REVELATION...Our Lady of Guadalupe is by far my favorite work of Art... The holy expression of faith created from a state of grace is to me the most beautiful of all art. That is the art of the Catholic Church.
As a Catholic, I find myself at times bombarded with shallow anti-Catholic theories disguised as intellect about our art. Perhaps the hardest to take is the negative commentary about the portrait of Our Lady Of Guadalupe.
The original displayed in Mexico City is my favorite painting.
The story of Our Lady Of Guadalupe is hardly known by non-Catholics in the working circles I travel in. So let me give you a brief history of the painting’s miracle.
In early December 1531 on Tepeyac hill a few miles from Mexico City, Juan Diego, a peasant in his 50s, was on a long walk to daily Mass when a beautiful lady appeared to him. She introduced herself as the Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God.
She instructed Juan Diego to go to the Bishop of Mexico and say that she requests a basilica to be built in her name on the spot of the meeting.
After the Bishop had heard this apparently preposterous story of the vision and the Virgin’s request, Juan returned to Mary to tell her he needed son kind of proof of their meeting.
The Virgin Mary then caused beautiful Castilian roses to spring from the desert’s barren hillside in the dead of winter. She helped Juan pick the roses and gather them in his tilma.
She personally arranged them for him and told Juan to take them to the bishop as proof of the miracle.
He carried the roses back to the bishop and, with others present, un folded the roses from the tilma; underneath the roses, painted on his garment was the full-length portrait of Mary, Our Lady Of Guadalupe. Everyone fell to their knees.
It is this same portrait that can be seen today at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. S masterpiece on a tilma made of maguey cactus fibres.
A tilma is a traditional blanket worn like a serape, and the cheapest of these at the time were made of cactus fibre. Juan’s tilma was made of two straight pieces sewn together and if the image of Mary’s face hadn’t been tilted the seam would have disfigured it.
The cloth is a supernatural miracle in itself, since it is made of vegetable fibre which ordinarily would disintegrate in between six to 20 years.