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  • Virgin of Guadalupe

    4 posts, 3 voices, 528 views, started Jan 18, 2009

    Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2009

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      Carnelian
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      This is an almost true story. An American professor is describing his atheism to a Mexican who is attempting to understand his faith. Suddenly there is a gleam of understanding in the eyes of the senora. “We know that you do not believe in Jesus,” she said with a look of sympathy, “but surely you must believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe!” This experience expresses a spiritual reality at the heart of the Mexican people: the Virgin of Guadalupe is the source of their faith, and life without her is inconceivable. Her image is more iconic than the Mexican flag, or in contemporary times, the images of Frida Kahlo. The Virgin is the Mother of the Mexican people, the Empress of the Americas, the Reina de Mexico—-and all of Mexico stands in homage to her, her magnitude unmatched by any saint or even by Jesus Christ in the reverence and love which she evokes. Macho men bow at her feet and weep before her. One finds her omnipresent image in spaces both public and private: on household shrines, on walls of professional offices, in the bolsa of the campesino and the wallet of the President.  

      Why do the Mexican people love her so? The answer is found in the story of her apparition for in her biography is the biology of the Mexican people, the matter and substance of their cultural and spiritual history. It is a cold winter morning in a village outside Mexico City: December 9th, 1531, only 10 years after the defeat of the great Aztec nation by the Spanish conquistadores. Tenochititlan, the once mighty Aztec capital city, has been buried and on its foundations is being built the Spanish capital city of Mexico. The indigenous myths and dark skinned deities which had sustained the people for generations have gone underground. A new Roman Catholic belief system, taught by white skinned people, has not yet taken root. The people’s souls are lost, orphaned by their gods.  

      An Aztec Indian, known by his Christian name, Juan Diego, is on his way to Mass. He approaches the sacred hill of Tepeyacac, where his ancestors until recently had worshipped at the temple to the corn Goddess Tonanzin, whose name means “Our Mother“. Her temple had been devastated by order of the Catholic Bishop Zumarraga. He walks on naked feet and wears a coarse-woven mantle, called a tilma, made of maguey cactus fibers. Suddenly he hears the melodious sounds of singing birds, rare at this time of year, and sees a lovely brown woman with a halo shining in the morning sunrays, dressed in glorious robes in shades of gold, blue and rose. Speaking to him in his native language, Nahuatl, she identifies herself as the Blessed Mother Mary and in a tender voice calls him “little son,” “Juanito“and “Juan Dieguito, my little dear“. She urges him to go to the city and request that the bishop build a shrine to her, on the very place of the destroyed goddess temple, to express the special love she has for the Indian people. Mustering his courage, Juan Diego visits Bishop Zumarraga but is dismissed as a dreamer. He returns to the hillside and begs of her: “I am a nobody, a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf“. She offers him these consoling words: “Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”  

      Three times she appears; three times he begs for her temple; three times he is turned away. When the Bishop asks for proof that she is the Mother of God, she tells Juan Diego to pick the Castillian roses, impossible to exist in that climate, but growing in abundance nearby. Gathering them in his tilma, he opens his cloak in the presence of the Bishop, who drops to his knees for emblazoned on the Indian’s apron is the image of the Virgin exactly as Juan Diego had described her. In thirteen days, a small chapel is completed in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe; two years later a major church is built in the site.
      The first record of her apparition, the Nican Mopohua or Huei Tlamahuitzoltica, was written in Nahuatl, the Aztec language, by the Indian scholar Antonio Valeriano around the middle of the 16th century, 100 years after her appearance. This has led many to speculate about the veracity of the Guadalupe story, as the Catholic faith was dramatically served by her appearance. By 1541, according to Franciscan priest and early historian of New Spain, Father Motolinia, nine million Aztecs had become Christians. A Papal Bull, issued in 1754, declared Guadalupe the Empress of the Americas. In 1810 Father Hidalgo raises a flag, imprinted with the Virgin of Guadalupe’s seed-like image, aloft in his march of Independence to San Miguel, fostering the Virgin as a symbol of both the Revolution and the empowerment of the Mexican people. Today every city and village in Mexico has a church dedicated in her name; her image is found in every church in the country.
      The origin of the name Guadalupe has always been a matter of controversy. The name came about because of the translation from Nahuatl to Spanish of the words used by the Virgin to announce herself: the Nahuatl word of “coatlaxopeuh” which is pronounced “quatlasupe” and sounds remarkably like the Spanish word Guadalupe. Catholic historians translate Coa as serpent; tla is interpreted as “the“, while xopeuh means to crush or stamp out. The original Nahuatl translates as “the one who crushes the serpent“, an allusion to Quetzecoatl, the serpent god-king of the Aztec religion. “Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.” (Words of Our Lady to Juan Diego on December 12, 1531)



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          (華娃娃) ChinaDoll wrote Jan 18, 2009
        • If you walk into my house, the first thing you will see is a picture of “Our Lady of Guadalupe“.  In my journey of faith, at first, I was not too found of the picture for she looks so different than other pictures of her, like Our Lady of Fatima, Lourdes, etc.  Then the more I looked, the more I fell in love with O.L.G.  

          When I was dating my husband, we both went to a church and prayed in front of a big picture of O.L.G.  I heard this in my heart “This is the man God has granted you.  Take good care of him.” I burst in tears.  Meanwhile, my husband heard the same “This will be your future wife, marry her.”  

          At that time, I was wondering why she said “Take good care of him” for I needed someone to take good care of me.  Now my husband is disabled and I understand totally.  

          Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.



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