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Catholicism and Mexican cultur

The Virgin Mary plays a very important role in the faith of the Catholic Church as the mediator between the faithful and her son Jesus, therefore the supreme mediator between God and us. It is good to make it clear from the beginning that the cult of Mary in the church is a figure that is venerated and not worshipped. God alone is worshipped while she is the one who leads the faithful towards God’s son. Mary’s mediation is not the same as that of her son’s who is the only mediator between God and his people.

The Second Vatican Council once exhorted the Catholic Church to promote the piety of the faithful and their veneration of the Mother of God, which had taken on many forms according to circumstances of time and place, the different sensibilities of peoples and their different cultural traditions. This shows the need for the local churches to clarify and to promote a genuine creative activity and at the same time to proceed to a careful revision of expressions and exercises of piety directed towards the Blessed Virgin. 1. History of our lady of Guadalupe

“During the feast of the Immaculate Conception of 9th December 1531, Juan Diego, a recent Indian convert to the Catholic faith, was walking to attend the early morning Mass in Mexico City. Passing by Tepeyac Hill he heard the beautiful singing of birds, seemingly from heaven. Looking to see where the celestial music was coming from, he suddenly heard a young woman’s voice affectionately calling his name, “Juanito. ” Reaching the top of the hill, he saw a radiant woman clothed in splendid light – the Ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God. She told Juan that she desired him to be her special messenger to the Bishop of Mexico City.

Juan was to tell the bishop that Our Lady wanted a church to be built where she could manifest her Son and hear the petitions of her spiritual children. After being put off by the bishop’s servants, Juan was finally granted an audience with Franciscan Bishop Fray Juan Zumarraga. The bishop didn’t initially believe Juan Diego and asked him to return another day. Secretly, the bishop had been invoking the intercession of the Mother of God for help. The Spaniards had recently conquered the native Aztec people and were treating them harshly. Very few were willing to abandon their pagan gods and embrace the religion of their new dictators.

All of this weighed heavy on the heart of Bishop Zumarraga, whom history now knows as the “Protector of the Native People. ” He wondered if Juan Diego’s story was the answer to his prayers. Dejected, Juan returned to Tepeyac and asked Our Lady to use someone else more worthy than himself. She assured him that he was personally chosen to be her ambassador. The next day he returned to plead with the bishop. Though impressed by Juan’s persistence, he was still unsure. He sent Juan to tell the Lady he needed a sign in order to know if it was truly her.

Upon hearing the bishop’s request, Our Lady told Juan to return the next day and she would give him the sign he needed. Returning home, Juan found his uncle ill and close to death. Instead of returning the next day, Juan stayed home and took care of his ailing uncle. Early on December 12th, Juan rushed to Mexico City in order to get a priest to administer the last rites to his dying uncle. On his way he went around the back of Tepeyac Hill in order to avoid Our Lady whom he knew would surely understand. But Our Lady met him anyway telling him not to worry, because his uncle was already healed.

He was to learn later that at that moment Our Lady had appeared to his uncle, who was restored to health. She urged Juan to go to the top of the hill where he would find flowers miraculously growing. Juan was astonished to see so many vibrant flowers during the frosty time of the year. He cut them and gathered them in his tilma (cloak). Our Lady arranged the flowers with her own hands, rolled up the tilma and ordered Juan not to unfurl his tilma until he was in the presence of the bishop. After being harassed by the bishop’s servants, Juan was finally brought in to see him.

After recounting every detail of his conversation with Our Lady, he let down his tilma and the flowers fell to the floor. Juan was surprised when everyone in the room also fell to the floor on their knees. The image of Our Lady had miraculously appeared on Juan’s tilma! Repenting for his unbelief with abundant tears, Bishop Juan Zumarraga promised to build the shrine that Our Lady had requested. Soon the church was built and the holy image transferred. The story spread like wildfire and people began to stream in to see the heavenly image and hear the story from Juan Diego.

Many miracles started happening and in the following years some 10 million people were baptized and converted to the Jesus Christ! Pope John Paul II declared Blessed Juan Diego the greatest evangelist of all times. ” The feast day of our lady of Guadalupe and its importance in Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a celebrated 16th-century icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. The image, also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe represents a famous Marian apparition. According to the traditional account, the image appeared miraculously on the back of a simple peasant cloak.

It is perhaps Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image, and the focus of an extensive Christian pilgrimage. The feast day of our lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th annually. OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE: A LITTLE DISCOURSE Nothing is accidental with God, so it is not mere coincidence that the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which falls on December 12 in the United States, is within the Octave of the Feast of The Immaculate Conception, December 8 and following. But the significance of the titles she gave includes the close connection between two apparitions that were 327 years apart.

In both Mary’s Motherhood is proclaimed. At Guadalupe she came as “Mother”, Mother of the poor, the Mother of Sorrows and the Mother of God, as depicted in her garments, which to the Indian natives of Mexico were evidence of her approaching time at Bethlehem. At Lourdes, Mary’s Divine maternity is enshrined in her Immaculate Conception, God’s great work and miracle, the Mother of God and of the Church, who was conceived without Original Sin, who bears the Savior of Mankind. The name Guadalupe is roughly translated as the “savior from the devil.

” In truth both apparitions are Apocalyptic, for Our Lady is the Woman with the Twelve Stars who will crush the seed of Satan. DESCRIPTION OF THE EVENT AT THE BASILICA IN MEXICO CITY The event of our lady of Guadalupe was brought into the Mexican culture as an aspect of the traditions of the indigenous people of Mexican. At first it was difficult to accept it as part of the catholic faith among the Mexican people. It was also considered as a goddess of the indigenous people but with time and by the help of Franciscan missionaries and Jesuits this figure got its place in the faith of the Mexicans.

That is from a belief of the indigenous people to the faith of the Mexicans and Latin Americans. An image of this was carried on the first formal expedition to the Philippine Islands. Benedict XIV in 1754 approved the patronage of New Spain and granted a Mass in regards to celebration of the feast. 1945 Pious XII stated that the Virgin of Guadalupe was the “Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas”. CF. http://www. sancta. org/table. html 3. The relation of our lady of Guadalupe to mestiza culture and Mexican identity

Guadalupe is often considered a mixture of the cultures which blend to form Mexico, both racially and religiously. Guadalupe is sometimes called the “first mestiza” or “the first Mexican”. “One theory is that the Virgin of Guadalupe was presented to the Aztec a sort of “Christianised” Tonantzin, Necessary for the clergymen to convert the Indians to their Faith. As Jacques Lafaye wrote in Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe, that just as the Christians built their first churches with the rubble and the columns of the ancient pagan temples, so they often borrowed pagan customs for their own cult Purposes.

” An alternate view is that Guadalupe-Tonantzin gave the Native Americans a hidden method to continue worshipping their own goddess in a Christianized form; similar patterns of syncretic worship can be seen throughout the Catholic Americas (e. g. Vodou, Santeria). Guadalupan religious syncretism is both lauded and disparaged as demonic. Some theologians also associate the Virgin of Guadalupe with a special relationship between the indigenous peoples of the American continents and the Catholic Church.

The author Judy King comments that Guadalupe is a “common denominator” uniting Mexicans and that its composed of a vast patchwork of different class, ethic and linguistic. In her writing she also says of the Virgin of Guadalupe as the rubber band that binds the nation. The sentiment is also echoed by some celebrants in a New York Times during one of the feast day, saying that “we are more Guadalupanos than Mexican, since our Lady Guadalupe is our symbol and that we identify more with her The origin of the name “Guadalupe” is controversial. According to a sixteenth-century

report the Virgin identified herself as Guadalupe when she appeared to Juan Diego. It has also been suggested that “Guadalupe” is a corruption of a Nahuatl name “Coatlaxopeuh”, which has been translated as “Who Crushes the Serpent. In this interpretation, the serpent referred to is Quetzalcoatl, one of the chief Aztec gods, whom the Virgin Mary “crushed” by inspiring the conversion of indigenous people to Catholicism. However, many historians believe that the 1533 Guadalupan shrine was dedicated to the Spanish Lady of Guadalupe in Extremadura—not to the Mexican Virgin venerated today.

Thus, while the name “Guadalupe” would have had certain connotations to Nahuatl speakers, as noted above, its ultimate origins would be the Arabic-Latin term. 4. The role of our lady of Guadalupe as a symbol of mexico and in the catholic church. “The Virgin of Guadalupe has symbolized the Mexican nation since Mexico’s War of Independence. Rebel armies waged war underneath Guadalupan flags, and Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe(our lady of guadalupe) is generally recognized as a symbol of all Mexicans.

Guadalupe’s first major use as a nationalistic symbol was in the writing of Miguel Sanchez, who authored the first Spanish language apparition account. Sanchez identified Guadalupe as Revelation’s Woman of the Apocalypse, and said that the new world has been won and conquered by the hand of the Virgin Mary. The leaders of the independence struggle often put fanaticism to use by proclaiming the famous Virgin of Guadalupe as the queen of the patriots, praying to her in times of hardship and displaying her on their flag, The veneration for this image in Mexico far exceeds the greatest reverence that the shrewdest prophet might inspire.

Now and then we encounter a symbol that seems to embody the major hopes and aspirations of an entire society. Such a master symbol is Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patroness–and Empress of the Americas. The veneration accorded Our Lady of Guadalupe at first commingled with and was influenced by the earlier pagan worship of over those early years. It seems to be a satanic device to mask idolatry. Several Spanish friars attest to this the evolution of the Guadalupe symbol took on functional aspects in relation to the major social relationships of Mexican society.

Primary among these relations are the ties of kinship and the emotions arising in the interplay of relationships within families. Wolf suggested that some of the meanings of the Virgin symbol in general and the Guadalupe symbol in particular derive from these emotions. The word “derive” as used rather than “originate” because the form and formation of the family in any given society are themselves determined by other social factors e. g. economy, residence, political power or technology.

The family is one relay in the circuit within which symbols are generated in complex societies. The symbolism is further extended by that struggle. Successful rebellion against power figures is equated with the promise of life; defeat is equated with the promise of death. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a symbol for health, hope and life. To the Indians, the symbol is more than an embodiment of life and hope. It restores to them the hopes of salvation. The symbol of Our Lady of Guadalupe links together family, religion and politics.

It also reflects the salient social relationships of Mexican life, and embodies the emotions generated. It provides a cultural idiom through which the import and emotions of these relationships can be expressed. Ultimately the Guadalupe symbol is a way of talking about Mexico, a “collective representation” of Mexican society. The Son, through whom all things have their being (302) and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, (303) is rightly known, loved and glorified and that all His commands are observed. ” Conclusion

The virgin Mary of Guadalupe has a very special place in the hearts of the Latinos and especially for the Mexicans it is a sign of belonging to Mexico and to be Latino they have a very strong devotion to the virgin Mary and to be a Mexican without being attached to the virgin Mary is not acceptable. Mary in the catholic faith is not worshiped but venerated. Therefore Our Lady of Guadalupe should not be the center of the Latin Americans faith and so the believers should be careful that she does not take the place of Jesus who is the center and the summit of the catholic faith.

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