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Monday, December 12, 2005

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for Catholics. To millions of Mexicans and people making pilgrimmages to a certain place there, this is a day of recognizing the sanctity of human life, especially the newborn and unborn.

Why? Because 474 years ago, child sacrifice was regularly practiced by the Aztecs in Mexico out of fear that the gods were against them and that this would appease them.

Catholics believe that Mary, the Mother of God, physically appeared in 1531 to a Mexican Indian named Juan Diego, and left her image--pregnant with child--in brilliant colors on his tilma, a cloak made of cheap cactus-cloth. Just a tiny corner piece of the Lady's garment image can be seen in that last link; I've seen this relic personally.

Here the story is told in Spanish.

I know it doesn't look like she's terribly pregnant in the photo of the actual image, but "the black band under her hands symbolizes pregnancy." It's actually a black band about the image's waist, an Aztec sign of pregnancy.

Within about a decade of this appearance of Mary, Mexico experienced an enormous conversion to Christianity and the child sacrifices ended.

As a result, Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered by Catholics to be the Patroness of the Unborn and of the Americas. The tilma should have disintegrated to nothing in a couple of decades. Not only does it show no decay 474 years later, its brilliant colors remain as vivid as the day the image first appeared and none of this has been scientifically explained.

Also in the image on the tilma, in the Lady's eyes are mirrored reflections of four of the people who were in the room when the image was first seen by the local Bishop and his priests. Don't take my word for it: from 1956 through 1979, six different doctors of ophthalmology examined this mirroring, called "Purkinje-Sanson images," using direct examination and infra-red and other digitized image processing photos, concluding that "the original image is unexplainable as a human work."

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