Our Lady of Guadalupe: Protectress of the Unborn, Patroness of Life
One of the biggest controversies raging in the Philippines today is the proposed Reproductive Health (RH) bill. It has divided many Filipinos and institutions. It has kindled a brewing conflict between the Church and the State, fanned the fire of hostility between pro-life and pro-choice organizations, and has caused heated arguments among legislators on opposing sides of the bill. It has sown strong disagreements and animosity even among Catholics themselves, giving rise to distasteful public acts such as the interruption of sacred rites by placard-bearing fanatics.
It is said that once the RH bill is approved in this predominantly Catholic nation, DEATH will eventually follow: Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total population control and Homosexual unions. DEATH becomes imminent if the RH Bill gets approved.
A Demonic Religion
During ancient times, many primitive tribes have practiced human sacrifices and cannibalism. None has ever approached the scale of these practices in terms of scope and brutality, as that of the Aztecs in the New World.
Since 1325, the New World had been under the rule of the Aztecs. When Hernando Cortes and his men, the Spanish conquistadores, landed in what is now known as Mexico in 1519, they found the Aztecs, though advanced in terms of arts and architecture, deep in a culture dedicated to demonic spirits, idolatry and human sacrifices.
No one will ever know how many lives were sacrificed to their gods but the Aztec law required a thousand sacrifices in each of the 371 subject towns every year. Victims were of any age. Historians have estimated that one out of every five children was sacrificed. Blood of infants was often spilled to appease their blood-thirsty gods.
How Human Sacrifices were Carried Out
The victim, whether adult or infant, was killed by opening the chest. The heart was extracted and raised in offering to whoever god was being appeased, usually the god of war or the god of harvest. With the victim’s blood gushing profusely to the ground, fire is then lit inside the empty chest cavity and from that flame the Aztecs light a bonfire as they continue their rituals with pagan chanting and dancing around the brutalized corpse.
It was this diabolical religious culture that the Spanish conquistadores had to overcome in order to introduce Christianity to the inhabitants. It was not easy and the unspeakable violent fighting resulted in much loss of lives and property on both sides. But slowly the seeds of Christianity began to take root and grow.
By the time Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of God, appeared to an Indian peasant named Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico in 1531, there were already many natives who had been converted and baptized, although primitive rituals and human sacrifices still continued in some areas in the outskirts of the city. Juan Diego, his wife and uncle were among those converted to Christianity.
Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Pregnant Mother of God
In her apparition at Tepeyac Hill, the Mother of God reveals herself as the Patroness of Life and the Protectress of the Unborn. She must have chosen to manifest herself this way because of the countless victims, especially babies, killed as human sacrifices.
In her image which she left miraculously painted or stamped on Juan Diego’s tilma (a shawl-like cape), she is represented “with child.” Her pregnancy is recognizable by the high position of her sash, the slight swelling of her abdomen visible to the right of the sash, and a flower with four petals over her womb.
About to Give Birth
It was first believed that Mary was on her first trimester but analyses done much later by a leading obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Fernando Fernandez del Castillo, suggest that she is close to giving birth. Dr. Fernandez believes that the Infant is resting vertically, head down (normal fetal position inside the womb) and that the “four-petaled flower – symbolizing life – lies directly over the left shoulder of the Infant which is the place where the heartbeat is best heard.”
On the Virgin’s tunic, there are 57 flowers and 13 buds but the four-petaled flower over her womb is the only one of such design. This unique flower, according the natives, is the symbol of the Sun of the New Era who will liberate the Indians from the Aztecs. This is similar to the Sun of Justice announced in Malachi, the last Book of the Old Testament.
Our Lady of Guadalupe's Self Portrait
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the only self-portrait of Mary. There is no evidence that any mortal being ever painted or drew her picture on the tilma of Juan Diego. In fact, evidence shows that no one on earth could have made it.
As far as history can establish and science can investigate, it was Mary who gave her marvelous self-portrait which she painted or stamped on the tilma.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pro-life and Patroness of the Unborn
Of all the many apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout the centuries, this apparition of our Lady of Guadalupe is the only one wherein she appears as a pregnant mother. She holds within her womb the unborn Christ, proclaiming the sanctity and blessedness of life within the womb. Her reverence and mercy communicate to us the tenderness and awe with which we must approach each nascent life – life that has just began to develop.
Rejection of Human Life is the Rejection of Christ
The Child mentioned in the Apocalypse is also the symbol of every child especially every hopeless baby whose life is being threatened. Pope John Paul II says that rejection of human life is the rejection of Christ. He said that our modern society is a “culture of death.”
Are we any different from the ancient Aztecs? Today, in the third millennium, society sacrifices our young and old at demonic altars, bringing them to destruction through abortion and abortifacients, sex education, prostitution, pornography, infanticide and euthanasia. Abortifacients are certain contraceptive pills and contraceptive devices that render the womb unfit for implantation of the fertilized embryo thus causing its life to be aborted.
The miraculous image of Mary, carrying within her womb the unborn Jesus, shows us poignantly that the child is the heart of the family and the family is the foundation upon which a peaceful society is built. This is the reason why many pro-life organizations have Mary, our Lady of Guadalupe as their intercessor in their mission. Organizations such as Human Life International (HLI), the biggest known pro-life organization whose headquarters is in the United States but serves around 100 nations worldwide, have acknowledged the power of her intercession.
According to Fr. Paul Marx of HLI, they have stood firm against a vast array of anti-life organizations, imperialistic governments and literally billions of dollars, yet they continue to flourish. They have rescued countless children from slaughter. The International Planned Parenthood Federation, the world’s largest promoter of abortion, contraception and sterilization has named HLI as “enemy number one.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe of Guadalupe has extinguished human sacrifice in the Aztec world of the sixteenth century, standing for life and offering abundant new life won by the self-sacrifice of her Son. She is always ready to help us if we pray to her urgently and persistently to end the sacrifice of millions of babies in our own world today.
An interesting historical note: at the time the evangelization of Mexico was spreading in the early 16th century, the same was happening in the Philippines. Hernando Cortes arrived in Mexico in 1519 while Ferdinand Magellan and his fleet landed in the Philippines in 1521, two years later. In 1531 – twelve years after Cortes landed in Mexico and ten years after Magellan discovered the Philippines – the Blessed Virgin Mary, manifesting herself as pregnant with Our Lord Jesus Christ, appeared to an Indian peasant in Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. There were already conversions to Christianity by then but after the Mexican Indians learned about the miracle of our Lady, there were nine million conversions the very day the image on the tilma was exposed to the public.
A remarkable wave of conversions in the entire Aztec territory, extending from Central America to the Philippine Islands followed. It is interesting to note that later, the entire Philippines was annexed as part of the Diocese of Mexico. In spite of the thousands of miles separating the two countries, Mexico and the Philippines belonged as one diocese. It is no wonder that the patroness of both Mexico and the Philippines was our Lady of Guadalupe. Later, when the Church had reason to believe that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico as the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of both countries is now the Immaculate Conception, not forgetting that she is also Our Lady of Guadalupe carrying another title.
Our Lady of Guadalupe's Powerful Intercession
With the brewing controversy faced by our country with regard to the RH bill and the DEATH issues, let us turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of Life and Protectress of the Unborn, to manifest her miraculous power so that our political leaders, legislators and pro-choice advocates as well as the many Filipino Catholics who are in the dark about their Faith (and each and every Filipino for that matter!) will be enlightened about the teachings of God and follow His will. Our Lady of Guadalupe will not abandon her beloved Philippines who has been faithful to her for almost 500 years. The Church established by Jesus will never die. It is immortal because He has said “I will be with you all days till the end of the world.”
(Reference and excerpts taken from Handbook of Guadalupe published by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA)
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