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Our Lady of Gaudalupe and the rational acceptance of supernatural events
Sep 8th, 2018 at 9:49pm
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So I have recently read two short books about Our Lady of Gaudalupe.

In short, within a few years after the Spanish overthrew the Aztec empire the Virgin Mary appeared three times to a middle-aged Aztec man, (baptized 'Juan Diego').  She told Juan Diego that she had come for the people of Mexico, as their Patroness and Mother and she wanted a shrine built to her at the place of the visions (Tepeyac Hill). 

She told Juan to approach the local Spanish Bishop with her request, but the Bishop rejected Juan, telling him to come back at "a more convenient time."  Again, Our Lady told Juan to go to the Bishop, this time the Bishop told Juan to come back with some sort of sign. 

At the third apparition, Our Lady caused flowers, including Castilian Roses, to grow on the top of barren Tepeyac hill, and she put them in Juan Diego's 'tilma' a type of robe.  Juan went back to the Bishop, holding the roses in his tilma.

In front of the Bishop, Juan let go of the folds of his tilma and as they fell to the floor it was seen that his tilma was covered in glorious a picture of the Virgin Mary.  The Bishop fell to the floor weeping, ashamed that he had ever doubted Juan.

This image of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' has survived on the original tilma (which should have decayed with 30 years) for 500 years and has become the greatest symbol of Mexico, its people, and their Catholic faith.

As I said, the cactus fiber tilma that the image is on should have decayed centuries ago, many copies of the image, exposed to devotion, have survived not more than 15 years.  To this day, unlike other paintings its age, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe shows no decay.

On closer inspection, the image doesn't even appear to be painted (no brush strokes are visible).  Perhaps most miraculous of all, it has been discovered that there are small figures in the Virgin's eyes, that is, the eyes reflect those who were present at the revealing of the tilma. 

Much more could be said of the image itself.

In more recent times (1921), the image was attacked by a radical secularist hoping to break its hold on the minds of the people of Mexico.  A bomb was planted under the image, when it went off a nearby metal cross was bent, but the image itself was completely unharmed and all those in the chapel at the time were unharmed.

The fact is this, there is no way of accounting for this image, except as a miracle.  Its effects on the hearts and minds of the Mexican people (conversion to Catholicism among the Native Aztecs, slow before the apparitions, took off at break-neck speed afterwards), its quality, the fact that it has continued to exist for 500 years, when the cactus fiber tilma shouldn't have lasted more than 30 (and the image was completely unprotected for the first 115 years and was constantly subjected to touching from pilgrims, probably millions of them, for that entire period), and even after the image was 'protected' in the 17th century this protection consisted simply of putting it behind a plate of glass.

What is more rational to believe, that this image is miraculous in origin or that it is a fraud?  Are we to believe that a poor Aztec man, just a few years after his people were conquered by the Spanish, painted an image of the Virgin Mary to rival or surpass the Mona Lisa on the front of his cactus fiber robe, somehow did this without leaving brush strokes, and came up with some process to treat the robe so that it would never decay? 

The only reason to deny the miracle of the image, preserved to this day on Juan Diego's tilma, is out of bias, out of a desire not to believe.

As the Mexican people know, as they have known for 500 years now, Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose image is still preserved on humble Juan Diego's tilma, is the Queen of Mexico, and whatever hardships may befall them, she will be there at their side like a good Mother. 

« Last Edit: Sep 8th, 2018 at 9:56pm by Frank1 »  

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Re: Our Lady of Gaudalupe and the rational acceptance of supernatural events
Reply #1 - Sep 10th, 2018 at 10:22am
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Frank1 wrote on Sep 8th, 2018 at 9:49pm:
the rational acceptance of supernatural events

I'm having a hard time deciding if that^ comment is an oxymoron or mutually exclusive.. There are subtle differences ..

I'm leaning more towards 'mutually exclusive' as 'rational acceptance' can never apply to a 'supernatural event'..  But then 'supernatural event' is itself an oxymoron ..  so?


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