Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Lady, is that you?

There are points in history where eternity touches thetemporal. I am speaking of Marian apparitions. These are events where OurBlessed Mother has appeared to offer guidance, hope, and even warnings.Numerous of these have not been approved by the Holy Catholic Church, but thosewhich are ‘worthy of belief’ serve as reminders that God is very active inreaching out to us; it is Mary’s role to guide us in the right direction on ourearthly journey.

The Church rigorously scrutinizes any apparition, andrightly so, before one is deemed ‘worthy of belief’. To get an idea on how theydecide this, visit this link. One of my favorite apparitions is Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the mid-16th century, Our Lady appeared to anAztec Indian named Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City. Themissionaries at the time were not having much success in conversions, and thepagan nation was performing human sacrifice at the top of their temples.

Our Lady told Juan Diego that she wanted a church built onthat spot so that the people would turn away from their sin and experience theMercy of God, through her compassion. He went at once to the Bishop, who toldhim that he needed a sign to believe this story. Returning to Tepeyac Hill,Juan Diego asked the Blessed Mother for a sign. First, she informed him thathis uncle who was terminally ill would be cured, and he was. Next, she askedhim to cut the flowers at the top of the hill, to bring them to the Bishop. Goingto the top of the hill, he found beautiful Castilian roses in full bloom. Theroses were not native to that area, and they were blooming out of season on whatwas usually a barren hilltop.

Having arranged the cut flowers in Juan’s Tilma (which is acloak made of cactus fibers), Mary instructed him to return to the Bishop withthis sign. As Juan Diego opened the Tilma and let the flowers spill out, theBishop and all others who were present fell to their knees. Upon the garmentwas the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As requested, a church was built onTepeyac Hill and over the next decade almost the entire nation of Mexico convertedto Catholicism.  Millions of peopleconverted, thousands each day, for ten years.

Today, the Tilma is still on display for pilgrims tovenerate in Mexico City. It has been studied to see how the image was created,but studies have been inconclusive. No known pigments of the time were used andthere are no traces of lines to indicate a painting or drawing. It has survivedrain and smoke, even an explosion at one point, but miraculously it has notbeen destroyed. Furthermore, this is a garment that should have decayed in tenor twenty years, but it still remains nearly five centuries later as a testamentto the events that transpired there.

There are certain Marian apparitions that touch the lives ofmillions, and the fruits of them can be seen far and wide. For me, Our Lady ofGuadalupe serves as a beacon towards the Truth, and I pray Our Lady willcontinue showing us how to turn away from our sins and live holy lives so thatwe can, among other things, end abortion which is the human sacrifice of ourtime.

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