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Monday, December 12, 2005
The Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe
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Feast (1969 Calendar): December 12

The Blessed Virgin appeared on Saturday 9 December 1531 to a 55 year old neophyte named Juan Diego, who was hurrying down Tepeyac hill to hear Mass in Mexico City. She sent him to Bishop Zumárraga to have a temple built where she stood. She was at the same place that evening and Sunday evening to get the bishop's answer. The bishop did not immediately believed the messenger, had him cross-examined and watched, and he finally told him to ask the lady who said she was the mother of the true God for a sign. The neophyte agreed readily to ask for sign desired, and the bishop released him.

Juan was occupied all Monday with Bernardino, an uncle, who was dying of fever. Indian medicine had failed, and Bernardino seemed at death's door. At daybreak on Tuesday 12 December 1531, Juan ran to nearby Saint James's convent for a priest. To avoid the apparition and the untimely message to the bishop, he slipped round where the well chapel now stands. But the Blessed Virgin crossed down to meet him and said, "What road is this thou takest son?" A tender dialogue ensued. She reassured Juan about his uncle, to whom she also briefly appeared and instantly cured. Calling herself Holy Mary of Guadalupe she told Juan to return to the bishop. He asked the sign for the sign he required. Mary told him to go to the rocks and gather roses. Juan knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses, but he went and found them. Gathering many into the lap of his tilma, a long cloak or wrapper used by Mexican Indians, he came back. The Holy Mother rearranged the roses, and told him to keep them untouched and unseen until he reached the bishop. When he met with Zumárraga, Juan offered the sign to the bishop. As he unfolded his cloak the roses, fresh and wet with dew, fell out. Juan was startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him. The life size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as Juan had described her, was glowing on the tilma. The picture was venerated, guarded in the bishop's chapel, and soon after carried in procession to the preliminary shrine.

The coarsely woven material of the tilme which bears the picture is as thin and open as poor sacking. It is made of vegetable fibre, probably maguey. It consists of two strips, about seventy inches long by eighteen wide, held together by weak stitching. The seam is visible up the middle of the figure, turning aside from the face. Painters have not understood the laying on of the colours. They have deposed that the "canvas" was not only unfit but unprepared, and they have marvelled at apparent oil, water, distemper, etc. colouring in the same figure. They are left in equal admiration by the flower-like tints and the abundant gold. They and other artists find the proportions perfect for a maiden of fifteen. The figure and the attitude are of one advancing. There is flight and rest in the eager supporting angel. The chief colours are deep gold in the rays and stars, blue green in the mantle, and rose in the flowered tunic.

Sworn evidence was given at various commissions of inquiry corroborating the traditional account of the miraculous origin and influence of the picture. Some wills connected with Juan Diego and his contemporaries were accepted as documentary evidence. Vouchers were given for the existence of Bishop Zumárraga's letter to his Franciscan brethren in Spain concerning the apparitions. His successor, Montufar, instituted a canonical inquiry, in 1556, on a sermon in which the pastors and people were abused for crowding to the new shrine. In 1568 the renowned historian Bernal Díaz, a companion of Cortez, refers incidentally to Guadalupe and its daily miracles. The lay viceroy, Enríquez, while not opposing the devotion, wrote in 1575 to Philip II asking him to prevent the third archbishop from erecting a parish and monastery at the shrine. Inaugural pilgrimages were usually made to it by viceroys and other chief magistrates. Processes, national and ecclesiastical, were laboriously formulated and attested for presentation at Rome in 1663, 1666, 1723, 1750.



The clergy, secular and regular, has been remarkably faithful to the devotion towards Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bishops especially fostering it, even to the extent of making a protestation of faith in the miracle a matter of occasional obligation. Pope Benedict XIV decreed that Our Lady of Guadalupe should be the national patron, and made 12 December a holiday of obligation with an octave, and ordered a special Mass and Office. Pope Leo XIII approved a complete historical second Nocturne, ordered the picture to be crowned in his name, and composed a poetical inscription for it. Pope Pius X permitted Mexican priests to say the Mass of Holy Mary of Guadalupe on the twelfth day of every month, and granted indulgences which may be gained in any part of the world for prayer before a copy of the picture.

Source: "The Catholic Encyclopedia" article by G Lee, copyright 1911, Nihil Obstat, 1 February 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor; Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Taken from the Patron Saints Index.

As we journey closer to Christmas let us meditate more and more on Mary, whom God chose to be the Ark of the New Covenant - the Mother of God. Today we celebrate her apparation in Guadalupe Mexico to St. Juan Diego in 1531. Under the name, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mary helped show the people of Mexico that she was their mother too, and 8-9 million indians converted to Catholicism. These polytheistic people that participated in human sacrifice converted to Catholicism because of this! It is an incredible event.

The tilma is still in perfect condition today although should have deteriorated in 20 years - not last 475 years! The tilma hangs in Mexico City's Basilica today.

Let us pray:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, that in your apparitions on Mount Tepeyac you promised to show pity and compassion to all who, loving and trusting you, seek your help and protection. Accordingly, listen now to our supplications and grant us consolation and relief. We are full of hope that, relying on your help, nothing can trouble or affect us. As you have remained with us through your admirable image, so now obtain for us the graces we need. Amen

7 comments:

del_button December 13, 2006 at 8:28 PM
Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVE Our Lady of Guadalupe!

del_button January 15, 2007 at 10:59 AM
TheGodFearinFiddler said...

As a convert to Catholicism from the Reformed branch of Protestantism, I can easily understand where the problems with Mary comes from (form a Protestant perspective).

I feel like there is a gross lack of honest dialogue on the subject (from BOTH sides).

Mary occupies real estate in the hearts of Catholics which to Protestants are reserved only for God. That is where the issue lies. You can get past the issue of veneration fairly easy and past the issue of praying through her (although many Catholics DO pray TO her and not through her)

But this image is a good example and you brought up the point yourself - she is crushing the serpent's head. This is extremely offensive to a Protestant because it is not the woman who crushes the serpents head but the woman's Seed according to Scripture. Thus Mary is not only assisting in a role assigned only to Christ in Scripture, but she is completely supplanting His role in it (in the image).

I'm not questioning any of the dogmas here, I think they are beautiful teachings and I submit to the authority of Rome. But I think there needs to be a lot more honesty in the discussion from both sides before any of us will make any progress at all.

del_button January 15, 2007 at 11:23 AM
Moneybags said...

Thanks for the comment. I do however have to point out that Scripture says the woman will crush the serpent:

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (Genesis 3:15)

del_button January 15, 2007 at 2:49 PM
TheGodFearinFiddler said...

That is from the DR bible based on the Latin Vulgate. I'm not saying its not a good translation but all modern versions including the following 2 approved by the Vatican say He:

RSV
15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

NAB
3 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel."

And as far as I know every single other bible says He as well. The overwhelming majority of scholarship points to the masculine pronoun which would also make much more sense to begin with.

At any rate, its clear the victory we're talking about is Christ's victory at the cross over Satan.

This is the kind of honesty that Im insisting needs to take place in order to have any real progress (inter faith) on the issue. It does no one (including the Blessed Mother Mary) any good to speak in convoluted terms.

Was she used by God in the victory over Satan? Sure. But Catholics need to deliberately reflect their doctrine that it was in fact God's victory in their speech. I think that is a serious issue of concern within the Church today.

del_button January 15, 2007 at 8:13 PM
TheGodFearinFiddler said...

I wanted to clear something up, I dont want to come across as if I'm accusing you of being dishonest; I'm not.

del_button January 15, 2007 at 8:30 PM
Moneybags said...

The DR is more accurate though since it is a translation of the Vulgate. It's not a translation of a translation... like some other modern ones.

del_button March 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM
Jobadiah said...

AMEN!!!! =)

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