A crown was painted on Our Lady’s head and angels in the clouds. However, unlike the tilma, these additions have worn away and are no longer visible. The rays of the sun, for example, were coated with gold and the moon plated with silver. These embellishments also faded away. In fact, the silver-plated moon turned black.
Scientists are baffled how the image was imprinted on the tilma. There are no brush strokes or sketch marks on it. Richard Kuhn, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, ascertained that Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image does not contain natural, animal or mineral pigments. The tilma defies natural explanation.
At the Guadalupe shrine in Mexico City, a stone sail ship monument is visible near the chapel on the hill. The landmark commemorates a miracle that took place in 1565 when General Miguel López de Legazpi was returning from the Philippines and his ship was engulfed by a tempest. On the verge of sinking, the crew in desperation made a vow to Our Lady of Guadalupe; if she saved them, they would carry their last remaining sail to her on pilgrimage. The storm abated and they fulfilled their promise.
The greatest miracle was that eight million Indians converted in only seven years following the apparitions. The early Franciscan and Dominican missionaries were busy night and day baptizing and administering the Sacraments. On average, over three thousand Indians a day were baptized throughout the seven years.
Symbolism of the Tilma
The miraculous tilma is like a catechism class for the Mexican Indians. Our Lady, as she appears, eclipses the sun, showing her superiority over the Aztec sun god. She stands on the moon, trampling the Aztec moon god under foot. She is surrounded by clouds and attended by an angel, showing that she is not of this earth. Yet her hands are folded in supplication and her head is tilted in a position of humility, thus showing that while she tramples the pagan gods, she is not God. Around her neck, she wears a brooch with a cross, leading mankind to the Supreme Being, the God of the Christians.
May the goodness and tenderness Our Lady showed to Saint Juan Diego encourage our readers to have more devotion to her. Like every good mother, she is also the implacable foe of those who inflict harm on her children. Therefore, she is our special aid in the struggle against evil today. Let our battle cry be “¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!” (“Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!”)
Footnotes1. Netzhualcoyotl is famous in Mexican history as a warrior, philosopher and poet. Analyzing the order of nature, he deduced the existence of only one, invisible God, the Creator of all things, Whom he adored by burning incense and in Whose honor he composed sixty psalms of praise similar to those by King David. He disliked human sacrifice and the worship of pagan gods. (Cf. Juan Antonio Montalvo, “Plática sobre la Virgen de Guadalupe,” in Historica, órgano del Centro de Estudios Guadalupanos, AC, Colección II, México, Editorial Hombre S. de R.L., 1983, 7, 8.) [back]
2. This Náhuatl word means “smallest of my sons.” Xocoyota is the feminine for daughter. [back]
|Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2009 18:53|
Got this one?
Great read, thanks for posting.
In the Chicagoland area today the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is being celebrated, and the largest gathering of the faithful in North America are attending. More than 100,000 people are expected to take part this weekend in the annual festival honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe at an outdoor shrine in Des Plaines, Ill.
I must confess I did not know much about Our Lady of Guadalupe until I finally started reading about this several months ago. What a incredible Miracle. I would love to see the Tilma at some point during my lifetime. What a treasure it is for us to have.
Fixed. ; )
From the opening chants of the Akathist to Our Lady of Guadalupe:
To Thee, our great and constant Intercessor before the Throne of Almighty God, do we, Thy children, offer this hymn of praise, glorifying Thy wondrous Image revealed to Thy humble servant, Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac, as we sing of Thy enduring heavenly
Protection of all who keep the festival, joyfully exclaiming with arms uplifted: Rejoice, O Lady from Heaven, Virgin-Mother clothed with the Sun!
The peoples of Mesoamerica saw a most Divine Light when they gazed upon Thy sacred and miraculous image inscribed by the Finger of God upon the tilma of Juan Diego. They recognized in it their salvation at last and liberation from the darkness of enslavement to the cunning Serpent of old and they cried with grateful love amidst tears:
Rejoice, Most Immaculate Messenger from on High!
Rejoice, Great Sign that appeared in Heaven and in our midst!
Rejoice, Woman shining with the Brightness of Thy Son and our Lord!
Rejoice, Lady crushing the Serpent of old beneath thy feet!
Rejoice, Victor over evil!
Rejoice, Queen of Heaven and Earth!
Rejoice, unfailing Intercessor for those lost in darkness!
Rejoice, Star of the Sea bringing us to the harbor of safety!
Rejoice, Defender of children!
Rejoice, Protector of such as are of the Kingdom of Heaven!
Rejoice, Standing with the moon at Thy feet!
Rejoice, with hands enfolded in prayer to God on our behalf!
Rejoice, O Lady from Heaven, Virgin-Mother clothed with the Sun!
My parish is celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe tomorrow, because there’s an Advent retreat in their building today. My Spanish choir will be over in a couple of hours to practice the traditional mariachi songs for the occasion. These are simple for the guitar, but work for the vocalists because of the bazillions of verses ;-).
I’ve heard it said that this is not a “painting” it’s and “icon”.
The Akathist calls it that here:
Thy humble servant went with joy and great anticipation to the palace of the bishop with the roses Thou didst give him as evidence of Thy appearance. Believing the flowers to be the final signal to all affirming Thy coming on earth, Juan unfurled his tilma. Upon
seeing the greater miracle of Thy image not made by human hands, all cried: Alleluia!
The bishop joined with everyone in kneeling prayerfully before Thy miraculous Icon, bowing to God’s revelation of His salvation of the Americas through His Most Holy Mother. Spellbound in wonder and amazement at Thy great love for those for whom Thy Son died for on the Precious and Life-giving Cross, they all sang:
Rejoice, Icon revealing Thy Son and Lord Jesus Christ!
Rejoice, Image reflecting His Heavenly Glory!
Rejoice, Sign from Heaven, bringing us the Abundant Life!
Rejoice, our Mantle of Protection!
Rejoice, covering us with an outpouring of Grace!
Rejoice, Who appears to us when we know neither the day nor the hour!
Rejoice, for Thou didst call us to the Kingdom of God suddenly!
Rejoice, Who imprints the image of Thy Son on those who honour Thee!
Rejoice, Robe of salvation!
Rejoice, Armour of Christ!
Rejoice, Witness to the Divine Incarnation!
Rejoice, Holy Garment without seam!
Rejoice, O Lady from Heaven, Virgin-Mother clothed with the Sun!
Later on, the tilma is compared to the Mantle of Divine Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos (Agia Skepi) which she spread over the City to protect it from its enemies.
Not which "city", which "City"...! Constantinople of course! :)
You gotta get with the program, TC!
Not Mexico City?
Just pullin your chain, K.
Sounds like it will be a wonderful Mass.
Hillary recently asked who the artist was. I think the Bishop responded “God”.
Last night my husband came home after work with a huge bouquet of flowers — he had been at the 14th St subway station in Mnahattan, to come home, and happened into a huge fiesta for Guadalupe — her church is there — there were mariachi bands and people selling tmales and flowers everywere, so he brought some home, he said for me, but really they were for the Virgin — he has a beautiful hand-sewn sequin image of her that was given to him in Texas.
One of my choir members was a professional performer in Mexico. When the rest of us can imitate what she’s singing, in the mariachi pieces, it sounds really good.
It’s freezing here today - made me wish we were really in Mexico!
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Hearing stories like yours makes my heart soar.
A far cry from the sordid life of D.C. politicians or a well known sport's figure as of late.
You and your husband are what make this country great.
I still laugh when they talked about Hillary's visit there during this past year. They showed her the Pima and she said, "Wow... who's the artist?"
This from the smartest woman in the world? But I digress.
It’s a poor reflection on Hillary, but even more on her staff. You don’t expect a non-Catholic to know the details of Marian apparitions, but you do expect a Secretary of State to be properly briefed. Can’t these people even access Wikipedia?
It seems that the whole executive branch of the government is so poorly prepared for anything.
Of course with a tax cheat as our treasury secretary, what can we expect?
Of course, with a gangster as President, the rot starts at the top.
Great read, thanks NY.