Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our Lady of Guadalupe

 SANTA MARIA de GUADALUPE

The well authenticated story of the five apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary is briefly related here:*
1st Apparition: At dawn on December 9, 1531, Juan Diego, an Indian convert, was going to Tlatelolco to attend catechism class and hear the Mass. As he was passing Tepeyac Hill, he saw a brilliant light on the summit and heard the strains of celestial music. Filled with wonder, he stopped. Then he heard a feminine voice asking him to ascend. When he reached the top he saw the Blessed Virgin Mary standing in the midst of a glorious light, in heavenly splendor. The beauty of her youthful countenance and her look of loving kindness filled Juan Diego with unspeakable happiness as he listened to the words which she spoke to him in his native language. She told him she was the perfect and eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, and made known to him her desire that a shrine be built there where she could demonstrate her love, her compassion and her protection. "For I am your merciful Mother", she said, "to you and to all mankind who love me and trust in me and invoke my help. Therefore, go to the dwelling of the Bishop in Mexico City and say that the Virgin Mary sent you to make known to him her great desire."

2nd Apparition: The Bishop was reluctant to believe Juan Diego's story. Juan returned to Tepeyac Hill where he found the Blessed Virgin waiting for him, and told her of his failure. She bade him return to the Bishop the next day and repeat her wishes.
3rd Apparition: The Bishop then requested that the Lady give him a sign. Juan reported that evening and she promised to grant his petition on the following morning. But Juan was prevented from coming because of a sudden and severe illness of his uncle, Juan Bernardino.
4th Apparition: Two days later, on December 12, as he was going to the Church at Tlatelolco in order to bring a priest to his dying uncle, Juan Diego was stopped by the Lady, who had come down from Tepeyac Hill to meet him in the road. She listened quietly to Juan's excuse for not having kept his appointment with her the day before. When he had finished speaking she said, "It is well, littlest and dearest of my sons, but now listen to me. Do not let anything afflict you and be not afraid of illness or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Are you not in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need? Do not fear for your uncle for he is not going to die. Be assured... he is already well."
Having heard these words, Juan Diego rejoiced and asked for the sign he was to take to the Bishop. He was told to climb to the top of the hill where she had spoken to him on three previous occasions. She said he would find many flowers blooming there which he was to cut and bring to her. Juan Diego did as he was told though he knew no flowers had ever bloomed before on the stony summit. He discovered a marvelous garden of dew-fresh blossoms which he cut as she had asked. Placing them in his rough cloak, or tilma, he brought the flowers to the Lady who rearranged them and told him to take them to the Bishop; that this was the sign to persuade him to carry out her wishes.
When Juan Diego, radiantly happy, stood before Bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga and told him of the fourth encounter with the Lady, he opened his tilma to show the Bishop the sign; the flowers cascaded to the floor - but to the astonishment of the Bishop and Juan Diego, there appeared upon the coarse fabric of the Indian's mantle a marvelously wrought, exquisitely colored portrait of the Blessed Virgin, just as Juan Diego had previously described her.
5th Apparition: Earlier that same day, December 12, she had also appeared to Juan's uncle, Juan Bernardino, and restored him to health as she had told Juan Diego. Juan Diego was at that time fifty-seven years old; his uncle was sixty-eight. Both had been among the first of the natives to be baptized into the true faith several years before.
The Name of Guadalupe
Juan Bernardino told his nephew the Blessed Virgin had ordered him to relate to the Bishop in what miraculous manne she had cured him. She also told Juan Bernardino her image was to be known as "Santa Maria de Guadalupe" and thus she has been venerated by this title for nearly five centuries.

*The above history is copied from the 'Queen of the Americas guild'

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of Nazareth Hermitage. Each night , at the close of night prayers the "Salve Regina' is sung before a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe in honor of our queen and  mother. The large painting was created by a young man (a Muslim) from Kosovo as a 'going away' present for the Hermitage.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.


The traditional narrative called "Nican Mopohua"
(16th century)
Truly I, your Mother, am here
 
Very early one Saturday morning at the beginning of December of 1531, a poor but respected Indian called Juan Diego (born, it is said, in Cuauhtitlan and under the pastoral care of the religious community of Tlatelolco) was on his way to Tlaltelolco on a holy errand. When he reached the hill called Tepeyac dawn was breaking and he heard singing coming from above the hill. The singing stopped and was not heard again, but he heard a voice calling to him from the top of the hill. “Beloved Juan Diego,” it said. He responded at once, bravely climbing the hill towards the place where the voice was coming from.
  When he reached the top he saw a Lady standing there, who called him to herself. When he came close to her he was stunned with how beautiful she was: her clothes shone like the sun. Then the Virgin gave him her command: “Know, beloved son, that I am the immaculate ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who is the Origin of all life, who creates all things and keeps them in being, the Lord of Heaven and Earth. I greatly wish, I earnestly desire, that my house should be built in this very place. I will show him to you there and praise him as I show him, my Love and Compassion, my Help and Defense. For in truth I am your compassionate Mother, yours and of all who live together in this land and of any others who love me, seek me, and call on me with confidence and devotion. In that house I will listen to their weeping and their sadness, I will give them help in their troubles and a cure for their misfortunes. So that this desire of mine may be fulfilled, go to Mexico City, to the palace of the Bishop. Tell him that I have sent you to him to tell him how much I want a house to be built here for me, a church built here at the bottom of the hill.”
  When Juan Diego arrived in the city he went immediately to the house of the Bishop, Juan Zum√°rraga, a Franciscan. But when the bishop heard what he had to say, he did not believe him completely and said “My son, come another time and I will listen to you then. Meanwhile I will consider what should be done about your wish and your desire.”
  Another day he saw the Queen of Heaven coming down from where he had seen her. She came to meet him next to the hill, stopped him, and said “Listen, my beloved son, have no fear or anxiety in your heart. Do not try to do anything about your uncle’s grave illness or about any other trouble of yours. For am I not here with you, your mother? Are you not safe in the shadow of my protection? Am I not the source of your life and your happiness? Am I not holding you in my lap, wrapped in my arms? What else can you possibly need? Do not be upset or distressed. Climb again, my beloved son, to the summit of this hill, to the place where you saw me and heard me speak. You will find flowers growing there. Pick them and gather them and bring them down to me.”
  Juan Diego came back down with the flowers he had picked. She looked at them, took them with her blessed hands and put them in his tilma, or cape. She told him: “Most beloved son, these flowers are the sign that you are to carry to the Bishop. You yourself are my messenger and I entrust myself to your faithfulness. I strictly command you not to unfold your tilma in front of anyone except the Bishop; but to him you should show what it is you are carrying. As you do so, tell him the story of how I asked you to climb to the top of the hill and pick the flowers there. Tell him everything you saw and marvelled at, so that he will believe you and undertake to build the church I wish for.”
  Obedient to the command of the Queen of Heaven, he took the road to Mexico City. He went happily, confident that all would turn out well. Coming into the palace he prostrated himself before the Bishop and recounted all that he had seen and told him the errand on which he had been sent. “My Lord,” he said, “I have done as you asked. I went to my Lady, the Queen of Heaven, holy Mary, the Mother of God, and told her that you had asked for a sign so that you might believe me and build the church that the Virgin herself desires. I told her that I had given my word to bring you back some sign of her wishes. She heard what you had asked and accepted with good grace your request for some sign so that you could fulfil her will. Today, very early, she sent me back to see you.”
  The whole city came running to see the holy image. They wondered at it, accepted it as the work of God and made prayers to him. And that day Juan Diego’s uncle, whom the Virgin had cured, told them in what way she should be revered and said that her image should be known as the ever-virgin Saint Mary of Guadalupe.

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