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The History of Our Lady of Guadalupe [Catholic Caucus] ^ | December 12, 2003 | Lester Mark Haddad, M. D.

Posted on 12/11/2010 9:11:31 PM PST by Salvation

Our Lady of Guadalupe 

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¿No estoy aqui, yo, que soy tu madre? 

“Am I not here, who am your Mother? 
Are you not under my shadow and protection? 
Am I not the fountain of your joy?” 


The History of Our Lady of Guadalupe 
The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Aztec Indian Juan Diego in December of 1531 generated the conversion of Mexico, Central and South America to Catholicism. Indeed, the Blessed Virgin Mary entered the very life stream of Central America and became an inextricable part of Mexican life and a central figure to the history of Mexico itself. To this date the most important religious celebration in Mexico and Central America is December 12, the feast-day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her appearance in the center of the American continents has contributed to the Virgin of Guadalupe being given the title "Mother of the Americas." 
The Setting
It is important to understand the historical background and setting at the time of the apparition to fully appreciate the impact of the Virgin of Guadalupe. 
The Aztecs 
The Aztecs ruled most of Central America in 1500, and their Empire known as Mesoamerica extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean and included the lands of Mexico, Guatamala, Belize, and portions of Honduras and El Salvador. Montezuma (or Moctezuma) the Younger, considered the earthly representative of the sun god Huitzilopochtli, became King of the Aztecs in 1503, and ruled from the capital Tenochtitlan and its sister-city Tlatelolco, both situated on an island in Lake Texcoco, the site of modern Mexico City. The inhabitants of the island were called the Mexica. 4-5

Montezuma demanded heavy tribute from the surrounding Indian tribes, and was poised to conquer the few remaining regions of the dying Mayan civilization. 

The city of Tenochtitlan was the center of religious worship for the Aztecs. Since the Mexica believed that the gods required human blood to subsist, the priests sacrificed thousands of living humans a year, generally captured Indians from surrounding tribes, in order to appease the frightful deities. 4-7

Two other gods important to understanding the events of history were Quetzelcoatl, the stone serpent, and Tonantzin, the mother god. Quetzelcoatl was the god who founded the Aztec nation, but left when human sacrifice began, as he was opposed to the terrible ritual; but he vowed to return one day to reclaim his throne and redeem the Aztecs in the year 1-Reed, which occurred every 52 years in the Aztec time cycle. 
Tonantzin was depicted as a terrifying figure, with her head comprised of snakes and her garment a mass of writhing serpents; her eyes projected fathomless grief. Tonantzin was worshipped at a stone temple in Tepeyac, about five miles from the capital Tenochtitlan. 
Montezuma’s sister, Princess Papantzin, lapsed in a coma in 1509. Upon her recovery, she related a dream that profoundly influenced the superstitious King. In her dream a luminous being with a black cross on his forehead led her to a shore with large ships that would come to their shores to conquer the Aztecs and bring them the true God. It was only ten years later, in the year 1-Reed, a year when Quetzelcoatl could return, that the Conquistadors of Spain arrived on the shores of Mexico.2
Hernando Cortez and the Conquistadors 
The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 led to the exploration and colonization of the entire Caribbean by the Spaniards. The Conquistadors, much like the Crusaders, were variably in search of fortune, personal glory, and God, and often all three. 
The Spaniard Hernando Cortes landed on the Gulf shore of Mexico on Good Friday, April 22, 1519. According to one of his men, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who recorded the events of the expedition, Cortes arrived with 508 soldiers on eleven ships, 100 sailors, 16 horses, a few cannons, crossbows and other pieces of artillery.4 They named the landing site Veracruz, "The True Cross." Their Chaplain, Father Bartolome de Olmedo, perfomed Mass on Easter Sunday. Cortes worked alongside his men to build a fort and left a contingent to protect the new settlement. He then sent one ship back to Spain with a letter that detailed their discovery for King Charles V. In an historic move to strengthen their resolve to conquer the land, Cortes burned his last ten ships in the harbor, cutting off any avenue of retreat. 
Three reasons have been given for the conquest of Mexico by this small but formidable force. The arrival of the Spanish conquistadors with their metal breastplates, snorting horses, loud smoking guns, and vicious dogs proved a frightening spectacle to the Indians. Cortes, through the Indian interpreter Dona Marina, cleverly won over outlying Indian tribes, such as the Tlaxcalans, who resented the heavy tribute demanded by the Aztecs. In addition, the Aztecs and others had no immunity to smallpox brought to American shores by the Europeans, and were decimated in a smallpox epidemic that began in 1520. 8


The expedition first arrived in Cempoala, where the heavily taxed tribe pledged their allegiance to Cortes. They continued through Jalapa, and headed towards Tlaxcala. They continued to find evidence of human sacrifice everywhere they went. This only strengthened their determination to stop the diabolic practice. At first the Tlaxcalans resisted the Spaniards. Cortes fought right alongside his men and forever earned their respect. Unable to defeat the Spaniards, the fierce Tlaxcalans finally joined forces with Cortes, and ultimately proved to be most valuable allies. 
On the way to Tenochtitlan, Montezuma planned a trap in Cholula for Cortez, but the Spaniards overwhelmed the Chululan tribe, allies of the Mexica, and left 5000 dead. Montezuma recalled the dream of his sister when he learned that a black cross adorned the helmets of the Spaniards. Because he believed that he was the returning god Quetzelcoatl, Montezuma refused to attack Cortes, and actually welcomed him on his arrival into Tenochtitlan 8 November 1519, and housed the Spaniards in the palace of Montezuma’s father. 
The Spaniards were appalled at the horrible spectacle of human sacrifice, and Cortez asked Montezuma to stop. But sacrifice of adults and even children continued, and the Spaniards were awakened each morning by the screams of sacrificial victims. Cortez boldly placed Montezuma under house arrest one week after his arrival, and confined him to his palace. 
Montezuma presented many gifts of gold, silver, and jewels to Cortez, but would not stop the demonic rituals. Finally, Cortes climbed the stairs of the main temple, had the priests remove the Aztec gods, and placed a Cross and image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father Olmedo said Holy Mass. 
The Aztec rituals stopped for three months. 
War was about to begin. 
Soon afterwards, Cortes had to leave the city for political reasons, and placed Pedro de Alvarado in charge of Tenochtitlan. During the festival of the sun god Huitzilopochtli in the spring of 1520, Alvarado decided to surround the Aztecs during their ritual ceremony in the temples, and slaughtered the unarmed celebrants. Outraged at this violation, the Mexica rose up in arms. Montezuma's brother Cuitlahuac assumed leadership and fiercely attacked the Spaniards. Montezuma died in the battle. Cortes returned to Tenochtitlan to find the city in open warfare. The Spaniards and Tlaxcalans were soundly defeated and driven from the city on the Night of Sorrow, June 30, 1520. 
However, Cortes returned to Tenochtitlan in May of 1521 with a massive army of native Indians, mostly Tlaxcalans. They were surprised to find half the population had died of a smallpox epidemic, including King Cuitlahuac. The new leader Cuauhtemoc fought Cortes for 93 days, but had to surrender the city on August 13, 1521. The once glorious city of Tenochtitlan was destroyed, and with it, the Aztec practice of human sacrifice. The conquest of Mesoamerica was complete. 
The Early Church in New Spain 
Cortes’ first action as conqueror was to place the region under the Spanish crown and demolish the temples of sacrifice and build Catholic churches in their place, such as the Church Santiago de Tlatelolco on the site of the Temple of the sun god in present-day Mexico City. 
Cortez did call for missionaries to convert the native Indians, and shortly after the Conquest, the Franciscan Peter Ghent from Belgium arrived in New Spain in August of 1523. He become known as Fray Pedro de Gante, and adopted the ways of the Indians and lived a life of poverty among the natives. He learned Nahuatl, the native Aztec language, and soon appreciated that communication with the natives was through images, music, and poetry. He first began to educate the young, and the natives soon learned to trust him and listen to the Christian message. 
In August of 1524, twelve Franciscan missionaries arrived, including Father Toribio Paredes de Benevente, who affectionally became known as Motolinia or “poor one” by the natives for his self-sacrificing ways. Many of the others attempted conversion by formal catechetical methods through translators. But they found the natives highly resistant to Christianity, the religion of the Conquistadors, who had killed thousands of Indians, raped their women, and destroyed Tenochtitlan. 
The Dominicans, including Father Bartolome de las Casas of the West Indies, the first priest ordained in the New World, and the Jesuits arrived considerably later. 
In 1528 Charles V of Spain sent a group of five administrators known as the First Audience to govern Mexico. The First Audience was headed by Don Nune de Guzman, who quickly proved cruel and ruthless in his treatment of the native population. He forced the native population either to abandon their villages or be reduced to slavery, branded them on the faces, and sold them in exchange for cattle. 
To offset the First Audience, Charles V appointed Fray Juan Zumarraga as the first Bishop of Mexico City and Protector of the Indians in December of 1528. He accomplished much in his 25 years as Bishop, which included the establishment of the first grammar school, library, printing press, and the first college, Colegio de la Santa Cruz at Tlatelolco. However, he spent much of his first year in Mexico objecting to the ruthless treatment of the Indians by de Guzman, who by then had sold 15,000 Indians into slavery. The First Audience applied strict censorship, and forbade both Indians and Spaniards from bringing complaints to the Bishop. The Bishop countered with stern sermons against their use of military force, torture, and the imprisonment of Indians. 
Finally, in 1529, some Indians managed to smuggle a protest to Bishop Zumarraga concerning the heavy taxes and slave conditions in nearby Puebla. The Franciscan Father Antonio Ortiz delivered a spirited sermon on the Feast of the Pentocost on the subject, and was arrested while preaching from the altar by de Guzman’s men and thrown into jail. Bishop Zumarraga managed to send a message hidden in a crucifix back to Spain, and de Guzman was recalled. A Second Audience was appointed which proved judicial to the Indians, but did not arrive in Mexico until 1531. 
However, the Conquistadors and the First Audience had done grave damage to their relationship with the native population. The Indians were fed up with Spanish occupation, and resentment had reached a flash point. Isolated outbreaks of fights with the Spaniards had become inevitable, and Bishop Zumarraga feared a general insurrection. Such was the setting when the event of Tepeyac took place. 

The following account of the five apparitions in three days is based on the oldest written record of the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Nican Mopohua, written in Nahuatl about 1540 by Don Antonio Valeriano, one of the first Aztec Indians educated by the Franciscans at the Bishop’s Colegio de la Santa Cruz.1-3 An illustration of the apparition event with the signature of Don Antonio Valeriano and the date 1548 was recently uncovered in a private collection in 1995, now referred to as the Codex 1548. The Codex 1548 has been scientifically studied and determined to be genuine, and substantiates the historical basis of the apparition of Guadalupe. 1

The Jesuit Father Miguel Sanchez published the first Spanish work on Guadalupe, Imagen de la Virgen Maria Madre de Dios de Guadalupe in 1648. Brother Luis Lasso de la Vega published in Nahuatl the Nican Mopohua and other documents in a collection known as Huey Tlamahuezoltica in 1649. The theologian Luis Becerra Tanco published his work on the tradition of Guadalupe in 1675. Finally, the Jesuit professor of theology Francisco de Florencia produced his account of the apparition in 1688. These four writers have been important in the preservation of the tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe.1-3

The tradition of the event is of prime importance. The precipitous conversion of over 8 million Aztec Indians to Catholicism in seven years is highly indicative of the miracle of Guadalupe. It has been pointed out that “great historical movements do not result from non-events.” 9

The Miracle of Tepeyac 

The Aztec Indian Cuauhtlatoatzin (or Cuauhtlatohuac), which means “the one who speaks like an eagle,” was born in 1474. He married a girl named Malitzin, and they lived with an uncle near Lake Texcoco. The three were among the few to be baptized in the early days, most likely by Father Toribio in 1525, and given the names Juan Diego and Maria Lucia, and the uncle Juan Bernardino. Maria Lucia was childless, and died a premature death in 1529. 

Juan Diego was a widower at age 55, and turned his life to God. It was his custom to attend Mass and catechism lessons at the Church in Tlatelolco. At daybreak, on Saturday, December 9, 1531, Juan Diego began his journey to Church. As he passed a hill named Tepeyac, on which once stood a temple to the Aztec mother god Tonantzin, he heard songbirds burst into harmony. Music and songbirds presaged something divine for the Aztec. The music stopped as suddenly as it had begun. A beautiful girl with tan complexion and bathed in the golden beams of the sun called him by name in Nahuatl, his native language, “Juan Diego!” 
The girl said: “Dear little son, I love you. 
I want you to know who I am. 

I am the Virgin Mary, Mother of the one true God, of Him who gives life. 
He is Lord and Creator of heaven and of earth. 
I desire that there be built a temple at this place where I want to manifest Him, make him known, give Him to all people through my love, my compassion, my help, and my protection. 
I truly am your merciful Mother, your Mother and the Mother of all who dwell in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, and of those who seek and place their trust in me. 
Here I shall listen to their weeping and their sorrows. 
I shall take them all to my heart, and I shall cure their many sufferings, afflictions, and sorrows. 
So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Lord Bishop all that you have seen and heard.” 
Juan Diego went to the palace of the Franciscan Don Fray Juan de Zumarraga, and after rude treatment by the servants, was granted an audience with the Bishop. The Bishop was cordial but hesitant on the first visit and said that he would consider the request of the Lady and politely invited Juan Diego to come visit again. 
Dismayed, Juan returned to the hill and found Mary waiting for him. He asked her to send someone more suitable to deliver her message “for I am a nobody.” 
She said on this second visit, “Listen, little son. There are many I could send. But you are the one I have chosen for this task. So, tomorrow morning, go back to the Bishop. Tell him it is the ever holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God who sends you, and repeat to him my great desire for a church in this place.” 
So, Sunday morning Juan Diego called again on the Bishop for the second time. Again with much difficulty, he was finally granted an audience. The Bishop was surprised to see him and told him to ask for a sign from the Lady. 
Juan Diego reported this to the Virgin, and she told him to return the following morning for the sign. However, when Juan Diego returned home he found his uncle Juan Bernardino gravely ill. Instead of going back to Tepeyac, he stayed home with his dying uncle on Monday. 
Juan Diego woke up early Tuesday morning, December 12th, to bring a priest from the Church of Santiago at Tlatelolco, so that his uncle might receive the last blessing. Juan had to pass Tepeyac hill to get to the priest. Instead of the usual route by the west side of the hill, he went around the east side to avoid the Lady. Guess who descended the hill on the east side to intercept his route! 
The Virgin said, “Least of my sons, what is the matter?” 
Juan was embarrassed. “My Lady, why are you up so early? Are you well? Forgive me. My uncle is dying and desires me to find a priest for the Sacraments. It was no empty promise I made to you yesterday morning. But my uncle fell ill.” 
Mary said, “My little son. Do not be distressed and afraid. 
Am I not here who am your Mother? 
Are you not under my shadow and protection? 
Am I not the fountain of your joy? 
Are you not in the fold of my mantle, in the cradle of my arms? 
Your uncle will not die at this time. This very moment his health is restored. There is no reason now for your errand, so you can peacefully attend to mine. Go up to the top of the hill; cut the flowers that are growing there and bring them to me.” 
Flowers in December? Impossible, thought Juan Diego. But he was obedient, and sure enough found beautiful Castilian roses on the hilltop. As he cut them, he decided the best way to protect them against the cold was to cradle them in his tilma - a long, cloth cape worn by the Aztecs, and often looped up as a carryall. He ran back to Mary and she rearranged the roses and tied the lower corners of the tilma behind his neck so that nothing would spill, and said, “You see, little son, this is the sign I am sending to the Bishop. Tell him that now he has his sign, he should build the temple I desire in this place. Do not let anyone but him see what you are carrying. Hold both sides until you are in his presence and tell him how I intercepted you on your way to fetch a priest to give the Last Sacraments to your uncle, how I assured you he was perfectly healed and sent you up to cut these roses, and myself arranged them like this. Remember, little son, that you are my trusted ambassador, and this time the Bishop will believe all that you tell him.” This fourth apparition was the last known time Juan Diego ever saw the Virgin Mary. 
Juan called for the third time on the Bishop and explained all that had passed. Then Juan put up both hands and untied the corners of crude cloth behind his neck. The looped-up fold of the tilma fell; the flowers he thought were the precious sign tumbled out on the floor. 
The Bishop rose from his chair and fell on his knees in adoration before the tilma, as well as everyone else in the room. For on the tilma was the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary just as described by Juan Diego. 
While Juan Diego was calling on the Bishop, Juan Bernardino, the dying uncle, suddenly found his room filled with a soft light. A luminous young woman filled with love was standing there and told him he would get well. During this fifth apparition, she told him that she had sent his nephew, Juan Diego, to the Bishop with an image of herself and said, “Call me and call my image Our Lady of Guadalupe.” 
The impact
The news of the appearance of the Indian mother who left her imprint on the tilma spread like wildfire! Three points were appreciated by the native population. First, the lady was Indian, spoke Nahuatl, the Aztec language, and appeared to an Indian, not a Spaniard! Second, Juan Diego explained that she appeared at Tepeyac, the place of Tonantzin, the mother god, sending a clear message that the Virgin Mary was the mother of the true God, and that the Christian religion was to replace the Aztec religion. And third, the Indians, who learned through pictures and symbols, understood the image of the tilma, which revealed the beautiful message of Christianity: the true God sacrificed himself for mankind, instead of the horrendous life they had endured sacrificing humans to appease the frightful gods! It is no wonder that over the next seven years, from 1531 to 1538, eight million natives of Mexico converted to Catholicism! 1-3, 7, 9-11
The Image on the Tilma 
The imprint of Mary on the tilma is striking, and the symbolism was primarily directed to Juan Diego and the Aztecs. The description that follows is that related by Father Elizondo,7 who references earlier writings. Mary appears as a beautiful young Indian maiden with a look of love, compassion, and humility, her hands folded in prayer. Her pale red dress is that of an Aztec princess. Her blue mantle symbolized the royalty of the gods, and the blue color symbolized life and unity. The stars on the mantle signified the beginning of a new civilization. Mary stands in front of and hides the sun, but the rays of the sun still appear around her, signifying she is greater than the sun god, the greatest of the native divinities, but the rays of the sun still bring light. Twelve rays of the sun surround her face and head. She stands on the moon, supported by an angel with wings like an eagle: to the Aztec, this indicated her superiority to the moon god, the god of night, and her divine, regal nature. 
Most important are the two crosses and the black maternity band that were present in the image. Mary wore a black maternity band, signifying she was with child. At the center of the picture is found an Indian cross, the center of the cosmic order to the Indian. This symbol indicated that the baby Mary carried within her, Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, is the new center of the universe. On the brooch around her neck was a black Christian cross, indicating she is both a bearer and follower of Christ, the Son of God, our Savior, who died on the Cross to save mankind. 
In summary, the image signified Mary bringing her Son Christ to the New World through one of their own! 
To the Christian one cannot help but identify Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Woman of the Apocalypse. This interpretation was first recorded by Father Miguel Sanchez in 1648. 
"A great sign appeared in the sky, 
a woman clothed with the sun, 
with the moon at her feet, 
and on her head a crown of twelve stars." 
Revelation 12:1 
The tilma itself was made of ayate, a coarse fabric made of cactus fibre, a cape worn by the Indians of the time. The cape measures 5.5 x 4.6 feet, and is made in two parts sewn by a vertical seam made with thread of the same material. The natural life of the fiber is roughly 30 years, yet the tilma and the image remain intact after 470 years, in spite of moisture, handling, and candles! 1-2
The Immediate Aftermath 
Bishop Zumarraga was overwhelmed by the miracle of the tilma, and this time extended his hospitality to Juan Diego and invited him to spend the night. He gently removed the tilma and placed it in his private chapel, where all prayed in thanksgiving for the miracle. 
The following day, they set out for Tepeyac, and Juan Diego showed Bishop Zumarraga where Mary had appeared. The Bishop directed that a small chapel be erected at the site. The enthusiasm from the event produced so many volunteers that a chapel in Tepeyac was constructed by Christmas Day. 
Juan Diego then asked leave of the Bishop that he might see his uncle. The Bishop insisted that Juan Diego be escorted back to his home and then returned to his palace. Juan Diego and Juan Bernardino were joyfully reunited, and both recounted to each other the miraculous events. Juan Diego brought his uncle back to the Bishop’s residence to show him the tilma, and they stayed as guests of the Bishop until Christmas. The convergence of the curious multitude led the Bishop to move the tilma to the Cathedral so that all could marvel and pray. 
On December 26, 1531, a solemn procession with the Bishop, Juan Diego, Franciscan priests, and the faithful brought the tilma from the Cathedral to the Chapel at Tepeyac. Thousands attended the procession. In the excitement, some Indians shot arrows into the air, and one mortally wounded a man in the procession. A priest tended to the wound, and prayers were said to the Virgin, and the man was reported to have been miraculously healed. This only added to the fervor of the procession. 
Juan Diego lived in a hermitage built for him next to the chapel at Tepeyac, and showed the tilma and explained the apparition and its Christian significance over and over to pilgrims who visited the shrine. He died peacefully on May 30, 1548 and was buried at Tepeyac. Bishop Zumarrage died only three days after Juan Diego. 
The miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe led to a tidal wave of conversions. The few missionaries that initially were met with resistance became overwhelmed with baptisms, preaching, and instruction in the faith. An early missionary, the Franciscan Father Toribio de Benavente, recorded in his Historia de los Indios, published in 1541, that “I have to affirm that at the convent of Quecholac, another priest and myself baptized 14,200 souls in five days. We even placed the oil of catechumens and Holy Chrism on all of them.” 2
Recent Developments 
The Virgin of Guadalupe is literally intertwined with both the history of the Catholic Church in the new world and of Mexico itself. To mention a few events, the great floods of 1629 claimed 30,000 lives and threatened the destruction of the valley of Mexico, until the waters abated when the image was taken in solemn procession from Tepayac to Mexico City. A horrible plague in the early 1700s claimed the lives of 700,000 people, and, once the Virgin of Guadalupe was declared the Patroness of Mexico on 27 April 1737, the disease dissipated. But before that, as Mexico became mestizo, the union of the creoles, Spanish born in Mexico, and the Indians, the dark Virgin became the symbol of the people, and they love her as one of their own. 6
On November 24, 1921, during a period of government persecution, a powerful bomb hidden in flowers exploded directly underneath the tilma during High Mass, and destroyed stone and marble in the sanctuary and shattered the stained-glass windows of the Basilica. When the smoke cleared, the congregation was amazed to find that the tilma remained untouched, and the thin protective glass covering was not even cracked, nor was anyone hurt. 
Scientific studies of the tilma have been undertaken through the years, which have only served to confirm its supernatural nature. The tilma remains just as vibrant as ever, having never faded. Famous Mexican artists such as Miguel Cabrera (1695-1768) determined that it is impossible for the rough surface of the tilma to support any form of painting. One of the unusual characteristics of the tilma is that up close the features are unremarkable, but the tone and depth emerge beyond six or seven feet and the image becomes more radiant and photogenic. 
The astonishing discovery that reflections of people in Mary’s eyes, perhaps Juan Diego and Bishop Zumarraga or the interpreter Juan Gonzalez, were confirmed by two scientists in 1956. This phenomenon is seen only with human eyes, not in a painting.10
Studies by infra-red photography in May of 1979 were undertaken by Philip C. Callahan, a research biophysicist at the University of Florida. He ruled out brush strokes, overpainting, varnish, sizing, or even preliminary drawings by an artist in the body of the image. Damage from the 1629 flood was apparent at the edges of the tilma. He concluded that the original image on the tilma has qualities of color and uses the weave of the cloth in such a way that the image could not be the work of human hands.10
How did Our Lady identify herself? Bishop Zumarraga understood the Spanish name Guadalupe, a Marian shrine in Spain. But Mary spoke Nahuatl to Juan Diego, and some writers suggest that she may have said “Coatlalupej,” or one “ who treads on the snake.”2, 11 On the other hand, Juan Gonzalez, the interpreter present for conversations between Juan Diego, his uncle, and the Bishop, was reported to be fluent in both Nahuatl and Spanish, so any misinterpretation would seem unlikely.4 Either may be possible, as Mary is our Mother [John 19:25-27] everywhere, both in Europe and the New World. 
The tilma of Juan Diego is the only known divine image of the Blessed Virgin Mary that exists on our planet! 
Seven million people from the Americas visit the Virgin of Guadalupe every year, especially on December 12, the annual celebration of the miracle. If one visits Mexico City, one can plainly see who has the heart of the people. One finds the Virgin of Guadalupe pictured everywhere in Mexico City, in the airport, taxis, bakeries, even on streetcorners. Our Lady has been the factor that has preserved the Aztec Indians from the cultural disintegration observed with other Indian populations such as in North America.3
Popes through the ages have recognized Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Pope John XXIII was the first to call the Virgin Mother of the Americas on October 12, 1961. John Paul II was the first Pope to visit the Guadalupe shrine on January 27, 1979. On January 23, 1999, Pope John Paul II, referring to all of the Americas as one single continent, called the Virgin of Guadalupe the Mother of America
Pope John Paul II canonized Juan Diego a Saint on July 31, 2002. Juan Diego certainly deserves sainthood, as he was both humble and obedient to the request of Our Lady. The Catholic Church remains firmly entrenched in Mexico, Central and South America, which today are at least 90% Catholic. The Catholic Church of the United States with 60 million Catholics can attribute much of our recent growth to the Hispanic population of North America. 
Friday, December 12, 2003 
La Basilica de la Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe 

Reprinted by permission by the author
Lester Mark Haddad, M. D.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, please pray for us.


1 Testoni, Manuela. Our Lady of Guadalupe - History and Meaning of the Apparitions . St. Paul - Alba House, Staten Island, New York, 2001. 

2 Johnston, Francis. The Wonders of Guadalupe, or El Milagro de Guadalupe . Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, Illinois, 1981; update (in Spanish), 1996. 

3 Demarest D, Taylor C. The Dark Virgin - The Book of Our Lady of Guadalupe . Coley Taylor Publishers, Freeport, Maine, 1956. 

4 Carroll, Warren H. Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness. Christendom Press, Front Royal, Virginia, 1983 and 2002. 

5 Boone, Elizabeth. The Aztec World. St. Remy Press and the Smithsonian Institution Books, Washington, D. C., 1994. 

6 Krauze, Enrique. Mexico - Biography of Power . Harper-Collins Publishers, New York, 1997. 

7 Elizondo, Father Virgilio. La Morenita - Evangelizer of the Americas . Mexican American Cultural Center, San Antonio, Texas, 1980. 

8 Berkin C, Miller CL, Cherny RW, Gormly JL. Making America - A History of the United States , Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1999. 

9 Schreck, Alan. Historical Foundations, Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio, 2003. 
Compact History of the Catholic Church . Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1987. 

10 Rengers, Christopher OFM Cap. Mary of the Americas . St. Paul - Alba House, Staten Island, New York, 1989. 

11 Eliot EC. Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Delaney JJ (ed): A Woman Clothed with the Sun. Image Doubleday, New York, 1961. 

12 The Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible. Catholic Edition, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1971. 

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: blessedvirginmary; catholic; catholiclist; juandiego
This is a Catholic Caucus thread.

Guidelines for Catholic Caucus Threads

1 posted on 12/11/2010 9:11:35 PM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...

**from 1531 to 1538, eight million natives of Mexico converted to Catholicism!**


Our Lady of Guadalupe Ping!

2 posted on 12/11/2010 9:16:53 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Gosh, I would love to see this in a non-caucused thread, would be fun to watch.

3 posted on 12/11/2010 9:28:49 PM PST by doc1019 (Martyrdom is a great thing, until it is your turn.)
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The History of Our Lady of Guadalupe [Ecumenical]
2 Questions related to Faith & Apologetics. A Feast day & Our Lady of Guadalupe [Catholic Caucus]
The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe called 'Mother Without Borders' in Los Angeles (Catholic Caucus)
Hernándo Cortés and Our Lady
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Church Militant (Catholic Caucus)
Scientists certify Our Lady of Guadalupe tilma
The Story of Guadalupe: Hope for Our Violent World

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Protectress of the Unborn
Was Our Lady of Guadalupe Wrong?
A Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Relic From Guadalupe Tilma to Tour U.S.
The Amazing Truth of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady Of Guadalupe
Celebrating 470 years of an ongoing miracle, the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe 1531
Science Stunned by Virgin of Guadalupe´s Eyes

4 posted on 12/11/2010 9:29:09 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: doc1019

No thank you, that happened the other day, and I prefer that it doesn’t happen today. Hope you are Catholic.

5 posted on 12/11/2010 9:33:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Whether I’m catholic or not has little to do with my posting, I believe that all postings here should be open. If you can sustain your arguments or postings, then do so in an open forum. IMHO

6 posted on 12/11/2010 9:43:02 PM PST by doc1019 (Martyrdom is a great thing, until it is your turn.)
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To: Salvation
Interesting read, thanks for posting. To flip the notion that a God sacrificed for His people, rather than sacrificing people for their God is quite a feat. Seems we could use a little of that today- in Arab countries in particular.

The difference between yesterday's Aztec sacrificial and today's radical terrorist is that the Arab eagerly jumps in line. This presents a problem that may not be overcome by roses in a backpack.

7 posted on 12/11/2010 11:20:35 PM PST by budwiesest (It's that girl from Alaska, again.)
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To: Salvation

What a story! Thanks for posting!

Juan Diego was a lucky guy to be chosen like he was!

8 posted on 12/12/2010 3:36:10 AM PST by surroundedbyblue
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: sr4402; Salvation
From Padre Pio:
"Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother" --St. Padre Pio.
And you were mentioning, on another post, getting our kids back in the pews, Salvation. When I read the following quote on Dec. 9, it made me smile; I am now going to say this quietly to my children as they respond with the second parts of the Rosary when they recite the daily family decade with Tom and me (a huge, very huge miracle, right there!). Prayers for all families this season of His birth.
His [Juan Diego's] contemporaries were impressed with his holiness: parents used to bless their children with the wish, "May God make you like Juan Diego." He was canonized by John Paul II in 2002. --from the introduction to St. Juan Diego's feast day readings, St. Joseph Weekday Missal, Vol. 1
This is a beautiful post, Salvation. Thank you.
10 posted on 12/12/2010 7:28:05 AM PST by mlizzy (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee ...)
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To: johngrace

Did you finally get to Woodstock, John? You’ll like this post ...

11 posted on 12/12/2010 7:35:29 AM PST by mlizzy (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee ...)
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To: doc1019
FYI, here's an excerpt from the Caucus rules.
Caucus threads are closed to any poster who is not a member of the caucus. For instance, if it says “Catholic Caucus” and you are not Catholic, do not post to the thread. --Link.

12 posted on 12/12/2010 7:39:06 AM PST by mlizzy (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee ...)
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To: mlizzy
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Feast Day
December 12th
[In the diocese of the United States]

Patroness of the Americas and Protector of the Unborn

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars
Revelation 12:1 (Entrance Antiphon for Our Lady of Guadalupe)

Prayers - Ave Maria (Spanish) - Family celebration

Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Blessed Virgin Mary, by her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, is the Patroness of Mexico and the Americas. On December 9, 1531, Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego, an Indian Christian, whom she sent to the bishop with the request to build a Church in her honor on the hill where she appeared. The bishop asked Juan Diego for a sign to prove that the Virgin had appeared to him. Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego again on December 12 and promised that his uncle would be healed. She directed Juan Diego to gather a bouquet of roses that miraculously appeared on a bush nearby (roses do not bloom at this time of the year) to present to the bishop. Juan Diego gathered the roses in his tilma (cloak). When he opened his tilma before the bishop, the roses felt to the floor, and the bishop was amazed to see the miraculous image of the Mother of God imprinted on the cloak. The image persuaded the bishop to believe what Juan Diego had told him, and the Church was built.

This image, which almost immediately inspired the conversion to Christianity of many thousands of Indians, may still be seen in the Cathedral in Mexico City. Many believe that the fact that the image remains intact on a coarse fabric woven of a cactus-like plant that ordinarily deteriorates within a few years is further indication of the miraculous nature of the image. The symbolic significance of the image include Mary's complexion, which is similar to that of the Indians who were native to the region, her pregnancy, the gold stars adorning her blue mantle that representing the heavens, the purple tassels of her sash signifying royalty.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, intercede for the Church, protect the Holy Father, help all who invoke you in their necessities. Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the Grace of a firm faith and sure hope amid the bitterness of life, as well as an ardent love and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.


O God of power and mercy, You blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through Your justice present in our hearts, may Your peace reign in the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: Zechariah 2:14-17 (2:10-13 in RSV)

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be My people; and I will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And the Lord will inherit Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem."

Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.

Or Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant was seen within His temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a Child, that he might devour her Child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male Child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her Child was caught up to God and to His throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Responsorial Psalm: Judith 13:18bcde, 19

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.

"O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth, who has guided you to strike the head of the leader of our enemies.

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.

Your hope will never depart from the hearts of men, as they remember the power of God.

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.

Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Or Luke 1:39-47

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

Or any readings from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Ave María (Hail Mary)

Dios te salve, María. Llena eres de gracia: El Señor es contigo.
Bendita tú eres entre todas las mujeres. Y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre: Jesús.
Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores,
ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte. Amén.

Family Celebration
of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

For the dinner on this Feast day it would be appropriate to have a Mexican menu. This can be very simple -- for example, "build-your-own" tacos, which most children enjoy. Start with purchased taco shells, and provide a bowl of meat filling (hamburger seasoned with onions and chili powder -- from mild to very spicy as your family likes it), a bowl of shredded cheese, another of shredded lettuce. Or have chili soup with taco chips or corn chips.

If possible, decorate the table with a small potted poinsettia (a flower native to Mexico), along with the Advent wreath.

At mealtime, say the Angelus (in English or Spanish)

For night prayers pray the prayer (above) for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and say the Ave Maria -- in Spanish or English.

Include the "Hail Mary" prayer with the children's bedtime prayers tonight.

To Our Lady Dark Yet Fair

O hail, thou Virgen de Guadalupe! Unfailing refuge, our solace in days of grief, Radiant Queen so kind, our Mother of sweet relief ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Lovely Maid, fairest star above the sea! Advocate e'er gracious of clemency and love, Deign to listen to our pleas, O mother above ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Yea, O Lady of Guadalupe; O meek and gentlest One, take heed to our groaning; For oft we stumble and raise to thee our moaning ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Golden gate of heav'n, thou radiant portal; Unstained by sin, blissful queen of heav'n and earth, Aid me that I may love Him whom you did give birth ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Daughter of God, thou queen of royalty, Ave Maria! With joyful hearts we hail thee! Look on us so kindly, O Blessed Virgin Mary! ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Unfailing refuge and sweetest Mother; Pearl of grace so fair, fail not thine children to care, E'er our sweetest Advocate who did God once bear ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

-- Jeong-Bo Shim

Jeong-Bo is a thirteen year old boy who lives with his family in Corvallis, Oregon. He is home-schooled and enjoys writing poetry. Last year, he was the state winner of the Junior Catholic Daughters of America poetry contest. He also plays the violin and has been invited to play a solo meditation at the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Last year he won second place in the MTNA national competition. He enjoys playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and swimming as well as gardening. He received help on the first verse from Katheryn Atkinson of Tehachipi, California.

Related link: Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

13 posted on 12/12/2010 8:48:01 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: sr4402; Religion Moderator
It does not appear that you are a Catholic. This is a Catholic Caucus thread. Please reference the Religion Moderator's rules above.
14 posted on 12/12/2010 8:51:10 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

re: The Spaniard Hernando Cortes ... arrived with 508 soldiers on eleven ships, 100 sailors, 16 horses, a few cannons, crossbows and other pieces of artillery.... Three reasons have been given for the conquest of Mexico by this small but formidable force. The arrival of the Spanish conquistadors with their metal breastplates, snorting horses, loud smoking guns, and vicious dogs proved a frightening spectacle to the Indians. Cortes, through the Indian interpreter Dona Marina, cleverly won over outlying Indian tribes, such as the Tlaxcalans, who resented the heavy tribute demanded by the Aztecs. In addition, the Aztecs and others had no immunity to smallpox brought to American shores by the Europeans, and were decimated in a smallpox epidemic that began in 1520.

This is poor history. Practically upon landing Cortez had to fight against a tribe of 100,000 Indians. That’s 600 men against 100,000! And that was only the beginning.

The conquest of the tribes was a miracle far exceeding Gedeon’s in scripture. The 13 muskets they had (1520!), took a long time to load. THINK!- Go another 300 years in weaponry improvements and find me where any army of 600, ALL with rifles, could conquer 100,000 American Indian, Hindus,or Africans, let alone 8 million!

Read the short book Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness, by Warren H. Carroll

15 posted on 12/12/2010 2:07:08 PM PST by verdugo
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To: Salvation

My parish had a fine do for Our Lady of Guadalupe. There was a prayer vigil from 7:00 last night until (I heard) 2:00 a.m. I had planned to go but we had disruptions in the family schedule; probably best that I didn’t stay up that late ;-). Today we had a very large congregation for Mass, children and adults in traditional Mexican (and Central American, who’s a stickler? ;-) clothing, half a dozen favorite songs, and lots of roses. Followed by a party, but we had to get home because we’d left Frank (the baby) with Tom (the anarchic brother).

And it’s my husband’s 48th birthday, too.

My boss, the Spanish Battleax, is feeling me out to take over the Hispanic Ministry, but I’m resisting! My Spanish isn’t good enough.

16 posted on 12/12/2010 3:26:28 PM PST by Tax-chick (He will be Peace.)
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To: verdugo

I’m listening to a lecture set about the history of warfare, and happen to have just finished the section on the conquest of Mexico. The presenter believes that steel swords made a very big impact, and also thinks that the nature of Native society, with the elites so distinct from the commoners, made it possible for the Spanish to “decapitate” the state, as it were, and impose their own military-religious superstructure with modest disruption, or even improvements, for the Indian peasantry.

The true tragedy is the epidemics, for which nobody can be blamed.

17 posted on 12/12/2010 3:30:06 PM PST by Tax-chick (He will be Peace.)
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To: Tax-chick
All rubbish, the worldly can try as they may to create their facades, PhD's and all, they can't hide the truth. The Spaniards defeated the Aztecs and all the other tribes ONLY because God protected them.

Their first battle against an Indian tribe was against 300 to 1 odds. And in the first battle against the Aztecs:

From Warren Carrol's book pg 31:
"Cortes and his 300 Spaniards turned their backs to the shore (and marched toward the Aztecs)... the odds against them were precisely 10,000 men to one". Bernal Diaz wrote:

"Let the curious reader see whether there is not much to ponder over in this which I venture to write, and whether there were ever in the universe men who had such daring". These Spaniards went to mass every day, practiced the Angelus, three times a day, and followed the breviary, and more. Hardened from 700 years of fighting to regain Spain from their conquerers, militant Islam, they KNEW that without God they could do nothing. Their victory over the Indians was of God.

18 posted on 12/12/2010 6:59:26 PM PST by verdugo
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To: Tax-chick
All rubbish, the worldly can try as they may to create their facades, PhD's and all, they can't hide the truth. The Spaniards defeated the Aztecs and all the other tribes ONLY because God protected them.

Their first battle against an Indian tribe was against 300 to 1 odds. And in the first battle against the Aztecs:

From Warren Carrol's book pg 31:
"Cortes and his 300 Spaniards turned their backs to the shore (and marched toward the Aztecs)... the odds against them were precisely 10,000 men to one". Bernal Diaz wrote:

"Let the curious reader see whether there is not much to ponder over in this which I venture to write, and whether there were ever in the universe men who had such daring".

These Spaniards went to mass every day, practiced the Angelus, three times a day, and followed the breviary, and more. Hardened from 700 years of fighting to regain Spain from their conquerers, militant Islam, they KNEW that without God they could do nothing. Their victory over the Indians was of God.

19 posted on 12/12/2010 7:01:56 PM PST by verdugo
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To: All
The Miraculous Image of Guadalupe
Pastor’s Column
3rd Sunday of Advent
December 12, 2010
          The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most extraordinary of all signs God has ever given the world. It is literally infused with the miraculous. It is almost as if God opened the heavens and extended his hand so we could literally see him. This image is truly a gift from eternity, the world of the future that we are all preparing to enter. Here are a few interesting facts:
The image was imprinted on the tilma of Juan Diego…a cloth made of fibers from a cactus plant called an Agave. Fabric of this time normally deteriorates after 20-40 years. There is no explanation as to how this cloth has endured 500 years. No other garment like it exists from that period and no one in our own era has been able to make a similar cloth that does not rapidly deteriorate.
The image is not painted. No one knows how the image was created. The cloth itself has the characteristic of burlap – rough overlapping fibers. Each individual fiber has its own color. From a distance, this gives the image a three-dimensional quality.
When one sees the image in person, it appears to grow larger as one moves away from it. It generates a kind of optical illusion that has no explanation. I have seen this myself.

When the tilma was examined microscopically, it was discovered that the eyes have a unique quality shared by no other image or painting prior to the advent of photography. When a photograph is taken of the human eye, one can see an upside-down distorted reflection on the curve of the cornea of whatever the eye is focused on. This same phenomenon is very clearly present in the eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe and is entirely inexplicable. One can discern several images, including the Bishop and his Indian translator reflected in Our Lady’s eye.
The cloth is actually composed of two separate pieces, held together down the middle by one thread. You will notice that Our Lady bows her head in the image.   In this way, her face avoids the thread that would otherwise mar the beauty of it. The cloth itself hung for centuries unprotected, while candles burned underneath, yet there is no sign of smoke damage and that one thread held this fragile cloth together!
MIn the 1920s, a bomb was planted underneath the image in some flowers by the radically anti-Catholic government which at that time was in power in Mexico. Their aim, of course, was to destroy this miraculous image. When the bomb went off, it shattered the windows of the cathedral and bent a large brass crucifix on the altar under the image backwards by the force of the blast. The glass covering the image (which was hung right over the bomb) did not even break and the tilma was completely undamaged! Here is a picture of the crucifix which remains at the shrine as a testimony of this incident.
Our Lady of Guadalupe speaks to us on many levels. Each detail has meaning. The black sash she is wearing around her waist indicates that she is with child – she is 9 months pregnant and about to give birth. In other words, Mary is bringing Christ to us. This is why she is the image of the pro-life position personified. 
When the Spaniards conquered Mexico, they found converts few and far between, and yet, after this image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared, 7 million Indians were converted within the span of 10 years. Saint Juan Diego spent the remainder of his life recounting his story and tending the shrine. So in the image, Mary was speaking without words to these conquered peoples – in pictures. What was she saying?
Mary is wearing the color of royalty – blue – so she is a queen. Around her neck is the cross of the conquistadors, so she comes representing the God of the conquerors. Behind her are the rays of the sun, which she overshadows; below her is the false god Quetzalcoatl, whom she is standing on. The message here is that the Lord whom she represents has conquered these false gods. At the same time, she indicates clearly that she is not a god because she bows her head to another in humility. While this may seem subtle to us, it would have been very clear to the Indians 500 years ago!
Her garment is covered with Aztec symbols that remain mysterious to us today. The stars on her garment are arranged in the pattern of the night sky on the night of the apparition. The night sky was very significant to the Aztecs.
Mary has many Indian features, yet all indications are that she is appearing not as an Aztec, but as a girl of middle-eastern origin. Many features are the same among these separate peoples, but one can see in the hands and other areas that she is not Indian. Therefore, we may be looking at a picture of the face of Mary as she looked 2000 years ago!
          There are so many lessons we can learn from Our Lady of Guadalupe. God has done everything but literally open the door to indicate that he is real and eternity awaits us. She still speaks powerfully to our often skeptical world – even today.
                                                                                    Father Gary

20 posted on 12/14/2010 9:05:53 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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