Thursday, December 11, 2008
Dia De La Guadalupe
The Virgen has always been an influence in my life as well as a huge part of my culture. Even though I am no longer a practicing Catholic, Catholicism, it's rituals and beliefs are still strong influences inbred in my soul.
To this day, I always seem to include Guadalupe in my art, and I find comfort in running into her at various places, cities, countries and even in my toast. (I have a Guadalupe image stencil for toast) haha.
Well, tomorrow is Dia De La Guadalupe and there are huge Mass celebrations and fiestas all throughout Mexico. It is a wonderful time to be in Mexico, where consecutive fiestas are being held.
For those of you (if any) are not familia about how her story came about, please read on. :-)
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico as the pregnant Mother of God to Saint Juan Diego, a Chicemeca Indian, on December 9, 10 and 12, 1531. She left a Miraculous Image of her appearance on his cactus fiber cloak, or "tilma", which still exists today for all to see in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Our Lady came to offer faith, hope and consolation to the oppressed natives of Mexico and to reconcile then with their Spanish rulers. She put an end to the bloody human sacrifice of the Aztecs and converted nine million natives in the next nine years!
After the conquest, the Spanish rule of the natives was so severe that a bloody revolt was imminent. Bishop Zumarraga prayed for Our Lady to intervene to prevent an uprising, to reconcile the Spanish and the natives and to bring peace. It is believed that he asked that he would receive roses native to his homeland of Castile Spain as a sign that his prayer would be answered.
On December 9, 1531, Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego who was a recently converted Catholic. She asked him to go to the Bishop and request him to build a church for her on the barren hill of Tepeyac that is now part of Mexico City. Our Lady wanted to show her merciful love to all of her children. The prudent Bishop asked Juan to ask the Lady for a sign. Juan did so and Our Lady promised to give him the sign.
On December 12, Our Lady again appeared to Juan on Tepeyac Hill and told him to pick the Castilian roses which miraculously appeared there and bring them to the Bishop as a sign for him to believe her request. Juan gathered the roses into his tilma and brought them to the Bishop.
Juan opened the tilma to show them and, to everyone's astonishment, the Image of Our Lady appeared on it. The Bishop then built the church as Our Lady had requested and nine million natives were converted and baptized to the one, true faith within the next nine years. Human sacrifice ended in Mexico forever. Our Lady of Guadalupe, which means Crusher of the stone serpent, brought the light of the true faith, crushed the false gods of Mexico and established an era of peace.
Even if you are not Catholic, churches throughout the world will be celebrating Guadalupe tomorrow. If you have a chance to attend one of these masses, you will be in for a very inspirational treat.
Viva La Virgen!