12/12/12 is the Feast Day of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" celebrated by millions who pray and hope for God's grace of reconciliation and salvation during these tenuous times through her intercession to her son Jesus. The symbol of Our Lady of Guadalupe links together politics, family, religion, colonial past and independent present. For many people, especially from Latino communities worldwide, the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe is nearly as sacred as Christmas.
Presumably and politically, America's House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.) understand the significance of this tradition in Catholicism (which means universal) since each purport to be a "practicing Catholic" but hold major divergent views on moral and economic issues. These two selected representatives of different political parties can share Our Lady of Guadalupe's universal message of hope, reconciliation and salvation with President Obama, Congressional colleagues and the American people. Perhaps by John and Nancy blending their red and blue they will bring the "purple" perspective, especially timely during Advent which is supposed to bring family together in hopeful anticipation of the perfect good to come for all on Christmas Day, the peace of Jesus Christ.
Veneration for Our Lady of Guadalupe, the woman called "Patroness of the Americas" and "Protectress of the World's Unborn," started at 12 midnight with liturgical festivities growing to 12 noon then flowing to the next 12 midnight. Anecdotally, numbers matter historically and culturally. For example in China the number nine recalls the emperor denoting ultimate power, might and glory. In Christianity three is the Holy Trinity and 333 denotes hope, belief that Christ will be with Christians until the end of times and eternally. Biblically there were 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles and curiously in the Book of Revelation read in churches this week:
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of 12 stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth (Rev. 12)."
Interestingly, nine months is the time of full gestation in the womb. Christians flock to churches and shrines showing their love for Mary, the Mother of Jesus aka "Our Lady of Guadalupe." Historically, the remarkable events of the pregnant Virgin which took place this same week in December 1531 in Mexico are definitely thought provoking. It is recorded that some nine million Aztecs converted to Christianity as a result. The inexplicable phenomenon emanating from this event is viewed by many theologians and scientists as a radical example of faith and science merged. Bible readings during this time in churches around the globe illustrate "apocalyptic scripture." It is also interesting that nine days from 12/12/12 marks the date of the Mayan prediction of last days. Theologians argue that 12/21/12 will actually mark "new beginnings."
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is available for all to see on the original tilma worn by St. Juan Diego. It is on display in the church she asked be built to honor her Son Jesus which opened December 26, 1531 in Mexico City, in place of an ancient Aztec temple built for human sacrifices. According to best selling author Carl Anderson and Monsignor Eduardo Chavez, the tradition of death was broken by her appearance and message of life as documented in "Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love." She illustrates in this uniquely documented apparition her desire to be mother to people of all origins including Native Indian, Latino, White, Black and Asian; all demographics from poor to rich, people of all faiths or no faith, whether heterosexual, homosexual, liberal, conservative, married, single, divorced, fertile or infertile. She offers hope to all who are struggling or need maternal care. That is why Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared as an indigenous dark skinned "mestiza" (mixed descent) pregnant virgin with almond shaped eyes, wearing an Aztec emperor blue colored cloak and emerald green jeweled crown with cosmic surroundings of rainbow sun light standing on a crescent and center of the moon speaking in the Nahuatl native dialect to a humble Aztec Indian convert named Juan Diego. He called her the perfect Virgin Holy Mary of Guadalupe. Everything she wore advances a prophetic, political and religious symbol for thoughtful consideration. To embrace her universal role as mother and her desire to bring people closer to God through her loving intercession. To those in need her comforting message of hope, "I shall take them all to my heart... cure their many sufferings, afflictions and sorrows."
The crescent she stands on potentially indicates a triple meaning. The Aztecs worshiped an evil stone "serpent god" that demanded human sacrifices. When asked her name by Juan Diego, at the request of the local bishop, Our Lady's response, in the Aztec language, included the words "Te Coatlaxopeuh" (pronounced: "Te Quatlasupe") and meant "one who crushes the head of the stone serpent." To Juan Diego and his fellow Aztecs, this revelation had great meaning, coupled with the miraculous image of Our Lady standing on top of a "crescent," the symbol of this evil serpent god. A tidal wave of conversions to Christianity ensued. Biblical reference read this week from the Book of Genesis:
"Then the Lord God said to the serpent,: 'I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head while you strike at his heel (Gn.3:15).'"
Theologians suggest another symbolism of the crescent denotes Our Lady's role in uniting Muslims and Christians with her future intercession. In 1531, the Spanish Bishop Zumarraga in Mexico heard her Aztec name "Te Quatlasupe" and mistook it for the Madonna from Spain with the Islamic name "Guadalupe," Arabic for River Wolf. Hence Our Lady's Shrine for America in Mexico has an Islamic name and symbol.
Indians of Zozocolco while preparing to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1995 proclaimed a message passed down for centuries:
"With the harmony of the angel, who holds up the Heavens and the Earth, a new life will come forth. This is what we received from our elders, our grandparents, that our lives do not end, but rather that they have a new meaning ... This is what we celebrate today... the arrival of this sign of unity, of harmony, of new life."
Interesting that December 12, 1531 was the winter solstice inaugurating the time of year when sun conquers darkness and days bring more light to the world. Important for Aztecs (and perhaps a message for us all) this New Harmony depicted with the sun, moon and stars surrounding the Virgin mother who eclipses the sun in a harmonious way, brings focus to her own womb, wherein is kept the true God.
They came to believe and unite by opening their hearts.