(from Our Lady of The Rosary.org website)

J.M.J.

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Feast day: December 12
(Taken from http://olrl.org/prophecy/ladyofg.shtml)

THE STORY

“And the land was polluted with blood,” by idolaters who sacrificed their
sons and daughters to devils. (Ps. 105:38) Such was Mexico when Hernando
Cortes arrived there in 1519. Some ten million native Nahuatl Indians
formed a vast confederation of tribes at this time. These tribes were
dominated by the powerful Aztecs who, for all their intelligence, industry,
and valor, were equally barbaric, enslaved by an extravagant system of
idolatry which placated its numerous gods with gruesome orgies of human
sacrifice and cannibalism. For centuries torrents of blood literally flowed
from the temple pyramids, with as many as 20,000 humans being sacrificed in
one day.

Cortes came and liberated the Nahuatls from their slavery to Satan, but
because of the corruption of the Spanish rulers and because of the Aztec’s
attachment to polygamy and other pagan practices, very few converted to
Catholicism in the first decade of Spanish rule. The saintly Juan de
Zumarraga, Mexico’s first bishop, could do little to convert the Aztecs,
but he remained confident in the unfailing help of the Queen of Heaven, to
whom he entrusted the future of New Spain.

Juan Diego, a simple and God-fearing man, was one of the few converts in
the first 10 years. For 6 years he had devoutly practiced the Faith,
walking 6 miles every morning to Mass. On Saturday, December 9, 1531, he
began his usual pre-dawn journey. As he reached the hill known as Tepeyac,
he heard a very wonderful music descending from the top of the hill. It
sounded like the sweetest melody of singing birds. Suddenly the singing
stopped and a gentle woman’s voice was heard from above the mount saying,
“Juanito, Juan Dieguito.” When he reached the summit, he saw a Lady
standing there who told him to come near. He marveled greatly at her
superhuman grandeur. Her garments were shining like the sun and the cliff
where she rested her feet was pierced with glitter.

The Lady thus spoke to him: “Know and understand well, you the most humble
of my sons, that I am the ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for
Whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and earth. I
wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and
give all my love, compassion, help and protection, because I am your
merciful mother… Go to the bishop of Mexico and say to him that I
manifest my great desire, that here a temple be built to me.”

Juan went directly to the bishop and gave him the message. Fray Zumarraga,
however, did not seem to believe him and dismissed him after listening to
his story. When Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac hill, the Lady appeared
again and told him to “go again tomorrow and see the bishop … and again
tell him that I, in person, the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God, sent
you.”

Juan visited the bishop’s house again the next day and repeated the story.
This time the bishop listened more attentively and then asked Juan to bring
some sign as a proof of the story. Our Lady told Juan that she would give
him a sign for the bishop on the following morning. He failed to return the
next day, however, because his uncle Juan Bernardino was gravely ill and by
night time asked Juan to summon a priest the next day.

On Tuesday, Juan climbed Tepeyac from a different angle to prevent the Lady
from seeing him and deterring his journey to get the priest. She approached
him from that side of the hill, however, and, on hearing his mission,
replied, “Do not fear this nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I, your
Mother, not here? Are you not under my protection? Do not be afflicted by
the illness of your uncle; he is now cured.”

Juan Bernardino related later that at that very hour a beautiful Lady
appeared to him, calling herself “she who crushes the serpent” (see Gen.
3:15). Juan Bernardino felt a profound peace come over his soul and through
his limbs a healing wave seemed to roll, filling him with strength and
cooling his burning fever. He was cured.

After reassuring Juan Diego, Our Lady told him to gather the flowers at the
top of the hill and give them to the bishop for a sign. But how could this
be? Flowers in December, the month in which all vegetation is destroyed by
freezing? Flowers on a hilltop full of crags, thorns, and thistles?
Reaching the top of the hill, Juan was amazed to find many varieties of
exquisite roses of Castella (in Spain), hitherto unknown to Mexico. He
placed the flowers in his tilma, a coarsely woven cloak of cactus fibers,
and set out for the bishop’s house.

When Juan Diego reached the bishop’s house and was finally admitted, he
unfolded the tilma, revealing the gorgeous, sweet scented flowers. Suddenly
there appeared on the face of the tilma a precious Image of the Ever-Virgin
Holy Mary, Mother of God. The bishop and all others present fell to their
knees upon seeing the miraculous image…

THE IMAGE

The Image of Our Lady that appeared on the tilma, which can still be seen
in Mexico City today, is truly miraculous and has been the wonder of
scientists for hundreds of years. All, after exhaustive investigation with
sophisticated analytic detectors, have concluded that the work is beyond
the power of men to produce.

They were unable to find any trace of paint residue or dye of any sort on
the Image. What produced the colors on Juan Diego’s cloak or how they were
applied remains a total mystery of science. The Image still retains its
original colors, even though it was unprotected by any covering during the
first 100 years of veneration. The bluish-green color of Our Lady’s mantle
is unique. It seems to be made of an unearthly shade that as yet no artist
has been able exactly to match. Moreover, a painter would be incredibly
foolish to choose an Indian’s tilma to work on and even more to paint right
over the center seam of the cloak. And had the Virgin not turned ever so
slightly to the right, the stitch would have divided her face. Just as
astonishing is the fact that only the seam still holds the tilma together.
The law of gravity does not allow a single flimsy cotton thread to bind two
heavier materials of cloth for more than ten years, much less four hundred
and fifty! In addition, the coarse weave of the tilma was utilized by the
Artist in such a precise manner as to give depth to the face of the Image.

Infrared radiation photography confirmed, besides the lack of paint and
brush strokes, no corrections, no underlying sketch, no sizing used to
render the surface smooth, no varnish covering the image to protect its
surface. According to specialists of the Kodak Corporation in Mexico, the
Image bears more resemblance to a color photograph than anything else.
Study of photographic enlargements of Our Lady’s face have revealed the
image of a bearded man, clearly identifiable in the eyes. Rigorous
investigations by leading oculists found not only the image of the bearded
man but all the optical imaging qualities of a normal human eye, such as
light reflection, image positioning and distortion on the cornea.

The Virgin’s mantle is covered with stars which stunningly and accurately
map out various constellations as might be seen in the Mexican sky. Even
more remarkably, this “star map” on the mantle is in reverse: providing a
view of the constellations from beyond them, as would be seen looking
through them towards the earth. The constellations are consistent with what
astronomers believe was in the sky above Mexico City the day the Image was
formed, December 12, 1531. The colors of the tunic and mantle are important
ones in the Aztec hierarchical structure, ones typically reserved for the
emperor.

Recent gynecological studies have also identified signs of pregnancy in the
image and a special flower, the Quincunx, over the place where the heart of
the unborn child would be. This flower is the Aztec symbol of the Lord of
the Universe.

The great majority of the miraculous aspects of the Image were not
discovered until the 20th century, when the technology and archaeology made
the discoveries possible. This is 400 years from the creation of the Image.

THE RESULT

When Bishop Zumarraga saw the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he
commanded that a church be built on Tepeyac hill as Our Lady requested.
Thousands of Aztec Indians were present at the translation of the Image to
the new chapel. They chanted, “The Virgin is one of us. Our pure Mother,
Our Sovereign Lady, is one of us!” In a transport of enthusiasm, one group
of young warriors took their bows and sent a pretty volley of arrows
through the air. Unfortunately, one of the shafts struck and killed one of
the spectators. The poor native was picked up by his sorrowing friends and
carried into the chapel, where they placed him at the feet of Our Lady of
Guadalupe. While everyone together prayed for a miracle, suddenly the dead
man opened his eyes and rose up fully recovered!

The Bishop placed Juan Diego in charge of the new chapel and the recipient
of the apparitions spent the remainder of his life explaining the message
and the meaning of the visions to the pilgrims who came there. There
already existed good means of communication in that vast country and news
of the wonderful events were soon common knowledge everywhere. From 1531
until the present day, a continuous stream of pilgrims has flowed through
the doors of the church on Tepeyac hill. It is estimated now that as many
as twenty million pilgrims come to see the miraculous tilma every year.

In explaining the apparitions to the pilgrims, Juan laid great stress on
the fact that the Mother of the True God has chosen to come to the site of
the temple of the pagan mother-goddess Tonantzin to signify that
Christianity was to replace the Aztec religion. This startling fact made
such an impact on the Mexicans, that for years after the apparitions they
referred to the sacred image as the picture of Tonantzin (“Our Mother”) or
Teonantzin (“God’s Mother”).

Until 1531, the Sacrament of Baptism had been administered most to infants,
as the overwhelming majority of Aztec adults had resisted the advances of
the missionaries. However, as the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe began to
spread throughout the country, great numbers of all ages and classes began
to long for a new moral code based on the example of the Mother of the
‘white man’s god’, who could now only be the Mother of the True God, their
“clean Mother”, and who had captivated their minds and hearts with her
radiant purity, virtue and love.

As a result, the few missionaries in the country were soon increasingly
engaged in preaching, instructing and baptizing. The trickle of conversions
soon became a river, and that river a flood which is perhaps unprecedented
in the history of Christianity. 5,000,000 Catholics were lost to the Church
due to the Protestant Revolt in Europe at this time but their numbers were
more than replaced in a few years by over 9,000,000 Aztec converts (out of
10 million).

A famous Mexican preacher of the 19th century expressed this tidal wave of
conversions as follows:
“It is true that immediately after the conquest (of Cortes), some apostolic
men, some zealous missionaries, mild, gentle conquerors who were disposed
to shed no blood but their own, ardently devoted themselves to the
conversion of the Indians. However, these valiant men, because of their
fewness, because of the difficulty of learning various languages, and of
the vast extent of our territory, obtained, in spite of their heroic
efforts, but few and limited results.

“But scarcely had the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe appeared and taken
possession of this her inheritance, when the Catholic Faith spread with the
rapidity of light from the rising sun, through the wide extent and beyond
the bounds of the ancient empire of Mexico. Innumerable multitudes from
every tribe, every district, every race, in this immense country . . . who
were grossly superstitious, who were ruled by the instincts of cruelty,
oppressed by every form of violence, and utterly degraded, returned upon
themselves at the credible announcement of the admirably portentous
apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, recognized their natural dignity,
forgot their misfortunes, put off their instinctive ferocity, and, unable
to resist such sweet and tender invitations, came in crowds to cast their
grateful hearts at the feet of so loving a Mother, and to mingle their
tears of emotion with the regeneration of the waters of Baptism.”

The missionaries were all but overwhelmed by the endless multitudes
clamoring for instruction and Baptism. Almost everywhere they traveled,
entire families would come running out of their village, entreating them
with signs to come and pour the water on their heads. When the numbers grew
too numerous to cope with individually, the missionaries formed the men and
women into two columns behind a cross-bearer. As they filed past the first
priest, he briefly imposed on each the Oil of Catechumens. Holding lighted
candles and singing a hymn, they would then converge on a second priest who
stood beside the baptismal font. The columns would slowly wind back to the
first priest where, with hands joined, husbands and wives would pronounce
their marriage vows together, receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Several trustworthy contemporary writers note that one missionary, a
Flemish Franciscan named Peter of Ghent, baptized with his own hands over
1,000,000 Mexicans! “Who will not recognize the Spirit of God in moving so
many millions to enter the kingdom of Christ,” wrote Fr. Anticoli, S.J.,
“and when we consider that there occurred no portent or other supernatural
event … to attract such multitudes, other than the apparitions of the
Virgin, we may state with assurance that it was the Vision of the Queen of
the Apostles that called the Indians to the Faith.”

CONCLUSION

The miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe is an unquestionable display of God’s
love and mercy for the Mexican and American people. As She converted the
hearts of the Aztec Indians, so let Her convert our modern, worldly hearts
to turn to Her and Her Son. Let us ask her help to restore modesty and
decency and especially to bring about the end of the modern sacrifice of
innocent humans to the altar of self-love, abortion. Foster devotion to
this Noble Virgin and Mother in your own life and the lives of others.

Contemplating her, remember the following words of a prayer composed by
Pope Pius XII, in which he declares the Virgin of Guadalupe the Empress of
all the Americas: “For we are certain, that as long as you are recognized
as Queen and Mother, Mexico and America will be safe.”

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