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Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit cœlum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimo nono: A diluvio autem, anno bis millesimo nongentesimo quinquagesimo septimo: A nativitate Abrahæ, anno bis millesimo quintodecimo: A Moyse et egressu populi Israël de Ægypto, anno millesimo quingentesimo decimo: Ab unctione David in Regem, anno millesimo trigesimo secundo; Hebdomada sexagesima quinta, iuxta Danielis prophetiam: Olympiade centesima nonagesima quarta: Ab urbe Roma condita, anno septingentesimo quinquagesimo secundo: Anno Imperii Octaviani Augusti quadragesimo secundo, toto Orbe in pace composito, sexta mundi ætate, Iesus Christus æternus Deus, æternique Patris Filius, mundum volens adventu suo piissimo consecrare, de Spiritu Sancto conceptus, novemque post conceptionem decursis mensibus
(Hic vox elevatur, et omnes genua flectunt),
in Bethlehem Iudæ nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus Homo.
Nativitas Domini nostri Iesu Christi secundum carnem.
The year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety nine; from the deluge, the year two thousand nine hundred and fifty seven; from the birth of Abraham, the year two thousand and fifteen; from Moses and the going out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the year one thousand five hundred and ten; from David's being annointed King, the year one thousand and thirty two; in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; from the foundation of the City of Rome, the year seven hundred and fifty two; in the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus, the whole world being in peace, in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ, the eternal God, and Son of the Eternal Father, wishing to consecrate this world by his most merciful coming, being conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months since his Conception having passed,
in Bethlehem of Juda, is born of the Virgin Mary, being made Man,
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to the Flesh!
94 And on the following day, Monday, when Juan Diego was to take some sign in order to be believed, he did not return.
95 Because when he arrived at his house, the sickness had struck an uncle of his, named Juan Bernardino, and he was very ill.
96 He went to get the native healer, who treated him, but it was too late; he was very ill.
97 And when night came, his uncle begged him to come to Tlatilolco shortly after midnight, while it was still dark, to call some priest to go to confess him, to go to get him ready,
98 because he was sure that the time and place had now come for him to die, because he would no longer get up, he would no longer get well.
99 And on Tuesday, while it was still night, Juan Diego left his house to come to Tlatilolco to get the priest.
100 and when he finally reached the little hill which ended the mountain range, at its foot, where the road comes out, on the side that the sun sets on, where he always passed before, he said:
101 "If I go ahead on the road, I don’t want this Lady to see me, because for sure, just like before, she’ll stop me so I can take the sign to the church governor for her, as she ordered me to;
102 because first our tribulation must leave us; first I must quickly call the (Franciscan) priest; my uncle is anxiously waiting for him".
103 He immediately turned toward the hill, climbed up across it where there is a pass, and emerged on the eastern side, no that he could quickly to Mexico so that the Queen of Heaven would not detain him.
104 He thinks that where he made the turn, the one who is looking everywhere perfectly won’t be able to see him.
105 He saw how she was coming down from up on the hill, and that from there she had been looking at him, from where she saw him before.
106 She came to meet him beside the hill, she came to block his way; she said to him:
107 "WHAT’S HAPPENING, YOUNGEST AND DEAREST OF ALL MY SONS? WHERE ARE YOU GOING, WHERE ARE YOU HEADED FOR?"
108 And he, perhaps he grieved a little, or perhaps he became ashamed? Or perhaps he became afraid of the situation, be became fearful?
109 He prostrated himself before her, he greeted her, he said to her:
110 "My little Maiden, my smallest Daughter, my Girl, I hope you are happy; how are you this morning? Does your beloved little body feel well, my Lady, my Girl?
111 Although it grieves me, I will cause your face and your heart anguish: I must tell you, my little Girl, that one of your servants, my uncle, is very ill.
112 A terrible sickness has taken hold of him; he will surely die from it soon.
113 And now I shall go quickly to your little house of Mexico (Mexico-Tlatilolco), to call one of our priests, the beloved ones of Our Lord, so that he will go to hear his confession and prepare him,
114 Because we really were born for that we who came to wait for the painful effort of our death.
115 But, if I am going to carry it out, I will return here after that to go carry your breath, your word, Lady, my little Young one.
116 I beg you to forgive me, be patient with me a little longer, because I am not deceiving you with this, my youngest Daughter, my little Girl, tomorrow without fail I will come as fast as possible".
117 As soon as she heard the explanations of Juan Diego, the Merciful Perfect Virgin answered him: .
118 "LISTEN. PUT IT INTO YOUR HEART, MY YOUNGEST AND DEAREST SON, THAT THE THING THAT FRIGHTENED YOU, THE THING THAT AFFLICTED YOU IS NOTHING: DO NOT LET IT DISTURB YOU: DO NOT FEAR THIS SICKNESS NOR ANY OTHER SICKNESS, NOR ANY SHARP AND HURTFUL THING. .
119 AM I NOT HERE, I, WHO AM YOUR MOTHER? ARE YOU NOT UNDER MY SHADOW AND PROTECTION? AM I NOT THE SOURCE OF YOUR JOY? ARE YOU NOT IN THE HOLLOW OF MY MANTLE, IN THE CROSSING OF MY ARMS? DO YOU NEED SOMETHING MORE? .
120 LET NOTHING ELSE WORRY YOU, DISTURB YOU; DO NOT LET YOUR UNCLE’S ILLNESS PRESSURE YOU WITH GRIEF, BECAUSE HE WILL NOT DIE OF IT NOW. YOU MAY BE CERTAIN THAT HE IS ALREADY WELL". .
121 (And at that very moment his uncle became well, as they later found out). .
122 An when Juan Diego heard the lovely word, the lovely breath of the Queen of Heaven, he was greatly comforted by it, his heart became peaceful. .
123 and he begged her to send him immediately to see the Governing Bishop, to take him something for a sign, for proof so that he would believe. .
124 And the Queen of Heaven ordered him then to go to the top of the little hill, where he had seen her before: .
125 She said to him: "GO UP, MY DEAREST SON, TO THE TOP OF THE HILL, TO WHERE YOU SAW ME AND I TOLD YOU WHAT TO DO; .
126 THERE YOU WILL SEE THAT THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF FLOWERS: CUT THEM, GATHER THEM, PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER; THEN COME DOWN HERE; BRING THEM HERE, INTO MY PRESENCE." .
127 Juan Diego climbed to the top the top of the hill right away. 128 and when he reached the top, he was astonished by all of them, blooming, open, flowers of every kind, lovely and beautiful, when it still was not their season: .
129 because really that was the season n which the frost was very harsh: .
130 they were giving off an extremely soft fragrance; like precious pearls, as if filled with the dew of the night. .
131 Then he began to cut them, he gathered them all, he put them in the hollow of his tilma. .
132 The top of the little hill was certainly not a place in which any flowers grew; there are only plenty of rocks, thorns, spines, prickly pears and mesquite trees, .
133 And even though some little herbs or grasses might grow, it was then the month of December, in which the frost eats everything up and destroys it. .
134 And immediately he came back down, he came to bring the Heavenly Maiden the different kinds of flowers which he had gone up to cut. .
135 And when she saw them, she took them with her precious hands; .
136 Then she put them all together into the hollow of his ayate again and said: .
137 "MY YOUNGEST AND DEAREST SON, THESE DIFFERENT KINDS OF FLOWERS ARE THE PROOF, THE SIGN THAT YOU WILL TAKE TO THE BISHOP; .
138 YOU WILL TELL HIM FROM ME THA HE IS TO SEE IN THEM MY DESIRE, AND THAT THEREFORE HE IS TO CARRY OUT MY WISH, MY WILL. .
139 AND YOU, YOU WHO ARE MY MESSENGER, IN YOU I PLACE MY ABSOLUTE TRUST; .
140 AND I STRICTLY ORDER YOU THAT YOU ONLY OPEN YOUR AYATE ALONE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE BISHOP, AND SHOW HIM WHAT YOU ARE CARRYING. .
141 AND YOU WILL TELL HIM EVERYTHING EXACTLY, YOU WILL TELL HIM THAT I ORDERED YOU TO CLIMB TO THE TOP OF THE LITTLE HILL TO CUT FLOWERS, AND EVERYTHING THAT YOU SAW AND ADMIRED, .
142 SO THAT YOU CAN CONVINCE THE GOVERNING PRIEST, SO THAT HE WILL THEN DO WHAT LIES WITHIN HIS RESPONSIBILITY SO THAT MY TEMPLE WHICH I HAVE ASKED HIM FOR WILL BE MADE, WILL BE RAISED." .
143 And as soon as the Heavenly Queen gave him her orders, he took the causeway, he comes straight to Mexico City, he comes happily now. .
144 His heart is tranquil now, because his errand will come out well, he will carry it our perfectly. .
145 Along the way, he is very careful of what is in the hollow of his garment, lest he lose something: .
146 As he comes, he enjoys the fragrance of the different kinds of exquisite flowers. .
147 When he arrived at the Bishop’s residence, the doorkeeper and the other servants of the Governing Priest went to meet him. .
148 and he begged them to tell him how much he wanted to see him, but none of them was willing; they pretended they didn’t understand him, or perhaps because it was still very dark; .
149 or perhaps because they felt by now that all he did was bother them and keep on insisting, .
150 and their companions had already told them, the ones who lost him from sight when they were following him. .
151 For a long, long time he waited for his request to be granted. 152 And when they saw that he was simply standing there for a long, long time with his head down, without doing anything, in case he should be called, and that it looked as if he was carrying something, as if he was bringing it in the hollow of his tilma – then they came up close to him to see what he was bringing and thus satisfy their curiosity. .
153 And when Juan Diego saw that there was no way in which he could hide from them what he was carrying and that therefore they might harass him or push him perhaps rough him and the flowers up, he finally gave them a little peek and they say that it was flowers. .
154 And when they say that they were all exquisite different flowers and that it wasn’t the season for them to be blooming, they were very, very astonished by how fresh they were, how good they smelled, how handsome they seemed. .
155 And they wanted to grab and pull a few out; .
156 They dared to try to grab them three times, but there was no way in which they could do it, .
157 because when they would try, they could no longer see the flowers, they saw them as if they were painted or embroidered or sewn on the tilma. .
158 They went immediately to tell the Governing Bishop what they had seen, .
159 and how much the lowly Indian who had come other times wanted to see him, and that he had been waiting a very long time there for permission, because he wanted to see him. .
160 And as soon as the Governing Bishop heard it, he realized that this was the proof to convince him to get started on what the humble man was asking him for. .
161 He immediately ordered that he come in to see him. .
162 And when he had come in, he prostrated himself in his presence, as he had done before. .
163 And again he told him what he had seen and admired, and his message. .
164 He said to him, "Your Excellency, sir, I have done it. I have carried out your orders, .
165 That is, I went to tell my Mistress, the Heavenly Maiden, Holy Mary, the Beloved Mother of God, that you were asking for proof so you could believe me, so that you would make her sacred little house, where she as asking you to build it; 166 And I also told her that I had given you my word to come to bring you some sign, some proof of her will, as you told me to. .
167 And she listened carefully to your breath, your word, and was pleased to receive your request for the sign, the proof, so that her beloved will can be done, can be carried out. .
168 And today, while it was still night, she ordered me to come again to see you; .
169 and I asked her for the proof so that I would be believed, as she had said that she would give it to me, and she kept her promise immediately. .
170 And she ordered me to the top of the little hill where I had seen her before, to cut different flowers up there; Castillian roses. .
171 And when I had cut them, I took them down to her at the bottom; .
172 and she took them with her holy hands, .
173 again she placed them in the hollow of my ayate, .
174 so that I would bring them to you, so I would give them only to you. .
175 Although I knew very well that the top of the hill isn’t a place where flowers grow, because there are only a lot of craggy rocks, thorns, spiny acacias, prickly pears, mesquite bushes. I didn’t doubt because of that, I didn’t hesitate because of that. .
176 When I reached the top of the hill I saw that it was now paradise. .
177 Every kind of different precious flowers were there, each one perfect, the very finest that there are, full of dew and shining so I immediately cut them; .
178 and she told me that I should give them to you from her, and that in this way I would show the truth; that your should see the sign that you were asking for in order to carry our her beloved will, .
179 and so that it will be clear that my word, my message, is truth, .
180 here they are; please receive them." .
181 And then he held out his white tilma, in the hollow of which he had placed the flowers. .
182 And just as all the different precious flowers fell to the floor, .
183 then and there the beloved Image of the Perfect Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God, became the sign, suddenly appeared in the form and figure in which it is now, .
184 where it is preserved in her beloved little house, in her sacred little house at Tepeyac, which is called Guadalupe. .
185 And as soon as the Governing Bishop and all those who were there saw it, they knelt, they were full of awe and reverence. .
186 They stood up to see it, they became sad, they wept, their hearts and minds were in ecstasy. .
187 And the Governing Bishop weeping and with sadness begged and asked her to forgive him for not having immediately carried out her will, her holy breath, her holy word. .
188 And when he got up, he untied Juan Diego’s garment, his tilma, from his neck where it was tied. .
189 On which the Heavenly Queen appeared, on which she became the sign. .
190 And then he took it and placed it in his private chapel. .
191 And Juan Diego still stayed for the day in the Bishop’s house, he still kept him there. 192 And on the next day he said to him: "Come, let’s go so you can show where is that the Queen of Heaven wants her chapel built." .
193 People were immediately invited to make it, to build it. .
194 And Juan Diego, as soon as he showed where the Lady of Heaven had ordered her sacred little house to be built, asked for permission: .
195 he wanted to go to his house in order to see his uncle, Juan Bernardino, who was very ill when he left him to go to Tlatilolco to call a priest to confess him and prepare him, the one whom the Queen of Heaven had told him had already been cured. .
196 But they didn’t let him go alone, rather people went with him to his house. .
197 And when they arrived they saw that his uncle was now healthy; he had absolutely no pain of any kind. .
198 And he, for his part, was greatly surprised by the way in which his nephew was accompanied and very honored; .
199 he asked his nephew why it was that they were honoring him so much; .
200 and he told him how, when he left to go call a priest for him who would confess him and prepare him, the Lady of Heaven appeared to him there at Tepeyac; 201 and she sent him to Mexico City to see the Governing Bishop, so that he would make her a house at Tepeyac. .
202 And she told him not to worry, because his uncle was now happy, and she consoled him very much with this news. .
203 His uncle told him that it was true, that she healed him at that exact moment, .
204 And he saw her in exactly the same way she had appeared to his nephew, .
205 and she told him that she was also sending him to Mexico City to see the Bishop; .
206 and also that when he went to see him, he should reveal absolutely everything to him, he should tell him what he had seen .
207 and the marvelous way in which she had healed him, .
208 and that he would properly name her beloved Image thus: THE PERFECT VIRGIN, HOLY MARY OF GUADALUPE. .
209 And then they brought Juan Bernardino into the presence of the Governing Bishop, they brought him to speak with him, to give his testimony, .
210 and together with his nephew Juan Diego, the Bishop lodged them in his house for a few days. .
211 While the sacred little house of the lovely Little Queen was built out there at Tepeyac, where she revealed herself to Juan Diego. .
212 And the Reverend Bishop moved the beloved Image of the Beloved Heavenly Maiden to the principal church. .
213 He took her beloved Image from his residence, from his private chapel in which it was, so that all could see it and admire it. .
214 And absolutely this entire city with no exception, was deeply moved as everyone came to see and admire her precious Image. .
215 They came to acknowledge its divine character. .
216 They came to offer her their payers. .
217 They marveled at the miraculous way it had appeared..
218 since absolutely no one on earth had painted her beloved Image.
The earliest account of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe dates from 1556. It was written almost completely in Nahautl, the language of the Aztecs, by Fr. Luis Lasode la Vega, Vicar of the Shrine of of Guadalupe. Original copies can be found in the New york Public Library, and the National Library of Mexico. What follows is part one of the story right up until the miraculous image on the Tilma of Juan Diego.
NICANMOPOHUA ("HERE IS TOLD") and set down in order how a short time ago the Perfect Virgin Holy May Mother of God, our Queen, miraculously appeared out at Tepeyac, widely known as Guadalupe.
First She caused herself to be seen by an Indian named Juan Diego, poor but worthy of respect; and then her Precious Image appeared before the recently named Bishop, Don Fray Juan deZumárraga.
1 Ten years after the City of Mexico was conquered, with the arrows and shields put aside, when there was peace in all the towns,
2 just as it sprouted, faith now grows green, now opens its corolla, the knowledge of the One by whom we all live: the true God.
3 At that time, the year 1531, a few days into the month of December, it happened that there was a humble but respected Indian, a poor man of the people;
4 his name was Juan Diego; he lived in Cuauhtitlán, as they say.
5 and in all the things of God, he belonged to Tlaltilolco.
6 It was Saturday, not yet dawn; he was coming in pursuit of God and his commandments.
7 And as he drew near the little hill called Tepeyac it was beginning to dawn.
8 He heard singing on the little hill, like the song of many precious birds; when their voices would stop, it was as if the hill were answering them; extremely soft and delightful, their songs exceeded the songs of the coyoltotl and the tzinitzcan and other precious birds.
9 Juan Diego stopped to look. He said to himself: "By any chance am I worthy, have I deserved what I hear? Perhaps I am only dreaming it? Perhaps I’m only dozing?.
10 Where am I? Where do I find myself? Is it possible that I am in the place our ancient ancestors, our grandparents, told about, in the land of the flowers, in the land of corn, of our flesh, of our sustenance, possible in the land of heaven?".
11 He was looking up toward the top of the hill, toward the direction the sun rises from, toward where the precious heavenly song was coming from.
12 And then when the singing suddenly stopped, when it could no longer be heard, he heard someone calling him, from the top of the hill, someone was saying to him: "JUAN, DEAREST JUAN DIEGO."
13 Then he dated to go to where the voice was coming from, his heart was not disturbed and he felt extremely happy and contented, he started to climb to the top of the little hill to go see where they were calling him from..
14 And when he reached the top of the hill, when a Maiden who was standing there say him,
15 She called to him to come close to her.
16 16 Ant when he reached where she was, he was filled with admiration for the way her perfect grandeur exceeded all imagination:
17 her clothing was shining like the sun, as if it were sending out waves of light,
18 and the stone, the crag on which she stood, seemed to be giving out rays;
19 her radiance was like precious stones, it seemed like an exquisite bracelet (it seemed beautiful beyond anything else);
20 the earth seemed to shine with the brilliance of a rainbow in the mist.
21 And the mesquites and nopals and the other little plants that are generally up there seemed like emeralds. Their leaves seemed like turquoise. And their trunks, their thorns, their prickles, were shining like gold.
22 He prostrated himself en her presence. He listened to her voice [her breath], her words, which give great, great glory, which were extremely kind, as if from someone who was drawing him toward her and esteemed him highly.
23 She said to him, "LISTEN, MY DEAREST AND YOUNGEST SON, JUAN. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?"
24 And he answered her: "My Lady, my Queen, my Little Girl, I am going as far as your little house in Mexico-Tlatilolco, to follow the things of God (everything that makes God be God) that are given to us, that are taught to us by the ones who are the images of Our Lord: our priests."
25 Then she talks with him, she reveals her precious will;
26 then she says to hem: "KNOW, KNOW FOR SURE, MY DEAREST AND YOUNGEST SON, THAT I AM THE PERFECT EVER VIRGIN HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF THE ONE GREAT GOD OF TRUTH WHO GIVES US LIFE, THE INVENTOR AND CREATOR OF PEOPLE. THE OWNER AND LORD OF WHAT IS AROUND US AND WHAT IS TOUCHING US OR VERY CLOSE TO US THE OWNER AND LORD OF THE SKY, THE LORD OF THE EARTH. I WANT VERY MUCH THAT THEY BUILD MY SACRED LITTLE HOUSE HERE.
27 IN WHICH I WILL SHOW HIM, I WILL EXALT HIM ON MAKING HIM MANIFEST:
28 I WILL GIVE HIM TO THE PEOPLE IN ALL MY PERSONAL LOVE, IN MY COMPASSIONATE GAZE, IN MY HELP, IN MY SALVATION:
29 BECAUSE I AM TRULY YOUR COMPASSIONATE MOTHER,
30 YOURS AND OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE TOGETHER IN THIS LAND,
31 AND OF ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT ANCESTRIES, MY LOVERS, THOSE WHO CRY TO ME, THOSE WHO SEEK ME, THOSE WHO TRUST IN ME,
32 BECAUSE THERE I WILL LISTEN TO THEIR WEEPING, THEIR SADNESS, TO REMEDY, TO CLEANSE AND NURSE ALL THEIR DIFFERENT TROUBLES, THEIR MISERIES, THEIR SUFFERING.
33 AND TO BRING ABOUT WHAT MY COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL GAZE IS TRYING TO DO, GO TO THE RESIDENCE OF THE BISHOP OF MEXICO, AND YOU WILL TELL HIM HOW I AM SENDING YOU, SO THAT YOU MAY REVEAL TO HIM THAT I VERY MUCH WANT HIM TO BUILD ME A HOUSE HERE, TO ERECT MY TEMPLE FOR ME ON THE PLAIN; YOU WILL TELL HIM EVERYTHING, ALL THAT YOU HAVE SEEN AND MARVELED AT, AND WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD.
34 AND KNOW FOR SURE THAT I WILL APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH AND REWARD IT,
35 THAT BECAUSE OF IT I WILL ENRICH YOU, I WILL GLORIFY YOU;
36 AND BECAUSE OF IT YOU WILL DESERVE VERY MUCH THE WAY THAT I REWARD YOUR FATIGUE, YOUR SERVICE IN GOING TO REQUEST THE MATTER THAT I AM SENDING YOU FOR.
37 NOW, MY DEAREST SON, YOU HAVE HEARD MY BREATH, MY WORD: GO, DO WHAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR (IN THIS EFFORT)."
38 And immediately he prostrated himself in her presence; he said to her: "My Lady, my Little Girl, now I am going to make your venerable breath, your venerable word, a reality; I, your poor Indian, am leaving you for a while."
39 Then he came down (the hill) to put her errand into action: he came to get onto the causeway, he comes straight to Mexico City.
40 When he reached the center of the city, he went straight to the palace of the Bishop, the Governing Priest, who had just recently arrived; his name was Don Fray Juan deZumárraga, a Franciscan Priest.
41 And as soon as he got there, he then tries to see him, he begs his servants, his helpers, to go and tell him he needs to see him;
42 after a long time, when the Reverend Bishop ordered that he enter, they came to call him;
43 And as soon as he entered, first he knelt before him, he prostrated himself, then he reveals to him, he tells him the precious breath, the precious word of the Queen of Heaven, her message, and he also tells him everything that made his marvel, what he saw, what he heard.
44 And having heard his whole story, his message, as if he didn’t particularly believe it to be true,
45 he answered him, he said to him: "My son, you will come again. I will still hear you calmly, I will look at it carefully from the very beginning, I will consider the reason why your have come, your will, your desire".
46 He left; he came our sad, because the errand entrusted to him was not immediately accepted.
47 Then he returned, at the end of the day, then he came straight from there to the top of the little hill,
48 and he had the joy of meeting the Queen of Heaven: there exactly where she had appeared to him the fist time, she was waiting for him.
49 As soon as he saw her, he prostrated himself before her, he threw himself to the ground, he said to her:
50 "My dear little Mistress, Lady Queen, my littlest Daughter, my dear little Girl. I did go to where you sent me to carry our your dear breath, your dear word; although I entered with difficulty to where the place is of the Governing Priest, I saw him, I put your breath, your word, before him, as you ordered me to.
51 He received me kindly and he listened to it perfectly, but from the way ha answered me, it’s as if he didn’t understand it, he doesn’t think it’s true.
52 He said to me: "You will come again: I will still listen to you calmly, I will look well to what you have come for, from the very beginning, to your desire, your will.
53 The way he answered me, I could clearly see that he thinks your house that you want them to build for you here, maybe I’m only making it up, or that maybe it is not from your lips.
54 I beg you, my Lady, Queen, my little girl, to have one of the nobles who are held in esteem, one who is known, respected, honored, (have him) carry, take your dear breath, your dear word, so that he will be believed.
55 Because I am really (just) a man from the country, I am a (porter’s) rope I am a backframe, a tail, a wing, a man of no importance: I myself need to be led, carried on someone’s back, that place your are sending me to is a place where I’m not used to going to or spending any time in, my little Virgin, my Youngest Daughter, my Lady, Little girl;
56 please excuse me: I will grieve your face, your heart; I will fall into your anger, into your displeasure, my Lady, my Mistress."
57 The Perfect Virgin, worthy of honor and veneration, answered him:
58 "LISTEN, MY YOUNGEST AND DEAREST SON, KNOW FOR SURE THAT I HAVE NO LACK OF SERVANTS, OF MESSENGERS, TO WHOM I CAN GIVE THE TASK OF CARRYING MY BREATH, MY WORD, SO THAT THEY CARRY OUT MY WILL;
59 BUT IT IS VERY NECESSARY THAT YOU, PERSONALLY, GO AND PLEAD, THAT MY WISH, MY WILL, BECOME A REALITY, BE CARRIED OUT THROUGH YOUR INTERCESSION.
60 AND I BEG YOU, MY YOUNGEST AND DEAREST SON AND I ORDER YOU STRICTLY TO GO AGAIN TOMORROW TO SEE THE BISHOP.
61 AND IN MY NAME MAKE HIM KNOW, MAKE HIM HEAR MY WISH, MY WILL, SO THAT HE WILL BRING INTO BEING, HE WILL BUILD MY HOUSE OF GOD THAT I AM ASKING HIM FOR.
62 AND CAREFULLY TELL HIM AGAIN HOW I, PERSONALLY, THE EVER VIRGIN HOLY MARY, I, WHO AM THE MOTHER OF GOD, AM SENDING YOU."
63 For his part, Juan Diego responded to her and said to her "My Lady, Queen, my Little Girl, let me not give you anguish, let me not grieve your face, your heart. I will most gladly go to carry out your breath, your word; I will absolutely not fail to do it, nor do I think the road is painful.
64 I will go and carry out your will, but perhaps I won’t be heard, and if I am heard, perhaps I won’t be believed.
65 Tomorrow afternoon, when the sun goes down, I will come to return to your word, to your breath, what the Governing Priest answers to me.
66 Now, I respectfully say goodbye to you, my youngest Daughter, young Girl, Lady, my Little Girl, rest a little more."
67 And then he went to his house to rest.
68 On the following day, Sunday, while it was still night, everything was still dark, he left there, he left his house, he came straight to Tlatilolco, he came to learn what pertains to God and to be counted in roll call; then to see the Reverend Bishop.
69 And around ten o’clock everything had been taken care of: Mass was over and roll had been called and the crowd had gone away.
70 And Juan Diego went to the Reverend Bishop’s residence.
71 And as soon as he arrived he went through the whole struggle to see him, and after much effort he saw him again;
72 he knelt at his feet, he wept, he became sad as he spoke to him, as he revealed to him the word, the breath of the Queen of Heaven.
73 that would to God the errand, the will, of the Perfect Virgin would be believed, of making for her, of building her sacred little house for her, where she had said, where she wanted it.
74 And the Governing Bishop asked him many, many things, pursued many, many, questions with him, to make certain of where he had seen her, what She was like; he told absolutely everything to the Lord Bishop.
75 And although he told him absolutely everything, and that in everything, he saw and marveled that it appeared with absolute clarity that she was the Perfect Virgin, the Kind and Wondrous Mother of Our Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ,
76 nevertheless, it still didn’t happen (his message was still not believed).
77 He said that not simply because of his word would his petition be carried out, would what he asked for happen.
78 That some other sign was very necessary if he was to believe how the Queen of Heaven in person was sending him.
79 As soon as Juan Diego heard that, he said to the Bishop:
80 "Señor Governor, think about what the sign you ask for will be, because then I will go to ask for it of the Queen of Heaven who sent me."
81 And when the Bishop saw that he was in agreement, that he did not hesitate or doubt in the slightest, he dismisses him.
82 And as soon as he is on his way, he orders some of house-hold staff in whom he had absolute trust to go along following him, to carefully observe where he was going, whom he was seeing, to whom he was talking.
83 And that’s what they did. And Juan Diego came directly. He took the causeway.
84 And those who were following him lost him on the wooden bridge where the brook comes out near Tepeyac. And even though they searched all over for him, they couldn’t find him anywhere.
85 And so they turned back. He made them angry, not just because they had made terrible fools of themselves, but also because he had frustrated their attempt.
86 So they went to tell the Lord Bishop, they put into his head that he shouldn’t believe him, they told him how he was only telling him lies, that he was only making up what he came to tell him, or that he was only dreaming or imagining what he was telling him, what he was asking of him.
87 Therefore they decided that if he came again, if he returned, they would grab him right there and would punish him severely, so that he would never come again to tell lies or get the people all excited.
88 Meanwhile, Juan Diego was with the Most Holy Virgin, telling her the response that he was bringing from the Lord Bishop;
89 when she had heard it, she said to him:
90 "THAT’S FINE, MY DEAR SON, YOU WILL COME BACK HERE TOMORROW SO THAT YOU MAY TAKE THE BISHOP THE SIGN HE HAS ASKED YOU FOR;
91 WITH THIS HE WILL BELIEVE YOU, AND HE WILL NO LONGER HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT ALL THIS AND HE WILL NO LONGER BE SUSPICIOUS OF YOU; 92 AND KNOW, MY DEAR SON, THAT I WILL REWARD YOU CARE AND THE WORK AND FATIGUE THAT YOU HAVE PUT INTO THIS FOR Me.
93 SO, GO NOW: I WILL BE WAITING HERE FOR YOU TOMORROW."
Part 2 to follow! at 5 AM, December 12th, the hour of the apparition.
Updated: Thre is also a previous post earlier this week on Our Lady of Guadalupe and the painting of the Mona Lisa. It can be found here.
Let us look at the image of Guadalupe as an icon, for that is how the Aztecs saw the image that our Blessed Lady left us. They saw that the the image had many messages that spoke to them, and could just speak to us today in our world that reflects theirs in so many troubling ways.
1. In front of the Sun. Our Lady is standing in front of the Sun. The god Huitzilopochtli was the Sun god (It was to Huitzilopochtli that people would be sacrificed to, children included, by having their hearts torn out while alive, and then stuffed into the mouth of Huitzilopochtli). Huitzilopochtli was the one of the highest ranking gods, yet Our lady is standing right in front of the Sun, indicating that she is greater than the sun god. Read Apocalypse 12, where it talks of the lady clothed with the Sun. This leads directly into #2...
2. Orientation of the eyes. The Aztec gods would typically be looking right at you in the statues that were built of them. They had this fearsome look that directly reflected their brutality. Our Lady is standing in front of a fearsome god, yet she is looking down. When a statue of an Aztec god looked down, it was because there was a greater god present. Our Lady is telling us that even though she is greater than Huitzilopochtli, there is one even greater than herself, and sh is in the presence of him. Her eyes also appear to be gentle, loving. There will be more on the eyes later.
3. On top of the Moon. The hill on which Our lady appeared is called Tepeyac, and had been dedicated to the Moon goddess Tonantzin. She was a goddess that would on the surface would seem to be sympathetic, as she lamented that so many of her children were lost. She was also the goddess of corn and was one of the very few Aztec gods or goddesses that was satisfied with the sacrifices of doves, swallows, and other birds. Again, refer to Apocalypse 12, with regards to the woman with the moon beneath her feet.
4. The Angel. The Aztecs also believed in messengers from the gods, what we would call angels. In the Aztec culture, only a King, a Queen (who were seen as living gods), or another royal dignitary would be carried upon the shoulders of another. That an Angel would carry someone who is not a God was seen as bringing a new age. She is being carried by an angel, yet she is in supplication to another. She is seen, however, as royalty. After all, we know that her son is the King of the Universe.
5. The Hands. Her hands are held together in supplication, in prayer. Certainly this was not a typical Aztec posture. One god may have yielded to another, but it was not because they wanted to. They did it because the other god was much stronger. Our lady's hands are in supplication to one who is greater.
6. Her belt. This belt or girdle would be seen by the Aztecs as a sign of virginity. However, the way that it is tied wold make it seem like the four petaled flower called Nahui Ollin. This flower was called the Flower of the Sun, and was used in the ceremonies to end the 52 year Aztec calendar cycle. Every 52 years, the world would be born anew. In other words, the way the belt looks, it indicates that a new age is coming, and that Our lady is pregnant by the position of the belt and the Nahui Ollin.
7. Her Mantle. We are used to having Purple referred to as the royal colour. To the Aztecs, turqouise, or the Teal she is wearing is the royal colour. That she is wearing this colour indicates that she is of royalty. Although the Aztecs would wear gold as jewelry, to have it on clothing was very special. It was yet another sign of nobility.
8. Her Mantle pt. 2. Some have speculated on what the stars on the mantle would look like if one were to take the Mantle of our Lady and spread it out. With the aid of computers, this can now be done. The stars appear to be in a pattern. The stars appear to be arranged in a pattern that would be consistent if one were to view the sky above Mexico City on December 12th, 1531, right around 5 AM (This is the time that Juan Diego would have seen Our Blessed Lady right before he went to Bishop Zumarraga). As this was before the Gregorian revision of the Calendar several decades later, this day would have been the Winter Solstice.
9. The eyes of our Lady. In 1929, the photographer for the Basilica of Guadalupe, Jose Marcue, took close-up photographs of the entire image. When he photographed the left eye of the Virgin, he noticed that there was an image of an old, bearded man in it. As some extreme persecutions had just reached its zenith a few years earlier, the Episcopal Conference and the Archbishop of Mexico, Pascual Diay y Barreto decided to keep this silent. In the eyes can also be seen other figures, which would match those who would have been in the room with Juan Diego when he came into the presence of the Bishop upon showing him the sign he wanted. That would be Bishop Zumarraga, his translator Juan Gonzalez, St. Juan Diego himself, and an unknown woman. The images are even distorted to account for the curvature of the eye, just as one would see something slightly distorted if one were to look closely at the eyese of another. There is a video below in Spanish of a study done by Dr. Jose Aste Tonsmann. The image was formed on the tilma of Juan Diego, the outer garment of the Aztecs. The coarse fabric, made of ayate fiber, was derived from the threads of the maguey cactus plant. It is dired, flattened, and then woven into thread. It is a bit sturdier than fabric derived from cactus in northern latitudes, but not by much. The normal life span of the ayate fiber is approximately 20 years. Yet, after 477 years as of 2008, this tilma still shows no sign of decay, has maintained its vivid and fresh colors, in spite of having been displayed for more than 100 years, unprotected, in a damp, open-windowed chapel located in the yet undrained marshes of Mexico. For the first 100 years, the Tilma had been exposed directly to ceaseless smoke and incense, myriad of votive candles with their excess of ultra-violet light. It hand been handled, touched, kissed, by millions of devout pilgrims.
It has even survived a bombing. On November 14, 1921, a bomb was placed right underneath the Tilma by a government agent by the High Altar in the old Basilica. The Tilma was covered only with glass. The Altar was destroyed, and this Crucifix that was right in front of the bomb was bent over to a 30 degree angle by the force of the bomb. The Tilma, however, was untouched, and the glass right in front did not shatter. This Crucifix is now in the museum of the Basilica.
Cuixamonicannicanimonantzin? No estoyaqui, que soy tuMadre? Am I not here, who am your Mother?
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is approaching, when we celebrate the visit and apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego in México.
Before the arrival of the True Faith in what is now México, the native people worshipped a multitude of gods. One could make the argument that Satanism is what was being practiced, what with gods who demanded blood sacrifice. Some people may lament that there were codices lost and burned by Franciscan missionaries. Insight into Aztec life might have been useful to historians. However, let us look at some of what has been preserved: bloody scenes of battle, and parents allowing Aztec priests to tears the hearts out of their children. When HernánCortés saw this, he was outraged, and saw it as his duty to smash the idols that he saw. Cortés helped to put an end to that, finally, in 1519.
For over a decade, the Franciscans tried their best to convert the Aztecs, but there were very few who came to the Catholic Faith. Paganism was deeply rooted in the Mexican people. One of the few was an Indian by the name of Cuahtlatoátzin (Singing Eagle), and his wife, MaríaLucía. His wife died in 1529.
Juan Diego would frequently walk from his house in the village of Tolpetlac, to the Franciscan Church at Tlaltelolco. On the Feast of the (Immaculate) Conception of Mary, December 9th (as it was kept in those days by the Franciscans in their calendar) St. Juan Diego was walking to hear Mass. Over the next four days, while walking to church, St. Juan Diego had visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In another post, the entire story, called the NicanMopohua, will be posted.
Where the visions of the Blessed Virgin happened was on a hill called Tepeyac. This hill, before the arrival of the True Faith, was dedicated to a goddess called Tonantzín. If one looks at the image of Guadalupe, it conveys a great amount of information, almost like an eastern icon. One actually could start with the name. What does Guadalupe mean? Bishop Zumárraga, the Bishop of México, did not speak much Náhuatl, but did have an interpreter, Fr. Juan Gonzales. When Juan Diego and his uncle Bernardino (who also experienced a vision of the Virgin), were asked what the name of the Virgin was, they were astounded to hear the name of Guadalupe, the name of a shrine in the Bishop’s native land of Spain. It is not a name that has any connection with México or the Náhuatl language. Dr. Mariano Rojas of the National Museum of Anthropology of México in 1895 says that the name probably used was “Te Coatlaxopeuh.”
te = stone coa = serpent tla = the xopeuh = crush, stamp out
Her name means that she is the one who will crush the Serpent. She in other words, was identifying herself with the Immaculate Conception, with her name and the date on which she first appeared. Bishop Zumárraga wrote to Cortés on December 24th, 1531, inviting him to the procession taking the image from Tepeyac to the Cathedral of México. In that letter, Bishop Zumárraga refers to the image of Guadalupe as the Immaculate Conception; so he saw that there was a link between the image, the Immaculate Conception, and Genesis 3:15. In her name, we can see that she says she will crush the serpent, and the cruelest serpent to the Aztecs was Quezacóatl, behind whom was Satan. 20.000 people annually were sacrificed to Quezacóatl. In Genesis 3:15, we see that God says that he will put indemnity between he and the woman, and that she will crush his head. In Apocalypse 20:2, the Serpent is specifically identified as Satan.
Our Lady of Guadalupe did have her victory over Satan, as after her visit to México, the greatest mass conversions in history took place, with over 7 million coming to the True Faith in a little over 10 years.
The Mona Lisa, or La Giaconda, is probably one of the most famous paintings in the world. It was begun around the year 1503, and was finished by Leonardo Da Vinci in France shortly before his death on May 2nd, 1519. It has stayed in France, mostly, for these past 490 years. After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre. It was exhibited in Italy for a while after an Italian Patriot stole it, as he felt it should stay in Italy.
In a book by Jean-Pierre Mohen, Mona Lisa: inside the Painting, one can read that all through its history, the Mona Lisa has received exceptional and restrained care. An international commission in 1952 deemed that the care it has received has helped to conserve one of the most famous paintings in the world. This commission recommended that it be restored to remove some layers of varnish, and for some special treatment. It has also been treated with carbon tetrachloride, and later with an ethylene oxide treatment to preserve the painting from an insect infestation. In 1985, the painting was again treated with carbon tetrachloride as a measure to prevent further insect damage. To help with any warping, a crosspiece was installed in 1977.
In 2005, it was moved to a purpose-built, climate-controlled enclosure behind bullet-proof glass in the Salle des États in the Louvre.
Despite all of this work, and experts from around the world, the Mona Lisa will need further work in the next 15 years to fix cracking in the varnish that had been applied in the past century. Without this fixing of the varnish and further preservation, the Mona Lisa could face irreparable damage in the next few decades.
In December of 1531, 12 years after the Mona Lisa was finished, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in present day Mexico City. She left her image to us, and she is known under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is contemporaneous with the Mona Lisa.
The image of Guadalupe is on a Tilma, an outer garment that was worn by Aztec males, like a cloak, with a long front to it like an apron, and used as a carry all. At the time, and as is the case with the Tilma of St. Juan Diego, it is made of the ayate fibers of the Maguey plant. The normal life span of such a garment is around 20 years. As of 2009, it has been 479 years since the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe appeared in 1531.
For roughly the first 160 years, the Tilma of St. Juan Diego hung in damp air and before the emissions of numerous candles in the Chapel of Tepeyac. There was no glass to cover the image. No soot appears to have ever damaged the Tilma. Dr. Phillip Callahan of the University of Florida studied the image in 1979. He records that a single votive candle can put out in its life over 600 microwatts of ultraviolet light. If you multiply this over hundreds of thousands of candles over centuries, and it is an intolerable environment for a painting. That much ultraviolet light should destroy any painting. It is not a painting though, at least by human hands. Numerous people also touched the image.
In 1791, roughly when the French Revolution happened and the Mona Lisa was moved to the Louvre, the Gold and Silver Frame around the Image of Guadalupe was being cleaned. The image was miraculously preserved when Nitric Acid used to clean the Gold and Silver spilled onto the image. The only trace of this disaster is what appears to be a watermark.
The image is 479 years old, yet the image cannot be reproduced. The colours are as vibrant today as 79 years ago, as vibrant as they were 479 years ago. The fibers of the Tilma are as pliable now as a new Tilma, despite its age.
On Monday the 14th of November 1921, in the midst of Government Anti-Catholic activity, Mass was being said in the Basilica of Guadalupe. at 10:30 AM a bomb, placed by a Mexican government agent, Luciano Perez, went off right below the Image of Guadalupe. The bomb had been hidden in a wreath of flowers, and heavily damaged a nearby Altar, and much of the surrounding masonry.
A Bronze and Iron Cross right underneath the Image was bent over by the explosion, so powerful was the blast, as can be seen above. The image of Guadalupe was untouched, with even the thin glass that was in front of the image undamaged. Miraculously, none of the faithful who were present at the Mass were injured either. As a side note, After having ascertained that everyone was alright, Father Juan Bautista Rangel Avila had a Server summon the police, and then continued to say Holy Mass.
This is just a brief, very brief history of the Mona Lisa, and the Image of Guadalupe. They are both roughly the same age. One is one of the most famous paintings in the world, having received the attention of the world's Art experts, and roughly 20 million dollars worth of restoration.
The other, we Catholics hold to be the image of Our Blessed Lady, is an image that is on Ayate fibers from the Maguey plant. The Tilma should have disintegrated about 460 years ago, had been exposed to the Salt Marshes of Mexico City, had countless people touch it, was exposed for 160 years without protection, had acid spilled on it, and survived a Terrorist Bomb.
Veneremur Virginem Genitricem gratiae, Salutis dulcedinem, Fontem Sapietiae. Haec est aula regia, Regina prudentiae Virgo plena gratia, Aurora laetitiae.
Let us venerate the Virgin, the Mother of grace, the sweetness of salvation, the fount of Wisdom. She is the Palace of the King, the Queen of Prudence, the Virgin full of Grace, the aurora of joy.
"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
Blessed Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus Apostolic Constitution issued on December 8, 1854.
This day, known in the East as the Feast of the Conception of the Mother of God in the Womb of St. Anne, is the most solemn one during Advent. In Eastern Catholicism, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception falls one day later on the 9th of December. It is not a full nine months to show that, even though she was the highest of creatures, she did not have the perfection of God, being one day off. Even in the West, before the definition of the Immaculate Conception, the day to celebrate this Feast was fluid. St. Juan Diego, visionary of the Apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was on his way to Mass for the Feast of the Conception of Mary on December the 9th in 1531, as it was kept by the Franciscan in that day. That year, it had fallen on a Saturday, before the Gregorian revisions.
The reason that we have the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is for the following. At the very moment that God united the Soul of Mary with the body it was to animate, the ever blessed Soul of Mary did not contract the Stain of Original Sin which defiles every human Soul. In this way, she mirrored the Sanctity of God himself, insofar as it is possible for a creature to do so. We are all born with Original Sin, but are saved unto Eternal Life by the Waters of Baptism. If we walk through a forest, we could fall into a pit that is unseen. We could fall into it and be saved from it by having someone pull us out. Another could be saved from the pit by having someone pull them away from the pit before they fall in. Both are said to have been saved from the pit. With us, the saving comes after we have fallen into the pit. With Mary, it came at the very instance of her Conception, for not a speck could be permitted to stain the womb of Mary, a creature that was to have grow within her the Saviour of the World. God could do no less for the Second Eve than he could for the first Eve. The sentence of Original Sin was universal, but God's own Mother is not subject to this. The second Eve is to be worthy of the second Adam.
No wonder the Angel Gabriel looked on with amazement at the Virgin Mary. If the Ark of the Covenant was to be made of purest Gold to contain the word of God, would not the same be true of the Ark that would contain the Word (Ex 25:11-21)? The Akathist Hymn to Mary says,
"As soon as the angel had received his command, he hastened to Joseph’s house and said to the ever-virgin: “Behold, heaven was brought down to earth when the Word Himself was fully contained in you! Now that I see Him in your womb, taking a servant’s form, I cry out to you in wonder: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!” An Archangel was sent from heaven to greet the Mother of God, and as he saw you assuming a body at the sound of his bodiless voice, O Lord, he stood rapt in amazement and cried out to her in these words: Hail, O you, through whom Joy will shine forth!
"The Angel Gabriel greets Mary, knowing that she is his Queen, by saying, "Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women. (Lk 1:28-37)" The Angel also tells her that she had found favour with God, and that with God, nothing is impossible. Gabriel called her, "Full of Grace;" an Angel who lives among the magnificence of of God.
Mary did need a Savior, and her Savior was Jesus Christ. Mary’s salvation was accomplished by Jesus through his work on the Cross. Mary's Salvation was different and more glorious than the way it is for the rest of us. Jesus' Cross was Salvific for Mary in that its application to her was from the moment of her Conception. The Crucifixion is an eternal event and that the appropriation of salvation through Christ’s death is not impeded by time or space. That is how the Cross can be applied to Mary. It was applied to the very moment of her conception. Some may point out that some Saints and Doctors of the Church did not affirm the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Saints are Canonized for the totality of their teachings, and leeway is given for their mistakes. Medieval Theologians can be forgiven if they did not understand that the fertilized egg is a separate life and Soul apart from the mother at the moment of conception.
Those who create crafts want to to the best work possible. God was able to create his own Mother, as he created all things (Col 1:16). He created Mary immaculate, and in his Divine Mercy and compassion, kept her that way.