Saturday, December 12, 2009

La Guadalupana

La Virgen de Guadalupe a National Symbol

The key figure in acceptance of the Catholic religion by the indigenous peoples of Mexico was the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose story goes back to 1531, just twelve years after Hernan Cortes first set foot on Mexican soil. On December 12, 1531, as the story goes, a poor Indian named Juan Diego was walking along in a desolate area north of Mexico City, seeking water for his uncle. Suddenly, on a hillside, he saw a vision of a beautiful woman, who directed him to a spring of fresh, cool water. A few days later, in the same spot, the vision appeared again to Juan Diego. This time, she instructed him to go to Mexico City to tell the high church officials to build a church in her name on that site. Of course, the ecclesiastical officials did not believe the poor Indian. Why would the Virgin Mary appear to someone so lowly? They asked for proof. When Juan Diego returned to the hillside and the Virgin appeared again, he asked her for a sign. Suddenly he saw some beautiful red roses, even though roses do not normally bloom in that area in December. He gathered them into his rough Indian tilma (blanket) and took them to Mexico City. When he opened his tilma for the high church officials, they fell to their knees in veneration and amazement. There, imprinted on the humble Indian blanket of Juan Diego, was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, exactly as Juan Diego had seen her. It is said that the image is so perfect in detail that one sees in the pupil of the Virgin's eye the image of Juan Diego.

Today, thousands of devout Catholics make pilgrimages each year to the huge Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, in the northern part of Mexico City, to view from a discrete distance the image of the Virgin imprinted on Juan Diego's blanket and to worship with Catholics from around the world. Pilgrims may also worship at a small shrine on the very hillside where Juan Diego first saw the vision.

Rich and poor alike venerate the Virgin of Guadalupe. One can see her image in small shrines in humble homes in the most remote villages. Her image can also be found in virtually every cathedral and church in Mexico, as well as in parochial schools, businesses, markets, buses, taxis, and many homes. December 12, the day of Virgin of Guadalupe, is an official national holiday, observed with pilgrimages, processions, special masses, fiestas, and Indian dances in front of some churches. In a sense, the Virgin of Guadalupe represents the essence of Mexico, the fusion of two cultures, Catholic Spain and indigenous Mexico.

Watching "Las maƱanitas a la Virgen" in Univision I couldn't help but be amazed and mesmerized at how us Mexicans deposit so much faith in our Virge of Guadalupe. It was said that at the Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City 90,000 people passed in front of her altar per hour. On this day more than a million people make heir way to the shrine and to her. "La Morenita" as she is called by many is our liaison to get our petitions to her son Jesus Christ.

Ever since I was a little kid I have been faithful to her and have asked her for too many favors, luckily for me she never gets tired of listening. Today is a special day indeed.

Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!



Elena said...

Bonito blog el tuyo Fide, efectivamente, hoy es el dia especial en que honramos a nuestra madre la Virgen de Guadalupe y le damos gracias por tantos favores concedidos en nombre de su Hijo Jesucristo y la visitamos en el Templo del Senor. La misa sera a la 1:30 pm. llega lo menos media hora antes si no no entras.
I love you.

Nikki said...

shes so awesome that even juan has a tattoo of her! Go Juan!

And Ducky seemed to learn her name as Mama Mary lol... -shrug-

Anonymous said...

This was my first year in several that I didn't attend services with my daughter and her mother in law. Two years resulted in outrageous behavior from our Izabella.. The first; She advised me loud enough for all to hear she would Kick my ass (Izzy was 2).. The second year - at dinner, after listening to her father on the phone and NOT being able to bring him to her side of the issue, simply hung up on him and returned the phone to her mother without comment. She was three then. I also love the traditions of the day. All of her visits to us have been to teach and to warn. Thank you for your post.

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