Behold Thy Mother

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It’s fascinating to see throughout history, the influence of the serpent in both culture and religion. How many prominent civilizations, some devilishly dominant and so technologically advanced for their times, held the worship of this so called “god.” We probably tend to ask ourselves, “Why would a loving God leave these children of his in error, basking in falseness?” That’s a fair question and the answer lies not in the finite mind, but in the infinite, the Divine mind. For scripture tells us in Acts 14:16, “In past generations he allowed all nations to walk in their own ways; yet he did not leave himself without witness.” You see we can not come to understand God fully, not yet at least, but to try is to disprove of him, and that’s impossible. It’s like the cartoon character trying to disprove the cartoonist. What we do come to understood is that God can bring good out of evil, and scripture testifies to this.

joseph_sold In the Book of Genesis 37:18-36, after Joseph was sold to slavery by his brothers, he suffered through trials and persecution, and not knowing God’s intentions, he was elevated to high authority in Egypt. This serves as a reminder of the trust we should have for God regardless of the circumstances. Years later, Joseph, after encountering his brothers, said to them, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Many a people were saved by Joseph, for he fed their starvation for seven years. Another account, the Apostle Paul also fed the starving spiritually, on the island of Malta after the shipwreck in Acts 28:1-10.

After the natives witnessed a serpent fasten itself on his arm, they cried out that Paul was indeed a guilty man, and that the gods had served justice. They waited for Paul to swell up and drop dead, but after seeing him alive and well, they proclaimed him a god. Was this part of God’s plan to use whatever spiritual knowledge these native people held for his purpose, to bring them in communion with him? Evidently the Lord had a plan for them, operating through Paul to witness to the Maltese for the 3 months they were ashore. Scripture doesn’t entirely describe the Maltese converting in the few verses we see, but tradition and history hold that the chief of the land. Publius, whose father was healed by Paul, became the first Catholic Bishop of Malta, and is now venerated as Saint Publius throughout the Church. This just goes to show that God is Charity, he uses one and all: the stubbornthe sinnerthe Angels. But, the most dearest to me of his humble creatures. God used Our Blessed Mother. I will explain how her use by God, was fruit to over 9 million coming to the Fullness of Faith in the Americas.

According to the apocryphal Book of Enoch, the fallen angels (theologically known as demons) showed men the art of metals from the earth to utilize for weapons, enchantments, knowledge of the clouds, signs of the sun and course of the moon, constellations and astrology. Of course, we can shrug this off as fairy tales and mere mythology, but then again lets take a look at a civilization of people who are held as the most brutal to this day: The Aztecs.

sacrificial-stone

Serpents were used in every aspect of their formalized worship. Snake skinned drums would beat as the victimized hearts of the sacrificed echoed their own music, slowly fainting to a halt, being offered up to Quetzalcoatl – the feathered serpent. These monstrous gods demanded those sacrificed to be consumed, flesh and blood. Sound familiar? Millions were sacrificed, women and children included. Maybe the True God, having seen enough, heard the blood calling out from the ground. Genesis 4:10 “The Lord said, What have you done? Listen! Your brothers blood cries out from the ground!”

The year was 1531, and one of the greatest spiritual turning points for the Native Aztec Indians. It had been about 12 years after the Spaniards landed and demanded tribute to the Judeo-Christian God after being appalled by the temple practices of the Aztecs. Let’s be honest, we know that some of these Spaniards did not have the greatest moral standings either. So the natives being fierce warriors revolted, but they were no match for European weapons. After most Aztec cities were conquered, and the last emperor Cuauhtémoc surrendered, the Aztec Empire fell, but their religious practices were still alive. Missionaries converted many, unfortunately the majority of the population was still holding on to their pagan beliefs, but God was not done yet. guad

Revelation 12:1 “And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” This is the image of the woman who appeared to a native Aztec indian, St. Juan Diego asking him to go to the bishop and demand a church be built on the site she appeared, which previously had been a sacrificial ground. The bishop didn’t believe St. Juan Diego and demanded a sign from this mysterious lady. Around the same time, St Juan Diego’s uncle was very ill, to the point of death, so that the Saint avoided the lady by taking a longer route to summon a Priest for his uncles last rights. Nevertheless she appeared to him, promised a cure for his uncle, and asked the Saint to pick flowers at the first apparition site. He gathered the flowers in his cactus woven cloak, and with her blessing, he went to the Bishop. After opening his cloak, the beautiful flowers which were not native to Mexico but Spain — and not in season during the frosty December weather — were at perfect bloom. The Bishop was astonished by the fragrance and sight of the flowers, when he suddenly noticed the miraculous Image of the Virgin who called herself in the native Nahuatl language, “Coatlaxopeuh,” which means “she who crushes the serpent.”Coatlaxopeuh is pronounced ”quatlasupe,” and sounds a lot like Guadalupe in Spanish.

crush-serpent

Within a few years around nine million natives converted to the Catholic faith after understanding the message of the miraculous image. The natives related to her because of her mestizo complexion, and the fact that she was clothed with the stars, standing in front of the sun, and on top of the moon, symbolized to them that there was something greater than their “gods” whom they worshiped in the stars, sun and moon. They also realized that with her posture, knee up, in a form of a dance which was the Aztec way to give praise, meant she was giving glory to someone else. But whom? The Virgin wore the Aztec maternity belt, which was custom to the culture, and was adorned with the Cross on her brooch around her neck. To the Aztecs this confirmed the Doctrine and teachings of the Spanish Missionaries – Jesus Christ. They then came to trust the Spanish Missionaries and converted. To this day, the original cloak with the image, even after multiple attempts by others to destroy it, is still intact in Mexico City at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It has been the subject of study, from scientists to professors all over the globe, and no explanation can be given nor can it be disproved, leading us to think there must be a supernatural cause behind it. She is now known as the Patron Saint of the Americas, leading the people hand in hand to her Most Glorious Son – The Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ promised us, “The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.” God uses the devil to defeat the devil, just as He did on the Cross. The mere victory of the “Ancient Serpent,” the death of Christ, was the defeat of the devil, the redemption of the world. God, who spoke the first word, will always get the last word.

Pax Christi.

Devil defeated by Angel

This article originally appeared on the author’s new blog Quis ut Deus?

John Caballero

John Caballero

John Caballero is a 27-year-old cradle Catholic living in Arizona. He is a new blogger, and a Door-2-Door evangelizer with his Parish. His passions consist of learning and studying the faith, which make him fall more in love with Christ and his Church everyday. The Mass and the Holy Eucharist are his driving force. He also enjoys collecting old vinyl records, jazz and soul, the outdoors, and all things manly. He hopes to hear these words someday, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

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15 thoughts on “Behold Thy Mother”

  1. Avatar

    Newly reverted back into the Catholic faith, a friend of mine once told me, “God wastes nothing!” I got really excited and asked her to repeat it. She said it again and I kept asking her to repeat it, again and again and again…seeping it in each time she said it. It reminded me of my reversion.

    I was on a pilgrimage in Medjugorje and in a church outside of the town the accompanying priest gave the following homily, “God exists outside of time. He knew that if he sent this only Son to us that we would murder Him. But He sent Him anyway because God transforms everything bad into good.” I sat there thinking about my life: the agony, sorrows, difficulties, traumas, wrong turns…I had left the church for 2 years. I looked up and thought, “Maybe God can transform my broken life into good.” Tears poured from my eyes and as I clutched my face I literally felt a veil lift from my eyes and even though I always knew that God existed it was like I believed it for the first time. I got scared because I realized that I was on the road to perdition. I was never the same. The choices I had made and the evil in my past seemed like another lifetime ago. God did exactly what I hoped and then some. God made all things new.
    It was the Blessed Mother who called me and led me to Jesus. I wondered what it was like to be the Aztec Indians? To be transformed by this “foreign” God who never forgot them and was drawing them closer to Him. Transforming evil into good. It is a miracle and unforgettable throughout time and outside of time. After all, who can forget Love?

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        I agree completely, JoyInTheLord! I love today’s Gospel where Jesus tells us, ““What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

        I think about how all of heaven must have been rejoicing at the moment of my conversion. And how there is no other place like home than the Catholic church. Thank you for your encouraging words. I hope to hear your story one day. God bless!

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      That was my fault as editor. This was a guest submission, and I wanted to publish this on the last day of the Month of the Holy Rosary. However, I tried to do more than I can appropriately handle yesterday and rushed it. Please accept my apologies, and help me encourage our new young writer.

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        You are wonderful. I was critical only to be helpful. Thank you. I probably make more mistakes than you and John put together. Please continue to help the flock.

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        I apologize Bill, and thank you for pointing that out. Since it was my first post, I was a bit nervous and it must have clouded my mind; hence the mistakes. God bless.

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        John and Stacy, I enjoyed the article by the way. The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is awesome. If only our country would have a similar conversion to the pro life cause.

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    Beautiful article, Juan! I never tire reading the story about Our Lady of Guadalupe which I came to know fairly recently – in 1994 when I came to Texas. Your exposition is wonderful and I wish our Protestant brethren would come to realize how much they are missing. I am praying for the unity of all Christians.

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      JoyInTheLord – Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for your kind comment. I, too, am fascinated with the story and the discoveries on the tilma of Our Lady; my favorite being the stars on her mantle coinciding with the night sky when she appeared. The “northern crown” constellation as her crown, as Queen. The “virgo,” in latin being virgin, on her heart for her pureness of heart. And “leo the lion” on her womb, representing Jesus as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Rev 5:5. Pretty cool eh? 🙂 God Bless!

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        Profesor Juan, isn’t there a reflection of some sort in the Blessed Mother’s eye when it was studied further? Also, isn’t the material made of a substance not from this world? I remember hearing about this, which is quite amazing.

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        My dearest Gianna,
        Yes, several images can be seen reflected in Our Lady’s eyes, which were studied a few times in the last century by various professionals; they believe it to be the image of St. Juan Diego, the Bishop, and the witnesses during the event. Other theories have also been brought forth. And I don’t think the “unknown substance” is regarding the cloak, since we know it to be made from threads of the maguey cactus; which is another miracle in itself because this fabric lasts 20-60 years, not 400+. I believe what was unknown, after several studies, was the type of “paint” used for the miraculous image, but I think this was best answered by Msgr. Monroy while Hillary Clinton visited the Basilica in 2009. After observing the image, she asked – “Who painted it?” Msgr. Monroy then answered, “God!”

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