Monday, January 14, 2013

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Amazing Facts

As a practicing Catholic, I think a lot about the birth of Christ during the Sacred Season.  This past season was no exception. The event never ceases to amaze me and the older I get the more amazed I am. The miracle is too enormous to put into thought or words.

It is during this most holy time that much attention is given to the Christ Child, the Blessed Mother and dear St. Joseph. Church pews are full and greetings of peace and good-will abound. 

This year, I devoted more thought to Our Lady. The story of the Annunciation and her "yes" is profound, to say the least.

I love the fact that there are many images of the Blessed Mother...Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Grace, Madonna of the Streets. She is beautiful in each one. But the most unique is Our Lady of Guadalupe.  What a wondrous story to read on Catholic Online.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered the patron saint of the Americas. Mexican Catholics have a particular attachment to this image. Due to a claim that her black girdle on the image indicates pregnancy, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under this title is popularly invoked as The Patroness of the Unborn and a common image for the Pro-Life movement.  

Miracles are associated with many images of the Blessed Mother. Healings, both physically and spiritually, are documented at Lourdes, Fatima & Medjugorje, to name a few. But the amazing facts associated with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe are simply astounding! May your faith be strengthened by what you read below:

Ophthalmalgic studies made on the eyes of Mary detected that when the eye is exposed to light, the retina contracts, and when the light is withdrawn, it returns to a dilated state, just as happens with a living eye.

The temperature of Juan Diego’s tilma, made of a material that comes from fibers of the maguey cactus, maintains a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees, the same as that of a living human body.

One of the doctors who analyzed the tilma placed his stethoscope below the black band at Mary’s waist, and heard rhythmic beats at 115 pulses per minute, the same as that of a baby in the maternal womb.

No sign of paint has been discovered on the tilma. From a distance of 3-4 inches from the image, one can see only the maguey cactus fibers of the material: the colors disappear. Scientific studies have not been able to discover the origin of the coloration, nor the way the image was painted. They cannot detect vestiges of brush strokes or any other known painting technique. NASA scientists confirm that the paint material does not belong to any known element on earth.

 When the material was examined under a laser ray, it was shown that there is no coloration on the front or the back of the cloth, and that the colors hover at a distance of 3/10th of a millimeter (1/100th of an inch) over the cloth, without touching it.
The colors actually float above the surface of the tilma.
                                                               Isn’t that amazing?
The rough material of the tilma has a lifespan of no more than 20-30 years. Several centuries ago, a replica of the image was painted on an identical piece of maguey cloth, and it disintegrated after several decades.
Nonetheless, during the almost 500 years of the miracle, the cloth with the image of Mary remains as strong as it was on the first day. Science cannot explain why the material has not disintegrated.
In the year 1791, muriatic acid accidentally spilled on the upper right side of the tilma. During the period of 30 days, without any special treatment, the affected fabric re-constituted itself miraculously.

The stars that appear on the Mantle of Mary reflect the exact configuration and positions that could be seen in the sky of Mexico on the day the miracle happened.
On the right side of the Virgin’s mantle, the southern constellations are indicated:At the top are four stars that form part of the Ophiuchus constellation.Below it to the left, one finds Libra, and to its right, at what seems an arrow point, is the beginning of Scorpio. In the middle are the constellations of Lupus and to its left, an end point of Hydra. Further down, one can clearly see the Southern Cross; above it appears the slightly inclined square of the Centaurus. 
On the left side of the Virgin’s mantle one sees the northern constellations: At her shoulder, a fragment of the stars of the Herdsman constellation; below it and to the left is the Great Bear. To its right is Berenice’s Hair; below it, Hunting Dogs, and to its left, the Thuban, which is the brightest star of the Draco constellation. Below the two parallel stars (which still form part of the Big Bear), one finds stars from another pair of constellations: the Auriga and at the bottom, three stars of Taurus.Thus, in their totality and proper places, the 46 most brilliant stars that can be seen on the horizon of the Valley of Mexico are identified.
In the year 1921, a man concealed a high power bomb in a flower arrangement, and placed it at the feet of the tilma. The explosion destroyed everything around it, except for the tilma, which remained intact.
Scientists discovered that the eyes of Mary have the three refractive characteristics of a human eye.
In the eyes of Mary (only about 1/3rd inch in size), minuscule human figures were discovered that no artist could have painted. The same scene is repeated in each eye.
Using digital technology, the images in the eyes were enlarged many times, revealing that each eye reflected the figure of the Indian Juan Diego opening his tilma in front of Bishop Zumarraga.
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