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Home » Blogs » kevin's blog » The Amazing and Miraculous Image

The Amazing and Miraculous Image

The Amazing and Miraculous Image

By: kevin

18 Jan 2013

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Bro. Peter Dimond: This is Bro. Peter Dimond, VaticanCatholic.com. I want to talk about the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It first appeared on December 12th, 1531. According to the account, an Indian named Juan Diego had been visited by the Virgin Mary numerous times, she told him to go to the bishop so that a chapel could be built, but the bishop did not believe Juan, the Bishop asked Juan to tell the Lady to give a sign as a proof that it was truly the Mother of God who had appeared, in response the Virgin told Juan to gather some roses in his tilma and present them to the bishop; as he did so the roses fell to the floor and the image of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted on his tilma. It still exists to this day, 479 years later and it can be visited in Mexico.

The first miraculous aspect of the image that I want to discuss concerns the lack of an under-sketch or an under-drawing. Infrared photography has demonstrated that there is no under-sketching or under-drawing on the image of Guadalupe, this is miraculous because as Dr. Philip Callahan a research biophysicist from the University of Florida explains “it is inconceivable that an artist in the 16th Century would paint a portrait without first doing a drawing on it”, making an under-sketch prior to painting a portrait goes back to antiquity, thus the fact that we have such an exquisite image with such precise details and features and that it appears on a rough cactus fiber is inexplicable when we consider that there is no under-sketch.

The next miraculous aspect of the image of Guadalupe that I want to discuss concerns it’s endurance, the tilma is made of a rough cactus fiber as I said, this kind of cloth normally disintegrates in 15 to 30 years, but the image of Guadalupe has now remained for 479 years with no fading or even hairline cracking of the face or the main image, that is miraculous. This is even more astonishing when we consider that the image was subject to candle smoke for many years, which would speed up the process of deterioration. Indeed, attempts to make imitation copies of the image of Guadalupe have failed; one famous example concerns a well-known anti-apparitionist named, José Ignacio Bartolache.

In order to try to disprove the miraculous nature of the image he had an exact copy made on the same burlap type material and he hung it with great fanfare in the chapel built on the site of Our Lady’s final appearance but after seven short years the painting was so unsightly and discolored that on June 8, 1796 it was quietly moved to the sacristy, that’s quoted in Brother Herbert Leies’, Mother for a New World, Our Lady of Guadalupe, page 394. That means that attempts to reproduce the image have failed miserably.

Concerning the miraculous endurance of the image, the following quote is of interest; I mentioned Dr. Philip Callahan earlier, he points out that “the mantle is of a dark turquoise blue, this presents an inexplicable phenomenon because all such pigments are known to be subject to considerable fading with time especially in hot climates, the Indian Mayan blue wall paintings are already badly faded, the blue mantle on the tilma of Guadalupe however is bright enough to have been laid last week.” So the colors are miraculously fresh and bright.

There is also the amazing fact that in 1778, a considerable amount of nitric acid was spilled on the image of Guadalupe, the workman fled in terror expecting to have seriously damaged his country's most treasured possession but to everyone's astonishment only slight stains appeared, which can still be seen in the upper right corner that is quoted in Janet Barber ‘The Tilma and Its Miraculous Image’ a handbook on Guadalupe, pages 61 to 62. There is also the fact that in 1921 a bomb was concealed in some flowers that were placed on the altar under the image of Guadalupe, the bomb went off and severely damaged a crucifix, but the glass that contains the image of Guadalupe miraculously was not even damaged.

The next aspect of the miraculous image that I want to discuss concerns the stars; some people have concluded that the stars as well as the sunburst and the moon are add-ons and that the original image was simpler. Dr. Philip Callahan is one of those who holds this idea, he still believes that the image is miraculous but that the original image was simpler. I believe he is incorrect on this point for two reasons, first it was discovered in 1983 by Dr. Juan Homero Hernandez and Fr. Mario Rojas Sánchez that the stars on the image correspond precisely to the constellations of the winter sky on December 12th, 1531; and what is so fascinating is that the constellations are shown as viewed from outside the heavens, in other words in reverse. It is as if we have a picture from someone looking at it from outside the universe, it is a snapshot of heaven and earth from the very moment that Juan Diego saw Our Lady, it becomes even more striking when we consider that the flowers on Our Lady’s tunic correspond to the volcanoes in Mexico, this is discussed in detail on page 77 of a handbook on Guadalupe published by the Academy of the Immaculate.

In other words the interior portion of the miraculous image which is multifaceted in its manner of instructing and awing represents the earth, and the turquoise mantle on the outside featuring the miraculous stars representing the constellations, represents the heavens; it is the picture of the encounter between heaven and earth when Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego on December 12th, 1531 and captured miraculously and still present on the cactus fiber almost 500 years later. But what’s even more amazing is that the stars appear only on the mantle of the image and not on the tunic and as I said the stars that appear correspond to the constellations in the sky on the day of December 12th, 1531, but as people superimposed the image of Our Lady to the sky of that day and fill in the stars for where they would have appeared if her tunic had been filled with stars, the miracle becomes even more stupendous because the constellation Corona Borealis meaning Borean crown representing a crown would appear right between Our Lady’s temples, that signifies that Mary has a crown and that she is the Queen of heaven.

The constellation Virgo signifying virginal purity would appear over the area of her heart signifying her immaculate and virginal heart and the constellation Leo the lion would be over her womb, the lion represents Jesus Christ, because Christ is the lion of the tribe of Judah. This signifies that Christ the King is present in her womb and there is even more, all of this shows the divine and indeed infinite intelligence behind this miraculous production. In addition to all of these facts, the second reason I believe Callahan is wrong to think that the stars are add-on’s is that he says the stars were added in the 17th Century, however we know this is not true because there is a copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from 1570 that was used at Lepanto and it corresponds precisely to the image that we have now, that means that if the stars were added on they must have been added between 1531 and 1570, which is highly unlikely.

In addition, there is a famous picture of the image from the Codex Seville, this dates to perhaps just a few years after Our Lady’s appearance in 1531 and this picture shows the sunburst and corresponds greatly to the image that we have now, all of this supports that the stars and the sunburst and the moon were part of the original image. Some are puzzled by the fact that while the face does not even show a hairline crack or a fade, the sunburst the stars and the moon show some evidence of flaking and I have an opinion about this and I believe it fits with what we learned in Sacred Scripture concerning the stars and the sun and the moon; we are told in Luke 21:33 that “heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass”, hence it makes sense that we would see evidence of the stars in the image and the moon in the sunburst fading because in reality the heavens shall pass away, but the Virgin herself and the primary image surrounding her and her face are incorruptible because she will shine forever in heaven, that could be why we see evidence of fading in the stars, etc. but not on the Virgin’s features.

The next miraculous feature that I want to discuss which might be the most miraculous feature of all concerns the eyes of the image; it is a fact that the image of a bearded man has been discovered in the eyes of the Virgin. It was first discovered in 1929 and then again in 1951 and it was subsequently confirmed by modern science and intense investigation, the image of the bearded man with a full head of hair corresponds to pictures of Juan Diego the Indian who originally saw Our Lady; in other words the image of Juan Diego is microscopically captured in the Virgin’s eye, of course no human painter could have ever conceived the need to put microscopic images of Juan Diego in the eyes of the Virgin so that they would later be discovered by the advances in modern science and it is simply impossible for any human painter to have pulled it off because the images are simply too small to paint.

In the presence of these images in the eyes, is all the more amazing because the images correspond exactly to what happens in a human eye when it sees something. Jody Brant Smith who studied the image of Guadalupe along with Dr. Callahan is a non-Catholic, he explains “before I could understand the importance of his discovery I needed to learn something about the physiology of the human eye, in particular what is called the Purkinje-Sanson principle in its simplest form the Purkinje-Sanson law states that whenever we see any object, the object is reflected in each eye not once but in three different places, this threefold reflection is caused by the curvature of the eye’s cornea, two of the reflections are always right side up and one is always upside down” that’s quoted in Thomas Sennott's book, Not Made By Hands, page 58.

The reflections of Juan Diego in the Virgin’s eye correspond precisely to the Purkinje-Sanson law, multiple reflections are found exactly as they would be found in a human eye that sees a person, in fact the Purkinje-Sanson law shows that when a human being sees something, because of the differing angles of the curvature of the cornea the various reflected images are apparently distorted in a varying degree and in the images within the eye of the Virgin of Guadalupe “there is a perfect collocation in agreement with this principle, the distortion of the figures even concurring with the predicted curvature of the cornea” that is to say the images appear exactly as we would expect them to appear in a human eye, that means that what we have in the image of Guadalupe still fresh today on the rough cactus fiber is the visual reproduction of that heavenly encounter in 1531 and this is true on many levels, not only does the image miraculously capture what Juan Diego saw, it captures his vision of the Virgin and the meeting of heaven and earth with the stars as they appeared in the heavens on that day, but also in the microscopic recesses of the Virgin’s eye, this unspeakably amazing image captures exactly what the Virgin saw just as it would have been captured in your eye if you saw another person in your room.

And there is even more “in 1981 Dr. Jose Tonsmann a systems engineer electrified lovers of Mary of Guadalupe by announcing that his computerized blowups of photos of her eyes have revealed microscopically small figures which he suggests could be bishop-elect Zumárraga, Juan Diego, the interpreter Juan Gonzalez, a black woman, an Indian family, a small child and a man, in other words this computer engineer when he blew up the image of the eye many times discovered the presence of essentially a whole room of individuals captured within the eye of the Virgin.

Dr. Jorge Escalante Padilla a surgical ophthalmologist considers these reflections to belong to the type which have been described by Cherney on the back surface of the cornea and by Watt & Hess at the center of the lens, such reflections are very difficult to detect. Dr. Escalante has also reported the discovery of small veins on both of the eyelids of the image. In the 1970s, a Japanese optician who was examining the eyes fainted, when he recovered he said that “the eyes were alive and looking at him” quoted in Janet Barber Latest Scientific Findings on the Images in the Eyes, a handbook on Guadalupe, page 90.

So this Japanese optician fainted because he thought that the eyes were human and looking at him, we have numerous people captured microscopically in the recesses of the image of the eye this is undeniable proof that the image is miraculous. Only God could have done this. Moreover, ophthalmologists have testified that “even though they are opaque, both eyes in the image show depth and become filled with light when the optimal scope’s light is trained into them, they have asserted that it would be impossible to produce with paint such perfectly placed reflections in eyes offering so little space with the Virgin looking down and on such rough material as the tilma” that’s from the same source just quoted.

The scientific findings about the eyes of the image leave no doubt that the image is of divine origin and it was created by God to leave the world with a priceless gift, a picture of that encounter of the Mother of God with Juan Diego.

The next miraculous aspect that I want to discuss concerns the face of Our Lady. It is remarkable that at one distance Our Lady appears to be a Native American, but at another distance she appears to be of lighter skin and in fact of European descent, this miraculous feature is meant to show the unity of the two people who were then coming together as one in the true faith of Christ, in the New Nation that had just uprooted the diabolical Aztec culture.

In fact, Dr. Philip Callahan explains that the image achieves this effect of appearing to be different colors at different distances only by a miraculous feature that we see in nature he says, “at a distance of six or seven feet the skin tone becomes what might best be termed Indian olive, grey green in tone, it appears somehow the grey and caked looking white pigment of the face and the hands combines with the rough surface of the un-sized hue, such a technique would be an impossible accomplishment in human hands, it often occurs in nature however, in the coloring of the bird feathers and butterfly scales and on the elytra of brightly colored beetles” So what he is saying is that this miraculous feature of a change in the color at different distances is something that we see in nature on beetles and in bird feathers and on butterfly scales and that it occurs on the tilma in a miraculous way, the pigment combines with the rough surface of the cloth to give it a different affect yet it is still beautiful and delicate at every distance, this is simply a miracle and no human artist could have ever accomplished this effect, it was fashioned by God just as the butterfly scales are.

The next miraculous feature that I want to mention concerns the temperature. It is remarkable that no matter what the surrounding temperature is the image itself remains at an even 36.5°C or 98.6°F, the normal human body temperature, that’s quoted in Janet Barber, The Tilma and Its Miraculous Image. As a result of the miraculous image eight to nine million people were baptized into the Catholic faith in the years following her appearance in 1531. It is also worth mentioning that Martin Luther who by his rebellion against the Catholic Church and his creation of a new kind of false Christianity spawned countless sects which tore five million people from the Catholic Church. He was born in 1483, Hernan Cortes was born two years later in 1485. Hernan Cortes was the man who overthrew the Aztec Empire making the miraculous conversion of the millions which was facilitated by the image of Guadalupe, possible.

The most significant events in Luther's life were occurring at about the exact same time that Hernan Cortes was accomplishing the overthrow of the Aztec Empire. It is almost as if at the very moment that millions in Europe were being torn from the true church God was arranging it so that twice as many in the New World were being brought into it. The image of Guadalupe is one of the most prodigious miracles in human history, perhaps God gave it to Mexico because the Aztec empire was arguably the most wicked culture in human history, he wanted to counteract that level of evil with something of even greater good. The image testifies to the truth of the Catholic faith because in her message Our Lady directed people to the Bishop of the Catholic Church at the time in the traditional Catholic faith, let those who seek the truth and those who love the truth and those who love the Christ embrace this message in the one true faith of Jesus Christ, the Catholic faith.

Another miraculous aspect of the image of Guadalupe concerns the reading of the image “the Indians saw something in the image of Our Lady that the Spaniards did not comprehend, in that period the Indians did their writing in hieroglyphics so to them the image was a hieroglyphic letter, the fact that the natives read the image is most important in understanding the purpose of Our Lady’s apparitions. To the Indians the image depicted a beautiful lady standing in front of the sun, a sign to them that she was greater than the sun god Huitzilopochtli whom they worshiped; the crescent or the moon beneath her feet showed that their moon god Tezcatlipoca was less than nothing since she was standing on it; the stars they thought so much of were only a part or portion of her mantle. At her throat was a brooch with a small black cross in the center reminding them that this was the emblem of the Spanish Friars and there was one greater than she” It comes from Father Harold Romm, Am I Not Here, page 56; as we can see, the intelligence that constructed the miraculous image of Guadalupe, that conveyed exactly the message that the Indians needed to hear and to see to bury their false notions of God and their idolatrous practices is infinite and beyond anything humans can imagine, reading the image caused millions of Indians to put away their idols and convert to the Catholic faith.